Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 Bowman Inception

 These cards look sharp. Let me get that out of the way first. That will be the redeeming factor involved because this is another release with high risk/ high reward potential, but in all likelihood, you'll be looking at pretty cardboard that is only worth a small fraction of what you paid for the box.

This is an autograph release. There are autographs alone. Autographs with relics. Autographs with patches. Autographs with logos. Autographs with autographs. Let's just say if you find a card without an autograph, it's not from this set.

The White Sox have two cards in this set, but it's a little complicated.

In the Prospect Autographs, the White Sox have one card.

PA-CH - Courtney Hawkins

This card has nine parallels. A gold parallel numbered to 99. A blue parallel numbered to 75.  An orange parallel numbered to 50. A green parallel numbered to 25. A red parallel numbered to 10. A purple parallel numbered to 5. An inception parallel numbered to 1. Framed printing plates, all numbered to 1. An inscription autograph numbered to 10.

So... yeah.
In the Autograph Relic cards, the White Sox have one card.

This card has three parallels. A red parallel numbered to 50. A blue parallel numbered to 25. An inception parallel numbered to 1.

One box has five cards, which consists of four autograph cards and a relic card. All this can be yours for around $125. Essentially, if you are looking to make a profit from this purchase, you are probably not, but that's what makes this type of a release a gamble. If you're looking for nice looking cards, this may be the release for you. As for me, I'll stick to the secondary market for single cards.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

2013 Triple Play

Panini continues to come up with creative and sensible solutions to get around their lack of licensing. Triple Play was a Donruss brand in the early nineties which was geared towards children. Being a kid at heart, I enjoyed those sets for what they were. Cheap cards that taught the fundamentals of baseball, while showing some great action shots and a good smattering of current players.

The kid aspect has stayed true to the heart of the set, but instead of action shots of today's hottest stars and rookies, those players are now made into cartoons. It's not the most inventive release out there, but it's one that I'm glad was brought back. This set has the potential to hook some kids into collecting and that is something that the hobby has needed for quite some time. I appreciate that there isn't shiny distractions on the cards, like on other companies cards. I have been foiled and sparkled to death by other card companies and this is a good palate cleanser.

The White Sox have two cards in the set.

17 - Chris Sale
18 - Alex Rios

While there is a limited amount of players in Triple Play, the selection for the Sox is refreshing. Instead of Jake Peavy and Paul Konerko taking the two slots, a hot, young pitcher and a forgotten star make it into the mix. Sure, these players have their fair share of cards already, but it is a bit unusual seeing them as the only options in a set. Kudos, Panini.

Triple Play may not be the same set I remember collecting back in the nineties, but I do appreciate what it has turned into. There should always be a few cheap, fun options out there for kids and this fits the bill nicely.

Friday, July 19, 2013

2013 Panini Golden Age

Golden Age reminds me of a cross between Donruss Americana and Topps Allen & Ginter. That isn't surprising considering Panini bought Donruss a few years ago. Panini has brought the Donruss brand out of the doldrums and turned it into a legitimate card company again, even if the Donruss label is nowhere to be found. Panini is even recreating its image in North America. At one time, when I thought of Panini, I thought of only stickers. I have had to rethink that comfortable standby, in the past few years.

The White Sox have one player in the regular set. If you want an extra collecting challenge, include Johnny Evers as a second player for the White Sox. Since Panini isn't allowed to use logos, they have chosen to identify players by city. Evers is best remembered for playing with the Cubs between 1902 and 1913, but Johnny played a single game for the White Sox in 1922, making him an interesting collecting alternative for White Sox collectors in this set.

8 - Johnny Evers
134 - Tommy John

The White Sox players in the subsets are...

Bread For Energy
8 - Eddie Cicotte

Delong Gum
17 - Buck Weaver

12 - Johnny Evers
21 - Buck Weaver

Playing Cards
4 - Johnny Evers
5 - Lefty Williams
40 - Buck Weaver

Tip Top Bread
5 - Buck Weaver

The design is very complimentary to the set. These are some nice, but not great, looking cards. Panini has used the lack of player logos to elevate their product past the cheap looking airbrushed messes that plagued food issue sets over the past forty years. The aspect of celebrities mixed in with players of most sports gives this set somewhat of an uneven feel and pushes the set towards Allen & Ginter territory, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mailbox Joys: The Joys And Horrors Of Card Collecting

 A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from JT of the excellent blog, The Writer's Journey. JT had a couple of cards he was wondering if I wanted. It just so happened to be two cards from 1989 Bowman. I had, long ago, completed the team set, but I still needed the Baines and Fisk cards for my player collections.

I sent JT my current address and a few days later, I found a little white envelope in the mailbox. I opened it up and found the two aforementioned cards and something else. Something strange. Something dangerous. Something, dare I say, fun.

There were more cards in the top loader.

I cannot begin to describe how my delight turned to curiosity, then horror, and finally mounted into a display of unbridled ecstasy.

These were no ordinary run of the mill cards.

These were...

Close, but not quite.

These were Cereal Killer cards!

Thanks, JT! Not only did the Bowman cards bring some joy, these Cereal Killer cards were an unexpected treat. I may have to seek out the rest of the set.

2013 Topps Archives

I've been a fan of the idea of Topps Archives, but the execution leaves something to be desired. I create my own custom cards using designs of the past, but there is always some connection in my design choosing. Either an important milestone, a missing card or using one design for every card. Seemingly, Topps picked four random years and decided to make a set.

The first fifty cards depict the 1972 set. It is bold and gaudy, but is highly recognizable. The next fifty cards use the 1982 design. The design is minimalist and remind some collectors of hockey sticks. The next fifty cards are culled from the 1985 set, which has large geometric shapes. The last fifty in the regular set use the 1990 design. Let's just say the design is... interesting, using fades and dots to accentuate two opposite photo corners that use the same color scheme. These aren't four set designs that would have obvious connections.

The White Sox have five cards in the set.

22 - Alex Rios
35 - Adam Dunn
65 - Paul Konerko
113 - Jake Peavy
197 - Chris Sale

There are forty-five "All-Time Fan Favorites", which take a player's "best" year in the majors and gives them a card with that year's set design. The White Sox do not have any players in that section of the set. Charlie Hough and Ellis Burks appear to be the only players with White Sox connections and they are featured on the Rangers and Red Sox respectively.

Chris Sale also gets an "error" variation card, based on the 1990 Frank Thomas no name on front error. The insertion ratio is one for every 1,717 packs to find one of the five variation cards, so good luck on that.
The Sox also have cards in the subsets.

1983 All-Stars
83-CF - Carton Fisk

1998 Stadium Club Triumvirate
T-2A - Albert Belle
T-2B - Robin Ventura
T-2C - Frank Thomas

Mini Tall Boys
MT-CS - Chris Sale

Retail Chase
RC-CS - Chris Sale

1960 Relics
60R-AD - Adam Dunn
60R-PK - Paul Konerko

Framed Autographed 1973 Minis
73M-CS - Chris Sale

1983 All-Stars Autographs
83A-CF - Carlton Fisk

Mini Tall Boys Autographs
MTA-CS - Chris Sale

Retail Chase Autographs
RCA-CS - Chris Sale

Topps Archives is fun, but not entirely harmless. The complete randomness of the set can be frustrating at times, but there appears to be some thought that went into the selection of the "All-Time Fan Favorites". There are gold parallels and orange glow parallels, which just adds to the strangeness. For Chris Sale fans, this set offers an abundance of treasure. For White Sox fans, there's enough in here to make it an interesting pickup.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WSC Hall Of Fame Class Of 2013

The votes have been tallied and here are the results.

There were two players elected this year and no one received too few votes to be on next year's ballot.

Congratulations to Harold Baines and Nellie Fox for being the two players inducted into the WSC Hall of Fame Class of 2013!

There will be new players at second base and outfield on next year's ballot.

Thank you to everyone who voted!

Here are the final totals.

Harold Baines - 53 votes (77%)
Nellie Fox - 52 votes (76%)
Hoyt Wilhelm - 35 votes (51%)
Robin Ventura - 34 votes (50%)
Al Lopez - 26 votes (38%)
Bobby Thigpen - 26 votes (38%)
Buck Weaver - 26 votes (38%)
Gary Peters - 18 votes (26%)
Jerry Hairston - 7 votes (10%)
Oscar Gamble - 6 votes (8%)
Fielder Jones - 6 votes (8%) 
George Dickey - 5 votes (7%)
Frank Isbell - 4 votes (5%)

Congratulations, once again, to Harold Baines and Nellie Fox for being inducted into the WSC Hall of Fame!

The voting for the Class of 2014 will begin some time after the World Series is concluded.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Angel Sanchez

Card #130 - Angel Sanchez

Born: September 20, 1983

Angel was picked up in the Rule V draft from the Angels in December 2012, which marked the first time since 2003 that the Pale Hose selected a player this way.Sanchez made his White Sox debut on April 9, 2013, against the Nationals in Washington D.C. He replaced Gordon Beckham in the third inning, when Beckham felt some nerve irritation in his left wrist after hitting a foul ball in the second.

Angel would go 0-2 in two plate appearances, but that wasn't the only bad luck waiting for him. Sanchez went on the disabled list the next day with lower back strain. In late May 2013, Angel was reinstated and outrighted to AAA Charlotte. With Beckham back from injury and a flux of infielders, April 9th may be Sanchez's only appearance in a White Sox uniform.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Deunte Heath

Card #129 - Deunte Heath

Born: August 8, 1985

On July 4, 2012, Deunte was called up to replace Jesse Crain on the roster. He was sent down a few days later without making an appearance, but would return in September. Heath made his MLB debut with the ChiSox on September 1, 2012, against the Tigers in Detroit. He faced Prince Fielder and got him to ground into an inning ending double play on two pitches.

Deunte looks to get more major league playing time in 2013 and is a good bet to be in the bullpen mix.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Traveling Box: Pass Three

Every time this box passes through my mailbox, it grows into a larger monster.

There are many cool cards from multiple sports (even some non-sport has slipped in) and I am always tempted to stray from my collecting habits because I see something really cool. This pass was no exception, but I cannot tell you what remains in the box. All I can tell you is what I took. I can't even tell you what I put in, but it did get an enthusiastic reaction from Mike about what I did put in. If you're on the list, then you'll just have to wait and see.

I, of course, took White Sox related stuff that I did not have already.

The first card to catch my eye was a 1968 Laughlin World Series card. It depicts the 1919 World Series. I have always wanted to track this set down, but even I had a hard time paying seller prices for a card that is essentially just a headline, even if that card is forty-five years old. Now, I can pick it up and contribute something back to the card community. The hoopla surrounding the 1919 World Series makes this card probably the most difficult to find of the four White Sox related cards, so I'll gladly take it here.

I also took a 2002 Bowman Signs Of The Future - Kris Honel card. Taken sixteenth overall in the 2001 draft, there were high hopes for this kid. The fact that he came out of New Lenox, IL, makes him a local pick. Sadly, Kris hasn't played since 2011 and has had surgery on his right elbow. As of July 2011, he still hoped to reach the majors someday. I wish him luck.

I am satisfied with this round. May the traveling box be coming soon to a mailbox near you!

WSC Birth Years: Jose Lopez

Card #128 - Jose Lopez

Born: November 24, 1983

At one time, Jose commanded a second tier starting pitcher in return for a proposed trade, but now, his value has plummeted down to "necessity only" player, meaning he only plays if all other options are exhausted. Lopez started off his White Sox career in good fashion. He hit a single and a double in his debut in Baltimore. Lopez also finished off his White Sox career in good fashion, getting two singles in Cleveland. It was the middle that was most worrisome.

Out of fifteen games, Jose had five hits. Four of those hits came in the first and fifteenth game. It was only a six inning single in his seventh game, against Kansas City, that came between those two hit days. Lopez is another case of the ChiSox getting a player well after their apex. The White Sox had many issues at third base in 2012 and Jose Lopez was the last gasp at patching the problem.
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