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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Things I learned at the card shop two days ago

After I struck out at Target yesterday, I drove one shopping center to the west and visited my regular hobby shop, Champion Sports Cards. I really should be spending my card cash there anyway to support them during the downturn, but I was jonesing for some throwback Target Topps cards. It all worked out for the best as I picked up a few goodies and learned a few things besides:

Always bring your wantlists

I picked up this 2008 Timelines die cut Josh Hamliton card out of the 50 cent box. I was positive I needed it for the set as the last card from that subset. Well I did need it, but I had received it in a trade already. Oops. I'm pretty sure someone out there collects Josh Hamilton...

I'm pretty bad about having my wantlists organized. Most of them are scribbled in random notebooks or even worse, on the back of shopping lists and scrap paper. My next project is now to get them online and printed out so I can keep a folder with them in the car so I'm prepared for those spur of the moment card runs. One of these days I'll join the 21st century and get an iPhone or a Blackberry or some kind of small computer gizmo and keep the lists on there for safe keeping, but even though I'm an IT professional I'm somewhat of a Luddite when it comes to gadgets.

Every time the Braves sign or trade for someone, I am compelled to immediately find a card of that player

2006 Bowman Nate McLouth gold parallel MLB logo fake rookie card. Awww yeah. While typing this post he just got his first RBI, driving in McCann on a ground rule double in the 8th to tie the game against the Brewers and get Tommy Hanson off the hook in his first MLB start. Then he immediately scored off a hit by Yunel Escobar to take the lead. Yeah Nate!

Now where in the heck am I going to find a card of this guy??

I like retired players better than current players

As do most collectors apparently. Topps Series Two hobby packs can be found with Jackie, Mickey, David Wright and Ryan Howard on the wrappers. I purposely dug past the Wright packs (which do not seem to be popular in Atlanta for some reason) to find a Mantle and Robinson pack to open. I think I'll battle these packs this week in a cardboard replay of the '55 World Series.

Right now, I prefer Quality over Quantity

Every so often, Champion sells $5 grab boxes of about 400 assorted cards. Most of them are minor stars and commons from recent sets with a few stars and inserts sprinkled in. There's usually a decent amount of higher end base cards in them like SP, Finest, SPX, Chrome, etc. mixed in among the Upper Deck and Topps. They are a cheap and fun way to pick up some cards and I usually pick up a few every time he sells them. I always find at least 30 cards or so I like or need and the rest are great trade fodder. There were a few boxes there but after looking through them I wasn't really interested. I'm not sure why, I just wasn't feeling it that day. I guess with money tight, it's harder to drop a fiver on a grab box. I picked one out anyway, but then found a pile of Finest in the 10 cent box. I picked out 11 (buy 10, get one free) to go along with the grab box but after thinking about it for a few minutes, I put back the box and just cleaned out the Finest instead. I like Finest, I'm not going to be able to afford a mini box any time soon and 37 Finest cards for $3.40 was simply a better value to me. Have I finally learned some collecting focus and restraint? That remains to be seen, but here are the 11 Finest cards I picked out initially:

If I see a Curtis Granderson card I buy it. He's a great player, cornerstone of my fantasy team, I know a half dozen people I can trade this card to in a pinch.

Jim Thome - 550 home runs, lifetime OBP over .400, lifetime OPS over .960, All Star, class act and in about 10 years some stuck up Hall of Fame voter is going to snub him because it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good. I hate Hall of Fame voters.

Sheff is kind of the Bizarro version of Jim Thome, isn't he? Despite the probable juicing, temper tantrums and team hopping, the guy is a hell of a hitter.

Roy Oswalt is another of those players I don't actively collect, but I won't turn down any cards of him, either.

Adrian Gonzalez has 22 homers already playing in Petco. That's the equivalent of 147 in Coors Field.

Furcal is a Fink, and I constantly remind readers that Martin is not as good as McCann, but that doesn't mean they're not good players. I need to file away Raffy quickly though, because my gaze keeps drifting over to my paper shredder whenever I look at his card.

Halladay is the better pitcher but Hamels has the ring.

Tho good hitters who will probably be on different teams come September 1st. Since the Braves still need offensive pop and outfield help you never know, I might be scrambling for one of these cards come the trade deadline.

There's my card shop haul, all at a price significantly less than a blaster. Support your local card shops! They might not be there too much longer if you don't.


Captain Canuck said...

if my damn hobby shops had Finest in a 10 cent box, I would frequent them. Wait, if my hobby shop had baseball in a box I would. Anything. Throw me a frikkin' bone here...

night owl said...

So you purposely picked up Raffy even though you think he's a fink? Why?

Unless you're trying to complete the set. I can see that.

Laurens said...

I feel mighty special since I still have two Jon Huber cards [2006 Topps 52 and 2006 Upper Deck Update] sorted with the 2009 Seattle Mariners cards I have to try and get signed in-person.

I didn't realize he wasn't in the Mariners' organization anymore.

Grand Cards said...

Yes! The force of Granderson runs strong in this one. That's two posts with his cards in the last month or so. You have chosen wisely. He is our Chipper.

ernest of canada said...

that halladay is nice...and i have to agree with my compatriot. if baseball singles were available at my local shop, i might actually be able to follow my card bliss.

AdamE said...

If I had a hobby ship....