Silver pack attack.

That’s how they get ‘cha!

Apparently Topps is doing a giveaway for purchasers of their hobby boxes, which is fantastic.  I believe the “catch” is that you have to buy hobby boxes in order to get the four card per pack freebie…which i’m totally fine with.  Most of my boxes, actually all of them now since i don’t really do blaster boxes, are from Dave and Adams or my LCS down the street.  So, as a collector it’s a win-win chicken din-din!

Wanna see what i got?  Take a look-see.

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It’s a Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves.  Wonder how he feels about the local football team crappin’ the bed last Sunday?

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I also got a Joey Votto card.  He’s a Canadian.  I work with a Canadian and she’s great, really nice.  I always imagine Joey Votto would be a nice guy as well, until i saw him swat that fans shirt last year…he did end up giving him a souvenir afterwards, so maybe he is nice.

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Next guy is Adrew Benintendi.  Name is much harder to spell than i had expected.  Seems like yet another young superstar for the Sox…great…they have a pretty stacked lineup and don’t think they will miss Papi much this year, except maybe the veteran leadership?

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One of my best friends is a Padres fan…he was a Chargers fan, but i think he’s since moved on.  For his sake, i’d love to see Will stay healthy and lead his team to the playoffs, maybe even the World Series.  Dreamers gotta dream i guess.

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I love Cuba and I love Cuban players.  This guy is from Cuba and a solid power hitter.  Seems a bit like a wild card though…how great of a player can he be for the Mets this year?

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Piggy!  Next to Verly, he’s my favorite Detroit player…that’s all i got.

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Hammerin Hank Aaron with the Atlanta Braves and high stirrups.

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Last card is Jackie Robinson…love this card and love the image.  Great card.

That’s all i got tonight…crazy tired from the Run the Jewels show the other night…i’m too old to go to midnight shows…but hey, it was well worth it!  I love RTJ!

A Big ole’ box of Memories

I pre-ordered a jumbo box of 1987 2017.  This is the big 30th anniversary for a set that is seemingly very popular with a lot of people.  Me though, i have a different memory of these vertically wood grained over produced cards.

I started collecting baseball cards in the fall of 1985.

I was 9 and had fallen in love with baseball and baseball cards.

I wanted to learn everything about baseball and own everything i could about baseball.

So, baseball cards met that need at the highest level for a young’n like me.  There weren’t many opportunities to buy cards at that time due to scarcity at my local Stop n’ Go or 7-11, but also my lack of funds…I was 9.  I did what i could back then.  When the 1986 cards rolled out, i was able to complete a set via trades and multiple pack purchases.  The way it was done in the old school days.  I had a little more money and ’86 turned out to be a fun year, a year that i became addicted to these damn cardboard things.

That all changed in the winter of 1987.

The very first packs of cards i bought that year were in the Stop n’ Go down the street from my home.  I was headed out to my very first camping trip for the local Boy Scouts troop…a trip that i wasn’t too excited about (maybe a story for later, but my BSA experience was very forgettable!).  My mom pulled in to the parking lot and gave me some money to get a special snack and a juice…i bought a coke and two packs of cards.  1987 Topps.  The cards had gum in them, so that’s kind ova snack, right?  Fearing that i had betrayed my mom, i kept the cards tucked in my pocket to be opened later that weekend…during a camping trip.  I made it successfully to the bus without anyone finding out about my card purchases and was able to procure a solo seat and open them on the ride to the camp site.  I had 34 brand new cards in my hands…and two horrible pieces of gum.  Little did i know that this was the start of an incredible amount of over-consumption of wood grained cardboard that i would later become overwhelmed with.

For me, this was my first understanding of over production of a product.  I was buying packs everywhere.  I was even able to buy a few boxes at our local Sams Wholesale Club…for about $18 each.  Now, t’ve never been a collector for the investment purposes but i also don’t like to buy junk…well that year i must have spent about $100 on 1987 Topps.  I was completely overwhelmed with them and grew to really dislike them…everything about them.  So when the set gets a re-up, i don’t jump for joy.  I’m old enough now and have some perspective to understand and appreciate the design, so maybe this year won’t be so bad.

I mean, they do actually look kind of nice and as others have mentioned, the wood grain is quite lighter than the original.  The cards stock as i remember it is quite better as well, significantly better actually…as i look at these cards, i can see why they are adored by so many…i have baggage that i need to let go of i guess.

They are nice, very nice.  Well done Topps.  You did a great job with these re-issues.  Tweaked some of the things that were of concern to me…thank you for listening 🙂  Some of you may have already seen the cards that i pulled as i thought it would be nice to pre-share over Twitter last night.  Just in case though, here is my very first 2017 Topps card of the year!

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Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton!  Pretty sweet first card eh?  Don’t think i know what my first card is for the past 30 years, but i would venture to say that none of them are as good as this one.

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This was my first card pulled for a favorite team, the Nationals or Yankees…Bryce Harper is cool, i mean…he’s probably going to have a good season.  Yeah, this card is fantastic for me not to mention that i got two in the box.  One for my flagship set and one for my Bryce Harper PC.  Collecting goals are being met.

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This was my first Yankee, Nathan Eovaldi.  It was immediately followed by Aaron Hicks, also a Yankee.  Guess that duo was a nice little mini Yankee hot pack…or not…?

Topps is also continuing with the buyback program, but stamping them differently this year with a  vertically embossed stamp along the right edge of the card that reads “REDISCOVER TOPPS’.  Nothing spectacular, but i have to admit these cards are in great shape.

One of the many inserts that you get are the foil cards which are great looking cards, assuming you can see them.  I passed up a couple of them and had to go through the stack again to make sure i pulled them all out and when i did…four of the five were team cards.  Feel a little gipped here, but i guess it would have only been successful if one of them was a player or team i collect.  The fifth was a Kurt Suzuki.

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Topps is also continuing to do the first pitch cards…and i think they are running out of celebrities or there just aren’t enough celebrities to go around.  Not trying to blast either of these two musical entertainers, but one of them is great and the other one is Mase.  I’ve tried to associate the connection of the First Pitcher to the team they are pitching for.  Mase, per wikipedia was born in Florida, but left with his mom for New York when he was three.  I guess maybe he’s always been a fan of a Florida team?  Ms. Jett is from Pennsylvania, so maybe she grew up watching Harry Caray and Steve Stone on WGN like me?  I kid…Joan Jett was one of my favorite rockers in the early 80’s, mostly due to my mom liking her music with The Runaways.  I like her biggest solo hit, a cover of ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll”

Speaking of hits, i have three of them…well, two and a half.  I don’t consider redemptions hits until i have them in my hand.  Here they are, in my current favorite order.  When the redemption is in my hands, that will be without a doubt my favorite one…assuming of course it’s a Yankee card.

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My timeline counter is starting on February 3rd, 2017.  Let’s see how long this takes to hit my blog post.  Ball is in your court Topps Corporation.17-tost-clayton-kershaw-3050

Clayton Kershaw Spring Training commemorative patch…it’s like a hard plastic’y metal’y thing’y numbered 38/50.  Not gonna complain at all.

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My favorite hit, currently, is this Addison Russell trip color patch…they snuck that white portion of the patch in there didn’t they?  Numbered 19 of 25 is pretty good too.  Kinda wish it was autographed, but i’m quite happy with this pull.  Russell is a great young player and nice to add to my collection.

d’oh!  I have a couple more cool cards to show off.  Nothing spectacular, but wanted to share.  First one is the Bryce Harper Then and Now…i always remember that moment when i almost pulled that card in a box.  The guy next to me picked the box that had it and i picked the other one…such is my luck…i always get the other one..Harper looks like he’s aged 10 years since the Bowman card, beards man…they make you look old.

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The other one is of the young Astros prospect, but aren’t they all?  Teoscar Hernandez…feels like his name should be spelled T’Oscar…but that’s not my lane.  I’m gonna stay out.  This is one of those reverse negative cards that are not printing plates, but every time i see one that’s the first thing that crosses my mind…kinda wished it was yellow.

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Well, that’s the haul from my one jumbo box that i purchase for each series.  Hope you enjoyed.  I will be posting the cards from the two silver packs that came with the box another day, so until then.  Enjoy some random music that i was listening to while writing this letter to you.

 

Clemson Tigers!

I was born in South Carolina.  Conway Country, South Carolina, Myrtle Beach…Myrtle Beach Air Force Base to be exact.  My parents were both in the Air Force when i was born and they were born in South Carolina as well.  Both of my parents were born in South Carolina.  My mom was born in Charleston and My dad’s family was from Spartanburg, SC.  He was the son of a cotton factory worker that loved football, Clemson football.  Football is huge in Texas and really all throughout the south.  Every summer we would visit the Palmetto state, and when we went to Spartanburg we would go to the Beacon drive in.  It’s a bit of a divey drive in greasy spoon kinda place, but damn that food is good!  And the walls were always covered in Clemson newspaper clippings, Frank Howard and Danny Ford photos along Tiger memorabilia everywhere…not so much with the other school in the state, the Cocks, just mostly Clemson Tigers.  So, as a young’n my college football team was chosen.  The Clemson Tigers.  A Tigers fan in the state of Texas, where i could have chosen the Longhorns or Aggies or Red Raiders or whatever…I stuck with my family on this one.  Football hasn’t been too nice to me over the past few years.  The ebbs and flow of a football season are quite emotional, far more than baseball, which i think is why i’m more drawn to the diamond than the gridiron.  But tonight, my team won and it feels great!…and yes, i did order some Panini Clemson Tigers cards tonight.

Now to some baseball cards.

Wrapping up my box of Topps update with the hits.  Like i said, nothing too major, but some cool decent stuff from the jumbo box.

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Christian Vazquez – Boston Red Sox Scouting Report Certified Autograph

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Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals All Star Game 2016 Event Worn Workout Jersey

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Willie McCovey – San Francisco Giants 500 Home Run Club Capt. James Cook Stamp

My mind is a little distracted right now and i’m having a little difficulty writing and listening to ESPN, so i’m just going to let the images be.  That Captain James Cook stamp got me doing some serious research though on global sailing, exploration and cartography.  Maybe i can save some of my research for another (re)post.

Hope you guys have a great night!  Here’s a cool song my wife introduced me to a couple of days ago…probably late on these guys, but love the song!  Enjoy.

Heritage autograph issue

One of my favorite sets each year is Topps Heritage…actually it is my favorite set.  I buy a few boxes…actually i buy quite a few boxes each spring and slowly and painfully build a set including all of those damn high numbers.  What can i do, i’m a collector that must complete things.

One of the things that i love about Heritage is that it’s not a set based on “MoJo” or “Sick” hits, it’s just about set building…painful set building…but occasionally you get a nice autograph.  Only one though, remember it’s not a gamblers box of cards.  When you get that one auto it always seems to be pretty cool you know?  Most of my autos through the years have been veterans that played during the season of the Heritage re-up which is super cool.  Veteran guys that most of the time i know nothing about so it gives me a chance to learn a thing or two about a guy from the 50’s or 60’s.  It’s great for the history of the game and for educating the younger or maybe less informed fan of baseball.

Here are a couple autos i received from my 2015 Heritage purchases a couple years ago (don’t think these have been posted yet…if so, i apologize!)

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When i first saw this autograph Red Sox card of a guy named Schilling, all i could think of was a stupid bloody sock and…nevermind…not a fan of Curt Schilling, so i’ll leave it at that.  Now Chuck didn’t have a stellar career or a long career, only lasting 5 seasons with the BoSox.  But hey, i’d take 5 years as a big leaguer over non years.  As you can tell this card is red ink and numbered to 66…because it represents the 1966 Topps set…but also notice the 1.  I always like to get the lower number cards thinking that the penmanship is better for these cards.  Mr. Schilling has some pretty nice ink…right over the cup region to boot.

Next up is a younger, modern era player…maybe even a future superstar.  I think it’s safe to say that the way he’s pitched the past couple of years he’s at the star level for a star filled Blue Jays organization.  Mr. Aaron Sanchez

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When i look at this photo, i feel incredibly old.  He looks like he could be my son, my incredibly talented son with some additional flair to his signature.  Wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t the exact same way Amy Schumer signs her autographs…just look at it.  I do appreciate how Aaron tucked his signature on his left shoulder over the white uniform.  Nice backdrop for a pretty decent autograph.

Step into 2016 with me.  Bought some more boxes of Heritage and pulled two autographs.

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Jake Wood.  I love this card.  Almost as much as the next one.  The smile on Jakes face looks like a smile of content and pride…like a guy that is genuinely happy to be where he is at that point in his life.  Now, i could be completely wrong as i don’t know Jake personally, but he just looks like nothing is ever too difficult for him.  Jake along with ol’ Chuck from up the page didn’t have a stellar career although it lasted a couple years longer.  Jakes is still pretty active and is doing some great things in the world according to wikipedia.  He continues to play softball at the ripe old age of 79…i can only hope i can still bend over when i’m 79.  Jake also mentors Inmates at a Jail in Florida for the “A Will and a Way” ministry.  Good for him.

Next guy up, Mr. George Altman.

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George to this point of my post has had the best professional baseball career (i see you Aaron Sanchez…).  George played with the legends of Chicago Cubs baseball; Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo and did more than keep his own among that great group of ball players.  As i mentioned above, this is one of my favorite cards from the bunch.  George looks idk an intimidating guy, he is 6’4″.  He’s also one of those odd guys that bats left and throws right…sorry batted/threw.  He also became the first player in the history of baseball to hit two home runs of the legendary Sandy Koufax in one game…not sure how many guys ever did that, context is everything, but to be the first to do anything like that is a good thing.

Got a few more autograph posts lined up for the next few days.  Nothing overly spectacular, but i’m hoping to learn a little about some of these guys.  Hope you enjoyed reading!

This is what we were listening to at the office today.  Childish Gambino aka Don Glover.  Check it out!

 

Cabin fever + Homeless shelters + Art

The ice has thawed and the snow is melting…today was the first day that we were able to get out of the house and venture around a bit.  It was much needed after a day and a half together you need a break from your home, you know?  I was super excited to check out a couple of things in our city and show our kid his beautiful city.  The big item on my checklist today was a visit to something my new office has been a part of the past few months, the Partners on Dwelling (POD) initiative of Portland.

In a very tiny nutshell, it’s a plan that was set in place with city leaders/visionaries, Portland State University and a handful of architects in town to build very simple, easily constructible housing prototypes for the homeless population in our town.  Now, this is by no means meant to cure all the ills that are attached to homelessness…but to hopefully fill some kind of void in many peoples lives.  I know there are a ton of political and personal issues associated with this subject and i’m not going to get into that debate…what i wanted to show you though was some exceptional work done by my very talented office.  Now, keep in mind this project was designed and built by my coworkers with the goal of fabricating everything for $2,000 or less.  I’m not sure that was completely achieved, but what the folks at my office created was awesome…in my opinion…as well as a certain 4 years old.  Here is some background on Cabin A from my office…and some images from the visit today.

Funny story, my kid discovered the door lock and waited until the cabin was empty and locked himself in…he couldn’t really get into any trouble, it was just…you know…embarrassing a little, but hey you laugh and move on!  That’s my boss looking and laughing at my offspring…luckily the boss is a good guy.

There was a lot of great work done by everyone today, but in my opinion…this was by far the best as it had the smallest footprint, maximized material limitations and was most likely the closest to the $2,000 target.  Regardless, all the work was definitely a best foot forward for helping those that need help…and shelter.

Stepping off my soap box now.

I don’t have any cards to show today, but rather some art that i’ve picked up from Gypsy Oak over the past couple of months.  I think most you are following him on twitter @gypsyoak and maybe have stopped by his Gypsy Oak website to pick up a couple items of your own…if you haven’t, i would highly recommend it.  The pieces that he has available are great and not too expensive for the common man…:).  Here are a few that i wanted to share with you guys.

A couple Yankee greats…i’ve always had a fascination with Lou Gehrig…one of my friends passed away from ALS a few years ago…so i’ve felt more drawn to the history of the Iron Horse.  The Joe DiMaggio image is just fantastic.

Now…I’m a baseball fan.  A fan of all generations and all levels of greatness.  Being a Yankee fan, i can appreciate the absolute greatness of Ted Williams and the icons career.  Willie Mays is just fantastic and in my humble opinion, the greatest all around player of all time.

Here are a couple more legends as i step further back in baseball time with a couple fantastic images of Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson.  These 4×6 images are really fantastic and he’s constantly producing new work.

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I couldn’t not get Ali…

2014 Topps S1 – Packs 3 and 4

Ok, here are some of the highlights from packs 3 and 4.  Nothing overly exciting or notable so this is mostly a post about what I got rather than “HOLY CRAP!! LOOK AT WHAT I GOT!”

In the previous post I pulled two Jean Segura Inserts and whattayaknow, in the third pack, I pulled another!  How many The Future is Now cards does this kid have?  Oh yeah, in the fourth pack I got the Future Stars version of Mr. Segura.  Here is a side by side comparison of the base bandit with eye black and without eye black.  Run Jean Run!

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The next couple of pairings come with mixed feelings.

I love Jeet and think this could be the last season we see him in a  major league uniform.  I guess it’s going to depend on how he can recover and produce in the revamped Yankee lineup.  It’s going to be a whole different world without #2 at short…here’s hoping he has a great season and we get to see him pick it for another year or two…or three.  It will make his gift baskets so much more valuable, especially his balls that he gives to the ladies.  His scan partner is A-Rod.  I’m really glad he won’t be on the field this season.  I’ve mentioned many times in the past that I can’t stand the kid and hope he never rocks the pinstripes again.  Such a self-absorbed, neon orange chump.

14 TO Jeter ARod

These guys are the future for the Yankees rivals.  Bogaerts and Machado are going to be great players for so many years…oh…so…many…years.  Those Machado ears though.  Kinda with Xander was a Yankee…that’s my problem with the Yankees organization, they just don’t ever seem to develop major league talent.  They have tons of guys that have the potential, but it never works out for them.  Xander picked up some great experience in the World Series last year…good for him…

14 TO Machado Bogaerts

Up here in Portland as in many other cities throughout our beautiful country.  Beards have taken over. Along with beards, you have facial hair of many types, like curly mustaches.  I’ve never been a fan of facial hair and do my best to keep my face clear of facial hair other than the times I’m too lazy to shave.  One thing I would never do though, is sculpt my facial pubes in the same manner as Mr. New House.  It’s just way too much time sculpting and crafting in front of the mirror.  We have lots of guys with handlebar staches in this great town I live in and they are the only guys I will order an old fashioned from.  They are the ones who know how to make them properly.  Not with all that muddled fruit crap.  Just whiskey, bitters, sugar cube an orange slice and cherry.  Any bartender that muddles the fruit and turns your drink into a pink liquor concoction should not be trusted…and will more than likely not have a handlebar mustache.

14 TO Carlos Villanueva

Here is the hits part of our program.

First up.  Elvis Andrus.  A great glove and a mediocre bat.  So here is a bat card with a picture of him throwing a ball.  Nice photo/object coordination.

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Next.  Matty Alou.  One of the 83 Alou’s (actually, I think it’s just 4) that have played Major League Baseball.  It’s a buyback, which means now that it is stamped nobody will buy it back.  At least Topps went smaller with their foil stamp logo.

14 TO Matty Alou 1963 Buyback

2014 Topps S1 – Packs 1 and 2

I’ve always been a little slow and therefore have been late to various things in my life.  So i’ve developed a mentality of sitting and waiting for other people to do something before I go.  It allows me time to think of what I want to do or can provide…since 2014 Topps has been out for a couple of weeks I’m going to show you what I got as well as give you a piece of my mind! 🙂

I know some folks don’t like the Topps flagship or are upset with their exclusive MLB license.  You won’t get any of that vibe over here though, I’m all in for the Topps flagship.  To the parallels and inserts, I say…”I don’t care” or “I choose to ignore you”.  I say that to the cards.  Take them out of the center of the packs and put them aside.  Sift through the base cards first and them make my way to the “hits” part of the program.  You should probably also know that I always eat muffins by starting from the bottom and working my way up.  I like to save the best for last.  Gives me something to look forward to.

On to the card judgement.

Topps has come back with the white border cards and personally i’d like to see a different color border, or possibly a full bleed.  I know this isn’t anything groundbreaking but a little variation would be great for the borders.  I’d like to se a card from each year and know that there was more than just a slight variation of the previous years designs…something bigger like the changes in card designs from 85 to 86 to 87.  Basically I want a fresh and new design each year.  The photos though, those are great.  Lots of action photos from what i’ve seen so far and great shots of men leaping in to walls.

14 TO Victorino Heyward

One of the things that Topps has done with their photos is select the image that makes you stop…and look…and think…why this photo?  The Crisp card has appeared all over the blogosphere and it now appears here.  That afro is straight up Oaktown.  If rappers had baseball cards, this would be the exact same image that Boots Riley from The Coupe would have.  Big Ass Afro and a clean pair of mutten chops piercing out of each cheek, shoulders back doing the Bernie lean.

14 TO Coco Crisp

Besides the cool images, you get the obligatory post game celebration photo.  The gatorade bath.  Now, this would make a much better football card.  In fact, I think Topps should have one football head coach card next year and it should be Pete Carroll getting an orange bath after the Super Bowl and it should be card number 48.  That’s a free one for you Topps people, run with it.  This Dozier card though…it reeks of gimmick that folks complain about.  Dozier…remind me of the Souls of Mischief lyric…’Maintain composure, hit dosia, pick a booga, don’t be shook up, i got the hook up.’

14 TO Brian Dozier

TWO OAKLAND RAP REFERENCES in one blog post!

This kid.  Love this kid.

14 TO Bryce Harper

One last base card before i show a couple of the ‘Hits’.  The Kendrys Morales card.  This card should never have been made unless it was a Mariners team card.  In this modern world of high price cameras and digital media at every turn, how can you have a card of a player that only shows his back.  AND THE BACK IS OUT OF FOCUS!!!  Seriously??!!??!  The only guy that’s really in focus is Felix Hernandez.  Not Morales!  The moral of this card is that team celebrations are good and should only be shared as a team card.  Really bad decision on this one.

14 TO Kendrys Morales

Mini’s.  Die Cuts.  I love both and that’s what you get this year!  Some 1989 design mini with various border colors that are die cut!  Yes please!  Sign me up for that.  AND I get a Lou Gehrig.  Such a lucky boy I am.

14 TO Lou Gehrig 1989 Mini

This next pair of cards came in my first two packs and I started to think I had a Segura Hot Box.  Guess you will have to wait and see…I’m not trying to tease you, I have no idea either as i’ve only opened two packs.

14 TO Jean Segura The Future Is Now

Be on the lookout for the following 8 packs America.  I can only hope that I get more blurry cards of guys backs.