Sunday, November 30, 2014

Card #138: 1997 Pinnacle Xpress Swing for the Fences Upgrade NNO

YEAR: 1997
BRAND: Pinnacle
SET: Xpress
SUBSET/INSERT: Swing for the Fences Upgrade
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

The Swing for the Fences contest required contestants to match up the Home Run Champion in either leagure with the final number of home runs through some game on the back.  Winners would receive a random number of upgraded cards, of which this is one.  The Swing for the Fences logo is gold in the upgraded versions and colored in the regular versions.  This is another card from the big 2012 trade.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Card #137: 1991 Leaf Previews #17

YEAR: 1991
SET: Leaf
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

This is another card from the big trade in 2012 that reinvigorated the Alomar collection.  That trade mostly consisted of inserts and parallels including this preview card for the 1991 Leaf set, which was in its second year.  Alomar, coming off of the Rookie of the Year Award in 1990, was a natural selection as a preview card.  I actually like the base card photo a little better because it showed Alomar in his full catchers' gear.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tek Progress...Again

This is pattern #53.  I need 26 more patterns to get them all.  If anyone out there has any of the ones I need, please let me know.

Card #136: 1993 Topps Gold #85

YEAR: 1993
BRAND: Topps
SET: Topps
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

As I mentioned with Card #135, I basically stopped collecting Alomar in 2005 for several years.  I was focused on my Red Sox collection and in particular Jason Varitek.  After quite some time though, I decided to revisit it periodically.  I managed to swing a massive trade in 2012 that brought me 13 new Sandy Alomar cards, including this one, and a ton of Red Sox cards.  The Gold cards were inserted one per pack in 1993, but I did not buy many packs.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Card #135: 2005 Fleer Tradition #34

YEAR: 2005
BRAND: Fleer
SET: Tradition
TEAM: Chicago White Sox

Unfortunately this was the last card that I picked up while Sandy Alomar Jr. was still an active player.  For the last several years of his career I was only passively collecting his cards.  If I came across one in a pack, I would put it in my album, but I was not spending much money on them.  It was not until the last couple of years that I picked this collection back up.  It's a shame because I feel I may have missed out on a few cards that may be difficult to find.  I really like this card though because of the closeup shot with the hockey-style mask. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Card #134: 2004 Topps Total #522

YEAR: 2004
BRAND: Topps
SET: Total
TEAM: Chicago White Sox

Once again, I had to purchase a hobby box of Topps Total in 2004.  This is still at a time when I was not focusing on my Alomar collection, but was adding cards from packs.  This is still one of my all-time favorite Alomar photos.  This is the precursor to a play at the plate with Alomar preparing to catch the ball.  The runner is not in the shot, but the ball is and Alomar is bracing for impact.  It also features the extremely cool hockey-style mask.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Card #133: 2003 Upper Deck Vintage #335

YEAR: 2003
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: Vintage
SUBSET: Update
TEAM: Chicago White Sox

The Update series of 2003 Vintage were inserted one per pack in Upper Deck 40-Man.  I honestly do not remember if I pulled this card as well as the 40-Man base card in the same box.  This card chronicled Alomar's return to the White Sox as a free agent in 2003 after being traded from the White Sox to the Rockies during the 2002 season.  I actually really like this card and particularly because I managed to get it in a pack.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Missed Opportunities for New Cards

Sandy Alomar Jr. has not really had any new mainstream cards since 2006, which is one year before his playing career was over.  He did not have any cards in 2007, other than one minor league team set issue, despite still playing eight games during the season with the Mets.  He also has not had any new cards, other than buybacks ever since.  I recognize that Alomar is not a Hall of Fame talent but he was a very popular player who played for many years with a terrific Indians team that was one of the best teams in the league for about five years.  And Alomar was a big part of that.

Some time last year was when I started keeping my eyes open for Alomar cards, although I did not delve deeply into it until early this year.  In that time, I have watched as several possible opportunities for new Alomar cards have come and gone from new sets with no new Alomars.  This post will look at those opportunities.

Sandy Alomar Jr. completed the 2012 season as interim manager of the Indians.  He managed the final 12 games of the season with a record of 6-6.  It is not unusual for Topps to make a manager card of an interim manager though.  I have 2002 cards of Joe Kerrigan who managed the final part of the 2001 season with the Red Sox.  Alomar could have been included with a manager card but Topps decided not to give the Indians a manager card since they changed managers over the offseason.

From 2003 to 2005 Topps Fan Favorites was one of my most-anticipated sets, so I was very excited when Fan Favorites was brought back as a short-print and autographed insert set in Topps Archives.  While I would have preferred that it was a full set on its own, this was not too bad.  Players like Mike Greenwell, Charlie Hough, Keith Miller, Hal Morris, and Mickey Rivers showed up in 2013, but no Sandy Alomar Jr.  2014 saw Mookie Wilson, John Olerud, Carlos Baerga, Bip Roberts, and Lenny Harris get cards, but again, no Sandy Alomar Jr.  I will look forward to 2015, but Alomar seems like the kind of player who should get into this set.

The thick trophy cards are rare cards that fall about once per box.  I don't have many in my Red Sox collection either.  In 2013, one of the trophy inserts sets was for the Rookie of the Year, which of course Alomar won in 1990 unanimously.  Most of the players featured went on to terrific careers, but there was a Jeremy Hellickson card in there.

Similar to the Rookie of the Year trophy cards, these are manufactured patches.  Alomar won the 1997 All Star Game MVP yet did not appear in this insert set either.  There were just 15 card in this set and all were Hall of Famers or likely Hall of Famers.  And Bo Jackson.

Okay, this one may be a stretch, but Alomar had a terrific postseason in 1997.  I think it is a stretch because the Indians did not win the World Series in 1997. 

This is one of the biggest misses in my opinion.  This set was basically Fan Favorites with some current players thrown in.  Some of the more surprising players included in this set were John Tudor, Rick Aguilera, Paul O'Neill, Teddy Higuera, Ben McDonald, Keith Moreland, Dan Gladden, freaking Johnny Ray, and many more.  Yet again, no Sandy Alomar Jr.  I was hoping for a set in 2014 that might fix that, but none came.  If Alomar is not a Hometown Hero for the Indians, I don't know who is, especially in looking at some of the players that are in the set.

Alomar left the Indians to join the division rival Chicago White Sox in 2001.  He could have had a card that featured him with both teams in this release.

Yet another Topps manufactured relic set, this one celebrated players that received the Topps All Star Rookie cup, which Alomar did in 1991.  Again, this was a smaller set and seemed geared toward the best of the best.  Topps of course put out the Rookie Cup set in 2005 which did feature Sandy Alomar Jr.

I am including this here because of the Omar Vizquel card.  That card featured him with the Blue Jays, his final team.  Topps did not have a card with him as a Blue Jay that year, or the next year.  It would have been interesting to see a Sandy Alomar Jr. insert in this set depicting him as a Met.

Of course, Alomar did not appear in any of these sets.  But hopefully one of these days, he will get some new cards. 

Card #132: 2003 Upper Deck 40-Man #307

YEAR: 2003
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: 40-Man
TEAM: Chicago White Sox

Like Topps Total, Upper Deck 40-Man was a very large set focused on putting out cards of as many players as possible.  Which is particularly good for the Alomar collection because few sets were including him at this point.  Unfortunately, Upper Deck discontinued this set after 2003.  This is also the first White Sox card in my collection in catchers' gear.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sportlots Order

I don't check Sportlots frequently.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I check it frequently but usually just to find Tek patterns which show up once in awhile.  But recently I happened to be doing a little longer search and came across two cards that I really wanted from the same seller and decided to place a quick order.
1.  2001 Upper Deck Vintage Team Lineup.  I really liked the Red Sox version of this card which had some kind of unusual choices on it.  I don't know enough about the Indians as a team to know whether this was a very accurate portrayal of the team in 2000 though.  As a side note, I am pretty sure that picture of Manny Ramirez is not really him.

2.  1998 Donruss Preferred Seating.  This was one of the cards I wanted from the seller.  It is a nice-looking die-cut card from a mostly forgettable Donruss set.

3.  1995 Stadium Club 1st Day Issue Best Seat in the House.  I love the action shot on this card.

4.  1998 Donruss Collections.  I am not sure of the purpose behind the Donruss Collections set other than to reprint almost all of the Donruss base card sets once more, similar to Topps Chrome but much more all-encompassing.

5.  2000 MLB Showdown.  This is the last base card I needed from Showdown, although there is still possibly another promo out there.

6.  1994 Triple Play.  Proof that there are still some base cards out there that I still need.

7.  1993 Upper Deck Gold Hologram.  The factory sets for Upper Deck in 1992 and 1993 had gold holograms.  They are a little harder to find on the open market.

8.  2003 Upper Deck MVP Celebration Gold.  This was the major card that I wanted.  A parallel of a nice insert honoring his All Star Game MVP that is also numbered out of just 75.

Card #131: 2003 Topps Total #36

YEAR: 2003
BRAND: Topps
SET: Total
TEAM: Chicago White Sox

I bought another hobby box of Total in 2003 because I was such a big fan of the 2002 set.  Once again, I found my fair share of Red Sox cards and a Sandy Alomar Jr.  Again, not the most exciting looking photo, but in 2003 Alomar was not really getting many cards anymore, so it was nice to get something at least.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Card #130: 2003 Topps #595

YEAR: 2003
BRAND: Topps
SET: Topps
TEAM: Chicago White Sox

One thing that has been disappointing to me over the years has been the fact that card companies have been updating players to reflect their new teams right away.  This has lead to difficulties in finding cards of players with the Red Sox who were acquired late in a season and joined new teams for the next season.  It also effected my Alomar collection.  Alomar has very few cards with the Colorado Rockies after spending the second half of the 2002 season with the team.  This is Alomar's base card from the Topps set which skipped his stint with the Rockies and updated him with the White Sox, his new team for the 2003 season.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Card #129: 2002 Topps Total #522

YEAR: 2002
BRAND: Topps
SET: Total
TEAM: Chicago White Sox

This was my first true White Sox card of Sandy Alomar.  Topps Total was another great set for a team collector and I remember picking up a hobby box of it because of that reason.  It helped me pick up a bunch of new Red Sox cards and also managed to get this card out of it.  It was a little strange really seeing Alomar in the black pinstripes of a White Sox uniform after so many years with division rival Cleveland, I am sure moreso for fans of the team.  My personal view was that I was excited to get cards with a new team. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

COMC New Additions

I mentioned some time ago that I have been on a binge lately.  That was particularly evident with my series of orders on COMC over the last couple of weeks.  It started off with an order of 11 cards centered around a promo.  Then, the following week there were newly added cards on consecutive days that I had to order.
1.  2000 MLB Showdown Diamond Star Promo.  This one actually came from Ebay but I received it the same day.  I previously had the Jason Varitek, so I had to add the other big catcher in my personal collection.

2.  1998 Pacific Paramount Copper. 

3.  1999 Pacific Revolution Red.  The red parallels from Pacific are retail-only and can be pretty hard to find these days.

4.  1999 Bowman Chrome Refractor.

5.  2001 Fleer Platinum Parallel.  Numbered out of 201, I wanted to add this because it is one of a dwindling number of White Sox cards I still need.

6.  1999 Black Diamond Triple.  I still need the green Quadruple card to finish out this run.

7.  1997 Bowman International.  I had no idea I did not have this one yet until I was filling out my order.

8.  2001 MLB Showdown.  I think I still need a couple of cards and I will have all of Alomar's MLB Showdown cards.  This is another White Sox card I needed.

9.  1999 Topps Stars Foil.  This card is also serial-numbered to 299 and is a card I had not seen before.
10.  1997 Score Showcase Series.  I had a number of these from packs, but never managed to pull the Alomar or any Red Sox.

11.  1989 Star Promo.  This was the card around which the first order was placed.  There are still a few Star cards still out there.

12.  1998 Pacific Red.  Another retail-only red parallel.

13.  1998 SPx Finite.  This is the last of this run I needed.  Oddly it is the most common version.

14.  2001 Fleer Focus Green.  This is the card that kicked off the second order.  Again, I had the Jason Varitek already.

15.  1998 Topps Tek Pattern 41.  And this is the card that started the third order.  I am down to just 27 more Tek patterns to have them all.

Card #128: 1998 Pacific Online #210

YEAR: 1998
BRAND: Pacific
SET: Online
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

From a player selection standpoint Online is one of my favorite sets.  Sure, the design was a little too 90's and the whole webpage idea was pretty lame, but it was a huge set with a ton of players that were not frequently in other sets.  Here is the Sandy Alomar Jr. card from the set.  Not much going on here unfortunately.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Card #127: 2000 Pacific #124

YEAR: 2000
BRAND: Pacific
SET: Pacific
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Continuing along with cards that I received in packs is this base card from 2000 Pacific.  I have mentioned many times on both blogs how Pacific was pretty great for my collection due to its player selection and the focus on Latin players.  Alomar was not a victim of player selection crunch for most of his time with the Indians, but he was helped out greatly with the focus on Latin players by Pacific.  This card is fairly basic, featuring Alomar hitting a ball down in the zone, something he did pretty well at.

Most Wanted Card for Each Team

I have been doing some major scouring over the complete Sandy Alomar Jr. checklist trying to figure out what is still out there for the lesser teams in his career.  Not really much, but there are some things.  That lead me to look into my most-desired card for each franchise.  I stuck to the Top 10 Most Wanted list for a few teams, though the temptation to deviate a little bit was strong.  I tried to find scans but only ended up with one.  If anyone has any of these cards, I would love to work out a trade.

1991 Rock's Dugout Wichita Wranglers #NNO1
I can't find a ton of information about this card.  It appears to be some sort of bonus card for the Wichita Wranglers team set.  Alomar played for Wichita in the 1980's, when they were known as the Pilots.  This appears to be the only minor league card I still need.

2003 Donruss Rookies Recollection Autographs #1 1989 Donruss Rookies /2

I have no scan of this card because it is incredibly rare.  There are just two copies of this card out there.  It is the buyback of the 1989 Donruss Rookies card foil-stamped and autographed and is currently the last of three certified autos of Alomar with the Padres.

1998 Topps Tek #27 Patterns 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 34, 40, 41, 51, 53, 54, 55, 66, 70, 71, 78, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88

There are a bunch of Indians cards on my Top Ten Most Wanted.  Since the 1998 Topps Tek set is my current biggest goal, I figured it would be easiest to simply enter all of the needed patterns.

2001 Tops Traded Relics #SA

Alomar actually seems to have as many White Sox relics as he does with the Indians.  This is mostly due to the fact that relics became a lot more common in the early 2000's.  For some reason though, his relics are kind of hard to find.  Including this one.

2002 Topps Chrome Traded Black Refractor #T68

This appears to be the only remaining Rockies card I do not have.  I have the Cliff Floyd card for this parallel set, but no Sandy Alomar Jr.

2005 Topps Total Press Plates (any color)

By the time Alomar was with the Rangers, he was barely a backup catcher.  Also, there were very few sets making large team sets.  So Alomar only appears in a couple of sets with the Rangers and I have all but the rarest cards.  Though there is a Rangers exclusive set that I suspect is more of a postcard size set.

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X Blue #677

Similar to the Rangers, there are not many Dodgers cards of Alomar.  The blue version of this set is the rarest besides the printing plates.  I also need the red and purple versions.

To my knowledge, there are NO New York Mets cards.  Maybe some day he will manage the team.  Who knows?

1997 Pacific Baerga Softball #4

I do not think there is a team designation on this card, it was part of a set produced for Carlos Baerga's softball tournament featuring other Puerto Rican players.  There is also a Puerto Rican Winter League card I still need.

Card #126: 2001 MLB Showdown #126

YEAR: 2001
BRAND: MLB Showdown
SET: MLB Showdown
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

I discovered the card game MLB Showdown some time in 2001.  I picked up a pack that resulted in pulling a card of Rheal Cormier for the Red Sox and decided that I loved the player selection in it.  So I picked up more packs.  Of course, the Red Sox cards are not important for this blog, the fact that I eventually pulled this Sandy Alomar Jr. card is though.  I actually really liked the design and MLB Showdown would be a pretty good source for Alomar cards in the coming years.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Huge Ebay Steal

I should have known a little better.  When I first started this collection back up again, I thought to myself that I would not have much problem finding cards and getting them for cheap.  After all, Alomar is now retired and he declined dramatically for years after his 1997 season.  But, he is still a fan favorite and fan favorites can demand high prices on rare cards.  I have even run across other serious Sandy Alomar Jr. collectors.  So some of the cards I have found have been pricier than I expected.  Others, I have yet to see. 

Still though, once in awhile something happens that surprises me.  One of those things happened just this week when I managed to win an auction for less than $15.00 for these two cards:
Both of these cards are very rare.  It was the first time I had seen either one.

1.  2005 Topps Rookie Cup Rookie Reprint Chrome Refractor.  The Rookie Cup set was an interesting and underrated set celebrating Topps's All Star Rookie teams.  I love the Alomar additions to this set, in particular the Original Reprint Relic which is my favorite Alomar card.  This one is nice too and only serial-numbered to 15.

2.  2004 Donruss Timelines Recollection Autograph 1990 Blue Ink.  This card also came in black ink which is actually rarer.  These cards were bought off of the secondary market, stamped and serial-numbered and autographed.  There are a number of these out there.  This 1990 issue is numbered to 13.  It is one of the few autographed cards of Alomar with the Padres.  As much as I love to add the Indians cards, I like to get the other teams even more, particularly when they are this unique.  Nothing against the Indians, but I already have a ton of great Indians cards and there are very few of Alomar's other teams.

This was an incredible couple of cards to add to my collection.  Well worth the little amount of money I paid for them.

Card #125: 1999 Pacific Invincible Red #43

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Pacific
SET: Invincible
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

I have mentioned many times here how I rarely pulled any Sandy Alomar Jr. cards from packs.  That is mostly true.  There were a few years in the late 1990's/early 2000's where I was only passively collecting Alomar.  It was at this point that I was actually pulling several Alomar cards.  I was also occasionally pulling some decent Alomar cards as this one demonstrates.  This was a retail-only parallel that only fell every few packs.  The base cards themselves were only inserted one per three-card pack so this card was pretty rare.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Flair Parallels

Okay, I have been on a little bit of a binge lately again.  Today's pickups included two parallels from Flair sets:

1.  1996 Flair Gold.  I figured out that the gold parallel card is the version with silver foil lettering.  I had the gold foil letter version, which is apparently the base card.  Also of note is the fact that this card was #10 on my Most Wanted list, which now needed a new card.

2.  1999 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection Row 1.  This pickup means that I just need one more Legacy Collection card from the 1999 set.  I still need all of the Masterpiece cards though.  This is my personal favorite version from the 1999 set.

So, a nice couple of Flair parallels to add to the collection.

Card #124: 2000 Pacific Crown Collection #75

YEAR: 2000
BRAND: Pacific
SET: Crown Collection
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

I remember buying a lot of Crown Collection in 2000.  The store I shopped at a lot had tons of the stuff.  I did not have a ton of luck with Red Sox cards out of the set, but I did manage to pull a few and I managed to pull this one as well.  Not much to say about this card, kind of a boring shot, the only interesting aspect is the Spring Training jersey.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Card #123: 1999 Pacific #123

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Pacific
SET: Pacific
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Another pack-pulled card.  There is not much to really say about this one.  This is from the base Pacific set, one of several sets Pacific released in 1999. The photo is decent but not really something to be terribly excited about. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Card #122: 2001 Topps Chrome #243

YEAR: 2001
BRAND: Topps
SET: Chrome
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

This is an ugly scan, I know.  It is way too dark and the top is cut off.  The card looks a lot better in person.  I was shocked when I pulled this from a pack.  Historically, I was not very lucky with pulling Alomars from packs.  The fact that this came from a pack with just four cards in it was really surprising.  A nice surprise though.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Post Canadian Oddball

My newest pickup is this 1992 Canadian Post card that is also a pop-up card on the back.  I have not gone through the necessary steps to pop it up but the option is there.  Maybe if I find another cheap one:
A nice oddball piece.  I really miss food issues.  Alomar luckily played at the height of food issues so I have a number of them in my collection.

Card #121: 2001 Fleer Triple Crown #170

YEAR: 2001
BRAND: Fleer
SET: Triple Crown
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Back to the Indians with this card.  This came at a time when I was actually having quite a bit of luck pulling Alomars from packs.  Which is good, because I was not really actively seeking them at the time.  This is a great action shot.  Not really sure what happened, whether he just finished throwing behind a runner or he just got to an errant pitch.  Those seem to be the most likely possibilities.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Newest Pickups

I have not been adding many cards to this collection lately.  This has been more of a function of the fact that there have been very few cards I needed popping up on Ebay or on the trading forums.  But I did manage to pick up these two recently.

1.  2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor.  This was a card that I managed to work out a trade for.  That has been very rare as most people on the trading forums typically deal in recent stuff.  Those that have older cards are typically selling them.  I always prefer to trade and I am thrilled I got this to wor out.

2.  1999 SP Signature Autograph.  The 1999 SP Signature set was a very well-regarded set with a lot of great autographs.  This is my fourth auto from the set, joining Shea Hillenbrand, Donnie Sadler, and Jason Varitek.

Card #120: 2001 Upper Deck Victory #226

YEAR: 2001
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: Victory
TEAM; Chicago White Sox

Here it is, my very first White Sox card of Alomar, although it does not feature Alomar in a White Sox uniform.  My rule is that the team logo controls what team a card is considered.  It is the rule I use in my Red Sox collection and it is the rule I use for my Alomar collection.  It was kind of strange to think of Alomar with the division rival White Sox.  But he spent parts of five seasons with them, so they are the team he played the most for outside of the Indians.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Card #119: 2001 Fleer Tradition #280

YEAR: 2001
BRAND: Fleer
SET: Tradition
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

There were a number of sets in 2001 that had retro designs.  This was the Fleer set that looked similar to late 1950's Topps sets.  I was actually a little disappointed that this card did not feature a line explaining that Alomar was to be with the White Sox in 2001.  I had previously seen the Manny Ramirez with such a notation and thought Alomar would have one too.  It still would have been considered an Indians card anyway because the Ramirez still had an Indians logo, so it probably does not really matter anyway.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Card #118: 1998 Aurora #27

YEAR: 1998
BRAND: Pacific
SET: Aurora
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Pacific had approximately 256 sets in the late 1990's.  That may be an exaggeration, it may not.  Pacific sets were nice for my Alomar collection because he was almost always in the sets.  Pacific was even better for my Red Sox collection, but that is another story.  Aurora was kind of a boring set really, but any addition is a good addition.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Card #117: 1992 Ultra #298

YEAR: 1992
BRAND: Fleer
SET: Ultra
SUBSET: Checklist
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

I did not know that this card existed until I randomly bought the 1992 Ultra complete set one day.  I needed a bunch of the Red Sox from Series 2 and a couple from Series 1.  I already had the base Alomar card so I was not expecting to add to my Alomar collection.  But I did.  It was a nice surprise even though the shot used is identical to the base card.