Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Looking Back

This was definitely the year of the Sandy Alomar Jr. collection.  I came into the year with about 200 or so cards, and I will exit the year with nearly 900.  I have added a number of higher-end cards that I was excited about.  It has been a great year for this collection.  It is unlikely that there will be another quite like it.

There is not much point to doing a bunch of different categories.  This is the first year of the blog.  But I will show off one card, my Card of the Year, which is my single favorite card in my Alomar collection, and my favorite card I have gotten this year, no matter the player:

2005 Topps Rookie Cup Original Relics
I love this card.  I can't believe I hesitated at all in purchasing it.  It was a decent price too. 

The Alomar collection and blog have become the centers of my collection to this point.  Unfortunately the cards I still need are going to become more difficult to find, making the likelihood of this blog being as busy as it has been this year, fairly slim. 

Card #157: 1997 Bowman #281

YEAR: 1997
BRAND: Bowman
SET: Bowman
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Another day, another Bowman Card.  Once again, this is a pretty boring card.  I like the black border, but the photo is not very exciting.  There is a little bit of action here, but it is more likely that he popped up or in foul grounds. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Surprise Tek Progress

I checked my mail for the first time in several days due to the holidays.  Despite placing a COMC order last week, I was not expecting any Alomar cards today.  Happily, I was proven wrong as a trade forum and recent trade partner sent me a completely random card.  You see, I have been posting a lot in the 1998 Topps Tek collectors thread where I made a deal with this member.  And he sent me a card randomly that I needed:
This is pattern #25.  It now leaves me with just 24 more cards to find to have all of the Tek base cards.  I am getting there.  Slowly, but hopefully surely.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Card #156: 1998 Bowman #44

YEAR: 1998
BRAND: Bowman
SET: Bowman
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Really not much to say on this one.  By this point, Bowman had embraced its status as King of Rookie Cards.  Alomar was clearly not a rookie by this point.  The design is nothing special and neither is the picture.  This card is just sort of there.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Card #155: 1998 Sports Illustrated World Series Fever #84

YEAR: 1998
BRAND: Fleer
SET: Sports Illustrated World Series Fever
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

You would think that a set called "World Series Fever" released in 1998 would have some information on Alomar's World Series performance in 1997.  It should also have a photo taken from one of the two World Series that he played in.  No, on both counts.  I would have liked this card a lot better if it had. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Card #154: 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars #82

YEAR: 1998
SET: Rookies and Stars
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Leaf Rookies and Stars was a big release right away, boasting rookie cards of players like Troy Glaus and J.D. Drew.  It helped that most of the rookie cards were also short-printed.  I had a heck of a time finding the Lou Merloni rookie for my Red Sox collection.  Of course the base cards were not too exciting, so there is not a lot to this Alomar card. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Update on Last Week's Post

Last week I complained that I placed an order on the Beckett Marketplace for the 2002 Upper Deck 40-Man Electric card but received the base card instead.  I was able to get in contact with the shop owner and he promised he would get the correct card out to me.

Here it is:
Tough to tell from the scan, but that is the Electric parallel.  So that knocks a card off of my Top Ten once more, though it would not have made it on there had I received the right card last week.  Nevertheless, I certainly appreciate the owner coming through and getting the correct card to me.

Card #153: 1998 Score Rookie & Traded #RT106

YEAR: 1998
BRAND: Score
SET: Rookie & Traded
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

This is kind of baffling.  Score released an update set in 1998, but a lot of players featured were not with new teams or new to the league.  Many were even featured in the regular Score set.  Alomar received a card in the regular Score set and certainly did not play for a new team in 1998.  So what is the point of the update set?  There is not even any information about the 1998 season on the back of this card.  It talks exclusively about the 1997 season.  Very strange.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Card #152: 1999 Upper Deck #77

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: Upper Deck
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Here is the base Upper Deck card from 1999 featuring a little bit of an awkward pose by Alomar.  I suspect that he just finished fouling a ball off.  The 1999 design by Upper Deck is pretty forgettable.  I'm not sure I even bothered to open any packs that year.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Card #151: 1999 Upper Deck #244

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: Upper Deck
SUBSET: Foreign Focus
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

The Foreign Focus cards looked at a number of players from other countries.  Alomar is from Puerto Rico and was joined in the subset by his brother, Ivan Rodriguez, Jose Cruz Jr., and Juan Gonzalez.  The information on the back though is solely referring to his 1997 season since his 1998 season was somewhat forgettable, other than being an All Star and playing in the postseason again.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Three Wantlist Hits and a Problem

Today I received several packages, three of which were cards from my Top 10 Most Wanted, and the third presented a problem.

Let's start with the positives:
1.  2001 Topps Traded Relics.  This was #4 on my Most Wanted List and was picked up off of Ebay earlier this week.

2.  2004 Upper Deck Going Deep Gold.  Technically the gold was not on my Wantlist, but I am counting it because it is a better-looking card.  The bat piece has quite a bit etched into it and it is numbered out of just 50.  After I bought the card, I changed #5 on my Most Wanted List to the gold version.  I will consider this captured.
3.  1998 Topps Tek Pattern 23.  Finally, we have another Tek pattern.  This gives me 65, only 25 to go.

Now, for the problem:
I ordered a 2002 Upper Deck 40-Man Electric parallel of Alomar off of the Beckett Marketplace.  Unfortunately, when it arrived, it was the base card.  I have contacted the seller to see what we could do and I will hopefully get a positive resolution.  If he does not have the parallel version, I am very concerned because I may not see one for a long time.  I hate not getting a card I am expecting, it is my collecting pet peeve.

I now have two new entries onto my Most Wanted List, including the card I did not receive.  The other one is the black refractor of Alomar's 2002 Topps Chrome Traded card with the Rockies.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Broder Pickup

I have mentioned before that I have no idea how many more of these are out there.  I stand by that statement.  These cards are not listed on the Beckett website so there is no real way to tell how many are really out there.  The orange and brown on these Padres uniforms is pretty garish.

Card #150: 1999 Upper Deck MVP #59

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Upper Deck
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Upper Deck MVP was a lower-end brand that appears to have taken the place of Collector's Choice in 1999.  Unfortunately it did not have quite the same impressive level of photography that Collector's Choice had.  There is not a whole lot of excitement here.  The photo is crisp and colorful, but it is just not really that interesting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Landmark

With the latest additions, my Sandy Alomar Jr. collection sits at 877 cards with more to come.  This is particularly interesting as my Jason Varitek collection currently sits at 875 cards and was previously my largest collection (I stopped considering team cards in my Red Sox collection because they were too difficult to keep track of).  This makes Alomar the largest player in my collection (there are three team cards in my Alomar collection but those are easier because I am only looking for one player).  But at any rate, this is a landmark day.

Burbank Order

I placed an order with Burbank Sportscards because I saw a card that I decided I really wanted:
1.  2001 Fleer Premium Star Ruby.  This was the card that I wanted.  The Star Rubies are numbered to just 125 and it is a White Sox card.  So I was happy to add this to my collection.

2.  1995 Pacific.  I was surprised to learn recently that I did not have this.  Seemed odd.  Now rectified.

3.  2002 Fleer.  Another base card that I did not have.  I had two different parallels, including one numbered to 200.  But I did not have the base card.

4.  1998 Pacific Crown Collection Silver.  I have several versions of this card.

5.  1992 Topps Gold.  The Gold Winners are apparently more common than these.  Seems odd to me.

6.  1999 Paramount Gold.  One of about 857 parallel sets that Pacific made.

7.  1998 Topps Opening Day.  Another base card that I was surprised I did not have.

8.  1995 Stadium Club Virtual Reality Members Only.  The rare double parallel.

9.  1997 Bowman Chrome Refractor.  I was surprised I did not have this one too.  Keeping track of all the parallels can be a pain sometimes.

Card #149: 1989 Baseball Card Magazine #58

YEAR: 1989
BRAND: Baseball Card Magazine
SET: Baseball Card Magazine
SUBSET: Rookie Stars of 1989
TEAM: San Diego Padres

This was a throw-in to a larger Red Sox trade.  These cards were attached to pages of one of the earlier baseball card price guides.  I was aware that some price guides had cards but did not pick any up for some reason.  I am regretting that now and have picked up a number of them for both collections.  I love the photo here of Alomar over his shoulder.  The card design is based on the 1959 Topps design and improved moreso by the fact that this is the rookie card design.  This is the first Padres card I have gotten since card #63. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Recollection

This is my sixth out of 25 Recollection Autographs from 2004 Donruss Timelines.  There are a few others from other sets that I also still need.  This is one of my favorites so far since it is not just a regular base card, but rather his All Star card, although I still prefer the 1989 rookie card autograph more.  I am still quite a ways away from having all of these and some of them may be very difficult to find, but I am trudging along.  Six down, nineteen to go.

Card #148: 1999 Black Diamond Double #27

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: Black Diamond
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

This is the final card from the large insert/parallel trade that added 13 new Sandy Alomar Jr. cards.  The Black Diamond set featured three parallel sets with different colors.  The scan does not do this card justice.  The red actually looks very nice.  I believe Black Diamond only lasted one year.  Not really sure why. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Some Very Odd Oddballs

I picked these up recently:
1.  1993 WUAB-TV.  I think this was a set released by a TV station that covered the Indians.  I have not seen too many of these show up, so to find the Alomar was a big deal.

2.  1989 Padres Magazine.  This is my second card from this set, I have the solo Sandy card as well.  This one features the Alomar family together, one of two such cards in 1989 along with the Bowman card.

Card #147: 1999 Ultimate Victory Parallel #35

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: Ultimate Victory
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

I am not sure of the purpose behind Ultimate Victory.  The foil fronts are certainly more interesting than the basic Victory set.  But why do a higher-end separate set from a set that is already there.  I have the same issues with Topps Chrome really.  This is the more common parallel of the many parallels of this parallel set.  I like the shot of Alomar in full catchers' gear.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Another New Relic

Wow, two new relics in about a week.  This is particularly shocking since, as I have mentioned, Alomar does not really have a lot of relics.
My last relic was a 2002 Topps Gold Label relic celebrating Alomar's 1997 All Star Game MVP.  This one is from 2001 Topps Gold Label and celebrates Alomar's 1990 Rookie of the Year award.  My very first game-used card was from this same set and celebrated Nomar Garciaparra's 1997 Rookie of the Year, so it is kind of interesting to add this one.

Card #146: 1999 Upper Deck 10th Anniversary Team #X23

YEAR: 1999
BRAND: Upper Deck
SET: Upper Deck
SUBSET/INSERT: 10th Anniversary Team
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

For Upper Deck's 10th Anniversary they released this insert set using the 1989 landmark design and celebrated the three best players over the previous decade at each position.  Sandy Alomar Jr. was apparently the third best catcher in that time, so he, Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez all received cards in this set.  It is fitting that Alomar was selected as his rookie card in the 1989 set was a highly sought-after card early on. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

More Parallel Madness from COMC and Ebay

I had an eight-card mailday earlier this week that resulted in these new additions:
1.  1997 Topps Stars Always Mint.  The front of this card does not look a lot different than the front of the base, which is a little disappointing.  The back clearly has more foil on it.

2.  2002 Fleer Tiffany.  Believe it or not, I have two parallels of the 2002 Fleer card, and yet I still don't have the base card.  It is one of the few base cards I still need.

The next six cards all came from a COMC order:
3.  1997 Ultra Platinum Medallion.  My first Platinum Medallion card from any Ultra set.  Of course this is not serial-numbered.

4.  1997 Donruss Press Proof Silver.  I previously had the Gold version, so I needed the silver.

5.  1997 Pacific Crown Collection Prism Light Blue.  I previously had the silver on this one, but I definitely prefer this one.  I do have one or two in my Red Sox collection, Reggie Jefferson as I recall.

6.  1995 Donruss Press Proof.  I never did really understand what Donruss meant by Press Proof.

7.  1998 Pacific Omega Red.  I liked the Omega parallels with the different colored foil sides.  The other parallels were not as exciting.

8.  1998 Sports Illustrated Extra Edition.  I love this shot, and this is another card celebrating Alomar's All Star Game MVP, one of his biggest career accomplishments.

Card #145: 2000 Ultra Gold Medallion #144

YEAR: 2000
BRAND: Fleer
SET: Ultra
SUBSET/INSERT: Gold Medallion
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Yet another insert from the trade.  The Gold Medallions were inserted one per pack and were rounded off at the top, which was kind of interesting.  This card could have been either Sandy or Roberto as he is featured very prominently on the card.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Upper Deck Buyback

This is one of the more expensive individual cards that I have picked up.  It was worth it though.  This is the 1989 Upper Deck buyback card from 2009.  The Upper Deck rookie card is my favorite of Alomar's rookies and it was a very highly sought-after card.  So to have this buyback is big to me.  I was not sure I would ever see a copy.  I am very happy with this pickup.

Card #144: 2002 Topps Gold #193

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

Yet another insert from the one big trade, this is the gold, serial-numbered version of the 2002 Topps card.  I actually got the gold card before the base card.  Here, Alomar is perched on a stool waiting for his turn at the plate.  Again, I like the gold border on this card, certainly more than the brown border on the base card.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A New Relic

I have mentioned before that Sandy Alomar Jr. has very few relic cards.  He has a few, but certainly not many.  Mostly this is due to the fact that relic cards were becoming common in the early 2000's, which was after Alomar was no longer a star catcher with a starting job.
This is a 2002 Topps Gold Label card celebrating Alomar's All Star Game MVP in 1997.  This is the gold version, there is also a platinum and titanium version.  I do have the platinum version.  I love the small picture of his 1997 card above the bat piece, particularly since that was such a unique photo of Alomar.

Card #143: 2003 Topps Gold #595

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

I previously covered the base card in the post for Card #130.  This is the serial-numbered gold card, my first serial-numbered card of Alomar with the White Sox.  This card was also part of the huge trade that rekindled, briefly, my Alomar collection.  I actually like the gold border a little better than the blue border for this card.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Random Topps Parallels

After perusing the Beckett Marketplace for the Wichita card shown earlier this week, I discovered a seller with a few needed Alomar parallels.  I placed a quick order and received these three cards today:
1.  2003 Topps Chrome Uncirculated Xfractor.  The scan does not really show it too well, but yes this is an Xfractor.  I think it was supposed to come in a plastic case though.  I am not too bothered by that, because now this fits in my binder.

2.  1998 Bowman's Best Refractor.  Also not clearly shown is the fact that this is a refractor as well.

3.  1996 Stadium Club Extreme Players Bronze.  I had the gold version already.  Now I just need the silver and I will have all three.

I really like all three of these cards.  The 2003 is my personal favorite since it is a team that is not as heavily represented in my collection, and it is only numbered out of 57.  All three are nice additions though.

Card #142: 1995 Topps Cyberstats #308

YEAR: 1995
BRAND: Topps
SET: Topps
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

1995 saw Topps do a little bit of a different type of parallel than the typical gold set.  The Cyberstats parallel was an attempt at showing what the player's stats would have looked like had there not been a strike in 1994.  Topps predicted that Alomar would have hit .282 with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs, which would have been his best season of his career to that point.  That is not a far cry from his actual 1994 in which he hit .288 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs.  The picture is terrific, with an extreme closeup of Alomar in his mask.  The only downside is that the effect of the spectralite technology is kind of lost since there is so little background to be blacked out.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Master Needs List

I spent most of the evening yesterday working on a master list of cards that I need.  This helps me to keep an eye out for the cards I don't have.

Here is the list, if anyone has any of these and is willing to move them, please let me know.  It is also one of my pages over on the right hand side of the page.

Card #141: 1996 Leaf Bronze Press Proof #98

YEAR: 1996
SET: Leaf
SUBSET/INSERT: Bronze Press Proof
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Continuing on with the group of inserts and parallels from one trade is this parallel that I got before I ever got the base card.  I love the action shot with the ball suspended in mid-air and Alomar going after it.  It would appear that this might be a pitch-out.  I also have the gold version and the base card, but the bronze was my first.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I've Been Binging Again

I was randomly looking through the Beckett Marketplace a couple of weeks ago and came across a seller that had a couple of Padres cards I needed for Alomar.  That resulted in a nine-card order being placed:
1.  1989 Star Future Stars.  This card and a later one are from a Future Stars set.  Star was more of a minor league company but it released a bunch of major league cards in the 1980's.  There are still probably a few more cards out there that I need.

2.  2000 Topps Chrome.  There are not many base cards still out there that I need, but I knocked a few off here.

3.  1999 Ultimate Victory.  A foil parallel set to the Victory set, I did not know initially that I needed the base version.  I have one of the parallels to it.

4.  1998 Topps Gold Label Class 3.  Another base card that I needed.

5.  1998 Donruss Collections Elite.  Donruss Collections was a parallel set that covered several of the brand's major releases, for some reason that I am still unclear on.

6.  1998 Bowman Chrome International.  I like the map on these cards that shows where players were born.

7.  1992 Classic.  This should be the last Classic card that I need.

8.  1989 Topps Tiffany.  A glossy version of the base set, the Tiffany rookie is one of his better rookie cards.

9.  1989 Star Future Stars.  And the other Future Star card.  These two were the initial reason for placing this order.  The Tiffany card was icing on the cake.

Card #140: 1998 Score Showcase Series #PP129

YEAR: 1998
BRAND: Score
SET: Score
SUBSET/INSERT: Showcase Series
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

Showcase Series was a glossy, shiny foil parallel to the standard Score card the last couple of years of the brand's existence.  I personally always liked Score and was kind of surprised when Pinnacle went bankrupt and there would be no more sets.  This card features an Omar Vizquel cameo, I am pretty sure anyway.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Knocked One Off the Most Wanted for Team List

Thanks to fellow Sandy Alomar Jr. collector Matt (yes apparently there is more than one of us), I picked this card off of the Beckett marketplace.  I had no idea it was even there and this is the first one I have seen for sale.  I was not even 100% sure this card existed.  Well, now I have it.  This is a 1991 Wichita Wranglers promo card, one of two along with Andy Benes.  Alomar never played for the Wranglers, but he did play for the Wichita Pilots. 

Thanks for the head's up, Matt!

Card #139: 1998 Leaf Fractal Foundation #87

YEAR: 1998
SET: Fractal Foundation
TEAM: Cleveland Indians

The late 1990's saw the release of several mind-bogglingly convoluted sets.  This was one of them.  I have yet to figure out what the suffixes mean when the cards are listed on Beckett and other places.  It was also a set where cards came in three-card packs with one parallel in each, so I did not do much buying of this set.  This card is notable in that it was my first serial-numbered Alomar card.