Let’s Talk About Trades, Baby

It’s been quiet around these parts for a bit, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that I’ve been quiet as well. In fact, I’ve been quite the busy little bee, and not just in the cardboard corner of the universe.

First, let’s cover some of the non-cardboard housekeeping.

Look at this beautiful babe! I’m a lucky fella.
  • We went to Paris this summer! We walked a ton, much wine and cheese was consumed, sights were seen, and lots of pictures were taken. I plan to post about some of that stuff here.
  • Lil Bru has been baseballing! She’s made it to three Astros games so far, and loves it. Posts on her experiences are overdue as well.
  • Lil started pre-school! That definitely needs to be blogged.
  • Our household has also been sick for almost two weeks. That’s what happens when you send your two year-old off to day school twice a week. In fact, it’s been an extremely eventful health-wise around here.
    • My wife’s stepfather has a rare form of cancer, so if you’re the praying sort please offer some pleas to whomever/whatever it is you pray to.
    • Her father just spent two weeks in the hospital for a quadruple bypass to resolve a blocked artery (he should get to go home tomorrow).
    • Oh, and I dislocated my left shoulder last week (it’s back now). I don’t recommend it.

A few cardboard things as well:

  • I’ve gotten a bunch of organizing done!
  • About a month ago my friend Nathan dropped off a Rubbermaid tote at my office, with his childhood collection inside. I’ve tweeted about some contents a bit, but I owe this thing some proper blog entries as well. Basically, I wound up with another several thousand cards of junk wax, so if you’re building something let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help.
  • Just over month ago I went out of town for work. We sold a big gig in Orlando and had to send a crew. That meant I got to see my brother, and also that I snuck in a trip to a really good card shop that deserves to be blogged at some point.

So, trades! I’ve been trading like crazy in my little blog hiatus, with a lot of the activity coming from TCDB swaps. There have been a fair amount of packages from blogosphere and Twitter pals (these circles tend to overlap at this point) as well. Today, I want to try and blast through a bunch of small trades from my list. If you haven’t figured out by now, this one will be a long post. I won’t blame you if you skip or skim it.

Which brings us to some trades! On Tuesday my already active mailbox got blasted with five more trades! Four of these were Trading Card Database exchanges, and the fifth one was from my Twitter pal, Rockies enthusiast, and fellow Prodcast listener Neil.

The first of these was from Michael, whose TCDB handle is irish77. He’s come up on the match tool fairly often for me, so I was quite pleased to finally work out a trade with him. I loaded him up with a fat stack of cards, and in exchange I coaxed a few Astros and a few more extras away from him. When he couldn’t find two of the relics I requested (no-name prospects from the aughts that never made it), he tossed in those two manu-relic patches from 2019 Topps as a bonus.

First up, let’s examine this trio. None of these were originally in our matches, because they aren’t listed as Astros cards in TCDB. Well, they weren’t. But Gonzalez and Groppuso’s* 1991 Four Sport cards both denote that they were just drafted by Houston, so they’re Astros in my book. Castro** comes from the 2008 Razor set, and despite the fact that he’s shown in a Stanford*** uniform also declares that he is now a Houston prospect. So huzzah, Houston draft picks!****

* I find it a little funny that Groppuso was another Seton Hall player the Astros selected. Perhaps they were high on the recent success by Biggio. I’m only slightly bummed that he’s not pictured in the Seton hall stripe uni that apes the Tequila Sunrise jersey.
** Hey Nick! Bet this one wasn’t on your checklist.
*** I’m sure it’s real fun to add cards of guys actually wearing the cardinal, so I snatched an extra copy to send your direction.
**** Castro is the only one here that has enjoyed success in the majors, the other two did not make it.

Next among the highlights are a couple cards of second baseman. The Lillis completes what I thought was an already-completed 1984 Fleer team set.* The Biggio, meanwhile, was one of a handful of 2003 Fleer Ultra cards I was able to add with this swap.
* Side note: As you might be aware of, there is a second team on the back of these Fleer checklists. That would be the Minnesota Twins in this case. Not only does the back lack any color, but also the Twins manager gets the shaft here, with nary a photo.

Finally, I wanted to highlight these two pre-majors cards. While it may seem like the Astros have had the division locked up since May and that the rotation is ace after ace, that fifth starter spot has been a bit of a hole most of the year. Armenteros has been one of several rookies to make some spot starts for the club, and has shown some upside, so this 2018 Heritage Minors card was quite appreciated.
The other one was the real gem of this trade, and a bit of a surprise to score: an NPB card of Ohtani! How cool is that? This comes from the 2015 BBM Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters set, which I know absolutely nothing about, although I’m certain our pal Dave, aka NPB Card Guy, can probably chime in on. It appears to be a team-issued (or at least team-specific?) set with an 81-card checklist. At any rate, it is now my oldest Ohtani card, and that’s pretty damn cool.

Next in the box was a package from William, who goes by madballboy. We’ve swapped before, but as the Staind song goes, it’s been a while. In fact, my only match from his trade list was an Astros card that’s not technically an Astros card! While I was more than happy to load him up with some 50 cards from 2018 (most of that was Flagship!), it meant that I had to hunt through the rest of his trade list for a few more cards to come back this way. So I picked up a few cards from the 1995 Leaf* set, which I’m always teetering on the edge of building, and some 90’s food issues and other oddballs, plus a 1983 Rangers leaders card which I may send off to get signed, as Buddy Bell and Charlie Hough both answer their mail now.

Here’s that lone non-Astros Astros card. As you can see, while Willy T. is sporting some throwback Astros duds,* he’s already been traded to Colorado** at this point, and Upper Deck certainly knows it.
Speaking of Upper Deck, this trade made me push my chips in on the Reggie Jackson’s Clutch Performers insert from the 1993 set. It’s another one I’ve waffled on building. I’ve got over half of it now, with seven in this trade as well as a couple more due to arrive soon, so I should be able to make quick work of it.
The last card I wanted to spotlight from this package was that Pops sunset card from 1983 Fleer. While Topps missed out on honoring Stargell with an issue in its excellent 1983 series, both Donruss and Fleer got him in their flagship sets – twice!***
* While these were really cool to see when throwbacks were less frequent, it is infuriating that they didn’t get matching helmets made for this game. There must be a dozen cards with photos from this game, and they all have that dumb black helmet.
** Neil, this was the ill-fated Jason Jennings trade, which I believe your side won.
*** In addition to base cards, he also has a Diamond King and a Superstar Special.

The next trade of these was from Pat, whose TCDB handle is itsjustoldcardboard. This was actually our third trade in the past month. After two very small swaps, he reached out requesting about 30-40% of this year’s Archives set, which I’d pulled from the couple of blasters I bought. That made this about 120 cards on the outgoing side, but he sweetened the pot with a many parallels and a couple relics among the needs. Just look at all that goodness up there!

We’ll talk about the hits first, because wow! Three jersey swatches, a bat slab, and one Golden Anniversary manu-relic. It’s not often that I get a haul like that from a single trade, which is why I shipped out 85% of the 2019 Archives cards that I’d just picked up. The Altuves are nice, and I like that Topps used different jerseys for the two relics (which are both from 2019 Ginter), and that Springer is a 150th Anniversary parallel, numbered 5/150. A Correa bat relic is awesome, even if the Clubhouse Collection relic design from this year’s Heritage leaves a bit to be desired. And what’s so special about that fake patch on that last Altuve card? Well, it’s a Silver parallel, and is numbered 1/50.*

* Is it dumb that these things have parallels? Yes. Will I still happily give them a home? Of course.

Speaking of parallels, there were plenty in this package, as well as a bunch of shiny stuff. This Keuchel is a “negative refractor”* from 2018 Chrome, while this Bregman is a Silver Pack** insert from 2019 Topps.
* Oh, boy – this is something I could truly do without. These puppies are cardboard murder, and I’m sure Nick V. carries similar feelings.
** This is a tradition I hope dies before the 2020 set,*** though who are we kidding? We’re stuck with these.
*** Hold that thought, I just had a vision of them making 1990 versions next year, and you know what? I’d actually kind of like to see that.

The last cards in this pack were more 2019 parallels. In addition to a couple of colored borders from this year’s Gypsy Queen, I also landed a Chrome box topper of Altuve, and holy moley that is not what I was expecting. This thing is beautiful. There was no scan of it at TCDB, so when I saw box topper I just assumed it would be something oversized, like last year’s Glassworks cards. Finally, I landed three of the SIX high-number SP Astros from Heritage’s base set in Purple Refractor versions. Thanks Pat!

The last TCDB package to come in was this PWE trade with Josh (seaver78). I noticed that I had some Reds which he’d added to his wantlist, and in return I nabbed a few early Topps Heritage cards. It’s interesting to see Astros on designs which pre-dated the franchise, and how things like logos are handled. I also enjoy that they put Tom Gordon’s name as Flash Gordon.

This trade also finally nabbed me a logo sticker from 1989 Upper Deck (that’s the small circular one), which finally put that team set to bed. There were a few cards from 2000 as well, which feature those glorious blue and gold late-90’s uniforms as opposed to the atrocities that followed.* That included a super-thick Craig Biggio from the one-off Topps HD set,** and a Shane Reynolds from the superb 2000 Stadium Club offering. Thanks Josh!
* Pinstripes were not a good look.
** HD Televisions! HD Cards! HD EVERYTHANG!

Finally, there was another wonderful package from Neil, with whom I chat on Twitter about all things baseball, leftism, and parenting young-uns. He sent a slew of cards my way, including a Lance Berkman rookie and one of my favorite 90’s Astros cards, that 1998 Pete Schourek, among other things. Sure, there was some junk wax I am long past needing, but Neil knows that I’ve been packaging these extras up and handing them out at the ballpark this year.*
* This has been really fun, and I have a few more weeks to make it to another game to unleash one last round of these.

He also sent over a few 2019 ‘Stros, including a handful of Verlander’s from this year’s Panini products. I had the Brilliance insert from 2019 Prizm already,* but the rest of these were new. That’s a Holo Pink parallel from Donruss, a base from Donruss Optic, and a Blue parallel from Prizm. Shiny!
* Lest you think I’m only handing out junk wax dupes at the ballpark, know that current studs like Verlander, Altuve, and many others make it into my packs as well.

There was a little more shiny in the package, including a 2019 Chrome Bregman which I needed, and another one of those pesky Heritage SP parallels. This Altuve card is already phenomenal, but its chromed out cousin is just superb. Call that heresy if you will, but this puppy sure looks pretty in person.

Oh, and there was one more hot new card in the package – Neil sent over a freaking sweet dual relic card of Dallas Keuchel from this year’s Diamond Kings set! Can we pause for just a moment (and momentarily forget the lack of logos) to talk about this design? I have really loved Diamond Kings since they brought it back a few years ago, and I feel like it is certainly Panini’s strongest set when it comes to overall design.* This has not one, but two tiny swatches of soiled uniform! Also, the breathable pattern is different, so you know it’s not just one piece of fabric in there. Relic cards are always appreciated, so many thanks Neil! I have a stack with your name on it that’ll go out shortly.
* Chronicles is also extremely good in the “throw a bunch of ish at the wall” way, but there is real unity in the overall DK design.

Phew! I told you it was a doozy of a post! I didn’t even try to do more than one day’s worth of packages, either – yikes! I’ll try to make these a bit more brief going forward, and I do promise some more content – both posts and other additions – to the site before long.

4 Replies to “Let’s Talk About Trades, Baby”

  1. Yeah I need to do a post about those “negative” cards. The one I have looks like a negative except parts of it aren’t and I kind of want to spend some time figuring out WTF Topps did to the image.

  2. You’ve already done more this year, than I’ve done in the last five! Paris was never of much interest to me (at least not the modern version of it), but when I was younger I did have dreams/hopes of one day making it to southern France (learned French and everything), which as of this writing, hasn’t happened yet 🙁

    1. Jon! I’ve been sleeping on the blog. You should most definitely do Paris and more of France. My favorite part was getting out of Paris to Champagne, and I’d love to be able to hit up more. But there’s plenty to see aside from the “touristy” stuff. Hit up Duolingo for a few months, brush up on that French, and get after it!

  3. Sorry I didn’t see this until now but better late than never I guess…

    BBM issues a team set for each of the 12 NPB teams each year. The sets include all the players on each organization’s 70 man roster (which usually numbers in the mid to high 60’s) plus a handful of subsets to get the base set count to 81 cards. Your Ohtani card was part of a three card “Make History” subset from the 2015 Fighters team set – all three cards in the set featured Ohtani. I think that particular card celebrates him hitting 162 kph on a pitch during one of the 2014 All Star games which would have broken the NPB record for fastest pitch if it had happened in a regular season game.

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