Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Reference Cards #2 - 2000 Black Diamond

This is the second post in my new series highlighting sets from my Reference Binders.

2000 Black Diamond
This was the second and last year of this Upper Deck product. It is a 120-card set available in 6-card packs for $3.99. The cards are printed on embossed foil board. The lines you see behind McGwire are actually grooves. The player on the front and the back are glossy. There's also a color photo on the back which will become important in a moment. I bought several packs when they were new.

As far as I know these "diamond debut" cards were the only subset. Also on foil board but with added gold foil on the front. Petrick made his diamond debut on June 1, 1999. He played for 5 years as a backup catcher and occasional outfielder. I believe this is the only Petrick card I own.

2000 Black Diamond Reciprocal Cut
This is a parallel set with die-cut corners. The card has the photo from the front of the base card on the back and the photo from the back of the base card on the front. Get it - reciprocal! Upper Deck had a similar gimmick in 1999 Ionix. These were inserted at a ratio of 1:7 packs.

2000 Black Diamond A Piece of History
An early relic card and disturbingly purple. Upper Deck has used "A Piece of History" on a lot of different cards in the 2000s, including a whole set. This may have been the first. There were 19 of these cards, inserted 1:359 packs. Good luck pulling one. I paid $6.72 on eBay for this in 2003.

2000 Black Diamond Constant Threat
There's a lot going on on the front of this card. Foil board, gold foil and high gloss. The back, featuring another photo is also high gloss. This 10-card set was inserted 1:29 packs. I got this for $2.50 in 2005 on eBay.

2000 Black Diamond Diamonation
If you though that last card was busy, get a load of this one. Gold foil everywhere. I also have the Scott Rolen card from this set so I know the colors are based on the player's team colors. This is also a 10-card set but a little easier to get since it was inserted at 1:4. I paid $2.99 on eBay in 2005.

2000 Black Diamond Gallery
All those lines on the front are gold foil. Lots of right angles on these Black Diamond cards. Another 10-card set, inserted at 1:14. I paid $5.20 on eBay in 2005.

2000 Black Diamond Might
Another 10-card set, inserted at 1:14. All of these insert cards are pretty extravagant. $2.99 on eBay in 2005. As you might have guessed by now I was making an effort to obtain the Black Diamond inserts in 2005.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition
This is not actually part of the Black Diamond release but a separate release with a different design. I know you're thinking that Chipper wasn't a rookie in 2000. The first 90 cards in this set are not rookies. Cards 91 to 120 are rookies, serial-numbered to 1000. Cards 121-154 are rookie relic cards. I only have 4 cards from this set all below 90. These came in 6-card packs for $2.99. I think I must have bought one pack.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition DiamoNation
Apparently Diamonation is a weird contraction of Diamond Nation. That wasn't clear from the base set. This is a 9-card set inserted at 1:9. None of the players in this set are rookies. I paid 20 cents for this card as part of a 25-card Johnson lot I bought at a card shop in 2009.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition Gallery

This 6-card set may be the most extravagant of the whole lot. It was inserted at 1:20 packs. Again, not a rookie in sight. I paid $2.50 on eBay in 2003.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition Gallery
If you like foil on your cards, these Black Diamond sets and their inserts are for you. This one has multicolored foil and embossing on the front and an almost unreadable back. 9-cards inserted at 1:12. No rookies.

I've got a ways to go to finish off the inserts in these sets.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Random Cards From My Collection #64

Card #9496
1992 Topps #83 Tommy Greene
Comments on the card/player: 1992 was a radical year for Topps although it doesn't seem so radical from today's viewpoint. What was the big deal? All the major manufacturers in those days, Fleer, Donruss, Score and Upper Deck were producing their nameplate sets on white cardboard, except for Topps. In 1992, Topps joined the rest of the pack.
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #33055
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter National Pride #66 Joba Chamberlain
Comments on the card/player: Each year, Allen & Ginter has an insert which is included in just about every pack. This was that insert in 2009, a not so original idea of combining a picture of a player with his home country's flag. Not original, perhaps, but well done.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.42 in a hobby box in August 2009.

Card #8679
1992 Fleer #465 Mike Morgan
Comments on the card/player: In 1991, Fleer's cards were violently yellow so I guess this was an improvement. The card does feature a large color photo on the back but the front photo is squeezed by a larger than necessary name block.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.04 in a Fairfield Repack in March 2013.

Card #38415
2011 Topps Update #46 Angel Sanchez
Comments on the card/player: Sanchez was a middle infielder for the Astros in 2010-2012 but spent all of 2012 in the minors before being released. He's currently on the Dodgers minor league roster.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.06/card for 2 500-card boxes of Topps Update in October 2011. I had ordered 1 box on eBay but the seller sent me 2 by mistake. Keep the second, he said.

Card #40765
2012 Panini Golden Age #48 Eddie Mathews
 Comments on the card/player: Panini's well-done answer to Allen & Ginter. Clever photo placement and Photoshopping hide team logos.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.42/card for a hobby box in October 2012.

Card #13831
1995 Donruss #395 Ricky Jordan
Comments on the card/player: Donruss had gone full-bleed in 1994 and never looked back. This is a well designed set which manages to get 3 color player photos on the card. I always liked the backs of this set, featuring a full card photo with stats and bio info overlayed. The stat box is very well designed.
How/When acquired: Paid $4.87 for 20-card Phillies set in October 2010.

Card #10415
1992 Stadium Club #251 Jerry Brown

Comments on the card/player: In my opinion, the early years of Stadium Club (this was the 2nd year) were some of the best card sets of the 1990's.
How/When acquired: Paid $5.00 for a 540-card unopened hobby box at a card show in June 2012. I should have bought 2.

Card #10463
1993 Bowman #325 Kirby Puckett

Comments on the card/player: The late, great Kirby Puckett.
How/When acquired: Don't know but I probably acquired it new.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Reference Cards #1 - 2000 Aurora

Today I start a new series of posts, highlighting what I call my Reference Cards. I keep binders with a representative card from each base or insert set I acquire. In this series, I'm going to concentrate on cards issued in 2000 and later. That's a lot of cards.

I'll tell you a bit about the cards and how I came to own them. I'll present them in alphabetical order by base set in each year.  So let's get started.

2000 Aurora
Aurora is a 150-card set issued by Pacific Trading Cards. Pacific had started in the '90s by issuing Spanish language cards but their ambitions grew to encompass sets like this. Aurora was fist issued in 1998. The cards are glossy on both sides. The player name and logo are in gold foil. I only have a handful of these cards, including the Phillies set, which I bought on eBay. I'm not sure where I got the others. There were no subsets in this set. The card design certainly evokes earlier cards by Topps. There is a serial-numbered parallel set.

2000 Aurora Pinstripes
Pinstripes is a full parallel set which replaces the team color background with, you guessed it, pinstripes. They were inserted at a rate of 1:4 packs. I bought this in a card show in 2005 for $0.60. There is also a serial-numbered parallel to this parallel.

2000 Aurora Pennant Fever
 Pennant Fever also appeared in previous sets. It's a 20-card set, inserted at the odd ratio of 4:37 packs. It's glossy front and back with a lot of gold foil on the front, in fact, the bottom quarter of the card is gold foil. I got this on eBay in 2003 for $3.40. This set comes in 3 other serial-numbered flavors, Copper, Platinum Blue, Silver.

2000 Aurora Styrotechs
This is a pretty cool insert set. The 20-card set is die cut on one end to look like a batting helmet. Note the placement of the "KC" on the front and back of the card. This is a numbered insert. I have 184/299. I got this on eBay for $2.99 in 2005.

There are only two other insert sets, Scouting Report and Star Factor, but I don't have any of those.

After a 3-year run, this was the last year for Aurora.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2014 Bowman Platinum - The Only Look

Bowman Platinum, although I kind of like it's looks, is not a set I care much about. So I generally buy the bare minimum to insure I'll get enough to add to my reference book. Any Phillies or Astros I get are a bonus.  This year I bought a blaster box and a value pack for the Purple Haze cards. Looks like I didn't do a dedicated post for Bowman Platinum last year, I just included it in my year-end-wrap-up.

I'll say that I like this year's design better than the past few years. It's a very plain, full-bleed design, with just the player's name and a strange device with the BP logo on the side of the card.

The background holo foil is different this year but it's hard to put my finger on it.

You can see that part of the device is colored to match the player's team colors. There was a fairly good mix of fielding, batting and running cards for the players.

They moved the name and the device from side to side to accommodate the photo. The pitcher cards all pretty much look the same, catching the pitcher in about the same place in his delivery.

I guess the background looks like some weirdly lit fog has descended on the field.

There are, of course, multiple different colored parallel cards. Last year they went for a cracked ice background which they abandoned this year.

You got your Gold parallel which looks like the fans are trapped in a fiery inferno.

You got your blood-soaked Ruby parallel.

And you got your arctic wasteland Sapphire parallel.

There are 100 cards in the base set. As is usual in Bowman sets, you also have a 100-card Prospects set.  These look pretty similar except the device has lost it's wings and gained fangs, or something.

One of two Astros I pulled.

The only Phillie I pulled.

The parallel prospects cards are Chrome Refractors.

It's hard to tell in the scan but these have a much higher gloss than the base cards.

I believe Nicolino was beamed up to the mother ship just as this photo was taken.  There were three purple refractors in the Value pack.

I pulled only one of these fabulous X-Fractors. It looks like a rip in the space-time continuum is opening just behind Gallo's butt.

Then you have your inserts. Bowman seems to be really into die-cut cards this year. I pulled 3 different inserts, all with die-cutting. 

This is from the 50-card Toolsy Die Cuts set. I'd have never guessed the name of the set from looking at a card from it. Pretty intricate die cutting here, including a 7-point star in the bottom corner. I'm guessing this set was named by Pee-Wee Herman.

The 30-card Top Prospects Die-Cut is not so elaborately carved.

And finally:
The 20-card Cutting Edge set. The front of the card does not look so green in person. It looks more or less just like the back. But you never know how that holo-foil finish is going to scan. And as you may be able to guess from looking at it this comes in an autographed and relic version. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hate cards that leave a big blank space on the front to accommodate autos or what have you.