Thursday, April 3, 2014

Feeding the Habit: Spring Training Edition

March was the last big pack-busting month of the year for me until November. At least that's what my budget is telling me. We'll see what willpower has to say about all that. You can guess why November is pegged for the return to digging for gold in earnest. I'll be employing the ultimate attention grabber, the game depicted on these little cardboard addictions, as my distraction for the itch.

Spring training baseball, however, seemed only to fuel my desire for busting packs, without providing enough of a distraction to slow me down. So March was another big month for Feeding the Habit. As usual, we'll start with the repack finds. Let's play...

1976 Topps Nate Colbert MON #595
1978 Topps Rowland Office ATL #632
1979 Topps Joe Zdeb KCR #389
1980 Topps Tug McGraw PHI #655

It was a particularly good month for Random vintage from repacks. These were all '70s needs, and a really nice Tug McGraw upgrade from my overly-played-with childhood copy.

1999 SkyBox Premium Barry Larkin CIN #87
1996 Score Barry Larkin Star Struck CIN #362
2002 Upper Deck Barry Larkin CIN #714
1991 Score Barry Larkin Dream Team CIN #888

The star of the month was Barry Larkin, who seemed to show up in just about every repack.

2002-03 Upper Deck UD SuperStars Greg Maddux ATL #16
1998 Score Cal Ripken, Jr. Interleague Moments BAL #257
2000 Pacific Paramount Green Chipper Jones ATL #21
1999 Topps Stars Two Star Scott Rolen PHI #44

But there was also a nice variety of fabulous Hall-of-Famers (current, future, and potential) from my collecting dead period. Just enough to keep me addicted to 1990-Donruss-infested repacks.

1995 Score Zenith Jim Edmonds CAL #73
1998 Topps Finest Eric Davis BAL #93
2005 Bowman's Best Red Scott Mitchinson #129 (41/199)
2009 Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects Brad Harman Australia #BCW60

Lots of shiny this month, including an autograph "hit." Rare for my type of cheap repack mining.

2002 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects Ricardo Rodriguez LAD #BDP149
1998 Donruss Preferred Wilton Guerrero LAD #112
1989 Upper Deck Juan Bell LAD #20
1998 Fleer Tradition Update Carlos Perez LAD #U47

Got some shiny Dodgers, too, as well as others that were new to me.

2003 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Hideo Nomo LAD #60
1997 Score Select Hideo Nomo LAD #29
2000 Upper Deck Adrian Beltre LAD #140

I was surprised to also land a couple of great Nomos that were new to me, as well as a Beltre.

1988 Fleer Glossy Bob Welch LAD #529
1990 Bowman Tiffany Rick Honeycutt OAK #450

Another thing that repacks are great for is glossy/tiffany cards. Honeycutt is the first Bowman Tiffany that I've seen, and I dig it. So, he's pictured with the A's... but he'd just finished a stint with the Dodgers, he would become a longtime (and current) Dodger pitching coach, and the picture on this card was taken at Dodger Stadium. Good enough for me...

2012 Topps Gold Kyle Blanks SDP #261 (530/2012)
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter J.J. Putz ARI #167

Here are a couple of nice cards from packs within repacks. If there's any card in the 2012 Topps set to have the gold version of, it's Blanks. What a great-lookin' card! Meanwhile, J.J. (I'm a D-Bag... I mean, D-Back so I must be a) Putz is, of course, sporting a Grip...

1993 Topps Stadium Club Rick Sutcliffe BAL #246
1987 Fleer Rick Reuschel PIT #619
2001 Fleer Platinum Denny Neagle COL #155
2008 Upper Deck Goudey Cole Hamels PHI #144
1999 Topps Chrome Pete Harnisch CIN #388 are these fine refugees from the repack populous. Happy to give 'em a real home, even if it's only a cardboard box.

2013 Panini Pinnacle Clear Vision Complete Game Nolan Ryan TEX #CV21
2013 Panini Prizm Rookie Autographs Shawn Tolleson LAD #RST

On to the current stuff, which for me includes 2013 Panini products. You may recall that I got a Mariano Rivera "Complete Game" card last time I fed the habit. Now this one makes a lot more sense. I also had my redemption filled for this Shawn Tolleson autographed job. It looks better than I'd expected, though the sticker aspect kinda sucks.

2014 Topps Heritage 1965 MLB Draft Nolan Ryan NYM #65MLB-NR
2014 Topps Heritage Red Hanley Ramirez LAD #437

Speaking of Nolan Ryan, his was one of the cooler cards in my three packs of Heritage so far. I'd been worried because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to afford to dive into Heritage yet, as much as I was jonesing. But my Aunt Irene's generous birthday gift saved the day, and I'll be busting a hobby box slowly throughout April. Thank you Aunt Renie!

2014 Panini Donruss Hall Worthy Derek Jeter NYY #2
2014 Panini Donruss Power Plus Joe Morgan CIN #9

I will not, however, be busting much more than the three packs of Donruss that I've already ripped into. I don't hate 'em, but I don't love 'em. And I can't afford 'em, so they're off the radar as far as pack busting goes. Too bad, because I have really liked the inserts that I've pulled. (By the way, if anyone wants my wrappers for the wrapper redemption, let me know. No way I'm making it to 36 packs, or whatever it is.)

2014 Topps Opening Day Blue Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD #213 (676/2014)
2014 Topps Opening Day Stars Yasiel Puig LAD #ODS-15

Fortunately, Opening Day is cheap. So I'll probably come pretty close to building the set a pack at a time. I've had some really nice luck so far, from the perspective of a Dodger fan. Tip o' the cap to Nick, for his advice on how to get the 3-D scan to look spiffy. You don't want to see my original vertically-scanned version.

Opening Day also threw me the biggest curveball of March:

2014 Topps Opening Day Mascot Autographs Pirate Parrot PIT #MA-PP

The autograph of a guy or gal in a parrot suit (or some completely unrelated designated signer). Well, the way I collect, I want a little bit of everything. So this certainly brings me one step closer to that.

End transmission.