Author Archives: beardy

My Wife, The Blogger?

You can go ahead and put this post into the category of “Shameless Plugs”. I’m not even going to try and hide it.

After 2 years of giving me a hard time for being on the computer and not paying attention to her, my wife has done the hypocritical thing, and started her own blog. If you are a fan of old movies, and the golden age of Hollywood, head on over to No Time Like The Past, and leave a comment or two, will ya?

I’m warning you ahead of time, she is very obsessed with Clint Eastwood. There are certainly worse qualities to have in a wife.


Group Break Results Roundup: 2 Breaks Worth of Nachos Grande

The epic post you are about to read was started back in early July. Some of these jokes might staler than Chris Harris’ excellent gum, but the cards sure aren’t.

I want to start out by saying that I absolutely loved the Nachos Grande summer of group break love. FanofReds was busting a ton of older products, which is something I tend to gravitate towards anyway, and my collection is really lacking in cards from the late-90’s to early-2000’s, so this was a nice chance to fill in some blanks.

These nachos came with some extra cheese, and heavy on the jalapenos, just the way I likes ’em. I’m probably at least the 27th card blogger to make a reference along those same lines, which makes me as original as the Panini design team. Zing!

Now this story I’m about to unfold took place back in mid June–just about the time of our conflict with Wiener and the Twitter-rati. Remember that guy? I started this post so long ago, that even the pop-culture references are dated. 

I only mention it ’cause some- times there’s a man–I won’t say a hee-ro, ’cause what’s a hee-ro?–but sometimes there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Beard here– sometimes there’s a man who, wal, he’s the man for his time’n place, he fits right in there–and that’s the Beard, in Nachos Grande’s June group break.


I didn’t quite crush this break like I did in June, but consider it an appetizer to a tantalizing main course. If memory serves, this month’s menu included boxes of Fleer Mystique, Topps Tek, ’93 Upper Deck, and Upper Deck HoloGrFX. I know I had the Orioles team slot, and may have even picked up another team as well, hoping to score an extra hit. I’m greedy like that.

'00 Fleer Mystique Mike Mussina & Will Clark

'93 Upper Deck Iron & Steal (Ripken & Anderson)

Round these parts, in 1993, this was one of THE cards you had to have in your collection. I remember trying to trade my best friend for this card about 100 times, and offering up cards worth well more than this fairly common insert, but still got shot down every time. I think I eventually ended up pulling one at some point, but ’93 was the last year I purchased cards before storming back to the hobby in 2007. It’s nice to see this card again.

'99 Upper Deck HoloGrFX Albert Belle Launchers insert

Sweet card of a giant bunghole. Somebody get this bunghole some TP, please. I alway catch grief for my feelings towards Belle, but the dude was a douchebag, and ended up costing my favorite terrible baseball team a lot of money in the process.

'00 Fleer Mystique & '00 Topps Tek Cal Ripken Jr.

I wasn’t a big Cal fan as a child, and even still, he isn’t among my top 3 favorite Orioles of all-time, despite his greatness as a player. That being said, he is probably the biggest  money player, at least cards-wise, that the Orioles have, and it’s always easy to trade or sell my Ripkens if I feel so inclined. I’ve accumulated a lot of his cards this summer, between the Nachos Grande breaks, and the Community Gum Fleer fest from a few month’s back. I can definitely tell you that there’s a certain Ripken card coming up later in this post that is certainly not FS or FT ever. EVER! Oh, and how freaking cool was Topps Tek? All cards are printed on clear plastic, with various foils and the like. I’m sure condition isn’t really an issue, since it’s much harder to soften plastic corners than it is their cardboard counterparts. The cards just seem cooler than your average run of the mill cardstock common, and I would like to see cards printed on clear plastic make a comeback, but only as an insert set. I think Topps really missed a chance for some interesting reprints in the year of their Diamond Anniversary. Granted, the year isn’t over yet, but I would have loved to have seen some more reprints along the lines of the ’94 Best inserts from this year’s Bowman release. Instead, Topps has been predictable and safe with their reprint inserts. Go figure.


This is where things start to get really good. Consider the two Ripken cards that ended the last break as foreshadowing, cause you are about to get assaulted by images of the Iron Man.

The June Group Break was made up of another nice line-up of older products. Fleer Mystique was replaced by Fleer Showcase, and was joined by a box each of  Topps Gallery and Topps Reserve. Once again the price was low, and I snatched up the Orioles spot as soon as I could. I don’t remember how I ended up with the Phillies as my secondary team, but it proved to be a good move, however it ended up happening.

'00 Fleer Showcase Cal Ripken base & Consumate Prose insert

That insert has to be one of the ugliest cards I have ever seen! It looks like something that you would see in one of those cheesy unlicensed or half-licensed sets from the early 90’s. I think most of us know why Fleer isn’t around anymore, but in the rear view, some of their products were pretty cool. It’d be nice to have some semblance of variety on the market right now. How long can the single manufacturer system survive? It’s obviously not what collectors and consumers want.

'00 Topps Gallery Cal Ripken Jr. mini-bip.

That is a whole lot of Cal right there. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Topps Gallery, but none the less, 2 of these cards are definitely for trade. The Ripkens just keep on coming, don’t they? I’ll give you a bit of Ripken relief before we get to the grand finale.

There were only 2 autos pulled for the entire group break, and I was lucky enough to land both of them. They also both happen to be pretty damned nice too, which was a bonus for sure.

Topps Reserve Jimmy Rollins autographed mini helmet

This was all I got from the Topps Reserve box. Not a single card. Do I care? Not one bit. It’s pretty cool that every box of 2002 Topps Reserve came with an autographed mini helmet, and Rollins is a decent pull to boot.

A closer look at the Rollins autograph

The signature is a little sloppy around the edges. Jimmy must’ve been using an old paint pen when this puppy was signed. If anyone is interested, I am willing to trade this helmet away to a Phillies or Rollins fan.

This last card is a whopper of a doozy, and one I would have loved to have been able to pull for myself. In a way, I guess I did pull it for myself, but it would have been even better to have been thumbing through the pack, and found this sucker hiding underneath a Gerald Laird base card.

'00 Fleer Showcase Cal Ripken Jr. Fresh Ink autograph

Boo-yah! The first Ripken autograph that I have ever sort of pulled for myself. It’s on-card too! FanofReds did a great job getting to me in good condition as well. The corners on this card are amazingly sharp for having been foil-wrapped and banged around for 11 years. Trust me people, the scan just doesn’t do this card justice. She’s a beaut, and I am thrilled!

Talk about absolutely murdering a group break. I absolutely hit it out of the park on this one. Think I got my sixteen dollars worth out of this group break slot? I certainly think so.

Thanks again for hosting an excellent summer’s worth of breaks, Nachos Grande. If you decide to do it again next summer, I am definitely in!


The Beardman Writes Again!

It’s no secret to our readers (and certainly not to my fellow blogmates) that I haven’t been blogging at all these days. The reasons for my absence are multiple. Some of them are personal, and I will keep those to myself, but many of them are not.

In the interest of not making this a long-winded rant of a negative post about how the hobby isn’t “doing it for me” these days, I’m going to try to focus on what I’m doing about it, instead of just bitching.

I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that Topps has damned near killed baseball cards over the past 2 years. Prices are sky-high, and the amount of quality releases hitting the market is ground-low. What you get for $100 sure as hell isn’t what it used to be. Jumbo boxes of Topps flagship going for over $115/box?!?! Seriously people? SERIOUSLY.  Upon release, you couldn’t even sniff a hobby box of Bowman for less than a Benjamin FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW! Even sadder is that this year’s Bowman was a bargain compared to last year’s insanity. Really, for me, price is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on all night, but I’ll try not to.

I know someone is going to immediately leave a comment about busting wax is like gambling or buying a lottery ticket, and as an educated collector, I know what I am getting myself into before I decide to make a purchase. You are both correct, and incorrect. Yes, I know what I’m getting myself into, but this isn’t the lottery. It’s becoming more and more like the lottery every day, but opening packs of lottery cards is not like playing the lotto. Sorry. Not even close. In the 3 1/2 short years that I’ve been collecting cards (after a 13 year hiatus), I have watched the prices increase, and box content decrease.

Personally, I don’t like paying more than $80 for a hobby box of anything, and way back in 2007, there was product after product to choose from, each one promising “x” amount of autographs, relics, etc. Typically, I would look around online, find out which product had the best autograph checklist, or which ones had on-card autographs, and I would spend away. These days, if you’re looking for a hobby box that’ll cost you less than $80, you’d better be ready to bust flagship, and Chrome only, unless of course you are willing to voyage into the realm of the unlicensed.

I’m sure someone else will comment about how there are “x” amount of products available right now from “x” number of sellers that are less than $80. They’ll call me stupid, and they’ll be right. Or will they?

2011 Bowman is currently listed on Blowout for $73.90/box. You know there’s Bryce Harper autographs in there, right? That’s a steal for a shot at a Bryce Harper autograph! Obviously, the price for a hobby box of Bowman has dropped off significantly. Why is that you ask? There are approximately 4,326,861 Bryce Harper autographs on the market right now, that’s why! Topps has included his autograph in damned near every product that it possibly could this year, and the kid has still yet to play a single game in the bigs. We, as a collecting community take the bait every single time, and Topps sits back and counts the cash.

Don’t worry, it’s not like you’ll pull one. Your box of Bowman will contain 2 autographs of 47th round relief pitcher prospects, and if you’re lucky, maybe a Gerald Laird autograph or two as well.

Wow, remember when i said I was going to focus on what I’m doing about it, and not just bitch for 1500 words? Yeah. I lied.

Even my current (errrr… former) favorite set, Allen & Ginter has been altered to the point where I don’t even have an interest in collecting it anymore. I purchased 2 boxes of Allen & Ginter, and you’ve seen exactly ZERO of them. I’m not even going to post my Gintacuffs results. Yes, my hits were awful. No, that’s not why I am dissatisfied. You’ve seen this year’s design, right? You know there’s nothing authentic or Victorian about it, right? There were also 2 Orioles autographs listed on the pre-sell checklist that never made it onto the finalized one. Without a Markakis autograph to chase, there’s not much for me to get excited about.

Well… there’s this I guess…

Unless Topps is having Bela Lugosi exhumed and re-animated so he can sign these cards himself, there is no excuse for this bullshit. One of the reasons why the Topps Monopoly concept was so believable is because crap like this actually exists!

If that really is a Bela Lugosi autograph though, it would mean Topps wasn’t lying about this being the “autograph checklist Allen & Ginter collectors have been waiting for”. If you don’t realize that Lugosi has been dead for over 50 years, you probably didn’t pick up on my sarcasm.

Now, let’s get to what I am doing about my dissatisfaction with the current state of modern baseball cards.

  • 1. No more hobby boxes. That’s right, I mean it this time. It’s already been almost 2 months, and I got past the shakes weeks ago. Still going to pick up a group break slot here and there, but the hobby box days are over. I said good day! Ok, well maybe the occasional retail pack or blaster, but that’s it. Seriously.
  • 2. Not aggressively pursuing modern want lists. That’s right, I will no longer be trading for every Nick Markakis or Adam Jones auto/relic/refractor under the sun. I’m only looking for the really rare and/or cool stuff, and will have the funds to spend as well, since I won’t be wasting all my money on hobby boxes. Besides, stuff is really cheap on the secondary market anyway.
  • 3. Actively trading away/selling the bulk of my collection. That’s right, even Orioles and Ravens cards are available. I am holding on to most of my on-card autos, and a few patches, but everything else is available. If there’s a card in my collection that you’ve been smitten with for a while, chances are I am now ready to part with it.
  • 4. Ramping up my non-sports collections. That’s right, I am chasing after US President and Buffalo Bill Cody cards like mad right now, especially old ones. Victorian era cards of US Presidents are cool, and I want them all, even if our government can’t seem to do anything right these days.

That is my 4 part plan for re-igniting my interest in the hobby, and I sure hope it works. Writing this blog has been one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done (believe it or not), and I’d love for it to feel that way again. Obviously, if I’m not going to be busting any boxes, I won’t have as much to blog about, but that might not be such a bad thing. Mojo busts enough wax for all 3 of us here at the Mojobeard combined, so he’ll just have to step it up and start posting them all.

There’s no denying that Kevin, Mojo and I have a good thing going here, and when all 3 of us are writing, this blog seems to be en fuego. I’m going all in when it comes to making a return, and am going to try to mix it up a bit like I was doing over the winter by including more posts about the history of sports. I’m not just talking about the never-ending quest for Dutch Schneider or Ruth’s barnstorming exploits, although there’s plenty more of those stories  to tell as well. I’m also thinking of maybe posting more custom cards, like one a week or something. By request. That could be fun. You tell me what you want (sports or non-sports), and I have a week to make it happen.

I’m back bitches!


If you honestly read this whole post, you deserve a gold star, and a beer. Go get one.


Early Morning Card Porn

Courtesy of the Blowout Cards Forums:

Oh my!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, when Topps gets it right (which is becoming a rarity), no one does it better.


The Beardman Cardeth Pt. 28

These trades are so old that these cards have lost half of their Beckett book value since I’ve gotten them.

These trades are so old the card backs are written in Sanskrit.

These trades are so old that when I got them, Topps was the only manufacturer of licensed baseball cards.

These trades are so old that the people who sent me these cards probably think I’m a jerk for not posting them by now.

These trades are so old, that you’ve probably already stopped reading this post.

I think you get the point here. I have had these cards in my grubby mitts for quite a while now, and have been too lazy/distracted to post them. Well… there’s no time like the present I guess, so here goes nothing.

First up are some cards from Mr. Gintacuffs III graphic designer du-jour, Adam of My Cardboard Mistress fame. Many, many, many moons ago he posted a Bowman break in which he pulled a certain card that I was chasing down, and he was nice enough to send it my way without even asking for anything immediate in return. Don’t worry about Adam though, he’ll be compensated nicely for his kindness. In fact, his return package is ready to mail and everything. I’ve just got to take my lazy behind to the store to pick up some bubble mailers. I know, classic collector excuse, right. Whatever.

'07 Fleer Ultra Iron Man Cal Ripken

I have this card already, but who cares. It’s Cal, and I am on a Ripken run as of late. You’ll see what I’m talking about later this week. Yes, that’s right, I plan on posting more than twice in one whole week! Consider yourselves lucky. One a side note, I dig Cal’s stirrups. What happened to stirrups anyway? What’s not cool about high socks with a thin colored stripe of an oversock on top? I don’t get it either.

'10 Triple Threads Brooks Robinson copper(?) parallel #'d /525

I know this set gets shit on quite a bit, and mostly for good reason, but the base cards are pretty nice looking. Granted, they’re paralleled to all hell, which is something people knock on (and for good reason), but I never mind getting a Triple Threads base card in a trade package, or on the super cheap from COMC.

'11 Bowman Manny Machado autograph redemption (with bonus booger)

That’s not really a booger, but I can’t honestly tell you exactly what it really is either. What I can honestly tell you however, is that this is the first Manny Machado autograph in my collection. It’s not the one I really super-duper badly (’10 BDPP), but I am still super jazzed to have picked it up, especially since it didn’t cost me any rapidly declining American PayPal dollars. Ironically enough, I just received my second Machado auto (also not ’10 BDPP) in the mail a mere few hours ago.

Adam, thanks for the great cards, and especially for the Machado autograph. It has been redeemed, and hopefully, it’ll arrive before the world ends. The state of the worldwide economy has me putting more stock in apocalyptic theories lately. I believe the fall of the world’s economy is supposed to be one of the early signs of the rapture or something, right?

Larry, the Sewingmachineguy, of Sewingmachineguy On Cards, sent me one of the best trade packages I have received in a long time, and it had very little to do with the actual cards themselves. Not that the O’s Larry sent aren’t awesome, because they certainly are. You’ll see what I mean in a little bit.

The Sewingmachineguy's calling card

John Wesley Hardin had a business card, and so does the Sewingmachineguy. Badass.

'04 Donruss Classics Eddie Murray Lumberjacks

Speaking of badass… Was that a silky segue or what? A card where Eddie’s sideburns are rocking is never a bad thing. This is also one I didn’t already have, which makes it even better.

'08 Donruss Threads Ripken/Palmer/Murray "Dynasty"

“Dynasty”, by all accounts, was a terrible television show. Granted, it was on before my time, but from what I’ve heard, and seen, it was certainly no “Dallas”, that’s for sure.

'10 BDPP Jake Arrieta blue parallel #'d /499

This card isn’t new to me either, but once again, I care not. There are plenty of fellow O’s collectors for me to pass this card along to, or I may just hang on to it, since Arrieta is probably my favorite current Orioles pitcher. Yes, it’s actually possible for a human being to be a fan of a member of the Orioles pitching staff.

'11 Gypsy Queen Vlad Guerrero sepia mini #'d /99

Believe it or not, when I received this card (late May), it was the first Gypsy Queen mini I had seen in person. Someone had sent along a few base cards just a few days earlier, but this was the first mini, and a parallel mini at that. I like Vlad no matter how many times he swings at a pitch 2 feet out of the strike zone, and I am glad that the O’s didn’t end up dealing him at the deadline. He was one of the guys I became a fan of when I first got back into baseball in the early 2000’s.

Sometime last fall or winter, Larry the Sewingmachineguy did a review of some sort of limited edition beer brewed by Bell’s Brewing Company of Kalamazoo, MI. Having been to Michigan once, and having drank beer there, I figured I’d chime in and mention the only Bell’s offering I had ever tried, which was Oberon. In my early 20’s, I dated a chick from Wisconsin whose family owned a summer-house on the nice (non-Chicago) side of Lake Michigan, just north of Indiana Dunes State Park. We spent the week of Independence Day at the lake with her family, and the entire time, I couldn’t get enough Bell’s Oberon. I remember it literally tasting like summer, and distinctly remember sitting on the beach at night, watching fireworks, sixer of Oberon in tote. Thanks to Larry, I was able to try it again, and honestly, it tasted every bit as wonderful as I’d remembered. Yes, Larry sent me beer as part of a trade. Not just beer, but a mini keg of a local brew that is only produced on a seasonal basis! To say I was excited to receive it was an understatement.

2011 Bell's Oberon mini keg

You know what’s really awesome? This is the second time I have received beer as part of a trade package from a fellow blogger. Motherscratcher (remember that lovable asshole?), of the now defunct Achiever Card Blog, sent me some Great Lakes Christmas Ale which conveniently arrived the day before an oddball December blizzard hit Baltimore. Much like the first time I received beer from a fellow blogger, this delivery was also timely, as the mini keg arrived 2 days before a long Memorial Day weekend. My brother and I killed the whole thing in one night that weekend, and couldn’t believe there were so many pints in that cute little keg. For a while we were convinced that somehow we’d stumbled upon some sort of never-ending mini keg of magical goodness or something. There must’ve been 10 or 12 pints in that thing, which was more than enough to get the job done, and done right. Sewingmachineguy, thanks a ton for the great cards, and especially for the great beer. Cards are cool and all, but it was awesome to taste a beer that I hadn’t tasted in damn near a decade. Oh, Sewingmachineguy, by the way, you are now officially a criminal, since it is illegal to send alcohol through the mail to Maryland. Don’t worry too much though, it’s not like there’s any evidence to be recovered.

The last two cards I’m going to show off today were picked up on eBay. I don’t do much eBaying these days, so when I do, I try to make it count. At the time, both of these cards were picked up for a price that was slightly below their going rate, and I felt like I had gotten a good deal. They’ve since tanked, and if I had been a little more patient, they probably could have both been had for as much as I paid for one of them. That’s always how it goes, and I should have known better. Today’s $15 Allen & Ginter autographs are tomorrow’s $4 Allen & Ginter autographs.

'11 Topps Brian Matusz Diamond Die Cut

Matusz has been a disappointment this season, and I think we should all just forget this season ever happened. He started the season on the DL, and so far just hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations he set for himself during the 2010 season. I think he’ll be better next year, or at least the overly optimistic half of me does anyway.

'11 Topps Nick Markakis Diamond Die Cut

There’s no way I couldn’t pick this one up. Nick Markakis is still my favorite current player, even if he’s stuck on a lousy team. It’s my lousy team, and he’s still among their best players.

If you haven’t seen the Diamond Die Cuts in person yet, they’re quite nice. Once you peel off the protective coating, they’re really shiny, and have a gold mirrored finish to them. Once you get over the fact that they were only available via the Diamond Giveaway, these cards are simply just a nice insert set done right. The prices that they were selling for when they were first shipped out to collectors, and started popping up on eBay, was borderline absurd. They’re not even all that rare, just die cut. As I said earlier, yes, they’re nice, but settle down, Beavis!

As always, and once again, a big thanks to all my trade partners. You guys are awesome, and are a major reason why I still love this hobby. Hell, you might be the only reason at the moment.

If you have a card, or cards that you think I may be interested in trading for, or if you see a card posted by me that you are interested in, don’t hesitate to drop me an email. My contact info can be found on the “Trade With Beardy” page.