2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft Is a Beautiful Product

Maybe I’m in the minority because I love Leaf baseball cards. Leaf has some of the best looking cards especially when it comes to autographs and relics.

Some of the prospect products have inscriptions with the autographs that say things like, “Can’t wait to play at Wrigley Field,” or “#1 Draft Pick.”

Leaf Ultimate Draft was released recently, and I looked at the checklist and was pleasant surprised by the Chicago Cubs that are a part of the set.

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First round draft pick Ed Howard and second round draft pick Burl Carraway are in the 2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft set. Additionally, prospects Richard Gallardo, Cory Abbott, and Miguel Amaya are joined by former Cubs superstar Sammy Sosa. There is one other prospect, formerly with the Cubs, Pedro Martinez, that is on the checklist though he is now with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Martinez was on the Rays checklist for the break I was in, but it’s a card I will seek out to add to my Cubs collection (he’s pictured in a Cubs blue on his cards).

When Real Breaks announced last week it would be breaking a case of Leaf Ultimate Draft, I was excited. Real Breaks fills its breaks in extremely quick fashion. So, I had to set a push notification so I could type in Cubs as quickly as possible. When the post went I live I typed in Cubs immediately…maybe 30 seconds after it went live. I beat out the next person who typed Cubs by about five seconds. This is less than a minute after the post went live. That’s how fast their breaks fill.

Just a day before this break I found an Ed Howard from the Leaf Gold Rookies checklist from this product on eBay. It’s a beautiful card, and I have the Cole Roederer from the set released two years ago. I put an offer in for the Howard for $25 and it was declined (it was listed for around $35 shipped). First pack in the case break….BOOM!

2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft Ed Howard Chicago Cubs

Ed Howard! Leaf Gold Rookie. It truly is a beautiful card, and Howard has a really nice signature. While the front of the card is great, I am not a fan of the card back. No bio, no trivia, no statistics. Nothing, really. I am curious why Leaf produced the cards with so little on the back.

2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft Ed Howard Chicago Cubs

I could have gone home happy after the Ed Howard pull, but we had many more boxes to break. And then…another big hit. Brennen Davis is my favorite Cubs prospect along with Roederer. And here I get a Davis autograph numbered 32/50.

2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft Brennen Davis Chicago Cubs baseball card

Richard Gallardo was signed by the Cubs in the international free agent signing period in 2018 as a 16-year old pitcher. He signed for $1 million and was the #5 ranked international prospect that summer. Gallardo has only appeared in 13 professional games in the United States (11 games in the Arizona Rookie League and 2 games with the Eugene Emeralds).

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Despite his lack of track record in the game of baseball, there are 89 Richard Gallardo baseball cards that have been produced according to Trading Card Database.

2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft Richard Gallardo Chicago Cubs prospect baseball card

Three cards was plenty, but I had one more hit in the case. A Cody Abbott autograph numbered 42/75. Abbott was much more advanced than Gallardo as the 2017 second round draft pick is on the brink of reaching the big leagues. Abbott pitched for double-A Tennessee during the 2019 season.

2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft Cory Abbott Chicago Cubs prospect baseball card

All in all it was a really fun break, and it leaves me in search of a couple cards from the set. I will be looking to snatch a Pedro Martinez, even though he is now in the Rays organization. I will also be on the lookout for Burl Carraway.

Black Friday Trading Card Deals

It’s Black Friday, and there are great sales to be found in more than just electronics and toys. Baseball cards, and all trading cards, can also be found for sale on various platforms. Here is a guide to find some sales on this day after Thanksgiving.

In a previous blog post, I talked highly of Blowout Cards’ Black Friday sales. It was a holiday for me from 2015 through 2019 waking up really early, putting on the coffee, and clicking refresh throughout the day to find a great buy. Unfortunately, Blowout Cards is not doing their annual sale keeping to a bland 10% storewide.

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While disappointing, it’s understandable in the current trading card climate. Everything is selling, so discounts are not needed. However, just because Blowout took this year off, other online retailers are still offering deals.

One Million Cubs eBay Store – 20% Storewide This Weekend

First things first, I’ll toot my own horn. While you have always been able to grab volume discounts in my eBay Store (10% off 3+ items), this weekend I have marked all items, with the exception of 99 cents singles, on sale at 20% off. No gimmicks here. I did not increase prices to make it seem like a better deal than it is (looking at you, Blowout). All prices stayed the same, and the 20% off applies to every item (excluding 99 cents singles) regardless of price or volume you buy. This sale is good through Sunday (11/27/20) evening. And keep an eye out, because I will be adding inventory throughout the weekend.

Dave & Adams Card World

In years past, Dave & Adams Card World has been my number two Black Friday destination for trading card deals. One of my favorite sale was a few years ago grabbing 2009 Topps Update hobby boxes for $20 each. Dave & Adams will be releasing their deals in waves. The first wave unleashed this morning was popular as many items sold out quickly. Make sure to log on right at 6:00 p.m. EST for wave two tonight (Friday 11/27/20).

Steel City Collectibles

Steel City Collectibles is also a frequent stop for me for Black Friday deals. Quite a few items are marked down on their website including some deals on 2020 Topps Update. Panini Prizm Draft Picks basketball is also on sale.

Fanatics

Fanatics has been a go-to for me lately with their Panini Phoenix Fire Burst football set released a few weeks ago. Fanatics also had exclusive Prizm football boxes available in limited quantity last week. As of this writing there hasn’t been any deals on trading cards, but keep an eye out on the website.

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Target & Wal-Mart

The big retailers have not marked down trading cards in the past, and do not expect them to in 2020. But…there are many products that are hot and could be reloaded on the websites at any time. Prizm football is a possibility, and anything basketball is hot. Target released a special exclusive NBA Hoops set on Wednesday that sold out in under two hours.

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Happy Hunting

These are the sites I will be keeping an eye on today and through the weekend. COMC typically has some sales, although I have not partaken in years past. Are there any other sites you will be watching for card sales this weekend?

What Is The 1993 Topps Finest Gold Signature Series Box Set

One of my good friends is also involved in the baseball card hobby. In fact, the very first “collection” I ever bought went halfsies with Dave. We filled the back of his pickup truck with a bunch of junk wax boxes and sets from an antique store.

Dave reached out to me this summer and said the local auction house in western Illinois acquired a large collection of sports memorabilia, mostly sports cards, to auction. He was assisting in cataloging and pricing.

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This collection wasn’t just junk wax – which there is a lot. It has some high end cards, like a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth and a Gordie Howe rookie card. Both were sent to PSA to guarantee authentication and get graded before hitting the auction block.

The auction is currently live and ends on December 1, 2020. I have been monitoring the auction, but since it is online for 30 days, I am holding out until the final days as to not get my hopes up on being the high bidder at low amounts.

Kyle Kelso Auctioneer Sports Memorabilia Auction

Highlights include: 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth PSA 2, 1966 Topps Bobby Orr rookie PSA 2, vintage singles, unopened wax, and more.

Over the last couple months Dave has reached out a few times with questions over certain items. This weekend he reached out asking about a 1993 Topps Finest listing and asked if they were refractors.

1993 Topps Finest Gold Signature Series Collection

The listing never caught my eye in previous visits, so I took a look. It is 1993 Topps Finest Gold Signature Series. It’s a small box set and the cards come inside a screw down holder and the holder has a gold signature at the top. The signature is not an actual autograph, rather a facsimile etched in gold into the case.

1993 Topps Finest Gold Signature Series Nolan Ryan

The starting bid was set low and a couple weeks into the auction it is already up over $50, which surprised me at first glance.

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Dave fed me a little more information he received from the auction house. The original owner kept the receipt. He paid $350 for this box set in 1993. That is a pretty penny, especially almost 30 years ago. That is almost $650 in today’s money.

1993 Topps Finest Gold Signature Series Collection

It appears the 1993 Topps Finest Signature Series complete set consists of 16 cards. From looking at the pictures in the auction the following players are included: David Cone, Barry Larkin, Doc Gooden, Cecil Fielder, Andre Dawson, Will Clark, Nolan Ryan, Dennis Eckersley, Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, Cal Ripken Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Rickey Henderson, Tom Glavine, and one player I cannot make out.

Do you have any additional information about 1993 Topps Finest Gold Signature Series? What is its approximate value? What is the print run?

Baseball Card Blowout Sale – 99 Cent Singles

Are you looking for vintage baseball card and football card deals? Maybe top baseball prospects are what you are looking for? How about 1980’s and 1990’s superstars and rookies?

The One Million Cubs Project eBay Store is loaded with steals on trading cards from 99 cents with FREE SHIPPING. Around 5,000 baseball, football, basketball, hockey, wrestling, and even non sports can be found in the eBay Store.

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Find deals in a special category consisting of only cards priced at 99 cents with free shipping.

You can pick up some amazing deals on 1974 Topps baseball cards and cards 301-660 from the 1974 Topps baseball set can be found here.

If you are into vintage football cards, get a deal on 1973 Topps.

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How about basketball? Can you believe this 2018-19 Panini Silver Prizm Thon Maker is still available for 99 cents (as of 11/18/20)?

Store categories are also broken down into all of the Major League Baseball teams (except my beloved Chicago Cubs – those are not for sale) and NFL football teams.

Oh…and if you buy three or more cards you will get an automatic 10% off at checkout!

2020 Bowman Draft First Edition Checklist and Preview

Once again Topps has released an online exclusive product. Collectors are buying everything so Topps continues to feed the beast. We are the beasts eating up everything Topps throws at us. I am a sucker for Bowman, so I ordered some 2020 Bowman Draft First Edition.

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What Is Bowman Draft First Edition

First edition is a newly created product in 2020 that began with Bowman First Edition ahead of the flagship Bowman release. The cards are basically the same as the parent version only with a stamp “1st Edition,” and sold exclusively on the Topps website. The product sold out a few hours after it was released.

Cost of Bowman Draft First Edition

Unlike other online exclusives, Bowman Draft First Edition was sold for a reasonable price of $15 per pack. Each pack contains 10 cards.

Chicago Cubs Checklist Preview

This product will be the first Bowman cards of 2020 Chicago Cubs draft picks Ed Howard, Burl Carraway, Luke Little, and Jordan Nwogu. Also on the checklist are Miguel Amaya, Ryan Jensen, and Brennen Davis. Hopefully we get to see a different image on the Davis card as his previous two Bowman cards have been the same image.

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2020 Bowman Draft First Edition Checklist

BD-1 Niko Hulsizer Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-2 Jackson Kowar Kansas City Royals®
BD-3 Korey Lee Houston Astros®
BD-4 Milan Tolentino Cleveland Indians®
BD-5 Jeter Downs Boston Red Sox®
BD-6 Hans Crouse Texas Rangers®
BD-7 Mike Siani Cincinnati Reds®
BD-8 Dane Acker Oakland Athletics™
BD-9 Ryan Jensen Chicago Cubs®
BD-10 Shane Baz Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-11 Trei Cruz Detroit Tigers®
BD-12 Emerson Hancock Seattle Mariners™
BD-13 Joey Cantillo Cleveland Indians®
BD-14 Nick Loftin Kansas City Royals®
BD-15 Rece Hinds Cincinnati Reds®
BD-16 Jared Shuster Atlanta Braves™
BD-17 Jesse Franklin V Atlanta Braves™
BD-18 Kaden Polcovich Seattle Mariners™
BD-19 Ben Hernandez Kansas City Royals®
BD-20 Spencer Strider Atlanta Braves™
BD-21 Tyler Brown Houston Astros®
BD-22 Keoni Cavaco Minnesota Twins®
BD-23 Case Williams Colorado Rockies™
BD-24 Cade Cavalli Washington Nationals®
BD-25 Burl Carraway Chicago Cubs®
BD-26 Daniel Espino Cleveland Indians®
BD-27 Oswald Peraza New York Yankees®
BD-28 Zach DeLoach Seattle Mariners™
BD-29 Nick Yorke Boston Red Sox®
BD-30 Clayton Beeter Los Angeles Dodgers®
BD-31 Joe Ryan Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-32 Jordan Groshans Toronto Blue Jays®
BD-33 Gage Workman Detroit Tigers®
BD-34 Austin Hendrick Cincinnati Reds®
BD-35 Jimmy Glowenke San Francisco Giants®
BD-36 Ryan Rolison Colorado Rockies™
BD-37 Logan Gilbert Seattle Mariners™
BD-38 Bobby Miller Los Angeles Dodgers®
BD-39 Robert Hassell San Diego Padres™
BD-40 JJ Goss Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-41 Reid Detmers Angels®
BD-42 Michael Busch Los Angeles Dodgers®
BD-43 Chris McMahon Colorado Rockies™
BD-44 Xavier Edwards Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-45 Alec Burleson St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-46 Freddy Zamora Milwaukee Brewers™
BD-47 Travis Swaggerty Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-48 Sammy Infante Washington Nationals®
BD-49 Owen Caissie San Diego Padres™
BD-50 Max Meyer Miami Marlins®
BD-51 Logan Allen Cleveland Indians®
BD-52 Landon Knack Los Angeles Dodgers®
BD-53 Quinn Priester Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-54 Colt Keith Detroit Tigers®
BD-55 Jarren Duran Boston Red Sox®
BD-56 Austin Wells New York Yankees®
BD-57 Jordan Walker St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-58 Jordan Balazovic Minnesota Twins®
BD-59 Masyn Winn St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-60 Carson Tucker Cleveland Indians®
BD-61 Nick Bitsko Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-62 Daniel Cabrera Detroit Tigers®
BD-63 Marco Raya Minnesota Twins®
BD-64 Kyle Nicolas Miami Marlins®
BD-65 Oneil Cruz Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-66 Hunter Barnhart Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-67 Cole Henry Washington Nationals®
BD-68 Tristen Lutz Milwaukee Brewers™
BD-69 Petey Halpin Cleveland Indians®
BD-70 Jared Jones Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-71 Connor Phillips Seattle Mariners™
BD-72 Pete Crow-Armstrong New York Mets®
BD-73 Casey Martin Philadelphia Phillies®
BD-74 Bryce Bonnin Cincinnati Reds®
BD-75 Daniel Lynch Kansas City Royals®
BD-76 Tekoah Roby Texas Rangers®
BD-77 Isaiah Greene New York Mets®
BD-78 Tyler Freeman Cleveland Indians®
BD-79 Heliot Ramos San Francisco Giants®
BD-80 Miguel Amaya Chicago Cubs®
BD-81 Nick Gonzales Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-82 DL Hall Baltimore Orioles®
BD-83 Triston Casas Boston Red Sox®
BD-84 Christian Chamberlain Kansas City Royals®
BD-85 Slade Cecconi Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-86 Tink Hence St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-87 Adisyn Coffey Chicago White Sox®
BD-88 Asa Lacy Kansas City Royals®


BD-89 Geraldo Perdomo Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-90 Nick Garcia Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-91 Nick Swiney San Francisco Giants®
BD-92 Matthew Dyer New York Mets®
BD-93 CJ Van Eyk Toronto Blue Jays®
BD-94 Alerick Soularie Minnesota Twins®
BD-95 Garrett Crochet Chicago White Sox®
BD-96 Ian Seymour Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-97 Zavier Warren Milwaukee Brewers™
BD-98 Ed Howard Chicago Cubs®
BD-99 Justin Lange San Diego Padres™
BD-100 Ian Bedell St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-101 Aaron Shortridge Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-102 Trevor Larnach Minnesota Twins®

BD-103 David Calabrese Angels®
BD-104 Quin Cotton Cincinnati Reds®
BD-105 Luke Little Chicago Cubs®
BD-106 Drew Romo Colorado Rockies™
BD-107 Zac Veen Colorado Rockies™
BD-108 Brady McConnell Kansas City Royals®
BD-109 Sam Weatherly Colorado Rockies™
BD-110 Jordan Nwogu Chicago Cubs®
BD-111 Jordan Westburg Baltimore Orioles®
BD-112 Zach McCambley Miami Marlins®
BD-113 Trevor Hauver New York Yankees®
BD-114 Corbin Carroll Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-115 Tanner Burns Cleveland Indians®
BD-116 Jackson Miller Cincinnati Reds®
BD-117 Carter Baumler Baltimore Orioles®
BD-118 Garrett Mitchell Milwaukee Brewers™
BD-119 Tyler Soderstrom Oakland Athletics™
BD-120 Holden Powell Washington Nationals®
BD-121 Spencer Torkelson Detroit Tigers®
BD-122 Heston Kjerstad Baltimore Orioles®
BD-123 Alexander Canario San Francisco Giants®
BD-124 Justin Foscue Texas Rangers®
BD-125 Levi Prater St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-126 Evan Carter Texas Rangers®
BD-127 Bryce Jarvis Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-128 Werner Blakely Angels®
BD-129 Casey Schmitt San Francisco Giants®
BD-130 Hudson Haskin Baltimore Orioles®
BD-131 Daxton Fulton Miami Marlins®
BD-132 Luis Gil New York Yankees®
BD-133 Zach Daniels Houston Astros®
BD-134 Jeff Criswell Oakland Athletics™
BD-135 Shane McClanahan Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-136 Alika Williams Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-137 Gilberto Jimenez Boston Red Sox®
BD-138 Trent Palmer Toronto Blue Jays®
BD-139 Alex Santos Houston Astros®
BD-140 Bryson Stott Philadelphia Phillies®
BD-141 Ethan Hankins Cleveland Indians®
BD-142 Kody Hoese Los Angeles Dodgers®
BD-143 Francisco Alvarez New York Mets®
BD-144 Dillon Dingler Detroit Tigers®
BD-145 Carson Ragsdale Philadelphia Phillies®
BD-146 Patrick Bailey San Francisco Giants®
BD-147 Liam Norris Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-148 RJ Dabovich San Francisco Giants®
BD-149 Carmen Mlodzinski Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-150 AJ Vukovich Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-151 Jasson Dominguez New York Yankees®
BD-152 Bobby Witt Jr. Kansas City Royals®
BD-153 Andrew Vaughn Chicago White Sox®
BD-154 Adley Rutschman Baltimore Orioles®
BD-155 Robert Puason Oakland Athletics™
BD-156 Jay Groome Boston Red Sox®
BD-157 Will Klein Kansas City Royals®
BD-158 Zach Britton Toronto Blue Jays®
BD-159 Owen Miller Cleveland Indians®
BD-160 Logan Hofmann Pittsburgh Pirates®
BD-161 Ronaldo Hernandez Tampa Bay Rays™
BD-162 Jack Blomgren Colorado Rockies™
BD-163 Adam Seminaris Angels®
BD-164 Bailey Horn Chicago White Sox®
BD-165 Joe Boyle Cincinnati Reds®
BD-166 Ryan Murphy San Francisco Giants®
BD-167 Thomas Saggese Texas Rangers®
BD-168 George Kirby Seattle Mariners™
BD-169 Jeremiah Jackson Angels®
BD-170 Shane Drohan Boston Red Sox®
BD-171 Brandon Pfaadt Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-172 Blake Rutherford Chicago White Sox®
BD-173 Hayden Cantrelle Milwaukee Brewers™
BD-174 Mark Vientos New York Mets®
BD-175 Michael Toglia Colorado Rockies™
BD-176 Mitchell Parker Washington Nationals®
BD-177 Jackson Rutledge Washington Nationals®
BD-178 Anthony Volpe New York Yankees®
BD-179 Nick Lodolo Cincinnati Reds®
BD-180 Riley Greene Detroit Tigers®
BD-181 JJ Bleday Miami Marlins®
BD-182 Kyle Isbel Kansas City Royals®
BD-183 Shea Langeliers Atlanta Braves™
BD-184 Brett Baty New York Mets®
BD-185 Jerar Encarnacion Miami Marlins®
BD-186 Aaron Ashby Milwaukee Brewers™
BD-187 Brennen Davis Chicago Cubs®
BD-188 Julio Rodriguez Seattle Mariners™
BD-189 CJ Abrams San Diego Padres™
BD-190 Marco Luciano San Francisco Giants®
BD-191 Grayson Rodriguez Baltimore Orioles®
BD-192 Kristian Robinson Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-193 Jordyn Adams Angels®
BD-194 Nolan Gorman St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-195 Alek Thomas Arizona Diamondbacks®
BD-196 Hunter Greene Cincinnati Reds®
BD-197 Josh Jung Texas Rangers®
BD-198 Matthew Liberatore St. Louis Cardinals®
BD-199 Ronny Mauricio New York Mets®
BD-200 Hunter Bishop San Francisco Giants®

Chrome First Edition Autograph Checklist

CDA-AL Asa Lacy Kansas City Royals®
CDA-BJA Bryce Jarvis Arizona Diamondbacks®
CDA-CCA Cade Cavalli Washington Nationals®
CDA-CS Casey Schmitt San Francisco Giants®
CDA-CT Carson Tucker Cleveland Indians®
CDA-JC Jeff Criswell Oakland Athletics™
CDA-JF Justin Foscue Texas Rangers®
CDA-JS Jared Shuster Atlanta Braves™
CDA-MM Max Meyer Miami Marlins®
CDA-NB Nick Bitsko Tampa Bay Rays™
CDA-PB Patrick Bailey San Francisco Giants®
CDA-RD Reid Detmers Angels®
CDA-RHA Robert Hassell San Diego Padres™
CDA-ST Spencer Torkelson Detroit Tigers®
CDA-ZD Zach DeLoach Seattle Mariners™
CDA-ZV Zac Veen Colorado Rockies™
TOC-HK Heston Kjerstad Baltimore Orioles®

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I’m A Buyer

Bowman Draft First Edition was not a product I was initially going to chase. After perusing the checklist and seeing the Cubs players on it, I had to buy. I am very excited to see this year’s draft picks, as well as another Brennen Davis card to add to the collection. More so, because Bowman Draft is a product priced out of what I am willing to pay, so having something similar at a discounted price is very appealing. I bought 20 packs and look forward to ripping 2020 Bowman Draft First Edition.

2021 Baseball Hall of Fame – Bonds & Clemens To Cooperstown

The 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was unveiled on Monday, November 16. We always know who will be eligible for the ballot, so no surprises among the names included.

For the past seven years, at least one first-year eligible player has been elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. A total of 13 players in those seven years are first ballot Hall of Famers. That run comes to an end in 2021, as there are not any names that will make it in. First timers on the ballot include: Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramirez, and Barry Zito.

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Could this be a year that nobody gets enshrined from this list of names? It very well could be, but unlikely in my opinion. I think one player be elected in this class and it will be on his ninth ballot: Curt Schilling.

2021 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Schilling was very close being elected in 2020 receiving 73.7% of votes (75% is needed). With a few first-time voters and a lack of shoo-in candidates, Schilling should get to that threshold of 75% and get in.

What about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens? These two are tied together because both have the shadow of alleged steroid use and they entered Hall of Fame ballots for the first time in 2013. Bonds and Clemens have two years left on the ballot. Last year, they reached only 64.1% and 63.8%, respectively. My thought is each will gain a few more votes, but fall shy of election this year. Next year could very well be the year Bonds and Clemens get into Cooperstown – which will be their final year of eligibility.

The rest of the field is a toss up. Scott Rolen? Omar Vizquel? Rolen will eventually get in. I think Rolen will be the next Larry Walker in that he will continue to gain votes year after year and eventually be enshrined. This year marks the fourth year on the ballot for both Rolen and Vizquel. Rolen received 39.8% of votes last year and Vizquel acheived 52.7% a year ago.

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Todd Helton and Gary Sheffield both received a little more than 30% of votes last year, and Jeff Kent and Manny Ramirez hovered on the under side of 30%.

I expect all of the aforementioned players to gain ground on last year’s vote totals, but fall short in the end. My prediction is Curt Schilling is the only player on the list that exceeds 75% of the vote, with Bonds and Clemens getting closer but fall short. The others continue to gain ground and may get the call in a few years.

That’s my prediction on how things may shake out with the actual Hall of Fame voters. What if I had a vote? I would select nine players. Why not 10? Last year, I felt there were about 15 players I would have voted for, but not this year. Here’s what my ballot would like.

Barry Bonds

1986 Topps Traded Barry Bonds

First ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion. Bonds was a no doubt Hall of Famer before he allegedly took performance enhancing drugs. Now we know that PED’s were rampant in the game during the 1990’s. The Baseball Strike of 1994 hurt MLB greatly and fans did not return until 1998 for the home run chase. The home run chase was likely fueled by those PED’s and a blind eye was turned. Fast forward a few years and now it’s a scarlet letter for any player even rumored to have been around players that were guilty of using. Let them in!

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Roger Clemens

1986 Donruss Roger Clemens

Clemens was a pitcher. He had to face many players that either tested positive or strongly rumored to have used PED’s. And he still put up Hall of Fame stats. Let him in!

Curt Schilling

1990 Score Curt Schilling

Another deserving player that should be enshrined in Cooperstown. Schilling was so close to election in 2020. It seems his politics and Twitter account likely turn off many voters. But look at his 20-year career: 216 wins, 3,116 strikeouts, Cy Young runner-up three times. How about this clutch postseason line: 11-2, 2.23 ERA, 120K/25BB in the MLB Playoffs.

Todd Helton

After the first three players above it gets a little murky for me, so I am not going to rank them in order on where they stand. Todd Helton is one of those players that you can convince me he’s a Hall of Famer…and you could convince me he falls short of enshrinement. Helton was among the game’s best for a 5-year stretch from 2000-2004 where he appeared in every All Star Game during that time (the only five appearances in his 17-year career), and was a top-10 National League MVP vote getter three times.

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His career stats don’t scream Hall of Famer: 2,516 hits and 369 home runs, but does hold a very impressive .316 lifetime batting average. When you check his player similarity scores on Baseball Reference the list of 10 players contains six Hall of Famers. Helton, to me, falls into that category where I think he should be in because other players are enshrined (Harold Baines in the Hall of Fame has started many of these arguments).

Manny Ramirez

1995 Fleer Manny Ramirez

Okay…less murky after looking over the stats for Manny Ramirez. He’s a lock for me. That is because I’m okay with the PED guys getting in. It’s not allegedly for Manny Ramirez as he was suspended twice for testing positive for PED’s. Still…555 career home runs, 12-time All Star, a batting title, and a top five finisher for league MVP in four seasons he has my (non existent) vote.

Scott Rolen

Another guy with sneaky good stats. Rolen has a Rookie of the Year (full disclosure: so does Bob Hamelin), eight gold gloves, and seven All Star Game appearances. He also has a career WAR 70.1 with 316 home runs and a lifetime .281 batting average.

Gary Sheffield

1989 Topps Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield will likely never be enshrined in Cooperstown because he wins the triple crown in categories that keeps players off of ballots: Sheffield was named in the Mitchell Report after adamantly denying his use of PEDs, he was not well liked by the media, and he was a clubhouse cancer in multiple stops during his career. Since my ballot is strictly on numbers, I’ve got Sheffield on mine with his batting title, 509 home runs, and 253 stolen bases.

Sammy Sosa

A bit of bias here since Sammy Sosa was the player that brought me back as a fan of baseball during the summer of 1998. Sosa was a prima donna and likely didn’t make many favorite teammate lists. Of course, he also has that steroid cloud hanging over him. But let’s look at the numbers: 609 home runs, 1,667 RBI, a seven-time All Star and National League MVP winner. Those are good credentials. I doubt Sammy Sosa ever gets elected, but I would at least like the organization to welcome him back as part of the Cubs family.

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Omar Vizquel

Another guy I think will eventually get elected to the Hall of Fame. Might as well do it now. His career stats won’t be changing. If he’s not a Hall of Famer now, what makes him a Hall of Famer a few years down the road? That’s one thing I never understood about the voters. If there is a logjam of Hall of Fame talent on the ballot…sure, but there’s usually not. Vizquel has respectable numbers mostly known for his defense (11 Gold Gloves). He falls into the “If Harold Baines is in…” category.

Why Am I Wrong?

This is the fun part. Hall of Fame ballot reaction. What do you think of my nine selections? Why not a 10th? Who did I snub? Who doesn’t belong? Let me know your thoughts.

2020 Panini Contenders Baseball Review

While I was out and about searching for retail baseball cards, I stumbled upon some recently released blaster boxes of 2020 Panini Contenders baseball cards.

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Panini Contenders is an okay product, and since I was only able to find a little bit of Topps Update, I wanted to pick up some Contenders for the rip. Just an enjoyment rip.

Panini Contenders, in my opinion, is probably the ugliest design of all baseball products. Still, I do like the content and I wanted to pull some Cubs cards. Moreso, this product has cards and autographs of 2020 Cubs first round draft pick Ed Howard.

It is a fun rip for a $20 blaster box and you are even guaranteed an autograph in each box (*on average). Fortunately, I did pull an autograph out of each box. Unfortunately, all four autos are redemptions.

Of the four autograph redemptions, the Sam Hilliard sold quickly on eBay for $7. I know the buyer, Beth, as we have conducted several trades and she said it was find to just send her the code without mailing the redemption card. The Jesus Luzardo redemption just sold for $9. Both Isan Diaz redemptions are still available in my eBay Store.

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Let’s get to the Cubbies! A Kris Bryant season ticket card. There’s just a lot going on here, and I don’t quite understand the season ticket angle. Does Game 27, Section 230, Row 65, Seat 17 have any meaning?

The Javier Baez season ticket card also features Game 27, with a different seat. Always nice to add another Baez card to my collection.

And Anthony Rizzo is Game 30. This is my least favorite of the three as the Rizzo image is really bland. At least on the Bryant you can see part of his last name and jersey number on his jersey, and his “17” in red on his ankle guard. Plus there’s his brown belt, so it adds some different color. This Rizzo is just blue and gray. Really boring.

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I scored, though, as I pulled a second Javier Baez. This from the Winning Tickets insert set. I like this design much better than the Season Ticket design.

After opening these boxes, I did go shopping. Stay tuned for what I found.

2020 Topps Update Review: I Love the Cubs Checklist

Who am I? Just last week I trashed the 2020 Topps Update checklist. Using names like Jharel Cotton and Josh Phegley from the Cubs team checklist to hammer down my point.

But that’s also why I absolutely love 2020 Topps Update from a Chicago Cubs baseball card standpoint. I will stand by my statement that by and large this year’s product leaves a lot to be desired because of the lack of key rookie cards.

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This past weekend I was able to find some Topps Update “in the wild” as folks in the hobby say when boxes of baseball cards are found on Target and Wal-Mart shelves.

On Friday (the baseball card stocking day in my area) I made a few trips to the three Target stores and one closest Wal-Mart to my house. Full disclosure: I did take the day off from my day job.

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The first Topps Update sighting was about a dozen fat packs. Since I was so cold on the product I only grabbed four packs to scratch the itch. Later, at another Target store, it was stocked with several blaster boxes, so I grabbed two to check out what they entailed.

It was a fun rip and I pulled some rookie debut cards of Bo Bichette, Kyle Lewis, and base rookies cards of Trent Grisham and Randy Arozarena. But that’s not what I am here to talk about. Show me the Cubbies! Josh Phegley was a name I tossed out referencing the weak checklist. I mean…he’s the Cubs third string catcher. How many third string catchers get Topps cards?

At least Phegley played in a game this year. Jharel Cotton hasn’t played in a Major League Baseball game since 2017 with the Oakland Athletics. Cotton was released by the Cubs in September.

Kyle Ryan is a name most fans haven’t heard because he’s a relief pitcher. Ryan pitched in 15.2 innings this past 2020 season. He made an appearance on the mound in 73 games in 2019.

I wonder how many big league pitchers have thrown a no-hitter before appearing on a Topps baseball card?

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Alec Mills is one. Here is the first flagship Topps card of Mills.

Craig Kimbrel has been pretty disappointing as a Cubs closer. Kimbrel has a 0-5 record with just 15 saves in 41 games played over the past two seasons in Chicago.

The Cubs get a rookie card in the set – Ian Miller. You haven’t heard of Miller? He appeared in one game for the Chicago Cubs – as a pinch runner – and was then designated for assignment.

You’ve probably heard of Anthony Rizzo, though. I do like how Topps handled the All Star Game and Home Run Derby cards this year. Since there wasn’t an All Star break they commemorated past games like Rizzo’s 2016 ASG appearance.

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Kris Bryant was also given an All Star card from the 2016 game played in San Diego. This appears to be a parallel with the blue border.

This Daniel Descalso card is definitely a blue parallel.

I pulled a pair of insert cards. This year pays homage to the 1985 Topps set, and this Ernie Banks looks great on the design.

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Turkey Red is cool, but I hope Topps pulls the plug on it and lets it sit for a few years before reintroducing it. It is a cool design, but will be better if done on a minimal basis.

As a collector of random Cubs, this years checklist is great. Names like Josh Phegley, Ian Miller, and Jharel Cotton are likely on their only Cubs card ever. All in all it was a very fun rip, but I won’t be clearing any shelves for 2020 Topps Update.

Buyer Beware: 2020 Bowman Platinum Review

There doesn’t seem to be a baseball card product that has gone from scorching hot and flip worthy to ice cold than Bowman Platinum.

Collectors and flippers have been clearing shelves of Donruss football…Donruss football! It seems that everything produced in trading cards is hot and selling. Except Bowman Platinum.

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A few years ago Bowman Platinum was released as an online exclusive to Wal-Mart. It was successfully flipped by astute members of the hobby. Yes, Virginia. There were flippers in the hobby before 2020.

Early in the Bowman Platinum run, I was looking for the quick flip. The margins were really tight, so I ended up just opening the boxes. And…I really enjoyed the product. It’s a flashy card, and it has both a veteran and prospect set much like flagship Bowman.

Quickly I learned that the secondary market for Bowman Platinum singles was pretty low, and nine times out of 10 you’ll not get the value back in the boxes you buy. Still, at a $20 blaster price point it was still worth it to me because I really enjoyed the cards and did not care about resale value. It was a fun rip.

Fast forward to 2020, and it took me by surprise when I found out Bowman Platinum was hitting Wal-Mart shelves the first week of November. Typically, Bowman Platinum is released around the first week of July. Since 2020 has been a wacky year, and Wal-Mart carried a new retail exclusive Bowman product – Bowman Chrome Mega Boxes – I did not expect there to be a 2020 Bowman Platinum.

I was excited, and thought maybe I might be able to find some at my local stores. I wasn’t holding my breath since the previous two weeks there had been around a dozen people waiting for the card vendor at my local Wal-Mart. Still…I ventured out on a Friday afternoon and went to my nearest store. Surprisingly, six boxes were on the shelf. The price tag made me raise my eyebrows as these were $45 boxes with 23 cards and a guaranteed autograph. I bought two boxes to check it out, and made my way to the other Wal-Mart store.

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This particular store is much larger, and has a much larger trading card section. There was about a dozen of the $45 Bowman Platinum boxes on the shelf while everything else was cleared out save for some Topps Stickers, NASCAR, and hockey.

A Friday night break was in store with excitement in the air. It’s not a common occurrence to find retail sports cards on the shelf these days. Here’s video of my 2020 Blowman Platinum break.

What a bummer break. First off….NO CUBS! Another bummer was that there were a bunch of duplicates from the two boxes I bought, including the chartreuse parallel of Orioles pitcher John Means.

Two chartreuse parallels are inside each box. The others? Yup, also duplicates of Marlins prospect Kameron Misner.

My autograph hits were decent. The bigger name of the two autos was Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Corbin Carroll.

The other I have never heard of – Rockies prospect Terrin Vavra.

Overall, I do like the look of the cards, but buyer beware. Bowman Platinum is definitely not worth its 2020 price point. I would much rather have a blaster box for $20 or even $25 without the guaranteed autograph. The autos are stickers, and these are not sought after autos at all. Give me a few more base cards and I would have been happy.

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Another thing I was not happy with was the one pack. You get 23 cards per box, but they come in a single pack. I’d much rather have six packs of four cards.

Bowman Platinum will likely be seen on store shelves for a long time to come, and it’s disappointing that Topps packaged it the way they did this year.

eBay Set To Offer PWE Shipping Option

At long last it appears that eBay will be offering an option for buyers and sellers of trading cards to have an option of plain white envelope (PWE) shipping.

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My first inkling of this epic news was the morning of November 5, 2020, when great trade partner and fellow #TeamPWE member, Josh, linked me to a tweet from the hobby famous BrentnBecca.

This is big news for the hobby, as you may have expected from Brent’s usage of 10 exclamation points in that single tweet. The biggest part of this news is for 75 cents you also get tracking. Many sellers have stayed away from selling PWE on eBay out of fear of unscrupulous buyers claiming “non-receipt” taking advantage of the lack of tracking in a white envelope.

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Brent also shared a link to an ECommerceBytes article with details of what this new eBay white envelope shipping option entails. Here are the highlights of the alleged spoiler alert by eBay.

  • Trading card value less than $20
  • No more than four raw trading cards per envelope or two cards in top loaders
  • No graded cards
  • Envelopes no larger than 6.125″ x 11.5″ or smaller than 3.5″ x 5″
  • Weighs up to 3 oz.

The only thing that really stood out to me is the contents of the envelope stating four cards or two cards in top loaders. That seems a bit odd since weight (under 3 oz.) covers what the contents can be.

This news gave me different emotions, both good and bad. Here are my thoughts to the potential addition of a PWE shipping option.

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The Good

This is great news for the hobby in general. Buyers will have more options to buy cheap trading cards without having to fork over $3 to $4 in shipping costs. Instead of paying $5 for a $1 card, it may only run you $2. With tracking, this will bring many more sellers to eBay offering low dollar cards with this option. Sellers can move more cards, and buyers will have more and cheaper options. It gives sellers security to send cards in a PWE without fearing for non-receipt claims by scammers.

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The Bad

Strictly selfish on this one. Over the past two years I have been selling low dollar cards in PWE on eBay. My rate of non-receipt claims is roughly 2 out of every 1,000 transactions. I have also gotten the profit margins down to a science where I buy pre-stamped envelopes at a cost of 38 cents per envelope. One of my most popular eBay Store categories is “99 cents free shipping.” Based on my stamps/envelopes cost, my net profit margin on a single 99 cents card sale is roughly 20 cents.

If forced to use eBay’s PWE option, this will wipe away all profits on my PWE sales and that category becomes a loss. One option I have is to charge 75 cents per card which would require me to manually update shipping charges on nearly 3,000 listings.

In the interim, my plan will be to continue sending cards under $5 in my pre-stamped envelopes. Anything around $5 to $15 will be sent using the new 75 cents with tracking option.

One final negative is the result of something I mentioned as a positive. More sellers will be entering the PWE market, meaning more competition for sales. Good for the buyer, bad for current PWE sellers.

All in all, I believe the good outweighs the bad for the hobby as a whole. I do look forward to having this option added because there are many cards in the $7-12 range that I could benefit selling PWE with tracking.