2020 Topps Fire Baseball Card Review

Topps Fire is a retail exclusive to Target stores. It has a terrible return on investment for the flippers, and even collectors that want to recoup some of the box cost. But….it’s a very unique product that is much different from other baseball card releases.

A few years ago when Topps Fire debuted, it became a hot commodity on the sealed wax flipping market. So…I dove in. Topps Fire burned me. I was left with a few boxes I didn’t want, had to open, and lost a bit of money.

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Still, I liked the product even though it was worth slightly more than a wax box of 1991 Fleer. Moving forward, I wanted to open some Topps Fire blasters, but just a few boxes.

Topps Fire released a couple weeks ago and my local Target store was stocked with them…until someone cleared the shelves. That someone was probably the same person peddling the $20 blasters on Facebook Marketplace for $35. Spoiler Alert: that same seller still has them for sale nearly three weeks later. They got burned by the Topps Fire.

Target was restocked with Topps Fire a week later, and my local store was chocked full of it. Probably 15 blasters and about a dozen of the “hobby” boxes that are $70 and include two autographs. Personally, I wouldn’t pay $50 for the guaranteed two-autograph boxes.

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As I walked up to the card section there was a sign stating “more sports cards available at service desk.” I was actually in search of Stadium Club, and also hoping that some basketball was available at the service desk to flip to pay for any baseball I would buy.

All that was left at the service desk was a couple blasters of Topps Chrome and a couple hanger packs of Chrome. Limit one each per customer. I passed as that ship has sailed.

Topps Fire it is. I grabbed five blasters as that puts me right around $100, and knowing that there is likely no more than $40 or $50 in cards I pull. Again, I’m a collector on this product and I feel that $100 spent will be fun opening the blasters. Not everything about the hobby is ROI.

The young lady at the check out lane told me she could only sell me four of the boxes. That was perfectly fine to me. She added, “I don’t know what is going on, but sports cards are crazy.”

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My total spent on the four blasters was around $85. I pulled TWO autographs from the four boxes. One of the autographs was even numbered /50, and it’s a player I have never heard of, Rangel Ravelo of the St. Louis Cardinals. It sold for $5 shipped, so that tells you the type of value inside Topps Fire.

The other autograph, as of this writing, is still for sale in my eBay Store. It is a rookie auto of Jake Rogers from the Detroit Tigers, and I have it listed for $6.

Surpisingly, I did pull a card that sold for more than $20. It was a gold parallel of Luis Robert, and it sold for $23 shipped.

Even though the return was not a concern to me, I do feel it necessary to report my sales since I brought it up. Most of the cards I listed have sold with a few dollar cards still available along with the Rogers auto. My gross sales to date are $68, which is better than I expected.

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Even though the return was not a concern to me, I do feel it necessary to report my sales since I brought it up. Most of the cards I listed have sold with a few dollar cards still available along with the Rogers auto. My gross sales to date are $68, which is better than I expected.

Now, let’s take a look at the Chicago Cubs cards from 2020 Topps Fire. First, I want to share probably my favorite base card to date from 2020. Sammy Sosa.

Admittedly, I was upset with how Sosa’s Cubs career came to an end, but over time I want to see him back in the good graces of the organization and welcomed back. He was such a big part of the 1990’s not only in Chicago, but baseball in general. Also…this Topps Fire design screams the 90’s.

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Adbert Alzolay gets a rookie card in Topps Fire, and I love it.

Another Cubs rookie making this year’s Topps Fire set is Robel Garcia, although he is no longer with the team. And in just four blaster boxes I am well on my way to a Robel Garcia rainbow. I have the base…

And the flame parallel.

And the blaster box exclusive gold mint parallel.

And the orange parallel serial numbered /299.

Back to the base with Kyle Schwarber. Look closely, and that bat looks destroyed. There are a lot of marks on the barrel of the bat.

You can’t have Bryant

Without the Rizzo.

Moving on to a parallel and insert.

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Here’s another Cubs rookie and this is the gold parallel of Danny Hultzen.

Finally, Jason Heyward gets an insert card in the Arms Ablaze set. It appears all of the insert sets are gold.

That was a fun rip. In all, I pulled 14 Cubs cards in the four blasters which I was very happy with. What do you think about Topps Fire?

Cubs Minor League Diaries (7/12/1966): Robert Eyer

The Chicago Cubs Minor League Encyclopedia is a work in-progress that will document biographies on each player who has worn a Cubs minor league uniform. The inception of minor league teams in the Cubs organization dates back to 1922 with the Wichita Falls Spudders.

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Below you will read letters to home written by Cubs minor league player Robert Eyer. Eyer is an interesting baseball prospect because at the same time he was playing Little League he was also appearing on televisions in the early 1960’s.

Robert “Bobby” Eyer – Chicago Cubs Minor Leaguer

“Bobby” Eyer had credits in a few television shows and movies. Most notably was an appearance playing a character named Kevin in an episode of Leave it to Beaver in 1962. Other credits include: U.S. Marshall (1959), The Man from Blackhawk (1959), The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960), and Back Street (1961).

Eyer was a good baseball player and signed with the Chicago Cubs after being selected in the 13th round of the 1966 Major League Baseball amateur draft. His first assignment in the organization was with the Treasure Valley Cubs in 1966. That franchise was based in Caldwell, Idaho, and that’s the season in which the below letters were sent back to his family in California.

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July 12, 1966

Dear Rich,

Well there really isn’t a lot to say but I thought I would write and tell you what I have been doing. My social life isn’t real great cause there isn’t much to do or much time to do it in. There are never any parties here and there is only one dance a week. That is on Saturday night but I haven’t been here for any of them yet.

The guy I go around with most of the time is the Cubs number one pick. He got $55,000 – he was also the number five pick in the nation. However he isn’t conceited or anything. His name is Dean Burk (pitcher). He is 6’5 – 215 with long blonde hair and is pretty good with the girls. He is from Illinois.

We have met some girls but haven’t got anything going yet. We play every night and the games don’t get over til about 11:15. That is what time we get out of the ball park I mean. And at home we have a curfew of 1:00. So by the time we get something going (also eat) and find some place it is usually time to be in. If we are late it costs us $25 and it doubles every time after that. We get fined $50 if we have girls in our rooms here at the hotel. Also it is $50 if we get caught playing cards for money.

The Beau Brummels are playing at a dance concert in Boise Thursday night. I think I’m going to get there somehow. It is only about 20 miles. I just watched the All Star game and when Wills knocked in the winning run I sure let everyone know it. No one on the team likes the Dodgers, as a matter of fact they all hate ’em. There is no one on the team from L.A. The only California boys are from San Diego and San Francisco.

My roommate sort of bugs me. He is ugly and always wants to follow me around. He cuts about 40 or 50 farts a day. It really gets on my nerves. The coaches we had were Lou Klein and Fred Martin. I don’t know if you have ever heard of them or not. They both played in the majors. They move from team to team. They just left us the other day. They also coach the Cubs.

Lou Klein used to be one of the managers when the Cubs used to have all those managers. You know one every two weeks or so. Well I don’t have much more to say for now but I’m not going to mail this until tomorrow so I’ll write some more about tonight’s game. By the way let me know if Jean ever got my letter. Well I’ll write some more later.

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Well it is tonight and I didn’t get to play. Oh well. So I guess there isn’t much to say. I just found this batting lineup on the ground and thought I would send it. I don’t know why.

By the way I have to get out of here by about the 26th of August. You got to dig up some papers dealing with Santa Monica C.C. to get me out. About six other guys are leaving so it isn’t as if I were the only one. Bye for now and I’ll call soon.

Bye,

Bobby

Know What To Flip: Topps Fire Burned Me

The retail trading card flip game has reached unprecedented levels. I thought a few guys waiting for the trading card vendor at Target in early June was the tip of the iceberg. It wasn’t, as there were 17 people (16 guys and one woman who appeared to be a mom on a mission) standing around the card section at a nearby Target store.

It seems everybody is trying to enter the trading card flip game. But, don’t get burned. Not every product can be flipped for product. I learned that the hard way a few years ago. Topps Fire burned me.

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I preach about buying retail (at MSRP…not the secondary market price from flippers) on certain products. The reasons vary, but it is typically because you get a good bang for your buck out of a retail blaster. One reason I went retail only on products like Bowman and Topps Archives is because the hobby prices have ballooned to prices that are just ridiculous, and you’ll get destroyed (on average) on what you receive inside the packs of cards compared to the price you pay.

Disclaimer: Don’t ever expect to reach break even or especially profit off a box of cards. It’s a gamble opening packs of cards. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win…more often than not you will lose.

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This post was written the week Topps Fire was released. I did not publish at the time because Fire was actually being sold for a decent profit in the first couple days. So, one week later I wanted to check in on pricing. As expected, it dropped. The blaster boxes are still selling for above MSRP at around $32 shipped, but as a seller let’s break it down to see what your net profit is at that price point.

Topps Fire Blaster MSRP$19.99
Tax (WI state tax is 5%)$1.00
Total Cost$20.99
Total Sale Shipped$32.00
Ebay Fees (11.5%)$3.68
PayPal Fees (2.9% + $0.30)$1.23
Shipping Cost (on average)$5.00
Net Sales$22.09
NET PROFIT$1.10

Is it really worth driving all over town, waiting for the card vendor, working to flip, packaging and shipping….for $1.10 in profit?

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Flipping has been something I have enjoyed doing since my teenage years. Finding bargains to resell at profit. When you enter the flip game you’ll have your wins and you’ll have your losses.

Topps Fire is a Target exclusive baseball card product that has been hitting shelves this week. It’s a product that burned me in an effort to play the flip game a few years ago.

I’ve been in and out of the hobby since 1988, and continuously since about 2012 or 2013. I didn’t really get into the hobby deeply such as following market trends, reading blogs, following news, etc. until 2016 or 2017. Around this time I discovered there was a demand for a retail-only product called Topps Fire.

The hobby was much different three or four years ago, and you could find these baseball card releases much easier. So…I found some Fire, cleared the shelf, and then got burned.

What I learned was there just was not much demand for this product. More over, when I was able to up charge, any margin was negated by shipping and fees. Instead of breaking even, I decided to break the boxes. It was an underwhelming rip in terms of reselling. While there was not much demand for Topps Fire unopened…there was even less demand for the actual cards. Lesson learned.

Still, Topps Fire was a fun product to open…AS A COLLECTOR. In the ensuing years I have grabbed a few blasters to open for fun. When I stopped by my local Target store this week I saw that Topps Fire had been cleared off the shelf. Then, I saw this on my local Facebook Marketplace.

This aspiring flipper is trying to get $35 per blaster ($20 MSRP) and $135 ($70 MSRP) per hobby box. The hobby boxes include two autographs per box, and they are largely underwhelming. Autographs are also sticker autos, which carry far less weight in the hobby. In all honesty, I don’t buy these boxes at the $70 price tag, and would probably even stay away at $50.

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Just because the hobby is super hot right now, does not mean every product is hot and can be flipped for twice what you paid. Before clearing shelves, do your homework. Know what you’re flipping, and don’t get burned by Topps Fire.

Hank Sauer Game Used Cleats Added to the Collection

While my focus is to collect one million Chicago Cubs baseball cards, I do collect other Cubs memorabilia. There is nothing specific I seek out, only items I find spur of the moment.

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I recently found a collection that has been pieced out with mostly Cubs game used memorabilia. A bulk of the collection is game used bats, but some other game used pieces of equipment have gone up for auction.

One piece of equipment really caught my eye. A pair of black Wilson cleats that are vintage and really beat up. These shoes have a lot of character.

As I clicked on the item description to learn more this was a pair of game used cleats worn by former Chicago Cub Hank Sauer. Not only was Sauer a former Cubs player, but he was the National League MVP as a member of the Cubs in 1952.

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Sauer led the league in home runs (37) and RBI (121) during his MVP campaign. During his 15-year MLB career, Sauer hit 288 home runs as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants.

Reading more about these cleats, they were acquired from the Paul Hill collection. Hill was a pioneer in game used equipment collecting, starting in the 1930’s. The Hill collection was liquidated in 1994 by Centerfield Collectibles, which is where my game used Sauer cleats were obtained. The original Certificate of Authenticity from that sale shown here.

“It will take the auctioneers’ 16 or 17 auctions of 1,000 to 1,100 items each to move the collection.”

Philadelphia daily news (10/6/1994) on centerfield Collectibles sale of the paul hill collection
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The Philadelphia Daily News also previewed the large-scale auction of Hill’s collection in a Ted Taylor column appearing in the December 16, 1993 issue of the newspaper.

“When I first started collecting, people used to make fun of me. They don’t make fun of me anymore.”

Paul Hill to the philadelphia daily news (12/16/1993)

It was great joy being able to add something to my own collection from such a well-known collector as Paul Hill. Acquiring the Hank Sauer game-used cleats for such a low price made it even better.

Hobby Evolution Episode 26 – Opinions on Baseball Card Grading

Grading trading cards has been a hot topic over the past year with trimming allegations, certain graders getting preferential grades, and the latest is PSA potentially cutting off bulk subs.

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I have never submitted a trading card to be graded. Grading is another avenue for collectors in the hobby. In today’s episode of Hobby Evolution I’ll offer my take on grading and what I may eventually sub in the near future.

Recapping Recent Cubs Maildays

It’s been a whirlwind in the One Million Cubs Project during the month of August. A few big maildays have arrived that have pushed the Cubs baseball card count closer and closer to the halfway point.

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The 2020 Cubs card goal is 500,000 in the collection. The halfway mark to a milestone. As of this writing, I still have a large flat rate box of Cubs to count and my collection sits at 483,822. That number will be close to 490,000 by the end of August, and hopefully the goal of 500,000 Cubs baseball cards will be reached by the time of the fourth quarter of 2020 hits.

Here some hits from recent maildays. Glenn in Connecticut sent about 50 Cubs cards including a 2019 Allen & Ginter jersey relic of Willson Contreras.

I purchased a pair of medium flat rate boxes from the Blowout Forums from Jerry in Illinois. The two boxes added up to be around 5,700 Cubs cards.

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In the latest box he added several Javier Baez cards and some Kris Bryant cards including a few of these Diamond Prospects from 2013.

Another mailday brought in a 2019 Topps Heritage mini David Bote numbered 27/100.

I’m a sucker for vintage looking Donruss Diamond Kings….

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Especially when they feature Javier Baez.

From 2007 Topps Turkey Red, an Alfonso Soriano game used bat relic.

A 2019 Panini Ascension Mark Zagunis numbered 12/50.

Tom sent a bunch of Cubs cards including some Rediscover Topps and Topps buyback cards.

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The 1988 Topps Manny Trillo is a silver foil stamp.

A bronze foil stamp on this 2006 Topps Jacque Jones.

There were two vintage Topps buyback cards from different years.

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A 1962 Topps buyback of Bob Will commemorating 50 years in 2011.

And a Topps Original stamped in 2015 of the 1971 Topps Jim Colborn.

Finally, John in Berwyn, Illinois always surprises me with some awesome mail days. He continues to outdo himself, as well.

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Take a look at this beauty he sent: 2020 Topps Inception Nico Hoerner rookie autograph numbered 204/245.

It’s been an interesting year, and I didn’t know if the project could build momentum amid the pandemic. But, it’s been full steam ahead and that 2020 goal is in sight.

2020 Topps Chrome Cubs Hits

The Topps Chrome craze is upon, but buyer beware. Topps Chrome typically does not sustain value. It is a fun product to open at or shortly after release.

Upon release, I missed finding Topps Chrome at the first Target store I visited, but was able to catch the vendor at the second store. By the time I arrived, the vendor was at the service desk with a Target employee handing out boxes to collectors.

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There was a line of six guys in front of me and the store was limiting quantity to one each of Topps Chrome and Panini Chronicles basketball cards. I was able to secure a blaster box, hanger box, and fat pack of Topps Chrome.

The following week I stopped at a Wal-Mart store that appeared to be recently stocked and there was five blasters and eight fat packs (with the pink refractors) of Topps Chrome.

It’s a difficult decision for me deciding which 1980’s Topps design I like better. Is it 1985? Or is it 1987? For the sake of this blog post, today I’m going with the 1985 Topps design, and the inserts in Chrome are beautiful. Here’s the Nico Hoerner rookie from the insert set in Topps Chrome.

Pink or Sepia? Which is your choice? My vote goes to the pink refractors. I just think they have a sharper look than the sepia refractors. I was able to pull a pair of Javier Baez pink refractors.

And a Kris Bryant pink refractor.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pull any Cubs sepia refractors. It seems like the odds are much better in the 2020 Topps Chrome product to pull the black and white negative refractors.

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In my haul, I hit on three of them including Jose Altuve and Carlos Santana. But…my favorite is this one…

And finally, I was able to get a base refractor of Anthony Rizzo.

Now, here’s why I love retail over hobby. Again…that’s if you are lucky enough to find retail trading cards instead of empty shelves. My retail buy was six blaster boxes, nine value packs, and one hanger box. My total spend was $240.

A hobby box of 2020 Topps Chrome will run you $275. One hobby box guarantees two autographs and you will receive 96 cards (24 packs with four cards per pack).

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My retail spend of $240 netted two autographs (Travis Lakins refractor auto /499 and Logan Allen base auto) and a total of 352 cards.

This week’s release is Topps Archives, and I am really hoping to find some. It’s a really fun product to open.

Have You Found Cards at Retail? If So, You’re Lucky

The hobby has exploded. Baseball cards, football cards, and basketball cards have not been this popular since the waning days of the junk wax era in the early 1990’s.

A lot has changed in the hobby in the past 30 years. What hasn’t changed is certain products get really hot and hard to find. These days that seems like almost every product pumped out by Topps and Panini.

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“The next couple weeks are going to be rough. Nine sports card releases are coming out,” my local Excell card vendor recently told me with a look of defeat in his eyes.

Distributors like Excell (Target’s card vendor) and MJ Holdings (Wal-Mart’s card vendor) are making a lot of money. Card companies are making a lot of money. Target and Wal-Mart are making a lot of money. And collectors and flippers that are lucky enough to get these products can turn around and sell….and make a lot of money.

On the day I had my conversation with the card vendor, I had just completed a purchase for some new Panini Chronicles basketball boxes and packs. But…this particular Target store limited quantity, and that was the only reason I was lucky enough to land these cards.

Limited quantity is something this vendor says is on Target management and they made the decision to limit quantity on the basketball cards since the store had less product with a lot of customers already waiting for the vendor to scoop them up.

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That particular day I was in search of Topps Chrome baseball cards to rip open myself, but they had already been scooped up as soon as the vendor opened the boxes. My consolation was the basketball cards and for a total of $180 of unopened product, I was able to flip that for $1,000 even in gross sales. Taking out fees and shipping, it was still a net profit of several hundred dollars.

Have you found any of the hot retail packs and boxes this year? If you have, count yourself as lucky. In most stores, if you are not there at the same time the vendor arrives to stock you’ll be out of luck.

Many people have speculated that vendors are making back door deals with flippers. I don’t believe that to be the case at all. What I do believe is happening is Target and Wal-Mart employees have an eye out for the card vendor and alert friends in turn clearing the shelves in quick fashion.

At a card show earlier this year a dealer that was set up was bragging to another dealer that he “has connections” at several Wal-Mart stores and “pays them well.” So, yes that happens.

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Collectors also track vendor routines. For the most part, the vendors do not have a concrete schedule, and it varies store-by-store and by vendors. But, in some cases they do stock the same store on the same day around the same time.

If you spot a vendor stocking, check back the following week on the same day around the same time and you may find it is part of their stocking schedule. That has largely been the case with stores near me. And with the large increase of people actively searching for cards and the vendor…

There is some competition out there. If your local Target and Wal-Mart are never stocked with cards…chances are collectors got to the vendor quickly and wiped the shelves. What are your thoughts on the scarcity of cards at retail? Drop a comment below.

Reviewing Ebay Managed Payments

Ebay rolled out its Managed Payments platform last year to a test audience. That roll out continues, and it will likely be in effect for all eBay sellers by the end of the year.

Managed Payments was very concerning to me based on the types of items I sell in my eBay Store. A majority of my items for sale are low dollar cards (less than $5) that are shipped (free) using plain white envelopes (PWE).

You may be wondering how I can make any profit selling dollar cards with all the fees. I transitioned my PayPal account to a micropayments account where the fees are 5% of the gross sale plus $0.05. The standard PayPal fees are 2.9% of the gross sale plus $0.30 per transaction. That thirty cents is a killer on $1 and $2 sales.

With eBay’s Managed Payments everything fees related is on one platform. The fee structure is the standard final value fee (in my case for sports cards – 11.5%) plus a $0.30 transaction fee.

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That transaction fee scared me based on many of my items listed for $0.99 with free shipping. On a single $0.99 sale I am paying $0.41 in fees plus the cost of envelope, stamp, and top loader/penny sleeve. On average, my net profit on a single 99-cent sale is 15 cents ($0.41 in fees, $0.38 in stamps, and roughly $0.05 for top loader/penny sleeve). This article outlines how I am paying 38 cents on stamps and a PWE.

My goal isn’t to make 100 separate 99-cent transactions. It is to capture repeat buyers that will grab multiple 99-cent items and that increases my margins.

Before signing up for eBay Managed Payments in July, I ran the numbers for a one-month time frame and showed me roughly an equal amount in fees between micropayments and Managed Payments. My Managed Payments account went live on July 28, and now I have 13 full days of numbers to study.

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I was shocked by the results.

Before I show the cold hard numbers, allow me to lay out what sold in this snap shot in time. This represents 320 transactions over the 13-day period. Of those 320 transactions, 116 of them were single 99-cent sales. The average transaction was $6.48.

Managed PaymentsMicropaymentsStandard Paypal
$238.92$358.37$394.79

In just 13 days, I saved $119.45 in fees using eBay Managed Payments over PayPal’s Micropayments. The savings is bigger under the standard PayPal account – $155.87.

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How Does eBay Managed Payments Work?

You must have a bank account set up in your eBay account to use Managed Payments. That was annoying at first, because I wanted to keep my incoming card money separate from my checking account. I opened up a separate checking account, and it has been smooth. Your money no longer goes into your PayPal account. You will have to set up your bank account associated with Managed Payments to transfer from bank to PayPal.

Can You Still Use PayPal?

Yes. Your payments from sales will not go to PayPal. You will have to transfer from bank to PayPal. Can you use PayPal as a buyer, still? Yes. Managed Payments accepts PayPal, bank account, credit cards, etc.

Is My Money Available Right Away?

No. This is the biggest drawback to eBay Managed Payments. It takes about 24 to 36 hours to clear in your account. Then it is transferred to your bank account the next business day. Monday through Thursday it’s typically available the next day, but anything sold Friday through Sunday will not be in your bank account until Monday or Tuesday.

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Can I Pay For Postage From Managed Payments?

Yes. You actually can choose between your Managed Payments account or PayPal to buy postage for the items you sell.

Final Thoughts

Saving money on fees is the biggest plus I have seen from eBay Managed Payments during the first two weeks in the program. Another positive is having all of your fees paid for immediately. No more sitting on eBay fees until the 15th of every month and then being hit with a month-long eBay Fees bill. The biggest drawback is that it can take days before your money reaches your bank account. Overall, I am a big fan of eBay Managed Payments.

Orlando Cubs 1996 Picture Packs

Cubs baseball cards trickled in throughout last week, and only one package was delivered over the weekend.

On occasion while laying on the couch watching TV, I’ll check out eBay with the search term, “Cubs.” Typically it will be an ending soonest search to see if I can grab any deals.

One such search found something that doesn’t come up for sale too often. Minor league items are something I enjoy, and a 1996 Orlando Cubs picture pack was up for bid. The starting bid was $2.99 plus $3.99 shipping, and I was able to win the item at that price – $6.98 shipped.

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The item arrived and it was exactly what I expected. There were not many big names on the 1996 Orlando Cubs roster, a Double A affiliate. Among names that reached the major leagues you may recognize: Jeremi Gonzalez and Kevin Orie. Those are the biggest names. A few others reached the big leagues like Justin Speier, Chris Petersen, Hector Ortiz, and a few others suited up for just a couple games like Scott Bullett and Steve Trachsel.

Jeremi Gonzalez was one of the five players featured in this picture pack. His name was eventually spelled, Geremi, nine years after his MLB debut when he was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gonzalez debuted with the Cubs on May 27, 1997, and won 11 games his rookie campaign. He played seven seasons in MLB over nine years with the Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and Brewers.

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Fun fact: Gonzalez was the pitcher on the mound for the Devil Rays in 2003 when Sammy Sosa was found using a corked bat.

Sadly, Gonzalez passed away in 2008 after getting struck by lightning in his native Venezuela.

Hector Ortiz also made the big leagues appearing in just under 100 games for the Kansas City Royals (1998, 2000-01) and Texas Rangers (2002). After his playing career, Ortiz became a coach and spent time in the Rangers and Cleveland Indians minor league system. Ortiz has also served as the big league first base coach for the Texas Rangers.

Jason Maxwell had a cup of coffee with the Chicago Cubs in 1998, making his debut on September 1. He would later play for the Minnesota Twins in 2000 and 2001. Maxwell is now a high school baseball coach in Tennessee.

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The next name may sound familiar, but it’s likely not from his baseball playing days. Mark Kingston is the head baseball coach at the University of South Carolina where he led the Gamecocks to a NCAA Super Regional in 2018.

Kingston was a catcher in the Cubs minor league system from 1993 through 1996. The 1996 campaign marked his last organized professional baseball season. This past spring would have been Kingston’s third year as head coach at South Carolina. His college head coaching stints also include Illinois State (2010-2014) and South Florida (2015-2017).

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Harold Williams was drafted three times. He was a 31st round pick by the Montreal Expos out of high school in 1989. Williams was taken in the 33rd round in 1992 by the Oakland Athletics, but returned to the University of West Alabama. After his senior season at West Alabama in 1993, Williams was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 26th round.

Williams played his first three full seasons of pro baseball in the White Sox organization, then split the 1996 campaign between the Cubs and White Sox. He reached Triple A with the Iowa Cubs in 1997, and that marked his last year in organized pro baseball.