Eugene Emeralds Post-Christmas Sale

Minor league websites are a great place to find cheap minor league team sets. And many teams have blowout sales on old sets that can be had much cheaper than eBay or dealers that sell minor league sets.

Just after Christmas someone on Twitter turned me on to a Eugene Emeralds team store sale. It was a 50% off sale, and they had team sets!

I have picked up some other organizational team sets the past few months, but had not bought Eugene, yet. Perfect timing. I stocked my cart with two sets from 2016, 2017, and 2018.

The box arrived Friday, and they made a mistake on my order. However, it was a mistake I’ll live with because I received a 2015 set, instead of two 2018 sets. So, instead of two each from 2016, 2017, and 2018, I received one each of 2015 and 2018, and two each of the 2016 and 2017 as ordered.

This mistake made me happy because the 2015 set was needed, and it features some nice talent, like Ian Happ.

Eloy Jimenez!

And Adbert Alzolay.

The 2016 set doesn’t feature any big name prospects…except for one, and it’s a PC player: Dylan Cease.

Miguel Amaya is the top prospect in the 2017 set.

Aramis Ademan is another big name in 2017.

By 2017 and 2018 the Eugene team sets had increased to 43 cards each year. The 2016 set was 40 cards, and the 2015 release was just 36 cards.

Most of the 2018 cards are players drafted in the June 2018 draft, including first rounder Nico Hoerner.

Since 2019 is the year of organization in my project, I am still a bit undecided where the minor league sets fit within those plans. The major league cards (and the mainstream minor league issues such as Heritage Minors and Pro Debut) will be sorted alphabetically by player last name. At this time, I’ll be keeping one team set together and putting them in binders. If I have multiple sets, I may keep them sorted separately as team sets as opposed to alphabetizing. With that in mind, I’ll likely pull players who reached the major leagues and enter into those player collections.

One Million Cubs Project Stats

Friday’s (1/4/2019) Cards: 288

Friday’s (1/4/2019) Packages: 1

January Cubs Count: 699

Total Trades (2019): 2

Trade States of Origin: Connecticut, New Jersey

Dylan Cease and a Box from New Jersey

A new Dylan Cease card and a box of Cubs arrived Thursday. In all, 368 Cubs were added to the collection.

The new Dylan Cease card was an eBay purchase. It’s a 2017 Bowman Platinum green parallel numbered 21/99.

A box from Josh in New Jersey featured 367 cards. This box was filled with mostly 1990’s Upper Deck. In a previous blog I’ve featured some Upper Deck cameos of Cubs on other players cards. The 1993 Upper Deck #612 Rey Sanchez has a cameo of Larry Walker. Walker is piling up Hall of Fame votes this year and is projected to be close to the 75% threshold.

Wrigley Field ivy in the background and Andre Dawson sandwiching the ivy and Fernando Ramsey on this 1993 Upper Deck card of the latter.

Turk Wendell was probably the most superstitious baseball player in the game’s history. Baseball card companies picked up on it and would feature these quirks on his cards, including his brushing his teeth between innings on this 1992 Upper Deck.

This is just a great photo of Scott Bullett on his 1997 Collectors Choice card.

The 1994 Upper Deck Sammy Sosa card is probably my favorite Sosa card. And that’s a tall task because of my disdain for horizontal cards. I just really like the angle and the ominous sky in the background. The card makes him look like a giant, and in short time he would become a baseball giant. I began to dislike Sammy at the end of his Cubs run, but you can’t forget what he did to Chicago baseball, and the game in general. Sosa was a big part of why I became a baseball fan again in 1998 after completely losing me in 1994. I hope Sammy and the Cubs can reconcile soon.

One Million Cubs Project Stats

Thursday’s (1/3/2019) Cards: 368
Thursday’s (1/3/2019) Packages: 2
January’s Card Count: 411
Total Trades (2019): 2
Trade States of Origin: Connecticut, New Jersey

New Year, New Cubs

I received a $200 EBay gift card for Christmas, and went shopping shortly thereafter. The goods are rolling in.

A large chunk was spent on a dozen ROMLBs. They are not new rather, batting practice balls. The sweet spots are clean and I’ll be using these for the upcoming Cubs Convention.

My first trade package of 2019 came courtesy of Gary in Connecticut. By the way, with the new year I’ll be closing trades and project statistics closer than last year, thanks to an idea from Miguel Sano super collector Jenny (see below).

This is my second trade with Gary, and I’ll be shipping some Yankees to the east coast. Side note: I’ve always wanted to visit the northeastern states. It’s a vacation my wife and I have discussed multiple times. I’ve never been further than Pennsylvania to the northeast (which isn’t very far northeast!). Maybe 2019 we schedule that trip.

First thought on Gary’s package. The top loaders are a huge bonus. I never buy the thick top loaders because I buy standard top loaders in bulk, and don’t use enough of the thick ones (for relics, etc.), but I do use them. So when they arrive in purchases and trades it’s always an incentive!

Some sweet new additions were inside this package. A Willson Contreras home run challenge card.

My guy! Javy Baez die-cut action from 2014 Bowman Platinum.

My first serial numbered Topps Big League card. A Kyle Schwarber numbered 82/100. Look at that beautiful green ivy in the background.

Red and flashy here. Starlin Castro Panini Prizm From 2013.

What could have been. Josh Donaldson 2007 TriStar Pro Debut.

And I’ll throw this in the collection, even though Arrieta was a Baltimore Oriole at the time. Neither Baltimore nor Orioles are named on the front so it fits my collection as a Cub.

On to the eBay purchases. Found an Aramis Ademan 2018 Bowman’s Best Autograph on the cheap.

And even a Nico Hoerner autograph from Bowman’s Best at a good price. My guess is that in the next couple weeks I can find these at lower prices because the product will be a few weeks old, and spring training is a month away, still.

Another Cole Roederer added to the collection. This is my first Roederer Elite Extra Edition serial numbered autograph. It’s 90/100.

The last package was a lot of (8) 1964 Jays Publishing photos. These are 5×7 photos with blank backs, but I will include these as “cards” for my collection. First up: a coach, Bob Kennedy.

Pitcher Dick Ellsworth.

Another Dick. It’s Bertell.

Bob Buhl.

George Altman often attends the Cubs Convention. If he’s on this year’s list I’ll be taking this to get signed.

I love some of the old school photos because of the backgrounds. This one is my favorite with the water tower behind Larry Jackson.

If only the Cubs could take this one back. The Broglio in the Brock-for-Broglio trade.

Finally, it’s not George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s the Cubs’ Jim Stewart.

One Million Cubs Project Stats

Wednesday’s (1/2/2019) Cards: 43

Wednesday’s (1/2/2019) Packages: 5

January’s Card Count: 43

Total Trades (2019): 1
Trade States of Origin: Connecticut

Being S.M.A.R.T. in 2019

I despise New Year’s Resolutions. The last New Year’s Resolution I made was probably in fifth grade because Mrs. Miller made the class commit for an assignment.

Every January your local gym is filled with eager folks with their resolutions to work out more and lose weight. By mid-February, you get your gym back because 90% of resolutioners (is that a word?) have fallen off the wagon.

I was introduced to S.M.A.R.T. goals in college by a professor in the marketing department. As this year wrapped up and my initial goal of 250,000 Cubs cards was accomplished, a few people asked what the goals were for 2019. After some though the past few weeks I have made a few resol….just kidding. I have made a few S.M.A.R.T. goals.

If you are new to S.M.A.R.T. goals, it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Typically, if you have a goal that doesn’t meet these criteria, you will either struggle to meet your goal, or not meet it at all. Losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. are not S.M.A.R.T. goals. Here are my two main S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2019.

Attain 400,000 Cubs Cards
I rang in 2018 with somewhere around 60,000 Cubs cards. I’ll head into 2019 with just under 253,000 Cubs. That’s a great year. How did I come up with 400,000 as the goal? I feel 500,000 is just a bit more than I feel I can reach in 2019. Plus, I have had a lot of fun talking about the hobby, meeting fellow collectors, and just enjoying the journey that there is no rush to one million. And…

Get Caught Up on Cubs Sorting*
This in itself is not a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but to make it one here is what I mean.

Specific
I have all of my monster boxes alphabetized and sorting Cubs card by player last name and putting them in their designated letter boxes. So, the goal is to have my entire Cubs collection sorted by player last name by the end of the year.

Measurable

The goal for 2019 is 400,000 Cubs cards. I wish to sort (on average) 1,000 Cubs cards per day. In all, that’s 400 days, but I already have about 50,000 cards sorted meaning approximately 350 days will be needed to catch up. This is a realistic goal and it’s time bound, so now it’s a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Those are my goals for 2019. Collect 400,000 Cubs cards and have my Cubs collection completely sorted by January 1, 2020. I also plan to utilize my YouTube channel more this upcoming year. I received a new web cam and tripod for Christmas, so I’ll need to test it out soon.

The next year should be a lot of fun with two big Cubs events planned in January. This coming weekend I’ll be at Club 400 with special guests Joe Pepitone, Leon Durham, Ray Burris, and John Mallee. And then two weeks later is the Cubs Convention!

Bowman Draft and a Box of Maddux

The base from my 2018 Bowman Draft break arrived on Saturday, along with a box of Cubs from Michael in Tennessee.

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There were 24 Cubs base cards in the Bowman Draft break I bought into including eight Nico Hoerner cards.

Five Aramis Ademan.

Four Cole Roederer.

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Four Ezequiel Pagan.

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And just three Brennen Davis.

A box from Tennessee came filled with Greg Maddux and various other cards.

There were a few 2018 Topps Gallery. Three were needed for my collection: Ryne Sandberg, Kris Bryant, and Willson Contreras.

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One Million Cubs Project Stats

Saturday’s (12/29/2018) Cards: 196

Saturday’s (12/29/2018) Packages: 2

Weekly Count: 9,023

Total Count: 252,831

Vintage, Graded, Ryno, and Roederer

Friday’s Cubs mailday was a potpourri and the widest selection of new cards for my collection. Vintage, graded, oddball, and a new Cole Roederer for my PC.

A flat rate box was sent by Dust Hobbies on Twitter, and he added a plethora of new Cubs to my collection.

On top of the box inside was a couple oversized cards. A 1964 Topps Giant Dick Ellsworth and a 1984 Donruss Bill Buckner.

The next layer was a couple graded cards. Jon Garland was the Cubs first round draft pick in 1997, and I was very disappointed when the Cubs shipped him to the south side for Matt Karchner. Not a good deal for the Cubs. This BGS 9 Garland rookie is an awesome addition!

Here’s a reason why I just can’t break through and submit cards for grading. At first glance I see this 1987 Donruss The Rookies Rafael Palmeiro is a PSA 5. Then I look closer. How is this a 5? It looks like a 9 or 10 to me! So, this solidifies that I will not submit any cards for grading.

Denny’s has great breakfast. As I type this out, I am drooling just thinking about their banana walnut pancakes. I digress. Denny’s made a pretty sweet Ryne Sandberg card in 1996. Pretty sure I have a few of these in my collection, and now have 87 more.

A new Sandberg oddball. This is a 1990 Jumbo California Sunflower Seeds.

Another oddball I’ve never seen: Fergie Jenkins 1985 Sports Design Products.

Two Sammy Sosa relics! The one on the right is a piece of an authentic game used base from April 1, 2002 when the Cubs played the Reds. Wow!

Vintage! The box went all the way back to 1960 Topps with Dick Gernert.

This 1970 Topps #649 Jimmie Hall is a new addition.

A few 1971 Topps Cubs including Ron Santo.

Two guys I’m going to meet in a couple weeks at Club 400: Joe Pepitone and Leon Durham.

One of my all-time favorite Cubs cards. 1977 Topps Big League Brothers Rick and Paul Reuschel.

Another new Sosa card.

Mark Prior Diamond Kings From 2003 numbered 236/250.

And my second package was an eBay purchase to add to my Cole Roederer collection. This is a 2018 Bowman Draft Chrome Blue Refractor 155/402.

One Million Cubs Project Stats

Friday’s (12/28/2018) Cards: 325

Friday’s (12/28/2018) Packages: 2

Weekly Count: 8,827

Total Count: 252,635

New Mike Bielecki and Dwight Smith Cards Added to the Cubs Collection

How many baseball card blogs have Mike Bielecki in a title? Sure, Dwight Smith was the runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year for the Cubs in 1989 (won by teammate Jerome Walton), so his name may pop up. But Mike Bielecki?

Thanks to Alex in Aiken, South Carolina for a box filled with 485 Cubs cards including the aforementioned Bielecki and Smith cards.

Before earning 2nd place ROY honors in 1989, Dwight Smith was a 1988 Triple-A All Star with the Iowa Cubs.

So was Mike Bielecki, even though he already had a big league career in his rear view mirror. Bielecki, at one time (and maybe still?) a great TTM (through the mail) autograph signer, played parts of the 1985, 1986, and 1987 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When Alex sent me a picture on Twitter of these All Star cards I was surprised. First, I didn’t realize Bielecki was a Triple-A All Star, and second…I had no idea there was a card commemorating the occasion. Sweet!

Speaking of Rookies of the Year and All Stars….there was a few Kris Bryant (both ROY and AS in his young career) highlights cards from 2018 Topps.

For some reason I didn’t recognize this 2018 Stadium Club Willson Contreras. I’m sure I have a few of these, but I couldn’t help but admire the face smashing Contreras is applying to Trea Turner. I also love Getty Images, because it’s really easy to identify when a photo was taken on a baseball card. Unlike the junk era days when you have to scour box scores to figure out possible photo scenarios.

Another newbie for the collection. This may be a box bottom? It’s from 1987 Topps and it’s Ron Cey.

One other box arrived Thursday from a Sportlots order. I wanted to stock up on Bowman Draft base.

And I did pick up one Dylan Cease for that PC. Only one because he’s now a White Sox.

One Million Cubs Project Stats

Thursday’s (12/27/2018) Cards: 536

Thursday’s (12/27/2018) Packages: 2

Weekly Count: 8,502

Total Count: 252,310

Boxing Day Box from New Jersey

The day after Christmas, Boxing Day, yielded a large box of Cubs cards from Josh in New Jersey.

Inside the large box were three boxes of Cubs totaling 1,449 additional cards to my count.

By the time these 1994-95 Fleer Excel prospect cards of Jayson Peterson and Ozzie Timmons were released, my 12-year old self had drifted to the world of basketball cards.

Upper Deck probably has the best cameos from the 1990’s brands. The 1997 Upper Deck Scott Servais even details the cameo of Cincinnati’s Bret Boone. The 1999 Upper Deck Jeff Blauser pictures Mike Lieberthal at a play at second base.

Topps Gallery has always put out some great cards. This Steve Smyth portrait was painted by artist Frank Scicchitano.

What a cool insert set from 1994 Fleer Ultra. The league’s best firemen (relievers), and a fire truck is in the background of Randy Myers.

I love these 1977 Renata Galasso cards. Here’s Ralph Kiner.

Most of the Broder unlicensed cards of the 1980’s and 1990’s featured Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, and Mark Grace. But even Shawon Dunston was featured.

Another oddball here from 1986 Drake’s Big Hitters of Keith Moreland.

My favorite card of the bunch. 1993 Upper Deck Foundation of Baseball Fergie Jenkins.

One Million Cubs Project Stats

Wednesday’s (12/26/2018) Cards: 1,449

Wednesday’s (12/26/2018) Packages: 1

Weekly Count: 7,966

Total Count: 251,774

Christmas Cubs and Hobby Presents

When asked what I wanted for Christmas, my response was: “Anything Cubs or baseball cards.” When that was met with a side eye, I added, “or an eBay gift card. A web cam for my box breaks….and I could always use socks.” Seriously…I asked for socks.

I must have made the nice list this year, because I was bombarded with everything I asked for…even socks. Since I was about seven my mom has been putting packs of baseball cards in my stocking….even during the years I didn’t collect and they were tossed aside like socks.

Inside my stocking I found a few packs of Topps Series One and Topps Update, Topps Fire, and a couple junk wax packs. After opening them all I came out with eight more Cubs. The Willson Contreras is a rainbow foil and a newbie for my collection.

There were no big hits inside the packs, though there was a Shohei Ohtani Topps Fire parallel and a Juan Soto Topps Fire rookie in that pack. Last year my mom and wife each bought me a Topps complete set. One was the 2016 Topps set, the other from 2017. This year they both bought me a 2018 Topps set, but it will be an easy decision to break one open. One of the sets has the five rookie parallels and the medallion cup.

Some coffee table baseball books were added to my collection including the Sports Illustrated, “Baseball in 100 Photographs” book.

And a book on the American League and 100 Years of Baseball.

It was a great Christmas, and I also got a $200 eBay gift card! Of course that will go to adding some more Cubs cards to the collection.

One Million Cubs Project Stats
Tuesday’s (12/25/2018) Cards: 8
Tuesday’s (12/25/2018) Packages: 0

Weekly Count: 6,517
Total Count: 250,325

Merry Christmas! 250K

Merry Christmas! It’s a special holiday for the One Million Cubs Project.

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Cubs Count: 243,808

On Christmas Eve, the big brown truck (UPS) dropped off a box of Cubs from Matt in Minnesota.

There were plenty of Ryne Sandberg cards inside. Have you ever gone through a box of cards and one or two look completely unfamiliar, yet you probably have some in our collection? That was the case with the 1982 Topps Traded Dan Briggs and Allen Ripley cards.

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Cubs Count: 244,413

A couple hours later I heard the purr of the USPS truck. It was a light mail day with one bubble mailer inside the mail box. It was a pretty nice Mailday, though. Another addition for the Cole Roederer collection: 2018 Leaf Metal Draft autograph 3/15.

Cubs Count: 244,414

About 15 minutes later, my wife says: “the mailman is in our driveway.” That’s odd, so I checked it out to see the mailman lugging two large flat rate boxes and a couple bubble mailers to my door.

One bubble mailer included another Cole Roederer addition, the 2018 Elite Extra Edition orange 41/100.

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Cubs Count: 244,415

The other bubble mailer was the final shipment of the Elite Extra Edition breaks I bought into. This was a 10-box break, and may have been the best of the three.

Only three base cards: D.J. Wilson and a couple Miguel Amaya’s.

It must have been the D.J. Wilson case. Along with the base I pulled a dual auto/relic 10/49, red die-cut auto 17/75, and Aspirations parallel 28/75.

My second Erling Moreno Quad Relic. This was is nicer than the last as it has a bunch of color. Three of the swatches have three colors. It’s numbered 13/49.

An Erling Moreno orange 79/100.

Brennen Davis auto 95/100.

And another Cole Roederer for the collection. This is another base auto.

Cubs Count: 244,425

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And then there were two large flat rate boxes! I had an idea that I was going to hit 250,000 Cubs cards this week because Rick in New Hampshire said he was sending these out. This will be our third trade.

I’m very happy that he gave me the count on these, so I don’t have to spend Christmas morning counting 5,892 Cubs cards. Thanks, Rick!

That’s what two large flat rate gaming boxes of Cubs cards look like.

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Cubs Count: 250,317

One Million Cubs Project Stats

Monday’s (12/24/2018) Cards: 6,509

Monday’s (12/24/2018) Packages: 6

Weekly Count: 6,509

Total Count: 250,317