Stars and Stripes

One of my Christmas gifts from my awesome wife was a box of 2015 Panini Stars and Stripes.


I’ve been a fan of Team USA related stuff for a long time and now that Panini has the license, they’ve been doing some cool things with the brand. The box isn’t very big at 10 packs, 5 cards per pack (50 cards total), but they squeeze in at least 4 hits and a number of parallels. Yes, the players aren’t terribly famous yet, but this is like super-early prospecting, at least in my opinion. Half these guys won’t even get drafted, but there’s a good chance that there’s some early/first cards of eventual MLB players in here. So, let’s see what a box of this stuff has to offer.


Lots of lots from Sportlots

I was trying to update my “want list”, which has quite a few random base cards on it, and I figured Sportlots would be a great place to finish off those checklists. I’ve ordered several times from there, always with good results. They deal mainly in base cards and everything starts at $0.18. In the past you had to specifically search for a card, but they had just added a feature to browse a sellers other cards after something was in your cart. This was awesome, at least for me, because I could add a card to two to maximize my shipping costs. Most sellers would let you add 8-10 cards before the shipping changed.



I started with a set I really liked, but was never able to finish: 2009 O-Pee-Chee. I don’t know why I like this one so much, I just do. It just seems old school. It’s still printed on cardboard, it’s got a simple, retro design, and the checklist is crazy deep. I’m pretty sure there’s a card for everyone on the 25-man roster from 2009, plus a couple others, plus a couple insert sets. I crossed off a huge portion of my list in one big order, but there’s still a few more to find.




Next, about half the team set from 2014 Pro Debut. I had found the other half at a card show and I felt like the set had a strong enough checklist to try and finish it. There were some pretty recognizable names in this one.  Allen Webster, Blake Swihart, Pat Light, Xander Bogaerts and Matt Barnes specifically. Sorry about the random scans, all these cards came from multiple sellers and I just scanned them as they came in.



Just like the 2014 set, the 2015 Pro Debut is pretty solid. Thankfully I had 90% of the set already. Owens was the last Sox cards I needed, and McCullers was an addon for shipping. I figured it might be fun to try and get it signed here in Houston.


2009 UD SP “Authentic Power”, which, sadly, we can probably all agree isn’t really “authentic”. Don’t get me wrong, Manny had the eye for the ball, and the textbook perfect swing, but I wish he had just hit the gym a little more for his power instead of relying on PEDs. Fun guy to watch, but sad what he did to get there. Regardless, still needed the card, and I still collect Manny cards in general. I still need two or three more of these inserts even though I finished the base set years ago.



Here’s a couple just for giggles. Doc Holliday. I can’t believe I never had either of these. There’s an Upper Deck SP somewhere that I did have, and I believe these are the only two other times he’s ever appeared on cardboard. Not that I expected that number to be higher. “Gunslingers of the Wild West” doesn’t really lend itself to baseball cards. I just figured these would be fun to have in my oddballs binder.


Speaking of oddballs, a couple random inserts. I’m not even really sure what sets these were from. They were add-ons when I searched sellers inventories for Sox players. I’m also not quite sure who’s signature that’s supposed to be on the Ortiz card, his autograph looks nothing like that.


A couple Holt cards. The Diamond Kings was just an add on because I only had the one copy (in the team set) and I wanted a second for the player collection. The Stadium Club is a gold-foil version, so I grabbed it just for the sake of it being a parallel that I needed.




As I mentioned last week, I had changed my tune on Topps Chome. After avoiding it last year, I find myself trying to complete the 2015 set. These are about half the inserts I needed. I need one more Chrome Commencement for Mookie Betts, a couple autos, and FOUR “Chrome Culminations” which I’ll never find because they’re apparently “case hits”. How nice.

That’s about it from last months Sportlots order. I think everything in here was less than $10, even after shipping. Sportlots is like those dime boxes at a card show… only online. Love it.


After I showed off that 5/5 mini yesterday, I thought about some of the other minis from 2015. Then I realized I had no idea if I had finished collecting the Ginter or GQ minis this year. I’ve been terrible about keeping track. I have no lists of cards I need for the past year and a half or so. Thankfully, I did have the sense to at least put most of them in binder pages, so it was just a matter of checking.


Now that’s a nice looking page. I’m not really sold on the different colors for the borders for this year. Some work, but some don’t, especially that weird red-brown. I’m also not really sure why they chose that photo for Mookie Betts, it looks completely out of place. Other than that it’s a pretty solid group of minis.

According to the checklist I just need the Shane Victorino SP, which I’m not too terribly concerned about. I’m sure it’ll cross my path at some point.

Mini Masterpiece

I love minis when they’re done right. That started with 2011 Gypsy Queen, which I still believe was a high point for that product, and the start of my infatuation with minis as a whole. They’re always harder to find, but a complete pages of minis is a sight to behold. That’s why I was excited to find out that Diamond Kings had minis in the product. I loved Diamond Kings, it was one of my favorites last year, and I’m still trying to track down several variations, but there’s one I can official cross off the list…


Now that’s a sick mini. In case you’re wondering, it’s like half and inch thick so that the relic has room to fit inside. That also makes it nearly impossible to store in anything, but it’s a small price to pay for awesomeness. I have many Brock Holt cards, but this one is pretty high up there on my list of favorites.

Less Hate for Chrome

I was fairly vocal last year about my disdain for Topps Chrome. I didn’t buy any, I didn’t like it, I was just done with that whole product. I remember having lunch with Sam back in September and discussing Chrome in general and how this year, allegedly, retail was “loaded” and that (factually, not just allegedly) they had moved some of the harder to find colored parallels out of Hobby and into Retail boxes.

I promptly forgot the entire conversation until I was standing in the card isle days later. No blasters to be found, but there were a couple 3-pack hangers. “What the heck”, I thought, “might as well try it.” I liked what I found, then I ran back to the store and bought two more. I officially retract my previous statements about Chrome as a whole. They seem to have made it considerably more interesting again. In a few measly hanger packs, here’s what I found…


Slightly Better Luck

I mentioned the other day how I had some really terrible luck with retail boxes. I nearly swore off retail buying entirely after that fiasco and it wasn’t until a trip right before Christmas that I decided to buy anything again. I had become enamored with those chrome sparkle parallels. I was having bad luck finding a Brock Holt gold parallel and I saw one little blaster and decided to try my luck. It’s a good thing I did.