Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Bowman Blaster

Taking a break from all of the Connor Wong and Masataka Yoshida posts (I had no idea the last week has been nothing but those two players).  Not that I'm complaining of course.  This is the second Bowman blaster I have bought, the first one produced absolutely nothing interesting.  This was a significantly better break, not just because of the Red Sox, but there were several other intriguing cards pulled that could be used as trade bait.  But that is not what this is about.

Here are the Red Sox:

1.  Brayan Bello.  Bello really looks like he is coming into his own right now.  There have been some hiccups, but he looks like a solid starting pitcher with the chance to develop into a star.

2.  Marcelo Mayer.  Definitely my favorite card from the break.  Mayer has been putting up some great numbers this year and looks like he will start to move quickly through the system.  He is now the number five prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America.

3.  Rafael Devers.  Of course I pulled a Devers card.  He is now up to 279 in my collection, 21 to go.

4.  Blaze Jordan.  There are a lot of prospects in this set for Boston, and I might have preferred to get a couple of other ones.  I already have a few Jordan cards and Bowman LOVES him.  We will see what happens with him, but I don't see him as much different than Bobby Dalbec at this point.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I would love to be.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Mercari Wong

In my quest to come up with new places to find cards I need, I discovered Mercari.  Mercari is an online marketplace similar to Ebay covering a wide variety of products.  People post stuff for sale with set prices, though there could be some room to negotiate.  There are some cards on there, but not a great deal of them.  There are some bargains to be had though and I snagged one with this card, which I managed to get for a fraction of what I have seen them go for on Ebay.

This is the Gold parallel from Topps Pristine and it is serial-numbered to 50.  Unfortunately, things have not been much better with Mercari than with Ebay.  I bought two cards on Mercari, and this is the only one of the two I will be getting.  The seller never responded on the other card, despite waiting more than a week and sending multiple messages.  I am not sure why this particular collection has brought so many issues.  I did manage to track down the card somewhere else, but it cost quite a bit more.  Good thing this one was such a good deal.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Topps Now: April 17, 2023

Team Japan won the World Baseball Classic this year primarily on the backs of Shohei Ohtani and Masataka Yoshida.  Ohtani was a known commodity, one of the most unique and talented players in history.  Yoshida was coming in to his first Major League season after the Red Sox signed him in the offseason.  So, the matchup on Patriots Day was hyped up as the first meeting between the two Team Japan stars stateside.  Unfortunately, it did not really live up to expectations.

It was a cold and rainy day.  Ohtani was dealing for the first couple of innings, but only pitched two due to a lengthy rain delay.  Yoshida came to bat against him in the first.  He was in the midst of his slump though and struck out swinging.  He was hitless in five plate appearances, walking once.  Ohtani had two hits in five at-bats, scoring a run and getting caught stealing by Reese McGuire.  He pitched two innings, giving up a run, walking one and striking out three.

Boston lost the game 5-4.  Kutter Crawford did a nice job keeping the game close, coming on in relief of Brayan Bello, who was making his season debut.  Rafael Devers had two hits with a double for the offense.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Prove You Wong

Today's song reference is from NY crossover thrashers Prong.  I saw Prong in concert a few years back as one of the opening acts for Sepultura and Testament.  All three bands were extremely important to me in high school.  

Up first is the Topps Gypsy Queen Black and White parallel.  The team logo stands out as the only color on the front of this card.  This card is serial-numbered to 50.

I have to say I REALLY like this card.  This is the Topps Chrome Aqua Wave Refractor card, serial-numbered to 199.  The color and pattern is very striking here.

This is the Panini Capstone Blue parallel.  I have said this a lot, but it bears repeating, catcher cards in Panini sets really look great.  You almost would not know there is no Major League license.  

This is the Select Red Disco parallel and is one of the insane parallel variations available by Panini.  

These two cards came together, along with a second copy of the first card.  I think I have determined that the first card is the rookie variation of the base Mosaic card, one I still do not have, but should have gotten earlier.  I will have to re-buy it.  The reason I think it is the rookie variation is that it has a big "V" on the back of the card underneath the "Prizm".  It also has a different photo on the front.  The second card is the Red and Yellow Fusion parallel.

Saving the best card for last today.  This is the Panini Chronicles Contenders Fame Ticket Autograph.  This card is serial-numbered to just five and is my rarest autograph card to date.

That is it for now.  There are more to come soon.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Topps Now: April 3, 2023

On April 3, 2023, Masataka Yoshida crushed his first Major League home run.  It came in the first inning of a game that Boston's pitching staff would eventually blow.  Despite the loss, Yoshida was the big story.  All offseason, skeptics opined that Yoshida's bat would not carry over into the Major Leagues, and in particular, his power.  Yet his first home run was clobbered to the opposite field.  Yoshida would go into a slump after that home run though and it would take a little bit of time before he would be able to get going again.  Luckily, he did start hitting again.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Topps Now: March 30, 2023


Opening Day for the Red Sox was not great.  Corey Kluber started the game and was mostly terrible, as he has been for most of the season.  He was uncharacteristically wild throughout the game.  He walked four batters and gave up five runs in 3.1 innings.  Boston went on to lose the game 10-9 as Ryan Brasier and Kaleb Ort also struggled.

The offense though had a good game.  Masataka Yoshida in his Major League debut knocked a couple of base hits in the game, scored once and drove in one.  He was the biggest highlight for the team, though Alex Verdugo tripled to lead off the season for Boston and both Christian Arroyo and Rafael Devers contributed doubles.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Wong Way Back from Hell

Off of Danzig's second album.

So here we go again:

I am excited about this one.  This is the 1987 Chrome Blue Refractor and is serial-numbered to 150.  It is my first parallel from this card.

This is the Black & White Mini Diamond Refractor from Topps Chrome.  Yet another example of there being far too many random parallels.  I am not complaining about adding a bunch more Connor Wong cards, but it is almost impossible to collect everything as a team collector.

This is also my first parallel of the Bowman Sterling card.  This is the Speckle Refractor.  It was listed on Ebay wrong, listed as the Mini Diamond Refractor, but I figured it out before I bought it based on the serial numbering.

Up next is the Red Dragon Prizm.  I already had the Green Dragon Prizm.  Are they just throwing darts at things or what here?

I was originally supposed to get two cards in this trade on TCDB, but the Stadium Club Chrome base card came in as a freebie in another order.  So this trade ended up being just the Topps Gallery Rainbow Foil card.  Not that I am complaining.

I was starting to worry about this TCDB trade.  It took more than two weeks to get it in.  That would have been devastating as this is easily my favorite trade I have worked out of those focusing on Wong.  The first card is the Logofractor Future Stars Green parallel, serial-numbered to 99.  The second card is the Panini Chronicles Contenders Optic Pink Pulsar parallel.  It was really good to add two rarer parallels in one deal.  

That's it for now.  More to come, but not nearly as many.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Topps Now: April 23, 2023

I have mentioned before that I am very excited about Masataka Yoshida.  Ever since he was signed, I have been excited.  His signing was maligned in the press and on social media, but I was always excited about it.  Other than a little slump, he has proven to be everything he was touted to be, and more.  His biggest game though was on April 23.

That day, Yoshida had two hits, both in the same inning.  And both were home runs.  He drove in six runs, because one of those home runs was a grand slam.  Boston ended up winning the game by a score of 12-5.  This was somewhat early in his resurgence after the slump.  He kept getting better from there.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Wong Turn

No heavy metal reference today.  This is a horror movie reference.

Let's get into this:

This buy was supposed to be limited to just the card on the right end.  This is the Panini Chronicles Contenders Optic Cracked Ice Blue card.  That's a mouthful.  This card is serial-numbered to just 25.  The seller included a bunch of extras, of which two were new.  The first one is the Miguel Bleis Chrome Prospect card from 2023 Bowman.  This is my first Bleis card.  Bleis came into the season as Boston's #3 prospect, but is now #2 since Triston Casas is no longer a prospect.  Bleis looks like a five-tool player.  The second card is the Stadium Club Chrome base card, which I had coming in another package, but this is fine too.

Up next is the Donruss Optic Pandora Prizm.  This card is serial-numbered to 99.

This one is different.  This is yet another one from Panini Chronicles, but this is the Origins Silver Signature.  This one is numbered to 49 and is my first variation from this particular card.

Here is yet another Optic parallel.  This is the Spirit of '76 Prizm, serial-numbered to, of course, 76.  There are a number of patriotic parallels from this set.  

This is the Sepia parallel from Stadium Club.  I still need to track down the rookie variation of the Stadium Club card, the one with the 1992 design.  I did not realize that would be that hard to find.

Another new one.  Sort of.  This is the Cherry Blossoms parallel from Topps Japan.  It is my first Topps Japan card in my Wong collection.  This is yet another variation of the flagship set, other than the Japanese flag in the right corner.  This card is serial-numbered to 99 and is at least a very interesting parallel.

Here is the Bowman Chrome Yellow Refractor autograph.  This is numbered to 75 and was another card I had on watch that suddenly disappeared after his big game.  He has been in a bit of a slump since, unfortunately.  

Here is another of those patriotic parallels from Optic.  When I bought this card, the seller listed it as a Candy Cane parallel.  It is actually the Freedom Prizm parallel.  It is serial-numbered to 46.

This is the Gray Frame parallel from Panini Diamond Kings, still one of my favorite sets for Wong cards.

And finally, this is the Fuchsia parallel from Bowman.  I think.  I'm pretty sure.

There are still a number of Wong cards to go, but I am getting frustrated with sellers not sending cards or not being able to find stuff.  I do not what is going on, but I have had two cancelled orders, one item that I had to file an Item Not Received claim, and have been currently waiting more than a week to hear from another seller.  I am a bit OCD when it comes to collecting and I cannot stand planning to receive cards and then not getting them.  I have never had this many problems all at one time before.  And some of these cards I have not been able to find again so far and are rare.  That has put a damper on my enthusiasm for this collection.  I am trying to get out of the funk, but not getting those cards has been frustrating.

Monday, May 22, 2023

SCF Trades

The very first trading forum I joined was Sports Card Forum.  I still go back there frequently.  It just seems so user-friendly.  I had not been back there in a few years though, so I decided to take a chance and get a couple of deals going with an eye on my Connor Wong collection.  

Here is the first one:

Obviously, the Finest Autograph of Wong is the big highlight in this trade.  But it also nabbed me a J.D. Martinez insert from Finest that was on my wantlist.  Martinez likely popped out or flied out in this picture, hence the carrying the bat and looking up.

Here is the second trade:

Again, the Wong is the highlight, and this is the White Wave Prizm from, of course, Prizm.  But the other cards are nothing to sneeze at.  The first Ortiz and the Devers are both from the Juan Soto curated Topps X set.  And the other Ortiz is a really cool die-cut.  I love the Diamond Greats insert set.  I still have a couple more to grab.  

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Starting to Slow Down

I am starting to get fully caught up on the incoming Wong cards.  There are still a fair number to go, but now that the COMC order and a lot of the Ebay and trades are in, I am starting to run out of incoming cards.  Maybe that just means I need to buy more.

Anyway, here is the next batch:

Up first is the Topps Gallery Printer Proof parallel.  This is a card I acquired in a trade on TCDB.  I have had a reasonable amount of luck grabbing cards through their transaction system.  I find it to be very user-friendly.

Up next is the Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor autograph.  It is sort of odd that Wong did not appear in any Bowman sets with the Red Sox until 2022.  He was a top 20 prospect in the Red Sox system since he was acquired in the Betts deal.

This is the Burnt Umber parallel from Gypsy Queen.  I have to admit, that is not a color parallel I thought I would ever see in a set.

Here is the Blue Camo from Panini Mosaic.  I am a little frustrated right now because I bought a Fluorescent Orange parallel from this set recently, but the Ebay seller never sent it.  Multiple attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful.  He just seems to have stopped complying with sales.  I am not the only one.  The problem is that card was pretty rare.  I have yet to find another one.  I also bought a Heritage Red Border, but that seller could not find the card and refunded me.  That's another card I have yet to find again.  

This is the Hobby Foilboard parallel.  I believe these were inserted in small packages in complete sets.  Or something like that.  Keeping track of all of these things is difficult.

This is a new one.  This is my first card from Absolute.  The signature here is on a manufactured piece of leather designed to look like a part of a glove.  Definitely one of the more unique items in my Wong collection.

Up next is the Panini Diamond Kings DK Signature Materials Purple.  I am not sure what exactly these patches are.  They appear to be some sort of laundry tag.  Or something.  The card is numbered to just 20.  Diamond Kings is still one of my favorite sets and I love adding stuff from that set to this collection.

One of the cards on my watchlist that disappeared after Wong's great game early in May was this Green Refractor of the Logofractor autograph.  I had three copies of it watched and they were all gone.  I saw another one or two the next day and those were bought up too.  It took about a week for a new one to show up and rather than putting it on watch and waiting, I just grabbed it.  This is a great card because it is a photo that has not appeared anywhere else yet.  There are so few of those.

Closing things out for today is the rarest card of the post.  This Panini Prizm Gold is serial-numbered to just ten.  Price was decent too for a rare card.

That's it for now.  More to come, but not nearly as many.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Panini Trade

I know this is not necessarily the prevailing opinion, but I actually liked Panini.  I would have preferred if they had a Major League license of course, but it was nice to have other options.  Topps keeps rehashing the base set.  Yeah, Panini tended to overuse photos (particularly evidenced in my Connor Wong collection), but that's not exclusive to them.

So, this trade had four Panini cards out of the five total.

1.  Trevor Story.  This is the Blue Camo parallel from Panini Mosaic.  Story has been making strides toward returning early from his injury.  Boston could use his defense.

2.  Jarren Duran.  One of the biggest stories on the team this year is the resurgence of Duran.  His speed was never in doubt, but he is having an excellent season at the plate.

3.  Rafael Devers.  His average is not great so far, but his power numbers have been impressive.

4.  Rafael Devers.

5.  Tyler McDonough.  McDonough is currently the #31 prospect in the Red Sox system.  He is a good defensive player who can play a variety of positions.  Unfortunately, there are several similar players in the system.

Friday, May 19, 2023

The Connors

I have never actually watched that show, but that's the reference I am using today.

The 2022 Stadium Club Gold Refractor popped up with a surprisingly low Buy It Now price, so I snagged it right away.  Some of Wong's stuff has been selling for significantly higher than it was when I first started.  Considering that has only been a couple of weeks, it has been pretty shocking.  I did not want to take a chance on this card.  The seller tossed in this Xander Bogaerts card, which I also needed, so hey, free Xander.

Wong card number two today is the Red Mojo Prizm parallel of the Donruss Optic autograph.  I used to love the Rated Rookie subset in Donruss sets.  It's great that they brought that logo back when Donruss returned.

And for the last card of the day, this is my first variation of the Panini Mosaic Rookie Autograph.  This is the Silver Mosaic version.  I grabbed this the night that Wong had his 4-for-4 day with the two home runs.  Several of the cards I had been watching were snatched up that night by other people, so I decided to grab something else.

As usual, much more to come.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Real One Auto Trade

I had a couple of nice autographs I pulled from packs, an Ozzie Smith and a Joe Carter Fan Favorites.  I was kind of sad to see those cards leave, especially the Smith.  I was a pretty big fan of Smith when I first started watching baseball. But, I managed to work out a deal I was very excited about.

1.  Adrian Gonzalez.  This is the Real One Autograph from 2012 Topps Heritage.  It is my first Adrian Gonzalez autograph and was the key card in the trade.  I always like The Real One autos, but I have rarely added them.  Getting one of A-Gon, who was such a great player for Boston in 2011 is a big deal.

2.  Tanner Houck.  Another The Real One autograph, this one from 2021 Topps Heritage.  This is also my first Houck auto, and I did not have any relics or anything else for him either.

3.  Darwinzon Hernandez.  This is also my first Hernandez auto.  I always thought he had big potential that he could never quite grasp because he could not throw strikes reliably.

4.  Jed Lowrie.  This is not my first Lowrie auto, but I do not have a lot of him.  He was a decent utility player for Boston for a few years and had some very good years after being traded away.

5.  Pedro Martinez.  This was kind of a throw-in, but is a decent insert.

6.  Adam Ottavino.  This was also a throw-in, but it's just my second card of Ottavino.  He was a decent reliever at times during his only season with the Red Sox.

7.  Ted Wills.  Finally, another The Real One Autograph, this time the Red Ink version from 2011.  Wills was with Boston for parts of four seasons, pitching in 42 games with a 6.09 ERA and had a save and a 6-9 record.  It goes without saying, this is also my first Wills auto.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Two Wongs Don't Make a Right (But They Make Me Feel a Whole Lot Better)

That there is a Suicidal Tendencies reference.  Off of the band's 1987 sophomore album.  The crossover/thrash metal band was one I discovered by accident.  My dad found a bag full of cassette tapes by a lake and brought them home when I was young.  This album was included.  It was the only metal album in there.  I saw them in concert a few years back as well.

Anyway, enough of Suicidal Tendencies.  Here are a couple more Connor Wong cards.

The first card is the Purple Speckle Refractor Autograph from Topps Chrome.  I got a decent deal on this one I thought.

And this is the Pink Velocity Prizm card from Donruss Optic.  This was acquired in a trade that I proposed on TCDB.  I have gotten a couple of trades worked out there.  I am trying to work out a few more, but have not had much luck lately.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

COMC (Check Out My Connors) Order

Early on in moving toward the Connor Wong collection, I decided to place an order on COMC to get a bunch of the lower-end cards I needed, primarily base and low-end parallels.  It was a way to jumpstart the collection.  Unfortunately, it took quite awhile to get in.  No big deal.  This order was originally for 37 cards, but I ended up getting five of them in lots or other deals.  This is undoubtedly the largest single influx of a single player in my Red Sox collection.  There may have been some Sandy Alomar Jr. packages that came close.

So, here is the COMC order:

Highlights here include the Diamond Kings Blue Artist's Proof, Select Tri-Color Prizm and Gypsy Queen Green cards.  I am an unashamed fan of the Diamond Kings set.  The Gypsy Queen cards were my first for that set for Wong.  

Here, I have the Royal Blue parallel from Topps, the Opening Day Blue Foil, the Purple Pattern from Bowman (which is one of the few serial-numbered cards in this package) and the base Ben Baller card.  I still do not understand that set.  

The big one here is the Topps Silver Pack 1987 Chrome Mojo card.  This is my first version of this card.  There is also the Logofractor Future Stars card, Topps Chrome Pink Refractor and Red Frame Diamond King.  

And for the last scan, the big ones are the Pristine Purple Refractor, Topps Green Foil and Panini Chronicles Rookies and Stars.  

This order pushed my total number of Connor Wong cards above 100 and put me firmly in second place on TCDB.  I am coming for that number one spot.