Thursday, June 30, 2011

Card Show Pickups: Future Orioles Edition

While scouring some of the tables I picked up a few "future" Oriole investment cards. While I'm not a full blown prospector, I do keep up with who's hot in the minors and try to keep their cards around. I mostly just stick to Orioles Prospects though.

My first card I picked up was this year's 6th round pick, Nick Delmonico. He has 2 brothers (one in the Dodgers system, and one at University of Georgia) and is committed to going to join his older brother as a Bulldog at UGA. He is going to be a tough sign probably commanding late first round - early second round money. He was considered by many GMs as unsignable because of his strong commitment to Georgia and was regarded in the top 40 prospects of this draft. I hope a deal can get done with Nick and he starts tearing up the Minors on his way to Camden Yards.

Nick had 2 cards released last year in his USA uniform... I'm hopeful I can find the one that was release in regular Bowman.
I picked this autograph of 2009's O's first rounder Matt Hobgood on the cheap. He has struggled so far in his minor league career. He just returned from a shoulder injury so I hope he can get going in the right direction now.
Speaking of tearing up the minor leagues, Jonathan Schoop (pronounced Scope), has been on a tear all season long. Starting at low-A Delmarva, he has been promoted to High-A Frederick. He has also been selected to play in the Futures game that takes place along with the All-Star Break Festivities.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Card Show Pickups: Vintage Edition

I went to the card show with a clear goal of putting a dent into my Vintage Orioles list. A lot of what I saw at the show were too nice for my collection and they were a little bit more that I was willing to pay. I found one vendor that had 2 monster boxes of "1 dollar" deals". I think I accomplished my goal by adding 26 cards for 20 bucks! They all ranged in the 1959 to 1964. I got (4) 1959's, (14) 1960's, (1) 1962, (6) 1964's and (1) 1967. Here's my favorites of coup de grace:
Hank Bauer was the first Orioles Manager to deliver a World Series win in Baltimore. I think he is more known for playing in all those years with the Yankees.
This card is a semi-hi number shortprint of a player I know little about. The back of the card shows he had some pop in 1963. He hit 31 home runs for Toronto when they were in the International League.
While searching through the 1964's I stumbled upon a beat up version of this card. Luckily I was able to dig this one out a little bit later down the row. None of my vintage cards are in great shape but probably average in the VG range.
Bob Boyd was the Orioles first baseman for a few seasons. The trivia on the back says that Bob had never hit below .300 in any complete season (to that point, obviously).
I've seen this card several times before but it was either in such crappy condition, or was badly off-center. This one is a good mix of condition, centering and price. I love the stands of Memorial Stadium in the background.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Card Show Pickups: GU Edition

As I mentioned in my last post, I attended the Inside Pitch show in Raleigh, NC this past weekend. I got many, many great cards but I'm only going to show the Game Used cards in this post. I lucked out and found a vendor who was doing his last show before retiring to Hawaii. I was able to scoop up all 4 of the following cards from him for a great price:
This one is from 2005 Upper Deck Trilogy. Notice that it is serial numbered 20/99.
I really like this one because of the orange swatch. I haven't seen a lot of Ripken GU's that have an orange jersey piece.
Here's my first Eddie Murray Game Used card. This is a really nicely done card by Upper Deck in 2004 SP Legendary Cuts. I'm really digging the Gold Stamped cartoon bird logo.
This one is perfectly round, but I think it is too skinny to be the handle of the bat. This card reminds me of a dollar bill because of the green motif of the card.
I also picked up this one from William. I added the random piece of dust that you can see on the jersey piece. I might keep this one or trade it for the right offer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trade with William of Foul Bunt

I went to a card show in Raleigh, North Carolina this past weekend. I was able to meet up with William from Foul Bunt who had a few tables of cards for sale there. After a few emails earlier in the week, we both agreed that we would bring our Orioles trade boxes and hammer out a deal in person. So, with the crowd thinning out later in the day, I was finally able to get a chance to sit down and get some trading done with him. Here's the new additions to my collection:
These two pitching prospects never really turned out for the O's but these are really nice cards and I'm happy to have them in my condition. Both are on-card and I'm really starting to lean towards them and away from the dreaded silver band-aid stickers.
I've been after this card for a while now. It actually was on my top 10 list on my sidebar for a couple of months. I guess the reason I wanted it so bad is because it put the final touches on my 1999 Topps team set. I really liked 1999 Topps because of the design but most people don't care for it. It was plain and simple. I think the only thing it should have had was a Team Logo instead of the script.
Here is a card that William and I had a nice little conversation about. We both raved about how much promise Larry had as an Orioles farmhand and how he really got mixed up in some bad things (steroids) when he was trying to establish himself in the Big Leagues. I was really disappointed to see his name on the infamous Mitchell Report because he was the first real prospect that I followed from the time he was drafted.
Here's a trio of Topps Gold Orioles who sparkled from some time as Orioles and them flamed out pretty quickly. I'm getting pretty close on some of these Gold team sets so if you have any I need, I'd really like to trade for them.There were some pretty obscure Orioles in William's box of traders. Regardless Mark Eichhorn, Mark Lewis, and Andy van Slyke were all needed to fill spots in my binders. Not Pictured: Matt Nokes!
I rounded out the trade with a nice looking A&G Tejada relic card. This card will go nicely with the Brian Roberts relic that I have of the same year. I wonder if Topps has figured out how to get these relics to stop moving around inside the frame. It seems they figured it out and did a good job with Gypsy Queen so we'll see in a few weeks if Ginter will follow suit.
Thanks to William for taking time at the show to work on this trade with me. It was nice to sit down and talk some baseball with a fellow blogger in person.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Trade with Brian of Play at the Plate

A while back, I claimed the Orioles portion of Brian's 2011 Bowman Blaster break. After some emails were exchanged, and vacations take by both parties, we both ended up with some really nice cards:
If Orioles fans took a look at this trio of cards back in 1999, you would think that we were set for the next 10 years with these players. Not so much. Ryan Minor became best known as the player that took over for Cal to end "The Streak". He now is the manager of the Orioles Single-A affiliate, the Delmarva Shorebirds. Calvin Pickering continued to "grow" but never was able to stick in the majors even though he had an overabundance of power. Jerry Hairston stuck with Baltimore until Brian Roberts supplanted him. Jerry has bounced around ever since but did manage to get a WS ring with the Yankees in 09. To me, I'm not sure that Minor and Pickering got a really good chance to establish themselves with the Orioles. We'll never know how they would have turned out.

Flash forward to Present day and the card that got this trade started in the first place:

While Matusz was awesome to finish up the season last year, this year has been a trainwreck so far. Coming into spring training he was tabbed as our #2 starter. He got hurt and just returned a few weeks ago after rehabbing for 2 months. Apparently he isn't fully healed because his fastball is topping out in the 86 to 87 mph range. It's a far cry from the 92 to 94 he was throwing in college before he was drafted.

I bought a fair amount of Stadium Club in 1999 and 2000 but never finished the sets do to the shortprints. I did like the insert sets that the product always had but never could figure out what a Triumvirate Luminous was.... Regardless, this is a neat Die cut card of this years HOF inductee Roberto Alomar.

Sticking with the die-cuts, this Ripken insert from Metal Universe came paired with the Pinnacle Red Hot I featured early last week. Brian had pulled both of these from packs "back in the day" so I'm very grateful that he decided to trade them to me. Both of them are great new additions to my collection.

Thanks for the awesome trade Brian, and I'm sorry it took so long for me to post up the trade!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trade with Rod of Padrographs

This was a quick trade with Rod. Rod runs the fantastic blog Padrographs. Anything you need to know about Padres players, this is your blog!

Anyways, like I said, this was a smallish, quick trade but a good one none the less. He sent me these two cards:
While I wasn't much of a Peak Performances fan last year, I definitely like the idea behind them better than that Topps 60 crap that came out this year.

Two nice relics of the Orioles budding young stars.

Jonesy continues to improve even though he went 0 for the series in Toronto. He even admits that he hates playing in Toronto. Playing indoors is just plain wrong

Markakis has regressed this year. He's not hitting for power or for average. While he still plays great defense, he just isn't hitting. My theory is that he looks too damn skinny. Really, he doesn't looked as bulked up as in years past. Eat a steak, Nick!

Thanks again Rod for the nice trade. I hope you enjoyed your printing plate!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Was Thinking...

While I was typing up my box review of Topps Series 2 yesterday, I started to think about where I was actually going to be able to redeem those Prime 9 cards. I live in Richmond, Virginia and there are a few "hobby shops" around, but none that I visit with any regularity.

The nearest hobby shop to me really only sells supplies. There are no open boxes of wax packs for sale, no 25, 10, or 5 cent bargain bins, and 1 small showcase of singles for sale. One time knelt down to look at the bottom of the case and nearly crapped myself. Sitting in the case pointed right at me was a Smith and Wesson revolver. It wasn't holstered or pointed at the floor or anything, just sitting there pointed at me. It just freaked me out.
There is one notable box of cards for sale though. There is a box of 1993 Topps series 1 that has been in the shop for years (I can tell because it actually has collected dust) that has the bargain basement price of 48 dollars on it! The shopkeeper/owner is very standoffish and won't even acknowledge you or even talk baseball with you. All he does is continues to watch soap operas, Ellen DeGeneres, or Oprah while you peruse the shop.
I did ask him one time if he had any new boxes or packs for sale hoping that they were hidden from view. He says that he can order any box I want and he can have it for me the next day. Well, I'm not going to waste 2 trips to the store and suffer from his mark up prices. Luckily, I live close enough to Blowout Card's distribution center that anything I order from them, arrives the next day as long as I place the order before 3 pm.
I believe the only way this place stays open is on the sales of the diecast Nascar toys. I only visit this shop when absolutely necessary because the prices on even the supplies is really expensive. One dollar for a 800 ct shoebox, no thanks.

The next closest place that sells cards is a place that scares the living crap out of me. I visited one time last summer on a whim and was hopeful that this could become my new hobby shop. I knew they sold comic books as well as cards so I went in with an open mind. Well, when I walked in the door, I was horrified. I have never seen such a muddle of cardboard and storage boxes in all my life. Believe me, I work in a manufacturing and Packaging facility but at least we're organized! As soon as I walked in the front door, there are boxes to my left stacked to the ceiling (10 feet!) and in the middle of the store there is a mountain of boxes stacked also to the ceiling behind 1 glass showcase with baseball cards. The person behind the register never spoke or acknowledged me. NO singles, NO 25, 10, or 5 cent boxes, NO supplies. There are wax packs for sale but I don't want any 2000 Topps for 6.50 a pack! As I left the cashier snottily says "Thanks for coming in, See you next time!"
I will never return there because of the fear of a comic book avalanche or the firetrap that it is. I'm really surprised the fire marshall hasn't been notified or even shut the place down because the boxes surely were blocking the sprinkler system (the OSHA requirement is 2 feet away, I think). The store is a disaster, prices are extremely high, and the A-hole behind the counter's snarky comment. I would expect better from an establishment that has it's commercials all over the local TV stations.

Next, there is a store about 45 minutes from my house. I saw it while running an errand to that side of town. The sign said "Cards, Comics, and Collectables". Apparently this place is pretty new since it was a banner and not a neon sign. I walked in and I must have had spiders crawling out of my ears because everybody turns and looks at me like "WHO the hell are you, with your Orioles hat on?" There were a bunch of Emo freaks sitting at a "nice" mildewed plastic, Wal-Mart lawn set that they stole from their grandparents backyard playing Magic the Gathering, or Pokemon or whatever card game crap takes up most of the trading card space at Target. Every single one of them dressed in black head to toe, peircings all in their face (like the got into a fight with a fishing tackle box) and the greasiest looking hair I have ever seen (I noticed way too many details about these kids). Either I had just walked into a Hawthorne Heights concert or Addams Family convention but one thing's for certain, these kids really hated sunlight. A quick scan of the shop and I saw no sports cards.
"Can I HELP you!?!" the cashier said loudly (Emo kids chuckled in the background).
I said, "No Sports cards, huh?"
"Nope we don't have that crap in here, Maybe you should leave!" (Emo kids laughed again.)

What a waste of time! At least I got a good story out of it!

The last place available in the Richmond Metro area that I know of is close to the "EMO Shop of Horrors." It is quite a haul for me about 45-50 minutes away depending on traffic its hard to call it a "Local Card Shop" and I have to pay tolls to get there ($1.50 each way, Damn I hate toll roads).This place is a little better in terms of selection. As a card shop they do have singles. Many are on the walls for easy viewing. They are priced by Beckett and you never get a discount for buying multiple cards so I can't say that I've ever bought any singles from the cases! There are bargain binders for 25 cents but there is mostly just newer stuff in them and no real bargains to be had. They do have fair prices on their supplies which is nice but it's hard to justify a drive like that to just by cardboard boxes. (I usually stock up on supplies at the few shows I go to a year). The price on wax and packs is a little high but at least they have something for sale. I try to buy one or two packs whenever I got just to give them some business. The lady that runs the shop with her husband is pretty nice and at least she says hi when you walk in the door. I have been in the store about 5 times since returning to the hobby in December 09 and have not seen the man yet. Maybe it's just a coincidence.

So as you can see my options are nearly limited to retail only. I live at the end of a dead end road in a quiet little neighborhood back away from the lower income area that I have to drive to go to work everyday. There is a Target in this brand new shopping center that is right on my way home fro work so I can stop in and get my fix pretty easily. I'm not trying to sound racist here but facts are facts and basketball and football are the sports of choice as opposed to baseball. Most of the people are living from paycheck to paycheck or from government aid. They don't have a lot of disposable income so I usually have the pick of what I want when it comes to the card aisle. I can tell you as of yesterday, there are 2 retail boxes of packs, blaster boxes, and value packs of Gypsy Queen there. Also there is a bunch of Bowman and even near full retail boxes of last year's Allen & Ginter and National Chicle. I pretty much have the pick of the litter when I go there. Heck I even straighten up the baseball products to see if anybody even disturbs them. Most of the time, the product never gets messed with between my visits every 7 to 10 days.

So, I don't wonder why I get bitten by the retail bug so much anymore. Target is really the only reliable place I can go to buy cards. I don't have to deal with bad customer service, and I usually get what I want when I go there. Plus Target is convenient to my workplace and home (I don't have to make a pilgrimage to buy cards).

I apologize for the long read but I felt I had to write my frustrations down. If anybody has visited Richmond, or lives here knows of a better place, I would love to hear it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Box Break: 2011 Topps Series 2

I really don't have much to say about my break of Topps Series 2. I broke a hobby box, 2 Target retail hanger boxes and a couple of the retail rack packs so that I could hopefully complete the entire 330 card set in one felled swoop. Ha! The bad collation bug has bitten me lately because I'm a handful of cards short.

On a side note, I spent close to 250 dollars on Bowman this year and didn't even get a complete base set!

Back to Topps series 2 though. I even pulled doubles of inserts before I've completed the entire base set. Something about this just seems wrong.

Anyways, there were a few notable cards that I got:
I pulled this Diamond Anniversary card of Smoltz in my first hobby pack. I really thought I had a decently rare card but I did an ebay search and it seems to me that there are 2 to 3 times as many of these out there than there are of the regular legends parallel. I'm going to hang onto this card for a while (sorry Derek and Colbey!)
I'm getting really sick and tired of the reprint phase that Topps is going through right now. Regardless, I got these Original Back cards of Duke (hobby) and Yogi(retail) that will probably fetch me a pretty penny (yeah right!).
I'm not sure what I am going to do with these redemption cards. I think it is a good idea for Topps to drive some traffic into hobby shops. My options are really limited in Richmond, Virginia when it comes to places to buy cards.
A DIAMOND SPARKLE!!! Oh, nevermind, its just a reflection of the sun off of Morgan's helmet. The whole Diamond Sparkle gimmick really grinds my gears even though I made 50 bucks off of the Jeter I pulled from Series 1. It paid for my hobby box but it irks me just the same. I was tolerant of the gimmick until I first saw the Dominic Brown card from series 2 and the Double Sparkle bounty Longoria, Heyward, and Lincecum. Now it's just taking a ridiculous gimmick to the next level.
I really don't have more to say about my hit other than Kung Fu Panda 2 is playing in a theater near you!

I apologize for being such a downer in this box break/review. I can't help but to feel like I just wanted to "get it over with" when I got my hobby box. I really don't think that's the way I should feel about opening a new box of wax packs. But I did with Series 2.

I think the design of the cards (We've seen Series 1, Opening Day, Pro Debut, Series 2 and will see Chrome, and Update) is just getting tiring to see.

The boring insert sets this year (Diamond Duos, Before there was Topps, Topps 60) and there sheer mass quantity of them just pisses me off. Please Topps, just do one insert card per pack, not 3 or 4! And Please no more reprints after 2011 because a reprint of a 1991 Topps Larry Walker card is scraping the bottom of the barrel no matter how you slice it.

Please don't do another Million Card / Diamond Giveaway promotion either. We bloggers know it doesn't cost 15 to 20 dollars to ship 8 or 1o cards. Don't insult our intelligence!

I've updated my wantlist in the upper right hand corner and I've listed all of the inserts I have for trade below.

Kimball Champions (why are they all retired players? So much for continuity between series 1 and 2!): 52 Koufax, 53 Fisk, 55 Musial, 56 Carlton, 58 Ott, 65 Gibson, 70 Campanella, 74 Murray, 76 Brock (3!), 83 Mattingly, 84 Sandberg, 94 Yastremski, 95 Gehrig, 97 Molitor

12 Diamond Giveaway code cards ( I still have about 12 or 13 from series 1 I haven't bothered to redeem yet)

7 Topps Golds: 337 Walden, 340 Longoria, 407 Broxton, 527 Ka'aihue, 569 Maybin, 651 Morales, 656 Ibanez

15 Diamond Anniversary Parallels: 354 Baker, 388 Jansen, 390 Valencia, 428 Myers, 451 Hernandez, 453 Saunders, 490 Holliday, 535 Harden, 568 Royals, 583 Spilborghs (2!), 588 Davis, 596 Sanchez, 608 McGehee, 656 Ibanez

21 60YOT reprints (Just Stop It, Topps! Really!): 62 Robinson, 67 Ashburn, 69 Musial, 70 Cepeda, 72 Yastremski, 74 Maris, 80 Ryan, 85 Sutton, 88 Guidry (2), 90 Garvey, 94 Mattingly, 97 Molitor, 99 Walker, 102 Ramirez, 104 Jeter (2), 107 Halladay(2), 112 Jeter, 113 Butler

2 Before There Was Topps: BTT1 American Tobacco 1909, BTT3 American Tobacco 1911

12 Diamond Stars: DS-3 Mauer, 8 Wright, 9 Ramirez, 10 Pujols, 12 A-Roid, 14 Cabrera, 15 Lee, 17 Holliday, 23 Johnson(2) 25 Gonzalez (2)

11 Toppstown (What's with the numbering? Continuity with series 1?): TT2-1 Lincecum, 4 Morrison, 7 Gonzalez, 11 Morales, 19 Martinez, 20 Kershaw, 30 Crawford, 31 Lester, 33 Jackson, 43 Carpenter, 50 Hughes

17 Topps 60 (These are so stupid) : T60 51 Johnson, 54 Zimmerman, 59 Campanella, 61 Seaver, 64 Posada, 68 Votto, 70 Carpenter, 71 Stargell (2), 77 Winfield(2), 80 Munson(2), 82 Victorino, 89 Weaver(2), 91 Ortiz, 95 Lester(2)

19 Diamond Duos (numbering system again! Why did Topps use actual numbers instead of letters this time? Do we get a hybrid of both series with Updates? Makes no sense to me...) : DD-2 Utley/Cano, 8 Greinke/Gallardo, 12 Tulowitzki/Ramirez (2), 13 Chapman/Sale, 15 Lincecum/Wilson, 16 Hamilton/Votto(2), 17 Posey/Feliz, 19 Cabrera/Martinez, 20 Kershaw/Bumgarner, 21 Price/Lester, 23 Lee/Sabathia, 24 McCutcheon/Alvarez, 25 Teixeira/Gonzalez(2), 27 Johnson/Verlander, 29 Aaron/Heyward, 30 Koufax/Kershaw

2 Target Red Ruby Exclusives: THP21 Zimmerman, THP24 Tulowitzki

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cal Ripken Cardboard Appreciation #12

1995 Pinnacle Red Hot #RH1

The back of the card says:

No matter what happens in the '95 season, Cal is on a steady course to Cooperstown. A two-time AL MVP and a 12-time All-Star, he has hit more home runs than any other SS in history.

I wonder if the card back writer was referring to the streak being broken later in the '95 season? Also, do you think without the accolades of the Streak Cal makes the HOF anyways?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Smed's Spring Cleaning pt.4: Heapin' Helpin' of OPC

I should be returning today from my vacation. Hopefully there will be stack of bubble mailers sitting on the kitchen table for me to post about.

On another note, I should be posting a wantlist soon with my needs for the 2009 O-Pee-Chee set put out by Upper Deck. I have a bunch of extra black borders and even a couple mini black borders for trade like this very interesting shot of Jake Peavy:
It's just weird to see Smoltzie in a uniform other than the Red Sox:
This is a great action shot of Justin Upton from the D-backs. The expression on the lady's face is priceless:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Smed's Spring Cleaning pt.2: Semi-Vintage Upgrades

I consider cards from 1974 through 1980 as semi vintage. We have semi-high numbers so why not semi vintage. During the mid to late 70s Topps ditched it's multiple series in favor of one big release. Here's some of the upgrades I got in my package:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Smed's Spring Cleaning pt.1: Orioles Star Power

Since I am on vacation this week, I'm going to show a bunch of the great cards that Scott at the great Smed's Baseball Card Blog sent me as part of his Spring Cleaning. There won't be a whole lot of words but a bunch of pictures of cards:
Eddie Murray 1988 Leaf. Nice classic looking card of Eddie ready to crush the ball.
1990 KMart Cal Ripken. I used to despise oddball Ripken cards. Now I'm finding that its an inexpensive way to add to my collection.
Brady Anderson showing off for the cameraman again.
Mike Mussina from the stretch with the Knuckle-curve grip
And Nick the stick in his sophomore campaign.

More to come!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Trade with Michael of Nomo's Sushi Platter

EDIT: For some reason Blogger ate my original post about the awesome package Michael at The soon to be relatively famous Nomo's Sushi Platter blog.

Somehow only 2 of the cards ended up on this post so I'll try to remember what I wrote! I already have filed away the other cards he sent and I've gotten a lot of packages lately so I can't really remember which is which.

I know I'm getting a lot closer to finishing of my Goudey quest. I think I am a lot closer on the 08 and 09 sets than I am 07. I'd love to finish out these sets before too long so if you have any please hit up my wantlist. This Juan Marichal is my most favorite of the stack that Michael sent me.

This is a really neat card with a pretty decent story behind it. I am very appreciative of this card now that I finally have it. I went to a card show back in March and distinctly remember seeing this card and wanting it but running out of money. I guess me running out of money happened for a reason! So I guess now that I don't have enough money to buy one of the new Camaros, somebody will trade me one, right? RIGHT???!!!???

Anyways, I really hope LJ can get his game together and end up in Baltimore soon because I'm growing tired of Brian Roberts and his injury per day. When he gets back from the DL, I hope he lines the inside of his jersey, hat, and helmet with bubble wrap so he doesn't get injured again.

Thanks Michael for the nice cards. I'm sorry that blogger ate my original post, because I'm sure this would be a much more entertaining trade recap!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trade with D of Potch Wheeler and the Cardboard Heroes

D of Potch Wheeler and the Cardboard Heroes contacted me about a trade a while back and I was happy to oblige. He offered up some nice cards that I was happy to trade for. Here's the goods:
This is one of the Post cards that came in the cereal boxes in the early 90's. I remember eating a ton of cereal just to get the cards!
For some unknown reason, Aubrey Huff's cards elude me for some reason. It's not like his cards are that hard to come by I guess its just the luck of the draw. This one thankfully finishes off my O's team set of 2007 Upper Deck
D also sent me a nice stack of 09 OPC for my "trades only" set. This card of Endy Chavez getting ready to smash into the wall is my favorite of the stack.

Thanks for the nice trade, D! I look forward to trading with you again!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trade with AJ the Lost Collector

AJ from the Lost Collector contacted me about the Cano mini framed jersey card I pulled from this years Gypsy Queen. Before I knew it, we had a trade going.

I'm going to show a card of new HOFer Robbie Alomar when he was with the O's. There has been a lot of debate on whether or not he belongs in Cooperstown but I personally think he does. It definitely opens up the doors for Jeff Kent and Craig Biggio.
The follwing Ripken insert is one that I have never seen any cards of. While it is off-center I still like it a lot. It's a Royal Court insert from 1998 Stadium Club if anyone is interested.
I really like this Ripken too. The card actually feels like real canvas so I guess it goes along with the Artistic Talents motif. The more and more I touch it, the surface sort of reminds me of the awesome UD Masterpieces sets.

Thanks to AJ for the awesome additions to my growing collection.