Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trade with BA Benny

I am afraid this post is going to have to be a quick one. I leave later this morning for Dallas for short getaway with my wife, including a nice dinner tonight at a Brazilian churrascaria and the Rangers-Yankees game on Sunday afternoon. I'll be gone next week on business, so I won't be posting any until next weekend or later. I want to get this trade post up because I feel bad not acknowledging another generous person: Mike from BA Benny's Baseball Card Buffet. Mike was also very generous to me, sending me a trade pack outsized in comparison to what I sent.

What did I send? A few 2011 Series 1 singles, a Johan Santana Heritage Clubhouse Classic relic, an Ike Davis Heritage Chrome, and some 1974 and 1978 Mets and Yankees of suspect quality. What did I get? 5 more Topps Heritage to cross off my want list including two short prints, and close to 30 cards from 2009 and 2010 Topps Heritage. I had asked for a few cards from previous Heritage sets so I can see if I like them and wanted to put the earlier sets together. He sent more than a few, that is for sure.

My decision? I like Heritage. In fact, I think I like '09 and '10 better than '11. Am I going to collect them? I am not sure. The thing that bothers me about Heritage is the short prints. Now, anyone who reads my blog knows that I have been chasing the error and variant cards in the 1974 Topps set, like the Washington National League variants (see footnote). What I am about to say may surprise you. I don't like the idea of short prints in a set. Okay, I understand that there will be cards that will be rarer than others, like error cards or the high number series in the Topps sets up through 1972. I am okay with that.

What I am not okay with is contrived scarcity, like what Topps does with the Heritage short prints. It is nothing more than a transparent tactic by Topps to take advantage of the OCD streak in set collectors and keep us buying cards in order to chase all those short prints. *THAT* pisses me off. I will probably chase the short prints on 2011 Heritage, but I am not going to make a huge push for it. I'll get what I can through trades and try to pick them up cheap on EBay or the various card sites, like COMC. But, if it takes me a year or two, that is fine. Because I am not going to reward Topps by purchasing more cards from them in a vain attempt to get all the short prints. As far as previous series of Heritage? I still don't know what I am going to do. But, that doesn't change how excited I was to get that stack of card from Mike.

Speaking of Mike, enough of that rant. Let's take a quick look at a small sample of what he sent before I head off to pack.

This is one of the two short prints Mike sent. Lincecum is a fun player to watch. But am I the only one who thinks he looks a little Pee Wee Herman-ish here? I may have to do another "Twin Brothers from Different Mothers" feature when I am back in town.

2009 Heritage. I like this design a whole lot. Plus, it is a future Hall of Famer. You can't beat that.

A Yankees card! I am surprised Mike let this one go, but I am glad he did.

This may seem an odd card to feature, but it is pretty much my favorite card, hands down. You see, I am a little bit of a space geek. When my wife and I went to Florida for a wedding last fall, we spent two days visiting the Kennedy Space Center. I've been to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington several times. So, this card appeals to the card collector in me and the space buff in me. I even like that it is a Soviet space milestone. It would have been easier for Topps to feature Alan Shepard's Mercury mission which took place a little over 3 weeks after Vostok 1. Alot easier. Sort of like how it is easier for Topps to issue yet another Mickey Mantle card every year. So, that they chose this space event is to their credit.

To go further off on this tangent, I have to say the coolest space museum, by far, is the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas. The who-what-where? You heard that right. The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson. This card made me want to visit there again.

Seems to be an unlikely place for a killer space museum, but it is awesome. It is affiliated with the Smithsonian and they do some great restoration work there. When I visited there about 10 years ago, they were working on the restoration of the Liberty Bell 7, Gus Grissom's Mercury capsule that sank to depth of 15,000 feet in the Atlantic and wasn't recovered until 1999. Indeed, some of Grissom's (in)famous dimes appeared to be sitting on one of the tables in the restoration room when I was there.

What I like best about the museum, though, is that it isn't focused only on the US space program. In fact, it also covers the development of the Soviet space program. As you wind your way through the museum, you see the chronological development of both the US and USSR programs in parallel. If you pay close attention to what you are observing, you can see the actual progression of the space race: how the Soviets started out ahead, but how the US caught up and surpassed their rivals. A must see for anyone who finds themselves in Wichita area.

Footnote: I have just discovered there is a third version of card 599 from 1974 Topps baseball, the Rookie Pitchers card. I knew about the San Diego and Washington variations (599A and 599B), but apparently there is a San Diego-Larger Print version, as well. Given that the only versions of this card (599C) I have seen are more expensive than the Dave Winfield rookie card (which books at $50), I think I am going to pass on collecting it unless I can get it really cheaply. Like common-card cheap.

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