Total Bust, Total Box, Local Shop

Going into this past weekend I found out about a “collectibles show” being held by a regional comic convention group.  The show was a 30-40 minute drive away, cost $10 to get in and was mainly about comics and toys, neither of which I collect (I read comics, but I don’t truly collect them).  The email I got did mention cards and vinyl, however, and when it comes to shows I’m in a “beggars can’t be choosers” situation, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Walking on to the show floor, it quickly became clear that this show was going to be a bust for me.  I finished off with a comics dealer I’ve known for years who was clearing some wax boxes out of inventory… nothing that completely jumped out at me, but as I wanted to justify the trip and support this dealer, I walked away with a pretty good price on this Hobby wax box of 2004 Topps Total:

I understand that fearuring Barry Zito, Dontrelle Willis and Mark Prior on the box made all kinds of sense in 2004, but today it seems like a cautionary tale against betting too heavily on young pitching.

(Oh, and before I get too heavily into talking about the box, I’ll mention that there is more to this post than just this box.  Thank you.)

Being a devout fan of the four-year run of Topps Total, I already have 783 of the 880 cards in the 2004 base set… so this box is mainly about completing the set, having fun busting packs, getting some potential trade bait and possibly getting some “hits”.

Nothing coming out of this box is going to equal a car payment, but just for the sake of getting some value, I’m hoping that I pull a Felix Hernandez rookie…

…or a Yadier Molina rookie…

…perhaps a Printing plate or a signature or two, preferably more impressive than this pull I made 13 years ago:

No offense intended, Brandon Claussen, I fully understand that you’ve got 16 career wins more than I do.

So I left the show thinking that this box wasn’t much of a haul for the $10 admission and the $5 I spent in gasoline.  That’s when it occurred to me… There was a card shop relatively close to this show I was leaving.  It’s not the greatest card shop I’ve been to, but it’s better than what’s near my house (i.e. nothing), so I went and checked it out, and dropped another $5 on some oddballs and other acquisitions. Nothing earth-shattering, but it made the day a little more fun.  The following aren’t in any real order, but I saved the best for last.

I normally don’t like base cards from sets like Topps Co-Signers where they obviously leave space for a sticker, but I kinda like this Johan Santana.

It’s hard to read the foil, but this is a 2009 Upper Deck Team USA card of former Met Matt den Dekker.

After two years with the Nats, Matt is playing with the Marlins’ AAA team in New Orleans, no doubt listening to rival fans shouting things like “Nice catch, Baby Cakes!”  I try to be open-minded about minor league team names, but New Orleans Baby Cakes is… well, let’s hope the trend starts to shift back towards sanity from here on out. Sound good, Baby Cakes?


This 2010 Heritage card doesn’t really have a role in my collection, but damned if this isn’t a nice card.

If only all Heritage cards could be this nice and “vintage-y”.

I couldn’t bypass a mascot card, even if it’s Mariner Moose.

Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

Speaking of the Mariners, I also grabbed this Bowman Chrome card of Edwin Diaz, the M’s closer. More than one Fantasy Baseball expert recommended Diaz as a sleeper this spring, so I took a chance and drafted him. He’s not been what I’d call “lights out”, but it’s early yet.

…That actually has nothing to do with why I bought this card. There’s an empty slot in my A.L. West roster binder that’s been waiting for an Edwin Diaz card.

This is one of those Donruss throwback cards from 2015. I like the design enough that I wish they’d stuck a little closer to the original. I think they may have finally learned their lesson this year.

My usual source of Topps Pro Debut cards dried up and I haven’t made much of an effort to replace him, so this is my first 2016 Pro Debut card. I was surprised to find that, unlike Flagship Topps, only the player and the team are glossy, the rest of the card front is matte.

…Which doesn’t really help the crappy 2016 design, but I thought it was interesting.

I enjoyed these World Series Program inserts back in 2004, so I couldn’t pass by this one…

…even though I may already have it… or may not. I’ll find out at some point.

As I was thumbing through the box on the counter, I ran across this Ryan Klesko oddball.

I don’t like the Braves and I don’t have any sort of attachment to Ryan Klesko, but the card evoked two reactions from me:
1) Hey, that’s pretty nice.
2) What the hell is it?

The back didn’t give a whole lot of clues:

Even when I got home, it took me a good 15-20 minutes of Googling before I found a post on the now-dormant Card Chop blog which clued me in to what I had.

For those who don’t want to follow the link, this is from a small set put out by the Atlanta-area Boy Scouts, one card each year from 1992 to 2004.

According to the small print on the back, only boys who are members in good standing of the Boy Scouts of America are eligible to receive this card. I hope that a 50+ year old former Boy Scout will suffice.

So that was my Saturday.  Far from ideal, but it worked out OK in the end.

6 thoughts on “Total Bust, Total Box, Local Shop

  1. I agree with TLC – Topps Total was the bee’s knees. If you end up with a Cubbie Kent Mercker, I’d love to talk trade.

    Also, that Boy Scout Klesko is a fascinating find. My favorite thing about collecting cards is when I come across something that completely throws me for a loop.

  2. Even a lousy show/shop is better than none at all.

    I’ll have to track down that Carrasco card. It’s pretty sharp.

  3. Not a bad haul there, seems like a good way to kill some weekend time anyway. I’ll echo what some others have written above, I’d be ALL OVER a Topps Total box. Nice pick-up there!

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