Bill Freehan 2005 Topps Retired Signature Autographs Refractor auto (#10/25)
"You got autograph in my Refractor!" "YOU got Refractor in MY autograph!" Yes, it's a perfect combination of the two while also mashing up an old-school photo with a modern (Chrome!) design. As it happens, Freehan still has a pretty sizable group of collectors, so reasonably rare cards like this one don't come cheap--in this case almost $20. I wouldn't throw that kind of money down on just any player, but Freehan autographs are understandably harder to come by as the years pass, and this might be just the second Refractor version of this card I've seen to-date. If it had been much later in the month and I'd have already spent most, if not all of or more than, the budget to which I'm trying to stick, things might have been different, but this story does have a happy ending as Refractor Bill happily joins not-as-shiny-but-still-very-appreciated Bill for my 21st hit of the former Tigers catcher, and 59th IHAS card.
Rich Hill 2006 Flair Showcase Signatures auto (#19/35)
I don't know how many of you seriously collect a specific player like I do with Hill, but when you have more than 200 of his cards (including 1/1s), finding something you haven't seen before is a GREAT feeling. Case in point: this 2006 Showcase auto, which not only looks fantastic, but is a very welcome addition to my PC of the middle reliever for the Tribe. The low serial-numbering is certainly a draw for me as well, but for some reason that design just looks very eye-catching and pleasant. For a reasonable $6 delivered on the first of this month, I'm very happy with this purchase, not to mention another Hill I picked up soon after...
Rich Hill 2006 Ultimate Collection Printing Plates Cyan (1/1)
Ok, let's get this out of the way: why in the name of Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ on a Cracker would you send in a printing plate to get graded? Were you really desperate to get one of those sought-after graded population-of-one cards? Did you forget that this was a metal plate and not a card, and that it was used in the production of cards, meaning a 10 grade was as likely as Topps sending someone a reasonable redemption replacement? For what I can only assume was a case of a greedy seller (whomever got the card graded, not necessarily the eBay seller here), I gleefully assess the situation as a case of baseball kardma, since about $7.58 (including shipping) was enough to bring this bad boy to my mailbox. It must have cost more than that to ship this card to BGS, have them spin their big wheel of numbers between 8 and 10, (except for the Strasburg one, which has all 10s on it) and slab it. Well, I hope that person doesn't mind that I quickly took some wire-cutters and a flathead to the thing, and the result was this:
Now THAT's more like it! This is my 91st hit of Hill and 12th 1/1, plus my 208th IHAS card overall. It also becomes my 26th 1/1 card of any type, and goes well with the Black and Magenta plates from this set I already owned! (And that means I now have three sets of three-of-four plates, making me wonder which, if any, I'll complete first) So all in all, I like to think that baseball kardma worked out in my favor this time; I'll do my best to pass it on to the rest of you, especially in trades throughout the rest of the year!
David Parrish 2004 Topps Chrome Traded X-Fractor (#07/20)
Here's where the "case" part of the title becomes a trend as you'll see two more encased cards (though Hill is thankfully free from his prison full of Beckett cooties). The first is this David Parrish, which was a box-loaded in 2004 Topps Traded boxes. It's actually his lowest-numbered card by a mile, and one of only two limited to under 100 copies, so getting it for about $4 was pretty good, I think. And while I'm at it, it completes a small rainbow from the 2004 Chrome/Traded set along with base, Gold, Chrome, and Refractor. I now have 15 of David's 24 non-1/1 issues, and I expect things to get tougher from here on out, but of course I'm always amenable to help from the likes of those of you who follow this blog!
Clayton Richard 2008 eTopps (#468/699)
Today's final card is another "uncirculated" item, a 2008 eTopps of on-the-shelf Padre Clayton Richard. It's my third Michigan Baseball eTopps issue after I picked up those of Jake Fox (2009) and Rich Hill (2007), and I'm pretty sure that'll do it for the set in terms of guys I collect, though I'll have to check. I think I prefer the other designs a bit more, but this one's not bad. Since apparently not a ton of people actually bothered to get these cards shipped, they're not the easiest in the world to find, so I plunked down $6 for Clayton's, which I can live with. Make it 77 of a temporary 127 (Topps Minis are out there!) IHAS cards of the lefty hurler with a QB's arm.