Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Trading Post #81: Bob Walk the Plank

Anytime something shows up from Matthew of Bob Walk The Plank, there are sure to be some hits inside. Autographs, relics, patches, mini batting helmets, there's really no telling just what surprises await.

Matt and I aren't engaged in an ever-escalating battle of tailor-made trade packages like he is with Jaybarkerfan, but we have exchanged cards a few times. My autograph collection wouldn't be what it is today without him, and the hits just keep on coming.

2015 Topps Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AA-VC Vinny Castilla /399 (AU)

Topps Tier One is normally way out of my price range. It's comprised entirely of relics and autographs, not even offering a traditional "base" set. It's a set that's entirely meant for player and team collectors, leaving set collectors to select one of Topps' many other fine products. There isn't even an actual card "number" to be found, as they're all lettered.

This looks more like something Panini would put out, or maybe Pinnacle ages ago. There's lots of gold foil here, a serial number right on the front, and even a tiny spot in the lower left where Topps managed to squeeze his position. Castilla's autograph matches other examples in my collection, and also a 5x7 photo that I got at my local library as a kid. Rockies memorabilia was a great incentive to get kids like me to read, especially when Pizza Hut's Book It promotion was idle. Pizza Hut was smart. They managed to instill a lifetime love of both reading and pizza.

2007 Topps Highlights Autographs #HA-MH Matt Holliday (AU)
This Matt Holliday card is pretty clearly from 2007. The black border matches the general theme of the base set that year, even though the little filmstrip squares are missing from the corners. It's definitely thinner than Castilla's card, the autograph is on a sticker, and there's no mention of the print run. It's definitely aimed at a different market segment than Topps Tier One, but pulling this out of a box of 2007 Topps would be pretty surprising. You expect a card like Castilla's when you spend so much on a box of Tier One. Pulling a card like this when it's unexpected offers quite a thrill on its own. Just see that Dee Gordon printing plate I found in a blaster of Opening Day, or the David Wright autograph from a hobby box.

Or when it shows up in the mailbox with a bunch of Costco flyers, for that matter.

2016 Topps Strata Autographs Blue #SA-TM Tom Murphy /99 (AU)
We're back to the world of on-card autographs for this final card, and it's from Topps Strata, another high-end set that I'll never pay full price for. It has completely transcended the use of cardboard; like Topps High Tek, it's printed on a thick acetate.

Each part of the design has a varying level of transparency. The autograph square is completely clear, the various banners and lines are a bit darker, and Murphy's image itself is nearly opaque. For $80 a box, I'd hope it looks like this. And that's a pretty low print run, the scarcest card in this whole post, and among the scarcer in my whole collection.

Murphy is one of the exciting young Rockies that has already shown flashes of brilliance in the Majors. Late this season, he crushed a 482-foot home run to left field, one of the longest in Coors Field history. The Rockies have good depth behind the plate, and Murphy's presence on the roster likely means that will be the case for several years to come.

Bud Black, the new Rockies manager, has an interesting group of young players to work with. Hopefully he can lead a few more of them to being worthy of inclusion in a high-end set like Topps Strata or Tier One.


  1. Wow. Matthew really outdid himself here - those are some fine autos!

  2. Glad you liked them! For whatever reason I've managed to find a good bit of Rockies recently.

  3. I remember the Book It program! That was definitely a good way to get kids to read. Wonder if they still do that?

    Nice autos there, really like the Castilla and Murphy. I almost forgot Holliday was still playing, I know he got a nice send-off in St. Louis and must have assumed he was done.

    1. Yeah, there's been talk of Holliday coming back to the Rockies. They're also after Melancon.

      Book It still has a website, but I'm way of the loop on anything kid-related these days.