Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Player Collector’s Dream

The other day I wrote about what I considered, in my humble opinion, to be the best looking unlicensed card I have ever seen. It came from a Panini/Donruss card, which as many collectors pointed out through social media, came from an “awful” product. To be honest, I didn’t see much of America’s Pastime and it didn’t leave much of an impression one way or another. However, I was not a fan of the other Jose cards in the product.

Now, let’s take a look at what I consider the best looking licensed card on the market (of Jose Canseco). It comes from Topps Company, of course, from a product called 5-Star. Unfortunately, a box of this product sells for around $250 a piece, which means I have little interest in busting a box or two but as a player collector, these two cards below (which I don’t have just yet), are the best-looking Canseco cards I have come across from 2014 and quite honestly, a long, long time.

Recently, Topps announced the checklist for its 2015 flagship release and thankfully it features a couple of new Canseco inserts in the set. That is great news for an old collector like myself whose only interest in trading cards comes in the form of collecting a player who retired over a decade ago and who had an impact on the game over 25 years ago. Yes, I am very old.

As for the two Topps cards below, the Silver Signatures mixes silver, black, and gold perfectly while using a photograph from Jose’s second stint with the Oakland Athletics in 1997. The card below that is as close to a base card as you will get from Five Star and features a photograph from Jose’s 1991 season in which he was robbed of the MVP award. That year, MLB gave the award to Cal Ripken Jr. despite Jose hitting more home runs, driving in more runners, stealing more bases, scoring more, walking more, and playing on a team that won 17 more games.

Sure, there’s that whole “cheating” thing but in 1991 no one knew about that. What we did know that year was the Jose Canseco was arguably in his final season of greatness and would soon be surpassed by younger, friendlier, and all-around better players like Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr. and several others. The moral of this story is that I need these two cards in my collection ASAP and Jose Canseco should have been a two-time Most Valuable Player, even if his brand was forever tarnished by his post-career confession/s.

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The Best Unlicensed Card I Have Ever Seen

I’ve long been an anti-unlicensed card guy. No, I’m not that annoying, basement-dwelling, hate everything guy slamming his keyboard, disgusted by every non-licensed release but I have come close at times. Instead of crying and bitching I did something much more productive, I simply stopped spending my money. I chose to stop my 20+year collection of Jose Canseco cards rather than to pay for cards like THIS or like THIS or even like THIS.

Now that I am back full force, I just spent $108 dollars at to bring all these missing cards home. Yes, almost 90% of them are unlicensed but what can you do? Jose Canseco got himself booted from America’s Pastime after revealing what we all knew. Jose and many, many, other baseball players were cheaters, not just to their spouses but also in the game. Did we really need a book to tell us? Probably not. Much like a spurned lover, Jose ratted everyone out.

While picking out all these Jose cards from 2011-2014, I noticed the card featured below. It comes from Panini America and was released in 2013. I’ve seen a lot of the cards from this release and while I am not a fan of most of the stuff I have seen so far, the card below is spectacular. To get straight to the point, it is hands-down the very best unlicensed card of Canseco that I have ever laid eyes on.

Unfortunately, the other Jose cards in the set don’t fare so well but that’s quite alright. It takes the perfect photograph to make an unlicensed card look great. For the first time EVER, I am excited about an unlicensed card and am looking forward to finding the many parallel versions, which knowing how Donruss/Panini America works, is probably going to take a long time and a pretty penny to accomplish.


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My Dirty Crusade Confession

I don’t even know where to begin. I have been living a lie. During Wax Heaven’s original 2+ year run I promoted all things Crusade. If there were 1,000 articles on the site, a good portion of them were related to 1998 Donruss Crusade, an insert many collectors have dubbed the greatest of all-time.

So it’s safe to assume such a Crusade crusader (sorry, I couldn’t resist) would have all three parallels of his hobby hero and player collection, Jose Canseco, right? Well, the truth is I do not own any version of the ’98 Crusade featuring one half of the Bash Brothers and to be completely honest, I have never even seen one in person.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen many Crusades of other players in person but the Jose Canseco version has been shunned by me ever since its release in 1998 and there are many reasons why. Mostly, it has to do with it not being aesthetically pleasing. For starters, Donruss was in the gutter by 1998, in my eyes. There was just so many great products being produced by Topps and Pinnacle that Donruss’ flagship release had no hope of ever competing.

The base card of Jose Canseco in their flagship release was also a dud, which featured a boring photograph of Jose tossing a baseball. It was a picture any fan with a camera and an expensive lens could have taken from the cheap seats and that’s not why I collect baseball cards. I want to see good photographs to go along with all those shinny gimmicks. It didn’t help the fact that the actual Crusade card of Canseco also uses a dud of a photograph and appears to chop off part of his face. So essentially, it’s the worst looking card in a set considered to also be the prettiest looking insert of the 90s. Isn’t it ironic?

Another reason why I don’t own a Canseco Crusade is because of the price. Look, I own serial numbered cards, parallels, short prints, game-used relics, certified autographs, whatever there is you name it and I have it in my now 25-year old player collection. It’s just that Crusade cards are highly sought after by Crusade set collectors with deep pockets and worst of all, insane Canseco collectors with even deeper pockets who have helped drive this card into the stratosphere.

As for how many there are out there, well, not many. There are just three on eBay at the moment with the cheapest sporting an $85 dollar price tag and the highest holding steady at $1,500 (#lol). Although it’s an important card for any player collector, I just don’t see myself grabbing one any time soon. Hell, it’s been 17 years and I have been able to resist temptation without a problem.

There is one small problem: Today I will be opening up an eBay account.


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A Great Unknown Pt. 1

Bob fucking Welch.

If you were an Oakland A’s fan in the late 80’s and early 90’s, this guy was a God on the mound, at least for a few years. Well, a God on the mound unless you were a kid saving up as much money possible to buy cheap baseball cards. Pulling a Bob Welch out of a pack when you’re going after Jose Canseco is a plight I wouldn’t wish on my biggest enemy. If you collected during the “Junk Wax” era, you probably had a lot of this guy’s cards stored in shoe boxes under your bed.

Take a look at the card below. It is a tribute to a design that none of us loved but is a part of our childhood, like it or not. When it comes to 1990 releases, Topps was absolutely slaughtered by Upper Deck in every way, shape, or form. Don’t feel bad, though, Donruss and Fleer suffered the same fate. It was a new decade and you just couldn’t touch the work Upper Deck was doing just one year after their debut. Topps did much better in 1991 but I digress.

To get back on track, the card below features a certified autograph of a man who won 27 games in 1990. Even with such amazing numbers, he was probably the 7th or 8th best player on his own team. Not only did he have a pretty solid career (aside from his Cy Young season), he’s also dead. Yes, he died mysteriously in 2012. That means you can’t even track the guy down to let him know how much he was appreciated (if you’re an A’s fan). You’d have to find him in older releases like the one featured here.

I can buy this card below on eBay, released in 2013 by the Topps Company, for less than $5 dollars. Meanwhile, a Joba Chamberlain 1 of 1 Superfractor once sold for over $5,000 U.S American dollars. I am dead serious. Fast forward a few years later and Joba has played in 8 seasons and has never once won more than 9 games. That is what you call a failure in the real world where prospecting means nothing.

Meanwhile, Bob Welch sits in the Dollar Bin in Cardboard Heaven waiting for someone to pick him up and take him home.

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Categories: A Great Unknown, Celebrity Death, eBay Treasures, The Topps Company | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Box Break – 2014 Topps Road to Wrestlemania

Okay, I really did not want this box. It’s essentially a $20 turd but since there are ZERO hobby shops in my city, I went ahead and picked it up. While waiting at the register, I had a change of heart and chucked the box into the aisle of candy and moved up. While I was waiting to pay for my non-card items the kid in front of me was carded for a cheap pack of Cancer sticks. As he pulled out his wallet he told the cashier, “My name is Shawn Michaels and I am 24.”

That to me sounded like a sign delivered from the Hobby Gods so … here is my box break of 2014 Road to Wrestlemania.

Product Name – 2014 Topps Road to Wrestlemania

Breakdown – 10 packs plus 1 authentic relic card

Price – $19.99 + tax at Walmart (Sarasota, FL.)

I am usually good about not getting suckered into impulse buys but somehow this product got the best of me. With the exception of the many Ultimate Warrior cards I pulled (8, 2 doubles) … there was nothing about this product that is remotely appealing. The card stock is extremely thin, the design is just plain ugly, and the photographs used are bland. I have seen some great, iconic photos in WWE magazine over the past twenty years but it’s clear that Topps had no access to them.

As for the relic, the design and size of the swatch is actually a nice size. It comes in a clear plastic so there’s no surprise as to what pack it could be in. My pull has ‘Sheamus’ on the card but since there is no specific event listed for the fabric, there is a good chance “The Celtic Warrior” never actually wrestled on the thing. That being said, it’s still nice to have a guaranteed hit in a box like this even though it will be relegated to my eventual junk hit box. As you can see from the scan below, it will likely never feel my chubby card collector fingers.

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