Monday, April 24, 2017

Hidden Gems: it's a local thing

For me, there are only two ways to get to a ball park I care about. I can either hit the Rock Island and get dropped off at the 35th Street station. Or I can work my way to the Ryan and exit at the same place. Both put me in Sox Comiskey US Cellular Guaranteed Rate Park. And while I have been near that falling apart thing up north a few times, I have not stepped foot inside for a game since 1984. Yet, off the top of my head, I can think of three ways to get to Wrigley. You can take the Red line to get dropped off at the Park. You can take the Kennedy, get off at Addison and work your way east. Or you can take Lake Shore Drive, exit Addison and head west.

Pictured: sink hole in the middle of community
And yes, I have heard all the baseball purists speak. I have lived here 50+ years. Blah blah cute ballpark blah blah manual scoreboard blah blah vines blah blah sunshine blah blah blah bleachers. Even in my north side dislike of....well...everything north side, I can say that Wrigley will provide a great backdrop for fine photography. Many ballparks have blue outfield walls, and being an unnatural color that close to the ground tends to give a photo an artificial feel.


See how green pairs so well with the bright white of the Cubs home uniforms, and the just off white grays of the Astros? Sosa's helmet pops against the weeds vines of the outfield wall. Even with the large foil badging on this card from Upper Deck, they still fit the entire play on the card, barely chopping off Sosa's knees and Biggio's cap. One would claim so much unused space with the green. I say all that extra is window dressing when your eyes focus on the bright players. Even Biggio's two in one stirrups are forgiven.

May 5th. That is the release date of the 2nd Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I hope to be there opening weekend, though the smart me says to wait a week. But a week ago they released the song list from Peter's Awesome Mix Volume #2, and one of the songs is a local hit by Aliotta Haynes and Jeremiah called Lake Shore Drive.


I'm sure many of you may be hearing this song for the first time (maybe 2nd, as I have used this at the end of a post once before). And in hearing, the first thought will be "this is a hit"? I can only respond with the rote, nonsensical response "it's a Chicago thing". Because this song grows into your heart, from when I first heard it on WLS, WCFL or the Mighty MET, or hearing it now on XRT, The River or the Drive. You love the song or you hate it. And if you hate it, then get out of town.

Or go live in Wrigley. I'll never visit you there.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday - 04.20.2017

Every Thursday, I post a card showing a ballplayer wearing a throwback uniform from my collection. Hopefully, he will be wearing it well, with proper pants blousing. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Mike Trout - 2016 Topps Bunt - Los Angeles Angels

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Big cards in small envelopes

I did a ton of sorting and filing recently, and somehow I feel like I barely made a dent to my desk. The fact that Zistle is in total limbo is the first issue, so I have a good 150-200 cards sitting here I have not entered because about 35% of them are sets that are not in the database, and probably never will be with Beckett doing pretty much nothing with the site.

Live Zistle security camera image
There are also a few stacks of cards to sort into the dupe box, others need to get broken down by team, a 400 count box stuff with a purchase of cards (for a future post), packs for APTBNL storage and then just a general clutter. My desk is too much a catch all. Oh yeah - and a few stacks of wonderful generosity from bloggers and readers. So let me combine a few small mailers in one. I hope each of you posted won't mind.


Yup. I am still working on 2016 GQ. Thankfully, Duane at Democratic Roadkill dropped a few cards towards me on my Want list, including that Ruth SP. And it didn't stop there.


Night Owl loves his minis, but he would be hard pressed to top Duane and his mini sets. If I recall, and correct me if I am wrong, Duane has built ever mini set released in A&G. And yes - EVERY. The borders, the backs, the inserts, the SPs, the extended minis. All of them. Thankfully, a fair amount of his overage comes to my binders, which is why I don't mind sending the minis I pull from my Gint-A-Cuffs box out east. Thanks Duane.


Just a 3 card PWE from Fuji. He recently ripped a couple damaged boxes of Hometown Heroes (I need in on them just for the hits) and helped me get closer to completing the base set - a single card short of the non SP. Thanks for the help, Mark.


Commishbob and myself are getting famous over at UniWatch, each of us getting a shout out the past couple weekends when Phil put an ask out about what makes the perfect baseball card. In the long run, they all do. Except the ones with Red Wings on them. Cubs too. But these three have neither, with a couple vintage for the miscut binder and a Drake's Baines. I have no idea what Sox are in the Drake's Big Hitters set, but this is one I do not have.


Bob also dropped a Fox Exhibit card on me, and then two autographs. It's the second Minnie I own, though the first I have is just a 3x5 index card, so I like one with the Cuban Comet's face. To think we once had LaRussa in the 3rd base dugout. The only title he secured on the south side was the '83 Division Champs. He had to leave to get a ring (or 3). Nice additions, Bob.


I'm going there: not quite sure how these are called "no blackplate" when you have two of the three cards showing players in the alt black jersey. Hey - I don't design the cards. I just criticize them. These three arrived from Judson over at My Cardboard Habit. Recent pulls from a couple of hot White Sox boxes. Thankfully, those that get those hot boxes send me envelopes, so I reap the benefit. Thanks Judson.


Last, but not least, is Shane at Shoebox Legends. We are both working on a buy back frankenset, though mine has stalled and his is exploding. But again - I reap the benefits of bloggers. Ten of Shane's rejects hit my mailbox. The Splittorff just reminds you how amazing the images from the 1973 set are.


Here are the rest, with a miscut Nelson to finish off the scan. Man - '59 Topps has some funky colors in their football release too. Gotta love the old Colts logo in the upper right. Shane goes through his recent pickups to see what makes the cut into the set and which get the reject as being dupes. I will say that I had to make a couple cuts as well, as two numbers were already filled. Let's look at them.


YUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!!! Two were exact copies of current cards in the set, right down to the foil stamp. Fortunately, Colborn in the set got to move from the buy back to the miscut binder. The extra Jutze? I think I know a dimwit I can mail it to. Thanks for the help, Shane.

Alright. My desk is getting a little cleaner. Barring another family get together, I might have it cleared by August.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

You don't have to blog to send me cards

We all know a manila padded envelope in the mailbox is a good thing. Whether ebay, JustCommons, COMC, Sportlots or from a gracious soul that just wants to drop something into your house, it's tough to beat going to the curb, pulling on the mailbox door and seeing that yellow staring at you from within.

No envelope can hold me.

As you know, my daughter is WAAAAAAAAY up north, and it turns out there are not one but two card collectors at her job. So a while back I dug up any Barry Sanders cards and sent them off. If I could get to a card show, I will continue the process, but not happening lately. I'm on the hunt for more Sanders and Lions in general as an FYI.

One of her coworkers, Steve, sent a great return package, so howze about a few scans of some lovely gifted cards?


You want White Sox rookies? I got White Sox rookies. Ok, yeah - Paulie is a Dodger, but just like all the Junior fans forget about Griffey's 41 games in black, Konerko's time in Dodger blue or Red...er....red, doesn't count. Nice orange Sale Chrome refractor. The Black Jack Donruss - I just love that card. He looks like such a baby face when he first got on the mound. Lastly - Lyle Mouton. (sigh) Yet another flash in the pan in Comiskey that flamed out quickly.


MINIS!!!! A nice dozen or so that go towards numerous sets I am completing. Duke is not putting up with any of your crap, photographer.


Some vintage was within as well. Half a dozen or so 1980 Sox for the team set. Love the shop job on the Davis inset photo. That LA logo on the cap is ginormous! And the top cards from 1961 Fleer. That is a set I really, really want to build. Two is a start. ButI need to clear some of my Want list before I add another vintage set build. I can't do multiples at one time like the rest of you yokels.


Since 2015 is the last Topps set I acutally cared about, I don't have many manufactured relics. This one is actually from 2015, but I think I bought two blasters total, and White Sox were few to find then, and even less now. So this is a nice expected fill to a collection hole.


BOOM!!! 2014 Golden Age star stamp stickers. These are hard to find anywhere but online, and some of the prices are crazy (I'm looking at you stamps 11, 24 and 26). I believe these dropped one to a box, and a total crap shoot from a blaster, as my Want list will tell you how short I am on a 30 "card" set. Knocking 4 from the list is four less I need to bite the bullet on.


Yup - them's football. And no, I haven't started collecting. But Steve sent over a few relics and Bears cards. I know enough people I should be able to flip them into nice return cards. If anyone sees something they like, let me know. But I will only take Lions and Barry Sanders cards in return.

One football card, though, is not available for trade.


Like Gretzky in Edmonton, Jackie in Brooklyn/LA, Bird in Boston and many others, you would be hard pressed to find a player more loved in his home town team than Sweetness. I contend that Walter would probably win out in a battle between him and Jordan. Nice 1984 Topps that lists Payton as 3rd on the all time rushing list when printed. It took him until October of that year to make the print incorrect. I might give crap that Emmitt Smith is not the real leader, but he took almost the exact same number of games that Walter played to pass Payton on the list, so props to Emmitt.

But to bring this post full circle, Barry Sanders should really be the all time leader.

Thanks Steve. You should try blogging sometime.

And maybe my daughter gets a raise? She deserves it.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The art of framing

Can you move it a little to the left?

No - too far.

Back to the right a bit.

Good.

Maybe down slightly?

I'm not liking that.

Go back up to where you were.

Yeah, that's much better.

Ok, let's move the the right.

Keep going.

More.

Some more.

One to the right.

PERFECT!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Stepping up to the plate: Blogger bat around

I still have plenty of mailings to scan, organize and thank publicly, and I need to get to those. But let me jump on the recent bat around posed by Chris at Nacho Grande about the most difficult set to complete.

If you spent any time on my Want lists (both A&G and regular), there are plenty of sets sitting on there for most of the 5 years of this blog, and any of them could get the title. But on many of those sets, it's not that they are difficult to complete, but that the building has stalled. Mostly for financial reasons, but also for time reasons. My 1964 Topps build is stalled because I have not had a chance to hit a card show in quite some time, stopping me from visiting one really good vintage seller and a couple pretty decent suppliers. My 2008 UD is just needing time on COMC, Sportlots or JustCommons to fill. Ditto for the numerous A&G mini sets (both insert and the 2010 minis), Gypsy Queen, Stadium Club, Cooperstown and even the 1977 Topps Star Wars sets. Sure, some of the prices can be a bit silly, but the cards are available. It's just the due diligence to actively search them out.

"So is it left at Piccadilly Square?"
The 2013 Heritage could almost fit the bill. There are a couple cards that sell for a crazy price I can't seem to fathom (looking at you any card with Mike Trout on it). But again, there are still other cards on my list that with time and effort, could be deleted from the want list. It's effort, but not crazy effort. It's more a changing of the mind set to know that my actions will definitely achieve results, instead of the gambler mindset. We all know what that is.

But when I thought a little more, a simple 5 card set jumped into my head, and I would have to put this as a difficult set to complete. "Five cards", you ask. Now we know there is something seriously wrong with you. How hard can a 5 card set be to complete? Are they made of gold and diamonds?

Not quite. But they brighten the outdoors.


2011 Allen and Ginter Flora of the World. I don't remember which card I first pulled from a blaster. I think it was the Alyssum at the bottom. I thought this was different and unique - cards you can plant and grow flowers from. I wonder if anyone actually did it. I would have if I had a dupe, but these were difficult pulls. Online it says one per hobby box. I can guarantee my one came from a blaster, so not sure how accurate those odds are.

Years back, though, it was hard to find these, and at a normal price point. I just checked ebay and some are listed pretty cheap. I remember finding 2 of them fast and inexpensively. The 4th took effort, but secured it at a price I could manage. It was the Mexican Hat card that proved elusive. Very few showed up online, and the couple that did were priced above the cost of a blaster. The usual drunken seller thoughts. I think it took a year, and a couple sniped losses, until I finally got my hands on one and I could put the set to rest.

Silly set? Sure. Small? You bet. Worth it? Totally. Difficult? I think so. Music video? Of course.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The sort of political post

I few posts back, I made a statement about my last visit to my LCS, focusing on the word "last" and saying it was the subject of another post. One person caught that statement and commented that he thinks my vague phrasing may be that I have stopped going to that shop. Well, let's rip off the band aid and get to it.

Simba will make it hurt less. Hakuna Ma-up yours.

For those that haven't figured it out, I'm a pretty hard liberal. Not psycho left wing, but a far distance from moderate. Swing by my house sometime and check out my bumper sticker collection on the window in the office. Now my local LCS (5 locations with the main just 10 minutes from my house), the owner is pretty conservative. Dyed in the wool right wing. If you go to his shop, there are two TVs on. If Brian is not there, you usually have sports on. But when Brian is in the shop, it's Fox News all the time. Rarely you get a game, but that would only be on pack wars night and the insistence of the folks in the shop.

We all have our views and morals. We all vote for whom we want. That's what's this place is about. I would rag Brian about Trump, but currently he is the Cheeto in Charge (who knows how much longer), but it is what it is. Brian had no issues with my left views and I accepted his right. At times we would discuss some things where we had opposing views. I can honestly say it's always refreshing to hear new angles on subjects. It's important we listen, even if we don't agree and we do not change our position.

Anyway, a couple weeks back I stopped in the store after a doctor's appointment. It was National hockey card day for one thing. And since I am not buying 2017 flagship, I hoped someone has ripped boxes and cases, leaving the cards behind for the shop to resell. I was not let down.

I spent time digging through this commons box, pulling out White Sox and other binder cards. People were coming in and out (the store does good business) and Brian is always very personable. He knows all his regulars and semi regulars well and greets them warmly with more than card talk. One couple came in and made a comment they hadn't seen Brian in a while at the usual place they would run into him - Walmart. Brian's response:

"I don't shop there anymore. They started carrying that Black Lives Matters crap so I take my money elsewhere."

I was well in earshot to hear this, and while we have differences, that statement cut me to the core. I took his statement two ways. First, I see that as him not really understanding what BLM is all about and the reason it has formed. But as I thought more, and factored in his noticeable love of all things Drumpf, I felt a tinge that his statement was mildly racist.

To this moment, and beyond, I don't think of him as a racist person. I probably never will. But there was too much in what he said and how he said it that shook my own morality. "He has a good point", I thought. "If you don't like the world direction a shop, company or corporation has, you have the right to take your business elsewhere". He has that right. You have that right. And I have that right. So I collected up what I had, paid and haven't gone back.

Brian not shopping at Walmart is a blip on their radar, just as I not shopping at his card store will do nothing to hurt his business. If you average it out, I maybe spend $50-75 a month at his shop. My wallet will not be missed when the quarterly totals are figured. But I cannot in my right mind fail to speak with my pocket in the same way he does, or the rest of us should do.

The one thing: I can afford this luxury. Sure, Brian has 5 shops in the area, and the two nearest to my house are his. But I am fortunate in this blog community to have so many shops to visit. Off the top of my head I can count 6 shops within an hour from me, plus darn near weekly card shows I can attend. Many of you barely have one of either shop or show. So this financial protest doesn't hurt me, but if I was to stop shopping at Jewel, I need my groceries from somewhere, and there's always Tony's, Mariano's, Aldi, Caputo's, Ultra Foods.....you get the idea.

If anyone is in town and wants to go, I will go. But I am making a conscious effort to give my business to another establishment. And if they all support Drumpf, there's always the internet.

Ok - enough of that. What was my last purchase? For starters, I pulled the complete series 1 White Sox set. I need an extra Eaton for the player collection if anyone has a dupe. Also in the commons box I found these:


Buybacks for the frankenset. Gem mint - I should get them graded.


Double play cards. I like finding that Pedroia for this image because it shows that even the '87 Topps design is better than this year's, mainly because the image it's cut off by the horrible layout. Who is Peterson doubling off? I know it's a Cub from the weeds in the background, but I would have to squint to see the name. Or to even know that Jace was soaring over someone. Dustim? Oh yeah - there is another player in the frame for sure.


Three throwbacks? Is that all in the base set? I really should stop complaining and be thankful I don't have to add too many to the binder.


Someone asked for the '65 vintage box, and I was able to hit it before they put it back. Every vintage was a dollar or less. Wood goes to a soon to start PC. I picked up a few more White Sox for the 1965 set than just these two.


Last, I showed the Stengel already, but no one will complain for another view. And yup, TTM autograph for a dollar on some loved vintage. I almost passed, but I can think of a Cardinal fan who is quite happy about one of the Final Four teams that would not refuse this card.

I apologize if I got too political and thank you if you read this far. I'll do my best to only talk about cute, fun things in the future.

Like bunnies and music.