Monday, November 23, 2015


Let's me add my part to the Junkie's challenge for the top 9 cards in your collection. I will say, the first 4 or 5 were fairly simple. Then, it became work to think about what I own and what really means something to me. It's nothing against the other cards in my collection, but the nine I selected each have a special reason for selection, whether personal, cultural or historical.

Here's the nine cards I really like. Junkie stated his best page was not set in stone, and I can say the same about mine. A few could never get the bump, but others would hope that I bring two pages to the island based on future acquisitions. Let's go through the page a card at a time. Each image I post below is clipped from the image above, so you may see a shine or a section out of focus. After I scanned this page, I put the cards back in their location - I didn't feel like digging them out again.

Upper left: 1960 Topps Billy Pierce All Star TTM autograph. When I finished my Pierce Project, I realized one thing. While I had some autographs of Mr. Pierce, I didn't  acquire them. And Billy was an amazing TTM signer. Lemont is just 20 miles from my house, But I never sent him a letter. Billy was nice enough to sign this and write a small note on the bottom of the letter I enclosed.

Top center: 1959 Topps Whammy Douglas. While I never really left collecting, I was all over the place and just picking up packs here and there at the big box stores. When I found the blogs and finally walked into my local LCS, I gradually changed my collecting habits. Upon my fist return to a card show in almost 20 years, I pulled this card from a 75 cent vintage box. You just don't pass up a card with someone named "Whammy". I read Mr. Douglas was pretty good with TTM returns, but by the time I learned this, he stopped signing because of failing health. Would have loved to get his autograph on this gem.

Upper right: 2014 Panini Golden Age Jacqueline Kennedy relic. I love Golden Age. I wish Panini would still produce it, because you don't need to release a new football set every other week. While not much of a swatch, I love that I own something that was probably in the White House. I also own relics of Claudette Colbert and Jayne Mansfield (hubba), but this one edges those two out.

Middle left: 1992 Topps Mike Felder. This card has everything - a nice bunt and a gorgeous throwback with perfectly worn pants. There are other versions of these uniforms, and even other cards with this image, but the Topps card is the best.

Center card: 1951 Bowman Bill Pierce. Not only is this card in immaculate shape, and a straight up beautiful image, but this is the card that informed me I had found the right group of people here in our blogging community. This card was gifted to my from the great Collective Troll. Dude, I know you're still out there, so get back to your blog.

Middle right: 1890 N23 Allen & Ginter Bengali. As you can tell, I placed this into one of the A&G mini relic frames. I think it looks really nice. I had found a lot of tobacco minis on Ebay and secured it for about 50 cents a card after shipping, maybe less. This turned out the be the oldest card in the bunch. The back is missing, and you can see the wear on the face. But it's still the oldest card in my collection, I am sure if the seller had an image of this card on the main auction listing, I would not have been the high bidder.

Bottom left: 2010 Topps Phil Hughes miscut. A bunch of miscuts could make the page, but this is the center of a three card panel I pulled from a pack. Most people would be pissed. Not me. Miscentered and not square corners - a miscut only a weirdo can love.

Bottom center: 1972-73 Topps Tony Esposito All Star. Before Ebay became the impossible bargain search it is now (2012 Luke Scott for $1.29 with $2.50 shipping???), you could pick up some nice cards really cheap. I think I got this in a 3 or 4 card lot for a buck with shipping. When I think of hockey cards, it's this set that comes to mind first. The beige borders, the yellow name bar, the pre-Comic Sans font - I wish I never got rid of these cards when I was a kid. I may have to build this set one day.

Bottom right: 1952 Bowman Ted Wilks. I just learned of this card maybe 2 years ago. In fact, the day I learned of this card is the day I learned about Ted Wilks. I happened across it when I was searching for cards on Ebay. Besides the fact of the last name (which made him a player project I recently completed), the background looks less of a fence with a sign on it, as bathroom tile. I found it odd that a toilet would be the place to pose for this painting. Hey - it was early in the morning when I saw this card, cut me some slack.

There you have it. To me, the best nine I have.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Let's do a box break.

It's been a while since I have ripped a box and showed off the contents. My LCS has been having some previews of Black Friday for the past few weeks with reduced prices on specific boxes. Yesterday, hockey got it's day in the sun with the product of 2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology for $39 a box. That is pretty hard to pass up. It's just under the price a Dave & Adams, and no shipping charges.

While that year doesn't have the incredible rookie class of the following year's release, the hits available are nothing to avoid. Good pulls can be had. Ten packs in a box, 5 cards in a pack, and you are going to get one auto, one relic and then two more hits (either/or). So four guaranteed hits, it was worth the risk.

I would say when all was said and ripped, I did ok. While the hits we not all monsters, one for sure is really nice. Let's just show off some scans.

Just in case you were wondering, this is the base design. Gold foil, and too much of it with the player name, the logo and that silly bar at the bottom. Otherwise, it's pretty clean and focuses on the player. Though, centering the player's face tends to make the card off balanced. Card manufacturers don't get art.

Six total inserts in the box. Here are three from three different sets, even though they look a lot alike. Cup Contenders in the upper left, Hart Contenders on the upper right, and Vezina Contenders at the bottom. Let's be honest - only Hillar might win the Vezina out of this group. I will give credit that the Blues are coming out of the gate hot this season. Their problem is they always crap the bed when the post season comes.

Three more. That Oiler rookie card of Cornet is all foily. And it's pretty lame as Cornet has all of 2 games of NHL experience and is currently playing in Norway. Sakic is not too bad. That Howe is a acetate card and looks nice in hand, though it's kind of thin. Alright, let's get to the hits.

Along with the 10 packs, you get a 3 card pack of Prizm. I beat the odds and pulled a refractor auto of Greening. This is actually the 2nd autograph of Colin I have pulled from hockey products. And like the first one, this is heading north of the border. BTW - hits in the bonus Prizm packs do not count against the hits in the box. SCORE!

I would call this the guaranteed auto from the box. Not that great, as Elliott is now with the Yotes and just an average defender. And Bronze is the lowest level of autographs in the product.

It does seem that one of the other two hits in the box tends to be a auto/relic. I have ripped 4 or 5 boxes and always pull a Rookie Treasures card. Maybe my luck. Lane MacDermid is now a retired brawler, saying he just lost his desire to play the sport. He played a grand total of 21 games.

I should just collect Leighton, as I think this makes the 4th hit of his I have ever pulled. Boring, boring white swatch, and considering Leighton's career, you can't even be sure it's a Flyer jersey. Though, I like to think this is from the sweater on his back when Kane slipped the OT Cup winning goal under his pads in 2010.

Alright, more boring white swatches, but you have two decent players on this card. Not so fast, there, Pickard.

Well, there you go - my four hits, plus a bonus autograph. Actually, I'm not done. This box was LOADED with hits. In the 11 packs within, I pulled 7 hits. Yes - SEVEN. So let's show off two more cards.

Another in the line of blah players, as Burminstrov isn't lighting up the league in Winnipeg. At least he is still in the NHL, and this is a heck of a nice three color swatch from his sweater.  It's also numbered 22/25, so it's fairly low in the run. I may throw it on Ebay just to see what kind of interest it brings.

I cannot complain about this, being the big hit of the box. A great stick relic of HOFer Bobby Clarke - a sweet section of the stick showing the Canadian maple leaf. When you think about all the damage Clarke did with his stick, one can only imagine what this relic saw. As great as Clarke was, he was a bit of a wuss, knowing he could be a dirty player with the Flyers (and his lumber) and have his back covered by Dave Schultz, Don Saleski, Bob Kelly, Andre Dupont and any number of others on the roster. Still, you cannot ignore his skills of putting the biscuit in the basket and is deserving of his status in NHL history.

There you have it. It was a fun rip. If I could get relics or autos in 63% of the packs in a box for $39, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Besides the Clarke staying here and the Greening already with a destination, talk to me if you are interested in any of the other hits.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inexpensive ink.

I've been meaning to post today, and then life made it tough. Mother Nature isn't helping much too as the midwest is currently in standard "freak out" mode concerning an incoming snow storm.

Hang onto your butter, bitches.
But let me get something up that I received a few days back. I sold a nice card on Ebay (more on that in a future post) and I always like to see what cards I "flip" another card into. Here's $3.48 cents worth of autographs.

Manchild on the left. I am shocked this auto was so cheap, with a buy it now of $2.19. Granted, I was sad (saad?) to see him go, but he was going to get big money. Too bad he won't ever touch the Cup again in Columbus, but that was his choice. Stalberg was a pickup from the same seller. $0 shipping charges for additional purchases, so I'll add another Hawk with his name on the Cup for a buck 29.

Two Stanley Cup winners autographs for less than Big Mac meal. And far healthier.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Repack Wars: The Repack Awakens

Been a very, very long time since I have ripped some repacks and picked the best card in the pack. Recently, at my local Meijer's, I found some of the good ol' 16 pack repack boxes. I haven't seen one of these in a while, and I had to pick one up. But there were two, so a few days later, I picked up the other one. I actually thought about two separate posts for the boxes, but the packs within were pretty close, so I have decided to not just choose the best card per pack, but then put the best against the other box in a winner take all. Make sense.

So, uh, you don't want some 'possom?
All the cards on the left were the first box, while the right side is the other. And away we go.

We'll get '09 OPC out of the way first. I know many people like it, but it's not a design I enjoy ripping into. That being said, a super sweet Upper Deck image of Figgins easily beats the ok Manny from box #2. Not saying much about box 2.

Sticking with Upper Deck, 2008 Baseball Heroes appeared in both boxes. Penny got selected for his high pants, but Carew trumps him because Rod Carew.

Had a couple packs of First Edition in box #1, but none in box two. Then again, no packs of 2008 Topps in box one, so I put the packs against each others. I have no clue why that Castro scanned the way it did. Three tries and it looks out of focus. I'm giving the nod, though to Patterson. Better view of the stands, nice action shot and HOLY CRAP - is that a broken bat?!?! You better believe it is.

No Hunter didn't have the same scan issues and Castro. Go figure. Great shot of him kicking up the dirt. But sorry, Punto making a bunt-o. You lose, Torii.

Both packs are 2010 Topps, series 1 on the left and series 2 on the right. And series 1 was a all black pack, which tells you have crappy all the cards were when the Helton ToppsTown in the best pulled. Still, a Cards Your Mom Threw Out that talks about the lack of black ink on 1984 cards is a nice view indeed, and is better that Mr. Helton.

08 Upper Deck Timeline on the left, and 09 Upper Deck Icons. Icons just sucks. I hate that set more than OPC. Then again, so does Timeline. At least a decent inset was in Timeline. Still just a win in which sucked less.

Last two releases of Upper Deck baseball, with contract (2009) and without (2010). Even though you can hardly see the subject, there is something fun about the Ludwick. However, Hundley is a very nice play at the plate, and one of the few cards in 2010 that completely avoided the lack of licensing, so it wins out.

Some more 2009 Upper Deck, and now we have not just a battle of cards, but of teams, as both best cards happen to be Astros. They also both happen to be at Wrigley. Erstad in left center and Lee leaving home plate. Good appearance of the ball on Erstad's card, plus the green is a nice contrast to Houston's old softball tops.

Remember 2008 and Upper Deck X? Yeah, it's not that great of a design. Gold die cut of Longoria goes up against a X2 insert of Thome. Sox win by default. My blog, my rules.

Well hey now!!!! Box one had a hit with a nice Mets swatch for Astros player Kazou Matsui. No such hit luck in box two. Sorry Justin - you lose.

2008 Baseball Heroes is back, put up against a pack of 09 Artifacts. Do you see I selected a card of a frigging microwave oven as the best card of the Artifacts pack??? Hell - Baseball Heroes could have been a pack of Bieber cards and it would have won over a damn microwave. Fortunately, it's a gray parallel of a flamed out Yankee pitcher, so it's not the Biebs.

Bowman Chrome was the only shiny cards in box one, so I put it up against 2009 Upper Deck Spectrum. Let me check something........ Yup. 2009. With a weird set like Spectrum, one would have thought it was released in the mid 90's, am I right? Purcey was the only name I half knew in the pack, because of a few months spent on the south side. Matty Cakes, you win this round.

Home stretch, guys and gals. Box two had the only Masterpieces I ripped. So no matter the sweetness of a close up shot of a head first slide, it's up against Masterpieces and Bucky "F***ing" Dent.

Ummm....yeah. I hope Mr. Doerr can sign that card for me. I have one TTM from him, but that card is begging for a signature.

2009 Goodwin. To me (unfortunately), the best Goodwin release ever. Think about how this set could have gone up against Allen and Ginter if MLB didn't go exclusive. Would have been fun. Yankee vs Yankee, and Chien Ming Wang makes a 2nd appearance in the battle. Well, he can't do much on the mound, but in Repack Wars, he's 2-0, if only because of the final season of Yankee Stadium logo. Oh, and it's a mini too.

Last, but not least, is 2009 Goudey. I prefer the 2008 release, but 09 is nothing to hate upon. Great homage to a great set. And your eyes are not playing tricks on you, Kemp also gets a 2nd appearance in the wars. But unlike Wang, he goes up again Ichiro, and that sure looks like an impossible challenge on Turns out, it is. Suzuki 勝利!

So let's add up the points. Box #1 had the best card 7 times, which means box #2 had the best card 9 times and was the better purchase (jersey hit aside). Thus ends another repack wars, where the ultimate winners are you guys, as it just pads my trade box and sooner or later, some one will own an card that went through a battle and came out the other side with four sharp corners and no paper loss.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Expectation vs. Reality

We have all experienced the difference between what we expect and what we actually experience. Sometimes reality falls short of the setup while other times it goes far beyond what you felt it would be. At times, it will even be exactly what you thought would happen. I have experienced each of those situations often in my life.

Thinking about reality matching expectations, many of my jobs fit that bill. You know the job requirements before starting, and some of the responsibilities are harder than your thought while others are easier. When all is said and done, it all balances out to be what you knew it would: sometimes boring, sometimes stressful and sometimes fun.

When it comes to reality falling short of expectations, a vacation can do that. You hear about someone's trip and how incredible it was; the weather, the sites, the scenery, the people and the memories, and you want to have all that in your life. Then you go, and the weather stinks, or the attractions were closed. A member of your traveling group gets ill or hurt, or you eat at a recommended restaurant and receive poorly cooked food with even worse service. You had hoped to have wonderful memories on the plane ride home, and for years to come, but instead it's one rotten tale after another.
And no cool hat, either.
Lastly is the best, when the reality far exceeds what you expected. My best memory of this was my first trip to a ball game. I don't remember if it was 1972 or 1973, but I know it was a bright, cool day with a trip to Comiskey Park. I had watched plenty of games on the tube and finally I was getting to see a game in person. While Comiskey was an amazingly beautiful park when built, they painted the outside brickwork white, so seeing the park for the first time didn't overwhelm me. It was fun walking through the concourse, up the ramps to our seats in the upper deck. We found our section, walked through the opening and that's when it finally hit me.

The green.

It was SO GREEN! And huge! The field was small on the 19" console color Zenith TV. But in person, it was this sea of beautiful green grass, the alternating shades from the cutting. I remember being in such awe in my seat looking at the enormous expense of Comiskey to my 7 or 8 year old body. I'm not sure what I expected when I as first told we were going to the game, but I can tell you I was blown away with the experience.

Another similar experience came in recently from Mark at My Best Friend collects Chipper Jones. Mark said he has gone through all his vintage an offered up a stack for my 1964 set. And it was offered with a condition of "you can help me in the future". When the box arrived, no matter what I expected a stack of '64s would look like, I was still blown away with the gracious action.

And as I sort through the box, the gifts keep coming out.

A total of five cards for the current year's release. That Eaton is almost the perfect image, but even if it was pulled back, it wouldn't work.

There was one more card that didn't make this scan from the '66 set. And the bent corner Kelly is no ordinary 1971 card.

O Pee Chee! These cards were unexpected in the box of 1964's Mark sent. And how many?

How about 113? Yes - 113 cards for my '64 set. Mark went through my checklist and all but 6 were needed. And here's the thing. I didn't know I had those six. I forgot to remove them from the want list. Mark's cards, though, were all upgrades on the ones I had, so all was not lost.

Among all the common-ish players, though, are some star players, as a 2nd year Rusty Stuab and Yankee star Pepitone will attest. Plus, I am following the rules of posting any Mossi card received.

Haddix is competing with Mossi for the MVD award - Most Valuable Dumbo.

Mark's generosity bumped my 1964 set from 46% to 65% complete. I actually have enough now to put them in binder pages. Plus, I now must be more selective if I buy lots because odds state I may have more than half of the cards in the group.

Mark, I look forward to your lists and hitting the boxes at my LCS. And I'll throw that offer out to anyone - if you have a list for a set from the 50's-80's, send it over to me. I can see what I find.

Forcing me to spend time at my LCS - good for you, maybe not for my marriage.

You can be replaced.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

It's a vintage weekend

First off - my rear end appreciates the love and kind words. I did go for my MRI and X-ray yesterday. I didn't need to drink a contrast fluid for the MRI, so I was able to knock them out in one visit. I learned two things. First, planning ahead for an MRI is smart, so if you have to get one, bring shorts. I was more relaxed dressed like I was walking around my house instead of having a draft in the back. And second, with the volume and noise of the MRI, I learned the origin of dubstep.

Radiologist, Loyola University - Class of 2007
Since this medical issue of mine is a new thing, let's go old school this weekend with a couple packages. Tomorrow will be an incredible bit of generosity from an amazing collector. Today, we get to the 2nd part of the mailing from Brian at HSCA. Wednesday we talked about entries for the binders and Sox box. Today, we have more for that make it to the binders, but all the cards have that great old smell to them.

Let's start with the Sox binder. All the pre 80's team sets I store in 9 pocket pages. It's so easy when you only have to worry about Topps and Bowman (yes, OPC too, but I have practically zero pre 80 OPC). Brian nailed a lot of years in this group. The only dupe was the johnstone (love the lower case of the name) in the middle. Great old shot of Yankee stadium on the '63 Horlen, but I am not sure where Joel is on the 64. Is that a dormitory over his right shoulder?

The largest pile of the vintage, though, is all these glorious miscuts. So many years were represented. I believe Brian found these at a card show or two. I can only imagine what the seller(s) thought when they were purchased, besides "thank goodness those are gone".

And I mean many years. Plus, the big names don't end with Hoyt.

One of the many Alou brothers makes a miscut appearance. Rollie sans handlebars also gets a spot in the binder. That Aparico..... I wonder what the owner was thinking. That sticker/tattoo/whatever is too well aligned to have accidentally attached itself to the card. I guess if it's miscut, throw everything to the wind and royally screw up the card.

Ok - Toews isn't a vintage, but Mohns is, coming from the 70-71 set. Mohns had a great career with the Bruins, Hawks, Stars, Flames and Caps, playing with Stash Mikita in the mid 60s until 71.

How's about some help for my 1964 set? Brian added eight cards to the set and dropped me to just under 47% completion. Moose as a Senator is strange. He was only in Washington 4 months before a trade brought him to the White Sox. You can almost smell the Vaseline on Perry's fingers.

These were the first items I saw when I opened Brian's shipment, and I saved them for last. The '52 Wilks moved me one closer to completing his run of cards. I have been following 52s for a while on Ebay and now I can delete each listing. On the right, that is a luggage sticker. You wet it and apply it to whatever surface you want, like a window, luggage or other items. If you ever did plastic model kits, it's the same procedure to apply this decal. And Brian - please tell me you didn't spend this much on it. It's cool, but not that cool.

Brian - good luck with your upcoming move. I have a few things to send you, but I'll wait until you are settled.