Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stacks of freebies

Before I get into the stack (literally - a STACK) I received recently, let me request a call to arms and mailings from the blogosphere. Chris'  Old Foul Cardboard blog is slowly coming back to life. He put out a request for some cards to a couple kids he coached during a ball season. Now, I know we all would love to get some cards to some children still excited about the hobby. So please - read the post, email Chris and let's make it happen.

Ok, so now that you have cleared out your stacks to the kids, let's see the stack I recently received. I use the word in the proper literal sense and not the figurative sense.


See - that is a stack of cards. Johnny from Johnny's Trading Spot dropped a small flat rate box stuffed to overflowing with cards. But not just a mass of randomness. Every single card I received was a bunting card. In that stack is over 400 cards. Granted, a lot are dupes from what I already have in my collection, but Johnny hit me so hard I needed to start a 2nd bunting binder. Out of the 400 cards, 118 were new unique cards for my customer collection. With all the new additions, I am close to a thousand cards showing a player bunting.


Sorry Nick - hope you don't need these. At the least, you can find these for your pitcher at the plate and add them to your next Just Commons order. Lieber looks scared trying to lay one down. Or he needs to use the little boys room.


Vintage-y!!! Hubbard was a card on deck for the baker's dozen. And the Lynn....that is pure beauty.


One serialed card in the box. I really wonder if the /99 print rate on these is accurate. I rarely see these online and have pulled a grand total of one gold card from a UD product. Now I have to find the base of this card.

With such a huge stack of bunting cards, I went through to see who was represented on cardboard the most in a bunting position. This is by no means accurate, as it is only based on the stack of cards Johnny sent. I feel confident, though, the person in position #1 probably has the most bunting cards in production. But we'll get to that is time.

Third most player with bunting cards in the stack was Brady Anderson with 7.


The two cards on the left look identical, but the top one is die cut.

Runner up was Steve Finley with 8.


Sportflics sighting in the top right. But the king of this package in Brett Butler.


Butler laid down a lot of bunts.


An insane amount of bunting cards. In fact, I have 21 cards of Butler in the bunting binders. Was he really that fast down the first base line? Dodger collectors - answer? Many seem to be drag bunts.

Thanks a ton for the cards, Johnny. If anyone wants to start their own bunting binder, send me an email. Seriously, I have a ton of cards I would be more than happy to send you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2015 Archives...musically

I did a post just like this on the 2014 Archives. It was fun for me to put together, and I got some decent response. So what the hell - let's do it again.

As you know, Topps Archives this year is only three years - 1957, 1976 & 1983. As I did in the past, let's look at those years in the music scene. Now, I know there are insert sets that honor 1968 and 1990 - I'm ignoring those. We are simply looking at the three main sets used for base. Also, this is not an opinion on the design, how true it is to the original or any of that. More than enough blogs have looked into those factors far more eloquently than I ever will. We are only hitting the airwaves with the three card designs.

1957.

Topps reached way back for the first year, hitting a design only 8 years into it's run. The radio in 1957 had been getting competition from television with many stars of the radio getting comedy shows on the tube. Rock and roll was still in diapers, so it was common to find so older music on the radio while the adults of the decade dealt with this hoodlums. Pat Boone was still a heart throb, Andy Williams was 5 years from having a show on television, Mel Tormè was singing Irish tunes, and Dick Haymes was....well, being Dick Haymes. Frank Sinatra had a classic from a movie soundtrack, Nat King Cole was still releasing hit after hit and Johnny Mathis was getting some recognition from his sophomore effort.

There was plenty of other good stuff to be found on the AM dial. Little Richard was confusing the masses, Chuck Berry recorded a classic in Chicago in May and Elvis went to prison (on the silver screen). Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong had a 2nd successful partnership on vinyl while Patsy Cline sung sorrowfully on the country charts. The biggest deal for 1957 may be some of the music super stars that debuted that year. You have Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Ricky Nelson and the smooth voice of Sam Cooke. But probably the biggest star to put out his first album in this year was the man in black, Johnny Cash.


1976.

The radio in 1976 was a mess. Rock and roll was a shell of itself after morphing out of the psychedelic phase into ....whatever the early 70's were. Disco was coming on strong as well. So we were stuck listening to stuff like solo Diana Ross, a dancing Leo Sayer and former bath house musician Barry Manilow. I am also putting the 2nd release from this jagoff in the crap pile because he is a right wing nutjob and I frankly don't like him, even if a couple of his songs are not too bad.

Thankfully, other stuff saved the airwaves. Peter Frampton asked how we felt from the biggest selling live album while Boston said it was more than just a feeling. My home city of Chicago got some props on the dial with releases from Styx, REO Speedwagon and Chicago. The Eagles were staying in Hotel California while Thin Lizzy was trying to be anywhere but where they were. Queen was into bondage, KISS was vocal about something and Rose Royce just wanted to clean your car. The fantastic 2112 album from Rush came out in 1976. And say what you want about these two groups, but I have a secret love of ABBA and the wonderful voice of The Carpenters. Artists that had their first albums released in 1976 include Heart, Tom Petty and the pioneers, The Ramones. And as amazing as The Ramones are, I am going to give the video posting the the great Stevie Wonder, who released his super album Songs In the Key of Life with this huge hit and personal favorite.


1983.

Hey - 1983. It's the year I graduated high school. What you kids call "alternative" was "new wave" when I was a teenager. FM radio was hitting it's stride. That's not to say '83 was great. Still had to deal with Spandau Ballet, and debuts from Wham! and Kajagoogoo. Know who else debuted in 1983? The queen of "look at me - no, look at ME", Madonna. Plus Night Ranger tagged themselves with a song they probably wished they never recorded.

But 1983 was a good year tune wise. As I mentioned new wave, you had Eurythmics and their dreams, Oingo Boingo waking them up and The Fixx saying they were both connected somehow. Donna Summer needed money, and may have used a body part ZZ Top appreciated to obtain it. It was a Big Country, and even bigger when the wall fell down around John Cougar Mellencamp. Huey Lewis wanted a different way to alter his mind. David Bowie wanted to get down, but Re-Flex tried to make it political. Duran Duran indirectly supported David, or the other side. The newest music stars to release their first album in 1983 ranged from the Violent Femmes to Weird Al. College radio favorite R.E.M also released their first album (or cassette). And before they passed the mantle of rock gods to U2, The Police left the industry with easily the greatest album ever made. It's one of the three discs I would want with me on a deserted island.


So there you have it. I am sure I missed a lot of songs, but you can't link to everything.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Here's Some Cardboard that Arrived

When I started blogging a little over 3 years ago, I did it to become a part of this community. I had stumbled on a few videos from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius, and from the links on his blog, found there we so many more people out there that not only collected, but shared what they had. It was fun to peek into the collecting world, and other people's collections. Finding all the blog is what helped me become not just a better collector, but a smarter collector. Instead of picking away here and there, I could focus on what I wanted and felt more secure in giving up the things that I didn't feel attached to.

I remember those first cautious steps in the blog world, wanting to be accepted, not understanding the whole "trade" thing. It wasn't until I blogged that I completed my first baseball card trade. I mean that. I didn't collect with my brothers. I just had a couple friends that were into cards, and that was only during the junk wax era. There was never any trading, so I just stored everything I had. When I first traded, I was so worried I would upset someone, or do something wrong.

Now, screw it. I just send cards willy nilly. I know the moment I rip a pack if I even want to keep a rectangle. I don't worry about the cards I send, that is until I get a package in return. Then I feel like I need to step up my game.

That statement is very true based on two recent mailings from Brian at HSCA (get this post name?). Brian doesn't seem to have any of the fears I had when I started my blog. He jumped in with incredible mailings and a calm demeanor. Maybe it's an age thing. Or a Minnesota thing. Let's look at the 2nd package first, that arrived a couple days ago.


We've all seen enough 2015 Topps. What these show is the last card I needed for series one, in the McCann, and one of many cards that knocked me to needing 14 for series two.


Dig the silver borders! Brian included a nice amount of cards for the Sox box.


And a few for the binders as well. Will the Thrill cameo on the Cora DP cards. Those great 1911/12 throwbacks the Cubs wore in the early 90's (and again about 10 or so years ago for a Crosstown Classic). I have no idea what Jaha is smiling about, unless he is goofing with a REALLY bad bunting position.


The highlight of this mailing were these two great cards, each for different reasons. For the Mudcat, it's obvious - B-E-A-Utiful '59 miscut. For the Thomas, just wow. The shop job on that card is painful. So painful I think Topps hired the guy. But dig those crappy Twizzlers logos. UD had a license at this time, but maybe since Y&S Candies doesn't have the license, they could not use MLB logos. Yet, this is a card that is so bad, it's amazing.

Ok - package 2. Errr.....1. Brian did a road trip about a month ago and ran a contest one day. Identify the location of a picture posted and he would get you something. Luckily, with the scant bit of info he gave, and a little Google Mapping, I choose wisely with Cooperstown. Brian emailed me and asked who my favorite HOFer was. My reply: any White Sox, and even the ones that didn't make it in.

Brian then choose wisely in my prize pack.


A sweet '58 for the Aparicio project. Billy is a nice upgrade, and that meant the card that moved from the Pierce collection could go to the Sox team set. Win-win!


Recently deceased Minnie filled out the rest of the mailing, with a nice '58 and a hand signed TCMA. Minnie was always going to be a player project in the future, but his will be tough, with the extra years he played. Still should be fun.

Now just four cards. So why would Brian mail winnings in an envelope this large?


Luckily, that fiber board meant my postman had to walk up to the door because he couldn't jam the mail into the mailbox. And that was so thankful because this remained mint.


It's a matted 8x10 of Minnie. A could days after Minnie passed, I snagged a 3x5 index card autograph from him off ebay. I placed in it a card sleeve and into a box. Now, I just need to grab a 11x14 frame for this, and I'll work the auto in somehow. It will make for a great addition to my autograph wall.

Brian, you have more than outdone yourself. Not sure how to make this up, but I will try. And for those without a blog, get in the game, would ya? Trust me - we want to read what you have to say. When you put us all together, we make some mighty fine music.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015-51=?

I'm 49. I have yet to have my 50th birthday this year. So if you do some quick math, I was born in 1965. Now, my wife is 50.....er......27 I mean. She has yet to have her birthday either. In fact, our birthdays are 2 days apart, so my wife was 363 days old when I was born. Do the math for my wife, and you see she was born in 1964.

I started my building of the 1964 set over a year ago. I liked the 2013 Heritage set, and figured I would build it's original. There was a vendor at the card show I frequent that had lots of 64s at 33 cents each. I have since cleaned him out, and haven't seen any new cards reappear in his discount bin. Because of that, my 1964 build has slowed down. I am not trying to build a gem mint set (as you will soon see), but I'm trying to avoid cards costing a couple bucks each.

You can grab lots off ebay, but I can never seem to snag one at a price I am happy with. Until a couple weeks ago. I finally won an auction with 75 cards in it. After all was said and done, I added 56 cards to my '64 set. Another 10 cards upgraded the current ones I had. One card went to the miscut binder and 3 cards went into the White Sox team set. All total, the cards added came to about fifty cents each. And these were not just commons.


Ok. Most were commons. These were the worst of the cards. Centering issues. Creases. Dinged corners. But perfect for what I am building.


Here is the other end of the spectrum. Still some centering issues, but crisp cards and solid corners. Newman is a high number. There were some great highlights in the mailing.


Not the best condition on these two, but the Podres is also a high number.


More high number with Minoso. I actually have the Fox in the player project, so into the Sox team set it goes. The Aparicio, though, is new for that player collection.


The stars keptt coming out with La Russa, Pesky and Stengel. Yeah, Casey is miscut, but he will do until I find a replacement, if I even care. Here are the big cards from the lot, though.


An Aaron, a Clemente and a Koufax for two quarters each? Sign me up!! There are enough big name cards I still need to add, but I would not be too upset to drop fifty cents on those. But these aren't the only 64s that showed up recently.


An envelope of 64s came from Bob over at Five Tool Collector.  Now the cards from Bob are muuuuuuuuch nicer than I ever buy. But if I must add them to the set, then I must.


Gotta love that "Hitting Area" card. Thanks for the cards, Bob. Currently my set build is at 44%. Got a while to go, but it's not stalled.

Monday, June 22, 2015

CSI-ish

I don't watch too many cop or legal type shows on TV. At least not at this point of my life. Oh, when I was a kid I was into all those: Starsky & Hutch, Columbo, Baretta, S.W.A.T. I watched them all as a teenager. But the shows nowadays.... Eh. They just aren't my cup of tea. I did watch the first season of True Detective on HBO. Maybe I will watch the 2nd season. But the CSIs, Law and Order, Hill Street Blues and the rest I don't care for. I can't even get into Brooklyn 99.

One of my absolute favorite shows was Ellery Queen. Just one season (because of ratings), but I loved that show. It was a TV version of Encyclopedia Brown, which were books I could not check out fast enough from the public library. If you never watched Ellery Queen, it was set in the late 40's. A police detective gets help from his mystery writer son in solving tough murders. About 10 minutes before the show would end, the actor playing Ellery would break the 4th wall, turn to the screen and ask the viewers if they solved the crime. The show would hit a commercial, then come back and reveal the murderer. I ate this show up.

I mention this because I was about to present a mystery on this blog and ask you, the reader to help me. Then I received a package a couple weeks back from Weston at Fantastic Catch. I relate these two because 7 of the nine cards in the package are directly related to the mystery I was about to enlist your help in solving. I'll get to those in a bit. Let's jump on some other cards first.


Starting off we have two cards for two different binders. I never realized how many colors there are in the Baseball Heroes release until I added this care to my Zistle Konerko collection. Holy crap, Upper Deck - REALLY? We'll see how many of those I can find. The Aparicio goes into the Luis binder.


More color madness, this time from Topps. But when you need them for the Sox Box, you need them.


After Zippy Zap, I think Weston would be the next big prospect hunter I know. It's fortunate for me Weston sends me all the Bowman and Pro Debut cards he does since I buy so little. I would say at least 30% of the prospect cards I have are from Weston.

Ok - here's comes the mystery for you folks. It started when I was going through some dupes and found this card.


Yes, I know it's Panini Triple Play. I don't need to beat the drum on my bunting binder. But my question: is this a bunting card? Because Weston did this to me...


That's 7 of the 9 cards I need. I plan to get the last two, but do these go into the bunting binder? I know a few of you can find the photo of a card via Getty Images, AP or whomever. And I gotta think this caricature is based on an actual photo. I would love to see that image to give me a better basis of where these cards end up.

So thanks again, Weston. And detectives - HAVE AT IT!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

PW-Cleaning

To you that are dads, I hope your day is going well. To you that have dads, pay them a visit and thank them for what they taught you. To you that lost your dads, remember the fun times you had. And for those that never really had dads (like me), remember your kids need you, so be there as much as you can, and if things aren't the best between you and your children's mom, it's not worth the animosity. Be the best man you can be and model a strong father figure for your kids to emulate.

Today, my wife made breakfast. I did a little bit of work around the house, but mostly I have been in my office, trying to clean up all these damn cards! I need a windfall of cash so I can mail out a bunch of stuff to you readers to make space around this place. I still have some stuff to scan, but I can clean out four PWEs I recently received and give some thanks to the senders.

Salute's ya!

Technically, these cards from Tom at Waiting 'til Next Year did not arrive via a PWE. You'll see why in a second. But Tom gave a good look at my spreadsheets (that you can view above) and sent a bunch of cards to knock needs off my Sox teams sets. When you start putting together lists for Topps sets, you start to realize how many cards you've seen before and were damn sure you have, but don't. Many of my team sets are missing just a card or two - give them a look.


Here's what made a PWE into....well, not sure what to call it. This is a huge magazine, maybe 11x14-ish. It doesn't just focus on the Big Hurt, but he has an article within. It's fun to flip through and see the collecting world as it was early 90's. Thanks for the mailing, Tom.


I'd make you guess who this came from, but that '75 mini should be a dead giveaway. Night Owl Greg sent a nice PWE to me a while back. Green Rios and a different green Danks for the throwbacks binder. Forster is an upgrade for my '72 team set. And back to that gorgeous miscut mini. Thanks a bunch, Greg.


AJ from The Lost Collector sent over a few cards. The Shark took his place in the Sox box behind the 2015 tab. I didn't realize they are still putting out cards in SI Kids magazines. At least I won't have to chase down this Abreu, but how many others am I missing? Crap. AJ - nice surprise and I thank you.


Last up is this Hoyle-ing I received yesterday from Mark. I think he is slipping because there were just 4 cards within. I mean, I love adding these three, which are all needed for this year, but com'on Mark - step it up!!!!


Did I say "slipping", CUZ HOLY SHIT!!!! I literally (no, not figuratively - LITERALLY) stared at the section of 9 pocket page that was in the envelope for a good 15 seconds, marveling at this card in the middle slot. I'm pretty sure my mouth was half open as well. I think stunned is the word the kids use nowadays. Mark has graced me with some great vintage, and this is the greatest to date. Amazing condition on this '34 Goudey and zero paper loss. It's hard to imagine the generosity of the blogging community when cardboard like this is just sent. No warning - no expectations. Just a gift. Mark - so much thanks to you. I know I don't owe you, but I owe you.

I think that's enough work for Father's Day. I'm going to go sit on the couch with my hand down my pants. Someone bring me a beer!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Houston, we have a problem (again)

So series 2 was just released this week for Topps flagship design. Instead of a few hobby packs, blasters, rack packs and the like, I decided to swing to my LCS and pick up a box. In fact, to really get it right, I bought a jumbo box. Ten packs per box - 50 cards per pack. That's 500 cards if you are scoring at home. And if you aren't, try flowers.

No rim shot for you.
The series is 350 cards. Each pack has about 8-10 inserts. After all is said and done, you should pull at least 400 base cards from a box. Maybe 10 or so above or below that, but far more than the 2nd set contains. If you are thinking ahead, you see where I am going. I will say I put 2 or 3 cards from what I ripped into custom collections. I also lucked out and someone ripped a box and left most of the base behind, so I could pull any throwback/bunt/DP cards from that stack, which limited the ones I needed to use from my box. However, when all was said and done, I am 25 cards short of building series 2. From a jumbo box that is roughly 50 to 70 cards above the total number in the series, I only have a completion rate of 93%. In fact, my dupe total is almost 80 cards - basically 2 jumbo packs of base. So I paid for 10 packs, and only got 8. That, my friends, is dreadful collation. At least I didn't pull a crappy manu-relic. Though, a meh auto (Buck Farmer - promised to Hot Corner cards), and meh relic (Josh Hamilton - available for trade) came out. Did pull a silver framed Sabathia card which is heading across the pond to Holland. Lastly, with all my complaining I did pull a sweet hit (coin/stamp numbered to 50 of a star rookie), but I am working on a trade, so no reveals.

But still, one would think you can complete a 350 card set with a unopened box containing 500 cards. I guess not....

Enough complaining. Let's do some trade scan folder cleaning. Good ol' DJ from Sportscards From The Dollar Store sent me a package I received the other day, which rules, but I have yet to post the LAST envelope he sent me. I'm doing those first.


DJ did some help with my collection binders, knocking some cards off the backer's dozen, and the on deck circle of the baker's dozen. I love the red trimmed belt loops on the old 1940's throwbacks for the Cardinals.


Not the best hand position by Ramon, but a level bat is a very good thing. Nice sawed off bat in Ashley's hands.


These guys won something recently - I just can't remember what. Why couldn't UD look at their Canvas releases and use them for return of Masterpieces instead of that........thing they put out? Thanks for all the cardboard, DJ.

Hey Topps - work a little on what goes in the box, would ya?