Sunday, September 28, 2014

Support your LCS and get free stuff

I am a fortunate collector. I know many of you are not lucky enough to have a card shop within a decent driving distance. I can get in my car, and be at my LCS in 10 minutes. In fact, I am lucky enough to have at least 10 card shops in my area. My LCS alone has 6 different locations, and I know of a shop near my work I haven't visited, plus a couple downtown. I think most would be hard pressed to have that many locations less than an hour from their home.

I love my card shop. I know the owner well, and most of the guys behind the counter. I try to stop by at least once every other week. There's always something I can look at, and always something I want need. Brian, Jeff, Chris, Zach and the rest are always good to chat with about sports and even life. I certainly don't spend what others will drop in the shop, but I am a regular customer, and I think they appreciate it.

Other day was a prime example. Stopped by because I needed some team bags. I have cards to ship, so I stopped by to get some. The owner Brian was there, as was someone else shopping. I started digging through a 3 for $10 box of autos and relics. Every so often new stuff shows up, and I look for me as well as for anyone I trade with. While I didn't find anything for you all, I did find this:

Just a relic card, but someone did get Harold to autograph it, so I'll take that for $3.33. Well, I roamed upstairs to see if any new boxes of junk wax came it. Upper Deck for $12? Heck yeah! But alas, no. They did move around the cases upstairs, which is nice. And they set out a couple more boxes of cards I had not dug through before. One of them - jackpot. But we'll get to that in a bit.

As I came back down, Brian comes to me. "Hey Jeff - watch the shop for a couple minutes, would ya? I need to look at this guy's cards." Sure. There was just one other guy in the shop, so I set down what I found and slid a little behind the counter. The other shopper asked about basketball singles, so I walked him upstairs to the one case I know they have. Brian finished up with the guy after maybe 5 minutes, and my employment came to an end.

Well, along with my Baines and my bags, I bought two packs of Bowman Chrome jumbos. Brian, being nice, opened a fresh box for me so I could have max chance at the 5 autos within. In two packs I pulled:

Two autos. One of them being a printing plate. I would have been fine pulling from the other box, but that's Brian. He likes to help his customers. And the big help to me? For just watching the store that five minutes, he let me keep what I found upstairs at no cost. I certainly didn't break his bank, but it was a great gesture to me. He saw how excited I was to find these cards, so I think to him it was maybe 3 bucks or so, but to me, it was the world. My freebies?

I've been working on Kimball 3 years now. When I got a hold of a ton of minis, a lot of the big names were missing, as you see above. I don't check often, but I have never seen the Nolan Ryan cheaper than $5 on ebay. This dozen puts me at 5 cards left to complete the set.

So if you have an LCS, pay it a visit. Get to know the guys behind the counter. At the very worst, you have someone to chat with concerning cards, sports and life. And maybe, you might own the store for
.0009% of a year.

And thanks Paulie. Cya later...

Friday, September 26, 2014

More like the Junior Pusher

Since jumping into the whole sports card blog thing, I have been amazed by the level of collecting that made me realized I am nowhere NEAR the insanity some of you have.

Must blog about Topps Chrome!

From Pat's Tiger Collection,  Corey's Wallach Obsession, Chris' Larkin grab, Night Owl's Nomo dojo, and a hundred others I could name, I realized I was more in the minority in how I collected. Now, I have added a few player collections, but I only have one player over 100 cards. Also, I am not trying to collect them all like some people.

I think most would agree, though, that TJ, the Junior Junkie, is straight up crazy. Take Corey's "gimme all your Wallachs", and then multiple that exponentially because of the sheer quantity of his cardboard, and TJ is heads above them all. He's actually been purging some Griffey cards from his collection, if you have read his blog lately. I have been contributing to his collection via dime boxes, and only recently realized he collects more than Ken Jr. We now just mail cards back and forth - no trading. His last envelope was a nice treat.

Let's start with the current items. Great additions to Sox teams sets. In fact, I am getting enough current stuff I can brave some of these cards into TTM requests. Sale looks like a 12 year old wearing his big brother's clothes, which I could care less as long as he stays on the south side and pitches as he does. I think he'll get a lot of Cy Young votes this year, but not sure if he'll win it over King Felix.

Love me them bunting cards. Shame on Remy for wearing two in ones, though.

This was an interesting card. I am still not sure if I like it or dislike it. Great photo, and I am willing to bet it was colored sepia. Why? I guess for the look of the set, but they should have kept it in it's original look. Still, I'll add it to the Aparicio binder.

Sooooooooooo 90's. And I know Nick talked the other day about his love of '95 Fleer, but man those are some weird rectangles. Sometimes, things get created that are just too hard to comprehend, but impossible to turn away from. You just look at them longer and longer, and nothing makes any sense, but you cannot take your eyes off.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 09.25.2014

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. I'll try not to duplicate a uniform. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Chase Headley - 2011 Topps - San Diego Padres

Sunday, September 21, 2014

LAWIG: 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game

LAWIG = Look at what I got. Let's have some fun with a set I scored last week off of Craigslist. Every so often, like all the rest of you, I'll jump on Craigslist for baseball cards. Someone right up the road from me was selling a hand collated base set of the beautiful Fleer Greats of the Game set. I've been trying to build this via dime boxes for over a year, and only had about 3 dozen of the 107 cards in the set (nice prime number, Fleer). So to find this set for $10 - only a fool would pass that up.

In turns out every card was in a penny sleeve, so the set was in fantastic shape. After placing the entire set into a binder, it was interesting to notice who Fleer selected to print. For a Greats of the Game, there were a lot of big names missing - I'm sure because of licensing issues. No Babe Ruth, No Lou Gehrig, no Joe Dimaggio. Other famous players missing include Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, Honus name it. It's not that there are not plenty of stars in the set. Here - look at the checklist:

Mantle, Brett, Feller, Brock,'s pretty stacked. But let's look closer at this set, and from my own opinion, list the 5 best and worst players printed. I am only sort of ranking the 107 players in the set and listing who I think are at the top of that list, and the 5 that amaze me at being added. Feel free to tell me where I was right or wrong in the comments. In no particular order, let's look at the best 5:

Hard to find a better backstop in the game than Bench.

No brainer. Strikeout leader, no-hitters.

Card #1 in the set, prior to Topps exclusive license on his name and image.

His skills on the field, along with the greatest of him off the field.

This was a tough pick. It was between Feller and Seaver in the top 5, but decided on Tom Terrific based on his wins and ERA.

All the top five were first ballot Hall of Famers with vote totals of Bench 96.4%, Ryan 98.8%, Mantle 88.2%, Musial 93.2% and Seaver 98.8%. Besides who I listed at the top, there are plenty of recent retirees that would have fit better in the set. Fingers, Fisk, Santo and others, especially when you look at who those players could have replaced. Here's my bottom 5:

Phil was an All Star just 3 times in his career. Lifetime .260 hitter over 16 years with 7 teams. Need a better 2B in the set? How about Roberto Alomar, HOF with 90% on his second year on the ballot. Phil appeared on one ballot, 1994, and received 2 votes. You saying he was a current player at the time? Ok - Let's pick from Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie and Jackie Robinson.

Herb Score? Did we need a certain number of Cleveland ballplayers in the set? Eight year career with a 55-46 record. Sure, he won the rookie of the year in 1955, but after his '55 and '56 seasons, he was done. Not sure I could find you another decent Cleveland pitcher, but how about two lefties that could have been in the set - Sandy Koufax or Billy Pierce. Two more? Lefty Grove and Carl Hubbell.

I am guessing the lack of a license for Gehrig is the only reason this Yankee first baseman is in the set. Three time All-Star and 3 Gold Gloves don't really sell him into a card when you have other far better first basemen. Off the top of my head, how about Harmon Killebrew? A total of 13 All-Star appearances and a HOF induction in his fourth vote in 1984. Pepitone? Zero votes in his only year on the ballot.

Who? Who in the hell is Gorman Thomas? I honestly never heard of this guy, and his uniform screams 70's, so you would think I would since the Brewers were an AL team at the time.  One All-Star appearance in 1981, plus two top 10 MVP vote getter finishes. Otherwise, he lead the league in dingers twice. Sorry, Stormin' Gorman, we should have had a different outfielder represented, say Willy Mays, Roberto Clemente, Ted Williams, Frank Robinson..... should I continue?

Yeah - two Milwaukee players made the worst list. Oglivie had three selections to the All-Star team, and did get a AL championship ring in 1982, but that's really all I can say for him. Hell, I think his fictional namesake is a more famous Ogie. Want a few more outfielders in place of Ben? Rickey Henderson, Billy Williams, Hank Aaron....

Great set? Yes. Greats of the Game? Well..... almost.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

See you in 4 years

So Germany hoisted the World Cup trophy this year. BTW - side note - it needs a cool name like the previous Jules Rimet trophy. Anyway, that makes for another tournament down and off to Russia in 2018. Let's hope they get things in order before the start compared to their bad showing for the Olympics.

Luckily, Wes from JayBarkerFan's Junk had another of his famous "I got a ton of really cool stuff, you should take some of it" deals going on. Calling it the World Cup of Trading, I was able to be the first commenter and jumped on a great card he was offering. I sent him a couple football swatch cards and a bunch of Braves. I ended up in the group of death, though, and didn't make it out of group play.

That's ok, because the best part is getting cards from Wes. Yesterday, he commented he is looking for a new bombing target, and part of me feels excited, and the other part is scared if I become his focus. Until he makes up his mind, let's see what we traded in this WC.

This is the card that started it. Having choice over all 32 offerings, it was too difficult to pass on an autograph of one of the all time greats. There are some players you need an autograph from, no matter who you cheer for. Gibson is easily on that list.

Wes always has a stash of White Sox. I think he has a stash of everything. Love that Pinnacle - the scan does no justice to it.

More ChiSox. I had zero of those cracked ice or whatever they call that parallel for Bowman. Nice to add a great player like Paulie.

That's not just Ron Kittle. That is OVERSIZED Ron Kittle. No one would wear those glasses nowadays.

Wes tossed in a nice bonus auto of Erik Johnson from Tier 1. Johnson needs to get his ERA down or consider becoming a relief pitcher. Love adding this card to my collection, though.

Thanks Wes. Maybe we do this World Cup of Trading more often? Maybe Shakira will do the theme song?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Light side/Dark side

Yeah - I like Star Wars. I think anyone can figure that out from my screen name, email address, Zistle user, etc... From time to time, I collect some SW card sets. I have to get my original sets (blue, red, green, yellow, orange) into binders, plus get some of the recent sets organized. I just need to make the time.

Gotta finish my Lando cosplay first.

A couple PWEs received had an unexpected SW feeling, when you compared them side to side. The first came from Weston at Fantastic Catch. Weston dropped me back a few cards in appreciation to a recent mailing I sent him.

Nice collection of White Sox. Any card that features a nice view of US Cellular Comiskey is always welcome. Also love the Buehrle. The Star Wars connection. Well, it's from his note, though you probably won't pick up on it first.

BTW Weston - it is quite good. Thanks! 

Now, for every Ying, there is a Yang. Anakin brought balance to the Force, and Weston's light side is offset with the dark side of Pat from Hot Corner Cards.

A couple gold Bowmans, and Pat knocked two 2010 A&Gs from my wants lists. This should be from the light side of the Force, right? Well, Pat had other ideas.

Pure evil. Though, might be a bad idea.

Bip me....I dare you.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 09.18.2014

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. I'll try not to duplicate a uniform. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Yovani Gallardo - 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen - Milwaukee Bears

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A few more for the '64

I haven't had much chance to get back to the biweekly card show about 20 miles from my house. I have been using a dealer at the show to help me build my 1964 Topps set. I can usually pick up a couple dozen cards at 3 for a buck, and then a few at fifty cents each. Without attending, my attempt to build has slowed to a figurative halt. I watch some lots on Ebay, but if I don't have cash for the card show, I won't be shopping online.

Luckily, I have received a few additions to my collection from a couple bloggers. Robert at $30 a Week Habit sent me a few cards. Robert had a few A&Gs available. I had pulled a black bordered Reyes out of 2014 Topps and it needs to be in the hands of a Blue Jay collector.

There were a few set fillers in there. Deadliest Predators is going to be a tough set to complete, so any chance to score the one per box mini is a chance to jump on.

Robert tossed a few White Sox in there. Any refractor is a welcome addition to the collection. As is any Buehrle. I should start a Buehrle collection. Maybe after I get closer to an complete date on Crede, Iguchi and/or Rowand.

Here's the three 1964s Robert sent. Far nicer condition than I would pick up, so I love how they look. Thanks a bunch, Robert. The other '64 came courtesy of Mark from Remember The Astrodome. Yes - the actually rare Astro collector. Many moons ago, I ripped a box of America's Pastime I won from the Panini blog. While I got only a couple cards for my collection, I had many inquiries about other items I pulled. Mark asked about the booklet and another relic. It took some time, but we finally hammered out something that I believe we are both pleased with.

Here's a representation of the set needs Mark found. 2013 Update should be done soon, along with 2014 A&G. Base of 2013 Heritage is now complete - just have the SPs to go, along with the inserts. This year's Heritage is going slow.

Some ChiSox were in the package. Here's three needs from the group that fit into my Crede collection. It's always weird to see him without the proper pants.

Here's the highlight of the package. Yeah buddy!!!! Another watch list item to delete from my Ebay account. I don't plan on completing the oversized cards in the 1964 set, but I have been known to change my mind. Great trade, Mark. Thanks again.

So if you have any 1964s, I'll give them a good home. Or Joe Crede cards. Or Mark Buehrle. Or Allen and Ginter. Or Heritage. Basically, I want what you don't.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 09.11.2014

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. I'll try not to duplicate a uniform. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Eric Chavez - 2012 Topps - New York Yankees

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hits - They're not just from packs anymore.

I like a nice auto, relic or serial card like most of the rest of us do. I don't actively search them out. Sure - when I pick something up at my LCS I will give the box a look over, but I won't pack search. I have my favorite side of the box (left) and favorite quadrant (upper). I'll grab the packs, turn them to the side and give them an eyeball. With all the blanks inserted, you are still crap shooting for a relic card. And the packs with auto cards look like all the rest. I'm mostly just trying to use the Force in my purchase decision.

Pictured: 2x3 Heroes exercise regime.

How does that work? About as well as you can expect. It's still luck of the draw. While I have pulled my fair share of hits, I am not the minority when very few of the hits fit my collection. Sure, I have kept some cool items, but I rarely pull White Sox or Blackhawks. I can count on one hand the amount of Sox and Hawks cards in my binder I actually removed from a pack (3 - a Frank Thomas jersey and two Blackhawks relics). 

Fortunately, other bloggers seem to pull the cards I like, and then generously send them to me. Or if not pulling, finding at a greatly reduced price. Matt from Bob Walk the Plank, who is worth hating for the simple fact of having the best damn blog name out there, sent me four cards a couple weeks back. 

This is my second hope diamond parallel ChiSox card. I never even know of them until I saw one posted on another blog. My first came from Weston (I believe). There is just something about these I like. Not the low print run, per se. I think the color looks.....nice.

W00t! A nice Iguchi swatch for the player collection. I have a couple autographs, but I had yet to add a relic to the binder. It was not high priority, but needed. Well... needed no more.

Another White Sox blue swatch. I have a hidden agenda to acquire at least one of every card released with a Chicago American Giants throwback. So yes - if you see one, I would be interested in it. I should get up a page showing what I have. (Great idea Jeff cuz you have so much frigging free time!)

And lastly is this gem. I have a bat card from A&G of Paulie, but the color on this card works so well. Say what you want about 2007 Topps - the White Sox cards looked gooooooooood.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The end is nigh

In the comments section of my post this past Friday, Marcus from the great Padres blog All The Way To The Backstop typed out this statement:

I, like a lot of other Sox fans, have been dreading the end of September. Not seeing 14 on the field come 2015 will be odd. I have had the benefit, along with a couple other bloggers off the top of my head, of seeing Konerko mature on the south side, and become an amazingly under rated player. Many of the rest of you have not seen the yearly greatness of Paul Konerko.

We have all seen the grandiose going away events over the past few years for Chipper, Rivera,  Ripken and this year's Jeter fest. I love the understated way that Paul is leaving the game. No huge events at every ballpark he has visited. To my knowledge, only the Indians, Yankees and Twinkies have done anything to honor Paul in his last visit to Minnesota. But that's Paulie. He shows up, does his job, and then comes back the following day.

If you look at the all time batting leaders for the White Sox, Konerko is pretty consistent in his position.

Games - 1) L. Appling 2422 2) P. Konerko 2261
At Bat - 1) L. Appling 8856 2) N. Fox 8486 3) P. Konerko 8147
Runs - 1) F. Thomas 1327 2) L. Appling 1319 2) N. Fox 1187 4) P. Konerko 1141
Hits - 1) L. Appling 2749 2) N. Fox 2470 3) P. Konerko 2290
Doubles - 1) F. Thomas 447 2) L. Appling 440 3) P. Konerko 406
Triples - yeah - Paulie has no speed. Moving on....
Home Runs - 1) F. Thomas 448 2) P. Konekro 432
RBI - 1) F. Thomas 1465 2) P. Konerko 1383
Walks - 1) F. Thomas 1466 2) L. Appling 1302 3) E. Collins 965 4) P. Konerko  904
Strike Outs - 1) P. Konerko 1340 2) F. Thomas 1165
AVG - Konerko is 29th at .281
OBP - Konerko is 30th with .357
Slugging - Konerko is 7th with .492
OBP - Konerko is 9th at .849

For some of the stats he rates low, consider that the 28 players ahead of him for batting average, 20 played 6 seasons or less with the Sox. In OBP, that number is 18 players. For slugging percentage, only the Big Hurt and Magglio Ordonez have over 1000 games played with the Sox in the player above him. The other White Sox have games played totals of 529, 724, 529 & 648. And for OBP, those same six players from slugging (Thomas, Thome, Ordonez, Dye, Bonura & Shoeless Joe) are above him, and add in Minnie Minoso and Eddie Collins.

Will Paul make it to Cooperstown? I think there are valid arguments with his career numbers. Probably not though, mostly because the whole voting procedure is a damn joke. But also because, as great as his lines are, and as high caliber his career has been, you have to be a tip of the tongue superstar nowadays to even be considered. Konerko never sought out a high profile career, and he was a member of some mediocre teams we fielded, except for 2005.

And while I brought up 2005, the greatness of Konerko can be summed up from the end of game 4 of the World Series. Many know the total debacle of the series clinching ball from 2004. The douchebag move of Mientkiewicz and what it finally took to put the ball somewhere is belonged, though the Hall Of Fame isn't where it belongs.

Flash forward one year. The drought for the Pale Hose to hoist the championship trophy was longer than that of the BoSox (87 compared to 85). And when the final out was recorded, the speculation started on the baseball. Konerko was always cool about it, telling people he was not sure where it was. But he always had a plan for it.

Class act. So going back to Marcus' original statement: I never thought of the fact that 2014 will probably be the last cards produced of Konerko, but he's probably right. Barring an appearance ten years or so in Gypsy Queen or Archives, Konerko just won't be the go-to White Sox guy Topps will put into their products featuring older players. It's Frank Thomas. Rarely you see Nellie Fox or Luis Aparico, but that was usually Upper Deck. Other retired White Sox that have appeared in sets were Billy Pierce, Minnie Minoso. Luke Appling and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Those have always been high end products, though. And when you think about the unnoticed career of Konerko, it's probably a safe bet that his card released in this year's Allen and Ginter will be the last we see of him on cardboard.

And it was short printed. That's a crime.

Konerko is not a player collection of mine (yet), but pay a visit to Jeff at My Sports Obsession and visit his.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Going and coming.

Before I dive back into the scan folder, I did make a visit to my local (5 miles away) post office and drop a dozen or so PWEs in the box, all stamped up with some old timey stamps. So for you in Club PWE, keep an eye out for some cards. A few of the envelopes also went to folks I just drop things on at random.

Special delivery!

I am not sure if my outgoing PWE is equal to the incoming quantity. In a perfect world I am sending more than I am receiving. I can tell you I sent out more than the three I am showing off. So today, I am at least four time better than all of you.

 No pretty girl riding a bomb image for you, ya slackers!

First up  we have Chris over at the awesome Nachos Grande. Makes me hungry every time I type it. I think I sent over some Reds cards he needed and he sent back...

...a nice group of Heritage set filler and a few of his friend's amazing custom A&Gs. I am jealous of how amazing they are. Thanks for everything. Chris.

Next up is Jim of GCRL, one of the extremely rare Dodger fans on the innerwebs. Really - where are you guys? Jim dropped me a few cards for my binders.


...and double plays. And more bunters! Dig that dead ivy behind Valbuena. Thanks Jim!

Last is the one and only Night Owl Greg. Yes - another endangered species of Dodger bloggers. We really need to find out why there are so few left. 

Greg is always good for a mish-mash of cards, as evidenced with two current cards and an '83 Fleer sticker in the center. I must have been on Greg's mind at some show he visited recently when this came out of the envelope.

MAMA PAJAMA! That's an incredible miscut. About 25% misaligned from the machine. Gorgeous. Much appreciated, Greg.