Friday, July 31, 2015

The stay at home National, part 1

I'm just 45 minutes or so south of Rosemont, but I will not be attending the National. It's not from a lack of desire, or a lack of time. Simply a lack of funds. A lot of us have that time during the year when it's hectic, and the other times when it's slowly, but work wise and finance wise. For my household, summer sucks. Has for many, many years. While in a technical sense, my wife is the bread winner of the family (I believe she made just under 2 grand more than me this past year), she earns all her pay during the school year. Since is not hired by the district, but contracted out through a firm to work in the school. In the simplest terms: if she isn't working, she isn't get paid.

No money! No money! No money!
I sort of figured the National was out all the way back in April, but I kept holding out hope. In fact, I thought there was a chance I could make it this weekend, But about 10 days ago, that last door was shut. Household bills are far more important than cardboard. I'm not looking for pity - I am completely okay with missing the Nat this year. There is always next year, and it just may be back up the road in 2 years anyway.

So, to have my own National, and to do some scan folder cleaning, let's look at the bevy of awesomeness you, the readers, have graced me with. The first "vendor I stopped by" at my SAH National in run by Brian from HSCA. Brian dropped a nice package.

I was able to add a card to my set completion of Stadium Club. Brian also dropped in the Thomas from this year's Archives, which completes the team set I believe. And a purple refractor from the 2014 Topps.

Who could love a couple nice miscuts HOFers? Great additions to the miscut binder. And just one of for the '64 set of much maligned Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson. I'll go on record - I like listening to him on the telecasts. Thanks for the cards, Brian.

The next "vendor" was DJ at Sportscards from the Dollar Store. DJ sent a bunch of cards for the GQ set building as well as a few towards series 2 of Upper Deck. Hoping to get the UD set done before the Hawks home opener. Thanks a bunch, DJ.

The last "vendor" I stopped by today was Tony from Wrigley Roster Jenga. He recently picked up a cheap box of commons from an LCS in this area I have yet to visit. I commented on the awesome throwbacks within, and Tony was more than happy to send them over. The Arismendy is wearing a Cubs throwback from last year's Wrigley celebration, that harkens back to the uniform Mr. Cub wore. If the Cubs were smart, then would dump the current sleeve logo and go with the one you see. These couple were bonuses, as they were not featured on his blog post.

Here are the stars. Man, those old Philadephia A's throwbacks are missed. Some of the finest out there, though Mr. Long on the left should be wearing black spikes. And you can never go wrong with Negro League throwbacks. MLB should really spend a weekend each year celebrating the black pioneers that were refused to play in the bigs. I'm sure a couple days of major leaguers wearing the Negro League uniforms would be a nice vision to see. Thanks for the great binder additions, Tony.

Ok - so that was day 1 at the SAH National. Come back tomorrow to see my haul from day 2.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 07.30.2015

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.

Pedro Alvarez - 2014 Topps Finest - Pittsburgh Pirates

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Checking the lists

Any idea what happens in 152 days? You can guess if you want. How about I phrase it a little easier: what happens in 5 months? You can calculate that on one hand. We are five months out from Christmas. With the way the weather has been, I am expecting 75 and partly sunny, considering we have had only three 90+ degree days so far in 2015. But I have to think of Christmas, cuz while it's only 85 out, you factor in the humidity and we are almost topping 100.

Luckily, a few readers out there have looked at my want lists as I have knocked a few sets off the page in the last couple weeks.

I left a comment on Adam's blog Addiction as Therapy helping with some needs. Adam dropped a bomb of a package on me. These 3 2007 Masterpieces were part of a stack that wiped out my entire needs. So the '07 and '08 Masterpieces sets are in the binder. I love those sets.

Have a while to go with this year's GQ, but Adam included a few, with 4 of them being SPs.

Also completed is the series 2 First Pitch. Melissa needs to be in a Sox uniform as she grew up here in my hometown. The donkey is one of two 2013 Heritage short prints. And Matt is one of the few 2015 flagship Adam dropped as well. Holliday went to the throwback binder. Appreciate the cardboard, Adam.

Jusdon over at the fun My Cardboard Habit got in on the set completing. He sent over the same cards Adam did for the First Pitch. However, Mr. Hart is in a throwback, so all were not for naught. The best part was the group of series 2 cards that did complete that set. Off the page it went! Judson did not stop there.

I was not feeling blue after seeing these two beauties (yeah - I had to go there, sorry). I have the 2013 Heritage blue of Sale, but not the 2014. I almost want to complete the rainbow of the '13 AJ. At least I am another card closer if I go that route.

But this dozen started the trade. OH BABY!!!! Harder and harder to find recent cards that are miscut, but 2015 seems to be a big year. Of the cards in the binder over the past 10 years, 2015 blows away the previous 9 years combined. All 12 cards are horizontal.

Judson could have stopped there, but he had to go one step beyond.

That would be the image variation from Paulie's card this year. And I received the Future Star Abreu manu-relic in a case break over at Nacho Grande. Now I have the hitman logo pin. If I can get the First Home Run medallion, I have them all. Appreciate all the extras, JM.

Friday, July 24, 2015

#WalletCard travels

Since Gavin's game of WalletCard swept the blogsphere, I can think of a couple guys that give fairly regular updates on where their card shows up - Bo's card of Donny Baseball makes appearances all over the city of New York, while the Junior Junkie's Upper Deck card #1 of the Kid hits parades, restaurants, farms and other locales.

For me, WalletCard Robin mostly makes appearances on my Twitter page. In fact, except one posting, I believe, I have never shown many shots of my card out and about. Well, I just got back from a visit to my daughter in the Upper Peninsula and a shot a few pictures with Robin, so I thought I would got back in my camera and pull out some images over the past few months. It's not that I don't have cards to share, but I am worn out from the 7 hour drive to think straight.

If you are coming in for the National, and can handle a drive about an hour south of the convention, I highly recommend a Rainbow Cone at the Original Rainbow Cone. Anyone from the south side knows it, and has been there. I'm holding it at a bit of a bad angle - you can't see the bottom flavor. A Rainbow Cone starts with chocolate, then you get strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with walnuts and cherries), pistachio and finally orange sherbet. It's the best ice cream cone in the world, and everyone should have one in their lifetime. This was Robin's first. He's hooked.

With all the rain we were getting here in the Chicago area, the championship rally for the Hawks 2015 Cup win was moved from Grant Park, where an estimated 2 million showed up in 2013, to Soldier Field. A limited amount of free tickets (65k) were available and I lucked out. Somewhere in the background of that image is the Holy Grail.

They don't build them like they used to. In Downers Grove, about 40 min from my house, is a gorgeous 2nd run theater - the Tivoli. It happens to be the 2nd theater in America built expressly for talkies. It was renovated years ago, and it's straight up gorgeous inside. On Friday and Saturday nights, they play live organ music before the show. Here's a look at the facade in the daylight.

That is Lake Superior, and a small island just off the cost. I want to say it's Peacock Island, but I don't think that is accurate. When the lake freezes over in winter, you can walk over. Which my daughter tells me the deer do, and get stuck when it thaws. You can also walk a sand bar to the island. I was in no mood to get wet, so Robin and I stayed on the beach.

Ishpeming, MI is considered the birthplace of skiing in the US, so it should be expected to be the home of the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. I didn't have time to go in, though admission is free. I will have to check it out, cuz if I love anything, "free" in the title makes me love it even more.

That's the sign out front, but the sunlight makes it hard to read.

Last image from the trip was Robin hanging out at a monument for the 45th Parallel north. The marker signifies the center line between the north pole and the equator. We were on Route 41, about 105 miles east of one of the four 45x90 points on the globe. Still, I like this. Anytime I drive, if I see a sign that reads historical marker or geographic marker, I'm pulling over. Call me Clark Griswald.

Ok - so that's the recent travels of WalletCard Robin. I leave you with one final image. I couldn't get Robin in on the shot, as we were traveling 70+ MPH on the expressway in Indiana about 3 weeks ago. But when you see something like this, you take out your phone and you snap a picture.


It's a banana car.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 07.23.2015

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.

Arismendy Alcantara - 2015 Topps Opening Day - Chicago Cubs

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Trading away a decent hit

When the 2015 flagship design was released, I was not all on board. Just didn't like the images. Of course, my tune changed when I held the card in my hand. I never tried hard to complete 2014, but I was going to complete the '15 release.

I built series one from packs, jumbos, card shows and trades. Series two, though, I jumped in with a jumbo box, though the collation was lacking. But I almost have it finished thanks to the kindness of you folks. You get three hits in a jumbo, and mine for the most part were boring: an autograph of Buck Farmer that went to Pat at Hot Corners. A Rangers relic of Josh Hamilton, which would have been a hell of a great pull 6 years ago, but now..... If anyone is interested in it, let me know. I also pulled a silver framed Sabathia card that I sent to Jereon at The Dutch Card Guy. Good pulls for other people, but nothing that really jumps out and grabs you.

Hands above the waist, buddy.
Well, that is not entirely true. I would say I really hit the jackpot on one of the cards I pulled. When I got to the really thick card - the one that tends to be a manu-relic - it was, but not is the sense you think. Here's what I nailed

I had to steal that image from ebay - I forgot to scan mine. So I did pretty well. Always wanted to pull a coin card. Of course, I wanted it to be a team I collect, but one of the two hottest rookies in the NL this year is not chump change (see what I did there). But what to do with it?

I thought about selling, but I figured it should stay in our group. But there are soooooooooo few Dodger collectors out there - how would I ever find one???? For the record, you Dodger collectors, I try and spread out the hits I get that show LA players. So I shot an email to Jim over at GCRL to see if he was interested. No brainer. Here's his return package.

YUP! Packs of junk wax White Sox! Just kidding. Two packs of these started it off. I knew these existed, but never seen a pack, so it was nice to get two. 20 card team set, with 10 cards per pack. Theoretically, you can build a set with two packs, but I came up two cards short. Luckily, I had one of the two cards, so I am missing #11 - Dave Martinez. And a pack of these were ripped at the Pack A Day Circus, but Martinez is already claimed. Oh well.

For those unfamiliar with the team sets, they are an exact copy of the regular set, with a glossy card (left) instead of the matte finish (right). I still REALLY love the matte finish cards. One day....

Lots of other random ChiSox in the package. I'm hungry right now, so a granola bar sounds pretty good. The Janeski is a stamp, I believe, white Jerry dressed up in the blue home unis with the scroll Sox logo they wore in '69 and '70.

Bunting, throwback and miscuts were also in the package. So much to love in the Boudreau image.

Highlight, though, is this sweet condition '50 Bowman of Bill Salkeld. I chopped the top off a bit in the scan. Only my 2nd '50 Bowman, as my first is in the Sox sampler binder, so it's nice to mark one off the team checklist.

Thanks Jim. Enjoy that Pederson, Don't spend the money all in one spot!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cards from a card

card (noun \ˈkärd\) a flat stiff usually small and rectangular piece of material (as paper, cardboard, or plastic) usually bearing information: as postcard, visiting card, business card, credit card, one bearing a picture (as of a baseball player) on one side and usually statistical data on the other, one on which computer information is stored (as in the form of punched holes or magnetic encoding), one bearing electronic circuit components for insertion into a larger electronic device (as a computer)

That is the definition we all tend to have with our collection. I'm not sure who of you know that the slang for card is an amusingly eccentric person. I'm not sure if Kerry from Cards on Cards fits that, but I know he is a Card in the sense of the team he roots for. And he does to send a lot of sweet cards via the postal service.

That's a lot of Heritage. Anything prior to 2011 is really lacking in the Sox box, so the stack of Heritage alone would have made this mailing worth it. I think there was a single card that I already hard. Otherwise, the 20+ cards were all needed.

These three cards, with one for the Iguchi collection, tell me one of three things, as I have seen Kerry dropping Bazooka across the blogsphere:

1) Kerry ripped a box
2) Kerry broke up a set
3) Kerry scored big time at a card show/LCS

Whichever it is, I benefited. I am not going to lose sleep trying to figure out which of the three are correct.

Two for the throwbacks. And Chris has a rare rough up today. Then again, it was against the Royals. Man, that team is just that frigging good. I was one of many that thought 2014 was a fluke. Maybe it was, but 2015 is pretty real in KC.

Lastly we have these three. A nice gray Turkey Red for the Aparicio binder. A framed Alexie from GQ and the final puzzle piece for the Hudson Triple Play. That got put together really fast. Check it out.

Looks pretty sweet as the first page in bunting binder #2. Thanks again to Weston, Tom and Kerry for helping me put this together. And and extra thanks in this post to Kerry. I gots a few things aside for you already.

I was thinking - along with liking the Cardinals, Kerry is a big Oregon fan. Considering the costumes the Ducks wear on the football field week after week, Kerry does fit the amusing eccentric tag a bit.


Friday, July 17, 2015

More begetting

A few days back I posted about cards I have received from readers that were under no obligation to send back cards. Whether they took advantage of free hockey cards or PWE cards, I mailed and mailed some more, and will mail even more (someday).

Which way is up?

As I mentioned, though, I received plenty of return packages from folks. Like me, some people just want to mail out cards. They snagged the return address and dropped wonderment into my hands.

Wonderment.....hands..... Are you actually reading this?
Shane, from the amazingly awesome blog Shoebox Legends sent over not one but two envelopes recently. The best part was the care spent in finding the cards to send over. So many needs were met.

Like vintage. The Nettles was new. The Garr and Carroll are upgrades over what I had previously.

Like binder cards. Finding the base of custom collection cards is pretty simple. When you factor the parallel in, well.... those who have worked on a rainbow know the frustration. I love getting Walmart and Target parallels, since they are usually the cheapest if I was to buy them, but I won't buy them.

Like player collections. Tadahito is a foil Turkey Red. Had no clue those even existed. And for all the Paulies I have, here are two I did not have. Again, parallels are the worst, but needed if you are a completist.

Like relics. I heard Everett can be a bit of a hot head, but I thought he did a decent job in 2005 for Big Hurt when he went down. "Threads of Greatness" though may be a bit of a stretch when we are talking about Carl. "Threads of Adequate" might be better.

Like shorter run cards. I have to admit that this years Bowman is a far better release than the past 5-6 years of the product. Still ain't completing it, but it looks mighty fine. And my 2nd auto of Hudson from Lineage. He's doing ok in middle relief for the D-Backs.

Shane, thanks for the cardboard. Oh, speaking of free cardboard, go visit Bubba's Banging Batch for some free Allen and Ginter.

Free is so cool. What can be better than free?

Oh yeah.....

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Seeing Red

Today sucked.

I mean that in a work sense, because it sucked. For those that don't know, don't remember or don't care, I do tech support for automobile estimating software. Usually phones, but we have live chat support, and I do that most days. Today was a nice convergence of I don't know what. See, we have two programs: one is higher end, cloud based, files route back and forth between the shops and our servers, ultimately ending up with the insurance company. The reason why they can write and estimate, get approved and get your car repaired in a week or less nowadays, as opposed to a few weeks 20+ years ago, is software like mine. The other software that creates estimates is non communicating. It's an older software from a company we bought out before I started working here. Very basic, but what it does it does well, so it has a loyal following for those mom and pop shops that don't give a damn about the big insurance companies.

Here's where I told that gecko to cram it.

Well, the higher end downloads updates, while the lower end users are shipped disks to update. If you fail to pay you bill, you don't get a disk, and the database will expire after 60 days. Same basic idea with the higher end - the program will be refused pulling down an update and boom - expired database. Today was the 15th, and for some reason all hell broke loose when it came to database expirations. Then you factor in we are going through an upgrade with the independent appraisers, and your basic "this doesn't work" and "how do you do that" questions. It was a busy day. In 8 hours, I took 44 chats and very rarely was I working just one thing at a time.

By noon my brain was burnt out. Flipping quickly between multiple issues, regaining the problem and working out a solution taxes your mind. Thankfully, working from home, I didn't have to deal with traffic to get to the solitude of the 2x3 castle. It was one of those days where you just wanted to log off and screw the job.

Luckily, I am surrounded by cards while I work and new ones come in all the time.

Reds fan, and case breaker for the masses Chris over at Nacho Grande dropped some cards on me a short time back, meeting all the spectrums. Jose was a dupe for the DP binder, but fit nicely in the Sox Box. Tadahito went to the player collection, and Jorge is a fine example of the Sunday wear the ChiSox had about 15 years ago.

A shiny Robin, and an addition to the Sox team sets. With luck, I can finish a lot of them off at the National in a couple weeks.

Biggest stack in the package was a lot of GQ to put me closer to the complete set. Any help is greatly appreciated. Lastly, one of Chris' friend's AWESOME custom minis, and an Abreu to boot. I have decided to try my hand at my own set of minis, based on a project proposed here. Not sure my quality will match this Abreu, or any of the other great customs I see around the blogsphere (did I spell that right, AJ?), but it's all for fun.

Thanks Chris. Thanks to all of you for talking me down.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Free begets free

A lot of this world likes to claim free stuff. You see it all over television, hear it on the radio, read it in print and deal with in numerous places on the internet. Buy one get one free. Get two free. You would think with all this free someone has to be losing money.

And then reality hits. And the old adage is true: no such thing as a free lunch. All those infomercials that is you call now, you'll get another one free. Holy cow, you think, as you barely hear the "pay separate shipping and handling". And then, somehow, S&H on the first one is $4, but the second one is $25 in costs. And you realize it was never free. Or that software is a free trial, but a month later you are charged a full year for a program you hardly used, and doesn't really work right. Free t-shirts, for the first 500 people. Free gift, for the first 100 callers. Buy three tires - get the fourth for free. Who has ever bought just 3 tires?

I paid full price for that one!
Luckily, I like doing real free. When possible, I give away what I can. I never want or ask for anything in return. The amazing thing is that most people seem to always send something back! It shows the generosity of everyone that they want to return something. And I am not the only one. From Wes to Matt to Hoyle to Kevin to Brian to Nick to Chris to Greg to a hundred other bloggers I did not list - "Free" is a word we all throw around without ever saying it. Here's three mailings I received based on free cards I sent out with no expectations except the recipient enjoys them.

First up is Greg, who I don't think has a blog (if you do, please let me know). Greg said heck yeah to some free hockey cards, which I still have more to send and teams not even claimed. Greg took time to research my want lists, because each and every card was a keeper. Like two for the 2002 team set and a Webb for the '14.

And then he dropped in some 2010 Turkey Red, and that Torii which puts me one short for the base Heritage. But here was the star.

Six cards to beat down the 2009 OPC team checklist. How did the Rockies get floating heads? There are no images of Coors Field? Or was the Coors company being jerks? No biggie. Greg has me down to under half of the teams needed to complete. Thanks for the return, Greg.

Next up is Tom. Now, I just have it marked as "Tom T" and forgot to note the blog, but I believe these are from Tom at The Angels In Order. Correct me if I am wrong, Tom whom sent these cards.

I know I have dropped cards on Tom via Tis the Season card dumps and Club PWE (which, I REALLY need to get back to mailings - sorry folks). Tom also must have peaked at some want list cards with the Pearson and the Schoenweis. The Thomas - that was just a mini bonus. Errr....more on that in a bit.

Green border for the Throwbacks binder? Okay. Konerko Documentary for the Paulie binder? Okay. And I believe I am starting to hoard all the Chris Young Bowman relic cards. That one makes three if I recall. Let me sew then together and rebuild the uniform. Here's the jumbo surprise Tom dropped.

Now you get the mini reference above. This is one of the 5x7 cards that came from Toys R Us (obviously). I vaguely recall how one obtained it, though, so anybody that wants to comment, I am all ears. Sox Box for this beaut - into a large catch all 8.5x11 clear holder I have taped to the inside of the box lid. Tom - thank you again.

Lastly is a single image from a package of 8 cards I received from Jeff over at Fan-Attic Sports Cards Blog. A quiet blogger, but super kind in his mailings.

Jeff completed my 1994 UD Home Field Advantage subset. Why did the style of the card change from series 1 to series 2. I prefer the series 1 with the field dimensions being the prime subject. When Topps infects a card world, it infects it hard. And that Hubbard was a former Baker's Dozen common in the sidebar. In fact, that Glenn was an original member and one of the first cards to give me the idea of the list. Salutes ya, Mr. Hubbard. Enjoy your space in the binder. And than you Jeff.

I don't like to sound too weird, but I like to think of the cards as having some kind of soul. The cards I add to my collection are hopefully happy. But I bet the cards in my trade boxes are sad. I can't say for sure the number of cards I sent out to receive the ones I've shown here (and not scanned either), but I like to think the cards I sent are much happier now, being with someone that can appreciate them much more than I ever will. And the ones I received in return are glad to be in Casa 2x3.

That ended up sounding creepy, didn't it? Ah, DARN!