Saturday, August 29, 2015

LAWIG: magic through the mail

Shortly after the Hawks won the Cup, I took a chance. I read that he was a decent signer, but considering the time frame and I'm sure the sheer amount of mail he would receive based on the Cup win, not to mention that maybe he would never get the request in the first place since he was retiring. I knew he would be leaving the states for his hometown with the Cup, and who knows when he would return. But at the cost of two stamps, I took a chance and dropped a couple cards in the mail, It took about 6 weeks by my guess, as I failed to note when I mailed them. They came back with a New Jersey postage cancellation, which confused me because I don't remember any of the few autograph requests having a Jersey address. However, considering he is still loved by the city of Philadelphia, and shows that love in return, the stamp makes sense as probably mailed from his home.

I wonder if he will appear with a Hawks sweater as a final tribute card in this year's UD release. Still a heck of a great return from star Kimmo Timonen. Thanks!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Two via IL-26

I've been to the town of Peoria a grand total of once in my life. At least, to my knowledge. Though, I don't recall any road trips as a child that headed west. It was always east or south, Indiana or Florida. The only time I went to Peoria was to visit who would technically be my nephew, though he is the son of my brother-in-law and about a dozen years younger than me. I can recall visiting a Target while I was there, but I didn't purchase as cards while in the store. I am not sure why just the single trip. My wife attended college in Normal, which is a hop, 3 skips, a jump, another skip, and slight shuffle and 13 giant steps away from Peoria.

Tom, he as P-Town Tom about the webs, and the author of Waiting 'til Next Year, dropped a PWE on me last week, and then followed it up with one I received a couple days back. Such goodness in couple small envelopes.

Dig those unlicensed products. All three cards shown went into the Sox box. I think the joy and idea of Golden Age allows for the colorized images. They work, at least for me.

It was the additions to the throwback binders that we are nice highlight. I enjoy the Monarchs throwback on Beltran. It's one of there more understated uniforms, as many of the other uniforms are bold. One Dog in the first throwback game ever. How come I didn't have that card until now?

Highlight of envelope one was this beauty. Duel card, as it's also a double play, but in the throwback binder it goes. Royce is wearing the same uniform you see on Bill Swift. Both cards are from the 92 UD High Series, as the game wearing these NY Giants throwbacks was played against the Phillies in May, 1992.

Envelope two was a whole 2 cards. And almost dupes.

As Tom stated. "They aren't Hawks colors, but I thought you would like it anyway". Here's the thing - I don't think it's a Sharks relic, which is who Jeremy is shown wearing. That swatch is not jersey but patch. If it is Sharks, it would have to be a piece of the logo, as at no point during Roenick's time there did they use black numbers, which is what I think it is a swatch from. I believe this is a Kings or a Flyers relic. Either or - I loves it!

Thanks for the cards, Tom. You are one of the more notable people from Peoria.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I'm human. I have thoughts, feelings. morals and emotions. That's really describes us all. And as you should be aware, you will tend to gravitate towards those that share ideals similar to your own. Also, you notice famous folks that have a quality about them you admire. You may not really have that quality deep within you - it may be something you wish you were but never achieved.

One of my personal heroes is Dr. King, but not for the reason many others have. Let's cut to the chase - Martin Luther King, Jr. did nothing for me to assist my social status. Really, he didn't. I grew up in a white, middle class neighborhood. When I was a kid, I only saw African Americans on the television or the cover of an album. My school was all white. There were a few of Asian heritage, and a couple that were Latino, but not one black kid went to my grammar school. It wasn't until junior high that I attended school with someone black, and by then the whole civil rights deal was 10 years in the past. So I don't look upon Dr. King for what he did, but for who he was. And that was someone believing in something so strongly that nothing would stop him. Not threats of violence, words of humiliation of even death. King kept doing what he did because it was a belief he could not give up. There are many times I wished I held an idea so strongly in my heart that nothing would let me sway off course. I guess my wife and kids would be that. I am a pretty staunch blue stater, but never jumped in with both feet to support my political feelings.

Gavin, at Baseball Card Breakdown, though - he has a conviction that is quite important in his heart. All should know about his yearly "pull tab awareness" week. I can say that I avoid scotch tape all together and just use painter's tape when it comes to the card sleeves and holders. To Gavin, it's super important, and a recent PWE really told me how.

All total, Gavin slipped about a dozen cards in a PWE to me. He helped out with a bunch of White Sox cards from the past years, including that really poorly framed Bowman.

Someone also looked at my teams set needs and sent over these four '73s. The Muser up top probably had a former life in some kids spokes, but that makes it much more enjoyable. Beltin' Bill Melton will be a placeholder, since a miscut of that beauty has a better address in it's future.

The real surprise is this '60 Lown/Staley win savers with a nice Staley auto on it. I tried to see if there was a TTM address for Turk Lown, but he doesn't seem to return much. I think the star of the package, though, is on the right. That is the actual piece of painter's tape Gavin used to attach the note to the outside of the team bag.

Gavin pull tabbed tape attached to a piece of paper! It didn't work in the way Gavin purports, as you can see a small bit of the fibers in the top right. But when you have a conviction, you see it through at all times, never faltering nor wavering from your course.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The joy of hate.

I know I have touch on hate before. I'm too lazy to go back and link to it. Just don't feel like digging through my post list to find the one post I am thinking about. What? Do it? Man - I HATE that you people are that demanding! Here - here - and HERE!

Yeah, well your Trout RC only got graded an 8!
Luckily, hate is a good thing to build your collection. Whom you like, someone else dislikes. Night Owl will dump Giants on before his fingerprint leaves a mark. I bet Kerry and P-Town Tom have a pipeline of Cardinal and Cubs cards going back and forth. For me, my lucky guy is Dennis at Too Many Verlanders/Too Many Manninghams.I gleefully have a location to send all my Dead Wings and Dennis gets to drop his Blackahwks. Did you know they won the Stanley Cup AGAIN this year?

Anyway, Dennis' latest mailing was loaded with some Blackhawks and White Sox goodness.

I should become a Toews super collector. I wouldn't be the first, or the last. And I would have quite a bit of competition for cards and the like. But I do enjoy the man wearing the C.

Hometown (Evergreen Park) boy Chelios and a nice Zhamnov BAP auto. Love the Kaner too. Ok - let me just address that situation really quick. It's hard to know what happened. Right now it's a he said/she said. I don't know if it was a young woman getting into the thrill of being with a superstar and having an ulterior motive, or if we have another sports superstar thinking the rules of society don't apply to him. At some point in time, it will be all sorted out. If it's the first, shame on her for your actions for personal gain and whatever you are attempting. If it's the 2nd, shame on you Kane for committing a hideous crime. I don't ever want to see you in an Indian Head sweater again if you did it. That's all I'll say for now. I still love the guy. I hope it's not true.

DELICIOUS vintage from Dennis. Minnie and Sherm have seen better days. But those are gem mint for my desired, as is the Donovan at the bottom. And the vintage star of the envelope.

I will accept any and all Topps stamped buybacks you receive. Seriously - send them to me. TO get one of a PC player really warms my heart. I just knew some Pierce buybacks existed, but never seem to find them on ebay or COMC. I really love this card, Dennis. Thanks for sending it, along with the rest.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A sighting...

A couple months back, I put up a post about some cards (shocking, huh?) and posed a question about an image used by Panini. I know a few people will post the Getty or AP image used to create a card, but the only time I have used Getty Images for searching, it was a ton of work. With anything, the more you use it, the better skill you obtain. My brain at the current time was not in any position to attempt a new talent.

Puttin' on the Red Roof Inn.
I was shocked by one of the replies. It was someone I knew had the skill for just what I was asking, but had been away from the blogging world a while. It was nice to see the name in the comments. Not to mention, he and I would have a constant stream of envelopes back and forth and had quite the stack built up for him collecting dust. So after a couple emails, it was nice to catch up with Matt.

Matt runs the quiet, but slowly returning Once A Cub. It's nice to have two places to drop off those soon-to-break-hearts-as-usual north siders. Matt dropped a package back to me.

Matt seems to find those cards I don't have in my collection. I wonder what happened to the guy with the Shawon-O-Meter?

I could have sworn I had that Fernando bunting, and I do - as a Donruss card. Now I have the complete 88 run of Valenzuela at the plate. A rainbow, I guess. With just black, blue and red.

Alez, who is Iván Córdoba  with a sunburn.

Here's a few Cubs I don't mind receiving at the house. Hee Seop breaking a bat and a couple nice miscuts. The Pettis looks perfect on the front. Not so much on the flip side, as you can tell.

Thanks Matt, and glad you are slowly getting back to your blog. Can't keep a good man down.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Little packages

For some reason, my wife likes watching a lot of those shows on TLC. I remember the good old days when it was The Learning Channel and the shows actually taught you something. Now it's one endless show after another of multiple kid families, weddings and little people. With me being the cynical mouth I am, I cannot sit out there and watch the shows because I will have a nasty comment about everything, starting with how it's all scripted and moving on to the fake arguments, fake "drama" and fake...well, you name it.

Luckily for me, when it comes to little things, they are PWEs, and within are huge things, in regard to my collection. It's really amazing what you can stuff in a PWE and for the most part, arrive safely. If you package them right, you can ship a myriad of things.

Like vintage minis, and throwback vintage-y cards, like this group from Pat over at Hot Corner Cards.

Or new releases with a relic, like this group from Jeff at Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum.

You can ship some custom binder needs, like a sweet double play-like vintage or a shiny DP card.

Or team set needs and swell miscuts, the last two images courtesy of Jim at GCRL.

I let my wife have her cooking channels, dress shows, families that need birth control and the rest. I'll take my little room with my 2x3 cards all neatly sorted in rows and pages.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 08.13.2015

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.

Nick Castellanos - 2014 Topps Stadium Club - Detroit Stars

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


As I have mentioned, by desk is at the front of my house. To my immediate right is window that looks out on the street and my mailbox is in plain view. I can see the postal worker drive up to the mailboz and slide in any mail addressed to my home. Even while I am working, I can steal a glance to my right and see what's going in the box, giving me an idea what I may be pulling out when I take the trek to the street. Basically, if one of you sent me something in a manila package, I can see it leaving the driver's hand. If it's a PWE, it's a surprise when I open the box.

That's not to say I'm still not surprised. For the second time, I saw the mail carrier slide in a purple package.

It took me until I retrieved it from the mailbox that I remembered this is the 2nd shiny purple mailer I have received from Weston at the awesome Fantastic Catch. Yeah, the mailer is that bright when the light hits it. You can see the two team bags Weston sent over, And boy did he load them up with binder additions.

Two new cards for the player collections for Iguchi and Rowand. The Iguchi was in my Zistle list, but as a throwback binder entry - it went in before I started the player collection. It was one of the cards in my collection that bugged me, because it was in two different custom collections online. Now, that is fixed.

Three cards off the 2009 OPC team checklists. When I pulled the Sox card, I was certain I must have screwed up my want list, or Weston misread it. Nope - it was needed.

The custom collections is where Weston really knocked it out. Seven new bunting cards were added as well as a couple double play cards. Jesus at the bottom left is a refractor, or whatever the hell Prizm calls them.

Weston also included 33 throwback cards, of which 11 are new additions to the binder. And so much wonderful cardboard. I keep forgetting about Rizzo's top from the Cubs 100th anniversary uniforms. So much 70's in the rest of the cards. And if Oakland doesn't bring back those old Philly A's throwback, I will stop cheering for them.

Wait - I am being told I have never cheered for the A's. How about that?

Weston, I appreciate and praise the purple packaged postal parcel.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Billy the Kid

I said I would take a few days before I got to the passing of Billy Pierce. Not so much to collect my thoughts. I mean, yeah - I liked the guy. He was well liked by the White Sox, Sox fans and especially the fans of baseball in general. There's a reason he has a damn near 100% return rate on through the mail autographs. Billy knew that his "job" didn't end when he hung up his last jersey. He took his role as an ex ball player with the humility one would hope most players do.

I think what most saddens me about his passing is how little attention it received. For a player of his caliber (and I will get to the hard numbers soon enough), it was really looked over. Besides a single line on ESPN, and I don't think the link stayed up very long, he was forgotten by the site that claims to be the world wide sports authority. In fact, if you go there and view their page design, there is a Twitter feed that runs on the right side. Over the 48 hours from time of his passing, a mention of Pierce's death showing up a grand total of never.


If you went to the MLB main page of ESPN, the same. Not a single mention that baseball lost arguably one of the most dominant left hand pitcher in the American League during the 50's and early 60's. I know Roddy Piper died. Read plenty about that. Now, I am not claiming wrestlers are not athletes - what they do night after night takes serious training and conditioning. But pro wrestling is not a sport. Just ask the WWFE. It's sports entertainment. All the wins and losses for the performers have nothing to do with their physical actions and everything to do with "what's best for business". Plus I learned Rousey destroyed that Brazlian fighter in 38 seconds about a thousand times! I get it - she's tough (she is). And she has a record of 12-0. Ronda, when you hit a record of 211-169, then maybe you can be talked in 8 out of every 10 tweets over 24 hours.

But Billy was forgotten, and as I said, that's a crime. There is the baseball Hall of Fame, and then there is the talk in the media of the Hall of Very Good. Most drop Billy in the later, a virtual place of honor. I am here to say he deserves better. At the very least, the Hall of He Really Should Be Enshrined But We Make Entry Harder Each Year. If not the HOF, let's shorten that to the Hall of Really Really Really Good. Joe Dimaggio once said after facing Pierce:
“That little so-and-so is a marvel. So little — and all that speed. And I mean speed. He got me out of there on a fastball in the ninth that I’d have needed a telescope to see.”

I said I would have numbers. If you ask most people the dominant lefty in baseball during the 50's and 60's, and had a choice of a few names, I think it would be hard to not find most people selecting Sandy Koufax from that list. And yeah, who could blame them - I wouldn't. For the 12 years Koufax put into the game, the guy was a machine. Unstoppable, unhittable and damn near unbeatable. Let's take some of Sandy's number and compare them to Billy's.

When you look at the numbers, there is no doubt of Sandy's talent, though I think a couple of them may surprise you. Endurance wise, Billy was better, finishing 44.5% of the games he started, while Sandy only completed 34.5%. Sandy averaged 193.2 innings per year, while Billy averages just 10 innings less - 183.2. Sandy was far better striking out the batters, fanning a average of 200 each season. Billy was only striking them out at 111 per. But in regard to control. Billy beats him, walking an average of 65 batters each year, with Sandy at 68.

Since sabermetrics is all the rage, and since Baseball Reference was kind enough to run the numbers on these two, let's take a look at some of the newer stats all the kids rave about.

A different picture comes out. There is no denying Sandy and his ability to stop the other team from scoring. From his ERA+, hits per 9, walks and hits per inning and strike out to walk ratio, Sandy was easily the best in the business. Most telling is an almost identical WAR. I honestly did not expect to see that when I started this research.

But enough about Sandy and Billy. Sandy is a level of his own. I wanted to compare Billy to someone that pitched in the same league, had a long and storied career, and has a plaque in New York state. And that person is Early Winn.

Wynn did put together a career with 300 wins, but his ERA is a full quarter point worse. He did have a better complete game percentage of 47.2%. Yet he only barely bested Billy in shutouts (Early 2.13 per year - Billy 2.11 per year). Early averaged 198.1 innings each season - the man was a workhorse. Yet, his control was horrible. Wynn was not a strike out pitcher, averaging just 101 per year while walking 77 per. When you start looking, you start seeing that maybe Early got the HOF nod because of that very first number - 300. And then, we turn the the sabermetrics....

Billy is better than Early in every single metric, completely destroying him in wins above average (WAA). Early went into Cooperstown from the writers, not the veterans, with 76% of the vote. Pierce never got more than 2% from the writers in the 4 years he was on the ballot. ANd just 3 votes from the recent veteran's committee. Billy was an All Star seven times - the same number as Wynn, and one more than Koufax. Billy spent years as a dominant pitcher on a lot of unforgettable teams on the south side. In running the numbers, historian Bull Deane determined if the AL Cy Young award existed in the early 50's, Billy would have one it both in 1953 and 1956.

But enough about the numbers. With Billy, it was more about the life after baseball - his career in the business world and his tireless work with the Chicago Baseball Cancer charities. He fondly looked back on his life in baseball, but never with regret. Pierce was one batter away from being the first left hander in baseball history to throw a perfect game, until it was broken up with 2 out in the 9th. To the end, Billy's thought about his brush with history remained the same.
"What are you gonna do? Those things happen. We were very, very happy to win a ballgame. But as the years go by, I would have picked a different pitch."
Baseball was a career, for a short time, for Pierce. But when his playing days were done, he moved on with life and family, living his quiet life in the suburbs of the city that adopted him after coming over from Detroit. And it's here he will stay forever.

In the past week, I received a couple Pierce autographs from two bloggers, Tom at Waitin' Til Next Year and Matt at Once a Cub

Thanks guys. And thanks Billy.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 08.06.2015

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.

Ben Sheets - 2009 Topps Unique - Milwaukee Bears

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Did I buy that?

For those that don't know, or have forgotten, I have two children, and neither live at home. My daughter is attending school way north in the Upper Peninsula. My son moved out with some friends years back first to Iowa City, and then to Denver. He's been there 3 years now while my daughter just hit a year a couple days ago. Being that as it is, there is just my wife and I in the house, along with some of their stuff. My son went with the clothes on his back and a couple boxes at first. He has come back a coupe times and slowly got the rest of his stuff - records, clothes, personal items. My daughter has less here, but still has books and other items.

Being that school does not start for another couple weeks, my wife was bored and started digging through the pile of stuff my son left behind with the "nope, don't want any of it" mark upon it. We wanted to go through it to be sure we don't missing anything parental, like photos, funny school work and the rest.

That's where the hamster went.
My wife comes into my office with a few items she wants me to look at, and two of the items looks like this:

Two packs of opened 2005 Heritage. I have NO recollection ever buying these packs. Since they were in with a bunch of my son's items, I wonder if he bought them during that short time we were collecting buds. It was a nice find. APTBNL does not have one of these to be shown, so I will get it posted tomorrow, avoiding the pack roulette I currently run on my scan folder. How did I do in the two packs?

Only White Sox card in either pack, and a card I already have in the player collection. Luckily, I am certain it's missing from the Sox box, so away it goes. Each pack had an insert.

Not too shabby with the two cards. Nice Banks photo, though I am certain I have seen it on other Topps products. The Thome insert doesn't match well style wise with the set. Just no inserts with Heritage, Topps. You wanna pay homage to the past, do it right.

This would have been a nice pull in 2005. Ten years later..... If you remember the '56 design, they had decent backs with plenty of cartoons. Here's the best of the backs from the packs.

Nothing like reminding Fullmer about his past two crappy years in the bigs on the IR. Not often you see a doctor cartoon on a baseball card, and probably not a good sign if yours in the card with it. One of the packs had this gem in it.

Yup. Heritage back then still had gum in it, wrapped to keep it from damaging the cards. Funny to see 10 year old gum in such fine shape, right? You don't know the half of it....

Yup!!!!! It's still soft! I have a stack of old gum on my bookshelf from old wax packs I've ripped (don't judge me) and I was surprised the condition this stuff is in. I am accepting bribes to make me open & chew it on camera to check the taste. Make your best offer!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The stay at home National, the final day

The 2015 National is officially over. With luck, everyone that attended had a good time and secured some cardboard that made them happy. While mine, like other blogger's National experience was spent NOT at the National, I have still secured much cardboard that brings a smile to my face. For my last day at the stay at home National, we have three "vendors" worth of cards to show off.

First off is AJ from The Lost Collector. A nice out of the blue PWE arrived from AJ, loaded with White Sox.

Lots of great additions to a number of years in the Sox box. I have so few of the Heritage in the center. I was not doing much collecting at that time of the year. Nice shot of the Bull getting reading to destroy a baseball.

While that Pierzynski is a dupe for the throwback binder, it's a great photo and an underused uniform. AJ also gave me permission to sell the Fletcher auto and retire to Boca, so later losers - I AM OUTTA HERE! Thanks for the mail, AJ.

Jim from the recently deactivated GCRL (he warned me he would do it and sure enough he did) has been dropping PWEs on me for the past couple weeks. His latest hit a bunch of custom collections. My thought is we keep bombarding him with cards so he has to keep writing. At least that's my plan.

A new bunting card, on for the throwback, and the final for the DP binder. My thought is that Jim expected the Bodick on the right to make it into the throwback binder as well, since the reverse has a sweet uniform. However, that card is already obtained, so I just added a 2nd and put it with the other double plays.

That Sale is m first A&G for 2015, though I recently picked up my first rack pack - a relic of a local chef. My wife and I now have a bet on whether he will return it with a TTM as she is a huge fan of his and me, I'm not much into Food Network. The Shark goes into the Sox box and the SC Fisk is set filler. Thanks, Jim. Start a new blog, would ya!

Final vendor from the SAH National was one called ebay. Yup, I had a big pickup off of the bay of E. In fact, it's one of my most wanted. I have missed out twice on one of these cards, and all searches would return one up on the site with an insane buy it now of $50. Finally secured this beaut for under 10 bucks shipped.

Gotta have the Jedi card for my collection, and now I do. Thank ebay....?

So the SAH National is over. With luck, next year is a real National trip. If not, we'll be at this again.