Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Here, there and everywhere - part 1

When I was thinking of this post, I started with the subject. But before I started typing, I looked to my left and noticed I had a 2nd mailing that technically could qualify for the exact same post title, so I added the part 1. But when you get down to brass tacks, there is only a part two in the sense that the title applies. See - part 1 and part 2 are from two different mailers, so they are not joined together in the way one might normally think of when presented with two parts.

It's like the final Hunger Games movies, Mockingjay Part 1 and 2. They were the last book split into two movies - continuation from the first movie to the second. However, my part 2 is not a continuation per se, but a sense of similarity. Does any of that make sense?

And while you ponder that, does "when you get down to brass tacks" make sense? I just typed that as it came off the top of my head, and what in the hell does that really mean? Google searches seem split on where it came from, though they have a general sense it derived from the mid 19th century. It either refers to hardware counter top or upholstery and deals with measurement. Or the idiom could just exist because it plays well with rhyming and.....wait, what the hell was I talking about?

Have a seat and try to remember.
Oh yeah - cards. Ultimately, every post is about cards, right? Around all the blogs I read, I've been seeing mailing posted of cards sent by Tony from Off Hiatus Baseball. I'm joining that group as Tony dropped a nice smattering of cardboard on me a couple weeks back. Each mailing appeared to be a copy of the next, but perfectly suited for the team collection of the recipient. Which means I got White Sox.

Yup! Lots of wonderful, glorious White Sox. I got all the cards from the return of Donruss in 2014, but I never got any of the inserts, so a Sale Diamond King made for a fine addition to the Sox box. As does a black bordered '09 OPC Anderson. I wonder where Tony got all the Drake's Big Hitters cards, since I have been seeing a load of them in the other posts. I am just glad that the Bull was part of the group.

Before Tony's mailing, I had 3 cards from this Frank Thomas Front Row set. Tony included the entire thing, along with a certificate. Now I feel official. Even if the cards are pre Panini clones with no logos anywhere to be found.

Oddballs. Got a little of everything here with these reprints, from Cracker Jack to Goudey and Delong. I own an actual Goudey (not Appling), T206 (not Walsh) and Diamond Stars (not Dykes). Someday I add a real Cracker Jack and Delong Gum.

Goals, kids. Remember to set goals. So thanks Tony for the #Supertraders mailing.

I have started my own mailings to the group, but still working on filler for yours. Pretty soon my mailings will be everywhere.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bonnets and bunnies

Growing up, I cannot remember getting any baseball cards in my Easter baskets. My mom never bought any cards for us. The basket was just chocolate eggs, jelly beans, Peeps, a Tootsie Roll bank and a kite. You HAD to get a kite on Easter or you were heartbroken. And it was always that kite with the sticker eyes and looked like a flying monster.

String off the collar, pal. I ain't flying today.
When you become a parent, you don't get a basket. You are just stealing candy from your children, or eating out of a 2nd bag of jelly beans you buy. And when your kids our out of the house, it's always the 2nd option.

So since I didn't get a basket, I'm calling a few recent mailings my Easter basket. First up, substituting for jelly beans is a mailing from Jon as A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts. Jon sent a small mailing over for some pocket schedules (I think), but don't think of small as bad. You can do a lot with small.

How about some small stickers? Jon dropped a nice groups of 1983 Topps stickers. I'm not sure what's special about the gold Bull in the top row. But  nice grouping of players, with Fisk, Baines, Hoty, Cruz and Spanky along with Luzinski.

I'll be honest - I'm crap shooting here. I scanned this, then screwed up my text file. I am pretty sure Jon sent these (along with other cards I didn't scan). If I'm wrong, yell at me. But remember when Pacific looked like the cards were designed by 12 year old kids, and not looking like the walls in a Vegas casino after a grenade went off? Great image on the Seaver, though. Great framing keeping the ball in the photo. Thanks, Jon.

From what I know, Twitch is known well on Twitter, but just recently started his blog Twitch Collects Cards. What I know for sure - I got a new person the send cards too. And receive cards from as well. I also sent CC some pocket schedules and got a nice return package. Sad to see Alexei go, but we need to shake up the team, so it's time to rebuild. I've talked enough about Morel, but I will still accept cards of the man. Engel is highly talked about in the Sox system. He won the Arizona League MVP last year, so his star is rising. What the future holds is to be seen.

Marcuz Semien gold. Aparacio mini Goudey. There - I got through them really quick because I am sure the first words out of your mouth was "What the hell is that Fozzy card?" Twitch included a pack of these Muppet NHL cards. I will get the rest of the pack up on APTBNL this week. Just realize that they are as cool as you can imagine. Thanks for the cards, Twitch.

Last, but not least, is my Blackhawks OPC hookup, Jeremy, who you can find on Instagram at semi_pro_set. He makes for another fine dumping point for Red Wing cards (note to self: send Jeremy some Red Wing cards). And being in the Great White North, he sends me all the lovely O Pee Chee I can handle. 84/85 Savard? Check. 85/86 Larmer? Check. Gorgeous 77/78 Hawks team card? Triple check! Just knowing these are OPC seems to make them a little more special in my mind.

Even when cards exploded, late 80's and early 90's O Pee Chee feel different. it's probably the fact that Topps held the set at 198 card while OPC would top out a baseball set sizes. Jocelyn's brother Claude has three Cup rings. Jocelyn was more a 4th line grinder in the league during his 13 seasons. Eddie's in the Hall, and Larms needs to be. He was a quiet winger that was nothing but consistent year after year. Vote him in. And thanks again, Jeremy.

Ok - time to go see how much ham is left to nibble on.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 03.24.2016

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. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Starlin Castro - 2014 Topps 1989 style mini insert - Chicago Cubs

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Random thoughts: Sign in please

Seriously - what is up with that signature? Did he dot two I's in a row? His name doesn't even have the letter "I" in it. Are those umlauts? When did Spanish names start using umlauts? Maybe a hidden Y? Sort of like a silent E, but just not shown except in cursive?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Three remain

It's Friday. I had a long week of dogsitting as my daughter came into town so her boyfriend and her could go to a going away party for the BF's twin brother. Dogsitting is a breeze, except when you have a tiny Affen, and the new dog is part pit and looks at your dog as lunch.

Or as a toy that needs to be gutted.
But now it's back to we three, and my dog cannot be happier. And I need food, and probably a beer to alleviate my stress of cycling dogs in and out of their respective locations of safety. So let's do a quick clean of the scan folder - three images of three mailings.

Jeff over at My Sports Obsession dropped these two purple Heritage refractors on me. I'm still working on the Sox team set (I think I have two cards towards it), but always lack on the chrome-y stuff, probably because it really doesn't fit in the whole scheme of things, Topps. But being a completist, I will gladly accept free needs. Thanks Jeff.

Jeff (squared) at Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum sent what it turning into monthly PWEs on me last week. Some good stuff within, including that single diamond Wilson and some prospect White Sox (love the Vandy uniforms). I wish that Luis was in color, but it's still a rare shot to see on cardboard. And thanks to you, Jeff.

Last we have Jeff Steve from The Chop Shop. A couple nice additions to the buy back frankenset. I have yet to decide how high I will go (officially). I am sure I will have one offs here and there, but I should set a firm cut off point. Maybe 600. It's up for debate. But I have maybe a 100 so far. Getting to the time I should move them to a binder and start creating a want list. Thanks for the help, Steve.

Alright - short and quick. Off to beat the crowd at the seafood place. It's not a Friday thing - just that we want seafood tonight and everyone else will be there for their own reasons.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hidden Gems 2: David and Neal

In recent years, Topps hasn't really spent the time to find great images. In fact, too often you see the same image appear on cards from the same year, or in consecutive years. True, they have done this in the past, but maybe we are more fickle in our live now than the previous generation.

Topps also used to have their own crew of cameramen out there. I'm sure for the Heritage and other releases where portrait shots are used, you have a group hired by Topps head out for the photos. But otherwise, a bit of searching through AP Images or Getty Images will turn up the photo used on a card. And many of those are great images. It just, in the task of turning the picture into a trading card, something inevitably gets lost.

Sometimes, the New York office gets it right. This is a fantastic card of David Murphy. The clean, raked lines of the track. The hint of green and yellow with the rapidly approaching wall. The center framing of Murphy as he tracks the flight and is about to raise his glove to make the catch (I assume). I've noticed recently that too much is spent by Topps making sure the player's face is the center of the card. Fortunately, the cropping is just right on this and creates an excellent piece of cardboard. By leaving in that bit of wall, not only are we, the viewer, not lost on the context of the action, but the wall balances the Topps badging on the left side of the card.

Journey. You either love them or you hate them. Growing up, my best friend Paul loved them. He had every cassette (and a couple 8 tracks I believe) of all their albums, so we listened to them a lot - as he had a car, and Chaz and I did not. But that's ok, because when you get past "Faithfully", Lovin', Touchin' Squeezin'" or "Open Arms", you can find some great tracks.

Early stuff with Gregg Rollie lead singing on "Play Some Music", adding Steve Perry with "Where Were You" and "Feeling That Way" to the overused, but still good, "Don't Stop Believing". That last song comes from their top selling album Escape, and that sucker is great from the first track to the end. But hidden among chart topping songs "Don't Stop Believing", "Who's Crying Now", "Open Arms" and "Stone In Love" is track 8 - Dead Or Alive. Neal Schon is an under appreciated guitar god. Every so often, a Journey song gives him the opportunity to show off his skills, but Dead Or Alive allows us to really hear his talent.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

There is no cure

Did you know that Alcoholics Anonymous is 80 years old?

Instead of some tactless, uncaring joke I might make, here's a cute puppy
From that initial group, many other people with debilitating habits have sought help from other people in the same position as themselves and found ways to rid themselves of their evil. From food to sex to gambling to clutter, there are clear signs that the people that know your deepest pain, and those that can help you get beyond it, are those that have been there before.

Adam from Addiction as Therapy is in the boat we are all riding. Whatever Topps puts out, we all want, whether old or new. However, no matter what we feel about the product, I don't think any of us are getting off when the ship pulls into port.

Ok - maybe a quick dip at the beach.
Recently, Adam busted some GQ, a set I am continually building with all the frigging short prints. He was offering up the SPs he pulled, and Topps made Konerko a short print last year, so I need one for the set and one for the collection. I jumped on a freebie of Paulie, cuz half is a good start, and got more than I expected.

Adam not only sent the one SP - he sent over 7 for the 2015 set, along with a few of the insert needs I still have hanging on my want list. My goal is to knock off ALL the wants I have by the end of 2016, excluding short prints. I'm getting closer.

Gold and Chromey. These and more White Sox made in to the Sox box (which I just sorted the pile of recently received cards into. Another thing I'll need by the end of the year is a 2nd monster box for the Chisox cards. Currently, everything 1980 and newer sits between a 5k monster box and a 3k shoebox. The shoebox is filling up fast.

Cooperstown!!!! Adam also put some hurting on the insert sets. Ballparks is done with that West Side Park. Museum Pieces, Voices of Summer and High Praise are just so damn big, but I will clear them this summer.

I hate the Induction sets for just one reason: why did they name them the same? They are easy to identify. But still - each insert gets its' own name. Got it Panini?

Thanks Adam. Working on a return package. Aren't we all just pushers and users in the long run?

Friday, March 11, 2016

SuperTraders: HSCA don'cha know

Let's get to the last of the ST group, this being the Twinkies rep Brian from HSCA. I don't think his blog is much older than a year (I could be wrong), but Brian has made himself known with the packages. Being so close to the Great White North, he seems to find a fair amount of vintage OPC baseball to pass around. He's blessed me with a few in the past.

Must be all those lakes they got up there. Someone should count them. I'm going to guess at least 9,999.

So close!
Recently, I received a couple separate mailings from him.

Who needs '91 Topps? I do. In fact, my 90's team sets are woefully lacking. And I would post a link to them, but I just realized the Sox team sets link at the top doesn't have the 1990's link on it. Geeez - I'm an idiot. I'll fix that after I post this. Anywho - I guess that Abreu is from this year? Anyone? I am so ignoring the 2016 flagship that I really don't know all the cards that make up the set. I just know I got them all from Nacho Grande Chris in his group break.

Now I have links to these vintage sets. The Lown/Staley is an upgrade. Hoyt is a miscut like the Morgan, but unless I find a deal for a replacement, he's just fine as he is. Heritage can't hold a candle to the originals.

The first mailing ended with these two. Aoki is a rare throwback bunt, and a mini to boot. I have two of the base, but only 1 mini, so this went into the bunting binder. Magglio was well liked when he was here and we felt pretty burned when he left. Then again - he left and we won the trophy, so....

Mailing two from Brian started with a simple note:

Why yes. Like any true collector, I am juggling too many things at one time. You Minnesotans are smart ones. Brian dropped 7 new autographs for the binder. I was about to send out TTM on a few, but now I don't need to.

Three from the mound. Garland had a hell of a 2005, going 18-10 and winning once against the Angels and starting the 14 inning game against Houston. Adkins appeared in just 5 games for the Sox. Sanders appeared in 2 games, pitched 2 innings and gave up 3 earned runs in 2005. But at least he is off the needs list.

Heading to the outfield we have Willie Harris and Joe Borchard. I was about to send a TTM to the White Sox rookie league team in Great Falls as WIllie just joined the club as a hitting instructor. No longer needed now. Joe. Joe..... we had such high hopes for Borchard, but he was so incredibly inconsistent. First round draft pick that showed flashes of something, but then long stretches of nothing.

I pick up Crede autos here and there, and just never add them to the 2005 Project. This is a beautiful and clean signature, so it gets the call. And how about that Leaf buy back??? Numbered to /13. It has a crease down the middle, and I hope you got a hell of a deal for it, Brian. I don't care - I think it's a beautiful card and perfect for the binder. All 7 put me at the half way point - 23 autographs of 46 people.

Thanks again Brian. I've been lucking out Twins-wise lately, so look for a return package. I'll try not to make you wait.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 03.10.2016

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. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Paul Goldschmidt - 2013 Bowman - Arizona Diamondbacks

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

SuperTraders: the king of the asylum

When you think about it, SuperTraders already exists. So many people in the blogging group are generous beyond bounds. If you have every sent me something - anything - you are generous more than you think of feel. It would be impossible to think of a time I felt like the other user got the better end of the "deal". If you plug a hole, fill a need, find something odd and unique, and send it just out of the kindness of your heart - then you are a SuperTrader.

With every group, there is a leader. For SuperTraders, we have our combination of Jim Jones, Charles Manson, David Miscavige and Nurse Ratched in Wes from JayBarkerFan. Wes really started the action of immense card drops on folks that so many have followed - Mark Hoyle, Matt Scott, P-Town Tom, Night Owl, Kevin Papoy......everyone. Wes' latest package to me was small, which is always nice if you have ever gotten a Wes bombing. It was still loaded with tons of White Sox that filled empty places in the Sox Box.

I have lamented in the past on how late 90s/early 00's are a under represented in my collection when you think of the sheer multitude of cardboard out there during the time frame. Here's a few from the couple team bags of cards Web delivered. Love the serialed Ballpark Idols, with the Magglio at a low /100. I have zero recollection of Mr Rodriguez in the center ever playing in Comiskey.

Wes always seems to fine oddball minor league team sets for me. Here's a couple from the 2003 Birminham Barons team set. Yofu didn't do much in the system, but Cotts helped us secure rings in 2005. Topps Finest in the middle. That's all I need to say about that gem.

Colors!!!! Bowman green and a Flowers cammo. Close to impossible to ever find any colored borders for Sox players in town, and when you do you best break out your wallet. Gold Canseco in the middle. That's all I need to sat about that jerk.

Thanks as always, Wes. From your videos, I think I better be prepared for a consistent trading cart showing up at my front door.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SuperTraders: Mr Hoyle

For those fortunate enough to receive a Hoyle-ing, it's quite the experience. I can't speak for others, for maybe they know the mystical land Mark finds his vintage. But I have no frigging clue. I just know that when the return address reads HOYLE, start guessing what's inside. Then, fly to Vegas and place bets against your guesses, because that's where the payout will be.

1999 Skybox Metal is going off at 450 to 1.
Mark is the BoSox representative in the ST madhouse. That's good. I usually pull a Red Sox hit at least once a year from some product. And maybe, just maybe, I can give some of the love back to the guy that just drops the best musty smelly rectangles in envelopes.

Ok. Years ago, these two would have stumped me. Thank goodness the internet comes through. And with no surprise, the big "comes through" is courtesy of Shane at Shoebox Legends. These are a couple of cards from a Milton Bradley game from the late 60's. Another Google search pointed these as 1969 and from this game. With a name like that, I think the creator must be related to me somehow. (Side note - as a family, years ago we used to have a cat named "Cat". I didn't name it though). These are similar to a few cards I got from Wrigley Field Jenga Tony a few months back, just with images on the one side, but the backs match.

Man. Man o' man o' man. This is all perfect level of quality in the cards I like. Mark knocked 2 more off my White Sox 1960 team set. Those are going slow, but the thrill is the chase, not the completion. I'm sure I have mentioned before, but the 1972-73 Topps hockey is one of my all time favorite sets. We had so many of these bouncing around shoe boxes in our house on Howdy Lane. Someday, I will start to build it. I think I'll get my 1964 baseball to at least 90% before I make a serious start. But if anyone sees cheapo lots lying around, I'll pay you back. The Tony O goes to the Blackhawks team set.

While I don't actively search out miscuts from football or basketball, when someone drops 23 miscuts from the '74 set, all at least as wonderful as the Little on the right, and a few as glorious as Bertlesen on the left, you welcome them with open arms. I've decided that a miscut is a miscut, no matter the sport. And now I really need a bigger binder with two dozen new additions. BTW - that is a shopped Kings sweater on Lonsberry in the middle. Even on hockey cards, eh Topps?

Mark, you always pack a lot of cool in a small package. Thanks as always, and keep an eye out for a return soon.

Monday, March 7, 2016

SuperTraders week: Bob Walk The Plank

Somehow I got wrapped up into Wes' SuperTraders group as the White Sox dumping point. I feel honored, but I feel like I will be on the low end of the totem pole in the giving aspect (much as the Sox have been the past few years in MLB and in Chicago in general - World Series Champs 2005 (suck that Cubbies)). But it is amazing the generosity from the blogging world, both in SuperTraders and with everyone in general. Some of the packages I have received over the past few years have blown me away in their kindness and amazing content. SuperTraders seems like that will ramp up, and I have started to see these coming in already. With 5 separate packages from members of the ST group, I thought I would highlight them this week.

But have no fear - there are other amazing gifts in the scan folder. Don't think that you have to send high end stuff or huge quantities of cards to touch my collecting heart. Every envelope, manila padded package or even a huge priority box (yeah - I got one of them to sort through, and the address wasn't Wes) is prized when received. So if you have something you think I would like, trust me - I would more than like it. And if I am slow getting something back, I'll get to you.

Someday, someway.

Anyhow, I think this was 2nd official mailing from a SuperTrader - Matt from the cool Bob Walk The Plank. Matt really didn't need the ST idea to show kindness. I have received some incredible cards from him in the past. But he stepped up his game with a single rectangle. I'm thinking he must have scored some sweet deal recently, as I am seeing cards from the same set being dropped on bloggers by Matt. I am just thankful that he thought of me and this card in particular.

I have the most wanted on the side, and while I have mentioned in the past a desire to add this player to my collection, I never added him to the list. Matt either has a good memory, or a good heart. Either/or, I have a good addition to my White Sox autographs.

Encased cards scan like hell. Forgive me if I don't go back to snap a picture. I think you get the idea. Matt has been dropping encased Tributes the way my router has been dropping wifi connections lately. This is such a pretty card. No sticker, large signature - just great all around.

Thanks a ton, Matt. Maybe I can keep pulling Pirate printing plates to send on a return trip.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Local yokel

Each area of the country has it's own local fare. From small mom and pop stores, to regional eateries, gas stations and the like. We are a country of different cultures and creeds, so you have some very local tastes in one area that you just don't find in others. Sometimes you take the same item and have it made different ways. For example, pizza is around everywhere in the country....

You have a California on the left, New York on the right and Chicago in the middle. Technically they are all pizza. It's just that the one in the middle actually IS a proper pizza, and the other two are total crap.

Even better....
Recently, I received a package from Tony over at Off Hiatus Baseball. Tony lives down south, but part of the package was confusing, as I couldn't figure out how he was in possession of such cards. Then I remembered he collects Brewers, so I'm going to assume someone is down south against his will. But we'll get to those soon enough.

Tony dropped a nice group of White Sox on me. Santiago headed right into the throwback binder. It's only the 3rd cammo parallel I have of a Sox player, but the card belongs with it's 1972 brethren. Sale is a high number for '14s Heritage set. Anderson is down at Spring Training, but will probably start the year back in the minors. But he is a possible shortstop for the future.

The main fill in the mailer, though, was miscuts. And boy some real gems were found. I'm going to have to move the miscuts to a new binder as their current housing is getting far too small. When I get one of the super no right angles like the Smith, I wonder what happened to the cards beside it. Boy, I would love to pair up a couple cards from two different locations. Ryno is a printing error of some sort. Must have been a scrap of paper on the stock.

HARMON'D!!!! You can see the range of miscuts, from not so bad on the left to Frank and Marty had liquid lunches again on the right.

These are the stars, though. Only Midwest people know the delicious joy of Jays potato chips. You coast people can suck it! Jays used to always have great giveaways in their boxes. Yes - boxes. You were a total loser if you didn't have a Jays pencil when school year started - they always put those in just before September. Somehow, though, I never ever pulled Sox Jays cards from my purchases. I appreciate the 7 cards from the this set Tony dropped on me, all logo free, though Harold has some uniform peeking out.

Tony, thank you so much for the new additions. Maybe I'll send you some Buona, Patio Ribs or a dozen paczkis.

BTW - we still buy Jays in this house over anything else. They are the best chips around. I have a bag of the barbeque on the kitchen counter. Nothing beats the local food items.