Saturday, July 30, 2016

No Man's Land

I guess when you get down to it, it can be pretty expensive to get items from point A to point B. Diesel fuel is always expensive and semis don't get the best gas mileage. You can get practically same day delivery of a package on the other side of the country if you buy it a seat on a commercial airplane. I remember a radio ad that mentioned trains can move millions of pounds of product over 200 miles on a single gallon of gas. I wonder how many gallons are spent getting it up to speed, though?

And how much money spent on meth?
We've all dealt with shipping cards across the country, as well as across the seas. It's not bad enough that crossing a Great Lake is so expensive, but now we have to deal with Canada Post acting all....well, whatever you call acting out in Canada. I'm sure they will apologize when it's all over. It's just strange how costly it is. It's not like Canada is some island (PEI excluded). At the right spot, you can just walk through the woods and over the border. But for some reason, it's like mailing to Hawaii. If Hawaii was not a US state.

DJ at Sportscards From the Dollar Store sent me another small mailer before the fear of a stoppage up north. I'm still sitting on a return package. I might strap it to a moose if I don't get a go sign from Doug.

Love the flat top on Frank. All that's missing is the dog pound whooping it up in the background.

Bicks rookie card. Hope he does well in Carolina. It sucks more what we had to do to dump his contract, but maybe he will find his scoring touch again. That Panger card seems so dark. I remember seeing a playoff game in the old Chicago Stadium when Pang let in this horrible wrap around backhand goal where the puck was moving about 4 MPH. Not a good game.

O Pee Chee vintage!!!! I like that Stan the Man is 4 of the 5 images on the team leaders. It's obvious one image is used twice, but I think they also mirrored it to get one more image. Goofy.

Thanks again, Doug. You should think about moving. Or calling out the Mounties.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 07.28.2016

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.

Angel Berroa - 2004 Fleer Tradition - Kansas City Monarchs

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Don't view this post if you are still using dialup.

I don't remember the exact date I got rid of my 56k modem, but I was excited to move up to a DSL line through my phone company. Pages loaded much faster. Flash games were playable with sound. Hell - downloading a file in a quarter of the time from my horrible modem was amazing. It was so nice to be able to download that Loverboy song on Napster in 15 minutes instead of 45.

Way back then, I can recall having to watch an image download on the page I was viewing. Pixel by pixel, line by line; literally. And then the image would need to enhance. Welcome to 2016, where you have 100Mbps download speeds. Streaming high def videos and sound. Massive multi player games. Video conferences. And I can get my Kendra Wilson fix instantly.

But do you realize over 2 million people in the US still use 56k dial up access? So if you are one of them, let me apologize in advance if you clicked to read this post. You probably have time to get that turkey prepped for the oven before everything loads. But when you get a package from the king of the dime boxes, there is just far too much greatness within, and hard to pair down the images.

Yup - Nick dropped a mailer on me, and I'm guessing a lot of these cards came from Wolff's Flea Market, which I hope to hit in a few weeks. Until then, Nick will just do all the hard work for me. And work he did, adding many cards to many binders.

Miscuts off the bat. Here's 3 of the 6 new additions. I have officially moved the 9 pocket pages to a fatter binder. I'm guessing the Whimpy was a dupe of some sort, since he has a microphone shoved in his face, and I know that's a Nick collection genre. The Tigers team card is way off in two directions. I am almost tempted to see what that would grade on centering. Does Beckett or PSA do negative numbers?

Here's 3 of the 6 double play cards sent. Only 4 of them are new additions. Shame that the '94 Select design wrecked half of the Clayton image, though. The framing is ok, considering. But the full width would have made it killer.

16 throwback cards were sent, and I needed 8. In solidarity, I didn't store the other 8 cards in my dupe box, but cut them up.

Three cards showed broken bats, but I already have all three. I had to show this card, though. It's incredible. So much I added it to the Hidden Gems binder. I think if there were more people in the crowd, the card wouldn't look so nice.

Last, here are 3 of the 17 new cards in the bunting binder. Nick dropped a total of 30 on me. I am surprised so many cards of players bunting are still out there. I'm certain Ichiro is not getting one of his 3000 hits with that positioning.

But binder collections were just the start. How about player collections?

All new additions. The two Sox cards at the bottom are from the 2005 World Series set Topps put out. Fortunately, I found the complete set I bought of those. And a very rare Ben Petrick card. I am WAY behind Arpsmith in our Petrick collecting.

Then Nick moved to the Sox box.

So reflective! The Belles are numbered to 3999 and 1999. Remember when that was special?

I have the Frazier for my GQ build, so he is sent to the Sox box. Bonifacio is from the high number release. Conor is not really doing much out west with the Giants, but looks good in sparkly green.

Two simple cards that are beautiful on the outside. And the middle is a very complex card that is just... sigh. Oh 90's.

Nixon is the oldest card Nick sent. The rest here are great oddballs. Fisk on Drake's Big Hitters. Those cards have the same charm as the Swell or Hygrade releases, to me. I wonder what happened to the figure that came with the Guillen card. I also wonder what happened to the figure Stark buried in the corn field. Geez Matt - stare through my soul a little more, would you?

Last, but not least, is a mostly complete 1988 Coke Sox team set. The full set, according to ebay, is 30 cards. I have 22. Love seeing old Comiskey in the background. And Billy tossing out the first pitch in full '59 uniform just makes the entire set. Now I'll have to start tracking down these full team sets.

Thanks again Nick. All your cards have made me lost for space in my boxes and binders (just click play - trust me).

Monday, July 25, 2016

Like Bart Conner on the pommel

Ok, ok, ok.... I may as well address this being that a) he's a member of the White Sox and b) I'm one of the first to have a binder of throw back uniforms.

I won't rehash the story. If you don't know how to Google (cuz Bing is for losers), then you will have to learn about the situation from Saturday. Let's address the facts that we know.

First - Sale was slated to start Saturday's game against the Tigers. On that day, the White Sox were running a promotion where the first 20,000 fans would receive a throwback jersey to the White Sox 1976 duds. When the game started, the Sox were wearing their Sunday 1983 throwbacks. The uniforms that were promoted were not worn. Sale was scratched from his start with the White Sox issuing a statement that his actions in the clubhouse were the reason he was replaced on the mound Saturday. These are the facts. Now for the mostly facts:

Sale destroyed the uniforms the Sox were supposed to wear on the field. The number destroyed is unknown, but enough that the team could not take the field all attired in a similar fashion. He took scissors or a knife to the uniforms. His statement was that the Sox were putting "PR and jersey sales" above winning. (I'll come back to this).

Was Sale's actions childish. Sure. I'll give you that one. He could have handled it in a better way. There isn't a player or a manager that hasn't thrown one tantrum or another and wished they could take their words and/or actions back. Except, maybe, Bobby Knight.

Now, here's my opinion and what I think was Sale's issue. This is not the first time the White Sox have worn 1976 throwbacks. They did it about 11 months again against the Mariners.

A fun fact about the uniforms the Sox wore from 1976-1982: they are the only uniforms worn in MLB that were designed to be worn untucked. Yup. What you see is what they were always intended. Now, the version the Sox were scheduled to wear this past Saturday were the road version. The colors were flipped: navy top, white pants and the same white socks you see. At least, I believe the pants were going to be white - not 100% sure on this. But one big change was going to be the fit. GM Hahn (fire that dude) stated they thought the uniforms in 2015 were too baggy and had them tailored to fit better. People think these closer fit uniforms would be the issue. I'm not buying that 100%.

Here's Chris pitching in two throwback designs. These are actually the only throwbacks he has ever worn while pitching. Every other time since 2012, Sale's first year in the league, Chris has not been on the mound pitching in any throwback except the Sundays. And if you look, they are pretty tailored. That 1983 is not in a Manny Ramirez cut. They have also said Sale had an issue with the collar. I might agree with that, but I think the two images are missing the obvious difference.

Sale is a pajama pants guy.

I cannot confirm completely, but in all the images I have seen of the '76 throwbacks from 2015, everyone on the Sox went high cuffed. I would love to find an image of Sale sitting in the bullpen that day, but have yet to find it. I bet the uniforms coming up this past Saturday all has short pants. No option to wear your pants low. And I think that is the discomfort Sale was dealing with. Factor that with the Sox on a bad skid (3-7 in the last 10 and just 4 wins in the last 14 games) and his passion to win got the best of him.

One thing is clear - any of the other 29 teams in MLB would love to have Sale on the roster. Best left hander in the AL, and you can argue the best lefty in baseball right now with Kid K on the DL.

So that's my take. Topps didn't put any of the '76 uniforms from last year on cardboard (jerks), so who knows if this year's would have made it. Maybe as a Topps Now.

(off soap box)

Here's a card to make this a legit post.

From 2015 Update. Five quarters off ebay. I have a long way to go to collect this insert set, so if you have any, let's trade.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 07.21.2016

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.

Rickie Weeks - 2013 Topps Opening Day - Milwaukee Brewers

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hidden Gems 5: Out and about

Just a quick recap about a tweet I sent out the other day. If you saw, I found a huge stash of card packs at my local Goodwill. Ten packs for a buck, in convenient prepackaged groups. Well, turns out they were packs that were searched. Some scum bag pack searcher pulled out the hits (and I think all the Cubs and Sox cards). The only decent card I found was a black bordered mini from Topps Magic of Peyton Manning. Otherwise, pretty much everything will go into the trade box. But still - at about 3 cents a card, it was a fun rip, and I added to the stash of packs for APTBNL.

All those - unposted. Oy!
But let's dive into the Hidden Gems binder for some pretty cardboard. Today, we go a way back to 2012 Topps.

I'll admit one thing: this is not entirely perfect. I give it a 98%, but I'll forgive the last 2 percentage points and give it a slot in a 9 pocket page. The only bad thing about this card is the badging. It ruins a bit of a great image. So much happening here. It's an old school play at the plate. Ellsbury is defintely trying to dislodge the ball from Josh Bard's hand. The body position tells us that. And the image captures to moment of impact: dirt flying, Bard's mask in mid air, Josh's right hand knocked from the glove and the ball beginning to trickle from his hand. If I found the right play, this is from the August 13th game in 2011, top of the 4th. Jacoby attempted to get home on a short fly to right, but was called out at the plate. So appearances of a ball falling out of someone's grasp are exaggerated.

It can be real easy to call Gotye a one hit wonder. And he probably will, in the long run. It was track 3 that got overplayed and over covered in 2011, but this track comes on his Making Mirrors album just before "Somebody That I Used To Know". It's poppy and upbeat, nothing like the song that made Gotye an international star. And it's almost half the length of that other song. If you spend a little time listening to the songs he's released, Gotye is all over the place. A bit Peter Gabriel-ish.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Gimme a break

Anyone remember that NBC show with Nell Carter? I can say I watched a grand total of none of it. I don't recall what ran opposite of it, but I am sure if I was watching any television on that day and time, we were probably tuned to ABC. Not a lot of love in my house for the National Broadcasting Corporation.

I got my eyes on you.
Now box breaks? I can get into that. Luckily, Chris over at Nacho Grande loves ripping boxes and sharing the wealth at a killer price. I didn't get anything super crazy awesome, but I was happy with what I received.

One picked team. One random team. As you see, my random was the Rockies. I actually did far better with my random team than my ChiSox, but still scored some nice cards, like the 2016 Diamond Kings and some Topps Finest.

These were the highlights of the break for me. Decent numbered Arenado and the even lower numbered green Frazier. Plus that sweet black bordered Donruss throwback. I think the black borders really make that design pop. Chris - thanks as always and I look forward to the next group break.

And while these other two aren't cards, you should really head over to Gavin's blog, Baseball Card Breakdown, if only to enter his 800th post contest. You could SOMETHING! I sent Gavin a small mailer and he returned the favor, so I am a winner already.

I really need to finish three 2015 sets: Stadium Club, Allen and Ginter and Update. Gavin helped me out with a few SC. I have been buying packs of this year's release, but I am not going crazy trying to complete it. Forget the whole '97 Fleer look about it. I think the photos are a bit of a step down this year. There are some gems - that's for sure. But too many are players batting and players pitching. I can get that in flagship. Sorry....let me get off this soap box.

Love me some old school ChiSox. And some old school double play. But I really like the old school Hostess cards that Gavin made, and he graced me with the sweet Sale he created. I may have to take a pair of rounded scissors to it and really make it look good. Perhaps a Twinkie frosting stain or two. Thanks Gavin.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 07.14.2016

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.

Wes Chamberlain - 1993 Topps Stadium Club - Philadelphia Phillies

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

And that's summer

Well, my summer is over. Most of my vacation time is used and the trips are complete. As you know, my wife and I drove to Denver to see our son for a few days. It was good fun. My wife wants to retire there. It's nice, but it's not Chicago, so I am not keen about it.

Anyway, the other half of my summer was this past weekend. Like P-Town Tom just celebrated his wedding anniversary on July 10th, my wife and I had the big 25 on the 12th. Somehow I haven't killed her yet. Though, if you ask anyone else in the world, they would be surprised she hasn't killed me yet. We'll have to debate about that.

Jane, you are a woman too free with your body that lacks knowledge and intelligence.

Our anniversary was technically yesterday. But I surprised her with tickets to a Broadway show (Beautiful - well worth it!). So it was another road trip on I-80, heading east this time. A little shorter (12.5 hours compared to 16 driving), but I still did it over 4 days. We got back on Sunday and I am still dealing with the effects of all the driving.

But what does all that have to do with this blog? Well, let's look at all the cards I picked on on the trip:

Winter is coming...
 Yup - nothing. That's not to say I didn't try - more on that later. I did get some sports related stuff on the trip. It wasn't a total bust.

I scored a KILLER hotel room for the first night of our ride in the Poconos. Really nice resort and it was just $60. Big room, great beds, amazing breakfast included. Stroudsmoor Country Club; I highly recommend it. Before we checked out (noon), we went into town for some gift shopping. I found the three books above at a used book store. The Mikita was $1.88, the Matle was 98 cents and the Bases Full was printed in 1928 and set me back 6 bucks. I just like the cover on that one, but I'll still try to read it.

I scored another hotel right off Times Square on 46th Street when we stayed the night before the show. We have been to NY once with the kids, but never got to spend any time at Times Square, so it was fun to see it all lit up. Tourist trap? Sure. But something everyone should see, just like everyone should go to the top of the Sears Tower (eat it, Willis) and/or the Handcock, eat in the Walnut Room at Fields on State (eat it, Macy's) and see the U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry (eat it, Hitler). Before the show, we headed for Rockefeller Plaza and St. Patrick's and ran into the NHL store.

I have a small puck collection (if I can find one at the right price, I'll add it to the collection). The one on the left is just because it says New York on it - souvenir. The one on the right claims to be a game used puck from the 2016 Playoffs. I'm a sucker for relics, so I picked the one that looked a bit more beat up inside the case.

Ok - on to the card shop. On the way back Sunday, I was checking Google Maps for any card stores along the ride home. There was one in Toledo that was just 15 minutes off the path. The wife gave me the thumbs up to stop, so I headed over.

Thinking of the dimensions of the store, I am going to guess like 25x44. Decent sized, single level. Nothing current, that I could find. Warm in the store (needed A/C). And lots of cards. I means lots of cards. Nick, if these were dime boxes, you would have been in heaven.


NO ORGANIZATION! None what so ever. You could barely move in the store with all the cards. And when I mean a lot of cards, I mean a LOT of cards. My guess, and I could be low balling it here: 10.......MILLION. Maybe 15 million.

I am not kidding. Just box after box after box with labels like "FB" and "Rookies" and "Random cards" and some set names. Open a box and it could be a bunch of 87 Topps mixed with 91 Classic, 93 Donruss, 90 Upper Deck and who the hell knows what else. Stacked 7 feet high or more with some of the boxes 3 rows deep. There could have been gold mines of cards that have not been viewed in years. It was impossible to look through anything, and that was a shame, because the one box I found (on top of the glass case that was covered in stacks of cards), had some great vintage. Oh - and the cases - you couldn't see what was inside because of the total vomit of cards all over them, but I caught a peek, and I think I saw singles of 95 Fleer Ultra hockey. No lie.

Anyway, that box of vintage I did go through - nice range of cards. If you wanted to complete an early set of Post cards, that was the box to hit. Along with lots of early 50's and 60's Topps. Now, why didn't I buy anything? I'll sum it up in the one card I remember distinctly.

1957 Richie Ashburn. Looked like it went through the washing machine and the spokes of a bike. Twice. Price?


So yeah - I spent maybe 20 minutes in there and left. There is probably some amazing cardboard in that store. But it would take a dozen people the best part of a day just to clear it out, and then another few months to organize all the cards by sets. I would love to do that - I should have offered $100 for the store.

Now that I am back, I have cards to post and cards to ship. If you are waiting for something from me, hang tight. I promise I will get a ton of stuff shipped come the weekend. I'll post zip codes when I do. Thanks for your patience. And avoid Toledo card shops.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Second to none

I've been on the planet 51 plus years, and only for about 11 months have I not called Chicago my home. My future wife (at the time) got a job offer in Florida, so I tagged along with her. But we were both home sick and we came back when the school year was done for her. But the rest of the time, I have always lived within 30 miles or so of the city. From Hometown to Alsip. Oak Lawn to Oak Forest. Chicago Ridge, Hickory Hills and Plainfield... this is where I live. And where I would prefer to die. Though, the wife wants to move to Denver for retirement. I told her I have some rules to accept that, like NHL and MLB cable packages and other requirements.

I still think I'll dig my feet in the sand and not move.

ComminshBob over at Five Tool Collector recently made a trip to Chicago. His daughter was graduating from the University of Chicago (fun fact: my dad graduated from there too) (fun fact #2: the road in the middle of the university is Midway Plaisance, where many of the exhibits from the 1893 Columbian Exhibition), so he and his wife made a road trip of it, stopping along the way at a few places, and taking in a Sox game over the weekend.

Bob and I send cards back and forth, having the shared Pierce collection, with his being 100 times greater than mine (fun fact #3. Billy and his wife spent his final days in Lemont, about 20 miles up the road from me now). His recent mailer was a heck of an amazing bit of cardboard.

SOOOOOOOO much vintage! I think there was about a dozen total, and I needed all but 4 of them. And the 4 I don't need are for players that I find are pretty good TTM signers, so I hope to get them in the mail soon for some ink. Nice view of old Yankee Stadium behind Luis and I'm not sure where Maxwell is. I'm thinking Cleveland. Feel free to correct me.

More Renata Galasso with the Luis in the middle. I'm not sure of the outside cards, but I am leaning at TCMA as well.

I love Exhibit cards. I have seen them in person a grand total of two times in my life - once in a Denver card shop and once at the Kane County flea market. Otherwise, I only ever see them on ebay. So getting some in the mail is amazing. Love how Walsh is referred to as a "famous spit ball pitcher".

Bob's mailer came with a couple pieces of card board to keep the Exhibit card from getting bent. Fortunately, he mentioned to look between the sheets, cuz I would have just tossed it without a second glance.

We have both been on the hunt for these, when I first found out they existed about a year ago. Hard to find, though, and certainly hard to find in mint condition like this. The auction I pointed him to was the only auction I have ever seen. Probably good that I didn't see this auction for two bills, or I would have bid up against him and one of us would have overpaid to send the extra to the other. To my knowledge, these still exist. There are also $1 and $2 bills out there. I think Fox is on one of them.

Bob, I hope you enjoyed the city. I am sure you didn't see enough of it, but hopefully you didn't see the wrong places.