Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hidden Gems: It's a little different

One of the constants through baseball cards, into the 70's, was the photo selections. Posed, whether a head shot, pretending to pitch, pretending to hit, pretending to field... In the early 70's, Topps did get some action photos into the sets, and that joined in with the posed head shots, pitching shots, batting shots, etc.

But I think when Upper Deck joined the game, they really changed it up. Sure, a lot of the norms remained on the card board, but they started throwing in images that I guess you could day humanized the players. Far more candid images, like signing autographs, laughing with your team mate, with kids, changing roles..... You get the idea.

Most of Frank Thomas' cards are of him doing what he did best: beat the ever loving snot out of a baseball. If not at the plate, he was at first. On occasion, he was sitting in the dugout or standing on deck. But here's a Frank you don't see. Let's call him Chill Frank. Possibly stretching, but I am certain he is just relaxing in the grass during pre game warmups. Maybe he is waiting for his turn in the cage, or he just completed it. At this point in his career, Frank was afforded some luxury. He is still larger than life, taking up most of the card real estate. But it's still Frank Thomas - who you know, but slightly different.

By 2012, Garbage has over 20 years in the business with a few critically acclaimed albums, band struggles and break ups, reunions and then a continued drive forward. They have garnered numerous nominations and a few awards (LeAnn Rimes - really?). Garbage is one of my fav bands and are probably best known for one of their first single releases, Stupid Girl.

Fun fact, they are all pretty drunk in this video thanks to a few bottles of wine. Anyway, it's a great song all around with a driving beat and a slick bass line hook. We jump ahead to 2012, Garbage reforms and remade their first big hit, and it sounds quite different.

The drum beat is still there, but more subdued. The bass line is all but gone from the forefront (except for the 2nd verse), with a hard, heavy guitar sound just blowing out your ears. It's the same song you know, but different. And I like it a lot.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

BBA: what I do when I play with my cards

So how about I jump in on the latest Blog Bat Around, since I snagged the graphic

Night Owl posted about the projects he is working on, and then someone followed suit and now it's a bat around. Since I really have nothing to post (except for a dozen or so packages to scan/sort/write about), let's make it a little easier and write off the top of my head and talk about what goes on around here.

project zero: downloading images of Kate Upton
Project 1: White Sox

Mini, full, oversized, foil, refractor - don't matter. If it's a White Sox card, I want it. I should really keep track of the number of unique cards I have in the Sox box and other binders. One day when I have all the time in the world, I'll work on building a database of the cards. I am jealous of those of you that know the exact number of cards you have for your team collections.

Project 2: Blackhawks

Ditto as with the White Sox. Granted, this is currently small and barely filling a two row shoebox. In time....

Project 3: Player Collections

You can see the older players I collect on the Player Project link above. Along with Luis and Sherm here, my other current old timer projects include Nellie Fox and Bob Keegan (who is not on that list). I pick up other cheap vintage of players that were Sox as well, like Wilbur Wood, Dick Donovan, Turk Lown, Gary Peters, etc. Those may morph into other projects in the future. For current players, I mention them on my Want list: Paul Konerko, Aaron Rowand, Joe Crede, Adam Eaton, Ben Petrick and Tadahito Iguchi.

Project 3: Custom collections

I have a few unique collections: cards showing players in either a throwback uniform, making the turn at second of a double play, or in the act of bunting (in game or posed). I don't know if I ever explained why the three specialized collections, so...

Throwbacks - I have always been a fan of classic uniforms. Some are far better than others, but when a team visits an earlier look for them, it's a treat for the eyes. I like the White Sox are considered the team that brought the idea of a throwback uniform.

Double Play - When I started playing baseball, I played 3rd and pitched as a 9 and 10 year old. When I moved up, I was moved to center because the coach felt I had the most speed and range of anyone on the team. I spent the two seasons at that level in center, until the final game of my 2nd year. That game, the coach decided to have some fun with us and put players in positions they never played. I can remember the first inning of that game. If ESPN existed back then, all three outs of that first inning would have been on Top 10. First one was a quickly dropping pop up that the kid in left, who never played that position until that day, made a nice diving catch to snag. Next batter ripped a hot grounded down the 3rd base line. Another first time player at the position falls to snap up the rocket and throw the runner out at first. Final out of the inning, the batter shoots one just out of reach of the pitcher, heading up the middle. Me, first game ever at 2nd, ranges right, deftly backhands the big hop, put on my brakes and turn to throw out the runner. As we return to the dugout, the coach wonders why he never played us in those positions during the season. Drafted up to the next league, the coach who selected me stated I would be moving from center to 2nd. I asked if it was because of that play the previous year. "No", he replied. "You have no arm and it's the shortest throw in the game". Needless to say, for those 2 years, I sort of revolutionized the position in the league. Things I did on the field started to reflect in other teams at the position, and I was the starting second base all star both seasons I played. I think 2nd was the position I should have played my whole life. So anytime I see the turn at two, I always think of my "career" as a ball player.

Bunting - I like small ball. Sure, home runs are nice, but manufacturing runs is the way the game is to be played. I always took pride in my ability to lay down a good bunt, with the right speed and placement to get the job done, whether advancing a runner or catching the other team off guard to steal an infield hit. But the real joy of bunting goes back to that final game of the season I mentioned above. In one inning of that game, since we are all goofing off, we had some fun. Coach had the first guy bunt, since they were playing off the grass at third. Since the 3rd baseman didn't get the hit, the next guy also got the bunt sign and both runners beat out any throw. I was up third. No signal from the coach's box, but danged if the guy on the hot corner was still way too far back, so I laid one down and the bags were loaded. And the batter behind me - sure, why not. He also bunted. Run scored - bases still loaded. I am fairly certain batter #5 swung away, but four players bunting in a row, only two that actually received a bunt sign - that sticks with you.

Project 4: sets

The sets I build depends on how much I like the look of the cards. I know people bemoan Gypsy Queen, but I like it year and year. Especially 2015 GQ. Yes , I love 2015 Gypsy Queen. And I love Allen and Ginter, too. Other sets all depend how I feel about them. Maybe the full set. Maybe an insert set only. But I like to buy the cards to have them in my hand before I decide if I will construct the entire thing.

Project 5: Vintage set - 1964

I am still trying to complete the 2013 Heritage (damn inserts and SPs), but decided to take a crack at my first vintage build with the original 1964. I was having a good go, but then ran into a snag - financially and figuratively. Condition doesn't matter to me, but the seller I was snagging decent cards at a great price dried up, so now I am still trying to build on the cheap, but it's a grind. My plan for 2018 is to get focused back on the build and hope to be past the 85% mark. We shall see.

Project 6: Frankensets

I have two frankenset builds in progress: buyback and White Sox. I am much farther on the White Sox build, but it's getting tough finding cards for the missing holes. I am about 100 cards or so away from a run thru card 700. I have cards here and there above it, so maybe I run it higher? Maybe I should cut it off lower? The buyback set - slow go. Same finances issue as the '64 build. I am at 140 cards or so. It's not even in a binder it's such a pathetic looking build. Maybe when I crack 250 I'll start filling pages.

Project 7: 2005 Project

This is fairly simple to explain. It is just collecting the autograph of every player and coach from the Sox 2005 World Series team. I need to get some TTMs out for a few of the players that I know where they are and hopefully they will return. My big need is Man Soo Lee. He was the bull pen catcher for the team. Digging around, the last article I remember supposedly stated Mr Lee was an executive with the KBO. I just searched now and I see he carried the torch for the past Olympics. Otherwise, I a stumped trying to get a cards signed by him. If anyone has an inside track of his autograph on a 2.5x3.5 piece of cardboard, let's talk.

Project 8: secret

Yup - I am intentionally teasing something. It's not really awesome, but nothing I want to reveal right now.

And I think that's really about all. Anything else I collect really just falls into my lap, like autographs and relics.

Aren't you glad you read to the very end? Was it worth it?

How about now?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Pocket change

So St Patty's day was Saturday. People really seem to enjoy drinking on that day. A lot.

Number of folks with Irish ancestry in image: maybe 1?
But driving them drunks around? That was mighty profitable. Best one day total for me, and I was home by 3:30am. Got out later than I wanted to - like 5. So I made some good bank, that made a lot of my bills quite happy. And bonus cash tips to buy baseball cards.

On the other end of the spectrum are the quarters, nickles, dimes and pennies. A couple recent mailers came from purveyors of two blogs with coin related names, starting with Jon over at Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts.

Couple sweet miscuts (sorry Phil and Nolan - you will forever be on edge until eternity). Jon also included a few early Topps stickers. and didn't just send Fisk by himseld, but the matching Carter tang to Fisk's ying. Omen to one of the card purchases I made over the weekend?

Main highlight of the package was a bunch of help on my Cooperstown builds. I don't consider anything Panini released after 2013 as "Cooperstown". Just the 2012 and 2013 sets. Base are done (except a few SPs), but the crapload of insert sets are a lot of work. Some nice help with 2013...

...and 2012 sets. Being labeled 2000, the Fisk is a White Sox card. But the build needs it more than the Sox box. The nice thing about Cooperstown in 2012 is that they got the right Buck in the set. Joe Buck sucks.

Cooperstown is not the only Panini baseball set I am building. I love me Golden Age. LOVE LOVE LOVE the sets. Three years I need to build, and once again, inserts are king. So a few to delete numbers from the want list makes me smile. Those stand ups are great. The stamps? That set totals 30 "cards", and I think you pull one a box? Maybe two. So it's a rough, long build. I'll just have to bite the bullet and get them on COMC or somewhere. Can we have St Patty's Day every weekend? Thanks Jon.

Once again Nick from Dime Boxes dropped a healthy stack of cards that set him back probably $4. Shipping was more expensive I bet. Some nice new additions, with a Heritage Moncada (but he pulled that) and my first Fire card. Now I remember why I avoided those packs at Target. Sweet foil Eaton for the PC. With Nick's mailings, I can count on lots of damage for my specialty binders.

Stacks of throwbacks. I like that the pirates brought back the yellow top with the black pants. They need to rest the home white throwbacks for a few years, or maybe go back prior to the 70's. Duel throwbacks on the Fleer Snow.

A fill of the twin kill with a lot of double play cards. The bottom two must be triples since Nick collects DP as well as multi image cards. On the Almoar card is possibly Lyle Mouton. All I know is the Sox (and other teams) should really go back to no name on home uniforms. Looks much cleaner.

Last was a mound of laying one down. So many bunt cards, including an elusive Kellogg's Lopes card. Interesting on the Ichiro - not a drag bunt. He must have been sacrificing on that play.

Nick also included a couple vintage miscuts with a '67 Palmer and a '73 Taylor. And how about a well loved (with scotch tape) Post Minnie. It's separating from the back, but it will find a new loving home in the 2x3 base camp. See you next card show, Nick.

And if you go out and have a few too many, hail someone like me. And give them a few bucks tip for a pack of cards.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lucky 13

I love the number 13. Not always, but it's a number I have turned to for a good 20 years. When I started playing baseball as a young child, I usually wore 7. I was tiny and as most leagues did, the numbers were an indicator of the uniform size. As I grew older, and a little bigger, I wore 14, basically double 7.

Then I moved to soccer, and at first, no number really "spoke" to me, so whatever I got, I wore. But soon I learned of a few players in NASL and MISL that wore 13, and I thought "yeah - that's cool". Most people think you must be a little odd to wear that number, so any ever so slight advantage one can get, you take. So it was 13 from there on out. Any sport that required a uniform, I selected 13.

Today is also the 23rd anniversary of the first time 13 people were in space at one time. How about 13 scans to celebrate?

Angus from Dawg Day Cards dropped a fine envelope loaded with Sox of all kinds. New ones, old ones, sticker ones, insert ones, gold ones. Just a small selection of the contents of the envelope. Thanks Angus - working on a send back.

Among the far too large stack of cards I still need to scan, sort and post is a box from Scott Crawford that he put together for me at a really sweet price. This single Tommy John came in it's own envelope later. Bonus? I'm calling it that, along with calling in another number scratched off the 1969 Sox team set. Thanks, Scott.

These cards put me about 377 mailing owed to GCRL Jim from Cards As I See Them. Couple from the 2017 Update series and a sweet photo from the Sox 2005 World Series parade. It was so long ago....

I believe this is my biannual mailing from Jeff at My Sports Obsession. We spend times sending our Sox dupes to each other. Couple obvious rejects from his Konerko collection, and a nice Eaton rookie for my Adam binder.

Miscuts!!!! I should have scanned the back of that Blue. It was the real joy of the card.

Well, well, well......

WELL, WELL, WELL!!! Six total autographs. Love them!!!! Few rookie autos there too. Jeff - my next box should ship this month.

Fuji did some damage on my 2017 SC needs. So great images there, as always with SC. That Votto is awesome.

The ones not needed for the set build found space in other places of my collection. Appreciate the help, Fuji.

I get Zippy Zapped like the rest of you, and Zippy did another fine job with his out of the blue mailing. I rip so little Bowman, so I am grateful for the ones that do and share the Sox spoils with me.

Did you noticed the miscuts on the side? Me either. Nanami is cute. It's so hard to decide if Zippy's girl card inserts are better than Papoy's Bieber offerings. Coming back at you soon, Zippy.

Last but not least are some '17 Update cards from CommishBob at Five Tool Collector. I'm just a couple cards short of completing the full 2017 Flagship team set.



I had all but written off the Pierce Swift Meats from my collection. Finding one at a price within my budget was a dream. Granted, my budget is pretty low, but still. So when this beauty dropped from the envelope, my jaw dropped. Bob said the price was too good for him to pass up, and since I gave up it never appeared on any eBay saved search. A couple "I could give a flying crap about" creases in the upper left. No matters. This is amazing. Now what to send back?

The generosity of each one of these mailers makes this group incredible to be a part of. Who says 13 is unlucky?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I got scans

So much cardboard on my desk. It's crazy how far behind I am with scans and posts. In fact less, crazy and more improper. With the amazing generosity, I could be better is scanning, which would make be better in sorting, and in turn would make me better at organizing, and the final goal being better at cleaning off my desk.

Where the hell did I leave that Rusty Kuntz rookie?
Quick update on Tis The Season: first 4 mailing go out tomorrow, which it the two from last year and a couple others. There are three stacks unclaimed if anyone wants them: 3 bags of soccer cards and 2 giveaways of 3 bags each of 2016 Topps flagship. If you want all 6 bags, say the word. Leave a comment below if anyone wants either. Otherwise, I'll send them to Commons 4 Kids.

Let's do some folder cleaning. As I mentioned, my daughter is back home (update: pain doctor appt this Tuesday. Already scheduled for Mayo Phoenix come May - hoping we get to cancel that only cuz it would mean we are healthy). But one of her bosses, Rick, collects and sent me a mailer a while back filled with A&G needs.

It doesn't show well in the scan, but the Abreu is one of those foil cards. If I bought one of those, I would have been pissed. But if anyone has White Sox foil cards, I'll gladly take them.

Plus all the A&G minis my heart desires. Hopefully that's a fine scan of the future of the team. I'm working on some Barry Sanders in return.

Big and little is courtesy of Corky over at Pack War. I love the black variations from earlier Topps sets, cuz the Sox cards just pop. Too bad Junior did not have the best time playing on the south side back in '08. Stat line is pretty ugly.

WHOA!!!! Dig this amazing vintage from Corky. The original deckle edges are a thousand times better than when Topps put out in Heritage this year. The 1950 Bowman Lollar is a card I have been watching for a couple years on eBay, but none have been this nice in my price range. This Lollar leaves me just four cards short of completing his project.

I am now the proud owner of 3 of Corky's sketch cards, the other two being sweet MST3K cards. Here's a super sweet Star Wars inspired masterpiece. And check out that awesome SPx relic card of Aaron Rowand, two windows with patches. So Sox box, vintage, custom sketch and patch relic? I really owe you Corky.

More cards in the future. Maybe this week. When Junior Junkie is posting more often than me, I gotta stop up my game.