Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's (Collecting) Resolutions

I've never been one to make new year's resolutions, but with the end of the calendar year finally here and having been rethinking my collecting habits maybe it's time to resolve to:

1) Move outside of what has been my primary collecting interests (Braves) to include at least one pre-1980 Hall of Famer, or star, per month. I've got an early jump on this one by recently picking up this 1958 Topps All Star Stan "The Man" Musial. These cards will be more of an investment than anything.

2) Continue to move away from newer releases, freeing up money to put into the vintage stuff. I will continue to pick up Braves Topps team sets, the Heritage team set, and buy hand collated sets of both. Buying packs and boxes will not be on my radar.

3) Begin a 1977 Topps baseball set. This was the year that I really started getting into cards as a kid, and thought it would be fun to put a set together. Other sets I am looking at: 1979, 1980, 1984-1986.

4) Get back into the football card market. Since re-entering the hobby last year, I haven't picked up any Buccaneer cards, and would like to begin adding Tampa Bay rookie cards to my collection.

What about you- do you plan on changing your collecting habits this upcoming year?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Baseball Thrills and Deja Vu

First off- I want to wish everyone out in the blogosphere a very Merry Christmas; I hope you had the opportunity to spend time with loved ones as well as reflect upon, and celebrate, the birth of Jesus Christ.

In our traditional exchanging of gifts, one package in particular caught my attention. Due to the size of the package, I guessed correctly that it would contain a card or, in this case, cards. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the first card- a 1959 Topps Baseball Thrills card of Henry Aaron. This card flashed back to the '57 World Series, in which the Hammer hit .393 and had three homers. It was in game 4 of the Series that Hank hit a three-run home run to even up the series at two. And in wonderful fashion, Topps captured the moment on card #467.

The second card in my package was another Aaron-this one a 1959 Topps #380. As I took it all in, I couldn't help but think how familiar this all seemed. However, trolling ebay for deals will make even the rarest of cards seem like your neighbor next door-so I didn't even think about it anymore. Until this evening when I pulled out my Braves inventory book, and saw that the '59 Aaron was already checked off. And to use a Yogi-ism: it was deja vu all over again. Yes, somehow my wife (bless her heart) managed to ignore the Christmas list I had given her and still had the list from my birthday in August-a list with about twenty cards on it. And so for whatever reason, she picked the same card twice and I now have two '59 Aarons. Hopefully, the dealer she bought it from has a sense of humor and will accept a return and exchange it for something different!

Friday, December 24, 2010

1956 Topps Ray Crone

If one word is used to describe pitcher Ray Crone, it may be the word "persevering." Despite throwing well in the minors, Crone seemed to be on the slow track in getting to the majors-including returns to levels where it seemed he had nothing left to prove. So discouraged was Crone that he actually contemplated giving it all up. Sticking with it, though, proved to be a smart move, as he ended up going 19-11 with a 2.38 ERA and 20 complete games in '53. After making the Milwaukee roster out of spring training in 1954, Crone found himself in familiar territory: being shipped out. When September rolled around the Braves recalled Crone, who after a good showing in the majors thought he was there to stay. It wasn't to be, though, as a rough spring in 1955 would be yet another setback in Crone's journey. In true Crone fashion, the righty persevered and found himself back in Milwaukee, where he would end the '55 season with 10 victories (including a four-hitter against the World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers) and a very respectable 3.47 ERA. Currently a scout in the San Diego system, Crone was perhaps best known for his self-less character and being one of the finer gentleman in the game during his playing days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

1956 Topps George Crowe

A Google search of old issues of Baseball Digest pulled up an article about today's subject, George Crowe, that was titled, "The Insurance Man Pays Off." Insurance Man was an appropriate name for Crowe, whom the Braves signed in 1949. Prior to his signing, Big George-as he was called-starred in another sport. While at Indiana Central College, he was a star on the basketball team that was a small college powerhouse in the midwest. After spending the next three years serving his country in the Army, Crowe went on to play professional basketball for the New York Renaissance- a team that was in one of the leagues that would merge together to form the NBA. During one of his offseasons Crowe was offered a job with the New York Black Yankees of the Negro National League, he took it and the rest, they say, is history. The reference to him being an insurance man is due to the fact that despite always hitting and being a run producer, Crowe just never got a shot as a regular. He found himself in roles backing up sluggers such as Joe Adcock in Boston/Milwaukee and Ted Kluszewski in Cincinnati, and ended up slugging 31 homers in 1957 after Klu battled a bad back.

Even though the pictured card is a 1956 Topps, where he is listed and shown as a member of the Milwaukee team, Crowes final season in the Braves organization was actually 1955. He was traded to the Reds on April 9th of '56 for Bob Hazel and a player to be named later. George would go on to hit .250 with 10 Home Runs in limited action (only 144 at-bats) that first year in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have You Ever Been Guilty of This?

So, we braved the crowds tonight by making a trip to the local Target store in order to pick up a few last minute things before Christmas. And what should I see as I opened my door and looked down to watch where I was stepping???
Apparently, some dude couldn't wait to get home before he ripped open his 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft pack. Now, I've been guilty of this many times- but this guy is a stinkin' litter bug! But he is, as I told my wife, a man after my own heart. Baseball Cards and a Pepsi-now that's my idea of a great evening!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December Card Show Purchases 1

I've got to hand it to our LCS owner: he has great timing for scheduling his shows. Many people might look at a December 18th date as being too close to Christmas for a card show, opting to spend their money on gifts. I viewed it as good timing because I received my end of year bonus yesterday and set aside some cash from it to spend at the show. When I woke up this morning, though, I had doubts as to whether or not I would make it- we received snow overnight, and the tv weather guys said the roads were very slick. Being the card junkie that I am, I decided to brave the roads (which weren't bad at all by the time I left) and the 25+ mile trek and came across some good deals that were too good to pass up...

2003 Topps Certified Autograph #TA-WS Warren Spahn

I had never seen any of these '03s, and have been wanting an autograph of Spahn. I would have prefered an autographed ball, but for $25 I was more than willing to settle on this card. I like the fact that the signature is on card; however, I would be lying if I didn't admit to being a little nervous in buying this. Look at how well the signature is written for a man in his eighties-usually the handwriting of someone that age is shaky, and this doesn't seem to be the case here. I am going to take Topps at their word that this is authentic. One unique thing about the year of this card: Spahn died at the end of 2003, only a few months after this would have been on the market.

1954 Topps #30 Ed Mathews

The guy I bought the Mathews from was busting up some of his sets and so not only did I get this card from him, but many '55 and '56s as well. The top has the two pin holes in them, but I didn't let that prevent me from picking up this third year Mathews for a very small percentage of book value.

1970 Topps#64 A.L. RBI Leaders

I love anything that has to do with season highlights or league leaders, and this one features three great sluggers. Reggie's rookie card was in the '69 set, and for $2 I get one from the second set to feature him. And Killebrew... you've gotta love "Killer"-one of the local boys to make it to the big-time!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I see where Topps has released product information for their 2011 Gypsy Queen baseball set.

My initial reaction was, "Not another retro set!" While I still enjoy the Heritage Line, and I have grown to like the mini Allen & Ginters, I can't help but ask: do we really need another retro set? Not to mention one that is reminiscent of their A & G and T-206 sets.

The new card market has grown to be about as stale as that piece of gum found in a 1980 wax pack-and I find that very disheartening, because I only re-entered The Hobby a year ago. Despite only going through the cycle of releases once, I have come to the point where I am weary of newer product. It seems that each new release is a regurgitation, with the same old gimmicks: relics (which all look the same), short-print variations with HOF'ers and current stars, and the parallels. I've got one word for you Topps: Superfluous.

If Topps insists on putting out these products, why not include just one of the 'hits'/inserts in each product: Topps base with the SP variations, Heritage with the Chrome parallels, Allen & Ginter with Relics (or something like that). Or how about this: for the Heritage line, go back to having a high number series that has a smaller print run and bag the short-prints that make up part of the set. Let's make it so where someone on a budget can actually hand-collate a set themselves.
Instead of anxiously awaiting this product, I think I'll just enjoy some vintage cardboard and some vintage rock, as I listen to April Wine sing about a Gypsy Queen.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Yo, Adrian!

He will soon find out....
Yankeeees Suck!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1999 Topps Action Flats Chipper Jones

Yet another odd-ball Chipper, this time from 1999. I wasn't crazy about the little action figure-I never did get too excited about Starting Lineups or any of the others- but the card was a keeper. The 1999 Topps set is one of my favorites of the past twenty years and for the Action Flat cards, they kept the same design-only placing the player name, team name, and Topps name opposite of the regular issue. The backs are identical, save the card number being different, and the small Action Flat logo placed on the bottom of the picture. Both feature great pictures of Chipper: one catching him with his sweet swing-eyes on the ball!- and the other which looks like he either swung and missed or absolutely crushed one!