Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Base(ball) Oddity #43: Rickey Lives

You gave me a present, the paper was blue and green. I unwrapped it with pleasure, these are the best shades I've ever seen.- Iggy Pop's Shades

It's been nearly 30 years since John Carpenter's cult-classic They Live hit theaters but it views more like a '50s sci-fi/horror flick. If you have never seen the movie, it's set in a dystopian Los Angeles, with the late-professional wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper playing a nameless drifter (John Nada in the movie's credits) who discovers that aliens have to come to the earth, disguised as people of wealth and power. These aliens use the media to manipulate the masses through their subliminal messages.


These messages (and those who appear to be human, but are really aliens) become clear to Nada after he finds a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the world as it really is. While it's a tad bit on the cheesy side, the movie is entertaining and, according the Carpenter himself, a social satire and political commentary on Reaganomics.

One of my favorite moments during the movie was Rowdy Roddy's one-liner, "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum." Piper reportedly took the line from a book he carried around that he would reference anytime he needed something to hype up an upcoming wrestling match.

Who are they... and what do they want? (From a promotional poster for They Live)

Rickey Henderson, at times, seemed to be from a different planet. Freakishly talented and equally bizarre in the things he would say and do, Rickey made even the best of his peers look merely mortal. And while there are a number of 'must have' cards of The G.O.A.T., none match his 2000 Keebler Mariner's (#7) in 'out-of-this-world'-liness. He looks like he just walked off the set of They Live.

Who knows. Had baseball not worked out, perhaps acting in B-Rate movies would have been Rickey's calling.

Speaking of Shades, here's Iggy Pop

Friday, February 24, 2017

Food-Issue Friday: Cool as Sh*#, Ugly as Sin

It's been some time since I've ran a Food-Issue Friday feature. Too long, in fact. So let's get the party started...

Why is it that so many of the oddball/food-issue sets from the 80s/90s can be as cool as sh*# but uglier than sin? And, have you noticed that sets released today that are comparable are just plain fugly, with nothing cool about them? Good, glad I'm not the only one.

The latest addition to the food-issue collection is a near-complete set of 1991 Country Hearth Breads Mariners team set that looks like it could have been done on my Mac. Poor design aside, the photos could have saved the set, if not for the number of compositions taken inside the Kingdome.

Yeah, there's a reason why outdoor photos are far more common on cardboard.

Cards feature players at the plate, in the field or on the mound. Except Tracy Jones. There's always that one rebel.

Heck, even the Mariner Moose is caught 'in action'.

You want Griffey? Sure, there are two cards featuring the Kid. And....they're dark, as well.

It's funny: I pick up a set that's supposedly tough to get (due to the way it was distributed) and it's missing only one card- which you would expect to be of the newly minted Hall of Famer. But no, I'm missing Scott Bankhead (card #11). Yeah, I know- it makes no sense.

Speaking of distribution... the cards were individually inserted into loaves of Country Hearth Bread and were given away as a stadium giveaway (SGA) on August 17, 1991. Cards inserted in loaves of bread had no protection, making them difficult to find in mint condition due to moisture spots; cards given away at the stadium were handed out in groups of 10, making it difficult to complete a set. There are twenty-nine numbered cards and the unnumbered 'header' card.

Where did you go, Scott Bankhead?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Holy Crap! A Trade with Off the Wall

Shane from Off the Wall contacted me on Twitter recently, thanking me for following him on the social media site and noted that he had looked at my want lists and thought he could be of some help in crossing off some of those numbers. Now, if you want to be sure to get my attention, that's one way to do it, so I looked at his want lists, we exchanged mailing addresses and the rest, as they say, is history.

Looking over Shane's blog, I can tell we have quite a few similarities as collectors. We've been collecting forever, it seems, have "changed collecting interests more than I (we) can count" and "always seem to be sorting something." Like myself, Shane started on Blogspot and made the move over to WordPress (I moved back, so I'm one up on him in that area). And then there's set collecting and oddball cards. The one glaring difference is that Shane is a Red Sox fan. I am not. But, I'll forgive him this egregious sin. I joke, of course. This fandom of his for that Boston baseball team, as well as oddballs, gave me a chance to send some stuff his way in exchange for what I can only describe as a 'holy crap!' moment upon opening it.

Where to begin?

How about with 2005 Topps Update. Seventy-eight (that's 78!) cards were knocked off my list, and when you're missing a crap-ton from such a set, and you receive that many in a trade, you're only reaction is to Sing

or smile and give your buddy a fist-bump (or whatever hand-shake you choose)

While the 2005 design is far from being one of my favorites, I do like the Season Highlights and Post Season Cards. I would probably like the design much better if it didn't have all that gold foil; I'm also not a fan of the player's last name above the photo. There's also too much wasted space up on top. Eliminate the player's last name and you might have a winner.

Next up-  a few from everyone's favorite (card) decade: the 90s.

1995 Topps- 15 cards, leaving me just 72 cards short of a complete set.

These might be a little more difficult to get than your garden variety '90s cards. The strike killed a lot of interest in the hobby. Less was produced, less was broken. I'm still confident that I will one day complete this set.

1997 Topps- 1 card sent, leaving me with just two on my want list. What a wonderful day it will be to finally finish this thing.

Not too much to say here. I tend to try to ignore Mr. Canseco (unless it's cards, of course).

2002 Topps Traded: 11 of the much harder to find low-numbered cards (#1-110).

I was missing all 110 of the low-numbers, and had all but given up hope of ever finishing this set. So adding these are just gravy. Will I add anymore to it? Perhaps. I will say this: base sets really don't offer much of a challenge to finish, if you think about it (pre-60s, excluded). This traded set is challenging.

Moving on to more vintage-y stuff...

1976- 8 cards.

The first packs I bought were from the bicentennial set. I didn't get many cards that year, but it left me wanting more. And I did so, in 1977...

1977 Topps- 4 cards received.

Again, I didn't go head-over-heels into collecting in '77, but would in 1978.

1978 Topps- 32 cards received, leaving me 10 short of a complete set.

Think you can find a photo that shows three more iconic things from this time period? Think again.

1979 Topps: 23 cards

Definitely in my top 5 card designs of all-time. It's simple, has great photo selection, and features vivid colors along the bottom that don't draw away from the photo. What else could a collector want?

1982 Topps: 35 cards sent. 9 left to go!

Of all the cards I collected as a kid, I would say I probably had more from 1982 than any other year. It would be my last big hurrah before girls, guitars and cars. I would, however, pick up my fair share of cards during the '83 season. Just not as many as the '82 set.

Speaking of 1983 Topps- I received 2 cards to go towards my set.

Besides all these goodies, Shane also sent me 57 various Mariner cards and 39 2014 Topps Update cards. I would scan samples from each but it's late and I'd like to schedule this to publish tomorrow (today).

Thanks again, Shane for the great trade.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tired of the Snow? Here's a Snowflake Card For Ya

I hate snow. I certainly didn't like it prior to the winter of 2016-2017 and I sure as hell do not like it afterwards. The area of southwestern Idaho where we live got hit extremely hard with over 3 feet in about 6 weeks. I know, Night Owl is probably chuckling on his limb, but for us that's more than we've had in decades.

You know another thing I hate? The term 'Snowflake'. As in it being used in the pejorative to criticize (first) the hypersensitivity of millennials and now by the alt-right to describe those who oppose President Trump. It's not just this particular word- I can't stand any term used by either the left and the right to denigrate the other. 

Anyway, we're here to talk about cards, so... here's a snowflake for ya.

I was able to abstain from buying any of the holiday boxes from Walmart, but a friend did buy some, and he sent this Kyle Seager my way.

Kyle really had a breakout season in 2016 and I expect him to continue developing into one of the most under appreciated stars in the game. While I consider myself a Seager collector, I don't pick up every card of his (nor any other current player)- only those which grab my interest.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February Card Show #2

As I mentioned in my last post, I learned about this past weekend's card show only a few days before it took place. But like they say, better late than never. Thankfully I didn't have anything scheduled.

My primary goal going into this show was to find some additions to my Topps Seahawks team sets, as well as some cheap Griffeys. Because of the sheer number of cards produced of The Kid, I never started a PC of the recent HOF inductee.  I have recently decided to target certain cards of Junior to add to my collection; nothing big- more like oddballs and some of the earlier base set cards. To accomplish these two goals I turned to two-bit boxes (that's a quarter, for you young kids) as well as dime-boxes.

The top three cards were not found in the discount bins, but were purchased from the same fellow I bought the '83 Kelloggs set from. I'm still looking for the other two Griffey '91 Mothers Cookies- contact me if you have any.

More odd-ball goodness. There are quite a few other Pepsi Griffey father/son cards out there and they will be added to my want list, as well. Pocket schedules are another thing I'm adding to my collection.

These two '87 30th Anniversary cards were traded to me for the seven or so cards my friend needed for his set. I was seriously thinking about putting the whole set together, until I realized that there will be another 100 in Series 2 and then who knows how many in Update. Think I'll just pick up certain cards of guys I like.

Not only did I pick up a lot of cards for my Seahawks Topps team sets (not shown here), but I also added quite a few to my Legends collection.

Jeff Bryant and Jacob Green were two of my favorite Seahawks from the 80s and allow me to get a sampling of many of those late 80s/early 90s sets...

There was also this:

 Not a legend (far from it!) but just some dude that was a major bust.

Another of my favorites- Curt Warner.

A few of the Topps cards I picked up. Most others were late '00s-'15. Gotta show the vintage ones!

And closing it out... another 'Non-Legend'. Gotta show the Boz.

If for no other reason than that rattail.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February Card Show #1

I emailed a card collecting friend earlier this week to see if he had any needs from 2017 Topps. Like me, he's a set collector who usually puts together a few sets of flagship and I had roughly 87 doubles after having collated my Series 1 set. He sent me his list, of which I was able to knock off about 8 or 9 cards. He then asked if I was going to the card show this coming weekend. I wasn't aware of a card show, but told him I'd meet him there sometime mid-morning. When asked what I was looking for, I just listed a few specific Griffey Jr cards (nothing big, just some early 90s stuff I no longer had), but if he didn't have them I'd just trade on the honor system.

It turned out to be a great day for a card show. After a brutal winter, the temperatures have been in the 50s the past few days, the snow is melting and the sun made yet another appearance this morning, inviting me to get out of the house. Card shows are the one thing that can actually compel me to get out of the house on a Saturday morning.

Most of my purchases were of the 25-cent box and dime-boxes variety, and we'll look at those in an upcoming post- but one purchase in particular was quite a 'fun' one. This one came from a dealer I've been buying from for years.

Complete 1983 Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars set- $15. This purchase was more impulsive than anything and if I had it to do other again, I might not pull the trigger. I'm not sure I'll even keep it, but it is a fun set to possess. And it's mint (other than the perf marks on the ends). You might see some of the singles up for trade on future posts.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 Topps Box Break: Well Worth the Wait

As you are aware, 2017 Topps Series 1 baseball released a little over a week ago. I began searching my local Target and Walmart stores immediately but with no success in finding any, making the week between release date and the day I got my box of jumbos seem like an eternity. What's worse, UPS didn't deliver my package until after I had got back from lunch, so there it sat, at my desk, and I had no time to open it. Needless to say, I was in quite a hurry to get home and bust the box. I might have drove a little too fast, but no police were in sight and I was able to race home without hitting anyone.

So let's take a look at the contents, along with my thoughts on this latest product...

First 2017 Topps Card: #62 Daniel Murphy

First 2017 Topps Mariner/PC Guy: #243 Felix Hernandez

While not nearly as panned as 2016 Topps baseball, the 2017 flagship release certainly has its detractors. The traditionalists (of which I classify myself- to an extent) don't like the borderless design; others just don't care for the design itself: there's too much gray, it leaves a lot of empty space, the angles bother them... I personally like the design and found it to be much more attractive in-hand. It reminds me of 1994. We'll just call the set 94 2.0.

Another pleasant surprise were the photos. After featuring more tightly-cropped shots the last two or three years, Topps has moved away from the cropped shots, giving us a set that is more aesthetically pleasing.

The card backs are far more polarizing than the card fronts, with many collectors angered by the lack of full-career stats. While I prefer full stats, it doesn't really bother me that much. Other sets from the past gave us limited yearly stats (I'm looking at you, 1971!). No, my problem with the backs are primarily with the horrendous colors used. I can live with the orange, but the blue, red, green and purple backs... no. They look cheap. Like early Score products. Yuk.

As far as what I'll be collecting out of this year's set, that would be the base set. I'll do Series 1, 2 and Update (Series 3!) but will be passing on the insert sets. The one exception might be the 1987 tribute. Once again, I find myself a contrarian regarding the '87 set. I actually like it and think Topps did a hell of a job in recreating these inserts. The continuity of the set (players who were playing in '87 as well as current players, glossy fronts and original backs) is fantastic. As far as I'm concerned, I'd love to see Topps scrap the Archives set and do this every year- but only feature 1 season per year. Does Topps over do it on reprints and throwback sets? YES. But let me repeat-- I could get behind this if they used the same approach with other sets.

The Breakdown:
From the jumbo box, I was able to complete one full set, with 87 doubles.

Gold (4): Zach Britton, Angel Pagan, Tyson Ross, Brandon Belt

Negative (1): Michael Bourn

Rainbow Foils: (5) Marcell Ozuna, Jaime Garcia, Hector Neris, Chase Utley, Jason Hammel

Thirtieth Anniversary/1987 (10): Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Bo Jackson, Alex Bregman, Wil Myers, Nolan Ryan, Tyler Glasnow, Andrew Benintendi, Kenta Maeda, Freddie Freeman (not pictured)

First Pitch (5): Judd Apatow, Joan Jett, Leslie Jordan, Chris Lane, Victoria Justice

5-Tool (5): Evan Longoria, Francisco Lindor, Buster Posey, Trevor Story, Dansby Swanson

MLB Network (1): Sean Casey

Rediscover Topps Buybacks (3): Damaso Garcia ('87, Silver), Jerry Grote ('74, Blue), John Cangelosi ('88, bronze)

Salute (10): Ty Cobb, Jacob DeGrom, Johnny Bench, Roberto Clemente, Jose Altuve, Brooks Robinson, Stephen Piscotty, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, Nolan Ryan

Bowman Then and Now (5): Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Joe Mauer

Relics (2): Yoenis Cespedes, Miguel Cabrera (96/99) All-Star Game Medallion

Auto (1): Jacob DeGrom

Chrome Refractor Hobby-Exclusive Packs (8): Andrew McCutchen, Alex Reyes, Chris Sale, David Dahl, Gary Sanchez, Josh Donaldson, Trevor Story and this...

So for the second straight year, my box of Series 1 has yielded some really good stuff. Last year, it was the Buster Posey/Brandon Belt dual-auto and patch card. Makes me anticipate pulling something else really nice next year. But I won't get ahead of myself just yet- we still have Series 2 and Update to go.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Could She Be the One?

About mid-2016 I began selling cards on Sportlots.com. As much as I would love to sell cards full-time, it started as nothing more than a way to supplement our income a little (along with selling on eBay and doing card shows). Life got in the way (not to mention, sales slowed tremendously) and by about September or October I set my status to 'vacation'- meaning my inventory wasn't showing up on searches. Then, in mid-December I changed my status back to "online" and am now using it as a way to move excess cards and replenish my card money.

Last week, I had a sale for a single card and as I printed off the order detail sheet I noticed the name of the buyer was the same as the person featured on the card, Rosie Rios.

(borrowed picture from eBay- only card I owned was the one that sold)

If you're not familiar with Ms. Rios, here's the back of her 'First Pitch' card...

Anyway, I would have probably just thought it merely a coincidence that the names were the same were it not for the address. The town is one near the District and is very wealthy and well-educated area. A google search of the address pulled up a very nice looking home, which all but confirmed my suspicions. And then a couple of days ago, I saw this on the Sportlots homepage:

Hmm... number 1 on the hot cards list. Yeah, I'm thinking Ms. Rios is buying up all of her own cards. Or perhaps it's one of her children? Maybe not, but you never know. Now the only question is: should I send something to the address, requesting an autograph? Something like a U.S. dollar bill.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


I watched with great anticipation last night as the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was announced. I usually don't have such interest but this year it was thought that former Seahawks safety Kenny "The Enforcer" Easley would get the approval of the Seniors Committee. Kenny, only six months after undergoing triple bypass surgery, received the news of his induction yesterday afternoon from Hall of Fame president Dave Baker. He the lone senior finalist nominated by the nine-member Seniors committee.

Easley, one of my favorite players during my youth, saw his career end abruptly and prematurely due to a kidney ailment that led to him undergoing a transplant. Kenny was named a First Team All-Pro three times, was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1984) and collected 32 interceptions during his 7 year career ('81-'87). His 89 games played were the fewest for a HOF'er since Gayle Sayers was elected after only 68 games played. He was also named to the All-Decade team for the '80s and was the final member of that team to be elected into the Hall.

The 58 year-old Easley had all but given up on the thought of being elected to the Hall after being passed up previously and described his reaction to the news of being nominated last summer as being "flabbergasted." The Senior Committee considers only players who have been out of the game for 25 years. Once nominated by them, Kenny needed 80% the 48-member Hall of Fame voting committee for his election.


This year's induction ceremony takes place on August 5th- which just so happens to be my birthday. I guess I know what I'll be doing on my birthday this year.

Congratulations, Mr. Easley. It's been a long time coming and is well deserved!