Friday, March 31, 2017

Phantastic Haul!

 Brad from Brad's (Phillies) Blog posted the question Who Wants 1990 Topps?! a couple of weeks ago and I was one of the collectors who responded in the affirmative. I was expecting the package to include a few cards from that ugly looking set, but what I received was much more than I could imagine.

Brad sent a nice variety of years and card manufacturers- many of which I won't be posting today. These just happen to be the 'highlights' of the Phantastic Haul.

2002 Upper Deck Vintage. Just call it Eye Candy. If the original '72 Topps doesn't wet your appetite for 2021 Heritage, then maybe these will.

Plenty of Junk Wax M's. A couple from one of my favorite 90s sets (1994 Topps) were included. And who doesn't love 1993 Upper Deck?

The irony of this post is that I'm not going to post any photos of the 1990 Topps cards I requested because, well, it's 1990 Topps. Trust me, Brad sent them.

Thanks again, Brad, for the trade.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #2

Day 2: A card with more than one player on it. 

I guess you could call me a prospector in one of my past (collector) lives, with Bowman cards being my second favorite brand. It would have been tops on my list, if not for the nostalgia surrounding Topps flagship. And as much as I enjoyed picking up the minor league prospect cards out of Bowman, it still couldn't 'top' the awesomeness found in those awkward quad-rookie cards found in Topps. I know that many collectors hate those multi-player cards, but I loved them. Still do, in fact. And out of all of the prospects cards I've encountered during my time as a collector, none can match the joy that today's card brought me.

The hype surrounding Andruw Jones through the '95 and '96 season was staggering. For a kid to put up the numbers he did in '95 as a-barely 18 years old was unbelievable. And then, just to prove that it wasn't a fluke, 'Druw sailed through three minor league levels in 1996 as a 19 year-old, on his way to capturing Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year for the second straight season. Yes, his '96 Bowman rookie card was far more in demand that summer, but, for me, his Topps prospects card was the one I wanted. Again, nostalgia probably drove my thinking, but it also didn't hurt having another top prospect (Vladi) on the same card.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: #1 It Doesn't Exist

ICYMI, Tony over at Off Hiatus Baseball Cards took the idea of a 30-Day Music Challenge (or whatever it was called) and created a 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge. What it entails is this: there are 30 prompts for songs- or in this case, cards- one for each day of the month, and then the participants write whatever they like. Pretty cool idea, especially for those of us who  struggle from time to time with coming up with original content. Given that you don't necessarily have to post for 30 consecutive days, I decided to take a crack at it.

Deciding on a card for day #1 wasn't easy. The prompt read: a card from the current year with a photo you like. So I thumbed through my 2017 cards only to find nothing really grabbing me. Sure, there are cool photos, but with everything looking the same (action shots or basic pose) there wasn't one that I felt to be really compelling. I have opened up but a couple of packs of Opening Day and haven't pulled any puppy cards or food cards. Something's got to give...

Then it hit me: my custom Felix. And when I say custom Felix, I mean one that doesn't exist , at least in physical form. I created it using the  template on the Topps website. We live in a time when alternative facts and fake news are commonplace in our society, so why the hell not include a fake card.

Let's just call this one an SSSSSP.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Date Night Packs

My wife and I try to make it a point to go out for a date night at least once a month. We would like to do it more often but there is this thing called a budget that always seems to get in the way. Those nights out usually consist of dinner and maybe a movie. It's usually more like dinner and a little shopping.

This past weekend was one such date night. After dinner we decided to make a run to Target to look for a couple of items she was wanting for her craft room (have I mentioned I now have a card room all to myself? We used to split a room). And while we had no such luck looking for her items (we would find them elsewhere), I found a little shelf for my card room and a few cheap packs. YAY!!! Let's look at what kind of junk I added to my trade bait....

2017 Topps Stickers
I wasn't overly impressed with this year's offering from Topps. I really don't know what I was expecting- but at 99 cents per pack my expectations shouldn't have been too high.

Way too many Rays in these two packs. I mean, who collects them? Please, take them off my hands. At least there were a few stickers I can probably offer to team collectors.

2017 Topps Opening Day

More 99 cent packs. I felt like these offered a little more bang for the buck, although there wasn't too much to get excited about here, either.  A Bregman rookie- not bad. I do like the Mascot cards and the backs feature a nice little illustration (I don't remember them featuring that in the past).

A foil Robbie! Too bad I don't chase after parallels- can't get excited about them.

I suppose some wives might not appreciate their husbands picking up cards on a date night, but I've got a gem. Now, if I were to have opened them up on our night out, well, that might have been a different story.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Food-Issue Friday: The Bull and BBQ

I don't do very many player features on the blog anymore, but there was a time when I did. And one of my favorite parts of those features was to see what became of those players from my childhood. Some of the retired players remain in the game as coaches, scouts, and even front office personnel. Others, like the dude on today's card, can be found at the ballpark, but not necessarily involved in the game.

Located behind Section 104, on the east end of Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park, Bulls BBQ is the business venture of former MLB slugger Greg Luzinski. The 'Bull' modeled his business after that of another for MLB slugger, Boog Powell, who's Boog's BBQ can be found at Camden Yards.

The Bull can be found at every Phillies home game; he's there for 7 innings every night and loves to interact with the fans: talking baseball, posing for photos, and signing autographs.

Interested in this card of the Bull? Leave a comment and tell me you'll send me something off my wantlists and it is yours.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Player's Ink: John Montague

A recent eBay search inspired what I thought would be a fun, new theme to chase after: autographs of as many of the original Mariners as I could find. Not necessarily on 1977 Topps cards, although that would be ideal. The only rule to this would be that it would have to be a card of them with the M's. I don't know if I'll actually pursue this endeavor, but it would be fun. Especially with this being the 40th Anniversary of their maiden voyage.

Now, should I go through with this, I just added what would be my second signature (the first was Tom House). This latest one is that of former pitcher John Montague.

Montague has the distinction of earning the first save in club history- coming in a 5-1 victory against the Angels on April 9, 1977. Another highlight from that first season came on July 24, when John pitched six and two-thirds innings of perfect relief to tie an American League record of 33 consecutive batters retired over two relief outings. He would come up short in setting the record a few days later,  when he walked Minnesota pinch-hitter Craig Kusick in the eighth inning.

For his Mariner career, John would go 15-19 with 7 saves over 107 games.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

He Calls Himself P-Town Tom; I Call Him Tom Terrific

I spent years building team sets of one of the more popular teams among collectors (the Atlanta Braves) and (I'm assuming) was in competition with other Braves collectors for those cards. And while the occasional trade package contained a plethora of cardboard, trade material was (presumably) split between a number of us. Now that I'm a recovering Braves fan/collector who has moved on to my other team- the Seattle Mariners- I've come to realize there's an advantage to collecting the team whose cards no one wants. 

I contacted P-Town Tom over at Eamus Catuli! recently to try to work out a trade for a few cards I thought he might like and, sure enough, Tom was interested. I was pleasantly surprised by the box that showed up in the mail, leading me to anoint him Tom Terrific. And that was before I saw those sweet dance moves!!

Sure, everyone loves the action photo of a hitter at the plate, swinging for the fences, but I still enjoy those shots of a player making a superb play in the field- like the card of Franklin Gutierrez below. Death to Flying Things (Gutierrez' nickname) might be the only guy here who has more moves than P-Town Tom Terrific. I know, it's crazy to suggest such a thing.

Speaking of crazy.. included in this terrific box were cards of a crazy man (Milton Bradley) and a man making a crazy catch (Saunders).

I had such high hopes for Michael Pineda during his time in Seattle. I got the chance to watch him and Tommy Hanson battle one another from behind home plate during his rookie season. There was plenty of hype about him leading up to that game, but he didn't have his best stuff that night. Still, it was pretty exciting to see what I thought were two future aces. Despite the problems Pineda has had since his rookie season, the trade for Montero was still a huge blunder.

Some more Pineda, along with cards of the King. And look- an Arod sighting. I wonder how much longer before he gets a gig on Dancing with the Stars. You know it'll happen!

Let's throw in some of cards from my favorite Topps set from the '90s. This set seems to grow on me more and more with each passing year. I didn't mind seeing it in this past year's Archives product, either. This would be a good candidate to work on an autographed set, don't you think?

Rounding out this group will be an '83 and an '81 Topps. I do have to mention yet another great photo choice by Topps-- this one being the Edgar Martinez card. Known for his bat, most cards capture the future Hall of Famer at the plate; but every now and then card manufacturers would surprise us with a defensive shot (on early cards) or, like this one, on the base paths.

There were plenty of other cards include in this trade package, and they were just as appreciated. Thanks again for the trade, Tom, and I look forward to the next terrific trade!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hometown Hero

In case you missed it two nights ago, Team USA advanced to the next round of the WBC by beating the Dominican Republic team, 6-3. The offensive hero of the night was Giancarlo Stanton, who went 2-4 with a two-run homer, but the talk of the game was the defensive gem by hometown hero Adam Jones, whose over-the-fence catch robbed Baltimore teammate Manny Machado of a homer. This wasn't the only WBC heroics for Jones, whose 8th-inning homer against Venezuela on Wednesday night tied the score 2-2; Team USA would go on to score twice more in the eighth inning to win the game and advance to the showdown against the Dominican.

While I don't PC the Orioles center fielder, I have been wanting his Upper Deck rookie card- and a recent COMC order netted me the high numbered card.

2006 Upper Deck #1181

Another Upper Deck card of the one-time Mariners prospect remains on my wantlist- this one the 2003 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres card #7. If anyone has one and would trade it, please hit me up.

Also, if there are any Jones collectors reading this... I have the following 500 HR Futures Club Medallion out of 2016 Topps Update. It's available for trade- email me at cornellsteven5 at g mail dot com if interested.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Feeding My Soul, Feeding My Habit

Most of the cards I add to my collection come from purchases: eBay, Sportlots, and card shows (along with the occasional pack or box break), but there's nothing like an old fashion trade. Some are arranged, while others are done blindly. Unfortunately, most of us do not have many trading partners within our circle of friends, so we are left to working out trades through online communities.

 One of the three traders among my circle also happens to be my pastor. We have gotten together and worked out trades in the past, but it's usually just setting cards aside for one another and then giving them to each other on Sunday, or over lunch during the week, or whenever they have us over for dinner or to just hang out. As we were leaving the worship service this past Sunday, I heard Rick call my name as we were crossing the street, heading towards our car. Remembering that he had texted me to let me know he had some cards, I turned around and went back to retrieve them. I don't think my wife and daughter were very happy to sit waiting, but I didn't leave them hanging too long. And besides, I was hungry and was ready to stop by Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, so I was in just as much of a hurry as they were. And believe it or not, I was able to resist the urge to open up that team set bag and thumb through those babies.

Technically, I suppose 1992 Upper Deck is 'junk-wax', but not in the eyes of this collector. Thus the excitement I felt when told most of my '92 UD wants were found. I'm now just ten cards short of a Seattle team set- and we'll get to those shortly. But first...

Star Rookies, Top Prospects, Team Checklists featuring very cool artwork... who doesn't miss Upper Deck baseball? Their stuff was/is so good, it's *almost* made me want to collect hockey cards. At the very least, why couldn't they have gotten the exclusive NFL license?

And if those subsets didn't get you excited, then surely the multi-exposure photographs did. Remember the Deion Sanders Prime X2 card? Not nearly as cool as the Kid's card from this set, but it is still one of the best cards from '92.

Cards still needed:

1992 Upper Deck

15, 367, 386, 388, 403, 572, 616, 620, 637, 650 

Thanks again, Rick, for the cards.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Twitter Trade with Dub Mentality

It all started with a message on Twitter, thanking me for the follow. My reply back included a statement that I noticed he collects Ron Gant and if he needed a particular card of the former Braves outfielder. He did and a trade with Joey from Dub Mentality  (or you can follow him on Twitter @DubMentality) was soon worked out.

I explained to Joey that I was a recovering Braves fan/collector and had some other Gant cards I thought he might like, and all I was looking for in return were Topps and Upper Deck Seattle Mariners cards. He seemed more than happy to oblige. A few days later a package arrived with over a dozen cards to add to my team sets.

We'll start with one of my favorite cards from what is my favorite Topps set of the 90s: a 1991 Ken Griffey, Jr.

There are a number of reasons why I'm so fond of this set, one of which is that I returned to the Hobby in April of 1991 and the Topps packs were the first I had opened since about '84. The set also featured a great design and top-notch photography. And there is this Griffey card, which captures one of my two favorite swings of all-time (David Justice being the other).

But Joey didn't stop at just one card of the Kid, he included three others as well. One of those cards was from another favorite 90s set: 1993 Topps.

Another Seattle icon- Ichiro, featured on this 2012 Topps. Does anyone else immediately think of 'error card' when they see that empty black name plate? I know that threw me for a loop. I also had to check my set to make sure this wasn't some sort of photo variation, as this is the kind of photo the manufacturer likes to use for short-prints.

It's my opinion that 1989 Topps was the last of the flagship sets that were reminiscent of designs from the 50s or 60s. The end of an era, if you will. Future sets would recall the '70s (think 1990=1975 or 2004=1976) and beyond. And if something did cause a flashback (like, 2003 Topps), the gloss, foil, colored borders and fancy backs reminded us that they are "modern". These two aren't from 1989, but were a part of the 2014 '1989 Die-Cut Minis' insert set.

One set I didn't care for upon its release was 2014 Topps. I thought it looked too much like some of the Bowman designs from 2011, 2012 and 2013. It has grown on me (even if ever so slightly), and it could have been a little more attractive if they had not used all that silver foil. Blasted foil! Anyway, the future (at the time, at least) looked really bright with Zunino, Paxton and Walker. Now, Walker's gone and Mike Z is trying to find some consistency at the plate. He has made some adjustments in the offseason and hopefully they'll pay dividends for the team. Hopefully this is the season that Mr. Paxton will stay healthy and fulfill all that promise he's shown over his career.

Finally, there's Danny Tartabull, a player who was traded to Kansas City following the 1986 season. The son of a former major leaguer (Jose Tartabull), Danny would go on to a pretty solid career, finishing with 262 Home Runs and a .273 average. Sadly, he would become a wanted fugitive after failing to appear for a 180-day jail sentence for outstanding child support (reportedly at $275,000) and was on the Most Wanted List for Los Angeles County Child Services Department. Yes, from All-Star to Deadbeat Dad.

Thanks again, Joey, for the trade. I'll try to find some more Gant cards for your collection.

And if anyone has any Mariners (flagship Topps, Upper Deck flagship, Stadium Club) to trade, hit me up and I'll see what I've got for you.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I Bought Three New Houses for Less Than a Buck!

Home ownership is said to be a part of the 'American Dream' and I've lived that dream for just about twenty-three years now- all of them in the same dwelling. But a recent acquisition added not one, not two, but three (3!!) new Houses to my portfolio. No, they're not investment properties, nor winter homes, but autographs of former MLB pitcher Tom House.

House began his career in Atlanta, where he pitched from 1971 through the 1975 season. Tom enjoyed his best season as a pro while with the Braves in 1974- the same year he caught what is arguably the most famous home run ever hit, Hank Aaron's #715. The Braves traded the lefty to Boston in December of '75, where he pitched for one season before the expansion Seattle Mariners purchased his contract during the early part of the 1977 season. Tom would pitch for the expansion Mariners during their first two years and retired following the 1978 season.

After his playing days ended, House went into coaching, has ran camps and clinics for athletes and serves as an advisor for the American Sports Medicine Institute. He has also marketed a series of instructional videos for those in youth baseball and has authored or co-authored nineteen instructional books on the sport. One of his more interesting gigs came as a consultant and pitching coach for the reality show Million Dollar Arm, working with Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the two young prospects from India. Dr. House was portrayed by the late Bill Paxton in Disney's movie adaptation.

Not only are these two Houses a great addition to the portfolio (I gave the index card to a friend), but,- best of all- there will be no property taxes or insurance due every six months.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Just What I Need: More Cardboard Collections

I'm beginning to wonder if I need a cardboard counselor. You see, from time to time I get confused about just who I am as a collector. Am I a team collector? A set collector? A player collector?

I'm most definitely not a player collector- well, there is my Dale Murphy collection. But I don't identify as a player collector. At times, I'm a set collector. At other times, those sets take a back seat to team collecting- that's the pattern I've had in the past, at least.

Well, my collector identity has taken another turn and I've decided to add more to my cardboard collection. This time it's Seattle Mariner cards. More specifically, flagship Topps (base and inserts) and Upper Deck (flagship base and possibly inserts), with the goal of putting together team sets.

Another collector who is also tough to pin down (as far as collecting interests) is Colbey over at Cardboard Collections. Colbey collects the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Braves, Charlotte Hornets, Non-Sports, and even collects Ray Ordonez. Not only does the man collect sports cards, but toys as well. You can see his blog for that here.

Anyway, I reached out to Colbey on Facebook (he has a public group on there for sports card bloggers) because I had a number of 2017 cards he needed for his set. I saw some of my wants/needs on his trade bait page and we agreed upon a trade.

While I have completed my 2017 Series 1 set, I was still needing to complete my Mariners (base) team set- these 4 cards from Colbey helped me accomplish that. Now all I need to do is find some of those inserts!

Speaking of inserts....

Two of the greatest DH's of all-time. You can add the Big Hurt to that list. Really glad that Ortiz is done- sick of hearing about him. Hopefully Topps won't continue its infatuation with the retired Sox slugger. With all the talk of him being Hall Bound, all I can say is...Edgar better get there first. And all the signs point to it happening within two years.

Another future Hall of Famer. I love watching Robbie play- the dude is so smooth in the field and has a beautiful swing (can you say Griffey Jr?). Was thinking this was going to be featuring Cano as a Mariner. Maybe I should do a cut-and-paste job on the card? I joke.

Thanks again for the trade, Colbey! I hope you're able to find the remaining cards for your set.

Monday, March 6, 2017

March Card Show #2: Trading. Mostly Traded.

In my last post I featured a few cards that I had purchased at the card show this past weekend; today, I'll show off the number of cards acquired in trades with a couple of friends. Both were looking to complete 2017 Topps sets (and insert sets) and I was able to help them out.

This first large group came from Mike. We had exchanged emails earlier in the week with our want-lists and he found a number of Topps Traded cards for me. I had planned on trying to just buy the sets outright, but may still try to piece them together.

This next comment will be considered blasphemous (or heresy) to some, and just plain stupid to others, but I can see 1985 Topps looking good without a border. Go ahead- throw your tomatoes at me.

I wasn't collecting anymore when the 1985 Topps cards came out. Had I been collecting, I would have bought a ton of this stuff.

Looking at the Chris Codiroli card has me wondering: could there be a brighter color scheme? Good grief... where are my sunglasses?

The lone non-traded card from Mike was the 1980 Paul Molitor. I saw it on his table and wanted to buy it, but he told me to go ahead and take it and we'd even it up next time. It's nice to be able to have someone willing to do things on the 'honor system.'

I also scored a few M's cards for my Topps and Upper Deck binders.

Next up were some cards from Carl. Again, all these cards cost me were a few 2017 Topps singles.

As I mentioned in my last post, two shows in three weeks has left me a bit spoiled- and there's another show in April. From what Mike said, he'll have more cards for me next time. Time to start digging around for trade bait...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March Card Show #1

I'm beginning to feel a little spoiled after attending my second card show within a three week time-period. Better yet, I was able to come home with a number of cards that I was able to pickup in trade. I'll show off those freebies in my next post but for now, let's take a look at a few that cost me some dough.

The first purchase of the day was from a dealer who hosted the card show just a few weeks ago. George has a nice selection of stuff and I can just about guarantee that he will have something that I will feel compelled to buy.

First up was the Topps Rookie Card of one of the best backs to ever put on a Seahawk uniform. I don't even mind that he was a product of Alabama football. Just don't say "Roll ___". Those of us who are not fans don't like hearing it.

2003 Topps Record Breakers #RB-KG Nice card and I just discovered that I overpaid for it ($2.50. COMC has it for 81 cents). Isn't that the story of card shows? Unless you're getting the card out of a dime box, you're probably going to overpay. I guess there's a trade-off for having the ability to talk the hobby face-to-face with other collectors.

Here's a toughie: do I keep this Ichiro for the Mariners binder- or does it go in the case that holds this 2002 Topps Post set? And yes, I overpaid on this one, too.

My second transaction of the day came from a dealer whose name I don't know, but is a regular seller on the show circuit. This guy informed me that everything was "50% off". Which means, of course, that I will still be overpaying.

This first card- from 2009 Upper Deck- is one of many variations of card #855 of The Kid. I've seen these (well, the other variations) listed online anywhere from $25-$46. Mister Half-Off had a $40 sticker price, meaning he was asking $20. I asked him to take another 20% off that price and he agreed. I only spent that much on it because I had made only one purchase and still had money burning a hole in my pocket.

Another Griffey- this one from '97 Upper Deck. I really like the UD base set from that year, but the subset which featured foil... very, very sharp. I may a Topps homer, but I would like nothing more than to see Upper Deck back in the baseball card market.

The last of my purchases for the day was this Arod insert. The back of the card reads: "...Like his boyhood idol, Cal Ripken, he remains a wholesome hero. 'He's Mr. Clean,' says former teammate David Segui. 'He's milk and cookies.'"  That's what's really on the card back. Anyway, once upon a time I was an Arod fan/collector. This will go in my Topps team binder.

Well, those were the cards I paid for. I got a lot more for nothing, other than giving up some 2017 Topps in trade. We'll look at those in the next post.