Wednesday, May 31, 2017

30 Day Challenge, Day 26 and Two Knocked Off the Most Wanted List

A favorite oddball card from the 1980s

How about this 1987 Kraft Dinners Home Plate Heroes of Wade Boggs?  I don't actually remember getting this card, but I imagine I cut if off the back of a macaroni and cheese box or something.  The airbrushed cap is lame, but not too surprising from an oddball set.

For the first time since adding my top 10 want list to the side of this blog, I can take some off the list.  Today in the mail I received the following.

This 2002 Johnny Damon Topps Traded card was #2 on my most wanted list.  I found this card really hard to get at a reasonable price.  2002 Topps Traded is the only year I know of where the base card is much rarer and more expensive than the Gold and Chrome versions.  I've been watching for it for a couple years now, and finally nabbed it on eBay at a really good price.  Damon of course would go on to become a major piece in the 2004 championship and a fan favorite.

The other card to come off the top 10 list was at #8, this 2012 Topps Fenway Park Dirt card.

This card is really unique.  It says the dirt in the card is not from any particular game, so I suppose it could have been on the ground for all of a couple minutes as far as I know; just long enough to dump it out and then immediately scoop it back up and send it to the card factory.  It came as part of the Topps factory set that year.  I wasn't collecting complete sets any more by that year, so I had to get it as a single on eBay.

I also received several more Red Sox team sets today from the 1980's.  Here are some selections from each of them.

The 1983 Fleer team set.  I had to pay a little more than for the other sets from this era due to Wade Boggs rookie card being in there.  The set is mostly head and shoulder shots, so not that cool.

The 1984 Donruss team set.  For that time period, I really like this set.  There are a lot of action shots and the photo quality isn't that bad.  The design is also unique.  It might be a fun set to play the shadow game with some day.

The 1985 Donruss team set.  Even though a Roger Clemens rookie is in there, I didn't have to pay a premium for it.  This set also has good eye appeal and photo selection.

Monday, May 29, 2017

30 Day Challenge, Days 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25

A card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in

Oh, how embarrassing!  Yes, I bought this card for no other reason than hoping it would increase in value tremendously when Dave Fleming became a star.  He had just won 17 games in his first full major league season in 1992.  I saw it in a nickel or dime box at a Shinder's and thought why not?  I figured if he could start out like that, he'd be a regular 15-20 game winner and wind up with 200+ wins.  Little did I know he had already won about half of his career wins at the time I purchased it.  Not a great investment there.

A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

I don't have a common player that fits the bill.  I learned as a teenager that it was much more economical to be a targeted collector who bought complete sets and team sets.  Buying tons and tons of packs trying to get those last few cards cost too much and was frustrating, so I've never had a player elude me.  So I have to go with an uncommon player.  Rickey Henderson, for some reason I can't explain, is very underrepresented in my collection.  I have cards of his from the complete sets, but that's about it.

A favorite oddball card from the 1950s

I have very few oddball cards from the 1950s.  If Ted Williams had been in the 1953 Topps set, I wouldn't even have this.  But to get a 1953 Williams, I had to pick up this Canadian Exhibits.  I'll have to do some research to see why Williams wasn't in the Topps sets for a couple years in the early 50s.

A favorite oddball card from the 1960s

Here's something from my Yaz player collection.  It's 1962 Post.  It's from before my time, but I would imagine this was on the side of a box of Post cereal.  I used to read the back of cereal boxes when I was a kid while I ate my cereal, but I don't remember there ever being baseball cards on them.  Anybody know from what kind this card came?  I picked this up really cheap as you can probably guess from the condition.

A favorite oddball card from the 1970s

Here's another from my Yaz PC.  It's 1976 Hostess.  I don't remember 1976, but I do remember a couple years later going to the bread store with my mom and picking through the Ho Ho's and Twinkies boxes looking at the cards on the backs for players I liked.  I still have those, and they are in remarkably poor condition.  I bought this one not too many years ago.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

In Today's Mail

My pursuit for Red Sox team sets since 1981 continues.  I have updated my Red Sox want list to reflect what I know so far. (thru 2000ish)  Today I received a package from another eBay purchase of some 1992 team sets from Score, Upper Deck, and Leaf.

Score scored a nice looking set that year, colorful with lots of nice action shots. Hey Jack, you need to keep your eyes on the ball! That's how it's done, Mike! Strike a pose, Tom!

Upper Deck had a nice set, but it was starting to look the same every year by this time. Look at Mo, all lean and trim and fast looking still. I have no idea what Reardon is up to in this pose. Is he taking care of an itch?

Leaf had good photos that year but yet another boring design. I love the Pena shot, but unfortunately it appears the throw was high and Canseco was safe.  But on the bright side, Nearing was able to tackle the Astro short of the first down. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

In Today's Mail and 30 Day Challenge, Days 18, 19, and 20

I'm a team set collector these days.  For years I was content to piece together the annual Red Sox teams from Topps.  But I've recently decided to go back to 1981, when other brands started showing up, and collecting the Red Sox teams from the flagship products.  There were some really cheap team sets on eBay so I started there.  Today in the mail I received the 1990 and 1991 Leaf team sets.  Here's a representative sample of each.  I must say neither design is very exciting, but some of the photos are good.


And now back to the challenge.

A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team

I'll go with the obvious one since I remember him as both a player and coach.  He's the best Red Sox manager in my memory.  He got on my good side from his introduction news conference when he made it clear he was there to win the World Series.

A favorite card from a country other than the United States

I don't have much by way of baseball cards from outside the United States; a few from Canada is about it.  But in my basketball cards I have tons!  Basketball in the 1990's was experiencing tremendous growth around the world, and card companies began distributing overseas.  These 1994-95 Upper Deck Collector's Choice A.C. Green cards come in versions from five different countries other than the U.S.  They're all the same on the front.  But from the back, can you figure out which countries by the words?

Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

This one is as easy as they get.  REFRACTORS!  There is no second place.  I especially liked Finest Refractors followed by Topps Chrome Refractors.  Topps really lead the way with these, and the other brands tried to imitate but never got it as right as Topps.  I love how you can see the light prism race across the surface of the card by slightly tilting it back and forth under the right light.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

30 Day Challenge, Days 15, 16, and 17

One of your favorite cards from the 2010s

This is a tough one.  My favorite cards from this decade tend to be the early cards of current Red Sox players.  I'll go with this 2012 Grandstand of Mookie Betts.  It's the earliest card I have of Betts.  On this card he is pictured playing for the Lowell Spinners, the Red Sox low A minor league team.

A card of a player whom you appreciate but don't like

There is nobody in baseball that comes even close to Kobe Bryant, so I'm switching sports again for this one.  I am a diehard Lakers fan.  Yet even after all those years with the team, all those all-star appearances, all those championships, all those points, I just never warmed up to Kobe Bryant.  There was something about his attitude and how he talked to the media that bugged me.  Being a big Shaquille O'Neal fan might have had a little to do with it.  This card is Kobe's 1999-2000 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory /100.  It is for trade if anyone is interested, as are all my Kobe cards from roughly that same timeframe.  Let me know if you want to know what I have.

A card from the first set you put together hand collated

I've never hand collated a complete baseball set, so the honor goes to this 1977 Star Wars card.  The blue set was the first I hand collated to completion.  It was a small set, something like 66 cards, but it was a fun venture.  I bought a lot of packs and did a lot of trading to finally complete it.  Cards with light sabres or Darth Vader were my favorites.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

30 Day Challenge, Day 14

One of your favorite cards from the 2000s

I'll have to dig into my player collection of Aaron Sele again for this one.  I'm having a hard time picking between these four.

That might be because they're all the same thing essentially, 2003 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Emerald. They're serial numbered to five, and I've managed to pick up four of them. The picture on the cards shows him wearing an Angels uniform. But only one of the four jersey patches is from an Angels uniform. The rest are from Seattle Mariners uniform(s), the team he left in the off season.

Aaron Sele was just enough of a star to get in on the patch frenzy of the early 2000s. These kept showing up on eBay at low prices, so I just kept picking them up. I used to know who had serial number three, the one I'm missing. He was my fiercest competitor for Seles but also a good trade partner. I assume he still has it 14 years later.

The nice thing about low numbered patches is that they are more likely to contain multiple colors in the swatch.  The scan doesn't do the refractor surface justice. These are beautiful cards.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

30 Day Challenge, Days 11, 12, and 13

One of your favorite cards from the 1970s

I had never heard of Pete Rose when I got this card in a pack.  But it was instantly a favorite.  I liked that his name was also a common object.  I liked the look of the All-Star banner on the card.  I liked the action shot because it made me wonder what was happening at the very instant the photo was taken.  Had he slapped a hard grounder between shortstop and third base?  And I liked the long career of stats on the back.

One of your favorite cards from the 1980s

The first Red Sox game I witnessed in person was in 1985 in the Metrodome in Minneapolis.  Per my dad's advice, I had brought along some cards to see if I could get some autographs.  I parked myself along the first row railing just outside the Red Sox dugout before the game and waited.  Finally, Oil Can came out and autographed for everyone there. (not as many as the Twins side of the field had, but still quite a few)  Oil Can was the only Red Sox to step out of the dugout and sign that day.  He was very friendly to us kids.  On a side note, by brother got his glove autographed by Kirby Puckett that day too.  He continued to use the glove and it wore off within a year.

One of your favorite cards from the 1990s

I'm digging into my Aaron Sele player collection for this one.  The 1990s were wild and crazy when it came to baseball cards.  These are 1995 Topps cards of Sele.  I think the one on the left was called the Spectralight and the one on the right was called Cyberstats.  What's crazy about them are the backs.

The Spectralight on the top has a photo done in the very brand new photo technology called Diamond Vision.  Wow, how cool is that!  The photo appears to have been taken looking at Mr. Sele through a screen door.  Now that's cutting edge!  Since 1994 was strike shortened, the Cyberstats card shows the stats for a full 162 game season as played out by a computer simulation!  Ooooo, computers!  It doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

30 Day Challenge, Days 8, 9, and 10

A card that reminds you of a family member

This one is bittersweet.  Kirby Puckett cards all remind me of my late father-in-law.  He collected Minnesota Twins and Kirby Puckett cards the most.  This 1989 Upper Deck was a favorite.  My father-in-law wasn't a card collector when I first met him, but he did follow the Twins closely, listening to them on the radio whenever he could.  He took up card collecting because he knew I was avid about it.  It was his way of connecting with a college kid who was getting more and more serious with his daughter and with whom he wanted to have something in common.  I'll always appreciate that and love him for it.  A couple weeks before his passing, he gave me all his cards.  He was trying to get a complete base set card run of all Pucketts from the main set brands; Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Score, Upper Deck, Stadium Club, Pinnacle, Ultra, Bowman and Leaf.  He had about 10-15 to go when he passed away.  I posthumously completed the set for him.  Whenever I am at his grave, I leave a Kirby Puckett card there.

One of your favorite cards from the 1950s

All my favorite 1950s cards are my Ted Williams.  I have to go with the classic 1956 Topps card.  I, like many of you, just love the sleek, simple look with the head shot along with action shot.

One of your favorite cards from the 1960s

If the truth be told, I don't really like many cards from the 1960s.  Most years the card designs are plain and boring, lacking originality.  I'm going with the 1968 Topps Carl Yastrzemski because on the back are the stats for his excellent 1967 season.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lincoln LCS and 30 Day Challenge, Day 7

Last Friday I got to Lincoln, NE with some time left in the day, so I went to the local card shop Wes' Baseball Cards. As you can see it's neatly tucked in behind a stairway.

Despite being just an hour before closing, it was busy inside. Wes was behind the counter, and everyone who was already there or came in after me knew him by name and was happy to see him. It was kind of like Norm on Cheers. The card selection was very good. He had boxes sorted by player name, and I picked up the following.

I love cool refractors of players I like, so Jacob was an easy pull. Both the Boggs are from my want list.  Despite his friendly crowd, Wes made the effort to break away and come ask how he could help. I asked if he had any cards from before 1950. There were only a few late 40's Bowman under the glass. He disappeared into the back room and re-emerged with a small box of really old cards! He had the most T206s and T207s I've ever seen in a LCS. There were also a lot of Play Ball and Goudey. But unfortunately there weren't any Red Sox that I didn't have already. Overall, Wes' was really great and recommended the next time you're in town for a Cornhuskers game.

And now back to the challenge , a card you bought in person and the story behind it

In the early 80's there were no LCS's in Sioux Falls, SD. My only means to get cards, other than buying packs at a convenience store, was the monthly flee market held at the convention center. There were usually two or three guys there selling baseball cards under glass cases. One particular guy we kids got to know a bit. He asked us one time of we would frequent a local card shop that he was thinking of opening. Of course we said yes! And he did. This 1983 Topps Cal Ripken was one of my first purchases there.

If you look closely in the upper left corner of the back of the card, you'll see the price written faintly in pencil. That's how he marked his prices, right on the card. I didn't think much about it at the time, but nowadays everybody knows that writing on cards hurts their value immensely. Still I never erased this one. Interestingly, the shop is still open and in its third location. It has new ownership now, but is still called Rainbow.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Omaha LCS's and 30 Day Challenge, Day 6

Last Friday I was in Omaha and had time to hit two local card shops.  The first was The Card Shop.

This place was fantastic!  I was there an hour and 45 minutes.  Most of the cards are in boxes labeled simply "baseball", or "football", etc.  There are dozens of those to sift through.  There are also boxes labeled with each team name on them.  So find your favorite team and there's a whole box to go through.  In the Red Sox box, I found these.

These weren't on any of my want lists, but they were cool cards of players I used to like.  There was also a wall of cards boxes labeled by year and brand.  They had a lot of Donruss and Fleer from the 80's.  These are team sets from my youth that I am trying to complete.  I pulled the following after foraging through the boxes.

The owner and I talked baseball and cards for a lot of the time when he wasn't with other customers.  He was interested in my collection and we hit if off well.  The Card Shop is awesome; tons of both new and vintage!

After that I went just a few blocks away to Omaha Sports Cards.

The place kind of felt like a sports bar to me.  It was really fancy for a LCS.  The owners had taken a large chunk of their inventory to Chicago for a show.  There was a fill-in guy there who was very friendly.  It wasn't his fault there wasn't much there of interest to me.  I'll give them another shot next time I'm in town.

And now for the 6th day of the challenge.  A card you spent more than $10 to get

I was a teenager when I picked this one up at a card show in Sioux Falls, SD.  It was the first card I spent over $10 to get.  In fact, if I remember correctly, I spent $60 on it.  This was the late 80's.  The funny thing is, I could still get this Yaz rookie in the same condition for the same price today!