Friday, June 30, 2017

Cards with a Story - Jim Perry

My very first job was as a caddie at a local country club.  I was in middle school at the time.  The club was called Minnehaha Country Club, and it's still there today.  Minnehaha sometimes made Golf Digest's list of best golf courses in the country, and they always were tops in South Dakota.

There were certain nights of the week that very few of the club members golfed, and we caddies were allowed to golf on those evenings.  This was a regular occurrence for some of my caddie friends and me.  One evening my friend Doug and I were golfing a round.  A couple holes into the round, a club member who was playing as a onesome came up behind us.  We stepped aside to let him play through.  That was the rule, caddies always had to let the members play through.  When he caught up to us, instead of playing through he asked if we'd mind playing the rest of the way together as a threesome.  We said sure.  Since it was his idea we certainly couldn't get in trouble for that.

He introduced himself to us as Jim Perry.  That was it, just Jim Perry.  Not Jim Perry, brother of hall of famer Gaylord Perry.  Not Jim Perry, former Cy Young Award winner.  Not Jim Perry, former major league all-star pitcher.  Just Jim Perry.  Well, having been raised in a Twins household, I knew full well who he was, but didn't let on.  My friend Doug didn't know Jim Perry from Adam, and had no clue as to the significance of who we'd golfed almost a whole round of golf with until afterwards when I filled him in.  Jim Perry was very friendly and treated us caddies like average joes.  I remember thinking how tall he was.  He was the only club member over my two years there who actually played golf with us caddies, and I golfed a lot of rounds and let a lot of members play through.  This was either in 1985 or 1986, so about ten years after he retired from major league baseball.  Jim was a businessman in town (Sioux Falls) at the time, and his son Chris was a professional on the PGA tour.

When I received my father-in-law's collection a couple years ago, I obtained for the first time Jim Perry baseball cards.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Misc Team Sets

For those of you who have stayed with me while I posted about all the team sets I've been collecting lately, thanks! This is the last one and then I will be all caught up.
This is 1984 Fleer. Even by 1984 standards, this set is pretty plain. But thanks to Fleer for including an individual card of Yaz in his final season. That's something Topps and Donruss didn't do.

This is 2000 Upper Deck, a nice looking set.

This is 2017 Bowman. This holds the distinction of being my first Chris Sale on a Red Sox card. Hopefully, there are many more to come for many more years.

On a different note, I cross checked some of my recent team set purchases with the trading card database. Lo and behold, two of the four I checked were missing cards! Was I naive to think that if it's called team set that all the cards would be there without clarifying with the seller? I guess I'll have to go thru them all.  The missing cards will be added to my want list.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bowman Gives Us More of the Same

Here are samples from Bowman's Red Sox team sets from 2004 to 2009.  Notice how similar they look from year to year. Also compare with the 1997 and later pictures from yesterday's post.  I've not noticed this with any other brand.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More Bowman

1993: Had this set followed the 1991 set, it would have looked wonderful. It has vibrant colors and great photos. But because it followed the 1992 set, it comes across as almost a copycat of the previous year. It's still a great looking set though.

1994: Bowman did change the look this year. They further solidified the B brand. I like that the photos went all the way to the card edges, ahead of their time. My gripe with this set is the use of gold foil for the player names. It's very hard to read when it's over dark parts of the underlieing photo. How about the shadow on the Frank Viola card? I see a football center getting ready to snap the ball.

1997: Jumping ahead a few years, Bowman has now begun to firmly establish the prospects concept. They used different colored borders within the master set. The black border is sharp against the red and blue, and will become a common thing for them in the following years. I wish more of the prospects had action photos, but that might be because they had no major league action yet.

1999: The gray pattern in the black border was a nice change. The photos are great. The blue and red differentiation between prospects and veterans is used again. I'm undecided on the use of autographs going up the right side. I like the attempt to try something different, but I'm not sure the look is that great.

2003: Jumping ahead a few more years, Bowman stuck with the design they'd been using for several years now; black border, red and blue for veterans and prospects, colorful, action shots. I know if it was my job to come up with the new card layout every year it would be difficult to have new exciting ones every year. But man those late 90s and early 00s Bowman sets all looked kind of the same. By this time Bowman had started doing the draft picks and prospects subset, something they still do to this day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bowman cards

Long before there was and even before there was Beckett's monthly price guide magazine, there was the annual baseball card price guide by Dr. James Beckett.  I was in elementary school and I bought this a couple years in a row in the school book order. Those price guides started with the year 1948. And the brand of cards listed in the first several years was Bowman. So from an early age Bowman to me meant old cards that weren't made any more. Now jump ahead to my teenage years. Bowman came back! It was kind of wild; the name that was synonymous with very old vintage had new cards on the market. But being so loyal to Topps I never got into them. Now jump ahead again to my 40s. I enter the new world of blogs that talk about sportscards. I see other people's passion for the hobby and realize I had lost some of mine. Card collecting could be more fun than picking up the Topps team set and calling it a year. So recently I've started collecting team sets of all the flagship brands. And now I am immersed in the world of Bowman. Bowman has the second longest active run of years with a baseball set. Their photos are great and their designs are excellent. And I love their commitment to prospects and draft picks. Collected together with Topps flagship you get a great variety of prospects and veteran stars alike. But there's so much to learn about the various subsets and decisions to be made on which to collect.  Here are some pictures of the first few Bowman sets I found recently.

1991: This set was pretty boring if you ask me. There were a lot of head and shoulder shots and not much action. They weren't that much different than Bowman's first two return sets in 1989 and 1990.

1992: This is the year Bowman started to hit their stride. The photos were much better with lots of action shots. The colors popped a lot more, and the backs had color for the first time. And extra attention was given to young prospects in the flagship set.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Who's Produced the Most Flagship Sets?

Here are some interesting numbers (to me anyway).  I was making a checklist for my Red Sox team set project, attempting to see how many I had and how many more I had to go.  Since 1981, that's 37 years of cards sets now, did you know Topps is the only brand to have a set all 37 years?  For the brands I consider flagship, here's how many years of sets each had in that same timeframe.  (1981-2017)  This is baseball only.
  1. Topps - 37
  2. Bowman - 29
  3. Donruss - 27
  4. Fleer - 27 (counting some Fleer Tradition the years there was no Fleer)
  5. Upper Deck - 22
  6. Leaf - 13 (started counting when it was more than Donruss with a green leaf in the corner)
  7. Score - 11
  8. Pacific - 9

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the Mail - Singles

There are some Red Sox team sets where it doesn't make sense for me to buy the whole team.  There are some where I just accidentally happened to have a good start for whatever reason.  Maybe I bought a lot of packs that year and just had a bunch.  Maybe somewhere along the line I bought a Red Sox lot and picked them up that way.  I went to COMC recently and finished off a couple sets by buying singles.

I bought a lot of packs in 1981.  I almost had the complete Red Sox team without really trying.  But I never had this one before now.  I liked Fred Lynn when he was with Boston.  I have these memories, real or exaggerated, of him flying over center field walls to make catches and landing in bullpens.  Completing Donruss for 1981 means I have all the Red Sox from the big three products that year.

I made a mini run at the 1985 Fleer team set at a flea market once back in the 80's.  I was left four or five cards short and never finished it.  That has now been rectified.  Barrett was the biggest name player of the ones I picked up on COMC. That gives me all the Red Sox from the main brands in 1985, still just the big three.

My father-in-law had a bunch of Bowman cards from 1989.  I never had any, so when I got his two years ago I was introduced to these cards that were too tall for Ultra Pro binder pages.  So they were put in a box.  I did inventory before the COMC order and found that I was only missing Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens from the Red Sox.  By 1990 there was Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Upper Deck, Score, and Bowman.  I now have all the Red Sox from all of them.  I'll probably do a post on Bowman pretty soon, but suffice it to say for now that I have really started to like them as I've been working on this team set project.
The 1998 Mark Lemke from Pacific Online wasn't bought to complete a team set.  I'm not working on minor sets like that.  But I didn't have a Red Sox card for Lemke yet for 1998 and going slightly oddball is how I had to get it.  After completing the team sets for any given year I should also circle back and see which players are not represented yet, if I ever get the time.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Donruss Team Sets

I'm just old enough to remember when Donruss showed up on the baseball card scene in 1981. I don't think I had a favorite between Donruss, Topps, which had been around forever, and Fleer, which also debuted in 1981. But what I didn't like about Donruss was the glossy finish on the card fronts which made them stick together.  It was hard to shuffle through a stack of them quickly (still is).  I was glad when Donruss came back in 2014 after a nine year absence, even if it was by another company, Panini, and without a Major League Baseball license. Here are some examples of team sets I've put together recently. 

1983 Donruss

2014 Donruss

2015 Donruss

2016 Donruss

2017 Donruss

Sunday, June 11, 2017

More Team Sets - Upper Deck and Score

The cheap Red Sox team sets continue to roll in.  Here are some of my favorite cards from each set that I've received lately.

1993 Score

1995 Score

1996 Score
1997 Score

1991 Upper Deck

1995 Upper Deck

1996 Upper Deck

2008 Upper Deck

2010 Upper Deck
I have a bunch of Donruss to show as well.  Hopefully, I can get to that tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In the Mail - Red Sox Team Sets

Not long ago I decided to expand my Red Sox team set collection beyond just Topps.  Whenever I expand my collection, the first thing I do is set a bargain price limit and then see how many I can accumulate in an initial online sprint.  So in this case my limit was $3.  I was able to get a whole bunch of them for that price or less.  They've been showing up almost every day for the past week or two.  Here are some pictures from sets I haven't shown yet.

1993 Leaf.  It's a very colorful set with lots of game action shots.  The way Ivan Calderon is gripping the bat for this bunt is the way I did it one time and ended up with a smashed fingernail.  Don't grip the bat, Ivan!  The Rocket photo is his classic delivery.  I sure hope Mo is calling the pop-up, but his mouth doesn't appear to be doing so.  Perhaps this was snapped just prior to a collision.

1994 Leaf.  Leaf does a good job for the second year in a row, and for the same reasons.  It looks like Scott Cooper caught one in the sun there.  Andre Dawson yet again caught with his eyes not watching the ball.  And a nice drag bunt by the speedy Nixon.  I imagine he was safe.

1996 Leaf.  This year they took a step back.  The photos are nice once again, but I don't like issues that make you hold the cards at a certain angle in the light to read the player names.  I can't come up  with a story behind the Jose photo, but he is wearing a shin guard.  Mo Vaughn is certain he's safe at home, and so is his teammate behind him.  I imagine the catcher picking the ball off the ground here meaning he didn't hold on to it and Mo was safe.  This is an early Wakefield on the Red Sox card.  Check out the nice view of his knuckler grip.

1997 Leaf.  This was a step up from the year before, but still not great.  Player names in cursive always require a little work to read for me.  And the muted photo edges lose the crispness I like in action shots.

2005 Leaf.  Leaf took a break from baseball cards from 1999-2001 before coming back for another short run from 2002-2005.  This was their last baseball issue.  This is a great set, very sharp and lots of great photos.  Who doesn't like seeing the master Martinez at work or Varitek in full tools of ignorance?  Is that a cell phone in Ortiz's back pocket?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

30 Day Challenge, Days 27 to the End

A favorite oddball card from 1990 or later

I'm reaching into my Carl Yastrzemski player collection for this one.  It's a 1992 Ziploc.  I wasn't sure if it qualified as post 1990 or not so I had to double check the copyright date.  In the process of doing that, I found another way that phone cameras can be useful; to enlarge the small print on the back of cards to read it!  My eyes aren't what they used to be with small print and that kind of dampers collecting a bit.

A favor relic/manufactured relic card

This one offers one last look into my Aaron Sele PC.  It's 2001 Upper Deck Gold Glove Leather Bound Gold version serial numbered to 25.  This and the base version are the only relic cards I have with leather from a game-used glove in them.  I guess that's why it's a favorite.

A favorite card from before 1950, whether you own it or not

The 1916 Sporting News is the holy grail for me and many other Red Sox collectors.  The Babe is in my opinion the greatest baseball player ever, and to have Red Sox cards of him is for those of us putting team sets together both a blessing and a curse.  There are so few authentic originals in circulation, and so many reprints, that it's expensive and risky business to go after it.  I do not own this card.  I don't expect that I ever will.

Your favorite card in your collection

It's a good thing this one was last as it gave me time to go to the bank and retrieve it from my sportscards safe deposit box for a scan.  I have four Tris Speakers from his playing days with the Red Sox.  They're my four favorite cards in my collection.  This is my favorite of the four because of the vibrant color.  The gold flecks in the border are kind of cool too.  This is 1911 T205.  The design is quite exciting for it's era.  His T206 and T207 cards are just player and border.  Speaker is one of my all-time favorite players.  He was nearly Cobb's equal in a period where batting average and stolen bases reigned supreme.