Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, and more Johnny!

I don't think that I'm telling most regular blog readers anything they don't already know, when I say that Johnny's Trading Spot has been a hotbed of activity for what seems like the better part of a year now. Of course, with nearly daily giveaways going on, that is to be suspected. If there's one thing that blog readers like, it's free cards. And with folks only having to comment on posts the day they go live, it's not that difficult to get qualified for a chance at a 9-card PWE.

In the early days of my blog reading, I was pretty good at being able to comment on posts within a few hours of them dropping, but in recent years I'm almost always 3-7 days behind. As such, I haven't been qualified for many of John's giveaways, maybe 10 (?) out of the 200 (?) that he's done so far. Surprisingly though, out of those 10 (?), I've actually won three. And seeing as how those three arrived quite a few months ago, I'm way overdue in giving proper thanks. Today I'm giving said thanks.

The first envelope was nine-pack of Junior, all of which turned out to be needed.

I rarely look for Junior on my own, so a few of these were new images to me as well, including the Topps Chrome here where 2010 Griffey looks like he ate the Score era version of himself.

Sometime between my first and second wins, John sent a bunch of people envelopes fully of original Wacky Packages for reasons that I can no longer remember. Since I was one of those people, please pardon the slight detour while I show most of those off...

I may not remember why I was included in these mailings, but I do remember when my envelope arrived, if only because I had had the Fruit of the Tomb and Snarlamint cards in my COMC watch list. They were there in the hopes that the person would be running a sale during the Black Friday sale, which at the time, was only days away from starting. I believe this envelope showed up the day before the sale started, which couldn't have been more timely if John had tried.

I even got part of a puzzle, which, when completed, will look like this...

I am not well versed at all in being able to tell the different WP series' apart. As such, these are still sitting in a stack, patiently waiting for me to get the sorting bug.

Back to the contest wins...

The second winning envelope started off with a Junior subset (?) that I wasn't familiar with. I only ever collected Collector's Choice in basketball form back in the 90's, so I'm constantly seeing cards from the baseball and football sets that are new to me. 

I had the silver signature version of both of these, so the images weren't new, but the base version of the cards were.

It seems like I only actively look for a handful of guys anymore, Boog being one of them, so to get three that I didn't have all at once was kind of nice.

It may be sun bleached, but this Reggie Roby auto was still a nice addition to his binder. I'd like to think that this was somebody's prize possession at some point, perhaps out on display for many years, hence the fading, but obviously there's no way to know for sure.

The third and, probably final, winning envelope was made up of nine cards from what appears to have been at least a 20-card Junior subset; which was once again new to me. Like a lot of folks, I miss certain things about cards from the 90's, but one thing that I don't miss is all of the subsets and insert sets that were devoted to a single person. Upper Deck was especially notorious for doing them, but was far from the only guilty party. I doubt that I'll ever go out of my way to complete this one, as a page of them seems like more than enough.

I don't know how he's been able to do it, but I'm sure that I speak for many others when I say thank you to John for running these giveaways. And from myself, thank you again for these four mailings. I'm way behind in trying to send some sort of reciprocal package, but am still slowly working on it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A little slice of childhood

Alligator is a film that I consider to be staple of my childhood. I can't recall the exact details from the first time I saw it at this point, but do know that it was via a rented video while staying the night at someone's house back in the late 80's. I do recall quite vividly though that the movie was pretty scary to an under 8 year-old me.

It wouldn't be until we got cable in 1993 that I saw it again. By that time, it was being shown quite regularly on the Sci-Fi channel, and would continue to be for the next few years. It was no longer scary at that point, but even so, if you had asked a then 11 year-old Jon, he would've listed it as one of his ten favorite movies (it has since dropped down the ladder a bit, but not as far as you might think).

The films practical effects probably don't hold up to a generation that's been raised on CGI, the shoestring budget is visible in places, and some of the acting is a bit over the top (Henry Silva clearly had fun with his role), but this particular cranky old man wouldn't change a thing. I love everything about the film.

Jaws is often credited with "scaring a nation out of the water". Well, along similar lines, Alligator could be credited with scaring 80's kids away from jumping (or pushing someone else) into unlit swimming pools at night 💀

Robert Forster has many fine credits to his name, but to me he'll always be Detective David Madison, the balding anti-hero that tried, mostly in vain, to warn everyone about the giant Alligator roaming around underneath the streets of Chicago.

I had bid, and lost out on, many copies of this card before finally winning one early last year. I think mine was around $18 shipped, which was a bit of money, but not anywhere near the $30-50 that all of the previous copies ended at that I had bid on. If memory serves, this one ended on a Sunday night, so that may've played a role in my getting it for much less than it had been going for at the time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Works for me

The television show, Hunter, debuted in September of 1984. I would've been 2 years old at the time. It's entirely possible that I could've been watching it with my mom, or more likely, with my grandpa, that early on, but I don't have any memories going back that far, so I can't say with any certainty either way. I do know though that I had been watching it regularly for at least a few years before it was cancelled in 1991. My memory tells me that it was already in syndication before it ended, thereby allowing me to catch up on all of the earlier episodes, but I can't find anything that says when it went in to syndication (in the old days it was usually after five seasons or 100 episodes, whichever came first) so I might've just been watching the new episodes, and then caught up on the rest later on. Either way, it's one of those shows that feels intertwined with my childhood, and as is often the case with such shows, I have accumulated a few cards that remind of said show; which in this case, amounts to a small Fred Dryer collection.

I have been trying to obtain the above autograph for a couple of years, but could never find one that I considered to be reasonably priced. Well, at least not until earlier last year when I was able to get this one for (I think) around $14 shipped (I'm afraid to look, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they could be had for less now). Previous copies that I had bid on always ended in the $25-30 range, so I was quite pleased to get this one for so much less; and what's more, there was nothing wrong with the card!

In a perfect world, I'd be able to get Fred's autograph on a card of him as Rick Hunter, but I don't see anyone putting out a Hunter set anytime soon, so I had to make due with this one. At least the signature was on-card. 
I'd also really like to get a Stepfanie Kramer (Sgt. Dee Dee McCall😍) autograph to pair up with Fred's, but no official ones exist as of yet; and she doesn't appear to sign requests through the mail. I suppose at this point too, if she did ever actually sign some cards for a set, it would probably be for one of those atrocious Leaf Pop Century sets, which I absolutely loathe! Even for her, I don't think that I could bring myself to buy one of those monstrosities. But then again...

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Better late than never

Is there a record, amongst bloggers who actively exchange cards with other bloggers, of who's gone the longest before trading with the Night Owl? If there is, I think I now own it.

I started this blog almost 7 1/2 years ago, and have been fortunate enough to receive, and send out cards to quite a few different bloggers, and blog readers, during that time. However, it wasn't until just this past December that I partook in my first bit of extra-curricular activity with the ever popular winged wordsmith behind Night Owl Cards (and now 1993 UPPER DECK as well).

Some of you might be wondering what took so long, and honestly, I don't really know. I don't think that there's any reason why, it just, for whatever reason, took us a while to swap some cards. For blog purposes, it would've probably been more exciting if their was some great backstory involving murder and betrayal, but there isn't, sorry. 
I think I could count on half a hand that number of times that 1987 Topps has appeared on this blog. At this point in time, most collectors seem to either really love the set, or really hate it. Haven't you heard, it's 2023, the internet demands that you pick a side! Me though, well, I guess you could say that I'm indifferent to it. Thanks to my brain slowly turning to mush, I can't say for certain anymore, but it's possible that the very first pack of cards I ever got were 1987 Topps, and if it wasn't the first, it was certainly one of the earlier sets that I collected. With that in mind, there should be at least some nostalgia attached to the set for me, but it's hard to be nostalgic for something that's never gone away -- and from what I've been able to gather, is never gonna go away. I may be neutral on the set, but after all of the blog posts that I've seen in recent years, I'm very glad that I'm not collecting anything current, because I'd probably have a very different take on it, what with it's design constantly being rehashed and all.

These two cards stem back to last year when, much to Mr. Owl's chagrin, he was "gifted" a vending box of 1987 Topps from somebody at work. The resulting blog post was equal parts "Look what someone had the gall to give me!" and "Please take these off of my hands!!!". I knew that I couldn't help him move very many, but I did rattle off a couple of names of guys that I seem to be in need of, and Jamie and Joe were the two that he was able to take care of (please don't ask who the other names were, because I cannot remember anymore). I have a blank backed copy of Jamie's rookie, but somehow did not already have a regular one. And Joe is one of a handful guys that I'm trying not to collect, but still am sort of anyway.

As nice as it was to get them, I'm not sure that these two would've been enough to justify the cost of a stamp. However, they had company...

I suspect that this, and the next card, are copies that have both been upgraded, thus rendering their slightly off-condition counterparts expendable. I too will undoubtedly upgrade this one at some point, but for now, it's just fine for my set. And given current prices, it'll probably continue to be fine for at least the next couple of years.

If the Post was unexpected, which it was, I don't know how to describe this one. I mean, it's not everyday that someone sends me a playing days Erskine. Sure, there's a vertical crease going down the middle, but it doesn't detract from the overall image very much. I've come to realize that if I want to pursue this set in any sort of serious fashion, I will have to be more tolerant towards acquiring cards that are in a similar state. If not, I'll have to be content to sit on the sidelines until the moneyed crowd moves on to something else.

Many thanks to our resident avian author for the envelope, hopefully it won't be another 7+ years before we can do this again.

On an unrelated note, I noticed yet another new blog on the block, and as usual, thought it was worth mentioning. So, if you have a few spare minutes, and are inclined to want to do something nice for someone else, go show Dillard's Dugout some love. One of the best ways to prevent a new blogger from getting discouraged is to let them know that they aren't typing into a void.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

These two were not created equal

I think it was last year, or was it the year before, I don't know, I can't remember and I don't want to go look it up -- but at some point in the last two years, there was about a month-long stretch where this Topps Chrome set was all the rage on the blogs. Being a modern set, and a shiny one at that, I tried to follow along with everyone's excitement, but after a couple of posts, I kind of had my fill of it. Before checking out completely, I did however see somewhere along the way that Gene Tenace had an autograph in it. And even though I wasn't too sure how I felt about the looks of it, I figured I'd try to get one if I could, i.e. only if one showed up for dirt cheap would I buy it. Well, maybe six months or so ago, one did, so I did!

For around five bucks shipped I got myself this shiny auto, and I have to admit, I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would, at least not initially. Fast forward six months, and now I kind of hate it. I'll keep it, but I don't like it. I was never all that keen on chromed cards, and these days, I really dislike them. Aside from a few sets, shiny cards have completely fallen out of favor with me. And I don't know why, they just have. Not surprisingly, there's like 47 parallels of this card, none of which I will be chasing... though... if I ever come across any for just a couple of bucks or less, I'll probably get them... begrudgingly! Gene has become one of my favorite people to collect, so even if I don't like them, it would be pretty hard to pass up a cheap autograph of his; even if it is ugly.

About a month after the Gene's arrival, I won another autograph for around the same price...

Now that's a much better looking card. Up until about a month ago, I only had maybe 4-5 cards of Joe Rudi, half of which were autographs, but thanks to a few recent small purchases on the Sportlots, I'm probably up to around 10 or so. Some of my guys have jumped in price, again, just since the New Year started (why?), which kind of sucks, but it just gives me an excuse to shift over to the likes of Gene and Joe, who's prices I don't see ever escalating all that much know; no matter how Boomy the Boom crowd gets.

In unrelated "news", I had an unexpected, and rather pricey (at least for someone of my means) household expense pop up a couple of weeks ago. As a result, I had to scramble to get some things sold in order to cover said hefty bill. I was able to do so, but only after many days of using all of my free time to scan/photograph, edit scans/photographs, and list items on eBay. It is nice to have that option to fall back on, but geez is it a lot of work. And so much computering!!! I was having to spend so much time doing all of that, that by the time I was done each day, I just couldn't do anymore things on the computer; which isn't the end of the world for me, but I did get terribly behind with the blogs. It was only about two weeks, so I don't imagine that anyone would've noticed my sporadic appearances, but in case you did, now you know why. I've been trying to go back and comment where I can, but it sure isn't easy trying to catch-up on two weeks worth of posts (everyone seems to have chosen those two weeks to go on a posting spree). 

In slightly cheerier news, I got myself a Level 4 clearance on the TCDB, and have been using to add some links to cards that previously had none. I've also created a few new pages for actors and actresses that hadn't been previously recognized by the site. As I recently told Dennis (who unintentionally inspired me to do these things), I'm sure that no one using the site will even care about these additions, but I had fun doing it nonetheless.

Also, I closed my Twitter account a few weeks ago. And no, it's not because of who now owns the site, or any other social/political reasons, there just isn't any reason for me to have an account anymore. I only opened the account originally to try and help my blog (now blogs), and I think it did initially, but in recent years people stopped clicking on the links, and so I stopped promoting posts. For about the last year all I've been using the site for is the DM feature, but all of those people have my email address, so there's really no need for me to stay on there just for that. Plus too, I had thought that joining the site would be a good way to keep up with all of the former bloggers that moved over to there, but it's really hurting my soul to see how uninteresting so many of them have become since scuttling their blogs. It's like I said in a comment to someone recently on here, Twitter seems to be the place where old bloggers go to die. I don't know what it is, but folks sure change, a lot (and not for the better), once they start spending all of their time on that site. It's quite sad to see, and I'd just prefer not to see it anymore.

As a possible alternative, I finally joined the Net54 site, but have yet to do anything there. And looking at some of the open discussions currently going, I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to add too much to the site. A lot of those folks seem to be more moneyed collectors, and so far I'm finding it a little difficult to relate to their sort. But, we'll see. Right now, I'd just like to get a few posts done (for all three blogs), and try to keep catching up on all of the posts that I've been missing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

I've been... Smithed?

I'm familiar with the concept of 'Bipping' someone, but what do you call it when someone sends you a bunch of copies of the same Dennis Smith card? A Smithing? Have I been Smithed? If so, I guess it could've been worse... his name could've been Roger 😅.

If 'Smithing' hadn't been a thing before, thanks to, Trevor, from the Bump And Run Football Card Blog, it is now.

In the note accompanying this surprise mailing from last month, Trevor wondered if he may've gone a bit overboard with the the Dennis Smith's? Maybe, maybe not, who am I to say what is or isn't overboard. He also suggested, and this is how I know that he's actually reading my ramblings (thanks for that by the way), that I could possibly use them to start a page. Hmmm? I certainly hadn't planned on doing a page of just this card, but in honor of Trevor, I did do so. It's now the very last page in my Reggie Roby/Dennis Smith binder. Although, I did actually need one of these for my Dennis Smith collection, so as it stands, the page is 2/3 full.

Thankfully for all of you that have made it this far, there was more than just seven copies of the same Dennis Smith card in the envelope. Reggie's are always welcome. And this was the first new Steve Atwater that I had added to his collection in quite a few months. I had been doing a pretty good job of keeping track of that collection, but at some point I got lazy and stopped updating it on the TCDB. Now I have almost no idea what I do or don't have, and have thus stopped buy any new ones until I get it back on track. Knowing me, that'll probably be sometime next year.

Hey, another needed Dennis Smith! Apparently Trevor's the one to go to with all of your, or rather my, Dennis Smith needs. And I already had the Howie, but this one was much nicer, so being able to upgrade the old one was much appreciated.

These were the first two Warren Moon's that I've gotten in a while as well. He's one of those guys that I only ever seemed to find cards of at shows, and since I haven't been going to shows, there's been no Warren Moon's to find. I'm getting to the point where I almost hate tribute cards, but the Donruss here was done pretty well, and I can't say that I dislike it.

Thanks again for the surprise PWE, Trevor! Football hasn't been on my radar very much as of late, so these were a nice change of pace.

Friday, January 13, 2023

One card at a time

Given some of the prices that I've encountered over the last few months, I think I may have chosen the wrong time to start working on my Post sets again. Mind you, I don't regret doing so, as I have been enjoying the "hunt" (despite the lack of successes), it's just that prices seem to be a tad higher than I had anticipated. And I know, the BOOM is still very much alive and well, I just didn't think that those folks would be caring too much for the Post cards; apparently I was wrong.

So far, I've had zero luck on eBay when trying to bid on lots, and zero luck when trying to bid on any bigger names/HOFers. I have however, had two recent successes when bidding on random needs from sellers that I've already gotten other things from, and was just trying to take advantage of their free combined shipping offers. Sam Taylor being the first of these. According to the TCDB, this card has a "dark blue hat" version and a "light blue hat" version; mine being the former. Maybe someday, if I have absolutely nothing else to collect, I will chase down the other version, but for now, dark blue hat is good enough for me.

It's funny how differently two cards from the same set can scan. Sam scanned fine, but Frank looks like 💩 (looks great in person though). I should probably just stick to photographing any future cards. Anyway, Frank isn't a short print, but does seem to command a few bucks more than your average common from the set. Why I don't know? I got a pretty good deal on this one though, it was the only Post card from this seller that didn't have a lot of bidding activity, and since I had already won three other cards (for my Portland Beavers collection) from them, I figured I might as well try to add a card to the '61 Post set as well. The box version, which this is, is supposed to say Charlie Gehringer, but instead cites a Charley Derringer as having been a former Tigers second basemen. This error was corrected for the mail-in version.

I mentioned not having any success on eBay when it comes to big names from Post, but I did just recently land a pretty big name from a Jell-O set...

This win came via a COMC auction on eBay, and represents my first 1962 Jell-O. Roger's got a few problems, but I couldn't be more pleased to have gotten him. And the good news was, being from COMC, I was able to use store credit to pay for it, thus avoiding sales tax (and the $4.95 shipping price). The bad news is, I won't be seeing him in-hand anytime soon, as I just got last years stuff, and won't be requesting another shipment until after the next Black Friday promotion (free shipping). I didn't want to wait that long to show him though, so just try to look past the watermark for now. 

Unless my (public) prediction from a few years ago about the BOOM lasting 5-10 years is wrong (I'm actually starting to think that I should've said 10-15), I think I'm gonna have to be content to play the role of the tortoise in this Post race; which is fine, I've gotten much more accustomed to moving slower as I've gotten older. And who knows, maybe all of the hares will get theirs in the next year or two, and then move onto another "hot" set. I know, probably not, but a fella can dream, can't he?