Thursday, April 15, 2021

Flash Freebie #1

As promised last week, here's your first installment of what I'm hoping will become a regular, albeit random, feature here on the blog: Flash Freebie!

I did decide to create one rule since posting the teaser, that being that if you win one, you're ineligible for the next one. This'll hopefully give more than one person a chance to win things. So if you win today, you'll have to sit out #2, but will be eligible again for #3 whenever it shows up. 

Also, I decided that since I'm giving something away, the least I can do is to force people to have to click on the post to see what's being given away, hence the Flash logo for a header, and all of these words being typed before showing the card that's being given away; this'll conceal what's being given away just by perusing the first couple of lines when viewing their reading list. Future giveaways will probably feature about 600 letters worth of gibberish at the beginning of each one to accomplish this same goal.

I don't feel like adding all of this up, but it looks like there's enough there to mask what's being given away this week, so here's the first giveaway:

I'm not sure how much interest this 1954 Bowman Toby Atwell (#123) will generate, but it's somewhat old, and in really solid shape, so I guess we'll see. 

Toby broke into the bigs in 1952, so if you are interested in winning this card, all you have to do is be the fist to tell me: How many triples did he hit during his rookie year?

I'll do my best to confirm the winner as soon as the right answer comes in, provided there are any interested parties of course.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

This one takes the cake

I have been using COMC since 2012, and in that time I feel like I've seen most of what the site has had to offer, the good, the bad, and the ugly, if you will.

Despite all of the ugly in the last year, I still use the site on a fairly regular basis. I currently have 185 cards sitting in my account, and have been adding to that number a couple of times a week for over a year now. I search the new listings for a few players on a daily basis, and do some more extensive general searches once or twice a week.

As I'm sure many have experienced, general searches often lead to rabbit holes, where one is likely to encounter items that he or she didn't initially set out to look for. Such was the case the other night, when a series of unplanned clicks led me to what may be one of the more "interesting" listings that I've encountered on the site in the last nine years:

Now I've seen some rough looking cards on the site over the years, most of which have been on the rarer side, this poor Hank Sauer though, well, I'm fairly certain that it now holds the honor of the being the most beat-up piece of cardboard that I've ever seen on COMC. And what's more, it's not rare! This is card #45 in the set, so it's not one of those mythical "high numbers", or an "SP" as the kids are so fond of saying. It's not Hank's rookie. It's not error of any kind. And yet there it is, sitting on the site with a $2.75 price tag. [Two to things to note: 1). Apparently I'm too old to figure out how to do a screenshot, and 2). The price will show higher if you're not signed in]

I find it interesting too that this card has probably been on the site for more than a few years now, because COMC hasn't accepted non-rare items in this kind of condition for at least the last 5-6 years. So not only did it's owner pay to ship it to them, but they paid for it to be processed, and because it's priced over the 75¢ threshold, have been paying a penny per month in storage fees for as long as it's been on the site. The storage fees for five years alone, would be over fifty cents, which is about fifty times more than the card is "worth".

I'm sure that some would disagree, but to me, what's left of this card is nothing but recycling. Again, it's not rare, more copies of it exist than there are interested parties in owning one, and that number will only continue to increase with time. I almost never care how people spend the money that they've earned though, so if someone wants to drop almost $3 on this, who am I to say whether it was right or wrong? I would hope that they've done a little research before clicking on that Buy Now button though, as much nicer copies can be had for less, even on the very site that's currently housing this curiosity(?).

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Coming soon

I really enjoy giving stuff away. It's probably my favorite thing to do with/through the blog. Trying to come up with clever ways to do so isn't always easy though, I mean I've got plenty of ideas, but figuring out how to implement most of those ideas has proven to be another matter altogether. The majority of them seem to be beyond my current mental capacity. Free Stuff Friday was a simple idea, and worked really well too, but I'm a bit burned out on it -- packaging up things for upwards of twenty people is lot of work! I haven't given up on my baby yet, but going forward will probably only bring it back for special occasions.

All that being said, I think I may have come up with another easy way to put free things into the hands of people who actually want said things. I'm not entirely sold on the name yet, but for the moment I'm calling it "Flash Freebie". The idea is basically to just put up a card (it may expand beyond cards depending on how this goes over) - a card that people will actually want, and that's worth using a stamp on - with a trivia question underneath it, and the first person to correctly answer it, gets the card. The question may pertain to the card, the player, or be completely random. And for those who don't think that they're good at trivia, the answers to these questions will all be easily findable via the interwebz. Some may wonder what the point of the questions is then, my reply being that I'd like people to have to do more than just scroll down to the comments and say "TAKE!!!!!!".

The plan is to do these at very random times of the day, hence the "Flash". So one might pop up at 5pm on a Monday, and two weeks later another could drop at 3am on a Thursday (I guess I'll have to finally figure out how to use the scheduling feature). I'm hoping that the randomness in times will add to the fun, though I can see how some might become annoyed by it.

There may be a few catches from time to time, like if it's something that I deem to be pretty good, I might say that only people who have commented on a post in the last 30 days are eligible for that particular card, or some other similar stipulation. Such qualifiers will be printed in red, so that they'll be easily noticed. The only other rule will be that your answer has to be in your first comment. So no saying "TAKE!!!", and then coming back a minute or two later to reply to that with your answer. I suppose I might have to make it so the same person can't win every time too, but I'll see how it goes before making any such stipulation.

I would imagine the interest will vary from freebie to freebie, depending on what's being given away, but as already mentioned, I will try to make sure that it's something people would want, multiple people would be ideal, but everyone has different tastes, so that might not always be very easy to arrange.

Oh, and even though these will be occurring at random intervals, I'll give you a small hint regarding the very first one... it'll be happening some time next week :)

Sunday, April 4, 2021

A head's up for collectors

This may come as a bit of a shock, but I collect a lot of different things, and I also like to display some of those things. What I don't like though, is having to pay large sums of money to display these things. You know, cabinets, cases, and other display-y things, can be rather expensive. Sometimes they're worth it, and sometimes they're not. 

Generally speaking though, there isn't a whole lot of options out there for displaying stuff on the cheap. Or at least I didn't think there was... and that's where Dollar Tree comes in!

Apparently Dollar Tree has had these floating shelves for about nine months, but I'm just now hearing about them. I wish I could take credit for finding them, but that honor goes to my mom, who came across them at a DT (that's what the cool kids call it) in Nashville last week. The closest Dollar Tree to me is pretty good, but being one of the Podunk stores, is a bit on the smaller side, and only has room for so much -- with floating shelves not making the cut! I've yet to visit any of them, but I've been told that some of the Nashville locations are considerably larger, and do have the space for things like floating shelves.

I'm not sure if it comes through in the photo, but the shelves are made out of plastic, and appear to be fairly well made for something that only costs a dollar. 

As you can see, there's a bit of detail work, nothing too fancy, but again, they're only a buck.

[If you stare at this picture long enough, it starts to stare back at you]
I haven't put up any of the shelves yet, and I'll get to why I haven't in a minute, but before doing so, I wanted to share a couple of quick display options with you -- albeit with the shelf sitting on the bathroom counter :)

Seeing as how most of the people reading this are probably card collectors, cards seemed like an obvious first choice. Graded, one-touched, and toploadered would all work well.

Exhibits and postcards would look really great too.

Toys are definitely in option.

Non-toy toys look great too. As an aside, Ash is definitely going to end up on one of these shelves.

There's enough room for toys in package as well. Though King Caesar here might not have been the best example.

Old 7-Eleven cups? Why not.

I don't display videos, but that doesn't mean that you can't. The display might look a little better with some related, or very similar, ephemera to fill in the void around the box.

Nature doesn't look too bad either.

As shown on the package, plants and framed pictures are certainly options too. With the 5lb limit, there's no shortage of things that could be displayed. Crafts. A prized hardback. 45's (record or gun). Signed baseballs. Signed football. Heck, I didn't think of it until I got almost to the end of the post here, but a row of cassettes would probably look pretty nifty too. I think you get the point though.

Anyway, I mentioned that I hadn't put any up yet, and the only reason that I haven't done so, is because I'm thinking about customizing some of the shelves. At a dollar apiece, these really lend themselves to personalizing. If you're like me and you like color, they could obviously be painted for variety sake, or to accentuate whatever it is that's gonna be put on the shelf. Découpage is also an option. One could easily cover the shelf in box scores or something similar if a baseball item were going to be displayed. Or you could go the AJ route, but instead of using those old wax wrappers for bookmarks, use them to wrap the shelf. 

I'm thinking about possibly going a little more extreme with a couple of them, especially for certain toys. For example, say one wanted to display a Swamp Thing (or Man-Thing) figure. You could easily customize the shelf to fit the character. Various kinds of clays/building materials could easily change the contours. Roots or vines (Spanish moss?) could be added along the outside, with a few hanging down for effect (they could also just be painted along the side). A small tree could be added, and the quarter-inch reservoir could be filled in with colored resin to resemble brackish water. Basically I'm thinking more diorama than shelf. I probably won't have enough time during the summer to play around with these very much, but am hoping to be able to do so once fall rolls around.

And in case you're saying to yourself, "These are fine and dandy and all, but I too live in nowheresville, and my Dollar Tree doesn't carry these". Well, don't fret. I mentioned that my mom found these for me, but she only bought three (she didn't know if I'd like them or not), and I needed more, so... I went on their website and found that you can buy them by the case (12 shelves to a case), and in most instances, have them shipped for free to your nearest store. Which is what I did. I actually bought two cases, just in "case". I don't know if I need 24 shelves, but Dollar Tree famous for selling out of things, and never getting them back in stock. So I'm not about to take any chances. I might even end up ordering one more case just to be safe, after all it's better to have and not need, than it is to need and not have.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Five Rod Carew Fun Facts

                                           
Stop me if you've heard this one before, I was going through some cards the other day, and STOP!!!!

I know, it's a familiar setup, but in this instance, was quite true. I was going through some cards, looking for trade bait to add to the TCDB, when I came across a copy of Rod Carew's 1984 Glossy All-Stars. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I stopped on it, and turned it over to read the back. While doing so, I suddenly realized that I knew next to nothing about Rod Carew. And I'm not talking about Rod Carew the baseball player, I know all about that Rod Carew. No, I'm talking about Rod Carew the person -- the man behind the athlete if you will.

I'm sure he has more than one biography out there, but as is so often the case these days, I took to the internet to try and find out a little bit more about him. Thanks to a few of the better sites that deal in baseball history, I was able to get a pretty good feel for Rod Carew the human man. Some of the information turned out to be more interesting than I had anticipated, enough so that it inspired me to write a post about some of the tidbits I came across. So without further ado, here's five fun facts about Rod Carew. Hopefully you'll find them as interesting as I did...

1. Even Walt had to get a look
A mysterious land deal was made in Orlando, FL on May 27th 1965. Much speculation was had as to what was going to be built on the newly acquired 30,000 acres, including - thanks to Walt Disney's presence in Cape Canaveral a few weeks earlier - an east coast Disneyland. Walt's trip to the Cape in early May received plenty of press coverage, but one thing that wasn't covered at the time, was Walt's non-business activities in Orlando prior to his heading back home to California. Walt Disney's love of baseball is well known, so it's not too surprising to learn that he took in a baseball game before leaving.  The Orlando Twins had just gotten a highly touted young first basemen that Walt wanted to get a look at, that first basemen being none other than Mr. Rod Carew.  History tells us that the land purchased went on to become the site of Disney World, unfortunately though it doesn't tell us what Walt thought of the future Hall of Famer.

2. What the puck?
After a successful first season with the Twins, the Minnesota North Stars honored Rod by asking him to drop the ceremonial first puck to start their 1968-69 season. Being from the Caribbean, where ice ever being underfoot is virtually non-existent, Rod was initially hesitant to walk out on the ice, but did end up doing so, and by all accounts did so like a boss. The North Stars defeated the Golden Seals 5-1 that night. Looking at their record that year, 18-43-15, one can't help but think that they might've done well to invite Rod back to drop the first puck for every home game.

3. A "Rocky" road to becoming an MVP
Rocky was released in December of 1976, and as most people know by now, became a huge success, critically and financially. Many people have been inspired by this underdog tale over the years, including those who we'd never think of as an "underdog", like Rod Carew. Rod was so enamored with the film, especially the famous training montage that featured Sly Stallone running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, that he himself started running up the stands at Metropolitan Stadium before every home game. He would later credit this extra conditioning to his winning the MVP in 1977.

4. He could afford it
Rod was/is known for his love of music, so it should come as no surprise to learn that he was all in on the Walkman. Introduced by Sony in July of 1979, 5,000 units were initially released carrying the then hefty price tag of $200. Rod was amongst that first wave to get one of the new personal cassette players. Though steep in price, Rod has just become the highest player in baseball, and justified the expense by saying that it would take some of the tedium out of traveling. According to a 2015 interview with All Things E, Rod still owns his original Walkman, but has not used it for many years.

5. There's nothing wrong with silver

ESPN was launched on September 7th 1979. Despite being located on the east coast, highlights from the Angels vs. Brewers matchup earlier that day was the first game to ever be covered by the fledgling network. Gorman Thomas' 2-run HR in the first inning was the first clip to be featured, and Rod Carew's single to LF in the bottom of the 3rd was the second. Being first would've been a better piece of trivia, but being the second player ever to be shown on ESPN still makes for an interesting footnote. As for the game itself, the Angels won 6-3. And your winning pitcher was Nolan Ryan, who threw a complete game.

So what do you think, were those fun? I can't say that they all were, but did think that a few were at least mildly interesting.

Oh, and in case you're wondering why you hadn't heard any of these fun facts before, well, look at today's date (or the date this was posted if you're reading it in the future), and you'll find your answer :)

Happy day of fools to all of my fellow fools!

Friday, March 19, 2021

You can't make this stuff up

I don't care what anyone says, there is no way that Isaiah Pead...

... could've gotten this card number by "accident".

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Sorry, can't do it

                             
It's St Patrick's Day! Conventional blog wisdom says that I should be doing a post about green cards, or something pertaining to a pot o' gold, but my Irishness would never allow me to do something so cliché (I have no problem with other people doing it though).

I don't talk about it on here very often, but I am very proud of my Irish Ancestry (sometimes too proud), and hate the thought of posting a piece about the time some kids stole my Lucky Charms, or some other such nonsense. I do feel like blogging today though, and after doing a quick search through my scan folders, found a suitable set of items -- so instead of some generic holiday themed post, you're gonna get baseball cards, old baseball cards to be more exact. These will be old in terms of age, and acquisition, as these came from my pre-Rona (and pre-card boom) COMC shipment back in December of 2019.

Oh, and it looks like some of these are 'green', but I can assure you that that wasn't intentional, think of it more like one of Bob Ross' "Happy Accidents".

This is my favorite Gene Conley card, and has been since whenever it was that I first saw it. And it's not for the oft used faux pitching pose, nor the lack of baseball in his hand. No, my appreciation for this card is based solely on the raggedness of his attire. This is back when they didn't get a new jersey before each and every game. Other than maybe a few of the country boys, I can't imagine any of today's baseball players wearing a shirt with a tear in it for any length of time. And they'd certainly never go into a new game with an old ripped jersey/undershirt.

With a record of 0-6, 1958 was an atrocious year for Gene. This after going 9-9, and winning a ring with the Braves the previous season. But despite the bad showing, he would bounce back the following year when he went 12-7, and was selected to the All-Star team. 1959 also saw him winning the first of his eventual three rings with the Celtics.

I went hard after a '49 Bowman color Bobby Thomson on eBay a few weeks back. It wasn't in mint condition, and I seemed to be in the running until almost the very end, but as is often the case these days, it started going up, and up, and up with about a minute left, leaving me behind to the curse the waste of my time. Oh well, I'm over it (seriously, I am!), after all I've still got a decent little collection of his going, including this awesome '55 Bowman. 

It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that I was finding cards to add to my "Telstar Four" collection (this is made up of the four players that were featured in the Cubs v. Phillies live look-in during the Telstar broadcast), but apparently this '66 Altman was the last card that I added to that collection. It doesn't feel like it's been over a year, but it has been a long year, and probably wasn't hard for me to forget about such things. Now that I'm using the TCDB, I need to go back and make a new checklist, especially since I can't seem to find my paper copy.

Aside from is rookie card, Johnny Podres is one of the more affordable vintage stars to collect. For example, this really clean and well-cut '61 Post set me back all of $1.05. And granted, this was bought probably close to two years ago, but even so, I don't imagine his prices have gone bonkers like so many others have since. 1961 was a good year for Johnny too, in fact as far as wins and losses go, it was his best, as finished with an 18-5 record; and yet, he wasn't an All-Star! He made the team the year before, and the year after, both times with a less impressive record. I'm sure that there's a story behind that, but I don't know it.

Thanks to Bo, I'm finding myself looking in the background of vintage baseball cards much more often than I used to. I know that other people have an interest in backgrounds as well, so I did a quick search on this card. No old blog posts came up in the results (or at least there weren't any in the first four pages), and no website mentions either (non-sales websites that is), so does that mean that no one has ever talked about this particular background online before? I find it hard to believe that no one has, but I guess I'll go ahead and pretend that that's the case, and that I'm actually doing something original here (please don't burst my bubble if I am not in fact covering new ground).

I've seen enough photos on the blogs at this point of, and around, Dodger Stadium, to know that this building wasn't located anywhere near it. And despite the Tigers moniker, Johnny is clearly still wearing a Dodgers cap, so the next logical place to look for a building match would be around their spring training facility. After just a minute or two of searching, I found a match:

There's no date on the photo (someone else can research that if they want to), but it was taken at the Dodgers spring training facility in Vero Beach, which had been converted from an abandoned naval base (this was news to me), and clearly shows some of the barracks that can be seen behind Johnny.

I'm gonna have to break from some of my fellow bloggers who had expressed surprise over Mr. Aaron's semi-recent passing. Dude was 86, and had been in declining health for some years, it was only a matter of time before it got the better of him. It's just unfortunate that someone of such high character had to spend the last few years of his life ostensibly being forced at gunpoint (metaphorically speaking) to sign autographs so that his handlers could continue to increase their coffers. Hank's situation wasn't quite as bad as the one that poor Stan Musial found himself in, but it was still bad nonetheless, and I wish nothing but ill-will towards the kind of people who think it's acceptable to profit in such ways. Apparently my negative thoughts haven't been enough to affect any of these people's outcomes though, as I've yet to see a headline along the lines of "Entire Musial family wiped out by falling meteor" or "D*cks of Hank Aaron's handlers mysteriously fall off, doctors baffled!".

My accumulated Hank Aaron cards may be the most impressive part of my vintage baseball collection, which is kind of interesting, because I never set out to collect him, I've just been in the right places, at the right times, to acquire many of his cards for much less than they normally sell for; the above card being no exception. I can't remember how much it cost, but do know that I got this card from one of those famous, and now very infrequent, fire sales, the kind where the person is clearly looking liquidate all of their COMC holdings in a hurry. With the way the card market is now, I don't expect to see too many more of these sales anytime soon. Piece of advice though, if you do ever come across one, and you're early enough, don't dilly-dally around thinking that you have any real amount of time to browse and buy at a leisurely pace, because you won't, other sellers will pick up the scent and have that carcass stripped within minutes of it going live.

Most people reading this would probably consider Hank to be the biggie from this group, but this off-condition Roger Maris is tops for me. Few players have suffered as much for accomplishing a feat like Roger did when he broke Babe Ruth's single season HR record. Aside from his teammates, seemingly the entire world was against him breaking that record, including the then commissioner, Ford Frick. The death threats were so numerous, and apparently credible enough, that a bodyguard became necessary. The press did what the press does and hounded poor Roger mercilessly, far beyond the point of just harassment. And despite all of these 'distractions', Roger still went out and broke a record that many thought would never be broken. Of course all of the negativity endured throughout that '61 season, took it's toll on Roger, mentally and physically, which undoubtedly would go on to affect the rest of his career (and life for that matter). 

It's hard not to sympathize with tragic figures, and when it comes to baseball, I'd have no trouble putting Roger in the top 5 for that category. Also, unlike Hank Aaron, I feel like I have a real chance to complete Roger's entire Topps run; which is a goal that I really should start focusing on more. Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder what his rookie card is currently selling for? 

On second thought, I don't want to know, it'll probably just be depressing.