Friday, August 18, 2017

Archiving a birthday

In my previous post I spoke of not acquiring many cards through purchases as of late, and why that is. However, I failed (intentionally) to mention my not too long ago acquisition of many cards through an overly generous gift.

I'm always a bit hesitant to bring up my birthday, primarily because I don't want it to sound like I'm fishing for well wishes or any other sort of salutations (trust me, I'm not!). But since it's pertinent to how I came into all of these packs, it will be necessary to make mention of it.

Before I get to these particular packs, I will set up this short and, probably uninteresting story, by saying that after receiving the lot of packs from Oscar's Lucky 13 game, I knew I had to get my hands on more 2017 Archives. The problem was, like it has been for a lot of folks, they just haven't been in stock anywhere around here. Well, I guess technically that's not true, as I did see one whole blaster box for sale at the Walmart, but I had my heart set on getting more hangar packs, so I ended up passing on it (it was gone the next time I went).

So fast forward to a little over a month ago, when it came time for my least favorite day of the year to make it's annual appearance... my birthday! This year's "big" day happened to coincide with a ten day trip that my mom was taking back home to Portland. Since I had heard about most of her plans before the trip, I knew generally where she would and wouldn't be, which brings us to the packs.

Since I hadn't been having any luck finding the Archives here, I decided to ask her if she could look for any back there, especially since I knew that at some point she would be right near a particular Target in Vancouver (Washington) that could always be counted on to have a well stocked card aisle.

I'm sure much has changed in the couple of years since I moved away, but apparently that Target has changed a bit, as even during the height of Judge-mania, they still had a plentiful bounty of all the hottest current products. Now when I asked her to look for any, I was really hoping to just get a couple of packs, so you can imagine my surprise when upon my mom's return, she gifted me with a huge stack of 17 packs (I opened three before realizing I should get a picture of them). Even though I'm not a big fan of getting birthday presents, I have to admit that I was thankful to have received these.

This post ended up being a touch lengthy, so I decided to limit the base cards to just eight examples from each of the three different designs. If you've ever read my blog before, you shouldn't be too terribly surprised to see that I ended up featuring mostly older players.

The 1960 design is my favorite of the three designs used for the set. And the Gehrig is probably tied for first as far as my favorite card from the set goes.

The only real problem I encountered with all these packs was that collation for the 1960 portion of the checklist seemed to be much worse than the other two, I mean I must of opened up four packs that Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, and Noah Syndergaard all back to back. The '82 and '92 sections didn't have that kind of repeated mixture, so I don't if that's normal for the 60's, or if was just that way for me.

I don't have any sort of affinity for the '82 Topps set, so this would probably be my least favorite of the three designs.

More than a few people have already commented on how great the Monte Irvin card is, so I will just say that I am in complete agreement with everyone else's sentiments. I really like the color job they did on Jimmie Foxx as well.

I didn't think I would like the '92 design as much as I do. Whether it's looking back to the old timers, or showcasing today's young talent, it just seems to work for me. I had to show Lou, what with us sharing the same birthday and all (different years of course). It doesn't seem like you see Reggie as an Oriole very often. And how great is this Bob Feller? It's tied with the Gehrig for my favorite of the base set.

Randy doesn't look quite as ornery as he usually does. The coloring of the Ruth card is really well done too.

A quick note before I get to the non-base stuff. I think normally your supposed to get one of the Rookie Stars and one insert in each pack, but for whatever reason, about 2/3 of my packs had a Rookie Stars and two inserts in them. I just thought I should mention that, just in case anyone wonders why their are more inserts than there were packs.

You get one of these Rookie Stars in every pack. A ten card set, of which I only now need one to complete. I left out Yoan Moncada, only because his card has already made a recent appearance in the Oscar post.

I got a bunch of these Bazooka's, including a few duplicates. I love the background on the Bregman. And the Koufax is pretty neat as well, although I think the little kids in background that were trying (and succeeding) to get in to the shot, is what makes that card so great.

I haven't really figured out if I like these Retro Original's yet. I guess which ever way I end up leaning, I at least got some decent names.

My least favorite part of this year's Archives release... the Derek Jeter Retrospective insert set. I can't even begin to tell you how uninteresting these are to me. After I pulled my first one, I kept saying "Please don't let me get another one" multiple times before opening each of the remaining packs. As you can clearly see, that mantra didn't work out so well.

I managed to get four of the peach parallels, which are numbered to /199. The Jim Bunning is my favorite, but the Galarraga is pretty neat to. I'm not familiar with T.J. Rivera, but going by his stats, he seems to be having a decent rookie season.

The blues are numbered to /75. Young Mr. Alfaro seems to be a prospect of some note, who thus far, has only seen limited action.

Hey look, another Andres Galarraga parallel. This time in red, which are limited to just /25. I can certainly think of worse players to get two different parallels of. I don't remember him too much from his time with the Expos, but I do recall those couple of really productive seasons he had in Colorado very well. I can't really remember why at this point, but I do remember following the ups and downs of the Rockies during their first couple of years. I suspect that it might have been just because they were new and sort of close to Portland, certainly closer than that other fishy expansion team. Whatever the reason was for that interest I had in the team, it obviously didn't last. If it had, you might be reading another Rockies related blog right now.

It's a little hard to tell, but this is a Jacob DeGrom Gold Winner parallel. For obvious reasons, these parallels were only used for the 1992 portion of the checklist. The red parallel above was more difficult to get odds wise (I forgot to check one of the wrappers for the exact numbers), but for some reason, this one falling at 1:110 packs, (I think) felt like the bigger get. Another really cool image on this one as well.

Another rookie that I wasn't familiar with, who also seems to be having a solid season. Batting .284 with 113 hits so far, he is leading N.L. shortstops in multiple categories (never mind that one of those is errors committed). I might hang on to this one for a bit, just in case he turns into something special. I have to say though that his signature leaves a little to be desired, but I guess that's to be expected from the youngsters these days.

Now that is a cool card! A great image combined with an attractive signature. I was very happy to pull this as I believe it's now my first autograph from a member of the '95 Braves championship team.

So in an attempt wrap this one up, I will say that I really enjoyed opening up all of these packs, and I was satisfied with what I ended up getting. I don't know if it is or not, but I kind of felt like this was the equivalent of getting a hobby box. I will be adding set needs to my want list sometime in the next couple of days, so if anyone has any duplicates, I would love to try and complete this set. Also, if anyone isn't working on the set but is interested in any particular player(s)/team(s), just let me know what you're looking for as I have plenty of extras that are yours for the taking.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Luck of the Irish

My card purchasing has dropped pretty dramatically over the last couple of months, so much so, that since the last show I attended at the end of May, I have bought maybe five cards total. I attribute this recent decline simply due to being burned out on cards, plain and simple.

Card burnouts are not uncommon for me, but this kind of decline in buying, has been a little more pronounced than usual. Thankfully for me though, I have many other collecting interests, so I don't have to do anything too crazy/responsible, you know... like save my money. That would be just sheer lunacy!

This drop-off in newer acquisitions is also why all of my more recent posts have featured cards from last year, and even as far back as late 2015, that have been sitting in folders collecting digital dust. So with that being said, today's card is a bit of a treat, in that it's actually new -- or at least, new to me.

I may not be buying much, but I still look around, just to make sure I don't miss any great deals. Today's card comes courtesy of a recent auction on Sportlots, I just couldn't pass up a cheap opportunity to add a card to my small collection of autographs featuring Heisman Trophy winners.

2012 Fleer Retro 1961 parallel autograph
Johnny Lattner capped off his senior season at Notre Dame by winning the Heisman in 1953, which paired nicely with the Maxwell Award that he also won that year and the year prior. Johnny was never great at one particular position, he was just really good at multiple positions -- playing on both sides of the ball as a halfback and defensive back. He was also used as a kick returner and was an accomplished punter as well.

Drafted by the Steeler's with the 7th overall pick in 1954, he would play one season with the team,    before joining the Air Force for the next two years. It was there that some point (I couldn't find the date), that during an exhibition football game, Mr. Lattner suffered a knee injury of such severity, that he was never able to play football again.

Racking up over 1,000 all-purpose yards and being named to the 1954 Pro Bowl, his one and only professional season with Pittsburgh was considered a success, there is no way to know just how well he would have fared, had the opportunity at a longer career not been taken from him so soon.

Before getting this card, I wasn't familiar with the 2012 Fleer Retro football set in the least, and even after reading about it, I can honestly say that I'm still not. It seems like a very confusing set. Among other things, it looks like they had four different insert sets featuring players on the old Fleer designs from 1960-63, with each of those sets then having autograph parallels. The odds of pulling these inserts varies by year. The odds of pulling a card from the '61 set were 1:20 packs, unfortunately I couldn't find any stated odds of pulling one of the autograph parallels, so I have no idea how difficult this particular card was to get. I do know however, that from searching around some, the autograph parallels on the old Fleer designs don't seem to be very common, in fact one could almost say that they are somewhat scarce in the wild. Which is par for the course, I find something I like, and then I can't find anymore (at least reasonably priced). And after doing some research, I think getting the above card for $7.50 turned out to be a pretty good deal. Had it been listed on eBay instead of Sportlots, I suspect it would have gone for much more.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

TTM Triumph: Bob Weiss

A recent success from the former player and longtime coach:

Always considered a very reliable player, Mr. Weiss played for twelve seasons in the NBA, which included being a member of the Warriors 1967 Championship team. Early in his career with Philadelphia, he spent some time playing in Eastern Professional Basketball League (or EBL, which would later become the CBA) as well. While there, playing for the Wilmington Blue Bombers, he led the league in assists during the 1966-67 season and was named to the All-Star First Team.

As always, I would like to thank Mr. Weiss for taking the time to sign my card.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, August 11, 2017

B is for bust (sort of)

Last year I wrote about the annual book sale that is held about five minutes down the road from me in the little retirement community of Pleasant Hill, TN. Well, this year's sale was held a couple of weeks ago, so after a nice response to last year's post, I thought I would cover it again.

This has already become one of the biggest highlights of my year, so I have been looking forward to it since pretty much right after last year's sale ended, although, this year's total drive time was now going to be an hour and a half, being that were still in the rental while the house is being remodeled.

For this year's recap post I had planned on taking pictures of the actual town (if you can even call it that) to add a little bit more character to the piece, unfortunately for me (and you), mother nature had other plans. It was raining when I got up that Saturday morning, enough so that I was contemplating staying home, but I couldn't shake the thought of what I might be missing, especially since the two previous years had yielded some pretty neat stuff.

Anyway, I ended up going, and it rained the whole way there and back. When I got there, the parking lot was full, so I had to park down the road and across the street, probably the equivalent of three city blocks away. Being the smart person that I am, I was dressed in my normal summer attire of t-shirt with an open button-up short sleeve shirt over it, cargo shorts, and sandals -- which as you might be able to figure out, doesn't double as rain gear. And some of you might be wondering "what about an umbrella?", to which I would reply "ha!". Needless to say, just going from the car to the building that the sale was in, I ended up being thoroughly soaked. It was at this point, that I basically forgot about wanting to take pictures all together. All I wanted to do, was get in, get out, and go home.

To make things worse, I could tell the second that I walked in, that this year's pickin's were going to be slim. There was only about half the amount of stuff that had been there in the previous two sales. But me, my nearly dripping clothes, and my now squishy sandals were still determined to try and make the best of it.

I ended up spending about twenty minutes there, and managed to find a whopping two items:

To the left of the entrance there were two plastic crates of records, something that they haven't had in year's past. Almost everything in those two crates ended up being pretty uninteresting, but I did manage to find this Star Wars soundtrack for a mere .25 cents. At this point, primarily thanks to The Phantom Menace, my Star Wars fandom is pretty minimal, but I still wasn't going to pass this up for a quarter. Also, I had never seen (or heard) this album before, so I was very curious to give it a spin. Which, since the turn table is currently packed up, will have to wait another two months or so.

Since I hadn't seen it before, I figured maybe somebody reading this hadn't either, so I have included a few more pictures:

Back cover.

Inside front cover.
Thankfully it still had the booklet as well.

A page from the booklet.
Apparently there is a limited edition picture disc version of this album as well, although not surprisingly, that version sells for considerably more.

The only other album that I was interested in was the soundtrack to My Fair Lady, but to my dismay, the record was all warped. Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, I do like musicals... a lot. And since I believe that that's the first time I have ever mentioned that in any sort of public forum, I feel the need to reaffirm my manliness by saying that I also enjoy beer, guns, sports, and... lady parts :)

Now that that's covered, we can move on to the second item, which an actuality, was the first thing I picked up:

 Anytime I go anywhere that has videos, that will be the section I head to first. In fact, knowing that there was going to be videos at the sale, was my primary reason for going. The good news was the video prices were lowered to .25 cents each this year, that bad news though, there wasn't a whole to choose from.

I already have a DVD that has most of these bloopers on it, but since they were shown on a television special at some point in the past, all the expletives have been edited out and replaced by slide whistles, car horns, and other silly sounds. So I got kind of excited when I saw the bit on the back about parental advisory being necessary, as I thought this just might be the unedited version that I didn't even know existed, and you know what? It is, and it's awesome. Very funny stuff!

So after more finding nothing else of interest, I went to pay, playfully had the business given to me by the old guy manning the "cash register"(it's just a small metal box) for my contributing a whole .55 cents (tax included) to their cause, and got ready to head home.

Upon leaving, the rain decided to give me a break and slow to a light sprinkle long enough for me to get to the car, before picking up again. After I got a couple of miles down the road, a big coyote crossed the road about 50 feet in front of me, so that was kind of neat. And about half way home, the rain really kicked it up a notch, causing whiteout conditions for the rest of the way. Thankfully, being from the Pacific Northwest, I practically learned to drive in such weather, so it doesn't bother/slow me down one bit -- the people here however, are a completely different story. But if I start talking about Tennessee's terrible driver's, I'll never stop. So I will just say, their driving skills suck even under the best of conditions, so you can imagine how bad they are when trying to navigate in this kind of rain. But after traveling on some roads that were starting to flood out in the low spots, and hydroplaning a couple of times, I ended up making it home safe (and wet).

All in all, the sale (and the weather) was pretty disappointing, but if I had it to all over again... I still would have went, and to be honest, I'm already looking forward to next year's sale as well.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1961 Topps Jim Brown

As I continue to go through and clean out my old photo/scan folders, I keep finding neat things that have somehow eluded being shown, with today's card being no exception.

This was yet another COMC purchase, that I believe was gotten in late 2015. I can't remember how much it was at this point, I just remember that before I bought it (with credit earned from doing challenges), I checked and saw that this particular card was priced at less than copies in similar condition were selling for on eBay. And really, other than the printing line at the top, I would say this card is in pretty solid condition overall.

Jim Brown's 1,408 rushing yards led the NFL in 1961, it was his fifth consecutive season doing so, while on his way to leading that category for eight of his nine season's played.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mr. Tiger and a pair of Babe's

This will be sort of a prequel to my previous post, I say prequel, because instead of featuring three cards from the '64 Topps, today's post will focus on three from the 1962 set.

And just like the previous post where I mentioned my difficulty trying to find a good '64 starter set/lot, the same holds true for the '62 set as well. The only difference being, that I have come much closer to getting a large lot or two of 1962 Topps than I have in my quest for the right '64 lot. In fact earlier this year, I was all but certain that I had a really nice 200+ card lot of 62's won on eBay, until some heartless monster (too strong?) stole it away from me with less than a second to go on the auction. I'd be lying if I said that that loss didn't sting a little, my disappointment was such, that I have only recently resumed searching for another lot to get started with.

Of course I have picked up few singles here and there, which brings me to today's cards. All three of these come courtesy of COMC, arriving in my accumulated stockpile after this year's spring sale.

Starting two posts in a row with the great Al Kaline, things could certainly be worse! Image wise, this is my all-time favorite card of Mr. Tiger.

Missing two months of action after breaking his collarbone while making a game saving catch against the Yankees early in the '62 season, Al still finished that year hitting .304 with 29 HR's and 94 RBI's.

Such a great image.

The back of this card references the famous "bellyache heard 'round the world", supposedly from binging on hot dogs and soda. An incident that, after he was rushed to the hospital, caused false reports of his death to start circulating in the papers. Some have speculated over the years that this episode was caused due to his large quantities of alcohol consumption. An even more tawdry rumor that has persisted over the years, chalks up the Bambino's hospital stay to an STD. Whatever the cause of his well guarded " health" issue was, he ended up missing the first 41 games of the 1925 season

Even late in life, the Babe never stopped enjoying the fact that wherever he went, he was always the center of attention.

As far as back of the card stats go, this might be one of my favorite's. It's always amazes me to see that gap between 1921 and 1930, and again in 1933. I don't know what the story is behind the Babe's return to pitching after such a long period, but I do know that those lone outings in '30 and '33 both resulted in complete game victories over the Red Sox.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Al, Bob, and Gus

1964 Topps is one of a couple of 60's sets that I would very much like to focus on more than I currently am. In the last year or two, when I actually remember to do so, I check eBay for starter sets/large lots. Though, as to date, I have yet to find one to my liking (price and condition being the usual issues).

While waiting for the right lot to come around, I have kept an eye out for good deals on singles, especially of star players and high numbers that wouldn't likely be found in a starter set.

Today's post will feature three of said good deals, all (re)found while recently cleaning out some folders, that for whatever reason I just hadn't got around to showing yet.

Mr. Tiger has been sitting in one of my oldest folders, I think he might have been part of last year's COMC spring sale shipment. I can't remember at this point how much this card was, but I do recall it being fairly cheap because of a faint crease under the TI, which really doesn't seem to affect the overall greatness of the card.

1964 was, in Al's own words, his most difficult season, pain wise, in trying to play through his ever increasing foot problems. Considering what he was dealing with, it's amazing to think that he still hit .293, was an all-star, and won a gold glove.

Here is the star of this post. Another COMC purchase from last year, that if I remember correctly, cost me about $10 in credit. This is a card that I had wanted for quite some time, and really couldn't have asked for one in better condition.

Going 19-12, with 245 strikeouts, and playing a large part in the Cardinals winning their first World Series in almost two decades -- I don't think it would be an understatement to say that Bob Gibson's 1964 season was a pretty good one.

Gus Bell might not seem too terribly exciting, especially following two hall of famers, but...

... he is a high number, and he only set me back 25 cents! A 15 year veteran who had a career batting average of .281, with four all-star game appearances, Gus Bell certainly was no slouch either. As an extra added bonus, this also happens to be Mr. Bell's final card, or as Nick would call it, his "sunset" card. It may seem a bit silly, but I do consider this to one of my better card show purchases this year (so far).

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

One of the lucky "13"

I think it was about a month or so ago now, that Oscar, who can be found over at All Trade Bait, All The Time, ran his Lucky 13 contest. With the slew of games going on around the same time, I considered myself rather fortunate to have been selected by the randomizer, so that I may join the field of 13 participants.

After everything was said and done, I ended up with the unopened packs lot:

I believe everyone gets the gist of what this post is going to contain, so I don't think much buildup is necessary. Let's tear open some packs, shall we?

Going oldest to newest, we start with the 1990 Donruss:

I believe everyone is a more than familiar with this set, so I just scanned two of my favorites. Gregg Jeffries might be the reason I have never had any interest in prospecting (at least when it comes to cards). I can just vaguely remember as a wee lad, hearing older kids and guys at card shops talking about how great he was going to be. Well, we all know how that worked out, don't we? There were other names that collector's bandied about at the time, thinking they were going to get rich off, but Jeffries is always the one I remember most. Thankfully, even as a tot, I never got interested in anyone's future potential (value), and Jeffries is likely a big reason why. As far as the Ripken goes, it seems like it has been a really long time since I have seen that particular card, and I just can't get over how much he looks like Brooks Robinson in that image. I think it's mostly the pose that's creating the likeness, but either way, I find it kind of amazing.

1991 Donruss:

I didn't think I had to scan all of these packs either, so I just pulled my two favorites again. Thigpen, because we share the same birthday. And Oil Can, well... because Oil Can, that's why! Still one of the greatest nicknames ever.

2012 Panini Triple Play:

I don't think anyone needs to see these, but here's one anyway. I chose this one just because I don't think the depiction on this sticker could look any less like Clayton Kershaw if they tried. I'm not going to lie, when I saw this pack in with the bunch, I may have uttered an obscenity in conjunction with Oscar's name. Sorry about that, Oscar :)

2017 Topps jumbo pack:

Since there were quite a few cards in this pack, I only scanned about half of it. This being my first in-person experience with the 2017 series, I didn't think the design of this set is quite as bad some people have said, and there are definitely some really nice photo choices as well. The finish on these is pretty good too, although you'd never know it with these bad scans.

The horizontal portion of the pack.

And the inserts. I thought when I first saw the wood grain of McGwire, that it was going to be my first pulled buyback, but unfortunately it was just one of the Rediscover Topps inserts. My only real complaint about these fat packs would be in the placement of the cards within the packs, meaning inserts in the middle, horizontal cards grouped together, etc. It just seems like it would be a little more fun if the cards were actually mixed up a bit, that's all.

2017 Topps Archives Jumbo pack:
I really dig this set, a lot! [spoiler alert: more 2017 Archives sometime in the near future]. Of the three designs used, the 1960 is my favorite. I think I got a pretty darn good grouping here, including the highly desirable (at least for the moment) Judge RC.

You get one of the Rookie Star inserts in every pack. I really like the Bazooka cards, from what I've seen, I think Nolan Ryan might be one of the more common ones.

I realized once I started putting this post together that I forgot to send a thank you email, which hopefully won't be held against me. So, Oscar, thank you for the cards, and for even letting me have the opportunity to be a part of your game. Since I don't open packs very often anymore, this really was a treat. I haven't been very good about sending stuff out in the last couple of months, but I will try to have something in the mail for you within the next week or two.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.