Wednesday, June 24, 2020

My first TCDB trade?

According to those in the know, when it comes to trading cards, the Trading Card Database is the be-all-end-all of, well, all things trading cards. I've already documented my attempt(s), and subsequent failure(s), to try and use the site in any sort of meaningful way, so I won't be going into that again here today. I'll figure out how to properly use it someday, it just won't likely be anytime soon. In the meantime though, I am still a member of the site, and seeing as how it's been very good to the blogs, I'd always be available to assist it if I were ever to be called upon to help (I can't imagine a scenario where the site would ever need me in any capacity, but I'm just saying that if they did...).

Obviously there are tons of bloggers who use the site, many of whom I've had contact with over the years, but for someone who's never used the site to do any sort of trading, I've had a surprising number of interactions with it's non-blogging members as well, and even received some cards from one them earlier this year (which was a first).

Most of my interactions with the non-blogging members have been Secret Santa (is that even going to be doable this year?) related, or Free Stuff Friday related, but I've also received a few emails about things that were seen on the blog, and once even received an offer to buy something that was seen on the blog -- which was declined, but I certainly didn't mind being asked. One of those people in the first group would be, Kari (user ID: karsal), who joined us for last year's Secret Santa, and just so happened to claim a few cards from my first FSF. I always say that I'm not looking for anything in return when it comes to the FSF stuff, but am not about to turn up my nose to things being sent back my way, which was exactly what happened with Kari; I wasn't looking for anything in return from him, but wasn't going to not open up, and gleefully accept, the PWE that showed up in my mailbox.

Having never received anything from Kari before, I had no idea what to expect from this envelope, but ended up being very pleased with it's contents.

The bulk of the envelope consisted of inserts from the 1998-99 Topps Chrome Season's Best set. If memory serves, Topps introduced Season's Best with their 1996-97 flagship, and Chrome, sets, which without looking it up, I know ran at least through to the 1999-00 sets. The appeal of SB, at least in this humble bloggers opinion, was that it was usually at least 20 cards deep, and was made up of multiple different designs, so it was like getting multiple different sets in one.

The SB inserts are considered to be low-end these days, which is unfortunate, because they still look really good, regular and chromed, even today -- well, except for some of the 1997-98 Chrome's, as though are prone to greening.

Depending on which day of the week you were to ask me, I'd flip-flop between which year was my favorite for the Season's Best, some days it would be 1998-99 edition, and others it would be the original 1996-97 release, which are like night-and-day when compared to these.

It goes without saying, but as with all things shiny, my scans do not do these cards any justice, especially on the Newcomers design.

Kari also snuck in another insert from the 1998-99 Chrome set as well...

I don't think that I'm covering any new ground when I say this, but 1998-99 was a good year for basketball inserts/parallels. Some my say that there were too many that year, but I'm not one of them, I never get tired of seeing them, and can really never have too many of them. Surprisingly, most of these were new to me, although I did have 1 Duncan and 3 Robinson's already, but I don't mind, duplicates of these are more than welcome, and with 4 Robinson's now, I can't help but wonder if I should try to go for an entire pages worth?

Despite today's title, this obviously wasn't a trade per se, more of an exchange, and it wasn't done through the TCDB, but it was with a non-blogging member of the site, so I guess it was more like my first... TCDB related exchange?

Thank you again, Kari, the selection here was top notch, and the cards were very much appreciated. Hopefully one of these days I'll have more cards that I can send back across the border, as I think that these were considerably better than what you claimed from that first FSF way back when.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Vlad to know you

I've talked about the greatness that was (were?) Rod's daily giveaways, on multiple occasions now (including just last week), and have already covered all of the obvious reasons as to why they were so awesome, or at least I thought I had -- my goldfish memory has let me down again, as I had already forgot about the whole "bringing people together" thing. That was a thing, right? I'm guessing that a few people are shaking their respective heads quizzically, but it had to be a thing, because without those daily freebies, I may have never connected with, Tom, from The Angels, In Order.

I had been following Tom's blog for what's felt like years (and there's good chance that it has been actual years now), and commented on a number of his posts, but had never had the pleasure of having any extracurricular contact with him, at least not until I commented on a thank you post that he had did to Rod for some stuff that had been acquired from those daily giveaways, which subsequently led to an email from Tom, and thus the extracurricular activity between Tom and I... was born!

Since part of his post, and all of my comment, had been about Vladimir Guerrero, Tom offered to send along some of his duplicates (he's one of the preeminent Vlad collectors among the bloggers in case you didn't know) for my very recently started collection, and after looking at his want lists and seeing that I'd be able to reciprocate, I decided to go along with his offer.

I've seen those 2008 UD Documentary cards on more than a few occasions, but don't really know what the deal with them is. Judging by the card numbers, I'm guessing that it's a very large set, and given that the three cards that Tom sent are within seven numbers of each other, I'm assuming that Vlad has a few more cards in the set, all of which might contain the exact same photo? If so, I'm kind of hoping that he doesn't have like 40 cards in the set, as that might start to get a little boring after about the tenth or eleventh card.

Topps sure has done a lot of throwback sets. Of the three that are represented here, I think the '34 Goudey would be my favorite, although it would've been better if someone other than Derek Jeter could've been doing the says-ing.

Another throwback design, and not one that was done very well, but the card is new to me, so I won't complain about it's look too much.

Uhh... he's got legs, and uhh... he knows how to use them? I can honestly say that I've never been sent a leg card before, but I guess there's a first for everything.

Thanks again for the cards, Tom! And thank you, Rod, for indirectly being responsible for Tom and I's finally connecting.

But wait, there's more!

I got another package last week that was sort of related to Rod as well, in that it came as direct result of my first post of claims from Rod's giveaways, where I mentioned that I had Vladimir Guerrero to list of player collections, which, Bo, of Baseball Cards Come to Life! fame, saw, and commented that he might have some extras to spare, and apparently did.

Bo and I are no strangers to sending things back and forth, but this was the first time that he had sent any Vlad's, all of which were greatly appreciated. I got a duplicate of the on-the-ground Vlad, but that's okay. More throwbacks too, Topps really must've been running low on ideas there for a few years, although from an aesthetic standpoint, the T206 is pretty nice.

I haven't looked into yet, but I'm thinking that Vlad has a lot of "rookie" cards, which I'm basing solely on the fact that I seem to have a quite few cards of his that say "rookie" on them.

Bo also sent along a few non-Vlad cards. The Edgar Fleer Focus is really nice, and the '91 UD Roby is greatly appreciated, especially since it was glaringly absent from the box that I opened a couple of months ago. I'll need to replace the Taylor at some point, but who know whens that'll be, as I don't see me hitting a show anytime soon, and to me, it's a bit overpriced on COMC, so it might be awhile before I can procure a better copy.

Thanks again for the Vlad's, as well as the non-Vlad's (especially the Roby), Bo! Between you and, Tom, and the inserts that I already had, this collection's really picking up. And thanks again to, Rod, as his giveaways did lead to this package as well, and had he not done them, this 2/3 of this group may have never made their way to me.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020


I mentioned last week that I was reading The Romance of Stamp Collecting by Ernest A. Kehr, and well, I've gone ahead and finished it since then, so yay me! Okay, that'll do it for today, just wanted to let you know that I read a book, and... of course I'm just messing with you!

I'm not the one you want to do book reviews, so I'll spare you from that, but I did want to take a minute to share a couple of paragraphs from early in the book that really stood out, as I couldn't help but notice the parallels to another hobby that's so near and dear to many of the folks that stop by here, and was mildly curious to know if anyone else noticed the similarities too?

So I've got about a page and a half here, and for your reading convenience they've been broken down into bite-sized paragraphs. And as far context goes, this section picks up just after the first World War has broken out:

So, does any of this sound oddly familiar, or is it just me?

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Pack Sampling: 1993-94 Fleer Jam Session

Thanks to a combination of the Rona, and the recent MJ produced "documentary" about MJ, all things 90's basketball have been deemed cool again, or at least most things have.

I've never considered myself to be one of the "cool" kids, and probably won't be winning any points from them with today's pack, as Jam Session wasn't a must have brand when it came out, and after doing a quick search, I see that despite the resurgence of love for all things 90's, still isn't.

I don't recall too many card shops near me carrying boxes of Fleer's inaugural Jam Session release back in '93-94, but somebody must've had at least one box, because I know I did get a few packs before they were gone, then had to wait many years before seeing them for sale again anywhere.

Being a fan of the vintage tall boys since the first time I laid eyes on one, I liked the idea of Fleer creating a modern set of tall's, and felt like they did a pretty good job of giving us something that felt relevant to the times. Even after all of these years I still think that they're great, and will never turn down a cheap pack/box, which is how I ended up with this pack, 25¢ at the print/copy/card shop down in town was just way too cheap to walk away from -- I just wish that there would've been more than one pack of the '93-94 set left though, but one is still better than none, so let's get to sampling, shall we?

I forgot to scan the back of the pack, so I can't remember if you're supposed to get an insert in every pack or not, but I'm pretty sure that you are, as that's the way the packs would work for future releases. But either way, the good news is that I did get insert, the bad news though, Rookie Standouts was the worst looking of the four insert sets, what with there lack of logos and all -- good news 1.5, Penny was/is the best card to get from this ugly set, so I guess that's something?

I just recently watched Clutch City (and Double Clutch), which was an NBA produced "documentary" about the Houston Rockets and their 1994-95 championship season. This "documentary" was not that great, way too much player interviews, and clips of motivational speeches from the locker room, and not nearly enough in-game action -- not that this was at all surprising mind you, as the NBA is kind of known for the poor documentation of their own history. It's no wonder that today's fans can't even name a handful of players from say, the 80's, when you realize that the league can't even properly document a teams championship season less than a year after it happened. Anyways, the point of me mentioning Clutch City, wasn't a veiled excuse for me to critique the NBA (of which I could in a series of posts), no, it was because I had forgotten about the role that Carl Herrera had played in those two Houston title runs. I don't think that it could be called a key role, but it was a role nonetheless.

Chuck Person had a solid career, but I can't think of him without thinking about Larry Bird. In case you're not familiar with some of the stories, I'd encourage you to do a Google search and read some of them, and/or watch some videos if they're available. Speaking of Larry Legend, am I the only one  who'd love to see a multiple part ESPN documentary about him? I didn't watch any of that MJ circle jerk, but I can say with the utmost confidence that a properly done Bird special would blow the Jordan one out of the water. There's nothing better than a good Bird trash-talking (and always backing it up, btw) story, and there's certainly no shortage of them out there. Plus there's the whole Bird in his prime (pre back injury) being better than Jordan in his prime thing, and that's not just me talking out of my butt either, many a NBA great has said the exact same thing, and I tend to value the opinions of guys like Russell and Chamberlain, over some twentysomething on Twitter.

I'd never make any assertions as to him being the best point guard of all-time, or even in the top 25, but Terry Porter was the point guard of my childhood, so he'll always carry a special place in my heart.

The backs on this set are almost as good as the front, and that's a fact that isn't debatable.

I don't know if it's still being used or not, but in professional wrestling they used to call a match between two really big guys, a hoss fight, and I can't help but think how appropriate that term is when looking at this match-up between Mark Eaton (7' 4" 270lbs?) and Kevin Duckworth (7' 0" 280lbs-ish). It's also interesting to note the placement of Big Duck's hands, that would be a foul in today's NBA, as making an offensive player actually have to work to get their shot is big no-no these days.

Googs was one of my favorite players during the mid to late 90's, especially when he was paired up with KG in Minnesota. Dude could pretty much do it all, at 6' 10" he could put the ball on the floor, pass like a point, rebound, shoot the 3, and was a serviceable defender. One could say that Tom was a little ahead of his time, as his skill set would've been much more suited for today's game.

Frank Johnson was backing up Kevin Johnson (no relation) by this point, so it's kind of interesting to see that he was included in the set, especially since a) He was never a big name, and b) At 240 cards, this was only a medium sized set, and given how many recognizable names there were in the league at that time, it's bit surprising that he would've made the cut.

I didn't take note of the set, but at some point in the last few weeks I saw a cards of Vinny's on COMC that had either LEGEND or LEGENDS (I think?) printed across the top, and this struck me as bit odd, and thought that Panini (I'm assuming it was Panini since their only one's with an NBA license) might've been stretching just a tad on that one. He was alright in college, and pretty good overseas, but nothing about his NBA career screams LEGEND, or anywhere near it.

He's often overlooked, and probably mostly forgotten by today's fans, which may sound odd given that he is a HOF'er, but it's true nonetheless. It's unfortunate that most of his best years were spent in Sacramento, especially since the higher-ups at the time seemingly weren't willing to put any viable pieces around him, so his prime years were wasted being the best player for a terrible franchise.

Best photo in the pack? I would assume that most people would say yes, from a personal standpoint I like the Eaton/Duckworth more, but this one is really good too. Young Shaq was such a beast, and this photo captures that sentiment perfectly, as all The Admiral, J.R. Reid, and Lloyd Daniels can do, is stand back and watch him do his thing

Not in my house, hahaha!

Love me some Dikembe :)

Danny was an all-time great in college, and had he not suffered a torn ACL during his rookie season, might've been poised to do the same as a pro. Despite the injury, and it's subsequent complications, he still managed to carve out a very respectable 14-year career for himself, which included two All-Star selections, and a Sixth Man of the Year award.

This pack was a perfect example of why I like this set, and just the Jam Session brand in general, so much, yes, they're difficult to store safely, but even at 240 cards strong, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a couple of big names (i.e. Hall of Famers) in every single pack -- or at least that's been my experience anyway, I've yet to open a Jam Session pack from any year and think "Wow, that was a stinker!". I just don't think that it's possible, but feel free to try and prove me wrong, as packs can still be had on the cheap.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, June 12, 2020

It was fun while it lasted

Even though it's been a few months since they ended, I'm fairly certain that everyone remembers Rod's (Padrographs) month-long (two-month long?) stretch of daily giveaways, yes? If you're somehow not familiar with them, well, that sucks for you, because they were something that the blogs had never seen before, and unless Rod decides to do them again, they'll probably be something that the blogs never see again.

Seeing as I'm here talking about them, and have written about them before, I obviously do remember them, although my brain keep trying to trick me into thinking that they were a summer event, which is interesting since they happened this year, and it's not even summer yet (although weather wise, it kind of already is here in the south). I guess in the long-run though, it doesn't really matter when they happened, all that matters is that they did happen.

I, like a lot of other folks, was able to pick up a number of neat cards thanks to Rod's daily dose of generosity. I'm feeling a little lazy right now, so I won't be providing a link to my previous post of goodies from Rod (you can probably find it if you need to), but suffice to say that it was full of good stuff, and today's group of claims isn't so bad itself.

I've already shown the 2020 GQ Babe Ruth (last week in day 2 of Tim's 7-day challenge), which might just be my favorite card that I acquired from Rod. And there's the pair of '88 Topps that I led off the post with. As a set, I'm not overly enamored with it, and I've never owned very many cards from it, but this duo was hard to pass up, especially the Largent.

Junior was a fairly common sight amongst the daily offerings, and after awhile it felt like my claiming them became a common sight to anyone who scrolled down to the comment section. These were a put away quite some time ago, but if I recall correctly, the middle card was numbered to /10,000... pretty cool of Rod to give up such a limited card :)

Feel free to razz me, but I claimed this card to give to my mom, and am not ashamed to have done so. Long running procedurals aren't really my thing, but my mom is a big fan of a few of them, including NCIS. She liked this card a lot, and after telling her how it was acquired, she had nice things to say about Rod, and his generosity.

That'll do it for the last of my claims, but the post isn't over with yet, no, you see a week or so after my last envelope from Rod showed up, another chunky PWE arrived from Portland, and was full of nothing but...

... Junior's! Lots...

... and lots...

... of Junior's... Oh, and one senior!

This was a very unexpected, and very appreciated, surprise -- and one that I won't soon forget.

I owe Rod much, and once the card shows fire back up, I'll be doing my best to repay Rod in kind, and not just for what I received, but also for the selfless act of the giveaways themselves, as they came at a time when a lot of people needed their minds taken off of all the doom and gloom, and for that he should be praised... as well as be sent lots of cool things. Thanks again, Rod!

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Breaking up the monotony

After 13 straight card posts, I find myself in need of a palate cleanser, and since I haven't been buying much, or going to any exotic places, it'll have to come in the form of a quick (and I do mean quick!) recap from last weeks trip to the book store (Book Cellar).

I haven't spent much time talking about it here on the blog, but stamps might be #1 on my list of things that I enjoy collecting the most (bottles and toys would be high on that list as well). In fact, taking up stamp collecting is what led me back to card collecting, which of course then ultimately led this blogs creation. Unfortunately though, the collection has fallen by the wayside over the last couple of years, but I am hoping to revive it soon, as I need something else other than cards right now. My only real issue with stamp collecting is with other collectors, not that they're unfriendly or anything, it's just that a lot of them tend to be highly educated and/or well traveled, and I find myself becoming very self-conscious over my lack of either of those things when discussing pretty much anything with one of them. I realize that this is just a "me" thing, but have never been able to shake it, and honestly, I don't think that I ever will.

As for the book itself, it's one that I've been wanting to read for years, but just wasn't willing to pay the $10 (or more) online price for (after being burned by a couple of "expensive" books, I developed a strict policy of never paying more than $5 for a book). Never in a million years would I've thought that I'd find a copy at this particular store, but I did, and even though the dust jacket has seen better days, I wasn't about to pass up the chance to finally read it, especially when it was only a buck. I'm a little over halfway through it as of this typing, and am happy to report that it hasn't disappointed, one could even say that it's exceeded expectations.

There's no synopsis on the back of this one, but the cover pretty much tells you what you need to know. I may know it, but not off of the top of my head, and I'm not going to Google it just so I can sound like I know what I'm talking about in the post, so for the moment I either don't know, or can't recall, what was so special about the 1941 baseball season, but will obviously be finding out at some point. I don't read a lot of books on sports, but this one was kind of hard to pass up for fifty cents.

Golden age Hollywood is my jam, and I will rarely turn down the opportunity to learn new things about that particular time and place. I have read a lot of books on the subject, and watched a number of documentaries, so it can be a little hard sometimes to find stories that I haven't heard, but as chunky as this book is, I can't imagine that there won't be at least a few tidbits that are new-to-me within it's pages.

That covers (no pun intended) the book portion of my purchases, but I did grab one other thing while there...

It's pretty much impossible for me to go here, and not bring home a few videos! Although this time it was just one, but it is something that I had never even heard of, so no complaints about that.

As an aside, this was the second time that I've been to the bookstore since it reopened, and have been glad to see how well it's been doing. Considering that it's located in a relatively small town, and is the only bookstore in a 35-mile radius, I was a little worried about their status after having to be closed for two months, but from what I've seen, they don't seem to be any worse for wear. There's been plenty of people buying, and trading stuff in, both times that I've been there, the shelves have been loaded, and the inventory has been turning over, so it's really nice to know that they've weathered the storm -- especially given how often we as a society have been, and still are being, subjected to constant "news" stories about struggling businesses as of late.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.