Sunday, January 31, 2021

Pack Sampling: 1999 Bowman series 1

I wasn't paying much attention to major league baseball in 1999, well, actually that's a bit of a fib, as I was paying absolutely no attention to major league baseball in 1999. I know that many peoples interest in the sport had been rejuvenated by the previous year's steroidic (that really should be a word) display from Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, but I wasn't one of them.

I'm not gonna claim to know that I knew that they were juicing during their sudden outburst of power, but even at 16 I knew that something was fishy, especially with McGwire. I knew enough about the human body to know that people don't usually continue to add that kind of bulk naturally as they age. Fat bulk, yes. Muscle bulk, no. And he just kept getting bigger and bigger as time went on. It was suspect for sure, and I'm sure it was noticed by many, but was not being vocalized at the time. I guess folks were just too caught up in the ensuing circus to say anything that might dampen everyone's good time.

It's funny too, because before it got to the point in the season where people started talking about one of them breaking Roger Maris' record (which he still holds in my eyes), I actually was watching more games on television then I had in the previous few years. But once those two got going, and then the media got going, I got going, as in I stopped watching games, and didn't resume doing so again until 2001.

With this in mind, and with me recently mentioning that I stopped collecting baseball cards in/or around 1993, it should come as no surprise to hear that I wasn't opening up any baseball card packs in 1999. In fact, I was all but done with cards in general by 1999, and can only remember opening up packs from two different basketball sets that year. So this pack, which was part of a prize pack that I received from, Brian, of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary fame, will go down as the first pack of cards that I've ever opened from a 1999 baseball set. And with prices being what they are these days, it might end up being the last pack of baseball cards from 1999 that I ever open as well.

I tried to scan the odds for you, but as you can see, it didn't turn out so well.

Having never collected a baseball set from this particular year, and with me not following the sport at the time, I have no idea who, if any, were the hot rookies that year. And other than the refractors, which I've seen in many a dime box, I can't say that I know anything about any of the other inserts/parallels either. I could've looked up some of this info before opening the pack, but that isn't very fun. It's much better to go into something like this with as little information as possible, that way you don't get your hopes up, and subsequently can't be let down when the pack doesn't yield whatever it is that you were hoping to land. 

My only hope going into the pack was that the cards wouldn't be bricked, and I could tell from the shiftiness of contents within the sealed pack, that they weren't, so I there'd be no letdown on my part.

First card out of the gate is... Mitch Meluskey?!?! Yeah, no idea who he is, bUt It'S a RoOkIe. Looks like he was a catcher with great potential on the offensive side, but was less then stellar on the defensive end. Oh, and apparently he has some attitude problems, and couldn't, or wouldn't, get along with his teammates (punching one of them probably didn't help his cause any). His retired in 2004, to very little fanfare it would seem.

He would go on to have much more success elsewhere (five rings, five All-Star appearances, and a Cy Young), but to me David Cone will always be a Met, if only because that's who he was with when I first started out collecting cards. 1999 proved to be a good year for David, he got a ring, was an All-Star, went 12-9, and had himself a perfect game against the Expos on July 18th. 

I wonder if our resident Barry Larkin collector needs this one? Probably not, but still worth checking.

Think your scribble is long enough there, Larry? Almost ran out of room! I didn't know of any Braves fans when I was a kid (growing up in Oregon might've had something to do with that), but have come across quite a few as an adult. I always wonder with Braves fans, especially those around my age, if their fandom grew organically, or if it came about because of the TBS factor?

Quick, someone pull the SICK HIT alarm! In case you can't read the poorly scanned odds up top, these Late Bloomers were seeded at 1:12 packs. Good looking card too, much shinier in person though. Since he sent the pack, Brian has first dibs on this one. Nick just mentioned his Mark Grace fandom again the other day, so he'll have the second option on it. If neither of them wants it, I'll just add it to my TCDB trade fodder.

It should come as no surprise that I'm not familiar with Brent Butler either. Looks like he got about 2½ seasons in the bigs, all with Colorado.

Looking at his career stats (2,134 hits, 332 HRs, 1,287 RBIs, and 421 doubles, all while batting .303), I have no doubt that if Moises would be a HOFer if had played during the 1920's, 30's, or 40's. Unfortunately for him, he didn't, and as such will only ever make it as far as some SABRmetrics nerds "hall of very good" list.

I wonder if our resident Pudge collector needs this one? [We sure have a lot of resident so-and-so collectors!]

Hey, it's another rookie card of someone that I've never heard of. Julio Ramirez played for four teams in five seasons and is now a position coach in the Dominican league. And I hadn't noticed it until I was here doing the post, but I see that Bowman did the whole red logo for the A.L./blue logo for the N.L. thing. Scrolling back up, I see that it worked out pretty well on a few of the cards (Larkin, Pudge, Ramirez), looks-wise that is, but still isn't something that I care either way for.

I had to go back and look at the pack to find out what the deal with this chromey was (it's the one-per-pack Bowman International). I like the idea of one-per-pack parallels, unfortunately mine was a rookie, and a Rockie! Todd Sears played in parts of two seasons, neither with Colorado. Looks like he showed some power during his limited time, and there's no mention of him being injured, so I don't know why he didn't see more playing time. Now the question is, does our resident Rockies collector need this one? I sure hope so, because nobody else probably will.

Despite the lack of any keepers, this was still a very fun pack to open. And while I have no plans to ever acquire too many cards from the set, I really do like the overall look of it, I mean it's certainly better than the modern Bowman cards (not that that's hard to accomplish). I suppose my only complaint would be about getting so many rookies in the pack, but I don't know if every pack was like that. Plus too, I've never been gaga over rookie cards, so this complaint could just be a matter of personal taste; take it with a grain of salt!

And as per usual with this series, if you see anything here that you can't live without, don't be shy about saying so.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

My ship has finally come in!

Well, kids, it's happened, I've just hit the big one.

The full magnitude of this pull hasn't quite sunk in yet, but I figure that I'm basically rich now, so it's gonna be easy living from here on out. On a related note, does anyone know of any islands for sale?

And don't worry, I won't forgot about my blogging friends. I'll make a note to remind myself to think of you as I'm sipping Mai Tai's next to Marisa Tomei 😎

Monday, January 25, 2021

No Mas!

Every card blogger is known for at least one thing, right? I mean I could throw out any random blogger's name, and most of the people reading this would immediately associate them with some particular player/team/collection, yes? For example, and this is just an example (wink wink, nod nod), if I mentioned, Kerry, aka madding, the longtime proprietor of Cards on Cards, what would you think of first; Cardinals? Trail Blazers? Oregon Ducks? For what it's worth, I think all of the above, but after last year, I'd also add sender of crazy generous bubble mailers to the list as well. 

I received two from Kerry last year, both completely unexpected. The first was shown many moons ago, and the second, well, that one has been languishing in a scan folder for quite a few months now, BUT only because I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of cards that were sent, which had to be well over a hundred.

I had claimed that nifty Lou Gehrig insert, and this SI for Kids sheet (which despite excellent packing, the PO tried to destroy, see the bottom right corner for evidence of that) from one of Kerry's free stuff posts, which ended up being accompanied by what could be called an instant basketball card collection. With so many cards included, I had a hard time trying to figure out which ones to include, and of course, how many to include? Too little would be an insult, and too many might make some folks regret clicking on the post, it really is a fine line. Out of respect for Kerry, and his kind gesture, I ended up settling somewhere near the halfway point, so if you've got a minute...

This package arrived a week or two before Cliff's untimely passing, and must've had close to 40 cards of his in it, about half of which I did need.

1991-92 Skybox sure has gotten popular all of sudden, has anyone else seen what those boxes have been selling for? They're now going for more then they were when they were new, never thought I'd see that!

I didn't much care for Upper Deck's Special Edition (bottom right) when it came out back in '93, but it's grown quite a bit on me over the years (one would've thought that daily showers would've prevented such a thing, but apparently they weren't enough).

It seems like a lifetime ago, but I can recall that during the 1991 playoffs, most of the kids in my 4th grade class were allowed, and encouraged, to support the Blazers by making signs and hanging them on the sides of our desks. There were a couple of oft repeated slogans, but the one that comes to mind first was "Buck [Buck Williams] and Duck [Kevin Duckworth] say yuck to Magic [Magic Johnson]", which was used during the western conference finals. As it turned out, the support from 30+ nine year-olds wasn't enough though, as the Blazers fell to the Lakers in six games that year (at least the Lakers went on to lose in the finals).

Ask any Blazers fan about what if's, and they'll probably be able to rattle a handful off before you can even finish your sentence. Taking Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft is often mentioned first (and it doesn't help that it was rehashed in that garbage "documentary" last year), why I don't know, as far as what if's go, that one's pretty simple to answer; if Jordan had gone to the Blazers, he never would've got Scottie, and therefor never won a ring, see? Simple! For me though, the biggest Blazers what if, will always be what if Arvydas had been allowed by the Soviets to come over right after he was drafted in'86? [Hawks fans can wonder the same thing, as he was drafted by them a year earlier] Many a expert considered him to be the best player in the world at the time (which was warranted by the way), I have no doubts that had he come before his knees were shot, the Blazers would've been the dominant team of the late 80's/early 90's, winning multiple rings, and completely rewriting the history that is currently known.

Have you noticed a theme yet? I'm thinking that Kerry cleared out some of his dupes box for me. It's nice to know another Blazers fan in the blogging world.

It wasn't all Blazers though. Dan was top 5 player for me as a kid. No one's asking, but the other four were Cliff Robinson, Jerome Kersey, Larry Johnson, and Shawn Kemp. Larry Bird and John Stockton would be #'s 6 and 7, and the only reason that Larry isn't in the top 5, is because I didn't get to see him play enough at the time, and didn't see any of his prime years until much later on video, and then eventually, the internet.

Here's where I really had to limit what to show, and what not to, as a lot of player collections were touched on, just about all of them actually. I can't remember if I ever had the Mitchell Wiggins/Otis Thorpe error card before, so that made for quite the surprise.

The Fleer Metal sets really got popular there for a bit earlier this year, but have since come back to earth, save for the Jordan's of course.

It's impossible to tell from the scan, but Cedric is one of those Reebok Metal's, and Shaq is a Prizm Prizm Silver. 

After Brando Roy, Wesley Matthews is my favorite modern Blazer, but after being a Buck last year, and signing with the Lakers this season, I find it really difficult to want to collect him anymore.

I already two copies of Bill's '77-78 Topps (white back), but would never have turned down another. This one came with a fairly hellacious wax stain (you can see it in the scan), but even so, it was no match for the all-powerful pantyhose! And I did have the Jerome as well, but this one was in better shape than mine.

Many thanks (over a hundred I suppose) to Kerry for this overly generous mailing, it truly was another great one.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Wheelin' and dealin'

I can never remember the name of the site, but back when I first started reading the blogs, I often saw people mention a site that they used to track their collections. Then at some point, something happened to the site (unless I'm getting my wires crossed, I believe that Beckett had a hand in their demise), and people were sad. The sadness didn't seem to last though, as a new site (new for users, not new to existence) began to be mentioned shortly afterwards, this being the Trading Card Database.

References on the blogs to the TCDB were few and far between at first, but have grown steadily in recent years, so much so that it's now virtually impossible to go a single week without seeing mention of it. 

I didn't have much use for, or interest in, the TCDB when people first started extolling it's virtues, for I was still a set collector then, and had no trouble keeping track of my haves/needs via pen and paper. Things change however, and I switched from set collecting, to player collecting. All of a sudden pen and paper became useless as tools for making checklists, or maybe not useless, but were considerably more difficult to use, especially when a player hundreds of cards to track. I knew that I now needed something new for checklist making, and whether I liked it or not, there was really only one option, the TCDB.

My first couple of foray's onto the site didn't go well, but only because I couldn't figure out how to do anything (this is what happens when you're part luddite on your father's side). Towards of the end of last year I did finally start to figure things out though, and have been using it off and on for about two months now. The checklist part of the site seems to work well enough, but like many others, I find myself being drawn to the possibility of trading more than the checklists. Despite never being a huge fan of formal trading, I'm starting to get the hang of it, and have completed a few in recent weeks. 

I'm not sure yet if I'll be recapping every single future trade on here or not, but did want to show off this first batch, if only for the sake of posterity. 

Before I get to the trades, I wanted to first acknowledge a RAK from Randy, aka RefsInTheBack, who I have exchanged cards with via Twitter (you can find him on there by adding an @ to his handle) before, and am quite familiar with his collection. He offered up a couple of cards right after I started adding a want list to the site, and wasn't looking for anything in return. That's a hard deal to pass up!

I've probably owned a dozen+ copies of this 1991-92 Fleer Uncle Cliffy over the years, but with my propensity for giving cards away, I didn't hang on to any, and I found myself needing one for the first time in almost 30 years. 

This 1993-94 Franz  may look a bit gunky, but it's still in it's original wrapper, so that bread residue is thankfully on the outside. At one time I had almost the complete Franz Blazers run, but it, along with most of the rest of my collection, was donated to a charity auction in the early 2000's. Since I didn't think that I was ever coming back to card collecting, the donation seemed like a good thing at the time, and I guess it still was, but in retrospect I do kind of wish that I had held a few more things out, my Franz cards being one of them.

Thanks again to Randy for the RAK, it was a really nice gesture.

Next up is my first official trade on the site, this coming courtesy of budler, who I already knew from his participation in the Secret Santa two years ago. This was a 1-3 deal, which included a pair of Classic bruisers (my first cards ever from this set too btw), and...

... the destroyer of worlds himself, this time on a playing card! They may not be anything fancy these days, but I really dig these three cards, many thanks to Jim for making it happen.

A 3-13 trade with ravensray52 brought this next group. If you've been following along with the blog for any length of time, you had to know that there would be some Reggie's in this post somewhere.

It'll never not be weird to see Ronnie as a Jet.

I've probably owned more than a few copies of the Pro Set and Score cards here, but I wasn't collecting Dennis at the time, and big surprise, got a rid of them all.

Having never seen a 1996 Gilt Edge before, I never knew that their dimensions were slightly smaller than your average sized card. It would be curious to know the reasoning behind that move on Topps part?

Even with his shoulder problems, Steve was still dropping them until the very end. Love this sunset card, the refractor of which I currently have sitting in my COMC account.

This was a good trade too, as I was able to add cards of the my four main footballers. Thanks, John!

A 12-2 deal with AUTOGRAPHS2000 netted bunch of Cliff's, unfortunately four of them came unstowed at some point during their journey, which must've triggered some postal workers Spidey-sense, because that just had to be the corner of the envelope that got mushed. All four were base cards so it's not like it's the end of the world or nothing, but it still was a little disappointing.

This pair of Bruise Brothers completed the envelope. Now that I know what his entire checklist looks like, I think it'll be possible to complete Dennis Smith's entire run, this is due in large part to Panini not getting their hooks in him yet. Unfortunately the same can't be said about Steve Atwater, now that he's a HOFer, Panini is cranking out cards of him like there's no tomorrow. In fact if nothing changes by the end of this year, Panini is on track to have produced more cards of him in the last four years than he had during ten years of playing. Because of this, I'm really only focusing on cards from his playing days.

I can't remember the name behind the handle on this trade (and TCDB isn't showing the address details anymore), so I'll just have to say thank you to AUTOGRAPHS2000.

It's not talked about much on the blogs, but if you look around, you'll find some real horror stories involving trades on the TCDB. Having read a number of these cautionary tales, I've been extra cautious with who I'll trade with. 49ants is a user name that I seen many times on the blogs, so when he proposed a trade, I had absolutely no concern about making the exchange; what's good enough for my fellow bloggers, is certainly good enough for me!

I had been planning on adding a most wanted list for each of the sports to the blog, and even started to fill out those lists, but eventually thought better of it and scrapped the idea. I mention this only because Dennis Smith's rookie had been #2 on the football list, as it turns out a most wanted list wasn't even necessary to acquire this particular card.

As far as scanning cards goes, Topps' 1994-95 Embossed Golden Idols suffer the same fate as their 1965 Embossed set, no matter how nice the card is, the scans always come out looking like someone had been using the card to sand something. For the record though, despite it's poor showing, this card arrived minty fresh.

1996-97 Stadium Club Matrix is one of my all time favorite parallel sets, it's just too bad that the 3D-ish effect doesn't show up in the scans, and has proven quite difficult to photograph as well.

I couldn't resist! This was #100 and something. I really need to put a counter on the side of the blog, that way I wouldn't have to keep re-counting this collection every single time I add new card to it.

Thanks to 49ants for the great group of cards, I couldn't have asked for a better quartet.

So there you have it, my first three trades (with a RAK tossed in for good measure), dare I pull an Ed Koch, and ask how'm I doin'? That's rhetorical by the way, as I already know how I did with these :)

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Books 'n things

Despite living in a relatively rural area, I have access to quite a few neat places. There is one used bookstore, one comic book shop, one pseudo card shop, two antique malls, and five thrift stores, all within 30 minutes of me. Not too mention pretty much all of the retail establishments that anyone could ever need (I wouldn't mind if there were a few less of those around). Expanding the drive time by just ten minutes increase some of those numbers, especially the thrift stores. If I'm ever feeling froggy, Knoxville's not that far away either, which is home to a plethora of fun places, most notably, McKay's. And of course I got Nashville in the other direction, which is a longer drive, and isn't a city that I've been overly impressed with, but it is home to a more than a few places that are worth stopping in at (not as many as Knoxville though), the biggest of which is the twice-a-month card show (twice-a-month during normal times).

In the six years that I've been here, I'd say that my most frequented place has been the Book Cellar, which has been featured many times here on the blog. I used to try to stop in at least once every six weeks or so, but since the Rona got going, I've found that those have increased to about every 2-3 weeks, and judging by the turnaround in inventory, I'm not the only one. It really is a much better used bookstore than you'd expect to find in such a small town, although said small town has seen exponential growth over the last couple of years, as it continually makes "best places to retire" lists, and is now making "best place to escape your post-apocalyptic city" lists as well. I won't share my thoughts on the towns growth in general, but will say that it has had a positive effect on the bookstore, as the quality of the selection just continues to get better.

The store was recently put up for sale, bought, and is now under new ownership/management. Normally this would've been cause for concern, but this too has seemingly improved the store, especially where organization is concerned, all of sudden it's much easier to find things. I was a little worried that the new owners might come in and make some unwanted changes (unwanted by me that this), namely no longer continuing to sale videos, as that's starting to happen elsewhere. But my fears have gone unfounded, as not only have they not stopped selling videos (or CD's and DVD's), but the selection in that department has actually increased as well.

Looking at my post history, I see that I haven't done a Book Cellar post since early November, and have gone three times since, so I guess it's time to do some catching up. It's worth noting too that on two of these stops, I had many other places to hit in a very short amount of time, thus only having a few minutes to look around.


Have you ever wondered how different The Breakfast Club would've turned out if Bobby Stine had written it (and let's be honest, who reading this hasn't?), if so, you're in luck, because that's pretty much the best way I can think of to describe this book. Minor spoiler alert: The ending of this book is considerably different than that of the film!

I don't have a list made, but if I was ever to make a list of my top 10 favorite vampire films, Count Yorga would be an automatic entry. I like everything about this movie (well, except for maybe the cat scene, that's kind of gross), and have since I first saw it at the age of 12 (watched it on AMC not too long after we got cable again for the first time in a number of years). And I've had it on video for decades now, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to upgrade that old video for a buck.

I hadn't realized that this series was now available on DVD (apparently it has been for a few years btw). I had only ever seen two episodes, so this was must get. This pack was missing it's slipcase, hence there being no shot at the synopsis on the back. Basically though, it's just young Charlie Bronson playing a freelance photographer who always seems to find himself in the middle of the action, and more often than not this action is of the criminal variety. It'll feel dated to most modern/young eyes, but I really enjoy it, genuinely enjoy it that is, not tongue-in-cheek enjoy it.

There are a couple of free boxes out front that I almost always check despite there almost never being anything of interest to me within their confines. This trip proved to be an exception though, as I found this possibly interesting coffee table book on college football, I say possibly interesting because I still haven't read it yet, but it was free, so there's no rush.


I saw Amityville 3-D on commercial television sometime before my teens, even at that age when garbage films can seem good, I still didn't care for it, and have never seen it again since. And yet, I didn't hesitate for a single second to grab this adaptation when I found it. The book isn't perfect either, but is considerably better than the film. The narrative is much clearer as well. It's funny too, I had forgotten some of the film after all of these years, but after reading this, and then remembering some of those forgotten parts, I feel quite confident in saying that I believe that this film/book was the inspiration for Ringu (or The Ring for those of you who don't like foreign films). There are way too many similarities for it not to have been. It's also worth noting that this paperback was an import, and is still sporting it's nifty Hodder & Stoughton sticker on the back.

I will never grow tired of finding old films that I haven't seen. I was already quite familiar with Kiss of Death, but the opportunity to watch it just hadn't ever presented itself. I enjoyed it a great deal, but do realize that it's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea.


Through the first 80 pages or so, I was ready to say that this as one of my favorite books ever, as well as proclaim Graham Masterton to be one of the great modern horror writers... then the rest of the book happened! This was the first book of Graham's that I've read, and even after a few weeks have passed since I finished it, I still don't know what to think. The first third of the book was great, very Lovecraftian in it's slow build of an unseen terror, but then it just goes bonkers with an addition that came from further than left field. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that he had ideas for two different stories, but couldn't flush either of them out to book length, causing him instead to decide to mash both of them together. I can honestly say that I've never encountered anything like this before, hence my perplexedness (I know, it's not a word, but it works here, so...). Seeing as how the first part was so good, I will give his stuff another chance, hopefully this mash-up of things that don't go together was an anomaly for him, and not the norm (Norm!!!!!).

I was familiar with probably 60% of this books content, but it never hurts to have a refresher. For my money, the most interesting thing that I didn't already know was that William Peter Blatty spent 15 years writing The Exorcist. I've long known of the story that it was based on, but had never heard that it taken him so long to finish the book. Seeing as how it was one of the more successful books (then later, films) of it's era, it really furthers that old adage about not rushing things (now if I could just remember that when blogging, I might actually be able to produce something worth reading!).

They do have used magazines too, but rarely do they have anything of this, or the followings, caliber. 

At one time, Filmfax was one of the better movie magazines out there. I say was though it is still around, but they've lost a few steps in recent years. Between most things having already been discussed ad nauseam, and running out of people worth interviewing, their content just isn't what it used to be. Thankfully, #45 here was put out during their prime, and was well worth the fifty cent price tag.

Ah, 1995, the year in which it was virtually impossible to pass a newsstand without seeing Mulder and Scully on the cover of some magazine, sigh... I want to go back!

OUTRÉ was put out by the the fine folks over at Fimfax, and while not nearly as good, is still something that I will always pick up if cheap.

Horror comics/monster magazines/movie magazines are just about the only thing I get excited about finding out in the wild anymore, and all of these certainly fit the bill. Now if I could just find them more often...

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.