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 clichΓ© (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.

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Man with the Golden Gun(z)

Aside from a couple of $5 boxes from Kmart in the mid to late 90's, once I stopped collecting baseball cards in (or around) 1993, I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase any more until I returned to cards in 2010. 

Now this is isn't to say that I still wasn't tempted by a few certain cards here and there during the remainder of my original collecting run, because I was, but there was only so much money to go around, and being an obsessive set collector at the time, I wasn't about to be "wasting" any of it on baseball singles when I still had so many basketball and non-sport sets to try and complete.

At this point, I can only remember a few of those baseball cards that I was tempted by, the biggest of which was Bo Jackson's Gold Signature parallel from the 1995 Collector's Choice Special Edition set. I'm not sure if it was in 1995, as it could've just as easily have been in '96, but I do recall seeing the card in the glass case of a card shop with a price tag of either $20 or $25. As an aside, it's not relevant to this post at all, but I sure wish I could remember which shop it was at. I know for a fact that it wasn't at normal shop, Home Field, but there were so many card shops in the Portland/Metro area at the time, that most of them have pretty much just blurred together in my memory. The only two that stand out are Home Field and Hoopla Sportscards, everything else might as well have just been one big shop. Anyway, back to Bo...

I may not have been collecting baseball at the time, but I was quite familiar with the Collector's Choice brand, and knew from the basketball side that the Gold Signatures only averaged out to one per box, which of course made them sort of "rare". Despite how enamored I was with this particular card though, there was no way that I could save up and pay $20-25 for a single card, as once again, I had plenty of unfinished sets to think about. If it wasn't a box of something that I was collecting, or wanted to collect, I would've never spent that much on a card related thing at that time. 

Fast forwarding a bunch of years, after having been gone for about a decade, I returned to card collecting in (or around) 2010, and went right back to my set collecting ways -- although this time it was vintage sets, or at least it was for those first couple of years. 

I want to say that I saw the gold Bo again somewhere around 2012 or 2013, and was apparently still quite smitten with it, but again, I had sets to think about! I mean if I had $10-20 to spend on a card, and it was choice between a gold Bo or say a 1975-76 Topps Moses Malone rookie (they were still selling for under $10 up until last year), well, Moses (or a suitable equivalent) was gonna win that battle 100 times out of 100.

Skipping ahead a few more years, my interest in set collecting began to wane (and ultimately die), and I finally started to make an effort to acquire cards that weren't needed for sets, cards like the gold Bo. Thanks to eBay, they were no longer quite as rare as they used to be, but even so, not wanting to overpay though, I still couldn't seem to get one. That is until a couple of weeks ago when I put in a relatively low bid (low because the shipping was high) on a copy that was ending sometime after I was going to bed, and even though that almost never results in a won item, I was pleasantly surprised to find out the next morning that I had won it. 

So for $2.25 + $3.99 shipping (ugh), I got a card that I've wanted off and on for 25 years now. And even though the 2020's aren't proving to be the best time to buy "rare" cards, I think that I got a pretty good deal on this one (despite that crappy shipping price). I'm glad to have finally got one, and I'm even happier to know that going forward, I don't have to bid on, and subsequently lose out on, any more copies! I've got mine, I'll leave the rest to everyone else, well, that is unless I come across another cheap one...

Friday, March 12, 2021

Splurging on Sportlots: Part Deux

I'm not sure how much interest there'll be in this second Sportlots post, after all, football isn't exactly the most popular sport amongst the bloggers/blog readers. And even those that are down with the "foosball" (a gold star to anyone who knows what movie that's from), might not be overly excited by a post that only features six players.

Why are only six players represented in this three-order splurge of mine? Well, as mentioned in the previous post, I got burned out awfully quick once I started to catalog my player collections, and have been very slow to come back to it. And as a result of that, I think I only have around 10 players cataloged. Since I'm not exactly rolling in dough right now, I'm not looking to get a lot of duplicates, so I'm pretty much just buying cards of guys that are inventoried, which isn't very many!

Seeing as how he has a crap-ton of cards, and I know that realistically I can't collect them all, I decided recently just start focusing on J-Stew's blue cards, mostly because they look good with the Panthers (and later, Giants) colors -- which isn't dissimilar to what I'm doing with Alex Smith's red cards. I mean I'll still be collecting any of his cards that I come across in the wild, especially if I ever start going to shows again, but as far as online purchases go, they're pretty much just gonna be blue for the time being.

I led off with a really nifty Topps Chrome blue refractor (2013, I think), which might just be one of the better looking modern cards that I now own (it's at least a thousand times better looking in person, possibly even two thousand). And here we've got a Finest blue refractor, not quite as exciting, but it was cheaper, so I don't expect it to be.

Given the era that he played in, it's not much of surprise to see that Jon's had a number of blue Prizm's, sometimes even multiple different blue's from the same set. This was a pretty good sampling, with at least one of his blue's being represented by the 2013, '14, and '16 sets.

You knew you were gonna be seeing some Reggie's, right? I was finally able to get a couple of his stickers, which haven't been as easy to come by as I had thought. I can't remember for certain off the top of my head, but I think there's still two more for me to look for.

It'd be interesting to know if any kids ever actually used Pacific's flash cards to improve their math skills? The Skybox is a prototype.

I love Collector's Edge, and I enjoy parallels (for the most part), but one thing that I've never been big on, is parallels of parallels. But, they're a thing, and if you're going for all of somebody's cards, especially someone who played in the 90's onwards, you're probably gonna have to get a few.

I've known of the 1995 Score's Red Siege parallels pretty much since I came back to collecting, but only recently just learned of the Artist's Proof's. They're quite attractive, but apparently don't scan worth a sh*t!

It's hard to tell from the scan, but these are Skybox impact Colors parallels (the 'impact' comes in various colors), which I also just recently learned of. I rarely pay any attention to how I'm laying cards out on the scanner tray, so if something interesting has occurred, I usually won't notice it until I'm editing the scans, or "writing" the post. This was one of those instances, as the layout makes it look like Reggie is a split second away from being laid out by Howie.

The destroyer of worlds pities the fool who doesn't learn math!

I've traded for Steve's Pro Set rookie twice on the TCDB, one was in less than ideal condition, and the other was damaged by the post office, so I decided to put myself out of my misery, and just buy a crispy one for 18¢. Also, I had never seen Score's football version of their Young Superstars cards before, and you know something, I really like them! 

Foil cards always seem to scan funny. There's no blemish/smudge on Steve's card, and yet, there's one on the scan?

Another completed 22K 'rainbow'. Now I just need the base, Nitro, and Nitro 22K to complete the full rainbow.

My scanner doesn't usually turn bright reds into brown's, but did here with this Leaf Red. Also, this is the first Summit parallel that I've ever owned, I really love it's crazy shininess.

I didn't realize when I was putting together my orders just how many Atwater's I was getting, but I need a lot of his cards, and one of these sellers had quite a few cheap parallels. It also helped that Steve is one of the ten guys who's cards I've actually inventoried.

I never saw a single promo, or special stamped card, for The National during my original collecting run, but have seen what seems like a never-ending parade of them since I've come back. It's kind of interesting to see just how many different things they did (most of which occurred during the 90's), but it's also terribly annoying too, especially since a number of them can be quite difficult to find. I'm not sure how difficult these 1995 stamped Silver's are to find, as there are a bunch on COMC, but before deciding to pay a dollar for this one, I did notice that COMC had never had one of Steve's before, so maybe some easier to find than others? Either way, it's a pretty card, and it's nice to be able to check it off the list.

If you're one of the few who made this far, thank you -- doubly so if you scrolled through both Sportlots posts. I don't make these kind of purchases very often anymore, and because of that, I wanted to make sure that everything made it onto the blog, even if the posts themselves weren't all that exciting writing-wise.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Splurging on Sportlots: Part 1

I mentioned at the end of my previous post that I was expecting this week to be busy, and surprise surprise, it has been!

The weather is getting really nice, really quick. Meaning that any free time (during daylight hours that is) has been, and will continue to be, spent getting things ready for spring/summer. All of the various storms that have rolled through in the last year or so, have really taken their toll on the house's siding, and I've been waiting for a stretch of dry weather to fix all of the various problems before any major summer storms can come and make them worse. It's been slow going so far, but I think I'll be done with as of Friday. It's almost time to start planting things as well, so there's plenty of garden prep to do as well, including my "favorite", tilling :(

All of these hours spent doing extracurricular work has got me plumb tuckered out, mentally and physically (I suspected that it would). As such, I'm not looking to write the card blog equivalent of "War and Peace", at least not this week. So as planned, I'm gonna drop a two-part Sportlots order on you. 

Thanks to an eBay sale, I had some extra money last month (scroll down to find out what I sold), and decided to treat myself to some cards. Normally I would've just saved it for a show, but I'm not feeling the idea of driving to Nashville any time soon, and with eBay being kind of sucky right now, I decided, after doing some looking around, to spend some of my ill-gotten gains on Sportlots. I ended up buying from three sellers (acardman, shaner18, and whoops24), and to my great surprise, wasn't disappointed with anything from them (are the sellers on Sportlots actually getting better?).

Today's post will cover baseball(warning: there's not very much)/basketball portions, and if I can get it done by then, Friday's post will be all football (and I know how excited you'll all be for that one).

I grew up in Mother's Cookies country, but only ever encountered the various Mariners issues (which were so plentiful at the time that you couldn't even give them away). In fact, until my late teens, I was under the impression that the only cards Mother's made were those of the Mariners variety. Of course I've learned otherwise since, but it's still a little off-putting to see an MC card featuring a non-Mariner. This one does spotlight a future Mariner, but it still looks odd to me.

Jamie looks so young here! And to my knowledge, this is the only card in which he can be seen sporting his ill-advised hoop earring. I know that almost of us went through a rebellious phase when we were growing up, and probably made a few poor decisions during said phase, but even so, this earring was an especially bad idea on Jamie's part. I know that he got rid of it fairly quickly, and refuses to ever talk about it, so if it weren't for this card, most people might not have ever remembered what the media dubbed, "Earring Gate".

I guess it's because I wasn't collecting in the mid-aughts, but I am not familiar with Topps Cracker Jack in the least. I remember the mini '91 Topps' that came in Cracker Jacks, but that was about it. I see that Topps did all of the usual stuff with this set, mini's, parallels, 1/1's, etc. I've looked at a few other cards in the set, and am not overly impressed. I did like this card though, which is a mini by the way. 

Speaking of mini's...

This Bo is so mini, it's Micro! MicBo? Bocro? I had actually never seen one of these in person before. I had always just assumed that they were about the size of the above mentioned Cracker Jack cards. Turns out that I was wrong though, as they're even smaller...

I don't know why, but I really love this photo! The only thing that would've made it better is if Bo had been playing for one of the 'bird' teams.

I don't know if anyone's noticed or not, but I haven't been doing much baseball here on the blog in recent months. In case anyone has noticed, and wondered why, it's simply because I still don't have the majority of my player collections inventoried. I'm kind of burned out on adding lists to the TCDB, and am down to adding about one player a week at this point, which makes for some very slow inventorying. I think that Bo is the only modern baseball player that I've done so far, so I didn't have to get up and go look at what I already had while placing these orders. And I don't have very many cards of Jamie Moyer, so it's pretty easy to remember what I do and don't have. Everybody else is a little more difficult.

All of the baseball or bust folks can probably bounce now, as that was the extent of my baseball purchases. Whoops24 had a few more $1 and up baseball cards that I was interested in, but I wasn't looking to go too crazy with my spending. If they're still available in another month or two, I'll probably go back and grab a few of them.

I think it's because a lot of newer collectors are just finding out about it, but I feel like I've heard and seen more talk about the 1988 Fournier Estrellas set in the last year or so, than I had in the previous thirty. Of course most of these people only care about the MJ card, which isn't a bad thing if you're of the sort that doesn't, because the rest of cards in the set can, for the most part, still be had for very little. 

It's been a long time since I last acquired any new 1991-92 Fleer Wheaties. If the shipping wasn't so prohibitive, I'd just try to get some of the full sheets and cut out the cards that I still needed, but as long as it saves money, I'm okay with going the singles route too.

A Wheaties back for anyone who may be interested.

As a kid, I thought that there was almost nothing cooler than the Tony's Pizza Fleer sets. The only thing that edged them out in terms of coolness, was the McDonald's Hoops/Upper Deck sets. I used to have a complete set of both of the Tony's sets, but that was long time ago. Owning complete sets doesn't really do much for me these days, I'm mostly just trying to fill out player collections. 

More Tony's! If I was actively adding cameo cards to my player collections, I'd have to get two more Thunder Dan's, as both Buck Williams and Terry Porter are clearly shown (same goes for the Cliff up above where James Edwards reaching into the frame).

1989-90 Fleer has really shot up in price as of late, which seems a little weird to me, but it's the usual, MJ, and graders. It doesn't really matter to me either way, as long as I can still upgrade a few more cards on the cheap, like this uber-crispy Moses that cost me all of 18¢.

Some months ago I decided to open up my 1989-90 Hoops Superstars boxed set, and pull out all of my player collection needs. Before doing so though, I did decide to check eBay, and despite all of the current card craziness, was still surprised to see how much these sets that you couldn't sell at any price two years ago, were currently going for -- but then again, MJ, and the graders! I already had a loose MJ, as well as a few others, so I decided to sell my set, and just buy the couple more that I needed for 18¢ apiece off of Sportlots. My set sold like six hours after I listed it, the funds of which covered this Sportlots splurge, and then some. 

Oh, and I'm assuming that most of you are familiar with this set, but in case I'm wrong, yes, the borders are supposed to be yellow, my scanner just didn't pick it up very well.

Panini stickers were one of my favorite things to collect as a kid. There was so much variety, and they could be found at every grocery store, for not very much money. All of my stickers are one of the few things that I wish I had held on to when I stopped collecting, but how was I to know that I'd be so nostalgic for them 20 years later. Oh well, most of the singles can still be gotten on the cheap too.

I got a bunch of 91-92's. These can be a real pain to get off of the scanner tray, hence the bad photos.

I don't have a checklist going, but I'm fairly certain that I only need a few more from this set now.

If you didn't know any better, you'd swear I was a Celtics fan. I'm not by the way, I just collect a number of the teams former players. Larry is from one of those team sheets that were given out at games. I always liked the Tower of Power inserts. Top Flight? Not so much.

I still like the '93-94 Hoops set quite a bit, though I never owned a lot of it as a kid, which is kind of weird in retrospect since Hoops was my primary basketball brand. The LJ is a promo, and the other two are obviously 5th Anniversary parallels.

Seeing as how I rarely buy from Sportlots, I took this opportunity to grab some cheap Cliff Robinson inserts and parallels. I didn't scan the back, but this particular Stick Ums is of the Italian variety.

With this blue parallel, my Cliff E-XL rainbow is now complete. Granted, said rainbow is made up of only two cards (base and blue parallel), but a rainbow's a rainbow, right?

My scanner made this Topps at 50 look like absolute πŸ’©.

Ditto on the blue Fleer Brilliants. I've never been a fan of the Mystique set, but a gold for 18¢ was awfully difficult to pass up.

Post-2000 basketball sets do very little for me, but I kind of like the looks of this Fleer Tradition. I also really dig the shade of green that they used for the parallel. It's very close to the color of my bedroom walls (center stage green).

I'm not sure how it is that I've gone the last ten years without knowing that Topps went back to the tallboy well at some point while I was away, but apparently they did back in 2001 with their High Topps release. Seeing as how I'm just now finding out about them, they obviously went over about as well as Fleer's attempt to bring them back in the previous decade. Collector's by in large didn't care for them in the 90's, and clearly still didn't in '01. Given how unpopular they are today, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that I don't think that we'll ever see another set of tallboy's released. I mean seriously, can you imagine what would happen if Panini made a tallboy set? Today's "investors" would lose their collective sh*t! 

I don't have my LJ cards inventoried yet, but was certain that I was buying a duplicate hologram (because it was cheap), turns out though that I didn't already own a copy, so I guess that was a small win on my part. And t's impossible to tell from the scan, but the Metal is a Silver Spotlight.

My 1997-97 Metal Universe Reebok Silver didn't scan so well. I think I can almost guarantee too that you won't see a worse looking scan on the blogs today, it's that bad. I already had two of the Starquests, but wanted at least one more so that they could fill the row of a page.

That'll do it for this group. If you're one of the few folks out there that enjoy football cards, you might like Friday's post. If you're not one of those few, well, Sunday's post will be baseball related (another card bought from the sale of that Hoops Superstars box), so you can just wait until then to come back around.