Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Blogger, blogger, blogger, Mom!

A few weeks have elapsed (unintentionally) in between posts again. Blogging consistently seems to be getting more difficult the longer I go. At my current pace, I'll probably be struggling to get one post done per month by about the middle of next year.

I've seen a lot of folks start posts in recent months by saying that they've been too busy to blog, which is relatable, but in order to switch things up, I'm gonna say that I've been too tired (from being busy) to blog.

Technically, I have had time to blog, but for the last couple of months, and more specifically, the last couple of weeks, I have just been dead-ass tired by the end of the day. Between work and projects around the house, or rather, outside the house, it's been a busy summer. Small example, I've spent pretty much all of my free time from the last two weeks trying to shore up a long section of eroding creek bank by the house. This is something that has been needing attention for years now, but the opportunities to do so haven't been presenting themselves. This is not something that I've ever done before (and I haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn recently), so I basically just guessed my way through it. I'm finished now, but not before an incredible amount of digging was needed, and a shit-ton of large stones carried from one spot to another. Oh, and there was the sweltering sun, and the fighting off of mosquitos too. I should know by next summer whether my efforts were worth it or not (after the inevitable winter and spring flooding).

So while there have been hours worth of potential blogging time in the evenings, I'm usually done in by the time I've finished with dinner. I could sit down and blog, or even better, sit down and read, but really, I just wanna sit down and watch a Columbo, and call it a day. Besides, you really don't want me to be blogging when I'm tired. Posts "written" while I'm rested are bad enough, just imagine how bad they'd be with one out of every ten words missing, and more misspellings than you can shake a stick at (see my late night comments on other blogs). There's a brief a lull in the action this week, hence me trying to get this post out, but next week I'll be taking on (not by choice) a multiple week chainsawing project, which is going to require just about as much back-breaking labor as the creek project took. With that in mind, my posts will probably continue to be erratic for the time being. The good news is though, that there are plenty of other blogs out there, blogs who's proprietors are more well-equipped to post on a regular basis than I (and there posts are better), so you should never be want for something to read.

[Side note: Please know that this isn't me complaining about having to all of this hard labor. I'm grateful to be living where I live, and to physically be able to do all of the work that comes with living where I live. It saves money, and keeps me in great shape, or at least the outside of me in great shape. Inside, I'm a hot mess, but that's another story...]

Cosmically speaking, I feel like I've been rewarded for all of my hard work by finding interesting things in my mailbox as of late. Sure, some of those have been small purchases, and therefor are less exciting, but a few haven't been - like this book - which came directly from the author, who, in case some of you don't know, is our very own, Jeff, from Wax Pack Wonders

I had planned to dive into this the day it arrived, but remember the whole busy and tired thing? Yeah, so now it's multiple weeks later and I've just started it (last night to be specific). The bad news though is that I'm much too biased to do any sort of proper review, but the good news is, that at least through 73 pages, I'm really liking it (not that I thought I wouldn't, mind you). As someone who tends to ramble, and doesn't know how not to when writing, I'm really impressed with the flow of this book. There is a lot of info in here, but not so much that you have to keep backtracking to figure out who did what to whom. And despite the steady flow of facts, you don't feel like your being bogged down by them (Simon Winchester could learn a thing or two about writing from Jeff). I've already learned more about old North Dakota baseball than I ever would've thought possible, and am thinking that by the time I get done with the book, I'm gonna be the second most knowledgeable (living) person on the subject (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much 😉). I know that a fair amount of bloggers, and blog readers, are interested in obscure baseball history. If that's you, and you haven't already done so, you might want to give this one a look.

Jeff, sent a long a couple of "bookmarks" (his words) as well, which were in the form of cards for the new Beavers collection. Since all of those cards will eventually be making their way onto the new blog (I've been dropping the ball on that already too), I'm not gonna show them here, as I'm trying not to double-dip, but just know that they were all greatly appreciated. Another trio of "bookmarks" arrived from Jeff last week, and despite wanting to keep the contents of both blogs separate, I've got to show one, if only because of how cool it is...

Spoiler alert: There's gonna be a Roger Bowman post at some later date on the other blog.

I've thanked him many times via email in recent months, but only one other time publically, so, many thanks to Jeff once again for all of his behind the scenes assistance with the new blog, and for the book, and the cards. I'll probably be playing catch-up for the foreseeable future, and beyond!

Free stuff posts seem to have fallen out of favor this year, but that hasn't stopped, Trevor, from Bump and Run Football Cards, from doing a serious of giving back posts, aka free stuff posts. I claimed two cards from the last one, both from the '89 Pro Set set; Howie Long because I needed him, and Reggie Roby because I didn't think anybody else would be wanting him (I have more than a few copies already). It's kind of interesting to see the size difference between the two cards. Reggie is regular sized, and Howie is plus sized. I don't think I've encountered a Pro Set card as big as Howie before, and am kind of amazed that none of his corners got punked up in the pack. It was a Long miracle?

Thanks to Trevor for the cards, and his willingness to give a little something back to everybody.

I went a couple of years without participating in Matt's Time Travel Trading project over at Diamond Jesters, and now for the second month in a row, I have! I missed out on a copy of this card that Bo had up for trade a few months ago, so I was more than a little happy to see another one pop up for trade on the blogs. I'm like 99% certain that I've never mentioned it before, but Frank Lary is one of my favorite 'players of yore' to collect. He had a solid career, and his cards are relatively cheap, what's not to like?

Thanks to Matt for letting me play along again!

It's not from a fellow blogger, but does fit the theme of a mostly sports card blog, so I thought I'd shoehorn a book in here that my mom recently found for me at a yard sale. 

She actually bought a couple of books for me, including what appears to be a fairly rare old one on local history, but nobody is gonna care about that, or the couple of others, so yeah... sports!

This book was published in 1951, and covers various sports happenings from the previous 100 years. I've got a few pages of the table of contents here, just to give you an idea of the variety.

Things like golf, horse racing, polo, and tennis, don't interest me much, so those stories will be skipped -- I fully expect what's left to be worth the 25¢ price tag though. And who knows, I might even get a blog post out of one of them (possibly the man, boat, and horse story).

On a completely unrelated note: There's been much talk about this whole Topps losing their MLB license thing, and even more recently, Panini losing their NBA deal. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this (and you know what they say about opinions, right?), so I thought I'd add my two penny sleeves to the mix. 

I made the mistake of looking at Twitter (a mistake unto itself) the day the Topps thing happened. In less than a minute of scrolling I saw people saying they were "shook", "numb", and "crying" (yes, crying) over the announcement. And that was enough of Twitter for one day! Personally, I don't really care, it doesn't affect me in the least, and call me an a-hole, but I have no empathy for those that were "shook" (or numb, or crying) over such a trivial thing.

I'm not surprised at all that Topps lost their deal, but given how much money Panini has been raking in worldwide on basketball cards, I would've thought that they could've afforded to pony up a more competitive offer -- apparently I was wrong. I fully expect this Fanatics company, who I had never heard of before last week by the way, to buy Topps in a few years, and everything will pretty much be as it is now, except for maybe us as consumers seeing Topps basketball cards being produced again for the first time in two decades. If Panini can hang on to their NFL contract, I think they'll still be okay, and won't lose as much company value as Topps most certainly will in the coming years. I mean let's be honest, social influencers can keep pushing soccer cards to the moon, but those alone are not gonna sell enough in the U.S. to keep Topps afloat, or at least not Topps in it's current form.

Honestly, I'm kind of hoping that Panini and Topps will let their greed get the better of them, and adopt a scorched earth policy by revving up the printing presses in order to get every last dollar they can, while they still can. New sets are already released on a near weekly basis, so I'm not really sure how these two companies could possibly produce anymore, but if they can, they could in theory, truly flood the market. This would severely devalue all of the modern products, and if luck were on our side, force all of the investors/profit seekers who've jumped into the "hobby" in the last two years to seek out their fortunes elsewhere. I know that this is mostly wishful thinking on my part, but greed knows no limits, so let's wait and see what happens before you start calling me out for my erroneous opinion. Either way though, this will be the last I time I ever mention this subject on here, I've got much more important things to discuss, you know, like dusty old books, and cards from online dime stores, and... VHS tapes!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2021

The National? Meh! I'd rather have gone to this show.

Now that another National is in the books, I thought it might be fun to look back at another card show, a show that, dare I say, would've been much more interesting to attend. Okay, I know them's is fightin' words, so I'll just say that given the choice, I would choose the one in today's post over a modern National every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. 

I found this article while doing research for the other blog, and thought it might of some interest to a few people. So yeah, if you fall into that category, let's grab our towels, and take a little trip to the not so distant past, shall we?

The year: 1978
The place: Fair Lawn, NJ
The article: Courtesy of The Record (Hackensack, NJ) 4/3/78

A few items of note:

- The photo that's accompanying the article is really fantastic. How may sets can you identify?

- "Judy Juanita" is obviously a pen name, but I'm fairly certain that it's not, Judy Juanita, the former Black Panther. [Edit: Maybe it was?]

- The days of high school seniors organizing card shows are never coming back.

- Tables were $12.50; that's a shade over $52 in today's money. Those were some expensive tables!

- Collectors hoping to alleviate unsuspecting civilians of their treasures for pennies on the dollar, isn't a new phenomena. 

- Treating sports cards like stocks isn't a new phenomena.

- New blood trying to strike it big with sports cards isn't a new phenomena.

- Plastic pages have been around for longer than I thought. I had always been under the impression that plastic sheets came into existence sometime during the mid 80's, turns out I was wrong. Also, I hope no one out there is still using pages from 1978 😓.

- I would love to know what the contents of Mr. Ross' starter kits were.

- Card collecting started getting big in 1974... allegedly!

- Joe Kunigonis was selling old Yankee Stadium scoreboard letters for $3 ($12.50 today) a pop. A letter from that same scoreboard sold for $529.24 in 2017. 

- Old Yankee Stadium seats are estimated to be worth $750 apiece in 2021.

- Printing errors were more desirable in 1978 than they are in 2021. I'm guessing that grading companies have a little bit to do with the decline.

- Kids aren't being taught history anymore. Does this have something to do with their lack of interest in card collecting (or anything else for that matter)?

Bonus Round...

• Hank Aaron's 1954 Topps rookie was valued at $40 ($166 in today's money) in 1978. For the same card in 2021 you'd be looking at $300 and up for an unauthenticated copy, and $1,000 and up for an authenticated copy.

• A complete 1948 Bowman baseball set could be had for $150 ($625 today) in 1978. One with all kinds of problems sold on eBay back on May 29th of this year for $2,100.

• Not surprisingly, old All-Star press pins haven't jumped in price all that much. One of those $40 ($166 today) 1956 press pins sold for $195 back in 2015.

• Authenticated 1948 Leaf Satchel Paige's can fetch well over $10,000 today, which is a far cry from that $50 ($208 with inflation) estimate back in '78.

• I think we all know that if you wanted a '52 Topps Mantle, then you should've bought it for $400 ($1,666 with inflation) back in '78. PSA 1's routinely bring in over $30,000 in 2021.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this trip back in time as much as I did. If so, whatta you say, same time next year?

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Flash Freebie #3

Hey, welcome to the second Flash Freebies in three days. Either I'm feeling extra generous this week, or I've gotta go to the post office in the next few days, and want to make the trip count. Spoiler, it's the latter! Plus, I'm stuck on a long post for the other blog right now, and figured that I might as well post some stuff over here (real post coming Saturday) while trying to work through my non cold item induced brain freeze.

No stipulations for today's card, and as a quick reminder, Johnny, won last time, so he'll have to sit this one out (he'll be eligible for the next one though).

Here's tonight's "prize":

This 1954 Topps Dick Kokos (#106) is just a tad off-center, but other than that, is in pretty good condition -- no creases or back problems. Wanna win him? If you answered yes, just be the first person to correctly tell me (down in the comments section) how many bases Dick stole in 1950? And he's all yours!

*This'll be another late one, so I won't be confirming the winner (provided that anyone was interested, of course) until I get up in the morning.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Flash Freebie #2

I hadn't intended to go so long without doing another one of these, but then again, I hadn't planned on stepping away from the blog for a couple of months either, so...

Since I'm sure that there's more than a few people out there who didn't see the first one back however many months ago it was, or who did, but have simply forgotten, I thought a quick what's what might be in order.

The idea itself is pretty simple, each post contains a card (one that I hope will be considered to be worthy of this kind of giveaway) that's up for grabs, and to get it, all you have to do is be the first to correctly answer a question (one that will usually be easy enough to find via an internet search) about the player, or the card itself. Oh, and these posts aren't scheduled for any particular time or day, so they could pop up at any time, hence the "Flash".

The only rule, so to speak, is that in order to make sure that the same person doesn't win every time, the winner of the previous freebie has to sit out during the current giveaway, but will be eligible again for the next one. So, for example, Brendan, won the first giveaway, and therefor won't be eligible for this one, but will be able to try his hand at the next one. 

There may be a stipulation added from time to time, but that'll only be for the "better" cards, and won't likely be applicable often enough to discuss right now.

Now that that's out of the way, here's today's giveaway:

This 1955 Topps Jake Thies (#12) is in fairly good condition, with no creases, or problems with the back. So, if this card is of any interest to you, and you want to win it, all you gotta do is be the first person to correctly tell me (down in the comment section): How many HRs did Jake give up in 1954?

*This post will probably be going live right around the time I go to bed, so if there is a winner, I won't be confirming it until tomorrow morning.