Thursday, August 31, 2023

Hey Joe

The Oakland A's were in Cleveland for a three-game set from April 23-25, 1976. The first game saw Dennis Eckersley get the win over Vida Blue as the Indians managed a 3-0 victory. 

For the second game, on Saturday the 24th, Cleveland went with the veteran, Fritz Peterson, while Oakland trotted out their young right-hander, Mike Norris. The Indian batters overwhelmed the future one-year phenom from the get-go, scoring two runs in the 1st, and two more in the second, which were enough to end the youngster's day after just 1.1 innings pitched. Oakland responded in kind by scoring five runs in the 3rd inning, which included a 3-run HR by Don Baylor. Four of those came off of old Fritz, which were enough to chase him out of the game. The A's padded their lead by adding another run in the 4th to make it 6-4, but Cleveland wasn't ready to call it a day yet, as they would score a run in the 7th, and two more in the 8th to take a 7-6 lead into the 9th. Oakland wasn't done though. With two outs in the top of the 9th, Tom Buskey walked Claudell Washington, and then Joe Rudi made him pay for that mistake by conjuring up some of his old postseason magic and hitting a two-run homer that wound up ending this slugfest in the A's favor, 8-7. The win ended a four-game skid for Oakland as well. Five pitchers were used by each team, with Rollie Fingers gave up two runs but was still able to pick up his second win of the early season (he'd go on to win 11 more). Tom Buskey was given the loss for Cleveland.

The A's cruised to a 9-1 victory on Sunday to close out the series. Mike Torrez got the win over Pat Dobson. Joe Rudi hit another 2-run homer as well, this time in the first inning.

Despite the game's overall insignificance, I bought this ticket stub earlier this year thinking that it would be a fun addition to my Joe Rudi collection. He did after all have a bit of a moment. Once shipping and taxes were factored in, I paid roughly the same price that the ticket originally cost. Initially, it felt like a bad (but cheap) purchase, but after reading the play-by-play (twice now), looking at in with Joe's cards a few times since, and now writing about it; I find myself being rather pleased with this get, and could easily see trying to add a few more tickets to his collection.

In addition to the ticket, I added two more cards to the collection earlier this year as well...

I paid seven bucks for this 2001 Archives autograph back in March(?). It seemed like a good price, and I was looking forward to getting it. Once in hand though, I was a little less enthused. Topps must've used an industrial buffer for the surface on these. It is so shiny. Too shiny for my liking. When I look at it, all I see is gloss; which isn't very 1969-ish. I think I would've been much more content with just getting the original version of the card signed.

Now, here's a fun one! I probably overpaid for this 1977 Hostess error, but it's pretty unique, so this was one instance where I didn't mind doing so. The lettering is all misplaced, but the double-negative effect is the real star of the piece. It almost looks like Joe's soul is beginning to ascend (knock on wood that Joe still has many more years left on this plain), which seems even more appropriate given the team. I would've loved to have seen/gotten this panel before it was cut, but this card was the only one available. And for those curious, the back is completely normal. I can't say enough good things about this purchase. Despite the food (Twinkie?) stains, and one small wrinkle (in an unimportant place), I was more than happy to pay a little over $5 for this particular copy. I can't imagine that there are too many more out there like this.

My Joe Rudi collection, though not being overly impressive in terms of numbers, has become one of my favorite player collections in recent years. I don't add items to it nearly as often as I would like, but that just makes it all the more better when I do.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

In limbo

It was just a few short years ago that I declared in a post that I was officially done with set collecting. And it was true at the time. I was more than ready to move onto something else, namely player collecting. Not only did that sound like it would be more fun in general, but also seemed like there'd be much less rigidity, and for me, less stress as well. And so it was, at least for a year or two.

I guess it was sometime last year that not only did I start to get a little bored with just collecting certain players, but the old set collecting itch began to, well, itch, again too. I thought initially that I could satiate it by just working on an insert set or two, but apparently that wasn't enough, and before I knew it I was putting the remnants from multiple old set builds, as well as a few new ones, back into binders. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I had finally found the right balance for me; but now here we are on the wrong side of 2023, and I have very little idea what I'm doing, or what I want to do going forward.

Prices continue to increase, and for the first time since the latest boom started, they've begun to affect my ability to purchase things; which I believe in turn, has also begun to affect my interest level. 

Conventional wisdom, at least amongst us pedestrian collectors, has held that if one area of interest starts to get too expensive, just pivot to another -- which is all fine and dandy, but I've been pivoting for 3 or 4 years now, and I'm starting to think that I'm done pivoted out. Every time I move, so does everyone else. And it's gotten very old.

The only other option seems to be to just accept that things have changed, and will continue to stay changed for the foreseeable future. Which basically just means eat it and start paying $10 for items that were less than a buck prior to the boom. Or in other words, finally give in to the new normal. Well, I can't do that either. Mentally, I just can't. I don't have the money to collect like that, and even if I did, I don't get joy from overpaying for things.

And I'm not saying that I'm done with cards, yet, but I do know that my interest level in them right now is at about the same level it was back in 1999-00 right before I took a 10-year break from collecting. I guess the good news is though, that even if I did take a break of some kind, I've got tons of old stuff sitting in scan folders, so if I wanted to keep this blog going during said break, I've got more than enough to keep it active for the time being (especially if I keep up this 1-2 post a month thing I've currently got going).

Like I said though, I really don't know what I'm doing right now in terms of collecting, and as far as the first part of this post goes, I'm probably just rambling, as usual. It's probably advisable not to put too much stock into anything I say (ever). And hey, it hasn't been all doom and gloom; there have been a few bright spots in recent months...

The brightest of bright spots in recent months was seeing an unexpected free stuff post show up from Kerry, of Cards on Cards fame. They've become so infrequent that, honestly, even if I had been late to the party, and not gotten anything, I would've been more than content just knowing that someone else was doing one. As it turned out though, I clearly wasn't the only one who was surprised by Kerry's offering, because despite the post having already been up for a couple of hours before I clicked on it, there was only one card that had been claimed by the time I finally did so.

I ended up claiming five cards, the most important of which, to me, was this 1962 Post Dick Howser (no relation to Doogie). I haven't bought a single sports card since March, so it's been at least that long since I was last able to add a card to my set. It didn't last very long, being only one card and all, but it was fun to have an excuse to break out the Post/Jell-O binder; and even more so to add a new card to it. Heck, I even logged into the TCDB for the first time in many months just so I could mark this card off of the checklist. Apparently this was card #60 towards the 200-card set for me. I thought I was a little further along than that, but I guess 60 is better than 59.

I've really tried to cut back on "just because" cards, but even so, I couldn't resist Orlando here, mostly "just because" I love the old green and yellow A's uniforms. I'm not a big uniform guy, but these might just be my favorite baseball uniforms. I don't know how Orlando feels about them, but after starting the '65 season 0-6, he found himself trading these colors for those of Detroit, where he ended up faring slightly better with a 4-6 record.

I want to say that it was back in January that I re-watched the 1974 World Series on YouTube (and it only took me about a month to do so). While doing so, I thought to myself that it wouldn't be the worst thing ever if I added a few more cards of Dick Green to my life. Fast forward seven months, and I finally added one! He isn't one of the A's players from that era that I collect, but given how important he was to the team (defensively), and how few cards he apparently has, I probably should. Maybe I will start doing so at some point, but for now, being able to get this one will be good enough. I can't really tell what's going on here, but it is a very interesting looking card. In my mind, there's almost no such thing as a bad action card, especially those of the vintage variety.

Every time I've shown a Dave Winfield card in the last year or two, I've mentioned fighting the temptation to collect him. I think that temptation is finally gone. Doesn't mean I won't ever still try to get any of his cards, especially the earlier ones.

I couldn't remember if I had Gerry's "sunset" card or not, and I still haven't looked, but I still wanted this one either way. 1961 was a rough one for Gerry. Despite going 13-8, and being named an All-Star, the year before, age finally started to catch up to him towards the end of that season, and he didn't bounce back in '61. His final season saw him pitching for Chicago, Kansas City, and Detroit, managing just a 2-5 record between the three. He closed out his baseball career with the Portland Beavers, where he was a pitching coach, who also tossed a couple of games (2-4), in 1962; which is the primary reason why I collect him.  

Many thanks to Kerry for giving everyone (who saw the post) a chance to pick up some neat cards. The only downside to all of this is that because of my interest in all things cards being so low, I still haven't made an effort to find anything to send in return. I will though, one of these days!

On a final, and unrelated, note: I noticed a new(ish) blog on block a few weeks back, and haven't seen anyone else mention it lately, so I thought I'd try divert a few eyeballs over to Lajoie's Locker. It's not easy starting up a new blog in 2023, and it's probably even harder to keep a new blog going in 2023; meaning that this fellow could probably use some support. Most bloggers feed on views and comments, especially new bloggers, so if you've got the time, and are inclined to want to do so, maybe you could take a few minutes and go say hi. 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Bad scans from a good trade

I don't know if any of my fellow bloggers can relate to this or not, but sometimes I will scan, or photograph, an item, load it onto my computer, without paying much attention to it's quality, save it to a folder for future use, and then when it comes time to use it; then, and only then, do I finally notice just how poor said saved image was. 

Given my absolute hatred of scanning, I'm a bit surprised that this doesn't happen more often. In the past, I would sometimes go back and try to redo whatever the item was, but again, I hate scanning, and have gotten to the point where I can barely bring myself to do it these days (that's also part of the reason why posting on this blog has slowed down so much). So with that in mind, I not-so-proudly present two poorly scanned cards that made their way East earlier this year, courtesy of a trade with Gavin, resident expert in all things pertaining to Topps Retired Autographs, from Baseball Card Breakdown (and 1991 MusiCards Blog).

Gavin added a trade bait page to his blog a while back, which subsequently saw me reaching out to see if I'd have enough to be able to swing a deal for two of his offerings; and spoiler alert, I did!

Bobby Thomson is a guy that I say I collect, but I'm not sure if my 5-6 cards of him qualify as much of a collection. I only seem to be acquiring about one new card of his about every two years, which doesn't help in building up any kind of real collection. I do, at the very least, now have a really nifty autograph of his though (which isn't speckled btw).
While lacking a bit in the 50's department, my Johnny Podres collection is a bit more respectable. Although once again, this card here represents my lone autograph of his. They're a bit hard to see here, but this card features another nice shot (to go along with his '67 Topps card) of the old barracks at the Dodgers Vero Beach training facility (which I already covered a few years ago).

I've talked about both of these guys multiple times before, so I don't really have a lot more to say about them, or these cards (hence my taking so long to cover this trade. Well, that and the bad scans). I really do dig the cards though, and am thankful to Gavin for the trade.

It wasn't too long after this that another, this time somewhat unexpected, PWE showed up from Gavin; and in that was one of my favorite gets this year...

Gavin had told me that he would make one of his sun-bleached '91 Fleer mods (that were all the rage last Christmas) of Bo for me, and as you can clearly see, he did. He didn't say when though, and I thought that he might not be able to do it until summer, so like I said, I was bit surprised that it showed up so soon. 

I don't keep track of my acquisitions throughout the year, so it's not really possible for me to rank them, say in an end of the year post, but if I did/could make such a list, this would definitely rank in the top 5; possibly even top 3. It's just a really neat card, that brings me a lot of joy to look at. I figured the only place in the Bo binder for this would be next to it's original yellow kin, the only problem is, when I went to do so I found, much to my surprise (and chagrin), that I don't have a copy of the original card. I don't know how that was possible, but it was. It'll pain me to do so, but eventually I'll 'breakdown' and get one of those 20¢ copies from Sportlots. Now, if Gavin could just figure out a way to make a blue-bordered version, I'd have one wicked cool looking row for the Bo binder. As it stands, I'll probably just have to get to copies of the original to go on either side of this one in the binder so that it'll balance out the row/page (that's how my collecting OCD works).