Sunday, October 8, 2017

He's Pretty Good!

Did you file a tax extension?  I work for a large accounting firm whose clients mostly extend.  I've had time to sneek peaks at Twitter  {how did I manage w/o Twitter?}  and read a few of your posts during some down time.  After spending endless daytime hours {are daytime hours endless?} on a computer, posting hasn't been a top priority.  Going to bed early has won out every time!  The final deadline looms with Oct 16th.  Quality time on the blogs is just around the corner!

The Tigers' 2017 season was over months ago.  I am still a fan {it's too much trouble to redesign the blog} but do follow the Astros heavily.  Altuve has been one of my favorite players in the game since I returned to the hobby in 2012.  He had a lot to do with it actually.   Altuve - smiling, joking and playing to win - made collecting a worthy and fun endeavor once more.  

I learned a painful lesson in the 90s with prospecting.  Not once did I get it right. Here are just a few examples:

For each of these cards there were nearly all possible variations stored away in a closet - refractors, autographs, parallels - all waiting for the pay-off.  These players alone filled a 1000 count box. Ouch. All are still waiting but not in my collection.  During my summer clean up, most went to the Salvation Army along with dupes and commons. 

In 2012, Altuve became the one to build my new collection around.  Other young players I enjoy by keeping cards pulled or received in trades.  A smiling Altuve drove me to ebay and COMC.  I began picking up his first cards rather inexpensively.  I don't recall ever spending more than $6-10 for any higher end cards.  There are more limited versions of his rookies but I'm happy with what I own.  If I were to begin collecting today, most Altuve RCs would already be out of my price range. 

While working to organize his cards, I put the rookies together and found these pleasant surprises:

2010 Lexington Legends, several versions of 2011 Bowman
2011 Topps base, cognac    2011 Bowman Sterling base, refractor

2010 Bowman Chrome - base, purple and X
Since 2012, I've amassed several hundred Altuves including autos, fancy patches and cards #'d to ten, five and one.  None of these cards were purchased with any thought given to future value.  This is what makes the hobby work for me.   It doesn't hurt however, that Altuve is pretty good!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Balls or No Balls: Baseball Stars 1910, 1930

Attempts to create a clever post may lead to my unemployment. I googled things with balls on my employer-owned laptop.   As old and wise as I am, or perhaps should be, I lean towards the naive at times. The results were not to my liking, so I'll get right to the point.

Since embracing the Twitter feed, I've discovered yet another creative fellow who designs his own cards.  Let me introduce you to Gio, a man obsessed.  If you've been around awhile, perhaps you're already reading his blog When Topps Had Balls. His first post went up in 2013.  He's been creating cards in 70s style ever since, often rectifying cardboard history.  Cards that should have been now are. Gio produces a magazine too, offering up a healthy dosing of these cards, with the latest issue based on Nicknames.   I've missed out on past issues but this one is not getting past me!

image courtesy of  When Topps Had Balls blog
Gio took it upon himself to relieve us of the Topps doldrums, creating a set of cards based on 1930s George C. Miller and Tattoo Orbits designs.  He ordered 25 sets from the printer and offered them up via blog and twitter.  I happened upon them while twittering away a Saturday afternoon. Now safely in possession of my own set, I'm willing to share them with you. May I present Baseball Stars of 1930 Series One:

Much care went into packaging and card stock selection which is thick and perfectly cut.

image courtesy of When Topps Had Balls blog
No two cards share the same color and background combination:

EYE-POPPING!  I want these cards in a binder but value them so highly, they are currently locked up in the safe!  I'd hardly put these away when Gio did it again.  This trip takes us back another twenty years to the Baseball Stars of 1910 Series Two, a different design entirely, also limited to 25 sets. The packaging was a burlap bag tied off with a baseball stamped tag.  Yes, he created the stamps too, along with a personalized cancellation.  This set includes an authentic 1910 cigarette insert - silk, leather patch or card. 

As you can see, my package contained a silk Flag of Uruguay! The cards are printed on smooth, 19 point stock, about half the size of a business card.

I hope Series Three is in the works!  During the Great Reorganization of 2017, I found my collection growing older - older players.  The majority are either retired or deceased.  These sets are a natural fit.  Affording original cards from the Deadball Era through the 1940s isn't my reality. 

If you like what you see here, follow Gio on Twitter @wthballs for the opportunity to purchase his magazine, or perhaps a future card release.  These were so reasonably priced, shipping included.  It does take cajones to finance your own creations and risk negative criticism.  I can't recall a time when Topps took hobby feedback into consideration and actually made their products better or fewer. Perhaps the day will come but for now it's the same old neutered Topps.    

Monday, August 28, 2017

Bo Knows

I fully enjoy blind trades but appreciate a fellow collector who takes the time to go over the want ads. This can be a challenge, especially when the prospective recipient has a long and very detailed list or spreadsheet with several tabs.  I have trouble reading small print anyway.  It's the 'in my face with your highly organized collection'  moments I find difficult.  

Bo Rozny is one of those guys.  A real Mr. Organization.  I hope to be like him some day, minus the Mister parts.  He found some cards missing from my list of completed Tiger team sets then blessed me with many new additions:

2001 UD Vintage
 During Upper Deck's we will use Topps copyrighted designs period, they put out some really great stuff!  The Vintage release made for some good-looking cardboard.

2006 and 2011 Bowman Heritage

2001 Bowman Heritage
We should wonder why there's no current Bowman Heritage product available with so many new years available now for reprinting.  I'll likely regret that comment in days to come.

BO hit my PCs too:

94 Pinnacle, 2001 UD Evolution, 2002 Fleer Maximum, 2015 GQ

After opening what was easily a case of these, I still love the look of 94 Pinnacle.  Their Dufex Museums were a great chase.   A nice grouping of Piazzas!

Included in the box were at least 50 Masterpieces from 2008.  Looks like I'll have to put the set together now.  Bo insists.

There were two more special cards, both from 1994.  This package from Bo arrived just a short time before Darren passed.

Bo knows baseball cards come to life.  Thanks to cardboard, Darren lives on.    Check out BO's blog for a look at where former players are today.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

$30 Habits

The trade ban had barely lifted before the flood gates opened in Cracked Bat territory.  The packages find their way to me, even waaaaay out in the woods.

I hadn't traded with Toronto fan, Robert,  for more than a year two years.  What is wrong with me? [Rhetorical.] He dropped an envelope in the mail from sunny, warm Florida.  [Seems he'd moved too.]   Having loose Tigers around your place is never a good thing, especially if you're a blue jay. No worries.  I'll always take those cats off your hands.  

2017 Stadium Club: a still smiling Miggy,  slumping but happy to collect his paycheck.

One at bat = $49,423.

2017 Topps:  it may take some time - years in fact - to reach the 3000 plateau.

Rookies who hit a homer in their first MLB at bat become highly collectible, right?  I haven't pursued JaCoby's cards.  In fact, I count on you to send them!   I hope he does well.  This team needs fresh blood!

Robert topped it off with this fat manu-patch.  I like these a lot.  The bright blue vinyl patchy thing is cool.  It smells too - a bit like an inflatable kiddie pool toy.  Sorry it's taken so long to trade!  Let's do this more often Robert!  

You can find him blogging about his habits here.  $30 a week?  That won't buy 4 packs of Stadium Club anymore.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Mighty Quinn

I'm blessed with great trading pals and don't always feel deserving of the awesomeness that arrives in mailers and boxes.  Does this mean I feel deserving at times??  Why certainly, at least around the holidays.  

Quinn has been sending packages with great regularity, easily identified among other items in the mailbox.  They've been covered in small 'fatheads' and glow star stickers but on this occasion, the mailer was plain. The contents held another package containing a unique box topper, truly one of the highlights of this trade. 

Underneath was yet another box which at first glance I thought might be a happy meal.

No - it's taffy!  Except it wasn't taffy.  {Where do you find these boxes Quinn?} Right on top were a couple of graded 90s Pudge:

Along with a couple of homemade fat packs hitting up my player collections.  Here's a sampling of these paper goods:

Two of my favorite Yankees.

Altuve, Posey and Scherzer.  

Cards with interchangeable player heads!  Finally, something new and refreshing from Topps!  I gave Marichal a little makeover.

I'm among the crowd happy for Ivan's election to the Hall and was fortunate to attend many of his games in Arlington.   I find it somewhat odd that he and my all time favorite catcher Daulton, both won their only rings with the Marlins.  Obviously Pudge had the better career.  He is currently the all time leader in putouts as a catcher. 

Quinn included Topps Tek for Pudge, Miggy and Fulmer.   These are super cards to find within a trade.  I'll never purchase them. Lots on ebay aren't cheap either.  It takes special kind of insanity to assemble this set with its variations from hell-o!   Fess up  - how many of you are that crazy?

Fulmer in high-numbered black attire.

As much as I liked GQ base this year, the green parallels are even sweeter.  Old Ty is numbered/99

Q has taken to finding new Piazzas for my growing hoard.  I do have a couple of these.  The 93 Ultra will move to my catcher collection.  93 Donruss starts my new mini-collection of floating bats.  I can't resist this urge any longer.  There is something magical within a photo that captures a bat suspended mid-air. 

In all, there were 25 different Piazzas.  I mentioned the box-topper only to save it for last.  This card is gorgeous and all mine! 

1997 Score Reserve Collection #501 Mike Piazza GY Artist Proof

I had a good time going through this package.  Every time I see Quinn in the return address, my thoughts always go to the classic Manfred Mann recording of the Bob Dylan song...


Monday, August 7, 2017

Thank You Dutch

This morning I awoke to the news of Darren's passing.  Thank you Twitter, for making me cry. Dutch was my first PC guy and will always be one of my favorite players to collect.   I had an opportunity to meet him many years ago and shared my Daulton story here.    Darren could not have been more kind.  His stats are easily found elsewhere so this post is a simple tribute.  I have most all his cards; elusive parallels aside.  Here's a selection of favorites from the Dutch Binder. 

1994 Triple Play

1992 Ultra

1993 Donruss Elite

1996 Stadium Club

1995 Donruss

1993 Finest Refractor

1992 Pinnacle

1992 Score

1995 UD Special Edition Foil
Thank you Dutch.