Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Happy Birthday, Knucksie!

Today is knuckleball pitcher Phil's Niekro's 81st birthday. I wonder if every year, someone thinks it's funny to put those stupid candles on his cake that won't blow out.  Do they sing "April Fools Day to you"?

I'm usually late to the Fool's party, sometimes I don't show up. This is my first opportunity to post on what is one of my favorite days of the year. Only the Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mardis Gras, my birthday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Opening Day, President's Day, National Pie Day, Boxing Day, sick days and payday rank higher. There are a few others I like more but I want you to take me seriously.  Seriously, don't take me seriously. I always manage to make every post about me. Back to Knucksie...

Phil's 1988 Score shows full career stats - a sunset card:

From the days of overproduction, the card back is quite simple, with a nice little photo of his good side.  He began his MLB career the year I was born. Me. Me. Me.  When I graduated high school in 82, he was still a Brave. Not to brag but my senior grade point average was slightly higher than his 3.41 ERA.  Knucksie Phil pitched for almost 25 years.  I read somewhere his right arm was about one inch and three quarters longer than his left. He retired as a Brave at age 48.  I was 48 just a few short years ago.  The Braves retired his number 35 in 1984. I was 35 when I attended my first Braves' game at Turner Field!!  Knucksie and I have so much in common! It's creepy in a Lincoln/Kennedy kind of way!

I was never a fan of early Score, or any Score. This front side does have orange borders, perfect for a "Sunset" card. I am a big fan of sunsets in general, yet another coincidence?

So the truth is, I don't own this card. As  you may know, many of my posts are built around stolen internet images. Kleptomania at its virtual finest. Burgled by browser. Whatever you may call it, I lack any notoriety.  Phil's nickname "Knucksie" on the other hand, is a crossword puzzle clue. Answer: NIEKRO.

Have a great day everyone - and be well!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Watch For Above Average Pedestrians and other signs

Slow down, you move to fast. I find myself saying this more often as the years days pass.  I was never much for life in the fast lane.  Card collecting is a perfect hobby for someone who's not in a hurry. That's a good thing since most of our collections will never be fully complete and/or organized.  Oh there are a few of you out there, with your fancy shelves and cards all neatly bindered.  I forgive you.

I'm not ashamed to admit there are incomplete sets in my collection from the 90s. For instance, 1997 SP:

23 years later, the first two of only seven needed cards come off the list! And just who gets credit for this modern day miracle??    Chris  ----> !!!  In January, he picked my pockets for a few cards and kindly sent a return envelope.  He also took time to check my wantlist. Who knows why he would have any of these cards but it made my day to receive them. To be honest, I'm not certain why I kept them either. They've been in my collection so long now, so close to completion, I'm apparently unable to part with them.  Not ugly, not overly special, but still super premium in their day.


Chris is anything but an average collector. He's also an above average blogger. One of my favorite things on his blog is his hockey frankenset tab:


These cards birthed a monster in me, not ALIEN but my buttons can be pushed.  OPC has become my choice for hockey cards. I choose to let others send them to me. {So why don't you?} I can't help but enjoy the fact Upper Deck owns the rights to an old Topps brand.  I added all Blackhawks to my want list.  Wildly colorful, the Rainbow parallels would be a sweet binder addition.

Chris tucked a little hockey into this PWE:

Blackhawk goalies!!  Fantastic contents, Chris! Thank you. Pick on me anytime! 

Changing directions... I've tried to skirt this topic but it seems nearly impossible.  Now that the oh-so novel virus is on our shores, the novelty has worn thin.  I am healthy and live/work in relatively unexposed conditions.  Working from home is not an option anymore as I'm five minutes from the office, and the emergency 'go-to'. I can avoid contact with all but perhaps four persons there.  My desk is a good distance from everyone but off the main aisle these four travel.  We are in the automobile industry. Incoming work is already slowing.  As a third-tier service provider, this company would be greatly affected by a shut-down. It seems inevitable. As colleges and schools close their doors for the next few weeks, other businesses are sure to follow suit. Several of my pals here are teachers. Billy battles health issues so his trading is on hiatus for now.  How many of you plan to halt trading at this time, or at all? Are you still shopping online - ebay?

I hope you, your friends and family are all unaffected. I'll be here, checking in. Please let us know if you find yourself under-the-weather.  I need to stock up on hot dogs and spicy brown mustard...just in case there's a run on wieners!

If you are still interested in Pick Pockets, I've upped the pick-limit to 15 cards. It seems a shame to send half-empty pockets on a journey.  New cards are going up this weekend. If you want anything still available, make your claims. 


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme That Card

In 1975, the Average White Band boarded the Soul Train to tell the world it was ok to ask for what you wanted.   These white boys were looking for a piece of cake.  For years, I wondered why sing about cake?  A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me - cake was a metaphor.

We see many great pieces of cardboard around the blogs we'll never own. We sometimes comment that we need or want a card with no expectations of receiving the particular card shown in the post.  I did so recently, making an innocent comment regarding a specific card.


Nine Pockets was showing off a second completed set of 84-84 Topps Hockey. This set is quite similar to 83 Topps Baseball.  I like the hockey design much more however. Team colors bordering the photos are wider, giving the card a brighter appearance. He had two sets to my zero!

D is for delightful...or possibly defense. 


The six  brothers were Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich and Ron, whose parents were fond of alliteration. All six played at one time for either the Blues or Blackhawks. Well of course they did! There is a seventh brother, Gary, obviously a misfit. His brothers say he was the most talented hockey player in the family. Not wanting to shame his six siblings, Gary chose to work the family farm.

Hooray Murray!

When I love catchers in gear, it's no surprise masked men on ice warm my heart just a little. This card is simply tremendous! An awesome old school mask hiding perfectly coiffed hair, this card was destined to be mine. January 5th, I commented on Niner's post: '...then there's the Bannerman which I do NOT have but will whine until I do.'  An envelope postmarked on the 8th arrived with three cards and a note: You want a Bannerman? You gots a Bannerman!  Who knew all I needed to do was ask?

Gregory, thank you!

If I could collect a second sport, it would be hockey.  Limited space and time make this unrealistic. I have found room however for a Blackhawks binder - and not just any binder!  It had to be perfect. Santa Claus still finds me every year no matter how undeserving I may be:

I'll soon be tucking these three cards into a nine-pocket page. Speaking of pockets - Pick Pockets was updated nearly two weeks ago. If you are a regular, you know the drill.

Now, about that cake... At times, I truly am that naive.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

FRENCH'S - Mustard to My Hot Dog

Here I am talking about hot dogs again. Surely it has nothing to do with the diet I began last month.  I don't recall when I last ate a tasty all-beefer on a bun. Summer time perhaps. The bright yellow mustard is fine enough but my preference leans toward spicy brown.

French conjures many images. Eiffel Tower. Notre-Dame. Napoleon. Bull Dogs. Brigette Bardot. Wait. What?

Oui, Oui, Brigette?

This past October, the other  French icon and hero Kevin Papoy, sent a mailer as a reminder he still thinks of me. Kevin has been blog-absent for sometime now, leading a busy life across the ocean.  With all he has going on, Kevin still felt sorry for these homeless cards. I'm a great foster parent.

Here's something new! My first 1986 True Value cards. Still sealed. With a 30 card checklist, the possibilities aren't endless but could include Nolan Ryan, Ripken and Sandberg. Each plays a large part in my collection. There are several HOFers in this set. I like the design well enough. They would look nice, side by side in a binder. This one will remain with my Whitakers. Now were I to rip it up, the contents would look something like this:

Yes, I do not own this photo. 

More oddities include these Fielders, both new to me. One from the Shanks Collection, the other Metz Baking. I wonder if they make hot dog buns?

How about these great additions to my build-a-bat collection? My best guess is that I'm still short 809,027 pieces - and one bat knob.



Holy Hall of Fame, Batman! I have a real dilemma here! Both of these fine gentlemen are PCs. Perhaps it's better to add this to the catcher binder, after I take the wood chips off of course.  You can't imagine the splinters these things give me.

Here's a nice card to remind me Nick is no longer a Tiger or a Cub. It also serves as a reminder to scan cards in the future. There was a good  reason for taking pictures at the time.  Perhaps I was feeling a bit paresseuse. Look that up, if you're not too lazy.

Psst. Nick. NICHOLAS! Behind you...

How did I find myself thrown into 90's nostalgia? When I began collecting in 93, I was a full-bleed snob. White borders were banished from my collection.  How I miss the borders I never took time to appreciate.  There aren't many late 80s and early 90s bordered cards I feel a need to own. There are exceptions:1995 Topps Cyberstats. I have a crazy notion to pull this set together. All were added to my wantlist on TCDB.  Go there now and make my every wish come true. I find the foiled fronts appealing, with photos ripped from pages of history.  Dramatic?  Indeed.  It's the lack of sugar in my diet. 

[While composing this brilliant piece of literature, I found the font size fluctuating between eye-sore large and squinter's type. Blogger finds me intimidating.  I've increased the font size which appears normal in the preview. Please know if it's overly large, I am not yelling.]  I will however, yell THANK YOU to Kevin. 

France has given us many memorable gifts. Lady Liberty comes to mind immediately. But there was one other woman...

Monday, February 10, 2020

Be My Valentine

Ah, the heartstrings. Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching. Another opportunity to sack the consumer wallet with $10 Hallmark cards and cheap Palmers' brand candy. Who can afford good chocolate and a card?

Time gets away from us so quickly. It hasn't been a year since these gems came in the mail but it has been too long.  All are real valentine cards, if you were to ask me. That's coming from a woman.

Scribbled Ink's Paul Dionne may think I've forgotten his thoughtfulness. Not true:




Taking this long to share and say thank you makes me a bad girl. Very bad. My face is Valentine Red with shame. {Pretty certain that's a crayon color these days.}

More card-hearts arrived at my door courtesy of Marc Brubaker! He sent some classy customs along with a mix of Astros and Tigers:



Marc isn't around much right now. I'm certain he would weigh in on our national tragedy.  I don't believe every player was involved but all must have known.  What options do players have should they not want to participate in canned signals?  A hitter may know what pitch is coming but he still has to make contact. I seem to remember Curt Schilling mouthing fastball with the hitter swinging at air. Does anyone else recall this?

I found this link quite intriguing:  Sign Stealing Scandal.  Created by an Astros fan, the graphs are broken down by game and player. Tony Kemp and Altuve heard the fewest raps on the can.  Cheating happened, the extent to which we'll never know.  I hope in time, my Altuve continues to prove himself at the plate and on the field. Watching him play brings me great joy. He's the player who brought me back to the hobby.

Baseball Card Lifer Bo knows I like a man with more than one bat! Azocar  had some fun cards. He died of a heart attack at 45 in 2010, much too young.  Bo also stuck me with awesome Fleer, flaunting ballparks on their backside.  Not sure where I am on this set. I still need to enter my small set builds into the Trading Heart Card Database. There's a little throwback and vintage love here too. Thank you, Bo!




Fred Pike trades on the database. He's also quite kind to follow the nimble-minded author of this blog. That's a little self-flattery folks. Nimble is not an accurate description for me but I can say whatever I want, spreading more lies around the internet.  Fred included cards from my want list plus these little green men.

You Don't Have To Be A Star, Baby

Johnny on the spot. He 's always dropping little surprises on me.  Several months ago I received around 3000 catchers spanning 30 years of cardboard. I plan to scan and share every single one. Not really. I'll spare you.  He did send a smaller package which included GQ set fillers:



The final card left me speechless. I have a fondness for all things ballpark with hot dogs. All beef only, with lots of mustard. I love hot dogs so much they're part of my blog's name.  I've consider dropping baseball cards and a hot dog  from the title but can't do it. I hadn't seen this gem until John put it in my hands. What was Topps thinking???  Mr. Hot Dog Tie on the right is holding an obscene-looking ostrich neck. At first glance, the beak doesn't stand out. Already dialing the police, I hung up after determining this wasn't card stock pornography. John, you nearly gave this girl a heart attack!


Thank you for these valentines, mi amigos.  Spreading love across the whole year is the best way to show others you care. Sharing these little hearties is a lovely way to show your appreciation.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

In the Good Old Summertime: OKC 89ERS

Thanks to those of you who took time to read and comment on my last post regarding the Oklahoma City Thunder and the bombing in April 1995.  This post will be featured on the right side of the blog for the remainder of the year as a tribute to survivors and the 168 lost.

I received a thoughtful email from a friend who preferred comment privately. He mentioned for him, it would be hard for me to top that post. With that said, I'm retiring the blog. Why try?  It's been a good run.  I wrote from my heart regarding a personal experience which was a little different for me.  Normally I just make up stuff, throw in a lot of sarcasm and add images stolen from the internet.

Sometimes I am a little homesick for Oklahoma. It's sad to think there are so many things I didn't find time for while I was there.  Like attend multitudinous ball games. Years of opportunity slipped by because I was oblivious to baseball. 

I would have spent more time at All Sports Stadium which was home to the 89ers. Built in 1961, it was host to the team until 1997 when the 89ers moved into the new Bricktown Ballpark and became the Oklahoma Redhawks - who are now the OKC Dodgers.  I went to a few games in the late 80s but hadn't fallen in love with baseball. That didn't happen until 1993. I blame parenting.

A B C D E...G F?

Located on the State Fairgrounds, All Sports seated about 15,000 fans. It was also a fun concert venue.  I attended more concerts than games {she said shamefully.} A few I recall: The Beach Boys, Monkees, Herman's Hermits, Lilith Fair, Grass Roots, Gary Puckett, and - The Oak Ridge Boys, unintentionally. On this occasion, I'd actually gone to the game when a country music festival broke out. ...  Giddy up, oom, papa oom, papa mow mow.  Yessiree. These here 'Elvira' lyrics took them Boys all the way to number one in 1981.  There I was, already missing the 70s.

Where did this picture come from and who put it here!

Over the years, our 89ers showcased some major league talent and a few future HOF members. One of my main PC guys, Ryne Sandberg spent some time in OKC when the 89ers were part of the Phillies organization.  Sadly, I never saw him play. I lived right there in town and never gave thought to a baseball game. Such an idiot. Me - not Ryno.


In 1989, Fergie Jenkins was pitching coach. Uhm, yeah. I missed him too. I did however, meet Fergie a few years ago in an OKC card shop. Friendly and tall, very tall. With large hands.



Abner 89er.  How dumb. He probably had a nosy wife named Agnes. Abner is a great-looking mascot! His face is quite 1889 but those arms are too small and and lacking the follicles necessary to compliment his 'stache.  I wish this shot was in color.


Goose Gossage is another HOFer who passed briefly through the rusty gates of All Sports Stadium for two games in 1991.  There were no images of him in 89er gear. He was with the Rangers at the time and would only play three more years.

1972 Puerto Rican League sticker

Many summers have passed since I enjoyed a game in this eyesore stadium. It's gone now, demolished in 2005 for additional parking at the fairgrounds. I don't have too much in the way of memorabilia other than an old foam seat cushion, packed away in the shed, likely cracked and dry-rotted by now. I have a few minor league cards like these from Joe Shlabotnik:

1990 TCMA 

I'm still looking for cards 1989 or older, especially those featuring any advertising on the outfield walls, or the humble downtown skyline past the far right field wall.  Check out the hot dog on the right:


If you find yourself sorting through old minor league cards, put those 89ers aside for me, would you? I'm always chasing my younger days. I guess that's part of being a collector. Mostly, I live in the now. If vacations to the 70s were available though, I'd buy a timeshare.