Monday, October 11, 2021

SHE'S ALIVE!!!!! ALIVE!!!!!!


If anyone out there still cares, I'm alive and well in this world and hope the same for you! Whew, the time away has been quite relaxing. My spring and summer hours were spent enjoying friendships, acoustic guitar, sunshine and reading. It's been a wonderful change from the solitude of 2020. I'm still working but most days, it feels like a part-time job. I'm also enjoying baseball for the first time this year. Yay playoffs! Dish Network doesn't air Tiger games but Comcast will be here soon which also means real internet!!!!!!!!!!

For those interested - as far as what type of music I play, it depends on my mood. I love the Carter Family and older country like Buck Owens and Kris Kristofferson. Then there's John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Eagles, Indigo Girls, Neil Diamond, much to learn! And for the curious, I doubt I'll ever share a video here. My blog pals would be kind I'm sure but the blog is public. Asking for free cards while laying on the No thanks. Those folks do exist.

No acoustic bitmoji               

Thank you to those of you who reached out to check in on me. Your emails kept me connected to the community here. A few of you even dropped some cards my way not knowing if I'd still be interested: Rod of Padrographs, Ye Old Night Owl, Niner from Nine Pockets, Joe Shlabotnik, Diamond King, Dollar Store Doug and Bo Rozny - thank you for thinking of me!!! 

Collecting has changed for me. Pandemic hoarding and profiteering provided opportunity for reflection; time to appreciate just how many cards I do have. While 3/4 of my main collection has been added to TCDB, I've never taken time to add mini-collections which includes 1000's of catcher cards alone. It's never been important that I have a BIG collection. My little cardboard hoard is slight in comparison to what many of you have. OK by me. It requires storage. I live in a small space. If I can't - or don't - enjoy what I have then how can MORE be better?

I've looked at some of my favorite issues this year. While perusing Heritage, Stadium Club and Panini Prizm offerings on eBay, I felt oddly disconnected with no desire to pursue player faves new or old, nor my Tigers. What is wrong with me? Rhetorical. Please do not leave diagnostic commentary. LOL. See first photo for clues.

With Topps and Panini both losing out to Fanatics, the three card issues I love most are in doubt. Much has been written about the loss already. It's a wake up call for Topps that came a bit too late. Perhaps Fanatics will acquire Topps or Panini...

The one thing that's kept me in the game are new customs. So far, I have every release Gio Balls has produced. This could change should G decide to add other sports. Nine Pockets also printed some of his fun creations. Gregory messaged me so I wouldn't miss out on the opportunity. I chose three cards...which just gave me a contest idea. Gotta find something to giveaway first.

Random. LOL.

I've always appreciated the surprise packages. If you'd like to continue sending cards, I do ask kindly, please - send only cards found on my list. Save your shipping funds for cards that are wanted elsewhere. Space truly is in short supply. This will likely eliminate many trade opportunities. I also don't expect cards with nothing to offer in return. There will be no new cards here outside of a custom dupe and random pick pockets. Oh yes - there will be some offerings for pickin' in the near future! With the recent postal increase, rules will likely change. I haven't had a chance to review my options.

So what's in the future for your old Cracked Bat? An occasional post is likely, and collecting is related to wantlist only.  This does include 2021 Tigers but no Flagship or Stadium Club. I'll keep lists on my tabs and the database. TCDB wants have been cleaned up with more likely to come off soon. As temps drop, I'll have time on weekends to play in the card room. 

Here's the other thing...who doesn't appreciate a blogged thank you from the recipient of your kindnesses? For the foreseeable future, all I can offer in the way of thanks is a mention of appreciation. Not that I won't ever share a trade but I do know time will be limited if I want to continue trading. If you are OK with a mention of thanks without the show and tell, then let's continue to trade. I don't expect you to show off cards from me on your blog either. Just let me know you received them and I'll do the same. 

Juggling life and priorities creates a challenge for most of us. I'd like to remain part of this community. It's a card blog so yes, card will be found here. 

I've missed you! Thanks for reading!

Until next time....


Monday, March 8, 2021


Cards haven't been a priority the past few weeks. Our cardboard hobby has changed a lot in the past year and in turn, so has my collecting. I haven't read the blogs since Topps was released and have yet to see a single card. I'll be around of course, to check out your opinions. The early previews had my head spinning. Toppruss. That's all I can can come up with for a description. We are a short time away from the Heritage for which I'd waited years and it makes me sad to say, I no longer care. 

While I've spent less time and no money on cards this year, I'm not throwing in the towel just yet.  There are older cards I'm still searching for and have actually received recently, including a few set finishers.

Tom - Waiting til Next Year   

    1992 Heritage = complete

(3) 1992 & (1) 93 Heritage

    1997 UD SP - missing one card for completion, 155 Gwynn.

    1995 Ultra Power Plus - done!

    1991 Fleer Pro Visions. All of these cards passed through my hands over the years. I waited until 2020 to build the set. Still need 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10.

Gavin - Baseball Card Breakdown

    1994 Studio Heritage: need 1, 5 and 8

    1998 UD Wonder Years - done!

    1996 UD Lovero:  still need 3, 4, 7, 8 and 10

How is it even possible this card wasn't part of my collection long ago, for the bat alone????

     2000 Fleer Greats of the Game - complete!

    1991 Score Dream Team, subset complete

    1992 Studio Heritage - one of the last cards needed! Complete.

    1993 Stadium Club - a beauty
    from my TCDB want list

    Hey Pardner - a new Dutch!  1993 Cardtoons

Cards like these keep me tied to the hobby. Outside of trading, only a few ebay purchases have been added to my collection. This month makes two years since I've been to a card show. I had plans to attend one a few months back but tougher covid restrictions were reinstated keeping me home. Trips to the card tables allowed me stock cards I've offered on pickpockets, a supply which won't run out any time soon. 

Sorting and checking cards off the old W/L is still fun so I won't disappear entirely. Spring is nearing which means a return to outside chores. Warmer weather will allow time with friends too, sitting on the back deck with coffee or around the firepit. I have missed the sunshine but missed my friends more. It was July the last time I had a group gathering. 

I've been doing a little reading. Naturally, I catalog all books read. Here's a snippet of the past few months:

There are a few heavy titles in there, eh? Still found time for some baseball though. "Wax Pack" was a Christmas gift and a fun read. The book jacket feels like an old Topps wrapper. The cover itself has a waxiness to it, missing only the sugary sweet scent of bubblegum. The author shares his personal struggles with a stutter and obsessive compulsive disorder with the story of road-tripping to meet the players found in a random pack of 86 Topps baseball cards. 

I've also taken up an old love of mine: acoustic guitar. I played regularly until I moved to Michigan. I found myself busy exploring life here and dealing with a ridiculous commute. Combined with overtime, there wasn't enough  time to do everything. Here's a peek into my quiet space:

Ibanez [Ibby] on the left, and a crazy little Luna travel guitar [Vinnie] on the right but my favorite [Carter] is a sweet solid mahogany Crafter, my newest addition joining the family only last month. Woods make a difference in tone. Spruce on the Ibanez gives off a bright tone while mahogany is more mellow and warm with a midrange voice. 

Guitar was always important to me. I was afraid too much time had passed but that old rhythm is still in my bones.  Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Beatles, Eagles, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Indigo Girls and so many other singer/songwriters - all part of my playlist. I may be a little rusty but the dog has yet to howl at me. 

Right now, I'm sitting in the hobby room enjoying a moment to catch up the blog. I promised a round of pickpockets which is now a couple weeks overdue. If  you and I have traded, I implore you to pick, pick, pick. Please keep this in mind should you want to bless me with 2021 Tigers or any cards from my want lists. You'll see some 2020 Update Turkeys within these pages, given to me by a friend. Nothing like some hand-me-downs to share with you. Maybe by the time Stadium Club comes around, I'll feel differently. I'm not opposed to future trading but please understand for the immediate future, cards from me will be found via picking my pockets. My needs can be found on the tabs.

Thanks for stopping by to knock a little dust off this blog!


Sunday, January 24, 2021

No Blog? No Matter.

 I've received a few cards recently from non-blogging collectors. Alex emailed to say he had a special card for me but would say nothing more about it. I knew of him only from reading Gavin's blog:

He offered to include a Walewander mentioned in his guest post. To understand the story behind the card's inscription, check out the link above.

I wasn't turning down a Tiger auto. I offered a return trade but Alex does not have an interest in recent cards. 'Recent' is anything after the last Lance Johnson card in 2000 but mostly nothing later than 1988. He's been collecting minor league sets for 30 years. I'm sure he has some fine treasures within these sets.

The 89 Fleer Jim W auto arrived accompanied with a new Dutch for my collection! 

Wow. A Daulton from my TCDB wantlist and one I never expected to come across! Darren remains a fan favorite to this day. That he appeared in a 2002 set a few years after his retirement is no surprise. Now that he's passed, I hope he'll have another card or two in a fan-favorites type tribute. 

Thank you, Alex! What a thoughtful surprise!

While watching the World Series, I took time to go through full galleries of a few sets on TCDB: all years of Stadium Club, 1983 Fleer and 1993 Upper Deck. I built quite a wantlist this way. I have no desire to complete these sets but have been drawn to many of the Fleer and UD cards, thanks to our bloggers! Fred Pike, my pal north of the border, hooked me up with a nice batch of Upper Deck. 

Cracked and broken bats:


The next four are beauties. I love the long dugout shot behind Deer. Both men seem to be unaware of the camera, minds on the game. Gladden of course, is in a throwback uni. Both cards represent the 'reflective' part of my baseball card collection. 

Portugal with a sucker, in shades and signing a mitt - all while wearing a fantastically colorful warm-up jacket! I wouldn't have given two cents for this card in 93! I'm proud to say I've matured as a collector. Knorr of course, is adorning himself with gear in another grand dugout shot.

The next two cards are going into my 'fan shots' stack, headed for a binder spot. Crowd reactions are especially entertaining to me. Lacking the appearance of strong interference, I think perhaps the home team was batting. Any thoughts on this? It's hard to determine by the crowd's apparel, lacking in team colors. It's possible the Reds are playing the Padres as I spy a cap with 'S' and a partial 'res' on a shirt.

I'm adding my full wantlist for both UD and Fleer to my set help tab. Perhaps some of you have these laying around?? 

Thanks to both of you gentlemen! You may not blog but your presence in the blog community is noted and greatly appreciated!

I spend less on new product every year. Heritage and Stadium Club may see a few of my dollars in 2021 but discovering sets like 93 Upper Deck delight me. I'm paying attention to your posts and shares, and watching my wantlist grow. At least I have someone to blame.

The past couple of months have found me less interested in chasing new product. I don't feel like I'm in a hobby funk only that my interests are changing. I've also picked up an old friend which is taking time away from cards - my guitar.  At one time, I was a fairly decent strummer.  It's been a few years now since I played. Certainly sounds like it too. If you see a bit less of me over the next month, don't be alarmed. I'm having a six-string affair. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Welcome to the Bo-Show!

Not Jackson. The other Bo. The one that matters.

Most of you are aware that Bo Rozny won the Cracked Bat Ballot Box contest in November. He racked up a lot of extra votes with his mail-in bribes ballots. Who says you can't vote more than once? Not a single fraudulent mail-in ballot was received at Cracked headquarters.

October brought in the PWEs like fall puts leaves on your lawn. Every couple of days I'd find Bo's return address on my mail. There were cards featuring PC boys:

Set help for 2002 UD World Series Heroes:

I left the hobby in 2002 so missed out on these beauties. I'd like to have the first 90 cards from the set and still need 60. Hint Hint.  I love the red, white and blue design and pinstriped background.  These will look nice in my RW&B collection. Bo loves his Yankees as you may have noticed 3 of the 4 cards are Bronx Bombers. 

1999 Fleer Tradition:

There's an obvious bat-theme here. I'll be adding more cards from this set to my wantlist. Fleer made great photography choices in 98 and 99.  I'd buy a box now if 'bricking' weren't a concern. Have any of you opened product from 98 or 99 without this issue? Early to mid-90s are a no-bust for me.

Staying with the bat-theme, here's an excellent lot of 70s vintage. A couple were doctored up by a previous owner but we can overlook that. 1971 Clendenon features only one bat but catches him seemingly unaware of the camera. I like shots like this. 

A slew of Tiger vintage featuring greats like Lolich, McLain and Cash:

Bo remembered my love for 70s baseball and catchers with more 73s:

I'd love to one day complete a set from the early 70s. I love 72 and 75 the most but know they can be buggers to finish. While it holds many great cards like those shown above, the 1970 design bores me a little, and 71 is gorgeous but has those tough black borders. 1973 has a classy design with so many wonderful photo choices. I toy with the idea. Bo's already made a dent in it for me! I already own nice copies of Aaron and Clemente.  The Schmidt rookie will be the big one as well as a mint copy of card number one featuring Ruth, Aaron and Mays. How hard is a 73 build? Do tell.

I'm gonna miss election season. We may have to do this again in four years' time! 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Mystery Man Strikes Again

I've written about this fellow, sometimes known as Quinn or Xavier, or whatever name he uses in the return address. I know nothing about him. I've tried emailing to thank him, ask questions, even once threatening to return his package unopened. Yeah, that didn't happen. I did let one sit for two months before I caved. His return address is somewhat illegible and likely intentionally so. If I had returned it, well...the post office would've opened and kept the contents for themselves. I could not allow this to happen.

He is a crazy, generous fellow living perhaps, somewhere in Pennsylvania. I tried deciphering his address to send him a few cards but he's only received an envelope from me once that I know of. I did get a thank you from him one time. If he received another from me, he's never said. I can assure him it was sent and never returned to me.

So what does a package from him look like?? Assembly is most fascinating. This package was in a colorful padded mailer. The Glam Stickers from my wantlist are plastered all over it, along with a micro J Owens peeping out of its own little window: 

There are layers within which require deconstruction. Beneath the main wrapper is a boxloader:

Beneath this, an oversized card from Topps Vault:

And beneath this? Not hockey!

The little Phillies Mascot has become a favorite toy for my kitty. She bats it around and throws it in the air. Jingles loves her baseball! And so do I:

2007 TR Boxloader

It's not an exaggeration to say there were a couple hundred cards in the box!

Are you with me so far?

Who does this? Twice per year? It's taken me some time to share these. I didn't open and scan the package until October. Mind blown by the contents, I can tell you that!

Mr. Man also include some vintage charm:

I can't compete with these packages. Sometimes you just have to be humble and say thank you. He should know I recognize his generosity and creativity. In the year of 2020, most of us needed a little pick me up. This package was certainly that. So Rocky, Quinn, Xavier etc - please know I loved the package. Happy New Year, wherever you are!