Wednesday, March 30, 2016

UMP DAY: Billy the Kid

Growing up in a recently developed subdivision in the 60’s brought not only new homes to the area, but a host of new kids to turn into old friends. Honestly, some of those “youngsters” and I are still friends today and although 50 plus years may have past, we remain close.
It was a neighborhood that was close too…close to each other and full of an innocence I miss. We knew which dads worked at the “Big Three” and we knew whose mom would let us play inside on a rainy day.  We played baseball in “the field” and tag in the backyard.  We played hopscotch on the sidewalk and dug in the ditches with the Tonka Trucks. And we rode our bikes. Up and down and all around the cul de sac. On occasion, when we could get a friend to go with us and we were fortunate enough to have an extra quarter burning a hole in our pockets, we made a trip up to the corner store to buy baseball cards. 

As the shoebox collection grew, so did the desire to trade those doubles. What was I going to do with two pieces of cardboard showcasing guys that weren’t even on my beloved Tigers?  I know I could have used them in the spokes of my bike and enjoyed the sound on my way to get the next new pack, but I was only allowed to do that once. I thought the best thing was to have all Tigers cards (I have since broadened my horizons to include other players) so why not trade my cards with the other young collectors on the block?
Stuffed into my white, plastic daisy-covered bike basket, that old brown Flings shoebox made its rounds with me as I traded cards with the kids on the block. Part of this innocence was not only founded in the time I grew up, but also in my upbringing. Because I was taught to be honest and not to cheat, it never occurred to me to that someone else would, especially not a friend. Especially not a new friend. Especially not Billy.
One night when I was called home to dinner, I thought nothing of leaving my shoebox at his house so that he could look at the cards to see if there were any that he wanted to trade. During dinner I remember my parents saying that I shouldn’t have left my cards there.  A nervous pit began growing in my stomach. No sooner was dinner finished then I rushed back to the corner house, grabbed my shoebox and hoofed it home. Of course, upon taking the lid off of that little brown box, all looked as it should.

Things are not always what they seem though. Somehow I ended up with a bunch of pitchers with little value to them, that were “traded” in my absence, much like “a player to be named later”. I still have a hard time believing that someone would be dishonest so I maintain that this is due to pitchers being more numerous in general.  Still, one card was missing. One very special card. One Mickey Mantle.
Like his namesake, Billy the Kid was a thief. While he did not steal strongboxes from stagecoaches, he stole from a little kid’s shoebox full of treasures. Not too long after that, Billy’s family moved. I guess they were on the lamb, running from the law of “what goes around comes around”…aka Karma.  No matter, Billy.  Mickey, through the magic of eBay, has come home once again. Only this time, he rests in a penny sleeve and a top loader inside a true strongbox, along with my trusting nature.  You can’t have either one of them.  
~ Cheryl
   Guest Blogger

Thursday, March 24, 2016

You Have Been Served

When you receive mail from an attorney, generally the enclosed message is not friendly in nature.  You are being sued or perhaps, served an ugly notice.  Fortunately the two pieces of mail I received a couple weeks apart were nothing to send me into hiding.

Our favorite Off Hiatus attorney, Tony, took time to send a trade package and a #supertrader special, shortly afterwards.  What a haul of oddity!  Let's start with some familiar cards:

2014 Donruss looks pretty good in comparison to 2016!  I'll be sharing some of these via PYE soon so you can make your own judgments there.  2016 = ugly.  I actually like the 2014 design.  No doubt I needed some of these to complete my team set!

2012 Topps Minis: to have and to hold.  I do love the size of these cards which fit so nicely in my hand.  A clean design from Topps; something more rare with every passing year.

A dosing of Kaline on 93 Spectrum Diamond Club - cards which I've seen little of with these being a bit more rare since they are promotional copies.

2015 Panini Contenders with a Texas theme.  Some of you may be unaware that I moved from Dallas this past Summer.  I'm currently in the midst of severe Tex-Mex withdrawals. It's been a struggle to say the least.   GIMME SOME ENCHILADAS WITH REAL CHILI ON TOP!!!   Wow, that was an ugly moment. Thanks for listening.   These cards feature Dallas Baptist University and  TCU Horned Frog prospects.   I never formed an allegiance to any of the Texas colleges but would've chosen the Horned Frogs simply for the mascot.

Three familiar brands in Topps, Conlon and Pacific.  Top left, the Ty Cobb is one of four cards included with The 1988 Baseball Card Engagement Book by Michael Gershman.  The card's picture is from an oil painting which appeared in a 1948 edition of SPORT magazine. 

Fun oddball selections here with one featuring Rick Greene's badly deformed right hand. Cecil's the right man for the job when it comes to promoting Jimmy Dean.  I noticed a couple buttons were airbrushed right off his jersey but overall, I love these cards.  Food issues are some of my favorites. 

I believe most, if not all of the following cards are Dover reprints.  I am super grateful for these because I have a couple of Dover booklets with no intentions of tearing them apart.

Cracker Jack dreams!  Most of us will never own original copies of these cards.  Tony, it was more than cool of you to send these cards across the blog-o-sphere!  I know other collectors are enjoying them too!

To finish our show and tell, this last group of cards features HOFer Hal Newhouser on 1993 Front Row Premium.  Hal passed in 1998 which makes the auto a bit more rare.  We all know how autos are becoming a dime a dozen, many will never reach more than a few dollars in high book value - if you pay attention to price guides.  Whether this card has any particular value matters not to me.  The hobby is not flooded with Hal Newhouser autographs.  I enjoy the Front Row series of all HOF players but am partial to those Tigers. 

If you want an attorney who is on your side, Tony is the man.  I appreciate the effort that goes into putting a package like this together.  His posts are well-researched gems, usually set to music.  I thought briefly about pulling a like-themed post together for these cards but knew I couldn't pull it off Tony-style.

Thank you Tony for serving up a couple of fantastic packages!

Friday, March 18, 2016

SUPERTRADERS: 2015 Bowman Chrome pack break

Has anyone noticed I seem to disappear for a bit in March, April, September and October?  Perhaps not, but I do tend to be away from the computer.  This is my busy season  at the office.  Right now, it's the time of year when nearly all of our clients file their extensions.  These clients tend to believe they are the only ones extending. They will also wait until the last possible moment to bring their tax info to the office, usually a week before the 15th of September or October.  Now, on with the important matters at hand...

I wanted to open a few packs of more recent product to share among the newly formed #supertraders group.  I haven't purchased Bowman Chrome since the 90s, back in my prospecting days.  It's a great hobby which allows for prospectors, vintage enthusiasts, team and player collectors.  I dropped by my LCS for Topps Spring Fling packs - a hideous design this year - and picked up a handful of packs from a freshly broken Chrome box.  Dave opened a new one at my request.  We have seven packs with four cards per pack.   With perfect collation, we'd all get at least one card. It's a Topps product. Need I say more?   Take a Heritage break - let's see how we did!


 Astro JD Davis;  Yank Andrew Miller;  Southsider Samardzija;  Pirate Alen Hanson, all base cards.


Bowman Scout Update insert refractor Ranger Nick Williams; Rockies Antonio Senzatela, Indian Bobby Bradley, Ranger Feliz.   Nothing to holler about.


A Miggy for me;  Rocky Cargo; Dodger Grant Holmes; an auto RC of A's Kendall Graveman.  I'd keep this one for myself had I not promised these to the Supertrader team!  I like his name.  Nice pull for a seven pack pick from a full box.  Congrats Fuji!


Reds Michael Lorenzen rc; Oriole Chris Tillman; Jaybird Jeff Hoffman; Met Brandon Nimmo - all base cards.


 Cubbie Stephen Bruno; Bowman Scout Update insert refractor Rocky Raimel Tapia;  Athletic Franklin Barreto;  Philly Cole Hamels.  Too much excitement for you?  Stop now.


 Giant Daniel Carbonell; Cardinal Matt Adams;  gorgeous blue refractor parallel #/150 for Jeff - Southsider Tyler Danish; Dbacks David Freese.

We are down to the last pack...


Met Syndergaard rc;  MARLIN Isael Soto auto - seriously? ; Nats Denard Span;  Cards Rowan Wick. Well don't that beat all? A Marlin? Soto does have a very neat signature.  I'm a bit surprised there is no one out there willing to admit being a Marlin fan.  They'd be instantly buried in cardboard.  Please, come forward dear friend.  We will not mock or embarrass you.  We need  you! 
Out of seven packs, we pulled two autos and a nice refractor/100. Nothing fancy but these are good cards to start the envelope stuffing.  We will have a box break in the near future.  My budget allows for older material, 1994-2008 - somewhere in there. I already picked up a box.  We'll be opening product from a company that's not around anymore, in any form that I am aware of.  I hope to begin next week, over a few days. 
Spring is here, bats are crackin' and Opening Day is upon us!  Speaking of Opening Day... who among you will be throwing money at Topps Opening Day this year?  Yeah, I probably will too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

UMP DAY: The Journey from Shoebox to Binders

Mama was a saver. Growing up during the depression era she saved everything from aluminum foil to last year’s Christmas paper. She kept my sister’s dolls for me to play with and my brother’s Lionel train set. She kept comic books and story books, greeting cards and baseball cards. Nothing that could be repurposed was ever tossed because we might need it someday.  She even saved cereal box tops to use for redemption of those cool prizes on the back of the box!

In the spring of 1969, she took me up to the corner drug store and we bought my first pack of cards.  I somehow suspect the purchase was prompted by carry-over guilt from not having met Mickey Lolich.  Neither one of us knew a thing about collecting cards because it wasn’t something my brother had ever pursued. In fact, in hindsight, none of the men in my life collected cards. It was just her and I, one pack at a time.
At a quarter a pack, it was a reasonable thing to get a kid who wanted everything she saw in the store. If I behaved while she shopped, I got a pack of cards. It was a simple proposition and one that worked quite well in her favor and mine; she got a well behaved child, I got cards. Lots and lots of cards.  As my shoebox collection grew, I grew older and discovered Teen Beat magazine. At that junction, the cards were neatly tucked away in the root cellar of our basement.
There they sat until she passed away some 15 yrs. later, at which time the shoebox moved to the basement of my apartment building. There the box remained until we bought a house in the country, complete with a somewhat dilapidated shed, where those cards sat for several more years. Let me tell you, that shed leaked!  For some reason only half the roof had been shingled and it was NOT the half where the forgotten box of cards sat.

At some point, now living alone, I decided to tear down the shed and put a new one up to keep things like a four wheeler, riding mower, and that everlasting, long forgotten box of 1969 Topps. Rediscovering that old box, while sorting out what to keep in transitioning from one shed to the other, brought a smile to my face; like finding an old friend after “all these years”. However, discovering that they were still in good shape - not smelling of mildew from the manner in which they were stored and not chewed by the ever present “country mouse” - was a joy in and of itself.

These days those old cards are stored properly in binders; and in the case of the Tigers, with some reverence. Having reintroduced myself to the collecting of cardboard, I now pass along the doubles I pull from current packs to my grandson. Although he lives in a house with a basement, his cards - most of which are commons - are already in binders and will never see the inside of a shoebox. On the rare occasion when he’s given one in a top loader, he knows those cards are “extra special”.  One day when I’m long gone, that young man will have himself a nice collection of ’69 Topps cards too. But don’t worry, they’ll already be in binders.    

~ Cheryl
   Guest Blogger

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I know you are, but what am I?  Rhetorically speaking.  Four PWEs made their way through the big adventure that is the postal service.  Their trip ended safely within the confines of my roadside mail depository.  It's amazing the number of cards which fit neatly inside the sealed borders of a letter/legal sized envelope.

Brian  HSCA and #supertrader, sent this group of cardboard via pwe:

 Great shot of Tettleton in catcher's gear!

 The late Tony Phillips.

These beauties from 2003 Gallery, which sent me searching for a box to bust!

All nine of the cards arrived unscathed. Brian also sent a padded mailer just a couple weeks prior to the pwe.  Here's what it looked like upon arrival:

stomped  (stamped?)

waving hello
Because Brian knows proper card packaging, the cards inside were unharmed.  I'm not sure how they weren't lost from the mailer.  It had a rather large hole on the backside. Here's a sampling of the goodness found within:

Kaline in Blue, a 2013 Topps reprint

1993 Kraft Singles Fielder, whereas a block of cheese would seem more fitting.

Four colorful cards.  Fryman is from a special set issued in 94 by Pinnacle - The Naturals

2011 Lineage 75 mini-relic and lonely Clete Thomas, 2008 Ballpark Collection.

Brian - thanks for your generosity!  You are definitely a #supertrader, which I already knew.  ;) 

Bubblegummer Jeff Jones sent a nice thank you via PWE in return for some set help:

Daniel Norris became a Tiger via trade late last year.  Hope to see him blossom in Detroit!

2002 Upper Deck: great shot, though the runner was likely safe.  Love dirty uniforms!

Parallels: 2013 Topps camo #/99 !  and a chunky 2006 Bowman gold

Foodies!  89 Cap'N Crunch and 88 Nestle Chocolate boy bar

Listen to the roar!

Thanks to Wish They Still Came with Bubblegum!

A PWE thanks to #supertrader and 2x3 Heroes Jeff Wilk for these sports schedules.  He offered them up on his blog recently.  I couldn't say no to the great designs.  In the current age of political correctness, one of these mascots may become extinct.  If you guessed the jailbird in prison stripes, you could be right!  Seriously though, the Blackhawks schedule is a thing of beauty. 

Around of applause also goes out to a successful PWE from Gavin and Baseball Card Breakdancedown.  I was expecting two of these cards, but Gavin made sure to get his money's worth from a Forever stamp. 
Somebody's ready for baseball!
Ken Caminiti for the PC!

Face off between two of my favorite young catchers!


The two cards I was expecting are originals.  Not necessarily 1/1 but darn close!  The few that exist are special creations and aged differently.  Gavin is a talent in demand.  He displayed his latest creations on a recent post.  I found myself asking for one in particular. Look at these cards! 

The mini is shinier, appearing fresh from the pack.  The beauty on the right is breathtaking!  It could be an original 30s Goudeys!  The paper is dense and textured.  It feels old! Corners are rounded and the card is slightly dirty and faded.

The backs are true to original designs.  The font style and color give these cards a look of authenticity.  And they are authentic, to Baseball Card Breakdown!  Thank you thank you!  I've begun a collection of Gavins and hope to add many more!
PWEs - a great way to send a dozen or so cards for less than a dollar.  I plan to take advantage of this shipping method.  I can get more cards in the mail quickly, to my old trading friends and new #supertrading partners. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Random Giant - contest results

A note of thanks to those of you who took the time to read Ump Day and welcome my friend to the blog world!  Your kind words were an encouragement to her!  I hope she joins us on another Wednesday, maybe even this week.

Last week I offered a book to this blog's interested readers.

I was elated to find six interested persons,  since the book would go to the fifth person on the list, after five times in the Randomizer. Let's take a look at the results:

ARPSMITH is making room on his shelves for the Piazza book.  ARP is one of the biggest Giants fans out there.  He entered a contest for a former Dodgers' autobiography saying he'd like to give it a read.  ARPSMITH, congrats and I hope you enjoy the book!

A good many of us are enjoying the latest of Heritage and Donruss.  I busted my own boxes with much ado about nothing.  NO auto from Heritage, one pitcher auto and two pitcher relics from Donruss.  I do have a few 2015 packs of Bowman Chrome to bust later in the week for the #supertraders group.  By a few, I mean seven.   Looking forward to sharing these with you then.  Have a good week all!