Friday, February 24, 2017

Indian Head Nickels

During The Great Reorganization, I decided to thin down my player collections.   As my overall collection grows, I don’t have the space to keep all my current players.   As they get the boot, these newly homeless guys will be offered here for trade.  I’m still sorting the boys out so it will probably be this summer before the posting begins.

So why???  Why in the midst of down-sizing, do I find yet another mini-collection suddenly so desirable?  It’s not even baseball!  I do blame my smartphone which would likely blame the Google browser.  It was an ad for hockey.  HOCKEY!  I do not watch hockey and couldn’t name a current star player, even if it would save my life.  More specifically, it was a particular team – the Chicago Blackhawks.  To be exact – it isn’t the team but their JERSEYS featuring a colorful Indian logo.

1937-1955  Logo
I don’t intend to follow this team any more than I do the Redwings or Stars.   I will own some clothing before long however!  So perhaps that is a type of support for the Hawks.    I’ve already done more research on the Hawks than any team outside of baseball.  Crap, more support. 

While going through boxes at a local card show this weekend, I stumbled upon hockey cards.  Of course, what did I find??  These gorgeous shots of my new favorite Indian:

Six cards total at a nickel each and I am now a collector of the Chicago Blackhawks – nice jersey shots only.  Player does not matter.  

Looking through hockey cards was eye-opening from a collector’s perspective.  Being a strong fan of baseball’s Catcher position, I was naturally drawn to the Goalie cards.  But more than this, the colorful team uniforms stand out boldly against the white ice.   I did see a lot of cool logos like the Senators for example, but I stand firm in my decision to collect ONLY Blackhawk cards featuring the Indian. That’s all!  No other teams, no other sports.   Surely it isn’t cheating to look at a hockey jersey.  After all, baseball is the sport love of my life! 

Did Bobby score [before, during or after the game?]  Did the family get their puppy? 
Does anybody really know what time it is?
I don’t collect the Senators.  I don’t. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thomas Jefferson Would Be Proud

On Saturday, I made it to my first card show of the year.   Only an hour away from me, the Gibraltar Trade Center has a 40 table show every month. I've been once in the nearly two years I've lived here.  Public market or indoor flea market [aren't these the same?] this place attracts all types of people, not unlike Walmart.  It's a trip made with a friend as I'd never go alone. The unusually warm weather brought folks out of their homes and into the show meaning less cards for me - oh - and my friend.  I certainly don't want to appear selfish. 

I took $60 and left my debit and credit cards at home.  We arrived around 11am, missing the first hour.  The first half of the day yielded very little of the very few 2017 Topps on my list.  Looking over the tables, nothing really caught my eye.  I picked up several one dollar cards. Sample:

Set build: 1970 Kellogg's 
Set build: 1961 Golden Press

Because it was there: 1962 Post

I picked out twelve 3 for $1 cards.  Here are six:

PCs: 2014 Posey, 1995 Donruss, 1996 SPX

                                                                                     Set build:  1972 Topps
It's a dream set to be sure, adding random cards here and there.  These are gorgeous in color and condition! My disco boy Astros and Cleo showing off his now retro Cubbie patch.

I found a table with miscellaneous packs of old junk at three for $1.  I bought all ten packs of 1994 Stadium Club Series Two.  These yielded a First Day Issue Tiger, Scott Livingstone and player collection boys:
Gracie is a parallel
From the same 10 packs, I pulled four of these:
A floating bat and a funky cold Mussina:

It was 3pm as we made our way to the back of the floor, to the last row of tables when we spotted this:

You read the sign correctly.  Thousands upon thousands of cards for a NICKEL!!!!!!!   The dealer's sign was a bit of joke.  He mentioned some people got upset that kids had a better deal...people who obviously didn't read the whole sign - 20/$1 !!    

Several folks were seated on the aisle side of the tables by the time we'd found them.  So we took our spot on what would be the seller's side.  Working as a team pulling cards for each other, we managed to go through most of the boxes on our side before the show ended at 6pm.    

During our search, an older woman [70ish or more] came barreling around the corner seeking information on a card she'd purchased over twenty years ago.  She first approached the group searching the boxes on her side then she saw me seated behind the table.  'Oh I can ask YOU this question.'   Why me?? I thought.   'What was that card they made 500 of twenty years ago'   I had no idea.  She then narrowed it down saying 'you know, he was married to that famous actress'.  OH!  'Joe DiMaggio'.   I tried to explain cards are now numbered to 25 or even less.  If she could tell me the year or brand, I might be able to help her.    I was trying hard to be polite but she reeked of cigarettes and cheap perfume, right out of an old Bogart movie.  Of all the shows she had to wander into...  I hadn't yet noticed my friend had scooted down the row a bit. So much for the team effort. She was pulling cards while I heard all about the dame's kids: one a college graduate,  the other still flipping pizzas after 18 years.  After ten minutes or more of listening, she says 'I don't even know where the card is.  If I can find it, I'll bring it next time.'   Next time???  Oh goodie.

Just what can a nickel get you these days???  Twelve cards added to my 2016 Stadium Club set, cards for mini-set binders and player collections.  Cards, cards, cards! 

Set builds: 94 Pinnacle Museum, 1990 Swell   70s binder: 2013 Golden Age Playing Card
Just Because: 2013 Cooperstown Lumberjacks

       2004 Donruss Elite Passing the Torch

I managed to stay away from any large impulse purchases, sticking mainly to set builds and players. I left the show with $15 in my pocket and at least 500 cards for five cents each.  Surely our Founding Father and third President would be pleased to know how far a nickel goes these days.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rewarding Bad Behavior

During my absence trade packages kept rolling in, feeding my hungry little mailbox. I've always felt like part of the group, welcome from day one.  My first trade was with the most famous member of our community, Night Owl Cards.  If I'm not mistaken, Greg is in his tenth year blogging, rarely missing a day.  His post remain relevant, educational and entertaining.  Greg's a Dodger man, a 75 dude and a night card guy who loves his minis.  He dropped a great package in the mail which included a purplicious Chrome Miggy and a 72 Northrup among other great cardboard!  

Greg, thanks for providing a safe harbor for all my Dodger cards!  I appreciated hearing from you during my absence.  Your encouragement was appreciated, more than I could say here.  This post is dedicated to you.  Here's a small [DD] token of cardboard appreciation:

1994 Collector's Choice - Dykstra buries his face in the wall.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This Gal Has Balls

I spent some time Sunday afternoon working on organization, sorting through the last of the first and smallest stack of boxes.  The box tackled contained a few items which no longer fit my collection.   There were some miscellaneous sets to be completed, a sealed 91 Topps Traded set and several slabbed cards.  Graded cards never really caught on for me. I'm a touchy-feely person. I want to hold the cards, enjoy the texture of the many papers used to create them.  New cards smell good!  Plastic robs me of these small pleasures.

My prospecting days are well behind me.  A good thing because I didn't choose too wisely.

Ruben Mateo tore up the minor leagues.  Between 1999 and 2004, he was with four different MLB teams - Rangers,  Reds, Pirates and Royals.  In 2005, Ruben spent a year in South Korea with the LG Twins.  Coming back to the States in 2007, he joined the Brewer's AA team the Huntsville Stars and the Atlantic League's Newark Bears.  2009 sent him to Mexico with the Broncos de Reynosa.  He was once the top prospect in the Rangers system.

Junior Spivey is from Oklahoma City, my hometown.  He was on the World Series winning D'back team in 2001.  The D'backs, Brewers and Nationals all gave him playing time between 2001-2005. The Cardinals signed him for 2006 but he spent the whole season with the Redbirds, Triple A.  Junior gave the Atlantic League a whirl too, playing with the Bluefish in 2007 and the Riversharks in 2009, moving onto the Golden Baseball League in California for the last part of 2009.  Junior retired with a .270 BA, 48 HR and 201 RBI.

Then there's this guy:

Carlos made a career bouncing between the minors and MLB.  In 2001, I caught a AAA Redhawks game in OKC.  Carlos was playing first base.  I had seats in the front row near the bag.  He missed a play because he was too busy flirting with girls on my row.  By then, I already owned these cards. Apparently I can pick sports anchors.  Pena is now with the MLB Network.  So too, is Sean Casey.

Sean had a good MLB career: .302 AVG; 130 HR; 735 RBI.  He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2012. The best slabbed card of the bunch!  Then there's Raffy, a member of the 3000 hit/500 home run club and once a shoo-in for the HOF - now a  victim of the steroid era.  When I began collecting, Rafael was a fave PC. This is the last Raffy in my collection.  These are all the slabbed cards in my collection, minus one old tobacco card which I'll share another time.

I found this odd little item from 1999.  It had to have been the last one on the shelf.  I wouldn't have chosen McGwire over Jeter, Maddux or Ripken.

And now we've come to the balls portion of the post. I got 'em - five to be exact.  Five balls that must go.  I obtained these autographs at minor league games.  The PCL ball was a foul I caught at a game in OKC in 2000.  The Redhawks were playing the Iowa Cubs.  Julio Zuleta was a Cubs first base prospect whose MLB career never really happened.  He played 13 seasons in the minors, majors, Japan and Mexico.

I attended the 2002 Triple A All-Star weekend and game in OKC and picked up autos of Jack Cust and Todd Sears.  Drafted out of high school in 1997 by the D'backs, Cust was the All-Star game MVP.  Cust was signed by no less than six MLB teams but spent most of that time in the minors.  While with the A's in 2008, he broke the AL record for most strikeouts in a season with 187! He last signed with the Rays in 2013 but was released in Spring Training.  Cust was named in the Mitchell Report in 2007.

Sears spent 11 years in baseball, mostly the minors.  He was drafted by the Rockies in 1997, played briefly [40 games] with the Twins and Padres then back to the minors until he retired.

Ryan Minor is most famous for taking Ripken's place on the field to end the consecutive games played streak. Between 1998-2001, he played for the O's and Expos.  He played in the minors through 2004.  I obtained his signature at a Rangers game. Lesson: never have someone named Minor sign your major league baseball.

A Rangers prospect, Ramon Nivar was once the Minor League Player of the year, another AAA wonder who couldn't make the majors.  He spent nearly all of his 11 year career in the minors.  After 2010, he seems to have disappeared.  He signed two balls for me in OKC.

Now I turn to you for advice.  What should I do with these items?  None are worth selling on Ebay.  Perhaps you have some ideas?  I was tempted to keep Zuleta simply because it was a caught foul ball but I actually have a few of these.  I did well in the minors too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Delinquent Trade Files

Yes,  the juvenile in me is a delinquent - the adult no better.  I continue my streak of misbehavior with months of unshared trade packages lurking in the closet.  This week we open the door just enough to allow a few into the dimly lit room.

Play at the Plate - Brian Snider

Brian has been a good trading partner.  Over the last few years he posted several times a week.  In 2016, Brian blogged somewhat sporadically with his last post occurring some five months ago.  If any of you know what may have happened to Brian, please comment or email.  I reached out to him via comment and email but have yet to hear anything.  Brian if you're out there, thank you!  We miss you!

Brian sent a #supertraders package:

Certainly there was room for more red foil on the 99 Fleer Warning Track Parallel!!

Addiction is Therapy - Adam Pankratz

I'd been concerned for Adam because several months had passed without a post from him.  I'm happy to see he's still blogging.  I received two packages from him over these past months.   The first contained a 2015 GQ Verlander mini relic and Heritage lots from 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2011.  All were needed for my Tiger team sets!  The second package included Fleer Sticker fun and a Victor Martinez relic!

Adam, thanks for the great selection of cards - and for your patience!  I truly appreciate your generosity!

Mark Hoyle - infamous non-blogger

I received my first ever mailer from Mark!  His mo has been the pwe.   The package was filled with vintage and oddity!  Take a look at those 72 babies! One of my fave all-time designs!  For the odd, he sent two cards from 1968 Atlantic Gas.  There is a 92 Fleer sighting here as well.  This set toys with me.  When I began collecting in 1993, my friend had stacks of these all over her house. Literally.  I'd never seen such disorganization!  I thought these were some of the ugliest cards ever produced. When Fleer fell out of the mailer, I had a little touch of that nostalgic feeling a warm memory can bring.  I was also running a low fever at the time so perhaps it had nothing to do with 92 Fleer.  None the less, I was falling in love with the hobby back then.  92 Fleer was a big part of those days!

Mark, thanks for the cards!  This package was all over the park - super variety!!!

During my absence, I avoided email and wished later that I'd not done so.  If I'm ever going to be away for any length of time, this information will be posted!  Of course, an early demise could prevent me from sharing this info with you directly but arrangements have been made with a good friend to post on my behalf.    Those other arrangements - well - I keep putting them off.  On a back-burner, if you will.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rediscovering 2017 TOPPS via Donruss

I sit surrounded by stacks of new cardboard, ripped wrappers and a certain emptiness from a bust gone bad.  Two jumbo boxes of crap I wouldn't use to line a litter box.  Behold the glorious contents of 2017 Topps Flagship's TWO Jumbo boxes!  

Let's get these out of the way: Twins, Mariners -silver.  Pirates red.  Others bronze.

Corey Seager?  Has it really been so very long?
I enjoy the MLB Network and once collected Sean Casey but don't have any desire to save these cards.  There are auto versions out there too. Congrats to those who pull a Lowell or Amsinger.

This insert series consists of 100 cards with various special designations on front.  Backs are all numbered beginning with the letter  S - which really just means Stupid.  Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day - nothing in the player photos depicts any relationship to the label slapped on the bottom of the card front.  The blurb on the card reverse attempts to make a relevant connection to the special day or event.  The poorly designed insert series along with its parallels does not create an exciting chase scenario for this collector.

A popular series for other collectors.  Can someone tell us what John Goodman is doing there? Bowling? What's with the fingers on his chin?

I know who the real tool is...

Now a word from our sponsor:
Out of ideas to market reprints?

More irrelevant with each passing release

Attractive parallel.  It can happen.

Nothing positive to add here.

I struggle when anything 80s/90s is considered classic or vintage.  One of my least favorite Topps designs is now a golden oldie.


Yes, this is where it all pays off.  Eh no.  I'll keep Harper for now.

Criminy!  Seriously Topps?  Who wouldn't be thrilled with a couple of pitcher autos? The smudged signature just made Nola a 1/1.

Topps has a hobby shop loyalty program to encourage a purchase from your LCS.  You'll receive one silver pack per hobby box or two packs per jumbo box purchased. Each pack contains four 87 style refractor cards with parallels and autos at random.  My purchase gave me four packs - 16 chances to pull a card for my PCs.  Ripken and Swanson will hang with me for now.

Two boxes=1000 cards.  I have a few extra Tigers now and these were added to my collection:

There was something new to these boxes - collation.  I managed one complete Series One set and am 27 cards short of a second.  Some sense of humor you have there Topps with your ugly little design.   Another nod to Topps' funnybone - this card was pulled by a gentleman from a FB group I follow.:

photo by John Peterson
This doesn't appear to be photoshopped.  Perhaps someone at Topps thought it would be entertaining to slip this into production.  If this card is real,  I'm not the only Molitor collector who'll want it!  If it's real, I hope there are hundreds - thousands more out there - any player!  There are at least two on Ebay.   Does the Panini/Donruss Company know?  I harbor a secret desire to see this slip bite licensed Topps in the backside.   I'm a terrible person.  No make that bitter.  So are the joys of rediscovering Topps!