Sunday, May 31, 2020

PWE Mania

Fred Flintsone. Fred Astaire. Fred Mertz. Fred Lynn. Fred McGriff. Fred Grandy. Fred Rogers. That's a short list of some better known, fantastic Freds but they  haven't sent me any cards. Ever. There's a lesser known Fred out there, north of the border. Canada always felt so far away when I lived in Texas. Now I'm 45 minutes from the Bluewater Bridge and still haven't it made it across.

My old and awful commute was to Troy, lower left on map.
Fred and I have been trading for a couple of years now, maybe three? He's a quiet and humble fellow who's tutored me a bit in the Trading Card Database. Helped me complete my first transaction and shared come collection tips!  I think he's a swell fellow, more so than these Baseball Greats he sent for set help. That's saying a lot cuz I like these cards!


I discovered these little minis in 2015, at my last big card show in Texas before the move. I'm finally working to complete the set. I've added more cards towards a finish in the last month than in the past five years. Fred tucked in a new Daulton too! I miss #10. 

I took advantage of the virus vacation to spend some time organizing my collection. Oh how it needed some TLC!  I worked 10-15 hours a week at the office to keep in touch with our customers. I wouldn't want to give the impression I did nothing but sit for six weeks straight. I've been updating TCDB and my three blog tabs with chase cards. It's been a beautiful thing to see the postal jeep stop at my mailbox several times a week!

One of those envelopes was from Chris Nachos Grande. He is a Ginter man and had a few cards to spare towards my 2019 Ginter Greats set build.

Chris the Collector had a few Free Card Fridays. I miss out on most giveaways because well, I'm me. This particular Friday was an exclusive for commenting on his All Teams series. I picked a sweet 94 Flair Cam plus a few fun ones!  I love the 93 Donruss Molitor. It's a floating bat beauty!

I don't win contests either - still me. Reading the blogs one day during the shutdown, I learned AJ makes excellent use of wax pack wrappers. He displayed his handwork and offered a choice of bookmarks to a random winner. I never make the top ten. This was a first, at being first! Check the link for his handiwork. I went with the bright blue Fleer wrapper. It makes me happy inside!

Bump n Run Trevor picked my pockets recently so sent a few cards in return. I appreciate that! When picks become trades, it's a win-win!  Three Tigers and a 95 Cyberstat assist!

Here's another pick-to-trade from Sport Card Collector Matt. He lives on a dead end road but puts a lot of life in a plain white envelope -  a Tiger den!


Pickers be crazy. Sometimes, they're Crazie.  I-E no Y, he's cray-cray Joe.  Donruss Greats, a Daulton and Blackhawks - all in return for some virtual dimeboxing. Duncan Keith is a Timmy Horton.

Sometimes collecting is all fun and games! Big fun games. I participated in Johnny's Friday night escapades recently. I came away with my first 1977 Sportscasters card, a Willie Mays!

All cards but the Mays are results of picking pockets. Thanks to all of you for the return packages and envelopes. The PP page will return soon. I'm taking the month of June off. The weather has warmed and yard work beckons. I'm also planning a big July 4th party. I've missed having one the last two years. We cookout, maybe have a bonfire but always, always have a 30-45 minutes fireworks display. It's buy one, get two free at Phantom Fireworks!

I spent an hour creating this display for a party a few years ago only to blow it all up later that evening.  I'll do it again this year.  Who's cray-cray now? Are you pointing a finger at me? The  youngest attendees are too old for chicken egg laying stunts and tanks. The pooping dog though, never gets old.

I've chosen the date to reveal the political drama referenced in my last couple of posts. Am I running for office? Not exactly. Am I buying your votes? Perhaps. Independence Day.  July 4th, in case there are any doubts.  As for my personal opinion of the current political landscape...did I mention a pooping dog?

Friday, May 15, 2020

FUJI: Man of the Cloth

I wanted to title this post Material Girl. Rather than making display of my airheaded self-centeredness, deemed it best to focus on Fuji's thoughtfulness. Fuji doesn't trade on a regular basis.  He sent a round of packages out in February to a LOT of folks. When you are the recipient of others' generosity, it's difficult not to reciprocate. If you are Fuji, it's impossible. [Not to say I was overly generous. There was no cash in the mailer I sent.]  Fuji does exchange cards but is more likely to do so PWE style. It's certainly become my way. Done right, PWEs are safe for card transport -  and affordable. I sent a stack of cards to Fuji with no obligation to return the favor. The note enclosed should have said as much. A self-confessed dimwit, I likely forgot the note entirely.

Fuji filled the package with relics. A relic myself, I was drawn to this card, the second oldest in the group. I hadn't heard of Cleven so threw myself at a baseball reference site only to be foul-tipped to Wikipedia. This may be the most baseball I see all year. Wicker tells me Brent is now 36 years old. It seems this second-round Tiger pick never gave up on the game. While showing promise, Cleven bounced between MLB and the minors for several years. He became a Double-A and Independent League star.  Now a player/manager for the Cleburne Railroaders [Texas], he led them to 57-33 record in his first season in 2019. This is a fellow who loves the game. If I still lived in Texas, a trip for Cleburne baseball would be a must. I wish him great success!





The package was all Tigers but for one, catcher JT Realmuto. This card was an extra nice touch. I don't pick up many of his cards and have no relics. I haven't been a fan of the Holiday issues. Topps continues to spit out products like a bird regurgitates to feed her babies. Reusing the same pictures, themes and tired old reprints, capitalizing on a collector's need to have it all.  We aren't all wired that way but I once was, back in the 90s.  I am so happy to be over that hump. I can't imagine having that need in today's hobby.  All that is to say, I really like the design on these two cards!  The swatch in the middle of the bow is admittedly clever. {I loathe you Topps. How you mock me.}

The remaining relic is from 2017 Holiday. Not certain but there may be a JV appearance in the dugout. My eyes fail me a bit. Recently I'm struggling to read white font on black backgrounds. Other colors against black are also troubling but white is the most difficult. The letters blur together no matter how much I enlarge the page. Some of my favorite blogs use these color combos which are sharp-looking. If  it seems I'm not reading or commenting on blogs with this formatting, please forgive me. I'm doing my best to be there. It is time for an eye appointment, once it's deemed safe to do so. Now back to the card...

I'm not extremely OCD but would've liked the material rotated slightly to the left so the fabric pattern flows with the design. I do like the little snag. Swatches with snags and dirt seem a touch more authentic. They probably keep a seam ripper and bucket of dirt in the production area to achieve this affect but I like to think it's player worn. The floating bat photo is divine! I collect bats racked, multiplied, cracked and broken but my favorites are those stilled in time. To count in my collection, 3/4 of the bat with barrel showing must be in the shot. This is a great example.

Have you read The Chronicles of Fuji?  Personal and thoughtfully written - and cards cards cards {and maybe a few legos.} He has an amazing collection of autos and relics. Drop by to see for yourself. Thank you Fuji!

A note to all: the primaries are coming I'll be posting soon on our upcoming election season.  Stay tuned! It's not politics as usual.

To close this post, I was torn between using a Madonna video for either Material Girl or Holiday. I chose neither and spared you all. You are welcome.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

COLLECTING UPDATE: and then there were four

It's a small and temporary victory! For at least the next 30 minutes, my sets and player collections are fully organized. With a few clicks on the Trading Card database, I can see exactly which cards are needed to complete sets or compliment current PCs.

Throughout the course of updating and organizing, I've made decisions which affect many PCs I enjoy. With space a consideration, I determined which collections were completed.  Unless a card is specifically on my Send Help tab, I am no longer adding cards to the following collections:

and CATCHERS in general.

I value my trade pals and realize these changes may make trading more difficult. Blinds trades have always been fun. I've attempted to keep the blog tab lists clean and legible, and most importantly - organized! I've parted with a few players along the way to make space for those which give me the most joy.  Booted were McGwire, Arod, Gonzalez, Palmeiro, Sosa. Among the heavily trimmed were: Bagwell, Biggio, Gwynn, Ivan Rodriquez, Michael Young, Frank Catalanotto, Greg Maddux, Javy Lopez, Omar Vizquel and Eddie Gaedel.

And then there were four...

I am still actively collecting Altuve, Daulton and Cobb. The Astros scandal saddened me greatly. Altuve's passion for the game, and the joy he brings to it, are what drew me back into collecting. The decision to continue collecting his cards took some reflection on my part. This Spring Training interview with Correa was a determining factor.  I don't believe Correa was completely open in his remarks regarding the  2018 season but his commentary to Ken Rosenthal regarding Altuve at the 3 and 11 minute marks made an impression on me.

2019 Heritage SP

Cobb was a man completely opposite in temperament; a fierce competitor. He comes from the Deadball Era, my favorite in baseball history. Players from this period lived hard-scrabble lives. Rarely did the game pay them a living wage. It was small ball, as homers were a rare occurrence in those days, long ago.

1961 Golden Press - my oldest Cobb

Darren Daulton was my first baseball 'love'.  I became a Phillies fan in 93 and still have a soft spot for them. By the time I discovered Daulton, he'd already been in the game several years. He retired after the 97 season. A bit of a wild child, Dutch settled into a quiet life in his last few years. I 'm not ashamed to say, I cried when he passed from brain cancer in August 2017.

1994 Fleer All Star

All cards needed or wanted for these collections can be found in my collection listed in the Trading Card Database, linked here to each name:

  Jose Altuve
  Ty Cobb  {yes, please send that T206, no}
  Darren Daulton

I'm also continuing to add Buster Posey. Cards I'd like to have are being added to the Quad Squad tab above. As for my catchers-in-gear collection, only cards  from 1974 and older  are being added to the binder.  If there is an exceptional new card such as this, then yes, I would love to have it:

2020 Heritage - how could I not like this card?

And of course, I have a bat collection! I like them floating, broken, racked and cracked:

Did I mention cuddled?

I love the seemingly quieter moments of the game most. These cards give me an odd inner peace. In the topsy-turvy world of today, I can look at cards like these for hours. There may also be more bats...

I'm adding more vintage these days, and these are not necessarily expensive cards. Here are a few I've picked up.



I am by no means a condition snob. If I'm going to spend the money however, I want clean, uncreased copies. I chose a unique vintage set for assembly - 1961 Fleer. I love the RW&B with stars design. I'm halfway through the set. These are not mint but fairly well centered with bright coloring. My copy of Gehrig is as nice as those below. I wanted you to see it on its own but managed to delete the original version of the scan while separating from these fellows. They represent the overall condition of my set build.

1961 FLEER

As for my small Blackhawk hockey collection, it's approaching completion as well. I would enjoy adding some refractors, a colorful patch, OPC and pre-1980 cards. I do have a list of cards in mind HERE. I just don't have room for a large hockey collection. Thanks to the generosity of my trade pals, hockey flowed into my home like flood waters for awhile.

I am still collecting Tigers. You can find these needs on the Uncaged Tiger tab. This list will be a continuous work in progress, regularly updated.

If you managed to read this far down the page, you deserve heads up on an upcoming contest which will require your participation throughout the summer and early fall. Yes, I do know how to drag something out. I recently decided to add tickets to each of my Picker Pals envelopes for a drawing later in the year. Johnny's Trading Spot spoiled my idea by coming up with it on his own. The nerve. ;)  He'll be doing this with his Big Fun Friday games.  Please, join him.  What does this mean then, you ask.

Stay tuned. The primaries are coming....

Friday, May 1, 2020

Nick's Book Nook and Card Shop

I hardly know where to begin with this particular share. If I were to save the best for last, you would skip right to the bottom of this post. I'm not catering to you.  And who has the final say of what's best?  Me. I'm the decider.

Nick (do not ask 'Nick, who?' ) sent an oversized package my way mid-February. This package could not have been more well-timed. A month later, Nick was laid-off from his job. Sometimes you ask for something so off the wall, well, there's just no way your wish will be fulfilled.  Did you ask Nick who? Nick might as well be Santa Claus.

He packed in the usual assortment of cardboard surprises which he has such a knack for doing.
How about a 75 Kaline? Check.

1971 O-Pee-Chee? Of course.

One card needed to finish your 2018 Fire set? No problem ma'am.

Pristine 2001 Topps Reserve in their refractory finest? Have two:

Magazine oddball - required.


 1993 UD Glowing Darren Daulton.  Happy to oblige!

A case of the 'no baseball blues'? Please, take one Champ Summers.

Crazy enough to build 2003 Topps Retired from one card? Here's your second. You're gonna need the help.

One scoop or two? Please, have four.

Holy smokes! It was a difficult narrowing down the scans to share only a handful of the 100 or so cards Nick sent.  [Are you still asking, 'Nick who'?]  I could ramble on at length about each card here but decided to save it for this lot. If there were 'best' cards in this package, lordy it must be these.  1961 Nu-Card Scoops should be found at the top of my vintage oddball want-list. Scoops are a delightful addition to the Tiger collection. I love the news headline design. Throughout all of my card show binges, I've only ever found one Nu-Scoop card, Mickey Cochrane card 419. This set would look fantastic in a binder. I have five cards. Anyone care to send the rest?


As much as I love this 80 card set, it isn't in the boo-jay - that's French for budget.  Perhaps when I have a few hundred to splurge, I can find a clean and complete set. Scoops are numbered 401-480. My best guess is numbering continued from previous sets although I've found only one: 1960 Nu-Card Highlights. However, it's numbered 1-72. If any of you have more info than this, please share in the comments.


If you are still asking Nick who then I must ask you- have you been social-distancing on another planet?  He began blogging at the end of 2011. Dime Boxes should be on your required reading list.    

And if Nick's taking any suggestions, this post's title is a big ole hint!!! I'll join you Nick, and run the cafe. Nick may be laid off but when he's not, he's working for my favorite bookstore chain, Half Price Books. Books, records, magazines, games and some collectibles - I've never walked out of one empty handed. I was a regular customer - every weekend - at the flagship store in Dallas Tx. It's H-U-G-E! Before vinyl became a 'thing' again these past few years, I was quietly stocking up. I had no trouble finding most 60s & 70s albums in like new/nearly new condition for $5.99 or less. I'm talkin' Beatles for cheap!

I'm also a book junkie: history, memoirs, biographies, positive thinking...and baseball. All hold treasured space on my bookshelves. Nick asked if there were any books I might be looking for.  I mentioned one that had been on my Amazon list for a long time. A book out of print since 1991, originally published in 1973. There was no way he'd find a nearly new copy, ever.  A worn copy maybe, eventually.

Nick's reply?  This book came in just this past week!!  He happens to manage the sports section of the store.  I could not believe this good luck.  The hardbacks are simply unaffordable and a high quality paperback can run $30+ on the secondary market.  Beggars shouldn't be choosy but I am when it comes to books.  My own paperbacks are in like new condition: no tears, bends, and no broken spines, even after several readings! How is it that this 30 year old copy could meet my criteria?

The authors Boyd and Harris both worked for a bookstore. A customer inquired regarding books about baseball cards but these were yet to be written. They took it upon themselves to pen one.  After going through their childhood collection of cards from the 50s and 60s, the men chose an eclectic group of players as fodder for their prose. Most of the players represented are the lesser knowns, the fellas you always manage to pull from a wax pack four or five times - in four or five trips to the drugstore.

It was a fun read. I forced myself to put it down overnight and finish the second day. Not wanting to break the spine, I wasn't able to scan any of the contents to share.  Please accept my apologies for the phone pics.  Here's a peek into the thoughts of two collector pals in 1973:

At least Rip has some 'best' years.

The umpire heckled him.
What a juvenile prank.

What's up, Albie?

Know any good kneck kneck jokes?

Someday there will be nostalgia for the 70s, indeed.

Nick, I hardly know how to thank you. The cards were fantastic, with many new additions to the stash. The book however, was over the top. It will be treasured for many years to come.

I consider myself fortunate to have fallen in with our blogging community. My collection has grown immensely due to the generosities of bloggers like Nick.  With the extra hours afforded during the MI Stay At Home Order, I've had the opportunity to assess my collection. My next post will be an update on the new direction my cardboard hoarding has taken. What's old is new, so it seems. Until then, be well.

And for Pete's sake, read Nick's blog!