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Showing posts from April, 2010

Don't ever send me this card again

If  you are a team or player collector, have a blog, and trade with others through your blog, then chances are you have experienced this:

You receive one particular card much more often than any other card.

For whatever reason, it keeps showing up at your place of residence over and over. You pull it out of the package, smile at it pleasantly, and throw it on the pile.

But it's not a bipping. Oh, no, these people are well-meaning. Perhaps if you receive the card over months and months, you could call it a sustained-release bipping. Of the unintentional sort.

For me, the card that keeps making unwanted house calls is card No. 10 out of the 22-card Bazooka starter set from 1989. Kirk Harold Gibson (yes, his middle name is Harold). I don't know exactly how many of this card I have received in the last year-and-half. But I do know that I didn't have one of these cards prior to October 2008. I now have 14 of them.

I'm also pretty certain that I have distributed a small amou…

Brush with greatness: John DeSilva

One still common misconception about the life of sportswriters is that their job is glamorous.

Rubbing elbows with the professional sports elite, munching on free food, watching ball games for nothing, what's not to like? My personal favorite is when people assume we watch games on TV at home and then write about what transpired. If that happened, then my job WOULD be fantastic.

That doesn't mean I don't think that there are pleasant parts to my job. If I didn't, I wouldn't be doing this Brush With Greatness series. It's just that this is not a job in which every moment is a "Dear Diary, the most wonderful thing happened to me today" moment.

For instance, the interview with a professional ballplayer.

To many, this would be the highlight. Isn't that what autograph hunters aspire to -- a chance to communicate, up-close, with a professional player? But as a sports reporter, things are somewhat different.

First of all, players don't see us as &qu…

Another milestone bites the dust

Little time today, so I'm getting right to it.

Right here we have The Hammer. In all his 1971 glory. Forty-seven homers, 1.019 OPS that year. He was the man in 1971. He's still the man.

This card is all mine. It is one of the cards that I thought I'd have the toughest time obtaining in my quest to finish off the '71 set. But after receiving the '71 Munson card, I've learned that just about anything is possible in the collecting game (Steve, the code cards are accumulating).

Originally, I thought finishing the '71 set would be a lifetime project. I don't think that anymore. Granted, I still need the Clemente, the Mays and the Rose. Realistically, it could still take years. But also, I expect those cards to drop out of the sky in the next few months. Seriously, I expect to be walking down the street and they will float down from a cloud into my hands. That's how optimistic I am about this set now.

I have reader Eggrocket to thank for the Aaron card. …

The problem with the '90s

I am here to alert you to a fine weekly baseball card feature on the most excellent Baseball-Reference.com Blog. I'll let the astute Andy do the rest of the talking about it:

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From Andy at Baseball-Reference.com:

The Baseball-Reference.com Blog has a new weekly feature covering
baseball cards:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/category/card-of-the-week


Click on that link to call up the relevant posts.

We would like to feature some of the excellent card blogs out there.
If you would like to participate, please email me at 88topps at gmail
dot com to direct me to one or two posts on your blog that you would
like to have highlighted. It doesn't matter if they are recent or old,
but they must contain scans of the front and back of a card that can
be used on our blog (minimum size 400 pixels by 285 pixels.) If I
choose to use your scans as the basis of a post, I will credit your
blog by name and also …

Cardboard appreciation: 1956 Topps Vic Power

(In keeping with my study of various "appreciation" days/weeks/months, this week is National Playground Safety Week. It's snowing here today, so I don't think we have to worry about little Aiden or Amelia cracking their head open on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is No. 62 in a series):


I have decided to start another little series on the blog, and I'm debuting it today on Cardboard Appreciation.

I'm calling it '56 of the Month. Each month I will feature a different 1956 Topps card that I have. In the process, I have set a goal to have the entire set completed by the time I finish this series.

That is why it is called '56 of the Month, rather than '56 of the Week or '56 of the Day. I am going to need lots and lots of time and lots and LOTS of money to complete this task. Who knows if I'll actually finish it? But I want to take a crack at it. I think I would be more proud of owning this completed set than any other …

That's what the boxes are for

Once, long ago, part of your responsibility as a card collector was checking off boxes. It was your duty to put pen to cardboard.

Each card set featured set checklists almost every year. But then, in the 1970s, team checklists began to appear. I don't know whether team collecting suddenly became the thing to do in the '70s, but Topps finally recognized it for the first time that decade with its team-specific checklists.

From 1975 to 1981, Topps issued team photo cards that also displayed a checklist on the back:


Look how neat I was in 1977. But this is the exception rather than the rule.

I particularly like the '77 team checklists, because they listed the players' uniform number for the first time -- or at least the first time since I started collecting.

The first team checklists that I marked up were from the first set with team checklists, the 1975 Topps set. I don't have very many of those left in their original state. I'm not sure what happened to them all…

It's a bip ... wait, no it isn't ... wait, yes it is ... wait, no it isn't

I received a very nice package in the mail about a week ago from Mariner1 of Emerald City Diamond Gems. He helped with a few Dodger/set needs, which you'll see later.

But also in the package was this:


That's nine 1981 Topps Terry Forster cards. Actually, I think I missed one. There were 10 in the package.

As a veteran bippee, I looked around for the confirmation note. The "ha, ha, you got bipped, sucker" note. I didn't find one.

So, I'm confused. Was this a bipping or not? Don't leaving me hanging. I have received packages in the past in which there were more than 6 or 7 of the same card without an accompanying note, but that was before the whole bipping epidemic. Now that bipping his officially passe, I'm wondering if Mariner1 executed a stealth bipping. Maybe he didn't leave a note so he could bip with impunity.

Very clever. If that was the intent.

I suspect not. Or maybe I do.

I'm still a little skittish you know.

But a number of cards sent…

Awesome night card, pt. 81

Around this time every season, I will come across a player in a boxscore and think out loud, "when did he end up here?"

That player this year was Kris Benson. He was the winning pitcher for the Diamondbacks against the Phillies last night. As far as I knew, he was still a Ranger. And even knowing that was quite a feat, because my brain keeps saying that Benson is still a Met, and Anna is still bouncing around in her Mrs. Claus get-up.

This is what happens when you get older. The job, the family, the house, the car, the school activities, the relatives all conspire to remove baseball from the center of your universe. No matter how hard you try to push baseball back to the center, something will come along and displace it. Baseball is merely a revolving planet, even if this blog makes it appear that it's my sole focus.

Once, I knew every player on every team. Of course, it was easier then. There were only 24 or 26 teams. And if I hadn't given up fantasy baseball, I…

Coming to terms with Chan Ho Park

Chan Ho Park is a Yankee now, so he's practically dead to me. But also, his Yankee-ness is another episode in what has been a series events involving Park that have made me uncomfortable.

Park embarrasses me. At least he did when he was a Dodger.

To start, when he was a rookie, he didn't react well to the customary hazing ritual. Dodger veterans took his clothes, cut up his new suit and tried to get him to wear a crazy outfit. Park, from South Korea and unfamiliar with Americans' weird customs, flipped out, throwing stuff, screaming, not going along with the ritual at all.

"Oh boy," I thought. "Who is THIS guy?"

Then, on the mound three years later, Park did the unthinkable. He gave up two grand slams in one inning to the same player. Now, why Park was still on the mound for the second time that Fernando Tatis came up during the inning I'll never know. But the fact is that Park gave up two grand slams in the same inning to Tatis.

Do you know how man…