Monday, September 30, 2013
First, because people might have missed it because I haven't been in the habit of posting on this blog overnight lately, I am hoarding Steve Garvey cards. I apparently have a thing about fallen heroes.
I look at my first year of blogging with the same nostalgic haze usually reserved for bad '70s music and '80s neon. It was a fascinating time full of new cards, new collecting partners and newly discovered blogs. Not only was I finding already established blogs, but new ones seemed to appear every week.
The blogging giddiness has disappeared over the years for me and, it appears, for others. Lots of blogs established during 2008 and 2009 aren't around anymore, or are stuck on some distant date in the past, frozen in time.
Every once in awhile, though, a blog reappears and I love it when that happens.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from someone who was blogging during that first year I was, who had returned to blogging. The blog -- Project Phillies -- hadn't been updated in more than four years!
Of course, I suppose this means I can't delete any blog off the blog roll ever again if someone is going to come back after a four-year hiatus.
But I'm happy to have Amy back and any other blog from 2009 that wants to return, too.
Meanwhile, Amy sent me some key cards -- totally unaware that I've become a very pokey trader and goodness knows when she can expect cards from me.
But enough about that ugliness. Let's see the goodness:
I am going back to the '50s for inspiration now that the Dodgers are in the postseason. My team's injury woes are making me very nervous. I'm certain Campy powered through whatever ailments he had in the postseason.
The Dodgers' No. 3 starter in the playoffs is a tremendous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. He needs to trample through the Braves like Stay Puft through the streets of New York, but without being destroyed or turning pleasant on a cartoon series.
Ryu missed out on the kind of Asian rookie hype that Ishii enjoyed in 2002 (I must count all of my 2002 and 2003 Ishiis some day). Ishii is preparing to retire after pitching in Japan the last eight or nine years and 21 years overall.
Amy found my want lists. This is a good example of what the Dodgers were relying on for victories in 2005. Yup, a former Astro, a former Red Sox and Anger Management Milton.
Every time I see Edwin Jackson pitch for the Cubs, I just wait for everything to crumble. It didn't happen quite as much as I thought it would, but I still think running him out there is like putting a "kick me" sign on your own back.
The Alex Cora is some MLB Showdown card that was on my want list but I can't tell you anything about it. The Royals Rookies make me feel guilty just because I just mentioned on another blog that I don't really pursue nationally issued minor league sets for Dodger cards, yet these were on the want list. What to do with them? What to do?
I love this card. I had no idea it existed, even though it seems like the phrase "Pacific Terrific" would have been mocked endlessly on the blogs by now.
This is one of those two-sided '90s cards (never do these AGAIN).
This is the flip side:
Sorry, bazillion Griffey collectors, the Strawberry side is facing forward forever.
Short-print greatness! The Gonzalez SP is probably the best of the too-many Dodger SPs this year. I love this card and just need the Ryu one to finish off the FIVE Dodger SPs. (There's probably more than five and someone will destroy my self-satisfaction in a matter of minutes).
This is the item that Amy said she had for me.
As you know, I'm not a fan of manupatch "cards." But the ones issued this year that mimic famous cards are the best kind of manupatch. I haven't pulled one myself, probably because I've bought only one 2013 Topps blaster all year.
So it's nice to have one. This also makes the seventh different version of Jackie Robinson's '52 Topps card that I have without actually having a '52 Topps Jackie Robinson.
Here you go:
I think that idea of one binder page full of all the fake '52 Jackies is starting to become a bit of genius.
So those are some pretty good cards from someone who just returned to blogging after four years. I don't know if I could come up with that kind of stuff after a four-year absence.
I'll get some Phillies out to you soon, Amy.
Of course, my version of "soon" has changed since 2009.
I was never the biggest Steve Garvey fan.
Even during his highest moments with the Dodgers, the great postseasons, the fantastic All-Star Games, the relentless ripping of certain teams (he seemed to slaughter the Padres), I was looking elsewhere.
Ron Cey, of course, was my favorite player on the team at that time. After The Penguin, I rooted for Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker, Davey Lopes, Pedro Guerrero and pitchers like Don Sutton and Doug Rau.
This isn't to say I disliked Garvey. I was proud of his accomplishments and any time he would excel in the game on a national stage so everyone could see it, I glowed. "That's the best player on MY TEAM," I said to myself.
I was very upset when Garvey was called out incorrectly at home plate during the 1977 World Series against the Yankees. I was embarrassed for him during that brawl with Sutton in '78. And I would recite for anyone who would ask (not enough people did) what his consecutive games played streak was and how far away he was from Lou Gehrig.
And I enjoyed his cards. Garvey always seemed to have some good ones, probably because he knew how to pose for the camera. The goody goody.
Garvey WAS the Dodgers for a lot of people during the '70s and early '80s. Whether they loved or hated Garvey, that was a fact.
Given all of that, it's about time I announce myself as a Garvey card collector. I need to recognize the leading player on the Dodgers teams that I rooted for when I first knew how to root for a team.
So I have added Garvey to the Dodgers I Collect page.
By my count, I have 101 unique Garvey cards during his Dodgers days. I only care about his time with the Dodgers. I have no intention to collect Garvey Padres cards.
I still have some updating to do on the list. The pitfalls of making a list without my collection nearby is I don't understand some of my notation in the files. So I hope to have the list fully complete in a day or two.
I don't expect to compete with the crazy Garvey collectors out there. I'm not a player collector at heart, so I will be going at my usual sluggish pace. The Garvey nuts can continue their scorched ebay policy without my interference.
But I do expect some help. I think at one point on this blog someone said that if I ever got a Garvey "haves" list together that they would ship some extra Garveys my way.
So now you know why I made my list.
Why it took me so long, I'll never know.
I'll leave you with a Garvey Superstars video. It's comical for a number of reasons (Frank Gifford's shorts, Garvey struggling to lift weights with NFL players, Gifford's leering comment about Cyndi Garvey, Garvey's frightening grin into the television camera, I could go on and on).
Welcome aboard, Popeye.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
During the last '56 Of The Month post, I unveiled what I said was the worst-conditioned card in my 1956 Topps collection.
I kind of forgot about this one.
I don't really consider it as beat up as the David Pope card, but just for posterity's sake, let's look at all the things that are "wrong" with this card:
I love the M's.
This is another one of those cards that I received from that grocery bag when I was a teenager. That bag is really the main reason I'm pursuing this set. I'd never have the guts to do so otherwise.
But there are still major obstacles ahead. Lawrence represents another chore besides the very obvious one of picking up a Clemente/Aaron/Williams/Mays/Mantle/Berra/Robinson from this set.
You see, Lawrence is card No. 305 in the '56 set.
Out of all of the cards I obtained from that grocery bag -- and I accumulated a good one-fourth of the cards from the '56 set out of there -- only two cards were from the last series.
The 1956 set was issued in four series. I had to research a little bit to find that. When I finally did find it, the information came from my late friend and collector Chris Stufflestreet (it's hard to reconcile that he's been gone for a year now).
The series were divided like this:
Cards 1-180 are the cards that come in both gray backs and white backs. I have no desire to pursue both kinds of backs, and I hear that a lot of '56 collectors feel the same way.
Cards 181-260 are considered slightly scarcer than the other cards in the set, but nothing drastic. Maybe 5 dollars more a card for a card that's in perfect shape.
It certainly hasn't bothered me as I already have 51 of the 79 cards that are in that series.
What has always intimidated me is the last series, 261-340.
For a long time, just based on the fact that I had just two cards from that series, I thought that the final series was the most difficult to obtain. But now I know:
Whoever's cards those were out of that grocery bag, it is obvious that they got bored with collecting cards by the time the last series came around and didn't bother purchasing any packs. This was a common habit during the era of multiple series. Kids would go back to school and start following football. Baseball card collecting was perceived as a spring/summertime activity, not year-round like it is today.
Today, I have increased my total of cards from the last series to nine. And this post is a reminder to me that at the upcoming card show, I must find a binder with the '56 set and go straight to the back.
And now for a little about Brooks Lawrence.
Lawrence is yet another one of those talented players forgotten by time. He won 15 games in his rookie season in 1954 with the Cardinals. During the year that this card was issued, he won 19 games for the Reds. In 1956 and '57, he won 35 games for Cincinnati and yet his name rarely is mentioned.
Lawrence also was fond of reading and poetry, received a Bronze Star in World War II and coached the baseball team at Wilmington College for six years.
Getting to know players like this is just another reason why I need to find cards from that final series of the 1956 set.
Friday, September 27, 2013
It's not often that I receive an offer that I can't refuse. Sure, there are plenty of "do this or else ..." moments in my life. But I'm talking about something in which both ends of the equation are "oh, boy, where do I sign up?!"
A couple of weeks ago, Kenny "Zippy Zappy" contacted me about another deal. He said he had a handful of cards for me and all he wanted in exchange were some cards of Alex Rodriguez.
I stared at the email blankly.
"Hmmmm, that's strange," I thought. "I know Kenny. I've traded with him before. I've seen him trade with others. But goodness this sounds like spam."
A-Rod cards. He wants A-Rod cards?
I read the email again.
"I'd love to trade for any A-Rods (I know this will shock you but Alex Rodriguez is one of my favorite players)."
Yeah, that's got to be spam.
But just because I'm a nice guy, I sent a reply to Kenny -- if that is his real name -- and braced myself for an endless bombardment of "I delight myself to correspond to you the contents of which are properties in Botswana" emails.
Shockingly, I received an email back from Kenny that didn't say anything about Botswana, but instead said:
"Awesome. I'll dig up some more Dodgers that you may need."
And then I got another one that said:
"I dropped your cards off at the post office today."
OK, so I guess it wasn't spam after all. I was a little disappointed because I thought I was going to learn about undervalued land in far away places. But I set off to find some Alex Rodriguez cards. And halfway on my way to find those cards it dawned on me ...
I GET TO GET RID OF ALEX RODRIGUEZ CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How I've always dreamed of an excuse to do that.
So, today, I finally gathered up some. It turns out that I didn't have as many as I thought I did. Some A-Rods I have to hold on to because of that stupid set collector thing. What a crazy idea that was. But I do think I have a sufficient amount that (*happy dance, happy dance*) WILL NEVER BE IN MY COLLECTION AGAIN.
And I got Dodgers in exchange!
Those are actually the mini versions of each player's respective 2013 Topps card.
Only two of these guys have a chance of appearing in the postseason. And I hope to heck that it has been whittled down to one by Oct. 1st. (I'll give you a hint: I don't want to see chest-thumper anywhere near my playoffs).
There's a Bowman Platinum card of future star Joc Pederson. See? He's got that space-age helmet going on. That tells you that he's going to hit balls to the moon.
This card also means I should really get my Platinum Dodger want list on the blog -- and all those other sets that have been released since August when I stopped having money.
I scanned this card even though it scanned hideously and I already have it because I remember when it came out a couple years ago and I was desperate to have it. Sometimes I accumulate cards like this just because I can't get rid of that feeling of "I waaaaaaaaaaaaant" even after it's mine.
I'm so weird.
But what's weirder is I was able to get all that just by getting rid of some A-Rod cards that I can't even look in the face anyway.
Kenny, I'm finally getting together those Rodriguez's together now, and hopefully they'll be out the door soon.
Sorry for being slow.
And sorry I thought you were spam.
It was just too good to be true.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
As you know, there are quite a few Dodger collectors on the blogs (when I started there were two). They show all their Dodger card acquisitions, and I'm fine with that, except for the part of me that cries in the night, "those should be MIIIIIINNNNNE!"
Also from time to time, I see someone boasting about something that they acquired that is right smack in the middle of my collecting interests. A Kellogg's 3-D card, or a '75 mini, or a shiny Kershaw insert.
Those collectors have the right to those cards. But we all know where they really belong.
Unfortunately, this is life and things never work out as they should. Not even in card collecting. There is no world peace. Coffee smells great and tastes like tires. Pee Wee's Playhouse hasn't been on my TV for years.
But every once in awhile, the stars align, people of all races and creeds put aside their petty differences, and cards that have night owl written all over them do meet their destiny.
Such a moment happened a few weeks ago when Daniel of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop was giving away a bunch of tobacco-style minis. He spun the randomizer and -- miracle of miracle -- I won the cards.
Imagine that, minis going to me.
I think I've mentioned enjoying minis a time or two.
The best part was getting this card:
As you know (or maybe you don't know as nobody commented on this post), I want every one of these cards. It's a mini of the first pro game played under lights. It should gravitate toward me automatically. Like a rule of nature.
So after receiving this card -- appropriately housed in one of those great mini top-loaders -- I am now able to do this:
Granted, that's only one-third of a mini page, but I'm not showing the other empty pockets. That'll just make me sad.
And this is a celebratory post! The mini lost sheep came to MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!
As for the other minis, some of them were candidates for my A&G frankenset binder and some were not. Let's look at the ones that made the binder:
#109 - Joey Chestnut, black border.
Not happy about having the hot dog glutton included. I start to feel nauseous halfway through my second hot dog. But it does give the frankenset binder character, and that's what I'm going for.
#166 - Bram Stoker, black border
A writer almost always gets a free pass in this binder. Bram is an inspiration, too, as "Dracula" was written at age 50.
#88 - Betelgeuse, black border
This card should glow in the dark. But I'm not holding that fail against Betelgeuse.
#298- Peter Gammons
Gammons is great. He did terrific work when writers were writers, when Sports Illustrated was the king of my library breaks in high school, and when articles were fascinating, informative and well-crafted stories, not an assemblage of words ripped for being "narratives."
It will be almost impossible to knock him out out of the binder.
Only two of the numbered minis I received did not make it:
Mr. Bony had his way blocked by the black-bordered version of that card. Sig Hansen is eventually on its way to apparent Deadliest Catch fan Dawgbones.
As for the other cards that don't quite fit in the frankenset binder, I'll probably keep a couple of them. The orangutan at the top of the post is just too wonderful to let go.
I don't really collect any A&G insert sets, but the World's Wordsmiths from a few years back was a thought then. Might as well keep it that way.
This mini is wonderful, too. There needs to be more old ballpark cards -- a set of old ballpark cards -- a 700-card set of old ballpark cards -- somebody do it NOW, please.
As for the rest of the minis:
They are available. If you're collecting a particular insert set, let me know, and I'll set them aside for you.
Daniel also added some Dodgers to the prize package, which is great, because I have had Diamondbacks burning a hole in my "get rid of these" stack for a long time.
Here are some key ones:
I have seen lots of versions of the '72 Al Downing card miscut from left-to-right, but this is the first top-to-bottom one in my collection. Good stuff.
And, look! He even had a mini Dodger to spare.
But the best part of this whole thing was that this shows that sometimes what's meant to be actually comes to pass.
Randomizer, nice work.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, during my anniversary post, I mentioned that I'd like to make some small changes on the blog and in my online approach to the hobby.
Although these are such minor changes that I don't expect anyone to notice, I'm doing them for a reason. As much as I'd like this blog/collecting thing to be my job, it's not my job. I need to streamline, as they say in the auto industry.
The easiest way to streamline is to scrap activities that I never have time to do.
I operate three blogs and I'm on Twitter. That's plenty and there shouldn't be any more projects unless it involves cashing a paycheck.
So, you probably didn't even notice, but the link to my tumblr page has disappeared. The page is still there, but I haven't done anything with it since January. I never have time to put anything on there, and tumblr is really an image-driven medium. I'm not a photographer or graphic artist and I feel uncomfortable posting images that others might have taken or drawn. So I've decided that's not for me.
I've also decided that I'm probably, possibly, maybe, might be, could be, finally done with Listia.
I've cut way, way back on the site the last several months because of the time investment and the aggravation. The only thing that's keeping me from cutting ties completely is I still have card junk that I want to get rid of and it's an excellent place to do that.
So, I'll probably still hang around there a little bit when I have time to unload my card garbage.
In the meantime, these might be the last cards that came from Listia that you'll see here for a long time:
This is a 2008 Topps Trading Card History insert of Hiroki Kuroda. For whatever reason, I never came across this card in 2008. Never saw it ever.
So when this popped up I nearly jumped at the computer screen. I half hoped that the card would consist of some fancy cardboard material or maybe even be made of cloth. But knowing that it was from 2008, I knew better.
There you go, just another slickly produced tribute card from Topps.
The best Listia part of this is it took 25 days for me to get this card.
After a couple of "hey, did you get eaten by wolves?" type messages to the seller, I finally received my card. But this is a good example of the kind of aggravation that I no longer can handle.
But there's still stuff on that site that makes my heart pitter-pat. This is a semi-high number card from the 1972 Topps set I'm trying to complete.
Normally, vintage stuff is way too many credits on Listia, and the competition is tight. But the best thing about a team card is it's not Ken Griffey Jr. or Tony Gwynn or any of those guys that the whole world chases. I think 80 percent of the collecting world ignores a team card these days.
But to me it's just as valuable as any other card in the '72 set. Even more valuable, because it's card #617, a high number. I nabbed it easily.
Another change that I've already made is altering the tabs at the top of the blog a little bit. I mentioned that I wanted to get the "Legends Of Cardboard" series into the tabs and I've done that (take a look and any suggestions are welcome). It's a series that I think has wheels, that nobody else is doing and I'm interested in it.
That means I bumped the "Bad-ass Club" tab down to the "other features" list on the sidebar. I'm assuming this may disappoint some people, knowing how everybody loves a bad-ass. And, I agree, I do, too.
But what I'm doing with the "bad-ass club" is nothing different than a lot of other people who are reliving the '70s in baseball cards are doing. Half the time I feel like I'm stepping on someone else's toes with this, and I'd like to be semi-original. Plus, the bad-ass posts take a lot of research and, truthfully, I'm a little bored with doing them.
So, it's not gone forever. I'm sure I'll unearth it when the mood hits.
Those are all the changes I want to make right now. I will address one other thing later on, and -- oh boy! -- it involves a poll!
I'm bracing for the fiasco already.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
More than two months ago I "celebrated" a birthday. "Celebrated" is in quotes because you don't really celebrate birthdays at my age. You mark them grudgingly and take solace that it should be a 24-hour time block free of irritation.
But beyond that, I wasn't in the mood for celebrating because I knew by that time that the cash I usually receive for my birthday, that I would normally spend on cards, would have to be saved for the possibility that it would be spent on bills.
Oh, that's ugly.
So, yes, there was cake and ice cream and people and presents and a night out and songs and all that. But what's a birthday without being able to buy cards? That's not really a birthday to me.
If I was younger I would've thrown a tantrum and shut myself in my room the whole day. But those days are long gone and I grimly accepted my fate. I held on to that birthday money for two months. Some days I was just a pen stroke or keyboard stroke away from blowing it on something frivolous, like keeping the lights on. Some days I was hopeful I could purchase cards as was my god-given birthday rite.
It went back and forth like that until a couple weeks ago. Only then I was certain that I could actually spend a gift to myself on myself. (Another reminder to Topps: don't release Allen & Ginter in August ever again).
So I did. And just last week the best birthday present I received this year arrived from Check Out My Cards two months later.
Was it worth the wait? Well, you be the judge.
My original plan was to buy a couple of big cash cards. I was bracing myself for that because normally I can handle only one big-cash card at a time. The guilt of multiple pricey cards at once is too much.
But I didn't go through with that -- again -- because as usual my collecting eyes are bigger than my stomach. I want TOO MUCH of EVERYTHING.
I like a wide variety of stuff and I really love variety. So I did the variety thing the best way I know how.
Because there's so much variety, I will break it down in various categories for easy digestion.
STUFF I HAD TO HAVE:
Not a lot on this list this time. Just two items.
A bat card of my favorite Penguin. I've stared at this card for a long time and it's about time I grabbed it. It's the only relic card I bought.
One of those Fleer Sports Illustrated Covers insert cards from 1999. In a perfect world, I would obtain all of these. But my budget allows only Dodgers and this is my favorite one of the ones that are available. We need more cards of Jimmy Wynn in Dodger blue.
STUFF I'LL NEVER FIND WHERE I LIVE:
I have no respectable card shop. No resources to bust multiple boxes. These are the kinds of cards you miss when you can't do that.
I suppose this one isn't so hard to find, being an insert from this year's Archives. But the inserts in this set are fairly popular and I'm not exactly buying packs of this stuff.
This is one of those Day-Glo Orange parallels from Archives that were issued at card shops. Another "only the cool kids get them" card. But I'm a Day-Glo Orange kind of guy (still pissed that the Buccaneers' creamsicle uniforms are no more). I require a card like this.
And I'll just repeat what three dozen people already have: I swear to you that the border of this card is bright, glowing orange. I don't know why scanners are so jealous of these borders and turn them into some faded beige color. Get some confidence, scanner.
I have yet to pull a pink or camouflage parallel out of packs this year. And I doubt it will happen. So I found one key card in camouflage to throw in the collection. Some day I'll grab something pink, too.
STUFF THAT LET'S BE DONE WITH IT ALREADY, OK?:
There are cards that you don't necessarily want, but that want list is driving you crazy, so put the thing out of its misery.
The often sought-after 1989 Bill Brennan Score Rising Stars card. I often get the feeling someone on the other side of the computer screen is laughing at me when I purchase cards like this. But the team collector knows no shame.
The last two 2008 Timeline Dodgers that I needed of two long forgotten Dodger relievers. It's always amusing which cards are the most elusive.
You saw this yesterday. Goodness, that experience was annoying.
Oddballs will probably be a part of any future card order for the rest of my card collecting career.
This thing is terribly ugly in its unlicensed glory. But a card connected to a frozen pizza is just something I've got to have.
I've still never been to a Sonic. But at least I have one of its cards. This airbrushing is almost eerie if you look at it from 1970s standards.
The 1986 Burger KIng cards aren't the greatest-designed cards ever. They fold out, too, but I don't dare open it.
Besides, the back pretty much sums up the greatness of this card:
The Croissan'wich was a BIG deal in 1986.
I was actually looking for Kellogg's Dodgers but didn't find any that made me happy. But then it dawned on me: "Mass-Produced Snack Cakes!"
They're better than cereal anyway.
I was almost out of cash by this point, but a Hostess Reggie in a batting helmet from 1979 is more than satisfactory.
One of those cards that you stumble across looking for something else that YOU. JUST. GOT. TO. HAVE.
It's going to happen. You're scrolling through cards innocently when something shiny passes your field of vision. Before you know it, your search has been narrowed down to REFRACTORS ONLY, BITCH and it's just insanity from there.
One of these days I will go on a Baseball Heroes color parallel binge in which all I purchase are these brilliantly colored parallels of the insanely dull Baseball Heroes base set.
Both Kemp cards I obtained were super shiny and colorful. I expect a similar postseason from Mr. Kemp.
Somewhere in my shopping trip, I realized that I owned almost no red refractors. One of my favorite closers ever rectified that issue.
This one is even better. It looks like a baseball card that they would make in Candyland. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
You knew I'd get to this eventually. I usually start out a card purchase with vintage in mind and then veer off from there. I could have done even more damage here if I stayed focused. But I think this is pretty good for someone who gets distracted easily.
In my continuing quest for all the 1976 SSPC Dodgers, I purchased Garvey here and the Hough at the top of the post. I should really just order the entire team set online, but my brain keeps telling me "you've come so far to quit now!"
Here is another set that should have been a primary focus of my shopping trip, but I only thought about it after almost all the money was gone.
There's a certain Blue theme to these '75 minis.
It's time I start cracking down on 1960s Dodgers. That means sets between 1960-66. For some of these, all that's left are the high numbers. I focused on a couple from 1964. And, no, the off-centeredness doesn't affect me in the least.
There are approximately 436 Dodgers in the 1960 Topps set. It's easy to lose sight of cards like these. So instead of searching out regular old base Dodgers from 1960, I grabbed this one.
And this one. Floating head coaches! Weeee! Got to love the Pete Reiser.
Making a pretty good dent in the '59s. Here's one of Zim that I needed.
And this is one of the few non-pricey Dodgers left from 1957. Love this card.
Lastly, there was this card.
I feel a little bad about this, not because I've shown it already, but because as soon as I knew that there was birthday money to be had, I had planned on buying three or four vintage Koufax cards in one shot.
I came away with just the one. It's really a great one -- possibly his best -- but I still have quite a few to go.
There are still a few birthday cards that are coming in. I also wandered over to ebay to nab a few incidentals. Mostly from 1956. Yup, more variety.
But I can't change who I am. I like a lot of cards. I love variety and it makes shopping with birthday cash a real hoot.
So, anyway, I don't know about you, but I think that's definitely worth the two-month wait.
And the lights are still on.