Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Wallet card, the end

It looks like I won't have the ability to put together the usual Night Owl Cards end-of-the-year festivities this year. Too much making merry, I guess.

That kind of sucks because I do love to tie a bow on the past year. So maybe you'll see it even when we're a few days into 2016.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd quickly wrap up one project from 2015, and that's wallet card.

Wallet card began at the start of the year over at Baseball Card Breakdown and everyone was enthusiastic about it, including me. But only a few people kept up that enthusiasm, especially after Junior Junkie ran away with the contest portion of wallet card about 15 days into the thing.

My enthusiasm started strong then weakened quickly. My mission, unlike those who used wallet card as a travelogue, was to study the wear-and-tear on a card residing 365 days in one's wallet. I didn't even fully succeed there because I changed my wallet card in early March.

Let's face it, my heart just wasn't in it.

But you've got to see the final product. So here are the two wallet cards at the end of the year:

Click on the images and you'll see an abundance of depreciation. The Lopes card is so curled that I can't get it to lie flat on the scanner. I'm happy to see paper loss on the corners of both cards and the number of creases is easily in double digits.

My wallet cards didn't see the light of day much in 2015. I took them out when I had to go through my wallet or for the occasional post. I didn't photograph them in any of the places I went because I could never think to do it at the time ... and I didn't go to a lot of interesting places either.

So, there you go. That's the end of the experiment.

Welcome to the outside, boys. Now go play in a shoebox.

Monday, December 28, 2015

It came from the '90s

I was shuffling through some 2015 dupes the other day when the sun glinting in from the window happened to catch the card I was holding in my hand just right.

That's when I discovered that I had stuck a gold foil parallel of Mike Trout in the dupes stack.

This is really nothing new. It's happened several times already this year. With Stadium Club alone. I don't like these kinds of parallels. They're too subtle to have an impact. If I don't notice them when I'm going through the pack, what's the point? The gold foil (or black -- yes, I've put the black foil in the dupes pile, too) that was printed on the card has lost its purpose. I didn't notice.

This is why I prefer colored border parallels. Big, blue shiny bordered chrome parallels. Red and green and purple parallels. Those are my kind of parallels. Not only are they so, so, soooo pretty, but you notice them right away when you open the pack: "DAMN! That's a special card!"

But I know others don't feel the way I do. I know that because this gold-foiled Trout is selling for no less than $8 on COMC. I also know that because I've noticed the nostalgia that collectors of a certain age have expressed over the rebirth of Stadium Club and the foil parallels that go with it.

And that's because they -- and stuff like Stadium Club foil-letter printing -- came from the '90s.

All of that subtle parallel stupid first showed up in the '90s. And it's remained ever since. Searching for the similarities and differences -- do I have this card or not/is this a parallel or not? -- is the closest thing to work for me in this hobby.

For example, I received a card package from The Card Papoy last week. It was quite the thrill because I've never received cards from France before (Kevin, send me an email, I need your return address).

The vast majority of the cards were from the 1990s and the vast majority I was able to identify instantly. I knew whether I had the card or not. Even with the multitude of brands from that decade, it was still pretty easy.

But there were other cards like this:

It's the 1995 Upper Deck Minors card of Greg Hansen, the Electric Diamond version.

Yeah, yeah, people say Electric Diamond was outstanding in 1995 -- I'm glad I wasn't collecting then -- but it's kind of a pain in the butt now. This card was instantly familiar to me, but I didn't know if that was because I already owned it or if I merely owned the base card.

So off to the binders I went. I went through the pages and discovered -- no, I don't have the Electric Diamond version. I also don't have the base card version in the binder either, which probably means it's sitting in my giant dupes box somewhere.

Same deal with this card. Do I have it? Do I just own the base card? Another trip to the binders. And the discovery: it's new to me!

OK, I don't make a separate trip to the binders for every card. I usually stack up the parallels I'm not sure of and then make one trip at once. But it's still pretty tedious. And there's the whole overriding thought going through my head: the regular card and parallel card are the same card.

But collect it I must.

This is the base version of Ramon Martinez's 1995 Pinnacle card. My records say that I own this card already. But during a check for foil parallels, I came across my '95 Pinnacle Dodgers cards and realized that what I actually own is the Dufex parallel.

Grrrr. ... I mean, "yay!"

This one I caught right away. A gold bar is much more different than a silver bar. More parallels like this please.

Here is a parallel that isn't from the '90s, but its heart is in the '90s. Foil stamping is the only difference and that is so 1994. But in this case I am gladly adding these '75 buybacks to keep the '75 collecting dream alive.

Here is a noticeable parallel that's right up there with colored border parallels. Autographed cards are so impressive that you don't even notice that many of them are parallels. The thing that throws me about this card is the vast age difference between Main Photo Cey and Inset Photo Cey.

Of course it wouldn't be a Card Papoy package with out a Bieber Fever card.

Here is how little I know about Justin Bieber:

I know he's a singer and he's Canadian and that little girls used to like him. That's it. I can't tell you one song that he has sung or anything else about him.

So, yeah, take all that parallel talk for what it's worth -- an old man who likes his clearly defined, short-and-sweet 1970s cards. The guy doesn't even know a Justin Bieber song!

That's OK, I know what I like.

And I collect what I must.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Awesome night card, pt. 250: what's my name?

Here's a fun little game to play:

Figure out which major leaguer in history has a name that most resembles yours. (Those of you who share a name with a big leaguer are disqualified. Go gloat somewhere else).

Gary Gray is my player.

Neither his first name nor his last name is the same as my first or last name. But this is how close his name is to mine:

In my lifetime, I have been mistakenly called "Gary" more than any other incorrect name ever. It's freakish how many people confuse "Greg" with "Gary." Also, there is no other wrong last name that has shown up more often on envelopes sent to my home than "Gray."

So, in some ways, I might as well be "Gary Gray," because apparently there are a significant number of people I have come across over 40-plus years who think that's my name.

The actual Gary Gray didn't have much of an impact in the majors or in the card world. He has just three Topps cards, three Fleer cards and a Donruss card. He has a few minor league cards, including this awesome dusk card.

His big league career lasted from 1977-82, with his best season being his last, with the Mariners. But he stayed in pro ball all the way through 1987.

He'll always have some significance for me, because there may be nobody in major league history who has my name, but there is one who is pretty damn close.


Night Card Binder candidate: Gary Gray, 1981 Fleer, #402
Does it make the binder?: You bet.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

All dressed up with no new cards to sort

As I mentioned recently, I live in a home dominated by women. The extended family is like that, too.

So when it comes time to write a Christmas list, I do the dumbest thing possible. I include clothes on the list.

Every woman in the family owns a masters in clothes shopping. And they gravitate right to those items on the list. The poor listings of various baseball cards, underlined and capitalized, are ignored.

I received no cards for Christmas. Not a surprise. I did receive two Sabres caps. I only need one. I received three shirts, a couple pairs of pants, lots of socks, and some gloves.

I asked for most of those items. But none of it is what I really wanted.

So, next year, the list will not include clothes. It's going to be baseball cards and nothing else. Desperate times.

Of course, it's not all gloom and doom hobby-wise. The extra Sabres cap will be converted into cards. The cash I received will be converted into cards. And I did receive a binder from my folks.

That binder was immediately put to work.

A week or so ago, a package arrived from Jeffrey at Cardboard Catastrophes. He read about how I was short on eight-pocket pages and he said he had a bunch that weren't being used.

So I spent early Christmas afternoon filling my new binder with pages and transferring my 1956 Topps cards to their first binder of their own! I may not have had any new cards to sort on Christmas but there were cards to sort!

Jeffrey also threw in one cards to add to the binder:

Hal Jeffcoat will be the first new resident of the brand new 1956 Topps binder.

When you're a diehard like me, you'll figure out any way to turn your Christmas into something involving cards.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

In the Christmas spirit

Christmas greetings, all. I grabbed this card just for you. Pretty early into the Christmas season, I knew this would be a fairly special one.

No, people aren't reading the blogs that much lately, nor commenting on them, who has the time, I guess? But it's obvious they're doing something else: they are sending cards at a terrific rate and they are sending them while at least halfway drunk in the Christmas spirit.

I already dedicated a post to fellow bloggers/readers' Christmas greetings. And since that time all I've been doing is posting more and more cards that people have sent and pulling more and more cards out of the mail, with lots of Christmas wishes attached.

What follows is an incredible selection of items sent my way, all dressed in tinsel and flashing lights. So pour something festive -- no, not that disgusting egg nog -- and enjoy some awfully nice cards from some awfully nice people.

OK, I don't know how nice Will -- excuse me, Santa Clark -- is, but at least The Lost Collector had the good sense to actually defile a Will Clark card instead of doodle on a penny sleeve. Thanks, A.J., I always wondered what Santa would look like all crabby, ornery and orange.

AJ kept this package in his wheelhouse, which, of course, means '90s cards. And '90s cards in Dodger terms means Mike Piazza. And Piazza in '90s cards means holograms and fold-outs and foil out the chimney.

Love this thing. What the hell is that behind Konerko? A heat map? A freakish storm headed toward Baton Rouge? Whatever it is, it can't possibly be related to rookie prospects. Unless it's a close-up look at their capillaries.

This is one-half of a Pinnacle Inside card. The Stand-Up Guys inserts required two cards to make four cards, if that makes any sense. I might actually be able to use this thing, but I'm not going to think about it too hard because '90s cards make my head hurt.

Merry, Merry, AJ.

The Jaybarkerfan has been busy unloading his own sack full of goodies on eager little collectors. He didn't send a Christmas card or anything, but the sentiments were there (and still are), and believe me, his cards speak the Christmas spirit. The man gives.

This envelope contained just a few items, but come on, a Duke oddball?

A 1970s Kellogg's 3-D super star? (Need more of these in 2016!)

A very shiny blue (love shiny blue lights) Donruss Elite numbered item of Campy?

A 1990 Orel Hershiser coin? (Where on earth did this come from?)

And this -- oh, baby -- this?

This Legendary Cuts cut auto is so cool it laughs at what I traditionally think of cut autos. It is so cool that I cannot even bear to take it out of its magnetic case. It's like I'm tampering with it if I remove it -- how's that for a new view on things (I was going to use the word "paradigm" on you and then I thought 'it's Christmas')?

The fact that it's Kirby Higbe, a key figure in the Dodgers' pennant victory in 1941 but otherwise forgotten except for petitioning the Dodgers to trade him after Jackie Robinson arrived on the scene, makes it even cooler.

Well, done, Wes. Merry, Merry to you.

Now, there's a Christmas card. Probably the most humorous one I've received this year.

This comes from a Michiganer (Michigander?) reunited with her home state if I remember her history correctly.

Julie of A Cracked Bat already sent me some cards very close to Christmas time and now she's sending more. Wow and weeeeee!

When I opened the card, these two tiny pieces of cardboard spilled out. Do they look familiar to you?

They do to me! They're both former Nebulous 9 cards!

In fact, the Roberto Clemente card had been on the list the longest of all the recent Nebulous 9s. I was beginning to think I had accidentally stumbled across some stealth short-print. Oh my gosh, all I want is some simple card from the 2001 Upper Deck Decade '70s set -- please, please don't let there be short-prints!

Fortunately, Julie, who shares my love for this set, knew it was just a fantastic card of Roberto that should rightfully be in my collection.

Such a great card. 2016 is the year I finish the Upper Deck '70s set! 2016 is the year I finish All. The. Sets!

Thanks, Julie! Merry, Merry!

Many of you are familiar with who is up next, just based on this homemade card (excuse the blotch, I excitedly got some blue tape on it).

Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown has shipped out a whole bunch of homemade cards and homemade cards (get it?) to a whole bunch of bloggers. Per usual, I'm one of the last to show what I got. So be prepared to see what you've already seen.

This is an amazing photo that is now a card. When this photo toured the Twitter rounds a couple of months ago, somebody mentioned how it should appear in Stadium Club. I think Gavin might have gotten wind of that and he beat Stadium Club to it (it's not like SC is desperate to put Cey in its set, although I have no earthly idea why).

Cey is gracefully scuffling into third during the 1974 NLCS against the Pirates (that's Richie Hebner fielding the throw). Even better than Cey being safe on a terrific photo (and the Dodgers winning that series) is the back:

I'm on the back of a baseball card! That is some special card. Night Owl's head is getting so big he can't fit in his tree hole anymore.

You might be wondering about the 1/1 if you saw that All Trade Bait All The Time also received this card. Well, mine is a 1/1 with red ink and Oscar's is a 1/1 with blue ink. Apparently, Gavin detailed all this in a post, but, geez, when you're writing about different kinds of 1/1s, my brain blows out and I can't read anymore. I'm just a simple owl.

That Gavin, he really wants to work at Topps!

Here is the other custom card that you've already seen. This is the best-looking custom I've seen all year. It blows away any Vin Scully card I've seen from official card makers.

Continuing the 2015 Topps theme to the back, that is a fantastic summing up of Scully and what he means to Dodger fans. And a great tribute as Scully enters his final season as broadcaster for the team.

I can barely move on to the regular old cards that Gavin sent after reading that. Something in my eye or something ...

But we must press on. It's Christmas!


I've seen the Gold Label cards appear in other bloggers' Breakdown packages. Lucky me, I got the Kevin Brown card because he's my favorite Dodger player ever ever ever evah. (ahem).

The fabulous Wilbert Robinson card came my way after I begged shamelessly on Gavin's blog. Well, it seemed shameless to me anyway.

Thanks a whole bunch, Gavin. Merry, merry!

The final package I'm showing on this fine Christmas eve is from Brian at Play At The Plate. This Christmas card was the sixth or seventh card I've received from a blogger this year, which is easily a record. Go blogging! Go Christmas!

Brian's been a little too busy for blogging in the last year, but he's still around, which I like to see. Disappearing people suck, to put it bluntly. Stop by and say, "hi!"

Brian actually sent two items -- a Christmas card with cards and then a PWE with cards. I promptly dropped the PWE in a massive puddle in my driveway. But I didn't realize it until I came back from an errand. As I drove back into the driveway, I saw mail sitting there and thought "What the hell, the mail is with me in the car!" Cue owl stupefied face here. Turns out I dropped some of it and didn't realize it. I didn't drop the Christmas card.

But these all took a bath. You can't see the damage here, but there are dings, backs peeling, and total warpage (in the case of the Gibson Masterpieces). But no harm done, I have these guys already.

These also went into the drink (what a motley crew they are). The bottom two got pretty damaged on the back. Fortunately, Paula was cushioned by Coolio and the Hulk (ahem) and is looking fine. These are part of my dorky quest to finish off the 2015 Panini Americana set. Send some if you got 'em, I might actually put up a want list some day.


Now, the cards that were in the Christmas card are perfectly preserved, and that's a good thing because Flair Showcase should look as pristine as possible.

See the blood red Christmasy backs ... wait, that didn't come out right.

This, though, is one of my favorite Christmas presents.

I have been waiting for this card to arrive since June. I've purchased a fair amount of Stadium Club and received a fair amount in packages, but this Kershaw has never been part of any of it. It was getting so frustrating -- such a wonderful card of a wonderful moment for my favorite player.

That made the puddle incident worth it. What good fortune that the Kershaw card was in the other envelope! What a tragedy if it had been in the other!

And so ends the Christmas trading card festivities.

Yeah, that probably means I don't expect to get any cards for Christmas on the actual DAY.

But that's OK, because I got you guys.

Merry Christmas. Hope you get everything you want.

Thanks for enjoying the holiday and the hobby.