Monday, December 11, 2017

So very far to go

I stumbled across Red Cardboard's housecleaning post rather late, and after taking a look at the goodies available, I shot off a panicked email hoping there might be something left for the taking.

I shouldn't have been worried.

I was reassured that there were some items left for me and, oh, by the way, would I be interested in a bunch of 1990 Target Dodgers cards?

Ah, yes, the 1990 Target set.

Those itty bitty black and white cards of bizarre shape and flimsiness that make up a monstrously large set of 1,100, supposedly featuring every player to compete for the Dodgers between 1890-1990.

Sure, lay 'em on me.

I looked at this as my chance to get much closer to finishing off this quirky set. And when the cards arrived, my anticipation grew. There were more than 30 complete 15-card panels, plus a number of other cards that had been separated from the panel in four- and three- and one-card chunks!

Surely I could do damage with this:

I eagerly set up my own checklist and started crossing off numbers.

I used a black marker for the cards from Red Cardboard and a red marker for the Target cards I owned already.

Here is what I found:

I made a dent. But I have a lot, lot more work to do.

Not only did I turn up a number of duplicates, but there is an entire segment, cards 888-1095, that I don't have (the checklist numbers aren't quite right as I found out after the fact that there's some skip-numbering in this set).

I don't think the last group of cards is rarer than the rest -- or at least I hope it isn't.

I'll probably go through the tedious process of posting a want list eventually. In the meantime I have several duplicates if anyone is interested. (I'm a little surprised what some of the star cards go for, given their flimsy nature).

Despite the quality of the cards -- and the fact that they don't fit neatly into any size pages -- this set is pretty cool if you're a Dodger fan. There are many cards of players who never received a card of themselves as a Dodger, from dudes who played way back before the 1900s to prospects who were dealt away.

As for the more reasonable-sized cards in the package, many of the needs were aggravating inserts that seem to make up so much of want list these days.

 And parallels. We musn't forget the parallels.

I was happy to see a couple of base-card needs fall out, too. I think Matt and I are on the same team-collector plain -- we are shocked when base cards arrive that we don't own.

It's possible I actually do have that BoChro Maeda but I'm going to tell myself right now that I don't.

Some of the treats in this package were the old and the oddball. I'm not entirely sure what this oversized TCMA issue is but it is sturdy and awesome.

I requested this card because I love the Fleer Laughlin World Series sets and will own them all someday.

What right-thinking collector doesn't love vintage? Even if it's vintage that I own already.

Look at that OPC rookie pitchers card sneaking in there. That is definitely new.

This is one of those packages that will take quite a bit of filing work -- it already has. I love packages like that.

Yup, I have so very far to go, but it's the best trip ever.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Baseball name synchronicity

Here is a little something that has been nagging at me for awhile. Perhaps it's been nagging at you (but not likely).

When former Giants and Phillies pitcher Al Holland arrived in the major leagues in the late '70s, he was the first MLB player with the last name of Holland since a guy named Bill Holland pitched three games for the Senators in 1939.

OK, not that weird, right?

But, to me, this is.

Since 2010, there have been two pitchers in the major leagues with the last name of Holland. And they're not related.

Derek Holland, who is from Ohio, and Greg Holland, who is from North Carolina, are the first Hollands to appear in the majors since Al Holland exited in 1986. It's the largest "Holland epidemic" since the 1930s when there were a handful of marginal players with that name.

And these two Hollands showed up at basically the same time (Derek in '09 and Greg in '10).

OK, maybe still not that weird for you.

How about this?

Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer, who made his big league debut in 2016 was the first Fulmer to appear in the majors since way back in the 1880s when a couple of guys named Chris and Chip Fulmer played for a few years.

Sure, there was Brad Fullmer about 15 years ago, but he spells his name with two Ls.

And, that's a minor detail because I'm too busy being baffled by this:

White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer also made his big league debut in 2016. So both Carson and Michael -- not related -- are the first Fulmers to show up in major league baseball in 125 years and THEY SHOW UP IN THE SAME YEAR AND BOTH ARE PITCHERS???

Does this blow anyone else's mind?

Here is another one that has amazed me for years. And once again it involves a couple of pitchers.

Tim Stoddard was called up to the major leagues for the first time in 1975. He had a few scattered appearances in '78 but made his mark in 1979 with the AL champion Orioles.

Then in 1981, with Tim Stoddard still pitching for the Orioles, Bob Stoddard makes his pitching debut with the Mariners.



Tim Stoddard, who grew up in East Chicago, Indiana, played until the 1989 season. Bob Stoddard, who grew up in the San Jose area, played until 1987.

For seven glorious and weird years, there were two pitchers named Stoddard and it had never happened before or has since.

There has to be a name for this phenomenon.

And if there isn't, I'm coming up with something.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cards and tunes, is there anything else?

The answer to that is "no."

In the realm of things that interest me that is all there is. OK, you can throw baseball in there, but that's implied by "cards." But all that other stuff that I see touted online, the fantasy TV shows, pro wrestling, movies, the hobby of political opining, baby animal videos, food porn, I don't care.

Give me cards and tunes. I can make a life out of that.

Recently, Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown was looking to downsize his CD collection. That is understandable in this digital age. But I can't say no to new-to-me CDs. I come from an age when looking for the new releases each week at the record store made me as giddy as any time I've ever walked into a card show. Bringing a new record home was epic. I'd carve out a period of time -- usually when the folks weren't home -- to listen to it for the first time.

Then I graduated to college and CDs. Spurred on by the college radio station, WBNY at Buffalo State and especially CFNY out of Toronto, I expanded on my taste for alternative music started in the early '80s by then-edgy musicians like U2, REM, New Order and Tears For Fears by searching out college friendly bands at the Record Theater across from the University of Buffalo campus.

CDs -- those glorious jewel boxes -- were precious. I own many CDs now and have rid myself of only a small number. I can't part with them (and do play them still sometimes), but I also have an attic for storage.

Anyway, Gavin sent me a whole bunch of alternative-ish CDs, many more than I expected, from mainstream to indie. Along with that came a bunch of cards, from Dodgers that I need to straight packing material (Bowman Tampa Bay Rays, really?).

Let's see a few of those:

Gavin, obviously, likes chasing prospects. I like pretty colors. So even if I don't know who the heck the players are, I appreciate the border parallels.

The encased Kaz Ishii I requested a little while ago. The Dodger Konerko came with a few other Konerkos, but that was the only one I needed. The Jesus Martinez is a long-needed Dodger prospect from 1992 Classic. Heck I even have the Piazza from that set already.

Of the non-Dodgers that Gavin sent, these are the ones I can most use. I should really have all of the 1982 Kmart cards by now, but I am guilty of owning like only 7.

Somehow, all four 2017 A&G cards shown here are needs even though I own more than half of the set.

I also received a bunch of 1973 Topps for my set completion task from Gavin's extras. The ones shown fit nicely into my set. The others were a bit rough for joining my collection, but I sure do enjoy crossing off '73s, especially that Bob Veale piece of perfection.

It's not a Gavin card package without a couple of customs and here are two inspired by the two-player rookie explosion this past season. The images look a bit faded because I kept them in penny sleeves while scanning. Gotta  protect the InVestMent.

As usual, it will take me awhile to sort all these cards, but at least I have some new tunes to accompany on my task. Of the CDs I received, I'm probably looking forward to listening to the Jenny Lewis one that I featured at the top of the post. I've always liked Rilo Kiley, one of the most "real" groups I've ever heard.

Here are a few other CDs that I'll probably pop into the earbuds first:

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous

Probably the group's best album, and one I've never listened to from top to bottom.

Pavement - Brighten The Corners

Back in the early '90s, I was turned on to Pavement by the same co-worker who introduced me to The Tragically Hip. I couldn't really get into Pavement then so I'm looking forward to seeing where I'm at after 25 years.

Various Artists - Deadicated

Again, back in the '90s, it was the rage to get a bunch of bands to play songs by a legendary artist or group and package them into an album. I'm not a Grateful Dead fan, but I love historical tributes like this. Looking forward to it.

Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs, Limited Edition

I know of Mercury Rev, know their songs vaguely, mostly because they're Buffalo-based. This is the album that saved the band from breaking up and this particular limited version looks most impressive. I can't remember the particulars about it, I may have to go back to Gavin's CD post.

John Coltrane - Giant Steps

When I was in college, I took a music class -- I don't remember the topic -- but we listened to Coltrane for seemingly half the semester. It was so deconstructed that I had a difficult time enjoying it. Jazz wasn't my thing at the time, but I bought a few jazz CDs soon afterward and got into a bit. Gavin sent a few different Coltrane CDs, but this is the big one.

The Amps - Pacer

This is the only CD from the lot that I've listened to already. I liked it quite a bit. I got into the Pixies and Kim Deal's band, The Breeders. I played "Last Splash" relentlessly in 1993. This is the band Deal formed when The Breeders took a break.

The '90s was alternative's heyday with MTV's "120 Minutes" and the post-grunge explosion that thrust alternative bands into the mainstream (you weren't anything if you weren't 'alternative' in 1996).

I started to get away from this kind of music by the turn of the century. But it's naturally in my blood and I can't wait to find some songs to pop into my digital library, as well as play the entire CD top to bottom, of course.

The way we used to listen to music.

While sorting cards.

There was nothing else.