The Last Post…and a farewell to a Villain

This year has finally come to an end.  An unforgiving parallel universe of a year where wrong was right and low was even further lower than we could all imagine.  Maybe it was the end of a bad dream, the kind of nightmare where you’re about to crash into a concrete wall, screeching brakes being hammered to the floor, arms off the wheel to cover your eyes, barreling towards the wall and nanoseconds before impact you wake up.  Sweating.  Shaking.  Breathing heavily.  Saying to yourself, “what the hell just happened!”  The nightmare has ended…for now, but is it really over?  What will ’21 bring for us?  I would love to see an overcorrection from the wrong to the right and some goodness be brought to everyone.  More generosity and kindness.  Less judgement and crassness towards others.  Can we live our lives in a manner that we want to without condescension?  I sure hope so. 

I love this hobby, I love it dearly.  It brings me great joy.  In a world where I have marginal control over things, I can control my collection. 

It’s there when I need it to regroup emotionally…I’m a highly anxious person. 

It’s there when I’ve had a rough day and need to zone out…I worry too much about others opinions.

It’s there when I need a new organizing project and get an idea in the middle of the night…I got some OCD too.

Our hobby is fantastic.  A lot has changed about it this past year. 

I hope it keeps evolving. 

I hope the people that are new are welcomed with open arms.

I hope the new people take some history lessons and learn about our hobby.

I hope we let people collect what and how they want to collect.

For 2021, I will be more involved in helping to make this hobby great.  Reaching out to bloggers, twitter folks, flippers, old-school collectors and the new ones as well.  I plan to buy more from my LCS than eBay, but I also plan to sell more on eBay.  I want to find a happy middle where I can enjoy the hobby without feeling like I am going to strangle myself financially.  Creating a net zero cost of cards is the ultimate goal, not sure how that will get done.  The architecture and build portion of the world is attempting to reduce carbon emissions significantly with the 2030 challenge, but this is nothing like that. 

I just want to have fun with these pieces of cardboard and card stock and shiny whatever the hell they are materials.  I hope you do too!

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With the end of the year usually comes collecting or personal goals.  I’m not going to list anything, I think that’s mostly been covered by the manifesto above.  So, instead, I’d like to take the time to update the annual wallet card and take a look back. 

I started carrying a card in my wallet quite a few years ago.  It was a way to always keep the hobby with me wherever I went.  Every once in a while the card would be exposed to other people and it would start a conversation, or maybe just some ridicule from some colleagues…architects can be a judgmental group, ya know?

At some point along the way, I’ve lost a few cards…but here’s what I’ve got since I started the blog.

2020: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees 1999 Pacific Paramount, card #162

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2019: Dale Murphy, Atlanta Braves 1987 Topps, card #490

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2018: Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins 1992 Pro Set, card #90

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2017: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees 2014 Gypsy Queen, card #N174-DJ

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2016: Art Monk, Washington Redskins 1985 Topps, card # 185

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2015: Rickey Henderson, New York Yankees 1986 Topps, card #500

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2014: Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins 1990 Pro Set, card #333

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2013: Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers 1991 Topps Archives, card #1

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AND NOW, FOR TWO-THOUSAND TWENTY ONE!  THE NEW WALLET CARD IS (drumroll…)

2021: Santana Moss, Washington Redskins 2006 Topps, card #245

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I know, I know…I can hear the clapping through the keyboard!

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OK, so when I woke up this morning I was thinking about the best video I could share with you all today.  Something fun and positive and light-hearted to ring the new year in.  I was getting distracted during the day and everything was getting away from me.  When I sat down to start writing I first jumped on twitter to get an update on this mad world we’re living in…and my heart sank when I saw that MF Doom has passed away…shit shit shit shit.  He was one of my favorite MC’s…crazy entertaining and a tremendous wordsmith.  Lots of double entendre’s and just some good ol’ hip hop metaphors.  At this point, I’m not sure what took his life as he was only 49 (4 years older than me).  The one thing that can make me smile is that he actually passed away on Halloween of this year.  That’s gotta be the most MF Doom thing ever.  For the uninitiated, he was wore a ‘gladiator’ mask and was well known for skipping out on shows but still having someone perform for him…the mask helped with that endeavor.  Not sure of the reason for keeping his passing quiet for two months, but that’s none of my business really.  If you have the time, please take a listen to the video below of his collaboration with the producer Madlib for the quintessential MC and producer hip hop album.  It’s a classic. 

MADVILLAIN – MADVILLAINY

Also, check out his earlier work with KMD as Zev Love X and music from his other aliases; King Geedorah, King Ghidra, Viktor Vaughn, Metal Fingers, King Dumile and Metal Face.  He also did some work with 3rd Bass back in the day…enjoy.  Have a Happy New Year, hug your loved one, tell them you love them and stay safe out there.

-Cardboard Hogs!   

A Big ole’ box of Memories

I pre-ordered a jumbo box of 1987 2017.  This is the big 30th anniversary for a set that is seemingly very popular with a lot of people.  Me though, i have a different memory of these vertically wood grained over produced cards.

I started collecting baseball cards in the fall of 1985.

I was 9 and had fallen in love with baseball and baseball cards.

I wanted to learn everything about baseball and own everything i could about baseball.

So, baseball cards met that need at the highest level for a young’n like me.  There weren’t many opportunities to buy cards at that time due to scarcity at my local Stop n’ Go or 7-11, but also my lack of funds…I was 9.  I did what i could back then.  When the 1986 cards rolled out, i was able to complete a set via trades and multiple pack purchases.  The way it was done in the old school days.  I had a little more money and ’86 turned out to be a fun year, a year that i became addicted to these damn cardboard things.

That all changed in the winter of 1987.

The very first packs of cards i bought that year were in the Stop n’ Go down the street from my home.  I was headed out to my very first camping trip for the local Boy Scouts troop…a trip that i wasn’t too excited about (maybe a story for later, but my BSA experience was very forgettable!).  My mom pulled in to the parking lot and gave me some money to get a special snack and a juice…i bought a coke and two packs of cards.  1987 Topps.  The cards had gum in them, so that’s kind ova snack, right?  Fearing that i had betrayed my mom, i kept the cards tucked in my pocket to be opened later that weekend…during a camping trip.  I made it successfully to the bus without anyone finding out about my card purchases and was able to procure a solo seat and open them on the ride to the camp site.  I had 34 brand new cards in my hands…and two horrible pieces of gum.  Little did i know that this was the start of an incredible amount of over-consumption of wood grained cardboard that i would later become overwhelmed with.

For me, this was my first understanding of over production of a product.  I was buying packs everywhere.  I was even able to buy a few boxes at our local Sams Wholesale Club…for about $18 each.  Now, t’ve never been a collector for the investment purposes but i also don’t like to buy junk…well that year i must have spent about $100 on 1987 Topps.  I was completely overwhelmed with them and grew to really dislike them…everything about them.  So when the set gets a re-up, i don’t jump for joy.  I’m old enough now and have some perspective to understand and appreciate the design, so maybe this year won’t be so bad.

I mean, they do actually look kind of nice and as others have mentioned, the wood grain is quite lighter than the original.  The cards stock as i remember it is quite better as well, significantly better actually…as i look at these cards, i can see why they are adored by so many…i have baggage that i need to let go of i guess.

They are nice, very nice.  Well done Topps.  You did a great job with these re-issues.  Tweaked some of the things that were of concern to me…thank you for listening 🙂  Some of you may have already seen the cards that i pulled as i thought it would be nice to pre-share over Twitter last night.  Just in case though, here is my very first 2017 Topps card of the year!

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Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton!  Pretty sweet first card eh?  Don’t think i know what my first card is for the past 30 years, but i would venture to say that none of them are as good as this one.

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This was my first card pulled for a favorite team, the Nationals or Yankees…Bryce Harper is cool, i mean…he’s probably going to have a good season.  Yeah, this card is fantastic for me not to mention that i got two in the box.  One for my flagship set and one for my Bryce Harper PC.  Collecting goals are being met.

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This was my first Yankee, Nathan Eovaldi.  It was immediately followed by Aaron Hicks, also a Yankee.  Guess that duo was a nice little mini Yankee hot pack…or not…?

Topps is also continuing with the buyback program, but stamping them differently this year with a  vertically embossed stamp along the right edge of the card that reads “REDISCOVER TOPPS’.  Nothing spectacular, but i have to admit these cards are in great shape.

One of the many inserts that you get are the foil cards which are great looking cards, assuming you can see them.  I passed up a couple of them and had to go through the stack again to make sure i pulled them all out and when i did…four of the five were team cards.  Feel a little gipped here, but i guess it would have only been successful if one of them was a player or team i collect.  The fifth was a Kurt Suzuki.

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Topps is also continuing to do the first pitch cards…and i think they are running out of celebrities or there just aren’t enough celebrities to go around.  Not trying to blast either of these two musical entertainers, but one of them is great and the other one is Mase.  I’ve tried to associate the connection of the First Pitcher to the team they are pitching for.  Mase, per wikipedia was born in Florida, but left with his mom for New York when he was three.  I guess maybe he’s always been a fan of a Florida team?  Ms. Jett is from Pennsylvania, so maybe she grew up watching Harry Caray and Steve Stone on WGN like me?  I kid…Joan Jett was one of my favorite rockers in the early 80’s, mostly due to my mom liking her music with The Runaways.  I like her biggest solo hit, a cover of ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll”

Speaking of hits, i have three of them…well, two and a half.  I don’t consider redemptions hits until i have them in my hand.  Here they are, in my current favorite order.  When the redemption is in my hands, that will be without a doubt my favorite one…assuming of course it’s a Yankee card.

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My timeline counter is starting on February 3rd, 2017.  Let’s see how long this takes to hit my blog post.  Ball is in your court Topps Corporation.17-tost-clayton-kershaw-3050

Clayton Kershaw Spring Training commemorative patch…it’s like a hard plastic’y metal’y thing’y numbered 38/50.  Not gonna complain at all.

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My favorite hit, currently, is this Addison Russell trip color patch…they snuck that white portion of the patch in there didn’t they?  Numbered 19 of 25 is pretty good too.  Kinda wish it was autographed, but i’m quite happy with this pull.  Russell is a great young player and nice to add to my collection.

d’oh!  I have a couple more cool cards to show off.  Nothing spectacular, but wanted to share.  First one is the Bryce Harper Then and Now…i always remember that moment when i almost pulled that card in a box.  The guy next to me picked the box that had it and i picked the other one…such is my luck…i always get the other one..Harper looks like he’s aged 10 years since the Bowman card, beards man…they make you look old.

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The other one is of the young Astros prospect, but aren’t they all?  Teoscar Hernandez…feels like his name should be spelled T’Oscar…but that’s not my lane.  I’m gonna stay out.  This is one of those reverse negative cards that are not printing plates, but every time i see one that’s the first thing that crosses my mind…kinda wished it was yellow.

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Well, that’s the haul from my one jumbo box that i purchase for each series.  Hope you enjoyed.  I will be posting the cards from the two silver packs that came with the box another day, so until then.  Enjoy some random music that i was listening to while writing this letter to you.