Priceless Junk

History has always been something I was fond of, something that I actually did well in when I was in school.  As I’ve gotten older though, my focus and ability to research has decreased significantly.  Life gets in the way. Between work, tending to our eight year old, taking care of our two cats, a dog and of course, spending real quality time with the bride.  I have to prioritize extracurricular hobbies and interests. That includes my interest in researching baseball history.  Almost to the point where I’m just stuck attempting to remember what I watched when I was a teen and going from there.  The attic has gotten a little dusty my friends.  My memories have faded to questionable facts and made me hesitant to believe baseball truths that I once knew.  It’s all diminished, really.    

Every once in a while I’ll read a baseball book.  I finished a couple over the summer and have plans of getting at least three – four more baseball focused books in before the end of the year.  But plans are tenuous when you’re busy adulting in life.  One thing I do find time for is a card shop visit every couple of weeks.  I’m lucky to have two so close to me, Hoody’s and The Sports Room.  They balance each other nicely.  The Sports Room is the closest, oldest and the one I’ve gone to the most, but their selection is a little limited for the way I collect.  Our other shop is Hoody’s.  It’s the place I go to pick up items I won from their eBay shop.  I do the in-store pickup to avoid shipping costs and it gives me a chance to see what they have new in store. 

I stopped in a few months ago, around June or July…sometime over the summer to pick up a few Washington Football Team cards and noticed they restocked their junk wax shelves.  The shelves are a great way to buy something to open with little guarantee and most importantly, little cost.  You can get all of your junk wax box needs filled for Baseball, Football, Basketball and Hockey for an appropriate price…read, less than $30.  When I stopped in there back over the summer they had about five boxes of the 1991 Conlon Collection cards.  Each box was a mere $15.  The cards aren’t noteworthy or overly exciting, but they do have a great place in baseball history…something that I love and enjoy.  I’ve seen these cards over the years and thought they were decent and somewhat attractive.  Simple and clean. Something that piqued my interest from time to time, but never thought about purchasing, that is…until that day. I had an itch to rip something and the price was right so I grabbed the box that was in the best shape, picked up a couple supplies and headed home. When i got home, i’m sure there was some shit going down in the house. So, the box was stored in the cabinet and forgotten about. Forgotten until i stumbled across an older Cardboard Connection article from 2014, by Ryan Cracknell.

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When you open a $15 box of cards, you certainly don’t expect much.  I surely did not. 

No hits. 

No parallels. 

No redemptions.

No frills.

Just 36 packs of 18 black and white cards.

That’s it.

And I loved it.

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My first impression of the cards was that they were far nicer than I had ever thought they would be.  My second impression of the cads was why in the hell would they wrap them in cellophane without any way to rip the packs open.  Seriously, what in the hell.  I had to grab a pair of scissors to get into these cards.  I’ve never used scissors to open a pack of cards ever…EVER!  First world issues I guess.

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As I mentioned, the cards were no simple.  No frills.  That said, I thought the photography was phenomenal.  I loved the portraits from the sets namesake Charles Martin Conlon.  A skilled photographer from the first half of last century.  The images capture the look and feel of the time along with some great history.  Conlon’s collection was purchased by The Sporting News (1888-2012 as print) and therefore, the now defunct sports magazine (they gotta website though!) has its name associated with these cards.

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Here are a few of my favorite cards from the sets.  I combined them into a couple different groups based on noticeable things to me.  But maybe if you’ve worked on this set, you have some other favorites. Of course, i have to start with the Yankees and one of the most famous trips to the injured list, Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig.

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George Herman “The Bambino” or “The Sultan of Swat” Ruth. One of the great things about these beautifully simple cards is their backs. They offer up a full career of your basic baseball stats, along with the basics of the guy and in some cases a great little story. Well, the Babe’s career was pretty illustrious, that they were only able to reference Roger’s summer of 61 homers in 1961 to surpass Ruth’s 34 year old record. When you start to review the stats on the back of these cards, you really get an idea of how dominant a player Babe was…albeit against white players only. If our country wasn’t so deeply rooted in racism, it would have been a wonderful thing to see what Babe could have done against Satch, Bullet Rogan or Ray Brown.

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The nicknames and this cards set willingness to embrace those nicknames is great. The thing i noticed right out the first pack though was the amount of players with Chief associated with their names. In two of the three cases below, the players were indeed Native Americans and i would only assume that the guys were ok with the nicknames, but who knows. The perception with a 2021 lens would never allow this to happen. Different times. Apparently, Chief Wilson was not a Native American…but some felt he resembled that of a Texas Ranger Chief and adorned him with the mildly inappropriate nickname. Can’t imagine that ever happening again.

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We also have a General that wasn’t quite a General. He was at least in America’s Army…so there was some kinda connection to the military based name.

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OK, I’m very familiar with Walter Johnson…Jimmy Austin, not so much. The thing that drew me to these two cards though was the similarity…at least to my minds eye…to Robin Williams. Maybe Williams from ‘The World According to Garp’ or ‘Mork & Mindy’ even…not so much the ‘Ms. Doubtfire’ days. But seriously, don’t these two photos look like Robin Williams…come on!!??!?!

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Lefty’s. Lot’s of Lefty’s. Grove’s, Gomez’s and a Stewart to name a few. I understand why a Lefty gets his nickname, but i wondered if a Righty has ever been called Righty? What about the new ambidextrous guys taking the mound these days…do they get a nickname?

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The next group of photos starts to get into the portraits that I loved with these cards. The eyes. The facial texture and our ability to get a sense of their emotions or concerns through the photographers lens was powerful to me. The Connie Mack cards really had me taking time to look at his portrait. You can see the age in his face, the stress. He’s a man that led one of the most dominant baseball franchises in history.

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One of the other spectacular things about these cards were the Great Stories portion of the set. Each card in this section has a paragraph or two from ‘The Glory of Their Times’. I’ve owned this book for a couple years now, but never got around to reading it. (adds to my Goodreads list…)

All Time Leader cards pick up near the end of the set along with some great descriptions about the players. I do appreciate that they didn’t highlight the number one guy, but rather the second or third one in some cases. Besides, who doesn’t want a Spud Davis card?

After seeing this card, i thought it would be great to do some kind of small set with players from different generations that had the same name. I would imagine Bill “Spaceman” Lee and this guy would have some opposing views of the world if they were able to discuss them.

The last couple of cards were my favorite from the set. Paul “Big Poison” Waner’s photo is just simply majestic. The baggy pants. The snarly look. The long knobless bat held at the waist line. Everything about this cards speaks to the great history of the game. Waner is one of those past time greats that get lost in the history of the game, but his tremendous career brought him to the Hall of Fame in 1952. The last card is one of my all-time heroes, Lou Gehrig. One of the books i read over the summer was the ‘The Lost Memoir’, which was a collection of stories that Lou has partially written for the Times when he was playing with the Yankees. Some of the stories were ghost written by a more formidable writer, but you get a great sense of the humility and self-lessness he had as a player and as a person. Definitely one of the all-time great players and humans.

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Well, i hoped you enjoyed that recap. As you may have guessed i will be putting this set together. I’ve done some additional research and see that this set is a continuously numbered set going over 1200 cards and through 1994. The one rub though is that some of the photos, well…a bunch of the photos get reused. So be it…once i’ve started, i must continue. I am a completionist!

thanks again for reading!

-Cardboard Hogs

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And now, time for something completely different…well, mostly. It uses baseball as a metaphor for police brutality…so, yeah…baseball.

Sittin’ on Chrome

Retail is crazy man, insane really.  I remember not that long ago when we would all laugh and joke about spending (read wasting) a Jackson on a blaster from Topps or Panini at your local Target or Wal-Mart.  We would go as far as saying, I spent $20 bucks on cards from COMC or Sportlots or eBay and got a whole bunch of fill in the blanks that I needed for my PC!!!  Yeah, I was one of those guys…but something happened. 

What was it? 

Greed? 

FOMO? 

COVID-19? 

Social Media? 

No. It was Gary Fuckin’ Vee!!! 

Well, not really.  It was a bit of all of those things…(side note, I have nothing against Gary Vee or what he has brought to the hobby, any interest in the hobby in my mind is a good thing) every one of those, plus more than what I mentioned.  I’m sure of it. 

Crazy times ya’ll.

So with retail evolving into sneaker heads land and lines waiting for new releases or limited editions of whatever’s new, my thirst for retail has grown.  Grown more out of the FOMO category more than anything else, but also just enjoying a good cheap rip once in a while.  I like to open cards.  I would venture to say we all do, or at least the vast majority of us…I need to do a better job of not speaking for others…I never depended on anything from Target to build a collection around, just something that was inexpensive that I could open on a Tuesday night…fill some need for instant gratification…and go on with my life.  A few years ago I began hording boxes.  I’d buy a box or two but not open them, you know?  Just buy them.  

Saving them for a rainy day. 

Saving them for a day that didn’t go as I had planned.

Saving them for a long week of work.

Saving them for something to write about on a blog I abandoned.

Saving them for something cool to break. 

I could pick up blasters of cards that I’m not super interested in, but like to have just to get an idea of what they look like…I like design and I like sports, so sports cards fill both of those buckets for me…but also the rip factor. 

That has obviously come to a screeching halt during the past six plus months, but I have still managed to accumulate a few tasty samples from Target and Wal-Mart as well as from my LCS’s Hoody’s and The Sports Room. 

The first two locales for an acquisition are great because the’re based on MSRP…no ‘flippity flip flipper-life’ markups.  There’s no LCS overhead cost markup or anything else that would make the box more than they should be.  Trust me (you know this too), retail boxes should not be going for these nutso upticked prices.

…HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT PRIZM FOOTBALL IS GOING FOR ON EBAY, HOLY SMOKES!!!!…

The hobby shops are a bit of a different story, there’s a markup.  The great folks over at Hoody’s though, didn’t do too much for this box of Topps Chrome 2020 I picked up a couple months ago.  $35 for a $20 box.  Nothing too egregious I guess…? 

The packs are lovely aren’t they, Mr. Pete Alonso and some honeycomb corners for the exciting Sepia Refractor Pack. Let’s see if this was worth the $35!

Here are the results of the box and the ‘bonus sepia pack’

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PACK ONE

Joey Gallo and Bobby Bradley

AJ Puk ’85 Insert and Luis Urias

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PACK TWO

JD Martinez and Austin Nola

Robel Garcia Prism Refractor and Ian Desmond

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PACK THREE

Archie Bradley and George Springer

Jean Segura Refractor and Trevor Story

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PACK FOUR

Paul Goldschmidt and Lucas Giolito

Austin Riley ’85 Insert and Jose Altuve

*****

PACK FIVE

Freddie Freeman and Nicky Lopez

Dansby Swanson Refractor and Charlie Blackmon

*****

PACK SIX

Matt Olson and Rafael Devers

Mike Yastrzemski Future Stars and Michael Fulmer

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PACK SEVEN

Randy Arozarena and Kevin Newman

Babe Ruth Decade of Dominance Die-Cut and Sam Hilliard

*****

PACK EIGHT…THE SEPIA PACK!

Fernando Tatis Jr. Refractor

Aaron Civale Refractor

Orlando Arcia Refractor

Luis Arraez Refractor

*****

All this writing reminds me of one of my favorite all-time MC’s, MASTA ACE! Here’s Sittin’ on Chrome…the namesake for today’s post. Enjoy the jeep thumping mid-90’s bass heavy joint.

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.

 

Collector seeking Autographs

I used to be an autograph seeker in my adolescent years.  Cards and a fresh sharpie in hand, fighting my way to the front in hopes of getting an illegible scribble from the baseball stars of the 1980’s.  After a while i build up quite a collection that i’m proud of and like to look back on every once in a while.  San Antonio didn’t have a major league team in San Antonio (AA San Antonio Dodgers though!), but my mother…being the most amazing working / single mother that she was (and still is…) would take me to Arlington a couple times each summer.  We’d mostly go the Rangers games rather than the Astros in Houston…i guess i’ve always been an American League guy…or maybe it was those horrific rainbow sherbet jerseys…the trips each year would include the Yankees, of course and maybe the Blue Jays or Mariners.  Looking back, we went to quite a few Mariners games as a kid and now i live in the PNW, it’s like it was fate or somethign?  My mother is an incredibly generous and giving person, and she always went out of her way to make sure i had what i needed, and most times what i wanted.  Even if it was a terrible idea.  Like sitting in an open air stadium under the relentlessly pounding late afternoon sun of Texas in July and August.  It was a brutal request from an only child after driving for 5 hours, but she obliged, albeit with some resentment in her eyes…but hey, i’m an only child :)!!

As i got older and realized i could maximize my inventory while minimizing my road trips through through the mail autographs, or TTM as every single one of you kids out there reading this knows.  I did this for a couple of years and had some success, check out the page of autographs HERE.  DOIT!!

As i got even older…and was able to finally get that Rickey Henderson auto i always wanted…but can’t seem to find anymore…shit…i’ll dig it out.  Anyways, after that autograph, i decided to stop asking adults for their signature.  Seemed kinda silly of me i guess…not sure why, maybe it was that i was starting to get older than the people i wanted autographs from?  Maybe I was a little embarrassed?  Maybe it was simply the asking for something and being shy about it?  Not really sure.  That said, i have nothing against collecting autos…especially if they have some kind of story associated with them.  Unfortunately, the cards below have no great story other than they are what i pulled from the box i picked up at Brian’s shop.  Here they are!  There are 5 of them and they are nice pieces to have in the collection for now.  You gotta wait for these guys, some of them never pan out and other may take a couple of years to get there…so enjoy.

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Will Benson – Cleveland Indians – 1st Bowman Card16-bd-robert-tyler-auto-227250

Robert Tyler – Colorado Rockies – 1st Bowman Card 227/25016-bd-dylan-carlson-auto-316499

Dylan Carlson – St. Louis Cardinals – 1st Bowman Card 316/49916-bd-ben-bowden-auto

Ben Bowden – Colorado Rockies – 1st Bowman Card16-bd-anfernee-grier-auto

Anfernee Grier – Arizona Diamondbacks – 1st Bowman Card

Actually got to see this guy play a couple of games last year in Hillsboro for the Hops.  He was the 39th pick from Auburn in last years draft, so there is some hope that he could find his way to the big leagues in a year or two.

The jumbo box included a couple other cards of note that i was pretty excited about.  This lovely Griffey Jr. card, which could have been posted in my previous post on Sons and Fathers…doesn’t top Gavin’s 1/1 auto, but not a bad looking card to have…and Bo Jackson…

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These Bowman Chrome cards are really nice cards to hold…but do smell a little bit like syrup as Sooz mentioned in a very cool and random tweet a couple days ago.  Speaking of Yankees…Here are the last two cards i wanted to share.  A couple of guys i have high hopes for this year that came through via trades Cushman made out on, or at least the Yankees fans hope so.

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I apologize for the fingerprints on that Sheffield card, not only do they smell like syrup…they love to grab hold of anything that touched the surface.  So much grit!

I hope you had a good MLK day and took a moment to understand the importance of his life.  Normally, this is where i post a music video that ties in to the cards or story of the day but i wanted to post something appropriate for the day rather than the post.  I listened to this while i was at work today and…well, you should listen to.  And in case you question why #BlackLivesMatter, it’s very thoughtfully explained and passionately addressed by Dr. King.

Sons and Fathers

Being an adult is a tough thing to be at times.  It’s a never ending commitment to things you never dreamed of as a child; bills, responsibilities to loved ones as well as our contemporaries can be incredibly daunting at times.  Overwhelming even.  When you add children to the mix it becomes even more difficult.  Prior to becoming a father, i had a very specific image of what having a child would be like…and to be honest, it’s nothing like what i thought.  It is far more difficult than i could have ever imagined.  Getting things done the way i want them or even when i want them is close to impossible.  Over the past few months or so, i’ve learned to let things go.  I had to.  My expectations were not realistic or fair for an incredibly curious toddler.  His young developing mind was discovering a world he needed to experience…in his very own way.  Once i was able to grasp that seemingly simple concept, i was able to become a better father and enjoy the simple moments in life that later become memories we never forget…

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The snow we’ve had in town last night and today was one of those moments to stop and let go of being an adult…although i had to make sure my kid didn’t hurt himself :).  One of my recent posts was a reflection of a fond memory as a kid, the big San Antonio snow storm.  Keeping that in mind, my goal was to make this day off of work and “adulting” as much fun as i could.  Not to break an arm patting myself, but i thing we got it done today and made some awesome memories!

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When i started out on this post i had an idea to show a few cards from the Bowman Draft jumbo box i bought before Christmas.  The theme of the first post would be about sons of former MLB players and their fathers, but i wanted to shed a little personal experience since we had so much fun.  So, for those excited to see some cards that i pulled take a look below…and i promise the hits will be exhibited in the next post!

As i opened the packs, i continued to see names that i recalled from my younger days as a collector…first thought was HOLY CRAP! I’m getting old!!  I remember thinking, damn i’m old when a guy i remember as a rookie retired, or made the Hall of Fame…but now these guys have raised baseball players and kept the name in the family business.

I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to be the son of a professional athlete.  Most of us had idols and a child, and i would imagine most of our idols were professional athletes vs. musicians or actors…or doctors and scientists i guess.  My father had no special talents, nor did he have much of a presence in my life as a kid…which i would imagine is somewhat similar for these guys that made it to their 1st Bowman cards.  The baseball season is long and there is a significant amount of travel each season.  Being a parent is truly a 24 hour job.  Really makes me think how amazing their mothers were…not sure they were as amazing as mine was though. 🙂

I hope to have my son share in my passion for baseball one day.  Not sure if it will happen or not…it’s not something i ever want to force on him, it needs to be his decision, and i’m sure he will make the right decision…:)

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Not sure how many readers out there have kids, if you do, i hope you can understand the sentiments that i’ve shared here today.  It’s a little more personal than i normally like to get, but i felt like it was worthy…thank you for your time to read today.

Here are a few more images from our day…along with a zen like dog photo and a couple pictures of Derek Jeter standing next to a snow buried ruler.

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Have a great night and give your family a hug!  We’re gonna need each other to get through the next four years of this new Trump nation.

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and a song for the day…kinda reminded me of being a kid and going on road trips with my mom each summer…or to visit my father.

Mile High Hogs

When i travel to a new destination I like to pick up a few packs or a blaster from the local Target or Wal-Mart.  It’s kind of a souvenir.  A souvenir that matters to me and hand a greater level of value than a cheesy shirt (although i love an odd shirt now and again…).  The cards serve as a little reminder of the town I was in, an artifact from a past vacation.  In the past, the trips have been via automobile and the cards were a little easier to handle since i could always see where they were and keep them safe and sound.  The last couple of trips though have been via airplane…the friendly skies!  When traveling, i’m always concerned about the safety and security of the cards and tend to open them up when i get home.  Not this time though, i wanted to join the mile high club!  Well, i wanted my cards to join the mile high club…of sorts.  So i did it on a plane earlier this week!

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Since we card people don’t like damaged cards, getting these guys on the plane safely was a bit of an emotional journey for me.  Going through security and boarding a plane is difficult enough!  My first concern was the lovely TSA folks that can be a little handsy with people and peoples stuff.  The only thing worse than the disinterested cashier man-handling (woman-handling…? person-handling…?) the cards and dropping them 18″ to the bottom of a plastic bag is definitely getting them through TSA.  They pick up bags and boldly ask “THIS RED ONE YOURS SIR!”, why, yes.  The red bag that i was about to grab is mine…definitely my bag.  The surly looks that follow…them, not me…i’m nice.  Half the battle has been fought, but the war has not been won.  I still need to get these unprotected packs boarded and loaded on a flying tube with an ever increasing shortage of personal stowing space.  Done deal.  Packs located gently on my fold away tray until i am told to hide my fold away tray.  See the photo above (and now below) that was after we reached our cruising altitude…so no foul there although my phone was not in airplane mode.

16-bp-packs-2

Normally when i’m opening a pack of cards i like to have space to lay them out and sort them as i go through the cards.  Kinda particular about those sorts of things, you know.  It’s nice to have a little layout space and a clean surface to boot.  In hindsight this plan would have been better if i had a more sturdy box to put them in afterwards.  Enough with the long winded build up.  Here is what was pulled.

Tyler Glasnow – Pittsburgh Pirates | Alex Bergman – Houston Astros

Dee Gordon – Miami Marlins | Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers

Brian McCann – New York Yankees | Tyler White – Houston Astros

Kenta Maeda – Los Angeles Dodgers | Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees

Javier Guerra – San Diego Padres | Jorge Mateo – New York Yankees

Kolby Allard – Atlanta Braves | Lucius Fox – San Francisco Giants

Not a bad pack, no real jaw droppers.  I do like the three Yankee cards and the Alex Bergman is nice as well as the Maeda card.  They all have a nice little shine to them as well.  My wife, sitting in the miserable middle seat (love ya babe!) was particularly fascinated by the shiny-ness of these cards which the cabin lighting made a little extra sexy!  Here’s pack two!

JP Crawford – Philadelphia Phillies | Austin Meadows – Pittsburgh Pirates

Raul Mondesi Jr. – Kansas City Royals | Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins

Eddie Rosario – Minnesota Twins | Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds

Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals | Billy McKinney – Chicago Cubs

Tyler O’Neill – Seattle Mariners | Conner Greene – Toronto Blue Jays

Brady Aiken – Cleveland Indians | Francis Martes – Houston Astros

Each of the cards made it home safe and sound, no dings, no dents, no errors.  Twenty Four shiny cards to sit and wait on now…will they become stars or not…!

So there you go.  That was the very first time i’ve ever busted a pack on a plane, in the air above the United States of America.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

***BIG PIMPIN***

Now it’s time to do some contest pimpin’ for Collector’s Crack and his annual NFL playoff contest!

Almost the Easiest Super Bowl Contest on the Web

Since i don’t have to deal with the emotions of having my team in it this year, i’m free to pick a SB matchup that will hopefully be closer to reality…and so should you!  So, hit that link and sign up!  But first, in honor of CB’s contest i thought i’d post a couple of videos in line with all the pimpin’.  First is one of my favorite UGK songs and the other is an interesting documentary on Pimp C that i haven’t quite gotten through yet.  It’s by Mass Appeal, so you can’t really go wrong though.

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 7 and 8

I feel like a dope writing about 2013 Topps series two, but i will manage to get over it sooner or later…plus i have another post to go!

I’m not really sure where I left off on the Topps post, but these two cards really caught my eye…plus they were in my to be organized scan folder.  So here they are, Trouty and Alvarez.  Both amazing photos and both are landscape cards, which i LOVE in base sets!  Both cards manage to get the player and ball in the shot…great photography to the photographer.

13 T Pedro Alvarez Mike Trout

This sideburn slash sort of neck beard is disturbing…plus he’s a Red Sox guy.  Not much for me to like about this card.

13 T Koji Uehara Gold

Ah jeez.  Jackie and the Babe.  The only problem with Topps pushing out these old school legend cards is the lack of photo variety.  I’ve got 5 other Jackie cards with that same pose…wish they had access to other images, you know, to spice it up a bit?

13 T Jackie Robinson Babe Ruth The Elite

Bryce Harper.  Love this kid.  He is the newest addition to my player personal collection and a reason i started following the Nats a few years ago.  He seems like he can be quite a jerk sometimes, but he’s intense and he goes all out each game.  That is how I would want my son to play.

13 T Bryce Harper Making their Mark

Rizzo – Italien – Cub.

13 T Anthony Rizzo WBC

Joey Belle.  Remember how crazy this guy was.  Dude had a serious temper and would go off over the stupidest crap.  I’ve said too much…

13 T Albert Belle Cut to the Chase

This guy.  Love the Cuban players.  Did you hear, he won the home run derby over the all star break…it’s been that long since i’ve been blogging.

13 T Yoenis Cespedes Making their Mark Jersey

Good night.

Box Break: 2013 Bowman

Bowman is one of those in between sets for me.  Do I buy packs?  A box and build the set?  Pull my favorites out and part ways with the rest of them?

I’m not a prospector, but I love to pull some of the great rookies that I read about.

I don’t put together too many sets, but I love to buy packs and sometimes a box of cards that I enjoy openings packs of.

I like inserts, but too many of them become overwhelming.

Bowman has a way of providing a response to each of these contradictions in my collecting habits.  When Topps brought back the Bowman cards in 1989, my friend Alex and I were all in.  The cards were weird and big and didn’t fit well anywhere, but they were cool and had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.  Griff was the man in 1989 and his rookie cards were something every kid in America that collected cards wanted.  I had them all, and loved the oversized Bowman version (after the Upper Deck version of course…)  Although the cards weren’t that great.  The photography was a little grainy at times and the overall design was weak…plus the stat on the back were quite confusing and took some getting used to.  Either way I was going to collect this set…and all other versions that would come out in the future.  That was, until 1992 rolled around.  The card quality became significantly better and the rookie class was pretty stellar at the time (I still have my Raul Mondesi in a screw down holder, iknowright!).  1992 was also the time I began to realize I can’t collect everything…because I couldn’t afford it.  So I never completed the set and ended up getting rid of my other sets from the previous years.

13 BB Mariano Rivera Chrome RC Reprint

Fast forward to the future that is today.  The card quality has improved exponentially and in relation to the other stuff that’s being issued, Bowman is quite affordable.  I’ve purchased a box of these the past three years and took a bigger step this year and bought the jumbo pack box from Dave and Adam’s card world.  Here is my review.

13 BB Josh Hamilton Chrome RC Reprint

Card Design – 3 of 5

The overall design of the cards is quite simple, which I love.

13 BB Robinson Cano

13 BB Hanley Ramirez

No extra weird things going on here, just some simple graphics and all the basic information you need on a baseball card.  I do like the subtle variation on the front of the card that differentiates the Bowman Prospects from the Major Leaguers.  Bowman also carried this through as they do on the back of  the card with the numbering and color of the card stock.

Photography – 3 of 5

The photographs are your typical action photos mixed in with awkwardly posed for photos of young men in uniforms.  There are a lot of beards and facial hair in general around the world these days and the major league baseball franchise is no different.  I’m thinking Panini needs to do a facial hair card set.  Maybe Josh Reddick get the coveted #1 card?

13 BB Matt Kemp Bryce Harper Gold Border

Hits – 4 of 5

Like I said before, I’m no prospector.  I simply don’t have the patience or wherewithal to invest in people I don’t know and Bowman counts on people doing this.  That’s what makes this set so wonderful though.  If you do pull a great auto of a young talented player or a refractor you have a nice piece of cardboard.  If you don’t, well, you have something shiny to look at i guess.  Another thing with the hits is that you have to wait a couple of years for these guys to pan out and get a year or two under their belts.  Just because you are a top 100 prospect doesn’t mean you are going to be a star in the bigs.  All that said, It’s nice to get the ‘First Bowman card’ of a potential star.

13 BB Eddie Rosario Dorssys Paulino Top 100

Another thing that i really enjoy about the Bowman cards and the young stars is the names of these kids.  Damn.

13 BB Oliberto Amaya Calderon Maldonado Chrome

Review

Bowman is always fun to open and the cards are always a very solid quality.  I’m not sure if I will buy a jumbo box next year unless i plan to start building the sets again…but getting 32 cards in a pack is pretty cool.

13 BB Rodriguez Bundy Reed Rowen Gold Sparkle

The overall look and feel of the cards is great, nothing to complain about here, plus the price is right with Bowman, especially for what you get.

Mini’s are cool.

13 BB Skaggs Hanson Bradley Hensley Minis

So are Flags…

13 BB Davis Upton Alonso Maurer Hometown

and blue or maybe purple cards?

13 BB Brett Gerritse Blue Refractor 60:250and who doesn’t love them some autographs!

13 BB Eddie Butler Auto

13 BB Yordano Ventura Refractor Auto 79:500

13 BB Alex Meyer Auto