Chasing Idols

We all have our idols, people we look up to as kids.  We worship them.  Not those important parental or educator types…the unattainable kind.  Actors.  Artists.  Musicians. Entertainers.  Athletes.  Sometimes we grow out of that youthful infatuation and sometimes we hold them for our entire lives.  It becomes an eternal adoration or idolization.  For me, that person was Rickey Henderson.  Yeah, he’s a love him / hate him kinda guy.  He can be aloof and impersonal, distant and at times. Possibly even off-putting for some of those old school baseball folks that players should be less flashy and less self-aware.  Rickey played to the beat of his own drum.  He was the soloist in the Miles Davis quintet.  A player that could make a team great, but by his own right was great as well. A singular character that played for some of the greatest Oakland Athletic teams in the 1990’s. 

My initial attraction to him as a player was in 1982.  I was six going on seven.  He was headed towards 130 stolen bases. Stealing bases like he was put on earth to do just that…well, rattle the opposing teams pitcher as well…and I loved it.  For me, that was IT!  On the other hand, the baseball my father loved were the George Brett and Mike Schmidt kinda guys, phenomenal hitting third basemen that had a completely different way they approached the game of baseball…by no means bad at all…just different. 

Around this time, I really began to love the game but didn’t have a favorite team.  I grew up in San Antonio and really was not into the Astros with their sherbet rainbow pullovers or the players, short of Nolan Ryan.  The other option I had as a kid in Texas was the Texas Rangers…yeah…NO.  I had already fully established myself as a Washington Football Team (nee Redskins) fan and couldn’t attach myself to a Dallas area team of any kind.  So, for the short time being I was a half-hearted A’s fan…really a Rickey Henderson fan, and he just so happened to play for the Oakland Athletics.  This all changed in the Winter of 1984. He was traded to the New York Yankees.  By this time, I’m a nine year old savant baseball fan…not really.  I just watched games and bought baseball cards, but I loved the game so so so much before my first decade on earth. So, now it seemed like the perfect time to pick a ‘favorite’ team.  Well, I might as well pick the team that my favorite player plays for, right? The New York Yankees.  Yes.  The Bronx Bombers or Evil Empire depending on whom you root for yourselves.  I was a Rickey Henderson fan first and a Yankees fan second, but a close second, really it was 1A and 1B

By this time, my parents had split up and I was your typical latchkey ’80’s kid.  The son of a single working mom. She attended night school working towards her bachelor’s degree.  She worked a lot and we were ok financially, by no means set, but we were good.  Well, not good enough to do anything we wanted to do, like take a trip somewhere fun and exciting.  My mom knew this but she also knew how much baseball meant to me during the summer of ’87.  She managed to purchase two seats for the New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers in Arlington.  Just a mere five hour drive to the north on I-35.  That’s how far Rickey Henderson was from me.  My idol.  In my mind I was going to meet him and we were going to become great friends and I would write him and he would write me.  I had it all planned out, you see.  My mother reminded me that you should never meet your idols or those that you admire as they will underwhelm you.  I wasn’t going for that.  I wanted to get his autograph and tell him that he was my favorite player.  Nobody in Texas could possibly be as big a fan as I was.  I was his biggest fan in the biggest state…well the biggest state in the contiguous continent.

We headed up to Arlington early that Saturday morning for the five hour drive.  South Texas is hot, but North Texas ain’t much better.  The old 1984 Buick Skylark had marginal AC at it’s best and a strong tendency to overheat and breakdown on occasion.  Guess what?  It did just that.  Broke down.  On the side of the highway just north of Austin.  Barely an hour outside of our home.  That was it.  I wasn’t going to see my favorite player on my favorite team play.  I was dejected.  Broken.  On the verge of tears.  Keep in mind, I was a kid that didn’t cry much, my expressions were released more physically and in a way that now embarrass me.  My mom could see this and to her credit, she wasn’t letting this trip get away.  After we found out from the local mechanic that we could ‘maybe’ make it to Arlington and back if we take it slow and constantly check the coolant in the engine we would be able to complete our road trip.  And so, we did.  I will never forget this act from my mother, she pressed forward when the smart thing was to turn back around and play it safe…she pressed forward.  That five hour drive turned into a nearly 7 hour drive.  We ended up going straight to the park, deciding to check into the Holiday Inn after the game.  Arriving just in time for the first pitch.  This wasn’t my first baseball game, but it was my first game outdoors, I had been to a few games in the Astrodome.  This was different and it was AMAZING!  The New York Yankees, THE NEW YORK FRICKIN’ YANKEES vs. the Rangers.  We quickly made our way to the seats to watch Jose Guzman get Mattingly to ground out to first.  I missed Rickey’s first at bat…damn.

Rickey came up three more times that night and ended up going 1-3 with a single.  No stolen bases and a loss for the New York Yankees.  Side note, this was also the last night Don Mattingly homered during his eight game consecutive streak.  Knocking a dinger of Guzman in the 4th inning.  I got to see that and that was a great piece of history to be a part of.

The next night, July 19th.  Rickey doesn’t show up for pre-game warm ups.  Rickey doesn’t have his name on the scoreboard.  Rickey doesn’t play.  Damn.  We were headed back in the morning and I got to see my idol come to bat three times with one single and no stolen bases.  Not to mention, this Sunday night, Mattingly goes homerless for the first time since July 8th and the Yankees lose 3-20.  I did get to see Rick Cerone pitch to Bobby Witt, with Witt almost taking him deep with a couple long foul balls. 

I did manage to get a photo of Rickey at the game and here it is! 

***

Apparently approaching players in the bullpen during a game for an autograph is a no-no.  Charles Hudson was happy to let me know that was the case.  The trip wasn’t a failure, but it was not a success either in my 11 year old mind.

Let’s fast forward to 1990.  The Oakland Athletics are dominant, like one of the greatest of all time teams dominant.  A true murderers row of sluggers and solid defense.  My mom always coming through knew how amazing it would be for me to see Rickey once again.  She knew he was my guy, the only player that I really ever cared this much about.  She did it again.  For my 15th birthday, she got two tickets for the two games at the end of September.  The last games of the season for both teams…well almost last games.  We had tickets to the Saturday and Sunday games in Arlington.  Same long hot drive, although less hot due to Fall all around us.  Also, mom had a new car, a 1990 Corsica!  Yeah!  No need to stop and check the engine coolant, plus we were actually able to roll the windows down on this trip.

Our arrival this time allows us to check in to the hotel, get some food and head to the game for early BP.  By this time I was a seasoned autograph hound and knew where to place myself for in-person autographs of players I wanted to sign.  My mom hated this though, it meant we were in an incredibly uncomfortable hotbox of a stadium on a 90degree day.  She had nothing better to do than to just sit in the stands and read a book while I grabbed the autos of my favorite players. 

As I made my way to the lower bowl, I attempted to get McGwire autograph which was an absolute joke.  He was swarmed and wasn’t even getting close to him.  Canseco?  Forget about it…Weiss signed.  Lansford signed.  The Eck even signed a few.  The whole time I had my eye on Rickey.  Rickey took batting practice.  Rickey took in some sprints.  Rickey untied his shoes.  Rickey tied his shoes.  Rickey walked around the batting cage.  I’m standing off to the side just waiting, having given up on the other superstars.  I wanted my superstars autograph. 

Rickey had his head down.  Rickey was walking to me.  I was modestly shouting Mr. HENDER-SON.  Rickey got close.  My modesty turned to one of those Beatles fan-girl videos and I was just straight up shouting.  RICKEY, RICKEY, RICKEY.  Rickey looks up.  Rickey sees me.  Rickey walks towards me.  Rickey gets closer.  In seconds, I’m swarmed by other auto hounds…pushed aside by some adults that do not need to be here, but this is my chance.  I am not going to fail.   I am going to get this autograph.  Rickey signs that guys card.  Rickey signs that kids card.  Then suddenly, Rickey signs my card.  HOLY SHIT.  I’m shaking…I got Rickey Henderson’s autograph during batting practice on September 29th 1990 on a 1990 Donruss, number 304.  Here it is.

***

This is the last autograph I’ve ever asked of someone in person or through the mail, I stopped doing TTM’s.  I stopped getting to games early for batting practice autographs.  It all stopped.  I got the autograph I wanted.  Rickey Henderson.  Just wish I had a better pen…    

-Cardboard Hogs

***

I’m your idol the highest title, numero uno…And now, a special presentation from Special Ed…He has a frog, a dog with a solid gold bone.

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’

*****

PACK ONE

Joey Gallo and Bobby Bradley

AJ Puk ’85 Insert and Luis Urias

*****

PACK TWO

JD Martinez and Austin Nola

Robel Garcia Prism Refractor and Ian Desmond

*****

PACK THREE

Archie Bradley and George Springer

Jean Segura Refractor and Trevor Story

*****

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

*****

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.

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.

We’re all snowflakes…

I grew up in Texas and snow is not a normal thing for me.  When i was 9 we had a huge blizzard in San Antonio, 14″ to be exact.  It was absolutely nuts…as a kid though, fantastic!    It was a freakish event that i will never forget.  Rafik and I missed a couple days of school and had the greatest time ever.  We watched Chris Marrou tell us about the school closures and hoped it would never end!  Our days were filled with bags of sugar to fuel the moments in between epic snowball fights and a rudimentary snow man construction site.  It was the greatest of times for every kid in town.

When we were able (forced) to go back to school, our classrooms had so many leaks that we were huddled en masse in the schools gym.  A very large, crowded and noisy gym.  A gym on the edge of child anarchy.  It was one conch away from being a snowy version of Lord of the Flies.  The teachers were on edge trying to keep us all in line for the couple of days.  We were being taught in a prefabricated building not suited for long division or lessons on social studies.  But they did it and they were the real MVP’s that week.

But now…

I’m a tall adult that likes collecting things like cards and books and also likes rap music.  I also like familiarity and something i can depend on…surprises don’t work well for me.  For the last month or so, my part of Portland has had 3 different weekends of snow…g’darn freakin’ snow!!!  Now, don’t get me wrong, snow is cool when you go to it and are able to look at it and touch it.  But when it comes to you as an unwanted guest, it’s a bit of an annoyance.  We haven’t have had a ruler lengths of snow, but enough to shut the city down a couple of days and keep me from work.  It’s also made my snow driving (sliding) skills ratchet up a tick or two.

All the snow that i was surrounded by made me cave and pick up a box of cards with snow flakes on them.  Subliminal marketing.  Well done Topps, you got me.  Now, let’s see what you gave me Topps.

One of the first things i noticed about these cards is the streaking on the card fronts.  Half of the cards in the blaster box contained the streaking.  Maybe the other bloggers have already touched on this and as usual, i’m late to the party, but it seems that the quality of these cards may have been left to be what they are.  Not super upset about it, but a little disappointed with these…especially the Kershaw card.

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Another thing that was very noticeable is the large amount of white space, most notably on the landscape cards.  Guess that’s the Topps blizzard parallel…?  Seems like a little gradient or transparency could have been a savior for Nick’s card.

These cards were awesome in their original issue and Ricky Bones seems to be dressed appropriately for this card, while Mike Trout is attempting to catch a tiny little snowflake.  Is snow flake one or two words?  snowflake snow flake…

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Dickey Flakes should be a cereal, f’real.

Please let me digress a bit here.  Not sure if you have heard of Krampus, I hadn’t until about two weeks ago.  He’s an incredibly evil Germanic character created to scare the shit out of bad kids…to be honest, i saw a video of him and was a tad scared.  We used the Krampus tactic over the holidays to keep our little snowflake/snow flake in line.  For the most part it worked…but i feel guilty about it in hindsight.  I would point out the window, similar to what Carlos Correa is doing and say “I SEE KRAMPUS!!” and my child of 51 months would run off terrified, similar to what Jed Lowrie is doing.  The things parents do to get done what they want to get done the way they want it to get done.  Not my best parenting story…but sadly, it yielded the result i was looking for.

We now begin the bumpy snowflake portion of the blog post with a couple winners.  Dexter and Kris.  It’s a shame Ernie Banks didn’t get to see these guys win the title.  RIP #14.

If the card on the right was Steve rather than Nori Aoki, the hair on this pair would be most epic.  But it’s just Jacob and Nori.

My game used memorabilia card was Adam Jones which is pretty cool.  I really like Adam and often wonder what his career would have been like if the Mariners kept him..also wonder what the Mariners could have done with his dependability over the incredibly fragile and unreliable Erik Bedard…hindsight is 50/50 man..

So that’s my highlights from a Wal-Mart box of snowflake cards.  Rumor has it we may get some more snow in the next few days up here, climate change ain’t no joke…remember that we are all snowflakes/snow flakes and nobody is like us…even though those Adam Jones cards are pretty much the same thing.

The School of Rickey

So, last night was a little disappointing…Not only did the Redskins blow a golden opportunity to take hold of the #6 seed in the NFC playoffs, my #1 seed fantasy football team lost by 1 point.  As you may have guessed, my roster is filled with Redskins players…it’s my real life team and i like to make them my non real life teammates.  Coming in to the game i was in a great position to make it to back to back FF Championship, all i needed was the Redskins to not crap the bed…and they crapped the bed.  All over the freaki’ place.  Now, i know one of the most annoying things is hearing some random dude complaining or bragging about his fantasy teams…it was just tough man.  Still love my Redskins and can only regret the roster decisions that i should have made in hindsight.  But as Steve Spurrier once said…”hindsight is 50/50.”

Moving on.  The MLB network had a great documentary on Rickey Henderson tonight, “School of Rickey”

Needless to say, i enjoyed the hell out of the show and all of the stories from Rickey’s past…and present.  He seems like the kinda guy that is impossible to figure out in real life, not to mention if you were a pitcher attempting to hold him on base during his playing days.

If you are a Henderson fan it’s a must watch.

If you are a baseball fan it’s must watch.

So, watch it!

But first, check out this sweet ass 2016 Topps Dynasty card i recently picked up!  It’s a lovely tricolor patch on card autograph of my baseball idol, and it’s numbered 03/10.

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Fantastic piece of cardboard i say.  Some of you fellow bloggers have picked up a couple of these cards recently and noted the bumpy texture of the cards which is pretty evident in person, more so than in the photographs…but these photos were taken with an iPhone in low light, so there’s that.  Initially, i wasn’t going to go after one of these cards until the madness died down a bit but i saw a great deal on eBay and had some PayPal money from some recent sales to cover the cost and went for it!

 

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When i posted a bid on the card i made the rookie mistake of not reading the description…i should have, and you should always do the same!  Apparently, the guy selling the card was flipping the card and didn’t have it in hand.  To me, that was the beginning of a scam…so, i contacted the seller and he was really cool about it and understood where i was coming from and did an awesome job of following through on the whereabouts of the card.  Luckily for me (and probably him too?) the card came in a couple days later.  He shipped it out quickly and it was in my precious little hands last night, right before the Redskins crapped the bed.  So, i guess last night was all that bad…eh?

One of my favorite MC’s of all time, Aesop Rock is in town tonight for a show at the Wonder Ballroom…well, he’s in town most nights as he lives in Portland these days.  Normally, i would insist on going to his show and having an amazing time…if you’re in to Hip-Hop and love the indie version of that form of music, he’s one of the greats and always has high energy shows along with Rob Sonic and Homeboy Sandman.  This time though, other family / work related things came up so i couldn’t make it out.  Kinda missing out too, wishing I could have made it out…next time.  Until then, here’s a cool video from his latest album “The Impossible Kid”

Rickey goes to Powells

…but only to browse…

I like love books, especially those big books with lots of images.  The books with eye candy, great graphic layouts and really cool images.  Sometimes I even read the words that are printed in the books…but that takes more time…so it doesn’t happen as much.  One of the great things about working downtown is being close to Powells, one of the greater things about working at the office I work is having Powells right across the street…like, i can see if from my desk across the street…well, not at my new desk, but at desks that i’ve sat in before.  Powells is a great place to stroll around after lunch and see what’s out or what’s on sale for that month.  Most of my visits are just visits and not purchase visits…you know, to get inspired.  I need that as an architect, visual inspiration!

So, Rickey and I went to the art+architecture section which is in a much better spot with the revised layout.  they always had a layout table there, but the one that’s in now is much larger and better for laying out books, but this visit wasn’t about laying out books, it was about finding photo ops for wallet card Rickey!  The first stop…was…wowza…Not really sure what’s going on here, but hey, Rickey thought it was cool.

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Rickey is all about helping and lending a helping hand.  Sometimes the greatest of the greats need some inspiration, like LeCorbusier.  It’s not easy being an architectural genius and making ribbon windows and pilotis look magical all the time…but Rickey is there to lend a smile and a wave a wand of confidence!

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Rickey likes space.  I liked Interstellar.  So this was appropriate for the moment.  This book was pretty cool actually.  Lots of great images of different space suits and equipment from a fashion perspective.

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My favorite architect is Peter Zumthor.  You kids in LA are about to be blessed with his renovation and complete reworking of how LACMA is being laid out.  Before the wifey and I got married, i convinced her to visit a thermal spa in Switzerland, which really didn’t take much arm twisting.  Anyways, the Therme Vals is a spectacular place to visit if you ever find yourself near Zurich.  Rickey likes it lots.

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At this point, Rickey wanted to see photos of Rickey’s greatness.  Rickey likes him some Rickey…and Donny Baseball.

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But most of all, Rickey likes it when Rickey sets records.  Unbreakable records.  Rickey is also pretty fond of this jersey.

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Wallet card Rickey has a hot date tonight.

2014 Topps S1 – Packs 7 and 8

Yeah, it’s been a while.  I haven’t posted since the 10th.  I was on such a roll too!  Life.

I’m going to stick with the 2014 Topps Jumbo duo pack breakdown because I like order and crossing things of off lists.  It’s a problem, but it’s my problem.  I pray to whatever you choose to believe in that you have already seen these cards, so that none of them should be eye openers.  My hope though is that i can knock it out of the park with my witty narrative…or not.  You will be the judge of that.

I’m going to go ahead and start with the box autograph ‘hit’.  Not because i’m super excited about it, but because if you are reading this, you probably pulled this auto as well.  From what i’ve seen on the other blogs, this card is a popular pull from this years Topps.  Way to diversify your packs Mr. Topps company.  Andrew Lamb-oh everyone.

14 TO Andrew Lamb Autograph

I did get a couple of Harper’s in one pack.  My first look through the pack and i completely missed the Power Player logo on the lower right of the card.  It’s a Harper parallel and an insert.  Nice.  Here’s hoping the Bryce kid tears it up this season and avoids walls.

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Another nice little pull from these two packs was a Casey Janssen black border card.  See!  It has a black border!

14 TO Casey Janssen Black Border

Next up is a Derek Jeter All Rookie Cup team.  It’s not the athletic supporter type of cup, which is probably best for us all considering how many gift baskets this guy has handed out.  He is stellar in his accomplishments on and off the field.  A legend.

14 TO Derek Jeter All Rookie Cup Team

Maddux Mini.  Why is the border yellow?  WHY!

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A gimmicky base card from Topps that you have seen on every blog from everyone that has opened a Topps pack this year.  I can’t wait to put this one in a 9 pocket sleeve in a binder and forget all about it.  He’s catching a football.  Maybe I should get out my Nolan Ryan slinging the pigskin card out and put them side by side.

14 TO Mark DeRosa

I pulled two buy back cards and this one is a very Brave Ralph Garr, no relation to Terry Garr I imagine.  Maybe thirds cousins?

14 TO Ralph Garr 1972 Buy Back

Sean Doolittle closing it out with a very red and pubic-y beard and 90’s Oakley glasses and a t-shirt that has words on it.  Great photo selection Topps.  Great selection.

14 TO Sean Doolittle

Two more packs to go with a nice thick card that will make some of you smile, and then it’s back to some good ole vintage Redskins…or maybe a few card show pickups from a future show.

Oh hey, i’ve gotten around to posting a few very random cards on ebay.  Please take a look if you are interested in bidding on them.  The cards that don’t sell will be available for trade, or will end up back on ebay.

2014 Topps S1 – Packs 1 and 2

I’ve always been a little slow and therefore have been late to various things in my life.  So i’ve developed a mentality of sitting and waiting for other people to do something before I go.  It allows me time to think of what I want to do or can provide…since 2014 Topps has been out for a couple of weeks I’m going to show you what I got as well as give you a piece of my mind! 🙂

I know some folks don’t like the Topps flagship or are upset with their exclusive MLB license.  You won’t get any of that vibe over here though, I’m all in for the Topps flagship.  To the parallels and inserts, I say…”I don’t care” or “I choose to ignore you”.  I say that to the cards.  Take them out of the center of the packs and put them aside.  Sift through the base cards first and them make my way to the “hits” part of the program.  You should probably also know that I always eat muffins by starting from the bottom and working my way up.  I like to save the best for last.  Gives me something to look forward to.

On to the card judgement.

Topps has come back with the white border cards and personally i’d like to see a different color border, or possibly a full bleed.  I know this isn’t anything groundbreaking but a little variation would be great for the borders.  I’d like to se a card from each year and know that there was more than just a slight variation of the previous years designs…something bigger like the changes in card designs from 85 to 86 to 87.  Basically I want a fresh and new design each year.  The photos though, those are great.  Lots of action photos from what i’ve seen so far and great shots of men leaping in to walls.

14 TO Victorino Heyward

One of the things that Topps has done with their photos is select the image that makes you stop…and look…and think…why this photo?  The Crisp card has appeared all over the blogosphere and it now appears here.  That afro is straight up Oaktown.  If rappers had baseball cards, this would be the exact same image that Boots Riley from The Coupe would have.  Big Ass Afro and a clean pair of mutten chops piercing out of each cheek, shoulders back doing the Bernie lean.

14 TO Coco Crisp

Besides the cool images, you get the obligatory post game celebration photo.  The gatorade bath.  Now, this would make a much better football card.  In fact, I think Topps should have one football head coach card next year and it should be Pete Carroll getting an orange bath after the Super Bowl and it should be card number 48.  That’s a free one for you Topps people, run with it.  This Dozier card though…it reeks of gimmick that folks complain about.  Dozier…remind me of the Souls of Mischief lyric…’Maintain composure, hit dosia, pick a booga, don’t be shook up, i got the hook up.’

14 TO Brian Dozier

TWO OAKLAND RAP REFERENCES in one blog post!

This kid.  Love this kid.

14 TO Bryce Harper

One last base card before i show a couple of the ‘Hits’.  The Kendrys Morales card.  This card should never have been made unless it was a Mariners team card.  In this modern world of high price cameras and digital media at every turn, how can you have a card of a player that only shows his back.  AND THE BACK IS OUT OF FOCUS!!!  Seriously??!!??!  The only guy that’s really in focus is Felix Hernandez.  Not Morales!  The moral of this card is that team celebrations are good and should only be shared as a team card.  Really bad decision on this one.

14 TO Kendrys Morales

Mini’s.  Die Cuts.  I love both and that’s what you get this year!  Some 1989 design mini with various border colors that are die cut!  Yes please!  Sign me up for that.  AND I get a Lou Gehrig.  Such a lucky boy I am.

14 TO Lou Gehrig 1989 Mini

This next pair of cards came in my first two packs and I started to think I had a Segura Hot Box.  Guess you will have to wait and see…I’m not trying to tease you, I have no idea either as i’ve only opened two packs.

14 TO Jean Segura The Future Is Now

Be on the lookout for the following 8 packs America.  I can only hope that I get more blurry cards of guys backs.

Happy Birthday Rickey and Merry Christmas

Today is the 55th birthday of my childhood idol.  Rickey Nelson Henley Henderson.

Rickey Henderson 1a

The Man of Steal.  He was the all time stolen base leader and the greatest leadoff hitter of all time.  I can’t think of any position or spot in a lineup where you can say that about a baseball player and not get twenty other names from twenty other people.  Maybe it’s a bold statement, but I don’t think there really is an argument for his greatness at the leadoff position.  Fielding…eh…not the greatest.

Rickey Henderson 7

He was the reason I became a Yankee fan (but still secretly love the A’s) and the reason why I wear #24 any chance I get.  Whenever people asked me in a confused manner, “Why are you a Yankees fan?”  They are only more confused after I tell them because of Rickey Henderson…I’m a very loyal fan and hitched my wagon to the Yanks in 1985.  I was 9 and there was no going back as far as I was concerned.

Hall Of Fame Baseball

He was also the reason I fell in love with baseball and insisted on stealing as many bases as i could in little league.  I also stole them by sliding head first.  The coaches never liked it, but the one time I went in feet first I rolled my ankle and got a nasty strawberry…never jammed my wrist sliding head first thank you very much!

Rickey Henderson 5

He may not have been the greatest teammate of all time and maybe he was a little self absorbed…or aloof 🙂 But he is a Hall of Famer and remains my all time favorite athlete.

Rickey Henderson 4

This will always be my favorite card.  I purchased this with $12 of my allowance money from the West Avenue Card Shop in San Antonio, Texas over the summer of 1986.  Funny story about the West Ave. Card Shop…a few years after I purchased this card along with many others through the years, they were busted for buying and selling large amounts of cocaine.  I guess they were using the card shop as a way to launder their drug money…and here I just thought they had bad allergies with all the sniffing and wiping of their noses.  They were just coke-heads.

80 TO Rickey Henderson Rookie

Happy Birthday Rickey Henderson as I’m sure you are reading this wonderful post about you on your day of birth that you share with baby Jesus.  I hope everyone out there has a wonderful Christmas!  Stay safe and keep collecting!

Rickey Henderson 3

Black Friday Heritage

So, I did some Black Friday shopping in my pajamas like a good American.

No, I wasn’t at Wal-Mart at 3am busting down the storefront and trampling mustached women in rascals.  Even better, I did it online over at the Check Out My Cards wonderful website.  I had been building up my cart for some time, nearly 6 months, and decided I needed to work on completing some sets.  Most of what I picked up was 2010 Heritage base cards, but I also picked up some New Age Performers from this past years set along with a couple Then and Now cards.

And here they are!

Miguel Cabrera involved in a deeply personal thought about SABRmetrics

13 TH Miguel Cabrera NAP

Yoenis Cespedes.  It took me about 5 tries to find this card, because apparently Yoenis is nearly impossible for me to spell.  Yoenis.

13 TH Yoenis Cespedes NAP

Billy Butler is both excited and nervous about the pitch he just hit…one can only wonder…

13 TH Billy Butler NAP

Check out the baby faced Aparicio and the babier face of Michael Nelson Trout.  I believe the Mathews/Dunn card would have been perfect if we could have gotten some chest hair on the Dunn photo…Taco meat for everyone!

13 TH Mike Trout Adam Dunn T&N

Time permitting, i’d love to scan some of my other pick ups from COMC…but i’m not sure time will permit in the next few holiday days.  One cool thing of note is that I have Boxing Day off.  This is the second year we’ve had this holiday since we were taken over in a not so hostile manner by a Canadian company.  I’ve heard positive things and negative things about the holiday, so i’m not sure if I should let my white guilt reign over me or if I should just buy some more baseball cards.  Any thoughts out there from our friendly neighbors to the north?