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.

***

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.

***

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?

***

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.

***

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

***

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’

*****

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.

Big time baseball

I’m writing while watching the WBC Championship Game between Los Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico…and i must say…i’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Spring “classic” tournament this go round.  I know it’s not a super popular thing to like the WBC, but maybe that’s a thing of the past?  For the past week and a half, i’ve checked in to just about every game and have been captivated by the intensity of professional baseball players in early…now mid March.  Honestly, i’ve enjoyed the baseball tourney significantly more than the basketball tourney that’s going on these days.  Mostly due to the fact that i’m not a huge basketball fan, and i’m a big baseball fan, but more than that.  It’s the level of competition and intensity each nation has laid out for each game.  Plus you get to see some major talent that are teammates during the season compete against each other in these games…looking at you Manny and Adam…I don’t know, i think it’s a beautiful thing and I hope you do too…This is very entertaining baseball, maybe not baseball at it’s highest most intense level, but great to watch.  And Marcus Stroman…man, what a night for the Blue Jay kid.

I haven’t picked up any new cards in a while, but had a few Bowman cards sitting around from a box of 2015 i bought a few months ago.  In hopes of not wasting your time, here are the hits.

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First up to bat is a Giants prospect Daniel Carbonell with an autograph that looks like he may have passed out before he wrapped up the ‘n’ in his name.  Maybe he had to grab a snack and refuel, i get it…you’re working, you get distracted and forget to eat…it happens.  Daniel learned how to write his ‘D’s just like i did when i was in grade school…and for that, i say ‘atta boy!

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Mr. Juan Herrera, a Cardinals prospect a the time has basically signed his card like i sign one of those electronic signature devices these days.  A big ‘K’ followed by scribble and then a big ‘R’ followed by more scribbles…in this case, we see a big ‘J’ and a ‘H’.

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Raisel Iglesias.  This guy seems like he could be on target for the Reds closer job…assuming the all too important ‘good health’ caveat.  I must admit, this autograph made me smile quite a bit.  Just write the last name and your number please…first names aren’t important here.

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Endrys Briceno signs his card ‘Ends’ as in the ends of this WBC is about to happen after Stanton bounced that ball of the right centerfield wall.  Detroit Tigers.

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Rowdy Tellez.  So this is one guy i did a little research on prior to posting his card and was surprised to find out that he is only 22.  I kind of thought he had been around for a few years and was in his mid to late 20’s.  Also, i think his autograph looks like what i would imagine Ron Jeremy’s autograph would look like.

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It figures that a left would sign his card justified to the left…and keep all the ink to the left…lefties man…Also, the name Gonsalves is very unique, maybe even odd.  He’s another one of those 22 year old people.

I got Adam Jones as my WBC tourney MVP.  That catch was everything.  Amazing play in a big play moment.  Plus he’s really a great guy…can’t help but imagine what kind of career he would have had if he wasn’t traded from Seattle for Erik freakin’ Bedard!

So, a year ago i was working late at work…really late.  I was on a ridiculous deadline and working until midnight 3-4 times a week for 4+ months.  Although it was a brutal time, i managed to listen to a lot of spring training baseball and a ton of new music.  In between breaks of music and working (and whiskey drinking) I jumped on to twitter and was deeply saddened when i saw that Phife Dawg had died.  I believe it was around 11pm when i found out and it just stopped me and my thought process…i couldn’t do anything the rest of the night.  A Tribe Called Quest was one of those groups that i fell in love with immediately as a teenager and continued to love through my twenties, thirties and now forties.  Losing Phife was devastating…but as it’s an unfortunate part of life, you try to focus on what they did while they were here and not focus on the fact that they are gone…so, tonights video is  one of my favorite Tribe songs…and maybe another one of Phife, just for fun.

thanks for reading tonight.

the 72’s…my quest begins

Ok, so this is the third in the trifecta of 1970 baseball card set build starts.  Again, to recap.  I had zero intention of starting to build these sets but just couldn’t pass up the condition and price of the cards from what i could see.  So, in order to keep it short tonight lets go!

72 TO Lot 1

A couple cards of note here are the Billy Cowan card with the perfectly situated photographer and Angels halo.  Not sure about the history of the card, but i can imagine the photographer was thinking…”man it would be awesome if i could capture Billy with the halo over his head if can just squat down…just a little…”  The other card is the Billy Martin card.  I like Billy for a few reason.  He was a badass, for good or bad, he was a tough guy and didn’t take crap…that kind of guy, the kind of guy that would get in a bar fight just of the fun of.  Not that i condone that kind of nonsense, but it’s just a little entertaining to me…Also, he was Rickey Henderson’s favorite manager and in my book, that’s good enough for me.

72 TO Lot 2

The star of this group of cards for me is the Dave Cash card right in the middle.  He was the starting third baseman for the Pirates on September 1, 1971…the first time a major league baseball team ever started an all black starting lineup, plus it’s a pretty sweet looking card.

72 TO Lot 3

Big card here is the Bob Grich…i guess.  There’s a lot of chatter about him being a Hall of Famer lately.  Honestly, i not too familiar with him or the impact he had with the Orioles and Angels during his 17 year career.  Just skimming over his stats, he seems like one of those guys that had a really nice career and did some great things, but i’m not convinced that i see a Hall of Famer with him…could be wrong, would love it if someone told me why i was wrong as i love to learn more about players before my years.

72 TO Lot 4Favorite card in this group, Matty Alou.  He looks like every other Alou too.  What a family business, huh?  Love it when you get the 2 or 3 generations or multiple brothers playing professional sports.  Makes me thing about how competitive those families must have been growing up, i would imagine a ton of very intense HORSE games in the driveway and maybe some bloodshed…or tears at the very least.

72 TO Lot 5Small group for the last run, but must say that my favorite card is the checklist.  Only because it’s a 45 year old card with very nice corners and zero marks on it…zero!  Those red blotches are the dealers marks that mean something to him…or somebody, but not me.  The Mickey Lolich card is pretty sweet too.

So, if you have some nice versions of these cards in your extras or doubles boxes drop me a line and let me know if you can help complete some of these sets.  Here is the link to the cards that i have…or need, depending on your point of view i guess.  1972 Topps Checklist.

The family and i had a great time this weekend and were able to enjoy the amazing warm weather on Saturday and Sunday…hope you guys had a great weekend and aren’t one of those towns buried by snow.

Here’s a nice song for the moment…been listening to some jazz this week and got stuck on some Flying Lotus for some reason.  He’s not truly in the jazz lane, but this song has a nice jazzy feel to it…plus King Kendrick.

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.

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.

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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.

Next level favorites and more autographs

I didn’t receive a Topps Now Christmas card today…and honestly i’m not too upset although i kinda feel a little left out.  So to make up for my collecting insecurities i stopped by the LCS to see Brian today.  There was a show on the other side of town, but i was with my offspring all morning and afternoon.  I thought making an attempt at hitting up the show would be a major failure due in part to the snow, but also to a rambunctious young boy.  I decided the baby step with a card shop visit would be a more appropriate first step…i mean, you don’t learn how to ski going down a black diamond run on your first visit to the mountain right?  The boy did great and i was able to pick up a couple new Redskins that i will get posted here soon as well as a box of the heavily discussed Bowman Draft cards.  I’ve been on a bit of a run this year with Bowman cards since they offer a huge array of prospects and on card autos for everyone…plus the chrome versions (as with all Topps chrome cards) have an odd but appealing scent to them.  I’ll try to get to those later in the week once i have a chance to open a box and go through them.

All of that stuff from the first paragraph has nothing to do with the cards i’m about to show right now.  This past September, i was between jobs and didn’t buy too many cards during that month but did pick up a couple of retail packs and a Stadium Club box from the card shop.  As you may have seen from an earlier post this week, i noted that the Willie Mays card was my favorite of the year.  Honestly, that set had numerous images that could have been labeled “Best of 2016…”.  So here are a couple other images i thought were worthy of noting.

16-sc-alex-gordon

First up is the Alex Gordon rainy day photo from the post season of 2015.  This may not be the greatest photographic image, in fact, i believe it could have helped a bit with a little more separation and cropping to show his feet and home plates…this may have allowed a little more blue at the top of the photo.  Also thing this in a landscape with some “rule of 1/3rds” going on could have made this an epic card.  That’s all nit picking…it’s a great card and a great moment captured by a talented photographer just before the pitch.

16-sc-lou-brock

Every time i see or think of Lou Brock, I can’t help but think of the Q-Tip lyric “…got the scrawny legs, but i move just like Lou Brock with speed, I’m agile plus i’m versatile…”  You get the idea.  Being a big Rickey Henderson fan, i’m also a fan of Lou Brock.  Their careers became so intertwined as Rickey entered the league breaking all of Lous’ records along with some of Maury Wills records.

16-sc-monte-irvin

The other image is of Monte Irvin and his total control of 5 bats.  Mr. Irvin passed away at the start of the year at the age of 96.  Irvin was one of those players whose professional career overlapped America’s involvement in WWII as he was part of the 1313th Battalion in Europe…but it was also during the Negro League days where he was one of the many stellar players that would eventually be part of the breaking of the color barrier.  Reading the stories of the players during this part of our countries terrible history is quite sad.  Makes you wonder what kind of numbers some of these incredibly talented players could have put up during their younger or peak years.  This is just a beautiful card.

16-sc-matt-wisler-auto

Last image is of one of the three autos i received in the box.  It’s of Matt Wisler.  The young pitcher for the Atlanta Braves who was involved in the Padres deal for Craig Kimbrel and Melvin (BJ) Upton Jr.  While he was in the Padres organization he pitched for the San Antonio Missions!  I spent many a night as a child watching the San Antonio Dodgers on the south side of San Antonio.  They later became the Missions as the relationship with the Los Angeles Dodgers was ending.  Since San Antonio is home to many wonderful historic missions, the name made sense.  Besides, everyone remembers the Alamo, right?  Speaking of San Antonio, my alma mater played in their first bowl game today but lost to New Mexico.  Tough break for the young program.  Baby steps.

As i mentioned, i received 3 autographs but two of them were redemptions which i have yet to receive.  I’m hoping to get them in the next month or so…no idea when really, but both of the names are great and i’m not too interested in asking for a replacement…so now i wait…

The next two cards were from a jumbo box of Topps Series 2.  One is a great prospect and the other is a guy form the Reds organization that may or may not pan out…who knows?  Sticker autos are always a little disappointing.  There’s just something about the card being in the signers hand rather than a sheet of Apex sticker sheets…or whatever is used.  Anybody know?

16-tsr-kyle-waldrop-auto

Kind of proud of the Raul Mondesi card.  Ties in nicely with the Alex Gordon from above i guess.  Raul is only 21 and is already a World Series champion with a very bright future…lets see what happens in 2017!

16-tsr-raul-mondesi-auto

As i mentioned, i wasn’t able to make the card show today which isn’t too unusual since i tend to hit them up every other month and i was there in November.  Still enjoy going to the shows and talking to my favorite dealers and collecting with the old guys there.  The vintage dudes seem to love telling stories of cards they had and have lost through the years…love it!  Great time…wish i could have a drink with most of those guys though.

2014 Topps S1 – Packs 5 and 6

I’m now 6 packs deep and haven’t pulled a big hit…but I’m going to show you what i’ve got anyways.  Because I know you all love to see some scans of base cards and stuff.

Donny Baseball was one of my favorite players growing up, not Rickey Henderson favorite, but way ahead of whomever was third at the time…maybe Nolan Ryan or George Brett?  Mattingly was always an elusive pull or me.  I never got his card in the packs I bought during the 1985 and 1986 seasons.  I got a whole bunch of 1987 Topps though…damn that set was so overproduced.  I think I had about 4 complete sets that year due to everyone in my family buying me boxes from Sam’s.  Mattingly seemed destined for the Hall of Fame and put up phenomenal numbers especially with a healthy Rickey Henderson hitting in front of him.  Seeing this young skinny photo of Donny baseball brings back some great memories of being a young collector.  I appreciate Topps pulling old stock photos of baseballs legends and the players that were really good.  It keeps the older kids connected and provides a great lesson for the kids that are starting to collect.

14 TO Don Mattingly 50 years of the Draft

Topps has also provided the kids with a look at their previous card designs, which is also a very good thing in my mind.  Although, i’m not sure if copying the late 80’s and early 90’s is the way to go.  Best to make up for it by making these babies die cut.

14 TO Clayton Kershaw 1989 Mini Die Cut

Here are some Power Player cards that have powerful players on them.  Yadi would like to salute you and Giancarlo is getting a Marlin cortisone shot to the knee…sorry…I couldn’t think of anything else to add to these cards.  It’s a parallel that could have been more parallel-y in my mind.  I guess changing the border color has been done a million times.  Maybe if they edited out the backgrounds…I don’t know, crap.  I actually didn’t notice these were Power Player cards at first pass.  My oversight was corrected when I realized that these ‘base’ cards should not have been in the middle of the pack.  I’m sleuthy!

14 TO Molina Stanton Power Players

Love the Mo cards.  Love the bottom one the most though.  Such a great baseball moment.

14 TO Mariano Rivera

The next two cards are last because they deserve to be last.

Although the back of Melky’s card doesn’t suggest anything about PED as Night Owl had suggested it should.  I find it telling that Topps decided to quote A-Rod with the very insightful “He’s a big, big, big-time player.”  That’s three bigs.  I would have gone with he’s a big, bigger, biggest time player but that wouldn’t make much sense either.  Don’t do drugs kids, especially if they are to be inserted with needles.

14 TO Melky Cabrera

Lastly.  This guy.  The finger pointer.  Topps was smart enough to not drop any photos of him with eye black.  I’m finding it difficult to justify writing what I feel about his homophobic eye black last year.  He seemed to play it off as ignorance and something that wasn’t a big deal.

14 TO Yunel Escobar

But, I’m an adult and I know words can be filled with hate and bad intentions.  My dilemma though, is that I’m a die hard Redskins fan.  Another term that has been deemed as hateful or oppressive.  It’s an unfair position for me to be ok with one derogatory term but not with another.  It doesn’t really matter if one is worse, if the words offend someone than it’s an offensive term…besides, what’s with finger pointing at the cameraman?  Who does that?

 

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 1 and 2

It’s been a few weeks since i’ve done just a baseball post and I have a jumbo box of Topps Series 2 sitting here to my left.  Whattaya say we open it up slowly and see what we see kids!

There’s no need to go over the design of these cards since it’s been covered ad nauseam on your favorite bloggers website, so i’m just going to touch on the hits and fun cards that were pulled from the packs…two at a time.  Double your pleasure!

The first card is two cards, because i’m doubling your pleasure…remember?  I LOVE landscape base cards.  I think they are fantastic and would love to see more sets go this route…just for the fun of it, you know?  The only problem is that they don’t look as great when put in a binder which is where these two islanders are going.  HanRam, as some of you may know is one of my favorite players and along with Carl Crawford are the only two guys that I collect that haven’t played for the Yankees…yet.  Wait until they are 35, then they will be in pinstripes. Apparently that’s what the Bronx Bombers do these days.  Lose to the Orioles and sign old guys.  The Chapman card is also fantastic, plus he’s Cuban…and I love Cuba…PLUS he’s throws really really hard and fast.

13 T Hanley Ramirez Aroldis Chapman

The next two cards are one of the reasons why people hate Topps.  Although, I don’t think either one of these guys are SP cards they are still super gimmicky.  Of the two, I would rather be Justin Ruggiano becuase it’s either water or that crazy clear Ice Gatorade or something…I have no idea, the card doesn’t explain what is being expelled on his shoulder.  Anyone feel sorry for the sideline reporter on the Lombardozzi card?  Me neither…

13 T Justin Ruggiano Steve Lombardozzi

Alright, this is where is turn in to a singles hitter.  That said, here is Derek Jeter.  I love the Captain.  And there is nothing wrong with that, just like there is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with and.

13 T Derek Jeter

This is a cool card because it has Bryce Harper and the look of a child who got his hand caught in the cookie jar.  Brian is the older brother that gets in trouble for not keeping a better eye on his little brother.  Big Brother = Baltimore Orioles — Little Brother = Washington Nationals.

13 T Brian Roberts

Here is one of the 73 different inserts that Topps likes to entice people to collect.  I believe this is what they call an emerald card?  Please correct me if i’m wrong, and if you are correct, I will send you this card.  When scanned, it kind of looks like a forrest.  David didn’t do so well in the Home Run Derby this evening…on his home turf, but neither did Robbie Cano donchaknow.

13 T David Wright

Another insert, similar to the The Greats inserts.  Yes, I used The back to back.  As far as i’m concerned, this card would be better if it were Rickey Henderson.  Not to take anything away from the wizard, he was a phenomenal player, but when you have 73 inserts, it would be nice to get one of your favorite player, eh?

13 T Ozzie Smith The Elite

This rarely happens, but I pulled a box hit in one of my first two packs.  This heavy ass metal mettle coin card of Adrian Gonzalez.  I like this guy so much more now that his short stint with the Red Sox is over.  Great player, great cards…but still heavy.

13 T Adrian Gonzalez Proven Mettle Bronze 36:50

My GQ Post

Each year when Gypsy Queen comes out, I get a little excited about the cards…but it’s always tempered.  I think the cards look great and the photography is really nice, but i don’t love them.  Don’t hate them either.  Kind of indifferent I guess.  My annual buy in is maybe a few hobby and retail packs, possibly a blaster or two from target, but that’s about it.  I think my aversion to the cards is the lack of statistical information on the back…or it could be the overly ornate border?  As an architect, i’ve been trained to have a dislike for ornament and decoration so i guess that has carried in to my hobbies as well.  The celtic-like border is nice, just not my cup of tea.

13 GQ Yasmani Grandal AJ Ellis

One thing that i really do like about GQ is the inclusion of age old veterans in the base set.  Topps does a nice job with these and making them blend in nicely with the other modern players.  Rarely do the players appear dated and they are never irrelevant to current collectors.  PLUS, i always think it’s great to include HOF’ers and past great players so the young kids can learn a little history about the game and have a card from someone their parents or grandparents enjoyed watching play.

13 GQ Dwight Gooden Tony Gwynn

I also do enjoy the inserts that GQ comes up with.  The two cards below are  a great example of this.  It’s nice to have the a highlight reel play represented on a card.  We all remember the Trout catch last season as it was shown incessantly on the MLB network as well as the mothership.

13 GQ Mike Trout Jayson Werth Glove Stories

Mini’s.  Can’t go wrong with minis and you can’t go wrong with these two guys.  One thing i enjoy about the mini cards is that i can put them at my desk at the office for a little while to enjoy the new pieces of cardboard.  How great was Eddie Mathews?  When people talk about the all time greats, i feel like he is always forgotten.  Imagine if he played in New York how much more popular he would be?  And just look at Lou Brock…chillin…total GQ pose…the other one.

13 GQ Eddie Matthews Lou Brock Minis

Not overly excited about these inserts, but both pitchers are/were pretty great and the photos capture their intensity well.

13 GQ Nolan Ryan NH Felix Hernandez DA

Here is a ‘hit’ from the rack pack i bought.  It’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  He’s pretty big here in Portland since he played at Oregon State and from Madras…but he’s a Red Sock, so i’m not too excited about him…he is pretty great though.  Love that they mention how great a player he is when he’s healthy.

13 GQ Jacoby Ellsbury Blue Border 45:499

And the best has been saved for the very last.  Mr. Cano donchaknow.  Pretty cool to get the base and a retail white border card in the same rack pack of a player you collect.  Wonder why Topps removed teh vertical portion of the elegant border on the left and right sides as well as the name panel on the bottom?

13 GQ Robinson Cano Base and White Border