Sunday, May 31, 2015

My First Zistle Trade

I've been on Zistle for several weeks now, and while I was out of town, I got a message proposing a trade.

I got 4 sweet junk wax gems in exchange for 3 cards from the last two years.

Yaz in the sunset of his career and Eddie just getting settled in (997 hits? There's a lot more to come!)

Two Rookies, one who made some great memories as a Yankee,

And one who could have been a Yankee, but was traded to Toronto...

This all went very smoothly, thanks in no small part to my trade partner, who was kind enough to help me navigate the site's trade feature.

Want to trade with me on Zistle? You can find many of the cards I have available for trade by clicking here !

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Card Show Day!

It's been a few weeks since I've been able to make it to a card show, so it was great to get back out there.

I focused on the small stuff this time around, there's a monthly show next week and I'm going to be paying off the bill of my road trip for awhile...

50 cent vintage!

Some junk wax

I did splurge on one purchase, just too good to pass up Hammerin' Hank:

I also found a couple oddballs:

And I leave you with this strange pair, seemed like over kill(ebrew) to me...

Friday, May 29, 2015

Three's A Crowd

So... Yesterday I posted three random cards, so today I'm posting three of my favorites from my collection. You could call them "desert island cards," though I don't think I'd take baseball cards to a desert island... It's probably waaay too late, but I have to give some credit to Frankie's contest of a few weeks ago for the idea to do this post...
 1957 Topps Elmer Valo - Born in Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), he's the only major leaguer to come from the region. The photo is fantastic, a composition that perfectly captures the era. Valo was known as an excellent pinch hitter, and here is selecting the right tool for the job. This was the first card I sought out and purchased last year when I re-started my collection.
1965 O-Pee-Chee Brooks Robinson - The 1964 AL MVP gets a little roughed up on this card by a young fan. This O-Pee-Chee issue was their first baseball set since the 1930s, and the start of a long running relationship with Topps, bring the iconic designs of the Topps flagship sets north of the border. This card was purchased online as a part of a lot of 1965 OPC cards. I'm still 5 cards short of completing it, it's the first vintage set I've attempted to complete.
1952 Berk Ross Minnie Minoso - Not exactly an oddball, the Berk Ross set was in its second year in 1952, but was now competing with Topps. Despite being the only set with Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams in 1952, the set did not return again. This is Minoso's rookie year - so along with the 1952 issues from Topps, Bowman, and Red Man Tobacco, this Berk Ross is a rookie card, too. I picked up this card not long after starting a player collection of Minoso cards. It was the first time a vendor had a card picked out to sell me before I even got to the show.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Completely Arbitrary

Reeling a bit from being on the road for two weeks and having tons of things to blog about, I'm now staring in the face of a blank screen. No worries! Now, we innovate! No Blogger's Block for me!

Here are 3 Completely Arbitrary cards pulled from various piles and boxes and albums:

Card #1 : Mickey Morandini, #494 1995 Score.
I must have gotten this card in a recent re-pack, the box it was in had mostly cards from the last two years. I remember watching Morandini's unassisted triple play on This Week in Baseball, but you can watch it right here on

Morandini played in the 1993 World Series, splitting time with Mariano Duncan at second base. Morandini made the NL All-Star team in 1995 (so you're getting a picture of Morandini reaching his peak) and even received a vote on the 1998 MVP ballot while playing for the Cubs. That's a little misleading, he finished in 24th place in the voting, for getting a single "point" in the voting (one 10th place vote).

Morandini is currently a coach for the AA Reading Fightin Phils (as you might have guessed, it's a Phillies affiliate).

I like this one - you've got Morandini ready to receive a throw and pivot for a potential double play, something he was known for throughout his career, and 1995 Score continued a tradition of lots of great copy on the card back.

Card #2: Brian McCann, #297  2014 Allen & Ginter's 
I'll admit it - I have a bit of an East Coast bias. It works in the opposite way that most people see it. I don't really follow the Yankees that much, because it takes very little effort to hear all about them. When the Yankees signed McCann, I thought it was going to be a big win for New York.

McCann had been a perennial All-Star in Atlanta, winning the Silver Slugger award as the National League's best hitting catcher for 5 years. His time in New York has been a disappointment, though his production was good for his position, it was down noticeably from his career average. Over the first 40 games of 2015, he's been able to maintain his production from 2014. At $17 Million dollars a year, the Yankees are hoping for more.

This card is kind of boring. I do like that he's got his catcher's gear on, but in general this set feels too similar to past versions of Allen & Ginter's.

Card #3 : Hector Cruz, #206 1981 Fleer
Did you know? Hector Cruz is the brother of Jose Cruz and Tommy Cruz, and the Uncle of Jose Cruz, Jr,.? All three brothers appeared on the Cardinals active roster in 1973, only the second time three brothers played on the same MLB roster in the 20th Century. (You know the other three brothers, yes?)

1975 was a breakout year for Hector, he was the MVP of the American Association and named Minor League player of the year. The Cardinals acted quickly, trading away their regular third baseman to make room for Hector with the big club.

Cruz finished 3rd in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 1976, Hitting 13 homers and knocking in 71 runs as the St. Louis Cardinals 3rd Baseman. Topps snubbed Cruz, handing the Rookie Cup to rival hot corner minder Jerry Royster of the Braves. Hector's rookie year turned out to be his best in the majors;  in addition to his 13 homers, he also had 26 errors at 3rd. Moving to the outfield, Cruz was never able to recapture the production at the plate. He stuck around the league for parts of ten seasons, retiring in 1984 after a season in Japan.

Cruz was inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

I think this card does a nice job of capturing the whole story of Hector Cruz. As a back up outfielder in 1981, there probably wasn't much game action for Fleer to get on film. Hey, though, Fleer, you guys! 1981! I appreciate that his 1975 minor league season stats made it on to cardboard.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reading Between the Lines

Welcome to another irregular feature on the Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary blog: Reading Between the Lines.

In the Hall of Fame Bookstore there were tons of books on baseball that one doesn't see at the local Barnes and Noble. On such a rare chance to browse this store, I came upon the following:

This book is fascinating. I haven't been able to put it down. Not only does Thorn cover the well-worn territory of de-bunking Abner Doubleday, but also reducing the roles of Alexander Cartwright and Henry Chadwick as the fathers of baseball ... tracing the history of baseball was as much about the myth that had been built up around its creation as about the factual evidence of its many sources and authors.

The game of baseball as we know it today is the result of a whole host of incremental changes to the early game and was dominated by outsized egos and characters of questionable moral standing just as it is today.

If you are a fan of baseball with an interest in history and mystery and myth, I can't recommend this book enough. The material is great, and the icing on the cake is that John Thorn is able to convey this mountain of information in an easily digestible and thoroughly enjoyable way.

Check it out!

P.S. - the Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago contest is still open - I'm telling you right now, the winner will be pretty happy with the haul... If you guessed before, you can guess again today...  We have a Winner!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Drum roll please . . .

Well, that kind of blows the surprise, doesn't it Bieber? Any time The Beebs makes an appearance, you can be assured that Kevin from The Card Papoy blog is involved.

We've been sending some awesome stuff back and forth across the Atlantic, and this latest stack is no different:
A trio of 1983 Twins at the top...

There's a team set of Topps Tek Twins, right there....


Some very nice trios! Holograms (had to find the right angle for everyone to see the full awesomeness), The texture rich Ovation set, and three Twins that have been the team's top prospect at one time or another.

I was bummed that there was not much on display for Harmon at the Hall of Fame, so you bet your bippy I was happy to see the Killer in this stack.

Thanks Kevin! As usual, some awesome stuff!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Right on the button: Trading with Night Owl

I have been trading with several bloggers so far in the first few months of this blog, but this is my first trade with Night Owl.  I doubt I need to introduce Night Owl Cards to my readers, but suffice it to say he writes one of the best blogs on the internet, not just the best baseball card collecting blog. If you're not reading it, how the heck did you find mine? Also, go read it. Among other great topics, he's doing his All-Time Topps countdown right now. On to the trade . . . 
Whew! A healthy stack of Twins right there.
Here's the whole 2008 Topps Twins team set- nice!
Some favorites, including a new Kirby. He's ... wearing a catcher's mitt. What's that about?
A ha! I definitely needed this one. One more down on the 1956 set and this one is a beauty! Pitcher on the basepaths, y'all.
Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky in his playing days on a Fun Foods Button- Bruno has the Twins hitting very well in the first four innings. This package was hit the spot perfectly on my return home! Thanks Night Owl.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Is Chicago? Is Not Chicago! A Contest

The road trip is now over. I spent Friday with my brother in Chicago, went to the Twins/White Sox game, and of course, I found a card shop in Chicago. Earlier in my trip, I found another card shop in another part of Illinois.

Here's the contest - I will put up a series of photos of cards - half of cards are from the Chicago card shop, half are from the other Illinois card shop. Winner will get something very cool -- unopened packs of some kind...

Group A : George Scott, Tito Fuentes, and Nick Gordon

B : George Altman, Boof Bonser, and Eddie Rosario

C : Jim Thome, Corey Koskie, and Ryan Berry

D: Jerry Lynch, Jose Abreu, and Jim Kaat

E: Joe Mauer, Al Hrabosky, and Luis Tiant

F: Tony Oliva, Vic Power, and Boog Powell

To enter the contest, just leave a comment and pick which three Letters are "Not Chicago" 

Update: OK, still no winner. There are two clues now. Clue #1: F is Chicago. Clue #2: C is not Chicago. The Correct combo includes C, and does not include F
Clue #3: correct combo is " _ , C , _ " in alphabetical order.

UPDATE: We have a WINNER! Congrats, Mr. Scott! I will have the prize out to you this week.

Bonus (Claimed by Caitlin): Anyone that can identify the set the last oddball Boog Powell card is from will get something too. Looks like it is from 1971, and it is probably a food issue of some kind. The shop owner didn't know what it was, neither do I! Answer was 1971 Milk Duds

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Showing Some Skills - Ichiro's Infield Artistry

I like cards that showcase what a player does best. Here's an ongoing feature showing just that.

In this installment, Ichiro will be beating out an infield single:

The following are all real* quotes (*found on the internet, so take it with a grain of salt)

“I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique."
 “If I’m in a slump, I ask myself for advice.”
 "I don't know of many fans who go to the ballpark hoping to see a hitter draw a walk."
"The nature of batting is such that even if a pitcher gives you 10 tosses right down the middle, you're still not going to bat 1.000."
“I’m told I either look bigger than I do on television or that I look smaller than I look on television. No one seems to think I look the same size.”
 "You can call some guys' infield hits cheap, but not his. He has amazing technique." --Brandon Inge
 “I don’t know how to dance and I don’t know how to sing. All I know how to do is play baseball.”
"Personally I don't like the term success. It's too arbitrary, and too relative a thing. It's usually someone else's definition not yours."

“A lot of 25-year-olds move like they’re 41, so my goal is to be the 41-year-old who plays like he’s 25,”