Sunday, May 21, 2017

Out of the Blue

Imagine my surprise to find a small mailer from Canada in my mailbox this week.


Douglas from Sportscards from the Dollarstore, sent a mix of new and recent Twins.


I opened a whole box Gypsy Queen, but I still needed the Dozier and Kepler cards.


Some 2013 Topps Pro Debut - All 6 of these guys have made it to the show - 4 of them are on the Twins roster today.

Big fan of these framed Gypsy Queen cards.


Kennys Vargas! He had a game tying 9th inning pinch hit homer.  The Harmon Killebrew Coin/Card was really heavy - probably bumped up the shipping fees a bit on its own! Thanks very much Douglas.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Family That Plays Together, Stays Together

Felipe
Matty (sorry, this card is still stuck in its original Topps holder)
Jesus
Moises
Now the family is all together!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Day Twenty Five - 1976 SSPC Rod Carew #214

Day 25: A Favorite Oddball From the 1970s

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-fifth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - I'm a little conflicted about this - the big wad of chaw is really cool, but it's also a really dangerous habit. I remember on my high school team there were two players that dipped and I always declined to join in. I think it was one of many things that eventually pushed me out (the number one reason being that I just wasn't too good) from playing on the team after my junior year. It is digusting, but also it is a major cancer risk with prolonged use. Regardless of your opinions of chewing tobacco, the design and execution of SSPC cards in the 70s was excellent. A big full color photo with little to no text on the front of the card. Lots of personality and lesser seen moments around the ballpark were captured on these cards.  

Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the backs too? No text on the front, but plenty to make up for that on the backs! The text, as you may already know, was supplied by Keith Olbermann. The blog 1975 Baseball Cards has a great essay on the set.

Here are some honorable mentions:

I am a big fan of commemorative patches, and Luis Aparicio is rocking a unique one that was only worn for one season (but by two teams). This is a 1970 Kelloggs' Card, the patch is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the state of Illinois. The Sesquicentennial patch was worn by the Sox and the Cubs during the 1968 season, and they didn't show up on any of the 1969 or 1970 Topps cards. This Kelloggs' card and a handful of MLB Photostamps have the patch, though. Also from the SSPC set is the only card featuring Harmon Killebrew as a Kansas City Royal. The two Tony Os are examples of a couple fun food issue sets. on the left is the 1976 Hostess Set, with Red-White-Blue stripes in honor of the bicentennial. On the right is a 1971 Milk Duds card of Tony Oliva. The first card I picked up from this set was a Boog Powell, but I didn't even know what it was at the time. Once I figured out what the set was, I was able to track down Tony O!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Day Twenty Four - 1961 Peter's Meats Elmer Valo #12

Day 24: A Favorite Oddball From the 1960s

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-fourth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - this is a recent addition, which I found more or less accidentally. You know the 1961 Topps Harmon Killebrew card? Capless with a sweaty forehead. The card makes him look older than his age, and it's one of my least favorite cards of all time. I was toying with the idea of making a custom replacement, so I did a Google Image search for "1961 Twins Killebrew" and as I was scrolling through the pictures, I found a Peter's Meat card of a different Twin. Now I was even more curious. So I went on eBay and did a search for Peter's Meats 1961 and there were several different players for sale. The biggest surprise of all was this Elmer Valo card, which I didn't even know existed. His '61 Topps card is also capless, like Killebrew, so this might be the only card that features Valo in a Twins uniform (even if it is airbrushed).  

Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the ba---- aah! Gross. Hot Dog sweat from 1961.

A couple honorable mentions:
1960 Bazooka! I would like to try to build this set some day - maybe after I finish a few others.
1962 Post! Don't have any designs on building this set, but I am a fan of this card.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day Twenty Three - 1952 Berk Ross Minnie Minoso

Day 23: A Favorite Oddball From the 1950s

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-third of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick- I don't have very many oddball cards from the 1950s, but even if I did, I would probably still pick this one. Minnie Minoso is one of the most fascinating players from the 50s, and 60's, and 70s, and 80s, and 90s! I first heard about him when he pinch hit in a game for the Saint Paul Saints in 1993 at the age of 67(?). When I started collecting again in 2014, Minoso was one of the first players I actively sought out. The Berk Ross "Hit Parade of Champions" had some big names like Mantle, Jackie, Musial, Yogi, DiMaggio, Ted Williams - but Minoso is the one I have and the one I was excited to find! 

Since these are essentially one card posts, why not share the backs as well? Baseball Reference shows Minoso's birth year as 1925, the cards passed out at his memorial service stated "1924-2015" - and the Berk Ross card says 1923. Berk Ross cards are about the same size as 51 and 52 Bowman, not a lot of room for stats. But they were able to include one line for each player. His 1951 average was good for second in the AL, while he did lead the league in Triples and Stolen Bases, while finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Gil MacDougald of the New York Yankees.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Day Twenty Two - 1969 Topps Stan Bahnsen #380

Day 22: A Card of a Common Player That Always Seemed To Elude You

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-second of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.


Here's my pick. It's hard to call any card from the 60s "common" by today's standards, but this was the last card I needed to bring my Topps All-Star Rookie set up to date. I might have been able to find this card sooner if I had been looking for it specifically, but I had a random shotgun approach to building this mini collection. By the time I was down to the last 5 cards, I decided to take care of it in one afternoon at a card show. I was able to find two from the first table, then 1 each at the next two vintage tables. Stan Bahnsen was still missing! Sure, I could have just bought it on eBay or Sportlots or COMC, but instead I just kept going to shows. It took three more shows before someone had it in stock!
 
Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the backs, too? Bahnsen, like many young pitchers in the 60s and 70s, started out with impressive numbers, but ran into arm trouble after a heavy workload. You can see the promise that Bahnsen had back in the late 60s.

Honorable mentions:
uh oh. I vaguely remember putting these two cards in as place holders, but I thought for sure that I had replaced them with the real deal. Well... I didn't!
Turns out I still need these two Red Sox from the flagship set, because I only have the team set version! Any Boston fans need these? I think I have the whole team set from 2008 (obviously out of the blister pack now), so I would trade the set for these two as regular Topps base cards. I guess there are two commons that continue to elude me!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Day Twenty One - 1991 Leaf Juan Gonzalez #119

Day 21: A Card of a Rookie You Thought You Were "Investing" In

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-first of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - first things first, I realize this is not a rookie card. When I was 9, I was given the 1991 Leaf set as a gift. I studied the backs of all the cards and Juan Gonzalez stuck out to me. Whenever I went to a card shop (I grew up with one shop two blocks from my house, and another one at the mall a ten minute bus ride away) after that, I was asking if they had any Juan Gonazlez cards. I did get his 1990 cards from Score and Upper Deck and Fleer - but I still credit this card as the one that got me started on collecting his cards.

Since these are basically one card posts, why not show the backs, too? It was Juan Gone's 89 and 90 minor league stats that really popped out at me. I think I would still be impressed today with a similar player's statline. Of course, I wouldn't really call my childhood collection of Gonzalez cards an example of prospecting - I wasn't collecting them with the intention of selling them later for big bucks, it was more about trying to get in on the ground floor. I missed out on Rickey Henderson rookies and Kirby Puckett rookies as a kid by virtue of not being old enough to read or form sentences... by the time I could do either, those cards were commanding premium prices. So Juan Gonzalez would be different! I went all in right away.

How about some honorable mentions:
Last year after the World Series, I went onto Baseball Reference and browsed the minor league leaderboards and randomly picked a few AA and A affiliates and looked for some new player collection candidates. The criteria were mostly arbitrary - I wanted to find players that were outperforming their peers, but also players that I would find interesting even if they ended being a bust. Again, I wasn't looking for gold in them thar Bowman hills, but just trying to get in on the ground floor. The Twin I selected was Fernando Romero - and I was disappointed to find that he didn't have any cards yet. 2017 Bowman is the first card released for him, so I snapped up one base card and one chrome base card at the last card show.

There was also a dealer with an autographed card of Romero, but was asking 12 bucks for it. So, I went on eBay and won auctions for these two for about 10 - and both of these are serial numbered! Getting in on the ground floor!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Keepin Up With Kennys

The next day on the 30 Day Countdown is about cards that a person collected of prospects they thought might become greats in the future. Lottery Tickets, if you will. I collect Kennys Vargas of the Twins, not so much because I think he's going to be a Superstar, but because he's currently my favorite Twin. I started collecting his cards the year after he debuted in the majors, and the scouting reports of the kind of player he was likely to be had already been written. I saw him in person for the first time when he was in the Futures Game during the 2014 MLB All-Star Weekend in Minneapolis. Vargas is a big dude. He makes Miguel Sano and Joe Mauer look like his baby brothers from other mothers!  

I went back after the fact to pick up his cards up through the minors from low A in Elizabethton, AA in New Britain, AAA in Rochester, all the way to the big league club. 

I picked up two new Kennys recently, though I already have a couple versions of each of these.

I'm at the point now where I am just searching for parallels, and keeping an eye on the checklists of new releases. I am pretty certain I will never get "all" of his cards, though I don't think that's a bad thing necessarily. There will always be something else to chase!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Oh It's On NOW Topps

I think Topps NOW is a great concept. The technology at Topps' disposal means that they can make high quality cards very quickly. While the selection of moments that are "NOW worthy" has skewed heavily towards a BOS NYY LAD bias, I can't really complain about the variety of subjects. There have been some snubs in my opinion, and cards that I would question their inclusion in the set. I am going to keep chasing the Twins, and I will make exceptions from time to time to get cards that I like for the photo or moment. 
Eddie Rosario of the Twins was also the regular Left Fielder for the Puerto Rican National Team in the WBC. I couldn't pass up the awesome Superman card they made for Chris Coghlan.

In addition to his Topps NOW card for the walk-off winner against the Netherlands, Rosario was also included in the Puerto Rico Team set. Kennys Vargas was on team PR as well (and Twin pitcher Jose Berrios), but only Rosario made the team set. Vargas did get his first NOW card in the Twins' Spring Training Team Set! Ervin Santana was the first Twin to get his own card in the regular season. Still waiting for my Joe Mauer card to arrive in the mail.
Others have pointed this out (most notably The Lost Collector), but the backs are different this year. The WBC cards have a standard card back, but all the new cards have this refractor effect on the backs. In my head, it is another step in justifying the high price tag on these cards.

I find myself rooting for the Twins to get Topps NOW cards after each game, or trying to figure out which moments deserve a card the following day. Topps successfully hooked me on the product, so congratulations!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Day Twenty - 2003 Topps 206 Framed Mini Relic Doug Mientkiewicz #TR-DM

Day 20: A Favorite Parallel*

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twentieth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

*based on the Parallel, not the player 

Here's my pick - I have a love/hate relationship with minis. They are a great idea, but I don't have a good system for storing them, different brands and sets have different sizes, so I generally end up with a bunch of tiny dinged corners. Put a mini in a frame and you've got the best of both worlds! This isn't the most elaborate design as it is a pretty early example, but Allen & Ginter's as well as Gypsy Queen have put out some very flashy, ornate, and creative frames over the years.

Since these are basically one card posts, why not show the backs, too? A little hologram of authenticity, and away we go! This one happened to be the most conveniently located framed mini, but it didn't have to be a relic card or an auto to get my attention.

Some Honorable mentions:

The Topps Gold "Winner *" is especially appealing to me if it is a Minnesota Twin, as they were coming off a World Series win. The Pinnacle Dufex technology was mindblowing to me as a kid. Paper Framed cards can be a mixed bag, but if you can find a good combo of border color and a Team's primary jersey color, the results can be quite nice. I hesitated about including Topps Clear as they are not very easy to come by, but they are very cool. Still Looking for the 2015 Kennys Vargas Topps Clear...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Day Nineteen - 1984 Stuart Expos Team Issue YOUPPI! #1 of 40

Day 19: A Favorite Card From A Country Outside the United States

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the nineteenth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my Pick! Youppi! will not be denied. I feel like I'm shouting, but it is just the excitement that Youppi! provides to the city of Montreal. After the Expos left town, it might have been understandable that Youppi! would follow. But Youppi! found a new home with the Habs, aka the NHL Montreal Canadiens. I acquired this in a recent trade, and it's easily one of my favorite 80s cards, favorite oddball,  favorite mascot, you name it.

Since these are basically one card posts, how could I not share the backs? You know this is Canadian through and through - bilingual and badass.

Some honorable mentions:
I had to include the sets I've built / am building from outside the U.S. - showing the backs because the fronts look just like the U.S. versions. The bottom row is a lot of Japanese cards I picked up at the National a couple years ago. I don't know much about these at all, but I purchased them for the aesthetic value alone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day Eighteen - 1983 Fleer Ron Gardenhire #543

Day 18: A Card of A Player Who Became Manager of Your Favorite Team

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the eighteenth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.


Here's my pick - Gardy was Twins manager from 2002 - 2014. Only Tom Kelly managed longer as a Twin (Bucky Harris in Washington is the All-Time Franchise leader), and since Tom Kelly didn't play in the big leagues, I figured I would go with Gardy. I will admit that towards the end of his tenure I was one of many Twins fans that joined the chorus to replace him with some new blood, but I still feel like the Twins rough patch was not his fault. He's currently battling prostate cancer, but he plans to return to coaching as soon as his health allows.

Since these are essentially one card posts, why not share the backs, too? Gardy was in an army family, and as a result was born in Germany, though he grew up in Oklahoma. His entire MLB career was with the Mets, including starting at 2nd when Dwight Gooden made his major league debut. His final game came in 1985, just missing out on the Mets' World Series title. He was the Twins' 3rd Base Coach in 1991, so he does have one championship ring. It's interesting to see that he stole 28 bases in his final full minor league season - his career was derailed by injuries, especially to his hamstring, which sapped his speed.

Some Honorable Mentions:
Mele was the Twins' manager from 1961 - 1967 and led the team to their first World Series appearance in Minnesota. He's described on this card as a power hitter - though it's more doubles power than Home Run power. Mele played in the outfield and at first base for Boston, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, the Senators, and the Boston Red Sox. He led the league in Doubles in 1951. Mele also played for the Minneapolis Millers when he was first signed, a Red Sox farm team at the time. After his managing days in Minnesota, he returned to Boston and became a minor league instructor, scout, and jack-of-all-trades for 25 years.

Bill Rigney was the Twins' skipper from 1970 - 1972, taking over for the volatile Billy Martin. Here Rigney is just 29 years old, playing in the New York Giants infield. He would make the 1948 All-Star team, but he truly made his mark on the game as a manager and bench coach, starting in 1956 with Giants.

The Twins current manager is the first to have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a player. A surprising first season that had the Twins within a game of a playoff birth gave way to a franchise record for losses. Early returns in 2017 have been more promising, and it remains to be seen exactly what his managerial personality is. Always considered a cerebral player, he is given quite a bit of credit for his baseball IQ. His style is certainly more laid back in comparison to Gardenhire, though Molitor has been known to get thrown out of a ballgame if things are getting out of hand.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Day Seventeen - 1948 Bowman Ewell "The Whip" Blackwell #2

Day 17: A Card From the First Set You Put Together Hand Collated

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the seventeenth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - the other Day on the countdown that was similar to this one asked about the first set I tried to complete. In that case I went with a card from the 2014 Topps Heritage set, which I did complete before I finished this one. So, the "twist" I'm adding here is that 1948 Bowman is the first set I finished without buying any packs. the 2014 sets were still available in retail stores when I finished it, and you'll still find a loose pack in a repack box from that set. You won't find many 1948 Bowman packs lying around. There's one wrapper on eBay right now going for just a hair under $4,000, no cards included. I don't plan on making an offer for that one anytime soon...
I finished the 1948 Bowman set in about a year - starting with this card of Ewell Blackwell.

Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the backs, too? This is especially true for the 1948 Bowman set. The backs are the main reason I wanted to complete it. Bowman was Score before Score, the copy on the backs taught you a little bit about the player, how they did in the most recent season, and because of the era, often included a sentence about their military service. The set (which is a tidy 48 cards) is filled with great nicknames, another reason to have an interest in the reverse side. The side arm delivery of the wiry 6'5" hurler earned him the nickname "The Whip." This set, despite being small, oddly sized, b&w and not particularly sexy, is still one of my favorites of all-time.

Honorable Mention:
Ewell Blackwell was the first card that I purchased to build the 1948 Bowman set, this Tigers Rookie Stars card is the last one I needed to complete the 1965 O-Pee-Chee set. The 65 set goes to just card #283, and the mid 200s and above seem to be harder to find than the rest of the set. This one is #259, and there was a copy on eBay for more than I wanted to pay for months and months before this one finally popped up in an auction. The rest of the "high numbers" seemed to pop up regularly, but this one eluded me after all the others fell into place, either online or in person.

Monday, May 8, 2017

i see what you did there

Jim from cards as i see them sent over a nice trade package of Twins and more last week. This Chrome-y refractor-y Dozier is a doozy!
A couple oversized team issue cards (I didn't get a ruler out, but I think they are 4x6s) got the party started, along with some fun stickers from the Twins and from Justin Morneau's website.
Oddball Gardy! This card is a coupon for a FREE BREAKFAST MELT! Unfortunately (?) the coupon expired in 2010, but it's for the best since I'd want to keep the card over the sandwich.

Jim tossed in a few in person autos, and a first year card of Twins' former first rounder Joe Benson. Love the Soderholm card, autographed or not!
plenty of horizontal heroes as well. Kenny Lofton's card is disorienting - He's listed as a Dodger, wearing a Phillies uni, with John Smoltz hanging out behind him. At least Smoltz is wearing the correct uniform so all is right in the world. Love the old school Colt .45s hat on Joe Morgan and the smoking gun uni - wouldn't get away with that now.
"We are the champions, my friend . . . "
As you can see, doesn't have to be Twins only - I've got a handful of player collections and mini collections to add the millions of variations and inserts and oddballs from the 2000s.
That being said, nothing wrong with another blast of Mauer Power!
Last but not least, Jim threw in a hit! A very nice looking card from Panini - they made the most of a tough, unlicensed situation. Sano is cooled off a bit this weekend, and he has a possible 1 game suspension looming over him, which should be resolved by tomorrow one way or the other. Hopefully he'll be in the lineup to start the next series and back to launching baseballs into Low Earth Orbit.

Thanks again for the Trade Jim - the return package should be heading your way shortly.