Monday, June 26, 2017

A Winning Formula

Saturday was not card show day, but it was a special day in the Twin Cities. Three Stars Sportscards (Facebook Page) was celebrating the Grand Opening of their second location in the area, a good sign for card collectors and hopefully a hint of a healthy hobby moving forward.

They had lots of big giveaways, including a raffle and some high end box breaks. I am more of a meat and potatoes collector, so I oohed and ahhhed from a safe distance while people racked up the sickest of hits. I was perfectly content to dive into a series of quarter boxes.

The Twins box had some fun stuff including this in-person auto from a young Pat Neshek, his first pro All-Star appearance came as a Single A pitcher in the Twins system.

Under glass, they had plenty of big ticket signatures and relics of guys like Judge and Trout, but I gravitated towards the Kennys Vargases and Max Keplers. I think I got a really nice deal on this Five Star Auto.

I think Graded Cards are lame, so when I saw this particularly sad PSA Grading Sample for just $2, I was happy to snap it up. Juan Gone is one of my favorite players, and the card actually looked very sharp to my eyes. I don't know that this is at all a rare thing, and I'm pretty sure that they were just trying to make room for newer things with their box o' graded cards, but it tickled me all the same.

I was a little harsh on Topps the other day about their abandonment of the Rookie Cup for Series 2, mostly because I was bitter for dropping more money on a Hobby Jumbo Pack than I spent on any other item that day. There were some cool cards in there. The Andrelton Simmons card is (flame emoji X3)

Some Twins were found inside as well - Curtain Calls is a good idea for an insert, though I wonder how many of those moments are also on Topps Now cards....

This saved the Jumbo Pack for me - I am on the fence about stamped buybacks, but if you're going to pull one, why not pull your favorite player of all time?

Best of luck to Three Stars (and all the local shops), I hope to spend lots of time there in the coming years!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blog Bat Around - The Arbitrary Sources of My Subjective Collections

This Blog Bat Around is courtesy of Tom from Eamus Catuli! who in turn got the idea from Kin's comment.

What is it about the players you collect that made you want to collect them in the first place? Like many of my blogging colleagues, the hometown team(s) provide the foundation of my player collections.

My first player collection began all the way back in 1987 with one card -

My mother likes to tell a story about one of the first games I went to-  I was probably 4 or 5, and the seats we had were in the general admission section of the Upper Deck at the Metrodome, probably the portion of the section that in later years were cordoned off by large banners showing the Twins' retired numbers. We were, however, sitting dead center, so our closest professional athlete was Kirby Puckett, roughly 100 feet away and 50 feet below our seats. The batter crushed a deep line drive to right center field, and Puckett raced over on his tiny legs and made some impressive leaping/diving/acrobatic catch that dipped out of our sightline. The crowd's reaction was all that was needed to clue in to our family that Kirby had made the catch. As he headed back into view, the crowd's cheering got even louder, prompting him to briefly lift his cap, and his focus stayed squarely towards home plate. I grabbed my mother's arm and pulled her closer.

"Did you see that?!" I said.
"Yes, Kirby made a great -"

So, from that moment on, Puckett was my favorite player.

When I returned to collecting as an adult, I became more interested in the history of baseball, and a set like the T206 tobacco from the early part of the 20th Century held a certain appeal. When I started to look more closely at the checklist, I found another local connection - the set contained players from the minor league Minneapolis Millers. Among those players was the fascinating  Gavvy "Cactus" Cravath. What started as a quest to collect various Minneapolis/St.Paul and outstate Minnesota players turned specifically to this forgotten Home Run King of the 1910s. Cravath has all the ingredients for a great player collection target. Great talent; a long and winding road to success; a set of killer nicknames; and enough mystery to keep people interested.

Pioneers, innovators, and players that broke new ground are of particular interest to me. The only player I know of that broke a team's color barrier and played in a professional game in my lifetime was Minnie Minoso.  Whether or not you think the Saint Paul Saints are wrong to trot out old timers to get legitimate professional at bats long after their careers were otherwise over, I still think it is objectively cool to give the fans (and the players) a thrill. Kevin Millar was the latest guy to do it, hitting a home run this weekend at the age of 45.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Oh Really, Topps?

 See if you can guess what is wrong with this picture.

I'll give you a hint, the same problem is on all of the series 2 cards, specifically Julio Urias, Ryan Schimpf, Tommy Joseph, and Kenta Maeda.

Seager and Sanchez are correct. What are you doing, Topps?

Several years back I had to improvise and use the Heritage set instead of flagship to fill my Topps All-Star Rookie roster\, maybe I can do that again....

What? Why? I'm about to "REDISCOVER" football cards if you keep this up Topps.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Page Two - At The Bat Rack Frankenset

You may recall (but probably not) the first page of this Frankenset many moons ago, and I've finally been able to fill a second page!

Here's a Frankenset using a mini-collection of mine, players at the bat rack.

Rules -
9 different players
9 different card sets
9 different teams
player is at the bat rack (or bat pile) in or near the dugout
Have fun (most important)

Without further adieu, Page Two:

The backs:

10- Richie Ashburn 1983 C.C.C. reprints of 1953 Bowman Color
11- Darryl Strawberry 1988 Star (Darryl Strawberry Set)
12- Jimmie Dykes 1982 G.S. Gallery All-Time Greats
13- Jim Tatum 1993 Upper Deck 
14- Bruce Fields 1983 San Jose Bees Team Issue
15- Darrin Jackson 1992 Mother's Cookies San Diego Padres
16- Stan Musial 1977-84 TCMA Renata Galasso
17- Tim Gillis 1991 Classic Best Durham Bulls
18- Ernie Banks 2000 Upper Deck Legends

Finding a card for slot #14 took a looong time. I was able to find this one of Bruce Fields on COMC (good thing Fields also Hits, or I'd still be looking!).

Using the reprint for the 1953 Bowman Color was more than just for saving money, it also is smaller than the original, so it actually fits in the 9 pocket page. 

Hopefully I can get to the next page in less time it took to fill this one!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Would Calling Gavvy "Gabby" Make Gavvy Crabby?

One more card to add to my Gavvy Cravath collection - This is another strip card set. This is the 1920 W519 set, and this specific card was in the second, unnumbered series.  There's another variation of Cravath from the numbered series, which has a gold backdrop.

Here's the back of the card, nothing too fancy going on there! Other big names in this set were Babe Ruth, Eddie Collins, and Kid Gleason to name a few.

Friday, June 16, 2017

2 down, 5 to go!

This set chase is really heating up - I wanted to get the two remaining commons checked off the list, so I went over to COMC and picked them up as cheaply as I could!

I will be pickier with condition on 4 of the last 5 cards (Mantle is not going to be a card I worry about creases or corner wear), but these two I was mostly interested in getting into the binder.

20 errors in one season seems like a lot for a "Sure-Handed Fielder," but I'm guessing he had a good reputation in the league - he made the All-Star team for the second year in a row in 1955. He had league leading 25 errors in 1954, so I guess this was an improvement!

One crazy coincidence of adding these two cards now - in the offseason after 1956, Finigan was traded to the Tigers for Ned Garver!

Since it is COMC, I also went looking for more trouble and found some cheap thrills.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

My Favorite Marlin

A hero by the name of Scott contacted me via the blog to tell me had some of my 80s and 90s wantlist cards. In return, Scott wanted . . . Marlins! And Rays! 

The Hawk and Sheff were both Marlins I wanted, I was more than happy to send as many Fish as I could over to Scott in return.

The cards he sent my way came from as early as 1981 and as late as 2003. Scott painstakingly assaulted my Junk Wax wantlist, pulling cards from all across the era.

He really dug deep, for instance the Randy Johnson Pinnacle All-Star Salute insert card. It's probably not particularly rare, but when do you ever come across them in the wild?

Greats of the 1990s were in full force, flying through the air with the greatest ease.

Hall of Famers, and Barry Bonds!

Thanks very much for the cards Scott, and I was very happy to find a good home for some Marlins!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Frank-ly the Newcombe is greatly Aparicio-ted

Big thank you to Commishbob over at Five Tool Collector for this PWE

Both of these cards have fantastic bright colors - I think the scanner was a little unkind to Luis, seems sharper in person than scanned.

Last but not least, NEWK! No I'm down to just 7 cards to complete the 1956 Set. If you guys have any duplicate Mickey Mantles laying around lemme know!

Thanks again and I'll be looking to see if I have some 1970 Topps to send back your way soon/

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Digging In to Bunt and Opening Day

A Hot Dog at the ballpark beats Roast Beef at the Ritz -- Humphrey Bogart

The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor. — Cincinnati Gazette editorial, 1879

 If a horse won't eat it, I don't want to play on it. — Dick Allen

A Baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings -- Earl Wilson 

The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then to pick it up. — Bob Uecker

  When you start the game, they don't say "Work ball!" They say "Play ball!" — Willie Stargell

Baseball is like a poker game. No one wants to quit when they're behind, and no one wants you to quit when you're ahead. -- Jackie Robinson

 There ain't much to being a ballplayer, if you're a ballplayer. — Honus Wagner

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Transatlantic Triple Break! 2006 Topps Heritage

I was really excited to find a sealed box of 2006 Topps Heritage - This was squarely in the era when I was not collecting cards, so I have only seen about 3 or 4 cards from this set in person. The box and the packs all look classy - even the empty packs have a certain heft to them.

Each pack came with gum, sealed in its own cellophane wrapper to protect the cards. I have resisted the urge to try the gum, I recommend the same for Bob Walk the Plank and The Card Papoy when you get these cards in the mail.
Here's the only Twin from the box! The photos have this odd focusing - like a tilt shift effect which is quirky. I think it was an attempt to emulate the older photography from the 1957 set, especially with the washed out colors.
Here are the backs, just like their vintage counterpart (with some extra legal-ese along the bottom and in the top right corner.
As far as hits go... Well, the base cards are really nice! This is a chrome parallel, numbered to /1957. There is also a refractor version of this parallel, and we pulled one of those. But no relics, no autographs. The odds are printed on the individual packs, but not on the box itself. If I had looked it up in advance, I would have known the odds were one relic or auto per 33 packs, which is just a bit more than the 24 packs in each box. So, we didn't get lucky this time, but everything we did pull fell within the stated odds. The inserts all are being sent away to France or West Virginia, so I will let them share those when they arrive.
I got to keep the Twin, The NL East, and the NL West. Here are some of my favorite cards from the box!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Books on Baseball

Quick post today - I want to know, what is your favorite book on baseball? Any books that have come out recently that you would recommend?

Tomorrow - A Transatlantic Triple Break!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hmm, That's Odd . . .

Believe it or not, there are a handful of cards from former Twins Manager Tom Kelly's playing career - this is one of them!
Each card in the KMO radio set features the 1975 team schedule. They probably will never play an in-season exhibition game between a major league and minor league team again.

The Philadelphia Baseball Card Show has a bunch of oddballs out there, I found this one and the next one on COMC.

Sweet, another Elmer Valo to add to my collection. That's fun.

I'll have my eyes peeled for the other years to see if there are more Elmers and more Cacti.