Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Today Your Cards, Tomorrow The World


I got a great "just because" PWE from Dime Box Nick on Saturday. I quickly worked in pictures of some of those cards into a mostly-finished anti-Giants mini-rant spurred on by the Jake Peavy trade.

Here are the rest of the cards that didn't fit anywhere in that theme.


Sweet vintage Bob Gibson! Love it. There's also a shiny Larry Walker which is pretty cool too.


A trio of Gwynns, including a multi-exposure shot and the fantastic "Sanders 27?!" card. Been wanting to score that one since seeing it on Nick's blog a while back. Looks like I went straight to the source!


A nice Hoffy BBB (blue bordered beauty), a full-bleed Bip, and check out the 1975 SSPC Whitey Wietelmann!

And don't forget about the other cards I posted the other day, including a 1967 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm. Great stuff. Thanks again, Nick! Now I have to do my best to return a respectable showing of cards, which is a very daunting task when dealing with the Dime Box King! I hope your 2014 needs list is up to date, as that's probably my best bet.

The Ramones song up top is there because Nick loves The Ramones (rightfully so). Here's a very different sounding cover of that same song.. one of my favorites.


Monday, July 28, 2014

virtual card show haul


I missed the June card show in my area because it was the day before my wedding reception and I had a "dress rehearsal" family BBQ at my house keeping me occupied. I was sad thinking it'd be the last show for a long time, because it was the last one listed on the promoter's website. But I'm happy to report that the website has since been updated, and I'll have more opportunities to leaf through bins of cards. There either wasn't a July show or I just missed it. But there are monthly shows scheduled from August through at least September.

In the meantime, I got a virtual card show fix recently thanks to an eBay seller with tons of dollar cards and a "buy 10 and get free shipping" deal. So it was like I was searching through a dollar box but with the benefit of keyword searching. I've been to 3 shows during my era of collecting as an adult, all this year, and have already fallen into some "card show traditions" as far as what I tend to pick up. My virtual card show haul stayed pretty true to these.

Let's take a look. All these cards were 99 cents unless otherwise noted.

2004 [BB] Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #117 Richie Allen


This addition to my Dick Allen collection makes me long for the days Topps included him among retired players in modern sets. Seems like it's been a while since Dick had a new card put out. (Graig Nettles on the other hand gets at least a dozen new cards per year.) On the plus side, less cards I need to hunt down and buy. I still have an eye out for the autographed version of this card.

1993 Fun Pack #197 Frank Thomas GS


Glow-in-the-dark cards and quirky Frank Thomas inserts are both high up on my mental card show wants list, and this card sticker takes care of both. The freshly-enshrined Big Hurt here gives me 3 Glow Stars.

1967 Topps #309 Hurlers Beware/Johnny Callison/Richie Allen


Here's a card that's vexed me for a while, narrowly missing out on it on Listia a couple times, with frustrating results. But now it's finally mine. Another addition to my respectably-sized Dick Allen collection, It was my most expensive purchase of the bunch at $1.82.

1981 [BB] Kellogg's #11 Willie Stargell


Willie Stargell cards are hard to pass up. And I always seem to pick up a Kellogg's card at every card show, so this was a no-brainer.

1999 [FB] SP Signature Autographs #TV Tommy Vardell


Ok, here's the card that prompted the 10-card spree. Tommy Vardell might not be a big name to most people, but he was hot shit at my high school. I missed him by a few years, but I can still remember faculty at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, CA giddily reminisce about "Touchdown Tommy" and how awesome he was back in the day. He went on to have a pretty good collegiate career at Stanford before bouncing around for 8 seasons in the NFL, getting to play alongside Barry Sanders and retiring with 22 touchdowns. This particular certified auto is very plentiful, with a bunch on eBay and COMC. This was the cheapest available, running me just $1.10. I had intentions of bringing this card home for my "hometown heroes" minicollecting-focus for quite some time; nice to finally seal the deal. With the Giles Brothers, this brings my number of fellow Granite Hills Eagles that I have certified autos of to 3-- wait, forgot about Jimmie Johnson-- make that 4! Not bad.

2013 Topps Best of WWE Top 10 Trash Talkers #10 AJ Lee


Hey, I haven't added to my "girlie card" minicollection in a while! Honestly, I'm not a wrestling guy at all. Pretty sure this is my first/only wrestling card. The only time I ever watch WWE is if I'm hanging out at my buddy Chris' house and he has it on. But I somehow became smitten with AJ Lee a few months ago (honestly can't even remember how.. I think one of her cards just popped up in the eBay "you might also like" sidebar and she caught my eye). But yeah, I just think she's super hot, ain't gonna lie. Her wrestling character might be annoying for all I know-- apparently known to be a "trash talker"-- but whatever. I occasionally search eBay for her certified autos, but you're lucky to find them for $30, and that's for a stickergraph. A nice on-card (actually a nice sticker or any on-card) will likely run you well over $100. Ugh. So for now, this non-auto will have to do.

1991-92 Pro Set England #185 Gavin Peacock


This card of a nameless soccer player actually has the greatest name. Yep, that's right, another addition to my Greatest Gavins collection. This is Gavin Peacock. This is my first Peacock, and 2nd soccer-playing Gavin, I believe. I know nothing about him other than what this card tells me, but he's another unique Gavin in my collection. I need to sort that out one of these days and see where I'm at with it.

1950 Bowman #144 Al Evans


I can't consider a card show haul a success unless there's at least one card that could qualify for Social Security if cardboard was eligible for benefits. This wonderful, well-loved Al Evans fit the bill and set me back just $1.50. I love picking up old Bowman cards regardless of condition or player unfamiliarity when I can get them for a buck or two. Evans was a solid backstop for the Senators in the 40s. 1950 would be his last year in Washington, finishing his major league career the next year with the Red Sox.

1976 Topps #403 John Matuszak


Another football card of a name that probably doesn't get brought up much these days. I wanted to pick up a John Matuszak card for a while now simply because he was in one of my all-time favorite movies, The Goonies. Sloth!

Here's a picture of me and the now-wife and our pup Annie in front of the actual Goonies house back in April 2013. (I proposed just an hour or so before this photo was taken.)






1971 Topps #248 Hoyt Wilhelm


And finally, another staple of my card show hauls, Hoyt Wilhelm! Gotta love Hoyt, a likable character who played for a ton of years. Lots of fun vintage cards to chase down, and usually inexpensive for a Hall of Famer of the period. This was also a need for my 1971 Topps off-condition set build, so now I gotta decide to keep it with my other Hoyts or throw it in with my 1971s.


So there you have it, my "virtual card show" haul. A nice mix of stuff, I'd say, hitting many of my collecting niches. These 10 cards were just $11.35 out the door; pretty reasonable total. Usually when I buy cards on eBay it's certified autos or packs/boxes to rip, so it's nice to just buy a few cheap singles sometimes. This'll tide me over till the next real card show.

But the downside to "card show" shopping online? Well, for one thing I fudged a little and used the stock photo of one card above. The 1950 Bowman card got missed by the order picker.. so I had to bug them to send it separately.. which is a bummer, but I'm not expecting it to be a problem. Grr.. I'm pretty good keeping track of my stack at a show, but online, I seem to get my order slightly messed up like this from time to time.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The damn Giants I'm forced to collect

I always say I'm a baseball fan first, and then after that I'm a Padres fan and a fan of certain other players I like. I don't really hate any teams. When the playoffs roll around, I always seem to root for the underdog.. the team who's gone the longest without a championship. And I usually find myself rooting against the Yankees, Cardinals, and Giants (The Red Sox get a pass since they had such a legendary dry spell).

As a player collector, of course I've got a lot of cards from these teams in my collection. Yanks I love include Reggie and Mickey. With the Cardinals, there's Gibson and Musial.

More Yankees I collect.
But now let's talk about the Giants. A division rival of my Padres, they might be my least favorite team. I'm even cool with the Dodgers these days, perhaps a result of Stockholm Syndrome from reading so many LA card blogs.

But despite my dislike of the Giants, I find myself a player collector of an inordinate number of guys who spent quality time with San Francisco. It's almost silly!

The latest tragic turn involves Jake Peavy, cruelly sent cross-country by Boston in a sick joke of a trade. I've got a soft spot for Jake from his days as the last great Padres pitcher, before they cut him loose rather than pay him competitively. (His numbers haven't been quite so good since leaving San Diego, so I suppose in hindsight it wasn't necessarily a bad move by the front office.) I don't really build PCs for many active guys, but Peavy is one of the few.. Probably the biggest collection I've got of a current player, with 60 unique cards.

The only other current Giant I like these days is manager Bruce Bochy, again thanks to his Padres ties (Hey, he and Jake will be reunited; that's kinda cool.) I don't really have a PC going for Bochy, but I probably should start. One of my collecting focuses is Pads in the Hall, and Bochy will likely get in as a manager. Winning 2 World Series Championships seems to be the magic number for managers, much like 300 wins for a pitcher, or 500 home runs or 3000 hits for a batter. So he's pretty much punched his ticket, even if it might take a while to go through. So yeah, I'll likely be obligated to collect him eventually. That's cool. He seems to be a great guy by all accounts and I'm glad he's had some success.. I just wish he could have won it all down on the opposite end of California instead.

Speaking of other Giants I'm self-imposed "forced" into collecting, you've also got Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry.. a couple Hall of Famers who spent many years in San Francisco, with relatively brief stints in sunny San Diego.

The cards in this post are all from an awesome PWE I just received from Dime Box Nick.
Bill Madlock is another favorite of mine. No Padre connection here. While most associated with his time on the Pirates, he spent 2 and a half years as a Giant. I've also got a sizable collection of Vida Blue cards, who played 6 years in San Francisco.

I'll post the rest of the cards Nick sent that I couldn't shoehorn into this post soon.
In recent months, I've started collecting a couple other former Giants: Rod Beck (Padre connection again) and Hoyt Wilhelm (they were still the New York Giants when he played with them, so I guess that sorta gives him a pass).

Donruss kindly omitted the Giants stats from Hoyt's career. Thanks for the great cards, Nick!
So that's a whopping eight guys I collect who were Giants. That might be the most for any team after the Padres.. Just so happen to be my least-favorite team. And of course I'd never turn down cool cards of Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, George Foster, and the like. Damn Giants.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Loyalist reader of them all

Congrats, Greg Zakwin! The Padres and Braves combined for 8 runs tonight, making you the lucky winner of the loyal reader contest! Please let me know which auto lot you want. (As a Dodger fan, I assume you'll be torn between the Lopes and the Drysdale lots.)
Thanks everybody. We'll see you next time.

Loyal reader contest update

I snuck in a "loyal reader" contest at the end of my latest post. As expected, there weren't a lot of entrants. Only 4, in fact!

Let's throw those 4 into random.org...


...and then repeat the pattern a few times..

1 Tony L.
2 Mark Hoyle
3 Comatoad
4 Greg Zakwin
5 Tony L.
6 Mark Hoyle
7 Comatoad
8 Greg Zakwin
9 Tony L.
10 Mark Hoyle
11 Comatoad
12 Greg Zakwin
13 Tony L.
14 Mark Hoyle
15 Comatoad
16 Greg Zakwin
17 Tony L.
18 Mark Hoyle
19 Comatoad
20 Greg Zakwin
21 Tony L.
22 Mark Hoyle
23 Comatoad
24 Greg Zakwin
[and so on]

Let's say the winning number is the total combined number of runs in tonight's (7/26/14) Padres @ Braves game. The winner gets to pick one of the remaining lots of certified autos in the prize pool. The other 3 will still get cards from me too regardless (Mark and Tony already have packages from me ready to go. Greg and Duff, I need your addresses.)
Thanks for reading and good luck, guys!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Christmas in July: Fred Lynn decks the halls

I collect any card serial numbered 12/25.. "Christmas Cards" as I call them. On the 25th of each month, I like to pull out something from this eclectic minicollection to show off on the blog.

This monthly feature might be getting a little tired. I don't necessarily like having a "deadline" to get a post out. And it's not like this feature gets many views/comments either. I suppose I'm committed to finish out 2014, though at this rate I'm planning to drop it next year. But I still like collecting Christmas Cards and I'm sure I'll continue to show them off from time to time. Anyways...

Here's a nice Fred Lynn auto. The green and red in the design give it some bonus holiday cheer in addition to the serial number prominently displayed on the front. There's even a "snowy" area for the on-card signature.


A very festive card indeed! It's from 2014 Topps Tribute, which is a high-end set in no way distinguishable from Topps' other high-end sets.. Five Star, Museum Collection, Tier One, Supreme, Pristine, Triple Threads, One Star, Tier Five, Triple Tier, Five Thread Tier Star Collection, whatever.. pretty much all the same set. And when I say set, of course I mean product.. since it's in no way designed for set collectors.. just an option to pay a lot of money for a pack small box with a mystery hit or two. But who am I to complain, since I enjoy picking up high-end singles from time to time, such as Freddy here.


Fred Lynn is a guy I would lump together with Graig Nettles, whom I ranted about Topps' obsession with a little recently. Solid careers, but both fell short of the Hall, and a typical collector probably isn't going to get too excited about pulling one of their cards these days (essentially "commons" in sets you find them in today). Yet, likely due in part to playing their prime years on a legendary big-market team (Yankees and Red Sox, respectively), Topps finds a way to squeeze them into many sets that feature retired players.

I may be the only person alive who thinks of Fred Lynn as a Padre first and foremost (another similarity with Graig Nettles). He played just 90 games for San Diego, all in his twilight season of 1990. But that season was when I first really got into baseball as a youth, so it was sort of the ground floor in my eyes. Fred Lynn is a Padre. Joe Carter is a Padre. Bobby Thigpen is the Save King.

So anyways, it's nice to have his autograph now.. made doubly sweet by being an attractive Christmas Card such as this.

As I mentioned at the start of the post, this feature typically doesn't get a lot of views or comments. So here's that last (for now) contest I had mentioned trying to sneak in. Just leave a comment on this post to enter, then we'll do the usual routine of randomly selecting a winner. The prize is one of the remaining lots of certified autos (which can be found here, though the Ernie Banks lot is now gone). The window to enter will be short.. less than 24 hours, most likely. I want to keep this contest hush-hush, just a little way of saying thanks to the small handful of loyal readers who bother reading my blog even when it's not particularly sexy and exciting, like Fred Lynn up there. So, yeah! Thanks for reading! [7/26/14 UPDATE: contest now closed! Thanks again.]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I got a Nolan Ryan auto

After posting nearly everyday for a good stretch there, things are slowing down again slightly at Baseball Card Breakdown. Between things picking up at work (back to full-time till September.. poo! The money is nice, but I loved sleeping in and working 6-hour days) and just general blogging ennui, expect to see me back to posting just 2 or 3 times a week for a while.

Now, here's just a quick post to show off a neat card I picked up recently. This was a "wedding gift to myself" that I bought (on eBay) while honeymooning in Maui last month.


I very rarely drop three-figures on a card, but this is a pretty sweet Ryan with a print run of just 35 (though it's not serial numbered), enticing enough for me to spend a little over a C-note on it. While 2004 Topps Retired gets most of my adoration, I also am a fan of the 2003 and 2005 Retired sets, the latter being whence this card came. (I've still got an eye out for a reasonably priced 2004 Retired Ryan auto; I've seen a couple pop up on eBay in recent months, but in the neighborhood of a $400 buy-it-now, which is crazy.)


Nolan Ryan is obviously one of the game's all-time greats, so this is a pretty nifty addition for me; certainly a centerpiece of my collection. No offense to the Lone Star State or Big Apple, but as a Southern Californian child of the 70s, I think my favorite Ryan Express era is his stint with the Angels, so I'm happy with this photo selection (though an action shot could have been better than Suttoning). Nice-looking on-card autograph. Still in the uncirculated hard case (a couple scuffs behind Nolan's back, but not too bad). And of course, the full stats on the back, which I appreciate so much more than a "Congratulations" back. Yep, I like this card a bunch.