Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wrapping up my 2016 Ginter X trilogy

I didn't make a spooky Halloween post this year, but here are some black cards on an orange background, so that's kinda festive, right?

These are the highlights from my third/final 2016 Allen & Ginter X box. Well no, the far-and-away highlight was the Griffey auto redemption. But here're the other notable cards from that break.

Modern dudes I collect.


Prominent rookies.

SPs, highlighted by a Trea Turner RC.

Minis. Chen and Zimmerman are SPs.

After bustin' this box, I collated the cards along with the other 2 boxes I bought of the stuff. And man, the collation was great! I came away with the complete base set (1-300) with minimal doubles and no triples. Topps has gotten a lot of crap in recent years for not "shuffling" the cards in their boxes very well, often giving collectors deja vu ripping the nearly the same exact packs/blasters/boxes. So I was very happy that all 3 of my boxes were unique enough to each other to not have that issue.

I also compiled over half of the SPs, pulling 27 of 50 (with no dupes). I'm thinking I would like to go ahead and try to complete the full 350-card set, so I made a wantlist.

2016 Ginter X Needs (SPs):
301 Tyson Ross
302 Trevor Brown
303 Wei-Yin Chen
306 Yu Darvish
308 Andy Pettitte
309 Yasmany Tomas
311 Welington Castillo
312 Carlos Beltran (found this one cheap on COMC, so I snagged it there)
314 Starlin Castro
316 Ryan Weber
317 Yordano Ventura
318 Pedro Severino
321 Nick Castellanos
323 Victor Martinez
327 Raul Mondesi
329 Andre Ethier
332 Yan Gomes
335 Shawn Tolleson
336 Tom Murphy
339 Salvador Perez
341 Richie Shaffer
344 Ryan Zimmerman
349 Travis d'Arnaud

If you have any of these available, please hit me up for a trade!

I'm not going to bother trying to complete the mini set. I'll pick out PC guys to keep, but the rest of the minis I pulled are available for trade.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Wonder Years, The Wizard, Jenny Lewis, and Rilo Kiley

Here's a big Rocktober post about how one of my favorite bands is linked to one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite TV shows.. and how I've got a few autographs from them to show off.

I recently finished binge watching The Wonder Years on Netflix. It was leaving the streaming service shortly, and I cranked out about 3 seasons I had left within a month or so, marathoning the series' last 5 episodes in the final evening the show was available, just wrapping it up under the wire. (I had "With a Little Help From My Friends" stuck in my head for several days, let me tell you!) It was a show I enjoyed as a kid during its original run, and it was nice to revisit, even if it pissed me off a little sometimes (specifically Kevin Arnold's poor choices, but hey, that's all part of growing up, I guess.)

As I often do when a show or movie really connects with me, I took to eBay to see if there were any autograph cards available, to possibly get some representation in my card collection. As far as I can tell, Fred Savage doesn't have any cards on the market, or at least nothing readily available. But I did find an interesting glossy 8x10 promo photo with his signature on it, and ended up winning the auction for a decent price.

Man, I love this! As a kid in the late 80s, a large chunk of my life was spent playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In 1989, a film called The Wizard came out that was little more than a glorified Nintendo commercial (specifically to build hype for impending release of Super Mario Bros. 3), but my friends and I loved it. I remember we saw it in a renovated theater that used to be a XXX theater (The Pussycat Theater), and we thought it was pretty great. I rewatched it again a few months ago, and while it's not exactly a cinematic masterpiece, I still really enjoyed it on a sentimental level.

This glossy photo of the main cast members is not only signed by Fred Savage, but also Beau Bridges and Christian Slater. Of course with things like this, you gotta have some faith that it's authentic, but I feel confident about this being legit. I mean, if you were gonna forge signatures on this, it'd be dumb not to go ahead and finish 'er off with Luke Edwards and Jenny Lewis, right?

But hey, guess what, I also have Jenny Lewis' autograph...

Pierre de Reeder, Blake Sennett, Jason Boesel, and in the lower right, Jenny Lewis
I was a huge fan of Rilo Kiley in the '00s (and I still am, but not as obsessive as I used to be). How I got into the band was, around 2001, I spent some time on NES message boards (yeah, before I was nostalgic for baseball cards, I was nostalgic for old video games), and through them, I learned that "the girl from The Wizard has a band now."

I checked out some mp3s I could find, and really liked what I heard. I ended up buying the 2 CDs they had available at the time, of which Take Offs and Landings was my favorite. Then their next album The Execution of All Things (2002) really put them on the map. I made a little fansite for the band and ended up as a moderator on a big Rilo Kiley fan message board. At its height, the forum had hundreds of active users and was a really great fan community. I made a lot of cool online friends there. One of the other regulars on there was a sassy teenager in Portland. After three or four years of being an online acquaintance of hers (she was 19 by then), I drunkenly flirted with her in a PM once. And here we are 10 years later and she's my wife.

(This song mentions baseball cards!)

So yeah, for that alone, Rilo Kiley will always be a big part of my life and shaped how things turned out for me. I saw them live many times, and after one show, got the band to sign the above CD, and even snagged one of Jenny's guitar picks from the floor of the stage.

The band went their separate ways later in that decade, and the message board shriveled and died. Needing a new "online community" to get involved in, I wandered around a bit and eventually discovered the cardsphere and got back into the hobby.

While Jenny Lewis was the main focus of Rilo Kiley, the core of the band also included guitarist and sometimes-vocalist Blake Sennett. His other band, The Elected, was another favorite of mine. I saw them live a few times and got his autograph after a show once:

Nice personalization! That's their second CD. My wife (back before she was my wife) got their first CD signed:

The signatures are on the inside of the booklet, so not exactly ideal for displaying, but still pretty cool.

Funny thing about Blake Sennett is that he (under the name Blake Soper), like Jenny Lewis, was also a child actor in the 80s. In fact, he worked with both Savage Brothers, as he had parts on Boy Meets World and.. wait for it.. The Wonder Years!

And circling this post back onto the topic of The Wonder Years, while I wasn't able to find a Fred Savage auto card, I discovered that Danica McKellar ("Winnie") did have a few stickergraphs out there. I scored one on eBay and then kicked it up with a simple custom overlay:

Oh, that's a nice card! Little Winnie is all grown up!

The original card looks something like this. --Which is fine, but I like it better with my overlay.

Thanks a bunch for reading and have a great week!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"We Didn't Start The Fire" binder project kickoff

Rocktober continues with a post focusing on favorite song of mine when I was a kid.

This is a dumb/fun idea I had while lying in bed trying to fall asleep the other night: Putting together a bunch of cards to line up with Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" (If someone out there already came up with the idea, I'm sorry for copying it). I just thought it'd be neat to put together a binder that you could look through while the song plays, with cards syncing up to the lyrics, so to speak.

I bet most references in the song have some sort of cardboard representation, though I don't doubt there will be some tough ones to trip me up along the way. I'm going to allow myself to have fun with it and "cheat" a little. For example, I'll use a card of 80s Pirates second baseman Johnny Ray instead of a card of who Joel was actually referencing, 50s musician Johnnie Ray. I suppose I could resort to making customs if I absolutely can't find any applicable cards, but it'll be a last resort and considered only a temporary solution. But yeah, we'll just have to see how far along this project ends up going.

Hey, question for you...
Can anyone recommend a good online shop for cheap non-sport cards? Something like a Non-Sportlots. Because Sportlots and Just Commons don't seem to carry non-sport. COMC does, but their non-sport stuff tends to run a little pricey. And of course there's eBay, but shipping cost will usually get ya there.

So I'll likely end up relying a lot on helpful traders to fill spots in the binder. Please help me out if you can!

Here's a rundown thanks to Wikipedia...



















  • Pope Paul VI: Cardinal Giovanni Montini is elected to the papacy and takes the papal name of Paul VI.
  • Malcolm X makes his infamous statement "The chickens have come home to roost" about the Kennedy assassination, thus causing the Nation of Islam to censor him; about fifteen months later, he himself is assassinated while preparing to make a speech.
  • British politician sex: The British Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, has a relationship with a showgirl, and then lies when questioned about it before the House of Commons. When the truth came out, it led to his own resignation and undermined the credibility of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
  • JFK blown away: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated on November 22 while riding in an open convertible through Dallas.


  • Birth control: In the early 1960s, oral contraceptives, popularly known as "the pill", first go on the market and are extremely popular. Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 challenged a Connecticut law prohibiting contraceptives. In 1968, Pope Paul VI released a papal encyclical titled Humanae vitae which reaffirmed Catholic teaching that artificial birth control was a sin.
  • Ho Chi Minh: A Vietnamese Communist, who served as President of Vietnam from 1954–1969. March 2 Operation Rolling Thunder begins bombing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail supply line from North Vietnam to the Vietcong rebels in the south. On March 8, the first U.S. combat troops, 3,500 marines, land in South Vietnam.


  • Richard Nixon back again: Former Vice President Nixon is elected President in 1968.


  • MoonshotApollo 11, the first manned lunar landing, successfully lands on the moon.
  • Woodstock: Famous rock and roll festival of 1969 that came to be the epitome of the counterculture movement.







  • Wheel of Fortune: The hit television game show, on air since 1975, underwent several changes in the early 1980s, including the hiring of Pat Sajak as host in 1981, Vanna White as hostess in 1982, and a move to syndication in 1983, all three of which were still in effect by the time of the song (and remained through the 1990s, 2000s and much of the 2010s as well).


  • Sally Ride: On June 18, she became the first American woman in space by flying aboard Challenger on the STS-7 shuttle mission.
  • Heavy metal suicide: In the 1970s and 80s, heavy metal bands became popular. Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest in particular were sued for fans' suicides after listening to their songs "Suicide Solution" and "Better By You, Better Than Me", respectively.
  • Foreign debts: Persistent U.S. trade and budget deficits
  • Homeless vets: Veterans of the Vietnam War, including many disabled ex-military, are reported to be left homeless and impoverished.
  • AIDS: A collection of symptoms and infections in humans resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is first detected and recognized in the 1980s, and was on its way to becoming a pandemic.
  • Crack cocaine use surged in the mid-to-late 1980s.


  • Bernie Goetz: On December 22, Goetz shot four young men who he said were threatening him on a New York City subway. Goetz was charged with attempted murder but was acquitted of the charges, though convicted of carrying an unlicensed gun.



  • China's under martial law: On May 20, China declares martial law, resulting in the use of military forces against protesting students to end the Tiananmen Square protests.
  • Rock-and-roller cola wars: Soft drink giants Coke and Pepsi each run marketing campaigns using rock & roll and popular music stars to reach the teenage and young adult demographic.

Ok, yeah, there's gonna be some tough ones here, for sure. Looks like there will be 135 or so different cards needed. If I can get better than 50/50 with a real card to custom ratio, I'll be happy. ("Hypodermics on the shore"? What am I supposed to do with that?! Perhaps a hockey card of NHL player Nick Shore, I guess?)

Some low-hanging fruit already out of the way. These 4 are all mentioned by name in the song.

Again, if you can help me out with anything in trade, that'd be nice. Thanks for reading!