Monday, July 6, 2020

Custom TTM come full circle

Here's another recent TTM success (I'm 2 for 2 on TTM attempts so far in 2020!) Most of this post was drafted a week or so ago, but I delayed publishing it so as to not spoil the surprise for a fellow blogger. And it's good I've got this post ready, because the new puppy has been exhausting! Oh man.. baseball card stuff will be on the backburner for a while thanks to this tiny hellbeast who needs A LOT of attention and training. Ugh, I'm gettin' too old for this shit.

I first started printing my own custom cards back in 2015, and the first TTM return I ever got on a card I made myself was on January 16, 2016 when Pat Neshek returned a request from me with his gloriously nutty signature gracing my printouts.

Four and a half years later I went back to that well for another round. I was really excited about this new custom template and figured I'd christen it with the living patron saint of through-the-mail autograph requests, St. Patrick Neshek.

It took 15 days for my earlier request to come back, and it took 15 days for this one, too. The man is consistent!

And this one! Love the photo from his All-Star Game introduction in 2014, even if his arm does get in the way of the autograph area a bit. Worth it.

This one has already been forwarded onto Fuji. I know he loves those 1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures autographs, plus his favorite team is the Oakland A's, so I thought he'd get a kick out of this. I think Fuji was my inspiration to make this custom template, so it's only fitting. If you're familiar with this design, you might've noticed that I gave it my own personal touch by adding the blue.

I sent Pat 4 customs.. one A's, one Phillies, and two Cardinals. He kept one of the Cardinals cards for himself, which was an honor for me. Though I was going to give that Cardinals dupe to Kerry.. so Kerry, Pat Neshek has your card. I'll leave it to you to retrieve it from him, lol, because I don't think I can give up the one I got.

Big thanks to Mr. Neshek for signing my customs!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Dog Day! (a Mad Dog and a Happy Dog)

Recent TTM success!

This custom card has a lot going for it for me to love. 1973 Topps is probably my favorite flagship set. And I love seldom-documented-on-cardboard "short-term stops" cards with the guy in an unfamiliar uniform like this. And Bill Madlock was among the few guys I got an in-person autograph from when I was a kid. Pretty sure it was at my first-ever card show, circa 1991 or 1992.. possibly the first autograph I ever got.

Ok, let me take a moment to try to think about the timeline of the 4 autographs I got in person as a kid.
Autograph #1 - Card show circa 1991. Must have been late '91 because I went with my mom and her boyfriend at the time. He bought a team bag of a dozen or so '80s Reggie Jackson cards that he later gave to me as a Christmas or birthday present-- which is why the show must've been later in the year.. a month or two later, I think. I want to say Bill Madlock was a guest signer and this is where I got his autograph (on a piece of paper). It was a big card show.. can't recall where, but perhaps the San Diego Convention Center? I remember it was huge and I was overwhelmed. Can't recall if I bought anything for myself that day (so if I did, must not have been anything too notable).. only remember the Reggies I was gifted later, with his '83 Diamond King visible on top.
Autograph #2 - Spring training in Yuma, March or April 1992.. I think. Need to check my photo albums to confirm I went to Arizona in '92. We caught one spring training baseball game on our way from San Diego to Tucson. Only signature I was able to get this day was an unknown old coach with the Indians who is still a mystery to me to this day, but maybe one day I'll crack it. I also saw Randy Jones and Robbie Beckett signing autographs, but didn't get to them.
Autograph #3 - '92 All-Star FanFest, July 1992. Googling tells me this event took place July 10-14, 1992 at the San Diego Convention Center. I think I went to this with my grampa. Don't remember much about it other than it being a lot of fun (and exhausting). I got Dick Allen's autograph on a baseball. For a while, I was thinking perhaps I got Dick Allen and Bill Madlock's autographs on the same day, but thinking about it more, if that were the case I would have most likely gotten Madlock's signature on the same baseball I was carrying around with me rather than a dumb piece of paper. (The fact that Dick Allen and Bill Madlock aren't exactly connected in any way probably wouldn't have bothered me.) So now I'm thinking Madlock was at the earlier card show.
Yeah, ok, I think that's the timeline. But maybe I'm wrong! Kinda wished I kept more of a diary/journal back then.
Oh, and Autograph #4 was Dan Walters at a card show sometime in the summer of '92, probably a few weeks after the All-Star Game. But wait a minute.. I just posted a couple months ago saying it was "The story of my first in-person autograph". This just shows how blurred my memory is of these events and anything I say about specifics of my original stint as an active card collector in 1990-1993 is to be taken with a grain of salt. LOL

But anyways, yes, Bill Madlock very well may have been the first autograph I ever got. One of the first, at least.

And as I say, 1973 Topps is probably my all-time favorite set, so I was happy to squeeze Madlock into the set via custom even though his first baseball card wasn't until a 4-player rookie in 1974 Topps, airbrushed into a Cubs cap. I get a kick out of seeing players I like in unfamiliar uniforms, so I get downright giddy seeing Bill Madlock as a Texas Ranger.. quite the rarity with only a couple '93 oddballs featuring him during his brief stint as a rookie in Arlington. I had years earlier made a similar custom, but then I found this other picture that I like a little more.

Mr. Madlock was asking a $15 fee for signing custom cards ($10 for real cards) via a limited-time offer on Twitter. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but his certified autographs can often be bought cheaper than that, so if I'm going to pay $15, it's gotta mean something to me. And I'm happy with my choice on the '73 Rangers custom here. Looks great!

I also printed out this 1986 Topps "box bottom" custom I made some weeks back, though ultimately decided against sending it to him to get signed. Perhaps if his fee was cheaper and/or my printer did a better job with it, I would have tried getting a signature on this one as well. But still a unique addition to the PC as-is.

And hey, we just brought another unique addition home today.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. There was plenty of nervous whining at first, but it's gotta be tough leaving her mama and siblings behind like that. She doesn't fully realize it yet, but she's won the puppy jackpot.. with a very fun life ahead of her of being spoiled with treats, adventures, and lots of love.

We're still finalizing a name, but looks like Ruby "Billie" Blue or some variation of that. She's about 8 weeks old. Probably a husky/lab mix, but we'll do a DNA test soon to get a better idea. Super sweet and playful. And pretty much everything she does is adorable. So yeah, it's nice to have a pup again!

UPDATE: A few more puppy pics.

Monday, June 29, 2020

ignorable filler post: 1991 Cardboard Dreams #7 Bo Jackson

Dang it, guys.. I did it again! I accidentally went out of order with this set. I jumped to #8 Michael Jordan in the previous installment, skipping over #7 Bo Jackson. Wasn't on purpose, but I guess I was swept up in The Last Dance hype, lol. I suppose card number doesn't really matter much unless you're working on the set, or maybe a frankenset, or maybe you're one of the very few collectors who collect certain numbers, like the No. 5 Collector guy and how Tom at Angels In Order likes cards that are #444. But for most of us, card number is rarely something we worry much about. But I still feel like a bad set-blogger for the taboo faux pas of going out of order. I have not yet made such a mistake on my 1991 MusiCards blog, thankfully.

Not the best likeness of Bo, but overall a neat two-sport card. Funny how I was just talking in my latest post (editor's note: the first part of this post was drafted a while back; I've posted a few times since) about the White Sox rehauling their uniforms several times over the years until finally finding a fit with colors most equated in sports to the NFL Raiders. This card shows both for ya. I never thought about it, but it sure is funny that 1991, the year they switched to those uniforms, was the year they signed Bo after he had recently retired from football. Having a former Raiders hero on the squad really must've helped embolden and validate their gutsy uniform decision. I don't know about you guys, but at my middle school around '91-92, the new black White Sox stuff was considered the coolest. Probably also because popular rappers wore it sometimes. I never had a Sox hat (which still fills me with a gentle wave of regret to this day), though I did have a black White Sox shirt back then which I wore when I needed to impress the ladies. Worked every time. Nah, I'm just kidding. But I thought I looked cool, at least. I think I've even posted an awkward-age photo of me wearing it in an older post but I don't think I'll dig it out this time.

Some nightmare fuel on the back with a demonic clown playing guitar. Yikes! But seriously, I wonder if Bo kept up practicing guitar? Talented guy like that could do damn near anything he set his mind to, so I bet he could learn to really shred if he worked at it.

Anyways, now time for the randomness.

Isn't this a cool painting? Looks like a fun night at the Sugar Shack.

Speaking of sugar, I'm a dessert guy. I've got a sweet tooth and the curiosity to hunt for new dessert ideas to blow my mind. One I found that I will highly recommend is eating chocolate pudding not with a spoon but with nutty buddies. Oh man, that's heaven!

Another good one: sandwich of butterscotch pudding between a couple snickerdoodles, with fresh strawberries on the side. Very nice!

What the hell is this? I think it's a Twinkie dipped in the last of the butterscotch pudding with some strawberries thrown in for good measure. Yeah, this was fine. But let's be honest, these 3 desserts I've shown here are in descending order and this was the least best.

Shadow box tribute to my amazing pup Annie Lou who left us last year. Features a dual auto and some game-used memorabilia (collar and her favorite toy). Turned out pretty well.

The wild bunnies who've been enjoying free reign of our backyard in the months since Annie's passing have been a godsend to us, providing the cuteness needed to help keep our hearts from turning to dust given the events of 2020. But the backyard has a new ruler on the horizon, with Dog #3 less than a week away from joining our household. Pretty excited about it. Stay tuned.

Ladybugs are cool too. Snapped this nice close-up a week or so back.

This baby ladybug was found inside on the wall of my wife's home office, but I successfully rehomed it to the overgrown garden. Seemed to be pretty happy to have leaves to crawl around on instead of a boring wall.

No luck on the TTM request I sent to Mark McGwire a couple springs ago, but here's a version of it with a facsimile auto. Maybe someday!

Here's a McGwire mashup ("bash up") I made in photoshop (this is not a real photo). 1987 Topps meets 1991 Fleer Pro Visions for a Project 2020-style "art card".
I thought this was a fun one! Would love to see Topps and Panini (or Upper Deck) come together to offer a special card or set of cards along these lines with proceeds going to charity... covid, BLM, or something. But that's just me pie-in-the-skying over here on my computer relaxing at the end of a stressful Q2 at work.

And here's a dumb gif I made of Bert Blyleven's 1975 Topps card. LOL

Can't remember if I shared this here yet or not, but here's another dumb thing I made for Twitter recently.. brings us back to Bo, tying up the post nicely. It's a 3-way mashup of cards: 1971 Topps Nolan Ryan, 1986 Topps Traded Bo Jackson, and 1990 Classic "Nolan Knows Bo".. all in one crazy image.

That's it for this ignorable shitpost. See ya next time!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

McCutchen McCustoms

There's a high-swagger Andrew McCutchen photo variation short-print in the recently released 2020 Topps Series 2 that's been creating a buzz in the hobby.

I thought I'd spend some of my Sunday having fun creating a few customs from that same moment.

1980 Topps seemed like an obvious choice, being a special year for Phillies phans.

How about an '81 Fleer card.

Funky! All these background photos are the skyline of Philadelphia, by the way.

The grand finale is this 1972 Topps gif. That's what I'm talkin' about! Makes you wanna strut around listening to some James Brown or something.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Mike Squires appreciation post (Post for Johngy)

There's a popular blogger named Johngy who has been around a long time and pops up in comments on other blogs sometimes. He's never commented on my blog, though, and it's one of my life goals to have him do so. So here's a desperate attempt to get his attention. If you are Johngy, please comment on this post. If you are not Johngy, please find him and ask him to comment on this post. There will be a baseball-sized hole in my soul until this happens.

Johngy is a big fan of relatively obscure White Sox player Mike Squires, so I made a bunch of customs for Mr. Squires, hoping to create a blip on Johngy's radar.

Despite not having the typical power associated with a first baseman, Squires was a valuable member of the White Sox during their Tony La Russa era in the late 70s and early 80s. He won a Golden Glove in 1981.

On May 4, 1980, Squires became the first left-handed-throwing catcher in Major League Baseball since Dale Long in 1958 when he was shifted from first base in the ninth inning of an 11–1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. And he later became the first left-handed-throwing third baseman in at least 50 years on August 23, 1983 when he entered the game for Vance Law in the bottom of the eighth inning in a 10–2 loss to the Royals. Chicago would go on to win the AL West that year.

Midriff alert! Something you don't see on cards often.

Nod to teammate Ralph Garr?

Guy on deck has an impressive bubble going. Or is that a fouled off baseball?

Squires was a Toronto Blue Jays coach from 1989 to 1991. Later went on to be a scout for the Reds.

What do you think, Johngy?!? Please comment below!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Refractory Period

Just a few refractors I've picked up recently.

Derek Jeter is a big name to cross off my 2004 Chrome Black setbuild. This one happens to be graded. Dings here are centering and surface. Centering is fine on the front (a little off on the back) and while I don't see any problems with the surface, I get it. In fact I also won a Mariano Rivera from this set (ungraded) just a day or so later, but it had a deep scratch on it so I returned it.

But here's another Hall of Fame shortstop in Barry Larkin. Weird for me to see him in what I think of as a "modern set", but yep his last year on the field was 2004.

And a rookie auto I needed (thanks to rookie autographs [/25] being included in the black parallel set). I guess technically Nic Ungs is also a Hall of Famer, being inducted into the Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015. He never made the bigs, but had a solid professional career, 2001-2011, putting up an 84-69 record with a 3.79 ERA.

2004 Topps Retired Darrell Evans refractor auto! I already had this one in my setbuild, but it popped up with a solid Buy-It-Now and I jumped on it. Hey, he's a guy I collect, so I'm cool with it being the new crown jewel in my little Darrell Evans PC (while still having another copy in my 2004 Retired auto set). When he eventually gets into the Hall of Fame, his cards will all go up.

Snagged this Joey Votto for my 2011 Topps parallel frankenset recently. Reds players probably look best in red or blue parallels, but this orange one still looks pretty good.

Here's a red one! As most folks who've gone after a Chrome rainbow can tell you, those /5 red parallels can be real doozies. So I was excited to see this one pop up of Casey Craig with a low opening bid. A guy who went to my high school, he hit .285 for his minor league career, but topped out at AA. Still though, very happy to add this to the Guys From Granite collection. I wonder if the superfractor will ever pop up for sale (again?).. If so, I'd probably try to snag it.

Ok, that's enough refraction for today. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Incomin' cardboard to welcome the summer

Happy Summer Solstice.. the longest day of the year. I'll take some of that elongated time to get caught up thanking the kind folks who've mailed me cards in the past week or two.

This wonderful quartet of loved vintage stars leads off a trade with reader Michael Y. down the road from me in Ashland, OR. Been wanting a Sparky Anderson rookie for a long time, and the other 3 are pretty damn cool too!

Some big names for my 1974 Topps setbuild!

More sweet 70s needs/upgrades.

And a pair of nice cards on the modern side, with a Didi RC auto and a Thome Sportscasters numbered out of 30 copies.. love those things!

Thanks for the great first trade, Michael! Here's to many more in the future.

-    -  -- ---o

File this one under "random acts of kindness" as TCDB user "Shawn's Doubles" proposed a "trade" offering to send me this Ghostbusters 2 card from my wantlist for free. Hells yeah, brother!

Shawn seemed relieved to get it out of his house. I hope the card isn't... haunted?!

I've still got a dozen more needs to finish this one off, so please check out my wantlist if you've got some of these lying around.

-     -    - -  - ---0

Bo from Baseball Cards Come to Life surprised me with a fat PWE. Love adding more Black Gold cards I need.

Larry Walker in the house.

Some dudes I enjoyed watching when they played for San Diego.

Great stuff!

Thank you, Bo! I need to pack up a return to you soon.

-    - - ---o

Alex from Chavez Ravining started a "trade stack" on this blog, and I ended up claiming the first one on the strength of this lot of gold Ginters. I figured I collect most of these guys (just not Pettitte or Sosa), so it was good bang for my buck.

And if the gold Ginters wasn't enough, these cards were already on the trade stack. Most of these will find a home in my collection, so right on!

We each boosted up our sides with additional cards and Alex hooked me up with some awesome stuff. The Jose Ramirez is a cloth parallel.

Thanks, Alex! Hopefully the cards I sent have arrived safe (if not, let me know, because it's been a week or so.)

- --- - -o

Last package (oops, I mean "huge PWE"!) to show off today comes from Nick at the Dime Boxes Blog. I called dibs on this clear Beltre from one of Nick's free-card events.

Along for the ride were a few other cards he had set aside for me, hitting me back for the few cards I sent him last time. Here we've got a pair of OPC cards of guys I collect, plus a nice lot of Hoyts.

That's a strong mix of Padres.

Closing out with an impressive pair of vintage oddballs of Padres legends. Is that Jerry Coleman a real 1952 Berk Ross Hit Parade of Champions card?! Wow, that might be the nicest card I've gotten in a blind trade in quite a while! And I love the '77 cloth Winfield a lot, too. I should note that it's the "One Star at Back Bottom" variation, which seems to be more scarce than the "Two Star" version. So that's pretty cool.

Thanks as always, Nick! Always look forward to getting cards from you. My collection is greater for having known you!

Thanks again to everybody who sent me cards, and thanks to you for reading. Have a great summer