Saturday, September 25, 2021

refract like no one's watching

Here are the rest of the 2004 Topps Retired refractors I picked up during a big setbreak on eBay back in June.

This one was an upgrade. I bought the 10/25 Wally Joyner earlier this year, but it lacked a bold, blue signature. Happy for the chance to nab this one, even if in hindsight I wouldn't mind taking a mulligan on the earlier purchase. (But hey, Wally is a PC guy of mine, so no harm having another copy, I suppose.)

This one is 13/25, and while a touch of triskaidekaphobia might knock it down a notch in my eyes, definitely not a deal-breaker. If the 12/25 ever pops up, though, you can bet I'll throw a nice bid on that.

Speaking of which, here's another upgrade for me. I already had the 14/25 Eckersley, which looks totally fine, but I'm a sucker for Christmas Cards, and ended up winning the yuletide Eck for a solid price.

The Ryne Sandberg 12/25 was also part of this setbreak, but quickly crept up too rich for my blood. Of the 76 cards in this refractor autograph set, I own 7 of the Christmas Cards. I know it's not feasible to think I could ever get 'em all, but I'll probably at least keep an eye out for them for the remainder of my card-collecting days.

I'd never seen a refractor of Blackjack McDowell for sale before, though the base version of this card is very common.

AL Cy Young winner in 1993, but injuries prevented him from really filling out his career, having a rough latter half of the 90s.

Last for today, McDowell's teammate on the '95 Yanks, Jimmy Key. Jimmy must have a supercollector out there or something, because I ended up paying more for this one than I had expected-- more than the corresponding Mike Schmidt from the same break, even!

Jimmy played a big part in that first Blue Jays championship squad. Then he signed with New York and missed out on the repeat in '93, but still got himself another ring in '96.

Ok, that wraps it up. Might be a while till I show off another 2004 Retired refractor on the blog. I'm down to needing only Alan Trammell. (And the other 69 Christmas Cards, lol.)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

An Orel Quicky

It's Orel Hershiser's 63rd birthday today, and that's good enough motivation to get around to showing off the 2004 Topps Retired refractor I picked up recently.

Not a lot of free time today, so I just took a bunch of photos and hoped that one turned out good enough for the post. None of them did, so here are a bunch of bad ones instead...

Some pretty good seasons there. Not a Hall of Famer, but he doesn't have all that many certified autos on the market and Dodgers fans understandably love the guy, so his autos usually command "HOF" prices. This was the first '04 Retired refractor I've seen of his pop up for sale, and I wasn't about to let it get away.

It essentially upgrades me from the base auto I had of this card, which is now expendable. So any Dodgers fans reading, feel free to tempt me with a trade offer for that one. Otherwise, it'll be added to my stack of "high-value trade bait" / "cards to get around to selling someday".

Happy Birthday, Bulldog!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Passing thru customs

Sad to hear Norm Macdonald passed away. Made a custom card as a little tribute. Background photo is his hometown of Quebec City. 

This is just digital, but maybe I'll print up a copy for myself once I get back into the swing of things. (The desktop computer I do most of my custom card stuff on is in the shop. Didn't have many templates available to choose from, but 1990 Swell worked fine.)

Physical customs have been popping up from bloggers more frequently these days, and I've got some to show off here today.

The Cards That Never Were blog has been around for over a decade now, cranking out tons of cool customs over the years. He recently started making some hard copies available via his blog and eBay store, and ran a little giveaway to help spread the news, which is how I ended up with this addition for my Buck O'Neil collection.
Thank you, sir!

-    -  - - --o

Gregory at Nine Pockets has also gotten in on the fantasy card creation, and he too was gracious enough to do a giveaway sharing copies with his readers. The hard part for me was picking just 3 cards out of the several fun options available. I'm a big Seinfeld guy, so the George Costanza was my first pick. Love me some Jimi Hendrix too, and really the 1982 In Action design in general.

The Future Stars design is another good one from '82, and looks great with the Beastie Boys here. The "1989 Highlight" card was my backup selection in case one of my 3 picks was already sold out, so that was a nice surprise to see it thrown in as a bonus. I might not be as devoted a Beastie Boys fan as our own Fuji, but they've been a staple of my music collection for a long time.

(On the topic of music cards, been a minute since I've plugged the 1991 MusiCards Blog where I ramble about music and my younger days. We're coming up on the 2nd anniversary there. I only post like once or twice a month, so don't be afraid to throw me a follow there and it shouldn't clog up your feed.)

The highlight card even has a "real" back to it. Great work on these, Gregory! Thanks again for the hookup.

-   -  - --o

Last for today are a few more highlights from WTHB (continuing from part 1 and part 2).

While 1974 Topps #1 is a great card, a standard base card for Hank Aaron in that set would have been nice, too. And I'm always happy to add to my Nate Colbert semi-supercollection. The "miscutsom" is a quirky idea recognizing Nolan Ryan switching teams in December of 1971.

Combing with earlier customs I've gotten from Gio, here's a pair of "1977" Birds and "1973" Schmidts. Nice to be an official club member. (He also made a special card for his collector buddies on Twitter who've completed 1972 Topps that I'll have to bug him about if/when I track down the 217 more cards I'm needing.)

But speaking of bugging Gio.. after the earlier post where I lamented not pulling the trigger on a complete set of the awesome velvety rookie inserts he put out a while back.. well, I took a shot in the dark asking if he had any sets remaining. The cardboard gods were smiling upon me that day, as he had just that morning placed a small order for 3 additional sets because of another guy who had been begging him for a set, and Gio was kind enough to let me reserve one of the other two, generously adding it to my next mailing when they were ready.

I love these cards! I believe this design was inspired by the 1959 Bazooka design (revisited in Archives a few years back, but you don't come across the originals too often). Kinda like "mini tall boys", same height as a standard card, but narrower width. Very colorful, with great photo selections. But the real magic with these is the soft card stock that you don't see with trading cards very often. They've got a nice velvety feel to them in-hand and you almost hate to put them in a sleeve/page.
Fun stuff. Thanks again, Gio!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Larry Doby is in my hall of famer collection

Back in July, gcrl posted a Larry Doby auto. In the comments, Fuji echoed my thoughts of "Awesome card! Had no idea Doby even had certified pack pulled autographs."

I was so smitten with the card, I started keeping an eye out and eventually scored myself one.

Sweet, right!?

Larry Doby! What a legacy.

As a kid, I bought a pack of 1991 Topps Archives ('53 reprints), with Larry Doby being the most memorable pull after Ted Williams, both from the "cards that never were" portion of the checklist, as neither man had a real 1953 Topps card.

Never would have thought 30 years ago that I'd have his autograph in my card collection one day. Neat!

My only vintage Doby resides in my active 1957 Topps setbuild, kindly sent to me by Night Owl many moons ago. Classic look.

Thanks again for that, Greg!

And thanks to the rest of you for checking out some of my Larry Doby cards. See ya next time.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Bruce Bochy PC

Blogger Mario A. has never been one to bite his tongue calling out hobby fails, and a few weeks back he tweeted out a Bruce Bochy buyback auto as an example of a deflating card one might pull from the pricey, one-card-per-box Archives Signature product from Topps.

He made his point, and honestly if Topps should really exit the baseball card landscape in the coming years, giving a rest to the steady flow of Topps buybacks is something I'll be happy about.

But it so happens I'm in the minority who was excited to see Bruce Bochy have an influx of certified autographs on the market. He helmed the Padres through the height of my fandom of the team, back when I'd do my best to catch the broadcast of nearly every game. (Been a long time since I've watched through an entire Padres game, stretching back to well before cancelling my subscription.)

But yeah, Boch has a sentimental place in my heart, and when he departed for San Francisco I didn't hold it against him, as San Diego's front office seemed to be pushing him out the door. Those ensuing years that the damn Giants were loitering in the World Series, I could at least be happy that Boch was having success, though I wished he could've worked that magic during his time in So Cal.

He'll probably get into the Hall soon. More losses (2029) than wins (2003) doesn't look good, but I don't think you can name another manager with 3 World Series titles who isn't enshrined in Cooperstown, right?

Before this year, Bruce didn't have many autos on the market. There's an Archives "Fan Favorites" auto from a while back that I had on my radar, but he's pictured as a Giant, so I was kinda begrudgingly keeping an eye out for a good price on one and think I bid unsuccessfully on a couple. So his popping up in Archives Signature this year is a rare time that I'm thankful Topps loves buying back their cards, modifying them, then putting them back out there. Otherwise I might be waiting a long time for a decent certified Bochy auto in a Padres uniform.

Anyways, after seeing Mario's tweet, I took to eBay and was excited to find a Christmas Card of Boch in a Padres uniform with a low opening bid that I was able to secure for the collection. 

It's just what I was looking for and crowns my PC nicely. Figured I'd document the rest of my Bruce Bochy cards here.

This slabbed, signed rookie card was my placeholder for a certified autograph the past few years. Not much to like here, but it was cheap and scratched the itch. If he does get The Call, perhaps this card will see a bump in value, since I know "signed HOF rookie cards" is a somewhat common avenue for collectors to go down. Not that this specimen would grade very highly, a bit off-center and with a noticeable edge nick on the bottom.

Still need a raw, unsigned '79 for the PC (though I've got one in my '79 set). He didn't have Topps cards in '81-'83, so this is otherwise a complete run of his Topps flagship as a player.

And then some manager cards, including an unbought-back copy of the 2001 card from earlier. Sorting out my cards for this post, I was surprised to find that the Heritage here is my only card of him as a Giant.

Only Donruss card I'm missing is 1986 Donruss #551.
I expected to need a few Fleer cards, but no, he only made it into these two Fleer sets. That's being a backup catcher for you, I guess.

Oddball goodness here. Mothers, Keeblers, Carl's Jr, SGA.

Closing out with a few glorious minor league cards, including another signed card I picked up along the line. I sometimes forget Boch spent a couple years as catching depth for the Mets. (These two Tides cards seem to be the only cardboard representation from the stint; Despite playing 17 games in New York in '82, he never got a card as a Met.. [ok, eventually one: 1991 WIZ Mets. Nobody beats the Wiz.])
And dig the "C/CH" position on the 1988 card as he transitioned from behind the plate to the dugout. It's too bad the Las Vegas Stars changed their uniforms to keep in sync with the parent club. They should have kept rocking those mustard-explosion uniforms forever! "Gold star", ya know? Totally fits the name.

I'd be happy to add any Bruce Bochy cards not pictured in this post, so feel free to get in touch about a trade if you've got any to spare.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the holiday weekend, everybody.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Yogi all over again (making a Dent in 2004 Retired refractors)

I was excited to score this beautiful Yogi Berra auto for my 2004 Retired refractor set recently.

Heck of a career and a World Series ring for every finger. Despite no red ink stats on the back, Berra was MVP three times. One of the most amusing characters in the history of the game, to boot. 

This card was actually an upgrade for me.

Yep, I now have 2 of these cards. The first one I bought way back when I originally started targeting these refractors (I initially set out to only complete the '04 Retired base auto set, or a mix of base and a few refractors, but the refractors' siren song gradually pulled me in and my goal morphed into completing the refractor parallels instead.) But I had hoped for the chance to upgrade my Yogi to one with a bold, blue the signature. My guess is a previous owner left the card displayed in the sun for too long. Doesn't seem to have faded further in the several years I've owned it. (You can see it way back in my blog's first real post, with a COMC watermark, before I pulled the trigger on it.) If any reader doesn't mind a partially faded auto and wants to make me a trade offer for the card on the left above, it's available.

Coincidentally, in the few hours I had this post in the works, a base Yogi auto from this set popped up on eBay, and it also features a black signature, though not as faded as mine. Hmm. Maybe he used an old black sharpie for signing some of these cards? Weird.

Anyways, while we're on the topic of Yankee heroes, here's another one-- to a lesser extent, but stil...

Another recent pickup. Bucky Dent is an anomaly in 2004 Topps Retired because he's the only player included in the autograph checklist who doesn't also have a base card in the set. His base auto is very common (mine is now available for trade, btw), but I had never encountered a Bucky refractor until this one came along.

Better known for his glove, Dent's career batting record isn't all that impressive. Came up clutch in 1978, though.

Glad to check these Yankees off the list as I near the end of this epic collecting adventure of mine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

whatever n' stuff

Miguel Cabrera is a guy I collect. Recently retired him into the Hundred Card Club section of my wantlist. Above are some highlights from the PC. 
Congrats on entering the 500 HR Club, Miggy!

That jumbo relic really leaves something to be desired with that big, boring grey swatch.

There we go! Blog-used sticker on the penny sleeve to kick it up. (I need to work on my cutting skills if I'm ever to be an elite card art creator.) (God help whoever ends up with my collection after I die, as there's plenty of weird stuff like this modified relic that'll surely result in some head-scratching.)

- - -o

A couple weeks ago I was inspired to revive my 1964 Topps setbuild. I was like "YEAH, I'M 3/4 DONE; LET'S POUND THIS ONE OUT!" I did some research, finding the fair price for my needs. Found a bunch from Greg Morris on eBay (you might be familiar.. vintage cards with the blue backdrop). Put in several bids/snipes that were just a bit above the market rate but I figured the savings from combined shipping would offset the overpaying. But damn it, I guess everybody else had the same fucking idea, as all that guy's cards seemed to finished significantly above the market price.. and I lost every auction from that dude. Bummer. Oh well, at least I ended up with a pair of HOFers from other, non-Greg Morris sellers, sub-Lincoln shipped each. My '64 setbuild is back to the backburner. *sigh* I had put a bunch of commons in my Sportlots cart too, but think I'm gonna clear that and just circle back in a year or three.

Harmon was in the thick of his career at the time, while 1964 would be Nellie's final full season.

But those aren't the first of these bros in my '64 setbuild. Got this All-Star Special from Nick's dad 2 or 3 years back. I'm gonna start making customs again one of these days (technical difficulties nearly sorted out) and hopefully work out another deal with him soon.

- - -o

Here's a fun one. Some dude found an old tweet of mine where I said I had dupes from '88 Topps Pee-Wee's Playhouse for trade, and he needed one of the [tough] stickers (CL#4), and it just so happens I had a dupe (actually a triple; I'm working on a 2nd set) so I was able to hook him up and in return I got a couple promo cards. The guy I traded with happened to be a cousin of Mark Schultz, an artist who's worked on lots of stuff including Marvel and Star Wars cards. So he had the hook-up for signed promos. One is signed on the front, and the other on the back:

Both very cool, but what really makes card #1 a bullseye for my collection...

It glows in the dark!! I'm a sucker for glowing cards, and this is my first glowing autograph (I've been meaning to send an UD Fun Pack Glow Star TTM to Juan Gonzalez, but haven't gotten around to it yet). Glows great!

Thanks, Ned!

- - -o

Good ol' Wes Moore must not be collecting Braves much anymore, because he was kind enough to send me this incredible quad relic of notable tomahawk choppers. I guess this'll go in my Acuña PC, no offense to the retired greats. 

Another bat-tastic quad relic! Man, I'm not even sure which PC this'll go to. Rose, Bench, and Perez are PC guys while Morgan is a heavily-respected 9-pocketer. Leaning toward Bench here, honestly. Love that sack of shit Charlie Hustle, but I've got enough unlicensed cards of his. And Perez is great (and a former PCL Padre), but you just can't beat Bench as far as the Cincinnati Reds go.

Another Rosey one! I helped out Wes with some wrestling customs (jpgs only.. still haven't printed any customs of my own since Wes' last batch about a year ago), with these cards being my commision. Relatively easy decision to put this one in the McCovey PC (though Billy Williams is awesome too, and no disrespect to Ron Santo). 

My Donnie Baseball PC got bumped up a notch thanks to this auto/relic. Numbered 10/12. Very nice.

And a few non-hits rounding out the package. Harmon and Ronald making repeat appearances in the post.

Thanks, Wes! Always a pleasure.


I'll leave you with this photo of Ruby searching for enlightenment.

Thanks for reading!