Tuesday, March 2, 2021

my "thank you" notes

I usually try to include a little "thanks for the trade" note when I send out return cards to my trader buds. Sometimes it's just on a little piece of blank scratch paper, but sometimes I use custom misprints or the like if I've got something interesting in grabbing distance when I'm packing up the cards.

So just a heads up that if you trade with me and my "thank you" note is a "card" that has writing on back, I don't consider it a "real" custom of mine.. just scratch paper that you won't hurt my feelings if you throw away. But sure, keep it if you wanna. And feel free to request a "real" version of the custom, and once my desktop computer gets fixed (looks like I need to buy a copy of Windows 10 because my Windows 7 on that computer that I use for making customs went kaput), feel free to ask and I'll likely hook you up on our next trade.

Too Many Verlanders recently got such a note on the back of a Frank Drebin. I figured I'd get a post out of a little backstory there.

I recently celebrated the 5-year anniversary at my current place of employment. The slacker that I am, this is easily the longest I've worked at any one company. I recently got a bonus and a raise, and if eBay will do another "eBay Bucks" promo one of these days, I might pull the trigger on some celebratory cardboard. Feels good to be appreciated, yada yada yada

I only mention it because it was at my previous job where I printed out a few "cards" on standard printer paper with the intention of using them for notes, but then I lost interest in that plan and they were cast aside until recently revisiting them when I moved last year.

At first I thought it was cool, but then I started worrying that people might think I was trying to counterfeit cards. But again, these are on regular ol' paper and no one would think they were real in-hand, but still.

I'd feel bad about these going to waste, so I recently started cutting them into card-sized pieces. So if you trade with me sometime in 2021, heads up you might get a bonus "card" printout along for the ride.. with a little note on the back.

Again, just a fun bonus, don't feel like you need to hang onto them.

The worst is when I use a rejected custom where my printer crapped out and the blogger is like "look at this bonus custom Gavin sent me!" and I'm thinking like... "No! That's a reject! Just a note! My customs are usually better looking than that!" LOL

So yeah, just for the record my thank you notes shouldn't be treated like real cards, but I guess that's up to everyone to decide what's worth keeping.

Me? I appreciate thank you notes with trades, but I'm not one of those traders who keeps them. (though I do save [collect] "blogger cards" and more recently also "blogger business cards".) I admit I have a hard time throwing away greeting cards from loved ones. Like when my mom sends me a birthday card, I wrestle with hanging onto it or not. 

Hey, I cherish this card I got from my Aunt Karen around the time I moved up to Portland. I digitalized a bunch of old family photos (so I wouldn't have to move them) and sent DVD copies to the family, and this was a thank-you she sent me.

She's currently battling pancreatic cancer, so it'd be nice if you could send her your prayers / good thoughts. Despite the name "Karen" becoming a bad word in recent years, she's a wonderful person!

Howabout you guys, do you save all greeting cards you get? Maybe just a few special ones? Or do they all end up in the trash?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Card show adjacent

I got covid-19 vaccinated today (1 of 2) with a leftover dose that might've gotten thrown out otherwise. The story there is my mother-in-law is a recently retired medical professional who has been volunteering at vaccinating events. My wife and I were totally fine waiting till whenever, but her mom was really pushing to get us on the stand-by list for any leftover doses. We got a call in the late afternoon letting us know that there were some spots open if we could get our butts down to the place ASAP, and knowing that her mother wouldn't let it go until we finally got it, we hopped in the car and headed down. Everything was winding down for the day by the time we got there. I'm not great with needles, but the whole process was completely painless and I thought the guy was joking when he said he was done, as I was expecting a nasty pinch that never came. (My arm might be sore tomorrow, but it's fine at the moment.) We heard them say they still had like 9 doses left after us, and I only saw like 2 or 3 other people bringing up the rear behind us, so I'm glad we didn't take a dose away from any more deserving folks, rather we just took doses that would've been wasted otherwise because the stuff doesn't have a very long shelf life and wouldn't be usable tomorrow.

Now we just gotta wait a month to get the 2nd shot and we should be good. After that, I think I'll be confident enough to venture back to the card show for the first time in a year. From what I hear, Portland's monthly card show has been as packed as ever lately and great bargains are getting harder to find thanks to the sportscard bubble pumped so big these days. So I might have to be a bit more restrained with my purchases, but the lure of thumbing through fresh cards again is strong. My wife is more excited about returning to the gym again.

Oh, anyways, when I came home, I opened a package of cards from fellow Portland-based card collector Kenneth of the blog Cardboard Hogs (which is active again after being dormant for a while and you should be sure to check it out if you haven't recently).

Ken attended the little blogger meet-up I helped organize a few years back and it's cool bumping into him at the card show once in a while. I feel bad that he had to pay postage to mail this recent package rather than a free hand-off at a show, but hopefully we're running into each other again in person soon.

Stamps and stickers?! Impressive.

Nice bunch of Gavins here, especially the bottom two, both new to me. I have a ton of pre-rookie Gavin Lux cards but almost no rookie cards of his, probably because I didn't buy much 2020 cards (or trade that much last year either)... so this one is extra appreciated.

An assortment of Padres plus a Hoyt.

And finally, some '75s for my setbuild. Nice! J.R. Richard was a need and the others are upgrades. I've become a bit disheartened about vintage setbuilding recently (think I'm gonna have to pull the plug on my short-lived run at 1959 Topps, for example, as unless there's a big bubble burst coming up, the likes of the Mantle and Bob Gibson's RC might be too much of a financial commitment for me to sign up for under current prices).. but at least '74 and '75 Topps shouldn't be too hard to wrap up one of these days. Ninety-six 1975 cards remaining for me, and I've got both big rookies already.

Thanks again, Ken! Much appreciated. I'll try to round up a return for you soon.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Snow Day

Ruby's first snow day! This is probably the best out of the many photos I snapped of her today.

I wanted to get another post out after last posting in a bad mood. I'm doing ok now.. was just having a bit of the ol' "baseball card breakdown" that gives this blog its name. lol. (and also stress from work and the other dumb stuff weighing on me.) Thanks for all the well wishes.. You all are the best!

Let's pull a couple cards off the "To be posted" stack to take a look at. I've got a lot of stuff in that stack, but most of it is just waiting for me to muster up the drive to tackle the stuff that'll be time-consuming to write about. A lot of these cards I feel so strongly about that I don't want to half-ass a post for them, but then I just keep putting it off because lately it's hard for me to find the energy needed to put into a big post like that. But here are some cards that I don't have too much to say about!

But first, a baseball trivia question for ya... 

Only two outfielders have won a Gold Glove in their final season. One is Roberto Clemente. Who is the other?

this guy...

Maybe you remember a few months back when I posted my Alex Gordon PC and lamented the fact that the only auto I had of his was an unlicensed stickergraph and that I wanted to score a better one someday? Well, I did! I got this early Bowman Chrome refractor auto. Love it! This is his first Bowman auto, even if it doesn't carry the 1st Bowman designation (I guess he had a base card in 2006 Bowman, but this auto is from 2006 Bowman Chrome?)

21/500. Nice cherry on top of my little Gordon collection.

Wally Joyner doesn't have many autographs featuring him from his Padres days. I liked him well enough during his stint in San Diego and figured I'd score a cool card to commemorate it. Don't mind an excuse to add another framed Ginter mini to my collection. They're adorable.

I bought this Ted Simmons 2013 Panini Golden Age auto way back in the carefree days of January 2020 but just never got around to posting about it. I suppose I don't have to post about every card I add to my collection, but there's something procedural about doing so that I appreciate. Simmons has surprisingly few certified autographs on the market for a guy of his stature (fan favorite, recent HOF veterans committee inductee). I thought this was the best looking of his couple autos available. The catchers gear picture mitigates it being unlicensed. Was it Jon (Penny Sleeves) who was working on this auto checklist? I think it's a great design. Great to get Simba representing in my collection with a sharp auto.

Let's close out the post with my first wallet card photo of the year. Looks like I'll be spending my 3-day weekend relaxing at home. Stay warm, guys!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Go Figure

Hey all, I'm having a bad time at the moment, hating the hobby and everything else, but here's a draft from last November I haven't gotten around to posting yet.

I try to keep my collection cards-only due to storage/space/money concerns, but occasionally I venture out of the 2D realm and pick up a figure-type collectable. I recently scored a couple that I figured I'd show off on the blog.

I gotta say that I generally don't like Funko Pops. It's specifically the dead, black eyes that creep me out. But occasionally they put one out where the eyes get spared that treatment and those ones typically look ok, like this black suit Spider-Man I picked up recently. My first (only?) Funko.

I'm not in it for the investing, so I unboxed. It has some imperfections anyways.

With great glowing comes great responsibility. This guy has now been added to the glow-in-the-dark bathroom/museum I've got in the works. I already had a glowing Venom comic on display, so I figured a Spider-Man version of that would suit me just fine make a good counterbalance.

When I think of my favorite toy lines as a kid in the mid/late 80s, the crown goes to G.I. Joe and (the Real) Ghostbusters, but MASK is somewhere high in the top 10, too. I didn't realize how popular MASK was until joining a FB join with fans from all over the globe actively collecting the things. Sadly, I didn't keep much of my childhood MASK collection (I owned the big Boulder Hill playset and many vehicles), but I dipped my toe into collecting them as an adult by scoring this Condor recently.

MASK was kinda like a hybrid of GI Joe and Transformers. Army guys with regular vehicles that you could change into weaponized vehicles (and the gimmick was the guys had special helmets). Condor was a motorcycle that transformed into a helicopter. I remember having this as a kid and loved it. I might try slowly rebuilding my childhood collection, picking up the toys I remember having or longing for.

I was really into Pee-Wee's Playhouse as a kid, and still like it a lot as an adult. I had a couple of the toys as a kid. But the toy line didn't come out until season 2, and by then production had moved from NY to LA, and with that change, Captain Carl set sail to never be seen again (as Phil Hartman stayed in New York because of SNL). So when these retro toys were released a couple/few years back, I had to pull the trigger on Cap'n Carl here. (Not exactly a recent purchase, but for the purposes of this post...) It's my first of these type of things, but I can see myself coming back for more at some point.

So there you go. Part of me wants to build a toy collection resembling what I had as a kid-- and what I wished I had-- but man, those pieces of plastic ain't cheap today, so barring a lottery win, I won't be going too hard in that direction. But if anybody has any Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ghostbusters, He-Man, M.A.S.K., Sectaurs, Army Ants, Rock Lords, Visionaries, Go-Bots, Bionic Six, or Pee-Wee toys that you might want to part with for some cards, just let me know.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Backtracking with 1982 Topps (because I'm a dummy)

I completed the 1982 Topps set back in 2018. But then I stored the set away in a longbox with the Cal placed on top in a rigid plastic case to keep it extra safe (been in there basically since pulling it from a pack as a kid). And then I also put my slabbed Traded '82 Cal in there too. This turned out to be a mistake; when the box was closed, Cal's cases dug into some of the cards beneath them. I assumed it was one of those boxes that had some breathing room above the cards, but no, it was one of those boxes without much space between the cards and the top of the box.

So now I've got a few cards from my '82 Topps set that find themselves in the condition of "upgrade would be nice" thanks to ground up edges on that one side facing the top of the box. I feel like a fool, but at least it was just '82 Topps, a set of cards that-- Ripken rookie notwithstanding-- are generally ubiquitous and inexpensive, and it could have been worse, as most of the damaged cards were commons.

I say "most" because HOFer Carlton Fisk looks like he had himself a bit of a home plate collision.

Not like the card is completely ruined, but for a flagship 80s set, that's gonna bug me.

If anyone has some sharp '82 Topps singles available and would like to help me out with a friendly trade, here are the cards I would like to upgrade:

61 Tommy Boggs
63 Mario Soto
110 Carlton Fisk
285 Sparky Lyle
336 Mariners CL
645 Frank White

There were a few more with very minor damage, but these 6 are the only ones bad enough for me to worry about. Lesson learned: don't store encased cards in a box of cards like that.

While we're on the topic of 1982 Topps, check out this shiny pair...

Topps did a little run of Cards That Never Were back in 2007, and a few of them got the refractor treatment through eTopps. I just fell in love with them a few months back and have been working on the set. Expect another post on that once I collect 'em all. But anyways, yeah, these are a couple cool cards that could have been. I'm a little sour at Topps for leaving out the other of the Big Three rookies from '83 Topps: my guy Tony Gwynn. But oh well.

They did a decent job making "real" backs too, which I greatly appreciate. To nitpick, the numbering implies the cards are from 1982 Topps Traded... but the Traded backs were red in '82, not green like the base set. And Sandberg wouldn't have been in the Traded set as a Phillie since he started the year in Chicago.. so this card would make more sense in the '82 base set since he got a cup of coffee in Philadelphia at the end of the '81 season. Also, why does the cartoon say his nickname was Ryno? When did it stop being Ryno?!

As for the Boggs, the mention of his 3000th hit is *looks up a big word* anachronistic. As a custom cardmaker, I try to avoid that kind of stuff when making a "card that never was" type of dealy. 

But otherwise, yeah, neat cards!

From the same seller I got the Boggs from, I also got this baby Bill Buckner rookie for my 1970 Topps setbuild. Pretty good snag at just 99¢ and no additional S&H. I've still got a long way to go with that set, but feels good to keep chipping away at it.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

trio of trades

Here are a few more highlights of the keepers from the longbox of ~500 cards Rod gave me the other weekend. I was happy to help him out with some missing numbers in his Padres frankenset in exchange.

A Lou Bob RC and some lovely WWE gals lead the way here. Always a rare treat when I receive '89 Bowman cards that don't have at least one dinged corner.. lol. Cool shot of Vlad, plus a mini Polar Bear.

Thanks again, Rod!

- - --o

Dennis kindly sent me over a nice bubble-mailer last month, highlighted by a need for my slow-going Kellogg's run and a Christmas Card of Nathan Peterman (note the "12/25" down by his feet). Neat 4-color swatch there.

The rest of the package was heavy on black gold. Very cool.

Thanks, Dennis! I'll round up a return for you soon.

- ---o

Another long-time trading buddy, Matt from what I know best as Sport Card Collectors but is now called Matt's Wonderful Blog Of Hobbies surprised me with a PWE heavy on Michael Sam, though Tim Duncan is probably the highlight here.

Thanks, Matt! I'll hit you back with some NY Giants shortly.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Soup or 70s?

Hey, I haven't posted in nearly a couple weeks. Time for some card soup.

Rod kindly dropped another box of miscellaneous cards on me last weekend. While I ended up with a big stack of keepers, I think this Hank Aaron mini from new Ginter Chrome was my favorite. Rest in Peace, Hammer.

More Aaron. I haven't posted since he passed, so this is sorta doubling as a tribute post.

But yeah, I too got one of those boxes of Topps' online offering Super 70s cards that gave folks a glimmer of hope that Topps was putting out a set of cards that old-school collectors could appreciate. I'm in the same boat as the other bloggers who've reviewed this offering: A collector tiring of modern cards/players, looking for a nice throwback set with fan favorites I grew up loving, at a decent price without having to battle in the current retail card hellscape.

The design is a '77/78/79 Topps mashup. The inserts are similar but bring '75 into the mix, and come 2 to a box. While the price-per-card wasn't great, at least I collect just about every guy I pulled, so even though I didn't luck into an autograph, I don't regret the purchase.

I should mention I'm a fan of the Super 70s Sports twitter account and have been a follower since my early days on the app. It's good for an occasional laugh or interesting perspective, even if I don't always agree with sentiment. Also, the guy who runs it-- Ricky Cobb-- has a tendency to repeat his most popular tweets a few times every year.. which I find a little annoying and repetitive.. as are the frequent tweets hocking t-shirts, but I get that it must be hard trying to make a living as a Twitter personality. By and large, the account is a great follow.

Not sure how much of a say Ricky had when it came to these Topps cards. I'd have loved to see it get a little more "out there". In one of the first reviews of the set I saw, there was Mike Piazza featured as a Marlin, so I got excited for some quirk, but no, it's a pretty straight set apart from that one card. Ricky loves to show crazy pictures like Dave Parker wearing a hockey mask on the field-- would have been cool to get that on a card, but nope Cobra's card is a yawner. Or how about a new Mark Fidrych card? That would have fit right in with the spirit of the set, but Bird isn't in there. Oakland's Matt Olson has a card in the set for some reason. I checked, and Matt Olson has never once been mentioned in a Super 70s Sports tweet. (Fidrych has been mentioned dozens of times.)

The set is like a third big-name HOFers, a third current stars, and a third lesser-known 70s/80s fan favorites (these retired guys also find themselves as the autograph checklist, basically). Looks like all the autos are stickergraphs (boo!) besides the curator Ricky Cobb himself. I bet Topps gave him a list of "fan favorite" players they had a stockpile of autographed stickers of on hand and let him narrow down the list from there for his curated set.

After the mild disappointment of not pulling an autograph from my box, I was compelled to track down a Cobb auto on eBay. I guess this'll go to the "bloggers cards" area of my collection. He's not really a blogger but close enough.

Despite plenty to gripe about (oh, also the backs are very hard to read), it's a fun set and while it could have been a lot better, I appreciate the attempt.

I could spend a lot of time daydreaming about what a Baseball Card Breakdown curated Topps set would include, but I guess that's why I make customs.

- --o

I made 3 purchases from the Topps online store in 2020: a Project 2020 Rickey Henderson earlier in the year, then that box of "Super 70s Sports X", and finally a Throwback Thursday set in December.....

This is 2020 Throwback Thursday Set #49 featuring the 1988 Topps Football 1000 Yard Club inserts design, helping me add yet another solid Hank card to the PC.

I had just days earlier noted to myself how I dig those glossy Topps Football 1000 Yard Club inserts after getting a few in a previous misc box from Rod, so when I saw the 6-card set up for sale, I gave Topps my $19.99. Looks like the print run ended up being 503, damn near scare compared to that Bernie Sanders Topps Now card of him sitting down (91,169 printed!) 
I included an original '88 insert in the above pic to show they did a pretty good job recreating the design, though the new ones don't have the thick gloss of the originals.

I'm a sucker for big round-number milestones like these, plus I collect all 6 of the dudes included, so it felt worth the money.

The Clemente is the star of the set in my eyes. Beautiful!

- --o

One reason I haven't been posting as much lately is that I got my little "music room" area going in the basement, so I've been spending some after-work time jamming out. After not really picking up an electric guitar for a long time, it's been a lot of fun just noodling around and trying to remember how to play songs I loved rocking out back in my 20s when playing guitar for an hour or two was part of my daily routine. Some songs have faded from my brain over the years, but others come flooding back with crazy muscle memory.

Thanks for stopping by.