Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hoyle's Heroes

Excited for the baseball playoffs? I am. Should be a lot of good matchups. Here's hoping an underdog like Pittsburgh or Kansas City can pull off an upset. The only team I'll be rooting against is St. Louis (no offense, Cardinals fans), though I'd also be sad to see the Giants win it all (but at least I'd be happy for ex-Padres Peavy and Bochy, who still have a place in my heart despite turning to the dark side after being driven out of San Diego.) (UPDATE: Wait, Pat Neshek is currently on the Cardinals? Oh, ok, I guess there's somebody to root for there, too.) But as long as those 2 teams get knocked out, somebody's gonna win a Championship who hasn't for quite a long time. And that's what I like to see.

Another thing I like to see is cards in my mail box. The generous Mr. Hoyle hit me with a couple sweet PWEs yesterday.

I was just lamenting last week that I've had zero luck adding any of the unnumbered team checklists to my 1973 Topps setbuild. It seems the similar 1974 versions of these facsimile team auto cards are way more common than 1973. But Hoyle came through with 6 of the former for me! That's 25% down right there.

...plus a couple base 73s to boot.

He also delivered with a few 1971 high-numbers, many of which are in impressive condition...

While I'm not worrying about condition in my 71 setbuild, I still have to appreciate a crisp vintage black border, such as the Ron Hunt up there.

In addition to help with the two vintage sets I'm working on, Mr. Hoyle spiced up the envelopes with some other goodies, too.

Love that Hostess Yaz! Must've been a dupe (or trip') for a Red Sox fan to part with that beauty. A couple big names from Classic are nice, too. And I love the randomness of a Hulk Hogan card!

You're the best, Mark! Thank you very much, yet again. And as always, I'll get some Red Sox cards together for you soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Roberto Clemente is Alive!

...via the magic of enchanted cards, where the power of imagination brings your wildest baseball card dreams to life. With this post, we whimsically wrap up Clemente-mber, in tribute to a great man.

That's one's a bit Python-esqu, but stick with me.

Yeah, that one's kinda creepy, but now we're getting to the good stuff.

That one would have looked better as a horizontal card, but I wanted to stay somewhat true to the original (and was too lazy to mess with photoshopping the text). --The original, which by the way is a "bummer card", with Clemente appearing to react defeatedly to a called third strike. How unfortunate that one of the very few "action" cards of Clemente out there depicts such a negative moment. Oh well. I did my part to help right that wrong. Here's the cool source image I used:

Thanks to whomever made that gif from video.

Repeat alert. Here's a blinker I first posted a few months ago:

Next, here are a couple fantasy cards.

This is the type of card I pull in my happiest dreams:

Lastly, here's a card-that-never-was I whipped up as sort of a nod to multiple-exposure cards Upper Deck put out back in the day:

I think this one's pretty neat, even if I did fudge the dimensions a little. I got lucky finding 2 amazing overhead photos from a moment apart. Big ups to the photographer, apparently snapping these shots from up in the Astrodome's rafters.

Thanks for visiting and celebrating Clemente-mber with me!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Card Show Recap! My biggest and smallest buys ever

Yesterday was a big day for me. First, brushed up my resumé and cover letter to apply for a promising new job (I'm still employed, but probably won't make it through October). Then I had to squeeze in a quick run to the card show and be home in time for midday shopping and lunch with the wife and mother-in-law. (BTW, the grocery store had no random old hobby boxes this time.) From there, my mother-in-law dropped my wife and I off at a big music festival, Project Pabst. As the name implies, it was put on by PBR, so there was a lot of cheap beer on hand.

This post will focus on the card show haul, but I'll try to weave in a little concert review as well.

First up at the fest was K-Flay, a lady rapper, and the act my wife was most excited for. I wasn't expecting to like her much, but she definitely won me over. Super cute, too.

While I was under the gun for time, I was efficient and it turned out to be my most prolific card show to date, picking up cards from 4 different dealers.

First thing through the door, a nickel box caught my eye. The guy obviously ripped a ton of recent stuff and these were mostly the base cards. For 5¢ each, I found a bunch of cards to take home.

Let's see: J.P. Crawford (Phillies prospect I'm not familiar with, but thought it was a neat-looking diecut), Philip Rivers xfractor, Jimmie Johnson (my former classmate), Smoltz, a couple Kershaws, Miggy, Pedro, a McCovey mini, and some various Bowman base.

You math majors out there may have calculated all those nickel cards add up to 75¢. I didn't have change or want to break a one, so I poked around in his other boxes for a quarter card to fill out my dollar purchase (the smallest card show total for me to-date).

I ended up with lil' Julio Urias to be my missing piece. The dealer saw it and asked if I was a Dodgers fan. I scoffed and explained I picked out the card because I've heard of this kid being an upcoming phenom.. might as well grab a card of him.

The second act we caught was the Violent Femmes. The first real rock show I ever saw was the Violent Femmes way back on the very day the Chargers lost the Super Bowl. It was pretty cool to see them again nearly 20 years later. First they played their classic debut album in its entirety, then some other favorites, closing with my personal fav, "American Music".

Second purchase was a quick dig through another dealer's dollar box. I picked up a Lincoln's worth.

The first card that got my attention was the Super Gaylord, a nice hit for my PC. Couldn't pass up that Bert Campaneris RC in gem mint condition.. same with the pristine '68 Dick Allen, a definite upgrade for me. A Hoyt deckle and Clemente oddball round out the purchase.

Now I'm skipping ahead to the end, both of the concert and the card show, in an attempt to save the best for last. Tears For Fears closed out the show. Quick story, when I was a little tyke in the mid 80s, before I was even really "into music", I have a memory of rollerskating at somebody's birthday party at the late Aquarius Roll-A-Rena in La Mesa, CA. Most of the music they played there didn't register with me at all, but I distinctly remember hearing "Everybody Wants to Rule The World" and thinking to myself, "Wow, this is a great song!" So I've been a fan of the band for a long time, and this was my first time ever seeing them. That was pretty great.

Another dollar bin dig, this dealer I've bought from a couple times before. He's a quirky character and always seems to have a bunch of good cards.

They were actually less than a buck each, I think 7 for $5. A few cards not pictured I bought really just for their cases. Like that basketball card on the right, there? Yeah, I mainly got it for its crazy refractory case. The best of this lot has got to be the vintage.. checking off a nice 59 Dick Williams I needed, and a Johnny Bench for my 73 setbuild, plus a sweet Stargell. And there's a couple 89 rookie cards that have evaded me throughout the years, with the Bowman Griffey and UD Randy Johnson. A couple Gwynn inserts round out the lot.

The band that inspired me to shell out for a ticket to this event was Rocket From The Crypt, one of my all-time favorites, and perhaps the most notable rock band to ever come out of my hometown of San Diego. I was there for their "final show" several years back. They recently reunited to rock out some nostalgia and make a few bucks. Good for them. They put on an excellent show, and even my wife who's not into them at all (much to my chagrin), had to admit their set was a lot of fun.

My big purchase of the morning, and in fact my largest card show pick up ever, came from a guy with a bunch of vintage (not my regular "vintage guy", though.. didn't see him this time.) For $60, I picked up some big-name needs for my 73 set plus a gem of a card.

A half-dozen A-Listers to check off my needslist for 73 Topps. A who's-who of star pitchers from the time, plus Fisk's iconic 2nd-year card. The Steve Carlton is a bit creased, and some cards have corner issues, but overall in nice shape (The mark on Gibson's chin is from the top-loader/flash, not on the card.)

And now for the star of my card show haul:

1958 Topps Roberto Clemente! Clemente-mber goes out with a bang! This gorgeous card is now my oldest Clemente, the only one I've got from the 50s. The corners aren't perfect, but it's actually in really nice shape.. perhaps even the best conditioned card out of all my vintage Clementes.

Love this card. By the way, check back tomorrow for what may be-- not to oversell it-- the greatest Roberto Clemente themed baseball card blog post of all time. I'm excited for it.

Anyways, there's a recap of the card show and music festival, both making for a big, fun-packed day for me. Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share the tale with you!

Friday, September 26, 2014

2006 Upper Deck Ovation hobby box (trade bait!)

Remember recently when my grocery store surprised me by stocking 3 random old hobby boxes for $49.99 each? I went with the 2006 Flair Showcase box, passing on 2006 Upper Deck Ovation and 2008 Bowman Chrome.

I had such a blast busting the Flair box that I went ahead and picked up a box of 2006 Ovation too. But no, I didn't go back to the grocery store for it, instead I actually won one on eBay for $36 shipped. Seems like a pretty good deal, and quenches my curiosity for this other "mystery (to me) set". I don't even know what these cards look like.

Let's break 'er open!

There are a lot of similarities between the packages of 2006 Flair Showcase and 2006 Ovation, with both being black boxes with some red background and Ken Griffey, Jr. swinging. Both are really Upper Deck products, so I guess that explains it somewhat.

First impressions: Wow, these are kinda weird cards! I can't think of the word.. but you know, when parts are raised up? Embossed, I guess. Like, these cards would be great for a blind person because you can "feel" the players and textured background. Kinda like those Action Packed cards from the early 90s. Design-wise, these cards remind me of Bowman, with the obvious unique feature being a huge baseball harvest moon in the background.

First pack packs a Konk. And Padre legend Reggie Sangers.

I'm seeing red with the 2nd pack. Griffey, Pujols, and V-Mart.. nice pack.

The 1st insert of the box, Jose Contreras.

Another insert, this one a Cuban DH who never played US ball, Yoandy Garlobo.

A few big fan favorites in this pack.

Jeter. I wonder what he's up to these days? Anybody hear anything about him lately? lol

This pack boasts the only serial numbered cards in the box, oddly: Vernon Wells (201/499) and forgotten Padre prospect Ben Johnson (730/999).

A few big names and an insert.

Some more popular guys and a Big Papi insert.

There's a PC hit for me in the Giles.

Love Derrek Lee. I call him Crime Pup because he reminds me of McGriff in many ways.

Highlights here are Pedro and Peavy, another PC guy for me.

Here's a non-numbered V. Wells, plus a couple Teixeiras and a Wright.

Some decent guys here, with Thome rising to the top.
Here's the only auto of the box, former All-Star Jose Contreras. Could be worse, but definitely not the best name to pull. It's "cut auto" style, which is slightly better than a sticker, but still well below on-card. Sucks to cut off the top of the signature like that. The jersey number inscription is a nice touch. When this set came out, he was coming off the finest year of his career, helping lead the White Sox to their first World Series Championship in decades. And now I've got his autograph!
I like the Miguel Cabrera card a lot.

Second-to-last pack. Nothing too exciting.

The last pack is kinda funny: 3 duplicates from earlier in the box (I looked it up and the base set is only 84 freakin' cards!) plus the hit of the box, a Jeter relic. I had to throw that puppy in a penny sleeve ASAP. At first glance, it's a boring plain grey swatch.. but let's take a closer look...

Look at the glorious stitch through the width of that piece of fabric! I like it. That takes it from being a $5 card to instead a $9 card, in my estimation. But maybe that's just me.
So there you go, $36. That was fun. But glad I didn't pay $49.99. Now is the time to strike with unloading Jeter cards, but I think I'll hang onto it since I have really no good Jeter cards besides a UD Prospects rookie. I also like the Griffey and the Miggy. And the Giles and the Peavy. And Vlad and Ortiz. Maybe the Smoltz, Reggie, and Pujols. And Braves are set aside for Johnny, Red Sox to Hoyle, and Brewers to Tony L. But otherwise, these are up for trade, so just let me know if you're interested in anything. Thanks!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A big Gavin, just in time for Christmas

As you may know, I collect cards of guys named Gavin; My Greatest Gavins collection, as I call it. I landed a big dog recently, perhaps the best-known Gavin out there (at least to people over age 35 or so), Gavin MacLeod. I know him from Love Boat syndication, and some of you may also know him from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. My aunt claims I was named after him, though my mom's story is that she picked it out of a book of baby names, and she's not one to lie, so I don't consider myself named after Mr. MacLeod, though he may have provided subconscious inspiration of the choice. If nothing else, he really put the name on the map in the US.

Anyways, he was always prominently represented in my eBay searches for "autogavphs" (autographed Gavins), but never trading cards.. always just stuff like 8x10s and note cards, neither of which I have much interest in collecting.

But then this summer he was included in a Leaf "Pop Century" set with a bunch of autographed cards (3 or 4 different cards, plus various parallels). Unfortunately, they're all sticker autos. And the pictures Leaf selected are kinda ugly. So I was holding out pulling the trigger on one until I either found one super cheap.. or there was something else enticing about the card... something such as.. say.. being a Christmas Card!

As you can see, Mr. MacLeod has a big signature and is not about to shrink it down to fit it onto a tiny sticker. In the dozens of his cards I've seen from this set, nary a one is actually confined to the borders of the sticker. Just another reason why on-card is better and why I was hesitant to bother picking up one of these cards. But as I say, that 12/25 serial number drew me in on this particular one, so I put in a bid and won it. I love hitting 2 quirky minicollections with one card. But then you have the question of which to group them with: the other Gavin cards or the other Christmas Cards?

I've got 3 Gavin Christmas Cards now, with this Gavin MacLeod joining 12/25 serial numbered cards of Gavin Floyd and Gavin Escobar, both showed off on the blog back in March.

Happy Holidays, and keep on Gavin'.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bitching about the booth and picking up a pair of 1951 Topps

Thanks to mlb.tv, via a generous buddy out there, I've been catching a few Padres telecasts here and there over the past few weeks as the season winds down. This is really the first time since 2008 that I've had a chance to watch "my team" with any regularity.

And while it's nice to watch them play, I've come to a disappointing realization (and it's something beyond the Padres not being a very good team these days). No, I realized the local Padres broadcast team just isn't that entertaining.

Long-time color commentator Mark Grant is cool, with his friendliness and quirky humor. But current play-by-play man Dick Enberg just doesn't do it for me. I mean, he's a HOF-caliber announcer, no question. But after watching a few games, it's obvious to me he doesn't gel with Grant's style at all. Enberg's style works better with calling football. And maybe it's just time for him to retire-- dude's 79! And I'm not against old-guy announcers. I love Vin Scully (these days when I want to tune into a late-evening ballgame, I gotta admit I often lean toward the Dodgers-- blasphemy, right? But Scully's just too great to pass up. Plus, at least LA's games mean something at this point), and of course as a San Diego fan, Jerry Coleman is a saint to me, a joy to listen to even in his twilight years. But yeah, I gotta reluctantly say I'm just not an Enberg fan in his current capacity. Add to that the irritating woman who checks in from the sidelines, and it's hard for me to really get excited about tuning into Padres games these days. I don't remember her name, but she just seems out of place and scatterbrained. I'm hoping for a shake-up for next season over there are Fox Sports San Diego or whatever it's called.

I miss the Channel 4 days of Mel Proctor, and later Matt Vasgersian calling games.. neither of whom I loved at the time, but in hindsight were pretty great. And of course Jerry Coleman was the best. Fond memories of Sunday afternoon broadcasts on local channel KUSI with him and Rick Monday.

Anyways, let's get to the baseball cards. Here's a sweet Jerry Coleman I added to the collection recently:

Love it. There are still several vintage Coleman cards left for me to track down, but it's all gravy to me now after this one and the 1952 Topps card I picked up a while back. Put a best-offer in on it, and ended up getting a graded copy for the price of what similar-conditioned non-graded copies were going for. I'm not a huge fan of slabbed cards, but with old and/or odd-sized cards, the cases are handy for both authenticating and storage.

But the Jerry Gerry is actually my 2nd 1951 Topps card, arriving on the heels of this one:

That's a pretty sweet Hall of Famer Monte Irvin.

Honestly, I need to check, but I think these two beauties have officially helped me reach my goal of having at least one card from every year of Topps baseball cards. Sounds like a good post topic! Stay tuned for a future post where I'll attempt to pull a card out of my collection from every flagship Topps set.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A big 73 Topps push.. and a set-collector question

ARPSmith spoke up for the Giants I pulled in the 2014 Donruss Series 2 hobby box I won from Panini recently. (Still a lot of trade bait left there, btw!) In return, he hooked me up with a nice stack of '73 Topps, checking off a few cards from my list and upgrading a few others.

The highlight? Gotta go with the Davey Lopes high-number rookie.

And ol' "French Fries" himself, Pepe Frias.

Thanks for the trade, Adam! Adam himself is a card away from completing '73 Topps, but has arrived at the "tough schmidt" point. Tough Schmidt, indeed!

Shortly after Adam's package came in, I hit Sportlots and placed a decent order from one seller, checking off a bunch more 73s (in addition to several 2001 Topps Archives Reserve needs, but we'll save that for another post).

Good stuff! I can almost see the finish line on the horizon. With the card show coming up this weekend, I hope to land a few more needed cards, striving to reach the "tough schmidt" point myself. But as for now, here's where I'm at:

80.11% complete
as of 9/22/14

Hey, cracked 80% complete! Nice.

What's really killing my ratio are the unnumbered team checklists. I've got zero of 24 cards from that little mail-in (?) sideset. Maybe I shouldn't count them in my official "1973 Topps master set" total. Also the manager variations.. do I really care if I have the cards with the coaches' photos background in orange and the cards with the coaches' photos background in brownish-orange?

Without those tricky team checklists and manager variations, I'd be looking at 100 cards left to go. Ah well, I'll keep them in my needslist for now, but we'll see if I give up and drop them once I wind up at tough schmidt. Anybody out there have an opinion on the matter?

Do you vintage set collectors out there worry about variations and insert-like sets, or do you just check off card #1 through the last numbered card and call it good?

As always, my needs are here and I'm up for trades. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Johnny on the Spot

The spot in Johnny's Trading Spot has been my mailbox lately, with 4 PWEs arriving over the past few days, with some 2001 Archives needs promised on the way before long, too.

First arriving were these things Topps apparently used to teach kids to play the Lotto.

These are pretty cool. Smiles all around!

The other three envelopes were jam packed with various random Padres. While I try to avoid getting a reputation as a dumping ground for Padres commons, I always seem to find at least a few cards I need/like in such lots. The highlight here for me may have been these Dave Staton cards:

He was one of my favorite prospects back in the day. The next Mickey Mantle, if you asked pre-teen me. But of course he flamed out and never did much in the majors. In the back of my mind, I still can't shake the expectation of him being an all-star one of these days, even if he is now in his 40s and long out of organized ball at this point.

Speaking of my fantasy world, that song linked above is a guilty pleasure of mine from the 80s. When I was younger, I thought it was about a guy who cheated on his girl with a dude. Like, "Who's Johnny?, she said," she's asking, "Who the hell is this Johnny guy you've been messing around with?!" Now that I'm older, and have listened to the lyrics better, I no longer believe that's what it's about. But in my mind, I like to continue believing is an 80s pop song about a guy getting caught in a homosexual affair. It makes for a funnier song.

But back to Dave Staton.. If the parallel craze as we know it were around back then, I probably would have rainbowed the guy pretty hard. Lucky for me my biggest expenditure on him was a 1990 Pro Cards minor league team set that probably set me back around $7 and I dumped in the purge when I moved away from San Diego. But now I'm caving to sentimentality and rebuilding my Dave Staton PC.

And here's a similar guy I thought was a can't-miss prospect who turned out to be can-miss.

For some reason, I was a big High Desert Mavericks fan as a kid even though I didn't live near there or anything. But I bought a cap at some big sportswear store and wore it a lot. It was a cool logo that you can't see that well on Mieske's card. So here:

But really, these guys crushed it in the minors. Just look at these stats!

The Kings of Spokane! High averages and lots of dingers. Building off those numbers, there should have been a Padres dynasty that stretched for many years and saw several World Championships. Didn't happen. Oh well. Someday we'll draft our "it" player who brings it all together. I have to believe that. It's the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. (I exaggerate. But no. Really. Just give me one championship and I'll die happy. Preferably Padres, but I'd settle for Chargers.)

Matt Mieske never played for San Diego, going to the Brewers in the Gary Sheffield trade. But at least he made it into 663 MLB games over his career.

Staton was less successful, only seeing action in a total of 46 games spread over a couple years.

But anyways. Thanks for the cards, John! I'll get a bunch of Braves and Diamond Kings out to you in the next day or so.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

2006 Flair Showcase hobby box from the grocery store (trade bait!)

Grocery shopping this weekend, they had 3 random old hobby boxes for $49.99 each (?!). At first I saw logos on a non-Topps product and was very confused, since this is the first time I've seen non-current product at the Fred Meyer (aka Kroger equivalent).

I knew I had to pick up one. #1 because I love "ripping wax" and #2 I want to support my grocery store having a robust card section. There were 3 hobby boxes: 2008 Bowman Chrome, 2006 Upper Deck Ovation, and 2006 Flair Showcase. As the title of this post implies, I chose the latter. I borrowed my wife's phone (I don't have a smart phone) to check eBay prices to make sure it was a decent deal, and it confirmed that the Flair was my best bet.

So here we go 18 packs of 2006 Flair Showcase, a set I was totally unfamiliar with, but the package boasted 2 guarantied hits.

Cover boy Ken Griffey, Jr.

The 1st card I saw was the back of the Hoffman. Which was nice. Guy I collect, n' all. Also, spoiler alert, the only auto in the box: Bronson Arroyo. Hey, could be worse!

Frank Thomas as an A. Serial numbered! Cool.

Prince Fielder "Suite Level" parallel RC. Sweet! (Suite!) I mean, sure, he's sucked the past couple years, but he's still young enough to bounce back as get back on a HOF track. I don't have any good Prince cards, so I'm happy to have this, unless Tony L. really wants it.

Maddux! Like it. Cuban guy I've never heard of.

Pujols WBC insert. Nice.

Big Unit "Suite Level Legacy" serial numbered parallel. Cool. Also Manny, Ivan, and Schilling. Good pack.

Peavy is the card o' the pack here as far as I'm concerned.

That's a nice "Field Box" Smoltz parallel. Plus a Miggy and a Reggie. Great pack.

An Utley. A Gomes parallel.

Decent pack with a Big Hurt and some other good guys.

Nomar! My big Marcus Giles post is coming soon. I know I've teased it a lot for the past year, but for reals this time it's really coming. I already drafted most of it up while I was drunk a few weeks ago.

Lots of star power in this pack! The King Felix insert may be the best, but the Biggio, Beltre, and Thome are sweet too.

Torii Hunter "Field Box" parallel. Also an Ichiro. His last name is Suzuki. For some reason, card companies don't know this.

Meh. Konerko's ok. Beltran.

Piazza as a Padre.. always nice.

Pujols-hot pack! Also the 2nd hit of the box, a Roy Halladay relic.

Ok, I must have been portioning out the packs wrong because this last one is only 3 cards. MY BAD! I guess the card 'o the "pack" is the Papelbon RC. But he's a duche. So is JD Drew. I don't know Mike Jacobs at all, but odds are he's the best human being of the group.
(Whoops, I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the Pedro-hot pack.)

UPDATE: Here are 3 good cards I forgot to take a pic of originally:
A couple Pedros and a Trot Nixon plain white swatch.
So there you go. $50 worth of cards. Whatever, it was fun. A few cards for my PCs and some good trade fodder (lots of Red Sox [Hoyle] and Brewers [Tony L.]), so I'm ok with it. If you saw something that struck your fancy, feel free to get in touch about a quick trade. Thanks!