Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Digging vintage from the dimebox

While the card show this past weekend left me wanting more, I actually did pretty well. I've already shown off my 20 pickups from the dollar bins, now here's my other purchase of the day: a big stack from the dimeboxes.

Here are a bunch of sweet 60s and 70s cards in nice shape, with several HOFers among them.

I also grabbed up pretty much any '73 I came across without even bothering to check the needslist in my back pocket. For a dime, can't go wrong. Picked up several needs and a few upgrades. Gotta love that classic Luis Alvarado card with the old cars parked in the background!

Now we're venturing into the 80s. Lots of big names here. Boosted my Yaz PC quite a bit thanks to this show.

Some good ones from 1983. I already had Julio Franco's one true rookie, but hell, I'll grab another (anybody want it?). And I doubled up on the Willie McGee rookies (anybody need one?). Though I'm a San Diego collector, that might be my first card of The Chicken, believe it or not.

Here are some cards from 1984. The top 3 are Topps Traded-- a few XRCs, as they used to be called. Though my Winfield PC is "retired" at the moment, I couldn't resist the OPC. That Fleer Johnny Bench is a terrific card as well.

Here's the Bench backs. I believe only Fleer gave Johnny a true "sunset" card with glorious complete career stats on the back (even squeezing in minor league numbers!), while Donruss (pictured) and Topps only included him in "retiring legends" combo cards.

Some cards from 1985 now. Again, I gave in to a Canadian Winfield.

Let's close out now with 3 cards from my guilty pleasure, 1986 Fleer. I'm pretty sure I already have these, but whatever. When they're just a dime each, you can indiscriminately throw cards on the stack and worry about already having them later.

That's enough for today. I split the dimebox cards in half chronologically; I'll post the modern cards I dug out another time.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Brian Giles was a narc at my school (Guys from Granite countdown finale)

There have been 7 graduates from my high school to play in the major leagues (Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California representing!) I've managed to obtain at least a couple cards from them all. I'm tipping my cap to each of them in this recurring Guys From Granite series. We're counting them down in ascending order by career games played, working our way to the most successful GHHS Eagle. This is part 7 of 7.

Brian Giles

We've come to #1! Yep, the greatest major leaguer to ever come out of Granite Hills is undoubtedly Brian Giles. He beats out his younger brother Marcus. I think Brian may have been high school teammates with #3 on the list, Shane Spencer. Looks like Shane graduated in 1990, while Brian was a year ahead of him.

Brian was drafted by Cleveland in the 17th round of the 1989 amateur draft out of high school. He worked his way up the chain in the minors, cracking the bigs with a cup of coffee in September 1995, impressively getting 5 hits in 9 at-bats. The next year was split between AAA Buffalo and Cleveland, playing well both places. He was in the majors to stay in 1997, highlighted by a solid World Series performance: 2 hits in 4 at-bats plus 4 walks in a losing cause to the Marlins.

After the 1998 season, Giles was traded to the Pirates straight up for pitcher Ricardo Rinc√≥n. Brian blossomed in Pittsburg, getting MVP consideration 4 years in a row, with All-Star nods in 2000 and 2001. In 5⅔ years there, he hit .308 with 165 home runs. Very nice career peak!

In August 2003, Brian was traded to the Padres for Jason Bay and Oliver Perez. While the trade probably pissed off a lot of Pirates fans at the time, Bay would go on to win Rookie of the Year in 2004 and follow that up with a few more strong seasons, so I'm sure they'd be happy to make that deal all over again. Brian on the other hand was a solid player for several years in his hometown of San Diego, though his numbers never quite reached the level he put up in Pittsburgh. But he helped the Padres get into the playoffs a couple times, falling to the Cardinals in the NLDS in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, he was 9th in MVP voting when he hit .301 with 15 home runs and led the league with 119 walks.

San Diego cut Brian loose after an injury-marred 2009 season (arthritic knee). He signed with the Dodgers for 2010, but his knee kept bugging him so he ended up retiring in spring training. While his career numbers fell short of the Hall, he still put together a heck of a career with a .291 lifetime average and 1078 RBI (stats). The guys in his "similarity scores" on baseball-reference are pretty nice company:

Reggie Smith (925)
Bob Johnson (921)
Fred Lynn (919)
Shawn Green (910)
Bobby Bonilla (901)
Magglio Ordonez (900)
Dante Bichette (900)
Matt Holliday (895)
Lance Berkman (895)
Tim Salmon (890)
Dick Allen (889)

Impressive list of "Hall of Very Good" players right there, with maybe a couple legitimate arguments for Cooperstown, too. (Dick Allen for HOF!) The only unfamiliar name is Bob Johnson, an outfielder from the 1930s.

So yep, Brian Giles is easily the most accomplished GHHS Eagle to play the game of baseball. You made us proud, Brian! Must've been nice to play a good chunk of your career in your hometown. I think he still lives in El Cajon, too.

Anyways, moving from a career bio now to my personal memories of Brian. I mentioned last time that I went to school with Brian's little brother Marcus Giles, but Brian had already graduated and been drafted by the Indians a few years before I got to Granite. However, he was actually kinda still there!

Yep, the high school had hired him to be a security-type of guy. All us students referred to these guys as "Narcs" though that might be a misnomer since Narcs are more traditionally thought of as undercover "students" trying to infiltrate the stoners and find out who's selling dope. But the Narcs we're talking about basically just stood around and made sure nobody was walking off campus or smoking or whatever. Occasionally breaking up a fight or escorting a troublemaker to the principal's office. I think "campus coordinator" is the official title. They were essentially bouncers.. just big muscular dudes who stood around looking intimidating to keep everybody in line. This was pre-Columbine, pre-9/11, etc, so it wasn't quite as big of a deal as it was in later years, I'm sure. They didn't have weapons or wear uniforms or anything, just t-shirts tucked into shorts, with only a walkie-talkie to distinguish them from any other 20-something guy walking down the street.

I remember Brian the school employee as a big, authoritative presence, but he never said or did much. Always calm and quiet, often shooting the shit with the other few guys who made up the school's on-site security team. Some of those guys had a tendency to let the power go to their heads and sort of almost bully students a little, but I don't recall Brian ever being a dick at all.

The only "altercation" I recall having with him was once or twice when my friends and I were eating lunch a few feet away from the designated lunch area and he wrangled us in back to within the allowed boundary. Granite Hills is a really nice, open campus, by the way. Growing up in Southern California, I never had to go to school in a "big building" type of layout.

But yeah, this was the early 90s. Brian was a minor leaguer at the time, but I guess this was his "day job" during the offseason. (I couldn't find him in my yearbooks, so Picture Day must've been during the season.) I was in the thick of my original nuts-for-baseball-cards phase. I bought the popular 1991 Classic Best minor league factory set when it came out later that year, and lo and behold, Brian was included. Pretty sure it was his very first card.

I brought the card to school with me in the hopes of getting him to sign it. I was very conflicted about asking him, though, mainly because I'm so shy, plus I was worried he might think it was "inappropriate" for a security guard type of guy to sign an autograph for a student... though I'll bet the more likely scenario is he'd be flattered. Bottom line is I pussied out and never did approach him. Sorry to fake you out, but I got that above card off eBay recently for a couple bucks. Better late than never, I suppose, even if I didn't have the thrill of getting it signed in person as a kid. Kind of crazy to think that not only did he go on to make the majors, but actually had a good, long career and was one of the best hitters in the game for a few years.

So there's my Brian Giles story. This wraps up our countdown of the major leaguers who went to my high school.

Since this post is already so long, I won't show off all the 100+ cards I have from him here, rather save that as a separate post for another day. Needless to say, he's got a ton of cardboard out there, playing for as long as he did, often one of the best players on his team.

Thanks for reading and I hope you've enjoyed this series!

Guys From Granite countdown
8. Preface (minor leaguers)
7. Mike Reinbach
6. John Barnes
5. Chris Jones
4. Tom Fordham
3. Shane Spencer
2. Marcus Giles
1. Brian Giles

Sunday, March 29, 2015

VIP Zapping. In da club.

Zippy Zappy got me again! I ended up sending him the Luis Torrens auto that I picked up at last month's card show. And he got me back with a very nice zapping to return the favor. Let's take a look at the highlights.

A custom girlie card #'d 3/6! The back congratulates me on receiving a VIP zapping! The slabbed mint 10 Cabrera is pretty cool, too.

Autos! Kolten Wong, Jason Vargas, and Nolan Reimold. Neat stuff!

Joy! A couple shiny Ren & Stimpy cards! Loved that show back in the day.

A bunch of shiny baseball cards! Since I'm not a strict team collector, Zippy dumps some teams on me that he doesn't have regular trade partners for, such as the Florida teams, and apparently Cardinals and Reds. Hey, if it gets me cards such as a David Price parallel /63, I'm totally cool with that!

He also gave me a big stack of these Star Wars Rebels cards. I'm not all that familiar with this arm of the SW universe, to be honest.. but looks pretty cool and I'll have to check it out. Hopefully it's streaming on Netflix one of these days.

Here're some more keepers from America's wang (Florida).

Some non-cards.. with a White Sox pin, and chipz of Cabrera and Harper. Nice.

And here's a big ol' bunch of Giancarlos!

And now for this zapping's crown jewel...

A T206! Zippy was gracious enough to welcome me into the T206 club! Very cool. Thanks, man! This here is the White Sox's Frank "Yip" Owen, 3-time 20-game winner and a World Series Champion with the 1906 AL Chicago squad. It's now my oldest baseball card.. and neck and neck with my T30 Arctic Scene as the overall oldest trading card in my collection.

Awesome stuff all around. Thanks again, Zippy! You're the best.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

card show or bust

The card show today was a bit of a bust. The main discount bins I frequent weren't really discounted.. they were standard dollar bins. Later, I did ok in the dimeboxes. But today's post features the $20 worth of cards from the dollar bins.

I love cheap vintage. Here we have some 1954 Bowman and a Fleer. I like to bring home a Hoyt from each card show, but today I had to bend the rules a little bit and go with Waite instead of Wilhelm.

Love the trivia question here. Wow, back then one decade between .400 averages was a big deal. It's now been over 7 decades.

Some vintage Willie Mays oddballs.

Bob Gibson and Al Kaline.

A couple #'d cards of Giancarlo Stanton.

Here are some more numbered, shiny cards. Darvish, Kaline, C. Davis, Kershaw.

Here are the backs of those previous cards. I'm bummed Yu is out for the year.

Some neat, yet unnumbered, modern cards. Trout, Gallo, purple Gyorko, Puig diamond king.

Here are the final two cards. I had bought that same Clemente "prospect" card from the same dealer a few months back, but realized it was creased when I got home. So now I've upgraded to a better copy. (Anybody want the creased copy?) And that Lance Berkman bat relic was picked up as trade bait, as I thinned out much of my tradable Astros on a recent package to Bru, so figured I'd pick up something.

That's it for the dollar cards. If these were 50 cents each, I'd be more stoked on this purchase (and would have bought more cards), but still, not bad. Again, I did better in the dimeboxes, which I'll show off another day this week.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Clubhouse Collection group break haul

Earlier this week, I featured some highlights I got from Fan O' Freds Nachos Grande's 2015 Heritage group break. Chris also threw in a 2004 Topps Clubhouse Collection box to beef up the break. And I'm very glad he did, as I ended up with 4 great bonus hits in my haul.

Off the top of my head, I'm not sure if I had a Gwynn bat relic before this beauty. I know I've got 3 or 4 jersey relics, but don't think I had a wood chip. So this is a very cool addition to my collection, rounding out my Gwynn PC nicely.

A game-used on-deck circle relic! Never heard of such a thing! It features Vernon Wells and is #'d /90. The back states it was used in the 2003 All-Star game. And I don't think each player got his very own on-deck circle, so this relic could essentially be considered a relic of all 2003 American League All-Stars, right?  Ichiro stood on it! Edgar Martinez, A-Rod, Hideki Matsui, Carlos Delgado, Posada-- that's some sick early '00s mojo right there.

And then not 1, but 2(!) Robin Yount bat relics. The one on the right is a parallel #'d 84/99. While I usually funnel most of my Brewers cards to Tony L., I'll try to hang onto at least one of these for my meager Yount PC. (Please tell me you already have at least one of these cards, Tony!)

Here are the backs in case you want to see them.

Here's another look at the back of the on-deck circle card. It might be a first for my collection-- well, not just the 1st on-deck circle card, but also the 1st card I have that's a refractor on the back. The front of the card isn't refractory, just the back. I thought that was funny.

For fun little bonuses, Chris also threw in a few low-end packs to rip in the break. Among the junk, I ended up with a Fred Lynn 91 Donruss I think I needed. The Pujols chip was nice, too, though I'm kinda glad Chipz aren't returning in 2015.

Hopefully he's received it in the mail by now, so I'm not spoiling anything, but I wanted to share this little "thanks for the break" gift I sent Chris a few days ago:

LEGO® stuff and Barry Larkin cards are both atop his collecting list, so I thought I'd get cute and combine them on a sketch card. I didn't have much in the way of cards on his wantlist, so whipping up a special "1 of 1" was my next best bet for an easy yet thoughtful gift. Not my best artistic work, but it came out fine by my standards. And even though Chris is historically unimpressed by glow-in-the-dark cards ("I don't think there's any good reason to have glow-in-the-dark baseball cards" --A blasphemous statement to me! but to each their own.), I had to stand by my core values and make the card glow regardless.

Thanks again for the fun break and great cards, Chris!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My LaValley rainbow just got jollier

Let's get a quick update on my Gavin LaValley rainbow.

There's a gold mini (/25), mini refractor (not numbered), Orange Ice (/25), and Orange Refractor (/25). Those rusty parallels were tricky buggers to track down, but I've got 'em now!

Here are the backs. Look at all those /25 cards. Sadly for me, nary a Christmas Card among them.

But wait a minute! WHAT's THIS!?

The elusive Red Wave (/25!)!

Ah, HELLZ YEAH:// Merry Christmas, bishes!!

My First LaValley Christmas Card. Don me now my gay apparel.

Gavin LaValley 2014 Bowman Draft+Mini MasterRainbow Checklist
x Base paper
x Base paper NNOF error
o Base paper Topps Vault First Edition blank back 1/1
x Blue paper #/399
x Green paper #/75
o Orange paper 1/1
x Red paper #/5
o Black paper 1/1
x Asia-Exclusive Black
o Black Printing Plate 1/1
o Cyan Printing Plate 1/1
o Magenta Printing Plate 1/1
o Yellow Printing Plate 1/1
x Silver Ice
x Silver Ice NNOF error (on the way!)
x Red Ice #/150
x Purple Ice #/99
o White Ice 1/1
x Orange Ice #/25
x Chrome base
x Chrome Refractor
x Chrome Blue Refractor #/399
x Chrome Green Refractor #/150
x Chrome Black Refractor #/75
x Chrome Gold Refractor #/50
x Chrome Orange Refractor #/25
x Chrome Red Refractor #/5
o Chrome SuperFractor 1/1
o Chrome Black Printing Plate 1/1
o Chrome Cyan Printing Plate 1/1
o Chrome Magenta Printing Plate 1/1
x Chrome Yellow Printing Plate 1/1
x Chrome Black Wave
x Chrome Blue Wave
x Chrome Silver Wave #/25
x Chrome Red Wave #/25
x Chrome Shimmer #/15
o Chrome Mini
x Chrome Mini Refractor
x Chrome Mini Black Shimmer Refractor
x Chrome Mini Gold Refractor #/25
o Chrome Mini Blue Refractor #/20
x Chrome Mini Green Refractor #/15
x Chrome Mini Orange Refractor #/10 (on the way!)
x Chrome Mini Red Refractor #/5
o Chrome Mini Indigo Refractor #/3
o Chrome Mini Superfractor 1/1
o Chrome Mini Black Printing Plate 1/1
o Chrome Mini Cyan Printing Plate 1/1
o Chrome Mini Magenta Printing Plate 1/1
x Chrome Mini Yellow Printing Plate 1/1

[Update: red x indicated I've gotten the card since this post was first published.]

I have one /20 card left (mini blue refractor-- which I had actually won a while back, but the seller lost it.. grumble grumble), but after that, all that's left is the scarce /5-and-under cards. Oh, and the base mini (which I'm kinda holding out on, hoping someone will trade me for it rather than me having to buy it since it's just a base card, geez. Who buys base cards in this day and age, am I right?)

Thanks for finding a minute or two for my little ol' blog! Catch ya next time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Creepiness of Topps 3-D Baseball Stars

1985 Topps 3-D Baseball Stars is an odd little set.

And from certain angles, they can look rather creepy.

They can be made even more creepy with some photoshopping.

LOL, sorry for the dumb post.

More info on this set can be found at this recent Off-Hiatus post.

See you next time.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Coaches rusting on the vine

To date, I've never completed a flagship card set in my life, but I'm slowly working my way with a couple of my favorite vintage sets. Let's check in with my progress on 1973 and 1971 Topps.

I took the time the weekend before last to seek and destroy a particularly annoying group of needs for my 1973 Topps set: the manager variations. I could never remember which versions I still needed.. and many of them I would not even be able to spot unless looking at a side-by-side comparison. So I took to COMC and figured out which I needed and bought 'em. (I also got a few more neat cards as long as I was paying the $3 flat shipping rate, which I'll show in future posts.)

Feels good to have those annoying manager variations knocked off my list. The differences all revolve around the backgrounds in the coach pictures (some are rusty-orange, while others are orangey-rust. Or something like that.. yeah, it's kinda silly but oh well, the completist in me has to get 'em.)

But in my investigation, I found a couple other variations that I didn't have on my checklist. Stan Bahnsen and Buddy Bell each have "error" cards with a small break in the black line border, Stan on the left, Buddy on the right. I guess I'll be completist enough to include them in my setbuild too, even though many collectors (and COMC) don't seem to differentiate them. So now my master checklist goes from 699 total cards to 701.

I recently picked up the Bell on eBay when I dug up a copy without any mention of it being a variation (While COMC has probably around 100 copies of the corrected card in their inventory, I couldn't find any of the error sneaking around). I haven't pulled the trigger on the Bahnsen, though there are a few on COMC mixed in with the more-common corrected cards, so I'll probably pick that up next time I place an order.

Here's where I'm at with 1973 Topps:
87.87% complete
as of 3/23/2015

If anybody out there would like to help me crack 90% complete, please check out my 73 wantlist.

Now onto 1971 Topps:

These four were from a PWE trade with Mark Aubrey at Mark's Ephemera. I think our trade was initiated by me sniping a 71 away from him on Listia, funny enough. Glad we were able to help each other out with some dupes.

And here's a big lot of 71s from reader Kevin thanks to a recent trade. Kevin's also working on 71 (he's also working on 72), and we were able to help each other out with several black-bordered cards exchanging hands. The cards he sent we in considerably better condition than the one's I sent. But I threw in some bonus cards for him to help make up for it.

So let's check the big board:
68.88% complete
as of 3/23/2015

Pretty close to 70% complete. Not bad for such a huge set. Again, any help would be great! 71 Wantlist here.