Thursday, May 31, 2018

Move to the City (Guns N' Randoms)

Here are some more random recent pickups.

Really happy with this 2009 Dick Allen auto, even getting past my mild triskaidekaphobia to put in a winning bid on it. What makes it extra cool is it's a rare Cardinals card of him. Allen moved to the city of St. Louis in 1970, but his '70 Topps card features a deceptive photo of him from his Phillies days. Then in 1971, he moved on to the Dodgers, and his '71 Topps card features a pre-season photo posing in his new LA duds (see my old rollercoaster of a post investigating this matter). The only other card I can think of featuring a real photo of him on the Cardinals is his 1971 Kellogg's card (which identifies him as a Dodger on the back). So yeah, this auto is a unique hit for the ol' Dick Allen PC.

While the Cardinals are low on my list of favorite teams, let's go back-to-back with another Redbirds auto. This Willie McGee 2003 Topps Retired auto doesn't come along at a reasonable price very often, so when one did, I put in a decent bid and ended up winning it.

We rented Happy Days season 1 disc 1 on DVD recently (it's not streaming online anywhere, surprisingly, and I had a hankerin'), and that had me poking around Wikipedia reading up about the show and its cast. Gotta admit when I was a kid in the 80s watching the show in syndication, I didn't realize it was a throwback show.. I thought it was actually shot in the 50s! LOL. Anyways, reading up on Marion Ross, I found out her alma mater is San Diego State University. While collecting fellow Aztec alumni isn't a big priority for me, I do want to work on adding cards of notable names. So I looked to see if she had any decent autograph card options on eBay and ended up settling on this non-certified 1998 card for a few bucks. Looks good to me.

Here's the back so you can tell it isn't just a signed photo.

Here's another SDSU grad, Fred Dryer. He had a nice NFL career with the New York Giants (1969–1971) and Los Angeles Rams (1972–1981), then went into acting, most notably as TV's Hunter..

I picked up that relic/stickergraph #/50 for a good price late last year. Would like to add some of his vintage cards one of these days, too.

- - --o

The past week has been slow for incoming trades, but I did get a nice PWE from Shoebox Shane a few days ago. Let's check that out now.

Bowman Chrome refractor autos are always awesome to own, even when it's a 31st rounder I've never heard of. At least Jared Wells cracked the big leagues for a few games in 2008.

Shane is always good about setting aside 2011 Topps sparkly parallels for me.

These 2 were clearly the highlights. I know Shane is collects both these parallels, so they must be dupes he had available. Love those atomic refractors! And the legends variations can be tough to track down, even base versions, so this cognac Hornsby is much appreciated.

Big thanks, Shane! I've got some solid buybacks set aside for you and will load up a return PWE shortly!

- - ---o

Some late nights after my wife goes to bed, I'll have a drink or four, queue up an 80s cartoon on Netflix (usually The Real Ghostbusters or He-Man) and if the creative urge strikes, I'll scribble out a sketch card or two. These are from last weekend. Not my best work, but I guess I like them enough to show them off here.

In one of my recent online orders, I snagged a bunch of cheap Yaz oddballs. I collect him plus I trade with several guys who collect him too. So these are headed for the PC, but are not untouchable if trader buddies need any of them.

And some oversized cards, including a postcard I neglected to include in my big Tim Blackwell post the other day. For what it's worth, Yaz and Blackwell were teammates in '74 and '75. I think Yaz & the Stache would've been an awesome 70s buddy cop show.

Well, I gotta ma-ma-move. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tim Blackwell's mustache is a sight to behold

Wow, that's a hell of a mustache!

Tim Blackwell didn't have the same MLB success as the likes of Bill Buckner or Rollie Fingers, so he might not often be brought up in the discussion of baseball's best mustaches, but he damn well should be.

He was a backup catcher in the mid 70s through early 80s. Despite debuting with 44 games for the '74 Red Sox, his mainstream rookie card wasn't until 1978 Topps, though he does have a 1976 SSPC card, which I suppose can be thought of as his true rookie. But looks like he's got an oddball from 1975 Red Sox Herald. So maybe that's his true rookie. Whatever. I need both of those cards. I also still need several of his Topps, Fleer, and Donruss cards. I've probably got 3 or 4 more of his Topps cards sitting in sets, but didn't dig them out for this post (since they're not particularly expensive, I'd like to get dupes for the PC).

But while I still need many of his mainstream cards (hoping trader buddies can help me out there), I hit his minor league cards hard in the couple oddball-heavy orders I made a while back.

Tim's last season as a player was 1983, then he went right into coaching the next year.

Here we see Smokey the Bear giving Tim a citation for the overgrown dried brush underneath his nose. Talk about a fire hazard!

Here are some cards from the early 90s. His most successful year was 1991, leading the Columbia Mets to a Sally League title with a lineup featuring Fernando Vina and Butch Huskey.

Here are some cards from the late 90s. A touch of grey in the old pushbroom, but still just as majestic as ever.

However, the dawning of the new millennium would bring change...

No!! The soup strainer is gone! Tragic.

Besides the very impressive Mr. Tickles, another thing I like about Tim is he's a hometown hero of mine. Like myself, he was born in San Diego and considers El Cajon his hometown (according to the back of many of his minor league cards, at least). He's also a fellow alum of Grossmont College. Very cool.

Nice that he was able to spend a season at home with the San Diego Surf Dawgs as pitching coach in 2006. The Surf Dawgs were a short-lived independent team that featured Jose Canseco as a gimmick for one game, and the previous season had Rickey Henderson as a regular at the tail end of his career. Looks like Tim retired after the 2008 season.

Anyways, fun dude to collect. Please let me know if you've got any Tim Blackwell cards available for trade not pictured here. Thanks!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

"We Are The World" autograph project

Just a random thought I had the other day.. Wouldn't it be cool to get an auto from everybody on the "We Are the World" song? Lots of A-listers from the music world there.

So far I've only got one of these people.

Dan Aykroyd seems a bit out of place with the 80s pop stars, but slap on a pair of dark sunglasses and a hat on him, and he's a Blues Brother, so not exactly out of his element behind a microphone.

Maybe someday I'll check off another name or two on the list, though there's not much chance this will ever be a completed project.

What do you think? Who on the list would be your top goal?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mega Bowman Boxing Day

I hadn't messed with any '18 Bowman besides a bad experience in a player break (the one that netted me nothing but base cards of Gavin LaValley out of 12 freakin' cases). Saw a lot of Twitter hype about the "mega boxes" that recently popped up on Target shelves. Lots of guys cleaning out their store's/town's inventory in one fell swoop, and other guys getting upset at this dick move. I had planned to sit this one out, but then yesterday I got a text from Kerry giving me a heads-up that the downtown Target by where we both work had some. It was a nice day, and my wife was down to join me for a walk, so we headed over to check it out.

Yep, there they are. Don't believe the sign; they ring up at $14.99. I was gonna grab a couple, then went nuts and grabbed a third. While I was tempted to flip one or two on eBay (where they've been selling for around $40 each), I went ahead and busted all 3 of them over the course of the evening.

The first box got things off to a good start with a Tyler Mahle auto /99. Not a big name, but that pretty much covers the "value" of the box right there, as looks like these go for around $20 on eBay. Was happy to pull Ronald Acuna from a mega pack too.

The boxes had plenty of hot, young talent, as you'd expect from Bowman.

Plenty of PC hits for me among the paper base (there are apparently no parallels in the mega boxes besides those that might be in the 2 mega packs; the regular Bowman packs that are included are only base paper and a base Chrome card or two in each pack), including my first card of Cutch as a Giant. Not much dupes between the boxes other than one "deja vu" pack, but at least it netted me another Rhys Hoskins RC.

Found a couple Dodger prospects Zippy asked me to keep an eye out for.

Pulled a couple /250 purple parallels, including a Padre prospect, so that's cool. Looks like Michel Baez is San Diego's #5 prospect at the moment (source). Despite his inclusion in the "ROY Favorites" insert set, Rhys is ineligible for 2018 ROY as he exceeded rookie limits during 2017 season, but I'm happy to land another card of his regardless.

Just when it looked like I would be shutout in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes...

...I pulled this guy in my final pack. Just an unnumbered, non-auto insert, but I'll take it. It's my first (real) Ohtani card. Though I haven't gone nuts over him like many baseball fans/collectors, still nice to get some representation in my collection. Pulling a shiny RC is a good way to go.

[begin humorous content]

But no.. guess what else I pulled?!

Ka-Boom!! Ohtani auto! You might remember I pulled the base version of this auto last month, but this megabox parallel is much more grandiose, as you can clearly see. I've done it again!

[/humorous content]

Anyways, I went back today around 11am with the intention of grabbing another box or two, but nope, they had been cleared out. Glad I grabbed some when I had the chance. While I didn't hit anything huge, still fun to get in on the mega mania and score some decent cards for my collection.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mookie Betts PC

Mookie Betts has been damn good the past few years, and has been even better so far this season, giving Mike Trout legit competition for the title of best player in the game. I figured it was time I sorted out my Mookie PC and get a blog post out of it.

I've just got one card of his from 2013, but it's a nice one. I believe this 2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks auto is his first-ever autograph, as he didn't get into Topps/Bowman products until the following year.

2014 pt 1. Nice selection of 1st Bowman cards. There were times I was after a First Bowman Auto on eBay, but came up just short in my attempts. That was a couple years ago and I think I've missed my chance unless I really wanna pony up big dough.

But here's a 2014 auto I did manage to score. Won this Stadium Club RC auto for $15.50 back on 1/3/16. There are 2 currently on eBay at the time I'm writing this: one at $80 with 22 bids, and one at $92 with 20 bids. Not to get hung up on monetary value, but it feels good to occasionally score a sweet deal.

2015 pt 1. I'm hoarding those purple Chrome refractors with two of the 250 print run. I don't have his flagship 2015 Topps card here. But technically I've got it because I've got a sealed factory set sitting in my Black Friday stockpile which I will break up into PCs later this year.

2015 pt 2.

And here are some real nice cards from 2015. The Crystal Ball insert is my lowest-numbered Mookie at 17/30. Bought it for $22 back in October 2015, which is a lot for a non-auto modern insert, but I think these fat case hits are super cool and this split the difference (pricewise) between a common and a Trout/Harper. I tried to get an idea of the current rate, but couldn't find one anywhere on eBay or COMC. The Spring Fever auto was received in a gracious trade with reader Josh Bob a couple years ago. The 2015 Topps "sliding variation" is an SP I scored from the 7-for-$5 bins at the July 2016 card show.

2016 pt 1. Chrome parallels include a fishfractor and a bubble gum.

2016 pt 2. Always funny when you've got a fancy parallel but not the base version.

2016 pt 3

2017 pt 1

2017 pt 2. That outfield wall just makes me think of Neil Young...

2017 pt 3

2018 so far.

And these are the dupes I weeded out, if anyone wants to trade for them.

By my count, I'm at 72 unique cards. Shouldn't be long now till he's in the ol' Hundred Card Club. Feel free to get in touch if you've got any cards I need and want to trade. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tommy John and Me

Tommy John turned 75 today. Well, I'm trying to whip up this post quickly in the evening of May 22nd, but we'll see if I finish it before bedtime.

My glove is a Tommy John model. Designed for the Professional. It's the same glove I've had since I was a kid. Gotta admit this wasn't a purchase. I found it abandoned on a playground one day and adopted it into my family. This was probably sometime in 1990, not too long after Tommy's final pitch on May 25, 1989.

It got a lot of work over the years at local ballfields, though it's been well over a decade since it's seen any real action. With my wife and I deciding not to have kids (pampering a dog is more our speed), it might not ever smell fresh cut grass again and make the smack of a well-grabbed baseball. But I suppose there's a chance that someday I might end up on a company softball team, or perhaps if I'm eventually an uncle I could have a catch with my theoretical nephew (we're all a little surprised my brother-in-law hasn't had any offspring with his wife yet, as they definitely seem like the type to pop out a brood. I think she's like 32 now.. the clock is ticking!)

But anyways, I'll hang onto this glove till the grave.. just in case the day comes that I need a baseball glove. You never know.

Maybe I cursed myself by ending up with a Tommy John glove. I remember one evening in high school, tossing a football around with my best friend Doug and his pops in their apartment complex directly across the street from El Cajon High School. There was one throw that didn't feel right to me. Just felt like I kinda tweaked my shoulder a little. And these ~25 years later, it never fully healed, still feeling some pain when I raise my right shoulder too high at a certain angle. I always just assumed it was a tiny hairline tear in there. But my sport was sprinting, so it wasn't that big of a deal. No Tommy John surgery for me. But a minor annoyance I have to live with.

Maybe not due to Mr. John, but another ominous moment with this glove came one day a couple years later playing catch with my friend Jeff Martin. The guy had a cannon for an arm and would launch the baseball what seemed like a mile up into the sky. It was always a lot of fun throwing the ball back in forth with him until one day I misjudged the ball in the sun and ended up getting slammed in the nose with a high fly missing my glove. I had a pretty cute little button nose as a kid. But since that day, I've had a bump in my nose that adversely effected my looks. There have been times I've thought about what my life would have been like had I caught that ball with my glove rather than the bridge of my nose. Maybe getting girls wouldn't have been so tough. Maybe making friends would have been easier. Maybe I'd be happier and more confident. Or maybe not, but still, I hate my nose and I blame that one misplayed ball for making my life a little harder. (Also, Jeff later borrowed my Double Dragon III Nintendo game and then moved away to Arizona without returning it and I never heard from him again. Haven't forgiven him for that either!)

On the subject of childhood sports equipment, what about what model baseball bat I had as a kid?! Well, I owned a few bats over my tweens/teens/twenties, but the only one I can remember with a player's name on it was a big heavy wood bat with Joe Carter's pre-printed signature burned into it. That one I actually bought, at a sporting goods store, I believe, or maybe it was Target. But I'm pretty sure I bought it in 1992, maybe early 1993, but before his career-defining World Series walk off tater. So if Tommy John cursed me to have a janky shoulder (and imperfect nose) the rest of my life, then in turn Joe Carter should have blessed me with the ability to come up clutch at the ideal time. It hasn't happened yet, but I'm due. One of these days. It's coming, I just know it. So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

I got rid of the bat prior to moving out of California in that big purge. The only bat I've still got is an aluminum bat I keep by my bed in case of emergency. Its days of popping fungos are gone and the only time I pick it up now is if there's a strange sound in the night I need to investigate. But again, if the day comes I need to bring a bat to a ballpark, it's ready.

Anyways, back to Tommy.. I've danced around officially adding him to the list of players I collect, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. But I still tend to hang on to any cards of his that come my way, so I suppose I basically collect him, even though the cards are stored in a box labeled "various stuff that doesn't fit in my collection elsewhere" with the other old-timers I kinda-like-but-don't-collect and prospects that have a slim chance of being good someday. And Hunter Pence. I gotta dump my Hunter Pence cards. Why is he still in there?

I recently landed a clear "best card" for my would-be Tommy John PC. You know I've always got an eye out for Topps Retired refractors. This one popped up at a decent price earlier this month and I jumped at it. Love it! (--Chief Wahoo and all. The logo doesn't bother me all that much-- probably just desensitized to it at this point-- but I'm all for the team retiring it soon. Gotta adjust with the times, etc. That native american caricature just doesn't have a place in the 21st century.)

Always love, love, love a wall of tiny stats on the back of a baseball card. Tommy John is objectively worthy of the Hall of Fame per Hall of Stats, which I will defer to on nearly any "does he belong?" argument. His next opportunity is in 2020.. hopefully the Modern Baseball Era Committee does the right thing and inducts him while he's still around to give an acceptance speech. His numbers alone are good enough to get him just over the cusp, and throw on top of that the fact that he's a household name thanks to the revolutionary surgery he was patient-zero for, and you've got a well deserving baseball legend.

Him finally getting enshrined would be nice for me to see. We've got a special bond. He's the guy on my glove.

There's no trade like a Bo trade

As you might know, Bo from Baseball Cards Come to Life recently dropped the "no going after vintage" guideline to how he collects, diving headfirst into old cards now. So that's opened up some trade possibilities with him, and I was able to find a bunch of available vintage to send his way. He hit me back with a nice return package.

Bo's recent influx of vintage included some dupes, including this lovely '68 Phil Niekro I needed for the modest Knucksie PC I've got going.

I needed that '81 Bird too, plus an '87 Fleer Update need taking me down to just 5 more cards to wrap up that update set (I recently caved and bought the Maddux and McGwire rookies during the recent COMC sale).

More Didis for my PC.

Wow, my Kevin Maas PC just doubled!
No wait, make that tripled..

¡Mas Maas! ¡Gracias!

Some good star-power here in this '82 Topps lot. Won't be long till I knock this one off.

And a big lot of 1978 Topps. Very nice. Gotta love that awful Greg Minton card. I think I'm probably past halfway with this set now.

Big thanks for the trade, Bo! I'll round up something to balance the scales soon.