Friday, August 31, 2018

New gifs and my 1st in-person auto of the year

Didn't have a chance to put together much of a post today, so let's recap the few animated gif cards I've whipped up over the past week or so.

The great Carl Yastrzemski turns 79 today.. Happy Birthday, Yaz! (This is a new & improved version of the gif card I made a while back. It's a hockey card design from 1988-89. Clip comes from Tiger Stadium, May 19, 1976; one of his 3 homers that game.)

Happy Birthday to Hall of Famer Paul Molitor! The Ignitor turns 62 today.

(Here's an alternate version. I like this clip better, though it doesn't really work because he's a Blue Jay there, but it's a Brewers card.)

Happy Birthday to the ageless Julio Franco, who turns 60 today. Oldest player to ever hit a major league home run (48). Played pro ball well into his 50s. An inspiration to us old guys everywhere!

This next one coming up isn't a gif but instead a sketchcard I made the other day, and I'm including it here as it falls under the umbrella of "creative output" so close enough...

If you told me as a kid in the 80s that Slimer and Megatron were (voiced by) the same guy, my little brain would have probably exploded. Using my limited artistic abilities, I made a sketchcard to help process my feelings here in 2018. #Ghostbusters #Transformers

Remembering the legendary Ted Williams, born 100 years ago today.

Wishing a Happy Birthday to the great Frank Robinson! The 14-time All-Star turns 83 today. Lots of highlights in his HOF career, but hard to top 1966 when he won the triple crown and was AL MVP and World Series MVP with the Orioles.

So there ya go! As you can see, I'm trying to get a little fancy with these, often using real pictures of cards to help bring them to life, as opposed to like the Yaz at the top which is all Photoshop. As always, happy to hear any feedback you've got for me.

I took the day off work Thursday, and you'd think with all that downtime that I would have been able to get around to documenting the cards I received recently from Chris and Doug, sitting atop my blogging to-do list. Plus then I also received nice packages from Night Owl and Julie. But no, I kept busy with other projects and didn't even get a post out Thursday. But catching up on trades will be a priority for me this holiday weekend.

Thursday evening, my wife and I went to a stand-up comedy show, sort of celebrating 11 years as a couple.

The first comedian and host of the show was Ian Karmel. We've seen him at least a couple times before. Funny guy. (Here's a link to a YouTube search in case you wanna get some chuckles.)

Next guy was Shane Torres, another very funny dude. (YouTube search)

Then the headliner was Sean Jordan (YouTube search). I think he's well known in comedy podcast circles. Hilarious set. He was being recorded for a comedy album he's putting out. There was actually an early show and late show, with us attending the first one. I assume the album will end up being a composite from both sets.

So that was pretty cool. As the show ended and people started filing out, Sean made his way over to the exit to thank everybody for coming to the show as they left. Class act! I hadn't planned on getting an autograph, but with the opportunity falling in my lap, I pulled out the trusty Sharpie that I usually keep on my person whenever I leave the house (comes in handy at work, so I've just gotten into the habit of always having it), and Sean was gracious enough to sign my ticket printout.

The inscription says "Get Buck!", one of his catchphrases.

It's a bummer the days of ticket stubs as keepsakes are dwindling as everything moves to digital. I've gotten a few stubs signed in the past, but I think this is my first signed ticket printout. Probably not a frame-worthy item, but it'll be a cherished part of my collection. Thanks again, Sean!

I believe this is the first in-person autograph I've gotten in 2018, and will likely stand as the last. Hey, I'm definitely no Zippy Zappy.

But one thing Zippy and I have in common is our love of bunnies. Saw this cutie nibbling on weeds in my backyard yesterday and snapped a photo from my kitchen window.

Have a great holiday weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Joy of a Completed Set: 1982 Topps

I'm getting a kick out of completing these old sets I "started collecting" as a kid. The first was 1973 Topps (my first real vintage card as a kid was a '73 Pete Rose I traded a Super Mario Bros. 3 NES cartridge for), more recently was 1980 Topps (the earliest cards I owned as a tyke were a few random '80 Topps A's my friend scribbled his name on the backs of). And now 1982 Topps gets wrapped up. It's the earliest set I ever bought a bunch of packs from. (Sorry to my grammatically-sensitive readers for ending so many sentences with prepositions.) I amassed probably around 60-70% of the set in my younger days, but that project went out the window when I left the hobby, to be boxed up and stored in the garage for 15 years before eventually jettisoning the gist of them when I moved out of state.

I only held onto a few of my favorites from my original card collection. But now with my newfound love of set-collecting over the past 3 or 4 years, I figured I'd take care of some unfinished business and knock out 1982 Topps once and for all. In my last post, I mentioned a generous mailing from Fuji took me to within a George Brett base card of completing the set. Then I took a look in my Brett PC, and sure enough, near the bottom of the stack was card #200...

I don't think this card was from my childhood collection (though I recall having his All-Star and In Action cards from the set). Honestly, I can't remember the source, despite searching my blog's archives for an answer. Probably either a trade from a few years ago or perhaps a cheap card show pickup.

Regardless, great to finally have all 792 cards checked off. Some are very familiar to me, and others I had never seen before. This is the first set I've ever completed using the help of cards from my original collection (most notably the Ripken rookie; the greatest pull of my childhood), so it truly feels like a finished project over 25 years in the making. Otherwise, the set was entirely built by trades this year (and perhaps one or two card show PC pickups from before I decided to go for the set.)

My blog has probably featured enough 1982 Topps over the past few months, so I don't think I'll pick out my favorites to feature today, but maybe I'll revisit the set in a future post, pointing out all the interview photos, the classic Fisk In Action card, and other things I might find interesting.

But I'll at least show off the back of the Brett. I like the 1982 backs for sentimental reasons, but otherwise they're not great. The green overload is too dark and often hard to read. I like that there are cartoons, but they're pretty small, and I much prefer the "Did you know?" trivia to be regarding the guy on the card, not random baseball tidbits.

So here we go, just about ready to be put to bed. I've still got about a dozen cards with wax on the fronts that I need to take a blowdryer to and wipe off (I already cleaned off a few the other day, but you can only do so much until your fingers start to burn!). And I still have 4 cards I want to upgrade before I can truly feel like I'm 100% done with the set. I'm not worrying about the little sticker inserts, errors, or the "blackless" printing variations. I would like to add the 1982 Topps Traded set as a complement someday, but no rush on that.

Big thanks to everyone who's helped me piece together this set over the past few months, with special shoutouts to Turrdog, Larry P., Mark Hoyle, TSHenson, and of course Fuji for pushing me to the finish line.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hoarding Fuji's Nachos (mailday melee)

Fuji erupted '82 Topps needs (and want-to-upgrade's) all over my mailbox. Funny enough, just a day or two before, I updated my Desperate Dozen list with the cards I needed to put this set to bed. I'm now down to a single card (#200 George Brett), plus a few more I wouldn't mind upgrading (415 Don Baylor, 450 Jack Morris, 607 Durham, 606 Blue Jays TL). Very appreciated! Thanks, Fuji!

He also included a couple nice Astros cards. I've got a copy of that Springer relic with an orange swatch, but cool to add a white version too.

Super Giles Bros.

Yonder Alonso is having a decent season with the Indians.
Michael Conforto hasn't really been able to get it going this year, like most of the Mets' hitters.

Nice selection of Pads in the Hall.

And closing out with little Randy Jones retrospective.

There was also another cool thing, but it's for a custom commision project, so I'll keep that under wraps for now.

Big thanks, Fuji! I'll get working on that project and hope to dig up a few more cards for you.

-   - - --o

I also recently grabbed a Trade Stack over at Nachos Grande.

Out of the 7 cards in the stack, these 4 fit into PCs I've got going. Cool McGwire Pacific diecut. The Rod Beck Topps Gold is really what put the stack over the top for me. I generally don't care much for modern painted cards, and these two Reds are no exception, but hey, throw 'em in the Votto and Bench PC, respectively.

Thanks, Chris! Hope you can use what I sent your way in exchange.

-  - ---o

Next up is a surprise package from Jason at Hoarding Cardboard.

Jason got the White Sox in Kerry's recent free group break, and landed a couple Matt Ginters and a Fisk I could use. Nice Gavin here, too.

Some young AL stars here. Jason's note kindly pointed out that the Mookie is the AL set version.

Finally, a bunch of Judges and a $1 off coupon. I'm guessing this is good on any Topps product fat pack? Maybe I'll use it to grab some 2018 Ginter and try to pull that cryptocurrency card that dumbasses are paying a lot of money for because they think they're buying cryptocurrency.

But anyways.. Thanks, Jason! I'll round up some cards to send you back soon.

I've also got some great incoming cards from Collector Chris and Dimestore Doug that I still need to cover, but didn't have a chance to get to them today, sorry to say. Soon, though.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

1957 Topps Willie Mays

Say hey! Here's the sister-pickup to the '57 Koufax from the other day.


Only 3 "big cards"* left for me with this set (*cards I expect to pay over a blaster for): Yankees' Power Hitters (Mantle/Berra), Drysdale RC, and the set's big boy: Brooks Robinson (high number) RC.

Friday, August 24, 2018

1957 Topps Sandy Koufax

I haven't posted since Monday, which is a pretty long dry spell for me. I blame the heat (card room tends to get hot in the summertime), work (playing catch-up after missing a few days while on vacation earlier this month), and the fact that making gif cards has been taking up what little hobby time I've had to spend this week. But hey, looks like the 90 degree days are over for the year (knock on wood), and I'm now pretty well caught up at work, so I should be able to return to cranking out a post every day or every other day.

Just a one-card post for today, but it's a good one.

1957 Topps Sandy Koufax! It's just his 3rd card, after his 1955 rookie and 1956 second-year. This one is graded PSA 1.5, but like the 1964 Koufax I picked up a few days before, also graded PSA 1.5, it looks perfect to me. I'm considering this one as a gift to myself (though aren't they all?).. Had my annual review at work the other day and it went well and I got a nice little cost-of-living raise, so figured I'd celebrate by targeting a special card or two.

Sandy was still just a kid with a lot of promise at the time; it wasn't really until the 60s that he blossomed into a great.

The back has some tape residue in the bottom corners, and the front has a little light creasing, but still, I think it looks damn good for being graded so low. And again, I don't care much about the grade as long as it doesn't look like hell, but I appreciate the peace of mind that it's certified authentic.

Very happy to check this big name off my 1957 Topps setbuild. While I've still got a long way to go– this card brings me to exactly 53% complete– I've been knocking off HOFers here and there (plus another on the way), and feel like I'm starting to get a handle on this set.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Gifs Gone Viral!

Here's a roundup of the gif cards I've made over the past couple weeks.

On this day in 1973, the great Roberto Clemente is posthumously inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

The day before, in my previous gif card roundup, back in my post on 8/5, I gave some foreshadowing on this one :

(Update: I've just made what I feel is my best one of these yet and will be tweeting it out tomorrow morning. 8/6 around 8:15 Pacific: @breakdowncards be there. lol. But no, it's a good one! I predict it might even break my Satchel record for most popular tweet. But then again, sometimes things I think will be a huge hit end up falling flat, so who knows.)
(Update to the Update: yeah, it didn't exactly take off. Oh well, I'll tweet it out again on Clemente's birthday coming up in a couple weeks and I bet it'll have more success then.)

Yep, it ended up with 11 retweets and 24 likes. Nothing to complain about, but definitely fell short of my lofty expectations. And guess what, I later tweeted it out again on Roberto's birthday (8/18) and it was definitely more successful!

Remembering the legendary Roberto Clemente on what would have been his 84th birthday. This has gotta be my favorite gif card I've made.

That time it got 1.2k likes and 300+ retweets!! Unprecedented for me. I also picked up 250+ new followers in the process. Wow!.. gotta say I'm kinda overwhelmed by the response.

Anyways.. more gifs...

On this day in 1991, Dave Winfield blasts his 400th career home run as his Angels beat the Twins. He was just the 23rd player in history to reach the milestone, eventually retiring with 465.

The Great Bambino, Babe Ruth passed away on this date back in 1948 at the age of 53.

Wishing a Happy 66th Birthday to Tim Blackwell! Never much of a threat with a bat (especially not when facing the likes of Nolan Ryan), but that magnificent mustache was Hall of Fame worthy.

So there are the gif cards I've made over the past couple weeks. Thanks for checking them out. I'll probably have a few more to show off in a week or two.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Perfect Strangers custom cards

When I was in third grade, my favorite tv show was Perfect Strangers. And I remember this for a fact because I had to write a little one-paragraph paper about what my favorite show was, and it turned out to be the first of a very small number of times in my academic career when a teacher pulled me aside and said 'good job' on something I wrote. I'll never forget that. Thanks, Mr. Hackett.

I don't think I had seen the show since its original late 80s/ early 90s run, but I've recently been watching through the series again on Hulu. And while it's pretty cheesy and probably not something I'd typically be into today assuming I never saw it before, the sentimental factor is off the charts for me and I've really been enjoying it. Great theme song, too.

Not long ago, I came to a (softball) baseball-themed episode ("The Unnatural", season 2, episode 3). And while it's not a classic on the level of "Homer at the Bat" or anything, it was still a very fun episode and inspired me to whip up a few custom baseball cards using images from the show's big game.

Move over, Junior! There's a new hot rookie in town.

Gotta love Balki, who (spoiler alert) came up with the big hit at the end of the episode, as documented here on a custom in the style of 1989 Upper Deck.

Third grade was also the year I first started noticing girls. My earliest kinda-sorta crush was a cute blonde classmate named Christina, if I recall correctly. And as far as celebrity crushes, I had strange new feelings for both Jennifer and Mary Anne on the show, but I think I'd have to rank Mary Anne narrowly on top. And she looks pretty adorable on this '88 Score style custom.

Me leave out Cousin Larry?! Don't be ridiculous. Had to get a shot of his great "Manager Larry" jersey on this custom in the style of the team leaders subset of 1988 Topps.

To be honest with you, I didn't bother making backs for the above two cards, and so I made them one two-sided custom (Mary Anne is on the other side of the Royals Leaders). But maybe someday I'll get around to making backs for them.

Now here's a real card..

I was happy to see Bronson Pinchot get an autograph card in the 2018 Leaf Pop Century product, and ended up winning this one recently. And if you're a regular reader of my blog, you probably know what's coming next. Yep, I couldn't just leave this boring celebrity auto alone.. I had to make a custom overlay to spice it up...

My own certified autograph Balki Bartokomous baseball card! Love it! Now we are so happy we do the Dance of Joy!

Thanks for reading, and remember to keep on standing tall on the wings of your dreams!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

sandy co-facts

While I was on vacation last weekend walking on the sandy New Hampshire shore, I was comforted by a couple facts.

Fact #1) I installed a security camera in my card room so I could keep an eye on my collection. Is this paranoid of me? Perhaps. But it's reassuring to be able to take a live look in on my babies when I'm across the country and see them safe and sound, plus be notified of any unexpected movement in the room.

Fact #2) Arriving home from a few days with a "vacation hold" on your mail means there's a good chance you've got a sweet mailday in your future. And this trip didn't let me down in that regard.

Here's the card I was most excited about. The great Sandy Koufax! And it's in perfect condition too. "Perfect" meaning it has a flaw to drastically drop the price, but barely takes away from the beauty of the card. Something like a raunchy crease across the face or some dark markings.. those could be deal-breakers for me. But a bad corner that doesn't effect the photo or any text? Hey, if the price is right, I'm totally on board for that. A recent eBay discount code and an accepted Best Offer helped bring down the price even more. Unlike my '56 Hank Aaron, no custom overlay is necessary for this paper loss. Koufax cards are no strangers to counterfeiting, so I wanted to land a graded '64 for my setbuild for peace of mind.

Very clean back, too. Koufax was coming off his monster 1963 season where he won the Cy Young, MVP, and World Series MVP.

I also paired Sandy with the 1964 Topps card of former Dodger cohort, the Duke of Flatbush...

 Looks odd to see Duke Snider as a Met, but I guess at least the uniform colors are close enough.

This is Duke's final card from his playing days. After one year back in the Big Apple, he finished up his career with a lackluster '64 season in San Francisco, but did not get a card in 1965 Topps (probably a blessing to Dodgers fans who ache at the sight of their all-time greats suited up for the rival Giants).

Cool to add these two of HOFers to my 1964 Topps setbuild. And that's a fact! :P

I'm now literally just one more card away from crossing the ⅔ complete milestone, so if you've got any '64s available and want to feel the pride of getting a fellow collector to within a third of the set left to chase, please check out my needs and get in touch about a trade. Thanks!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Another blaster of 2018 Archives (with a hit!)

After scoring a blaster of 2018 Topps Archives on its release day Wednesday, I grabbed a Target giftcard from home and went back the next day for another one. Glad I did, as the second one turned out to be better than the first.

An auto! Not exactly Ohtani, but when I saw Bill James listed on the autograph checklist, I made a mental note to track down a copy someday. So I was very happy to have pulled this one. I'm not much of a sabermetrics guy, honestly, as I can barely get my head around the OPS stat much less all the more intricate "cyber stats" or whatever you call 'em, but I can still appreciate his considerable contribution to modern baseball.

Some keepers from the '59 design base cards. Happy to see Hoyt crack the checklist.

And some more keepers. I was happy to not pull any dupes from my two blasters. If my 2 hobby boxes have good collation (not due out till next month.. ugh), I'm thinking I might try to complete the base set. But maybe not. I might decide on just going for the guys I collect plus all the Sandlot stuff.

Pulled some cool kids here. Squints is a good one to get from the Sandlot cards. Plus I was able to call dibs on the available Sandlot stuff Julie pulled (Yes!!), so I should be sitting pretty on my goal there (though it's the autograph set that'll really put a Herculean bite in my wallet, but at least there are no big names like Charlie Sheen and Kevin Costner of past Archives movie auto sets).

The Yount rookie reprint is nice. And the Yankees Future Stars is probably one of the best you can pull, with Torres and Andujar having big rookie seasons. I'm guessing these 3 inserts are 1-per-blaster, as I also pulled one of each in the earlier box I ripped.

To wrap it up... I always look forward to Archives every year. I've accepted that the current design team at Topps isn't gonna nail the classic designs perfectly. Stuff like putting the position as "Outfielder" isn't of just "Outfield" is annoying, but I can get over it. And fonts being a little off and text positioned strangely. But for the most part, they did a fine job this year. Sucks about the hobby version being delayed.. I guess maybe one or two of the Sandlot folks took too long to submit their autographed cards? (I have yet to see any Wendy autos pop up).. but that's just my guess. I probably won't buy anymore Archives this year since I've got those two pre-ordered hobby boxes coming eventually. But yeah, it's a fun product.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Real auto, Fake overlay, Real Ghostbusters

Here's an "extra credit" addition to my already-completed 2016 Cryptozoic Ghostbusters autograph set. One of the names sadly missing on the auto checklist was Frank Welker, who was the voice of both Slimer and Ray on the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.

I recently scored this certified auto from a Mars Attacks set. Welker has an incredible résumé and looking over his Wikipedia page, I'm amazed how he was a voice (or few) in basically every 80s cartoon I loved as a kid: G.I. Joe, Transformers, DuckTales, Inspector Gadget, Super Friends, and The Smurfs, to name a few. He was also Santa's Little Helper (and other animals) on the Simpsons from 1991 to 2002. His longest-running role is Fred in Scooby-Doo, which was his first acting gig way back in 1969. He's also been the voice of Garfield in some recent animated movies, which is kinda funny because Garfield's original voice was portrayed by the late Lorenzo Music who played Peter Venkman on the first couple seasons of the Real Ghostbusters.

And of course Ghostbusters is what I'm most interested in at the moment, so I whipped up a custom overlay for the Mars Attacks card. A difficulty was presented by the fact that all the Cryptozoic Ghostbusters autos are horizontal. So if I wanted to make a custom that would aesthetically fit in with those, it would take some additional design work on my part. I didn't want to just turn the real card into a "cut signature" since I'd hate to destroy the original. So I had to get a little creative...

It turned out pretty decent! Not perfect, but good enough for my collection. (I'd love to find some kind of diecutting device so I could make better window cutouts. I bet if I went to a big crafting store they could help me out with something.) But yeah, happy to now (kinda) have a certified Slimer auto! And good ol' Ray too, of course. As with all my overlays, the original card remains unaltered, just with a custom resting on top of it in the penny sleeve.

For comparison, here's the clearly INAUTHENTIC custom auto I made a few months ago, along with an actual Ray auto from the set.

Anyways, glad I could shoehorn a certified Frank Welker autograph into my Ghostbusters set, joining Lorenzo Music as someone I added thanks to a custom overlay. I hope to eventually add signatures of other Ghostbusters folks who didn't get real autos in the set. In fact, I just snagged another one on COMC as I finished typing up this post, so expect me to work some magic on that once I eventually pull the trigger on my next shipment.