Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hoyt Garbage

Ho Ho Hoyt. This is my entry for the ugly Christmas sweater card contest over at Baseball Every Night.

I love collecting Hoyt Wilhelm, but he has a few unattractive cards, like the blacked-out caps on his '69 and '70 Topps, not to mention his most expensive card: the high-numbered 1952 Topps rookie where he's pictured with his eyes closed.

But the card that popped to mind when I tried to think of an ugly card was Wilhelm's 1979 TCMA minor league West Haven Yankees coach card with the inexplicable blacked-out face.

All copies of the card are like this, it's not some random printing flaw with my particular copy. I know there are plenty of cards out there where the player's face is hidden in the shadow of his cap, but this looks particularly odd. Was there some weird problem with the photo but TCMA went with it anyways? Perhaps he was in a cartoon and his shotgun misfired in his face...

We may never know the reason behind the photo on this bizarre card, but it's a beloved ugly card in my collection.

Hey, while we're at it, let's go ahead and do an updated "PC post" for my Hoyt collection.

50s cards. Still missing a few. Once I get serious about collecting '59 Topps, the cleaner of the pair will probably end up in there.

60s. Still missing the first part of the decade.

Closing out with the 70s. I'd like to complement these with their OPC counterparts, where applicable.


Customs I've made, including cards from his time in the Cuban winter league, his "zero year" stint in Kansas City, and a "sunset card that never was" from '73.

Modern Topps with a few reprints and whatnot.

Upper Deck and Fleer.

Donruss and Panini.

And closing out the post with a few hits.

Still a while till I hit my goal of 100 different cards, but not too far off. Looking to trade for any cards I'm missing. Thanks!

UPDATE: STOP THE PRESSES! I forgot some recent additions:

Some modern stuff, less-modern oddballs, and a custom.

A signed 8x10 and signed back of a business card.

Here's the front of the business card. Villa Marie in Hillside, Illinois. Looks tasty. I picked this up cheap a while back figuring I'd make some sort of custom "cut auto" with it, but haven't gotten around to it. I may end up keeping it as-is.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

TTM success from 99 and a look at my TTM tracker

We've recently rented some DVDs of the classic Get Smart tv show. I remember watching it in syndication as a kid in the 80s and I enjoy the show's charm, especially Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon. While co-star Don Adams sadly passed some years back, thankfully Barbara is still with us. And she's a great through-the-mail signer. So I was inspired to whip up a custom card and send it to her along with a little note and a SASE.

But one thing about living in the Pacific Northwest is "the rainy season" lasts much of the year. And my customs are just printed on photo paper-- not from a professional print shop or anything-- so that means they're susceptible to smudging and smearing, especially if the envelope gets a little damp. So what I'm saying is it's a risk for me sending out custom TTM requests pretty much any time other than the summer.

As I could have anticipated, it was a very wet day yesterday when Ms. Feldon's return envelope arrived. But the damage wasn't as bad as I was fearing...

Sweet! A little smudging in the middle of the card and around the last name, but again, could have been worse. Took about 3 weeks from her home in NYC. The signature looks terrific and includes a little "99" inscription.. love it!

The back's not as clean as would be ideal, and looks like the card got a little warped, but nothing tragic. I suppose I could maybe send out another request come the summertime, hoping another card would make the journey closer to mint condition. But I'm not stressing it too much. Still very happy with the return.

Thank you for your time, Ms. Feldon!

This puts my TTMs for 2018 at 6 successes out of 7 attempts (the lone holdout is Mark McGwire whom I sent to in spring training after hearing about some successes the prior year). And I see from looking at my TTM tracker spreadsheet that it was exactly a year ago today that I tried sending a request to Sooz, the former blogger and current Topps employee. She thanked me in a Twitter message when she received the package (I included some bonus cards for her too) and said she'd sign and return soon, so it looked like my odds were good. But well, here we are a year later, still waiting. No response to the couple times I've tried to follow up. But maybe someday!

Anyways, I thought you guys might like sneaking a peek at my TTM tracker.

Accounting for over half the entries, you can see 2016 was the year I really caught the TTM bug, and then slowed down with just a handful of requests in '17 and '18. I meant to try some minor leaguers this year, but never got around to it. Maybe next year.

Anyways, thanks for swinging by!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Striking Black Gold

Those 1993 Topps Black Gold inserts might be my favorite inserts from the junk overproduction era. I remember I pulled a Frank Thomas back then and it was like winning the freakin' lottery (the card is now worth less than a buck, but it was sooo awesome at the time). Foil/shiny cards were fresh and exciting. While '93 was when my interest in collecting was waning-- and I would soon step away from the hobby for a couple decades-- if anything put up a valiant effort to keep me around, it was the luster that Black Gold.

(Coincidentally, "Black Gold" was a 1993 single by the band Soul Asylum, which along with the hits "Runaway Train" and "Somebody To Shove", helped their album Grave Dancers Union go multi-platinum.)

Fast forward to modern times, like I say, they're all worth pocket change, and while I hope to finish the set someday, it's not a big priority. But what if they were actually rare and special today, like how they felt to me as a kid? Then you'd have my attention and I might have to go out of my way for them. Well, buybacks to the rescue, and Topps Archives Signature featured some signed '93 Black Gold cards. After keeping an eye out for several months, I finally landed one...

HOFer Dennis Eckersley! That's a nice card. Yes, it's silly that the black background eats up the majority of the autograph (would have made more sense for Topps to have provided metallic pens instead of the old standby blue Sharpies), but I'm still very much into it.

Here's an angle where you can see the full signature a bit better.

I almost thought a little about trying to build a full signed set of these. But, well, I'm sure any Kirby and Gwynn representatives that might be out there would have been especially tough to find. Then a Mark McGwire Archives Signature of these just recently sold for over $100 and I'm like, yeah nah, maybe I'll just be content with Eck here and call it good.

But wait, while I respect him and his accomplishments, Eckersley is not a guy I collect. How can I shoehorn this card into my collection.

Oh yeah, that's right, I do have a shadowbox display featuring a card of his. So I cracked open the display and swapped out the Eck cards.

That looks pretty good! I'm happy I've been able to work a '93 Black Gold card into a display on my wall. I've now swapped out both cards from the original display I bought years ago. I believe the original Kirk Gibson card (2004 Retired auto, featuring Gibson on the Tigers) ended up with Dennis at Too Many Verlanders (it was made expendable to me when I eventually scored the refractor parallel).

Replaced by the Black Gold card was this 2004 Retired Eck auto which is now available (I've got the refractor, so by my self-imposed collecting rules, I don't need to keep the base auto), so if anyone wants to make me an offer for it, let me know. It's a great card, but no regrets for me choosing the Black Gold card over it.

While it'd be a stretch calling myself a Dodgers fan, as a baseball fan, you've gotta love that Gibson World Series home run (unless you're an A's fan, I suppose).. such an incredible baseball moment. I really love how this display has turned out.. with the alterations making it more special to me.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

(What's The Story) Black Friday?

Here's the entirety of my 2018 Black Friday shopping. It's not quite enough to stretch out over 12 months, but I'll work it out somehow.

Now that I've taken care of #1, it's time to worry about shopping for my loved ones. But that's no problem.. I just give them all each an Oasis greatest hits CD every year.

Year after year, you can't beat those jams!

Another major Black Friday score for me was getting in on Wes's epic Area 40/Xmas Xtravaganza group break giveaway...

Hop your ass on over if you haven't yet. This will surely go down in history the most legendary free break in the history of the carsphere. Wes is my wonderwall and his supersonic awesomeness will no doubt cause this event to erupt in a champagne supernova in the sky which will live forever in the memory of cardbloggers everywhere.

I got a little greedy with not only asking for my Padres, but filling out the 5 allotted picks with the Cubs, Pirates, Astros, and a non-sport spot (specifically eyeing Star Wars and Benchwarmers). I'm hoping for some PC-hits (Rod Beck? Brian Giles? Ken Caminiti? etc) but don't look back in anger, as I'll be sure to pass along any non-PC hits to my trader buddies who might appreciate them.

As far as cards I got in-hand on Black Friday, well the lone piece of mail that arrived was a nice trade package from reader Joseph C. who was interested in some customs from me. Not only did he have some sweet cards up my alley to offer, but he won me over by declaring my musical taste as "impeccable" (which I might be putting to the test with all the Oasis references in this post).

Joe gets points right off the bat for this very amusing packaging job.

Gavin Sheets auto! I've got 2 or 3 unlicensed Sheets autos, but this is my first fully legit auto from the White Sox top Gavinized prospect.

My Francisco Mejia PC has been growing nicely lately. Some good ones here. I believe that's my first 2018 "Topps Holiday" card at the end, and a metallic snowflake parallel at that.

A pair of sweet holograms from the early 90s. Thinking about it, it's a bummer no card companies have put out any hologram sportscards in years. Did the technology just dry up?

Another new Tatis Jr card.. much appreciated! High hopes for this dude.

And we close with a pair of 2018 Dave Winfield cards, with a foily Fire and a pseudo blank-backed Donruss.

Very nice. Thanks, Joe! This was Definitely Maybe one of the best Black Friday card packages I've ever received.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Zapday

Got a nice mini Zippy Zapping in the mail.

Manuel Margot hasn't yet blossomed into the perennial all-star he was projected to be, but he just turned 24 and still has a lot of prime years ahead of him. Hoping for a breakout 2019 season. And I sure do love black refractors!

It was a little eerie to get a Patrick Mahomes card from Kenny, as I only added him to my wantlist like a couple days before. Now that's service! But yeah, I scored some cheap Mahomes cards at a card show a couple months back and that helped inspire me to add a rare current football player to my wantlist. This is a nice addition.

Sweet! Fernando Tatis, Jr is pretty much the only thing that keeps Padres fans from crying themselves to sleep at night these days. I gotta think chances are good he'll make the '19 opening day roster, and we're hoping he takes the league by storm and hits a grand slam every at-bat.

While I don't collect Mariners or Kyle Lewis, I'm always happy to receive refractor/#'d prospect cards in trade. Kyle's a 1st rounder (2016) who hasn't put it together yet in the minors yet, but still has potential.

And we'll finish the highlights of the envelope with some more Padres top prospects. Fingers crossed these guys pan out and help San Diego be competitive over the next several years.

Good stuff. Thanks, Kenny! I'll hit you back with a little something soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Baseball Card Breakdown FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions I get regarding my blog.

- "I stumbled upon some custom cards online that you made. Are they available?"

Yes, maybe. I don't sell customs, but will often trade them! Check out my wantlist and feel free to email me with what you want and you've got to offer.

- "How do you make your customs?"

Photoshop. The version I use is pretty old, but I've been using it for many years now and so I'm comfortable with it. I print on a regular home printer using various types of photo paper. I also make my gifs using Photoshop.

- "Can you make a special custom card for me?"

Probably. My modest custom-making skills are available to "commission" by trading me cards. Check out my wantlist and email me with your custom idea and what you've got to offer in exchange. The chances of me agreeing to the deal might depend on how busy I am at the moment and the degree of difficulty of your custom idea.

There are a couple other places online that might be able to help with your custom card ideas, such as and

- "I want to surprise [this person with whom you've recently traded] with a package of cards; Can you give me their address?"

No. Even if I completely trust the person asking for it, I won't share another trader's mailing address without their written consent. Some people are particular about their privacy.

- "I've recently started up a card blog; Can I get added to your blogroll?"

Yes! I'm always happy to add any card blogs to my blogroll. If your blog is not in my sidebar list and you'd like it to be, just let me know and I'll add it ASAP. (Note that only the 25 most recently-updated blogs are listed unless you click "show all".)

- "Can I use [some text from your blog or a gif you made or something] on my blog or site?"

Sure. But please give me credit for it and include a link to Baseball Card Breakdown and/or my Twitter account.

- "I work for [some random website you've never heard of] and I'd like to talk to you about creating content for us."

No. If I were to be contacted by a known hobby entity like Beckett or Cardboard Connection, I'd definitely consider it (though probably still decline, just because it would stress me out). Anything that seems sketchy gets deleted pretty quickly.

- "What about a link exchange?"

No. Other than adding card blogs to my blogroll, I probably won't want to link to your site on my blog, sorry.

- "I would like to talk to you about sponsorship/ads for your blog."

No. Baseball Card Breakdown is not accepting advertising partners at this time. (That said, any card companies are welcomed to send me free boxes of cards in exchange for a review. It hasn't happened yet, but that's the dream! But as it stands the closest thing to a paid link I have is my Amazon referral link. Hey y'all, it's that time of year again. If you're gonna buy stuff on Amazon, why not do your ol' pal Gav a solid and enter the site through this Amazon homepage link so I'll get a little store credit on your purchases? I use that credit to buy paper and ink to make more customs to spread around to my trader buddies.)

- "Do you want to trade cards with me?"

Yes, probably! I think I end up trading with the majority of folks who broach me about a trade. Just give me an idea of what you want and what you're offering me in exchange (Here's the link to my wantlist again).

- "Would you like to buy [this random card]?"

Probably not, but feel free to offer. I generally don't pay money to strangers who email me out of the blue. But if it's a card I really want, and a solid deal (better than what I'd find online), and you can provide some solid references, then maybe. But most of the time, I just point people to sell their cards on eBay.

- "Can you tell me what [this random card] is worth?"

I could probably give you an idea, but instead of bothering me with it, you should just do what I would do and search eBay (don't forget to also search checking the "sold" and/or "completed listings" box) or perhaps COMC. (Update: Here's a handy post by the Junior Junkie with more info on how to find the value of your baseball cards.)

Ok, I think that's it. Thank you for reading my FAQ!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A lovely pair

After several months on the lookout, I finally landed a Billie Lourd auto for my collection. I became smitten with her as the "slightly odd-looking but still super cute" young woman who had a minor role in the recent Star Wars movies, and then I came to learn she's the daughter of Carrie Fisher, which is a cool bonus, but seems to make her autos a bit more expensive than you'd otherwise expect.

I've also been watching through the TV show from a little while back she was on called Scream Queens, which while not exactly up my alley is still worth checking out. Another thing I learned about Billie recently is that she auditioned for the lead role of Rey, ultimately portrayed by English actress Daisy Ridley. That would have been crazy! But no, Billie ended up as Kaydel Ko Connix, a key member of the Resistance, which is a character created specifically for her by director J. J. Abrams for The Force Awakens. Lourd reprised the character with a larger part in The Last Jedi, and is slated to return once more in the forthcoming Episode IX.

While Topps doesn't bother with "RC" designations on their Star Wars cards, this 2016 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Series 2 card is effectively a "rookie autograph" card, as it was her first certified auto on the market. She's got a nice, legible signature, which is always appreciated more than a lazy squiggle or two. So yeah, this card is a sweet addition to my Star Wars and/or Girlie Card minicollection.

And while on the subject of attractive ladies on cardboard, here's another recent pickup...

I don't watch wrestling other than maybe once in a blue moon catching a short clip or two online, but sometimes a "diva" calls to me and I want to get her represented in my card collection. First was AJ Lee a few years back, followed by Alexa Bliss, and now here's Liv Morgan. She caught my eye with her fresh look-- well, ok, being honest she doesn't appear to be a whole lot different than Alexa Bliss.. short, pretty blonde girl-- and from what I can tell, she seems kooky and fun. I hear her trademark shtick is entering the ring with a blue tongue from eating candy. Sure, why not.

It's a rookie auto /199, so that's cool. I doubt I'll go out of my way picking up more of her cards, but if any of my trader buds who collect wrestling have available Liv Morgan cards, feel free to toss them in for me.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Adrian Beltre PC

Adrián Beltré has been one of my favorite active players over the past few years, so it's a bummer to hear he decided to retire today. He's incredibly entertaining and a lock for the Hall of Fame. I thought he had a couple more seasons in him.

But it's a good excuse to sort out my PC and see what I've got. So here's how my Beltre collection stands at the point of his retirement.

The 2-pronged crown of the PC consists of the pair of certified autos I've got, which I talked more about in an earlier post.

A few early cards. The '97 1st Bowman Card - International parallel was a pretty sweet sub-buck card show find a couple years ago. I would still like to score his '97 Bowman Chrome card at some point, which I believe is considered his top mainstream rookie card.

1999 is highlighted by the Wheaties homage.

2000. Gotta love that Keebler oddball!

I've only got one card from '01, but it's a nice one-- my only relic card of Adrian's.

Getting thin here in 03-04.

But a bunch of cards from 2005 a year removed from his breakout '04 season when Beltre won the HR crown and finished runner-up to Bonds for NL MVP. I think 3 or 4 of these are serial numbered.

Then my PC hits a dry patch for a few years.

 2011 includes my only card of him as a Red Sock.

 2012 has some good shine.





2017. The "signed" card is a TTM semi-success from earlier this year.

2018 rounds us out.

By my count, I've just barely squeaked over the magic number of 100 different cards, so I'll be "retiring" him into the Hundred Card Club section of my wantlist shortly, though I'd still be down for any cards of his that I'm missing, especially from those barren years in the aughts.

Thanks for everything, Adrian!