Wednesday, February 27, 2019

George Brett highlights a trio of 2003 Retired autos

I'm really happy with this 2003 Topps Retired refractor auto of George Brett I picked up with some leftover bonus money. Seems Brett doesn't sign much, and when he does, it's usually for Panini.

I noticed an error on the back right away since a favorite George Brett tidbit is that he won a batting title in 3 different decades. As you can see, only twice here is his batting average in italicized red text.. Topps forgot about his league-leading .329 in 1990, narrowly beating out Rickey Henderson (.325) for the crown.

I also snagged a Jerry Koosman from the same set. I prefer these cards to be in their original cases, but over the years I've softened on my stance. A few years ago, I would have busted this card out of the PSA case, but nowadays I'm ok with a slabbed gem mint 10.

I never realized before how much Topps botched the league leading stats on the backs of these cards. Only one red number here: 226.2 innings pitched in 1977. One problem, though.. that wasn't even in the top 10 that year! Phil Niekro lead the NL with a whopping 330.1 innings. In fact the only numbers that should be red here are his 20 losses in 1977 and 13 losses in 1981 (combined between two teams). But among stats not listed here, he led the NL in Strikeouts per 9 IP in 1977, the AL in WAR for Pitchers in 1979, AL in Fielding Independent Pitching in 1982.

I think Koosman is best remembered as a key member of the Miracle Mets of '69.

Speaking of guys Mets fans appreciate...

I also ended up winning a Bill Buckner auto from this set, though this one is a base auto, not refractor. I don't see this one pop up very often, so when it showed up with a low opening bid, I took a run at it. You gotta admire the mustache/eyebrow situation.

Wow, 2715 hits is a lot for a guy who only made the All-Star team once. Topps again slights a guy by neglecting to red italicize league-leading stats. Bill's .324 in 1980 led the NL. He also lead the league in doubles in both 1981 and 1983, and at-bats in '82.

I've now got 46 of the 120 autos in 2003 Topps Retired. I occasionally get emails from guys also working on this set. Seems like it's the most beloved of the three Topps Retired offerings (though my heart belongs to 2004), and so these cards can be tricky once you get past the couple most plentiful groups of autos.

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

comeback post

You probably didn't even notice, but I haven't posted in a couple weeks. Since starting this blog in 2013, I can't recall ever going one week between posts, much less two!

I've got some reasons:
- My last post featured an authenticated Roberto Clemente autograph, and that's a tough act to follow. Sort of a "mic drop" post, and it took me a while to pick up the mic again.
- I have a set workload I need to take care of at work each month, and with February being a short month, I've got to fit all that work into fewer days (and therefore have less downtime to draft posts).
- Family stuff: my father-in-law had a heart attack and subsequently a triple bypass. He's recovering fine now, but definitely some scary times over the past couple weeks.
- Laziness. It was nice to take a little break and not worry about posting for a while.

But I'll try to get back into the saddle here.

Nolan Arenado just signed a huge contract extension. I'll bet he and his agent were like, "BOOM. We did it." quote a shredded wheat cinnamon toast crunch cereal box.

I recently decided to kick up my lil Arenado PC by adding a certified auto, and settled on this 2016 Topps Tek card.

It's a fine card.

My apologies for keeping A+ content like this from you for over two whole weeks! lol. Thanks for coming back.

Monday, February 11, 2019

dream card achieved

I recently got my yearly bonus from work. We're doing fine financially at the moment, so I wanted to go nuts and use a good chunk of the windfall to treat myself to a very, very nice card. Something BIG. Something I never would have even dreamt of owning as a kid. I thought it over for a while and it didn't take me long to find just the special item to put in my crosshairs.

I ended up winning the auction for about triple the cost of my most expensive hobby purchase up to that point. I won't pussyfoot around it too much and admit it was just north of a grand. Some of you reading right now might think I'm insane. Fair enough. (I'm sure there will be a snarky comment or two in the comments.) Helping mitigate things were the fact I happened to get an eBay offer for 10% bonus eBay Bucks, and it seems most other folks didn't get the offer (but I hadn't gotten the previous similar offer I heard people talking about on Twitter a couple weeks prior), which means I was able to max that out to a $100 rebate to spend on eBay in the not too distant future. Plus just days before, I was approached by a buyer for my vast Rilo Kiley live/rare CDR/DVD collection (I had been meaning to find a home for them after backing it all up on external drives over the summer), so I had an extra $150 in my PayPal account, meaning when all's said and done, my 4-figure purchase will actually be more of an $800 hit.

Also worth noting is that the same exact 1/1 card sold for nearly $200 more just a few weeks earlier. I think perhaps someone was trying to flip it, having bought it from a less prominent seller, then reselling it through Probstien123, which is probably the biggest sportscard consignment account on eBay. They're known for generally having max expected final bids (some folks even whisper rumors of shill bidding), but at least in this instance, it doesn't seem to have been the case, and the seller who consigned it looks to have taken a hit. And from other somewhat similar completed auctions, I feel good about the deal I got. I think the fact I was apparently one of the few who had the active Bonus Bucks offer at the time the auction ended helped give me an edge in bidding. Really feels like the stars aligned a bit for me this time!

That was earlier last week. My big purchase was scheduled to arrive Friday, which added to the stress I mentioned in my last post, in addition to lots of work activity and the annual big work party Friday night. I had narrowly missed the mailman and would have to pick it up Saturday from the post office since a signature was required for delivery. So I put it out of mind and had a fun time at the party. I may have had too good for a time, though, and ended up getting violently ill that night after the Lyft home. That was rough! (I should have stuck to beer; it was the couple mixed drinks and especially a Maker's Mark "neat" at the end that really did me in.) Ended up sleeping on the bathroom floor much of the night.

Then Saturday was pretty brutal. It ended up snowing decently overnight, so even if I had been feeling ok, I probably wouldn't have ventured out to the monthly card show. As it was, I was in a world of hurt with an epic hangover. My window for picking up the package was until 2 pm, and with work, I probably wouldn't have another shot until the following weekend (an eternity), so a little after 1 o'clock, I bundled up and took my dog for an arctic trek through the neighborhood to the post office. Lots of wind and snow in our faces, and remember I'm still feeling half-dead at this point. I figured it'd make memorable part of the story of how I got the crown jewel of my collection, at least!

I successfully got the package and we returned home. Around 2:30, the sun came out and the snow started melting. It felt a little like, "oh great, now the weather improves." Or looking at it more optimistically, it was like the world signaling a victorious end to the journey. I held off opening the package until I wasn't feeling so crappy. Got plenty of sleep Saturday night and woke up feeling much better Sunday.

Finally, it was time!

That's an authentic Roberto Clemente autograph. I'm still blown away that it's mine! I almost feel like I can retire from card collecting now. With the exception of like maybe a mint '52 Mantle or one of those mega-scarce Honus Wagner cards, I can't really think of a more impactful card for me.. nothing I'd personally put above a Roberto Clemente autograph. Obviously it's not perfect.. but then again, a perfect Roberto Clemente autograph would be much more expensive (and probably have a greater likelihood of being fake). I'm happy making due with an "ugly" one.

Not to say there's zero chance this is fake, since I wasn't there when it was originally signed, but it has a lot going for it toward indicating it's legit, including how ugly it is.

I have no plans to crack it out of its case, but of course I was going to make a custom overlay to spruce it up!

I whipped this up this (Monday) morning in about 20 minutes before work. The custom isn't my best work, but the beauty of an overlay is I can make a new one anytime I want and just swap it out. I really wanted to bring it into work ASAP to display it where I can see it as often as possible. I work in a very secure room, with limited access and security cameras, so I'm confident it'll be safe there. And there's no direct sunlight, so keeping it in a shady spot (and maybe covering it up when I'm not around) should prevent fading. I know the signature already isn't very dark.. seems to be pencil, though, not faded pen. But I'm no expert. Maybe someday I'll move it to the family safe deposit box, but for the foreseeable future, it's gonna be the centerpiece of my work space. (well, besides like my computer n' stuff.)

Oh yeah, there's even a Willie Stargell cut auto on the back. I love Pops, so that's a pretty cool, but I've already got 3 or 4 auto cards of his, as they're much more plentiful than Clemente, so it's a nice bonus, but definitely not the headliner here.

You may have noticed under Clemente's signature is another, lighter marking. Digging into it, turns out that's about 51% of Don Hoak's autograph, a very "tough" signature in its own right. He was the Pirates' starting third baseman for their 1960 World Championship team. He also got a ring with the '55 Brooklyn Dodgers. Sadly, he died in 1969 at the age of 41.

The original document seems to be from 1962, some sort of marketing material to get Pirates fans excited to support their team. Perhaps it's from from a program or maybe an offseason event. Maybe it was from mid-season, alluding to a stretch run (They had a strong team that year, going 93–68, but that was only good for 4th place in the NL.) Further dating it to 1962 is that Don Hoak was traded from Pittsburgh to the Phillies in November of '62. If any Pirates fan could possibly track down a copy of this "Let's Boost our [...] Team Home!" document, I'd love to check it out in its uncut glory.

Wrapping things up.. what else can I say? Never thought I'd one day own a Roberto Clemente autograph. Such an iconic figure, on and off the field. A great player and an even better human being. True hero. Legend! Hopefully this tiny remnant from his time on earth helps me in my life to be the best person I can.

Ok, I'm laying it on pretty thick here and this has been a long rambling post, but you know what I mean. Bottom line is I'm incredibly blown away to have this in my collection.

Thanks for reading!

''Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are 
wasting your time on Earth.''

Friday, February 8, 2019

'57 Willie Mays

Told you guys I was serious about finishing 1957 Topps in the not too distant future. Mr. Willie Mays was the biggest name I was missing. Even ponied up for a PSA 5 specimen at a decent deal.

All-time great, inner circle HOFer, etc. Very happy to check this one off.

I've got my big annual company party tonight and I'm stressing out a bit. (I'm pretty annoying when I'm stressing out. Bless my wife for putting up with it [she is equally annoying when she is stressed.]) Nah, it'll be fun. The forecast is calling for snow overnight, and sadly the monthly card show is tomorrow, so I probably won't trek out to it. Even if I made it there fine, I gotta think there will be less dealers showing up. Plus with the party tonight, I'll likely be a bit hungover in the morning anyways. So that's a bit of a bummer, especially since I missed last month's show too. Oh well.. March's show will be a triumphant return.
Well, I gotta go get dressed for the party.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

1957 Mantle/Berra

I just bought my "dream card".. my most expensive card purchase by a large margin. But you'll have to wait for that post till after it arrives. But today's card is no slouch either!

1957 Topps Mickey Mantle / Yogi Berra "Yankees' Power Hitters". Not sure if I'll be able to complete my '57 setbuild by the end of 2019, but I'll give it a shot. This was one of the few "big" cards left for me. My base '57 Mantle is a raw beater, snagged years ago, but I ponied up for a graded specimen of this combo card.

"Statisticians have tape measures ready when Mickey steps up." This is the last card in the 407-card set. There are also some unnumbered checklists and contest cards that I'm kinda thinking about not going after because they are pretty expensive for such boring cards. I may decide to just go for the 407 cards in the numbered set and call it good.

-  - - ---o

Sad to hear of Frank Robinson passing. A great man and a great player. Here's a neat gif I made last year. Rest In Peace.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Wesening

Wes is the best. Here are cards he sent me the other day, some from his "going out in a blaze of glory" mega break and some not.

I dig this shiny Carlos Beltran auto enough to give it top billing. He's got a case for the Hall, as a formidable hitter and one of the best center fielders of the era. This card from 2005 actually features him from his brief stint in Houston in 2004, though I like it because it brings to mind his sunset season in 2017 when he returned to the Astros and capped off his career with a World Series championship.

Another Astros hit I can use.

Nice autos and/or patches for my Pride PC. Hope we see more openly gay active football and baseball players before long. These guys never had much impact on the field and are retired now, so not exactly a Jackie Robinson-like situation with either of them, but still important baby steps.

Sweet Maddog Maddux relic, and a one from Gavin Escobar too. Looks like Escobar joined the San Diego Fleet of the newly-formed Alliance of American Football. I'm hoping he has more success there than he did in the NFL. Topps is putting out AAF cards, so perhaps I'll have more cards of his to chase down (in addition to his millions of rookie year cards.)

Some nice Padres cards here, with numbered Trevors and a couple vintage stars.

I believe the jersey drawing card folds out to reveal Tony Gwynn (he's on the back), but it's sealed by a sticker.

Ooh, a 1/1 cut auto of an old school Hall of Famer. Between the featured Panini card and the unapologetically pruned Hall of Fame postcard, it's not the best looking "card" by any stretch, but I'm still very happy to have ended up with this Billy Herman from Wes' big box break extravaganza.
William Jennings Bryan Herman (July 7, 1909 – September 5, 1992) was an American second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB) during the 1930s and 1940s. Known for his stellar defense and consistent batting, Herman still holds many National League (NL) defensive records for second basemen and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975. [wiki]
And I didn't realize it till just now, but relevant to my hometown interests, he suited up as a coach for the Padres, 1978–79, which means I should probably PC him since I've got a stated collecting focus of HOFers who suited up for San Diego ("Pads in the Hall" minicollection), and that also includes managers/coaches as well as PCL Padres.

Here are some Cubs hits available for trade. The plate is Ryan Dempster.

Here are some Astros (and sorta an A's) hits that don't really fit my collection either.

I'm not much for horror and have never watched any American Horror Story, so perhaps someone could trade me a little something for this relic?

Note: We're about to the halfway point in this epic haul, and from here on out it's 100% ladies, so if that doesn't interest you (or you have co-workers or family members around you who might not appreciate dozens of scantily clad ladies on your screen), see ya next time!

I've always liked Selma Blair alright, so this wardrobe card was a fun surprise.

Another nice relic.

I love Jaime Bergman, best known to me as "BJ Cummings" in Son of the Beach, one of my all-time favorite silly TV shows. I actually already had this auto, so that one's up for grabs. (Actually, this signature looks a bit different than my other one, so I might hang onto it as an unofficial variation) The bikini swatch is a sweet add, though that might be the tiniest relic piece in my collection now.

Pretty girls.

That top right card wasn't accidentally shown twice, but rather it's a dupe.

Some more favorites here.

I think Wes must've tripled (or more) my collection of Benchwarmer autos with this lot.

Looking good.

Why, hello.

And it goes on.

I'm pretty much out of things to say.

Looks like one of these should have gone to the Angels slot, lol.

Jessica sort of has a Kristen Bell look.

Happy Holidays!

Seems like I'm a Scarlett Keegan supercollector thanks to all the cards of hers Wes gave me. Looking her up, she's of Irish descent and was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for September 2004.

Yet more of Scarlett Keegan!

A few of these specific cards were actually pulled by me a couple years back (the Sherry Goggin 17/25 was especially familiar), then traded to Wes back when such cards were on his wantlist. As we all know, he has since drastically narrowed down his collecting focus, and must've decided to jettison the gist of his girlie cards, and I was a lucky recipient.

Many of the cards shown in the latter half of this post are available for trading, so please don't be shy to broach me about a deal if something(s) catches your eye. (I don't need every girlie card ever made.. I try to only hang onto specific ladies that strike my fancy.)

Here's one last keeper to go out on. Michelle Baena is a woman I specifically collect somewhat thanks to her and I sharing a 12/24 birthday. Seems fitting to get her auto on a Christmas-themed card!

Wes, again, thanks so much for everything. Sad to see you stepping back from the hobby/cardsphere, but gotta follow your heart. I'll continue to keep an eye out for stuff for you, and will be forever on-call for any custom card needs you may have.