Friday, March 29, 2019

Will our blogs outlive us?

I heard about how recently MySpace ended up losing all the old music artists had uploaded to the site back in its heyday. They said it was a server migration error or something, but rumors are they just wanted to free up the space all those files were taking up. It was a bummer for me since I had a couple artist profiles there: my main "band" page, and a secret alter-ego rap/hip-hop joke project. There was also a page for a little wannabe "record label" I started with some online musician friends back then. I know MySpace is essentially dead and those songs probably only got like maybe 1 or 2 real human listens per year, but it was still nice to know they were out there.

And of course when something like this happens, as a blogger you can't help but to think about Blogger (and/or WordPress) and how quickly our blogs and their archives could be wiped away forever, either on purpose or accident. That would suck. Hell, I frequently use my own blog as a resource.. looking up when/how I got a certain card.. what I need.. what I have... stuff like that. And our blogs are basically journals of our collection (sometimes branching out into real life stuff too), and it's nice to think they'll be around a long time, perhaps even tell our stories after we're gone.

Anyways, something to ponder, but that was basically just a click-bait intro to trick you into checking out some new 2005 Topps Retired auto pickups of mine...

This Don Mattingly refractor has a story behind it. When I opened up the package from the seller, there was a David Ortiz stickergraph/relic instead. The seller was apologetic and cool about correcting the mixup. Thankfully the guy who accidentally got the Mattingly was cool about returning it. Chances are he was a Red Sox fan, so the Donnie Baseball probably grossed him out. But it all worked out and the correct cards made it to the correct people.

I had to look it up, but seems Mattingly is still currently the manager for the Miami Marlins. It's a living.

Hall of Famer Monte Irvin was a fun one to get. There's a little story behind this pickup, too. When this card originally popped up on eBay, I made a reasonable best offer that was declined. A month or so later, the seller came back with his tail between his legs asking if he could have a do-over and accept my old offer. I took my time.. even considered making a slightly lower offer than before.. but ultimately took the high road and went ahead and re-submitted the same offer.

Ok, so we've had a New York Yankee and a New York Giant.. time for a New York Met...

This Gregg Jefferies refractor had been sitting on eBay for a while, and I finally pulled the trigger on it with the help from a discount code. Great looking card. Seems even extra shiny.

Casual baseball fans who hoarded hot rookie cards in the late 80s/early 90s often consider Gregg Jefferies one of the game's biggest busts due to how crazy-hyped he was around 1988/89. And while he didn't live up to his "future all-time great" promise, looking at his numbers, he still had a very fine career that pretty much any ballplayer working their way up would kill to have.

Here's a base auto, not a refractor, as you can probably tell by lack of rainbow shine, but still happy to snag this Ron Gant, a favorite player of mine since I first got into baseball back in 1990.

Like Jefferies, not quite a HOF career, but still some impressive numbers on the back of his card.

That wraps up this batch of 2005 Topps Retired autos.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A sparkling and glowing trade

Good trade with Doug from Sportscards From The Dollar Store! The catalyst here was he had ended up with the Padres as a random team in a group break and hit some solid prospect autos. I was more than happy to give them a good home and send him some cards that'd be a better fit in his collection.

The headliner here is Fernando Tatis, Jr, the phenom who just made the opening day roster at barely 20 years old. Us Padres fans have high hopes for him delivering on all his potential. Exciting times for the Friar faithful! This is my 3rd Tatis Jr auto, and possibly my favorite... love this sparkly type of refractor.

And three more of these beauties:
Luis Urias is San Diego's second baseman of the near-future, though he'll start in Triple-A this season.
Ryan Weathers was the Padres #1 pick in last June's draft.
Xavier Edwards, a speedy middle infielder, is another '18 first-rounder.

Doug threw in several bonus Padres, including the first 2019 Opening Day card in my collection.

Even a Jagr and Bill Russell.

I'm always out of the loop with Mystery Science Theater 3000 trading cards. I learned about Series 1 last year thanks to a post on Doug's blog and then ended up buying myself a box. And now recently he posted about his Series 2 box (which again, I wasn't even aware was out). I feel like I "got my fill" from the Series 1 box and wasn't planning on ponying up for a Series 2 box since there were still no autos in it (though apparently upcoming Series 3 will finally have autos).. but then I perked up when he mentioned there are glow-in-the-dark inserts.
I sure do loves me some  glow-in-the-dark  cards!!

Doug was generous enough to hook me up with 3 from his box. I also recently picked up 2 others on eBay, so I'm at the halfway point with this 10-card insert set.

Thanks again for the trade, Doug! Great stuff.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Never Dunn Ghostbustin'

Still working on building my Ghostbusters card collection.

I completed the autos available in the 2016 Cryptozoic Ghostbusters set last year, and I've since been getting "extra credit" by adding autos of cast members who weren't included in that set, and sprucing them up with custom overlays.

The latest is Kevin Dunn. He played psychic Milton Angland, a guest on Peter Venkman's TV show at the beginning of Ghostbusters 2, predicting the world will end on New Year's Eve. It wasn't a big role, but hey, I think he got more screen time than some of the dudes who had autos in the official product (such as Larry King and Ben Stein), so this isn't that much of a stretch. Dunn has 100+ acting credits under his belt since his career began way back in 1986. He's had guest spots on classic shows such as Cheers and Seinfeld, as well as been a main cast member on Samantha Who? and Veep.

He also played Shia LaBeouf's dad in the first few Transformers films, and that's where this certified auto underneath comes from.

The base set in the Cryptozoic trading cards covered the events of the first Ghostbusters movie. "But what about Ghostbusters 2?," you may ask. Well, Topps put out a set for that back in 1989. I had been dragging my feet on rounding that one up, but...

For $5 shipped, I recently picked up a near-complete set on eBay. (Seller sent them via Media Rate, which I'm pretty sure isn't allowed for trading cards, but whatever.. they eventually arrived safe.)

I'd like to fill in the holes via trades and wrap this one up, so if anyone has any available...
1989 Topps Ghostbusters 2
Needs: 6, 28, 33, 34, 48, 52, 54, 68, 70, 72, 75, 76, 81, Sticker #1

The '89 set also got paid tribute to with a reprint card in the 75th Anniversary product Topps put out back in 2013. I picked up this foil parallel of the card shortly after seeing it in a post on SCC/POMP. (I also threw the base version into my COMC inventory, though I don't have that one in hand yet.. waiting till I hit 100 cards ready to ship to hit the bonus, only a third of the way there so far.) Keeping an eye out for the other parallels, though they seem to be pretty scarce.

Rumors are a Ghostbusters 3 film is finally in production, penciled in for release Summer 2020. I'm cautiously optimistic for it, but wouldn't be surprised if it falls through (or comes out but sucks hard). But fingers crossed!


Friday, March 22, 2019

I wanna be your backdoor man

I'm back with some more "backdoored" stuff for my collection purchased from a certain eBay seller with a large selection of internal proof cards and whatnot that were never intended to make it out into the world.

These Ring Leaders inserts from 1995 Topps Stadium Club are ostentatious enough as they are-- but a slightly oversized proof?! Even more intense! I wanna make this image my desktop background. Looks even better in hand, all nice n' shiny.

For comparison, here's the packed-out version. You can see the edges have been trimmed off of the original artwork. The proof has more of the eagle wing and a bit of Crime Dog's shoe.

I also got a similar Gwynn, but this one has a color bar attached to it too. The googly-eyed Bip is there for scale (and comic relief). These are both blank-backed, btw.

My way of thinking is if you're gonna do the oversized card thing, make it a shiny card. The more shiny, the better.. right? These Power Players inserts from 2000 Topps are pretty cool looking.. and the untrimmed proofs add a little more to the story. These have standard backs. The Nomar was picked up as trade bait, so if any of my Sox-collecting trade buddies want me to set it aside for you, just let me know.

The 2009 Bowman red parallel is an unnumbered proof (regular size). The packed-out versions of this parallel are 1/1. Just a neat little addition for my Xavier Nady PC.

Basketball even got into the action, picking up a pair of shiny untrimmed Tim Duncan proofs. These look great.

Foil-less, untrimmed proofs of Dwight Evans (1992 Stadium Club) and Eric Owens (1996 Topps Gallery).

Some Fleer stuff too. More slightly oversized proofs. 2005 Fleer Classic Clippings Gavin Floyd, Khalil Greene, Brian Giles, and Adrian Beltre.

Some of the big names are priced a bit steep-- occasionally outrageous even-- but Bagwell and Thome here were just a buck each, so I added them to my cart, spicing up those little PCs with an out-of-the-ordinary item. Most of the cards in this post were a buck or two. The Gwynn Ring Leader was the priciest card at $3.

The Hoyt is a blank-back of his 1991 Archives card, a 1953 Topps reprint. Not very exciting, but happy to add another Hoyt to the collection as I work toward my goal of 100 different cards. And yes, I definitely count these backdoored cards in my PC totals, though some collectors may choose not to. Cards like this obviously aren't listed in Beckett or TCDB or whatnot, but I just consider them bonus oddballs. Maybe a step above customs and unofficial sketch cards.

Rod Beck was the star of the order with 8 different cards. As for the two cards that look like dupes, one is blank-backed and the other has a standard back. The 1995 Topps Finest refractor (bottom right) isn't a proof or anything.. just a regular card the seller had that was a good price and I needed it, so I threw it in the cart. It is possibly a backdoored card, but no real way to tell the difference with a packed-out version in this instance, I guess.

Let's close out with a Bip Roberts lot, another of my favorite under-the-radar guys to collect.

Here are the backs. Again, just some quirky PC additions.

Typically, I'm not a fan of oversized cards as they're more of a pain to store, but these cards that are only slightly oversized are still small enough to fit in boxes with the rest of my cards, so it's not too bad. I might just have to put them in team bags instead of penny sleeves.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A decade gone

Today marks 10 years since I moved up to Portland. So it's been a full decade since I packed up my things and left behind my hometown of El Cajon in East County San Diego. Let's see.. in that time, I've had 3 different jobs, a couple awesome dogs, gotten married, and most importantly as far as this blog is concerned: returned to the hobby of card collecting.

One way I like to "remember my roots" is by collecting cards of pro athletes who went to my high school-- "Guys From Granite", as I call that part of my collection.

One sidequest I had since the beginning was to acquire an autograph of every Guy From Granite who made the major leagues (currently totalling 8 players), and I'm pleased to announce I've just recently met that goal, finally. To celebrate, let's run down the list chronologically.

#1 Mike Reinbach
MLB debut: 1974

The original Guy From Granite, Mike got a cup of coffee with the Orioles in '74, then had greater success playing in Japan. A few years after his playing days, he was tragically killed in a car wreck. Maybe someday I'll find an autographed card, but for now I've got to make due with a pair of signed index cards.
See also: The Harrowing Tale of Mike ReinbachSetting the Mike Reinbach story straight, and Mike Reinbach apocalypse.

#2 Chris Jones
MLB debut: 1985

Chris D. Jones briefly appeared with the Astros in '85 and the Giants in '86. He was the last guy I needed an autograph from. His common name makes it hard to search for his cards/autographs (there are a lot of people named Chris Jones in the world), but thanks to Padrographs Rod and an autograph dealer buddy of his, I was finally able to track down a signed minor league card. I've also got his mailing address now and I plan to try a TTM attempt with a custom or two soon.
See also: Chris Jones, but not that Chris Jones

#3 Brian Giles
MLB debut: 1995

Brian Giles had the longest, most successful baseball career of the guys to come out of Granite Hills High, and so it's no surprise he easily had the most cards produced of the players on this list. He was still active after the next 4 guys on this list had come and gone.
See also: Brian Giles was a narc at my school and My Brian Giles PC

#4 Tom Fordham
MLB debut: 1997

Tom is currently the only pitcher to ever make it to the bigs out of Granite Hills. He got into 36 games (6 of them starts) with the White Sox in '97 and '98. He got some cardboard love back in the day, mainly from Bowman and Best.
See also: Tom Fordham went to my high school

#5 Shane Spencer
MLB debut: 1998

Brian Giles may have had the longest career of the guys on this list, but Shane had the good fortune of being a part of the turn-of-the-millenium Yankees dynasty and picked up 3 rings in his relatively short career, highlighted by some clutch home runs in the fall of 1998.
See also: Yankee hero Shane Spencer went to my high school

#6 John Barnes
MLB debut: 2000

Now we're entering my time at Granite. John was a big man on campus when I was a freshman/sophomore while he was a junior/senior. He came up through the Red Sox organization before being traded to the Twins where he got a few dozen MLB at-bats in 2000-2001. Later attempted a comeback as a pitcher, though didn't make it past AAA.
See also: I went to school with John Barnes and he played in the majors

#7 Marcus Giles
MLB debut: 2001

As I've mentioned several times in the past on this blog, I was in the same grade as Marcus, going to school with him from elementary school all the way up through community college. Sure was a thrill to watch him rise through the minors and become an NL All-Star in 2003.
See also: My classmate the All-Star

#8 Travis Taijeron
MLB debut: 2017

After an extended dry spell, it was great to see another Guy From Granite finally crack the majors near the end of the 2017 season. It looks like Travis recently signed a minor league deal with the Mets, returning to his original organization after a year on the Dodgers' Triple A squad. Wishing him the best of luck in the upcoming 2019 season.
See also: Better Call Up Taijeron! and Superfractor auto pickup!

That wraps it up. Here's to another 10 great years up here in the Pacific Northwest, though I'll always keep my hometown in my heart and in my collection.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Joy of a purchased complete set: 1976 SSPC

A small number of cards of the 1976 SSPC set have entered my collection over the years. I always thought they were kinda neat vintage oddballs, but only recently did I decide to go after the set, inspired by the love it gets from fellow bloggers such as Night Owl. (Full disclosure, I haven't read N.O.'s Beckett Vintage article.) I ended up buying a complete set on eBay a week or two ago. It's the first time I've bought a complete vintage set rather than build it, but since this set was never released in packs (only via mail order as a complete set or team sets), it seemed to be the way to go.

A large percentage of the photos in this set are from Shea Stadium. Apparently, the photographer didn't have any stadium credentials, but he was a former Mets bat boy who was friendly with the security guards, so they let him sneak in and I guess he was able to talk his way into having many players pose for him. The Yankees also played at Shea in 1975, as Yankee Stadium was being renovated, so the photographer was able to shoot players from both leagues there.

The set was not licensed by either MLB or the players union.

There are a handful of candid shots, like Johnny Bench in the batting cage.

But the majority are posed.

You might be thinking these cards would look great signed. But many of the featured players were upset they were never compensated for their inclusion in the set, and so they will often refuse to sign these cards.

The vast majority of the cards are vertical, but there's this nutty horizontal one (plus some combo card checklists near the end).

This Bill Buckner features one of the very few in-game photos.

Among the favorites are an early George Brett card and the only sunset card Harmon Killebrew got, as Topps never acknowledged his short-term-stop swan song in KC.

This set reminds me of another favorite of mine, 1957 Topps, with its "non design" letting the photo take over the full card. They nicknamed it the "Pure Card" set.

Though really, the lineage can be traced back to 1953 Bowman. Maybe someday down the line I'll go after '53 Bowman and attempt to complete the trifecta.

SSPC stands for Sports Stars Publishing Co.

It's an offshoot of TCMA.

Topps sued them over this set, and then it was back to doing minor league sets and occasional all-time great sets.

Lots of 70s hair.

Bullpen cart?!

Infamous 7 consecutive Orioles cards featuring mops.

There's some confusion over the date of this set because the cards are copyrighted 1975 on the back, though they actually came out in early 1976, and were always officially referred to as a 1976 set by the company. The back of the Fred Lynn card, for instance, mentions he won the AL ROY and MVP for the 1975 season.

This Tim Blackwell rookie was among the most exciting new cards for me to add to my collection. He didn't get his first Topps card until the 1978 set.

The backs don't have stat boxes, but feature solid write-ups, notably by Keith Olbermann, a teenager at the time. I remember that tidbit kinda blew my mind the first time I learned it.

This set kinda breaks your heart that Topps had such a monopoly back then. At least this set came out, but damn it, there should have been many more along these lines in the years post-Bowman and pre-Donruss/Fleer.

As far as condition, the photos have some printing-flaw specks here and there. The backs sometimes brown a bit. It's rare that a card has perfect centering. The set I bought was just fine for my purposes. A few less-than-mint corners, but only two commons compelled me to snag replacements on COMC due to creases.

Almost wish the set didn't come together until a few months later so that we may have gotten Reggie as an Oriole.

Eckersley is the only "HOF RC" in the set, a fact that-- coupled with it being unauthorized-- generally keeps the cost of the set among the cheapest major baseball card sets from the 70s.

Funky fresh!

These checklists are great!

Interesting note here: The negatives for the set were stolen and led to a bootlegged "illegal reprint" set popping up a few years later. You can tell the difference because the original pressing has "Nolan" on card 593, whereas the bootlegged set has "Noland" instead, an error that was caught and corrected on the original printing plates, but snuck by in the stolen negatives. So neither print run of the set was authorized, but the latter was even less authorized! I thought about tracking down the error variation, but after learning the backstory of it not being an original part of the set, I probably won't bother unless I find it cheap. Hell, I could just print a custom of it if I wanted.. I'd just be making a bootleg of a bootleg, what's the difference. LOL.

So there are a few highlights. Fun set!
Thanks for reading.