Thursday, November 28, 2019

Cards from Matt, Larry, and Bo

A trade roundup post is good for Thanksgiving, I suppose! Thankful to have great trade partners to swap cards with. Today's post features cards from 3 good trader buddies of mine whom I've dealt with several times in recent years. These cards all arrived a month ago, and while I typically try to feature incoming trades on my blog within a week or so of receiving them, I got preoccupied with my dog's rapid sickness and eventual passing, and many things were placed on the backburner.

Matt from Diamond Jesters was a winner in my kickoff contest at the 1991 MusiCards Blog. He selected the last Wade Boggs Simpsons custom TTM autograph I had available (well, of course I kept one for myself, too!). I figured as long as I was sending him a card, I'd propose a little "time-traveling trade" for that neat idea of his where he has a group of cards and trades them for any older cards, hoping to eventually wind up with a bunch of really old cards. There were 4 cards on the list that I needed for my 1976 Topps setbuild, so I traded him a few '72 triplicates I had from the big lot I got a couple card shows ago.

Thanks for the trade, Matt! And congrats again on the contest win.

Not to harp on sad dog stuff, but this trade will be remembered as a special one for me because the last "walksie" I ever took Annie on was a walk to drop the cards for Matt in the mail.

-  - ---o

Next up is a great bunch of vintage from Larry. He was the other winner in my big MusiCards contest, originally a stand-by winner who ended up being a full-on winner when the other prize wasn't claimed in time. Larry said his first choice was the Earl Weaver refractor auto, but if it was selected before his turn, his backup choice would be the Alan Trammell auto. Well, it turns out both cards remained on the table, so I asked if he'd like to work out a trade so he could get both cards and he was down for that idea.

I was blown away at how "pack fresh" these 44-year old cards are. When I asked him about it over email, he said, "The '75s were from a box that was opened in 1983 and immediately put in an 800 count box.  Those cards haven't seen the light of day but maybe 3 times since 1983."

Very cool!

The additions from Larry pushed my 1975 Topps setbuild past the ⅔ complete mark. Sweet.

A nice trio of '78s too.

And a bunch of 1979 Topps, also in excellent condition. My 1979 Topps setbuild is now down to just 37 cards remaining. Shouldn't be much longer till that one gets knocked off.

Thanks so much, Larry!

-  - - ---o

Last incoming package to show off today is from my frequent trade partner Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life. I shot him over a bunch of vintage on his wantlist as a little surprise and he hit me back with a great return.

These needs/upgrades breathed some life into my stagnant 1964 Topps setbuild.

But the bulk of the mailer was a fat stack of 1970 Topps. There were several cards with writing on them that I'll hope to eventually upgrade, though I'm more than happy to have them as place fillers for now.

But plenty of the cards were in solid shape.

My 1970 setbuild was at 27.5% complete, but thanks to this lot, it's now on the cusp of 40%.

Here's a little something for your nightmares. LOL

There were also a bunch of great '72 Topps. My '72 setbuild is now at 72% complete, fittingly. The Bob Gibson is in rough condition, but still very appreciated-- it's Bob Frickin' Gibson, after all!

My 1974 Topps setbuild is chugging along, with just 84 cards left to track down now.

Finally, Bo was able to help me out with the last 4 cards missing from my 1988 Topps set. And the German Gonzalez card in my '90 Fleer set had a little damage, so it's nice to upgrade that one. And a '90 UD Marquis thrown in, too.

Thanks a lot, Bo! (Another package from him is already on the way.)

Well, thanks for reading and I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Vagabond Binder: Rickey Henderson

Fun new project I'm kicking off. I've typically been a penny sleeves & boxes type of collector, but in an effort to engage with my collection a bit more, I've been working up a "fun binder" (or as I call mine, "The Binder of Enchantment and Wonder"), which will feature a bunch of themed pages. And here's the first section.

The Vagabond Binder!

It focuses on players who changed teams a lot in their careers. One page per player. To be eligible, a player must have been with at least 7 MLB teams. Of course 9 is ideal, so you can have a card for each team. But guys with 7 or 8 teams can find filler cards with minor league or foreign leagues, senior league, coaching/manager cards, etc. Zero Year cards definitely count (such as Jose Canseco on the Expos and Angels). Custom cards are allowed if there's no readily available card of the guy in a particular uniform.

So with the parameters understood, let's kick off with a guy who played for exactly 9 MLB clubs (plus some double-dipping), the great Rickey Henderson.

Nine cards, nine teams! This is an ideal page for the Vagabond Binder.

Let's take a closer look at them.

Some collectors might frown on the same design popping up twice on the same page, but not me! Honestly I don't have many Yankees cards in my Rickey PC, so I didn't have much choice. And the '89 Topps Traded is one of my favorite A's cards of his (plus I had a dupe of it, which is a good since I'm pulling these cards out of the PC for the binder). But yeah, I think this is an appealing pairing of cards. Yes, Rickey's original stint in Oakland isn't represented, but I'm ok with how it turned out. If I someday end up with a 3rd rookie card (one for the set, one for the PC, and one left over), I could see it bumping out the '89TT. (Currently I only have one RC, residing in my 1980 Topps complete set.)

The Blue Jays card has me conflicted. On one hand, it's the only card on the page featuring Rickey doing his thing on the basepaths, but on the other hand, it's horizontal so it kinda upsets the feng shui of the page. But this was the only Blue Jays card in my Rickey PC, believe it or not, so it gets the call.. at least for now; I reserve the right to make adjustments to the Vagabond Binder as I see fit. Rickey got his 2nd WS ring with Toronto in '93, with his leadoff walk setting up Joe Carter's walk-off in the 9th inning of the deciding Game 6.

As a native San Diegan, my personal favorite Rickey is Padres Rickey. This card doesn't look great in the scan, but it's a good looking card in person. Then you got the Angels and Mets. I believe there were some brief returns to Oakland mixed in there, but for our purposes, the A's have already been accounted for.

Easy for fans to forget about his stints with the Mariners and Red Sox. But the binder's got 'em!

And finally, Rickey wrapped up his MLB career in Dodger blue. Looks good on 2003 Topps.

He still hung around the game after that, playing with the Newark Bears and San Diego Surf Dawgs. Had I needed to fill another pocket or two, I could have been open to cards from those stints. But the page is filled, so we're good.

And that'll do it for this entry. I plan to make this a recurring blog series and induct another player into the Vagabond Binder soon in a forthcoming post.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Setting out to strike Black Gold

I recently bought a couple cheap lots of 1992 Leaf Black Gold to help kick off that collecting idea that popped into my head last month.

These are terrific looking cards that tend to get lost in the overproduction sludge. Let's admire a few...

Cardboard masterpieces, one and all!
I've now got a spreadsheet up for this setbuild: 1992 Leaf Black Gold wantlist
While nearly every card is available at the 18-cent minimum on Sportlots, I'd love to knock off a chunk through trading before I give in and go on a shopping spree, so please let me know if you've got a few (or a stack?) of these cards available and would like to swap for something from me.

And my quest for striking Black Gold doesn't stop there.

I've also thrown the Leaf Gold Rookies inserts from 1991 and 1992 onto the end of that spreadsheet, as well as the 1993 Topps Black Gold inserts, and even the UD 5th Anniversary black reprint inserts... as all those cards exist in the same fantastic place in time in the early 90s when black contrasted with gold foil on baseball cards was just so damn cool to me.

And ok.. Maybe I'm going overboard now, but also under my umbrella of "classic early 90s  black gold  cards" are Donruss Diamond Kings from 1992 & 1993, plus the "Team 2000" inserts from 1992 Pinnacle and "Team 2001" inserts from 1993 Pinnacle. Oh, and even the 1992 McDonald's Baseball's Best cards. These have also been thrown onto the end of my Black Gold spreadsheet. I'm looking for all of 'em (even dupes would still be cool), so if you've got a bunch of unwanted junk wax taking up space, here's a good opportunity to give some of them a loving home.. At least those featuring black with gold foil in the design.

(If you know of any other early 90s baseball cards like this that I'm forgetting, feel free to let me know in the comments, though if I wasn't aware of them as a kid back then, they probably won't make it into this collecting project, as it's mostly a sentimental/nostalgic endeavor. For instance, the 1994 Topps Black Gold inserts don't really move the needle for me, as I was out of the hobby by then. But I'd still take 'em.)

I know they're not worth much today, but I'm still enthralled by these cards and would love to "complete a run" of them. Again, if you've got some to trade, won't you fill up the tank, let's go for a ride. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

2019 Archives blaster

Picked up a discounted blaster of '19 Topps Archives back at the October monthly card show.. eventually got around to opening it. Let's take a quick look to see how I did.

A few PC dudes of mine in the '58 design. Always nice to pull a Trout.

Some keepers in the '75 design.

The '93 design takes the crown as far as having the most cards from the box that I could use in my collection.

I did pretty well with the inserts, including a nice Vlad Jr. and a few guys I collect.

Anybody working on '19 Archives? The cards in the above photo are all available for trade. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd add these to my TCDB inventory, as I think recent cards are more likely to spark trade interest.

After buying a pair of hobby boxes of Archives the past few years, this year I think I'll call it good with just this one blaster as I seem to be less interested in modern cards these days, but we'll see. I wouldn't say this blaster was a dud (despite lack of any hits, numbered cards, or SPs), but it also didn't inspire me to pick up any more. I considered picking up another blaster at the November card show, but ultimately passed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 18, 2019

untitled post for November 18, 2019

I was watching the classic North By Northwest last weekend and browsed over to the film's Wikipedia page while I was at it. Turns out John Berardino, who has a small role as a cop, had been a baseball player. I looked up his cards and ended up pulling the trigger on this well-loved 1951 Bowman card. Apparently he went on to play Dr. Steven Hardy on General Hospital for over 30 years. Wow!

Beradino is the only person to have won a World Series (1948) and get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1993).

I "salvaged" this box from work. With a length of 30", it might be a bit too long, but I'll probably find a way to make it work for cards.

Here's a Tom Seaver gif I made a few months back that I recently realized I hadn't posted to the blog yet. It was his 75th birthday yesterday.

Here's a gif I made for a Jimi Hendrix post over at my other blog, the 1991 MusiCards Blog. We're still working through the classic rock of the Legends subset. Gonna be at least a couple more months till we break into the 90s pop stuff.

Finally, I'll leave you with a little Calvin and Hobbes gif I whipped up today. The classic comic strip debuted on this date back in 1985.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Gavins in Pro Ball - 2019 Recap

As I like to do each year around this time as the calendar winds down, let's take a look at active professional baseball players named Gavin and how they performed this past season.

Gavin Lux
Of course the big news in 2019 as far as Gavins in baseball was Gavin Lux. He tore up the minor leagues and got a September call-up to the Dodgers, becoming just the 3rd Gavin to make his major league debut. As a 21-year old getting his first taste of MLB action, he hit .240 with a pair of tatters in 75 at-bats. Not exactly a Juan Soto-like debut, but he held his own. He also had a big moment with a home run in the NLDS against the Nats, though Los Angeles ultimately went down in dramatic fashion. While I generally root against LA, part of me was hoping Gavin would play in the World Series. Maybe next year. The big question will be if Lux can make the team out of spring training or if he'll start the year in AAA. Or perhaps another team will convince the Dodgers to trade him away for a solid pitcher or two (He was apparently highly sought-after at the trade deadline).

If you're wondering, the first Gavin to play in the postseason was Gavin Floyd, who took the loss in the deciding Game 4 of the 2008 ALDS as the Rays knocked off the White Sox.

Gavin Cecchini
Cecchini is the "middle child" of the 3 Gavins who've made the Majors. He played in 36 games with the Mets in 2016-2017. Then after playing well in the minors in for the first part of 2018, he was lost to an injury on the cusp of being called up again. Looks like he was slow to get back to full strength, and spent all of 2019 in the minors, mostly in AA. On the year, he hit .248 with 3 homers. So yeah, it was a rough year for him. The Mets just recently cut him loose, so he's currently a free agent (and now officially a bust as a former 1st round pick). I hope he can bounce back with a new team in 2020 at age 26 and make it back up top, though it's not looking great at this point. (His older brother Garin Cecchini, who got into a handful of games with the Red Sox in 2014-2015, seems to have retired after most recently playing in Mexico in 2018.)


This list seems to get larger every year, as the name Gavin became more popular for baby boys born in the 90s. Less Garys and Georges being born these days, with more Gavins picking up the slack.

Gavin Collins
Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the 2016 Draft from Mississippi State University, the 24-year old Collins spent 2019 at high-A Lynchburg, playing C, 1B, and DH, while batting .262 with 7 homers. Respectable numbers. Hopefully he gets promoted to AA in 2020.

Gavin Collyer
Here's a new name to the list. Collyer was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 12th round of the 2019 Draft out of high school. His pro career got off to a bumpy start: He came on in relief in 6 rookie league games, totalling just 5 innings-pitched and 6 earned runs given up. But that's a small sample size and the 18-year-old right-hander has plenty of time ahead of him. (Thanks to Zippy for giving me a heads-up that he had Perfect Game cards on the market. I ended up snagging this lot of 3 different parallels on eBay recently.)

Gavin Garay
After putting up a nice OPS of .949 in 2018, that number dropped way down to .656 in 2019.. not what you want to see from a guy mostly used at DH. Garay, 22, played for the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets A- club) this past season.

Gavin Jones
Another new player this year, Jones was a late draft pick by the A's back in June. He's a corner infielder who didn't show much with the bat during his debut season in rookie league. But he also pitched a perfect inning to finish a game once, so that's cool.

Gavin LaValley
Ah, LaValley, a guy I've supercollected over the past few years. He's now spent two and a half seasons at AA. Hit a middle-of-the-road .254 with 10 dingers in 2019, playing first and third base. He'll be 25 next year and hopefully get a shot at AAA, so it's crunch time for him.

Gavin Sheets
Sheets, a 2nd round pick in 2017, had a solid 2019, with his 16 homers and 83 RBI both easily leading the White Sox AA affiliate. He hit .267 and mostly played at 1B. (I'm sorry I don't really use advanced stats or hunt down scouting reports, but click the name link if you care to dig deeper.)

Gavin Stupienski
Stupienski, a former Diamondbacks prospect, hung on for another year, playing for a couple different independent teams in 2019, though the numbers he put up weren't too impressive. Geez, it seems like besides Lux and Sheets, 2019 was generally a rough year for ballplayers named Gavin!

Gavin Wallace
Wallace just turned 24 (yesterday was his birthday), but still hasn't made it out of A-ball. He pitched 109 innings, striking out 90 and walking 22 while giving up 124 hits in the Pittsburgh organization.

---Now for a few guys that have Gavin in their name, though it's not their first name--

Grant Gavin
Grant spent all of 2019 in AA. The righty reliever pitched 52.1 innings, striking out 73 and walking 25 while giving up 43 hits. Not bad numbers. It's likely the Royals promote him to AAA next year.

John Gavin
John was an 8th rounder in 2017 who pitched for the San Jose Giants in 2019. The lefty put up a 2-8 record with a 5.38 ERA. Ouch. I'll be rooting for him to bounce back in 2020.

Stephen Gavin Alemais
I don't think this guy was on my radar before, but I should probably give a little love to him since his middle name is Gavin. I don't think there's been a Gavin middle-namer in the majors since Scott Erickson. Anyways, Stephen was a 3rd round pick by the Pirates in 2016. He's a light-hitting middle infielder who played at AA in 2019.

That wraps up the list of Gavins who played pro baseball in 2019. Best of luck to them all in 2020!

And a respectful tip of the cap to the only Gavin who appears to have hung up his cleats since last year's update...
Gavin Lavallee
Lavallee (not to be confused with the similarly named Gavin LaValley) didn't play in 2019 after a career in the independent Pecos League from 2016-2018. He hit .299 in 131 career games. Wishing him the best with what the next chapter of his life has in store for him.

Non-baseball Gavins in pro sports

Gavin Escobar 
After getting released by the Dolphins in late 2018, Escobar joined the San Diego Fleet of the newly-formed Alliance of American Football for 2019. He caught 14 passes for 142 yards during his time in the AAF before an injury ended his season (shortly followed by the league folding). He's currently a free agent and his prospects of getting back to the NFL are looking dim at this point.

In hockey, Gavin Bayreuther became the first NHL Gavin in several years (following Gavin Morgan in 2003-04). Bayreuther (pronounced "BAY-roo-thuhr") is in the Dallas Stars organization, though he's currently playing for the Texas Stars in the AHL (basically the minor league of hockey). He's got some recent Upper Deck cards out, though I've yet to pick up any. These days, I'm less enthusiastic about collecting cards of guys named Gavin-- especially non-autos and non-baseball guys-- though still happy to receive any cards I need in trade. (I'm especially burnt out on Gavin Floyd, Cecchini, and Escobar unless it's something cool like a 12/25 card.)
Oh yeah, I forgot I had picked up this signed custom (?) from eBay back during his pre-NHL days.

A bonus Gavin with cards

Gavin Hinchliffe
Hinchliffe is still in college, but he has Leaf Perfect Game cards on the market. I generally keep this annual list of mine professionals-only (There are many NCAA Gavins), but I make an exception if an amateur has real trading cards out there. I suppose it'll be a while till we find out if Hinchliffe makes a go of it in the game, though his collegiate performance hasn't been much so far.

Again, best of luck to him and all my other Gavin brethren!

p.s. Oh, and I just now discovered that there's a high schooler named Gavin Casas who has cards in 2019 Panini USA Baseball Stars and Stripes, so I'll probably have to pick up an auto of his soon (despite how unsettling it is collecting cards of someone who is still a minor).