Friday, January 31, 2020

Zapped Into Submission

The first couple months of the year always seem to be the busiest for me. While I pride myself in being good about keeping up with all the card blogs I follow, over the past couple weeks I've fallen way behind and any hopes of "catching up" are fading. Breaks my heart, but I may need to accept the fact that there will be posts from my favorite blogs that I'll never have a chance read. (only half-joking)
It might be a few more weeks till I'm able to get back into the "read all new posts" groove.

Posting my own stuff has taken a hit as well, and I'm getting a backlog of cards I want to post about. But hey, I took a sick day today, so I've got a few moments to show off a hell of a zapping from Zippy I got earlier in the month. He's been narrowing his collection lately and he knows I'm a receptive dumping ground for pretty much any cards he wants to purge. This Priority Mail flat-rate box included a bunch of great keepers for me.

My lil Joey Votto PC got a nice boost thanks to these early Bowman Chrome refractors. Those two cards ain't cheap! And I was also super stoked about the Asian black parallel of Rhys Hoskins' first Bowman card.

Love these Asian imports!

I didn't really mess with new cards much last year (and don't plan to in 2020 either), so I appreciate when I can add some dudes I collect and the year's notable rookies. The rainbow foil Lucroy can wiggle into my collection thanks to the Matt Chapman cameo.

Here are a couple guys whose careers each looked promising before they came back down to earth.
Aw, I kid Bryce lumping him together with The Maasinator. The guy has 219 home runs and he's only 27.
UPDATE: Oh crap, I didn't even realize at first that the 2014 Heritage card in the lower right is an Action Image Variation (pricey card). Whoo!

I've mentioned someday might wanting to try building a 2015 Bowman/C/D parallel franketset (along the lines of my 2011 Topps parallel frankenset), so I love to stockpile these snazzy cards when I can.

Look at Zippy going old school! That '82 Taveras goes straight to my "Bender Binder" minicollection of trippy printing errors. This is my 7th card earmarked for that project.. just 2 more and I'll be finally able to complete a page.
The '73 Corrales was actually a slight upgrade over the one in my set. I've gotten a ton of great cards from the ol' Zipper over the years, but vintage set fillers is a new trick for him.

Highlights of some 2019 Panini USA/draft cards included in the boxxxx. Pretty sure these are the first cards in my collection of overall #1 Adley Rutschman and the Padres' #1 pick CJ Abrams. Sweet!

Some more cool stuff. And that-all was just about half of the baseball cards included. But there was also a ton of non-baseball...

Not too much football in the box, but some really nice cards among the few. Mahomes and Garoppolo! Facing off in the Super Bowl tomorrow (er, Sunday, I mean). I almost forgot it was this weekend, honestly. Seems the sports news has been mostly Kobe and the Astros. But anyways, I'm not sure if I'll catch the game but I'll be rooting for Mahomes to have a great game.

Luka! I think that's my first card of my close and personal friend whom I hang out with. Solid little stack of basketball cards.

A bunch of hockey, too. I don't know squat about hockey, but I was able to find 3 guys I know of, plus a pair of hits.

Turns out we weren't done with baseball yet. Holy geez! I was under the impression Zippy had already handed down his Arod collection to me a few months ago, but looks like that was only the tip of the iceberg. There's a relic in there somewhere, too. By quantity, he might be my #1 PC now, with only Tony Gwynn challenging for the top spot. Crazy! I don't even like Arod that much, lol.
I recently saw a guy on Twitter was looking to trade for all Arod cards (even ones he already has), so one of these days I should sort out my PC and ship the dupes off to him. One dupe I'd keep though would be the Stadium Lights card.. I want all glow-in-the-dark cards (even ones I already has [sic]).

Turns out we weren't done with football yet. Panini stickers. I like the shiny ones.

Some fun non-sport stuff including a Barb rookie card.

Nice selection of Star Wars cards. By the way, yeah, I need to refinish my coffee table one of these days. Please forgive the scuffs n' whatnot.

Oh dang! MORE Arod! These are the smaller-than-a-normal-card things from the box.

Zippy was generous enough to pick me up a '19 Brooklyn Cyclones team set last season because it has Gavin Garay in it. New guy named Gavin for my collection! Right on! I've kept it sealed so far, but I might give into temptation and free Gavin before long.
Here we also see a few pocket schedules and (not pictured) a couple programs.

That just about brings us to the end.

HEADS UP, the last picture of the post coming up is semi-NSFW, so you might want to stop reading now if you don't want to see any sexy girlie cards on your screen.






Oh my! Many lovely ladies here. Some of these were actually sealed packs that I had the pleasure of opening. ...Sorry, that sounds dirty. I'm especially crushing on Nana Ayano, featured in the top few cards here. Super cute!

HUGE THANKS, Zippy! So many awesome cards in that box. I'm very grateful to be a lucky person you choose to dump cards on!

I sent him back just 2 cards since I know he's on a strict, low-card diet. But I think I made the two pack a punch, at least.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Super Bowl weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Schmidt Happens Twice

Man, I have the worst luck with buying Mike Schmidt cards on eBay. Maybe you remember back when I bought a 1973 Topps Schmidt rookie that turned out to be fake? That's right: Counterfeit Schmidt!

Well, after receiving my first counterfeit card (that I'm aware of, at least), I think I've now received my first trimmed card (again, that I'm aware of). And again, the player is Michael Jack Schmidt.

The card on the left is the one I recently won, while the non-auto on the right is from my factory set. The autographed card is clearly shorter than the other. It seemed off right out of the package, as it loosely rattled around in the standard screw-down hard case it was mailed in.

I know some vintage sets may have slightly varying sizes, but as you can see from my set, these 1991 Classic Best cards all appear uniform in width and height.

I love this minor league set and it was the only full-length set from my childhood collection that survived "the great possessions purge" as I prepared to move out-of-state years back. Card #1, poster boy Schmidt is the only big leaguer in a set of minor league cards and I figured adding an autographed card would be a cool addendum. It's an official auto card from Classic Best.. I believe they were only available in packs, probably seeded at crazy odds. The only autograph in the set, they are hand-numbered to 2100, but otherwise don't mention they are autographed (no "Congratulations!"-type message on the back), though the back is slightly different than the base version.

Thanks to TCDB-- because I've already returned the auto and didn't snap a shot of the back-- here are both cards for you to compare and contrast, noting the differences on the backs...

I'm now almost thinking I was too hasty and maybe the auto card really is just a little smaller?? Does anyone have one of the other 2099 copies who could confirm the size?

Maybe I'm just paranoid with all the "trimming scandal" hobby news over the past few months. Did the Schmidt auto originally have a dinged top corner that somebody decided to trim away to improve its visual appeal? Or was the manufacturer's card-cutting machine just set a little smaller when it came to the the run of to-be-signed cards?

Anyways, the seller was cool about it and I was able to get the return process going through eBay and use a provided return postage label. I don't think the seller was behind any nefarious activity, as he has a big inventory of listings yet few trading cards, so he's probably more of a "pawn shop" type of seller who just ended up with the card from somewhere. He was calmly apologetic about it, which was in contrast to the earlier seller who sent me the counterfeit Schmidt rookie; that guy accepted the return without a fight, but otherwise I got conspicuously no other communication from him, so I'm left to assume he probably knew it was a fake card all along.

So it's a bit of a bummer that the Schmidt auto purchase didn't work out for me, but I'm not too heartbroken over it thanks to the painless return. I'll keep a casual eye out for another one of these someday, but it ain't like it's a white whale of mine or anything (There are a couple others on eBay right now, though they're more expensive [Buy It Now] than the auction I won). If I end up with another one someday and find that it's also smaller than expected, I'll have egg on my face. But this one just seemed off and would've likely bugged me had I decided to hang onto it. Oh well.

UPDATE 1/31/2020

Reader mr. haverkamp, a big Schmidt collector, sent a scan and was able to confirm that yes, the autograph cards do seem to be a bit smaller! I probably should have consulted him before I returned it. Live and learn, I guess!

UPDATE 2/8/2020

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

trades n' fades

Here's some stuff.

John Miller sent me a nice surprise bubble mailer to thank me for the cards n' customs I sent him recently. Nice lot of '77 Topps here to bump me past the ⅓ complete mark with this set. Funny thing is these are all "high numbers". To clarify, the set is all one series together, but the cards John set are all from the tail end of the set (like 640-660). Sure, why not!

Super Giles World!

I tell John I'm good on Gavin Floyd base cards and that he can stop putting them aside for me, but he just shouts "NEVER!" and keeps 'em coming. Hey, better to have too many than not enough, right? The "Trev" is cool too. As for Dorssys Paulino, he made it as high as AAA for 4 games in 2018 but now appears to be out of the game. Still though, it's a lovely orange refractor and has a cool surprise on the back...

Christmas Card!

Thank you for another great bunch of cards, John!

-   -  - - ---o

Now here's one from Bru. For the past few years, we've been exchanging little blind trades.. He ships me a few Padres and I ship him a few Astros.

Always happy to add a new Gwynn to my #1 PC. The Josh Greer autos is neat.. though I can't find him on baseball-reference nor my go-to sites for looking up players. I even tried Joshua Greer.. still nothing. Oh well, I'll assume he flamed out in the minors since this is an old enough Bowman design to where if I haven't heard of the guy by now, he didn't make it. But still cool. UPDATE: ok, looks like his name is really Josh Geer! Poor guy had to sign a big stack of cards containing a blatant typo in his name right there on the front.. ouch. I'd have told Topps to suck it, personally. Well, the good news is at least he got to pitch in 129.2 MLB innings (2008-2009) before he hung them up, so that's something.

A few more Padres along for the ride.

Thank you, Bru!

-     - - -----o

Hey, you hear about Kobe Bryant? Such a tragedy. My Sunday morning started out great when I secured a sweet deal with someone for some special cards I was VERY interested in, and I was literally dancing around the house with joy. Then a little while later, the news of the helicopter crash got to me. Could hardly believe it was real. Really cast a dark shadow over the day that still lingers. Just an incredibly sad event all around.

Here are the Kobe cards in my collection arranged in an "8".. my tiny tribute to a huge legend.

  -  -   - - ---o

I've never been to a basketball game in my life (maybe someday), though after last Thursday I can at least say I've seen an NBA player in person.

We had our annual work conference thing at a hotel near the office and it so happens the Mavericks were staying in the same hotel, in town to play the Blazers. As I was leaving for the day, I noticed some dudes hollering at a tall guy for an autograph who seemed to be courteously trying to oblige as many of them as he could. Turns out it was one of the biggest names in the game right now, Luka Dončić! I immediately went to join the small group of dudes, pulling out the black sharpie I always have in my pants pocket and trying to think what I could have him sign. I guess a dollar bill if nothing else. But it was moot, as before I had the chance, a team handler guy quickly pulled Luka away and pointed him onto the bus waiting in front of the hotel.

I snapped a photo just in time to catch his back on the bus. In hindsight, I should have maybe just settled for trying to get a high-five rather than hang with the autograph hounds (Afterwards I heard a couple of them complaining how crappy their autos turned out, the pens adversely affected by the wet weather, no doubt), but it was still cool to get an in-person look at a rising superstar.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

a couple cool off-condition pickups

Two or three weekends ago I watched Field of Dreams for the first time in years. I think it's fine.. not exactly the greatest baseball movie ever in my eyes, but I wouldn't go as far as to call it overrated crap like some have.

Here are the three Cracker Jack baseball cards featured in the film. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Ray Liotta as Joe Jackson. If Liotta signed through the mail, that'd be a cool card to print out and send to him. But doesn't look like he responds to his fan mail, so I probably won't bother.

I'm overdue for an update to the List of Baseball Cards in TV and Movies, but a big update is in the works and is hopefully done in a week or two. But yeah, these Field of Dreams cards will be included. They're featured at the beginning of the film during the opening narration.

Anyways, as I was watching the movie, I noticed a "fun fact" that Gil Hodges is the only post-war player mentioned as being on the titular field. Hodges is not specifically shown, but a young Moonlight Graham excitedly mentions him as one of the players he recognizes (which doesn't really make sense chronologically, but hey, it's just a movie).

So that got me going down a Gil Hodges rabbit hole and I ended up pulling the trigger on a beat-up rookie card of his:

1949 Bowman #100 Gil Hodges rookie.

Since it's beat to hell well-loved, I got it for a fraction of what the card would typically cost. Hey, totally cool with me.

I hadn't realized he originally came up as a catcher, but given Roy Campanella's firm grip as Brooklyn's backstop of the future, Gil was moved over to first. He'd go on to an impressive career as a key member of "Dem Bums".

I think Gil Hodges should be in the Hall of Fame. While his offensive numbers might fall just below what would impress enough for inclusion, when you consider his renowned defense (multiple gold glove awards), plus his postseason success ('55 and '59 world champion), PLUS his managerial career, specifically leading the underdog '69 Miracle Mets to the championship, I think he's a shoo in. But sadly the Hall of Fame is stupid and refuses to consider combined achievements in the game.. you can only be enshrined as a player OR a manager, but factoring in both is taboo for some bullshit reason. And so Gil has been kept out so far. Hopefully he rightfully finds a place in the Hall one of these years. (..and like how Minnie Miñoso and Buck O'Neil DEFINITELY should be in, considering the full breadth of their contributions to the game [as players, coaches, and ambassadors] and how it's a travesty that they aren't.)

Here's another card of an all-time great I got for cheap due to the condition. Eric Dickerson autograph! But the autograph is very faded-- hardly there at all anymore-- plus the card is very off-center, so I landed this for single digits shipped. Can't complain about that.

Hey, it's enough for me to check this off my Archives Reserve Master Set (ARMS) checklist, though with an asterisk that I'd ideally like to upgrade it someday to a copy that has a bold autograph and is better centered. But if that day never comes, oh well, at least I've technically got it!

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Larry Walker PC

I love Larry Walker and am very happy he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. I watched the announcement live on at work-- FIRE ME; I DON'T CARE! (lol, j/k) I nearly chose a Larry Walker card for my wallet card this year, but I was afraid he'd just narrowly miss having enough votes, and then for the rest of the year, it'd bum me out to open my wallet and see him in there, reminding me of the travesty. But thankfully it all worked out. Higher career WAR than Jeter, btw, to those who don't think he's worthy.

I first started collecting in 1990 (as I've mentioned a lot recently, having decided to celebrate my 30 year anniversary as a collector this year). Felt like a great year for rookies. I had small PCs of my favorites and have some sentimental attachment to them still today. Some guys like Kevin Maas quickly fizzled out. Then you had guys like David Justice and Dean Palmer who went onto solid careers, but slowed down after a while. Larry Walker was one of the few guys I remember collecting as a rookie who just kept going and playing great. Seems like a cool guy, too. Easy to root for. Again, I'm glad he was eventually able to scratch his way into the Hall. And it's extra fitting for me that it happened while I'm looking back fondly on 1990.

To give you a peek into my physical collection, my baseball player collections are typically broken into 3 sections: Active, Retired, and HOF. It's rewarding when I get to move somebody from the Retired section into the HOF section, especially after a long wait, as with Larry here. Hopefully some of these other guys like Luis Tiant join him before long.

My PCs are generally just stacks of cards thrown together, though occasionally I'll get around to sorting them out-- usually organizing the cards by year, and weeding out dupes. Let's celebrate the recent news by sorting out the Larry Walker PC and see what I got.

We start off with a pair of minor league cards. I think the '87 came in a trade a couple years ago. The blue card is a remnant of my childhood collection.. one of my most cherished cards back in the day.

Speaking of "original collection" cards, the 90UD card in the yellowed top loader is another one. I suppose I kind of consider than an unofficial variation for me since I have another one here.
Looks like I've got a pretty good handle on his mainstream 1990 cards. Missing his great '90 Leaf rookie, though technically I do have one in my complete set. Same for his 1989 Topps Debut card.
I always thought his '90 Donruss card was funny looking.. Larry seems to be pouting that he wasn't awarded a Rated Rookie logo. "I'll show them for snubbing me. I'll play my way into the goddamn Hall of Fame!" lol
(His "Rookie Threats" teammates Delino DeShields and Marquis Grissom were both Rated Rookies in 1990, funny enough. I hope they get to attend the ceremony when Larry gets inducted.)

I was pretty shocked to discover I only have one lone card of his from 1991-- I'm sure I had plenty in my original collection, but must have jettisoned them when I slimmed down my possessions before I moved out of San Diego. (All you traders with lots of available overproduction-era cards taking up space.. hey, I need Larry Walker cards from 1991 besides Stadium Club!)



1995: the transition from Expos cards to Rockies cards.

Not much from '96, but that Summit card is a beaut!

1997 includes my only Larry Walker autograph.. as wonderfully crazy as it is. I hope with his induction, we'll start seeing him show up on more autograph checklists.

1998. Dog-on-cardboard alert.

1999. Love the metal card in the middle.

2000 seems to be my most plentiful year for Walker cards. The top left is an oversized proof card.. still need the standard issue. Might look like one of the League Leaders on the bottom is a dupe, but the one on the right is the Chrome version.


I only have two Larry Walker relic cards, and they're both from 2002, funny enough.


2004. That lovely black refractor is a dupe from my setbuild.

We wrap up with a pair of cards from his twilight in St. Louis. And it turns out the 2019 DK "Flashback" card I showed just yesterday is my first post-playing days Larry Walker card. Oh wait, I do also have a 2011 Topps legends variation diamond parallel in that setbuild.

Surprisingly I only had one dupe in the PC (2003 Topps)-- I typically end up with a decent stack of dupes when I sort my PCs, but not this time (--a pleasant change of pace).

And there you have it: my Larry Walker collection as it stood at the moment he was voted into the Hall of Fame. Now time to count these all up and see if I've hit my standard goal of 100 different cards. [...] Nope, looks like I'm at around 85 cards. Oh well, shouldn't be long till I'm able to hit triple digits. If you have any available Larry Walker cards not pictured here, I'd be down to receive them in trade. Thanks!