Wednesday, April 29, 2020

ignorable filler post: 1991 Cardboard Dreams #6 Ken Griffey Jr

Don't look now, guys, but I've just posted every day for a week! I haven't done that since-- well damn, I don't know, probably 2018 or maybe even 2017. (In fact, if someone has a lot of time on their hands and wants to go thru my blog's archives to figure out last time I posted here for 7 straight days, be the first to leave a comment on this post letting me know when it was and I'll send you a decent prize PWE for your trouble.) It's not like I'm sitting around bored. In fact, I'm a little behind at work (which is now work-from-home for the most part, and so I might be finding it a little harder to focus on job stuff. Really though I suspect maybe subconsciously I just like the thrill of procrastinating till the last moment and then pulling it out at the end. I seem to go that route more than I should. "Why do today what you could put off until tomorrow?" as the slacker saying goes).

Anyways, let's look at another card in this mini "set blog" I'm doing for 1991 Cardboard Dreams, a bizarre oddball set that I felt deserved a closer look.. but is unimportant enough to label as "ignorable filler posts" but that's just to give myself permission to ramble and be silly under the assumption that nobody's reading. I mean, my view count on these posts goes crazy because of the magic word "cardboard", but I know the majority of those hits are just bots. Truth is I don't know how many real people are reading these posts, and honestly I don't want to know. Hell, I hope it's in single digits. But I hope those few readers enjoy the hell out of them!

The Kid. I'd say the likeness is pretty good on this one compared to some of the other artwork featured in this 16-card set. Of course, I'm in no position to talk. If I did the above card it would be far-and-away the best sports art I ever created.

For comparison, here's the latest sketch card I've made. (I know, right?) I sorted my Tim Duncan cards earlier this month, and after I tweeted about it, a random young lady slid into my DMs asking if I had any Tim Duncan cards for sale. Well, the PC is mine-all-mine, but I did end up with enough dupes to warrant a PWE, so I offered them to her for $5 shipped. She agreed, and then I got the idea to surprise her with a bonus sketchcard thrown in, and here we see how it turned out. I'm not much of an artist-- especially have trouble with faces-- but this one isn't too bad. Doubt I could find anyone to pay me for freehand art like this, but I figure it's appreciated as a surprise freebie.

Speaking of sketches that are kinda fun but nothing to write home about, the back of this Griffey has a doodle of him catching a football from his (out of frame) brother.

• "Dad Ken Sr. is also on the Mariners"
Ken Griffey (Sr.) signed with the Mariners as a free agent on August 29, 1990 after being released by the Reds a few days earlier. He was with them through his final game on May 31, 1991 (Age 41). Not sure exactly when these 1991 Cardboard Dreams cards went into production, but apparently it was before June '91.

• "Only members of same family to ever hit back-to-back homers in same inning"
September 14, 1990. Still the only time this has happened-- at least with father & son.. maybe a pair of brothers or cousins have done it since? I believe the only other father and son to be in the same MLB lineup since the Griffeys occurred a few times in early October 2001 when Tim Raines Sr and Jr both took the field for the Orioles (but they weren't back-to-back in the lineup). If you're curious of the outcome of that game with the Griffey back-to-back jacks? The M's lost to Anaheim in large part due to a pair of dingers by Dave Winfield Sr and Dave Winfield Sr. But it's still a warm & fuzzy moment for MLB regardless of Big Dave's disrespectful 2-tater day at the plate.

The sitcom Schooled recently referenced the back-to-back feat, and even gave screen time to a '91 Topps (Desert Shield!) card of Sr (is it real? top edge seems wonky) and an '89 Topps Traded rookie card of Jr.

And speaking of such things, I should mention the List of Baseball Cards in Movies and TV has recently been updated for the first time in a few months. Check it out if you wanna. I try to change the sidebar image link everytime I update the list, so when that changes, it should tip you off that there's been a significant update. But you might not see it if you read on your phone. I'm curious of the splits between readers using a full-sized web browser and readers on a phone. Is there anywhere in the Blogger dashboard to find that info? I know some blogs tinker with their layout to make them more compatible with phones these days, but I like my layout the way it is and don't plan to make any drastic changes in the foreseeable future.

As far as pitting father against son.. Senior has the edge with career batting average (.296 vs .284), but Junior has well more homers (630 vs. 152). The elder Griffey has bragging rights with two WS rings, though (with those Big Red Machine teams of the mid 70s), while Junior never made it to the Fall Classic.

• "Ken's brother Craig plays football for Ohio State"
Craig was a late draft pick by the Mariners in 1991 and played minor league ball for a few years, making it as far as AAA for 3 games in 1997. Craig had a few cards during his career, most notably a '92 Upper Deck "Bloodlines" card posing with his dad and brother.

Despite the drawing on the card back, Craig never went far with football... but speaking of gridiron Griffeys, Junior's son Trey Griffey (b. 1994) is pursuing a career in the NFL, though hasn't had much success getting into any games yet. But hey, even just being a practice squad member of an NFL team is quite the accomplishment! And you gotta assume he's set financially from the family money.

Hey, going back to talking about stuff we created, here are some customs and gifs I've whipped up recently (I'm better in Photoshop than drawing). If you follow me on Twitter, you might've already seen them. But if you missed them (and/or don't do Twitter), here ya go!

Love this kooky custom of Lou Piniella on a 1992 Stadium Club card!

Oh, as for artistic expression, I should mention I made that background myself. I like it! I also just finally figured out how to do the drop-shadow effect on the card there. Yeah, maybe I'm not exactly the Photoshop master I make myself out to be, lol! But yeah, expect more drop-shadows from me in the future.

4/26/89: Kevin Mitchell makes a spectacular barehanded grab in left on Ozzie Smith's pop fly. Baseball

That was a fun gif. And yeah, another dumb fine background I made. I just like using backgrounds like this to help the card stand out, especially on Twitter where they trim off your edges.

Joan Jett.
'nuff said.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Surprised by cards that were sort of expected

Time for an incoming cards roundup for the past week or so.

Brian of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary was already on my I-O-U-cards list after he sent me an awesome 12/25 prospect auto a while back. Now he's gone and surprised me with an awesome "repack" of cards as part of the celebration for his blog's 1000th post. (I suppose it wasn't exactly a "surprise" since I was first to comment on the post offering cards to the first few people who commented.. but that was back in early March, so who could be expected to remember way back then? lol)

Love this crazy As-seen-on-TV Tatis!

Juan Soto cards are always very appreciated.

Some more active guys I collect. Good stuff.

Hey, Matt Chapman is celebrating his 27th birthday today. A bit of a late bloomer, but he's been pretty good since his 2017 call-up.

Snellzilla in the house. I started collecting him after his dominant 2018 season. Also seems like fun dude.. I see him doing video game stuff online.

Former teammates Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts were well represented in the package.

Kris Bryant and Pete Alonso. Noice.

A glorious baker's dozen of Trout! Honestly, these cards alone would have been a fine "thanks for reading my blog" gift/prize. The guy's like the greatest player since Ruth, damn it! One of the worst things about the virus is it's slowing Trout from moving up the all-time WAR leaderboard.

I seem to get sent a lot of Rhys Hoskins cards and I am totally cool with that.

That Wil Myers is the glued-on-glitter snowflake parallel. Michael Lorenzen worked his way up my wantlist impressing me with his 2-way playing. Speaking of Ruth:
On September 4, 2019, Lorenzen became the second player in baseball history to hit a homer, earn the win as the pitcher and play in the field in the same game when the Reds defeated the Phillies, 8–5. The other player to achieve the feat was Babe Ruth on June 13, 1921. (wiki)

A year or two ago I had an epiphany that I love Dave Henderson and I was upset with myself for not collecting him sooner (had a little PC for him when I was a kid, but took me a while to start it back up as an adult returning to the hobby). So yes, please send me all your available Hendu cards, regardless of how "junky" they may be, because they'll likely find a loving forever-home with me. (Ha, we're looking for a new dog these days, so the term "forever-home" pops up a lot.)

Some favorite old-timers of mine.

A pair of big boppers, Vlad and Crash.

And Brian even hit some setbuilds of mine with a smattering of '88 Fleer needs, including an unopened pack. I'll probably save the pack for a rainy day, but chances are it's got a card or two I need as I round the home stretch with this set. Oh-- the Joe Magrane caught the light as I was checking it off my list and turns out is a glossy version. Welp, close enough for my set!

Big thanks, Brian! Terrific stuff! Keep up the great work on your blog. I'll shot you over a few cards soon.

-  - - ----o

Next up is a great surprise* PWE from Sport Card Collectors at Snagging Cardboard with nice looking cards of a few dudes I collect. (* Again, probably shouldn't have been a surprise, as he had tweeted out a heads-up a few days earlier.)

Right on. The fiery orange Hoffman is numbered 12/299.

Thanks, Man! I'll put together a return PWE for you shortly (update: mailed out today).

-   -  - ----o

Tom at The Angels In Order had a bonus Kellogg's card he got from a recent cardsphere giveaway and offered it up if anyone wanted to call dibs. I did, and we had a quick PWE trade in the works.

I'm not sure if I had this yet or not-- I've only now begun sorting my several Kellogg's cards by year; expect wantlists up soon!-- but even if I did have it, well hey I've got a modest Freddy Lynn PC going, so I guess technically I want two of them in my collection anyways.

Tom also threw in a bunch of '79 needs to surprise me with! I recall he mentioned in an email that he had some set needs for me too, but sometimes it's not till you open up the envelope that you're like, "..oh yeah!"

I'm now down to just 27 needs left to finish off 1979 Topps (plus several more upgrades to worry about after that.. and a few wanted dupes for PCs.. but not too concerned about that stuff right now).

My '79 Topps needs as of 4/28/2020:
 5 Ron Guidry / Gaylord Perry LL W
 6 J.R. Richard / Nolan Ryan LL SO
39 Dale Murphy
49 Vern Ruhle
115 Nolan Ryan
187 Mark Lemongello
244 Pittsburgh Pirates - Chuck Tanner TC
313 Dyar Miller
316 Milt May
340 Jim Palmer
349 Jim Wright RC
353 Checklist 243-363
369A Bump Willis ERR TOR
391 Al Oliver
412 Hank Aaron / Hack Wilson ATL RBI
414 Ty Cobb / Rogers Hornsby ATL BA
415 Lou Brock ATL SB
457 Bruce Sutter
464 Joe Nolan
481 Skip Lockwood
540 Greg Luzinski
551 Chicago Cubs - Herman Franks TC
602 Checklist 485-605
610 Mike Schmidt
648 Lou Piniella
659 Seattle Mariners - Darrell Johnson TC
700 Reggie Jackson

If you can help with any of those, feel free to get in touch about hammering out a trade! Would love to knock this one off before I dive into the old Kellogg's sets.

Anyways, thanks a bunch, Tom! I dropped a return in the mail for you the other day, so expect that soon.

End of post.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Topps Retired Triad - Kiner, Pedro, and the Pepitones

Here are 3 more cards I've picked up in recent months. These all happen to be 2005 Topps Retired refractor autos.

Ralph Kiner is best known for his tenure on the Pirates, so a Cubs auto is a bit off the beaten path. Looks great.

He only played for a decade, but had quite the impressive peak, leading the league in homers his first 7 years. Took a while, but eventually got voted into the Hall by the BBWAA in 1975.

Gotta love this Pedro Guerrero! The 1981 World Series co-MVP has had some health scares in recent years, but thankfully seems to be doing better these days.

That lifetime .300 batting average is satisfying. His rough final season nearly dropped it below the big three-oh-oh, but he hung 'em up just in time.

I did the math on his career batting average. If you're interested, it comes to 0.300074183976261. I'm relieved that it wasn't rounded up from like 0.2997 or something.. That just wouldn't be as pleasing from an OCD perspective.

Here's smilin' Joe Pepitone to close us out for the day. Fun name, colorful character.. he's semi-star from the past that I semi-collect. I eventually pulled the trigger on this card that had been loitering on eBay for a while.

No red stats on the back of Joe's card, but as the blurb mentions, he was a 3-time All-Star and 3-time Gold Glove winner. Not too shabby for the Brooklyn native.

My Pepi & The Pepitones minicollection is looking good, including autographs from 3 different people with that last name. (No relation?) The bottom card was signed in-person by comedian Eddie Pepitone after a stand-up show of his that my wife and I attended. I felt like a goober asking, but he was totally cool about it and humored my quirky request.

Apart from a book signed by author Lena Pepitone, there don't seem to be any other Pepitones out there for me to track down, as far as celebrity/athlete autographs.. but you never know. I'll keep an eye out.

I have Curb Your Enthusiasm to thank for my interest in all things Pepitone. Just finished watching the latest season last night. And I re-watched the earlier seasons over the previous few months. (It's available to stream on HBO and Amazon Prime.) Great show, though sometimes uncomfortable to watch Larry's ill-advised choices.. but usually ends up being pretty funny.

Thanks for swinging by my blog.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Rickey Remix

In a group email a few days ago, my boss accidentally typed, "The Gavin and I are available to help..." And so now I have the work nickname of The Gavin. Haha. I like it. Kinda like The Fonz or The Flash, but not quite as cool. And sometimes I have fun with it and refer to myself in the third person as The Gavin.

The Gavin can't help but think of Rickey Henderson when this happens. (...though Rickey didn't call himself The Rickey.. that might've been a little over the top!)

So if you're on Twitter you probably saw the Project 2020 cards that Topps has been offering online. Basically the idea is they got 20 different artists and each is getting creative with 20 iconic Topps cards, with the offerings spread out over the summer, each card being available to order during a limited-time window. Kind of a cool idea, though the $20 per card price understandably turns a lot of collectors off. And honestly many of the cards look dumb as hell.. (Topps Project 2020 eBay search)... but I suppose that tastes vary when it comes to art appreciation, so what looks dumb to one collector could be loved by another. And some of the cards look kinda cool to me, but not "will-pay-$20-for" cool.

But one card that seemed to get near universal approval was artist Matt Taylor's "totally radical 80s" take on Rickey Henderson's 1980 Topps rookie card. I liked it so much that I caved and purchased one for myself pretty quickly.

Sure is a cool looking card! I'm definitely gonna have this bad-boy out on display for a while.

Back to the 80s! (That's a vintage Trapper Keeper folder from my youth, btw. Does this now count as a Sentimental Sundays post? LOL) I wouldn't say that the purply interpretation is an improvement over the perfection of the original green/yellow cardboard classic, but I think it's a sweet alternate view of a favorite. I look at it and just start hearing the chill 80s synth tunes fill my head.

Fingers crossed this is the only Project 2020 card I end up buying, but I guess we'll just have to see if anything else grabs me by the time the project is over.

The print-run was 2104, which I believe is among the most plentiful of these offerings so far, but I'm not really sure. Wait, this same artist's similar version of the Jeter rookie apparently sold many more (9322).

A neat looking card in its own right, but I'm fine without this one. If, say, these were regular ol' inserts in flagship or Archives, I'd probably try to score myself more.. but at $20 per card, gotta be selective.

Oh, the most ridiculous one so far is the allegedly "1983 Topps Tony Gwynn inspired" card that is simply a random mid-80s Gwynn picture in a simple design clearly mimicking 1991 Fleer.
WTF? It's like the artist googled "Tony Gwynn baseball card" and just quickly crapped this out using a couple images that popped up in the search results. There's no connection to the '83 rookie card it's supposed to be paying tribute to.

But the ones that seem the laziest to me are those that basically just add some tracing to the card design.
Not to disparage someones artistic output, but... Why? No way I'd pay $20+ for that! Even a buck for that would seem like bad deal to me. But to each their own, I suppose. Collect how you want.

So there's my thoughts regarding Topps Project 2020. What do you think?
Until next time, this is The Gavin saying, "Thanks for stopping by!"

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Vagabond Binder: Benito Santiago

A few months ago, I debuted this new sub-binder project of mine called The Vagabond Binder. One player per page, ideally pictured with a different team for all 9 slots. The honor of representing Page 1 went to Rickey Henderson, and now my second completed page goes to fan favorite Benito Santiago.

While I'm setting the minimum number of different teams to be considered for this project to be 7, it's best when I can hit a full 9, as we've done again here.

Let's run down the list...

Might have been nice for this Padres fan had San Diego held onto him and made him a Padre for life.. but with one very notable exception, they've historically not been good about committing to their homegrown stars. Benny's run in brown lasted from his 1986 call-up until walking after the '92 season. He won the NL Rookie of the Year unanimously in 1987-- with a 34-game hit streak among the highlights of his campaign.

After leaving the west coast, Santiago signed a 2-year deal with the Marlins and hit the first home run in franchise history. He would constantly remind fans and teammates of that fact, as pictured on his '93 Upper Deck card here. (I'm joking; he's probably just indicating there's one out in the inning.)

Apparently he then decided he wanted to play for teams that wore red pinstripe uniforms. He spent 1995 in Cincinnati on a one-year deal, and then followed that up with 1996 on the Phillies.

His .286 average with the Reds was his best since his ROY year. Then he set a career high in Philadelphia with 30 home runs, including the first grand slam ever given up by Greg Maddux.

Needing a break from red, Benito was curious to experience playing for blue teams. He was with Toronto for 1997 and 1998, though injuries limited him to 112 games combined over those 2 years.

Then he played for the Cubs in 1999 before returning to the Reds for the 2000 season.

These two are the only cards I've got of him with these teams, but I kinda want to "upgrade" to different cards featuring prominent logos someday. I worry the catching gear obscures which team is being represented. You need to really look to closely to figure it out.

I was tempted to use a certified auto I've got as representation for his Giants spot, but ultimately I decided that the spirit of The Binder of Enchantment and Wonder and the sub-binders contained therein such as the Vagabond Binder are to celebrate the game/hobby without concern to "hits" and value. Nice auto, though! But yeah, for the page, I went with the Fleer Tradition base card.

Santiago was in SF from 2001 through 2003. That middle year was the best of his stay, as he got an All-Star nod (his first since leaving San Diego [and turns out only]), plus he was the NLCS MVP, leading the '02 Giants over the Cardinals to the World Series where the Angels somehow managed to escape Barry Bonds for 7 games and bring a championship to Anaheim.

Now we're running out the clock on the veteran backstop's solid career. He signed with Kansas City for 2004, but a broken hand caused by a HBP in June cut his season short.

Then he was traded for the only time in his life-- Yes, all the other team-hopping was via free-agency!-- when the Royals sent him to Pittsburgh for reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo. It'd prove to be Benito's shortest MLB stint, only appearing in 6 games for the Buccos before being released a month into the 2005 season at age 40. He played a handful of games in the Mets minor league system later that year, but was done for good after that.

I'd like to upgrade these 2 cards someday but they are the only examples I have of him with these teams. The Royals card has dinged top corners and the Pirates card has some surface issues. But then again, these sub-binders are all about enjoying cards "for the fun of it" and so I don't stress stuff like condition much here.

And so that wraps up this page of the Vagabond Binder. Nice, varied selection of cards.

Next up on-deck in this series.. Canseco maybe? Does anyone have any available cards of Jose on the Yankees or Expos (2002 Topps #435)? Those are the missing two I need to complete another page. And I've got a list of other candidates I need to take a look for in my collection and see if I can keep adding more guys to the binder.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The story of my first in-person autograph

Summer 1992. I was still deep in my obsession with baseball cards that originally spanned the summer of 1990 until that of 1993. I had stumbled upon a print ad for a baseball card show scheduled to take place in La Mesa, a neighboring city in East County San Diego. I remember it was at a Jewish hall or something like that (I was a little confused at first, like "Is this a religious event?" But no). It wasn't too far from the Aquarius Roll-A-Rink I used to rollerskate at occasionally in my younger days (which at the time was really only a couple years prior).

But yeah, it was a boring weekend and I was able to talk my mom into driving me to the show. I think I had only been to one other baseball card shows before this. And that was a big one at the San Diego Convention Center, if I remember correctly, so it was a bit of a shock when I entered the building and saw just a 3 or 4 sparsely attended tables. But that disappointment didn't linger long as I was really only there for the special guest. Dan Walters had recently been called up by the Padres and had been playing well. He was there signing autographs and I was excited to get one.

In AAA, Walters had hit .317 in 1991 and then .394 to start 1992. Add to that solid defense behind the plate, and you had me and other Padres fans excited to have him as our catcher of the future. I suppose I was expecting a long, boisterous line to get his autograph, but it was surprisingly quiet with no line.

I walked up and timidly presented my 1991 Line Drive card for him to sign (personally pulled from a pack myself just a few months earlier). I think it was the only card of his I owed at the time-- he didn't get any mainstream cards until the Traded/Update sets started coming out later that year.

As for the moment meeting him.. We didn't really "connect", as he dutifully signed my card whilst chatting with the guy standing next to him (not sure if it was like his agent or just a "handler" type person or what). I'm sure I muttered a shy "thank you" and he might've given me a quick eye-contact smile, but again, it wasn't much of an interaction. From what I hear, he was generally known to be a good dude.. probably just distracted in conversation when I happened to walk up to the table.

But hey, that was my first in-person autograph experience! (At least I think so.. full disclosure, my timeline is foggy regarding the total of three main IP autos I got as a kid: Dan Walters, Bill Madlock, and Dick Allen.. I think the latter pair were both at the 1992 All-Star Fanfest, so it would have been right around this same time. Oh, and I got an unknown Indians coach to sign a piece of paper for me at a spring training game that would have probably been before this [can't remember if that was spring of '92 or '93], so ok maybe Dan wasn't my first IP auto ever, but the mystery old guy at spring training isn't much of a story.) Didn't even bother with the card show going on, if I recall.. just got my autograph and headed back to the car. (I don't use Card Saver/Guard protectors anymore, but sometimes I keep my old cards in them for sentimental reasons. Like this one has most likely been in that protector since mere moments after Dan signed it.)

Oh, and did I mention he was a local boy? I remember once getting excited when I thought I saw his name among the names of kids who held Track & Field records in the gym at my middle school. But the PE coach pointed out to me that it was Dan Watters on the wall, not Walters. Oh well.. still pretty close!

Dan Walters was born in Maine, but attended high school in the same district as I was about to enter into. Santana High School in Santee was considered (at least by my circle of friends) sort of a hick school, with lots of rodeo and country music fans among its student body. Though really, who knows.. I was there a couple times for high school track meets, but that's about it. And then I had an almost-thing with a girl named Lindsey who went there (She was a friend of my first serious girlfriend, and they had a falling out because they both liked me. I have to mention this because I'm a dork and the fact that two girls ever fought over me is just incredible and needs to be mentioned for posterity, lol). Then there was a school shooting there years later.. but that's about the extent of my memories of Santana HS. (Found Lindsey on MySpace years later and she had kinda gone off the rails.. I think she was doing dirty webcam stuff.. made me sad.)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Dan Walters. Well, the Padres front office apparently though enough of him as their catcher (or at least platooning with the likes of Bob Geren and Kevin Higgins) to let Benito Santiago walk as a free agent after the '92 season. But Dan struggled to bat above the Mendoza Line in 1993, suffered a spinal injury on the field that cut his season short, and was released after the season. After missing all of 1994 rehabbing, incredibly he made it back onto the field, playing AAA ball in Colorado Springs (Rockies) in 1995 and Edmonton (A's) in 1996 before hanging up his cleats.

Shortly after his playing days were over, Dan joined the San Diego Police Department (as sorta prophesied on the back of his '93 Studio card). After a few years on the beat, he was tragically paralyzed from the neck down after a 2003 shooting while in the line of duty. He eventually did some motivational speaking and made slight progress regaining some movement in the ensuing years before passing away at age 53 on April 23, 2020.

Rest in peace, Daniel Gene Walters. A courageous, tragic hero.

Let's take a look at the cards of his I've got.

Fleer stuff.

Some Donruss, Leaf, and an OPC.

Topps. Dan didn't have any cards made in 1994, though he did make a cameo on Jay Bell's '94 Topps card.

More cards. I might have to include that year of Pinnacle into my "early 90s black gold" collecting project.

A pair of round-corner oddballs.

Per TCDB, he only has a total of 42 cards out there (and nothing low-numbered, refreshingly), so completing a "master set" of his cards seems doable. I'd be down to trade for any I'm missing.

As for pending pieces of the PC... Below are my latest purchases at COMC:

That's all his pre-91 minor league cards plus a Topps Gold parallel. Looking forward to eventually getting these in-hand.


I also have several dupes I don't need. If anyone was inspired by Dan's story enough to start their own PC of the man, I'd be happy to send you a PWE to get you started. Just let me know.

Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend.