Friday, October 15, 2021

"Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame" oddball set

Here's something I've been meaning to post about for a while. Back in January, friend o' the blog Alex T. emailed telling me he had a line on a Dick Allen oddball set and asked if I wanted in. I sure did, and Alex helped me acquire one.

The main reason I haven't posted about this set yet is that my collector gene made it tough for me to open up the wrapping! Opening takes the cards from "new" to "used", for whatever that's worth. But it's not like I'm ever planning to sell off my Dick Allen collection, and like I was saying in my previous post, I've been trying to live in the moment more and whatnot, so screw it, time to finally free the cards from their pouch (but that shattered gum can remain individually sealed).

It's a 7-card set and the photos focus on his early days in Philadelphia.

The backs are full of impressive stats and complimentary quotes, but not much to go on as far as the origin of the cards. Alex didn't have a whole lot of background info on them, but I was able to track down the guy behind the "Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame" movement, Mark A. Carfagno, a fan who advocated hard to get Dick Allen into Cooperstown while the man was still with us. The most recent vote on his candidacy fell short by a single vote, and sadly Mr. Allen passed away in December of 2020, not long before his much anticipated next time up for consideration, which had gotten bumped due to covid until December 2021. It's kind of a sad story, but hopefully they put him in posthumously.

Anyways, Mark did stuff in Philadelphia such as put up billboards and organize speaking engagements to champion for Allen's HOF inclusion. Mark is friends with the owner of Choice Marketing, best known for their minor league cards, and worked with Choice and graphic designer Rob Larsen to create a small run of sets for promotional purposes. Mark recalls this was likely in 2018, and says the cards were never available for sale to the public.

I really love these three that borrow their design from classic Topps sets. Even get a White Sox card out of it.

So there you have it. Super cool addition to one of my top PC guys.

Thanks to Mark for his part in creating them and kindly answering my questions, and thanks again to Alex for helping me snag a set. 

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Back from the dead

Ok, it hasn't be that long since my last post, but in that time, I dealt with a health scare that had me pretty damn stressed out. It was a mental rollercoaster and at its lowest dips, I was convinced I was dying-- no joke.

I felt something not-right brewing down in my tuchus, but turns out it wasn't a mass or anything-- nope, I've just got a beat-up disc by my tailbone. Won't kill me, but might be a little pain in the butt from here on out. That's a relief, but yeah, I was sweating it pretty hard in the days leading up to the doctor visit. Thinking about stuff like what I would want to spend my last good days doing (you know, like trying to think of the best way to distribute my card collection to my hobby buds, lol.) Thinking about what I was going to miss (favorite albums, movies, and video games to experience one last time). And finding morbid relief by thinking about what I was glad to be getting away from ("No more work! Woo!" "Also can hold off scheduling that dentist appointment.")

It's funny in hindsight, but that was a rough stretch of days. I'm also realizing that I'm right at the halfway point to the age my grandfather was when he passed, which has always seemed to me like my default life expectancy. It kind of all added up to a midlife crisis thing, I guess. I'm trying to take it as wake-up call to "live my best life" or whatever.

I don't really have a good segue into cards, but now let's check out some recent additions to my collection.

First is a big trade with Sports Card Collectors. He pulled this nice Tatis patch card and we were able to hash out a deal involving it coming over to my collection. Pretty sure it's my first Tatis relic, so let's count it as a finished trifecta since I've already got his auto and rookie card (though I'm embarrassed to admit I don't own his standard Topps rookie).

And a few bonus cards of the Pride of the Padres kindly thrown in.

I still love me Juan Soto something fierce. Was glad I could work this pair into our deal.

Thanks for the trade, SCC! 

-  -  - -- ---o

Next up is one of those beautiful moments that us cardbloggers wish for when a random email comes in saying, "Really enjoy your blog posts! I have cards that you need, just need to know where to send them." And that's just what Paul M. in California said.

Though I completed 1971 Topps a few years back, I still have lots of upgrading I'd like to do to my set. This lot from Paul isn't exactly "pack fresh", but still lots of useful upgrades for me here.

And additions for my Charlie Hustle and Ironman PCs. Funny enough, it's the 1984 Donruss Ripken that I'm really pining for so I can close the book on that set. But hey, these other early Cals are cool too.

Thanks again, Paul! Very nice of you.

-  -  -  - --o

The rest of the cards in this post are eBay/Sportlots pickups from the past month or so.

Lea Thompson is a longtime celebrity crush of mine. Got inspired to grab a "rookie card" of hers, though I've never seen Jaws 3-D.

After checking off Manny and Chipper here, I'm down to an even 200 cards left in my 2004 Chrome black refractor setbuild. Kinda doubt I'll ever reach that goal, but I love these damn things too much to pull the plug.

Shiny, 90s mailday last Friday. Thanks to Mario for the tip on those early superfractor-like refractors (1996 Bowman Best Atomic Refractors). Pretty neat. And Kevin Maas is one of those PCs that I-- or the kid in me from '90/'91 who still believes he's the next Yankee great-- love adding to.

That'll do it for today. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Bowman auto master rainbow + Guys From Granite 2021 recap

Five years ago, Johnny Omahen, a guy who went to my high school, had autographs in 2016 Bowman. I went after them and soon completed the rainbow with the exception of the 1/1. That was added to the long list of cards I try to keep an eye out for, and I went about my life. 

My patience paid off and that 1/1 finally popped up the other day for a reasonable buy-it-now price. I quickly pounced on it and now the rainbow is fully complete.

These Retail Prospect Autographs are "paper only", meaning no Chrome counterpart to this card. On one hand, that's nice because there are less cards for me to chase, but on the other hand it sucks because there are less cards for me to chase. LOL. I don't mind an occasional excuse to pick up some new refractors, but not this time. There were also no printing plates packed out for these, which always factors in the feasibility of completing a rainbow.

The 1/1 is officially called the "Metallic" parallel (shown here doing the spider-man meme pointing thing with the base version), but that's just a fancy way of saying grey in this instance. It'd be cool if the card was actually printed on metal or at least had some foil shine or something special like that, but nope, the design just features a touch of grey.

There's still an unofficial parallel for me to keep an eye out for: the orange Christmas Card. My copy of the orange parallel is numbered 19/25, but I hope to one day find number 12/25.

Quick bio: After graduating from Granite Hills High School, Omahen attended Cal State San Marcos and was drafted by the Marlins in the 35th round of the 2011 draft. After a rough 2012, the Marlins cut him loose. He then pitched for an independent team in 2013, impressing scouts there and signing with the Diamondbacks. Splitting time between high-A and AA, John had a nice 2015 season, going 13-3 with a 3.07 ERA, prompting the folks at Topps to give him the autograph card in 2016 Bowman. It would stand to be his only major release, though. He made it up to AAA in '16, but struggled and was done after that season.

Granite Hills H.S. gets alluded to on the back, but not namechecked.

As far as my John Omahen supercollection, now I'm only missing a stadium giveaway variation of his 2012 minor league card (the one I also have signed). I passed on it years ago because it was a little too expensive (basically the only difference is a "Cone Health" logo added), and now it doesn't seem to be available for sale anywhere.. except for as a team set, but that's a bit pricey (Jose Fernandez is the big name in the set). Oh well, it's not that interesting to me. I'm just happy I was able to complete the Bowman rainbow.

I also have a "yin" to this "yang" by way of Johnny's high school teammate, Travis Taijeron, whose only packed-out MLB card was an auto in 2018 Topps Chrome Update. So, only Chrome autos, opposed to Omahen's only paper autos. My Taijeron auto rainbow is just missing the red (non-wave) /5 and a couple printing plates. I can't find any stats for Travis since 2019, so it's safe to assume his time as a player is behind him. He made the show, though, playing in 26 games for the Mets in 2017, cracking one MLB home run to go along with 170 in the minors.

If TCDB can be trusted, Travis has 41 cards. I'll never have them all because he got Topps cards (Pro Debut and Heritage Minors) in 2012, both with printing plates that I have zero of. But not counting 1/1s, there are only 4 more Taijeron cards I'm missing. Also, I have 18 cards bearing Travis' signature (including a few of my customs), which I gotta assume is the most autos I have by one player, or at least near the top of such a list that might exist if I had my collection better cataloged and could therefore check.

With Travis riding off into the sunset, Granite no longer boasts any active players with MLB service time. Let's look to the minors now and see who could possibly be the next guy from Granite to get the call.

Welp, it won't be Jordan Verdon. He retired just before the start of the 2021 season. A 23rd round draft pick by Detroit in 2018, Jordan finishes his pro career with a .246 batting average and a lone home run in 84 games. Really sucks for guys like him that the 2020 MiLB season was canceled, stalling their attempt at climbing up the ladder. Glad he had the one card released (above), at least, so he can be represented in my collection (Bummer that my TTM attempt from 2019 [using a custom I made] didn't bear fruit). Best of luck in the next chapter of your life, Jordan!

Ooh, here's a new guy I wasn't familiar with until researching this post: Dillan Shrum. Dillan had a nice returning-senior season at University of Nevada in 2021 with an OPS of 1.490 in 35 games. Looks like he signed with the Royals as an undrafted free-agent and played in 17 professional games this season. I'll have to keep my eye on him (and hope he gets cards).

Like Dillan, Trenton Brooks is another guy who attended Nevada after Granite Hills (I think they narrowly missed being amateur teammates by a year). He's in the Cleveland chain, and looks like they moved him to first base from the outfield this year. After spending the first month of the season at AA, Trenton got promoted to AAA Columbus and held his own. Maybe-just-maybe he'll get into some mainstream card sets next year and challenge for a spot on the Guardians' 40-man roster. Good luck, Trenton!

Andrew Brown is another guy from Granite who saw a mid-season promotion this year, making the jump to AA after a strong showing in high-A. The Phillies farmhand seems to have been moved to the pen after being a starter much of his pro career. I'm sure Philadelphia is always hungry for live arms, so there should be solid odds on Andrew becoming the 9th player from our high school to crack the bigs. Fingers crossed for ya, Andrew!

Much of the minor league cards in this post were purchased from Go Sports Cards. They are one of the biggest sellers on eBay for modern minor league cards, though I've found you can usually save money by purchasing from their website. Anyways, for this year's order, I was accidentally sent a Ben Brown (not a Guy From Granite) from the 2021 Jersey Shore Blueclaws set, when I had actually ordered Andrew Brown. Joe, the card shop guy, was very responsive and put the correct card in the mail to me on the next business day. A+ service.

I'm glad Joe let me keep the Ben Brown card. I'm really amused that Ben's birthdate is 9-9-99. And on top of that, he's 6'6" (which upside-down is ,,9,9). (I'll even bet his favorite tv show is Brooklyn 99.) Looks like he missed most of 2021 due to injury. Let's hope he's got more of his 9 lives left and comes back strong in '22.

Go GHHS Eagles and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

refract like no one's watching

Here are the rest of the 2004 Topps Retired refractors I picked up during a big setbreak on eBay back in June.

This one was an upgrade. I bought the 10/25 Wally Joyner earlier this year, but it lacked a bold, blue signature. Happy for the chance to nab this one, even if in hindsight I wouldn't mind taking a mulligan on the earlier purchase. (But hey, Wally is a PC guy of mine, so no harm having another copy, I suppose.)

This one is 13/25, and while a touch of triskaidekaphobia might knock it down a notch in my eyes, definitely not a deal-breaker. If the 12/25 ever pops up, though, you can bet I'll throw a nice bid on that.

Speaking of which, here's another upgrade for me. I already had the 14/25 Eckersley, which looks totally fine, but I'm a sucker for Christmas Cards, and ended up winning the yuletide Eck for a solid price.

The Ryne Sandberg 12/25 was also part of this setbreak, but quickly crept up too rich for my blood. Of the 76 cards in this refractor autograph set, I own 7 of the Christmas Cards. I know it's not feasible to think I could ever get 'em all, but I'll probably at least keep an eye out for them for the remainder of my card-collecting days.

I'd never seen a refractor of Blackjack McDowell for sale before, though the base version of this card is very common.

AL Cy Young winner in 1993, but injuries prevented him from really filling out his career, having a rough latter half of the 90s.

Last for today, McDowell's teammate on the '95 Yanks, Jimmy Key. Jimmy must have a supercollector out there or something, because I ended up paying more for this one than I had expected-- more than the corresponding Mike Schmidt from the same break, even!

Jimmy played a big part in that first Blue Jays championship squad. Then he signed with New York and missed out on the repeat in '93, but still got himself another ring in '96.

Ok, that wraps it up. Might be a while till I show off another 2004 Retired refractor on the blog. I'm down to needing only Alan Trammell. (And the other 69 Christmas Cards, lol.)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

An Orel Quicky

It's Orel Hershiser's 63rd birthday today, and that's good enough motivation to get around to showing off the 2004 Topps Retired refractor I picked up recently.

Not a lot of free time today, so I just took a bunch of photos and hoped that one turned out good enough for the post. None of them did, so here are a bunch of bad ones instead...

Some pretty good seasons there. Not a Hall of Famer, but he doesn't have all that many certified autos on the market and Dodgers fans understandably love the guy, so his autos usually command "HOF" prices. This was the first '04 Retired refractor I've seen of his pop up for sale, and I wasn't about to let it get away.

It essentially upgrades me from the base auto I had of this card, which is now expendable. So any Dodgers fans reading, feel free to tempt me with a trade offer for that one. Otherwise, it'll be added to my stack of "high-value trade bait" / "cards to get around to selling someday".

Happy Birthday, Bulldog!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Passing thru customs

Sad to hear Norm Macdonald passed away. Made a custom card as a little tribute. Background photo is his hometown of Quebec City. 

This is just digital, but maybe I'll print up a copy for myself once I get back into the swing of things. (The desktop computer I do most of my custom card stuff on is in the shop. Didn't have many templates available to choose from, but 1990 Swell worked fine.)

Physical customs have been popping up from bloggers more frequently these days, and I've got some to show off here today.

The Cards That Never Were blog has been around for over a decade now, cranking out tons of cool customs over the years. He recently started making some hard copies available via his blog and eBay store, and ran a little giveaway to help spread the news, which is how I ended up with this addition for my Buck O'Neil collection.
Thank you, sir!

-    -  - - --o

Gregory at Nine Pockets has also gotten in on the fantasy card creation, and he too was gracious enough to do a giveaway sharing copies with his readers. The hard part for me was picking just 3 cards out of the several fun options available. I'm a big Seinfeld guy, so the George Costanza was my first pick. Love me some Jimi Hendrix too, and really the 1982 In Action design in general.

The Future Stars design is another good one from '82, and looks great with the Beastie Boys here. The "1989 Highlight" card was my backup selection in case one of my 3 picks was already sold out, so that was a nice surprise to see it thrown in as a bonus. I might not be as devoted a Beastie Boys fan as our own Fuji, but they've been a staple of my music collection for a long time.

(On the topic of music cards, been a minute since I've plugged the 1991 MusiCards Blog where I ramble about music and my younger days. We're coming up on the 2nd anniversary there. I only post like once or twice a month, so don't be afraid to throw me a follow there and it shouldn't clog up your feed.)

The highlight card even has a "real" back to it. Great work on these, Gregory! Thanks again for the hookup.

-   -  - --o

Last for today are a few more highlights from WTHB (continuing from part 1 and part 2).

While 1974 Topps #1 is a great card, a standard base card for Hank Aaron in that set would have been nice, too. And I'm always happy to add to my Nate Colbert semi-supercollection. The "miscutsom" is a quirky idea recognizing Nolan Ryan switching teams in December of 1971.

Combing with earlier customs I've gotten from Gio, here's a pair of "1977" Birds and "1973" Schmidts. Nice to be an official club member. (He also made a special card for his collector buddies on Twitter who've completed 1972 Topps that I'll have to bug him about if/when I track down the 217 more cards I'm needing.)

But speaking of bugging Gio.. after the earlier post where I lamented not pulling the trigger on a complete set of the awesome velvety rookie inserts he put out a while back.. well, I took a shot in the dark asking if he had any sets remaining. The cardboard gods were smiling upon me that day, as he had just that morning placed a small order for 3 additional sets because of another guy who had been begging him for a set, and Gio was kind enough to let me reserve one of the other two, generously adding it to my next mailing when they were ready.

I love these cards! I believe this design was inspired by the 1959 Bazooka design (revisited in Archives a few years back, but you don't come across the originals too often). Kinda like "mini tall boys", same height as a standard card, but narrower width. Very colorful, with great photo selections. But the real magic with these is the soft card stock that you don't see with trading cards very often. They've got a nice velvety feel to them in-hand and you almost hate to put them in a sleeve/page.
Fun stuff. Thanks again, Gio!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Larry Doby is in my hall of famer collection

Back in July, gcrl posted a Larry Doby auto. In the comments, Fuji echoed my thoughts of "Awesome card! Had no idea Doby even had certified pack pulled autographs."

I was so smitten with the card, I started keeping an eye out and eventually scored myself one.

Sweet, right!?

Larry Doby! What a legacy.

As a kid, I bought a pack of 1991 Topps Archives ('53 reprints), with Larry Doby being the most memorable pull after Ted Williams, both from the "cards that never were" portion of the checklist, as neither man had a real 1953 Topps card.

Never would have thought 30 years ago that I'd have his autograph in my card collection one day. Neat!

My only vintage Doby resides in my active 1957 Topps setbuild, kindly sent to me by Night Owl many moons ago. Classic look.

Thanks again for that, Greg!

And thanks to the rest of you for checking out some of my Larry Doby cards. See ya next time.