Saturday, January 30, 2021

Soup or 70s?

Hey, I haven't posted in nearly a couple weeks. Time for some card soup.

Rod kindly dropped another box of miscellaneous cards on me last weekend. While I ended up with a big stack of keepers, I think this Hank Aaron mini from new Ginter Chrome was my favorite. Rest in Peace, Hammer.

More Aaron. I haven't posted since he passed, so this is sorta doubling as a tribute post.

But yeah, I too got one of those boxes of Topps' online offering Super 70s cards that gave folks a glimmer of hope that Topps was putting out a set of cards that old-school collectors could appreciate. I'm in the same boat as the other bloggers who've reviewed this offering: A collector tiring of modern cards/players, looking for a nice throwback set with fan favorites I grew up loving, at a decent price without having to battle in the current retail card hellscape.

The design is a '77/78/79 Topps mashup. The inserts are similar but bring '75 into the mix, and come 2 to a box. While the price-per-card wasn't great, at least I collect just about every guy I pulled, so even though I didn't luck into an autograph, I don't regret the purchase.

I should mention I'm a fan of the Super 70s Sports twitter account and have been a follower since my early days on the app. It's good for an occasional laugh or interesting perspective, even if I don't always agree with sentiment. Also, the guy who runs it-- Ricky Cobb-- has a tendency to repeat his most popular tweets a few times every year.. which I find a little annoying and repetitive.. as are the frequent tweets hocking t-shirts, but I get that it must be hard trying to make a living as a Twitter personality. By and large, the account is a great follow.

Not sure how much of a say Ricky had when it came to these Topps cards. I'd have loved to see it get a little more "out there". In one of the first reviews of the set I saw, there was Mike Piazza featured as a Marlin, so I got excited for some quirk, but no, it's a pretty straight set apart from that one card. Ricky loves to show crazy pictures like Dave Parker wearing a hockey mask on the field-- would have been cool to get that on a card, but nope Cobra's card is a yawner. Or how about a new Mark Fidrych card? That would have fit right in with the spirit of the set, but Bird isn't in there. Oakland's Matt Olson has a card in the set for some reason. I checked, and Matt Olson has never once been mentioned in a Super 70s Sports tweet. (Fidrych has been mentioned dozens of times.)

The set is like a third big-name HOFers, a third current stars, and a third lesser-known 70s/80s fan favorites (these retired guys also find themselves as the autograph checklist, basically). Looks like all the autos are stickergraphs (boo!) besides the curator Ricky Cobb himself. I bet Topps gave him a list of "fan favorite" players they had a stockpile of autographed stickers of on hand and let him narrow down the list from there for his curated set.

After the mild disappointment of not pulling an autograph from my box, I was compelled to track down a Cobb auto on eBay. I guess this'll go to the "bloggers cards" area of my collection. He's not really a blogger but close enough.

Despite plenty to gripe about (oh, also the backs are very hard to read), it's a fun set and while it could have been a lot better, I appreciate the attempt.

I could spend a lot of time daydreaming about what a Baseball Card Breakdown curated Topps set would include, but I guess that's why I make customs.

- --o

I made 3 purchases from the Topps online store in 2020: a Project 2020 Rickey Henderson earlier in the year, then that box of "Super 70s Sports X", and finally a Throwback Thursday set in December.....

This is 2020 Throwback Thursday Set #49 featuring the 1988 Topps Football 1000 Yard Club inserts design, helping me add yet another solid Hank card to the PC.

I had just days earlier noted to myself how I dig those glossy Topps Football 1000 Yard Club inserts after getting a few in a previous misc box from Rod, so when I saw the 6-card set up for sale, I gave Topps my $19.99. Looks like the print run ended up being 503, damn near scare compared to that Bernie Sanders Topps Now card of him sitting down (91,169 printed!) 
I included an original '88 insert in the above pic to show they did a pretty good job recreating the design, though the new ones don't have the thick gloss of the originals.

I'm a sucker for big round-number milestones like these, plus I collect all 6 of the dudes included, so it felt worth the money.

The Clemente is the star of the set in my eyes. Beautiful!

- --o

One reason I haven't been posting as much lately is that I got my little "music room" area going in the basement, so I've been spending some after-work time jamming out. After not really picking up an electric guitar for a long time, it's been a lot of fun just noodling around and trying to remember how to play songs I loved rocking out back in my 20s when playing guitar for an hour or two was part of my daily routine. Some songs have faded from my brain over the years, but others come flooding back with crazy muscle memory.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Classic masher

Despite being about as "junky" as overproduction era cards can be, I've never had much Classic in my collection, especially from back when their cards were part of a trivia game, before they focused on the minor leagues. I wasn't avoiding them, I just rarely seemed to cross paths with them.

Looking to get better acquainted with the card line and fill some cheap PC holes, way back in [*looks it up*] January of 2019, I picked up a sealed 1991 Classic Baseball Card Trivia Board Game for $15 shipped (it comes in this big "board game" box, so I'm sure postage ate up about half of that $15 for the seller). I set aside the box for a rainy day rip. Months went by, and I finally tore off the plastic wrap late last fall. The cards inside were in 2 separately wrapped packages, the first of which has the distinction of being the first cards I ripped in our new house (I really hadn't opened any cards since before covid, so it had been a while and I was starting to jones.) The second sealed package of cards was set aside for another rainy day, and today was that day. Now it's time to get a post out of them.

Highlights here include some interesting in-game shots you don't see on cardboard too often, including a conference on the mound between Roger Clemens and John Marzano, plus what looks to be George Brett after a stab at the hot corner, and Kirby Puckett appearing to have just ended an inning at the plate.

And here we've got the Chicken Man staring a pitch into the glove, the Cobra staking claim to second base after a double, and Rickey diving back to first. Cool shots.

A couple hot rookies of '91.

Padres I collect represented here with a great, a very good, and a never-was.

Some big names.

And just as happy to add these needs of lesser names I collect.

So yeah, lots of PC fodder. Bang for your buck, no way a contemporary blaster could come anywhere near to providing this many keepers.

I bet it was fun playing the trivia game back then with fellow baseball-obsessed buddies. I took a curious look at the game pieces and whatnot, but I'm tossing most of the non-card stuff from the box rather than find a place to keep it. ...but I've got some thoughts for repurposing the game board for a future display idea.. so don't be surprised to see it pop up on the blog some day down the line.

And as long as we're on the subject of Classic cards, here's a follow-up to the Phil Niekro PC post from a month ago. As a sucker for legends in unfamiliar uniforms, I was compelled to snag the only official card of Knucksie as a Blue Jay. Ran me 18¢ on Sportlots plus PWE shipping taking it to closer to a buck, but still a great deal in my eyes.

I tweeted the observation before, but I'll ponder again if any kid ever had the nards to ask "Ineffective Phil" to sign the autograph area on the back of this card. 

Also note the "Torondo" typo.

Ha, Classic was kind of the annoying little brother of card companies, but I for one am glad they were able to put out the several sets they did, giving collectors like me a few diamonds in the rough to track down.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Time capsule post idea

Back in summer, I drunkenly drafted up a post and scheduled it to be posted on January 1st of 2022. I've since fought the temptation to delete or at least edit it. In an attempt to save face, I encourage all of my blogging brethren to also become inebriated/impaired, type up a post about whatever, and schedule it to be posted at 12AM on 1/1/22. How funny will it be to all of a sudden have a wave of head-scratching posts pop up out of nowhere? LOL. My word of advice would be to choose a good first pic, because it'll show up as the thumbnail and you'll see it hundreds of times when you go to your Blogger homepage. (Mine is a pic of my pup Ruby, which is cute, but if I recall, I've got some harsh words for her in the post. Hopefully I can laugh at it by the time it's posted. She gets a little better every day, after all, though she still sucks a great deal.)

We need to buy a new couch because our current couch (aka sofa) isn't quite big enough to comfortably fit all 3 of us. My wife and I will be just fine but then Ruby-- that little son of a bitch-- has to jump up in the middle and plop down upon us (though she has a perfectly good dog bed right there available all to herself). We've given up trying to discourage it because she's just to bent on joining us. Hopefully a bigger couch will give us some wiggle room.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

cardboard kindness catchup

I'm overdue for tipping my cap to fellow cardspherians who've sent me mail recently.

The Diamond King recently spread some love to his readers by doing a giveaway event where previous comments worked like raffle tickets used towards various prizes he offered up. I think this is a great idea and will likely borrow it for my next contest. Although I wasn't one of the top commenters (love his blog, but don't often have much to add), luck was in my favor and the randomizer won me this oddball for my Griffey PC. I'm a bit of a retro gaming nerd (see my latest 1991 MusiCards Blog where Maniac Mansion hijacks the post) and play Super Nintendo on the regular these days, though I didn't own the console back in the day. The only baseball video game I really play is Bases Loaded 2 (NES), but I should try Junior's game one of these days. My wife and I play a lot of Dr. Mario and Wario's Woods on SNES, a couple fun 2-player games we're pretty evenly matched at.

Anyways, thanks Kevin! I've been meaning to find some cards from your wantlist for a while now and hope to send you something before long.

-   -  - --o

Greg at Nine Pockets also offered up a wide range of prizes recently to celebrate 2 years of blogging, this time a first-come/up-for-grabs situation. I called dibs on this 1986 Fleer Baseball's Best boxed set. I collect the vast majority of these 44 players, so I plan to break up the complete set into my PCs, as I think I only had maybe a couple of these cards previously. Plenty of big names and some hot rookies from '86. He was also kind enough to surprise me with a pack of gently-used penny sleeves.

Thanks, Greg! Keep up the great work!

-   -  - --o

Next up is a random blast of cardboard from Bob at the Best Bubble. Looks like he was going for a Portland-theme with some of these. Fair enough. The Blazers team card was the highlight of the PWE for me; it fills an empty slot in my Vintage Frankenset.

Also a few Gavins, a couple Garins (not cool! lol), and an attractive woman in a bathing suit.

Thanks, Bob! I feel like I've owed you some return cards for a while now, but without much on your wantlist, my best bet is making you a couple more "bubble" customs, but technical difficulties have severely limited my card-making activities in recent months. But yeah, I'll hit you back with something one of these days. Thanks for your patience.

-   -  - --o

Last for today is a bright selection of 1987 Bohemian Hearth Padres from friend of the blog and past guest-blogger, Alex T. I managed to complete this regional oddball set a while back, a sentimental favorite, but many of my cards (that originally came packaged with loaves of bread) were creased and/or suffered from browning/discoloration. So when Alex said he might be able to help me upgrade my set, I jumped to attention. These cards don't pop up very often.

A couple extreme before & after examples: what I had on the left, upgrades from Alex on the right. Night and day! My set is looking a lot nicer now. I still wouldn't mind upgrading the Gwynn and Kruk someday, but won't hold my breath there.

Thanks again, Alex! Much appreciated!

That'll do it for today. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Just some more 2003 Topps Retired autos

Not a lot of words in today's post.

R.I.P. Tommy Lasorda. :( 

This was one of my favorite pickups of last year.

Tony Oliva is my latest 2003 Retired addition.

Alt photo. Refraction overload!

Great ballplayer when healthy.

Jose Cruz, Sr. looking good in a sunbeam.

Impressive career.

Greg "The Bull" Luzinski.

Twice runner-up for NL MVP: 1975 (to Joe Morgan) and 1977 (to George Foster).

Last one for today, Darrell Evans.

The Bill James Handbook 2019 rates Darrell Evans 7th on his list of "The 25 Best Players Who Are Not in the Hall of Fame."

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Vintage Frankenset Page 2

Y'all ready for this? Vintage Frankenset Page 2!

To refresh your memory, this is a collecting project of mine with the following parameters:

  • pre-1981 triopoly
  • no flagship Topps baseball allowed
  • must fit in a standard top-loader

Attempting to put together a frankenset of 333 cards using these guidelines. And while this isn't actually a bindered project, I'm parsing them out in 9-card increments as if they were paged as a standard set. More background on this can be found at the Page 1 post.

I like it! Well-rounded "page" with all 4 major North American sports represented, plus 3 wide-ranging non-sport subjects.

Let's take a closer look at each of these.

10 1974-75 Topps #10 Pete Maravich

Basketball great Pistol Pete Maravich leads off the group. This card was among an incredible little cache of vintage basketball stars I stumbled upon in the sub-dollar bins at a card show a couple years ago (like the Bill Bradley at #2). Another such Maravich pops up later at card #55.

11 1977 Topps Patches Cloth Stickers #11 Steve Carlton

At first glance, this might violate my "no flagship Topps baseball" rule, but nope, it's an oddball sticker printed on cloth. Lefty adds some additional star power to this group.

12 1975-76 O-Pee-Chee #12 Ivan Boldirev

Gotta admit I'm not familiar with Ivan Boldirev, but snagged this on Sportlots recently because I had an opening at card #12 and wanted a vintage hockey card for the page.

13 1934 Gallaher Champions of Screen & Stage #13 Claudette Colbert

Lucky #13 in the frankenset goes to actress Claudette Colbert. She might not be well remembered today, but she's the only actress to ever star in three films nominated for the Best Motion Picture Oscar in the same year. Respect!

14 1933 Dwight's Soda Useful Birds of America Series 6 #14 Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Full disclosure, I'm not certain this card is actually from 1933. Looks like a version of the card originally came out in 1918 and was later redone in 1933, though my copy-- another random card show pickup-- doesn't exactly match any I've found on COMC (it's close to the '33 pressing but with slightly different back). But whatever, it's No. 14 and was surely printed before 1981, so it works. "For the good of all, do not destroy the birds."

15 1948 Leaf #15 Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice

Here's another card I recently bought specifically for the frankenset. Slot #15 was open and I wanted a football card for this page, plus I wanted to work a 1948 Leaf card into my collection without breaking the bank. Love Choo Choo here with the colorful front. Justice was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and played in the NFL for few years.

16 1954 Bowman #16 Jim Wilson

Here's the first of several Bowman baseball cards in the frankenset. Probably picked it up at a card show years back. Hard for me to pass up old Bowman cards when I come across them for a buck or less. Love the industrial background. I'm not very familiar with Jim Wilson, but he was an All-Star 3 times, '54-'56. Oh, and a fellow San Diego State alum!

17 1911 Wills Celebrated Ships #17 The "Britannia"

This dickensian RMS Britannia tobacco mini from 1911 is the second-oldest card currently in the frankenset (There's a card from 1910 at #107). Not sure where I got it, but likely another card show discount bin score.

18 1960 Fleer #18 Heinie Manush

Check out my Heinie, guys. Not a lot of Fleer in the frankenset yet (I've got a few '63 Fleer cards, but those numbers were all bested by other cards.. an inherent frustration with any frankenset.)

That wraps up page 2. I feel good about this group of cards and don't see a need to swap out any of these, though I suppose none are iron-clad locked-in were a challenger to really knock my socks off. I know the low numbers of any frankenset can get competitive.

I've also completed page 3 recently, so expect a post on that one of these days. But after that, I've got plenty of holes. If anyone can help out with vintage cards for this project, the lowest numbers currently open are 29, 30, 34, and 45.

I've also swapped out a couple cards from page 1 since that post, so let's quickly revisit that group.

6 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA #6 Bryan Campbell

I had an unnumbered baseball card as a placeholder for the sixth slot, but wanted a true #6 to swap in and add some variety. Bryan Campbell here completes the quadfecta of major North American sports for the page. Grabbed this from Sportlots recently. I didn't realize there was a different Blazers sports team besides those of the Trail variety. Looks like the team only lasted a couple seasons.

8 1979 Topps Burger King - New York Yankees #8

Might look like a standard '79 Topps card to the untrained eye, but nope, it's a Burger King oddball. El Tiante's corresponding flagship issue features him on the Red Sox, so this functions as a traded/update card. Got this one in a recent trade with Bo (I already had one in my Tiant PC). It bumps out the author playing card I couldn't find much info on. I could see further upgrading #8 to an older, less-Toppsy card in the future, but this works fine for now.

That's it for today. Thanks for reading.