Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Cards 2023

I still buy new cards for my "12/25" collection every once in a while. Here's the big one I picked up this year..

Flipping through a childhood binder of mine recently reminded me that the Big Unit is a guy I've PC'd since my first days in the hobby, proudly paging a bunch of early Randy Johnson cards together. I'll loosely count that as a prospecting success contrasted against cards of Kevin Maas and Pat Listach in the binder. And I've enjoyed casually adding to the PC after returning to the hobby as an adult, but I had never gotten around to landing an autograph. So I had been keeping an eye out for one-- specifically a Christmas Card, since a lot of times I figure if I've decided to shell out a few bucks for an auto, might as well go all-in for one that's a double-bullseye for my collection, right? I eventually ended up with this cool metallic sig from 2023 Topps Tier One. Looks great and caps off the PC nicely.

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Sportscards From The Dollar Store showed off his Robert Smith auto the other day, so hey, I'll go ahead and show mine! Again, I found a 12/25 issue to snag, settling for a stickergraph. I was planning to make a custom overlay for it anyways; See...

I made a custom in the style of the officially-released MST3K autographs to show Robert's brief guest-spot on the show. So that's laid on top of the real card, and since it's me, I had to extend the window for the signature to include my favorite serial number.

My wife isn't the fan of the show that I am, but she allows me to force a little on her on my birthday, so we've got a double-feature of the classic MST3K Christmas episodes playing today.

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I don't really "keep up with modern cards" as far as my player collections of past greats, because unless maybe you just focus on one lower-tier guy, there's just too much being churned out these days. But sure, every once in a while it's fun to buy a shiny new Hoyt Wilhelm card. And of course it's easier to sucker me in when it's a Christmas Card.

Ho Ho Hoyt!

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I'm my house, the Ryan Express is representing on the tree this year.

I didn't really get the idea till it was too late in the season, but assuming I'm still side-hustling late next year, I should do something with tree ornament cardart along these lines. Right? Mixing lots of red and green, maybe even ham it up adding Santa hats and such.

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Last for today, here's a Christmas nice gift I got from my buddy Doug that I figured I'd throw into the post. He got me a nice personalized capo and pick. I've told the story before, but it was back around the heyday of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice when Doug and I would b.s. about our forthcoming career in hip-hop. He was MC Doolay and I was DJ Defgav, and that's how I got the "defgav" handle that I use online sometimes. Funny how life works out. Years ago he got married to an awful woman back home in East County San Diego, then moved up here after he got divorced, and has since married a lovely woman. While I didn't introduce them or anything, hey, I was motivation for him to start fresh in Portland, so it makes me happy to at least play a part in a couple finding each other. He's a good dude.

That'll wrap up the post. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Cardboard Digest

Dang, looks like I let a month go by without a post here. This'll be a rambling post to catch up.

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I got a great holiday/b-day mailing from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders a few days ago.

Leading off with a pair of kicked-up reprints, both needs from sets I'm hoping to complete before my collecting career wraps (aka death). The Pudge is only my 3rd out of the 1993 Upper Deck 5th Anniversary insert set that's 15 cards deep, so I've got a ways to go. I proudly had that original Ivan RC as a kid, so this black-bordered remix hits a little extra hard. 
As one of the more plentiful hits in 2001 Topps Archives Reserve, the Paul Blair auto is one I had been eyeing for years waiting for just the right deal, so how perfect was for it to just show up from a hobby bud. My ARMS (Archives Reserve Master Set) now sits at an even 74% complete.

Dennis ensured the mailing had a strong dose of yuletide cheer, tossing it this pair of shiny ornament cards.

Also plenty of Gavins included, including some deluxe Lux and a big fuzzy swatch once worn by the late Gavin Escobar. 
(BTW, it doesn't look like I'll get to my annual "Gavins in Baseball" post this year.. There are too many of them now!)

Thank you, Dennis! Much appreciated.

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Bob at Best Bubble again hit me with another terrific batch of cards.

There were a couple ladies on cardboard that I forgot to snap a pic of, but the star of the show were these 1972 Topps needs. Still chugging along there thanks to fine folks such as Bob. Thank you again, sir!

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Here's something else that just arrived.

Jon from Penny Sleeves surprised me with a motherload of glowing beanies (1999 Ty Beanie Babies IV - Glow in the Dark Stickers). The stack contained at least one of 24 of the set's 25 stickers, plus several dupes (glowing dupes being keepers for me because I love them that damn much). And the one not included (Clubby) was one of the few I already had (..from a trade with Jon earlier in the year). Very happy to have completed the set now. Thanks so much, Jon! 

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I think that catches me up with incoming cards to tip my cap about. 

My wife managed to drag my lazy ass out of the house this past weekend. It was a showing of the Muppet Christmas Carol with the score performed live by the Oregon Symphony. Hard to believe, but it was my first concert since early 2020, before covid hit.

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I recently had to retire this old car CDR of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs. I don't drive a lot these days, but have a rotation of a dozen discs or so in there to listen to. After about 25 years in action, it's started skipping pretty bad on "Stairway" thanks to the outer edge of the CDR getting worn down. I lost most of my old school car cdrs in a flood-type situation a decade ago, but this Zep best-of was one of the few that survived that ordeal. Farewell, old friend.

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A few years back, I did a post listing 10 whales of mine, and I'm excited to finally land another one off that hallowed list. (Though it's not anything that would excite most collectors.) Behold:

Chris D. Jones here was the second player from my high school to crack the majors. Sadly, he didn't get any cards from his brief MLB career, with this rare postcard being his lone collectable representation in a big league uniform. (I did, however, make a Giants custom that had a lovely TTM success.) I'm not exactly sure if this is the 1985 original or the 1987 rerelease.. but regardless, this is the first example I've ever seen, thanks to somebody breaking up a big collection of Astros postcards on ebay. So yeah, that was perhaps the top whale for my Guys From Granite collection. A nice hobby win for me to close out the year on!

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I don't think I'll be writing a separate Guys From Granite annual update post this year. But I can give you a quick recap since there are only 2 active guys.

Trenton Brooks was having a nice year at AAA Las Vegas before heading to the Giant's AAA team in Sacramento. Fingers crossed 2024 is the year he makes his MLB debut. (Oh man, if he starts getting Topps cards, that means I would have to start collecting [rainbowing?!] modern cards again! Ah jeez!!)

Dillan Shrum had a decent season at AA in the Royals chain. Hope he makes it up to Triple A in '24.

Good luck, Trenton and Dillan! You do Granite Hills proud.

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Now here's what I've been up to lately on the #cardart front.

Fun craftin' up "junk wax superfractors" for a bit but got bored of gold so now I've been working other colors into the mix too. Neat, right?

Thanks for reading, Happy Holidays, and big thanks again to Dennis, Bob, and Jon for the cards.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Vintage Frankenset Page 4

Back in 2020, I got the idea for a frankenset to give purpose to many of the random old cards that didn't really have a solid "home" in my collection. Plus it's a good way for me to check out neat old card designs that I'd otherwise not have much use for. The priority of the project eventually slid to the backburner, but I still occasionally fill empty slots and try to keep my streak alive of featuring one complete page on the blog each year. I showed off page 1 in 2020, page 2 in 2021, page 3 in 2022, and now we're up to page 4. 

My Vintage Frankenset has 3 rules for entry:
- Cards must have been released prior to 1981.
- Must fit in a standard top-loader. (I group them into "pages" but the project consists of toploaders in a box, not actual binder pages, in part to help deal with varying sizes.)
- No flagship Topps baseball allowed. (I have a different project for that.)

In theory there will be one card for each number up to 333. When pressed, no-number cards can be placeholders and move around in the frankenset, limit 1 per "page".

Ok, here's Page 4.

The horizontal cards shatter any illusion of this being a real page, but it's a not a bad selection of old cardboard. I usually strive for more variety; definitely baseball-heavy here, plus two tobacco cards from the same damn set. But oh well, nothing in my self-imposed rules says that's illegal, so we'll ride with it.

#28 1952 Bowman #28 Roy Hartsfield

Love the colors and background on this card. The tape stain nearly syncs up with the picture.

Roy Hartsfield never quite reached that future stardom, with 1952 being his final year in the majors. He stuck around in the minors for a few years before going into coaching, eventually becoming the first manager of the expansion Blue Jays.

#29 1965 Topps Embossed #29 Boog Powell

These things are pretty ugly, but hey, it's a vintage baseball card. And ya gotta love Boog, right?

Another reason these inserts aren't a favorite of mine are the lazy backs. There's a tinge of disappointment every time I flip a card over to reveal a lazy back. (The opposite is seeing a wall of tiny stats-- love that!)

#30 1970 Fleer Laughlin World Series #30 Mel Ott 1933

Laughlin cards are awesome. Nuff said.

#31 1935 Gallaher Shots from Famous Films #31 "I Was A Spy"

British tobacco cards like this are a great way to add pre-war cardboard to your collection for cheap. 

I Was a Spy is available to watch on YouTube (link). I skimmed it a little and think I found the scene in question at 24 minutes in.

The lady is a nurse in WWI who had been giving info to the British, and the dude there is a German officer who's starting to suspect she's up to something. Nice to have some context for this card I've owned for a few years now. I never really looked at it that well and assumed it was young lovers or something. I was way off! Based on the life of Marthe Cnockaert, misspelt on the card.

#32 1939 Player's Uniforms of the Territorial Army #32 5th BN., The Lancashire Fusiliers, 1915

There was once or two times a few years back where I was browsing COMC and basically just typed in old years, sorted by cheapest, and snagged a few pre-war tobacco cards I could find around the dollar mark. That's where most of my "f@g cards" come from (excuse the term, but that's what they were known as! It's what they call cigarettes over in England.)


#33 1955 Bowman #33 Nellie Fox

He doesn't seem to frequent my blog, but the blogger who likes to comment on blog posts about who "wins it" would probably agree with me that this Nellie Fox is the highlight of the page. Fun shot of a HOFer on a fun design, what's not to like?

I got this along with Bob Feller from the same set from a card show dollar bin, a favorite score from my days going to the monthly cardshow in the late 2010s. For that price, I'm totally cool with a bit of paper loss on the backs. (The Feller has the #134 slot in the frankenset, so maybe we'll get to that in a few years if I keep up this annual blog series. I could potentially do more than one page a year, sure.)

#34 1974-75 Topps #34 Jim Fox

Ha, I didn't realize I had back-to-back Foxes in the frankenset! Finally a sport besides baseball represented on the page. I like getting a look at old Topps designs that are less familiar to me. This isn't necessarily a great design, but still cool.

I believe this was a Sportlots throw-in a year or two back specifically to fill the vacant #34 slot.

Hang on-- For this next card coming up, I suggest you try to take your time scrolling to slowly reveal the card top-to-bottom. It's full of surprises if you do it that way.


#35 1939 Player's Uniforms of the Territorial Army #35 4th/5th BN., The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), 1917

This one is way more interesting than the other "Uniforms of the Territorial Army" card we saw a few back. The guy is wearing a kilt, caked in mud up to his knees, and he's pulling the pin on a grenade. Yet all business above the belt. What a badass.

It's not a baseball card, but hey "Highlanders" makes it basically a Yankees card, right?

#36 1951 Bowman #36 Joe Dobson

Last one for this post. The page opened with a '52 Bowman and closes with a '51. This was probably another dollar box pickup (7 for $5, likely) or maybe from other COMC "cheapest/oldest" search. The surface wear muddles the pretty clouds in the background, but I'm always happy to include old Bowman cards in this project.

Joe Dobson was a solid pitcher for a few years. All-Star in '48. Pitched well for the Sox in a losing cause to St. Louis in the '46 World Series. There was a time when it seemed I was picking up cheap old Bowman cards at the show here and there at a steady pace.. you start to think, "hey, these sets aren't very big... Maybe I could take a run at it?" But yeah.. the Mantle and Mays.. forget it.

But the beauty of the vintage frankenset is I can get a sampling of various cool old stuff like this without commiting to the huge undertaking of a vintage setbuild.

As for page 6 on deck for a post in 2024, it's still not completed. I'll need to find cards to fill open slots at 42 and 45. (Well, I have a card entered in for 42, but I've misplaced it.. so I guess we'll see if it turns up in the next few months.)

I hope you enjoyed the post. Have a great weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Cards I've Been Sent Recently

Time for me to get around to thanking folks who've sent me cards over the past month or so.

Kicking off with this pair of heavy hitters from a recent trade with a guy who goes by OP. We hammered out a deal that netted me some nice vintage needs, most notably a '64 McCovey and a Thurman Munson rookie. Still crawling along with both these sets, hoping to eventually make it to the finish line, tortoise-style.

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GCA was nice enough to keep me in mind at a big recent card show he attended and picked up 3 vintage needs from my sidebar wantlist. My 1972 Topps setbuild is down to an even 100 cards remaining.. Ed Brinkman #535 here was the lowest number I still needed (not counting variations), so it's all uphill from here, but there's starting to be a speck of light at the end of the tunnel, at least.

Rod Carew was the biggest name (base card) missing in my '78 Topps setbuild. Now down to a few commons plus Record Breakers for Rose and Reggie. Maybe I'll round up the final 28 cards sometime in 2024.

The '74 WS card was the last of my "gremlin" losses-- Last year I thought I had completed a basic 1974 set, but then realized a few cards had gone missing-- so now I have once again sorta completed 1974 Topps. I still have variations to go after.

Thanks, Greg! I need to find something to return the favor to you.

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Daniel Wilson had some Gavins to send my way in a PWE. Thanks for thinking of me, buddy!

He didn't ask me to mention it or anything, but if you're active with YouTube hobby stuff, check him out at his new Cases Loaded account.

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Padrographs Rod swung by my doorstep recently with a stack of cards for me, mostly Padres and ladies. I hope Juan Soto sticks around in San Diego, but won't be surprised if he doesn't. Love adding a new Manon Rheaume card. The real star of the lot was the Chris Young cardart "mod by Rod" that gave a nice colorblast to a Ginter common. I like it, Rod; keep it up!

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Crafty use of cards continues with this incredible Card Belt. Bob at Best Bubble arranged for these to be made for a few of his hobby buds and I was lucky enough to get one. 

Great selection of cards with some iconic favorites in there.

I do want to "take 'er out for a spin" as a real belt, but it likely won't be until next summer when it's shorts weather again, as I'd be worried heavy jeans might gnarl it up.

Big thanks, Bob! I'm working on an overdue return for you.

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Finally for today, highlights from a bittersweet mailing of custom minis from Chris at Nachos Grande. I've dug these Munnatawket "2008 Ginter" style custom minis since first being surprised with some way back in 2014 not long after they first started popping up. I was just getting into making customs myself at the time, and they really impressed me and inspired me along my own path of custom card creation. They were expertly crafted by Chris' friend Ryan Rodd, who sadly passed away recently. Chris wanted to honor Ryan's memory by spreading them around and I'm thankful for that, ending up with these eclectic six keepers for my PC and a few others to further scatter about the hobby.

Hey, I scored a numbered parallel! I thought you all might like getting a closer look at the backside. Super cool stuff.

Thank you again, Chris. I don't recall ever personally interacting with Ryan, unfortunately, but I would have loved to compliment him on his work and maybe "talk shop" a bit. Sounds like he was a great guy. Be sure to read Chris' big "Saying Goodbye to an Amazing Human" post if you missed it.