Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Bird bird feeder (Mark Fidrych PC)

My live-in marital partner surprised me with a bird feeder last Christmas, knowing how I've enjoyed having an active hummingbird feeder for a couple years running. Took me a while to get around to putting it up, waiting for the rainy season to be over, but I've had it up for a week now and it's pretty cool. 

It's made of clear plastic and meant to be hung in a window so you can get a close look at the birdies on display. At first the clear side walls were confusing them-- often fluttering against them trying in vain to get in-- so I stuck on some Fleer team logo stickers on the sides. But I soon upgraded that idea to slotting in a pair of Mark Fidrych cards, thereby dedicating it as a Mark Fidrych Memorial Bird Feeder... or The Bird Birdfeeder.

It's designed to be hung with suction cups to a window, but the best viewing spot I could identify was over a screen, so I rigged up a hanger instead.

I'm a little worried about a squirrel raid, (and/or maybe the crows/ravens who run the neighborhood will come by for their "protection" fee?), but no trouble yet.

I didn't take the decision to "sacrifice" good baseball cards lightly. But I already have these cards. I've got one of the '77 Toppses in my setbuild, and two more in the PC in addition to the lesser-conditioned triplicate selected for the birds. As for the '78, also got one in the 78T build, plus one in the PC, plus another one that's autographed (for/from former blog buddy "Tony L." who pops up to talk about soccer on twitter once in a while but sadly seems like Off Hiatus Cards is in fact never returning from the hiatus it's currently on). 

Ruby does some birdwatching.

But yeah, the cards in there are packaged with water-resistance in mind, and it's on the north side of the house, so not a ton of direct sunlight, so we'll see how the cards are looking after a few months, assuming they don't go missing or anything. I bet it won't take long for these cards to be imprinted on my brain more than they already are due to looking over at them many times in an average day. I suppose I could pop in any old trading cards to do the job-- perhaps favoring teams named after birds.. yeah, maybe I'll swap in some Orioles/Cardinals/Jays commons once the rainy days return-- but at least for now it will continue to serve a dual purpose, acting as a safespace for li'l tweet-tweets to find an assortment of small seeds and nuts available to eat.. while also paying tribute to a fascinating former ballplayer who happened to be similarly nicknamed due to his appearance calling to mind the character Big Bird.

A guest to the Bird feeder checks out Fidrych's early stats.

The feeder isn't super busy, but has flurries of activity at least a couple times a day so far, which is perfect. Mostly common sparrows, as far as I can tell, which are cute, though hopefully I'll be lucky enough to eventually spot some "fancier" birds stopping by.

On the topic of Mark Fidrych, I just went ahead and logged my PC into TCDB today. My 23 unique cards were good enough to crack the Top 20 there, so that's cool. I did the "add all missing cards to wantlist" thing, too, so hopefully that'll spark some trades and help me move up the list... though he only has 214 total cards listed, and most of those are either oddballs from the late 70s or low-numbered stuff from the aughts when the card companies started going nuts with cards of retired favorites. But yeah, it'd be cool to build up the PC to where I could "hang with the big boys" of Fidrych collectors.

Here's the PC, more or less (turning this post into an update of my previous Fidrych PC post from 2018)...

Some of Gio's customs infiltrated this group of cards I've got of Bird's early days.

You can see I've got dupes of his '80 and '81 Topps cards (No OPC in the mix here, sadly), though they are less fun to look at than '77 and to a lesser extent '78.. but could be called into active bird feeder duty if needed.

Love the minor league cards, even if that must've been a frustrating time for Mark.

Some post-playing days cards, including a 2003 Fan Favorites auto I scored not too long ago. I believe it's my second certified auto of his, following the (not pictured) 2003 Retired base auto I got back in 2018

Speaking of Fan Favorites, the "1977" (2004) refractor from a few pics above didn't really catch the light there, so here are some bonus shots of it to close us out for today: 

Refraction. Simple, yet elegant refraction.

I like how the rookie cup has gone supernova in this one.

"Get out of there, Mark! The field's on fire!!"

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Vacation Hold Mailday

My #walletcard for 2023-- an '87 Fleer Gwynn-- joined us for our latest family vacation to the Oregon coast for a long weekend. Weather in recent years for the near-annual trip has been mostly overcast and rainy, but not this year, as sunny skies got temps got up into the 90s. That made it nicer down on the beach, but overall it was a bit hotter weekend than ideal.

Anyways, I'm gonna make you scroll through a few of my best photos from the trip, then we'll check out some cool cards and stuff that was waiting for me back home in my held mail.

So yeah, it was a nice vacation overall, though our loveable asshole Ruby gave us a moment of panic when she ran off into town and was briefly "lost" before we tracked her down in a local shop with the help of folks pointing us in the right direction.

Onto the cool stuff that was building up for me at the post office back home while all that was going on.

A Puckett collector proposed a purchase on TCDB for a 2003 Retired base Kirby I had available. I don't like selling, though, and was able to instead work it into a small trade, throwing in 3 more '03 Retired base Twins for the guy netting me this beautiful OPC RC in return. That'll power-up the ol' Kirby PC!

I've been keeping an eye out for 2005 Pristine Legends more lately, slowly kinda thinking about building the refractor set (as if I don't already have enough tough refractor projects in-progress between ATFF, 2004 Chrome black, and Topps Retired autos!). I used to think these "The Legendary Years" cards were inserts in 2005 Topps Pristine until learning 2005 Topps Pristine Legends was a separate product. Scored this sweet Bo Jackson on eBay and the seller kindly tossed in a bonus Bo insert.

Bought my first Beckett magazine since the 90s. Couldn't resist the combo of Mr. Padre on the cover and blog bud Night Owl featured inside. Looking forward to reading through this soon.

Speaking of good dudes named Greg, I swung a trade with Gregory at Nine Pockets and landed some of his incredible exclusives. Quirky customs like this are right up my alley. Love shoehorning my favorite movies and TV shows into my card collection!

The WRIPP (Warhol Rose Infinite Parallels Project) has been a wonderful outlet for my creativity this year, whipping up a bunch of "1/1 parallels" for myself (and also to slowly send off into the world), and it warms my heart to get my first "outsider" additions to the project, with Gregory coming up with a Victorian wallpaper parallel, plus a clever "reverse negative" variation. I'm very happy he hopped on the WRIPP train and I hope more folks follow suit. He says to expect him to cover this WRIPP stuff in an upcoming Nine Pockets post, a blog with new posts published each Sunday like clockwork.

Gotta love the Sadaharu Oh stained glass card Gregory created! I had bought one from him on eBay, but it got some minor damage in transit that sadly detracted from its splendor. But I no longer have to slum it with a less-than-perfect specimen thanks to this replacement upgrade. Such a beautiful card! It's inspired me to add another collecting project to my docket: accumulate a bunch of stained glass type acetate cards, with the goal to end up with a whole "stained glass window" display of various cards. Wouldn't that be cool?!

Ok, that's all I got for now. Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Puttin' in the Gwynn

I don't expect to ever get around to fully logging my card collection into the Trading Card Database, but I'm adding a little here and there, and my current focus is entering the biggest player collection I've got: Tony Gwynn. My hobby interests pull me in too many directions to ever truly vie for the spot of his #1 collector, but I've got a pretty solid PC, and as I log it, I'm also sorting in the very many Gwynn cards I've gotten in the past year or so from Rod at Padrographs as he narrowed his collection.

Data entry can be tedious-- and often a pain figuring out unfamiliar cards/parallels-- so I came up with some goals to help keep me motivated:

- rank among the top 19 (jersey number) Tony Gwynn collectors at TCDB
- 1000+ unique cards
- get in the top 10
- in the top 5 maybe?

Well, here's the current leaderboard:

Yep, Tony Gwynn is a popular guy to collect! 1500 cards won't even get you into the top 10. I'm not likely to crack the top 5 anytime soon, if ever. As I type this, I've already added roughly 2/3 of the PC and currently rank #30 with 687 unique Gwynns. I'm guessing I'll ultimately settle in around numbers 12-14, but cracking the top 10 could be something to shoot for. For the record, I'm not going to blanketly "add all missing cards to wantlist." But occasionally I've been adding neat Gwynns to my TCDB wantlist, like certain refractors or cool-looking inserts or whatnot, and could see myself going after some cheap low-hanging fruit on Sportlots or something if I really wanted to get my total up.

It's not just healthy competition motivating me, of course, because it'll be great to have a solid idea of what I have and don't have when it comes to Mr. Padre. My memory ain't always great, so it'll be nice to be able to easily check what I've got.

Anyways, I thought I'd feature a few "non-TCDB cards" in this post.. that is, cards that I consider unique in the PC, though for the most part I agree they're not different cards, and were it not a main PC of mine, I likely wouldn't bother treating them differently. Regardless, I think these unofficial variations are more interesting than "real" variations where there's a period missing in the copyright line on the back or something else you likely need a magnifying glass to even notice.

The above HoloGrFX cards seem to be different shades of blue, though that's not an official parallel. Probably just a printing variant or maybe one was displayed in a sunny spot for a while by a previous owner.

Here's another example of the same card looking different. Technically a dupe, but they're both staying in my PC as "dark version" and "light version", respectively. Could be noted there is a "black gold (/499)" parallel to this 2001 Fleer Futures card that I don't have.

These 1998 Skybox Dugout Axcess "Double Header" game cards only come in one flavor, according to the menu, but look at the player name and tell me these are identical cards; You can't do it! The foil-printing machine seems to have been on the fritz for the card on the right-- I don't think Skybox did it on purpose-- but yeah, I'm hanging on to them both, considering one an "inverted foil" printing flaw variation or whatever.

Well, those are what I've taken pictures of so far, and I've got more examples I'd like to document on the blog, but I think I'll call it good for today and then probably do a follow-up post or two once I've finished logging the Gwynn PC. Thanks for stopping by and have a pleasant weekend, everybody.