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.