Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PWE from the Dime Box

Like many of you, one of my favorite things to do is to go to a card show and dig through the dime boxes.  Nick has taken that one step further, naming his blog after doing that.  The great thing about Nick's searches -- as is the case for many folks -- is that he will make some purchases with an eye toward sending some cards out too.  

I was quite happy to receive the PWE from Nick yesterday, as it contained a number of cards that I need either for my Brewers team collection or for my player collections.  

This card of a guy who lasted with the Brewers for a grand total of 15 games in 1972 and 1973 is also one that I needed for my Topps 1973 Brewers set.  

These six oddballs all go into my Brewers team collections for those years.  I'd picked up the Drake's cards in a team set purchase on eBay a couple of months ago, but all of them were needed for my "comprehensive" Brewers collection -- as was the big Prince.

That's a Mini!
These four cards -- well, three cards and a sticker -- were slotted promptly into the player collections for Don Money (a super sweet 1975 MINI!), Rickie Weeks, and Ryan Braun.

Finally, these cards also went into my Brewers collection as first timers:

Betancourt was part of the Zach Greinke trade. McGehee is with Miami now.  Bradley is hoping to become more than organizational fodder, as he is at Double-A Huntsville -- coincidentally, the city where he grew up -- this year after being drafted out of Georgia Tech in 2011.

Nick, thank you very much for the cards.  They are greatly appreciated and were a pleasant surprise to me when I got my mail on Monday.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gintacuffs Timefilling Post 2: Highlights from the rest of the Box

As I sit here this morning with my cup of coffee watching Major League, which was on this new movie channel yesterday, I thought that I'd finish off the Hobby Box of Allen & Ginter that I opened already.  I was thinking about drawing it out a bit, but I just don't have that amount of patience right now.

So, here are the highlights of the rest of the box.  I got my requisite 24 mini cards, my requisite number of hits, and a couple of Brewers.  Frankly, on that level, the box was disappointing in that I did not get a Molitor or a Yount -- either a regular size or a mini.

But I did get some decent cards -- and cards that I like too -- nonetheless.  Let's go worst to first.

Yeah, it's a relic, when the guy's claim to fame is being the inspiration for Van Wilder...and that he was named the "top partier" at Florida State University in about 1998, well, color me less than excited.

Don't get me wrong -- I like the Fields of Yore subset -- but why not include more stadiums that have been gone longer than Yankee Stadium? Okay, I don't hate that this Stadium was in the subset even, but why is Wrigley in there?  Must be the Ginter Code.

1980s players seem to be ignored somewhat by the Hall of Fame because their numbers did not reach the levels of the steroid-infused 1990s.  Read that sentence again.  "Steroid-infused."  Dale Murphy has been criminally underappreciated by the voters from the Hall, and I'm glad to see him getting a bit of love in the A&G set.  Makes me wonder why the Archives set couldn't include guys like the Murph.

So the only full-sized card autograph is from a basketball player.  That's fine.  Heck, this card has a great resale value on eBay even.  It would, at least, if the packaging process hadn't devoured the bottom of the card.

My final hit:

It's a white swatch of fabric.  Kind of boring, but it is Joey Votto.

Glenn Waggoner has to be my Rotisserie Baseball representative over Dan Okrent because, well, I didn't get a Dan Okrent.  I would rather have featured Okrent, though, because (a) Okrent wrote the excellent book 9 Innings: The Anatomy of a Baseball Game about the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers and (b) I just beat Okrent last week on a trivia website called Learned League in Animal Trivia.

It's the little things in life that excite me.

Here are my two favorite inserts that I got:

Turner, along with John Constable, were major influences on the Impressionists in France who followed him historically.  The Impressionists like the landscapes and Turner's use of light.  Then, those painters -- especially guys like Gauguin and van Gogh -- started becoming influenced by Japanese woodblock prints and, between the two, we started seeing a breakdown in the "reality" depicted on paintings.  It's an interesting study historically.

I like Diwali because it's a frequent trivia question answer.

Now, for the guys I collect:

Yeah, other than the Jean Segura from pack 1, I got the regular and mini sizes of Aramis Ramirez and the regular sized Carlos Gomez and Eddie Mathews.  Not exactly a box chock full of Brewer fun.

But, it filled the time between Archives and Gint-A-Cuffs!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

GintaCuffs 2014 Timefilling

One of the first boxes of cards that I opened when I got back into collecting was an Allen & Ginter Hobby Box. When I was first getting back into buying cards, it took me a good week to figure out what the heck hobby boxes are and how they differed from blaster boxes and retail boxes and jumbo boxes.  And, I'm still not sure I totally understand why those differences exist.  Well, I do understand why -- I would just rather there not be such a differentiation.

Anyway, back in February, when I cracked that box, Mark Aubrey left a comment saying that I should participate in the Gint-a-Cuffs game this year.  I checked it out, and I loved the concept immediately.  I mean, any contest in which Yankee cards are treated in the same way as I treat them -- as pariahs, to be cast off immediately for fear of infecting the neighborhoods in which they dwell -- well, that's right up my alley.

So, now, I sit here refreshing the Gintacuffs blogspot page about once an hour every hour waiting for Mark to post the rules.  I bought two hobby boxes and tore through one already, though, so while I wait for Gint-A-Cuffs VI to go live, I thought I would hand out the highlights of that first box.


Well, that didn't start well.  I'm glad this is not my GAC box -- that box loader would be a less-than-stellar way to begin.  At least I have already communicated via Twitter with AJ The Lost Collector to make sure that this thing finds a good home with a Yankees collector -- especially one who just gave me such a great Robin Yount Art Card in a contest.

Pack 1
It was the best of packs:

That's the first card of the first pack I opened.  I immediately thought, "dang, I should have opened the other box instead."

It was the worst of packs:

I mean, I don't hate Joe DiMaggio, but Olt has been sent down for being terrible in ways that would make Mario Mendoza say, "Damn, that guy can't hit at all!" And, Soriano's already been DFA'ed.  Wow.

Pack 2
Nothing special.  Justin Masterson Mini, Tony Gwynn base, Mark McGwire Pastime's Pastime (which, I was shocked to learn, was not hypodermic needle use).  The scan didn't break the cards down into individual files.  Oh well.

I'll post more from this box later.  But, needless to say, these first two packs made me think, "God, I hope the other box is better!"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Surprise PWE Club Delivery!

I got home from work today after my usual battle with Atlanta's traffic in a better mood than usual.  That was because, in large part, I was able to maneuver my little car through a few pockets in front off the usual idiots too busy talking on their cell phones -- or illegally texting, even -- and that made my ride go by more quickly. Of course, I know -- I'm that idiot weaving in and out of traffic whose impatience drives others crazy.  


Anyway, my mood got even better when I walked in the door and found a little white envelope from Jeff from 2x3 Heroes with some really cool stamps from the mid-1970s on it:

I'm not a stamp collector currently, but when I was a small kid chasing stamps was a family event for my brother, my mom, and me.  That Skylab stamp is one I remember well from that time.  I mean, how cool was the first floating science experiments in outer space?

Inside were six cards and a pink Post-It note:

Finer words have not been spoken.

Of the cards inside, two were Braves and four were Brewers.  First the Braves:

Marcus Giles had a stretch in the early 2000s where he was certainly in the conversation as one of the best second basemen in the National League. For whatever reason, though, Bobby Cox always jerked Giles around -- not playing him regularly for a while, playing him begrudgingly and only when Giles had forced his way into the lineup, and then yanking him out of the lineup the minute Giles went into a slump.  Now, some folks saw that timing and thought PEDs were the reason, but this "Sabernomics" article said he was incredibly lucky at first and his luck caught up to him.  For whatever reason, Giles never repeated his early success and was done by age 29.

Ryan Klesko, on the other hand, was awkward to watch while he played left field.  But, he came to bat either to "Evenflow" by Pearl Jam or to "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Music, please:

As for the Brewers, I had two of the four cards.  The two I had already:

Robin Yount playing first base while listed as an outfielder on a strange photo from Ultra, while Jean Segura is pictured playing for the Milwaukee "? and the Mysterians."  I am still torn about the Donruss. The borders are too thick and the "D" logo is too large, but at least the photo isn't cropped ridiculously closely as Topps is wont to do.

Finally, here are the two Brewers cards I needed:

The Fielder insert from a 2008 Topps set is nice and shiny while generously listing the heavy-set herbivore at 260 pounds.  The Rickie Weeks comes from the 2012 Bowman Platinum set, and the scan of the card makes him appear to be jumping off the card as if we are all wearing those old 3D glasses.

While I poked fun at the cards and the players pictured, trust me when I say that I am extremely pleased that the PWE Club is back in business.  Hopefully, this will motivate me not to obsess as much about what I am sending and simply getting me just to send the cards out!

Thanks a ton, Jeff!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mailday Post: Bob Walk the Plank

In marketing, brand recognition and brand awareness is everything.  Come up with a memorable jingle or name, and everyone remembers you and your brand.  I mean, if you watched the World Cup at all, you all saw the Bacardi "Untameable" Commercial with that kick-ass guitar line.  

That guitar line is from an Arctic Monkeys song called "Do I Wanna Know?" which is such a catchy song that I still like it even if I heard that guitar line about 5 times per halftime and in pregame per game I watched on TV...

Another marketing genius whose product -- like Bacardi -- truly delivers is Bob Walk the Plank.  Since Matt started blogging earlier this year with that memorable URL for his blogspot, I doubt that any one of us who has been going through cards since then and has seen a Bob Walk card hasn't mentally thought "Bob Walk the Plank."

It is, as I said, marketing genius.

But, as anyone who has bought anything based on an advertisement knows, no one will care about your catchy ads and music if you don't back up the flash with substance.  Matt does an excellent job of this as well, spreading relics and autos throughout the blogosphere with panache.

Luckily for me -- a person whose blog name is outdated nearly immediately after it started...maybe I should have gone with "Edsel" -- Matt is kind enough to include me on his mailing list of generosity.

So, when an envelope showed up from him a week or so ago, I was pretty excited to see what it contained.  Once again, Matt did not disappoint:

I believe this is my first ever card from the Topps Unique sets, and it is a doozy.  Braun is hitting a lot fewer solo -- or other -- shots this year, but at least he is keeping his batting eye and getting on base.

My Museum Collection purchases did not contain any Braun cards, so getting this Emerald or Green or whatever color Topps called it numbered to 199 was an excellent addition.

I'm not sure if I have many, if any, Topps Tribute cards, so to add a Yovani on-card autograph serial numbered to 99 was just phenomenal.

And, while I have this card already, I'll never turn down a Robin Yount card or drawing of him smiling.  Most of his cards after about 1981 show him either looking sullen, angry, or in action.

Matt, once again, you outdid yourself.  Thank you very much for your kindness.  I know I have a couple of cards for you here that I'll get out to you when I do another trade package binge like I did a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks, bud.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Memorabilia Monday: The Ball that Was My Pride and Joy

I like trivia. I especially like baseball trivia, but really, any trivia will do. Whether it's pub trivia, trivia websites, or trivia TV shows, I enjoy watching and participating in trivia contests. 

This has been true for most of my life. As a young kid subscribing to Baseball Digest, one of my favorite parts of the magazine was to test myself with the trivia questions and answers.  If the trivia related to a team or player I cared about, then there was no question that I would get the question correct.

In 1982, I remember there being one weekend -- perhaps in June, because the weather was not hot outside -- when Jim Gantner was making an autograph signing appearance at a marina in Pewaukee. I think that it was competing with another appearance at a location closer to Milwaukee at which both Paul Molitor and Robin Yount were signing autographs at a shoe store, but I may be misremembering that.

I think that was the case, though, because when we got to the location where Gantner was supposed to be signing, the place was dead. Now, I also seem to recall that Gantner's appearance hours were from 1 PM to 3 PM before a 7:30 PM game, and we were arriving at around 2:45 PM.  So, coupled with the fact that usually, a Brewer making an appearance would draw a line, we (my mom, my older brother [who had to come along], and me) thought that perhaps they had wrapped up the appearance a bit early.

We took a chance and went inside anyway.  We found Jim Gantner standing next to a boat, checking out its dashboard and talking to a salesperson who was pretty clearly his liaison of sorts for this appearance.  When we walked in, we must have looked a bit apprehensive, because the salesperson and Gantner both said, "come on over, good to see you!"

The salesperson then posed a trivia question: in 1980, what Brewer finished second in the American League batting title race with a .352 batting average? Even now, that would be an easy question for me, but for little ten-year-old Tony you might as well have asked for his name, address, and telephone number.  I knew that answer immediately and without missing a beat said quickly, "Cecil Cooper." 

The guy goes, "You're correct! Here's your prize!"

And he handed me a plastic covered baseball with the Brewers team name and logo on it, which Jim Gantner promptly signed.

That ball was my constant autograph companion for the next year or so.

The problem with a plastic covering, however, is the fact that ink fades pretty badly from plastic.  Only a few autographs remain legible.

Anyway, here are some photos of that ball, which I still have today.  It used to be my pride and joy, and in some respects it still is:

The Brewers name.  If you squint, you can see Roy Howell's signature on the left of the team name and a badly retraced Robin Yount signature on the right side.  Underneath the team name is Bob Gibson, the version who played in Milwaukee in the 1980s who was not very good.  On the far left side in black is Charlie Moore.

The fading old Brewers Logo.  The black sharpie signature there is Ted Simmons. Barely visible on the logo itself (and upside down) is Bob Uecker.

On this panel are three Hall of Famers.  Yes, once again, 12-year-old me was disappointed in how much the signatures had faded already at that point and took a sharpie to darken the signatures from Rollie Fingers and Paul Molitor. Under Molitor, of course, is Don Sutton.  Above Fingers in ink is reserve outfielder Mark Brouhard.

Finally, on this part of the ball, you see the badly retraced Robin Yount at the bottom.  Above his signature is now-Commissioner Bud Selig.  Above Selig is fifth outfielder Marshall Edwards, whose twin brother Mike played for the Oakland A's.  Above Edwards is the first ever signature on the ball from Jim Gantner.  Above Gantner is baseball arsonist Ned Yost, the backup to Ted Simmons at catcher in 1982.

Also on the ball but faded so badly I'm embarrassed to show them are Buck Rodgers, announcers Pat Hughes and Steve Shannon, Don Money, Sal Bando, Mike Caldwell, and a couple more that are so faded that I can't read them.

The enjoyment I got in chasing those autographs -- as I got them all in person -- was incredibly high.  I just wish that they were still legible.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Package from Chavez Ravine-ing

I received an envelope full of Brewers this past week from Alex at Chavez Ravining.  Alex and I have been swapping envelopes recently, so I was very pleased to get another jam-packed envelope from him. 

In honor of one of the items in the envelope -- my first ever Topps Chip (do you drop the "Z" off the end if you have just one?), I thought I'd start with a little music appropriate to that Chipz piece.  Yeah, it's an earworm and it's not from 1978, but Lady Gaga has a formula for her songs that work -- minor chords, lots of overdubbing and electronica -- you know instantly that you are listening to one of her songs.  It's like a piece of candy musically after listening to, say, Led Zeppelin or AC/DC.  And, it's fun.  Here's the video for "Poker Face":

So, that Chip:

Rickie Weeks may be down to, as the line in poker goes, a chip and a chair right now on his Brewers career. He's done well in a limited role, but the team is committed to Scooter Gennett at second -- so committed, in fact, that they are planning to have him play more against the lefthanders that Weeks has eaten alive this year.  With the team struggling lately, I'm good with switching stuff up.  The team needs it. But, Rickie's contributions to the organization cannot be ignored and deserve to be celebrated when he does leave.

I talk a lot about Rickie here, though, so let's move on to the rest of the cards.  First, there is a Paul Molitor from The Upper Deck Iooss Collection:

Walter Iooss is a true icon in American photography and especially in sports, having been Sports Illustrated's top photog for over forty years.  And, now he is selling photos himself on his website, like this Sandy Koufax beauty.  They are pricey as all get-out -- $2000 for an 11x14 print! -- but maybe you have a rich friend/relative looking for an excuse to spend a bunch of money on you.

Then Alex helped me out with a Robin Yount parallel from the mid-1990s that I did not have in my collection.  This one from Upper Deck is an "Electric Diamond" parallel, which for some reason makes me think of that seminal 1980s film: Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.  My brain scares me some times.

Alex is the first person to send me a Carlos Gomez card of Gomez on the Twins since I said here and made the decision to collect all of Gomez's cards. These are both cards that I needed for my player collections.


This group of Braun are the final cards I'm going to highlight from the big package I got -- there are still probably another 30 cards in the package, but a lot of them are actually ones I had already in some form.  Now, the ones above, though, are ones I think I needed. The 2011 A&G goes to my team set, as does the Braun All-Star short print from the 2012 Topps Update set.  The other two go into the Braun player collection, as I did not have the Hometown Heroes or the Baseball Highlight Sketches inserts.

Alex, thanks again for all the cards.  I hope that we continue to swap cards with one another.