Thursday, February 27, 2014

Scherzer Sparkle Sale

Okay, I'm officially worried that someone is going to get this Short Print Scherzer Sparkle a bit cheaply!

That's a strange way to say to you, please check out my Auction on eBay.

And, it's another way to say that I believe I will be moving my auctions to Sportlots!

UPDATE:  The sparkle sold for a pretty good price -- thanks to all of you who looked/bid/considered bidding.

From the Archives

This is a strange strip of cards, though I can recall exactly where I got it. Growing up in Milwaukee in the 1980s, there was a fairly regular baseball card show that took place on the north side of town on 27th Street/Highway 41.  I don't recall where exactly the show was located, but I remember scouring the old Milwaukee Sentinel every morning looking for show announcements.

As the baseball card boom hit in the late 1980s, this show started bringing in former players to sign autographs for a couple of hours -- sometimes free, sometimes for a small $5 or $10 fee.  At one of these shows, the promoter brought back former Brewer pitcher Bill Castro to sign autographs.

At the time, I don't know if Castro was in baseball or if he was trying to get back into baseball.  He ended up getting hired by the Brewers in 1992 as bullpen coach when Phil Garner was hired as manager, and stuck as bullpen coach and, eventually, as pitching coach through August of 2009 -- when he was fired and replaced by Chris Bosio.

Strangely, I recall that the promoters of the card show had a stack of about 100 or 200 of the three-card strips of 1978 Topps cards shown above.  I don't know where they got them, why they got them, or why they felt the need to trim it so closely on the right side of the card but not on the left side of the card.  It was all around strange.  But, as a result, I think this might be the only Bill Castro autograph I got that day because time was short for Castro or something like that.

At least it shows two long-time Brewers on the card.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Topps 2014 Turkey Red


I wanted to like the Turkey Red set.  I really did.  I suppose I was expecting the design to be different -- truer to the original Turkey Reds, which I suppose has been done by Topps already and therefore, in their minds, they needed to update the look.  So, seeing these for the first time (I avoided spoilers...) was a let down.

My "problem" with the 2014 Topps Turkey Reds is that they do not give me the feel of being "old time" baseball cards.  Yes, the colors are flatter and the photos are perhaps less three dimensional than you get from any of the usual base set photograph but this set could easily have a Stadium Club logo from the early 1990s on it and it would have fit.

I was sucked into the moment and bought six of these boxes.  In 6 boxes (and a total of 66 cards), I ended up getting duplicates of 8 cards.  I guess the random insertion factor comes into play with the base set boxes -- where I have gone entire boxes of 24 packs without getting a duplicate -- but that too was disappointing when you're paying $20 a box from Topps for these cards.

If you're interested, I got duplicates of Chris Davis, Justin Verlander, Jose Segura, Wil Myers, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes (yup, two duplicate Blue Jays), and Matt Cain.  At least I got a Brewer duplicate in Segura, I suppose.

There were a few highlights in these boxes, to be fair.  Each box comes with an autograph.  Yup, they are the sticker autographs -- sorry all you guys who hate those.  My autographs:

Michael Wacha, 250/299

Nate Eovaldi, 78/99

Onelki Garcia, 461/699

Taylor Jordan, 279/499

Joe Kelly, 185/253
 The nicest of the autographs was the green variation for Danny Salazar.  It's serial number 7 of 10.

I'm not enthused by this set, to be fair.  I'm pretty much thinking I will use these cards other than one Jose Segura and my favorite PED user (Ryan Braun) as trade bait.  The downside: no Rockies, no Braves, and no Padres, among other teams.  

I'll post a list of the cards I do have on my Trade Bait tab -- comment or e-mail me and let me know if you think we can work out a deal that involves any of these cards.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More "Tales from the Repack"

I feel like it is a good thing that I took time away from collecting.  The 1990s must have been a very confusing time to be a card collector, what with MLB and MLBPA handing out licenses to anyone with a computer graphics card installed on their computers.  But, all those licenses led to some very interesting cards being printed.

Now, I like the recent Topps efforts. I tend to like the simple looks that their last few base sets have had. Maybe that's the "new card" halo effect -- and it certainly helps that technology advances have made printing super high quality color cards much, much easier.  You can't go wrong with the vivid colors on cards these days.  It even makes a scrub like Cesar Izturis in the 2012 Topps Update set look good in Brewers colors - especially when the card comes from an unopened pack on a $4 repack.
I wish, though, that I had been around to start grabbing the Topps Heritage cards from the very beginning. My repack bounty included two Heritage cards:  the 2012 Alex Avila and the 2001 card from Mark Grace based off the simple, beautiful 1952 Topps card design:
Weird scan -- the card doesn't have amber or red waves on it.
A final strange highlight to me was the unopened pack of the 2012 Panini "Triple Play" comic cards.  I felt like their lawyers forgot to add the standard movie/novel disclaimer to the pack:

I'm not complaining, but in reality any resemblance of the card below to representing Derek Jeter is purely coincidental.  Companies could use this drawing to pitch their products and Jeter wouldn't be able to sue for the company using his image.  
But hey, Derek Jeter's name is on the card.  It must be worth money!

Quick eBay Auction Reminder

If you're looking to buy the Max Scherzer "Sparkle" short print variation, I've got mine up for sale on eBay. The link to the auction is below.  So far, someone is going to get a really good deal on it -- only $0.99!

Here's the auction.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Repacked Beauties

Yesterday's post was a rant.  Today, it's time to celebrate the bounty that the Target repacks provided.  I bought two different kinds of repacks -- one that held 5 unopened packs of cards and one guaranteed autograph card (even came in a nice toploader!) and the usual stuff of a bunch of loose cards, one junk wax pack, and one 2012 Topps Update pack.

And to be clear, the repacks came through with some fun stuff for my $4.  

First, in the box that contained only unopened packs and an autograph, the autograph was nothing special to me -- please correct me if I'm wrong -- in that it was a 2007 Bowman Sterling Prospect card of Kevin Ahrens.  Is this anything good?  

If you're interested in this card, comment below.

Some other cards got my attention more.  I'd never seen any of the Allen & Ginter cards in person myself in my last month back in collecting, so I was pretty excited to get an unopened pack of the 2012 A&G.  All baseball guys -- including my favorite convicted PED user Ryan Braun -- and the mini insert was Topps' darling in 2012, Stephen Strasburg.
Having seen these cards in person now, I confess -- I really like the simplicity of the set's look. I will probably end up buying a box when they come out.  That said, if you need the Strasburg, let me know.

There are some other cards from this repack job that I'll highlight later in the week, I think.  Let me save those for another day this week.

My final card to highlight today came from the loose cards section of the normal repacks.  Not only is it a Hall of Famer, not only is it a card in good shape, it is also a card that is nearly 40 years old!
Hey, Rik.  

I have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Blyleven based on how nice he was to me when I was (almost certainly an obnoxious) teen or "tween" and asked for his autograph at a Brewers game when he was with Cleveland. He signed several for me.  He also signed a bunch of cards that I sent to him through the mail.  

But to get a 1976 Topps card of him in really nice condition in a $4 repack box?  Just outstanding!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Repacks and Inserts that Make Me Feel Weird

My Target trip yesterday yielded a lot of good stuff.  One of the more interesting items (to me) that I found in one of my repack purchases was a 1992 Topps Gold Winners card.  Why I found it interesting was that it featured noted "winner" Dave Otto.
I don't mean any disrespect to Dave Otto by this post -- I mean, he's an excellent baseball player by the mere fact that he made it to the major leagues and, in fact, he has been inducted into the University of Missouri's Sports Hall of Fame. But, the idea of labeling every single player in a set as a winner -- which is what Topps did -- is ridiculous.  For instance, in 1991 (the season before this card), Otto went 2-8 with a 4.23 ERA (nearly league average) but with just 4.2 K/9 and allowing 9.7 H/9...and, to be clear, this was probably his best Major League Season.

Labeling Otto as a winner after that season is like giving every kid in a league a trophy for participating.

Speaking of giving kids trophies for participation, I present the following insert from the 2013 Panini Elite Extra Edition from a blaster I bought at Target.
Relic inserts for guys who played major league baseball is okay.  I'm not a huge fan -- I'd rather have the entire jersey if I'm going to collect something like that -- but they don't offend me too much.

But this relic creeps me out.

Did Panini really get the jersey from a 14-year-old kid, cut it up, insert it into cards, print them up, and think "I bet the collectors will really love these cards"?


I suppose it is only a matter of time before some entrepreneurial sort starts releasing releasing cards for highly recruited high school football players.

What's that you say?


Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Trip to Target

I made a run to Target and to the Goodwill store this morning in search of cards cheap, repacked, oddly located, and otherwise weird.  My trip to Goodwill was disappointing -- literally the only aisle with any potential of holding cards was blocked off by workers reorganizing the shelves.  Oh well.

Thankfully, there is a Target about 2 blocks from the Goodwill, so I had to have a fix of unopened packs, etc.  Target let me scratch my itch, and it has given me enough to talk about for probably a week here.  I bought a quite a few things -- a 2014 Topps Rack Pack, a 2014 Topps Retail Blaster Box with the patch in it, a 2013 Panini Extra Edition box (and man is that another post entirely...), one of the repacks that has "one guaranteed autograph" included (along with three or four unopened packs of cards), and three of those $4 repack things -- all of which had an opened pack of 2012 Topps included.

To start with in this post, I have never been terribly lucky in pulling short printed cards or errors in my life.  I had one good one when I was a kid -- the 1979 Topps Rangers Bump Wills version (when Topps jumped the gun and put Wills on the Blue Jays based on an anticipated trade that never happened).

Today, though, I was luckier than I had been in a while.  Not necessarily with the repacks, mind you, but definitely with the 2014 Topps.  First, the very first thing I ripped when I opened the blaster box was the patch.  I was hoping for the 1975 Topps Robin Yount patch to add to my PC, but I didn't get it.  I did get a 1975 commemorative patch, though:

Not a bad start to the festivities.  Of course, it's available in trade but I do like this patch card.

I ripped through everything, and then I went back to try to figure out if I had any of those random "sparkle" short prints.  Either they are not as rare this year, or I got reasonably lucky, because lo and behold there one was:

It took me a couple of times looking through these cards to see that sparkle, so for us older guys who might need glasses, I figured I'd post it with the sparkle circled.
Finding this was a fun way to cap my morning of tearing packs and otherwise going on a "lottery hunt" with my purchases this morning.

Of course, it's up for trade too, but I have no idea what it is really "worth"....any thoughts?



I decided to list the Scherzer sparkle on eBay.  Check it out!

Who Are These Guys #2.5: a SECOND Update on the Unknown Padre

John Sipin, Japanese Baseball Star from the 1970s

Rod from Padrographs was kind enough (or bothered enough by the visage of our unknown Padre) to post the photo below at Gaslampball on the excellent SB Nation Network of blogs.  And, I think we have a positive identification:  John Sipin.

Sipin's story is a very interesting one as well.  Born and raised in California, he made it to the majors for just one season -- 1969, as Rod picked up on based on the patch on the uniform sleeve -- at the age of 22. Sipin showed good pop and decent plate patience in his 6 years in the minor leagues as well.  In AAA in 1970 and 1971, he hit 40 homers, drove in 157 runs, hit .310, stole 17 bases, and had a .361 on base percentage in over 1100 plate appearances at the ages of 23 and 24.  These days, those numbers probably would put Sipin on a few prospect lists.

Granted, he was not a great fielder at 2B -- his range factors were not very high and he made a few errors...well, he made a lot of errors in 1968 at AA in the St. Louis system (34 in 129 games).  But, one would think that today's talent evaluators would look past those shortcomings to get his bat and his batting eye in the lineup.  As a bit of a comparison, look at Jeff Kent's stats from age 23 in AA -- not AAA:  12 HRs, 61 RBI, 25 steals, .256 BA, .379 OBP in 540 plate appearances.  Certainly, the PCL even then was a better hitters' league than the Southern League of 1991, but Sipin's numbers are not that far off and are at a higher level of competition at the same age.

Rather than get discouraged by being stuck behind ESPN's Dave "Soup" Campbell (obtained by the Padres after the 1969 season with Pat Dobson for Joe Niekro), Sipin went to Japan and played for Taiyo and Yomiuri for 9 seasons, racking up 218 homers, 625 RBI, a .297 batting average, and a .356 OBP in over 1000 games and 3779 AB.  As for his fielding, he even won two Japanese Gold Gloves!

So, thank you, Rod, for finding out who my photo is and for introducing me to the fascinating story of John Sipin's baseball career.  Shoot me an e-mail with your address so I can send you a thank you gift!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Who Are These Guys #2: Who Is This Cub? And an Update on the Unknown Padre

It's time I call on the Blogosphere and baseball fans out there to help me out and try to figure out who the heck some of these baseball players are that I have in a photo collection.

Today, it's the Unknown Cub.

I don't have much to help out here.  We know this guy was a Cub, that the photo was taken in Wrigley, and that's really all I can add.

I mean, the only thing I could possibly say about when this photo was taken is that it sort of appears like the little bear cub head is missing from the left sleeve, which would put this photo (or at least the uniform) as no later than 1961 according to Marc Okkonen's invaluable Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century.  That said, I do not have a strong opinion as to whether the Cub is not there or if we simply cannot see it.

So, any ideas?

And, now, an update on the Unknown Padre from 1969.  Rod from the excellent Padrographs blog (where he showcases his Padres autograph collection player by player) helped on identifying the patch on this players arm as being a patch worn only during the 1969 season.  He believes that the player is Tommie Sisk who, in typical fashion for the 1969 expansion teams, appears to have been with the Padres for only the 1969 season.

I looked for other photos of Sisk to confirm this identification, and it's tough to say for sure one way or the other.  I think it is pretty plausible that it is Sisk, and I trust a Padres expert like Rod over my amateur abilities in comparing features on photos from 45 years ago online!

Thanks Rod!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Buying a "dime box" of 1977 Topps off eBay

My wife had a friend in town this past weekend to help her with decorating a couple of rooms in our house in an inexpensive way.  I know -- inexpensive sounds crazy and unlikely, but it was inexpensive.

At any rate, I found myself in my basement in front of my computer sorting through baseball cards.  This is not unusual by any stretch of the imagination, as in my basement in front of my computer sorting through baseball cards is where I find myself usually on any day that ends in a "y" if I can help it.

As we baseball card scavengers are wont to do, I found myself sorting through eBay auctions and looking for a lot that had something different from the ordinary piles of auctions offering "vintage unopened packs of cards from at least 20 and up to 27 years ago!!!"  If I want those packs, I'll go local here and buy them at $5 a box.

As it happened, I found an auction offering over 7000 cards from the 1977 Topps set for a set price of $389 -- about a nickel a card.  For that price, it did not matter to me that these cards are not pristine, near-mint gems of cards.  Instead, it gave me a chance to rectify one of the worst mistakes of my years of baseball card collecting.

I was a 5-year-old kid in 1977, and I loved baseball.  We subscribed to Baseball Digest for me, we bought packs of baseball cards, and we watched as many games as they would show on over-the-air TV.  Back then, that number of games was something like 10 away games because everyone was scared that people would stay home and watch the game on TV rather than go to the game.  Perhaps that is true now in the world of Super HD TVs and season tickets for the worst seats running about $800 to $900 per seat...but then, it seemed unfair to me.

I had heard about plastic sheets to protect one's baseball cards in one of my Baseball Digest magazines.  We were pretty poor and couldn't afford to buy these plastic sheets, so instead my mom grabbed Mylar from where she worked -- really thick Mylar -- and we started sticking the Mylar ONTO THE CARDS.  Yup, ruined a ton of cards that I have kept to this day because, well, I couldn't find replacements.  Here's one of those abominations:

As if to make things worse, applying the Mylar to some cards ended up with some of them -- like this Brewers checklist -- getting trimmed.  You can see that on the top of this checklist.

To get back to my auction, though, I came across this huge lot of 1977 cards and stared and stared and stared.  I really wanted to pull the trigger on buying them, but at the same time the cost of nearly $400 was telling me not to do it.

Then, my wife came down into the basement to ask me for help doing something.  I showed her the auction. She told me, "buy them and consider them a Valentine's Day gift.  Besides, we haven't spent anything on decorating the house -- it was all on gift cards!"

So, now I have over 7000 1977 Topps to sort.  There are decent cards in this lot -- I mean, 15 Robin Younts should be enough alone for me, but then there are these:

The Carlton is one of fifteen copies.  And then there are these:

The Palmer is one of sixteen.

Now, this isn't a complete set -- no Dawson rookie, no Murphy rookie -- but it's a lot closer than I was, and these cards aren't covered in Mylar.

So, if you need a random 1977 Topps card, let me know.  I bet I have it and we can work something out.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Getting Organized

One of the most difficult things I have dealt with in getting back into baseball card collecting is figuring out what I have, what I don't, and why I still have all those 1989 Topps cards.

Then again, nearly anyone who collected cards in the 1980s and 1990s says that about 1989 Topps cards.

In trying to get my bearings about me and my feet underneath me, I've started putting together lists of the cards and items I would like to get for my collection.  At the same time, I'm also trying to figure out what items I am willing to trade away to get new stuff and also whether there is any demand at all for the things I have.

So, I read a lot of blogs.  A ton.  And not just the ones I link to at the right.  Those tend to be my starting points, but then I jump from reading those to looking at the blogs they link to for new stuff, and so on and so on.  I have found a few people here and there whom I've e-mailed or on whose blogs I've commented -- some with success, some with deafening silence -- and then I have tried to use a couple of different websites with trading functions to try to set stuff up.

I haven't learned anything I wouldn't have otherwise thought to be the case.  Some people are incredibly nice, very prompt, and extremely friendly and welcoming.  Others are gruff and tend to view dealing with people with trepidation and dismay. Still others, well, it takes them a while to get to nearly everything.

In other words, baseball card bloggers are like everyone else in the world.

Anyway, I have put together some want lists that I have linked from the tabs above.  And, hey, if you've read this far, you should see a pretty picture.  How about a Paul Molitor Milwaukee Police Department card from 1986?
Yay! Pictures!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My First Internet Trade

I couldn't wait to leave the office and get home today, because I was pretty sure I would have a ton of cards coming to me through the mail today.  I was absolutely correct.  I had three envelopes waiting on me.  What did I have?  Let's walk through them.

1.  Complete set of Jays Potato Chips MSA Set:  I wrote a week ago about the Jays Potato Chips set put out in the Chicago and Milwaukee area in 1986.  That post led me to scour eBay for those disks, and I got a complete set for a grand total of $5.50 including shipping.  They are in great shape, and I am very pleased with this purchase.

2.  A 1990 Robin Yount Collect-A-Book:  An oddball item for my Robin Yount collection, this was another eBay purchase that also was not too expensive -- $1.50 including shipping.  It's a pretty common oddball item, to be fair, but I didn't have it and now I do.  Here it is:

3.  A 2014 Red Rain shiny Jean Segura parallel and a gold Carlos Gomez parallel:

These beauties were the ones I was most excited about because they came in a trade I made with ARPSmith from ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession.  A week and a half ago, he blogged about liking the mini-1989 die cut insert series that accompanies 2014 Topps this year and about how he liked the set enough to try to put it together.  Seeing as I had one I was willing to part with -- a Justin Verlander -- I left a comment saying to e-mail me to work something out.  

When he e-mailed me, he suggested that he send me these two excellent Brewers cards in trade for the Verlander.  I agreed quickly, and we did the trade.  Thanks, ARPSmith!  

Now, who wants next?  

Monday, February 17, 2014

2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classics

I'm in a chatty mood today.

I've said in the past that I went away from baseball cards from college pretty much through now.  That's almost 100% true.  Almost.

You see, every so often I would find myself on eBay buying a box of junk wax.  That's apparently why I have as many 1989 Topps as I do -- I didn't buy that many cards during my junior and senior years of high school.  I was busy chasing girls and colleges -- usually in that order.

After I started working after I finished school, I didn't think about baseball cards all that much.  But there was one time at some point in either 2004 or 2005 when I decided to make a trip to a baseball card shop.  I think the shop I visited was in Snellville, Georgia -- a true road trip for someone like me who, at the time, lived in the heart of Midtown Atlanta and, to be fair, lived my entire life within about a 2-mile radius of my condo.

On that trip to the baseball card store, I ran into the ridiculous number of cards that all the card companies were printing in those days...not that it's any better now or anything, but there is only one company with real logos and all.  Anyway, I recall that I bought a 1975 Robin Yount rookie card on that trip for like $15 -- because I could afford to do it and I thought that was a great price.

I also bought an unopened box of what was called the Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic set.  High priced packs, no current players -- it sounded like a great idea to me to drop like $30 or $40 on an unopened box. I was a little disappointed in the number of cards I got -- I didn't know any better, to be fair -- but I kept those cards stored away and thought little of them until each time I've had to move.

Now, I'm glad I kept them, I think.  I've looked around and this set carries some pretty high price tags on, it seems.  I like the set, but I'd really like it more if I would have gotten a Rollie Fingers or Robin Yount card in it!

Anyway, this set had a bunch of serial numbered patches commemorating various things.  I don't recall noticing the serial numbers back then, but I do recall thinking that these "relics" were a rip off -- they weren't real patches from the games, were they?  I learned today that that doesn't matter.

Here are a couple of the patches I have:

Don Drysdale, commemorating nothing in particular, but serial numbered 57/150

Frank Robinson, 1961 World Series, Serial numbered 86/200

Babe Ruth, Commemorating the first All-Star Game, numbered 207/230
Early Wynn, commemorating being an Indian, 116/300
Anyone have any ideas on what these are worth?  Anyone want to trade for these?

Card Needs

As I have been getting back into the baseball card hobby, I have been surprised pleasantly by the amount of collaboration, trading, and flat out giving of cards by bloggers to one another.  I'd love to get involved in this community more than I have in my short time back in the hobby.

So, I've started putting together lists of what I need from Robin Yount and from the 2013 Topps base set, and more lists like this will follow.

I have a bunch of 1980s and late 1970s cards that I collected back then.  The condition of these cards varies directly with how old I was in any given year.  After all, I was a 6-year-old in 1978, so those cards have a bit more wear on them than did the cards I got in 1987 as a 15-year-old.

But, I am very interested in trading with people to help fill gaps in their collections.

Box Breaks

Over at the fantastic Nachos Grande blog, I decided to get involved with my first ever group box break via the Internet involving a box each of 2000 Topps Tek, 2000 Topps Stadium Club Chrome, 2001 Topps Stadium Club, 1995 Fleer Flair, and 1999 Topps Gallery.  Coming to the game late meant that Cards from the Quarry had finagled a deal to claim the Brewers in lieu of his Rockies' mortal enemies, the Diamondbacks.

In fact, I got involved so late that I ended up buying a 2011 Allen & Ginter base set as part of my selection. In the end, I ended up selecting the Diamondbacks, the Twins, and the Blue Jays.  I had no rhyme nor reason for why I picked each team other than thinking that the Diamondbacks in those years had some pretty good star power in Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, some fun former Brewers and eventual Brewers -- such as Milwaukee native Craig Counsel and West Salem native Damian Miller along with my one-time favorite reliever Dan Plesac being there in 1999 and 2000 -- and the D-backs won the World Series in 2001.

I picked the Blue Jays on the off chance of picking up some Paul Molitor cards I don't have (from the 1995 and 1999 boxes) and I thought maybe I would get lucky and get an early Roy Halladay card. Also, I saw a three-game series at the Rogers Centre back in 2008 against the Royals (who were awful) so I have had an affinity for the club since.

Finally, the Twins.  Well, maybe there will be a Paul Molitor card in there?  Or an early David Ortiz? That's all I got here.  Or, maybe there is a Twins blogger I could trade with.  I guess the Twins just seemed like a good idea at the time, I suppose.

Anyway, I have started anxiously awaiting the posts breaking open the boxes.  So far, I have not done too badly.  It's never bad to get a serial numbered card, but then I got two -- TWO!! -- 2000 Topps Tek serial numbered cards of some Blue Jay prospect from the late 90s called "John Sneed" who never got past throwing one inning at AAA Edmonton in the Minnesota organization in 2002.  To top it off, I then got a Topps Stadium Club Chrome of him as well.

If John Sneed is out there and reads this at any point in time, you should have gotten a shot.

John Sneed.  Texas A&M Aggie.
This is Sneedland.

My breakdown of cards so far is:

1995 Fleer Flair
1.  #95 Joe Carter (Blue Jays)
2.  #96 Tony Castillo (Blue Jays)
3.  #60 Pat Meares (Twins)
4.  #59 Pat Mahomes (Twins)

2000 Topps Tek
1.  #42-4 John Sneed 1515/2000 (Blue Jays)
2.  #42-15 John Sneed 0146/2000 (Blue Jays)
3.  #41-15 Ruben Salazar 0943/2000 (Twins)
4.  #41-1 Ruben Salazar 0823/2000 (Twins)
5.  #22-9 Randy Johnson (D-backs)

2000 Topps Stadium Club Chrome
1.  #170 Steve Finley (D-backs)
2.  #178 Jay Bell (D-backs)
3.  #153 Carlos Delgado (Jays)
4.  #174 Tony Fernandez (Jays)
5.  EG1: Eyes of the Game Randy Johnson (D-backs)
6.  #130 Omar Daal (D-backs)
7.  #141 Cristian Guzman (Twins)
8.  #165 Randy Johnson (D-backs)
9.  #216 Rob Ryan (D-backs)
10. #148 Luis Gonzalez (D-backs)

I am really enjoying this process of going through these packs a lot, and I'm hoping that I continue getting pretty nice cards along the way.  The great thing is that I don't think I have any of these cards at all, so all of them are new to me!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday's Strange Set from the 1980s

My affinity for the random small set, whether issued by Topps, MSA, Fleer, or otherwise, is great.  Perhaps it is because I would buy at least one pack of literally anything I came across in stores that was baseball related.  Whether it was the Kellogg's cereal boxes with cards in them, Hostess Twinkies with cards on the bottom, or just a random Topps test issue I happened across, I would buy them if I could.

That's a long way to at least explain why I would still have some of the most useless "cards" ever made: the 1983 Topps Baseball Foldouts.

What Ben Oglivie had to do with any of these "sets", I haven't the foggiest of ideas.

The horrible airbrushing job Topps did to give Joe Morgan a Phillies hat is worth the price of admission.  
As one blogger noted about this set, if you got one box of twenty "packs" of this set, you might have four complete sets of the five card groups in question.  Each of the career leader sets had 17 "cards" in them -- most back-to-back with one another with one backed up to the "foldout" front.  I'm not sure why anyone would separate these photos out and call them "cards", but some folks have -- there are eBay auctions now selling individual photos from these sets.

At any rate, I actually like these sets because the photos are so large and are really good photos to remind us that people in 1982 and 1983 believed that bubble perms on white dudes looked good.  Like Larry Bowa in this set.

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful"

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Phenom

Over at 30-Year-Old Cardboard, I chimed in on Word Association Wednesday regarding the word "Phenom."  When I was a 9-year-old and really, really into baseball, I recall seeing what I think was an ABC World News story about the new phenom in baseball in 1980 -- "Super Joe" Charboneau.

I have mentioned before how as a teen I seemed to gravitate toward keeping random stuff, and this is another example.  In a box with a bunch of Topps Coins from 1989 were several issues of Baseball Digest Magazine -- including this one from 1980 with Joe Charboneau on the cover.

As was the case for Paul Molitor, I certainly did not recall all the crazy Joe Charboneau stories from that time. According to Wikipedia,
Joe had a tendency to dye his hair unnatural colors, as well as open beer bottles with his eye socket and drink beer with a straw through his nose. Other stories emerged about how he did his own dental work and fixed a broken nose with a pair of pliers and a few shots of Jack Daniel's whiskey, stood out.
And to think I could never understand why Joe never did more than his rookie year and fell victim to one of the hardest falls in his second year ever suffered through by a baseball player (caused in no small part by a bad slide leading to back surgery).  

Friday, February 14, 2014

eBay Comes Through

Today is one of those days where I feel like an old man trying to get back into a young man's hobby.  I won an eBay auction for what I know to be a good card -- a 2005 Upper Deck Hall of Fame - Hall Worthy Robin Yount card with a serial number of 02/50.  Not bad -- one of 50 cards made, supposedly.

Then I go to my checklist to try to cross it off my list and update it.  I may have mentioned this before, but there are eighteen *$)@*)#$ pages of cards from 2005 of Robin Yount.  That's 18 pages in 11 point Arial font, single-spaced.  Egad.

It took me going to both (which was entirely not useful for this one) and then to Zistle (which was very helpful) to find it as the 2005 Upper Deck Hall of Fame Hall Worthy Gold RY2 Fielding variation serial numbered to 50.  It's not a bad card in the end -- the photo is too small for my tastes, but I recognize that concern goes away when you get a relic/autograph included.

I just may have to refuse to buy/trade for those 2005 cards.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hit Parade Part II

Yeah, I know -- those "trips to" cards are about as common as the base set.  So here are a couple of better hits from that 2010 Topps set.

1.  Cards Your Mom Threw Out Original Back MTO 22: 1973 Johnny Bench

2.  Peak Performance Relic Nick Swisher ("Game Worn" Pants)

Again, same thing applies -- if you are interested in a trade, hit me up in the comments or e-mail me at off(dot)hiatus(dot)baseball(at)gmail(dot)com with an offer.

Thanks again.

Thursday Hit Parade: We've Got Lovely Pre-Owned Cards Here

The first time I opened up a more recent pack of a base set of cards in my post-college life, it was 2010. On a lark of sorts, I bought three or four boxes of 2010 Series 1 Topps on Amazon.  As I started opening the packs, I kept getting these "" inserts.  Every so often, I'd get some other kind of card -- "History of the Game", "Turkey Red", and "Million Card Giveaway" inserts, among others.  I even got an autographed card from some Minnesota Twins pitcher I'd never heard of at the time (and I've barely heard of now, Jose Mijares, who is already in the "non-roster-invite" stage of his career).

Here it is:
If you like this card, it's available.
Getting the inserts was sort of cool.  I'm still trying to figure out whether these "hit" cards are worth anything other than to individual player collectors, though.  I mean, I worked through my Robin Yount need list over the past day or so of being off work thanks to the Great Biblical Atlanta Ice Storm of Feburary 2014(R) and I am blown away at the ridiculous number of alternate versions of cards that the folks at Upper Deck, Donruss, and Topps were putting out in the early '00s -- especially 2005.  I think as many Younts exist from 2005 as there are for the entire period that Yount was an active player -- 1973 through 1993.

At any rate, rather than be a curmudgeon and complain about the "good old days" of the junk wax era when kids would take the star cards and leave the rest in piles on the counter of the ubiquitous corner baseball card store, I'm going to embrace these "hits."  Maybe it's like karaoke -- you sing the hits of the Topps Turkey Red! -- but it's at least a way for me to get your attention and try to get some cards I need off my want lists.

So, with no further adieu, I'm singing the hits today of the First Class Trip to Topps Town Inserts.  I have a few of these that I'd love to trade to a good home in return for some good Robin Yount, or Paul Molitor, or Gary Carter, or other Milwaukee Brewer cards.  

Here's three for today:

1.  Albert Pujols: FCTTT14

2.  Brian McCann FCTTT11

3.  CC Sabathia FCTTT23

If you're interested in a trade for one or more of these guys, leave a comment in the comments below or e-mail me at off (dot) hiatus (dot) baseball (at) gmail (dot) com.  

Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you.