Monday, June 30, 2014

Memorabilia Monday: Leftover Candy

I have never been a big fan of the "jam bands" that a lot of folks like.  That said, today's Memorabilia Monday post brought to mind the name of a well-known Colorado-based jam band called Leftover Salmon. So, a little jam-band music from Leftover Salmon to introduce some leftover candy:

I almost went off on a tangent trying to talk my way through why I don't like jam bands all that much.  As I started my writing, I realized that the real issue for me is simply that I've never really listened to most of these bands because it's just not my "scene."  If it's yours, hey, that's cool -- turn me on to some good songs to get into, and I'll try it.

Anyway, I was trolling around the depths of eBay last week and came across an oddball that I have seen before on there but which I never found at a price I liked.  This time, though, it was a low-priced item so I grabbed it:

This is a 1991 Topps Stand Up Candy Box of Robin Yount, number 36 of a set of 36 from a test issue that Topps tried that year.  From reading a website or two, the American League players were issued in red boxes while NL players were issued in green.  It is my understanding, though, that a rarer variation -- and I mean, really, Topps, do you have parallels for everything? (that's a joke, people...a joke!) -- exists in which all of the players were issued in clear plastic as well.

The truly scary thing to me is that my Robin Yount dispenser is 100% full to the brim with an identified, unlabeled circular candy inside of it.  See -- this is a view from the bottom of the dispenser:

I have to admit -- I'm almost scared even to touch one of these sugary discs.  Should I be concerned that these twenty-three year-old candies are still in the plastic and might cause the plastic to degrade? I mean, even though this plastic dispenser probably will last in one piece until the dinosaurs rise again, I'm a little concerned that the candy might last that long too.

Nonetheless and all joking aside, this was a nice, cheap (~$2) weird addition to my ever-expanding Robin Yount collection.

Programming Note:  I sent out -- or rather my wife was kind enough to run to the post office to send out -- about 7 bubble mailers and a priority mailer.  And, I also sent out a couple of PWEs as well.  I'm almost caught up.

Well, I was before today's mail arrived.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Trade Post: $30 a Week Habit

About two weeks ago, Robért from $30 a Week Habit ripped through a hanger box of Topps Series 2 and found a Gold Parallel Sean Halton.  While I've set some limitations on how far into the parallels I am going to go with my team set collecting, I decided that the Gold Parallels are numerous enough to chase in a cost-effective manner.  

One cost-effective way to chase these was to see if Robért would send me the Halton.  He was kind enough to do that.  

When I got the envelope, though, it was a bubble mailer.  The first thing to pop out was this note:

Pad the envelope? What you sent, Robért, was more akin to making the Halton padding! Here's what I saw next:

Every one of the cards was serial numbered, and each one had a lower population number than the Halton did.  

Now, certainly, the Carlos Gomez was just 3 fewer, but that one works well because Gomez is a guy I include in my player collections and, further, is a player who is once again tearing up the National League at the plate and sometimes when sliding into base (right, Ian Desmond?).  My only worry with Gomez is that his outbursts and his acting out is becoming so frequent that I fear he might end up going down the Luis Suarez path:

Maybe he won't bite anyone, but Carlos does need to simmer down just a little bit.  He's becoming a magnet for controversy.  It makes it too easy for a team to get rid of a player like that when the performance isn't among the best in the league.  So for his career's sake, he should tone it down.

Thank you, Robért, for the excellent cards.  I promise that you're getting some Blue Jay beauty soon from Atlanta, and it will not include an upside-down Canadian Flag.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Topps Leaves out the Brewers, and I'm Happy

In the past two or three months, Topps seems to have really stepped up its efforts to market limited edition "prints" to collectors.  I am assuming that the idea behind these prints is that guys who collect cards or are into baseball would like to have some well made, licensed memorabilia that harkens back to cards they have collected and include items for their favorite team.

It's the nostalgia effect, certainly, and it makes a lot of sense for Topps to go down this path.  And, let's be honest -- when Topps tries to make something look good and puts some effort into the idea, it can turn out well.  I mean, it worked well enough that I bought one of those "Robin Yount for Mayor" wall hangings earlier this year:

Since I bought that piece, Topps has kept me on its mailing list for all of its website-only specials on these wall decorations.  Each time I get one of those e-mails, I think, "I wonder if there will be something that I will want to get for one of my collections."

I guess, though, that Brewers fans have not embraced these items because, well, the Brewers have hardly any items in the "limited edition" wall decoration group.  Here's a screen shot of that store on Topps with only the Brewers team selected:

And those three items -- including one Seattle Pilots vintage sign -- are the only three items for Milwaukee in their limited edition Wall Art store.

I refuse to think that Topps has made some irrational decision to eschew the small market Brewers (which finishes solidly middle of the pack in attendance in years when the Brewers are not good and in the top 25% to 40% of the NL when the team is good) but rather a decision based off past sales of Brewers items.

In comparison, Yankees fans should be more than happy with what is available in the wall art store for them. It's not that they are over-represented in light of the long history that the Yankees have in baseball....okay, maybe it is since it just seems that these wall art items are just another way for Topps to separate Derek Jeter fans from their hard-earned money:

I circled the "16 items" number for comparison versus the 3 for the Brewers.  Hell, just on that one page alone, you can see three Derek Jeter items.

The real problem, though, is that Topps is starting to churn out too many of these "limited edition" pieces. They are getting lazy here too.  They are getting so lazy, in fact, that they couldn't be bothered to proofread these items.  Check out the first item in that limited edition Yankees list -- the Gossage/Sabathia print.  Now, setting aside the fact that about the only thing that Goose Gossage and CC Sabathia have is common is that they both pitched for the Yankees, making this a pretty clear money grab based off the 1975 Topps colors, Topps couldn't be bothered to check spelling.

I'm sure Goose Gossage won't mind that his name is spelled wrong on the print. Not at all. I just wonder how many of these prints have been sold and shipped with "Go Sage" on them.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, while in card sets I get a bit upset sometimes when the Brewers are underrepresented or unrepresented, I'm fine with Topps ignoring the Brewers here.

I don't want to have to purchase a "Cecil Coper" print. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mail Day from Bob Walk the Plank

Matt from Bob Walk the Plank recently hit the DL.  The staff here at Off Hiatus -- which is comprised of me and the two cats which visit me from time to time while I'm typing or organizing my cards -- wish Matt all the best for a swift recovery.

Before Matt made his visit to Dr. Andrews in Birmingham for his Tommy John surgery (because we all know that's what *really* is going on), he was kind enough to send an envelope southward from West Virginia to me here in Atlanta.  While I think it contained only three cards, those three cards were 100% awesome (and Matt, if I forgot a card or two, please let me know!)

The first card that greeted me when I opened the package was one that looked sort of familiar and sort of not familiar:

In one of my COMC Yount-buying sprees, I picked up an Upper Deck All-Star FanFest card of Yount.  So, I thought, well, okay, at least I've got one for my Brewers binder.  Then I looked at the one I already have and realized that Matt had sent me the "gold hologram" variation.  And I though then, "how awesome is that!"

See, I complain about all the parallels and inserts these days...but those inserts and parallels have been around for a while.

The next card out of the envelope was a first for me, I think:

That "first" would be what I believe to be my first relic for Geoff Jenkins.  It's a nice, white swatch of fabric in that D. I'm hoping that means it is from his baseball pants and not something, um, that we don't see him wearing in that photo.

Finally, Matt sent me a great pitcher piece:

I especially like that Big Ben Sheets signed this sticker with his uniform number.  My only complaint is that if Donruss wanted to insert a batting glove for Sheets, then they should have pictured him with a bat in his hand.  

Matt, thanks again for your generosity, and get to feeling better soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Proven Mettle Trading

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the results from my 2013 Topps Series 2 case break.  I have to tell you, that was a ton of fun.  Now, if I could find some more cheaper cases, I'd probably break a couple of more...except for the fact that I now have about 3000 Topps Series 2 base set cards over and above the complete set of 330.

Anyway, one of the case hits I got from the boxes was a Joey Votto Proven Mettle coin card numbered to 99. Shortly after I posted here about it, reader Ron Miller commented that he is "trying to corner the market on Cincinnati Reds proven mettle cards" and so he offered to trade for it.  I said, sure, I'd like a Ryan Braun.

Instead, he sent me three of the Proven Mettle cards. 

First, there is this Hank Aaron, numbered 17 of 50.  If anyone proved his mettle, it was Aaron living through the abuse he took chasing Babe Ruth.  I don't always like Hank Aaron, to be fair, but this card is awesome.

Then, there was a second Milwaukee Braves player -- one of the greatest left-handed pitchers ever, Warren Spahn, numbered 32 of 50.  For some reason, the Spahn coin is much shinier than the Aaron is.  

Finally, there was the Ryan Braun card that I had requested.  Braun on the coin actually looks a bit like Ted Simmons to me.  I can't tell you why I think that, but I feel like I saw a photo once where Ted Simmons actually looked happy and it looked something like this coin.  The card is numbered 29 of 50.

In return, I sent Ron a bunch of Reds items and the Votto Proven Mettle.  I would highly recommend to any of you who are not Reds fans and who have a Reds Proven Mettle card to trade with Ron -- or send me one first, so that I can try to even out this trade with Ron. He's not a blogger, but he's a good guy who is quick to mail the items out that he promises to trade.  

Ron, thank you very much for your generosity -- I still owe you one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Package from Fuji

Last week, on The Chronicles of Fuji, Mr. Fuji himself wrote a post entitled, "Appreciate the Patience." He was apologizing for the time it took him to pull cards together for people to mail out, and one of the packages on that post was addressed to me.

Similarly, I have had the best of intentions over the past several weeks to pull together packages of cards to send to people.  My execution has been lacking.  I will remedy this, however -- so please do have patience with me as well.

This is a post about the great cards I got from Fuji, though, so let's roll with those:


Let's start with swatches first.  These two guys used to be Brewers. McGehee went to Japan to restart his career after bouncing from the Brewers to the Pirates to the Yankees.  Now, he's hitting .309/.375/.392 for the Marlins and looking like the player he was in 2009 and 2010.  

Mat Gamel was supposed to be the guy to allow the Brewers to move Ryan Braun off third base, or to let the Brewers replace Prince Fielder at first.  As it turned out, though, Gamel tore up his knee before last season and was placed on waivers by the Brewers at the end of the year.  The Cubs picked him up for two months before they needed space on their forty-man roster, so they cut him loose in December of last year.  The Braves gave him a chance for a couple of months this past offseason to prove himself healthy, and he failed that test -- getting cut again in February after suffering yet another knee injury in his personal workouts before spring training.

That's depressing.  Let's go to happier cards.


From the snake-bit and the exiles, we move on to the rentals and trade bait. Dave Parker was supposed to be more than just a one-year rental.  As I went into on my 1982 Topps blog, the Brewers signed Parker to show Robin Yount that the team was serious about contending in 1990.  After the 1990 season, though, the Brewers shipped Parker to the Angels in exchange for Dante Bichette.  

Greinke was traded to the Brewers by the Royals for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress (who has since returned to the Brewers organization) and Jake Odorizzi.  When the Brewers realized they were not contending in 2012, they shipped Greinke to the Angels in exchange for a minor league pitcher (Angel Pena), Johnny Hellweg (who underwent Tommy John surgery in April), and Off Hiatus Player Collection Member Jean Segura.  

Escobar, as I mentioned, went to the Royals in the Greinke trade.  He was a major leaguer at that point, so the Brewers felt obligated to take Yuniesky Betancourt off the Royals hands to fill the spot on the field.  Thank God we got Segura the next year.

Sabathia as a Hometown Hero in 2013 for Milwaukee is kind of interesting since he spent exactly 19 games (17 regular season, 2 post-season) in Milwaukee in between 238 games for the Indians and 169 games for the Yankees.  The big fella is 33 now and still pitching reasonably well.  Despite him being a Yankee, I wish him well.


Add caption

Another UK MINI!
To close out the package, Fuji flipped me some cards for my PCs.  I got two Brauns, two Molitors, a Yount, a Yovani, and a big Kentuckian.  All of these cards went right into their respective collection binders.  

And soon, those collections might be organized.  If I can just get all the trade packages put together, and then all the trade bait listed out -- then I'll get back to working on those PC lists.

It's funny how there's always plenty of work to do to keep our hobby goals moving forward.

Thanks, Mr. Fuji, for the excellent trade package.

No, not THAT Mr. Fuji!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pressing F5 to Refresh The Blog

It's been just four months that I've been "Off Hiatus."  In many respects, I am still way behind in figuring things out.  I mean, I'm still complaining about all the parallels and inserts when the fact is that those things have been filling up packs and collections for over 20 years now.  

In other respect, though, I have a much clearer vision and idea of what I'm collecting and why than I ever have in my life.  In the 1980s, I was a pack rat.  I pretty much kept anything and everything.  In many respects, that is a good thing for my collecting these days because I still have most of that stuff and because much of that "stuff" is Brewer collectibles that I would want anyway.

In some respects, though, I have a lot of cards and sets that are surplus to requirements.  I'm happy to have two rookie cards of Wade Boggs from the 1983 Topps set, but the only good thing about that is that I have two rookie cards of Wade Boggs.  And yes, I'm glad I have complete sets of 1982 Topps, 1983 Topps, Donruss, and Fleer, 1984 Fleer and Topps, etc., but I'm not sure at this point that I care that I have those.  They sit in the same box, pretty much, in which I got them 30 years ago.  I don't look at them.

This type of thing has been gnawing at me lately.  It does not comport with my collecting philosophy in 2014 to have boxes of cards from 1984 or 1985 that are not a part of my Brewers or Milwaukee Braves collection.  Yet, I'm not in a position where I want to jettison those cards completely -- at least not yet, I don't think.  I struggle with that.

I feel like I need to contemplate in my collecting the questions that the great Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin was contemplating while he lived in Tahiti with the massive canvas that he painted in 1897-1898 called, "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" As an aside, if you are an art lover and get the opportunity to see this in person in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, by all means do so.

As I think about Gauguin's questions in my head, things get clearer.  I came from a position from which many bloggers have started -- reacquainting myself with what cards I have, what cards have been available in the past, and what cards are available now. I'm close to getting a handle on what I have and what I need. 

All the trades and packages I have gotten from fellow bloggers and readers have helped fill in gaps in my collection.  Before, I could say without reservation that sending me Brewers from any set with a date between 1991 and 2010 would be sufficient to give me 100% cards that I need for my collection.  I can't say that any more.  The window is smaller and the number of sets I don't have is smaller, though the number of cards I think I need seems to grow regularly as I discover additional sets, Milwaukee Stadium Giveaways, etc., that I want.  So, tighter and more coherent organization is needed but it's getting there.

Yet, where I am now is a better place.

With all these things in mind, I've started working on revamping this blog to make it cleaner, easier to use for others and for me, and easier for me and others to find things.

So, here's what I've done so far.

I have nested the Robin Yount collection page as a linked page off my "Player Collections" tab, and I have added the update date to each tab there. I'll still be updating my Robin Yount list regularly as I add new items -- I mean, I still don't have literally hundreds to thousands of Yount items, and I'll never have a "complete" set certainly -- but I'm also working on creating complete lists for each of my player collections.  That level of organization has escaped me to this point as I sort through cards, but I'm getting closer with each passing day of having my sorting done.

Second, I've changed the "Brewers Want List" to being just a "Want List" that will encompass all the cards that I would like to get -- whether it is for the Archives sets, for my Gary Carter collection, for my Brewers "collect everything" collection, or a player collection.  To make them easier to follow and have somewhat less scrolling involved, I have broken the lists into groupings by year.  I'm sure there will still be plenty of scrolling, but it will be less than before. Also, you will see that a lot of the cards and items listed there will have (x2) after them as a reflection of needing two of a certain card for both his PC and the Brewers collection.

Finally, I'm working on listing out my "trade bait by team."  Those lists will not contain all the base set cards I have for each team, but I am trying to list out the more interesting oddballs, relics, autographs, and inserts for each team that I have that I am willing to trade away.  As of this moment, I have completed the Diamondbacks, the Braves, and the Orioles, so take a look if you are a fan of one of those teams to see if I have anything in which you are interested.

So, that's a lot of text again from me.  At least I'm not whining about the 2014 Archives set again.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trade-ish Post: More from Wanted:Baseball Cards

A couple of weeks ago, Jinxo from Wanted:Baseball Cards sent me a Priority Mailer full of Brewers.  Before I even had the opportunity to send him anything off his want lists, he sent me yet another mailer.  Here are the highlights from that envelope:

Bill Hall Goudey Mini

Glenn Braggs Sportsflics

John Jaha Pinnacle/Denny's card

John Jaha Sportsflics from some year
I've never seen before!

Darryl Hamilton from that same Sportsflics

Teddy Higuera Woody Canadian goodness

Rickie Weeks from Upper Deck at some point

Surhoff OPC

How did I miss all of the Prince Fielder HR inserts from 2007 in the box I opened?

Love the MLB Showdown Cards!

Ben Sheets Topps Chrome, giving me
three versions of this card

Teddy Higuera old school Sportsflics

Wanted: Jim Gantner

Paul Molitor Topps 1989 Sticker back

A couple of great Surhoffs

I'd forgotten that Dickie Thon played a bit
for the Brewers in the early 1990s

Glenn Braggs OPC 1989
Thank you so much for all the cards, Jinxo.  I promise that this time I will get you some cards out that you need before you send me more!  At least I hope so.  Getting some trade packages out is my goal for the weekend.