Sunday, August 31, 2014

Trade Post: Nick's Dimebox Castoffs

Have you ever been so hot that you nearly stop sweating? That's bordering on heat stroke. One does not combat the effects of near heat stroke by drinking beer. 

In other words, tailgating before yesterday's Clemson at Georgia football game was not a typical football tailgate. We arrived pretty early -- around 9 AM for a 5:30 PM kickoff.  We probably should have arrived a bit later to reduce our time outside, but it was the opening game! We had to be there early.  

I drank beer to start the day (I had had breakfast, folks -- I did give myself a base!), and the beer went down pretty well. As the morning went on, though, my thirst for beer got less and less and my thirst for anything non-alcoholic increased. 

My wife and I had packed 6 bottles of water -- and we finished those. We also finished several cans of light lemonade and a coke or two. Then, inside the stadium, the best thing in sight was the change this year for the souvenir cokes -- $8 each, but free refills for the entire game.  After 3 of those 64 oz. cups of Sprite later, I still wasn't feeling right. But I made it through the day.

At least the Bulldogs stayed far more hydrated and walloped No. 16 Clemson 45-21 in Episode 1 of the Todd Gurley Show. Thanks to his 198 yards rushing on 15 carries and his 100-yard kickoff return (the NFL would have called it 104 yards), Gurley led Georgia to victory.  

Now that I'm back from Athens, I thought I would wrap up my August of getting lots of envelopes in the mail with the final envelope of the group -- a great package that arrived from Dime Box Nick. Nick has one of the more eclectic collections of anyone on the internet, and he also cheers for the Cubs. I sent him a bunch of oddball Cubs -- including a 7 UP-sponsored set from 1984 -- and he sent me a number of great cards.

I like to include the notes I receive from fellow bloggers when they send packages my way, so here's the one from Nick:

Let's start with the player collection cards. Something I don't get a lot of from others are those Milwaukee Braves guys I collect. Commishbob did, and so did Nick:

The Mathews from the Fleer Fall Classic set is a really attractive card -- it's that Turkey Red-style of card before Topps took that old card type over.  The Spahn cards are pretty awesome too.  The Fleer Greats of Warren showing him on the Boston Braves is pretty cool, but that Upper Deck Cooperstown Collection is my favorite of these three -- the photo has some of the personality that Spahn was noted for showing through in the card.

Nick also sent me this 1980 Gary Carter Topps that features a photo that could appear on any of the unlicensed sets these days.  I'm glad Nick sent this, because my 1980 Topps Carter was in less-than-desirable condition.

Nick of course also sent a bunch of Brewers.

For whatever reason, this SSPC set is quickly becoming a favorite for the fairly decent photography -- though that bottom card is pretty over-exposed.

That Yount mini is currently the only Yount from the 2014 Allen & Ginter set that I have.  And, I am still looking for that 1989 Bowman is Back insert of Yount -- I don't even know what set that was inserted in!

Nick, thank you very much for the Brewers and especially for the Spahn and Mathews -- and I'd love any more of those Milwaukee Braves or the Braves PC guys you might with to send my way! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zippy Zapped!

Probably a couple of weeks ago, now, I got an unexpected envelope in the mail from the famous Zippy Zappy from Cervin' Up Cards. Kenny has been cleaning up his collection to focus more on prospects and, in particular, his Staten Island Yankees, so I guess part of his housecleaning involved getting rid of the cards that he sent to me.

Before I start, though, I would be remiss if I did not celebrate the beginning of the SEC football season -- and the SEC Network's real kickoff -- with the matchup between the cult from College Station and the South Carolina GameSpurriers from Columbia, South Carolina.  I'm a lucky man in many respects. My wife is a huge college football fan -- albeit an Auburn Tiger.  The great thing, though, is that her two uncles and her grandmother are all Georgia fans like me, and my wife cheers for Georgia so long as Georgia isn't playing Auburn.

I'll be at the game against Clemson on Saturday (I have season tickets, after all), so here's a rendition of the Georgia fight song for that:

On to the cards!

To be sure, I had a few of these cards already. Also, I'm not sure if there were three different Jean Segura Bowman Platinum cards or just two different. The scans look like three different, but I couldn't tell a difference between two of them in person. And, while the Matt Garza auto is him with the Twins, I like that card because he just looks so damn YOUNG there!

The Braun relic is a mini relic, and anytime you go with 1975 mini colors/looks, it's a good thing.

Finally, I'm hoping that Brandon Diaz turns into a good player. He's a long way away, to be fair, as he is a 19-year-old in the Pioneer League in Helena, Montana. He's not hitting a bunch there (.260/.346/.363 in Rookie League is nothing to jump for joy about even if he is a year-and-a-half younger than the average player), though he appears to be a real speed merchant.  He has some time to improve, though, so we'll see where he is next year. 

Zippy Zappy, thank you VERY much for the great cards.  Y'all enjoy the football this weekend, and I'll be checking in with y'all over the weekend.

Goooooooooooooooooooooo Dawgs! Sic 'em! Woof woof woof woof!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Little Trade With My Cardboard Habit

Judson from My Cardboard Habit and I both recently and unsuccessfully competed in the Gint-A-Cuff box opening competition.  I say unsuccessfully because I'm pretty sure that there's only one box being given out this year from Topps and I'm nowhere near number one. While Judson is nearer to the top than me, he too has been outpaced by the Design on Deck juggernaut.

In the course of the GAC competition, though, I bought two boxes of A&G hobby. On opening the first one, I pulled some Creighton basketball player on a full-sized card that impressed me more than getting a piece of Adam Schefter's dress shirt but less than getting a Freddie Freeman white swatch.  

Since I couldn't care less about "Dougie Fresh" but in the interest of curiosity I asked the question at GAC as to how many points that would be.  The Commissioner refused to engage in a hypothetical discussion -- leading me to believe that Mark Aubrey would be a better federal judge than Kenesaw Mountain Landis was -- but the question led Judson to shriek like a teenaged girl from the 1960s watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

Thankfully, that shriek could only be heard in Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of Louisiana, so I was spared. However, in more measured tones, Judson asked whether he could trade for it.  I was more than happy to trade it away -- eBay sales be damned -- and, in return, I got two fantastic Brewers cards for my collection:

I know -- it's a cream-colored swatch of fabric of undetermined origin. But it's implanted inside a card of the Mighty Mexican Yovani Gallardo. That makes it worthwhile already.

Topps certifies that Ryan Braun signed this card in their presence, so that is an even more awesome card than just a swatch of fabric. 

In all seriousness, these two cards are more than enough in my opinion to get in return for a Dougie Fresh card from A&G.  Judson, thank you very much for the trade, and enjoy the Creighton Blue Jay autograph!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Almost Heaven, West Virginia: Another Bob Walk Production

Some time since the beginning of August, Matt at Bob Walk the Plank sent me a package of Brewer cards -- some serial numbered, others with fabric swatches, and others with autographs. Since Matt's a big WVU guy and in honor of their kickoff game here in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome when the Mountaineers play against Alabama (and yes, their fans really do wear hats made of Tide detergent boxes with rolls of toilet paper attached), here's the WVU fight song:

And to prove I'm not making that up about Alabama fans, here's a real photo of that phenomenon:

Nothing is more manly than a pom-pom, body paint, and toilet paper above your ears. Right, bro? My wife went to Auburn, and I went to Georgia and Vanderbilt -- so "round the bowl down the hole roll tide roll".

Anyway, to the cards! Here's a 2014 insert I needed for my Robin Yount collection:

It's the same photo as has appeared on a few other cards that Topps has issued. In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

Now, for the serial-numbered varietals.

This Nelson Cruz is both autographed and serial numbered (45/250).  I remember when the Brewers traded him away. They had stolen him from the Oakland Athletics for Keith Ginter. Then, when they decided to try to get something in exchange for Carlos Lee other than a draft pick, they had to add Cruz to the deal -- I suppose to make sure they got Laynce Nix.  The whole trade was Cruz and Lee for Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero, and a minor league pitcher. Not the Brewers best trade, to be honest.

This big Prince is a parallel to another card I have already. But, I didn't have this parallel as it is serial numbered 40 out of 99.

Trevor Hoffman racked up his 600th save as a Brewer. This red parallel from 2011 is serial numbered 126 of 245.

Finally, Matt also sent me some relics:

Big Ben Sheets with a swatch of white fabric. I like the photo of Sheets, and I can see why game-worn jersey relics are so passe these days. 

Rickie Weeks with short hair and a white piece of fabric.  I'm not sure why the stadium behind Weeks couldn't have been personalized to be Miller Park, though.   

Bat and jersey relics are great additions to my player collections. Otherwise, they tend to be less than inspiring.  This bat relic, though, is pretty cool. I appreciate that SP/Upper Deck took the time to add the Milwaukee logo to the relic. It actually makes the relic feel a bit more special.

Matt, I like these cards a lot. My snarkiness is in overdrive today, but these cards are awesome and are much appreciated.  Thank you very much, and hopefully I can send you more Buccos soon.  

Could you beat the Cardinals a couple of times, though? 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monster Package #6: Winnings from Fuji

Back in April, the incredible San Jose Fuji had a 1000-hour contest in honor of his 1000th post. Considering I have yet to reach 200, I'm in awe of getting to 1000 posts.  Heck, I'll be lucky to last 1000 days as a blogger. Well, actually, I'd better last that long considering I still have another 697 cards to go in the 1982 Topps set that I started blogging about back in March.

I was lucky enough to fall as the number 2 person on Fuji's winning list for his giveaway for my post about how the doldrums of summer had become the doldrums for bloggers, which I made on May 31. Thank God that the comment wasn't some banal "Great card Fuji [read as: blatantly ensuring that I comment on each post to enter the contest!]".  I fear that I go in spurts sometimes with commenting -- a lot of comments at some points, barely any at other times.  I mean nothing by it other than I don't have anything to add to the discussion most of the time if I don't comment!

Back to the mail from Fuji -- my prize was to get a lot of Brewers cards (and a few Gary Carters) from Fuji. I think I'll present these by player because I'm still shaky on sorting by year, and I scanned and sorted these into my collection already!

Gary Carter
For those of you who don't know or are new here, Gary Carter was my favorite non-Brewer player as a kid. I was a catcher from age 8 until age 15, so catchers always are represented disproportionately among my favorites. This is the reason that guys like Charlie Moore, Ted Simmons, B.J. Surhoff, Dave Nilsson, and Jonathan Lucroy end up as player collections for me -- at least in part; the other part is that they were either good players or Brewers for a long time.  Heck, I had to edit myself so as not to include Buck Martinez, Charlie O'Brien, and Ray Fosse in my collections.  

But, Carter was my favorite catcher in the league. He seemed like the nicest guy, the most friendly, and the best overall player as a catcher of all of the guys in the league at that time. In other words, to me, he was the Anti-Fisk. I really disliked Carlton Fisk -- who seemed obnoxious, mean, and played for the White Sox which made him obnoxious and mean.

Anyway, here are the Carters from Fuji:

That Kaybee Kings card is just a fine looking card. I miss the days of walking into a toy store and finding a set of cards made especially for the store.

Okay, I can't write nearly as much about everyone else as I did just there -- I scanned nearly 100 cards in individually.  It will take a while to get through them, so they are presented without comment.

Corey Hart

Paul Molitor

Robin Yount

Charlie Moore

Ted Simmons

Yovani Gallardo

Rickie Weeks

Jonathan Lucroy

Ben Sheets

Carlos Gomez

Yeah, the team card is technically Braun, Gomez, and Hart, but you can see Gomez's face. I suppose I should chase three more of this card though -- one for each PC and one for the Brewers collection.

Bill Wegman

Ryan Braun

Once again, it's a two PC card, meaning I need two more of this card -- one for the Prince PC and one for my Brewers collection. And, is Topps foreshadowing Braun's steroid conviction by calling him a "bash brother"?  HA!

Greg Vaughn

Chuck Crim

Dan Plesac
Gorman Thomas
This card is a good reason why I just have a problem with the unlicensed cards. That uniform looks like no uniform the Brewers ever wore.  Not road, not home, not 70s, not 80s, not even in the off-season softball league. I have the same issue with the Ted Higuera jersey below on his Hometown Heroes card -- it's one thing to airbrush the logos out, but these uniforms are unrecognizable. 

Would MLB Properties sue them if the jersey looked remotely like a real Brewers jersey? If so, perhaps Panini should go with either current photos (to make all of us feel old) or they should find and use headshots -- no caps, but full color, sharp photos that are head shots. I think that is what bugs me about the unlicensed cards -- the retouching is so extensive that the photo quality is affected.  Since MLBPA licenses those cards and their players benefit, then those players should pose for the photographers hatless.

-- end unsolicited advice --

Ted Higuera

Geoff Jenkins

Jim Gantner

Jim Slaton

Bob McClure

Moose Haas
Cal Eldred
Dave Nilsson
Jeromy Burnitz

Like I said, Fuji sent me a haul.  And I haven't even played "Boulevard of Broken Prospects."

Today's version features a guy that, in my opinion, was never a prospect and a guy who was the 13th overall pick in the draft in 1998 and played fewer games in the majors than the non-prospect.

First, the non-prospect: Willie Lozado.
Lozado got to play in the big leagues in 1984 because Paul Molitor had his right elbow reconstructed.  

Then, there's the kid whose injuries prevented him from ever developing as anyone hoped. After all, TINSTAAPP (There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect).  J.M. Gold:

The final card I'll feature is the true superstar of the package -- Fuji himself:

While I know this was a "prize" package, you outdid yourself Mr. Fuji! Thank you for the contest, and thank you for the always entertaining blog!