Friday, June 04, 2021

A to Z Challenge - Favorite MLB Player

Since I have over 60 baseball player collections, I was really up for Diamond King's A-Z Player Challenge.  There aren't a lot of HoF'ers in my list, so I won't be picking a lot of the "chalk" players - this is a "favorite" list, not a "best" list, right?

I had this list mapped out and just needed to add the card images when I hit Undo and suddenly the whole post was wiped out (and instantly autosaved to prevent any chance of recovery!)  So call this the 2.0 edition.

Actually, I like Wrigley Wax's approach - just the images and blurbs, no titles.


And of course, I start off with a big "chalk" pick.  If it was just about cards, I might say Garrett Anderson (I know someone with a PC), or the Alou brothers.  But Hank was a pillar of the game, and such a class act that I can't deny him.


Lots of choices here.  In my PC's I have Paul Blair, Dusty Baker, Don Baylor, Nelson Briles, Bob Bailor, Bobby Bonds, Larry Bowa, Ollie Brown and Pookie Bernstine.  Vida's got the unique name and one of the bigger "cool factors".


Keeping with the Oakland theme, Campy edges out Cesar Cedeno and Cecil Cooper (even though he's not a double C).  Played all 9 positions and another just cool dude.

This one was tough.  Coulda said my local favorite Doug DeCinces, but I just like Ivan better.  Not even sure why. He's the first of two generations of major leaguers along with Ivan Jr.

Dwight Evans signing at a show.  (I got Livan Hernandez's sig right next to him.) Back when I liked the Red Sox, Evans was a big part of the team. 

Many choices here too.  Fisk, Ron Fairly, Jim Fregosi (very diverse cardography), and Joe Ferguson round out my PCs.  But no one is as badass as George Foster.
I collect Ron Guidry too, but Grich is an Oriole and I got his auto at a National.  (Had to borrow this card for it.)
Livan is on of my favorite players, really just because he has an interesting story, and isn't a big flashy star, but just did this thing consistently for years.  Luckily he stayed away from the McDonalds enough to have a good career.
Monte Irvin is another one of those guys that I can't recite their stats or which teams they were on, but just seem like cool dudes and good players - the kind I tend to make player collections out of, instead of the huge superstars.
Even just with guys named Jackson, there are several good calls here, but even though I didn't see a lot of him live, I like Bo best.

This one's from my association with his nephew in real life.
Sparky Lyle is my pick over some worthy Tigers LeFlore and Lolich.  His minor league manager cards are really neat.  Just have to find more of them.

Brian Matusz is another quirky PC.  When he was with the local minor league Frederick Keys, he lived at the property my best friend managed.  I saw his debut at Comerica Park against the Tigers.

You would think N wouldn't be one of the letters that didn't have many choices, but it was one of the hardest for me to come up with viable candidates.  Newk was a clear winner.

Claude Osteen is an unusual pick, but he was the nicest guy when I met him at a Chantilly show, and he signed just the same even though he was getting to an advanced age.

Jim Palmer is one of my few HOF superstar PCs.  But he's one of the big Oriole greats and I've met him a couple times.  There are guys I like a bit better, but Palmer is still contributing to the game as a quality broadcaster (even though the team isn't).
Had to go with Jamie Quirk.  Was never a fan of Quisenberry, even though he sorta pioneered the crazy sidearm technique.  And look at all that blue!

Gotta stick with the Oriole greats even over my card PCs. 

Manny Sanguillen is one of the best autograph guests ever.  And the nicest guy, even though he's showing his badass side here.
Luis Tiant is my #1 PC.  Such a great family man and fun player and cool dude.  What else ya want?  Though when I met him at a show, he seemed like he wasn't having a good day.
How can you not go with Uecker?  Just for the entertainment value alone.

Fernandomania?  Yep, I remember.

Wieters over Winfield.  Hey, he played for both my local teams!  I know, Williams, Wagner, etc. but this is favorites, not famous.

This is one of the first cards I ever owned.  Plus I know a guy that collects him exclusively, (and Mike).  And Steve Yeager just isn't Yaz.
Ryan Zimmerman is the face of the Nationals for their whole existence.  And he won a championship with them.  'Nuff said.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Celebrating Something Else Born in 1951

OK, I've been teasing this long enough.  

I've been looking for something like this for a while now.  I joined a club of fellow enthisiasts to find it.  And in April, I saw an ad for just what I was looking for.  And I went and got it.  It was delivered to me Sunday.

This 1951 Buick Special Riviera is sitting in the garage at my mother's house.  I still can't believe it's mine.

It all just fell into place.  I had been looking on Hemmings website for months for early 50's Pontiacs or Buicks.  Then I joined the Buick Club of America, figuring I liked those best and any members selling on there would be in it for the enjoyment of the cars and not trying to hawk rustbuckets for a quick buck. 

Lo and behold, in the April issue of the Buick Bugle magazine, I saw the ad for this one.  Garaged all its life, they just wanted it to go to a good home.  It checked all the boxes for what I was looking for.  I decided "Life Is Short." and figured out when I could take off and go see it.  The catch was, it was in Menlo Park, California.  I live in Maryland.

But what the heck.  I booked flight and hotel, and went out on May 7.  Drove it the next day and we made the sale.  The owner couldn't have been nicer.  His father in law owned the car originally, but commuted to work, so the mileage was very low.  Then they got it and only put 1500 more on it.  

It was repainted, rechromed, and reupholstered in 2002.  And it never went east of Sacramento its whole life.  I booked a shipper and they picked it up a week ago. (The owner was out of town in between.)

I got the call yesterday at noon and met the shipper in a Home Depot parking lot.

Took it home and introduced it to my old Ford.  To my surprise, the Buick is just a bit longer.

I've driven it now three times total.  It's a workout.  It's an automatic, but has no power steering.  It's going to take a while to get used to driving it.   I also got the shop manual, and reprints of the owner's manual, and a second book on the DynaFlow engine (inline 8 cylinder). Plus some extra vintage light bulbs, radio tubes, weather stripping, air ducting and a custom cover.

My favorite part is the piano style hood that opens from either side.  The engine was repainted with all the stencils and labels too.

So Topps can celebrate their 70th anniversary and that's cool and all, but this car was made the same year they started and I like it's design much better.  I considered picking a card from the '51 Red and Blue Backs set to hang on the mirror or something, but there weren't any west coast teams yet, and I don't really have a favorite player that far back except for Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones, who I started collecting just to see the 50's cards.  I looked through the Topps World On Wheels set, but the closest thing there was a '53 Roadmaster convertible, which is just too different than mine.

So that's what I've been preoccupied with the last month or so.  I finally got some stacks of cards put away in the last couple days.  I need to get back to sorting my football hoard and generating more trades.  I've got a lot of work to do on all three cars now too.  Like my old boss used to say, "It keeps us entertained."

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A Cardinal Sin?

I noticed an oddity back on May 22 when I went to the Chantilly show.  I stopped by Uncle Dick's tables and found some upgrades to my 1974 Topps football set (among other things like 1957 Topps baseball from the bargain bin and several other base cards from different sets.)

(Uncle Dick said he was retiring, but he was there again helping the new owner out, wearing his flourescent green jacket and matching sneakers.  The guy is one of the all time legends)

Anyway, one of the cards I got was #32 Dan Dierdorf, the former offensive lineman for St. Louis, and broadcaster for Monday Night Football.

The weird thing is the team name in the blue strip across the bottom.  It's not a variation, but it is different from every other Cardinals card in the set.  

For some reason, Dierdorf's card has a narrow team name.  Every other card in '74 Topps football has the same blockier font.  I never noticed it before.  It's bizarre.

I'm gonna have to page through my set to see if there are any other mutant team labels now.  And my OCD is irrevocably tweaked by this.  It was already down a few points because of the Parker Brothers game variations in the set.  And now this...?

And just for fun, a Monday Night Football promo from back when the Washington franchise played well enough to make the highlights - a lot!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

A Collective Convergence In California

Before it gets to be a month since I made the trip, I have to tell you about meeting up with one of my (and your) favorite bloggers.

I flew out to the west coast on May 7.  My primary mission will be described in another post (stand by Billy).  But since I wasn't far from San Jose - namely Menlo Park, California - I contacted Mark from the Chronicles of Fuji.  


After I had concluded my business in the afternoon of May 8, he ended up driving north to pick me up and we went to a shop I had found on the map further north of my hotel.  It was Peninsula Sports Cards in Belmont.  Fuji said he had been to another shop under the same ownership that was closer to San Jose.

It was a nice clean shop, with a huge wall of wax boxes and packs on one side (all horrendously overpriced these days of course), some showcases in the middle with various sports cards, memorabilia, supplies, etc.  One case in particular had some interesting oddball sets.  And along a back wall there were bookshelves of older wax, some of which I had collected earlier, but was about three times the price I expected, which could have been just because of the time that had passed.  Looking at the photos on their website (above and below), there apparently used to be a whole wall of singles which now does not exist - much to my chagrin now.

Unfortunately, we forgot to take photos of ourselves to post on our blogs, so my crude South Park Borg drawing and Fuji's familiar character above will have to suffice.

After perusing the shop until the guy behind the desk said the alarm was going to activate whether he liked it or not, we left and went to Gotts restaurant and had some great burgers.  We talked about managing our hoards of extra cards, trading, and the current sales market.  Both of us have huge stashes of stuff we think people would like, but find it is difficult to get it to them for one reason or another.  We also agreed that if these flipper bozos want to pay exhorbitant prices for stuff we got for little or nothing, we are happy to oblige even though selling is not a primary part of our collecting life.

We did bring cards for each other as well.  He gave me a handful of Capitals stars, including a half dozen autographs of some of the older players.  Not worth scanning here, but much appreciated nonetheless!

Always cool to meet a fellow blogger in person, and especially one of the top guys!  Thanks for coming up Mark!  And if you ever get to the other coast, give me a call!

I went out the next day to find two more shops, including the other location of this group, since I had a lot of time to kill until my flight left late Sunday night.  I figured out how to navigate the CalTrain, which is the local commuter rail system starting at the stop across the road from my hotel and saw that one shop was a few blocks from the Mountain View stop.  The other was even closer (I thought) to the Sunnyvale station.  

So I got off at Mountain View and headed south.  Stopping occasionally in a shady spot to see my phone's map program, I walked what seemed like forever through a very nice residential neighborhood in the California sunshine.  Trouble was, it ended up being a three mile walk.  And that shop was nothing more than two showcases with about a dozen individual autographed cards (priced with three crooked numbers), and a couple $199 blaster boxes.  I can't say I'd recommend Kip's Sports Cards.  I had to call an Uber ride from about a half mile from the train station over to the next shop, because after almost six miles, my feet were killing me.  The driver dropped me off at 101 South Murphy street.  I thought the shop was at #56, but it was actually at #566 S. Murphy.  So it was another two mile round trip on foot.  And that shop was nothing but overpriced wax boxes and a few supplies and nothing else at all.  Needless to say, the day was a bust and I just ended up going to the airport to kill the remaining six hours til my 1AM flight, which also had a 3½ hour layover in Denver.  I finally got home at about 2:30PM on Monday.  

But you'll see in the post about what I did earlier Saturday that it was all worth it...

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A - Z Music Challenge

Boy, you guys are mellow. 😁  Most of the posts about Chris The Collector's A to Z Music Challenge are chock full of alternative bands.  I'm not knocking anyone for that, it's just that my "formative years" in music were the mid-1980's so the typical live performance included guitar solos in every song and looked more like this:

I've delved into Motown, Top 40, country, and other things at certain points, but Heavy Metal is supreme, and really all I like any more.  The Sirius/XM stations I sit on 90% of the time are the ones between Octane and Turbo, including Hair Nation and Ozzy's Boneyard.  So that's where most of my choices will be.  I'll give a main selection and one or more honorable mentions.  Not going to link to songs or videos.  You're welcome to look those up on your own, but I like graphics, so I downloaded all the band logos.

  Basically Creed with another singer, these guys are way
ahead of Aerosmith, and I consistently like more of their songs than Alice In Chains.

Runner Up - Audioslave.  Chris Cornell was great, but I don't like everything he did.  Tom Morello is a freaking genius.

The son of Led Zeppelin drummer John, Jason Bonham's band right at the end of the metal era really could have been big.  They're on my heavy play rotation these days, but only have one album I think.  Boston probably should be here, but I've heard 'em a million times.

Runners Up - Bonfire, an apparent European sensation, have a ton of albums but I've only heard a few of them.  The couple I own are killer. 
The BulletBoys were another latecomer, and have a rather unique style.  Their rendition of The Color of Money from the O'Jays is great.

Another band on my recent heavy play list is The Cult.  Their stuff rocks, but is also super melodic and the guitar work is amazing.  And Ian Astbury has such a distinctive voice.

Runner Up -  Creed.  Best concert I ever saw was Creed and 3 Doors Down.  Just a killer rock show.  They were one of my top 5 favorites, but then Scott Stapp just got weird after a while and they were horrible.


Dokken is my first favorite rock band.  Their songs just sound like I expect hard rock to sound.  Cymbal crashes at just the right time, harmonies, riffs, and everything.  If I was in a band or wrote metal music, it would sound like Dokken.  It's hard to explain...

Runner Up - Ronnie James Dio is the ultimate metal god.  If he didn't share the same letter as my personal favorite band, he'd be a featured listing.  He has some great classic tracks with Black Sabbath and Rainbow as well.

Love Evanescence, and not just because Amy Lee is gorgeous, but she's one of the most incredible voices in the world.  They are probably the newest band on my list.

Runner Up - Gotta mention Sheena Easton as my first favorite musician - ever.  And she (had?) a powerful voice too.  Her version of Wind Beneath My Wings puts Bette Midler to shame in my book.

There aren't many F's in this list, at least in this genre.  The late Fast Eddie Clarke handled the guitars for this bluesy group.  They're just off the beaten path of mainstream hard rock.  Sorry, I just don't like the Foo Fighters.

Godsmack are another of my top 5 favorites of all time.  They came after the fall of 80's metal and reaffirmed my love for heavy rock.  Initially called an "industrial noise band", but they're freakin' metal.  Check out their YouTube videos of the drum battles in their live show.

Gotta go with Ann & Nancy here.  They didn't like the way they were objectified in the 90's, and I can understand that.  But the music they produced with those next few albums is their best, I think.  The earlier mellow stuff is classic as well, but the later songs are really well written and they rock when they want to.
Runners Up - Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) and Hellyeah are two artists I am just getting into.  The duet between Hale and Amy Lee - Break In - is amazing.

One of the most epic and enduring metal bands of all time.  These guys might seem at first glance to have a dozen guys on guitar.  They just keep going decade after decade, producing their style of music and playing all over the world - in their own airliner piloted by the lead singer Bruce Dickinson - not played by Christopher Walken.

Although Rob Halford's vocals aren't what they used to be, and the lineup has changed in recent years, these guys are still going strong too.  I consider them to be on the Mt. Rushmore of metal bands.  There aren't many better.  So many albums with so many killer songs.

There are several valid choices here, but even though I'm not the most rabid Kiss fan, I gotta give 'em credit for inspiring my metal fandom in general.  I was into Sheena Easton and Huey Lewis, etc., but then when I heard their first album without the makeup (yes, it was that late in their careers), I was amazed music could sound like that.  And it's been in my blood ever since.
Runners Up - I'm probably stretching a bit to suggest I'd put Krokus or Korn toward the top of my fave list, but there are so many K's I felt compelled to put some here.  I don't own any Korn albums, but won't turn the channel when they come on the radio.

A bit of a departure here, as the obvious choice is Zeppelin.  But if both come on the radio, I'm more excited to hear most LP songs than Led Zep, just because they've been played for so long.  Chester was amazing and unique, and was appreciated so much, it's agonizing to think he felt different.  The touch of hip-hop in their stuff is all you'll see in this list.  I remember sitting among some school friends and one girl being amazed that I knew every word of In The End.
Runners Up - Like I said, Led Zeppelin are the gods of classic rock, but just so familiar.  I own the box set and everthing, but LP is just a bit cooler right now. 
Lamb of God are intense, so I enjoy them in small doses.  They're much more than just the extreme vocals of Randy Blythe, they're a very tight musical group.

This is the biggest no-brainer on this list.  I wasn't always a fan, though.  It took the Black album to draw me in, and then I discovered the awesomeness of Fade To Black, One, and Welcome Home (Sanitarium) among many others retroactively.  Still not much for the real early stuff when the recording quality and Hetfield's vocals weren't great.  But they're the masters, hands down.

Runner Up - Dave Mustaine's follow-up project after he was 'released' from Metallica.  The first group I liked beyond the basic glam/hair metal.  They kinda scared me initially, but I adapted after a while and own most all their albums.

Believe it or not, the letter N was the toughest choice for me.  Since I hold Nirvana responsible for the decline of metal's popularity, (and I only like a few songs), they won't be seen here.  Night Ranger had a nice sound that I like better than the singer's next project - Damn Yankees, but Sister Christian is just overplayed...

Another no-brainer, but there aren't that many O's anyway.  This guy fronted the band that set the stage for all metal that followed.  A lot of Black Sabbath's catalog (which I somehow own digitally) is just now growing on me, especially from the farewell concert.  But Ozzy has been a master of killer songs for a long time.  Again, I didn't get into him until he was a few albums in and then filled in with more of the older stuff - the Randy Rhoades years.  Ozzy's new album, a collaboration with modern artists, doesn't quite hold the same appeal.  The family tv show was interesting, but if you don't know his music, you're missing the really deep stuff.

Another departure from the metal train, but how can you refuse such mind-blowing artistry?  I love David Gilmour's work with them.  Never cared much for Roger Waters' style and bizarreness.  Everything from Wish You Were Here on is fantastic.  The Wall is OK...

Just got into Pantera a little while ago.  Such a shame to lose so many of these guys.  It must be very entertaining to hang out with Phil Anselmo, but it's probably intimidating too.  The guy is intense.  And awesome.

Yeah, I know the obvious choice would be the shorter version of this name.  But again, another one of my all-time favorites outranks the legendary artist.  A secondary version of this outfit is still producting good tunes, but it's a shame that the singer Geoff Tate and the other guys just can't seem to work things out.  His voice is definitely one of the most recognizable in the genre.  The original Operation:Mindcrime is outstanding.

Well, maybe there is another instance of an act with some hip-hop influences showing up on this list.  Though Zack de la Rocha's ferocity overshadows that quality, and the aforementioned Tom Morello's ability to make guitars produce the craziest sounds rules over all of it.  Renegades of Funk was the name of my first (and best) fantasy football team, which meant they automatically had a theme song.

Wasn't gonna go with this band here, since there are probably the most choices for one letter, but ya gotta give it to Sebastian Bach for his vocal range.  The guy can just wail.  Maybe not like that dude from Steeheart, but they don't have the body of work that Skid Row does.  Wasted Time is one of the greatest metal songs.  And check out In a Darkened Room, Quicksand Jesus, and I Remember You.
Runner Up - It's not because of a dedication to the Christian faith, but more the musical sound and great vocal range (that hasn't aged very much through the years) of Michael Sweet (who is definitely not Ted Cruz..?).  The positive message and attitude was a bonus, but these dudes cranked it up too. 

Ever since his testimony in front of the PMRC, Dee Snider has been one of the most entertaining characters in hard rock and metal.  They're songs are occasionally goofy, and their videos campy but fun, but their overall catalog is definitely respectable.  And they did Christmas specials.

Runner Up - Chuck Billy has one of the mellower but most powerful voices.  I only have and like a couple albums, but The Ritual is in my top 10.

I've only heard a few songs from YouTube from this band, and an interview with their singer, but so far I'm impressed with both the intricate musicianship and Brittney Slayes' soaring vocals.  (Doesn't hurt that she's a sweetheart either). 

Plus, U2 is OK, but I'm just not that big a fan.

Can you believe Sammy Hagar is in his 70's?  He's just the happiest guy in show biz.  Was never a fan of David Lee Roth, even though my cousin is in two of his solo music videos:

Sammy Hagar was by far the best frontman with them.  No bad albums from that bunch.  RIP Eddie.  I remember sitting in my basement listening to the For Unlawful... album cranked up, and was dozing off when the intro to The Dream Is Over jolted me awake.

Runner Up - Vandenberg was pretty obscure in the greater metal scene, but the namesake lead guitarist ended up with Whitesnake later on.  The singer's distinctive voice and their musical versatility made me a fan.  Incorporating spanish guitars and other diverse instruments into driving rock songs made them memorable.

Speaking of which, Whitesnake went way beyond Tawny Kitaen on the hood of a Jaguar back in the day (though ya can't knock them for that either).  Very blues influenced, but maybe not the most complex songwriting, this band endures.  David Coverdale just has the coolest speaking voice on the planet, much less a good singing voice.  

Another quality band with a great artist out front who took his own life.  Jani Lane and the band were kinda typecast for their most shallow song Cherry Pie, when they did so many other much better works.  Lane's range was superior to a lot of rock singers and his ballads were consistently great.  Check out I Saw Red.

OK so I cheated on this one.  King's X singer and bassist Doug Pinnick turned 70 in 2020, but looks like he's only been on the road for a few years after college.  Can't say I'm a fanclub founder, but their stuff comes on the radio a lot and has moved up my "chart" steadily.

Y&T would fit here, but I only know a few songs, and I actually saw Yes live in the late 80's while I was in college.  Can't say I listen to them much now, but 90125 was an automatic buy when it came out.  Another epic artist in the same vein (almost) as Pink Floyd, these guys are on another plane creatively for sure.  Like Floydian, I enjoy the haromines and melodies more than the psychodelic elements.

And finally....  A popular choice of course.  I was at a convention for a business venture (not sure why), and stepped into a hotel elevator in Buffalo one day and Frank & Dusty were standing in there with female companion.  I was so awestruck, I wasn't able to ask them to autograph the book I was carrying, but it was probably a relief to them.  I have Eliminator and Afterburner, and their Greatest Hits CDs.

Most of this stuff exists as physical CDs that are still in my living room, and as I said, play virtually through Sirius/XM radio and now Amazon music.  Anything I don't have, Alexa now does.  I have a few dozen mp3s somewhere, but never developed an iTunes library or anything digital.  My phone has like twelve songs on it that I never play.  As with my tastes in rock, my music media are old school as well.  Hope you found something you like that you didn't know about before.  Some of this list I discovered from reaction videos on YouTube, like Jamel AKA Jamal, The Charismatic Voice, and Katrinka, to name a few.