Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Collective Awards

Welcome to the first annual Collective Awards

It's the end of the year awards show where the categories are all made up by me on the fly, and the winners are who or what I choose, which is probably in the minority of popular opinion.  At some point, maybe I'll come up with an actual statue design.  In the tradition of the Oscars, we'll call them the Borgs for now.

First off, the award for Best Base Design.  And the winner is, Allen & Ginter.

     Base Topps was too foggy, Gypsy Queen was kinda weird.  Bunt was cool, but plain.   Stadium Club was decent, but the more I saw it, the less I liked it.  Bowman was similar to every year (all of which I ignore).  Panini Donruss wasn't bad, but kinda recycled.  Everything else is either high end, or not a regular set in the first place.  A&G is very elegant, even in black as X.

Next, for the Most Annoying Design Feature In A Base Set, Topps wins for the mist clouds.

     Guess they were trying to create an ethereal effect, but it just looked like a brush fire at the ballpark.  They had a line called "Fire", but this isn't what they had in mind. 

Stay at the podium Topps, because you win the next one too!  A second award for Biggest Attempt To Correct A Design Flaw goes to Topps Holiday.

     The snowflakes look a lot better than the smoke, but they've only played a few games ever when it is actually snowing.   Well played, Topps, just in time for Christmas - yet another version of a set you already put out.

Now, on a more positive note, for the Most Original Insert Concept, the award goes to Pressed Into Service

     Finally something we haven't seen before that is directly related to games and that doesn't just include the same old players.  The blew the budget on the idea, because the design is a little lacking in the artistic elegance department, but kudos for the originality!

Continuing on the insert categories, the next award is for Best Continuing Insert Series.  The winner is First Pitch

     Love these in that the subjects are very diverse, though the team choices - not so much.  That may be just because of the predominance of Hollywood / New York / Chicago / Boston celebrities.   The design has evolved to match the corresponding base set in the last couple years, but they still have enough of a common thread to tie each year's series together.  Bonus points for the inclusion of some gorgeous ladies throughout. (I heart Haley Atwell.)

On the flip side, the statue for Worst Execution Of A Nice Concept (known as the UD Doc award) goes to Berger's Best.

     What should have been an inspiring tribute to a man that was not only the heart and soul of the Topps creative team, but basically made cards in general what they were in the golden years and are still basically existing as today, ended up being another generic reprint set that only noted which cards were popular throughout the years.  None of them mentioned a damn thing about Berger's contribution to their design, manufacture, or anything.  They just had his picture on the back.  Way to respect your elders, Topps.

Speaking of history, the Borg goes to 100 Years At Wrigley for Best Historic Insert Set That Doesn't Involve the Yankees.

     The Wrigley series is a nice unique design, with the elements of that ballpark easily recognizable.  A diverse selection of players (not just Cubs), events, and personalities makes these one of the best (and it turns out, most timely) insert sets they've come up with.  I'm even happier about them now that I finally found the Bryant #1 that I was missing.
     And not to bash the Yankees, (even though I'm an O's fan and they deserve it), they just get overdone.

My candidate for favorite 2016 card comes from this, but it's so outside my wheelhouse, I don't feel quite strong enough to make that official (you'll see why), the Best High Odds Insert of the year is Topps Laser.

     Basically, it's only because I actually managed to pull one that I even list this as a category.  Most of the time I consider stuff like this a pipe dream, but thanks to the box I got from Charm City Cards of Baltimore, I really did pull a Corey Seager Laser Relic two color patch!  Real nice design in a booklet card no less.  And I own one!

The "opposite" of that award is the double combo of Best Mojo-less Set and Best Rookie Saturation-less Set.  And the hands down winner is Topps Bunt.

     I said it before.  Watch out Topps!  I wouldn't be shocked at all if this product OUTSELLS all the other high end, "thuper mojo hitz" products, AND all the 100 real players + 350 rookies stuff that's put out COMBINED!  Boost the graphical quality of the design with brighter colors and a little more dynamic look, and you'll have a huge sellout!

And the final award of the evening is also the biggest and far reaching.  The prize for Corporate Monster Stomping On The Hobby goes to all the major companies for Sport Exclusive Deals

     You know the deal.  We all say it.  Exclusives benefit no one except the one company that can make proper cards for the sport any way they choose.  Creativity doesn't thrive.  Other companies efforts that would normally have surpassed the exclusive holder's offerings are opressed by lack of logos, team nicknames, and cropped photos.  The promised innovation is a joke.  You want innovation?  Let them all compete against each other in a level market and see how they'd have to come up with original ideas to keep ahead of their peers.   Rant over.

We hope you enjoyed tonight's show even though there were no poignant acceptance speeches, entertaining introductions, musical numbers, or hot babes leading the winners on and offstage.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

$30 worth of help on a quest

Just got my package today from Robert at $30 A Week Habit.

He emailed me a little while ago inquiring about trading me some 2002-03 Pacific Quest for the Cup hockey cards.  I sent him some vintage baseball in return for these:

Quest for the Cup is one of five Pacific sets from that year that I'm building.  It's also one of the shiniest.  I'm also finishing Calder, Heads Up!, Vanguard, and Private Stock Reserve.  Haven't even started the flagship set yet.  I got most of them from cheap boxes I bought on Atlanta Sports Cards (site offline at time of writing) site a couple years ago.  They had most of the Pacific products from this era at very low prices.   2002-03 is my favorite hockey year for hockey cards.  

Robert started with five rookies from the end of the set.  Two of them are the gold parallels, but I crossed 'em off anyway.  Pesky rookies.   Sometimes I skip the rookies at the end of hockey sets.

Then we go on to the inserts.  Calder Contenders in gold with the inset pics of the logos and the players.  I like that they didn't use an "echo picture" in these, and didn't distort it.  That just weirds me out.

The Chasing the Cups are kinda generic, but nicely colored.  The backs are nice, with another second photo and a simple layout that you can read.

Raising the Cup cards are what I consider the marquee insert for this set.  Matching the base cards with the Stanely Cup featured as prominently as the player photo, but not overwhelming it.  These make nice use of team-color foil as an accent behind the cup and enhancing the name and title.

Hadn't had hits to any of these sets in quite a while.  Always fun to trade with blogger guys and see your stuff on their site.  Thanks again Robert - until next time!

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Dallas Standard


I hate to be "that guy" again, but it's getting ridiculous.  I don't post enough about football to show that I'm really not a total conspiracy theorist and hater.  It just comes across that way.

The last week or so, it seems like there have been a few things that make ya go "Hmm..."

Dallas played on Week 11 Sunday at 1:00 vs. the Ravens.  Washington played the Sunday night game at 8:30. 
The next week they faced off on Thanksgiving in Dallas.  Was the seven hour difference an advantage to Dallas?  Not sure.
The next game Dallas had wasn't until the next Thursday, (last night).  They had the whole seven days off.  The Vikings played the previous Sunday.  Dallas gets the extra rest again.  Advantage?  Maybe, maybe not.

I was actually surprised that there were no egregious calls during the Thanksgiving game that influenced the outcome.  Washington was competitive, and the game was played well by both teams.

Minnesota was not so lucky last night.

At around 6:45 to go in the first quarter, Zeke Elliott fumbles.  He clearly loses the ball, then falls on it and has it in his hands.  Anthony Barr of the Vikings jumps down and pulls it away.  Quite often during the average fumble, there is a pileup and the ball passes to a few different players until they get sorted out.  The last guy with the ball generally wins.  In this case, Elliott acknowledged he lost the ball and the offense started moving off the field.  But then the officials decided it needed to be reviewed.  After going under the hood, they decided that "the ball was recoverd by a Dallas player and then taken away by a Minnesota player."  Dallas ball.

Then, with ten and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter,  Dallas punts.  Adam Theilen of the Vikes catches the punt and runs a little ways to the side and is tackled.  Dallas players came off the tackle with the ball.  Dallas challenges the play.  It is determined that Theilen fumbled just before hitting the ground.  As he rolls over, the ball is loose, and then he gets it in both hands before a Dallas player pulls it away.  It is again ruled Dallas ball.  The next play is a Dez Bryant touchdown.

So in both cases, there was a legitimate fumble, recovery by the same player, and then an opposing player with "simultaneous possession" pulls the ball away.  Both times, Dallas gets the ball.  But they weren't the ball carrier to begin with in the second instance.  If the Vikings take the ball away, according to the refs, it's Dallas ball.  But if Dallas takes it away, the refs say they get to keep it.

I say they can't have it both ways.   Glaring double standard.

Are we going to start a debate about "what is a fumble recovery?" now, like there is for "what is a catch?"

Or is it just that Jerrah's team is on another nationally featured game, so they get all the breaks?

Like I said, I'm really trying NOT to be that guy....

Monday, November 28, 2016

Like bad pennies...

As a set collector who sifts through stacks of common singles quite often, I've found that there are certain cards that I keep seeing.  Now, we often take note of appearances by our favorite players, or guys we collect, or superstars.  But there are also those more obscure guys that I see almost every time I find a stack of a certain set.  They keep coming back like bad pennies.

I looked up what that saying means, and it said that back in the late 1800's single cents had significant worth and were the favorite target of counterfeiters.  People would typically find fake or "bad" pennies in with their pocket change and would have to slip them by shopowners to get rid of them.  It wasn't unusual to see the same one come back to them, so the phrase became popular.

Aside from horribly damaged or designed cards, or those of players I can't stand, I've never actually seen a "bad" card.  But these are cards that somehow have much greater odds of ending up in that random mixed pile of (in this case 1970's) Topps cards.  They're always in everyone's dupes box.

I disqualified any of my numerous player collections, because I always notice those.  Also, I didn't elect those with actual cool looking cards, or most error cards that have corrected versions, because they are more sought after too.  I won't call them "bad" players, but I guess I define a "Bad Penny" card as the most common commons.

I sifted through a couple Donruss sets from the early 80's but I really didn't find any examples in those sets, probably because I bought them as whole sets when they came out, so I didn't have to look for singles.  So my candidates are from Topps sets of the 70's and early 80's.

Each collector will have his or her own examples for any given set.  Here are mine:

1980 Topps - #563 Will McEnaney

I'm not even sure how to pronounce his last name, but Will is the one card that sticks in my mind for this concept.  I've seen him everywhere.  Don't even think he has too many other cards.  Quick check of the TCDB shows that his rookie is 1975 with the Reds, continuing in '76 and '77, and he also had single Topps cards with the Expos and Cardinals, though his '77 OPC is with the Expos.
Runner-up: #385 Enos Cabell

1979 Topps #403 Tim Foli
When did the Mets wear yellow jackets?  Anyway, the bespectacled Foli rocking the 70's 'do wins out.  Almost had two Cardinals in a row with the reverse number 304 Swisher.  
Runners-Up: #21 Kevin Kobel, #304 Swisher, #438 Horace Speed

1978 Topps #520 Larry Hisle
Larry is usually so much happier in his other cards.  Check out his 1974, 1977, and 1979 Topps, he's having a much batter time there.  Like I said, not a "bad" card, just see it a lot.  Larry would otherwise be in the top 20-ish of guys with the coolest "card careers".  Someone has a series on card careers, but I can't find it right now.
Runners-Up: #151 Milt Wilcox, #178 Dave Chalk, #517 Andres Mora

1977 Topps #436 Turn Back The Clock - Bob Keegan
Any other subset like this would never make the list.  For some reason, I must end up with the dupes from everyone who hoards Turn Back the Clock cards, mostly from the late 80's.  If you ask me at any moment who Bob Keegan was, I'd have no idea.  But this card sticks in my head above the other ones I saw while paging through my set.  I might have said Minnie Minoso's Record Breaker too, but I like him too much to put him in this list.  One-(no)-hit wonder Bob comes out the winner for '77.
Runners-Up: #232 Minoso RB, #474 Rookies, #651 Von Joshua

1976 Topps #258 Nyls Nyman
This one came down to ol' NN up there and Lerrin LaGrow, who I almost collected at one point back in the day when qualifying as a player collection meant you were somewhat interesting and I had more than three of your cards.  Nyls (rhymes with gills or styles?) basically has a '75 quad-player rookie, this '76 Topps, and he made the big SSPC set.  But he makes this list.
Runners-Up: #6 Stennett RB, #138 LaGrow, #268 Del Unser, #345 Andy Messersmith

1975 Topps #575 Gene Clines
Gene looks concerned that I picked him over the other candidates, but he won by default.  I have three DeMolas in my dupes box, but that one is cool for the colors and the ads behind him.  Wanted to say Milbourne, but ya can't put up the Rookie Cup guy, especially in matching red and yellow.  And Nate Colbert is just way too happy!
Runners-Up: #391 Don DeMola, #512 Larry Milbourne, #599 Nate Colbert

1974 Topps #577 Mike Sadek
As I go back further, it gets harder to find obvious candidates for this list.  I considered Earl Williams of the Orioles, but I would see more of the Orioles than any other team around here in that era, so he gets a pass.  I also thought about Tom Murphy from the Traded set, but that was straying too far.  Bill Melton's glaring red helmet was probably just burned into my head from seeing it once.
Sadek wins for his genericness.  He has minimal cardage, consisting of regular Topps cards until 1981, plus a Donruss in that year.  He ended up coaching for SF and got a Mother Cookies coach group card.
Runners-Up: #170 Melton, #375 Williams, #496T Tom Murphy Traded

1973 Topps #364 Rick Wise
Pretty much a clone of the Sadek card, though Wise had a much longer career as both player and coach.  His cards go from a 1964 dual rookie, through 1982, and then from 1985 to 2009 coaching in the minors.  Good player, just cheesy common card.  And like Sadek, he beat Roric Harrison (again with the Orioles), Lee May (Astros), and happy George Hendrick.  Before this year, I would have said Roy White hands down, but I got his auto this past National.  He's kinda the same deal as Wise - decent player with a card that doesn't go away.

I figure I'll stop here.  Not just because it's 1 AM, but from 1971 and '72, the cheese factor diminishes greatly since those sets are so cool to start with.  And I'm not finished 1970 (or '72), so I can't say I've done all the sifting for those yet.

Maybe I'll make this a series and do the 80's next....  Let me know what your nominees are.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

No Waiting for this trade!

Thanks to P-Town Tom of (the soon to be renamed?) Waiting Til Next Year for what started as a simple swap for some of my Conlon dupes.  He ended up covering the whole range of my baseball wants in return!

You can tell when someone examines your lists closely when they come up with parallels and oddballs like this.  My Vintage player list is several screens long.  Here's what he found:

Actually got the Showalter/Fregosi twice.  Maybe he thought it was Piniella.  No matter.  I had to double check the Evans to see if I had the Winner or the regular gold, since I just had "Gold" on my list.  Luckily, I didn't have either one.  Really glad to get the Obak Grich too.  I've come across those a couple times, but it's not something that dealers will bring to shows very often.

Next up, he hit my 2012 "Coopy" list.  Always awesome to get these.  Those HOF Classes Teams (the woody ones) are especially elusive.

Then he hit one off the Priority page, and one of those '93 Iooss inserts, plus some REALLY nice higher number '72s.

Just need Ellsbury's buddy Beckett to kill those pesky ToppsTown.  The '72s will be somewhat slumming in my set.  The bulk of it are mid-grade, but as I find the high numbers, they are tending to be nicer than the rest, so I may end up bulk trading to upgrade the front 3/4 of the set.

And for the finale, check out these 1960 Topps!  Tom wasn't sure he was sending enough!  Wow!

The Groat is kinda creased, but on the back, so it won't show in the binder page.  The Spahny group one is too, but looks fine at first glance.  The bottom two are o/c a bit for my usual taste, but they're high numbers, so I'm not complaining at all!

Can't over-say how much I appreciate the trade.  Even the packaging.  He used good ol' masking tape too, and didn't forget the pull tabs!  Looking forward to the next round, Tom!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Topps Mystery Subsets

For the last several years, Topps' flagship set has featured Highlights, team cards, All-Star game cards, and checklists.  Trouble is, all of them use regular action photos just like the base cards, without any conspicuous markings otherwise.  You have to squint and read the fine print to know what you are actually holding.

So if you didn't know already, which of the following cards is Ichiro's base card and which is the highlight?  I've blacked out the line underneath that gives it away.  But you see it's only a tiny area on the card that makes the difference.

Either one could be the base card, or the highlight of his 4257th professional hit.  You really can't tell.

Now if they put something on the front to distinguish the highlight card, it would be much easier:

Much better....and I can see it without squinting!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Fly the W ... for WORLD CHAMPIONS!

November 2, 2016 is now an important date in all-time sports history.  The Chicago Cubs ended their championship drought by winning an epic game by one run in the tenth inning.  I won't rehash the details, but I'll remember watching it for years to come.  Congratulations to the North side team and fans!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

2016 Topps Update inserts tweaked

Bought my two boxes of 2016 Topps Update last week (thanks, Blowout!) and got three cards away from two base sets.  Second box duplicated several inserts, which annoys me while I'm opening the packs, but makes for trade bait, so I'll get different ones eventually anyway.

One insert set I noticed was the "Team Franklin" set.  I put "Team" in quotes, because the only indication of that notation is the card numbers that are preceded by "TF-" on the back.  Nowhere else on the card is it mentioned.  Struck me as kinda weird, but taking a closer look, I felt like this set wasn't finished yet.  Looked to me like they stopped after adding the first couple design elements.

There is only the Franklin logo, a name, and a seemingly irrelevent metallic mesh strip along the bottom.

The backs are all text, with the name, team, and position over a ghost image of the metallic strip.  Then there is a standard player accomplishment blurb, followed by an ad line for batting gloves, and several social media and web links to Franklin.  And of course, Topps' copyright and misc. logos.

They are really kinda phoning it in on these.  If they are really an attempt to partner (and actively advertise) on a trading card - which is kinda scary -  then show the product!

Make 'em look like a glove.  This concept could even work as a die-cut with the velcro strip.  Color them to match the player's custom gloves.

On the back, we don't need to read about each guy's accomplishments again.  Leave that for their base cards, their All-Star cards, their inserts and almost every other card with their photo on it.  This insert is all about [selling] gloves!  Let's see each guy's custom gloves!  That's something we've never seen before on a card!  They could even write about how they like theirs customized in certain ways, or the different modifications or specs they've tried. 

If it wasn't such blatant advertising, it would be a really nice unique concept for an insert set.  You never see anything about the actual gear that the players use, except for the fragments of some of it in memorabilia cards.  A focus on the gear is an interesting departure from the same old thing.

Oh, and by the way, I must protest Team Franklin card #12.  Dustin Pedroia should have been banned from this insert.  Or the card should at least say why he has to adjust his dang gloves after every pitch, whether he moves at all or not!

Monday, October 31, 2016

No Breakdown in this trade!

Thanks to defgav from Baseball Card Breakdown for some cool real cards, and some entertaining custom mock-ups as well. 

He hit me with these two post-career Jim Palmers that I didn't have.  A remarkable feat since I have several pages of them in the binder, but don't have any of my player collection post-career stuff cataloged on my website, and only have a few players' post-career cards (including Palmer's) as scans and printouts that I keep with my lists that remain on paper.

 Also included were two set hits - the Homegrown Heroes insert from 2013 Hometown Heroes, and 2014 Gypsy Queen Don Mattingly which was one of the last three cards I need for that base set.  (Anyone have a spare Jeter and Rivera SP?)

The rest of the package was one sided printouts on glossy paper, cut to regulation size of some Orioles in the 1962 Topps design...

 That Frank Robinson is fantastic.  One of these days I'll figure out how to print my own customs onto real card stock, with properly aligned backs and everything.

The last one, which he wrote his note on, had me LMAO.  Poor Billy is just the black sheep....

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hooray for Cleveland!

Three cheers for the Indians for defeating Toronto in the 2016 ALCS.  Finally, the frat-boy hotshot teams are losing and the underdogs are getting their chance to win!

Now the Cubs need to get there too!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Greatest Highlight from NFL Week 5

Gotta give the usually obnoxious Odell Beckham Jr, props for this one:

Nice to see they kissed and made up.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Second Coming of #12 is imminent

Watch out all you heathens!  The Savior of Sports is coming back!

We'll all be saved from the sacrilege of small market teams!  No more will you have to tolerate the mediocrity of semi-star quarterbacks!  The Light of the Sports World has returned!

Tom Brady, the most worshipped player in the NFL is set to debut for the 2016 season this week.  He returns from a suspension that many call unfair and unwarranted.  The "Brady Revenge Tour" begins on Sunday, where he will avenge his humiliation and take his rightful place upon the highest throne in the entire league.

Bleah.  Makes me sick....

All the sportscasters are raving about how wonderful it is that they get their favorite guy back.  And how it's so unjustified that he got suspended in the first place.  He's just the poster boy for high character and the greatest player since Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, and Otto Graham combined.

Anyone that knows me well enough to hear my opinions of sports and football knows that I can't stand the guy.  I think he's an accurate passer that makes good decisions.  And that's about it.  Put him on Cleveland or San Francisco this year and see how much of a demigod he really is.  Bill Belechick's system and team culture are the real secret to his success by far.

Look what's happened this year.  Brady is out four weeks, so backup Jimmy Garoppolo (31 total NFL passes until that game - only four all last year) comes in and wins the first game, and is on his way to a second victory before going out with a shoulder injury early in Week 2.  Then third round draft pick Jacoby Brissett comes in and finishes that game and shuts out the Texans the next week.  During that game, he gets a thumb sprain and the whole thing falls apart against Buffalo Week 4.

So they went 3-1 with the backup and the third string QB in action.

What does that say?  It's a limited sample size, but to me it points to the fact that BRADY'S NOT THAT SPECIAL.  If those other guys can guide the team to wins, what's the big difference?  They win by more points?

But the real reason there's so much excitement is that all the sportscasters get their idol back.  They gush over this guy so much, I'm surprised there aren't puddles in the broadcast booth.  Anything he does is praised like he's the only one who's ever done it, like throw screen passes and flat patterns to make first downs.  OMG he's such an amazing godlike figure on the field, that they have to show him on camera every few minutes even when he's irrelevant to what's going on on the field.  They will mention his name in other games when analyzing the most minute details of a quaterback's throwing motion or decision on second and seven to choose the Y receiver on the curl route.

The predictions are that he'll come back his first week and throw five touchdowns or more.  Well, they're playing Cleveland, so it is actually a possibility this week.  But the whole concept of "Revenge Tour" is ludicrous, because what does he really have to be upset about?  To me, he didn't get punished for masterminding a conspiracy to deflate footballs so his opponent would lose a playoff game.  He got rigthfully suspended for not cooperating in a federal investigation.  He destroyed a cell phone that was requested as evidence.  I don't care if there's nothing on it besides Gisele's duckface portraits, it was evidence.  Oh, is he too good of a character guy to be suspected of wrongdoing?  Just ask Bridget Moynahan.  While she is incredibly gracious when asked about her ex, (who got with Gisele at the same time Moynahan found out she was pregnant with his son), it is reported that she makes people agree not to mention his name around her, be they family or co-workers.  He wasn't even with her when she delivered the kid.  Now Gisele spouts off about how good they are at parenting and consider the son to be "theirs" to a degree.  Brady doesn't say much.  And he shouldn't.

Anyway.  rest assured that all the media will be saturating the channels with talk about this so-called saviour returning to action this Sunday.  He'll be the headline story in what would otherwise be a low rated game since it's such a mismatch.

But that's the trend these days.  Hype the obnoxious players, especially when they're in the large markets.  You see the same overexposure to guys like Odell Beckham when he goes so out of control that he is punching at the head of Josh Norman last year, or recently almost injures himself with the kicker's net (that never gets old!), or Dez Bryant, who runs out on the field while his defense is playing to protest a referee's call, but somehow doesn't get a penalty himself.  They get more screen time for their rants, celebrations, and selfish antics than they do for their great plays on the football field.  The NFL penalizes taunting and excessive celebrations (sometimes too much), but the networks still see fit to put these guys on screen and glorify them.  Their rants and "look at me" moments are replayed before the commercial breaks.

Brady gets the same treatment when he's seen screaming at other players on the sidelines, or demanding a flag on the defensive player for brushing his helmet with their hand while attempting to block a pass.  You won't hear a negative word said against him, though.  It's all justified when Brady's involved.  Heck, they invented a rule because of him.  I won't even get into the Tuck Rule....

I'm going to try to ignore all the Brady talk.  I refuse to be brainwashed into their religion.  Hold fast to your faith in your hometown teams, my friends.  Don't be fooled by the Commentating Clergy, the Reverends of the Replay, the Holy Orders of the Halftime Show.  Don't worship this Deity of First Downs, this Savior of the Screen Pass.  Keep holy the deserving gods of the gridiron like Walter Payton, Reggie White, Deacon Jones, and Jim Brown.  Go forth and fellowship in the name of your favorite franchise!  Amen!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My card room...or room and a half, actually

Well, it's a little late to the party, but...story of my life.

I saw the post on My Cardboard Habit  (via BB Card Breakdown) about the contest that had just closed where collectors showed pictures of their card rooms, and everyone voted on who had the coolest one.   I had taken a few shots of mine to show some friends I was visiting a while ago, but wasn't in time to put them into the contest.  I figure I'll go ahead and show them here, plus some more I just took for complete coverage.

My card room isn't just one side of a room, but actually inhabits one whole room in my townhouse, and spills over into the adjacent room as well.  Being primarily a three sport set collector, who also has a football team collection, plus over fifty player collections, my total volume is a bit higher than average.

I'll start in the "computer room", which houses my main staging area for pulling cards and packing them for mailing.  There are several boxes of cards here that don't actually count towards my collection because they are all tradeables or duplicates.

And no, I don't actually use that monitor.....

The monster box is all my dupes/tradeables from 1980 thru 1993.  The smaller ones are more current set dupes.  The little piles are mostly either inserts, game-used, oddballs, or cards I've pulled for certain people.  My 1993 thru 2003 dupes are in a monster box on the desk with my computer on the right side of the room (not shown). There is another box under the desk of mostly 2005 singles, and another against the wall of 2004 thru 2010.

Now let's go over to the "Card Room" itself....

As you enter, you notice the Priest Holmes Fathead on the wall next to twin china cabinets....

The desk in the middle is where I sort sets and file away my newest acquisitions after I take them off my wantlist website in the other room.  On the wall is my prized team photo of the 1909 New York Giants baseball team, and my signed Joe Theismann jersey.  You can see the Giants pic on my want list site, which at the time of this writing is jacked up for some reason.  There's a whole story about how I got the picture and what came with it, but that's another post.

Anyway, continuing into the room, here are the two china cabinets.  They make great storage for cards with the windowed cabinets up top, the bottom cabinets for set boxes, and the drawers for convenient storage of supplies.

The small drawers are even better because they are originally made for silverware, but top loaders fit right between the rails, which makes storing game-used and autos really nice.

Here are the cabinets fully open.  The left cabinet is all baseball.  The right one is football and hockey, hence it's not quite as full.  Binder space in the room is at 100%, so they are a mix of everything.

On the right, you can see my (baseball) player collection binders, and Priest's.  The first four are my vintage players, and the other three are the newer players that spanned into the 1990's which means they have tons more cards than the other guys.  So only a couple guys fill the entire binder.

On the other side of the  sorting desk is the main binder shelf.  I really need another one of these because I have some more vintage sets etc. that are ready to get sheeted up.  But there isn't anywhere to put them yet.   My baseball set binders are sort of color coded by decade.  Grey for 60's, Blue for 70's, and Black for 80's, though most of my 80's sets are still in boxes.  I pick out the most colorful and interesting cards to make the printed labels from (I don't use real cards).  And I have a rule that I try not to use the same team on two labels.  The first reddish brown binder was the first one I ever owned.

Around the room you see the couch that is more often holding some boxes and books than people.  Next to that is the wire rack that holds the larger boxes that don't fit into the cabinets or that hold sets I'm still actively working on.

On top of the rack is my Redskins bulk collection.  The '40's thru the early 80's are in a couple binders, or in the drawer.  The rest are here in the old vinyl carry cases that I used to use before white boxes were really the norm.  They are great for team collections because they have 30 separate slots that you can segregate each year's cards by company.  I put Action Packed and Bowman in the first slot, and then alphabetically (Donruss, Fleer & Skybox, Pacific, Playoff, Press Pass, Score, Topps, Upper Deck) etc.  Nowadays it's more like Bowman, Donruss/Panini, Score, Topps, and I can get four years in one case instead of just two.   Luckily, I've been able to find these cases here and there through the years, so I can keep my collection consistent.

So besides the one little overflow shelf, you're back to the doorway of the room.  Hadn't planned on keeping that little shelf in front of the closet, but I'm at full capacity until I figure out another arrangement that allows more binder space.

The other things I'll give you a better look at are the non-card items that I've gathered while amassing this much cardboard.  I try not to get into too much peripheral stuff since space is at such a premium.  But as a player collector, you do run into some unique things that you just have to have.

My Priest Holmes non-card collection is on top of the baseball cabinet.  I've got all but the scarcest figures and McFarlanes of the running back who won me two fantasy seasons.  I just need a signed Texas helmet and this collection will be just about complete.

The other side is all oddball items, mostly of my baseball player collections.  I guess to be consistent, I should swap them with the Priest items.  There are also autographed baseballs from Jim Palmer and Brooks Robinson, plus bobbleheads from players on my local favorite teams.

So there you are.  That's my card environment.  Don't know if I'd win for coolness, but I think I got the sheer volume prize locked up.  Except if you see what my friend Stuart has.  He doesn't have one or two rooms...he's got cards in EVERY room, and in multiple other houses.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

2016 National Convention Loot - Epilogue

Expectations for this year's show were lower than average, but I thought it was just as good a show as the others I've been to (2009 thru 2014).

This was the first time that I "flew solo" and only really bought for myself.  Most years I figure to meet a couple guys from the trading groups I deal on, but nobody approached me.  I was also on the lookout for any of the (real) bloggers, but I didn't recognize anyone til after I read some of their posts. Then I thought I may have seen a couple of them.

Ah well, it's like I say, there's no such thing as a bad day at a card show.  Especially one this big.

Here's what I initially pulled from my four A&G boxes.  Not sure I'd score real high on Gint-A-Cuffs.

The Brooklyn mini is Anthony Rendon of the Nats.  Going for the rainbow on that one.

The printing plate is VMart.  I'll trade it for another printing plate of either the Orioles or Nationals. The King Felix mini, Wil Myers, Crawford, and Sklar relics are available for trade, as is the Peraza auto.  His was the last base card I needed for the set.  Yes, believe it or not, I didn't get a full set from FOUR boxes of the stuff.  That's why I hate picking from a pile of loose boxes because you lose the collation of a fresh opened case.  I basically got the same batch of base cards three times, and then the fourth box was different.  I've already traded a starter set and some of the relics for what I need.  Luckily, the inserts were different across all the boxes, so I only had a couple dupes. That's what I really hate the most is getting the same set of inserts from two boxes in a row.  It happens to me when I buy two boxes of flagship about half the time.  I switched vendors and it seems to have improved.

Here are the box toppers and the bulk base.


Also still have about half the regular minis available too.  Those are my major source of trade bait for A&G whenever I do it.  Sorry, box toppers aren't for trade.  Going for all of them.

Next time - my card room.  Another relevant post about two weeks past its relevancy....

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2016 National Convention Loot - Part 4

The day was winding down, so after so much time at the quarter boxes, and then getting the Strasburgs & RG3's that I hadn't planned on, I decided to focus on a couple goals I had coming into the show.  I wanted to complete two vintage team sets.  I don't usually collect team sets, unless we're talking about Redskins football cards, and then it's EVERY set.  But in these particular cases, I was fortunate to come into starter lots of both teams under interesting circumstances.

The first one is the 1957 Topps Brooklyn Dodgers.  Several years ago, I bought a collection from a friend of a friend who was looking to liquidate his cards.  I hear about collectors buying collections all the time, and am usually jealous, but this is the one time (so far) that I was the lucky one.  He had tons of vintage stars and some other great stuff that I won't list in detail here.  But needless to say, he got a decent sum and I got an awesome deal on a big selection of star cards.  This included the better part of a 1957 Dodgers team set.  The Drysdale rookie, team card, Snider, Reese, Hodges, and most of the commons were all there.  I decided to finish it.  Sort of a prelude to whenever I will tackle the whole '57 set.

I found the Podres, Campanella and the Koufax several weeks ago at a dealer in Baltimore for a great price.  The only ones I had left were Don Zimmer and an upgrade to the Roger Craig.

Sorry about the low quality photos...

I had seen a Zimmer at one dealer for like $4, but it was pretty "well loved".  It was amazing the range of prices that these two cards went for among the dealers at the National.   A few had Zimmer for 15 bucks or more.  One dealer, which I concluded must have been Polo Grounds (who advertise in SCD and label a lot of their singles "Beauties") had a really nice Craig.  I flipped it over and the little sticker said $60 - Beauty!  I politely said that was a bit out of my range and stepped away before choking.

Finally I came to a dealer that was a few rows from the front of the show, but faced towards the back.  I don't recall his name, but he is another I'll go back to.  He had rubber-banded stacks of toploadered vintage in a showcase.  I found a Craig in decent shape for $7, and he pulled out a Zimmer that was marked at $8.  I said "Now that's what I'm talking about!".  Both were well centered.  The Zimmer had some corner wear, but was more than acceptable.

I also found these 1970 Topps star cards from the same guy - Al Kaline and Willie Mays.  They were priced very reasonably as well.  They are almost a little too nice to fit in my mid-grade '70 set.

So here is the completed Dodger team from 1957 Topps in pages or screwdowns:


At this point, I was basically out of cash, and the show was closing in an hour or so.  Besides a T205 Mathewson, there was only one other target card I hadn't seen.  (At least that I could afford.)  It would complete a team set that I started back when Topps was giving cards away through the 2011 Topps Millions online redemption program.  For those that don't know, you pulled code cards from packs of 2011 flagship and redeemed them for vintage cards from the Topps site.  These weren't stamped buybacks, but just regular cards that you could collect and trade for other specific cards through the site.  Very cool thing at the time.

Anyway, so I ended up with two or three 1955 Washington Senators from that program.  I figured "Hey, why not go for the whole team?"   The Senators weren't that great, how hard could it be?  Then I researched a little further.  One little hitch to that idea - Harmon Killebrew is in that team set.


Recently I had seen copies on COMC for right around $100, so I figured it might actually be doable.

So here I was, end of the show, no money, running out of time.  I still have credit, but should I just go and let it slide until the next show?  Or should I hit one more place?

I remembered a dealer who was right on the end of the first row, just beyond where I got all the current insert cards the first day.  He was the one who sold me my '59 Mantle in Chicago a couple years back.  He was very nice to deal with and had quality superstar cards at good prices.  So I said to myself, "if he takes credit, and he has a good one, I'm in."

I walked up to the front row and found Ron from Coach Estes Cards.  I asked first if he took plastic.  He did.  Then I asked him about the Killer RC.  He had one in a rotating case.  It was OK but off center.  Marked at $100.  I think he was selling cards from that case at a 10% discount.  He then looked it over and said he'd take another 10% off.  That put it at $80.  I knew then that I had made the right decision to come to his table.  The other Killebrews I had seen were $200 to $250 out in the show.  I had almost walked out, but I was drawn to this table.  This is the one I was meant to have.  We completed the transaction and I walked out of the show.

Here is the completed 1955 Topps Senators team:

With both the Dodgers and the Killebrew, and really with all the major vintage star cards I got,  I had seen several examples of each, but I can always feel if the one I'm holding is the one I'm meant to own.  It's usually about finding the balance between the condition you want, and the price you want to pay.  But a lot of times, it's just a feeling.

This show didn't yield the volume that some past Nationals have, but I was very satisfied with all that I had found.  Can't wait 'til next year in Chicago, and for the next Chantilly, VA show in October!

Next post, my pulls from the A&G boxes.  And maybe some poll questions about what vintage you're working on, etc.