Monday, December 31, 2018

The Reminiscence Bump

Night Owl's post about the memories of life events between the ages of 10 to 30 for most people over 40 has inspired several bloggers to follow suit in illustrating what certain cards or years trigger in their minds.  This is my timeline, but I think I will be expanding on it in future posts.

It's 1978 and I'm in 7th grade and I have a handful of '74 Topps cards whose origin I can't recall.  These are the only cards I own.  I take them to school and trade with a few other guys, but I'm not collecting seriously yet.
The Brewers guys are my favorites, mostly because their uniforms are interesting and the blue color on the team tabs is nice.  Pedro is the happy go lucky dude, while Eduardo is the serious one - at least in my mind.  I've heard of the Yastrzemski fellow, so I'll hold on to that one for a while.  (The Yaz scan is my card.)

1979 - Now my neighbor friends are all into cards and we start set building.  My entire collection fits in one binder and two of those Topps lockers.  The first set I complete is '79 Topps football.  I get down to one guy on the Jets to finish the set.  This then leads to...

1980 - I complete the 1980 Topps baseball set.  I'm trying to remember which card finished it off, but I know it wasn't Rickey.  This set becomes the "default normal" set to me for all time.  It ends up defining the line between vintage and modern at the time and still separates the eras in my mind.  Even though it's almost forty years old now, it never seems "old" to me.  1980 starts a run of set building in both directions that continues to this day.


1981 - Error mania begins.  I love variations and collecting "master" base sets.  I still have the xeroxed printout of all the 1981 Donruss errors in my list binder.  I'm not sure that I hand collated all three sets in '81, but I dive right in to all three companies' offerings one way or another.   I watch a lot of baseball on TV and enjoy Fernandomania in '81.
At some point, I find that I have a few cards of some players that I kind of like and turn them into player collections.  These are from the various singles I have at the time that are not yet set builds.  I call them my "Collectibles". 

1982 - By now, I've discovered a card shop in Hanover, PA that becomes my regular source for new sets.  I make it a yearly habit to buy two out of the three products, and hand collate the third.  From what I know, the full sets only cost like $10.  They are mostly hand collated by the shop, but the Donruss sets come in the company issued boxes, so they may be factory sets.

  I actually have the entire calendar year of 1982 documented.  I kept what you could call a "journal" of sorts for a few years during this time.  In this little travel planner book, I scrawled a very bried blurb about what I did each day.  Most of it is playing pickup sports out in the fields near my townhouse, school work and things that went on there, visiting relatives (including my Dad since he and Mom were divorced), and doing kid type stuff around the neighborhood with my friends - including trading, buying and selling cards.  I was the oldest of my bunch by a couple years, so I wasn't as involved with kids my own age at the time.

I will be posting different specific entries in the book that are card related.  I will also try to find the other books as well.  Stay Tuned!

1983 - Set building is in full swing.  This should be about the point where I started taking boxes that I got from the deli department of the grocery store I worked at and gave them to the card shop in Hanover.  Regular white boxes weren't as prevalent then, so you just used what you could get.  These were the perfect size.  Plus, they were free!

And this happened...

1984 - Graduated from high school.  Got my three sets, which I considered lucky at the time since the Donruss set was a bit harder to come by.  Pretty sure I bought Donruss and Fleer in one shot and built Topps by hand.  At this point, between the three sets, other things like Fleer Star Stickers and Donruss Action All-Stars, there was too much being put out.  You couldn't collect it all.  (Boy, we didn't know the half of it back then, eh?)
This would mark the end of the first phase of my collecting life.  I would switch over to comics in a little while and not buy any cards for a long time.

1989 - Bought two wax boxes of Topps just to see what they were like, since I hadn't seen any for five years.  Can't tell you where I got them.  I think they cost $25 at the time.  Liked them OK, and completed the set eventually, but this didn't get me back into the hobby.  I was completely oblivious to the whole overproduction era and how cards took off in the following years.  Was into comics until about 1993, and then gave those up too.

Fall/Winter 2003 - Had just resigned from my job at the computer manufacturer.  I knew that I would be working for the local school system soon, but had a couple months in between to work it out.  Decided to get back into cards when I did a project about my 1909 NY Giants team photo and ordered some reprint cards to go with it.
Discovered that current cards had expanded into inserts, parallels, game-used jerseys,  autographs, eBay, grading, and everything else.
Found a couple of the card shops nearby were still around and dove in again.  First cards I bought were a short set of 2002 Fleer Focus Jersey Edition football.  (1-100).

2004 - I win my fantasy football league for the second consecutive year.  Running Backs are the strongest performers in that period, and I had one of the best.  Turns out he's a high character guy as well.  He becomes one of my most dedicated player collections.

2005 - Washington gets a baseball team.  Frank Robinson leads them to an exact 86-86 record.  I go to a couple games and start to follow the team.  I still like the Orioles a bit better, but it's cool to have two local teams now.  The Redskins and Capitals aren't doing much otherwise.

2009 - Topps issues a parallel set in Series 1 that is available a whole blaster at a time.  I didn't know about them until I had pretty much wrapped up the base set, but since you can get them separately, I jumped in.  Unfortunately, they changed their minds in Series 2 and forced us to buy them a few at a time while piling up Series 2 base singles.  I balked.  Still haven't finished them.

Mid-year, I post this custom from Goose Joak and design a back for it.  It's the first card-related post I put on this blog, but the only post in 2009 at all.  I continue to post about three to ten times a year for the next several years until 2016 when I go about once or twice a week.  Then finally, in 2017, I started posting regularly.

And the rest is ... in my archive.

Like I mentioned, I will be posting some more about daily happenings of 1982, plus some miscellaneous memories that are triggered by specific cards.  I also figured out that I can document when I worked on various 70's and 60's Topps sets by when the lists were composed using Word.  The file creation dates spell it right out.

For now, Happy 2019!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Don't Look A Gift Box In The Mojo

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth is an admonishment to be grateful when receiving a present and not to find fault with that present. A horse’s teeth change as it ages, and looking in its mouth is a good way to judge the health and value of a horse. To question the value of a gift is an insult.
This is a rare occasion!  I really never actually get cards as gifts from people that don't collect themselves.  My good friends on my pool team that I also dog-sit for gave me a Holiday Box of Topps snowflakes this year.

 It's always a gamble if you actually ask non-collectors to buy you cards.  They may end up with something that you've finished a long time ago, or wouldn't actually buy yourself.  But this was a good choice.  I hadn't considered picking these up before, but since they are free, and I've cut back on the inserts for the flagship set, these will fit right in with those.

These have been shown enough that there's nothing new to see here really.  I'm just glad to get guys like Acuna and Trout.  Pardon the fuzzy picture.

These are my "sparkle flakes" as it were.  Story and Mauer aren't bad, but nobody earth shaking here.

Pretty decent pull for a single hit box.  I have a tendency to pull Miggys, much to the chagrin of my Michigan friends.

My base needs are listed on my wants site.  All of the other stuff is tradeable, even Miggy for the right player.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pregame Packs Prior To Puck Drop

While Christmas shopping in Wal-Mart, (and other classier joints later), I made the required check of the card section.  It was typically pitiful, but I stumbled upon one product that I did not expect to find.  There were three blasters of this year's Parkhurst hockey.

I really liked the 2016-17 version, but haven't finished it, so I debated about starting another one.  Went away and looked for the other things I was there for, and then came back.  I won't usually buy more than one or two blasters of anything at one time, but I "did a Stuart*" this time and dove in and bought all three.

*Stuart is my friend in Michigan who buys a lot of retail,
sometimes no matter the diminishing returns.
Usually the base card design has some green in it, but apparently they decided to change the tradition this year.  Base cards have an oval with the Parkhurst name and the main team color.  This sits above a dark grey strip with the player name.  The white borders have an indentation that sets off the team logo, and is accented by grey stripes and a circle with the player's position.  There are also silver and gold (namestripe) parallels.

Backs have the same picture overlayed with five years of stats and a small black number tag in the corner.  The name strip and logo also reappear on the flip side.

So as the Caps pre-game was coming on, I set up my tray and started ripping.

Twelve packs of ten cards each per blaster.  So not bad for your average retail box.

Knocked 'em all out one after the other, while watching the preview of the Caps-Punkwangs.

I finished so quick I didn't actually watch the game until the third period.  Didn't end well.

But my results were pretty nice.  Noticed some dupes in the stack of base cards, but thankfully didn't feel like I duplicated a whole box at any point.

And was lucky to pull an auto, though it's a prospect that I don't know - Adam Gaudette of the Canucks.  Will trade for a Caps auto.  The two small piles of base in the photo are the Capitals, which I'll double up on, and the parallels.

I like the inserts.  Most are nice and shiny, and the themes are typical, but interesting, and not just star player glorification.  I won't break them down here, but I can briefly give you an idea about them.  There aren't many pictures on the TCDB yet, so you may check there later.
  • Ice Ambassadors are actually basically star worship to an extent, but it's OK if they only do it once.  These look nice with the gold background and cool fonts.  
  • Original 6 focus on one player from each team's Past, Present, and Future.  
  • Parkhurst Permits harken back to 1995 Studio baseball that look like passports of players from all over the world as members of Canadian and American teams.
  • Prominent Prospects.  Shiny rookies...blah blah blah.  Hopefully I got at least a couple of the guys that are going to be hard to find.
  • View From The Ice are the neat perspective shots from the net cameras.  Not all are right behind a sprawling goalie.
  • There are also apparently "Tall Boys" which are "e-Pack exclusives".  Whatever they are.
Overall I like the set.  The design isn't quite as cool as previous ones, but it works.  The inserts aren't overbloated, as each set is only 10, 18, or 25 cards.  That's how you do inserts!

Haven't sorted my base yet, but I feel like I should be able to trade for the rest of the 380 that I'm missing.  Let me know if you've taken the plunge into these as well.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Another NBC4 News Departure

Channel 4 News lost another lovely lady on the 17th.  Angie Goff bid farewell to her comrades and audience and is moving on to other personal projects.

First Sheena Parveen left, and now Angie!

She's just so sweet and adorable, and what a great smile.  My interest in the news is minimal, and this isn't going to help.

Good luck Angie!

And somebody tie Erika Gonzalez to a chair down at that station!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Santa's Elves Working Overtime

Got my blogger Secret Santa package late last week.

An expertly wrapped foil packet came with the return address of Secret Santa in Sutton, MA.

Inside was an envelope with a note and the gift wrapped package.

The note says the gift is brought to (me) by Jon at Penny Sleeve, and is signed by Shane from Off The Wall.  I'm not sure who contributed what, so there's still some secret to it.

Then I tore into the package.

A second bubble mailer layer!

Inside that...

Three subcontainers including a Topps Now! packet and two team bagged bundles.

Inside those?  The Now! packet had my last card for 2000 Traded - the big gun - Miguel Cabrera.

The rest of the package was a ton of knockoffs to my Heritage wants.  The 2007 ('58) were mostly the yellow name or team variations, and most of the others were rife with short prints!

Awesome selection of singles guys!  I was even able to put names on the remaining short lists of some of these sets.

Merry Christmas to Shane, Jon, and all the other collectors and bloggers out there!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My Man Jay Makes A Great Mailday

In very early December, I received a package from Jay in Michigan, who I highlighted earlier from the Redford shows up there.

This time it was the batch of 1964 Topps stars and higher numbers that I had approved just a few days before.

I'm gonna leave this picture extra large, even though it runs into the margin a bit.

Feast in the vintage awesomeness!

One inevitable hitch, though.

Ah, dangit!  At least it was an upgrade.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Two Hauls From My New Favorite Shop (300th post)

There is a guy on YouTube who posts videos that he makes when he finds card shops or booths in antique stores and flea markets.  His moniker is Jabs Family.  I love that they discover new sources of cardboard, but the stuff they actually buy is kinda goofy by my standards.  I can tell they are youg guys that aren't in it to collect for sentimental reasons. 

I was watching one briefly, (I have to quit because he's wearing a camera and keeps turning quickly which makes me motion sick after a while) about a shop they found northwest of Hagerstown in Middleburg.  It's called Blue Ridge Collectables, and it's right up the road from where the monthly show used to be.

A week or so after they posted, I went up there and was amazed to find the sheer volume that they had in star cards, inserts, oddballs, vintage, gamers & autos, wax boxes and complete sets.  The booth has three sides and they're filled to the gills with monster boxes of 25¢, 50¢, and $1 mixed singles, as well as some boxes sorted by player, some by single year, and the football in the back by team.  Then the binders have commons from many different sets and years, plus oddballs and inserts sorted to varying degrees.

I've since made another trip up there before Christmas shopping took over as a priority (with only two weeks left, I had to draw the line).

Here are the results of my visits.  I've combined them since I couldn't fit any of it on my sorting table at the moment. 

A few random Redskins from a small box of 2018 stuff.  One odd insert from 2011.  And a big batch of 1978 Fleet Team Action football.  I got those and the oversize Favre while my phone was still working on the first trip.  Luckily, I had a printed list of '71 football so I could still pull these after the phone died.

Oddballs everywhere.  Those two mini puzzles were spur of the moment buys that ended up being dupes, but for 25 and 50¢, I couldn't go wrong.  Some great finds with the two stamps, the Milk Duds Kessinger, the funky Fisk sticker thing, and the Keller et al TCMA.

There are entire binders full of past year inserts.  I came back the second time and loaded up on most of these 2003 Topps inserts.  The Cal's from '96 are excellent finds.  I actually picked up the entire set of the oversize version of those Cals from this place too for a buck a shot.  I already sheeted 'em up, so I didn't take a picture.  Great to knock off a couple more Hygrade variants too, as well as my last Fleer Extra Bases base card.  The Aarons are reprints from 2000 or so.  And the 2005 Donruss checklists are SPs.

Stupid reflections - I can't take good pictures at night
anywhere in the house without reflections. 
I was overjoyed to find '75 minis - especially for a quarter or two each.  The Coopy Rickey kills my set, except for a couple of the SP colorized ones.  More SPs and inserts from 2000's sets.  And rounding it off are some 2017 Topps.

There are also boxes of inserts separated by year that go back to about 2006.  The vast majority are Topps, but that's a great resource to have for trading.  Return trips are guaranteed.

A better look at the minis.

The bulk of my first visit was all these from 2006 Heritage.  Pretty much a broken set in a binder.  I cleaned up.

I'll be a regular customer up there from now on.  And I'll be able to make some awesome trades this coming year too.