Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Back to the Minors

The 90's were the Industrial Revolution of Sports Cards.  Card companies introduced memorabilia cards, autographs, and a variety of new advanced technologies to cards.  We also saw the rise in popularity of inserts, parallels and minor league cards.

I remember seeing minor league trading cards in the 80's, but outside of a few singles in dealers' display cases... I didn't really have access to any for many years.

Then in the early 90's... ProCards, CMC, and Best issued minor league baseball cards that were distributed in wax packs and the floodgates were opened.  I divvied up my pocket change and purchased as many of these packs as I could afford looking for Ben McDonalds and Jeff Bagwells.

Unfortunately these products never really panned out, however that doesn't make them less cool.  I've recently been craving minor league cards from the 80's and 90's and thanks to overproduction... many are very affordable.

1990 Best #1

I picked up this card of The Big Hurt for 75¢ on Sportlots.  It's not his first minor league issue, but at least it's from his rookie year.

1983 Lynchburg Mets TCMA #10

This card was a little more expensive.  I picked up the entire 23 card team set for $17 (+ $3 shipping) back in October.  This set features the first cards of both Gooden and Lenny Dykstra.  I had seen this card in a mid 80's issue of Baseball Cards Magazine and have wanted a copy every since.

And finally my most recent minor league purchase...

1994 Fleer ProCards #633

Wrapping things up is a card I've wanted for two decades.  Jordan was at best a baseball novelty item, but his popularity among sports fans made this card a pretty popular novelty item.  You can typically find these for a couple of bucks, while complete sets fall in the $5 to $10 range.

I'm in the process of picking up a few other cheap minor league cards of notable guys from the 80's and 90's.  I'd love to add a 1983 Fritsch Visalia Oaks Kirby Puckett or a 1986 ProCards Pittsfield Cubs Greg Maddux, but I'm thinking a 1991 ProCards Chipper Jones is a little more realistic.

What about you guys...

Anyone collect or used to collect minor league cards?

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Breakin' The Law

Rules are important to maintain order within a civilization.  In terms of collecting, sometimes I'll create a rule for myself to keep me from making poor decisions I'll end up regretting in the future.

Here are a few rules I've established for myself:

1.  Avoid spending more than a few dollars on any given memorabilia card.
2.  Avoid the temptation to dive into baseball "prospecting".
3.  Avoid having someone else "bust my box" for me.
4.  Avoid purchasing autographs signed on "stickers".
5.  Avoid busting full priced blaster boxes.
6.  Avoid the "investment" philosophy.
7.  Avoid "group" breaks, unless their for charity.

And finally the one that pertains to today's post:  Avoid purchasing cut-signatures of active signers.

Now before I offend anyone... I totally understand their place in the hobby.  If someone wants to cut up a photo or a check and insert them into a trading card, that's their business.  Heck... my buddy often grabs signatures on index cards when he finds himself without a photo of the athlete and he creates these amazing displays with them.

Personally... it's just not my thing.  If I'm going to spend my hard earned money on a athlete's signature, then I'll usually save up and purchase a pack pulled, hard signed autograph that I enjoy looking at while holding in my hand.

However... every now and then... I'll get rebellious and break my own rules.  And that's exactly what took place last week.

I stumbled across a complete set of 2014 HA Originals in one of my saved eBay searches.  The set contains twenty-four cut-signatures ranging from Lou Brock to Frank Thomas:

Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Steve Carlton, and Chris Chambliss

Carlton Fisk, Bob Gibson, Dwight Gooden, and Goose Gossage

Ray Knight, Reggie Jackson, Tony Kubek, and Tony La Russa

Juan Marichal, Graig Nettles, Gaylord Perry, and Lou Piniella

Tim Raines, Pete Rose, Gary Sheffield, and Ozzie Smith

Darryl Strawberry, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, and Frank Thomas

Now like I said... normally this kind of set wouldn't interest me.  Nonetheless, I really like the design of the embedded miniature card and the checklist is pretty solid.  Most importantly... the price was right.

The damage?  $104 (+ $13 shipping).  That's less than $5 per autograph delivered, which is why I broke my own rule and made the purchase.

And believe it or not... the set actually looks nicer in person.  My only complaint is the Pete Rose signature which has been partially cut off.  But I'm thinking that my conscience will let me live with this purchase.

What about you?

Do you have any hobby rules that you've established for yourself?  If so, what are they?

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Absolutely Breathtaking

If Stadium Club baseball was a woman, it would be Ms. Upton:

In other words... stunning and badass.  It's hands down my favorite baseball product of the season and a classic for collectors who appreciate photography.

I picked up two boxes from Steel City Collectibles during their Black Friday sale for $49.95 each and I just grabbed two more last night.

Normally, I'd classify these purchases as "out of character", but I had been looking for some reasonably priced boxes for entertainment purposes.  And I wasn't disappointed.

I discovered first hand just how gorgeous this set is.

The vibrant colors and borderless photos pays homage to its once popular 90's ancestor.

And the inclusion of players from both the past and present make this checklist rock solid.

I especially enjoy the handful of black and white photography used within the set.  It's also really cool to see a few candid shots like Jackie signing autographs thrown into the mix too.

But the heart of the set are the action shots... most of which could be blown up and hung on museum walls.

Oh... and I almost forgot to mention this.  Collation was AWESOME!  Out of my first two boxes, I pulled 179 different cards and only one double.

Normally I'd be focused on the inserts, parallels, and autographs from this box break... but honestly they're just the icing on the cake.  The 200 card base set takes centerstage for me and I'm currently 74.5% of the way towards completing it.

So what are your thoughts on this stuff?  Hate it?  Like it?  Love it?

I hope all of you have a great weekend.  Happy Saturday and sayonara!

P.S.  I realize that this is the third appearance of the lovely Kate on this blog... and to be honest... it's probably not the last.  It's just too cool of a card to keep hidden in my collection.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Vintage Eye Candy

I've been in love with the 1975 Topps Minis since I was a kid.  I remember hearing that they were a test issue and much more scarce than the regular 75's... which only increased the infatuation.  The only problem is when I was ten years old, I didn't have the willpower to save up and buy a complete set.

Plus in the 80's, I more interested in new releases instead of vintage.  As time went on... the set continued to get more expensive... thus making it less likely that I'd ever reach my dream of owning the 660 card set.

Fast forward three decades and I'm finally in the position where I can pick up something special for myself every now and then.  So when I stumbled across this near mint condition set on eBay, it was love a first sight.  I knew I had to own it, so I made the seller a fair offer and thankfully he accepted.

Upon its arrival, I quickly discovered that this set had a few flaws.  Twelve to be exact.  There were two cards missing: #166 Woodie Fryman and #344 Ben Oglivie.  And ten of the team checklists had be marked in pencil.

The seller ended up giving me a partial refund to help cover the cost of replacing the cards.  I immediately picked up the two missing singles, but I'm still in the process of acquiring the team checklists.

In the meantime... I've thrown the set into Ultra Pro's new 9-pocket mini card pages and have to admit... the set looks awesome.  See for yourself:

It looks so good that the pencil marks are hardly noticeable.  I've only had this set in the binder since last weekend and I've already looked through it ten to fifteen times.  And guess what?  I'm so enamored by the bright colors, numerous superstars, and awesome card design... I haven't once flipped over the checklists in search of pencil.

Right now... it's about appreciating what I have in front of me.  And I'm perfectly happy with what I see.

Happy Wednesday everyone... and sayonara!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Local Legend = Childhood Cardboard King

These days... Dave Stieb doesn't receive a lot of hobby love.  During the 80's... it was a completely different story in my neck of the woods.  He was a hometown favorite who attended my local high school and was one of the best pitchers during the decade.

1980 Topps #77

And in my neighborhood... this card was on everyone's wantlist.  Out of all of my friends... there was one copy and it flip-flopped between several of our houses over the years.

I have no idea who ended up with the card... or if they ended up holding onto it.  Regardless... I'm just glad that I have a copy for my collection.

It's off-centered.  It has soft corners.  And the edges aren't much better.  But does condition really matter when it comes to sentimental value?  No in my book.

Happy Monday and sayonara!