Friday, July 25, 2014

A Childhood Favorite Returns

When I was younger, I loved eating canned peaches.  I loved watching Star Wars.  And I loved basketball.

I still eat canned peaches and enjoy watching Star Wars... but basketball is no longer something I enjoy.  But today I read on ESPN that my childhood favorite player was in negotiations for the head coaching position with his former team and my former favorite team:  The Los Angeles Lakers.

Back in the 80's, Byron was a lights out shooter.  As a kid, I practiced his baseline jumper on a regular basis and eventually got pretty good at it.

A few years later, I started collecting basketball cards and quickly started targeting Byron's cards.  One of my first big purchases was a copy of his 1986-87 Fleer rookie card.

In 1993, the Lakers released him after he spent ten seasons and won three titles with them.  That didn't keep me from collecting his cards. 

Three years later, he rejoined the Lakers after spending some time in Indiana and Vancouver.  That year he wrapped up his career mentoring a kid named Kobe.

He eventually came back to the NBA as an assistant coach and eventually spent over a decade as a head coach for the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

After the Cavaliers struggled for three straight seasons, Scott was fired towards the end of the 2012/13 season.

But life is filled with second chances.  And even though I won't be watching or following professional basketball anytime soon... I was happy to hear that my favorite player from back in the day is getting a second chance as a Los Angeles Laker.

Good luck Byron!  Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gleaming Garciaparra

This blog post has been identified to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy.  View discretion is advised.

Here's another card I discovered recently in one of the 5,000 count boxes.  I have no idea when or where I acquired it, but it's pretty awesome.  Granted... I'm one of those people who get distracted to bright, shiny objects.

The card is a Limited Exposure parallel from the 1997 Donruss Limited set.  Back then... it was considered a mid to high-end product and was broken down into multiple subsets.  Garciaparra and Grudzielanek were paired together and included in the "Counterparts" subset, because they both shared the same position.

Grudzielanek quietly flew under the hobby radar for fifteen seasons, while amassing very respectable career numbers.  On the other hand, Nomar is a household name among baseball fans and one of my favorite shortstops to watch back in the late 90's/early 2000's.

Today is Garciaparra's 41st birthday.  Happy Birthday Nomah!

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Yeah... That's The Ticket!

It started with the idea of consolidating three 5,000 count monster boxes, but has evolved into the organization of nearly 45,000 cards.  Sadly... I'm not finished and it's already been two weeks and probably thirty to forty hours of sorting.  Can you say, Pandora's Box?

The good news is my office will be less cluttered when I'm finally finished and I'll have a firmer grasp of my cardboard inventory.  Plus I've uncovered a bunch of cards that I had forgotten about during the process.

Last week, I came across a quartet of holograms that are paired up with some wannabe ticket stubs in one of the boxes:

The cards/ticket stubs were produced by a company called Silver Star/Field of Vision back in 1991.  As you can see, each ticket stub/hologram commemorates a key moment from the 1991 season, like Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter and Rickey Henderson's 939th stolen base.

The company followed up them up with an additional four that included:  Will Clark, Roger Clemens, Darryl Strawberry, and the Rawlings Gold Glove Award.  Maybe one of these days I'll find someone at the flea market who has the final four.

Speaking of flea markets, that's where I found these.  I bought them for $5.  At the time it felt like a good deal.  I remember selling these for $10 to $20 each when I worked at a card shop in the early 90's.  These days, Beckett lists the four cards combined at only $8.  Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Well that's it for now.  I'll be sharing more of my finds with you in the near future.  Until then...

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Care Packages Aplenty

When I was a kid... one of my favorite pastimes was sorting my baseball cards.  Sometimes I'd sort them by team.  Other times I'd sort them by player.  Heck... I even sorted them by position.  It would drive my mom nuts having my cards scattered all over the floor.

Two weeks ago... I decided to overhaul a bunch of my 5,000 count boxes.  It started off with me attempting to build prize packages for my 1,000th post contest.  But it's sort of snowballed into insanity.  I literally have cards and boxes everywhere.  It's turned into a very stressful project and I finally understand how my mom felt.

I don't want to even think about the number of hours I've spent sifting through cards these past couple of weeks.  But today I decided to take the day off and relax.  I watched some television, ran some errands, grabbed lunch with a friend, took a nap, and finally got around to opening some packages that were buried on my desk.

Matthew, Brett, and Mark... I apologize in advance for the delay.  As crazy as this sounds... I held off to opening your mail, because I had too many cards scattered around.  The cards you sent were better off in their envelopes than being thrown into the chaos of cardboard sprinkled across my office.

However... today I made sure to give each package my full attention and the cards were immediately introduced to their new home.  With that being said, let's show off the goodies.

I'll kick things off with three cards Matthew (Bob Walk the Plank) sent earlier in the week...

Earlier in the year, Eric Sogard came within 15 minutes of being the Face of the MLB.  Today he's batting .186 and splitting time with Nick Punto.  But that's okay... I still can't get enough of "Nerd Power".

Ten years ago, Akinori Otsuka finished in 3rd place for the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting.  Kazuo Matsui finished 6th.  Today neither are playing in the MLB, but both have found nice homes in my collection.  Thanks Matthew!

Next up is a package from Brett... better known as ucffans on Card Collectors World Forum.

He sent me some new Pat Falloons for my Sharks PC, along with several new additions to my Japanese athlete binder.  I absolutely love the 2004 Topps Hideo Nomo card.  It's one of my favorite photos of him captured on cardboard.

Thanks Brett!  This package was indeed more fun to open than bills.

And finishing things off this evening is a package from Mr. Hoyle:

He sent me a pair of fully loaded envelopes filled with Packers, Athletics, and Expos.  As soon as I saw his name, I instantly thought "vintage".  And guess what... that's what he sent.  I love me some 70's Topps action shots and that's exactly what Marcol delivers.  However the crown jewel of these packages is the 1973 Kellogg's Joe Rudi.  There's no lenticular 3D technology used on this card.  But that's okay... because it's vintage, it's Kellogg's, and it's Joe Rudi!

Thanks Mark!

All three of you guys helped me take my mind off of the clutter that currently fills my office.  As soon as I'm finished cleaning and building those contest prize packages, I'lll make sure to send some stuff out to you guys.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I'm slowly discovering that I have a love/hate relationship with my cardboard.  Over the past few months, I've had several ever-growing stacks of cards residing on my office desk.  The stacks include a bunch of cool cards I've picked up for myself as well as numerous care packages that fellow bloggers have sent.

Some of these stacks are so old that I don't even know what's in them, so it's kind of cool to pick one up and flip through it.  On the other hand, I'm one of those people who are obsessed with being organized.  And the unorganized stacks are slowly driving me nuts.

Part of the problem is that I've been really busy and haven't had a lot of free time to sort cards.  Plus as the stacks get bigger, I get less motivated.

But on Sunday, instead of my usual trip to the flea market, I sat down and picked up a pile.  They happened to be cards I purchased out of a dime box a few weeks ago.  One card in particular instantly sent me back twenty years...

If you collected in the early 90's, then you probably recognize this card.  Back in the day, 1991 Stadium Club was one of the hottest sets in the hobby and Frank Thomas was one of the hottest players.  In other words, this card was hot!  At the time, it was one of the most expensive cards in my collection and had the luxury of being stored in one of those 1/2" lucite holders.  I can't remember when or what I paid for my copy, but it was a lot more than 10¢.

The card inspired me to walk over to my bookshelf and flip through some of my vintage issues of Beckett Baseball.  I decided to grab the January 1993 issue featuring The Big Hurt and Chuck Knoblauch:

Now I've said it before... and I'll say it again.  If you enjoy reminiscing about the good old days, than you'll love sitting on your porcelain throne with a twenty year old Beckett.

It's filled with all sorts of goodies, but before I share some of them... let's go ahead and look at the values they had listed for my newly acquired 1991 Stadium Club Frank Thomas:

Crazy, right?  $20 to $30 for a second year base card that at the time was less than two years old.  And $250 for the set?  Thomas was easily the highest priced card in the set, while Juan Gonzalez settled for 2nd at $16.  These days you can pick up the pair for under a buck, while a complete 600 card set will set you back under $20 delivered on eBay.  It just proves that premium products don't necessarily equate to rock solid investments.

On the other hand certain vintage cards have done quite well over the past two decades.  One example is my 1965 Topps #282 Masanori Murakami rookie card:

Back then, a near-mint copy of this card listed between $4.50 and $7.00.

Today similar condition Murakami rookies sell in the $10 to $15 range and currently have a book value of $40 on Beckett.

But book values are only the beginning.  My favorite thing to look at in older Becketts is the Hot/Cold list:

The Big Hurt appeared on both lists.  At the time of this printing, Thomas had held the #1 position for sixteen consecutive months and was just about to collect consecutive American League MVP Awards. I wonder how long his streak lasted.

Another featured I loved was the Readers Write...

That's where Beckett published people's letters and typically left feedback.  You've gotta wonder if Beckett's online price guide started with Jim from Pennsylvania.

At this point on Beckett's timeline, their magazines were still chock-full of product reviews and interesting articles like this...

Almost half of their magazine was printed on colored paper and included cool graphs and awesome photography.

Finally, I'll wrap things up with their show calendar...

Once upon a time, a collector living in my neck of the woods could attend a card show four to five times a week.  Out of the first ten days of January 1993, there were four different card shows spanning seven days.  These days I'm lucky if there are seven card shows in one calendar year.

Like most things in life, the early 90's had their hits and misses.  Sure most of the card products from this era were overproduced and tend to be worth much less than it was twenty-something years ago.

But there were good things too.  Collectors were introduced to premium trading cards like Stadium Club, Pinnacle, and Fleer Ultra.  There were more collectors in our hobby, which meant more card shows.  And at the time Beckett still produced a quality magazine with interesting articles and cool monthly features like Readers Write and their Hot/Cold list.

The past few days, I've enjoyed flipping through the issue and taking a stroll down memory lane.  But the party is over and it's time to get back to working on those dang stacks of cards that keep piling up in my office.

Happy Friday and sayonara!