30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, July 24, 2017

Where It All Started

We all have to start somewhere.  1977 Topps Star Wars were the first packs of trading cards I ever ripped into.  Four years later, I would officially make the transition to baseball cards.

That year, my parents and I took a trip to Seattle to visit my cousin Keith who was studying to be a dentist at The University of Washington.  While we were there, we stopped at one of those sports stores that sold MLB lamps, NFL wallets, and NBA blankets.  In addition to all of the officially licensed novelties, the shop also carried baseball cards.

That's where my mom and dad purchased my very first baseball card set: 1981 Fleer.

The set's design is average at best.  There aren't any rookie cards of hall of famers.  And it's never really held any significant monetary value.  However when I was thinking about a card that reminded me of a family member for Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge, I immediately thought my mom and this set.

A few cards popped into my head like the Fernando Valenzuela rookie card and the Phillies' Triple Threat card featuring Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, and Larry Bowa, but ultimately I went with the base card of my favorite player at the time:

1981 Fleer #574

Back then times were simpler.  I didn't think of cards in terms of values.  I held them, arranged them, read them, and organized them.  I can still picture myself sitting at the family room table watching the game with my A's team set in front of me.

1981 Fleer is a pillar of my childhood.  It represents the first set I ever owned and whenever I see a card from it, I'm reminded of my mother and our trip to Seattle.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Fan Favorites Autographs

Year in and year out... the one set I look forward to building is the Topps Archives Fan Favorites autograph set.  This set combines some of my favorite things in our hobby:

1.  Old School Topps Designs
2.  On-Card Autographs
3.  An Interesting Checklist

This year inflated box prices have prevented me from pulling any of these autographs myself, but thankfully there are plenty of other people out there who are willing to sell theirs on eBay.  So far, I've been able to add over thirty cards from this year's set for around four dollars each (shipping included).  One one card cost more than $20 (see #3 below).  And the only other card I paid $10 or more for was the Wally Moon from one of my flea market finds.

Tonight I wanted to show off my five favorite autographs from this year's set, but before I begin the countdown to #1, here are a few honorable mentions...

Honorable Mention #1: Rusty Kuntz

One of the greatest names in the history of sports.  Yes.  I know I have the maturity of a twelve year old boy.  That's probably why I still find baseball cards entertaining.

Honorable Mention #2:  Mark Mulder

I'm not sure why Topps has decided to flood our hobby with Mark Mulder autographs the past few years.  Don't really care either.  He's a member of The Big Three and his cards will always be treasured in my household.

Honorable Mention #3:  Billy Bean

The first certified autograph of MLB's first Ambassador for Inclusion.  Kudos to Topps for having an open mind

Honorable Mention #4:  Wally Moon

Another great card that proves that someone over at Topps has a great sense of humor.  I'm keeping my finger's crossed for a Don Mossi signature in next year's set.

Honorable Mention #5:  Bill "Spaceman" Lee

Rounding out the honorable mentions is one of the strangest baseball players I've come across.  It's nice to add an autographed card of his where he isn't wearing a spacesuit.

Now let's get to my favorite five...

#5: Tim Wallach

When I think about the Montreal Expos... Gary Carter, Tim Raines, and Andre Dawson will always be the first names to pop into my mind because of their accolades.  Wallach played more games with the Expos than any of them.

#4:  Dave Stieb

Stieb and I attend the same high school... although he graduated over a decade before I attended.  Anyways... it's been thirteen years since he had a MLB licensed autographed card.  The wait is over.

#3:  Tommy Lasorda

I love it when managers sign cards.  Over the years, I've added guys like Sparky Anderson, Billy Martin, Dick Williams, Bobby Cox, and Earl Weaver to my collection.  This year's Archives allows me to cross Lasorda off the list.

#2:  Mark Langston

I've been waiting for a MLB licensed autographed card of Langston for years.  It's nice to finally be able to add him to my Lefty PC.

#1: Tony Pena

Pena is one of my favorite catchers of all-time.  I absolutely loved his unique catching stance.  I'm not sure why it took this long for Topps to finally sign him to an autograph contract... but I'm glad they did.

Well there you have it.  Ten of my favorite autographs out of this year's Archives Fan Favorites set.

What are your thoughts on this set?

Favorite cards?

Who would you like to see sign for next year's Fan Favorites set?

Personally, I'd love to see Terry Steinbach, Willie McGee, Orel Hershiser, and Tony La Russa sign again.  I could also use Mike McCormick, Willie Hernandez, and Mark Davis autographs for my left-handed Cy Young Award Winner project.  A collector can dream, right?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Another Shopping Spree

I've spent way too much money on my collection the past two months.  At least some of that money made its way into fellow blogger's pockets.

Purchase #1: Sumo Menko and Card Checklist  $65.57 ($4.99 shipping)

Ryan over at Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko recently published the 4th Edition of his sumo checklist book.  It's jam packed with over 300 pages of checklists, set information, and beautiful colored photos.

I don't think I'll ever consider myself a diehard sumo card collector, but the perfect opportunity to support him after he's sent me several care packages in the past.

Great job Ryan!  This book is proudly displayed in my family room as a conversation piece.

Purchase #2:  IP/TTM Autographs  $20 (+ $3 shipping)

Earlier in the month, Tom over at The Angels, In Order offered a huge selection of IP (in person) and TTM (through the mail) autographs at a buck a piece.

There were a bunch of great names from the 80's, so I reached out and grabbed these twenty:

He still has a bunch left.  If you're interested, click here.

At some point, I must have mentioned in a blog post or left a comment on his blog about wanting to start a Jim Abbott collection, because he sent me a huge stack of his cards:

Thanks Tom!  My Abbott PC is officially on its way.

Purchase #3:  San Francisco Giants Lot  $30 (+ $3 shipping)

The last blogger purchase I made was off of Greg over at Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle.  He was offering up team lots, so I asked him to look into some San Francisco Giants cards for my students.  He sent over a nice stack of cards that included inserts, parallels, and rookie cards.

Unfortunately I already dropped them off in my classroom, so I don't have any pictures.  I did however keep one card for my own collection:

I don't like the Giants, but I'm a big fan of Posey and his bat.  I've slowly been picking up his rookie cards here and there.  I can now officially cross off his Topps base rookie card.

Thanks Greg!

Well that's it for today.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Island of Misfit Cards

Every Monday, Corky over at Pack War posts a new hobby related question to his readers.  Normally, I leave a comment and move on.  However this week's question addresses one of my collections.

Today I figured I'd show off some singles from that collection to help me answer Corky's question:

At what point is a card too damaged for you to consider adding it to your collection? 

A few years ago, I decided to start collecting the damaged cards I accumulated from eBay purchases, flea market finds, and card show hauls and display them in a binder.  I've even had a few bloggers send me unwanted damaged cards that are now loved and cared for.

Unfortunately, I don't have the space to house every damaged card I come across.  If I stumble across a 2013 Topps Grant Balfour, I'll probably toss it in the trash or add it to the stack of cards I bring to my classroom.

On the other hand, if I find a heavily creased rookie card of The Kid... it goes in the binder.

A Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. insert with a chunk taken out of it?

That goes into the collection as well.

How about a water damaged Maury Wills on card autograph that refuses to lay flat?

Yup.  I'll take it.

Faded signatures of hall of fame outfielders?

Sure.  Why not?

Minor league cards of hall of famers that look like they've been sitting at the bottom of a box in the sun at the local flea market?

Without a doubt.

Severely miscut vintage cards featuring Boog, Bench, and half of Clemente?


How about a card with a dinged corner and a signed label that's peeling off?

Well.  If it's of Steve Sax, the 1982 NL Rookie of the Year, then heck yeah.

What about a memorabilia card that is permanently embedded with a five dollar price tag?

This one kind of hurt, because I collect Altuve.  But at the end of the day, this card looks better in my Damaged Card PC than in the trash.

In his response, Corky mentions that he draws the line at "skinned" vintage cards.  How about a "skinned" relic card?

No-mah says... "no problem".  This was a fine addition to my Damaged Card PC binder.

Bottom line is I'll add any damaged autograph, insert, memorabilia card, parallel, or manufactured relic card to my collection with no questions asked.

When it comes to rookie cards and base cards, then I draw the line at semi-stars or better.

If you're wondering why I'd start this kind of collection.  It's because damaged cards are difficult to move and deserve to be loved.  In a sense... this collection is sort of the Island of Misfit Cards.

What about you?

At what point is a card too damaged for you to consider adding it to your collection?

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Feeling Judged

I've been collecting baseball cards off and on for thirty-something years and I've been judged for doing so the majority of those years.  Or at least it feels that way.

These are the $5 ones you get for buying toilet paper in bulk.

Yesterday I hit up three local Targets with a stack of gift cards I've been accumulating in hopes of finding some blaster boxes to tear into.

I ended up finding two 2017 Topps Series One and one 2017 Gypsy Queen blaster boxes at the final store.  Obviously I was pretty excited, but there was a part of me that was nervous.  I'm always running into people I know at this particular Target and the last thing I want to hear is a familiar voice from behind asking... "you still collect baseball cards?".  

I'm not talking about running into an old card collecting buddy who's carrying three blaster boxes himself excitedly asking, "you still collect baseball cards?".  I'm talking about seeing your ex-girlfriend who's giggling while asking, "you still collect baseball cards?".

My solution?  I quickly started adding other items I needed into the basket to cover up the three blasters.

Anyone else ever hide the fact that they collect baseball cards, because they fear others might judge?

Speaking of getting judged... Aaron Judge was the main reason I tracked down and bought these blasters.

The results?  Well... I completely struck out on Judge.

The best card?  I'd probably give the nod to this Sandy Koufax short print from the box of Gypsy Queen:

The coolest insert?

I really like these Fortune Teller inserts... although this particular gypsy incorrectly predicted when Pujols would hit home run #600.  Barring injury, her 2nd prediction should come true though.

Bottom line?  Sure the packs were entertaining, but honestly blaster boxes are kinda like that ex-girlfriend I keep running into at Target.

I still have the big dogs sitting in my wallet.

I'm bound to go back and give both of them another chance, while knowing both will probably leave me feeling judged and shaking my head.

But we're all addicted to something, right?

Happy Sunday and sayonara!