30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Final Countdown

As we begin to countdown the final hours of 2014, I decided to countdown my twenty most memorable sports and hobby related moments of the year.  It wasn't easy ranking these and to be honest, if I ranked them tomorrow... the list would probably change.

But as I type up this post, it currently looks like this:

#20: Major League vs. Bull Durham

Topps celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Major League by producing two special sets:  2014 Archives insert set and an online exclusive 5x7 set.  Both of these sets are pretty awesome... even if they left a few of the key characters off of the checklist.

A few months later, I picked up another baseball movie card set.  This one featured Crash Davis instead of The Wild Thing.

#19:  My Newest Project

Earlier in the month, I made a major hobby decision.  I decided to build the 1988 Kenner Starting Lineup baseball card set.  It's definitely going to be challenging, but when it's finished it'll rank up there with some of my favorite sets.

#18:  Duh-Duh, Duh-Duh... Wilson!

It took me a couple of years, but I finally added a Russell Wilson autograph to my collection.  Isn't this card a thing of beauty?  Who knows if the patch is legit... but in this case it doesn't really matter.  I love this card.

In January I stumbled across a guy with some early 50's Bowman baseball cards.  I ended up grabbing a handful of them for a reasonable price.  It's these kinds of purchases that make flea markets worth while.

#16:  Manufactured Patches Need Love Too

It took me over a year, but I finally finished my 2013 Topps Manufactured Rookie Card Patch set.  I know that there are plenty of collectors who could live without manufactured patches, but I'm enjoy some of them.  This is one of my favorite sets in recent years.

#15:  It's A Buyer's Market

2014 was a great year for me in terms of crossing off cards on my Top 10 Wantlist.  It started back in January when I finally added this 1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett rookie card.  I have wanted this card for over twenty years and thanks to a soft market, I finally own it.

Every few years, a set comes along that really catches my eye.  This year's Stadium Club is that set.  If I had to do it over, I probably wouldn't spend $200 busting four boxes to build my set... especially since complete 200 card sets sell for under $40 on eBay.  But I had a lot of fun ripping into packs and sitting on my family room floor sorting cards.

#13:  Custom Box Building

Earlier in the year, I decided to build my very own box of 2013 Topps Five Star Baseball and was very happy with my results.  The project didn't stop there.  Since then I've acquired over thirty different on-card autographs from this set.

#12:  Epic Collapse

Unfortunately there are some painful moments on this list too.  Two of my favorite teams fell flat on their faces this past year.  The San Jose Sharks had another solid regular season which ended in them being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.  And the Oakland A's had the best record in baseball heading into August only to find themselves getting bounced after losing to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Wild Card game.

#11:  Random Act of Kindness

It's hard to believe that Upper Deck has been around for a quarter of a century... but 2014 marked their 25th Anniversary.  They celebrated by sending collectors random acts of kindness.  Chris Carlin and I emailed each other about a surfer suggestion I had for their Goodwin Champions product.  A month later... the above Kelly Slater on-card autograph arrived in my mailbox.  Thanks Upper Deck!

#10:  First Time For Everything

This past Sunday the Seattle Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers took down the Detroit Lions.  These two victories locked up the top two seeds in the NFC.  What's the special occasion?  It's only the fourth time that both the Packers and the Seahawks have won their divisions in the same season... and it's the first time my two favorite teams are the top two seeds.

#9:  My 1st 1909-11 T206 Philadelphia Athletic

Back in January, I was on the receiving end of a "Pay It Forward" project.  It started with Daniel over at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop.  He helped Corky over at Pack War reach 100 followers.  Corky ended up paying it forward by donating this awesome T206 card of Doc Powers.  He also shared this cool story about how Powers was the first major league player to pass away from injuries suffered during a game.

Oh... and just in case you were wondering... I paid it forward and sent a package to Wes over at Jaybarkerfan's Junk and by the looks of it... he's probably sent hundreds of pay it forward packages this year.

#8:  A Very Special Trifecta

Tony Gwynn is my all-time favorite athlete and the sole reason I'm a San Diego Padres fan.  I've been collecting his stuff for years, but this past year I added three very cool items to my collection.  Rest in peace Mr. Padre.

#7:  A Pair of Epic Signatures

My favorite autograph set is the 1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures.  I'm a huge fan of the overall design and the on-card autographs.  Unfortunately some of the autographs in this set are very expensive, so I probably won't be building it anytime soon.

However, I was very fortunate to cross off two more cards from my Top 10 Wantlist this year when I purchased the Tony Gwynn and Ken Griffey Jr. cards from this set.

#6:  Cardboard Camaraderie

A huge part of blogging for me is meeting new people who share an interest in sports cards.  This year marked the lowest number of posts on my blog since my inaugural year.  But thankfully there have been a bunch of new blogs who have taken the blogosphere by storm.  Four that immediately come to mind are: Matt @ Bob Walk the Plank, Brady @ Yadier Molina Baseball Cards, Tony @ Off Hiatus Baseball Cards, and Zippy @ Cervin' Up Cards.  Keep up the excellent work!

It was also cool to acquire two rookie cards of fellow bloggers:  JeremyTopps Cards That Never Were and Wes @ Jaybarkerfan's Junk.

And I also wanted to send a special shout out to a few people who don't have blogs, but have supported many of our blogs (and collections) over the years:  Mr. Hoyle, schwood, Kerwin, Uncle Tiny, ucffanshayn, and all of the other people over at CCW who read and comment on my blog posts.  Domo arigato!

#5:  The Greatest Hockey Card

All sports cards were not created equally.  The fact is... some cards are bigger than others.  Some are rarer than others.  And some are more beautiful than others.

Last week, 1967ers over at Diamond Cuts and Wax Stains sent me a 1968-69 OPC Gordie Howe and it's hands down the most beautiful hockey card in my collection.  Thanks again Chris!

#4:  You Never Forget Your First

Before I collected baseball cards, I collected Star Wars cards.  I've never forgotten that and for the past three decades, I've wanted to own the complete five series 1977 Topps Star Wars set.  Back in September, I decided to dive in and purchase a complete set off of eBay.  I can't wait to write up a post on my purchase, but I'm still looking for the 55 card sticker set that goes with it.

#3:  Mini Mania

Right about the same time I picked up the Star Wars set, I also purchased my 1975 Topps Mini set.  Like the Star Wars set, I've been wanting this since the 80's and I'm totally excited to finally cross this set off of my wantlist.

#2: The Drought Is Over

I've been a Seattle Seahawks fan since 1981 and after thirty-three years, they've finally won a Super Bowl.  They don't seem to be as dominant as last year, but I still think they have a decent shot at becoming the first team in over a decade to repeat as champions.

#1:  So Long, Farewell

And wrapping up my countdown is a final farewell to a four guys who have had a direct impact on me, my favorite teams and my favorite hobby:  Tony Gwynn, Bob Welch, Jerry Coleman, and Sy Berger.  Thank you for the memories... you guys will never be forgotten.

2014 has been one heck of a year.  It's been filled with many ups and downs, but thankfully the "good" outweighed the "bad".

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to check out my blog and leave comments.  I hope all of you have a wonderful 2015.  Stay safe and party responsibly.  Happy New Year's Eve and sayonara!

Extra Edition

I apologize if I left anyone out of this post.  Believe it or not, I started skimming my 2014 posts at 8:30 this morning in an effort to do some research for this post.  Five hours later, my brain is officially fried... and I just realized that there's probably a bunch of other cool moments I've left out.  The good news is that I can truly appreciate the amount of effort some of our fellow bloggers go through on a daily basis when they create their epic posts.  See ya next year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cardboard Road Trip

Last Friday night, my buddy and I decided to embark on a spur-of-the-moment road trip down to Southern California to check out a few flea markets, thrift stores, a card shop, an antique store, and of course the Frank & Son Collectible Show.

We set out on our journey a little after 4am (Saturday) and arrived at the Frank & Son Collectible Show a few minutes before 10am.  There were tons of people already there and parking was insane.  If you're not familiar with the show, it's been around since 1988 and is currently in a large warehouse where vendors purchase booths.  The majority of the vendors sell either toys or CCG cards, but there are a handful of guys with sports memorabilia.

Unfortunately, I didn't purchase any sports cards while I was there.  However... I was excited to add these two bobbleheads to my collection:

2002 SGA Hideo Nomo

2011 SGA Fernando Valenzuela

I've been wanting to add a Nomo bobble to my collection for awhile now and being in Southern California, there were plenty to choose from.  I ended up going back to the vendor who seemed the most flexible on his prices.  After a few minutes of wheelin' and dealin'... I walked away with both of these bobbles for $30.

After the show, we headed to the Mission Tiki Swap Meet in Montclair, California.  Most of the vendors carried cheap, new items and there was very little sports memorabilia available.  We ended up walking away empty handed.

That afternoon we checked into our hotel and started searching for something to do.  We ended up going to three different thrift stores, A & N Sports Cards (in San Dimas), and an antique store.  We completely struck out at the thrift stores and the card shop's prices were insane!  They wanted $135 for a box of 2014 Stadium Club baseball.  That's nearly 3x higher than online prices.

On our way back to the hotel we stumbled across the Coin Depot in Old Town La Verne.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend dropping by this place.  The guy who helped me was very nice and he seemed to know his stuff.  Their inventory mainly consisted of coins (hence the name), but it also had antique toys, war memorabilia, and of course sports cards.  

I ended up grabbing these seven cards for $20:

1975 Topps Mini #335

1970 Topps #370

1967 Topps #475

1960 Topps #23

1959 Topps #1

1959 Topps #212

1959 Topps #260

The next morning, we woke up and drove over to the Foothill Swap Meet in Glendora.  This flea market was a huge upgrade from the one we went to on Saturday.  There were a handful of guys who had sports cards (including vintage stuff), but I didn't end up buying anything except an Aladdin DVD for my friend and a bag of pistachios.

We started to make our way back home and stopped of at the Saugus Swap Meet.  This flea market was loaded with collectibles.  Unfortunately most of the stuff was priced way too high.  However, I was able to walk away with two purchases.

I picked up these three boxes for $20.  When I skimmed through it I noticed a handful of 90's inserts and 80's rookie cards.  I figured for the price, it was worth the $20 in entertainment value alone.  As soon as I actually sift through them, I'll write up a post with some of the goodies.

The only other purchase I made came off of a guy's dollar table.  If you bought five items, he threw in two for free.  Here's what I ended up grabbing:

Overall, I was a little disappointed that I didn't come home with more treasures.  But as with most road trips, it was a lot of fun.

From start to finish, we travelled 768 miles in a 39 hour window.  Thanks to affordable gas prices, we spent less than $40 each on gas and even less for the hotel.  Had we planned things out better, we would have gone to the San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings game, but we're already planning our next road trip and next time it'll involve at least one sporting event.

When you go on trips, do you usually check out the local card shops, flea markets, and thrift stores?  Do you try to attend sporting events?

Happy Monday and sayonara!