30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Break from Reality

Our country is going through some serious social justice issues and just thinking about the direction we're going in is kind of depressing.  It's a shame, because we have come so far in terms of fighting for equality.

But that's the beautiful thing about our hobby and blogosphere.  It can help us temporarily escape the ugliness that's going on around us in everyday life.

I can definitely use one of those breaks today, which is why I felt the urge to share the beauty of my 1999 Topps Gallery "Gallery of Heroes" set.

So sit back... grab your beverage of choice... and enjoy:

#GH1 Mark McGwire

#GH2 Sammy Sosa

#GH3 Ken Griffey Jr.

#GH4 Mike Piazza

#GH5 Derek Jeter

#GH6 Nomar Garciaparra

#GH7 Kerry Wood

#GH8 Ben Grieve

#GH9 Chipper Jones

#GH10 Alex Rodriguez

Okay... the break from reality is over.  Time to see Trump's latest tweet.  Sigh.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Card Show Substitute

It's Saturday afternoon and as I'm writing this post... my favorite card show is taking place a little less than an hour away.  Over the years, I've made numerous purchases ranging from dime box bargains to complete vintage sets.  Plus even when I don't buy stuff... it's nice to hang out and talk shop with fellow collectors.

But today I woke up and decided I wasn't really feeling it.  This week in the classroom took its toll on me.  It had nothing to do with the students.  They were fine for the most part, but somehow a bunch of schedules were messed up and the school finally corrected them five weeks into the school year.

I was fortunate to only lose two students, however I was stressed out that they were going to take out a bunch more.  Plus anytime students are moved around, we need to go back into our grading program and reenter all of our grades for those students.  I had almost thirty students affected.

Plus... a few weeks ago... I picked up a card I had been looking for and essentially blew my monthly hobby budget on one purchase.

So I decided to stay home, catch up on some rest, and finally open up a care package that Julie over at A Cracked Bat sent me last week.  It was truly a nice substitute for attending a card show.

She hooked me up with a bunch of nice cards for my Oakland A's and Japanese baseball player collections that included everything from inserts to rookie cards to hits.

Here's just a sampling of what she sent:

I figured I'd wrap things up with my five favorites...

#5:  2001 Team Best Minor League Auto #NNO

Julie sent me twenty-three baseball cards featuring Japanese baseball players.  Twenty-one of them were new additions.  When you take into consideration that I have four binders dedicated to that collection, it's pretty amazing that only two cards were duplicates.  This card wasn't one of them.

In fact this was my very first autograph of Tomo Ohka and it's hard signed which is an awesome bonus.

#4:  2001 Bowman's Best Locker Room Collection Jersey #MM

A's fans don't have a lot to cheer for right now, so sometimes we dwell on the past.  Mulder, Hudson, and Zito provided a lot of fond memories back in the day.  Anytime I can add a new relic of any of these guys, it's a good day.

#3:  2002 Topps East Meets West #EW-MS

Masanori Murakami paved the way for guys like Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, Yu Darvish, and of course... Mac Suzuki.  This card honors him.  I just wished Topps made more cards of him.

#2:  2014 Topps Red Hot Foil #104

When it comes to Topps baseball cards and Kurt Suzuki... 2014 was one of his finest years.  He had three different base cards and all of them are fantastic.  I absolutely love this card.

#1:  1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game #52

This card captures one of the finest moments in Oakland A's World Series history.  Talk about perfect timing by both Rudi and the photographer.  It's even more special that this took place a little over a month after I was born.

Thank you so much Julie for this generous care package!  I've got some Tigers set aside for you and the Biggio you commented on.  I'll get around to shipping them out eventually.

Oh by the way... I should also thank you for putting me in touch with Gio over at When Topps Had Balls.

He had an extra set available, so I grabbed it.  I was really excited to add it to my collection.  It was worth every penny.

Okay... time for a nice nap.  Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tall and Gorgeous

Sorry guys.  I won't be writing about Tyra Banks or Gisele Bundchen today.  Nope.  Today I'm jumping back into Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge with a post about a favorite oddball card from the 1960's.

As a huge fan of the 70's Kellogg's sets, I wish I owned any single from the 1968 Topps 3-D set.  Unfortunately these are extremely scarce and unless I win the lottery, I'll probably never own one.

So I decided to go with another Topps oddball issue released a few years earlier in the decade:

1964 Topps Giant #3

The 1964 Topps Giant set is gorgeous.  Their fronts are simple, clean, and have a classic feel to them.

On the back, Topps wrote about a highlight from the player's career, gave collectors another picture, and used a "newspaper headline" design to bring everything together.

The checklist is loaded with fan favorites and hall of famers, but is surprisingly affordable.  Last summer, I picked up the entire sixty card set for $100 at a local card show.

How many fifty year old sets with guys like Mays, Mantle, Aaron, and Koufax are available for $100?  I'm guessing there aren't a lot.
Honestly... the only downside to these oddballs is their size.  They're 3 1/8" x 5 1/4", so they're much taller than a standard baseball card and a little wider, which make them kind of difficult to store.

But c'mon.  That's like saying you'd to turn down a date with Tyra Banks or Gisele Bundchen because you're not comfortable with their size.  Sometimes you just have to overlook your quirks and appreciate true beauty.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Timeless Beauty

There are some things in life that will always be beautiful to me.  Here are five of them...

1.  Grace Kelly

2012 Panini Golden Age Museum Age Material #13

I was only ten years old when the Princess of Monaco passed away back in 1982, so I won't claim to know a lot about her other than what I read on Wikipedia.  But last year, I saw this card at an online card shop and was blown away by her beauty.

#2:  My Favorite Card

1956 Topps #30

I love baseball cards, but this card is in a league of its own.  It truly is a thing of beauty.

#3:  Griffey's Swing

1995 Topps DIII #43

When I close my eyes, I can picture Griffey's swing.  That's what happens after watching two decades worth of highlights.  Unfortunately the vision is slowly becoming fuzzier with age.

It took me almost an hour to dig up a card that actually captured the iconic swing as I want to always remember it, but I finally found it.  Damn.  That's a fine looking swing.

#4:  The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

1961 Topps Sports Cars #43

I've always had a deep appreciation for Volkswagens... especially the Karmann Ghia.  But just like Lucy Liu... this card continues to become more beautiful with age.

#5:  Listening to Celebration at the Coliseum After an A's Win

1993 Collect-A-Card American Bandstand #99

If they made a movie of my favorite childhood memories, Kool and the Gang's Celebration would definitely be on the soundtrack.  This song will forever be associated with an Oakland A's home win and my youth.  I get goosebumps every time they play it at the Coliseum.

Okay... it's your turn:

What are some things you find eternally beautiful?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Flavors of the Month

As we begin to head down the final stretch of the regular season, neither of my teams have anything of significance to play for.  But that doesn't mean I'm giving up on baseball.  There are still a bunch of things I search for when I watch my daily recaps.

Here are my Top 5:

#1:  Jose Altuve

2016 Topps Five Star Silver Signatures #FSSS-JA

If I could only check one box score a day, I'd look at the Astros to see how Altuve hit.  I'm hoping he'll be able to hang on to that .350 average for few more weeks, which would help his MVP case.

#2:  Giancarlo Stanton

2010 Topps Update Silk #US-50

I could care less that some people feel his home run pace is overrated.  Stanton is a beast and watching his home runs are entertaining.  It's gonna be tough, but I'm hoping he reaches at least #60.

#3:  Khris Davis

2017 Topps Chrome Refractor #149

Just about the only thing exciting is Oakland outside of the Athletics showcasing their young talent is watching Davis battle Judge to become the Athletics first home run champion in two decades.

#4:  Chris Sale

2016 Topps The Mint Franchise Auto #FA-CS

A few months ago I started a new project.  I'm trying to collect an autograph of every left-handed Cy Young Award winner.  It's going to be close between him and Kluber, but I'd love to add him to that collection.

#5:  Clayton Kershaw

2016 Gypsy Queen Autographs Orange GQA-CKE

What can I say?  I have a left-handed pitcher fetish and Kershaw is the best around.  It's sad, but there was a big part of me that was happy when he got the 1-0 win against my beloved Padres two weeks ago.  Don't get the wrong idea.  I'm a loyal Padres fan and was stoked to see them take the final three games in the series.

Okay your turn...

As we approach the end of the regular season, who are you keeping tabs on?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Silly Adult Collectors

Topps are for kids.

Well... at least that's what Topps had in mind back in 1992 when they produced Topps Kids.

Each 35¢ pack contained seven baseball cards.  Everything about this product was catered towards kids.  The card design was colorful and cartoonish.  The set size (130 cards) was manageable for kids and those who were on a fixed budget.  That year Topps stopped issuing bubble gum with their flagship product, but made sure to continue promoting tooth decay by including one stick in every pack of Topps Kids.

If you were a little kid in 1992... this was the product for you.

Twenty-five years later... Topps Kids is a product even adults can enjoy.

After opening a few packs of this stuff back in August, I immediately fell in love with these cards.  In fact as soon as I was finished writing my review over on A Pack To Be Named Later, I headed over to eBay and found a box for $11 shipped.

Was it worth it?  Well... I'll let you be the judge.

After busting 47 of the 48 packs in the box, I was left with 329 cards and 47 individually wrapped sticks of gum.  I was able to complete one set and fell two cards short of a 2nd set (gotta wonder if those two cards are sitting in the 48th pack).  Luckily I pulled both of those cards back in August from my previous pack break.

As for the cards themselves... here are a few of my favorites:

Gotta give Topps credit here.  They were way ahead of everyone in regards to PED allegations.

They also helped collectors define what an "insert" card is right about the same time the Insert Card Boom took place in our hobby.

Topps mostly utilized portrait shots for the card fronts, but I there were a handful of action shots.  My favorite was this Biggio card.  I really liked how the cartoon illustrations support the action.

I was also impressed that Topps found a way to sneak Charlie Hustle onto at least two different cards in this set.

I'll wrap things up by showing off my two favorite baseball players of all-time.  You might have noticed that there are several different card front designs.  I'm glad they used the "dugout" design for the Gwynn.  It's my favorite, because it reminds me of the 1956 Topps design as well as the Topps Big sets produced a few years earlier.

Obviously this product isn't for everyone.  There aren't any autographs, game used relics, inserts, parallels, or rookie cards for collectors to pull.  However it did provide a solid 30 to 45 minutes worth of entertainment and it was half the price of a standard blaster box.

The question is whether or not you can overlook the fact that these cards were originally designed for kids.  If you can, then I'd recommend you give it a try.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!