Monday, May 22, 2017

One Man's Junk Wax is Another Man's Treasure

Shirt photo: Hall of Fame Apparel
Well, another year of the community yard sales has come and gone and with it, as usual, I managed to find some cards. Nothing can really beat last year's epic find so I went into this with low expectations. The constant threat of rain and storms kept some people at bay but there was plenty to be had. I posted on the community Facebook page to see if anyone had any cards up for sale and got a good number of responses and messages. So much, in fact, that I had to pick and choose. On Saturday morning, out the family and I went to peruse the sales. The stops proved to the futile as the cards weren't really all that great. Sunday though was pretty quiet. After a morning stop at the playground for my son and then a visit from my step mom, I had one place leftover from Saturday to check out. I had stopped by the previous day but they had forgotten the cards but promised to hold them for me on Sunday. So off I went on a quick jaunt up the street to see what they had.

I was expecting giant boxes of cards but instead when they pulled them out for me, there were three small boxes that were each complete sets. I asked how much and was met with the reply "you tell me, I have no idea". I offered ten bucks and was quite surprised when he accepted it as typically I find people around here want gobs of cash for pretty much useless cards.

First set was a 1988 Donruss set. Not exactly my favorite set but hey, it's complete and it came with the puzzle pieces!

Next was a 1996 Donruss set, one of the more interesting designs from the mid 90s.

Finally, there was this 1989 NFL Pro Set set. While I'm not the biggest football collector, this should be interesting to look at. Eventually, I'll get these sets hindered up but I'm in no big hurry to do so.

My next stop was sort of impromptu as I noticed it on my was to the original stop. I swung back around and stopped to take a peek. They had little packs of junk wax card for a buck each, to which I passed on and some McFarlane and Starting Lineup figures. There were however, a few things I made an offer on.

First, there was this 1992 Topps factory set. They wanted ten bucks, I talked them down to five.

I bought exactly one of the Starting Lineup figures. This Ken Griffey Jr. figure was only two bucks, so I couldn't resist even though it's a tad beat up.

Finally, there was this big shoebox filled with mostly football cards, I managed to get them to knock the price of it down to three bucks so I could justify it. 

So that's this year's yard sale haul, not nearly as impressive as last year but still four complete sets, a Ken Griffey Jr. Starting Lineup figure, and a mystery box of football cards that should be fun to dig into. I'd say this was a pretty successful haul.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Back Packs: 1983 Topps Cello Pack

Ah yes, 1983. The year of Return of the Jedi and A Christmas Story opened in theaters, Hooters opened their first location, and the year that Michael Jackson's Thriller video premiered on MTV. In baseball, it was the year that Don Sutton recorded his 3,000th strikeout, the year Nolan Ryan bested Walter Johnson's career strikeout record, the year the Orioles won the World Series, and the year of the infamous "Pine Tar Game" between the Royals and Yankees.

It was also a year that giant baseball card packs, such as this, were still under 50 cents. It was also the year of the rookie card with Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg, and Wade Boggs all having their rookie cards in this set. Will I be lucky enough to pull one of those? Or will this pack bomb like Krull did at the box office?

#623 Luis Sanchez
#112 Bob Shirley
#485 Omar Moreno

Not a whole lot here to get excited about although Bob Shirley will go with my 80s Reds cards.

#301 Mike Schmidt "Super Veteran"
#519 Terry Bulling
#99 Dickie Noles

I like these Super Veteran cards and I think Topps should bring them back in the base set, perhaps when a star player retires, do one as tribute card in the base set (and please don't short print it!)

#230 Fergie Jenkins
#396 Dan Quisenberry AS
#681 Dodgers Team Leaders TL, CL

The first Hall of Famer out of the pack and it's Fergie Jenkins. I don't have a lot of cards of him so this is a cool little addition. There's also a Dan Quisenberry all-star card here which will get a slot in the 80s binder as well.

#536 Johnny Wockenfuss
#41 Jerry Turner
#81 Yankees Team Leaders TL, CL

Nothing here to get excited about unfortunately.

#516 Bill Virdon
#636 Graig Nettles "Super Veteran"
#39 Terry Puhl

Another "Super Veteran" card, this time of Graig Nettles. 1983 was Nettles' last year with the Yankees before he was traded off to the Padres just before the 1984 season. The also yields the first manager card of the pack, Bill Virdon of the Expos.

#137 Woodie Fryman
#784 Jeff Newman
#298 Floyd Chiffer

Nothing much here either.

#7 Gene Richards
#733 Buck Martinez
#103 Darrell Porter

Two pretty good catchers in Buck Martinez and Darrell Porter. 

#62 Bob McClure
#697 Barry Foote
#235 Claudell Washington

I love the old school all blue Brewers uniform on Bob McClure. Not to be outdone though, Claudell Washington is sporting his best dark blue Braves top. 

#162 Mark Clear
#690 Kent Hrbek

Herbie! It's not a rookie card but a second year card will definitely do of one of the cult favorites of Twins fans.

#775 Burt Hooton
#192 Floyd Rayford

The last two in the pack. "Happy" Hooton was nearing the end of the line and only had a few more years in the tank left at this point.

For 50 cents, I enjoyed opening this. While it wasn't great, I don't feel like I bombed out totally like the aforementioned Kroll. There were a few winners to be had and that's about all you can ask for from a pack this old.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Walgreens Repack #9

It's that time kids! Time for another entry in the ongoing chronicles of the wonderful world of Walgreens repacks. This is the second of two that I picked up during the $3.99 sale last month. No time to waste, let's dive in!

Here's the cover card, a simple Derek Jeter base card from 2013 Bowman. I've never really collected Bowman since it's really heavy on the prospects and I'm not one for prospecting, plus sometimes the design can be kind of bland, like this. While it's not the most exciting card, it does appear that Jeets is sporting a throwback jersey of some sort, so it gets a pass for that.

I considered not showing any of the 2012 Topps cards that came in the pack but I couldn't resist with these. These are all neat cards for various reasons, so I'll start at the top left and work clockwise. Brandon Morrow is has a Blue Jays jersey that definitely isn't blue. I'm guessing it's some sort of Canada Day special jersey. I also like the angle the picture is taken at, where you can see just over the unknown batter's shoulder at the ball coming in. Speaking of cool photos, Carlos Quentin doing a simple pose with the bat across his shoulders and the stadium lights in the background is just plain cool. Travis Snider shows that there just aren't many mustachioed players anymore. Finally, there's Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez has a pretty good stint with the Reds as the backup catcher from 2009-2011 and signed with the Rockies as a free agent in November of 2011. I saw this card and my first thought was "he played for the Rockies?". Regardless, his 2012 season saw him appear in only 52 games while hitting a paltry .217/.247/.353. After the season was over he was shipped off to the Dodgers where he finished in 2013. 

A pair of Hall of Fame outfielders here in Raines and Dawson. 

Hey look! More minor league cards! Much like I did with the previous repack, I'll explore the careers of these guys. The Ken Greer card is a repeat from the last pack, but the others are all new.

Mark Young - This card appears to be from the 1990 Star Dunedin Blue Jays set. That season was the next to last for ol' Mr. Young as he hit .237/.337/.337. No, that's not a typo. His OBP and SLG were the exact same. After the 1990 season, he advanced to Double A Knoxville and after that, he was out of the game, having never appeared in the majors and never advancing above AA ball.

Brian Johnson - Probably the person with the most successful career out of any of these guys. He played 8 years in the bigs, mainly as a backup catcher, with the Padres, Giants, Royals, Dodgers, Reds, and Tigers. While his stats weren't impressive, he did make it to the NLCS two straight times and was a member of the 1999 Reds who nearly won the wild card that year.

Julio Perez - Another career minor leaguer, he spent six years in the Pirates system, never advancing past AA. This particular card from 1990 I guess could be considered his sunset card as that was his final season. He appeared in 63 games hitting .232/.256/.289 and only muscling one home run the whole season.

Here's one definite future Hall of Fame in Ortiz and maybe a borderline candidate in Ryan Howard who is currently trying to resurrect his career with the Braves.

While these may just look like any other junk wax card, I found these interesting. On the Ernest Riles card, the green and gold of the jersey just pops and makes you take a moment and look at it. It looks like he's tossing a ball back to someone after signing it during spring training. I think this has quickly become one of my favorite cards from the 91 Upper Deck set. The other card with Derek Lilliquist has a background of old Riverfront Stadium. I can tell by as the seats in the background are green on the lower lever and at the very top of the frame are the red seats. One of these days, it might be fun to start a mini-collection of cards with pictures taken at Riverfront Stadium.

A few nice horizontal cards that were included. Both of these guys I'd forgotten about completely.

The composition of this repack was very similar to the other as a lot of the same types of cards were involved. For example, here's a Sportflics Alan Trammell card. It fell in just about the same spot the Sportflics Eric Davis card did in the previous pack.

And here's another card from the 1988 Donruss Baseball's Best set. This time of Tony Gwynn. This one I'm definitely keeping.

One in four of these packs claims that it will have a hit in it. Well, it must've been my lucky day because this autograph of Trent Mummey was placed right in the middle. Who's Trent Mummey you ask? Beats me. According to the wonderful Baseball Reference site, he played in the Orioles system through 2014 and never made it above High A ball.

There you have it, another repack in the books. It'll probably a while before I dive into one of these again but I did see a hockey version of these at a local Target. While I'm not in any rush to go dropping five bucks on a giant brick of hockey cards at the moment, it's definitely something I'll consider once I'm back in the mood to rip open one of these.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Into the Dragons Lair

Pardon me for not posting my usual Wednesday night post yesterday, I was ... gasp! ... at a ballgame! 

As I've noted in the past, I work two jobs. I have a normal 40-hour a week job as a recruiting administrator for a large national grocery chain (hint: it's not Walmart) and three nights a week, I work as cashier at a movie theater. Well, it just so happens that the theater I work at won second place for best theater in the region during the company awards so that meant our general manager got to treat a bunch of the staff to something fun. Instead of the usual Dave & Busters type fare, we got treated to a Dayton Dragons game.

We had group seats along the left field line, right near the foul pole. The one drawback about having these seats is that the safety netting at the park extends from pole to pole, which sort of leaves you feeling a bit detached from the action.

Here are a few close up photos I took during the game. Unfortunately the Dragons lost in 10 innings to the Cedar Rapids Kernels 5-4. I left after the 8th inning as I had to get up early for my regular job and it was starting to rain some.

L to R: Ashley, Justin, and George
Front to back: Lauren, Zach, Hannah, and Audrey
Colin, Jon, and Steve with Nathan in background in a red shirt
Dave (L), our GM, and Mark, GM of another local theater.
I just had to take some photos of our group while we were all there. Most everyone left early except for a handful. I've labeled everyone in the captions of each photo.

Of course, you can't go to a minor league game and not get some cool stuff. Here's a peek at what I grabbed.

Programs were handed out to everyone was you came in the stadium. The program for this game featured a member of the "Retirement Village People" on the cover, as they provided some of the between inning entertainment. The pocket schedule I nabbed while at the team shop. Speaking of which ...

While at the team shop, I picked up a hat that was on the clearance table and a 2011 team set. While this was the only team set they had in stock, it's better than nothing.

The cards are pretty basic with the team name in gold at the top, the logo in the bottom left and the player's name in gold at the bottom. The players shown here are all players that have played in the majors at one time or another, including Tucker Barnhart (top left) and Billy Hamilton (top right).

Of course, no minor league team set is complete without mascot cards. Here we've got Heater and Gem.

For this being the first Dragons game I've been to in over a decade, it was a fun experience and I got to spend some time with a quality group of people. You can't ask for much better than that.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Time Capsule

At my grandparent's house there was a cabinet built in to the corner of the living room. I'm not sure exactly what to call it, perhaps a curio cabinet, but i'm not sure. The thing went floor to ceiling, had three or four different compartments to it and looked like it was made of polished oak. It had all kinds of stuff stored in in. The middle section with the glass doors had fine china, the open section below it had family photos, and the bottom is where I kept toys as a kid. The very top section though is where my grandfather had his time capsule. The top section was the smallest of all and only on rare occasions was it opened, typically when something was being added to it. 

When my family and I were cleaning out valuables after my grandfather passed away (five years ago this fall by the way) we pulled everything out of the time capsule. The large brown folder was kept in tact, everything else was put into the Von Maur bag seen above (for the record, I don't shop there). My mom kept it with her and the files had been sitting in a storage closet in one of her spare bedrooms since then. I asked her about it recently and dug out the files during a visit a few weeks ago. I took them home and just this past weekend I had time to sort through everything. 

The bag contained lots of old newspapers, all of them the Middletown Journal to be exact, which was the local paper up until it merged with the other local papers in the area in 2013. The papers were either rolled up or folded, but I was able to gently open them up to where they laid flat enough for me to take pictures. I took pictures of every paper and item in the bag. I've pulled out most of ones that contained minor news or I was unsure why they were kept, so what I'm sharing here is mostly national or regional news covered in a local paper. Some of these more local stories I'll expound a bit on, some others like major national or international stories, I'll just let speak for themselves.

This is the January 27, 1981 edition covering the release of the hostages from the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The entire paper covers the situation from start to finish including how they were released, the timeline of events, etc.

This edition from January 29, 1977 covers the blizzard of 1977 which dumped up to 100 inches of snow in parts of Buffalo and Southern Ontario from January 28 to February 1. 

This is when the remnants of Hurricane Ike rolled through the area and caused a massive blackout. It was called by meteorologists as a "once in a lifetime event". We didn't get any of the rain but we got a huge windstorm. At the time, I was still living with my mom and we were without power for two days. My grandparents were without power for four days. The only way to communicate was with cell phones and even that was done with great difficulty. It was pretty much like the apocalypse hit.

Newspapers weren't the only things I uncovered, I found two sports related TIME magazines and special issue of TV Guide celebrating the 1976 Bicentennial.

Here are a few sports related papers I found from major moments in Reds history. The first is the paper from when the Reds won the World Series in 1990. The picture you see is Barry Larkin doing his best Ozzie Smith. Next is the paper from Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's all-time hit record. One of the unique things about these papers is that you also get to see what else was happening locally at the time, such as the city landfill's days being numbered from the 1990 paper.

These are the final things I'll showcase from the bag. From 1992-1994, Middletown was home to the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships. What exactly that consists of, I have no idea. However, it was really fun as every day the balloons were here, we would see them in the sky all over the city and chase some of them. These weren't your standard balloons either, I remember there being a Schlitz beer balloon, a Foot Locker balloon shaped like a shoe, and other such oddities. Somewhere, I think, there's a hat with a bunch of autographs from the pilots I got during a balloon glow on one of the final nights of competition. At some point in the future, I might delve into these a little bit more.

Now we come to the unsuspecting, plain, brown envelope. I pulled the contents out and found another package made from cardboard with "Educational Materials" stamped on it that was stuffed with newspaper clippings. More on that shortly but the first loose item I found gave me a clue as to what this envelope consisted of.

This issue of TV Guide is from January 1964 but profiles and provides a record of what Americans viewed from November 22nd to November 25th, 1963 ... essentially the dates covering the Kennedy Assassination and the events afterwards.

There were other papers and clippings in the envelope but the vast majority of the files were from the coverage of the Kennedy Assassination. To have papers from one of the most notable events in American history makes you pause and put everything into perspective. 

The small package I found contained these, newspapers from the RFK Assassination. The top paper announces his death while the bottom paper states he's in "very critical condition". I must say too that the picture at the lower right is rather disturbing as the caption states it was taken right after he was shot. As I mentioned, the remainder of the envelope had clippings from the JFK assassination. These were still nice and neat in 1-pocket pages. So neat, in fact, that I'm considering putting them into a three-ring binder. 

Thanks for taking traveling back through time with me as I explored this time capsule. Now it's time to seal it back up and give it back to my mom for safe keeping in her closet and I really don't have room for all of this.

It's back to cards later this week.