Friday, July 21, 2017

Year 2

Well, it's official ... the blog is two years old today!

To be honest, when I started this blog, I thought I would lose interest in about six months or so but the support and feedback from the card blogging community has kept me motivated and kept my interest going. So as I enter year three a few things ...

1) First off, a big thank you to the fellow card bloggers out there who have read and constantly commented on my posts. You don't know how much it means to me that you take some time out of your day, even if it's only a few minutes, to read my posts and leave a comment.

2) As you can tell, there's been a major slowdown in posts recently ... that's for two reasons. One is that June and July have been incredibly busy months for me both at work and outside of work, which leads me to the second reason ... come December we've got a new rookie joining the team! We just found out today that we'll be welcoming a second son into the world right around Christmas time. We've know for a few months but didn't want to announce anything publicly until we knew what the gender was. Come November, I may go into hiatus mode until spring but I haven't decided for sure yet. If I do, I'll make an announcement. If not, expect posts to become more sporadic at that time until spring.

3) Although it may not feel like it, fall is only a month and a half away which means, among other things, that it's Halloween season again! Last year, I dedicated a whole two months to Halloween and fall madness. While I don't think I'll do the same thing this year, I'm still going to sprinkle in Halloween posts with any card posts I may have. I've also been working on developing something pretty fun that I hope to share come late September/early October to coincide with Halloween that I think everyone will really dig.

Again, a big thank you to everyone who has read and supported the blog and to those I've traded with over the past two years. I appreciate every single one of you.

Here's to a great Year 3!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Football Shoebox Part 1: 49ers to Buccaneers

It being the middle of baseball season, I'm nowhere near ready for football to start. I'm also not the biggest football fan in the world, I'll watch Bengals games and the occasional Sunday night or Thursday night game. I guess you could say I'm a casual fan. 

When it comes to football cards, I'm pretty picky. Typically I'll only buy singles of Bengals players I like but when a giant shoebox full of cards comes around, I can't really pass it up. As I mentioned in a previous post, this box came to me by way of a yard sale down the street two months ago (and yes, I'm just now getting time to write about it).

I don't know how many cards were in the box but a quick rummage through it gave me a general idea that there were cards from the 90s all the way up to Topps cards from just a few years ago. Some cards, maybe a half dozen or so, were bent and creased beyond recognition and were unsalvageable, other than that, everything looked to be in really good shape. I sorted the box by teams then went through the team stacks to look for cards to keep. I found a decent handful for each team that was in there and the rest either went in the trade box or in the Goodwill donation bag.

Since there was so much, I've decided to split up my findings over a multi-part series of posts. Each post will have roughly 6-7 teams and will show off the cards I'm keeping for each team. So here's the first in the series, the 49ers to the Buccaneers

San Francisco 49ers

I only kept some of the 49ers cards but as you can see, these are from the 90s. I specifically kept Ken Norton because I'm considering starting a side collection of football players (or anyone from any sport for that matter) who also participated in wrestling. Also, a nice succession of 49er QBs from Montana to Young to ... Elvis Grbac?

Chicago Bears

This is mostly the Rashaan Salaam show here with four of the five Bears cards being of his. The other, Rick Mirer, is technically a Bears card as that's the team is lists him with despite being shown in a Seattle uniform.

Cincinnati Bengals

I only gained seven new cards for the Bengals collection out of the box but since they were mostly Pro Set cards I never would have bought out of a five or ten cent box in the first place, I'm fine with it.  I like the Jeff Blake "transactions" card for the fact that it's sort of an update card in which he went from the Bengals to the Saints.

Buffalo Bills

Some pretty nice cards here, mainly of Jim Kelly, but a few others as well. One day, I'm going to to a comparison piece on 1995 Fleer baseball vs. 1995 Fleer football as they used the single division crazy design on it too.

Cleveland Browns

I'm sure running the gamut here with Vinny Testaverde, Bernie Kosar, Eric Metcalfe, and even a Topps Total card.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

To be honest, I'm not sure why I kept some of these. Regardless, I love the mix of the old school orange and white uniform with the new red and gold uni. Also, look on the bottom left .... it's a kicker card!!

For the first set of teams, not a bad haul and, sorry Broncos fans, there weren't any cards of theirs in the box. Zero, zilch, nothing. Still, I'm pretty satisfied with this batch and there's lots more where that came from.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Back Packs: 1996 Donruss Series 1

Holy crap. Has it really been nearly ten days since I've published a blog post? And is it really the All-Star Break already? I guess time got away from me. So far, this month has been busier than usual and the small amount of free time I get to write, I've been kicking around and doing some preliminary work on a writing project for Halloween season. More to come (possibly) on that at a later date.

But that's a few months off yet (just over a month and a half actually), so before we get to that, we must get to this. And what is this? Why it's a pack of 1996 Donruss Series 1. Let's see what was in this pack from 21 years ago. I'll try to make this fast as I don't have a ton of time.

#229 Shawn Green
#233 James Mouton
#131 Mike Mordecai

This design really has its ups and downs. First, I give Donruss credit for flipping the script and trying a whole new borderless design. The info box, for lack of a better term, is a neat idea in concept but I'm not sure it really worked in practice. It's got the product name, team logo, player's uniform number, position written very tiny in the bottom right, team name written vertically along the right side, and team city (or state) along the bottom. At the top right, there's a simple bar matching the team colors with the player's name.

#146 Steve Reed
#156 Mel Rojas
#167 Lenny Dykstra

Mel Rojas and Lenny Dykstra are the highlights of this batch.

#173 Mike Fetters
#186 Shane Andrews
Tim Salmon DK

Hey look! An insert card! I like the gold border of the Diamond Kings but other than that, it's a pretty simplistic card.

#208 Harold Baines
#6 Scott Sanders
#60 Johnny Damon

Is that a Johnny Damon Rated Rookie? Why yes it is. For these cards, the Rated Rookie logo replaces the team logo and uniform number.

#226 Todd Stottlemyre
#91 Nelson Liriano

Next please.

#248 Mickey Morandini
#145 Cal Ripken Jr.

Closing out the pack is long time Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini and the legendary Cal Ripken Jr. I was pretty happy to get the Ripken from the pack as it made the whole rip worth it.

This wasn't the best pack but I did get a Tim Salmon Diamond King card, a Johnny Damon Rated Rookie, and a Cal Ripken card so that kind of salvages things. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Indians Cards Every Night

Just a quick post today as it's July 4th weekend.

Recently, I participated in my first group break. The ever cordial Peter of Baseball Every Night offered up a team break for $3 per slot. He needed to fill a few slots right at the end so I jumped in and claimed the Indians since the Reds were already claimed. Once the break filled up, the box was broken, and a few short days later a baggie full of Indians showed up in my mailbox.

A rainbow of uniform colors here, gray, blue, and white. I think my favorite of the batch it the all white home threads. Base cards are pretty much the story here, nothing much new or exciting from series 1. 

Some nice horizontal cards. The Roberto Perez card looks like it might be a photo from the World Series. The photo on the Corey Kluber card reminds me of how it was playing the old World Series Baseball game on Sega Genesis, with the view from the catcher and the batter barely in frame.

My lone insert card from the break, a 1987 Topps buyback of Brett Butler. Definitely a cool card and I think it might be my only card of him as an Indian.

Thanks for hosting the break Peter! If you ever do another one, I'll gladly jump in. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Back Packs: 1986 Donruss

It's been a little over a month since I've dipped into the well of 50 cent packs from the spring card show. So let's rip a pack of 1986 Donruss. Who knows, maybe there will be a Canseco rookie staring back at me?

#288 Lee Mazzilli
#155 Pat Sheridan
#659 Checklist

There's no mistaking these cards for anything else besides cards from 1986, the design makes sure of that with the dark blue background and the pinstripes, the slanted nameplate, and the team logo in the bottom left. I'd forgotten Lee Mazzilli was a Pirate. I dig the white shirt with the yellow helmet and black pants though. Also, that old Pirates logo is fantastic. 

#498 U.L. Washington
#365 Tom Hume
#232 Craig Reynolds

I've never heard of the two guys on the end but in between is Tom Hume, a pretty decent reliever for the Reds throughout the 80s and spot starter on the 1979 NL West championship team.

#221 Tommy Dunbar
#88 Eddie Murray
#575 Bret Roberge

Eddie Murray is the first "star" card you could say from the pack. These other guys I've never heard of but I'll be honest, seeing Bret Roberge (probably the first and last time I'll type that name) wearing 42 on his jacket just seems strange.

#441 Rick Aguilera RC
#308 Sam Khalifa RC
#175 Willie Wilson

A couple decent stars in Aguilera and Wilson, both of whom won the World Series with the respective teams they are pictured with (Wilson in 85 with the Royals, Aguilera in 86 with the Mets). As for Sam Khalifa, he only appeared in 164 career games and only swatted two lifetime homers.

#287 Claudell Washington
#154 Brook Jacoby
#630 Mark Funderburk

The last batch here features former Reds hitting coach Brook Jacoby in a decidedly old school Indians get-up, Claudell Washington sporting a power blue Braves uni, and the well travelled Mark Funderburk. Don't believe me that he made the rounds? Just check the back of his card.

He showed up in 8 games with the Twins in 1981 then literally traversed the world from the minor leagues to the Mexican league to the Italian league and then back to the Twins for 23 games in 1985. I've seen the Mexican league show up on card backs occasionally but this may be the first time I've seen the Italian league show up. It just goes to show, always check the back, you just might find something interesting.

This was definitely a fun pack to rip into as 1986 Donruss is scant in my collection. While I only got one "star card" so to speak (Eddie Murray), I did get a guy who played in Italy, a rookie card of one of the best relievers of the 1980s and early 90s, and few other neat cards. I doubt I'll be able to find any more 1986 Donruss packs on the cheap like this but, you never know.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blog Bat-Around: Player Collection Origins

A week or so ago, P-Town Tom of the Eamus Catuli blog (formerly Waiting Til Next Year) suggested a fresh topic for a blog bat-around, that topic being the origin of your player collections. I know I'm a bit late to the party here but as I was doing some sorting (as shown by the picture above), I came across a few cards of some players I collect. So here are five random picks from my player collection list and the reasons I collect them.

Barry Larkin

I'm a bit too young to remember Dave Concepcion but when I was growing up, Barry Larkin was the first shortstop I remember playing for the Reds. By the time I was old enough to finally get memories of baseball, Concepcion had retired and the shortstop spot was taken over by Larkin, who would hold it down until 2003. After Larkin retired, the Reds went through a revolving door of shortstops but now seem to have settled in with Zack Cozart. When I got back into collecting, Larkin was the first guy who's cards I went after.

Dennis Eckersley

The only non-Red on this list, I've had an affinity for Eckersley cards going back to my original collection. The first card that drew me into him was his 1991 Fleer which featured the craziest picture of any pitcher I've ever seen. Since then, I've been collecting his cards, all of which seem to have some sort of crazy picture of him in mid-delivery.

Sean Casey

Casey was acquired on the eve of the 1998 season for Dave Burba and my, how that trade worked out for the Reds. In eight seasons of manning first base for the Reds, he hit .305/.371/.463 and amassed over 1000 games. Not long after Casey was traded away after the 2005 season, Joey Votto came along and has continued the chain of long serving first basemen.

Chris Sabo

As I mentioned before, Barry Larkin was the first shortstop I remember playing for the Reds, so to go along with that Chris Sabo was the first third baseman I remember hanging around the hot corner for the Reds. "Spuds" played the majority of his career for the Reds, with only the 1994 and 1995 seasons being the ones where he was away from Cincinnati. He returned for a final season in 1996 for 54 games before retiring. I've got two cards of him not in a Reds uniform (Orioles and White Sox) and I'm always looking for more non-Reds cards of him.

1990 Kahn's Cincinnati Reds - [Base] #23 - Hal Morris - Courtesy of

Hal Morris

I didn't have any Hal Morris cards in the box I was sorting so I took this image from COMC. Morris was always someone I found interesting, mainly because of his wacky batting stances but he could hit like crazy. Like most of the other Reds on this list, he's the first person I remember playing at a certain position, first base in this particular case. I haven't really found many cards of his post 1994 for my collection so those are the ones I'm definitely trying to find currently.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Going Through the Archives

This past weekend was Father's Day weekend and, despite the underlying current of a rather expensive car repair and bad customer service at the dealership doing the repair, it was still a fun weekend. The threat of rain kept the family and I indoors for much of Father's Day proper but the day before my mom took us out to eat at Chili's. As a gift to myself, I was on the lookout for Archives. We stopped at Target before lunch but no luck as it looked like their shelf hadn't been updated in over a month. On the way home, we stopped at Walmart and behold ... there were only a few blasters left on the shelf. I nabbed two of them. 

Last year Archives really stepped up their game I thought and it was going to be hard to top it. Wouldn't you know it though, Topps nearly succeeded. I say nearly because the 1982 design was used just a few short years ago in the 2013 set. If they were going to use an early 80s design, how about 1981? Regardless, they are still fun cards. 

The other years that Archives celebrated are 1960 and 1992. The 1992 set I have fond memories of as it was one of the first Topps sets I remember collecting from my youth. Some of the pictures they chose are just great, especially the horizontal ones, such as the Astros cards above. Also, much like the 1960 set, every card in that design in a horizontal one as well.

I got one Bazooka insert in each blaster. They're neat little cards and I was pretty happy to get a Kris Bryant one. The Moncada "rookie star" card and the Verlander are ok. I was sort of hoping for something like last year's Topps Supers in the insert department but these are fine.

One of my favorite things about Archives is that you get cards of players on teams that they aren't normally associated with (the lone exception in this batch being Hank Aaron). The Ozzie Padres card is just absolute gold. Unfortunately, I didn't get a Reggie Jackson Orioles card in either blaster.

The one thing I could've done without is the Jeter reprints. These are the only thing out of the Archives box heading for the trade bin. If they were reprints of older Jeter cards, say from the 90s, then I probably would have kept them. As is, I honestly have no use for reprints of cards from just a few years ago.

Moving on from the negativity, this was the only parallel that came from either blaster, and it's of Juan Marichal. No complaints there. This is the second neat Marichal pull I've had recently as a few years ago, I bought some Heritage packs and pulled out a Juan Marichal jersey card numbered to 49. Maybe the hobby gods are trying to tell me something?

Another great thing about Archives is you get cards of players from way back in the day. I've found that Honus Wagner cards are usually found in the higher end products, at least from Topps, so getting his card from the very first pack was really neat. I also like that they kept them to the old 1960 design instead of trying to put them on a newer design.

Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby? I'm good with that.

And a two more cards that I found to be pretty neat. I can't say I've seen too many cards recently of Blyleven in a Tribe uniform, especially the old late 70s/early 80s design. Also, Eddie Murray has a striking resemblance to Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. I'll have a royale with cheese, please.

Finally, there are two of these coins in every blaster. In case you can't see by the scan, I got David Dahl, Giancarlo Stanton, Mookie Betts, and Anthony Rizzo. I'm not sure how exactly these will fit in pages so for now I put them in the box that has just miscellaneous stuff in it.

Overall, I definitely dig Archives this year and these definitely made up for the stress and otherwise awfulness I had to deal with from the car repair shop. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Man Who Made Milwaukee Famous

No, I'm not talking about "The Crusher".

I'm talking about Matt from the somewhat new Summer of '74 blog. He's a Brewers collector and is also building some of the Topps base sets. I shipped a few late 70s extras his way along with a few from 2016 recently. In return, I received some cool stuff back last week.

First were these really cool TTM autographs. I haven't really dabbled into the TTM thing yet but I might give it a try at some point. Since Matt is working on an all-time Brewers signature project, I think it's safe to assume that these are extras. I especially like the Joe Oliver card as he was the Reds primary catcher when I first started getting into baseball.

There were also a decent batch of Indians, both old and new. I know there's a ton of 1991 Donruss out there so if anyone wants to dump their cards from Series 1 on me, let me know.

There were also Reds cards both old and new and even old players (Johnny Bench) on new cards. I swear on every Johnny Bench card Topps puts out, that same picture is on there. The Chris Sabo Upper Deck card I strangely didn't have before somehow.

This was the real star of the package though ... card #599 from the 1974 Topps set and it just happens to be the "Washington" variation of the card. One of my collecting goals is to finish the complete set of the Washington error cards and this definitely puts me one step closer. I only need 10 more cards to complete the set and if you have any of the cards on my want list that I still need, feel free to let me know.

Thanks for the great cards Matt. I've got a more Topps base cards I'm piling up to send to you later this summer in the hopes that you can put them to some good use.