Sunday, July 29, 2018

Highlights of a Box of 1989 Bowman

It was pretty miserable outside when I decided to open this. It was raining buckets and the wind was blowing hard. A pretty awful way for a Saturday to be in my opinion. I needed something to keep me busy and remembered I had this box of 1989 Bowman. My five year old son was going a little stir crazy too so I sat him down in the living room floor with me, split the box evenly and took turns ripping. While the contents were pretty much what I expected them to be, that being unimpressive, I did find a few keepers in the bunch.

As I'm sure everyone had seen 1989 Bowman before, there's nothing new here to be discussed. Besides the size issue, the biggest problem I have with this set is the signatures on the front are terribly hard to read at times, especially if the player is wearing a dark uniform (see the John Smiley card above). Nine times out of ten I had to flip the card over to see who it was on the front.

My favorites here are the Gary Carter card (in between Brett and Clemens), Fred McGriff in a Blue Jays uniform (bottom left), and Bert Blyleven (next to McGriff). 

A couple more keepers including Jose Canseco, Eddie Murray, Joe Carter, some guy named Ripken, and Wade Boggs. 

The big prize of 1989 Bowman is the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. I was lucky enough to pull two out of the box. While 1989 Bowman is lower on the list of desirable Griffey rookies, it's still neat to have two pack pulled Griffey rookie cards. One of these will most likely be offered up for trade soon.

Would I buy a box of 1989 Bowman again? Not really but it was fun enough to kill about 20 minutes on a rainy Saturday afternoon and provided some good father/son time. Can't ask for much more than that.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Around the Horn: Oakland A's

I mentioned back in my anniversary post that one thing I'm going to start going is showing off some of the cards of my collection, team by team. This will help me do two things ... 1) I'll be able to keep a visual catalog of cards in my collection knowing what I have and don't have, and 2) it'll provide for some fun blog posts hopefully. Now, I won't be showing every card I have of a team as I have way too many cards to take pictures of and document, but I'll be showing some of the better stuff and lots of my general favorites along with player collections (both intentional and non-intentional).

I'll start with baseball and in the American League since my cards are divided my league. First up, the Oakland A's ...

The A's are one of the original American League teams despite residing in three different cities throughout their tenure. They've been in Oakland now way longer than they were in Kansas City and nearly as long as they were in Philadelphia, where old Connie Mack managed the team way back when.

I felt it appropriate to start with this card, which just happens to be one of my favorite cards of my collection.

This card is the card that got me into collecting Dennis Eckersley cards. When I first saw this card while collecting as a kid, the picture on it was the craziest thing I'd ever seen. Numerous times I tried to emulate his delivery on this card while playing baseball in my grandparents backyard, and every single time I never could quite get it right. This is by far my favorite card from the 1991 Fleer set and probably my favorite Eckersley card in my collection right now.

Here are some more Eckersley cards with interesting pictures. The photography on his cards is the main reason that I collect his cards. They're just really unique.

Just for the A's alone, I've got 27 different Eckersley cards, which comprise the majority of my collection of his. I think I've got one or two of him with Cleveland and a few more of him with the Cubs. I don't think I have any Red Sox or Cardinals cards from what I remember but I guess I'll find out when I get to those teams. That's the beauty of this project, rediscovering cards I'd forgotten I had.

In terms of unintentional player collections, Rickey Henderson is probably tops in that category. While I don't actively seek out his cards, if I find one cheap or pull one out of a pack, I won't complain.

Jose Canseco is someone else that fits in the unintentional PC category. These are the Canseco cards I've got that didn't really fit into any of the other groups I took pictures of.

As I noted earlier, before the A's were in Oakland or Kansas City, they were the second team in Philadelphia. While I don't have many cards documenting their time there, these are my two favorites. I don't know much about Walt French but Baseball Reference shows he spent six years with the club through the 1920s. Grover Cleveland Alexander though, now there's a real blast from the past. I know a lot of people hate on Panini for making cards that can't show the team name and logo but I've said it many times in the past, their Diamond Kings line are some of the best cards on the market. 

I don't have any actual vintage cards from the Philly days but one thing I would like to get is a 1952 Topps card from the A's. Speaking of vintage, I do love me some vintage cards, no matter what team or year (the older the better honestly) and there's a lot to love here, from the two cool 1960 Topps cards (a set in which I'm liking better every time I see it) to the 1963 Fleer Dick Howser, and my favorite, the 1961 Topps Joe Nuxhall, which just happens to be the only non-Reds card of him that's out there.

70s cards of Swingin' A's cornerstones Vida Blue and Gene Tenace. These are just some great looking cards I think, especially the 1970 card with both of them on it. But my favorite has to be 1971. While I'm not building the 1971 set (it's too expensive for me) I do have a goal to get as many cards from the set I can afford which will mostly be commons and semi-stars.

Can't go wrong with "Blue Moon" Odom, especially a 1970 card with two giant water towers in the background.

Behind 1971, 1973 is my second favorite set of the 1970s, primarily because of the design and the photography. I've got the same goal with 1973 as I do with 1971, get as many cards as I can without breaking the bank.

Team cards! I love team vintage team cards. I need to get a team card of the Kansas City A's at some point.

I forgot when or where along the line I got this Reggie Jackson Kellogg's card but it's a beauty for sure, as is anything Kellogg's from this time.

Moving on to the 80s, first up are these Jose Rijo cards. Rijo pitched three seasons for the A's, was traded to the Reds in the 1987-88 offseason for Dave Parker, and was a mainstay in the Reds rotation until 1995 when he blew his shoulder out. He made a miraculous comeback in late 2001, pitched for the Reds in 2002 and retired after the season. Oh, did I mention he walloped his former team in the 1990 World Series?

Some cool 1985 Topps cards ... I'd forgotten that Kingman wound up his career in Oakland.

Joe Morgan played the last year of his career for the A's at second base in 1984 and because of this he got some cards in the 1985 issues. I picked this up for a quarter at a card shop a while back.

I've got quite a few 1987 A's cards, mostly commons though. When I first got back into collecting, one of the things I bought was a box of 1987 Topps for $12. I was pretty excited to open it and I spaced it out over a month. Both of these cards came from that box and I remember I was really excited with I pulled them out.

I kinda sorta collect Ramon Hernandez, mainly because he was a really fun player to watch when he was with the Reds for the stretch under Dusty Baker when they were actually good. I wouldn't say it's a player collection by any means but who knows, these two cards may be a start.

The one thing I really like about A's cards is the way the green and gold uniforms just pop right off the card and these four pretty much set that tone.


Royals speedster and stalwart Willie Wilson went to the A's as a free agent in the winter of 1990 and spent two years in Oakland primarily as an outfielder. Willie Randolph spent the majority of 1990 in Oakland after being shipped over in May in exchange for Stan Javier. He played 93 games for the A's team and was on the postseason roster and part of the team that got swept by the Reds.

A bunch of cool random cards I'd forgotten I had. Ben Grieve was supposed to be a superstar prospect but it didn't quite work out so well. Ruben Sierra had a few good decent seasons in Oakland in the 90s after being shipped over in the Jose Canseco deal.

I always thought Ron Darling spent his whole career with the Mets but I guess he pitched some in Oakland as well. Mid 90s cards are like the early 80s cards, you come across players you know but yet they're in unfamiliar uniforms. 


Speaking of players in unfamiliar uniforms, how about Mike Piazza and Matt Holliday? Mike Piazza closed out his career in 2007 with the A's mostly as a DH. The card shown is a 2008 Topps card, which just happens to be his "sunset card" as well. Matt Holliday is someone I'd forgotten spent time in Oakland when I pulled this card out of an O-Pee-Chee rack pack I found for about two bucks a few years ago.

The only other A's cards I have from the 2000s. My collection of these is very sparse and I would love to add more to it.


Here are probably my two favorite cards in the unfamiliar uniform parade, Ben Zobrist and Manny Ramirez. The A's acquired Ben Zobrist in January of 2015 and he appeared in 67 games for them before being traded to the eventual World Series Champion Royals at the trade deadline that season. Until I found this card, I'd forgotten all about his brief stint in the green and gold. Manny never played a single game for the A's but yet somehow got a card in the 2012 Topps set. I'm still not sure how zero-year cards come to be but they are certainly a wonderful thing.

Dan Straily was the Reds best pitcher in the train wreck that was the 2016 season, hence the reason that if I come across a card of his, I tend to pick it up.

And I'll wrap this up by showing all the A's cards from 2010-present that are currently in my collection. 

So that's it, the majority of my Oakland A's collection. So, I'm curious, did you like this post? This was a first effort so I know it's a little rough around the edges but I think I did a pretty good job. Trust me, I went through about three different versions before the one you see now. Is there any feedback on how you would format this for future posts? What did you like? Dislike? Let me know.

Monday, July 23, 2018

2018 Topps Big League Box Break - Part 1

Before I dive into this, I want to take just a quick moment to thank everyone for congratulatory comments and kind words on the Year 3 post I put up over the weekend. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to read my ramblings on cards. Now, on with the show ....

Recently, my aunt was in town doing her yearly summer visit from Tulsa and as is tradition, I tend to get some cards as a late Father's Day present. I went for a box of the new Topps Big League and I also opted for a box of Series 2.

Since Big League is new, I opted to bust into it first. I had intended on doing six packs at a time but my five year old and I went a little crazy the other day and tore open 11 packs, which is more than I intended. So, I'll show off the highlights of those 11 packs here and the remainder here shortly.

Here's the first card from the first pack I opened. Remember back in the spring I said I was going to show the first card of a product I opened? Well, I'm continuing that trend here.

Here's a sampling of random base cards I liked. I really like the design on these. It's got a tiny bit of an old school feel with some really great photography and a big team logo at the bottom left. Also, I tried to not show cards of the major stars, I went for cards that I thought stood out to me in general. Probably my favorite of these is Clayton Richard with the 90s throwback Padres uniform on.

These black and white parallels are pretty cool and they're numbered out of 50. 

Legends cards are always fun. I really like the Hank Aaron card as the uniform looks like it's from the 70s.

Some Reds cards, including my favorite Reds player right now, Scooter Gennett!

Really cool horizontal cards but that Ichiro card ... just wow. That's gotta be in the running for my favorite cards of the year so far.

These may look like inserts but they're part of the base set actually. Can't say I'm a big fan of the caricature cards. The players weekend cards look like an insert set that could be in flagship or something, I really like them though. 

My favorite cards from the set by far are these ballpark landmark cards. These cards just scream fun and cool and unique. They're the Topps Big League version of the mascot cards in Opening Day.

In every pack you get a gold parallel card. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. I think it's good because you're guaranteed a unique card per pack. On the flip side, getting one in every pack comes across as too much of a good thing, maybe every other pack would be a happy medium? My favorite of these is the Zack Cozart card since it's my first card of him in an Angels uniform (I don't count the Cozart card from Donruss as he's in a Reds uniform but is listed as with the Angels).

Anyway, that's about half the box. So far, I've enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the box includes.