Monday, September 24, 2018

Ten Cent Twitter Cards (and more)

I finally did it. I participated in my first Twitter dime sale, courtesy of everyone's favorite Twitter trader, Jenny Miller.

While I never followed Jenny until recently, I've seen lots of fellow bloggers buying stuff from her. So, I decided to jump in on the end of summer dime sale she ran on Twitter back around Labor Day.

If you're not familiar with one of Jenny's sales, the concept is simple. She posts cards, you claim what you want, then she gives you a total (which includes $3 shipping no matter how many cards you buy) at the end of the sale, and you pay via Paypal. Simple, easy. Just the way I like stuff to be online. 

These are my two favorite Reds cards that I bought. I'd had my eye on the Konerko card but never really pulled the trigger on it. I'm a huge, huge fan of the Heritage Collection cards from Diamond Kings and I try to always grab a few if I can find a good deal on them.

I don't collect much in the way of minor league cards, only cards of Reds affiliates. Probably my favorite team out of that group is the Dayton Dragons, mainly because they're just up the street in downtown Dayton but their games are literally impossible to get tickets too (and I mean that in a good way) as they have the longest consecutive sellout streak in professional sports currently. Topps doesn't include the Dragons in every set so when they do make cards of them, I kind of have to jump on them.

Some 1994 Fleer Reds, including Kevin Mitchell. The Reds got Mitchell in the 1992-93 offseason from Seattle in exchange for Norm Charlton. Mitchell's best season in red was 1994 with 30 homers and 77 RBIs in 95 games. With the Charlton trade, that left Rob Dibble as the only one remaining from the 1990 "Nasty Boys" bullpen. He got injured in 1994 and signed with the White Sox to attempt a comeback. It didn't fare too well. Neither did his last stand with Milwaukee later that year as well.

I couldn't resist these either. Tyler Mahle has been a bit hit and miss this season. I'm hoping he'll have a better season next year as he's a pretty decent pitcher when he's doing good. 

Who can resist some Triple Play cards for a dime each? I know I can't. I think of all the Triple Play cards issued in the early 90s, the 1993 design has to be my favorite, mainly because of the black border.

Some choice cards from 1994 Collector's Choice? Yes please.

I couldn't resist the Roberto Clemente card from 1987 Donruss, it's just so cool looking. I know pretty much everyone rags on 1990 Donruss but I find joy in the weirdness that it is. I always liked the Diamond Kings cards as well, and they look even neater with the red border. 1986 Donruss is always a hit as well, heck pretty much anything is from Donruss glory years (except 1988). This gives me an idea for a future post.

Hall of Famers were in plentiful supply. I don't have too many 1994 Topps cards so I had to nab the Griffey and the Thomas. I consider 1991 Donruss to be the last of Donruss "glory years" as in 1992 they completely flipped the script on everything.

More HOFers. That Al Kaline card is just beautiful.

Two Craig Biggio cards found their way into my stack as well. 2007 was Biggio's last season and I guess this could be categorized as his "sunset card" as he didn't have a card in the regular issue Topps flagship in 2008

Shiny cards are always fun. 

2018 Stadium Club is much nicer in person than it looks on paper. 

Some more cool Stadium Club cards. 

Yay for team cards! The Nationals card I believe is their first team card ever after moving from Montreal.

Complete randomness will close out the baseball portion. Three guys with really nothing in common.

Baseball wasn't the only thing Jenny was offering. She offered some football cards outside of the regular sale. I nabbed these fancy Bengals cards for 50 cents each. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I am I the only blogger out there that collects Bengals cards?

This Johnny Unitas card was part of the ten cent sale. It was way too good to pass up.

And my most expensive card from Jenny, this Tyler Eifert card which set me back a whole dollar. While he's been often injured during the past few seasons, when he's on the field he's a force. I really dig this whole chrome retro design thing.

So that's it, my first experience with buying cards through Twitter. Thanks for the great cards Jenny! I hope to buy from you again soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dime Box Potpourri

About a month or so ago, I emailed Dimebox Nick about a few cards I had for him for an impromptu trade. I sent him over a mailer and about a week or after, I found a nice padded mailer sitting on the kitchen counter when I got home from work. A package from Nick is guaranteed to include all sorts of goodies. 

I'll start with vintage. There's an off center John Lowenstein from 1972 and two well loved 1970 Topps cards, my favorite of which is the Senators "Rookie Stars" card.

George Brett cards? Sure, why not. I've said this before, the base set design of 2018 Donruss didn't exactly thrill me but the 1984 style cards are super cool.

Junior cards!! I'm always looking to add to my Griffey collection, especially any Reds cards I can find of him.

Cards of Hall of Famers are nice too. I love that Willie Stargell Diamond Kings card.

More Hall of Famers and not only that but Expos! The Andre Dawson is an Archives Reprint and although that Gary Carter card may look a bit washed out in the back, believe me, it's really cool in person.

The McDonald's Expos set was distributed throughout stores in French speaking areas of Canada to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Expos in 1993. It included stars from past and present dating back to the beginning of the team in 1969. I've never seen these before so I was definitely excited to find these included.

Nick also hit on some of my primary team collections. You can't go wrong with oddballs like this. I think the Toby Harrah is a dupe, not sure though. I'll have to check my Indians binder.

I didn't get a chance to participate in the National Baseball Card Day festivities this year but Nick provided me the Edwin Encarnacion card from the set. Francisco Meija was sent to the Padres in July for bullpen help in the name of Adam Cimber and Brad Hand.

Can't go wrong with Dave Winfield cards!

And here's a Players Weekend commemorative patch card in the form of Francisco Lindor. I'm guessing this was from a Series 1 blaster. I really don't seem to mind these "manu-relics" as most do.

As usual, any trade package I receive has a fair number of Reds cards. Here are some oddballs again to start off with. I think the Jimmy Dean Sabo might be a dupe but I'll have to double check.

One Sabo card I know is not a dupe is this King-B Meat Snacks disc from 1989 (side note: they made these discs all the way into the early 2000s). I'm not really one for beef jerky or meat snacks myself but if a card like this came with it, I'd totally buy it.

I don't buy much in the way of high end and I'm not even sure if Topps Inception falls into that category but all I know is that this is a really cool Billy Hamilton card.

I don't know what happened to the lettering on that Johnny Bench Stadium Club card but I can assure you it's not a parallel/variation/whatever. I think when I touched up the picture, the letters became blue somehow. Regardless, it's a really super cool card. Also, I really love the Sean Casey UD Victory card as I have roughly zero of those.

I've mentioned my love for Paul Konerko Reds cards in the past and this one is pretty cool. It's probably the shiniest one I have in my collection. I couldn't resist showing off the Barry Larkin Donruss RC as well.

Finally, some Joey Votto cards to add to the pile. I think when I reorganize my Reds collection this winter, player collections will go it one binder to make it easier to figure dupes and what not. That Diamond Kings card is a beauty.

Thanks Nick for the impromptu trade. Let's do it again soon!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Around the Horn: Toronto Blue Jays

O, Canada! My "Around the Horn" series makes the trek north of the border, to look at the only current MLB team not in the United States, the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays were founded in 1977 along with the Seattle Mariners as part of the last round of American League expansion (that is, until 1998 when the Rays (nee Devil Rays) were added).

From their inception until June of 1989, the Jays played at Exhibition Stadium, a strange creature of a stadium positioned on the shores of Lake Ontario. According to Wikipedia, there was a small snowstorm before the inaugural game in April of 1977 and the team had to borrow the Zamboni from the Maple Leafs to clear the field.

During the first few years of the Blue Jays existence, they were nothing to write home about. However, when Bobby Cox took over as manager in the early 1980s, things began to improve and the Blue Jays began to rise in the standings. The 1982 Topps "Future Stars" card shows a glimpse into the future. Let's see how each player on this card panned out:

Jesse Barfield - Played 12 MLB seasons total, the first nine of which were with the Jays. He finished in the top 10 of Rookie of the Year voting in 1982, twice in the top ten of MVP voting (1985, 1986), and won Gold Gloves in 1986 and 1987. His best season was 1986, the only season in which he made the All-Star team, in which he slugged 40 homers, hit .289 with a .559 slugging percentage, and drove in 108 RBIs.

Brian Milner - Only appeared in two major league games in 1978 and accumulated 9 official at bats in those two games. He tooled around the lower minors for a few years and was out of organized baseball after 1982.

Boomer Wells - Also known as Greg Wells, he lasted all of two seasons in the majors (1981 with TOR and 1982 with MIN) and only appeared in a paltry 47 games during that span. In 1983, he went over to Japan and had a very prolific career over there playing until 1992 with the Hankyu Braves, Orix Braves, and the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.

Throughout the 1980s, the Blue Jays were perennial contenders for the AL East Division crown and actually won the Division in 1985 before being bested by Kansas City in the ALCS that year. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they had veterans like Jim Clancy along with youngsters such as Cecil Fielder and Mark Whiten who would eventually lead them to the promise land. More on that later.

I picked these cards out because I always enjoyed the pure white of the Blue Jays uniforms during this period. Also, I think Cecil Fielder's four year run with the Jays gets forgotten quite a bit as most remember him for the home run clubbing first baseman for the Tigers during the early part of the 1990s.

From the "short term stops" file, here's some 80s cards of Jeff Burroughs and Juan Berenguer. 

Burroughs only season with the Jays was his sunset year of 1985 where he only made 86 games. He's shown here in the 1986 Fleer issue. It's one of only a handful of cards I have from that particular set. Berenguer, also known as "El Gasolino" in addition to his "SeƱor Smoke" moniker, had a brief 12-game sojourn north of the border in 1981 as he was purchased by the Jays from the Royals just before the second half of the season started. 

In the middle of the 1989 season, the Blue Jays moved from Exhibition Stadium into the brand new Skydome (since renamed Rogers Centre), a giant multi-purpose stadium built on the former Railway Lands in downtown Toronto.

Fred McGriff and Joe Carter were part of arguably the biggest and most famous trade in Blue Jays history. In December of 1990, the Blue Jays traded McGriff and Tony Fernandez to San Diego for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. The rest is history. 

McGriff had a few good seasons with the Padres before being acquired by the Braves in 1993 for the stretch run to the playoffs. Fernandez spent two seasons in San Diego before being traded to the Mets in the 1992-93 offseason. He found his way back to Toronto after being acquired via trade in June of 1993. All totaled, Fernandez had four different stints with the Jays (1983-1990, 1993, 1998-99, and 2001) before retiring.

Would I call myself a Fred McGriff collector? Yes, possibly as he's a player I'm familiar with from seeing him with the Braves on TV. Seeing cards of him though in a Blue Jays uniform is just fascinating. These are my four favorites that I have.

Carter and Alomar helped the Jays win back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993, with Carter hitting one of the most famous home runs in World Series history in 1993 off Mitch Williams of the Phillies. Alomar anchored the defense up the middle and earned both an All-Star nod and a gold glove in every season he spent up in Toronto. We won't mention the little umpire spitting incident though.

Joe Carter is definitely someone cool I enjoy collecting, mainly because of that home run in the 1993 World 

The Jays also had some great pitching during this time from players such as Jack Morris, Dave Stewart, and Pat Hentgen. Morris joined the team in 1992 and won 21 games for the Jays after having just won the World Series with Minnesota the year prior

Some more stars from early 90s Blue Jays teams, including "Hard Hittin'" Mark Whiten, and Dave Winfield, who's one of my favorite players to collect. Looking back now on it, those 92 and 93 teams were just absolutely loaded.

I mostly remember Paul Molitor for his time with the Brewers and him signing a three-year deal with the Blue Jays after spending 15 years in Milwaukee was a bit of a shock to me as a kid as I imagined him as a Brewer for life.

The Jays sort of fell off after the 1994-95 strike but did have some younger players coming up like Carlos Delgado. They even changed their long time logo and uniforms. 

They also managed to snag Roger Clemens for two brief seasons in 1997 and 1998. I'm not sure too many people remember his time in blue up north so I guess this could be filed as a "short term stop" even though it was two seasons. It's still bizarre to me to see him in anything but a Red Sox uniform.

One player I didn't care much for when he was with the Reds was Edwin Encarnacion. In a rare trade where it worked well for both teams, the Reds traded him and a couple minor leaguers in exchange for Scott Rolen. Encarnacion had a heck of a run with the Blue Jays, and coupled with Jose Bautista, made for a crazy power threat in the lineup. 

So there we are, a look at some of my favorite Blue Jays cards in my collection. Hope you enjoyed this entry in the "Around the Horn" series.

Next up ... the Cleveland Indians!

Friday, September 14, 2018


So there's this happening right now.

I had plans on completing some blog posts this weekend but then last night we unexpected company show up.

The first wave arrived about 9:00, it was my sister-in-law, her husband, and their three week old baby. They had left on Wednesday from Beulaville, NC for Pound, Virginia but after they got there and stayed one night, they decided to pack up as they weren't too keen on the persons house in the hills and the environment for their baby where they were staying at.

About three hours later, my mother-in-law and two of my wife's brothers showed up somewhat unexpectedly. They were attempting to take shelter down in Jacksonville, NC with my wife's dad as he's a county employee as is thus classified as a first responder as has to stay, but the shelter was full. So they dropped him off, packed the car up, and arrived in Ohio. We weren't sure if they were coming as they have no cell phones between the three of them. It was either Ohio, find a shelter in Raleigh, or ride out the storm back at their house in Richlands, NC. Luckily they chose Ohio.

So we're housing refugees from the storm for the weekend. Besides my wife and I, there are now five other grown adults in the house, plus a three week old. We offered the main bedroom to my sister-in-law and her husband since they have the baby. We had people sleeping in the floor and on the couch last night. 

The worst of the storm is supposed to pass by Sunday morning and we're keeping in constant contact with my wife's dad down there on how things are going. The shelter he was housed had a car smash into it earlier today. Everyone is fine and they're being moved to another building.

So anyway, that's my tale right now. I'll be back to regular blogging here soon, probably next week, as I have packages from Dimebox Nick and Jenny Miller on Twitter that have yet to be chronicled, plus I'm nearly complete on my Toronto Blue Jays entry in my "Around the Horn" series.