Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ten Records

The godfather of baseball card blogging, Night Owl, threw down a challenge earlier this week: to name 10 albums that were significant to you and tie it to baseball cards.  This is my effort.  I've gone a little further and added videos of songs from the albums (with one exception) and tied the cards to the song.    So, here we go:



1. Styx - Cornerstone

Why this album: This album changed my musical tastes.  Prior to buying Cornerstone, I listened to the worst of 1970s pop music, like The Village People and KC and the Sunshine Band.  The song Babe was what drew me in, but it was the rock power anthems on the record that converted me over to rock music.


Why this card:  Well, I am nothing if unoriginal.  Babe is the song that introduced me to Styx.  And what other baseball player to show?  Sure, there were many ballplayers with the nickname babe.  32, according to Baseball Reference.    But, none are greater than Babe Ruth



2. AC/DC - Back in Black

Why this album:  This album, bought at the KMart in Chili Center, NY really led me into the hard rock world and away from the (sometimes forced) theatrics of Styx.  A lot of Styx music sounds dated now.  Back in Black, at 37 years old, still fits into the modern music landscape.  Plus, I remember driving to Buffalo in a blizzard to see AC/DC as a college freshman.


Why this card: What Do You Do For Money, Honey?  Don Money?  Like I said, I don't pretend to orginality.

3.  Sammy Hagar - Standing Hampton 

Why this album: The first concert I ever attended was Sammy Hagar (with Aldo Nova opening) at the Rochester Auditorium Theater in my junior year in high school.



Why this card:  Well, standing hampton is a NSFW slang.   Look it up and you'll understand.



4. Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood

Why this album: I remember hearing a cut from this album, SRV's debut, on the radio during my senior year in high school and being completely blown away by it. The cassette tape was pretty much on loop for me the summer between high school and college.



Why this card:  Well it is Curt *Flood* and he was born in Houston, Texas.



5. R.E.M. - Reckoning

Why this album:  I first heard this playing on the store sound system as I wandered about The Record Archive in Rochester during college. It blew me away and I bought it immediately. It was my entrĂ©e into alternative rock.  The video is a bit of a stretch. I really spent some time thinking about this and never got anywhere.  I finally googled "R.E.M. " and "baseball" and found out two members of the band formed a group called The Baseball Project and released two baseball themed albums.  So, I went in that direction instead of beating my head on a wall trying to tie Harborcoat to baseball.



Why this card:  Well, the song is called Harvey Haddix.



6. Metallica-S&M

Why this album:  This brought me back to heavy metal after a long time away. I don't have an extensive metal library, but I do appreciate watching people that are really good at what they do.  And Metallica is that.




Why this card:  I defy anyone to come up with a different player.  Enter Sandman played whenever Mariano Rivera came in from the bullpen at Yankee Stadium and Metallica played at his final game.



7. Pine Valley Cosmonauts - The Majesty of Bob Wills

Why this album:  I came across this album in the music section of the late, lamented Borders Bookstore.  They had headphones along the rows of CDs that would allow you to listen to selected albums.  This album was one such selection.  It introduced me to Western Swing music, an amalgam of country and jazz most popular in the 1930s and 1940s.  It is still around, most notably by the Austin band Asleep at the Wheel.  Bob Wills is in both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame.



Why this card:  Well the song above is about the Alamo, which is in San Antonio. Cliff Johnson, a player on the Yankees teams of my youth is from San Antonio.





8. Social Distortion - Social Distortion

Why this album:  I really like the SoCal punk sound here.  And, when I found out that there was a fair amount of crossover between the SoCal punk scene and the classic country and Bakersfield sounds (typified most recently by Dwight Yoakam), I was hooked.




Why this card: Well, Casey Stengel wrote a book titled "Casey at the Bat: The Story of My Life in Baseball."


9. Slaid Cleaves - Broke Down

Why this album:  I don't rightly recall if this was my introduction to Americana music, since that is a fairly broad label that encompasses a number of other genres, like folk and alt-country. I will say that, after hearing this song on a locally produced radio show, I did go right out and get the CD and it did contribute to a new direction in my music listening.



Why this card:  Well, what else is the baseball equivalent of one good year other than the one year wonder.  And Joe Charboneau falls into that category


10. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson

Why this album:  Sturgill Simpson is the man.  Along with Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell, he is saving country music.  Much to the chagrin of Nashville's Music Row. But screw them. They are peddling crappy pop and bro country. If you haven't seen his performance on Saturday Night Live recently, you should.  Go here and here.  While I expect that Beyonce's "Lemonade" will win, I'd love Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" to win the Record of the Year Grammy.


Why this card:  Okay, this is a stretch. I admit it. But, I do need to show some faint glimmer of originality. Turtles all the way down is a colloquial expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology.  It is also considered an example of the Anavastha concept in Indian philosophy.  So, here is a card of two Indian natives who joined the Pirates minor league organization in 2009 as part of the reality show, Million Dollar Arm. Dinesh Patel only hung on for two years, both in Rookie ball.  Rinku Singh made it 4 years, getting as high as A ball.  He resigned with the Pirates in November 2015 and managed to pitch one scoreless inning in rookie ball during the 2016 season.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Updated 2017 Goals - A New Quest

So, on my previous post, I had a number of goals for this year, one of which was to add one more card to my 1963 Fleer autographed set.  With only 7 cards remaining in that quest, two of which are out of my reach (Mays and Clemente), I rated that as the goal I was least likely to achieve. I have started to broaden my searches for that by looking at auction houses, but I still rate it as my most challenging goal.

Then this happened:




On a lark, I submitted a bid on this card at Pristine Auctions. I didn't figure I'd win a autographed card of a Hall of Famer with my low ball bid. Alas, I did.  For a mere $16 (delivered,) this card is mine.  So, I decided to add 1960 and 1961 Fleer to my autographed set quest.  There are 79 cards in 1960 and 154 in 1961.  I'll start researching what is achievable with this project, so stay tuned.

I've already completed 1960 and am 4 cards away from completing 1961 as unautographed sets. But, while I like set building, I like challenges, too. The autographed 1963 Fleer set was a challenge. And hella fun. So, I thought I'd give this a try. There are probably plenty of cards that I can't get, like Babe Ruth, where the player died before these cards were issued.  And probably plenty that may be too expensive, but this is one of those challenges where it is the journey and not the destination. 

Well, that is it.  I need to head out to get stalls ready for the cold weather tonight and feed the horses. I have tickets for tonight's OKC Thunder-Denver Nuggets game.  My employer is a sponsor of the Thunder and I was able to score a couple tickets that are usually reserved for the marketing folks to use to schmooze customers.  Row B in the level closest to the floor.  Normally,  the nose bleed seats (300 level) is what I can afford. I will generally splurge once a year on 200 level seats. So, I am excited beyond belief!  Ta!

What I am listening to:  Away by Rorey Carroll.



Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Hobby Resolutions

Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't I?

Of course, being on the wrong side of 50, I have personal resolutions for 2017:

  1. Lose some weight.  In 2016, I slimmed down from over 220 to 188.  With the holidays, I've put about 8 pounds back on.  I'd like to lose that and a few more. Ideally, I'd like to get under 185.
  2. Exercise.  With a full time job, a 40-60 minute commute on each end of the day, and a 17 acre farm to care for, I have little time for aerobic exercise.  But, I'd at least like to start walking more.
  3. Thunder up!  My wife and I bought a 6 game package for the OKC Thunder this year and will probably end up going to 8-10 games, overall  We've talked about getting on the wait list for season tickets next year.  They would be in the nose bleed section, because anything closer to the floor would be out of our price range. It would be hard to make it to 40 games next year, so we may look for another couple to go halfsies with us.
On the hobby side, I have a few goals:

  1. Finish one or both of 1970 and 1972 Topps.  These are the last two sets I need to finish the run of Topps sets from the 1970s.
  2. Finish 1961 Fleer. Only four cards to go, although two are expensive: Ted Williams and Babe Ruth.
  3. Cut the remaining want list on 1956 Topps by a third. I need 75 cards, plus the two checklists, to finish.So, 25 new (to me) cards.
  4. Although I suspect that I'm pretty much at the end of this quest,  I'd like to add one more autographed 1963 Fleer card to that set. Of the 7 cards I still need, only one player is still living and that is Willie Mays. Of the 6 other cards, one is Roberto Clemente.  Those two ain't happening.  So, it will have to be Vic Power, Vada Pinson, Dick Farrell, Ken Boyer, or Gene Oliver.
  5. Maybe have some original content around here.  
  6. Get rid of all the cards I don't want. That is my collection in the picture.  Top two shelves are my sets.  The third shelf down is all my duplicates and unwanted cards.  The bottom shelf is supplies and what not.  I'd like to clean that third shelf out.

So, there it is.  Bring on 2017!

What I am listening to:  The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore by Billy Bragg and Joe Henry


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fleer Autograph Project - Part 59

Generally speaking, things have been quiet on the hobby front, what with previously lamented major expenditures and the holidays nigh upon us.  So, in order to stay active, but not break the bank, I have started working on 1970 Topps baseball. I've gotten most card numbers under 339 fairly cheaply. I've done this since I am essentially down to the expensive star cards and high numbers for my 1972 set (203 cards left, 163 of which are semi-high and high numbers).

Otherwise, not much new. Except this:


This is the 59th autographed 1963 Fleer card I have, out of 66 in the set.  I nabbed this when I woke up in the middle of the night and did a quick run through of my Ebay saved searches as I was trying to get back to sleep. This had just been posted as a Buy-It-Now or Best Offer. I submitted an offer and, surprisingly, received a counter within 5 minutes. Imagine that, buyer and seller up at 3 AM!  I accepted the offer and now it is mine.  Only 7 left to go to complete this autograph quest:

5 - Willie Mays
23 - Vic Power
34 - Vada Pinson
38 - Dick Farrell
56 - Roberto Clemente
60 - Ken Boyer
62 - Gene Oliver

Anyways, that is about for new stuff around here. I am cleaning up all my extra cards and doubles and may be selling them off.  I may list them here to see if anyone is interested before I go the EBay route.  Stay tuned!

What I am listening to: Dominick the Donkey by Lou Monte



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fleer Autograph Project - Part 58

So, there is a card show this weekend and I am not going.  With a vacation earlier this month,  I was a little light on funds. Then this happened:



The pothole from hell basically destroyed two of my cars rims.  Replacement rims were around $900 EACH.

Seriously.

This isn't some fancy car like a BMW. It is a Ford Fusion.  So, I ended up getting a full set of aftermarket rims for the same price as one factory rim. Add in two new tires as well, and my pocket is $1400 lighter. No show for me this month.  And probably not the next one in December either.

I did manage to "find" $50 for a couple of pickups:


This is the 58th autographed 1963 Fleer card in my collection (out of 66 cards in the set.) Bob Purkey died in 2008, so I snagged this from Mickey's Cards as soon as I saw it. The condition is a bit rough, but it was only $20 delivered.  I can always upgrade later.

My second pickup was inspired by a recent post at Night Owl Cards. This post.


I had previously busted a box of 1994 Ted Williams, a set I quite like. In fact, I am only three cards short of a complete set, including inserts.  After seeing NOs post, I decided to look at whether or not the 1993 boxes were available and affordable.  The answer to both questions was yes.  So, for $25 delivered, the above box is mine.

I haven't opened it yet.  Next weekend, my wife is off to a horse show in Texas.  I'll probably take that opportunity to grill up a steak, chill some of my favorite beer, and bust the box. Stay tuned.

What I am listening to:  Exodus of Venus by Elizabeth Cook



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Positive Development

As I mentioned in a previous post, I focus my two player collections on trading cards which actual feature an image of the player, with the possible extension into postcards.  That does exclude a fair amount of memorabilia. I've often seen Johnny Antonelli Armour coins (in 6 different colors!) come up for auction, but I just pass them on by. Pins, balls, and gloves are similarly ignored.

However, something came available on EBay recently that I had to bid on, despite it falling outside the defined scope of my player collections.  But first, let me dispense with a recent acquisition for my Paul Blair player collection:


A 1972 Milton Bradley card. I never picked this up earlier because I wasn't sure it existed.  I have had the 1969 Milton Bradley Paul Blair for a while, but never saw anything that was listed as 1972.  It isn't helped by the fact that they are identical from the front.  The back, however, is a different story:


Because I am a crappy scanner, I've got '72 on the left and '69 on the right.  The lousy cropping just adds to my shame.  This is the 112th unique card in my Paul Blair PC.

Now on to the unique item:


I know it looks a lot like a 1978 Topps trading card.  A printing error, perhaps?  Nope.  This is a film positive for the 1978 Topps trading card that was auctioned off recently by the official Topps Vault Ebay account.  I snagged it for $13 delivered.  As I understand it, film positives are used during the creation of the printing plates that are used to print the actual cards.  There are four different color plates (and thus film positives): black, cyan, magenta, and yellow.  Needless to say, I am pretty psyched about getting this little piece of history.

With that, I think I have caught up with my recent hobby activity. With vacation coming up and the holidays fast on it's heals, it may be quiet for a while. There will be OKC shows in October and December. I can't guarantee I won't go, but if I do, it will be with a fairly limited budget.

What I am listening to: Outlaw You by Shooter Jennings

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fleer Autograph Project - Part 57

In my last post on this project, I mentioned that there was three cards out of the 66 card 1963 Fleer set that I didn't reasonably expect I would ever find an affordable autographed version:  Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and Joe Adcock.  Adcock may seem odd given the other two, but it does make some level of sense.  The 1963 Fleer Adcock was a short print, thus has a Beckett book value of $200. Given that Adcock died in 1999, I didn't expect many such autographed cards to exist and those that did would be way too rich for my wallet.

Imagine my surprise when one popped up on Ebay shortly thereafter. I guess I went a little crazy, but ended up winning with a final bid of $136.






More than I really wanted to spend, but not much more. My limit, set at a more dispassionate time, was $120.  But, being so close, I came in with a higher bid with a couple seconds to go and won.  This will pretty much kill my hobby budget through the fall.  My wife and I are taking a vacation in early October and with the holidays fast approaching, it makes sense to mostly sit on the sidelines until 2017

What I am listening to:  The Funeral by The Turnpike Troubadours.