Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo! - Halloween Post

When you live out in the sticks, Halloween tends to pass out of your consciousness. While I am not exactly out in the middle of nowhere, (I am only 6 miles from the center of town), I am one of only three residences along this one mile stretch of road. You just don't get trick-or-treaters out here. The country kids head into town for their goodies. So, I don't have much connection to the holiday anymore.

But, I did one Halloweeny type thing this year. I entered Thorzul's Nightmare on Cardboard contest. I figured it would be a good test of my rudimentary Photoshop skills. Here is my entry:

His theme was Not Topps, which is fine with me. I chose the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game card as my template. It is a set I like, and it wasn't going to be overly complicated to work with. I figured with the off-season/holiday season hobby slowdown, I might indulge my inner geek and blog about how I went about creating this. It probably won't be of interest to most of you, but I had a blast working on this and would like to make a record of the process. I see three posts out of this:

1. Information Content

2. Front Design

3. Back Design

If I actually follow through, I'll add hyperlinks to that list later.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big Ole Box of Crap

The card aisle at the Super Target I shop at is right next to one of the express checkouts. In fact, it is next to the express checkout that is open 90+% of the times I am in there. The aisle isn't very wide, so if I want to get in and look at the cards, I have to squeeze past people in line and stand uncomfortably close to the person that is actually checking out. So, as you might guess, I rarely buy cards at Target.

But, today I did some rare early morning shopping and, wonder of wonders, the express line was closed. So, I sauntered in and took a look at what they had. Football seemed to be taking over and nothing was grabbing me. I almost left empty handed when something caught my eye that was so glorious I was momentarily star struck.

Isn't that beautiful? Can you read that caption?

The majority of these boxes will contain original, unopened baseball packs from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Isn't that wonderful? No sorting of cards and comparing to checklists. No checking relic or serial numbered cards against EBay to see just how little they are really worth. No expectations whatsoever. Just a big old box of crap. What could be more fun than to open it up? I couldn't think of anything at the moment, so I bought it.

And I now christen a new feature (well new to me anyways) called BOBOC (Big Ole Box of Crap.) It should give me something to blog about during the next couple of months when our thoughts (and checking accounts) focus on the holidays.

Stretching Myself Thin

When I started collecting almost a year ago, and decided I was a set collector, I felt a methodical approach was the best. Work one set at a time, start to finish, then move on to the next.

But then I started the whole new collector routine and started buying stuff willy nilly to see what was out there and to see what I like. Somewhere along the line, things got out of control. I now have 7 sets in the works:

  1. 1971 Topps - I was fortunate enough to run across a good deal on a starter set and decided to jump at it, even though I wasn't planning on starting this one for a few years.

  2. 1977 Topps - I am still sitting at 7 cards needed to complete this set. It has been my goal in both September and October to finish it, but I never did. COMC has all the cards I need to finish, I just need to focus long enough to actually pull the trigger.

  3. Topps Star Wars - the cards from the 1970s when the movie came out, not any of the modern sets. This is actually for my wife. I've not done anything about this one yet, but I really do need to work on it for her.

  4. 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game - I've got the 145 card base set done. I just need to finish the various inserts. This will probably be a long term project as I don't see many of the inserts for sale out there

  5. 2011 Topps Heritage - Probably another long term project. The short prints still seem to be pricey. There is no way I am going to pay $4 or more for a short print right now, so I'll just need to do some trades and wait for prices to come down. Probably after 2012 Heritage comes out

  6. 2011 Topps Lineage - Yes, I am ambivalent about this set. Yes, I am only 5 cards away from finishing. Yes, I am going to finish.

  7. 2011 Topps Update - Yeah. I said I was going to skip it. But, then I wasn't. I bought a few 72 card boxes and, all of a sudden, I have over 2/3 of the set. How did that happen? I don't know, but now I need to finish.

So, given this mess, what is the logical thing to do? Surely not start another set. Yeah, I am starting another set.

  1. 2001 Topps Heritage!

My goals for next year are not to bother with any other modern set, except Heritage. (Let's see how well that works out.) And with all of the time and money I don't spend chasing a bunch of sets I am generally ambivalent about, I figure I can go back and work on the older Heritage sets. With that in mind, I saw a lot of nearly 200 2001 Heritage on EBay and decided to bid on it. I ended up winning with a bid of $35. This was more than I intended to pay, but I got all excited like Jo Jo, the Indian Circus Boy with a pretty new pet (Tommy Boy reference) and upped my bid. So, it arrived earlier this week and yesterday I started a binder for it.

Here we have a trio of pickups off the scrap heap for the 2011 Yankees. Though he faded at the end of the year, Bartolo Colon was bad-ass in the first half of the season and, along with Freddy Garcia, shored up what was expected to be a highly suspect rotation. Jones and Chavez were good role players this year. Jones as a sure handed backup outfielder and platoon DH. Chavez as a backup infielder, who played well enough during A-Rod's time on the DL to keep the Yankees in contention.

A late season pickup for the Yankees in 2010. He was stinking up the joint in Cleveland, but came in and was a spectacular 8th inning guy through the remainder of the season.

Interestingly, Hamilton was still 6 years away from his major league debut when this card first appeared.

I read yesterday that Dempster exercised his $14M contract option for 2012 with the Cubs. Given his rather pedestrian performance this year, that has to be one of the least surprising news items this off-season.

This was included in the box, a Heritage Chrome Randy Johnson. The Baseball Card God (hallowed be thy name!) has chosen to smile on me. One of these just sold on EBay for $20. And that is exactly where this one is going. So, even though I overpaid for the lot of cards, I'll end up cutting my cost down significantly.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Card Show Haul - 1956

This is the last post from the card show two weekends ago. One of my goals for the show was to pick up a few more affordable cards from 1956, which is my favorite Topps set. My definition of affordable is less than $5 for a card of that vintage. I find looking for these cards the most fun.

For the 1970s sets I have been putting together, I tend to be picky about quality. While I am generally not obsessive about centering as long as there is border all the way around and no remnants of adjoining cards, I do want to have nice sharp edges and corners and a blemish free front. With the 1956 cards, though, I just cannot afford (literally) to be that picky. I don't pick up any old card, mind you. I still look for a uncreased card and some border all the way, but I just don't spend alot of time examining the card and obsessing about it's quality. It is, for lack of a better word, a liberating experience.

So, I managed to pick up 8 1956 cards, bringing me to 36 total cards for the set.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Card Show Haul - 1971 HOFers

I really have needed to knock this puppy out, but work has been kicking my butt lately. But, it is Friday, so presumably by the time you are reading this, I am on my glide path into the weekend.

And what a weekend it will be. My wife is in Louisiana for a horse show, so even though she will have my truck, it should it be a relaxing weekend for me. My plan is to hit at least one LCS on Saturday to work on my 1971 set and look for some material for a trade that I have in the works. I'll work some more on my card organization, knock a couple more blog posts out, and generally consume a bunch of crap that I wouldn't normally eat.

So, without any further ado, and no additional commentary, here are the 1971 cards of Hall of Famers that I got at the show two weekends ago:

Slow News Day

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mail Call - October 27th Edition

I had another post scheduled for this afternoon, but I pushed it out a day because I am excited beyond belief about what came in the mail today. I believe I mentioned before that a guy that went to the same high school as I did runs autograph sessions in Rochester, NY and Minneapolis, MN. While his events seem to be more focused on football*, he did have a couple of baseball players at his October signing. One was Met and Yankee great Doc Gooden and the other was Rochester's own Johnny Antonelli. Johnny played major league ball for 12 seasons between 1948 and 1961 with a couple years off for military service. He won 20 games twice for the New York Giants and made the move with them to San Francisco.

That was all before I was born. I am most familiar with Johnny Antonelli as the name on a chain of tire stores when I was growing up in Rochester. So, when I found out he was going to be at the signing, I managed to arrange to meet Roger Neufeldt of Sports Memories of Oklahoma at his warehouse on the one day he was in town after a show in Houston and before he left to go to the Chantilly show in Virginia. I managed to pick up about 6 Antonelli cards and chose 4 to send in to get signed. Well, they arrived back today. And here they are:

* This October signing also featured Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, and (until a last minute cancellation due to Kent Hull's funeral) Marv Levy. Having lived and died with the Buffalo Bills through both lean and flush years, I was very tempted to send items in for them to sign as well. But, when I totalled up the cost to buy items to have signed and the cost of signatures, I decided to stick with Antonelli this time around. As it stands, Marv Levy has recommitted for a December signing in Batavia, and I may very well send something in for his signature.

One of my recollections of watching the Bills on TV back then was when the cameras would zoom in on Levy swearing a blue streak at an official. The announcer would always say some variation of "I'll bet he didn't learn those words at Harvard!". If I do send something in, I think I'll ask for that as an inscription.

By the way, if you are a Bills fan or a Vikings fan, you need to check out the upcoming signings at The Sports Corner. If my experience is any indication, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October Card Show Haul - Random 1971 Cards

Last week's card show wasn't the bust I was expecting. It turns out that it was in a fairirly sizeable room, with most of the regular sellers there. I was able to meet my first two objectives for the show: I got a good running start on my 1971 set and managed to pick up some more cheap 1956 cards. I didn't find any boxes of Heritage from last year or earlier, but that wasn't a priority for me.

I don't recall the exact numbers but I got somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 to 100 1971 cards. They were mostly from the lower numbered series and around 70 of them were upgrades for the lower quality cards that were in my starter set. I probably got less than a dozen cards from the expensive, high number series. Here are a few of my favorite cards from my 1971 purchases.

Manny is filling out his TPS report.

What you see at the very bottom of the scan is the very top of the Oscar Gamble card. Unfortunately, I managed to screw up when I was saving the cropped images and lost my master scan. So, I wasn't able to show that card, because I was too lazy to pull it back out of the binder and rescan it. Suffice it to say it was a nice action shot, even though Oscar was still a number of years away from his magnificent 'fro.

Lowell seems to be the epitome of cool here, doesn't he? Except, whenever I see someone standing like that, I manage to think of Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker.

Why? I don't know. Just a little glimpse into the warped contours of my mind.

Heads floating in lime sherbet. This has to be one of the weirdest team cards I have ever seen.

Okay, so I phoned it in. Tomorrow, I'll show the 1971 Hall of Famers I got.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Motormouth" Is In The House

Over the last few months, I've slowly added a few more cards to my Paul Blair player collection. It was with this PC that I started back in the hobby last November. I think it has progressed well, even if I haven't been adding to it as much as I did when I got first started.

So, if you are interested, let's catch up. If not, come back in a day or so, when start my review of last weekend's show.

As can be seen this is a 1971 Dell Today's Team Stamps. I busted it out of the slab. Maybe not the smartest thing, but I'd rather have it in my PC binder. It is sitting right next to the 1969 MLB Photo Stamp.

1970 DC DMV card. I am not sure I would consider this a cards since it is actually on what seems to be good quality, thick paper. On the back says "Speed on the Bases - You Win! Speed on the Streets - You Lose! Play it Safe!". Came in a lot of 6 with Earl Weaver, Dave Johnson, Don Buford, Merv Rettenmund, and Mike Cuellar. Any Orioles fans want the other five? Free for the asking. Shoot me an email with your address and I will send them off to you.

1993 Action Packed All-Star Gallery Card #158

Autographed 1981 TCMA card. I had another one of these cards in my collection, but had to add the autographed version.

1973 Johnny Pro Standup. Larger than normal card about 4 1/4 x 7 1/4. I don't really know much about this card and I haven't really had any time to research it. Maybe sometime soon because they look like fun cards.

So, as it stands now, my PC has 69 total cards representing 65 unique cards, and includes 14 autographs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You Don't Have to Tell Me I Have a Problem

I know I have one. I stopped by Wally World tonight to pick up something for dinner and some rawhide chews for our new dog. I broke down and, despite swearing off Update, I bought one of those 72 card value boxes that include one Diamond Anniversary code card. Alas, it was a good hit on the ole crack pipe, if you get my drift.

I got two Yankee base cards.

The Grandy Man, who was the core of the Yankees line up this year, and a leading candidate for AL MVP.

David Robertson was absolutely phenomenal out of the bullpen this year. He went from the "six inning guy" to the "seventh inning guy and, finally, to the "eighth inning guy" when Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain went down with injuries. And he never cracked under the increased pressure. In 70 appearances, he turned in a 4-0 record with 1 save, a microscopic 1.08 ERA, and a unbelievable 13.5 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched.

Another Yankee, Eric Chavez, who was a steady backup infielder when Alex Rodriguez was on the disabled list. This is a gold parallel (1163/2011).

I got two of these blue border parallels. The Lincecum above and a Asdrubal Cabrera. I have no idea what the deal is with these, except they are apparently yet another of the eleventy different parallels Topps saw fit to release with Update. Grrrr.

Dee Gordon, who I saw playing for Albuquerque at the OKC Redhawks season opener this year. I also really like this picture. Probably the best of the pack.

And finally, the best card of the lot:

Yeah, I know it is Brian Wilson. But, it is the Hope Diamond Parallel (45/60). This bad boy is going up on EBay to make me a little cash to put towards cards that are of more interest to me.

So, the only matter left to take care of is the code card. I had decent luck with the code cards this year. The best cards that I unlocked were a Mickey Mantle Diamond Die Cut that I sold for $47 on EBay and a 2001 Topps Archive Willie Mays Autograph card that I kept. I got a decent number of cards from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. And a whole lotta junk. I wasn't real hopeful what this code would turn up. But, I think I did alright.

I know Night Owl already has one, so this may go up on EBay also. I have decided to start working on 2001 Topps Heritage and this may help get me started. Of course, I am also open to trade offers, so if you have some 2001 Heritage duplicates, shoot me an email and let's see if we can cut a deal.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trade Package from Night Owl

My collecting niche is set building, but having my youth collecting during the 1970s, I am getting rather jaded about modern sets. As I have probably said eleventy times, I am downright scornful of all the inserts, parallels, and short prints that Topps is putting into their sets now. I have registered my protest by only working to complete the standard base cards from the 2011 sets that I have been working on. I'm sure Topps doesn't know about my protest, and even if they did, I am pretty sure they don't care.

Having got that off my chest (again), I completed a recent trade with Night Owl that allowed me to rid my self of hated inserts. I sent him some of the Lineage 75 minis and I was able to make progress towards completing two different base sets. Plus he sent me some other cool cards. Let's take a look, shall we?

Cap'n! Before this trade, I still had 12 Lineage base cards on my want list. After the trade, I have 5 left. Derek was part of the 7 I received.

As the youngsters say, W00T! Ichiro was the last card I needed to complete 2011 Series 2. In celebration of having the set complete, I took Night Owl's want list and scoured the vintage dollar boxes at the show this past weekend. I found two cards for him. One of which was a 1960 Wally Moon. Alack and alas, he managed to find the same card in a dollar box at the show *he* attended over the weekend. So, I'll keep Wally and his magnificent unibrow and send along the 1960 Ed Krakow with the Fleer Greats Dodger duplicates I set aside for him.

1982 Topps Stickers. He sent Dave Winfield and Tommy John (who apparently is a pitcher and not a surgeon.) I have this urge to go out and buy a Trapper Keeper to stick these guys on. I kid.

2011 Topps Chrome Robbie Cano. It was accompanied by a Lance Pendleton, who is no longer a Yankee. He was claimed off of waivers by the Houston Astros early in September. He didn't do real well with them in a scant 4 innings of work and was outrighted to the OKC Redhawks after the season was over. So, I may get a chance to see him next year.

Night Owl sent two of these Yankee Stadium Legacy cards. I think they are great looking cards. And only 6598 to go to finish the set! Seriously, if this set was more reasonably sized, I would try to put it together. I like it that much. As it stands, I'll gladly take them in trade and will certainly buy them when I find them in quarter/dollar boxes. But, I would need to get a larger house if I was going to chase this one. A 6600 card set would involve 9 or 10 large binders and would take up nearly half of my storage closet.

I do like these Topps Archive cards alot and have added them to the list of sets I'd like to put together. I'm starting to get stretched a little thin with having 3 active sets and getting ready to start another, older Heritage set. But, this is definitely a strong contender.

And finally, a Conlon Collection card. I really appreciate the simplicity of this set. Such no-nonsense design is what drew me to the Renata Galasso set that I built earlier this year. With a total of 1430 cards issued over 5 years from 1991 to 1995, this is definitely a set I'd like to work on. It is, at this moment, a leading contender for my list of 2012 set priorities.

So, thanks N.O. Definitely a great trade!