Friday, September 30, 2011

I Got An Idea

I've been foreseeing a bad winter. Not weather wise as it were, although it may be. Mainly, I see it being a bad winter for collecting. The drought this year has driven up the cost of feeding our horses precipitously. Plus, we are going to have an electrician in next month to do some improvements to help us manage the farm better during bad weather. In short, my budget is going to be tight heading into the holiday season. Complicating matters, there is going to be another card show in October where I wanted to start working on my 1971 set. I was unsure how I was going to manage my adult obligations while still indulging my inner 9 year old. Then I had a brilliant idea.

I have a 3 foot tall change bank that looks like a coke bottle. I have had it for a while and about every 3 or 4 years I cash the change in. So, yesterday, I dumped all the coins into a smaller, easier-to-handle box, threw in some foreign currency I had lying around unused after past business trips, and headed off to the bank. I figured I would clear around 2 c-notes. Boy, was I in for a surprise. What you are looking at above is a bit over $450 in coins. The bank wanted to charge me a $35 fee to exchange the currency. Given that you are looking at about the equivalent of $34.20 US in foreign currency, I just stuffed the bills back into my pocket.

Now, I have no intent of spending all that at the October show, but it should get me through the lean winter months. So, I am mapping out a few goals:

  1. Add a few more cards to my Paul Blair player collection.

  2. Complete my 1977 set. With pending trades and a few pick-ups at a new card shop I discovered, I am down to needing 7 cards to finish.

  3. Finish that 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game set for once and for all. I have also been mulling over starting the equivalent set from 2006.

  4. Start working in earnest on my 1971 set. Since I mainly need the higher number cards, this will probably be a fairly long process where I only add a few cards every month.

  5. Knock off some more short prints for 2011 Topps Heritage. I haven't looked at COMC to see if the prices are coming down yet. Last time I looked, the SP were in the $3 to $6 range. They'll need to be alot lower than that before I pull the trigger.

  6. Start 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League. As I approach the conclusion of my first year of being back in the hobby, I am reflecting on how to focus my second year. I have come to the conclusion that the only modern set that really interests me is Heritage and, in 2012, it may be the only modern set I collect. The minor league set seems interesting

  7. 2011 Topps Update. Given my above comment, it would seem odd to even bother with Update. But, as a set collector, I do have a touch of OCD, so I may just go ahead and put it together, so I have the entire 990 card run. Besides, I want to see if Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, and David Robertson made the set.

So, that is about it for the moment. I don't think I can do all of what I have listed above, so I may just drop the last two.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paper Products from a Paper Product

A short time back, I worked out a trade with Napkin Doon over at The Adventures of Napkin Doon. I sent him some Lineage Rangers and a set of 2009 Oklahoma Redhawks cards (at the time OKC was the AAA affiliate of the Rangers). In return, I got the vast majority of the remaining cards off my 2011 Series 2 want list.

With this trade, I am now down to needing one card to finish Series 2 (#385). If you have that to trade, let me know. I'll make it worth your while. I'd like to start Update with a clean slate.

But, wait! That's not all!

Nap has been gracious enough to help me out with what is going on a Cleve's weekly auction.. He has reviewed the selection and sent me pictures of what is available each week that might interest me. He even placed bids for me. It's been a blast and I have managed to pick up some more 1956 cards dirt cheap in the auction. I'll try to show some of them some time, but right now I got places to go and people to see.

So, thanks Nap!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Plugging a Break

A number of weeks ago, I participated in a group break over at Crinkly Wrappers. Ted put together a great break and I had a complete blast. I got a lot of great cards and I still intend to blog about it, but I will quickly show you a card I got in the break that I absolutely love.

As it stands, my favorite card in my collection is card number 1 from 1974 Topps, the Hank Aaron All-time Home Run King card. That card was actually issued before Aaron broke the record. So, this card, card #1 from 1975, is a great bookend.

But, the real reason I am writing is that Ted has another break brewing. The cost is on the high side at $60, but I guarantee you will get your money's worth. If it wasn't for the fact that I am about to drop nearly a grand on hay being trucked in from Mississippi, along with a number of quarterly insurance payments that had to be made in September, I would be all over this break. But, my misfortune is your gain. Go over there and sign up.

Monday Random 10 - Austin Edition

I don't think I'll have much hobby related to post this week, so I thought I'd throw up a random 10. With three artists based in Austin and a fourth video recorded in Austin, there seems to be a theme this week. It was a pretty good selection. I don't expect that anyone will listen to all of these. But, I would suggest that, if you only listen to one, to choose "Autumn Leaves" by Eva Cassidy. A great talent that died of cancer in 1996 at the tender age of 33, she wasn't really "discovered" until she was gone.

1. "Tell Me True" by Sarah Jarosz

2. "Good Hearted Man" by Tift Merritt

3. "I Disappear" by Metallica

4. "Perfect Blue Building" by Counting Crows

5. "Blinded by Rainbows" by The Rolling Stones

6. "Pancho and Lefty" by Steve Earle

7. "Cold and Lonely" by Slaid Cleaves

8. "I Say A Little Prayer for You" by Aretha Franklin

9. "Autumn Leaves" by Eva Cassidy

10. "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Great Connection

I woke up this morning to a friend request on Facebook. It was a guy that went to the same high school I did. He graduated two years before me and I didn't really know him, but his younger sister was in my class.

I accepted and looked over his profile. As it turns out, his business is setting up and running autograph sessions with sports personalities and he has an upcoming signing that includes former MLB pitcher Johnny Antonelli. I actually have three Antonelli cards from 1953, 1956, and 1960. The '53 is stained, so I probably won't send that in for an autograph, but I believe I may have to send the other two in and any others that I may be able to pick up for cheap in early October.

I'm pretty excited about the whole deal.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Which I Defend Red Sox Nation.

Watch this video:

Click Here

Now, I am no fan of the Red Sox. Nor, for that matter, am I a fan of Red Sox fans. But, I will say this. These two chuckleheads are taking themselves way too seriously. This isn't geopolitics. It isn't a matter of life and death. Heck, I doubt anybody's job is even on the line here. It is baseball. It is a game.

These two talking idiots need to go to a children's hospital or a homeless shelter and look real problems in the eye. That the richest country on earth is increasingly failing it's most vulnerable citizens is a national embarassment; not people singing a cheesy-ass 1970's pop song and bat around a plastic ball, by God. Those people paid to be there and if they want to dance the freaking Macarena and do The Wave, they should be able to do so without being denigrated by these putzes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What I Got Today

I think I know what I am going to name the dog.

Fleer Greats - Packs 10 - 12

So, I didn't sleep well last night and woke up with a crick in my neck, so I am struggling to write anything interesting here. Forgive me. Anyways, here we are at the last set of packs in my GOTG hobby box and the much ballyhoed hit:

Pack 10

109 - Jim Thorpe

Thorpe was born about an hour drive from here in Prague, Oklahoma. Prague is a small town originally settled by Czech immigrants and is known for it's annual Kolache Festival. Be warned: if you click that link you will be regaled with a cheesy version of the Chicken Dance. Prague is also home to the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus. I occasionally drive out to the Muskogee area and seeing the signs for the Shrine always makes of this:

111 - Ray Knight
117 - Steve Carlton
120 - Paul O'Neill
126 - Roger Maris (as a Cardinal)

Yeah, it is a little weird seeing him as a Cardinal, but that is where he ended his career, so I am not going to complain.

Pack 11

91 - Catfish Hunter
108 - Ryne Sandberg
118 - Richie Ashburn
129 - Robin Roberts

I got the auto version of this card earlier.

Forever Cardinals - Steve Carlton (1732/1965)

Pack 12

81 - Tony Lazzeri
95 - Tom Seaver

122 - Andre Dawson
145 - Carlton Fisk
ET-JC - Etched in Time Cut Signature of Joe Cronin (06/12)

This is my big hit: a cut autograph of Hall of Famer Joe Cronin. I won't be retiring on the sale of this card, what with similar cards selling in the $60 to $80 range. So, I think I will keep it.

142 - Nolan Ryan

So, that is it. The summary of the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game Cut Signature Edition box I bought. So, how did I do overall vesus expectations? Pretty well actually. Let's got back to my original list and see:

  • Parallel Cards: Basic Card Parallels # to special year(1:60 packs): 0 - Sure enough, I did not get any.

  • Insert Cards: 29 Forever, # to rookie year (1:5 packs): 3 - I actually got four (2 Cardinals, 1 Cub, and 1 Dodger)

  • Game Used Memorabilia (1:15 packs): 1 - Technically I did get one, although it was just a redemption card. The card did not have an expiration date on it, but I guess it doesn't really matter since Fleer no longer exists.

  • Autographs (1:7.5 packs): 2 - Indeed, I did get two, Ray Knight and Joe Cronin

  • Base Cards (65 total): 69 - As it works out, I managed to complete the second series.

  • So, what next? Well, I do not have a complete first series, so I am seeing another box purchase in my future. Odds for autos are different on the first series, with an expectation of 3 per box, so I am excited to see what I will get. I will probably defer the purchase for a while. Because of the drought, I have started feeding hay very early this year and, by my calculations, my current stores of hay will only get me through January. I may have a line on some hay being hauled in from Mississippi next week, but it is probably going to leave a big ole hole in my wallet. My card hobby may need to be on hold for a while.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Fleer Greats - Packs 13 - 15

    Say, what happened to packs 10 through 12? Glad you asked. I saved them for last since the big hit was in that group and packs 13 to 15 were not as exciting. So, stick around for tomorrow and see my major score.

    Pack 13

    101 - Babe Herman
    112 - Fernando Valenzuela
    127 - Bill Mazeroski
    136 - Rod Carew

    When I first started following baseball, Carew was the dominant hitter in baseball. Indeed, I remember him flirting with .400 in 1977, when he ended up at .388. The only players ever to exceed that mark since was George Brett in 1980 (.390) and Tony Gwynn in 1994 (.394)

    139 - Gary Carter

    I include Carter mainly because he has been in the news of late. First, for his on going fight against cancer, and more recently blog clots. After watching Frankie Cervelli get concussed in a collision with Nick Markakis, I wonder how much his time a a catcher played into the brain tumors.

    Pack 14

    85 - Dave Kingman
    94 - Johnny Pesky

    Another baseball lifer. Even if he is part of Red Sox Nation, he is a man to be admired for his decades of service to the game.

    97 - Enos Slaughter

    I am always amazed when looking at a player's statistics to find they lost years to military service. Pesky, above lost three years and probably 600 hits, to service. Enos Slaughter similarly spent three years in the service during WWII and may very well have approached the magical 3000 hit career if he hadn't.

    113 - Will Clark
    133 - Rollie Fingers

    Pack 15

    83 - Willie McGee
    86 - Luis Aparicio

    In addition to knuckleball pitchers, I have a soft spot for defensive specialists. It may be because during the two years I played Little League baseball I couldn't hit a lick, but was decent defensively. It probably didn't help that I started at the Pony League level after six years of sucking at soccer.

    99 - Robin Yount
    121 - Reggie Jackson

    I question the choice of showing Reggie as an Angel, since he was best as an A and a Yankee. I would have also looked for a photo that showed him in his backswing, like this one. But, it is still a fine card.

    143 - Ozzie Smith

    So, tomorrow is the big day, when I reveal my big hit in Pack 12.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Fleer Greats - Packs 7 - 9

    Pack 7

    89 - Joe Charboneau

    This is what I would consider the biggest clunker in the set. What you are looking at is Joe Charboneau's entire major league career. The history of baseball is littered with one year wonders. Why exactly does this one merit inclusion in a set called "Greats of the Game?" I mean, other than because Fleer could sign him to an autograph deal?

    119 - Roberto Clemente
    124 - Dale Murphy
    128 - Don Newcombe

    Another great player who lost years during his prime to military service, his during Korea. I didn't know this but, apparently, after his major league career was over, he played a year in Japan as a position player. That caused me to look at his major league hitting statistics. Don was a career .271/.338/.367 hitter.

    131 - Eddie Mathews

    Pack 8

    88 - Bing Milleer
    98 - Cecil Travis

    Just another classic B&W baseball pose that makes it a favorite.

    114 - Tony Kubek
    130 - Duke Snider
    Forever Dodgers - Zack Wheat (1130/1909)

    I really like the design of these Forever cards. I think I may try to put together the whole 29 card subset. I haven't looked into how available they are, so it may be a fools errand, but I may just be the fool for the job.

    Pack 9

    100 - Don Zimmer

    Probably the epitome of a baseball lifer. Started in organized ball in 1949 and was still active as late as as 2003. I love the fact that he has his trademark gerbil cheeks even as a young man.

    102 - Ron Santo
    138 Orel Hershiser
    140 - Keith Hernandez
    Forever Cardinals - Bob Gibson (1305/1959)

    Coming Features: Tomorrow, I skip ahead to packs 13 to 15, which included a nice group of cards, but no hits and none of the various inserts either. Saturday, I'll get to packs 10-12 which include my one big hit.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Fleer Greats - Packs 4 - 6

    Pack 4

    82 - Al Rosen
    96 - Frank Robinson

    I chose this one for an odd reason. I have a Paul Blair player collection and, so, set up a automatic search on EBay to keep an eye out for cards I don't already have. One item that comes up frequently is a picture of Paul Blair and Frank Robinson. Here is an auction for that photo.

    While googling for that photo, I was surprised to find that there is a person named Blair Robinson, a granddaughter of Ray Charles, who apparently was sexually harassed by Steven Seagal. Make of that what you will.

    104 - Paul Molitor
    106 - Johnny Sain

    I think one of my favorite old-timey players is Warren Spahn. He was born in Buffalo, near my hometown of Rochester, and lived out his retirement in Oklahoma, my adopted home. And who can think of Warren Spahn and not think of Johnny Sain.

    Spahn and Sain and pray for rain!

    116 - Jerry Koosman

    Pack 5

    87 - John Kruk

    Check out that mullet. Only one in the set. You think I wouldn't show it? It's glorious!

    92 - Nap Lajoie
    134 - Frankie Frisch
    144 - Rick Sutcliffe

    In my introductory post, I mentioned that I should expect one game used relic. Well I got one in this pack. To draw out the suspense just a little, I've hid the photo and you have to click below to see it.

    Pack 6

    84 - Preacher Roe

    Looking back, I am not sure why I chose this other than I think the design of this set works best when using black and white photos.

    91 - Catfish Hunter
    108 - Ryne Sandberg
    133 - Rollie Fingers
    Forever Cubs - Gabby Harnett (72/1922)

    Coming tomorrow: A decent, if uninspiring block of cards.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Fleer Greats - Packs 1 - 3 and the First Hit

    As you may have already read, I opened all the packs despite my idea to only open 3 a day and spread the joy over 5 days. I managed to to stay on plan about 20 minutes. I blame the weather.

    After the hottest summer on record (103 days over 90 degrees and at least half of those over 100), temperatures had moderated. Daily highs were in the mid 80s. It was positively autumn-like. Yesterday, however, the heat returned for a (hopefully) last visit. It hit 100F again, and I was procrastinated about going out and doing the evening feeding. So, I opened packs. That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

    So, they are all ripped, I've scanned all the ones I am going to show this week, and have the skeletons of the five posts entered.

    Pack 1

    90 - Mark Fidrych
    93 - Eddie Murray

    It is a bit weird seeing Murray in an Indians uniform, but I suppose it could be worse. After having found Dave Kingman in the Yankees Classics set (He only played in 8 games in pinstripes), I have a hard time finding fault with Fleer for not showing him as an Oriole.

    The first expensive card I bought was the 1978 Eddie Murray rookie card. I think it set me back about $15. I suppose that may seem pedestrian to some of you guys, but for me it was, and is still, alot to spend on one card.

    105 - Jimmy Piersall
    125 - Dwight Gooden
    132 - Wade Boggs

    Pack 2

    103 - Willie Stargell

    What is there to say about Pops? Great player and a great man who was taken too soon. I do have some recollection of watching the 1979 World Series, although the memories aren't as vivid as Game 6 of the 1978 championship. I can't help but think of Pops when I hear that gawd-awful Sister Sledge song "We Are Family."

    118 - Richie Ashburn
    123 - Hoyt Wilhelm

    I am not sure why, but I have a soft spot for knuckleball pitchers and Wilhelm was one of the greatest.

    141 - Bob Lemon
    GBA-RK - Ray Knight Auto

    As hits go, this isn't too bad. Knight was a solid player during his 13 year career. It doesn't get me all excited like the Willie Mays autograph card I got at the Diamond Giveaway site, but it is certainly better than the Kevin Maas auto card I pulled from the Yankees Classics box I opened earlier this summer.

    Pack 3

    107 - Joe Pepitone
    110 - Steve Garvey
    115 - Jim Bouton
    135 - Billy Williams

    Billy Williams was a great player stuck playing for the Chicago Cubs. You would have to wonder about what his legend would be if he ever had the chance to play in the post season during the prime of his career.

    137 - Dom DiMaggio

    Despite the fact that he looks like he is talking about how best to amortize the depreciate of capital assets, Dom was a good player during his career. He was, obviously, overshadowed by his older brother Joe. But, he also lost three seasons during the prime of his career due to service in the Navy during World War II.

    So, there are the first three packs. Coming tomorrow: packs 4 through 6 and the most disappointing hit so far during my short collecting experience.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    It's Here! It's Here!

    FedEx just left and I have my box of 2004 Greats of the Game in my excited little hands.

    Here is the plan. I am going to try and limit myself to opening three packs a day and to blog each group separately. Whether I can stick to that or not is another matter altogether. Frankly, I used to get so terribly excited on Christmas Eve that, once, my mother actually had to slip me part of a phenobarbitol so I would fall asleep until Christmas morning. Parenting was a bit different back then. So, as you might guess, my impulse control can be a bit problematic.

    That said, I figured I might figure out what I can expect from this box, based on the number of packs (15), number of cards per pack (5), and stated (but not guaranteed) odds.

  • Parallel Cards: Basic Card Parallels # to special year(1:60 packs): 0

  • Insert Cards: 29 Forever, # to rookie year (1:5 packs): 3

  • Game Used Memorabilia (1:15 packs): 1

  • Autographs (1:7.5 packs): 2

  • Base Cards (65 total): 69.

  • Given that I already have 26 base cards from the second series, I am hoping to get all, or at least most, of the remaining cards I need among the 69 expected base cards.

    So, I have taken the three packs that seemed thickest and put them on the bottom, figuring that they are the ones likeliest to have hits in them. They may just end up being the packs with a checklist card added in, so my plan to save the best for last may be foiled. We'll see, and that is the exciting part anyways.

    I've got another post sketched out about a great vintage break I participated in over at Crinkly Wrappers, which I will try and work on this week also. But, I have no clue as to what will go up when.

    Oh, and in case you were wondering, that video playing in the background of the picture above is Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson playing one of my all time favorite songs, the old Hoagy Carmichael classic "Georgia on my Mind." Ray Charles still sets the standard for that song, but Wynton and Willie do come close. Here is the video. If you like jazz, blues, or country, you will like it.

    ADDED LATER: Yeah, no impulse control. All 15 packs have been opened and I did get the hits generally in line with the expectation. There was one big hit and one big disappointment. I'll still blog 3 packs a day, but in the mean time, does anyone have a subscription to Worthpoint or Beckett Online Price Guide?

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Woo Hoo!! Aw, Dang!!

    So, I checked on the shipping progress of my box of 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game - Signature Cut Edition.

    Darn weekend!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    My Plan to Hit it Big

    So, according to Fedex, my greatly anticipated box of 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game - Signature Cut Edition will be delivered on Monday. So, I wait.

    Imagine my surprise when I wandered out to the mailbox to discover a package addressed to me. What could it be? I don't have any trades in the works. I was stumped. But, then I had a good idea. No, a positively brilliant idea. Check it. I looked at the return label to see who sent it to me. Pretty smart, huh?

    Well, it was from Remington Park, the local horse racing track. They occasionally have photo contests which I enter. Well, they are only photo contests in the loosest sense of the word. I don't consider them real photo contests, because they are really just part of a social media marketing strategy and the results are more like popularity contests. The person that has the most Facebook friends, and can convince those friends to "like" their picture wins. Of course, there friends have to "friend" Remington Park before they can "vote." See what I mean? They are just using Facebook as a way to get their message out. The photo contest is just a means of broadening their "fan" base.

    I am not one to beg my friends to "like" my picture (I am an ARTIST!!1!1!!!11!one!!), but still have managed to place high enough to get some free swag. A couple hats, a t-shirt, a gift certificate to the restaurant, and some free play at the racino, the casino in the track grandstand. But, today I got this:

    That is right! A G. R. Carter bobblehead! Who is G. R. Carter, you say? Well, I didn't know until today, but he is the winningest jockey in Quarter Horse racing history. He even has his own Wikipedia page.

    Any bobblehead collectors out there that would be interested in this rarity?

    I will probably take the restaurant gift card and the free play certificates and make a night of it with my wife. We'll dine well, watch the races, and I'll see if I can parlay my $30 of free play into a larger pile of green. I am not much of a gambler. I've only bet on horse races once when, a few years ago, I went to the track with $50 in my pocket, hit the quinella in one race, bet on the wrong horse in another and walked out with a little over $100 in my pocket when all was said and done. I figure if I can actually win a little, I'll have some nice bank for the October card show. More likely, I'll just run through the $30 and call it a night.

    Oh, here is a little video of a big time quarter horse race at Remington that was won by Carter. You can see at, around 1:15, his famous dismount.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    A Good Day

    The box of 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game I won on EBay last night shipped this afternoon. I have no idea when it will arrive, but I don't have to obsessively check EBay anymore to see if it shipped. Now I can obsessively check the Fedex website to track it's progress.

    And to make things even better, I am heading up to OKC tonight to take in a concert by a favorite singer, Eilen Jewell. So, I will leave you with a few of her videos:


    I have written previously about my desire to complete the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game set and my difficulty in finding any packs or boxes of the second series.

    I have finally been rewarded. A box came up on Ebay about a week ago, and I have patiently waited for the auction to reach it's denouement, which was last night. I was not about to let this one slip away from me, so I resolved to pay way more than it was worth. Luckily, I didn't come to that. The other bidders weren't nearly as desperate / stupid as I was, so it is now mine.

    The only thing left now is to obsessively check EBay every 10-15 minutes to see when it ships. And to open the packs. And, I suppose, to blog about it.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011