Friday, February 24, 2012

Touched by an Angel

Okay, that sounds a little suspect. I will grant that. But, I am not feeling particularly creative today and that was the best I could come up with for a post title where I talk about a trade with Tom over at The Angels, In Order.

As trades go, it wasn't huge. But, it was certainly appreciated. The last few weeks have been somewhat frustrating. When I last reported in on my job search, I had completed a good interview and had been invited to an informal lunch meeting with the manager of a client organization. That seemed to go well and the hiring manager, an old co-worker of mine in a previous time, indicated to me that he was going to work with HR to prepare an job offer for me. Once they had approval on the offer from their executive leadership, they would be back in touch. That was three weeks ago. I touched base, via email, last week and was told, for a number of perfectly understandable reasons, they had not yet had the opportunity to get the offer approval and they would let me know when they did. But, I have heard nothing since. I am not sure why this is taking so long, but I have gone ahead and restarted my job search.

Worst of all, it has really cramped my hobby activities. I have basically very little hobby related in 2 1/2 months. This weekend is the big semi-monthly show in Oklahoma City. I had intended to go and work on my 1971 and 1976 sets, but without an written job offer in hand, I'll have to skip it and hope to be employed by the next one in April.

Actually, today is a good day because I got a trade pack today from the aforementioned Tom. I sent him a smattering of cards off his want list and I got 4 cards back towards my Heritage sets.

This is a high number short print from 2001.

Two inserts from 2011.

Yeah, I include checklists as part of the sets I build.

I feel a little guilty getting a short print and two inserts (which are short prints themselves) in exchange for a handful of commons. But, I am happy to be able to actually put some cards in a binder again. Thank you, Tom.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cardboard Catastrophes Custom Card Creations - Ponies!

A week or so back, dayf over at Cardboard Junkie held a contest to pick the Super Bowl winner and the winner's point total. Along with that, was a second chance contest if you made him some pony artwork. So, since I have two ponies here on the farm, I dredged through my photograph files to find a snapshot to use. Alas, I didn't have any good shots of the two ponies together because, well, they don't get along.

But, I did decide to use one of my favorite pictures, what I refer to as the Mini Me photo. And, of course, what do you do with a picture of two horses that look a lot alike? Why you put them on a 1977 Topps Big League Brothers card. And here is what I created:

I am not going to take you through the creation process, but I will mention a couple things about how I chose what I did for this custom card.

First, the choice of Big Pony and Little Pony for the names is based on more than just there size. It is actually a tip of the hat toward the Waner Brothers, Lloyd and Paul, who were born about 30 minutes from here in Harrah, OK. The Waners were known, of course, as Big Poison and Little Poison.

The choice of the Houston Colt 45s was mainly because it was as close as I could get to a horse themed MLB team nickname. Yes, I know they were actually named after a gun, not a horse. But, what else would I have chosen? I suppose I could have gone with the Pittsburgh Pirates, since that is who the Waner brothers played for, but I didn't think of that until afterward. Sue me.

Now, let me reveal this cards secret problems. The larger of the two equines isn't technically a pony. A horse is generally considered a pony if it is less than 14 hands tall at the wither (the vertebrae where the upper neck, shoulder and back come together.) The big guy in the back stands 16.2 hands tall. Also, the two horses are not brothers. Indeed, they aren't even related, except in a vague evolutionary sense. Penny, in the foreground is a 11 year old registered Welsh Pony. Jack, in the background is a 26 year old Quarter Horse. If that wasn't sufficient reason to put away the notion of brotherhood, Penny is a mare. For you city slickers, that means she is a girl. But, we shouldn't let minor matters like gender and genetics stand in the way of great art, should we? Of course not.

Monday, February 13, 2012

OBAK - Packs 17 to 20

And we are now at the last set of four packs in the box.

Pack 17

7 - Desmond Jennings
9 - Tyler Matzek
38 - Eddie Plank T212 Mini
74 - Rube Foster

Founder of the Chicago American Giants and the Negro National League.

83 - Fredrick Miller
97 - Alex Liddi and Lou Polli

Lou Polli, born in Baven, Italy, was mostly a career minor leaguer, with 21 years of service, but also appeared in a total of 24 major league games spread over two seasons (1932 and 1944). Alex Liddi, born in San Remo, is still a youngster of 22. He made 44 plate appearances last year for the Seattle Mariners, hitting only .225, but slugging .525. Should be one to watch.

Pack 18
3 - Starlin Castro T212 Mini
17 - Roger Clemens
20 - Dale Murphy
32 - Bob Horner

40 - Johnny Bench

109 - Sherry Magie

With the exception of my 1974 set, I have mainly swore off variation cards. This one, however, I did not. In the original T212 OBAK set, there was an error card with Sherry Magee's last name spelled as Magie, as seen here. Tristar repeated the same variation in this set. I have both (see below for the other version) and will keep them. All other variations in this set, I am not going to bother with.

Pack 19
5 - Kyle Drabek
8 - Jason Kipnis

Jason made his MLB debut last year with the Indians, hitting .272 and slugging .507 across 150 plate appearances.

39 - Todd McFarlane T212 Mini
104 - Kyle Rote, Sr.
107 - Col. John Stevens III

A22 - Jeff Kobernus Auto (032/125)

This guy is still in the prospect phase of his career, competing in the A+ Carolina League last year. From his minor league stats, he appears to have a decent batting average, little power but speed on the base paths. His relative number of strikeouts and walks, though, indicate he needs to work on his plate discipline, though, before he moves too much further up the chain.

On a separate note, this was my fifth autograph in the box.

Pack 20
16 - Donavan Tate
28 - Fred Toney
38 - Eddie Plank T212 Mini Black Back (45/50)
44 - Jason Heyward
94 - John Montgomery Ward
109 - Sherry Magee

The other Magee variant.

So, we are at the end of the line of this box of 2010 Tristar OBAK. I can't lay my hands on my tally sheet of how I did against the promised hits. I do recall that I only got 1 of the 3 promised short prints, but got 5 autos instead of the promised 4. If memory serves, I also got an extra serial numbered parallel, but I am not going to bother going back to re-tally. Overall, I like this set and will definitely buy another box in the future, in the hopes of finishing the base set.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

OBAK - Packs 13 to 16

Pack 13
11 - Dale Murphy T212 Mini
19 - Hank Greenberg
25 - Paul Hines

Hines apparently was a (or the) player in 13 baseball firsts, including the first unassisted triple play (he was on defense), first at bat in a World Series, and the first player to ever wear sunglasses.

31 - David Clyde
47 - Ken Landreaux
70 - George Eastman Red Back (3/5)

I complained earlier that the serial numbered parallels were only differentiated from the base cards, by the color of the ink used on the back. It took me until now (pack 13!) to realize that the color of the logo and title on the front are also different. Not sure it changes my underlying point, but I do need to correct the record.

Pack 14
17 - Jose Canseco T212 Mini
29 - Ron Blomberg

First person ever to go to bat as a designated hitter.

43 - Ben Grieve
51 - Mel Stottlemyre
62 - Daniel Lucius "Doc" Adams
A81 - Charlie Ward Auto (098/125)

Charlie Ward is included because of his multi-sport credentials. He won the Heisman Award, was drafted by MLB, but ended up playing in the NBA. This is the fourth of the promised 4 autographs. I guess I am done for this box.

Pack 15
13 - Tony Sanchez

41 - Jason Heyward and Austin Jackson T212 Mini
94 - John Montgomery Ward
106 - Hulk Hogan
109 - Sherry Magee
112 - Johnny Evers Short Print

My first of three promised short prints. It is a variation of the Tinkers-Ever-Chance card shown earlier. Interestingly, as Charlie from Lifetimetopps points out, Wrigley Field didn't open until after Evers tenure with the Cubbies ended.

Pack 16
3 - Starlin Castro T212 Mini
3 - Chris Carter
11 - Jared Mitchell
15 - Drew Storen
23 - Lawrence "Crash" Davis

The real Crash Davis.

35 - Jay Clarke

Part of the Minor Leagues Best series. I just like the background image.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

OBAK - Packs 9 to 12

After three autos in the last batch of packs, it is only to be expected that this group will be a bit less exciting. Sure enough, it was a bit of a snoozer. I am not even sure I can muster a lot of commentary either. I'll try, but don't expect much.

Pack 9

6 - Austin Jackson
24 - Ray Chapman T212 Mini

To this day, the only player killed due to a game related event.

21 - Cal Ripken, Jr.
33 - Ben McDonald
39 - Don Baylor

This card is part of the MiLB Player of the Year subset. Baylor earned that honor while playing for the Rochester Red Wings in 1970.

105 - Charlie Ward

Pack 10

1 - Dustin Ackley
9 - Roger Clemens T212 Mini
18 - Andre Dawson

The Hawk.

30 - Jeff Borroughs
50 - Sebastian "Sibby" Sisti

Sibby looks like he is doing his Icarus impression on this card.

84 - John Pemberton

Pack 11

4 - Starlin Castron
18 - Jason Heyward T212 Mini
75 - Bernice Gera

84 - John Pemberton
103 - Francis Ouimet

This is part of the Muli-Sport subset, although it is a bit of a stretch. Francis Oiumet was strictly an amateur golfer, but funded his playing by working at a sporting goods store owned by baseball HOFer George Wright.

106 - Hulk Hogan

Pack 12

24 - Jack Dunn
29 - Bernice Gera T212 Mini
36 - Smead Jolley

Part of the Minor Leagues Best subset. Jolley had a short (3 years), but successful major league career. He is more known for his time in the Pacific Coast League, back when it was considered the West Coast near-equivalent of MLB. He was a lifetime .367 hitter in the minors, with .372 at the AA level (which was the highest level at the time.)

72 - Al Munro Elias
81 - Connie Mack

I'm sorry, but whenever I see the word "tactician" I always think of this scene from one of the Coen Brothers more underrated films, Intolerable Cruelty (starts at around 0:36):

92 - Charles Tiffany

On a unrelated note, does anyone have a child that collects foreign coins? While sorting through a lot of boxes I had stored in my barn, I came across a bunch of coins that my father gave me when he was travelling for work back in the 1970s. I have coins from France, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Mexico, Australia, and Singapore. If I can find them, I'll even through in some modern coins from Mexico and the EU. They are all circulated, so they won't have any value and I really don't have much use for them, so I'd like to get them into the hands of someone who collects coins. Let me know.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2010 OBAK - Packs 5 to 8

Well, this set of packs was chock full of big hits. Let's not waste any time looking.

Pack 5

27 - Denny Mclain
28 - Rube Foster T212 Mini
37 - Joe Riggert
45 - Frank Howard
70 - George Eastman

Having grown up in a Kodak family and being an amateur photographer, this card is one of my favorite base cards. It is a shame that Kodak has fallen on hard times, but I am hoping they come out of bankruptcy a leaner and more successful company.

A80 - Wayne Terwilliger Auto (037/125)

Here is my first autograph card. It is a sticker auto, which I don't mind since it is still a sharp looking card. Ignore the shmutz on the bottom of the left border. My scanner really needs a good cleaning.

Pack 6
37 - Sherry Magee T212 Mini
90 - Ernest Thayer
96 - Louis Sockalexis
101 - Howard "Hopalong" Cassady

Cassady, the 1955 Heisman Award winner played 9 years in the NFL. He never played professional baseball but, as a friend of George Steinbrenner, he was a scout and minor league coach in the Yankees organization.

102 - Dave Debusschere
A33 - Carlos Santana Red Back Auto (2/5)

This is where Baseball Dad is possibly drooling. An extremely rare (number 2 of only 5 printed) Carlos Santana autograph. Actually, here is my one complaint about this set. The difference between the base cards and the various levels of serial numbered parallels and auto cards is the color of ink on the back and maybe the original OBAK tobacco slogan that is printed in large letters across the card back. That is it. It is a minor complaint, though.

Pack 7
35 - Charlie Ward T212 Mini
54 - Lou Bierbauer
65 - Morgan Bulkeley
86 - John Sherman
99 - Jason Heyward and Austin Jackson

Not much to say here. Austin Jackson was a highly touted Yankees prospect until he was traded, along with Phil Coke, to the Tigers for Curtis Granderson. I think the Yankees got the better part of that deal. Both Jackson and Granderson strike out a lot, but Austin doesn't compensate for that with any real power.

108 - Tinker, Evers, & Chance

Definitely nothing to add here. This is one of my favorite cards. I like how they superimposed the players pictures over the Wrigley field sign. Sometimes in this set, the choice of background image defies explanation. This one does not. Perfect.

Pack 8
41 - Jose Canseco
52 - Jim Abbott
58 - Walter "Wally" Pipp
63 - Eberhard Anheuser
69 - Jim Creighton

The card back reads:
Jim is cosidered the first professional ball player and superstar. He is said to have thrown the 1st fastball and completed the first triple play. In 1862, at the age of 21, it is believed that he was not put out at bat during the entire season. Sadly that season, from an unknown cause, he suddenly passed away.

MA9 - Ben McDonald T212 Mini Auto (07/10)

The third auto card in this group of 4 packs. I am only guaranteed 3, so the rest of this may end up being boring. We'll just have to see.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Unsolicited Mail from Vintage Sportscards

I'm going to break in to the series of OBAK posts, because I really don't want this one to get lost. Last week, I recieved an unsolicited package from Chris over at Vintage Sportscards full of cards for the 1976 set I have started building. I was in the midst of a bad week, having been unemployed for the first time in around 30 years. I have traded a few times with Chris over the last year and he sent these, with no strings attached, hoping they would cheer me up. They did. Chris has a very extensive collection of vintage cards and is probably the one collector I would most like to emulate. I hope that I will be able to return the favor in the near future.

My big dilemma was what to show. There was close to 100 cards and included All Stars and Hall of Famers. But, that was the obvious thing to show and I wanted to do something a bit different. As it was, my first trade with Chris was to send him some 1978 Burger King Yankees that I had gotten in a lot I bought on EBay and he needed. It struck me that there might be a fair number of players who took a turn with the Yankees in 1978 in the cards he sent. I was right and that was my theme.

Rawly had gone 2-1 in 8 relief appearance with the Yankees in 1978 before being traded to the Phillies for Jay Johnstone and Bobby Brown.

The 78 Yankees were the last stop in Lindblad's career. He pitched a total of 18 innings over 7 relief appearances without a decision in the regular season and gave up 3 earned runs in 2.1 innings in Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers. After the season ended, his contract was purchased by Seattle, but he was released during spring training, ending his 14 year playing career.

Sweet Lou.

Thurman was the first Yankee captain since Lou Gehrig.

Nettles was the next Yankee captained, names so in 1982, three years after Munson's death.

Healy was barely a member of the 1978 Yankees. He appeared in one game and struck out in his only at bat before being released on May 10 of that year.

Tidrow was a back-end starter for the Yankees in 1978, moving into the rotation from the bullpen. His season was unspectacular, but did turn in two decent relief appearances during the World Series.

I don't have much to say about Chambliss, except that he seemed a steady presence on a club that was in turmoil too often.

And last, but not least, Jim Spencer. Baseball Reference shows him a part time first baseman in 1977 and 1978,b ut Chambliss had that nailed down, so I would guess he was actually a part time designated hitter (which is my recollection of the time.)

So, there it is. A small sample of the cards I recieved. Thank you, Chris. It was a welcome pick-me-up.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2010 OBAK - Packs 1 to 4

So, here we go. I'll follow the convention of listing the cards, showing my two favorites from the pack, and perhaps offer a little random commentary.

Pack 1

19 - Hank Greenberg

I like how they put the subject's image on a totally different background. Quirky, to be sure. But appealing, at least to me.

21 - Cal Ripken, Jr.
25 - Eddie Cicotte T212 Mini
31 - David Clyde
41 - Jose Canseco

At least we know someone at Tristar has a sense of humor. Clean-wholesome? Jose Canseco? Okay, sure thing. Whatever you say.

55 - Toby Harrah

Pack 2
16 - Johnny Bench T212 Mini
76 - John Henry Heinz

Damn right, ketchup was a game changer! Especially if you are from Pennsylvania. My father was from Pennsylvania and he put ketchup on everything. Even scrambled eggs, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. To this day, I still prefer ketchup to mustard on a hot dog.

82 - John McGraw

John McGraw just pointed a bony finger at me and said, 'Right Field.' I jumped up like I was sitting on a spring, grabbed my glove, and trotted out, hoping I wouldn't trip or do anything to attract attention to me.

85 - Alfred "A.J." Reach
93 - Maurice Van Robays
98 - Jim Bouton and Robert C.Nelson

Pack 3
5 - Desmond Jennings T212 Mini
9 - Tyler Matzek Green Parallel (10/25)
52 - Jim Abbott
63 - Eberhard Anheuser
66 - Jefferson Burdick

Old Baseball Cards has a nice set of essays on Burdick, the father of our hobby. They can be found here, here, and here. Well worth your time to read them.

73 - Andy Farkas

I wonder if he is related to Scott?

Pack 4

12 - Austin Romine

Romine has a long shot chance to break camp with the Yankees this year. He was mostly at AA last year, though he did make token appearances at AAA and got a September call up to the big club. My guess is that he'll start the year at AAA, with Frankie Cervelli beign the backup backstop at the start of the season. Cervelli has had a couple of concussions, one of which ended his season last year. I have to think he (and Russell Martin, for that matter) is just keeping a spot warm for Romine, who is expected to be the Yankee's starting catcher in the next few years.

23 - Jefferson Burdick T212 Mini
48 - Tom Paciorek
56 - Ed Kurpiel
59 - Wayne Terwilliger

Oldest man, at the time, to manage a professional team when he led the independent Fort Worth Cats to a Central Baseball League championship in 2005. I believe Jack McKeon was older when he took over the helm of the Florida Marlins for the last half of 2011.

67 - Ray Chapman

Coming up tomorrow: Something likely to get Baseball Dad drooling.