Thursday, January 26, 2012

23 Years, 4 Months, 21 Days


On September 6, 1988, I walked into an office building on North 12th Street in Reading, Pennsylvania to start my post-college career. Through all the intervening time (though divestitures, mergers, and corporate re-branding changed the name on the top left corner of my paycheck,) I worked for the same company.

At approximately 4 PM today, in a home office in the Cross Timbers east of Norman, Oklahoma, I will log off, power down a laptop, and stuff it in a box to be shipped back to it's rightful owner. After 23 years, 4 months, and 21 days, it will be over. There is no gold watch waiting at the end of the day, if such a thing is even done anymore. No conference room send-off with a hastily purchased sheet cake and soon-to-be-unkept promises to stay in touch. Just me, the laptop, and uncertainty. To be honest, I prefer it that way. When life forced me to divorce ego from pride, I put away a need for grand gestures.


I finished Josh Wilker's Cardboard Gods this morning. It's a funny thing. How different our paths through life have been, Josh and me. And yet, I find myself identifying so strongly with him. Both standing on a precipice, looking at the future, wondering where that next step will lead.

My box of Obak arrived yesterday. Opening it brought me no respite. I have carefully placed the cards back into the packs, the packs back into the box, and set it aside for another day. I'm doing the same with this blog. It may only be a few days or it may be longer. I don't know. I'll be back when I am not such a fucking downer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Trade with PATP


I recently completed my first trade with Brian over at Play at the Plate. I sent him a couple vintage Senators and a handful of other cards from his Rangers want list and I got some nice cards in return. The centerpiece of the trade, for me anyways was this:


Alas, within days of closing our deal, the Yankees traded Hector, along with Jesus Montero, to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and a pitching prospect. I still like this kid, though, so I am going to hang on to this card and give it an honored place in my vintage/relic/auto binder.

But, wait! That's not all!


A 2011 Heritage short print. This is way cool, since I am only needing short prints (and some inserts) to complete this set. Any day I can knock one off is a good day, ahtellyawha!

I would have been happy with just that, but Brian sent along a couple of packs of Allen and Ginter. A&G is a quirky set. I am on the fence whether I like it or not. I like that it is different than anything else, and well designed, but the inclusion of non-baseball subjects is off putting. Although, as an aside, I like the Ascent of Man inserts. But there were some great cards in those packs.




A couple Yankees and a great looking landscape Brandon Phillips.


Clunk! Diana Taurasi! *shakes fist*

My big memory of Diana Taurasi was her leading the Connecticut Huskies to a decisive victory in the 2002 NCAAs over the Oklahoma Sooners. Man, that bummed me out. Still does, even 10 years later. *grumble*

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Trade with Crinkly Wrappers


With all the discussion yesterday regarding trading and getting stung in a trade when your half never arrives, I had time to ponder my trading history, such as it is. I've only been trading for about a year now and probably have completed less than 2 dozen trades. Small time in comparison to many of you. I have never felt cheated in any trade, though it is obvious some traders approach the subject differently than others. Since I have always been happy with what I have recieved in trades, it is all good as far as I am concerned.

However, there has been one person, Ted over at Crinkly Wrappers, that has always been really generous with his end of the trade. I would tend to think he is just trying to help out a novice trader like myself. However, I have seen too many testimonials to Ted's kindness to do anything but conclude it is just part of his nature. I almost hate having to trade with him because I know he'll send far more than is equitable given what I am sending to him.

Case in point: I am working diligently on the Topps sets from the 1970s. I have three complete and 2 others in various stages of completion. One I had not started yet (except for a handful of Diamond Giveaway winnings) was 1973. Ted had started on it and offered up his dupes for trade. I cobbled together an offer that included a fair number of base cards, a few rarities, and a couple three nice cards. In return he sent a pile of 73s. My 1973 collection instantly graduated from a couple of sheets in my general vintage binder to a binder of all it's own.

Here is some of what he sent me. As you can see, even while sending quantity, he certainly did not skimp on quality.











Thanks, Ted.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Modern Woody Guthrie


I know it is consider anathema to dip into politics when we have the infinitely more important subject of baseball cards to cover. But, dang, Bruce has done it again.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Hard Choice


I've been mulling over what I wanted to do with my winnings from the contest over at Net54baseball.com. I had mentioned wanting to put it towards my 2001 Heritage set. But, as I started pricing out the cards I needed at various sale sites, I came to the realization that the short prints are selling very close to, or even at, book value. Thus, I would only end up getting less than 10 cards after shipping. Since I am on hiatus, I was really looking forward to a nice, fun score and 8 or 9 cards just wasn't it.

So, I changed tactics and decided to see if I could find a box to buy. I ended up spending way too much time at Dave and Adam's website looking for candidates. I ended up with a preliminary list of close to 50 different products. I then started weeding them out according to the following criteria.

  1. The box price must be less than $75 (Yes, I know. No, I am not innumerate.)

  2. It must not include the words "Prospect!!" or "Rookies!!" in the title or description.

  3. I must like the design of the base cards.

  4. There is some possibility of a hit. (I could use a little adrenaline what with all the heaviness right now.)



When all the culling was done, this is what was left standing:


2010 Tristar Obak.


I wanted to order it from Dave and Adam's, since I consumed so much of their bandwidth. But, they chose to reject my best offer (which was only 10% lower than their asking price) on EBay. So, I ended up getting it from Blowout Cards for a price that was even lower than what I had offered. Oh well, Dave and Adam. Your loss. Next time don't be so stingy.

Confusion Reigns




I was pretty pleased with my recent trade with Ted at Crinkly Wrappers. I got the last cards I needed to finish the Topps Lineage and Update base sets. Here are a few highlights:






There was more, but they included either non-descript players or Red Sox. Can't be showin' them.

Then something strange happened. As I paged through the appropriate binder to put the cards Ted sent in their rightful place, I found other holes in both sets. More specifically, there was 3 empty Update pockets and 4 for Lineage. I am usually pretty good about keeping my want lists up to date, so I am not sure exactly how that happened. My best guess is that I traded for them in the past, put them on the shelf in my card closet so they could be scanned first before being filed away, and they got lost in the shuffle. I have gone through my duplicates boxes and haven't found them. I can only surmise that they have fallen behind the shelving unit and are lying in the floor.

Unfortunately, I don't really have time right now to look for them and probably won't until after my job interview on the 27th. So, in the mean time, I've thrown a want list back up on the sidebar for those two sets.


But that is not the extent of what Ted sent. Oh no, my friends, it wasn't. He helped me some on my 1976 set and gave my a huge leg up on starting 1973. But more of that later.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mail Call - New Year Edition


Today was a good day. Let me count the ways:

  • Two trade packages arrived today. One from Ryan at Oh, No!!! Another Orioles Blog and one from Ted over at Crinkly Wrappers.

  • I won a contest over at the Net54Baseball.com discussion forum. It was a closest to the pin contest relative to the final sales price of three EBay auctions. My major award was $50 and a net54baseball T-shirt. Both are most appreciated. As many of you know, my wife and I have a small horse farm. So, I spend a lot of time out taking care of the horses and the property. I go through an ungodly number of ball caps and t-shirts every year. Plus, the $50 will allow me to take a small hiatus from my hiatus and get myself some cards. I will probably use it to make progress on my 2001 Heritage set.

  • I had a phone interview about a job last Friday and I have been asked in for a face-to-face interview next Friday, the 27th. As it is, the last day on my current job is one day before, Thursday the 26th. I hope that is a good omen, though I don't generally believe in such things.



  • So, without any further nonsense, let's take a look at one of the trade packages. I sent Ryan some cards to help him with sets he was working on (2009 OPC, 2011 Bowman) and actually was able to send him a card he didn't already have in his Cal Ripken, Jr. player collection. It was a duplicate Cal from one of my favorite sets, 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game.

    In exchange, I got one card, but what a card it was!



    Now, as I have said, I am not much into game used relic cards, but this was Mo. Need I say more? Of course not. Saying anything more would just be gilding the lily.

    Because it is Mo.

    This is really the first card I got this year and, I have got to tell you, it is going to be hard to top when December rolls around and it is time to countdown my favorite cards of the year. I like this card so much it is going in a binder right next to my Willie Mays autographed card.

    I mean, seriously. It's Mo!



    I'll try and get a post up about my trade with Ted in the next couple days, but I have my hands full closing out my current job and I have a lot of prep work to do over the next 10 days for this job interview. So, stay tuned. But, don't hold your breath. Just in case.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    A Day in the Sun


    My temporary retirement from collecting was tough this weekend. I just had an urge to go to a card shop (or show) and paw through some boxes. But, I fought off those feelings. I did, however, spend some time with 1200 lbs of muscle supporting a brain the size of a walnut.



    Ha Ha. Just kidding.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    No Excuses Any More


    I guess since I am on hiatus from card collecting, I don't have any excuses for avoiding my chores, now do I?

    Crud


    So, I worked a trade this week for a Topps Chrome Hector Noesi autographed card. Noesi was generally solid, if unspectacular, during his rookie campaign with the Yankees this year. Now, I am not a prospector and I am (at the moment) forswearing any modern products to focus on vintage. But see, I liked the kid and reports were that the Yankees did too. So, why not trade off some stuff that didn't fit in my collection for his auto card?

    Alack and alas, before the card even arrives, the Yankees up and trade him away. News hit the wire that New York traded Hector and Jesus Montero (the centerpiece of the deal) to Seattle for Michael Pineda and 18 year old pitching prospect Jose Campos.



    Ah, well. Any Mariners fans out there?

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    New Blog Feature - Cardboard Catastrophes Custom Card Creations


    I've mentioned before that, even after a year of blogging I don't feel like I have found my voice yet. They closest I have come to finding my niche in a baseball card blogging world that is populated by some genuine talent is my intermittent Twin Brothers from Different Mothers feature. But, I think I have happened upon a concept that will help me have some original content around here.

    I had a great time creating a custom card entry for Thorzul's Nightmares on Cardboard contest. I also amused myself greatly with my mocking of John Lackey in a trade post the other day. So, I thought I would use my mad Photoshop skillz to create some humorous card designs. I ran with the John Lackey theme and created this card, that I have titled "Hey Red Sox, All The Signs Were There Before You Signed Him."



    I can't predict how often I'll do this, but this one was a great time waster on a gray Sunday.

    Flea Market Finds


    It is coming up pretty quick on a month since I was notified that I would be laid off at the end of January. I swore off any unnecessary spending in order to be ready in case my time off was significant. And that includes cards. While I am, thankfully, situated for a lengthy unemployment, I am hoping it won't be. I have some inside information that I should be contacted for some interviews next week. But, I am sticking by my decision to not buy any cards until I have a job offer in hand.........sort of.....

    I was out yesterday running errands. One of which is looking for birthday gifts for my wife. There is one specific item that I am looking for that I have been unable to find. While driving home yesterday, I stopped at a flea market at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds to see if anyone there might have it. Long shot, I know, but I was desperate.

    Well, let me tell you, this flea market is one that all the classier fleas avoid. I was amazed at what some people are trying to sell. Need a box of old phone and coaxial cables? Want to stock up on VHS cassettes or old cross-stitch magazines? This is your place. Need any interesting antiques or useful items? Don't even bother.
    There was one guy, though, selling sports memorabilia, including cards. Most of it was unwrapped boxes of junk wax, but he did have some individual cards for sale. I went through the box and managed to find 3 insert cards from the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game set I am trying to complete.


    Dave Winfield - The Glory of Their Time (1493/1979)



    Ty Cobb - The Glory of Their Time (0138/1911)



    Luis Tiant and Carlton Fisk - Battery Mates (0009/1973)


    I paid $4 dollars total for the 3 cards, which is about $1 more than I would have paid getting them from COMC. But, obviously, I didn't have to pay shipping, so I came out ahead. As it turns out, I already had the Winfield, but even at $4 for the two cards I needed, I still did alright. The guy also had a couple of the blue bordered serial numbered parallels, but I passed over those for now. I also noticed that he had one of those flat locking cabinets that card sellers had. Inside was the 27 card Willie Mays reprint set that was printed somewhere around 1996. I didn't ask him what he wanted for that since I was guessing that they weren't really worth all that much and the segregation of those cards behind a locked cabinet, and in lucite card holders, indicated he valued them way more than the market did.

    So, now I will go back to not buying cards.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Trade with Napkin Doon - Plus an Outtake


    I just completed a trade with the oddly named Napkin Doon (you never can tell about them Arkansans. But, at least he only has one first name and isn't known as Napkin Ray Bob Doon or some such nonsense.) Anyhoo, as I have mentioned earlier I didn't have any luck turning a Topps Diamond Die Cut Tom Seaver into anything I actually wanted, so I ended up trading it for a die-cut Adrian Beltre that Nap needed. In exchange, I got a dozen 2001 Heritage cards I needed. I am pretty stoked about getting another good size chunk of that set knocked off.

    Most of the cards were of guys who didn't have any noteworthy MLB experience like this guy:


    Aah, the joys of set collecting! But there were some good players mixed in, too.



    Although he was forgettable in the off-season, Lohse pitched solidly in 2011 for the World Champion Cardinals.




    I'm glad the Yankees resigned Freddy for 2012. He, along with Bartolo Colon, really filled in the rotation beyond expectations with Phil Hughes being on the disabled list and A.J. Burnett being very inconsistent.

    I want to stop for a moment and let another piece of my life intrude here. As some of you may know, I enjoy doing some amateur photography. I'll never make my living at it, but I have taken some pictures I am proud of. One of the things I like is looking at other people's photographs and trying to understand both their vision and technique. This has given me the chance to meet other photographers that I might never come across in my life. One guy was actually did some work for the Anaheim Angels once upon a time. I had the great experience of seeing some of the outtakes from the studio sessions. In an amazing coinky-dink one of those "lost photos" was of a player who's card was among those Nap sent me. Check it out:



    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Trade with Cards from the Quarry


    I just completed a small, but significant, trade with hiflew from Cards from the Quarry. I knocked about 4 cards off his want lists and, in exchange, I got three cards I needed from 2011 Heritage:


    110 - Mark Tiexiera

    Though his power numbers are still good, Tex's BA and OBP have been down the last two years. I wonder if a lot of that is due to teams going into a defensive shift when he bats from the left side of the plate. When you look at his platoon splits from 2011, he hit well as a righty, but was positively anemic from the left side when he wasn't hitting home runs. I have heard that he was going to work on hitting to the opposite field as a lefty this off-season. If he is successful in doing so, I predict a monster year in 2012.


    202- Corey Hart

    Not much to say about this guy (I will not make the all-too-obvious sunglasses joke) other than that is a face only a mother could love. I will note that Hart and Teixeira were the last two non-short prints I needed from the 2011 Heritage set. I am now down to just short prints and inserts to complete the set. I am pretty psyched about knocking these two off.


    442- Kevin Gregg

    Aaaaand one of the short prints. These guys are like gold and I was also pretty happy to be able to trade for it. I am loathing having to go to COMC or a similar site and pay the extortion prices that short prints command.

    Thanks, hiflew!

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    BOBOC - Pack 8


    I tried calling my doctor to schedule a colonoscopy in order to have something to do that was more fun than this post, but he didn't think the procedure was medically necessary. I was like "Dude! Have you ever seen 1988 Donruss?" He wasn't convinced, so I guess I am going to have to write this.

    I present to you yet another pack of:

    Hot Text - http://www.sparklee.com



    Can you feel the excitement? Me neither.

    111 - Bob Forsch - St. Louis


    112 - Mike Scott - Houston


    113 - Kevin Gross - Philadelphia
    447 - Jerry Mumphrey - Chicago Cubs


    626 - Pat Perry - Cincinnati
    628 - Matt Williams - San Francisco


    629 - Dave Hengel - Seattle
    630 - Jeff Musselman - Toronto
    631 - Tim Laudner - Minnesota
    632 - Bob Ojeda - NY Mets


    633 - Rafael Santana - NY Mets
    BC-8 - Andy Van Slyke - Pittsburg
    BC-10 - Andre Dawson - Chicago Cubs


    BC-11 - Alan Trammell - Detroit


    Diamond King #20 - Mark Langston - Seattle


    So, I got one Hall of Famer in this pack. Woo-freaking-hoo.

    Up Next: 1990 Panini Stickers.