Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Hey, guys!  How are you? Long time, no talk!

It is has been somewhat quiet for me hobby-wise.  I skipped both the January 5 mini-show in Edmond and the larger January 19 OKC show.  I have sold off all my Heritage cards, although I haven't spent a fraction of the proceeds.  I am loath to spend any of the money I received from the auction until I know the items have been received in acceptable condition.  All, save one, have now made it to their destination.

The one remaining open shipment was to a fellow in Wichita, a mere three hour drive north of here. But it seems to be taking the scenic route.   I dropped it off at the post office on the 22nd. It first appeared in Dallas on the 24th. It is a little odd to go to Dallas, which is as far south of here as Wichita is north, but it is not unheard of, particularly if the OKC sort facility was having issues.  But, that is where things got really weird.  After leaving Dallas on the 24th, it next came up for air in San Francisco on the 26th.  Leaving the Bay Area the 27th, it passed through Los Angeles later that same day.  Four days later, it is not been heard from again.  So, it is getting close to time to refund the buyer.

That said, with all the other shipments safely at their destination, I have started to wake up on the buy side.  I managed to find more dirt cheap 1974/75 Loblaws hockey stickers. But my main activity has been to chip away at my 1971 Topps set. I had been sitting at 36 cards left to go for while, but a visit to COMC and I'm now down to 20 remaining to finish it up.

Le Grande Orange!

Something is wrong with this card. Okay.. two things are wrong with this card.  First, Sparky doesn't have his trademark moustache. Second, he is in the wrong uniform.

I looked up Alston's managerial record and was suprised to see that he stepped down as manager of the Dodgers in 1976 with 4 games left in the season, turning the team over to Tommy Lasorda.  I am still researching it, but have not yet found out his rationale for not finishing the season out. Anyone know?

From here, I'll probably keep chipping away at 1971. There is a mini-show this coming Saturday that I may go to. My goal will be to find that one big '71 I still need, the Dusty Baker and Don Baylor rookie card.  Of course, any of the remaining 71s I need will be more than an acceptable find, but since they are all high numbers, I won't hold my breath on finding any.  So, I suppose the real question is will I be, if I don't find any of my 1971 needs, can I abstain from picking up some other flashy vintage card. I'd like to pocket my money and save it for the March OKC show, but who knows if my recent willpower will last. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trade with Stealing Home

Having given up collecting modern sets, my trading activity has pretty much ceased. And, since starting this blog was, in part, a vehicle for finding trade partners, I have lacked motivation to keep it going on a regular basis.  So, when I do complete a trade, I get pretty excited and have to talk about it.

A while back I had opened a hobby box of 2006 Fleer Greats of the Game, but didn't really like the set.  It was the first GOTG set after Upper Deck took over Fleer and the quality and design was far inferior.  There was a few nice hits, but they weren't enough to overcome the generally poor effort put in by Fleer Upper Deck. One of those hits was a Mike Schmidt relic card. Oscar/Stealing Home was interested in it, so we completed a trade.  He got Schmidt and I got some nice vintage in return.

 This was the main target of the trade.  A major upgrade to my 1974 set that I completed back in 2011.   It isn't often that I am able to upgrade a card in a completed set, so I am pretty happy with this.

Oscar also sent this NM version of one of the 1974 Topps Traded set, which is also an upgrade for me.

This card presents something of a dilemma for me.  It is in better condition than the Rhoden card in my 1978 set.  But, alas, this is the O-Pee-Chee version and, in 1978, the numbering didn't match between OPC and Topps.  This card is numbered 159, while the Topps Rhoden is 605.

I know some folks don't like 1970 Topps, saying that it is a boring design. But, I like it real well.  These two cards increase the number of 1970 cards I have by 40%.  I will be collecting the set at some point, although by my rough calculation in may not be until late 2014 / early 2015.  Nonetheless, I am quite pleased to have these.

 I'm kinda tickled with the idea of a Yankees fan getting a bunch of Dodgers and a Red Sock in a trade. If I was to hate any other teams, it would be the Dodgers and Red Sox. But, see, when you are a Yankees fan, you don't need to carry around a deep seated hatred of any other team.  The only emotion you can really ever conjure up with regard to other teams is pity.

All joshing aside,  this was a great trade. Thanks, Oscar!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mail Call - A New PC Addition

It has been fairly quiet for me on the hobby front lately. I skipped last week's mini-show at Al's Sports Cards in Edmond and am leaning strongly towards skipping the larger OKC show on January 19th.  The budget is a little tight this month, so a hiatus is in the cards (heh!)

But, I did pick up the following card on EBay from Chris Potter Sports during their large holiday blow out sale.

This is the 93rd unique card in my Paul Blair player collection and the 26th autograph.  The card is part of the 1992 WIZ set of Yankees.  The Wiz was a chain of electronics stores in the northeast US between 1977 and 2003. They were a big sponsor of New York City sports and I can still here Phil Rizzuto saying "Nobody Beats The Wiz!"    I haven't found a lot of information about the cards, but apparently in 1992 the Wiz offered perforated strips of cards of various Yankees through the years grouped by decade.

There are actually two Paul Blair cards in the set. One for the 1970s and one for the 1980s.  I acquired the 70s card back in 2011 and now have the other. It is a little odd to think of Paul Blair being part of the Yankees in the 1980s.  Here appeared in a total of 12 games for the Yankees in 1980, only coming to bat twice without getting any hits.  He was released on July 1 and that was the end of his MLB playing career.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Goals

I didn't do very well on my 2012 goals. Even my scaled down goals that I published in April. But, that is okay. This is a hobby, a frivolous pursuit.  The fate of nations aren't at stake here.

I am half inclined to not even bother with goals for 2013, but I do think I need some structure around how I go about things this year.  2012 was fun, but a little too haphazard.  So, here is the broad outline about what I am going to do this year.

Sets I intend to finish:
  1. All the Insert sets to 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game, except the Announcing Greats which appear to be rarer than a hen's tooth. I've put a want list up over there to the right.
  2. 1971 - I just need to focus and stop with the impulse purchases. Now, several of my most favoritest cards of 2012 were impulse purchases, but I've been working on 1971 for a year and half and it is time get it out of the way. Focus, man!
  3. 1973 - I got a start with a trade with Ted of the now defunct Crinkly Wrappers.  So, I am going to do this one next. 
  4. 1963 Fleer - Apart from the autograph project, I only need 5 cards to finish. Two of them, Don Drysdale and Roberto Clemente, will be a bit painful.  But, I am too close to not finish.
Sets to continue working on:
  1. 1960 and 1961 Fleer - Not a high priority, but something I'd like to chip away at.
  2. 2009 through 2011 Obak - I am basically down to short prints for these three sets. More than a few of the cards I need just don't seem to pop on EBay or any of the various online merchants, so I am not confident I can finish any of the three even though I only need one card to finish 2010 and five to finish 2011.
  3. Continue to work on my Paul Blair and Johnny Antonelli player collections - this is probably, at the same time, my most modest and most difficult goal mainly because I have so many cards in the collection now. The main area I'd like to focus is on the Blair O-Pee-Chee  cards, of which I only have 9. For Antonelli, the only card I specifically want to knock off this year is his 1950 Bowman card. There are other cards for both that I know about, but they come up so rarely or at so high a price point, I just don't feel it is realistic to expect to add them to my player collection at all.
  4. 1974/75 Loblaws Hockey Album - I am willing to pay up to 10 cents each for the commons, but stars like Stan Mikita and Bobby Orr can get relatively expensive. I love this album, but it is teetering on the edge of being a distraction
  5. 1963 Fleer autograph project
Sets that I'd like to start of the opportunity presents itself (the bar of success is low here.  I consider getting one card from the set to be starting)

  1. 1975 Topps - only if I finish both 1971 and 1973
  2. 1959 Fleer Ted Williams - I've actually seen a fair number of these at recent shows and I am not talking about the 2004 reprints either. The big problem here is card 68 which was discontinued and costs upwards of $400 or more in VG condition.  Unless I hit the lottery, I am not going to spend that kind of cash. So, since I don't even buy lottery tickets, I am ambivalent about working it seriously.
  3. 1959 Fleer Three Stooges - another set that will likely be near impossible to finish. But, it is the Stooges. Need I say more?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Favorite Cards of 2012 #1 - A Great Man

Being the wild guy that I am, I was in bed by 9:30 on New Year's Eve and, despite not having to work today, was up at around the normal time, 4:30.   Not much on the agenda today, other than to cook up a batch of black eyed peas for luck in 2013 (It's a southern thing.) 

So, finally, we come to my favorite card of 2012.  It is also one of the last I acquired this year, a 1954 Topps Jackie Robinson.   It isn't the most expensive card I have ever bought, nor does it have the highest "book value."   My reasons for liking this card follow logically from the previous entry.

That entry, the 1940 Play Ball cards of the Waner brothers, appealed to me because of their age and the opportunity they presented for me to consider, quite speculatively, their path through history to get to me.

This card is special to me not because it passed through history, but because it is history.  Baseball Reference indicates that 17,943 individuals have appeared in a major league baseball game since 1871. Many of them never made a career of baseball. Fewer still were ever stars.  And it is a very exclusive club of players who continued to be widely known and admired a generation removed from their playing days.  But, it is a very small group of players that not only changed baseball, but the very arc of world history.  I suppose you might make a case for Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher turned US Senator. But, politics are in the eye of the beholder, and most politicians will have a mixed legacy.  Jackie Robinson is the only baseball player I can think of that figured prominently in the advancement of society as a whole and will have an uncontroversial legacy as time advances. While we still have a long way to go to achieve a truly integrated, color-blind world, we have advanced quite far over the past few decades.  Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball was a great step forward in that trajectory. But, for him to become one of the all-time great players while maintaining a preternatural grace and dignity cannot be underestimated.

Jackie Robinson changed the world.  And it is for that reason this is my favorite card of 2012.  And, to be perfectly honest, I have a hard time imagining any other card ever being as valuable to me.  It is, at this moment, and for the foreseeable future, my favorite card of all time.

With that, please accept my best wishes to all of you for a happy and successful 2013.