Thursday, March 31, 2011

Topps Heritage Can Bite Me

So, I decided to try and put together 2011 Topps Heritage. I was a little over half done, with 274 out of the 500 card base set. I was in Walmart picking up a few things and bought a blaster box. Now, I would expect to get some duplicates, but with almost half of the set I should get a fair number of cards I needed. You would think, wouldn't you?

Jokes on me. Out of 72 cards in the box, I got exactly 2 that I needed. Two. It wouldn't have been so bad, but the last time I picked up a couple jumbo packs at Target (32 total cards), I got exactly 1 I needed.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Card Show Haul

So, I am back from the card show, where I dropped around a C-note, mostly on my 1974 set. When I got home a lot of 9 1974 stars that I picked up off of Ebay was in the mail box. The haul breaks down like this:

  • 86 from the 1974 Base set which brings me to a total of 541 of 660. My haul includes a fair number of stars, one of which I will come back to in a moment. The only disappointment was the Dave Winfield rookie card from my Ebay lot which had one slightly bent corner and a three soft corners. But, given I paid $29 including shipping for cards that booked at over $130, I won't complain.

  • 2 from the 1974 Traded set, which brings me to 43 out of the 44 card subset.

  • 6 out of 16 of the rare Washington Nat'l Lea. variations, including Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, to match up with his Padres card that came in the mail. The hair is courtesy of one of my dogs.

  • A couple of Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars. This was a risk buy. I have been keeping my eye out for a Kellogg's 3-D Paul Blair for my player collection. They have been listed for $15 or higher. At $3 for both of these cards, I figured I might have a chance to turn a little profit. Alas, the Blair is a 1971 Kellogg's and these are from 1980. I might still be able to sell them for more than I spent, but it probably isn't worth the effort for a couple, three dollars. Live and learn.

  • The last two cards here I bought solely because I like them and they were only a buck each. They are a 1999 Topps Chrome Hank Aaron '55 and a Topps Archive Satchel Paige '53 Refractor.

    So there it is. I had hoped to knock of more of the 1974 commons than I did, but I am happy with the day nonetheless.
  • Friday, March 25, 2011

    Mail Call

    This is the 45th unique, and 49th total, card in my Paul Blair collection. It is a 1994 MCI Ambassadors of Baseball card. 14 of the cards, including this one, are autographed.

    I'm getting pretty excited for the weekend. Tomorrow, I am going to attend the first day of a two day card show up in Oklahoma City. My goal is to work some more on my 1974 Topps set (I have 455 of 660 in the base set, 41 of 44 from the Traded Set and 16 of 24 of the Team checklists). I'd like to fill in as many of the commons as I can and maybe paw through a few of the quarter/dollar boxes. On Sunday, we are heading up to Remington Park to watch the quarter horse races. I have a certificate for $30 of free play at the co-located casino that I won in a photography contest and I am going to bet on the races with it. My main goal,though, is just to take more photographs. And, early next week, I should receive some 1974 star cards that I won on EBay ($131 BV that I got for $29 including shipping.)

    Twin Brothers from Different Mothers, Part 3: Electric Boogaloo

    Brian Wilson and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare)

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Trade Charity from Crinkly Wrappers

    If y'all don't read Ted over at Crinkly Wrappers, you should. In addition to being a great writer, he is a man somewhat after my own heart, with a fondness for vintage cards. Of course, he is a more advanced collector than I am, what with him working on 1954 (and picking up some of the old tobacco cards) and I'm just getting started on the 1970s. Let's just say I aspire to his level of collecting.

    So, a while back, he posted about trying to finish the 2009 Upper Deck Icons set. I had some of them lying around that I picked up in one of those "10 packs for $10" specials at Target. I offered them up in hopes of being able to work out a trade for the Topps 2011 Series 1 cards I needed. Of course, being a new collector, I didn't have anything he needed. But, he was gracious enough to send me 6 out of the 7 Series 1s that I needed to complete the set. The crown jewel of the set was obviously the Ichiro, although when you have 323 out of 330 cards, every pickup that closes a gap is precious.

    Alas, I had nothing to offer in return, so I am going to keep my eye on his Topps Heritage want list (once he posts it) and do what I can to return the favor. By the way, that smudge in the upper left hand corner of the image is on my scanner. The card is pristine.

    Spring Has Sprung

    It must be spring. The daffodils have bloomed, the horses are more interested in searching for green grass than coming to the fence in the morning for hay, and.........AND......the tickets and food coupons came today for the seven game package I bought for the Oklahoma City Redhawks.

    Click for full size image

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Twin Brothers from Different Mothers

    1974 Topps Look Alike Edition

    Fred Norman and Adam Cartwright (Parnell Roberts)

    Bob Johnson and Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly)

    I like to think of Jesus, like, with giant eagles wings, and singin' lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with, like, an angel band and I'm in the front row and I'm hammered drunk!

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    The Good

    Went to my local card shop today and worked some more on the 1974 commons. I managed to pick up 16 team checklists towards the total of 24, 18 more Traded cards which brings me up to 41 out of the 44 card set, and 41 more commons which brings me up to 455 out of the 660 card base set. Hopefully, I can make another good dent in this set at a two day show here next weekend.

    The Bad

    The card shop is a mess. There is a gross level of organization there. Shelves and cases are generally organized by sport. Recent and vintage have their own areas. Commons are kept separate from stars. Anything of real value is kept behind glass. But that is where it ends. While the shop is not going to be appearing on an episode of Hoarders, it is really in need of a concerted effort at better organization. For example, I went in there for the first time back in January to work on my 1978 set. At the time there was a number of loose stacks of mid-to-late 1970s baseball cards sitting on top of one of the glass cases. It looked like he had just taken them in and hadn't organized them yet. Two months later, those same cards are sitting in the same spot. I am not the most organized person in the world (ask my wife), but it drives me nutty.

    Another thing: he has loose pack vending boxes sitting on some of the cases. No problem, except that they go back to 2007 and he is still charging full retail for them. Furthermore, he had one box of 2011 Series 1 loose packs. One. And hadn't got any 2011 Heritage in yet.

    All things considered, I don't think the shop is his major source of income. There is rarely anyone in there. I don't see how he could make a living with the dearth of business. But, he drives a pretty sweet Lincoln MKS and his wife has a beauty shop right next door. My best guess is that he owns the plaza and the card/memorabilia shop is just a place for him to be during the day and a means to indulge his hobby.

    All in all, I will still shop there for my vintage cards, since he prices fairly. But, I guess I am stuck with retail (or driving 45+ minutes up to OKC/Edmond) for any current sets I decide to collect.

    The Ugly

    Fernando Gonzalez - 1974 Topps #649T

    Okay, not specifically ugly, but he does look like an extra in the movie "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." Gonzalez didn't last long in Kansas City. He played in 9 games, gathering 3 hits in 21 at bats, before being purchased by the Yankees on May 5, 1974. Subsequently, he spent time in the minors and the Mexican League, was reaquired by Pittsburgh and closed out his Major League career with San Diego.

    Lindy McDaniel - 1974 Topps #182T

    McDaniel was a premier reliever in his day, making 987 appearances over 21 years in the majors, 913 in relief. Interestingly, he was born in my adopted home of Oklahoma. Although he hails from the town of Hollis, a widening in the road in the far southwest corner of the state, a three hour drive from Norman, he did attend and pitch for Oklahoma University here in town. What is important to note here is that whomever Topps paid to airbrush McDaniel into a Royals uniform phoned it in. Oh, they did a competent job on the hat, but managed to leave him in Yankee pinstripes.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Night Owl Bait

    Last year, as I toyed with the idea of getting back into collecting baseball cards, I started reading card blogs. The first two I started reading were The 83F Project and The Greatest 21 Days. It didn't take long for the list to grow and one of the first additions was Night Owl Cards, who's author seems like a decent sort..... for a Dodger fan. That is high praise, coming from a Yankees fan, I'll have you know.

    Anyhoo, despite my inclination to let Topps Heritage go by given the number of short prints in the base set, I did end up buying a blaster at Walmart today. I didn't get any big hits, but I did get 2 of the high numbershort prints and a few Yankees. However, I did get a couple of cards that made me think of Night Owl. The first card will likely pique his interest, but it is the second card that will make him green with jealousy. Oh, he'll pretend otherwise, but don't you believe it.

    The first is a News Flashback card (NF-6) commemorating the opening of Dodger Stadium in 1962:

    The second, is a Chrome Refractor card of Russell Martin (90/562) resplendent in the second most attractive uniform in major league baseball (the most attractive being the home pinstripes.)

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    I Has A Sad (Non-Card related post)

    I know I should stick to my knitting, but I am really down in the dumps. I just found out one of my favorite singers is playing here in OKC tomorrow night and, due to a variety of obligations, I cannot attend. I like most every type of music, but I am most fond of the genre known as Alt-country or Americana. It combines traditional country, folk, and rock the right way. Not like all that Faith Hill/Tim McGraw crap.

    To sooth my sad, I am going to (hopefully) create a few more fans for this talented artist. So, I present to you Boston based singer Eilen Jewell. This first song, Sea of Tears, has a great 1950s rockabilly vibe to it:

    Here is Jewell, and her band, covering the Johnny Kidd and the Pirates song "Shakin' All Over:"

    This song, from the same SXSW set as the first video, is probably my favorite. It has a laconic fatalism to it, without veering off into the maudlin:

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    1974 Topps - Sideburn Edition

    I went the my local card shop on Saturday to work on my 1974 Topps Baseball set. I managed to pick up around 126 cards, bringing my total for the set to 436 out of 728 cards (including team checklists and the 44 card Traded set, but not the Washington Nat'l League cards). While working through the boxes of cards, I was struck by the number of really outrageous sideburns. I suppose they weren't outrageous at the time, but you get my drift. There was quite a selection to choose from, but here are my favorites:

    Interestingly, Dick Tidrow was fairly clean shaven in 1974, but had joined the Facial Hair Club for Men by 1978:

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Oddester Card Yet

    In my quest to fill out a Paul Blair player collection, I keep my eye on EBay. If anything I don't have pops up, the first thing I do is see if it is already available at COMC or Sportlots. If it isn't, I make the decision whether I am going to bid or not based on a number of factors including, but not necessarily limited to asking price/current high bid and the perceived rarity of the card. I generally end up only buying rare or odd cards by that mean. I had thought that a baseball/poker card was about as odd as it would get. I was wrong. I present to you the 2008 Tristar Signa Cuts Paul Blair: This card comes with a little tangential back-story. I found this card on EBay in January during my early, less discriminating phase of collecting. I won the auction for less than $4, including shipping. But, a funny thing happened. It never showed up. One week passed. Two weeks passed. Nothing. So I contacted the seller, but I got no response. I waited another week, then opened a case with EBay. The first step was to contact the seller again, which I did. Still no response. So, after 4 weeks, I got my refund. By this time, the seller was accumulating negative feedback for non-delivery. He went from 100% positive feedback to 75% in short period of time. I figured something tragic, or at a minimum, unfortunate happened, and moved on without adding my voice to the chorus of oppressed buyers. I got my money back, and the guy is now basically a non-entity on EBay, so I didn't feel any need to dance on grave of the seller, figuratively speaking (or maybe not.) Then, another funny thing happened. Yesterday, several weeks after I got my refund and forgot about this card, it showed up without explanation. I guess something unfortunate did happen and I applaud the person for trying to make it right. But, I got to tell you that this card is not worth the $3.76 it almost cost me. Let me tell you what this card is. Tristar took a 2001 Fleer Greats of the Game card, got it autographed, cut off the bottom of the card so all you can see is Blair's waist and elbow, pasted the remnant onto another card, and gave it a purple glitter border. I have said that my reaction to the 2011 Topps Diamond Parallels was that it looked like they were trying to capture the eight year old girl demographic by throwing glitter on the cards. But, wow, this card has actual glitter on it. It looks like it was made by an eight year old girl. I am amazed at the awfulness of this card. I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to collect these cards. I suppose there is someone out there who does, but I prefer not to think of it. You can barely see it, but at the bottom, this card is marked 1/1. Mercifully, it is the only such card in existence. I will now slip it into my Blair binder and never let it see the light of day again. You don't need to thank me.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Losing My Cherry

    I just received the fruits of my first trade in the mail today from the world famous Nachos Grande. I sent him some 2011 Topps inserts and Diamond parallels that he needed in exchange for 11 of the base set that I needed. Now, you may wonder why I would trade inserts and parallels for the more common base cards.

    It is simple. My collecting interests are as follows:

    1. Vintage sets (pre-1980)
    2. Paul Blair
    3. Current sets (basically only 2011 at this point

    I am focusing my time and effort on the first two. Finishing the 2011 set is a much lower priority. I basically pick up a few packs of 2011s whenever I do the grocery shopping. Finishing the base set is achievable without impinging on my main priorities. Chasing after the inserts just seems like too much a bother and too much time. Besides, I am really don't like the Diamond parallels (but more on that some other time.)

    I have gotten to the point now with 2011 (I have 313 out of 330 Series 1 cards) that whenever I pickup some cards at the store, it is unlikely I will get many cards that I need. For example, the other day I bought a 36 card jumbo pack and got 1 card that I needed. At this point, I am going to stop buying at the store and try and fill out Series 1 with trades.

    I guess, though, that it is poor form for me to prattle on without showing a card or two from my trade haul. Here are my two favorite cards:

    I love the picture on this card. Some people might not like the fact that the end of the bat and Guerrero's feet are cut off, but that doesn't really bother me. The heart of this card is the intensity in his eyes and motion blur in his hands. You just get the sense that he is going to just cream the ball.

    I like this for two reasons. First, because it reminds me that baseball is truly becoming an international sport. There are enough players now from outside of North and Central America that they are no longer considered oddities. Second, this is another great photograph. I like the background bokeh in the image, which conveys the notion that there is a crowd at the game, but obscures enough detail that it doesn't distract from Kuo about to deliver a pitch. It doesn't even bother me that he is a Dodger.

    So, there you have it. My first trade post. Go me.

    Coming soon: My quest for Paul Blair cards has turned up another oddball. It is considerably odder than my previous oddest card ever and should provide the basis of a decent rant.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    New Blair Cards

    Two new Paul Blair cards came in the mail today. A 2003 Topps Word Series Tribute card, which I wasn't even aware of until it popped up on EBay.

    I've tried to search all of the major online sources to identify all the known Paul Blair cards, but this one eluded me. It seems to be made of a plastic rather than cardstock. Maybe I am still too much of a n00b, but I've never seen that before. I like it.

    I also got a autographed 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game:

    These are the 44th and 45th cards in my Blair collection and the Fleer is my 9th card with an autograph. I also have three more cards in transit: 1968 and 1970 Topps autographed (I already have unsigned cards) and an autographed 1992 MCI Ambassadors card.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    God As My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

    From the annals of odd minor league baseball game promotions, I give you: Chewbacca Night (May 1, 2010 - Oklahoma Redhawks vs. New Orleans Zephyrs). Okay it was actually Star Wars Night and you had the opportunity to meet Chewbacca, but it sounds more "minor league promotions" my way. So sue me.

    Marketing isn't my thing. I am, by training, an engineer. I have an MBA, but marketing wasn't my strong subject. I just never got it. But, sometimes I wish I could sit in on marketing meetings. More specifically, I wish I could have sat in on the marketing meeting for the Oklahoma Redhawks when they decided to have a Star Wars Night. I have to presume it was a joint promotion with a local Science Fiction club. The night featured an appearance by Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films. We missed the autograph signing, but did get to seem him throw out the first pitch. Additionally, the night also featured members of the (presumed) Sci-Fi club appearing in costume. Here are a few highlights from the night.

    An appearance by Darth Vader. In the first picture, he is walking down the stairs into the box seats directly behind home plate. I imagine him saying, in his best Bob Uecker voice, "I must be in the front row!"

    Though I am a little confused why he was being escorted by a Rebel X-wing pilot. (On a tangentially related note, is it just me or does the guy in the rebel flight suit bear a striking resemblance to the actual character in the movie?"

    I am not a huge Star Wars fan. In fact, it was well over a year after it's theatrical release before I finally saw the original movie. My wife, on the other hand....HUGE fan (that is her Chewbacca trading card up above). So, I may be wrong here, but I though that Imperial storm troopers were clones and, thus, were all supposed be identical. You wouldn't know from these two fellows, who seem to be of slightly different size and shape.

    Promotions got into the act with Light Saber Limbo:

    Even the ground crew was in the spirit:

    So, there you have it. Chewbacca Night at the Brick. For this season, we bought a mini-season ticket package (7 games, all Fridays or Saturdays), but we can occasionally get free tickets from my wife's employer. I am looking forward to seeing what crazy promotions there will be this year and trying to go to those games.

    Update: Our 7 game ticket package for this year includes a promotion with Purina. They are bringing their Incredible Dog Team to The Brick.

    Additional Update: In case, anyone is wondering about the genesis of this blog's title click here. Take the time to watch the whole thing. You'll thank me. It is one of the classic TV sitcom moments.