Friday, July 22, 2011

Coming Attraction

I was thinking of picking up another box of the first series of the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game set. When I sat down and looked at it, I still needed 15 of the 80 cards to complete that series and, frankly, I got a charge out of pulling autographed cards in that set. So, I went to the EBay seller that I bought the first box from and he had a listing for something that, as a Yankee's fan, caught my eye.

I looked up the cards on line and, liking the design, changed my purchase over to a box of this, the 2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classics. Well, it arrived in today's mail and the main question is whether I can wait until the end of the work day to start opening the packs.

Added in Edit: I couldn't resist and opened 3 of the 24 packs. There is at least one semi-mystifying inclusion in the set. And, I guarantee that Night Owl won't like it one bit. Not one bit at all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Rare Find - and a Request

I've written previously about how I really like the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game set. I had a few singles around and, earlier this year, took the plunge and bought a box. Alas, I had found that the set was issued in two series and I had purchased a box of the first series. I did fairly well with that box, acquiring 65 of the 80 cards in the series, a handful of interesting inserts, and three autograph cards. So, I set in search of a box of the second set, which was named Greats of the Game Cut Signature Edition.

Alas, my search proved in vain. Twice I thought I had located boxes for sale and both times, the vendor canceled the order and refunded my money because they were "out of stock." I had basically given up, though I still have Google and EBay searches set up to flag any new appearances. Last week, a listing popped up on EBay for packs of the first series. As is my habit, I contacted the seller ( and asked if they had any packs or boxes of the second series available. I settled back in waiting for the seemingly inevitable "sorry, but no" response. However, this time the seller actually had 6 packs of the Cut Signature Edition available. I snapped them up immediately at a fairly steep price. Over the weekend, those packs came in.

At 5 cards a pack, I only made a small dent in the second, 75 card series. But I was still pleased to find some. This renewed my interest in finishing this set. Here are a few cards that I got:

A clean shaven Rollie Fingers.

A clean shaven Catfish Hunter.

A nice looking Ron Santo Forever Cubs insert.

A blue parallel Tom Seaver, numbered 10 of 75.

A Robin Roberts autographed card. As a kid, the only card I owned of a (at that time) Hall of Famer was Robin Roberts. So, this was a pretty cool autograph card to get.

Now, on to my request. I am, as mentioned, all fired up about this set again. If any of you are at an LCS or show and see packs/boxes of this set, get the name and contact information of the vendor for me. If I can score more of these, I will gladly pay a finder's fee in cash or cards. Here is the wrapper.

Here is the box (that is Ted Williams on the front):

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Now Appearing in 3D

I've been neglecting my blog lately but, dang, I just haven't had the energy to do much of anything related to card collecting or blogging about card collecting. Work has been busy and the weather has been hellacious. We are on our 12th straight day of 100+ degree temperatures (high yesterday was a nice round 110F) and (at least) fortieth straight day of 90+ degree temperatures. Having grown up in the Northeast, I suffer in this type of weather. After a full day of work, and an evening of chores (something you have in abundance when you live on a farm), I just don't have the inclination to do anything except fix a dinner with a minimally acceptable number of food groups and go to sleep. To make matters worse, the only significant precipitation we had was a 1.6 inch frog strangler on May 14 that a) came down so fast that it mostly ran off into the pond and didn't soak in, and b) was accompanied by enough hail to basically total the roofs on my house and barn.

Baseball cards? What are those?

Well, it isn't quite that bad, but almost. I have made progress on Topps Series 2, and only need 30 more cards to complete the series. And I've had a few mail call deliveries. I did manage to add 1966 and 1971 O-Pee-Chee Paul Blair cards to my player collection and picked up a neat card that I've been trying to acquire for a while.

A 1971 Kellogg's 3D Paul Blair. I got this from Burbank Sportscards for about $12 delivered, including shipping. I have seen these cards sell graded for up to $100. Why, you might wonder? It is an interesting, but not particularly noteworthy card of a minor star in the late 60s/early 70s. Well, let's look at the back.

See that? No? Let's look closer.

See it now? No? Okay, don't waste alot of time on this. Look at the 1970 runs scored total. Then go here and compare. Yep, this is a jen-yoo-wine error card. Which means I may need to track down the corrected version. I haven't decided if I will or not. After assessing everything I have put into assembling a master set of 1974 Topps (only one card short), I think a better use of my card budget may be to forgo chasing variations and just stick to finding unique cards for my PC.

One note about this card: The text in the back doesn't mention that Blair's solo homer in Game 3 of the 1966 World Series was sole run in a 1-0 Baltimore win. I would have thought that would be more of interest than the note about breaking up Jerry Koosman's no-hitter in the 1969 Series, given that the O's won in 1966 and lost in 1969. But, I don't write copy for baseball cards, so what do I know?

An interesting Paul Blair note: During his first stint with the Yankees, Blair wore uniform number 2. Following his release in 1979, Number 2 was worn in succession by Darryl Jones, Bobby Murcer, Tim Foli, Dale Berra, Wayne Tolleson, Mike Gallego, and finally, Captain Clutch himself, the star of this weekend, Derek Jeter. I would guess that no future Yankee will ever wear Number 2 again.

Coming tomorrow, before I probably neglect my collecting and blogging for a few more weeks, will be an update on some progress towards a set I had almost given up hope on completing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trade with Vintage Sportscards

I have a confession to make. I hate Bryce Harper.

Okay, I don't really hate him. After all, I don't know him and you cannot judge a man you don't know. Even if that man, at the tender age of 18, got a signing check for more money than I will see in my entire life. No, what I hate is the current state of the card collecting hobby. I've been back in the hobby less than a year, so it may seem odd to have such a visceral reaction, but I do.

When I first got back collecting again, I went looking for discussion forums and found one that will remain nameless. I quickly soured on it. It was virtually indistinguishable from a stock picking board. It was all "buy/sell/hold." If that is the style of collecting you enjoy, more power to you. It is, after all, about enjoying the hobby. But, it isn't for me. My niche, if you will, is set collecting and, in particular, vintage set collecting.

So, I kept looking around and eventually found a website that seemed to be for a collector like me. Or, perhaps more accurately, it was a site for the collector I would like to be. I found Old Baseball Cards. I spent some time looking around and reading some articles. Then I found the member list and, lo and behold, they post their want lists. Scanning down I found a familiar name, Chris of 1973 Topps Photography and Vintage Sportscards. These are two of the blogs I visit regularly. If you aren't familiar with them, you should be. They are informative and well written.

So, I took a look at Chris' want list and was surprised to find there were several things I had that he needed. I had a small stack of 1978 Burger King Yankees that I found mixed in with a lot of 1978 Topps I bought off Ebay when I first started collecting and there was 4 or 5 Chris needed. I also had acquired a 1969 Ken Boswell Rookie Cup card through the Diamond Giveaway site that he needed. Finally, I was pleased to see that he also had some modern set needs and that I had a handful of 2010 Topps cards he was looking for as well.

So, I contacted him to work out a trade. It took a little while to work out the details, as Chris was in the process of moving to a new home and I was doing a little work-related traveling. But, it eventually came together and off those cards went to their new home. A short time later, a package from Chris came in the mail with my cards. And what cards they were!

My collecting process is to work one set at a time, start to finish. Only after I have completed (or substantially completed) a set do I move on to the next. My first set that I worked was 1978, followed on by 1974. I am now working 1977, and expect to be working that, plus 1976 and 1975 over the next year or so. So, Chris sent me a stack of cards from those an added surprise.

So, enough of my tortured prose. Let's take a look at a sample of what I got, shall we?

I got a couple of cards from 1977 that I needed for that set, including this gem:

There was a bunch of 1975s, including Chicken:

And this World Series Game 1 card featuring the great slugger Reggie Jackson:

The surprise was this trio of cards from 1958, which are officially the oldest cards in my modest collection:

I love cards like this. I hope some day to be able to put together sets from that era, but expect I'll be an old man before I work my way that far back in time. So, having these in my collection is very special. My only quibble, having nothing to do with the cards themselves, is that I keep wanting to call the last player Bucky rather than Ray.

And, now, the piece de resistance. The most iconic card in my collection:

Yes! Score! As the scan shows, this card is well-loved. But, seriously, it should be. A 1976 Oscar Gamble Traded card should not be pristine. It should have been owned by a series of 9 year olds who take the card out often to look at that fantastic coiffure. I hope I can maintain interest when it comes time to put together the 1976 set, since the first card to go into my 1976 binder will be the best. Yeah, I heard there is some guys named Eckersley and Aaron in that set that are supposed to be good. But, can they top Oscar? Only time will tell.