Sunday, September 30, 2012

2009 Tristar Obak - Packs 13 to 16

Third post in as many days?  I'm going to need a nap.  

Pack 13

54 T212 George Rawlings Sporting Goods
12 Gordon Beckham Birmingham
14 Madison Bumgarner Connecticut
31 Brett Wallace Sacramento
 Brett is now part of the Astros organization, the poor fella.  I believe I saw him both last year and this year when he was playing for the Redhawks here in OKC, but I don't have any lasting impressions.

82 William "Dummy" Hoy Oshkosh

Definitely a different time and environment back then. I cannot imagine nicknaming a deaf person "Dummy" today.  He appears to have been a decent player with a .288 BA and .386 OBP over a 14 year career. But, it was a more hitter friendly game then. His appearance in this set was as a Game Cahnger.  Since he was deaf, he needed hand signals from coaches to keep track of the count while batting.  All the hand signals we see in the game today trace back to William Hoy.

93 Albert Spalding Sporting Goods

Pack 14

66 T212 Ten Million Victoria
8 Junichi Tazawa Portland
Junichi is a real up and comer.  He put up some decent relief numbers during a partial season with Boston this year. Indeed, in 6 innings over 5 appearances against the Yankees, he held the Bombers scoreless with a .150 BA.

13 Tim Beckham Bowling Green
24 Carlos Santana Akron (16/50)

And here is that serial numbered Carlos Santana that was set aside for Plaschke.  He seems to be turning into a excellent major league backstop. I may yet regret trading his cards off.

44 Steve Dalkowski Rochester
59 Gary Redus Waterbury

Pack 15

16 T212 Mike Stanton Jacksonville
 6 Brian Matusz Frederick
55 Vince Coleman Macon
67 Phil Rizzuto Kansas City

Gotta show Scooter.  I have mentioned before that one of the joys of my youth was listening to Phil and Bill White call Yankees games.  Even now, recordings of them take me back.   What else is there to say?

96  Sammy Baugh Rochester
See what I meant earlier? Rochester.  Sammy wasn't much of a baseball player with only one season of  minor league ball. He did make his mark in another sport and is a member of the Handegg Hall of Fame.  Interestingly, he played for two different teams in that one year in organized baseball: Rochester and Columbus.  As you probably know, I was born in Rochester.  But, I also lived in Columbus, Ohio for over 7 years.  Nice town.

98 Vincent "Bo" Jackson Memphis

Pack 16

53 T212 Jack Norworth  Songwriter
53 Ike Boone Mission
60 Joe Wilhoit SLC
64 Gregg Jefferies Jackson

Another two time MiLB Player of the Year (1986 and 1987), he went on to a solid 14 year major league career. Looks like he is about to faceplant.

73 Browning and Hillerich Louisville Slugger
Given my propensity to chosing cards of players on teams in cities I have lived in, I probably should have chosen the card below, but it is a sad subject.  So I chose the brains behind Louisville Slugger, a bat I owned as a kid.

76 Mike Coolbaugh Columbus

Okay, one more post to knock off for the 2009 Obak box and I can move on to the 2011 Obak box. That may take longer as I haven't really done much pre-planning for those posts. So, this sudden flurry of activity may come to a screeching halt.

What I am listening to:  "Seminole Wind" by Sally Timms  (fast forward to 1:10 for the actual song. Sorry about the poor sound quality. It was the only version I could find.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

2009 Tristar Obak - Packs 9 to 12

Rainy day here. Figure I'll knock another one out before I head out to run errands.

Pack 9

22 T212 Brooks Robinson York
16 Tommy Hanson Gwinnett
21 Mike Moustakas Wilmington
28 Pat Venditte Charleston
Switch pitcher!  And a Yankee farm hand.  He has had pretty good numbers through out his minor league career and made the AAA roster at the start of 2012.  But a torn labrum ended his season after 7 relief appearances.  It will be interesting to see where he lands next year. Will he be MLB first BOOGY?

58 Ron Neccai Bristol
94 Wright Brothers Innovators

Not those Wright Brothers.  George (clean shaven) was a member of the original Cincinnati Red Stockings team that was established in 1869.  Harry (bearded) was the manager of that team and is credited with a number of baseball innovations, like positioning defensive players differently based on who is batting.  I wonder if Mark Tiexiera curses his name?

Pack 10

52 T212 Jackie Mitchell Chattanooga
11 Lars Anderson Poortland
40 Duke Snider Fort Worth
83 Arthur "Foxy" Irwin Fielding Glove
90 Branch Rickey Farm System

One of these days, I need to find a biography of Rickey. Probably as positive an influence on baseball as Mountain Landis was a negative.  Known best for breaking the color barrier (with Jackie Robinson), he is also known (at least in this household) as a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, my wife's alma mater.

100 Barack Obama (06/25)

Sweet!  Card 100 is a short print to begin with.  To get a serial numbered (of 25) version of the card is pretty exciting.  I wonder if this is considered his rookie card?

* checks COMC *

Nope. Both Topps and Upper Deck issued Barack Obama cards in 2008.  Oh, well. Still love this card.

Pack 11

21 T212 Satchel Paige Miami

Not sure what to say about this.  Occasionally, you'll see one of those things where you are asked if you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be.  My first choice would probably be James Madison, but Satch would be my first choice from the world of sports.

75 Henry Chadwick  Father of Baseball
Chadwick is the original Bill James, what with his invention of the box score and being the first person to really keep track of statistics.  Check it out:

A boxscore from 1876!  Looks familiar, doesn't it?

91 Ruekheim Brothers and Eckstein, Cracker Jacks
91 Ruekheim Brothers and Eckstein, Cracker Jacks (41/50)
92 Frank Shaughnessy MiLB Playoff Sysem
100 Barack Obama President

Pack 12

13 T212 Jesus Montero Tampa
34 Satchel Paige Maiami
46 Spencer Harris Mineeapolis
79 Bud Fowler Keokuks
Bud Fowler was the first African-American professional ballplayer, thoough (obviously) he never made the majors. There is much to say about Bud, but just read his SABR biography.

95 William Wrigley Jr Industrialist
A40 Bobby Grich Rochester Auto (53/200)

The first of my 4 promised autographs. And a player from my hometown Red Wings. 6 time All Star and 4 time Gold Glover, Bobby Grich. Interestingly, this is an error card.  It states that his batting average at Rochester in 1977, the year he was the MiLB Player of the Year, was .366.  It was actually .336. The typesetter apparently uses the numeric keys at the right on his keyboard and didn't fact check.

Wow. Two posts in two days. I am on a roll.  It helps some that I am listening to some high energy music.  Check it.

It's hard to sit still and put down roots when you have that playing in the background, no?

Friday, September 28, 2012

2009 Tristar Obak - Packs 5 to 8

Alright, I gotta get going here. I have to do better than one post a week.  so, here is another batch of cards from my 2009 Obak box.

Pack 5

15 T212 Buster Posey
1 Pedro Alvarez Lynchburg
When this card came out, Pedro had already been promoted to AA Altoona, where he hit .333 in half a season. In another year, he would be up top.  Currently, he is the Pirates starting third baseman and appears to be cut from the same cloth as Curtis Granderson (despite playing different positions):  weak defense, with a one dimensional offense. He has power, but strikes out quite a bit.  So, low BA and OBP, but decent slugging numbers.

10 Michael Ynoa AZL Athletics
22 Jarrod Parker Mobile
62 Gene Conley Hartford

Interesting, Gene here was born in Muskogee, but went to high school and college in Washington state. Given his birth year of 1930, you would assume that his family was part of the great Dust Bowl exodus described in John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."  But you would be wrong.  Muskogee is in the Eastern part of Oklahoma and was not at the epicenter of the Dust Bowl, which mainly impacted the wheat belt in the northern and western parts of the state.  Indeed, his SABR biography indicates they moved to Washington in 1942, indicating a move for war work.

Conley's two claims to fame were twice winning the MiLB Player of the Year and, also, winning championships in two different professional sports.  He was on the 1957 Milwaukee Braves that won the World Series. He also was on the 1958-1959 Champion Boston Celtics.

99 William Howard Taft President

Pack 6

17 T212 Josh Vitters Peoria
9 Dayan Viciedo Birmingham
56 Bob Crues Amarillo
68 Herb Score Indianapolis

Herb was the 1954 MiLB Player of the Year and had two stellar years with the Indians in 1955 and 1956 until a line drive to the face and arm trouble after that put an end to the brilliance.  He went on to a long broadcast career.

86 Jack Norworth Songwriter
112 Ten Million Victoria

Ten's main claim to fame was appearing on original Obak Tobacco cards. He appeared on a T212 mini and a T4 cabinet card in 1911. While there is a mini in the 2009 set, the card above, however, is the standard 2.5 by 3.5 modern card.

Pack 7

67 T212 George Schmutz Tacoma
4 Eric Hosmer Burlington

Not sure if there are any Royal fans out there, but I would be curious what you think of Hosmer.  After a stellar rookie campaign last year, he has been in a serious sophomore slump all season (Alliteration FTW!!).

20 Jesus Montero Tampa
26 Mike Stanton Jacksonville
37 Nolan Ryan Jacksonville

I am at something of a loss as to what to say about this card.  It's Nolan Ryan.  What is there to say about him that hasn't already been said? I will say this, chosing to show him as a Jacksonville Sun is a bit weird.  The sum total of his Jax career was a total of 7 innings in 3 relief appearances.

61 Steve Bilko Los Angeles

Pack 8

55 T212 Branch Rickey
39 Tom Seaver Jacksonville
I guess I should have planned these posts better.  I really don't have anything original to say about Tom Seaver here either. His time in Jacksonville, a year ahead of Ryan, was a bit more significant. He ended up going 12-12 with 10 complete games, 4 shutouts, and a 3.13. He pitched a total of 210 innings in his single minor league campaign. Can you imagine any team letting a pitcher throw that many innings in the minors now?  Me neither.

52 Joe Bauman Amarillo
57 Gover Lowdermilk Mattoon
77 William "Candy" Cummings Curve Ball
85 Virne Beatrice "Jackie" Mitchell "Chattanooga 

Her only professional accomplishment was to strike out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig in an exhibition game.  A few days later, commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis voided her contract and banned women from professional baseball.  For myself, I am coming to think of Landis as a blight on baseball's history. a wrap.I am going to try and post a bit mor eoften, but it is going to require some more advanced planning on my part.  For now though, I am going to savor the final innings of the Yankees-Blue Jays game.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In Memoriam

So, I ended up going to the card show for a short time today even though I wasn't going to, and probably shouldn't have. I found a four cards I needed for my 1971 set .  And, another dealer cut me a nice deal on 8 cards from 1955 and 1956.  One of the cards in that set was the following 1956 Gus Zernial.

I already had this card, but took it anyways figuring there was someone who might need it.  The first want list I was going to check was that of Chris Stufflestreet, author of 1973 Topps Photography and The Vintage Sports Card Blog.   Before I could do that I decided to check a few of my favorite hobby blogs while watching the NYY-Oakland ballgame. This was how I learned that Chris passed away on Wednesday at the age of 39.  I will never come close to the tribute written by Night Owl, but I feel the need to say my piece because Chris did touch my life as both a collector and a human being.

Chris was the first person I ever traded with.  As a new collector I was buying lots of 1978 Topps off of Ebay and one lot came with a few 1978 Burger King Yankees.  As I scanned through the Old Baseball Cards site I found the want list section and discovered he was looking for 1978 BK Yankees.  A trade was born.  Over the last year and a half, there were other trades.  I don't have the heart to go back and look right now, but I do know he was always generous. Never one to look to trade BV to BV. When I professed my love for 1956 Topps, the next package he sent included 56s. He even sent me some 1977 Star Wars cards, when I started to build that set for my wife.  He was always willing to help out another hobbyist without regard for what may come back.  And this selflessness was driven home for me earlier this year.

Back in January, I was laid off from my job after over 23 years with that employer.  Amidst a period of depression and self-pity, a package arrived from Chris. This package was stuffed full of 1976 Topps cards.  As has been mentioned elsewhere, Chris has been bearing a burden in his own life this year.  It would have been easy for him to shut down and wallow in pain, much as I had done during the early days of my unemployment.  But, he took time to review my want list and send me a large portion of the remaining cards I needed. No reason. No expectation of anything in return. Just a kindness to someone he had never met in person.  It was a welcome pick-me-up during a time when I really needed one.

That is how I have always thought of Chris, as a kind person.  For me, there is no higher praise that I can offer.  Unlike many of you, I have no faith that anything awaits us when our time on this earth comes to an end other than dust and oblivion.  I will say this: if there is any heaven, and it has not prepared a place of honor for Chris, it is not deserving of the name. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

2009 Tristar Obak - Packs 1 to 4

So, I guess I better get underway with the review of my second box of 2009 Tristar Obak. Since I got this box, I also found a good deal on a hobby box of 2011 Obak.  But, other than that, it has (and will) be a quiet month for me.  September is a bad month to begin with.  It is my quarterly insurance month where I have payments due on.....*counts*.....6 different insurance policies.  Plus, I just signed a contingency contract to buy 5 acres of land that adjoins my farm. I won't bore you with the details, but there is a whole set of out-of-pocket costs associated with that even if the deal doesn't go through.

Alas, there is a card show tomorrow up in OKC which I am going to have to skip. Adult responsibilities suck.

But, I am sure you don't give a tinker's damn about all that, so let's get to the cards.  But first, let me ask what is up with Luke Scott and that Wolverine look he has going?

Okay, now let's get to it.

Pack 1

27 T212 Ted Williams San Diego
36 Al Rosen Oklahoma City

After I open a pack and sort through it, I will go back and determine which cards to scan and show in my blog post.  Alas, there hasn't been much in the way of thought into which I show. I mainly pick those cards that speak to me.  More often than not, it seems, what speaks to me is the team the player is representing.  And, those teams tend to be located in places I have lived.  So, you will see a lot of Rochester and Oklahoma City players, representing the two cities I most identify with personally. There may be a few Columbus and Reading players, as I have lived there also. But, I am not sure. We'll see when we get there.  So, I chose Rosen because he had a fantastic year with the Oklahoma City Indians in 1947.  That,  plus he was the President of the Yankees during the 1978 and 1979 seasons.

62 Gene Conlay Toledo
74 Alexander Cartwright Inventor

So, I am not sure where I have been for, oh, all my life. I bought into the Abner Doubleday mythology when it was, apparently, Alexander Cartwright who codified the first rules of the game based on the British game of rounders. My Brit friends like to say that rounders is a girls game, but what do they know. They seem to think rugby is better than handegg football. Thank God for the Revolution.

84 Francis Scott Key Star Spangled Banner
89 George Rawlings Sporting Goods

Pack 2

20 T212 Stan Musial Springfield
41 Ted Williams San Diego

Greatest hitter that ever lived and they chose a picture of him fielding.  But, strangely enough, I like it.  It just fits within the quirky style of this set that I love so much.

54 George Brunet Little Rock
65 Ron Kittle Glens Falls
69 Moose Skowron Kansas City

Another great hitter fielding in front of a spectacular sunset.  I counted. There are five such fielding pictures in the 120 card set. Make of that what you will.

78 The Dukes, Industrialists

Pack 3

56 T212 Ruekheim Borthers and Eckstein, Cracker Jacks
2 Robbie Grossman West Virginia
3 BJ Hermsen GCL Twins
45 Oscar Eckhardt Mission
"Ox" here didn't have much of a major league career, hitting only .192 in 42 official at bats across two seasons.  But, he tore it up in minor leagues, hitting .367 across 14 minor league seasons, giving him the all-time highest career average in organized baseball. Higher even than Ty Cobb.

63 Bobby Grich Rochester
See? Told ya. Rochester.

80 Harrison Harwood Manufacturer

Pack 4

27 T212 Ted Williams San Diego
24 Carlos Santana Akron
Just a simple base card.  But, later in the box, I got a numbered parallel of this card.  Which I immediately set aside for the only Carlos Santana collector I know.

33 Stan Musial  Springfield
So, now you have seen three of the five fielding pictures in this set.  Stan Musial of all people.

35 Brooks Robinson York
42 Russell Arlett Oakland
47 Joe Hauser Minneapolis

So, there is the first 4 of the 20 packs in the box. Hopefully, I'll get around to posting the rest a little more frequently.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Scott over at Sports Cards Ate My Brain (SCAMB) had expressed an interest in trading for some of the large stack of duplicate 1969 Deckle Edge cards I had acquired at a mini show last month.  I scanned his extensive trade bait list and founds some things that interested me.

Not one, but two Heritage short prints!  One each from 2001 and 2002. It has been a coon's age since I last made any progress on those two sets. I am getting very close to completing 2011 and have continued to make slow progress on 2012 (until yesterday when Heritage Minor League came out and set me back, so to speak).  But, progress on those first two has basically halted for about a year now.  My main priority on Heritage at the moment is to complete 2011 (9 more cards to complete MLB and 19 to complete MiLB).  After that, I am not sure what I am going to do. But, I probably should make an effort to complete those first two sets.  So, I am grateful to get these two cards. Not only because I need them, but because they are a well needed kick in the keister to start thinking about those two sets again.

I had never seen this card, or heard of the set it came from, until I saw it at Scott's.  It is a 2010 Topps Legends Platinum Chrome Wal Mart Cereal card.  

A&G isn't a set that I get excited about, but I just have to love relic cards of two of my teams stars.

CC hasn't been CC-like this season. Two stints on the DL and even when pitching he has only been intermittently dominating.  In past seasons, he usually goes through a multiple start stretch where he is unhittable. Not this year. He is still very good, but not like he was in the past. I just hope that we don't come to regret the big contract he got last off season, much like we do now with Alex Rodriguez's.

Robbie has been solid again this year. Started off slow, but is batting over .300 again. And, best of all, he hasn't spent any time on the DL.  Which makes him a rare player on the Yankees this year.

So, overall, a great trade for me. I hope Scott likes those Deckles (Sorry about the Staub!)

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Special Mail Call

I am not sure what compelled me to do this. I usually looked over at the list of upcoming autograph signings by Chris Potter Sports, but rarely saw anything that grabbed me.  Sure, he had a signing with Paul Blair earlier this year, but I was out of work at the time, so I had to pass on that one.   But, after I got back to work in May I took another look at the signings they were preparing for and cross referenced it against my vintage cards.

You know where this is going, right?  Right.  I have been waiting on these to come back for three months. They finally arrived yesterday.

There was actually a fifth 1963 Fleer card I sent in for an autograph (Clay Dalrymple), but that signing was cancelled.  But, those weren't it. I sent a couple of other cards in for signing, one of which may make Night Owl green with envy.

Pretty sweet.  And it has given me the idea to try and get as many of my 1963 Fleer cards autographed as possible. I'll keep an eye on Chris Potter Sports and maybe do an occasional search for other such signings. I could use some help from LA based Dodger friends to let me know if there is ever a Maury Wills signing out that way.  With only 67 cards in the set, I should be able to get a fair proportion.  Obviously, I'll never get the Roberto Clemente or Don Drysdale.  And I suspect both Willie Mays and Warren Spahn will be too expensive (there are a couple Spahn 63 Fleer autos on EBay, but at $120+ I am going to pass for now.)

And, with a new quest in mind, I am pleased to see 3 more players with 1963 Fleer cards in the next Potter signing (Albie Pearson, rank Lary, and Bob Rodgers).  Woot!!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Trade with Night Owl

Yesterday, I had a post about a trade with Chris at Nachos Grande, who seems to be one of my more frequent trading partner. Today's post is about another blogger I trade with frequently, Night Owl.  Okay, so I suppose that he wouldn't consider it frequent, but since I only complete 1 or 2 trades a month, the fact that I have had multiple trades with him makes him a frequent trader for me.

As you will recall from yesterday's post, I had a box of 2006 Greats of the Game that didn't excite me. I sent a number of inserts to Nachos Grande.  But, Greg had requested the Nickname Greats Jay Johnstone card that included a picture of someone who was not Jay Johnstone. Read Night Owl's take here.  This occurred at the same time as I went to the August card show in OKC, where I found a 1958 Don Newcombe in a dollar box. As it happens, Greg needed the Newcombe. So, off Don and not-Jay went.

His return package arrived yesterday and what a package it was.  It was way too much to exchange for an error card from a mostly forgotten set and a dollar box find.  So, what did he send?

He sent 11 cards from my 2012 Heritage want list, including 4 short prints (!!!) and one of the stickers.


I'm not a huge fan of 1987 Topps. Nor am I real enthralled with 1962 Topps, which '87 riffs off of. But, this Ruth mini is a nice looking card.  I particularly like the old timey NY emblem.

I'm not much of a A&G fan either.  I am not sure why.  It is a quirky little set that fills much the same niche as Tristar Obak, which I love (as you will see soon). I think it is because of Topps tendency to think that if a little of a something is good then a lot of that thing is super.  Like short prints. And inserts. And parallels.I think  I really could get into A&G if Topps scaled it back some.  Okay, if they scaled it back a lot.  This Curtis Granderson mini is a sharp looking card.

As an aside, I like Curtis Granderson as a man, but I am starting to sour some on him as a ballplayer. His power numbers continue to be good, but his batting average is down and his strikeouts are up.  Coupled with suspect defense, he seems to be turning into a latter day Dave Kingman.  I suspect that the Yankees will pick up his option for 2013, but I would rather see the Yankees let him walk (or pick up the option and then trade him) and focus on getting some young talent.  Brett Gardner would be a much better center fielder.  Gold Glove quality.

Anyhoo, what else did NO send?

Card number.......wait for it..........7.  The ubiquitous number 7 in every recent Topps set (or so it seems).  He also sent a full size A&G Bambino, which I didn't scan.  Another card I forgot to scan was a 2012 Archive 1971 style Alex Rodriguez. Nice looking card of the highest (over)paid player in baseball.

He also sent some 2012 Bowman Yankees including this gold Robbie Cano.

The final card? A night card of course!

Overall, a seriously sweet haul.  All for a 6 year old insert and dollar box find.  If I make it to the October OKC show, you can bet I'll be scanning the vintage discount boxes for more Dodgers for Greg because I am in his debt.

Coming up next: something I have been waiting three months for.