Thursday, December 31, 2020

Auld Lang Syne

 Life is odd.  This year has been tragic beyond comprehension.  We have seen, and suffered, such loss.  Yet only now, on the last day of the year, with the prospect of relief and normalcy on the horizon, do I feel the weight of the times.  I've struggled with a feeling of melancholy all day.  I hope, and believe, the turn of the calendar in a few hours, will usher in a year, not of forbearance, but hopefulness.

Please accept my best wishes for a happy and fruitful 2021.

Friday, December 25, 2020

An Appropriate Christmas Gift

I am, by my own admission, a difficult to person to buy gifts for.  My wife doesn't understand my collection and has wisely chosen to steer clear of it at gift giving times.  Beyond that, my life is uncomplicated.  I like to cook and eat, and take care of our farm.  I mostly have what I need for both and will generally buy what I need if there is something I don't have. 

This year, the main thing I wanted for Christmas was a new refrigerator.  We had our current one for 16 years and the thermostat would occasionally flake out and freeze the produce.  So, with 2020 being the way it was, we saved money by not eating out much at all and finally bit the bullet and got a nice new fridge.

But, beyond that, what was my poor beleaguered spouse to do?  

Befitting of any couple that has been together 30 years, we share a common language. Not so much a verbal language, though it is expressed in words. It is a language that really references shared experiences (think of the Star Trek: Next Generation episode "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra."

(Non-relevant) example #1: Like most long term couples, we understand each other so thoroughly we can finish each other's sentences.  When we do that our comment is "Lobsters!" This is a reference to a scene in the sitcom "Friends."

(Relevant) example #2:  When she asks me for gift ideas, I generally don't have much of an idea. So, I borrow a line from a movie we both love "A Christmas Story" and say "I don't know, maybe just some Tinkertoys."

When my wife was back in Ohio helping care for her mother, she visited a thrift store in her hometown that resells donations in order to raise money for charity.  This store always has high quality goods and clothes for sale and she usually ends up buying stuff every time we are back.  Her trip last month was no exception, other than she found a gift for me.  And, now that you have read this far, what was that gift?

I am just tickled to death with this gift. I had these as a wee boy. I'm not going to start collecting vintage Tinkertoys, but i am going to find a prominent place to display it as I reorganize my home office next week.  

Here is hoping that you are having a joyous holiday season and please accept my best wishes for a normal New Year.

What I am listening to: Ronin by Sturgill Simpson

Thursday, December 24, 2020

So, This is Embarassing


The packages I thought were stolen, were actually misdelivered on Alameda Street, which I can see from my house on Alameda Drive.  I feel kinda stupid now about getting upset.  I shouldn't be surprised, as I've had UPS shipments also get misdelivered in this way and Sunday mail deliveries likely involve mail carriers working outside their normal route. 

Anyways, I'm off work until January 4. I'm going to use the time to clean up more ice storm damage from my pastures and organize my home office, including my collection. With my collection I have a couple of things I want to do. First, I want to catalog my two player collections. I believe I know all the cards I have, but since many of them use identical images, I'm going to make sure I have a binder index so I know exactly where to find a specific card.  I also intend to update my Trading Card Database (TCDB) so I have my main collection cataloged and to create some want lists.

In closing, I wish each and everyone a Merry Christmas and a Normal New Year!

What I am listening to: Derailed by 16 Horsepower

Monday, December 21, 2020

Have You Seen Me?

The news is full of stories as to how, with huge volumes due to pandemic online ordering and administrative neglect (if not sabotage) the Post Office is way behind on package delivery.  The local post office operations are really good. The Oklahoma City sort facility generally turns packages around to locl offices in a matter of hours.  And if they arrive at my local office by 5:30 AM, they are out for delivery by 7:00.  But, I know the situation and have been patient while two card packages have taken two weeks to work their way into my zip code.

They finally arrived at the main office Saturday afternoon and I was pleasantly surprised to see the carriers were out delivering packages on Sunday.

I was out clearing (still) downed limbs from the late October ice storm.  I saw the mail carrier stop at my box and drop the mail off. I finished the tree I was working on and, about a half hour later, walked to the box to get my cards. was empty.  A quick post on the city ward Facebook page confirmed that mail theft is rampant right now and other people have either had packages stolen or found empty boxes in the bar ditch.  For the most part, the cards were mostly commons for my 1960 and 1965 set.  I'm not happy they were stolen, but we aren't talking a huge sum of money. Maybe $40 at best.  I'll get over it eventually.  But, my winnings from a recent group break were also to be delivered and that included the card above: 1960 Topps All Star Rivals (Mantle/Boyer.)  It is one of three Mick cards in the 1960 set and I was happy to get it out of the way. So much for that, eh?

As I said, the mail service is pretty darn good around here and this is the one thing that has gone wrong in the 18 years I've lived out here.  So, I am fortunate overall.

Just not today.

Friday, December 18, 2020

A Decade of Fun

 I'm trying to cut down on the amount of time I use social media.  In addition to being a major time suck, social media is, in my opinion, a somewhat pernicious influence on society as it seems to amplify and spread negativity. Mind you, it is not all bad, as it has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and I have managed to find several trade partners on Twitter. But, overall, I find my days more enjoyable the less time I spend on social media.

I don't tend to use Facebook anymore except for posting dog pictures, but I do check my Memories tab to see what I was up to on that day in years past.  A couple days ago, before I settled in to work, I discovered that 10 years ago to the day (December 16, 2010) I attended my very first card show to pick up the very first card in my collection.  What was it?

As a newbie to the hobby, I did the typical thing: I tried to collect everything! I spent a good part of the first year collecting modern cards. However, I slowly drifted away: not collecting flagship after 2011 and dropping Heritage after 2012. By the two year anniversary, I had found my niche: mostly vintage, with a few modern sets that caught my fancy.  As time moved foward, I began to expand again and now my collection is very broad again.  

I thought this would be a good time to do an admittedly brief recap of what I collect and show a few things I like from that part of my collection.  Now, understand going in that I am not a meticulous researcher like some of y'all.   I just have too many demands on my time for that. So, this will mainly re-use images already on the blog, so be forewarned.

But, since I showed the first card ever in my collection, let me show you the most recent.

I just got a shipment from Gregory Morris Cards yesterday of my eBay auction winnings from a earlier in the month.   This was one of five 1960 commons in the package.  Random observation: I've been bidding on cards from both 1960 and 1965 on Greg Morris auctions and using the same rules for my maximum bid.  I will bid on between 30-40 cards in each of their set breaks for those two years. Invariably, I will pick up a half dozen cards from 1960, give or take one or two.  Same rules, same number of individual bids, I usually win exactly zero in each 1965 set break.  I have probably bid in 6 or 7 1965 set breaks in recent months and I have won a grand total of 3 cards.  Is 1965 that much more popular than 1960?

Anyways, let me give you the nickel tour of my collection

Paul Blair Player Collection - This, of course, was the start of my collecting again. I now have 144 unique Paul Blair items in my collection.

Johnny Antonelli Player Collection - I started this player collection in September of 2011. I need to organize my records better, but I count 62 unique Antonelli items.

Vintage (1979 and earlier) Sets - So far, I have completed 1956 Topps and the complete Topps run from 1970 through 1979.  And I am within striking distance of finishing 1955, 1960, 1965, and 1968, though I have some painfully expensive cards still left to go in each set.

Other Vintage Sports sets - Here I have completed the 1960 through 1963 Fleer baseball sets, 1978 TCMA, and the Renata Galasso sets.  I am working on 1959 Fleer Ted Williams, 1961 Golden Press, 1972-73 Topps basketball, 1973 Topps football.

Vintage Sticker Sets - This is just the 1972 Sunoco Football stamps and the 1974-1975 Loblaws/Acme hockey stamps.  I've completed one Loblaws and one Acme album and have another Loblaws mostly complete.  The Sunoco stamps are surprisingly expensive, so I am probably only half complete with that album, with no serious interest in working on it.

Various Modern Sets - Here it is just sets that capture my fancy.  There really is no rhyme or reason.  I've completed the Fleer Greats of the Game base set for 2000 through 2004  (and all the insert sets for 2004), 2010 and 2011 Tristar Obak baseball (and just a few SP short on 2009), 1991 through 1993 Conlon, and the 2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classic set.

1960 to 1963 Fleer Autographed Sets - This all started in July of 2012 with a mail-in signing at the now defunct Chris Potter Sports.  I've made quite a bit of progress on this over the years. I now have signed versions of 15 out of a possible 40 from the 1960 set, 24 out of a possible 95 from 1961, and 63 out of 66 from the 1963 set.

19th Century Tobacco Cards - This started with my horse themed collection that I initiated just a week shy of two years ago.  The first additions were cards from the three horse racing themed Kinney Brothers sets issues between 1887 and 1889, but expanded to include the Allen & Ginter sets The World's Racers (N32), Fans of the Period (N7), and Parasol Drill (N18.)  I have one T206 card in my collection, but have no intention of collecting them given how expensive they are. These non-sports sets are much more affordable.  

Early 20th Century British Tobacco Cards - This was part of my horse themed collection, but expanded to include other sets that captured my interest. And what captured my interest is best described as random.  I haven't done much with this in almost a year.  I still like these cards and may pick it up again in the future.  But right now I have too many open sets in my main collection and I have been focusing my resources there.

Miscellaneous Vintage Cards - I will occasionally pick up vintage cards that are not parts of sets I intend to build. Sometimes it is at a show, but other times I may enter a group break. This isn't really a serious collection.  It is just randomness.  I haven't really added many cards in this category this year and that is probably a good thing.

Miscellaneous Modern Cards - This also isn't a serious thing.  Sometimes, when I have a few bucks left in my pocket at a show, I'll look through the dime and quarter boxes just to entertain myself and I'll grab a few things that interest me.  

So, there you are.  Way too much and I probably need to narrow my focus in 2021.  I'll think and, maybe, post about it.  

What I am listening to: Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Happy Birthday to Me

 So, with my wife out of town it is easy to fall into old habits.  Like leaving dirty laundry on the floor and procrastinating on chores.  Now compound that when it turns out last Sunday was my birthday.  Am I really going to buckle down and attend to my adult obligations?  Heck no!  I masked up and headed to the OKC card show.  I mean, who really attends a Sunday card show during football season? Not many, it turns out. I got there around noon, four hours before the show was scheduled to end, and a number of sellers were already loading out to head home.

I found the sole vintage vendor and sat down and started pawing through boxes.

Almost immediately I found one of the three remaining cards I need to finish 1968 Topps.  Just the Ryan rookie card and Lou Brock left to go.

I managed to pick up a fair number of commons for my 1960 set, along with the three star cards above.  I am sitting at jsut short of 75% complete on that set, with "only" 145 cards to go, with many of the most expensive cards to go: Koufax, Mays, Maris, and (of course) all three Mantle's in the set.

I mainly went to the show to see if I could knock of some of the few remaining cards I needed for my 1955 set.   I found one in my price range, this Kaline second year card.  Just 21 more to finish the set including Banks, Robinson, Killebrew RC, Clemente, and Snider.

Finally, I found only two cards for my 1965 set, but they were good ones.

The Mantle isn't in great shape, maybe VG at best, but the price was right.  The book is $800 on the card, but I got it for $125.  Still a fair chunk of change, but it was my birthday.  Anyways, down to 86 cards to finish that set.  Biggest remaining cards are Aaron, Clemente, Mays, Rose, and the Carlton and Perez rookie cards.

So, that is probably about it for the year.  Now that the days are short and the weather uncooperative, i need to pick my 1970 card back project back up.  

What I am listening to: Down to the River by The War and Treaty

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New Antonelli Piece

 What a year, amirite? In some ways it has been a lost year.  But, we are heading into the most wonderful season of the year: no yard work season!  

Well, that isn't entirely true as we had a huge ice storm the last week of October and I lost a lot of branches off my trees.  The cleanup, however, is mostly done.  I am referring, of course, to the holiday season.  Because we have the farm, and live so far from family, we haven't travelled back for the holidays in a fair number of years.  We usually have other local "orphans" over for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  

This year, with COVID obviously, that won't be happening. The situation was further complicated when my 92 year old mother-in-law came down sick and had to spend some time in the hospital.  My wife drove back to Ohio to help her sister care for her mother while she recovered her strength and got back on her feet.  So, she missed my birthday last weekend and will probably be up there for at least another week and a half. So, I'll be spending Thanksgiving alone, as well.  My wife and I have been together for 30 years (married for 28) so it is a bit odd to be a bachelor again.  But, I adapted quickly by reverting to eating poorly, and not cleaning up after myself.  

Anyways, do not mourn for me.  I am very fortunate that I have many blessings in my life.  And, while this holiday will be odd, I am happy that better days are ahead for us all.

Anyways, I recently added a new piece to my Johnny Antonelli player collection; the first since August and, as near as I can tell, only the second so far in 2020.

This is an advertising postcard from 1957 for Knickerbocker Beer showing Antonelli with Giants play by play announcer Russ Hodges.  At 7" by 9", it is larger than a normal post card and it appears to intended to send to retailers and not fans. I haven't found much information on these and have only seen 3 other, different versions with manager Bill Rigney, third base coach Tommy Henrich, and All Star outfielder Willie Mays.  This version is pristine with a surface gloss that belies the fact that it is 63 years old.

So, how did "sure bet" Antonelli do in 1957?  Did he make it to 20 games?  Not exactly. He went 12-18 with a 3.77 ERA for the Giants in their final season in New York.

What I am listening to:  Bum Rush by Body Count

Monday, November 16, 2020


 It has been a year, hasn't it?   Two weeks ago, the final week in October mind you, we had an ice storm here. I lost so many branches.  I've spend a good part of the last two weeks cleaning up.  It wouldn't be so bad except that I was only about 75% done with the clean up from the July wind storm that took out 8 or so large oak trees.  Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time operating a chain saw. But, you aren't here for the "woe is me" stories.

Getting those TCMAs from Night Owl really got me excited about finishing that set.  A few eBay purchases and a visit to Sportlots and, with these Hank Aaron and Brooks Robinson cards, I am now done.

I knocked off most of the want list buying a large lot of these on eBay. I now have close to 250 duplicates for this set.  If anyone is interested, I will gladly pay them forward.  All I ask is you throw a few pesos my way for shipping.

I also have completed a couple of Twitter trades.  On the first, with a person who goes by the handle Baseball Card Kid, I was able to help him finish out his run of Thurman Munson cards and, in exchange, I got a Ken Griffey Dairy Isle disk. I already had the Islay's version, so it is pretty cool to have a variation. I also got this 1967 Phil Niekro.  This is my fifth card from that year, so I only have 604 to go.

The second trade was with Twitter user Lanny Ribes.  I was able help him with some vintage needs, including 4 cards from 1956 Topps and I got 7 cards from 1955 back.

With these cards I am down to only needing 23 cards to finish 1955 Topps.  Unfortunately, 10 of those are star cards, including the Roberto Clemente rookie card.  That card would be a really stretch under normal circumstances, but in this current price bubble I am pretty sure it is well outside my budget.  But, I am excited about getting closer to finishing the set.

There was a big card show in Dallas last weekend, but I decided not to go. I went last year and had a great time, but the COVID19 situation down here is getting worse. I am not sure how it is elsewhere, but in the Oklahoma/Texas area there is a big overlap between the card collecting community and the subset of citizens who think coronavirus falls somewhere in the range of "not serious" to "hoax." Reports were that the show was packed, so I am glad I didn't throw myself into that Petri dish. 

There is a show next weekend here in OKC, and I am on the fence about going. Obviously, the risks are the same that caused me to bail on Dallas. Though, being sandwiched between Dallas and Christmas it may very well be lightly attended. I'd like to see if I can pick up a '55 star card or two. I've got some KN95 masks, so maybe I'll throw one on and make a quick visit.  I'll need to see what the state's virus numbers look like over the remainder of the week.

What I am listening to: Wouldn't Want to Be Like You by Sheryl Crow and St. Vincent

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Who Sent These? Who did!

 I use the Post Office's Informed Delivery feature to see what mail I have coming each day. I live in a rural area where mail theft can happen, so it is always good to know what to expect.  Truthfully, these days it is mostly insurance solicitations and credit card offers.  So, imagine my surprise and delight when I saw an envelope from Night Owl the other day.  

Greg and I have something of an unstated agreement.  Whenever I am at a show and down to the nits and lice in my pocket, I scan through the vintage discount boxes for cards on his want list. In response, I'll get an envelope from him with various cards that I would not otherwise seek out: modern cards of Yankee stars (like this Mo), modern cards featuring vintage players (like these), vintage cards (like these), and even help with my non-sports horse set (see here.)  Since, I generally eschew modern cards today, my online trading has mostly evaporated.  So, getting mail from NO is a major, and welcome, event.

So, what arrived?

Five cards towards my 1978 TCMA The 1960s set.  I really like this set, which harkens back to 1953 Bowman Color, with a simple design that really focuses on the player rather than extraneous design elements.

The cards was accompanied by a note saying that he was putting this set on the back burner because he has too many collecting interests.  That is a problem I also am suffering in my collecting, as evidenced by the fact that the last time I added a card towards completing this set was in December of 2015. Yikes.

But, these cards have rekindled my interest in finishing the set and, since the weather this weekend is ill-suited for the farm project I need to finish, I'm going to look for cheap lots on eBay to see if I can close this one out.

One final observation:  the backs of these cards are really something when you contrast them with the staid front.  Individually the backs are not untypical from any number of other oddball sets in that it includes the players name, team, position, handedness, height, weight, and birthday.   

But, taken together?  Hoo boy.  See for yourself:

They are all over the place. Different fonts. Different color ink.  Wonky spacing and centering.  I mean, really. Go home TCMA, you're drunk.

What I am listening to: Crawl Into the Promised Land by Rosanne Cash

Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day Card Show

Normally, when I do a brag post about a card show haul, I present the cards in reverse chronological orders.   Today, I am not going to do that, as it seems more appropriate, in order to build suspense (I know you aren't exactly sitting on pins and needles reading this post, but work with me here.)

I picked up a total of 7 cards for the 1960 set I am slowly working on.  These were actually the last cards I picked up at the show as I sought to spend what little cash I had left. These few cards moved me up to having 260 of the cards in the 572 card set.

I just noticed that top edge on the Joe Morgan rookie card. Hoo boy, that is ugly. The experts over at net54 seem to be in agreement that it is a factory defect.  I guess I know now why it was so cheap. I may need to upgrade that some day when I am more concerned with set value.  But, that isn't any time soon. I found a total of 38 cards for my 1965 set. There was a lot more, but not at a price I wanted to pay.  

So, now I am sitting at 468 cards; needing only 130 to complete the set.  Of those 130, 20 are actually upgrades of cards I already have but are in poor condition.  However, even this close to completion, it will probably be a few years before I finish.  The biggest cards I have left include Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Willie Mays, and the Steve Carlton RC.

Also, since this post has been composed in several sessions, I would like to acknowledge the passing of Lou Brock on Sunday. I never got to see him play and only know him by reputation and baseball cards. But, like Ernie Banks, he always seemed to be smiling. As a person prone to melancholy, I have an affinity for people like Brock and Banks who radiate joy so easily.  Hopefully, the once teammates are playing together again. RIP Lou.

Speaking of which....

I found two of the remaining five cards I needed to complete my 1968 set. The final cards I need at the Hank Aaron All-Star (370), Lou Brock (520), and the Nolan Ryan RC (177). My guess is it will be a while before I finish this set. The first two cards are obtainable, but the prices on the Ryan have been outrageous and way more than I am willing to pay.  Even low grade versions, from reputable sellers, are going for $300 or more.  So, I am going to sit tight and hope the bubble bursts.

There it is.  The final card I needed to finish my 1970 set.  My blogging has been intermittent for a number of years now, so I can't determine exactly when I started working on 1970, but as near as I can tell, it was sometime in 2016. So, it took around 4 years to complete.  

This card is significant in a second way as it is also the final card I needed to complete the run of Topps sets from the 1970s.  I do need one card to finish the 1974 master set (599 - San Diego large print version,) but since I have two of the three versions of that card. I consider the set complete.  While I don't expect to ever seriously build 1952 or 1953 sets, I do plan to work on the remaining Topps sets. My progress on that goal is as follows:

So, what does the future hold?  Not sure. I'm sure I will still be dabbling a bit on eBay, but there is a big show coming up in November in Dallas that I am thinking of attending, if the COVID situation is under control. So, I will try to keep my powder dry and save up some funds if I do decide to go. Also, as the days get shorter and the lawn goes dormant, I am going to try to get back to some original content around here.


What I am listening to: God's Problem Child by Willie Nelson (and Tony Joe White, Leon Russell, and Jamey Johnson)