Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Colossus: Battle #5, The Autos

The Colossus was definitely weakening and its moves were becoming more and more labored as our war waged on.

Now, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The Colossus only had so much strength left and it was using that strength to prolong the inevitable.

Autographs of long forgotten prospect of Russ Rohlicek and John Webb may have done some serious damage earlier in our battles, but I was prepared for them.
 After all, what else could the beast have in store for me after serial numbered cards, player collection additions, and game used relics?

More autos of fallen prospects?
Chris Robinson and Sean Gallagher.  Ha!  I laughed in the face of Colossus!

Then it happened, I became too cocky and the Colossus too advantage and drew blood.  I was a Corey Patterson super collector back in the day and a certified auto of his would have have set me back big bucks at the time.  This was salt in the wound. How dare the monster bring up my previous failed attempts at prospecting!
 I gathered my wits about me, channeled my anger and adrenaline, dodged his Jonathan Johnson auto, and went for the jugular.

And then it fell.  A loud resounding thud echoed threw the surrounding valleys and then all was quiet except for the last couple of breaths of the Colossus.

A Kyuji Fujikawa Topps Chrome autograph, which heads straight to my player collection, and...

A cut signature of Hall-of-Famer Billy Herman hand numbered to thirty-five.
My first cut signature and beauty at that.  With that, the Colossus was no more.

My prize?  The tiresome battle certainly was for not, as the prize was simply too glorious for words!

Stay tuned for the unveiling...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Review: Mint Condition

Title: Mint Condition
Author: Dave Jamieson
Genre: History 
Ease of Reading: Two hundred forty-pages of text written for young and old card collectors alike. The author did a good job of breaking down the history of baseball cards in chapters, which kept the pace moving.
Synapse: The book does a wonderful job of sending the message of baseball cards were introduced as a gimmick to sell cigarettes and other products, but then became an item which could sell itself.  Along the way Jamieson unveils who the first big time card collectors in the hobby were.  The latter half of the book gets deep into licensing issues, the players' union, the junk wax era, slabbing cards, and doctoring cards. 
Comments: The history lesson Jamieson gives from the first half of the 1900s was very interesting and well written with a great amount of detail. I liked how Jamieson was more detailed with the early days of card collecting and didn't spend nearly as many pages on the hobby from the 90s to present.  I've lived those years and know the hobby pretty well.
Grade: I am baseball junkie.  I loved playing the game and I love watching it, talking about it, reading about it, and collecting cards.  Combine a couple of those things together and I'm a happy fanatic.  I'm always up for learning something new and this book delivered on that front a few times over.  I can easily identify myself within this book: a collector, not someone looking to make a buck.  Because Jamieson seems to favor the collector within his writing, at least that's how I'm interpreting his body of work, I'm giving this book a slightly biased grade of an 'A-'.  Why not an 'A' or 'A+'?  Well, because Jamieson somehow omits the blogopshere.  If he only knew what he's missing.  Even so, I think most of the participants in the baseball card blogosphere would find this book a fun read.

Side note: I would like to thank Paul, from Wrigley Wax, for sending me his extra copy.  No worries Paul, I'll pay it forward!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Colossus: Battle #4, Relics

Hits!  The Colossus had yet to unload the big guns and at close range it started lashing out at me with hit after hit.

The first one that struck me hard and knocked me on my arse.  It was a beautiful right cross in the form of a Billy Williams manufactured logo card from Upper Deck... you know, back when they had a license.
It's a great shot of Billy hangin' out by the cage and it easily one of the thickest cards in my collection.

Next, a left upper cut connected and the result was a pair of blue eyes.  Not black, blue as in the Cubby-blue uniform tops.

I could hardly see straight and the monster was delivering body blows at a fierce rate.  Hit after hit after hit.
Mark Grudzielanek was one of my favorite players when he came up with the Expos and I was beaming with joy when he donned a Cubs' jersey later in his career. So Shiny!

The Jacque Jones and Jason Kendall cards picture the players with their previous teams, but mention the Cubs as their new teams.  Anyone else find it odd that the away jersey piece is paired with Jones in a home uniform and the home jersey piece is pair with Jones in an away uniform?  The trend continues with Kendall's card, and the next...
 Brett Jackson, the owner of a 40-man roster spot, and the most forgotten of the #1 draft picks who is still playing within the Cubs' system.  (Apologies to Josh Vitters.)

 More madness!  Gray away swatches and players in the home pinstripes! 
 You see, the Colossus wasn't interested in only bashing my body but it wanted to warp my mind!  Would the madness ever cease?

 Ahhh... much better.  A couple of player poses paired with the perfect pinstripes.  With this moment of sanity I was able to rebuke the Colossus' advances and we were back on even ground.

Then it emptied its bag of hits and tried once again to best me with mismatched jerseys and swatches.
 Little did the Colossus know that it just fed my ever-growing Kerry Wood collection.  It was playing to my strengths!   

I once again had my feet under me and I was ready to put the beast down...  but it wouldn't go without a fight!

To be continued...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cards from the Toddfather

I must admit I have never seen any of he "Godfather" movies.  I know, I know.  I should really get on that.  My lack of knowledge about all things "Godfather" doesn't stop me from going all in on my belief that Tim's Home of the Toddfather blog is the best named baseball card blog out there.  Other blogs which would be in the running if I held fan poll: Nomo's Sushi Platter, Coot Veal and the Vealtones, and My Cardboard Mistress.  Fun and creative names, that's the way to go!

If I had to do it over again I wouldn't have named my blog with such a negative Cubs undertone.  Oh, well.  What's done is done.

Anyway, on to the cards!  Tim and I struck up a quick trade and these cards are fresh out of a yellow mailer from today's mail delivery.  No time like the present to blog, especially when one's a teacher and currently has oodles of spare time to do so!

Above we have a bunch of Upper Deck from 2008 and 2009.  These half dozen cards are of the six players who represented the Cubs in the 2008 All-Star game.

Where are they now?
Derrek Lee is retired.
Carlos Zambrano is retired.
Alfonso Soriano was recently released by the Yankees and is contemplating retirement.
Fukudome is back in Japan and I last heard he was playing for the Hanshin Tigers.
Geovany Soto has yet to play in 2014 (injury) and he was recently arrested.
Aramis Ramirez, a 2014 All-Star, is the only player still enjoying success in the majors.

Wow, since that great 2008 season the Cubs have averaged 91 losses a year.  Ouch.  Well, if nothing else, the name of my blog is appropriate!

Next up we have a DLee die cut.  It's a little difficult to see, but the white space above Lee's helmet and also at the bottom of the card have perforations.  I believe the white spaces are not supposed to be there.  Huh.  Quality control fail?
 Ahhh!  Cards that remind me of happier times!  2012 Topps Timeless Talents! Ryno and Ernie!

Dan Strailey.  Hey, welcome to the Cubs!  Have you been introduced to Mr. Bosio yet?

Jake Arrieta!  What an awesome card and I love the blue border on this 2014 Topps parallel.
Don't tell my wife this, but I wish I could grow a beard like Jake.  Trimmed up and woodsman like.

And last, but not least, we have a 2001 Topps reprint of George Brett's rookie card.
I'll never own an actually vintage Brett rookie, unless I find one like Nick's.  So reprints are the next best thing.

Thanks for a great trade, Tim!  For the record, I've been keeping track of all the trades I've made since I started my poorly named blog and Tim is now at the top of the list!  That and twenty bucks will buy you a blaster. Congrats!

 For those of you wondering about the Colossos... a recap of Battle #4 will posted tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cubs Convention Calendar: July

On July 19, 2013, Pearl Jam rocked the Friendly Confines late into the night. "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks was on hand to lead the crowd in Eddie Vedder's "All the Way."

What a great moment!  One of the more notable musicians of the last couple decades with the most famous Cub singing about a chasing a championship in an iconic ballpark.

Wrigley Field has played host to numerous concerts in recent years, most notably Jimmy Buffet, Dave Matthews Band, Billy Joel, Rascal Flats, Paul McCartney, and Bruce Springsteen. 

I haven't been to a concert at Wrigley, but of all the bands to use Wrigley as a venue I think Pearl Jam would be number one on my list.  DMB would be a close second, but I've started to favor Pearl Jam a bit more since Eddie Vedder wrote and began singing "All the Way."