Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quick Additions to KW PC Through Listia

I think the title of the post pretty much says it all.  I snagged a five card lot of Kerry Wood cards for 499 credits on Listia a week or so ago and the cards just arrived.
'99 Ultimate Victory and '02 Fleer Ultra
 "Free" Kerry Wood cards for my player collection?  Yes, please!
2001 Topps Stadium Club
I've always like the photography of Stadium Club and this is another nice shot.  I'm glad Topps brought it back for 2014, but I'm a little bummed at the price.  Oh, well.

I'm up to 343 unique cards of Kid K.  Nice.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review: The Game From Where I Stand

Title: The Game From Where I Stand   
Author: Doug Glanville   
Genre: Autobiography

Ease of Reading: I knocked this 257-pager out in less than a week.  It's a fairly quick read and although Glanville is a graduate of an Ivy League school I didn't find myself reaching for my dictionary.  I guess being a former baseball player writing about baseball to an audience of baseball fans this should be terribly shocking.

Synapse: More or less, I found Doug Glanville's book to be in the same vein as Dirk Hayhurst's offerings. Hayhurst writes with a little more flair, but Glanville's book was enlightening in its own right.  Doug Glanville is a former number one draft pick and the first such pick to be an African American graduate of an Ivy League school. Needless to say, he has plenty of material to talk about.  He speaks about locker room dynamics, relationships (inside the game and out), steroids, stalkers, Montreal as a party town, buying a car, respecting the game, breaking in as a rookie and exiting as a veteran.  I really enjoyed Glanville's insight, because often times we only see the player through the eyes of the press, but Glanville allows the reader to see the game and the lifestyle through the eyes of a of a major leaguer.  There are equal parts of funny anecdotes and somber life lessons sprinkled throughout the text.  The book definitely held my interest throughout.   

Comments:  I picked up this book for a number of reasons:
1. Glanville is a good Twitter follow
2. He's a former Cub who had a game winning hit in the 2003 playoffs
3. He's managed to turn himself into well-respected baseball analyst
4. and . . . Doug Glanville is in my Chicago Cubs binder!  Woo-Hoo!

Grade: Overall, I was not disappointed with the content selection within the chapters, but the text is broken up into topical chapters which I felt didn't allow his story to flow as smoothly as possibly. But it was still enjoyable overall.  If that's the only knock, then it's a pretty fine read and deserves a high mark.  Doug Glanville, I'm sure you're not concerned with my amateur grades, but rest assured you've earned an 'A' in my eyes.  Thank you for telling your story and sharing your insights of the game I love.

Minor league cards of Doug from the mid '90s.
Side note: I was hoping to do twelve book reviews this calendar year, but this is only the tenth and there's a high probability it may be the last.  You know how it goes... life happens.   No worries though. I see the upcoming break from book reviews as more of a hiatus than a complete abandonment, because I've rediscovered that I enjoy reading... albeit, it has to baseball related material!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Going Back 30 Years

My collection has a modest little run of completed Topps sets from the past: 1986 through 1992.  I picked up the '86 set for five bucks at a card show last year, and I challenged the blogosphere last year to trade me their '87 repeats to help me build that set, which was a fun little project. The rest of the sets were built from packs back when I was a middle school kid addicted to cardboard.

It would make sense to chase the '85 set to continue the run, because it is my favorite aesthetically from the 80's, but the 1984 set is the elephant in the room. Let me explain...

Wes, the crazy mad-bomber of largess cardboard packages from Jaybarkerfan's Junk, has hit my mailbox so many times that I have lost track.  I was long overdue to send him a payback package.  When I got wind that he was working on the '84 set I took to eBay and found a nice auction described as containing 1400+ cards, but it was more like 1,600+ cards.

I spent a few nights collating and creating want lists, and when I was done I had three big piles and two small ones:
Pile #1 = 769 cards for Wes (97% of a 1984 set)
Pile #2 = 477 cards for me (60% of a complete set)
Pile #3 = 350+ repeats, which I sent to Wes... bwhahahahahahaha!
Pile #4 = a handful of miscut cards to send to JediJeff
Pile #5 = two Tim Wallach cards for the most ambitious super collector I know

Of the twenty-three cards missing from Wes' set only four were bigger names (Pete Rose, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, and the Strawberry rookie) and the rest can probably be had for pennies.  I figure the eBay seller must have purchased a big collection and posted the 84's without really sorting through to figure out what was there.  He/she probably didn't want to sift through two 800-count boxes of unsorted cardboard from three decades ago.  At about a penny per card I was happy to do it! 

As a bonus I was able to send out a couple of PWEs and a large box for Wes into the blogosphere.   Nice.

And now I have a new set to chase!   I didn't pick a 2014 set to build for the first time since I got back into the hobby in 2009.  Instead I decided to save a little money and knock some of the others off of my "to be completed" list, and I was able to cross of eight from my list so far!  Yes, it's been a good year.

If you'd like to help by trading me some '84 Topps, then I would be more than happy to try to make it worth your time.  Just send me an e-mail or leave a comment!   Here's my want list.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I thought these would be so cool...

When I first saw the pictures of the Bowman Fire Die-Cuts I was pretty stoked.  The designers did such a nice job of making it look as though the card was so hot that it was melting.  I just had to have one in my hand!

Well, I found both of the Cubs at a relatively low price and pounced. 

Now that have these molten cards I'm just not as impressed as I thought I would be.  Maybe it's because the background seems so dark or because they don't catch the light and shine, but I'm a little underwhelmed. 

I think the pictures are actually better than what I see in-hand.  But, I think you can see what I mean about how dark they are in the background.  No?

At one point I thought the Fire Die-Cuts would be the one set I would chase from this year's collecting cast, but I've since punted that notion. 

Any thoughts?  Am I the only one out there who's a bit disappointed?  

Let me hear you either way.  Oh, and thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hobby Talk: It's More Than Just Cardboard

I'm a thirty-something year old male and my hobby is collecting baseball cards.  When I first started this blog, nearly 600 posts ago I didn't know if I would be able say that out loud, let alone post it on the internet for everyone to read. Heck, my first posts weren't even cardboard related and eventually my focus slowly morphed into what you've been reading lately: less about how a die-had Cubs fan keeps himself busy between and during losing seasons and more about baseball cards. Rocks!
Mail has helped me to grow as a hobbyist. I'm no longer hesitant to speak about cards to others and I don't fear the dreaded eyebrow raise from members of my age group. Being on the receiving end of PWEs, padded yellow mailers, and large boxes (I'm looking at you, JBF) is a pretty wonderful thing.  After all, who doesn't like opening gifts?  Yet, I think that takes a back seat to finding cards for others.  I really enjoy the hunt.  It's fun flipping through a binder at a card show or shuffling through a dimebox and coming across a sweet play-at-the-plate card, a Tim Wallach or Gary Redus card, or maybe a couple serial numbered cards which may fit into the collection of a fellow blogger.  There are so many little niches out there in the blogosphere that if someone was to map them all out I'm sure it would resemble a Starlin Castro spray chart (to the right).  You know, kind of all over the place.

When I opened my latest PWE I had the usual rush of excitement come over me.  You know the one I'm talking about: those times where you have to stop yourself from skipping back up the driveway from the mailbox lest you embarrass yourself in front of your neighbors.  C'mon, we've all been there!

What was inside?  Well, all the cards you've seen in this post and a nice little note:

 The National?  I've never been to the National before!  I should have went a year ago when it was in Chicago, but I didn't have the connections I do now.  In the time since the last Chicago National I've made a few trades with some other Illinois-based bloggers and it looks like I may have an opportunity to meet up with some of these swell gents. Hopefully I'll be able to bump into JediJeff and possibly Kyle, Dimebox Nick, and Anthony, too.  I understand that we're about nine months away from the National, but there's already two bloggers thinking about. Maybe some other bloggers are already formulating travel plans as well? 

The cardboard is great.  I love shiny and vintage.  I love my Cubs, especially my PC guys and prospects like the VogelMonster.  But, it's the relationships amongst the other great collectors in the blogosphere that really capture my interest. A little note in PWE doesn't make me want to buy more cards, but it sends me to my desk chair hoping to find some new reading material about pictures of childhood heroes on cardboard. 

 "Are you looking at cards, again?"

I hear this question from time-to-time from my wife and the answer is always yes.  It's so easy to live vicariously through the postings of my fellow bloggers . . . and cheaper, too!  Ha!  I may not be to afford the newest high-end releases or absolutely sick vintage, but there's always a blog out there which allows me to dream a little.

Thank you to those out there who make the blogosphere what it is.

And thanks for the cards and the note, Jeff. I'm already planning for the big show in Chicago!