Saturday, June 12, 2021

4 Cards Away

 Recently I mentioned how I was a couple dozen cards away from completing my 1982 Topps set build. A comment from Fuji alerted me to an incoming PWE. Fuji's one of the best in the blogging business: great posts, terrific reader engagement, and I think he easily takes home the award for most comments left within out little corner of the blogosphere. 

A few days later a twelve card PWE arrived. 

I believe the Righetti and Ryan cards are from spring training. 

In Action cards. 
I never really understood the purpose of the "In Action" subset. I guess it was Topps way of putting more star power into the set rather than cards of backup catchers and the fifth guy out of the bullpen. 

All-Stars! 
I think these are pretty glorious.  I love Carter's Les Expos catching helmet and Rose's five o'clock shadow is quote stellar in its own right. 

Future Stars and Stolen Base Leaders.
Best career on each Future Stars card: Steve Henderson, Bryn Smith and Steve Sax.  Also, I miss the stolen base. We attempted 104 steals at the sophomore level in 22 games this past season. For what it's worth, my players had the green light to steal if their twelve foot lead time to second base was quicker than the pitcher's time to home plus the catcher's pop-to-pop time. We worked on the finer points like looking for pick-off tells, tendencies and timing. We taught them to take advantage of those who haven't learned a slide step yet and also those who would only throw one look at the runner before going home. We were thrown out quite a bit early on, but my guys got better at picking their moments during the course of the season. We were successful at a 79% clip over the course of our abbreviated season. Hopefully they learned a few things that can help them out as a varsity player next spring.

Will we ever see guys like Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson again?

After my recent card show and Fuji's generosity I'm only one 4-card Sportlots PWE away from putting this set to bed. Those cards should be here early this coming week. 

Fuji, thanks for taking the time to go through my want list and sending these wonderful 1982s my way. It's very much appreciated!

Monday, June 7, 2021

My 1st Card Show of 2021

In yesterday's post I proclaimed I was ready to attend a card show again. After I hit the publish button I visit Beckett's event calendar and learned there was a show going on at that exact moment less than five miles from my house. What in the world!?!

 Are cards that hot right now where Peoria is no longer stymied with just one annual show?  If so, that suits me just fine. 

For the record, there was no mask policy posted on the entry doors to the mall. I assumed it was more of the same of what I've seen in Central Illinois: no mask required if you've been vaccinated, but mask up if you haven't. I'm vaccinated and chose to go without, but it did feel very weird being indoors with people nearby who I didn't know. I think a lot of the strangeness stems from my wearing a mask all school year while teaching in person. For what it's worth, I did reach for the hand sanitizer immediately upon opening my car door after the show. I felt perfect safe during my entire time at the show and no one really ever entered my personal space. 👍

Enough Covid talk. Moving on!

There were about fifteen different dealers and each had roughly two folding tables worth of wares to sell. One was only selling action figures and two were focused on Funko Pop. The other dozen had sports cards!

There were maybe two dozen active shoppers spread out among the thirty tables, so generally there was plenty of room, which is my kind of show! I would say at least three of the dealers only had graded cards on display. I didn't spend any time there whatsoever. I did bump into two different shoppers who were looking to wheel and deal the cards they brought. 

I found two neighboring dealers, who traveled to the show together, but each had their own tables. These two gentlemen were the only ones who had cards for the collector, rather than the investor. I don't like to use labels like collector and investor, and perhaps my previous sentence is a harsh statement, but when I see various junk wax boxes selling at $65 to $85 I just keep walking. 

The five 1982 Topps cards with stickers on them were all found in a dollar box. The Pete Rose In Action, above, and the Ripken card, below, set me back $17. I did some comparison shopping on Ebay and felt the price I was quoted for the Ripken, in its condition, was fair. 

Dime Boxes. The gentleman who had the dollar boxes thought there might be a 1982 Dale Murphy in his dime boxes. 

He offered to help me look if I wanted to spend the time. I politely declined his offer and told him I'd like to look through them without his assistance as I would be making a stack of cards, with or without the Dale Murphy. Spoiler Alert: There were plenty of other stars from 1982 in the boxes, but no Dale Murphy. #SadTromboneNoise
I pulled close to fifty cards during my search and spent around 45 minutes going through his two 3200-count dime boxes. It was a blissful experience. All of the non-1982 Topps cards in this post were from the dime boxes. 

Yes, I found the well-loved vintage cards of Sutton and Hubbell above for ten cents apiece. Rookie cards were available as well:


I think my best finds were the three Gaylord Perry cards at the top of the post and a second copy of this wonderful Tim Salmon card. 
In addition, I found more of the cards from the same insert set, behold!
Chili Davis being fierce and Will Clark posing in a cowboy hat and boots. 
I had to pair these two guys together. Very, very cool. 

Here's my favorite find of the day: 
It's a Jim Thome card from the 1996 Pinnacle Christie Brinkley Collection. 
Thome is a local guy who I collect so I did a little happy dance when I thought no one was paying any attention my way. Good times!

I went into the show not expecting much and instead was pleasantly surprised. I came away with some great cards for my mini collections, some cards for a few bloggers (not shown), and seven more cards for my '82 set build. 

No regrets whatsoever from today's experience and I'm already planning a small road trip to another show later this summer.  

Have you been to a card show this year? Are you planning on attending one in the future?

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Ready to Take the Card Show Plunge Again

 I've seen some recent posts and Tweets about card shows and I think it's about time I venture back out there. I haven't been to a show since the fall of 2019, which is a fairly decent hiatus for this collector. I've been vaccinated since March and I can't seem to shake visions of dime boxes dancing through my head. 

My needs/wants lists aren't very large at the moment, but I do have a few bloggers I need to build return packages for, I'd like to finish off that pesky 1982 Topps set, and I'd also like to find a 1985 Topps set at a fair price. 

I'll look for rare cards of the Vogelmonster, as I always do, but hopes are never very high of landing something new for my collection. 

Speaking of Vogelbach, I've been slowly filling in some placeholders in my binder of the big bopper 

Here's what I found recently on Ebay: 

This is the last of the 2020 Topps Triple Threads jumbo relics color parallels I was missing. I think the "emerald" coloring works quite well with the jersey fabric. 

I believe the red chrome parallel, from 2015 Bowman Chrome, is the last card to finish off this rainbow as well.
Neither of these put much of a dent into my card budget and I'm beyond happy to cross them off my want list. 

Now I just need to find a decent card show within a couple hour drive. Sounds like fun!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Thursday, June 3, 2021

The A-Z Favorite Player Challenge

 Let me start by giving a hat-tip to The Diamond King for coming up with such a great idea for a post. Well done!  This one took more thought than I originally anticipated. There were some close battles and some of my longtime collecting favorites wound up on the outside looking in: Jake Arrieta, Bo Jackson, Greg Maddux, Jackie Robinson and Ron Santo.  

For my version of the A to Z Favorite Player Challenge I decided to only use pictures of cards which had previously been used within another blog post. Overall, this plan worked out to perfection except for the the letter U, which is not a card, and Y, which I swiped from the internet because it was quicker than retrieving it from one of my player collection binders. 

Without further hesitation, here are my favorite players!

Jim Abbott - What a great story! I enjoyed collecting his cards as a kid and reading about his life as an adult.


Rod Beck - I briefly considered Ernie Banks, who was a great ambassador for the game and Cubs fans, but Beck was too unique of a baseball soul to pass up here. 

Willson Contreras - I love his fire and skill set behind the plate. Willson is one of four Cubs from the 2016 World Series Champion Cubs who you'll find in this post.

Andre Dawson - I discovered baseball right around the time the Cubs signed Dawson. He and Ryno will always be high up the favorite player list. 

Jim Edmonds - I have a Love-Hate relationship with Edmonds. He's one of those guys you hate because he plays for the other team (Cardinals), but love when he plays for yours. For the record, he was one of my favorites when he was making Superman catches in the outfield for the Angels.

Bob Feller - What a talent and what an unbelievable story to start a career. My sister gifted me this auto of The Heater from Van Meter a couple of birthdays ago. 

Vladimir Guerrero - Vlad powered many of my early fantasy baseball teams with his uncanny ability to hit anything from his nose to his toes (and more). 

Kyle Hendricks - The Professor! Some of my favorite memes on Twitter are of when Hendricks is excited. (For the those who don't know, he never shows any emotion while pitching.)

Ichiro - He's arguably the best hitter to ever play the game. Crazy talented and truly a great personality.

Randy Johnson - Another great personality and one of the best starting pitchers ever.

Brooks Kieschnick - I love players with uncommon skill sets. Kieschnick hit and pitched (both with some mild success) in MLB. His 2003 & 2004 seasons with the Brewers are my favorites, but I also have 102 different Cubs cards of Kieschnick.

Kenny Lofton - The Cubs traded for Lofton in the middle of the 2003 season and he helped take the club to the NLCS by hitting 0.327. 

Pedro Martinez - Another one of the all-time great pitchers. 

James Norwood - N was surprisingly a difficult letter. James Norwood was another player Theo Epstein drafted (2014) who I had high hopes for developing into a frontline starting pitcher. He now pitches in the Padres organization. Sigh.    His face sums up how I feel about his selection here.

Gregg Olson - I chased all of Gregg Olson's cards during my first run through the hobby. We share the same last name and he burst onto the scene in 1989 by winning the ROY. 

Satchel Paige - He's an absolute LEGEND and probably the player on this list I'd most want to sit down and share a meal with.

Jamie Quirk - I secured this auto of Quirk at a Cubs Convention. My little anecdote, from a previous blog entry, follows below.

David Ross - The storyline of the player known as Grandpa Rossy will always be one of my favorites from the 2016 season. 

Ryne Sandberg - I have just north of 1,000 different Sandberg cards in my collection. Chasing his cardboard at card shows during my youth with my family made my weekends. 

Jim Thome - He's a local boy and a great man. He signed this card for me at a local card show back in 1992.

Bob Uecker - I own a couple of Uecker cards, but they have never made it to the blog. So here's a picture of me in the "Uecker Seat" from my trip to Milwaukee.

Dan Vogelbach.  Aka the VOGELMONSTER.

Kerry Wood - Kid K. I still remember turning on the Cubs game in my dorm room, after class, and being entertained and mesmerized as a baby-faced Kerry Wood mowed down 20 Astros.  I currently have 587 different Kerry Wood cards in my collection. 

Jimmie Foxx - No special connection here, but I do know this Hall of Famer's nickname is Double X. That has to count for something, right?

Eric Young - I have a soft spot in my collection for speedsters who donned the Cubs uniform. Ones who smile like EY get top priority.

Ben Zobrist - Sometimes card backs are better than fronts. Ben Zobrist and I both played baseball in Eureka, IL during a three year window. His sophomore through senior years at Eureka High School overlapped my freshman through junior years at Eureka College. We never met then and I have bumped into him only twice since. Great man and the owner of the biggest hit in modern Cubs history. 

I hope you enjoyed my list of favorites. It was fun to ponder about the names and then go digging for pictures on my blog.  An occasional stroll down memory lane is certainly a nice little pleasure I don't do enough. 

If you haven't taken on the A-Z Favorite Player Challenge I would love to see who you come up with. 
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Folder of Fun Additions and Mr. October in May

 Jeff, from the witty Wax Pack Wonders blog, reached out to me recently about some possible additions to my Folder of Fun. He offered up quite a selection, but it quickly became apparent that Jeff and I have very similar tastes in cardboard. Of the lot I found three I didn't already own a copy. 

Here they are in all their glory:

Jose Rijo flexing for the camera is an excellent way to start. Studio was always good for some unique poses. 

Speaking of unique, how about Dave Stewart in a tuxedo?
It's cards like this which make we want to start a new project: the nine best cards from each year of Stadium Club. That would be a fun one to tackle!

Last up is an ice bath celebration. I could have sworn I had a copy of this card, but I couldn't locate it for the life of me.

The PWE also contained a brilliant little surprise. 
My 1982 Topps set build, which I started in 2019, is now missing only twenty-three cards. Nearly every card I need is either a rookie card or a card of a Hall of Famer. I don't have any cardboard goals for 2021, but completing this set would be a solid win for my collection. 

One more little goodie, but this one came on the outside of the PWE.

Those are some old stamps! (Well, they're older than me at least.) Pretty cool!

Thanks for the fun PWE, Jeff!