Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sportlots Fun - Part I

The beginnings of a second cold bug in the same month kept me inside this past Sunday.  I realize I work in a public school and germs fly all around, but I'm usually pretty careful.  Last year winter I made it through without a sniffle.  The math teacher in me says, "Law of Averages.  Don't sweat it."  Yet, my sinuses are waving the white flag as I type.

Anyway, while under the weather, what better to cheer oneself up than submerge yourself into your favorite hobby?

So I headed on over to and searched by seller until I found one that could fill multiple set needs in my collection.  It took a while, but I narrowed it down to two, and then it was a matter of who had the better shipping rates and inventory.  I really hate wrestling with crowds while shopping, but I really love scouring a collector's baseball card inventory by internet.  You can have your Black Friday; I will take Cyber Monday.

Today, my cards arrived and it's time to show my loot!  This first post will just feature the completion of a set that I didn't really intend to finish. But hey, I like opening packs and at $1 a pop it was was a cheap way to get my fix.  Needless to say, I ended up polishing off the set!

I'm not pleased that I posting this card on my blog.  I never thought that I would feature a Cardinal, but they are hard to come by in my neck of the woods, and this one has eluded me for more than a few months.

2012 Topps Opening Day - David Freese.  I usually link to so that you can bask in the glory of the player's stats and accolades.  Go look him up yourself.  He's a Cardinal for crying out loud. Feel luck you're getting a snapshot of the card!

Base set complete. Nice.

No worries cardboard fans, for there will be more posts.  And Cub fans, I have a few cards to show you as well.  I'm going the spread my haul out over a course of a few posts to give the blogosphere a little bit more reading material during these cold and chilly months known as the baseball off season.
'Til then, I'll be kicking myself for not writing another post sooner to remove this from the top of the blog. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bonuses from Community Gum - Kerry Wood!

In my previous post I showed off my haul from Jon at Community Gum.  When I originally signed up I knew the rules: Jon had first dibs on certain cards, which included Kerry Wood.  I was okay with that, but I made a plea that if he received any doubles of Wood that he would allow me a copy.

In his package Jon tossed in a nice handful of Kerry Wood cards to add to my player collection.  Again, all of the below cards were new to me.

2003 Upper deck Victory - This card was part of the actual group break.  Not my favorite, mostly because it has the feel of a playing card to me and I feel the "front" is severely lacking...  I'm just not sure what it's lacking.

The next five were from Jon's personal collection.   Thanks again for the Kerry Wood additions, Jon!

2000 Fleer Mystique - Oooooh!  Shiny!  This one goes into my Top 10 favorite Kerry Wood cards of all-time.  Just a gorgeous piece of cardboard of one of my favorite players.

2003 Fleer Splendid Splinters - Wood had a decent stick and even hit a home run in a playoff game, but I wish the card featured a picture of him batting,

 2002 Fleer Authentix - Done win the mold of a ticket, nice concept!  The front offers a couple different textures.  A welcome addition to my collection.

 2004 Leaf Second Edition - I have a few cards from this set, and now I have the Wood!

 2005 Fleer Showcase - My favorite card from Jon's generous hand.  There's a bunch going on within this card, and I love every bit of it!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Community Gum Break - Loot Arrives!

A couple of weeks ago I expressed how I was going to use my substitute teaching pay for cards.  I found it very serendipitous that Jon from Community Gum was hosting a break of eight different boxes of Upper Deck and the Cubs were available for the exact price of my substitute pay.  Sweet Deal!

The cards arrived late last week.  Let's take a look at my favorites!

2007 Upper Deck Elements - Derrek Lee
 This was probably my favorite card from the break.  All the cards were done in team colors and Upper Deck did a really nice job with the red and blue in this card.  The red portions or the card are actually transparent, which is kind of neat.

2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams - Ken Holtzman and Ernie Banks
 I find it odd that the Cubs have a "Timeless Team" seeing as they didn't make the playoffs during the 50's, 60's, or 70's.  Another question, why is Holtzman's card in color while Banks' card is black and white?  Curious.

2006 Upper Deck First Pitch - Nomar Garciaparra
I was always a fan of Nomar, even before he became a Cub.  I remember driving home from Wrigley with my friend Jim when the trade to acquire Nomar was announced on the radio.  What a fun ride home that was!

2002 Upper Deck 40-Man - Matt Clement, Augie Ojeda, and Mark Prior
Clement was the winning pitcher of the Cubs game on the day I proposed to my wife.  Augie Ojeda is a scrappy, blue collar, fan favorite. 
 This set featured every player that was on each team's 40-man roster.  Talk about a BIG set to try to collect. (Think 1,200+ cards!)  Mark Prior was new to the team that year, thus the "New Releases" card.  My sister kindly refers to him as just another Cubs prospect that I helped to jinx on their way to failed stardom.

 Two cards of Joe Girardi.  I believe Joe was finishing up his second tour with the Cubs in 2002.  I still root for this Central Illinois native even though he is now the manager of the dreaded Yankees. 
 The first card is the base card from the set, the second is a parallel numbered 39 out of 40.  Shiny!

1999 Upper Deck Retro - Ernie Banks and Mark Grace
 Two of my favorite Cubs of all-time.  Nice cards, but a little too modern of a design be called "Retro" in my opinion.

 1999 Upper Deck PowerDeck - Sammy Sosa
 This is actually a CD-rom that is about the size of a baseball card.  I haven't played it yet and I'm not sure that I'm going to.  Sammy was a pretty terrific slugger and helped carry the team to the playoffs during that magical summer of '98.  BUT, he was a little full or himself and also a little artificial if you catch my drift.  I was at the last game of the season in 2004 at Wrigley when he walked out on the team.  His last days as a Cub left me with a bitter impression of a tremendous baseball talent.

Thanks for hosting a great break, Jon!  These Cubs cards were all new to my collection!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Listia Ernie Banks - I'm hearing voices.

When I have a free moment or two, I like to spend my time looking on Ebay or Listia for cards.  As I browse through Ebay the little voice in my head says, "Do you really need that card?  Don't you have enough cards already?"  I hate that voice, but more often than not I listen to it.

That voice that seems to be depressingly omnipresent while cruising Ebay is replaced by a more light-hearted version with a completely different message: "Remember all of those cards that you parted with to earn credits on Listia?  Now is the time to spend, spend, SPEND!"

After all, they are only credits!

Here's my latest free Listia pick up and it comes to you completely guilt free from me!
For 200 credits I give you, Mr. Cub:

From what I can tell on the back, the card was produced in 1998 by Fleer for Sports Illustrated.  I really like the shot on the front, because I feel it fits the horizontal layout just perfectly.

Have a great week, folks!

Monday, November 19, 2012

1978 Topps - Pete Rose from Listia

Here's my second win from 

I won this 1978 Topps Pete Rose for 1,121 credits.  It was more than I wanted to "spend", but I couldn't pass it up.  A free card is a free card!

This brings me to 717 cards out of the 726 card set. Check out my want list to see if you can help me finish off the 1978 Topps set.  Thanks!

On a side note, I hope the next commissioner of baseball allows Charlie Hustle to be on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.  The man was a fabulous ballplayer: 1 Rookie of the Year award, 1 MVP award, and 17 All-Star game appearances.  Yikes!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunbathing in November

The fur ball drove Laura and I nuts this morning and early afternoon as he paced around the kitchen begging to be let outside.  "Gus, you are an indoor cat!"  No matter, the meowing persisted and persisted.

Finally, some peace and quiet.  He's napping on top of the built-ins.  Silly cat. 
Perhaps it's time I take up a musical instrument?  It only seems fair.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Trade with Average Joe Collector

Jason, over at Average Joe Collector, contacted me about my 2012 Archives want list.  He proposed a 3-for-1 deal and I was happy to oblige.  I sent him a Jimmy Rollins relic card and he granted me with one reprint and two SPs.

Bye bye, J-Rol!

Here's my side of the haul:

First the two SPs of Von Hayes and Lance Parrish.   I like the SPs from the Archives set because they highlight some of the fan favorites from years past.  All too often hall-of-famers are given spots in card sets, but solid performers like Von Hayes, a notorious "Cubs Killer", are forgotten about.  No worries, Von!  I haven't forgotten that you hit 0.317 against my Cubs during your career!

 Here's a Hall-of-Famer that is often overlooked: Robin Yount.  He collected 3,000 hits, but because he played for the small market Milwaukee Brewers he is often overlooked. 

Thanks for the trade, Jason!
Please check out my want list for 2012 Topps Archives.  I'd be happy to swing a trade!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My first Listia Win - Tony Campana

I've accumulated some Listia credits by "selling" off cards that don't have a place in my collection during the past couple of weeks.  Last week I won my first auction and the card just arrived!

Tony Campana is one of my favorite Cubs at the moment, and I'm hoping he does well in winter ball and secures at least the 5th outfielder spot in the spring.

And here's the best part: it was for free!  You should check out  It's a nice place to snag some items for little (shipping costs) to no monetary commitment.

Oh, and just for kicks, here's a picture of Gus in a Shock Top box.  Look at those glowing eyes!  Nice!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

1978 Topps - Nolan Ryan

I've been trying to hunt down the remaining 1978 Topps cards to finish my set. I started this project a little over a year ago and I'm slowly chipping away at the remainder of my checklist.

I snagged this Nolan Ryan from Ebay the other day for a total of $2.51.

This shipping charge was $2.50, which makes this the first auction I've ever won for a penny!  Not bad for a Nolan Ryan card that easily tops $10 at most card shows.

Naturally, the card is a little dinged up, but that makes it the perfect addition to my collection.  716 cards down, 10 to go!

Check out my want list to see if you can help this 1978 collector out!  Thanks!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Go Bears! - a Crackin' Wax Special

Chris, at Crackin' Wax, is always busting open packs and listing the cards that don't fit in his personal collection in his "Take My Cards!" section.  To claim some cards, all you have to do is send him a SASE and he'll send what you have flagged.  Pretty generous and very cool!

I flipped through his offerings recently and found a Junior Lake card.  Junior played shortstop for the Peoria Chiefs back in 2009 and is now a thirdbase prospect for the Cubs.  He had a heckuva an arm when he played with the Chiefs, but he didn't always know where the ball was going once he released it, as his forty-two errors that season can attest! 

I also found some Chicago Bears cards to fill out my "order" from Crackin' Wax.  These are the only football cards in my collection that are younger than twenty years old.  It's been awhile!

The Bears are 7-1 at the midway point in the season and they put on a show last weekend versus the Titans.  But, they will be tested tonight against the 7-1 Texans and next weekend when they match up with the 6-2 49ers. 
Good luck to Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, Matt Forte, and Jay Cutler!  Go Bears!

And thanks to Chris for the free cards!  They've found a good home!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Card Show Finds - My Favorite

I've heard of Kurt Bevacqua, but I'm not sure why, where, or in what context.  He collected a little over 2,100 at-bats in a 15 year career in which he played six different positions on the diamond for six different teams.  From what I can tell by his career stats he was role player who played steady defense and carried a solid 0.258 lifetime average as a pinch hitter.

My last post featured a card about the great Pine Tar Incident on July 24, 1983.  At the time I pined for more cards that featured the memorable stories and great characters of the game.  

Here's my favorite find at last weekend's card show:

1976 Topps, #564 -- Bubble Cum Blowing Championships card of Kurt Bevacqua

I did a quick Google search and found that this card has been dissected by the baseball card blogosphere more than a few times.  The Fleer Sticker Project did a real nice job breaking down the background story of the card. 

What's stopping Topps from bringing this back?  Sometimes I think I grew up in the wrong era of sports. 

I'll leave you with a youtube video of the actual bubblegum blowing championship!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Card Show Finds in the 4 for $1 Box

Here's the rest of of my haul from last weekend's card show, save one card, which will receive it's own post in the next coming days.

I saw some 1978 Topps in a "4 for $1" box, so I started flipping through.  Nothing in there that I needed for my set, but I found some others that I liked.  Here's the highlights:

1981 Topps Steve Stone.  I respect Steve Stone as a baseball analyst, regret that I was too young to ever see him pitch, and thank him for the way he carried Chicago Cubs broadcasts when he was partnered with Harry Caray.  It's a nicely done card that celebrates his lone All-Star appearance during his Cy Young campaign.

Deion Sanders - 1993 Flair.  I love Bo Jackson, Brian Jordan, and Neon Deion for their two-sport stylings.  For a quarter?  Why not!  Plus, Deion had a tiff with Tim McCarver, which only raises my opinion of him.  

I made a trade this summer with a blogger that has a collection of Dave Kingman.  Some possible dinged trade fodder for next summer:

I wish there were more cards produced that captured the stories and characters of the game.  Baseball is about history, tradition, lore, and characters.  This '84 Fleer card of George Brett and Gaylord Perry is the perfect example of what's missing with today's productions. 

Coincidentally enough, the last card I picked up from the show fits within the "stories and characters" of the game theme.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

1978 Topps Card Show Find

I was able to spend an hour at the 15th Annual Sport Card Show and Auction at the RiverPlex this morning before heading home to man the grill for my Bears game party.  Go Bears!

I managed to get in and get out for under $10 this year, which included admission.  I'll post the rest of my haul later in the week, but until then I'm happy to announce I'm down to eleven on my 1978 Topps checklist!  And I have a lead on card #401, Sparky Anderson.  Nice!

$1 for Joe Morgan. The card itself is in better shape than most of my set.  I don't know that I would have found this hall-of-famer, in this condition, for much cheaper than I did, so I snagged it.  I'm not the biggest Joe Morgan fan, mostly because he never talks about the Cubs, specifically Sandberg, in a positive light.  Nevertheless, I'm happy to cross him off my checklist. 

Check out my want list if you think you have any '78's lying around!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

186 Posts Later and I STILL have a problem.

When I first started blogging I had a problem with racoons.

I took away the bird feeder tray.  We cut down the tree that gave the racoons access to our roof to use it as their, um... depository.  (Technically we took the tree down because it was leaning into the house, but ridding ourselves of raccoon mess was a pleasant bi-product.)

No more tree, no more tray feeder, no more problem.

Or so I thought.

After work last night I went to plastic storage container to grab some birdseed to fill the feeders  

This is what I found:

Oh, the picture only shows one raccoon.  No worries, the excitement was just beginning.  After I finally scared the first one away, I found another underneath the cushions to the patio glider. 

Not cool.

Rest assured, there was more raccoon mess to clean up.

I am not amused.

That is all.