Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Closing the Book on 2013

Like many of my blogosphere brethren I posted a few collecting goals for 2013.  Let's reflect back on the past twelve months and see what I accomplished.
Sample page of FrankenSet

Goal #1: Collect and finish only two 2013 products.
     Well, I finished the 2013 Topps Opening Day set early in the year and then set my sights on 2013 Bowman.  The veteran set (1-220) and prospect set (1-110) proved to be no match, although I am waiting on my last prospect to arrive via My Cardboard Habit.  Some may call my FrankenSet a third set for the year, but I see it more as a byproduct of the Bowman base, and I'm only five cards away from its completion.

     So, maybe it's three sets, and I guess I only have one technically finished.  Hmph.  Yeah, well, um, let's not sit around discussing technicalities and failures.

Goal #2: Clean up the Man Room.  
     I'm really proud of this one.  I spent a large part of the year sorting, consolidating, collating, and labeling my collection.  Many of you know how difficult it is to not allow the cards to pile up on you, especially when a certain blogger, who shall remain nameless, dumps a USPS flat rate box of cards on you!
     I have a few decorations, which were birfday/Xmas presents, to add to the walls and one small stack (<50 cards) to sort, but otherwise I've reached the point where I would invite someone in and show off my collection.  This was a definite win.  Cool.

Goal #3: Put my 1978 Topps set to bed.  
     Heck Yeah!  This is probably my proudest moment as a set builder and a huge win for 2013.

Goal #4: Find a card show that has a dime box and indulge!
     Another big win on this one.  I only found one dime box all year and it certainly helped replenish the cards in my trade box.  I even found a pink '13 Topps Jose Fernandez in the box, which covered the cost of all my purchases at that show.   

Goal #5: Add my first 1/1 card to my collection. 
     Bummer.  Another shortcoming in 2013.  I had a nice offer on the table, but I failed to close the deal.
I never did happen across and crazy Brew Crew mojo, but let's be honest here: once Soriano was traded to the Yankees I lost interest.   I began searching the Bay for 1/1's of the players and prospects that I collect, but I never could pull the trigger.  The blogosphere seems to be full of the them as The Dimwit and Judson can attest, and some day I'll add one to my collection.

So, there you have it.  Three-for-five is a decent enough year, and realizing Goal #2 has me in really good shape for 2014.  So good in fact, one of my goals for next year would not be possible  Come back tomorrow and check in on my collecting goals for 2014.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Favorite Player Hunt Continues

Why couldn't Alex Meyer be a Cub?  Meyer is a former bonus baby with the Nationals, who is now a member of the Twins farm system.  He was a highly ranked prospect entering 2013 and he threw up some pretty solid numbers during the last campaign. 

Bonus! During the off season he works as a substitute teacher... and he enjoys it! Alex Meyer is someone I, a high school teacher, can relate to.  As I said earlier, "Why couldn't Alex Meyer be a Cub?"

I've been hunting for a new "favorite" player since Kerry Wood retired on May 18th, 2012.  Before Kerry Wood I was a Ryne Sandberg man, and after he hung 'em up for good at the end of the '97 season it didn't take long for "Kid K" to bust on to the scene and steal my heart.

I've had trouble to latching on to any one since Wood retired, and I've never gone this long of an extended period of time with being able to answer, "Who's your favorite current baseball player?"

Granted, I love me some Cubs prospects, namely Dan Vogelmonster and ROCK SHOULDERS, but they are a couple of years away from the Show, and there are no guarantees that they'll even receive a cup of coffee.

There are only a few criteria that a player must meet to be my favorite player.
The qualifications are pretty straight forward:
1. They must be a Chicago Cub
2. The player must have staying power...  not necessarily an All-Star caliber player, but someone that provides value to the team
3. Must be a "good" guy...  Milton Bradley and Carlos Zambrano need not apply.

Anthony Rizzo is the closest guy on the Cubs current roster that meets the above criteria.  Anthony is a good ball player, and I believe he's only going to get better, but I'm just not an Anthony Rizzo guy.

Since Theo and Jed took over the baseball operations on the Northside the roster spots have been like a rotating door.  It hasn't been easy to root for this team, let alone find a favorite player amongst them.

Perhaps the 2014 edition of the Cubs will give me something to cheer about and I'll find a new favorite player as well!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Beware the Box of Mystery

Wes has been at it again, but this time I'm going to run with it.  Back in August Wes held a Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Giveaway Contest at Jaybarkerfan's Junk and I was lucky enough to not only win a seat at the table, but I somehow beat the evil randomizer and was awarded first choice.

What did I choose?

I give you the Box of Mystery!

Well, I opened it, came out unscathed, and revealed the mystery within.
 It's a 1985 Cubs 7-UP team set, which was given away at Wrigley Field!  Sweet deal! I already had the Sandberg in my Ryno player collection, but now I have the entire team set.  What a great surprise.  Thanks, Wes! 

Now, it's time to run with it.  The anticipation and surprise that I received from the Box of Mystery is something that I would like to share with the blogosphere.

I'm going place a card or two within and ship it off to someone on my Trading Partners list. I don't want anything in return, but instead I would ask that you continue to pass on the Box of Mystery to another faithful trading partner and member of the blogosphere. 

Here are three things I've learned throughout my time as a member of the blogosphere:
1. We all love to get mail.
2. We are a community of generous individuals.
3. Baseball cards are awesome.

So, keep yours eyes open for the Box of Mystery.  Perhaps you'll find it on your doorstop or in your mailbox some sun-shiny day in 2014.  When you do, please blog about it and pass it on!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peace: a PWE Christmas Card

 This is the card I received from my boy Duff, author of Bleedin' Brown and Gold, about a week ago.


Thank, Duff!  Merry Christmas to you, too. 

Happy Holidays to everyone out there in the blogosphere.  May all of your stockings be full of cardboard that takes you back to your childhood. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

More Baseball Mojo For My Bday

It's kind of fun when your birfday lands on a Sunday and it consumes the entire weekend.  I spent Saturday with my family and Sunday I had fun with friends.  After it's all said and done I have a few more gifts to show off.

One of my buddies gave me a neat card and a few packs of Bowman Chrome for my FrankenSet.
The three packs netted four cards for my ever-evolving FrankenSet.  All four of the below cards replaced one of the "boring" gold paper parallels.  Thanks Vince!   I love me some variety in my FrankenSet!

One of the three packs also contained an on card autograph of Royals' prospect Cameron Gallagher.  I have three Braves, Yankees, and Dodgers bloggers that I trade with, but I don't have a Royals blogger.  Where you at Royals fans?

My aunt and uncle from Wisconsin sent me a book after hearing about it on NPR.
I figure if the book was spot-lighted by NPR and it talks about beer, whiskey, and baseball, then it is a must read.  I'm so far behind on my reading. No matter, this one will probably wind up in the on deck circle.  Thanks Aunt Chris and Uncle Ken!

Last year I missed out on "Play with the Pros" edition #4 and I was so looking forward to attending this year.  Then out of nowhere Old Man Winter decided to blow an ice storm into the region and my basketball game that was scheduled for a Saturday was moved a day ahead to Friday.  Again, my coaching duties took me away from an awesome opportunity to break bread with some major league talent and a shot to play whiffle ball with them!  Man, all the luck.

The above picture is definitely a keeper.  Karl is front and center (wearing shorts) and Peoria's local Professional baseball players surround him.  The two biggest names are Ben Zobrist and Zach McAllister, but there is definitely some young talent there in Chad Johnson and the three Parr brothers

Karl, a fellow student of mine and the basketball team's former statistician, is my "in" to the event and a baseball fanatic like myself.  Karl is also one heckuva good guy and he again surprised me with a package at my doorstep. 

What was in the package?  Remember the baseball at the top of the post?  It's made out to me, T.O., and is autographed by all the participants from Play With the Pros.  Yep, I share initials with Terrell Owens and am often referred to as T.O. at school. 
Brian Shouse and Ben Zobrist's autographs

Zach McAllister and Josh Parr's autographs
From what I can tell though the ball is missing one autograph.  I'll have to see what Karl charges for his signature.  He's not a pro, but he is playing college ball this spring.  Good luck, Karl!

It was a great couple of days.  Thanks for all of the love, everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cardboard From My Youth

Last month Jeff, from One Man's Junk (Wax), contacted me about a Mike Trout card.  I have a proclivity for pulling cards of the Angels' young superstar so I was okay with shipping a couple off.  I didn't know what I should counter with, because I was new to Jeff and his blog of wax at the time.  I'm a stranger no longer!

We traded checklists for sets from the late 80s and early 90s and the next you know I had 549 cards to collate into the unfinished sets of my childhood.  Additionally, I unloaded a bunch of duplicates that Jeff needed for his sets.  Talk about a win-win for both sides!

Jeff was also kind enough to send along a quartet of Cubs to add to my collection as well:

Thanks for the Cub love!

What else was in the box?  Well, included within the '89 Topps were a couple of rookie cards.
My list was previously at 209 cards, but now I only need FOUR more cards to complete this set!
Here's the short list: #50 - George Bell, #185 - Claudell Washington, #247 - Shawn Hillegas, and #490 - Chris Sabo (RC)

There was more Topps...  I needed 299 cards from the 1992 Topps set, but now I'm down to a more manageable 131.

1988 Donruss: needed 313, only need 223 now.

 1990 Donruss: needed 296, but only need 210 cards now.
 Ahhhhh!  I've been Bipped!  Nah, just kidding.  This was the only Bip in the box.

If you're looking for a place to dump your junk wax, please take a look at my want lists.  And if you're looking for help, may I suggest Jeff?  I think I've only partially unburied him. 

Thanks for a great trade, Jeff!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Birfday, Steve Garvey!

First off, around these parts we don't say "birthday", we pronounce it as birfday.  Why?  I suppose it adds a bit of fun to the day, and isn't that what birfdays are supposed to be about?

Secondly, how did I not know it was Steve Garvey's birfday?  Or Steve Carlton's or Connie Mack's?

For 364 out of 365 of you this isn't a big deal.  But, I'm the 1 out of 365 who share a birfday with these great men in baseball's illustrious history. 

And, it took a contest over at "garvey cey russell lopes" to educate me.  Crazy.

So Happy Birfday, Steve Garvey!
I chose the 1978 Topps card of Mr. Garvey for two reasons:
1. GCRL is a fan of the Dodgers and I think this is the only card I own that features Mr. Garvey in Dodger blue.
2. This card is from the oldest set in my collection, the set that features the stats from the year I was born.

Thanks for teaching me something new on my birfday, GCRL!

I'm predictable and I don't care.

Yesterday my wife and I trekked over to my parents' house, through the freezing rain, to join my grandfather and sister to celebrate my mom and I's birfdays.  

Just the six of us.  We dined on pizza and cheesecake.  We laughed and played games.  Low key, relaxing, comfortable, and no spotlight... just the way I prefer to celebrate.  It was a great afternoon.

I always seem to struggle with finding something meaningful and/or practical to give my loved ones.  Me on the other hand... they must see me as an easy target, because every gift landed in the center of the bull's eye.  I'm predictable and I don't care.

Baseball cards?  Check.  My parents found this box set at their neighbor's estate sale this past summer for less than a dollar.  I've never seen these before and I'm happy to add my 694th unique Ryne Sandberg to my collection.

My sister gave me some gloves that I can wear and still use my smartphone.  My wife gave me a pack of my favorite clicky pens for school.  And Mom and Dad bought me some snack bars for me to devour during passing periods to help me get through the school day.

I then opened a smaller box and found my favorite "salad" dressing.  I use the quotation marks because I'll use it on salad and pretty much anything else I can find in the refrigerator.  It's an obnoxious shade of red, but it is sooooo good.  If I behave myself I should be able to make it last a full year.  Laura, my wife, is the best.

My mom and dad are always on the look out for gifts during the year and they found a beauty.  I'm always interested in sprucing up the man room with more baseball related signage and they found something that looks vintage, has a pitcher on it, and has a baseball card tie-in to it.  Again, I'm an easy target for things like this.

 I'm running out of room on the walls in my man room, and I may have to spill out into the hallway with my decorations.  Especially when one considers that I must find more space for something my sister picked up for me:

 I believe these guys are die cast aluminum and they're each about 9 to 10 inches tall.  Fantastic!  Again, my sister found these during the summer and she has been sitting on them the last few months.  What a find!

Oh, but she out did herself...  check this next one out.

Yeah, it's a smaller version of the bases they used on the field during the 2003 All-Star Game and it's been signed by one of my two favorite players of all time: Mr. Kerry Wood. 

I have bats, gloves, jerseys, hats, and now I have a base!  Holy cow!

Then there's my grandfather...  he doesn't do the shopping thing anymore, but that's okay.    I absolutely love this card he picked out for me. 

I try to take Grandpa out to lunch once a week during the summer and on my holidays during the school year.  We talk sports, family, the quality of the hamburger he's enjoying.  He loves a good hamburger.  Sometimes he'll tell me stories about his younger years.  Stories about his school days, how he met my grandmother, and stories about when my mom and dad were young.  Those are my favorite days.

Getting sappy and overly sentimental isn't something that we'll spend our time on, but we enjoy each others company.  I guess this card hits that last point home.  It makes me smile.

There you have it.  My favorite card I received for my birtfday isn't a sports card.  Huh, go figure.  I didn't see that one coming.

Again, I'm predictable, easy to shop for, and I don't care.  In fact, I wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What do you get the guy who seemingly has everything?

I received a PWE from Nick, the Dime Box King, earlier this week.  Nick recently posted pictures of his "man cave" which highlighted his collection.  Talk about intimidating! 

One thing I noticed about Nick's collection was how organized his collection seems to be.  I have great appreciation for order and organization.  Yeah, math teachers are like that.

The other thing I'd like to share with you about Nick is that his knowledge of cardboard far surpasses mine.  He's frequently referencing cards and entire sets of which I'm completely oblivious to.  The best example of this is his Dime Box Frankenset.  What an awesome collection of cards!

It's going to take some serious searching to find something Nick may not have as a thank for his generous PWE.

What was in the PWE?

Vintage Cubs Goodness!

Gosh, if Hoyt Wilhelm doesn't appear as though he's twenty-five years old on this 1971 Topps card.  Yet, the back states that Mr. Wilhelm was born in 1923.  Um, so he was 47 when they took his photo?  Can that be right?

Holy Cow.  Hoyt pitched in three games for the Cubs in 1970, when he was 47 years old, and then he played two more seasons for Braves and Dodgers!  You learn something new everyday.

Ryne Sandberg!  This is his 2013 Hometown Heroes card from Panini.  I believe this one is the "zip code parallel".  Cool stuff.  If I had to do it over, I think I would have saved my cardboard cash and bought a few boxes of this set rather than 2013 Bowman.  The FrankenSet I've made has been fun, but I really like the look and feel of these cards.  Oh, and have you seen the checklist? What a great collection of players!

Man, it's winter break, yet I can't stop learning new tidbits.  Bing Crosby is an alum of the high school that Sandberg attended, North Central High.  That information and three dollars would get me a pack of Hometown Heroes.

Speaking of Ryno's alma mater, let's take a look at the last card in the PWE.
 Another nifty Sandberg, but this one captures him as a three sport athlete.  Nice.

Thanks for a the PWE surprise, Nick!  Blog on my friend, for yours is one of my favorites.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Any interest in some 1986 O-Pee-Chee Tattoos?

I have a few PWEs and a yellow bubble mailer sitting on my desk I need to open AND about 400 cards of junk wax that arrived last week that I haven't touched yet.  Man, am I getting back up.

Let's clear some stuff from the desk so I can get to some of the aforementioned goodness before the new year.

Below you'll find a couple of Listia wins, one eBay purchase, and a couple of finds from my LCS.  Let's get to it!

An orange 2012 Chrome Topps card of the newest member of the Chicago Cubs: Tsuyoshi Wada.  I thought only players who have made their MLB received the "RC" logo?  Wada, who was signed before the 2012 season by the Orioles, has yet to make his debut, because he got derailed with an elbow injury.
On the right is an emerald parallel of my current favorite bullpen arm: Pedro Strop.  I have a thing for players named Pedro.  Don't judge.  Pedro Martinez... Pedro Cerrano...  Again, don't judge.

The card of Pedro, and the two below were cards I purchased at my LCS.  My Albert Almora mini collection now spills onto three different pages.  Nice.
Dan Vogelbach is my favorite Cubs prospect.  Yes, more than Almora, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Kris Bryant... combined!  Yes, the Vogelmonster even rates higher than ROCK SHOULDERS on my list!

On to the Listia wins:
 The King Felix will find a place in my 2013 Bowman FrankenSet.  I already had a gold parallel of Felix, but this International parallel is a nice "free" upgrade.  On the right is a sweet '93 Fleer Ultra card of Nolan Ryan.  I'm just picturing him blowing some cheese past some rookie half his age.  Good times.

 Ian Kinsler has been a mainstay on fantasy baseball team for the last four seasons.  I needed this rookie card.  I like the way Kins plays the game and the way he wears his socks.
 Speaking of rookies?  Here's a shot of Manny Ramirez ('92 Upper Deck), being himself, you know, before he was "Manny".

Another new card to add  to my Kerry Wood collection.  Free?  Thank you.
 The Harvey Kuenn is a 2001 Topps Archives reprint.  A nice addition to my collection as well.

I believe the two above cards and all the rest below arrived from the same Listia seller.  I'm not really attached to much of what you'll find below, so if you find something that catches your eye just let me know. 

These are some 1986 O-Pee-Chee tattoo sheets.  I'll be holding onto the Dunston, thank you very much.  Shawon was one of my favorites when I first started collecting.
 Again, any of these can be had:
 Lastly, I have a rub-on that sports the likes of Kent Tekulve, Ron Cey, Greg Luzinski, and Steve Kemp.  Any interest?  GCRL maybe?  Cey is in a Cubs uniform, so maybe not?
I don't know who Steve Kemp is, but Cey was given his nickname because he moved like a penguin, Luzinksi looked more like an offensive guard than a baseball player, and Tekulve had one of the strangest/best deliveries in my opinion.  What a collection of ballplayers!

Thanks for stopping by!