Friday, January 31, 2014

Cubs Convention Calendar: January

My buddy, Jeff, sent me a copy of the 2014 Cubs Calendar - Convention Edition.  I'm guessing this was a freebie from the recent Cubs Convention in Chicago during weekend of January 17-19.  I'm always in favor of surprise mail offerings and I was in need of a good calendar.  Thanks, Jeff!

So, let's dive in one month at a time.  Thankfully, we still have one day of January left before we need to turn the page.
 Each month's picture has a caption at the bottom, but this one did turn out so well from my photograph.  It reads, On January 23 and 30, 1944, the Norge Ski Club held their 38th Annual Invitational Ski Jump Tournament at Wrigley Field.

From what I know, P.K. Wrigley, the Cubs owner, was looking for any sort of revenue stream he could get his mitts on during the second World War and he was happy to have someone using the ballpark.  A slope was constructed from the press box area down toward home plate and skiers would land somewhere around second base.  From the picture you can see it looks like the field still had lines on it from football season, trees were brought in for aesthetics, and some snow was manufactured for the landing area. Pretty cool.

I've flipped through the calendar and the production staff did a nice job.  Actually, as JediJeff said recently, designing calendars has to be a pretty sweet gig.

As may know this is the Friendly Confines' centennial celebration and the designers in this case took a close look at the history of Wrigley Field for each month's photograph.  
Wrigley has a storied history that few ballparks can match and it'll be fun to blog about the pages as the year goes by.  There are some great photographs so be sure to come back next month!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Set Help from Waxaholic

Captain Canuck, the friendly blogger from the north and author Waxaholic, showed how appropriate his blog's title is with a recent trade package.  I was expecting sixteen '87 Topps card for my set, but he laid down some 1990 Donruss on me as well.
 Sure, the above picture may just look like nine cards in a standard page, but I assure you it is not.
Captain Canuck filled nine team bags and then taped them together to fit inside a 10"x12" padded mailer. Very creative!  He did a ton of damage to my '90 Donruss want list. 168 Donruss cards in all.  Now I only need twenty-two cards, but two of them are Ken Griffey and the Bartlett A. Giamatti tribute card.

What's even better was I was watching a lot of the "Grand Slammers" on eBay and Captain Canuck nearly knocked out the whole insert set by himself!  Woo-Hoo!

Thanks for the great surprise, Captain Canuck.  I hope the Braves I sent northward were to your liking!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Where's #4? I need your advice.

About a week ago I posted about three PWE from Wes, the author of Jaybarkerfan's Junk.  Wes numbered the back of each one, which makes it easy for me to know which one to open first.

Generally, I just open at will and don't think about it, but this new numbering system has me somewhat bamboozled.  I'm trying my best to maintain order and civility during the course of Wes' most recent barrage.

Here's what I've received on Monday (1/27):
PWE #6, postmarked 1/23, received on 1/27
PWE #7, postmarked 1/24, also received on 1/27.

Huh.  I've already cracked open #1, #2, and #3.  Now I have #6 and #7?

Yesterday (1/28) I received two more:
PWE #5, postmarked 1/22, received on 1/28
PWE #8, postmarked on 1/25, received on 1/28.

There's three days difference on the postmarked date, but the PWEs were delivered on the same day?  Seriously? It's 2014 and this still happens?

The better question is... "Where's PWE #4?"

As a high school teacher each spring the staff is on the lookout for the graduating seniors' class prank. I'm often asked by students what was the best prank I've heard of and I always refer back to the same story: Three pigs were let loose in a school and they were numbered 1, 2, and 4. Imagine the ensuing chaos as faculty, staff, and administration try to round up the pigs!  And then when things settle down, the confusion sets in, "Where's pig #3?"
 Perhaps you've heard of that one?  Some say it's urban legend. Regardless, I feel like I'm living it PWE-style.

Should I continue and open #5?  Or should I maintain my patience and wait for #4?  Following the above data, I can assume that PWE #4 was postmarked on 1/21.  It miiiiiight show up in today's mail, 8 days later. 

What if there is no #4? 

What would you do?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Second Verse, Same as the First

It's year three of Theo and Jed patrolling the front office at the Friendly Confines. The prospect lists are coming out and the (distant) future looks bright.

Why do I say distant?  Because I found and his "First Projections of 2014" post.
Huh, well lookie there.  The Cubs are still pegged for last place.  Oh, and when I say "last place" I actually mean they are projected to finish with the worst record in all of baseball next season. I guess that's what happens when your biggest off season acquisition is either Jonathan Sanchez, Tsuyoshi Wada, Justin Ruggiano, Ryan Kalish, Chris Coghlan, or Ryan Roberts. Yikes.

I actually like Sanchez and Wada.  I figure one of them should find themselves in the bullpen along side Jeff Russell as the lefty options for the new manager, Rick Renteria.  Ruggiano, Kalish, and Coghlan will end up being on the short side of a platoon if they're lucky.  My favorite from the group is Ryan "Tatman" Roberts.  I love a utility player with charisma.

Man, another year in the cellar?  I thought year three might be a little different, but early projections are saying the third verse will be the same as the first. Huh, I always thought it was, "Second verse, same as the first!"

Bah.  I need to find a more Cub-friendly forecasting site.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I thought I was done, but...

... the checklist I snagged from was missing a couple of cards from the '87 Topps set.
See what I mean?  Somewhere between Willie Wilson and Terry Francona should lie #784,  Cal Ripken.  You know the guy.  The man never missed a game in a 162 game season, yet somehow he's missing from this checklist.  Weird.  Just weird.  Fortunately, a local collector has already tracked down a copy of the Ripken for me.  How cool is that?  I haven't been able to swing a trade with a local collector in a little over two years.

Duff, from Bleedin' Brown and Gold, has #642 for me, which was also skipped over on the checklist.  I've never heard of Al Pulido before, so I will excuse the checklist makers for the error.

I was also missing #387, T.R. Bryden, from a trade package.  Again, a simply junk wax oversight from a fellow collector.  No biggie.  It just means I get to trade more!

So in summary, I thought the below trade package from AJ, The Lost Collector, was one of the last packages for my '87 Topps project.  Wrong.
I still need #387, T.R. Bryden .  Can anyone help me out?
Update (1/28/14): The set is complete!  The blogosphere is so clutch.   

In other news...
We have a new blog which I plan to frequent everyday for a good long while. Matt, from Once a Cub, does a really nice job of breaking down the Chicago Cubs cards on his blog: finding the Getty image depicted on the card and then matching it up to the box score from that game.  Now he's decided to undertake the same process for every Topps base card from Series 1, Series, and Update. 

I'm not going to buy any flagship this year, because I've decided to save my card collecting fund for a different set (TBD).  What's great about Matt's project is I still get to enjoy Topps' main product, at a very deep level, without blowing my card budget.  I can't wait!  Check out Matt's initial post at The 2014 Topps Blog.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

All My Kieschnicks

I betcha can't tell which blog I've been reading as of late.  Want a hint?  Well, take a look at that title again.  Need another?  Hat-tip to dayf who has inspired me to show off my all of Brooks Kieschnick cards.
Oh, and another hat tip to Wes, from Jaybarkerfan's Junk, for sending me my nineteenth different Kieschnick via the wonderment that is the PWE.

Kieschnick was drafted in 1993, which is about the same time I discovered the fairer sex and put my card collecting on pause.

Due to my collecting hiatus during the nineties, all of my Kieschnick cards have either been included in a trade package or picked up on Listia during the last two years.  I even "bipped" myself last spring with Brooks' card. 

Thank for the new card of Brooks, Wes! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Four Trades & the Joy of a Completed Set

Ryan, from "O" No! Another Orioles Blog, just knocked off the last four cards from 1989 Topps set.

I sent Ryan as many O's I could find from my trade box, and in return he packed a 200-count box of junk wax with foam and bubblewrap.  Man, I thought I was the only one who appreciated junk wax!  Thanks for the great care in packaging, Ryan.

Besides finishing off one set for me, Ryan also contributed a healthy amount of cards to my other set needs, including my now infamous 1987 Topps Project.

Bert, from Swing and a Pop Up, sent some '87 Topps...

As did Kyle, from Nolan's Dugout, ...

And so did a reader by the name of John H.

Man, make a silly request for junk wax and it seems as though everyone is ready and able to help out!  Thanks a bunch guys.  I hope each of you enjoyed the return trade packages I sent!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A PWE from the Lost Collector

Alright, I'm not pulling any punches on this one.  AJ, otherwise known as The Lost Collector, is a terrific trading partner.  I think we've reached the point that when we have enough to fill a small PWE we send it off and let the USPS do its thing.  I say that because I'm not so certain if this was part of a trade or just another pleasant surprise.
Kerry looks so weird in a Yankees uniform.  Especially so, since it's not their classic pinstripes.  Nevertheless, I'm always happy to add a liquorfractor cognac parallel to my collection.

Accompanying Kerry was a nice smattering of Cubs.  Todd Walker and Adrian Cardenas are a pair of former middle infielders that never really stuck in the Windy City.
The Fantasy Squad insert set from 2012 Opening day is one of my favorite inserts of the last decade AND Starlin Castro has stuck in the middle infield.  I was a big Soto fan and disappointed when he was traded to Texas, but I hear he is penciled in as the starting catcher for the Rangers.  Go get 'em in 2014, Geo!

Thanks for the Cubbies, AJ!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A card a day?

I've heard of "A Pack a Day" and there are a couple of examples around the blogosphere, including the uber-popular Tribecards from Outer Space project and the sometimes forgotten, yet aptly named, A Pack A Day blog.

But, a card a day?  Let me explain...

I sent Jaybarkerfan's Junk one card in the mail with a poorly thought out note attached.  I only say poorly, because I didn't think about how the King of PWEs might take the note.
The note's a little hard to read, but I previously scribed, "Because 1 card in the mail is better than No cards."  I believe this to be a true statement and I stand by it.    You guys know what I'm talking about.

Example: Oh, I beat my wife home from work!  I get to check the mailbox!  <scampers to the mailbox>  Oh.  Nothing but junk.  Not even junk wax.  <sulks back up the drive way to the house>

So, I send Wes, the author of Jaybarkerfan's Junk, one card in a simple PWE and he sends back the following:

You ever feel like you just poked a sleeping bear?  I think I just did.

I don't know if you can make it out, but he's even taken to numbering his PWEs now, which was helpful, because all three arrived on the same day.  The crazy thing is each one has a different postmarked date on them.  How does that happen?

Okay, I must admit, I opened all three in one sitting.  I'm a bad blogger.  I know.

I give you envelope #1:

Vintage!  Glorious PWE vintage!

Next up, envelope #2:

Yeah.  Roosevelt Brown is watching me?  Creapy.

And #3?

More vintage goodness!

Sometimes opening cards and writing a quick post in the morning before heading off to the salt mines makes the whole outlook to the day that much brighter.

Thanks for the lift, Wes!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Dime Box Trade

Nick, from Dime Boxes, and I hammered out a quick trade involving a modest-size stack of 1975 SSPC cards.  Basically, I gave Nick the freedom to send back whatever he thought was fair.  These are my favorite kind of trades, because I really never know what to ask for in return OR what my trading partner has in their collection.

Nick?  Well, he has a little bit of everything in his collection.  For instance, a 50-cent 1975 George Brett rookie card.  Granted, it's been through a washing machine and it cost five dimes (instead of the normal 1 dime), but that's one sweet looking card!

How about some cards that didn't go through the washing machine?  Sure!  Let's dive in!

Floating heads from 1979! 

Here's a couple of Hall-of-Famers who share a retired number.

Nick seems to have a knack for picking up cards that feature shots that you don't see all the time.  For example, it's not often you'll find a card of a pitcher bunting.  But, take a look at the back of the Maddux card!
A pitcher sliding into third base? I bet this was the only card manufactured in 1991 that boasts such a shot!

Here's a couple more Hall-of-Famers.  This is the 695th unique Sandberg in my collection.  Coincidentally, Nick also sent me the State parallel late in 2013.
I don't have an official collection of The Hawk, and I'll never approach the levels of my sister's Andre Dawson collection, but this oddball is a welcome addition to my binders.

Here's one of the state parallels from the Hometown Heroes set that I mentioned a second ago.
Shawon Dunston, Sr.  Yep, I need to differentiate because his son is playing in the Cubs' farm system.

Here's another Dawson card and an Action Packed card of arguably the second best offensive second baseman in Cubs history: Billy Herman.

If you're a Cubs fan you're pretty much a collector of Ernie Banks and Billy Williams' cards by default.  I don't have many of either player, but rest assured they do have their own pages in my binders.  All four of the below cards are new to me.  Very nice!

Here's a pair from the last decade who I frequently rooted hard for.  Derrek Lee was one of the good guys of baseball.  No doubt.  Big Z?  Well, let's just say I prefer to remember the good times, and this Biography card celebrates him homering in his 100th win.  Good times for sure.

Do you need a break from the Chicago Cubs?  Okay.  But, just this once.
Nick, you are correct!  I haphazardly collect only a few non-Cubs, which include the likes of Abbott, Jackie Robinson, and Bo Jackson.
I must say, the checklist from 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes might be the best I've seen in a while.

Speaking of the best I've seen in a while...  On the left we have the last offensive Rookie of the Year to sport a Cubs jersey, Jerome Walton from 1989.  On the right is possibly the next one we'll see?  Yeah. I know it's a bit of a stretch, but if you have another helping of Cubbie Kool-Aid maybe you can see it, too?

Let's transition from young guys to an old guy from when he was young. I have a few of Jamie Moyer's rookie cards, but this is my first issue from Fleer.
Moyer was known as quite a soft-tosser and on the other side of the spectrum there's Kerry Wood.
Nope, I never wonder who Kerry Wood's final strikeout victim was in his record-tying 20-K performance. Why not?  Because I know it was Derek Bell.  It's forever etched in my mind. 

Hayden Simpson, the Cubs' first round pick in 2010, was supposed to help us all forget Kerry Wood. 

Talk about an epic fail.  Simpson was released last spring and threw up a 3.00 WHIP in the Frontier League in 2013.  For those of you not in the know, that's not very good.

Parallels?  Yeah, you know Nick sent some parallels!
A red Nate Schierholtz and a gold of Kim DeJesus' husband.  Schierholtz will hopefully be a major contributor for the entire 2014 season.

I'm counting on a big rebound season for the Anthony Rizzo in 2014 as well.  Nothing crazy, but a 0.270 average and 25+ homeruns would be a nice start.

Lastly, my favorite card from the trade package.  A red parallel of Welington Castillo's 2013 Panini Prizm card.  What a beautiful card!
Beef or Welly, whatever nickname you want to peg him with, is quickly becoming one of my favorite Cubs.  It helps that he played a year in Peoria and I got to cheer for him on a regular basis.

Well folks, you probably were wondering when this trade package would end. What's crazy is I only took pictures of maybe a third of the cards.  Talk about your generosity!

Nick, this was a fantastic return trade and is greatly appreciated.  I hope you enjoy those '75 SSPCs!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cats, Prowling and Otherwise

Zenus, from The Prowling Cat, is another one of the dozen or so bloggers who volunteered to help me with 1987 Topps Project.  I sent off some inserts to help out his 2013 Topps Opening Day Set and he chipped in with an '87 Topps Barry Bonds and Nolan Ryan. 
Zenus also threw in some bonus Cubs.  I love me some Leon Durham, The Penguin is Talking to a Fish, and Goose is sporting some seriously fun facial hair.

A gold Chuck McElroy?  Jody Davis Sportflic?  Talk about mixing it up a bit!
This '84 Batting & Pitching Leaders is one of my favorites.  I already had one in my Jenkins collection and now I can slide one into the Moreland section of my binder.  Very nice.   A sticker of Carmelo Martinez is something I never would have expected.  This must be from his rookie year, perhaps a 1984 edition?

Zenes, you're one cool cat.  Thanks for the awesome trade package and helping out with my '87 Topps Project!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Meet the Heat: a Nachos Grande Trade Post

Meet the Heat?  Huh, so this is what I missed when I was using my discretionary funds to buy college textbooks rather than '90s cardboard.

Man, I need to get on this bandwagon and make a card to send in trade packages.  Chris, the author of Nachos Grande, is pictured above on his own mini A&G baseball card above.  He also sent the below note when shipping off some junk wax for my '87 Topps Project
Good Luck?  Ha!  The set is complete! Um... well, I still have to wait for the rest of the cards to trickle in. 
The above picture is Nachos Grande's contribution to my '87 Topps set.  Obviously, Chris did more than his share to help me complete the 792 card set.  Thanks for your help, Chris!

You can see that the top card in the package is the backside of the Meet the Heat spring training contest card, which is featured at the top of the post.  Chris used four of these to help "pad" the very expensive junk wax in our most recent transaction.  The winner of the contest would go to spring training in 1999 and visit the World Series winner from the previous season: the Yankees.  Ugh.

On a happier note, I'm actually going to spring training in Arizona to watch my last place Cubs from 2013.  I can't wait to meet the heat!