Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The One(s) That Almost Got Away

I worked out a quick trade with Captain Canuck, the proprietor of Waxaholic, to finish off my 2014 Bowman set which was part of the prize from My Cardboard Habit, with the remaining cards being shipped off to It's Like Having My Own Card Shop and The Raz Card Blog. (Side note: plugs for four different blogs in one sentence is a new record for me!)

A PWE from the great white north arrived yesterday and I was pretty excited to rip it open, except for one thing:
There was already nice 2.5" rip at one of the ends of the envelope.  Yikes!  And worse yet, there was a card of sizable thickness peaking through!

Luckily for me Captain Canuck taped down the cards to a piece of cardboard or else I might have lost Ernie!

 Thankfully the cardboard was wider than the tear in the envelope.  Whew!
This a 2009 manu-patch commemorating when the Cubs hosted the All-Star game in 1962.  It's in really good condition despite it apparently craving a little fresh air during it's travels across the border.  I can't say that I blame it.  I honeymooned in Alberta and the air is super fresh up there and the scenery is oh so beautiful.

Ernie was accompanied by two other cards on his journey: one of which was the aforementioned Bowman card.

Woo-Hoo!  My set is complete!

And the other is the 2015 flagship card of a flying Jason Kipnis.

This card formerly resided in the side bar as one of my "Top 5 Most Wanted Cards".  Why?  Well, because I really liked the action shot.  I don't really have any other connection to Kipnis other than him carrying my fantasy team.

For what it's worth, the Flying Kipnis has been replaced by a hopeful addition to my Cubs FrankenSet: the 1964 Topps #233 Ken Hubbs In Memoriam card.  Thanks for the suggestion, HSCA.

Captain Canuck, thank you very much for some great cards!  Set help, a Flying Kipnis and an Ernie patch?  That's really tough to beat as far as PWEs go.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Introducing My Cubs FrankenSet

It's official: I have completely hashed through my entire collection and I'm ready to release the checklist for my Chicago Cubs FrankenSet.

Jaybarkerfan's Junk got me started on the idea when he sent the Wampa to attack me last fall.  It started as a binder with 10 pages completely filled (front and back) of Cubs cards placed in numerical order.  One hundred eighty cards in all, and there are probably a good hundred which still made the cut, but now the set is up to 671.

I know 671 is a different number, but I didn't know where to stop.  I knew I didn't want to stop mid page and I also knew that if I went too high the set would be dominated by Topps releases.  So, 671 it is!

I don't have too many rules for the FrankenSet, but here's what I do have:
1. The player can not be pictured in a non-Chicago Cubs affiliated uniform (minors are okay).
2. A player can not occupy more than one spot on a page.
3. No specific set may occupy more than one spot per page.

I've done well to follow #1 and #2, but I'm breaking #3 in some places.  Fleer used to place all the Cubs in a block on their checklists and I've had to dip into the Fleer well fairly often to fill some holes.

Here's page one, which is the way I try to start all of my Cubs binders.  Cubs stickers and logos!  Thanks to all who have sent me these!

Here's the first page of numbered cards: 1-9.
 It was really tough for ANY card to make the cut for the first 100 cards.  Think of how many sets have been produced!  Not every set has a checklist that reaches 300, but nearly all of them make it to triple digits.

You'll notice there is some nice variety there on the front page.  When in doubt I always took the off-brand and the bigger the name the better. I think the Cooperstown card of Harry Caray is my favorite on this page. A big thanks to Julie for that card!

There's a Sega-Gen card!  This is the first one that Zippy Zappy sent me and it is LOCKED in at number 222. It also doesn't hurt that Luis Valbuena is a personal favorite.
Cards 222-230
 Here's the first page missing a card: 231-239.
That blue chrome Eric Karros is a beauty, isn't it?  For the record, I have the Doug Dascenzo card in backwards because he's an outfielder who is pitching!

 Here's one of my homemade index cards to help keep track of the numbering. 
It's much easier locating a card with these "bookmarks" every fifty cards.  Oh, and there's that creepy Cubbie Bear from my last post.  Thanks, Jane!

The first card I'm missing is #233 and you can tell from the last picture I need #550 and #552.
In all I'm missing 32 out of the 671.  That's a 95.2% completion rate. Not bad.

The great thing about this project is even if I manage to fill all the slots I'll always be on the look out for upgrades.

For example, #556 is Will Ohman.  I am not an Ohman fan.  I thought he barked at the umpires too much and was too unreliable coming out of the pen.  I would love to throw Bobby Dernier, Matt Walbeck, or Mike Remlinger in that spot.  But that Will Ohman card is the only #556 in my collection.  So it goes.

So, with each trade package that comes in I'll inspect the cards to see if any of them can make the cut.  I've actually been doing this since December, but the set was still in its infancy back then.  The last huge package from JBF nearly killed the project!  It's time consuming but lots of fun in small doses.

If you think you can help, then please check out my list in the tool bar at the top.  If lists aren't your thing, then no worries, just send me Cubs anyways!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I've Come Into Some Cards

My sister collected cards with me back during the junk wax era.  (Heck, everyone in my family bought cards at one point: Mom invested in '89 UD and Dad chased the '89 Fleer set and that crazy Billy Ripken card.)
 I guess Jane has been splurging on packs here and there over the last couple of decades to the tune of five 800-count boxes worth of cards.  Yeah, lots of randomness is contained within and her cardboard loving brother is the beneficiary!

 I realize it's summer now, but this was truly a spring cleaning endeavor that my sister labored through.  Even though she took the time to sort all of her cards by teams, I have spent the better part of the last month going through the cards and filing them away into my system.
For starters, about 700 of the cards are from the 2011 Topps set.  I suppose I'll collate them and see if I can put together another set?  Meanwhile, here's a card that will take some of you back to the time of entering codes and digging up diamonds on Topps's website.

The next largest stack is what I would call a miscellaneous stack of sports.
I used to collect basketball and football cards, but that was past P-town Tom (circa 1990).  Present P-town Tom only dabbles in baseball. Hockey?  Golf?  NASCAR?  Yeah, they're all there and I have no idea what to do with them. I've pilfered a Hersey Hawkins card, who played his college ball in Peoria, but the rest are up for trade. Just speak up!

There were probably 75 to 90 cards of each MLB team amongst the five boxes, but you know how I roll.  Let's see those Cubs!
 The five cards above and the Maddux below are all new additions to my Cubs FrankenSet!
 I think the Season Highlights card with the "300 Career Victories" in the background is wonderfully done.  BUT, that Cubbie Bear card is so freaking fantastic.  Check out his eyes!  What's the opposite of cross-eyed?  Divergent strabismus?  Oh, I love mascots.

 More Maddux, including his Leaf and Donruss Rated Rookies.

 A couple of Mad Dog's Starting Lineup cards.  Very nice.

 A mini Starlin Castro from TriStar Obak to add to the informal player collection.
And one more Maddux card with Fergie from the Cubs publication, Vine Line, which celebrates the retiring of their number, 31.

Vintage!  Oh how glorious.  A couple of creases, rounded corners, and a pin hole located in the visor on the cap of the black and white photo.  Just wonderful!
 Ernie and Bill Herman on more recent productions: 1987 Nestle and 1979 TCMA.

Cards for my player collections!
 I had the Kosuke Fukudome on the left already, but now this one can go in the Cubs binder.  Somehow I was missing the ToppsTown edition. I'm up to 126 unique cards of Fukudome now!

A Brooks Kieschnick sighting!  Brooks' total is now at 32 Cubs cards.
For whatever reason I can't bring myself to peal the plastic film.  C'est la vie.

And now for the last card and a mini rant.
This is a 2010 Topps 206 framed mini bat relic of Kerry Wood.  It's new to my collection and GREATLY appreciated!  I guess my sister pulled this from a pack. How cool is that? It's the seventeenth relic that I have of Kerry and the 396th card of his in my collection. 

Now, the mini rant.

At this point in his career Kerry Wood was used exclusively as a relief pitcher, and we're not talking middle relief where he might get an at-bat.  Plus, he's pitching in the AL, where he would only get a plate appearance during interleague play in an NL park.   Let's take a look at Wood's batting line:
 When exactly is this "Game Used Bat" relic from?  It's not from 2009, which is the year a typical 2010 card looks at.  He only had one at-bat from the 2007 and 2008 seasons combined.  Do closers and set-up men even have their own bats?  The last game Wood started was in 2006, so my guess is it's from this year.

I suppose spring training could be another option.  Eek.   That removes the allure a bit doesn't it?  A game used bat sliver from spring training!  Ooooh-Ahhhhh!

Just call me a doubting P-town Thomas. 

End mini rant.

Jane, thanks for all of the cards!  Your brother will make good use of them for sure!
Blogosphere, the trade trade box in the man room is fully stocked and sorted by team! You saw the randomness withing the displayed Cubs cards.   Let me know of your interest!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I'd Walk The Plank for Those Cards!

I've reached that point in a cardboard relationship where I don't know where I'm at.  You guys/gals know what I'm talking about?  It's one of those things where it started out as an actual trade with details worked out through an e-mail, but since then it has morphed into a give and take of PWEs and small padded mailers.  There was a point at which I think I was caught up and I didn't owe a return package, but I was probably just kidding myself.  I'm constantly pondering, "Is it my turn to send a package or are things squared away now?"  I don't wan to be that guy and stiff a fellow blogger, so I just keep sending more Pirates cardboard to West Virginia.
Seriously?  Who doesn't like Hawk?
I've only had a couple of these types of exchanges with others around the blogosphere.  They are noted around the blogosphere for their Zippy Zappings and their monsters.  I gave up trying to keep track of whose turn it is with them.  I do make an honest effort though. 

I send stuff to Kenny as soon as I get enough prospect and/or Yankee material to fill a couple of empty wrappers.

JBF?  Yeah, try to keep the score even with him and you'll lose every time. EVERY. TIME.   I do try, but it's hard to compete with a guy who prints his own cards in the basement using Fleer's long abandoned printing presses. (I kid. I kid.)

Bob Walk the Plank has joined that little club.  Sorry Matt, there's no special membership card to carry or ceremony to announce you belong.  Although, you now have your own little section in my trade box!
Speaking of which, it looks like I'll have to dive into the trade box soon.  The Prior Press Proof and the Andre Dawson autograph is phenomenal!   I have an IP (in-person) auto of The Hawk in my collection and now a certified to join it.  Fantastic!

Thanks again, Matt! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cards I Used to Own (a gcrl inspired post)

gcrl had a nice post this morning about the cards he used to own and his feelings about them.  he has challenged the blogosphere to reminisce about cardboard past and it sounds like a fun exercise.  as an added bonus, i will pretend my caps lock and shift keys are broken in typical gcrl style. 

part 1: the big money cards

i buy a fair amount of wax and occasionally i'll pull down a nice hit.

this yu darvish 2012 topps archives autograph is probably the best hit i've personally ripped from a pack.
the card itself still has decent value, but i struck while the iron was hot and sold it on ebay.  i used the money to invest in more baseball cards of the chicago cubs variety.  no regrets whatsoever.

(aside note: it's actually pretty difficult to not use capital letters when typing. trying to do this consistently would drive me mad; my backspace keep is getting a workout!)

remember when topps had us all digging for diamonds back in 2011?

i flipped tony plush for three figures on ebay; looking at current ebay prices it seems that these cards have held there value nicely.  i thought about keeping the card at one point, but then decided it was silly to have a diamond embedded in a card.  besides, it wasn't a cub.  i like the laundry tags and buttons, because they're from the actually jerseys themselves, but the diamond really just doesn't fit in my mind's eye.

next up is a card i recently sent to jaybarkerfan's junk, and i'm quite happy i did.

i won this eddie mathews autograph card by participating in a sportlots.com contest about five years ago or so. the sportlots people would pick a card in their database and then give out clues for users to find it.  it was during the summer months when i won the mathews card and i was at a huge advantage because i could scour the internet for hours looking through stats and facts to help me win.  what else does a teacher have to do during the summer?

anyway, the card never really had a home in my collection, but it was a certified auto of a hall of famer so i figured it would make for some good trade bait down the road.  pairing the card with first edition of sports illustrated made for one heckuva of a return trade package!

the last card i'll add to this section is a keeper.

watching kris bryant autographs on ebay has been a guilty pleasure of mine the last few months, but no longer!
(it's been so long since i redeemed a card i completely forgot about the red hot rookie of mike minor)

chris, from nachos grande, pulled the 2015 topps archives redemption for me!  let the waiting game begin, which you may have seen on the right side bar. 

part 2: the sentimental

the last card for this post is by far my favorite of the bunch.  actually, it may be my favorite card in my collection.  that is not meant to be a slight on any of the cards that i may have received from you, my blogging brethren, through trades and the like.

but like many of you, i was a card collecting kid, went on hiatus for a decade or more and then came back to the hobby.  this card takes me back to the days before adulthood.

this card was part of my very first peoria chiefs team set.  i loved that set, had it in a binder, and had every player's name and face committed to memory.  eleven year old me was an autograph hound and back then i had no trouble collecting autographs, but i was only after the players.  a card with pete and harry didn't really draw my interest.

some time in the early 1990's my family attended a cubs game at wrigley field.  i'm still not sure how he did it, but my dad was able to secure a brief moment of time with harry caray.  my dad had the card with him and harry's pen reads, "holy cow! harry caray".   every cub fan knew of harry caray.  i was so stoked.

it didn't strike me until much later to ask pete vonachen, the "father of minor league baseball", for his autograph. 

fast forward a good ten years or so . . . i was still single, but i had started my career, and i was attending peoria chiefs baseball games at a huge clip.  my sister, who was an intern for the chiefs, would help score my friend and i tickets.  we would usually go down to the park, have a couple of adult beverages, look at the talent (on and off the field) and then finish the evening in downtown p-town.  sometime during the summer of 2002, when i briefly entered the hobby long enough to discover topps total, i asked pete for his autograph. i would always say "hi" to pete on the concourse.  even though i was just another fan to him, he was one of those people who i have always held in very high regard: he brought baseball and managed to keep the game i love in peoria!

it's hard to top a card which has ties to myself as a young collector, my dad, the cubs, the chiefs, and pete & harry.

zippy zappy posted the other evening about his top ten cards and which ones he would take to the grave with him.  the kris bryant auto?  meh.  i'm mostly just excited because i didn't think i would ever have the opportunity to own one.  i am a card collector on a budget afterall.   the pete & harry card?  YEP!

shoot.  i almost made it the whole post without using any capital letters.  :)   

thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Archives Case Break Mojo

My portion of the Nachos Grande 2015 Topps Archives case break arrived yesterday, and I must say that I am pretty pleased my haul!

For a modest fee I was able to pick up the Chicago Cubs and I was given one random team, which wound up being the World Champion Giants.  Not a bad team to pull through randomization if you ask me!

The Giants actually did really well, including a master set as well as three additional bases sets.

I traded the Will Ferrell Giants card to Nachos Grande, but otherwise I think he pulled every Giant insert card and a JT Snow autograph to boot!  Additionally, there's a gold parallel (#'d to 50) of Buster Posey and a Hoyt Wilhelm SP.  Man, those SPs are crazy hard to pull!

I don't really have a place for Giants in my collection so I've already worked out a trade to ship them off to ARPSmith.

I'm sure he'll enjoy them!

I'll save you the boredom of the five card Cubs base set, as it has already been broken down over at Wrigley Wax. So, on to the inserts!

First up, we have the Rookie Cup cards in the 1990 Topps design.  It seems like Topps is on the Baez bandwagon and it's nice to have a little variation, so I was glad Soler was given a card in this insert set.

Wrigley Wax showed off the 1968 Game cards as well, but I had to show them again because they are so neat.
 Topps takes a bunch of heat from the blogging community for many of its decisions or lack of thought, but they nailed these two cards.  Baez displayed last year in his brief call-up that he was a prolific strike out artist, and Rizzo is leading the league in in being struck by pitches.  Nice job, Topps.

Here's the Will Ferrell card and a 1972 Topps buyback card of Paul Popovich.  I'm not really sure what to do with the buyback card.  What do you guys/gals do with yours?
 I think everyone has seen the front of the ten different Will Ferrell cards, so here's the back of his Cub card.
 I like that they have his full playing career day on the back and his listed weight is pretty hilarious!

There are FIVE short prints in this year's Archives, which makes it nearly impossible for a team collector on a budget to knock out.  Argh.   But in my opinion Chris pulled something even better . . . autographs!
The autographs on the 1989 design do look really nice.  No?

 I have a couple of Grace signatures in my collection, but this is my first certified autograph.  This is my third Prior autograph and it's a shame he's already considered eligible for the Fan Favorites Autographs.  I'm not arguing his selection, but he's only 34 and if it weren't for injuries he should be contributing for some MLB team.

And now the big dog! FYI, Kris Bryant's autographs are going for outlandish prices.
To be completely honest, the main reason I entered the Nachos Grande case break was just for a chance to pull this card.  I never actually thought it would happen, and after coming up empty in the first seven boxes I had resigned to the fact that I was going to be shut out.  Then box #8 happened and it was victory lap time!

I put in the redemption code this morning and now the waiting game begins.  My LCS owner said that a customer pulled a Topps Finest Bryant redemption and that individual called Topps and asked when he might see his card. The answer he was given was in the September to October range.

I must have patience, which shouldn't be a problem.  I'm a Cub fan so I have a lifetime of patience!  Right?
(No, seriously.  Topps, don't cross me.)

Thanks for hosting the group break, Chris!  I know that they can be a lot of work, but you have one VERY happy customer in P-town!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Quick Trip to KC for Baseball & BBQ

Two posts ago I mentioned that I was going to meet George Brett.  Um, yeah . . . about that . . . Two of my really good friends, one of which is a stalker of Brett die-hard Royals fan, bid on a silent auction to attend the Royals' game on June 20th.  Through third party information they thought they were bidding on box seats, on-field passes, and a meet-n-greet with the Hall of Fame slugger.  As it turns out there were some wires crossed and they ended up with seats in the shade for a 95 degree scorcher.  Not a bad consolation prize, because returning to P-town with heat stroke after a 350 mile drive is not my idea of fun.

So, here's as close as I got to Mr. Brett: 

I suppose it's all for the best, because as I stated before, I don't have the innate ability to form complete sentences around professional athletes without looking like a bumbling idiot.

It was my third trip to "The K" and as always I had to indulge in some of 'Merica's best barbecue beforehand.  This time it was Arthur Bryant's.
 The line was about fifty or so people deep, it curled outside, and it continued to form down the street.   It was already after one o'clock, but my friend and I stood and waited patiently as our stomachs reminded us of how hungry we were each time we took a deep breath to enjoy the free smells.  We could tell we were in for a treat.
It was a no frills restaurant, but the food was the thrill.  I enjoyed the "Pig on a Bun" sandwich, which combined later with an adult beverage at the game, was enough to feed me the rest of the day.  They don't mess around with their barbecue in Kansas City!

 After lunch we had about two hours to kill so we went a couple of blocks down from Arthur Bryant's and toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.  This was my second time through the museum, but Jim's first.
 I love baseball history, anecdotes, memorabilia, and learning.  I felt right at home.
 It's a really well done museum, but my favorite part is the scaled down baseball field in the middle of the exhibit which contains life-size statues of The Negro League's best players by position.  Satchel Paige is my favorite!  He seems like he was quite the character and quite a pitcher in his day!

After our tour through the museum we checked into our motel, cranked up the AC, and made our way to ballpark.

They Royals renovated Kauffman Stadium before the 2009 season to the tune of $250 million, and overall they did a wonderful job, but there are still some places which leave me shaking my head.
  For instance, we found this guy at one of the main gates "resting in the shade", but if you ask me it looks as though he's already been sentenced to spend the game in Royals Jail.  AmIright?

I always like to take pictures at any ballpark and one of the fountains in the outfield surprised me on this shot.
Would it have been too much to allow the fans access to the fountains on such a hot day?

 If you recall, I like to celebrate the checking off each new MLB stadium from my list.  As I said before, this was not my first trip to see the Royals, but I didn't have a bobblehead on my shelf until now.  Thank goodness for promotions!
This bobblehead depicts a great moment in Game 3 of the 2014 ALCS.  If you didn't see the play, then take the time to watch the twelve second video below.

My favorite part of Saturday's game was when Mike Moustakas came through with an RBI single in the sixth inning.  Hearing 39,000+ Royals fans bellow Mooooooooooooooooooooose was just great!  If Moustakas was a Cub, then he definitely would be my favorite player.  Hands down.

Overall, it was a great getaway trip to the Kansas-Missouri border.  Seeing Jeff and Nichole again was probably the highlight, but the barbecue, museum, game, and talking baseball with Jim during the car ride are all right up there.

As always, thanks for stopping by!