Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Re-Gifting Success Story

I guess it was probably early July when my wife and I made it up to the south suburbs of Chicago to visit her parents, attend her 20th high school reunion, and meet up with her old high school tennis partner, who was in the class behind her. We've gone out with Laura's former tennis partner and her husband a couple of times in past and they are good people. They lived in Denver for a while, moved to southern Illinois for a spell, and now are back in my wife's hometown raising their young daughter.
When we walked in the door to their home I met Brian, the husband, with a handshake and he pointed me to three large boxes. "These are for you."

Say what?  "Yeah. We've been doing some cleaning and they need to go."

"I don't know if there's much value here, but I'm sure you can find something to do with them."

Cards were piled about four to five inches deep in each box and in some cases there were other boxes, binders, and cases on top of the cards. Oddly enough, I have the basketball version of that binder in my collection, which I found at an estate about six months ago. Small world.

Well, I sorted. And I sorted. I had piles of basketball, football, hockey, and baseball all over the place. Plus oddballs cards featuring non-sporting cards. I had to see what I had been gifted!

Then it hit me. These are a guy's childhood memories: oddball cards, ticket stubs, a couple of autographs and other cool pieces of memorabilia. AND, he just gave them to me to do what I wanted. 

So I began to sort with a purpose: things to put together for Brian and the rest that I would absorb into my collection.
The above picture is just the baseball cards AFTER I pulled the cool cards for Brian.

I decided to keep the baseball binder and pulled out the basketball equivalent from my collection and started placing cards into pages. 
 I was able to find some nice cards of star players and the first few pages highlighted the best of the best.
 I found a couple team sets of the expansion Rockies and decided to throw those into the pages. I could tell Brian was a fan of the Rockies and Broncos by the cards in the collection. Which makes sense, because he did grow up in Colorado.
 On the back of one of Brian's personal business cards I found Joe Girardi's signature, so I placed that in a sleeve next to a card of Joe.
 There were also some random SI for Kids cards and some 7-11 coins.
I don't know much about hockey or astronauts, but they made the binder, too.
 I found lots of basketball star power to put into the pages. And after much sorting I found Brian was only a handful of cards away from completing the '92-'93 Upper Deck basketball set AND the McDonald's giveaway basketball set from the same year.
I purchased about two dollars worth of singles from, completed the sets, and put them in the binder as well.
 I also purchased a few four and six pocket pages from my LCS so I could place some more oddballs and ticket stubs in the binder.
It was fun. Probably more fun than I should have had with a collection so eerily close to my own. I'm currently in the midst of my third stint through the hobby and the cards from Brian's collection mirrored the same years I collected during my first two times. I now have lots of repeats of sets I have already completed!

In all, there was somewhere between seven and eight thousand cards in Brian's collection. The binder I made for him had about six hundred cards or so, and I'm hoping I picked out the correct six hundred to maximize his enjoyment as he flips the pages through memory lane.

I dropped off the binder last weekend when Laura and I went to visit her parents last weekend. Brian and his family were out so we left the binder in a box on the porch.

A few hours later my wife got a nice text from her friend conveying Brian's thanks and how he was excited to flip through the binder.

Smiles all around. It was a re-gifting success.

I just wanted to share my little story and I hope it all makes you smile, too. This hobby of ours is great is so many ways. But, it sure is hard to beat the memories from your childhood and the friends we make along the way.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Vogelbach as You've Never Seen Him Before

So, yeah.  This is circulating around the internet.
That's the VOGELMONSTER sporting the Chris Farley as a Chippendale on Saturday Night Light look for the Mariner's rookie dress up day.  (Hat-tip to my buddy Vince for alerting me of this!)

If you're not sure who I'm referring to in the picture, then it's the guy that looks like this:

I think he nailed it. No?  I hope they didn't make the VOGELMONSTER dance!

And if you've got about five or six minutes to kill, then here's a link to the full skit: click here.

Man, I miss Chris Farley.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoying a laugh!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Apparently the White Sox Are Chicago's Team

So I walk down the stairs of my in-law's house, in the south suburbs of Chicago, and my mom-in-law hands me a sheet of uncut baseball baseball cards from this morning's paper. I was still wiping the sleep out of my eyes, but once my eyes focused I was quite alarmed.

See for yourself:

One Cub?  Seriously?
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
Ron Santo is the lone representative from the north side. Honestly, I'm a little surprised Robin Ventura didn't make it. Perhaps it has something to do with Ronnie playing his last games for the White Sox.
The Chicago Tribune's Greatest Baseball Team of all Time was voted on by the Tribune's readership. For those who live in our "great" state I know I don't need to rehash Illinois' voting and political history. Some things don't change I guess.

Here's the one selection I really can't argue with at all:
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
Yeah, the Big Hurt makes Frank Chance and Mark Grace look like amateurs.

But, somehow the voters left off the likes of Ryne Sandberg and Ernie Banks (among others) from the team. Nellie Fox and Luke Appling were great ballplayers and I can see them garnering some votes over the aforementioned duo. But still, it raises a few eyebrows.

But, in my mind the most glaring omission was Billy Williams. Ron Kittle in left field over Billy Williams?  Wow. Kittle's career WAR was 4.7 and Billy Williams had a WAR of that amount or higher in six separate individual seasons!  How in the world could Kittle get voted in over Williams?  Again . . . vote early and vote often.

I shouldn't complain. I stopped reading the Chicago Tribune when they started charging for their on-line content and by the looks of the roster I'm thinking many Cubs fans did the same. It is what it is, but the lopsided results of the composition of the team are a little astounding!

I'm sure JediJeff will have something to add to the discussion and I'm hoping Wrigley Wax creates a digital custom card of Billy Williams to correct this glaring omission.

Please share your thoughts below!

Edit: RIP Jose Fernandez. He seemed like a fellow who was just coming into his own as a leader and was also on the cusp of becoming one of the elite pitching talents in MLB.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cards for Me, Cards for You

I've done a little subbing around the high school during my planning period early this semester. So far I have filled the shoes of a math teacher, English teacher, and special education teacher in a co-taught classroom. It's interesting to walk into different classrooms and meet new students, plus the extra pay I receive I put toward cardboard.

This little gem came in the mail today.
 I found a seller who ship everything, no matter how many auctions I won, for $3.50.
 I won TWENTY-FOUR auctions and the seller was kind enough to upgrade me to a box and send bonus cards!
Well, okay. They're junk wax which was used to help the package in transit.  Not exactly a bonus.
That's a Ruben Sierra Diamond King under Gus' tail. Not that you were interested.

From what I hear Topps made 250 Blue Sapphire Chrome sets and this seller was doing a set break.
 I put minimum bids on forty-one cards and some higher bids on others.
 The auctions were set to come to a close during the time I was scheduled to video tape the high school football game for the coaching staff last Friday night.
 I lost many of the auctions that I only put the minimum bid on, but I won my fair share as well.
 My phone was lighting up with e-mails during the game proclaiming "Got Away" and "You Won". During breaks in the action I had just enough time to see which I secured and which I was outbid on. It was kind of fun!
 I thought I could send a few Dodger cards to Night Owl, because these cards look super sweet in hand with the blue tint. But, sadly, I lost every Dodger auction and was shut out on a couple of the other teams as well.
 In all, I won the eleven Cubs cads above and a baker's dozen for my blogging buddies.
Brian will get this Twins team card AND the Vargas base. But, I think BWTP will be the most satisfied as I was able to win five auctions for him. I guess there isn't much competition for Pirates cards out there?

Other notables in the box . . . Lucroy & Scooter, a Lamb and some guy named Waino. All the cards will be sent out soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Woof and a Brew

The VOGELMONSTER made his MLB Debut on September 12th so I treated myself to a bit of a shopping spree.

Of the cards I purchased this was the big one:
 Woof.  It's a graded and autographed Bowman Sterling card of the VOGELMONSTER!

"Woof." I think that's what TLC and ZZ would say in such a scenario. Not bad for $7.50 shipped. I'll take that everyday and twice on Sundays.

On to the brew.

I wanted to pick up a six pack to bring to my friend's house for Monday Night Football. Oh, and if you haven't heard . . . the Bears are NOT good. (I'm predicting a top 5 draft pick.)

Anyways. I was looking for O'Fallon Wheach, because a good fruit wheat beer is hard to find in these parts. But, right next to the Wheach in the cooler was this:
Lionstone Peanut Butter Back 40 Wheat Ale. For the record, I love anything peanut butter. We usually run out of spoons in the flatware drawer first because I can't help but take a spoonful of peanut butter when I pass through the kitchen. I think I need a 10-step program. It's that bad.

The beer?  Nope. I tried one, was able to get it down and I left the rest of the six pack in my friend's refrigerator. It was very peanut buttery. Supposedly, it should be paired with doughnut holes or fruit pizza. My friend said I should pour it over a slice of break and make a PB&J sandwich. I'll try anything once, but I won't be trying this beer a second time.

That's it from Central Illinois where everyone is thinking baseball. It's a fun time of year.

Have a good conclusion to your week and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#Supertraders from the Great White North

Unannounced packages are the best and I think that's one of the top two reasons I like being a part of the #Supertraders group.

This one arrived last Friday and comes from Douglas, the mind behind the ever enjoyable read known as Sportscards From the Dollar Store.

It also comes with a bit of a taste from America's neighbor to the north.  See, here's the other side of the cards shown above:

And as one might expect there was some O-Pee-Chee cards included, too.  Nice!
 This is a 1994 O-Pee-Chee advertisement, but is number 7 of 25. Twenty-five different variations on an advertisement for a individually numbered, jumbo, gold stamped twenty-five card factory set?  Craziness!

 There were lots of cards in the mailer including one for my Doug Dascenzo player collection.

 Here's a cool shot of Big Z breaking his bat during a swing. I figure he cracked it on contact and it broke over his shoulder, right? I know he was strong, but breaking a bat over your shoulder is not an easy order. I like the Upper Deck X Soriano as well. So much blue and red!

 How about a couple of nice gold framed Gypsy Queen cards of Cubs Hall-of-famers?  Sweet!

There was a quality grouping of Fleer Ultra cards from my high school days, back when I did not collect. These filled a nice gap in my Cubs collection.

Lastly, I'll leave you with an auto. Topps flooded the market with autos of this player in 2014 and 2015, yet this is my first one.  And what a beauty it is!
This is a 2014 Bowman Sterling autograph of Carl Edwards, Jr.  Edwards has been in the Cubs bullpen for most of the second half of the season, and I'd argue he has the filthiest stuff in the pen. Sure Strop and Rondon have nasty sliders and Chapman can light up a gun, but Edwards has a starter's repertoire, including a 12-to-6 curve that buckles knees, and his fastball has movement. He is one tough cookie to hit.

Thanks for the nice surprise, Douglas!  Good luck to your Mets as they try to secure a playoff spot!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

I wanted to go to a card show . . .

But the entire state of Illinois didn't have one to offer. Usually I can bank on the suburbs to host at least one show, but the closest to me this weekend is in Urbandale, Iowa. I've been to that show once before, but at the time I was able to pair it with an Iowa Cubs game. The nearly 8 hour round trip drive seemed worth it to me because minor league baseball is awesome.

I simply can't justify it today. Thankfully, I've been saving a yellow padded mailer from Judson just for this occasion. Judson held a man room/card cave contest on his blog, My Cardboard Habit, and I came away with first place!

Prize packages are cool! (Especially when you were hoping to hit a card show and drop some coin on some Cubs cards.)

Let's see what Judson sent.
 Boom!  Right out of the gate we have new card to add to a player collection. This one is a little trippy, but as a math/numbers guy I can get behind it. This is the 476th different Kerry Wood card to add to my collection.

Jake Arrieta picthed yesterday and was cruising along at about eleven pitches per inning through the first five frames. Three outs later we was over one hundred pitches. Yes, the Brewers were patient and lit him up during the sixth inning. Frustrating.
 The Cubs are going to need Jake to find his command if they hope to make a deep run into the play-offs.
 Hopefully he'll be able to harness the movement of his pitches and we'll see more celebrations like this one during the next six weeks. Love me some Stadium Club! Oh, and I should mention this is a black parallel. (My wife thinks it is no different from the base except that it had an unfortunate run-in with a black permanent marker.)

I've never been a John Lackey fan. He has a nice track record in the play-offs, but his personality comes off as a bit abrasive at times.  Maybe it's his constant "cowboy up" mentality.
Regardless of my feelings towards Lackey, I've been on the search for one of these prizm refractors from Topps Chrome since the product hit store shelves last month. If I was able to go to a card show today I definitely would have picked up one of these beauties.

Speaking of beauties . . . Stadium Club and Topps Chrome are two of my favorites this year. Stadium Club is known for its gorgeous photography and they delivered again this year. I'm not a big fan of the flagship design, but I really like it in Chrome. The smoke in the corners really looks cool with the chromey finish.

 Oh my.
 This is only my second auto of Anthony Rizzo. The other one I own is from 2009 TriStar Obak and Rizzo was wearing a Greenville Drive uniform on the card. I busted a few boxes of the product back in '09 and at the time was I disappointed with the Rizzo pull, because he was Single-A player for the Red Sox.  Oh, how things have changed! Wow, Judson.  You have outdone yourself!

 Card shows are always a great place to pick up cards that were never on one's radar, much like this 2016 insert of Kris Bryant. I'm assuming this one is from Archives or Heritage.  Yes? 

 I just picked up the Kyle Schwarber Perspectives card yesterday and now . . . 
Perspectives is my favorite insert set this year and they look so sweet on chrome stock. Beautiful.

Judson, my goodness!  What a package and just the pick-me-up I was looking for after I couldn't find a card show within driving distance.  Thanks!  Good luck to your Rangers in the play-offs this year!