Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Junk Wax Transforms into PC Card

Sometime back Peter, from Baseball Every Night, mentioned how he was looking to build the 1992 Topps set. Well, the '92 set was right toward the end of my prime collecting years during my first trip through the hobby. I busted a ton of wax with my paper route money back then and hand collated two regular sets and one set of the gold "winners". When I returned to hobby I decided with so many duplicates that remained I might as well finish off a third set.

I know. I know. That's a LOT of junk wax from one year. The fourteen year old version of myself truly enjoyed ripping open packs, probably more so than I do presently. And, that's really saying something!

Anyway, back to Peter's chase of the 1992 Topps set. He's got a nice want list up on his blog. So, I sent him some junk wax without expecting anything in return. 

But, well, we all know Peter. And if you don't, then you should really make the effort to introduce yourself. He's a super fun follow on Twitter and an excellent trade partner

I received an unexpected PWE last week and when I opened it up there was a nice little reminder of why Peter was sending me cardboard. Honestly, since I've turned 40 I've noticed I don't remember a darned thing unless I write it down.
Boom! My 858th unique Ryne Sandberg card. Woo-Hoo! For the record, thirty-three different people have now helped my Sandberg player collection by trading me cards. Pretty cool.

Wow, that's a trade I would gladly make again! Thanks for Ryno, Peter!

Glad I could help. Cheers!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I Met My Second Blogger!

My wife went to her parents' place to help paint a bathroom and I stayed local and went to a card show in Normal. Already, this story is starting off on a good note.  Oh, and yes, the city's name is Normal, which in itself is not normal if you ask me.

I arrived about an hour after the show started and found five dealers had set up in the side room attached to the only brick and mortar shop in the college town. I spent about an hour digging through the dime boxes at one of the dealers. Actually, the sign read, "10 for $1 or 100 for $5." You don't have to be a math teacher, like myself, to understand those aren't really dime boxes, but nickel boxes. I came out with 212 cards, and some other odds and ends, like the three metal tins I fit all the cards in, for a ten spot. Good deal! Not quite Dime Box Nick status, but I was rather pleased!
You may be thinking, where's the pictures of the cards? Sorry folks, no pictures from the nickel boxes, because about 95% of the cards are earmarked for bloggers I either owe cards to or others who I hope to trade with in the future. I don't want to ruin the surprise. 😁

I made some 5 for a $1 purchases at another table and then skipped two of the other dealers. One was intentional, as he only carries high-end modern stuff that I really don't have much use for.

The other dealer I did NOT intend to skip. I've never seen him before, and he had old vintage, in poor condition selling at 10% of the listed book value. I was going to buy my first Mantle, Mays, and Musial for my Hall of Fame binder, and then empty out the rest of my wallet at the end of my time at the show to snag for HOF names. I told him I would be back, but I had to make my other purchases first, because I couldn't empty my wallet at the first table I stopped!

Well, sometime in the middle of my nickel box dig he started packing up and I didn't notice because I was in the middle of nickel box dig. I caught him when he was nearly done packing, almost three hours 'til the end of the show, and he said he had other places to be. I was disappointed and he was rather short with me. His tone hurt, but missing out on the fuzzy corners, creases, holes, and stains of vintage Mickey Mantle hurt more.

Alright, let's end finish this post on a positive note! I met my second blogger. My first was Matt, the author of the recently rejuvenated Once a Cub blog, and that encounter happened at a South Bend Cubs game a couple of summers ago.

Mike, also a Cubs guy, just started his blog called WaxPackHero back in December. I bought mostly some trade bait at his table, but was also able to find some Cubs I didn't have including a new Ryne Sandberg card. Behold!
The above card is an insert card the the 2016 Panini Diamond Kings release, entitled The Heritage Collection. It's a little dark, but a nicely designed card overall.

I found some reprints of the big name guys, Billy and Ernie, to add to their binders.

 I love early 80s Donruss and this Fergie is no exception. Man, and take a look at that 1977 Kellogg's 3-D Super Star of Bill Madlock. Barely starting to curve and not a crack in it! 

Current Cubs!
 Edwards will hopefully be a force out of the pen in 2018. I'm not sure the role Zagunis will play, but I'm sure he'll be up from Iowa the first time an outfielder hits the disabled list.

 Gold Label. Beautiful.
Some cards just don't scan or photo well and this Rizzo is one of them.

How about some non-Cub stuff?
 These will all go in my Hall of Fame binder. The Lefty Grove is my favorite, mostly because he doesn't have many cards and the color on this one is fantastic. I've never seen cards like the Niekro before. The flags flanking Niekro's head have me wondering where this photo was taken.
 Uniforms. Aren't older uniforms the best?

I had fits trying to secure the right angle for this Hank Aaron hologram card and just gave up when my cat got in the way.
When the angle is right the true colors of the picture really pop, but otherwise it looks very much like a rainbow in the middle of a cold and dreary January day. 

Randy Johnson cards are something I rarely pass up.
 He was The Man on the mound and seemed like a pretty fun character off it.

Lastly, we have an Austin Meadows card from the 2015 Stars N' Stripes release from Panini. 
I built this set from packs and may even have this card already, but the contrasting colors of the Crusade cards are so sharp I had to pick this one up. I think Meadows is a decent NL ROY candidate in 2018. We'll see!

There were more cards in my haul from Mike's table, but those are ticketed for trade packages. I felt really good about my purchases from his table and I was glad we were able to talk cardboard and blogging a little bit. Meeting a blogger, face-to-face, is always an exciting experience!

His blog may only be a couple months old, but he has excellent reading material up there already. My favorite is his post about his 2018 Purchase Plan, which includes buying two cases of eight different Topps products and trying to turn a profit on the whole experience. That should be a fun follow. I've always thought about doing something similar: sell enough of the product off to fund my hobby. I think it would stress me out though.

I also really liked his post on 5 Helpful Ideas to Help Grow the Sports Card Industry. You should give Mike's blog a look if you have the time. He's genuinely excited to be rejoining the hobby and he certainly is diving right in by collecting, selling as a dealer, and blogging!  Good luck, Mike!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Clearing Space for ARPSmith

Adam, from ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession, has been doing a little early cardboard spring cleaning. I've been in Adam's shoes in the past a few times. You just want to find the cards a good home, whether you get something return or not. The idea of reclaiming space for new cards keeps taunting you. Yep, I've been there.
I once put together team lots and sold them on Ebay and one buyer bought all of them for the minimum bid. I recovered a bunch of space, but after fees, postage, and all the hassle of packing up the cards I decided there had to be a better route.
Since that first subpar Ebay experience I have twice emptied the coffers and just dumped cards on my frequent trade partners or members of the Super Traders. I'm assuming most of the cards I expunged were appreciated, but I suppose there were some who didn't expect them and want to be bothered with them.
Kind of off topic, but is the Super Traders group still a thing?
I think next time I'll go the route Adam has laid out: just send them out to the first taker. For the record, he still has some teams that haven't been claimed. Check out the link!
I figure if you follow in Adam's footsteps, then at least you know they went to someone who will find a place for them in their collection.
All the cards in this post will most definitely find a spot in my collection. Especially this Joe Girardi Milk Bone card.
I only need one copy of each card in my collection, but sorry folks, the other one has already been designated for one of my frequent trading partners.  Lucky them!
The variety in the box was incredible. Many of my player collections were touched. Nomah and Turk the Quirk, included!

Here's the oddly sized cards. A slightly used scratch off of Dave Kingman would have been the highlight here if not for the Kerry Wood 2005 Iowa Cubs 3-card panel with Rich Hill and Mark Prior. Yes, that's the same Rich Hill who is still pitching for the Dodgers.
 That wasn't the only card that found its way into my Kerry Wood player collection though.
 The Gold Label card is super glossy and we all know that goes over well with me. The Kerry Wood collection now stands at 523. The Ryne Sandberg Upper Deck 20th Anniversary card is the 857th card in that player collection. Nine hundred is within reach!

I know Adam stated he wasn't looking for any cards in return, but there was too much goodness in the small flat rate mailer he sent for me to turn a blind eye. Believe it or not, there were another two hundred Cubs cards that didn't make it into this post. Your generosity will be rewarded, Adam. Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cards Against Humanity Baseball Cards

I mentioned earlier about how my wife and I had travel troubles getting to Death Valley for our winter vacation. We were severely delayed leaving Peoria and missed our connecting flight in Dallas by a good four hours. Our friends, Jeff and Nichole, came to rescue by feeding us and putting us up for the night. Before dinner that evening Jeff brought out a gift bag for me for my X-Mas/Bday present. Jeff, a displaced Chicago Cubs season ticket holder always saves some of his Cubs swag for me. I'd be lying if I said my pulse wasn't racing a little bit.

The big ticket item in the bag was a promotional giveaway bobblehead from Wrigley Field. I haven't acquired many bobbles the last few years, but I have a sizable collection in my man room and this one certainly brings something unique to the table.
This "Turn Two" bobble is my first one featuring two players, Addison Russell and Javier Baez. It's already been taken out of the box, thoroughly played with, and tucked into one of the display cases in my homemade entertainment system. What a cool surprise!

Alright, and now to the really cool stuff!  I'm not quite sure if I have all the details right, as I was enjoying some adult beverages that evening, but I think Jeff signed Nichole up for the Cards Against Humanity fan club, which I can't find anywhere on their website.

Nichole has been receiving letters from the Card Against Humanity people, like the one below.
Jeff and Nichole live in the great state of Texas, so I'm the beneficiary of the free ticket the letter mentions and the baseball cards. 
 Man, these guys are relentless!  "Joliet Slammers vs. Some Crappy Opposing Team" 
Look. It's independent league baseball, so none of the teams are world beaters, but you better believe I'm making it to Joliet this summer!

Let's take a gander at that pack of cards, shall we?
 Twelve cards in the pack and twenty-two cards in the team set. I wonder if I can pick the missing ones out of dime boxes at shows in the Chicago suburbs?
 I can understand how the manager got away without having a nickname, but what's the deal with Edwin Gomez?

Let's take a look at the backs:
 Some of the Dugout Quiz questions are pretty tame, but I chose 'The First Responder' because his questions and answers are little racier. Which, after all, is what Cards Against Humanity is known for.
Included with the letter, ticket voucher and baseball cards was a blue print of the Joliet Slammers' renamed residence, The Cards Against Humanity Baseball Place.
 I'm seriously considering framing this up and hanging it on the wall in my classroom. I've read it over a couple of times and there's nothing too suggestive that would get me a meeting with the higher ups.

I had to take a picture of the Fun Facts in the left margin so you could get a laugh like I did.
The first three I believe, although I'm not so sure about baseball being a metaphor for basketball. I suppose it depends on which one is your sport.

So, there you go! Cards Against Humanity baseball cards. I'll try and complete the full team set if I ever get the chance. Heck, if the price is right I'll just buy whatever I can and then throw the extras in PWEs. That would be fun for all included.

I hope you enjoyed the post, and if nothing else you found it interesting to learn that Travis 'The First Repsonder' Bolin appears to be quite regular.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Shiny Cardboard PWE from SCC

Today we have a quick post highlighting a recent mail day from Matt over at Sport Card Collectors. Matt and I didn't start swapping cards until this past year, but we have quickly moved over into the "just send cards whenever" friendship zone. I like that zone. 

I try to send him Yankees, NY Giants or Rodney Hampton cards and he sends me shiny cardboard!
I love the Bowman's Best design mixed in with all the blue and red. A good sized Cubs logo is always a plus! And hey, anytime I can add cards of Bryzzo to my collection it's a win! 
 Jake Arrieta still remains unsigned, but the longer he holds out the more confident I become in him re-upping with Chicago. The guy is too competitive to not sign somewhere where he has a chance at the post season. So why not come back where you're comfortable?
Two more Rizzo cards for my player collection. I should really take count of where I'm at with him. I don't know that I've purchased more than ten Rizzo cards at shops or shows in the past, but I'm probably reaching the 200-card threshold in his binder.

Thanks for the cards, Matt!  I'll try to round up some more Hamptons for your player collection.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, January 15, 2018


Sign located outside the entrance to the hotel.
My parents sent an e-mail to my sister and I, back in the fall, proclaiming that our Christmas present was going to be tickets and a room for the Cubs Convention in 2018. I attended my first convention in 2016 with my sister, ten months before they won the World Series. This time around we were able to attend with our mutual friends, Jim & Theresa.

We all took off work last Friday and arrived early enough to get settled into our room and check out some of the exhibitors, the minor league team booths, and the memorabilia room.

I had a mental checklist of what would make this not just a great weekend, but a truly memorable one:
1. Get lots of autographs and have some cool conversations with the players
2. Win Cubs Bingo
3. See the World Series Trophy

Boom! And we can cross one thing off the list right away!
It only took fourteen months, but I finally got to see the trophy I once thought wasn't possible. <Sigh.> Great moment for yours truly.  Pictured in the background are one of the four glass cases of memorabilia on loan from Cooperstown. Ryne Sandberg, my guy as a young card collector, had items in three of the four cases... so, yeah... I was pretty happy!

Here's a few pictures from around the hotel and some of the things found in our Cubs drawstring bags we received upon check-in.
 The three day schedule is on the left and summary of events and their locations is on the right.

All of the above information can be found in the program for the weekend, but you would need to be wearing a pass on a lanyard around your next to gain access.

Here's a picture of Saturday's schedule from inside the program:
Plenty of talks to attend, but eyes were meant for the spreadsheet at the top: the schedule of autographs.

Other items in the drawstring bag were a calendar and a pull tab.
The front of the calendar looks just like the program and convention pass, so I thought I would show the back.

The pull-tab is kind of like a lottery ticket.
Everyone gets one pull tab good for an A-list autograph or ... drum roll, please!
$5 off a $50 purchase in the team store. Yeah, the above picture is my pull-tab. My sister and I both got the silly coupon last time, too. I've never had much luck when it comes to games of chance.

Though this year was a little different. I may have gotten the coupon, but Jim & Theresa pulled a opportunity for an Addison Russell autograph and my sister received Ian Happ. Theresa, very generously, gave hers to me. Within two hours later I was able to trade Addison Russell for my favorite current Cub. Winner-winner!

Jim kept Russell, but my sister was able to wheel-and-deal. She turned Happ into Javier Baez, and Baez into Derrek Lee. D-Lee, a super nice guy and tremendous first baseman, was her favorite Cub from the previous decade. We were all walking on cloud nine.

There weren't many opportunities for autographs on the first night, but Gary Pressy, the Cubs' organist, was playing in the lobby.
I hope Gary doesn't read my blog, this is not a very flattering photo of him. Sorry, Gary!
 Gary is a treat. He seems to know everyone and if not, he talks to you like you're old friends anyway. He was gracious enough to sign a card commemorating the night the lights went on at Wrigley Field back in 1988. (I stole this idea from Daniel.) For the record, that was Gary's second year playing organ music for the Cubs.
Notice the little musical note he places after his signature. How cool is that!?!

I also stopped by the Cubs Charities room and dropped some cash for an autograph from Andre Dawson.
It was more money ($30) than I've ever paid for an autograph, but it all goes to charity. Hard to argue with that, especially when you get to meet Andre and watch him take his time with what is arguably one of the cooler ballplayer signatures.

That Friday night the big event going down was the Opening Ceremony. The Cubs invited a ton of alumni and the whole thing was live streamed on Facebook through Comcast Sports Net. Lots of videos, highlights and music made this feel almost like a huge party.
The ballroom was as full of fans as the stage was of Cubs. It was great to be with so many fans in the middle of winter. What a rough winter it has been!

Saturday morning began my autograph chase. The program had a schedule laid out with information about who was signing at what time and on which stage.  But, I found the number of signs hanging in the hotel just as helpful:
Between my 2016 and 2018 trips I was able to get everybody's autograph on Stage C, except for Ray Burris. Next time, Ray!  The ticket on the right guarantees you an autograph for the signer during that time slot. All you have to do is walk up to the Wrigley Field usher at the beginning of line and say, "Please." They're supposed to be collected by the usher at the end of the line, but when you're talking Cub baseball with them they sometimes get distracted. So, I got to keep one as a souvenir. Small victories!

I attended a couple of scheduled talks last time around, but this year was all about the autograph hunt! Many of the players invited this time around would be new to my autograph collection and from the 80s and 90s, when I was a young Cub fan.

To the autos!  I've got these grouped by card age.  Up first is Bill Madlock and his 1975 SSPC card.
 Also included in the picture are Pete La Cock, Paul Reuschel, Larry Biitner and Tim Stoddard. These guys were all played before I was truly a Cub fan, but they were all super nice.

These guys I know much better. Dave Otto fills in for the Cubs as an announcer. Shawn Boskie doesn't look like he's aged at all since his playing days.
 I was going to have Brian McRae sign at the top of his card, but he put marker to cardboard before I could get a word out. Still looks sharp! Also pictured above are Dwight Smith, Doug Dascenzo and Terry Adams.

 Juan Pierre was signing with Matt Murton at the same table. He made me wait so he could explain to Murton and myself that this was a spring training photo. Murton asked, "How can you tell?" Pierre replied, "I only wore my socks down in the spring!" I love little stories like this.
 For the record, Bobby Howry is ripped. Big dude! Also pictured above are Jon Lieber, Mike Remlinger and Glendon Rusch.

 I think Matt Murton still holds the record for most hits in a season over in Japan. John Baker works in the front office for the Cubs after a short stint as a back-up catcher with the team. About every fifth person or so tried on his World Series ring. LOL  He was a real fan friendly guy.
I shook hands with only two baseball related individuals over the weekend. One was Koyie Hill. I complemented him on his playing career and held out my held... he shook it. I had to get a closer look at his hand, which was once severely mangled after a run-in with a table saw. They stitched him back up while he held a ball in his hand, because he had a career to think about! Crazy.  Also pictured above are Mike Fontenot, James Russell (a very funny guy) and Ryan Sweeney.

 I was able to get two of the newer Cubs. Eddie Butler was added last off-season and he doesn't have a Cubs card that I know of.
Randy Rosario was added this off-season. Something about my encounter with Rosario has me rooting for him. He was modest, soft-spoken, and took his time with his signature. 

 Mark Zagunis does not take his time with his signature. We can't all be Andre Dawson or Randy Rosario I guess! LOL

Remember earlier in the post when I mentioned being able to trade Theresa's Addison Russell ticket for my current favorite Cub?  Here's my A-List player autograph:
Willson Contreras plays with energy and truly enjoys the game of baseball. He also knows something about baseball cards. As soon as he got the shiny Bowman Platinum card from me he started rubbing where the signature would go. I mentioned to him I had already done the prep work with an eraser and he smiled. After signing, he was about to give me back the card and then he said, "Hold on. I haven't seen this one yet." He looked at the card, paused, and handed it back while saying, "That was a home run." I replied, "Thanks, Willson!"

Again, I love the personal interaction with the players. He didn't have to take the time like he did, but because he did he's further entrenched me into the Willson Contreras Fan Club. I now have my first autograph of Willson and a memorable experience to boot. I'm a happy Cub fan.

Saturday night was Cubs Bingo! My sister and I both struck out in 2016... but, we had two more people to increase our odds this time. Didn't matter, we each wore the collar. O-for-20 games. Ouch.
I hit five of the first seven numbers called and thought I had a real chance. On the eighth number somebody else won. Bummer. The winner of any given game gets a gift certificate to a local Chicago restaurant, an player autographed baseball, and a flag that has flown above historic Wrigley Field. Some day that will be me!

The last morning my sister and I got up early to secure our last autographs and on the way out of the hall she spotted 670AM's radio booth.

Wait, I didn't mention that we caught Ron Coomer during a commercial break the previous day and got the Cubs' radio color commentator to sign for us.
I was lamenting to my sister afterwards how I would never find Pat Hughes at the convention and would have to try get his autograph by TTM (through the mail).

Yeah, this happened:
The legendary Pat Hughes. Legendary.

Pat and Ron might as well be family. I listen to far many more games on the radio than I watch on television. Pat is as decorated an announcer as you'll find, and so very much deserved.

I bought a copy of the Cubs World Series CD, which he has narrated.
 He graciously signed it and made it out to me. What a way to end the Cubs Convention!

There were plenty of other fun experiences I could write about, but this has already gotten longer than I originally planned. Let's just say it's safe to say I enjoyed collecting THIRTY autographs, meeting players, seeing the WS trophy, sharing stories with fellow Cubs fans and hanging out with Jim, Theresa and my sister.

Thanks for the Christmas present, Mom and Dad!