Monday, July 30, 2018

Trading With The Dime Box Legend

There was lots of talk this weekend from many baseball pundits who tossed the word "legend" around. I suppose this is to be expected when six players are inducted into the Hall of Fame. For most of you the title of this post, "Trading With The Dime Box Legend," was all you needed to see to understand how good this trade post would be. Nick has been blogging since 2011, has over 200 blog followers, and his posts are ones that frequently have me wishing I lived in the Chicago suburbs for the cardboard alone. He may disagree, but he is on the short list of the best baseball card bloggers.
Nick and I both caught the 2018 Topps Big League bug and we agreed to a quick trade to help each other out. I definitely got the better end of this one, but I'll even the score with my next random package I'll send north on Interstate 55.

Ginter goodness:
I like reading A&G posts, and this is prime A&G season, but Allen & Ginter is not for me. Well, I mean, I absolutely want the Cubs, but I don't have much need for non-baseball related cardboard in my collection. I'm not hating on Ginter, but it's not my bag.

Turk Wendell and Rod Beck.
These are certainly two of the most unique personalities to walk through Wrigley since I've been watching Cubs games. Both are PC guys and the Shooter Bowman card is a new one for me!

This card was some sort of sweepstakes offer from Upped Deck in 1996.
 It's also my 83rd different Brooks Kieschnick card in my collection.

Speaking of player collections...
 Nick went 6-for-6 in the Kerry Wood department, which isn't easy when I have 500+ cards of Kid K.

These. Are. Awesome.
 I have a mini David Ross collection of him in Cubs attire only. I own both of these two cards but I couldn't separate them from the Cubs World Series boxed sets. Now they can go in the player collection binder!

The Hawk!
I read earlier this week where a blogger said that someone should pit Andre Dawson cardboard versus another bad-a$$ in a cardboard competition. I can't remember if it was Dave Parker or someone else. Either way. great idea!

Off-center, creases, fuzzy corners... Absolute Vintage Gold. Sometimes I think Nick knows me better than I know myself!

Framed relics are so eloquent!
 The Dempster is from 2012 and the Aramis Ramirez is from (turns over card to look at back) . . . 2007.  Can that be right?  Wow.

Series 2 flagship:
All of the above are new to me! Three rookies, a photo-shopped Smyly, Carl Edwards Jr. and a fun team card. Good stuff!

I just showed the Ben Zobrist World Baseball Classic Topps Tribute card last post. Here's the Rizzo!

There were three Legends In The Making inserts in this package. Fitting, considering the title to the post.
 I new Baez was a special talent, but I never saw him leading the NL in RBI this far into the season.

Kris Bryant.
 I hope he gets his shoulder right and soon. My Kris Bryant collection grows in streaks. I can go four or five trade packages without one Bryant card and then BOOM!  Half dozen!

The 1984 Fergie highlights this grouping as it's one of my Top 3 favorite Donruss designs.

The photo on the left is similar to the gesture I made when I opened the mailbox today and saw Nick's package. The one on the right is akin to how I feel toward Nick and his generosity.

I tip my cap to you, Good Sir! Thank you!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Baseball and Cards in the Burbs

I took a mini vacation up to Chicago last weekend to catch a couple of independent league baseball games and a card show.

Friday night I visited the Chicago Dogs in the northwest suburbs. Here I am pictured with their main mascot, Squeeze, on the left.
 On the right is their "other" mascot. He was super mischievous and donned a trench coat and pair of those fake glasses with the big nose, mustache and super fuzzy eyebrows. Most in Chicago believe there's no place for ketchup on a hot dog. Keeping that in mind, I thought it was humorous he was portrayed as the villain.

Saturday evening I went down to Joliet and saw the Slammers play at Cards Against Humanity Baseball Place. 
You may remember my post about a gift package my friends in Texas gave me last winter focused around the Slammers and their new stadium sponsors, Cards Against Humanity.

I enjoyed the Chicago Dogs' stadium more, but the game at Joliet, which included a walk-off win and the fried cheese curds were the highlights of the baseball games.

Sunday morning I hit the Orland Park card show and made a big dent in my Topps Big League set needs. If you have some Big League you'd like to rid yourself of, please take a look at my want list.

Sticking with the set building theme, I found the last two cards for the 1980 Topps set build.
I found it curious both were of future Cubs. Sutcliffe would win the Cy Young for the Cubs in 1984 and Essian would manage the team in 1991.

I also plucked this card of Joe Niekro admiring his knuckleball grip.
I'm starting a binder with cards I find interesting or fun. It's kind of poor man's version of Dime Box King Nick's Frankenset. I'm not sure what I'll call it yet, but I've been stockpiling cards for this project for awhile. A blog will probably be coming within all due time.

I usually steer clear of the quarter boxes, but I was biding my time to get to the crowded dime boxes and I found this beautiful Ben Zobrist card from the 2013 Topps Tribute set.
I used to pick up Zobrist cards in Rays, A's and Royals uniforms, but I've stopped since he signed with the Cubs. This might be the first one I've purchased in two years that was not a Cub card. USA! USA! USA!

Fragments of the Farm relic cards, from Topps Pro Debut, are the best relic cards out there. Well, except for those stellar tooth relics from 2018 A&G.
 The above relic is actually a little bland, as it is "only" a game worn uniform from the Cubs' rookie league affiliate.

The one below is from a foam finger from the Cubs' High-A farm team.
 Both of these will go in my Cubs relic/auto box.  Not bad for two bucks apiece!

 More cards for my fun folder!
 On the left we have some more Pro Debut and on the right are some of those more interesting cards from Stadium Club.

Jim Thome will be inducted into Cooperstown this weekend. He is considered a product of Peoria, although he went to high school in neighboring Bartonville and junior college in East Peoria (across the river).
I think most people associate Thome with the Indians and this shot of him tipping his cap is just wonderful. It's pretty cool to have such a highly revered ball player come from this area.

I love me some Ron Santo vintage goodness. I'm getting close to finishing out his Topps run as I only need a few more odds and ends.

My last purchase was the one that excited me the most.
It's the 2014 Topps Major League movie 5" by 7" card set. I don't know if they're extremely rare or not, but I've had trouble tracking the set down. I found this one for the a cool ten spot and couldn't be happier. Major League is one of my favorite movies! I stopped by my LCS this week and picked up some pages and now these cards are ready to be placed in my binder of fun cards. (Boy, I really do need a name for this binder.)

Each summer I try to visit a new MLB ball park. I only need seven more current parks, but after driving to Breckenridge and back earlier in the summer I wasn't in the mood to make it to the west coast (Dodgers, Angles or Padres) or east coast (Red Sox, Yankees, Braves or Marlins). Independent league ballparks aren't on the same level, but they were fun to visit nonetheless. It was a fun weekend overall and I really enjoyed leaving behind the monotony my Peoria summer has become for a few days.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Purging before the Move

My good friends, Jeff and Nichole, have been Cubs season ticket holders . . . who live in Texas. I just got word that they're moving to the Pacific Northwest and then a couple weeks later a package mysteriously finds its way to my mailbox.

I have to assume they're in the stages of packing. Been there and done that. Laura and I haven't moved as recently or as frequently as they have, but I understand that it's sometimes easier to find a new home for things rather than pack and unpack them.

Packages from Jeff are always the best for a couple of reasons. 1) They never come announced and 2) they always are centered around baseball and the Cubs.

So, let's see what I get to add to my newly remodeled man room. 😁

I think #That'sCub was the Cubs' social media slogan in 2017.  This year it's #EverybodyIn.

A new watch!
 It's one of those wrist flip bandy thingies. The correct terminology is escaping me right now.

This is really cool. It's a 4" by 6" lenticular card of Wrigley Field.
 One of views show Wrigley Field from April 23rd, 2014.  The other one shows it from the same date in 1914.
 The back shows it is a holiday card. Very nifty! The Cubs did a fine job of marketing when Wrigley turned 100 years old.
 Speaking of cards...
This one is more of a celebration card!
 When you open it up it starts to play music.
Feel free to hit play if you like, but you probably already know what song you'll hear! Fantastic!

A big thanks go out to Jeff and Nichole for the sweet Cubs memorabilia and best of luck with the move!

Friday, July 20, 2018

My WaxPackHero

Back in January I went to a card show over in Bloomington and I met my second blogger, Mike, face-to-face. He's the proprietor of WaxPackHero and he had a table set up at the show. We talked for a bit and I convinced him to set aside some Cubs for me and I would pay for and pick them up at the next show I attended. Well, life gets in the way... blah-blah-blah,,, and here we are six months later and I've missed the last six shows.

Mike kindly reached out and offered to mail what he had been stockpiling for me. Like most bloggers I've interacted with he's a super generous dude. When I inquired about wiring him some money through Paypal he flat out refused.

I know how to play that game! His return address was on the package and I'm heading to Orland Park this weekend for their big monthly card show. <Insert maniacal laughter here.>

On to the cards!

Personally, this '94 Oscar Mayer Superstar Round-Up was the highlight of what I've declared to be a quite excellent trade package from Mike.
 1994 was the year I stopped collecting, thus my Sandberg cards start to dwindle by the numbers from there on. This is my 880th different Sandberg in my PC, and probably the oldest one I've added in recent years.
 Heritage!  Woot! I've received a few of these in trade packages, but I need all three Kris Bryants and quite a few others! The 1969 design is one of my favorites.
 Another Sandberg and a sweet action shot of the flashy Javy Baez. I believe these came from the Silver Packs in this year's Topps flagship.
 Topps Series 1. The Ian Happ card is my favorite of the bunch.
 Here's my first look at the recent release of Bowman Platinum. I had reserved judgment until now, but after finally getting one in hand I've decided the black background just doesn't do it for me. Different strokes for different folks.
 I forgot Mike and I had talked about my 1980 set back in January. Three Hall of Famers!
I only need two cards now to finish the set and you better believe I'll track them down this weekend.

Mike, thanks for sending over this package of Cubs goodness and 1980 set needs! I'll have fun this weekend hunting something down for a fellow Cub fan!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Remodeled Man Room


My wife and I picked up the new cabinets from Ikea in the Chicago suburbs on July 1st. I erroneously thought I could assemble and install the cabinets within one week.

Boy, was I wrong. I didn't plan on painting the entire room or replacing the carpet when I made the premature prediction.

Those upgrades ultimately stretched the timeline out about ten more days than I planned. I'm okay with that though.

We moved in during the summer of 2008 and the man room has pretty much been the same the past decade, save a few modest updates along the way, like a homemade TV stand, coffee table or a bat rack.

I figured if I was going to do a full tear down, then I better build it back up the right way.

With that in mind I pulled out some graph paper and made a scale model of the room. For reference, each square is four inches by inches, with the before on the left and the after on the right.
 As a geometry teacher, who spends an entire chapter on ratios, proportions & scale factors during the school year, I was pretty psyched about this part. Yes, I'm a math nerd, but playing with the furniture pieces, while adding and subtracting others, helped me to envision the final product.
As you can see Hugo was a big help with the production.

Once I had a game plan the fun started.

I had three cantilevered shelves in the room and one of them had affixed itself to the wall. When I finally pried it from the wall, well, some of the wall came with it. 
 It was only a minor set back, as I'm fairly adept at dealing with drywall and drywall repair.

So, here's where the man room stood at this point.
Thank goodness there was room in the workshop and hallway to temporarily store all my junk! The last things to go were my couch, the coffee (sorting table) and the TV.

Next step was to pull up the baseboard, the carpet, and remove the tack strips that bordered the entire room.
Super helpful cats!
In the picture above you're looking at a concrete floor and you'll notice the bottom three inches of the drywall is missing. When we had water in the basement I never thought about mold growing behind the baseboard. Black mold is no bueno. So I cut out the drywall and filled it in with some spare wood scraps I had lying around. I purchased a taller baseboard to cover things up so it didn't have to be too fancy.

Paint. I'm not a fan of painting. I hate cutting in, but I'm good at it because I'm probably a little too meticulous.
 Regardless, I took a small shelf to one of the big box hardware stores and had them match the color. Above, the cats are inspecting my handwork as I started to assemble the shelving units and cabinets.

 I decided to go with carpet squares over traditional carpet.
First, it's a basement, so it's not like it has to be Grade A carpet material. Secondly, we have cats and have had water in the basement once already. We've made corrections so the water shouldn't be an issue going forward, but hairballs are going to hairball. Picking up a tile and washing it off is such a convenience.
Here's a picture of Hugo holding down the first four carpet tiles. He probably deserves a raise.

 Holiday on the other hand just likes to be in the way. All. The. Time. Guess what I needed at that particular moment. Whoever guessed "another carpet tile" would be a winner!

I laid about two thirds of the tiles in one afternoon, but boy were my knees sore.
 Knocking out the last third, which all had to be cut, took twice as long. Please, take note of Holiday laying on the carpet tile pile again.

Once the carpet tiles were in I was able to install the new baseboard and connect the cabinets and shelves to the wall.
Did I mention earlier that I changed out all the electrical sockets and light switches to bright white? No? Well, I did that a few days earlier.

That brings us up to this past Monday.
I spent Monday afternoon playing with ceiling tiles so the entertainment system could be on the other half of the room. I should really invest in a soundbar or some wireless speakers, which would have saved so much time. But, I'm kind of partial to my old school sound system and all of its wired speakers.

Finally, the fun part!  I spent yesterday and today, when time allowed, moving everything back into the man room.

Below is the view from the door to the hallway.
What you see above are four of the five storage units I purchased. Below is the fifth and it's place on a separate wall between the doorway and the electrical box to the house.
The cabinet above holds an abundance of my Chicago Cubs and Peoria Chiefs memorabilia.

Here's a view of the doorway.
 My homemade bat rack and the toy chest (filled with complete sets of the baseball cards) in the corner are the only two objects that wound up returning to their original pre-remodeling locations.

 The card closet and entertainment system. For what it's worth, I have quite a bit more space in the card closet now thanks to the new cabinets. Woo-Hoo!

As we keep moving around the room we can see a couple of my favorite wall hangings, my homemade coffee (baseball card) table and my little window.

The furniture will be the last change, as it doesn't really go with the room. All in good time... or maybe not at all!

Below is another shot of the cabinets and book cases.
 And here they are up close:
The lower portions are filled will old pictures, posters and pennants...  and wait for it... baseball cards! I plan on rotating things on the wall in the future. The bobbleheads, which are seen on the left, are finally allowed to space out some. I have one bobblehead for each MLB stadium I've been to. (Actually, I still need to purchase one for Oakland and Philly.)

So, that'll put the wraps on my big summer project. I'm very happy with how things turned out and I can't wait to start sorting some cards tomorrow and maybe watch a movie.

Thanks for taking a tour with me!