Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pack Wars: ZZ vs. 2019 Topps

Alright!  We've got some good stuff for you on the blog tonight! School was cancelled for the second day in a row due to sub-zero temperatures and I needed to get out of the house. I struck out in Peoria on 2019 Topps Series 1 release day yesterday, but I ventured across the river this morning and found some!

Plus, and here's the real draw, the Zippy Zappy packs fresh off a mammoth jet-leg inducing flight from the land of the rising sun. This is going to be epic!
The 2019 Series 1 hobby pack contains 14 cards. The thickness of two Zippy Zappy re-packs is comparable. Let's see what happens!

Round 1:
When Samardzija was drafted I thought it was a bit of a reach by the Cubs front office, so I boycotted many of his earlier cards. This one is new to me!
Eugenio Suarez was a steal for me in my fantasy draft last year and did a nice job at third for my team. My first 2019 card could have been of a middle reliever or <gasp> a Cardinal. So, the Suarerz card isn't too bad. Did you notice how the bat goes over the right border? For whatever it is worth, I like this little attention to detail by Topps.
That being said, I'll take Shark for the win here!

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 0
Zippy Zappy Packs = 1

 Round 2:
A mini Kosuke Fukudome from Epoch? What in the world? That is pretty fricking cool! For those of you who weren't reading my blog back in 2012, the year of last issued MLB Fukudome card, I player collect the former Cubs right fielder. In fact, there was a time where I had more BBM and Calbee cards of his than Topps! I was driving that bandwagon after his signing with the Cubs.
Yolmer Sanchez plays for that other Chicago team . . . so this is a fairly simple call for this Cubs fan.

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 0
Zippy Zappy Packs = 2

Guess what, the Fukudome is a sticker! 2000 is a second year card/sticker for Fukudome. Nice!

Round 3:
Now, that is a sweet Fukudome card. It has the coolest texture to it, which almost gives it the appearance of canvas. Tyler Flowers in full gear? Um, yeah, woo-hoo and what not.
At this rate Topps will be lucky to get on the scoreboard.

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 0
Zippy Zappy Packs = 3

Here's the back of the BBM card. I don't understand 95% of it, but it's still easier to figure out what year this card was produced than most US Brands not named Fleer.

Round 4:
 Wow. A shiny Fukudome versus my first Cub of 2019? I'm a huge Willson fan, but I'll be swimming in base cards of 2019 Cubs before too long. A Fukudome from a LCS in Japan? Now it's my collection? That's downright remarkable. Plus... SHINY!

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 0
Zippy Zappy Packs = 4

I'll give Topps some credit here. They brought back full stats, incorporated the design from the front on the back, still found room for the social media handles AND used team colors. I'm a fan. Thank you, Topps.

Round 5:
 Red-bearded Justin Turner versus a shiny blue Fukudome? It's as though the cardboard Gods are intentionally trying to have Topps lose by the player selection alone. I respect Justin Turner's hitting abilities, but he is a thorn in the Cubs side. Ugh.
The Zippy Zappy shutout continues!

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 0
Zippy Zappy Packs = 5

Round 6:
Whoa. The Fukudome gravy train comes to an end and Evan Crawford, who never made it above High-A ball makes an appearance. I'm not a Quintana fan. He eats up innings, but the Cubs gave up Eloy Jimenez AND Dylan Cease for him. Ugh. You've probably heard of Jimenez... I think Cease, when healthy, has a higher ceiling. You heard it here first.
We'll give this one to Topps.

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 1
Zippy Zappy Packs = 5

Round 7:
Chris Carpenter is the pitcher the Cubs sent to Boston for Theo Epstein. Worth it ... ten times over.
Big Maple! The Dude had an eagle land on him last year before one of his starts! That was a pretty cool moment. I'm also a closet Mariners fan, you know, because of that Vogelbach character.
Topps is making a comeback!

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 2
Zippy Zappy Packs = 5

Round 8:
Scott Maine running through PFP drills during spring training. A decent offering.
OMG. Look at that Mookie card. The man has one of the greatest seasons ever, can bowl a 300 game, and is blessed with that smile. Some guys have it all.
Topps is rallying!

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 3
Zippy Zappy Packs = 5

Round 9:
 First BowChro card of The Professor, Kyle Hendricks! I thought this was a regular old base card of Alex Gordon, but when I was reviewing the backs I couldn't help but notice the serial number at the top. The front looks the same as the other base cards, but maybe I'm missing something here.
I have this Hendricks card, but mine is all scratched up. This is a huge upgrade and one I'm quite thankful for. Zippy Zappy puts an end to Topps mini-rally.

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 3
Zippy Zappy Packs = 6

Round 10:
Shawon Dunston, Jr.  Sigh. I really wanted him to succeed with Chicago. He played in Chicago last year, with the Independent Chicago Dogs. Double sigh.
Kyle Barraclough throws nasty breaking stuff. But, he pitches for the Marlins and I'll never be able to get rid of this card. I mean, just look at all the empty seats behind him. Ugh.
Dunston wins by a nose.

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 3
Zippy Zappy Packs = 7

Round 11:
Woooo! Kyuji Fujikawa! I also player collected Fujikawa for a while, but his Cubs career never really amounted to much: 25 innings and an ERA of 5+.
Kirby Yates? Another reliever? There's only one Padre who could have beat this Fujikawa card in a battle, and his first name is Luuuuuuuiiiiiissssss.

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 3
Zippy Zappy Packs = 8

Round 12:
More Fujikawa-san! Justin Bour is a former Peoria Chief who I enjoyed watching in the home run derby a few years back. Remember when he ate the donut during his time out? He's with the Angels now and should see semi-regular at-bats as he shares time at first with Pujols and at DH with Pujols and Ohtani.
BBM cards are so cool. Zippy Zappy knows how to pack a punch!

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 3
Zippy Zappy Packs = 9

Round 13:
Blake Treinen. Wait, he's not the A's pitcher with the cool mustache? No? Hmph.
Well then, I have no choice but to choose the Fujikawa card then!

Updated Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 3
Zippy Zappy Packs = 10

Round 14:
Alright, this card is weird. It's supposed to be a "touch the game" card with a relic embedded in it, right? But, the relic is just printed on the card. The back has a batter and a picture of a bat relic. Odd.
What were the Padres thinking when they signed Hosmer? $144 million over eight years? $21 million alone in 2018 for what Topps lists on the back as a -0.1 WAR. So a replacement level player could make major league minimum and do what Hosmer did? Ouch. Ouch times 8, because you know Hosmer isn't exercising that his opt-out clause in three years. Not with this free agent market.

Final Score:
2019 Topps Series 1 = 3
Zippy Zappy Packs = 11

There were two more cards in the second Zippy Zappy pack, but I'm all out of 2019 Topps.

I like the looks of 2019 Topps, but it wasn't really a fair fight putting it against a Zippy Zappy re-pack.

Stay tuned for more Pack Wars, as I have four more Zippy Zappy re-packs packs to go. (Well, maybe just three... one of them has a scantily clad lady on the front... this is a PG-13 blog after all.)

Thanks for the cards, ZZ!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

HOF Binder, Page 3

Page 3 of my Hall of Fame Binder brings us the rest of the class of 1939, which included nine players overall. Cap Anson, Charles Comiskey, Buck Ewing, Old Hoss Badbourn and Al Spalding were all elected by the Veterans Committee.

Eddie Collins, Wee Willie Keeler and George Sisler were inducted along with Lou Gehrig, who hung them up earlier in the same year, by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
This would be the last class until 1942 to gain entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the BBWAA decided they would adopt a three year election cycle. In other words, they wouldn't vote in 1940, 1941, 1943 or 1944.

 2012 Panini Cooperstown, #21 -- Charles Comiskey
I didn't take the opportunity to build any of Panini's Hall of Fame centered sets from 2012-2015. Ironically, I didn't start setting cards aside for this little project of mine until 2016. If Panini revives the Cooperstown brand in 2019 you know I'll be all over it.

2012 Panini Cooperstown, #11 -- Buck Ewing
 Variety. As I mentioned in my original post I'm looking for variety on each page. I'm currently on the lookout for a new Ewing or Comiskey to spice things up a bit!

2011 Topps - 1934 Goudey Reproduction Insert, #CMGR-24 -- Lou Gehrig
 Gehrig is one of favorite players of all-time. If I can ever find an original Goudey of Gehrig within reach of my budget you better believe I'll make that purchase.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #23 -- Willie Keeler
 According to his page Wee Willie was only 5'4" and 140 pounds. Yes, folks, that's two inches shorter and twenty-five pounds lighter than Jose Altuve.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #24 -- Charles Radbourn
 Old Hoss Radbourn has a Twitter account. I followed it for awhile, but when things become too politically charged (funny or not) I tend to bail ship. I did enjoy when he mocked starters for not pitching long enough to qualify for a quality start. Radbourn, after, threw 73 complete games . . . in one season!

2010 Topps - Vintage Legends Insert, #VLC-30 -- George Sisler
 The colorization of this photo, which is probably from the 1920s, is quite excellent. I'm not sure how I feel about a player from Sisler's era being placed into an insert set in 2010 which depicts him on the 1973 Topps design. Just thinking about this gives me a headache.

2009 TriStar Obak, #93 -- Al Spalding
 Spalding was the pitcher during the 1870s. In 1874 he was credited with 52 wins, which is 21 more than the number of batters he struck out. It was a whole other game back then! Oh, he's also known for starting a sporting goods company and the thus the reason for his inclusion in the 2009 Obak set.

1976 Topps - TSN All-Time All-Stars Subset, #342 -- Rogers Hornsby
For whatever reason this Hornsby card sits better with me than the Sisler card. Maybe because it was actually published in 1976?  Hornsby could flat out rake and his stretch of seasons during the early to mid 1920s was just unreal. For my money, he's still the best second baseman of all-time.

Lots of classic names in this post. I hope you enjoyed it!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

BIG Hall of Fame Binder Addition

Mark, my first cousin once removed, has been mentioned on the blog a few times within the last two years. We met at a relative's art show in Wisconsin a couple of summers ago. At that time Mark gifted me a couple boxes of baseball goodness, which included lots of brilliant cardboard, a bat, and a book on Sadaharu Oh. Last year he sent me a really sweet program from the Library of Congress' baseball exhibit from Washington D.C. 

Today, well, he sent me a simple plain white envelope (PWE). Here's a picture of the note.

There's a couple of things to make mention of here. One, I love the ☮💓⚾ at the closing. Second, here's the link to the post about Roberto, who is one of my school's wonderful custodians. Third, Mark is a retired high school math teacher and I love the 10^99 reference at the end. One more... how about the blue tape!  Woo-Hoo!

Lastly, I will not be upgrading. Legit vintage from a relative? It doesn't get any better than that for this collector.

It was only a couple of posts ago I made this statement on my first Hall of Fame Binder post:

Huh, if that's not some unintended foreshadowing.

Are you sitting down?

Yeah, you better sit down.

I'm sure glad I was when I opened up this PWE!

A genuine 1964 Topps card of Muscles . . . The Commerce Comet . . . The Mick . . . Mickey Mantle!


This one is going to sit on my desk for a little while before it gets safely tucked into my HOF Binder. So cool. I can't stop looking at it!

Thank you, Mark, for such a terrific surprise!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

HOF Binder, Page 2

Last Wednesday I kicked off my new series focusing on my Hall of Fame Binder. You can see the details about the layout of the pages and card choosing qualifiers by clicking here.

This week we'll take a look the rest of the class from 1937 and the others on Page 2.

1980 TCMA - Baseball Immortals, #12 -- George Wright
I have a near set of Baseball Immortals. Once upon a time, I may have had a complete set, but the you'd have to ask the younger version of my cardboard collecting self.

1985 Topps - Woolworths, #44 -- Cy Young
This Woolsworth card is another one from my childhood collection. It'll take something fancy to bump this card from the binder.

1993 Conlon (color), #582 -- Grover Alexander
I don't know how rare these color versions of the Conlon cards are, but I couldn't be more pleased having this card in my binder. 

2009 Tri Star Obak, #74 -- Alexander Cartwright
I thought about only choosing players for my project, but instead I cherry-picked some of the more notable (in my eyes) pioneers of baseball as well. Back in 2011 I visited Cartwright's grave site in Hawaii and left a baseball with a message about the Cubs next to his marker. Five years later they won the World Series! Coincidence?  (Probably so. lol)

2012 Panini Cooperstown - Bronze History, #15 -- Henry Chadwick
A plaque card of a Hall of Fame inductee is nice concept for an insert set. I'm not sure why they are serial numbered though (lower right corner). Chadwick gets my nod for entry into the binder as a pioneer due to his contribution of the box score. One of the big reasons I'm such a fan of the sport is the statistical side of the game. You have to figure box scores were some of the earliest records of statistics keeping.

2012 Panini Cooperstown - Bronze History, #12 -- Cap Anson
Cap Anson is known as a Cub, which typically means I'll fully embrace him. Yet, due to his role in erecting the color barrier in baseball that is not the case with Anson. I would like to find a different card of his so that I don't have two inserts from the same set sharing a page. I'll track one down eventually. 

1992 Conlon, #582 -- Eddie Collins
Another Conlon card to fill a spot, which I don't mind terribly, because the other one on the page is the color version. Although, I am curious to know the color scheme of that uniform top and hat. Black with white pinstripes? Maybe navy blue? Collins hasn't been entirely forgotten by the card producing world. Perhaps, because he isn't the biggest name, I'll be upgrade to an actual vintage card of his.

That's it for the latest installment. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Off Into The Sunset

The blogging community said goodbye to one of its best recently, but not before he threw a HUGE pack-ripping extravaganza and giveaway. I sent Wes, he of Jaybarkerfan's Junk/Rising Willingham/Area 40 fame, a little parting gift. I should not have been surprised when the most generous collector I know responded in kind.

Let's take a stroll through some of the Cubs goodness he sent my way.
 Per usual, Wes padded the numbers of my player collections. Above is my 922nd different Ryne Sandberg and 86th Cubs card of Brooks Kieschnick. Nice way to start!

Personally, I think we witnessed Panini's best rebooted Donruss design in 2018.
 It's simple and I really like the little wavy lines as a tribute to the 1984 design. I also believe the shininess Optic brings to the table adds a level of collectabilty to the brand.

Cubs rookie mojo!
 Baez proved me wrong last year by having a season I didn't think he was capable of. I'm crossing my fingers that this is the year Schwarber proves me right!

Rizzo gonna Rizzo.
As a fan, is there anything better when your team has a current player who epitomizes so much of what is right in MLB and the world today?

New Kris Bryant cards for the collection.
Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of Kris Bryant cards I have purchased, yet these two put me at 111 different Bryant cards in my binder. The generosity of the blogosphere knows no bounds.

It's a little known fact, but back in the day I was super-collecting two Cubs minor leaguers. ROCK SHOULDERS was one of them and the other guy was some dude named Dan Vogelbach. Maybe you have heard of him?

A few years ago much was made of Carl Edwards' slight frame, 6'3" and only 170 pounds, and how the Cubs were trying to get him to add weight.
His eyes in this photo . . . they seem to say, "I see you reaching for my cheeseburger."

Late 1980's Donruss!
Gracie and Mad Dog were two of the best to pass through Peoria on their way to stardom.

Pitchers who rake.
Believe it or not, I was a pitcher in high school who raked, 0.300+ average and 11 combined homers my junior and senior year. It didn't matter when I got to college as those numbers earned me three plate appearances in four years. lol

Mike Morgan's career spanned four different decades and he pitched for twelve different teams. He earned an All-Star appearance in 1991 with the Dodgers, but arguably his best year was with the 1992 Cubs.
Get a look at these numbers: 2.55 ERA, 16-8 W-L, 240 innings and only 14 homers given up, 1.17 WHIP. Mike Morgan put up those stellar numbers with a K/9 of only 4.6. The MLB average for K/9 in 2018 was 8.5. Wow, the game has changed.

DLee and Matt Stairs were two of my favorites from the previous decade.
  Stairs also played for twelve different teams during his career, and I'm sure he was a riot for all dozen of them.

I believe this one is a business card and/or advertising piece from Gypsy Oak, who is known for his baseball related artwork.
I'll add it to the Cub collection!

Oooooooh! Super-duper black parallel refractor mojo!
Matt Murton is one of Wrigley Field's fan favorites!

Vintage. Sweet, Vintage.
That is one well-loved Ernie Banks! And if you know me, then you know it'll be cherished in my collection!

The package finishes up with a couple of early 90s autos of Mike Bielecki and Shawon Dunston, Sr.
Bielecki and Dunston, were part of the magical 1989 Cubs team, which is my second favorite Cubs team of all time. You'd be correct if you guessed the 2016 team as the club at the top of the list. 

Wes, thank you for the remarkable package! It's been a pleasure, my friend!