Friday, December 31, 2021

The Joy of A Completed Set Run

For quite sometime now I've been working on adding each Topps baseball set from the time I was born to when I jumped out of the hobby during my teenage years. 

I started collecting cards in 1988, but I didn't finish that set until the summer of 2019. It wasn't that it was that difficult, but I never really took the time to see what I had until decades later. For the record, the first set build I managed to complete was the 1989 Topps set the summer it came out.  

Anyway, immediately following the completion of the '88 set I started on the 1982 set, one which I was pretty excited about. Older sets have star names which are not frequently on my radar and other players to learn about. Overall, it's a fun learning experience collecting an older set, but one that was interrupted by Covid. Also, I came to find not many collectors build sets from the early 80's so most card show dealers leave their inventory at home. Womp-womp.  

This past summer I thought I tracked down the last cards for the set, but after double checking I found I was missing card #600. Ouch. A double zero card number!  Thankfully, it was an 18 cent purchase from Sportlots, plus shipping of course. The card arrived early last week. 

Woo-Hoo! Now I have all the Topps sets from 1978 through 1993 Series 1. It's not the longest consecutive run on the blogosphere, but it's something I'm definitely proud of. 

A few set tidbits: 

  • I have one set in a binder (1978) so I can flip through whenever the mood strikes. 
  • Once upon a time I had three 1989 and three 1992 hand-collated sets. I busted a lot of junk wax during my youth!
  • My favorite set build was the 1987 set, or better known to me as the 1987 Topps Project. I started the project on January 12 of 2014 with a modest stack of roughly 200 cards and finished the set in NINE days through blogger trades. That was a lot of fun and a lot of trades! (I later came to find I was missing five cards when double checking. I'm noticing a trend here.)
Well, that puts a wrap on my set building for the most part and this post also closes out 2021. 

Thanks for reading and I hope 2022 is a great one for you!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Shiny Die-Cut Auto For The Win

On my daily Ebay searches I usually only look at the most recent year for my favorite active player, because there aren't many holes in my player collection of the big burly slugger. At the beginning of each month though I search for new Vogelbach cards from past years.  A low-numbered serial number card turned up in my most recent search. 

This is the 2011 Extra Edition Gold Status die-cut autograph card numbered 3/5 of Vogelbach in his high school uniform. The serial number is right there on the palm of his glove, which I actually kind of like. It doesn't detract from the aesthetics of the card this way. 

This was a great and affordable find of The Vogelmonster. Love it!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Folder of Fun Additions

 One of the reasons I love Sportlots so much is I can grab truly fantastic cards for only 18 cents apiece. 

Check out this one:

I don't remember Youppi, the mascot for the defunct Expos, but how could I pass this card by knowing it was out there?
I'm sure you've seen this Roger McDowell card from 1992 Triple Play. I was hoping we would see a pitcher take to the mound with a utility belt this summer as a part of practical joke. Some got really upset (Max Scherzer) but most were okay with it. I guess I'm a little disappointed the current MLB landscape doesn't have a big jokester like McDowell was known for being. 

Oh, Paul Noce. Poor guy!  Nah, I figure that ball is either glued to pants seat or perhaps some concoction of pine tar and gum has been applied?

Steve Sparks... wasn't he a knuckleball guy? Regardless, this card just makes me smile. I hope it put a smile on your face as well!

Enjoy the holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Something Different for the Blog

 I donated blood for the 40th time, in my lifetime, earlier this fall at my high school's blood drive. I like giving when my students are in session, because I feel I can serve as some free advertising for the Red Cross. Each year I have a handful of students who ask about my experience, and I'd like to think I've convinced a percentage of them to donate sometime down the road. 

Regardless, I was notified that I was eligible for the "5 Gallon" pin. I guess that makes sense, as there are eight pints in a gallon. I usually don't look for incentives to give blood or accept any bonuses for doing so, but a pin sounded pretty cool. 

I think I'll wear it to the future blood drives at the school. Maybe it'll help strike up a few more conversations. 

Do you give blood? If so, thanks for doing so. There's always someone out there in need. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

A Boost to the Player Collections

 Alright, it's time to show off the cards that did come in my recent Sportlots package. 

My Kerry Wood collection got a modest boost of two cards. 

I'm approaching 600 different cards of Kid K. Only nine more to go, but it might take some time because Kerry doesn't get a lot of love from Topps most years. 

Ryno does get quite a bit of Topps' attention each year. 
In fact, all but four of these cards were from the last four years. I'm well over the 1K card mark at this time, something younger probably never would have thought possible. 

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Down to One Card?

 My Sportlots order came in today and I have mixed emotions. This is the tenth time I've used the "Box" shipping method, and I love the savings in shipping which are possible. The time, as long as one isn't in a hurry, usually takes about 3-4 weeks. This one came in at exactly 19 days, which is pretty sweet. 

I'm excited to post the cards, which did come in, but I'm disappointed with the ones that didn't. Back in July I purchased what was listed as hand collated 1986 Larry Fritsch Negro League Stars set on Ebay. It was short eight cards. Strike One. 

I found three pretty early on and captured the Buck O'Neil on Beckett Marketplace. 

I thought I had the last four coming from one seller on Sportlots. Strike Two. 

Luckily, three of the four cards were still listed on Sportlots and they're on their way. I'm having a tough time pulling the trigger on the last single, which is listed on Ebay. 

Maybe someone has a copy of card #24 - Oscar Charleston they'd be willing to trade me?

Let me know if there's a copy of Oscar Charleston floating around in the blogosphere. I'll do my best to make it worth your while! Plus, I'll give him a great home. I've got the rest already paged up and in a binder just waiting to be put on display. 😁

There will be more show-and-tell Mail Day posts in the coming days.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Base Vogey and a Mini Bobbing Head Card

 The author of cards as i see them and long-time trading partner of more than a decade, gcrl, sent me a PWE with the 2021 Topps Update Dan Vogelbach card. 

Bonus: two new to me Kerry Wood cards were included. 

The above one is from the 2000 Pacific Paramount set and it is heavy on the blue!

The one below is from an insert set I've never seen before: 1999 Upper Deck Choice Mini Bobbing Heads.

The checklist from this 30 card set is loaded with stars. How has this fun set eluded me for so long?

Thanks for the great PWE of cards, Jim. I'll have something out to you soon!

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Rooting for Buck

 Later this evening MLB Network will reveal the names of those players from the Early Baseball Era and Golden Days Era who are to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Each of the ballots consist of ten players, and 75% of the 16 person selection committee needs to vote for an individual to get the nod. You can find more information about the selection process and the different committees at the National Baseball Hall of Fame's website.

 I have opinions about many of the twenty combined names on the ballots, but I'm all-in on one particular individual: Buck O'Neil. 

 I visited the Negro League Baseball Museum in January of 2008, which started me down a rabbit hole about the often underrecognized Negro Leagues. I've learned a lot about many of the greats, like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell, but Buck O'Neil has become my favorite. 

 I actually had a somewhat comprehensive write-up on O'Neil's career and influence when I was counting down my favorite bobbleheads in my collection back in 2012.  Buck O'Neil's name is all over the game of baseball. 

Since then I have been tracking down baseball cards which focus on the Negro Leagues and anything Buck O'Neil related which I may happen upon. Yes, in fact, he is represented in my Folder of Fun.

Dreams Fulfilled and artist Graig Kreindler produced a 184 card set celebrating the Negro Leagues during the summer of 2020. I wrote a blogpost after purchasing a copy of the set and the first two cards I spotlighted were of Buck O'Neil. 

Fast forward to this past summer and I read The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America.  This book was just the pick-me-up I needed after a year of pandemic teaching. Buck seemed to have had such a positive influence on everyone he met and he possessed a special talent of being able to put a positive spin on nearly every situation. 

 Recently, I've jumped back into blogging a bit by showing off Mail Day purchases. A particularly special one arrived a week ago, but I saved it for today's post. 

I never met Mr. Buck O'Neil, but Joe Posnanski's book resonated so strongly within me that I felt I needed to immortalize Buck within my own collection. I haven't been this excited about adding a singular card to my handcrafted storage box in quite sometime.  Assuredly, this card was a pricey acquisition, but completely worth it.  

Good luck today, Buck!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

2021 Update Vogey

 I had another good Mail Day today. 

Topps didn't completely forget about my favorite masher this year as they snuck him into Update. 

I would have been happy only having to chase the base card, but Topps loves parallels and I'm a sucker for a good rainbow... so, yeah, that'll be happening. 

The gold this year looks more copper or bronze to me. Regardless, I'm pretty happy Vogey finally got the 2.5" x 3.5" treatment. One card down and fourteen more (non 1/1 versions) to go. 😁

If anyone has a Vogelmonster base card they don't need, then please drop a comment below. I'd love to do a PWE swap. I don't have any 2021 product, and I'm fresh out of Trout/LeBron/Mahomes, but I'll do my best to send back something you might like. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

My Favorite Manager of All-Time

No mail today, but I do have another card that's been sitting on my desk which arrived over the past weekend.

I don't really remember Andre Dawson swatting 49 homers and winning the NL MVP for the last place Cubs in 1987. I was only nine years old at the time and professional baseball was still a foreign concept to me. 

Two years later I was memorizing the backs of baseball cards and following The Boys of Zimmer as close as I possibly could, as the Cubs were on their way to winning the NL East. What a fun summer that was!

Ryno, The Hawk and Mad Dog were the big names, but they had a great supporting cast in Dunston, Grace, Sutcliffe, Wild Thing, Les Lancaster, Mike Bielecki, Dwight Smith and Jerome Walton.

For the record, I think these movie poster cards from Topps, found in Archives, are a pretty creative idea. Good on Topps. 
Rino? Never seen it spelled that way before!

Don Zimmer seemed to be the glue that kept my favorite childhood team together. I'm not sure if he's my favorite manager of all-time, because maybe that's Joe Maddon's spot, but it's difficult to best memories from one's youth. 

Do you have a favorite manager?

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Original Crown Prince of Baseball

 Another great Mail Day today. 

I believe I first saw this card posted on Dime Boxes, and as I typically do with one of Nick's posts I wound up adding a few cards to my want list. I thought about purchasing a reprint of this 1939 Play Ball beauty, but I ultimately decided to go all in and spoil myself a bit. 

Boy, do I ever love fuzzy corners and that pure vintage feel! 

Al Schacht was the original "Clown Prince of Baseball" and he was known for his imitations of coaches and players. He started out as a pitcher, moved to the world of coaching and then eventually found himself entertaining thousands as an on-field baseball comedian. 
I wasn't previously familiar with Schacht as the subject of my previous post, Max Patkin. No matter. This card will find its home in my Folder of Fun and rightfully so. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Entertainer from My Youth

Another Mail Day post today and this one is an Ebay purchase. 

 I remember seeing Max Patkin perform between innings during at old Meinen Field in Peoria at a Chiefs game. 

I don't remember any of his specific antics, but I do remember his baseball uniform being full of baseball dust/dirt by the end of the game. 

I also recall pondering if the umpires enjoyed working games more if The Clown Prince of Baseball was in the stadium. 
I may have an old Chiefs program or scorecard with Patkin's autograph stashed away, but that will be a hunt for a rainy day. In the meantime, I'll store this beauty in the box with all of my favorite autographs. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 26, 2021

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

 Posting has taking a back seat as of late, but about a week ago I purchased a bunch of cards from Sportlots and a few from Ebay. You know, kind of like an early Black Friday card buying binge. 

The first one arrived in today's mail. 

This Allen & Ginter card commemorates Ben Zobrist's big 10th inning hit in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. 
I have a World Series binder and I still enjoy filling the pages five years after the fact. 

I'm going to try to post more cards as they come in. There's a select few I'm fairly excited to show off. 

In the meantime, enjoy the holiday weekend!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Catching Up with Cards

 My sister recently picked up a few cards for me during her latest card purchase. These two will go into my Folder of Fun.

I don't have much of anything from the 2021 collecting year so I was really happy when Jane passed this Ryne Sandberg Stadium Club card my way. Most excellent!

Kenny, aka Zippy Zappy, also sent me a pair of cards through a PWE. Embarrassingly enough, this one arrived back in August. School was just kicking off, and I was super busy then, but that's no excuse. My apologies for the delay in posting, ZZ!

National Baseball Card Day came and went and I didn't even notice.

Thankfully I have this Javier Baez card to prove it actually happened. 

And here's an addition to one of my player collections which hadn't seen much action the last couple of years. 

What you see above is a baseball relic of Kosuke Fukudome. I don't think I have many ball pieces in my collection. Very cool! My Fukudome collection is now up to 191 unique cards, 31 of which have come from Kenny. Thanks, Zippy Zappy! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

That Went Better Than Expected

 About two weeks ago my guy, Daniel Vogelbach, broke the Cardinals' hearts with a pinch hit walk-off grand slam. 

Pinch hit homers are very cool. Grand slams are most excellent. Combine the two with a walk-off and we have something worthy of Topps's attention. 

For a second I thought about purchasing one copy of the Topps Now card commemorating such a VOGELMNSTER event. And then I saw the back of the card.

I knew right then I must have at least two copies, one for my player collection and one to place in the Folder of Fun

Then I thought it might be a good idea to just purchase a lot of ten. Two cards would set me back $20, whereas there's a price break for ten at $5 per card. 

You see, I had my sites on a parallel. Vogelbach has not been included in a major release all year. So it's been a very slow year adding to my favorite player collection. An extra card in the form of parallel would be so sweet!

I could hopefully sell the extra Vogeys on Ebay and/or Twitter, snag a parallel, and keep a few base cards for my collection. In all, I pre-sold five on-line, which left me with five for my collection. I didn't make any money on the five I sold, but knowing the total cost to me was now only $25 and I made some other Vogelbach fans happy was a total win. 

Today the cards came in. 

Wow. I hit three parallels! I'm only missing the 1/1 and the red parallel, which is numbered to 10. Pictured above are the blue (48/49), purple (03/25) and the orange (2/5).  For what it's worth, 524 of these cards were made in all and there are 90 total parallels. Roughly one out of every 5.8 cards is a parallel. I think I beat the odds!

The five pre-sold copies are already packaged up and ready to ship with tomorrow's mail. The other two base cards will slide right into my collection as planned. 

Part of me almost wonders if Topps knows that I'm a Vogelbach super collector. Regardless, it was a fun buying experience which added four more Vogelmonsters to my collection! Woo-Hoo!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 11, 2021


 Expansion in the sports world has always caught my attention. When I was first introduced to baseball there were twenty-six teams in MLB. The Rockies and Marlins were added 1993 and the whole process was just so fascinating to me. I read everything I could about the player draft, mascot selection, uniforms, team colors, and anything else that I could find in print. None of the luster wore off when the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays were added five years later. 

There have been rumblings about expansion the last couple of years in MLB. I for one would love to see four divisions of four teams each in the AL & NL. Add in a two wild card teams in each league and give the top two teams first round byes and I'd be elated. I Nashville and Las Vegas would make good additions. No?

I'm thinking about expanding also. Recently I was sent a pair of PWEs from Jeff, the author of Wax Pack Wonders, which got my wheels turning. 

Above are a bunch of Cubs cards numbered 672 or higher. Jeff thought he would give me a head start on expanding my Cubs FrankenSet past 671.

You might be wondering why I stopped at 671. Well, there's two main reasons:

  1. I originally was going to stop at 650, but I used some page markers for ever 50 cards in the binder. Doing so pushed me to 653 to fill a full page. Argh. I had a bunch of cards pulled that were numbered higher than 653 so I decided to add another 18 cards, which landed me at 671. For what it's worth, I am not a fan of empty pockets. 
  2. The higher the numbers the more I thought my set would be dominated by Topps. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I was going for variety in players and card designs. 
Jeff sent 14 cards from Topps and the other card manufacturers were only represented by the four cards below. 

Here's a snapshot of what the backend of the FrankenSet checklist currently looks like: 

As you can see, Topps is king when it homes to the "high" numbers.

I'm not sure if I'm going to run with Jeff's expansion idea, but I'm not going to immediately sort these cards into my collection either. I'm going to think on it. It could be fun to chase down another 100+ cards until I get 792, which would be another hat-tip to Topps. We'll see!

Thanks for cards, Jeff! 

What do you think? Should I expand my Cubs FrankenSet

What about MLB expansion? Maybe MLB should focus on settling the new CBA this off season and work on "fixing" baseball before diluting the talent pool?

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Note from a Player

 My junior high coaching season ended yesterday. Well, sort of... I'm the junior varsity girls softball coach at one of the middle schools in our district. The junior varsity team is made of all the sixth graders and a few seventh graders, and our last game was yesterday. Technically I'm also the assistant varsity coach as well, and that team will continue to play for a week or so until they are eliminated from the state playoffs. Trying to coach a bunch of energetic 6th and 7th grade girls can take a lot out of a guy, but now I'll get to relax a bit and enjoy my assistant varsity gig. 

I've held this coaching position now for the last seventeen years and it's been fun watching the younger middle school players grow and mature into the occasional standout high school player. 

Every now and again I get a little extra something from a player during or at the end of a season. This was one of those years and I thought I'd share it. 

Sweet note from a very nice kid. 

I hope this note brought a smile to your face! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Gold Sig of Vogey

 When there's only five copies of a card sometimes I give up hope of ever adding one to my Vogelbach collection. A copy could be sitting in an unopened box on a shelf somewhere. Or, there might be one online, but the price could be prohibitive. 

Recently, my luck was in my favor.

A couple of weeks ago I came across this silver bordered, gold autograph of a mini Allen & Ginter 2020 Vogelbach card. Just GORGEOUS.

I added the card to my watchlist and crossed my fingers that the seller would send me a discounted offer on the card. Sometime this happens when a card doesn't sell right away at the initial asking price. 

An offer never came, which was okay with me because it was priced pretty reasonably to begin with. 

The "buy it now" auction was set to expire at midnight on Sunday, and with that in mind I offered 75% of the seller's asking price early Saturday morning. My offer was accepted immediately, which must have been the result of some sort of setting within the listed auction. 

It just arrived in my mailbox and now it's downstairs living the good life in my Vogelbach autograph box. Most excellent!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Corkball Bat

 Last weekend my parents went to an estate sale in their neighborhood, and knowing their son loves anything and everything baseball related they forked over $4 for a corkball bat. 

I had never heard of corkball before, but from what I can tell it's a variation of stickball. There are no baserunners in this game and the size of a standard playing field is 30 feet by 250 feet. As few as two people, the pitcher and batter, can play at a time. If the ball is batted between 15 and 150 feet then the batter is awarded a single, 150 to 200 feet is a double, 200 to 250 feet is a triple, and if the ball clears 250 feet then it's a home run. 

The ball itself is the same size as a baseball, but its interior is nearly all cork and it weighs about a third of a traditional baseball. 

This particular bat looks well-loved and from what I find through online searches it appears production started in the 1950's in the St. Louis area. I don't think this one is 60 years old, but I bet it's been around for at least a few decades. This exact model can still be purchased online today from Markwort for $42!

The corkball bat is 36 inches in length and the barrel is only 1.5 inches in diameter. For reference, the picture above shows the corkball bat leaning up against the wall next to my bat collection, which includes my two coaching fungos on the far right. 

I'm not sure if I'll just decorate the man room with the bat or maybe purchase some whiffle golf balls and use them with the bat as a training aide for my sophomore baseball players. 

Thanks for the bat, Mom and Dad!

Monday, August 16, 2021

2 from my Watch List on Ebay

Each morning as I sit eating breakfast I scour Ebay for new-to-me Vogelbach cards. I save the expensive ones to my Watch List and pounce on any cheap ones I don't already have in my collection. 

2020 Allen & Ginter's X Mini Framed Auto, 04/10
I've been watching these two for some time, as they fell in the "Too expensive to purchase" category.  One of them was reduced and I decided to treat myself to both.  
2020 Topps Jumbo Event Sleeve Patch, Red parallel, 03/10
I'm now up to 270 unique Vogelbach cards from 2020. I only have THREE from 2021, and they're all from Topps Archives Signature Series, which takes older cards, adds a signature, and packages them as new. I'm not even sure I should count those. 

Do you save cards using the watch list on Ebay? If so, how many are you watching right now? I'm watching twenty-four currently, with one being of Ryne Sandberg and the rest are of a certain lefty slugger. The current Buy It Now price for all two dozen is just over nine grand. Yeah, I'll never own many of those! 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

PWEs Still Make Me Smile

 I'm not as active in the blogging/trading community as I once was, but I'm still enjoying the hobby at my own leisure. Jim, from cards as i see them, sent me a two card PWE last week, and it's magnificent. 

Up first, everyone's favorite jovial slugger: THE VOGELMONSTER!

This is a gold parallel of Daniel Vogelbach 2017 Topps rookie card. Very, very nice. 

The second card from the plain white envelope is one I've had listed on my Top 5 Most Wanted Cards list for awhile.

Stadium Club is so great, isn't it? The is the 2019 Ernie Banks card from Topps most photocentric set. Great stuff. 

Thanks for thinking of me, Jim!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

BWTP Makes Me Take Stock

 Bob Walk The Plank reached out recently and asked if I'd take on some 2021 Cubs. Well, that's kind of a silly question. The answer is, "I'll always take Cub cards!"

As of July 31st, the true question is, "Who are the 2021 Cubs?"

Let's start with the cards of players who qualify as current Cubs. 

Jason Heyward, Kyle Hendricks, Ian Happ, Alec Mills and omnipresent rookie Brailyn Marquez can still be labeled as Cubs. The only big name missing from this group would Willson Contreras. 

Count me as one of the collectors who enjoy team cards. I think Adbert Alzolay has some promise and I'm glad he'll get a full season's worth of innings this year to develop. 

Another Marquez card and two other potential pieces of the future in Christopher Morel and Ed Howard. 

Alright, time for those who have been shipped out. 

Jed Hoyer, the GM & president, tipped his hand about an impending teardown by trading Yu Darvish to the Padres last December.

Like Darvish, Billy Hamilton and Jason Kipnis never suited up for the Cubs in 2021. Austine Romine is currently on the 60-day IL.
Craig Kimbrel was sent to Chicago's southside. 
Javy Baez went to the Big Apple's NL squad. 
Kris Bryant will now be suiting up for the Giants. 
No Anthony Rizzo in this package, which is fine. His inclusion would have probably just prompted me to reach for a box of tissues. 

Thanks for the cards, BWTP!


I've created a Google Sheet for all those Cub fans who want to keep track of these trades. It provides a great look at exactly who has been shipped out and what the talent return was. 

I'm still waiting to see some figures on what the payroll and projected roster currently looks like for 2022. I'm sure the front office will sign a few free agents over the winter, who they hope will perform well enough to flip at next July's deadline. I'm an invested fan with a curious mind after all. 

Full rebuild mode. Again. Double sigh. 

Thanks for reading and I hope your team took on MLB talent yesterday!