Friday, March 4, 2016

A trade, and it didn't even smell like a shoe!!

 As I navigate between writing and reading about baseball cards, and add in sorting!! I found a guy who lived relatively close to me by the name of Shane at Shoebox Legends  What stood out was he was the last of a dying breed, a Hartford Whalers fan!   The long exiled team from Insurance City had long been a thorn in the side of Bruin fans for a long, long time.  Ron Francis and Kevin Dineen were never liked up here because of the damage they could do on the ice, but guys like "The Little Ball of Hate" Pat Vebeek (or VerGeek as we called him) and public enemy number 1, Ulf Samuelsson were two others that were despised by Bs fans.  On the other side, Hartford fans hated when Bs fans would flood their home arena to cheer on the Bruins!  Now it seems, Shane is a Bruins fan as well, whether that is lack of options or he finally decided to come over to the Black and Gold side it makes for a interesting mix.  A while back, I bought a collection that had a LOT of hockey cards in it, and I am not a hockey card guy.  This presented me a chance to set up a trade and put some cards that would sit in a box, with a collector that would enjoy them.  ( You can see his end of the deal here)  It also gave me the opportunity to add some Heritage, Archives and All-Time Fan Favorite cards to the collection as I decided to go back and put these sets together after years of not bothering with them.   I received a bubble mailer from Shane and it was stuffed with vintage inspired goodness that he dug out of his shoebox.  This is just a sample of the cards I received.

     Men without Hats!  It is amazing how many of the 2014 Heritage had the players pose without their hats.  It certainly was common practice back in the 60s, but it became a lost art years later, so I can see the modern baseball player probably a little weirded out when a photographer clicking aways starts to ask them to doff their cap.   It looks like Shin Soo Choo must have gotten the memo that hatless photos were being taken as he made sure he had his hair styled and blow dried.  On the opposite side, Nate McLouth looks like he has perpetual "helmet head."

     It makes me feel old that not only do I remember when a current manager was not only a player, and not only their rookie season, but remembering them when they played college ball.  That is the case with Robin Ventura whom was a stand out with Oklahoma State back in the mid 80s.  Loved adding a premier player like Mike Trout to the 2014 pile.  Leonys martin is such an enigma, he has great tools but hasn't seemed to have the chance to put it all together.  Hopefully he gets a fresh breath of life in Seattle.  Two cards that just echo the feel of those 60s vintage posed shots: Kendry Morales and Paul Konerko.  Kendry is a great shot with a great background of the sky and the posed home run swing like something out of The Actor's Studio.  Konerko is about to play his final season of a great career.  This pose  and angle of shot gives a bit of majesty to the Shane's fellow statesman.
Love the dual rookie cards.  Marisnick has found a nice little home in Houston, while highly regarded Michael Choice has seemed to flame out in Texas.  Then a former and future former Red Sox.  Adrian Gonzalez never found his groove in Boston and was packaged with high priced Carl Crawford, and malcontent Josh Beckett and shipped to the Dodgers in one of the greatest dump deals ever. Nick Punto drove everyone to Dodgertown too.  Wade Miley  was seemingly coming into his own when the Red Sox peddled off two of the key prospects they netted in the Dodger deal to acquire Miley.  His one season in Boston was up and down but he ended up about right where he was the prior two years.  During the offseason, Boston, having a wealth of starters dealt Miley to Seattle for the underrated Carson Smith.

     Shane sent over a few from past years that are certainly needed and appreciated.  The 2012 homage to the 1963 set is a nice clean set.  It is fun to see the old "Topps Rookie" trophy in its mega size on the Revere card. Danny Duffy looks less than thrilled with a bad fake smile.  The 2009 Heritage (1959) is a nice lesson in primary colors, and a bad one in capitalization.  Corey Hart was a solid player that I felt never got to fully blossom due to chronic injuries.  Verlander, after the Kate Upton photo leak, I can never look at this guy the same way. (Once you see it, you can't unsee it!)  The Frank Robinson comparison to Ryan Howard looks silly now, but back when this came out, the trajectories were similar.  Ruben Sierra was a fantastic player when he debuted.  He was a lean  5 tool player, but he bulked up to the point he was so muscular he could not quite turn on pitches as quickly as he once did, and faded into journeyman status, but did play for quite a long career.  Same can be said for Benny Santiago.  This card of Santiago reminded me of Johnny Damn.  or if Hollywood ever wanted to make a movie called "The Benito Santiago Story" the perfect guy to play him in his later years is Luis Guzman.

   To wrap it up, here are some Archives

     The Adam Eaton card looks off due to the White Sox changing their color scheme.  Back in 1976, the red was part of the WHite Sox uniforms.  Jay Hey looks right at home in a 1990 style card  ready to team with a pair of young Jones boys for a great run.  Wei Yin looks way pissed that his hatless hot was not used for a Heritage set, but stuck on a 1985 inspired card.  Sal Perez has really blossomed in KC and is a huge part of that teams current run of dominance.  I really liked the 1982 design, and it is great to see current players and their facsimile signatures done in this style.  Topp it off with the beloved 1972 style card. (Anyone else looking forward to 2021 Heritage??!)  Love getting one of baseball's great modern legends in Derek Jeter.  Design wise, A-Gone closes out this post with an exit stage right.
Thank you Shane, I appreciate your generosity.  I have another package set aside for you.

Monday, February 29, 2016

February Card Show Recap pt 2 of 2

The best part of arriving as early as I do, along with a few others is the opportunity to see the newest stuff right away, whether that be from the $0.20 cards. $0.50 cards, relics, or the Ask For Price items.  This show, he did not have any new vintage stock, but I dug into his $3 box and the ask for price box.  Within a few moments I made 2 stacks, the ones I wanted for certain, and then the possible.  Needless to say the value when he packages the cards is beyond reproach.   This is  the nice little stack of quality I walked away with...

     Before he was Giancarlo, he was "Mike" - This is the first of two name change players.  I am not a big Chrome fan, but I could not pass up adding a Stanton certified auto to my PC.  Sadly, my scanner does not give this card justice. 

    Bill "Mad Dog" Madlock is honestly one of the most under-rated players from the 70s-early 80s.  A 3 times All-Star Third Baseman, Madlock won 4 National League batting titles (1975, 1976, 1981, 1983)  Very happy to the fiery Mad Dog to my collection.

     I've always been an Alan Trammell fan. He was always a thorn in the side of my beloved Red Sox, but man was he a player (He and his double play partner and heterosexual life mate of 19 years, Lou Whitaker) The xix time all-star won 4 Gold Glove awards while manning the shortstop position for the Tigers.  It is a travesty that he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Put his stats up against most of the enshrined shortstops and he is right up there or even better than a good many of them.  Who else happens to be an Alan Trammell fan? This guy...

Trammell also happens to be the favorite player of Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee on "The Walking Dead") My wife and I had the chance to meet Steven in 2014 and while many people wanted to talk all thing \s Walking Dead, I was more than happy to talk some baseball with Steven.  That mid 80s Tigers team was something special from the criminally ignored Jack Morris, to Lance Parrish, Sweet Lou, Steve Kemp, Glen Wilson, Kirk Gibson, Dan Petry, and of course, Trammell.

     Last auto was from the $3 box is this SP Chirography of Todd Helton.  Say what you want about the air in COlorado, but Helton was a damn good player.  He might not be the prototypical slugging first baseman type player if you take him away from Coors Field but Helton was a "ballplayer" and found ways to win games for the Rocks.

  I could go on and on about how good and dominant Juan Marichal was in his hey day.  Overshadowed by two guys named Koufax and Gibson, Marichal was an amazing pitcher that dominated his league for most of his career.  This 1967 set me back $2.50.

Please ignore the shadow of the screw on this 1977 Topps cloth card of Captain Carl.  I don't run into this test issue often, so I was quite pleased to add a Hall of Famer and Red Sock.  I would love to put this set together, but I have so much going on that it will have to wait for another day.  Maybe once I run into a nice lot of the cloth cards, then I will make the plunge, but for now, happy with Yaz.

The second guy that went through a name change, David "Big Papi" Arias.  While Papi was Arias, you could grab this card for pennies.  Ortiz only netted 58 homers during his 6 seasons with the Twins.  Once things clicked with the Red Sox, the most recent member of the 500 Home Run Club has seen this card jump in value.  Luckily, I netted Papi in a package deal for what his card alone sells for.

     Finally, a stack of relics.  I have stated before, Carlton Fisk was one of my childhood idols growing up, and I am looking to collect any and all cards of him only as a member of the  BOSTON RED SOX.  The Sox should never had let him get away in 1981.  

 Finally a few more relics.  Another guy I cannot talk highly enough is the amazing Davy Lopes.  Lopes was a late bloomer, but was pretty productive into his 40s.  (He was also born and raised about 30 minutes South of where I live.) The other guys are pretty good in their own right.  and the oddball serial numbered non-relic of Brooks Robinson.   So I thought I did pretty well with this show, and it is only a week away before the next one.  I hope I fare just as well.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

February Card Show Recap pt 1 of 2

My somewhat local card show made its month appearance at the Holiday Inn, and as usual, I took the opportunity to beat the majority of the crowd and meet my favorite dealer there hours before the show's actual opening.  Is it insane, yes, but truth be told, I would be up and about an hour later anyways at the behest of my cats whom would want to be fed their breakfast, so I just got an earlier jump on this President's day.

Yes, that is the correct time in the car, and I was not the first one there.  That is the price you pay for the executive peak at what new stock he has brought to the show.  I arrived around 4:30 AM and immediately looked over some of his Newer $3 boxes as well as his "Ask for Price" box.  The deal I got from him on that stuff was worth the early arrival.  I will show those a bit later.  However, for a change, I want to show some stuff from his cheaper boxes.  As I mentioned before, this gentleman has loads of boxes marked at certain price points. $3, $2, $1, $0.75, $0.50, 3/$1, $0.20, $0.10, $0.07, and $0.05.  I often end up walking out with damn near a monster box of cards each time.   I have posted a few cards from these boxes, but the wealth of cardboard goodness is amazing, and it is easy to lose track of how much you accumulate.  The shear amount of inserts and other fun cards makes it worth it.  I like to grab stuff as potential trade bait and gift packages.  Especially the inserts,; I figure someone is working on the set, so why not grab them in case it can go to fill someone's need.  So here is some of the random goodness that ranged from $0.5 and up to $0.10-$0.20 cents.

A small stack of Fleer's New Horizons and Rookie Sensation inserts.  I recall most of the interest in these guys, and now looking at how many busts there were among the ones that had solid careers just reinforces my dislike for rookie prospecting.  The Fleer 3000 Club cards are new to me, and I love them!! I will definitely be seeking out the remaining ones for this set.  The Ultra World Premiere must be one of the most condition sensitive card with those sharp die cut edges.  These are the second batch I picked up, got a bunch from the previous show.       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1999 SP Home Run Chronicle inserts -Not bad little cards for $0.05-$0.07 each.  The Topps Upper Class set looks like something Upper Deck would pump out.  Sportflics Cyclone Squad subset.  Then a bunch of various Fleer inserts from the 90s.  Topps Total inserts                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                          I love promo cards.  They range from common throw in to incredibly scarce.  They are also highly welcome items for player and team collectors.  Here is a range of cards I found at the show.

     Another condition sensitive insert set, the Bart Simpson inspired Lords of the Diamond. Once upon a time, the Team Pinnacles were hot cards and commanded big money.  Overproduction of the product flooded the market and they are far cries from what they used to be.  Select Team Nucleus were cards that were not too easy to pull.  Select packs sold for around $3 a pop which was a premium back in the 90s. Grabbed the psychedelic Rookie Surge cards along with the other dufex style Pinnacle cards.  I am not a huge fan of shiny cards and chrome cards, but I do like the dufex look.  Another odd insert set, must have been a time when companies were going crazy with die cut cards.  RBI Kings was always hit or miss with Ultra, this particular year was one of the better ones.

       Classic auto /numbered cards as well as a signed Charles Johnson card.  I always like Johnson, always thought he would end up with a bigger career than he had.  A few more promo cards (Pre-Production I-Rod, Promo for Stone Cold Steve Austin and 3 SPectrum promos.  Some die cuts found in the cheap boxes, and Topps Gold Futures inserts.

                                                                                                                                                                      I always pull random cards of premier players when mining these boxes.  Since I did not bother getting them when they came out, and after a long hiatus, this presented an opportunity to catch up as well.  THis is a small capsule of what I grabbed of Greg Maddux, The Big Hurt, and Piazza.   Others that I have pulled lots of range from Griffey, Chipper, Juan-Gone, Larkin, Bagwell, Biggio, Ozzie, Bonds, Pedro, etc.    If anyone is ever interested in any of them, just check my Zistle account for an inventory of what I have acquired.   That is just a very small taste of the couple thousand I walked away with from the "cheap seats" I couldn't do better on eBay in acquiring the loads of cards at the prices I paid.  Next show is only a week away, and my guy has new stock from a store he bought out, so I am chomping at the bit to see what he has added.  Stay tuned for part 2 featuring the cards that were not in the bargain boxes!!