30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flea Market Finds #122: The Poor Man's Claw

High expectations can sometimes lead to extreme disappointment.  Sports fans might have experienced it when they think their team is going to compete for the title, but instead they compete for the worst record.  If you're a foodie, then maybe you've gone to a highly recommended steak house and they overcook your filet mignon.  Or what about the movie with the blockbuster cast, Academy Award winning director, and an insane budget that you wait in line for hours to see, but is so terrible you can't help but laugh.

That's kinda how I felt when I drove out to the Branham Flea Market this past Saturday and only found one vendor (Box Bottom Guy) with sports cards.  Normally there are at least three or four.  Even my buddy Tony was nowhere to be found.

Oh well... at least I didn't walk away completely empty-handed.  Box Bottom Guy had a few things I was interested in...

Purchase #1:  Discounted Relics and a Wannabe Rookie Card $12

All of the cards marked $2 or $3 (and the $5 Mulder) were a buck each, while the $5 Mazeroski and Kershaw were two bucks a piece.

2006 Bowman Heritage Prospects #BHP85

The main card I wanted was the Kershaw.  After reading one of Night Owl's posts about his 2008 Topps Update official rookie card and the insane prices they're currently selling for, I figured this card was cool find and the closest I'd get to actually owning a rookie card of The Claw.  The card looks clean in the scan, but the bottom left corner isn't "gem mint", which is probably why the guy was selling it so cheap.

Purchase #2:  1991 U.S. Playing Cards  $1

The same vendor had this deck of cards sitting on his table for a dollar.  I'm not sure about you, but I just can't pass up oddballs.

Outside of Box Bottom Guy, there really weren't any of vendors of interest (at least to me).  I was in and out of this flea market within 30 minutes.

Normally this wouldn't bother me too much, but I had high expectations for this flea market now that the Capitol Flea Market has been put on hiatus.  I'll try to mentally not get my hopes up for my upcoming trip to the De Anza Flea Market.

What about you...

What was something you had high expectations for, but was left feeling disappointed?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Where It All Started

Being a blogger is a lot of fun... however it's not easy and it's a lot of work.  Well... at least for me.  When I was a kid, I excelled at most academic subjects, but the one that gave me fits year in and year out was writing.

I was the student who had to proofread my work over and over and over again... and there still would be errors.  That was only a small part of my problem.  My biggest issue has always been developing creative content.  To this day outside of finding time to write, it's the second biggest challenge for me as a blogger.

Thankfully Tony created his 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge.  That's provided me with 30 topics to write about... of which I'm exactly 50% finished.

Then last week, Tom over at Eamus Catuli! kicked off another Blog Bat Around and asked his readers, "what is the reason for collecting the players you collect?".

Great question Tom!  I've probably discussed it here and there about certain players I collect, but this gives me the opportunity to throw down all of my responses in one post.

So without further adieu, let's get this started:

#1:  Tony Gwynn

2001 Fleer Genuine Coverage Plus #4

While most kids were impressed with home run totals... I was the kid checking out batting leaders.  In 1984... Gwynn hit .351 and the San Diego Padres went to the World Series.  The following season, I started rooting for both and the rest is history.

#2:  Rickey Henderson

2016 Topps Five Star Autograph #FSA-RH

Growing up in the Bay Area, I attended my fair share of games at Candlestick Park and the Oakland Coliseum.  Rickey was by far the most exciting player I remember cheering for.  Had he not been traded to the New York Yankees in 1984, he'd be #1 on this list.

#3:  Kurt Suzuki

2007 USA Baseball Bound for Beijing Materials #GU9

Japanese-American baseball players drafted by the Oakland Athletics who actually stick around in the majors don't grow on trees.  As long as he continues to play, I'll continue to be a fan of #24.

#4:  Ichiro Suzuki

2004 UD Diamond Collection Dean's List Jerseys #DL-IS

Ichiro could hit like Gwynn, bring excitement to the ballpark like Rickey, and is without a doubt the greatest Japanese ballplayer to come across the Pacific.

#5:  Greg Maddux

2004 Donruss Timelines Materials #17

Turner Broadcasting System and The Professor himself equally share credit here.  In college I watched a ton of Atlanta Braves games on TBS and the ones I looked forward to the most were the ones with him pitching.  His control and ability to get some of the greatest sluggers in the game to ground out left me in awe almost every time he stepped on the mound.

#6:  Jackie Robinson

2008 Stadium Club #91

Racism sucks.  Robinson took a stand, crossed baseball's color barrier, and will forever be a symbol of hope for African-Americans and other minority groups across our beloved country.

#7:  Steve Carlton

2006 SP Legendary Cuts Baseball Chronology Materials #BC-SC

Steve Carlton was one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game during my childhood.  As a fellow lefty, my decision to pick him as one of my favorite pitchers was a logical choice.

#8:  Jose Altuve

2015 Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Autographs #SSA-JA

What happens when you give a vertically challenged second baseman the ability to potentially hit .350?  You create a new player collection for me.

After writing this post, I was surprised to see that I'm actively trying to collect eight different baseball players.  What's even crazier is that this list doesn't include guys like Frank Thomas, Thurman Munson, Al Kaline, Clayton Kershaw, Ozzie Smith, and Kirby Puckett... which are guys I've collected off and on over the years.  

I don't even want to start thinking about football, soccer, hockey, and other sports.  Geez.  Maybe it's time for me to finally start streamlining my collection.

Nah.  It's hard enough to come up with ideas for future blog posts.  There's no way I have time to start sorting my collection.

Thanks Tom for kicking off this Blog Bat Around!  It's definitely opened my eyes about my collection.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Like Fine Wine...

It's funny how certain things get better with age.  When I was a kid I couldn't stand eating broccoli, watching documentaries, or listening to my father's stories.  But these days, broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, I can spend hours watching documentaries if the topic is interesting, and one of my favorite things to do with my parents is listen to their childhood stories.

Last year on one of my trips down to Las Vegas, the three of us were sitting around the dining room table.  Somehow we started talking about football which eventually led to me essentially interviewing them about sports.

Most of the stuff was just confirmation on things I already knew.

For example, I already knew that my father was a big Packer's fan from the late 50's to the early 70's.  During that time, he enjoyed watching guys like Herb Adderly, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Ray Nitschke, and Jim Ringo.

But like a lot of football fans, his favorite player was the team's quarterback:

My father's favorite sports memory is attending Super Bowl I with my mother and watching #15 and the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

My parents moved the family back to California in the early 70's and started rooting for the San Francisco 49ers.  That's about the same time that I joined the family... and ever since, they've been diehard Niner fans.

They were even season ticket holders for a few years... but that was way before Joe Montana led them to four Super Bowl titles.

I also knew that my father loved to play golf.  It was one of his favorite hobbies and up until a few years ago, he'd play 3 to 4 times a week.

Whenever The Masters, U.S. Open, or the Ryder Cup was taking place... that's what graced our family room television.  I grew up cheering for guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Greg Norman.

And even though I don't remember watching him, I knew that my father's favorite golfer was Arnold Palmer.

But one thing I didn't know about him was that he was once huge boxing fan.  In fact... he even dabbled in boxing himself as a kid in Hawaii and while serving in the Coast Guard.

His two favorites boxers were two guys that I had never heard of from Hawaii: Dado Marino and Bobo Olson.  After that talk... I immediately searched eBay, COMC, and Beckett to see if either of these guys had cards.

I eventually discovered and picked up these:

Both of these were sitting in 4 Sharp Corners' inventory,  I don't know much about either card, but I figured the $40.46 was money well invested, since they were for him.

My father never actually got into collecting sports cards.  But hopefully these two cards bring back fond memories.  And one day... I'll inherit them and they'll bring back fond memories for me as well.

I'm pretty sure my father won't see this post... but if by chance he does...

Happy Father's Day Dad!

I'm the person I am today because of you and Mom... and I'm very thankful for that.  I love you.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pièce de Résistance

After wrapping up my nineteenth year in public education, I have received a fair share of student drawn work over the years that decorate part of my classroom walls.  The rest are methodically inserted into plastic sleeves that fill four 3" d-ring binders.

There has only been one picture that I've actually taken home and hung up for my friends and family to see.  Until now.  Last week one of my seventh graders painted this for me:

It's a 8"x10" canvas painting that features popular characters from legendary Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki.  He's written and directed many award winning films, such as:  My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.

Every year, I have at least a handful of students who are fans of his films and every year I find making a connection with them through these awesome movies.  This year one of those short conversations must have planted a seed that eventually blossomed into one of coolest pieces of art I've ever owned.

I love it so much that I went out, purchased a frame, and placed it on a bookshelf at home.    I plan on bringing it back to school in August, so my student can see her work hanging up in my classroom.  But as soon as she graduates a year from now, it's coming home with me permanently.

Thank you Sophia for this beautiful painting!

Last week, I also received a pair of generous gifts of the sports card variety.

The first card was sent to me by GCRL over at Cards as I See Them and it's the latest addition to my Japanese baseball player collection:

2017 Bowman Chrome #BCP97

Norimoto pitched in two games during the 2017 World Baseball Classic for Samurai Japan, but struggled against Cuba and the Netherlands.  He had the worst ERA and WHIP among all Japanese pitchers during the tournament.

The good news is that he hasn't let the bad experience affect his season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the NPB.  He is currently leading the league in strikeouts.

Some of you might also remember his name when he helped Samurai Japan no-hit a team of MLB all-stars back in 2014.

Thank you Jim for my very first Norimoto baseball card!

The other package was an eBay lot purchased by Uncle Tiny who had the cards shipped to my mailbox.

Four cards.  Four Dennis Eckersley's.  Three of them feature very low serial numbers:

2005 UD HOF "Seasons" #HFS-DE1 (#'d 25/50)

2005 UD HOF "Hall Worthy" #HW-DE2 (#'d 5/15)

2005 Donruss Greats "Platinum Holofoil" #17 (#'d 10/50)

Plus there was this non-serial numbered insert:

1993 UD "Clutch Performers" #R8

Thanks Uncle Tiny!

I already own the "Clutch Performers" insert, but all three of those serial numbered cards are awesome additions to my Eckersley collection.

Have a great Father's Day weekend!  Happy Friday and sayonara!