30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Change of Heart

Brand names have played a pretty big role in my life since around the time I entered elementary school.  When it came to bikes, I didn't want a Huffy for Christmas.  I wanted a Schwinn or a GT.  Shoes?  I was a Nike guy.  Toys?  Transformers, please.  Save the Go-Bots for another kid.  I can remember being embarrassed to be seen shopping with my mom at K-Mart.

Things got progressively worse until I started working in high school and received enough paychecks to understand that money didn't grow on trees.

Reality really kicked in after my parents moved to Las Vegas and I was left to fend for myself as a first year teacher living in one of the most expensive areas in the state.  I started scouring the newspapers every Sunday for this week's bargains and sales.

Twenty years later, I still consider myself a bargain hunter.  That term especially applies to sports cards.

However just like certain brand names turned me off as a kid, there are certain things that turn me off about sports cards.  One of the first things that pops into my head is logo-less cards.

Now before I offend anyone, let me preface things by stating that I firmly believe everyone should collect whatever sports cards their hearts desire.  It's your money.  Buy whatever brings you happiness.

With that being said, I tend to spend my hard earned money on MLB licensed products.  But about a year ago, I discovered this autographed card on eBay and had change of heart:

2012 Sport Kings Series E #217
$14.99 (+ $3.50 Shipping)

The 1933 Goudey Sport Kings are one of my favorite pre-WWII sports card designs, so when I returned to the hobby back in 2008, it was a pleasant surprise to see that Dr. Brian Price had resurrected the product a year earlier.  From 2007 to 2013, In the Game produced a "living set" that honored some of the biggest names in sports.

In 2014, Brian Gray announced that Leaf had acquired the rights to Sport Kings and produced a set in 2015.  The Winfield above is a buyback autograph pulled from that product.

After that purchase, I immediately started picking up any reasonable priced 2015 Leaf Sport Kings buyback autograph from this collection I could get my hands on...

2007 Sport Kings Series A #4
$28 (+ $2.67 Shipping)

I was a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan during the 80's and 90's, so Larry Bird was one of those guys I couldn't stand.  But even Lakers fans have to admire the impact he had on the sport.  The guy is truly a legend.

2009 Sport Kings Series C #109
$13.30 (+ $3 Shipping)

Another 80's legend... Lendl held the ATP #1 ranking for 270 weeks during the decade.  I don't normally buy tennis cards, but if it's part of this set I'll make an exception.

2009 Sport Kings Series C #158
$23 (Free Shipping)

We could dwell on all of the negative press LT has received over the years, but there's only one more day left before the weekend... so let's focus on the positive.  Taylor is one of the greatest linebackers to play the game.  The guy was straight up scary.  Don't believe me?  Go search up his highlights on YouTube.

2010 Sport Kings Series D #178
$27.99 (+ $2.66 Shipping)

Finally moving out of the 80's legends and getting into the 90's.  Sakic is one of my favorite hockey players to never wear a San Jose Sharks jersey.  Not only is he the greatest player in Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche history... the guy was also a class act.

Although I don't think I've announced it, I started collecting Sakic a while back.  And this particular card is special, because it's numbered to Sakic's jersey number, so it fits into my Prime Number PC as well.

2012 Sport Kings Series E #216
$22.07 (+ $2.79 Shipping)

Carew is another guy I collect, so this when I saw this card, it was a no-brainer.  Much like the Winfield, I like how In The Game shows off part of the team logo, so it's not completely logo-less.

2013 Sport Kings Series F #277
$20 (Free Shipping)

Jack Ham was a little before my time... but I remember my father mentioning his name a lot when people talked about those great Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 70's.  The guy was a first ballot hall of famer and was included in this set, so I'll assume he's a legend.

2013 Sport Kings Series F #300
$24.25 (Free Shipping)

Another guy I collect.  Another first ballot hall of famer.  Another partial logo.  Another happy addition to my collection.

So there you have it.  Eight autographs of eight legends featuring logo-less (or almost logo-less) cards that I was more than happy to add to my collection.  Even collectors who have very specific card collecting pet peeves can have a change of heart from time to time.

Who knows?  Maybe there's a "sticker autograph" purchase just around the corner for me.  Well... probably not.  Then again... I never thought I'd drop almost $200 on logo-less trading cards.

What about you...

Do you have any personal trading card turnoffs?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Spice of Life

Life was so much simpler as a kid.  There were no bills to worry about.  I didn't have to worry about getting my taxes done.  Car problems weren't an issue.  Even collecting was simpler.

When I started collecting back in the early 80's, I only had access to baseball cards and a limited amount of non-sports products.  There were only three major baseball card companies and each one produced one, maybe two products each year.

Nowadays card collecting is much more complicated... well... at least for me.

Last week, Night Owl wrote a post about the various projects he's currently working on.  This led to other bloggers starting the current Blog Bat-Around where they're sharing their different card collecting interests.

Unfortunately it would take me way too long to cover all of the different things I collect, so tonight I'm going to choose ten of my favorite collections that may or may not receive a lot of attention on this blog.

#1:  Damaged Cards 

1989 Fleer #548
1997 SP Special FX #16
2005 Diamond Kings Materials Bronze #273

Do you ever get a COMC order and one of the inserts has a slight crease you didn't see in their scan?  Or have you ever opened a pack and there's a dinged corner on the key rookie card you were hoping to pull?  If so, maybe you should considered dedicating a binder to damaged cards.  I did.

#2:  Hometown Heroes

2001 UD Vintage #254
2012 Goodwin Champions Autographs #A-JC
2004 Topps Retired Signatures #TA-DST

I have lived in San Jose for the past 43 years and been a Bay Area resident my entire life.  A few years ago, I thought it'd be fun to collect people who grew up in San Jose or athletes who attended local high schools and colleges.

#3:  Classic Affordable Graded Vintage

1971 Topps #118
1974 Topps #330
1975 Topps #625

I've always loved vintage baseball cards.  Last year, I specifically started targeting affordable vintage featuring cool photography that have been slabbed.  It's been one of my favorite projects the past year or so.

#4:  Kenner Starting Lineup Cards

1988 Kenner SLU #45
1993 Kenner SLU #NNO
2000 Hasbro SLU #19

If you collected in the 90's, then you probably collected Kenner Starting Lineups or at least knew someone who did.  When I returned to the hobby, one of my favorite things to buy were cheap SLU's.  Eventually, I ran out of storage space and was force to bust 90% of them out of their packages.

Ten years later, I have two binders dedicated to the collection.

#5:  Sports Illustrated for Kids Cards

SI for Kids May 1990
SI for Kids May 1996
SI for Kids June 2013

Do you enjoy collecting women athletes?  Are you a fan of sports outside of baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, and racing?  If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then you might consider collecting SI for Kids trading cards.

#6:  Prime #'s PC

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #RH (#'d 01/50)
2005 Upper Deck Artifacts MLB Apparel #MLB-CA (#'d 325/325)
2016 Topps Archives Signature Series 99 Topps #2 (#'d 14/17)

First in the run.  Last in the run.  Jersey #'s.  Yup.  I'm the guy all of those eBay dingleberries target with those eBay 1 of 1 titles.

#7:  Draft Busts

1992 Classic Best Autographs #NNO
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Silver #MO
1998 Score Rookie Autographs #NNO

When I left the hobby back in 2001, I held onto a few hundred cards.  Some were top draft picks that had flamed out.  When life gives you lemons... make lemonade.

#8:  Surfers

2009 Goodwin Champions Autographs #CC, LO, and TC

When I was a kid, my parents would take me to Hawaii a few times each year to visit family.  I'd always boogie board or body surf, but deep down inside I wanted to surf with my cousins.  Call me a poser, but this is a way to embrace a sport I always admired, but never actually did.

#9:  80's Rookie Cards

1980 Topps #482
1982 Donruss #405
1983 Fleer #360

The 80's will always be the important to me, because that's when I started collecting.  And back in the day the rookie card explosion definitely left a lifelong impression on my collection.  Outside of the high end Tiffany parallels, I've managed to acquire most of the key rookie cards from the 80's.  The goal is to one day display all of them in one binder for easy access.

#10:  Left-Handed Athletes

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-MB
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #DK
2000 Upper Deck Legends Autographs #KS

When I was younger, I was always a little self-conscious about being left-handed.  These days I embrace it.  That's why I decided to build myself a collection of left-handed hall of fame athletes.

I could continue listing other projects I'm working on, but there's a limit to how long my posts are and I passed it about 500 words ago.  Plus I'm sure I lost a bunch of you as soon as I started rambling about how I collect damaged cards.  So I'll wrap things up here and give you a question of the day to ponder...

If you could go back to your childhood for five minutes and grab one card from your collection and bring it back to the present, what card would you choose?

I'd jump back to the mid 80's and grab my 1952 Topps Andy Pafko before I traded it for a 1987 Fleer Tin set.  You're probably thinking it has to do with card value... and you wouldn't be wrong.  But more than monetary value, it holds sentimental value to me, because my aunt bought me that card.

Well that's it for today.  Thank you Night Owl and all of the bloggers who inspired this Blog Bat-Around.  I have really enjoyed reading everyone's responses.  Remember what they say... variety is the spice of life.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Decisions... Decisions... Decisions...

Any of you ever read the Choose Your Own Adventures book series when you were younger?  I absolutely loved them, because they allowed the reader to make decisions that would determine the outcome of the story.  They're one of the reasons I enjoyed reading so much as a kid.

I haven't picked up one of those books since the early 80's.  In fact I probably stopped reading them just around the time I started collecting baseball cards.  I was growing up and had to start making more important decisions in life.

Decisions like do I want regular milk or chocolate milk with my lunch.  Should I slip Kangaroos or Nikes on my feet?  Do I want to use a lunch pail or a brown bag to carry my lunch?  Should I sort my trading cards by teams or card number?

These days, I'm forced to make grown up decisions involving personal finances, my job, and of course my baseball card collection.

Decision #1:  Tony Pena

When 2017 Topps Archives Signature Postseason Edition was released back in November, I was happy to see Tony Pena on the checklist.  He was always one of my favorite catchers growing up and one of my favorite cards is his 1986 Topps base card.  As luck would have it, Topps had Pena sign 71 copies of that card.

I added it to my saved search list on eBay and within two months this was sitting in my collection:

Isn't it a great looking card?  It's a awesome action shot of Pena and Topps took their time with the photo cropping and made sure his whole body was captured on this card.  The only downside was the magnetic holder, which in my humble opinion takes away from the beauty.  Decision time.  Should I keep the card in the holder or set him free and let him breathe?

Survey says...

Tony has been released from his plastic cell and is free to enjoy life in a penny sleeve, top loader, and perfect fit sleeve, along with the 1990 Topps Craig Biggio I purchased last year:

Decision #2:  Pete Rose

I realize that baseball fans have a love/hate relationship with Pete Rose.  Personally, I wouldn't want him hanging out with my nieces, but that doesn't mean that I don't admire the things he accomplished on the diamond.

One of my favorite cards of him is his 1986 Donruss King of Kings card.  Last month I stumbled across the Leaf version over on 4 Sharp Corners for less than $8, so I threw it into my cart and purchased it.

Decision time.  Do I keep him imprisoned in his plastic cell or set him free?

Well... this time I decided to keep the card in its holder.  The gem mint grade was a big part of the reason I purchased this card.

Decision #3:  Shaun King

I've been slowly putting together the 1999 UD Retro Inkredible set and I can practically see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm down to needing only a handful of cards and the majority of them are rookie autographs.

Although I can't find any documentation on this topic, I'm pretty sure the rookie autographs were short printed.  That's why when I found this graded Shaun King on eBay, I immediately sent the guy a best offer, which happened to be accepted.

Decision time.  Should I free him like Pena or keep him sealed like Pete?

This was a no-brainer.  

I have the entire set stored in top loaders.  It seems silly to keep one of them store in a PSA holder.  Today Shaun was freed from his holder and like the Pena was immediately put into a penny sleeve, top loader, and perfect fit sleeve.

Well there you have it.  Big decisions being made on this Sunday afternoon.

All of my chores and errands are done.  My lesson plans for tomorrow are ready to go.  The only decision left is which television show am I going to start watching this afternoon:  Sneaky Pete or The Path.

Decisions... decisions... decisions.

Do you have any television show recommendations?

Happy Sunday and sayonara!