30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bronze Age of Baseball Cards

On one of my trips down to Las Vegas to visit my parents, I noticed that the upright freezer in their garage was gone.  That freezer had been a part of our family since the late 70's and stored everything from TV dinners to Costco hash browns to neapolitan ice cream sandwiches.   When I close my eyes, I can still picture the brownish red color on the outside and the rows of frozen orange juice lining the door.

It was a piece of my childhood that lasted close to four decades.

The saying "they don't make them like they used to" definitely applies to that freezer.  And after closely monitoring the hobby the past few years, I feel that it starting to apply to baseball cards as well.

Back in the 90's, card companies fought it out.  Sure these companies flooded our hobby with enough cards to last a lifetime, but at least the competition inspired innovation and creativity.

Companies started using foil, acetate, vegetable oil, wood, thermochromic paper, and metal in their cards, instead of the same brown, white, or gray card stock.  Card company ingenuity had reached its peak and it was it was truly a great time to be a card collector.

Today's post features one of our hobby's hidden treasures.  I'm not talking monetary value.  You can probably pick up an entire set for less than 25% of its original cost.

These 1995 Topps Legends of the 60's Medallions are a forgotten oddball issue that deserve more attention.  Each card in this set is made out of a solid chunk of bronze and are super beefy.  Imagine the Topps Traded Bronze Premiums on steroids.  If baseball cards were sorted into weight classes, than these would be heavyweights.

Unfortunately these cards were so thick and heavy, Topps couldn't put these into packs, so they were exclusively offered to Stadium Club members.  Each month a new card was released and members could buy if for $39.95.

Factoring in inflation, that's about $66 in 2018.  

Even though they're beautiful and came inside of a fancy booklet with a brief biography of the featured player, I can't imagine too many collectors would be willing to spend that kind of money.

That probably explains why it's easier to find cards of Mays and Clemente these days compared to Marichal and Killebrew.

Speaking of Marichal and Killebrew, here's a look at the set in its entirety...

#1 Willie Mays

#2 Hank Aaron

#3 Bob Gibson

#4 Don Drysdale

#5 Frank Robinson

#6 Carl Yazstrzemski

#7 Willie McCovey

#8 Roberto Clemente

#9 Juan Marichal

#10 Brooks Robinson

#11 Harmon Killebrew

#12 Billy Williams

Surprise.  Surprise.  The twelve card checklist was comprised of baseball legends of the 60's and replicas of one of their 1960's Topps baseball cards.

I wasn't able to figure out how or why the people at Topps chose the specific year and card design for each player, but eight of the ten card designs from the 60's were represented.  Only 1960 and 1963 Topps were left out.

As for the checklist itself, the San Francisco Giants have the honor of having the most players in the set.  Funny thing is... they only made it to the World Series once and didn't win.  The New York Yankees went five times and brought home two titles, yet none of their players made the checklist.

I think two of the biggest exclusions are Pete Rose and Sandy Koufax.  It's understandable why Rose was left out, but Koufax is one of the biggest names in our hobby.  It would have been nice to see him enshrined in bronze.

What do you think?

Did Topps nail this checklist?
Or would you make any substitutions?

Well that's all have for today.  I know that bulky, heavy bronze medallions aren't for everyone... and don't get the wrong idea... I still enjoy opening up blasters of Stadium Club.

But since I haven't been able to get my hands on any, I figured I'd switch gears and flashback to the Bronze Age of Baseball Cards.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Black Beauty

Cards don't need to be autographed, contain a swatch of an athlete's jersey, or be worth a lot of money to be cool.  Sometimes they just need to feature a favorite athlete, have a cool design, or nice photography.  In my humble opinion, this Rickey Henderson insert from the early 90's happens to meet all three of these criteria:

1991 Fleer All-Stars #6

Almost everyone who reads this blog knows that Tony Gwynn is my favorite athlete of all-time.  However had Rickey not been traded to the Evil Empire in December of 1984, there's a chance that he would have laid claim to that title.

Growing up in the Bay Area, Rickey was the man and to this day he remains my favorite Oakland Athletic of all-time.

As for the card's design... it's rock solid.  The bright yellow, blue, and red streaks of stars really stand out due to the beautiful black borders.  Throw in a portrait with an action shot and you have a very attractive card.

COMC Photograph

It took a few years, but I finally noticed its resemblance to the 1971 Topps Greatest Moments design.

I'm not exactly sure why Fleer decided to use a portrait showing off the side of Rickey's face, but they easily made up for it with the photograph of Rickey's trademark neon green batting glove and him stealing second or third base.  

Although if I'm being brutally honest, I've have to deduct a few points for chopping off his left foot.

But forget about Rickey's missing foot for a moment and check out his thighs.

Damn.  Those things are huge!  No wonder he stole all of those bases.

This card's front is so awesome that Fleer pretty much gets a free pass on the back.

But they didn't use it.  They added another photograph, a team logo, the standard biographical data, and an in depth summary of Rickey's career up to that point.  The different shades of green to represent the team's colors was a nice bonus.

This card is missing career statistics, but this isn't a base card... it's an insert... so this card is fine without them.

Overall, I'd give this card a solid 9.3 out of 10.  The portrait photo and poorly cropped action shot are the only things keeping this from pure awesomeness.

I'm a little surprised that this set doesn't receive more hobby love, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  It probably doesn't help that 1991 Fleer is one of the most disliked baseball sets around.

As for The Man of Steal himself... this card was released on the heels of arguably his best season, right around the time he broke Lou Brock's career stolen base record, and probably at the peak of his hobby popularity.  Yet it wouldn't surprise me if there are thousands of these sitting in collector's common boxes and card show's dime boxes.

Well that's it for today.  The MLB All-Star Game is about to begin.  Anyone else going to watch?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking!

Past their prime?  Someone forgot to tell these three guys...

2018 Wimbledon Champion:  Novak Djokovic

2008 Ace Authentic Grand Slam II Jersey #JC3

This morning Djokovic defeated Kevin Anderson in straight sets to take home the 2018 Wimbledon title and win his first Grand Slam title in over two years.

WBA Welterweight Champion:  Manny Pacquiao

PSA/DNA Signed 8x10

Last night, 39 year old Pacquiao knocked down Lucas Matthysse three times to take home the WBA "regular" world welterweight title.

UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion:  Daniel Cormier

2012 Topps UFC Finest Autograph #A-DC

And last weekend, Daniel Cormier (another 39 year old) knocked out Stipe Miocic to become only the 2nd guy in UFC history to hold two weight class titles simultaneously.

Congratulations to all three of these champions!  After seeing what these guys have done over the past 8 days, it's inspired me to man up and try something I haven't done in a while.

Smoked Garlic Habanero Wings

Today I went to Hooters with some friends, ordered twenty wings, and attempted to kill it in one sitting.  Uhh... I failed.  I guess I'm past my prime.  At least I have some delicious leftovers for dinner tonight.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Epic Winning and Lounging

This morning I woke up... and casually made the decision to stop and recharge the batteries.  I was going to play nine holes and grab lunch with a friend, but tweaking my neck on Thursday night put a damper on my golf plans.  So I rescheduled my lunch and for the first time in a long time I literally have no plans outside of writing this post.

1962 Topps #53

The only downside is this decision will likely end the step streak at sixty-one days.  I'll still go out this evening for my daily walk, but it'll be a casual stroll without the pressure to reach ten thousand steps. My new goal is to get 10k steps each day during the workweek and at least 10k steps over the weekend.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about cards.  Brian over at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary (which happens to be one of the coolest blog names around) sent me a package of cards.

Today's post will feature ten of those cards that weren't chosen arbitrarily.  I hand picked them and plan on writing highly subjective thoughts on each of them.  Are you ready?

Okay... let's do this...

1968 Topps #169

I'm always excited to add a new vintage card of this legendary Oakland Athletic.  The fact that it's a 2014 Topps buyback makes this card even cooler.

2008 Stadium Club First Day Issue #102

I have fond memories of opening packs of 1993 Stadium Club in search for the shiny 1st Day Production holofoil stamp.  This card stirred up those great memories.  Barton gave A's fans a few great memories too, but for the most part... he never lived up to the hype.

1992 Upper Deck Denny's Grand Slam #22

I may or may not already own this card.  If I do, I never took the time to notice the Bay Bridge in the background.  That's pretty awesome.  I'm a big fan of famous landmarks, so I might need to track down the rest of this set.

1964 Topps Venezuelan #75

Before receiving this card, I had never heard of Wayne Causey nor had I owned a Topps Venezuelan.  Never say never.

2016 Topps MLB Debut Medallions #MDM-YC

Cespedes was a fan favorite during his three year stint in Oakland.  Now whenever I hear his name, I think about the trade that sent him to the Red Sox in 2014.  Four seasons later, the A's are only now showing any signs of life.

2017 Stadium Club Chrome Refractor #SCC-83

What happens when you combine Stadium Club photography with refractor technology?  You get this beautiful card.  It's just a shame that Cotton is out for the 2018 season.

1959 Topps #281

Mr. Craddock threw his final MLB pitch almost fourteen years before I was born and his Wikipedia write up is less than 150 words long.  I'm gonna give myself a pass for not knowing who this guy is.  

Beautiful card though.  Love that old school Athletics logo.

1979 Topps #201

Another very cool buyback!  I love seeing 70's baseball cards featuring the Oakland Coliseum I grew up with in the background.

Can't say much about Mr. Edwards.  Don't remember him, but according to Baseball Almanac, he still shares the MLB record for most unassisted double plays in a game (2) with three other players.

2018 Gypsy Queen Autographs #GQA-DF

I love the Oakland A's and Gypsy Queen on-card autographs... but what the heck is this chicken scratch?  D Pe?  Bob Melvin needs to pull this rookie aside and talk to him.

2002 Leaf Shirt off my Back #SB-THU

I'm a big fan of memorabilia cards and Tim Hudson.  Now that's what Charlie Sheen would call "bi-winning!":

Technically... this entire care package was filled with "epic winning".  I just didn't have the time to scan sixty cards.  Wait.  Actually, I do.  But that's not how I  want to spend my "responsibility free" Saturday.

Instead I'll be binge watching Sneaky Pete, taking a nap, and eating whatever I want without worrying about calories.

Thank you Brian for this generous package of cards!  I'm glad that I had the honor of writing your blog's 1000th comment.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!