Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How About That!

My students are in the middle of their Trading Card Project, which means I have baseball cards scattered all around my classroom right now.  Yesterday morning... one of my co-workers stopped by my classroom to see how my weekend went and noticed all of the cards.  He picked up a stack and started reminiscing about his childhood collection.

I'm guessing that we're about the same age, because we talked about collecting guys like McGwire, Clemens, Sandberg, and Mattingly.  He even told me about how he spent his entire savings on a Jose Canseco rookie card... which is something I possibly did myself back in the day.

It was really cool to see another grown man get excited about baseball cards.  He even told me he was interested in going with me to the next baseball card show.  You gotta love the power of nostalgia.

There's just something about opening up my 80's binder and looking at the cardboard I collected as a kid.  It's really magical.  I could be having the worst day ever... and those cards and memories will make things better.

The same thing applies to things like seeing cars on the road or toys I owned for sale at the flea market.  But the two things that make me feel the most nostalgic are music and television shows.  In fact whenever I hear certain television theme songs, it's like taking a trip back in time.

One that I'm especially fond of is This Week in Baseball's opening theme music.  The "dun-duh, dun-duh, dun-duh" instantly takes me back to my childhood days of watching one of my favorite sports television shows of all-time.

The show recapped all of the awesome highlights from around the league in a very interesting and almost poetic format.  The key to the show... at least for me... was Mel Allen, who was the voice of This Week in Baseball.  His iconic voice was made for baseball and his eloquent choice of words were my favorite things about the show.

That's why I've been trying to add a signed baseball of his to my collection for years.  Back in September I treated myself to a belated birthday present when I purchased this on eBay:

The ball has age spots, but overall it's in pretty nice condition and the signature is very clean.  Unfortunately Mr. Allen passed away back in 1996, so his autographs aren't exactly cheap... even though I'm sure he signed for thousands of baseball fans over his career.

I was hoping to find a PSA/DNA certified ball, but ended up settling for JSA because it was a little more affordable.  The seller was originally asking $125, but after going back and forth we settle on $78 (with free shipping).

This is the fifth autographed baseball I've added to my collection over the past three months.  The first one I showed off was the Ted Simmons I picked up at the card show.  Munenori Kawasaki was the second.  I'll show off the final two in the near future.  One of them was signed by my favorite athlete of all-time... Mr. Anthony Keith Gwynn, Sr.  How about that!

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Normally Not a Fan of Change

I've never been a fan of change.  When I was a kid, I started drinking Coke products.  These days, I don't drink a lot of soda, but when I do... it's usually a Coke or a Sprite.  Back in the early 80's... my father brought home and built our family an Apple IIe.  Thirty-something years later... I'm still using their computers.  And although I've changed my clothing styles a few times over the years... I've been a hoodie, cargo shorts, and flip-flops kind of guy for the past ten to fifteen years.  Like I said... I'm not a fan of change.

However when it comes to our hobby... I'm all about it.  It seems like I'm constantly fiddling with my collection.  Sometimes I'm obsessed with cheap 90's inserts.  Other times I'll start chasing down vintage singles I've always wanted.

Last year, I started collecting PSA/DNA slabbed autographed rookie cards of some of my favorite players.  Card companies are always inserting signed rookie cards into their products, but that wasn't the case back when I was growing up.

So now... I'm making up for lost time.  So far I've picked up signed rookie cards of Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Steve Largent, James Lofton, Joe Sakic, and Wade Boggs.  But my favorite purchase by a landslide is my 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson:

The only card I could envision knocking this card out of the top spot would be any Tony Gwynn autographed rookie card.  However prices are a little too high for my cardboard budget... so I don't think Rickey has anything to worry about.

Getting back to the topic of "change".  Anyone remember when it was kind of "taboo" to have a player sign their rookie card, because it was already valuable... and adding ink to the card would only bring down the value?

Well... from my personal experience... times have surely changed

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ending the Weekend on a Brighter Note

There are few things I enjoy more than laying in bed listening to the rain outside with my eyes shut... which is exactly what I did this morning.

Unfortunately... rainy weather also means that I missed walking around the flea market for the second consecutive weekend.  That's okay... because at least I could stay indoors and watch the Packers and the Seahawks play.

Wait.  Both played during the same time slot, which meant that I either had to pick one game or flip/flop between the two games.  Sadly... both teams stunk it up this weekend.

At least I'd get to watch the Cubs/Dodgers game... which was actually pretty entertaining.  But hold on... the Cubs lost.

Overall... a sub-par Sunday.  Anyways... I figured I'd wrap things up on a positive note with a couple of care packages from fellow bloggers:

First up... P-town Tom hooked me up with a very generous package of Oakland Athletics cards.  One of my favorites is this 1960 Topps cards featuring the Kansas City A's coaches:

The regular 1960 Topps base card design is one of my all-time favorites.  The manager cards are second to none.  And the design they chose for their coaches cards isn't too shabby either.  Kudos to Topps.  

I remember DeJesus played with the Athletics a few years ago... but I honestly haven't thought about him since he left for the Chicago Cubs.  Great looking card though.  1952 Topps is another solid set design.

Tom also hooked me up with some 1993 Upper Deck holograms for my PC:

I needed both of these for my collection... plus this awesome diecut insert of Big Mac:

If that weren't enough... Tom also sent me about 70 other A's cards... including these cool inserts, oddballs, and rookie cards:

Thanks Tom!

Next up is a nice Canadian care package from Doug.  Whenever I see his name on a padded envelope, I know I'm going to be treated to some San Jose Sharks cardboard:

My favorite from the lot was this Joe Pavelski from the Upper Deck National Hockey Card Day set:

He also sent me a partial Zach Erwin rainbow:

I don't know much about Erwin... but he's a lefty and these three cards sure are shiny... so I'll look forward to seeing if the A's keep him around.

The last card I wanted to show off from Doug's care package is actually a 1983 Topps Sticker which features Rickey doing what he always did best.

Thanks Doug!

And rounding out this post is this 1981 Topps Brian Sipe card that KevAlan over at Card Collector's World sent me for my set:

Kevin has helped me a lot with this set.  So far he's singlehandedly chopped my wantlist in half.  Now I only need four more cards for the set.

Thanks Kevin!  And thanks again to Tom and Doug too.  All three of you guys helped add a little sunshine to my day.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Rubbing My Ball

It seems like I'm always reminding my students and myself that life isn't perfect and you're not always going to get what you want.  If it was, the Red Sox would have taken down the Indians and the Nationals would have knocked out the Dodgers.

Oh well... you can't win them all.  At least two of the teams I was quietly rooting for has moved on to the Championship Series... which means, I'm still very excited and motivated to watch Major League Baseball.

Today... in honor of the Chicago Cubs and the Toronto Blue Jays, I'm busting out some Munenori Mojo:

I recently added this Munenori Kawasaki autographed Pacific Coast League ball to my collection.

The eBay vendor told me that it was a game used ball from the Iowa Cubs versus the Memphis Redbirds game on June 6th, 2016.  Obviously a ticket stub doesn't actually prove that the ball was used in a game.  Plus the autograph isn't certified, so it could be fake.

Normally this type of item doesn't interest me, but I thought the autograph looked pretty good... and the price made it worth the risk.  Only one other person was bidding on this ball, so I was able to win the auction for $7 (+ $5 shipping).

I'm not very superstitions... nor do I typically encourage people to rub their balls, but maybe today... I'll take it out of its holder and give it a little rub... in hopes that some Munenori Mojo will help his current and former team reach the World Series.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Another Week. Another Set Completed.

Our hobby is being flooded with autographs by card companies striving to please autographs hounds like myself.  And although I'm not a huge fan of the plethora of sticker autographs out there, I've got to admit that Topps has done a pretty good job in recent years about inserting a fair share of hard signed signatures by some of the best names in baseball.

In 2012, I fell in love with and started stockpiling the Topps Archives Fan Favorites autographs.  The following year, I became addicted to Five Star Signatures.  A year later it was their High Tek autographs.  In 2015 I was picking up as many bargain priced Topps Archives Originals as I could get my hands on.

This year?  Well... believe it or not... I've actually set my sights on a different Topps product.  But I'll have to share them in a future post, because today I want to go old school and share a small, five card set I recently completed.

When Upper Deck entered the hobby back in 1989, they single handedly changed the hobby by raising the bar in terms of cardboard quality and ingenuity.  They avoided the dreaded Sophomore Slump when they became the first baseball card company to insert autographs into packs.  They teamed up with Reggie Jackson and had him sign 2,500 of his Heroes header cards.

Five years later they inserted Reggie's autograph into their baseball card packs again.  Well... technically... they inserted redemption cards into packs.  But collectors fortunate enough to pull one of those cards could send it in for this:

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC1

Damn.  Doesn't Reggie's signature look pretty?

Reggie wasn't the only hall of famer included on the checklist.  Upper Deck also had Willie Mays and Frank Robinson sign cards too:

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC2
1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC3

They also included one of the greatest pitchers I've been privileged to watch in my lifetime.  

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC4

I never really liked Clemens.  Maybe it's because I chose to be a Gooden guy.  However... I still feel that Clemens deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown... even with all of the controversy over PED's.  The guy simply dominated the first half of his career.

C'mon... just one fan's humble opinion guys.  Hopefully I won't receive any hate email over supporting Rocket Roger

For two solid years, I've had these four signatures sitting in my collection.  I kept going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to finish off the set and pick up the Raul Mondesi.

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC5

On one hand, I was content on owning the four big names in the set.

Sure... Mondesi was the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year Award winner, an MLB all-star, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, a two-time 30-30 Club member who happened to have a respectful .273 career average along with 271 MLB home runs.  But these accolades and numbers qualifies him for Baseball's Hall of Very Good and not quite Cooperstown like the other four guys.

On the other hand... it's one card... and like I've previously pointed out... he's not exactly a slouch either.

The deciding factor?  Cost.

I added him to my Most Wanted list (which I haven't updated yet) and if I could find the card for less than $10 I'd buy it.  Well... I saw one offered on eBay with a BIN price tag of $7.99 (+ $2.62 shipping) and decided it was close enough, so I pulled the trigger.

Technically I received the card sometime in mid-September... but only recently got around to opening the package up and physically completing the set.

As soon as my COMC package arrives, I should have the cards to complete two more sets I'm building... so stay tuned.

I hope all of you are having a good week.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!