Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Billy: The White Whale

Whenever I see Billy Martin's managerial statistics, it never ceases to amaze me.  The guy only managed the Oakland Athletics for three seasons and had a sub .500 winning percentage.  Yet he somehow managed to have an era named after him... and won the hearts of thousands of A's fans along the way.  One of those fans was me.

The past few years I have been trying to track down an autograph of my favorite manager of all-time for my collection.  Unfortunately Martin tragically died in an automobile accident back in 1989, which means collectors have only two options for obtaining signed cards:  cut signatures and in-person signatures.


Cut signatures are pretty pricey... and to be honest really aren't my thing.  So I decided to target PSA slabbed signatures.  It took awhile, because I wanted to find the right card at the right price... but last week I finally added this 1981 Topps Oakland Athletics team card signed by Mr. Billy Ball himself.

It's a little hard to see his autograph (the scanner didn't help), because he signed across the team photo.  But I can live with that, because at least it's right-side up.  Plus 1981 was the year Billy led the Athletics to the ALCS during the strike shortened season.


One of these days, I'll add a signed copy of his famous 1972 Topps card with him flipping the bird.  It may take a few more years, but at least I have this card to hold me over until then.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, March 28, 2016

C'mon... Give These a Chance

Don't hate what you don't understand.
-John Lennon

When I was a kid, one of my cousins tried to teach me to play chess.  I was so confused by which pieces moved in which direction that I quit without really giving the game a chance.  I had multiple opportunities to learn after that, but I always declined because that one day left a sour taste in my mouth.

Twenty-plus years later, one of my students offered to teach me and I almost said "no thanks".  But then I thought about how I'm always teaching him new things... the least I could do is let him return the favor.  In the end, I learned how to play chess and he had another person to play chess with.

Today's post isn't about chess.  But it's not about baseball cards either.

This morning I opened a very generous package from Ryan over at Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko.

It included some of the coolest trading cards I've laid eyes on.  Sadly... I know very little about them... let alone the sport itself.  Now the eight year old Fuji might have thrown these cards to the side.  However... thankfully I've matured enough to appreciate things that I don't fully understand.

Now I'm sure some of the people who read my blog didn't bother clicking on this post, because it doesn't feature a baseball player.  And others are considering closing it right now, because they realize most of the cards Ryan sent are written in Japanese.  But I hope that at least a few of you will sit back and give these out of the ordinary trading cards a chance.  Who knows... you might just like what you see.

First up...

R-Series Menko Komosubi Watanohana

This is the type of card that caught my attention on Ryan's blog.  You don't need to be a fan of sumo wrestling to appreciate this vintage, die-cut, floating head piece of cardboard.  According to his blog, this card is from the 50's and "is comparable to the 1952 Topps set in terms of rarity, physical size, and star power."

Next up are four M-Series Menkos...

1951 M-Series Menko
#94520 Ozeki Kagamisato
#82521 Maegashi Nayoroiwa

#63540 Maegashi ra Onobori
#71940 Yokozuna Terukuni

These are similar in size to a tobacco card and according to Ryan is "the most significant set printed during this time."  In January 1953, Kagamisato reached the yokozuna rank, which is the highest ranking in the sport.

1950's Menko Rikidozan

Rikidozan was a popular Japanese professional wrestler who according to Wikipedia was "one of the most influential men in wrestling history."  Sadly he was murdered when he was only thirty-nine years old.


Here are a few more Menko discs from the 50's:


1950's Menko Cowboys

These three Menkos feature two famous American entertainers:  Gary Cooper and Bob Hope.  And the final four feature samurai warriors:


1950's Menko Samurai

I couldn't find anything on these or the cowboys series, but they're about the same size as a U.S. Silver Dollar.

Getting back to sumo wrestling cards, Ryan also included a pair of 2010 BBM cards:


Like Kagamisato, both of these guys have reached the rank of yokozuna.

The last of the vintage is definitely the coolest (which is saying a lot... since everything he sent was really cool):

1951 Kagame Rikishi Menko Unopened Packs


How often do you get the opportunity to see... let alone own sixty-five year old unopened packs?  I have no idea what the cards look like... but the wrappers are super awesome.  I debated on keeping one of these sealed and busting the other one just to say I did... but when push came to shove... I just couldn't do it.  Maybe one day.  But for now... these are going to be added to my unopened Japanese pack collection.

Are you still here?  If so... thank you for keeping an open mind and taking a few minutes out of your very busy schedules to check out some awesome sumo trading cards.

If you want to see or learn more about them, please head over to Ryan's blog:  Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko.  He doesn't only focus on sumo trading cards.  Ryan also collects airport trading cards:


He wrote about this set earlier in the month on his blog.  If you travel a lot, then this might be the set for you.  Click here if you're interested in reading more about this unique set.

Well that's it for today.  Thank you Ryan for this awesome vintage Japanese trading card care package!  I'll be sending some more Laird cards for your PC in the near future.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Guess Who's Back...


It's been 240 days since Jim wrote the final post on his blog, Garvey Cey Russell Lopes... and if we're lucky he'll be back with a new blog in 66 days.


I've already added it to my reading list... and you can too by clicking here.  And while we're waiting for him to write his first post, let's check out a pair of cards he recently sent me:

2008 Topps Trading Card History #TCH24

I own a few of these inserts and I'm not going to lie.  I'm not a big fan.  This set features a bunch of modern day players in different trading card designs... most of which are Topps.  In other words, they're like singles from any Topps Archives set... only worse since there are no statistics on the back.

But this card is different, because I've never seen this sweet looking design before.  Thanks to a little research, I discovered some information over on NPB Card Guy's blog: Japanese Baseball Cards.  This card is a remake of the 1950 New Year Magazine Furoku Insert set and features Ichiro's full name on the right written in Kanji.  The Japanese characters at the bottom spell out "Seattle Mariners".

2014 MCPA #8

Jim also sent me this awesome oddball issue of Kurt Suzuki.  I'm not sure if it's from a stadium giveaway, a police set, or if it was distributed another way... but I'm positive that I love it and will give it a good home.

Thanks Jim for the cool cards!  It's also great to hear the news about your upcoming blog.  Looking forward to it.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Joy of Discovery

Have you ever played a video game and stumbled a hidden door that leads you to a new world?  Or have you ever walked into a restaurant you've never heard of before and walked out bragging to your friends about it?  How about trying a new sport for the first time and realizing you're a natural at it?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions or have experienced the joys of discovering something new, then you probably walked away with a big smile on your face.  That's how I feel when I read your card blogs and see something I've never seen before.

A few months ago, I started reading The Oddball Card Collector, which is a blog that obviously features oddball issues.  If you haven't already checked out Anthony's blog, I highly recommend it.  Every post is a new adventure.  He covers everything from football police sets to baseball stadium giveaways to basketball food issues... and he provides a lot of details about each set.

Recently he featured the 2004 Upper Deck San Diego Padres SGA set, which caught my attention for a few reasons:

#1:  It's the Padres.
#2:  It's a stadium giveaway.

But the thing that stood out the most was this...


#3:  UD produced a card of The Swinging Friar.

I left a comment on his post and within a few hours I had received an email from Anthony offering up one of his extra sets.  Well... I accepted and within a week I had received a bubble mailer from him that included the amazing mascot card and the other 32 cards to go with it:


But that's not all.


He also threw in a 2003 Padres Keebler's set, which is very similar to the Mother's Cookies sets I collected as a kid.  According to Beckett, partial sets were given out to fans at a Padres/Dodgers game.  Each fan received 20 different cards plus 8 copies of one more card.  The point was to encourage fans to interact with each other and trade their duplicates for the cards they were missing.


Mother's Cookies used the same concept and as you can see these awesome trading cards also feature the rounded corners many of us associate with those sets.

If that weren't enough... he also threw in a few extras.  It's always a good day when I'm able to add a new Gwynn to the collection.  But he didn't just send me one new Gwynn.




Out of the eight Gwynns in the package, I needed six.  Not bad Anthony.  Six for eight is a solid day.  Random fact:  Did you know that Gwynn only had one 6-hit game during his MLB career?

Thank you Anthony for the awesome package of cards.  I've already started pulling out some extra oddballs to send your way.  Hopefully there will be at least a few cards you've never seen before, so you can enjoy the same experience as I did.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Goodness Gracious

Back on Valentine's Day, cardboard blog readers were treated to something exceptionally special over at Baseball Card Breakdown when Gavin revealed his Pretty Girls set.  This custom card set included beautiful actresses, singers, and even the hottest wrestler I've ever laid eyes on... using the Allen & Ginter mini format that many collectors have grown to love and cherish over the years.

A few days later he kicked off a contest in celebration of his 700th post and offered up one of these sets as a prize.  In addition to this set, he offered to create a custom card for the winner.

It's pretty normal for people to want to win a contest.  Heck... who doesn't want to win free stuff?  But the fact is... not all contests are created equal.  And this particular contest caught my attention, because if I won, I'd finally own a card of the gorgeous Grace Park.

Guess what?  I won.


Some of you may recognize her from CBS's Hawaii Five-0... but I first saw Park on Battlestar Galactica, when she played Sharon Valerii and a bunch of Cylons known as Number Eight.  The show itself was pretty cool, but she definitely made the show a tad bit better.

I'm not exactly sure where Gavin got this image of Park, but if it's from Hawaii Five-0... I might need to start watching it.

Here's Park with the other eight Pretty Girls in the set:


Obviously Gavin did a great job with these custom cards.  They look absolutely awesome.  I also love how there are a mixture of old school and new school ladies in the set.  Outside of Park, I'd say AJ and Kerri are my personal favorites.

If you are familiar with Gavin's contest... then you know that this was only part of the prize package.  However... I'll share the other cards in another post.  Today is Grace's day to shine.

Thanks Gavin for the awesome set... and especially the custom card.  You're an amazing blogger and custom card maker.  If anyone is interested in purchasing a set like this, he is selling them for $25 each and singles for $5 each.  You can contact him through his blog: Baseball Card Breakdown.

Happy Hump Day!  And sayonara!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Semistars Need Love Too

Tony Gwynn.  Greg Maddux.  Rickey Henderson.  Frank Thomas.  Ichiro Suzuki.  Kobe Bryant.  Brett Favre.  Aaron Rodgers.  And Steve Largent.

All of these athletes are guys I collect... and all are either in their sports' respective hall of fames or will eventually be joining them.  I'm not alone.  There's a reason you see kids wearing jerseys of big names more often than bench players... and why autographs of superstars tend to sell for more money than scrubs.  It's fairly simple... they're more popular.

But thanks to Adam over at Cardboard Clubhouse, today I'm going to take a few moments to show some appreciation some of the other guys who shared the field with the guys you see listed above... because simply put... semistars need love too.


When Terry Steinbach became eligible for Cooperstown in 2005, he received less than 1% of the votes.  However... Oakland A's fans rewarded him in 2008 by selecting him to the their 40th Anniversary Team and rightfully so.  He played eleven seasons in Oakland, was a three time all-star, and caught more games in an Oakland A's uniform than any other catcher.

 

Carney Lansford is in the same league as Steinbach.  Never considered a HOF candidate... however he's very much appreciated by Oakland fans.  With the exception of 1991, Lansford held down the hot corner in Oakland from 1983 to 1992, while collecting over 1,300 hits.  He too is a member of Oakland's 40th Anniversary Team.


At the Oakland Coliseum, fans believe in Stephen Vogt:


Can you blame us?  Last season he led the team in game winning RBI's and was the lone positional player to represent the Athletics in the All-Star Game.  Future hall of famer?  Unlikely.  Current fan favorite?  Heck yeah.

The same thing applies to the gridiron...


What if Sterling Sharpe wasn't forced to retire due to injuries?  That's a question Packers fans have been asking themselves since 1994.  He played seven seasons for the Green Bay Packers and during that time he led the league in receptions three times and receiving touchdowns twice.

In 2002 he was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame... but he's still waiting for Canton to call.


If you watch football, then you've heard of The Lambeau Leap.  But do you know who invented it?  If you said Leroy Butler then I tip my cap to you.  Butler played twelve seasons for The Pack and was definitely a fan favorite.  He made Pro Football Hall of Fame's 1st Team All-1990's Team... but like Sharpe... he has yet to receive his gold jacket.


Last... but not least we have Brian Blades.

He only made one Pro Bowl.  He was never close to leading the league in receptions.  And he only caught 6 or more touchdown receptions in a season once.  But he's has the 2nd most receptions and receiving yards in Seattle Seahawks franchise history... and The Twelves love him for it.


Thank you Adam for this generous package of Oakland Athletics, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks trading cards.  It brought back a lot of good memories.  I've added you to my growing list of Super Traders care packages that I need to build and ship out.  Please stay tuned.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!