30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

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!


  1. I'm glad that you set free the Pena and kept Rose in the graded holder. So, I certainly agree with those decisions! A 10. That's just sweet. And it makes sense to free the King, too.

    TV Shows? I watch some shows but can't necessarily say I recommend them. Tastes are so different. With Baseball starting up soon enough anyway television for me is really a moot point since I know I'll be watching baseball every night.

  2. I have fond memories of Tony Pena-wish that Topps would do a Fan Favorite as a Redbird. Watching the Cardinals yesterday play the Braves I found out the Cardinals signed Tony Pena Jr. So that was pretty cool. Nice autos-for sure

  3. I loved the Choose Your Own Adventures books, and I'm trying to get my daughters interested in them. Maybe next year.

    Agree with all your decisions here - definitely keep the Gem Mint Pete Rose in its holder and free the Shaun King. I have to figure out how to safely crack open a few encapsulated cards, if I choose to go that route. Perhaps I'll steal this idea for a future post :-)

  4. I too was a big fan of those books as a kid. Great post!

  5. My 'rules' for graded, slabbed cards: If I got it for one of my vintage sets it gets freed no matter what grade it has. Those sets are for binder browsing.

    If it's part of a PC or just a random card I bought because I liked it the decision comes down to how fragile the card seems to be. I have about ten cards left in PSA slabs.

    TV show recommendations...always ask a retired guy! Here goes:

    Stranger Things-Netflix
    The Man In The High Castle-Netflix
    The Alienist-TNT (currently running on Monday nights in 1st run).

    1. I'll back CommishBob up on Broadchurch... Great show. I haven't seen the others, so I can't comment on those.

  6. That inkcredibles set I can't wait to see your completion of.

    TV wise, I like NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS for drama. Big bang theory, mom, life In pieces for comedy and of course the goldbergs

  7. Loved those books.
    The Pena is awesome. Did you grab any Manny Sanguillens too?

    TV shows:
    I don't watch many live, but have enjoyed seeing on Netflix Gotham, Criminal Minds, Big Bang, Goldbergs, the Flash, among others. The only show I watch weekly is Good Girls because Christina Hendricks is stunning and it is actually kinda funny. I've been watching 9-1-1 too but the season is over this werk.

  8. I just pulled out my original 80s GI Joe choose your own adventure books about a year ago, and read them for the first time since the 90s. Still enjoyable. I looked for the ones I'm missing on eBay but balked at spending$30 or more for a book that is so fast to read.

    As for TV, I only watch Sports and the Simpsons on a regular basis. If none of them are on I usually have on music.

  9. I was so excited to see Tony Pena, Manny Sanguillen and Tim Wakefield in that Archives set. Glad to see you bust him out of the plastic case. I hate those ugly stickers they put on the top of Archives autos.

    I've been in a tv rut lately. Now with baseball season approaching that will dominate the television all spring and summer.

    My wife and I have had problems finding a good comedy. The Office and Parks and Rec were our mainstays but we finished both of those a good while back.

    Drama wise I've watch The Wire, Mad Men and Walking Dead. I think everyone watches those. The Crown is good on Netflix if you dig royal history.

  10. 8 bucks for a Gem Mint Rose......INCONCEIVABLE!

  11. I had a baseball choose your own adventure. Maybe be SI for Kids? I don't totally remember, but I know I liked it a lot.

  12. I always liked to imitate Tony Pena when we played sandlot ball. Tucked one leg under and stretched the other out.

    Don't know what those shows are, really. There's a bit of a show drought right now. I used to DVR Blindspot, but it just got beyond me. Cool action show with nice women, but it got overwrought after a while.
    Also getting tired of Scorpion, which is just getting goofy. Again, Kath McPhee is hard to quit, but I'm just not motivated to watch the three or four I have queued up. USA Network used to have a lot of good stuff like White Collar, Fairly Legal, Royal Pains, etc. but they're all gone. As a comic fan, I should be into SHIELD, but I'm not. Will have to go back and check out all the Deathlok episodes at some point.

  13. That is a great card of Pena. Glad you freed it from the plastic prison. The Crown is a pretty good show...mixes in drama and historical events.

  14. I guess I don't really know what kind of shows you like. I saw that "Nobodies" is coming back for season two, soon. It's kind of like "Curb Your Enthusiasm." I found it by accident and got hooked.

  15. Thanks for all of the suggestions! I've created a list and will try to watch at least one episode of each show... if I can find it online.

    Peter K. Steinberg - You're right. It's hard because some people like comedies... others are interested in dramas. I was just curious to hear what people enjoy. I'm guessing most of us are down for some baseball though.

    B Man - I think Topps should ask collectors who we'd like to see in the "Fan Favorite" set... since we're the fans. I'd vote for Pena in a Cardinals uniform... even though most of my memories are from his days with the Pirates.

    Chris - Do they still make them? That's awesome! I haven't seen them in years... and I'm a flippin' teacher. I'd totally buy them for my classroom. As for cracking the holder, I don't really have a foolproof way. I actually came really close to damaging the King. I'm pretty sure there are some YouTube videos floating around with tutorials.

    Jon - Thanks! I'd love to track down a vintage Cave of Time for my classroom library. I'm bummed that I tossed most of them years ago.

    Commishbob - It's good to have guidelines. I feel like it's a judgement call for me 50% of the time. I will say that if I purchase any PSA 10 rookies, 1956 Topps, or other vintage... I keep them slabbed.

    Commishbob & shlabotnikreport - I've seen Stranger Things and Broadchurch multiple times. I've recommended Broadchurch to several friends. Great show! I'm writing down a list of shows from these comments and have added the three others.

    Sport Card Collectors - I'm getting close. It's just a matter of picking up some draft busts and Wayne Chrebet. It's just a matter of them falling into my price range. My mom and dad love NCIS. I love Big Bang Theory. Haven't seen the other three... but I've been told The Goldbergs is awesome too. Looking forward to giving them a shot.

    Collecting Cutch - I haven't. Not yet. But I plan too. Pena was definitely a high priority purchase. I'll definitely look into The Goldbergs, 9-1-1, and Good Girls. Those are the only three I haven't seen on your list.

    Billy Kingsley - They had GI Joe Choose Your Own Adventure? I'm bummed I didn't get a chance to experience those. I haven't watched Simpsons in years, but I did enjoy it back in the day.

    Matthew Scott - Yeah. I know those stickers are obnoxious, but I also understand their purpose. If I was going to resell them, I'd keep them in their Topps holder for authenticity reasons. But Pena isn't going anywhere. I think I need to give Parks and Rec another shot. I watched a few episodes and couldn't get into it. Love the Office though. The Wire and The Walking Dead are great shows too. I've added Mad Men and The Crown to the list.

    Red Card Collector - 4 Sharp Corners listed another one this week. They also have the Donruss version too. $9.45 each.

    The Lost Collector - Never seen a sports version, but it sounds really cool.

    GCA - Me too! He had the coolest catching stance. I wish there were cards out there that showed it off. I watched SHIELD, but it kinda got weird this past season. I might go back and rewatch the first few season though. Added all of the shows you mentioned onto the list. Gonna try to watch at least the first episode of each show... assuming I can find them on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, or Amazon Prime.

    SumoMenkoMan - 2nd person to mention The Crown = moves to the top of the list.

    Hackenbush - Loved Curb Your Enthusiasm, so I might like Nobodies. Added it to the list.

  16. Better Call Saul, Mr. Robot, Jeff and Some Aliens, Preacher, I could go on...
    I'm debating a truly epic Baseball Card decision at present concerning a Mike Trout A&G Rip Card, currently unripped and brain says no, while my heart says yes. A guaranteed metal mini awaits, but whom or what?

    1. Loved Breaking Bad, so Better Call Saul is gonna happen at some point. Heard good things about Preacher too. I'll check out the other two.

      As for the Trout. Wow. Nice card. No way I have the guts to rip it if that were me. Have fun with that decision.