30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Slipped Through the Cracks

When I was a little kid, I remember watching movies like Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Bridge on the River Kwai with my parents.  Since then, I've been a huge fan of almost anything involving World War II and I'm one of those people who get excited whenever I have the opportunity to watch something new.

While browsing Amazon Prime this weekend, I stumbled across A Bridge Too Far which stars legends like Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Maximilian Schell, Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, Laurence Olivier, James Caan, and Michael Caine.  With that many Academy Award winners featured in this film, I was shocked that I had never heard about this movie.  But with so many movies released each year, it's bound to happen.  Some movies slip through the cracks.

The same thing applies to baseball card sets.

1997 Stadium Club Patent Leather #PL13

In 1997, Topps created a really cool insert set for its Stadium Club product called Patent Leather.  The die-cut cards which were printed on faux leather card stock are truly beautiful.  The first time I saw one of these was over on A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts less than a month ago.  I was blown away.  In fact, I knew right then and there that I wanted one for my collection.

I immediately headed over to COMC, but there weren't any good bargains to be had.  A week later, I stumbled across this binder at the De Anza Flea Market:

The Baseball Card Gods were smiling down upon me.  Inside was a complete 1997 Stadium Club Member's Only set, which happened to include the entire Patent Leather insert set as well.  Collectors could obtain these inserts in one of two ways.  Pull them out of Series 2 retail packs or become a Stadium Club member and purchase the Member's Only set.

The cards are identical in appearance with the exception of the Members Only watermark on the back.

Here's the set in its entirety:

Obviously this set is centered around guys who were known for their fielding ability.

Barry Bonds - 8 Gold Glove Awards
Ken Caminiti - 3 Gold Glove Awards
Ivan Rodriguez - 13 Gold Glove Awards
Craig Biggio - 4 Gold Glove Awards
Greg Maddux - 18 Gold Glove Awards
Ken Griffey Jr. - 10 Gold Glove Awards
Barry Larkin - 3 Gold Glove Awards
Kenny Lofton - 4 Gold Glove Awards
Andres Galarraga - 2 Gold Glove Awards
Roberto Alomar - 10 Gold Glove Awards
Rey Ordonez - 3 Gold Glove Awards
Mark Grace - 4 Gold Glove Awards
Derek Jeter - 5 Gold Glove Awards

The thirteen players on the checklist combined to win a total of 87 Gold Glove Awards during their careers.

As of the right now, only six of these guys are hall of famers.  However it's only a matter of time before Jeter gets enshrine... and hopefully Bonds will too.

But honestly... the thing that makes this set so intriguing isn't the checklist.  It's fact that it took me over twenty years to discover one of the coolest looking inserts from that era.  But that's the beauty of our blogosphere.  Every day we're blogging about our favorite cards... and sometimes we discover cool stuff that have slipped through the cracks of our collections.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Our Actions Impact Others

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Parent/teacher conferences are over and my weeklong Thanksgiving break is officially here.  Unfortunately... I've spent the majority of this past weekend indoors due to the really poor air quality caused by the Butte County's Camp Fire.  The smoke has been so thick that I'm unable to see the hills that are less than a mile away from my house.

Obviously this inconvenience is nothing compared to the 70+ lives that have been lost and over 1,300 people who are still unaccounted for.  The entire town of Paradise has been destroyed in what is considered the most destructive wildfire in California history.  Outside of the poor air quality, I don't know anyone personally who has been affected by the fires, however I've seen a few people on Facebook write about their friends and family members.

My thoughts go out to everyone affected by the fire.

Part of the curriculum I've designed focuses on building character and having the students see that their actions can have an impact on their surroundings.  That's why my number one priority when I return to my classroom next week is to see how the students, teachers, and administration at my site can help out our neighbors to the north.  In the meantime, I'll be doing a little research to determine the best way our school can help.

I'll also be taking the time to recharge my batteries, catching up with friends and family, and definitely spending some time with my #1 hobby.

To help get the ball rolling... Ryan over at Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko sent me another very generous care package earlier in the week.  When I finally got around to opening it last night, I discovered that it was jam packed with variety.

I'm going to use Ryan's own words to describe the contents of the package, since he took time out of his busy schedule to hand write an amazing and much appreciated letter.

So without further ado...

Ritter Sport is one of my favorite brands of chocolate.  I've never tried these three flavors, but I'm sure they won't disappoint.

Last year, Ryan hooked me up with some 2016-17 packs of BBM Fast Break.  This year he sent me two 1st Half packs and two 2nd Half packs.  I'll be opening up one of each, while keeping the other two sealed for my unopened Japanese pack collection.

There's always at least one oddball item in Ryan's care packages.  This one happens to be animal related.

I'm not exactly fluent in French, but thankfully I don't need to be to appreciate the really cool vintage animal stickers in this album.

I'm sure some of you know that outside of collecting trading cards, I also enjoy building Lego setsStar Wars is by far my favorite genre.  This collecting kit is awesome!  I immediately looked online to see if Lego offers this magazine in the States, but it looks like it might be exclusive to Europe and possibly Russia.

Ryan introduced me to these airport trading cards a few years ago.

Looks like he wants me to start my own collection.  Sadly I've tried to find copies of SJC for both of our collections on multiple occasions and have come up short.  Hopefully our luck will change sooner than later.

Another pack for my unopened Japanese pack collection.  I haven't counted, but I'm guessing he has contributed at least 20 to 30 packs over the past few years.

Here's a sampling of what he included in this Topps Baseball Card Collector's Kit:

There was a nice mixture of Oakland A's, Japanese athletes, and the really cool Heritage moon shot insert.  But the bulk of the binder was made up of...

We've all seen puzzle backs before, but this is the first time I've seen them create a hand printThese are so awesome!

The best part about them is they fit perfectly into a 9-pocket page.  It'd be nice if Topps did something like this.

This isn't the first time Ryan has sent me one of these chocolate oddball issues.  This past summer, I opened the pack.  That means that I'll be able to keep this one intact for my unopened pack collection.  I realize it's not a Japanese pack, but that's okay.  I have no problem calling it an unopened international pack collection.

This 13" x 20" piece of kimono cloth is gorgeous.  I'm actually thinking about framing it and hanging it up in my family room.

Last, but certainly not least were ten singles from the Stranger Things set Topps recently released.  It's perfect timing, because I just purchased two blaster boxes a few days ago that I plan on busting this week in hopes of building a set.  He also included two unopened packs to help the cause.

Thank you so much Ryan for this awesome care package!  It really helped brighten my day.  I know you said didn't expect anything in return... but that's not how I roll.  I actually have two things already set aside for you.

Well that's it for today.  I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable week with your loved ones.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Gratifying Grotesqueness

When ugly Christmas sweaters started making a comeback a few years ago... I went all in and purchased several to wear for the holidays.  They're just one more way to make the holiday season more festive and they're usually good for one or two conversation starters.

Right now... Peter over at Baseball Every Night is using them for a contest over on his blog.  

The challenge?  Show off your favorite ugliest baseball card.  Maybe it's the ugliest card design you've ever seen.  Perhaps there's a card in you collection that's in such poor condition that you feel it's literally disgusting.  Or maybe you have a card featuring one of those hideous futuristic "Turn Ahead the Clock" jerseys from 1999.  It's up to you to define "ugly".

I had a few different ideas pop into my head, but I settled on this card:

Not sure what the heck this is?  Here, let me rotate it and give you a different view:

Still unsure?  Well it's a headless Kurt Suzuki Vancouver Canadians autographed card that's been chopped up and turned into a one of a kind cut signature by a company that may or may not have conducted business in their parent's garage.

This card is seriously an eye sore just like one of the ugly Christmas sweaters sitting in my closet waiting to be worn in a few weeks.  And just like those Christmas sweaters... this card is treasured and loved.

It's hands down the ugliest Kurt Suzuki card in my collection, but I still love it.  In fact in three days, it'll mark the 5 year anniversary of me spending $3.98 (99¢ + $2.99 shipping) of my hard earned money to add this card to my collection.

Happy Anniversary Headless Kurt!  I love ya!

What about you...

Do you have a favorite ugly card?

If so, head over to Baseball Every Night and enter Peter's contestThe prize will be partially dependent on the number of entries he receives, however he guarantees that he'll spend at least $35.

Honestly... the true prize will be reading everyone's response posts.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!