30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

A Sticky Situation

I've read multiple blog posts and watched several YouTubers reminisce about the first cards they ever pulled out of a pack... like it was remembering their first kiss.  I'm so pissed that I wasn't blessed with that kind of memory... or didn't take the time to remember such a cool event in my collecting history.

I can't even tell you the very first baseball card packs I ripped, but I will say I'm pretty confident it was 1981 Topps or 1981 Donruss.  I remember having stacks of both of these products and trading them with my neighbors.

I'm even more confident that 1982 was the first year I owned a Topps Baseball Sticker Album and attempted to fill it in.  No idea if I ever came close (not likely), but I remember having this album as a kid.  Over the years, I've debated purchasing a new album with a box of stickers and reliving my childhood.  It just never happened and after checking how much people want for their boxes... I've accepted that it won't happen anytime soon.

Then in December, I read a post over at cards as i see them and it rekindled my interest in owning an album.  I headed over to eBay, found this for sale, and clicked the BIN button:

A week or two later, the album arrived in my mailbox.  It took a few weeks, but eventually I opened it up... and was taken back to 1982.

Let's start off by taking a peek at the nice looking cover which features Gary Carter and a random umpire that I don't recognize:

I'm also jealous of those baseball aficionados who are able to recognize umpires like they were picking out family members in a police lineup.  Yeah, I might be lazy.  But I did attempt to identify the top two stickers under the 25¢ price tag... only to come up empty-handed.

I actually don't think either of those stickers exist, since the 2nd sticker is obviously an Oakland Athletic... but the American League teams were all issued red borders.

Moving along, here's the back cover:

It's always nice to see team logos from my childhood like the Swingin' A's, the Mariner's trident, and the cursive San Francisco Giants logo.

When you open up the album, the first two pages of stickers are reserved for the NL & AL Batting and Pitching Leaders:

These stickers feature the red, white, and blue borders... although the order of these colors are different for each league.

The next twelve pages are the National League team pages... with each team receiving their own dedicated page like this:

Back in 1982, Topps made sure lack of parity wasn't an issue between larger and smaller market teams Every team was allotted eight stickers.  While the American League teams have red borders, the National League teams were given blue borders to match the blue backgrounds.

The teams are in alphabetical order and after the San Francisco Giants page, collectors are treated to a 1981 Highlights page:

I definitely remember Len Barker's perfect game and Fernandomania... but it took me forty-one years to learn that Bill Stein set an American League record with his 7th consecutive pinch-hit on May 25th, 1981.  The record still stands after all these years, although he now shares it with Randy Bush and Ross Gload.  And for those who are super curious, the MLB record is held by two National League hitters (Dave Philley and Rusty Staub) who each had eight consecutive hits.

The highlights page is followed the NL & AL All-Stars:

I remember treasuring these foil stickers as a kid... although there are a few questionable selections by ToppsJerry Remy received a sticker, but he wasn't even on the 1981 American League All-Star rosterWillie Randolph got screwed out of a foil sticker.  Actually, two other Yankees who were voted in by fans to start the game were also replacedBucky Dent (by Rick Burleson) & Reggie Jackson (by Dwight Evans).  Over on the National League side, Manny Trillo received the foil treatment over the actual starter: Davey Lopes.

Don't feel too bad for Yankees and Dodgers fans though, because they shared their own special page later in the album.

After the all-stars pages, there are the fourteen American League teams which are similar to the National League pages except the background is red, instead of blue:

Each team page has the team logo, a pennant with the team name in it, and some team statistics from the 1981 season.  I was especially excited to see the Oakland A's page, because I grew up watching them at the Coliseum.

1982 Topps Stickers #221
1982 Topps Stickers #227
1982 Topps Stickers #224

Topps hit a home run by including that memorable outfield trio featuring Rickey in left, Murphy in center, and Armas in right.  In hindsight, they could have swapped out Spencer for Mike Heath or Wayne Gross... but overall I was happy with the guys they picked.

The big head-scratcher is the background photo.  I'm pretty sure it features Rob Picciolo with those flip-up sunglasses, yet he wasn't given a sticker in the album.  I could be wrong about the player, but I can confidently say it's not Tony Armas, Jim Spencer, Matt Keough, or Steve McCatty.

The final sticker page is dedicated to the MLB Playoffs with the highlight being the 1981 World Series Champions... the Los Angeles Dodgers:

There aren't a ton of well-cropped action shots in the album... but you wouldn't know it from this page.  Topps hooked the Dodgers up with some of the best looking stickers in the set.  In fact my favorite is this one:

1982 Topps Stickers #258

Gotta love Steve Garvey and his floating batAny Dodgers fans remember this at bat?  Did he get a hit?

From front to back, this purchase allowed me to take a nice trip down memory lane back to my childhood.  Unfortunately, there was one hiccup... actually four:

1982 Topps Stickers #34 Ron Oester
1982 Topps Stickers #53 Burt Hooton

1982 Topps Stickers #105 Enos Cabell
1982 Topps Stickers #144 Ken Singleton

When I clicked the BIN button, I assumed the set was complete.  Unfortunately I put myself into a sticky situation and still need four stickers.  To the seller's credit, he/she did state there were three missing stickers in the listing.  I just dropped the ball.  As for the fourth missing sticker, I'm guessing it was an honest mistake.

On Valentine's Day, I showed my collection some love by being the only bidder on this complete set of 1982 Topps Stickers:

Wanna guess what the winning bid was?  If you guessed one shiny penny then you're right.  Shipping was $6.65... so overall I paid $6.66 for the set.  At least I didn't have to pay any sales tax.

You might be wondering if I'm going to pull the four stickers I need for my album from this set.  I'm not.  The goal is to pair up this set with a brand new album and add it to the collection.  Yup... I'm one of those guys who is weird like that.

As for the missing stickers, I'll eventually track them down on Sportlots or something.

Thank you to all of you who stuck around and took this little journey back in time with me.  These are my favorite posts to write.  And my favorite thing about blogging is reading your comments, so here is today's question of the day:

Did you buy these albums and packs of stickers back in the 80's?  Did you ever complete an album the same year it was released?

I think I owned the 1982, 1983, and 1984 baseball albums, but I never completed any of them.  That being said... back then I never completed any of the baseball card sets either.  Part of the issue is that I didn't dedicate all of my money to one or the other and even if I did... I probably still wouldn't complete one or the other.

But that's the beauty of being a collector as an adult.  I can now go back and either complete them or buy them already completed.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Friday, March 3, 2023

Stained, Sealed, Battered, & Blue

As a collector from the 80's and 90's... I was groomed to believe all modern cards need to be gem mint otherwise it wasn't worthy of being in the collection.

What a difference four decades make.  These days... I have an entire collection centered around damaged cards.  Within my Damaged Card PC, there are cards with creases, chips, crimps, dings, rips, drawings, scribbles, scratches, and glued stuff on them.  The collection originally focused on cards within my collection.  They were cards damaged in the mail from purchases or trades or stuff I found in collection purchases or quarter bins.  There's even one card that I pulled out of a pack myself which was the inspiration for this collection.

The past few years... the collection has really blossomed thanks to a few blogger donations.  One of the biggest contributors has been Bo over at Baseball Cards Come to Life!.  Back in December he sent me two team bags filled with a bunch of wax stained cards from the Junk Wax Era... as well as some vintage hall of famers that have been well-loved by previous owners.

Let's start off with those wax/gum stained cards.  The first one features one of the hottest rookies of 1988:

1988 Topps #645

Nokes had a stellar rookie season in 1987 batting .287 with 32 home runs and winning the Silver Slugger Award for catchers.  

1989 Topps #490

The following year Chris Sabo took home the NL Rookie of the Year Award and went on to be a three-time NL All-Star in his first four seasons.

Had I pulled these stained rookie cards from a pack back in the late 80's.  Probably would have been bummed to see these stained stars too:

Here are their stains...

These days... these cards aren't worth much without the stains... so they actually add character to these Junk Wax Era cards.

But Bo didn't send me late 80's and early 90's wax stained cards.  Most of you know that Bo knows vintage.  He included these three wax/gum stained cards from the 70's:

1972 Topps #114

The oldest stain in the team bag was this 51 year old, Topps All-Star Rookie Team card of Billy Buck... who went on to have a MLB career that lasted over two decades.

The next guy is a hall of famer who played nineteen seasons and won three Cy Young Awards:

1975 Topps #335

And rounding out the wax/gum stained vintage are two more hall of famers:

1976 Topps #204

Speaking of
wax stains... here are a pair of 1991 Pacific I Love Lucy wax packs he sent for my non-sport pack collection:

It looks like someone already wrote a
review over on A Pack To Be Named Later, so one will go into the collection... the other will go into my rainy day pack stash.

He also sent me a pack of 1993 Comic Images Moebius:

I'm familiar with Marvel's Morbius... not not sure who Moebius is.  This too will go into the pack collection.

Next on the menu are some battered vintage.  I'll start with a Curt Flood second year card:

1959 Topps #353

card suffers from paper loss, but it's not nearly as battered as this 1970 New York Mets celebration card:

1970 Topps #310

I'm hoping that's
water damage and not a body fluid.

The next two cards feature my favorite pitcher from my childhood:

1967 #146

1968 Topps #408

Both of these cards have a weird texture to them.  It's like they were aged and coated in wax.

It's kind of weird seeing Lefty look so young.  I'm used to seeing the forty-something year old pitcher from the 80's.  I guess I need to pull out my Steve Carlton PC more often and show him some love.

This next hall of famer looks like it once lined the wallet of a collector back in the 70's:

1973 Topps #165

This card has the trademark rounded corners and multiple creasesAparicio played his final MLB game a little after my first birthday, so I never watched him play.  But I feel like I remember him getting the call to the hall back in the 80's.

Next up is a biggie:

1973 Topps #100

Yup.  A fifty year old card of the guy who broke Babe's all-time home run record.  Look at those sharp corners!  If the card looks a little narrow, that's because it's been slightly altered.  Here it is laying on top of the Aparicio:

No complaints here.  Anytime I get to add a vintage Hank Aaron to my collection, it's a day worth celebrating.

Getting back to Aaron breaking Babe's record... here's the guy who had the honor of throwing the pitch:

1964 Topps #86

Not sure the story behind this card, but once upon a time it was glued to something.  Maybe it was in a New York Yankees fan's scrapbook, because Bo also sent me Downing's 1964 teammate:

1964 Topps #69

Boyer's back is way more revealing... but still plastered with paper.  I could probably try and clean it up, but like the previously mentioned stains... the paper adds character.

Rounding out the Damaged Card PC additions are two 70's rookie cards that were defaced by someone...

1974 Topps #598

First up a quad rookie card highlighted by Ken Griffey Jr.'s father.  I'm guessing the previous owner was a big Reds' fan, because Griffey is the only one who escaped getting scribbled out.  At least the person who tagged this rookie card only used a ballpoint pen.  This next card wasn't so lucky:

1977 Topps #476

Dale Murphy, Rick Cerone, and Kevin Pasley... welcome to Mr. SharpieGary Alexander was the lucky player to be spared.  By the way... if this card looks familiar, it's because Bo sent me another XXX card last year.

By the way, Bo didn't just send me stained and battered cards for my Damaged Card PC, he also sent me two cards for two set builds:

1982 Kellogg's #55

First up is this
smiling Mad Dog for my 1982 Kellogg's set build.

Next up is another blue bordered set from the 80's...

hooked me up with the Bud...

1986 Donruss #374

I'm down to the final four percent of this setTwenty-seven cards and only one of them is a hall of famer: 258 Nolan RyanCollation seems to be the issue with this set build.

Okay... it's time to wrap up this post and finally publish it.  Started writing this back in early February, but life happens.  I apologize for the delay... but am super grateful for Bo's set help and Damaged Card PC contributions.

I have a stack of 1975 Topps Minis for your set build that I'll be shipping out sooner than later... along with a few other vintage set needs.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

A quick life update.  The past week has been a little crazy with some family stuff.  I haven't had a lot of time to read and comment on blogs.  I've built several care packages that are ready to ship... and created stacks of cards for others that need to be packaged.  I'm hoping to get everything wrapped up over the weekend, but I can't make any promises.

I also wanted to thank Rod (Padrographs) and Junichi for giving me some background history on the flag that John (Johnny's Trading Spot) sent me.  It's a "Good Luck Flag" which were given to Japanese soldiers during military campaigns.  The flags were signed by friends and family and contained messages wishing the soldier good luck.  If you are interested in learning more about it, click here.

In short, there's an organization called the Obon Society which tries to reunite these Good Luck Flags with their families in Japan.  This flag is one of the coolest and unique gifts I've ever received from a blogger, but I believe it belongs back in the hands of this soldier's family.  I've reached out to John and he supported this decision.  I'll be getting it packaged and shipped in the very near future as well.