Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Blogging isn't for everyone.  The handful of people in my life who know that I enjoy writing about my hobby and childhood memories probably don't really get it.  But maybe one day they will.

One of the coolest gifts my father left behind was a blog that contained some of his favorite memories.  I helped him set it up and one of my brothers helped him edit and revise his posts.

Anyways a few months ago, I read a post he wrote about the first car my parents ever purchased.  It was a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air:

1992 Muscle Cards Series 1 #7

His friend had bought it fresh off the lot.  However after a few months he started a new job out of state and they gave him a company car.  He didn't need two cars, so he offered it up to my dad who gave him $200 and took over the car payments.

They lost contact with each other, but twenty-something years later...  my dad discovered that he lived with his family less than a mile away from our house.  They formed a tight friend group that did a lot of stuff together.  They golfed, skied, and bowled together... but the thing I remember the most were the poker nights.

Sadly my dad's friend passed away about a year before my parents moved to Las Vegas.  I'm not sure how often they kept in touch with his wife after the move.  But this morning, she wrote "Happy birthday" on his Facebook page.  Actually three of his friends wrote birthday messages to him.  It wasn't easy, but I let each of them know that he passed away last year.

Happy birthday Pops!  Miss you.  But... I sure am glad you shared your blog with your family so we can remember you and Mama.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

I Love the 80's (Baseball Edition) #12: Topps All-Star Rankings

My original plan was to rank every Topps flagship all-star design, but I immediately ran into a major problem.  I only have examples of about half of them.  Out of those... some would require me to dig them out of storage which would be very time consuming.

Fortunately, I have an 80's binder filled with stars and subsets that is easily accessible.  So the new plan is to rank all of the 80's Topps flagship all-star designs.  

My rankings were based primarily on the designs on the card fronts.  However if there are two designs that I enjoy equally... then I'll use the card backs as a tie-breaker.  It's my post... so my preference... and my guidelines.

Let's get it started...

#101980 Topps

1980 Topps #310
1980 Topps #580

Topps started utilizing the all-star banner in 1977 and with the exception of 1979... used it until 1981.  Personally I like it when Topps creates a designated subset for the all-stars.  However when they don't, the banners do a nice job, because they are easily distinguished and don't clutter the original design.

#91981 Topps

1981 Topps #300
1981 Topps #540

1981 slightly beats out the 1980 all-stars, because Topps color coded the banners.  And back in the early 80's, I was a big fan of the American League Red and National League Green books.

#8: 1986 Topps

1986 Topps #708
1986 Topps #719

The remaining eight Topps all-star designs are part of subsets and the 1986 all-stars are my least favorite of the bunch.  Compared to the other designs, it's too plain.

In fact, my favorite thing about them are the interesting pieces of trivia on the card backs which are directly related to player and the statistic they were on the leader board of.

#71985 Topps

1985 Topps #713
1985 Topps #704

The 1985 Topps all-stars replaced the team logo from the base design with a yellow star.  It's a slight improvement over the boring 1986 design.  I would have put it a little higher had they color coded the American League and National League players like they did in previous years.

#61988 Topps

1988 Topps #405
1988 Topps #389

This is where things start to get good.  I really like the 1988 Topps all-star design.  In fact, I like it more than the regular base card design.  I like how Topps wrote out American League and National League across the top of the card in cursive and in contrasting colors to their league colors.  Plus this design reminds me of something Topps would have produced in the 60's.

#51983 Topps

1983 Topps #406
1983 Topps #391

I like the 1983 and 1988 Topps all-star designs equally... which means that I used the card backs as a tie-breaker.  The 1983 Topps all-star backs are highlights and summaries of famous MLB All-Star Games.

Topps could have done a better job with their color coordination.  I feel like blue stands out more on the Rickey... when it should be red.  And vice versa for Steve Carlton.

#41984 Topps

1984 Topps #399
1983 Topps #389

Topps got the American League and National League colors correct in 1984.  The team names on the left side and the player's name at the bottom are color coordinated with the teams and not part of the league colors.

The card backs include some interesting trivia about the player... as well as their marital status.  Maybe Gregory over at Nine Pockets will start a Dating Game series with this subset one day.

#31982 Topps

1982 Topps #341
1982 Topps #547

When I started putting together my rankings, this was the design I originally put in the #1 spot.  I like how it blends in with the regular base card design... while still stands out with it's unique color scheme.  Plus they were the first Topps all-star cards that stood out to me when I started collecting back in the early 80's.

#21987 Topps

1987 Topps #599
1987 Topps #611

After scanning all of the designs and laying them out... this one (and my #1 pick) stood out above the rest.  I love the red, white, and blue stars at the bottom... along with the American League and National League logos at the top.

The only thing I would have done differently is change the red banner on the National League players to blue.  Regardless... if and when I create my all-time Topps flagship all-star rankings, this one will be in the Top 10... and possibly in the Top 5.  I absolutely love it.

#11989 Topps

1989 Topps #394
1989 Topps #401

By now you may have noticed how much color coordination plays a role in my rankings and out of all of the 80's designs, I think it stands out the most with this one.

I love everything about this subset designTopps did a great job of integrating the National and American League titles into the the red, white, and blue banners.  Plus the player's position located in the yellow star is a perfect touch.

I honestly went back and forth between the 1987 and 1989 all-star designs, but didn't want to do the #1a and #1b thing.  However... I feel like I can easily see myself flip flopping between these two designs in future ranking posts.

Well there you have it.  My Topps all-star rankings for the 80's.  Feel free to leave your personal picks down below in the comment section.

As for tonight's game, I won't be watching it.  I don't have regular cable and none of my streaming services are showing it.  But I will be following along online.

Well that's it for today...

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, July 15, 2024

A Six Pack to Kick Off Summer

Hip hip hooray!  My first full week of summer break starts today and I have a game plan in place regarding cards and the blog.  I have two major goals.  The first one involves going through several Sportlots and COMC packages and hopefully clearing out a few set builds I'm in the middle of.

The other goal is to open up the plethora of care packages that are piling up in my office and finally documenting them here on the blog.

This morning I opened up a few PWE's from fellow bloggers, so let's show off the goodies...

2021 Epoch NPB #040

Kenny sent me a new Roki Sasaki card for my collection.  If you haven't heard of this guy yet, you probably will by next year.

He's one of those Japanese pitchers who has made a name for himself over in the NPB and there's a good chance he'll be coming to the MLB in 2025.

Back in May, Jon asked me if I needed these two Kenner SLU football cards:

1998 Kenner SLU HOF Legends #NNO

1999 Kenner SLU Classic Doubles #NNO

I already have Starr's 1997 Classic Doubles card and Alstott's 1998 regular Kenner SLU card, but both of these are new to my collection.  

A few years ago, I added a sealed copy of Vince Lombardi's 1998 Kenner SLU HOF Legends figure.  One day I'd love to add the Bart Starr figure and the Ray Nitschke from that series... to my Green Bay Packers PC.

PWE #3/4/5/6Johnny's Trading Spot

Last October, John sent me four PWE's filled with some cards for some player and team collections.  One of them contained these three cards from one of those online exclusive Topps products:

2022 Topps X Juan Soto #46
2022 Topps X Juan Soto #47
2022 Topps X Juan Soto #50

I actually opened up a few of these boxes and with the help of eBay completed the entire base set, so these three cards are headed into my player collections.

All three are part of the Bestias Del Juego subset, which according to the back of Gwynn's card means "Beasts of the Game".

The next two PWE's contained a variety of Japanese athletes including some members of Japan's national football team:

Even though I have grown to appreciate the sport, I don't follow soccer too closely.  The two exceptions are the World Cup and Olympics.  The 2024 Olympic men's soccer kicks off in nine days and Samurai Blue is part of Group D along with Israel, Mali, and Paraguay.

The 4th PWE contained cards from another soccer team I casually follow: 

2019 Topps MLS

I have had the opportunity to see all four of these guys in action.  Unfortunately... none of them have played with the San Jose Earthquakes in a few years.  Chris Wondolowski retired in 2021 as the MLS all-time leading goal scorer.

Thank you Kenny, Jon, and Johnny for sending me these PWE's.  I apologize to all of you... especially Johnny for taking so long to open these up.  But better late than never, right?

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Flea Market Finds #163: 70's Wax, Set Help, & a Starter Set

My best friend describes me as a delicate flower that wilts with the heat.  Although I don't appreciate her choice of words, she's not wrong.  I hate hot weather and right now we're in the midst of an extended heat wave.

Luckily... it cools off at night and the temperatures are within my comfort zone until around 8am.  So on Saturday, I hopped in my car and walked around the De Anza Flea Market.

I wasn't expecting large crowds due to the holiday weekend and the heat, but I was wrong.  There were tons of people and vendors.  The more the merrier, I guess.  Right off the bat, I found people with cards.

Purchase #1Three's Company Packs $10

Most of it was the usual overpriced Junk Wax Era stuff, but then I came across a guy with this small bag of packs:

He wanted $2 per pack, so I offered him $10 for the lot and he accepted.  Unfortunately when I got home, I discovered the Jaws 2 and Mork & Mindy packs were already opened.

The three Three's Company packs appeared to be sealed... but they could have been opened and resealed.  The good news is my buddy is building the 1978 Topps Mork & Mindy set, so hopefully I'll be able to help him out.

Purchase #2Vintage Comic Books $2

Blondie #198 (May 1972)

Beetle Bailey #106 (July 1974)

Like dime boxes at card shows, I have a hard time walking away from dollar comic boxes at flea markets.  This guy had three short boxes filled with stuff from the 90's, but there was a small section of older issues.  These two were in really nice condition, so I grabbed them.

Purchase #31982 Kellogg's Lot $6

About halfway into the flea market, I came across a vendor with this display case:

The best way to describe this photo is eye candy.   I was super excited to see singles for my 1982 Kellogg's set build.

I found these nine cards in his dollar stack:

I'm too much of a bargain hunter to spend a buck on commons from this set, but he told me beforehand that he'd work with me on the price.

Now I'm down to only needing seven hall of famers and the MLB Hit King:

The vendor actually had a few of these hall of famers, but not ready to dish out $3 each for guys like Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk, and Jim Palmer.

Purchase #4Very Cool Jersey Card $10

Jersey cards are one of those things in the hobby where you either are into them or you're not.  I used to love them, but over the years they've started to lose their luster.

1997 Press Pass Game-Used Jersey #JC-1

However... this one isn't your average memorabilia card.  It's one of those old school ones.  1996 was the first year companies started slicing up jerseys and embedding the swatches into cards.  So the concept was still fresh.

This was also from an era where memorabilia cards were still tough to pull.  Beckett lists the odds of pulling one of these jersey cards at 1:612 packs.  That's why I couldn't reach for my money any faster when the vendor told me it was ten bucks.

Purchase #5Star Wars Stuff $17

The next purchase came from a vendor with bunch of Star Wars and Star Trek collectibles.  She had a table with a 50% off sign.  I was tempted to buy a bunch of things, but I settled on these two items.

First up was this opened box of 1993 Topps Star Wars Galaxy with a $15 price tag:

There weren't any inserts, but the box did contain a complete set... along with a solid starter set.

Next up was this box set of trade paper backs of the original trilogy:

1996 Dark Horse Classic Star Wars TPB Box Set

This was a brand new box set, but the cellophane was starting to tear, so I ripped it off.  Here's a look at the covers of each of the comics inside of the box:

I've been wanting to read the Star Wars Marvel comics from the 70's and 80's.  This doesn't contain every issue, but they do cover the stuff from the movies.

The box set had a $20 price tag, which meant she was only charging $10. She told me I could have the cards and the comics for $17, because she didn't want to deal with change.

Purchase #6The Trader Speaks Lot $2

I came across a guy in the second row with a small stack of The Trader Speaks issues.  If you're not familiar with them, they were a hobby publication printed from the late 60's to the early 80's.

The bulk of each issue are want ads, advertisements, and auction listings.  Honestly, they don't pack the same level of high interest reading fodder as past issues of Beckett or Tuff Stuff.  That's why I passed on them the first time around.

But later, I went back and pulled these two:

The Trader Speaks (December 1974)

The Trader Speaks (July 1978)

At a buck a piece, they're nice additions to my Oakland A's and San Diego Padres PC's.

Normally, I'd go and walk around one more time in case I missed something.  However by the time I was done with the final purchase, it was already starting to heat up.

There's another flea market in two weeks.  Hopefully the heat wave will have ended by then.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

My buddy in Atlanta says he's dealing with high temperatures and high humidity.  That is not a good combination.  My other friend in Oregon says it's been insanely hot up in the Pacific Northwest too.

Hope things are cooler wherever you are reading this post.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!