30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Streets to Stadiums

Time flies by when you're having fun.  Maybe that's why the past three weeks have felt like an eternity.

Cards have helped a little.

Here's a photo update on where I'm at with those mystery bags:

The bags have been opened and stacked.  I've pulled out some cards for myself.  The rest will be sorted out by team and shipped out to some of you.  Any extras will be thrown into a shoebox and brought into my classroom... when I'm allowed to return.

Unfortunately... I can only sort a little (maybe an hour or so) each day.  Sitting on my office floor wreaks havoc on my back and being laid out with a sore back is one of the last things I need right now.

I'm guessing I'll have everything sorted sometime this upcoming week.  In the meantime... I'll continue to scan cards, read blogs, plan online lessons, attend school related meetings (online), listen to records, eat unbalanced meals, and start watching Money Heist on Netflix.

It's basically a crime drama about a group of people who pull off a couple of huge money heists.  Sorry.  I've never claimed to be skilled at writing summaries or reviews... but I enjoy its creativity and was hooked after binge watching the first season last year.

2012 Panini Golden Age Historic Signatures #RL

But you're not here for my binge watch suggestions.  You're here for cards.  Unfortunately, I don't know of any MLB players who have attempted to rob a bank, but I remember hearing about Ron LeFlore's story on a baseball podcast.

Back in 1970, he robbed a local bar and was given a five to fifteen year prison sentence for armed robbery.  During this prison sentence, he played organized baseball for the first time in his life and he discovered that he was pretty good at it.  He wasn't the only one to make that discovery.

1971 Topps #208

Through a friend, Billy Martin heard about LeFlore and gave him a tryout with the Detroit Tigers during a weekend furlough.

And the rest is history.  Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not skilled at writing summaries.  However if you're interested in reading his entire story, click here.  Like Money Heist... it's pretty interesting.

But if that's not your cup of tea, then you can watch LeFlore's streets to stadiums story which was made into a television movie here.

Okay... I'm off to watch an episode or two of Money Heist.  Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hobby Cutbacks and a Special Treat

I'm not sure where collectors stand as a whole, but I know that I've reduced the amount of my hobby purchases significantly over the past six months.  And although I am 100% concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, it hasn't played a major role in my decision to purchase less trading cards.

It mostly boils down to the sales tax I'm now required to pay over on COMC and eBay.  Now I realize 9% isn't going to make or break me financially, but anyone who knows me on a personal level will tell you that I'm sort of a cheapskate.  Sure, I might spend $100 on a card every now and then, but I always do my research and want to make sure I'm getting a good deal.

So now that I'm forced to pay an extra 9% in taxes, I'm willing to spend 9% less on the purchase price... which has made my card purchases less and less frequent.  To help you paint a picture, I went back and counted my eBay purchases in 2020.  Here's a breakdown by month:

January 2020: 17 eBay Purchases
February 20208 eBay Purchases
March 2020: 5 eBay Purchases

Side Note #1:  Out of the thirty eBay purchases I've made so far in 2020, four were not card related and three were cards purchased for other people.  That's twenty-three hobby related purchases from eBay during the first three months of the year.  I realize that might sound like a lot to some of you, but this is a fraction of the business I have done in the past.

Side Note #2Eleven of those twenty-three purchases were for my 2019 Topps Holiday Relic set build.

At first I was annoyed with having to pay sales tax on my COMC credit and eBay purchases, but I've started to realize that it's really a blessing.  I have thousands of cards sitting around at my house, at my dad's house, and in my buddy's garage that haven't seen daylight in years.  It's time to start appreciating what I already have more than investing time on tracking down cards that I want.

Obviously, I'm not saying that I'm finished with purchasing cards on eBay or COMC.  But the cutbacks are real.

Now that I've gotten that little tidbit out of the way, I wanted to show of the latest addition to my Tony Gwynn PC:

2001 UD Legends Legendary Lumber Autographs #SL-TG

I've come across this card a few times over the years and probably should have picked it up when they were selling in the $25 to $40 range.  Oh well.  This card popped up on my eBay search list with a BIN price of $55 (free shipping) and I decided to treat myself to a nice on-card autograph of my favorite athlete of all-time.

I never purchased any 2001 UD Legends back in the day, because that's right around the time I dumped my collection.  But even if I did, the odds would have been against me in pulling this card.  These signed Legendary Lumber memorabilia cards were case hits inserted in one out of every two hundred eighty-eight packs.

$55 might not be the typical bargain price I wait around for, but it sure beats buying and busting unopened product of this stuff in hopes of pulling this card.  Plus... after being locked up the past three weeks, I deserve a special treat.

What about you?

Has sales tax or the coronavirus impacted your hobby spending?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Pull of the Year

Last week, I wrote about the two large brown boxes filled with mystery bags that I purchased off of my friend back in early 2019.

Well... it's been about a week and I've opened up all of the mystery bags from one of the boxes.  It provided a hour's worth of entertainment... but honestly there hadn't been any life altering pulls... until I stumbled across this beauty:

1988 Score #555

BangPowKaboomThis card is straight fire.  Sorry Johnny.  You might have dibs on the majority of the Braves coming out of these mystery packs... but this card won't be headed out to the Florida Georgia Line anytime soon.  It's destined for an old school, one inch screw down.

Happy April Fools' Day and sayonara!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Captured on Cardboard

It's March, the MLB regular season still hasn't started and Topps has only released a fraction of their 2020 baseball products.  But I don't care.  I'm ready to submit my 2020 Card of the Year nomination:

2020 Topps #179

This card doesn't only feature a well-cropped action shot of one of my favorite current Athletics.  I love the fact that I can watch him make the catch here:

Ramon Laureano
robbed Teoscar Hernandez of a home run on April 22nd, 2019 when the A's were hosting the Toronto Blue Jays.  It's just one of Laureano's outstanding defensive plays from last season.

Today, I thought it would be cool to show off a few cards sent to me by Rod over at Padrographs that capture plays you can actually view on YouTube.

In addition to the Laureano, he sent me a few cards of Kurt Suzuki.  This one stood out:

2020 Topps Heritage #328

This card is obviously a highlight from last year's World Series.  It shows Suzuki launching a home run off of Justin Verlander in the top of the 7th inning which broke a 2-2 tie and helped the Nationals win the game.

You can watch video of the home run here:

Here's a screenshot of Suzuki hitting the home run:

I thought it was interesting, but not surprising that Topps removed the Camping World sign in the background.

The next card was hands down my favorite item in Rod's care package:

2016 Topps Update First Pitch #FP-8

We all have our own definition of what a hero is.  I've written about mine a few times on this blog.  But I'm willing to bet most Americans would agree with me when I say that Burke Waldron is a real American hero.  And I'm super excited to add his signature to my collection.

Like the back of his card states, Waldron is a World War II veteran.  If you're interested, you can read about him and his participation in the Battle of Saipan here.  You can also see the first pitch that was captured on the card above here:

I wasn't able to find a YouTube video for this card:

2017 Topps Opening Day #ODB-12

However the back of the card clearly gives collectors the impression that this photograph on the front was taken on April 4th, 2016:

Well... that's it for the sports moments captured on cardboard portion of this post.

Rod sent about 100 other baseball and basketball cards featuring Japanese baseball players, Oakland A's, and Los Angeles Lakers.  Here are some of the highlights:

I just noticed that I probably could have found a video clip of the Yusei Kikuchi's press conference that's featured on the pink refractor above.  Oops.

I might not follow the sport as much as I used to, but it was cool to see a nice stack of Lakers which included multiple cards of my three favorite playersMagic Johnson, Byron Scott, and Kobe Bryant.

He also sent me five issues of my favorite magazineSports Illustrated for Kids.  Here are the sheets of cards from those issues:

And if that weren't enough... he also sent me a PWE containing these two cards:

2020 Topps #251

2020 Topps Opening Day Red Foil #168

Free Card Fridays have recently become a huge part of the sports card blogosphere and Rod offered this Opening Day parallel on his blog two weeks agoPuk has been one of the A's top prospects ever since he was drafted by them in 2016.  I'm excited to see if he lives up to the hype.

Speaking of Free Card Fridays... John over at Johnny's Trading Spot has been giving away a ton of free cards too.  I was lucky enough to participate in one of this month's Friday Big Fun GamesMy prize?  Some vintage football:

My favorite of the bunch was this card of Merlin Olsen:

1971 Topps #125

Olsen played his final NFL game when I was only four years old... but my father told me about him and The Fearsome Foursome.  I love the photo of Olsen used on this card... except he looks more surprised than fearsome.

John sent me a really cool bonus in his PWE:

1976 Kellogg's #7

Yup.  A super clean 70's Kellogg's card of Joe Rudi.

If you're not familiar with him, he was robbing batters at the wall decades before Ramon Laureano.

Thank you Rod and Johnny for these awesome cards!  By the way... Johnny just published his Friday Big Fun Games signup post.  Click here if you're interested in joining.  You won't regret it.

By the way, I know it's early in the year, but...

What are some of your favorite cards of 2020 so far?
I hope all of you have a great week.  Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Make Money Money

Let's go ahead and preface things by stating this post is more about baseball trivia than making lots of money.  That being said... you never know.  The things you read in this post might end up putting some cash in your pocket if you play your cards right.  Okay... now let's get to the heart of the matter.

I've never been a book worm.  My mindinterests, and attention span are much more suited for blogs and magazinesCard blogs allow me to read amusing and thought provoking short stories about the hobby we love as well as an opportunity to check out pieces of cardboard that are special to the writer.

It also allows me to walk away with tidbits of sports trivia which could one day help me win millions of dollars on Jeopardy.

As for magazines, my two favorites are Baseball Digest and Sports Illustrated for Kids.  And wouldn't you know it... both are filled with sports trivia which provide short term entertainment.

March/April 2020 Issue

Today I thought I'd share one of my favorite pieces of trivia discovered in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids.

It's an article written by Sam Page that talks about six coincidences in sports history that are so strange, it's hard to believe they're true.  The one I'm going to spotlight features Stan Musial and Nate Colbert.

In the history of Major League Baseball, there are only two men who have hit five home runs in a double header.  The thing that first caught my attention is that this is something that has only happened twice in MLB history.  You don't need to be a mathematician to figure out that this is pretty darn rare.

When you add the fact that one of these players was present for both of these historical moments, that's when my mind was blown.

Let's start with the first hitter to accomplish this feat:

2002 Topps Team Topps Legends Autographs #TT

On May 2nd, 1954... the St. Louis Cardinals hosted the New York Giants for two day games at Busch Stadium.  The Cardinals won the first game and the Giants won the second, but that's not really important for this post.  The important thing is that Musial hit three home runs in the first game and two more in the second.  And he did it in front of approximately 26,000 fansTwo of those fans were Nate Colbert and his father.

2012 Panini Cooperstown Famous Moments Signatures #9

Eighteen years later on a warm night on August 1st, 1972... Colbert would match Musial's feat by hitting two home runs against the Atlanta Braves in the first game and another three in the second.  His thirteen RBI's carried the last place Padres that day and helped them sweep the Braves.

According to the back of this sticker-graph, Colbert told his father that he wanted to pull off that feat some day... which is pretty darn cool if it's true.

By the way... here's a few more pieces of trivia related to this historic eventColbert's five home runs were hit off of five different Atlanta pitchers.  One of them was a grand slam off of Pat Jarvis.

1960 Topps #572

As for Musial, two of his home runs were hit off of hall of famer, Hoyt Wilhelm, another two off of fan favorite John Antonelli, and one off of all-star Jim Hearn.

1956 Topps #148

And one more thing... Alvin Dark, who was mentioned in Moonshot article involving Gaylord Perry and the Apollo 11 moon landing (see above), also witnessed Musial's five home runs.  He played shortstop for the New York Giants in both games and went 1 for 9 at the plate.

There were a couple of other interesting articles in this issue of SI for Kids.  But this post is starting to drag on, so I'll wind things up with the main reason I subscribe to this magazine:

I've gotta admit that I'm only familiar with Travis Kelce and Marcus Semien on this sheet, but I'm not complaining.  It's pretty rare to see an Oakland Athletic get featured on a sheet of these cards.  However... not quite as rare as Musial and Colbert's home run accomplishments.

Well that's it folks.  Hope you enjoyed this little morsel of baseball trivia.  And who knows... maybe you'll be on Jeopardy one day and it'll help you make money, money... which you can use to buy tons of toilet paper, bottled water, and baseball cards.

By the way... if you're interested in increasing everyone's chances of winning big money on a game show, answer today's question of the day:

What is one interesting piece of baseball trivia that you've recently learned?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!