30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Who are some of your Cardboard Gods?

Has anyone else read Cardboard Cards by Josh Wilker? I picked it up last Friday after watching this video on YouTube:

There are so many collectors on YouTube these days... that's it's like an all you can eat buffet. But to me nblackford1412 is the mashed potatoes and gravy... in other words... it's the first things I grab when I go to buffets... and Nate's videos are always the first videos I look for when I go to YouTube.

It's pretty simple... Nate has a variety of videos that entertain me. His videos range from "top 10 baseball cards from the 80's" to "how to display your cards". If you have a few minutes to kill, I encourage you to head over YouTube and check out some of his vids.

Okay... getting back on track... I'm not a huge fan of reading. In fact, most of the books I read are books recommended to me by my students. Which is why I figured I'd return the favor and pick up a book for them. So after watching Nate's video... I headed down to Barnes and Noble... used my teacher discount card... and picked up a copy of this amazing book:

I'll get this out of the way and say it's a "must read" for anyone who grew up in the 70's and early 80's collecting cards. Without giving away too much... I'll just tell you it's an autobiography about a guy (Josh Wilker), his family, and his friends. Wilker and his brother collected cards throughout the 70's and in the book he uses some of them to connect with specific moments in his life. One of my favorite stories was about Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson who were two baseball players who swapped wives. I personally thought it was very creative of Wilker to use the story of these two players to introduce the readers to his "non traditional" family.

It was at this point in the book that I realized that as a teacher, I probably shouldn't recommend this book to my students. It's nothing most teenagers have watched or heard before, but there are a few words and inappropriate topics within these pages.

Anyways... back to the biography.

Another story he weaved into his own life was the time Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter against the Padres, while on an acid trip. I vaguely remember hearing the story years ago. But this book ultimately led me to this video, which features Ellis as he recounts that historic day:

You'll have to read the book if you want to see how Wilker relates his own life to Dock's.

Wilker was also one of those guys who loved to memorized statistics, so throughout the book he points out trivial, yet interesting baseball facts. I was able to find a couple of Wilker's cards in my own collection, but this one was one of my favorites:

It's a Herb Washington's 1975 Topps rookie card that I received from Mark @ Stats On The Back almost two years ago. Before reading the book, this was just another ordinary card... but then I learned that Washington is the only player to ever have "pinch runner" listed as their position on the front of their baseball card. Pretty cool trivia... huh.

It seemed like every other chapter I was either looking for these cards mentioned in the book on eBay or COMC... or searching on Google for more detailed information on these players... which made this book enjoyable and informative at the same time. And when I wasn't on my laptop... I found myself daydreaming... or should I say reminiscing my own childhood while reading this book. There were at least a dozen times I stopped to think about which cards I would use if I created a biography similar to Wilker's.

One of the cards that came to mind was this 1981 Fleer Rickey Henderson card that I still have from my childhood. I would have used this card to talk about a trip to Seattle that my parents took me on to see my cousin who was attending the University of Washington. It was during this trip that two major events took place in my life...

A. I bonded and looked up to my cousin... who was a Seahawk fan... and as a result... I became a Hawk fan too.
B. My parents bought me my first baseball card set... a 1981 Fleer baseball set... as an early Christmas present.

What about you?

Who's one of your cardboard gods?

In other words, is there any particular card that represents something from your childhood?

You probably won't see me recommending too many books on this blog... but it's impossible not to encourage my fellow sports collectors to head to the library or their local bookstore to grab a copy of Cardboard Gods. At the very least, it'll inspire you look back on your own cards and figure out the role they've played in your own life.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone... Sayonara!

Friday, April 29, 2011

What a way to celebrate a birthday...

Today is Benn Ferriero's birthday... if you don't know who he is, you're probably not alone. Tonight's Western Conference semi-finals game against the Red Wings the first career playoff game for this fourth line forward... and only the 2nd time he's played since February 5th.

However fans all around San Jose are celebrating along with Ferriero after he ended the game with an overtime goal. This is the fourth time this postseason that the Sharks have pulled off an overtime victory... and outside of the amazing game 3... come from behind victory against the Kings... this might be the most memorable. At least it will be for the birthday boy.

Happy 24th Birthday Benn!

Speaking of birthdays... Nicklas Lidstrom (who scored the Red Wings lone goal) celebrated his 41st birthday yesterday. I guess we're lucky that the first game of the series didn't start a day earlier.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One team down... three more to go!

The San Jose Sharks have three more teams standing in their way between them and the Stanley Cup.

A few weeks ago... I said that if the Sharks were to win the Stanley Cup it would cap off the perfect season. The journey itself makes it perfect... since they started the season off slow and had to work their tails off to climb into the #2 seed. Then they had to face off against a division rival (originally... I mentioned the Ducks, but the Kings are close enough)... a series that gave hockey fans their monies worth.

Last night, the Canucks beat the Blackhawks... so the dream season lives on. The Canucks will now face off against Predators, who ousted the Ducks. Which means that the Sharks will face long time nemesis... and my least favorite team... the Detroit Redwings.

The Redwings swept the Coyotes, which have many people rethinking their original picks and going with them to win it all. Perfect. It's exactly how I want it. If it's to be the perfect season... then defeating the red hot Redwings is a prerequisite... and will in no way be an easy task.

Their (the Redwings) offense attack was outstanding in the first round, averaging 4.50 goals per game.... which is both impressive and scary. If the Sharks have any hope of winning, they'll need to solve the defensive and goal tending issues they had against the Ducks.

But... as a fan... I say bring it on. The Sharks have a lot going against them... which only contributes the the whole "perfect season" plot.

This will be the fifth time the Sharks have met the Wings in the playoffs. Any true Sharks fan remembers the 1994 series when San Jose shocked fans around the league and upset Detroit in the first round. This led to the Red Wings domination over the next 15 years... which is why I dislike them so much. The Sharks finally shook the monkey off their backs by defeating the Redwings in last year's Western Conference Semifinals.

But that's in the past... now all there is left is to get this show on the road. Bring on the Redwings! Go Sharks Go!

By the way... hats off to the Los Angeles Kings and their fans. You guys added about 15 new gray hairs to my head. You didn't have your leading scorer, yet you managed to stretch this series to six games... three of which went to overtime. If he wasn't a division rival... I'd actually consider collecting Jonathan Quick. The Kings netminder was awesome... and impressed me in the same way that Ryan Miller did a year earlier at the Olympics.

So... what do you think...

Who's going to win this series?
Redwings or Sharks?
In how many games?

Happy Wednesday everyone... Sayonara!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sticker Autographs Rule!

Okay... maybe I'm getting a little carried away. I'll rephrase that.

This 2010/11 Crown Royale "Scratching the Surface" autograph rules!

In fact, this card looks so awesome... that Beckett has listed these as "on-card" autographs. Personally, I think Panini just did an amazing job of blending a sticker autograph into the design of their card. Sure, there's still the fact that the player never actually held the card... but I definitely think they took a huge step in the right direction.

Actually... the process is quite simple. They printed stickers that look like hockey rinks and had The Big Pavelski sign them. Then, they embedded the sticker into a card with a "shadow box" sort of effect, so it hides the edges of the stickers.

Leonardo de Vinci once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication". Although I wouldn't say this is always true... it seems to fit this particular situation.

Kudos to Panini. If you're going to continue using sticker autographs... then at least you're headed in the right direction. Heck... you tricked Beckett into thinking they're on-card.

And... if by chance... they actually are on-card... which I'm 99% positive they're not... then take my brilliant idea (which is really quite simple) and get to work. Ugly sticker autos have flooded our hobby for over 10 years... it's time to end this disease...and you're holding onto the vaccine.

Shoot... maybe one day... you'll actually start hearing collectors say "sticker autographs rule!".

Have a happy Monday... Sayonara!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chronicles of Cardfoolery #1: 2008 TriStar Signa Cuts Steve Sax Autograph

As a teacher... I'm the king of oddball phrases and words. It keeps the students entertained and on their toes. One of my favorite words to use in the classroom is "tomfoolery", which according to Merriam-Webster is defined as "foolish behavior".

Today... I introduce to all of my readers a new word: "cardfoolery". According to Merriam-Webster, the word "cardfoolery" does not exist. However, I definite it as a sports card creation that is quite simply: "foolish".

Thankfully, I don't have many examples of "cardfoolery" in my collection. But I have a two in store for you.

The first card in this series is a 2008 TriStar Signa Cuts autograph of 1982 NL ROY Steve Sax.

It should be pretty obvious why this card is being featured in this series, but just in case you're confused... I'll break it down for you.

Years ago manufacturers started cutting up autographed index cards, photos and documents, then placing these cuts into cards. Originally they were pretty rare and obviously a lot of collectors started chasing these "cut autographs".

Then TriStar came along and produced Signa Cuts, which included one "Signa Cut" per hobby box. I'm sure most collectors, including myself assumed that since it was called "Signa Cuts", it would include "cut autographs".

Well unfortunately, whoever originally pulled this Sax autograph received a cut index card with an autographed sticker mounted on it, instead of your traditional "cut autograph". Had that been me... I would have definitely cried "shenanigans"!

Okay... I'm not going to bash sticker autos today. I've made it known that I'm not a fan of them, but ultimately they have their place in the hobby and they aren't going anywhere anytime soon. However... placing an autographed sticker on a white index card and calling it a "cut autograph" is "tomfoolery"... which makes this a piece of "cardfoolery".

Oh one more thing... I'm not a fan of cards that don't have a photo of the player either. Unless it's a checklist, sports cards should have pictures on them... at least in my humble opinion.

The sad thing is that I actually purchased this card knowing what I was buying... so I guess that makes me an even bigger fool. Why would I pick it up? Well... the price was right and I was a fan of Sax in the 80's.

What I didn't realize is that this card had two dinged corners (bottom left & upper right). And if you look carefully, you'll notice that the sticker is actually starting to peel off of the index card. Thankfully, I've given it a new home and it's now a proud member of my Damaged Card PC.

I know that some of you out there are fans of TriStar products... but personally I'd never purchase another Signa Cuts product again. Sure they have some sweet autographs in the product line, but to me the reward isn't worth the risk. On the flipside, I'm tempted to buy a box of their Obak and possibly more TNA wrestling cards.

I'd also like to add that TriStar also has nice card shows. In a few weeks, they'll be having their annual Cow Palace show with tons of autograph guests. The Bay Area definitely lacks quality card shows, so I'm excited to go to this one.

Okay... it's your turn...

Are there any cards that you think are good candidates for my "cardfoolery" series?

Let me know... I have one more that I'll be sharing in the future... but I'd love to add more to my collection.

Happy Saturday everyone... Sayonara!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cheap Cool Cards #13: 1990 Score #697 Bo Jackson FB/BB

Everyone has their opinions on Beckett and their price guides. It's pretty obvious that most of their prices are inflated, but I won't lie... I use their online price guide on a regular basis.

Sometimes it's to compare trade values... while other times I just like to cheer myself up and pretend I can get certain dollar figures for my cards.

Well today, I came across a card that actually sells for more than Beckett's book value on a regular basis. While sifting through a box of star cards, I came across my 1990 Score baseball card #697 of none other than Mr. Bo Jackson.



If you collected in the early 90's, than you know about this card. From what I could find, the image was taken from a 1988 Nike poster called The Ball Player. I was able to find one completed auction on eBay and the final price was $32.87 (+$5.00 shipping).

The actual card is much cheaper than. Currently Beckett has card #697 listed at $.50. However recent eBay auctions have showed that this card goes for as little as three times book value and up to over eight times book.

I'm sure you can find these in common bins across the country, but I'm please to see Bo Jackson is still a hobby icon and that these cards can still command some change.

Earlier today, I took a little drive over to my buddy's garage and looked up some values Beckett listed back in the early 90's. Here's what I found:

June 1990: $10
September 1990: $12
December 1990: $9
June 1991: $4.50

June 1990

I'd like to see how much Beckett listed these for in October and November of 1990, since that's probably when it peaked in book value. I read over at Wax Heaven that dealers once sold these in the $25 range. This doesn't surprise me, because Bo was a beast in the late 80's and early 90's. He's arguably the best two-sport athlete since Jim Thorpe.

Bo Jackson NFL Highlights

Bo Jackson MLB Highlights

Luckily for us... collector's can now pick up an amazing piece of history for the price of a couple candy bars. And although this card may be cheap... it's definitely cool.

Do you own this card?
If so, did you purchase it back in the early 90's?
Do you remember how much it sold for in your area?

I'm not 100% sure, but I think I owned 10 or more copies of this card at one point. I have no clue what I paid for them, but I'm sure I overpaid. Today, I'm down to this one copy... which is plenty enough.

Does anyone know if Bo signs TTM's? This would be a sweet card to get signed.

Oh one more thing... if you were as huge a fan of Wax Heaven as I was... then here's some good news... Mario is back! Check him out over at his new blog: The Wax Morgue

I made the discovery last week and I was stoked. He's the major reason I started this blog. Well... I guess I should head over there to see what he's posted today.

Happy Friday everyone. Sayonara!

Contest Alert: CCW & Panini NFL Draft Contest

If you're a football fan and are looking for the opportunity to win some free stuff from Panini... I encourage you to head over to Card Collectors World and enter their 2011 NFL Draft Contest.

The Rules:

1. Guess the picks for the entire first round of the 2011 NFL DRAFT.
2. Each Correct Pick is worth 1 point.
3. Most Points Wins.
4. Successfully guess what slot Cam Newton and Mark Ingram gets and earn 3 points each towards your total.
5. No Editing your picks once the first pick is announced.
6. Teams do not matter. It's all about pick number!

Tie Breaker: Pick the town & state where Mr. Irrelevant played college ball. The closest via Google Maps will win the tie breaker.

Prizes: They aren't listed, but Panini is supplying them. So far they've only said that it's a major prize of rookies from this draft class. The top four entries will win a prize.

If you're interested, here's a direct link to the contest thread. You must be a member to play, but it's well worth your time to join CCW. It's an excellent place to discuss hobby issues and trade cards. Good luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I just picked up a set and something struck me...

I was bummed to see a few of my favorite players in uniforms they didn't belong in. Confused? Keep reading and I'll explain. But first... some background history on my purchase.

I'm a sucker for oddball issues that end up never catching on with other collectors. Remember the super-sized 5x7 cards issued by Topps in the mid 80's? I bought them. And that miniature Fleer sets from 1986 and 1987? I had those too. What about the talking sports cards LJN & Topps teamed up for in 1989? Well... I never had one (at least I don't think I did), but I definitely want one now. Phone cards... holograms... acetates... dog tags... pogs... cereal inserts... you name it... I collected it.

So when Leaf produced Leaf Preferred Steel in 1996... it caught my eye. I never built the set myself... but I recently picked one up on eBay after reading a review on Too Many Grandersons last week. I'm not going to double dip since his review is awesome and there's nothing left to be said. So if you're interested in the set... I encourage you to head over to his blog.

Instead... Today, I wanted to discuss something I noticed while flipping through my new purchase. It actually has nothing to do with this particular set... but it's the first time the issue stood out to me.

I kept noticing players in uniforms of teams I don't normally connect them with. Obviously this probably pops up with every set I own.

I remember the first time I strolled across Reggie Jackson's 1988 Score card of him pictured as an Oriole... I was like WTF! I'm a huge A's fan, so I knew he played with them. He became known as "Mr. October" as a member of the Yankees... so of course people pair him with the Yankees. And I can even picture him as an Angel... since he spent five of his last six seasons with them. But... I'm not sure if I was too young... or maybe I just blocked it out... but it's hard for me to picture Reggie as an Oriole.

The fact is... without even realizing it... I tend to associate certain players with a particular team. Here's just a few examples:

Willie Mays - New York/San Francisco Giants (he finished his career as a NY Met)

Ozzie Smith - St. Louis Cardinals (he started his career with the San Diego Padres)

Babe Ruth - New York Yankees (started career with the Boston Red Sox & ended it as a Boston Brave)

Pete Rose - Cincinnati Reds/Philadelphia Phillies (played part of the 1994 season with the Expos)

Fernando Valenzuela - Los Angeles Dodgers (played with 5 other teams during his career)

The list could go on and on and on... but I'll get to my point instead.

After checking out this all metal baseball card set, 15 years after it was produced... I was amazed at how many players were pictured in uniforms I normally don't connect them with.

Will Clark (Texas Rangers)

Yes... he played five seasons in Texas and even made the all-star team with them. But to me... The Thrill will always be a San Francisco Giant. Maybe it's because I'm a Bay Area boy. Speaking of Bay Area teams... the next three players will always be Oakland Athletics to me.

Rickey Henderson (San Diego Padres)

As a Padres fan... I was pumped to see Rickey sign with them in the mid 90's and again in the early 2000's... but let's get real. 95% of sports fans view him as either a Yankee or an Athletic. I'm going with the later.

Dennis Eckersley (St. Louis Cardinals)

Like Rickey... Eck is one of those guys who can be connected with a couple of teams... but unless you're a St. Louis fan, how many will remember him as a Cardinal? My guess is that most fans will remember him for his service with the Red Sox or Athletics. In Boston he was Cy Young contender as a starter. Then in 1987 he was traded to Oakland where La Russa converted him into a reliever... and the rest is history.

Jose Canseco (Boston Red Sox)

Some people love Canseco... while others hate him. And then there's me... I used to love him... but now he's just there... no love... and no hate. But the fact is... at one time he was a centerpiece of my collection and for good reason. He was one of the best in baseball and a member of my favorite team: The Oakland Athletics. And that's how I will always remember him.

Paul Molitor (Minnesota Twins)

Molitor spent three seasons for his hometown Minnesota Twins and won a Silver Slugger award with them. He also won a Silver Slugger award during his three year tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays. Plus he helped Toronto win the World Series in 1993. But if you grew up in the 80's like me... it's almost impossible to not picture him in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. Molitor spent fifteen of his twenty-one year career with the Brewers.

Wade Boggs (New York Yankees)

Finally... there's Wade Boggs. I'm sure Yankee fans are going to disagree with me... but when I picture Mr. Boggs, I picture him as a Red Sox player. Like Molitor... I think it's because he spent all of the 80's with the Red Sox... and I collected cards heavily during those years. In fact... his 1983 Topps rookie card is a classic and one of my personal favorites. What uniform is he wearing? Yep... a Red Sox uniform.

Now don't get the wrong idea... I appreciate the fact that most players play on more than one team in their career. I'm just saying that when certain players come to mind... I associate them with certain teams. Does that make me weird?

Do you ever look at cards and trip out that a player is pictured on a different team you're used to?

Well... it's a beautiful Thursday for several reasons:

#1: I'm on spring break!
#2: The Sharks are playing tonight and I intend on watching the whole game this time.
#3: It's sunny here in the Bay Area... so I'll definitely be hitting the golf course a few times over the next 10 days.
#4: The annual TriStar Cow Palace card show is coming in eight days.
#5: Today was a minimum day and did I mention that I'm on spring break?

I hope everyone else is having a great day. Go Sharks & sayonara!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Favorite Player = The Hometown Hero

If you're a hockey fan... then you've probably already heard about the Sharks amazing comeback last night against the Kings at Staples Center.

It has to be one of the greatest games in the history of the San Jose Sharks franchise... and the sad thing is... I missed it. Well... not all of it. Just most of it.

I started watching the game on my laptop and saw the whole first period... and the beginning of the 2nd period. It had been a pretty long day... and I was exhausted. It didn't help that I watched the Kings play near perfect hockey the first period. During intermission... I muted my computer and in between dozing off and stressing over the game... I waited for the 2nd period to start... hoping for this miraculous comeback.

Well... within the first minute of the 2nd period, the Kings scored again. Words cannot express the frustration and anxiety I felt as the Kings took a 4 to 0 lead with nearly two whole periods to play.

So being the worst Sharks fan ever... I set my laptop aside... hit the mute button... and dozed off. Yep... I said it. I slept through the greatest comeback in Shark's playoff history.

When I woke up... my computer was asleep. I quickly headed over to nhl.com to see the final score and I couldn't believe my eyes. The Sharks had comeback and won the game 6 to 5... and my boy Devin Setoguchi score the overtime goal.

I couldn't write a better script to this fairy tale - classic game with an amazing come from behind win... on a goal by my favorite player. Simply perfect... and I'll say it again... I missed it.

Oh well... I could whine a little more... or I can watch different highlight reels and enjoy the victory. So please join me... as I watch Setoguchi's winning goal one more time, before I get ready for bed:

This series is a little closer than I would have liked and I'll admit... the Sharks haven't played their best hockey. I hope that Niemi can shake off those 8 goals he gave up in games 2 and 3.

On the flipside... I wonder how much the Sharks are in the heads of the Kings' players. Will they be able to comeback from that heartbreaking loss? What do you think?

Who's going to end up winning this series? How many games?

Well... time to go see if I can find a replay of this game online. Have a good evening everyone... Sayonara!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hidden Treasures #5: Brian Wilson

Right after the San Francisco Giants become the 2010 World Series Champions, I strolled across this sweet rookie parallel of Brian Wilson:

It's from 2006 Upper Deck Special F/X and is the green parallel numbered to 99. I had planned to post this card in my hidden treasures series back in November... but it completely slipped my mind. Until I saw this video today of Brian Wilson, Cody Ross, Giant's mascot Lou Seal, and YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill:

If you've never seen Keenan's videos, I encourage you to check them out. Here's a link to his YouTube page. Keenan is a 16 year old from the suburbs of Chicago. When he was one, he was diagnosed with MPS VI, which is a rare genetic disease that usually leads to severe disabilities and a shortened life span. If you're interested in reading more, click here.

I started watching Keenan at the start of the school year when one of my students introduced me to his Teenage Dream video... and haven't looked back. His videos are awesome and I love his positive spirit.

I'm excited that the Brian Wilson & the San Francisco Giants are teaming up with Keenan to help raise money for his cause. If you live in the Bay Area and are free on May 25th, you might want to head on down to AT&T when the Giants face off against the Florida Marlins. Your ticket will get you a sweet "Ross is Boss" t-shirt and all proceeds will go to "causes close to Cody & Keenan". As you know... I'm a huge A's fan... but I'm going to try to get a couple of friends together and pick up some tickets.

Getting back to the card... I found it sitting in a box with a bunch of random inserts and parallels. I honestly have no idea how I got it... but my guess is that it was purchased as part of a mystery pack on YouTube. What I do know is that it's not going anywhere.

It was special to me after seeing the Giants bring a championship back to the Bay Area and seeing all of those "Fear the Beard" shirts... but it's even more special now... after watching that dynamite video of Wilson (& the beard) performing with Mr. Cahill.

Tonight's question of the day is...

Have you ever seen any of Keenan's videos before?
If so... d0 you have a favorite?

His video with 50 Cent is pretty cool... and I like the Imma Be video too. But if I had to choose one to watch over and over... it'd be the first one I saw back in September of 2010... Teenage Dream. I've watched it at least 10 times... and it still brings a smile to my face.

Okay... the puck's going to drop in less than 30 minutes. It's time to go. Have a great evening... Sayonara!

Blog Trade #12: Nomo's Sushi Platter

I love trades that are quick and painless... and are beneficial to both traders. Last Thursday... Spiegel, who runs the baseball card blog: Nomo's Sushi Platter... contacted me about a 2008 Goudey autograph of Nick Swisher that he had just pulled from a box.

I've been looking for that card for awhile now... so I responded within a few hours and told him to look through my bucket & tradelists.

He picked out an autograph of Luc Mbah A Moute and a jersey card of Kosuke Fukudome. In addition to the Swisher he offered to throw in some cards of players/teams I collected... which was totally unnecessary... but much appreciated.

Here's a sample of what he sent:

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not... but I'm a huge fan of retro looking cards. Allen & Ginter, Topps 206, UD Goudey, and my favorite off all-time 2009 Goodwin Champions are all awesome. So when I saw these cards, I was pretty stoked. I was especially happy to see the Mat Latos Topps 206 rookie card. He's had to deal with a shoulder injury and has had a slow start, but he's one of the bright spots on the San Diego Padres roster.

Spiegel also included a bunch of Oakland A's cards for my collection. Once again he included some retro-looking cards, but also inserted a few 90's classics like Fleer Ultra, Donruss Elite, and Donruss Triple Play.

Of course... my favorite card from the lot is the Topps 206 Kurt Suzuki. Like Latos, he started off slow, but has four hits in his last seven at bats. Either way... he's my favorite player on the Athletics.

The last lot he included was of another PC player... Ichiro Suzuki. His Topps Town card features his iconic pre-batting pose. I love it!

All of these cards are awesome... and surprisingly... I didn't have most of them. So before I get to the main card... I want to say thank you for these bonus cards.

Now... for the main attraction:

I've found a couple of people on Sports Card Forum who had this card, but neither trader was realistic in what they wanted in return. Both felt that Swisher was a rising super-star and his autograph should command more than the $10 book value listed in Beckett. I understood where they were coming from, but wasn't willing to give in to their crazy requests (especially when one of these sold for $6.69 (free shipping) last week on eBay.

Thankfully, Spiegel is fair and reasonable. I'm stoked to add this card to my collection. Actually... he's way too generous and didn't need to add the 30-something bonus cards. If I come across some Dodgers stuff... I'll definitely make things square.

Domo arigato Spiegel-san!

You're an excellent trader and I hope to do business again with you in the near future.

If you haven't checked out his blog... Nomo's Sushi Platter... and you collect baseball cards... I encourage you to check it out. He collects Dodgers, Hideo Nomo, Ryan Braun, Ichiro, Ian Kinsler, and Kurt Suzuki... so if you have any of those hit him up and maybe you can work out a trade.

Well... I have to go meditate and get ready for tonight's playoff game between the Sharks and Kings. You have no idea how stressful it was watching Saturday night's game. I'm just glad tonight's a new night... so I'll end on a positive note: Go Sharks!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Domo Arigato: Mike @ Sports Syzygy

Mike and I are both building the 09/10 Upper Deck basketball "Masterpiece" set, so I sent him a few of my extras.

Well today, he hit me back with a nice package that included all of these:

I'm not sure what to say... other than a huge "Thank You". The first team bag I opened contained over 20 different Lakers cards (mostly Kobe). I was definitely bummed about yesterday's loss... but this eased the pain.

It included a huge variety of Kobes... everything from a Score Board card from his rookie season to inserts from new products. However... the one that stood out was a 2002/03 Topps "Coast to Coast" insert of The Black Mamba. If you know me... than you know my love of refractors... and this definitely has a refractor look.

He also included a stack of San Diego Padres. My favorite card is easily the 1998 Zenith "Z-Silver" parallel of Derrek Lee. I never bought any of the baseball version, but I loved busting the hockey product.

If you're not familiar with these... think about Rip card concept from Topps Treasury or Topps A&G. You now... the cards that have another card inside of them... so you have to decide whether or not you're willing to tear them open. Well... in 1998 Pinnacle came out with the Zenith "Dare to Tear" idea. They were 5x7 base, insert, and parallel cards that contained one card inside of it.

This Lee silver parallel came from one of those 5x7 cards. Simply awesome!

Mike also sent me a small stack of Oakland Athletics. Included in the stack were these. I love the Lumber Company insert set. It features a great design and one of my favorite A's players from this past decade.

The last team bag contained these two packs of Topps Leaders from 1987 & 1988. I busted a bunch of these back when they were first released and built the 1987 set. Of course, this was one of the things that went when I cleansed my collection ten years ago. Well... there was no way I was keeping these sealed. Here's what I got in the two packs:

The 1987 design is a lot better than the plain white borders of the 1988 set. However... the 1988 pack delivered six players I admired when I was younger. Valenzuela, Gooden, and Scott were all dominating pitchers during the 80's... and Dave Stewart helped the A's win the World Series in 1989. Throw in Whitaker and my favorite shortstop all-time... and you have one helluva pack.

Oh... one more thing... if you're not familiar with the Topps Leaders products... they were smaller than your average card. Here's a side by side look at the Keith Hernandez's 1987 base card and his 1987 Leaders card.

Thanks again Mike. I just noticed that you wrote a note on the back of your business card, saying that these were my contest winnings. I totally forgot about it... and either way... I totally appreciate the cards. Keep up the great blog.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Craigslist Card Collection Purchase

During the summer, I like to keep busy... so I usually sign up to teach summer school. The extra money goes towards vacation expenses, school supplies, and of course my cardboard addiction.

Normally, I work with middle schoolers... but in the summer, my buddy and I like to switch things up and work with the little ones (4th graders to be exact). She teaches the language arts curriculum, while I cover the math. It's pretty much the same routine every year.

And every spring, I start stocking up on junk wax to pass out to my little kids. They love ripping open packs, even if 99% of them don't recognize the players. I'll usually teach a statistics lesson first to get them hooked... then use the extra packs as incentives for the rest of the summer.

Well I recently found this post on Craigslist and realized it had a little bit of everything and would be perfect for my summer school program. I immediately contacted the guy to see if he was firm on his price. After a little negotiating... I picked up everything you see below for $30.

1988 Fleer Baseball Wax Packs (x36)
1987 Topps Baseball Wax Packs (x6)
1987 Donruss Rack Pack
1988 Donruss Rack Packs (x2)
1989 Donruss Rack Pack
1986 Fleer Sluggers vs. Pitchers Set
1987 Fleer Baseball SuperStars Set
1987 Fleer Sluggers vs. Pitchers Set
1988 Topps Baseball Commons
1993 Action Packed ASG Series 2 Set
1989 Topps Baseball Rack Box (24 packs)
1989 Topps UK Mini Baseball Box (48 packs)
1991 Conlon TSN Baseball Box (36 packs)
1987 Topps Baseball Set (hand collated)
2000 MLB Showdown Starter Deck
2001 MLB Showdown Starter Deck
2001 MLB Showdown Draft Pack

The bulk of this purchase is going towards my classroom this summer. I'll probably bust the rack packs, since they're heavily damaged and are coming off the backing boards.

I might also use a couple of these items as prizes in the month long contest I'll be running this summer.

Plus, I'm going to keep the three Fleer "mini sets", the 1989 Topps UK Mini box, and maybe the 1991 Conlon TSN box.

Here are a few other items, I'm planning on keeping from this Craigslist collection:

Ultra Pro 8 Pocket Pages (x37)
Ultra Pro 2 Pocket Pages (x33)
1990 Baseball Wit Game (w/ 108 trading cards)
2000 APBA Board Game (w/ 30 cards)

The students have no use for odd-sized binder pages, so I'll be keeping those. It's nice to have a few of these in hand just in case I need them.

I've never seen this Baseball Wit game, but it comes with 108 trading cards. I'm debating on busting it or not. Either way... according to Beckett it has some pretty nice names in the set: Tony Gwynn, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Rickey Henderson, Nolan Ryan, and even Babe Ruth.

He also had a board game called "Super Stars Baseball". It was produced in 2000 and comes with 30 cards. The game is sealed, so I used Beckett again to help me with the checklist. This game is also pretty loaded with cards of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken Jr., and my personal favorite... Tony Gwynn.

I'm not sure what I'll do with the two games. Neither of them have any monetary value... in fact the whole collection is pretty much worthless... but the sealed board game is pretty cool.

1988 Topps Big Series 1 Set
1988 Topps Big Series 2 Set
1989 Topps Big Series 1 Set
1989 Topps Big Series 2 Set
1989 Topps Big Series 3 Set

I was pretty excited to see this binder in the lot. If you collected in the late 80's... then I'm sure you know about Topps Big. I remember seeing these in random places, but never picked any up. A few months ago, I considered buying some boxes just to finally grab some. Now I don't have to. Best of all... they're all in pages and were placed in this new binder.

Now all I need to do is hunt down the 1988 Series 3 set. This will be going on my bookshelf with my other binders. I'm sure I'll do a Set Spotlight on these sets sometime in the near future to give you all a better look.

In addition to these sets, he also had a bag full of flats:

1992 Lou Gehrig Wheaties Box
1992 Babe Ruth Wheaties Box
1993 Upper Deck Home Base Newspaper (x2)
1987 National Sports Collectors Convention Poster
1993 The Diamond Magazine (August - 3 issues)
1995 Daily News Brooklyn Dodgers Tribute Magazine
1992 Dino Cardz Promo Strips (x2)

Outside of the dinosaur cards, I'm sure none of these will interest the students. I'll probably give the two Wheaties boxes away as prizes... along with the magazines. The UD newsletter thing is pretty cool, since I've never seen this publication. The guy probably thought it'd be worth something one day, since it's the first issue in the first volume. I wonder if they ever printed a second issue. Maybe one of these days, I'll blog about it... since it has some interesting reading material.

Out of all of these items, I only plan on keeping one thing... this 1987 poster from the 1987 National Convention:

It's an 11" x 14" poster, printed on matted paper and features some of the greatest baseball players of all-time. I wonder if they had all of these guys at the National signing back in the day. If so... can you imagine collecting autographs of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Joe DiMaggio all on one poster?

Unfortunately... it has a small tear along the top and a couple of slight creases along the sides. It doesn't bother me though. Later on today, I'm going to Michael's to buy a frame. This beauty is going up on my wall.

I never made it to the National Convention held in San Francisco back in 1987. It's probably because I wasn't driving yet... and most of my buddies were too cool to collect cards. Hopefully the National will make its way back to The City, because if it does... I'll definitely be there.

Oh... speaking of card shows... check out this flier for a 1989 card show at the Moscone Center:

Can you believe the prices? Maury Wills for $4? Mark McGwire for $10? The most expensive autographs were $15. Those were the days.

Okay... today's question of the day is:

You're traveling back to 1989 and you're attending this card show with $25 in your pocket...

Which players' autographs are you going to chase down?

I have to go with Mays and Henderson... Mays is one of the greatest players of all-time and Henderson is one of my favorite players of all-time.

I'd probably use the leftover dollar and buy a pack of 1989 Upper Deck.

Anyways... recapping my purchase. It may not be a great deal... but I have no regrets. Sure there weren't any huge hits... but it was sort of a smorgasbord: stuff for my students... some items for my contest... and a few PC items for myself.

Enjoy your Saturday everyone... I'm headed out to buy a frame for the poster... and then I might bust a few packs of Conlon. Sayonara!