30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, May 31, 2014

I've Got Writer's Block

And it doesn't help that there are a million things on my plate at the moment.  With all whining aside... I hope you'll accept my sincere apologies for:

A.  Letting three days slip in between my posts.  Usually I have three to seven scheduled posts, but right now I have zero.  The sad thing is... I don't really have any new ideas at the moment either... except for possibly this weekend's flea market recap.

B.  Not reading and commenting on your posts as often as I'd like.  I try to read as many as I can during my free time, which explains why some of my comments are in the wee hours of the morning.  But right now it's hard to keep up with the 200+ active blogs I follow.  I promise all of you that will change as soon as summer school starts.

C.  Making a bunch of you wait for your care/trade packages.  As of right now, I know I owe:  Dennis (Too Many Verlanders), Tom (The Angels, In Order), Tony (Off Hiatus Baseball Card), Zippy (Cervin' Up Cards), Comatoad (Bleedin' Brown and Gold), The Prowling Cat, Matthew (Bob Walk the Plank), T.J. (The Junior Junkie), Mr. Hoyle, Brett (@ CCW), The Big Kahuna (Enough Already), and of course Wes (Jay Barker Fan's Junk).

If I missed anyone... I'm totally sorry.  Leave a comment below and I'll add you to the list.

D.  Taking longer than usual to reply to the comments on my own blog.  I used to love waking up and reading your comments, but lately I've been using that time to read all of your blogs.  My normal commenting should resume in two more weeks.

Now onto a more positive note.  This week I received two packages in the mail from Too Many Verlanders and Jay Barker Fan's Junk.  Here are some of the highlights from their packages.

We'll start off with a package from Dennis who hooked me up with this awesome addition to my Tony Gwynn PC:

This card is awesome for a couple of reasons.  First... two of my favorite baseball players are together on one card, which happens to be a small project I'm currently working on.  And if that's not cool enough for you, it features one of my favorite baseball teams and Pinnacle's awesome dufex technology.

He also sent a handful of cards for my Stanford, CAL, and SJSU collections.  In fact I didn't have any of the cards he sent, which is totally awesome.  Thanks Dennis.  As soon as things settle down, I'll send some Detroit Tigers your way.

The next day I received another care package from Jay Barker Fan's Junk.  I already owe Wes from a few months ago and have been picking up some Willinghams for his collection.  Looks like I'll need to find more.  As usual, he loaded me up with some awesome Expos:

A boatload of Japanese ball players...

Some Oakland Athletics...

And San Diego Padres...

A pair of Seahawks...

This awesome Nabby...

And even a few packs of cards.

Thanks Wes!  You've gone way overboard again.  I think that's the third package you've sent this year.  At this rate, I'm never going to be able to make things square.  But don't worry... I don't give up that easy.

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend.  Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Flea Market Flops #3: Factory Sets and Bobble Heads

I've made some key changes in the way I collect the past few months.  Lately, I've been targeting mostly vintage cards and hard signed autographs for my collection.  Who knows how long this trend will last, but that's currently what I've been craving.  Most of the vintage cards I've purchased have been pretty good deals.  However the autographs have definitely sucked up a big part of my cardboard budget.

In fact, not only have I used up my hobby budget three months in a row... I've actually been going over it by a few dollars each month.

Unfortunately... this month is no exception.  With a few days still left in the month, I'm already $8.57 over my budget and there are several auctions I've targeted on my sniper program that end this week.  That's why I knew in advance that I would need to keep my wallet in my pocket this past weekend, when I walked around the Capitol Flea Market.

Some of you might be wondering... what's the point of going to the flea market if you're not going to buy anything?  Well... believe it or not... shopping is only one of the reasons I go to the flea market every weekend.  I also go out there to walk around, interact with people, and get some fresh air.  Plus... it's also entertaining to see what people are hoping to get for their stuff.  I took a bunch of pictures of overpriced items this past Sunday, but ended up narrowing things down to three items.

First up...

1989 Topps Baseball (Incomplete) Set $10

I actually bought this set twenty-five years ago and probably paid $20 to $30 for it.  These days, I wouldn't pay $10 for it even if it was factory sealed.  This particular set had about 100 cards missing from it.  I'd be surprised if someone is willing to give the guy $5... let alone $10.

More Topps Sets $50

Another vendor had the same exact set, plus a 1987 Topps Baseball set.  According to the guy, both sets are complete.  He even mentioned that these were a steal, because I'd end up owning a Barry Bonds rookie card.  I guess he doesn't realize that you can buy an 87T Bonds off of COMC for 35¢.

2001 Carl's Jr Barry Bonds Bobble Head $25

Believe it or not, I actually was interested in this Bonds bobble.  I've seen them at Capitol in the past, but this is the first time I've seen someone ask this much.  Usually vendors want $5 to $10 for them and since I still don't own one, you can probably figure out how much I want to spend.

Here's a hint... not $25.  Instead, I'd rather save my money and buy this...

Purchase #1:  2011 Willie Mays SGA Statue $10

There's definitely an aftermarket when it comes to San Francisco Giants stadium giveaways.  I have seen these for sale a few times and people usually want $20 to $40 for them.  I offered the guy $10, because the box is wrapped in tape, has water damage, and doesn't come with the styrofoam padding.  He countered with $15, but I told him $10 was the most I was willing to spend and he accepted.

On my last leg of the flea market, I ran into one of my former students.  His family was selling a bunch of stuff... ranging from clothes to furniture to toys.  I ended up buying from him...

Purchase #2:  Ronald Reagan Figure and Die Cast Cars $8

I've never been into Hot Wheels or die cast vehicles in general, but a few years ago my buddy told me to buy Johnny Lightning cars if I ever found them at reasonable prices.  My former student offered them to me for a buck each.  Or I could take all seven cars for five dollars.

He also had this 2003 President Ronald Reagan 12" talking action figure:

He threw it in for three bucks, since I was going to purchase all of the cars.  If I didn't know the guy, I probably wouldn't have purchased this stuff.  But I figured it was going to a good cause.  And maybe... just maybe I'll be able to flip them when I set up at the De Anza Flea Market in two weeks.

That's all I've got for today.  Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, May 26, 2014

I Wanna Be Like Mike (Schmidt)

On Saturday I went to the retirement party for the man who hired me seventeen years ago and gave me the opportunity to be the educator I am today.  It was really cool to see a bunch of my colleagues hang out, eat pizza, drink beer, kick back, and reminisce about how my first principal impacted and made a difference in each our lives.

When we got home that night, I couldn't help but hope that when I decide to retire... my colleagues and former students will one day do something like that for me.  Heck... maybe my district will honor me with my very own special day.

I know that sounds ridiculous and crazy... but that's exactly what the Philadelphia Phillies did for Mike Schmidt twenty-four years ago on May 26th, 1990.  That night they handed special programs honoring one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game.


On the cover, there's a specially designed MVP plaque celebrating Schmidt's three MVP awards.  Twelve years ago, my principal and colleagues awarded me with a Teacher of the Year award.  Maybe they could make that the cover for my retirement program.

Page 1

Inside there's a amazing painting of Schmitty and a nice introduction by Harry Kalas, the Phillies former play by play announcer.  Unfortunately Mr. Kalas passed away five years ago, so someone else would need to step up to the plate and write something nice about me.  Since I'd like to avoid paying someone off... maybe my mommy would be willing to do it. 

Pages 2/3

The next two pages feature a detailed biography of Schmidt's amazing career and includes everything from his final career numbers, to key milestones, to his work in the community.  My retirement program could list off some of my famous sick days, talk about the time one of my students beat me in a game of chess using four moves, and of course the year I dressed up as a geisha girl for Halloween.

Pages 4/5

After that there's a nice photo collage with well written captions that cover his illustrious career.  Luckily for me... I've kept most of my staff pictures and people who attend can check out how I lost and gained weight over the years, as well as critique and giggle at my clothes and hair styles

Pages 6/7

Now this is where Schmidt's program is going to differ from mine.  He's all over MLB's record books as you can see on pages 6 and 7 of his program.  On the other hand, I don't hold many records.  I guess they could list the time I had ten teacher's assistants in one semester... which eventually led to the current rule that teachers can only have two TA's per semester.  Oh... and so far, I've killed over 100 cockroaches in my classroom this past school year.  That's a record I hope I'll never break.  I hate cockroaches more than sticker autographs.

Pages 8/9

The final two pages list his career statistics and kind words from his colleagues which include Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, and Pete Rose.  Since I've never met any of those guys, I'm hoping a few of my co-workers or former students will find something nice to say about me.  If not... I'm okay with having slightly smaller program than Mr. Schmidt.

Back Cover

Oh... I almost forgot.  On the back cover a pair of companies honor the finest 3rd basemen of all time.

Attention Topps... if you're reading this post, I hope you realize that I've been a huge supporter of your cards over the past thirty-something years.  I even hand out custom cards featuring your 2008 card design.  The least you could do is salute me when I retire and shoulder the cost of my awesome retirement programs.

Now I just need to get through the next twenty-something years of teaching to see if I'll forever be remembered like my old principal and the one and only... Michael Jack Schmidt.

Okay... enough about us.  Today is the special day we honor the brave men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces.  Freedom has never been free and it's important to remember those who have sacrificed their lives to protect and serve our amazing country.  Also... I'd like to thank anyone who is serving or has served our country, so that scaredy-cats like myself are able to contribute to our society in less dangerous ways.

I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying their holiday weekend.  Happy Monday and sayonara!