30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Night Five: Food vs. Cards

Earlier this week, my friend and I went out and celebrated each others' birthdays over a nice meal at Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino.  It's not your typical Sizzler, Black Angus, or Outback Steakhouse where you walk out spending $30 to $60 per person.  This restaurant is reserved for only special occasions... well at least for me... a teacher on a fixed budget.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that it's the most I've ever spent on a single meal.  And although the prime rib, hamachi shots, and popcorn crab were very delicious... I just couldn't help but think about how much we were spending and what cards I could have purchased with the extra money had we went to McDonald's or Taco Bell instead.

In fact even while we were enjoying our meal... there were at least four or five moments when this card popped into my head:

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Epic Signatures #JR

This is the card that currently sits atop my want list.  It features one of my favorite autographed card set designs and the hard signed signature of one of the most popular players in the 90's.  And with the money I spent on Wednesday, I could have easily bought this card.

In fact, I could have picked up any of the cards on my Top 5 Want List:

#2:  1956 Topps #5 Ted Williams

Beautiful Card Design + Baseball Legend = Must Have Cardboard

#3:  1996 Skybox Premium Exchange Card #B Brett Favre

Back in 1996, Skybox issued a cross product insert set of Brett Favre.  One of the cards was available only through the redemption of two exchange cards.  I already own the left side... and for the past six years, I've been searching for the right side.

#4:  1996 Leaf Signature #22 Ken Caminiti

Caminiti is a fellow SJSU alum and the all-time slugging percentage leader for the San Diego Padres.  Out of the three different autographed cards of him pictured in his Padres uniform, this is my favorite.

#5:  2004 UD Legends Timeless Teams Autograph #85 or #101 Billy North

And wrapping things up is Billy North.  North was an integral cog of the Oakland Athletics during the 70's.  His role was to terrorize opponents on the base paths and Reggie Jackson in the dugout.

Well that's a look at the five cards currently sitting atop my cardboard want list.  I won't say that I regret going out to dinner, because the food and company was awesome.  But after reflecting upon the bill... I probably could have purchased all five of these cards instead.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Just Call Me A Copycat

One of the best things about reading all of your blogs... is reading about and checking out all of your cool cards.  And every now and then, I'll see something so cool... I need to run out and find one for my own collection.

That's what happened two weeks ago over at The Five Tool Collector.  The Commish was showing off some of his card show purchases, including a pair of cards from the 1956 Topps Flags of the World set, which I had never seen these cards before.  It was love at first sight.

I headed over to eBay and COMC to see if Topps made cards for the United States and Japan.  There were a bunch for sale on eBay, so I purchased the most reasonably priced copies I could find:

Absolutely beautiful.  The flag might be the centerpiece, but the background gives the card character by highlighting items from each country.  Believe it or not, the backs are just as cool:

How many trading card sets have you stumbled across teach you a foreign language?  I'm also a huge fan of the random bits of information provided for each country.  Not bad for being almost sixty years old, right?  Plus did anyone notice that there are only forty-eight stars on the U.S. flag?  Alaska and Hawaii weren't states yet.

Thanks Bob!  Without your blog, I might have lived my entire life without seeing this amazing vintage set.  Hopefully you won't fail me or assign me detention for copying off of you.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Twenty-One Year Wait Is Over

Back in 1993, certified autographs pulled from packs were a lot less common.  Signature Rookies, Be A Player, Donruss Signature, and other products loaded with autographs were just around the corner... but hadn't quite arrived.

And even though Upper Deck, Pro Line, Star Pics, Fleer, Classic, and Leaf were inserting thousands of autographs into their packs... the odds of pulling one was extremely small due to the companies flooding the market with their products.  Even my local card shop barely had any certified pack pulled autographs in their display cases and the ones they had were usually of the Classic, Front Row, Star Pics, and Pro Line variety.

Then it happened.  One day I was killing time in between classes at a card shop across the street from San Jose State, when a guy pulled a Frank Thomas autograph out of a pack of 1993 Leaf.  C'mon... we all know the feeling of pulling that insane card.  It was like he won the lottery and he instantly became the most popular guy in the shop.

I remember he bought a 1" lucite holder for it and let everyone in the shop check it out.  At the time, Frank Thomas was arguably the hottest player in the hobby and we were all extremely jealous.

Over the years, I completely forgot about that card and the story.  One of those out of sight... out of mind issues.  Then it hit me while re-watching Frank's Hall of Fame induction speech and I immediately added the card to my eBay watch list.

I wasn't expecting to find any in my price range, since completed auctions were closing between $50 and $100 delivered... which is a little more than I could afford.  But last week, I targeted one on my sniper program and ended up winning it for $41.50 (+ $2.50 shipping).

It may not be the most beautiful Frank Thomas autograph I own... but it's definitely one of the most memorable.  Crossing off a card from your twenty-one year old wantlist will have that kind of effect. Now if I could only find a reasonably priced 1982 Topps Traded Ripken.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Totally Envious of Custom Card Creators

Custom cards rule.  I can even begin to count the number of times I've read blogs and wished I had the skills to create my own.  I've even spent an evening or two playing around with my photo editing software.  Alas... I've come to accept the fact that I was put on this planet to appreciate them... not create them.

This summer I read several issues of Baseball Cards, which often included their own custom cards.  I'm sure there's a fair amount of these floating around our community, but just in case... I figured I'd share a few of my favorites with you guys.

November 1989

This is what happens when you combine the 1959 Topps "rookie stars" design with the hottest rookie of 1989.  I absolutely love oddballs... but this card is on a level of its own.  I love the design.  I love that it's The Kid.  And I love that it's actually from his rookie year.  I'm actually trying to hunt down another copy of this issue, so I can cut it out and add it to the Griffey section in my binders.  It's a shame they didn't invest a little more time to match the backs to the originals.

May 1989

Next up is another 1959 Topps custom... only this time the subject is my favorite player.  Did you guys know that Gwynn was drafted by the San Diego Clippers?

January 1990

Here's a 1969 Topps custom of Mr. Padre.  I wonder why Baseball Cards Magazine decided to leave stats off of their customs.  Oh well... at least they added cool trivia.  I had no idea that Gwynn stole five bases in one game (vs. Houston on 9/20/86).

October 1987

This is easily my favorite custom out of the bunch.  I'm a huge fan of the 1951 Bowman design and the illustration they used of Bo is awesome.  This custom is truly a work of art.

April 1987

Finally I thought I'd share this 1983 Topps custom of Donnie Baseball.  I love it when people create cards that never were.  Back in 1987, I would have been stoked to add this card to my collection.  Mattingly was coming off one of his greatest seasons and was on everyone's hot list.  The front looks okay, but I wish they had left off the Topps All-Star Rookie Cup.  The back seems totally rushed, but at least BBM included stats this time.

I tip my hat to all of you who create and even print your custom cards.  Keep up the excellent work and know that there's at least one collector out there who envies you.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Night Five: Packages O'Plenty

I just wrapped up my first week back to work... and I'm thoroughly exhausted.  I'm teaching two brand new curriculums and feel like I'm a first year teacher all over again.  The past few days, I've spent a lot of time researching my curriculum, writing up lessons, and preparing them too.

Although I had mentally prepared myself for this challenge, I had hoped that it wouldn't interfere with collecting or writing up posts.  But after only two days in... I'm pretty sure there are going to be changes to my blog.

I've always tried to post at least three to four times a week... but there just aren't enough hours in the day.  It looks like I'm going to need to scale things down a little... at least until things settle down.

On a brighter note... I received five packages from bloggers earlier in the week that I finally got around to opening up this afternoon.  I've gotta admit... it felt good to not think about work.  Better yet... I gave me a reason to look, hold, smell, and organize cards.

Without further adieu... let's check out some of the cards I added to my collection today.

Package #1:  Zippy Zappy at Cervin' Up Cards

1952 Bowman #179

Let's kick things off with this beautiful card of Peter Suder... an infielder who spent his entire career with the Phildadelphia/Kansas City Athletics.

1960 Topps #11

Both Suder and Siebern were a little before my time.  However thanks to Wikipedia... I discovered that Norm was one of the players involved in the Roger Maris trade.

2011 Topps Update #260 SP

I know a lot of collector's dislike the short prints... but I enjoy the concept behind them and absolutely love this card.

Package #2:  Matthew at Bob Walk the Plank

2013 Leaf Memories Buy Back (#'d 1/5)

I'm not a huge fan of the term "eBay one of one", but I do love me some Stew.

2004 Donruss Elite #336 (#'d 199/423)

I thought I already owned a copy of this card, but this one is a little different.  It has Elite Legacy embossed onto the card right about his autograph.

2002 Donruss Studio Private Signings #6 (#'d 26/50)

I was bummed to see Tejada leave Oakland back in 2003.  He's the last Oakland Athletic to win an MVP award.

Package #3:  Douglas at Sportscards from the Dollar Store

2011/12 Titanium Game Worn Gear #22 (#'d 281/300)

Two fan favorites on one card.  Nice.

2013/14 Contenders #124B

Even though he has only played four NHL games... he's still a hometown favorite.  He grew up playing hockey at Sharks' Ice.

2008/09 Victory Jumbos #OS7

I've always enjoyed oversized cards.  Here's an example of Jumbo Joe on a jumbo card.

Package #4:  Commishbob at The Five Tool Collector 

2009 UD Icons Immortal Lettermen #IL-TG (#'d 22/25)

Although it's not an actual game used swatch... it's still really cool.  I'll definitely have to target the other seven letters to spell out "SD Padres".

2001 Studio Diamond Collection #DC-9

I'm always excited to add a new Gwynn jersey card to my collection... especially when they look this nice.

1985 Donruss Action All-Stars #19

Another oversized card.  Another awesome Gwynn card.

Package #5:  Dennis at Too Many Verlanders

2014 Leaf Draft #82

Fales was only one of two San Jose State Spartans drafted by an NFL team this year.  As of today, he's the fourth string QB for the Chicago Bears.  

2010/11 Crown Royale #158 (#'d 397/499)

Not a huge fan of Panini... but Crown Royale is definitely one of the nicest products I've seen from them.

2010/11 Limited #193 (#'d124/299)

Wingels had a breakout year this past season.  Hopefully he continues to develop into the 2nd line center that many people envision.

Well that's it.  I apologize if there are a bunch of errors in this post.  I've fallen asleep several times while trying to get it published before the midnight deadline.

Thanks Zippy, Matthew, Douglas, Robert, and Dennis for the great packages.  As soon as I have some free time, I'll begin putting some packages together for you guys too.

Happy Saturday (or is it Sunday morning?) and sayonara!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Honor Thy Father

It took awhile... but I finally obtained an autograph of Sy Berger.  Who the heck is Sy Berger?  Well... he's often referred to as the Father of the Modern Day Baseball Card and is credited for helping design the iconic 1952 Topps baseball card.  Berger was a Topps employee for a staggering fifty years.

Unfortunately... the authenticity of this autograph has come into question, since it doesn't have the official Topps authenticity sticker that's usually affixed to the back.  In other words this card isn't one of the pack pulled versions from 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites.

When I first noticed this, I was pretty disappointed.  But since then... I have spoken to two collectors who received these cards from Sy himself... and neither of theirs had stickers on the back.

So maybe... just maybe Sy Berger did actually autograph this card after all.  MAYBE.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cleaning Out My Closet

How did I spend my Sunday afternoon on my final weekend of summer?  Surfing in Santa Cruz?  No.  Hiking in Half Moon Bay?  Nope.  Sailing in San Francisco?  Not even close.

Try cleaning out and organizing my "incomplete set" cubby.  It's actually pretty amazing how much stuff you can fit inside one of those Ikea cubbies.

Here's what everything looks like when it's all laid out:

What you're feasting your eyes on are thirty-plus sets that I'm currently working on.  This list of sets includes sports ranging from baseball to hockey and covers everything from base sets to oddball sets. It was actually a little disheartening to come to terms with the sheer number of incomplete sets I'm currently attempting to build.

I considered breaking some of them down, but after much deliberation... I decided to persevere and start targeting one set at a time.

Some sets are only one card short, like these:

On the other hand, I'm over fifty cards short of completing this set:

I have plenty of player and team lots that I'd be willing to trade if anyone out there can help me finish off any of these sets.

If you don't have any singles from the sets above... how about these?

Wait.  Those are just the baseball sets I'm building.  Here are the wantlists for my other sports sets:

And believe it or not... I'm even working on a few non-sports sets:

Okay.  Now I'm done.  Actually there are a few other sets that I haven't added to my website yet.  But as of right now, there are thirty-nine sets listed above, which should keep me busy.  

What about you guys?  Anyone else a little overwhelmed with set building projects?

Feel free to list some (or all) of the sets you're building in the comments below and maybe someone else will see it and be able to help you out.

That's a wrap for now.  Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!