30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Cool Experiment

Imagine buying up as many copies of a single card in hopes that it would artificially inflate its value.  That's what this one guy did with the 1992 Game Boy version of Rampart and it totally worked.  See for yourself:

While watching this video, it brought back memories of the 1995-96 Finest Gold Refractor of Jaromir Jagr.  A gentleman named Patrick Englert attempted to purchase all 150 copies that Topps claimed to produce.  He ended with 159 and eventually sued Topps for $177,000 back in 2003.  But that's another story.

I always wondered how much Englert's project drove up prices for the rare Jagr refractor.  There had to be at least a handful of collectors who were trying to build that set (including myself).  Plus what about all of the Jagr and/or Pittsburgh Penguins fans out there who wanted a copy for their collection.

I thought that was a pretty cool experiment by the "Rampart" guy and it looks like it has paid off for him.

Maybe I'll try it by cornering the market on this 2010 SPx Tyson Alualu:

I mean... there are only 139 other copies out there.  That's definitely doable.  It just might prove a little challenging, because I'd have to compete with his fans from his home state (Hawaii), plus UC Berkeley followers, and of course the plethora of Jacksonville Jaguar fans out there.

Maybe I'll hunt down the remaining 474 copies of this 2013 SPx autographed rookie card of former Green Bay Packer... Jonathan Franklin:

They're fairly affordable and can usually be purchased for under $5 on eBay.  Unfortunately... even if I could track down all of the other cards in the run, the project would cost me a fortune due to sheer bulk.

My best bet would probably be to go after the 2013 SPx Winning Big Materials patch card of former UC Berkeley wide receiver... Keenan Allen:

Right now I officially have 10% of the population.  How hard could it possibly be to obtain the remaining 90%?  The biggest problem is that Allen has actually had a pretty productive career down in San Diego.

Oh well.  I'm beginning to think that this experiment isn't for me, because it's bringing back memories of when I was busting packs of 1987 Topps baseball.

Back then I was just making the transition from collector to investor and I literally spent all of my money on boxes of this stuff.  I must of had ten to twenty-five copies of this Mark McGwire and in my own deranged way of thinking... I probably thought I had the market cornered on all of the hot cards from this set.

In reality... there are probably hundreds of thousands of these McGwires floating around the world.  But how many are showing on the top of sealed cello packs?

Well since these weren't serial numbered... we'll never know.  But thanks to Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders... I now own one.  In fact Dennis was kind enough to send me all of the cards in this post.

The final card in his care package is this 2003 Sweet Spot Patch of Barry Zito:

It sure is a cool looking card.  But it's so thick that if I decided to corner the market with this card... I'd literally have to find a new place to live.  I just don't have the room for two copies... let alone hundreds.

What about you...

Have you ever experimented with cornering the market on a single card in hopes of driving up its value?

Thanks again Dennis for this awesome care package!  Sorry it took me so long to crack it open.  Now that my summer has officially started... I should have a package in the mail for you within the next week or so.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flea Market Finds #89: Dollar Days

When:  Sunday, July 26th
Where:  Capitol Flea Market
What:  Bobble, Bat, and Signed Memorabilia
How Much?:  $13

Purchase #1:  2003 Kids Club Stomper Bobble Belly $1

This is going to sounds crazy, but this just might be my favorite flea market find of 2015.  I have been targeting this bobble belly for a few years now, but they're always so expensive.  Earlier in the week, one that I targeted in my eBay sniper program, closed for $40 (+ $5.95 shipping).

I had entered a maximum bid of $15.05 and obviously fell short of owning it.  But the Bobble Gods were watching down on me and I found one standing on a lady's table for a dollar.  Yep.  A buck.

Thank you Bobble Gods!

Purchase #2:  Uncertified Autographs $2

Flea markets are similar to retail stores in the sense that there are hard working sales people and of course lazy ones.  My favorites are the ones who sing, whistle, or have soothing sayings like "pasale´, pasale´, pasale´", because they provide free entertainment.

One guy was singing "cheap, cheap, cheap... everything one dollar" to the tune of an 80's television show.  So I had no choice but stop and see what he had.  He had a variety of stuff like mugs, CD's, towels, and framed photos.  One of the photographs was this shot of Lawrence Taylor tackling Eric Dickerson:

Upon closer inspection, you can a signature that resembles LT's.  Is it real?  I have no idea, but for a dollar, it was worth the risk.  The guy also had this 49ers frisbee with five signatures on it:

I figured these were real, because there's no reason to forge any of these players' signatures.

If my buddy Mike thinks the LT is legit, then I'll have him submit it to PSA at the next major show.  As for the frisbee... I have a co-worker who gives me a lot of A's stadium giveaways.  She's a huge 49ers fan, so maybe she'll want this for her classroom.  If not, I'm sure one of my students will give it a good home.

Purchase #3:  H&B Grand Slam Bat Ed Mathews Model $5

I love bats.  Not sure why exactly, since they're a pain in the butt to store and display when you live in a 1,300 square foot townhouse.  But I've quietly been building a bat collection.  My first three were autographed by some of my favorite players:  Tony Gwynn, Kurt Suzuki, and Frank Thomas.

But this one isn't autographed and it's not a model of one of my favorite players.  It is however cool looking, so I grabbed it.

I wasn't able to find any information on this specific bat, but I'd guess that it's from the 60's or 70's.  It's obviously not a professional model, however it gives off a vintage feel and will serve as a corner decoration in my office.

It's just a shame that I didn't find it on somebody's dollar table.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Just Call Me Mister

My parents call me Mark.  My friends call me Fuji.  And I ask my students to call me Mr. Fujimoto.  However... every now and then, they'll call me Mr. Fuji, because that's what they hear my colleagues call me.

Personally... as long as they add the title, Mister... I can live with that.  I'm sort of an old school kind of guy and that's how I was raised.  I have always added a title to my teachers' names and most of the elders in my life as a sign of courtesy or respect unless told otherwise.

To a greater extent... look at baseball nicknames.  It's one of the highest honors in the game to be your team's, Mr. Franchise.

Just look at these guys...

Mr.  Padre
1996 Leaf Signatures Extended #67

Tony Gwynn is the most iconic player to suit up for the San Diego Padres and there's not another player close.  He spent his entire career with the team that drafted him and played more than 1,100 games more than any other Padres player.  He leads the franchise in just about every single category including:  hits, total bases, runs scored, doubles, triples, stolen bases, RBI's, and walks.

Shoot.  He even has the 5th most home runs in franchise history.  My guess is he'll still be the greatest San Diego Padre a few centuries down the road.

Mr. Cub
1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #EB

Like the San Diego Padres... there's only one player that comes to mind when I think of the Chicago Cubs' face of the franchise and that's Ernie Banks.  Like Gwynn... he spent his entire career with the same club and his name is synonymous with that team.

Mr. Tiger
2003 Diamond Kings Recollection Autograph #40

The average MLB player's career lasts five to six seasons and the majority who last longer than ten seasons will spend their time playing for multiple teams.

Al Kaline played twenty-two seasons in the MLB... all of them with the Detroit Tigers.  And if it weren't for some guy named Tyrus Raymond Cobb, Kaline would hold just about every important offensive record for the franchise.

Mr. Red Sox

Johnny Pesky lived to be ninety-three years old.  Seventy-three of those years, he was involved with Major League Baseball (or MiLB) in one form or another.  Sixty-one of those years were spent affiliated with the Boston Red Sox.

He was a player, manager, minor league manager, first base coach, bench coach, batting coach, honorary coach, radio analyst, color commentator, and a special instructor and assistant to the general manager.

No wonder he's called Mr. Red Sox.  He's the only person not in the hall of fame to have his jersey number retired by the Boston Red Sox.  And to top things off... the right field foul pole at Fenway is named after him.

Mr. Angel
1996 Leaf Signature #201

Tim Salmon was the 1993 American League Rookie of the Year.  In 1995 he won his first and only Silver Slugger Award.  He also managed to win a few American League Player of the Week Awards and one American League Player of the Month Award.  Outside of that, he never won a batting title or a home run crown.  Hell.  During his fourteen seasons in the MLB, he never played in an all-star game.  In fact, he holds the MLB record for most home runs by an individual to not have appeared in an all-star game.

With that being said... he's widely considered one of the greatest players in franchise history... hence the nickname:  Mr. Angel.  He ranks among the Top 10 in nearly every major offensive category for the California Angels.  Or should I say Anaheim Angels?  I mean... Los Angeles Angels.  Oh... whatever you want to call them.

Mr. Marlin
2015 Archives Fan Favorites Autograph #JCO

Jeff Conine played on six different teams during an MLB career that spanned seventeen seasons.  During that time... he was a two-time National League All-Star, a two-time World Series Champion, and the 1995 All-Star Game MVP.

All of these feats occurred while wearing a Florida Marlins uniform.  In fact... according to Wikipedia, Conine is the only Marlin's player to appear in the opener of the Marlins' inaugural season, be a part of the 1997 World Series team, and the 2003 World Series team.  Since those are accomplishments that no other Marlin will ever be able to claim... it's understandable why he's known as Mr. Marlin.

Mr. Ranger
1974 Topps #268

Rounding out my collection of Misters... is Ben Grieve's father.  And honestly... before a few weeks ago, I really didn't know much about Mr. Ranger.  I sincerely apologize to Play at the Plate and all of the other Texas Rangers fans out there for my lack of Mr. Ranger's knowledge.

But the good news is that this post required me to do some research... and I discovered that he spent most of his career playing in Texas.  However... I'm pretty sure he's more known for his work as a general manager and color commentator for the Rangers.

Well... that's all that I have for now.  I'm still trying to track down a reasonably priced autographed card of Alvin Davis (a.k.a. Mr. Mariner).  In the meantime...

Am I missing anybody else who is known for being the Mister of their franchise?

If so... let me know in the comments below and I'll start to hunt them down too.  I've already started picking up autographs of guys who I consider to be the "face" of each franchise.  This will definitely be a challenge, but fun nonetheless.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

P.S.  I'm giving away a set of 1987 Leaf Special Olympics, which is an oddball issue that features the likes of Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Hank Aaron.  If you're interested in entering... click here... and leave a comment on that post.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Very Special Cards

In a few hours, the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles will begin and kick off the largest sporting event in LA since the 1984 Olympics.  Approximately 6,500 athletes from 165 countries will be watched by an estimated 500,000 people.

The Opening Ceremony itself is expected to draw 80,000 people, which is more than what comes out to the Oakland Coliseum to support the A's on most weekends.

Earlier in the year, I stumbled across this very cool set of cards produced back in 1987 to commemorate the VII International Summer Special Olympic Games.  It was produced by Leaf and obviously resembles the 1983 Donruss HOF Heroes set that features art of legendary sports artistDick Perez.

The major differences between the two sets include the card manufacturer's logo in the upper left corner on the front, as well as the actual title at the top of the card.  The card backs also feature the updated title, plus updated numberingsmaller text font, and the added Leaf logo at the bottom.

The original 1983 set contains forty-four cards, but this special commemorative set only has eighteen cards.

The first twelve cards are guys who have been inducted into Cooperstown... most of whom were featured in the 1983 set.  However there are three guys who were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame since then and were included on the checklist:

The final six cards commemorates five of the sports events that took place back in 1987:

And according to the Special Olympics websiteall five of them will be featured this week as well.  The final card is the same card featured at the top of this post which commemorates the actual Olympic Games.

These cards were distributed in three card specially marked packs that contained two baseball players and one Special Olympics card.  Based on an eBay listing I found, it looks like people could obtain one of these packs with the purchase of two Leaf candy or gum products back in 1987.

I'm a huge fan of this oddball set.  My only complaint is that they didn't include Jackie Robinson.  On the flipside... there are plenty of huge names like Mickey MantleTed Williams, and Hank Aaron to keep collectors happy.

If you're interested in owning this set for your collection, leave a comment and I'll randomize the list and pick a winner shortly after the Closing Ceremony on SundayAugust 2nd.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!