30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Class of 2017

Tomorrow Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez will be enshrined at Cooperstown during the Class of 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony.  Next weekend Terrell Davis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Kurt Warner, and four others will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Today ranked these guys along with the hockey and basketball players who will be inducted into their hall of fames later in the year.  The criteria?  Well... since I'm not trying to make this too analytical... I'll be ranking them by personal popularity.

Let's start with a handful of honorable mentions...

Honorable Mention #1:  Jeff Bagwell

2003 Flair Jumbo Sweet Swatch Auto #JB

I don't consider myself a huge Jeff Bagwell fan, but that didn't prevent me from hoarding his 1991 Upper Deck and 1991 Stadium Club rookie cards back in the early 90's.  When he decided to hang up his cleats, the thing I admired the most about him was his loyalty to the Houston Astros.

Honorable Mention #2:  Jason Taylor

2003 Topps Autographs #TJT

For over a decade, Taylor made his presence known on NFL highlight films sacking quarterbacks and forcing fumbles.  But the main reason he's on this list is he's part of my Birthday PC.

Honorable Mention #3:  Terell Davis

1997 Collector's Edge Game Gear #12

I shouldn't like TD.  He ran all over the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII and prevented them from winning back to back titles.  But at the end of the day, he was fun to cheer for back in the 90's... when he wasn't playing against the Packers and Seahawks.

Okay... let's get to the Top 5 Class of 2017 hall of fame members:

#5 LaDainian Tomlinson

2016 Panini Spectra Illustrious Legends #19

One of my former administrators is a huge San Diego Chargers fan, so back in the 2000's I had the opportunity to watch Tomlinson a lot.  He was one of the best running backs of his era and it's nice to see him being honored the first time his name appeared on the ballot.

#4 Paul Kariya

1996-97 Pinnacle BAP Link 2 History Autograph #LTH-6B

As a San Jose Sharks fan, it might seem odd to find a legendary Anaheim Duck listed so high on this list.   Notice that his teammate Teemu Selanne is nowhere to be found.  The difference is... Kariya was a cool guy.  I met him at one of the Ducks Casino Nights and he was totally friendly with the whole table.  On the other hand, Selanne was kind of a jerk (even when he played in San Jose).  The icing on the cake is that his father is part Japanese... which makes Kariya part of my Japanese PC.

#3 Ivan Rodriguez

2000 SPx Signatures #X-IR 

Some guys are just more entertaining on the defensive side of the ball.  Pudge was one of those guys.  I remember all of the hype around his name in the early 90's... and always wondered if he'd live up to it.  He did.

#2 Tim Raines

2009 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #SC-TR

Tim Raines was the National League's version of Rickey Henderson... and if you know how much I love Rickey.  It took awhile to get inducted... but better late than never, right?  It's nice to see guy from my Montreal Expos PC make it in.

#1 Kenny Easley

1986 McDonald's Seahawks Green Tab #45

My Seattle Seahawks kicked off during the early 80's... and Kenny Easley was a big reason for that.  The perennial Pro Bowler and All-Pro safety could have ended up being one of the greatest , but he was forced to retire from kidney issues.  Now that he'll be in Canton, hopefully Panini will sign him to a contract and produce a few autographs and memorabilia cards for Seattle Seahawks fans to collect.

Well that's it for now...

Who sits atop your Class of 2017?

I hope all of you are enjoying your Hall of Fame weekend.  Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Stirring Up Memories

Collecting baseball cards has its benefits.  Stirring up fond memories is one of them.

This evening I opened up a package from Johnny's Trading Spot and was immediately taken down Memory Lane.

2000 Fleer Tradition #395

1999 was a great year for Oakland A's fans.  We got a glimpse of greatness and a taste of success.  But this card actually took me back to the early 80's when my neighbor gave me a shoebox filled with 1979 Topps baseball cards.  I remember treasuring the Oakland A's team card like it was worth its weight in gold.

1987 Donruss Opening Day #251

I'm a huge Topps supporter... but I feel that Donruss did a better job with their Opening Day product by actually including the Opening Day starters on their checklist.  Seeing this card reminded me that Mark McGwire wasn't our starting first basemen on Opening Day in 1987.  Rob Nelson was.

Speaking of Big Mac...

2002 Donruss #43

As soon as I saw this card, I was reminded of the Bash Brothers.  Good times.

Not all memories are happy though.  The next two cards are painful reminders...

2008 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects #BDP19

Sure Coors Field has inflated Cargo's stats... but as an A's fan... I'll always wonder "what if?" Billy kept him.

Speaking of "what if's"...

2014 Topps Update #US142

What if Billy had kept Cespedes?  Honestly... Lester was pretty solid for the Athletics during his short tenure.  Unfortunately... his worst game was the one that mattered the most.

Let's wrap things up on a happy note...

1996 Score #95

Terry Steinbach is the greatest catcher in Oakland Athletics' history (sorry Kurt... I still love ya).  But that's not why I chose this card to end this post.  I picked it, because it's a truly beautiful card.  It combines a great action shot with a solid (yet simple) card design.

I don't think I've ever looked at 1996 Score and thought was a great looking set... until now.

Thank you Johnny for this awesome care package.  Who doesn't love celebrating Christmas in July?  It brought back a few fond memories and helped put a smile on my face as I wrapped up a stressful and excessively warm week.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Gaping Flaw

When it comes to damaged cards, most of us draw the line somewhere.  Last week a few of you shared your line in the comments section of my Island of Misfit Cards post.  Infield Fly Rule draws the line at water damage.  Night Owl Cards draws the line at stains.  SumoMenkoMan draws the line at skinned cards.  And if the card isn't vintage, Card Buzz draws the line at peeling, dings, or creases.

But where does PSA draw the line?

Well... after purchasing this autographed Steve Carlton rookie card, I recently discovered that they do not tolerate pin holes:

As you can see, they gave this card the lowest grade on their scale.  However if you factor in everything else outside of the pin hole located above the "5" at the top of the card, this card is a beaut.

In fact, I'm tempted to send this card back to PSA and have them grade the autograph instead of the card... just to get it re-slabbed without that Scarlet PR1.

Let's keep it real.  I'm not going to waste my money.  Sure the grade is as low as it goes.  But that low grade allowed me to purchase this card for well below the market price.

We all draw the line somewhere when it comes to damaged cards.  Obviously... I'll tolerate a pinhole on a fifty-two year old piece of cardboard featuring the signature of one of my favorite childhood pitchers.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Where It All Started

We all have to start somewhere.  1977 Topps Star Wars were the first packs of trading cards I ever ripped into.  Four years later, I would officially make the transition to baseball cards.

That year, my parents and I took a trip to Seattle to visit my cousin Keith who was studying to be a dentist at The University of Washington.  While we were there, we stopped at one of those sports stores that sold MLB lamps, NFL wallets, and NBA blankets.  In addition to all of the officially licensed novelties, the shop also carried baseball cards.

That's where my mom and dad purchased my very first baseball card set: 1981 Fleer.

The set's design is average at best.  There aren't any rookie cards of hall of famers.  And it's never really held any significant monetary value.  However when I was thinking about a card that reminded me of a family member for Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge, I immediately thought my mom and this set.

A few cards popped into my head like the Fernando Valenzuela rookie card and the Phillies' Triple Threat card featuring Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, and Larry Bowa, but ultimately I went with the base card of my favorite player at the time:

1981 Fleer #574

Back then times were simpler.  I didn't think of cards in terms of values.  I held them, arranged them, read them, and organized them.  I can still picture myself sitting at the family room table watching the game with my A's team set in front of me.

1981 Fleer is a pillar of my childhood.  It represents the first set I ever owned and whenever I see a card from it, I'm reminded of my mother and our trip to Seattle.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Fan Favorites Autographs

Year in and year out... the one set I look forward to building is the Topps Archives Fan Favorites autograph set.  This set combines some of my favorite things in our hobby:

1.  Old School Topps Designs
2.  On-Card Autographs
3.  An Interesting Checklist

This year inflated box prices have prevented me from pulling any of these autographs myself, but thankfully there are plenty of other people out there who are willing to sell theirs on eBay.  So far, I've been able to add over thirty cards from this year's set for around four dollars each (shipping included).  One one card cost more than $20 (see #3 below).  And the only other card I paid $10 or more for was the Wally Moon from one of my flea market finds.

Tonight I wanted to show off my five favorite autographs from this year's set, but before I begin the countdown to #1, here are a few honorable mentions...

Honorable Mention #1: Rusty Kuntz

One of the greatest names in the history of sports.  Yes.  I know I have the maturity of a twelve year old boy.  That's probably why I still find baseball cards entertaining.

Honorable Mention #2:  Mark Mulder

I'm not sure why Topps has decided to flood our hobby with Mark Mulder autographs the past few years.  Don't really care either.  He's a member of The Big Three and his cards will always be treasured in my household.

Honorable Mention #3:  Billy Bean

The first certified autograph of MLB's first Ambassador for Inclusion.  Kudos to Topps for having an open mind

Honorable Mention #4:  Wally Moon

Another great card that proves that someone over at Topps has a great sense of humor.  I'm keeping my finger's crossed for a Don Mossi signature in next year's set.

Honorable Mention #5:  Bill "Spaceman" Lee

Rounding out the honorable mentions is one of the strangest baseball players I've come across.  It's nice to add an autographed card of his where he isn't wearing a spacesuit.

Now let's get to my favorite five...

#5: Tim Wallach

When I think about the Montreal Expos... Gary Carter, Tim Raines, and Andre Dawson will always be the first names to pop into my mind because of their accolades.  Wallach played more games with the Expos than any of them.

#4:  Dave Stieb

Stieb and I attend the same high school... although he graduated over a decade before I attended.  Anyways... it's been thirteen years since he had a MLB licensed autographed card.  The wait is over.

#3:  Tommy Lasorda

I love it when managers sign cards.  Over the years, I've added guys like Sparky Anderson, Billy Martin, Dick Williams, Bobby Cox, and Earl Weaver to my collection.  This year's Archives allows me to cross Lasorda off the list.

#2:  Mark Langston

I've been waiting for a MLB licensed autographed card of Langston for years.  It's nice to finally be able to add him to my Lefty PC.

#1: Tony Pena

Pena is one of my favorite catchers of all-time.  I absolutely loved his unique catching stance.  I'm not sure why it took this long for Topps to finally sign him to an autograph contract... but I'm glad they did.

Well there you have it.  Ten of my favorite autographs out of this year's Archives Fan Favorites set.

What are your thoughts on this set?

Favorite cards?

Who would you like to see sign for next year's Fan Favorites set?

Personally, I'd love to see Terry Steinbach, Willie McGee, Orel Hershiser, and Tony La Russa sign again.  I could also use Mike McCormick, Willie Hernandez, and Mark Davis autographs for my left-handed Cy Young Award Winner project.  A collector can dream, right?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!