30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, October 26, 2017

When I Grow Up

When I was a kid, my entire school would get excited every time NASA would launch a space shuttle into orbit.  It seemed like every other teacher reminded us that we could grow up and become anything we wanted... even an astronaut.

I relay a similar message to my students, but I don't think I have ever used an astronaut as an example.  I mean... do children even dream of going into space anymore?  I can't remember the last time I heard one of my students say they wanted to grow up and become an astronaut.  I'm sure there are kids out there... but these days I mostly hear responses like "doctors", "fashion designers", "video game programmers", or "professional athletes".

Speaking of athletes... how about last night's game?  I was a little late to the party, but what I did manage to see was damn exciting.  Had that been Game 7, we probably would be talking about it for decades.

Unfortunately... it's still early and both teams have plenty of reasons to be confident.  As an A's and Padres fan, I'd like to see them battle it out and take it to Game 7 with the Astros and Jose Altuve eventually bringing Houston (home of the Johnson Space Center) their first World Series Championship.

Hopefully these three pieces of space shuttle memorabilia will bring a little mojo to them.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Monday, October 23, 2017

I'm Going Platinum

It's Monday and I'm tired.  So before I show off one of my rarest Greg Maddux cards, here's a little mood music (beware: explicit lyrics) to jumpstart this blog post and work week...

Twenty years ago baseball, football, and hockey card collectors were introduced to Donruss Preferred and their unique tin packaging.  Each tin contained five cards and had a suggested retail price of $4.99.

The 200 card set was broken down into four different colors: bronze, silver (1:3 packs), gold (1:12 packs), and platinum (1:48 packs).  If that weren't enough, Donruss produced Cut to the Chase die-cut parallels for each card in the set.  The rare Platinum Cut to the Chase parallels were hot commodities back in the day.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to find any pack odds for these, but they were inserted into football packs at a rate of one per 756 packs.  Talk about a tough pull.

Like most inserts and parallels from the 90's, these haven't held their value over the years.  In fact with the sheer number of inserts and parallels produced during that era, a lot of cool cards get buried and forgotten.

Back in August, I was digging through my Maddux collection at my parent's house when I stumbled across this nugget:

1997 Donruss Preferred Platinum Cut to the Chase #6

I don't remember how much I paid... or when I added it to the collection... but if I were a betting man, I'd say I paid a pretty penny.  It doesn't matter though.  I have no interest in selling my copy for the price of a blaster box.  I'd rather keep it in my collection and brag about owning some platinum... even if it's only platinum colored foil.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Favorite Dodgers

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise and all of their fans as you guys sit and wait to see who you'll face in the 2017 World Series.

Personally... I'm pulling for Jose Altuve, Josh Reddick, and the Houston Astros.  However most people I've talked to are predicting a New York Yankees victory.  If that's the case, then 100% of my support will be given to the Dodgers.  I don't see myself ever rooting for the Yankees unless it somehow benefits the A's or Padres.

With that being said... I wanted to dedicate tonight's post to all of the Dodgers fans out there and write about my five favorite players from your franchise.  At first I had planned on ranking them, but this proved to be too challenging since they played in different eras.  So instead, I decided to break them down by exactly that.

Let's kick things off with my current favorite Dodger... and slowly work back in time.

Late 2000's to Present:  Clayton Kershaw

2011 Topps Kimball Champions #KC14

As a baseball fan, I'll always appreciate "greatness" and that's exactly what Kershaw exemplifies.  Year in and year out he has one of the lowest ERA's in the game and is a Cy Young Award winner candidate.  Plus as a left-handed guy who has grown up in a society that caters to right-handed people, I have admired left-handed pitchers since the days of Steve Carlton.

Mid to Late 90's:  Hideo Nomo

1995 Zenith #48

You couldn't walk into a card shop in the mid 90's without hearing people talk about Nomo, his baseball cards, or his signature "tornado" windup.  Nomomania was officially born.  And although he wasn't the first Japanese guy to play in the MLB, he was the guy who paved the way for all of the other Japanese players in the league today.

Early to Late 80's:  Fernando Valenzuela

1981 Fleer #140

Before the Tornado... there was El Toro.  Just like Nomo, he took baseball and America by storm.  During the 1981 strike shortened season, he took home the NL ROY Award and the NL Cy Young Award, while leading the league in strikeouts and ERA.  I remember his 1981 Fleer baseball card was one of the first prized possessions in my collection.

Late 70's to Early 80's:  Steve Garvey

1977 Topps #400

I have always been obsessed with players with high batting averages and Garvey routinely hit .300 or higher throughout his career.  I also remember seeing a photo of him and his wife and thinking "this guy is the man", because she was smokin' hot.  It's not the best reason to start cheering for a baseball player, but I was only a prepubescent kid at the time.

Before I was born:  Jackie Robinson

2010 Topps National Chicle #235

There's a chance someone out there will declare "shenanigans" on this pick, since technically... Robinson retired from baseball almost twenty years before I entered this world.  But for as long as I can remember, I have admired what #42 did for baseball and millions of Americans when he broke the color barrier in 1947.

Well this post took a lot longer for me to write than anticipated.  I'm gonna wrap things up and go watch Game 7 to see who the Dodgers will face this Tuesday.

In the meantime, feel free to respond to today's question of the day...

Who are your favorite Dodgers of all-time?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Easier on the Eyes

Move over 1991 Fleer.  There's another 1991 yellow bordered baseball card and his name is Kenner SLU.

I know there are collectors who find yellow borders a little obnoxious and over the top.  However, I feel like there's enough stuff going on with this design to keep people from focusing on them.  I've always felt that the 1991 Fleer baseball card design could have used a team logo to spice things up.  1991 Kenner SLU cards took care of that issue.  They also utilized one of 1991 Fleer's strengths by carefully choosing solid action shots for the player's main photo.  And if that weren't enough, they also took a page out of Topps' book and added a portrait shot to their design.

When it comes to the back of the cards, Kenner can't compete with Fleer...

Honestly... there aren't a lot of flaws with the 1991 Fleer card backs.  They're pretty rock solid.  And for an oddball issue, I think Kenner did an okay job.  They included entire career statistics and a facsimile signature to go along with the standard biographical data you'd find on a baseball card back.

That's why I decided to use my 1991 Kenner SLU #NNO Nolan Ryan card as my Day 27 submission into Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge which asks us to share a favorite oddball card from 1990 or later.

What about you?

What are your thoughts on these yellow bordered baseball cards?  Do you have a favorite oddball issue from the 90's?

Look forward to reading your feedback and I hope everyone is enjoying their week.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Grab a Glass of Milk

Because... today I'm sharing one of the greatest cookies around.

I have always been a cookie guy.  Given the choice between freshly baked cookies and just about any other sweet treat out there... the majority of the time I'll pick the cookies.

My sister-in-law's concoction called the "Gross" cookie is hands down my favorite.  It's based on her maiden name and has everything from oatmeal to chocolate chips to coconut (and I'm not even a coconut kind of guy).  They're seriously amazing.

My second favorite cookie is this 1971 Topps Cookie Rojas:

It may not be edible, but it's pretty awesome.

By now most of you know that I'm trying to save up for a rental property, so when it comes to collecting, I'm on a strict hobby budget.  But what you might not know is that one of my latest projects is picking up affordable graded cards that feature amazing photography and/or interesting images.

This card is one of the greatest "turning two" trading cards around.  Thanks to an article on Fangraphs, I discovered that this play took place on August 16th, 1970 at Yankee Stadium.  The player sliding into second base is New York Yankees' right fielder Ron Woods who had just singled to lead off the inning.

I don't want to rewrite the guy's article, so I'll keep it simple.  Cookie ended up turning the double play, but his team lost to the home team 5-1 that Sunday afternoon.

Cookie is the 4th addition to this particular collection and my latest eBay purchase.  I got involved in a small bidding war over this card, but was pretty pumped to walk away the winner.  The cost?  $10.27 (+ $3.50 shipping).  I could have saved a few bucks and picked up a PSA 7 version of this card, but I'd really like to find PSA 8 (or highercopies for my 70's trading cards.

There's one more card I have to share from this collection that I picked up off of COMC earlier in the summer, but I'll save that for another post.

In the meantime, I'm combing through Night Owl's Greatest 100 Cards of the 1970s posts in search of new cards to add to this collection.  He's already given me two ideas.

What about you?

What are some of your favorite cards that happen to feature amazing photography and/or interesting photos?

Who knows... maybe I'll try to add it to this collection.  It might look like I'm focusing on the 60's and 70's, but I'll consider cards from any decade as long as they're affordable.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sports Card Trifecta #29: Clayton Kershaw

As a San Diego Padres fan... it's hard for me to admit this... but tonight I'll be pulling for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Chicago Cubs.  It's not the first time I've wanted the Dodgers to win.  Whenever Hideo Nomo took the mound back in the mid 90's, I was rooting for him.  Unless of course he was playing my beloved Padres.

And for the last few years, I've been captivated by Clayton Kershaw.  The guy is a marvel on the mound and a once in a generation kind of player.  And although I'm hoping Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros can somehow get past the New York Yankees and win the World Series, I'd almost be as happy to finally see Kershaw get past his postseason struggles and prove his "haters" wrong.

This morning I went to my mailbox, retrieved a padded envelope sent to me from J. Meeks of My Cardboard Habit and found this:

2017 Heritage High #'s Clubhouse Collection Relic #CCR-CK

He pulled this card from his box of Heritage High #'s and I jokingly offered to take it off his hands.  Exactly one month later, it's been officially adopted into my Clayton Kershaw PC.

This card completes my Clayton Kershaw Sports Card Trifecta.  Hopefully the completion of this project is a sign... and tonight he and will get one step closer to completing the ultimate goal for this season: winning the 2017 World Series.

I officially started building my Kershaw trifecta when I purchased this card for $31.01 (+ $2.25 shipping) on eBay back in 2013:

 2009 Topps 206 Autograph #FMA22

I added a wannabe rookie card to my collection back in June when I grabbed this card at the flea market for $2:

2006 Bowman Heritage Prospects #BHP85

Together they officially team up and produce my 17th baseball card trifecta:

Thank you Judson!  Go Dodgers!  And c'mon Claw!

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Flea Market Finds #125: Too Good To Pass Up

Now that I have established a hobby budget... trips to the flea market are more about getting out of the house and walking around, than anything else.  Do I still look for baseball cards and sports memorabilia?  Sure.  However the deal would need to be literally too good to pass up.

A typical trip to the De Anza Flea Market, might result in one... maybe two... of these deals.  This past Saturday I was stumbling across deals left and right.

Purchase #1:  Archie Bunker's Card Game  $1

It's been almost forty years since I've watched an episode of All in the Family, but I can still sing the first part of the iconic theme song.  It seems like only yesterday my family was gathering around in the living room to see which line Archie would cross that week.  Those were the days.

Anyways... a guy had a bunch of vintage puzzles and board games, but this is the one that caught my eye.

I remember seeing it somewhere (possibly on one of your blogs), so I grabbed it and asked him "how much?".  I couldn't pass this up for a buck.

I'm not 100% sure... but it looks like it's complete.  For a dollar, I won't complain if it isn't.

Purchase #2:  Winnie the Pooh Lunch Box  $3

As I was rounding out the second row of vendors, I noticed a huge crowd digging through boxes.  There was a guy grabbing a bunch of vintage metal lunch pails.  I've wanted to find the Star Wars one from my childhood, so I walked over.  Unfortunately there were only a bunch of old Disney lunch pails.  I wasn't going to grab any, but when I heard that the guy before me had purchased 5 for $15... I figured it was too good of a deal to pass up.

I decided to grab the Winnie the Pooh, because I know a huge Pooh fan.  If she doesn't want it, I'll probably flip it to recover some of the money I spent on Saturday.

Purchase #3: Kenner SLU Collector's Stand  $4

I'm probably the only middle aged guy in the world who has been actively looking for one of these collector's stands, but I was pretty stoked to stumble across it.  They don't sell for a lot of money on eBay, but when you factor in shipping... they end up selling for around $20.  Too rich for my blood.  However I was happy to finally find one for four dollars.

Purchase #4:  Five Autographs  $5

I love on-card autographs.  I love on-card autographs of hall of famers (and potential hall of famers).  I love on-card autographs of hall of famers (and potential hall of famers) for a buck a piece.

Purchase #5:  1992 Classic 4-Sport Gold Set  $20

If there's one purchase I mildly regret, it's this one.  It has nothing to do with value.  $20 for a hard signed Shaquille O'Neal autograph is a no-brainer.

It's the fact that I spent more money on this single purchase than all of the other purchases combined. I'm not gonna dwell on it though.  I've been really good about saving my money the past two months and even my penny pinching father has told me that it's important to reward yourself from time to time.

So there you have it.  Five flea market finds that were a little too good for me to pass up.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!