30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Walk in the Park

Someone once said that choosing a favorite card is as difficult as picking your favorite child.  I wouldn't know, because I don't have any children.  However... I can assure you that choosing my favorite card was a walk in the park.

In fact, I'd guess that most of you already know my favorite piece of cardboard in the collection.  I mean... I've written about it on multiple occasions: here, here, here, here, and here.

But just in case you're new to the blog, I'll go ahead and mention it again since it's the final topic in Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge.

So without further adieu... here's a look at my favorite card:

1956 Topps #30

The man who broke MLB's color barrier featured on my favorite Topps baseball card design.  It truly doesn't get any better than that.

Now asking me to choose my second favorite baseball card isn't so easy.  Luckily that wasn't one of Tony's challenges.

Thank you Tony for creating the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge.  It motivated me to write and take a closer look at my collection... even if I took much, much longer than anyone else to complete it.  If you decide to create another challenge, I promise that I'll be there to step up to the plate and I'll try not to take 342 days the next time around.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Life of Luxury

I've been going back and forth debating on whether or not I should buy a new car, since both of my cars are old.  My 2008 Toyota Yaris acts as my daily commuter, while my 2006 Acura TL is used sparingly here and there.  Although both are in great running condition, I really like the look of the 2018 Acura TLX, which is considered to be a performance luxury sedan.

If I bought it, I'd most likely sell the Yaris and TL, consolidating down to one car.  There are only two things holding me back.

1.  I love my 2006 TL.  I love the look and it's the best car I've ever owned.
2.  The 2018 TLX I built online is close to 50k.

With that being said, I'm about 99.9% certain that I'll be sticking with the Yaris and TL combination for now and saving my money for hopefully a rental property.

I kicked off this post about my car situation, because it kind of relates to my sports card collection.  Three weeks ago, I crossed off one of my 2018 hobby resolutions when I purchased this 1984 Fleer Update Roger Clemens rookie card:

How does this apply to cars?  Well for years, this card was one of those luxury cards, I thought I'd never own.  It's not that I couldn't afford to buy one.  It's just that like the 2018 Acura TLX, I couldn't justify paying the ridiculous prices people once sought.

Thankfully, Clemens' popularity is at an all-time low and his baseball card values have followed suit.  That's why a few months ago, I decided to target the 7x Cy Young Award winner's best rookie card.

My goal was to find a PSA 8 graded copy for $100 or less.  Why graded?  Well... I didn't want to worry about counterfeits.  And NM-MT is the lowest grade I want to deal with in regards to 80's rookie cards.

Unfortunately, PSA 8 copies typically sell in the $120 to $130 range.  Then a few weeks ago, a copy was being auctioned off.  I ended up getting outbid and it sold for $105 (free shipping).  Two days later, eBay offered a 20% coupon on any purchase ($25 or higher).  I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for me to score the Clemens.

I found a guy who had one listed for $125 or best offer (+ $3.75 shipping).  I sent him an offer of $105.  He countered with $120.  I countered with $110 and explained that one sold for $105 two days earlier.  I also sent him a link to 4 Sharp Corners who had one listed on their site for $110 (with free shipping).

He accepted.

After I applied the 20% eBay coupon, the price of the Clemens dropped down to $88 (+ $3.75 shipping).

I can definitely live with that price.

Did anyone else take advantage of eBay's 20% coupon?

If so... what did you buy?

Now if I can only find an Acura dealership willing to give me a 20% discount.

Nah.  Who am I kidding?  This teacher wasn't meant to live the life of luxury.  He was meant to collect discounted baseball cards.

Happy Opening Day and sayonara!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Close But No Cigar

Now that the Houston Astros have finally won a World Series championship, the list of teams without a title is down to seven.  One of those teams is my beloved San Diego Padres who haven't even gotten a whiff of the playoffs since 2006.  Just typing those words out is depressing.

Since the 2018 MLB season is just around the corner, I figured I'd take a trip down memory lane and reminisce when these seven title-less teams came the closest to winning a championship for their fans...

#1:  Texas Rangers (est. 1961)

2013 Archives 1960 Topps Relic #60R-AB

I decided to kick things off with the Texas Rangers, because they were literally one strike away (two different times) from beating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.  They'd go on to lose in seven games.

Close, but no cigar.

Seriously... it doesn't get any closer than that.

#2:  Milwaukee Brewers (est. 1969)

2015 Topps Tier One Clear One Auto #RY (#'d 19/25)

Next up are the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers who are the only other team on this list to reach a Game 7 of the World Series.  And in the top of the 6th inning of that game, they had a 2-1 lead with Robin Yount on 1st, Paul Molitor on 3rd with no outs.  Cecil Cooper would manage to drive in Molitor to increase the lead, but sadly they would only have one more batter reach base the rest of the game.

On the other hand, the St. Louis Cardinals would go on to score three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.  They added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth and walked away the 1982 World Series Champions.  

Close, but no cigar.

Since then... the Brewers have only made the playoffs twice in thirty-five seasons.

#3:  San Diego Padres (est. 1969)

2007 UD Masterpieces Captured on Canvas #CC-TG

Only two teams on this list have made multiple trips to the World Series.  The Texas Rangers are one of them and the San Diego Padres are the other.  Both teams have gone twice.

The Padres World Series record?  1-8.  One measly win in two trips.  Ouch.  That hurts.

I struggled to pick which team I felt came closer to winning a championship.  Honestly... neither were considered great teams.  Although the 1998 team managed to win more games, I decided to go with the 1984 team because they actually won a game in their series.

Ugh.  Close, but no cigar.

#4:  Colorado Rockies (est. 1993)

2000 Skybox Autographics #NNO

Talk about a historic run.  In 2007, the Colorado Rockies treated their fans to some amazing September/October baseball finishing the season with 14 wins in their final 15 games.  They carried this momentum right into the postseason, sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS.  Go ahead and do the math.  Yeah that's right.  Entering the World Series, the Rockies had won 21 out of their last 22 games.

Then they ran into a brick wall... also known as the Boston Red Sox... who swept them in four games.

Close, but no cigar.

#5:  Tampa Bay Rays (est. 1998)

2008 Goudey Memorabilia #M-AI

I've always thought it was rough being a Padres fan.  But when I read that the Rays didn't reach four games above .500 until their 11th season, I quickly counted my blessings.  Rays fans' patience paid off, because that same season they made their first (and only) World Series appearance and finished the season thirty-two games over .500.

With the exception of Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, they actually gave the Philadelphia Phillies a run for their money.  Sure the Rays only won one game in the series, but in three of those losses, they only lost by one run.

Close, but no cigar.

#6:  Seattle Mariners (est. 1977)

2001 Topps Gallery #151 (English and Japanese)

The Seattle Mariners are one of two teams who have never played in the World Series and although they've were within two wins of getting there in 1995 and 2000, I decided to target their 2001 season.

That year they tied the MLB record for wins in a season with 116 with a team that featured four 15-game winners and a batting lineup that was equally as scary.  Their pitching staff allowed the least amount of runs in baseball, while their hitters scored the most runs in Major League Baseball.

Sadly they ran out of gas when it counted the most and lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS 4 games to 1.

Close, but no cigar.

#7:  Washington Nationals (est. 1969)

1981 Topps Traded #816

The Washington Nationals arguably have the best odds of being the next team to remove themselves from this list.

Unfortunately, they're the other MLB franchise who has never played in the World Series.  In fact, they've only made it to the NLCS once and that was thirty-seven years ago.

Although the 1981 Montreal Expos had three future hall of famers in their lineup, the team itself was far from dominating.  They had the 3rd lowest team batting average in the National League and were 5th in total runs scored.  You would think that their pitching staff would have carried them, but they were just under the league average in ERA.

Bottom line... they did enough to make the postseason and beat the defending World Champions in the NLDS to face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Entering the 9th inning of Game 5, the series was tied and the score was tied.  Sadly... Rick Monday broke the tie and ended the Expos season.

Once again... close, but no cigar.

Two more days until Opening Day.  All 30 teams will walk onto the diamond with the same record and for the next seven months, they'll battle it out to determine who is worthy of playing in the 2018 World Series.

What are your 2018 World Series predictions?

Any chance one of these teams finally crosses their name off of this list?

I'm rooting for my Padres, but I'm not holding my breath.  Instead I'm thinking that Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros will make it back to the World Series where they'll face the Los Angeles Dodgers again.  It'll be close, but no cigars this time.  I'm predicting the Dodgers will get revenge and Clayton Kershaw will finally get a World Series ring to add to his collection.

Okay... that wraps up another long post.  Time to take a nap.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Never Say Never

About twelve months ago, I accepted Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge.  If you read my first post, then you know that there was no way I'd be able to complete it in 30 days.  30 weeks seemed to be much more realistic.

Well... it's been 51 weeks and I still need to complete two challenges: Day #29 and Day #30.

Since I hate to leave things unfinished... especially challenges, I decided to sit down and hammer out my Day 29 submission, which is to write about a favorite card before 1950, whether you own it or not.

I struggled to choose a card for this challenge, because there isn't a single card that truly stands out.  Part of the problem was deciding if the card would be one of those "never gonna own it" cards or something that I might actually dig into my wallet and purchase.

I decided to target the latter category:

1933 DeLong #7 Lou Gehrig

One of my favorite baseball movies of all-time is Pride of the Yankees, which focuses on The Iron Horse's life.  And since I was a little kid, I've been fascinated by Mr. Gehrig.

Issued the same year as his Goudey rookie card, I tend to favor this card's design over the more popular and expensive Goudey.  

I've never actually a copy of this card in person, but I have seen the Jimmie (spelled Jimmy on the card) Foxx.  They have the same (or at least very similar) backgrounds, so I can assume that the Gehrig is just as beautiful in person.

I'm not going to say that there's a good chance that I'll ever own this card... but unlike a T206 Wagner... there's a chance.  Like Whitney Houston,Mariah Carey, and the One Voice Children's Choir once said, "there can be miracles, when you believe":

I choose to believe.

Next Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of me starting this challenge.  I'm hoping to publish my Day 30 response before then.  In the meantime...

Hey Tony, any plans to start a 2018 version of the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge?

Everyone else, let's help Tony out...

What are some challenges you'd like to see people write about if Tony chooses to throw down the gauntlet again in 2018?

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Last-Ditch Effort

Colbey Hopper over at Cardboard Connections is hosting an affordable group break that's guaranteed to include 20 hits (autographs or relics)!

For $18, you will receive two teams.  You get to pick the first team and the second team will be randomized after the break has been filled.  He'll be busting these two boxes:  2004 Topps Clubhouse Collection and 2002 Topps Gallery.

All cards will be shipped and the break will be posted live on Facebook on SaturdayMarch 31st2018 at 9pm Eastern.  Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the break.  If you're interested, click here.