30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Hail to the Chief

If you were to put together a list of iconic vintage sets, there's a pretty good chance that the 1909-1911 T206 tobacco cards would make the cut.  For years I dreamed of owning any card from that set.  Then Corky over at Pack War fulfilled that dream when he sent me a T206 Doc Powers for my Athletics collection.

You'd think that it would have quenched my thirst... but the Powers only increased my desire to find another T206 for my collection.  This time around, I wanted it to be a hall of famer.  So I looked over the checklist and decided to target one of the Chief Benders, because he was affordable and an Athletic.

The past few years I've been eye balling copies here and there on eBay, but never made it a priority.  Then The Commish found a copy for his collection back in March and motivated me to search for my own copy much more aggressively.

Fast forward to a two weeks ago and voilà:

According to the PSA Set Registry, there are twenty different T206 Benders out there.  However if you exclude the different back variations the list drops down to three:  portrait, pitching with trees in back, and pitching with no trees.

Although the portrait card is rarer and more valuable, I like the look of Bender in action with the trees in the background.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Mr. Bender, he was a pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1903 to 1914.  He received the nickname "Chief", because of his Native American decent.  His father was German and his mother was Chippewa and the family were members of the Ojibwe Tribe.

In 1953 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Sadly he passed away the following year.

But thanks to cards like this T206 tobacco card, Chief Bender's legacy will live on in for generations to come.

Long live the Chief!  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Unswerving in Allegiance

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of "loyal" is to be unswerving in allegiance; to be faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.

Whether or not it's money, chemistry, or the rebuilding for the future... teams eventually sever ties with even the biggest fan favorites.  Other times, the team would love to keep their star attraction, but the player decides to test out free agency.  Which is why it seems like with each passing decade...  it's less and less likely to see baseball players spend their entire career with one franchise.

Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves were incredibly loyal to each other for over two decades during his playing career.  This astonishing bond allowed Jones to become the 52nd MLB hall of famer to play his entire career with one franchise, which is a feat I can't help but admire.

Although I don't consider myself an Atlanta Braves fan or a Chipper Jones collector, I have gone out of my way to pick up cards of him over the years.  In honor of him being inducted into Cooperstown this afternoon, I decided to show off a few of my favorite singles.

2003 Fleer National Patchtime #CJ-NP (#'d 057/100)

I'm not 100% positive, but I think this swatch comes from the head of the axe.  Maybe there's a Braves fan out there who can confirm or deny this.  Regardless, it's the first patch card of Chipper I ever owned.

1998 Bowman's Best Autograph #5

When I purged my collection back in 2001, there were two Chipper autographs that I decided to keep.  This is one of them.

Here is the other...

1999 Stadium Club Co-Signers #CS4

If I had to keep only one Chipper, it would probably be this one.  In an era where sticker autographs reign, it's pretty cool to think that this card was once held by Jones and Derek flippin' Jeter.  If I'm still blogging in two years, there's a good chance you'll be seeing this card again.

What the heck... you'll probably see this card too...

1997 SPx Force #6 (#'d 331 of 500)

If you're a 90's insert card collector, than you probably appreciate this card.  My copy happens to suffer from severe chipping on the backside:

Obviously this lowers the resale value, but I'm not looking to sell this card anyways.

1991 O-Pee-Chee #333

Over the past few years, I've kinda been obsessed with picking up O-Pee-Chee rookie cards of baseball hall of famers.  Although I wouldn't describe this card as rare, it's more challenging to find than its regular Topps counterpart.

2016 Topps Strata Signatures Green #SA-CJ (#'d 56/75)

I really like the look of this card.  You know me and my acetate fetish.

2003 Flair Sweet Swatch Jumbo Patch #CJ-SSPE (#'d 152/284)

Last month, SumoMenkoMan sent me one of these jumbo memorabilia cards.  I immediately headed over to COMC and found this card for $8.83.  I don't usually spend over $5 on a memorabilia card unless it's something special.  This card meets the requirements.

2015 Sportkings Black Printing Plate #003

I'll wrap things up with the only Chipper printing plate sitting in my collection.  I know that I'm not a huge fan of "logoless" cards, but Sportkings is one of the few exceptions to this rule.

Thank you Chipper for all of the great memories.  I truly admire your loyalty to the Atlanta Braves organization.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Paving the Way for Ohtani

Last week I was sort of on a 90's bender... and it'll continue at least through this post.

Back in the summer of 1995, Hideo Nomo was taking the MLB and our hobby by storm.  From June 2nd to August 5th, he went 9-1 with a 1.23 ERA and 112 strikeouts.  During that span of twelve games he pitched a one-hitter and three two-hitters.  By the end of the season, Nomo had done enough to narrowly beat out Chipper Jones and walked away with the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

He ended up having a very respectable twelve season career in the MLB that included two no-hitters and two strikeout titles.  However these days, his cards are worth only a fraction of what collectors paid back in the day.  If you factor in sentimental value though, he's still a superstar in my book.

He's right alongside Kurt Suzuki and Ichiro Suzuki as one of my largest Japanese player collections.  A lot of that has to do with him being a product of the late 90's and early 2000's when card companies were cranking out tons of inserts, parallels, and memorabilia cards.

Masanori Murakami might have been the first Japanese baseball player to play at the Major League level, but it's important to remember that Nomo was the second.  He also deserves some credit for paving the way for guys like Ichiro and Ohtani.

Today I'll be showing off the latest additions to my Hideo Nomo PC courtesy of fellow blogger, Dennis who is the author of Too Many Verlanders and Too Many Manninghams.  He sent me a nice variety of cool inserts and rookie cards.

Let's kick things off with a card I would have died to pull back in the day...

1995 SP Silver #14

In the mid 90's, SP was one of the top brands to collect and Nomo's 1995 SP rookie card was very popular at the time.  This is the silver parallel, which were seeded at one per pack.

1995 SP Championship Series #1

Upper Deck SP had become so popular among collectors, the company decided to create a retail only counterpart in 1995 called SP Championship.  Nomo's rookie card filled the #1 slot and pretty much carries this set.

1995 Select Certified Certified Future #3

One of my favorite brands in 1995 was Select Certified.  This is one of the inserts collectors pulled from this product, which highlighted young players around the league.  Nomo, along with Alex Rodriguez and Chipper Jones highlight the checklist.

1996 Fleer Ultra Season Crowns #7
1998 Aurora On Deck Laser Cuts #9

When I think of 90's inserts, two of the first things that pop into my head are "acetate" and "die-cut".  Both allow collectors the ability to see-through the card...

I placed blue construction paper behind each card and rescanned them so you can see where light normally shines through.

1998 Pinnacle Plus All-Star Epix Orange/Emerald #E24

In 1997, Pinnacle introduced their Epix inserts to football, hockey, and racing collectors.  The following year, baseball card collectors had the opportunity to collect the shiny multi-tiered inserts.

Dennis sent me two-thirds of the Nomo 1998 All-Star Epix rainbow.  I just need the purple complete it.

1998 Pinnacle Museum Collection #PP41

When Topps won over collector's hearts with their refractors in the 1993, Pinnacle responded with Dufex technology.  Normally, I'm a refractor kind of guy, but there's no denying how beautiful this Pinnacle Museum Collection parallel looks. 

1998 Score First Pitch #14

Here's another example of Pinnacle's Dufex technology.  This time it's being featured on an insert card instead of a parallel.  These First Pitch inserts were found exclusively in the All-Star Edition packs.

1996 Stadium Club Mega Heroes #MH3

Rounding out the stack of Nomos was this 1996 Stadium Club insert that has a super hero theme.  Nomo's windup earned him the nickname "Tornado", which also happens to be his comic book spirit on this card.

The final three cards that Dennis sent were three Christian McCaffreys for my Stanford PC:

McCaffrey is the latest big offensive name to come out of Stanford University and based on some of the fantasy football rankings I've seen... 2018 will be his breakout season.  I haven't bothered chasing down his cards, because I'm still recovering from getting burnt by Toby Gerhart.  But these three cards will make a nice foundation.

Thank you Dennis for these wonderful Nomos and McCaffreys!  My COMC order has arrived and there were a few cards in there for you.  Stay tuned.  You'll be receiving a care package from me within the next few weeks.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Piece of American Pie

Growing up in the 70's and 80's, I remember my parents talking to me about the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States.  Things like bomb shelters and missile silos captured my attention, which is probably why I enjoyed watching movies like Red Dawn, Firefox, and WarGames so much.

By the time I was a senior in high school, the Cold War was coming to an end and the world witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A few months after the historic event, some of the members of the high school German Club visited Berlin during Spring Break.  My friend brought home a few small pieces of the Berlin Wall in a bag.  I was super jealous.  There's just something so cool about owning an actual piece of world history.

Topps must have read my mind, because years later they produced a special memorabilia card that contains remnants from the Berlin Wall:

2001 Topps American Pie
A Piece of American Pie Memorabilia #PAPM2

The card itself celebrates President Kennedy's famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech that took place fifty-five years ago on June 26, 1963.

This is one of his most famous speeches.

It's a shame that President Kennedy never had the opportunity to see the fall of the wall.

He didn't get to see the reunification of a proud country, nor did he have the pleasure of seeing families reunite after being separated for nearly three decades, because less than five months after this speech he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

Thankfully his legacy lives on through moviesbooks, songs, stories, history lessons, YouTube videos, and of course trading cards.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!