Saturday, September 29, 2018

For the Sake of our Hobby?

One of my favorite YouTubers recently recommended a video to his subscribers that I found to be interesting and thought provoking.  In the video, the collector breaks down why he's not a fan of the term "Junk Wax Era" which is used to describe the time period when the baseball card supply far outweighed the demand during the late 80's and early 90's.

If you have a few minutes, then I encourage you to listen to what this gentleman has to say.

If not... I'll go ahead and paraphrase his thoughts.

1.  The term isn't flattering and paints an imprecise picture of the hobby.

2.  He believe collectors should do their best to promote the sports card industry, but labeling a significant chunk of our hobby's history as the "Junk Wax Era" is not a good way to bring kids and novice collectors into the hobby.

3New collectors who hear about the "Junk Wax Era" will be less excited and possibly avoid collecting cards from that time period.

4.  The phrase "Junk Wax" makes it seems like cards are pieces of scrap garbage instead of collectibles that should be considered pieces of art.

5.  Labeling something as "junk" suggests that an object has neither monetary value or intrinsic value.

6Generalizing cards from this era as "Junk Wax" is a disservice to both current and potential collectors.

7.  The term implies that cards from this era were of low quality, which isn't exactly true.

8.  He understands that cards from the era tend to be overproduced, but production runs are only one way to measure the quality of a set of cards.

9.  He doesn't believe collectors should conflate monetary value with quality.

The bottom line is I agree with a lot of the stuff in the video, but at the end of the day I don't really have an issue with the term.  Sure it has negative connotations, but it's also a part of our hobby history.

1991 Topps #455

Collectors have been using that term for decades and it's never stopped me from buying 1988 Score or 1991 Topps baseball cards.

It would be a different story if the term was offensive to people, but it doesn't target collectors.  It's about a time period.

Whenever I talk to people interested in trading cards, I almost always mention the "Junk Wax Era".  But I also explain that it's a great starting point for those interested in collecting for fun.  Sure, I want to be a positive person... but I also want to be a person who keeps things real.

That being said... I'm just a middle aged guy who enjoys a great hobby debate.  I wrote this post, because I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the topic.

Should we shelve the term "Junk Wax Era" for the sake of our hobby?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

We'll Never Know

People who know me, know how much I love my job.  But I've sort of hidden the fact that my relationship with the district that employs me and my colleagues has had a rough go the past few years.

Things started out great.  For years, my friends and I would brag about our district.  I'd go out of my way to encourage my student teachers to apply here.  Our district had a reputation for supporting everyone from the students to the parents to the faculty to the administration with valuable trainings, after school programs for parents and students, and most importantly... a level of respect that went in all directions.

Then little by little... a new superintendent and school board slowly chipped away at a beautiful relationshipContract negotiations became more and more contentious with each passing year.  Finally things got so bad a few months ago that over 90% of the teachers supported a strike rather than give into the district's petty offers.

Now before I go any further, I realize the following:

#1This is a sports card blog.

#2Nobody wins when there is a teacher's strike.

Well... don't worry... I promise to show off some cards in this post.  I just felt like I needed to document this since it's a pretty significant moment on my personal timeline.  And although I realize that a work stoppage hurts everyone... especially the students... I feel that at some point you have to stand up for what you believe in and take action.

That being said... at the eleventh hour... our team of negotiators and the district signed a tentative agreement last week.  Yesterday afternoon, the teachers voted in support of the TA, so we avoided a dreaded strike.

Now hopefully we can begin repairing the relationship and start to move forward.

While all of this "strike" drama has been unfolding over the past few months, I couldn't help but think about the 1994 Major League Baseball strike and how it impacted everyone from the owners right on down to the fans.

I realize that a work stoppage in baseball and a work stoppage in a child's education aren't the same thing, but if you're willing to squint a little there are similarities.  Ultimately baseball fans suffered... just as our students would have.  Our superintendent and the school board would be represented by the MLB owners.  And right in the middle were the teachers and the players.

Today I wanted to show off a handful of players who were directly affected by the 8th work stoppage in baseball history...

2003 UD Sweet Spot Signatures #TG-AU

Baseball fans will never know if Tony Gwynn had it in him to become the first and only player since Ted Williams to hit .400 at the MLB level.

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-MW

Baseball fans will never know if Matt Williams had it in him to break Roger Maris' single season home run record before Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa did it in 1998.

1990 Leaf #325

Baseball fans will never know if Larry Walker and company had it in them to bring a World Series Championship to the city of Montreal.

2011 Topps Tier One Crowd Pleasers Autographs #CP-DM

And baseball fans will never know if the New York Yankees (who had the best record in the American League) had it in them to win a World Series Championship and help Don Mattingly secure a World Series ring.

I'm truly grateful that my students won't have to suffer like baseball fans did back in 1994.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Down the Rabbit Hole

If you were to ask me the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word "Fleer", I'd say "stickers".  I'm not sure exactly what the deal is with me and these stickers, but with each passing year, I've grown to appreciate them more and more.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a huge stack of them of them at the De Anza Flea Market for three bucks.  Over 150 of them were 1982 Fleer Team Stickers.

Back then, Major League Baseball only had 26 teams and at first glance, there appeared to be 4 basic sticker designscap, logo, logo diamond, and logo from cap.

Using my 4th grade math skills, I figured there would be a total of 104 different stickers to collect.  Right?  Wrong.

After a quick search on Beckett, I discovered that there are also "Puzzle on Back" variations.

Complete 1982 Fleer Team Sticker Puzzle

At first I thought that some of these stickers didn't have the puzzle piece on the back.  Then I noticed that some of the "cap" and "logo" stickers have a variation with the words "puzzle on back" on the front of the sticker.

At this point I started to get a little discouraged... but I ultimately figured it would be a challenging, yet entertaining set build.

I started sorting all of the stickers by teams alphabetically.

That's when I discovered that some teams have multiple colored backgroundsDamn.  I've got way too much stuff on my plate right now to venture down this rabbit hole.

Maybe one day, I'll take on this challenge and attempt to build this master set, which according to Beckett contains 157 different stickersWho the heck knew something as simple as Fleer Team Stickers could be so confusing?

In the meantime, I'm content with trying to build the Oakland A's team set that appears to contain six different stickers.

So far, I have four of them...

1982 Fleer Team Stickers #104
Cap w/Puzzle on Back Label

1982 Fleer Team Stickers #105
Logo w/Color Background 

1982 Fleer Team Stickers #106
Logo w/Color Background and Puzzle on Back Label

1982 Fleer Team Stickers #108
Logo from Cap

I'm still looking for the cap without the "puzzle on back" stamp and the logo diamond.

The logo onto of the baseball diamond is widely available, so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.  

On the other hand, I haven't been able to find the cap without the "puzzle on back" stamp, but here's the Phillies version as a photo reference.

I just purchased another huge lot of 1982 Fleer Team Stickers on eBay.  I'm hoping to find the two Athletics stickers I need.  If I do, it'll be one step closer to taking the plunge down the rabbit hole.  

Until then...

Back in the 80's, who do you think had the best pack bonus?

Donruss with their puzzlesFleer with their team stickersScore with their magic motion trivia cardsTopps with their bubble gumUpper Deck with their hologram team stickers?

I don't have the blogger skills to create a sidebar poll, so let your voice be heard in the comments down below.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, September 24, 2018

He's Back

When my back isn't tweaked, one of my favorite ways to take my mind off of things is to go out and play nine holes at the golf course near my house.  There's just something about being surrounded by green grass, fresh air, and the occasional deer that takes me away from my real world issues.

My love for golf doesn't necessarily translate to it's professional counterpart.  My father is a huge golf fan and when I was a kid, he'd watch guys like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Chi-Chi Rodriguez, and Tom Watson.  He'd put the Masters, the U.S. Open, or whatever major golf tournament was currently being played on the family room television and give the rest of the family a choice.  Watch it or leave.  I'd say I stuck around about 50% of the time.

That was back in the 80's.  I can't remember the last time I sat down and watched an afternoon full of golf.  That doesn't mean I don't watch highlights on ESPN.  This weekend, I was one of the millions of fans interested in Tiger's progress at the Tour Championship.  And I was super excited when I heard that he was able to hold his lead and secure his first tournament victory in five years.

Ironically, I just left a comment mentioning Mr. Woods on The Collective Mind's blog back on Thursday.  He asked his readers the following question...

What's your greatest epic find or collection purchase?  What amazing stuff did you get just by chance or luck?

The first thing that popped into my head was a box of cards I found for two bucks at the Capitol Flea Market back in 2013 that contained this:

If you're not familiar with this sheet of cards, it's a 1996 SI for Kids uncut sheet featuring one of Tiger's first trading cards.  There was a time when these sheets were selling for over $500.  There were other cards in the box including a Kobe Bryant patch card, a Lebron James jersey card, and a Jerry Rice rookie.  But the centerpiece is definitely the guy golf fans were watching this weekend.

Welcome back to the world of winning Tiger!

Another person I'd like to welcome back is Brady over at St. Louis Cardinals' Cardboard.  Technically he hasn't posted since mid-July, but I did have the opportunity to hang out and catch up with him at the card show this weekend.

In typical fashion, we exchanged care packages.  Inside were a bunch of 8x10 photographs:

Nolan Ryan

Ken Caminiti

Jose Canseco

Mark McGwire

Greg Maddux

Hideo Nomo

I don't think I've ever mentioned it, but I actually have a collection of 8x10 photographs sitting in a binder on my bookshelf.  These will make nice additions.

He also gave me these to Unocal 76 pins from the early 90's:

I'm not exactly sure if these were stadium giveaways or gas station promotions.  Either way, these will go into my box of Oakland A's pins.

And last, but not least is this 1993 Kellogg's/Star Pics card of Scottie Pippen:

At first glance this looks like a standard trading card.  However it opens up to reveal this:

I don't really go out of my way to collect basketball anymore, but I'll never turn away something as cool as this.

Thanks Brady!  It was nice seeing you again and catching up.

Happy Monday and sayonara!