30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Baseball Card Therapy

Time heals all wounds.

Okay... I'm sure that many people out there would argue against this.  I'd be more inclined to support this statement if it was:  time heals some wounds.  In fact, I'd say that time has had a way of healing most wounds I've personally encountered.

I'm still going through the grieving process, I've got to admit I'm in a much better place mentally than I was three weeks ago.  As I've mentioned before... family, friends, and work have provided a lot of support and distractions.  But that's not the only thing.  Baseball cards have played a role in the healing process, which includes making a few card purchases, busting some boxes, getting back into the routine of blog post writing, and of course reading and commenting on your blog posts.

Yesterday, I enjoyed another sports card therapy session when I got home from work.  I had a few hours to kill before my buddy and I were gonna grab dinner, so I locked myself in my office, organized my desk, put away some stacks of cards that had been sitting on my floor for over a month, scanned some cards, and opened up a pair of PWE's from fellow bloggersAdam @ Cardboard Clubhouse and Jim @ Cards As I See Them.

I received Adam's PWE either earlier in the week... or possibly the week before.  One of the things about having a lot of stuff on my mind is that I tend to lose track of time.  I didn't want to do a rush job on it, so I set it aside until things settled down.

The first card I noticed was this 1973 Topps card of Catfish Hunter:

Obviously, I appreciate any vintage card of Catfish where he's photographed at the Oakland Coliseum.  However it's the photo of him hanging with two dogs that caught my eye.  Although I don't own one myself, I'm a huge fan of our four legged friends.

Last weekend, I went to see Superpower Dogs at the San Jose Tech Museum's IMAX Theater and was really blown away at how loyal and intelligent man's best friend is.

Anyways... getting back to the Catfish that Adam sent:

I learned how Mr. Hunter acquired his nickname.

Next up was this 1982 Donruss card of Billy Martin:

I love this card!  It's a piece of my childhood and captures Billy doing what he did best:  argue with umpires.

The third card that stood out was this 2017 BBM card of Taisuke Yamaoka:

I have no idea who this guy is, but he shares the last name of one of my closest friends.  As soon as I saw this card, I thought of her and my nieces... which immediately made me smile.

In addition to these three cards, he also sent me these:

Thank you AdamSorry it took me so long to open it up.  It helped me take my mind off of things yesterday, which is very much appreciated.

Next up was a three card PWE from Mr. GCRL.  Inside was a card on my Most Wanted List, but let's see the other two cards first:

I'm a huge fan of the 2008 Topps card design and back when this card was released, I gotta imagine this was a pretty popular card since Iwamura and the Tampa Bay Rays were headed to the World Series that year.

The Ichiro is from his 2001 MLB rookie season.  This insert card is from an Ichiro tribute set that came from a special 3 card pack which was inserted into 2001 Upper Deck Rookie Update boxes.  I now own four of the fifty-one different cards in the set.

Last, but certainly not least is this card...

1964 Topps #550

Back in September of 2016, I added this tribute card of Ken Hubbs to my Most Wanted List after I wrote a post on tribute cards dedicated to athletes that passed away during their playing careers.  This Hubbs represents one of the earliest In Memoriam cards that I know of.

The back of the card summarizes the story of the plane crash that took Hubbs' life back on February 15th, 1964.  Other than this baseball card, I didn't know much about the Chicago Cubs' second baseman.  But I was bummed out when I discovered that he was only twenty-two years old when he died.  That's so young and very sad.

Anyways... I don't want to end this post on a sad note.  I'm very thankful that my mother had the opportunity to spend eighty-four long years with friends and family.  I'm also very lucky to have spent forty-six of those years with her.

I'm also truly grateful for both of these very generous PWE's.  Thank you Adam and Jim!  Baseball card therapy might just be the best thing for me outside of spending quality time with family and friends.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Losing Sucks

Losing your keys sucksLosing a bet sucks tooLosing a loved one sucks the most.  But losing weight and your virginity isn't that bad.  Unfortunately... this post won't be covering either of those areas today.

Today's post is about my favorite baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, and their depressing loss to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990 World Series.

Brian over at Collecting Cutch is hosting a contest on his blog.  He's looking for bloggers to make a post about a year your favorite team didn't win the World Series.  Within your post, he'd like you to talk about why that year's roster stood out to you and who were your favorite players that weren't superstars.  In addition he wants us to talk about any players who went on to have hall of fame careers.

I went with the 1990 Athletics, because that season they entered the postseason with the best record in baseball and swept the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS to get to the World Series.  Everything about that team looked primed to win it all.

Sadly, they were swept by Chris Sabo, Billy Hatcher, Jose Rijo, and company.

But I still have fond memories of that team.

2018 Topps Diamond Icons Autographs #AC-RH

Rickey Henderson won the AL MVP Award that season when he led the MLB in offensive WAR, on base percentage, runs created, and runs scored.  He also represent one of three guys on this roster who would eventually get an invitation to Cooperstown.

2004 Topps Retired Signature Edition Autographs #TA-DEC
2016 Archives All-Star Signature Buybacks (1991 Bowman) #231

Dennis Eckersley and Harold Baines are the other two.

2016 Topps Legacies of Baseball Tenacity Autograph #TA-JC
2016 Topps Legacies of Baseball Tenacity Autograph #TA-MM

The Bash Brothers combined to hit 76 home runs that season and drove in 209 runs.

2007 Topps Co-Signers Solo Sigs #SS-DH
2012 Archives Fan Favorites Autographs #FFA-CL
2018 Arhives Fan Favorites Autographs #FFA-TS

Henderson, Baines, McGwire, and Canseco were surrounded by guys like Carney Lansford, Dave Henderson, Terry Steinbach in the lineup which made them one of the scarier hitting teams in the league.

But their pitching wasn't too shabby either.

2013 Archives Fan Favorites Autographs #FFA-BW
2003 UD Sweet Spot Classic Greats Signature #CG-DSt

Bob Welch won the AL Cy Young Award that year.  Dave Stewart won the ALCS MVP Award for his performance against the Red Sox.  These two guys won a total of 49 games between them that season, while the aforementioned Eck earned 48 saves.

2017 Five Star Heart of a Champion Autograph #FSHC-RH

As for my favorite player on the team, that title goes to Rickey.  However Brian wants us to tell him our favorite player who isn't considered a superstar.

2007 UD Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #SPS-CL

I'd say Carney Lansford fits that description.  He wasn't a superstar (only made the all-star team once), but he was the A's clubhouse leader on all of those World Series teams.  Plus the guy could hit.  In ten seasons with the Athletics he had over 1,300 hits.

It's been almost three decades since the A's have gone back to the World Series and until they do... the 1990 Oakland Athletics will leave a sour taste in my mouth.  That team was so talented, but much like the 1988 team, they just couldn't finish the job.  Damn.  Losing sucks.

Well that's it for today.  A huge shout out to Brian for this interesting contest and Blog Bat-Around idea.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Somewhere In The Middle

Graded cards aren't for everyone.  I understand and accept that.  That being said, I've collected a fair share of graded cards over the past ten years that typically fall into one of four categories.  Today I figured I'd explore those categories with you.

1Vintage Sports Cards

1956 Topps (White Back) #31

Let's preface things by stating that 99.8% of the vintage cards sitting in my collection are ungraded.  Just like a lot of collectors, I enjoy being able to touch and smell my cardboard if I want to.  But when it comes to certain higher end singles, like my 1956 Topps hall of famers, I like the extra security that graded cards offer in regards to counterfeit and altered issues.

2Classic Cards Collection

1971 Topps #118

A few years ago, I started putting together a list of cards that I deemed to be "classics".  They either feature fantastic action shots or an interesting photo.  One of the rules I established was that I wanted the cards to be graded.  The idea is that I'll be able to display them in my office one day in their uniform protective holders.

3Rookie Cards

Much like vintage, the vast majority of rookie cards in my collection are ungraded.  However I have been slowly picking up PSA 10 copies of my favorite rookies when they're affordable or seem to be pretty solid bargains.

Here's a Scherzer I purchased off of eBay back in December for $10.49:

2008 UD Goudey #6

The past six seasons... this guy has been one of the best pitchers in baseball.  I figured it was about time I added one of his rookie cards to my collection.  The Topps Update is no longer in my price range, but I'll buy pretty much any Scherzer PSA 10 rookie card for this price.

Due to the expensive nature of high graded older rookie cards (mid 80's and earlier), I'm willing to buy lower graded copies that fit my budget.

4Too Cheap To Pass Up

This doesn't happen very often, but sometimes I find a graded card that's actually cheaper than an ungraded copy.

1998 Bowman's Best Refractor #60

Back in 2011, I found this Greg Maddux refractor numbered to 400 for $5.38.  That's probably an okay price for an ungraded copy... but for a PSA 10 copy, that's a pretty good deal.  These kinds of purchases are rare, but I'll still find good deals from time to time at card shows and on eBay.

I've definitely evolved as a collector over the past decade or so.  Before I returned to the hobby in 2008, I think I owned five, maybe ten graded cards.  These days, I pick up five, maybe ten graded cards every few months.

I've thrown this question out before... but since it's such a polarizing topic... let's ask it again:

On a scale from one (can't stand them, I always pop them out) to ten (if it's not encased in plastic, it's not for me), where do you stand on collecting graded cards?

Personally, I'm somewhere in the middle.  However since 70 to 80% of my hobby budget is spent on raw cards, I'll go ahead say I'm somewhere between 4 and 4 1/2.

Well that's it for today.  I hope you're enjoying the last week of Spring Training.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Looking to Adopt

When it comes to collecting modern day inserts, 98% of the stuff produced by Topps and Panini doesn't appeal to me.  But every year there's one cheap, mass produced insert set I actually pay attention to and actively seek.  It's the Topps Opening Day Mascots.

This year's product has Stomper and The Swinging Friar... which I hope to track down eventually.  In the meantime, I figured I'd show off my Stomper PC, which includes six different Opening Day cards, two Topps Stickers, and one Topps Attax card:

2007 Topps Opening Day #203

Stomper made his first appearance as the Oakland Athletics' mascot on April 2nd, 1997 and ten years later he made his first appearance in a Topps Opening Day set.  That year the mascots were part of the base set.

2010 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M16
2012 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-24
2013 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-6

Since 2010, Topps has made the mascots part of their Opening Day insert setsStomper has been included in every year from 2010 to 2019, except 2015 and 2018.

2014 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-5
2016 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-22

I'm currently trying to track down three more for my collection:

2011 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-16
2017 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-17
2019 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-10

Stomper has also made appearances in other Topps sets:

2011 Topps Attax #207
2012 Topps Stickers #108
2014 Topps Stickers #117

I'm sure there are more cards and stickers of Stomper out there.  If anyone has any laying around, I'd be more than happy to adopt them.

Well that's it for today.  Hope you guys have a great week.  Happy Monday and sayonara!