30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, December 31, 2020

A New Year and a Simple Request

In a few hours, we'll be ringing in the new year.  Well... I'll be sleeping, but you know what I mean.  Whether or not your 2020 was good or bad, I hope you and your loved ones have a brighter 2021.

I've been thinking about how to wrap up this year for a few weeks now.  The original plan was to review the year as a way to document it for myself... but when I started going through my older posts I discovered there was just too much to write about.  Hobby goals were another topic I explored for this post, but I'll cover those in Saturday's This Week in Blogging post.

Instead... I decided to close out the year with my favorite 2020 baseball card sitting within the collection.  Sorry I'm not able to create a Top 10 list like Night Owl and Dime Box Nick.  Heck even a Top 5 list would be a struggle.

Compared to previous years, I just don't have the selection of cards to choose from, because I've only opened a handful of 2020 packs and I've significantly cut back on spending this year.  Thankfully a bunch of you have generously sent me 2020 singles for various collections and after sifting through a few boxes, I found one card that stood out from the rest:

2020 Topps #179

Although I won't claim to be a huge fan of the 2020 Topps flagship design... I love the overall look of this card.

Obviously the well-cropped action shot is the main reason I chose this card.  I've loved this image since I saw it used last year on a Topps Now card.  The photographer captured this awesome catch by Laureano against the Toronto Blue Jays on 4/21/19.

The icing on the cake is that Laureano happens to be my favorite "current" Oakland Athletic.  He struggled after his suspension this season, but I'm confident he'll bounce back in 2021.  Hopefully lots of things will bounce back in 2021.

So that's how I'll wrap up another year on this blog.  However before I go, I've been thinking about some future ideas for this blog and one of them requires a little assistance from my readers.  It's pretty simple...

Over the past decade, I've asked you all hundreds of questions.  Sometimes they're hobby related.  Other times they're not.  In the comment section below... please write down some questions for me.  It might be a question about my collection, a hobby opinion, or just something you're curious about.

How will I use these questions?  Well... it's not set in stone.  I'd like turn this into a new series on this blog if I can get enough responses.

So please don't be afraid to ask multiple questionsThe more... the merrier.

Well that's it for another year.  Thank you to all of you who have written articles and provided me and others entertainment on your blog.  And thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read and comment on my posts.  Overall this year was far from being awesome, but the card blogosphere definitely brightened up my life on some of the gloomiest days.  I'm sure I wasn't alone.

Happy New Year's Eve and sayonara!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

One Hit Wonder

On Christmas Eve, I stumbled across some bad news.  Now I'll go ahead and preface things by stating the obvious.  There are plenty of different levels of bad news and the last thing I want to do is make make light of the people struggling with health, mental, physical, financial, or any other serious stuff that might be going on right now with others around the world.

Actually... after writing this... I'll just go ahead and revise things by stating that I received some annoying news.

Last Thursday, I invested the entire afternoon watching Away on Netflix.  If you're not familiar with the show, it's a science fiction drama about a group of international astronauts on the first manned expedition to Mars.  I remember seeing this show pop up on my list of recommendations back in September, so I added it to my watchlist and this holiday break provided me with the free time to check it out.

By the end of the second or third episode, I was hooked.  After binge watching the first six or seven episodes, I decided to look up when Season 2 would be coming out and that's when I was hit with the news that Netflix had decided to cancel it.

That totally blows.  It might not be one of the greatest shows of all-time, but it held my attention and I really was looking forward to seeing how things played out.  

Anyways... my mind immediately started trying to think of a baseball card analogy.

1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #159

And the first product that popped into my head was the 1989 Topps/LJN Topps Talking Baseball set.  I won't dive into too much detail about this set, since I've written about these cards before.  However if you're curious feel free to click here and read my full review.

1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #162
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #43
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #77

The bottom line is in 1989 Topps collaborated with LJN to produce these talking baseball cards that are much larger (3.25" x 5.25") than the standard 1989 Topps baseball cards.

On the back, you'll notice a clear vinyl record attached near the top.

Collectors could buy a handheld player, put the card inside, and listen to player interviews and interesting stories.  If you search it up on YouTube, you can find a complete playlist that includes all 164 cards provided by DaClyde.

1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #122
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #114
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #66

The "tall boys" shape allowed Topps' cropping department more card space to work with which resulted in beautiful trading cards.

1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #59
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #84
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #71

The huge 164 card checklist allowed them to provide collectors with fan favorites to future hall of famers.

1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #41

Topps also made sure to include legends like Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente, and Hank Aaron.  They ended up using pictures of previously released Topps trading cards for the legends in the set.

1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #73
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #147
1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk #118

Not exactly sure why
Topps decided to cut the cord on this product line after one year.  They did produce at least a handful of football cards that are a little harder to come by.  Personally... I'm surprised that these trading cards aren't more popular among collectors, but the oversized thing might be too big of an issue to overcome.

Anyways... I'm glad that thirty-one years after its initial release... I'm still a fan of this set.  I highly doubt thirty-one years from now Away will even be on my radar.

What about you?

What are some of your favorite card products that were released for only one year?

What are some of your favorite television shows that were cancelled after one season?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara! 


2014 UD Exquisite Black Signatures #UDB-JG

Congratulations to the 2020 San Jose State Spartans football team who are down in Tuscan and will play Ball State on New Year's Eve in the Arizona Bowl.  This is only the eleventh time they'll be playing in a bowl game and it's the highest they've been ranked in my lifetime.  Go Spartans!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Good Friends & Cool Collectibles

Family has always been an important part of my life.  I'm not just talking about my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and extended relatives.  I'm also referring to the closest of friends who I consider to be my family as well.

One of these people is my best friend who prefers to be anonymous, but I've referred to her on this blog many times over the years.  She's the person who knows and understands me more than anyone else in the world.  This is both a blessing and a curse... because she's not afraid to keep it real... even when the truth hurts.

That being said... it also means she hooks me up with very thoughtful Christmas presents.  I wanted to show off two of the presents I received from her this year, because they fit with the content of this blog.

The first one is a signed copy of George Takei's graphic novel, They Called Us Enemy:

Takei is probably most famous for his role as Sulu in the original Star Trek television series, but he's also known for his support for LGBT organizations.  This book covers these components of his life... but primarily focuses on his childhood and the impact Executive Order 9066 and his family

I haven't sat down and read it yet, but I am looking forward to it.

This graphic novel covers a variety of collections ranging from my love for Japanese culture to collecting graphic novels and autographs.

The other present that fits right in with this blog was this pair of Mandalorian Pez dispensers:

Thank you Aiko for these thoughtful presents and always being there for me.  You're the best.

The next thing I wanted to share on my blog was my small Christmas display before I take it down this week:

This was the first Christmas I've spent at my house in as long as I can remember, so I couldn't leave it completely undecorated.  This display is a combination of this year's and last year's Harry Potter Lego advent calendars with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus Brickheadz.

I wanted to quickly thank another close friend and co-worker who hooked me up with her husband's Nordstrom discount and acquired both of these advent calendars.  Not sure if you're reading this homie... but I truly appreciate you grabbing these for me.

Okay... now let's get to someone you should be familiar with: Ryan a.k.a. SumoMenkoMan.  A few weeks ago, he sent me a care package and I'm finally getting around to showing off the goodies.

Let's kick things off with the newest addition to the Tony Gwynn PC:

2020 Topps 206 #36

I've been wanting to add this card to my collection since I read Jongudmund's post about this controversial piece of cardboard back in October.  Okay I'm being a little dramatic by calling it controversial, but Jon does make an excellent point about questioning Topps including Gwynn in this particular set.

If there is one downside to not buying cards on COMC anymore... it's that I'd love to snatch up a few of the cheaper parallels of this card.  Hopefully I'll be able to pick them up on Sportlots instead.

Ryan also tossed in two more Topps 206 singles:

2020 Topps 206 #16
2020 Topps 206 #44

I'm always excited to add a new Posey to the binder.  He's a fan favorite in the Bay Area and rightfully so.  As for Murphy... did you know that he finished 4th in the 2020 AL ROY voting?  Me either.  But he seems to be the starting catcher for the A's in 2021.

The big ticket A's item in his care package was this Willie McGee:

1991 Topps Desert Shield #280

Anyone who followed baseball back in the 80's and 90's knows who McGee is.  And anyone who collected during that era knows this story behind these Desert Shield cards.

But some of you might not remember his short stint with the Athletics back in 1990... when the A's traded for him late in the season to add another bat to their lineup for their playoff run... which resulted in the Cincinnati Reds sweeping them in the World Series.

Speaking of the Reds... they became the last MLB team to have a player from Japan on their team when they signed Shogo Akiyama:

2020 Topps Update 1985 #85TB-4

Like many of you... I haven't opened up a lot of 2020 products, so this is my first card of him.  Ryan also sent me this pink refractor of Akiyama's former teammate:

2020 Topps Chrome Pink Refractor #48

Kikuchi and Akiyama were Seibu Lion's teammates from 2011 to 2018.  It'll be interesting to see if either of these guys will be able find success at the MLB level.

My Japanese PC is receiving a lot of love.  Here are five more cards for my multi-sport binder:

I'm not exactly sure what product these cards are from, but they seem to come from an insert set titled "Amazing".  It's a shame that there aren't more multi-sport products on this side of the Pacific Ocean.

Back in the 90's, I remember Signature Rookies released a product called Tetrad which allowed collectors to pull cards of baseball, basketball, football, hockey, track & field, ice skating, and gymnastics from a single pack of cards.

And I'll go ahead and round out Ryan's care package with four very special sumo wrestling cards.  At first glance these might just seem like some run-of-the-mill sumo cards... but there's actually a story behind these two wrestlers.

Back in early December, I was getting my weekly fix of Jomboy and I came across this awesome video of this 5'5" sumo wrestler taking down this gigantic 6'3" wrestler.  If you're not familiar with this guy's videos... his commentary is always good for a smile and he throws out some pretty interesting content.

Anyways... getting back on track... the first person I thought of when I saw this video was Ryan... so I texted it to him.  After going back and forth... he gave me a brief history lesson on Enho who is the shorter wrestler in the video:

2018 BBM Sumo #75
2019 BBM Sumo #62
2019 BBM Sumo #73

As a fellow short Japanese guy... I was absolutely stoked to see these slide out of the padded envelope.  And to top things off, he included the guy Enho threw:

2019 BBM Sumo #1

Is this card gorgeous or what?  Huge props to BBM for producing some fantastic sumo wrestling cards.  Here'a a peek at the back:

Thank you Ryan for another generous care package... and for your friendship.  Hopefully we'll be able to get together when things are safe and hit up some card shows and Del Taco.  And once again... congratulations on celebrating your 5 Year Blogiversary last week!

This holiday season has been unique and honestly could have been depressing without spending it with the company of my family.  But thanks to things like Zoom making the world a little smaller... and great friendships it turned out to be much more positive experience than I had anticipated.

Happy Monday and sayonara!