Monday, March 30, 2020

Captured on Cardboard

It's March, the MLB regular season still hasn't started and Topps has only released a fraction of their 2020 baseball products.  But I don't care.  I'm ready to submit my 2020 Card of the Year nomination:

2020 Topps #179

This card doesn't only feature a well-cropped action shot of one of my favorite current Athletics.  I love the fact that I can watch him make the catch here:

Ramon Laureano
robbed Teoscar Hernandez of a home run on April 22nd, 2019 when the A's were hosting the Toronto Blue Jays.  It's just one of Laureano's outstanding defensive plays from last season.

Today, I thought it would be cool to show off a few cards sent to me by Rod over at Padrographs that capture plays you can actually view on YouTube.

In addition to the Laureano, he sent me a few cards of Kurt Suzuki.  This one stood out:

2020 Topps Heritage #328

This card is obviously a highlight from last year's World Series.  It shows Suzuki launching a home run off of Justin Verlander in the top of the 7th inning which broke a 2-2 tie and helped the Nationals win the game.

You can watch video of the home run here:

Here's a screenshot of Suzuki hitting the home run:

I thought it was interesting, but not surprising that Topps removed the Camping World sign in the background.

The next card was hands down my favorite item in Rod's care package:

2016 Topps Update First Pitch #FP-8

We all have our own definition of what a hero is.  I've written about mine a few times on this blog.  But I'm willing to bet most Americans would agree with me when I say that Burke Waldron is a real American hero.  And I'm super excited to add his signature to my collection.

Like the back of his card states, Waldron is a World War II veteran.  If you're interested, you can read about him and his participation in the Battle of Saipan here.  You can also see the first pitch that was captured on the card above here:

I wasn't able to find a YouTube video for this card:

2017 Topps Opening Day #ODB-12

However the back of the card clearly gives collectors the impression that this photograph on the front was taken on April 4th, 2016:

Well... that's it for the sports moments captured on cardboard portion of this post.

Rod sent about 100 other baseball and basketball cards featuring Japanese baseball players, Oakland A's, and Los Angeles Lakers.  Here are some of the highlights:

I just noticed that I probably could have found a video clip of the Yusei Kikuchi's press conference that's featured on the pink refractor above.  Oops.

I might not follow the sport as much as I used to, but it was cool to see a nice stack of Lakers which included multiple cards of my three favorite playersMagic Johnson, Byron Scott, and Kobe Bryant.

He also sent me five issues of my favorite magazineSports Illustrated for Kids.  Here are the sheets of cards from those issues:

And if that weren't enough... he also sent me a PWE containing these two cards:

2020 Topps #251

2020 Topps Opening Day Red Foil #168

Free Card Fridays have recently become a huge part of the sports card blogosphere and Rod offered this Opening Day parallel on his blog two weeks agoPuk has been one of the A's top prospects ever since he was drafted by them in 2016.  I'm excited to see if he lives up to the hype.

Speaking of Free Card Fridays... John over at Johnny's Trading Spot has been giving away a ton of free cards too.  I was lucky enough to participate in one of this month's Friday Big Fun GamesMy prize?  Some vintage football:

My favorite of the bunch was this card of Merlin Olsen:

1971 Topps #125

Olsen played his final NFL game when I was only four years old... but my father told me about him and The Fearsome Foursome.  I love the photo of Olsen used on this card... except he looks more surprised than fearsome.

John sent me a really cool bonus in his PWE:

1976 Kellogg's #7

Yup.  A super clean 70's Kellogg's card of Joe Rudi.

If you're not familiar with him, he was robbing batters at the wall decades before Ramon Laureano.

Thank you Rod and Johnny for these awesome cards!  By the way... Johnny just published his Friday Big Fun Games signup post.  Click here if you're interested in joining.  You won't regret it.

By the way, I know it's early in the year, but...

What are some of your favorite cards of 2020 so far?
I hope all of you have a great week.  Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Make Money Money

Let's go ahead and preface things by stating this post is more about baseball trivia than making lots of money.  That being said... you never know.  The things you read in this post might end up putting some cash in your pocket if you play your cards right.  Okay... now let's get to the heart of the matter.

I've never been a book worm.  My mindinterests, and attention span are much more suited for blogs and magazinesCard blogs allow me to read amusing and thought provoking short stories about the hobby we love as well as an opportunity to check out pieces of cardboard that are special to the writer.

It also allows me to walk away with tidbits of sports trivia which could one day help me win millions of dollars on Jeopardy.

As for magazines, my two favorites are Baseball Digest and Sports Illustrated for Kids.  And wouldn't you know it... both are filled with sports trivia which provide short term entertainment.

March/April 2020 Issue

Today I thought I'd share one of my favorite pieces of trivia discovered in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids.

It's an article written by Sam Page that talks about six coincidences in sports history that are so strange, it's hard to believe they're true.  The one I'm going to spotlight features Stan Musial and Nate Colbert.

In the history of Major League Baseball, there are only two men who have hit five home runs in a double header.  The thing that first caught my attention is that this is something that has only happened twice in MLB history.  You don't need to be a mathematician to figure out that this is pretty darn rare.

When you add the fact that one of these players was present for both of these historical moments, that's when my mind was blown.

Let's start with the first hitter to accomplish this feat:

2002 Topps Team Topps Legends Autographs #TT

On May 2nd, 1954... the St. Louis Cardinals hosted the New York Giants for two day games at Busch Stadium.  The Cardinals won the first game and the Giants won the second, but that's not really important for this post.  The important thing is that Musial hit three home runs in the first game and two more in the second.  And he did it in front of approximately 26,000 fansTwo of those fans were Nate Colbert and his father.

2012 Panini Cooperstown Famous Moments Signatures #9

Eighteen years later on a warm night on August 1st, 1972... Colbert would match Musial's feat by hitting two home runs against the Atlanta Braves in the first game and another three in the second.  His thirteen RBI's carried the last place Padres that day and helped them sweep the Braves.

According to the back of this sticker-graph, Colbert told his father that he wanted to pull off that feat some day... which is pretty darn cool if it's true.

By the way... here's a few more pieces of trivia related to this historic eventColbert's five home runs were hit off of five different Atlanta pitchers.  One of them was a grand slam off of Pat Jarvis.

1960 Topps #572

As for Musial, two of his home runs were hit off of hall of famer, Hoyt Wilhelm, another two off of fan favorite John Antonelli, and one off of all-star Jim Hearn.

1956 Topps #148

And one more thing... Alvin Dark, who was mentioned in Moonshot article involving Gaylord Perry and the Apollo 11 moon landing (see above), also witnessed Musial's five home runs.  He played shortstop for the New York Giants in both games and went 1 for 9 at the plate.

There were a couple of other interesting articles in this issue of SI for Kids.  But this post is starting to drag on, so I'll wind things up with the main reason I subscribe to this magazine:

I've gotta admit that I'm only familiar with Travis Kelce and Marcus Semien on this sheet, but I'm not complaining.  It's pretty rare to see an Oakland Athletic get featured on a sheet of these cards.  However... not quite as rare as Musial and Colbert's home run accomplishments.

Well that's it folks.  Hope you enjoyed this little morsel of baseball trivia.  And who knows... maybe you'll be on Jeopardy one day and it'll help you make money, money... which you can use to buy tons of toilet paper, bottled water, and baseball cards.

By the way... if you're interested in increasing everyone's chances of winning big money on a game show, answer today's question of the day:

What is one interesting piece of baseball trivia that you've recently learned?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bottoms Up

Does anyone know the first time a card company printed cards on the bottom of their wax boxes?

I know Topps did it back in 1985 with their football and hockey cardsDonruss also created a four card set on the bottom of their 1985 baseball wax boxes:

I don't remember seeing any boxes of this stuff in the wild back in 1985, so I'm pretty sure I didn't get my hands on one of these fabulous Dwight Gooden rookie card oddballs until a few years later.  And since I wasn't actively collecting football or hockey back in 1985, I'm pretty sure the first box bottoms I ever owned were the ones printed on the bottom of 1986 Topps baseball wax boxes.

Whatever I owned back then is long gone, but I have picked up a few uncut box bottoms over the years along with a few sets that were already cut up for me.  Today I figured I'd showcase the 1986 Topps set for you.

Topps produced four different four-card box bottoms.  The easiest way to differentiate the cards from the ones distributed in the packs is the colored border at the top of the cards.  Most of us are familiar with the black bordered cards that came out of the packs.  The box bottoms feature a red border at the top.

You'll also notice that Topps used different photographs from the regular pack issued cards.

1986 Topps Box Bottoms #A, #B, #C, #D

The backs are pretty much the same with the exception of the numbering and the slight discoloration on the box bottoms.  Notice that the box bottoms number the cards with letters instead.

1986 Topps Box Bottoms #E, #F, #G, #H

As a fan of action shots, I think Topps did a good job of choosing which photographs would be included on the base card compared to the box bottoms.   That being said... I do think the box bottom portrait shots of guys like BellFisk, and Guidry would look really nice signed by the athlete.

1986 Topps Box Bottoms #I, #J, #K, #L

1986 Topps Box Bottoms #M, #N, #O, #P

The checklist itself is loaded with familiar names... however after twenty-four years, only four of these guys have been inducted into Cooperstown.

As for finding gem mint copies of these box bottoms, I wish you the best of luck.  You have to remember that many of these box bottoms were often exposed to baseball card shop and retail store shelves.  And even if they were locked in a sealed case, they were stacked on top of each other where shifting and the weight of the boxes may have caused the box bottoms to get scratched or creased.

Personally, I don't mind that my copy of this set isn't mint.  The subtle flaws are a reminder of when collecting was a little simpler and collectors could handle their cards and cut out bottoms with a pair of scissors, instead of precision paper cutters.

I've been neglecting adding music to my posts, but here's a song that I felt that went well with today's post:

I know based on my Kenny Rogers post that some of you aren't big on country music... but music is like cards.  There's something for everyone.

Maybe you like modern country.  Maybe you don't.  Maybe you like box bottom cards.  Maybe you don't.

Well that's it for today.  Although I'm still locked down in my home, I've started to get my school curriculum lined up for the distance learning model my district has adopted and will start implementing in a few weeks.  Although I'm not a huge fan of change, I am excited to get back to teaching.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!