Thursday, April 30, 2020

Forgotten Until Now

Rookie cards have been a huge part of my collection since the very beginning.  Back in the early 80's, the 1981 Fleer Fernando Valenzuela and 1982 Topps Steve Sax rookies were two of my most treasured pieces of cardboard.

By the mid 80's, they were the heart of my baseball card collection.  Pulling rookie cards of Gwynn, Mattingly, Gooden, and Canseco felt like winning a jackpot on a slot machine.  Things started to shift for me in the 90's.  That's when I started trying to hoard inserts and eventually collect autographs and memorabilia cards.

These days modern inserts do little for me, but I still enjoy picking up autographs and relicsAs for rookie cards?  My interest was resurrected a few years ago along with a lot of current collectors.  

However it's not quite the same as when I was a kid.  Back then, I relied on my parents to buy packs for me, so I might only add a handful of nice rookie cards to the collection each year.  As an adult, I'm fortunate enough to have the discretionary funds to allow me to add nice rookie cards with a click of a button.

That doesn't mean I hit up eBay and blow my savings on cardboard.  In fact, I've cut back a lot recently which has allowed me to dig into my collection and appreciate cards that have been looked at once, thrown into a box, and in some cases forgotten.

This Reggie Jackson is a perfect example:

1969 Topps Decals #NNO

As an avid Oakland Athletics fan and card collector, I have long yearned to own a copy of Reggie Jackson's 1969 Topps rookie card.  Unfortunately, they've always been a little too pricey for my taste..

So last summer, I settled for the decal version instead.  It's not a card, nor is it considered a rookie... but I was happy to finally add a 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson to my Oakland A's collection.  It's just a shame that it's taken me almost a year to share it on my blog.  Why?  Like I said... I forgot about it.

I won't be going back into my classroom for the rest of the school year... and it's starting to look like my summer school gig may be cancelled.  The good news is I'll be able to sit down, go through some more boxes, and appreciate some abandoned purchases that have been buried for far too long.  Stay tuned.  I'll be sharing whatever I find in future posts.

In the meantime...

Do you have any boxes or binders sitting in your collection that haven't been opened in years?  Do you ever feel like you neglect certain parts of your collection?

Looking forward to reading your responses.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Bubble Gum Cards

Big League Chew and I go back.  How far back?  Way back.  As a Little Leaguers in the early to mid 80's, I purchased my fair share of foil pouches.  Its presence in the dugout was just as important as sunflower seeds, the giant Igloo cooler filled with water, our equipment, and the lineup card.  In fact, if I concentrate hard enough, I can still taste that imitation grape flavor.  That's pretty impressive since I don't think I've thrown a wad of the shredded gum into my mouth in nearly thirty-five years.

If I had to guess, I'd probably say the year was 1985 which was right around the time I was wrapping up my Little League career and getting myself ready for high school baseball.  It's kind of a shame, because the following year, the company inserted baseball cards into their pouches of gum.

They resemble the SSPC Baseball Immortals trading cards produced in the 80's, which bears resemblance to the 1975 Topps set on the front and the 1954 Bowman design on the back.

See for yourself:

1986 Big League Chew #1 to #6

At the time, the first six cards in the twelve card set featured the six MLB players atop the all-time home run list.

1984 SSPC Baseball Immortals #177
1980 SSPC Baseball Immortals #1
1984 SSPC Baseball Immortals #178
1984 SSPC Baseball Immortals #185

The words "Home Run Legends" replaced "Baseball Immortals" for this set.  And as far as I can tell... the border colors and photographs have been changed for most of the players in this set.

On the back Big League Chew uses different player summaries and also includes the year when the player hit their 500th home run in place of the trivia question.  It also says HALL OF FAMERS WHO HAVE HIT OVER 500 HOME RUNS at the top of the card above the bat and 1986 SERIES written inside of the bat.

However the most obvious difference on the back is the coloring.

Here's a look at the final six cards in the set:

1986 Big League Chew #7 to #12

This set must have been planned and printed sometime before the Summer of 1986, because Willie McCovey was also part of the 500 Home Run Club and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame that year.  

Reggie Jackson was the only other 500 Home Run Club member at the time, but he was still playing in 1986.  And if you're curious about the next slugger to join this exclusive club... it would be Mike Schmidt.  He'd hit #500 early in 1987.

Here's a closer look at the collage/checklist card:

According to Beckett, these cards were inserted into pouches of Big League Chew at a rate of one per specially marked pouchKids and collectors could also send in $2 with two coupons and receive a complete set through a mail-in offer.

I definitely remember seeing the Baseball Immortals cards back in the 80's, but these Big League Chew cards totally slipped past me.  Maybe by the time 1986 rolled around, I was more into spittin' seeds instead of dipping BLC.

What about you?

Did you play organized baseball?  If so, what kind of wad was sitting in your cheek?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, April 27, 2020

End of the Road

Here are three not-so-random facts to kick off your week.

#1Anne Frank collected images of movie stars torn from magazines and decorated her bedroom walls with them.

2015 Panini Americana Star Materials #SM-GRO

Ginger Rogers was one of those movie stars.

#2:  It took 7,444 games for a San Diego Padres hitter to hit for the cycle.

2016 Topps Scouting Report Relics #SRR-MK

On August 14, 2015, Matt Kemp finally ended the drought with a triple in the 9th inning against the Colorado Rockies.  Now the franchise is looking for their first no-hitter.

#3:  This is the final week of daily giveaways over at Padrographs.

It started back in March, but the end of the road is in sight.  Thank you Rod for opening up your collection and offering up cards to your readers.  I promise to give Ginger and Matt a warm and loving home.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Spartan Spirit

Card backs make up 50% of a trading card, but for some reason or another... I haven't given them my full attention for decades.  Sure I look at them when I'm sorting cards and building sets.  But honestly, most of my opinions on card sets are based on what appears on the front.  And it's been decades since I sat down and took the time to read card backs on a regular basis.

Sure... I've commented on them here and there over the years.  But I know in my heart that they've never been that important to me.  And that's a shame, because I've been really only paying attention to half of my collection.  Well thanks to The Commish, I've started to change.

Recently... he started writing posts again on his 1960 Topps set tribute blog:  Horizontal Heroes: The 1960 Topps Set.  I've been enjoying his daily posts, because he writes interesting facts about the players.

Today's post covered Bob Bruce, a Detroit Tiger pitcher that I was unfamiliar with.  While skimming the back of his card and looking at the comic, I noticed that Topps referenced Bruce's alma mater.

I immediately thought to myself... I wonder if Topps has ever mentioned San Jose State University (my alma mater) in any comics featured on the back of a 50's baseball card.

I discovered two.  One of them is the 1959 Topps card of Bob Bowman, which I don't own.  The other is the 1954 Topps card of Bob Ross.  I don't own that card either, but I do have his 1994 Topps Archives reprint card:

1994 Topps Archives '54 #189

This card was part of a large autograph collection I purchased a few years ago.  I have no idea if the signature is real or not.  And it doesn't matter, because this post isn't about autographs.  It's about the card back:

A closer look at the bottom left comic reveals that Bob was a boxing champ at San Jose State College before he serving for the military and eventually playing for the Washington Senators.

Thank you Bob and to all of the other bloggers who take the time to scan card backs.  I know I don't do it very often on my blog, but I promise that I have seen the light.  I will start looking at my card backs a little more closely and if I see anything interesting, I'll share it with you.

And just in case you do enjoy seeing autographs... here are a few other signatures I own of fellow SJSU Spartans:

Sorry.  These are previously scanned cards and I didn't scan the backs.  But here's another fellow Spartan that I scanned today:

1991 Face to Face #498

Anyone recognize this guy?

This card is part of a game called Face to Face that was released in the early 90's.  I've never played it, but I'm pretty sure you'd pull a card and have to identify the person in the photo.  Although they're technically not trading cards, they are cool collectibles that feature famous politicians, athletes, musicians, entertainers, authors, and other famous faces.

Okay... I'll wrap things up with some SNL's Spartan Spirit:

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Old Stuff Rules

Have you ever read a blog post, seen a card you absolutely love, and went on a mission to find a copy for your collection?  I'm gonna guess that at least a fraction of you have made a blog inspired purchase.

At the end of March, Bo over at Baseball Cards Come to Life! wrote about his purchase from an online antique store called Don and Chris' Old Stuff.  I was so intrigued by the variety of stuff he bought, I clicked the link he provided and went on a thirty minute shopping spree.

Their shop offers lots of variety and interesting knick-knacks.  I added a few items to my shopping cart, but due to the shipping costs, I came close to walking away without buying anything.

Then I stumbled across these:

1997 Pinnacle All-Star FanFest Promos #NNO

Back in 1997, the city of Cleveland hosted the MLB All-Star Game.  Part of the weeklong festivities included the Pinnacle All-Star FanFest held at the Cleveland Convention Center.  People who worked the event were given these laminated badges that feature a Larry Doby promotional card.

Based on the images I've discovered online, there are at least six different categoriesCollectors Showcase, Exhibitor, Facility, Media, Performer, and VIPOne COMC vendor has five different ones available, but they're not exactly reasonably priced.  An eBay vendor has one of the badges listed for $13.99 (+ $3.99 shipping), which is a little more realistic if this kind of item interests you.

How rare are these?  I have no idea.  But based on what is available for sale and recently completed sales on eBay, these don't pop up on the market very often.  That's why I quickly added these to my cart when I saw they were only $3.50 each if you bought two or more.

The website seems to have a lot of these types of badges from various sporting events and concerts, so my guess is these were purchased in bulk as overstock and probably weren't actually used at the event.

However that doesn't bother me.  I'm a huge oddball collector and although I don't specifically go out of my way to collect Larry Doby, he was the first American League player to break baseball's color barrier.

The only other sports related item I bought was this wax pack wrapper:

1973 Donruss Super Freaks

This item jumped out at me as being interesting and worth the $1 price tag.  In addition to this wrapper, I also grabbed these two wrappers from my childhood:

1977 Topps Star Wars Series 4
1978 Topps Star Wars Series 5

The first trading cards I remember opening were 70's Topps Star Wars.  I purchased two of each, figuring I'd figure out a way to display the duplicates... while adding the two cleanest wrappers to my 1977 Topps Star Wars set.

The vintage can labels were the thing that originally caught my eye on Bo's post.  I ended up grabbing these three because they depict the Golden Gate Bridge:

Each of these labels measure approximately 3.5" x 13" and ranged from 25¢ to 50¢ in price.  According to their website, the Western Sky and Golden Gate labels are from the 50's, while the Pacific Pride label is from the 40's.

I also grabbed this beer bottle label from the 60's for a quarter:

I wish I had bought more than one of each label, because I know at least one family member and a co-worker who might be interested in these.

Next up are some cucumber seeds:

I'm a sucker for items from my childhood and even though I never owned or wanted to own a Cabbage Patch Kid doll... I remember when people were fighting each other for these back in the 80's.

Can't imagine there was a demand for these seeds, which is why they're sitting on the shelves of this antique store.  But I helped them out by purchasing a ten pack for $3.50.

In addition to these packs of seeds, I also grabbed a few packs of trading cards too:

I paid $1.50 for two 1983 Topps Jaws 3-D packs and $5 for twenty packs of 1990 Pacific Rad-Dudes cards.

Figured that I haven't written a post on A Pack To Be Named Later in nearly two years, so maybe these unopened packs will provide some writing material.

The last item in my shopping cart is this postcard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

This isn't your average sized postcard.  It measures 6" x 9" and will make an excellent display piece in my classroom.  Here's a look at the back:

According to the website's item description, it was produced in 1968 after he was assassinated and possibly distributed in the Washington D.C. area.

Even though I have been cutting back on spending money, I've gotta admit that I was very excited about this purchase.  The store's inventory was very interesting and offered lots of variety... and their prices were fair.  In short... Old Stuff rules.  The only thing preventing me from placing another order anytime soon would be their shipping rates.  I paid $7.49 to have all of this stuff shipped to me.  That being said... at least I didn't have to pay sales tax.

Well that's it for today.  Hope all of you have a great week.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!