30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Sign of the Times

Last week, we took our fall pictures at school and received our new ID cards.  Here's mine:

At first... the photographer wasn't going to allow me to wear my mask.  She didn't think my principal would allow me to use this picture in the yearbook.  Luckily I had my old ID card in my wallet:

She cracked up and told me she wasn't going to be held responsible if my boss didn't approve.  Spoiler alert... a few minutes after I took my photo, I ran into my principal and she asked me who I dressed up as this year.

I told her... I wanted this year's yearbook photo to be a sign of the times.  When I look back at all of my school pictures, it'll be obvious which one represents the Era of Covid-19.

Speaking of sign of the times... back in the late 90's, I was really, really, really into collecting pack pulled, on-card autographs.  At the time Upper Deck had a series of autograph sets called Sign of the Times that spanned all of their major sports licenses.

Today I figured I'd show off some of these oldies, but goodies.  Since most of the people who read this blog are baseball fans, let's start with them...

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #BF

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #WM

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #EM

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #GP

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #FT

Upper Deck had a few different Sign of the Times baseball sets, but this was the only one produced in the 90's.  I always wondered why they chose to put these autographs into packs of UD Retro... instead of SP Authentic.  That's the product that contained all of the basketball, football, hockey,  and racing Sign of the Times autographs from that era.

The 1997 SP Authentic basketball, football, and hockey Sign of the Times autographs were the first ones that popped on my radar.  I remember trading for a bunch of them back then.  However in 2001 or 2002, I sold off the bulk of my collection and most of them were included in the sale.

I'm pretty sure this was the only one I held onto:

1997 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #NNO

Can't stand the Dallas Cowboys, but I sure love this card.

When I returned to the hobby, I picked up a bunch of other 1997's...

1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #EJ
1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #CM

1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #BH
1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MB
1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MS

Back in the late 2000's and early 2010's... I was chasing a lot of the late 90's autographs, because the market had softened and I was able to buy them for a fraction of the late 90's prices.

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #CB
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #DK

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #MG
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #GR

Here are two from the 1998-99 basketball set that I held onto from my original collection:

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Silver #DR

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Silver #PN

The silver autographs were tougher to pull than the bronze, so I decided to hold onto these.  I'm glad I did, because they don't pop up very often and the last time I checked... neither were very affordable.

Okay... this post is starting to drag on and when it comes to 90's autographs, I can talk about them for days.  But nobody wants that, so here's a quick look at the rest of the my late 90's Sign of the Times autographs:

1998 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #S4

1998 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #GO

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #KT
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MH
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MS

I know autographs aren't everyone's thing.  Neither are ID cards.  But I wanted to document the fact that I'll have to wear a mask to work for probably the entire school year... maybe even longer.  I also wanted to show off some 90's autographs that have become buried and forgotten by the plethora of modern day sticker-graphs.  It's good to dig up some old cards and appreciate them.  Hopefully I'll be around in twenty years to dig out these ID cards and appreciate them as well.

By the way... if you have any ideas for next year's yearbook photo, leave them down below.  I'm always looking for new ways to give my students, colleagues, and principal a quick chuckle.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

This Bud's for You!

Today is National Drink Beer Day, so I figured I'd show off a few Tony Gwynn collectibles that are related to the world's most popular alcoholic beverage.  So grab yourself some suds, sit back, and check these out...

#11996 Pinnacle Summit Ballparks #18

I feel like beer advertisements are fairly common on trading cards, but I only found found a handful of Gwynns featuring them in my binders.

If you look right above Gwynn's butt and to the right, you'll see a Budweiser ad within the Jack Murphy Stadium scoreboard.

#21997 Score #535

I'm not 100% sure what beer company is featured on the outfield wall behind Gwynn, but it's some kind of light beerAnyone recognize this beer logo?

#31984 Miller Lite #NNO

I've featured this oversized Gwynn a few times on this blog over the years.

You guys like beer.  I like oversized Tony Gwynn oddball cards.

#41984 Smokey San Diego Padres #NNO

Another Budweiser ad embedded in a scoreboard.  This time Gwynn has a drinking buddySmokey the Bear.

The last item isn't a trading card...

#5Ale Smith .394 Pale Ale Bottle & Carrier

Two years ago, Mr. Haverkamp hooked me up with this bottle and carrier for my Tony Gwynn PC.  I'm not sure about the shelf life of beer, but this unopened bottle is still sitting on my book shelf, while the carrier has been stored flat underneath it.

Even though I'm not really a beer drinker, I actually regret not opening this up and giving it a try.  But the next time I'm down in San Diego, I'll make sure to buy a bottle for consumption.

As for National Drink Beer Day... I'll have to celebrate it with a swig of Smartwater... since I don't have any root beer on hand.  What about you?

Did you celebrate the special day with a malt beverage?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, September 27, 2021

The 70/70 Club

If you were following baseball or collecting baseball cards back in the late 80's... then you are probably aware of Jose Canseco becoming the first member of the 40/40 Club.

1989 Fleer #628

1989 Score #655

Donruss, Fleer, and Score knew Canseco was one of the hottest players in the hobby and each company capitalized on the historic event by producing tribute cards the following year.

1989 Topps #500
1989 Upper Deck #659

Topps and Upper Deck didn't honor him with tribute cards, but they did mention the accomplishments on card backs in 1989.

Card shops in my area had 50ct. lots of each of these singles sitting on the Jose Canseco shelves in their display cases and even casual fans were looking for something to commemorate the feat.  Since then... only three other MLB players have joined the clubBarry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998), and Alfonso Soriano (2006).  It'll be interesting to see who the next member will be.  Ronald Acuña Jr. came close in 2019 (41HR/37SB) and definitely has the speed and power to make the club.  I also think guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Shohei Ohtani are potential candidates as well.

On the other hand, I doubt anyone will be joining the 70/70 Club anytime soon.  What's that you ask?  It's when a player steals 70 bases and drives in 70 runs.  Over the past century, only three guys have accomplished the feat.

1983 Topps #595

Today is the 38th anniversary of Tim Raines becoming a member of this very exclusive club.  On September 27th, 1983... he cranked a three run home run in top of the 1st inning off of John Stuper which drove in his 68th, 69th, and 70th runs of the season.  The home run made him the first MLB player since Ty Cobb to have 70 RBI's and 70 stolen bases in the same season.  He stole his 70th base a few weeks earlier on September 11th against the New York Mets and finished the season with 71 runs batted in and 90 stolen bases.

1985 Topps #115
1986 Topps #500

Two years later, Rickey Henderson joined the club when he drove in 72 runs and stole 80 bases for the New York Yankees.  He repeated the feat again in 1986 with 74 RBI's and 87 stolen bases.

1986 Topps #28

1986 was quite the season for 70/70 Club members, because Eric Davis also became a member when he swiped 80 bases and drove in 71 runs.

In the 90's... Marquis Grissom (66RBI/78SB in 1992) and Kenny Lofton (67RBI/75SB in 1996) came close, but there hasn't really been any serious contenders since then.  In fact there have only been four guys to drive in sixty runs and steal sixty bases in the same season since 2001: Jose Reyes (81RBI/64SB in 2006), Carl Crawford (68RBI/60SB in 2009), Jacoby Ellsbury (60RBI/70SB in 2009), and Jonathan Villar (63RBI/62SB in 2016).

Obviously finding guys who drive in 70+ runs isn't the problem.  It's finding guys who will swipe 70 bases.  There hasn't been anyone with more than 47 stolen bases since 2017Starling Marte has a shot at topping this number with six games remaining on the schedule, but that's still far from 70 (and as of today he only has 54 RBI's).

1984 Fleer #631 & #632

Anyways... getting back to Raines and the anniversary of his accomplishment.  I was happy to discover that Fleer sort of gave him a tribute card.  He was included in their Super Star Special subset... which mentioned the feat on the back.

1984 Donruss #299

Donruss also mentioned his accomplishment on the back of his 1984 base card.

1982 Topps #164

Happy anniversary Mr. Raines!  You, Rickey, and Eric are in a very elite club.  One that hasn't had any new members in thirty-five years and probably won't have any in the very near future.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Birth Month Cards & Comics

The year I was born... Topps released their flagship baseball card set to kids and collectors in six different series.  The sixth and final series... often referred to as the high numbers... can be challenging to track down and tend to be more scarce than the first five series.

I had heard about the dreaded high numbers back in the early 90's when I worked at my local card shop, but was reminded first hand back in 2013 when I attempted to build the 1972 Topps Oakland A's team set.  There was no way I was going to pay $5 to $10 for commons and minor stars... so the idea of building my birth year set for my favorite team was immediately shelved.

It also killed any hope of me attempted to build the entire 1972 Topps baseball card set from scratch.  On a positive note it motivated me to purchase a complete set off of eBay that very year for a fraction of the price they are selling for today.

As for the team set... I eventually completed it with help from Wes over at Area 40 (formerly known as Jay Barker Fan's Junk).  He sent me these six high number cards approximately nine months after I purchased the complete set:

1972 Topps #691, 692, and 715

1972 Topps #735, 753, and 780

Last week or the week before, I stumbled across a comic book in my office which I purchased for my Birthday PC, because it was released the same month I was born.  That made me wonder whether or not these 1972 high numbers were released back in September of 1972.

I couldn't find an exact release date, so if you know... feel free to comment down below.

According to TCDB, collectors were able to get them late that summer.  That means it's possible the 1972 Topps high numbers were in stores the day I was born... just like this Dr. Strange comic book:

Marvel Premiere #4 (featuring Dr. Strange)

The discovery of this comic book in my office is strange, because I have zero records of purchasing it.  I'm pretty good about keeping emails for every eBay purchase I've made over the past ten-plus years.  Oh well... it's a nice addition to my Birthday PC... which contains these three other comic books released in September of 1972:

The Invincible Iron Man #50
Avengers #103
Archie #221

I'm slowly adding the different Marvel comic books released during my birth month.  It's not something I actively hunt for, but I try to add one each year for my birthday.

What about you?

Do you collect anything related to your birthday?

I'm pretty sure there's at least one other blogger out there who collects comic books from their birth month, but I can't remember who it is.  Anyone know?

Happy National Comic Book Day and sayonara!