Saturday, December 31, 2022

Life is a Mystery

2022 was a weird year in the sense that there were a lot of curveballs and changeups thrown at me.  It forced me to reflect and make minor adjustments in my life.  One of those things was preparing for retirement.  I still have at least ten, but more likely eleven or twelve years left in the classroom.  But after purchasing a new car and taking care of a few things around the house... I needed to get my finances in order so that when the time comes, I can start the next chapter in my life.

The other thing was balancing my free time.  The past fourteen to fifteen years, I've spent a high percentage of that free time with my card collection.  Then in 2010, I upped the ante when I started this blog.  But the past few months, I've decided to to downshift... and slow down the frequency of posts.  There was even a point where I questioned whether or not I'd ever start writing again.  But obviously blogging isn't an addiction I'm ready to quit.

Over the Christmas Break, I had fun going through some care packages and planning some posts.  I also spent a large percentage of my time off cleaning and organizing things around the house.  Sadly, I'm still not finished... but I'm close.

There are several several bags worth of hoodies, sweatshirts, and jackets that are cluttering my living room couch.  I've got to either donate them or add them to the flea market stash (assuming I set up at the flea market again in the near future).

Plus there's this...

You are staring at my New Year's Day project.  The bulk of what you're looking at falls into one of these categories:

ACare package cards from Reader X and Woody @ CCW.
BCOMC cards from earlier in the year.
CRandom sets accumulated over the years.
DeTopps collection
EOnline Dime Box mystery packs

In an effort to kick off this cleaning process, I decided to wrap up 2022 by opening up one of these $1 mystery packs... as well as showing off a few mystery cards.

Since most of you prefer baseball, I grabbed one of those packs... although I also purchased basketball, hockey, and non-sport mystery packs.  Here's a peek at the pack before I tore into it:

As promised... the pack contained fifteen cards:

A whopping eight cards featured Detroit TigersDennis... let me know if you want any of these.  Two cards (both Tigers) stood out to me...

1993 Topps #660

Athletes who spend twenty years with the same franchise are special and Trammell was one of those guys.  This is really the only card I'm interested in keeping... as I collect Topps flagship cards of hall of famers during their playing years.  However... if Dennis needs it, I don't mind passing it along to a Tigers fan.

The other card that caught my eye was a Junk Wax Era card of Frank Tanana:

1992 Leaf #21

Over the break, I've had YouTube running in the background during my cleaning sessions.  Frank Tanana was mentioned on a video about the best MLB players who never received a single hall of fame vote.

He finished his career with a 240 wins, 2,773 strikeouts, and a 57.1 WAR.

Now I'm not saying that Tanana should have a plaque hung up in Cooperstown (and I don't think the guy who produced the video is either), but it's a little crazy that he didn't receive a single vote.  To put this into perspective, Placido Polanco received two votes a few years ago.

Okay... it's getting late and I want to catch the 2nd half of the TCU versus Michigan game.  But before I do, here are a few "hits" that were sitting in a stack buried on my desk until recently:

2014-15 Upper Deck UD Game Jersey #GJ-LC

2020 Panini Elite Extra Edition Hidden Gems #HG-Bu

2013 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Relics #CCR-YA

2018 Donrus Diamond Collection #DC-DL

Unfortunately... I can't remember who sent them to me.  That's the problem with letting cards stack up on your desk for several months.  If you sent me any or all of these, please let me know down below so I can thank you properly.  Sorry in advance.

That wraps up 2023.  There won't be any fireworks or partying for this evening.  As soon as I'm finished with editing and publishing this post, I'm going to grab another bowl of chili and watch the game.

2001 Fleer Ultra College Greats Preview Autograph #NNO

Sorry Dennis... but I'm rooting for the Horned Frogs in honor of my niece who graduated from there last year.

Just looked up the score to see what quarter they were in and TCU won.  Ugh.  I was too slow.

Happy New Year everyone!  2023 is a complete mystery to me, but hopefully one with a happy ending.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Chubby Jolly Fellow

This isn't a Christmas post about Old Saint Nick.  Nope.  Today I'm going to show off one of the latest additions to my Tony Gwynn collection.

Back in October, Rod over at Padrographs announced his decision to cutdown his collection to three things: Padres autographs, Tim Flannery, and Tony Gwynn.  The thing about Mr. Padre was he wanted to narrow down his collection to nineteen 9-pocket pages of his cards.  The rest he divided among Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown and me.

He ended up sending a big box filled with a bunch of San Diego Padres cards that included over 300 different Tony Gwynns.  Honestly... I was stoked and overwhelmed at the same time.  I was obviously happy to see so many cards of my favorite player sitting in front of me.   On the other hand, I was a little intimidated by the idea of sifting through my collection to see which of these 300+ cards I needed.

In fact... I pushed it off until Thanksgiving Break when I knew I'd have some free time.  Then Thanksgiving came and went without me touching his box.  The guilt started to eat away at me... so I made a promise to myself to take care of business over Christmas Break.  And that's what I've done since 8am this morning (right now it's almost 2pm).

The past six hours I've been sorting everything he sent me.  After that I went through my three binders worth of Gwynns and checked to see which cards I did or did not have.  Honestly... the most time consuming thing was going through (Gwynn's TCDB pages) and learning about all of the different variations from the Junk Wax Era that I'll write about in another post.

Today's post will center around a card that isn't listed on TCDB, but it's still very cool nonetheless:

2013 PunkRockPaint Old Hoss 100 #61

What you're feasting your eyes on is a custom card of Tony Gwynn created by PunkRockPaint for a set featuring 100 of the greatest baseball players.  If you're interested in seeing who else made the list, click here.

I wasn't familiar with this set until this morning, which totally sucks because I would have loved to have purchased one of these sets.  The card front reminds me of Gypsy Queen or Allen & Ginter... which is totally awesome.

But the back is even more awesome...

Artist Proof (1 of 1)

Charles Radbourn a.k.a Old Hoss... is a hall of fame pitcher who is also known for being the first person ever photographed giving the finger.  He passed away back in 1897.  However according to this card back, he spoke from his grave and described Gwynn as a "demented serial killer living a cover life as a chubby singles-hitting jolly fellow."  

Bet you've never heard or seen anyone else accuse Mr. Padre of being a serial killer.

No way you're going to focus on anything written after this, so I'll wrap things up here.

Thank you Rod for adding such an awesome custom to my Gwynn collection.  And thank you for all of the other cards you sent my way.  Although I'm finished sorting and scanning them, I'm going to hold off on writing about them.  Don't worry, I promise it won't take me another two months to write about them.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Custom Built & Personalized

According to this website, advent calendars have been around since the 19th century.  I'm pretty sure the first advent calendar I ever received was filled with chocolate back in the 80's.

These days you can find a variety of advent calendars ranging from beer to Legos to science experiments.  And for the past four years... Death Stare Cards has even created his very own advent calendar to show off some cool cards in his collection.

Then last year... my buddy Ryan over at Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko gifted me my very own collectible advent calendar which he custom built and personalized.  It was honestly one of the coolest and most unique gifts I have ever received.

Over the course of this year, he dropped a few hints that he was putting together another one... and at the end of November a huge box arrived at my mailbox.  Inside were a bunch of PWE's and packages... each individually marked with a day and phrase hinting at what was lurking inside.

I've summarized all twenty-five gifts into one post for all of you to see.  So grab a cup of eggnog, sit back, scroll, and enjoy...

Day #11898 Pocket Calendar

At 124 years old, I'm pretty sure this is the oldest Christmas collectible sitting in the collection.

I tried to research The Cook's Talisman, but didn't find anything of use.  On the other hand, Wikipedia has a page for Liebig's Extract of Meat Company if you're interested.

Personally, I was more interested in the fact that the 1898 and 2022 calendars are the perfect match.

Day #2Mark McGwire Pin

1990 MVP Pins #NNO

I'm in the process of cleaning my office and one of the things I need to do is dust my team shelves.  The goal is to clear some space on the A's shelf and put this up there. 

Day #3Soccer Packs

2021 Panini Adrenalyn XL Kickoff

2021 Panini Adrenalyn XL Update

When I saw these two packs, I made a deal with myself.  If Japan beat Croatia (on December 5th), I'd open up these packs in search for some Samurai Blue.  But if they lost, I'd add them to my unopened pack collection.

They lost.

Day #4Ultra Pro Penny Sleeves

Collectors can always use extra protection.

Day #5My New Ride

2021 Tomy #87 GR Supra Fuji Speedway Safety Car

Back in February, I bought my dream car.  Since then, I've been building a collection of Toyota Supra MK5 collectibles.

This Tomy diecast is a nice addition to the collection:

Day #6Another Car

Convenience Store Promotion Pack

According to Ryan, this pack was a promotional item handed out a convenience store in Japan.  As much as I love collecting unopened packs, I had to see what was lurking in this one...

The car I pulled was the Datsun (Nissan) Sunny (B10), which was produced from 1966 to 1969.  I've always been a Honda and Toyota guy, but I can appreciate a classic like this pull.

Day #7Menko Discs

Ryan said some of these could be woodblock printed... and possibly from the early 1900's.  This one isn't a woodblock print, but I sure love the bright colors:

Day #8Art Appreciation Cards

Ed-U-Cards Series #9

Couldn't find any information on these cards, but they look like something from the 60's or 70's.  There were sixteen cards featuring paintings housed in this envelope with a window on the front.

As much as I appreciate art, I didn't recognize any of these paintings:

However... I am a collector of anything trading card related.

Day #9More Vintage Art

Ed-U-Cards Series #24

Another pack of trading cards featuring paintings.

While the first pack focused on "people", this pack was more about "setting".  Anyone know if these are based on famous paintings?

Day #10Frame Worthy Art

At first glance, it's just a bunch of Japanese writing... which I personally find beautiful.  However, I was thinking it might be sumo related, so I texted Ryan for confirmation.

I was correct.  It's an official ranking sheet from 1985 and the great Yokozuna Chiyonofuji is listed on it.  This should be framed and hung up in my office, but lack of space currently prevents that.  Maybe one day when I own my dream house with that huge man cave.

Day #11Japanese Highway Cards

These "highway cards" are approximately the same shape and size of the phone cards many of us are familiar with from the 90's.

They seem to be some form of debit card used to pay highway tolls.  Maybe Sean or Kenny can clear up the details.  Regardless... they're unique and I was excited to add them to my Japanese Non-Sports PC.

Day #122021 Allen & Ginter Chrome Pack

Who doesn't enjoy opening up a pack of baseball cards?  Here's what I pulled...

I'm pretty sure the Naylor mini is a refractor.  I remember seeing him in a Padres uniform a few years ago before being traded to Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger deal.

Day #13National Hockey Card Day Packs

I originally thought this pair of National Hockey Card Day packs were from the same year.  The plan was to open one and keep the other one sealed for my unopened pack collection.

But while writing this post, I noticed one was from 2020 and the other is from this year.  As of right now, I haven't opened the 2020 pack.

Day #14One-Touch Magnetic Holder

My Tashi rookie card was looking for a new home and this one-touch magnetic was the perfect choice.

Day #15Vintage Sumo Wrestling Cards

When it comes to vintage sumo trading cards, I'm guessing there aren't a lot of people out there who can match wits with Ryan.  He's written several versions of his checklist book, which includes high quality images and detailed descriptions of hundreds of sumo wrestling sets

That's why I'm always honored when I receive vintage sumo cards from him.

1955 Kagome Rikishi 10 Ozeki Mitsuneyama

My favorite card is this 1955 Kagome Rikishi card with the Mount Fuji cameo.  By the way... I ended up using his book to help identify this card.

Day #16Nanoblock #NBH 014 Space Center

If you've followed my blog long enough, you know my other passion is playing around with building blocks.  I'm looking forward to building this set either today or tomorrow.

Day #17Vintage Baseball

One of my favorite things about vintage Japanese baseball cards are the use of those bright colors.  Unfortunately... I don't recognize any of these guys.  If you do, feel free to leave their names in the comment section down below.

Day #18Early 90's Tuff Stuff Magazines w/Cards

I love, love, love Tuff Stuff Magazine issues from the 90's... especially when they contain trading cards.  The sheet included in the David Justice issue actually completes my Stadium set, which I hope to write about in a future post.

Day #19Cat in a Kimono Deck of Cards

Who doesn't appreciate cards featuring cats dressed up as humans?  I'm guessing the person whose photography was used for the 1983 Topps Perlorian Cats set also captured this photo of a cat wearing a kimono with money tucked behind the obi.

This is actually a deck of playing cards.  Here's a closer look:

Day #202020 Topps 206 Singles

Over the summer, Ryan flew up to San Jose for the day and we hit up a card show and a few card shops.  At one of the shops, he bought some packs... which we cracked open outside of the restaurant we had dinner at.  Pretty sure these were the cards from his pack.  I pretty sure that's the same Wade Boggs I traded him for his Tony Gwynn.

Boggs has officially returned to San Jose and will now be added to my HOF binder of inserts, parallels, and oddballs.

Day #21Kaiju Playing Cards

Here's another deck of playing cards.  Only this time it was full of kaiju, instead of a dressed up kitty.  These are awesome!

Day #22Japanese Novelty Bag

Is there an item in your collection that you have no idea what it is... but you know that it's really, really cool?  Well that's exactly what this thing is.  Actually... it's multiple items.

It starts with an envelope (possibly from the 60's or 70's) that features two of the greatest Japanese baseball players: Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima.

The back of the envelope features some kind of table... possibly a board game:

Inside there is a two sided poster that looks like they could also be used as game boards:

Both of these posters would make great wall decorations... just like that sumo ranking poster from Day 10.

The final thing in the envelope are these cutouts printed on heavy cardstock:

Not exactly sure what these were intended to be used for (maybe game pieces), but I'm keeping them intact and housed in the envelope.

Day #23Demon Slayer Sticker Packs

Any Demon Slayer fans?  I've never watched the show or read the books, but I'm very familiar with the title.  One of the most popular things among my middle school students is watching anime and reading Manga.  I found Demon Slayer on Hulu and added it to my watch list, so it's only a matter of time.

This appears to be a display box filled with packs of Demon Slayer stickers.  I'm torn on whether to open these or not.

Day #24Celebrity Post Cards

As we quickly approach Christmas Day, Ryan saved some of the coolest items for last.  Check out the young Jackie Chan and Farrah Fawcett.

If you're wondering what the heck these are, they're postcards (possibly from a magazine).

As much as I love and appreciate all of these 70's stars, Bruce Lee is my favorite postcard:

Be water, my friend.

Day #252015 BBM P League Very Merry Xmas Set

And rounding out Ryan's 2022 advent calendar is this fantastic Christmas themed set of 46 trading cards featuring twenty-three female bowlers:

I'm not going to make any promises, but there's a chance you'll see some of these singles featured in future holiday posts.

In the meantime, I only scanned one individual card:

The final card in the set was this autographed card of Miki Nishimura.  Even if you don't collect cards of cute bowlers, you might be able appreciate the detailed signature of Ms. Nishimura.

Thank you Ryan for taking the time and effort to build another fantastic advent calendar for me.  I appreciate it as much as I appreciate our friendship.  Looking forward to meeting up again in 2023 and enjoying more cards, shops, and good eats.

To the rest of you...

Were there any specific things from this advent calendar that caught your eye?

Happy holidays and sayonara!