30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, July 30, 2022

No Card Show, No Cry

Today marks the 4th day at the National Sports Collectors Convention and according to Google, I'm approximately 3,000 miles and 44 hours away from the event.  In other words, even if I hopped into my car right now, I'd have zero chance of making it to the show before they close their doors tomorrow evening.

I'm okay with that.  As much as I enjoy attending card shows, attending the National isn't something I have to do in my lifetime.  Do I want to attend one?  Of course.  The problem resides in the show's location and my personal finances.

The National hasn't been held on the West Coast since 2006 and based on what I've heard... it's probably not coming back here any time soon.  That means a trip to the show involves hotel and travel expenses on top of any spending money for food, entertainment, and of course... cards.

Maybe I'll attend one day (after I retire), but it will definitely be part of a planned vacation that involves much more than a card show.  Until then, I'll stick to local card shows and/or virtual ones like the Blogger National... which is a current Blog Bat-Around started by Cards Over Coffee that involves bloggers sharing one of two things in a blog post:

#1:  Show off cool or favorite cards that you consider show worthy.

#2:  Share a recent mail day featuring dazzling cards that would attract people to your table.

I figured I'd pull from both of these categories for my BBA contribution.

Back at the start of summer, Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders sent me a padded envelope filled with several cool cards for a few different collections.

Let's start off with a card that I was actively looking for at the last card show I attended:

2021 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs #FFA-GT

I've wanted this autograph of Gene Tenace since I heard Topps included him on their Fan Favorites checklist.

He also included this dual memorabilia card of one of those guys you probably don't appreciate unless you're an A's fan:

2005 Diamond Kings Silver Materials #380 (#'d 94/100)

Eric Chavez was the Brooks Robinson of the East Bay before Matt Chapman arrived.  When you consider Chavez won six straight Gold Glove Awards compared to Chapman's three (in a span of four years), I personally think Chavez has earned the right to hold onto that title (that nobody uses except me).

Next up are a stack of cards for my Japanese Athlete PC.  Let's start with a pair of minor league cards of Tomo Ohka:

2000 Dunkin' Donuts Pawtucket Red Sox #NNO
2001 Dunkin' Donuts Pawtucket Red Sox #NNO

Who doesn't love minor league cards sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts?  When I turned both of these cards over, I thought they were signed by Ohka, but after looking them up on COMC, I discovered they are facsimile signatures.  That's why it's good to take a closer look at your cards.

Here's another example.  At first... I thought this card was your run-of-the-mill base card from the 90's...

1998 Score Team Collection #3

But when I flipped it over, I discovered it was from one of those team sets that were distributed in specially marked boxes that contained one specific team.  Gotta love the 90's.

Dennis also hooked me up with three new memorabilia cards for this collection:

2002 Fleer Focus Jersey Edition International Diamond Company #NNO
2002 UD Authentics Retro Star Rookies Jersey #SR-KS
2017 Panini Chronicles Swatches #CS-HM (#'d011/499)

If you know me, I'm always looking for memorabilia cards at card shows.  I'll even buy manufactured "hits" if they're cheap enough:

2019 Topps Update 150th Anniversary Patch #AMP-YM

I wouldn't exactly describe this card as dazzling.  But this one sure is:

2021 Topps Update Rainbow Foil #US143

Sorry... my scanner doesn't do this card justice.  However... when the sunlight hits it just right... this card definitely dazzles.

I might not be able to show off a National haul anytime soon, but thankfully there are care packages like the one to entertain me so I don't feel withdrawalsThank you so much Dennis!  Sorry it took me so long to open it up and share it on my blog.

Crap.  I almost forgot this card:

1988-89 Fleer #64

Not gonna lie... I probably wouldn't buy this at a card show unless it was in a dime box.  Nor would I go out of my way to trade for it.  That being said... this card is an awesome addition to my Damaged Card Hall of Fame.  I mean it's off-centered, it has a huge dinged corner, and it features a nasty brown stain on the backI love it!

Thanks again DennisThank you Matt for kicking of this Blog Bat-Around.  And thank you all for taking the time to read this post.

By the way... I'm sure most of you have already seen Night Owl's contribution to this BBA.  If not, click here.

And while I'm plugging other blogs, Jon over at A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts and My Kind of Nonsense recently shared four new card blogs with his readers.  I'm sure most of us with blogs would agree, it's not easy attracting new readers.  That's why I think it's really important to support each other.  Here are links to their blogs:

I hope you'll check them out and add them to your reading list.

Thanks Jon!  Not only for sharing these blogs with us... but for also taking the time to read and comment on so many of our posts.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Z-Word

1995 was the peak or crowning point for the word "zenith".  According to the Collins Dictionary, "zenith" is the time when something is most successful or powerful.

1955 Bowman #199

Now up until that year, I had always associated the Z-word with televisions.  But that all changed in 1995.  That's when Pinnacle (which is synonymous with "zenith") released its Zenith line of trading cards as a way of competing with other card manufacturers' high end products.  From that moment on... the Z-Word made me think of sports cards instead of electronics.

Unfortunately back then... I was still in college with only a part-time job, so I had to pick and choose what I opened.  I can't remember opening any packs of Zenith that year, but I was the guy who hung out at my LCS watching others busting open the stuff.

The Z-Team inserts were the cards most collectors were hoping to pull.  They utilized Pinnacle's popular Dufex technology and the checklist included big names like Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, and Barry Bonds.  But the biggest draw was their perceived rarity.  Seeded at 1 in every 72 packs, people weren't guaranteed to pull them from a box (of 24 packs).  Plus there were 18 cards in the set, so if you were lucky enough to pull a big name... it meant you pulled something pretty special.

Remember this wasn't a low-end product.  According to Baseballcardpedia... packs had an MSRP of $5.  It wouldn't surprise me if guys like Griffey and Ripken commanded triple digits at card shows and card shops.  These inserts were released right around the time eBay was starting up and online card exchanges were still in their infancy stage, which meant collectors didn't have instant access to specific players.

1995 Zenith Z-Team #12

I honestly don't remember if the Tony Gwynn popped up in my area.  If it did, I didn't buy it for one reason or another.  Over the years, the card joined the plethora of 90's inserts that got lost in the shuffle and forgotten over time.

A few months ago, I decided to add it to my saved eBay searches.  Can't remember what jogged my memory.  Maybe it was a blog post of yours or a YouTube video.  Regardless... I sat around and waited for a copy to fall into my budget which was around $10.  Then two weeks ago, I finally added it to my collection with a winning bid of $5.58 (+ $4.77 tax & shipping).  I went 35¢ over budget... but I can live with that.

By the way... fans of Zenith are still in luck.  Panini has produced baseball, football, and racing Zenith products as recently as 2021.  But to me... Zenith products and the Z-word itself peaked back in 1995.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, July 25, 2022

Oddballs Are My Jam

If complete sets and player/team collections are the bread and butter of my collection... then oddballs are the jam.  They compliment both of these things and they're something I've enjoyed since the very beginning.

1982 Kellogg's #35

While most of the neighborhood had access to packs of Topps, Fleer, and Donruss... only one of my childhood friends was lucky enough to have a parent willing to order him a complete set of 1982 Kellogg's.

Back then I would have practically traded anything in my collection for the Rickey Henderson in that set, because they were so different from the average piece of cardboard.  He was smart and refused to break it up.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he still has that set in his possession to this day.

Way back in May... Bob over at The Best Bubble sent me a care package filled with some unique oddball items for my collection.  The Tony Armas was one of them.

The oldest oddball he sent me was this fantastic Bert Campaneris:

1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards #10S

According to Key Collectibles these small (1 5/8" x 2 1/4") playing cards (printed on very thin cardstock) were sold at gas stations in the southern part of the United States.  The quality of the printing isn't very good, but it's a 53 year old oddball of one of my favorite A's players from that era... so that doesn't bother me at all.

Fast forward back to the 80's... when food issues were way more prevalent than now.  Here's a brand new Steve Largent for the collection:

1986 Jeno's Pizza Rolls Action Stickers #56

Technically Corky (Pack War) sent me a copy earlier in the year.  However this one is still in the package, so my "oddball" way of thinking... considers it "different".  I attempted to put them together in the same 9-pocket page, but my OCD wouldn't allow me to leave it like this:

Steve Largent Binder: 1986 Page

So I ended up putting it into this 4-pocket page instead:

Sadly... TCDB doesn't distinguish the difference between unopened and opened singles of this oddball issue, so it didn't help me climb the rankings.  But these other two Largents did:

2018 Donruss All-Time Gridiron Kings #AGK-22
2020 Mosaic Camo Pink Prizm #182

I'm just five cards away from becoming the #1 Steve Largent collector on the site.

Right now catching up with these care packages and preparing for the upcoming card show is the highest priority, but at some point I'll start targeting some of the newer, affordable Panini parallels which should get me over the hump.

Let's shift gears to my Tony Gwynn collectionBob sent me a pair of Mr. Padre oddballs:

1992 Legends Sports Memorabilia Postcard

Legends was a collecting magazine produced in the early 90's.  I'd have to do a little more homework to confirm, but I'm guessing this postcard came out of one of their issues.

The other oddball was this small button:

1984 Fun Foods #28

I tried to scan the back, but it was too blurry to see anything.  Instead here's a look at how I store this button:

Last year or the year before, I bought a box of BCW coin sleeves... which are perfect for these buttons.

Rounding out Bob's care package were some things for my Japanese athlete PC.  They aren't oddballs, but these two tennis cards were new additions to the collection:

2006 Ace Heroes & Legends #66
2006 Ace Heroes & Legends #94

These ladies helped me fill up a 9-pocket page of Japanese tennis players:

He also included this envelope which is a colorful addition to the NPB collection:

Even though I don't know the history behind this envelope... this oddball is right up my alley.  It's now the front decoration for my NPB binder.  Maybe it once held cards and this unopened package of gum:

Based on the NPB teams printed on the cellophane... I think this gum is from the late 80's or early 90's.  The only Braves teams I found in the NPB were the Orix Braves (1989-90) and the Hankyu Braves (1947-88). 

Some collectors would probably toss this old gum into the trash... but not me.  I tossed it into a top loader and encased it in a Superior Fit sleeve

Yup.  I'm the weird guy that saves and treasures old gum.  That's exactly why oddballs are my jam.

Thank you Bob for this awesome care package!  Sorry it took me so long to open it up and write about it.  Life has been a little crazy around here.

The rest of you...

What's the bread and butter of your collection?  What represents the jam?

Looking forward to reading and responding to your comments.  Happy Monday and sayonara!