30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Burgers & Baseball Cards

Hope you weren't expecting a post about late 70's Burger King cards... although I'll try to dig one up at the end of this post if you did.

Today's post is about a recent blogger meetup.  A few weeks ago, Jim over at cards as i see them reached out to me and let me know that he was headed out to California.  We've discussed grabbing IN-N-OUT burgers at least a couple of times in the past.  Well we finally made it happen.  One day after work, I picked him up and took him to Stevens Creek Sports Cards.  I didn't buy anything, but he made a pretty cool purchase.  Don't want to spoil things for his readers, so I'll keep my lips zipped.

Before we left the shop, he made a cool suggestion to take a photo of our wallet cards to document our meetup:

Gwynn and Garvey were teammates for five seasons in San Diego from 1983 to 1987.  It was nice that this was an opportunity for them to get together on a cardboard level.  That 1974 Topps card has been in Jim's wallet on two separate occasions.  At the shop he told me about the first time he slid the card into his wallet.  It was back in the mid 90's when Mickey Mantle passed away.  He had seen Bob Costas talk about Mickey being his wallet card.

At some point, he gave Garvey a breather.  But in 2015, Gavin @ Baseball Card Breakdown introduced his wallet card idea to his readers and Jim put him back in the billfold.

My wallet card hasn't been around quite as long.  I picked Gwynn's 1995 Skybox Emotion card as my inaugural wallet card back in January of 2015.  Two years later, I swapped it out for the 1986 Topps card you see above.

It's been six years and while we're still in January (which is the month I've chosen my wallet cards in the past), I figured it's time to show off my new wallet card:

1992 Topps Kids #53

There were four potential replacement cards.  The 1985 Topps Gwynn that I received from Johnny last week was one option.  There was also Gwynn's 1987 Topps base card which I considered back in 2015.  And there was this little curve ball:

1981 Fleer #574

There's a story behind this card that's worthy of its own post.  I'm thinking that it'll be the fourth and final wallet card... in the sense that when I swap out the latest Gwynn... Rickey will be carried with me until I enter the ground.

However for now... the cartoonish Topps Kid card will be keeping me company.  I ultimately decided to go with this card, because collecting cards keeps me in touch with my childhood... and this card is as childish as it gets.  It's not often I can track down the source of a specific card, but I know with 100% certainty that I pulled this card out of a pack in 2017.

Sorry I got a little sidetracked.  Let's get back to Jim.  After hanging out at the card shop we drove to IN-N-OUT where we ate dinner and talked about cards and the community.  Regardless of whether it's a fellow blogger or just another collector, it's always fun to hang out and talk about the hobby.

We also exchanged care packages.  Half of the stuff he gave me I'm going to hold off on writing about until this weekend or next week.  But I will share the other half of the items which were donations to the Oakland A's and Damaged Card PC's.

Let's start off with some pins from the late 80's (and possibly early 90's):

UNOCAL 76 Oakland A's Pins

Based on an internet search, I think the two pins on the left were produced in 1989.  I couldn't find any information on the last pin, but one eBay vendor has it listed as a 1991 pin.  Regardless these are very cool.  I have a sandwich sized bag full of pins representing several different Bay Area teams.  One of these days I'll have to go through and organize them.

He also added these three A's cards:

1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #214

I've debated on putting together a Bert Campaneris collection, but just haven't gotten around to it.  Maybe one day.  Maybe not.  Either way... this card has a home in my collection.

2005 Leaf 4 Star Staffs #FSS12

Not familiar with this set, but gotta admit it's pretty cool.  This card celebrates the pretty famous (at least in the Bay Area) 2002 Oakland A's pitching staff.

2022 Topps International Trading Card Day #NTCD-20

Pache was one of the only things I really looked forward to in regards to the A's in 2022.  His .166 batting average kinda summed up how that went.  Based on his facial expression... even he knows things got ugly last year.

Let's move on to something a little more positive.  Here are two potential candidates for the Damaged Card PC:

2017 Topps Update #US50
2020 Topps Gallery #107

The reason I say "potential" is because there's limited space in that collection and I'm probably only five 9-pocket pages away from filling the binder.  That's why I'm pretty selective about which cards I add to the collection.  Back in 2019, the Bellinger would automatically get slid into it.  As for Lux, he's going to be the Dodgers starting shortstop this season.  If he has a big year, I'll put him in.  Until then... Cody is in... Gavin is out.

Thank you Jim for the cards.  It was fun meeting you and hanging out.  Hit me up the next time you're in the Bay Area and maybe we can check out a flea market or card show.

By the way... Jim is the 6th blogger I've had the opportunity to meet.  Here are the other five:

I've been talking to my friend in Portland about visiting her and her family.  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to finally meet Gavin @ Baseball Card Breakdown, Kerry @ Cards on Cards, Kevin @ The Diamond King, and Cardboard Hogs and add four more to the list in the next year or so.

Nick over at NJWV is another blogger I'd like to meet as he sometimes comes out with his family to the Bay Area.

If there are any other bloggers out there who plan on taking a trip to Northern California and are interesting in getting together, hit me up and I'll buy you some IN-N-OUT.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

Oops.  Almost forgot.  Here's that Burger King card I promised...

1979 Topps Burger King #16

I've always had a soft spot for cheap slabs of vintage cards featuring hall of famers.  I picked this up before the pandemic off of 4 Sharp Corners for less than the price of a Whopper with cheese.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Shifted Gears Quickly

The BBC 100 was an annual article published in Baseball Cards magazine from the mid 80's to probably the early 90's.  In the article, they'd analyze minor league statistics, predict MLB numbers, and rank their Top 100 rookies.

Last weekend, I picked up the April 1991 issue of Baseball Cards which contained that year's rankings.  Normally articles in these issues are short... which frees up more space for advertisements.  But this particular article spanned a whopping twenty-five pages.  In other words, I won't be scanning this article for you guys, but I will include their list and re-rank them to the best of my abilities.

I should preface this by stating that I will not be doing the level of research conducted by bloggers like Chris (The Collector) or Greg (Night Owl Cards).  It's 9:38am and I'm allowing myself two hours to hammer out this post... and I started writing this at least fifteen minutes ago.  In other words... I'm probably going to be historically inaccurate, so feel free to rank these guys yourself down below.

Let's start with their list:

Okay.  That took me twenty minutes to type out... and in the process I came to the realization that I only recognize about forty, maybe fifty names on this list.  Perhaps more importantly... I could only provide maybe one or two sentences worth of comments on a fifth of those guys.

So change of plans.  I'm not gonna rank them.  It would only make all of you diehard baseball fans shake your heads in disgust with my BS.  Instead... I'm gonna start digging through boxes and pull out some cards from guys on this list instead.  I'll leave the ranking to the experts.

Let's start with #1...

1992 Leaf Gold #304

Hmmm.  Right out of the gate, I discovered a problem.  It might be harder to find singles of these player than I thought.  I've shipped off most of my Tigers inserts and parallels over the years and it's not like I have a ton of 90's completed sets.  I definitely don't have random commons laying around.  Those were donated or sold over the years.

Luckily... I'm in the process of building the 1992 Leaf Gold set... and Fryman is sitting in the binder.

The #2 guy is also in the set, but I doubt you want to see this post turn into a 1992 Leaf recap.  So here's Ray Lankford from a different set:

1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations #17

This set was pretty popular back in 1992, but has cooled off over the years.  These days you can grab a complete set for $10 to $20 which is what I did.

I had to include Lankford in this post to honor The Snorting Bull who happens to be the blogosphere's Ray Lankford supercollector.

As soon as saw Mark Whiten's name at #4, I thought of this:

Not sure if the YouTube clip worked, but it highlights his four home run game against the Cincinnati Reds back in 1993.

1995 Topps Embossed Golden Idols #88

According to Baseball Almanac... eighteen guys have accomplished this feat in an MLB game... including six hall of famers.  But for some reason, the first two guys I think of are Bob Horner and Mark Whiten.

Topps mentioned this historic event on the back of Whiten's Topps Embossed card:

It's time to get the ball rolling.  The two hour mark has come and gone.  But I can't leave this post at three cards... so let's keep going.

The last player in the BBC Top 10 that I'll feature is #7 Carlos Baerga:

2016 Topps Archives Signature Series All-Star Buybacks

If you had asked me back in the 90's if Baerga was a future hall of famer, I probably would have said "yes".  He still finished with impressive career numbers, but an injury to his left knee towards the late 90's kept him from reaching Cooperstown.

Moving into the teens... here's a guy I was rooting for big time back in the early 90's:

1989 Star Minor League #170

The year this article was published, Baseball Cards ranked him at #14 and he went on to hit .331 with 11 home runs in 53 games.  This guy instantly became a hot rookie.  I have his 1991 Stadium Club rookie card laying around somewhere, but didn't have time to dig through a 5,000ct. box.  So here's a scan from some flea market pack breaks from back in 2019.

Seriously.  It's now approaching the three hour mark.  I realize that some of you might be getting annoyed by these "time" updates... but fellow bloggers might be able to have an appreciation of the time and effort that goes into these posts.

Let's jump ahead to #49:

1992 Kenner Starting Lineup #NNO

I just reorganized my Kenner Starting Lineup binder and remembered seeing this card of Scott Erickson.

His name stood out because he went to Homestead High School in Cupertino and later attended San Jose City College.  His fans probably remember him for his awesome sophomore season where he was second in AL Cy Young Award voting and walked away with a World Series ring.

Let's fast forward to Eric Karros...

1993 Fleer Ultra Award Winners #20

He's the Dodger that kicked off that insane run of NL Rookie of the Year Award winners for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They won the award five years in a row from 1992 to 1996.  And I thought the A's winning it three years in a row back in the 80's was impressive.

By the way... the magazine ranked him at #73 and recommended holding off on buying his cards, because he wasn't coming up to the Dodgers anytime soon.  They were wrong.  He made his MLB debut on September 1st, 1991.

On the other hand, they were spot on with this guy:

1990 Best Minor League #162

Ozzie came in at #74 on the list... and they predicted that he'd never be as good as his twin brother

They also stated his cards were overpriced and not recommended purchases.  Win some, lose some.

Okay, let's wrap up this post with the star of one of my favorite World Series highlights of all-time:

2015 Topps Triple Threads Unity Autographed Jumbo
Relics Emerald #UAJR-LG (#'d 28/50)

Here's the actual highlight... assuming it works:

Seeing Luis Gonzalez (#95) take down the New York Yankees makes him my favorite player on this list.  Sorry Ozzie.

By the way... if you looked through the list and are wondering why I didn't include Oscar Azocar's iconic 1993 Stadium Club card... it's because I don't have one.  I sifted through my 5,000ct. box of San Diego Padres (something I wouldn't do for the above mentioned Plantier), but was left very disappointed.

Okay fellow collectors, it's your turn to chime in.

Who's the greatest player on Baseball Cards Top 100 list?  Favorite player?

By the way... a special thanks to John @ Johnny's Trading Spot.  His comment on my Flea Market Finds post where I showed off the magazine purchase was the inspiration for this post.  I'm sorry I didn't actually rank these guys, but that's something I'll leave for one of those award winning blog authors.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

Figured since I'm behind the keyboard, I might as well kill two birds with one post.  I was fortunate to win one of John's almost daily giveaways.  Here's a look at the 9-pocket page worth of cards he sent me earlier in the week:

The 1985 Topps card is a classic and a future wallet card candidate.  I'm a huge fan of that card, but until now... only had copies in my Gwynn collection and 1985 Topps set.  I've been using his 1986 Topps card since January 2017Has six years been long enough?  We'll see.  I'll need a little time to pull out some other candidates before I retire one wallet card and pick another.

The other card that stood out was this card:

1990 Sportflics #98

I needed this card for the Gwynn PC.  I've always felt that Sportflics were under-appreciated among collectors.  I've been a fan of them since I ripped open packs back in 1986.

The card back screams Score... which makes sense since they were the same company.  I always thought that Score purchased the Sportflics license, but according to Wikipedia, they are one and the same.

The other card that stood out is this Rollie Fingers:

1986 TCMA All-Time San Diego Padres #11-PAD

I'd really like to eventually track down the rest of the set.

And while I'm at it... here's one more 9-pocket page that John sent me (back in September of 2022):

I found this in a stack in my office a few weeks ago.  If you needed an example of how crazy and unorganized my life can be... this is it.  Sorry it took me five months to finally write about this.  Better late than never, right?

My favorite cards are usually centered around fantastic photography which this PWE certainly packed.  However this time the honor goes to a final tribute card:

1995 Upper Deck #450

Upper Deck honored several retired superstars in 1995 and Schmidt was one of them.  It was perfect timing as he was inducted into Cooperstown that year.

The best thing about this card resides in the full career statistics:

Thank you John for these two PWE's and all of the generosity you are spreading around the blogosphere.  There's actually one more really cool item I'd like to share from John.  But I'll have to share it another day as this post has officially surpassed the five hour mark and I haven't even revised and formatted it.  Yikes.

And for those who are interested... it's 3:04 and I'm going to hit publish right now.  With the exception of one bathroom break and two trips downstairs to get a drink, this was written in one sitting from start to finish.