30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Getting Back Into the Game

Happy SundayAre you ready for some sports card posts?

I am fully aware that I haven't been very active in the blogosphere lately.  In fact, this year saw a significant drop in the number of posts I published on this blog.  But I'm hoping to bounce back in 2024.  Cold starts have never worked for me, so if I have any hopes of getting back into a regular blogging routine, I'd better start now.

With blogger care packages, flea market finds, and even a few card show purchases piling up in my office... I was wondering where the heck I should begin.  Then Ryan texted me over the weekend about Godzilla Minus One, which is the latest movie in the franchise.  Not sure if I've ever seen any of the Godzilla movies in the theaters, but I'm hoping to change that this holiday season.

2006 Topps Topps Stars #TS-HM

His text reminded me of a stack of cards sitting on my desk with this Godzilla right on top.  It was part of a care package that Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders sent me last December.  Nope.  That's not a typo.  One year ago.

Since then he's sent me two additional packages and today... in honor of Godzilla being out in theaters (and the Ohtani signing yesterday with the Dodgers)... I'm going to show off the Japanese baseball players (and a few other items) he sent my way.

2021 Topps A&G #23

Dennis has a way of picking cards for my collection.  My Ichiro cards are sorted by year in a binder and this is the first and only 2021 card in it.

He also sent me these three hits I didn't have: 

2021 Chrome Update Autographs #CUSA-KA
Arihara only spent a couple of seasons over here and wasn't exactly a household name.

2010 Topps National Chicle Relics #NCR-KF

On the other hand, I feel like the majority of baseball fans around in the late 2000's remember Fukudome.  He had one heck of a MLB debut and his first month in the Bigs was stellar.  There was even a controversial t-shirt he was depicted on that made national news.

2018 Topps Player's Weekend Patch #PWP-MA

Tanaka was a two-time all-star and spent his entire seven season MLB career with the New York Yankees, so he should be a household name among baseball fansAnyone else remember him going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 2013 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles?

I'll round out the huge lot of Japanese baseball players with these two Hideo Nomo cards:

1995 Flair Wave of the Future #10

Nomo opened the door for guys like Matsui, Ichiro, Tanaka, and Ohtani and is still the MLB career leader in wins among Japanese born pitchers.  And up until August, he was the career leader in strikeoutsYu Darvish passed him up and ironically... Nomo (who works for the Padres) was at the game.

Anyways... getting back the card... at the height of Nomomania, this card was probably selling for $20 to $30.  Probably more in LA.

1996 Topps BIG Topps #NNO

What you're looking at is a really cool insert from the 90's.  C'mon... you know I like oversized cards.  These postcard sized cards were inserted (like box toppers) into specially marked team sets that were sold at Walmart.  I had never owned one of these until Dennis sent me this one.

In an effort to tie in some other items he sent me, here are some new Jake Cronenworth cards for my San Diego Padres PC:

One shiny card really stood out from the bunch:

2022 Topps Chrome Future Stars #FS-9

Those of you who are familiar with Dennis... know that he's a huge Michigan Wolverines fan/collectorCronenworth was born and raised in Michigan and played three seasons with the Wolverines before entering the MLB Draft.

I'm super excited for Dennis as his #1 ranked Wolverines are headed to Southern California to play #4 Alabama in the CFP semifinals.  I will totally be rooting for them as well as the Washington Huskies in the other CFP semifinal game.

I'll also be pulling for San Jose State University as they're bowl bound too.  They play Coastal Carolina in the 2023 Hawaii Bowl on December 23rd.  Let's go Spartans!

Here are a pair of Tyler Ervin autographs that Dennis added to my SJSU PC:

2016 Panini Classics Significant Signatures #233

2016 Panini Prime Signatures #212

Ervin was an absolute stud for the Spartans his senior year when he rushed for over 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Although his NFL career was less than stellar, he did end up playing five seasons with three teams.

David Fales was another Spartan who shined in San Jose:

2014 SP Authentic Canvas Collection #C-30

He was a teammate of Ervin at SJSU from 2012 to 2013 and finished with over 8,000 passing yards during his two seasons there before entering the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Chicago Bears selected him in the 6th Round and his facial expression pretty much sums up his NFL career.

Dennis sent me a bunch of other things, but I'm already over three hours into this post and I'm guessing most of you have already checked out.  But for those of you who stuck around, in honor of the Los Angeles Lakers becoming the first NBA In-Season Tournament Champions, here's one more Michigan native Dennis sent me:

1990-91 Star Slam #1-9

Haven't been a big NBA fan for the past decade or so, but when I was... the Lakers were my team.  I started rooting for them during the Showtime Era and Magic Johnson played a huge part in my fanfare.

Magic attended college in Michigan... but wasn't a Wolverine.  He was a Michigan State Spartan.  I've got no love for them... or the baseball team he has an ownership stake in.  However I will casually root for the Lakers and of course Shohei Ohtani.

Well that's it for now.  I'm going to try to write at least one post a week until the holidays... then fingers crossed... get back into the two to three posts per week routine in 2024.

By the way... thank you to those who left thoughtful comments on my Papa Fuji and buddy Mike posts.  They lifted my spirits during that rough patch and were much appreciated.  I'm very fortunate to be a part of this card blogging community.

Happy Sunday and sayonara! 


Almost forgot... if you're a college football fan, head over to Cards on Cards and enter Kerry's College Bowl Pick'em contest.  The rules are simple and there are multiple prizes.  Don't believe me, click here and see for yourself.


The Angels In Order said...

Happy Sunday and Merry Christmas Mark!

Elliptical Man said...

Magic vs Ewing wins it.

Bo said...

Matsui was a great Yankees. Clutch hitter, the kind they sorely miss these days.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

Always bud!

Uncle Charlie's Shoebox said...

Strongly recommend Godzilla Minus One. My 9 year old loves any Godzilla movie and had seen every single one. I have seen very few but went with him last weekend....this movie was very good and definitely worth it.

night owl said...

Glad you're planning a bounce-back year! Looking forward to it.

I had no idea there was a new Godzilla movie in theaters, but I don't really follow new movies now.

Nomo sure has a lot of 1995 rookie cards, I just counted how many I have. It's 27, including that Flair Wave of Future card.

John Sharp said...

Good to hear from you Fuji!

SumoMenkoMan said...

Happy Sunday! I wish Matsui would have lasted a bit longer in the MLB. Definitely ready to go watch Godzilla!

NPB Card Guy said...

Saw Godzilla Minus One yesterday and it's very good. And of course I remember Masahiro Tanaka's stellar 2013 season. He and Wladimir Balentien made that season a lot of fun to follow.

Dennis said...

Great to see you back, Fuji! I'm glad you enjoyed those cards and hope you like the most recent envelope too. Also, may 2024 be a much more positive year for you.

sg488 said...

Dennis must have forgot about the best running back the Spartans ever sent to the NFL Gerald Willhite.

The Snorting Bull said...

I was unaware of the new Godzilla movie. The little man loves Godzilla, might have to check that one out with him. Loved the cards in the post, obviously the Cronenworth is sweet, but also loved the Nomo. I have spent the past week dabbling in mid-to-late 1990s baseball cards. Ran across more than a few Nomos. Good to see you back blogging.

Jon said...

2024: Fuji's return!

Nick said...

Looking forward to seeing the 2024 Chronicles of Fuji! I could use a bit of a blog revival myself next year - shouldn't be hard given how little I've posted this year.

I can't tell you exactly why, but I still have a soft spot for Kosuke Fukudome. I'll always remember the game-tying homer he hit in his first game at Wrigley.

The Lost Collector said...

Always love seeing Tanaka and Matsui cards!

Fuji said...

Only two weeks late. Sorry it took me so long to respond, but here we go...

The Angels In Order - Happy holidays to you and your family!

Elliptical Man - I'm guessing Magic didn't score there.

Bo - He sure had some big hits in pinstripes. Although I was rooting against his team... I am glad he won a WS ring in 2009 with them.

Johnnys Trading Spot - Thanks Johnny!

Uncle Charlie's Shoebox - I'm excited to go see it in the theaters. Pretty sure it'll be my first on the big screen.

night owl - I'd have to sit down and flip through my binder and box to see how many I have, but no way I have 27. If I had to guess, I'd say I have somewhere between 10 and 15 Nomo cards from 1995.

John Sharp - Good to be back behind the keyboard. Although... this is the first time in several days. The week leading up to the holiday break is always a little hectic.

SumoMenkoMan - He came over here when he was 28... so that late start didn't help. But at least he split his time between here and Japan pretty evenly.

NPB Card Guy - Holy smokes. Just looked it up and Balentien had a crazy season. I wonder how he fared against Tanaka at the plate.

Dennis - I haven't opened the one I just received... but I plan on it soon. Thanks in advance buddy!

sg488 - Willhite is a blast from the past. I need Panini to go back and add him to some of their college products, so I can get him on a SJSU card.

The Snorting Bull - Can't wait to see it next week. I've got a lot of plans for the next two weeks... but that's definitely high on the priority list.

Jon - Crossing my fingers, but that's the plan.

Nick - That home run made news across baseball... and the hobby.

The Lost Collector - Me too (even though both guys were Yankees) :D