Sunday, February 19, 2017

Signature Sundays - Tim Thomas!

Every so often when I have a few minutes to kill with my iPad, I'll search the trading card section on eBay for 'Autograph', sort by Ending Soonest and see if there's any low-hanging fruit to be plucked at the last moment. Doing so last weekend led me to one of my more satisfying cheap autograph buys in quite some time:

Sweet card, huh?  For a Bruins fan it doesn't get much better than this, as Tim Thomas' 2010-11 season when Boston won The Cup was one of the most dominating end-to-end goaltending performances I've ever seen with my own eyes.

I don't recall ever having seen these "Collision Course" autos before, but the card is wonderfully bright and vibrant, and features a nice, large on-card autograph.  I love that it depicts a play from the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, and that it was signed by Thomas just weeks or months after the Bruins won their lone championship of my lifetime.

Here's the back, serial-numbered to /100 as you can see, and you get a nice description letting you know that the photograph is from Game 3 of the 2011 Cup Finals.  To me, this one carries a little extra significance as my wife and I were married in 2011, and were actually on our honeymoon over in France the day this game was played (no, I couldn't watch the game over there but I recorded it and was home in time to catch the end of the series in real-time).

I know Tim Thomas isn't exactly a HOFer, but for a couple of years there he was one of the elite goalies in the league.  I'm surprised that it took me so long, but I'm happy to finally add his autograph to my hockey card collection, especially for the bargain basement price of $3.26 plus shipping!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: I Get Buy(backs) with a Little Help from My Friends

Recently, buyback cards have been flooding into Shoebox Legends headquarters from all over the place.  In fact, I have four more folks who've sent me buybacks recently that I need to thank, and that's exactly what I'll be doing here.  Let's take a look at the goods and see if they make the franken-set album...

1978 Topps #167 - Tim Foli

First up is a trio of buybacks from Billy of Cardboard History.  Billy has just gotten into hockey cards recently, and sent me a few Hartford Whalers.  It turns out that I had the Whalers cards already, but the three buybacks he sent with them were all new to me!

Tim Foli's 1978 card was the first of the trio from Billy.  Foli was a solid infielder but swung just an average bat over the course of his career.  He possessed neither speed nor power, but still carved out a lengthy MLB career for himself.  He's got competition for slot 167 in the franken-set:

While I don't have any particular affinity towards Deron Johnson, this is a wonderfully colorful '72.

The competition was just a bit too tough, off to the buybacks box with Tim Foli.

1971 Topps #190 - Bob Tolan

Here's a really sharp '71 featuring speedster Bobby Tolan.  Bobby would actually miss the entire 1971 season after rupturing his ACL playing basketball in the off-season.  He'd return the following season though, and play well enough to earn Comeback Player of the Year.  Again there's some competition here with the following card already in slot 190 in the binder:

Unfortunately for Bobby Tolan, he's up against a Gold Glove and Rookie of the Year winner on one of my favorite designs of the '50s.

That one hurt a bit.

1960 Topps #414 - Don Williams

Here's the last of the cards that Billy sent, a 1960 buyback!  This set is sparsely represented within this project to say the least.  I was really excited to find that slot 414 was empty, this card is in.  Despite Don making just 11 career MLB appearances, this one will put up a tough fight against any future buybacks.

1987 Topps #537 - Rance Mulliniks

Next up is the very first 2017 Topps buyback to enter into my collection, pulled from a pack and sent to me by my buddy Shane Katz of Off the Wall.  I mentioned in a previous buyback post that I was excited to see all of the '80s and '90s buybacks included in this year's flagship Topps set as I think they'll be a huge help in filling the higher number portion of my set, and this is a perfect example of that.  Rance makes the set uncontested, and actually has an entire page all to himself at the moment.

1975 Topps #495 - Nelson Briles

This Nelson Briles came in a care package from Chris, aka The Pedestrian Collector.  Chris sent some much appreciated cards off of my set building want list as well.  I'll get to those in a separate post, but for today it's this super colorful '75 Topps Briles.  This one makes the cut without contest, and it's fitting given that Nelson had a card in the franken-set previously, but was bumped.  Great stuff!

1992 Topps #705 - Dwight Evans

Last card for today, this 2017 Topps Dwight Evans buyback just arrived yesterday courtesy of Commishbob, The Five Tool Collector.  Another shining example of 2017 Topps filling up the high number portion of the binder, as this is only the second buyback so far with a number of 700 or greater.  Making this one even cooler is the fact that I love "short term stop" cards featuring players with teams you don't normally associate them with.  Add to that Evans' long and successful career with the Red Sox and this is just a perfect card for my project.

Billy, Shane, Chris and Bob, thank you all so much for your contributions to my buyback project!  I really appreciate you guys thinking of me, I know I owe you all cards and will have some packages out soon here.

Franken-set Progress:  317/792 (40%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  97
Total Buybacks in Collection:  414

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bargain Hunting - Delvecchio Tallboy!

A couple of weeks back I got an email from Dave & Adam's Card World letting me know they were having a sale, and since I had a few minutes I decided to check it out.  While I didn't find any boxes or other unopened modern product that caught my eye, there were two cards in their vintage singles section (one baseball, one hockey) that I was highly interested in and thought were priced more than fairly.

Tonight I present the first, HOFer Alex Delvecchio:

Man I love the '64-65 Topps hockey set.  I'm partial to "tallboy" cards in general but this release in particular is just fantastic.  I'm not in a position to try completing a hockey set from the '60s at this point, but were I considering doing so this one would be at the top of the list.

Alex Delvecchio is one of those guys that from my point of view seems to get slightly less hobby respect than some of his contemporaries.  I'm not really sure why given that he was a member of three Stanley Cup winning teams, and that when he retired he was second in career games played, assists and points.

The copy I bought is actually slabbed by PSA.  The other cards I have from this set are not graded, and so I will most likely break Alex free of his plastic prison at some point.  I was very surprised to see this card earn a grade of just 3.  The reason why is evident on the back, though I still think the grade is harsh:

A bit of paper loss at the tail end of Alex's last name there and a couple of soft corners are about the only flaws here.  Doesn't bother me in the least, as you can still read all of the vital information and the cartoon is unscathed as well.  Besides, these issues are the reason this card was so cheap.

How cheap?  I paid $10.  Yup, I'd call that a bargain!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A '59 Trio

Just a quick post tonight, been a long day.  When I saw recently that an eBay seller had listed nearly an entire '59 Topps set, with each individual card starting at a penny and combined shipping available, I placed a few bids and came home with 9 new cards for my set in the end.  Tonight I've got the first three to show...

Ted Kluszewski had some monster seasons in the mid-'50s with the Cincinnati Reds, and finished his career with brief stints with the Pirates, White Sox and Angels. 

As a hitter, Ted could do it all.  He was a fantastic contact hitter with 7 .300-or-better seasons under his belt and a lifetime .298 average, but could club the hell out of the ball as well.  Kluszewski received at least some MVP votes every year between 1952 and 1956, and seemed destined for Cooperstown before injuries began to take their toll and his numbers really nose-dived in his final years.  This card was the cheapest of the few I ended up with at just 84 cents!

Minnie Minoso is a name I was excited to cross off of my want list.  He was 33 years old in 1959, and still enjoying success at the plate with a .302 / 21 HR / 92 RBI stat line.  Minoso is one of the more interesting random figures in baseball history as well, as he made a few at-bats at age 50 in 1976 and again at age 54 in 1980.

This one is pretty severely off-center, so I'll probably end up upgrading it at some point, but Minnie seems to be a popular guy with collectors and this copy was at least a couple bucks cheaper than similar examples on COMC.  Good enough for now!

Lastly, here's Bob Turley, fresh off of an amazing 1958 season in which he led the American League in wins, was named an All-Star, won the World Series, and captured Cy Young and World Series MVP honors!  I'd have to imagine that for a kid opening a pack of Topps cards in 1959 this would have been a very exciting pull indeed.  The condition of this one is also top notch, enough so that I will never need to even consider upgrading it.

So yeah, three cards closer, bringing me up to 218 in the binder.  Slowly but surely I'll get there...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Barely Treading Water in a Sea of Generosity

I'm beginning to have a real "first world problem" when it comes to operating the blog, and that is that so many generous folks are sending me cards that it's truly becoming a part-time job keeping up with everything.  Much of this is my own fault, as my habit of scanning every single new card has combined with my habit of thanking each person who sends me something in an individual post to create a two-headed monster.

I feel constantly behind, and what's worse is that the time I'm spending trying to catch up is eating into the time I'd have to actually ship return cards to everyone.  At some point in the near future here I might have to reconsider my modus operandi and start combining multiple packages into the same post, but for now I trudge on.

All of that was a very roundabout way of saying that today I present the latest excellent PWE that I received from Joe Shlabotnik of The Shlabotnik Report.  Let's dive in...

We start off the package with a trio of pitchers who spent parts of the 2000s in the rotation for the Red Sox.  First up is Bronson Arroyo from the set I'd love to see return as much as any other, Topps Total.  The most random thing I can say about Bronson is that he sat in as a guest guitarist for the song Black when I saw Pearl Jam at Fenway Park late this past summer.

Next up, John Burkett from 2002 Topps Gallery.  This is a sharp looking set, and I believe the only cards that I own from it have come from Joe.  John Burkett was only with Boston for two seasons at the tail end of his career, but I remember thinking of him as someone who pitched better than his numbers would have you believe.

Though Daisuke Matsuzaka is viewed as somewhat of a bust player in retrospect, I'll always have fond memories of the Red Sox landing him and the excitement that ensued among the fan base as a result.  As someone who was a kid fan in the '90s when guys like Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park were becoming huge stars it seemed like deja vu to me at the time.  This oddball comes from a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine, you can see the perforation along the left edge of the card in this scan.  A solid addition to my ever-growing subset of Dice-K cards!

For a team collector, sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than crossing a simple common off the list, as was the case here.

I wasn't sure what this one was initially, but some quick research led to the discovery that it's from a set called 2004 MLB Showdown.  As you can tell by the rounded corners and instructions for play below the photo, these were associated with some type of baseball board or dice game.  I absolutely count cards like this when it comes to my Sox collection.  Besides, this photograph of Manny haphazardly chasing a ball sort of sums up his attitude for much of the time he spent in Boston.

A nice Steven Wright from last year's Heritage High Numbers set.  There aren't a ton of cards of this guy out there so I'm grateful whenever I receive one.  Shoulder problems forced his 2016 season to come to an early end, but I'm hopeful that he can bounce back and be a key member of the rotation in 2017 here.

This perfectly '90s Score Rookie/Traded card is a nice reminder of speedster Otis Nixon's lone season in Boston.  I remember him most from his days with the Braves and Expos prior to that.  Sort of sad to see him continue to struggle with drug problems even in retirement, I hope he's able to turn his life around and get back on a better track.

Finally, to close out today's post, Joe was kind enough to send a trio of Topps buybacks to be evaluated for my franken-set project!  Let's see how they fared...

1976 Topps #491 - Terry Crowley

Terry Crowley was a bench/role type player who served as a backup catcher, outfielder, pinch-hitter and DH for a few teams over the course of his career.  He was fortunate enough to be on two World Series winners, the 1970 Orioles and the 1975 Reds.  Unfortunately though, there's another '70s card in Terry's way in the franken-set:

Red Sox backstop of the '70s Bob Montgomery stands in Terry Crowley's way.

Terry comes out on the losing end, however he'll still be cherished within my collection as I love all buyback cards whether they make the franken-set or not.  Next!

1974 Topps #429 - Dick Lange

Dick Lange was a late-season call up for the Angels in 1972, and would play three more seasons with the team after that in what would be a relatively short career at the MLB level.  1974 was his busiest season by far, as he made more starts than in his other three seasons combined.  It was also the only time he'd post a sub-4.00 ERA in any season.

This 1979 John Urrea already sits in slot 429 of the binder.  I'm not particularly attached to this one, so I'm going with the card Joe sent me:


1979 Topps #672 - Ed Halicki

The last of the buyback trio is a nice high-number courtesy of 1979 Topps.  As I've mentioned before, this portion of the binder is sparsely populated, so this one automatically makes the cut and occupies a previously empty slot.  As far as the subject, the highlight of Ed Halicki's 7-season MLB career was undoubtedly the no-hitter he tossed against the Mets in 1975.

Two out of three ain't bad when it comes to the buybacks making the cut!  Thanks for these, and for the other great cards you sent as well Joe!

Franken-set Progress:  313/792 (40%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  94
Total Buybacks in Collection:  407

Sunday, February 12, 2017

'72-73 OPC WHA - The Quest Continues

It's been a lot of fun so far working on the '72-73 O-Pee-Chee WHA subset, and I've really kicked it into high gear the past few weeks.  Today I've got another pair to share with you, each plucked from eBay for just a couple bucks...

Winger Wayne Rivers appeared in just over 100 NHL games throughout the '60s, tallying 15 goals over that span.  He played his last NHL game in '68-69, but like many players found his "second wind" when the WHA was founded in the early '70s.

Wayne Spent the WHA's inaugural season with the team he's pictured with here, the New York Raiders.  He lit the lamp 37 times that year for New York and scored at just about a point-per-game pace, something he'd continue to do throughout his WHA career.

The Raiders were a doomed franchise, lasting just one season under that name, but I'm pleased to have a second card representing them in my collection nonetheless.


Rosaire Paiement (the man whose name is so long it doesn't quite fit on this card) bounced back and forth in the late '60s between the Philadelphia Flyers and their AHL affiliate in Quebec, before finally landing a more permanent roster spot with the expansion Vancouver Canucks to begin the '70s.  When the WHA was founded though he jumped ship and joined the Chicago Cougars.

Paiement became a staple of the Cougars' offense, appearing in every single game for the franchise over their entire 3-season existence.  Known as a guy who wasn't afraid to rough up an opposing player, he also scored at least 25 goals in each of those three seasons with Chicago, and would go on to play in over 450 WHA games before a sucker punch to his left eye abruptly ended his career.

So there you have it, two more subjects from the crazy days of the WHA.  This pair puts me at 9 of these now, which is starting to feel like a nice little collection but is still just a fraction of what's out there.  Fine by me though, more cards to chase and as a matter of fact I already have others to show here soon...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday Randoms

I'm out cruising around deep in the woods of northern New Hampshire on a snowmobile right about now, so how about a scheduled post to clean out a bunch of back-logged images from my scans folder?  Sure, why not!

In 2008, Topps included a 5-card insert set of the World's Deadliest Sharks in its Allen & Ginter release.  Since I first saw Jaws as a kid I've always had a passing interest in the apex predator of the deep blue sea, and so these really appealed to me as something you don't see every day in the world of cardboard.  I have no idea what the odds were of pulling one of these, but over the years I grabbed one here or there on the secondary market.  This Tiger Shark was actually the last one I needed to complete the 5-card set!

This Giancarlo Stanton is a photo variation short print.  Pulled it myself from one of those ten-packs-for-ten-bucks repacks sometime last year.  It was a pretty boring repack by any standard, so this card was unquestionably the star of the show.

You've probably seen this one elsewhere by now, but just before the holidays Topps sent this special 2016 Highlights Topps Now card out to anyone who had purchased a Topps Now card from them over the course of the season.

Since it features David Ortiz on the back I consider this one for my Red Sox collection.

Here's a nice Bazooka cartoon insert featuring the most dominant Red Sox pitcher of my lifetime, Pedro Martinez.  "Batters cry...while Pedro Cys" is cheesy to say the least, but I think they did a good job replicating the look and feel of the Bazooka Joe cartoons I remember from childhood.

Here's one that doesn't necessarily fit my collection in the strictest sense, but I grabbed it anyway.  The price was right, I'm a sucker for Topps parallels, and it features a solid trio of stars.  I probably would have been better off putting the $1.25 I spent on this toward another project, but I really enjoy just cruising COMC for random bargains quite a bit.

Next up, a trio of Whalers that I believe actually came from my buddy Douglas Corti yet slipped through the cracks when I was typing up that particular trade post.  I've mentioned this before but any time I get a new Terry Yake card I remember as a kid my Dad and brothers joking that his name looks like "teriyaki".

Super shiny Sanderson!

This one doesn't quite blind you in the way that the Leaf Limited card does, but a new Whaler is a new Whaler regardless.

Here's a card that's seen better days, but that I just couldn't bring myself to leave on the counter at my LCS.  I'll take just about any card from the '50s that I don't have if the price is right, condition be damned.  If the subject is featured with a franchise that no longer exists (at least in the same city) like the New York Giants or Brooklyn Dodgers, then I'm even more intrigued.

If you've kept up with the blog for a while now, you may have seen me post some of these awesome Blue Cubes parallels from O-Pee-Chee Platinum before.  With just 65 of each card in circulation, they're rare enough that I don't want to stress myself out with trying to complete the 200-card set, but whenever I see them for cheap coin it's hard to resist.

Nice to add another pair here, especially the Barkov card.  Thanks to an influx of young, talented stars as well as the ageless Jaromir Jagr, the Panthers have actually become my second favorite NHL team in recent years behind the Boston Bruins.  Barkov is an important piece of the puzzle for Florida, and I was so excited to land this one that I paid nearly $6 for it, which isn't exactly a great deal.  I love the card though, so I'm not losing any sleep over it.

I've really become motivated to keep working on my 1959 Topps set, especially after Shane of Off the Wall sent me a huge lot late last year.

Here I've got half a dozen new entries to the binder.  As you can see with Hank Sauer here, I'm not very picky about condition at this point, just happy to fill a binder slot on the cheap whenever I can.

The Sauer card aside, the rest of the cards that make up this half dozen are actually in really nice shape.  Nice enough that I will never feel compelled to upgrade any of them, that's for sure.

Always nice when I can double dip and grab a new Red Sox card at the same time!

This one might be my favorite from this small group, I love the glasses.

The best part is that each of these only set me back between 50 and 65 cents.  It's nice to be early enough on in the set build where I still need a lot of cheap commons like this.

Last two cards for today, a pair of beautiful Paper Framed parallels from the first Gypsy Queen set.  I really went crazy for this set the first year it was released, though I tired of it quickly.

I've been working on the Paper Framed and Green Framed parallels ever since, and was happy to snag a couple of HOFers here for cheap coin.  The Frank Robinson is particularly nice.

Well, that helped clear up the clutter some.  It'll be back to your regularly scheduled programming beginning tomorrow...
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