Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Bright Blue Phillies

Time has not been on my side lately to say the least, but after a few days away from the blog let's return with another ten buybacks to be evaluated for my franken-set...

1982 Topps #478 - Ray Searage

Ray Searage was a relief pitcher who debuted in 1981 with the Mets.  He lasted through the end of the 1990 season, playing with the Brewers, White Sox and Dodgers along the way.  These days he's actually serving as pitching coach for the Pirates.  My favorite thing about this particular set is that it's my "birth year" set.  Also, I don't typically see a whole lot of '82 Topps buybacks in comparison to other years.

This '78 Rem-Dawg was already in slot 478 of the binder though.

I just can't bring myself to choose a relief pitcher I've barely heard of over the man I've listened to doing color commentary for the Red Sox hundreds and hundreds of times over the last few decades.

1972 Topps #509 - Don McMahon

Don McMahon was another bullpen arm, and saw a ton of action during his 15-year MLB career.  That lengthy career is even more impressive when you consider that he didn't make his MLB debut until age 27!  Don died doing what he loved, as he suffered a heart attack while throwing batting practice for the Dodgers in 1987, and passed away as a result just hours later.

I had this somewhat ugly Jim Nash card in the binder in slot 509 already.

Never really liked this one though, I think it's the very odd angle the photograph was taken at (presumably to prevent the logo on the cap from being shown).

1988 Topps #101 - Allan Anderson

Next up we have an example of a match-up where I may have made the wrong call.  When I first looked at this somewhat boring 1988 Allan Anderson buyback I figured it probably didn't have a prayer of making the binder.

So, when I then found this nice '61 Bubba Phillips occupying slot 101 I thought it was no contest.  Aside from being a much nicer, early '60s buyback Bubba had himself a really solid season in 1961, clubbing 18 home runs, driving in over 70, and even serving as the Indians' cleanup hitter at times.

So, I made the choice to stick with Bubba and send Allan off to the reject box.  It was only when typing this post though that I came to realize that Anderson actually led the entire American League in ERA in 1988!  Can you believe that?!?!  Seriously, go ahead and look it up.  I might need to revisit this one someday down the line...

1974 Topps #494 - Ed Goodson

The next conflict was a much easier one to resolve.  This '74 Ed Goodson buyback looked familiar to me.  I found that its entry to the binder was blocked by a buyback from my beloved 1990 Topps set:

Easy call here...

...because this same match-up (or close to it) already took place when the 1990 Terry Puhl ousted the 2015 buyback version of this very same Goodson card.

1986 Topps #632 - Dave Von Ohlen

After four straight conflicts to begin today's post, we finally get a new number for the binder with this 1986 Dave Von Ohlen.  Today's theme seems to be 'relief pitchers', as every single one of Von Ohlen's 181 career MLB appearances came in relief.  I actually like the way Topps framed Dave's photo on this particular card, to me this is an example of '86 Topps done right.

1973 Topps #352 - Don Stanhouse

Speaking of great framing, how about this '73 Don Stanhouse?  This might be one of my favorite '73 Topps cards, I just love the photograph here and I think the horizontal layout makes it even better.  I would love to get this one into the binder, but already have a buyback blocking it:

Not the most interesting card I've ever seen, that's for sure...

...certainly not enough to stand a chance against that great Stanhouse card!

1988 Topps #260 - Vince Coleman

Next up we have the 1985 NL Rookie of the Year, Vince Coleman.  Vince was one of the better base stealers of all-time, in fact he's still the only person to steal 100 or more bases in each of his first three seasons.  With the way the game is played today, that's a record I'm doubting will ever be broken.  This one is also significant in that 1988 was the first time that Vince was named an All-Star.  Without another #260 buyback to compete with Vince is in, and my franken-set just got a bit speedier!

1974 Topps #538 - Cesar Tovar

Cesar Tovar is a member of the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame.  He was known as a versatile player defensively, and is actually one of a very small number of players to have played all nine positions in a single game!  I think that alone makes him more than worthy of franken-set induction, so I was pleased to find that this buyback filled an empty binder slot.

1986 Topps #637 - Rudy Law

Next we have an '86 Rudy Law.  The White Sox actually released Rudy at the outset of the '86 season, and he played with the Royals that year instead (who picked him up just a few days later).  He does have a card in the 1987 Topps set, however 1986 was his final season as the Royals released him during Spring Training in 1987 and he never appeared in a Major League game again.  Law makes the franken-set, as my first buyback with the relatively high number of 637.

1967 Topps #102 - Philadelphia Phillies

Last card for today is the lone Heritage buyback of the post, a nice 1967 Phillies team card.  I've said it before, more than once, but I really wish Topps still did these team cards in their present-day releases. 

The Phillies actually had a decent year in '67, finishing above .500 at 82-80.  Unfortunately that was only good enough to finish 19 1/2 games behind the eventual World Series Champion Cardinals squad.  It would be years before the Phillies were on the right side of .500 again.

This Bill Greif card from '74 Topps was in slot 102...

...but I'm going with the Fightin' Phils.

Well, that's all for today, slowly but surely I'm making my way towards the next significant milestone of 500 buybacks in the binder...thanks for stopping by!

Franken-set Progress:  423/792 (53%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  215
Total Buybacks in Collection: 638

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Floating Heads

I received my latest COMC order in the mail yesterday, which was quite a surprise as I wasn't expecting it for another week or so.  Many of the cards will populate my card chest, to be pulled and posted about at some point in the future.  I did pluck a trio for scanning and posting today as I was putting them away, however.

I decided to grab these three because they're all '71s.  First up is a nice, bright HOFer, Red Schoendienst.  I like the photograph here, and have always enjoyed the black-bordered '71 design.  There was one real reason I was drawn to this one though:

You probably saw this coming based on the title of the post, but today's trio are '71 O-Pee-Chee cards featuring the glorious floating head backs!  These are just beyond awesome, some of the more interesting card backs of all-time in my humble opinion.

I also snagged Luis Tiant, who, while not enshrined in Cooperstown, is a member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.  This one is pretty badly off-center, but I really can't complain considering I paid just 74 cents each for today's three cards.

Besides, with these it's all about the back, and this looks great to me.

Last of the trio is Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar.  I grabbed this one because at the time this set was released Cuellar was one of the best arms in the game.  He'd won the AL Cy Young Award in 1969, and led the league in wins en route to a Baltimore World Series Championship in 1970.

I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more of these.  There weren't a whole lot of other options at this much of a discount, but I'm happy with these three for now.  $2.22 well spent!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

One Card Post - Pistol Pete!

What:  1980-81 Topps #38 - Pete Maravich
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $.88

:  I'm not a big basketball guy, but when I found out recently that Pete Maravich had a card from his final NBA season with the Celtics I was intrigued.  As basketball collectors know, the '80-81 set actually had three mini cards per full-size card.  The mini cards had perforated edges and could be torn apart, which is what happened here.  Each mini card like this one is roughly the size of a mini card that you'd find in modern-day Allen & Ginter baseball sets, though not exactly.

I'm sure the fact that this one has been separated hurts its "value", but I thought it was a really cool card from a sport I don't really dabble in for less than a buck!  Even comes with a cartoon on the back:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Sheff & Covington

Getting back to my buyback franken-set on this sunny Friday, let's check out another ten cards and see how they fare...

1990 Topps #718 - Gary Sheffield

A great start today with a Topps All-Star Rookie Cup card from one of my favorite sets.  I was pleased to find that this one made the binder uncontested as my first #718 buyback.  Sheffield is represented fairly well now, with each of his first two major Topps releases now included.

1989 Topps #57 - Alejandro Pena

Next up is an '89 Alejandro Pena.  Pena and the Dodgers were just coming off of their improbable 1988 World Series victory against the powerhouse Oakland A's team when this card was printed up.  Unfortunately for Alejandro, when it comes to the franken-set he gets pitted up against one of my favorite buybacks from recent months:

I'm very biased here, as Marv Throneberry shares my birthday, which is the primary reason I picked this one up to begin with.

Pena never stood a chance.

1989 Topps #516 - Eddie Whitson

Eddie Whitson pitched at the Major League level for a good long stretch, between 1977 and 1991.  He finished with a record just a hair above .500 at 126-123, and a career ERA of 3.79.  This one makes the cut as my first #516 buyback.  Good Lord the Padres sported a lot of brown in the late '80s...

1989 Topps #525 - Chili Davis

One more 1989 buyback for today, the great Chili Davis!  Chili was the first player born in Jamaica to appear in an MLB ballgame.  He was a 3x All-Star during his career, and won three World Series' as well.  These days he's serving as hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox.  This one makes the binder as well!

1990 Topps #149 - Steve Farr

How about another pair of buybacks from 1990 Topps, the set everyone loves to hate?  Steve Farr was a closer for most of his career.  He pitched for five teams, but spent the bulk of his time with the Royals (the team with which he won a World Series in 1985).  This one makes the binder, let's check out the other...

1990 Topps #359 - Jimmy Jones

Jimmy Jones here brings me to 19 total 1990 Topps buybacks now.  He pitched a few seasons in MLB, then finished his career overseas with the Yomiuri Giants.  I'm still not sure I'll ever really go off the deep end and attempt a complete 1990 buyback set, but I'm happy to have almost 20 of them piled up now.  I already had a #359 buyback in the binder:

Hmm...a hat-less Dick Ellsworth courtesy of last year's Topps Heritage release.

Didn't have to think long about this one, as a buyback from my first childhood set is going to beat a cap-less photo from the '60s nearly every time.

2005 Topps #UH57 - Livan Hernandez

Next we've got Cuban hurler Livan Hernandez on the 2005 Topps design.  Livan was an original Washington National, as he was with the team during their transition from Montreal.  He was the World Series MVP when the Marlins won it all in 1997, and actually hung around the big leagues all the way through 2012.

Unfortunately this buyback comes from the 2005 Topps Updates & Highlights set.  At this point in the project I'm not including Updated/Traded cards, so this one is off to the reject box.  Maybe at some point down the line I'll try my hand at an Update/Traded buyback franken-set if I ever finish the standard one I'm working away at now...

2014 Topps #419 - Lucas Harrell

Here's one of the more recent buybacks I've encountered to date; it's definitely sort of odd to see a card from 2014 in buyback format.  Lucas Harrell was actually designated for assignment in April of 2014, and since then has bounced around with the Diamondbacks, Tigers, Braves and Rangers, and even played briefly in South Korea.  These days he's pitching in the minor leagues with the Blue Jays organization.  In the absence of another #419 buyback he makes the franken-set for now.

1968 Topps #293 - Bruce Howard

Don't know the first thing about Bruce Howard, who pitched in the Majors for just a handful of seasons in the mid-'60s.  1968 would actually be his final season, and he split it between the Orioles and the Washington Senators.

This '59 Ray Moore buyback is already occupying slot 293.

No way I'm going with a hat-less '68 over a beautiful '59.

1962 Topps #157 - Wes Covington

Last card, and probably my favorite from today's grouping.  Wes Covington was the recipient of some great cardboard over the course of his career.  While this one isn't quite as nice as his fantastic 1961 Topps issue, I still jumped at the chance to purchase this buyback from COMC for $1.24.

Turns out I already had a buyback of the infamous Pete LaCock in slot 157.

Even the legendary Pete LaCock was no match for that sweet double-barrel Covington, though.

50/50 split today between new numbers and conflicts, not bad at all at this stage of the endeavor!  I'll be back over the weekend or early next week with the next batch for evaluation...

Franken-set Progress:  419/792 (52%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  209
Total Buybacks in Collection: 628

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


The recent decline of Zistle has left my collection in somewhat of an unorganized, cluttered state.  In fact, as the months roll by I'm starting to realize that having my collection digitally organized was a big part of what was making it enjoyable for me.  Now I feel like I'm kind of roaming around aimlessly to some extent.  Today I have a few examples of that... these Upper Deck Portfolio "wire photo" cards.  I like these quite a bit, particularly the retired stars from the release like Guy Lafleur and Lanny McDonald here.

The thing is, I bought a lot of around 20 of them on eBay.  Mostly because I wanted the Conor McDavid wire photo rookie card that was included.  Did I really need 19 others?  Did I really need the McDavid even?  It's not like I broke the bank as the entire lot cost me less than a retail blaster, but now I can't help feeling like this was a silly impulse buy and the cards are going to sit in a box.

Here's another random one, a buyback from 2010-11 Upper Deck hockey.  Buybacks are one of the things in the hobby that I actually have been enjoying quite a bit lately thanks to my baseball buyback franken-set.  Should I have strayed into hockey though, and dropped a five-spot on this Al MacInnis?  Not sure, but I did!

At least it's "authentic"...

This one I actually like quite a bit.  The 2016 Archives release featured what might be my favorite photograph on any Xander Bogaerts card to date.  Just perfect really.  This one is a red border parallel, which I think makes it even more aesthetically pleasing.

Numbered to just 50 copies, I jumped at the chance to grab this one for a five spot.

Here's another one I feel a bit less guilty about.  That's because the 1989-90 Topps/O-Pee-Chee hockey set represents the first cards my brothers and I ever collected as kids.  I've been picking up a few autographs from the release over time, and Glen Wesley here is the latest.  Most Whalers fans detested this guy when he played with the Bruins, but then he joined Hartford in the mid-'90s and feelings changed.

However you feel about Glen, this was a solid pick-up for my 1989-90 collection, especially since it set me back just the opening bid of 99 cents.

Here's a very colorful one from last year's Topps TBT release.  I went a little crazy with Topps NOW and TBT last season, but I learned my lesson.  I'm staying strong and haven't picked up even a single card from either release so far in 2017 here...

This one's been kicking around waiting to be scanned for years.  I briefly flirted with player collecting Adrian Gonzalez during his very brief tenure with Boston, but in the end it wasn't for me.  A nice enough refractor though, with just 50 copies out there...

I'll close it out here, with another gold card, also numbered to 50.  I posted the blue version the other day, and picked this one up from the same seller.

So yeah, there are just a few examples of the clutter in my office.  Maybe it's just because I've been sick, maybe it's because I'm overwhelmed with the task of re-organizing my collection post-Zistle, but I've been thinking recently that it's time to trim back.  I'm not going to stop collecting, but I am considering selling off a lot of the random stuff I've accumulated in the 10 years I've been back at this, and attacking collecting with a more narrow focus going forward.

We'll see...
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