Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Random Binder of Awesomeness - Page 1

One thing that I'm always looking to improve on is storage and display of my collection.  My collecting interests are so varied, and I have so many random cards, that it can be a challenge to keep them organized but also enjoyable and easy to view.  Towards this end I've decided to start a new random binder that showcases some of the cards from my collection that I truly enjoy, but that don't necessarily "fit" within any of my team collections or sets that I'm chasing.

I'm dubbing this new binder "The Random Binder of Awesomeness", and my plan from time to time is to highlight 9 new cards that will join the binder here on the blog.  Today we'll look at the first 9 cards to make the cut to form the first page...

Who didn't love the Topps Kids set back in 1992?  It seemed like the perfect set to lead the binder off with, as it harkens back to a simpler time when collecting was about fun and maybe building a set.  No inserts, parallels, game used or autograph cards to speak of, just a plan cardboard base set with a fun design.  The fact that Jim Abbott was such an inspiration is just the icing on the cake as far as this particular card goes.  This card also gets some bonus points due to the fact that it's actually from my childhood collection, pulled from a pack more than 20 years ago.

Here's one way outside my normal collecting boundaries.  I stay away from anything other than baseball and hockey for the most part, but I couldn't resist sneaking in this card of one of the top basketball players in the history of the NBA.  I won this card off of eBay earlier this year for $.15 with free shipping.  How the seller made a profit on this when there was a $.49 stamp affixed to the envelop it came in is beyond me.

I'm a sucker for a good mascot, and there are few in the game more entertaining or recognizable than Mr. Met.  When this card spilled out of a pack of 2013 Opening Day that I got in a repack recently I was relieved to find that my Mets collecting buddy Mark K already owned a copy.  That meant I was safe to keep this card, which is a perfect addition to this binder.

Again, I'm not a football guy per se, but this card helps fulfill the 'random' criteria.  Barry is the most exciting running back I can ever recall seeing play.  This card isn't anything special, but I picked it up in a COMC order months ago because I think the photo really does a good job of conveying the speed that Barry possessed.

Speaking of football, next up is two sport star Bo Jackson.  I'm a fan of cards that celebrate a specific event or point in time, and this one that pays tribute to Bo's 1989 All Star game MVP award fits the bill.  It's hard to tell in the scan, but this card is relatively thick and very shiny.  I grabbed it in the one and only "card draft" I've ever participated in, probably close to two years ago now...

I don't even recall where I got this card from.  Although it's from a worthless, overproduced set and features a blurry, low-quality photo, I still enjoy it quite a bit.  Earl was just one of those baseball lifers who really seemed to live for the game.  Besides, manager and coach cards aren't something you see too often anymore, sadly.

I don't think I need to explain this one much.  This has to be one of the most random cards I've come across since I got back into collecting.  As a kid I enjoyed The Wizard of Oz quite a bit, so while some may think this card is cheesy, tacky, unnecessary or over-the-top, to me it's cardboard gold.

Of course I had to fit at least one hockey card on the page.  If you're old enough to have been collecting hockey cards in the early '90s then you remember what a big deal Lindros was at the time.  In the long run, concussions took their toll on the star.  He still turned in some solid career numbers, but in 1991 when this card came out most folks thought this guy could be the next Gretzky or Crosby.

Last but not least, the award for most random item on this page goes to this sticker, from the 1975 Topps Good Times set.  I commented when I saw it posted over at A Pack to Be Named Later, and David was kind enough to mail it to me!  The show was definitely before my time (I wasn't even born until 7 years after this set came out), but the sticker just screams '70s.

Even the back has a nice moldy, nearly 40-year-old gum stain!

So there are the first 9 cards chosen for the binder, let's see what the page looks like all assembled:

I'm pretty satisfied with this, I'd say it fits both criteria of random and awesome!  Here's a look at the backs:

That's all for today, hope you enjoyed and I plan to have some more pages posted in the near future!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Marc B Destroys My '82 Topps Want List!

I've been slowly chipping away at the 1982 Topps baseball set for what seems like forever now.  It might not be the best baseball set of the '80s, but it's fairly high up there in my rankings.  It's possible that I am biased by the fact that it came out the year I was born, or by the Ripken RC, which was my most prized card for a good long stretch as a kid collector.  Either way, this is one I've wanted to knock off the list for quite a while.  The problem is, when I got to under 200 cards needed, I sort of moved on to other things.  What can I say?  My biggest problem as a collector is staying focused.

Sometimes all you need is a reminder or kick-start from another collector to get you going again on a forgotten project.  To say that Marc did that with my '82 Topps set would be an understatement.

In a recent package that he sent me completely out of the blue, he went to town on my '82 Topps want list.  There were cards from all the great subsets, like the Highlights and Team Leaders cards above (how about that Rangers logo!)...

...and my personal favorites, the 'In Action' cards.

As you can see, it wasn't just a bunch of commons that Marc sent my way, although that would certainly have been appreciated as well.  Thanks to this package I was able to cross some big Hall of Fame names off my list.  I would have to say this Ozzie card was my single favorite out of the two gigantic stacks.

It's funny how in today's releases I expect action shots, yet in sets that came out decades earlier I'm usually okay with portraits like this.

Here's one I've been anxious to land.  In fact, had I done a better job with upkeep it should have been on my 'Most Wanted' list in the sidebar over there.  As a Boston sports fan this is easily one of the coolest cards in the entire set.  I received a copy once before in a trade, but it was way too beat up to fit in with the rest of my set.  This copy is perfect.  I could dedicate an entire post to this card, and perhaps someday I will.

From the limited amount of reading I do, I seem to see a lot of polarization with collectors when it comes to this set.  I know many people who rank it among their favorites, others who think it's highly over-rated.

How could you not like a card like this, though?  This is actually Dave's rookie.  I think the great Spring Training shot, plainly visible name on the glove, and perfectly placed signature (great penmanship, too) make this one of the better cards in the set.

The 13-year-old in me still snickers every single time I get a new card of this guy.  Never fails.

The straw that stirs the drink!



A trio of All-Stars.  All these scans are in numerical order, which is why they're grouped together.  Love this Fernando card as he was one of the biggest names in sports in the early part of the decade.

Here's one you don't see too often that I enjoy quite a bit.  I think it might fit into the 'so bad it's good' category, with the orange and purple of the border being an odd choice for a card dominated by yellow, green and blue.  Then there's the uniform, that 'stache, and those wings.

Ripken is the big rookie card obviously, but if you look beyond Cal there are some other really nice rookie cards of solid players on the '82 Topps checklist.  Lee Smith may not have made it to Cooperstown, but I'm glad to finally own the rookie of one of the best relievers of his day.


My Red Sox team set was completed thanks to this package.  I'm guessing that's an extremely blurry Green Monster behind Eck?

I would say this is one of my favorite looking cards on the 792-card checklist.  Again, the colors selected for the border seem odd here, but in this case it kind of works.  I can't explain why, just how I feel.

This Jack Morris completed the All-Star subset for me!

It wasn't all big names, Hall-of-Famers and rookie cards, as Marc obliterated the commons I still needed for the set.  Best name, and best signature, in the entire lot goes to this "Shooty" Babitt card.  As an unlisted common I sort of overlooked this card.  Had I realized how great it was I would have picked this one up long ago.

Back to some big names to close out the post.

As in a trio of enshrined players.  Fergie Jenkins sporting an awful Rangers uniform...

...hometown favorite Carl Yastrzemski in a late-career appearance...

...and the hit king.  I'm one of those in the 'let Pete back in' camp.  Are we really gonna let this guy go to his grave banished from the game because of his gambling?  I know it's wrong, and I know he lied about it as well, but he's been pretty open and honest (and seems genuinely sorry) for a long time now.  Mark McGwire is involved in the game again, which is totally fine with me, so why not Pete?  The whole thing just seems like a shame.

This package was so amazing that it knocked every single card off my '82 Topps want list but TWO!  Over 160 new additions to my set, which is in its proper place in a binder, ready for me to slide the final cards in when I get them.  Oh, and this is just one part of the overall package that Marc sent.  It's taken me this long just to get all these scanned and sorted into the binder, but I've got more in store to show off eventually.

Marc, your generosity is just unreal.  Aside from sending me these out of the blue, I can certainly appreciate the time and effort that it takes to identify and sort this many cards off of someone's want list.  Though we've never met (which we should do something about), I consider you a true friend in this hobby.  I'm not sure how just yet, but I'm going to find a way to pack you back for your kindness...

On a side note, if anyone has a spare #111 (Carlton Fisk In Action), or #167 (ERA Leaders w Nolan Ryan) available for trade let me know!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cardboard Classics - Campanella Legends Variation

Today I've got a card for your viewing pleasure that I drooled over years ago when I first saw it.  One of those that I've always had in the back of my mind and would occasionally search eBay for ever since.  Earlier this year I finally found a copy for a price I was happy with:

This is one of those legends variation cards from 2009 Topps.  Tell me that's not one of the more interesting photos you've seen on a baseball card?  As someone who is fascinated by old time baseball, particularly the Brooklyn Dodgers, this particular piece of cardboard just struck a chord with me.  Such an awesome, but totally strange, photo of the Dodgers backstop.  Not sure what he's doing in front of the outfield wall, outstretched like that.  Clearly a posed shot but I like it nonetheless.  Good to know that even back in the '50s Van Heusen shirts had soft collars and wouldn't wrinkle...ever!

Here's the back.  The standard card #210 on the 2009 Topps checklist belongs to Geovany Soto, so this particular card is #210A I guess, or would it be #210B?  Nobody wants to see the back though (even though it does include complete career stats!), let's take one more peek at that great front:

That's all for today.  Maybe this weekend I'll finally get one of these trade package thank you posts up...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quick Rip - Two More Packs of 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball

I'm still digging out (or scanning out, rather) from the tremendous packages I received from a couple of generous folks over the past two or three weeks.  In the meantime, I've got another quick pack rip for today.  On the menu for this afternoon we've got 2009 O-Pee-Chee baseball, from a discount blaster I picked up back in May...

Just 6 cards per pack so I'll double up and rip two of them for this post.  Let's see what's inside pack number 1...

Crush was the man last year, leading the AL in home runs, RBI, and total bases en route to his first career All-Star selection and his first Silver Slugger award.  He even managed to finish 3rd in MVP voting in 2013.  This year he's fought with some injuries and is not producing at the same level.  His batting average is an atrocious .188 as of the time of this post, and his power numbers have dropped significantly as well.  Still cool to get an early-career card of Chris from before his move to Baltimore.

This is really shaping up to be a nice blaster for a Red Sox fan like myself!  I pulled a couple of nice Sox cards in the first pack from the blaster, and this Dustin Pedroia insert is a new one for me as well.

Here's my one-per-pack black parallel.  This looks more like a Derek Jeter card to me than it does a Ryan Sweeney card.

Some pretty big names on this league leaders card, one or two of whom are likely headed for Cooperstown at some point...


A couple of base set commons to close out the pack.  Not the most exciting pack I've opened, but I didn't have any of these previously so you can't ask for much more than that.

On to pack 2!

Brandon's with the Oakland A's now, and I was just reading yesterday about how he has been struggling at the plate, particularly since Cespedes was traded to Boston.  Amazing what a difference it makes having a bat like that protecting you in the lineup.

Johnny Cueto in his pre-dreadlock days, with a bonus appearance by a completely awesome Reds sleeve patch.

Here's my black parallel.  Like the Sweeney from the last pack, this one's off to my trade box.

Now with the Diamondbacks and has been mentioned as a potential target for the Angels.

This is one of the least flattering cards I've seen from this release, looks like Yovani got arrested and is posing for a mug shot.

Closing things out is my favorite card from either pack, a fantastic horizontal card depicting Jake Peavy scrambling around the base paths.

That's a wrap, maybe a little dull as far as these two packs go, but on the whole this set is growing on me more and more...
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