Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Royal Bargain

I like to think that I do an okay job of sticking to my goals and keeping on track without straying too much in my collecting.  Every so often though I stumble across something that doesn't really fit but I just have to have, either because it's an interesting piece, or just too good a bargain to pass up.  Today's card is a case of both....

About three weeks ago, as the Royals were beginning their amazing run to the World Series, I stumbled across this on-card autograph of young pitching stud Yordano Ventura while trolling eBay.  Yordano's actually taking the mound tonight in probably the biggest game for the Royals franchise in three decades.  I'd been casually watching this fire-balling phenom progress all season long, and with the Royals qualifying for post-season play in his rookie season I decided to make a play at this one if I could get it on the cheap.

Obviously I won the card, since I'm posting about it, but I bet you'd be surprised how little it set me back.  How about less than $3!

$2.75 for an on-card autographed rookie of a 23-year-old World Series starter that regularly hits triple digits on the radar gun!  I'd call that a bargain.

I posted a Giants card last night, and they won Game 1, so my superstitious self feels like maybe this post will help Kansas City this evening.  Yes, like 90% of the baseball world I'm on the Royals bandwagon.  When I don't have a horse in the race I go for the underdog, and besides it's hard not to root for a team that hasn't seen post-season in nearly as long as I've been on this Earth!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm beat...and so are these cards

Today was incredibly stressful and long, I'm out of gas but did want to at least post something.  Here are three well-loved 1959 Topps baseball cards I picked up a while back at the local hobby shop...

Not the HOF Earl Averill, this would be his son Earl Jr.  Quite a few condition issues here, not the least of which is a giant crease above the team logo.  I'll fork over a dime for any '59 Topps card I don't have though.  I think it was so cheap largely because of the back:

Yeah this was definitely taped or glued into an album at some point, but you can still see the cartoon which is my biggest concern.

Eddie Haas would later coach the Braves in Atlanta (after Joe Torre), and even spent some time as a scout in the Red Sox organization.  I love the Sporting News Rookie Stars subset in this set.


Last but not least, Allan "Red" Worthington.  Red began his Major League career with back to back shutouts, which is noted in the cartoon on the back of his card:

No paper loss here!  Three cards closer to a beater '59 Topps set, and my total cost was 60 cents.  No complaints there!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Signature Sundays - A Pot(vin) of Coffey

Sorry, that post title is really cheesy, but it was all I could come up with to tie today's two autograph subjects together.  Surprise, surprise the cards are from the 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures release...

Denis Potvin was a short print in the set.  I was kicking myself for missing out on one of these many months ago that sold for around $30.  As luck would have it though a couple of weeks back another one finally went up and I took it home for even less, around the price of a blaster.

Denis' career got off to a hot start in the mid to late '70s.  He was a #1 overall draft pick, and didn't disappoint as he captured the Calder Trophy his rookie season.  After that he went on to capture three Norris Trophies as top NHL defenseman within a four year span at the end of the decade!  All of that pales in comparison to the fact that Potvin won four consecutive Stanley Cups with the Islanders to begin the following decade.


Today's other subject is without question one of the all-time great offensive-minded defensemen, Paul Coffey.  He trails only Ray Bourque as far as defensemen go in most offensive statistical categories.  The thing is though, Bourque won only a single Cup, at the tail end when he latched on with an already-successful Colorado team.  Paul Coffey on the other hand was a key member of the Oilers dynasty in the 1980s, and won another Cup with Pittsburgh in 1991 as well.

Like Denis Potvin, Paul was also awarded the Norris Trophy three times in his remarkable career.  He really racked up the points for a guy who played the back end, in fact he's still the 13th all-time regular season scorer to this day!  Unless Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla or Daniel Alfredsson, all of whom are in the late stages of their careers, explode for another 300+ points he's going to stay in that slot for some time too.

Coffey's card was one that was released this past season in the Contenders product, and I've never seen an SP/SSP list for that, but based on availability and final sales prices I'm fairly certain that this card is an SP as well.

So there you have it, two more great autographs from my favorite hockey autograph product to date.  8 Stanley Cups, 6 Norris Trophies and 2 HOF inductions between these two, not too bad at all!  I bet if you were to rank your top 10 NHL defensemen of the '80s both of these guys would make the list...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dog Food and Baseball Cards - My First 1954 Red Heart

When I think of oddball baseball cards, I usually picture the many great sets released in the '80s by brands like Post, Kay-Bee, Woolworth's, etc.  In that great decade of collecting, sets were produced by a range of random companies far and wide, from toy stores to purveyors of fine breakfast sausages!

Today's brief post features a much older oddball set though, 1954 Red Heart:

These beauties were distributed by The John Morrell Company, makers of Red Heart Dog Food.  Though I don't believe that particular brand name lives on today, The John Morrell Company certainly does. 

Anyway, this was a 33-card set released in three different subsets of 11 cards each.  The cards weren't actually packaged with the dog food, but rather were a mail-away promotion.  A few labels and some pocket change was enough to get an 11 card pack delivered to your mailbox.

I am a fan of the simplistic design and vintage feel.  There are only two Red Sox players on the short checklist, so I'd love to pick up the other someday (George Kell).

The backs are well done, they certainly hold up when compared against the other sets of the day in my opinion.  Certainly a unique addition to my vintage Red Sox collection, courtesy of "The Big League Dog Food".

The best part is, this card cost me less than $10.  I'll take this over a hanger box of 2014 Topps Update any day!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quick Rip - Two More Packs of OPC Baseball

Why not rip a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee baseball while I watch this horrific Patriots/Jets game. I knew I should have stuck with Bruins/Canadiens...

6 cards per pack, here's the first...

Awesome card, my favorite photo in the pack right out of the gate.  I love the two fans in the front striking a "thriller pose".

The portrait shots are less impressive to me than the in-game action, but as portraits go the ones in this set are at least well done.

My one-per-pack black parallel, snooze...


I never liked the strange background that appears on Steve Pearce's card.  There are a number of cards in the set against this same backdrop, and to me, it just looks like the curtain to a meat locker or industrial freezer.

Orlando would be dealt to the Minnesota Twins during the 2009 season.

Pack 2!

This pack leads off with a nice late-career card of a guy with 422 career saves.

I opened these a couple weeks back, and I've already shipped this one out to Tony at Off Hiatus Baseball Cards.

Rather than being irritated that I lost one of my 6 cards in the pack to this giant, self-promoting insert set, I actually kind of like this card.  I mean, who doesn't like DiMaggio, and what an awkward photograph.



DiMaggio, Jeter, Verlander and A.J Burnett...that pack certainly finished off with some horsepower!

That's all for tonight...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Red Sox Collection - Bogaerts on Fire

Here's a new Xander Bogaerts card I was able to land on the cheap recently.  I thought it was an interesting concept, enough so to pick up a copy given that I got it for under $2 shipped.

I'm far from cutting edge in my collecting, so I'm sure most of you have already seen these elsewhere, but if not this is a Fire Die Cut Refractor from 2014 Bowman Chrome.  In my opinion these are some of the more effective die-cuts produced in recent years.  I like the concept of the card melting away.

Topps even paid attention to the little details, like along the top where the card appears to be curling over.  Maybe not the highlight of anyone's collection, but I thought these refractors were well done and I certainly don't have any buyer's remorse after plucking down a buck or two for this one!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Signature Sundays...I Mean Saturdays! - A Pair of Old School Rangers

Got a little ahead of myself this week, so you're getting tomorrow's Signature Sundays post today instead!

With the 2014-15 NHL season now in full swing, it only seemed appropriate to return to my favorite hockey autographs from recent years for today's post.  I've got a tandem of New York Rangers, both of them enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame!

First up is a fan favorite in New York, a guy who was always an offensive threat throughout his career, Rod Gilbert!  I love the photograph on this card, and Gilbert did a nice job with a huge signature which includes his uniform number.  Rod played for 18 seasons in the NHL, every one of them in a Rangers sweater.

Despite playing the majority of his career in the '60s and early '70s when there wasn't as much scoring in the game as there would be the couple of decades following, he still managed to rack up over 400 goals and over 1,000 career points (both of which are records for Rangers players).  Rod was an All-Star many times over, and won the Masterson trophy during his career for his incredible comebacks from multiple serious back surgeries.

Gilbert was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982, and was the first New York Ranger to have his number retired and hung from the rafters at Madison Square Garden.  Lastly, Rod's card is short-printed in this set, so it's nice to have yet another SP auto in the books...


Paired with Rod Gilbert today is another old-timer, Harry Howell!  Harry's NHL career started much earlier than Rod's, as he first appeared in a Rangers sweater way back in the 1952-53 season!  Kind of cool to think that while Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and the boys were racking up World Series championships in the '50s Harry here was plying his trade on the ice across town.

Howell stuck with the Rangers all the way through the late '60s before hopping around to a couple of other NHL franchises, and then ending his career in the WHA.  He was actually the last guy to win the Norris Trophy before Bobby Orr's epic run.  Like Rod Gilbert, his sweater is retired and hanging in the rafters at MSG.

That's all for this week, another pair of fantastic autographs from 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures!  If my count is correct I've now shown 132 hard-signed autographs from this amazing set here on the blog.  I'm getting near the end of what I've got to show, and hope to wrap up the last few in the coming weeks...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Red Sox Collection - Tubby T206

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to acquire my first authentic T206 tobacco card in the form of Jake Stahl.  I loved the card, so much so that it got me back on a kick of picking up really old Red Sox cards.  A couple months later I managed to pick up my second Red Sox card from the T206 set:

Another beauty!  From what I can tell, Edward Russell "Tubby" Spencer was not a particularly notable player.  He actually played with the Red Sox for just a single season, which just so happened to be the year this card was likely printed (1909).  He appeared in just 28 total games at that!  This is one of only two cards I know of that depict Spencer with Boston, the other being an extremely rare and expensive T204 that I won't likely ever own in my lifetime.

The card was a little off-center within the PSA slab when I scanned it but here's a closer look nonetheless.  I love the old time uniform and cap, and, like my other T206, the fact that you can easily tell which team the subject plays for thanks to the large BOSTON emblazoned across Spencer's uniform.

This particular version was issued by Piedmont, whereas my first was from Sweet Caporal.  I don't really have a preference when it comes to the backs, in fact I prefer some variety.  Ignoring the backs, there are a dozen total Red Sox T206 cards, so I've still got 10 more I'd love to track down someday!

If you'd like to read more about Spencer, as usual the best write-up I could come across was over at SABR.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Boatload of Boston from Tom P

Recently I was contacted by a very nice guy named Tom P, who got my contact information from Dave over at Wax Stain Rookie.  Boy was I glad that Dave put us in touch!  Tom collects everything Marty Brodeur, so I helped him out with what few Brodeur cards I could scrounge up from my collection.  In return Tom sent a fantastic haul...

I chose to start with this card because I've been looking to land a card from Jaromir Jagr's brief stint in Boston for what feels like forever now.  There just aren't a ton of them given how short his time with the B's was, and I'm psyched to have one in hand at last.

To go along with Jagr, Tom sent what I'd imagine must be close to, if not a complete, Bruins team set from 2013-14 Artifacts.



The guys looked a little flat to me in last night's season opener, but they got the win and the two points nonetheless.  We'll see how they fare tonight against a more formidable Wings team.


Here's an Artifacts card from the season prior, 2012-13.  Tyler had a breakout season with Dallas last year, it will be interesting to see what kind of point totals he can rack up on an improved Stars team.

Closing out the hockey cards is this nice Black Diamond Bobby Orr.  Orr is sort of like Ted Williams or Jackie Robinson to me, in that I can never turn down a new card of his, period.

The hockey cards were actually just a throw-in, as the meat and potatoes of the trade was a stack of Red Sox coming my way.

Even on that front Tom went above and beyond, as these two Studio cards were bonus throw-ins.  I needed both of these, and the credit card design of this Studio release took me right back to my childhood collecting days.  Great stuff.

There were actually a few Mo Vaughns tossed in as surprises, and I needed every one of them.

I had no idea Sportflix was still making sets as late as 1996.  I've heard of the UC3 set from around this time period, but I believe this one is actually just a UC3 subset card from the flagship Sportflix set.  Either way, interesting card.

Here's another set that I had not a single card from prior to the arrival of this package, 1996 Pinnacle Zenith.


This Schilling is actually from the Red Sox team set, as it's numbered BOS6.  Always check your card backs!


I didn't recognize these shiny '96 Score cards, but it looks like they're known as Dugout Collection parallels.


Another new set for me, 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings.


I'm trying to land as many 2013 Topps Red Sox cards, in all flavors and parallels, as possible since they won the World Series.  This Koji Uehara was a much appreciated need towards my Emerald Foil team set, which is picking up a little steam of late.

Here's a great parallel featuring one of my favorite photographs from recent years.  It's serial numbered to 2012 on the back.

Perhaps my favorite element of the trade involved the fact that I was able to pick up a number of cards of one of the most exciting up-and-coming Red Sox stars, Xander Bogaerts.  I'm not a player collector or a prospector, but I do think Xander has a bright future ahead of him and have been grabbing his early career cards whenever I get the chance.

Tom had a number that I needed, and was gracious enough to send them all along!

This Topps Museum Collection rookie is very thick and elegant looking.  I just checked, and hobby boxes of this stuff sell for around $230!  I certainly won't be buying any of this, so I appreciate this particular rookie card especially.

Here's a really whacky die-cut from this year's Bowman Platinum release.  I managed to get it into a penny sleeve without any damage, and I'm never taking it out again.


This package brings the total number of Bogaerts cards in my meager collection to 15, not too shabby.  Last but not least, Tom had three refractors available from the new Finest set:

These represent the only three Red Sox on the short, 100-card checklist.

Knocking out a refractor team set isn't something you do every day.

Tom, thanks for the great package!  You're a true gentleman and it was my pleasure exchanging some cards with you.  I will certainly keep a lookout for any interesting Martin Brodeur cards in my future travels, and I hope we can trade again someday.
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