Thursday, September 3, 2015

Quarter Box Quartet - Roenick/Biggio/Esposito/Johnson

Huge work project today and tonight, no time for cards, so you get a scheduled post featuring four quarter box cards instead.  I will be back with some real content this weekend.  In the meantime, here's a dollar I'll never get back...

I'm not a Jeremy Roenick fan per se, but this is my first 2002-03 Topps Heritage card, which borrows its "TV set" design from the 1966-67 Topps set.

How about an incredibly loud Classic Craig Biggio card?  I know I've said this before, but I will basically pick up any mint Classic card of a star like Biggio that I don't already have if it's a quarter or less.

Like the Grant Fuhr from this set that I showed off in a previous post, this one was picked up solely because of the photograph that showcases the great mask and brown pads.

Closing it out is this fantastic black and white beauty featuring Walter Johnson's floating head.

Well, nothing earth-shattering there, but I've certainly spent $1 on much worse in this hobby before...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Buying Back Buybacks

A few posts ago I talked about how I'm a total sucker for the buyback cards Topps has been inserting into some products the past couple of years.  In that post, it was Allen & Ginter buybacks, but I like the vintage Topps flagship buybacks much more.  Here are 10 examples of buybacks that I picked up recently on Sportlots...

How great is this '66 Topps Curt Flood card?  I already have an original '66 in my collection, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to pick up its buyback counterpart.  This one's from the 2015 Topps set as you can see by the stamp.  It set me back $1.50, which is more than any of the other cards in this post (which were all $1 or less).

The remainder of these are from the 2014 Topps "75th Anniversary Buyback" series.  I picked up a run of 9 of these, all from the same seller, and all featuring semi-stars from the 1979 Topps set.  I always think of Vida Blue here as an Oakland Athletic, but his 1978 season with the Giants was actually one of his better campaigns.

I had to grab this Jim Kaat, just because he'd already pitched an impressive twenty MLB seasons before this card was released!

Mickey Lolich played for the Padres?!?!  I love this shot of the aging veteran and that great warm-up jacket.  I've always been fond of this style Padres cap since it contains my initials!  Also, you may have noticed that the foil stamp is much larger on this card than on the previous two.  Not sure why Topps used a couple of different sizes?

I had also forgotten that Bill Madlock spent some time with the Giants.  He'd be dealt from San Francisco to the Pirates mid-way through the '79 season, and that's the team I think most collectors readily associate him with.

I had to pick this one up just because of the historic 1978 season Ron Guidry enjoyed just before this card was printed up.  When's the next time you think we'll see a pitcher go 25-3 with a sub-2.00 ERA?  Unreal.

This might be my favorite card of the entire bunch.  Though I wasn't yet born, I'm very familiar with the 1979 "We Are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates thanks to all the reading I did as a kid as well as some MLB network specials in the past few years.  Chuck Tanner seems like he would have been an awesome manager to play for that season.  I know these cards are cheesy gimmicks in the opinion of most, but I'm happy to have grabbed this one for just a buck.

Even though he played for just as many seasons with the Phillies, I always associate Jim Lonborg with the 1967 "Impossible Dream" Red Sox team, which was my reasoning behind adding this one to my cart.  A nice look at those baby blue retro Phillies jerseys doesn't hurt either.

Speaking of the Red Sox, you know I had to grab at least one or two for my team collection.  Usually hatless photos bug me, but this card has become somewhat iconic, and was even featured in a Topps Archives release years ago.

Last, but certainly not least, current color commentator Jerry Remy.

You'd think I'd feel silly paying money for cards I already have (which is the case for all 10 cards in this post), but for some reason that I can't explain I just like these.  If you've got any buybacks kicking around that need a new home, hit me up!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dom > Kris

In the lone hobby box of 2015 Topps Stadium Club that I busted earlier this summer, I was fortunate enough to pull this Kris Bryant Black Foil parallel:

These fall at two-per-hobby-box, and are nearly indistinguishable from their base set counterparts, save for slightly darker foil used along the bottom of the card. 

This was a pretty nice pull out of the box given that Bryant is one of the hottest names in the hobby, but I determined pretty quickly that I was going to sell this one while the product was new and prices were still high.  Especially since I already have the base card, which is all I care about for my set:

See, not a whole lot of difference here.  I really had no idea what to expect when I threw the card up for sale, but was pleasantly surprised when the auction netted me just shy of $60 in my Paypal account!

I decided to use the proceeds to pick up a couple of significant cards that have much more meaning to my particular collection.  Here's what I ended up with...

Sweet, huh?  I've only got a handful of these 1951 Topps cards, and Dom DiMaggio here instantly becomes my favorite out of that small bunch.  Obviously his name doesn't quite carry the same recognition as older brother Joe's does, but Dom was no slouch at all.  He was pretty much a lock to bat between .280 and .330 every season, and provided at least a touch of power to compliment his above average defensive skills.

I also like the fact that "The Little Professor" played his entire MLB career with one team, something that is becoming more and more rare in the game as the decades go by.  Though he was certainly well before my time, as an outsider looking in it would appear to me that he was one of the more under-rated players of his generation.  Hell, he still holds the longest hitting streak in Red Sox history at 34 games!

As great as this card is, it didn't suck up even half of the funds I got from selling the Bryant.  I decided to use what was left over to grab one more card that really gives my small Dom DiMaggio collection some weight...

Now that is an on-card autograph!  I love it when an athlete shows a little pride in his penmanship, and actually spends a few minutes signing something that's legible for a change.  Dom passed away back in 2009, so he doesn't have a ton of certified autographs out there either.  I like this one in particular since it comes from an entire set dedicated to the Red Sox.  When you look at what his certified autos sell for, I feel I got a real steal taking this one home at under $30.

So there you have it, one meaningless Kris Bryan parallel out the door, and in return two very solid additions to my never-ending Red Sox collection.  If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing!

Monday, August 31, 2015

El Guapo & Friends

The latest batch of 9 Red Sox from my friend Mark Kaz arrived last week, let's take a look!

The highlight of the delivery for me was this Upper Deck MVP Rich Garces.  I think most Red Sox fans figured this guy was a scrap heap pick-up when the Sox signed him prior to the 1996 season, but he actually turned into a very reliable bullpen guy for a good stretch of years there. 

As famous for his "figure" as for his pitching ability, he was never the same guy after losing some weight at the request of the team, and pitched his final MLB inning in 2002.  Somehow this is my very first Garces card despite closing in on 5,000 unique Sox cards at this point!

Here's a nice pre-caveman Johnny Damon from 2003 Topps Opening Day.  I think I've stated this before, but Mark does an awesome job of sending me new cards that are from my collecting "dead zone" (1997 to 2006 or so).  I don't seem to find cards from this era all too often, so it's nice that someone is looking out for those years for me.

Here's a nice 1995 Upper Deck John Valentin that I've yet to pull from the retail box I've slowly been busting my way through (and I mean slowly; have had it nearly a year now and have ripped maybe half of the packs).

I got a kick out of Tim Wakefield's full name (Timothy Stephen Wakefield) being used for the facsimile signature on this 2006 Bowman release.  Does Tim always sign this way?  Seems unlikely to me, but he's one guy I do not have a certified autograph of to compare against...

Prior to receiving this package, I had exactly one card from 2005 Donruss Studio, and it was also Curt Schilling (not this exact card, but an insert).

Jose Vaquedano came tantalizingly close to making the Major Leagues, getting as high as AAA Pawtucket, but has been out of pro ball for over 5 years now.

Jason Bay had a season and a half of really productive baseball with Boston before moving on to the Mets.  When he finished up with Boston in 2009 he looked like one of the best hitters in the game, but he deteriorated rather quickly with New York and was out of baseball after his age 34 season.

Derek Lowe is also retired now.  Man, this PWE is making me feel old!

I'll close out with the most obscure card in the package, but one I really appreciate.  I've recently been starting to tally how many of the all-time Red Sox players I have cards for.  Until this PWE arrived, Kevin Tolar was missing from that list, now I can cross him off!  With just 6 career games in a Red Sox uniform this is the definition of obscure!

Mark, thanks for another awesome batch o' Sox!  Got a return package sent off late last week, hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

1953 Topps Project - Jim Hegan

After spending the day out kayaking in the sun, I'm exhausted. How about a quick 1953 Topps Project post as a night-cap?

Jim Hegan was born in Massachusetts, and was signed by the Cleveland Indians coming out of high school in 1938.  Jim worked his way through the farm system and eventually made his big league debut with Cleveland in 1941.  Like so many from his generation, he stepped away from the game during the 1942 season to get involved in the war effort (in Jim's case, the Coast Guard).

When things on that front quieted down, Hegan returned to Cleveland for the 1946 season, and became the team's primary catcher.  He never swung a huge bat, and wasn't known for his offensive prowess, but was recognized as one of the best defensive catchers/pitching staff managers in the game.  His selection for the 1947 American League All-Star team is proof of this (a feat he'd accomplish four more times in his career).

Jim was a key member of the 1948 World Series Champion Cleveland Indians team.  He even received some MVP consideration that year, as he posted better offensive numbers, and the Cleveland pitching staff absolutely dominated.

Jim's tenure as the Indians' primary backstop lasted a full 11 seasons, from 1946 to 1956.  Prior to the '58 season he was dealt to the Tigers.  He'd go on to play with the Phillies, Giants and Cubs before retiring after the 1960 season.  He was signed by the Yankees at the tail end of that 1960 season, but never appeared in a game. 

As I mentioned above, Hegan was widely regarded as a top, maybe the top, defensive catcher of his day.  You don't have to look hard to find quotes from multiple HOF pitchers, and opponents even, saying just that.  Had he been able to swing the stick just a bit better, he'd probably be a HOFer or at the very least a household name.

After his playing career came to an end, Hegan accepted a position as bullpen coach with the Yankees, and is credited for helping to bring along guys like Thurman Munson, which is kind of cool.  Sadly, he passed away at the age of 63 back in 1984.

Set Progress:  75 of 274 (27%)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Taking Advantage of Combined Shipping

Quick post tonight.  Just 10 cards, but some great photos nonetheless.  I had picked up a pair of cards from a seller on Sportlots who charged the same flat rate to ship up to 10 cards.  Of course I did what any good collector would do and found 8 cards at the bare minimum price of 18 cents each to round out the order.

Let's see those 8 first...

Here's a great new addition to my small collection of cardboard that features the greatest trophy in sports, The Stanley Cup.  I will never get tired of cards showing players celebrating with this thing.  In this case, Bill Guerin's totally dated, mid-'90s championship T-shirt just takes it over the top.  Definitely one that was selected entirely for the photograph.

We'll get back to hockey in a minute, but first the 5 baseball cards that were a part of this lot.  I got my very first in-person look at 2015 Panini Diamond Kings, grabbing base cards of my two favorite current Red Sox players; Mookie Betts...

...and singles machine Xander Bogaerts.  I don't have much to add here that hasn't already been said.  It's hard for me to get past a lack of logos, but these cards are very well done aside from that.  I wish Panini could get an MLB license just for one season.  Upper Deck too.

I'm really enjoying the Topps Pro Debut minor league cards of late, which is why this 2012 Jonathan Singleton ended up in my cart.

The last two baseball cards were 2015 Topps Stadium Club set needs.  A nice post-delivery shot of Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford...

...and a killer black and white photograph of Frank Robinson from his days with Cincinnati.  I saw so much of this set on other blogs when it came out, yet somehow I am still finding gems like this that I don't recall having seen before.  Stadium Club really is the set that keeps on giving.

Alright, back to hockey.  I couldn't resist this awkward photograph of Eddie Belfour, which also gives a great look at his trademark eagle mask.  An interesting card, but it pales in comparison to this one, which would sit directly below Eddie here if you were to put this set in a binder:

I've wanted a copy of this one ever since I was tipped off to it by Brad of Coast to Posts.  Of all the great Stadium Club cards in my collection, this one's gotta be in the top 10.

That wraps up the 8 throw-ins, here are the two cards that kicked off the order to begin with:

I continue to plug away at the yellow parallels from 2009-10 Upper Deck Champ's hockey.  Inserted at just one-per-hobby-box, they're not the easiest cards to come across.  I scooped up HOFer Scott Niedermayer for $1.50, more than reasonable.

When I saw that the same seller had Al MacInnis here for an even $2, I was sold!  These two bring me to 17 out of the 100 available in the parallel set.  Who knows, maybe I'll get there someday after all...

A nice mix of cards there for about $5, not too shabby!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lefty Grove and the Diamond Stars

I'm taking a break from the constant string of trade posts tonight to showcase a new highlight of my Red Sox collection, my first true vintage Lefty Grove card!

I've talked about these National Chicle Diamond Stars cards numerous times now.  I'll go ahead and say it again though, I think they're beautiful cards.  I guess it's a combination of the smaller size, the fact that they're illustrated/painted vs photographs, and the fantastic art deco-style backgrounds.  Lefty Grove was the biggest name in the set as far as the Red Sox are concerned, so finally landing a copy of this one was a huge win for me.

Here's a closer look.  The card was graded a "lowly" 1 by PSA, probably because of some rounded corners and surface wrinkles.  To me, it's perfect, and I can honestly say that I have no desire to ever upgrade this copy (keep in mind the wear you see on Grove's hat is part of the original painting).

The backs are less exciting, but what do you want from a card that was printed a good 80 years ago or more?  At the bottom of the write-up we get the warning to young pitchers about not pushing it too hard, which I've seen on other vintage cards before.

This card represents a major victory for my collection in another sense though, as it completes what is now my oldest team set by a long shot.  Check it out!

Despite being just 6 cards in size, that's easily one of the most rewarding projects I've completed since returning to collecting.  Feels awesome to put this one to bed!
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