Sunday, May 28, 2017

1950 Bowman - Post #1 - Maurice McDermott (The Beginning)

Recently I've been in a bit of a hobby funk.  My buyback franken-set has kept my interest, but I have hundreds of buybacks already in hand just waiting to be processed for that particular project so there's not much need to seek out others, at least at this stage.

In giving some thought as to what might inject a dose of motivation I came up with a project that I'm shocked I haven't already tried tackling to date...

...1950 Bowman!

This set has always evoked feelings of nostalgia for me, largely because the Maurice McDermott card you see above was the first true vintage card I ever owned.  My Dad bought it for me when I was probably 8 years old or so, from a bin of random vintage baseball cards at an antiques store a few towns over.

Though I had no idea who Mickey McDermott was at the time, this card was the catalyst to my enjoyment of the hobby that, while it went dormant for a few years there, remains to this day.  I thought it was the coolest thing to have a baseball card from decades before I ever took my first breath, and I still do.

We all have those memories that, for whatever reason, we recall vividly, and for me one of those is a memory of my Dad snickering about the fact that McDermott is referred to as "String-bean Maury" on the back of this card.  Hell, this one has so much sentimental value for me that I ranked it my #1 Red Sox card in a countdown a few years back.

So yeah, I'm going to take a crack at completing the 1950 Bowman set.  It won't be easy, and if I ever manage to complete the set it will become the oldest that I've finished off by a long shot.  We'll see how it goes, but I've stepped off the ledge here and am one card in already!

In the unlikely event that you have any of these you'd be up for trading, I've updated my want list...

Set Progress:  1 of 252 (.4% Complete)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Mel & Davey

Let's lead off today's buyback post with a name from the '60s that I think most baseball fans are familiar with...

1967 Topps #225 - Mel Stottlemyre

Mel Stottlemyre was a key piece of the rotation for the Yankees from the mid '60s through the mid '70s.  He tossed a lot of complete games during that stretch, and was named an All-Star five times between 1965 and 1970.  Folks from my generation remember him more as pitching coach for those dominant Yankees teams of the late '90s.  I like the pre-game photo here with all the bats strewn about in the background.

This Ramon Martinez rookie card was already sitting snugly in slot 225.  I enjoy this one mostly due to the great Dodger Stadium backdrop, but...'s not enough to best that '67 Stottlemyre.

1979 Topps #360 - Amos Otis

Though Amos Otis began his career with the Mets, and finished it with the Pirates, he really flourished with the Royals throughout the '70s.  Like Stottlemyre, he was selected as an All-Star five times.  Add to that three Gold Gloves, the AL stolen base crown in 1971, and enshrinement in the Kansas City Royals HOF, and you've got a great career.  Didn't have a #360 buyback yet either, so this one's in.

1974 Topps #164 - Tom House

I guess the most interesting thing I can say about this one is that Tom House was the guy who caught Hank Aaron's historic 715th home run in the Braves bullpen the season this card was printed up.

Is that enough for the card to win out against this late-career Mickey Lolich that's already occupying slot 164, though?


1966 Topps #313 - Chris Zachary

Don't know the first thing about Chris Zachary, who pitched for a few different franchises to the tune of a career 10-29 record with an ERA north of 4.50.

Already had this '65 Jimmie Schaffer buyback in slot 313.

At least Jimmie is wearing a cap, albeit backwards.  Hat-less Chris Zachary is out.

1974 Topps #518 - Derrel Thomas

I have to be honest and say that this isn't exactly the most interesting photo that 1974 Topps gifted us with, not by a long shot.  To each his own I guess, but for me just about any other buyback would probably bump this one from the binder.

Certainly so for this Bob Veale, which currently occupies slot 518.

Easy choice there.

1973 Topps #186 - Bill Fahey

This buyback of backup catcher Bill Fahey has really been through the wringer.  Smashed corners, surface scratching, creases, it truly has it all.  I do enjoy the advertisements on the outfield wall at least.

A brutal match-up here, as Fahey has the misfortune of being pitted against the single oldest buyback in the binder.

No chance.

1979 Topps #98 - Ray Burris

Ray Burris grew up on a farm in rural Oklahoma, and wound up pitching at the Major League level for 15  years.  He is currently serving as a pitching coach within the Phillies organization.  He's somewhat washed out in a sea of blue on his '79 Topps release here.

Another tough match-up, with a '63 Heritage buyback blocking Burris' path to the franken-set.

Had to go with the '63.

1978 Topps #253 - Jim Kern

Jim Kern was a solid bullpen arm, particularly in the late '70s.  He was named an All-Star for three consecutive seasons beginning in 1977, and even won the AL Rolaids Relief Man Award in 1979.  He certainly seems to be enjoying his success in this photo on his '78 Topps release.

Between Kern and the franken-set stands probably the single most beat-up buyback I've acquired to date in this '58 Don Mueller.

This is one of those cases where I'm second-guessing myself, especially since Kern was at the pinnacle of his career in 1978, but it was hard for me to choose this buyback over any '58.

1979 Topps #521 - Sam Ewing

A first round pick of the Montreal Expos in 1969, Sam Ewing would play with the White Sox and Blue Jays in MLB before finishing up his career in Japan.  The best thing I can say about this one is that after a long stretch of conflicts we finally have a new number for the franken-set!

1968 Topps #273 - Dave Johnson

Last card for today is an early-career Davey Johnson!  This one has seen better days as well, but I don't mind in the least.  Johnson was a very talented second baseman before he later enjoyed a lot of success at the coaching level.  1968 was the first time in his career that he was named an All-Star, which earns this one some extra points.

Tough match-up here, as this is a fine-looking '62.  Not only that, but Gary Bell would go on to make a start for the Red Sox during the infamous 1967 World Series.

Even still, I had to go with the Davey Johnson card.

Well, that was one of the rougher groupings to date, with just two new numbers for the project and eight conflicts.  Oh well, you can't win 'em all!  I'll be back with another batch early next week...

Franken-set Progress:  425/792 (53%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  223
Total Buybacks in Collection: 648

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Collection Cornerstones - Trout!

I'm not exactly sure why this is, but for whatever reason I seem to neglect showing off some of my absolute best cards here on the blog for many months after acquiring them, if not longer.  My best guess is that I have a "save the best for last" mentality generally speaking, and with all the trade packages and many other ways of acquiring new cardboard I just never seem to get to the "last".

As an example of this, the card I've finally got queued up for today was actually acquired well over a year ago now.  Check this one out!

Not too shabby, huh?

Whether you're a sabermetrics stat geek, or just a good ol' fashioned fan of the game, it's hard to dispute the fact that Mike Trout is one of the top players in all of baseball, period.  Hell, even at just 25 years of age he's already accomplished more than many HOFers have in their entire career.

Mike has been named an All-Star and captured a Silver Slugger Award in every one of his five eligible seasons to date, and in those five years he has also either won or placed second for AL MVP.  While it's still early, this year looks to be no different, in fact many people seem to think that 2017 will actually be his single best season to date.

*excuse the fuzziness, my scanner and PSA-graded card backs don't seem to agree

While I would never be crazy enough (or rich enough!) to collect someone with this much notoriety and hobby demand, I decided a year or two ago that I wanted one really significant Trout card for my humble little collection.  After some research I finally settled on what I wanted, and after a few missed opportunities I finally ended up with this gem.  Here's a better look:

To me, this was the perfect Trout card to go after.  I was a kid collector in the early '90s when rookie cards were all the rage, so I definitely wanted a rookie of some sort.  On top of that, I'm a well-documented fan of all things shiny when it comes to sports cards, and the Cognac Diamond Anniversary parallels from 2011 Topps in particular are real favorites of mine.

While it certainly wasn't a cheap pick-up, I feel like my patience really paid off here as I was able to reel in (wow, that was a horrible play on words) this PSA 9 copy for under $200 with free shipping.  Sounds like a lot to pay for a single card, and it is, but it's not something I do often and I felt in this case that it was totally worth it.

With that transaction a good 14 months in the rear view mirror at this point I'm very pleased, as the cheapest copy on eBay (graded or not) is going for around four times what I shelled out.  Nice to know I could easily re-coup my money if it ever came to it, but I don't plan on parting with this one for a good long time!

Have any of you invested in a card like this that doesn't necessarily feature a player or team that you collect, but that you just had to have?  If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

Thanks as always for taking a few minutes of your day to stop by!

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
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