Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: 1990 Topps Gets Slaughtered

Between the trip to Portugal and my new friend Leo, I haven't managed a single buyback franken-set post in over three weeks.  I still haven't managed to find any time for scanning, but thankfully I have one last batch of ten sitting in my drafts folder from before I left for vacation.  These were hand-picked from the same eBay seller as the cards in my last post, and rang in at about 40 cents each.

Let's dive in...

1990 Topps #345 - Harold Baines

We start off with a member of the "Hall of Very Good", Mr. Harold Baines.  Harold was just about at the half-way point of his very long career in 1990, and would wind up in the end with nearly 400 home runs and a very respectable .289 career batting average.  This card makes the cut by default since it's my first #345 buyback, and I could certainly do a lot worse in this slot!

1990 Topps #34 - Tony Fossas

I have a few more 1990 Topps buybacks to get through here, and I have to say it's going to be pretty brutal for these challengers to the franken-set.  Tony Fossas looks pretty sharp here in his warm-up jacket...

...but can I really choose that card over this '73 Dobson that's already in slot 34?

No, I cannot.

1990 Topps #215 - Kirk McCaskill

How about Kirk McCaskill mid-wind-up on a sunny day in Oakland?

Well, his path to the franken-set is blocked by this '87 Mark Langston.

Tough loss for Kirk.

1990 Topps #248 - Dave Anderson

As we keep rolling with the '90 Topps buybacks, next we have a pretty bland Dave Anderson card.

The Anderson is no match for this beautiful '67 Gene Mauch buyback.

Not even close.

1990 Topps #83 - Hensley Meulens

How about Hensley Meulens, a card that for reasons I can't explain I actually remember quite vividly from collecting this set as a 7-year-old in the spring of 1990?

Oh boy.  My Red Sox bias comes into play here...

...Montgomery stays in the binder and Meulens is out.

1990 Topps #151 - Rick Mahler

Next up, Rick Mahler on what has to be one of the least flattering cards in the entire '90 Topps release.

Brutal match-up for him as far as the franken-set goes too, as I have this beautiful (and well-loved!) World Series highlight card already in slot 151.

Sorry Rick!

1990 Topps #761 - Mike Jackson

How about a nice high-number 1990 Topps card in pitcher Mike Jackson of the Mariners?  Well, unfortunately for Mike he's facing off against a local legend...

...the Rem-Dawg!

Remy remains in the binder in what was one of the easier decisions in today's post.  If you're keeping tally that's six straight franken-set hopefuls rejected.

1990 Topps #791 - Alvaro Espinoza

Can uber-high number Alvaro Espinoza break the streak?

Amazingly enough, Espinoza is actually the third #791 buyback I've acquired to date, with Ted Simmons' '88 release currently resident in the binder.

Gotta go with the Simmons, no question.

1992 Topps #429 - Tony LaRussa

After seven straight defeats for 1990 Topps, let's mix it up with a couple of 1992 Topps buybacks to end the post.  While most of my purchase from this seller obviously focused on 1990 Topps buybacks, I just couldn't resist these two, starting with the great Tony LaRussa.  I really miss manager cards in the flagship Topps set, so I'd love to get this one into the binder.

This '74 Dick Lange was already in slot 429...

...but I'm certainly going with the LaRussa over him!

1992 Topps #316 - Curt Schilling

Final card for today is the pitcher with the polarizing personality, Curt Schilling!  I had completely forgotten that Curt spent a single season serving out of the bullpen for the 'Stros in 1991!  The following year he'd convert to a starter with the Phillies and his career would really take off from there.

A nice buyback here of a guy pictured with a team you don't normally associate him with, and even better this is the first card since the Baines that led off the post to actually contribute a new number to the set!

Well, that was a bit rough, with only two new numbers from this batch and seven of the eight competitors losing out.  On a positive note I'm up to an even 40 buybacks from the 1990 Topps release now, which feels pretty significant.  Also, barring a complete shutout I'll be crossing the 450-card mark for the franken-set next post.  Until then! 

Franken-set Progress:  449/792 (56%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  268
Total Buybacks in Collection: 717

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Breaking News - Shoebox Legends Hires an Assistant!

I've been back from vacation for a few days now, but despite my best efforts I've had zero time for the hobby outside of keeping up with my reading of all of your wonderful blogs on the rare occasion that I get five minutes of time to myself. The result is that I'm now even further behind on a good ten to twelve trade packages that are sitting in piles on my desk, as well as some emails that I'm sure have fallen through the cracks temporarily here.

If you're the source of one of the emails or trade packages I mentioned, and I haven't reached out to you individually, please accept my apologies. All of my attention outside of my job is currently devoted to Shoebox Legends' new personal assistant, Leo:

Leo has been a great hire so far, but he is only just turning four months old, so we're going to be in the "on-boarding process" for quite some time here.  So, if I'm less responsive than usual, or you see a few days without any posts here (which you just did), I'm still around.  Just...busy.

Obligatory card!  This is a sports card blog after all.  Mookie got off to a slow start this year after last season's blistering near-MVP pace, but he's really coming around as of late.  Let's hope he keeps swinging a hot bat through the dog days of summer here (see what I did there?). 

This one is from last year's Topps TBT promotion.  They had me hook, line and sinker last summer for any Topps NOW or TBT Red Sox card they printed up.  This year, not so much.  In fact I've bought just two Topps NOW cards this entire season, because they were from a game I attended.  But that's one for another day, when I have time.

Well, that's quite literally all I've got at the moment.  Leo does like to sleep at times, so there's a sliver of hope that I might be able to start digging myself out soon here.  In the meantime, I really do appreciate all the awesome cardboard that's been sent my way.  I have so many great things to post about here, and I hope to do so soon!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More Star Wars Buybacks!

Last week I showed off my first couple of buybacks from the Topps Star Wars 40th Anniversary set, and today I have the next pair for you...

First we have a Tusken Raider, riding a bantha on Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine.  As a kid watching the original films these were some pretty intimidating evil dudes.

The other buyback I've got queued up for today is my first of the yellow border variety.  This scene shows the rebel pilots arriving back at their base, in a state of jubilation after destroying the Empire's Death Star.

If I'm being completely honest this pair isn't quite as exciting as the first two I landed, but I honestly find all of these buybacks amusing and entertaining.  I'd never be crazy enough to try for a complete set, but I'll certainly seek out a few more if I can locate them at just a couple bucks a pop like I did these...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Out of Office

If all went according to plan, I've been driving around the country of Portugal with my wife for a week now by the time this post goes up.  We're enjoying a much needed vacation from the stresses of life, and exploring a country that we've never seen before.  Even managed to find this great Portugal card from the 1956 Topps Flags of the World set to properly represent our trip here on the blog!

I might not speak the language fluently, but I'm hoping the fact that I can hold my own in casual conversation in Spanish helps some.  And I can thank Topps for teaching me four necessary words here anyway.

Before I left I did manage to get some scheduled posts up for you to enjoy until I get back.  In fact, the blog has already been on "auto-pilot" for a few days, and will be for a couple days more here.  Until then, adios!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Signature Sundays - Dino!

I've got another 1989-90 Topps/O-Pee-Chee hockey autograph to share with you this week.  It goes particularly well with the Rod Langway I featured a couple of weeks ago, as it's also a 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee buyback auto, and like the Langway features not only a Washington Capital but also a HOFer!

Yes, it's the great Dino Ciccarelli!  This is my very first autograph of the pesky and high-scoring right winger, and like all of the O-Pee-Chee buyback autos I've encountered so far it is big, bold and on-card.

Dino carved out a very impressive and lengthy career with the North Stars, Capitals and Red Wings before winding things down with a few seasons in the state of Florida between the Lightning and the Panthers.  He amassed 600+ goals and 1,200 points along the way.  Ciccarelli was a controversial figure both on and off the ice, and always seemed to me to be one of those guys you hated unless he was playing for the team you happen to root for.

Despite his impressive point totals, Ciccarelli didn't get the "call to the Hall" until 8 years after he was first eligible.  Many people attribute this to his on and off-ice legal troubles, but eventually talent won out and he was enshrined.

Here's the back, as you can see Dino had only just transitioned to the Caps before the '89-90 set was printed up.

I was happy that, like with the Rod Langway card, the seller included the CoA that certifies the authenticity of the exact copy that I won.

Another notch in my '89-90 autograph belt, and a big one at that!  Not too shabby for just $4.99!

I'm always on the lookout for additional '89-90 Topps or O-Pee-Chee autographs, if you have any available or get a lead on any please let me know.  Thanks for stopping by, as always!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Star Wars Buybacks!

With the release of the Star Wars 40th Anniversary set a while back, I learned that Topps included one-per-hobby-box buybacks of the original Star Wars cards.  I believe these were included as box-toppers, similar to what they do with the buyback cards in Topps Heritage baseball, but don't hold me to that.

Anyway, as a lover of buybacks and Star Wars, I obviously found these intriguing.  They seem to do surprisingly well on eBay, but with enough hunting I've managed to land a few of them on the cheap, and today I have my first pair to share:

First we have everyone's favorite droids in R2-D2 and C-3PO.  You can see the Star Wars 40th Anniversary foil logo stamped on the buyback in the lower right there.

The other one I have for today features the classic scene where the "good guys" are honored after destroying the Death Star.

Laugh at me in the comments if you will, but these made for some interesting additions to my Star Wars cardboard collection in my opinion.  Have you Star Wars fans picked any of these up yourselves?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Crossing 700 Thanks to 1990 Topps!

Today's post is unique in that all ten candidates for franken-set induction come courtesy of the very first baseball set I collected as a kid, 1990 Topps.  Recently a seller on eBay had a 10-for-$4 buyback special, with the ability to tack on unlimited additional buybacks beyond the first ten for 40 cents each.  I cleaned him out of his '90 Topps buybacks, plus grabbed a few others, and ended up with 28 in total.  Here are the first ten...

1990 Topps #636 - Jesse Orosco

Jesse Orosco played for what felt like forever, and racked up a ton of appearances out of the bullpen along the way.  More than any other pitcher in baseball history as a matter of fact.  In 1990 he got the call 55 times, and finished with an ERA under 4.00 for the third consecutive season.  My first #636 buyback, Jesse is in!

1990 Topps #659 - Greg Cadaret

1990 was Greg Cadaret's first full season pitching in the Bronx, as he arrived in trade during the 1989 season (the trade that sent Rickey Henderson to Oakland).  He'd make 6 starts for the Yankees in 1990, and appear another 48 times out of the pen.  Cadaret finished with a 5-4 record and an ERA of 4.15.  This is not my first #659 buyback...

...as I had another Yankee pitcher from the year prior in that slot already.

Gotta stick with Al Leiter over Cadaret.

1990 Topps #673 - Joey Meyer

If you're not familiar with Joey Meyer, you can hardly be blamed.  He was a flash in the pan guy, whose MLB career began in April of 1988 and finished after the 1989 season completed.  He could hit the ball a country mile, and had quite a bit of success as a power hitter in the minor leagues.  Ultimately, he struck out too much, and thus only mustered two seasons at the game's highest level.  Because this is a nice high number card Joey makes the set without contest.

1990 Topps #716 - Steve Balboni

1990 was just about the end of the line for Steve Balboni, who is better remembered as a slugger for the Royals in the mid-'80s.  Steve hit 17 home runs in 116 games that season.  After missing the 1991 and 1992 seasons he made a comeback attempt with Texas in 1993, but it was over after two games.  At #716 this buyback makes the binder as well, on a nice roll here.

1990 Topps #545 - Kevin McReynolds

Kevin McReynolds had a good year in 1990, it was the fifth straight season where he'd eclipse the 20 home run plateau, and he finished the season with an OPS over .800.  No competition for this one either, McReynolds has slid into the binder.

1990 Topps #638 - Jeff Montgomery

Jeff Montgomery was a solid reliever who lasted 13 seasons, and was named an All-Star on three occasions.  He's enshrined in the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame.  No competition for this card either as far as the franken-set goes, this post is really providing a lot of new cards for the binder.

1990 Topps #423 - Fred Toliver

After finishing the 1989 season with the Padres, Fred Toliver actually didn't pitch in the Majors in 1990, 1991 or 1992.  He finished his career with a 12-game stint served with the Pirates in 1993.  A boring card to be perfectly honest, but he's saved by the fact that this is my first #423 buyback.

1990 Topps #460 - Mike Scott

Mike Scott finished second in Cy Young voting in 1989, just three short seasons after actually winning the award.  He declined rapidly after that though, largely due to injury, finishing 9-13 in 1990 and then retiring after two appearances in 1991 to the tune of a 12.86 ERA.

Had this nice 1972 Al Downing in the binder in slot 460 already (including bonus handwriting in the upper right corner)...

...and there it will stay.

1990 Topps #522 - Mike Dunne

Mike Dunne went 0-3 with a 5.65 ERA for the Padres in 1990, after they took him from Seattle in the rule 5 draft late in 1989.  Doesn't seem like a wise pick in retrospect, but hindsight is 20/20 of course.

This '75 Gary Sutherland stands between Dunne and the franken-set binder.

No way I can choose this card over the '75.

1990 Topps #43 - Dante Bichette

Last card for today features a young Dante Bichette.  Dante would peak around the middle of the decade with the Rockies, and most notably had a monster 1995 season where he finished second in NL MVP voting.  We've got some competition here as well...

...in the form of a 1987 Gene Michael.

I'm going with Dante though.

Nice progress today with six new numbers for the binder.  I'm also up to 32 buybacks and counting now from the 1990 Topps set.  Best of all, I've now evaluated over 700 total buybacks for this project, pretty incredible.

Franken-set Progress:  447/792 (56%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  260
Total Buybacks in Collection: 707
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