Thursday, December 14, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Back in the Saddle

With the exception of a quick one-card post the other day it's been weeks now since I made any contributions towards my buyback franken-set project.  Let's get back in the saddle today with a random group of ten courtesy of an eBay lot...

1979 Topps #81 - Roger Erickson

We'll start off with Roger Erickson's rookie card, courtesy of 1979 Topps.  Roger's 1979 season was nothing to write home about, as he finished with a record of 3-10 and an ERA on the wrong side of 5.50.  Ouch!  Still, an interesting backdrop at least, I always appreciate seeing trees on a baseball card.

Interestingly enough (or not!), I already had a Twins hurler in slot 81 of the binder, from the previous year's flagship release.  Decisions, decisions...

I probably could have gone either way with this one, but I'm not one for replacing a card "just because" so Pete Redfern stays put for now.

1978 Topps #73 - Andy Hassler

Here's Andy Hassler, who looks in this photo as though he was roughly 9' tall.  Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but Hassler was an intimidating 6'5", and it really shows here.  He began 1978 with the Royals, but would end it with the Red Sox.

Tough match for Andy as the franken-set goes...

...unseating a '59 buyback from the binder is no easy task.

1979 Topps #174 - Rick Auerbach

Sticking with the late '70s, it's Rick Auerbach.  Despite being noted as a "SS-2B", Rick played more games at third in '79 (18) than he did at second (just 3).  Here you get a good look at Auerbach's "pythons" that are responsible for his 9 career home runs.

Another case where the existing card in the binder is a player on the same team as the challenger.  I've run across this very frequently over the course of this project, too much so for it to be coincidence alone.  How could I possibly choose the Auerbach over this '65 Joe Jay?

I couldn't.

1974 Topps #411 - Frank Baker

No way, a buyback of HOFer Frank "Home Run" Baker?!?!?!  What's that?  Oh, this is the Frank Baker with 1 career home run in just 146 career games played?  Well, he makes the franken-set binder regardless, as slot 411 was empty...

1975 Topps #322 - Ed Goodson

Next up, a colorful '75 Ed Goodson.  Ed looks a little concerned here, and he should be given that his path to the binder is blocked:

It seems fitting to me to have a '75 and a '90 square off, as they are some of the more colorful designs in the history of Topps' flagship releases.

Works out well, as I can move Goodson into the franken-set binder, and relocate Ortiz in my slowly-developing 1990 Topps buyback set.

1978 Topps #130 - Jeff Burroughs

Here's former NL MVP Jeff Burroughs, rocking some killer shades.  I love the late-'70s Braves gear.  If Burroughs is to make the binder though he'll have to oust this card:

Not a bad card all in all (I think that's a house or apartment complex in the background?), but it's got some kind of substance on the front.

I don't know if that's something that was smeared on there back in the '60s, or if it's mildew or something that's grown since, but either way I'm happy to rid my binder of it.  Wouldn't want that migrating to other buybacks...

1969 Topps #367 - Lou Johnson

Lou Johnson (who appears to be whistling here?) was traded to the Indians mid-way through the 1968 season, but actually spent 1969 with the Angels after they acquired him in trade just before the season got underway.  Unfortunately for hat-less Lou here, he faces off against an aesthetically pleasing Heritage buyback when it comes to franken-set induction:

Yup, that's a beaut'!

Easy choice.

1975 Topps #247 - Enos Cabell

I don't know a whole lot about Enos Cabell, as he wrapped up his career a few years before I became a fan of the game.  Still, a classic pose here on a classic design, and complete with the "slightly tilted photograph" that seemed to define Topps in the '70s.  A strong candidate for the franken-set for sure.

Strong enough to bounce Tucker Ashford here from the binder?

You bet!

1966 Topps #208 - Bob Miller

Here's the one non-'70s buyback from today's entrants, a '66 Bob Miller.  Miller was a reliable if unspectacular arm whose versatility enabled him to enjoy a lengthy MLB career that included three World Series championships.

A '76 Mike Lum seems like little competition for that '66 Miller, right?


1976 Topps #265 - Willie Davis

Lastly, my favorite card of today's post, Willie Davis' 1976 release.  Just look at that smile!  There's a man enjoying his craft right there.  I would've been hard pressed to choose another buyback over this one, but thankfully I don't have to as I hadn't yet acquired a #265 for the project!

Only a couple of new numbers, but that's about par for the course at this stage.  Nice to be back at it!

Franken-set Progress:  512/792 (63%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  376
Total Buybacks in Collection: 888

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Trading Anything

Recently I participated in Thorzul's 2017 "Trade My Anything" series.  He's been running this about a decade now and the concept is simple, he busts a box of Topps Update and you can claim any of his unwanted cards.  In return you simply send a SASE and...well...anything.

I claimed only two cards, both variations on base cards...

One for my Red Sox collection here, with Roger Clemens.  Maybe not my most fascinating card of The Rocket, but I needed to claim something to give me a reason to participate.

I'm not sure how they settled on that seemingly random 5-year run of statistics, but there you go.

Since I'm a sucker for variation cards in general, I also laid claim to this variation of Mike Trout's Series 1 card.  Hard to pass down a unique card of arguably the game's greatest player.  The Angels certainly helped get him some protection in the lineup this off-season as well!

Well, that was my haul.  Small and tidy, which is the beauty of it.  I look at this yearly promotion as a great opportunity to de-clutter.  In exchange for these two cards I sent Thorzul a bunch of cardboard, along with some movies, books, CDs and a bunch of other stuff that he seemed to appreciate.

I'd call that a win/win, and I certainly plan to participate again next year!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Buyback Franken-set - The Great Rick Wise

Well, it's been over five weeks since I added anything to my buyback franken-set.  It's not a sign that I'm less passionate about the project, it's just that the way I've been doing it is time-consuming and lately that's time I just don't have.  Scanning in ten buybacks, sorting them all into the binder and deciding who wins out, cropping, adding 20-30 scans to a post and typing everything up is not a quick process.

In the short term here you'll probably see a few smaller posts like tonight's single-card endeavor.  This is actually the newest buyback in my collection, having arrived in my mailbox just today...

1968 Topps #262 - Rick Wise

I've developed a minor obsession over the years with Rick Wise for a couple of reasons.  First of all, he was the winning pitcher of record in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series for the Red Sox, considered by many to be the most exciting post-season game ever played.  Secondly, and even more importantly in my mind, he was the author of one of the best individual games pitched in Major League history.  In June of 1971 he famously no-hit the Cincinnati Reds...and clubbed two home runs!

Wise has been a fun guy to collect because he doesn't have a ton of cardboard out there, and what he does have doesn't really command high prices either.  When an eBay seller recently listed this box-topper buyback from this past year's Heritage set for less than $2 with free shipping it was just irresistible to me.  I knew that even if it didn't make the franken-set it would be a card I'd be happy to own for my little Rick Wise PC.

Well, about that franken-set, does Rick here make the cut?

I've already got a #262 in the binder, but it's nothing all that exciting to me.  I knew when I picked up the Wise that it would take a special buyback to prevent it from a spot in the binder...

...and this Ed Kirkpatrick is not that special buyback (no offense Ed!).

So yeah, that's all for tonight.  Doesn't get me any closer to franken-set completion since it's a number I already had, but it certainly makes the set a bit more interesting overall.  I'll take that any day for a dollar and some change...

Franken-set Progress:  510/792 (63%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  368
Total Buybacks in Collection: 878

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Signature Sundays - Sweet Sweet Redemption!

Back in March, I did something that was very out of character for me in this hobby, and paid good money for a redemption card.  I normally stay away from these because there's never a 100% guarantee that you'll end up with the card you are redeeming for.  In this case I wanted the card so badly though that I went outside my comfort zone and took a shot.  When the dust had settled, I squared up with the seller and a few days later this arrived in my mailbox:

Name Has Been Redacted for  Suspense

I eagerly scratched to reveal my redemption code and then headed over to Upper Deck's website and plugged it in.  I was met with a status of...drum roll please..."waiting for athlete".  Crap.  I checked in a few more times as the summer rolled on, and was always met with the same.

After a while I pretty much stopped checking in, though this redemption was always on the back of my mind and I was almost reaching the point of kicking myself for rolling the dice on it.  Then one day, about a month ago, I found a bubble mailer from Upper Deck in the mailbox after work.  Bingo!

I could not be happier with the card, and this is certainly a case of patience paying off.  With this purchase I added an autograph of one of my all-time favorite hockey players to my collection.  Behold!

For my hockey card collection, this is about as good as it gets right here.  Jaromir Jagr is still playing in the NHL at age 45, the last holdout from the days of my childhood fandom.  It's been so much fun to watch him climb the all-time leader boards over the years, though it seems as though his career has to be close to winding down at this point.

I've wanted an autograph of Jagr for a long while, but pickings are slim when it comes to certified autos and what is out there tends to sell for decent coin.  Understandable given that Jagr has racked up more points in his career than anyone not named Gretzky!

When I learned of the existence of this '92-93 Fleer Ultra buyback auto in the 2016-17 Fleer Showcase set I knew it was the one I wanted.  This set came right in my heyday of childhood collecting, and I have fond memories of this exact card.  The Pens were coming off their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships when this card was issued, and Jagr was one of the hottest names in the hobby.  It turns out those would be the only two Stanley Cups Jaromir would win, at least to date.

The back gives you a great look at his illustrious and legendary mullet.  That is a hockey haircut if I've ever seen one.  Of course you have your authentication hologram from Upper Deck as well, just underneath the smaller action photo there.

Tying it together, here's the CoA for the card, tied by serial number to the authentication hologram on the back.

I am extremely pleased to own one of the 25 copies that exist of this beautiful, on-card autograph.  Jaromir Jagr is one of the most exciting and memorable players ever to take the ice, and this is a piece of sports memorabilia that I will certainly cherish for as long as I collect!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Douglas Sends the Best Soccer Player on Earth?

Got a few more trade packages to catch up on here, let's knock out a quick one that arrived a few weeks back from my longtime hobby buddy Douglas of Sportscards from the Dollar Store...

I got my very first taste of 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee in this particular envelope.  A very solid design, probably my favorite of the past few years.  Had I received this card a few years back I would have probably run over to Target and grabbed a couple blasters.  Nowadays I'm happy just to have the set represented in my collection with this single.

Douglas is constantly supplying me with new Hartford Whalers cards, which I truly appreciate.  The latest envelope contained a pair, both from Upper Deck.  First, a Robert Petrovicky from the 1992-93 Euro-Rookies insert set.  This is the only card from this set I've gotten my hands on to date, and as the lone Whaler on the checklist it's certainly the one I'd want most.

The other was this great Mark Janssens Electric Ice parallel.  I have some fond memories of collecting these Electric Ice parallels back in the day.  These came one-per-pack, and I think I'm probably almost halfway to a Whalers team set from this '95-96 release now.

Lastly, here's the prize of the package, a card which I shamelessly claimed when Douglas posted it on his own blog a while back.  If you check in here with any frequency then you know I'm a soccer fan, and I also love shiny cards.  So, this beauty from Panini of arguably the world's best player really had me drooling when Douglas posted it.  He ended up sending it my way because that's the kind of guy he is.

Not much to the back, which is about what I expect from Panini these days.

Since it seems like the perfect time to post it, here's a photograph I took while I was on vacation with my wife in Portugal this past summer:

This was at a bar in a medieval walled town called Evora, idea being you vote for the best soccer player in the world using the cork from your wine bottle.  Pretty much neck and neck here between Messi and Ronaldo, which is impressive for Messi given that Ronaldo is basically a God in Portugal.

Anyway, there you have it.  Thanks for another great trade package Douglas!

I'd be interested in hearing from any soccer fans in the comments about who they think the world's best current player is.  Ronaldo?  Messi?  Someone else entirely?
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