Monday, October 15, 2018

One Card Post - 1st Day Bagwell

What:  1994 Topps Stadium Club - Jeff Bagwell (1st Day Issue Parallel)
Where: COMC
How Much?:  $3.05

Why?:  In my opinion 1994 Stadium Club is one of the more interesting sets of its decade.  I loved, loved, loved these cards as an 11-year-old back in the summer of '94, and in my opinion they still look great almost 25 years later. The 1st Day Issue parallels in particular were highly coveted among my group of collecting friends back in the day. After a very entertaining first two games of the 2018 ALCS between my Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros, I figured it was a perfect time to feature this Jeff Bagwell that I picked up back in the spring.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Buyback Franken-set: Bo Knows Buybacks

Happy Sunday, everyone!  Let's grab another ten buybacks from my stash and see if we can strengthen the Buyback Franken-set, shall we?

1988 Topps #750 - Bo Jackson

Coming out strong today with one of the biggest names in the game in the late 1980s, the great Bo Jackson!  I know a lot of collectors feel that this is one of the better looking cards in the 1988 flagship set, and I tend to agree.  The buybacks in today's post came in a random lot I won on eBay, and I couldn't have been more pleased to find this one in the stack when it arrived.

I already have Bo's iconic 1987 "Future Stars" card in the binder, will this one make the cut as well?

Royals teammate Bret Saberhagen stands in Bo's way believe it or not.

I like the Bo Jackson card so much that I threw it in without much thought.  Based on pure aesthetics, the Jackson is supreme, but I fear I didn't give Bret enough credit here.  Saberhagen won the Cy Young in '89, thanks to leading the league in wins, ERA, WHIP, complete games, innings pitched and quite a few other categories.  This might be the worst decision I've made yet.  In fact, I tagged this post with 'Revisit', and will definitely come back to this at some point down the line.

Alright, let's see which nine cards I plucked along with Bo...

1989 Topps #241 - Brett Butler

This one's pretty great also.  Brett Butler was definitely one of the premier lead-off men during his time in the league, and in 1989 he was on that powerhouse Giants team that won a National League pennant.  This one's a rarer "red foil" buyback from the 2017 Rediscover Topps promotion, and best of all it's a new number for the franken-set at #241.

1985 Topps #407 - Bobby Ramos

Bobby Ramos wrapped up his Major League career in 1984, so this is his final Topps card.  Though he appeared in 6 seasons, he never played more than 31 games in any one season.  He does have a uni-brow that I think even Wally Moon would admire.

This '79 Pete Vuckovich, currently sitting in slot 407, is a much better card in my humble opinion.

Ramos is rejected.

1991 Topps #19 - Jeff Robinson

I'm a big fan of 1991 Topps, in fact I've got an unopened box of it on my pack shelf that I grab a pack or two from when I feel the urge to open some wax.  This Jeff Robinson is not one of the more interesting cards on the checklist, however.

Certainly nowhere near as interesting as this 1965 Gates Brown buyback that stands in its way for slot 19.

Easy call.

1987 Topps #124 - Ray Fontenot

Another guy whose MLB career had already wrapped up by the time this card hit the shelves (for the first time).  Holy air-brushing!

Slot 124 is already occupied.

Again, not a tough decision there.

1993 Topps #805 - Terry Jorgensen

1993 Topps takes me back to buying packs at the concession stand after my Little League baseball games.  I always enjoyed the design for the Coming Attraction subset in that release, so I'd love to welcome this one to the binder.  Just one problem... card #805 it's just not eligible.  I have to keep the set at 792 cards, otherwise there's a lack of competition for the final slots.  Sorry Terry!

1982 Topps #209 - Gary Lavelle

Next up, Gary Lavelle.  Gary was a key component in San Francisco's bullpen in 1982, getting the call to the mound 68 times that season (and finishing with a respectable 2.67 ERA).  It looks more like Gary is filling out a form here than signing an autograph.

Had this '88 Richard Dotson in slot 209 up until now...

...but I like the Lavelle much better.

1986 Topps #723 - Marty Bystrom

In what's becoming a common theme for this post, we have yet another player whose career wrapped up the season prior to the card being featured.

Bob Kipper's 1988 card is already in slot 723, and I see no reason to bump him for Bystrom.

Nope, not a one.

1988 Topps #784 - Joe Sambito

This is getting unbelievable at this point.  I swear I pulled these at random, but here's another player who'd appeared in his final Major League inning before this was printed up.  Sambito's two seasons with Boston to end his career were largely forgettable.

Then again, this Alan Bannister buyback that sits in slot 784 is quite boring.  For what it's worth, this card was also printed after Bannister had hung up his cleats for the final time.

Probably based on my Red Sox bias, Bannister is out.

1985 Topps #104 - Mike Fitzgerald

Last card for today, a nice enough photograph from 1985 Topps.  Serving as the primary backstop for the Mets in 1985, Mike Fitzgerald hit just .207.  That's pretty rough.

Lee Lacy on the other hand, hit .261 for the Dodgers in 1978, chipping in with 13 home runs, 16 doubles and 40 RBI.

That'll do it for today. 

Just one new number for the franken-set with the Brett Butler.  I'm still torn on that Bo Jackson/Bret Saberhagen battle.  What do you think?

Franken-set Progress: 631/792 (79%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 100/792 (12%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 512
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,243

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Your 2018 Boston Red Sox, Courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik!

With the 2018 ALCS kicking off tonight, it seems like the perfect time to show off the contents of a much-appreciated PWE that I received recently from Joe of The Shlabotnik Report.

We'll start off with a card that I knew was on the way at some point, as Joe had reached out to me a while back after pulling it from a pack.  I love these inserts, based on the Transogram cards, and since Joe sent me the Mookie Betts earlier this year I now have a complete Red Sox team set of these inserts with this Devers in hand.

Here's a 2017 Opening Day insert showing the silly post-game celebration the Red Sox outfielders perform.  The rest of the cards from here on out are from 2018 releases; either Joe found a dime box at a show somewhere, or he's had tremendous luck pulling Red Sox this calendar year.

Let's start with some 2018 Opening Day.  From the "Before Opening Day" insert set this PWE included Andrew Benintendi...

...tonight's starter Chris Sale...

...and catcher Christian Vazquez.  I already had the Mookie Betts ping pong card from this insert set, and this trio gives me the balance of the Red Sox cards.  That's two insert team sets completed in this one envelope alone.

Oh boy.  I suppose as a team collector I had to end up with this one eventually.  Truth be told, the whole Sweet Caroline thing kind of drives me nuts, but to each his own.  I guess if it helps people enjoy the game so be it, but if they ditched this for next season I wouldn't complain.

It wasn't just inserts from 2018 Opening Day, as I got this Rainbow Blue Foil parallel of Christian Vazquez as well.  A very nice card, though the parallel that ends this post is even nicer.

Here's a Longball Legends insert from the 2018 Topps flagship set.  In an effort to give us even more versions of each card, Topps apparently printed different color versions of these inserts, with this one obviously being the blue variant.  I can't say I support that decision, but a new Ted Williams is a new Ted Williams I suppose.

Believe it or not, this Mookie Betts All-Star card is actually the very first base card from 2018 Topps Heritage to enter my collection.  I know Topps didn't exactly knock it out of the park with these as far as comparison to the original cards, but I still think that's a great looking piece of cardboard.  The Red Sox really need Mookie to pitch in a bit more in the ALCS here, as he hit just 3-for-16 in the ALDS against the Yankees.

Finally, here's a beautiful Independence Day parallel from the 2018 flagship set.  I honestly had no clue that these existed at all, but I love the appropriately patriotic look of these parallels.  They're fairly rare as well, with each being serial-numbered to relatively scant (and fitting) /76.  A very, very solid addition to an already awesome PWE.

Joe, thanks so much for the great batch o' Sox!  I shipped a return PWE last week, but I felt in retrospect like it was a bit on the weaker side, so there's actually another one destined for you sitting in my mailbox at this very moment with the flag up!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Buyback Franken-set: A Trio of '59 First Basemen

I spent over five hours in the car today thanks to a brutal commute to downtown Boston for work, so I'm not feeling particularly verbose this evening.  Seems like a good opportunity for processing a trio of 1959 Topps buybacks I've had in queue for the franken-set for a while now!

1959 Topps #282 - R.C. Stevens

First up, a horrendously mis-cut R.C. Stevens card.  I'm really not familiar with R.C. as a player, not surprising given that in looking him up just now I learned that he appeared in all of 3 games in 1959, and less than a full season's worth of games in his entire career.

Tough draw for R.C. as far as the franken-set goes as well, as he's matched up against this Blue Moon Odom 1967 buyback.

As much as I love 1959 Topps, I can't let that cloud my judgement here.  Odom is just the better buyback.

1959 Topps #285 - Joe Cunningham

Next up, Joe Cunningham of the Cardinals.  While I do recognize his name, I confess that I wasn't aware of how good a player Joe was.  1959 was the best seasons of his career as well, as he hit an impressive .345!  He led the league with a .453 on-base percentage as well, was named an All-Star and even made a few MVP ballots.

Now, I already had this '68 Dick McAuliffe buyback in slot 285 of the binder.  This is a tough call because I like the photograph better on the '68.  Not only that, but the Tigers won it all in 1968 which gives this card some more weight.  Finally, Dick was no slouch either, in fact he led the league in runs in '68 and finished higher in MVP voting than Cunningham did during his 1959 season.

I decided to go with the McAuliffe but I'm honestly not sure whether I made the right call here.  What do you think?

1959 Topps #311 - Norm Zauchin

Here's the last one for tonight, and oddly enough it's another first baseman.  Norm Zauchin played his earlier seasons with the Red Sox, but finished up his career with a couple of seasons in Washington in the late '50s.  He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1955 with Boston, but by 1959 he was about out of gas.

This sweet and very colorful Orlando Pena has held down slot 311 for some time now...

...and will continue to do so.

Well, that's a wrap for this evening.  Three nice '50s buybacks, and not a one made the franken-set binder.  Just goes to show you that it truly is no small feat for a buyback to fight its way into the binder at this stage of the project!

Franken-set Progress: 630/792 (79%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 100/792 (12%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 503
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,233

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Contest Winnings from Chris, The Collector!

It's been a busy week, but I've been on a relatively good roll with blog posts here so let's keep it rolling with a quick thank you post tonight.  One of my favorite blog series of 2018 was done by Chris at The Collector, who profiled some of the great cards in his collection by city in a series he dubbed Sports Card Tour.

Chris turned that series of posts into a contest in the form of a prize draft.  When the prize I was hoping for (a big lot of Red Sox cards) came off the board before my pick, I decided to settle on a "mystery box" instead.  Mystery box was an apt title, as it was amazing to see just how much stuff Chris managed to jam into a small flat-rate priority mailing box!

For starters, there was more than just cardboard to be found, as this Wally Joyner Starting Lineup can attest to.  I'm of an age where I can remember Joyner (and in turn his cards) being a pretty big deal for a brief while in the late '80s, so I definitely got a kick out of this one.

There were actually quite a few little gadget/toy throw-ins in the box aside from the Joyner.  My wife's a school teacher, so I'll give her this mini Dodgers ball for her bin of giveaway/prize items.  The Arizona Diamondbacks car is great, as I give my little nephew a matchbox car most times I see him.  I really hope this isn't some valuable collector's item as it's probably destined to be banged up pretty well by a 2-year-old!

Chris knows I like soccer cards, and he included quite a few in the mystery box.  I'm not sure if this was coincidence, or if he built the mystery box after he knew I'd selected it, but either way I'll take them.

I remember seeing these cereal box MLS cards on a few blogs earlier this year and thinking it was great that someone was doing sports trading cards on cereal box backs again.

Well, now I have a few of my own thanks to Chris!

This box also provided my first look at these 2017 Panini Adrenalyn Road to the 2018 World Cup cards.  Seems obvious that these are meant to be used to play a strategy game of some sort.  Eduardo Vargas here plays for Chile, a country I don't have much of a connection to.  I've never been, but I did have pizza with a guy I met from Chile during an off-site training course for work last month, so there's that.

Croatia!  The Cinderella team that came oh so close to winning it all at the 2018 tournament.

Lastly, Edwin Cardona of Colombia.  The design is a little busy for my liking, although I get that it's by necessity with these being game cards.  I wouldn't try collecting the set of these, but I do like having a couple of sample cards to represent the set in my ever-growing soccer collection.

Chris threw in one parallel as well.  This one's a winner in my book as I like all things shiny when it comes to cardboard.  It also features a player from Portugal, a country I visited just last summer with my wife and enjoyed immensely.  What an awesome card to pull from a mystery box!

While there's no way I can attempt to show them all without delaying this post more than I already have, Chris did include a nice smattering of both baseball and hockey cards in the box.  Some of them will find a place in my collection, others have been set aside to ship to other collectors, still others have already gone to other collectors in the mail!

All in all it was a great surprise box, and it was an enjoyable experience parsing through all the randomness.  Not pictured in tonight's post are various pocket schedules, a Sam Adams beer coaster, and a graded 1980s hockey card among other items!

Card-wise, I think my favorite one from this box would have to be this fantastic Ultra Eric Lindros.  I've got fond memories of big #88 for the Flyers, and I'm amazed I didn't already have a copy of this one.  I'm not kidding when I say that it was worth entering the contest if for no other reason than this one card alone!

Chris, thanks for the wonderful surprise package, and more importantly for the awesome Sports Card Tour series you wrote this summer.  I know firsthand what a tremendous amount of work it can be to commit to a long-running series of posts like that.  I can only imagine the amount of sorting and scanning and writing that went into that endeavor, and it was truly enjoyable, so thanks!

Maybe tomorrow I'll set Wally up in the laundry chute for some target practice Home Alone style with my Red Ryder BB Gun (yes, I actually have one of those)...
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