Friday, May 17, 2019

Five '55s

I mentioned recently that I've really been enjoying the 1955 Topps baseball set.  With just 206 cards on the checklist and no Mickey Mantle it's a tempting set to chase, but Clemente and Koufax rookies make that unlikely for me.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying what "no-name" guys I can scrape up on the cheap.  My last COMC order contained a few of them, here are five of those for your viewing pleasure...

First we have the man who was described by the great Ted Williams as having "the most feared curve ball in the American League", Camilo Pascual.  Love the great Washington Nationals logo here.

When I was a kid, I didn't care much for this set.  I think the fact that the cards are over-sized bothered my OCD some.  I've grown to love both this set, and its sister '56 set, as I've gotten older though.  I like that the fronts have plenty of room for both a portrait and an action shot.

The backs are just amazing.  Pascual has my favorite cartoon of today's batch with that awesome drawing of first base repelling a ball.

Dick Hall is noted as a third baseman/outfielder on his card, but he'd been seeing some innings on the mound by the time this card hit shelves.  He actually became much better known as a pitcher later in his career, and was on both the 1966 and 1970 World Series champion Baltimore Orioles teams.

I think it's cool that this card came out just before he'd converted to pitching, no real mention of it on the back anywhere.

Dave Jolly pitched for the Braves for a few seasons in the mid-'50s, and that was the extent of his baseball career.  He passed away tragically, and far too early at age 38, due to complications from a brain tumor.

With all the controversy around certain franchise names the past few years, I'm not sure Topps could get away with this logo on a 2019 card?

I love that Dave is described in the write-up as the "busy bee" of the Braves squad.

Nellie King played a few seasons of Big League ball, and then did quite a few more as a member of the radio broadcast team for the Pirates after hanging up the spikes.  You can really get a sense for how tall (6'6") and lanky (185 lbs) King was in the action shot there.

Last card for today, coach Harry Brecheen of the Orioles.  Harry is of course known for his stellar career as a pitcher with the Cardinals during the 1940s.  He was an All-Star more than once, and was absolutely clutch on the biggest stage in baseball for St. Louis, dominating in his World Series appearances.

I have one or two cards of Harry's from his playing days, cool to have a coach one to accompany them.

This set is not only fun, but a good one to collect on a budget as well (at least the commons, anyway).  These five are in great shape as far as I'm concerned, and set me back between 75 cents and $1.50 each, with the lot of five adding up to less than $6 total.  I'm now at about 20% of a complete set, with 41 cards in my collection.  I've certainly got a few more to add and post as well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mantle Momentum

Last year I added my first ever playing-era flagship Topps Mickey Mantle card to my collection when I picked up a copy of his 1966 card.  Adding that one to my collection was such a great feeling that I soon decided to pursue another.

Well, my parents were kind enough to give me a $50 eBay gift card for Christmas last year and I began the hunt.  I settled on this beauty!

I've always loved the 1964 Topps set, and it seems like 2019 has been the unofficial Year of '64 Topps here on the blog.  I grabbed low-grade copies of the Pete Rose and Sandy Koufax cards from this release earlier in the year, and now both of those are topped by The Mick!

Due to the grade of "Good 2.5", this puppy was available for relatively cheap coin.  It was just a shade over $100 to begin with, and with that $50 eBay gift card covering close to half of the cost of the card I capitalized on the opportunity to add this one to my collection.

Here's a better look at the front, bearing in mind that my scanner struggles with PSA slabs.  I like this one quite a bit more than the '66 card.  In both instances he's pictured in a standard batting stance pre-game.  On this card though, Mantle still looks stoic and strong, an imposing presence, whereas that seems to be the case to a lesser degree just a couple of years later.  I like the design of '64 Topps over '66 as well, so this is cemented as my new favorite Mantle card for sure.

The '64 backs aren't all that exciting, but here's a look at it just to show you that it's in great shape with no paper loss or staining.  A nice, clean card of one of our hobby's biggest names.

So, there's my second legit Mantle.  I couldn't be happier.  I'm glad that I was able to use a gift from my parents to add a card this iconic to my collection.  I'll surely cherish this one for as long as I participate in this hobby.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 10, 2019

COMC Blaster - Vacation Edition

This evening kicks off a week-long break from work for me, something I haven't enjoyed for many stressful months now.  To celebrate I cobbled together one of my favorite recurring posts, a COMC blaster.  Let's see what $20 in credit on the site landed me this time around...

I typically save the best for last, but tonight I'm coming right out with my favorite card in the entire post in the lead-off spot.  Despite being from 2018, I like this one every bit as much as my vintage Aaron cards.  Well done Topps, well done.  Two bucks for this card, and no regrets.

This '59 Joe Koppe is a tough high number (#517).  In great shape like this I was more than happy to shell out $2.45 for this copy for my slow set build.  This represents my 300th card in the set as well, getting there!

I've been slowly putting together the 2009-10 Upper Deck Champ's Yellow parallel set.  This is an even rarer "Animal Icon" parallel (see the gazelles on the border), so it won't fit in with that set.  I couldn't resist grabbing it though since these are super rare, and snagging a HOFer like this for the 81 cents I paid is pretty much unheard of.

This Chris Sale from 2014 Topps Hi Tek looks more impressive than the scan would have you believe.  It's an "Ice Diffractor", numbered to /75.  Chris is wearing the wrong laundry here, but I still like the card enough that I paid $1.13 for it.

Another '59 set need, this one's a more common low number though and thus only set me back 81 cents.  I've still got a lot of stars and HOFers to track down, but I may finish this one someday yet!

This Yasiel Puig is part of a project that I anticipate will be much easier to complete, a 2014 Finest set in X-Fractor form.  Puig was just 70 cents, and represents my 36th of these X-Fractors.  64 left to go...

Let's tack on another shiny card here, with an Atomic Refractor from 2011 Topps Chrome.  I was crazy enough to start this project years back and it's been a real challenge.  I'm to the point where most of the cards I'm missing from the 220-card release just aren't even available in any online outlets.  85 cents was a real solid deal for Gio Gonzalez here.  I'd plug every remaining hole in my set at that price point if it were an option.

I have more cards of David Ortiz than probably any other baseball player, though I can't say for certain.  Because of that, I rarely seek out his cardboard while browsing around online.  I really liked these Gallery of Greats inserts from 2015 though, and the price was right in this case at 44 cents.

Here's the only card in this post that can give that Hank Aaron a run for its money.  I was obsessed with Ken Griffey Jr baseball on the Super Nintendo back in 1994.  Easily one of the top 10 favorite video games of my entire childhood.  My go-to teams were the Braves and Blue Jays.

Like many 30-somethings, I enjoy a good Griffey Jr. card.  I'm not a high-end collector of his stuff by any means, but this one seems like a really interesting odd-ball and it cost me less than $3 ($2.75).  I'd have paid twice that for the nostalgia value alone.

A really cool parallel here of arguably the best soccer player in the world over the last year or two.  He's in the running anyway.  He was actually ranked #1 on the infamous list of top 100 footballers in the world published by British paper The Guardian for 2018.  I don't have many Modric cards, so I'm happy with this one at 85 cents.

I went a little nuts over the Topps Chrome Update cards that were released in those holiday mega-boxes back in 2015.  I long ago completed the base set, and have since started grabbing some of the parallels of the Red Sox players.  This Blake Swihart rookie is my third Gold parallel (#'d /250), leaving me just a Rick Porcello shy of a complete team set.

One of my favorite obscure players to collect is the great Julio Franco.  I can't believe it took me until now to land his 1983 Topps Traded rookie card, especially since I only had to fork over $1.75 for this nice mint copy!

I like to mix in some obscure stuff while shopping on COMC, and tonight I've got a couple of cards along those lines.  From Panini Golden Age, a sweet Jimi Hendrix at just 51 cents...

...and from the 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs 3-D insert set I've been working on, Apatosaurus.  89 cents for this giant herbivore.  A great example of how nice this set looks.

This past season, Upper Deck did an entire 25-card insert set dedicated to the great Jaromir Jagr.  Count me in!  Here's my first example.  These are available dirt cheap thanks to the e-Pack promotion between Upper Deck and COMC.  This one was the cheapest card in tonight's post at 32 cents.

Last, but certainly not least, Spaceman!  75 cents brought this one home to my Red Sox collection.  The best part about it, though?


I'm at $19.76 for a running total, so we'll call it there for this evening.  Hope you saw a card or two that you found interesting.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

One Card Post - Graded Frank

What:  1971 Topps #640 - Frank Robinson
Where: eBay
How Much?:  $17.99 (free shipping)

Why?:  I picked this one up partially because I don't have nearly enough vintage Frank Robinson in my collection, and partially because it compliments the PSA-4 Nolan Ryan that I picked up from this set earlier this year.  I thought this was a pretty decent price for a legend like this.  A nice example from a notoriously tough set as far as condition goes, too.

Okay, back to the Bruins!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Johnny's Trading Spot Red Sox - Part 2

This past week I was completely surprised by an unexpected bubble mailer full of Red Sox that showed up in my mailbox. The cards were sent to me by John Miller, who writes over at Johnny's Trading Spot.  This is the second large surprise mailing to show up in my house in recent weeks, as I've yet to get to an amazing package from Joe Shlabotnik as well.

The reason I'm putting John first though is that I haven't finished showing all the cards from his last package, which I won as part of a contest held on his blog.  So today, in an attempt to clear some of this backlog, I've got 20 more Red Sox that he included in that last go-round...

Starting off with a Scott Cooper Rookie insert from 1992 Pinnacle.  Though I was collecting heavily as a 9/10-year-old in 1992, I have zero recollection of this insert set.  Had trouble finding it on The Trading Card Database also.  Cool card.

I love a good minor league card, and John hooked me up with quite a few of them in my prize package.  From the 1990 Best set here's pitcher Josias Manzanillo.  Josias went on to have an 11-year career in Major League Baseball with over 250 appearances.

Next up, Bob Zupcic.  Another guy who made the show here, as he played from 1991 through 1994 for the Red Sox (and the White Sox at the tail end).  Looks like Best had a typo here and used a 'v' for the second letter in Bob's last name.

Derek Livernois, on the other hand, never made it.  I love the photos featuring all of the local advertising on the outfield fence.

This one's actually from the same set, just some type of small subset at the very end of the checklist.  Eric did play in the Majors, but is better known for his managerial stints later in life.  He actually won Manager of the Year back in 2007 with the Indians.

Sticking with the minor league theme for a moment, next up is a pair from the 2014 Panini Elite Extra Edition set.  Unlike the Best set, I don't find these to be very visually appealing cards, but they're two new ones for my Sox collection nonetheless.  Looks like Reed here flamed out after his age 23 season at single A ball back in 2015.

Kevin McAvoy was still active as recently as last year, but an appearance with Boston looks unlikely given that he's never risen above AA ball to this point.

Let's turn to some established Major Leaguers at this point, from a set I adore, 2003 Topps Total.  Team sets from the Total releases are pretty damn large (player selection is what makes the set so great after all), and I got four new cards towards my 2003 set with pitchers Jorge De La Rosa...

...and Derek Lowe... well as position players Jeremy Giambi...

...and the late Dernell Stenson.  I was excited to see Topps return with the Total brand this year, but a bit disappointed in the online-only, somewhat exclusive format.  I'll stick with collecting the cards from a couple of decades ago I guess.

Now we move onto a set that was actually very poorly represented in my Red Sox collection prior to receiving this package, 1996 Score.

The design for this set is alright, I guess I'd rate it slightly above average.  The photos though are pretty great in some cases, and John Valentin's card is a fine example of that.

Same with this Tim Naehring.  I love that they managed to capture both the batter on deck and the bat boy in the background in this shot.

I like how the horizontal layout works for the design in this particular release.

That horizontal layout provided probably my favorite card of this bunch.  Talk about an awesome play-at-the-plate shot here!  Love the low angle, the fact that MacFarlane is raising the ball in triumph, and the dirt storm that's largely obscuring the runner.  Awesome stuff.

Of course there are plenty of more casual cards in the set as well, like Troy O'Leary stretching pre-game...

...or Stan Belinda with a standard pitch delivery shot.  These seven new cards put me well on my way towards a complete team set.

To close it out for today, we'll head back to the 1980s with a pair of '89 Donruss.  These aren't just any '89 Donruss though, they're my first two cards from the '89 Donruss Traded set!

Looks like there is just one more Red Sox player on the checklist, I'll have to grab that one on COMC or Sportlots to put this small team set to bed.

So there you have it, 20 new additions to my ever-growing team collection.  I've got one more run of cards to show in a Part 3 from this mailing, then I'll be moving on to the amazing and eclectic package from Joe Shlabotnik.

Enjoy your Saturday, and thanks for stopping by!
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