Monday, June 18, 2012

1974-75 Topps Hockey - Oh So Close!

I kind of strayed on this project for a while, but here are my two most recent pick-ups towards my 1974-75 Topps hockey set.  Both are Hall-of-Famers, and both are pretty great cards.  I think they're significant enough to deserve their own post.

First up is Borje Salming's rookie card.  Borje was one of the NHL's first great European players, and was one of the better defensemen of his era.  Salming became the first Swedish player elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.  These can be found pretty cheap, a great way to add a HOF RC to your collection without spending much cash...

The other pick-up was Guy Lafleur.  I've wanted a copy of this card for a long time, and as it turns out Guy ended up being one of the final few cards I needed towards my set.  What a great photo of the Canadiens' star.

I like that this card is from early enough in Lafleur's career that the back says he "could be ready to move into a 'star' category".

The best part about these is that they are in much better shape than most of my '74-75s, certainly good enough that I'll never need to bother with upgrading them.  With these two slid into place in the binder, I'm now just three cards short of a set.  I need to track down #2 (Assist Leaders/Bobby Orr & Dennis Hextall), #130 (Bobby Orr AS) and #260 (Bobby Clarke) and then I can finally put this one to bed!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Back in Action!

I'm happy to report that after a brief outage I'm officially back online with scanning capability.  I work in the IT industry, so not having a working scanner was eating me up, sort of like a plumber with a leaky sink in his own kitchen.  The best part is that the new scanner blows the old one out of the water.  It's faster, quieter, and works wirelessly so no more printer cable.  My timing was pretty good too, because just after getting the scanner online yesterday I found a package in my mailbox containing four recent pickups from one of my favorite eBay sellers:

It amazes me how little collector love Juan Marichal gets.  According to many (I tend to agree), he was the best starting pitcher of the '60s.  You can always seem to find his cards at a very reasonable price, so I've ended up with a few of them over time.  This card, which I would say is in NM to NM-MT condition, set me back all of $10, which seems criminal given how good Juan was.  1964 Topps is an absolutely gorgeous set in my opinion, vintage baseball at its best.

Okay, maybe not the backs, but the fronts sure do look nice...

I've picked up a few new Spaceman cards lately.  His signature sure looks a lot different nowadays than in did back in the '70s.  I'm not quite sure why it took me so long to pick up a '71 Topps, most of his cards aren't that expensive and this one's no exception.

I like that the back of this card mentions his screwball.

The 1985 Topps set doesn't do much for me, although I have been learning a bit about every single card recently.  I don't think I'll ever bother collecting or buying this entire set, but I have always wanted a Puckett RC, and now I can cross that off the list.

Finally, a card that falls a bit outside of my normal collecting boundaries.  For the second straight post, here's a basketball card:

This Dr. J card is from the 1975-76 Topps set.  When I saw this card I just had to have it.  I like that the design is nice and simple, which really lets you focus on the photo.  And what a photo it is!  The two Kentucky Colonels defenders to the right are twisted in such a way that it looks like Erving literally exploded off the floor.  Just a great looking vintage basketball card.

This is the first '75-76 Topps basketball card I've ever owned, and when I purchased the card I could only see the front, so I wasn't sure what to expect on the card back.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I could see myself picking up some other stars from this set.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Night Randomness...

Here are some random scans from my draft folder while I wait to get a new scanner online...

This fantastic Mario Lemieux card is a Canvas parallel from this past year's flagship Upper Deck hockey set.  I've seen it posted a couple of places already, and just had to have one of my own.  I believe the retired stars at the end of the Canvas checklist are short printed...they sure fetch pretty good coin in the secondary market.  This one set me back $14.99, which was an absolute steal.  It was a buy-it-now auction, and I must have stumbled onto it shortly after it was listed, because at that price it wouldn't last long.  These have been regularly going in the $30-$35 dollar range believe it or not.  At the time of this post there are just two listed on eBay, both between $45-$50.  The photo is from a shoot for Sports Illustrated, and was taken at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  This is one of my favorite purchases so far in 2012, I think just because it's so unique.

I know most people disagree (and part of me can understand why), but for some reason I've always kind of liked the yellow-helmet-era Penguins look.  Very nicely done card back right there.

These next three cards might not look like much.  Don't recognize the name Glenn Mulvenna?  Neither did I.  He played 2 career NHL games.

Ryan McGill played 151 career NHL games, registering 4 goals, 15 assists and 391 penalty minutes.

Kjellberg here?  Slightly more successful with 394 career games played and 160 points.  So what is it that ties these three cards together?  They're the final three I needed for my 1992-93 Upper Deck hockey set.  Feels good to cross that one off the list!

Finally, I don't really collect basketball cards but here is one of the few that I do own.  Great shot of The Chief being defended by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  Whole lotta high socks in that photo.  I can definitely see why '86-87 Fleer is considered one of the best basketball sets of all-time, these cards are beautiful.

That's all for now...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1953 Topps Project - Al Zarilla

I managed to get nearly all of my 1953 Topps cards scanned in before the scanner kicked the bucket, so this will give me a good chance to make some headway on this project...

Today's card is #181 in the set, Al Zarilla of the Boston Red Sox.  Allen Lee Zarilla played a total of ten seasons with the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox, and apparently liked to wear his hat quite high!  He was a decent line drive hitter who enjoyed two seasons with a .300+ batting average.  The first came in 1948, where he hit .329 with 12 HR and 74 RBI in what was definitely his career year.  He was named an All-Star for the only time during that 1948 season.  Zarilla topped .300 again in 1950, when he and teammates Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio formed the "all-.300" Boston outfield.  Believe it or not he had a better batting average than the Splendid Splinter did that year!

1953 was the end of the road for Al, as he appeared in his final MLB game on September 26th of that year for Boston.  From what I can tell, Zarilla didn't stay involved in professional baseball after his playing days were done.  He passed away in Hawaii in 1996, at the age of 77 years old.

Set Progress:  46 of 274 (17%)

Monday, June 11, 2012

RIP HP Deskjet F4180 - 6/11/2012

It's a sad day here at Shoebox Legends world headquarters.  My trusty friend, the HP Deskjet F4180 scanner that has sat alongside my desk for what seems like forever now, has scanned in its final card.

This little piece of machinery is responsible for every single one of the thousands of card scans I've posted here since I started back in January of 2008.  In fact, this thing has produced more than 20,000 card images in total over the years.  Earlier today though, it just kind of sputtered out and died doing what it enjoyed most (some O-Pee-Chee mini hockey cards were on the scanning bed at the time).  It's not a software or configuration issue, in fact it makes an awful grinding sound and does try to scan, but the hardware is shot.  Definitely got my $50 worth out of it I guess.  Anyone have any recommendations for a basic all-in-one that just prints and scans exactly what you have in the bed without cropping edges or anything?

In the meantime, I've got a healthy backlog of scans to keep me going for quite some time.  In fact, I'm usually so far behind in posting that you probably won't notice a difference.  For now, here's one of the final cards that made it in before the scanner went to pot.

Great looking card of Brooks.  The Orioles logo in the corner is cool, but the patch on Robinson's shoulder is even cooler.  This one set me back less than the cost of a blaster, which is a good reminder to myself as to why I should stick with vintage.

Well, that's about it for tonight.  Guess I'll go haul my scanner out with the recycling...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Members Only

I found these in a small stack of cards from my childhood collection given to me by my Dad not too long ago.  Both of my brothers and I were indeed members of the Topps Stadium Club back in the early '90s, and we each received our small black boxes containing our 1991 Stadium Club Members Only sets.

As a 9-year-old at the time, I figured the cards would earn me hundreds one day.  After all, you had to be a member to get your hands on these.  I couldn't have possibly imagined that 20 years later they would not be worth the cardboard they're printed on.  Oh well, they're not half bad looking cards at least...

There were 30 cards in this set in total, I've picked out just a few of my favorites to highlight here.  We'll start of with Jeff Bagwell, one of the worst trades in Red Sox history...

Here's my favorite card from the bunch.  I'm always happy to add a new Nolan Ryan to the collection.  I've got over 200 different Ryan cards now, not too bad for someone who's generally a set collector I guess...

Rickey Henderson just looks fast on his card...

Here's one commemorating the combined no hitter thrown by Kent Mercker, Mark Wohlers, and Alejandro Pena of the Atlanta Braves on September 11th, 2001.  Great card.

The Rocket represents the only Red Sox card in the set...

Bret Saberhagen's card features what I think is the best photo in the bunch.  He's got a card in the set due to his no-hitter against the White Sox during the '91 season, I'm guessing this photo was taken after that game.

The only problem with this card is that Carlton's in the wrong Sox uniform.

Here's the AL Home Run Leaders card, featuring Cecil Fielder and Jose Canseco, who each clubbed 44 round-trippers in 1991.

Fittingly, I'll leave off with Cal Ripken Jr.  Cal's 1991 season was absolutely insane.  It is up there statistically as one of the best single seasons in the history of baseball.  If you believe in the WARP stat (wins above replacement player), which I confess I only have a general understanding of, it was the fourth best statistical season in baseball history, and the best since 1923.  While I don't understand the ins and outs of how WARP is calculated, I can appreciate Ripkens .323 / 34HR / 114RBI stat line as a shortstop.  He also smashed 46 doubles and another 5 triples.  Cal was the AL MVP, was the home run derby champ and the All-Star Game MVP (first player to do so), won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, and was named Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and the Sporting News.

Were any of you Stadium Club members back in the day?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Grab Bag - Vintage Baseball and a Hockey Auto

Here are five more random cards from the bag in my closet...

This 1959 Topps Ray Narleski came from the dollar box at the hobby shop, and is in well-loved condition.  I don't know much about Ray, but it looks like injuries forced him into an early retirement.  He never pitched in the bigs again after the '59 season.

This card's a little off-center and has plenty of wrinkles, but when you see a card you don't have that's over 50 years old for a buck you have to buy it.  It's one of the rules of collecting.

Here's a Rich Peverley rookie from 2007-08's SP Game-Used set, numbered to 999.  I actually ended up with this card long before Rich was dealt to the Bruins.  It came in a small lot of these that I purchased because I wanted the David Krejci.  I'm not particularly attached to it, so if anyone would like it this card is definitely up for trade.

Here's a Daisuke Matsuzaka rookie from the 2007 Upper Deck Goudey set.  This one's appropriate as Matsuzaka will be making his very first MLB start since last year's Tommy John surgery in about half an hour.  This guy can either be really effective, or absolutely maddening to watch.  As a Sox fan, I hope we get the former this afternoon.

These were actually the first cards I bought in pack format when I returned to collecting in 2007.  I think it's a great set.  I need to get around to organizing all of mine and getting my want list updated.  I'm fairly sure I have the entire 200-card short set and maybe half of the SPs.

My favorite card from this bunch is this 2008-09 Upper Deck Legends Masterpieces Richard Brodeur.  If I see these cheap I will always grab them.  I think this card only set me back around $5 shipped.  I love the framed look and the fact that they're all on-card.  That is one busy Canucks sweater right there.

Unfortunately, the backs of these are as atrocious as the fronts are beautiful.

Finally, we have a 1970 Topps Billy Williams.  This one came from the hobby shop as well.  I think I paid about $3 for this one, just couldn't leave it there at that price in this condition.

That's all I've got time for today, hopefully a more substantive post will be up soon...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The One Topps Archives Card I Had to Have...

When 2012 Topps Archives baseball was released a few weeks ago, I was somewhat indifferent to the set.  When I finally got my hands on some, I found the cards to be mediocre (yes, the card stock is way too flimsy and glossy).  I'm not sure whether I'll collect the base set or not, but there was one card in particular that I knew I wanted to track down.  In fact, I've been excited about this card since I saw it on the sell sheet for the set months ago.  Well, a few days ago mine finally arrived in my mailbox...

One place where I think 2012 Archives succeeded is with the Fan Favorites autographs.  These on-card autos have always been one of the stronger selling points for the Archives sets.  When I found out that Will Clark was on the checklist in the 2012 set, I just had to get my hands on one.  I think one of the reasons I was attracted to this card is because it's a slight variation on one of my all-time favorite Clark cards, his rookie card from the 1986 Topps Traded set:

This instantly becomes my favorite Will Clark autograph (although admittedly I've only got one other).  Now that I have this card, and the Bill Lee auto that I showed a couple of days ago, I'm almost done with this year's Fan Favorites autographs.  The only other one I'd like to track down would be a Luis Tiant.

How about you, have you pulled or picked up any Fan Favorites autos from this year's Archives set?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Ultimate Hockey Card Set - Card #24 (My New Favorite Hockey Card!)

A couple of weeks ago I added what I think is a pretty spectacular card to my hockey collection.  It's one I've been searching out for a couple of years now, a "white whale".  I think it's my new favorite hockey card.  Of course it's #24 in its set, and it's being selected for my Ultimate Hockey Card franken-set.  Just how much do I like this card?  Enough to select it for the set over this here absolutely awesome #24 from my collection:

Yes, it pains me to say this, but the 1992-93 Topps Stadium Club Wayne Presley card will not be inducted into The Ultimate Hockey Card Set.  This card has a lot going for it.  Early '90s hog?  Check (that might even be a four-wheeler).  Biker gloves?  Check.  Denim on denim?  Hell yeah, Wayne Presley doesn't follow fashion trends, he sets fashion trends.  Initially I thought maybe this photo had actually been taken on the set of Top Gun, but it turns out that film came out a few years earlier, and Wayne Presley was not a cast member.  If I had a runner-up hockey franken-set I'd include this card, but unfortunately as it stands Wayne and his bad-ass jean jacket are out...

Let's check out some of the other runners-up for #24...

This Andy Moog is an '81-82 O-Pee-Chee reprint from the 2001-02 Topps/O-Pee-Chee Archives set.  I've been just a few cards away from finishing this set for what seems like forever now.  They're tricky to track down for whatever reason.

This Brett Hull card doesn't look great in the scan, but it's a Sportflics-style card from the '96-97 Pinnacle McDonald's set.  I'm pretty sure this one is from either the quarter or dime box at the local hobby shop.

I always liked the Canada Cup subset at the beginning of the '91-92 Upper Deck flagship set.  There were some pretty great players included, and seeing them in their international sweaters was something a little different at the time.  Jari Kurri, shown here as captain of team Finland, is a great example.

Card #24 in the 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee set belongs to Hall-of-Famer Gilbert Perreault.  This wouldn't have been a bad choice at all.  I want to include as many teams in the set as possible, and as Sabres go Perreault would be an obvious pick.  Unfortunately for Gil there was just too much competition for this spot.

#24 from the 1985-86 7-Eleven set features the Clarence S. Campbell Trophy, awarded annually to the Western Conference Champions in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  This certainly would have been an appropriate choice, given that the Kings just took home this trophy a week or so ago and are now up 1-0 on the Devils in the Cup Finals.

Peter Stastny has card #24 in one of my favorite '90s insert sets, '92-93 Fleer Ultra Imports.  I've decided that inserts can be included in the set.  After all, this card has a #24 on the back just like any other.  This one's not making the cut anyway.  This isn't the first time Stastny's been snubbed, better luck next time Peter...

I've got a couple of #24 WHA cards.  From the '75-76 set, a terribly off-centered Gene Peacosh of the San Diego Mariners...

...and from the '77-78 set, Ron Plumb of the Cincinnati Stingers.  Great logo, but there's no way this one's making the cut.

This 2006-07 Parkhurst Richard Brodeur has some good elements.  In the end though, even the JOFA helmet, brown pads and the "flying V" Canucks sweater couldn't push this one to the top of the list.

Alexander Mogilny's Upper Deck rookie card happens to be #24.  The original "Alexander the Great" was an exciting player during an era when I was really into both hockey and cards as a kid, so he's always been a favorite.

1994-95 Upper Deck SP has Eddie Belfour featured on card #24.  Ed's a Hall-of-Famer now, and I love the photo chosen for this one.  This card was also tempting because I've yet to choose a Blackhawks card for the set.  For now that trend is going to continue though.

Here's a card that, had it not been for my recent acquisition, would have been in the running alongside the Wayne Presley that led off this post.  The '74-75 Topps Jacques Lemaire is a well-known card, in fact this was even thrown out as a suggestion for the set in the comments on an earlier post.  Of course, the reason this card has drawn attention is the fact that Jacques never played a single game for the Sabres.  An interesting card, and Lemaire is also a member of the Hall of Fame.  Unbelievably though, the Sabres are getting shafted for the fourth time in this post.

I've dragged this out long enough, here's my recent acquisition, and the card I'm going with for the set:

1933 Goudey Sport Kings - #24 - Howie Morenz

This Howie Morenz is from the 1933 Sport Kings set released by The Goudey Gum Co.  The 48-card set paid tribute to the top athletes from the world of sports, everything from baseball and hockey to wrestling and dog-sledding.  The checklist includes names like Babe Ruth, Red Grange and Ty Cobb.  The design is a classic, and has been recycled countless times throughout the years, including the Upper Deck Goudey baseball sets from a few years back.  Each card features a portrait of the subject front and center against a plain colored background, with the Sport Kings Gum banner along the top, and a silhouette of the subject's sport along the bottom, above the name.  The cards are nearly square at 2 3/8" x 2 7/8".

There are four hockey players represented in the Sport Kings set; Howie Morenz here, Eddie Shore, Ace Bailey and Ching Johnson.  Someday I would love to acquire the other three, particularly the Shore, but for now I'm thrilled to have the Morenz card.

I won't bore you with a long summary of the life and career of Howie Morenz, I've kept you long enough already.  I'd say this nearly 80-year-old piece of cardboard depicting one of hockey's greatest players (and one of the 9 original Hockey Hall of Fame inductees) certainly deserves a spot in my franken-set.  This will surely be a favorite in my collection for years to come.

The Ultimate Hockey Card Set, now at 16 cards and counting, can be seen here...
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