Saturday, February 28, 2015

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack

Tonight I've got my latest really old Red Sox acquisition to share with you...

If I ever get around to ranking my favorite pre-war card sets, which I doubt I'll ever do, 1914/1915 Cracker Jack would be right at the top of the list.  The cards are just beautiful.  Nothing against T206 or other tobacco sets (I love those too), but give me a Cracker Jack card over one of those any day.  As a Red Sox collector the red backgrounds on these are ideal, and I love the font used for Cracker Jack Ball Players along the tops of the cards.  To me, the coolest thing without a doubt is the fact that these things have survived for 100 years after being plucked from packages of snack food.

There were only a couple of baseball card sets issued at all in 1915, which is another reason I'm such a fan of these.  I'm fascinated by how different the world was exactly a century ago.  In the United States, women couldn't vote.  At the same time that some fortunate person pulled this card from a Cracker Jack box, Europe was engulfed in a nightmare unlike anything the world had seen to date.  The United States was just becoming a global superpower.  Charlie Chaplin was releasing films, and Harry Houdini was still plying his trade as a magician.  Babe Ruth hit is first career home run!

Hal Janvrin spent the year as he had the previous few, patrolling the infield with the Boston Red Sox.  He was your classic jack-of-all-trades utility player, playing every position but pitcher and catcher during his MLB career.  In 1915 he'd play second base, third base and shortstop for the Sox, with the bulk of the time coming at short.  He even got in an at-bat in the World Series, which the Red Sox won.  Must have been quite an experience for a then 22-year-old.

Janvrin was a member of the 1916 World Series Champion Red Sox team as well.  He saw regular playing time in that Series, and ended up with a handful of hits including three doubles, and drove in a run.  He'd go on to play with the Senators, Cardinals, and even the Brooklyn Robins before hanging up the spikes for the final time.

I'm very grateful to now have a third Red Sox card from this set.  With names like Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Connie Mack and Branch Rickey on the checklist I'm never completing the entire set.  That's a fact.  "Smoky" Joe Wood's card alone will probably prevent me from ever even completing just the Red Sox team set.  I don't come across them too often at all, but hopefully I'll stumble upon at least a few more of these where the price is right in my lifetime...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Another Mark Kaz PWE

This is getting to be a regular feature here, but it's time for the latest PWE from my buddy Mark Kaz of This Way to the Clubhouse.  As is the case with our usual back and forth envelopes, I found 9 brand new Red Sox cards inside...

I'm among the many who are digging the 2015 Topps flagship set.  Thanks to a few more Sox courtesy of this package, I'm getting close to the complete Series 1 Red Sox team set.

After this trio of base cards I believe I may be missing only Xander Bogaerts.

Mark was kind enough to include some inserts too.  I think the inserts are pretty flat to say the least, however I will happily acquire any Red Sox regardless.  Yoenis Cespedes, we hardly knew ye!

I'm guessing these Babe Ruth inserts may be Wal-Mart exclusives, because I haven't pulled one in any of my 2015 Topps purchases, which have all been from Target.

To pad out the rest of the PWE, Mark found a trio of older Red Sox cards that I was still missing for whatever reason...

John Barnes never made it to the show with Boston, but he did appear in 20 total MLB games with the Twins between 2000 and 2001.

I'm sure Mark couldn't have known this would be the case, but this '94 Stadium Club Tony Pena was actually my favorite card in this envelope.  For whatever reason I really love this set.  Brings back a lot of memories.  I'd pick up a few cheap boxes if I weren't afraid that all the cards would be stuck together and damaged.

I'll leave you with a nice blinding yellow 1991 Fleer card.  I didn't recall having seen this one in the past, and when I flipped it over I realized why.  This is actually from the 1991 Fleer Traded set.  Good thing I love any and all Red Sox cards, including obnoxious yellow ones!

Thanks as always Mark!  Got another PWE coming your way this weekend.  Tag, you're it!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five Bucks and a Quarter Box

Today I've got the goods from a very quick stop at my new favorite card shop, Central Sports Cards in Pawtucket, RI.  Since I didn't have much time to pick last time I was there, here's just $5 worth of cards I quickly grabbed from the quarter bins.

I didn't start collecting again until 2007, so anything from 2006 Allen & Ginter is foreign to me.  The cards are beautiful though, and I don't get a lot of chances to pick up Josh Gibson cards.  In fact, my records tell me this is my first.  About time.

I've seen these Draft Night inserts posted on a couple of other blogs.  I'm sure like a lot of Bowman sets the majority of the players will never amount to anything, but for some reason I like the concept.  This card was actually laying in a pile on top of the display case, but the shop owner John said I could have it for a quarter.  Sold.

Everything I just typed above regarding Josh Gibson, ditto for Sam Jethroe.  I've also been trying to add more Boston cards to my collection that fall outside the realm of the Red Sox.

I grabbed a few hockey cards as well.  Any time I see cards from the 1994-95 Parkhurst Missing Link set in a quarter or dime box I grab them.  I think I'm about a quarter of the way to a set now.

Never heard of this set in my life, but there was no way I was leaving this photo of Ed Giacomin behind for someone else to scoop up.

There were a small number of these 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated World Series Fever cards.  I grabbed all four that featured past SI covers related to the World Series.  I really like this concept.

This one, which represents the 1958 World Series between the Yankees and Braves, might be my favorite.  I love the artwork.

One of my favorite cards from the 1995-96 Upper Deck hockey checklist is Chris Chelios.  The photograph is framed so well, with Chelios handling the puck in front of a bench full of Red Wings and a giant Little Caesar's ad.  I also love how Darren McCarty appears to be the one player not paying attention to the game, but instead staring at a fan (hot chick, perhaps?).  I jumped at the chance to add the Electric Ice parallel version of this one to my hockey collection.

What can I say, I guess I really gravitate towards retired stars.  In fact, other than that Draft Night insert towards the beginning of the post, every other card here features a player whose career is already complete.

Fleer made some gaudy sets in the mid-'90s, but they strike a nostalgic chord with me.

Normally not a fan of unlicensed sets like this one, but Mark Fidrych interests me enough that I felt it was worth a quarter.  I have a really cool Fidrych card to feature sometime in the near future...

The 1996-97 Metal Universe cards looks amazing in person, much better than they scan.  This is another of those sets where I will grab any card I don't already have at a quarter or less.

This might have been the most satisfying pick of the day.  I completed my 1992-93 Upper Deck hockey set long ago now, but I've never tracked down a copy of this Gordie Howe Selects Patrick Poulin insert.  It had been on my Whalers want list for quite some time, a very satisfying discovery.

I try to grab Scotty Bowman cards whenever I run across them.  Greatest coach in hockey history.  I would love to bust a box of 2006-07 Parkhurst sometime.  The design is simple, the photos are great, and there are some killer on-card autographs on the checklist.

My most surprising baseball find of the day had to be this 1981 Kellogg's Steve Carlton.  In mint shape without any chipping or cracking no less!  I wish there had been more of these in the bin, maybe next time around...

A nice, shiny 1994-95 Stadium Club Finest insert.  There is no doubt what decade this design came from.

I used to love Juan Gonzalez as a kid, and the 1990 Topps set was the first baseball set I can remember collecting in bulk.  This particular card is from the 1990 Topps 1989 Debut set though, which I never had a single card from until this pick-up.

Last, but certainly not least, another Electric Ice parallel.  You might be able to find a hockey card with a mullet as impressive as this one, but I doubt you could find one better.  Combine that with the great look at one of the worst (or best, depending on your perspective) logos in NHL history and you have a "so bad it's good" classic on your hands.

Well, there you have it.  I think I'd take those cards over another rack pack of 2015 Topps any day.  If you're ever in the area I highly recommend stopping by Central Sports Cards in Pawtucket, RI.  The inventory is constantly changing, the owner is a great guy, and odds are there's something there you'll enjoy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Panini Prizm Part 3

It's been a long couple days, and I don't have much time to write this, but in the interest of getting something up on the blog let's rip through another four packs of 2013-14 Panini Prizm hockey.  At just four cards per pack this should go quickly. 

Pack 1...

A nice start.  I really like the teams that the St. Louis Blues have put together the past few seasons.  They're typically my "Western Conference team" in the NHL playoffs, and if the Bruins aren't gonna win the Cup (which it certainly doesn't seem like) then I'd like to see St. Louis do it.

My second colored parallel of the box and they've both been Edmonton Oilers.

Man the Bruins have been awful lately.  Painful to watch.

Pack 2...

Brock had a respectable rookie season last year with 14 goals in 72 games.  This year he's already set new highs in pretty much every statistical category after just 62 games played as of this post.  If he keeps improving like this he's got a long NHL career ahead of him.

Pack 3...

Ryan has appeared in just 21 games with an underwhelming Hurricanes team in 2014-15.  In those 21 games he was a -19, which explains why he's back in the AHL.  To be fair, I doubt many players on the 'Canes have an impressive plus/minus rating...

Pack 4...

Eric has logged 40+ games this year with New Jersey, and is currently on the 20-man roster.

Not bad at all, 3 rookies in 4 packs, 2 of whom have are currently playing in the NHL.  I believe this takes me to the halfway point of my retail box, more to come later...

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Fresh Batch of '73s from Mark Hoyle

The name Mark Hoyle has become synonymous with awesome trade packages on many card blogs.  After receiving a couple of bubble mailers now myself, I can certainly see why.  I would love to see Mark's collection, given that he's probably mailed out more cards to others than I own in total.  I have a mental picture of Mark sitting like Scrooge McDuck atop a giant pile of vintage sports cards.  Then again, Scrooge McDuck's not very accurate given that Mark is one of the most generous people I've encountered in this hobby.

I'm long overdue in posting this, but today I've got yet another impressive stack of '73-74 Topps hockey that he recently sent my way!  It was just last month that I featured a great stack of cards Mark set me from this same set, and he's already struck again.

Mark even managed to upgrade a couple of the cards he just sent me recently, including this Dallas Smith.  "New Dallas Smith" now sits in my set binder.

"Old Dallas Smith" is headed off to a trade partner who I think will appreciate him.

There were a slew of Golden Seals in the package, love those sweaters...

This semi-finals playoff card has quite an odd photo, looks more like a pair of figure skaters than it does a couple of hockey players.

Some heavy airbrushing on this Dick Redmond card.

More Seals!

That has to be close to a complete Golden Seals team set in this package alone.

A couple of Canadiens were inside the bubble mailer...

...including one of the final team checklist cards I was still missing!  There was another unexpected Canadiens card that knocked my socks off so to speak, but that will be shown at the very end of this post.


Love this team checklist, from the Flames' days down South in Atlanta.

Horrific airbrush job on Doug Favell's card.

I mentioned this in my last post on this set, but I love what they did with using the NHL crest for the All-Star cards.

This is one of those sets where I can't help wishing the entire thing was done in a horizontal layout.  What an awesome card of Stan Mikita.

This one's pretty famous among vintage hockey card collectors.  Not sure how the average fan was supposed to know which of these skaters is the card's subject, Dave Keon.

There were quite a few HOFers in this latest batch from Mark.  I'm not sure where he gets all these great vintage cards but they are certainly appreciated.  Actually, I think I recall Mark telling me that some of these were his original cards obtained from packs way back in the '70s.

Closing things out is a trio of names every hockey fan knows.  Marcel Dionne in his pre-Kings days...

...Phil Esposito, and the card that shocked me more than any other in the entire package:

Whoa!  Speechless on this one.  I thought for sure that Guy Lafleur would be one of the final cards I'd have to track down (and pay for) myself.  Aside from a very slight gum stain on the back this card is in fantastic shape too!  As I flipped through this package my facial expression was pretty similar to Guy's in this photograph.  In total, I added or upgraded an amazing 40+ cards for my set from this one trade.

Mark, your generosity is unparalleled.  I truly can't thank you enough for your willingness to share these great cards with another collector.  Thanks almost single-handedly to your awesome trade packages I'm now within striking distance on a set that I didn't think I'd be finishing any time soon.  I will continue to send you all the Red Sox cards I possibly can, but I'm not sure I can ever make up for these last two packages...
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