Sunday, July 31, 2016

Going Atomic?

Here's a guy you may have seen in the news lately.
The 2011 Topps Chrome Atomic Refractors might be my single favorite parallel from the past five years or so.  I love the look of these refractors every year, but 2011 is the most practical to collect since they were serial-numbered to /225, vs just /10 most other years.  I've grabbed one or two on COMC over time whenever there was a bargain to be had.  This left me with a half dozen of them; Ichiro here...

...a trio of Red Sox in Adrian Gonzalez...

...closer Jonathan Papelbon...

...and Kevin Youkilis.

In addition to those I also had Johnny Damon...

...and Paul Konerko to round out my half dozen.

Well, with "only" 220 cards on the 2011 Topps Chrome checklist, I started to wonder if it might be practical to attempt to make an Atomic Refractor set over the course of the next few years.  I'm still undecided there as I have plenty of other hobby projects in the works, but in the meantime I couldn't resist when I found a bunch of lesser players for between 50 and 75 cents...

I remember this guy as a Cleveland Indian a good decade or so ago now, looks like he's still kicking around with Seattle.

Aneury Rodriguez got in 8 starts, plus a good amount of bullpen work, with the Astros in 2011.  After just one start in 2012 he never pitched another MLB inning though.

Hasn't pitched in big league ball since 2014, though he did sign with Baltimore last winter.

Finally, a more well-known name.  Hudson made close to 500 career starts, and finished with a very respectable 3.49 career ERA.

A guy with a rough injury history, Johnson will miss the entire 2016 season after his third Tommy John surgery.  At what point would you just pick a new career?

Finished off his career with 3 appearances with the Twins back in 2014.  I remember Jason most as a Tampa Bay Ray though.

After bouncing around a few different franchises, Danny Valencia seems to have found a nice home in Oakland.  He's swatting over .300 with 13 home runs so far this year.

Last card for today, and a guy I believe has a shot at the HOF someday.  A nice card, even if it is just a photo-shopped version of his Red Sox card from the 2011 Topps flagship set.

That puts me at 14 of these now, still not enough to seriously consider chasing the set.  With that being said though, I have no buyer's remorse when it comes to these cheap additions!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Buyback Franken-set - Laying the Foundation for a Trade Package

Buybacks again?  Yup!  It's been a week since I evaluated any new buyback cards for my franken-set so I'm due to keep this project moving along here.  The ten cards I have today may not be the most exciting grouping, but all ten make the set since they currently have no competition for their respective slots.  More importantly, a couple of cards in the post lay the groundwork for a post on a great trade package I received recently.

Enough chatter, let's dive in...

#201 - 1979 Mike Edwards Record Breaker

Record breaker cards are some of my favorite buybacks to acquire, and they definitely get a leg up on the competition when it comes to this franken-set.  This one signifies the two unassisted double plays that Mike Edwards turned on August 10th, 1978.  An obscure record for sure, but one he still holds actually as far as I can tell.  This one is great for my set as it comes right before the Ron Guidry record breaker that I kicked off my last franken-set post with.

#168 - 1966 Dan Osinski

To me Dan Osinski is most associated with being a member of the bullpen staff on the 1967 "Impossible Dream" Red Sox team.  Not a very exciting card here, I'd love nothing more than to bump this one from slot 168 in the binder, but at this point it's my only option.

#404 - 1973 Chuck Brinkman

Chuck Brinkman hit one career home run.  It came during the 1973 season, which is also the year he appeared in a career high number of games, and drove in 10 of his 12 career runs batted in.  I guess that makes this the best Chuck Brinkman card one could acquire?  Either way, cool specs Chuck.

#248 - 1969 Bob Priddy

About the only thing that bugs me more than hatless players on my vintage cards would be blacked out logos like you see here.  The second I acquire another #248 Bob Priddy is out!

#688 - 1978 George Mitterwald

George Mitterwald is relatively safely entrenched in the binder, simply because he's not going to get much competition all the way up at #688.

#487 - 1979 Miguel Dilone

Did you know that in 1980 Miguel Dilone actually batted over .340, and even got a couple MVP votes?  I honestly had no idea.

#213 - 1974 Dave Rader

An early-career card of catcher Dave Rader hanging around at batting practice.  Dave actually played for the Red Sox during his final season in 1980.

#386 - 1979 Francisco Barrios

Sort of a sad story with this one, which features pitcher Francisco Barrios sporting Chris Sale's favorite uniform.  After enjoying some initial success at the Major League level, Barrios declined and found himself pitching in the Mexican Pacific League by the time he was in his late 20s.  Before he could stage his MLB comeback he passed away from an accidental overdose at just 28 years of age.

 #453 - 1975 Claude Osteen

Some heavy airbrushing here as Claude Osteen had just been dealt from the Astros to the Cardinals in August of '74.  Apparently St. Louis wasn't all that impressed with Claude, who was in the twilight of his career, as they released him in April of '75 limiting his Cardinals career to 8 games pitched.

#496 - 1976 Juan Beniquez

A member of the famed 1975 Red Sox team, Juan Beniquez was dealt to the Rangers following that season in the trade that brought Fergie Jenkins to Boston.  So, that's probably Red Sox gear underneath that airbrushing.

Like I said, not the most inspiring grouping of ten cards there.  In a set/project as large as this one though, the reality is there's going to be some filler...

Franken-set Progress:  72/792 (9%)

Friday, July 29, 2016

One Card Post - Papi Proof

What:  2016 Panini Diamond Kings #64 - David Ortiz (Artist's Proof Parallel #'d /99)
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $1.60

:  Just got back from a week in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire.  I managed to get a couple of scheduled posts up just before I left, but aside from that took a total break from the hobby as well as work, and pretty much society in general.  In fact, I purposely chose a location without cable TV, internet, or even a cell phone signal; just a cabin on the banks of a babbling brook in the middle of nowhere.  I never once looked at a computer screen, or heard a news headline, but I did do plenty of hiking and kayaking.  It was awesome.

Oh yeah, the card.  I'm always looking for opportunities to add "rare" parallels (which I define as 100 copies or less) to my Red Sox collection on the cheap.  Since I think Panini did a fantastic job with this year's Diamond King set, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to do just that.

If you're waiting for an email or cards from me please bear with me as I painfully adjust back to "real life mode"...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1994-95 Fleer Franchise Futures

Quick post today featuring a '90s insert set that I was able to grab the remaining cards I needed from cheaply at the hobby shop.  From the 1994-95 Fleer hockey set, it's Franchise Futures...

Fleer certainly liked making "busy" cards in the mid-'90s, and this insert set is no exception.  These cards kind of have a lot going on, and nothing going on all at the same time.  Aside from all the writing, there's a multi-colored grid of boxes in the center of the card, but it's mostly obscured by the depicted player.

The backs are a little better.  You can see that they carried that checkerboard grid pattern over from the front and used it for the bio/write-up.  I will give them credit for at least using a different photograph (and writing the player's name only once on the reverse).

Fleer did fairly well with the player selection for the 10-card set, especially given how many total busts came out of the era.  Hell, Rob Blake here became a HOFer in 2014.

Rangers' fan favorite Adam Graves made the cut, fresh off of a Stanley Cup championship!

This was the first card I had from the set, and the only one I had earmarked specifically for my collection before running across the others for a price I couldn't refuse.  I always liked Irbe back in the day, but really it was because of his odd helmet and strange name as much as anything else.

Joe Juneau had a productive rookie year for the Bruins, who sadly dealt him away for defenseman Al Iafrate towards the end of the following season.  Not one of Boston's finest trades either, as Iafrate would last just 12 total games with the B's.  Juneau is a really smart dude; he earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytech in just 3 years before he began his NHL career.  Oh, and that was in English, his second language.

Interesting that in a ten card set Fleer decided to go with two San Jose Sharks.  I remember Sandis Ozolinsh much more fondly from his time with the dominating Colorado Avalanche teams of the mid to late '90s.

I've talked a few times on the blog about the fact that I was enamored with the Flyers' Legion of Doom line as a kid.  While Mikael Renberg is certainly the least known of the three players who made up that line, I still enjoy picking up new Renberg cards to this day.  In fact, this might be my favorite card in this insert set.

Outside of HOFer Rob Blake, Keith Tkachuk had probably the best career of anyone in this set.  He's regarded as one of the best American-born hockey players to date, and actually played all the way through 2010!

With two Sharks in the set, you had to know Fleer was going to include someone from the other new NHL franchise at the time, the Senators.  They made a wise decision in going with Alexei Yashin over the bust that was Alexandre Daigle.

Zubov had just won a Stanley Cup with New York, but really went on to make his mark during the 11 seasons with Dallas that closed out his NHL career.  The Stars won a Cup as well during that stretch, and in retrospect Zubov was a pretty under-rated D-man during his tenure with the Stars.

Well, that's it for the '94-95 Fleer Franchise Futures set.  Not the most exciting grouping of hockey cards you'll ever see, but it's hard for me to turn down inserts from my youth, especially when the entire set cost me around a dollar...

Monday, July 25, 2016

One Card Post - Mini Fisk

What:  1975 Topps Mini #80 - Carlton Fisk
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $1.45

:  What a feeling adding this iconic '70s card to my Red Sox collection for less than a buck fifty!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Signature Sundays - Random Autos

A little scan folder clean-up this Sunday for my Signature Sundays post.  These handful of autos all joined my collection sometime in the last couple of years and never managed to get a post of their own, so I'm lumping them together for today's edition...

This Johnny Podres was one of those late-night eBay impulse buys, just because I've always liked the Brooklyn Dodgers, and because the card set me back less than $5.  I'm less than thrilled with the boring design and sticker autograph though, so this one might end up getting shipped out in a trade package someday.

Ah Dougie Hamilton, what could have been!  I had such high hopes for this kid when he first appeared for the Bruins.  A big, young defenseman with good offensive upside who was under the team's control for a few years to come.  It was not meant to be though as Boston sent him in trade to Calgary.  I was crushed at the time, but Dougie hasn't really developed into the star I thought he would be either, at least not yet.

Either way, this auto/relic/rookie will serve as a nice representation of his brief time with the B's.

While we're on hockey for a moment, here's another player whose career with Boston didn't quite pan out the way the team and the fans expected.  He's still kicking around the league though, having just played the first year of a five-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Here's my lone autographed card of Junichi Tazawa, who has become a mainstay in the Boston bullpen over the past few years.  In fact without looking I'd have to guess that he's maybe the longest tenured member of the current bullpen staff?  Five Star autographs sure are beautiful, and if I can find them for just a few bucks like I did this one then it's hard to turn them down.

Last of the five autographs I've got queued up for today, young lefty starter Eduardo Rodriguez.  This kid looked so promising after last season, but had a few rough patches early in 2016 after recovering from a Spring Training injury.  He's looked pretty good in his past couple of starts though, and his ERA is slowly starting to creep back down to a respectable number.

For just a couple bucks I figured this one was worth picking up in the event that he turns it on and becomes a solid number two or three starter, which I believe he has the makeup for.

That's all for today, scan folder is starting to look a bit better!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Buyback Franken-set - From Guidry to Griffey

Let's evaluate ten more buybacks for induction into my franken-set on this sunny summer Saturday, shall we?

#202 - 1979 Ron Guidry Record Breaker

Neat one here to kick things off, a record breaker card commemorating the 18 strikeout performance that Ron Guidry had against the Angels in '78.  Ron's 1978 Cy Young campaign was one of the most dominant of the modern era, I'm thrilled to have it represented in some form in my franken-set.  I don't foresee this one ever being bumped from slot 202.

#225 - 1974 Paul Splittorff

Pulled this one from my lone box of Topps Update last fall.  It's an interesting enough card as Splittorff, who played his entire career with the Royals, had just come off his lone 20-win season in 1973.  Paul was a steady and under-rated starter who's actually a member of the Royals' HOF.

#256 - 1966 Lew Krausse

Random bit of trivia, Krausse pitched the first shutout in the history of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise.  The bulk of my franken-set has been '70s cards so far (though that will soon change thanks to an amazing PWE from Mark Hoyle), so it's nice to get some '60s representation here.

#161 - 1969 John Purdin

I don't know much about John Purdin, but back-to-back '60s cards for my set is never a bad thing.  These were two of the older buyback cards from the large lot that I bought to really jump-start this set.

#178 - 1978 Dave Chalk

You'd be hard pressed to find someone putting in less effort on their baseball card than Dave Chalk is on his 1978 release.  Dave's career was already winding down at this point, in fact 1978 would be the final season in which he'd appear in more than 75 MLB games.

#224 - 1972 World Series Game No. 2

I've got a pretty great card occupying slot 224 at this point.  This is probably the closest I'll come to getting a Brooks Robinson into this franken-set, as I've never even seen one of his official releases stamped as a buyback.  I'll certainly take this one though, which I really stole at less than a dollar on Sportlots a year or two back.  Like the Guidry that I led off the post with, I don't think this one is going to get bumped from the set any time soon.

#304 - 1971 Ron Brand

Here's another one that I actually pulled on my own in my hobby box of 2015 Topps Update.  Despite being a tad bit off-center, it's actually in pretty amazing shape for a black-bordered '71.

#311 - 1978 Jose Baez

This one also came from my hobby box, and it might be the least exciting of the handful of buybacks I ended up with from that break.  I considered trading this away when I first pulled it (as if anyone would want it!), but I'm glad I didn't as so far it's the only #311 buyback I've got.  Jose's place in the set is tenuous to say the least however.

#441 - 1971 Milt Pappas

Second '71 Topps card of this post, and this one is more the condition I'd expect after a few decades of existence.  Milt was a 3x All-Star, and actually pitched a no-hitter on my birthday in 1972 (though I hadn't been born yet).

#420 - 1979 Ken Griffey

This one feels appropriate to close out today's post with, since Ken will get to watch his son be enshrined at Cooperstown tomorrow.  This was definitely one of the bigger names to come out of the large lot I picked up.  One day I hope to acquire a buyback of Griffey Jr. so that both father and son are represented in my franken-set, though I haven't managed that just yet.

There's another ten buybacks, all ten of which make my set without any conflict at this point.  I'll be back with some more next week as I close in on the 10% mark!

Franken-set Progress:  62/792 (8%)
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