Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Buyback Franken-set: A Word Association Experiment

Let's imagine we're engaging in a baseball card collector word association experiment.  The rules are simple; we state a word, and the subject of the experiment states the first player that comes to their mind.  In this context, I think there are a lot of test words that would elicit a different response depending on who you asked.  Different geographical locations, age difference, and allegiance to a favorite player or team are just some of the factors that would result in a variety of responses across a group of individuals.

Power?  One person might say Hank Aaron, another Frank Thomas.  Fast?  One man's Billy Hamilton is another man's Kenny Lofton or Rickey Henderson.  There's one trigger word that I think almost all baseball card collectors would give the same answer to in this experiment though.  Play along for a second and see who comes to mind.  Ready?





...don't cheat and scroll down, just think on it for a sec...


...all set?...



...let's see if you agree with me...



1962 Topps #105 - Don Mossi

If Don Mossi didn't come to mind for you, then I'm dying to know who did.  No, really, please leave a comment if there's another individual who popped up in your thoughts.  I first learned of Don's pair of Dumbo flaps courtesy of The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book (which, if you haven't read it, is an absolute must have if you can find a copy), and since then on just about every baseball card blog in existence (including my own).

I was pumped when I landed this one for $1.50 on COMC a couple of months ago.  It's an honor to welcome the greatest ears in the history of baseball to my humble franken-set!

Franken-set Progress:  108/792 (14%)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

One Card Post - Black & White

What:  1953 Bowman Black & White #9 - Walt Masterson
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $1.25

:  My first '53 Bowman Black & White for a buck and a quarter?  Don't mind if I do!  Those interesting glasses are just a bonus, as are the Washington Senators pinstripes.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Buyback Franken-set: Nolan and the Gang Push Me Past 100

If you've been reading along in recent weeks then you know the drill at this point, let's take a look at another ten buybacks and see if they make the cut for my newly formed franken-set.  I'm still getting through the large lot on I won on eBay that inspired me to start this set, but before we get to some of those cards let's take a look at a card I sought out specifically...

1990 Topps #2 - Nolan Ryan (5,000 Strikeouts Tribute)

Nolan Ryan is absolutely dominating the first page of the franken-set binder at this point (I do plan to start showing full pages as they're completed, just haven't had that happen yet).  He's already in the lead-off spot and slot #4 with cards from 1990 Topps, so this would be the third Nolan Ryan card on the opening page now.  I would love nothing more than to pick up the last two cards from this '90 Topps subset in buyback form, but haven't seen any copies yet.  I'm certainly keeping an eye out though...

1976 Topps #183 - Steve Braun

Steve Braun was somewhat of a pinch-hitting specialist, with over 100 career pinch hits.  He would go on to work as a hitting instructor in the Red Sox minor league system throughout the '90s and early '00s.  At this point his '76 Topps release makes the cut uncontested at #183.

1976 Topps #208 - Mike Lum

Mike Lum had a pretty interesting upbringing.  He was born in Hawaii, his mother a Japanese woman and his father an American soldier, but was adopted and raised by a Chinese couple.  Amazingly, he was very proficient as a pinch-hitter as well, and is on the short list of players with 100 career pinch hits just like Steve Braun.  A complete coincidence that they ended up back-to-back in this post.  Mike makes the set also!

1976 Topps #644 - Tom Bradley

Three straight '76 Topps cards here, and all three make the cut without contest.  I guess this is a "sunset card", since Tom actually wrapped up his career with the Giants in 1975.  Nice to get another high number into the set, as I think cards numbered 600 and above will probably be the toughest slots to fill.

1974 Topps #97 - Bob Bailey

Let's move backwards a couple of years now with a tandem of Expos from '74 Topps.  I have no idea what stadium this photograph of Bob Bailey was taken at,.but it's an interesting shot.  As a fan of franchises of the past I welcome any Expos card to this set.  I think I like this next Expos card even a bit more...

1974 Topps #531 - Gene Mauch (Expos Coaches)

I really love the '74 Topps design, one of my favorites from what was a very good decade for Topps.  The manager cards in particular are great, very happy with this one.  This is actually the second Gene Mauch card to make the franken-set recently, as Mark Hoyle sent me a nice one a few weeks ago.

1973 Topps #555 - Bill Hands

Don't know a thing about Bill Hands really, but apparently he won 20 games with the Cubs in 1969.  Either way, a nice '73 for the set in slot 555.

1978 Topps #150 - Bobby Bonds

A little more star power to go along with the Nolan Ryan that led off the post.  Bobby's best days were behind him at this point, but it's a nice addition to my set nonetheless.  I've softened my stance on his son over the years as well, he doesn't bother me nearly as much as he used to so it would be cool to pick up a Barry Bonds buyback at some point to complete the father/son duo in my franken-set.  For now, it's Bobby only though...

1966 Topps #291 - Moe Drabowsky

Moe Drabowsky's life story outside of baseball is fascinating to me.  Born in Poland in 1935, he fled the country with his family at age 3 as Adolf Hitler rose to power and began taking territory in Europe.  The family settled in Connecticut, the state I grew up in, and Drabowsky went on to become a pitching star.  This card is particularly cool given that Moe won a World Series with Baltimore in 1966, and was a key component of the team's bullpen that season.  A very solid addition to the franken-set in slot 291!

1973 Topps #2 - Rich Hebner

Last card for the today is this '73 Rich Hebner.  Unfortunately for Rich he's sporting the same number on the back as the Nolan Ryan that led off today's post:

Probably the easiest decision I've had to make thus far...

So long Rich!

Today's post gets me over the 100 card threshold at last!  This project is moving a lot faster than I thought it would to be honest, and I'm having a ton of fun with it.  In fact, this franken-set might be the most I've enjoyed any particular collecting venture in years.  I hope to have another batch up for review sometime in the next week here...

Franken-set Progress:  107/792 (14%)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shlabotnik Medley

I'd have to say that the latest PWE to arrive at Shoebox Legends headquarters from Joe at The Shlabotnik Report was his most creative assortment yet.  In one little envelope I found oddballs, prospects, junk wax, game cards, parallels and more.

Coming out of the gate here we've got an oddball in the form of a 1980 Baseball Immortals George Wright.  George played before the Boston Red Sox existed, and instead played for the Cincinnati Red Stockings and Boston Red Stockings (who went on to become the Boston Braves).  He was one of the best players at any position in those early days of baseball, and was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1937. 

Unbelievably, this is the very first George Wright card in my entire collection.  The really old-timers just don't have a lot of cardboard out there I guess.  I'm very pleased to welcome George and his killer sideburns/haircut to the fold at last.

From HOFer to guy who has not yet sniffed the big leagues, here's a card of a pitcher who will likely never suit up for the Red Sox.  That's because Espinoza was dealt to Arizona as part of the Drew Pomeranz deal last month, and is no longer property of the Boston Red Sox.  Not entirely sure what the D-Backs front office sees in him given that he's got an ERA well over 5.00 at A-ball, but time will tell I guess.

Back to the junk wax era for just one card here, a '94 Select Tim Naehring.  Even without being clearly labeled in the lower right corner, I think most collectors could look at this one and immediately identify it as being from the '90s.

There was just one card from the "I don't have this already?" files in this package, and that was this 2014 Topps Update Jon Lester.  What an ugly hat.

Joe must have opened a ton of 2003 Donruss Team Heroes, or come upon a cheap lot or something, because I have around ten of these now and I think the majority have come from him.  I don't mind in the least, as it's a nice looking set.  Great early-career shot of Fred Lynn here.

Even a game card made its way into this envelope.  This is my first card from the 2003 MLB Showdown set.  I have no idea how you play, nor do I have the time to look into it, but it's an interesting oddball nonetheless.

Topps Total!  I really wish I had been around in the collecting world when Topps Total was still a yearly release.  At least friends like Joe are helping me make up for lost time.

Another set that seems to be a cornerstone of a Shlabotnik PWE is the 1976 SSPC release.  How's that for a blue sky?  This is relief pitcher Jim Burton.  If you don't recognize him don't be too hard on yourself, he pitched out of the pen in 1975 and is most known as the losing pitcher in game 7 of the '75 World Series.

A nice late-'70s O-Pee-Chee release of the man who was the backup/spot catcher for the Sox throughout the entire decade.  I will never, ever get tired of receiving older O-Pee-Chee cards like this in trade.

A nice Ortiz throwback variation from the 2015 Topps Update set.  I wish Topps had gone with a retro card stock for these like they did with these parallels a few years prior, but they're interesting cards regardless.  I really can't believe the season that David is turning in this year at age 40.  He's going to surpass 30 home runs and 100 RBI yet again, and has a valid shot at setting a career high in doubles.  Unreal.

Last couple of cards here were really random, but ended up being two of my favorites from the lot.  I had absolutely no idea that Mike Schmidt was the first card in the 1991 Classic/Best minor league set.  Interesting shot here from Mike's time with the Reading Phillies.  Looks like he spent some time in the sun with his glasses on!

Final card of the package is the lone soccer card, which comes from an entirely new set for me!  These "Fans Selection" sets were put out for a variety of English clubs by the brand Futera in the late '90s/early '00s.  I've never even seen one of these cards in person before, I'm fairly sure they were released overseas only.  A solid card featuring my favorite club for my ever-growing yet still relatively small soccer collection.

Joe, you've really outdone yourself with this one, I had a ton of fun combing through these and getting them sorted into their respective collections.  I'm going to do my best to get a return volley headed your way by the weekend...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thank You Gavin (and Coco Crisp!)

A while back I participated in a contest held by Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown.  To enter, you simply had to leave a comment, which it turns out around 50 people did.  Those 50 people each got a random number 1-50 assigned (I was 19).  The winner would be the person with the number that matched the total amount of hits in the July 22nd A's/Rays game.

Shocker, I didn't win.  There were 17 total hits in the game.  Luckily Gavin announced a runner-up prize for the person whose number matched the total number of hits, runs and errors in the game.  Thanks to Coco Crisp driving in the winning (and only) run in the bottom of the 13th, the runner-up prize winner was yours truly!

Considering this was only a runner-up prize, I wasn't expecting much, but Gavin's generosity was truly jaw-dropping.  The bulk of my prize consisted of some of his amazing custom cardboard, starting with this great Babe Ruth.  I've had a few folks send me customs over the lifetime of this blog, and I have to say that Gavin's are probably the most authentic in look and feel.

Hell, even his card backs are well done, which I really appreciate.  The paper/card stock he uses has a real baseball card feel to it as well, and I love the extra touch of giving this Ruth card some wear.  I've got a few authentic tobacco cards in my collection and this one truly captures the look and feel of the originals.  We're just getting started though...

There was another custom mini in the package as well, this one paying tribute to Ted Williams' time with the Navy.  Without looking, I'm guessing this one was based loosely off the Obak sets from a few years ago.

Now we're getting to the real gems of the package, with this awesome Hostess custom of the best player on the Sox in 2016.  Betts' numbers are getting to the point where you'd almost have to consider him a dark horse for AL MVP, no?  Guessing Jose Altuve will win it barring some kind of major slump here, but Mookie is right up there in my book!  It's very tempting to take a pair of scissors to the dotted line on this one, but so far I've refrained.

A couple of years ago now (has it really been that long?) Gavin created a pair of custom Wade Boggs cards to commemorate his appearance on The Simpsons.  He was kind enough to include a copy of both cards here!  The first is done up on the 1991 Topps design.

I really love the attention to detail on the card back here.  Pretty impressive when you can make a custom card where the back is equally impressive as, if not more impressive than, the front!

The other Boggs Simpsons custom is done in 1989 Topps Record Breaker format.  Great shot here of Barney punching out Boggs.

Again, we have a proper card back as well.  These are two of the more unique custom cards I've ever received, it sure was thoughtful (and appreciated!) of Gavin to include these.  From here though the package gets even better!

I know the show is considered obnoxious by some, but I've been a fan of It's Always Sunny since the very beginning.  Gavin did a great job with this custom, from the episode where the gang tries to break Boggs' "cans of beer on a cross-country flight" record.  Wade actually autographed and returned three of these to Gavin.  I threw my name in the ring to try to win an autographed copy at the time, but wasn't fortunate enough to win.  This might be my single favorite custom card of all-time, so happy to have one of my own!

The prize package I received wasn't entirely composed of Baseball Card Breakdown customs, there were a couple of actual Topps cards in the package as well.  This Tim McCarver was a great addition to the package, as it makes my buyback franken-set at slot #675!  I'm sure Tim doesn't find this to be the most flattering photo of himself, but I'll take it.

Man!  How's that for a second place prize?!?!  This shiny beaut' is my second certified autograph of Luis Tiant, and easily my favorite.  It's been a couple of weeks since I received this package and I'm still just amazed at the generosity here.

A hard-signed Tiant would normally be the star of the show for just about any trade package, but Gavin included one more card that topped even this one...

Holy crap!  It's one of the three versions of the It's Always Sunny custom that Boggs actually signed himself!  This is the best Wade Boggs auto in my collection by a long shot.  The fact that a fellow blogger/collector made a custom that merges one of my favorite franchise's best players with one of my favorite modern TV shows, printed it and mailed it to said player, got it returned with an autograph, and then sent it to little ol' me is just beyond cool!

Here's the back, as you can see I received signed copy 3 of 3.

Gavin, I can't thank you enough for all of these cards, if this was the second place package I can't imagine what the winner got!  You are truly a custom card genius, and I look forward to following along on Baseball Card Breakdown to see what you come up with next!

Franken-set Progress:  98/792 (12%)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mark Starts Me Towards 7,000

Having crossed the 6,000 unique Red Sox cards threshold, I guess the next logical thing to do is strive for 7,000, right?  Well, thanks to another envelope that arrived recently from my most frequent trading partner, Mark Kaz of This Way to the Clubhouse, I'm well on my way...

These Bowman State & Hometown parallels are a cool concept.  Especially in this case, since Shane is affectionately known as the "Flyin' Hawaiian".  This is now the fourth different version/parallel of the 2014 Bowman Victorino card that I've got, and I like this one best out of that group.
I received a nice bump to my 2002 Topps Red Sox team set only days before receiving this PWE, and then Mark hit me up with a pair from the Traded set.  My favorite of the two is this Alan Embree.  Relievers just don't get much love, so this is actually the first Embree Red Sox card in my entire collection.  I'm really pumped about this given that Alan was a major part of the curse-breaking 2004 team, appearing in nearly half of the team's games that year (71 appearances).  Just awesome.

Another first for my collection, Dustin Hermanson, who pitched in 12 total games for Boston.  Two Topps Traded cards, two brand new faces for my Red Sox collection, can't beat that!

I seem to be attracting these Wal-Mart black parallels lately, and I certainly don't mind.  I got another duo in this package, from the 2009 release.  First up is Justin Masterson, who was definitely better in his first stint with the team than in his second.

Also got this league leaders card.  I'm sure these bother some people, but I've always been a fan of the multi-player leaders cards.  I mean, without a card like this in my collection I could easily forget Daisuke Matsuzaka's monster 2008 season.  Maybe you've forgotten already?  In what was the best of his 8 MLB campaigns by a long shot, Dice-K went 18-3 with a sub-3.00 ERA that season.

There are three versions of this 2003 Bowman Heritage Jim Piersall card.  Mark sent me one of them earlier this year, and this makes two.  I'll have to make completing the trio a priority at some point here.

A very nice pair of cards from the 2001 Topps 50 Years reprint insert set.  Arguably the best card from the 1988 set, Wade Boggs...

...and from the '71 set, Yaz!  I've got the original version of both of these, cool to have them in reprint form as well.

To me, the most interesting card of the package though was this 2006 Topps Rookie Debut Jon Lester.  A very nice rookie year card of the southpaw who was a key component in Boston's last two World Series championships.  Lester pushed what was already a great PWE over the top, thank you Mark!  Sorry I've been slow on the return lately, gonna do my best to float some cards your way this week.

Next up in the stack here on my desk is a creative and jaw-dropping batch of cards that came my way as the result of winning a contest...
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