Saturday, September 30, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Kin Completes a Page!

Today's buybacks arrived in the mail as a complete surprise to me.  They're from Kin, who blogs over at I Feel Like a Collector Again.  Kin's had some truly impressive buyback lot pick-ups of his own lately that have made me green with envy, and apparently he's such a nice guy that he just randomly decided to send some of his spoils my way for my franken-set project!  How awesome is that?

1991 Topps #722 - Kent Mercker

Kin obviously checked my franken-set spreadsheet before sending these my way, because as you'll see nearly all of the cards he sent along were new numbers for the project!  Some nice high numbers too, like this 1991 Kent Mercker.  Kent was a regular for the Braves out of the bullpen in 1991, appearing in 50 games.

1988 Topps #762 - Scott Bradley

Another new number here, and another 700+ card for the franken-set.  Scott Bradley swatted around .250 in just over 100 games for the Mariners in 1988, primarily as a catcher.  Looks like he was signing autographs in this photograph, though it's cropped too tightly to know for certain.

1984 Topps #751 - Charlie Moore

I don't know much about Charlie Moore, but I found a couple of interesting stats while researching for this post.  He was the last man batted in by the legendary Hank Aaron, in 1976.  He also hit for the cycle in 1980, and swiped two bags in that same game.  That's a heck of a day right there.

1991 Topps #743 - Bryn Smith

Next up is another '91, featuring Bryn Smith in the midst of an awkward-looking delivery from the stretch.  Bryn apparently likes Doritos, as well as ice in his Coke.  Yet another number here that was previously missing from the franken-set, I told you Kin did his homework!

1990 Topps #723 - Jeff Robinson

Score!  Nothing makes my day like a new 1990 Topps buyback (and yes I realize I'm probably the only collector on the planet who would make that statement).  It's funny, now that I've jumped off the ledge in terms of attempting a '90 Topps buyback set, I almost root for these to lose out when it comes to franken-set induction.

Well, in this case I actually already had a buyback of a Pirates pitcher from a couple of years prior in slot 723 of the franken-set binder... that works out kind of nicely, and Jeff Robinson is now residing in the '90 Topps buyback binder.

1988 Topps #677 - Eddie Milner

Here's an interesting dugout shot of Eddie Milner.  Sure looks like it was a mess in there, with what appears to be the tools of ignorance scattered about in the background.  It's interesting to me how the Rediscover Topps stamp fits nicely over the wooden frame of the dugout on the right edge of the card there.  Eddie makes the binder uncontested.

1990 Topps #674 - Spike Owen

Not one, but two 1990 buybacks in this post!  I think my facial expression matched Spike Owen's here when I found this unexpected bubble mailer in my mailbox and thumbed through it.  Spike set what was then an NL record 63 consecutive errorless games at shortstop in 1990 (since broken).  I did not have a #674 buyback before this one, so Owen is a resident in the franken-set binder for now.

1989 Topps #428 - Craig Reynolds

Speaking of shortstops, our next subject lasted well over a decade at the position.  1989 was actually Craig Reynolds' final season in Major League Baseball.  He earned two career All-Star selections, in 1978 and 1979.  A nice enough buyback to hold down slot #428 for now.

1989 Topps #422 - Bo Diaz

Two consecutive '89s, and both featuring players who finished their careers that season, what are the odds of that?  Like Craig Reynolds, Bo was a two-time All-Star as well (1981 and 1987).  I somehow never realized until today (or forgot if I did) that Bo actually made his MLB debut with the Red Sox.  He played just two games as a late-season call-up for Boston in 1977 before moving on to the Indians, Phillies and Reds to finish his career.

This one's in as well, and best of all... completes a page!  This becomes the third completed page in the binder to date.  It's a great example of the variety that's packed into my franken-set too, with cards ranging from 1958 all the way up through 2014.  The star of the show for me personally has to be the '87 Will Clark, a card I absolutely adored as a kid collector.

1978 Topps #457 - Bob Bailey

Here's the last one in today's grouping, a nice '78 Bob Bailey.  Bailey was at the tail end of his MLB career here, which began all the way back in 1962 with the Pirates.  Normally this one would be a no-brainer for inclusion in the franken-set, but...

...I've already got a pretty nice vintage Red Sox buyback in slot 457.  I hemmed and hawed for a few minutes on this one...

...but at the end of the day I decided to keep the '69 over the '78.  Not a problem though, as Bob Bailey makes for a very nice addition to my always-growing Boston Red Sox collection.

What an awesome grouping, it's been forever since I had this many new numbers in a group of ten!  This represents only half of the batch that Kin sent my way too, I'll have the rest up this coming week as I close in on the 500 mark for the franken-set...

Franken-set Progress:  490/792 (60%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  341
Total Buybacks in Collection: 831

Thursday, September 28, 2017

One Ring to Rule Them All...

As a kid, my absolute favorite book was The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I must have read the hardcover copy I received from my parents as a gift at least ten times cover to cover.  Obviously being such a fan of that one, I got into the Lord of the Rings as well.

When it was announced almost 20 years ago now (man I'm getting old) that the Lord of the Rings books were going to be made into movies I was understandably pumped.  While, as is almost always the case, I still prefer the books, the movies were spectacularly done.  They were pretty big box office hits, and I think they hold up well even now many years in the rear view mirror.  These days Game of Thrones is the big name in the fantasy genre, but I still watch the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings films probably once a year or so.

Well, it wasn't until recently that I discovered there was a Lord of the Rings set produced by Topps in 2006 that contained stained glass inserts.  Sold!

This is the card that led me to discover the set when I stumbled upon it browsing around on COMC.  Honestly, they are very overpriced on COMC currently with each single going for around a $15 asking price.  I found a complete set on eBay for about $10 if memory serves (or you can buy my spare Bilbo off me on COMC for $2.50!).

I'm not going to give a ton of commentary here since this isn't the sort of thing I usually buy or post, but here are the rest of the scans.  The stained glass portion is sort of a colored acetate, much like the Gallery of Heroes baseball release.

So there you go, a very random post for this particular Thursday.  I'll be back with some sports-related content tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

1950 Bowman - Post #4 - Cliff Fannin

It's actually been a few months since I featured a new 1950 Bowman card, but I do still intend to passively collect this set.  Seems as good a time as any to get back to it!

Today's subject is card #106 on the checklist, featuring St. Louis Browns pitcher Cliff Fannin.  Cliff was sort of a middling pitcher who appeared in over 150 MLB games over the course of his career, 98 of them as a starter.  Unfortunately he passed away from a clogged artery at just 42 years old.

I like this one for a couple of reasons.  I'm a fan of franchises of the past, but more than that I just love the artwork here, particularly the background.  The old school ballpark backdrops are some of the absolute best things about the '50s Bowman releases.  The ad for ice cubes on the outfield wall has to be the star of the show here, right?

Here's a look at the back, for posterity's sake.

To me, this one is all about the wonderful front though.  Feels good to be plodding along with this set again after a short break, I've got a few more stocked up to feature here in the coming weeks...

Set Progress:  4 of 252 (1.6% Complete)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Last of the Batch from Dimebox Nick

Today I've got the last of the large batch of buybacks that I received this summer from Dimebox Nick to evaluate for inclusion in my franken-set.  Let's dive in!

1991 Topps #731 - Jeff Gray

A Red Sox buyback is never a bad way to start out, and this is an interesting one, too.  Jeff was an up-and-coming young bullpen arm with Boston in 1991 when he suffered a stroke in the locker room after pre-game warm-ups.  It was so severe that he was told he may never walk again.  While it did effectively end his Major League pitching career, he impressively regained pretty much all of his motion within just a couple of years duty to a steady diet of hard work, courage, and determination.

An inspiring name to have join the binder indeed, happy that Jeff makes the cut as my first #731 buyback!

1991 Topps #164 - Edgar Diaz

I don't have an exciting tale like that to tell about Edgar Diaz.  He was pretty much a AAAA utility infielder whose entire MLB career consists of 5 games played in 1986, and another 86 in 1990, both seasons with the Brewers.  He doesn't have a free pass into the franken-set binder either... late-career Mickey Lolich stands in his way.

An obvious choice there.

1988 Topps #242 - Tom Niedenfuer

Tom Niedenfuer is married to actress Judy Landers, who appeared on a bunch of different TV shows in the late '70s to early '80s.  Everything from Happy Days, to ALF, to Charie's Angels, and even the A-Team!  That is all I have on this one.

Unfortunately for Tom I've already got this '69 Frank Kostro, complete with Yankee Stadium backdrop, in slot 242.

Another easy one.

1988 Topps #551 - Terry Steinbach

Terry Steinbach actually had a pretty solid season in 1988 serving as backstop for the Oakland A's.  He'd earn his first of three career All-Star appearances that season.  This would have represented a solid addition to the binder in slot 551, but...

...doesn't hold a candle to this sweet '82 Topps Reggie Jackson buyback.

Easy calls are starting to become the theme of this post.

1993 Topps #278 - Chris Nabholz

After three consecutive battles we get another new number for the project here at 278.  Chris Nabholz debuted as a starting pitcher mid-way through the 1990 season, and lasted 6 years in Major League Baseball.  He finished with a career 37-35 record, and an ERA just a hair below 4.00.  Hey, I could certainly do much worse than adding a new Expos card to the binder.

1983 Topps #266 - Paul Boris

When I encountered this one I found myself asking "who the hell is Paul Boris?".  I don't feel so badly after having done my homework, as he appeared in just a single MLB season (1982) and this appears to be his one and only mainstream card.  Kind of ironic because the buyback I already had in slot 266... also an unfamiliar name you don't often hear.  I guess Topps really enjoyed assigning card 266 to a little-known player.

In this case I'm sticking with the Steve Lubratich, only because I don't really have an attachment to either of these guys and Steve was here first.

2006 Topps #UH197 - 2006 Postseason Highlights World Series Game 1

Here's the last buyback from Nick's lot, an interesting one from 2006 Topps Updates & Highlights covering the first game of the '06 World Series.  I wasn't collecting again until 2007, but it seems to me like the Update set must have come out fairly late in 2006 to have cards devoted to that same year's Fall Classic in it?

As nice as this one is, it's not a candidate for franken-set inclusion since I'm not (yet, anyway) pursuing an Update version.

Since I've been doing these in batches of ten typically, and had just seven more from Nick to get through, let's top off today's post with a trio of 1990 buybacks I plucked off of COMC, shall we?

1990 Topps #744 - Kelly Mann

Kelly Mann was a catcher who was a September call-up for the Braves in 1989.  He played through the 1990 season, and that was the end of the road.  Pretty obvious that I picked this one up solely due to the fact that I'm acquiring as many '90 Topps buybacks as possible.  It is a nice high number at 744 though, so does it make the cut?

Nope.  This Roger Craig buyback that was among those in the stack Nick sent me easily wins out.

I'm taking a suggestion that was offered by my friend Joe Shlabotnik in the comments section of a previous post, and labeling the rejected '90 buybacks as "RELEGATED" going forward.  It's really more accurate since these are going into a separate binder I have for my insane pursuit of a 1990 Topps buyback set.

1990 Topps #673 - Joey Meyer

Next up, Joey Meyer, who faces off against...

Joey Meyer!  Technically these are two different buybacks as one uses gold foil for the Rediscover Topps stamp, and the other silver.

I don't really care about those minor differences, but I am pleased to have an extra copy of this one to populate my 1990 Topps buyback binder with.

1990 Topps #204 - Bob Dernier

Bringing up the rear today is Bob Dernier, and a nice bat rack shot to boot!  This one's actually a "sunset card", as Bob played his final MLB inning in 1989.  I really dig the photo on this one but at #204 I have a feeling it's going to have some intense competition for inclusion in the franken-set.

Hmm...not as impressive as I would have thought, but still a more interesting card than the Dernier.

Not a problem though, as all three '90 Topps buybacks that finished today's post are now in the '90 buyback binder.  Plus I got two new numbers for the franken-set project from the batch Nick sent.  Not a bad day at all at this stage.

It shouldn't be much longer now before I'm celebrating 500 buybacks in the franken-set!

Franken-set Progress:  482/792 (60%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  339
Total Buybacks in Collection: 821
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