Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Ten Totally Random New Cards

The blog post title says it all.  Work has been exhausting, so I just don't have the mental energy to come up with anything that creative for the blog tonight.  Instead, I've got ten totally random recent additions to my collection that didn't really fit into any of my other posts to share with you...

Cards from the '80s and early to mid-'90s are my absolute favorite when it comes to the sport of hockey.  While I long ago completed the entire run of Topps sets from 1980-81 through 1989-90, I enjoy picking up mint graded specimens of HOFers and stars nonetheless.  Recently I was able to land two perhaps lesser-known HOFers from the '88-89 set in the form of Mark Howe...

...and Billy Smith.  These aren't exactly the first cards I'd target in graded form from the decade, but I won them for the insanely low price of $1.43 each.  Mark my words, I will buy any and every PSA 9 HOFer from the '80s that I don't already have at that price point.

Here's a cool one.  I first learned about these beautiful, acetate All-Rookie inserts from '94-95 Fleer Ultra from my friend Marc B a couple of years ago (Marc, haven't heard from you in a while, hope you're still out there and doing well!).  He sent me the Chris Pronger for my Whalers collection, and I immediately wondered why I had no recollection of these fantastic inserts.  Well, it turns out they are pretty rare by '90s standards, and thus fairly expensive.

It took me all this time just to find a second one with Alexei Yashin here.  Of the 8 remaining cards that I still don't have, Martin Brodeur will be the toughest add.  Maybe someday...

How about a couple that came from the quarter box at my local shop a long time ago?  I can't resist any Nolan Ryan card that I don't already own for just a quarter, and I'm a big sucker for Classic since they were most popular during the prime of my childhood collecting phase.

Always loved these caricature-style All-Star cards that Score did for a couple of years there in the early '90s, so I was happy to hand over a quarter for Cecil Fielder here.

Here's one that actually survived from my childhood collection!  My brothers and I had a lot of these Fleer PowerPlay tallboy cards, but they were always a challenge to store.  Gretzky here stayed mint though since I had him in an Ultra Pro sheet in a binder, and I just recently acclimated him into my modern collection.  I have more hockey cards of Wayne Gretzky than of any other player, and that's just fine with me.

A seller that I purchased a single card from on eBay last year included a bonus pack of the Upper Deck Tim Horton's promotional set.  I tossed the cards I pulled into a big box I was putting together for Billy at Cardboard History, but decided to hang onto this Auston Matthews since I enjoy cards that are anchored to a specific date/game, and this one pays homage to his epic NHL debut.

This is another one from the quarter box.  While I concede that they're incredibly gaudy, I just love the 1995 UC3 set.  Ripken was a top-5 favorite player for me growing up, so I still gravitate towards his cards to this day.

Same with Nolan Ryan.  This Gold Foil parallel from Stadium Club actually came from the same eBay seller that I picked up a big lot of dollar cards from at the very beginning of 2018.

Also from that same seller, this Robby Fabbri on-card autograph from Upper Deck.  I was pretty hot on Robby a couple of years back, and while he's been severely derailed by injury I couldn't resist adding this one to my collection for just a dollar anyway.

So there you have it, ten cards that I've added to my collection in recent weeks.  Thanks for stopping by, and hopefully I'll have the mental energy for something a little more exciting tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The First Die-Cut Hockey Cards

If you collected sports cards in the '90s like I did as a kid, you're certainly familiar with the concept of die-cut cards.  What you may not know though is that the very first major hockey card release to include die-cut cards came all the way back in the 1930s!

O-Pee-Chee's fourth series of hockey cards, printed up for the 1936-37 season, were die-cut around the upper half of each subject, so the player could be "punched out" and the upper part of the background folded back to allow the card to stand.  You can click the picture above for a larger scan to see what I'm describing if it's too difficult to make out here.

As you'd imagine, these aren't exactly the most common hockey cards to come by given their age and scarcity.  I'm grateful that I was able to add this example to my collection, which due to its poor grade I was able to secure for less than $30.  While I wasn't familiar with defenseman Bill McKenzie at all when I picked the card up, I was mostly just excited to add any card from this release to my hockey collection, and even more so a Montreal Maroon card!  As a huge fan of franchises from professional sports' past, it is really cool to get an authentic Maroons card (they were in the NHL from 1924 to 1938, and won two Stanley Cup championships during that time).

Here's a look at the back.  Yeah, card backs prior to the 1950s don't tend to be all that exciting, I know.  I think there might be some glue residue possibly present, although it's very hard to make out.  It doesn't obscure the write-up if so, but maybe it explains why this card received such a low grade...

...despite looking pretty damn impressive to me, especially for a card that's been around for well over eight decades now.  A more-than-acceptable example of the set for my collection, perfect really!

Well, that's all for tonight.  Cards like this are pretty much the reason why I've all but abandoned buying new stuff via retail or hobby.  Not knocking anyone who enjoys that at all, to each his own and I certainly enjoy ripping a pack as much as the next collector.  I just get so much more satisfaction out of the really old stuff, even if it means fewer cards in my collection overall.  I'll sacrifice some excitement in terms of knowing exactly what I bought without the thrill of the unknown that comes with opening a pack or box.

So, what do you think of O-Pee-Chee's effort with their 1936-37 release?  Innovative design with the die-cut move, or not your cup of tea?

Monday, November 26, 2018

Buyback Franken-set: Retreads Get Me to 80%

It's back to work for me today.  Let's shake off that turkey/tryptophan hangover and get to some buybacks, shall we? 

I've already processed through the majority of my "pre-franken-set buybacks" over the past couple of years, and incorporated them into the project and the overall running total of buybacks that I put up at the end of each franken-set post.  While completing some housekeeping and organizing over the holiday weekend however, I discovered there were five older buybacks that I picked up a few years back, before I ever started the franken-set, and never got around to processing for this project.

Let's right that wrong today, satisfy my OCD, and see how these five fair as far as the franken-set binder goes...

1960 Topps #38 - Jerry Casale

My reason behind purchasing these buybacks back in the day is going to be fairly obvious.  Even though Jerry Casale had a truly forgettable season in 1960 (as in ERA on the wrong side of 6.00 forgettable), I still grabbed this buyback early in 2014 because I love 1960 Topps and I thought it was a cool addition to my Red Sox collection.

What's especially great about this one is that, well over 1,200 buybacks in now, this is my first #38 buyback.  Into the binder Jerry Casale goes!

1959 Topps #261 - Gene Stephens

Here's one that's been kicking around in my collection for a long time now, as I originally featured it back in 2011.  I love 1959 Topps, and was drawn to the nice posed dugout shot on this one in particular when I picked it up all those years ago.

A tough battle here, as this 1970 Curt Motton has been resident in slot 261 of the binder.  I love the photograph on this card too, perhaps even more than the Stephens.  While I really love 1959 Topps, I enjoy 1970 Topps more than most seem to as well.  Decisions, decisions...

I'm going with the Stephens, but I'm flagging this as a match-up to revisit down the road as well.

Since this card is part of a completed page, here's a look at it now with Gene Stephens in place.  I've mentioned it before, but the obvious star of the show here is that '58 Frank Malzone at lower center.

1965 Topps #147 - Dennis Bennett

Next up, a really boring 1965 Topps card of Dennis Bennett.  A prime example of how a boring photo can tank even a really great card design.  1965 Topps is a beautiful set if you ask me, but this Bennett card makes me snooze.  Just about any competition will keep this one from the franken-set binder.

How about the "tequila sunrise" 1976 Houston Astros?

Yup, good enough.  Mix me another margarita and let's get to these last couple of buybacks here.

1977 Topps #111 - Rico Petrocelli

Here's a nice 1977 Rico Petrocelli.  A definite fan favorite in Boston, and a player who is already represented in the franken-set binder.  This one gets some extra points because I pulled it myself from a hobby box of 2015 Topps Update.  It's also a sunset card, as Rico played his final MLB inning in 1976.

Lee Thomas' 1965 issue stands in Rico's way as far as the franken-set goes.  If you're unsure who's going to win this battle, please see what I said above about a bad photo trumping a good design.

Lee Thomas is out, Rico Petrocelli is in.

Here's the updated completed page, with Rico snugly in his pocket in the upper right.  If you're interested, the Buyback Franken-set Gallery link at the top of my blog will take you to a page where you can see the overall state of the binder page by page.

1960 Topps #176 - Vada Pinson

Finally, here's a Vada Pinson Heritage buyback that I picked up and posted about all the way back in 2009.  Yup, I've been at this for a while now.  A very compelling buyback here, as Pinson is a certified member of the Hall of Very Good.  He tore it up in 1960 too, collecting 187 hits and leading the league in doubles.  He was named an All-Star and even appeared on a couple of MVP ballots.  I don't come across 1960 buybacks all that often, either.

Aurelio Rodriguez has occupied slot 176 for a bit, courtesy of his 1979 release.  Not a bad card...

...but it certainly doesn't hold a candle to the Pinson.

The new number that led off today's post was the 634th card to go into the binder, putting me at 80% complete as far as the overall 792-card franken-set.  Feels great to hit that significant milestone!  Still a ways to go though, with over 150 open pockets left to be filled and almost endless improvements possible...

Next buyback post will feature a handful that arrived last week from a friend of the blog.  Until then...

Franken-set Progress: 634/792 (80%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 101/792 (12%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 532
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,267

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Signature Sundays - Bernie Carbo

Since I posted a Red Sox autograph last Sunday, I might as well keep it rolling this week.  This is one that I actually picked up nearly three years ago now, but am only just getting around to scanning, posting and adding to my digital catalog...

The 2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th set is pretty much an essential for a Red Sox team collector like myself.  I've been plodding away at it casually for some time, and while I have a good chunk of the base set, Bernie Carbo here is just my third autograph.  He joins Rico Petrocelli and my prized Dom DiMaggio, both of which I picked up back in 2015.

Fleer did a great job with these autographs, they are on-card and feature big, bold signatures.  There are fifteen Red Sox autos in the set, plus a short-printed Yastrzemski for a total of sixteen.  I don't actively chase these, in fact there are a few autographs I'm missing available on eBay right now for less than $20 shipped, but they're just not a priority for me at the moment.

I couldn't resist this Carbo though when I happened upon it for just $11.  Bernie seems like a bit of an odd choice to me, certainly the most questionable of the sixteen autograph subjects in my opinion.  I'm grateful that they included him though, as there just aren't that many Carbo certified autographs out there.  In fact, my crack research in 30 seconds on eBay seems to indicate that Fleer may be the only company to have released a certified auto of Bernie, and there may be only two at that (this one, and one from a Greats of the Game set a couple of years later).

Bernie's tenure with Boston was relatively short, but he endeared himself to fans with his 3-run home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, which set the stage for Carlton Fisk's even more dramatic and legendary shot.  Aside from that, he was a very strange dude who certainly generated some interesting stories in his few years with the Red Sox.

Famous examples include the fact that Bernie used to travel with a life-sized stuffed gorilla which had its own plane seat on road trips, or that he once stopped a game for nearly ten minutes to locate his wad of chaw, which had fallen out as he made a dramatic catch.

I'm grateful that Fleer released at least a couple of certified Bernie Carbo autographs, and I'm happy that I was able to secure one for my collection.  He might not have been a HOFer, or even an All-Star for that matter, but Bernie seems like the kind of player that it would be refreshing to see included in a modern set like Allen & Ginter, or Topps Archives.  Am I right?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

One Card Post - Bowman Dutch

What:  1952 Bowman #159 - Dutch Leonard
Where: COMC
How Much?:  $2.25

Why?:  I've loved these under-sized beauties since my dad bought me two of them at an antiques store when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old.  One of my favorite sets of the '50s; one of my favorite sets of all-time actually.  I just love the way the bright, vibrant colors pop, and of course the fantastic ballpark backdrops.  There was no chance that I was leaving this one behind, in really great shape, for just a hair over $2.

Dutch Leonard was a grizzled veteran by the time this card was released, and 1952 was actually his age 42 season.  That didn't stop him from appearing in 45 games for the Cubs though, pretty impressive for a guy his age to say the least!

If I were ever fortunate enough to win the lottery, I'd go whole-heartedly after the entire Bowman run from 1948 through 1955.  As it stands now, I'm happy to pick off some cheap ones when I happen to see them, just like I did here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 23, 2018

One Card Post - Climbing the Ranks of Whalers Collectors

What:  2016-17 Fleer Showcase '92-93 Ultra Buyback #306 - Eric Weinrich (#'d /25)
Where: eBay
How Much?:  $3.67 delivered

Why?:  I continue to snag these '92-93 Ultra buybacks from 2016-17 Fleer Showcase any time I stumble across them at affordable prices.  Defenseman Eric Weinrich is my 11th buyback from the set, plus I have five of the autographed versions that I've shown here, so up to 16 of these in total now.  Weinrich makes five Whalers for me as well, which isn't too shabby given that these are relatively scarce at just 25 copies each floating around out there.  A nice addition in my quest to become the #1 Whalers collector on the Trading Card Database.  I'm currently ranked #6, with 28% of all Whalers cards in the database in my collection.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Buyback Franken-set: Thankful for Buybacks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I'll be spending the latter portion of my day stuffing my face and spending quality time with my loved ones, but I did have a few minutes free this morning, so figured why not grab a half dozen random buybacks and see if we can't strengthen up the franken-set?

1989 Topps #103T - Bip Roberts

We've got a nice buyback in the lead-off spot too, with this excellent 1989 Bip Roberts.  Bip is a popular guy among card bloggers, and looked absolutely overjoyed in this photograph.  I'd love to add this one to the binder, but there's just one problem.  Because Bip didn't play in the Majors at all in 1987, and appeared in only five games in 1988, he wasn't featured in the 1989 Topps flagship set.  This one's from the '89 Traded set, which means...'s not eligible for the franken-set at this point.  If I'm ever crazy enough to try a Traded/Update buyback franken-set in the future though, Bip will almost certainly be included in slot 103.

1988 Topps #339 - Kurt Stillwell

I can't say that Kurt Stillwell excites me all that much.  I really don't have any memories of this guy from my period of childhood fandom in the early '90s.  This is a 1988 Topps buyback though, and 1988 was the only time Kurt would be selected as an All-Star, so it has that going for it I suppose.

As far as the franken-set goes, Kurt gets matched up against another Reds infielder; a card that came out a good 20 years earlier.  I've always enjoyed the photograph on this Ruiz, and I prefer 1967 Topps to 1988, so...

...Kurt gets rejected.

1987 Topps #786 - Jimy Williams

This one's a pretty big coincidence.  I grabbed the six buybacks we're reviewing today at random from my backlogged stash, and it's funny that I pulled Jimy Williams' 1987 release.  In my last franken-set post only three days ago, Jimy's 1988 Topps buyback (sent to me by Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown) got rejected.  Well, there is some justice in the world, because this '87 is my first #786 buyback, so Jimy makes the binder after all!  A nice high number too, in fact Williams resides on the final page of the set.

1993 Topps #455 - Chili Davis

Ah, 1993 Topps.  I have memories of buying jumbo packs of this at the Little League field after our team's games that summer.  As for this card, Chili Davis didn't actually play with the Twins in '93.  The Angels signed him as a free agent in the winter of 1992.  Worked out well for California; in his first season with the Angels in 1993 he drove in a career-high 112 runs!

The only problem for Chili is that I have this Dontrelle Willis buyback from 2006 Topps already in slot 455.  I have fond memories of this guy, and while Davis probably had the better career, Dontrelle had turned in a monster 22-win season the year before this card was printed up (including 7 complete games and 5 shutouts!), finishing second in Cy Young voting.  Plus, I'll always remember his strange delivery.

This may be an unfair call, but I'm sticking with Dontrelle.

2006 Topps #522 - Jason Isringhausen

2006 was a pretty good year for Cardinals reliever Jason Isringhausen.  While he saw his own personal statistics slide a bit from his 2005 All-Star campaign numbers, he was still an integral part of the Cards' bullpen, and the team won the World Series in 2006.

For those reasons I probably should have selected Isringhausen's buyback over this '75 Gary Sutherland.  But...

...I didn't.  This one probably came down to the fact that I like 1975 Topps so much more than 2006 Topps.

1984 Topps #242 - Alex Trevino

I don't know all that much about Alex Trevino, either.  He was a light-hitting catcher and third baseman who was winding down his 13-year career just as I became a fan of the game.  Pictured with the Reds here, he was actually traded to the Braves early in 1984 and finished out the season with Atlanta.

Frank Kostro's 1969 release has been in slot 242 for a long while now.  I don't have much of an affinity towards either player... I'm sticking with the '69.

One number closer to franken-set completion after today's batch.  In fact, the next new number that I fill will be quite significant, as it will take me to the 80% complete mark!  Until then...

Franken-set Progress: 633/792 (79%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 101/792 (12%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 528
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,262
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