Friday, May 8, 2020

Coronavirus Packages Episode IV - A New Hope (for the Buyback Franken-set!)

Today's pandemic package contents come courtesy of long-time friend of the blog and all-around solid guy Nick of Dime Boxes.  In his latest package, which I began breaking down last week, he included a handful of much-appreciated buybacks as contestants for entering my Buyback Franken-set!

One or two were duplicates, but there were six new hopefuls, and today we'll see how they fare...

1971 Topps #15 - Andy Messersmith

Coming out strong with a nice-looking '71 of Andy Messersmith.  1971 was actually a fantastic year for Andy, as he went 20-13 with an ERA below 3.00 for the Angels.  It was an impressive enough season that he deservedly received a few AL Cy Young Award votes.  I'd love to put this low-numbered buyback on page two of the binder, but...

...Vern Law might have something to say about that.  Typically speaking, I enjoy Heritage box-topper buybacks like this one the most of any style buyback.  With that being said, I'm not overly fond of the 1966 Topps set, and the 1971 Topps release is one you don't come across in buyback format so often.

After a lengthy stay in the binder, I'm going to retire Vern Law in favor of that Messersmith.

1999 Topps #430 - Ruben Mateo/Scott Morgan/Mike Zywica Prospects

Other than Ruben Mateo, I haven't heard of the players featured on this Prospects subset card from 1999 Topps.  Based on sheer variety this one scores some points, however I'd imagine it would be difficult for this card to make the binder at this late stage based on the subjects.

The thing is, I've been dying to move this Pete Incaviglia card over to my dedicated 1990 Topps buyback set.  Since it's also a #430 buyback, I finally have my chance!

The Prospects card goes into the Buyback Franken-set, and Pete here is off to join the rest of his buddies in the 1990 buyback binder.  Love it.

This card number is part of a completed page, so as is customary in these posts here's a look at it before the change...

...and here it is now after the replacement.  The red on that Incaviglia card really stood out like a sore thumb before, I think the new layout is a bit easier on the eyes actually.  Some big names here with Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa, but to me the star of the show is that awesome '73 Gerry Moses bottom center.

1976 Topps #352 - Dave Giusti

Next up we've got a 1976 Topps Dave Giusti.  Dave had been a starter with the Astros earlier in his career, but converted to the bullpen when he joined the Pirates for a good portion of the 1970s.  Though I can't quite articulate why, I love this classic '70s tilted photo of a smiling Giusti.

This is going to be a tough battle here, as this '73 Don Stanhouse is no slouch either.  A duel of 1970s commons at their best.

Since I don't feel overly strong about either card, other than generally liking them both, Stanhouse loses out simply because having one horizontal card on a page of otherwise vertical cards irks me enough to be the tie-breaker here.

1976 Topps #375 - Ron Fairly

Back to back '76s!  The notoriously slow Ron Fairly was in the twilight of his career when this photo was snapped.  He'd won three World Series in his earlier days with the Dodgers, and was a very competent hitter who drove in more than 1,000 runs before hanging up the spikes and taking up a lengthy career in broadcasting.

A tough draw for Ron today though.  I don't enjoy his 1976 release as much as I do the Dave Giusti card we looked at prior, and he's got a really rough match-up for slot #375 of the binder.  Fairly was absolutely the better player compared to Jake Gibbs, but if that was the only deciding factor in these posts I could automate this process and would just have a binder full of stars and HOFers. 

The aesthetics of the cards themselves are just as important, and on that front I really enjoy this Jake Gibbs.  The buyback stamp is perfectly placed over the sea of green grass that fills the card to its every border (with the lone exception being those couple of pairs of tiny legs upper left).

Sometimes you just lose out to someone better-looking than you.  That's life I guess.

1979 Topps #157 - U.L. Washington

U.L. Washington is next, showing us the proper choke-up method on his 1979 card.  U.L. hit his first two career home runs in 1979, pretty impressive for a guy who looks roughly to have about the same build that I do!  The highlight of this card for me, aside from Washington's great 'fro and his sneer, is that half-filled bleacher in the background there.

One of the under-rated buybacks in the entire binder sits in slot 157 though.

Wes Covington holding two bats on a 1962 Topps card with a bat rack in frame > U.L. Washington holding one bat on a 1979 Topps card with a bleacher in frame.  Simple as that.

1973 Topps #93 - Jesus Alou

Last but certainly not least, a nice clean '73 Jesus Alou.  Like so many collectors, I've come to appreciate the 1973 Topps set more and more with each passing year.  In fact, I enjoy it so much that I occasionally search COMC specifically for 1973 buybacks.  I hadn't yet acquired this Jesus Alou though, which showcases an absolutely incredible shoulder patch.  In fact, that's a pretty great Astros uniform on the whole if you ask me.

Unfortunately for Jesus, he's got a tough draw for the binder since this Derek Bell is one of the very, very few 1997 Topps buybacks I've seen.  I'm not saying I wouldn't bounce it from the binder for the right card, but for the sake of variety in the franken-set I'm really inclined to leave this one in place for now.

Even if it means moving Jesus Alou and his awesome shoulder patch to the rejected box.

These buybacks were awesome, and I truly appreciate each and every one, thanks Nick!  A couple of them successfully fought their way in which is no small feat at this point, plus I was able to increase my 1990 Topps buyback set by one.

I've actually still got one more post to get through containing the rest of the good that Nick sent my way.  Before we get to that though I'm going to reveal the results of a really epic eBay flip.  Tune back tomorrow if you're curious to find out how I turned $5 into multiple vintage, graded HOFer cards!

Franken-set Progress: 672/792 (84%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 134/792 (16%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 700
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,506


Matt said...

700 rejected buybacks - you might be able to do two full Frankensets when this is done!

Fuji said...

That Stanhouse would have received my vote. I like the action shot... and could that be the Oakland Coliseum in the background?

Nick said...

Hooray! At the very least, I was hoping the Messersmith would make it, glad a couple of the others cracked the frankenset as well!

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