Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Thank you, Jackie

Although today is not the only day he should be honored, Jackie Robinson should be on everyone's mind today.  He made so much possible for so many people that weren't being treated like people.  Much of that injustice sadly lives on today because stupidity, intolerance, and ignorance take a long, long time to disappear (if ever).  But because of him, a minority finally got its chance to prove it belonged, in more than just baseball.

Thank you, Jackie, for being the first, and carrying yourself with grace and dignity in the face of hate--from the fans, some of your own teammates, and even the sport itself.

Thank you for being such a memorable player and an inspiration to this very day.

Thank you for making this possible:

Thank you for having the guts to drag baseball kicking and screaming to a place where all men are equal.

Thank you, #42.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New supercollection announcement: a Sweet Lou-percollection!

My project to scan a bunch of new PCs, started in early February, is still in full swing, and I've even made some good progress!  I've already taken care of Kirk Gibson and Curtis Granderson, and the next logical player for me to tackle was Lou Whitaker.  I grabbed all his loose cards I could find and got those scanned, then took care of the rest that were stored in complete sets, which means I also scanned cards for my other PC guys from those same boxes.  A couple hundred cards later I had everything of Sweet Lou scanned, plus a nice chunk of the other guys as well.

In the process of putting together my inventory of Whitaker I took a quick look at his checklist on Beckett's OPG and came up with a count of 290 (non-1/1) cards in his collection, leaving out the really oddball stuff I tend to ignore.  Since the vast majority of that is from the junk wax era, I decided to make Lou my first non-Wolverine supercollection.

On that note, you can keep track of my progress with his Picasa Album and checklist.  I already have a bunch more cards on the way from Justcommons (noted in the linked checklist) and should be adding some from COMC before long as well.  That said, please feel free to include whatever Whitakers you have when you trade with me, even if they're dupes.

Coinciding with my work on this scanning project and chasing Lou's collection, I've revamped my player collections page a bit.  It previously comprised my Michigan baseball and hockey PCs only, but since a number of those players are relevant to many of you that read this here blog--Barry Larkin, Bill Freehan, Charlie Gehringer, and more--I decided to include the players I'm collecting and showing off over here as well--Griffey, Ripken, a few Tigers, et al.  I also tried to clean up the layout a bit since the number of players on the page has exploded!

So, to recap:  I'm supercollecting Whitaker, I want any you can send me, and you can now follow ALL my PCs on my player collections page.

And now, to celebrate getting all my Whitaker cards scanned, here's some highlights:

Lou is a Diamond King:

Lou plays with stickers:

Lou is actually Milt Cuyler:

Lou can fly/Lou can turn two:
Bonus:  same photo!  (1994 Pinnacle and Stadium Club)

Deja Lou:

Alan Trammell or Justin Verlander should be next up for the players whose collections I complete scanning, though I'm not likely going to wait to get everything of Griffey/Gwynn/Maddux/Ripken done before I post some, so I may mix those in as well.  Also, as I said, stay tuned for a bunch of new Whitakers from Justcommons soon!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

2015 trade package #12: reestablishing contact--er, contract--with Bob Walk the Plank

The last time I swapped cards with Matt from Bob Walk the Plank the calendar still said January.  Somehow between then and now neither of us managed to score enough trade bait to send to the other.  Fortunately that changed this week--I sent Matt a nice little package that arrived to him today (so watch for a trade post soon!) and then received a very cool one from him a few days ago.  He promised me something outside of what I usually collect, and I was definitely scratching my head when I found this in my mailbox:

A note further added to the intrigue:

"What the hell's in there?" I thought.  The answer:  two very unique somethings:

As many of you probably know, Topps has been selling their photo licensing contracts signed by the players, and Matt was cool enough to send me documents of former Tigers Bobby Higginson and Dmitri Young.  Higginson's was signed in 1996 for a three-year term while Young's was the same deal in 2004.  Unique is definitely a good way of describing these!  There's many things baseball collectors can acquire outside of cards--action figures, bobbleheads, jerseys, etc.--but being able to pick up the contract--a signed one!--a player signed giving a company the right to use his likeness on a card is something else entirely.  Unique indeed!

Here's a look at the back of Higginson's contract, including the Topps Vault hologram in the lower-right corner, plus the Topps Vault COA envelope and COA itself, with the serial number matching the hard-to-scan hologram:
We've made some doozies of trades, Matt and I, but I have to say I'm impressed with how much he surprised me with this one.  Thanks again, Mr. Scott, and enjoy your spoils as well!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

4-3-15 card show report: happy showpening day!

The Cards and Cubs are underway kicking off the 2015 season after the usual long winter wait.  Better yet it even felt like spring up here in Michigan on this fine Easter Sunday.

To celebrate my favorite sport I'm showing off my little haul from the monthly show I made it to on Friday.  I was able to throw a nice chunk of change towards some much-needed trade bait for some great people, plus a little bit at Michigan stuff, posted on TMM this evening.  The rest was all baseball, all the time, and therefore perfect for posting on opening day 2015!

No hits here, but it was money well spent for cards towards some of my favorite PCs.  Everything's an insert, and these all came from one seller from a $0.50 box, though he clearly appreciated my business and gave me a very nice discount on my total purchase.
First up is a nice quartet of Griffeys.  The first card is what I believe to be Leaf's first foray into the Slideshow cards, an insert set I've always enjoyed, even when they were as simple as this back in '94.  Second up is a Topps insert from the same year, the second iteration of their Black Gold insert set, which was a decently tough pull at the time.  Jumping ahead to 1997 we have a Silver Press Proof from that year's Donruss (Update) set, a parallel of one of Junior's cards, this one celebrating the recent innovation of interleague play by pairing him up with Andres Galarraga--not a bad comparison!  Finally, I snagged a 2000 Power Players insert which looks kind of cool but also blends in with a few others from that year.
I also snagged this 1996 Pinnacle Starburst parallel of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn.  Gwynn appears on three different cards in that set (and I have a ton to scan for all my PCs combined!) including this subset, and I love Pinnacle's old dufex parallels like this one.
I did quite well when it comes to the Iron Man as well.  As you can see I managed to find both Juniors from the 1994 Topps Black Gold set, and as always I enjoy shots of Ripken in the field.  Also from '94 is an Ultra All-Stars insert which has a very, very red background.  Speaking of backgrounds, the '96 Collector's Choice Crash the Game insert has a very nice Baltimore orange foil thing going for it.  That was one of the earlier interactive card promos where if the player pictured homered during the series taking place between the dates on the front, you could send it in for an upgraded version.  Each player had three cards with different dates and this one for Cal is the first.
Verlander may be on the DL for the first time in his career but that doesn't mean I forgot about him!  I found a pair of 2010s Topps parallels to add to his collection.  First is a Refractor I was surprised I didn't have from 2010 Topps Chrome.  The other is the Gold Sparkle version of the 2011 AL ERA leaders from 2012 Topps.  2011, of course, was JV's Cy Young/MVP year, and winning the pitching triple crown, including the ERA category, definitely earned him some votes!

That was certainly a fun way to celebrate the first day of baseball.  Happy opening day 2015 and happy collecting, everybody!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Complete sets: 1987 Woolworth's Topps

A little bit more than two years ago I received a ridiculous large flat-rate box from blogging legend BA Benny as part of our final trade before he closed up shop.  I showed off pretty much everything he sent to some degree, but there was also a very nice number of complete sets, many of the oddball box variety, and I slowly got around to posting those in their entirety.  The last time I posted one was last July, about nine months ago, but these were on my mind again recently because I'm going through everything I have to get my major PCs all scanned.  That means you may see a few more of these posts in the near future (where "near future" equals maybe less than a year this time).

Today's set is another small boxed offering from their heyday of the 1980s.  Topps produced a number of highlight-type sets in a partnership with retailer Woolworth's; I'm young enough that I didn't experience the store at the height of its fame but old enough to at least know a bit about it.  The 1987 set celebrates some highlights from the 1986 season including career milestones, league leaders, award winners, and especially that year's World Series.

The cards are glossy and feel more rigid than something comparable like a Tiffany issue.  The fronts don't include much besides the player's name in very tiny writing, the set's logo, and an overly large white border combined with another yellow border inside.  The backs are done in yellow/gold and purple and briefly explain the highlight.  If I had my way the front border wouldn't be so obnoxious and the face of the card would give some sort of inkling about the highlight instead of nothing at all.  That said, the player selection is pretty good since this is a highlight set.  Tony Gwynn is my only PC player in it, but there's other cards that make it worth scanning the set!

Here's the box pretty much as it arrived to me, e.g. with a little bit of character:

And here are the 33 cards in this oddball offering, fronts and backs!:

I hope some of you find these interesting because I still have more to show off!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015 trade package #11: check out my Gibby from GSNHoF

My next two-part trade package comes from that smelly state underneath mine, but Tim, who runs the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame, is an outstanding and very generous trader that exhibits all of the good qualities typical of a person from anywhere other than Ohio.  The SpastikMooss has found his calling as a flipper on COMC, balancing collecting and selling in a way most of us could only dream of, and that leads to some great trades between us.  Most recently I sent him a group of cards centered on one of his newer PCs, Shyrone Stith, and in return he sent back some stuff he was nice enough to track down for me on COMC.  Seriously, take a gander at his port once in a while--it's something I enjoy doing because it changes so often!

Because he's cool enough to put in the effort to find my Michigan guys, most of my haul is over on TMM as usual, but I did notice a card in his port one day that I knew I had to ask him for, and Tim was generous enough to include it in this very package:
Kirk Gibson 2002 Stadium Club World Champion Relics jersey
Kirk Gibson cards are nice.  Kirk Gibson Tigers cards are nicer.  Kirk Gibson Tigers hits are nicest.  And Kirk Gibson Tigers hits celebrating the 1984 World Series are the nicest-est!  I thought Topps did a nice job of designing this relics set back in 2002, and I think well enough of it that this is now the third card (Trammell bat, Maddux jersey) I've acquired, and there's others I'd love to add, especially Lou Whitaker's; Gibby also has a bat version I'll try to find.

I'm happily adding this to my Gibson PC, which I recently pretty much completed scanning.  As one of more than 100 cards it's my eighth hit, comprising three autographs and five relics.  Speaking of the latter, this one is noted multiple times on the card as "regular season game-worn."  I don't particularly care that it didn't come from a postseason jersey from that year, but the fact that it might actually be "game-worn" is nice!

Tim, thanks again for a fun package, and hopefully I can contribute more to your PCs, especially the new ones!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

2015 trade package #10: Cards on Cards sends Tigers cards and PC cards

Recently I received another great two-part trade package from a fellow baseball/college collector, Kerry of Cards on Cards.  Kerry is a bird enthusiast that chases Cardinals of the St. Louis variety as well as Ducks native to Oregon, and that means our collecting mindsets are similar enough to make trading go very smoothly between us.  You might even say we're birds of a feather!  (Ok, I'll quit with the bird stuff now.)

Please don't forget to take a gander at the Wolverines Kerry sent my way on this evening's TMM post.  Meanwhile, here's the excellent baseball portion:

First up is what looks like a team set of 2015 Topps Tigers:
There were 10 cards so I gave the team card its own scan.  I'm curious if this image is from either of the games I attended this year, one where the pictured Davis defeated Oakland with a walk-off slam, or the season finale when Detroit beat Minnesota to win the AL Central.
I do like the player selection here on the assumption that guys like Verlander, Avila, J.D. Martinez, and a couple of the offseason additions appear in Series II.  The inclusion of prospects McCann and Farmer was nice.  That design still melts my eyeballs, though!
It's time to get EXTREME with Topps Chipz!  Market research has determined that "Z" is way more extreme than "S" when making a word plural.  Kidz will definitely Facetweet their Chipz on their InstaTunez and MyTube accountz!  I did speak to a guy at a show recently who said his young kids do enjoy playing with these, though, so kudos to Topps for making something youth-friendly in an adult-heavy hobby.
Here's a bunch of Tigers favorites, including another Miggy from 2015 Topps (yay Triple Crown!) and a Cobb insert from the same product.  The Fryman card takes me back almost 20 years to the 1996 thorn-in-my-side Bazooka set (and the 90s Tigers).  Next up is a couple pairs of former Detroiters in Carlos Guillen from UD and Austin Jackson from Chrome products, including a Refractor, one of the best inserts known to man.  Then we head further in the past with two of three Kalines Kerry sent my way, including a 2013 Topps sticker, which reminds me of the fun I had filling up my Panini sticker books of the early 90s.
More Tigers, picking up where we left off with Kaline, this time an Archives reprint that includes Elston Howard, Jimmy Piersall, and former teammate "Stormin'" Norman Cash.  From a newer Archives product, 2013, comes 30-game winner Denny McLain in the form of an SP from that set.  This trade adds a couple more pairs of recent Tigers in Magglio Ordonez, including a Sweet Spot numbered insert, and 2B Placido Polanco, a couple guys that helped bring the Tigers back to respectability.  Finally, we end with a couple members of the last few seasons' rotations that moved on, Porcello and Scherzer.

I split up everyone else in the package as they go towards my PCs.  Kerry was very generous here and certainly didn't disappoint.  He hit four of my Tigers guys, starting with Gibby, Granderson and Trammell.  The Granderson is one I was close to picking up online recently until I landed it here, and it's from 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres, making it one of his earliest issues.  Tram comes from the 1995 SP set and includes a very nice photo.
Four many Verlanders!  Kerry managed to spit in the face of the Toppsopoly with a sticker from Panini's kid-focused Triple Play sticker set.  Everything else was Topps, including JV's 2014 flagship base card, a 2014 Heritage Chrome (still love those!) numbered to 999, and the third Topps Chipz of the package!
He didn't forget my non-Tigers PCs, either!  Here's a pair of Gwynns from 1995 Sportflix and 1998 Fleer SI.  While I have the '96 Sportflix set, I never chased the previous year's reboot so I loved getting this one.  The SI card is one of a few Gwynn has in the cool glossy set Fleer produced a few teams in the late 90s.
Keeping with the HOF theme is Greg Maddux with one of his more notable clubs--his second stop with the Cubs--plus a more obscure short-term stop with the Dodgers.  The 2005 Opening Day card was new to me while the '07 flagship saved me from having to scan one from my complete set!
Finally, eight is the correct number of cards of #8 to send in a given package, unless you'd like to send more, in which case that number is also correct.  These Ripkens are, in order:  1989 Fleer Heroes of Baseball, 1995 Sportflix, 1996 Zenith, 1997 Donruss Update info card (more below), 1997 Stadium Club, 1999 Pacific, 2000 Fleer Focus, and 2001 Fleer Game Time.

Here's a closer look at the Donruss Update card:
Unlike normal card stock this is very thin, but the front still shares the image of one of Cal's cards in that set while the back talks a bit about the set, one I enjoyed busting quite a bit almost 20 years ago!

Thanks a ton for the amazing package, Kerry, and I'm happy to report that I've got a nice start on a little envelope to send back your way before much longer!