Sunday, November 11, 2018

11/3/18 card show report: a Topps heavy day of serial-numbered insanity

I had a great time as always at my usual monthly show in Taylor a couple Saturdays ago, though it was anything but the usual in many ways.  While I got good value for the little money I spent at my favorite dealer's table, I had to limit my time there a bit so I could get home to catch the start of the Michigan/Penn State game.  Also out of the ordinary is the fact that the vast majority of what I bought is staying with me instead of heading to trade packages.  And out of those I ended up with way more Topps stuff than I usually do, though you'll see why in a bit.  Finally, I didn't turn up anything for my Michigan PCs so you won't see a second post on TMM this evening.

As for the comfortingly familiar, though, I had a blast pulling stuff for my many PCs, landing 49 cards of six players.  In all I snagged 60 from his 5/$1 box and nine that were a dollar apiece, giving him $20 for the bunch.  Here's what I got:
First is a trio of the Grandyman.  The former namesake of this here blog stars on one of the $1 cards I picked up, a low-numbered 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones Blue parallel.  I know there's multiple versions of each card so it's not as rare as it looks, but it was still fun getting a favorite player of mine on something /10.  Meanwhile the $0.20 entries were a Rediscover Topps Gold buyback of his 2014 Topps base, plus a numbered offering from the short-lived original return of Stadium Club in 2008 (#318/999).
Sticking with the G-men, player #2 is Griffey on a nice pair.  My second dollar card is an excellent Dufex insert from 1998 Pinnacle called Spellbound, and this is the first of Ken's seven issues which spell his last name.  He's joined in that 50-card set by the likes of Ripken, Gwynn, Frank Thomas, and others, and I wouldn't mind finishing up a few of those names!

Joining that is one of his two appearances in Upper Deck's 2008 Masterpieces base set.  The product is one of the many reasons I miss UD nowadays because it continues to impress me even 10 years later.  I have yet to track down the SPed second Griffey card from this set, by the way.
Tony Gwynn was a winner today, just not the winner (more on that soon).  Here's eight of the 10 cards I found of Mr. Padre at this show.  The first five are from a 1999 Pacific Omega insert called Hit Machine 3000, a set honoring Gwynn eclipsing the magic milestone that season.  There are 21 cards each numbered to 3000 so I have almost a quarter of the set!  These were $1 a pop, a reasonable price in my opinion.
Rounding out the group is a trio of Upper Deck inserts.  Curtain Calls was a foil-heavy chase set from 1999 Ovation and it differs greatly from the baseball texture of the base design.  The next two come from 2000 Hitter's Club and are called Epic Performances (again noting Tony joining the 3000-hit mark) and Generations of Excellence (again again noting that feat, joined by Wade Boggs who did the same that year).
Gwynn's day ends with a lower-end insert from the kid-centric '98 Collector's Choice, a Mini Bobbing Heads card--and one of my favorite inserts, 2001 Fleer Platinum Classic Combinations.  The latter included multiple appearances for several players, and here Gwynn is paired up naturally with "The Man", Stan Musial, on a card numbered 1501/2000.  It was worth every penny of the buck I paid for it.
Gwynn's PC got a nice bump but nobody was going to touch Greg Maddux's staggering 30 new cards on the day, exactly half of what I took home!  You wouldn't know it by this group, but as I keep teasing, you'll see why in a minute.  The first five include '93 Triple Play's Diamond Kings-like Gallery insert, drawn as always by Dick Perez.  The final dollar card today is insert #2 from 1995 Sportflix's Double Take chase set, a very cool card that pairs Mad Dog with Jimmy Key, a guy who wasn't in Maddux's class overall but who was quite good, good enough to be the runner-up for the AL Cy Young in '94.

The other three are from the subsequent decade, starting with Upper Deck's 2000 Pros and Prospects Best in the Bigs.  "Pinpoint control" is a good way to describe the mound artist.  Similarly, Fleer considered the pitcher the Cream of the Crop in this 2003 Hot Prospects insert.  Lastly, one of two non-standard size Maddux cards you'll see today is a fold-out Ticket Studs card from Fleer's 2003 Authentix.  This ticket-like card noted Maddux would open the season against Montreal in 2003 and that it was likely he'd throw a "pitching masterpiece".  Oddly enough he gave up five runs (four earned) in a 10-2 loss, though he'd eventually recover to have another great season.
The biggest reason Maddux was the biggest winner today is a huge pile of 2008 Topps Moments and Milestone cards.  They may not be as rare as their numbering makes them look, but for $0.20 apiece I happily added 24 of them to his collection.  This scan includes cards highlighting his 20 wins and 199 strikeouts during his first of four straight Cy Young-winning seasons.
Next, this one moves on to the '93 award he won in his first year in Atlanta.  I found one card from the 20 commemorating his 20 wins plus 14 from the bunch made for each of his 197 strikeouts.
These last six are from that same group and include the one with the lowest serial number, 002.
That wasn't quite all, though, as I also found this 1998 Sports Illustrated Then and Now Great Shots mini poster, the other odd sized card of the HOFer (and one of three such posters I found that day).  It represents card #601 in his collection meaning I'm celebrating another PC guy hitting the 600-card mark!
Among the many, many Rediscover Topps buybacks I flipped through, mainly from 1988 and '89 (what a surprise) was one other PC guy to join Granderson:  former Michigan pitcher Steve Ontiveros on his '88 Topps base.  I was glad to be able to add something new like this to one of my few PCs for which I've completed the regular checklist.  As with Granderson's card it appears to be the Gold version, but it's much easier to tell in-hand rather than through a scan.

The last player in today's post is the fourth member of my non-Tigers PC quartet, Cal Ripken Jr.  Only one of the three items I found of him in the $0.20 box was a regular sized card, a Class 2 version of his 2001 Topps Gold Label base.  If you're a fan of this design like I am make sure you check out Chris' group break over at Nachos Grande!
You'll remember I mentioned in Maddux's section that I found two other 1998 Sports Illustrated mini posters and these are them.  The second is from the same Great Shots insert set as his while the first is from the original Sports Illustrated product's Opening Day Mini Posters.  That one has Cal representing his Orioles on a fun collectible that doubled as a team schedule for the season.

Getting all of this and a few other things for a measly $20 meant yet another successful show for me as we head towards the end of the year.  Barring anything unforeseen I should be making it back to this show in December and padding my other purchases with big orders from Sportlots and COMC.  Thanks to Black Friday I should be doing a bunch of spending on the latter leading to another round of Christmas cards just in time for the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

More autographed stuff for me to scan: IP and TTM autos

Quite a lot has happened since I last posted, including Dave Roberts and the Dodgers bullpen politely handing over the World Series to the Red Sox and their four former Tigers (and denying PC guy Rich Hill a much-deserved win in the process).  The MLB season is now done and it's all over except for the awards, but I still have baseball on my mind as I continue to look for stuff to post.

Following up on my last couple that featured some autographed memorabilia I've collected I thought it was high time for me to do an album for my in-person and TTM autographs, so that's exactly what I did.

Like a number of you I got into the TTM thing as a kid and I had a pretty reasonable amount of success in the 90s acquiring a nice range of signatures of players, especially Tigers.  I've also picked up a handful of in-person signatures myself of through others.  And then there's the stuff of unknown origin.

Here's a quick look at the album in its state at the time of this post:
And here's a quick rundown of how I acquired these (as best as I can remember):

  • In-person:
    • Myself:
      • Sager and Lolich
    • Others (trade, purchase, etc.):
      • Putz
  • TTM (myself):
    • Nieves, Hunter, Casey, Guillen, Moehler, Cruz, Easley, Clark, Erstad, Beltre, Alomar Jr., Glavine, Blue, Thompson, Powell, Grace, Williams, Molitor, Eckersley, Smoltz, Garner, Lowell, Salmon, Brogna, Gwynn
  • Can't remember:
    • Whitaker, Anderson, Freehan, Leach, Abbott, Petry, Northrup, Leach, Abbott
I've also sent a decent number of my TTM successes out in trade packages since I don't value them as much as I used to.  And on a related note, I'm happy to make some of these available in trade.  Many are keepers for me, of course, such as any of my PC guys and some of the Tigers, but I'm willing to let a number of them go, so if you're interested, please send me a comment or email!

And please feel free to keep up with this collection (though I likely won't be adding much to it at this point) via this link, or hit the link in the sidebar to your right.

So what do y'all think?  Any favorites here?  What's the best player you've gotten, be it IP or TTM?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A five minute post addendum: autographed memorabilia

As I was looking through the autographed stuff I posted yesterday and comparing those to my collection of pictures of my brother and I with the signers we met at shows, I realized I was missing something.  It took some digging but I finally located it:
I don't remember exactly what year it was when we went to see Brooks Robinson at the old Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor, but I do remember him being a super nice guy.  You know, one of those autograph guests that actually smiles, says "hi", maybe talks for a minute as he's signing, and even gives you time for a quick photo.  The fact that Robinson was an amazing Hall of Famer and Gold Glover at his position was just a bonus.

Anyway, I tried to sleuth out what I had Brooks sign for me based on a photo of me at his table waiting for him to sign.  I thought it may have been one of the Hall of Fame programs/yearbooks I had, one of which contains the Fergie Jenkins and Bob Feller signatures you saw yesterday.  Nope.  Finally I realized it was a page from a nice Orioles-centric book my mom got me one year:
Yes, I spilled a bit of paint on the spine in an incident with an open can and a ladder a few months ago.  No, I don't wanna talk about it.
I was big into the team in my junior high and high school years, mainly because of Cal, and my mom is an amazing person who paid attention to my interests, so she really killed it with this.  And the cherry on top is a beautiful signature from the Human Vacuum Cleaner on a page that stars a great glossy photo of the master at his craft.

So of course I'm glad I finally remembered I was missing him in my collection and was able to track this book down!

This gives me two "five minute" posts in two days, and to those I can add a third over on TMM this evening as I show off my latest purchase, my 113th 1/1.  Check it out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My five minute post: baseball autographed memorabilia

A couple weeks ago Daniel from It's Like Having My Own Card Shop experimented with something to help him get back into blogging after a bad month or more that included unexpectedly losing his mom:  writing a post in five minutes.  A blogger with my favorite URL--"betterthanbeckett.blogspot.com"--who also just impressively completed his awesome First Night Game at Wrigley autograph collection, Daniel came up with a fun and useful idea, especially for folks like me that enjoy the scanning, checklisting, and sometimes draft preparation of blog-writing but sometimes dread the actual writing part.  In my case I think I just demand too much of myself.

Anyway, I'm fortunate to be able to try such a post under better circumstances, and I happened to have an idea already in the pipeline that would work well:  my collection of baseball autographed memorabilia.  I posted on it here years ago, but many of my old posts have dead links to images, plus I like to have everything I scan cataloged in Google albums at this point.  So I took the opportunity to take some improved photos.  That was especially useful when it came to my baseballs signed by multiple players.  Now you can see every signature!
It's been a long time since I added to this collection since the shows I go to rarely have quality signers, if any, and some of their prices have gotten ridiculous.  That makes me appreciate what I do have even more, though I'll continue adding to it as I can.  You can always view this album under the "My personal collections" section to your right.

While this will probably put me over five minutes (as if I haven't run over yet--but at least this has gotten me writing!), I'll do a quick recap of how I acquired each item:
  • In-person at a show:  
    • Bob Feller hat, 8x10, HOF program, and ROMLB
    • Fergie Jenkins HOF program
    • Willie Stargell 8x10
    • Matt Anderson/Gabe Kapler bat (combined signing)
    • Willie Stargell/Fergie Jenkins/Warren Spahn/Gaylord Perry ROMLB (separate signings)
    • Detroit Tigers baseball signed by Al Kaline, A.J. Sager, Rick Leach, Gabe Kapler, Matt Anderson, Willie Horton, Don Wert, "Paws", and Mickey Lolich (separate signings)
  • Purchased:
    • Bill Freehan 8x10
    • Rich Hill ROMLB
  • Traded to me:
    • Barry Larkin 8x10 (Play at the Plate)
    • Scott Rolen ROMLB (from a 1998 Skybox Dugout Axcess redemption)
  • Gift:
    • Bill Freehan photo  (my mom's former boss)
    • Kirk Gibson helmet  (Christmas present from my brother)
    • Sandy Koufax/Tommy Lasorda/Walt Alston ROMLB  (from my uncle via a friend of his who was a Spring Training bullpen catcher back in the day)
Thanks, Daniel, for the motivation to get posting a bit more (and helping me realize that there's plenty of value in brevity).  Good luck as you get back into the habit--it's great to have you back!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

10-7-18 show report: digging the dime boxes

Because I was indisposed last Saturday I once again failed to make it to my usual monthly show in Taylor.  However, I took the opportunity to make the trip down to Toledo on Sunday to hit up the seller I always see in Taylor anyway.  He runs his own show down the on Sundays, usually the same weekend as the Taylor show, and it doesn't take me that much longer to get down there, with the only negative being that I have to drive in Ohio, which has what I like to call remedial speed limits.

Anyway, it ended up being worth the trip, and not just because I also made the most of it and also stopped by the smoke-free(!) casino.  I dropped a solid $30 on 40 dime box cards (the source of everything here), 18 singles at $1 apiece, and three other nicer hits.  You can check out some of the latter stuff on TMM this afternoon, and you'll probably eventually see the rest in future trade posts elsewhere.

Here's some surprisingly good dime box successes that I thought were usually reserved for the rest of you:
I was fortunate enough to hit all four of my major baseball PCs plus a couple others, all out of the dime boxes!  Once again I was in the zone, baby, in the zone with Kenny Griff.  I added what I believe is my second Bazooka Comics insert of Junior, this one from 2005, celebrating him hitting his 500th homer on Father's Day, 2004.  That's joined by a 2014 A&G base that Beckett's OPG says is an SP, so that was a fun find as well.
"The five-time Gold Glove outfielder never sold us short of an impressive season" says the back of this 2001 Donruss Class of 2001 Yearbook insert of Padres legend Tony Gwynn.  I'd have to agree with whomever was responsible for the blurbs in what was kind of a strange product, though I think this insert was kind of a fun idea.  It also notes, of course, that Gwynn would retire in 2001, the same year another guy in this post hung 'em up.
I may not be a big fan of A&G or Gypsy Queen, but you'll see some of both in this post because when it comes to dime box pickups of my favorite players I take what I can get instead of being a snob.  Hence this nicely done Hand Drawn Art Reproductions insert of Barry Larkin from 2017 GQ.  It's actually the first of his two appearances in that set (different artists, I'm assuming), not to mention card #1, so that's pretty cool.
Greg Maddux wasn't quite the big winner on the day, but it was still a productive one for the HOF pitcher thanks to this trio.  Card #1 is an oddball-ish offering of a base card from Fleer's 2003 Hardball.  I have a few others like this in my collection and while I'm glad it didn't become an annual thing, disc cards are kind of fun to nab once in a while. 

#2 comes from 2014 Topps Update World Series Heroes.  While Mad Dog's overall Fall Classic record isn't perfect, you can't really blame him.  His 1995 complete game in that year's opener against Cleveland was huge, and overall he went 2-3 with a 2.09 ERA in five World Series starts (he had the same record in '96 against the Yanks).  In fact, two of his three losses came by just one run each.

Finally A&G makes another appearance with a 2016 insert called The Numbers Game.  Atlanta retired his #31, and I give Topps credit for noting other good-to-great players that wore the number:  Fergie Jenkins, Dave Winfield, Mike Piazza, Chuck Finley, and Hoyt Wilhelm, plus one-time Brave Paul Waner.
As with Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. makes a one-card cameo in the form of a somewhat strange 2001 product.  In the case of the Iron Man it's a base card from Fleer's one-and-done Authority product.  I don't recall much about this one back when it came out, and the gold foil stamp is about the only thing I can remember.  But it's a new Ripken for a dime and that's enough for me!
And last up today is this post's only current player, a guy you might have heard have by the name of Justin Verlander.  In my TMM post I also scored a card of that blog's namesake and noted that I probably had some good luck nabbing Michigan guys with the show being in Toledo instead of Detroit.  That may have been the case with former Tiger JV as well--I mean, $0.40 is nothing for four cards of the best Tigers pitcher since Jack Morris (besides the short tenure of Max Scherzer, I suppose). 

As you can see, two of the cards are with his new team, the defending champion Astros, but that's just fine by me, I mean I eventually got over Curtis Granderson in a Yankees uniform so this one was easy.  The Detroit cards are from 2013 A&G and 2016 GQ.  I'm a bit surprised I hadn't ended up with either in a trade yet, but $0.20 was enough to rectify that.  Meanwhile he can be seen with Houston on a pair of 2018s:  Donruss' Optic and Topps Chrome.  I sure wouldn't mind nabbing a Refractor of the latter!

That's it for this time but we'll see what I turn up the next time I hit the show, either in Taylor or Toledo.  I've got options!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

2018 trade package #23: Sport Card Collectors

Sport Card Collectors
I'm thrilled to have a pair of trade packages to show off today.  You can find one of those, an in-person deal with Jeff of My Sports Obsession in which he handed me a card before we headed to the Michigan/Maryland game, on TMM this evening.

And the other is the star of this post, which is another PWE party thanks to that type of envelope arriving from buddy of the blog Matt of Sport Card Collectors.  This is the sixth time he's been nice enough to surprise me with a PWE, one that included some Tigers and more:
A PWE doesn't offer enough room to go from "A" to "Z", but "B" to "G" isn't bad when it's a group like this!  Bondo appears on a 2004 Topps Cracker Jack Mini, one that rightly explains that he was "rushed into action in 2003", something that definitely explains his 19 losses that season.  The team screwed him out of quality development while injuries shortened his career, but at least he got to enjoy that magical 2006 season.

Moving on to pitchers still in the franchise's system, we have 2017 first-rounder (#18 overall) Alex Faedo.  The righty for Florida recovered from knee surgery to earn the MVP of the CWS, which his Gators won.  My first card of his is this 2018 Bowman High Tek, and I'll guess the pattern is "Dots Bow-Tie", maybe?

Meanwhile Fulmer had a season to forget on a terrible 2018 team, going 3-12 over 24 starts during a year when his health didn't exactly help his results.  You won't see me giving up on him anytime soon, though, and I hope he comes back en fuego in 2019 like his 2017 Topps Fire Gold Minted parallel.

Last up for the Tigers is 2018 playoff participant Curtis Granderson.  I couldn't be happier for the Grandyman that he's back in the postseason for the eighth time after heading to the Brewers from the Jays.  With the Yankees happily eliminated the only team I'll generally be rooting against is Boston (though they do have a few former Tigers too), so I wouldn't mind seeing this here blog's former namesake get a third shot at a ring after missing out on two others.  That would be a Piece of History, like the UD brand of the Stadium Scenes insert above (#495/999).
And as if that wasn't good enough Matt did more damage to my Clayton Richard checklist in a repeat of the cards he sent me in August.  In both cases I ended up with cards from 2018 Gypsy Queen and flagship parallels, and that means SCC is responsible for all four of the Richard cards I currently own from this year.

This time the GQ card is an Indigo parallel (#201/250), and that ends up being a fairly nice color to use.  Of course, I would have called it "blue", but that's my limited color vocabulary for you.  Meanwhile the new flagship card is the Rainbow Foil parallel, which pairs nicely with the Factory Set Foilboard card he was nice enough to flip me a couple months ago.

Counting new releases my latest Richard checklist comprises 199 cards and this duo gets me up to 118 of those (and 128 overall), including four of 31 so far in 2018.

Once again thanks a ton, Matt, for a fun and productive surprise PWE!  I've got a few things in-hand for you from recent shows and when I can fill out an envelope a bit more I'll be returning the favor; Giants and Griffeys may be involved....

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Complete sets from Scribbled Ink #2: 1992 Topps

As promised, today I'm showing off the other set I snagged in a trade with Paul of Scribbled Ink:  1992 Topps.  There's plenty more rookies, PC guys, and Tigers (mostly the latter two groups) to check out, so let's have a look:
The RC class for this year wasn't fantastic, but at least this trio was pretty good.  Ramirez put up Hall of Fame numbers and brought two titles (including the first one in forever) to Boston, but PEDs are what's largely holding up his enshrinement.  Floyd was a solid player known mostly as a Marlin, Expo, and Met, and was part of Florida's surprise '97 Series win.  And Green found plenty of success as a hitter, mostly with the Blue Jays and Dodgers, over a nice 15-year career.

Guys with RCs in this set that didn't make the cut but were at least somewhat notable include:  Brien Taylor (LOL), Brad Ausmus, Aaron Sele, Shawn Estes, and Pokey Reese.
A nice bunch of my player collection guys appear in this set as their careers overlapped around 1992.  Kamieniecki, Howe, and Larkin are three Michigan guys with plenty more on the way (including another Larkin).  Tram is one of three Tigers PC guys you'll get to see.  Gwynn's card (he only had one in this set) is new to me as is Ripken's All-Star subset appearance, and I actually scored one more in this set that I didn't previously own.
Abbott doesn't appear to have been an AL All-Star in '91 (or at least didn't participate in the game) but he did have a career year, winning 18 games and tossing 158 strikeouts (both career highs) and landing third in Cy Young voting with a 7.6 bWAR.  So I guess you could say he deserved a pair of cards in this set, as did fellow All-Star from the NL Barry LarkinSweet Lou and Gibby (making a cameo from his season with the Royals) finish up the PC Tigers, and they bookend today's other new addition, a base card of Maddux that was released the same year he won his first of four straight Cy Youngs.
The horizontal photos tend to look quite nice on this design.  Ripken's regular base card is an instant classic of the Iron Man pictured with the monument of the Iron Horse at old Yankee Stadium, and as a reminder Cal had won his second AL MVP in '91.  Griffey gets a cool (if isolated) action shot from his second All-Star campaign.  And we finish up the PC group with a couple of Wolverines that became Reds that became 1990 World Series champs:  Chris Sabo and Hal Morris, also featuring cool photos.
Because I tagged so many players I didn't have room for one of my favorites, "1990s Tigers SUCKED", but boy did they ever.  I should mention, though, that at least the '91 Tigs went over .500 for the first time since 1988.  And at least there were still some guys I liked in this group.

Tettleton, one of my 90s favorites, was in his first of four seasons in Motown, and he bashed 30+ homers in each of his first three.  He put up almost 15.0 bWAR for the Tigers after being swapped for Jeff Robinson, who did next to nothing after the deal.

Brogna had a cup of coffee with the Tigers and put up a few 20-homer seasons during the steroid era, but he shares this four-player prospects card with the much better Ryan Klesko, a braves fixture.  And the bottom trio gets thumbs up from me:  former top closer Mike Henneman, another blog favorite in the versatile Tony Phillips, and the late Dave Bergman (a year before his sunset season).
Sparky was nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career but would hold on until the end of the 1995 season, going 1331-1248 and the '84 title in his 17 years in Detroit.  Fielder again led the league in homers and RBI (44 and 133, respectively) after bashing 51 long balls in 1990, his first season in Detroit, and he indeed earned an All-Star nod.  Deer was a strikeout machine as usual, and his 175 Ks almost eclipsed his batting average of .179.  Tanana went 13-12 in his penultimate season in Motown while Gullickson somehow won 20 games in his first of four years with the Tigers at the end of his career.
I seriously have no idea who Dan Gaekeler was and I watched this team quite a bit, but apparently he appeared in 31 games.  Like Brogna above, Pemberton shares his prospects card with a more notable player in Henry Rodriguez.  Former top prospect Pete Incaviglia signed with Detroit after half a decade with Texas and mostly served as a DH (with negative value, at that) in his only season with the team.  Walt "Terrible" Terrell went 12-14 so he wasn't the worst in his penultimate season.  And Fryman put up 21 HR and 3.2 bWAR in his first full season, a sign of the good things to come for his career.
I wasn't thrilled that the ineffective don Gleaton got his own scan but that's how the cards shook out this time.  Fortunately he left for the Pirates (eventually) after '91, his season year with the Tigers.

And that's it for 1992 Topps!  In terms of a set run from the year I was born, 1983, to the present, I now have every year except for '83 and '90 going up through 2010, though I may also decide to chase the Traded sets I'm missing as well.

I believe next on the agenda is a PWE trade and I'll try to get to that soon!