Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Yes, 2018 has arrived and I am still alive and kicking

Yeah, yeah.  It’s been a long time.  I know that.  My family knows that.  The weeks and months fly by.  It’s difficult to believe that I am writing this 10 months after my last post.  I've been active in trading but the blog posting side has been silent.  One day….I know.  It’s been said before.  One of these days Alice.  So in honor of the delay, I bring you my latest arrivals.

It’s been a long time coming but finally……Eddie has been brought to his final resting place.  Yes, this gem was picked up and his arrival has completed the blue back set from 1951.  It’s been a long time waiting. I wasn’t out there a lot. Life has a way of taking you from city to city as the years go by. And who comes through?  Yes, the wife, as usual.  Thank you babe.  This set is one that wasn't always  top of mind but always illusive and nagging.  It needed to be completed.  The oldest set (by far) that I can say is complete.  Merry Christmas to me. 

But Eddie was not alone.  He came along with many, many friends.  Many of them joined the Christmas celebration.  His arrival with others completed three sets.  Yes, three and I don’t mean  anything close to 2017 Topps.  I am aged and I can attest that my beloved does stray toward the older version of Topps sets of my youth.  The nagging single from 1977, Steve Garvey.  Call that set complete.  But much more to my surprise, 1971 came a-callin’.

Bonjour mes amis.  One by one, the 71’s rolled on through.  Checklists…check the box…figuratively only, of course. No check marks necessary.

And then the flood gates opened, literally.  Perez and Flood.

An AL rookie Pitchers (NM no less)

A Marshall and Pena

But, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a Cub and a Red and an Oriole star reindeer….

How, how could this be?  I haven’t a clue what remains.  But slowly the gem exposes itself.   Not in a “Say What?” kind of way.  But in a “Say Hey” kind of way.  Yes, the man, the legend, the Say Hey kid to call the set “COMPLETE”.

I have received some great cards over the years but this year speaks volumes.  My appreciation is unending.  Thank you to my life long mate.  Thank you for dealing with the craziness that comes along with 40+ years of baseball card collecting.  Thank you for allowing me to indulge myself in “flat men” (Credit to Mr. Dave Kroener). I depart knowing I will return…but when?  Who knows……..

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Decoration for the masses, or just me

Every year, we reach a point in time where we step back and appreciate where we are.  No, I’m not talking about anything of a personal nature. I’m talking about baseball.  'Tis time for the “spring hopes eternal” discussion.  At this juncture, we are all equal, tied for first place and hoping for that spot in post season baseball.  This is not just any time of the year but rather a special time of year. Baseball will soon fill the air…..all day, every day.  I look to A. Bartlett Giamatti to fill my soul with all that I could only dream of expressing.  This to me, is pure bliss for which there is little comparison.  One paragraph, multiple emotions.

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops…..”

Passage of time and another season that was meant to be.  Whether you cheer for a team that has 27 World Series rings or one that has none…we are brethren in this day.  All those that read this filled space of the blogosphere feel a similar passion for this game we love.  Whether it be in real life, in drafting the perfect fantasy team, in cardboard fashion or all of the above.  There are days that pass where the only thing I want to do is spend my time immersed in this game.  Gone are the days of afternoon to late evening games every day.  But there are a few days like that and if I have my druthers, usually a little boy is by my side.  Oh how he loves this game, his team (White Sox), his player (Abreu).  Despite his love for a team that differs from my team, his passion reaches deep into my soul.  I share with him the love of this game, this hobby.  It is a connection I will always cherish and hope we can enjoy throughout our lives.

Beyond the cardboard, I also enjoy the decoration that goes along with the game I love.  Particularly, one wall of the man cave/game room with some of my favorite pictures.  Despite living in the Chicago area, the team I cheer for is a bit east of the Windy City and should be evident in that decoration.

Some of these items can be found at a local card shop, flea market or sports show.  Some are not.  On an adjacent wall is a bat collection that displays the stadiums visited over the past decade.  It is not mine, but my wife’s bucket list item to visit every MLB ball park.  Twenty down, two more will be completed in the next few months.  Those two would be Tampa and Cleveland.  Cleveland will be the first time I don’t partake in the visit as it will be a girl’s weekend away as I stay at home with the kiddos, and I’m good with that.  Cleveland will be a visited town again for me.

The bats are on display as a completed visit by league.  Tied for the moment, but not for long.  The baseballs above, my addition.  Now if I could only find the Jeter and Griffey Jr/Sr autographed balls to add to the others in the picture, all would be good.  I’m 99.9% confident I know where they are.  Question is…do I want to dig through the 8 foot stack of boxes in a tucked away corner to find them?  One of these days………….

Back to the purpose of this post.  The most cherished of the pictured items are one of a kind, literally.  For all the why’s that go along with my continued pursuit of more, more, more cardboard, my wife shares her talents when it comes to the decorating.  Whether it be for a birthday or just an “I love you” gesture, the few items below are a reminder that we are both baseball people through and through.  First, I present…Donnie Baseball.
A hand drawn picture of my favorite Yankee of my younger years.  This man could flat out hit when he was in his prime.  Unfortunately, that didn’t last as long as I would have liked and he was unable to participate in the celebration of 1996.  All I can say is that the detail required a tremendous amount of time and effort.  The “23” is a series of drawn horizontal lines that will never be duplicated according to the artist, again, my wife.

The next drawing encompasses a few images in drawn, printed, and pictured fashion.  We had visited Old Yankee Stadium a number of times and, to date, have yet to visit the new stadium.  That will happen in time, basically when the little ones can walk a few miles without asking to be carried most of the way.  We are fast approaching that time so maybe next year.  Always next year. J

The picture above is from September 21, 2008.  The final game ever played at Yankee Stadium, “The House That Ruth Built”.  There was no way I could let that game slide by without being there.  Being at that game was the only thing on my mind for over six months.  It’s amazing that this was over eight years ago.  I vividly remember that day, that trip, as if it were just last fall.  As beautiful as the previous drawings are, they place a tie for close second when it comes to the gift she gave me after this trip.

The only stadium that could bring tears to this man’s eyes.  Along with our tickets to the game, this drawing is created from a picture taken that day.  Perfection, to me, when it comes to where we were, what we saw and what was to be the end of an era.  I remember standing there in awe that this would be the last time I would ever see a game in this stadium.  The two words “Final” and “Farewell” don’t do this place justice yet it is the only words that are needed.  Yes, it’s a concrete building.  Yes, it was grass, dirt and some not so comfortable seats.  And yes, it housed some horrible teams and a few not so spectacular players.  But it was HOME.  Home to the some of the most incredible teams and players that anyone could be lucky enough to have seen.  And, also home to the many fans, good or bad.  Passion is what makes the fans of NY stand out.  Whether you liked them or not, and by that I mean the team or the people, they had one thing in common.  They all wanted to depart that building listening to Ole Frank singing ‘New York, New York”.  As a fan from afar, I considered myself lucky enough to see this team play maybe a dozen times over the years.  I never watched them lose in this stadium.  For that, I am thankful.  For the artist of these creations, my wife, I am grateful.  Thank you, my dear.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Back to Baseball trading and the Commemorative Patch discussion

I've touched on this issue before.  August of 2015 to be exact.  I enjoy collecting commemorative manufactured patches, historical stitches and retired number inserts from Topps flagship blaster boxes between 2009 and 2012.  I see few here and there, but usually not many.  Sure, I could go on any number of auction/sale sites and purchase, but what fun is that? Trading is what I enjoy doing when I get the chance.

Anyway, these gems were inserted at the rate of one per blaster box.  No more, no less.  Actually the bigger issue I had to navigate around was in lieu of collecting these cards, I gave up any chance I had at pulling an autographed or relic card.  I don't recall any of the blaster packs from those years having any odds of pulling real auto or relic cards.  I may be wrong though.  That age thing plays a role.  So for $20, one patch and a bunch of cards and inserts for set building.  I truly enjoy the set building more than the big pull.  I've had some big pulls in my life and don't spend money in bunches to find the next one.  If it comes, it comes.  If not, life goes on and my collection still grows.

I am selective on what I'm looking to add to my collection in this area.  Topps flagship 2009 through 2012 Series Two only.  An odd stopping point, I know.  But, being unique in what we all collect is what makes for good collecting and a good trade.  You take what I don't want and vice versa.  I am , if I'm lucky, 30% complete in completing these sets.  And at 150 cards per year (yes, only 100 for 2012), that still leaves a good number of cards left to acquire.

In the past, I would see a card and usually know if I needed it or not.  Not so much anymore.  Too many cards and again, age has taken its toll on this old collector.  So what to do???  Of course, put down in writing a list of cards needed just for this group and add a new tab to the blog.  Genius!!!  I get so much activity on the main want list yet I'm not feeling the same love for the new tab want list.  I'm not really sure how many people collected or want to trade these cards.  Yes, the availability of a want list is much greater when you're looking at any and all years from 1951 through 2016, but one can hope.

Back to this subject.......I was on the receiving end of a trade that gave me a large number of blaster inserts post 2012 Series Two that I am hoping will result in a trade with one of the few readers I have to check off a few on my list.  I also have some duplicates of the 2009-2012 time frame as well for those that also try to collect these same sets of cards.

Upon first review, anything of interest from the first batch of pictures?  How about these?

There has got to be something the piques your interest.  As an FYI, the Mantle card has a light half circle crease on the right side background behind the upper right portion of the star.  Beyond that, the cards are in very nice shape and hopefully yours are as well.

So where do we go from here?  It's up to you.  Let me know if we can swing a trade.  I'm around and open to trading both on these cards and others from my main want list:  See tabs above^^^^^^^^^^^

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yankee Stadium Legacy

Ok so my hockey card post has been lingering for far too long.  Time to get back to baseball.  Although there remains a few hockey cards left to be had, the list has been pared down tremendously thanks to a few select traders both from the US and Canada.  Canada more so, in the Calgary area to be specific.....thanks Tobias.  Now that November is upon us, Baseball reigns...say what????  I know...the year ended with the spirit of the goat being vanquished.  As a Chicago dweller, you'd think this would be a joyful time.  But alas, as you can probably see from a few previous semi-annual posts and this post's title, the Cubs are not my team.  I'm happy for the city, the team and especially those that suffered for up to 108 years.  Just as I felt ok with the Red Sox moving past the spirits of the sale of Ruth in 2004.  To be clear, I was good with one, not three.  So 2007 and 2013 be damned.  Anyway, I'm happy that my team, with it's small number of only 27 rings, was able to sell the assets that were doing little for today, to get a farm system that is now top 5 in the league.  Tomorrow brings a new dawn.

So, this post turns toward the improbable.  A mere 6600+ card set.  The set of every game played at "Old" Yankee Stadium.  I'm 10% of the way to completing this set.  Yes, you read that right, 10%.  It's something that has lingered for years, but never garnered much attention.  There is always too much other stuff that needs to be completed first.  And if Topps could stop releasing more product, I'd have a chance but you know how that goes.  I would love to work on this set at some point and do a tiny increments through trading, but reality is, this may be the one set that eludes completion for me.  Dare I say that!!  I have tried to get closer to the outer bands of the set. 

Game #9 in 1923:

 And game 6737 in mid September 2008:

So if you can get me closer to the first and last game, that would be a welcomed addition.  Or if you can fill the 6,000 or so gaps in between, I'd be a happy collector. For clarification, I did attend the last game at Old Yankee Stadium.  It was a magical moment as a Yankee fan.  Remind me to share the drawing that my wife made with the tickets from that game.  It's an amazing piece of art if I do say so myself.  Now if I could only find the card that matched that game.......that too would be a great addition.  I do have a few doubles from the set that are available for trade.

In addition, a few standouts made the doubles pile.  "....the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

And the one and only, "Mr November"

They both sit in a pile of ready to be sent off to another land of milk and honey.  Wanting to be replaced with those that make 10% become 11% and then 15%.  Oh what a day should the set venture out of one 800 count box into a second.  I'm not picky on what you have, only that you have some for trade.  Whether it be for the same in return or something different, let me know.  Trading is always something that gives me hope.  One can never find too many traders.  If this is of interest reach out.  Until 2017 (As I suspect)....I bid you farewell.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Trading Baseball has taken a backseat for now and I NEED your help with Hockey!!!!

I have taken a small LOA in card collecting and trading for the past few months as I've been waist deep in trying to organize my hockey collection.  I don't collect hockey any more and haven't in 15 years.  However, they need to be something other than a huge stack of boxes in the corner gathering dust.  Anyway, the process has been a long and arduous task but it is now complete.  Complete in that I need your help, yes you.

There are many gaps in the sets I have and I'm recruiting some hockey collectors to help me complete each of these sets.  Yes, a lot are early 90's that can be found on every street corner in Canada but that doesn't mean they have to go without their friends that make up the team from 1-396.  Yes, these may also be sitting in a corner in your house waiting to be traded away and I'm the one who wants them.  And by doing so, I'm giving premium trade value in return.

If you look to the far right tab on my blog, you will see the list of cards needed.  Read through it, open up boxes that haven't seen the light of day in years, enjoy hockey cards again while watching the Finals.  How better to spend a few hours by picking out a quantity of cards someone actually needs from those sets and getting good trade in return.  Let's send each other 800 count boxes filled with hockey lore.  The USPS will appreciate the business and each of us will watch from the window waiting for the mail man (or woman) to drive up and drop off a box of hockey goodness.

What do you say?  Are you in?  Are you up to the challenge?  C'mon man, let's do this and make our mailboxes happy to be filled again.  Ok, I know.  A little over the top.  But hey, I really want to hype this.  Hello?????  McFly?????

So, hit me up if you think you can help.  Send me your want lists for anything I have listed.  I can only hope somebody has want lists from the late 80's to late 90's.  To those of you willing to take this leap, I say........

The puck is in the offensive zone and you have the power play.  Are you gonna shoot?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas v2015 - More love in cardboard fashion

My wife loves me.  Or maybe she loves that I'm not frivolously spending money at Draft Kings laying $150 to win $2.  Either way, I'll take it.  For the record, I'd bet my heart and not my brain when it comes to fantasy football or any other sport for that matter.  Last year, she surprised the living bejesus out of me by buying me a couple of 1951 Topps Blue Back cards for Christmas.  Numbers 8 and 18.  If you look down a few posts, you'll get a glimpse of them.  You won't have to scroll for long as I'm not a frequent flyer when it comes to posting on my blog.  Anywho, I was floored.  Who wouldn't be, right?  If you were the fly on the wall in any conversation between she and I about my obsession of baseball cards, not to count the ever aging hockey card collection that hasn't been touched in 15 years, you'd never think she would actively participate in adding to the madness.

She did and now another year has passed and I'm curious what she worked on this year.  I'm not one to lay down 20 items on a list.  If I want it, I buy it.  So I look to Christmas as whatever I get, is good.  Shirts, Ties, Socks, whatever.  But I also drop hints on a few items that wouldn't be bad to get.  For three years, it's been the Topps Update/Chrome Update Retail only box.  This year I rec'd four boxes and have a few cards still needed to complete that set.  Hint, tab over from the home page is my extensive and constantly growing list of wants.  By all means, peruse and drop me a message if you want to trade.  I'm always open to trading.  My list is far from complete and as time goes by, it will grow.  95% of everything on the list has doubles for trade so don't be shy.

Back to the gift giving.  The wife and I are usually last, as I suspect is the case in most houses after the kids have ripped through everything.  I get her some items that she wanted and some that she had no idea she wanted.  I believe I did good again this year.  She can attest to that though.  I start opening my gifts.  Most of the boxes are shoebox size.  Nothing that screams baseball cards but again, that's ok.  I rip open the wrapping to find another box inside, and then another and another.  I get down to my first gift and it's a 1976 Cincinnati Reds Team unmarked checklist.  That was the last card I needed for that set.  Happy for that.  Complete now fills that slot.  Next box, same thing.  Open box, another box, repeat.  I do this about 5 more times and low and behold, the last five cards needed to close out my 1979 set.  I'm liking the trend.

Next box is a little larger and a lot heavier.  Only one box inside another to find a 2015 Complete Topps set.  I've gone back and forth on complete sets over the years.  I like them but they stay sealed. No reason to open it if I'm collecting through pack ripping, right fellas?  Once I shared that tidbit of news, she was almost disappointed that she got me the set.  Oh well, scratch that off for next year.  Still some really good stuff so far.  So we move on to the next few boxes that come to me.  For reference, she is also opening gifts and it's not just about me tearing into these one right after another.  So my turn again and same event.  One box inside another inside another. Next card that pops out, a 1951 Topps Blue Back.

For what it's worth, I love this set.  I was fortunate enough to find a lot of these for sale and made out by selling the doubles and basically having 40+ cards in my collection for next to nothing.  I doubt that will happen again but I sure would enjoy it if it did next time with some red backs.  A man can dream.

Next box, same occurrence, double the result.  Sorry for the lopsided image but you get the gist. Sheer beauty of 65 year old cardboard.

I'm the kid in the candy store with these cards.  But I still have some boxes left for me.  Can this get any better. Uhhh yep.  I'll take that one all day, every day.  PSA graded and in very nice condition.

And not to drag this out, the final card.  Even better.  Ex-Mt at 65.  I can only hope I'm graded at VG-EX by that time in my life.
Ok, so to start the day, I only needed six cards to complete this set and she found five of them.  Her goal was to check the box on this 52 card 1951 set but alas, # 51 was not to be found after months of searching.  My dear, you have outdone yourself again and I thank you.  I better start working on some other lists before summer time so you have a few months to close out some other vintage sets on 12/25/16. ;)
So to close out...yo Eddie, where you at????  Mr Waitkus, please come to aisle 1 as you have 51 other friends waiting to spend eternity with you.  Where are you Mr Waitkus?  I don't have all day.  Eddie? Eddie?  EDDIE!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Manu-Say What?

Yes, I'm doubling up in the same month for the first time in over two years.  Maybe if all goes well, I'll hit three in August......yeah I probably shouldn't make any promises.  This post was actually the one I had intended to write a few weeks ago, but somehow that post got hijacked as I could never tie my way from how I started collecting into this topic.  Although I enjoy collecting sets, it has been difficult to complete many along the way.  Something new comes out and I kind of drift off until I think about that set from 6 months ago that I never made a Series 2 purchase.  I do finally make my way back which is why my want lists from recent years are usually not put up until long after the set has been available to the public.  Again, I feel myself drifting, so I'll bring it back to the intending discussion point for today.

The late 2000's is when I started to really delve into the true collection process again.  There were a few years prior that online purchases were to complete one subset or another and less about getting a box to open.  I have since mended those evil ways so that the online purchases made nowadays are mostly boxes to fill gaps of those days gone past.  Maybe once every six months, I'll see something that catches my eye, one that was still needed to complete that subset or in one case, a purchase was made to be able to send along with other cards in a trade with one of my fine readers.  Sometimes what I have to offer needs to be upgraded a bit here and there.  Believe me I've got plenty to trade but not everyone is looking for the standard issue and I enjoy helping fellow collectors out when I can.

Once I started looking to complete sets again, the big box store offered boxes that didn't break the bank and allowed me to get a wide variety of cards for a mere $20 here and there.  And if they discounted those boxes, I could really do some damage on collection gaps if I was lucky enough to find them. 2009 Topps brought a new twist to my collecting.  The blaster box included a manufactured card that really caught my attention.  Although those packs don't really offer the ability to get any big hits, knowing that one of the manu-cards was always included made it a nice box to pick up.

They were new and interesting.  The problem was in order to complete the set, you'd need to purchase way too many boxes at the one per box ratio.  But still, I kept on purchasing these boxes to get  the manu-card.  The patches were cool, old-school style pieces that allowed a collector to grab a glimpse of the 80 year old All-Star game patch from the Polo Grounds.  You don't see that very often.  Then 2010 Topps hit the street and there were more Manu cards to collect.  Again, some really nice looking cards from long ago years be it World Series or just generic patches from the last year at Yankee Stadium.  As Topps has a way of doing something that in hindsight isn't probably the best thing they could have done, the Update series manu-cards were sloppy.  They were crooked, had excess glue and the gray backing made little attempt to stay firmly placed on the actual card itself so it appears to be floating.

2011 rolls around and although the 2010 Update set left me wanting better, I still looked to see what Topps was going to do different.  I won't get into the online card trading program that was now in full swing.  That's a subject for a different day.  So back into the manu-cards I dove.  Not the same type of patch, these were more team specific and less game oriented.  Not a bad product in my mind and the quality was better than previously mentioned.  I still liked the concept and looked to collect these.

Then in 2012, Topps started to include some very interesting pieces as manu-cards.  I really enjoyed the two different types that Topps was producing. Both very player specific which was different from any previous manu-card produced.  Yes, there were players on the cards but the patch itself was more driven to a team or past event.  I'm sure Topps could have chosen any number of players to place on a random Yankees or Reds patch from a mid 1970's World Series card.

The name stitched cards, to me, are the nicest.  A big piece of cloth (and yes I know these are not in any way meant to be game worn products) was a nice way to make it appear to be tied to the player.  I'm sure some look at these cards as being wasted cardboard just as I look at any Panini product, but that is what makes my collection different from anyone else's. Some cards are meant to hold a special place and some are meant to be given away if they find their way into my collection.
In 2013 and through today, I didn't even look to see what Topps was going to put out in these blaster boxes.  I felt complete with what I had seen and I tried to purchase some hobby boxes to switch it up a bit.  I think I have one of these cards from 2014 but that was only because someone was kind enough to purchase a box for me for either my birthday or Christmas.  Maybe you have some of these and look to trade for others.  I do have a few extra.  Or maybe they fill your collection and it doesn't fit in.  Either way, if you're so inclined to trade any, let me know.  I have a special place in my collection for these cards and would welcome trying to find a way to complete the 600 or so total manu-cards from those years.  Thanks again for checking in and hopefully you'll be reading my blog again soon as I make the attempt to be here more often than I have been.  Happy collecting my friends.