Sunday, January 10, 2021

Still here and still working through the world of collecting

Almost two years since my last blog post.  Where has time gone?  It wasn’t due to the virus and it wasn’t due to me being out of the hobby.  I’m no longer traveling, and I now work 5 miles from the office.  With these glorious changes in this aspect of life, one would think it wouldn’t take close to 24 months to post.  But, 2020 has passed, thank God, and 2021 has it’s challenges as it starts off so I’m making an effort to push forward with a post that can be read amongst the chaos.  And so it begins….

I’ve been more active than before but in a different sort of way.  2019 was a transition year where I was on the road 75% of the time for 6 months, then 100% for 3 months, then current status….basically 0% travel.  I would have expected a huge impact on my ability to interact here.  But that hasn’t been the case.  Days go by and I’m thinking “one of these days”.  Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months, months turn to years, years turn to …well you get the drift.  But alas, here I am and in the infamous words of Forrest Gump…”that's all I’m going to say about that”.

Time to focus.  2019/2020 started with huge holes in my collection prior to 1967.  These past two years have really changed my mentality on collecting vintage cards.  I now have Topps specific lists for every year dating back to 1951.  To me, that is one helluva transition.  A list is warranted, in my mind, when you achieve more than 50% of the set, give or take a few as those early 50’s and 60’s high numbers can take a toll on one’s ability to complete a set.  I have focused on vintage more than recent stuff as the market today has made everyone go crazy.  I’m cool with capitalism and enjoy it’s benefits every day.  But the value being placed on cards today is insane…to me.  If you venture over to my want list, you see I still collect current cards but my approach differs than years past.  I actually have more cards from the past two years than one would think if I held distain for the current situation.  But I’m no longer a chaser of the big hit.  I couldn’t really care less if I get that one in a 14,589 chance to hit the auto of the guy who some day may be the next 60 HR hitter.  It’s gotten insane but if it works for you, God bless. I’ll work on being the OCD set collector and move on from there.  I’ve got my connection to cards and that works for me.  I’ll take the 2,500 count box of cards to build a set over the deluge of $20 blasters and/or $100+ hobby boxes.  Money is not my end game…..collecting is.

For what it’s worth, It’s been a huge transformation to focus on vintage as I’ve never done so before.  In years past, it had been the proverbial…I’ll get there when I can.  That perspective has now changed.  My focus has transitioned to vintage with the oh yeah, I gotta get those too on the recent stuff.  Perspective, I got that.  To go from barely a vintage Topps presence to where my collection lies today is a great feeling as a collector.  I’m even looking at trying to complete the 1954/55 Bowman offerings.  Those two sets have never graced my collection, ever….until now.  And I love it.  I’ll expand to earlier Bowman sets and I suspect that will be shared here…albeit I’m hoping prior to 2023, but I can’t make any promises as life takes over.

At the end of the day, cards remain a constant in my life.  This is a no pics blog post offering and more so a status update to let you know I’m alive and kicking.  Hopefully, if you’re still seeing this update and reading the post; you may be thinking, damn where has this dude been.  I’m here and I’m still collecting.  Venture over to my want lists and you’ll see periodic updates.  Peace to you and may you and your family remain safe.

Until next time……..

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2018 is gone, 2019 is 7 weeks in and finally, I write a blog post. Good news...the theme goes back to 1951

It’s been over a year since my last post but I haven’t been absent from the hobby.  I spend even more time on the road, if that’s possible, than I have before.  I may have mentioned that once, twice or ten times.  Yet, every time I make my way home, I try to find a few spare moments to enjoy this hobby.  Since last year’s Christmas included the completion of the 1951 Topps Blue Back set, I had to set my sights on a few other sets.  Partially in the form of 1966 and 1967 Topps.  And even the long shot desire to complete 1955 and 1956 Topps.  But really there is only one set that fits well in this situation….and you guessed it, 1951 Topps Red Back. 

Although not as desirable as the Blue Back set, it has some exceptional players.  I don’t understand why the Blue back differs as much from the Red back set but who am I to pass judgement.  Maybe it’s the A set and B set syndrome where the latter series cards are somewhat ignored due to late in the season release and subsequently, much more valuable.  The wrapper alone is a 40x multiple.  No matter what, the set of 52 cards in each color doesn’t overwhelm with excess.  Yes, the Red has a couple of team name issues on two cards, but in total you can grab a piece of history with a bit over 100 cards.

My Blue set started a number of years ago with a single lot purchase.  The sale of the doubles ended up paying for the set itself and then some.  I was fortunate to find that auction at a very reasonable price.  It took a few years to finally get that last card…see Christmas 2017 post.  So in early 2018, I perused a few auction sites and found a few Red back lots here and there.  Nothing that screamed “BUY ME!!!”.  At least not for the first half of the year.  Eventually, I found a lot that had a bit over 25 cards of the set with a few dupes added in mostly in very nice condition.  So I ended up jumping in and starting down the path of 51 Red.

And I do enjoy me some 1951 Topps cards.  You don’t find many trading partners for 1951 Topps cards so my pursuit will end up being a purchase deal for the remainder.  

Or maybe a Christmas find here and there.

Again, the wife came through on a beauty of a specimen from this set.  Two years in a row, 1951 reigns as the cornerstone package....thank you my dear.  She knows my weaknesses.  She knows what puts a big smile on my face.  She probably hates having to venture to my blog and try to find something that isn't going to break the bank, isn't already in my collection or isn't likely anything I would look to trade for between late summer and Christmas time.  This set fits that perfectly.

So, if there is anyone out there with one, two or ten 1951 Red Back cards for trade.....I welcome the negotiations as I do have a few extras myself.  Of course, the list of wanted cards far exceeds the twenty or so Red backs looking to fit in with there brethren.  I'm always open to trading not just these but much, much more......

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?