30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Decisions... Decisions... Decisions...

Any of you ever read the Choose Your Own Adventures book series when you were younger?  I absolutely loved them, because they allowed the reader to make decisions that would determine the outcome of the story.  They're one of the reasons I enjoyed reading so much as a kid.

I haven't picked up one of those books since the early 80's.  In fact I probably stopped reading them just around the time I started collecting baseball cards.  I was growing up and had to start making more important decisions in life.

Decisions like do I want regular milk or chocolate milk with my lunch.  Should I slip Kangaroos or Nikes on my feet?  Do I want to use a lunch pail or a brown bag to carry my lunch?  Should I sort my trading cards by teams or card number?

These days, I'm forced to make grown up decisions involving personal finances, my job, and of course my baseball card collection.

Decision #1:  Tony Pena

When 2017 Topps Archives Signature Postseason Edition was released back in November, I was happy to see Tony Pena on the checklist.  He was always one of my favorite catchers growing up and one of my favorite cards is his 1986 Topps base card.  As luck would have it, Topps had Pena sign 71 copies of that card.

I added it to my saved search list on eBay and within two months this was sitting in my collection:

Isn't it a great looking card?  It's a awesome action shot of Pena and Topps took their time with the photo cropping and made sure his whole body was captured on this card.  The only downside was the magnetic holder, which in my humble opinion takes away from the beauty.  Decision time.  Should I keep the card in the holder or set him free and let him breathe?

Survey says...

Tony has been released from his plastic cell and is free to enjoy life in a penny sleeve, top loader, and perfect fit sleeve, along with the 1990 Topps Craig Biggio I purchased last year:

Decision #2:  Pete Rose

I realize that baseball fans have a love/hate relationship with Pete Rose.  Personally, I wouldn't want him hanging out with my nieces, but that doesn't mean that I don't admire the things he accomplished on the diamond.

One of my favorite cards of him is his 1986 Donruss King of Kings card.  Last month I stumbled across the Leaf version over on 4 Sharp Corners for less than $8, so I threw it into my cart and purchased it.

Decision time.  Do I keep him imprisoned in his plastic cell or set him free?

Well... this time I decided to keep the card in its holder.  The gem mint grade was a big part of the reason I purchased this card.

Decision #3:  Shaun King

I've been slowly putting together the 1999 UD Retro Inkredible set and I can practically see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm down to needing only a handful of cards and the majority of them are rookie autographs.

Although I can't find any documentation on this topic, I'm pretty sure the rookie autographs were short printed.  That's why when I found this graded Shaun King on eBay, I immediately sent the guy a best offer, which happened to be accepted.

Decision time.  Should I free him like Pena or keep him sealed like Pete?

This was a no-brainer.  

I have the entire set stored in top loaders.  It seems silly to keep one of them store in a PSA holder.  Today Shaun was freed from his holder and like the Pena was immediately put into a penny sleeve, top loader, and perfect fit sleeve.

Well there you have it.  Big decisions being made on this Sunday afternoon.

All of my chores and errands are done.  My lesson plans for tomorrow are ready to go.  The only decision left is which television show am I going to start watching this afternoon:  Sneaky Pete or The Path.

Decisions... decisions... decisions.

Do you have any television show recommendations?

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Lucky, Green, and Corned Beef

When I think of St. Patrick's Day, three words come to mind: lucky, green, and corned beef.  Well... I just finished stuffing my face with corned beef earlier in the day and afterwards I went upstairs into my office and opened up a package from Angus over at Dawg Day Cards.

Earlier in the year, I entered a contest for a near complete set of 1995 Comic Images Phil Rizzuto's Baseball: The National Pastime and was the lucky winner.

However before I get to the contest winnings, I figured in the spirit of the holiday, it'd be more appropriate to show off the huge stack of green cardboard he also included.  And when I say green cardboard, I mean Oakland A's baseball cards...

The first thing that stood out this 1991 Mother's Cookies Oakland Athletics envelope that was laying on top of the cards:

Anyone who has reads my blog on a regular basis knows that these sets were a big part of my childhood and are one of my favorite oddball issues out there.

Underneath the envelope was the compete 28 card set:

Angus lives north of the border, so he has access to O-Pee-Chee baseball cards, which I love almost as much as Mother's Cookies trading cards.  He ended up sending me around thirty cards ranging from the early 70's to the early 90's:

1971 O-Pee-Chee baseball has one of the greatest back designs around.  It blows away their 1971 Topps counterpart.

That 1987 O-Pee-Chee Reggie is sweet!  It's nice to see the Oakland A's logo, instead of the California Angels logo that featured on the Topps version

Speaking of 1987 Topps, he also included this buyback:

Rickey's 1982 Topps card is one of my favorite cards from the 80's.  In fact, I used it for one of my 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge posts last year.

Okay... enough green.  Let's move on to my "lucky" contest winnings.  Here's a look at the partial set I won:

When I read the original post where Angus showed off cards from his box break, the two cards that caught my attention the most were these:

I added the pinup girl card to my cheap cool cards binder, while card #47 was added to my Japanese PC binder.

Thank you Angus for this generous contest package!  You were already on my payback list for the package you sent me earlier in the year.  Now I need to go out and acquire a few more goodies to throw in.

Okay... time to finally give into my food coma and hit the sack.

Happy St. Patrick's Day and sayonara!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

So Happy Together

How many of you still consider pulling a manufactured relic, a player worn memorabilia card, or a game-used memorabilia card a huge hit?  If you replied "yes" then I seriously envy you, because I miss the days of tearing into, seeing a common jersey card, and feeling like I just won the lottery.

These days, it's not uncommon to walk into a card show and find memorabilia cards sitting in dollar bins.  Heck you can head over to COMC right now and find plenty of memorabilia cards for under a buck.  Okay.  So most of these guys are Team USA players you've never heard of.  But there are at least fifty memorabilia cards of hall of famers for under $2.

From what I can see, it boils down to three things...

#1:  Card companies have flooded the hobby over the past two decades with so many memorabilia cards, they're no longer as special as they once were.

#2:  Card companies have been caught trying to deceive collectors, so trust issues have made us leery of what we're actually holding onto.

#3:  Card companies are constantly using vague certificates of authenticity which leaves collectors wondering if the piece of fabric is a game worn jersey worn by a player or a jersey purchased from Big Lots.

I know that there are a fair share of collectors who have lost interest altogether.  I assure you, that I'm not one of those collectors.  Memorabilia cards and manufactured relics might not be as appealing as they were to me five years ago.  However, I'll still pick up singles for my player and team PC's every now and then if the price is right.

What's my price range?  Here's a breakdown of what I'm typically willing to pay for manufactured relics, player-worn, or game-used memorabilia cards:

50¢ for Commons (ex. Ben Grieve and Rich Harden)
up to $1 for Minor Stars (ex. Eric Chavez and Mark Mulder)
up to $1.50 for Stars (ex. Jose Canseco and Bert Campaneris)
up to $3 for Hall of Famers (ex. Greg Maddux and Tony Gwynn)
up to $5 for old school Hall of Famers (ex. Warren Spahn and Whitey Ford)

I typically won't spend more than five bucks unless they're one of the all-time greats and even then, those purchases are few and far between.

But last month, a card I have been searching for finally popped up on one of my saved eBay searches.  As soon as I saw it, I felt as giddy as a little kid on Christmas morning and immediately sent the seller a best offer.

Here... check it out:

2001 UD Decade Game-Used Jersey #J-RC

The vendor listed it for $39.95 or best offer, so I asked him if he'd take $25.00... which is a crazy amount of money for a non-autographed memorabilia card.  He countered with $30 and after about 30 seconds of going back and forth... I accepted.

Obviously this is 6x more than I'd normally spend on any memorabilia card, but it's freaking Roberto Clemente and features a respectable COA on the back.  If that weren't enough, it's also from one of my favorite Upper Deck products of all-time.

Although this card isn't officially a short print, jersey cards were pretty tough pulls out of 2001 UD Decade.  They were inserted into 1:168 packs, which breaks down to 1 in every 7 boxes.  When you consider that there are 27 players on the checklist, the odds of me ever pulling this card is slim to none.

Bottom line is jersey cards aren't exactly what they used to be (in my humble opinion), but every now and then it's nice to add one to your collection and feel like you won the lottery.  $30 is a pretty expensive lottery ticket, but it was well worth it to experience that feeling.

What about you?

Was there ever a point when you were excited to pull a memorabilia card?  If so, do you still get excited?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cream of the Crop

I'm not sure what the deal is... but ever since I was a kid I've been obsessed with lists.  My favorite thing about Beckett Baseball back in the 80's and 90's?  Their hot/cold lists.  My favorite series of books growing up were the American League Red and National League Green books.  Why?  They were filled with lists.  My two favorite magazines of all-time?  The Sporting News and Baseball Digest.  Why?  They're loaded with lists too.

And when it comes to reading sports card blogs, I'm the exact same way.  So it's not surprising that one of my favorite posts each year is Night Owl's 30 Team post, where he ranks all 30 MLB teams based on how much he likes them.

His favorite team is obviously the Los Angeles Dodgers, while his least favorite team is their interstate rival the San Francisco Giants.  It's the teams in between along with the cards he chose to represent each team that makes the post interesting.

Every year I mentally contemplate my personal list.  This year... I figured I'd share it with you.  However I'm not as dedicated as Night Owl.  I'll be narrowing my list down to my five favorite and least favorite teams, because I don't really have any strong opinions on the twenty teams in the middle.

Since I'm already copying Night Owl's idea for a post, I figure I'd better at least switch up the baseball card set.  He chose the iconic 1993 Upper Deck set, because it's his favorite UD set.

I decided to go with my favorite Topps design: 1956.  Unfortunately, I don't have the pleasure of owning that set, so I'll be using cards from the 2005 Topps Heritage set I picked up a few years ago.

#1:  Oakland Athletics

2005 Heritage #155

This shouldn't be too big of a surprise.  If asked to rank my favorite sports franchises, the A's would still be ranked #1.  I have been a fan of the Green and Gold for as long as I can remember.

#2:  San Diego Padres

2005 Heritage #349

Another no-brainer.  I've been a Tony Gwynn and San Diego Padres fan since the mid 80's.

#3:  Houston Astros

2005 Heritage #261

There's definitely a huge gap between #2 and #3.  I'd never go as far as calling myself an Astros fan, but I am a huge Jose Altuve fan.  Plus it was really cool seeing them win their first World Series title last November.  If the A's and Padres can't win the World Series... I'd have no problem seeing the Astros win back to back titles.

#4:  Seattle Mariners

2005 Heritage #7

He's back.  And because of that... the Mariners have climbed my team rankings.  Seattle is one of my favorite cities and they're one of the seven remaining MLB teams without a World Series title.

#5:  Atlanta Braves

2005 Heritage #273

I've watched more Braves games over the years than any other team outside of the A's and Giants.  It's been more than a decade since I've had TBS, but throughout the 90's, I spent a lot of time watching Chipper, Maddux, Glavine, and company.  Good times.

Okay... now that you've seen the cream of the crop... let's shift to the bottom of the barrel:

#26:  Los Angeles Angels

2005 Heritage #33

Back in the 80's, I kinda liked the California Angels when they had guys like DeCinces, Downing, Carew, Boone, Grich, and Lynn.  Fast forward 30+ years, I'm not as big of a fan.  Although I'll quietly be rooting for Ohtani this season.

#27:  Texas Rangers

2005 Heritage #375

The Dallas Cowboys are one of my least favorite franchises in all of sports and they play about a mile away from the Texas Rangers.  I guess you can say this is a prime example of being guilty by association.

#28:  San Francisco Giants

2005 Heritage #61

It wasn't long ago that I despised the San Francisco Giants.  Their popularity in the Bay Area has skyrocketed over the past few decades, while the Athletics fanfare has been on the decline over the same period of time.

I don't necessarily hate them anymore.  But I wouldn't be surprised if this is the highest you'll ever see them on my rankings.

#29:  Los Angeles Dodgers

2005 Heritage #30

When it came down to the Giants and Dodgers, I had a tough time choosing between which team I liked/disliked more.  I don't hate either team, but I don't like them either.  It came down to who I'd root for if I were at a game... and now that the Dodgers have built this super team, I think I'd end up cheering for Buster Posey and the Giants.  Unless Kershaw was one the mound.  I love watching that guy pitch.

#30:  New York Yankees

2005 Heritage #400

Night Owl always reserves (I think) the final spot on his chart for the San Francisco Giants.  On my list... that spot will always be claimed by the New York Yankees and I have twenty-seven reasons to back it up.

Well... there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed this post, because that's about two hours I'll never get back.  I tip my cap to all of the bloggers out there who write detailed posts with tons of scans.  I'm gonna go back to short and simple posts.  That's more my style.

Until then...

Who are your least favorite sports teams?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!