30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Joy of Sorting on Your Office Floor

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was pull out my box of baseball cards and sort through them.

My highest priority was to stack them by teams.

That way, I could easily find my favorite players and read their stats on the back.

After a few years... I became obsessed with collecting rookie cards of whoever was considered hot at the time.  This trend lasted throughout most of the 80's.

In the early 90's, I expanded my collecting horizons to other things such as comic cards.  Twenty-something years later... I'm still trying to complete those Marvel Universe sets.

Eventually I grew up and sorting cards became less of a priority.  Paying off my financial debt, focusing on my career, and buying a place replaced collecting sports cards.

Then in 2008, I was fortunate enough to be dating a girl who actually supported and encouraged me to collect cards, so I jumped back into the hobby.  At the time, cards of politicians were gaining popularity... which I thought was totally awesome.

Eight years later... I haven't looked back.

Over the years... I've shifted my collecting interests for the umpteenth time.  And these days... I mostly enjoy targeting a unique oddball, an on-card autograph, or a beautiful looking vintage card for one of my player or team collections.

But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate sitting down on my office floor on a Saturday afternoon... sifting through a few thousand trading cards that were generously sent to me by a fellow collector.

Thank you Woody for helping me take a stroll down memory lane.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

All About Perspective

These days... a parallel numbered to 241 might as well be numbered to 2,410 in many collectors' eyes.  That's what happens when you can find 1 of 1 printing plates of hall of fame athletes for less than the price of a retail blaster box.

But back in the early 90's, the number two hundred forty-one placed the 1993 Finest baseball refactors in a league of their own.  To put things into perspective... the popular 1993 Donruss Elite Dominators were limited to either 2,500 or 5,000... and were extremely tough pulls that commanded a lot of money back in the day.

When this product was released in the Fall of 1993, I was an unemployed college student with very limited funds who had taken time off from the hobby.  It didn't matter though... even if I was collecting at the time... owning one of these rare parallels... especially one of my favorite players... was nothing short of a pipe dream.

Twenty-three years later, I now have a stable job with some discretionary income that I can apply towards the hobby I love.  So when I saw this card on sale over at 4 Sharp Corners for $63.50... I figured it was time to crack open my wallet and finally add it to my collection.

I honestly didn't think I'd ever actually own this card.  I have no problem splurging on a nice card every now and then... but it's typically going to either be a vintage hall of famer, a key rookie card, or a nice autograph addition to my PC.

Spending big money for a 90's parallel just isn't my style.  On the other hand... it feels like a huge weight has been lifted and I'm very excited to finally cross this card off of my wantlist.  Like the title of this post states... it's all about perspective.

Now I just need to decide if I want to keep it imprisoned or free it up.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Will to Build a Set

If you are reading this post and you're not my mom or one of my students stalking me... then you're probably a fellow card collector or at least a former card collector.

And if you collect cards... then there's a somewhat good chance you've attempted to build a set at some point on your collector timeline.

My set building days began in the mid 80's when I attempted to build the 1986 Topps set... although I'm not quite sure if I ever finished or not.  For the remainder of the decade, I enjoyed building all of the Topps baseball card sets and some of the other affordable sets like 1988 Score and 1989 Donruss.

Set building was placed on the back burner in the 90's, because that's when I discovered a passion for inserts, parallels, rookie cards, and autographs.

Singles trumped sets.  And before I knew it, I had sold the majority of my collection and was out of the hobby by 2001.

Clearly my retirement didn't last long.  It never does.  In 2008... I was right back in it and set building was one of the biggest reasons.  That year, I was busting tons of boxes and building sets left and right.

It took a few years, but eventually I realized that it wasn't practical in a financial sense... which brings us to the collector I am today:  a guy who prefers to buy sets, rather than build them.

However... every now and then something will catch my eye and I'll dive right back into my old collecting ways.

Last year... Topps produced a very cool insert set for their Archives product that highlights and features one of America's most beloved actors and his memorable Spring Training day when he traveled to five different stadiums and played nine different positions for ten different teams.

At first I only wanted the A's and Padres cards, but after picking up a few other singles here and there... I eventually decided to build the entire ten card set.  Two eBay purchases later... and the set was finally complete.

Best of all... between finishing this set and wrapping up my Donruss Puzzle Project, I rediscovered the thrill of completing a set.  Over the weekend, I went on a COMC shopping spree and was able to cross off two additional sets that I'll share in a future post.

Does this mean that my focus will go back to building sets?  Probably not.  But I have more than a fair share of sets that are currently keeping me busy right now.

Do you consider yourself to be a set builder?  If so, what are some of your greatest accomplishments in terms of set building?

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

Sport Card Collectors is giving away a sweet Museum Collection Zach Wheeler card.  All you need to do is comment on his post to be entered.  If you want to earn additional entries, you can plug the contest on Twitter and your blog.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Soapbox: Plain White Envelopes

Card collectors who have traded or purchased cards online are probably familiar with the plain white envelope.  For some... they're known as the dreaded PWE's.  While others have no issue with them at all.  Personally... I'm somewhere in the middle.

I have always felt that there's a time and place for PWE's in our hobby and today I figured I'd share some of those thoughts.

#1:  If you've completed a trade online and have agreed to use PWE's, then obviously it's okay to use a PWE.

#2:  However if you're trading with someone online and PWE's haven't been discussed... I'd rather be safe than sorry and ship in a padded envelope.

#3:  If you're an eBay seller charging $5 for shipping, then you should NOT use a PWE.

#4:  If you're an eBay seller offering free shipping, then you should let prospective buyers know whether or not you're using PWE's, so they can bid accordingly.

#5:  And last... but not least... if you're a fellow blogger and you're sending random cards out of the kindness of your heart, then PWE's are 100% fine.  I mean c'mon... it's a gift.  The recipient should be grateful they received cards in the first place.

And "appreciation" is exactly what I felt after receiving PWE's from KevAlan (CCW), Brian at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary, and vintage cardboard connoisseur Mark Hoyle.

I received Brian's PWE a two or three weeks ago and he included an assortment of Oakland Athletics ranging from newer rookies to 70's and 80's O-Pee-Chee.

The two cards that stood out the most were the juggling Spiezio and a 1988 Donruss The Rookies card of Doug Jennings.  Both of these guys stood out when they were in the A's farm system... and believe it or not... there was a time when I was actually hoarding rookie cards of the latter.

Next up is an autographed card of Sachiya Yamasaki:

KevAlan asked me if I had heard of Mr. Yamasaki, but I hadn't.  So after a little digging... I discovered he's a 23 year old pitcher for the Orix Buffaloes.  He's off to a great start this season... winning his first game and allowing zero earned runs.  Even more impressive is his beautiful signature.

Rounding out the stack of PWE's is my second one from Mr. Hoyle in the past two months.  He sent me a variety of A's and Frank Thomas cards:

Like Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Gray is off to a fine start this season and is probably the best candidate to represent the Athletics in this year's Mid-Summer Classic.  

And last, but not least is this awesome oddball issue of The Big Hurt.  Hoyle sent The Five Tool Collector a Billy Pierce from this same deck and secretly wished I had the Thomas.  And now I do.  These playing cards are truly awesome... and I'm excited to add this one to my Frank Thomas binder.

Thank you Brian, KevAlan, and Mr. Hoyle for these thoughtful PWE's.  Normally... I'd say you'd probably need to wait awhile for me to pay you back.  But since we're all officially PWE Pals... I'll try to ship you out something this week.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I'll Be Back

This will be the lone post for the week, because the next five days are going to be a little hectic.  It's nothing life threatening... just your average run of the mill... middle aged teacher problems.  Essentially... the focus of my attention will be on the following:

#1:  Game of Thrones

The Season 6 premiere is this Sunday... and I need to watch fifteen more episodes by then.

Game of Thrones rules.  Great character development, tons of action, and a story line that always seems to keep me coming back for more makes this one of my all-time favorite shows.

Last August, the Staten Island Yankees changed their name to the Staten Island Direwolves for one evening and gave away special hats to the first 2,500 fans.  One of the attendants was George R. R. Martin... author of the Game of Thrones series.

I targeted these hats and monitored their sale prices for a couple of months.  Then in December, I found a signed version on eBay for $35 and determined the price was worth the risk.  Thankfully, I had my buddy submit the hat to PSA/DNA at the Tristar Show a few weeks ago and they authenticated it.  It's a nice addition to my autographed hat collection... as well as the first piece in my Game of Thrones collection.

#2:  Sharks Playoff Hockey

The San Jose Sharks are back in the playoffs a year after missing them for the first time since the 2002-2003 season.

I honestly don't have very high expectations for them, but that doesn't mean I won't cheer them on.

I recently went to one of their practices and was excited to get Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, Martin Jones, and Evgeni Nabokov to sign pucks.  Unfortunately Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Logan Couture weren't in the mood to sign.  Oh well... maybe next season.

#3:  Garage Door Repairs

This morning I backed my car out of the garage and was about to pull away... when I noticed that my garage door didn't descend.  It took me twenty minutes, but I was finally able to bring it down.  I've gotta get this fixed and the sooner, the better.

#4:  Birthday Parties

I'm not really a fan of kid's birthday parties... but I've got a pair of them to attend this Saturday.  Honestly... one of them I'll just make an appearance and sneak out.  But the other one, I'll be there for the long haul.

#5:  Moving Classrooms

This is the thing I'm least looking forward to.  My school is going through a huge transition and I'm moving to another classroom across campus.  The good news is I'll be in a state of the art classroom with tons of extra storage.  The bad news is I'll slowly packing up years worth of stuff over the next two months.

So that's what I'll be focusing on over the next few days.  I should be back to my regular schedule by Monday.  I know that a few of you have sent me packages.  It might be another week until I can get to them, but at least I have something to look forward to.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!