30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, October 31, 2016

Some Tricks and Some Treats

As a kid... Christmas was hands down my favorite holiday.  Seriously.  How can any other holiday compete with a two week vacationegg nog, and stacks of presents waiting for you under a tree?

With that being said... Halloween was probably my second favorite holiday.  What little kid doesn't love dressing up, staying out extra late, hanging with their buddies, and filling a pillow case with candy?

Sadly... like many awesome things in life... eventually I outgrew the holiday.  Sure... I could have been one of those high school kids who refused to hang up my costume... but I'm thankful I did, because I inherited the job of passing out candy in my household in exchange for hand picked bags of candy.  No more Sweet Tarts, lollipops, Smarties, or that taffy wrapped in orange and black wax paper.

As an adult... Halloween has totally changed.  It's been over a decade since I've carved pumpkins and passed out candy.  I think most of the kids in my neighborhood head over to the local malls or up to the hills where the rich folk live.

But that's okay, because I don't have to spend money on candy anymore.  I also don't have to clean up rotting pumpkins.  And I don't have to answer the doorbell at 11 o'clock at night.

Instead... tonight I'm going to grab dinner with a friend, then head home, hang out, watch an episode or two of Stranger Things, while hopefully sorting some sports cards that have slowly been piling up in my office.

A few of those cards are from a pair of fellow card bloggers: Adam over at Cardboard Clubhouse. and Sir Night Owl.

In the spirit of Halloween, I figured I'd show off a few of the "tricks" and "treats" they donated to my collection.  I'll kick things off with cards from Adam's special Halloween package.

Treat #1:  1983 Fleer #639

Once upon a time, this card was one of the centerpieces to my collection.  In 1983, Rickey Henderson was still my favorite player and any piece of cardboard featuring him was treasured.

Treat #2:  1991-92 Pro Set #558

Twenty-five years ago, this card was one of the hottest cards in my area.  Falloon was considered a major building block for the San Jose Sharks franchise and local fans couldn't get enough of him.  I'm pretty sure we sold these for $2 to $3 each at the card shop I worked at.

Treat #3:  1991 Stadium Club Charter Members/Member's Only

1991 Stadium Club baseball is one of the greatest sets from the Junk Wax Era and the Charter Members and Member's Only sets are no exception.  Just look at that photography.  I'll be very happy to add these three cards to my Rickey Henderson oddball's and inserts binder later on tonight.

Trick #1:  1993 Stadium Club A's Team Set #8

Back in 1993, Topps produced special Stadium Club cards that were only available in factory sealed team sets.  Adam generously sent me a complete A's set, which included another awesome Rickey Henderson card for my collection.  The only problem will be deciding whether or not to keep it as part of the team set... or to add it with the other three Stadium Club oddballs to my binder.  Talk about a First World Problem.

Thanks Adam for all of the awesome A's and Sharks cards you sent my way.  If I can get my life together, I'll show you my appreciation with a Thanksgiving care package.  Otherwise... it might end up being a Christmas care package.

Okay... next up are a few singles from Night Owl's Super Trader package:

Treat #4:  2016 Allen & Ginter #350

I'm pretty sure that this is my first A & G card of the season... and it's surprisingly for my Steve Carlton collection. Most of you know that I collect the A's and Padres, but this card is cool, because I don't talk about my Lefty PC that much.  I grew up a huge Steve Carlton fan, because he was one of the best left handed pitchers of his era.  Unfortunately... I don't add singles to the collection nearly as much as I should.

Treat #5:  2016 Allen & Ginter Laureates of Peace Mini #LP1

This card might seem a little random to the casual reader, but I knew what collection it was going into as soon as I held it in my hand.  If you look carefully, you'll notice a nice chunk taken out of the bottom lefthand corner.  Most collectors would cringe at the sight... but I embrace it.

Trust me people... this card is not a "trick".  It's very much an awesome "treat" for my Damaged Card PC.

Trick #2:  1997 Topps Wheaties #NNO

I spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out what this card was!  Any card that requires me to do research must be classified as a "trick".  However... before I sound like an unappreciative spoiled little brat, let me say that I truly enjoy being a sports card detective.  

Bottom line... it's going to be one of the coolest McGwire cards in my binder.

Treat #6: 2013 Topps Chasing History Holo-Foil #CH28

I'll wrap up this post with this shiny Topps insert of my favorite athlete of all-time.  This is actually my third copy of this card.  The first copy always goes into my Tony Gwynn binders.  The second is thrown into the Gwynn section of my insert and oddballs binders.  And this one?  This one is going into a card stand that will be displayed on my desk at work... along with other shiny, cool cards that will hopefully attract the eyes of future generations of collectors.

Thank you Adam and Greg for the generous care packages.  You know the routine... I should have something headed your way in a month... or two.

Happy Halloween and sayonara!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Flea Market Finds #113: The One I Never Had

When I was a kid... your level of coolness was based on who you hung out with, the kind of bike you rode, and the lunch box you brought to school.

Even though I was often the runt of the classroom, I was lucky enough to have friends who were either jocks or thugs who looked out for their little Japanese buddy.

I always had solid grades, which meant that my parents always rewarded me up with a decent ride.  One of my personal favorites was my Schwinn Predator with the layback seat post and Z-Rims... but I also loved my GT Mach One.

And being the huge Star Wars geek... you know I had the original Star Wars metal lunch box with the Tie Fighter shooting at the X-Wing.  But for some reason or another... I never owned either of The Empire Strikes Back lunch pails.

Now I do.  Last weekend, I walked around the Capitol Flea Market for the first time in a few weeks and stumbled across a guy who had a bunch of 80's memorabilia.  There were tons of action figures and comic books, but the only thing that really caught my eye was this:

The guy wanted $30, which I thought was probably a fair price since it included the Thermos:

But... just to make sure I wasn't getting ripped off, I did a quick eBay completed sales search and discovered that prices ranged from $17 to around $70... depending on the condition.  I decided to offer him $20 which I felt was a win/win price.  He wouldn't have to pay eBay and shipping fees... while I wouldn't have to pay the crazy prices some collectors were paying.

He accepted... and now it's proudly displayed on my Star Wars shelf with my trio of Bandai Movie Realization figures and Asian movie poster.

Anyone out there know what language this poster is written in?

I better include at least one baseball card into this post, so people will continue to read my blog.  Back in June, I picked up a box of 2016 Topps Archives and pulled a redemption card for a blue paralleled autograph of injured Cubs outfielder... Kyle Schwarber:

Well... he's back.  On Tuesday he became the first positional player in MLB history to collect their first hit of the season in the World Series.  Yesterday he had two more hits and drove in two runs to help the Cubs even the series.  I'm not sure how much playing time he'll get at home, but assuming he doesn't start... I'm sure we'll see him pinch hit at some point.

That's all folks!  I hope everyone is enjoying their week.  Only one more day until the weekend!  By this time tomorrow, I'll be sitting down with my legs up watching Game 3.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sports Card Soothsayer

When I was in high school, my mother and a few of her friends went to a tarot card reader.  I wish I could tell you that it was for pure entertainment purposes, but they actually believed in what the cards revealed.

Today... I figured I'd experiment with my own cards and see if they're able to predict the 2016 World Series Champion.  Since I don't have tarot cards, I used some of the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians cards in my collection instead.

I started by pulling some of my favorite cards from each team and sorted them into their respective positions.  Then I compared them and determined which team had the advantage.  I wish I could tell you that I used some detailed formula, but lack of time forced me to keep things simple.  I took the player's abilities, my fanfare for each player, and used the overall card design to help me decide.

Let's start off with the pitching rotations.  I chose four starters and two closers to determine the stronger pitching staff.  All of the extra pitchers would be added to the bench roster.


Pitching Rotation Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

You have no idea how badly I wanted to go with Greg Maddux and the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, but it was hard not to side with the pitching staff made up of six hall of famers.

Up next are the men behind the masks and the plate...

Jody Davis might have hit more home runs and is featured on a nicer card design, but Sandy Alomar Jr. was often considered the second best catcher in the American League behind Ivan Rodriguez.  I'm not sure if Davis was ever considered the second best catcher in the National League.

Catcher Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

Picking a first baseman was a little more challenging...

But it wasn't that hard.  Nine out of ten times, I'd go with the contact hitter over the slugger... and I always enjoyed watching Grace play.  But c'mon...  612 home runs always trumps a .303 career batting average.

First Baseman Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

Second base is a completely different story.

I actually spent a few minutes going back and forth between these two guys.  Both guys could hit.  Both guys could field.  Both guys are enshrined in Cooperstown.  But only one guy was loyal to one franchise his entire career.  The fact that the 2008 Sweet Spot Signatures is one of my favorite designs was the icing on the cake.

Second Baseman Advantage:  Chicago Cubs

Making my way around the horn...

I'm sure the majority of neutral fans out there would go with Mr. Cub, considering he was a first ballot hall of famer.  But I'm a huge fan of Vizquel.  In fact, he's probably my favorite Cleveland Indian of all-time.  The tie-breaker?  The 1999 UD Century Epic Signatures set is another personal favorite.

Shortstop Advantage:  Chicago Cubs

Next stop, third basemen...

We have another pair of hall of famers.  One retired twenty years before I was born.  The other only played the first two years of my life.  In short... I have no connection to either, so I turned to card designs and career statistics.  Boudreau's 1950 Bowman card is more aesthetically pleasing than Santo's 1965 Topps Embossed inserts.  However Santo's numbers beat out Boudreau's.

Ultimately... I went with Santo, because he played most of his career at third... while Boudreau only played one game at that position.

Third Baseman Advantage: Chicago Cubs

There are only three more positions left before the my baseball cards reveal the 2016 World Series Champion.  It originally looked like the Cleveland Indians were going to walk away without being challenged, but after being down three positions to none, the Chicago Cubs have bounced back to tie things up.

Let's see which team's trio of outfielders can secure the lead for their team...


As I mentioned earlier in this post, I've always had a deeper appreciate for guys who hit for average... than power.  Tris Speaker has the 6th highest career batting average in MLB history.  Unfortunately his supporting cast of Tito Francona and Albert Belle just wasn't enough in terms of star power and career stats when pitted against Lou Brock, Billy Williams, and Andre Dawson.

Outfielders Advantage:  Chicago Cubs

Holy cow!  The Cubs have taken the lead.

But with Cleveland having more experience in using the designated hitter, my gut is telling me they're not going down without a fight...


And I was right.  Eddie "Mother F'n" Murray and the 2008 UD Masterpieces Captured on Canvas card design make this the easiest decision of the day.  Sorry Kong.

Designated Hitter Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

After eight innings... they're tied up again and will turn to their bench to determine this year's World Series winner.  I should preface things by stating that the Indians had a slight advantage, because of sheer numbers, so I decided to narrow the bench down to five players each... making it a modified twenty man playoff roster.

Here are the results:


Wow.  This is a really tough decision, because Cleveland's bench is made up of mostly pitchers... while the Cubs have none.  It's like comparing apples to oranges.

Ultimately... I decided to go with the Cubs, because both the 1975 and 1960 Topps designs are two of my all-time favorites.  Aramis is featured on one of my favorite relic sets.  And Monday is a real American hero.  Throw in Sosa's 609 career MLB home runs and the baseball cards have officially spoken.

Congratulations Chicago Cubs fans!  Based on the cards, it'll be a tight series... but your team will walk away as the 2016 World Series Champions.

Cleveland Indians fans... don't shoot the messenger.  Remember... it's in the cards!

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!