30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Hall of Very Good Members

1978 Topps Burger King #8 and #15

When the Modern Era committee elected Jack Morris and Alan Trammell into the National Baseball Hall of Fame last weekend, baseball enthusiasts around the country celebrated and rightfully so.

Both of their names have consistently been brought up in Hall of Fame debates over the past few years.

I was happy for both of these guys and their fans.  However there was a part of me that was bummed that Baseball's Hall of Very Good lost two of their prominent members.  So tonight, I thought I'd dig through my collection and choose five of my favorite Hall of Very Good members.

2001 Topps Gallery Autographs #GABB
1985 Topps/Renata Galasso #1
1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC4

Now before I begin... I want to clarify that guys like Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, and Roger Clemens were excluded from this list, because they're being kept out of the Hall of Fame for reasons outside of player performance.

Tonight I'm just listing guys whose career numbers have been debated for years... and up until now... they've fallen short of Cooperstown.

#1:  Dave Parker

1976 Topps #185

The 1978 NL MVP is a two-time batting champion who hit .290 and 339 home runs over 19 seasons.  He was a 7x all-star, 3x Gold Glove Award winner, and a 3x Silver Slugger Award winner.  If that weren't enough... he had a cannon for an arm.

I've heard that Parker has been kept out of Cooperstown because of his struggles with cocaine.  Well... Raines got the nod.  Maybe one day The Cobra will too.

#2: Ted Simmons

Leaf Certified Autographed Baseball

I've gotta admit something.  I don't remember seeing Simmons play during his years in St. Louis, but I do remember him having a few good years in Milwaukee.

I also read a really good writeup about Simmons a while back and was blown away.  I couldn't understand why for years his name was buried among other semistars in our hobby.  He has a .285 career batting average, hit 248 home runs, and drove in 1,389 runs.  He was also an 8x all-star during his twenty-one year career.  That's pretty impressive.

#3:  Thurman Munson

1971 Topps #5

Okay.  The Walrus may not have the career numbers for Cooperstown, but this guy had one helluva career.  I'm gonna guess that there are plenty of baseball fans who feel that he was well on his way to punching his ticket had he not passed away at such a young age.

#4:  Steve Garvey

1985 O-Pee-Chee #177
1987 Topps #100

How many guys can say that they're a 10x NL all-star who won an MVP Award and four Gold Gloves?  I honestly have no idea, but I'm guessing that most are enshrined in Cooperstown.  I know of one guy who fits the description who isn't:  Garvey.

#5:  Tony Oliva

2004 Sweet Spot Signatures #63

A few years ago, I read an interesting article in Baseball Digest about Tony Oliva and his amazing rookie season.  By the time I was finished reading it, I was bummed that I never got a chance to actually see him play.  

He was an AL all-star from 1964 to 1971.  During that time he led the AL in hits five times, won three batting titles, and won the 1964 AL ROY Award.  Over the course of 15 seasons, he had a career .304 batting average and collected 1,917 hits.  That's definitely Hall of Very Good worthy.

Okay.  There's my list of my favorite players who had really good careers, but not quite "Cooperstown" good.

Who are some of your favorites?

And do you think any of my five will eventually get elected?

Only time will tell.  Until then, they're proud members of Baseball's Hall of Very Good.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Father of the Wave

It's Throwback Thursday... so I figured I'd go back to one of my happiest and most memorable periods of my life:  the early 80's.

The Oakland Athletics have been a part of my life since the mid 70's.  Although I don't remember any specific games, my brother started taking me to Candlestick Park and the Oakland Coliseum before I entered elementary school.

By the early 80's, I was a diehard Oakland A's fan and the five things that stand out from that era were:

#1:  Billy Martin

1982 Donruss #491

What ten year old kid doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite team's manager kicking dirt and screaming at the home plate umpire?

#2:  Rickey Henderson

1982 Topps #610

Before Gwynn... there was Rickey.

#3:  Kool and the Gang

1993 Collect-A-Card American Bandstand #99

The Oakland A's play Celebration after every home game victory.

It's a tradition that's lasted over thirty-five years.

#4:  BART

Each day hundreds of thousands of commuters ride Bay Area Rapid Transit every day.  I haven't taken it in years, but when I was a kid... I'd beg my brother to park in Fremont and ride BART to the Coliseum.

#5:  Krazy George

2017 Allen and Ginter Autographs #MA-KG

I missed the boat on P-town Tom's contest, but this super fan autograph would hands down be my favorite card of 2017.

Krazy George was a fixture at Oakland A's games back in the early 80's.  Self-proclaimed Father of the Wave, he's still pounding his drum at San Jose Giants and San Jose Earthquakes games three decades later.  It's safe to say that he's a Bay Area legend and one of my favorite memories of attending A's games back in the day.  

You know the routine.  It's your time to shine...

What are your thoughts on Topps having super fans sign cards for their products?

Although I was pretty stoked to see Topps produce cards of Krazy George, I can totally see the other side of the coin.  If I didn't grow up watching him, I'd have no interest in owning his cards.

For example, I was totally scratching my head when I first saw this card earlier in the year:

2017 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autograph #BV

If I spent $100 on a box of Archives and I pulled this was one of my two guaranteed autographs, I would have been less than amused.  But I'm sure there are at least a few Yankees fans out there who view him as I view the Father of the Wave.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Chairman of the Board

One of these days I'm going to rank my least favorite sports franchises and when I do, the New York Yankees will definitely sitting at the top.  It's a combination of things:

A.  Their historic dominance as a franchise.

B.  Their history of using my beloved Athletics as their personal minor league team.

C.  I have a few friends who are Yankees fans who constantly remind me of A and B.

With that being said, there are still a handful of players who played their careers in pinstripes that I don't mind adding to my collection and Whitey Ford is one of those guys.  Back in October, I crossed off a huge card off of my want list when I purchased this card off eBay:

By now most of you know that the 1956 Topps baseball card set is one of my all-time favorites and my goal is to one day own graded copies of all of the hall of famers in the set.  The Chairman of the Board is the 9th addition to that collection.

This card is extra special, because it also fits nicely into my Lefty PC as well.

Some of you might be wondering how I managed to fit such a beautiful card into my newly revamped hobby budget.  Well that extravagant summer shopping spree helped me earn $32.07 in eBay Bucks, which I applied in full to this purchase.  So my final purchase price was just around the price of a blaster ($20.93).

I don't anticipate adding anymore 1956 Topps hall of famers to my collection in 2017, but I have a few players targeted on eBay.  Hopefully I'll be able to cross off at least one or two more in 2018.

By the way, today is the other Chairman of the Board's birthday.  Frank Sinatra was born on December 12th, 1915.

I grew up listening to Sinatra, because he is one of my mom's favorite performers.  Sadly he passed away back in 1998.  But thanks to things like books, videos, and trading cards... both Sinatra and Ford's legacies will live for generations and generations to come.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

WWII, Heritage, and Baseball

"Whether Issei, Nisei, Sansei, or Yonsei, if we do not preserve this unique chapter in American baseball history, it's all gonna be about No Say."  -Pat Morita

My parents are Japanese-Americans who were born and raised in Hawaii.  And without dating myself or my parents too much, both were living on Oahu when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.

An estimated 110,000 men, women, and children were sent to internment camps located in California, Arizona, Arkansas, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.  Many of them lost their homes, jobs, and businesses during their time in the camps.

Thankfully, neither of my parents or their families were relocated like all of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans located on the West Coast of the United States were.

To help keep their morale up, the families bonded and turned the camps into cities within the barbed wire.  They organized dances and played baseball to keep themselves entertained.

American Pastime is a movie that tells the story of baseball within internment camps during World War II.  I wasn't able to find any proof, but I think that one of the characters (Kaz Nomura) was inspired by the Father of Japanese-American Baseball, Kenichi Zenimura.

Although I wouldn't say this is one of my favorite sports movies, I feel it's worth watching... especially if you're a fan of the game.  I was personally drawn to it, because it combines three things I'm really interested in:  World War II, Japanese-American culture, and baseball.

I originally purchased this movie years ago at the annual Nikkei Matsuri (Japanese festival) in San Jose, but I loaned the copy to a friend and never got it back.

Over the years, I had totally forgotten about it, but a last year I found another copy sitting on the shelf at Nikkei Traditions when I met up with a friend for dinner.

It's autographed by Kerry Yo Nakagawa, who plays Jumbo Tanaka in the movie and was also one of the film's associate producers.  Nakagawa started up the Nisei Baseball Research Project, which is a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve Japanese-American baseball.  He's also the author of Through a Diamond: 100 Years of Japanese American Baseball.

Included with the DVD was this autographed baseball card of Nakagawa featured in his Topaz uniform from the movie.

I was very excited to add both of these items to my personal collection.

Okay... you know the routine...

What's your favorite sports and/or World War II movie?

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Taking a Break

Two Saturdays ago, I wrote about how I made the decision to start using Perfect Fit sleeves instead of Ultra Pro team bags to store my higher end relics, autographs, inserts, and rookie cards.  This transition kinda opened up the flood gates, because it eventually led to me reorganizing my player and team collections as well.

The bad news is that a fraction of my collection is stored at my parent's house in Las Vegas, so technically I won't be able to find closure until I'm able to make it down there again in a few months.

The good news is that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel in regards to the stuff I have in my possession.  In fact this morning I decided to treat myself to three PWE's recently sent to me by fellow bloggers after spending an hour or so of sorting commons.

PWE #1: Johnny's Trading Spot

If you're a fan of vintage, I encourage you to head over to John's blog and check out all of the goodies he picked up from his PC "trip".  It was truly mind-blowing.

Thank you John for these nice additions to my vintage binder.  That 1974 Topps Rollie is one of my favorite cards from the decade.

PWE #2:  Sport Card Collectors

I sent Matt a PWE with some New York Giants, so he returned the favor with this stack of Oakland A's parallels and inserts.  I'm always excited to add a new Bartolo Colon card to my collection.  And although The Big Hurt will always be remembered for his years in Chicago, I'll never get tired of seeing him in an Athletics uniform.  His 2006 season in Oakland really revitalized his career.

Thank you Matt for these new additions to my A's collection.

PWE #3:  The Angels, In Order

1995 Fleer Metal #70
1995 Fleer Metal Silver Flasher #16

It's been awhile since I mentioned how big of a Brett Favre fan I was back in the day.  In the 90's, he was hands down my favorite football player.  These days, I don't track down his cards as often as I used to, but thanks to Tom... that might just change.

At first glance, these two cards look like duplicates or possibly parallels, but the card on the left is Favre's base card.  While the card on the right is part of the Silver Flasher insert set.

Thank you Tom, Matt, and John for these generous PWE's and for helping me take my mind off of my collection reorganization.

I'm done sorting for the evening, but I'll be back to the card stacks tomorrow.  Until then...

Happy Saturday and sayonara!