Sunday, August 18, 2019


I started writing a statistical analysis post about a flagship franchise's lack of all-time greats, but I scrapped it because a) this post could lead to a series of similar posts and I'm not sure I would have the time to complete such a project, and b) I can't focus on it because I'm too frustrated to write something that would only interest two or three people. (Not that this post would generate more interest than a series on all-time teams but at least it would be a lot less work?)

Before I make a list of minor annoyances I should note that they are all completely insignificant compared to the state of the world (I spent hours yesterday reading updates about a city I've never been to just to make sure nothing terrible happened) or a serious illness (click on the custom card for updates on Taryn's fight to save second base) They're just little things that have been piling up lately and I thought it would be cathartic to address them here.

Work life is shifting in a way that I'm not really ready to handle. One of our two receptionist ladies quit. She was the one who contacted me to interview for this job and she has a 12-year old autistic son who has been in the office and is very difficult to handle. I guess I like her more than most people in the office, everyone seemed to have issues with her both before and after she left.

I don't know if she had to quit or if she'd just had enough of the place and the people, but my manager hasn't been able to find anyone outside the company to replace her - so the girl in my department has to stay up front indefinitely. No one is happy about this, least of all M. It's a lot quieter in our office now, and I have to deal with the nasty customers that M would have handled. I'm starting to dread going to work, like I did at the law firm.

My house is a complete disaster because we live in a tiny Cape Cod and we're converting my bedroom into a bedroom for both my daughters. That means all of our stuff is spread out into all the other rooms while we paint and clean the bedroom. This has to be done by Aug. 30 because we're going to visit my brother-in-law in DC the weekend before school starts. I'm secretly hoping it won't be done in time, so I can stay home and finish the fucker myself. 

One bit of potentially good news: the in-laws just got back from San Diego where they attended a Padres game - even though they don't like baseball. So there's no excuse for them to not go to a Nationals game while I'm in DC, right? Assuming the Nats are home that weekend. 

Oh, they're home that weekend.

Ugh, should I even bother?

Most of my TCDB trades are complete, but I'm still waiting for the last two packages. One of them is slowing down a potential trade with Bo, because I might be sending some vintage his way. There's another pending deal that's annoyed me. I didn't expect all 70 transactions to go smoothly, of course. One guy sent me the wrong Brett Favre card and it had a dinged corner to boot, but I let it go because it wasn't worth the trouble.

I made some offers a couple days before closing trades. Some replied right away, others said they wouldn't be able to get back to me in time. One guy told me to wait, so I did. I told him if he's going to counter to please let me know before I turn off offers. He didn't.

Then he said he couldn't find the one card I really wanted, and doesn't know why his counter offer is stuck. I told him to scrap the trade completely. Yes, that might make me sound like a jerk but I seriously doubt my wife is going to have any time to go to the post office this week considering the state of our house. 

All of these are temporary inconveniences, and they will pass. There's one sports-card related worry that could linger indefinitely, and it's starting to freak me out.


4 Sharp Corners has had a "customer appreciation sale" for the past few weeks, and I picked up a few slabbed singles for various set builds. I had all but written them off because the selection dried up. There aren't many affordable 1956 Topps singles left, but I found this Eddie Miksis for $16.79 and that's a decent deal for an NM 7 common.

This Miksis brings me to a not-insignificant milestone in my set build:

I should feel good about this, but I don't. I can't. This set is either going to be the crown jewel of my collection or an investment in my daughter's future. And all 154 cards are graded.

That used to mean something. After all of these card-trimming scandals that have cast doubt on the authenticity of hundreds of graded cards...who knows? 

Of course I'm the sucker with hundreds of graded cards in my collection. 

I'm not worried about these two being trimmed. Even if they weren't clearly perforated I only spent $7.99 on Mathewson and $6.39 on Vance. That said, I probably could have purchased an intact album of these cards for the amount of money I've paid for my ten graded singles.

And then there's this friggin' set. I once bought a complete set of 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee, ungraded, for under $150. I spent more than $150 on a PSA 9 example of the Steve Yzerman RC alone. Why? Because ten years ago I spent over $160 on a starter set of PSA-graded singles and I just kept chipping away at the set, for some reason.

These two cards would cost about a buck ungraded. Total. I won't tell you exactly what I paid for my high-grade examples but they were more than a blaster. Each.

I'm now 71 singles shy of the set. If money were no object (and with this set I've got to wonder) I could acquire 15-20 of them right now. Roughly 50 of the cards in the set never even surface in PSA 9 or 10. All this time and money spent on a set I'll probably never finish. Aaugh! indeed.

Which brings me to my final complaint for the day...

2019-20 Upper Deck MVP is
now in stores. I haven't bought this stuff in a very long time, and I'm not going to buy any of this year's. But this release annoys me because I still haven't found a card from last year's set. The '18-19 edition had 20th Anniversary parallels and stamped buybacks, which were #d/20. I've been trying to track down a Peter Worrell buyback for a whole year. Can't find one anywhere. 

I've seen pretty much every other Panthers player in the set. Mark Parrish, Jaroslav Spacek, Pavel Bure. Rob Niedermayer. No Worrell. I was certain that one of the 20 copies would have surfaced by the end of 2018, and I would have gladly paid at least $10 for one - even though I have several unstamped originals. Where the hell are they hiding?

This hobby can be frustrating sometimes. It can also be a source of generosity and joy

Perhaps I should tackle that All-Time Team project after all. Perhaps it will breathe some new life into this stagnating blog and help me enjoy the hobby again :-)

Thanks for reading. Hope you're having a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Birthday Cards

Jon left a comment on my birthday post asking if I might have a JBF-style stockpile next year for my 40th birthday. I don't think I could ever do that (wasn't that Wes's farewell to the hobby?) but I did accumulate a solid pile of cards this week:

This was just today's mailday; cards and card packages have been filling up my mailbox for the past week. I'm struggling to keep up with all of them. After cataloging and organizing every card in my collection I made too many trades too quickly and I'm actually kind of burnt out. Not sick of the hobby or anything, but I'm mentally fatigued by the volume of cards coming and going.

The Legend of Shoeboxes sent me a well-traveled envelope and I was very happy to receive it. But I still haven't cataloged every card into my TCDB collection, I haven't scanned a single one, and even though I bought a new binder and 9-pocket pages for all these new cards they're still in random piles on my card table.

This hobby is so time consuming!

Perhaps the idea of leaving the hobby on my 40th birthday with a grand finale isn't so bad. I'll never be able to walk away for more than a week or two, but if I did have that kind of commitment..

..spending a few hundred bucks at the National would be a good way to go out. It's tempting to scratch my Cooperstown plans and do AC instead. Look at this list of potential inductees:

I say this as someone who once cheered for half of these guys: yuck!

It would take me way too long to scan and discuss every card from my birthday-adjacent haul - especially if I'm including trades and purchases. So here's a quick highlight of each package:


Some of the eighty-plus Red Sox cards Shane stuffed in the in the Well-Traveled Envelope, including a 1987 ProCards Pawtucket team set. Nice touch from the RI guy; does that mean I should send a Norwich Navigators team set to Shane?

I sent Dennis some Tigers from the surplus box and, as always, his return fire packed a much stronger punch: a handful of Red Sox and a pair of Pristine refractors. Very nice!

More Packers freebies from the TCDB community. Thank you for your service - and your sports cards.

Nachos Grande offered up a nice stack of cards to anyone who could cross a card off his wantlist. Luckily I had three cards for him - and I got thirteen in return. Thanks, Chris!

I sent some Mets cards to TCDB user The_Sandlot in exchange for a bunch of Big League, a neat Robin Roberts insert I've never seen before, and a Brett Favre Legendary Contenders. But wait! This Favre is a gold parallel #d/199. I had only asked for the 'base' Brett. :O

The thickest mailer pictured at the top comes courtesy of TCDB user BigOinPA. This is my second trade with Tom, and I'm happy I could get this one hammered out before my self-imposed trading freeze. In exchange for 64 surplus set fillers I asked for 46 baseball and hockey cards - the former were also flagship set fillers, so I'll show off the latter:


Stickers! These are from the 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee album. I got another Devil(Carol Vadnais) but that one appears to have been peeled, wrinkled, and re-stuck. Oh well.

The Vachon and Bridgman are Topps issues, and they're both in nice shape. Not as nice as those shiny inserts though!

A trio of HOFers capped off by a shiny Shanny. Turning 2018 Topps dupes into these beauties is worth all the time spent on cataloging, pulling, packing, and shipping. I'd make these kinds of deals all day long if I could. 

While I'm not happy about being a year older I sure can't complain about all the cardboard loot that has come my way recently (along with birthday cash that paid for even more cardboard loot!)

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, August 11, 2019


I remember opening a pack of Bowman baseball cards in a parking lot and freezing time when I read the back of one. Whoa - this guy was born in the 1970s! And then it occurred to me - Someday I'm going to have a card of a player who was born this year!

That was thirty years ago. There are now baseball cards of players who were born after Y2K. Heck, there are even a few prospects who were born after 9/11. 

Six active major league baseball players are older than I am. Eight NFL players are listed as active - though half of them are kickers and rosters won't be finalized for another three weeks. 

And now that I feel sufficiently old, here are some items from a box my mom recovered last time I was in Connecticut:

This was a birthday gift from someone named Jacob. I honestly do not remember ever knowing anyone named Jacob. (And apparently he didn't know me too well, wither. He wrote my name as "Cris")

I had a Nintendo Power subscription for about three years. This is the only issue I found in the box. Not sure why it was saved; I never played Lemmings. There's a Zelda comic inside though.

My mom saved my Upper Deck binder! Unfortunately it's a wreck. I wrote all over most of the tabs, but one or two were left unmarked:

Inside the binder I found about a dozen pages of homework - and some notes of far greater significance:

I had a habit of predicting winners based on how well the teams' starters matched up. Vancouver was really overmatched on paper; it's a near-miracle they pushed the Blueshirts to seven games.

At some point in 1994, Ken Griffey, Jr. was on pace for 67 home runs!?!

Going back in time a bit, here are a couple pamphlets from my visit to the Basketball Hall of Fame:

Thanks for writing on them, Mom. No, really. If she hadn't done that I would have trouble remembering exactly when we went. (Still can't find any pictures from Springfield, though.)

Mom also wrote my name on my Pop Warner playbook. (I also found a playbook my friends and I made up..for touch football or something?)

Oh! That reminds me...a West Haven card was TCDB's card of the day yesterday:

Now back to the box...thirty years ago this summer I completed a computer programming course.

If I'd stuck with it, who knows - maybe I could be working for Google right now. (I was really interested in computers at the time, but my mom couldn't afford one. And so that interest withered and died..) I'd show you what I was working on that summer, but uh...yeah.

Unable to spend my time coding as a kid, I became so obsessed with baseball that I chose baseball-related subjects for school reports whenever possible.

I used a birthday card from 25+ years ago to cover up some personal info. There was a book report on baseball in the Upper Deck binder..but it's not the one this teacher was referring to:

I got an A- on my Jim Abbott report because (and this only makes sense to me as a more experienced "writer") I stated that Jim is not only a great pitcher but a great person.

This might be the report in question. It's unmarked but it's 4 pages long (and I promise it's the last loose leaf scan you'll see in this post)

This report was found inside what I believe to be the first baseball book I ever owned. If my mom had not saved it I would have completely forgotten the name of it.

I had to steal this from the internet because the front cover of mine is long gone. See the sliver of red peeking out from the bottom? I can't even scan that cover because my eight year-old self wrote all over it (apparently I was really excited about Nolan Ryan's 5000th strikeout.)

A fair amount of the pages have been scribbled on and edited as well. Kind of like when kids from the '60s and '70s "updated" a player's team to reflect a recent trade. Well, I made some updates to the record book. I won't show you that mess, though. 

Here's a clean page - with a photo of Frank Robinson as a Dodger. (Now we need a page for rookies with 50 or more home runs. good lord.) 

Anybody know who this Brooklyn Dodger is? Because it's definitely not Billy Williams.

Hey, I'm not so old after all. There's still plenty of time for me to become a major league ballplayer!

Robert Smith wrote this song on his 39th birthday. I wrote this blog post.*

And now I must return to TCDB, where there are trade offers waiting for me because I'm turning off trading for the rest of the summer. For real this time.

*actually I wrote this a day before my birthday since I will have to work tomorrow.  

Thanks for taking a few minutes to flip through my time capsule!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Summer Sale Six-Pack and more TCDB Trades

Am I the only one who found the COMC Summer Sale a bit unnecessary? Wasn't the Spring Cleaning sale just two months ago? I suppose I shouldn't complain, but I've never been less excited about a COMC sale. There was one card that I really wanted, and it was on sale before the promotion began. Regardless, I charged my credit card the requisite $21.35 or so. 

And then..nothing. My card was charged, I got the confirmation e-mail, but my COMC credit was still $0.00.

I waited, and refreshed .. and waited .. and refreshed. Thirty minutes passed, and I still had three goose eggs staring at me. Where the f*ck is my money?!?!

I e-mailed COMC support. A few minutes later I got what looked like an automated reply confirming that $20 had been added to my account. The next day I got an e-mail from an actual human person explaining that these transactions are not always instant(though they had always been instant for me.)  I guess it's a good thing I wasn't frantically trying to grab a certain card that had just hit the site, or something priced to move in an instant. :/'s the card I'd had my eye on for over a week. As usual, I'm posting about these long before I get them in-hand since I will probably forget to do so in December:

I've been passively collecting Canadiens cards from the 1970's, but as I said before on this blog the main obstacle to this project is Ken Dryden. I didn't think I'd find an affordable card produced during his brief but brilliant career. This might have two strikes against it for some collectors - it's PSA-graded and it's a Topps hockey card. But it was only $9.00.

The next problem I ran into was deciding what to do with the remaining $11. I searched and searched as often as I could, but I was finding cards for other bloggers more than myself.  Finally, I found another card that I had wanted for most of my collecting life:

What?!? Another Topps hockey card?  At least this one's not graded. This is Steve Yzerman's second-year card. I've never been a fan of the Red Wings or Stevie Y but I never disliked them, either. And Yzerman has always had cool looking cards. This one appeals to me for its simplicity; the red and white really pops here. I was thrilled to find a well-centered and (hopefully) sharp-cornered example for just $3.21

I'm going to speed this up since I want to discuss TCDB trade packages, too. The rest of my "COMC Blaster" included a P.K. Subban relic for $1.75:

This Upper Deck Compendium Grail Glory insert that I probably paid too much for since it's tied to ePack I couldn't pass up for $2.10:

A serial numbered Brett Favre redemption prize from 1995 Classic Pro Line that was way underpriced IMO.

I was happy to add it to my cart for just $0.65. The cheapest remaining copy is $3.40 on sale.

Finally (and I do mean finally) I can cross the Nikola Jokic RC off my 2015-16 Donruss need list. 

This will be the first/only Jokic card in my small but growing basketball collection. So if anyone has some Jokers they can spare, let me know and I'd be happy to return fire with something you collect.

The $3.05 I spent on this Jokic RC brings my total to $19.76. I've been able to add some challenge credit to the remaining 24 cents so I might not be done with this sale just yet. But that's my "blaster."

Since my last post on Wednesday I received five trade packages in the mail. I'm not going to scan all the cards but I'll summarize them here and show off a few highlights:

I sent sixteen surplus singles from 2016 and 2017 Topps to TCDB user jt58203 for 12 cards: some set fillers for 1994 Fleer, 2018 Topps, 2019 Topps, and three cards for my team PCs.

Roger Bailey was featured in my post about New Haven Ravens. I don't know if I'm going to do any more Connecticut Cards posts. Initially I thought about creating a second blog and writing a very brief summary of a different card every day - but who would read such a blog?

In early June I made an offer to TCDB user Hundomatic for some 2017 Topps Heritage needs. He never responded. I tried again in July, and again he did not respond. That's when I noticed he posted a question in the forum - and another user asked him to respond to their trade offer. So I piled on a bit, and eventually Hundo and I agreed to a deal:

The reason I was so persistent is the Beatles card at the top right; it's the last one I needed to complete the News Flashbacks insert set and the only other user who has one for trade isn't trading.  

One more trade for today. This one comes from user aint56cool (side note: yes it is) Mike is endeavoring to complete every Topps baseball card set all the way back to - you guessed it - 1956. I wanted to help his cause so I offered what I could, which ended up being 14 cards from 1971-1982. In return I got two envelopes. One was a surprise gift:

Pro Set Packers! Unfortunately the only one I needed for my '90s Packers project was Head Coach Lindy Infante - and I didn't fit him into the scan. It was a nice thought, though.

These are the cards I traded for. It wasn't easy to get quality in exchange for quantity, and I really appreciate Mike working with me on this trade. If you're on TCDB and you've got some vintage-ish singles to trade, hit him up.

Here's a closer look at the '71 Scott - the gem of the trade in my opinion:

I've got a few more trades (and a 4 Sharp Corners order) incoming but my next post will feature some sports-related items from my childhood that my mother recently uncovered.

Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend!