Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Post-Christmas Post (and contest results)

This is going to be a long post because I had the day off today, so if you'd like to skip ahead to the contest winner portion of the post, I won't judge you...

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. Overall I'd say mine went well, but it has been an up-and-down week. Having Fridays off means I had a five-day weekend (and another one coming) but that also means I did not get my Christmas bonus before Christmas..and I did not get any notice that the office would be closed (or not) today. 

This morning I showed up to the office at 9am as per usual. The doors were locked. That's happened before, at the old office. I knocked a couple times. Peeked inside and saw that no lights were on. Two cars were parked in the parking lot, but they didn't look familiar. I stopped at the Dunkin' Donuts across the street. Waited until 9:30. No one arrived, so I went home. 

Last year on 12/26, a similar thing happened. The door was open that day, and some lights were on. Only one attorney was working (he left the firm when we moved) and said that most of the staff had scheduled to take the day off so the others were allowed to stay home, too. He apologized for not telling me, and it was the easiest working day ever. 

That's probably what the remaining attorneys decided to do last Friday, when I wasn't in. As for the Christmas of our former attorneys was the one to hand them out (around Dec. 10) so I doubt there's one waiting for me. It's one of the reasons why I didn't go to the baseball card show when I was in Connecticut.

It was not a card-less Christmas though. My wife grabbed two packs for me while shopping for the girls, and I got a blaster from the same sister-in-law who got me some godawful junk wax last year. 

That's more like it. I had just finished cataloging my football cards on Christmas Eve, and when the Mrs. handed me a pack of baseball and a pack of hockey I was a little relieved that I could still consider myself 'done'. Not that it would take long to catalog these:

The Davon Godchaux auto appears to be a blue parallel. And unlike Des Lawrence, "Davon G." is currently on an NFL roster - though Des has a nicer signature. 

My girls aren't interested in sports (yet?) but they're young enough to giggle when I tell them I got a Butt in my box. 

The base cards are colorful, and I couldn't have asked for a better selection of players. Rodgers, Favre, Gore, Watt, Tomlinson, and Manning are all players I collect. 

Most of you who received cards on Christmas scanned or snapped a pic of your haul before you opened the packs. I considered that, but decided it wasn't enough of a 'haul'.

Here's the pack of 2018-19 Upper Deck hockey:

Yikes. No Young Guns, no Devils, and only one star player. At least I got my first pack-pulled Golden Knights card.

Thankfully, D also picked a fat pack of 2018 Topps Update baseball. Much better value here - four times more cards than UD, for less than two times the price:

My first cards of Bote and Muncy, and possibly the last card of Colon. "Big Sexy" might be on a card in 2019. Heck, he might be on a big league roster in 2019.

Plenty of star power in this pack including Acuna, Baez, Lindor, and 2500th Career K. 

Inserts, etc. There were four Athletics in the pack, including this Chapman. No Red Sox though. 

It's always nice to get cards for Christmas, but the best gift I got this year was being able to spend some time with my mom on Christmas weekend. Or seeing the joy in my girls as they ripped open dozens of LOL surprise dolls.

Or maybe it was this:

I told D this was the only thing I wanted for Christmas last year. They were very tough to find so I sorta gave up on getting one. Luckily these were not as scarce this season :)

Even though I had an unexpected day off today I didn't play this. Instead I watched my girls play with their new toys, did some shopping on COMC, and listened to the ALT 92.3 countdown.

I wasn't able to catch the entire countdown of the Top 92 Alternative Rock songs of All-time, and there doesn't seem to be a complete list posted anywhere, so I wrote down the top 25 in real time. Hope you can read my handwriting...
I momentarily mixed up Green Day tracks.

Some thoughts before I reveal the winner of my Guess The Second Best contest...

  • This was definitely decided by listeners; the DJs (and the suits) would have picked a different Green Day track. Same for Beasties, Blink, Offspring, and Muse - though I'm psyched that any Muse track cracked the top 20. Also I'm happy that the Offspring entry was not "Come Out And Play" or "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)".
  • Who are these people voting for Chumbawumba? Is that even an alternative song? I never would have considered "Tubthumping" in a million years. By that rationale I'm surprised Smash Mouth's "All-Star" wasn't ranked this high.
  • There is one song in the top 25 that I have never heard before. I'm ashamed to admit it, so I won't tell you what it is.
  • Evanescence is underrated. I'm not saying "Bring Me To Life" should be higher, but whenever I hear it I lament what a damn good band they are/were.
  • Two Fall Out Boy songs in the top 20. Yusss!
  • For a moment I thought Fuji was going to win this, since he picked "Wonderwall"...

Alas, I was wrong. Even the DJ said he was surprised Nirvana was not #1. Congrats to Night Owl, who correctly guessed "Under The Bridge" would be the closest to #2. 

Here's third-party proof that my account is correct (in case you're in disbelief it's not "..Teen Spirit") Greg, send me an e-mail with your preferences for a mix CD or cards. 

Thanks to everyone who entered. It was fun to 'talk' music with you guys. 



Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Cards from Fuji and Dennis

It's Christmas Eve and I'm exhausted from my weekend in Connecticut (plus staying up late prepping presents for my little ones) but I wanted to say thank you to Fuji and Dennis for adding me to their 'gift' list this Christmas.

Fuji started a "hit list" of collectors to send cards to, and (almost) cleared it all out this holiday season. This six-pack included three vintage Sox, two relic cards, and a Packer in a pear tree. Lol, that didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

The always generous Dennis of Too Many Verlanders/Mannighams sent a nice box of goodies my way. Lots of Sox here, including relics of Wade Boggs and Dustin Pedroia..

..and a pair of postcards from Cooperstown. I bought a handful of these the last time I visited the baseball HOF in the summer of '99 - but not Yaz or Teddy Ballgame. 

As if that wasn't generous enough..there were over 200 basketball cards in the box.

All of them were Hall of Famers from the 1990s-early 2000s: Karl Malone, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal...

...Gary Payton, Ray Allen, and Grant Hill. When I was cataloging my cards on TCDB recently, I realized that I'd never even seen the 2000-01 Upper Deck basketball set before. 

There was also a handful of Kevin Garnett and Magic Johnson cards, a couple Allen Iverson, and some Dennis Rodman. So many cool cards to catalog...

Three years ago I had maybe 100 basketball cards. Now thanks to the blogging community I have nearly 5,000 - and the top seven players listed are all due to contributions from Dennis.

Thanks again for the great cards, guys! Merry Christmas, everyone!

p.s. if you haven't blown out your budget on Black Friday..COMC is having another sale starting tomorrow. I didn't get to the CT card show (long story) so I might spend some cash there instead.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Guess The Second Best Contest

Thank you all for your thoughtful answers to my Five Questions survey! It was a great way to learn about your collecting habits and preferences. Nearly all of you answered question five the same way -- that is you've given me license to expand into non-sports topics here on this blog. So let's do that now...

My local radio station ALT 92.3 is doing an "Obligatory End Of Year Countdown" of the 92 best alt-rock songs of all-time. This countdown will run from Christmas Day to New Year's Day and it's supposedly determined by fan vote. 

I'm always skeptical of the influence a fan/listener/reader has on an online poll, especially with this station. Earlier this year they ran a "Control-ALT-Delete" promotion insisting that you can not only ask them to play a song you like.. but you can text them to stop playing a song you don't want to hear. This led them to play a lot more Imagine Dragons tracks, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and this friggin' song every friggin' morning. 

ALT is a fairly new station, so I have no idea which tracks they will choose as the top 92 Alternative Songs of All-Time. But I've got a few guesses, including number one:

That's not to say that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the best song ever, or my favorite song's just the safest bet to be chosen number one in the countdown.

What song will come in second is anyone's guess -- your guess. 

Guess which song will be #2 on the countdown and win a mix CD. I'm making one for my mom and best friend, so I'll be happy to make another. If your guess is correct, you can e-mail me with up to five requests for songs/artists you'd like and I'll fill in the rest with tracks I think you'll like. 

If more than one guess is correct I'll randomize the correct guesses to determine a winner. If no one correctly guesses the second best song, the winner will be determined by whose guess ranked highest (i.e. closest to #2) on the countdown. 

If you don't use CDs anymore, guess anyway. I can send a PWE with some cards instead, if you prefer. Anyone who commented on my 200th post and has a US mailing address is eligible for this contest. Contest ends when ALT 92.3's countdown begins, so submit your guess by Christmas Eve.

Rock on!


Sunday, December 16, 2018

This One's For YOU! (200th Post)

When I realized that I was coming up on my 200th post I began to think of how I could celebrate the occasion. For my 99th post I scanned 99 cards of players who wore #99. Can't do that for 200, obviously.

The cardsphere has been alive with contests and giveaways lately, and so I thought I'd use this 200th post to salute those of you who have given so much to the sports card community.

Fuji, Billy, and Dennis are among those who have mailed out care packages this holiday season. I mentioned Billy's card here and I'll be sure to write another thank-you post when the others arrive.  

Jon did a fantastic job taking over Secret Santa duties from Matt. Thanks for keeping it going, Jon! I hope everyone who participated enjoyed their gifts. Don't forget to thank your sender!

We're all looking forward to Wes/JBF/Willinghammer's grand finale over at Area 40. He was kind enough to include me, even though I was just popping in to observe. Kerry was incredibly generous earlier this year with his giveaway, and there are lots of other giveaways and contests going on as I write this. 

Giveaways and contests are great fun, but after running one of my own I vowed not to join one that isn't hosted by a blogger I follow regularly. I cringe whenever I see the flock of comments on contest posts, most of them from folks who wouldn't bother to read or comment without the possibility of getting some free cards in return.

contest post
regular post

One of the more interesting and fun contests of late is Josh's Baseball Sheep survey. That gave me an idea for this post..asking you, the reader of this humble blog, what topics are of particular interest to you.

I won't burden you with 20 (more) questions. Instead I'll bring back an old Craig Kilborn segment..

1) What kind of collector are you? Team/player collector? Set builder? Vintage or modern? High-end hits or dime box/dollar store finds? Your collecting preferences may be well-known to most of us, and if that's the case perhaps you can share something we might not know about the way you collect.

2) Name something you don't like about the hobby. It could be the brand monopolies, the price point of certain products, breaker culture..any grievance you choose to air. Or keep it simple and suggest a change that the hobby (or manufacturers) should adopt. 

3) You have been given authority to expand or realign any pro sports league. That means you can add two teams to the MLB or NBA, relocate up to two teams in any sport, or contract two teams if you think it's necessary. What franchise moves would you make?

4) What are your collecting goals for 2019? Is there a set you want to complete? A specific milestone you want to hit (200 cards of player X, for example)? What is your approximate budget for your collection? Do you plan to raise/lower it in the new year?

5) What topics would you like to see more of in this blog? I try to recap every trade, gift, and purchase of cards in either a single post or grouped together. If you feel like I haven't properly acknowledged you (ahem) please let me know. Other than that I pretty much write whatever comes to mind.

That said, there are plenty of things I consider writing about but don't. Here are some ideas I have been kicking around:

  • Progress posts. These would focus on set builds, new additions to player PCs, and thoughts on how I organize my collection. I did a series on my star player boxes, shared my initial experience with cataloging cards on TCDB, and mentioned some of my sets in the past. There are still some sets and player PCs I haven't yet discussed.

    My O-Pee-Chee Franken-set is complete! You can view it here.

  • Statistical comparison posts. I enjoy writing these posts, and they seemed popular initially. A lot of my analysis focuses on who should/should not be in the Hall of Fame.

    I bought this Luis Aparicio on COMC for $14.20, mostly because I like to 'sort by lowest' on graded vintage singles and this was the cheapest HOFer in high grade.

  • General sports talk. We all have our own favorite teams and players, so I shy away from sharing thoughts on how well (or poorly) my guys are playing. That said, there are always breakout players, trades, free agent signings, and other issues to discuss - such as players who behave horribly with women.

These two cards were also in my latest COMC order. Russell was the last card I needed to complete the Heritage set. I picked up the Hunt because the Chiefs were red-hot and I couldn't afford any Pat Mahomes singles; the TMZ video surfaced two weeks later.

  • Non-sports topics, such as music, women, books, movies, etc. From time to time I have long-form thoughts that are not about sports, but I rarely share them here because this is a card collecting blog. Some of you have indicated that you don't mind these off-topic posts on occasion.. but do you really want to know my thoughts on The Good Place, Anna Kendrick's autobiography, or why I'm so surprised and thrilled that The Cure were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?!?!

    I also have bits and pieces of fiction that have been dormant since the beginning of this blog - with one exception. I could always repost that here, or revive my Lighthouse story if there is interest (and time) Be warned: it's mostly teen/YA fare.


Any feedback on any of these questions would be considered and appreciated. Thank you for reading this post, following this blog, and for making the card collecting community and blogosphere better every year!


Friday, December 14, 2018

Connecticut Cards From COMC

I've got something special planned for my next post, which will be the 200th* on this blog. 

*This does not count posts I deleted during severe bouts of depression. I really should stop doing that. I'd probably have passed 220 posts by now.

Hopefully I'll be able to hit the Milford card show when I'm visiting my family in Connecticut next weekend, though I won't be able to recap it (if it happens) until after Christmas. One of the posts I deleted was a recap of the show I attended in March. I had a good reason for deleting that one though - it was getting spammed like crazy.

In the meantime I've got 32 new cards to discuss, courtesy of my second COMC Black Friday order. Let's start with the five newest additions to my Connecticut Collection:

This Hartford Whalers team schedule thing is strange and fascinating. It's not a foldable paper schedule like we're used to seeing and, as such, it makes no mention of who the Whale were playing on any given night. It's really more of a calendar than a schedule. But it's got Ron Francis on the front, it's in near-perfect condition, and it's not something I'll find anywhere else.


Here's another Whalers non-card item I couldn't pass up. This Civic Center sticker from 1989-90 Panini was one of the first things I purchased on Black Friday. I was happy to send 98 cents worth of COMC credit to Dollar Store Doug - the first time I've (knowingly) bought from a blogger.

The rest of these items were under a buck apiece.

I was expecting this Jeff Bagwell Best card to have a dinged corner. I was not expecting it to be glossy. This one had the most eye appeal of his New Britain issues, which are otherwise fairly bland.

Before making his big league debut with the Giants in 2009, Madison Bumgarner posted a 9-1 record in 19 starts for the AA Connecticut Defenders. The Giants moved their AA affiliate to Richmond, VA after the '09 season. This (and the mini-version) is the only MadBum Conn-card available on COMC.

Here's a bonus card that did not come from Redmond, WA but Burbank, CA:

I bought this Art Ceccarelli Orioles card from Burbank Sportscards (along with some set fillers and Supergirl cards) but COMC gets an assist on it. I was working on Challenges when the back of one of his cards caught my eye:

I had no idea there was a major league baseball player from my hometown!

"Chic" didn't have much success with the Athletics, Orioles, or Cubs (his career WAR over five seasons was a -3.2) and his Topps cards are equally forgettable. In fact, according to TCDB he's only got thirteen cards*. Let's take a look at them:

This Rodeo Meats card from 1955 is such a tough oddball issue I immediately dropped any notion of completing a Ceccarelli PC. Here's an eBay auction for a PSA-graded copy. Yikes!

The card on the left is also a Rodeo issue. The card on the right is apparently a 1976 reprint of the Rodeo card - though there are some notable differences.

Here are all three of Art's Topps cards, from 1958-60:

 Looks like the same photo, with a 'C' airbrushed onto his cap for '59.

These appear to be actual Cubs photos. Not sure why Topps didn't center the close-up.

All of Art's other cards are variations of these: buybacks of his 1959* and 1960 Topps cards, autographed versions of the 1960 card, and a Venezuelan edition. That's it. 

*TCDB has his '59 buyback listed twice. I'm not sure these are two separate cards.

If anyone happens to come across one of Art's Topps issues please keep me in mind for a trade. I'll be adding him to a list of Connecticut connections I plan to PC in the new year.

Hope to see you back here on Sunday for my 200th post celebration! Until then, have a great weekend! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Cards from Billy and Mark

'Tis the season for giving, and the blogosphere has been busy spreading cardboard cheer. Billy (Cardboard History) mailed out a mountain of goodies recently, and I was on his "nice" list:

Getting a Christmas card from a card blogger reminds me of the first giveaway I did. :)

Of course this card had smaller cards tucked inside it, including an Alex English for my 1988-89 Fleer set build, and an Aaron Rodgers Panini Certified Cuts card I didn't have. Some local flavor here too: the Knicks, the Nets, and the UConn Huskies are represented.

Billy wrote a very nice message inside, and made it clear that he was not my Secret Santa - which would have been weird because he was already my S.S. two years ago!

My Secret Santa is not a blogger, but he is a veteran blog reader and commenter (and a Red Sox fan) Mark Hoyle sent me a stuffed bubble mailer on Monday. There were some old Sox inside:

Oooh a non-card item. Is it me, or does Yaz look like he's posing at a camp site?

Tony C! Nice little run here. Unfortunately I bought a copy of the '69 at the Milford card show in March. Anyone collecting vintage Sox or building the 1969 Topps set? I'd be willing to trade my extra copy.

Mark included some sealed packs. You can't find these on the shelves at Target. (I wonder if he has a pack stash?) The '89 Topps baseball yielded three more Red Sox..

..but the non-Sox selection was bleak. Van Slyke and Wells were the closest thing to 'stars' I could find. At least the Skybox basketball pack had a Hall of Famer..

Wes Unseld was one of four Bullets in the pack. My favorite card here has to be the Nuggets logo. I like this design more than the 1990-91 Fleer set...

..but there was a lot more star power in that one. Is there a better card I could have pulled than this Michael Jordan? I think not. 

Jordan and David Robinson were far from the only NBA legends I received: 


Vintage hoop! Every time I see Dennis Johnson I think of that famous steal by Bird.


These 1979-80 Topps cards would make a nice 9-pocket page. The Alex English Rookie Card and Rick Barry are my favorites here. The Gail Goodrich is my first New Orleans Jazz card.

ABA cards, including Kentucky Colonels. Seattle just got an NHL expansion team and it's only a matter of time before the NBA returns. Is Louisville a viable option for a 32nd NBA franchise?

Bing! More stars from 1975-76 Topps, on the NBA side. I've never seen a Pat Riley card from his playing days. These are all fantastic cards but one of these two dozen singles really stood out to me:

Boom! Two all-time greats on the same card and two different poses for each player. This Kareem/Oscar card is in fantastic shape, too. It would have been perfect for the Milwaukee stop on my Sports Card Tour

Mark, Billy..thank you both for your generosity! I am very pleased with my cardboard gifts :)

I'm going to try and wrap up my Nostalgia post this weekend so that I can get my 200th post in before Christmas. Hope your Secret Santa has been good to you all!