Sunday, June 30, 2019

A few of my Favorite Things

This is a long but lightly-worded post to see who's blogging this time of year. Feel free to use this topic on your own blog, or leave a long comment with your favorite things...

First of all, I apologize if the title of this post reminds anyone of that godawful Arianna Grande song. My boss has Pandora on all day and that track comes up way too often. I dislike pop music in general, but there are only a few songs I truly cannot stand - and that's one of them. 

What pop songs do I like? Well, that's the theme of this post: my favorite baseball card design, popular* song, and movie from each decade.  Here we go...

*not necessarily "pop" songs

The 1950's

favorite baseball card set:
You already know it's 1956 Topps; my favorite Bowman designs are 1953(color) and 1955.

favorite movie: I can count on one hand the number of 1950's movies I've seen. But I do love me some sci-fi.

favorite song: I dunno.."Rock Around The Clock"? My musical tastes don't go that far back.

The 1960's

favorite baseball card set: 1968 Topps will always be special to me, but two non-flagship sets I really like are 1964 Topps Giants and 1961 Golden Press.

favorite movie: I'm gonna go with Fail-Safe here. Cold War hysteria at its finest.

favorite song: It's tempting to pick "Light My Fire"(the only Doors song I like) or something by the Beatles, but "A Whiter Shade of Pale" really moves me, man.

The 1970's

favorite baseball card set: 1975 Topps. Nothing else comes close, though I am warming up to '72 and '74.

favorite movie: So many classics..I have to watch The Godfather trilogy again, it's been too long. Until then, my favorites are Rollerball and Soylent Green

favorite song: It would probably be something by Kraftwerk or Joy Division, but since I'm sticking with popular songs I'll go with "Baba O'Riley" (aka Teenage Wasteland)

The 1980's 

favorite baseball card set:
My birth year set is bland, and Topps didn't do a whole lot better during the decade. If I had to choose I'd go with 1983 Donruss, 1984 or 1987 Fleer, and 1989 Upper Deck, in no particular order.


favorite movie: Probably Back To The Future - which was one of the first movies I ever saw (the first non-animated movie I remember was Flight of The Navigator)


favorite song:
There's so much good '80s music out there, you really can't go wrong. But this song will always remind me of my childhood - spending summer days with Mom watching MTV while she cleaned million-dollar homes.



 This video has over 900 million views. I think it qualifies as "popular"

The 1990's  

favorite baseball card set:
So many choices! I love 1991 Topps, 1993 Leaf (and the underrated 1994 Leaf), 1992 and 1993 Fleer Ultra, and so on. I'll go into more detail in my next post, but here's a preview:


favorite movie: Pulp Fiction. The first time I saw the trailer it annoyed me; I couldn't tell what the movie was about. But the more it ran, the more interested I was until I finally saw the damn thing


favorite song: I'm trying not to pick something that was featured on the Alternative Rock countdown contest I mentioned in December...which leaves songs like "Enter Sandman", "Don't Speak", and U2's "One" (Metallica's "One" is also amazing - but it came out in 1988) 



The 2000's   


favorite baseball card set: I've blogged about my love of Topps Pristine before, and nearly all of my interest in the brand was because of the 2002 set.


favorite movie: It might be Idiocracy, I'm Not Sure. ;)

favorite song: "Hey Ya" and "Take Me Out" are catchy as hell, and I love Coldplay's "Fix You", but any list of great tracks from the 2000s must (repeat: must) include "Seven Nation Army

I will never forgive Bill Simmons and his cronies for omitting this. You're a sports writer, ffs.

The 2010's    

favorite baseball card set:
Stadium Club sets are a popular pick, but I prefer the design elements (and price point) of 2015 Topps.



favorite movie: I've never been into the comic book/MCU scene, so there's only a handful of films I've been excited about this decade. The first Hunger Games movie is my favorite.



favorite song: The overabundance of auto-tuned and recycled sludge that kids (and my 50 year-old boss) listen to is disturbing. Thank God for Fall Out Boy.



What are some of your favorite things?


Saturday, June 29, 2019

COMC summer haul and an eBay trade

I had 35 cards sitting in my COMC inventory and decided to bring them home rather than leave them in Redmond until December. Two of them are for a possible Blogger trade (remember those?) while others will be featured in an upcoming blog post/tab.

At one point I had about $38 in challenge credit and I'd missed out on a 1956 Topps team card (White Sox) hoping that it would still be around when the Spring Cleaning sale started. It wasn't, but this Charlie Neal was - and I snatched it up for $29.90:

That left me with just enough cash to grab this Hank Thompson from a different seller for $8.16:

I'm now at 45% of the 1956 Topps set, and there's a set break of high-grade singles up on eBay..but they're too high-grade. The cheapest singles are PSA 8 commons listed at $30 each.

My 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee set build got a big boost, thanks to an eBay "trade". I sold three items, including an Apollo 11 DVD my brother-in-law offloaded to me and a flat-rate box of over 600 used 9-pocket pages. Those two items alone brought in enough cash to purchase these:

Wayne was the most valuable card I needed; I've seen it sell for up to $75 in this condition but this one was only $41 (which is still a helluva markup just for a fancy holder. I know.)

This Mario Tremblay is the only non-HOFer (and non-Oiler) in the lot. Is it me, or does the close-up photo make him look like a star from the 1960s?

I now have all ten Wayne Gretzky cards in the 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee set. 

A couple years ago, Charles Barkley crashed a Stanley Cup press conference and asked Wayne "Who is your favorite black athlete of all time?"  Gretzky's response?

I wonder if Charles forgot that Fuhr won five Cups - four of them with the Great One.

Now that we've got the graded cards out of the way, let's get back to the COMC haul. Until recently my entire Exquisite base set build had come courtesy of COMC. The Taylor Hall was avaible for $6.25, but that was a little more than I wanted to spend. I added a Martin Brodeur relic to my offer..and got both of them for under $13 total.

The Hall base card still cost more than this triple relic from 2015-16 The Cup.

Not a lot of star power here, and only Schneider is still with the Devils. That might explain why I was able to grab it for just $3.25.

I'm a sucker for O-Pee-Chee Platinum cards (this year's batch just hit COMC/ePack) especially rainbow parallels. The Jesper Bratt auto cost $2.87; the Nico Hischiers were $0.37 and $0.44. I'm not usually one to hoard multiple copies of the same card, but I will buy a dozen of them at that ridiculously low price.

For comparison's sake, this Dominic Smith refractor was an impulse buy that doesn't fit my collection any more than he fits in the Mets' lienup...and I spent $0.85 on it.

I'd be open to trading this card if anyone is interested.

Most of the other cards in this batch are for various PCs and set collections, except this one:

I picked up this Big Z for $0.28 during the Stanley Cup Final. Really wanted to see him win another one after Brayden Schenn broke his effin jaw. The ovation he got during introductions before Game 5 still gives me the feels:

Brett Favre certainly knows about playing through pain. I added five more Favre cards to my collection of over 700:

The Franchise Leaders insert was the cheapest of these ($0.95) while the Sterling Sharpe red parallel was the most expensive Packer at $3.35.

If I had a choice I wouldn't have gone with the red, but I wanted a HOF contenders card of Sharpe and this was the lowest priced card on the site.

Another card I had to have was this Taylor Hall Game-Dated Moments card, one of only two "cards" that show him holding the Hart trophy (the other is a Panini sticker)

I don't mind telling you that I overpaid for this. Was it worth $7.08? Probably not. But sometimes you gotta swallow hard and fork over the cash (or credit).

Wrapping up the puck portion of the post with a pair of cards from this year's OPC set. Or what I wish the base set looked like. These are from the Canadian Tire Coast To Coast set. I don't know what that is, or how to get them, but the red-bordered parallels are especially appealing. (I got two others from a trade with TCDB member MasterOfPuppets.)

Some Prizm set fillers here. Kobe cost $0.50, the rookies were $1.11 total. I'm down to 27 needs for this set. One of them is the Joel Embiid RC. This might take a while.

The Red Sox are in London this weekend. I'm interested to see how the Brits take to baseball, but the last thing the Yankees need is a smaller park to launch bombs out of.

Craig Kimbrel won't have to worry about that. He was unemployed when I purchased this card for 50 cents, but now he's closing for the Cubs.

Why did I pick this pair of Pirates? Cause they only cost me three bucs. (Bucs, get it?) The Trevor Williams sapphire ($0.75) fits into my player PC, while the Harrison auto ($2.25) is a preview to my next post (and collection tab..)

 Here's a couple more cards from that collection. Details to follow.

And we'll close this post with Kristen Bell. I need to do a better job of tracking non-sports card with my favorite celebs; most of them only make their way into my collection because I stumble across them on COMC. This Elle Bishop foil (parallel?) cost two quarters.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Connecticut Cards 003 - That's So Raven!

The Colorado Rockies did not have a double-A affiliate in their inaugural season of 1993. Fortunately for this baseball-obsessed Connecticut kid, the Rockies decided to make New Haven their AA home from 1994 to 1998. The franchise played at Yale Field under different affiliations until 2003, when the Blue Jays moved their AA club to Manchester, New Hampshire.

Many of the top prospects I saw in the Rockies years were pitchers, including...

Juan Acevedo, the aptly-named ace of the '94 Ravens.

Juan's 17-6 record, 2.37 ERA and 167 strikeouts (with only 38 walks) boosted his stock in the Rox' organization. Baseball America ranked Acevedo the #55 overall prospect before the 1995 season. After a rough rookie season he would spend the bulk of his 8-year MLB career as a reliever. 

Roger Bailey may have had his best pro season in the elm city. The right-hander had a 9-9 record in 1994 but his ERA was a career-low 3.23. Bailey made it to the show in 1995, but struggled in three seasons with Colorado.

I recommend adding this card to your collection even if you couldn't care less about Connecticut cards - not only for the inscription on the back, but the photo on the front

Lloyd Peever was another reliable Ravens starter. His best season was also in 1994 - in which he went 9-8 with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.112 WHIP. Peever never made it above AAA, and returned to the Ravens in 1997, his final season as a pro. 

This card was part of a recent TCDB trade with 49ants. It's one of only three cards in my collection that a) was produced by a major card company and b) shows a player in the Ravens uniform on the front of the card.

I remember all three of these guys fairly well after 25 years, but my favorite Ravens pitcher to watch was Rod Pedraza.

Pedraza was originally an Expos farmhand. A 13-3 record with a 3.24 ERA (7th-best in the Eastern League) was enough to earn him a call-up to AAA by the end of the season. I was sure that he'd end up in the Rockies' rotation before long, but he blew out his shoulder and missed all of 1995. He had another nice season in New Haven a year later, but ended up playing pro ball in Japan. 

I don't have this card - or any Pedraza cards. Perhaps I'll trade for one in the near future. 

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

TCDB trades and Blogger nostalgia

I woke up earlier than usual this morning, thanks to a pre-dawn thunder shower. Started scanning the cards you'll see in this post, and I had some extra time so I snooped around Blogger a bit.

Most of you only know me from this blog, but one or two of you might remember when I wrote about personal thoughts and story ideas. I stopped doing that for many reasons: I ran out of story ideas, and my favorite bloggers stopped blogging. I got tired of writing about my life, my personal struggles, and the like - but never got tired of writing. I shifted my focus to a subject that would supply endless amounts of material and never looked back. Until this morning.

On this particularly dreary day, I started to miss Mich, and Sam, and Kayla. I wondered what happened to them, and it turns out that two of them have published novels recently. I probably could have done that, if I wasn't so focused on baseball cards (aw, who am I kidding? I could never do that) The last time I heard from Kayla was when I wrote a 3-part short story. I re-read it this morning, nearly two years later, and I still like it. I've got the urge to write again, but not the time. Yet.

Are there blogs (or bloggers) that you miss? Do you wonder what happened to them, or do you keep in touch outside of Blogger?

Nostalgia has also impacted my sports card collecting habits. One of the major reorganization decisions I made was to move my baseball card sets out of monster boxes and into binders, so I can flip through each card. I've started a tradition of buying overproduction-era wax boxes and other childhood favorites from Kruk Cards every August, around my birthday. I didn't want to do that this year. I wanted to purchase something more significant. But...

Right now I'm in the mood to grab series 2 boxes of 1992 Fleer Ultra, 1993 Fleer Ultra, and 1993 Leaf baseball. Once those sets are done, I want to buy boxes of 1993 Upper Deck baseball and football, and maybe 1994 Leaf baseball. Most current sets just don't appeal to me anymore - and even when the designs are nice (such as Stadium Club) the card count is discouraging. I'd rather spend $20 on a few hundred older cards than a few dozen newer ones. Maybe that will change if I go the August card show. Or maybe I'll see a discount table of $10-20 boxes from the '90s and hoard the hell out of 'em.

Anyway, I've rambled long enough. Here are the aforementioned cards I scanned this morning. These are two TCDB trades mixed together: I sent a half-dozen Phillies cards to herkojerko, and a dozen-plus San Francisco cards to 49ants. 

I've never liked Roger Clemens, but I love 1993 Score Franchise inserts. When I wrote a post about these last October I had not acquired cards representing the Red Sox or the Packers. Now I've got both. [p.s. I'm working on a post about my favorite set from 1993]

This Rafael Devers RC completes my 2018 Stadium Club team set - just in time for 2019 to hit shelves! 

This rookie card of "Mr. Devil" Ken Daneyko is from 1989-90 - seven years after he was drafted. (That's what he gets for being a defensive defenseman on a team that had only made the playoffs once in the '80s.)

Five more cards of baby stealer Brett Favre brings my total to..702. (two are dupes, but I just picked up two more on COMC)

Six more cards for my 1986 Topps football set build, including a razor-sharp John Elway from 49ants. I'm now at 54.5% completion, and probably 50% of that has come through TCDB trades.

More set fillers. Theus is my 30th addition to the 132-card 1988-89 Fleer set. Dawkins brings me within
13 of the base NBA Hoops set and within 20 of the master set. Aguilar is for my second set of Heritage (base cards only)

I'm holding back the last four cards in these trades for a future edition of Connecticut Cards.


The Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019 was announced today. Here it is:

Um..what? Hayley Wickenheiser was a lock, and Sergei Zubov was definitely one of the top two or three eligible defensemen. But Carbonneau? Not Alfredsson, or Roenick, or Turgeon, or Fleury, or Mogilny, or Tkachuk? Guy Carbonneau? 

I don't want to say this is the NHL's answer to Harold Baines because defensive excellence is legit. But if he's in, then Patrice Bergeron better get in the minute he's eligible. 

btw, just to bring this back to bloggers..Bergeron was Kayla's favorite player if I remember right..