Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No update? No problem!

Since this past Saturday, I've had the opportunity to visit both the local Wal Mart and Target.  I've seen the posts here and there about the '14 Update packs being in the stores, and I decided to check and see if there were any.

Both stores, nothing.  There was hardly any 2014 product on the racks at all.  I can't believe that it's all sold out, so maybe vendors are pulling product off the racks early in my area if they aren't selling.

Does it bother me that there's no update?   Not at all.

I can continue the quest to clean off the top of my desk.   That's been a tall order, which I've been able to knock down some in the past 3-4 weeks.  The Blue Jay piles have been diminished, and there is about 150 cards left to put into the spreadsheet and that onerous task will be complete.   I have a pile of Blue Jays "hits" that I'm going to scan and show off on the "Just the hits--Blue Jays" page I just created (you'll find it on the right hand side).

One of the piles on the desk actually had some vintage cards that I'd forgotten that I purchased a while ago (I believe these are from the May show). 

'61 will be a passing fancy for quite a long time.  I only have 15 cards towards the set, and this set is down near the bottom of the list as far as vintage set completion goes.

Dick Hall here is one of the many cards in the pile that I marked off of the '62 checklist, but never bothered to put away with the rest.  I've got quite a good start on this set, with 158 cards in my possession.  This is actually one of the nicer specimens that I own from this set.

Another card that I picked up quite a while back, but never bothered to put away.  The '67 set is one that I'll set my sights on once I finish off the '64 and '73 sets.  It might take a back seat to sets such as '62 and '69, since I only have 23 cards so far.

The '68 burlap set is another that I have quite the head start on, but will also take a back seat for a while.  I had to look, but sure enough that Mike Marshall is the same rubber armed pitcher that set the mark for most appearances by a reliever in 1974 (one of those records that will never be broken).  Mike didn't pitch in the majors during 1968, and wound up as a swing man on the '69 Seattle Pilots team before moving to the NL for the first half of the 70's.

I have an unchecked version of this '69 6th series checklist, so if anyone is looking for a marked up checklist that doubles as a Brooks Robinson card, I can send this your way.

I learned something new today.  There are 2 variations of this checklist from the '70 Topps set.  The one I have features the batter with a red bat, while the other version features a brown bat.  The scan makes this card look like the brown bat version, but I know it to be the red because I wouldn't be lucky enough to find the brown bat in a commons box.

The '71 set is another "down the road" project.  I don't think I can even picture Rollie Fingers pitching without the handlebar mustache.  I don't want to say it looks odd, but to me, it is.

There is progress being made as I said earlier on the desk cleaning.   I'm about halfway through creating a trade list full of inserts and serial numbered parallels for the team collectors out there.  I'll scan more of the Jays "hits" as time goes on. 

Meanwhile, I've started playing with my cards.   You may or may not have noticed that my post output has dropped quite a bit again.  That's largely due to having little inspiration for writing, and noticing that what I do write is being shunned by the masses (not that I blame anyone).  

I decided to create a little game for myself, comparing cards from half a dozen sets that I've either finished, or am close to finishing.   Totally arbitrary and subjective fun/scoring on my part.  (thanks to Mark Kaz and his "Four Topps" posts for the inspiration)  It's nothing fancy, it's not ground breaking, but for me it's different and variety is the spice of life.   Maybe one or two people will look at it and have something to say themselves about the cards!!

So, no update, no problem.  I've got a helluva lot of cards to go through, and a long season planned.

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, October 20, 2014

'59 Topps set build: Post #3/572 Bob Friend

Sometimes you just never know what to expect.   I won an eBay auction last week that advertised 10 cards from the '59 set, I wound up receiving 13!  The card you're about to see is one of the "bonus" additions to the envelope.

Card #569:  Bob Friend all star card


Interesting that the card front lists Friend as a '59 All Star Selection, when in fact he played in the '58 All Star game.

Bob certainly earned the All Star nomination in 1958, he had 10 wins by mid July, and wound up leading the NL with 22 wins that year.

For you stat geeks (guys like me), the caption on the back held true for the rest of Friend's career.  Bob finished with 31 wins versus the Braves over his 16 year career.

It's not surprising that this card was added to the envelope.  It's about as beat up a card as you'll find in my collection.  Most of the other '59 cards that I own are still pretty "solid", however this one is very flimsy and creased in several spots.

This is one of those cards that you'd describe as "adding character" to the set.  You know how it is, going through all of the pages with the cards that are in nice shape, and then hitting the final page and seeing this beat up beauty.   A conversation between collectors as to how the card got this bad would certainly ensue.   Bike spokes?  Folded up in a kids pocket?  Flipped endlessly to the ground, landing on corners constantly?

We'll never know, but for now, it's found a home. 

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Down to 102

I've been a bit obsessed the past couple of weeks with the '59 Topps set.   I've been hunting eBay looking for deals on card lots to try and put a quick dent into the set.

In the midst of the bargain hunting, I had a minor revelation on Sunday evening.   "The '64 Topps set you've been building for the past 3 years is still waiting to be finished" I thought to myself.

So, I quickly switched my focus and started looking for Phil Niekro RC's from the '64 set.  When I was unable to find anything that I liked, I did a general search on the '64 set to see if there was anything there that would catch my eye.

This card appeared in the search.  It had a BIN of $16 and change, with a best offer option.   I took a shot and offered $15 shipped.

Today this beauty arrived in my mailbox.   I'm down to 102 cards left to go to complete my '64 set.  Still a lot of big names to pick up; McCovey, Gibson, Niekro, Gaylord Perry, and the A.L. Bombers card to name a few.

At the beginning, knocking off 20 or 30 cards from the want list was the reward.   Now, adding single cards like this makes this set build even more rewarding. 

I think when my want list for this set drops below 100 cards I'll definitely feel some satisfaction.   I've started older sets in the past, but gave up on them too easily. 

Not this time. 

The end isn't near, however the light at the end of the tunnel just became a little brighter today.

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

At least I now have a reason to watch the World Series

A couple of hours ago I heard a very loud noise in my neighborhood.

It was the screams and shouts of a fan base that has suffered for nearly 3 decades.

The Kansas City Royals are in the fall classic.   And I couldn't be happier.

I have relatives on my wife's side of the family who are big Royals fans.   I can relate to what they've gone through as Royals fans (I'm a Maple Leafs fan, remember?).  29 years is a long time to wait for a playoff berth, let alone a chance for a championship. 

The Royals are a team I can get behind, largely because my NL allegiance has shifted to the Pirates over the past handful of seasons.  I've watched how the Pirates have built from within, and coached a lot of veteran pitchers who you could say were on the "scrap heap" into some brilliant pitching performances.  The Royals remind me of the Pirates, only with a slightly higher payroll.

Having a guy with the nickname Country Breakfast only helps to enhance my joy. 

Seeing how teams like the Royals can make it to the final dance gives me hope that other "small market" teams can shrink their payrolls and build winning ball clubs.  Kind of like Pittsburgh.  Oakland.   Minnesota was part of that group for a while, until the past couple of seasons. 

It doesn't matter who the Royals face in the Series.  They have my backing 100%.   Maybe even 110%, if that's possible.  I'd also love to see a repeat of the 1985 Series match up.  Why?  Because I'd love to see the Cardinals go down in flames to the Royals (and no, that's not a prediction).

Hey, the Royals even made a card I've had for 11 years relevant again!!

Who knows?   I might even switch allegiances if the Royals pull off a World Series win.

Everybody loves a winner, right?

Go Royals!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, October 13, 2014

By the page: Jose Cruz Jr.

I actually got something accomplished on the weekend.  With my sister-in-law visiting, my wife was otherwise occupied.   That left me free to work on the multitude of piles sitting on my desk.   I actually made some progress on the two Blue Jay piles on the desk, separating the cards needed from the cards I already have.  I still have a stack of about 150 still to enter into the spreadsheet, but it is nice to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.

I still have a lot of cards on the desk for these "by the page" posts, so let's get another one out of the way, and look at Jose Cruz Jr.

Top row:  The dark blues

I'm really not sure what Topps was thinking on the Topps Reserve card in the middle.  Player uniform number on a dot in the middle of the picture, and then a second dot on the bottom of the card with the position.  Definitely not one of Topps finest releases (no pun intended).  Even the Leaf checklist card on the right hand side is a nicer design.

Middle row:  2001/02 base cards

The 2002 Heritage card was an easy choice for the middle of the page when I saw it.  In retrospect the '02 Heritage set is something that I should have put together, because it is one of my favorite designs from the '50s.  I surrounded the Heritage card with a couple of road uniform photos.  The '01 UD design would have been better in my opinion of the team logo wasn't done in foil.  The '02 Topps Opening Day foil is a little too big for my tastes, and stands out from the rest of the photo.  I'm sure that a better way could have been used to distinguish between OD and the flagship.

Bottom row:  Shiny

OK, I have to say this.  Doesn't it look as if Cruz had an accident on the Donruss Preferred Power card?  I really didn't think too much of it until I saw the scan in front of me on the screen.  Does anyone think that Topps should go back to the larger Chrome sets similar to what they released in the late 90's?  Yea I know that the cards are expensive, but I like the larger team sets that were available on the Chrome releases back then.  The cookie cutter 200 card sets now just don't appeal to me.

Not a bad page, all but one of the cards feature Cruz batting or running.  I'm sure I'll be able to put together one more page of Cruz Jr., it'll be interesting to see if I have any cards of him in a fielding or throwing pose.

thanks for reading, Robert