Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Turning the page

It's funny, but I believe that I've finally become "comfortable in my own skin" as a collector.  It took the last 3 months of the year, a lot of time away from the keyboard and a desire to cut back on card related spending to help me find my way.

The calendar year 2014 helped me realize that:

--I'm a set builder.   I want to complete sets.  It's been that way since I was 8 years old.  Realizing this fact is going to help me in 2015.

--I also enjoy receiving Blue Jays cards from fellow collectors.  Cards like this one have brought a lot of smiles to my face over the past 12 months.

Julie from A Cracked Bat sent this my way, and it quickly became one of my favorite "hits" in my Jays collection.  (Thank you very much for this card Julie, I hope that you had a fantastic holiday!!)

--Averaging less than a post a day for 11 months out of 12 is not a bad thing. No pressure, right?  I think that a less hectic pace will keep me around a lot longer. 

--I no longer have to rush out to pick up a bunch of the "latest and greatest" release.  Living vicariously through the enjoyment that a lot of other bloggers have displayed about releases like Stadium Club has been good enough for me.  In the end, this has saved me a lot of money.

--Vintage is cool, and has been fun to collect, but it will not be what defines me as a collector.  Building older sets has taught me patience, which for this guy can only be a good thing.

Tomorrow is resolution day.  I have a couple of ideas of what I want to do for 2015. How well I stick to them is another story.

To all my friends out there in the blogosphere, I hope that you have a very healthy and prosperous 2015!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Knock 3 more off of the list

The SNI project has really made a big push over the past few weeks.  A lot of people have rolled up their sleeves and forwarded me a lot of cards recently, which is really appreciated.

I fell 6 cards short of 1300 by the end of the calendar year (unless a mysterious envelope shows up out of the blue tomorrow), which is not too bad considering that there was quite a lull during the summer for this set.

I received another 3 cards today from Jimmy at the Talking S.Mack blog, all from the 2013 Topps Update set.

Great photo of Alvarez about to hit a gold ball in the HR derby

The Ohlendorf card in the center puts the Senators/Expos on the brink of completion; only one more card to go and they'll be done.  Francoeur on the right brings the Giants to 40 out of 50, and the Alvarez on the left gets the 'Burgh up to 37 out of 50.

I'm awaiting a Christmas purchase from COMC to come my way which will bring the set below the 200 cards needed mark. 

Check out the SNI want list, maybe you have something that I need that will reduce the list even further.  Teams like the Phillies, Mariners, Twins and Tigers all need a boost. 

Jimmy, thank you for the cards, they really are appreciated!!  Your envelope is on the way.

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A PWE that has me seeing red

I don't know about everyone out there, but I know that the best envelopes that I receive in the mail are the ones that I'm not expecting.

It means that someone out there is taking the time to think about me, and send a little cardboard goodness my way.

Jeff from the One Man's Junk (Wax) blog recently sent me one of those unexpected surprise envelopes, which contained 4 red Blue Jays parallels.

It's funny how things change so quick in today's baseball world; only one of these 4 players still are part of the Jays organization.  The one player out of these 4 who I am really interested to see what happens to him is Brandon Morrow.

Morrow signed with the Padres this season as part of their huge makeover.  Their depth chart on shows him as the 6th starter, which means he's likely headed for the pen, which I believe might be a blessing in disguise for him.  With the injuries he's had the past 3 years, pitching for shorter stints just may be what he needs to help out the Padres staff.

4 great adds to the Blue Jays collection are really appreciated Jeff.   Thank you very much!!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A new way to snipe auctions

I won an auction last Sunday for the card that I've been hunting down for a while.  What makes this story funny for me is how I acquired the card.

I spent a part of the Saturday afternoon before Christmas hunting for cards for my '64 Topps set.   I came across an auction that had a $3.99 starting bid and reasonable shipping.

So I bid on it.   And promptly forgot about it.  Completely out of my mind.

Thirty hours later, the email notification on my phone goes off, and I'm wondering what it is.

It was an ebay winner notification for this card:

I finally have my hands on card #1 of the '64 set.  It's in really nice shape, there's no markings on the card and it's only slightly off center.  With 99 cards left in the chase, I can see a little more light at the end of the tunnel. 

I'm wondering if it would just be easier to finish the '64 set if I bid on auctions and forget about them.

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The 12 pages of Christmas

I'm sure that there are many of you out there experiencing a lot of noise today.   Kids tearing open presents, family members visiting from all across the country can lead to a lot of noise.

So, I have decided to keep this post as quiet as possible. 

This is my 1200th post, and in the spirit of Christmas day, I've decided to give you the 12 pages of Christmas. 

12 pages of serial numbered cards that were finished from my recent run of cards.

No commentary, serial numbers of the cards are below each page.














Merry Christmas everyone!!!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Simpler times

As I'm getting older, I'm enjoying the wisdom that I'm gaining as I progress in life. 

What stresses me out though is the advance of technology.  The way people think and look at things in today's rapidly changing society.  Especially how we sports enthusiasts look at numbers.

I've always been a math guy, because I love how numbers work.   Today's sports world has truly made me hate how it's progressed, or should I say regressed, into.

WAR.   Ballpark adjusted stats.  Batting average of balls in play.  

Corsi.  Fenwick.

Quarterback rating.  Red zone percentage.

Effective field goal percentage???   Really???

Come on people, are we really that desperate to argue over numbers that we have to create bull shit such as this?

Whatever happened to the old "We scored more than you, so we win" line of thinking?   Does that not exist in the 21st century?

I guess what I'm saying here is that I miss simpler times.

Take me back to the days when skinny shortstops who were great fielders and slapped the ball around the yard were king:

Take me back to the time when parallels were simply gold stamped foil, no numbering needed (yes, I know that goes against everything SNI related, just work with me here).

I wanna go back to the days when they actually sold Cracker Jack at the ball park.  (Do they even sell it at any of the parks now?)

Hell, I'd even settle for going back to a point in time when athletes autographs actually resembled writing.

Tell me that doesn't look like the letters "F" "U" with Toronto circled.

Maybe a few more visits to this town will help me out some....

Hey, when this card was printed, the only bitching you heard around Toronto was how difficult it was to get a ticket to the Jays or the Leafs.

Now, you hear things such as how expensive it is for a beer, per ounce, in comparison to other ball parks.

Yes, I know advanced stats are here to stay.   A lot of the younger journalists need something new to write about.

Doesn't mean I have to like it.....

thanks for reading (if you still are)


Saturday, December 20, 2014

'59 Topps set build #9/572 Al Cicotte

Baseball Reference is definitely a boon for me when writing these posts.  How else would I have known that Al's last name was pronounced "SEE-cot".  

Career beginnings:   Al was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees in 1948.  Al played several years in the minors (along with two years of military service in '49 and '51) before finally making the Yankees squad in 1957.

How'd he fare in 1959?  Al pitched for the Indians in 1959, his 4th team in his first 3 big league seasons.   He went 3-1 with a 5.32 ERA in 26 appearances (1 start).

Al's career would span 5 seasons, the last being in 1962 with the expansion Houston Colt .45s.  

Close to home I:  Al's first season in pro ball was spent with the Butler Yankees in the Mid Atlantic league.  I wasn't aware that Butler, PA (20 miles east of where I live) had fielded a team associated with professional baseball.  

Close to home II:  Al pitched the 1960 season in Toronto (my home town) for the Maple Leafs of the International League.   During that season, Al pitched an 11 inning no-hitter against the Montreal Royals.  At one point, he retired 29 batters in a row.  A bobbled ground ball by Sparky Anderson ended the streak.  Al also won the IL pitching triple crown that year, finishing 16-7 with a 1.79 ERA.

Interesting fact:  Al is the grand nephew of Eddie Cicotte, who was part of the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919.

The card itself:  This card was part of a generous lot that was sent my way by CommishBob, and is the first card that I've featured with the orange background/white lettering mix. 

The card is in OK shape, the corners are soft and there are creases.   I probably will not replace it though unless I get another that is part of a lot from eBay.

The cartoon on the back is interesting, saying that Al is constantly practicing to better his control.   Isn't that what all pitchers do? 

I'd love to know what stadium Al is pictured in.   Is that Tiger Stadium?  I'm sure that some of the stadium aficionados can help me out with identifying the ball park.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

That Dennis is no menace

Before I start gabbing away here, do Chris at the Nachos Grande blog a favor and check out his latest group break.  Yes, I know it's Christmas and funds might be a little tight, but you probably still haven't bought yourself something yet.   Am I right???

There's still quite a few teams that haven't been picked up yet, so go take a look.

Now, back to your not so regularly scheduled post.

I've made quite a few trades over my time as a blogger.  I can easily say that one of my favorite trading partners is Dennis at the Too Many Verlanders blog.  What I really like about Dennis' blogs is that there's no mincing words.   He'll tell you what he likes, especially if it revolves around Detroit or Michigan sports.  The Verlander SP card that he shows off on this post harkens back to the Sandy Koufax photo with the 4 baseballs with zeroes on them representing his 4 no hitters.   Very cool...

With Dennis, the word "trade" is accurate, but also very loosely defined.

This time around, Dennis had hit me up with a PWE a few weeks ago, and I decided to hit him up with a decent envelope.   In return, Dennis decided to take some of his COMC budget and spend it on my SNI project.  His goal?
Eliminate the low numbers....

Consider the low numbers GONE!!

The J.J. Hardy is serial numbered 41, which finishes off everything 100 and below.   The Jones and McCovey cards are numbered 248 & 259; the two of them finished off the 200 series.

What does that mean?   If you happen to have, or pull, something serial numbered 301 and below, I don't need it!

The want list is getting smaller very quickly, as my project only needs 209 more to hit the magic 1500 mark.

Dennis, thank you very much for contributing again to the SNI project.  It is really appreciated!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The light is getting a little brighter at the end of that tunnel

Certainly over the 3+ year life of the SNI project, there has been a lot of peaks and valleys.   There are periods when cards don't come in for months, and the set becomes a bit of an afterthought.

Recently, the opposite has been true.   I've been hit with a few here, few there with startling frequency over the past few weeks.

I received an envelope from the very gracious Doug from the Sportscards from the Dollar Store blog, containing a pair of Blue Jay cards featuring a couple of young pitchers.   The envelope didn't contain just those, as there were 7 more cards that I was able to remove from the SNI want list.

These 4 Brewers bring their team total to 39 out of 50, allowing them to jump over half a dozen teams as far as cards remaining.   See the Rickie Weeks?   That card is serial numbered 170, which knocks off the "100's" as the first group of 100 cards to be completed.   There are a couple of other groups that only need 1 or 2 cards as well; I'm hoping to get those completed soon.

Doug's cards came from the COMC website as well, so he must have found a few Triple Threads cards along the way...

One each for the Padres, Rockies and Orioles brings them closer to the finish line.  The Rockies are only 3 cards from completion, the Orioles still need 12, and the Padres need just 4.

It feels pretty good to have a lot of the teams close to the finish line, and as other bloggers have commented in the past, it's going to be even more fun when the set nears its completion.  With just 212 cards to go, I fully expect that sometime in 2015 I'll be able to post that the set is complete.

Doug, thank you for the great envelope, it really is appreciated!!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

They're 2 for 2 so far, but I still have one concern

I mentioned last night that I did a little Black Friday shopping on COMC.  I still went kind of cheap on the entire purchase, only selecting 15 cards that would grace the hilly western PA area I know as home.

I did learn one thing though.   I could have really attacked the SNI want list a long time ago had I known how user friendly COMC was.

I picked apart the cheapo serial numbered cards, trying to hit some teams that needed a little boost.

I'm sure that there's a lot of people out there still trying to get rid of Triple Threads base cards, so I wound up picking up 9 of them scattered over various years.

See the Mark Ellis in the upper left hand corner?  He's the 50th Oakland A's card!  That's 6 teams complete now. 

Nice to get a couple of legends such as Palmer and McCovey in the set.  The best part about all of these cards is I didn't pay over 50 cents apiece, many of them were in the upper 30c/lower 40c range.

Even a couple of Topps gold parallels found their way here.  I would have also completed the Blue Jays team set, but turns out that the day after I had made my purchase, Steve D. sent his envelope of 2 cards, one of them being the same serial number as the Vernon Wells card that I picked up.  Oh well, no worries there, it just ends up in the Blue Jays box instead.

Now, to my concern.  Let me first preface this with this comment:

I am extremely happy with my two purchases so far.   Quick shipping, the packing has been great both times, and the cards have been just as advertised.

This question revolves around this card that I also picked up in the order.

I needed this 88-89 OPC Lemieux card for my set.  Again, another fantastic card at a very reasonable price. 

I am a cheap ass and select no top loaders for my orders.   COMC is really good and uses a fresh top loader on each end of the "brick" when they ship. 

I'm curious as to how they select what cards they put in the top loaders.  Anyone know?

It was kind of interesting that the 2 Topps gold cards were placed in the top loaders, and the most expensive card of the order was in the middle of the group. 

Is it me, or wouldn't it have made more sense to put the Lemieux in one of the top loaders?

I'm sure that someone out there will point out the flaw in my thinking...

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wiped out

I've been sick since last Wednesday.  Whatever this is that's going around, don't catch it.   It wiped me out so bad that I probably slept 60 hours between Wednesday and Sunday. 

How bad was this bug?  I missed the monthly card show.   Now you know how bad it was....

I made two feeble attempts to write blog posts, but in the end the blog suffered as well. Hopefully today is the day that I can start catching up on posting and thanking people for sending me some great stuff.

I spent part of the Black Friday weekend surfing, wanting to take advantage of the free shipping that they offered.   Hey, 3 bucks is 3 bucks, right!

Well, a little inspiration hit me when I looked at a quintet of relic cards that was graciously sent to me by Matt from the Bob Walk the Plank blog.   My Jim Thome collection has kind of dropped to the back of the line recently (so much so that I forgot to put the page back up on the blog, but that's another story) but these 5 cards kind of woke me up.   They probably doubled the number of Thome relics that I own.

I have always like the A&G framed relics, and the 2008 jersey that was in the envelope is no exception.   Love the border design.

I love the Hitting Machine relic cards from 2007 Fleer Ultra (I already have the Troy Glaus card for my Blue Jays collection), and the Thome card is no exception.  I don't have a whole lot of Topps Pristine, but they are beautiful and very shiny cards.  The Thome Fantasy Favorites card here is another nice add to the collection.

I can't honestly say whether I own an Ultimate Collection card from Upper Deck.  Well, OK now I can.  I like the fact that the background matches the photo which matches the jersey swatch.   Uniformity is cool.  The dual bat relic on the right got me thinking; I can't remember any time ever hearing about Jim Thome and steroids.  Not once.  Makes him all the better in my eyes.

Now these 5 cards put Jim Thome in my head while I was surfing COMC, and I found these two beauties.

I have wanted these two cards since I first saw them on the Night Owl blog roughly a year ago.  I couldn't find the exact post on his blog, but I do remember that he was quite emphatic about not giving up his copy.

I can't say that I blame him. 

Now I don't have the black bordered parallel, or the A&G back, or the Bazooka back, or any of the other versions of this great card.   But suffice to say that I'd be quite happy if I just owned these two cards.  At least chasing the A&G parallels would be more realistic than going after the Moments & Milestones parallels from that same year.  (that's a rant for another time)

Matt, thank you for the instant Thome relic collection!!  They really are appreciated.

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, December 5, 2014

By the page: 1987 O-Pee-Chee (x2)

Unlike the player pages that I've posted over the past handful of months, I decided not to break the set pages down row by row.   Instead, with the '87 OPC set being featured in this post, I'm just going to present the whole page all at once and give a quick breakdown on how I put the page together.

The '87 OPC set was only 396 cards in size, but the two Canadian teams were featured prominently in the set, with the Expos having 26 cards, and the Jays having 25.  I actually had 20 of the 25 together when putting together this post, declining to use the Jimy Williams and Jeff Hearron cards.  

This page was kind of easy to put together.   Many people say that the catcher is the heart of the team, the player that is central to the success of the pitching staff.   If I had 8 pitcher cards to show, I would have put Ernie Whitt in the center of those.   Since I only had 6 pitchers, I decided to put him in the middle of the offense.  I surrounded him in the top two rows with the infielders, including an up and coming Kelly Gruber.   The bottom row was the heart of the '86 Jays offense, Upshaw hitting clean up, Bell and Barfield in the 5 and 6 spots behind him.   As Upshaw's offensive struggles continued through the season, the order was switched.  Bell and Barfield were moved up one spot apiece, and Upshaw batted 6th.

Interesting airbrush job on the Duane Ward cap.   Ward was obtained by the Jays in July of '86 from the Braves for Doyle Alexander.  Doyle didn't fare well in Atlanta, and was traded back to the AL in the '87 season for some up and coming pitcher....John Smoltz.  How's that for throwing around 3 big name pitchers!  Doyle would go on later in 1987 to go 9-0 for the Tigers, and he even received Cy Young votes even though he only started 11 times in the American League.  

Ward and Henke would become a great 1-2 punch out of the pen for the Jays for the next few seasons.  Jim Clancy is one of my all time favorite Blue Jays, so in the center he goes.   Clancy was Toronto's 6th pick in the expansion draft, and became a starter in the inaugural '77 season, winning 4 times in 13 games. 

Keeping the pitchers together on this page just seemed like the right thing to do, and I'm sure that the page would have looked a lot better with the Stieb and Key cards. 

I also decided to put the guys who hit for the pitcher on this page.   Cliff Johnson just looks like a man who you shouldn't mess with on his cards.  '87 would be the best season the Cecil Fielder had in a Jays uniform, hitting 14 HRs in 175 ABs.  Fielder wound up leaving the Jays, playing 1989 in Japan, and then coming back to N. America and promptly hitting 160 HRs in his first 4 seasons.  

I would say that only the Clancy and Fernandez cards feature photos from regular season game action, with the remainder of the photos likely being taken at the Jays spring training complex in Dunedin. 

These cards, and anything from the 80's that I feature on the blog, will always take me back in time.  Back to a team that lost 100+ games its first 3 seasons, started to blossom in 1982 and finally won the AL East in 1985.  Those were the days....

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

'59 Topps set build #8/572 Coot Veal

I haven't done a lot of writing lately due to the Thanksgiving holiday and the fatigue that set in because of it.  So to break out of the malaise that has been gripping me lately, it's time to feature a card that has its own blog. 

Card #52:  Coot Veal

I thought for the longest time that this wasn't a real name.   Just a figment of someone's imagination, along the lines of the Sports Illustrated Sidd Finch April Fools gag back in 1985.  Not until I discovered DHoff's blog a couple of years back did I realize that the gentleman does indeed exist.

Coot's full name is Orville Inman Veal, and he was born in Sandersville, GA.

Career beginnings:   He was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1952.

Career Line:  .231 average, 1 HR and 51 RBI in 247 games played.

I mentioned on the Bill Hall post about whether there would be other cards in the set that had detailed minor league statistics, well here you go!  Veal's card back details a 6 year journey from the time he signed in '52 to his eventual debut and selection to the '58 all rookie team with the Tigers.

Loved to face:  Bob Grim  6 for 13 (.462)
Hated to face:  Hoyt Wilhelm 1 for 12 with 4 K's (.083)

Coot's only career home run came in 1959 off of White Sox lefty Billy Pierce.

How'd he fare in 1959?  Coot wound up being more of a defensive replacement in 1959, appearing in 77 games but only garnering 89 ABs.  Coot hit .202 with 1 HR and 15 RBI's that year. 

  • Coot's career was short lived, only lasting 6 seasons in the majors.  
  • He was drafted by the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft, and was traded that very same day to the Washington Senators where he spent the '61 season.
  • Coot has the distinction of being the first player to get a base hit for the expansion Senators in the '61 season.  He also scored the first run, driven in by a Gene Woodling triple with 2 outs in the first inning.  The Senators lost to the White Sox 4-3.
  • His '62 season with the Pirates consisted of only 1 AB.
  • Coot would spend parts of the '63 and '64 seasons in the minors before retiring at the age of 32
The card that I own is in really nice shape, there are no creases or markings of any kind.   The corners are a bit soft, but it's still a really nice copy of Veal's RC.

I love the cartoon on the back that features Coot receiving a trophy for making the '58 all rookie team.  The cartoon guy in the top hat and tails reminds me of Brian Doyle Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.  

I also never knew what the "Pony League" was, but learned today that Pony is short for Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York.  See, you do learn something new every day...

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, December 1, 2014

One Piece at a Time

While growing up, you could say that my musical influences were varied.  I did most of my "growing up" musically in the 80's, so my tastes are strong into the bands/acts that were popular at that time.

But before I branched out towards my own musical tastes, my father was a big influence on what me and my sisters listened to around the house.  His love of country music kind of grated at my nerves, but in the end I probably wound up with more of an appreciation for that style of music than most of the other kids in my neighborhood.

Now most of the artists that my dad listened to, such as Charley Pride, Tom T. Hall and Stonewall Jackson were not my cup of tea.  But one singer that left an indelible impression on me was Johnny Cash.  His clean cut and good looks reminded me of my dad, and it didn't hurt that I was able to sing along to his music as well.

I received an envelope today from blog reader Steve D., a PWE that featured two cards.  One of the cards was another addition to the SNI project.

Serial # 1105

Ted Lilly becomes the 41st Dodger card in the SNI set, and the 13th card that Steve has sent my way.  The set now stands at 1270 cards total out of the 1500 needed for completion. 

The Ted Lilly card for some reason made me think of the Johnny Cash song that is featured on the video below.  As the set moves towards its completion, I imagine that I'm going to see more envelopes with just one card in them.  One Piece at a Time you might say.

Not only was that card in the envelope, but so was this....

Another great looking Adam Lind autograph card, this one from the 2012 Topps Golden Moments insert set.

Every card, every envelope, and every thought that another blogger or collector has sent my way is truly appreciated.   Each of those items gets me one step closer to a set that I thought I may never complete at one point.

It struck me as ironic that one of the most articulate and well spoken singers of my lifetime has a video of one of his most popular songs that contains just the lyrics.  I'm sure that everyone out there who listens to this song will be able to understand the words....

Steve, thank you so much for the cards!!  They really are appreciated.

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, November 24, 2014

Flight 1269 departing to Tampa Bay

Believe me, right now I wish I was on a plane headed for the south.  I don't know if I'm ready for another winter, and the climate in Florida right now is something I'm sure that I could get used to.

I guess for now I'll have to settle with getting warm via the generosity of others, specifically Jeff who heads the club PWE at the fantastic 2x3 heroes blog.  The PWE I received today had 4 cards in it, but they certainly packed a punch.  Knocking 4 cards off the SNI want list at this point is great, and knocking another team off the want list is even better!!

Let's start with the 2 cards that didn't knock any teams off the want list:

First up is Tom Wilhelmsen, a player that was featured recently on the Night Owl blog (Night Owl  wondered where 2009 was on Tom's stats, I guess Topps doesn't recognize the Golden Baseball League, which is where Tom played that season).    Tom's card is serial #'d 1076, and brings the Mariners to 36 cards out of the 50 needed.  Denard Span on the right brings the Nats to 48 out of 50, and is serial #'d 1474.

Now, speaking of Tampa Bay....

A pair of left handed pitchers brings the Tampa Bay Rays portion of the SNI set to a close.  Drew Smyly up top is serial #'d 839, and Matt Moore down below bears the number 336.   The Rays are now the 5th complete team for the set, with 3 others being either one or two cards away (Jays, A's and Nationals).

There are also quite a few teams still down in the mid 30's; teams such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Baltimore, Seattle and Minnesota all still need anywhere from 14 to 16 cards to finish their portion of the set.

All totaled, 1269 cards out of the 1500 needed are in house.   231 to go. 

Jeff, thank you for the PWE!!  I really do appreciate it (I have some '64s for you that I'll try and get in the mail this week).

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I make it so easy to laugh at myself

You've read it over and over here on my blog.  My inability to keep organized is legendary in my own mind.  Today's little story that I'm about to recount is another example of disorganization at its best. 

If you look here, you'll see how this post starts.  My initial foray into the world was a success, helping me finish two hockey sets. 

The 2008/09 OPC hockey set was one of the sets that was completed.   And, as I am wont to do, I go through the entire set one more time, making sure that I have all the cards present and accounted for.

I always start from the end of the set, and about 50 cards in, I am missing two numbers (back to back no less).   Panic mode sets in, and I hit the trading card database website to see the names that I'm missing.   I see them and I know for a fact that I've picked up the cards not too long ago.

I start looking through the piles on my desk, and find the 2 cards, plus 4 others that weren't put into the box previously.   Now, all 600 cards are present and accounted for. 

Here's the best part....while searching through that particular pile on my desk, I find a top loader containing two cards.  The first is this...

A great autographed card of David Broll to add to my Maple Leafs collection.  The 2nd card in the envelope, however, was a little more significant as far as the baseball end of this blog is concerned.

Serial numbered 366, and still on the want list.  (shaking my head right now)  LoMo is the 42nd Marlin towards the set.  Sadly, I have no idea who sent this to me (aside from the fact that they are a generous person). 

At least I know where this next card came from:

Paul Maholm came from a pack of '14 Topps Update I opened last week.  Serial number 540 has now been removed from the list, and the Dodgers have hit the 40 card mark.  The total number of cards towards the set now stands at 1265, just 235 to go. 

I'm hoping that the person who was kind enough to send me the Broll auto/LoMo SNI card will let me know that they did, so I can give them proper credit on the spreadsheet.  Please!

I'm such an idiot...

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, November 17, 2014

What's a good word for how I feel about today's events?




A big trade and a big free agent signing made headlines today, and while I normally don't discuss things such as these on the blog, the two names that switched uniforms today are definitely worth a look.

Help me out here Braves fans.  I've watched Jason Heyward play a few times over the past couple of seasons, and I can see it.   There's a presence, maybe even an aura when he's on the field.  He's only 24, and has 5 seasons under his belt.

Did the Braves run out of patience?  I know the adage that there's no such thing as having too much pitching, but acquire it at the expense of trading Heyward?  My gut on this one is that the Braves are going to regret this trade in a couple of years.

I really like Russell Martin.  He made the Pirates staff much better than any of the other catchers that have taken the field over the past couple of seasons for the Buccos.  But there are a lot of numbers against the Blue Jays giving him the kind of money/term that they did today.

First.   Martin missed 50 games this year.  Hamstring problems cost him a month.  He's not, nor will he be a player that appears in 140+ games for the Jays.  The artificial turf in Toronto will not be forgiving on his legs.  The best all around catcher that I've seen over the past 20 years, Ivan Rodriguez, saw his numbers decline as he passed the age of 35.  Martin turns 32 during spring training this year, and my gut tells me that his contract is going to be an albatross for the Jays after the 2017 season.   (I hope that I'm wrong, believe me...)

Second, his average over his two seasons as Yankee was .224.   His best seasons have come while playing in the National League, and 2014's numbers were definitely a career season for him.  The AL and NL are two different worlds, and some players can't handle one league like they can the other.  Please don't say that Martin couldn't handle the pressure of being in New York, because I'm sure that Los Angeles is just as intense, and he did fine there.

Best of all, the AAV of Martin's contract is more than the Jays are paying Jose Bautista.  Let's see how long that lasts.

Yes, these are my opinions, and I know what everyone says about opinions. 

In a couple of years down the road, everyone can look back and laugh at me and say how wrong I was.   I'm used to it.....

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, November 16, 2014

'59 Topps set build #7/572 Danny's All-Stars

As I mentioned the other day, I am really starting to enjoy seeing a lot of the multi-player cards from the 50's and 60's.  I haven't looked to see exactly how many of these are in the '59 set, but I do own 6 of them already, and I will say that they are an interesting diversion from the normal every day player card.  

Card #17:  Danny's All-Stars

How unfortunate was the timing of this card.   I'm sure that plans are made the summer before to identify and get cards ready for production the following year, but Thomas was part of the big trade with Cincinnati that I mentioned on the Bill Hall post last Monday.  By the start of 1959 Thomas was in a Reds uniform. 

What's even more interesting is that Ted Kluszewski never made it to an All-Star game in a Pirates uniform, as a matter of fact he hadn't been to an All-Star game since 1956 when he was with the Reds.  Ted's time in Pittsburgh didn't go all that well, and he was traded for two players in August of '59 who appeared in a total of 9 games for the Pirates. 

There were certainly other star players on the '58 Pirates club.  Names such as Dick Groat, Bill Mazeroski, Bob Skinner and Roberto Clemente all could have been used instead of Kluszewski on this card.   I'm sure that Topps went with the two names that "packed a punch" with their bats.  Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Interesting to look at the back of the card, especially the last three lines that discuss Thomas' switch to third base.  It probably could have said that it was a switch back to third base, where he had played regularly during the 1956 season.   The Pirates moved him to 1st base in 1957, but with 15 errors in just 71 games at first, it probably made sense for Murtaugh to move him back to third, especially after acquiring Kluszewski, a natural first baseman.

It really would have been interesting to see what kind of lineup the Pirates would have had had they acquired Kluszewski during his big offensive years in the mid 50's.  Unfortunately he only hit 6 HRs during his days at Forbes Field, and wound up giving up the 1st base job to Dick Stuart, who was a part of the 1960 World Series team.

Originally I wondered about giving so much of the back of the card to Murtaugh, but after thinking about it for a short time, I guess you could say it made sense.  

The card is named Danny's All-Stars after all.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, November 15, 2014

By the page: Raul Mondesi

I worked a bit today to try and get some more pages together, because I have about 150 cards on my desk that need to fit into the Jays box very soon.  The box is becoming packed very quickly, and I have to act soon to find more room.  I found it interesting that even though Raul Mondesi only spent a couple of years with the Jays that I was able to put together not just one, but two pages worth of cards for him. 

Top row:  Bat on shoulder

Although a lot of Jays fans weren't happy with the team messing with the original logo, I rather liked this version.  Both the updated Blue Jay in the leaf, along with the 'T' logo were a solid update to the classic logo.  I don't have a whole lot of the original 2001 Heritage release, but the Mondesi card makes me wish I did.

Middle row:  Thumbs up to MVP

When I saw the 2000 Bowman card of Mondesi holding his thumb up for the camera, I knew right away that this card had to be the centerpiece for this page.  While I've been a fan of the MVP releases over the years, I have to say that the 2002 version on the left is a little loud for my taste.

Bottom row:  The swing

That long follow through, it's what I remember most about Mondesi.  What makes me sad about the limited time that he had in Toronto is that he was traded to the Yankees for a pitcher that appeared just 3 times in the majors.  That was in 2002, and surprisingly Mondesi became a part time player after that, rounding out his career just 3 years later.

There are going to be plenty of pages for guys such as Delgado, Halladay and Clemens.  But what interests me just as much is finding enough cards to complete pages for players such as Mondesi, Reed Johnson and Frank Catalanotto.  The players who weren't household names for a long time in Toronto still have a soft spot for this Jays fan, as do the superstars that will eventually be the bigger focus for the "by the page" series.

Thanks for reading, Robert