Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Taking another plunge

At the same time as I ordered the 81 Topps lot that I displayed last week, I decided to get a start on a new Player Collection that I talked briefly about last month.

I found a 30 card lot for $7 shipped of Ichiro Suzuki, and am using that along with a few loose cards I had on hand to start up a PC of him.

Pretty much base set cards, which is fine by me to start.  I expect that I'll probably end up with this PC in the same binder as Andrew McCutchen.  Probably mostly base cards and parallels, with the occasional jersey card thrown in.

I'm looking forward to diving a little more in depth to Ichiro's career, his streaks, records and maybe even learn a little about his career in Japan before he came to North America.

Things such as:  During his first decade in MLB, he missed only 32 games.  3 games a year.  Incredible.   Also during that decade he had 2244 hits, with his worst season totaling just 206.

Ichiro needs 5 more singles to reach 2500 for his career.  2500 singles.  Wow.

My Ichiro collection won't be as in depth as what I own for Joe Sakic or Jim Thome, but a couple hundred cards over time certainly will be fun to put in a binder and look at. 

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Hail to the hats

I've spent a bit of time on ebay lately looking for starter lots (set lots) to jump start my way to getting some sets started.  I've been looking mostly for anything between 1969-1985 that I can find that's cheap and has a decent amount of cards.

I finally pulled the trigger on a lot of 108 1981 Topps cards for $10 shipped.  I didn't think that was too bad, and looking at the set in the price guide it appears that I paid about 1/6th of the price of the set for 1/7th of the total cards.   I can live with that.

What surprised me was that they were in really nice condition, mostly mint or near mint.

There weren't any of the big name RC's (Baines, Raines, Gibson or Valenzuela) but there was a nice mix of commons and semistars.  I only had about a couple dozen cards from the '81 set in my collection, and I really never paid much attention to them, until I received this lot.  Then I noticed something, which probably most of you already did.

The hats.

I got a kick out of how the hats are in the teams colors.  A small thing for sure, but I enjoyed this revelation.  Jeff Newman's A's hat in the scan above, with the green and yellow combo.  Love it.

There were a couple of other hats I noticed.

The Pirates pill box style hats were represented in the pill box style on the front.  That was awesome to me.

The 3 colored Expos bleu, blanc et rouge cap.   Fantastic!

The Blue Jays, Padres and Orioles who all had panels in the front similar to the Expos were all represented the same way on the hat in the corner.  

Even the cartoons on the back were cool to me.

Adrian Devine's 15 saves in '77 actually tied the Rangers record at the time.  He wound up in the winter as part of a very large 4 team trade that involved the Rangers, Mets, Braves and Pirates that saw names such as Bert Blyleven, Willie Montanez, Jon Matlack and Al Oliver change teams.

While the cartoons and the hats may not have been news to most of you out there, I enjoyed this lot of cards and the things that I learned.

They were just cool to me, much like Steve Trout was back in the early 80's...

Thanks for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving!  Robert

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stuff from last week's card show

I guess yesterday's post was the impetus to get me scanning and telling the story of last week's show.  I have a decent story to tell you as well.  But first, let's get to the goodies.

The first table I hit had several quarter boxes, and I found enough to spend a $10 bill on. 

How many of these Topps Future Stars cards have we seen over the years that have all 3 players on the card go on to have solid MLB careers?  I don't recall too many (although I don't have them all...yet), but this trio all had some quality seasons in the bigs.  Just wanted to throw that out there...

4 quarters.  The Molitor is a dugout collection, and even though the team says Minnesota Twins on the bottom, I'll count it as a Blue Jay card.  The Scott Rolen Topps Co-Signers card is part of a mini sickness that you'll see more of in a minute.   Olerud and Stieb RC's for a quarter?   All day!

I don't know what it is about the Co-Signers cards that has this strange effect on me.  Multiple colors?  Check.  Serial numbering?  Check.  Multiple photos with some serious shading effects on the front.  Check that too.  Not sure why, but I decided to pull these out and give them a home....

84 Topps for a quarter apiece?  3 pretty good ball players as well.  OK, no problem...

I swear that Nolan Ryan has been following me around lately.  Every time I hit a show, I see several cards of his for cheap, and I have no idea why. 
The Dave Parker is my deliberate reminder to get my ass in gear and get a '76T want list on the blog.  I can't even remember how far along I'm into that set.
Fred Lynn from 77T?  Oops, don't know why but I thought that was from another early 80's set.   I guess by this time I was hallucinating and just decided to throw it into the pile.

All 3 for a quarter apiece.

More Blue Jays.   Love the Fleer Futures on the right, it has some Japanese characters on the front which made it look cool to me, plus the fact that I was sure I didn't own it already...

Two cards from two dormant hockey PCs.  I've been doing so well getting my stuff in order lately that maybe I'll do the same for these two collections and get them rolling again.

Now, as all you box hunters know, after a while you get a bit tired sitting there and cruising through the boxes.  By the time I started pulling these cards out, I was feeling a bit restless.  So, I took a big chance on the serial numbered cards, and lucky me, I hit 5 out of the 6 for the SNI hockey set (the only miss was a 99-00 BAP Patrick Marleau card, so not a total loss there either.

The Cam Ward card from the 05-06 Beehive set is for the Goalie Mask set.  Just in case I had gone totally blind, the penny sleeve had the word BLUE in big bold letters. 

OK, now the interesting story...

I hit another table, and this dealer had a bunch of singles from this year's Topps.  10 cents apiece.  I started diving in, had pulled out about 40 cards when I came across this card.

Believing in good karma and not wanting to see a dealer get gypped, I told him "Hey, I think you've got a gold parallel in here among the base cards."  My jaw almost hit the floor when he gave me his response.

"Oh?  My bad, if it's in there, it's 10 cents."

Holy shit.  I am a big believer in karma, and hearing him say this proved it even more for me.  During my digging I found 3 more gold cards, and then I found this card of Mark Rzepczynski the likes of which I haven't seen anywhere on the blogs yet.

There is some absolutely weird stuff coming out of baseball products at times, but negatives?  I had a look on TCDB, and there hadn't even been any of them posted yet. 

For 10 cents, you better believe it came home, even if it's just for a conversation piece.  I spent 10 bucks at his table, and knocked off almost 50 cards from my Series 2 want list.

So for the past 2 card shows, I've spent a grand total of $25, had a great time at both shows digging through boxes, and had a couple of good stories to tell.

Can't beat that with a stick.

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, November 20, 2017

It felt like stealing

I had the itch.  I went to the monthly show the weekend before last, and did fairly well.  I haven't even shown those cards on the blog yet. 

I felt so good that I decided to hit the monthly show in West Palm Beach.  I hadn't been to this show in several months, largely because it's a Sunday only show and it's about a 45 minute drive up the Florida Turnpike.  The show is also a bit smaller as far as tables go. Sundays are usually the day that the wife and I take it easy, do some light chores around the house and try to relax as much as possible.

I did one lap of the show, then settled down at a table with a few dime boxes and dollar boxes.

3 Hall of Fame pitchers from the dollar boxes.  Throw in a well loved '68 Killebrew, a 90 Leaf Griffey (which I already had), and this card..

No matter how I scanned this, I couldn't get it straight
Then I moved on to the dime boxes.  I did all right there as well....

The first couple of boxes I hit upon some early 80's cards, with the stars shown above.  I hit 13 cards from '80 Topps, 11 cards from '82 Topps, the Bench '83T and the Henderson '84T.  I moved on to the last box, and it was full of two other sets that I'm working on, 89 Upper Deck and 90 Leaf.

I hit 70 cards from those 2 sets, and decided that I'd had enough.

All totaled, I pulled a little over 100 cards from the dime boxes, and a half dozen dollar cards.  Handed them to the dealer, fully expecting to pull out a 20 dollar bill to be changed.

He looked through the cards for a few seconds, looked back at me and said  "5 dollars?"

It was the easiest 5 bucks I pulled out of my wallet in ages.  It really did feel like stealing.  I also knew I wasn't going to beat that deal anywhere else in the show, so I left.

I may never spend only $5 at a show ever again.   Guess I'll be heading back there again in December.

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, November 17, 2017

Inbound and Down #30: A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts

You may remember quite a few months ago I ran a little "contest" on the blog, daring people to write posts of 100 words or less.   I offered to knock 5 cards off of their want lists for doing so, and 20 victims dared to take up the challenge.  I told people that I wanted nothing in return, save for the challenge of writing a brief post.

Jon at the A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts blog took up the challenge, and wrote an excellent post featuring his cards and using haikus to describe them.  That post was written on March 4th.

Jon has a very long memory indeed, because he sent me a 6 card PWE this week as a thank you for what I sent back then!  Like I said, totally not necessary, but it is greatly appreciated!!

Let's start with the best Jay to wear the #30, Todd Stottlemyre

I always liked the Score Gold Rush cards, and have been stupid enough to entertain the thought of trying to put the parallel set together.   Needless to say, cooler heads prevailed....

Still hurts that EE is gone, but it appears that he's found a good home in Cleveland.  He had a typical EE offensive season (.258/38/107) and drew over 100 walks for the first time in his career.  He'll hit the 350 home run mark for his career early in 2018 (he needs 2) and is about 3 years away from 2000 hits (needs 418). 

Hadn't seen this card before last weekends card show.   I bought it for a quarter, then just a couple days later, it arrives in my mailbox!!  Rock solid foundation indeed, as '97 (the year this card is from) started a run of 10 straight 30+ HR seasons for Delgado.

A pair of red beauties finishes off the envelope.  I thought I had the Clemens card on the left, but a quick look at the Jays want list and sure enough, I was able to remove it from the list.  The stars on the card was the giveaway, as I didn't remember them at all on any of the Pinnacle Certified cards that I have.  Red Panini Prizm's are a favorite of mine as well, and Melky Cabrera (who the Jays can certainly use in their outfield now) was a welcome sight.

Jon, thank you very much for the envelope, it certainly was appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Try A Pack #10: 2017-18 Artifacts Hockey

I got lucky this season.  My annual bid to try and get a parallel or two out of Artifacts only cost me $6.  I was able to find two loose packs this year; every other season I've always had to buy a blaster which contained 8 packs of no parallels.

This year my two packs contained, you guessed it, no parallels.  I'll always keep trying though.

Retail packs of 5 cards cost $2.99, a bit expensive but the cards do look nice (as they always have).

The Hurricanes are closer to having a great team than people think.  They've got a good coach, a great young defense and some shooters up front.  Victor Rask is only 24 and in his 4th season.  He's been a solid contributor each of his first 3 seasons, and should see the benefits of his hard work very soon in the tobacco belt.

Stanley Cup this year?  That's what the Lightning have to be thinking.  Kucherov is the early favorite to win the Rocket Richard trophy, as he and Steven Stamkos are making mince meat out of goalies so far this season. 

Frederik Andersen is the lone Leaf I pulled out of the two packs.  I'd love to see the Leafs find a backup goalie that they fully trust, because I believe that Freddie just isn't a 70 start goaltender.  50-60 is more like it.

Ryan Spooner is part of the turnover in Boston, and he's put up decent numbers over the last two seasons.  He's been hurt a good portion of this season, not having played in the past month.

Part of the west coast beard movement, Jake Muzzin is the defenseman you don't hear about when discussion about the Kings happens.  Hard to believe he's already in his 8th NHL season; it seems like I just started hearing his name in the past couple of years. 

As always, the Artifacts design is for the lack of a better word, elegant.  The Artifacts name is always at the top of the card, and little changes happen at the bottom as far as design goes.  It's as reliable as it gets for card products, you know what you're going to get and how much you're going to pay for it.

thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Inbound and Down #29: Diamond Jesters

I only recently found the Diamond Jesters blog, and that was largely due to a trade I made with its writer, Matt.  Check it out when you have a moment, Matt is a Red Sox fan and writes haikus!

Shamefully, I was brutally slow on returning my end of the deal, but Matt was gracious about it and I actually have sent him a 2nd envelope today with a couple of more cards that I hope he can use.

Matt proposed a 1 for 1 trade, but in the end he sent me 4 cards, all worthy additions in their own way.

I'm sure I have a few copies of the '89T Lloyd Moseby card, but none with the rediscover Topps gold foil emblazoned on them!!   Still a good conversation piece and starter to the envelope.

2 things I would love to see from Troy Tulowitzki in 2018. 

  1. Stay healthy.  66 games in 2017 was a killer to the team, even though Jays fans may have seen the beginning of the shortstop of the future for the club, Richard Urena.
  2. Get that hitting stroke back.  Troy is hitting combined .250 during his tenure in Toronto, and if we can see him get back close to the .300 hitter he was in Colorado, that would certainly help.

A little gold never hurts!  I believe that this is the first gold card from 2017 for my Jays collection.  Devon Travis is another player that the Jays need to stay healthy in order for the offense to get rolling again.

Finally, this is the card that was originally offered, the Josh Donaldson 2017 Optic base card.  Topps Chrome without the logos, right?  Still it's a good card of the Jays best player right now, so I love having it in the collection.

Matt, thank you for the trade, the cards are appreciated!  My apologies again for the slowness of sending you my end, hopefully the envelope I mailed today helps a little with that.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, November 13, 2017


After this past Saturday's card show, I decided to head to the local Target to pick up a few packs of cards to finish off the day's purchases.

The card aisle there was a bit in disarray, but what popped right out at me was the new NHL sticker album for the 17-18 season.  I briefly flipped through the album and upon seeing that the set was just over 500 stickers strong, I put it back down.

I then thought to myself that I had bought and started the '17 baseball sticker album, and began to hunt around the shelves for any packs of stickers.  No sense starting the album like I did a couple of months ago and not at least try a little to fill it.

What's cool about the stickers is the size, at least for scanning.  This is 2 full packs, 16 in total.  I bought 4 packs and only pulled 2 doubles (better than the card packs I usually buy). 

Here's one of the pages that I'm close to completing, and as you can see coloring inside the lines was never one of my strong suits. 

The set is relatively small, just 301 stickers total.  I have about 1/3 of them so far, and putting the 30 stickers I had tonight into the album was kind of therapeutic.  It'll be interesting for me to see how long it takes to finish the album.

Maybe it'll take some sticktoitiveness on my part to get it done...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Inbound and Down #28: The Chronicles of Fuji

The Chronicles of Fuji.  Need I say more?  OK I will.  Mark is one of the best and longest lasting writers on the card collecting blogosphere, and I have had the good fortune of trading with Mark on a few occasions. 

I'm so far behind on my blog reading that I didn't notice until today that Mark had announced on his blog that he was sending packages (27 of them!) out to folks in the world, and I was one of them.

To be honest, I really don't remember sending him anything (it could have been a while ago, my mind is shot...), but I won't sneeze at the cards he sent me.

Why is it I don't remember Joe Carter as part of the Crash the Game set?  Right, the mind is gone...

OK, maybe the mind isn't that far gone, because I instantly recognized the Tony Fernandez on the right as being from one of the many 80's Fire Safety sets that the Jays released.  Love the old photo of Exhibition Stadium in the background.

A trio of Bowman Platinum gold.  Sadly, none of these 3 are currently with the club.

More Bowman Platinum, and a Topps Super insert from last year's Archives featuring Josh Donaldson.  Nice!

The Brett Lawrie card will go into his PC, the Jose Bautista card is sharp and I must be careful, and I have to admit, that Blue Jays logo in the center is the ugliest of them all. 

Didn't have my reading glasses on when I pulled this out of the envelope, and I said out loud "who the hell is this?"  I did not recognize Pat Borders at all with the mustache.  Cool jersey card though from the 2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition set.  I had no idea that Borders was ever affiliated with the USA Baseball program, which makes this even more cool for me.

Mark, thank you for the great envelope, it is very much appreciated!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Inbound and Down #27: Remember the Astrodome

Sometimes you go quite a while on the blogosphere without communicating with some of your fellow bloggers.  It's just a fact of life, as there's so many card bloggers out there you can't keep up with everyone.  I recently received an email from Marc at the Remember the Astrodome blog saying that he had a few Series 2 cards from '17 Topps to send my way.

It had been quite a while since Marc and I communicated last, since the address he had on file for me was my PA address!  So I sent him the new address and I received a nice windfall in the mail yesterday...

6 more off the list, need just over 100 now.   Hoping that today's card show can knock that list down some more.

A trio of Blue Jays, a welcome addition in any envelope!!  I especially liked the Fond Farewells card of Omar Vizquel which I don't remember seeing in the past.

Marc also chipped away at a couple of other want lists, as he knocked off 4 '89 Upper Deck cards, as well as a 1990 Leaf (not scanned).  Still a long way to go for both of these sets, but every little bit helps, right?

The topping on this envelope, which was totally unexpected, was the '74 Topps cards that Marc included.

Love the horizontal cards, especially the shot of Gary Matthews sliding into 3rd.  Looked at the '73 Giants roster, and that team had a very young and talented OF group, with Matthews (22), Garry Maddox (23) and Bobby Bonds (27) .  The team as a whole was young, with only one regular fielder over 30 (McCovey) and one starting pitcher (Marichal); neither of those two would be on the club the next season.

Another 9 more towards the set, including Barry's dad and Bob Forsch's brother Ken.  These 13 cards put me at just 2 cards shy of having 2/3 of the set in hand.   Maybe I'll be lucky and find a few today to bring home from the show.

Thank you for the cards Marc, they are appreciated!!  I have sent you a friend request on the TCDB (rmitchell6700 is my user ID there).  

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Still a little bit stunned over hearing the news that one of the greatest pitchers in Blue Jays history, Roy Halladay, tragically passed away yesterday at the age of 40.

Seeing all the highlights on TV and on twitter, I had forgotten that Roy was an out away from a no-hitter in only his 2nd career start (damn you Bobby Higginson). 

Roy was an 8-time All Star, 6 of those selections coming as a Blue Jay. 

Roy won a Cy Young in 2003 with the Jays, going 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA and 9 complete games.  He pitched 266 innings that year, a number that you may not see ever again with today's pitch count and inning limits placed on pitchers.

Roy was having one of his better statistical seasons in 2005 when he was hit by a line drive against Texas in July.  He was 12-4 at the time with a 2.41 ERA and a WHIP of 0.96.

In 2007, Roy pitched 7 complete games.  That would start a run of 5 consecutive seasons in which he would lead the league in complete games (3 in the AL, 2 in the NL).  During that 5 year period, Roy would win 93 games and throw 42 CG's, 12 of those shutouts.

2010 was the coup-de-grace for Roy, throwing a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29th, striking out 11 hitters while throwing 115 pitches. 
Roy would finally hit the postseason that year, and in his first start he would no-hit the Reds, striking out 8.  The only blemish on that game would be a walk to Jay Bruce.  It was the first post-season no hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in the '56 World Series.

Destined for history?  I hope so.  Would love to see the Jays honor him sometime in 2018 by adding him to the level of excellence.  He was one of the best pitchers to ever start for Toronto, if not the best.

God bless you Roy, you left us way too soon.   Rest in peace.

Thanks for reading, Robert