30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, December 10, 2017

WWII, Heritage, and Baseball

"Whether Issei, Nisei, Sansei, or Yonsei, if we do not preserve this unique chapter in American baseball history, it's all gonna be about No Say."  -Pat Morita

My parents are Japanese-Americans who were born and raised in Hawaii.  And without dating myself or my parents too much, both were living on Oahu when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.

An estimated 110,000 men, women, and children were sent to internment camps located in California, Arizona, Arkansas, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.  Many of them lost their homes, jobs, and businesses during their time in the camps.

Thankfully, neither of my parents or their families were relocated like all of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans located on the West Coast of the United States were.

To help keep their morale up, the families bonded and turned the camps into cities within the barbed wire.  They organized dances and played baseball to keep themselves entertained.

American Pastime is a movie that tells the story of baseball within internment camps during World War II.  I wasn't able to find any proof, but I think that one of the characters (Kaz Nomura) was inspired by the Father of Japanese-American Baseball, Kenichi Zenimura.

Although I wouldn't say this is one of my favorite sports movies, I feel it's worth watching... especially if you're a fan of the game.  I was personally drawn to it, because it combines three things I'm really interested in:  World War II, Japanese-American culture, and baseball.

I originally purchased this movie years ago at the annual Nikkei Matsuri (Japanese festival) in San Jose, but I loaned the copy to a friend and never got it back.

Over the years, I had totally forgotten about it, but a last year I found another copy sitting on the shelf at Nikkei Traditions when I met up with a friend for dinner.

It's autographed by Kerry Yo Nakagawa, who plays Jumbo Tanaka in the movie and was also one of the film's associate producers.  Nakagawa started up the Nisei Baseball Research Project, which is a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve Japanese-American baseball.  He's also the author of Through a Diamond: 100 Years of Japanese American Baseball.

Included with the DVD was this autographed baseball card of Nakagawa featured in his Topaz uniform from the movie.

I was very excited to add both of these items to my personal collection.

Okay... you know the routine...

What's your favorite sports and/or World War II movie?

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Taking a Break

Two Saturdays ago, I wrote about how I made the decision to start using Perfect Fit sleeves instead of Ultra Pro team bags to store my higher end relics, autographs, inserts, and rookie cards.  This transition kinda opened up the flood gates, because it eventually led to me reorganizing my player and team collections as well.

The bad news is that a fraction of my collection is stored at my parent's house in Las Vegas, so technically I won't be able to find closure until I'm able to make it down there again in a few months.

The good news is that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel in regards to the stuff I have in my possession.  In fact this morning I decided to treat myself to three PWE's recently sent to me by fellow bloggers after spending an hour or so of sorting commons.

PWE #1: Johnny's Trading Spot

If you're a fan of vintage, I encourage you to head over to John's blog and check out all of the goodies he picked up from his PC "trip".  It was truly mind-blowing.

Thank you John for these nice additions to my vintage binder.  That 1974 Topps Rollie is one of my favorite cards from the decade.

PWE #2:  Sport Card Collectors

I sent Matt a PWE with some New York Giants, so he returned the favor with this stack of Oakland A's parallels and inserts.  I'm always excited to add a new Bartolo Colon card to my collection.  And although The Big Hurt will always be remembered for his years in Chicago, I'll never get tired of seeing him in an Athletics uniform.  His 2006 season in Oakland really revitalized his career.

Thank you Matt for these new additions to my A's collection.

PWE #3:  The Angels, In Order

1995 Fleer Metal #70
1995 Fleer Metal Silver Flasher #16

It's been awhile since I mentioned how big of a Brett Favre fan I was back in the day.  In the 90's, he was hands down my favorite football player.  These days, I don't track down his cards as often as I used to, but thanks to Tom... that might just change.

At first glance, these two cards look like duplicates or possibly parallels, but the card on the left is Favre's base card.  While the card on the right is part of the Silver Flasher insert set.

Thank you Tom, Matt, and John for these generous PWE's and for helping me take my mind off of my collection reorganization.

I'm done sorting for the evening, but I'll be back to the card stacks tomorrow.  Until then...

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shall We Play A Game?

Do you enjoy collecting vintage baseball cards of hall of famers that are really affordable?  Well... if you answered "yes", then I have a set you might be interested in.

Back in 1968, Topps inserted the iconic Game cards into their 3rd Series packs.  There's just something about the simplicity of the card design and the floating head/neck that attracts me to these inserts.

They were also offered to baseball card collectors as complete sets, which means that there are plenty of these floating around.  As a result... they're reasonably priced.

This set isn't exactly a hobby secret.  I have seen them on card blogs on numerous occasions over the years and have even stumbled across them at flea markets and card shows.

Two years ago, I picked up an entire 33 card set for $34 (+ $3 shipping).

These days complete sets typically sell in the $40 to $60 range, which still seems like a bargain when you look over the checklist.

Seriously.  This set is loaded with value.  Collectors can own a vintage Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, or Hank Aaron without breaking the bank.  In fact, thirteen out of the thirty-three players are hall of famers.  That's almost 40% of the checklist.

There's a card of the All-Time Hit King.

And when you factor in guys like Tommy Davis, Frank Howard, Dick Allen, Rusty Staub, and Rick Monday there are plenty of fan favorites rounding out the checklist.

Out of the twenty teams who played in Major League Baseball back in 1968, every team has at least one player represented in the set except for the New York Mets.  Red Sox, Pirates, and Twins fans lucked out.  Each of these teams have three players on the checklist.

The cards were intended to be used as a game.  The rules were simple.  Two people would face off against each other and try to score the most runs.  After shuffling the deck and placing it face down, whoever is up to bat picks up one card at a time until they get three outs.

If you scan through the cards, you'll see that two-thirds of the set result in an out.  The eleven cards that allow the offense to reach base are dominated by the bigger names on the checklist.

The Say Hey Kid entered the 1968 season with the most home runs among active players, so I thought it was cool that Topps gave him the honor of being the most powerful card in the deck.  Although I'm kinda surprised that they didn't give Carl Yastrzemski (who was coming off of his Triple Crown season) a more powerful card.

Well that's all I've got for you today.  Until my next post...

What are your thoughts on the 1968 Topps Game inserts?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Best Bang for Your Buck

Transitioning from having a very loose budget for many, many years to sticking to a strict budget has been a lot easier than originally anticipated.  As I've mentioned before... cutting down the number of eBay searches has been half the battle.  I've also started to streamline certain collections which I'll discuss in a future post.  Finally... I really enjoy the thrill of hunting down great bargains.

One of those bargains was a purchase I made back in October off of Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown. 

He's been cleaning out his CD collection and was offering a USPS medium sized flat rate box filled with baseball cards and CD's.  That in itself is a really good deal.  But the thing that made this offer a "no brainer" was the 2005 Topps Retired autograph he threw in to sweeten the deal.

There were six different players to choose from and one of them was Bob Welch who helped the Oakland A's reach the World Series three straight seasons from 1988 to 1990.  During that stretch, he had a 61-23 record and won the AL Cy Young Award in 1990.  He's also the last MLB pitcher to win 25 games in a season.

Sadly Welch passed away back in 2014.

If the huge stack of CD's, hundreds of baseball cards, and the Welch autograph weren't enough... Gavin also threw in a few of his customs that he's become famous for.  I've seen the Jacksons on other blogs and was excited to see them thrown into my box.

Thanks Gavin!  This was probably the best $20 I've spent this year.  I'm not sure if he is still offering this deal, but it doesn't hurt to head over to his blog and ask him yourself... just click here.

And before I forget... thank you to all of you for those get well wishes.  It worked!  Things started to turn around on Sunday and by yesterday I was able to sit comfortably at my computer, hammer out a few posts, and catch up on some of your posts.  It's crazy how quickly they pile up when you're subscribed to over 150 sports card blogs.  Hopefully I'll be able to catch up by the end of the week.

Until then... Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Down and Out

The past few days have kinda sucked.  On Tuesday, I strained my back for the umpteenth time while getting ready for work and I can't even parallel park my car or pick up a dry erase marker without grimacing.

But it's happened enough the past ten years that I'm starting to accept it as part of my life.

In terms of cards, I haven't been able to sit down and sort cards.  Heck... the majority of my free time has been laying down on the floor, looking up at the television, while doing a variety of stretches.

I stuck around work a little longer today in order to finally publish a post.  I was thinking about how I could relate cards to my messed up back, when I remembered Amelie Mancini's (Left Field Cards) and her cool custom sets.  She's made a few different series of baseball card sets and one of them targets baseball players who suffered weird sports injuries.

2014 Topps Tribute Green #40 (#'d 01/50)

Did you know that John Smoltz once scalded himself while ironing a shirt?  Well according to Mancini he did.

1987 Topps #653

That's where I also learned about Kevin Mitchell straining a muscle while vomiting.  

And one time... Wade Boggs strained his back just like me.  Only he did it while taking off his cowboy boots.  I strained my back while putting on shorts.

Boggs bounced back and had a hall of fame career... so the least I can do is bounce back and catch up on blogging and reading all of your posts.  Just give me a few days.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!