30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pennies and Pride

This weekend is our last opportunity to get our Olympic fix.  Then the two year wait begins for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.  I have to admit that outside of the first four snowboarding events and a few of the daily highlights, I really haven't paid attention to what's going on in Pyeongchang.

Even though I personally prefer cold weather over warm weather, I'm actually more of a Summer Olympics kind of guy.  In the past, I've enjoyed watching basketball, swimming, and the track events.  However in 2020, I'll probably be focusing on soccer, skateboarding, and baseball.

Yup.  Baseball will be back at the Olympics after a 12 year hiatus.

I can still remember opening packs of Topps back in 1985, pulling the Team USA subset cards, and thinking... damn these cards are cool.  Things became much, much cooler when Big Mac started launching bombs in route to winning the 1987 AL Rookie of the Year Award, because his card would eventually become one of the most recognizable cards from the era.

But we'll discuss that card in another post on a another day.  Today, I wanted to share a different Topps Team USA subset card.  It's not nearly as iconic or valuable, but in my humble opinion, it's just as cool.

See for yourself:

1989 Topps Big #322

Jim Abbott is one of those players who has a cult-like following in our hobby which is 100% understandable.  The guy pitched ten seasons at the Major League level and threw a no-hitter against a Cleveland Indian's lineup that featured Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome.  And he accomplished these feats with only one hand.

But that's not what drew my attention to this card.  I've been trying to track one of these down for a few years, because its aesthetically pleasing.  I love the portrait shot of him wearing his Team USA gear superimposed onto the shot of him and his teammates celebrating their gold medal win over Japan in the 1988 Olympics.

The back of the card is pretty cool too.  It features his 1988 collegiate and Olympic statistics, as well as two colorful cartoons that highlights his 1987 Golden Spikes (top amateur player) and 1988 Sullivan (outstanding amateur athlete) awards.

And although it's not considered to be his rookie card, it was a pack issued card from his rookie season.  This was kind of the icing on the cake for me.

So why did it take me so long to acquire a copy?  Well... it's comes down to pennies and pride.

Over the years, I've found a fair share of his rookie cards sitting in quarter bins and probably even dime boxes, so I just couldn't or wouldn't spend more than a couple quarters for it.

COMC has two copies available, but the $2.75 is almost laughable.

I considered grabbing a copy on Sportlots for 18¢ (+ shipping), but kept waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of combined shipping.

Then I stumbled across an eBay auction:

Do I actually need 113 of these?  Probably not.  But the price was right.

113 for $1.25 (+ $4 shipping) equates to less than per card which is a much more realistic price per card.

Plus they look so cool scattered about...

This isn't my first venture into purchasing multiple copies of a single card.  Back in the 80's, I loved buying and putting together rookie card lots of guys like Mike Greenwell, Will Clark, and Sam Horn.

And it didn't stop there.  In the 90's, I purchased enough 1995 Classic 5 Sport Ben Grieve autographs to almost fill a 9-Pocket page.

Sadly, I paid much more than each or the 92¢ asking price currently on COMC.  Maybe that's why I've slowed down my need for multiple copies of cards.

Slowed Down Stopped.  Last week, Peter over at Baseball Every Night sent me a generous PWE that included this note:

Let's see if there are any dupes in Peter's PWE.  First up...

2018 Topps MLB Opening Day #OD-24

This happens to be my very first taste of 2018 Topps baseball, so this Davis is definitely not a dupe.

Next up...

In addition to my first insert card of 2018, Peter hooked me up with my first four 2018 base cards.  Ironically... one of them was a dupe.  Don't worry Peter.  If you haven't noticed, duplicates aren't a problem.

The final card in the PWE was a card of Eck's set up man:

1989 Bowman #185

Is it a dupe?  Well... I have do have a 1989 Bowman factory set laying around somewhere.  Plus there's a good chance I have at least one of these sitting in my Oakland A's oversized box as well.  But it's much appreciated.  Worst case scenario is I buy another 98 copies and create a 100 card lot.

It's time to hear from all of you...

What's your stance on duplicates?

Do you have 100+ copies of any singles in your collection?

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Beauty and the Beast

Do you ever sit back and reminisce on your childhood celebrity crushes?  If not, you should give it a try.  It can be a little humorous and nostalgic at the same time.

I had a few.  My favorites were Phoebe Cates, Nicole Eggert, Pam Dawber, Erin Gray, and the Japanese girl who held the tea ceremony with Daniel-San in The Karate Kid Part II.

However... none of these ladies were my first.  That honor goes to Dawn Wells:

2012 Panini Golden Age Historic Signatures #44

If you grew up watching Gilligan's Island, then you're familiar with the famous pop culture debate:  Ginger or Mary Anne?

Although I considered both women to be very attractive, I pledged my allegiance to the brown haired girl with the wholesome looks, innocent charm, and big, warm smile.

In fact, I targeted this specific card awhile back for two major reasons:

1.  That smile instantly took me back four decades.
2.  I was also drawn to the on-card autograph.

Wells has signed for a few different trading card companies over the years, but the majority of them have utilized stickers.

So what do you think of my latest non-sports card addition?  Isn't she a beauty?

And as foreshadowed by the title of this post, I hereby present the other big eBay purchase I made recently.  Introducing... The Beast:

1999 Topps Autographs #A10

As much as I have disliked the San Francisco Giants over the years, I always enjoyed watching Barry step into the batter's box.  I won't go into why he has my inconsequential support again.  I'm just hoping that one day people will remember his actions on the field a little more than focusing on The Beast who took PED's and didn't get along with the media.

Regardless, I'm happy to  add another autograph of The Home Run King.

Okay it's your turn...

Who are some of your favorite childhood beauties?  And who are some of your favorite Beasts in baseball?

Happy Hump Day and sayonara!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Saving for a Rainy Day

If it doesn't start raining in the next 10 days, the Bay Area will experience one of the driest months on record.  Don't worry, this isn't turning into a weather blog.  I realize that this is the second time in three posts that I'm referencing the weather, but bear with me... I'm just using it as a lead in.

I've always been a rainy day weather kind of guy.  I loved stomping in puddles on my way to school and experiencing indoor recess when I was a kid.  Plus when it rained here in San Jose, it usually meant snow up at Lake Tahoe.  More rain led to more snow, which led to a great ski season.

But today's post isn't about Tahoe, skiing, or the weather.  I assure you it's about baseball cards.

A few weeks ago, I received a medium sized flat rate box from John over at Johnny's Trading Spot.

How does this care package relate to the weather here in San Jose?

Well... the next time I'm stuck inside of my house due to rain, I now have something to help brighten up my day thanks to these two boxes of 1991 Fleer baseball that John sent me:

Now I realize that many of you aren't fans of these yellow bordered baseball cards that will figuratively blind you if you stare at them too long.  However, I have actually grown quite fond of this set the past few years.  Don't get the wrong idea.  I'm not nominating it for my favorite Fleer baseball card design or anything.  At the same time, I don't think it's nearly as bad as the 1990 or 1995 Fleer baseball card designs.

One of the favorite things about this product are the card backs.  I also feel like Fleer did a pretty good job on photo cropping on certain cards.  Both of these things will be addressed in my recap post after I do my rainy day box break of these two boxes.

So come on Mother Nature... bring the Bay Area some rain.

Johnny didn't stop there, he also sent me a unopened box of 1990 Upper Deck Low # Series baseball:

Oh man, this box brings back memories.  I couldn't afford to rip open 1989 Upper Deck, so I tried to make up for it by cracking open tons of this stuff.  Obviously this stuff hasn't held its value over the years, but it still has some decent rookie cards:  Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker, Juan Gonzalez, John Olerud, and David Justice.

I haven't decided on if I'm going to do a personal box break with these cards or possibly use it to teach a fractions or statistics lesson with my summer school students.  Either way, I'll keep you posted.

The last box he sent me was a non-sports product I have never seen or heard of before.  It's a wax box of 1992 Pacific The Story of World War II:

I've always been interested in learning about U.S. history and World War II is probably the historical event I am most fascinated with.  I think it has to do with my parents growing up in Hawaii and experiencing the bombing of Pearl Harbor first hand.

I look forward to busting this box eventually.  Maybe a special December 7th box break?

And rounding out Johnny's care package was a team bag filled with singles for my Oakland A's collection:

Here are a pair of my favorites:

2017 Chrome Prizm Refractor #98

When the A's traded Ryon Healy back in November, it cleared the way for Matt Olson to become their starting first basemen (except when they're facing left-handed pitchers).  The guy showed baseball fans that he can hit bombs, but he also struck out a lot too.  It'll be interesting to see if he'll be the next fan favorite, the next attractive piece of trade bait, or the next Kevin Maas.  Only time will tell.

2017 Topps Update Postseason Celebration #PC13

This card is awesome!  It shows the Oakland Athletics celebrating at Riverfront Stadium on October 22, 1972 after winning Game 7 of the 1972 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds and The Big Red Machine.

I was less than two months old at the time and was a few years away from calling myself an A's fan.  But I still think it's pretty cool that my favorite team won the World Series the year that I was born.

He also sent me a small stack of promo cards:

1994 and 1995 Topps Pre-Production Cards

The 90's are often recognized by collectors as the Era of Innovation.  The competitive card market forced companies to think outside of the box, which led to things like memorabilia cards, shiny and diecut parallels, cards made from materials like acetate and metal, autographs, and printing plates.

But something that doesn't get recognized as much as it should are the plethora of promo cards handed out during this era.  Towards the latter part of the decade, I worked at a card shop that had tons of these laying around.  So whenever I saw a new one, I'd grab it and throw it into my collection.

Although there is a chance that these were once passed out by a card shop dealer, it's more likely that these were acquired originally from 1993 and 1994 Topps factory sets.  Regardless... their purpose was to give collectors an idea of what the upcoming set would look like, so these will be added to my ever-growing promo card collection.

I'll wrap things up with two more singles that stood out in Johnny's care package:

1990 Classic WWF #22

I haven't been a professional wrestling fan in years, but there were two brief periods of my life where I was really into the scene.  The first time was in the mid to late 80's when I was in middle school and high school.  I'd look forward to watching guys like Hulk Hogan, Rickey Steamboat, The Ultimate Warrior, and The British Bulldogs.  Then I took about ten years off and returned in the late 90's to early 2000's when The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and D-Generation X ruled the ring.

Mr. Fuji was a big part of the first go around for obvious reasons.  

1996 Topps #96

If I ever put together a list of my favorite Cal Ripken base cards, I hope to remember to include this card.  It's the perfect tribute to Ripken's 2,131 consecutive games played streak.  I love the collage that Topps designed for the front and the nice write up written on the back.

One of my favorite things to collect are cool, cheap cards.  This card has been added to that binder.

Thank you John for this very generous care package!  I'm really looking forward to cracking open those two 1991 Fleer boxes and bringing a little sunshine into my card collection.

Happy Monday and sayonara!