Wednesday, November 18, 2020

2nd blog anniversary

2 years ago today I started this blog. For this year's anniversary post I think I'll go way back to the beginning of my baseball card collection. 

My first 2 cards, a 1987 Ralston Purina Eddie Murray and a 1990 Starline Darryl Strawberry, were given to me by the older brother of one of my friends. Though I guess I liked them enough that I still have them, I hadn't caught the collecting bug yet. What really made me start collecting was my 6th birthday. For that birthday my Grandma gave me a 2012 Topps Yankees team set. I still have them all, though they're in pretty rough shape. 

I don't have a very good memory for things that I don't make an effort to remember, so I don't know much about my early days of collecting, unfortunately. I believe, though, that what made me start collecting in earnest is that some people we knew moved into a house and there were several thousand cards from the '80s and early '90s in the attic. I guess they heard that I collected baseball cards, so they gave them to me. For an early collector, it was incredible.  I didn't know a lot about cards, and so these cards were pretty much my whole collecting world. 1933 Goudey? Never heard of it. 1956 Topps? What's it look like? What I like is 1986 Topps. I still remember looking through a ton of 1986 Topps cards, and liking them so much. 

Baseball cards taught me everything I knew about baseball back then. One thing I still remember is the beginning of my baseball statistics education. I loved baseball statistics from the start. I guess I asked my Dad about what were good statistics, because I remember picking out Mike Krukow (20 wins one year) and Pat Clements (once had an ERA under 3) as Good Players. 

I tell you, I LOVED (and still do) baseball statistics. I like numbers, and baseball statistics tell you stories about a player, almost as vividly as a book. One game I started early on (probably in 2015), which I still play, is where I make a fictional baseball player's career out of statistics from the backs of my baseball cards. It has various rules, and is very fun. It's called Mock. My memory is that I called it that by accident, because I just liked how it sounded, but I'm not sure if I can trust that memory. It sounds too improbable.

I've been collecting baseball cards for a little bit over 8 years now, so almost a quarter of my collecting life has been covered by this blog. It's been fun writing a blog. I like a lot how there is a baseball card blog community, so people actually read my blog. I guess I'll do the acknowledgements now, as I should start wrapping up this post. Thanks to all my readers, and everybody who takes the time to comment on my posts. A special thanks to Fuji, who comments on ALL of my posts. It's very nice to have someone who always comments, because then you never have to have a post with 0 comments, which is rather depressing. Thanks to my 4 followers, and thanks to my mom and dad for at the least tolerating my messy baseball card obsession, and even sometimes getting me more baseball cards. And thanks to my Grandma, for getting me my first pack of baseball cards.

Monday, November 9, 2020

A great trip to the card shop (again)

In the last post before my birthday I showed some cards I got from my local card shop, the highlights being cards from a stellar $2 box of vintage cards. A week after that memorable visit, a month ago by now, I returned. Though it's hard to believe that I may have gotten even better cards than last time, I did. 
Yes, this is a genuine Eddie Murray rookie card, an O-Pee-Chee copy, plucked from the mysterious row of $2 cards. I expected this card to go the way of the Reggie Jackson rookie card from the last visit, understandably confiscated by the owner. But no. I showed it to the owner, asking what an OPC card was doing so far south. He looked at it, and said it must have gotten in there randomly. Go figure. And the people running this card shop are knowledgeable about baseball cards, so I cannot account for how I got this other than a miracle.
The edges are pretty ragged, as you can see best on the back. This card sells for about $20 on Ebay, which strikes me as a little low for a rare vintage card of a hall-of-famer, but whatever. 
1956 Topps is definitely one of the best post WW II baseball card sets , maybe the best, so getting Bob Feller and Eddie Mathews for $2 each.....  I love the action shot on the Mathews, as it looks like he knocked the ball loose from a Dodgers infielder. 1956 was Bob Feller's last Topps card.

1963 was the year of Richie Ashburn's sunset card, as his last year was 1962, in which he hit .306 and set a career high for home runs with 7. He had never hit more than 4 homers in a season before 1962, and just 22 over all. He retired after that season, though, presumably because he couldn't bear the thought of playing another year for a team which had just lost 120 games.

These 2 were not from the $2 box. The Staley was 60 cents, and the Posada a meager 30 cents. 

I also decided to get 3 packs of 2020 Topps Big League, as I had seen good accounts of it on the blogs ,and they had packs of it for just $1 each. I personally was underwhelmed. The design is kind of boring, the photography just so-so, and it irks me that there are just 5 seasons of statistics on the back. 

Still, it was nice to get some cards from 2020 for once, as I hadn't opened a single pack of 2020 products all year.

I miss Didi, especially as Gleyber Torres is more of a second baseman than a short stop, but DJ hitting .364 eased the pain. This year was disappointing for me as a Yankees fan. I know 98% of my readers cried for joy at the Yankees' overall meh-ness, but it was tough for me. The Yankees haven't been in the World Series since I was in diapers, so I don't have many memories of the Yankees' glorious past to fall back on.
I was very nervous about getting a Yankees card, because I had a bad experience last year where I got a 36 card pack of 2019 Topps which contained the grand total of 0 yankees. For a while it looked as my pessimism might have been justified, as over 20 of the 30 cards had gone by without one. But, thank God, the last pack contained the Orange parallel Giancarlo which you see above.

Over all, this 2nd visit with the $2 box may have been even better than the first. 

Since I've been getting such great cards from this shop, I figure I should give them a little free advertising. They're Triple Cards & Collectibles, in Plano, Texas. Here's the link to their Trading Card Database card shop page if you're interested: If you live nearby or are in the area, check them out. I've gotten lots of good cards from them over the past year or two. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

It's my birthday!

 Today's my 14th birthday! It's been a pretty good birthday so far, and hopefully will continue that way. For my birthday this year I got a combination of baseball cards and books. I always get baseball cards, but I think this is my first year that I've asked for books too. 

I just got 3 cards, but they're real good ones.

I love getting Phil Rizzuto cards! I now have  23 Phil Rizzuto cards! Most of those are modern, but I have 4 of his solo vintage cards, which is pretty nice. 
I thought the last line was interesting: "He was named the All-Time Yankees Shortstop by New York Sportswriters." When I read that I realized that the Yankees didn't really have any good shortstops before Rizzuto. Off the top of my head, the best I can think of B.R (Before Rizzuto) is Frank Crosetti, who Rizzuto replaced when Crosetti was just 30. The absence of good shortstops seems strange, because the Yankees historically have had good up-the-middle players, but there it is. Since Rizzuto the Yankees have had Kubek and Jeter.
This is Hoyt's 2nd-year card, and it's a very nice card. I originally wanted to see what a 1952 Hoyt rookie would cost, but when I saw it was $500 it went off the list quickly. Oh well. When I'm pitching for the New York Yankees I'll be able to afford it. :)
And lastly, I got this Yogi for my '59 set build. It's a great card: a nice shot of Yogi, and it's in good condition. Actually all 3 of the cards I got for my birthday were in good condition, which is nice.

I also got 4 books. I got a copy of the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, which I already have but is falling apart because it's a 1000 page hardcover which has been dropped too many times; the Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, a good book featuring comics from the beginning to the 1970s; and collections of 2 of my favorite comic strips, Pogo and Krazy Kat, which were both major influences on Bill Watterson of Calvin & Hobbes.

I was very happy with my presents. Thanks Mom and Dad! I also got $20 from my sister, which was very generous. I hope I'll get something really good with that money. I'm also starting to enter birthday card season, so I'll have a good amount of money for baseball cards. 

It's been a good birthday so far. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A great trip to the card shop

I've gone through this before, but I am really blessed to have 2 good card shops a reasonable distance from me. It's nice to be able to physically look through cards, and sometimes you can get some really nice cards.

2 weeks ago I went to Triple Cards & Collectibles, which I go to primarily to make progress on my 1959 Topps set. I got a lot of great cards last time I went, and this visit was no exception. 

I got a lot of really good vintage cards this time. They had a $2 box of miscellaneous vintage, and, believe it or not, there was a Reggie Jackson rookie card in there. They didn't let me buy it, because it was obvious it didn't belong. It's possible that the ones I did get weren't meant to be there either, but they didn't want to be cruel and not let me buy any of them.

Getting vintage Yogi, Spahn, and Larsen cards for just $2 each was like a dream come true. I actually got 4 of the $2 cards as part of a $7/5 deal, so they were actually even cheaper than that.

Here's Al Kaline beside a Dover reprint of the same card. Why I also got the reprint will be explained later.
Here's a pair of early career hall-of-famers. I really like the Hunter, because the condition on that card is just so sharp. It isn't perfect, but it feels like it just came out of the pack, the colors are so vivid.  It's especially noticeable on the back.

I also got some work done on 1959 Topps. These 4 were all 60 cents each, a good deal. 

I really like the Curt Flood card. It's a real nice card, and Flood was a very good player and an important figure in the fight for free agency. Faye Throneberry was a high number, and I was happy to get him for just $1. 

While I was looking through cards, the owner was looking through a cigar box of reprints, and saying how they were more trouble than they were worth. He then told one of the workers there (or maybe a co-owner, I don't know) that he could take them home, or throw them out, or whatever. 

I like reprints, and so I offered to take them. He gave them to me for free, which was very nice. I had a great time looking through them, and there were a lot of good cards. There were about 200-250 cards, and not all of them were reprints. There were also some TCMA cards, and oddball stuff like that. I'll show most of them, so I won't do too much commentary on them to keep the post from going on forever.

I don't have a clue what these 1940 play ball-ish weird cards are. The artwork is really bad. Ruth doesn't look too bad, but DiMaggio is a fright and Heilmann looks like a kid, which is weird.
Here are most of the cards, sorted by set. A lot of them were Dover Reprint cards, while the Turkey Reds  and most of the 1933 Goudeys were Renata Galasso reprints, and are very nice.


These are TCMAs. They're real nice. 

One interesting thing about the reprints is that they were all hall-of-famers. That was nice, of course, but part of me wanted a more balanced representation of baseball from back then. Whatever. I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth anyway, and when I really think about it complaining of too many hall of famers is pretty stupid. 

It was one of the best trips to a card shop I ever had, but when I went the next week (last Wednesday) I might have gotten even better cards. Stay tuned!

By the way, I'm willing to trade some of the reprints, so if you see any cards you like, let me know, and we might be able to work out a trade. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Going off the beaten path for baseball cards

Comc and Ebay are the usual options for buying baseball cards, but it pays to get off the beaten path some times for baseball card buying options. 

For instance, I bought some cards from Kit Young a month ago. Kit Young has been around for a long time, so he isn't exotic, but he isn't the knee-jerk option like Ebay.

This time I bought from a site that specializes in O-Pee-Chee cards, OPC baseball. I bought 4 cards from them; ironically, only one was actually an O-Pee-Chee card. 

First I got 2 cards for my 1959 Topps set build: Drysdale and Hodges. Neither of them are in great condition, but they're both totally acceptable to me.The backgrounds are interesting too. It felt good getting 2 hall of famers out of the way. I now have 56 out of the 572 cards in the set, which isn't bad considering I haven't been actively working on it for that long.

This was my favorite of the lot, both just as a card and as a deal. It was just $5, a real steal for a vintage Whitey Ford, and I also just really like the card. 1964 Topps has a nice design, and I like the pitcher-coach designation. Not something you see everyday.

This is a 1966 O-Pee-Chee card, though it looks just like a regular Topps card on the front. 1966 OPC was one of the rarest OPC issues of them all, so I was very pleased to get a Felipe Alou for a very reasonable price. 

The "Printed in Canada" line is the only way to tell that it's an OPC card. 

Overall, I got some good cards at good prices from OPC baseball. As with Kit Young, not all the cards are priced as well; really, I think I might have gotten all the good priced baseball cards. But I'll definitely be checking back occasionally to see if there are any more good baseball cards.

This series of purchases really shows that it pays to consider options other than the go-to sites like Ebay.

Friday, September 18, 2020

A windfall

 So, for a long time I'd had this card of Mike Trout. I liked it because it was Mike Trout, and it was shiny. I had no idea where I'd gotten it; it was just in my cards with a couple other cards from that set. You can probably guess where I'm going with this.

The card. A 2013 Topps Blue Slate parallel.

I put it up for auction a few weeks ago, because with the boom in modern cards and the Mike Trout Superfractor selling for 4 million dollars, I decided it was the time to sell. It had some corner wear, the result of it just being in my collection for my years, but it still sold for $80. 

So now I had all this money that I wasn't sure what to do with. I wanted to get a 1933 Goudey hall of famer, but it took a long time to decide on one. I ultimately decided to get a Waite Hoyt card, as it's a nice one.

Overall, I was pleased with my purchase. It's in very good condition, except for a surface wrinkle on the front, and it's a very attractive picture. Waite Hoyt himself wasn't too bad, either. He won 237 games over his 21 year career, and won 22 games against just 7 losses with a 2.63 ERA for the 1927 Yankees. 

I now have 12 out of the 239 cards in the set, with 2 out of the 64 hall of famers. I'm starting to get discouraged again about how many hall of famers there are in the set, so I'll probably switch my focus to 1959 Topps for now unless I find a really good deal.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Cards from Kit Young

For me, Kit Young has always been one of those names that I hear about, but never really think about as an option for buying cards. However, recently my Dad called me over to the computer to show me the site, and it turned out they had good prices for 1933 Goudey. Intrigued, I probed deeper, and was able to find 8 cards for a good price. Here they are:
1949 and 1950 Remar are the cheapest pre-TCMA minor league cards that I know of ; these 2 were just $2.50 combined.  While Earl Jones pitched only briefly in the major leagues in 1945, Augie Galan actually had a long and successful major league career, lasting for 16 years, from 1934 to 1949. He hit .287 for his career, and walked a good bit, while leading the league in stolen bases twice. Just out of the major leagues in 1950, he hit .282 with 13 home runs.
Jess "The Silver Fox" Petty was the only 1933 Goudey I got. Petty was not a bad pitcher, though his career win-loss was 67-78 for his MLB career. He had ERAs of 2.84 and 2.98 in 1926 and 1927, and the '20s was one of the hardest hitting periods in history. By 1933, at 38, he was pitching for the Minneapolis Millers in the American Association, and was still a pretty good pitcher, winning 18 games against 8 losses. For his whole pro career he won 253 games.
It also had an "autograph" on the back, which I don't mind.
I got very good prices for the Red Man tobacco cards. Though it's tough to find even commons for $4, none of the four I got cost more than $3. They aren't mint or anything, Nellie Fox has some heavy creasing, but not too bad. I was very happy to get cards of both Fox and Bobby Avila. Though Avila isn't very well-remembered nowadays, he actually was a very good player for a while there. In 1954, the year of his Red Man card, he won the AL batting title with a mark of .341.

The Whitey Ford was what really sealed the deal, I think. I could hardly believe that an early career card of a Yankee hall of famer from the '50s was just $3, even if there was some heavy creasing. Hank Bauer was appreciated, if not as spectacular.
I was really happy to get this card. I'd always wanted a Mother's Cookies card from the '50s, and I was finally able to get one at a good price. Despite it being in good condition, graded, and a guy who hit .306 in his major league career, Bob Dillinger was priced not much more than a beat-up common usually is. Bob Dillinger actually had his best season in the Pacific Coast League by far in 1953, as he hit .366 with 236 hits in 171 games. For comparison, he hit .287 in 1951 and .301 in 1954.

Overall, I was pleased with my order. The prices were good, and though the shipping was a bit above normal ($7), the cards came on the same week as I ordered them, so I can't really complain.

Thanks for reading!