Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Card Show: Vintage Scrounging

I spent a lot of time digging through the cheap boxes at the card show, which I posted about yesterday. I found myself having little interest in the game-used and auto singles for sale. Most of the players I collect are over-priced in Michigan, so I count on trades and eBay for those. When it comes to actually spending a few bucks on a single card, I'm often uninterested at shows, even good ones.

But then there's always vintage. And I found a dealer with the best prices of the day, selling cards at ten percent of BV. I was happy to indulge. I can't turn down vintage at those prices.

Wertz was my first vintage Bowman purchase when I got back into collecting. I picked up his 1951 card, which is still one of my favorite cards. I like Vic, even if he's not in Tiger uniform. And 1954 isn't my favorite vintage Bowman set, but this is one of my favorite players from this era. By the way, if anyone has a 1950 Bowman Wertz for trade, I'll find some good stuff for you.

I didn't pick up this card at the show, but I'm feeling nostalgic, so here's another look at that sweet 1951 Wertz:

That's one hell of a card.

Back to the show:

I can't pass up a Granny on my woodgrain TV. One of my favorite names in baseball here, and a great looking card. This one was two bucks, I think, and well worth it for a vintage all-star. The corners are a little rough, but the centering is nice.

This is actually my first 1955 Topps card. Sure, Jack Parks never made it to the majors, but he got a nice card. I couldn't be happier to add this oddball player to my collection, even if it's the only card I ever pick up from this set. Parks is in full catcher gear--my favorite pose on a vintage card.

That does it for this batch. I'll show the rest of the vintage I snagged in the next post.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Card Show: Wonders of the Cheap Boxes

So, I kind of founded this blog on three things: Coot Veal and his awesome Vealness, Bowman Vintage, and dime box treasure. I haven't been very good about posting dime box stuff recently, yet I have all of these dirt cheap gems to share. I'm way behind on posting this batch, which I picked up at the last card show I went to, almost two months ago.

I'll try to keep this short and just show the cards.

What? Diamond Stars in a dime box? Yoinks! I didn't fool you for a second. Yes, these are reprints, but they're good reprints, and I can't pass up art deco for a dime a piece. The weird thing about these is that they're paper thin. Not like early '90s thin, but we're talking piece of cheap white paper thin. Still, worth a dime a piece.

Or, even better than reprints for a dime a piece, these 2002 206 were four for a quarter. The dealer had jammed a bunch into a top loader bursting at the seams with minis. This was such a great set. Too bad I wasn't collecting when this was out. For some reason, the newer 206 sets, while still great, don't quite measure up to this one.

These were in the quarter box, too. This is my first Masterpieces framed card. I do love framed cards, and even though I'm not a Papelbon fan, I appreciate an intense squatting pose as much as the next fella. The Jim Longborg was numbered to 50, which seems crazy low for a quarter box.

In the bottom right corner, there's the back of the Longborg card. Otherwise, some nice rookies for a quarter. I think some of these were even for a dime. But not the Machado auto. I mean, it's a Machado auto, on card! The Ludwick and Span cards are both those chunky gold versions. All of the chunky Bowmans I've seen have had busted up backs, where it looks like the black ink around the edges is cracking. Anyone else encounter this? Oh, and there was something weird about this Koji O-Pee-Chee card. Check out the back:

No, I'm not just trying to win the prize for most boring scan in history. This is the back of the Koji card. Nothing. I'm wondering if this is a promo version or something.

A few more nice rookies. The Youk can even be peeled and stuck to one's trapper keeper or forehead, if one so chose to do so. I have a double, so I just might. The Corey Hart rookie was a nickel. Nice.

You don't expect to find vintage Kaline cards in a dime box, unless they look like this. This one went through the spokes a few dozen times. Good thing I picked up this card from my LCS a few months ago:

It even came with a nifty screw-down case. If the kid who mangled the other card put this one through the spokes, he'd get a face full of asphalt, which is the proper punishment for defacing a Kaline card. Well, unless said defacement means I can buy Kalines for a dime. Then, okay, kid, mangle away.

Here's the last one I'll show from my scrounging through the cheap boxes:

1973 Topps Lou Gehrig. Hey, this card's not even mangled. Besides slightly touched corners and a bit of off-centering, it's in pretty great shape. This is a great-looking card, and maybe one of my best finds in the dime boxes ever.

Not a bad haul, eh? Most of these are up for trade, besides some of the rookies. Let me know if you need any.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Battle Creek Bombers and Their Exploding Manager

Thanks to Groupon, I was able to attend three games this season of my local minor league team, The Battle Creek Bombers, which is part of the Northwoods League, which means every player must attend college and no one gets paid. Ouch. Still, they play with a ton of heart.

One of the games I went to was a baseball card give away day. I ended up with a bunch of team sets, and managed to get a few autographs after the game. The problem was, I had to stalk outside the exit of the Bombers' locker room looking creepy. That and the guys came out wearing street clothes, so I really had no idea who was who. However, I always root for one of the players, since he goes to Western Michigan University, where I teach. I recognized him, and asked him to sign. So here's my Jimmy Martinez autograph:

J-Mart has a nice signature, and I saw him make some great plays. Best of all, Jimmy lingered around signing autographs longer than any of the other guys. It's always nice to meet a good person when you're getting a sig, and that'll make me a fan as he continues to play. I wish him the best.

I think Jimmy was a bit disappointed with his card. A young kid got a signature from him first, and I heard Jimmy say that his card was kind of hard to find, since he looks like a manager in his picture. Not exactly the best action shot here. And these cards have pretty autrocious designs. They look like the bastard child of 1990 Donruss and 1995 Score.

The highlight of these games was not accomplished by one of the players. The manager stole the show.

Donnie Scott spent four partial seasons in the majors, but it looks like he's doing better as a manager. What makes a good manager? The real answer is someone who can do this:

Credits go to my sister, who taped this show. What you miss in the video was Donnie yanking up first and tossing it, then trying to tear up second, which wouldn't come up, so he just kicked the shit out of it. So, yeah, he went through each base, and I believe that counts as a home run for a manager.

To his credit, the umps were really making terrible calls. But also his blow-up had every person in the park standing up and cheering like crazy. It was the best ejection I've had the pleasure to see in person.

Nice work, Donnie. Now, go Bombers. Good luck in the playoffs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

1955 Bowman Lot: Stump the Umps

What's the best part of 1955 Bowman? Of course it would have to be the umpire cards. When I get a scout autograph in modern Bowman, I'm infuriated, but my opinion on non-player cards completely changes when we're talking vintage umps wearing goofy hats. I'd been wanting to snag some of these for a long time, and that was the main draw of this lot.

Goofy hat, check. Goofy smile, check. A snazzy suit and tie, check. Bill Engeln has it all. Not a whole lot to say about Bill's career, though. Five years calling shots in the majors. The internets are surprisingly quiet about Bill's history, which leads me to believe Bill was actually Don Knotts in hiding, secretly researching a role to play a zany umpire.

Let's see what the back of the card has to say:

Of German descent...married in 1935, no children. No children seems worth mentioning in 1955, I guess. Besides the highlighting the peculiar nature of the non-nuclear family in 1955, what's with all the ellipsis? Bowman still does a ton of this on the backs of their cards. It's my least favorite punctuation, and I love punctuation. But I just can't get behind dots telling us there's nothing to say here so we stuttered and skipped ahead. Don't worry, Engeln. I'm not holding the ellipsis against you.

Here's the other ump from the lot:

Here's a fella that looks less like Don Knotts. It's Jocko Conlan, and he's a hall of fame umpire. He spent some time actually playing with the White Sox, which makes me wonder how many umpires actually have major league experience, if that's even a common background for an ump anymore. He spent over 20 years serving as an umpire in the majors and officiated 5 World Series. Perhaps the best story about Jocko was when Leo Durocher accidentally kicked him, and instead of Jocko just ejecting him, he kicked Leo right back. Here's a great link, pictures worth seeing.

And if you returned, here's the back of the card:

So, you see there's some sticker residue gunk on the back, but it's still a great card and one of the better umps from the set. You have to love the ridiculously random blurb Bowman throws in at the end here, that Jocko owns his own flower shop.

Something I can't quite understand is the book value of these ump cards. Now, I could give a flying crap about book values, but it's interesting that Engeln books for $30 and Jocko for $80. Were the ump cards short-printed? Are they just that desirable for their oddness? I'm just glad I was able to score a few on the cheap. The whole lot, from the last three posts, cost me under $8 shipped. A pretty sweet deal for some beat-up vintage.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yet More Contests to Check Out

Two contests are going on:

One over at The Bullpen Cardboard for a mystery prize.

The second one is over at My Sports Obsession. There's some sweet Lineage and Ginter up for grabs. This one ends very soon.

Go check 'em out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

1955 Bowman Lot: Brooklyn All-Stars

I'll pick up where I left off my last post with more goodies from the eBay 1955 Bowman lot. We're picking up speed now with a few key players:

Jim's a little beat up in this card with some obvious creasing and nasty corners, but that just means well-loved in my book.

This is just a great looking card, even if it's wildly miscut, which seemed to have been a problem for the manufacturing of this set. Johnny looks so concentrated here, as if he found enlightenment in his windup. And I like how Bowman still manages to squeeze in a bit of the stadium lights by his arm, sticking with the ballpark background theme of this set.

Here's the back:

Lots of stats and a mention of Johnny's appendicitis. That could have made for an interesting cartoon, had this been a Topps card.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of this eBay lot in the next post. I saved the best for last.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1955 Bowman Lot: Solly, Stanky, and a Bunt

I won a nice lot of Bowman vintage on eBay a while back. I know many aren't big fans of the 1955 woodgrain Bowman set, but I'm a sucker for it. The '50, '51, and '52 sets are still my favorites but this one wins fourth for its super cheesiness in design. Is there anything more retro, more of a snapshot of '50s culture, than a woodgrain TV?

The cards from this lot were a little roughed up, soft corners and all, but not too bad for what I paid. I like the shot of Bobby Adams posing for a bunt here. The bunt pose is hardly an illustration of badassery, but you have to respect a guy that's not afraid to own the sacrifice.

Eddie Stankey is showing off a classic Cards jersey here. Doesn't he look nice and smiley and polite? Well, turns out he was a jerk, or, as his nickname goes: The Brat. I knew nothing about Stanky until I picked up this card and started doing some research. Turns out he was best at drawing walks, and once did so in seven consecutive at bats. Wiki says his manager said, "He can't hit, can't run, can't field. He's no nice guy... all the little SOB can do is win." But that's not all he did. He patented the Stanky Manuever: while playing second, he'd jump up and down and wave his arms and throw up homemade confetti to distract the opposing batters. Perhaps the coolest brat move of the Brat was when he defended Jackie Robinson against the Phillies' jeering. This classy manuever after he spent his first season being one of Jackie's worst tormenting teammates. You might have been a Brat, Stanky, but you ended up not being a racist asshole.

Sorry for the long history lesson. You came here to look at old, moldy cardboard. Here's another card from the lot:

Solly Hemus looks a little scared of the ghostly players approaching him from the left rear. Along with the ghost players, this card shows one of my favorite things about this set. Even though the big ol' woodgrain border takes up a lot of space, the designers often managed to get a good amount of the stadium into the shot. It's a nice way to play with perspective and make the players seem even closer, in anticipation of 3D awesomeness that would mutate into the monstrosities we have today where a good film has been replaced by rad effects of sweetness. So, if you disdain 3D movies like I do, now you know who to blame: 1955 Bowman.

The backs of Bowman cards certainly don't compare to a vintage Topps card back, but this one is kind of funny to me. Bowman must not have had much to say about Solly. Instead, they let him write his own blurb about Stan the Man.

That's the first three cards from this eBay lot. I'll post the rest in the next posts. This lot gets better.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tradeline Heartbreak, or the Friendly Ghost Floats out of Detroit

I'm a bit late to be talking about tradeline news, but I'm always late on the blog posts, as I am in life.

So, the Tigers picked up Doug Fister before the trade deadline, and that's great. We desperately needed another solid starter, instead of pushing rookie after rookie into the fifth spot, or, worse yet, turning a good relief man into a bad starter. That's like turning a Coke into a Pepsi. No one needs a Pepsi starter. So, I'm happy to welcome Fister. Hell, he's probably thrilled, since he's had no offensive support from the Mariners.

I was happy until I found out who we were trading. I knew we'd offered up Furbush and two ambiguous prospects. (Um, we traded Furbush for Fister--the twelve-year-old in me can't stop giggling.) Well, stop laughing. This is far from funny. One of those prospects was Casper Wells. Nooooooooo!

He hasn't been great for the Tigers in 2011, but he's more than a solid outfielder, and his bat has a lot of potential. I started collecting him over the winter, perhaps because he's from Grand Rapids, which is about an hour away from me. Hometown pride and all. Plus, he has one of my favorite names in baseball. Anyway, I picked up this auto over the winter:

Snagged it off ebay for around $3 shipped. Casper has a great sig, this interesting spiral going on with a strike threw it. It's unique, the kind of sig a collector could dig.

I picked up this one a few weeks ago:

This one is numbered 12/199. I did a best offer on ebay of $2.50 shipped and was surprised when the seller instantly accepted it. I was thrilled to get this card, but now, what do I do?

Do I become a diehard Fister fan? Do I trade off my Casper collection?

Nope. I'll stick with the guy. He's still a Michigan native and a player I enjoy watching. Really, this trade will likely be the best thing that could happen for his career. Now he'll get more play time, not having to compete with a Tigers line-up full of consistent sluggers. The Mariners need his bat, and they'll use him. It's kind of a similar situation to Scott Sizemore, who went to the A's earlier this year. Since leaving the Tigers, Sizemore is hitting a career best .236 with 5 home runs and 27 RBIs in 182 at bats. In 39 at bats with the Mariners, Casper already has 4 home runs and 14 hits, batting a zany .359. OK, maybe he's not so much like Sizemore, because he's really blossoming into some great numbers. 

So, maybe what's heartbreaking for me is best for Casper. I'll stick with you, Casper, and keep on collecting. I'm sure he was pretty nervous about losing me as a fan.

Any Mariners fans reading my blog? How happy are you guys to have Casper?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Contest to Enter

Vintage Sports Cards is giving away some vintage sports cards, some trimmed well-loved '52 Topps cards, to be exact. Check it out here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jeter Hit

I saved the best for last in my posting of birthday loot.

This was part of a birthday present to myself. I picked up a few packs at the local card shop from my hometown, Cardboard Addiction in Alma, Michigan. I've been surprised through the years to see a card shop has lasted pretty much my whole collecting lifetime, from age ten to thirty. The singles there are overpriced, and I wouldn't buy any new packs there, but they have a great box of discounted packs starting at a dollar and going up to four bucks.

One of the packs I picked up was 2003 Fleer Mystique, and this was inside:

Not too bad for a pack that cost $1.50. I've always liked Jeter, even if I'm on the bandwagon with all of the other Yankees haters out there in the blogosphere. And I like Soriano, though he probably makes the card less desirable. The Jeter jersey swatch is fantastic with the pinstripe showing, instead of pushed into the corner. What I don't quite understand is the name of this set: Awe Pairs. It just sounds stupid. I mean, I'd get awe-inspiring pairs, maybe. But this name sounds to me like, Ah, shucks, pairs.

Here's the back:

Pretty low numbering: 34/100, which is the lowest numbering I've ever scored on a GU card. Toss in the fact that the card features Mr. Jeter, and this is a pretty sweet hit.

I'm not sure what to do with it. I might keep it for my collection. I might sell it on the big ol' bay and turn it into a few sweet cards for my PC. I might be convinced to trade it, but it would take a pretty killer offer.

What to do, what to do? Anyway I go with this, I can't beat finding this in a pack. Well, unless we're talking Babe's black bat.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Contests Galore

In case you didn't know, generosity and fun is contagious lately across the blogosphere. Here are two great contests at two stellar blogs. Check them out if you haven't entered already:

The Daily Dimwit

Cheap Card Collecting

Ripping 2001 Bowman Heritage, Round Two

In my last post, I showed off my glorious pack rip of 2001 Bowman Heritage. I'd mentioned there were two packs selling for $5.99, and, hey, come on, how could I pass up on that other one, too? So here we go:

The action shots: Livan Hernandez, Fernando Vina, Jimmy Rollins

Sidney Ponson, Mac Suzuki, Bobby Abreu. A bunch of boring close-up head-shots.

The batting poses: Julio Lugo short print, Jose Hernandez, J.D. Closser

And, the best for last, what you've all been waiting for:

The amazing Bobby Seay. OK, nothing amazing here. You can't blame a guy for trying to build suspense.

I think I scored the worst two packs you could pull of this product. I guess I got two short prints, though I doubt many are working on completing this set, so big deal. It's the drabbest design ever, modeled after an ugly vintage set.

There you have it. But I'm not feeling too bad. I never thought I'd have a chance to bust a pack of this. My biggest regret is that I didn't ask the store owner if I could keep the box these packs were in, which is perhaps the best looking part of this set.

If anyone needs any of these, let me know.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ripping 2001 Bowman Heritage

While waiting to pick my little sister up at the airport on her trip home from Texas, I stopped into a card shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan that I'd never been to. I picked up a few things, but right away I noticed packs of 2001 Bowman Heritage for sale in a case. I'd never opened any of these and never thought I'd have a chance, since I've never seen a pack selling for under $10. These packs, however, were going for $5.99. I couldn't believe that, and had to take a gamble at finding a Pujols. There were only two packs left in the box, and I'll show the full glory of what I got.

Andres Galarraga

Kazuhiro Sasaki short print

Tony Blanco

Kenny Lofton and A.J. Burnett

David Justice

Brian Giles, Ramon Hernandez, and Jim Edmonds

And lastly, Albert Pujols! Oops, I mean Erik Karros.

So not much going on in this pack, besides buyer's remorse and boredom. It was exciting to rip open this pack, but as soon as that slot machine quits spinning and ringing, the ride is over. I guess I pulled an SP and I do like that Ramon Hernandez card. Hey, maybe Cards on Cards needs that Jim Edmonds. Otherwise, no Pujols, but at least I got to rip this product for a pretty good price.

Here's something else I picked up at this card shop that makes me feel a little better. A little corner of Kaline:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Going to a Party, if I'm Cool Enough: Contest Happy Fun Time

There's a party going on to celebrate Jaybarkerfan's 100th post. Sounds pretty sweet, but it's super exclusive. You wanna go, Coot?

I'll take that as a yes.

Maybe you can go too, if you enter the contest here.

Better than a Pack of 2011 Bowman

What's better than 2011 Harper Bryce? 2006 Bowman Heritage, of course. 2006 was one of the uglier years for Heritage, but so was 1949 Bowman.

Well, that's not a very good example of ugly design, since Lamanno's gear and pose make this particular card awesome. This set, though, had some terrible colors for backgrounds paired with washed out colors for the players. Don't get me wrong, this design screams vintage. Something just didn't transfer right for the 2006 set.

Poor design can be overcome by stellar content, and I had the mojo on this birthday pack.

Sure it's an ugly card, and Longoria's eyes appear to be missing, but it's one of Longoria's first rookie cards. A much better pull, in my opinion, than a Bryce Harper.

I also snagged a hit:

It's a chunk of Pods' bat. Pods is definitely up for trade. I'll be holding onto the Longoria.

2006 has nothing on 2007 Bowman Heritage, but I'll open a pack like this any day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011 Bowman Pack Breaks: Did I Get a Harper?

I ended up with a nice rack pack of 2011 Bowman after winning Play at the Plate's July contest, and I didn't think I'd be opening anymore of these packs until they hit the clearance racks in three years, when Bryce Harper quits his baseball career to be on Jersey Shore. I ended up getting two retail packs for my birthday. Here's what was inside the first pack:

I realize everyone else is onto their A&G at this point and every one's already talked about Bowman. Here I am with my old news, flashing some boring base. But I can't help but compliment the design. I've heard many mention the resemblance to the 1955 Bowman TV set, and I personally dig that. At least it's not just boring black frames. The horizontal cards especially look great, granted Bowman seems to have a thing for the behind-the-catcher mid-swing shot. With good reason, that's a cool shot. Hudson, on the other hand, seems to have fallen and can't get up.

Not much to see here. More base, less interesting in verticalness.

Some prospects who aren't that Harper fella. Hinze seems to be moving through the A ranks quickly, batting well over .300.

Here's the rest of pack one. Again, I'm not a big fan of the Bowman's Best inserts, but I like this one of Hey Zeus in catcher gear, singing our national anthem.

On to pack two:

More base of big dudes running/beginning to run.

I got to see Yonder play while I was in Kentucky, so it was cool to pull his rookie. But I'm extra excited about Kevin Mailloux, the spokesman for French heart burn relief.

A King Felix base and another non-Harper.

More prospects that don't have Bryce for a first name. What the hell, guys? You're never gonna make it out there with non-Bryce names like those.

Here's my one-per-pack gold.

And here...

is my Harper. Not only is it Bryce Harper, but it's Bryce Harper with a map behind him. He's all international-style. I'm psyched about this card, but only because it's already listed on my ebay account for sale. I'm not a collector who's trying to profit off collecting. However, in this case, I'm very much looking forward to selling this card off while the Harper fad is hot, and then I'll get some stuff that I'm really excited about. Harper shall magically turn into some vintage Bowman and some Pudge pants swatches and maybe even a little Ripken mojo. Who knows? That's the only reason I like this guy, who seems to be a complete showboat and idiot from everything I've heard. I really could care less if he has a hall of fame career and this card winds up being worth fifty thousand dollars and eighty-three cents. Yeah right. This is the peak of how much it will be worth, and I'm happily cashing in.

When it sells, I'll be sure to post what I turned my Harper into. Oh, and if anyone needs any of the other cards I pulled, let me know and we'll get a trade going.

Who else has sold their Bryce Harpers so far? How well did you do? Is anyone holding onto his cards?