Thursday, January 20, 2022

this sort of addition through subtraction is still addition

it has been a while since i've seen an update, but did you read shoebox legends and his "cardboard keepers" posts about flipping cards to fill out his 1000 keeper cards? it's a way for him to pare down his collection and rebuild it in a way that focuses on outstanding cardboard.  it is awesome to see what he has obtained.

i have been having the same sort of thoughts in a very serious fashion since the summer of 2018, although in no way was i thinking as ambitiously as shoebox legends.  essentially, the cards that i have flipped and sold over the last several years have just gone to fund more steve garvey cards to add to my collection.

then, in the spring of 2019, i decided to formalize my hall of famer collection - autos and relics - to include over 100 hall of fame (or hall of fame worthy) players that i had some connection to through my fandom or collecting experience. part of that decision was fueled by the fact that i had a few cards that i had pulled from packs that didn't necessarily fit in any of my various collections once i abandoned my large number of player collections in 2003.  i wanted a meaningful way to keep my bob feller autograph, my mickey mantle relic, babe ruth relic, and other similar cards in my collection.  ultimately, that decision led to acquiring more cards, not subtracting.  this paring down of my collection is taking some time, but i think i am on my way to having it be what i want it to be.

i have my dodger collection - 40 binders strong - plus over two dozen binders and even more boxes of various sets, my garvey collection which fills 5 binders, two binders of cards featuring dodger stadium, three featuring double play turns, plus a bunch of other binders with other mini collections and player collections.  i still have most of my hand collated (and a few purchased) sets from 1978 through 2010 or so, plus i have boxes of 49,000 cards or so that are on sportlots.  there are a few more monster boxes that contain cards that i haven't fully vetted yet - keep, trade, sell? - plus one that contains cards that i have listed on or prepped for ebay.

i've sold through sportlots and ebay for several years, and sometime back in 2020, i sold a card that i no longer "needed". it sold for a bit more than i expected, and almost double what i had paid for it just a few months prior.  with the proceeds, i treated myself to this card, a 1964 topps giant sandy koufax
not only did this card complete my team set (i already had the frank howard and tommy davis cards), it also connected me back to the third grade. it was the spring of 1978, and i had made it known that i collected baseball cards. one of my classmates approached me one day and handed over a card from that 1964 set. it was al kaline's card, and i treasured it.  when kaline passed away in early 2020, i went looking for that card as i had decided it was time to pull together a collection of meaningful cards and expunge the rest of those old player collections (which included mr. tiger, of course).

oddly enough, i looked everywhere, but couldn't find the card. i am hoping it turns up, and if it does it will be headed to a permanent spot in my collection. like i said, this subtraction part is taking some time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

21 years looks like this

i started buying and collecting baseball cards in 1978. what that meant was that a 1957 card was 21 years old at that time. certainly vintage (i consider pre-1970 to be vintage), and i remember seeing a 1957 card at the card shop and thinking that it was really old.

i recently bought a card from topps' 1957 set as i continue to chip away at my set build:
the color on that jim landis card is great, and this gets me one card closer to finishing the set.  in the same order, i picked up a card for my other current set build, 2001 topps heritage:
eric chavez is one of the first 80 cards of the set that have red and black back variants. i forget which one my chavez is and i don't care as far as completing the set goes. 

when the cards arrived, it occurred to me that the chavez card would be the same to a new card collector in 2022 as the 1957 cards were to me when i started collecting. time marches on...

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

o skipper my skipper

you might recall that i was happy to see a dusty baker card from topps in 2021 archives depicting him as the manager of the astros. manager cards have gone by the wayside in recent years, and so this was the first time he had been featured on cardboard since taking the reins of the astros prior to the 2020 season.

baker has a large number of manager cards overall, thanks to his leading teams during the renaissance of manager cards that took place beginning in 2001 topps flagship and ending with 2016 topps heritage (i think). baker's last base manager card was in 2013 topps heritage, but i know a few managers showed up in later releases. 

those cards covered his managerial stints with the giants, cubs, and reds, and with his 2021 card showing him as an astro, it was only a card marking his time managing the nationals that had not yet found its way in to my collection. to my knowledge, there is only one such card, and it is the 2016 topps allen & ginter short printed "skippers" mini. i decided to rectify that situation
you can probably tell by those images that i have a graded version.
the seller noted that it was the only psa 10 in this card's population which doesn't surprise me - how many people would send this card in for grading? the answer is one.

i had been watching for one of these cards for a while and this was the only one that showed up. i don't know how many of these were printed, but i eventually decided not to wait any longer.

my guess is that the astros are the final stop in baker's managerial career, but that remains to be seen. he will pass 2,000 wins as a big league skipper early in the 2022 season, and given the astros' talent, he should also pass bruce bochy, leo durocher, and walter alston on the all-time leader board after reaching the 2k mark. that puts him in rarified air and would, in my mind, qualify him for the hall of fame even without a world series title. we will see!

Monday, January 17, 2022

peekin' pye

i believe it was nick, since he and i both collect cards featuring the double play turn at second base (as does jeff from 2x3 heroes but he hasn't posted in a while), who showed off a 1996 leaf ozzie smith card some time ago.
it's a nice photo on the card - smith is airborne in dodger stadium as a player slides in to breakup the play.

i checked and found that i did not own this card - not in my double play collection; not in my dodger stadium collection; nor in my lurker collection. so, i added it to my list of most wanted non-dodger cards. soon thereafter, i did some quick research on the sliding player after zooming in on the card image, and was even more excited to add the card to my collection. so, when i was filling out a sportlots order around the first of the year, i found a shopping cart seller who had three of these cards in their inventory and i made the purchase.

it is hard to see with a standard scan of the card due to the dark foil, but the dodger player sliding in is none other than eddie pye.  here is a lightened version of the card that sort of helps:
you can just see the "ye" on the back of the jersey. i know kanye wasn't playing for the dodgers back in the 90s, so a quick check of baseball reference confirmed it was eddie pye. further digging on that site shows that this play occurred on may 14, 1995. pye entered the game in the bottom of the 8th inning as a pinch runner for eric karros. the dodgers were down by a run and karros had drawn a leadoff walk. reggie williams tried to bunt pye over to second, but must have hit the ball right back to the pitcher who threw to second to get pye. as you can see, smith tried to complete the double play, but he was unsuccessful. williams eventually scored the tying run later in the inning but the dodgers still lost in 11.

pye's big league career consisted of 14 games - 7 in 1994 and 7 in 1995 - so it is fantastic to find him on a major league trading card featuring in game action. the only other big league card he has comes from the 1995 dodgers police set
and that's too bad. 

the leaf card above documents the only time pye was on base in 1995 (and one of only three times he was on base in his career), and so it is the last time he ran the bases as a big leaguer. not too bad to have your final putout made by a hall of famer and captured on cardboard.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

have i told you my jeff gordon story?

i don't think i have. 

about 14 years ago, i was in indianapolis for work. i was checking out of my hotel at the front desk. no, there were no hotel apps back then, although i probably didn't have to go to the front desk to check out. i chose to do so, however, because i wanted to dispute the rate they had charged me for my room.

as i was explaining myself to the attendant, she looked past me and said "i will be right with you mr. gordon." i glanced and saw that she was talking to jeff gordon, the nascar driver. i realized at that moment that i could have asked to have all charges waived and she would have said "ok" - she was that determined to be the one to help the guy.

i finished my business quickly and, since i figured gordon was in town for a race, i said hello and wished him luck. by this time there were some other nascar folks in the lobby, but i didn't recognize any of them. one guy was wearing a jimmie johnson team shirt. i don't know anything about nascar, but i recognized gordon and knew johnson's name.

many years later, i added this 2009 press pass fusion card of gordon
to my "meaningful and just because" mini-collection to represent this chance encounter.

based on his reaction to me, i think gordon was surprised that i didn't ask him to sign anything as i was carrying a clipboard at the time, but i really didn't think of it at the time. when i got to the office and relayed my story, i was roundly admonished for not having him sign something. i told them i just figured it was a common occurrence to see him around indy. that's when they started throwing office supplies at me.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

it's time for dodger baseball cards

and i mean a lot of dodger baseball cards!

i am pretty sure that i can count on one finger the number of times i have received a sandy koufax topps tribute card in a trade
that one comes from 2019, and is the green parallel, numbered to 99.

it came from kevin - the cousin of jeff from my sports obsession - with whom i had exchanged cards a few times previously. this return salvo arrived sometime before the holidays, and the cards were just as impressive as those earlier swaps.

here are some scans:
wow. that's a lot of stars, rookies, parallels, and inserts! but wait - there's more! i wasn't aware that there were foil parallels from 2020 topps archives until i saw this card:
and this 2020 topps chrome gavin lux card 
brought me down to needing just one more to complete that team set.

i bought a miguel cabrera autograph from the 2020 topps chrome black set, but i had never seen any base cards until i saw this tony gonsolin card:

and then there was this 2020 topps update walker buehler silver pack card
that i scanned separately for some reason.

there was even more chrome, foil, rookie and just general dodger goodness to behold:
i like that prizm koufax old school insert, but all of the 2021 stuff was great to find since i didn't have a lot other than regular base cards from the more widely distributed releases.

still, there were cards to be had from those flagship releases. case in point, even though this card comes from 2021 topps series 1
i didn't own it prior to receiving this package. sure it's a plain white swatch of something corey seager may have worn for a photo shoot, but i am happy to have it.  i was more intrigued by this last card, however
i had no idea what this was when i saw it. turns out it's a 2021 topps heritage blue sparkle chrome parallel. it looks weird because of the 1972 design, but i like blue borders on my dodger cards. funny thing is, i had this card in my collection before i had the (short printed) base card of seager from this set. don't worry though - i remedied that at last week's card show.

just another tremendously wonderful package of dodger goodness! thanks kevin - i've got some braves ready to ship out to keep this thing going!

Friday, January 14, 2022

(ebay) bucks for lux

when it comes to picking up a baseball card that i want, i often have very little patience. some of that stems from the scarcity of certain cards - who knows when the next one will be offered up for sale - but for the mass produced cards, i still sometimes don't wait too long after adding one of them to my most wanted list.

this card
a 2020 topps gavin lux short print photo variation, never formally made my "nefarious nine", but it was certainly one of my most desired cards since i first learned about it in early 2020.  i didn't add it to my collection until just after the new year.

now, for most of that time, my patience was forced by the crazy prices this card commanded (although that didn't stop me from chasing the crazy yasiel puig photo variations back in 2013) prior to and during the 2020 season. as a variant rookie card of a touted dodger prospect, it was quite pricey. even in 2021, it was still going for a larger sum than i wanted to pay. towards the end of last year, a few copies were posted with decent buy it now prices. however, i still waited.

i waited until my ebay bucks (earned in the last quarter of the year) were posted to my account and then bought this card for "free".  in the past, i would have tried to get another one for my double play collection, and another for my dodger stadium collection. heck, this card could also fit in my memorial collection as both lux and giant mike yastrzemski are wearing patches for don newcombe and peter magowan/willie mccovey respectively. but i won't be doing that - not this time. i guess i've mellowed in addition to becoming a bit more patient.