Monday, January 20, 2020

TTM autographs received: Andrew Miller

The St. Louis Cardinals reliever signed my cards in about two or three years c/o Cleveland Indians spring training - being a lefty, he might get to pitch through his early 40s, but maybe age and usage has caught up with him.

When he finally found his groove as a big leaguer, Miller was a weapon out of the bullpen for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Indians - despite only having one MLB season where he recorded 30 or more saves.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Enjoying a quaint card show rummage

My buddy took me to a card show and the last time I was there was when Albert Pujols hit his first Angels home run in 2012 - I also remember looking at a showcase that afternoon where I saw a BGS 9.5 2009 Bowman Sterling Mike Trout autograph for $100; I wouldn't have $100 to spend at any one time, but I'll wait and see if the hype falls down to earth; Trout is going to be a good player, a great player for the Angels but even the top prospects are going to be up-and-down; Harper is still the guy that is going to be a once in a generation superstar.

The place has never been anything big time, but I was glad it’s still around with 5-10 dedicated tables and some curious foot traffic - I didn't actually get to walk around much, but when I first tagged along with my friend to make trips there starting in the mid 2000s, the atmosphere was like a morgue.

Not knowing where to start, I immersed in working through the six or seven 5,000 count monster boxes from a familiar seller - I don't know if I ever bought anything from his booth, which has been set up for the longest time, but back in the day, maybe my mindset was to find loose cards I'd try to get inked up in-person or through the mail, but no junk wax era drivel.

With the emphasis on mini-collection adds however - I'm more game about trying to see if I can round up a good number of cards for cheap [maybe 25 for $1], particularly cards I wouldn't look to buy online outright.

1988 Fleer Ken Dayley #30

1995 Upper Deck SP Championship Series Ken Caminiti #89

I obviously couldn’t go through the boxes card-by-card, but I still tried to add many cards that caught my eye - I worry about going nuts over cards, because I don't want to overvalue cards that are virtually commons.

Maybe in-person is where I give myself license to freelance within reason, where I shouldn't worry about being picky - I probably wouldn’t remember the cards I pass up if I didn’t set them aside as a probable pick up; I needed to live a little, be daring in snapping up those collecting topics subset cards with some sort of quality that wasn’t obvious i.e. maybe what makes the card unique is an image on the back or the card features a player who I've never heard of.

Despite a few stragglers from other sports, I stuck to baseball otherwise - my afternoon would never end if I actually went through the football and basketball cards, knowing I'd be poring over them as well.

1996 Topps Stadium Club Chris Zorich #184 - picturing him *trying* to tackle some random running back with the last name Sanders while two other teammates close in.

1995-96 Topps Stadium Club Predrag Danilovic #313

The seller gave me a 800-900 count box to fill and maybe that’s the challenge for next time
- my buddy was lurking on standby mode and I had him count out the loose piles of cards in multiples of 25.

He counted out 325 cards and after looking at what I had, the seller charged me $10, which seemed reasonable enough - the majority should be collecting topics subset adds, though there might some cards designated to go to other projects or maybe dupes I probably had.

I was able to cross off 11 cards from my wantlist - giving me a little bit of satisfaction, even I didn't really look for them outright.

1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Jeff Blauser #53 - Will Clark

1997 Topps Stadium Club Sandy Martinez #371

1997 Upper Deck Andy Benes #465

1993 Topps Stadium Club B.J. Surhoff #711.

1995 Upper Deck SP Steve Finley #108 - ended up being the Silver parallel

1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Fernando Vina #148 - Tim Salmon

1997 Upper Deck Charlie O'Brien #517 - the blurb on the back of the cards tells the entire story.

1996 Topps Stadium Club Robby Thompson #359

Thursday, January 16, 2020

1976 Topps Dennis Eckersley RC #98

With the help of $10 and change in eBay Bucks, maybe picking up this graded [PSA-5] old-school rookie card was more palatable than going modern - I wanted a 2019 Topps Update Gold Keston Hiura #150, but the chance of getting one before spring training starts might be over.

I ended up settling for Eckersley since it was on my watch list, which may help guide me towards alternatives to think about - though a card added to ‘my list’ might not be available anymore or perhaps ‘my list’ may not reflect what I might want at the moment.

Eckersley wasn’t exactly ‘one of my guys’ or someone I seriously considered a ‘national star’ but I was vaguely familiar with Eck’s narrative - as a guy who battled substance abuse problems and was a floundering veteran starting pitcher before coming under Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan’s tutelage in Oakland during the mid 1980s.

While Eckersley was a goat a few times in postseason play [1988 World Series and 1992 American League Championship Series] - he was one of the GOATS for the run he had as a dominant, one-inning closer through the early 1990s and maybe Eckersley getting to the Hall of Fame made me take a second look at how he turned things around.

Long affiliated with the Boston Red Sox as their TV broadcasts color guy, Eckersley has had run-ins with Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Price because he doesn’t have a filter at times - I didn’t know Eckersley has a brother in prison and also an adopted daughter who is otherwise homeless.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

A look back into a 2019 collecting goal

Like everyone else it seems, I have a yearly set of collecting goals, but maybe it gets too long winded to fully break down on a blog - I feel like a goof when I don't catch up to any of them and so maybe it is easier to keep them offline.

One of the random goals I had for 2019 was wanting to pick up a year’s worth of random cards i.e. be able to count out one per month - something off-the-wall and maybe offbeat.

Maybe a theme was to pick up cards a 12-year old me would be proud of - I may not be able to live in the past, but see what cards can I pick up that the adolescent me would just get a kick out of.

Not all these cards represent nostalgic 'flash back' pick-ups however - maybe I got away from the idea of some nostalgic, definitive finds, so maybe my list got to be a real jumble.

1986 Donruss Jose Canseco #39

1959 Fleer Ted Williams Sharpshooter #24

Old-school A-Rod cards

2019 Topps SSP Greats Variation Vladimir Guerrero #675

2019 Topps SP Greats Variation Will Clark #428

Old-school Garret Anderson cards

1990 NBA Hoops Hoops Mark Jackson #205

1983 Fleer Joel Youngblood #641

2012 Leaf Best of Basketball The Professor autograph #TP-1

2018 Choice Trenton Thunder Chace Numata #18

1988 Classic Eric Davis #213

1995 Raging Color Classics Burlington Bees Jeff Poor #15

Wally Joyner autograph

Monday, January 06, 2020

2012 Leaf Best of Basketball The Professor autograph #TP-1

I try not to touch anything Leaf, but during a card show rummage last summer, this was too gimmicky to pass up - I was vaguely aware of the AND1 Mixtape Tour during the 2000s featuring basketball players with all sorts of nicknames trying to clown on each other in streetball games.

With The Professor the only white guy on the tour - he probably was a novelty and curiosity for more suburban kids growing up back in the day.

The Professor was a relic of a thing that happened 15-20 years ago - but he is still out hustling on YouTube, so good for him.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

1995 Raging Color Classics Burlington Bees Jeff Poor #15

For my 'inking it up' mini-collection, I managed to sneak this obscure team set card purchase - picturing this one-time minor leaguer in the act of grabbing a ball along the railing to sign.

To get on a soapbox for a little bit, with people generally being 'weird' about getting autographs and pro teams from the majors to the minors putting up barriers around the field in the guise of protecting fans - the days of player / fan interaction will be reserved for only VIPs and maybe a simple scene like card picture shows will not be a thing, even at your Podunk ballpark [which may not even exist anymore] in the 21st century.

As far as tracking down a copy of the card, maybe I was looking up some Jesse Ibarra cards, because I wrote to the guy TTM over 20 years ago and he had some ‘goofy’ minor league feat like hitting grand slams from both sides of the plate in one game - Ibarra shows up in the set where the Poor card was from and I might have saved a listing for the Poor card on my COMC watch list.

I guess the Bees [a one time farm team of the San Francisco Giants in the mid 1990s] set can still be purchased on eBay, so the card may not be as obscure where no listings are found - still, where was I going to find a copy of the card outright being sold as a single [?]

Goofing off in the middle of the night, I relented to grab the card [for a 'hefty' price of $1.45] just because it might be a card that might be stuck on my wantlist in perpetuity - I wanted to be able to have in my port and be able to wax poetic about it because it's just too random.

Images courtesy of

Friday, January 03, 2020

A look into my collecting goals for 2020

Like everyone else it seems, I have a yearly set of collecting goals, but maybe it gets too long winded to fully break down on a blog - I feel like a goof when I don't catch up to any of them and so maybe it is easier to keep them offline.

On the other hand, building up my mini-collections are my outlet as far as having fun with a card collection - so it's easy for me to dwell on and share the things I want to do with them through a current year without feeling like I'm going on and on.

A.) My goal for 2020 is to have at least 500 new collecting topics cards - same number to shoot for over the last three or four years, but tilt it so I have more control over the cards I bring in.

Roughly count out 100 specific cards towards the 500 cards I’m looking to add for the year - I hope to focus on cards I want to seek out and highlight outright, besides cards that come into my hands by default breaks and/or finds.

Look to pick up 50 either old-school [pre-1980] and/or vintage [pre-1973] cards - I don’t know if can whittle the numbers down further, so they are more realistic to reach, but still remain a challenge. I’d really like more old-timey cards sprinkled in with my newer stuff, but I don't know if I seek out old-school / vintage cards without an outright outlet.

Look to add 25 cards from other sports - trying to get cards from other sports is a wrinkle but always going to have a ‘baseball first’ mentality.

See if I can come up with Top 10-15 list of cards to hunt down and maybe posted on this blog and/or my offline cheat sheet; as I complete one, maybe I'm looking to make another list; aiming to make at least 5-10 lists by the end of the year.

B.) See if I can make sampler pages for my mini-collections that don’t have them - including unofficial collections. IN GOOGLE SHEETS, HIGHLIGHT THE CARDS I'VE USED IN BLUE.

For AA, make one for classifications / groupings - to clarify what it is.

C.) Rejigger designations for bonus babies / star on star cameos - sometimes I have two stars on one card as a 'bonus baby' when I guess it wouldn't necessarily be accurate to imply one is the lesser player even if one or the other didn't end up being a player who was or is on a HOF track.

Bonus babies = star cameos on common players' cards

Star on star cameos = two stars or better captured on one card

D.) Try and complete at least 15-20 bloodlines relationships in a given year [knowing there maybe others along the way] - i.e. find the son, the cousin, the father’s card to go with what I may have in a collection already.

I do think it’s important because I would like to have cards of all related athletes together at the same time just so there is closure - when things already feel like a claptrap, I feel like I’m missing gaping holes in my collection.

As is, it maybe too tedious for me to make sure I have those completed bloodlines relationships and list what I may have added as achievements - but perhaps there is something about being more conscientious, so this goal may stay up for another year.

At the very least, go through my bloodlines Google Sheets file and make a running wantlist of the missing guys I either have and can track down and also the guys I need outright - there might be some obvious haves ‘missing’ that I’ve never added as well as potential ‘adds’ to fill in the gaps.

E.) List out adds that count for achievements in a particular year, permanently put away cards I’ve already listed [between adds and loose cards I already have] on a regular basis - at times, space gets impacted, so I need to see where I need to account for new storage options as needed.

Though this is what I do to keep up for myself, not some random goal to achieve - but maybe sometimes I neglect the basics.

F.) PEDs mini-collection - streamline implicated tab / comments [maybe a little redundant; what is the implicated tab listing and what is the information listed in the comments tab]?

G.) Research and development - the goal here is to cultivate lists of specific names and cards to seek out [either new 'adds' or old 'haves'] on my cheat sheet; at the end of the year, add listings to wantlist.

Maybe this is for my cheat sheet, but does it make much more sense to list out specific players / cards straight to a wantlist [?] - I think my cheat sheet is designed where I should add cards to the file 'on the go,' as opposed to a more formal list. Maybe there needs to be some redundancy so things don't exactly fade.

List out at least 20-30 old-school and/or vintage cards - do the research to see if there is a run of assorted cards I can pick up [for at least 4-5 six mini-collections].

List out at least 20-30 subjects’ cards for topics that go on and on - nations, bloodlines, local guys, infamous, PEDs.

List out at least 20-30 cards from seemingly unrepresented topics - broken bat shots, interesting backs, retro uniforms, inking it up, cult baseball players / feats, beyond the glory and uncorrected errors.

Go through’s player biographical information pages for various information on players from a particular nation - click through the sortable column headers to see the leaders in various categories [batting average, home runs, RBIs, games played, All-Star selections, etc] and check if I can list a run of names to add i.e. whether or not I have cards I can use already or need ones to seek out.

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