Sunday, February 17, 2019

1986 Donruss Jose Canseco RC #39

If nothing else, this pickup allows me to have a copy of one the best rookies in the hobby, circa 1991 - I think about building up a collection of the hottest cards whose values have come and gone, but I'd be once proud to show off as young collector.

In real life, my youth is ancient history and I don’t know if can find others anywhere who might care - when I dig around and look for occasional baseball card 'war' stories on social media, forums or blogs mentioning this card in particular, I’ll pat myself on the back for having a nostalgic status symbol from way back when.’

As it stands, Canseco is a buffoon, a shyster and a Twitter troll - maybe long declared irrelevant, I did enjoy parts from his two books where [regardless of where one stands as far as Canseco 'ratting out' his old teammates, friends and frenemies] he exposed how the raw the Steroid Era was.

He said he wouldn’t have made the big leagues without PEDs but he had some staying power - maybe for three or four years, he might have been Mike Trout with ‘bite,’ a 5-tool player with power and speed as his prominent attributes.

Canseco was always the bad boy jock, but had he cultivated a little more of a clean cut image and a bit more discreet about his indiscretions - he might be a borderline HOFer with his numbers.

Because they were valuable commodities, I don’t know if I seriously chased after any one particular Canseco rookie era card - I still remember the friend whose house I used to go to having the 1986 Donruss Rookies as a likely centerpiece card of his collection.

Maybe in one of the first times, I splurged on a handful of singles at a card shop, I picked up Canseco's 1987 Topps - in the mid 1990s, I might have had a couple of Canseco's cards from the 1986 Donruss Highlights boxed set.

It maybe a little weird looking back, but a 1991 Score Dream Team Canseco was a card I wanted badly - I don’t think it ever was as popular as the Bo Jackson Dream Team subset card from 1990, but for a while, it was a notable card on its own.

Canseco was the ‘it’ player in MLB and he was posed swinging a bat topless by a notable fashion photographer - probably through means I’m not proud of, I might remember pulling the card off loose packs from the local supermarket.

Years later, I remember getting autographs at the ballpark in 1999 and Canseco came out of the front after a game - I must have been going batty when I spotted him and rushed to have him sign a couple of the Beckett magazines I must have bought at a card show.

He scribbled on them dismissively, but here I was seeing one the biggest stars of my childhood in the flesh - I tried asking him for a photo and he said, 'no' but I may still have it somewhere where I got the worst picture of me and him 'together' as he's walking.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My miscellaneous finds off a 8 for $5 box

Once I start rummaging through loose cards at a card shop - I don’t know if I’ll be able to restrain myself.

There maybe a certain thrill, going through a box at some random card shop that has piqued my interest enough - that I'd bother seeing if I can pick up enough cards, so I sort of get a deal, even if most are picked over.

At times I get a sense that I’m influenced by others and want to entertain taking in all sorts of cards - though after the fact, I don't like idea of doing some mental gymnastics, in order to justify assorted loose card purchases that ends up being fool's gold.

These were finds I'd 'saved' from an out of town card shop trip and wanted to see if I could make a post.

1987 Topps Barry Bonds #320 - in sentiment, it seems 1987 Topps has become the 'classic' set of the junk wax era.

I pulled a copy of his 1987 OPC and maybe a copy of the Topps version years ago and I don't know where either card ended up - but I’ve liked the photo chosen compared to Bonds' other 1986 XRC and 1987 RC issues.

2018 Topps Gold Label Alex Bregman #49 - Class 2 serial #’d 37/99 - I wouldn’t know what this parallel is about and I doubt it is important but it's shiny and pictures a young superstar.

1996-97 Topps Stadium Club Chicago Bulls #GM3 - Golden Moments insert - I thought the card might be of note because it features Michael Jordan, but it was only worth what I paid for the card, maybe less with the slight nick on right hand corner.

2000 Fleer Tradition Glossy factory set Mike Lamb #472 - serial #’d 0916/1000 - I may have a loose definition of oddball, it’s kind of a different, off-beat card picturing a Cal State Fullerton baseball alumni.

Maybe a card I hope to get inked up in-person - even though Lamb hasn’t been at the annual alumni game in recent years.

2015 Topps Update Max Muncy dual RC #US54 - after his breakout 'out of nowhere' season in 2018, he stills profiles as a late blooming minor star at best, but he has become a fan favorite and his rookie is a 'penny stock keeper.'

2013 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols #264 - Blue Sapphire refractor insert - this is a pretty, sharp card picturing Pujols’ 2001 Bowman rookie or at least what a parallel of an unsigned 2001 Bowman Chrome rookie might look like [the original Bowman Chrome issue is his most coveted card, especially since they were autographed].

1981 Topps Rickey Henderson #261 - to add to my 1978-present Topps sampler run, I'm looking for loose star cards like Henderson's second year card.

2005 Topps Retired Signature Cal Ripken Jr. #10 - this was a common base card, but it came from a product that might have relatively 'too rich' for tastes, so I don't even think the non-hit base trickled down to where I found them loosely.

I grabbed the card because it reminds me of the retired player short prints / variations Topps has made over the past 10 years - this particular rejiggering of the 2005 Topps design uses the old-school Topps logo on the front and had full career stats on the back.

Friday, February 08, 2019

My card shop died and the hunt for the Honus Wagner of junk wax?

I dropped in at my LCS, but someone else was running the shop - I'm looking around absentmindedly trying to figure out if there was some kind of change, feeling like I’m in the Twilight Zone since things were just different.

The fact was, my long time LCS was actually bought out [my last visit was in December] and now a new guy owns the place - the longtime shop owner finally made his play to get out of the owning a card shop, that seemed more like a sparsely attended library.

While I wasn't actually on a first name basis with the previous shop owner, I've used my LCS as an outlet for the miscellaneous cards, supplies and loose packs I might purchase every other month or so - who knows if I’ll be back any time soon and wonder if this new incarnation of the shop will last over the next couple of years.

The most familiar card shop to me is an out of town one I may visit only a couple times a year - on a sightseeing trip, I had the opportunity to stop by recently, but was a bit overwhelmed.

I made the trip after a long day and while I feel like I wanted to go to town - I just didn’t know where where to start.

I had looked at the ‘junk wax / junk sets’ display near the entrance - a part of me wants to be tempted by a cheap single box or set purchase, though it’s more crap I’m going to actually pay to take home instead of the other way around.

I picked up a 1990 Fleer factory set for $6 because of a peculiar Jose Uribe [#74] card - which has become infamous because it has been listed on eBay for outrageous sums [from like $25,000-$758,000].

Some people say the card is being used for money laundering purposes - regardless, the notoriety may have driven the card value to like a few bucks [or not].

I fancy myself as a collector who can appreciate the weird stories that may circulate - about the baseball cards I collect.

There were two types of sets available at the shop - the set in the ‘holiday’ box was $15 but I settled for the ‘brown box’ factory set without the full color, graphics.

I thumbed through the set afterwards at Starbucks since was my friend was hanging out there while waiting on me - I was thrilled to find the Uribe, though it was a little off-center, so that jarred me back to reality.

Monday, February 04, 2019

1973 Topps Dwight Evans RC #614

Rookie cards of the hall of very good or guys with borderline cases, who end up getting jumped into the Hall of Fame - maybe the new market inefficiency in collecting cardboard.

I've never thought much about Evans except as an older veteran guy pictured on junk wax era cards through the early 1990s - as is, I picked up his multiplayer rookie card because with Harold Baines getting into the Hall of Fame, it might reopen the door for a better all-around player like Evans.

Evans was a longtime star for the Boston Red Sox, but not a national superstar in terms of sentiment - as the story goes, through the first part of his playing career, Evans was a good defensive right fielder with a competent bat, but his year-to-year numbers as a hitter didn't quite 'pop' until he was in his 30s.

Evans fell off the HOF ballot 20 years ago, but there would have been a campaign to get him in the Hall of Fame like a Bert Blyleven or Tim Raines - instigated by a generation of writers / bloggers more inclined to look not just at the counting numbers, but also the advanced stats to push through their personal pet projects.

If Evans' career was quite unfamiliar to me past his junk wax era cards, I can kind of see where picturing him like Tim Salmon would make sense - Salmon [for my 'home team' Angels of the early 1990s] wasn't quite a true franchise quality player, but as a hard hitting outfielder / DH, he was the heart and soul for the Angels for his career.

#CARDCORNER: 1991 Topps Dwight Evans

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bat Blog Around - word association

I feel like this is just an exercise in reciting the most prominent player for each MLB team - where most collectors' lists would likely mirror each other in one way or the other.

Still, it's nice to be participate and get my own mind churning - as is, I had to do some thinking because for each of the 30 MLB teams, there maybe different types of players that stood out and I just had to pick one dude.

I wanted some rule where it could be only active players or at least players from the last 30 years - in some instances, I gave myself an 'out' as far as picking a different player than I'd originally thought, but for transparency, the name of the replaced player is crossed out.

Inspired by Fuji and Night Owl Cards - here is my list of the players that pop into my mind whenever I think about each MLB team

Angels - Mike Trout

Houston Astros - Nolan Ryan; someone like a Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell were the other choices that made more sense, but I always liked the Ryan card with the Nike Air cleats cameo.

Oakland Athletics - Rickey Henderson

Seattle Mariners - Ichiro

Texas Rangers - Juan Gonzalez Josh Hamilton; the original pick was Gonzalez, though Ivan Rodriguez ended up in the Hall of Fame and would have been my first choice.

However, Hamilton was the guy who was the biggest superstar for about a 5-year period before he crashed and burned - for better or for worse, Hamilton ends up being the first guy that pops into my head, when thinking about the Rangers.

Minnesota Twins - Kirby Puckett

Kansas City Royals - George Brett

Chicago White Sox - Frank Thomas

Detroit Tigers - Cecil Fielder Miguel Cabrera; Fielder may have been an 'old school' nod back to the junk wax era early 1990s. Maybe Justin Verlander would have been the first player on my mind after Cabrera.

Cleveland Indians - Albert Belle Jim Thome; I thought Belle was the ultimate bad ass and guy you certainly most thought about on the Cleveland Indians of the 1990s, but Thome had that lasting power even as he moved on.

New York Yankees - Mariano Rivera Derek Jeter; the question here is whether Jeter will match Rivera's feat as far as 100 percent votes for the Hall of Fame.

Boston Red Sox - Dustin Pedroia

Baltimore Orioles - Cal Ripken Jr. Adam Jones; Ripken Jr. is the obvious choice, but I liked Jones as a guy in the past 10-15 years, established himself as a team star, even if he was only a minor star at best as far as the numbers go.

Tampa Bay Rays - Evan Longoria

Toronto Blue Jays - Roy Halladay

Los Angeles Dodgers - Sandy Koufax Andre Ethier; I went from Koufax to Ethier, but like Jones from the Orioles, he was a prominent team star, even if he was only a minor star at best as far as the numbers go.

San Francisco Giants - Buster Posey

Arizona Diamondbacks - Paul Goldschmidt

Colorado Rockies - Todd Helton

San Diego Padres - Tony Gwynn

St. Louis Cardinals - Albert Pujols

Milwaukee Brewers - Robin Yount

Chicago Cubs - Ernie Banks Ryne Sandberg; as far as current players, Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo would probably be the first I'd think about, but I'll give the nod to the Hall of Fame second baseman.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Andrew McCutchen

Cincinnati Reds - Brandon Phillips

Atlanta Braves - Chipper Jones Ronald Acuna Jr.; Freddie Freeman had a case here, though [to his credit I guess], he is a little boring and regardless of the numbers he puts up, just doesn't stick out for me when I think about the Atlanta Braves.

Washington Nationals - Bryce Harper

New York Mets - David Wright Jacob deGrom; I definitely think deGrom whenever the New York Mets were mentioned; Wright was the franchise player for the longest time, but it's like he couldn't get onto the field the past four years and finally had to call it quits.

Miami Marlins - Jose Fernandez

Philadelphia Phillies - Chase Utley

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Featured autograph - Satchel Paige

I wanted an autograph of Paige for my personal collection because it's pretty neat to own an autograph of a larger than life personality from the history of professional baseball - I picked up this yellow HOF postcard signed by Paige and while they don't exactly 'pop,' there was some familiarity with the postcards once being mainstream items to get signed longtime HOF autograph collectors.

There was a 15% promo [POPUPSAVINGS] on eBay and I decided to pool together some Christmas money and some funds out of my pocket - to grab this one up in December, in case something came up past the new year that complicated things [knock on wood].

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Featured autograph - Jonathan Lucroy

The Angels just signed Lucroy to be the catcher who presumably gets most of the playing time next season - he had some nice years in his prime, though his production with the bat has bottomed out the past few years.

The signing is only for one year and if Lucroy can bounce back just a bit, he probably helps the Angels - though many catchers tend to run into a wall, once they are on the wrong side of 30.

I guess he was a decent signer between his time in the Arizona Fall League and maybe in spring training his first couple of years in the big leagues - I found some signed cards of his, so I can add him to my all-time autograph collection once he plays in a regular season game for the Angels.

FWIW, I remember Lucroy was going from field to field during a spring training Texas Rangers workout I went to in 2017 - presumably he was done for the day, but still wouldn't stop for just about anyone.