Saturday, July 30, 2022

Mike Trout - is this the beginning to the end?

Maybe it was Albert Pujols 15-20 years ago where you had this big leaguer who stood above the rest and applauded for his metronomic excellence - Mike Trout has been that guy for the past 10-11 years where in my life, I wish I had just a bit of the confidence and type of energy he brings to a game.

But apparently diagnosed with a rare back condition, things are a bit uncertain at the moment - there maybe just cause to worry about his durability game by game, through a course of a 162 game season and longevity as far as considering how much longer can he be able to play.

Before he got hurt, there were batting slumps in the 2022 season where I wondered whether Trout could either see the ball or where his bat speed slowed considerably - when he was 'right,' I thought Trout had the perfect batting approach where you don’t really see him selling out at the plate.

Maybe he was as dynamic of a player, where he was basically a slugger, but also maintained the ability to hit line drives - it was a thing of beauty, where he seemed like you couldn’t effectively pitch to him to get him out. 

Now that idea is basically out the window, where Trout's plate discipline has deteriorated and he’s become an all-or-nothing hitter - despite having very good numbers if he was any other big league player, maybe he is finally turning mortal as a ballplayer.

Maybe for such a great player, that aw shucks stuff has worn thin - a bad stretch or a bad rest of the season doesn’t diminish his stature, but when push comes to shove, has he ever gotten demonstratively mad or simply voiced his displeasure to change things up for the better?

He is always going to be a GOAT for my team, even if that tenure has been made to feel dubious and suspect at times because the Angels haven't been good - I do wonder if the random cards I do have won’t be those solid gold, collection foundations anymore.

Through Trout’s prime years, I think I’ve been priced out of his better cards where I said I was content to keep what I had [2011 Topps Update rookie, a quartet of 2011 Topps Finest rookies I might have picked up for $0.50 each] or the more common inserts I may run into since he has been the prominent guy - maybe I was waiting or hoping something might trigger a ‘come down,’ despite knowing Trout has always been a rock solid player and there is no sentiment, where I was really wishing no one would care about him or particularly his cards ‘no more.

Friday, July 29, 2022

TTM autographs received: Frank Tanana

The former big league lefty signed my cards and added a personal tract card in about a couple of weeks - I might remember Tanana at the tail end of his career as a junk wax era guy, whose cards were strictly common fodder.

However, the Tanana that pitched through the 1980s and early 1990s was way different from the one that paired up with Nolan Ryan in the 1970s as California Angels' aces - it might be fascinating to look back at how great Tanana was for a time, before injuries sidelined his career and he had to reinvent himself as both a person and a player.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Out of the depths of the dollar boxes - odds and ends

This $10 purchase was far from the worst purchase I made at the last card show I went to [I don't know if I'll leave things hanging with just that tease] - but I stumbled upon a random dollar box [or '6 for $5'] and while mostly idle, going through dated cards no one wants, my brain is thinking about putting together a small stack of cards anyway.
I fished out some rookie material, including a 1986 Sportsflics Jose Canseco rookie year subset card that features six other players, an oddball rookie year Gary Sheffield, a Curtis Granderson rookie and Cliff Lee rookie - the seller went through my stack just to see what I'd actually gotten out of junk box and didn't know who Nick Markakis [draft pick, factory set insert] was.

That was peculiar, but I can see where despite having a substantial big league career - a Markakis type ends up being quite random and/or forgotten.

I relented to make these two sample / promo cards inserts because of the oddball factor - Albert Belle might be a guy I'll collect in an ironic sort of way as a guy who was universally disliked, but put up monster numbers through the decade of the 1990s.

Presumably the image used for the Nolan Ryan was from the same timeframe as his 1991 Topps Stadium Club picture - but I think the card company [Bleachers] took an image from that photo shoot and then slapped on their 'logo' when the card was being put together.

Through the junk wax era, I can see a 1987 Fleer Kirby Puckett as being a little bit better looking than the usual 1987 Topps - even if the distinctions doesn't end mattering, where one 'star card' was valued over the other.
A trio of 1990s era hitting stars, I'm not sure if I've ever had the 1990 Leaf John Olerud RC signed, so I grabbed it for TTM - maybe the Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell inserts [Circa '97 Boss] have no real value anymore, but the embossed surfaces make them fun keepers at just under a dollar.

The 1996 Pinnacle Summit Ballparks Bagwell card is serial #'d to 8,000 - which ends up still being a lot of cards and doesn't make them seem all that rare.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

TTM autographs received: Charlie Hough

The former big league knuckleballer signed my cards in just about a week - I've gotten him in-person before, where he has dutifully signed my cards, but wanted to send a couple of cards [1984 Donruss and 1990 Leaf] I don't think I ever got him to sign.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

I really thought I found something here

Digging through dollar boxes, there might be a ongoing sense of wishcasting something that isn't there, where I'm going to find a card or two that may be worth something more - I don't care enough about NFL cards but finding a 2009 Topps Chrome Matthew Stafford #TC210 might be worth a dollar gamble, so I put in my pile.

Of course after getting the lousy card in-hand, I wanted to look it up to figure out what card it exactly is - I typed in was what I thought the card was, followed by 'reprint' and go figure there was such inserts where I probably didn't have the original rookie in-hand.

I think I waited overnight to dig the card out and confirmed my dollar gamble landed me a nice looking card of the most recent Super Bowl champion quarterback - but only worth what I paid for it.

For what it's worth, it was actually the original Topps rookie card of Stafford [#430] that was reprinted in 2012 Topps chrome - as opposed to the 2009 Topps Chrome version [#TC210], so it would have been obvious clue if I knew better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

SLASHED finds at the dollar bins of doom

I usually go to the card show that is held twice in a month to see the seller I've annointed as having the dollar bins of doom - maybe it was posted that the seller [or at least his partner] would have the dollar cards marked down to $0.50 with other higher priced material [$5-$10, etc] would also be discounted.

Maybe at other times, I would have pounced on the tables when I got the show, but this time I just took my time trying to look at other tables - where the discounted dollar bins of doom wasn't a priority since I don't think the seller would seed fresher runs of cards, especially during his 'rare,' maybe once in a year sale where he might quip about needing to blow things out for gas money or to eat out with his wife.

The 1993 Score Select Derek Jeter rookie was marked from $5 to $3 - it's a pretty basic rookie but I might have lost the one I had 20 years ago, so maybe it's nice to have another copy to squirrel away.

The 1987 Fleer George Brett, 1988 Score Brett and 1988 Score Robin Yount are glossy, while the 1993 Topps Yount is a pre-production sample - sort of later career cards for these Hall of Famers I might just skip over as junk wax era material, but end up as keepers once I realized they were a little different.

I don't know if I ever attach any sentimentality to non-rookie, early through mid 2000s cards of Albert Pujols and Ichiro because there was a glut of them and they were never worth much - but maybe the passage of time makes these cards cool regardless, where I salvaged them as cheap binder material.
Except for the Michael Jordan baseball inserts, these might be the types of cards that have resided in the dollar bins of doom for the longest time - I might have skipped through these odds and ends even at the $0.50 mark, but there are a pair of autographs [one-time Angel Dustin Moseley and softball star Jennie Finch's husband Casey Daigle], some relics [Edgardo Alfonso, Mike Sweeney, Ryan Freel] and some parallels [Vinny Castilla, Ryan Zimmerman, Jedd Gyorko] I'll relent to make keepers out of.
Other sports are never a big emphasis, but it's too hard not to stumble upon portions of the dollar bins of doom where it's all jumbled up - where I catch myself adding non-baseball cards into my keeper stack.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Out of the depths of the quarter boxes - oddballs

Off a card show brick or two I piled together, I wanted to build a micro-mini run of so-called oddball cards - I don't really think I've actively collected these types of cards, but mostly inspired by other card blogs, maybe I want to add a wrinkle where I look for something that seems a little different than the usual.

While these cards represent the 'fun and games' aspect of collecting - maybe I'm trying to be pickier, where I'll try to stick to what I consider 'mainstream oddballs,' where it's cards usually printed by a major card company and/or issues that feature full licensing, rather than a case where team logos are scrubbed off.

1992 Sportflics Kellogg's Corn Flakes All Stars Tony Perez #2 - I picked this up sealed and even if it's one visible card, there is nothing like ripping into a baseball card pack.
2002 Topps Post Mike Piazza #4 - this one-card pack had already been opened, but it looks like the card is still in decent shape, so it was a keeper.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

TTM autographs received: Floyd Bannister

The former big league lefty signed my cards in about three weeks - there are guys who 'sign' autographs and there are guys who 'pen' signatures and Bannister's fits in the among the rarer pro athletes who really makes the effort to scribble out something easy to read.

Bannister maybe the type of big leaguer who gets obscured by history once their careers are over, but it's fun for me to give these guys a second look - despite a losing W-L record, the one-time Angel pitched more than 200 innings in 6 of his 15 years in the Major Leagues and had a double digits wins in 8 of those 15 years.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Like a fat kid in a candy store with these finds

Part of what keeps me at someone's table digging through their cheap-o boxes for at least 30-40 minutes is finding cards that pop with eye appeal - the cards could be the cheapest late 1990s base cards or inserts of guys I don't claim to collect or have muted interest for [Mo Vaughn, Kenny Lofton and Manny Ramirez], but there is something else to have these shiny, trippy cards in-hand.

Other finds feature guys rubber stamped as card greats in my book [Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter and Kirby Puckett] - sometimes some old-school rookies pop up [Bo Jackson and Clemens] that I'm compelled to toss into my stack.

The 1985 Topps Clemens RC has a soft corner and isn't quite a 'pack fresh' card - but as a junk wax era guy, making a rookie card of a junk wax era superstar a keeper just has to be done.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

TTM autographs received: Mike Napoli

The former Angels catcher signed my two cards in about a couple of weeks c/o The Chicago Cubs were he is employed as a coach - I don't remember seeing him in the past 10 years, where I could have gotten him to sign, but I apparently got him to sign a card in-person during a spring training trip in 2017.

I think his Angels narrative was he was a power hitting late bloomer who made good, mashing his way to the big leagues - after establishing himself for several seasons, then manager Mike Scioscia 'gave up' on him because Scioscia preferred the catching skills of Jeff Mathis, who ended up never hitting at all despite eventually lasting through 2021.

Napoli would move on, help the Texas Rangers get to the World Series in 2011 and then help the Boston Red Sox win a championship in 2013 - he would be seen as this fan favorite, man of the people type who was always about the good vibes.

Monday, July 11, 2022

2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary finds

I stumbled upon a table with monster boxes of assorted cards and I started digging through the baseball portion because I started to find cards from the 2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary set - reading up, the product might have just been released [despite being dated to 2021] as a 700-card set with active and retired players, using the 1952 Topps design.

I tried grabbing all the better players as much as I could [notably any retired legends / Hall of Famers and/or even a few non-HOF fan favorites] - while trying to leave the cards of some of the 'iffier' players in my book.

It might not be a coup, but ending up with just a little over 70 cards from this newish set has me feeling like I really did something - where I can use the fresh cards for binder material, even if it's the basic cards as opposed to parallels.

Saturday, July 09, 2022

About fan favorites and catch all binders

This is a mock up page I made for Ray Lankford, a guy who might have been hobby relevant for just a 'moment,' 30 years ago, but is largely forgotten in the here and now - I want to say he occupied at least a page in my decade stars collection through the late 1990s and even through the early 2000s before I weeded out his cards from my binders.

I’m picky and I always want demarcation points deciding which prominent players I want to highlight and which guys don’t make the cut - the minor star, semi star types who might have been ‘baseball good,’ but perhaps generated little or no buzz hobby wise might not ever be considered as decade stars guys in my book.

Lankford was part of the MLB fabric of a decade or an era, but more solid than superstar, as his career petered out - there wasn't as big of a sentiment left to keep his card displayed in pages.

Now, I might want a ‘place’ for these players, where I have a re-imagined specialty binder to give certain players a second or third look - it might be fun to get re-acquianted with former players I've ceased to care about or didn't really have that faux nostalgic, emotional attachment to, but I'm looking for ideas to change things up and play with my cards that are otherwise archived in my A-Z commons collection.

Maybe in reality, I can do blog posts for some of these former players obscured by history - where for space considerations, boxes are fine to store these types of players’ cards where I can't get too sentimental.

Friday, July 08, 2022

1991 Classic Best Minor League pack

I was rummaging hard through the quarter bin at a card show and found this clear plastic pack of junk wax era minor league cards - I grabbed it because I saw it was still sealed and rather than one card, I get two [even if the back showed Todd Van Poppel] where I can count the pack as 'one' towards my bulk keepers.

I don't think the actual cards are part of a promo issue, but I guess the packs might have been designed for promotional uses as giveaways and whatnot - when I finally did a micro-mini pack break of what I thought was a two-card pack, I also found a card of Pedro Martinez sandwiched in the middle.

Thursday, July 07, 2022

Featured autograph - Rhys Hoskins

This certified autograph card was the centerpiece in a small stack of cards I picked up at a card show - Hoskins doesn't quite register as a perennial all-star type, but he's more of a real solid power hitter who ends up having his share of hitting highlights over the course of a season.
I ended up picking up Hoskins and a Vladimir Guerrero [serial #'d to 99] card [$5] and a few more odds and ends - nothing mind shattering but more cards to squirrel away.

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

TTM autographs received: Doug Gwosdz

The former big leaguer catcher ["Eyechart"] from the 1980s signed my cards in about two weeks - I found it odd the 1984 San Diego Padres Smokey was signed in the back, but the bold autograph pops out on the lighter background where maybe it ends up bleeding into the background of the image in front of the card.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Better than a blaster [?] - some dollar box mining

At a card show I go to, I found these cards off a seller I've never bought from or at least noticed before - at times, it's the different faces that may offer something a little different, rather than the same old type of cards [off my go-to sellers] I've already passed over in my head.

What I found may not be the fun, odd or old material, but they are a change of pace where these are newer cards and sometimes - I want something a little more recent than out of time.

I did some damage at one seller's table and was just wandering around the card show room, wondering if I was really done for the day - I started going through a box at a table and maybe I was starting to flag 10, 15, 20 cards where I was tempted to spend a little more.

In the end, I round up 30 cards and the seller charged me $20 - which was a little relief from what I'd expected to pay.

2022 582 Montgomery Club Kris Bryant - this just caught my eye where, 'neat, this might be one of Bryant's first 2022 cards in a Colorado Rockies uniform.'

Despite signing a long-term deal with the Rockies, I kind of feel like he's at a crossroads in his playing career - where he might not ever reach superstar heights again.

2022 582 Montgomery Club singles - I don't know how common these cards have been, but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to seek them out otherwise, so I'll load up on some of stars as I found, just as something different to squirrel away as binder material.
I like the Topps Silver Pack cards but I don't buy any flagship hobby or jumbo boxes to get any of the packs - after the fact, maybe most of the basic cards are forgotten as just another part of an insert set issued, but I do like the way they pop and may hunt for loose cards as probable keepers.
Some Topps 3D issues, a Gypsy Queen numbered insert of Jacob deGrom and a Jose Ramirez Bowman card - from a higher end Topps product that is basically a glorified parallel, mirroring another set.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Card show trip recaps - battle of the dollar boxes of doom 2 of 2

I usually go to the twice in a month shows to see the seller with the dollar bins of doom, but it was posted that the seller [or at least his partner] would be at one of the weekend shows with about a thousand fresh dollar cards - maybe I need to wean myself off where the dollar boxes of doom isn’t quite the destination that makes or breaks a card show trip, but I go on the idea I never know what I may find.

There might be some FOMO involved, though it's not like I'm ever in a situation where like minded collectors come together, anywhere to pore over and compare their cheap-o hauls - I usually depend on the other card blogs to see if what I may have gotten lines up with what others have picked up, even if those other collectors get the cards I do for quarter or dime as opposed to a buck a piece.

When I'm in the trenches at the card show, it seems like the dollar boxes of doom demographic are more of the older heads, who might they are really doing a thing picking at the 'bargain box' material - it's harder to see a younger, 'in their prime' collecting demographic, who are laser focused into valuing 'here and now' material.

Decade stars

If nothing else, I'm looking for binder material that may add a little pop to my pages - maybe a little historicity or some oddball fun.

1985 Topps Eric Davis RC #627 - I’m probably lukewarm on having nostalgia for certain non-HoF, junk wax era superstars whose playing careers sputtered due to injuries and/or decline.

However, I can imagine being a collector in the late 1980s making Davis rookies a big deal - so this was a scratch the itch card on the downlow where I finally have a card people stopped caring about 30 years ago.

Davis seemed like he was always hurt when he should have been putting up numbers to add bulk to his career totals - through the mid 1990s, he had a career resurgence as a useful, productive player and due to colon cancer, Davis became a big league human interest story.

1991 Playball U.S.A. Ken Griffey Jr. #91-1 - with an MLB logo on back, I think this is a fully licensed oddball and I find these types of cards more appealing [than just the issues licensed by just the MLBPA or licensed by a player pictured] without the MLB logos scrubbed out.

1992 Topps Gold Cal Ripken Jr. #40 - I think the 1992 Topps Ripken is one of the low-key classic junk wax era cards, so picking up a parallel was something I had to do.

2000 Topps Chrome Combos Torre’s Terrors #TC3 - feat. Paul O’Neill, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez; I got this because of Jeter, but it’s not quite the 'Core Four' quartet, so I’m making it an O’Neill card.

1990 Score Rookie and Traded Frank Thomas #86T - this junk wax era late season card never really registered in my memory banks, especially when he had a draft pick RC in Score’s flagship the same year, but it’s a rookie year card that I didn’t have.

1992 Topps Gold Jim Thome #768 - if Topps or Upper Deck held off printing cards of Thome in 1991, maybe this wouldn’t be a second year card and the parallel would be more of a big deal.

1992 Upper Deck Minors Chipper Jones #165 - worth only what I paid, but a nice looking minor league era card, where I want it to mean something more than what it is.

2014 Donruss Timelines Derek Jeter #13

Other sports
1994-95 Upper Deck 1992 reprint He's Back Michael Jordan #23 - I wonder what sorcery was this to nave a 'He's Back' notation on an older Upper Deck Jordan card and didn't realize it was a reprint.

1994-95 Upper Deck Collector's Choice International Spanish Michael Jordan #240 - Charles Barkley cameo

1994-95 Upper Deck SP Championship Michael Jordan #41 - Shaq cameo

1995-96 Topps Finest Magic Johnson #252 - peeled; just about all the Magic cards I'm familiar with are from the early 1990s junk era of basketball cards, so printed in the UV era, it's a little different.

2008-09 Fleer Jordan Retrospective #MJ-5 - maybe a classic image reprinted on a useless Jordan insert.

Angels material - Mike Trout
2017 Topps Archives Mike Trout #1 - I found the base card and the variation and while I could have taken them both, maybe I was a little stingy and without digging out my phone, hoped I set aside the correct card.

2014 Donruss Classics Mike Trout #97

I guess $20 was good number to spend as I found 15 ‘lousy’ dollar cards and a 1994 Sportflics 2000 Rookie/Traded Alex Rodriguez RC #148 for $5 - from one of the lower end boxes of miscellaneous cards set out on the table.

I hardly pay attention to A-Rod's numerous post career endeavors, where he is striving to be relevant, looking for a back door to the Hall of Fame - but his early MLB cards are a trip back in time, where the sky was the limit for this new hotshot for the Seattle Mariners, where he might even supplant teammate Ken Griffey Jr. as the most popular player in the game.