Saturday, July 11, 2020

Frank Robinson, Now and Forever

Frank Robinson was not one of the players I set out to collect when I initially set out to collect players. He never played for my team, he just happened to manage the Giants during a few of my peak early years as a baseball fan. We weren't very good then, and that was OK. Most people didn't blame Frank - it was just the natural state of affairs with the early 80s San Francisco Giants.

A few months ago I came across some Robinson cards of him looking like a badass superstar in his Reds uniform, and I reckoned that maybe Robinson would be a good guy to collect. He's one of those players who has several tribute cards made for him every year, as you'll see as you scroll down this post. Of course, those recent cards are the easiest and least expensive to collect, and some of them look magnificent. I picked up a big boatload of them via CardBarrel and SportLots recently, and thought you might want to take a look-see.

Before we do that, a few credentials for Frank Robinson the player. Two-time MVP, once in each league. Hall of Famer. NL Rookie of the Year in 1956. Player/Manager for a Cleveland Indians in the 1970s. 1972 member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is something I'd completely forgotten (!). I'm working on grabbing his "regular" Topps and Bowman cards next - yeah, the pricey ones from the 50s and 60s (Good/Poor OK!). Great, on to some more recent Robinson cards:

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Cards of Pablo Sandoval, Continued

I don't know how you guys have been doing during the pandemic, but I was happy to see my hero Pablo Sandoval in total fighting shape for the new 60-game 2020 baseball season that may or may not actually take place. This photo was making the rounds on social media this past weekend. All I can say is: Pablo will be ready. He's always ready, unless he's on the Boston Red Sox.

My Pablo Sandoval baseball card collection continues to "burgeon". Although he's often seemed more like a local hero and/or local curiosity, I sometimes forget that for a few years there, Pablo Sandoval was a big-time nationally-known player. Maybe it was winning three World Series in five years? Two-time NL all-star? They're certainly made a ton of Pablo Sandoval baseball cards because of it, and now I have to collect 'em all. I guess his profile isn't all that massive across the sport of baseball any longer, but you know that everyone's happy he's still around.

I'm doing fairly well on the Pablo accumulation project, considering that I really only started late last year. Here are a few more that I've added recently that I thought you might want to take a gander at. Nothing too wild, just nice to have around.

Finally - where were you in 2012 on the day that this happened? I was sitting right here, about 15 feet from where I'm typing this, watching it on TV. Imagine that!

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Completed 2019 Allen & Ginter, My Way

Most of my collecting is focused around the San Francisco Giants, as I'm sure I've made more than clear on too many occasions. I'm kind of working backward and forward at the same time - trying to build up complete Giants sets from 2020 on back to appx. 2002 or so, the skipping the 90s entirely, and then going backward again from 1981 all the way to 1969. Why 1969 as a backward stopping point? Well, it starts getting pretty expensive from there, given hall-of-famers Mays, McCovey, Marichal and Cepeda - but I'm going to do the best I can. Right now I'm concentrating much more on the Giants that came in Topps sets this past decade - the Topps sets that I like, which are mainly Heritage, Gypsy Queen and Allen & Ginter.

So a nice "success" for me is gathering a 7-card SF Giants collection from a set like, say, 2019 Allen & Ginter - which I have now done. The only short-print card in the bunch is this Orlando Cepeda card you see here. The other six are relatively easy-n-cheap base cards. Of the 7 cards, only 4 of the guys still play organized baseball, with the other three being the aforementioned Giants legends. Totally cool with that. It's nice to so easily procure a "complete set" and to have these gems to have, hold and appreciate from here to eternity.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Card Blogs vs. Card Twitter

I'm definitely not the first to make this observation - in fact, Dime Boxes was spot-on about it just a few posts ago - but man, the tonal differences I've been seeing between card blogs and "cards Twitter" are pretty vast. Whereas the former seems to have a "rising tide lifts all boats / we're all in this together / I'll help you, you help me" sort of low-stakes collector ethos, in which the point is to both personally and collectively celebrate the hobby, the latter is all about BREAKS and ACT FAST and ROOKIES and RESALE and other unsavory things. If I may - can I use the word "douchy", perhaps? In the Twitter world, it's all about nailing (and then maybe flipping) a GAVIN LUX or a WANDER FRANCO or a CASEY MIZE card - except no first names allowed, because of course we all already know about these rookies who have barely sniffed the major leagues. LUX. FRANCO. MIZE. BART. "I just nailed an autographed LUX, bitches! Yeeeeahh! $249 if u want it now".

Include me out. I definitely prefer the more navel-gazing, contemplative world of the true collector/accumulator, and I reckon I've found that world here on the blogs. This is all my way of introducing my new LUX and FRANCO cards that I was able to procure on eBay for not a great deal of money. A few months back I wrote this and this bemused post about Onyx 2020 cards. I really like these cards, honestly, but I don't want to pay the proverbial king's ransom for them. I'm certainly not buying them to get rich somewhere down the road, as if that could happen anyway with a baseball card. My 1979 Topps Wayne Gretzky is probably only about a $500 card now anyway, and it's looking like my mother probably threw that one away back in the mid-80s.

But these Onyx cards are cool, right? One of these fellas becomes a superstar someday, great. So I got the Wander Franco and Gavin Lux cards to go with the ones in my previous blog posts, then added someone who plays in my favorite team's minor league organization whom I've never heard of: Alexander Canario of the San Francisco Giants ballclub. 99 cents on eBay. I think he might be the next Mike Trout. FLIP IT!!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Lincecum As An Angel

Always strange to see one of your team's heroes in another uniform, isn't it? Tim Lincecum - a guy I collect - was a Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim for 38 innings in 2016 before he retired. Let's just say his 7.16 ERA over there didn't do him any favors.

I had thought that he probably would have quite a few Angels card variations from the spring of 2016 that I'd need to pick up. On that count, I was mistaken. There's this Topps base card - and many, many colored versions of it with different printing plates - and then there's this Heritage card you see below.

That's it. Tim Lincecum on the Angels. The complete set. Every other card of his is a Giants or a minor league card. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

World's Finest Rennie Stennett Collection

With apologies to Rennie and Mrs. Stennett, but when they eventually open the Rennie Stennett Baseball Card Museum, I'm pretty confident it's me they'll be calling first. In May, I talked a bit in this blog post about why I was collecting Rennie Stennett cards, and I crowed a bit prematurely about being almost done with collecting his entire run of cards. Nope, there were still more to go, and I suspect there probably still are - but I'm hard-pressed to figure out at this point what I don't have.

I recently got Rennie Stennett's 1975 SSPC card, #575 in the set, which you see to your left here. It highlights the #1 thing people know about our man Rennie - that he went 7 for 7 on September 16th, 1975 in a 9-inning game, leading the Pirates to a 22-0 win over the Cubs that day.

This 7-for-7 is also the reason that Stennett was given not one but two cards in the 1994 Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball set, highlighting his achievement. Please note that I have both the original Stennett cards in this set, plus versions stamped "Major League Baseball 125th Anniversary". Anyone know what that's about?

In my SportLots order that contained these cards, the sender was kind enough to include this 'lil mini-card in my order from Rennie's time on the San Francisco Giants:

I've also got all of the man's Kellogg's cards now. Far as I can tell there are three of them, but I just scanned this 1977 one for you here:

Then there's this 2001 Upper Deck "Decade Dateline" card - I guess the set commemorates things that happened in the 1970s - and of course it celebrates Stennett's 7 for 7 again:

Finally, I was able to nab two more 1990s cards of Stennett playing in the Florida Senior League for the Gold Coast Suns, the first from Elite and the second from T&M Sports. Call me if you ever need these cards for a Stennett museum, OK folks?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Pilots Cards That Came After The Pilots

I've made no secret of my affinity for the Seattle Pilots, a one-year MLB team from 1969 whom I've written about here, here, here and here. Given that they existed for a mere year, and had Topps cards for only two years, they are eminently collectable and an "easy win", as they say (though I haven't finished up that 1970 Topps set just yet).

Now I'm interested in the more goofball, post-1970 Seattle Pilots cards that exist. We already talked about the 1983 Renata Galasso set here, but some other Pilots cards have recently come to my attention, and so I'm sprung into action, by the proverbial hook or crook. First, how about this 1992 Leaf Heritage Series Paul Molitor, bedecked in a full Pilots get-up? As you may well recall, the Pilots turned into Paul's Milwaukee Brewers in 1970, where they remain to this day (albeit in the National League now). Paul's card says "The Seattle Pilots would prove to be mistake", which I guess is pretty much the general consensus on the team.

Now this next specimen is not a posthumous Pilots card, but rather a 1969 Don Mincher card that Milton Bradley put out. Milton Bradley, like the game people? Anyone know if this was part of a game? I'm getting the sense that it was, if you look at all the code at the bottom of the game, as well as on the card's back. Me, I got mine via a COMC order, and it was quite inexpensive to boot. I suppose it's because it's, you know, Don Mincher and not, you know, Hank Aaron.

We already covered Mincher and Tommy Harper's lovely 1970 Kellogg's cards here, and while I think I've found most everything that's card-sized (i.e. not stamps or posters) that came out while this team was still around - with the exception of this 1969 Tommy Davis Deckle Edge card I still need to grab somewhere - most of what's to still be collected is "post-Pilots".

Here's a good one: Ichiro Suzuki in a Pilots uniform. 2010 Topps National Chicle Diamond Stars, #538/999. It even lists him as being "on" the Pilots, while giving his birth year as 1973. Wait a minute, that's.....impossible....

Finally, I recently became aware of the 1989 and 1990 Pacific Trading Cards "Baseball Legends" series. Perhaps there are more editions as well - my left hand is tired of typing and I don't feel like looking right now. But check it out - there are some Pilots "legends" like Gary Bell and Diego Segui! Thanks very much to Nick for the Frank Crosetti card as well. 

That's it for this week's edition of Pilots roulette. We'll see if I can come up with another batch that'll be worthy of yet another post.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Hockey Card Update & Interlude

It's been pretty much all-baseball here at the CH blog so far, with only one hockey card-flavored interlude so far. I'm rolling out a hockey card obsession very, very slowly, and dipping a toe into a couple of sets and personal preferences here and there, just to see what takes.

The one thing I knew I simply had to do was collect complete Topps sets of all of the Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals teams from their inception in 1967-68, through their demise and move to Cleveland (to become the Barons for a mere two seasons) in 1976-77. I never got to see the Seals play, but I did get to once hear an epic rant from my Grandfather, who told me about the time he went to see a Seals game at the Oakland Coliseum and forgot where he'd parked, leading to a two-hour late-night search after the game for his car. If you want to know more about the Seals, this book and this documentary are well worth checking out.

Right now, I've either got in my posession every single Topps Seals card created for their nine NHL seasons, or it's one of the few stragglers still on the way from one of my SportLots orders. Having just "released" my SportLots box this morning, I'll have a complete Seals collection by the end of the week. OMG what a major accomplishment! No single card cost me more than $3, and most were around 20 cents. That there was really my first and only hockey collecting goal....but of course others soon followed.

I saw some of these 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee WHA cards on someone else's blog, and then I got pretty damn excited about completing the 66-card set. 66 cards? I can do that. I've got 32 of them so far, which makes me 48.5% of the way there. I've always been fascinated with failed, defunct professional sports teams, and the WHA had some great ones: the San Diego Mariners, the Phoenix Roadrunners, the Vancouver Blazers, the Michigan Stags, the Cleveland Crusaders and so on. Wayne Gretzky played in the WHA, as did Gordie Howe, Gerry Cheevers and loads of other legends. The cards I have certainly aren't EX/NM, but that's okay. They speak to another long-gone time in hockey - one without helmets, overseas players and a US television contract.

Something I'd never heard of before three months ago - because I had never really been collecting hockey cards - was Parkhurst cards. Now I know it was a top Canadian brand of the 50s and early 60s during the Original 6 era, and I couldn't believe how gorgeous their cards generally looked. Expensive, though - not for the faint of heart. I took a particular shine to the look of the 1958-59 cards, and decided to buy one, whatever it ended up being. Enter one Barry Cullen of the Toronto Maple Leafs for $6, the cheapest decent-condition Parkhurst card I could find from that year. The card says he'd "potted" 16 goals the year before for the Leafs. Wikipedia says he played until 1960 for Toronto and Detroit before calling it a day.

So now that I've got a lone fabled Parkhurst in my collection, maybe it ends there, maybe not - but of course I'll look out for more. The brand, after a several-decade hiatus, continues to this day.

As I was wrapping up my Topps Seals collection, I thought I might poke around online to see what other sort of posthumous California Golden Seals cards might be out there: tribute cards and what have you. Here are a few 21st-century cards put out by In The Game for goalie Gilles Meloche, who is universally thought of as the most talented human being that the Seals ever put on the ice, including a card of his with the Barons:

I'm absolutely going to continue my quest for any post-1970s Seals cards that might be out there. If you've got a line on any good ones, please let me know. Finally, I decided to make a concession to modernity and collect a modern player. I strongly considered Patrick Marleau, who has been my #1 favorite San Jose Sharks player for over twenty years, and still is......yet if I'm being honest, I find the uber-talented Marleau simultaneously both one of the nicest guys and one of the least interesting people in hockey. I just could not rouse myself for the undertaking of collecting his entire career, for some reason. Perhaps that will change. 

Instead, I decided to focus on exciting, short-term San Jose Shark and Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne, "the Finnish Flash" and probably my #2 favorite hockey player I've ever watched outside of fellow Hall of Famer and non-Shark Peter Forsberg - whom I may collect next, and who in his prime was absolutely the single most dominating player I've ever seen. Here's what little I've got from  Teemu so far. More hockey interludes on this blog as interesting cards filter in.

Friday, June 26, 2020

A Few Words on "Vintage"

Actually, this post is more of an excuse to scan a few "vintage" cards of mine. Yeah - so what is vintage? I suppose it all depends on where you're coming from, right? To me, those 1977 and 1978 Topps cards that I first started buying as they were coming out aren't vintage to me - they have a late 70s look and feel that frankly, I really just don't like all that much. Sure, they were still doing the wacky line-drawing cartoons and mundane trivia on the back that they'd pulled from cards from the 50s and 60s ("Jose loves disco dancing"; "Ray once shot a man in Reno just to see him die" etc.), but I don't know - they don't meet my personal definition of vintage.

I suppose they may meet yours, though - and it could certainly be argued that when Topps lost their exclusivity and Donruss and Fleer flooded into the void in the early 80s, well, those cards are definitely not vintage. For me, though - especially now that I'm back into collecting - anything from 1972 Topps and working backward from there counts. I'm actually quite floored that there are cards from the 50s and 60s still very much in circulation, and are still very affordable. I mean, really affordable if it's a tiny bit beat up and common. Whenever I get a common card from the 50s and 60s, I'm incredibly psyched about it. I don't care who the guy is - it's just a delight to have his card in my collection.

Like Steve Boros' 1959 card. It's awesome - even if I didn't scan it very well. He looks like he just stepped off of "Leave It To Beaver" or "The Andy Griffith Show". Or Bill Short over here. I don't know this guy, even if he was 17-6 in 1960. I just love looking at this card, created six years before I was born, and from what feels like a million friggin' years ago.

I honestly don't have very many vintage cards in my collection right now, outside of the 1971 and 1972 Topps sets I'm starting to build, and all those Seattle Pilots cards from '69 and '70. I know that eventually getting the cards of guys from this era whom I collect - Willie McCovey and Frank Robinson, to say nothing of Willie Mays - is going to be a bit of an expensive slog, and I may never get there. That's okay. Until, then, I'll snap up any and all vintage commons that I can get for next-to-nothing, or in trades, or whatnot. It sure beats going after 1989 Donruss, don't it?