Thursday, October 29, 2020

Padrographs To The Rescue

I've never quite received a card care package like the one I got from Rod at Padrographs this week. He'd seen my post last week about trying to pull together the Topps Heritage 2020 Minor Leagues set, and offers to fill in 53 of the gaps in my want list - which he promptly did. Amazing.

Moreover, the man took note of me saying something about collecting 1971 Topps baseball as well - on which this 2020 minor leagues set is based - and put together every double and straggler he had around. Even friggin' Carl Yastrzemski! And a bunch of San Francisco Giants to boot. I'll get to scanning those in posts to come. Really phenomenal generosity from Rod. Go check out his longtime blog if you have a moment. 

So I thought I'd scan a few of these 2020 Heritage Minors cards. I decided to pick only guys whose names I was familiar with. Of the 53 new arrivals, that was about 9 of them - but that's what makes prospect cards so fun, right? Three years from now one of these fellas is going to be a household name, at least in households that care about baseball. I only have 15 base and short-print cards from this set on my want list, the fabled "catbird seat" of card collecting, right? Anywhere, here are 5 more dudes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Pecking Away at 1975 SSPC

Completion of the 630-card 1975 SSPC set - a set I hadn't even heard about a year ago - is now something that's within reach. I mean, nah, I'm not even halfway there yet, but I'm almost halfway there. It's a pretty achievable set if you use CardBarrel and SportLots and are cool with paying 30 cents to a buck a card. I'll get there someday; this past week I picked up another 60 or so, including a few of these fellas.

I love this set because they're so DIY and yet so nice at the same time; great full-color photos (always posed), and a ton of information on the back. Check out the Pirates' Richie Hebner here. Just a pinch between the cheek & the gum, right Richie? There are no stat lines for any of the players, but a full paragraph of information that often contains some opinion; Hebner, for instance, "had an off year in '75", which he definitely did, hitting .246 with only 15 HR and 57 RBI. (At the time, those were the three numbers we most cared about. RBIs! Seriously!). I can't remember if Hebner ever got good again, and I'm too lazy to look it up.

Now this swashbuckling Pirate got good again for sure. Willie Stargell! Pops. Loved Pops. Everybody loved pops. I still remember the end of the 1979 World Series and "We Are Family" playing in the stadium. That's how old I am.

A couple of my recent SSPC cards cost as much as - gasp! - three dollars, owing to the fact that superstars are on 'em. Here's Rod Carew and Tom Seaver, respectively. 

Apologies for the crooked Carew scan, but that ridiculous photo is all him. Here's the Boston Red Sox' Carlton Fisk, who went to the World Series that year and who hit a home run you may have seen:

And then finally, I picked this dude to show you, because he's the only 1975 SSPC card I have - I think - where there's zero indication which team he's on. He's Ed Goodson of the Los Angeles Dodgers - a team who by the way won the 2020 World Series a mere twenty minutes before I typed this blog post. Goodson was a utility guy. I have him on a couple of early 70s SF Giants cards. He's card #588 in a series of #630. He has curly 1970s locks. And here's his SSPC card.

Monday, October 26, 2020

2019 Topps "High Tek" Has Some Real Beauts

Not a Topps line I'd heard of until a couple of weeks ago, this High Tek. I'm starting to trend toward only going after cards I really enjoy looking at, as opposed to, say, getting yet another Buster Posey card because he happens to be on the SF Giants. These fit the bill - and a couple of the ones I picked up have those fancy gold numbers on them as well. One of them even has an autograph, and he's a dude I like even if he is on the Los Angeles Dodgers now.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

A Few 1962 Head-Floaters

These 1962 Topps "Leaders" cards are among my favorite cards I've ever seen. I only have three of them, so I thought that I might share them here. They didn't cost much - a couple bucks each - and yeah, I know that they're a little off-centered. Remember '61, when Cleveland's Dick Donovan led the American League in ERA? Yeah, I didn't know that either. And take a look at baseball card legend Don Mossi, coming in third for the season with a crisp 2.96! (I've got a few Mossi cards on order and will share them on this blog presently). 

I don't have many 1962 cards but I do have these. Bonus San Francisco Giants team card if you scroll down. Let's not forget they lost in a 7-game heartbreaker World Series later that year.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Big Batch of Topps 2020 Heritage Minors

One thing I have yet to do is build an entire set of new cards from scratch. I'm working on building entire sets of 1965, 1971 and 1972 Topps baseball; 1975 SSPC baseball; and 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA Hockey (the latter of which I'm nearly done with). Every one of these I'm going card by card via trades, orders and trips to my local card shop. Now I'm adding a new set, because I think it looks fantastic and because, at 200 base cards and 20 short print/high numbers, it's achievable. It's 2020 Topps Heritage Minor League. I just bought a hobby box, and I'd like to share it with you.

As with any of these boxes, there are some great parallels, inserts and special cards. That's mostly what I've scanned today. Like - out of the 18 total packs I opened, only one of which was going to have a uniform swatch card, if I had to choose one single prospect whose game-used memorabilia card I'd want to get, it would have been Joey Bart's. And there it was, in pack #2 - Joey Bart. One of the two prospects whose cards I'm actively collecting. (The other is Jo Adell). Off to a great start!

Another prospect, now bonafide major leaguer, whom I'm excited about is the Miami Marlins' Sixto Sanchez. This kid can pitch. And this parallel that turned up in my box is #13/15. Whoa. I don't have many cards that go quite that low in number. Bonus points for him playing for the "Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp". 

The autograph in my box belongs to one Andy Pages of the Ogden Raptors. He happens to be in the Dodgers' organization, which just figures, doesn't it? They're so good at building and nurturing a young talent pipeline that I almost can't hate them. 

Just like 2020 Topps Heritage Majors, the Minors edition is based on the 1971 Topps design - one of the all-time greats. This also means it contains bonus extras like these "Play Baseball Scratch-Off" inserts. I got 4 of these guys. Here are two of them.

Anyway, now I'm so into this set that, like I said, I'm going to collect the whole thing. I'm well on my way already. If you've got any extras that happen to be on my want list, let's trade....? Oh - and you know what? This just might be the newbie in me showing, but I couldn't believe that out of the 18 packs I opened, there were zero doubles. Every card a unique card. Is that what they're doing now? I bought one of these 2020 Heritage Majors boxes and I'm pretty sure I got a bunch of I wrong?

Anyway, here are a few more young studs from Heritage Minors.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Check Out These Goofball Broder Reds

Couldn't help but make a move on these 1988 "Broder Type Red Border Baseball Stars" cards from 1988 when I saw them represented on another blog. Was that your blog? Well thank ya. I don't even really buy nor accumulate cards from the go-go 80s, but when I saw these 80s superstars lording over stadiums - the same stadium - as literal giants, I had to make a play for bringing them into the collection. At least a few of 'em.

Broder were an "unlicensed" card company of the 1980s, as I understand it. They didn't last very long, but the sets they did put out have some really nice fronts. The backs, well - the backs of these are almost nonexistent. Just the person's name, a star, and a card number. The Red (maroon?) series of Baseball Stars came out in four waves of 10 each, for a total of 40 cards. I'm not going to make it collecting goal #1, but I truly wouldn't mind finding the 34 of these I don't have at some point. Here are the 6 that I was able to grab. 

Oh, and if any of you experienced accumulators have anything to add re: Broder, please let us know in the comments. I'd love to know more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Nope, Definitely Not Collecting "Throwback Thursday"

I had sort of lost track of what was going on with Topps' weekly "Throwback Thursday" sets. I'd subscribed to email updates from Topps a little over a year ago, and ordered a 6-card Throwback Thursday set in the early part of this year because I thought it looked quite handsome. Blogged about it here, in fact. But I mean, yeah - these are just money-grubbing limited edition sets designed to make suckers out of all of us, right? Also - that and the fact that Topps started sending me emails every single goddamn day, to the point where I had to unsubscribe. Now I'm so unsubscribed that I can't seem to re-subscribe, even though I want to. So this is why I forgot about "Throwback Thursday" as a concept, and why I missed out on a few phenomenal-looking cards.

Folks, that's why there's an eBay. There will always be someone ready to make a buck off on top of someone else's buck. I'd seen a scan of Topps TBT set #39, which features "six lightning fast players, current and retired", based on a Topps "World on Wheels" design from 1954 (which is in itself a pretty cool set featuring cars - check it out here). It's in an edition of 1,665. There's a Trout card and a Luis Robert card and even a Trea Turner card. The first two I didn't really want to spring the $ for; the latter I don't think I saw. But the other three just looked so awesome that I bought them straight-up on eBay. I simply had to. Ricky Henderson you can see above. Here are the other two I went for:

I'll treasure them forever and always. But I wasn't done buying Throwback Thursday cards, or so I found out. Set #36 featured "six next-generation stars", and is based on a 1998 design. Well one of those cards was Mike Yastrzemski, or the "real Yaz" as we call him around here. Again, it was something I couldn't pass up, even if it was being sold by some grubby capitalist totally trying to exploit the dignity of my labor. But no, I am definitely, absolutely not collecting "Throwback Thursday" cards, no way.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Free Card Friday Redux

Here we go again with another simple giveaway. 

I've got 18 cards laid out here. Any one or more of them could be yours. That's right - they're free. There's a two-step process: Alls you have to do is leave a comment saying "I want this one" or "I want that one", and let me which one or ones you want, of course. If you're the first one to drop in that comment, then it's yours! However, I also need you to send me an email to and tell me the card(s) you requested and give me your mailing address so I can send it to you. Also, let me know if you like trading, because if I'm going to send you 1, 2 or 3 cards, I might as well send over a few more, especially if there's a chance you'll send greedy me some cards in return.

(this guy in the bottom row middle is Ken Caminiti, in case you're wondering, on a 1996 Fleer Showcase card)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Remembering Shinjomania

When Japanese players first started coming to the MLB - I'm not talking about Masanori Murakami, but the 90s/00s wave that started with Hideo Nomo - there was this sense of "hidden gold", and that any one of these guys who had been recent stars in Japan might come over and make your team into an instant contender. Of course, Ichiro Suzuki came over in 2001 and did exactly that with the Seattle Mariners. Who else was out there? I remember the hype and bracing for a wave of Japanese success stories in MLB.

We definitely had some. Hideki Matsui. Kazuhiro Sasaki. Dice-K. Yu Darvish. We're still getting them (I truly wish Shohei Ohtani the best, especially since I started collecting his cards this year). I just wish one of the leading lights had been Tsuyoshi Shinjo. Oh man were we excited when the San Francisco Giants signed him for the 2002 season. He'd just come off a really strong first year with the New York Mets, and with Ichiro scorching up the American League, it was possible - maybe? - that Shinjo might end up being, if not his National League equivalent, at least the guy who might send SF to their first World Series in 13 years, maybe?

Hey, as it turns out, the Giants did go to the World Series that year, famously losing out to the Angels in 7 games. It's just that Shinjo barely played any part in it. I remember him meekly coming up to pinch-hit in the 9th inning of Game 7 and being really bummed. He struck out. He'd had a pretty rough year, hitting .238 with an OBP of .294. A little pop - 9 homers in 362 at bats - but not enough. We basically gave him back to the Mets the following year, and Shinjo was out of baseball the year after that (actually, that's not true - he went back to Japan and put up decent numbers for the Nippon Ham Fighters for 3 more years). 

I'm glad about that last bit. Shinjo may not have been the savior we'd hoped he'd be, but he was the first Japan-born player to ever play in a World Series. He put up some quality at-bats in 2002, if you ignore all the ones in which he didn't. And Shinjomania was very much a thing during the Spring of 2002 in the San Francisco Bay Area. In honor of that, I've collected a few of the man's cards.