Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 Bowman Draft Prospects, or, Guys I Hope To See in the Majors in Three Years

Was putting the finishing touches on a 'lil Card Barrel order the other day and saw that they had just gotten in several shiny new boxes of 2020 Bowman Draft Prospects. Those Bowman prospect sets are kinda fun, aren't they? Unlike the newest Topps Heritage 2020 Minor Leagues - a set that I actually completed (!), and that I totally love - I'm just thinking that it's the SF Giants prospects I want to grab out of this Bowman set. 

I always pay a little attention to the MLB draft each year, so I'm familiar at least with the names of these guys. Look at the hustle on Jimmy Glowenke! Big Jimmy had a .967 OPS in college last year, albeit in only 51 at-bats. Some of these other guys are rated prospects for the Giants, like the hurt-and-out-for-one-year Alexander Canario; Heliot Ramos, who we might see in the bigs as early as next year; plus Hunter Bishop and Marco Luciano, who are both MLB Top 100 prospects as well. 

I couldn't resist getting them, to be honest. Then Card Barrel announced they had the 2020 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects just in stock, and I dropped all the Giants in my shopping card before going....."what the hell am I doing?". Every dollar spent here is a dollar that takes me away from completing my 1972 Topps set or my other bigtime goals. So we'll just with these fellas and call it a day on the Bowman 2020 front. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

San Francisco Giants Heritage Project Update

I think the card-collecting project I'm having the most fun with currently is trying to assemble a San Francisco Giants team set for every year that Topps Heritage has been in existence. In case you were wondering, that would be 2001 through 2020. It's fun because it's achievable, and it's achievable because, well, they made a lot of 'em, and because there aren't that many folks dying to hold onto Travis Ishikawa and Darren Ford and Jeremy Affeldt cards. Plus, they look good in binders, all numbered in order and such. It's the simple things in life, isn't it?

Anyway, I especially like the 2014 Topps Heritage baseball set because it was the year that the Giants won their third World Series this past decade, and more importantly, it's because the cards replicate the look of 1965 Topps - one of the great sets of our time. I'm still missing the basic Bumgarner from this set - card #428 - even though I have the super-special purple chrome edition of it. It's at least $5 everywhere I look, and that just seems to be a bit steep for a basic Bumgarner, you know what I mean?

But those purple chromes are awesome. I knew I needed some more parallels to round out my 2014 Topps Heritage Giants set. So I ordered some. This is what they look like.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Mr. Turkey Legends Set

I've put the call out on my wants page that I'm into "food-issued" sets, i.e. cards released by regional or national food manufacturers. In other words, companies not named Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Score, Upper Deck and so on and so forth. These are really the only 80s and 90s cards I've interested in at all, with a few exceptions.

I did not expect that our hero Daniel from It's Like Having My Own Card Shop would answer the call with a 5-card 1994 set from Mr. Turkey (!), but I'm delighted that he did. The "Baseball Greats" set has, indeed, five greats - though one of them, Boog Powell, was considerably less great than the others but great nonetheless, especially if you were an Orioles fan. (and how many of you older fans immediately thought, "Hey, you're Boog Powell!" when you saw that name? The fiftysomethings understand). 

Mr. Turkey themselves were acquired by Sara Lee back in 1987, and I'll be honest, it's not a brand I remember in the least. Mr. Coffee, sure. Mr. Peanut, of course. As it turns out, this isn't the only Mr. Turkey card set, either. I figured you might want to check these five legends out, and of course, thanks to Daniel for sending them my way! (and please make sure to admire Tug McGraw's face at the bottom here)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Heath Bell Rainbow

A month or two ago I told you about my admiration for one Heath Bell. In particular, this relief pitcher has two cards that I'm especially fond of. There's the one where he's just come in from the bullpen at the All-Star Game, and he's slid in front of the mound, like a big puppy doofus on the happiest day of his life.

Then there's this 2013 Topps card, which also shows Bell at his most joyous. He wasn't an All-Star any longer, and had just left the Marlins after a single year to join the Diamondbacks. It comes in many flavors and variations, and Daniel at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop was kind enough to send me pretty much all of them. That's why it's still good to fraternize with fans of teams in your team's own division, because things like this sometimes show up in the mail (Daniel is a Diamondbacks fan, as it happens). Anyway, I know you folks probably dig Heath Bell as much as I do, and wanted to see him screaming in triumph in every color and flavor of the rainbow, right?

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Junk-Era Set I'm Gonna Collect

I was at Walgreen's the other day and sauntered by the "toy" aisle. Happened to see one of those 80-card repack things I blogged about here. I had $5.99 burning a hole in my pocket, and figured I'd give it another go. Turns out this was my favorite yet - I mean, I got a bunch of dumb 2019 Topps Series 1 nobodies and some Donruss and Score cards from the 90s, but I got four cards from a series I only vaguely knew about: 1991 Swell Baseball Greats.

I'm digging these. I was psyched to pull Matty Alou first, and what's more, there are 150 cards in all - so maybe having 146 left to grab of a very inexpensive set will make for a pretty fun chase...? Of those 150, there are about half hall of famers, and half guys you know for something else. Then there are guys like one of the 4 I pulled - Ken Reitz - and you're like, hunh? Reitz, a .260 lifetime hitter over 11 seasons, won a single Gold Glove, and was thought of as an excellent fielder in general. That's kind of it for Reitz. I mean - that's better than anything I've done in the major leagues, let me tell ya, but is it enough to be a "Baseball Great"? I think it is!

There are two series of Swell Baseball Greats before this, too, in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Cards were flooding out in great biblical waves at this time, and generally, it's an era I totally avoid because I don't like most of the designs and - well - it's not like I'll have any problem tracking these down if I change my mind, right? I do really like these, though. So I'm going to see what I can do about cobbling together this 1991 set and see what other oddballs like Reitz come up. Here are my other three from the repack:

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Meet Some 1962 Houston Colt .45s

I'll tell ya, I have a thing for the expansion teams and the teams that aren't with us any longer. It's why when I returned to collecting I made the Seattle Pilots my non-Giants team of choice. By and large, I've completed that project. So now it's onto something else - the Houston Colts, or as they were actually known in 1962, 1963 and 1964, the Houston Colt .45s. You may know (and loathe) them as the Astros today.

Turned out some fella was selling a bunch of 1962 Topps Colts cards online, for not much money at all, and I was just the sucker to grab them. 20 cards in all, which means I was able to acquire 20/27ths of the entire team run. The ones I didn't get are mostly high numbers. I'll grab them someday - of this I am certain.

So these guys ended up finishing 8th that year, behind the NL Champion San Francisco Giants, as it turned out. This expansion team did better than the Chicago Cubs that year, and, of course, better than the infamous '62 New York Mets, who went 40-120. Not a ton of names on the Colts that I know all that well, beside Giusti here, and Joe Amalfitano, who is better known for being a Dodger coach for many, many years.

Such a nice Italian boy, that Joey!! Anyway, I reckoned you might want to take a look at my Colts cards and see what a real live expansion team looked like in 1962. More as they come to me!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Pablo Sandoval All Day Long

I've made no secret of the fact that Pablo Sandoval is my favorite active player in baseball, and that he's the one guy with lots of cards whom I'm nonetheless determined to collect in full. When the Giants let him go earlier in the shortened 2020 season, I was of course disappointed and reckoned I might never see the man play again - and then there he was, in the NL Championship Playoffs, popping up on second base for the Atlanta Braves in their futile quest to bring down the Dodgers. I screamed at my wife - "look! look who it is!!", but for some weird reason she didn't quite share my enthusiasm. 

Lately I've upped my Sandoval game a bit by buying as many affordable short-prints and numbered cards of his that I can find. COMC is good for that, if you don't mind paying through the nose to get your cards shipped to you within 3 weeks, as opposed to paying a little bit less to get them 4 months from now. I do mind - but I did it anyway.

Here are a few Pablos from that relatively recent order. Chromes and camos and numbers and stuff I've never seen before. Pablo on the Red Sox - that sure went well, didn't it? Bits of Pablo's uniform. It's certainly a strange hobby we have here.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

What I've Been Up To on the Card Front

Howdy everyone - it's been a while since I rapped at ya. Everything's still cool, cards are still being collected, just not a whole lot of blogging's been getting done over here.

I will say that I've spent the last 3 weeks or so really honing my collecting goals, and that's been fruitful. I'm focused on 4 core areas right now:

1. Collecting the entire run of San Francisco Giants Topps Heritage cards, from the start of Heritage in 2001 to the 2020 set. What I've really been doing is working my way backwards. I've got 2012-2020 team sets almost totally done, as well the 2009 and 2010 team sets. We're talking base cards here, though I'm not above picking up any and all parallels, chromes and all of the other Giants-related funny business that Topps wants to throw at me over the last 19 years. I love the Heritage designs and this is a fun and rewarding goal. Funny enough, I don't have a single card from 2001 through 2008 of the team, so that's going to be one of 2021's projects.

2. Collecting the entire run of regular Topps San Francisco Giants cards, 1969-1982. This is even more fun, because it takes in the cards of my youth. I'm doing pretty well here, because I've been working on it all year. Aside from 1969 - which I've barely started - and a bunch of missing cards in 1970 and 1982 (the latter of which I can probably close out for $4 online tonight if I want to), I'm nearly complete here as well. Favorite years? Well, 1972 and 1975 of course. What else? (Actually love 1971, too). After I knock all of this out, I'm going to work my way backwards from 1969 until 1958. Because of guys like Mays and McCovey, this is going to take an inheritance or a big year-end bonus from work to really get completed any time soon.

3. The O-Pee-Chee 1974-75 WHA hockey set. Hey, that's not baseball! Been working on this all year, and I've now got 63 of the 66 cards. Who are the three mulletted rogues I'm missing, in case you're overflowing with doubles from these series? Why, that would be #49 (Vaclav Nedomansky), #58 (Andy Brown) and #64 (Jacques Plante). For some reason, these are really pricey online, and I'm not sure why. My Bobby Hull and Gordie/Mark/Marty Howe cards from this series really weren't all that expensive, so not exactly sure why those three are. Earlier in the year I completed every Topps Oakland Seals / California Golden Seals team set, from the late 60s through the late 70s, and honestly those + this WHA set are the sum extent of my hockey card-collecting goals.

4. 1965, 1971 and 1972 Topps baseball complete sets - along with the 1976 SSPC complete set. Yes, Greg from Night Owl Cards, we can call it the 1975 SSPC set, I'm cool with that. You're almost certainly right anyway. These four sets have really focused the mind the back half of this year. I'm not going to complete any of them any time soon, but once I announced here that I was attempting to, really phenomenal people like Ken in Missouri jumped in to help me out. I mean, really helped me out. My 1971 and 1972 set were deeply enriched by his doubles, and I can't thank him enough. These 4 sets are - so far - my favorite sets in the history of baseball cards, so I'll spend the rest of my lifetime chasing all of them.

Those are the big four areas. I also somehow knocked out all of the 2020 Topps Heritage Minor League cards already, just by buying a hobby box, getting a nice package from Padrographs, and then buying singles online. Done! It's been a fun year, folks. Trading with and getting to know some of the people who read this blog has been the best part, honestly. I'll try to keep a better posting volume going forward.