Friday, January 29, 2021

1972 Topps Every Chance I Get

I've got a new habit of ordering five 1972 Topps baseball cards - and no more than five - as a way of padding out any CardBarrel and SportLots orders I make. Chipping away at a complete set goal, five cards at a time. I'm not even close. I tend to order from those two sites a combined 3 times a month or so. I like the whole "$30 a Week Habit" mantra, and try to live by it. I order the stuff I came there for, and then, to close out the order: five '72s. Seems to be working for me. In a few years, at this pace, I'll be done.

So let's take a look at the new five that came in this week! I'm pretty excited about this Billy Martin in Action card (#34). I mean, really excited. What other sort of action would Detroit manager Martin be engaging in during the 1971 season? Arguing with an ump, of course. Total legend. In my youth, this was the Billy Martin I knew - of course as manager of the New York Yankees, and later of the A's. Actually I barely remember him as Texas' manager a little before all of that, but I was a wee lad during his Detroit days. Just a nice bit of trolling on the part of the Topps organization here, twenty years before the internet surfaced in anyone's lives. 

And speaking of cool 1972 cards - check out these rogues! That's a pretty good set of heavy hitters on a single card. Was surprised to flip it over and see that Killebrew was the only one with over 100 RBIs (he had 119). 

Also picked up the Oakland A's rookie card - another surprise here; this was right when the A's had started becoming the dominant team in baseball. Naturally one might expect their '72 rookies to be dudes we'd see all over those 3 World Championships, right? Dwaine Anderson got 7 at-bats for the A's in 1972 and hit .000. Chris Floethe never made the majors at all. Rookie Stars!

Rounding out my 5 are the Braves team card and a fella named Steve Mingori on the Indians, a reliever who actually managed a 1.42 ERA in 1971, pitching in 54 games. He continued on through 1979, pitching for the Royals in relief from 1973-79. There you have it!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Some 2020 Topps Heritage High Numbers Just Arrived

My most-satisfying collecting endeavor of late has been my goal of pulling together every Topps Heritage San Francisco Giants card from the time Heritage started - from the series' 2001 debut to last year's awesome 1971 tribute cards in the Heritage 2020 set. Twenty team base sets, all laid out lovely in a binder, with a few Chromes and parallels and extras thrown in for good measure. I'm getting there.

What I hadn't been counting on was that that 2020 set was going to have a high number version, coming out recently. I had put the Heritage 2020 set to bed already, or so I'd thought. It's never really over until the year turns, is it? (2021 Topps Heritage comes out on March 3rd). These high number cards are #501 through #725, and it's something I'll get used to waiting around for as I continue to build these team sets each year.

A few of these San Francisco Giants - like Hunter Pence - weren't on the team when the initial 2020 set was put together. Pence, in fact, is no longer on the team now. CardBarrel has a good selection of these high number 2020s for a good price, so that's where I picked up my remaining Giants.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

10 More Relatively Random New Arrivals

As the cards continue to arrive, whether by trade or by purchase, my ability to document them slips. Not like it matters all that much anyway, but I certainly very much enjoy seeing other bloggers' recent acquisitions and trades, and thus try to float scans of mine where I can. 

Let's start with this Joe Cronin card you see here. I believe I received it in a recent blind trade, and it's certainly not a card from his playing days, and more likely came out in the 1960s or early 70s, as it references that fact that "Joe Cronin is now the president of the American League", a position he served in from 1959 through 1973. Any of you sleuths know what set this card, #14 in the series, comes from?

I found out a month or so ago about a 2020 Topps set called Super 70s that sounded like I might need to investigate. Checked on eBay to see what single cards were going for for the dudes I collect, and found that it wasn't bad at all. So grabbed the Willie McCovey and Frank Robinson cards you see here:

I believe that both of those photos are from the 1960s, but never mind, right? Speaking of legends - this one comes from a 1996 Topps "Mickey Mantle Commemorative Set" set and features a reprint of a 1962 Topps card I simply can't afford right now as I work to complete my '62 Giants set. So I bought this one instead:

Here's #1 Cardinals prospect Dylan Carlson from the 2020 Topps Update #1 Prospect series that came out recently. He looks pretty stoked to be here. He got into 35 games last season and promptly hit .200. Not like I'm gonna do any better!

The consensus choice for card of the year in 2020 was this 2020 Stadium Club Sandy Koufax, and I can't disagree. I made it a must-order in my last CardBarrel pile.

I bought a couple Topps 2020 Update series boxes and pulled this Brett Gardner 15/50 "All-Star Stitches Card" out of one of them.

Also pulled this 2008 Charlie Blackmon prospect card out of a Walgreens "baseball cards" $5 repack box. Guy had yet to hit the majors and to start winning batting titles at this point.

Here's a 2020 Bowman Platinum Eloy Jimenez, just because. 

Finally, I didn't just get this card, and I don't have many Hank Aaron cards to share in any case, but I do want to acknowledge that the guy responsible for my first baseball memory - his breaking the home run record in 1974 - has passed away. I'm bracing myself for Willie Mays. Hang in there, Willie.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Big Fan of Willie Wilson Over Here

I'm sure like a lot of you out there, I always have room in my allegiances for a "second-favorite team". Right now that team is probably the Padres or the Angels, but over the course of my life it's usually been either the Oakland A's, and most frequently the Kansas City Royals. Man, I loved those early 80s Royals - Brett, White, McRae, Otis, Leonard, Quisenberry - and especially one Willie Wilson, the base-stealing, high-avg. left fielder who finished high-up in MVP voting four different times and who - and I've never forgotten this, down to the number itself - had 705 official at-bats in 1980. Now that's some durability at the top of the lineup. During my youth he was easily my favorite non-SF Giants player on the planet.

About six years ago my dad and I flew down to Scottsdale, AZ for spring training and to see the Giants, the first and only time I've done that. I went downstairs, below the rafters, to grab a beer or something, and sitting there at a table, all by themselves with no line, no security - nothing - were none other than Gaylord Perry and Willie Wilson, signing (paid) autographs. I was so stupefied to see these two heroes just sitting there, gabbing to each other, that I quickly shuffled by them. I mean, what am I going to say - "Hey, nice career Willie, great to see ya"? I'm not very good at that sort of thing. Now I'll probably never see the guy again.

Earlier this year I picked up a handful of Wilson cards, all from the 80s and 90s, probably for a collective total of about four bucks. Nothing rare, nothing especially exciting - just pure, unadulterated Willie Wilson. Did you know he was on the Cubs at the end of his career, in 1993-94? I'd certainly forgotten it if I'd ever known. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

A Fistful of Giants from The Lost Collector

Folks, I'm the worst at doing the minimum in card blogging/trading etiquette. There are number of you with whom I've happily traded cards, but I can't say I've done of very good job of documenting what you've sent me in the obligatory post-trade blog post. Sure, sometimes I do it, and I'm about to do it now - but for those of you who were magnanimous enough to put cards in an envelope and send them to my home address, I sincerely thank you, whether or not I took the time to then scan the cards and write purple prose about them on my blog.

The trading thing is honestly my favorite part of the hobby beyond the cards themselves. Why, just yesterday I got 10 San Francisco Giants in one plain white envelope from one AJ from New Jersey - the Lost Collector himself! 

Of course, I'm going to be excited about any sort of autograph card, whether it's Dan Ortmeier or not....but I totally dug Ortmeier in the very short time he was in the major leagues. I remember a big dinger that he hit once when I was listening on the radio, as I still do quite often during the season on KNBR-68. I had no Ortmeiers in the collection of any kind, and now I've got ink from the man's own hand.

This batch of Giants from AJ represents an incredibly diverse collection of brands, from Upper Deck to Fleer to Pacific to Donruss and Topps sub-brands and beyond. We've got 90s, 00s and 10s. We've got a Tim Lincecum card that I didn't already have (and I have a lot). Take a gander here, and thanks a bunch to AJ for the PWE.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Card Hemorrhage Hockey Card Update

One of the reasons I don't really do much hockey cards collectin' - despite being a big fan of the sport - is that I've come to realize that most of the card designs themselves are just hideous. I blame Upper Deck and O-Pee-Chee, sure, but I also blame the lack of imagination of the grand majority of the other brands as well, dating all the way back to the 70s. I mean, look at this stuff. It's the most razzle-dazzle, color-overloaded shiny garbage imaginable, and it's really kept me away from the stuff.

So when I decided to dip a real toe into hockey card accumulation - which I documented here and here - I really only had two major goals: to collect every single Topps card ever made of the Oakland Seals / California Golden Seals - which I did! - and to collect the entire 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee World Hockey Association set. I only have three left of those to track down. 

After, that I was high and dry. Bereft. In need of inspiration - and a set to collect. I said, well - is there such a thing as "Topps Heritage" cards in the hockey card world? Turns out there used to be, and it's a real dilly of a set! In fact, Topps Heritage Hockey 2001-02 is exactly what I was looking for (they did two other Heritage sets, the year before and the year after, but they're not as cool as these). Just so happens around that time - 2001-02 - my hockey-mania was totally off the charts, and I went to 6 or 7 San Jose Sharks game each year; watched every one of their games on TV and followed both the team and the league religiously. 

So yeah, I decided to pick up the entire 187-card set, best as I could. I actually know and remember pretty much every player in the set. Here are a few random others from it:

Now that's what a hockey card should look like, folks. Any modern set that looks vintage and clean like these, I'm all-in. I don't know enough about hockey cards to say for sure....but are there any others this cool? Even small, Canadian-only sets? Let me know and I'll investigate.

But wait! There's a newer set I totally dig as well. 2019-20 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Hockey Retro looks pretty snazzy and it actually has dudes that are playing, like, now:

So I'm going after this 100-card set as well. May take me a while, but they're pretty nice, right? Reminds me that I bought some Topps Hockey cards that year that Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel both debuted; I guess that was 4 years ago...? I didn't pull the McDavid, but I got the Eichel in a pack - and then saw that their rookie cards were going for insane prices on eBay. I put the Eichel up for $85 and it sold in minutes. Wow. 

Finally, there's this related 2019-20 O-Pee-Chee Platinum set. I think I bought a small batch of these by mistake on eBay. It's better-looking than most sets, but I don't think it's really the vibe I'm going for in my hockey card collection. I don't know. Besides, there are multiple confusing variations of each of these cards, all with the same card numbers, and....jeez. I can't handle it. Baseball cards are so much easier to figure out, right? Anyway, here are a few of those. What is Max Jones doing here again?!? See you next time, folks.

R.I.P. Mike Sadek

One of my childhood "guys" has passed away, as of yesterday: late 70s/early 80s San Francisco Giants catcher Mike Sadek. Great photos and obituary here

I recounted my journey with Mike Sadek's baseball cards both here and here, including how I came to get autographed versions of most of his cards. 

Best wishes and condolences to his family and friends.