Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Some New 2021 Donruss and a Couple 2020 Leaf Drafts

A new 2021 set came available the other day - and yeah, it's a Donruss, but you don't need to collect the whole thing do ya? Me, I'm all about grabbing the cards of the guys I collect and maybe a couple of others, then getting the hell out of the way.

They look pretty nice, I reckon. This Shohei Otani card has got his eye-popping 37.80 ERA from 2020 on the back, which was gathered in all of 1.2 innings before he got hurt again. The cards are sharp, clean and have that "new card smell". 

The first 30 cards in the set are Diamond Kings cards, and I decided to grab #28, Mike Yastrzemski. You'll see, below my scans of my other new 2021 Donruss cards, a couple 2020 examples from Leaf Draft as well. Full-width photos and also a fairly decent look and feel. Total of 50 cards in this set, one that it'd actually be kinda fun to pull together at some point.

Opening day tomorrow, folks!

Monday, March 29, 2021

"Why Are There People Like Frank in This World?"

I know, I know. Please forgive me this quote from "Blue Velvet", a movie that blew me away when I was 18 years old, and which I saw three times that year in the theaters. It's just that the name Frank triggers it for me, even when used in conjunction with one of my all-time favorite baseball players, Mr. Frank Robinson.

Nah, I never got to see Robinson play - I just got to see him manage the San Francisco Giants a bunch in the early 1980s. When I started up card-collecting a couple years back, and when I realized (from other card bloggers) that player collecting was a thing, Robinson seemed like a guy I'd want to go after. I truly wish I had seen him play in the 60s. When I was growing up, he was known to me as an Oriole, an Indian, and even an Angel at one point - and it was only when I started digging into baseball history that he started to loom large as a Cincinnati Red, where he had many of his most Hall of Fame-worthy years.

Anyway, I'm collecting Robinson now. The affordable cards all came out the past thirty or forty years. Here are some of them that arrived in my hands recently.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Another Dip Into Topps Throwback Thursday

It has been heartening to know that it's possible to "dip in" to some of the online-only Topps Throwback Thursday cards on eBay, long after they've sold out on, without having to - you know - wake up early on Thursday mornings and spend $14.99 to buy two cards.

I haven't actually done that at all, except for this one time, but I have gone onto eBay a couple of times and cherry-picked a few cards that I thought I might wanna have around. In case you're unfamiliar with the conceit here, what Topps does is pick some classic design of theirs from any card run of the past - doesn't matter the sport - and then apply to a couple of cards or to a small set. I totally loved this one they did based on a 1954 "World on Wheels" set that they then applied to some current and classic base-stealers. I did scoop those up. 

This week I got a few new ones from "TBT", as those of us in-the-know hipsters call it. You may recognize the design of the Vida Blue and Brooks Robinson cards from 1971 Topps Basketball, which is such a cool design I'm tempted to collect those, too (though 1972-73 Topps basketball is even better). 

Also picked up this Shohei Otani card - he's one of the players I actually collect in bulk - and I've learned that this one is based on 1980 Topps "Wanted" design, whatever that is:

These two gems are based on a 1959 Topps Football design. Man, I need to find out if there are more of these. I actually didn't have a single Jacob DeGrom card in the collection, far as I know...!

Then there's this guy. Honestly, I really want him to succeed - not just because he's brash and exciting; not just because he just got a bunch of money thrown at him; not just because San Diego deserves to win a World Series with him collecting an MVP, based on the methodical and smart way they've built their team - but no, Fernando Tatis Jr's success to that level means that it might also mean that the Los Angeles Dodgers don't repeat as World Series champions. And that's something we can all get behind, isn't it??

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The All-Star Cards Catalog

Spent a little time last night with the All-Star Cards catalog for 2021. I guess I'd seen an ad in Beckett or something that said "call for free catalog". I did, and here it is. (This is actually the second issue I've received). 

It's a window to a parallel world of card-collecting, one in which the "PSA grade" rules all, and where ungraded cards that I can typically find for a couple of bucks online - on SportLots, COMC etc. - change hands for $30, $50, $75 due to their current desirability and that all-important grade. It's also a great window into who matters in March 2021. As far as baseball is concerned, the typical vintage names are pretty standard: Mays, Mantle, Pete Rose, Joe Dimaggio, Bob Gibson and so on. 

It's also fun to see who's valued from our current crop of players. The active guys I collect - Pablo Sandoval, Max Fried - not at all. Just Jo Adell and Shohei Otani; and of course Mike Trout cards are all over this catalog, but I don't really collect that guy out of a need to keep both my sanity and my credit rating intact. 

Was kind of surprised to see a few guys have their rare cards called out repeatedly. Paul Goldschmidt? Goldy is one of my favorites. I did not know he'd graduated to that level in the card world. Rhys Hoskins. Andrew Benintendi. Miguel Andujar. I'm going to admit that I don't even know who that last guy is. 

Anyway, I'm not up for paying $19.95 for a PSA 7 card that I can get for $2.50 otherwise and that's probably in pretty good shape, but I had a good time thumbing through this catalog all the same. 

Call 'em up if you want one sent to you as well!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Been a Long Time Since I '75ed

How long has it been since I was accumulating Topps cards from 1975? Well - how about 45 years? Yeah, aside from the SF Giants team set I picked up last year, I haven't put together two 1975 Topps cards since the year of our lord 1976, when I was nine years old and discovering baseball cards for the first time. Some stores like 7-11 or Quik Stop or Circle K or whatever was around back then would have not just the '76 Topps cards to buy, but older packs of '75s as well. 

In my home state of California, I only got the 1975 Topps Minis - a set, which if I understand it correctly, "...was identical to the regular issue with the exception of size and distribution." (Read here). I've been told that the "distribution" part of it was limited to certain states; I was living in Sacramento at the time, and like I said, I only knew about the mini set then - I never bought, nor saw regular-sized cards.

Anyway, Ken in Missouri has been funneling some amazing stuff my way in trades. He sent me these five winners and I got them yesterday. I'm going to collect this set someday; they're the coolest. Also loving the David Clyde card - this guy was the #1 pick in the draft and is famous for an early flame-out (and for arm troubles, in an era when nobody really watched for them). 

Here are the others Ken was kind enough to send me:

Monday, March 22, 2021

A Few Gems from Amongst the New Cards

Hey folks - no real "theme" to today's post, outside of, "check out these new cards that hit the collection in the past week that I'm pretty psyched to have around".

For years I've heard of the legend of Stu Miller being blown off the mound at Candlestick Park during the 1961 All-Star Game. I love that there's a card that commemorates it, albeit without any evidence that it actually happened. There is debate about whether it's even true

What is true, and I say this as someone who attended many, many games there, is that Candlestick Park was indeed, in the immortal words of Tommy Lasorda, "a toilet with the lid up". Totally fine for football, and often great for baseball during a rare warm afternoon game, but mostly terrible for baseball, particularly at night. This lovely photo shows the park before it was closed in completely. I just finished reading Lincoln Mitchell's excellent "The Giants and Their City: Major League Baseball in San Francisco 1976-1992". The park comes in for much consternation, and the struggle of the team to stay in San Francisco - which they nearly left multiple times due to the hatred of Candlestick Park and the inability to build a new local ballpark - is the core theme of the book. Otherwise known as "my childhood and young adult years". So naturally I had to order this 2010 Topps Heritage baseball card!

Next up, my two newest Jo Adell cards - one of the two prospects that I collect everything of - both courtesy of Kevin, the Diamond King. What a great American...!

I had found that this 1974 Topps Rookie Pitchers card was kind of eluding me, and everytime I wanted to spring for these 4 nobodies - I only wanted it because of the Giants dude, to complete my '74 team set - it was always like $6 or something. For these guys? Anyway, I gave in. The lure of completion was just too great.

Also burnished the Tim Lincecum player collection a tiny bit this week, thanks to the arrival of my Card Barrel order on Saturday. Alas, the Allen and Ginter "N43" card with the flowers and "field of dreams" imagery is an odd-sized card, something I didn't know when I ordered it. I hate odd-sized cards!

But here's some good news - with the acquisition of this Bryan Harvey card, I've completed the 1994 Tombstone Pizza set that Dave S was so kind to start for me in early February, sending me 29 of the 30 cards! 

Finally, this outstanding Zellers Gary Carter card was immediately placed into my COMC basket a month or two ago when I saw it on Nick's Dime Boxes blog. "Les Secrets du Baseball". Instantly a Top 200 favorite card in the collection. That's all for now folks - more to come later this week!

Friday, March 19, 2021

2015 "Ginter X" Offshoot Cards

I'm sure I blathered in this space before about how I completed all of the SF Giants Topps Heritage team sets, right? And how I was then going to move on and do the same for all of their Allen & Ginter team sets, from 2006 to the present? We talked about that, right?

Little did I know that there was something lurking out there called "Ginter X" that's potentially even more tantalizing. Black versions of the A&G base sets, with extras and whatnot thrown in. Well that just complicates things, doesn't it? Which isn't to say I'm not all aboard in trying to scoop them up.

I'm a fan of black-bordered anything. It's why I love the Topps 1971 design so much - and the 2020 Heritage majors and minors that followed that design. I've started pulling together a few from the 2007 SP Legendary Cuts series, which I'll blog about shortly.

Anyway, I decided to just go out there and grab each of the 2015 SF Giants cards from the Topps Allen & Ginter "Ginter X" series. I'm quite fond of 'em, and I hope you are as well.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Prospects Who Made Something of Themselves

I've got a soft spot for prospect and minor league cards of all types, not merely because they often look cool and represent teams called the "Bay Bears" and "RiverDogs" and so on. They're also a window into the promise of what (in most cases) might have been, when everyone toiling in the minors was on a theoretically equal plane, and getting on a card in a set with your first-rounder teammate meant that maybe you too were on a path to the majors like them. This was a time in your career when "all things being equal" actually meant something. You rake or you pitch well, and you'll get promoted.

Then there's the few guys who actually did make something of themselves in the majors. Most of the prospects I've accumulated did not, as is very much to be expected. I like the minor league-only guys nearly as much, and will continue to grab them where I can. I have Kevin - the Diamond King - to thank for 8 of the 9 fantastic cards in this post: everyone except for the Tim Salmon you see here came from him in a surprise batch this week, including some autographed cards.

Kevin also included some dudes who didn't quite make it - but this time we'll post up the dudes who did.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

1967 Topps Starting To Take Up Some Space

Without me even actively going after it, I've reached "critical mass" in my 1967 Topps baseball accumulation, meaning that I've moved my tiny handful of '67 cards out of my "vintage" section of my card box and into its own space. I reckon I now have about 45 or so cards from this year, and what the hey - I'd say that merits me trying to at least mark off on my want list what's remaining. 

OK, I just counted, and it's even better than that. I have 60 cards from the set, most a little dinged, some a little dirty - but dammit, they're my cards! I was born in 1967, during the Cardinals/Red Sox World Series that year. Important year for Card Hemorrhage.

Players look so....innocent this year. Trim haircuts. Old guys who truly look like old guys (Lou Burdette - see below!). Who knew that hippies would take over San Francisco that summer? That there'd be riots in the streets? That we'd get even deeper into 'Nam? 

I picked 9 cards out of my 60 to showcase here. Just dudes you might have heard of, nothing too special beyond that. It's a 609-card card, so let's see, that puts me 9.85% of the way there.