Thursday, July 29, 2021

My Super-Random Autograph Pile

It's hard not to get just a little bit excited every time I'm sent an autograph card or bust open a pack with one. It no doubt stems from my childhood, when I'd attempt to get an autograph from anyone even remotely famous, including a guy on our street who played college baseball for San Jose State, which I thought made him a total celebrity. 

That said, I don't really collect autographed cards at all - but then again, I squirrel away any of them that I get. So yeah, I guess I kind of collect them. I've got some doozies, too. Guys I've never heard of. Guys you've never heard of. Prospects who made it as far a Single-A ball. 8 different Pablo Sandoval autograph cards. Tim Raines. Some random Giants only me and seven other Giants fans remember.

I just pulled out nine of the autograph cards semi-randomly and scanned them up for you here. The winner is probably Zack Wheeler, at least in terms of desirability. I'm partial to Darin Ruf, who's been raking for the Giants this year and might be my new favorite player.

See which one you like the best! (Oh - and the one you can't read very well below is Jason Kipnis of the then-Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians). 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

2008 Topps Trading Card History

Now how cool is this set I'd never heard of? 2008 Topps Trading Card History was a 75-card set that glorified the card designs of the past using current players. Yes, I know, just like Topps Archives did before it, and subsequently. My trading pal Ken sent me a nice helping of these this past week, including an opened pack. I'm touched. I love 'em.

I think this Hideki Matsui card might be one of my favorite cards of all time now. It's supposed to be mimicking a "Japanese Caramel Card", but no clue as to which year. (Like I know anything about that series anyway). They called him "Godzilla", you know. I wonder what he thought about that, and what the larger Japanese-American community thought. There was a brief rumor mill going around that he was going to join the SF Giants, and I was all in except for the part where he couldn't field particularly well, being that it was the National League and all, with no DH and all.

Anyhow, these were the stars of 2008, and they're all represented on different designs from baseball's past. Here are 8 others worth taking a gander at.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Too Many Giants Over Here

When I started up collecting cards again in 2019, I had a whole lot of catching up to do since the early 1980s. I figured - having missed a ton of sets in the intervening 35+ years - that I'd go big on my favorite team, the Giants of San Francisco. I put out the call: I collect the Giants! 

As I dug through dime boxes and started trading with some of y'all across the internet, the Giants cards piled up. Topps, Score, Leaf, Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck and much, much more of all eras. Junk wax. 2000s. Bonds cards. Kent cards. Posey cards. Prospects, cup-of-coffee-guys, Armando Benitez and Edgardo Alfonzo. Brian Bocock. Eugenio Velez. Chadwick Tromp.

In the intervening couple of years, I've come to the point where I'm much more certain about what I like and want to collect. I've happily completed every Giants team set from Topps Heritage, Allen & Ginter and Gypsy Queen. I'm working on every Giants Topps flagship team set from 1962 through 1981. Beyond those; the other team sets I've completed; the players I collect; and a few cards here and there that I like - I'm good! I'm totally good on the Giants!

So what do I do with all these San Francisco Giants cards that I'm not collecting that I've got sitting around now? Well, here's what I want to do. I'd like to send a big batch of them to you, if you want them. I can pull together 25-30 Giants cards, and they'll span eras: vintage, junk wax, 2000s, modern Bowman prospects and so on. 

All I ask in return is a card or two (more is fine, but not required) from my want list. I totally ripped off this idea from Kerry at Cards On Cards, whom I ironically claimed a big batch of Giants cards from. At some point, I plan to do what he did for all the others teams as well - Fall cleaning? - yet for now, please let me know if you're interested in this by emailing me. It'll work this way:

1. You'll let me know that you want 25-30 Giants cards by emailing me.

2. I'll set them aside for you.

3. You'll send me something from my want list.

4. When it arrives, I shall send your cards, posthaste.

We'll see how it all goes!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Your 1980 Clinton Giants

I recently picked up a complete 27-card minor-league set of the 1980 Clinton Giants. They were pretty low on the minor league totem pole, a Iowa-based Class A team in the Midwest League who happened to go 62-79 that year. Perhaps that presages the parent San Francisco club's misfortunes in the mid-1980s, when some of these young men would ultimately make it to the bigs, like our cover star Chris Brown, who had a pretty studly year for the '85 SF Giants and finished 4th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting that season.

What's with the band-aid, Chris Brown?

The cards are pretty simple and have relatively limited information on the backs, which is unsurprising considering that some of these guys were 18 years old and about to start their first professional seasons. They were made by TCMA, who made a huge amount of card sets around this time. I didn't think you'd want me to scan all 27 of the cards - and you know what, I didn't want to anyway - so I picked a few of the guys that I knew eventually made it to the majors, and figured you'd want to take a look at them here.

Here's what the backs look like:

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Small 1965 Topps Haul

My chief goal at last weekend's Sacramento card show was to come out with more 1965 Topps baseball, and 36 cards later, that goal was achieved. There were several tables with pretty good collections of '65s - some just selling commons, and another that had a bunch of stars/hall of famer cards in moderately OK condition (you might call it "Poor/Fair") and at a really good price.

I cashed in (or out) at both table types. This really is my favorite 1960s card set, for reasons I'm not particularly certain of. Just seems to be a wholesome set, full of All-American photos, flag pennants, goofy posed photos + players like Robin Roberts whom I associate with the 50s who were still around.

I don't know if I'll ever truly complete this thing - I suspect there are Mantle and Mays cards I'm going to need to contend with at some point - but I made a good dent last Saturday. Here are 9 of the ones I grabbed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Spoils From the Sacramento Card Show

I'd already been planning a visit to Sacramento, CA this past Saturday, and noticed in my usual travels around the internet that it dovetailed with a card show that just happened to be occurring the same day I was visiting. How about that, folks? And as I'd mentioned, I'd never been to a card show before. I picked a pretty good one to go to.

This one took place at a Crowne Plaza Hotel in North Sacramento. For people trying to build vintage sets - like me - it was gold. (Actually basketball collectors, of which I am not one, probably made out great at this thing as well). I really focused on 1965 Topps, and came away with a bunch of cards from that set - not just commons, but even a few ringers - for not a whole lot of money. I'll post some of these in an upcoming post. 

'65 was what I really spent my time on, but also grabbed a bunch of 1972 Topps, along with odds and ends, both on my want list and just because it looked cool and fit my price range. The big-dollar card I bought was a 1962 Juan Marichal in fantastic shape, which I paid $18 for. Virtually everything else I bought ranged from a quarter to about $3. 

I actually found it all a little overwhelming, and though I arrive at 9:45am, about 45 minutes after it started, by 11am it was already wall-to-wall with elbows, testosterone and bros. And you know - one can do a lot of damage to one's wallet in a mere 75 minutes. So I exited - but not before grabbing some of what you see here.

Some 1976 Topps heroes for my player collections:

Some 1958 Topps baseball cards, all in really good shape, none of whom I've ever heard of:

A card that I forgot I already had, but that will look good in my Willie McCovey player collection - so "no harm done":

A couple of vintage heroes, just because I'd like to have them:

....and then, just stuff that I grabbed because it fit either a player collection or a spot on a want list. There were many of these; here are two of them. More in a future post!

Monday, July 19, 2021

A Good Time To Be Shohei Ohtani

I'd say Shohei Otani had a pretty good week last week, wouldn't you agree? Positioned as the new face of baseball; started the All-Star Game as a pitcher; took part in the Home Run Derby; and - the week before that - hit some absolutely legendary home run bombs.

The man's baseball card stock is, uh, shall we say, going up. I was at D&P Sports Cards in Sacramento on Saturday, and they had a bunch of unpriced Ohtani cards in their new arrivals. Hoping that they'd all be in the $1-$5 range, I pulled out every one I could find - only to have them look up the prices online (the nerve!), and see that they're now going for $15-$50 a pop. They were totally cool about it, but I'm just not ready to go there with this guy right now. I like collecting players because I dig the player, but the speculation part of it just isn't my bag.

I do collect Ohtani, though. Earlier in the day I was at a card show and picked up some much more affordable cards of his, which you're now looking at. And check this out; tonight, Monday July 19th, Ohtani is pitching in Oakland, CA against the A's, and I shall be there. I chose this game to go to somewhat at random, hoping that the 20% chance of Ohtani getting his turn to pitch would fall on this very day. And here we are.

Anyway, here's some of his cards!