Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Repack Haiku #85 (Rico Brogna)

Has the distinction
Of hitting the first ever
Home run at Coors Field

1992 Donruss The Rookies #17 Rico Brogna

Monday, January 14, 2019

Time Travel Trading Update #25

Special Agent William O'Dell had been staring at the wall for hours, and yet still he couldn't believe what he saw. Three television screens, each showing the video feed from three different houses in three different cities. On the left, a young man was peering inside his fridge looking for a snack. On the right, the same young man was reading a book. Again, there in the middle, the same man lifting weights.

It was impossible. He had personally overseen dozens of time travels, and every time a singular athlete came back through. The anomaly that was Maury Wills presented a unique challenge to the project. The first two Maury Wills came through the portal in rather quick succession. Fortunately the technicians on hand were alertly thinking and kept the two separated before they could see each other. (Himself?) The third one arrived about an hour later. It was decided to keep them away from each other until a plan could be formulated. Who knows what the ramifications could be if they saw each other? How were they going to fix this? It was a puzzle Agent O'Dell had been working tirelessly to solve. He looked at the clock. He had dinner reservations and needed to pull himself away from the problem at hand. He wasn't going to solve anything tonight. Perhaps a good meal and a glass of wine would help provide an answer.

O'Dell walked out of the room and let the door close behind him. On the left screen, a young Maury Wills was making a call. The sound of ringing phone could be hear from one of the other screens...


I'll admit it. I was seriously thinking of closing up shop. The project had been limping along for awhile. In between a few small trades, the past few months was more about me pimping cards and trying to generate interest. I thought maybe the time was at hand.

Bo from Baseball Cards Come To Life had other ideas. He contacted me just after the new year and offered up a sizable trade.  I sent out fifteen cards from the trade stack! (I'll also make another admission - it was tough letting some vintage Red Sox cards go!) In return, Bo merely injected new life into the Time Travel Trading project!

Let's get these first two cards out of the way. They were included to protect the rest of the cards, but I have no reason not to include them in the stack:

I can't image there would be much demand for these, but if anyone wants to give them a good home, they can we had for your choice of junk wax!

Next is a group of cards from the 1961 Topps set:

They may not be names you know, and they may be (to put it mildly) well-loved, but these are some awesome cards nonetheless. If you're building this set, these would make good place holders until a better conditioned card came along. (Or not...some of us collectors appreciate a little personality on our vintage!)

The rest of these cards I'm rather excited about. I think part of the reason the project has lagged is the lack of some big names. They may not all be Hall of Famers, but these cards are chock full of stars from the era - names that every baseball fan has at least heard of!

That's a pretty amazing lot of 1971 cards if you ask me! I believe this is the third trade Bo and I have done, all of them through the Time Travel Trading project. I really appreciate it, Bo!

According to my records, I have made 29 Time Travel trades so far! I am one trade away from 30 - someone has to want that high honor! As always, any card here is available for an older card. Just comment below or reach out to me on the TCDB (Member Name: Kep75)

***Hey, you! Read this!***
Also, I'm looking for some opinions: I started this project almost a year ago with the first pack I bought of the 2018 base set. With the 2019 set coming up soon, I'm toying with the idea of again adding the first pack I buy to the stack. On one hand, it may add a boost by allowing people to pick up new cards without giving up something old. On the other, I have doubts if it'll generate significant interest since the project is pretty much established and doing well. New cards may not fit in an old project, if you know what I mean. What do you think? Does this project need some fresh blood, or are the 90+ cards I have now strong enough to keep this going?

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#128 Tim Thomas

2001 Upper Deck - e-Card (golf)
#E-TW Tiger Woods

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer

1990-91 Hoops (basketball)
#168 Glen Rice (RC)

1990-91 Pro Set Super Bowl 160 (football)
#16 SB XVI Ticket - San Francisco 49ers / Cincinnati Bengals

1990 Pro Set - Theme Art (football)
#10 Super Bowl X Pittsburgh Steelers / Dallas Cowboys 

1986 Sportflics
#122 John Tudor

1986 Topps
#5 Rose Special '75-'78
#6 Rose Special '79-'82
 #401 Fernando Valenzuela (Turn Back The Clock)

1985 Topps
#694 Joe Carter

1982 Donruss
#NNO Checklist 545-653

1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extraterrestrial (non-sport)
#15 Among Elliott's Toys

1980 Topps
#143 Bruce Bochte
#157 Willie Wilson
#671 A's Future Stars

1979 Topps
#130 Bob Watson
#465 Reggie Smith

1977 Topps
#524 Rowland Office

1975 Topps
#378 Derrel Thomas
#402 Bob Tolan

1974 Topps
#38 Don Kessinger
#67 Tommy Helms

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

1973-74 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#53 Richard Lemieux

1973 Topps
#18 Leroy Stanton
#29 Tony Taylor
#36 Steve Barber
#79 Jim Willoughby (RC)
#98 Dick Woodson
#99 Carl Taylor

1972 Topps
#43 Rick Wise
#109 Jerry May
#437 Maury Wills
#438 Maury Wills (IA)

1971 Topps
#16 Ken Singleton (RC)
#63 AL 1970 RBI Leaders (Howard/Conigliaro/Powell)
#71 AL 1970 Strikeout Leaders (McDowell/Lolich/Johnson)
#90 Joe Pepitone
#95 Luis Tiant
#105 Tony Conigliaro
#146 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#183 Gil Hodges (MGR)
#195 AL Playoffs Game 1 - Powell Muscles Twins!
#208 Billy Martin (MGR)
#290 Tony Oliva
#374 Clete Boyer
#385 Maury Wills
#388 Al Oliver

1971 Topps (football)
#22 Ken Avery (RC)

1970 Topps
#47 Bob Miller
#56 Phillies Rookies - Joe Lis/Scott Reid (RC)
#103 Frank Reberger

1970 Red Rose and Blue Ribbon North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1969 Topps
#139 Andy Kosco

1969 Topps - Deckle Edge
#13 Mel Stottlemyre

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#154 Sam Baker

1968 Topps
#4 1967 AL RBI Leaders (Yastrzemski/Killebrew/Robinson)
#348 Larry Colton/Dick Thoenen

1968 Topps - Game
#15 Steve Hargan

1968 Topps (football)
#7 Earl Gros

1967 Philadelphia (football)
#109 New York Giants (TC)

1966 Topps
#154 Chuck Hiller

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

1964 Philadelphia (football)
#172 Ken Gray (RC)

1963 Topps
#155 Bill Stafford

1961 Topps
#32 Ray Sadecki
#38 Bob Lillis
#96 Billy O'Dell
#165 Gino Cimoli
#258 Jack Sanford
#267 Norm Siebern

1960 Topps
#95 Frank Thomas

1959 Topps
#289 Willie Jones

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

1958 Topps
#371 Marty Keough (RC)

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#66 Brooks Lawrence
#235 Tom Poholsky
#249 Dave Pope
#371 Bob Lennon

1956 Topps
#21 Joe Collins
#103 Willie Miranda (white back)
#156 Johnny Antonelli

1956 Topps Flags of the World (non-sport)
#70 Jordan

1955 Topps
#126 Dick Hall (RC)

1954 Bowman
#73 Don Mueller

1952 Bowman
#57 Clyde Vollmer

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 29
Unique trading partners: 21

Number of cards mailed out: 69
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 161
Year of oldest card received: 1938

Friday, January 11, 2019

2019 Obligatory Hall of Fame Post

Later on this month, we'll find out who gets to join Lee Smith and Harold Baines in next summer's Hall of Fame class. I enjoy this time of year, especially as voters reveal their ballots. I actually like reading about these votes, and the thought process each writer makes in choosing who they think is worthy. I wish more writers gave us a inside look at their choices. It's fascinating.

Last year, I wrote about who I felt deserved to get elected. I decided to do that again this year as well. Pardon me while I copy and paste from part of that post:

I obviously do not have an official vote, but I too have thought about who is worthy and who would make my unofficial ballot. Before I list my choices, a few clarifications into my voting process:

  • I'm a "Big Hall" type of guy - I believe that the Hall's main purpose is to reflect the history of the game. I'm not going to cross a guy off just because he's not an inner circle type.
  • As far as PED users go, I generally don't have a strong opinion. Again, the Hall should reflect this era of the game. To be honest, I have genuine reservations as to how much PED usage affects a players overall stats. That being said, those guys are placed in the back of the line. As much as I may feel Manny Ramirez deserves to get in, if there are at least 10 other worthy candidates, he won't make my ballot.
I'm going to categorize players into 3 groups - definitely worthy, probably worthy, and maybe worthy. (Real scientific, I know...)

Definitely Worthy

These are the guys I don't have to think hard about. They belong, and that's all there is to it. Obviously, because of the PED issue, not all of these guys will make my final ballot.

Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Roy Halladay
Edgar Martinez
Manny Ramirez
Mariano Rivera
Curt Schilling

2012 Topps - Golden Moments #GM-11 Edgar Martinez

Probably Worthy

These players have strong cases, but not airtight. There are usually some reservations. However, if they get elected, I won't have a problem with it.

Todd Helton - There's a significant gap between his home/road splits. Should that matter? I haven't really decided.

Jeff Kent - Greatest power hitting 2nd baseman of all-time, at least until Cano becomes eligible.

Fred McGriff - He doesn't measure up to the hitters of the "Steroid Era", but I always remembered him as one of the true power hitters of his time. Not everyone has led both leagues in home runs!

Mike Mussina - I get he's got the "numbers", but I never considered him one of the all time best. He never stood out to me. (Plus, I absolutely hate the "He should get points for spending his whole career in the AL East" argument.)

Gary Sheffield - He may not have been the most likable person, but he was a scary hitter at his peak.

Larry Walker - A perennial .300 hitter, the fact he averaged less than 80% of games played per season bothers me.

1993 Score #534 Gary Sheffield (DT)

Maybe Worthy

I'll be honest, I'm not convinced these guys belong. They have genuine cases though, and I'll have to put more thought into it.

Andruw Jones
Andy Petite
Scott Rolen
Sammy Sosa
Omar Vizquel
Billy Wagner

With 3 of the position players (Jones, Rolen, and Vizquel), it seems their cases are tied to their great defensive prowess. I don't trust any attempt to measure defense past maybe the past 5 years. (It's my biggest hang-up with WAR.) Offensively, they didn't do enough. Sosa had a short stretch where he hit all those homers, but just didn't have that overall career. As far as Petite goes, he was rarely the best starter on his own team, let alone all of baseball. Wagner is (probably unfairly) a victim of my general bias against relievers, Mariano Rivera's impending election notwithstanding.

1993 Select #165 Sammy Sosa

My Ballot

Here's my unofficial 10 player ballot:
  1. Roger Clemens
  2. Roy Halladay 
  3. Todd Helton
  4. Jeff Kent
  5. Edgar Martinez
  6. Fred McGriff 
  7. Mike Mussina
  8. Mariano Rivera
  9. Curt Schilling
  10. Larry Walker
Bonds, Clemens, Ramirez, Sheffield and Petite are held back due to their PED connections. That leaves 4 players from the Definitely Worthy list and 5 guys from the Probably Worthy list. One last spot on the ballot for one of the PED connected players. It's a toss up between Bonds and Clemens, but Clemens gets my vote as he was my favorite player growing up.

In the end, I expect 3 players to get elected: Rivera, Halladay, and Martinez. That will make for an interesting class. Voters have struggled with how to view relievers and designated hitters, and it seems they will elect the 2 players generally regarded as the greatest of their position (Rivera and Martinez), while the Veterans Committee establishes the baseline for those same positions with Smith and Baines.You would think every future HOF DH would have to fall in between that Baines-Martinez span, while closers get the Smith-Rivera grouping.

No matter how it shakes out, it'll be another big class with some very worthy players!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Repack Haiku #84 (John Dopson)

Now here is a first:
More written on back of card
Than on Wiki page

1989 Score #466 John Dopson

One of the things I loved most about Score when it first came out were the biographies on the back. Even the lesser known players had something of interest to read about. Dopson is no different:

You would think his Wikipedia page would have at least this much, but no! All he gets is a measly two sentences:

Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 Collecting Goal

I don't do resolutions anymore. If I decide to do something to make my life better, I don't see the point of waiting until January to start. If I fail, then I decide if it's worth another go. There's an endless list of things I'd like to do and accomplish. If I get some done this year, great! Next year is good too. The point is to never just stop completely.

I'm the same way with my collection. There are some goals I'd like to accomplish, but I'm not going to put the pressure of a resolution or year long time frame on them. If it happens, it happens.

Despite that, I thought the start of a new year would be a good opportunity to blog about an idea I've been stewing about in my mind for awhile now.

Unless you have been living under a rock this past year, you may have heard that my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, won the World Series.  I thought it would be fun to commemorate the occasion by collecting a complete gold parallel team set from the 2018 base and update sets. It should be a fairly easy enough parallel to obtain, and I like that they are serial numbered to the year that they won.

2018 Topps #48 Boston Red Sox (TC)

Here's the Red Sox team list for 2018 Topps:

Base Set
#18 Rafael Devers*
#20 Chris Sale*
#43 Eduardo Rodriguez*
#48 Boston Red Sox (TC)
#76 Eduardo Nunez*
#103 Christian Vazquez*
#104 Mitch Moreland*
#129 Chris Sale (LL) 
#140 Mookie Betts*
#152 Matt Barnes*
#211 Boston B-Boys (CL)
#242 Craig Kimbrel*
#260 Rick Porcello*
#270 Jackie Bradley Jr.*
#370 Steven Wright
#411 David Price*
#439 Dustin Pedroia
#457 Hanley Ramirez
#483 Drew Pomeranz*
#502 Xander Bogaerts*
#556 Andrew Benintendi*

Update Set
#US10 Ian Kinsler*
#US23 J.D. Martinez (AS)
#US51 Nathan Eovaldi*
#US64 Mookie Betts (AS)
#US69 Did We Just Become Best Friends?
#US101 Chris Sale (AS)
#US117 Kyle Martin (RC)
#US183 Mitch Moreland (AS)
#US195 J.D. Martinez*
#US247 Marcus Walden (RC)

Although 31 cards isn't horrible, I might even concentrate on just the 18 players that were on the playoff roster (marked with asterisks if you were curious).  Although it lacks playoff heroes like Brock Holt, Steve Pearce, and Ryan Brasier, I think it'll be a fun set to collect. Maybe I'll even expand to collect the gold parallels of their other championship years in 2004, 2007 and 2013.

I've created a page to help keep track of what cards I still need, which as of this writing, is all of them. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Year In Review

Last Year I took a look at how 2017 impacted my collection, and I thought I should continue again this year and see what changed in 2018!

2018 Highlights

  • The blog continues to go strong! I hit the one year mark in 2018, and have settled into a nice groove of posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • In honor of my one year anniversary, I held my first ever contest! It was fun to do, even if the prizes were pretty meager. Hopefully I can do a better one this year!
  • Due to a prize win early in the year, I acquired a bunch of hockey cards which gave that collection some serious weight. Although I don't really target hockey cards in my collection, it was good to add some more cardboard of my second favorite sport! As an added bonus, the contest win had a strange effect on my viewership, as you'll see later on.
  • I did more online trading than I ever have. A big reason for this was my Time Travel Trading series, which turned out to be a colossal success! 
  • Of course, I'd be remiss to not mention the Red Sox wining the World Series! If that's not a 2018 Highlight for a Red Sox fan, I don't know what is!

2018 Diamond Jesters Blog Stats

Number of posts: 174
Month with the most posts: 19 posts in March (4 Time Travel updates, plus a week of posts from my trip to Spring Training gave this month a few extra posts)
Top 5 viewed posts: (Somehow, the Top 5 viewed posts were all posts about those hockey cards I won from Billy at Cardboard History. I can't explain it - the Top hockey post picked up almost 100 view this past month alone, even though it was originally published March 27. Someone out there really likes hockey cards!)
  1. Cardboard History Radically Changed My Collection (253 views)
  2. Hockey Cards From Cardboard History - Pack #7 (230 views)
  3. Hockey Cards From Cardboard History - Pack #5 (221 views)
  4. Hockey Cards From Cardboard History - Pack #6 (193 views)
  5. Hockey Cards From Cardboard History - Pack #8 (190 views)
    Most commented post: One Year, 200 Posts, And The World's Lamest Contest - 13 comments (Ha! I had to bribe you all with a giveaway to get this many comments! )
    Most commented post (Non-Giveaway post): 6 Seriously WTF Moments I Had Opening A Pack Of 2018 Donruss - 10 comments (Only one of those was mine! I guess this made for an interesting discussion!)
    Followers: 42 (The Ultimate Number! Up 14 new followers from last year! Thanks to each and every one of you!)

    My Collection

    (Stats courtesy of the Trading Card Database)

    Total number of cards: 39,281 (Up 3,853 cards from last year, again with the caveat that I'm still cataloguing my collection!)
    Cards from 2018 sets: 911 (A few hundred more than I bought of 2017 product. The base set was better, and the stock didn't get wiped out from Aaron Judge rookie card  hunters.)
    Red Sox cards: 3,412 (Over twice as much as any other team - I guess I am a team collector at heart!)
    Autographed cards: 14 (4 new this year: Jeremy Hellickson, Clay Buchholz, Michael Chavis, Austin Meadows)

    Thanks Jeremy!

    Graded cards: 1 (No new cards this year)
    Relic cards: 9 (5 new this year: David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and 3 Kevin Youkilis!)

    Thanks Paul!

    Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Repack Haiku #83 (Kevin McReynolds)

    Third place M-V-P
    Behind Gibson, Strawberry
    For eighty-eight Mets

    1987 Fleer #425 Kevin McReynolds