Wednesday, May 31, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 27

Day 27: A Favorite Oddball Card From 1990 or Later

1992 Score Proctor and Gamble #3 Roberto Alomar

I'll be honest, I have no idea why I like this set, but I do. The background is your typical obnoxious 90's style design, but I kind of like the color scheme and the raised star. I also appreciate the set reflecting the actual All Star Game's starters. (At least, the elected starters - Jose Canseco was injured and replaced in the starting lineup by Joe Carter.) It packs star power too - half of the 18 card set feature players now in the Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Repack Haiku #2 (Lonnie Smith)

As promised, here is the second haiku dedicated to a card from a repack...

Must appreciate
Lonnie Smith's deep soulful eyes
and those sweet sideburns

1983 Fleer #21 Lonnie Smith

Monday, May 29, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: A Favorite Oddball Card From the 80s

1989 Kahn's Cooperstown Collection "Cool Papa" Bell

My Uncle Ed got me this set I believe. The card stock is flimsy, but I think design is excellent. One of the cooler things about this set is that despite the numerous Hall of Famers Kahn's/Hillshire Farms could have put on this small 11 card set, they chose to honor a Negro League star. You didn't see a lot of that at the time, so cards like this helped fill the gap in the game's history.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 25

Day 25: A Favorite Oddball Card From The 70s

After 3 Challenges of cards I don't own, we're back to something I can pull from my personal collection.

1972 Kellogg's #2 Amos Otis

Maybe it's because the blue border compliments the Royals uniform perfectly, but I really like this card design. I think it may even be better than the iconic design Topps put out the same year. It just seems to hold up better, doesn't it? Besides, you can't go wrong with that groovy 3D effect!

Friday, May 26, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 24

Day 24: A Favorite Oddball Card From The 60s

Just like yesterday's post, I found this by doing some casual searching:

1962 Auravision Records Ernie Banks

That is just coolness right there. What could be better than a baseball player record? I wish I had one of these (and for that matter, a record player) so I could hear what they sounded like.

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Thursday, May 25, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 23

Day 23: A Favorite Oddball Card From The 50s

The Challenge gets challenging. I don't own a lot of vintage cards, and my knowledge of oddball sets is close to nothing. For once, I actually had to research my choice. Fortunately, the TCDB made this a little easier. I started at 1950 and went year by year through all the oddball sets, focusing on any set names that caught my attention. I found a great one. Not because of the card itself, or the players involved. I found what might be the greatest advertising slogan ever put to print:

1956 Kahn's Weiners Smoky Burgess

Bravo, Kahn's Weiners, bravo...

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 22

Day 22: A Card Of A Common Player That Always Seemed To Elude You

We're going to do a 2-for-1 special here. To be honest, there was never a player that stuck out as elusive. Not that I could recall at least. However, in the time that I have started entering my collection into the Trading Card Database, two cards have made their elusiveness apparent.

1990 Donruss #15 Ozzie Guillen DK
1990 Donruss #6 Dave Stewart DK

According to the database, my 1990 Donruss set is 99.9% complete. I was certain I had completed this set, but after double checking, I found these two cards have gone rogue somehow. Someday, when I start taking my collecting seriously enough again, I'll acquire these two and restore order to the world again. For now, they elude me.

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Repack Haiku

I've been contemplating what else I can post on here. Most of my posts have been centered on the 30 Day Challenge, with a few other posts sprinkled in. Although I've thoroughly enjoyed these Challenge posts, the truth of the matter is that once I'm done with it, I'm going to have to rely on my own creativity for future posts. I thought about doing a random card-of-the-day type deal, possibly going the weekly "Throwback Thursday" route. However, I'm too lazy to go through my collection and randomly select one. I decided to trust in the randomness of the repack. I like repacks - they're cheap, and contain a healthy mix of both cards I'm unfamiliar with, and cards from my heyday of collecting.

So here's the plan. I bought a repack, and will feature every card in it, hopefully once a week. And rather than write a paragraph or two giving my thoughts on card design or the player in question, I'm going to give each wonderful card its very own Haiku. Fair warning - this will probably be awful.

So without further ado, I present the charter member of my Repack Haiku:

First card from repack
It catches your attention
a shiny Pedro

2014 Topps Chrome #109 Pedro Alvarez

Not exactly Walt Whitman, is it?

30 Day Challenge: Day 21

Day 21: A Card Of A Rookie You Thought You Were Investing In

Again, I never collected with an eye towards investment. I was a set collector first and foremost. That being said, I was always aware of how certain cards were being valued, and hoped one day my set would be worth substantially more than it is now. Many rookies came and went, but everyone I knew was collecting Ken Griffey Jr.

1989 Donruss #33 Ken Griffey Jr. (RC, RR)
His Upper Deck card became the one most sought after, but I was happy to get his Donruss and Fleer cards when I could. I have a couple of each, and although they won't pay off my credit card debt anytime soon, I'm still glad they're in my collection.

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Monday, May 22, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 20

Day 20: Your Favorite Parallel Card Based On The Parallel, Not The Player

I generally don't like parallels. The card companies have overused it, and it makes collecting a hassle. I did find a parallel I liked, and I think it's one of the few instances where the parallel greatly improves the base set.

1992 Leaf - Black Gold #302 Randy Johnson

Let's look at the base set for comparison:

1992 Leaf #302 Randy Johnson

It's ugly. Gray (or grey if you prefer) is a bland color for a border. It didn't work well for 1989 Fleer, and this is no different. The parallel looks sharper with the black border and excellent use of gold foil trim. To be honest, I don't even mind the lack of the team logo. Even the back of the cards are better:

1992 Leaf - Black Gold #302 Randy Johnson (back)

1992 Leaf  #302 Randy Johnson (back)

Again, boring gray is replaced by a nicer golden color. Leaf should have made the black border the base set and left it at that.

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Saturday, May 20, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 19

Day 19: A Favorite Card From A Country Other Than The United States

My collection is pretty limited here. The only other country I have cards from is Canada. Leaf and O-Pee-Chee weren't usually different than their American counterparts back in the day. The only real difference was that you could learn some French. There were occasional differences though. If Canada is to be represented, let's pick the most Canadian card I can find:

1988 Leaf #255 Tim Wallach Canadian Greats

I picked up a box of 1988 Leaf at a card show once. Despite only being a 264 card set, I couldn't complete the set with just that box. I did however, realize that Leaf made a couple of cool cards for the Canadian kids. The Blue Jays and Expos got some extra love, and when you get a card like this, you feel the love too.

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Friday, May 19, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 18

Day 18: A Card Of A Player Who Would Later Manage Your Favorite Team

1985 Topps #578 Terry Francona

I got to meet Terry Francona once. The University of Virginia Baseball Team had a fundraising dinner, with Tito as the guest speaker. My wife got us tickets as my Christmas Gift, and I got to spend an evening listening to him share tales of what it was like managing the Red Sox. Afterwards I went up to him and got a couple autographs, as well as my picture with him. He's arguably the greatest manager in Red Sox history, and a Future Hall Of Famer in my opinion.

Tito and me

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Thursday, May 18, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 17

Day 17: A Card From The First Set You Put Together Hand Collated

Like a lot of people, 1987 Topps holds a special place in my heart. When I decided to start this blog, I almost named it "Wood-grain on Cardboard" just because of my fondness for this set. Even now, I get a smile seeing these cards in repacks, and I enjoy seeing modern cards with this border. It was this set I first completed, and back then this was the card everyone wanted:

1987 Topps #170 Bo Jackson (RC, FS)

Bo Jackson was one of those generational talents. Future Star definitely applied to him here. (Anyone else think of the "The More You Know" commercials when they see this Future Stars script?). It's a shame injuries ended his career so early.

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 16

Day 16: A Card Of A Player You Don't Like But Respect

This is a tough one because I don't know these players personally. The ones I dislike, I do so because of some transgression that I found disrespectful.  Finding a team I don't like, however, that's easy! So I just need to find someone I can respect from one particular team. Enter Sandman Mo....

2015 Topps - Eclipsing History #EH-6 Mariano Rivera/Whitey Ford

He was a Yankee, which is bad enough. I'm also one of those types of baseball fans that think closers are overrated. You would think the greatest closer of all time being a Yankee would put him low on my list, but I respect him though. He always played with integrity, never showed people up, and was a classy person on and off the field. I'll also offer this admission: I once went to a game at Yankee Stadium. Towards the end of the game, Metallica started playing, the crowd went nuts, and Mariano Rivera walked to the mound. Even I got goosebumps.

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

30 Day Clallenge: Day 15

Day 15: One of your favorite cards from the 2010s

Some guys stick out because they are fun to watch. Ever since I moved to Virginia, I've been able to watch a lot of Orioles and Nationals games. Recently, I've developed an appreciation that Max Scherzer is an awesome pitcher. A 4-time all-star, he's one of 6 pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in each league. He's also has heterochromia, which you can see here.

2016 Topps Archives #50 Max Scherzer
As far as unusual genetic traits go, having two different colored eyes is a pretty cool one. (Fun fact: other celebrities with heterochromia include Mila Kunis and Dan Aykroyd!)

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards
(I figured I'd change things up a bit and put the list at the end of the post. If you've been reading my Challenge Posts this far, you don't need a constant reminder right away.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

International Man Of Mystery

Joseph from CrazieJoe's Card Corner had a contest recently to celebrate his 500th post. You can read the details on the contest here, but needless to say, I took an educated guess and won. For the prize, I had a choice between a pack of baseball or hockey cards. I don't have a lot of hockey cards, although starting up a Sabres collection would be fun. I decided to go with the safe bet and chose the baseball pack.

I had no idea what brand or set I would be getting. All I knew was to expect mail from Canada (Hence my post title).

I got my package last Tuesday. My prize?


First of all, not 1 but 2 packs came my way! Bonus cards are always good. The cards are from Leaf's 2016 Babe Ruth Collection. I've seen these for sale at my local Wally World, but never had much of an interest in buying any. This will be my first real look at cards from the set, so lets see what first impressions I get:

Pack #1

Pack #2

What I like about the set:

I've mentioned this before, but I love vintage photography on baseball cards. Leaf showed some cleverness getting around licensing issues by showing some great shots of the Babe out of uniform. That shot of him in Victorian garb is amazing! The backs of the cards also offer up interesting trivia. (I never knew he switched between left and right field depending on where the sun was shining!)

What I don't like about the set:

Well, as to be expected, a set devoted to the Babe is going to have a heavy emphasis on the Yankees. The lack of Yankee licensing actually hurts Leaf here. Without the Yankee licensing, a lot of his pictures in uniform look weird, especially seeing just a plain blank cap. It's a shame such great photography has to be edited like that.

All in all, this looks like a pretty cool set from the sample size. It's only an 80 card set too, making an easy build. I would think it would appeal greatly to Yankee fans and/or fans of baseball's history.

Thanks again for the cards Joseph! Congrats on your 500th blog post! (only 480 to go for me...)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 14

Courtesy Of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Day 14: One of Your Favorite Cards From The 2000s

I'm going to bend the rules and list two cards, neither of the two I possess. While the cards are worthy on their own, together they represent the greatest week of my life.

2004 Topps World Champions Boston Red Sox #49 Team Celebration ALCS7
2004 Topps World Champions Boston Red Sox #54 Team Celebration WS

The greatest week of my life occurred between the last game of the ALCS and the last game of the World Series. Shortly after "The Greatest Comeback In Postseason History", my long distance girlfriend (a Yankees fan, mind you) came up for a visit. We spent a few days at a nice B&B in Niagara Falls. During our weekend getaway, I proposed, and she accepted. Before you know it, the Red Sox won their first World Series Title in 86 years. What a great time in my life!

Friday, May 12, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 13

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Day 13: One Of Your Favorite Cards From The 1990s

When your a kid collecting, it was one thing to collect current stars from your favorite team. It was usually another to get cards from an All-Time Great that stopped playing well before you were even born. That's what made cards like this cool:

1992 Upper Deck - Ted Williams Heroes  #30 Ted Williams
As a Red Sox fan, it was easy enough as a kid to collect the stars from the 70s, 80s, and 90s - Yaz, Rice, Boggs, Clemens. The greatest player in Red Sox history however was not something most kids would find opening up a pack. Ted Williams last played in 1960, and his last card for Topps was 2 years prior. This Upper Deck subset was my first real opportunity to own a Ted Williams, and I didn't care if it wasn't from when he played.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 12

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Day 12: One of Your Favorite Cards From the 80s

1987 Conlon World Wide Sports Series 2 #9 Al Schacht

This was another repack gem. I love seeing vintage photography on baseball cards. Look at this absolutely beautiful photo. Amazing for a picture taken around 90 years ago. Those wide eyes, that mischievous grin - you know he's up to something! What makes this card so great is the back as well:

1987 Conlon World Wide Sports Series 2 #9 Al Schacht (back)

This is perhaps one of the greatest baseball stories ever put onto cardboard. It tells a lesser known side of baseball history, and it's humorously written. If I had known this set existed in 1987, I would have tried to complete the set.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 11

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Day 11: One Of Your Favorite Cards of the 70s

Before the 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken, there was the 1972 Topps Billy Martin...

1972 Topps #33 Billy Martin (MGR)
An innocent enough looking card until you realize he's flipping the bird. Oh Billy, you sneaky rascal...

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

In Support of Jameson Taillon

I apologize in advance, as this is not really a baseball card related post. However, every now and then something happens in the sports world that connects to me and my personal life.

2016 Topps Update #US58a Jameson Taillon

Pirates Pitcher Jameson Taillon Suspected To Have Testicular Cancer

Mr. Taillon was nice enough to sign a baseball for me last March when I was at the Pirates Spring Training stadium in Florida. It saddens me to hear this latest news. He's the second player I've heard of this year (Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis being the first) that has been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

I myself am a testicular cancer survivor. Needless to say, awareness for this particular type of cancer is something I try to promote. It's among the leading cancers among men ages 15-44, and also has one of the highest survival rates if detected in time.

I know this a new blog, and I don't have many readers, but I'm going to ask a favor of any male readers. Check yourself. It's easy to do, and it could save your life.

Courtesy of the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation

In a bit of coincidence, I'll be participating in my local Relay For Life this Friday. I'll be walking in support of everyone who has been diagnosed with TC, and now that includes Mr. Taillon. Here's to a smooth recovery and quick return to the mound!

30 Day Challenge: Day 10

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Day 10: One Of Your Favorite Cards Of The 60s

Since Heritage is paying tribute to the 1968 set, it seems appropriate to put a card from that year here. Honestly, I'm not a fan of the design. I am however, a fan of the player.

1968 Topps #532 Luis Tiant
This card is great for a couple of reasons. First of all, one of the first repacks I ever opened contained this card. It amazed me that for a $1, I got such a vintage card. (I haven't pulled one so old since!) More importantly, El Tiante is one of those all-time beloved Red Sox players. I even got to meet him and get an autograph!

El Tiante!

Monday, May 8, 2017

30 Day Challenge: Day 9

Courtesy of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Day 9: One Of Your Favorite Cards From The 1950s

As I'm trying to stick with what is in my collection if possible, this is an easy one.

1955 Bowman #9 Gil McDougald
This is the only card from the 50s I own. I vaguely remember picking this up at a card show, thinking it was cool just because it was so old, even if it was a Yankee card. My copy is a little better cut than this one from TCDB. I may have to scan mine and look into swapping it out.