Monday, December 23, 2019

Pink Me Up!

When my second daughter was younger, one of her favorite books was called "Pink Me Up". It tells the story of young bunny obsessed with the color pink, and how her dad allows her to change up his wardrobe so he can take her to an all pink picnic. It's a sweet little story really.

Bryan from Collecting Cutch has, in his own way, pinked me up as well. Bryan is famous among us bloggers for his annual "Save 2nd Base" posts every October, promoting breast cancer awareness while showing off some lovely ladies and lovely cards.

Part of this year's event was a contest where we had to guess which player would lead the National League in "two-baggers". I took a guess that history would repeat itself and selected 2018 doubles leader Anthony Rendon. He tied for the league again this year, and I won!

It wouldn't be a Collecting Cutch package if Bryan didn't (1) Include an Andrew McCutchen card, and (2) use some artistic creativity to make the mailing extra special:

Bryan also included a few Red Sox cards my way:

Keeping with the pink theme, he also included a pink refractor of J.D. Martinez... well as a pack of Pink Refractor cards from last year's Chrome set!

The prize however, was very much in theme with Breast Cancer awareness. I am now lucky to possess this unique autograph:

I love it when a card has something that I can personally connect with, and this card is a good example of it. On the back, it mentions "The Wizard Of Oz", which happens to be one of my mom's favorite movies. She, by the way, is a breast cancer survivor.

Thanks for pinking me up Bryan! It's important to focus on these causes all year round, so check out the National Breast Cancer Foundation and see how you can help support the cause!

Christmas is just days away! Like last year, I'm planning on taking a short respite from blogging. I'll be back in January with some great posts ready to roll! To all my readers, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May your stocking be filled with cardboard goodness!

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Greatest Red Sox Cards Of 2019

I fell down a rabbit hole.

The white rabbit in this case was Night Owl's annual post on the best Dodgers card in the base set. I thought to myself: "Hey, I should do something like that for the Red Sox cards! But why limit myself to the base set? There's plenty of great sets and inserts out there. Maybe I'll do a Top 10 list!"

Night Owl knows better. Night Owl is smart. I am not smart.

I started going through all the sets. Well, not all of them. I decided to ignore the parallels and printing plates, the autographs and relics too. After browsing the online exclusives, I decided I probably wouldn't find many contenders there either. I dismissed non-licensed stuff, feeling they were behind the eight ball to begin with, and would have to really blow me away to crack the elite. As I began my search, I found myself favoring the retail products and bypassing the hobby exclusives.

So essentially, I focused on the base cards in the sets and the inserts. Short prints were fair game too. As I went through each set, I downloaded the image of any card I felt might make the list and kept it in a folder where I can see them all at once.

When all was said and done, my folder contained 40 cards! That's a lot of great cards, but what made the process of whittling down to a Top 10 list an exercise in insanity was how similar a lot of these cards were. It's obvious that any list of this year's best Red Sox cards would have to include cards depicting the prior season's World Series run. But I had 9 playoff caliber cards in my folder! I could have done a Top 10 on that subject alone! Let's take retired greats as another example. I had 12 cards that featured a Hall a Fame player on it! Heck, 5 of those cards were of Ted Williams, and 3 of those cards featured his involvement in the military! It's 2019 and I could have easily done a Top 3 cards of Ted Williams in the armed forces!

All I could do was break them down into smaller groups and make decisions. Which of the two Gatorade showers should I pick? Is this card of Fenway Park better than this one? How many Stadium Club cards should realistically make the list? Why am I debating between 2 Eduardo Nunez cards?

We're all mad here.

But I did it! I picked the 10 best Red Sox cards of the year. Then I looked at it and lamented the lack of variety. I swapped out a few cards, decided they weren't the best cards, and swapped them again. I settled on a final group, and still I feel many worthy cards were excluded. Here's an example of some cards that didn't make the cut:

With all of these cards, there was just one more similar card I liked better. Maybe if I started over right now they'd be in. Who knows? They're great, and although they didn't make the list, they still deserve recognition.

Now, I present to you the Top 10 Greatest Red Sox cards of 2019:

#10. Gypsy Queen #263 David Price

David's smile is everything here. If you substituted a look of competitive concentration here, the image would resemble any number of other cards. With that big grin - it almost looks like he's skipping, doesn't it?

#9. Archives #247 Bobby Doerr

Sometimes the background is everything. This well colorized photo of the underappreciated Hall of Famer is enhanced by what you see behind him. The stands, the building, the old-time catching gear. You're practically transported back in time!

#8. Topps #579 Andrew Benintendi

The background is a factor here to, but more in the "you know you're at Wrigley by the ivy" sense. This photo is iconic around Boston, with Benny doing his best Air Jordan leap.

#7. Big Leagues #374 J.D. Martinez (Award Winners)

The card may say "J.D. Martinez" but we all know this is a Hank Aaron card. J.D. just makes a cameo standing beside the legend. I love it when players of yesteryear are shown with today's current stars.

#6. Stadium Club #76 Chris Sale

I had to try really hard to prevent Stadium Club from dominating this list. The pictures are usually magical, including this perfectly cropped shot of Sale during the National Anthem. As I stated before, the background really makes the card.

#5. Topps #160 Fenway Park

Speaking of Fenway Park, Topps really hit a home run with these stadium cards. Every one I've seen has been phenomenal. The Green Monster seems so far away, yet is unmistakable.

#4. Stadium Club #13 Ted Williams

It's still amazing that Williams fought in not one, but two wars! Can you imagine what kind of numbers he would have had if it wasn't for all that time in the service?  This outside-of-baseball moment reminds us that he never hesitated to put his country first.

#3. Big League #331 Brock Holt

I enjoy celebration shots. The quality of the photos has improved so much that you can see the details in each droplet. The Brock-Star's smile, along with that tensed up pose of someone who has just been exposed to something wet and cold, really brings this card to life!

#2. Stadium Club #1 Mookie Betts

Disagree if you wish, but Mookie isn't the subject here. The sign and the ideal it represents is. Every player, from the minors to the Majors, holds on to this ideal. It's a team ideal, and the ultimate team goal.

#1. Topps #549 Sweet Victory

It's that goal that makes my choice for #1 easy. Two players hugging in jubilation while a horde of their fellow teammates rush towards the inevitable dog pile. It's tied to one of the greatest moments in franchise history, and there really wasn't any card that was going to beat it.

I could have just followed Night Owl's lead and picked the best card from the base set. It would have been the same result. I also find it funny that eventually, no inserts made the list despite some great contenders (There were some real gems in those 150th Anniversary sets!). Still, I'm pleased with this list for now. It showcases 5 different sets and 9 different players. I don't know if I'll have the energy to do this again next year. We'll see.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Mount Olive, NJ

In addition to the cards he sent as part of the latest Time Travel Trading update, TCDB member Tom and I swapped a couple of modern cards as well. I sent some Mets his way, and got two former MVP winners in return:

Thanks again for the trade Tom!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Repack Haiku #133 (Eric Anthony)

A high school drop out
His try out impressed Astros
Drafted in late round

1991 Topps #331 Eric Anthony

From his Wikipedia page:

In 1986, Anthony was an 18-year-old Sharpstown High School dropout working on an assembly line at a Houston plastics company. He talked his way into an Astros tryout in 1986 and impressed scouts with his power, stunning them during batting practice by hitting a series of home runs that landed well beyond 400 feet from home plate. Subsequently, he was drafted by the Astros in the 34th round of the 1986 MLB amateur draft.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Time Travel Trading Update #37

With Christmas being 10 days away, I'm not expecting a flurry of trade activity. These new cards might get lost in the holiday shuffle, but I'm excited to show them off nonetheless! I've made two trades since the last update, and some great new cards have been added.

First off, I received a trade from a TCDB member named Tom. Tom claimed a 1971 Topps Gil Hodges and a 1978 Donruss KISS Paul Stanley. In return, Tom sent the following:

You can't go wrong with a League Leaders card, and the '67 McGraw is just a beaut!

The next trade comes from none other than Bo from Baseball Cards Come To Life! This is the 7th Time Travel Trade that I've made with Bo. He's as much responsible for keeping this stack rotating with new cards as anyone. Bo picked up 3 cards that were showcased in the last update, and helped me turn them into these great cards from 1971:

As this stack has grown, it's been fun seeing which players show up multiple times. I also have the 1973 Topps cards of Bonds and Oliva in the stack, and Tug McGraw shows up 3 times now! Those minor stars of the sixties and seventies sure get around!

I'm one trade short of 50 in this endeavor. Will I reach it before the new year? That's up to you, faithful readers! Let's start 2020 with some great trades!

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2018 Topps
#502 Xander Bogaerts

2017-1018 Pocket Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner

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

1998 Score
#68 Scott Rolen
#74 Mark McLemore

1994 Sportflics
#113 Pete Harnisch

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

1992 Fleer Ultra
#594 Dave Righetti

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti

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

1990 Upper Deck
#626 Frank Viola

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

1989 Fleer
#29 Bob Welch

1989 Score
#495 Larry Parrish

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

1985 Donruss #557
Mark Langston (RC)

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

1981 Topps 
#100 Rod Carew (AS) 
#210 Jim Palmer

1980 Topps
#2 Willie McCovey (HL)
#143 Bruce Bochte
#157 Willie Wilson
#290 Steve Garvey (AS)
#605 Terry Forster
#671 A's Future Stars

1979 Topps
#25 Steve Carlton
#130 Bob Watson
#214 Boston Red Sox (TC) 
#465 Reggie Smith
#680 Carlton Fisk (AS)

1978 Topps
#295 Bill Lee
#373 Jim Willoughby
#424 Boston Red Sox (TC)
#482 Rick Miller
#706 Rookie 1st Baseman (Cage/Cox/Putnam/Revering) 

1976 Topps
#70 Roy Smalley/Roy Smalley Jr. (FS)
#78 Cecil Cooper
#196 1975 AL RBI Leaders (Scott/Mayberry/Lynn)

1975 Topps
#310 '74 Victory Leaders
#378 Derrel Thomas
#402 Bob Tolan

1974 Topps
#38 Don Kessinger
#67 Tommy Helms
#107 Alex Johnson
#141 Pat Bourque
#158 Jack Billingham
#158 Jack Billingham
#227 Mike Lum 
#349 John Vukovich 
#372 Ken Reitz
#572 Enzo Hernandez
#638 Ken Sanders
#660 Larry Dierker

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

1974 Topps Traded
#458T Jim Ray
#496T Tom Murphy

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

1973 Topps
#29 Tony Taylor 
#30 Tug McGraw
#68 1972 Leading Firemen (Carroll/Lyle)
#75 Vada Pinson
#79 Jim Willoughby (RC)
#80 Tony Oliva
#85 Ted Simmons
#116 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#145 Bobby Bonds
#225 Albert Oliver
#230 Joe Morgan
#232 Ken Singleton
#240 Bobby Murcer
#258 Tommy John
#325 Boog Powell
#329 Ed Kranepool
#365 Rico Petrocelli
#368 Bill Buckner

1972-73 Topps (hockey)
#8 Stanley Cup Trophy

1972 Topps
#43 Rick Wise
#163 Tug McGraw
#197 Johnny Briggs
#231 Casey Cox
#239 Tom Timmermann
#363 Ron Klimkowski
#373 John Mayberry
#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)
#195 AL Playoffs Game 1 - Powell Muscles Twins!
#208 Billy Martin (MGR)
#270 Rico Carty
#290 Tony Oliva
#295 Bobby Bonds
#310 Tommie Agee 
#328 World Series Game 2 - Bufird Goes 2-4 (WS)
#374 Clete Boyer
#374 Clete Boyer
#388 Al Oliver

1971 Topps (football)
#22 Ken Avery (RC)
#110 Floyd Little (AS)

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

1970 Topps
#47 Bob Miller
#390 Willie Davis

1969 Topps
#66 Orioles Rookies
#131 Chris Cannizarro 
#139 Andy Kosco
#182 Bill Rigney (MGR)

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#115 Randy Johnson 
#154 Sam Baker
#175 Joe Morrison

1968 Topps
#4 1967 AL RBI Leaders (Yastrzemski/Killebrew/Robinson)
#7 1967 NL ERA Leaders (Niekro/Bunning/Short)
#44 Frank Kostro
#181 Jerry Zimmerman
#309 Ken Henderson
#348 Larry Colton/Dick Thoenen
#449 Gene Oliver
#519 Jerry Stephenson 

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

1967 Topps
#348 Tug McGraw
#366 Andy Kosco

1966 Topps
#154 Chuck Hiller

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Topps
#17 Johnny Romano
#27 Dick Bertell
#86 Les Narum
#87 Nelson Mathews
#108 Don Mincher
#111 Lee Thomas
#178 Dalton Jones
#307 Barry Latman

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

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

1964 Topps
#18 Billy O'Dell
#45 Milt Pappas
#92 Steve Ridzik
#341 Jim Roland 

1964 Topps - Coins 
#7 Frank Malzone

1963 Topps
#155 Bill Stafford

1961 Topps
#32 Ray Sadecki
#38 Bob Lillis
#96 Billy O'Dell
#258 Jack Sanford
#267 Norm Siebern
#399 Cliff Cook (RC) 

1960 Topps
#138 Art Mahaffey (RC, RS)
#186 Dave Sisler 
#289 Willie Jones
#414 Don Williams (RC)

1959 Topps
#298 Tex Clevenger
#424 Ken Aspromonte
#424 Ken Aspromonte 

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

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

1957 Topps
#212 Rocky Colavito (RC)
#235 Tom Poholsky
#249 Dave Pope
#371 Bob Lennon
#406 Bob Hale

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

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

1955 Bowman
#25 Minnie Minoso
#208 Ed Fitzgerald

1954 Bowman
#16 Jim Wilson
#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

1922 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Third Series (J7) (non-sport)
#7 Prothonotary Warbler

1915 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America First Series (J5)  (non-sport)
#1 Quail

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: 49
Unique trading partners: 30

Number of cards mailed out: 144
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 311
Year of oldest card received: 1915

Friday, December 13, 2019

Payday Pack - Young Studs

When ripping open a pack, most of us hope for something good - our favorite team or player, a Hall of Fame caliber All-Star perhaps. We also get excited when we pull cards of the young up-and-comers of the sport. We sit back and wonder what heights they may achieve, and revel at pulling their rookie card or even a sophomore card. Today's featured purchase (Stadium Club) was a hot pack of today's brightest young stars!

3rd Place

2019 Stadium Club  #272 Pete Alonso (RC)

When I mean young, I mean young! The reigning NL Rookie of the Year is the oldest member here at the ripe old age of 24!

2nd Place

2019 Stadium Club #56 Ronald Acuna Jr.

Not everyone has their name inscribed onto a bat. I'd be showing it off to everyone too. I wonder if Acuna has a glow in the dark one?

1st Place

2019 Stadium Club - Black Foil #246 Juan Soto

One of the names on everyone's lips this post season, I gotta admit I was stoked to pull this black foil parallel of young Soto!

Other Contestants Not Appearing On Stage:
#34 Trevor Bauer
#12 Brooks Robinson
#140 Myles Straw (RC)
#176 Matt Olson
#292 Chris Archer
#248 Willie Calhoun
#EZ-21 Walker Buehler (Emperors Of The Zone insert)
#119 Luis Severino
#218 Marcus Stroman

Thursday, December 12, 2019

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Pelham, AL

This was by far the most unusual trade I've ever made. Last April, a TCDB member named Jeff messaged me about a 2005 Fleer Tradition parallel I had in my collection.  A fellow Red Sox fan, Jeff needed it to complete the team set, and was willing to trade a David Price autograph in return. Sounded more than fair to me, only one little problem. I could find the card he wanted anywhere! I thought I had a pretty good idea of which box I had it in, but it disappeared. I obviously didn't want to agree to the trade until I could put my hand on the card, so I told him I'd keep looking and message him once I had it. Weeks passed, then months. Jeff would occasionally touch base with me and see if I'd have any luck, but the card had vanished without a trace.

Fast forward to October. As I was putting cards away, guess which card decided to once again reveal itself? You got it! I pulled the card for safekeeping and message Jeff to see if he was still interested. He was, and we set up the previously discussed trade. I sent out his card. He sent out mine. He received his card. I....waited.

After almost two weeks, Jeff messaged me. He noticed I hadn't marked the transaction as received yet, and wanted to see if it had arrived. I told him it hadn't and that I'd wait another week. I know funny things happen with mail deliveries sometimes, and I didn't think anything suspicious was going on. Three weeks after the card was mailed out, and still nothing. Jeff offered up two replacement autographs, which I thought was quite generous.

I got those cards within a few days:

The Pedroia is an IP auto, and I absolutely love that it was signed "Laser Show" (One of the best nicknames in sports, IMHO). The Trot Nixon looks really sharp too.

As of this publishing, David Price still hasn't shown up either here or been rerouted back to Jeff. I told him I'd send it back if it ever came, and he generously said I could keep it.  I just hope it shows up somewhere. It'd be ironic if it took as long to arrive as it did for me to find Jeff's card. That would be a fitting bookend to this unusual trade.

Thanks again for the cards, Jeff!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Repack Haiku #132 (Ryan Vogelsong)

Gather young Giants fans
Listen to this hero's tale:
Hear the Vogelsong!

 2013 Topps #196 Ryan Vogelsong (WS)

Vogelsong's postseason work has gotten overshadowed by names like Bumgarner and Cain, but that Game 3 gem against the Tigers was a shining moment for him!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Blog Bat-A-Round: 2019 Yearbook Page

With a new year around the corner, it's not unusual to start reading about the year in review, best of lists, and memorable moments that defined 2019. That goes for the card collecting hobby as well. I myself have done posts reflecting on how my collection has changed over the year, and have been thinking about other "year end" ideas as well.

I had a thought that I felt had potential to be a fun blog-bat-a-round. I was toying with the idea of a baseball card "yearbook" page. Consider your standard 9-pocket binder page. Nine places to summarize 2019 in baseball card form. Which 9 would you choose? Which sets would you choose?

It was a fun exercise, and before I show off my 2019 page, I'm going to establish a few parameters.

2 3
5 6

Spot #1: Topps has the exclusive license, so a base card gets the honor of the first spot.

Spots #2-6: A base card from any other 5 sets produced this year.

Spots #7 and 8: Cards from any 2 inserts or parallels.

Spot #9: Wild card - any card you want from 2019.

I'd like to challenge you to not repeat designs. That means passing on sets like Topps Opening Day or Chrome (Wild Card excluded of course!) Also, this isn't a team yearbook, so try not to make all the cards from your favorite team. I'll allow an exception for the current World Champions, only because 2019 was their year!
Got it? Awesome. With that in mind, here's what I put together:

(1) 2019 Topps NNO Vladimir Guerrero Jr.:  I could think of a better base card to represent this year than young Vlad's shoehorned inclusion to the set!

(2) 2019 Stadium Club #290 Stan Musial: Stadium Club's photography selection often gives us moments we haven't seen before. This is a great example of that.

(3) 2019 Topps Archives #158 Richie Ashburn: I've always enjoyed the hodgepodge of current players and legends on a multitude of base designs from collecting past.

(4) 2019 Topps Gypsy Queen #18 Cody Bellinger: Honestly, this could have been a toss up between GQ and A&G, but I've always been more of a Gypsy Queen fan.

(5) 2019 Topps Heritage #310 Red Sox Celebrate World Series Title Win!: If I'm going to limit myself to one red Sox card, I better make it count!

(6) 2019 Topps Living #132 Daniel Mengden: I felt one of Topps' online products should make the cut, and decided Mengden's beautifal 'stache should be commemorated!

(7) 2019 Topps - 150 Years of Professional Baseball #150-114 Ichiro: One of the best insert sets of the year celebrates MLB's 150 Years of baseball. I thought it'd be cool to show Ichiro's card since he also retired this year.

(8) 2019 Topps - Evolution Of #EO-22 Vintage/Modern Catcher's Mask: I also enjoyed this insert set showing how much things have changed over the course of those 150 years!

(9) 2019 Panini Diamond Kings #24 Christy Mathewson: For my Wild Card, I decided to include one of the better unlicensed products Panini was able to put out. The Diamond Kings set really shines when you have turn of the century ballplayers who don't necessarily need a team name or logo on the jersey.

So there you go! Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to create your own yearbook page and show it off. Let me know when it posts, and I'll gather it all together for future blogging enjoyment. Have fun!

*****New Blog Alert!*****

Last week I became aware of a new blogger in our little community. Go check out The Best Bubble!

Friday, December 6, 2019

11 Years And Counting

Just a heads up, this isn't a sports or sports card related post, but it's one I hope you'll stick around and read nonetheless.

Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. 11 years ago today, I was in a hospital having a cancerous growth removed from my right testicle. I officially became a cancer survivor on this date.

I was lucky. I caught it early enough to where I didn't need chemotherapy. Because of this, I encourage others to perform regular self examinations. Since most of my readership is male, that includes you. I'm providing information to help you learn what to check for. Do yourself a favor and read it. Check yourself. It doesn't take long to do, and it could save your life.

Maybe you've skimmed this post, and maybe you've truly read it. Maybe a few of you will consider this but forget, and maybe some of you will actually take the time to check. If I can get just one person to start regularly checking themselves, then I've done my job.

Go for it. Play with yourself. Just wash your hands before you go back to sorting cards! ;)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Poynette, WI

Today's trade comes from a TCDB member named Tom. He helped me grow my Mookie collection by sending a handful of cards from this year's insert set.

My favorite is probably the last one, due to the little ghost hand protruding from the side to congratulate him. This little batch almost doubled the amount of cards I have of the insert set. I'm not quite at the 50% mark, but I'm close enough to where I might start considering trying to finish the set.

Thanks again for the trade Tom!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Repack Haiku #131 (Michael Pineda)

"Pine Tar" Pineda
Injuries and suspensions
Have kept him off-track

2011 Topps #595 Michael Pineda (RC)