Saturday, April 19, 2014

My HOF Collection - 1969 Topps #480 Tome Seaver

I decided that I didn't have enough "vintage" Tom Seaver in my collection.

Alright, I didn't have anything before 1978.   The rest of his cards are absolutely fabulous, don't get me wrong.   But there's something special about cards of these stars from their younger years.   Vintage cards are extraordinary in their own right - but vintage cards of a Hall of Fame hurler like Tom Terrific are a rare treasure for a collector like me.

I jumped on a chance to snag this Seaver on the Bay of E for what I thought was a pretty good price.   There were more affordable versions in lesser condition, but I thought this one struck a good balance for me when it came to one of my preferences for decently-centered cards.   And after doing some research, I quickly learned that finding this particular card in well-centered condition is a challenge.

Without further ado, here she is:

She's a little 'low' top-to-bottom and it's easy to see the wider margin on the left-hand side, but overall this was a reasonable card with very little bidding.   A couple of last minute snipers drove up my final purchase price, but at slightly m ore than a blaster, I was thrilled to win this card for my collection.

The '69 design is very basic and this photo of Tom is not helping at all - but what are you going to do.   It is a nice close-up mug shot of a young ace staring wistfully into a promising yet still unknown future....

In 1969, Seaver had just wrapped up an amazing sophomore season by eclipsing the 200 K mark (205) for the first of many times while going 16-12 over....get this, 278 innings pitched!!!!!   He would subsequently take it easy in '69, deciding to only go to work for 273.1 frames....but increase his K total to 208.   OH, and win the Cy Young.   Yawn.   Ho-hum!   The "Miracle Mets" would also take the pennant in 1969 and win the World Series by defeating the Baltimore Orioles

Whoa.   This 1969 Seaver card keeps getting better and better.   What about the back?

Ah, yes - love it.   Right off the bat we can see an umpire from the Jetsons add his flavor to the very same '68 K-total stat I mentioned above.   Love it.   Mr. Seaver's bio data appear right next to a really cool retro-Topps logo.   The write-up highlights some of Seaver's tremendous accomplishments during his first couple of seasons but the final mention has definitely grabbed my attention - his "15th inning" pitching that saved the Senior Circuit's 2-1 victory!

I must do some follow-on research to dive deeper into that story.......yes.......

For the card itself, the color is great on both sides and the corners are in pretty good shape, too.   Overall, I found the card to be a slight pleasant surprise, condition-wise, when it showed up.   Too often, a raw card purchase on the Bay is very risky and can result in a 'card in hand' that varies dramatically from the image you peered at in the middle of the night, on your iPhone screen.

I'll take my successful escape.

I'm very excited to add my first vintage Seaver card to my collection!

Thanks for reading and keep collecting -

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Braves Collection - 2014 Topps Tribute Evan Gattis Autograph (#d 28/40)

El Oso Blanco!

Every true baseball fan is required to at least respect the story behind Evan Gattis and his baseball journey....but I am sure the love fest may end right there for many.

Mine continues, however, and I'd like to continue it right honor of his first HR of the season, just moments ago!   A Gattis autograph!

Huh. Another award-winning photography effort from yours truly.   Sorry!

It's a glorious on-card autograph in striking blue sharpie, surrounded by one of the weirdest color combinations that Topps could have possible gone with.   I don't get it, but I still love this card and am very happy to add it to my growing Gattis collection.   It is also numbered 28 out of 40, however I am not entirely sure if that's a good thing or not?

Don't really care.

Welcome to the Braves collection!

Keep Collecting -


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vintage? Vintage.

I love a good mystery and, while I usually pretty adverse to risk in all that I do - I decided to take a little risk on some mystery batches of vintage cards recently.

You guys know me - I love old cards.   Stars or commons, graded or raw, sharp corners or water damaged - I love all types of old cardboard.   Several "lots" of vintage cards came into focus for me on the Bay of E that really caught my attention.   Some of the card were visible and I was able to recognize some quality names like Hodges, Aaron, Jackson and Robinson.   I also spied a pretty solid spread of card designs across a three-decade spectrum - everything from a '54 to a bunch of '65's and stuff in between.

I was intrigued and the minimum bid was low...and, well, I probably had a beer or two as well.

I ended up winning a few and, for $40 total - this stack of top loaders (eeeek! and some just LOOSE in the bag) showed up at my door:


......some more....hey, a checklist!

I'm going to go through these a little bit more when I get a chance to run some stats and start showing them off.  

Here's hoping I do okay - at the very least, I've been able to fill out a couple of pages for my vintage set pursuits!

Keep Collecting,


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One of My Favorite Cards - 2005 Fleer Classic Clippings Insert, 5 of 10 (#'d 146/1988)

I always love cards that commemorate a specific event or even better - a specific baseball event that I experienced.

This card is a great example of that and, while I was not in Chavez Ravine or even cheering for the Dodgers (quite the opposite)......I will NEVER forget watching Gibson tag that game-winning shot off of The Eck in Game 1.   It crushed my Bash Brothers soul (a foreshadowing of many several decades to come, ugh) but delighted me as a baseball fan.   This is probably one of my earliest baseball-watching memories and cards like this will help to ensure that none of us ever forget!

Trivia: The "4" in Griffin's line refers to what stat?

Here's the back of the card with a very succinct but powerful recap:

Very pleased to have this card in my collection - I wonder what the other 9 "clippings" are from this insert set?   Can anybody fill me in?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Yankees Collection - 1953 Bowman #59 Mickey Mantle

When I first started this blog back in 2012, there were numerous cards in my collection that I simply couldn't WAIT to share with you guys.   They are the keystones of my collection for many different reasons and many of them are cards that I never, EVER thought I would own or be able to enjoy.

What I did have, I always told myself that I would space my posts about these gems about as far apart as I could.   Why use up my 'awesome' material in the very beginning?   If I show my 'best' cards right off the bat, I won't have anyone who will give a flip about following my blog for journeys in set-building or appreciation for beat up common cards from the junk wax era of my youth.

I was a fool.

I've learned a lot since I rediscovered our Hobby back in 2011 and a lot of my education came through correspondence learning from you all - the "Hobby Blogosphere" & online community.   You all welcomed me back with open arms and I am forever grateful.   

SO what have I learned?

First, hat there will always be appreciation, by someone and for some reason, for just about every card in my collection or every Hobby endeavor I undertake - no matter what!   And second, awesome cards are exactly that and tomorrow is never share as much as you can, whenever you can!

Ladies and gentlemen, here is one of my favorite cards:

It's a 1953 Bowman (color) Mickey Mantle!   I never thought I would own a true base card of the Mick.   Their prices are sky-high and Mantle cards will simply always be the most sought-after cards in the baseball card world.   But that never stops me from searching and waiting...hoping for the right opportunity to find a well-loved copy of one of Mick's cards that fits my budget AND still resembles an actual card.

I found this particular card on the Bay of E one day and couldn't look away.   The picture on this card is well known, often utilized for media purposes.   And who can blame the choice?   It's a young Mantle with the whole world in front of him after his first All-Star selection and second World Series title the year before.   The posed image is typical for a majority of the '53 Bowman set (ah, the Pee Wee!) but it offers a clear depiction of a wistful Mantle completing a bare-right-handed swing in his Yankee pinstripes.   There's not a cloud to be seen and it looks like it was a great day for baseball in the Bronx.   I am fairly certain it's Yankee Stadium in the background...the placement of the lights, pole, decks, bleachers and billboards seem to check out - let me know if I'm wrong!

This particular card caught my eye because, even though it is creased and a bit is fairly well centered and none of the folds or marks take away from Mantle himself. I wish the crease across his hands could be a little lower....but so be it!   The corners are rounded but all things considered, not bad.   The top right-hand corner is certainly the hardest hit portion of the card, but it is something I was absolutely fine with.

Here's a close-up of Mantle.....just because.

But how about the back?   I am sure the back's condition had something to do with the great value I was seeing in its offering price, but I was reassured because I could still read everything.   That is important to me, so the fact that the vertical stain on the left didn't block any of the letters or design was a big win.   You can see the reverse damage from the huge crease I described above but even that doesn't seem so bad in the lower left corner of the back.   All in all, I was satisfied with the card and knew I would treasure I entered a bid!

I love the write-up on this card back.   The usual bio-data resides at the top but the paragraph below really dishes out some great Yankee history.   It refers to Mantle as "the youngster" and makes a prediction that Mickey "...inherited the...centerfield spot from DiMaggio...and should hold it for many years to come."

Good call, Bowman.   And bonus points to them for using the past participle of "bear".   Much respect. 

Interestingly, Bowman makes it a point to reference Mantle's shortened season with the Yanks in '51 by pointing out that he only played in 96 games and....wait, finished the season in KC?   That doesn't reconcile with my recollection or the records.   I show Mantle missing from the Yanks roster between mid July and late August?   He then returned to finish out strong, head to the World Series and went 1 for 5 with a run scored and 2 walks (and one BADLY injured knee) against the Giants in less than two Series games....?

What in the world?

Huh.    More research, maybe?   Anyways - here's the glorious back to this awesome card: 

I don't know why I took this next shot - maybe to show myself that my Mick is relatively flat, after all?   I know I'm committing a major sin by releasing this treasure from its ill-suited top-loader....but until I get this card confirmed as a "POOR - 1" by PSA one day (and I will).....I choose to truly enjoy it.   Hold it.   Feel it.    Relish it.

Oh, and I'm also a card stock junkie.   SO here ya go:  

Fantastic stuff.   I love this card and am very excited to have it in my Yankee collection and be able to share it with you guys.   I don't feel like I can say that I have a Mantle Collection.....yet.......but my search will never end and that hope never truly dies.

Thanks for reading and KEEP COLLECTING!

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage - The Decision to Build

They got me again with their card stock tractor beam!

I normally don't do racks, but when I do...I do 'em big.

If you follow my ramblings on Twitter, you know that I am a big time nerd, play fantasy sports and recently had a lot to say about the new Heritage set from Topps.   I picked up a few rack packs from Wally Mart on that post-release Monday to check them out.   I love the 1965 design but, for some reason, I need my Heritage cards to be printed upon that nice thick card stock that disappeared during last year's Heritage release.   Yes, I know that some of that stock swapping has to do with actual historical accuracy.....ridiculous notion for a product called "Heritage"!

The result?

Oso Blanco - Beard - Pennant - ROOKIE CUP combo in 1st pack NEVER HURTS

EXHIBIT A - Why a brand like Heritage is loved by collectors like me who value...old card backs

I love them!   The pictures and images for these cards are as BLAND as ever.   So simple, so staged weirdly perfect.   That card stock is nice and thick and when you take a whiff of a fat stack of these bad boys - it's nothing but pulpy, cardboard-y goodness.   Where are you going?   No slippery gloss and syrupy odor 'round here.   No serial numbers or super-short printed action/logo variation cards in my packs...

Colon & Marichal - WHAT could be weirder?

Smile, Freddie.

So, why do I love them?   Again, these are just simple baseball cards....but that's exactly what I like to collect sometimes, particularly when I'm building a set.   I pulled 76 base cards out of 4 packs in addition to 4 inserts (a couple of which I liked).   No duplicates!   Wait...upon further reflection, I think that stack of 76 included 3 SPs, one of which was my ONLY colored parallel.   I like those numbers.   I also love card backs from the days of yore - and these are a perfect example.   The drawings and cartoon-ish font upon a sea of baby-blue.......dude, what could be better?   Sure, a relic or an autograph or a card with an old postage stamp would have been cool to pull (and helped me reclaim some of the investment) but I am quite content and now, perhaps foolishly, on a mission to build the set!

I am a little disappointed in the fact that Topps decided to place a high percentage of star players in the SP portion of the release.   I think this is a huge mistake and a potential trend that could really damage the hobby - let's hope it doesn't persist!

Let me know if you have any cards from this set to trade, sell, whatever.   I will post my NEEDS list in a new tab to the right - my first new tab in quite awhile.   Check it out!   I will try to keep it updated as best I can and begin to list duplicates that I have for trade if/when they arrive.

Keep collecting!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Hall of Fame Collection - 2000 Fleer "Greats of the Game" Bert Blyleven Certified Autograph

I'm always game to add cards and memorabilia of Hall of Famers to my collection, regardless of teams or the player themselves.

In this case, I was able to scoop up this Blyleven autograph for just a couple of bucks.   The auto by itself is a really nice one, but Bert goes above and beyond with a "#28" inscription.   I think it looks great and is nicely slanted to fill up the 'auto-space' provided for Blyleven by Fleer.

Speaking of Fleer's design, I really dig the simplicity of this set.   The silver foil in the corner is sharp and the full color action photo with name and team logo make for a nice card, if not an ideal piece of memorabilia on its own!   Here's the card:

Blyleven is sometimes considered to be a controversial HOF selection.   Fans of other players who have not garnered selection, pitchers in particular, often cite Mr. Blyleven and his statistics for argumentative purposes.   He never won the Cy Young Award or an MVP but was a 2x All-Star and World Series Champion with one no-hitter to his name.   He wasn't elected until his 14th year of eligibility in 2011 and I believe it is his place on the all-time strikeouts list - 5th - that earned him his entry.

And rightly so!   Interviewed players that faced Bert have consistently praised him for his 'nasty' stuff and he was certainly a dominant pitcher during his time.

Here's the back:

Ho-hum :)

I'm ecstatic to add a Bert Blyleven autograph to my HOF Collection!

Thanks for reading!