Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lefty Grove and the Diamond Stars

I'm taking a break from the constant string of trade posts tonight to showcase a new highlight of my Red Sox collection, my first true vintage Lefty Grove card!

I've talked about these National Chicle Diamond Stars cards numerous times now.  I'll go ahead and say it again though, I think they're beautiful cards.  I guess it's a combination of the smaller size, the fact that they're illustrated/painted vs photographs, and the fantastic art deco-style backgrounds.  Lefty Grove was the biggest name in the set as far as the Red Sox are concerned, so finally landing a copy of this one was a huge win for me.

Here's a closer look.  The card was graded a "lowly" 1 by PSA, probably because of some rounded corners and surface wrinkles.  To me, it's perfect, and I can honestly say that I have no desire to ever upgrade this copy (keep in mind the wear you see on Grove's hat is part of the original painting).

The backs are less exciting, but what do you want from a card that was printed a good 80 years ago or more?  At the bottom of the write-up we get the warning to young pitchers about not pushing it too hard, which I've seen on other vintage cards before.

This card represents a major victory for my collection in another sense though, as it completes what is now my oldest team set by a long shot.  Check it out!

Despite being just 6 cards in size, that's easily one of the most rewarding projects I've completed since returning to collecting.  Feels awesome to put this one to bed!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Nachos Pequeno (Just Two Cards)

I like buybacks. There...I said it.  I know, they're stupid.  Gimmicks.  Pointless.  I've heard it all.  With only one exception that comes to mind, I've basically seen them universally panned on the card blogs.  I can't explain why I like them, but I do.  If you have any you're looking to get rid of, I'm definitely interested in trading.

The recent uproar about these things stems from Allen & Ginter including buybacks in this year's product.  Kind of cheesy for a set that's been around only 10 years, and I don't enjoy them as much as the Topps buybacks from the past few years, but I do enjoy them still.  Yup.

So, when Chris from Nachos Grande offered up some of the contents of his recent case break of Allen & Ginter, I shamelessly claimed four buybacks off of the list.  Two of them are being re-routed to a collecting friend, here are the other two...

As a philosophy major in college, I definitely got a steady dose of Nietzsche.  Largely because of that, I've always thought this was a cool card.  I already have the regular version and its mini companion, so why not add another variation?  Let's face it, there aren't many opportunities to add guys named Friedrich to your baseball card collection.  Plus, killer mustache.

Here's the other buyback I claimed.  How can you not respect a guy who pitched in MLB games at age 49?  49!?!?!  The other reason I like this card?  For a guy who appeared in nearly every Topps flagship set from 1987 through 2012, this is his one and only Allen & Ginter card!

Chris included a couple of his custom 'Munnatawket' cards as well.  These are unbelievably well done, and are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

Thanks for the buybacks Chris!  Judge me if you will, but I hope to acquire some more of these...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Shlabotnik Report Delivers! '81 Fleer, Sticky Francis Rookie, and Other Goodies

I was recently the recipient of my second PWE from Joe Shlabotnik, proprietor of The Shlabotnik Report.  Let's tear in...

Leading off strong with a pair of 1981 Fleer cards that get me oh so close to a complete team set.  Dwight Evans...

...and Garry Hancock.  This is one of those sets that I didn't really care much for in my youth, but has really grown on me over time.  The pair that Joe included here leave me just 3 cards shy of a complete team set now (Lynn, Eckersley and team checklist card).  Time to hit up COMC and put this one to bed!

Yet another 2015 Archives card.  It seems everyone except me is buying this.  This is my tenth Red Sox card from the set, and every single one of them was received in a trade package.  Williams on the '83 Topps design is definitely one of the nicer Red Sox cards on the checklist.

Gary Painter never came close to appearing with the Boston Red Sox, as he topped out with the AA New Britain Red Sox.  The Winter Haven Red Sox, with whom Gary is depicted here, was an A-ball affiliate of Boston from the late '60s until they folded in 1992.  I love minor league cardboard, and this is actually the first Winter Haven Red Sox card in my collection!

A Pedro insert from 2002 Topps Total.  Definitely one for the "it looks way better in person than it came across in the scan" archives.

This was a really cool throw-in from Joe.  Remember when Cespedes was with Boston?  Feels like forever ago, but it was only this time last year that he was taking his hacks at the plate in a Boston uniform.  Just 12 short months and two teams later, he's hoping to help the Mets achieve post-season glory.

Rounding out the baseball content, here's one card that I did know was coming as Joe had given me a heads up on it.  This is one of those retail chrome foil parallels from Topps Heritage.  I still don't have the basic version of this card, as it's a short print, but this shiny one sure is slick!  42 unique cards of Xander and counting...

Joe managed to feed my Whalers addiction with this delivery also with a pair of '82-83 Topps Stickers.  Only your die-hard Whalers or hockey fan is likely to recognize the player above.  Give up?  Doug Sulliman.  He played through basically the entire decade of the '80s with the Rangers, Whalers, Devils and Flyers.

The other sticker Joe sent along is a much more recognizable face, Ron Francis!  '82-83 is considered Ron Francis' rookie card year, so I consider this sort of an oddball rookie.  You couldn't peel an '82-83 O-Pee-Chee Francis and stick it to your Trapper Keeper, but you certainly could with this one!

Closing out the envelope, another Liverpool player from the 1990 Pro Set soccer release.  Houghton played his international football for Ireland, but enjoyed 5 fairly successful seasons with Liverpool in the late '80s/early '90s.  Hopefully The Reds can pick up a victory this afternoon against Arsenal to go 3-0-0 to start off the 2015-16 Premier League season.  I'll be watching on DVR as soon as I get home this evening.

Joe, thanks for the PWE, you packed quite the punch with this one!  I've already begun pulling aside some cards to fire back with...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Signature Sundays - The Grim Reaper

Trying to get back into the swing of things with these weekly Signature Sundays posts, highlighting autographs from my collection that have never seen the light of day on the blog here.  Let's switch over to hockey this week...

This Notable Nicknames autograph from 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures is definitely one of the more unique autos in my entire collection, hockey or baseball.

Not only was a nickname theme a great idea for an autograph set, but the majority of the players (not all, see Ron Francis' card) really embraced the theme and inscribed the nickname along with their signature.  I've always thought "The Grim Reaper" was the perfect moniker for Stu Grimson, and making the card even better in my own biased opinion is the fact that Panini depicted Grimson with the Whalers (he was featured with the Ducks in the regular set). 

I've wanted one of the 50 copies of this card that exist out there since the moment I first laid eyes on it.  At first they were a little pricey, certainly more than I was willing to pay for a Stu Grimson autograph, but as usual patience, and a saved eBay search, paid off and I was able to score a copy for less than $20 well over two years after the product's release date.

Now, if I can track down the Ray Ferraro "Chicken Parm" autograph from this same set then I will truly be a happy man!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Quarter Box Quartet - Saturday Night No Time Edition

A quarter box and a dollar in my pocket; a match made in heaven...

This one was all about the mask, brown leg pads and wooden VIC stick.

Can't leave a T206 Wagner behind in a quarter box.  This is the closest I'll ever getting to owning an original.

I grabbed this Parkhurst Champions Wire Photo card not knowing whether I had a copy already or not.  Turns out I did.  Oh well, still a nice card of Luc Robitaille torching Sean Burke.

Turn of the century Stadium Club Ken Griffey Jr.  Because you don't leave a Stadium Club Griffey that you don't have behind in a quarter box.

That is all for tonight.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Comic Books, Rock 'n' Roll, Cereal Boxes & More

Tonight I've got the content of the latest excellent trade package that I received from Tim B of I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning.

Before I get to the new cards Tim sent along, a couple of housekeeping items.  I had two cards that Tim sent in his last package that I never thanked him for simply because I couldn't identify them at the time.  The above Mel Parnell I found out comes from a 1983 Yankees yearbook and was produced by TCMA.  Pretty cool!

Here's the other card I couldn't identify at the time:
I now know that this great Jack Barry card comes from the 1988 Conlon Series 3 release.  What a photograph!

Alright, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's see some of the cards that Tim sent along this time.  I was amazed by the sheer variety and quantity, but also by the quality of some of the cards.

For starters, a handful of Bowman Chrome Prospects.  I really enjoyed this year's Bowman set, and I've been meaning to pick up a few more packs while they're still readily available.  Happy to be a shade closer to a complete team set.

Going back in time, I got my first taste of 2002 Bowman courtesy of this bubble mailer.  Oddly enough, this is the second Eric Glaser card I've received in trade recently (the other came from Nick at Dime Boxes).  Not real sure about that delivery.

I guess the prospects got blue borders in this set, and the established players got red.  Great photo here of the moment before contact.

X-Fractor of Ty Buttrey.  One of the early draft picks of the recently departed Ben Cherington.

50/50 odds Hanley is gone before Opening Day 2016.

I'm closing in on 100 unique Pedro Martinez cards now.

This Fleer Tradition John Burkett is a glossy parallel, serial numbered to /100 on the back.  I always enjoyed watching John pitch as he wound down his career with Boston.  Hell, I'd take a 37-year-old Burkett in the rotation right now.

Another card closer to the 2015 Stadium Club set.

Card-Supial?  There were definitely some odd things going on in the hobby around the turn of the century...

Even though he was sort of a bust, I still enjoy adding new Daisuke cards to my collection.  This rookie is from 2007 Topps Co-Signers.


Still kicking around in the league all these years later.  David was scooped up by the Angels at the trade deadline.

I'd never seen these 1988 Fleer Record Setters cards before, but the color scheme works well with the Red Sox.

Can't believe I didn't have a copy of this one, but I didn't.

All of these cards are great, but here's where the package really starts picking up steam.  I've been a Ramiro Mendoza fan since his days with the AA Norwich Navigators in the mid-'90s, and this is a slick looking Gold Refractor.  Awesome card.

From there Tim hit on what might be my single favorite parallel of the '90s, Pinnacle Museum Collection.  My scanner definitely likes these.

I'd certainly never seen this one before, it's actually a refractor version of Dustin Pedroia's 2009 Topps Chrome World Baseball Classic insert, serial numbered to /500 copies.

Tim's been plugging away at the 1968 Topps Game set, and I was the lucky recipient of a couple of his dupes, including this Jim Lonborg which is in really good shape.

My first Seung Song card.  I'd never heard of him before, and it turns out he never played in an MLB game, though he made it painfully close playing at AAA for both the Expos and the Giants.  Definitely a unique name, pretty cool to have a game-worn jersey of this one-time prospect from Korea.

Kevin Youkilis chrome rookie card.  Man does he look young on this one, and man am I getting old.

This is the first one of these Toys 'R' Us Purple parallels I've seen in hand, and they're a lot shinier/glossier than I'd imagined.  Mike recently took his talents (read .200 batting average with decent power) back down to Arlington, and a Rangers club with an outside shot at making the post-season.

This is definitely my first hand-cut 1962 Post card.  I've got a few from the previous year, but that's about it.  I like that my lone '62 card is number 62 in the set.

My two current favorite players on the team are Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts, so I was excited to find this White Framed Gypsy Queen parallel from Bogaerts' rookie season in the package.  I already had the base card, and the Blue Framed version, so this one gives me a nice trifecta!

A definite unique item here, this Rico Petrocelli comic book was an insert from 1970 Topps.  When I get some more time I'd like to scan this whole thing in because it's pretty interesting.  I've gotten some hockey comics that are similar, but I don't recall having seen the baseball version before.

Here's a more recent style comic book (though still getting old at this point I guess) from 1990.  I definitely had a bunch of these when I was a kid, but the only one that had survived into my adult collection was Will Clark.  Now he's got a companion in Wade Boggs.

Wow!  Any package that contains a Pedro Martinez game-used card is pretty significant.  A very nice card of the newest Red Sox HOFer, I was shocked when I found this one.

I've been after a copy of this Eddie Vedder card for months now, and Tim finally came through! 

While I haven't been impressed with their last couple of efforts (in fairness, the guys are getting up there in age), I was a die-hard Pearl Jam fan for a good 16-year stretch there beginning in 1994 or so.  Not to go on a tangent, but I think they were at their absolute peak between Vs and Yield, right in the mid to late '90s.  Saw them at least a dozen times in concert, probably many more, though I don't think I've ever officially counted.  Collected all of their officially released bootleg albums.  Was in the fan club even.  You get the idea.  And now I'm the proud owner of my very first Eddie Vedder baseball card!

I'll close it out with what might be my single favorite card from the entire group, a terrific 1970 Kellogg's 3D card of shortstop Rico Petrocelli.  Like many collectors, I enjoy almost any of the Kellogg's cards, but the 1970 release in particular has a simplistic design that I really like.  A real vintage beauty for sure.

Tim, thanks for the awesome array of Red Sox cards!  I'll certainly keep my eyes peeled for anything you might enjoy, and hopefully I'll be able to get some more cards sent off to you before long...
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