Monday, June 27, 2016

Orange is the New Black

I've tried watching the show "Orange is the New Black".  Not awful, but not exactly my cup of tea either.  I think I made it through the first season and then trailed off.  Anyway, this post has nothing to do with that show.  It's just that the show was the first thing that came to my mind when I opened my latest PWE from Mark Kaz of This Way to the Clubhouse, since just about every card inside was of either the orange or black variety.

The orange came courtesy of 2012 Topps Chrome.  I am a confessed total sucker/addict when it comes to the Topps Chrome colored refractors, give me any year and any color when it comes to the Red Sox.  I had quite a few oranges from the 2012 set already, but Mark managed to find a pair I had yet to acquire in Jon Lester...

...and Mike Aviles.  Great stuff!  There was also a Jacoby Ellsbury in the envelope, but I already have one of those.  No way Mark could have known this though, as Zistle has not yet applied my change that indicates it's a Red Sox card.  No matter, I'll be passing it along to a fellow Sox collector in a future mailing.

With these two new ones in hand, I have just three more 2012 Topps Chrome Orange Refractors to track down for a complete team set.  Alright, with the orange portion of the PWE behind us, let's move onto the black...

Mark recently stumbled upon an amazing dime box that had a nice chunk of these 2011 Topps Wal-Mart exclusive black parallels (among many other drool-inducing pieces of cardboard).  I've always been a fan of these but have never had the good fortune of stumbling across too many of them.

Luckily I've got a friend like Mark who must have scooped up just about every Red Sox card in the box with my collection in mind!

This PWE contained no less than five of these black beauties, which is beyond awesome as I owned just a single one of these (JD Drew) prior.

Amazingly enough, I got a PWE from Dime Box Nick just this past Saturday that contained yet another one of these.  Not only that, but it was not one of the ones Mark sent either.  At this point I feel like the Cardboard Gods are trying to tell me I should complete this team set.

Oh yeah, and there was one non-orange/non-black card to be found in the package as well, this 2016 Topps Spring Fever card of Big Papi!

Mark, thanks yet again for another great trade envelope.  I was insanely jealous of your dime box scores when reading your post, but I guess if you can't be browsing the dime boxes yourself then having a buddy to pick through them on your behalf is just as good!  I really appreciate you going out of the way to find these great cards for my collection.  I'm sure I'll have another envelope of Mets headed your way soon!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Where'd the Week Go?

Thanks to a very busy week at work, combined with making the best of the beautiful New England summer we're experiencing, the blog has gone neglected for the past few days.  During that time though I did manage to get in my first Sox game of the season on Tuesday evening:

A little dark, but not bad for a pic snapped with an iPhone.  That's Xander Bogaerts at bat with a couple on, complete with the Green Monster, the infamous CITGO sign, and the very beginnings of a nice Boston sunset. 

The game itself was a pretty boring loss actually, with Chris Sale keeping the Red Sox offense in check fairly easily.  Any night spent at my favorite ballpark of all-time is always a good one though.  Besides, I had Pavilion Club seats which are just about my favorite view in the park.  As you can see, really nothing is obstructed at all.  Plus you get your own waiter so you never have to wait in line or miss a pitch for beer or food.  Can't beat that!  If I'm going to pay $9.75 a beer (yes, that is the cost of a draft beer at Fenway) then I'd at least like someone to bring it to me...

Once again I don't have a ton of time today, but how about a handful of cards?  I've got four more of these Legends variations from 2011 Topps queued up for posting, so that will have to do.  I just can't get enough of these, and so I couldn't pass on this lot of four at a price that worked out to just a hair over $2 per card.

Leading off we've got a nice shot of Hammerin' Hank in what I believe is Seals Stadium?

Next up, the most boring of the four if I'm being brutally honest.  Only because the photograph is average though, as a player Molitor is one of the more under-rated of all-time in my opinion (if it's possible for a HOFer to be under-rated that is).

Okay, now we get to the pair that really drew me to this lot.  This Sandy Koufax card is just plain awesome.  Everything about this photo is great.  Sandy's excited state and the fashion trends of the plainly visible '60s ballpark crowd make this card a winner, and the bunting along the fence is the cherry on top.  My collection is pretty lacking when it comes to Koufax, so this is actually now my best card of his.  I hope to acquire a nice vintage one someday to bump this one from that spot though.

Here's the last card from the lot.  Again, top notch photo choice from Topps here.  Reggie was so much cooler as an Athletic, wasn't he?  This is the only card I have (well, this and its Cognac counterpart) where Reggie is rocking the A's uniform that features the yellow pants.  While I wasn't around to enjoy them, the '70s sure seemed like an interesting time for baseball.

Well, that's all I've got for today.  Back to doing things like this...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Buyback Franken-set is Born

Buybacks are a guilty pleasure of mine, have been for years.  I can see the arguments as to why some collectors detest these, but for whatever reason I love them.  Lately I've been accumulating more and more of them, and after recently winning a good size lot on eBay I began wondering how I'm going to store and display these.

#290 - 1976 Ted Simmons

Well, I'm hardly being original with this concept, but I'm going to go with the franken-set approach.  I've got a nice, new binder stuffed with enough empty sheets to hold 792 cards, and in the coming years I hope to find buyback cards to fill as many numerical slots as possible.  Today I grabbed ten random buybacks to serve as the very first cards in my franken-set, starting with this great Ted Simmons.

The buybacks are tough enough to find in large bunches that I'm grateful to find any card to fill a slot on the checklist, and I don't think I'll have much competition between cards for the same slot at least initially, if ever.  Should I ever acquire another buyback that's #290 though, it would have to be a pretty impressive card to bump Ted here from his place in the binder.  I just love the vibrant colors on this one, and Ted is a great under-rated star to kick off my set as well.  8 All-Star appearances, a Silver Slugger Award winner and a member of the St. Louis Cardinals HOF to boot!

#86 - 1978 Dave Tomlin

If you've ever pulled one of these from a pack then you certainly don't need me to tell you this, but stars like Ted Simmons are more the exception than the rule.  You're much more likely to pull a card like Dave Tomlin here.  On a totally unrelated side note, I've almost picked up one of these retro Padres hats on more than one occasion simply because they feature my initials front and center.

#406 - 1979 Joe Wallis

These first ten entries into my set are all from the 2015 Topps buyback run.  I like the "Topps Original" foil stamp that they went with in 2015 better than the retro logo stamp from 2014, or the 65th Anniversary stamps featured on this year's buybacks.  Random Joe Wallis fact...he broke up a Tom Seaver no-hit bid with 2 outs in the 9th in 1975!

#127 - 1975 Glenn Borgmann

Slot #127 belongs to Glenn Borgmann for now.  I know virtually nothing about Glenn, and despite '75 Topps being a fantastic set this isn't exactly a tremendous card.  I'd say Glenn's place in the set might be tenuous at best.

#152 - 1966 Frank Malzone

Here's a face I recognize!  Frank Malzone was one of the better players on the Red Sox roster in the latter half of the '50s, and played with Boston through 1965.  This card commemorates the 82 games he played with the California Angels to close out his career.

#341 - 1974 Dan Driessen

The first entry from 1974 Topps is Dan Driessen here, who slots in at #341.  A great Spring Training shot of one of the members of the Big Red Machine Reds teams of the '70s.

#227 - 1973 Wayne Twitchell

Wayne Twitchell enters the set at #227 with his '73 Topps release.  If there was going to be a Wayne Twitchell card in the set this one seems most appropriate actually, as 1973 was by far his best season, and was the only year that Wayne was elected an All-Star.  Looks like this card sustained a little water damage along the bottom back in the day.

#590 - 1977 Buddy Bell

The first '77 Topps card to enter into my set is baseball lifer Buddy Bell.  He certainly comes from a baseball family; his father was playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates when he was born, and two of his sons went on to play at the MLB level as well.  Buddy won six consecutive Gold Gloves at third base, was an All-Star a few times, won a Silver Slugger Award and is actually a member of the Texas Rangers HOF.  Since hanging up the spikes he's remained involved in the game in various coaching and managerial positions across Major League Baseball.  A worthy inclusion indeed!

#482 - 1976 Tim Hosley

I'll be honest and say that I've never heard of Tim Hosley.  He hung around at the MLB level throughout the '70s, but spent the majority of that time as a role/bench player.  He was a member of the Oakland Athletics when they won their championships in 1973 and 1974, but never appeared on a post-season roster in either season.

#272 - 1971 Tommy Helms

We'll close it out for today with Tommy Helms, the first card to make the set from 1971 Topps.  Time and the previous owners have not been kind to the black borders, but I literally couldn't care less about condition when it comes to this set.  In fact, you should see one or two of the total beaters that will be joining these cards in the binder soon.

10 cards down, 782 to go, a franken-set is born!  If anyone has some of these lying around I'm certainly interested in trading for them, there are a whole lotta empty pages in this binder that need to be filled!

Monday, June 20, 2016

One Card Post - Francis Patch!

What:  2013-14 Panini National Treasures #CM-RF - Ron Francis Century Materials Patch (#'d /25)
Where:  eBay
How Much?:  $12.95

:  Game-used/relic cards aren't typically my thing, but in this case I couldn't resist a nice two-color patch with some fat stitching.  At less than $13 it was an easy pick-up, especially given that Ron Francis is the greatest Hartford Whaler of all-time.  What a solid piece of cardboard; once again I find myself wishing that Panini still had a license to produce NHL trading cards...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Quarter Box Quartet - Rusty Trumbo

Been a while since I did one of these, apologies for the juvenile post title.  Let's take a quick look at four cards plucked from the quarter box at my local hobby shop...

Quite frankly I was shocked to find this one in a quarter box in the condition it's in.  I wouldn't say it's mint but I'd say it's certainly near mint, and in better shape than the majority of my cards from the '60s.  Rusty may not be a HOFer, but he carved out a pretty impressive 23-year career.  More than happy to add this one to my vintage collection for a mere quarter.

Obviously I had no idea when I picked this one up that Mark Trumbo would be leading the league in home runs at this point in the season.  What a year he's putting together for the red hot Orioles so far.  20 home runs through 65 games is quite a feat.

My reasoning here was obvious.  What hockey fan wouldn't want this shot of one of John Davidson's legendary masks in their collection?

We'll finish it off today with a nice Gold Sparkle parallel of a future HOFer.  So many people collect Vlad that I could see this ending up in a trade package sometime down the line, but I've hung onto it so far because I like the photograph, and because the Gold Sparkle parallels work so well with Orioles cards.

Well, that's all I've got time for today.  I'll be back this weekend though.  Happy Friday and thanks for reading as always...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

One Set, 25 Years of Minor League Greatness!

Tonight I've got a great minor league card set to share with you.  During the 1997 season, the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA franchise for the Boston Red Sox) had fans vote on the 30 best players in the franchise's history.  The players who made the cut were all included on the checklist for a card set commemorating the first 25 years of PawSox baseball.

The result is one of the most star-studded minor league sets I've ever encountered.  You've got HOFers, local fan favorites, controversial names and personalities, and just about everything in between covered in this release.

The design is nothing special per se, just a purple border, darker at the top fading lighter towards the bottom, where you see the Pawtucket Red Sox 25th Anniversary All-Star designation.  Within the confines of the photograph you get a very basic player name and position bar, and a small PawSox 25th Anniversary logo above it.

What makes this set such a winner though in my opinion is that every card features an authentic photograph taken during the player's time with the team.  The resultant mix of uniforms and era fashion trends (see striped shirt above) makes for a really interesting set.

The backs aren't nearly as aesthetically pleasing, though I think they do a half-way decent job for being limited to black and white print.  You get the player's stats from just the time they were with Pawtucket, which is kind of interesting to see, and the write-ups are actually done quite well.  You'll notice there's no numbering at all, which is a minor pet peeve of mine as you'll find slightly different variations of the checklist online.

Just know that there are 31 cards in total, the 30 players voted in by the fans plus this checklist/header card.  Here you get a much better look at the PawSox 25th Anniversary logo that appears on each card.

Since this set is all about the great photographs and star-studded checklist I've actually got all 30 cards here for your viewing pleasure.  I won't provide too much commentary since the scans will make this post long enough as it is...enjoy!

My personal favorite, which is why I led the post off with it.  The photograph just perfectly captures hanging around after a minor league game to get autographs.  I also think it's really cool that Fidrych spent time with fans like this after his minor league starts, even though he'd already tasted big league success many years earlier.  If this photo isn't staged, and I have no reason to believe it is, then it seems like a good visual representation of an athlete not letting prior success go to his head.  Either way, what an awesome card.

There you have it, my personal favorite minor league team set, at least at this point in my collecting journey.  If you'd like to pick one of these up for yourself you can do so from the PawSox online store for just $6 (fair warning that shipping is ridiculously high though at $11).
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