Monday, January 23, 2017

Vintage & Shiny - Cards from Kin

Today's post features a nice batch of cards that I received last week from Kin Kinsley, who writes over at the relatively new blog I Feel Like a Collector Again.  Though he started that blog only a month or so ago, Kin has really immersed himself in the blogosphere quickly.  I've seen him commenting on many of the blogs I read, and aside from that he knows how to put together an awesome trade package!

This one was all about the hockey, as Kin knocked over a dozen cards off of my want list.

First up were nine '72-73 Topps cards.  These are much appreciated since '71-72 and '72-73 Topps are the two hockey sets I hope to put the biggest dents in this year.

'72-73 never used to be a real favorite of mine, with a lot of posed/portrait shots like this one throughout the set.  It's grown on me over the years though and nowadays I like it.

The cards Kin sent are in pretty great shape too, certainly good enough that I'll never feel compelled to upgrade them which is great.

The backgrounds for the portrait photos are super bright, which I could see being a turn-off for some, but I think it kind of works.  The solid background color reminds me a bit of '58 Topps baseball.

Rick Foley's claim to fame was fighting two different New York Rangers at once in a game during the '71-72 season.

Last of the portrait shots is left wing Dave Balon, who was forced into retirement due to illness (sadly he was diagnosed with MS, much like what happened recently with Bryan Bickell).

If the cards featuring posed photographs in '72-73 Topps are nice, then the ones that feature in-game action shots are great!  I mean how awesome is the photograph on this Fred Stanfield card?  Not bad for the early '70s, the perspective makes it feel as though I'm sitting right there on the bench.

Here's the final vintage hockey card Kin sent, another cool action photo.  If I'm not mistaken I believe that is a very young Marcel Dionne to the left of Rick Martin there?

As the post title indicates, there were some shiny cards in the package accompanying the vintage goods.  The shiny came in the form of four new cards towards my 2013-14 Prizm hockey set.  I was only missing two cards towards the 200-card short set, a pair of Winnipeg Jets.

Kin included both of them, center Mark Scheifele and winger (and now team captain) Blake Wheeler.  Feels good to finally put the basic set to rest after all this time, now I can focus on the many rookie short prints.  Speaking of which...

...a pair of those found their way into the envelope as well!  Drew LeBlanc was a promising college player (in fact he won the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA men's hockey player in 2013).  He was signed by the Blackhawks but only appeared in a couple of games with them and saw more action with their AHL affiliate than anything.  After a couple of years of that he began playing overseas in Germany.

Here's the other rookie short-print, a name that is much more recognizable to NHL fans in Brendan Gallagher.  Brendan finished second in voting for the Calder Trophy after his rookie season, and in 2014 inked a 6-year contract extension with Montreal.  He's since become a mainstay in the Montreal offense, and is even an assistant captain for the Habs.

Kin, thank you very much for the great batch of cards.  It feels great crossing all of those numbers off of my want list at once.  To everyone else, if you haven't had a chance to check out Kin's blog I encourage you to add it to your daily reading list!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

One Card Post - The Golden Jet

What:  1971-72 Topps #50 - Bobby Hull
Where:  eBay (Buy-it-Now Best Offer)
How Much?:  $8.50 (free shipping!)

:  I've decided that one of the things I'll be focusing on in 2017 is expanding and filling gaps in my '70s hockey card collection, and my first purchase of the year accomplished exactly that.  Nice to knock another HOFer for my '71-72 Topps set off of the want list at a reasonable price.  A nice card indeed, but only the second best Bobby Hull I've landed so far in this young year.  The other will be featured here soon, but hasn't arrived yet.

And now, I return to work.  I don't typically work on Sundays but have been at it since about 7am this morning.  Chalk it up to the glamorous life of a career in IT.  I just hope I solve this problem in time to watch the football games here...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Off the Wall Part III - No Foil?

After a deflating Bruins loss last night, then watching Liverpool drop valuable points in the Premier League for the second game in a row this morning, this time inexplicably losing to last place Swansea City at home, it's been a rough last 24 hours of sports for me.  While I try to flush the memory of those awful games from my mind let's look at something a little more positive, the next ten buybacks I received a while back from my buddy Shane Katz...

1966 Topps #37 - Billy Herman

Today's post kicks off with an oddity, the first buyback I've received to date that's missing its foil stamp.  You can see where the card was stamped there on Billy's left shoulder, but despite being embossed the silver foil is completely missing.  I'm not sure if the foil fell away over time or if this was a manufacturing defect, but I'm betting it was the latter.  Either way, I'm going to leave this one out of the franken-set for now as I'd prefer all the cards in there have visible foil stamps.  Still a cool card for my Sox collection though, especially since Billy is enshrined in Cooperstown!

1974 Topps #433 - Lerrin LaGrow

Lerrin LaGrow is probably most remembered for having a bat thrown at him by Bert Campaneris in the 1972 ALCS.  He's also now a member of the buyback franken-set in slot 433.

1979 Topps #498 - Rich Chiles

Up next, a string of five consecutive 1979 Topps buybacks, all of which make the franken-set.  Whoo-hoo!

1979 Topps #684 - Jamie Easterly

Jamie Easterly, who gave up Willie McCovey's 500th career home run, fills a really nice high number at 684.  In fact, hundreds of cards into this project there are only five in the binder that fall after this one.  Finishing the higher numbered portion of the set is going to be tough for sure.

1979 Topps #464 - Joe Nolan

Joe Nolan's specs and some sparsely populated bleachers are the highlights of this card.

1979 Topps #399 - David Clyde

Something went awry with the printing process on this David Clyde.  Blue ink abounds, including along the side of Clyde's face.  It's even spilling over into the white border along the top left.

1979 Topps #160 - Mike Flanagan

Here's the last of the '79s, and by far the best.  Flanagan paced the league with 23 wins in 1979, and captured the AL Cy Young Award as a result.  If I could hand-pick a single buyback of Mike's for the franken-set, this would be the one.  A solid addition to say the least.

1980 Topps #142 - Phil Huffman

Phil Huffman is an interesting story if you like obscure players.  He made the Blue Jays roster as a starter in 1979, but after a single disappointing season was demoted before the 1980 campaign in favor of a four man rotation (ouch!).  He'd spend the next five years in the minor leagues before finally getting the call for the Orioles in 1985.  In two appearances that season Phil threw 4.2 innings to the tune of a 15.43 ERA, and that spelled the end.  As far as the franken-set project goes, Huffman is in!

1980 Topps #139 - Dane Iorg

Here's another '80 Topps card, featuring two-time World Series champ Dane Iorg.  Buybacks from the '80s aren't yet that prevalent in my franken-set since Topps only started using them heavily with last year's releases.  Nice to add a pair of them here, and they land on the same page no less!

1972 Topps #86 - 1971 AL Batting Leaders

We'll finish up for today with arguably the best card in this bunch, featuring the 1971 American League batting leaders.  1971 was actually the third (and final) batting title that Tony Oliva captured in his career, which is damn impressive.

For the lone time in today's post we've got a conflict; Mike Kilkenny's 1971 release is already in slot 86.  As tough as it is for me to toss a '71 out of the binder, I'm going to do exactly that.

That was a really nice grouping.  Eight new card numbers for the set, and one conflict card that won out.  With the way rounding up worked out I jumped from 34% to 36% complete in this one post alone.  I've still got three posts worth of buybacks left to go from the lot that Shane sent me, and the best is yet to come!

Franken-set Progress:  282/792 (36%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  76
Total Buybacks in Collection:  358

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cahan & the Cougars

Just a quick one card post today, featuring what was probably the best hockey card bargain I got on COMC over Black Friday weekend:

During the 1972-73 season, O-Pee-Chee included some cards from the newly founded WHA in their flagship hockey release.  This was the only year of the WHA's existence where O-Pee-Chee mixed the WHA cards in with the NHL cards in the same set; going forward the WHA would receive its own separate release.  These are tough to find in general (and even tougher to find at a reasonable price), due to the fact that they were included in the much rarer third series print run of the set (cards 210-341).

I've had three of these in my collection that I showed off on the blog a few years ago now, Jean Payette, Norm Beaudin, and Bobby Sheehan.  Larry Cahan was the best deal I've gotten on one of these by a long shot though.  Sure, the corners aren't perfect and there are a couple of wrinkles along the bottom edge, but these cards are so tough that all I look for is one that's visually appealing and decently centered if I can help it.  I was absolutely astounded when I found this one listed at 78 cents, and snatched it up immediately.

As far as the subject, Larry Cahan was a physical defenseman who began his professional hockey career all the way back in the late 1940s!  He finally made his NHL debut with the Leafs in 1954, and wound down his career just about 20 years later with the Cougars of the WHA, the team he's depicted with here.  Unfortunately, he was one of the two players who laid the combined hit on Bill Masterson in 1968 that resulted in his death.

Here's a look at the back.  I wish O-Pee-Chee would have put the team logos on the reverse for this subset, instead of using the WHA league logo.  Other than that though, a pretty fantastic vintage hockey card if you ask me!

I think I'm going to get off my butt this year and finally begin chasing after all of the WHA cards from this release.  It won't be easy, and I doubt if I'll ever find another for less than a dollar like this, but it will be a fun project as I really enjoy learning about the teams and players of the "rival league".  I did manage to use some expiring eBay Bucks last week to secure a few more of these...coming soon!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vintage, Oddballs, Ticket Stubs and Buybacks - Another Great PWE from Dimebox Nick

A few weeks ago now I was the recipient of another jam-packed PWE from my good buddy Nick, king of the dime boxes.  It's always an exciting feeling getting a package from Nick, because you truly never know what you'll find inside.

With the level of generosity in this hobby I feel like I'm constantly saying this, but had you told 9-year-old-me that someday in my adult life I would arrive home after work and find Red Sox cards from the '50s in my mailbox that someone sent me just because, my head would have exploded.

Nick is known for oddballs, and he lives up to his reputation here.  I'm relatively certain this is a 1990 Score Pepsi Roger Clemens card.  The last year of stats listed on the back is '89, and the back also has very much the same look and feel as other '90 Score cards I own.  The only reason I'm not 100% confident in my declaration is that a search of "Pepsi Clemens" on COMC does not return any copies of this card.  Same with eBay.

While technically not a Red Sox card in the strictest sense, I do appreciate this Team USA Blake Swihart card from Panini.  This isn't a set I'd enjoy a whole box of I don't think, but the occasional single is kind of cool, especially when it's a young player still with the Sox.

Maybe serial-numbered cards are more your thing?  Well, Nick covered that as well with a pair of pitchers from 2003 Leaf Limited.

These are numbered to /999 on the reverse.  They look much better in person, but as usual my scanner was overwhelmed by excessive foil.

Parallels?  Check!  I got a pair of Target Reds.  From 2013 Update, Daniel Bard, who quite literally forgot how to throw a strike...

...and from 2012 flagship, Jacoby Ellsbury in one of my favorite play-at-the-plate shots.

The award for the most unique card in the package goes to this 2004 Fleer Authentix "Ticket Stud" Nomar Garciaparra.  Once you can get past the awful name, this is actually a nice card.  I commend Fleer for doing something different at least.  What you see here is the card folded in half, the way it would have been discovered in a pack.  But when you unfold it... get a ticket stub.  Not bad at all, in fact I really like it.

With just 15 of these, I'm somewhat tempted to try completing the set.  Too many other projects at the moment, but I'll certainly keep them on my radar.

This PWE wasn't all about the Red Sox, though.  Nick was kind enough to include a pair of Chrome Update cards that you find in those retail holiday mega boxes.

He remembered that I completed the 2015 version last year, and so sent these along.  Really thoughtful, and since I accomplished my goal of curbing my retail spending as far as the card budget went last year, these are actually the first two in my collection from the 2016 set.

Without question though, my favorite part of the PWE came in the form of half a dozen buybacks for my franken-set project.  I'm fairly certain these came from an epic garage sale that Nick attended in November.  Let's see how they fared in terms of the franken-set...

1968 Topps #459 - Dick Simpson

Dick Simpson bounced around a bit at the Major League level.  He'd just been dealt to the Cardinals during the '67 off-season, which is why he appears hat-less here, but would only last until June before being shipped off to Houston.  Either way, this is a sweet and relatively high numbered '68 that filled an empty slot in the binder.

1969 Topps #242 - Frank Kostro

Frank Kostro was a utility infielder who was winding down his career when this card was printed up.  His last MLB appearance came in September of '69, followed by a year in Japan before hanging up the spikes.  This one makes the set uncontested as well.  A nice pair of '60s cards to strengthen the franken-set!

1973 Topps #347 - Kansas City Royals

Jumping forward a decade, here's a Royals team card from '73 Topps.  Looks like they're sitting on a very green lawn in front of a very green hedge.  If you let your eyes blur a little it almost looks fake, like they're sitting in front of a green screen.  That, or I've been staring at my laptop screen too long.  Either way, this card makes the franken-set as well.

1958 Topps #471 - Lenny Green

I was really smiling by this point.  This is just the 9th card from the '50s to make my franken-set, and it's by far the highest numbered of that bunch at 471.  This one filled a slot that was otherwise likely to stay empty for a while, and did so with style!  Amazingly enough, there were a pair of buybacks that excited me even more than this one did.

1968 Topps #12 - 1967 AL Strikeout Leaders

For a Red Sox fan, it doesn't get much better than the cardboard representation of Jim Lonborg's incredible 1967 Cy Young season.  Just awesome.  Getting this card into the franken-set was essential, but I already had a card in slot 12...

...and it was a Red Sox buyback to boot.

No offense to Don, but I'll take a third of a '60s Lonborg over a full '70s Aase.  That sounded bad.

1967 Topps #151 - Moe Drabowsky World Series Game #1

The star of the buybacks for me though was this '67 Topps World Series subset card that pays homage to Moe Drabowsky's 11k Game 1 performance in 1966.  That feat was extra impressive given that Moe didn't even start the game!  Drabowsky was called into action after just 2 1/3 innings from starter Dave McNally, and proceeded to "mow down" 11 Dodgers, including 6 straight at one point.  A great card representing an impressive post-season performance, I'm honored to welcome this one to the franken-set!

Five out of six on the buybacks, and the one that had a conflict won out easily.  Can't beat that!  This might have been your most varied PWE yet Nick, and I really appreciate the effort you put into assembling something that touched on so many areas of collecting that I enjoy.  Thank you!  I'm working on filling the 3-pocket sheet you used back up here so that I can return fire soon!

Franken-set Progress:  274/792 (34%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  75
Total Buybacks in Collection:  349

Monday, January 16, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Off the Wall - Part II

Let's tackle the next ten buybacks from the great lot sent over by Shane Katz of Off the Wall late last year.  If you missed it the first time around, you can check out the first portion of the lot here.  For today I grabbed another ten cards off of the pile Shane sent, let's see how we do...

1978 Topps #417 - Mike Garman

Mike Garman kicks off a trio of 1978 Topps buybacks.  Originally a draft pick of my beloved Boston Red Sox in the '60s, Garman was just finishing out his career here.  He'd make his last Major League appearance in 1978 with the Expos after LA dealt him there.  As far as the franken-set goes this one fills a need!

1978 Topps #397 - Greg Gross

Greg Gross was a prolific pinch-hitter who enjoyed a long big league career.  He played for four different MLB franchises but is probably most remembered for his long stretch with the Phillies, where he won a World Series in 1980.  397 was a number that was missing from my franken-set previously as well, so we're 2-for-2 to begin today's post.

1978 Topps #344 - Sam Ewing

I confess to never having heard of Sam Ewing before.  Looks like he wrapped up his MLB career in 1978 as well, and went over to try his luck in Japan.  If you can believe Wikipedia he's a college professor these days, which is cool.  You have to respect guys who line up a solid "plan B" career when their playing days wind down.  Like the other two '78s, this one is in!

1977 Topps #275 - Mike Hargrove

I remember Mike Hargrove more as an MLB manager than a player, though he had a couple of good seasons early in his career.  He won Rookie of the Year in 1974, and was selected as an All-Star in '75.  With no current competition for slot 275, this '77 Topps release makes the franken-set.

1976 Topps #143 - Jerry Grote

Jerry Grote's 1979 Topps card came up short against Bill Lee's rookie card in a buyback post I put up a week ago now, but this one is a much more interesting card.  I love the close-up shot of Jerry donning the "tools of ignorance" here, especially since he was known as a defensive specialist.  This time around Jerry isn't facing any competition for the set, so I'm happy to say this card makes the cut.

1974 Topps #262 - Ed Kirkpatrick

Ed Kirkpatrick enjoyed 16 seasons of play at the MLB level.  After his playing days were over he unfortunately had an almost unreal string of bad luck, from a car accident to a blot clot, brain surgery, heart attack, coma, paralysis and eventually he passed away from throat cancer in 2010 at age 66.  On a more upbeat note, this one fills a gap in the franken-set and gets me a card closer to finishing.

1974 Topps #181 - Cesar Geronimo

Next up, a '74 Cesar Geronimo from 2014 Topps.  Cesar was a very, very good center fielder and an important member of the back-to-back Reds World Series championship teams in the mid-'70s.  For the first time today though we've got a conflict when it comes to franken-set induction.  If Cesar wants in he's got to surpass this card:

If this was a '79 Topps Ken Forsch I'd be more likely to keep it in the set since Ken tossed a no-no that year.

Since it isn't though, and considering how good Geronimo and the Reds were in the mid-'70s, Forsch is out.

1974 Topps #45 - Dave Johnson

Here's another guy who has had a ton of managerial success, including the infamous '86 World Series where he led the Mets to a championship over the Red Sox.  That was just the beginning though.  When he joined on with the Orioles in 1996 he was at the helm for the franchise's first playoff berth (wild card) since 1983, and the year after that they dominated the division and he'd win Manager of the Year.  In 2012 he led the Nationals to their first playoff berth since the days when the franchise resided in Canada, and collected his second Manager of the Year award.  Happy to welcome this one to the franken-set!

1974 Topps #577 - Mike Sadek

I'm not too familiar with Mike Sadek, whose career as a backup catcher concluded before I ever drew my first breath.  At #577 this is a nice high-numbered buyback though, so this one makes the cut and I expect it to stick around for some time as well...

1974 Topps #324 - Steve Kline

Last card for today, yet another '74.  This is Steve Kline, the right-handed pitcher from the '70s.  Not to be confused with Steve Kline, the left-handed pitcher who debuted in 1997.  In order for right-handed Kline to make the franken-set he has to best this card:

I like the Mets over the Yankees.  I prefer '75 Topps to '74.  Ed Kranepool was a better player than Steve Kline.  So...

Yeah, that one was a route.

That was a great round of ten, with eight brand new card numbers contributed to the franken-set.  I've still only got one complete page in the binder to date, however it was updated today when Cesar Geronimo bested Ken Forsch:

Here's the new completed page for cards 181-189 (you can click for a larger version).  Once I get a couple of completed pages I plan to add a link to the blog here where you'll be able to view the entire franken-set by page like this.  Coming soon.

Franken-set Progress:  269/792 (34%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  74
Total Buybacks in Collection:  343
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