Sunday, July 24, 2016

Signature Sundays - Random Autos

A little scan folder clean-up this Sunday for my Signature Sundays post.  These handful of autos all joined my collection sometime in the last couple of years and never managed to get a post of their own, so I'm lumping them together for today's edition...

This Johnny Podres was one of those late-night eBay impulse buys, just because I've always liked the Brooklyn Dodgers, and because the card set me back less than $5.  I'm less than thrilled with the boring design and sticker autograph though, so this one might end up getting shipped out in a trade package someday.

Ah Dougie Hamilton, what could have been!  I had such high hopes for this kid when he first appeared for the Bruins.  A big, young defenseman with good offensive upside who was under the team's control for a few years to come.  It was not meant to be though as Boston sent him in trade to Calgary.  I was crushed at the time, but Dougie hasn't really developed into the star I thought he would be either, at least not yet.

Either way, this auto/relic/rookie will serve as a nice representation of his brief time with the B's.

While we're on hockey for a moment, here's another player whose career with Boston didn't quite pan out the way the team and the fans expected.  He's still kicking around the league though, having just played the first year of a five-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Here's my lone autographed card of Junichi Tazawa, who has become a mainstay in the Boston bullpen over the past few years.  In fact without looking I'd have to guess that he's maybe the longest tenured member of the current bullpen staff?  Five Star autographs sure are beautiful, and if I can find them for just a few bucks like I did this one then it's hard to turn them down.

Last of the five autographs I've got queued up for today, young lefty starter Eduardo Rodriguez.  This kid looked so promising after last season, but had a few rough patches early in 2016 after recovering from a Spring Training injury.  He's looked pretty good in his past couple of starts though, and his ERA is slowly starting to creep back down to a respectable number.

For just a couple bucks I figured this one was worth picking up in the event that he turns it on and becomes a solid number two or three starter, which I believe he has the makeup for.

That's all for today, scan folder is starting to look a bit better!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Buyback Franken-set - From Guidry to Griffey

Let's evaluate ten more buybacks for induction into my franken-set on this sunny summer Saturday, shall we?

#202 - 1979 Ron Guidry Record Breaker

Neat one here to kick things off, a record breaker card commemorating the 18 strikeout performance that Ron Guidry had against the Angels in '78.  Ron's 1978 Cy Young campaign was one of the most dominant of the modern era, I'm thrilled to have it represented in some form in my franken-set.  I don't foresee this one ever being bumped from slot 202.

#225 - 1974 Paul Splittorff

Pulled this one from my lone box of Topps Update last fall.  It's an interesting enough card as Splittorff, who played his entire career with the Royals, had just come off his lone 20-win season in 1973.  Paul was a steady and under-rated starter who's actually a member of the Royals' HOF.

#256 - 1966 Lew Krausse

Random bit of trivia, Krausse pitched the first shutout in the history of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise.  The bulk of my franken-set has been '70s cards so far (though that will soon change thanks to an amazing PWE from Mark Hoyle), so it's nice to get some '60s representation here.

#161 - 1969 John Purdin

I don't know much about John Purdin, but back-to-back '60s cards for my set is never a bad thing.  These were two of the older buyback cards from the large lot that I bought to really jump-start this set.

#178 - 1978 Dave Chalk

You'd be hard pressed to find someone putting in less effort on their baseball card than Dave Chalk is on his 1978 release.  Dave's career was already winding down at this point, in fact 1978 would be the final season in which he'd appear in more than 75 MLB games.

#224 - 1972 World Series Game No. 2

I've got a pretty great card occupying slot 224 at this point.  This is probably the closest I'll come to getting a Brooks Robinson into this franken-set, as I've never even seen one of his official releases stamped as a buyback.  I'll certainly take this one though, which I really stole at less than a dollar on Sportlots a year or two back.  Like the Guidry that I led off the post with, I don't think this one is going to get bumped from the set any time soon.

#304 - 1971 Ron Brand

Here's another one that I actually pulled on my own in my hobby box of 2015 Topps Update.  Despite being a tad bit off-center, it's actually in pretty amazing shape for a black-bordered '71.

#311 - 1978 Jose Baez

This one also came from my hobby box, and it might be the least exciting of the handful of buybacks I ended up with from that break.  I considered trading this away when I first pulled it (as if anyone would want it!), but I'm glad I didn't as so far it's the only #311 buyback I've got.  Jose's place in the set is tenuous to say the least however.

#441 - 1971 Milt Pappas

Second '71 Topps card of this post, and this one is more the condition I'd expect after a few decades of existence.  Milt was a 3x All-Star, and actually pitched a no-hitter on my birthday in 1972 (though I hadn't been born yet).

#420 - 1979 Ken Griffey

This one feels appropriate to close out today's post with, since Ken will get to watch his son be enshrined at Cooperstown tomorrow.  This was definitely one of the bigger names to come out of the large lot I picked up.  One day I hope to acquire a buyback of Griffey Jr. so that both father and son are represented in my franken-set, though I haven't managed that just yet.

There's another ten buybacks, all ten of which make my set without any conflict at this point.  I'll be back with some more next week as I close in on the 10% mark!

Franken-set Progress:  62/792 (8%)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Quick & Dirty Stadium Club Blaster

When Stadium Club hit the shelves a couple of weeks back I picked up my obligatory blaster at Target:

The cards are gorgeous, I know.  For some reason though I'm less enthused about this year's set.  Maybe it's because my blaster wasn't all that exciting.  Maybe it's because the cards are a bit expensive and I still haven't finished last year's set.  Thinking it's more the latter.

I was happy to pull the one base card I wanted most, Mike Trout and his life-sized bobble-head statue.  Reminds me a bit of the Dennis Eckersley in last year's release.

I don't care a whole lot for the inserts, but thankfully I received only two in this box.  For me, it's all about the base cards.  Unfortunately I got precious few retired stars like Harold Baines here, and many more players I'm only vaguely aware of or have actually never heard of at all (Michael Reed?  Peter O'Brien?).

So yeah, no more blasters of this stuff for me.  I had fun ripping this one, but I'm not in love with this set enough to justify paying 50 cents per double.

I'll certainly scoop these up out of dime boxes, or happily accept any in trade, but that's about it.

Of the few retired legends that I did pull, this Willie McCovey was by far my favorite. 

Surprisingly, the nicest photograph in my blaster was a current player:

I know I'm about the 100th blogger to say so, but that is a beautiful card right there!

As far as Red Sox cards go, I pulled just three.  Brock Holt...

...and Rusney Castillo from the base set.  Really nice Fenway Park backdrop on this one.

I also ended up with a Wade Boggs Gold Foil parallel.  My other two Gold Foil parallels, and both my inserts, are headed out in trade packages already so I'm not going to bother showing them here.

So there you go, a quick and dirty Stadium Club blaster...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pirates, Clowns, and a Free Prize Inside!

Today's post comes courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik of The Shlabotnik Report.  As the post title indicates, Joe's latest PWE came with a free prize inside.  We'll get to that shortly though, first let's take a look at some excellent new Red Sox cards that were included in the envelope...

We'll start off with a couple of junk wax "how did I not have this already?" cards.  You have to love the awkward portrait shots with locker room backdrops that make up the '94 Studio set.

Was really surprised that I didn't already own a copy of this one.  Was also really surprised that this is the photograph of Mike Greenwell that Donruss decided to go with for this set.  This has to be up there among the ugliest cards released in 1992 by anyone, right?  Photo aside, it's not even cropped well.  Looks like I still need 2-3 Sox from this set, hope they're more visually appealing than this one.  As any team collector knows though, they can't all be gems.

Michael Chavis is currently ranked the 9th best prospect in Boston's organization.  He was drafted right out of high school in 2014, and is still just 20 years old, so time will tell I guess.  I believe this is a refractor, though it's not noted as such on the back (collecting pet peeve of mine, it shouldn't require a ton of detective work to determine what card you're holding in your hand).

Sweet, one card closer to a 2016 Archives team set!  Brian's got the stuff to pitch at the MLB level, at least it seems so, but struggles with anxiety.  He's battling his way back from this, and is currently working his way through the Boston farm system again.

I've mentioned this a few times now, but Classic cards are some of my absolute favorite oddball releases from the '80s/'90s.  Any trade package that introduces a new one to my collection is an automatic winner.

Nice shot of Wade Boggs here on one of those Glossy Send-in cards from the mid-'80s.  This pairs nicely with the Jim Rice I have from the same set, which I believe also came in trade (and possibly even from Joe).

I shouldn't have been surprised to find a 1976 SSPC card included, as Joe is basically single-handedly responsible for getting me most of the way to a team set now.  I will never get tired of receiving new SSPC cards, Red Sox or not.  For those who care, this is Doug Griffin.

Lastly, a new '70s Red Sox card from Canada!

Now, those eight cards alone would have made for a great PWE, but as I mentioned this one actually had a free prize inside.  Like myself and many other traders, Joe uses one row of a nine-pocket sheet when sending a PWE, and when I removed the sheet from the envelope this was staring back at me from the middle pocket:

I believe this is officially the first ever prize I've received in a PWE!  When I peeled back the cover I found my prize safely nestled inside a handful of '87 Topps Fred Lynn cards:

As you can see, Wade survived the journey up the East Coast just fine.  The Lynns were layered to just the right depth to protect Boggs on his travels.  If you're wondering how many Fred Lynns it takes to protect a Wade Boggs coin, the answer is four:

The best part of the whole prize, which I neglected to notice until cleaning up the mess, is that the cover cards on either side of the stack of Lynns were customized Shlabotnik style:

Thankfully I don't have a fear of clowns.  I know a co-worker who'd likely experience nightmares after getting a look at that Tom Magrann card.  By the way, something about '90 Donruss sort of works well with a clown card in some weird way.

Thanks for the great PWE Joe, and for the excellent prize!  I'll have something headed back in your direction by the weekend...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

One Card Post - Bubbles Bogaerts

What:  2014 Bowman Chrome Bubbles Refractor #1 - Xander Bogaerts RC (#'d /99)
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $5.05

:  One of my better COMC bargains over the past couple of years for sure.  Picked this one up back in November of 2014, and after the past couple of seasons this really looks like quite a bargain on a solid Xander Bogaerts RC.  Pairs quite nicely with the Bryce Harper Bubbles Refractor I recently showed off, too!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Buyback Franken-set - Nolan Ryan Deja Vu & an AL MVP

Time to look at another ten nominees for my buyback franken-set, which is really starting to pick up some steam.  For the second franken-set post in a row we start with a '90 Topps Nolan Ryan!

#4 - 1990 Nolan Ryan

The first five cards on the 1990 Topps checklist are actually all Nolan Ryan, as the set leads off with his base card and then a four card tribute subset commemorating Ryan reaching 5,000 career strikeouts.  There's one card in the subset for each of the four franchises that he pitched for.  As you can see, the top right corner is a bit dinged up on this one, but that was in no way a deterrent to me.  To the contrary, I was happy to add another Nolan Ryan buyback to the binder, again for around $6.  I'd love nothing more than to start off my franken-set with the entire five card run, but I think the odds of me running across the other three (especially at a price I'm willing to pay) are slim.

Now for a few less exciting buybacks that came via a massive lot that got me a nice jump start on the set...

#197 - 1973 Ed Goodson

Your classic Spring Training portrait shot on Ed Goodson's 1973 release.  Don't have a whole lot to say about this one, but for now it makes the cut as the only #197 buyback I have to date...

#222 - 1969 Duane Josephson

Slot #222 is for now home to this great 1969 Topps Duane Josephson.  This is a nice looking catcher card for sure, with its sunny ballpark backdrop.  Duane actually played with the Red Sox for a couple of seasons at the tail end of his career, before a heart condition forced him from the game at age 30.

#223 - 1974 Jeff Burroughs

Do you know off the top of your head who won the AL MVP in 1974?  That's right, it was Jeff Burroughs of the Texas Rangers!  It's awesome to have an AL MVP included in my franken-set, and even cooler to have the buyback from the exact year that he was named MVP.  I honestly had no idea that Burroughs had ever won an MVP until typing up this post (to be fair I was born in 1982).  I have a feeling this one is here to stay, I really don't foresee another buyback at #223 that's strong enough to unseat a league MVP from his place in the set.

#36 - Joe Lovitto

In slot #36 we have Jeff's Rangers teammate, Joe Lovitto.  I like how it appears as though Joe is taking a cut at the baseball design element in the lower right corner.

#81 - 1978 Pete Redfern

Pete Redfern was a first round draft pick of the Twins, and they were the only team he played for in his seven season MLB career.  Side note, it is impossible for me to read his name without thinking of the book "Where the Red Fern Grows".

#218 - 1968 Ken Suarez

Our first franken-set conflict finally occurs about 50 cards in, as I'd already previously selected a card for slot 218.  So, who is it that hat-less catcher Ken Suarez gets to square off against for slot 218 in the binder?

Hat-less catcher John Roseboro!  Admittedly not the most exciting match-up here, but a choice must be made.  I'm not normally a big fan of hat-less players on vintage cardboard, but since that can't be the deciding factor here I'm going to allow the sets themselves to help make the decision.  Prior to the Ken Suarez card above, I don't have a single '68 Topps card in the set so far.  So...

...sorry John, but you're out.

137 - 1979 Larry Wolfe

Larry Wolfe's '79 Topps card depicts him with the Twins, but in actuality he'd been traded to the Red Sox before the 1979 season even began.  He'd play just 65 total games with Boston between 1979 and 1980, which wound up being the final stretch of his career.

509 - 1973 Jim Nash

Jim Nash came out spitting fire during his rookie campaign in 1966, to the tune of a 12-1 record.  He looked like he was destined for a great career, and in fact even made the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1967.  Unfortunately for Jim he crashed back down to Earth and would never pitch in an MLB game again after 1972.  This card represents the 9 total games Jim played with the Phillies to finish his career.

195 - 1979 Bill Madlock

We'll close it out here with a star, this time a 2014 buyback.  Side note, am I the only one confused by the fact that the 2014 buybacks are stamped "Topps 75th", yet the 2016 buybacks are stamped "Topps 65th Anniversary"?  Whatever the reason, Bill Madlock is a fine player to have included in this set!

Franken-set Progress:  52/792 (7%)
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