Tuesday, November 24, 2015

New Sets & Shiny Things

The most recent PWE from Joe Shlabotnik to arrive here at Shoebox Legends World Headquarters was chock full of gems as usual.  Joe usually manages to surprise me with a couple of cards I've never seen before, but in this case he delivered on a couple of sets I'd never seen before.

The Al Leiter above is one example.  Most definitely my first 1992 Skybox AAA card, and I love it.  I mean, what baseball collector wouldn't love a card of Leiter with the Syracuse Chiefs that was printed years after Al made his MLB debut?  Looking at his stats, my guess is that his 27.00 ERA in 1991 is responsible for the time he saw at AAA Syracuse in '92.

Here's another set that had somehow escaped me until now; 1989 Star.  The four cards Joe sent me from this release are the first of their kind in my collection.  Anyone that collected in the '90s probably remembers Scott Cooper, but how about these other three guys?

Jim Orsag?!?!  Never heard of the guy, but I sure am glad I received this card as it led me to this great blog post about an epic dugout meltdown.

Can't say I've heard of Scott Sommers either, but it looks like '89 was actually the end of the road for him in professional baseball.

Rounding out the '89 Star cards is outfielder Ed Zambrano.  Ed actually did make it to the Majors, but not with the Red Sox.  The Cubs snatched him from the Sox in '89, and he'd end up playing in 75 games with them between the 1993 and 1994 seasons.

Let's move along to some sets I have seen before.  This Stu Tate is just my second card from the 1990 Topps Debut set, with the other being a Juan Gonzalez that I'm pretty sure I plucked from a quarter box at some point.  In a perfect world, every player who's ever taken the field or had an at-bat would have a trading card out there, but that's just not realistic.  Thankfully, Topps Debut helps us collectors get a little closer to that ideal with cards like this one.  Were it not for this set, Stu (who has two career games to his credit) would probably have been overlooked by the major card companies.

Finally, Joe hooked me up with a nice assortment of cards from the recently released Topps Update set.  The Whatever Works insert set contains just 15 cards, yet 4 of them are Red Sox players.  Go figure.  Thankfully Wade Boggs here is the last of that quartet that I had yet to track down, and this team collector can consider that set complete.

Joe was also kind enough to offer up any of the Chrome Update cards I needed from his box.

I shamelessly claimed five of them, putting me just shy of the 80% mark on the set at this point.

Joe, thanks as always for taking the time to craft a great envelope of cards that are right up my alley!  I dropped a return PWE in the mail for you yesterday which you'll hopefully get to enjoy over the long weekend...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Collection Cornerstones - My Oldest Hockey Card

It's been a while since I did one of these "Collection Cornerstone" posts.  The general premise is as follows...for the past year I've had my car paid off, which means a little extra cash in pocket each month.  I take 2/3 of that and stash it away for the next car, and the other 1/3 goes to a significant new pick-up for my collection.  The idea here is not to blow the card portion on a hobby box or something (not that I'm knocking that in any way), but to use it to land just one or two cards that are significant and stand out from the tens of thousands of other cards I have; cornerstones.

For this round I've got what is now, by a long shot, the oldest hockey card in my collection:

This one will always be one of the oldest hockey cards I own no matter what, as the "C55" tobacco set is among the first few hockey card sets ever released.  I've drooled over these miniature-sized beauties since I first received a reprint set as a kid well over two decades ago now, but never thought I'd be lucky enough to land a real one.

There's not a whole lot to the design, a basic color drawing of the subject framed by a couple of hockey sticks, with a nameplate along the bottom.  Simple, yet effective.  The hockey sticks give the cards a little more character than their T206 baseball contemporaries in my opinion.

In terms of subject, I certainly could have done a lot worse.  I was honestly just looking for the cheapest, certified authentic copy I could get my hands on at the time.  In fact, I didn't even bother to research Marty Walsh before I pulled the trigger on the transaction, but as it turns out he was a really solid player.

After his college hockey career came to an end, Marty signed with the Ottawa Senators, the team he's depicted with here.  During his five seasons with Ottawa, the club won three Stanley Cups, including one the year this card was printed up (1911), which is kinda cool. 

Walsh was a prolific goal scorer, even pacing the ECHA in scoring during his first season.  What is the ECHA?  Well, this card is so old that the NHL didn't even exist yet when it was printed up!  ECHA, the Eastern Canada Hockey Association, is one of the many predecessors to the modern day NHL that emerged just as ice hockey was really starting to take form as a profitable spectator sport.

In a nutshell, Marty Walsh was one of the best goal-scorers in the game just before the formation of the NHL.  He's enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, having been inducted back in 1962.  If Wikipedia can be believed, which in this case I think it can, he left the game of hockey to start a cattle ranch, and sadly passed away from Tuberculosis at just 30 years of age.

Here's a look at the back, got a little glare going on in the scan from the PSA slab.  This one is in pretty great shape if you ask me.  Here's a better look at it:

Again, I'm digging the simple design here.  You're getting the player's name, a list of the teams he's played for, and some ornate border design.  All in all, a nice looking back for something that was printed up before World War I started.

This instantly becomes one of the more interesting cards in my hockey collection, and one I'll certainly cherish for a long time to come!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday Night Smorgasbord

After a long week, I'm finally getting some time to relax on this Saturday evening.  While I watch the Bruins game on "DVR delay", why not clear out the backlog of scans sitting on my laptop.  No better place to start than this awesome Marty Brodeur Traxx parallel from last year's O-Pee-Chee Platinum set.

This card was one of the many I picked up last time I made it to the semi-frequent card show hosted at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, MA.  That was many months ago unfortunately, but I still remember this being one of my best finds of the day.  I'd been after a parallel of Brodeur from this set since its release, I guess I just really wanted his short tenure with the Blues represented in my collection.  Plucked from a dollar box, this one was a real bargain!

That same seller had this 2015 Bowman Edwin Escobar Gold parallel in a box for just fifty cents!  Escobar didn't see any MLB action this past season, after logging his first two career appearances with Boston in 2014.  Nonetheless, this felt like a steal given that it's serial numbered to /50 copies.

Here's one I grabbed out of the dollar box at my local hobby shop a long, long, time ago.  George Crowe and his glasses are scanned at long last.  Can't beat '57 Topps.

Sticking with the hobby shop theme, here's one from the quarter box.  I'm not an Indians fan, anyone care to explain what the hell is going on with this mascot?

A nice early-career photo of HOFer Mike Schmidt on this SSPC release from the mid-'70s.

I bought this card on COMC simply because I couldn't believe how insanely cheap it was listed for.  $.78 was my grand total for a new 1954 Bowman card, if you can believe that!  Welcome to the collection, Solly Hemus.

This one was the highlight of a 6-card pack of 2009 O-Pee-Chee baseball that I recently selected from my rainy day pack stash for ripping.  Great horizontal card of a player who just wrapped up an impressive career.

How about some football cards?  While I don't actively collect the sport, the three cards I'm showing here were just too cool for this Pats fan to leave behind in a quarter bin at a show.

A couple of nice Stadium Club cards featuring Ty Law, and Drew Bledsoe getting crushed by a pair of Falcons.  Not surprising in the least to see Stadium Club's killer photograph translate to football.

Maybe not as nice looking as the other two, but I couldn't leave this Finest Ty Law behind either.

Here's a shiny card from COMC featuring ear-biter Luis Suarez.  Despite those on-field antics, I loved watching this guy score over and over again for Liverpool in his short tenure with the club.  One of the cards I wanted most from the Panini Prizm World Cup set.

I paid a little over a buck for this Justin Masterson mini, which Topps stamped and then re-issued just a few short years after it came out to begin with.  I know, I'm a sucker.

Here's a trio of Heritage Minor Leagues that were part of a small Sportlots order.

I'm always looking for ways to add new Carlos Correa cardboard on the cheap, and was more than happy to shell out the twenty five cents asking price for this one.

I'd forgotten about this Manny Ramirez card, was a no-brainer to throw it in from the same seller for just a few pennies more.

I went back for a third Holiday Mega Box, and wouldn't you know it, I pulled the Correa Chrome Update.  After picking up just three boxes and landing both the Bryant and the Correa Chromes, I'm done buying these at this point.  Already accumulated a few more Chrome Updates via trade (post coming this week) as well.  I'm down to just eleven of these needed at this point, which are all on my set building want list.  If you've got any of them I'm definitely interested!
At roughly a quarter of the 2015-16 season played, I can honestly say that as a fan I haven't missed Milan Lucic too much.

My scanner loves these Bubble Refractors from 2014 Bowman Chrome, and so do I!  Some of the best looking parallels to come out of any set in recent years if you ask me.  With just 99 copies of each card out there, it's unlikely I'll ever complete a team set.  Victorino here is my fourth to date.

This card certainly has a strange vibe to it after Tony's passing last year.  I can't believe I'm still finding Fleer Pro Visions inserts like this one that I don't have yet.

Here's a new addition to my Sox collection courtesy of the 2002 Upper Deck Vintage '71 Topps rip-off set.

I grabbed this one out of the quarter box at the LCS just because Flair was such a high-end set when I was growing up.  In fact, any Flair insert is pretty much coming home with me when priced at a quarter.

My newest Wally the Green Monster card.  Wally's pictured against the backdrop of the giant flag draped across the real Green Monster in the background.  I really get a kick out of the Mascots inserts in Opening Day, I hope it's one that Topps keeps around for a while.

It may not have scanned so well, but these Select Fire on Ice inserts look amazing in hand.  Conacher hasn't done much at the NHL level, and seems to be playing in Switzerland, but it's a cool card nonetheless given that it came from a quarter bin.

Here's another quarter bin score.  I have fond memories of these Studio cards that were made to resemble credit cards, and when you combine that with a chance to get another new Canseco Red Sox card you've got a winner.

Living in New England, and being somewhat of an amateur history buff, I wasn't going to leave this Samuel Adams chrome parallel on the counter at the hobby shop.  Adding to the appeal is the fact that it's numbered to /1776 copies.

Here's a super shiny X-Fractor of the Red Sox slugger who just announced he'll be retiring after the coming season.  On a side note, 2014 might be my favorite Topps Finest release in recent memory.  These things are just an explosion of color.

Alright, final card for tonight.  This Rainbow Foil Black Jagr was on the shelf at the LCS right near the Sam Adams chrome card from above.  I can't get enough of watching Jagr continue to deposit pucks in the net even at his advanced age.  In fact, I'm thinking of starting up an "over the hill" collection dedicated to guys like Jagr, Chris Chelios, Jamie Moyer, etc.  Basically anyone who seems or seemed to defy the aging process, and enjoy success at their chosen sport for far longer than any man should.

This one seemed like a great card to start with, since it's serial numbered to a scant /100 copies, and includes career stats (to date)!

That's all I've got for tonight, thanks for listening to my ramblings...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Box of Update - Part 2

Alright, let's get right into the second of three posts on the hobby box of 2015 Topps Update Series I picked up late last week.  Today I'll be showing some highlights from packs 13-24...

Highlights from Pack 13

Right out of the gate we have a couple of inserts that I'll be sending out in future PWEs.  Harmon Killebrew will be off to Brian of HSCA...

...and Jason Johnson here will likely get shipped to either Joe Shlabotnik or Commishbob.

Unfortunately there were two cards in this pack that experienced some type of weird issue during the print run.

Almost looks like something spilled out across the cards that faded the ink.  If you line up the Russell and Soto cards the stain mark on the top of the Russel lines up perfectly with the one on the bottom of the Soto, almost like they were next to each other on the printing sheet.  A shame too, since this is the first Russel Rookie Debut I've pulled that wasn't the photo variation.  Topps really doesn't want me to get my hands on one of these it seems.

Highlights from Pack 14

Pulled this Rainbow Foil Martin Prado.  This is the kind of card that's destined to sit in my trade box forever.  Does anyone actually collect Marlins cards?

This one, on the other hand, will probably have a very short shelf life in the trade box.

Highlights from Pack 15

Pack 15 was kind of rough, pulled a few dupes and the only card of note was this buyback of Jose Baez.  Not nearly as interesting as the buyback I pulled in the first section of the box.  I may end up dealing this one away at some point down the line...

Highlights from Pack 16

My first Mike Fiers card.

Another uninspired insert for the trade box.

Highlights from Pack 17


I'm not necessarily a big fan of the All-Star subset, but I like that this one gives you an up-close look at Keuchel's epic beard.

Highlights from Pack 18

This Gold parallel will be headed to Douglas of Sports Cards from the Dollar Store.  Of course I just got a PWE ready to go for him before pulling it, but at least it's a good start on my next stack for him.

This one is already en route to Tim of I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning.  Hey, even if I'm not pulling a lot of cards I love, at least others will be able to enjoy the box.

Highlights from Pack 19

Trade bait.

Headed off to Dime Box Nick.

Highlights from Pack 20

Also headed off to Dime Box Nick.  Pretty dull pack aside from this one.

Highlights from Pack 21

Trade bait.

I'll have no problem getting rid of this Buddy Carlyle Pride & Perseverance insert given how many Mets collectors I know.

Highlights from Pack 22

As someone who shares the last name Diaz, this is one of my favorite base cards in the set.

My first card featuring Scott Kazmir on the Astros.  I was really rooting for Houston out of the AL once it became clear that the Red Sox were out of it, but it was not meant to be.

Trade bait.

Also trade bait.

Highlights from Pack 23

Once again, trade bait.

Nice, one of the last few Red Sox inserts I'm down to needing at this point.  This is actually the only Red Sox card to come out of these 12 packs, period.

Unfortunately I got two more damaged cards in this one.

I would have needed both for my set too, what a pain.  I can't honestly say I got that upset over it, with everything going on in the world I always feel a little silly getting pessimistic or grouchy over little pieces of cardboard with baseball players printed on them.

Highlights from Pack 24

Only thing of note in the last pack were a couple of inserts, this Randy Johnson which I'll be looking to trade...

...and this Jim Abbott, which is a definite keeper.  I can think of no player more deserving for inclusion in a set dubbed "Pride and Perseverance" than Jim.  I've always considered him one of the most inspiring athletes of all time, in any sport.  I've even considered starting up a collection dedicated to Jim, but at the end of the day I have too many hobby priorities as it is.

If I'm being honest, that wasn't quite as thrilling as the first third of the box.  Still one more round of 12 packs to go though, who knows what surprises await!
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