Monday, August 18, 2014

'81 Gilbert Perreault and a World Series Champ

Quick post today, one baseball card, one hockey card, both plucked from discount boxes during my last trip to the hobby shop. 

On the hockey side, this 1981-82 O-Pee-Chee Gilbert Perreault.  I primarily collected Topps hockey cards growing up, and Gilbert was not in the '81-82 Topps set, so this card is new to me.  Aside from being a bit off-center, which is normal for O-Pee-Chee cards of the time, it's in great shape.  Seemed like a steal in a six-for-a-dollar bin...

On the baseball side, another new '59 Topps card.  This Gene Woodling cost me two quarters.  A fair price for a guy who won five World Series with the Yankees and another as a coach with Baltimore in the '60s.  Mr. Woodling is sporting a pretty cool shoulder patch in this photo as well.

Back is in good order, you can see all those years with the powerhouse Yankees teams, as well as two seasons missed for military service.  Great stuff!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Signature Sundays - Johnny Pesky!

I don't usually go five days between posts, but it was a very busy week.  On top of that I got buried by two separate card packages that arrived, both sent to me by very generous folks who hit me up completely out of the blue.  I'm talking hundreds of cards, too.  I will have a few thank you posts up soon, but while I dig out from under those piles and get everything scanned in, here's a quick Signature Sundays post.  Going to take a break from all of the recent Classics Signatures hockey autographs for a week and go back to baseball:

I have wanted a Johnny Pesky autograph for a long time now.  He's certainly one of the fan favorites in the history of the Red Sox franchise.  He's not a Hall-of-Famer, and strikes me as a somewhat under-the-radar guy outside of New England, so he hasn't been in a ton of products over the years.  Looking just now I can say that there are just a handful of certified autos like this on all of eBay at the moment.  Johnny passed away in 2012, so they're not going to get any easier to come by either.

When I stumbled across this one with a Buy-it-Now price of just over $20 earlier this year I snatched it up immediately.  I don't care that it's PSA graded, but I do love that it's shiny and has a great picture of a young Pesky (I think this is from his days managing the team in the '60s).  Nice, bright, legible signature too.

A beautiful card, and a name I'm excited to add to my autograph list.  I've got over 30 certified Red Sox autographs at this point, and Johnny here easily falls inside my top three.  The other thing I love about this card is that it's done up in the style of 2005 Topps baseball, including a full back:

Came out a little fuzzy in the scan because of the PSA slab, but in person it's a great looking back.  Johnny could really hit for average, and led the league twice in hits, which you can see in red up near the top of his stat lines if you've got a keen eye.

That's it for today, Marc and Jared, thank you both again for the cards, going to start working on some return packages today...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Starting Lineup Boggs

Recently I picked up my very first Starting Lineup card, Wade Boggs from the 1988 set:

I have to say, for a card that came with an action figure, and that's now over 25 years old, it doesn't look half bad.  I'm guessing this was an unlicensed set given that the photograph chosen just happens to completely obscure Boggs' helmet and jersey, but then again a nice large team logo is present, so who knows...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hobby Shop Five - Really Shiny, Really Old and Really Cheap

I mentioned a few days ago that I managed to find a few minutes to sneak off to the local hobby shop.  I used to stop by much more frequently years ago, but nowadays usually only go for supplies, as was the case this trip.  I feel guilty about this, but the reality is I try to stretch my limited hobby funds as far as possible each month, and a one man operation just isn't going to compete with the prices and variety offered by online giants like eBay.

I always look around while I'm there just in case, because I do like to support small business and throw the owner a bone if I can find some items that aren't wildly overpriced.  I'll even overpay within reason just to help him out, but I'm not shelling out five to six dollars for a single pack of low-end cards.  To each his own, but for me it almost always leads to buyer's remorse.  This particular trip was definitely worth it!

I stumbled across a quarter box of Bruins cards, much more up my alley.  Even better, for every four you bought you got two free, so basically six for a buck.  It wasn't exactly a treasure trove, but I was able to scrounge up a couple of bucks worth of cards, like this Ray Bourque.  It's from a set Upper Deck put out in 1999 called Century Legends.  The first 50 players on the checklist are the 50 best all-time (according to the Sporting News at the time), and as you can see Ray was ranked #16.

This 1998-99 Topps insert is cheesy, but it's got this wavy reflective quality that makes it extremely bright and shiny, much more so in person than it was in the scan.  Not a card I am all too thrilled with, but like I said was trying to help the guy out and it was better than leaving with nothing but toploaders. 

At this point I'm about to check out with $2-3 worth of cards, figuring I won't be back here again, when I ask him on a whim if he has any older baseball commons that aren't on display for any reason.  I run into this a lot at small shops, for whatever reason the stuff that I find boring and overpriced is right there on the shelf in plain view, but the more interesting cards are behind the counter or off in another room.  Almost like the shop owners don't really want to part with them unless they have to or something.  Anyway, what this guy brought out for me to look through was a treasure trove of vintage baseball from 1957 up through the late '60s.  The prices were amazing if you were willing to deal with "less than mint", which is not a problem for me!

Take this Ken Hunt card, for example.  It's pretty well beat up, there's not a corner left that could give you a paper cut.  Some chips along the edges, surface wrinkling, and is that a stain floating above Ken's head in the upper right?  To me, the real value is in Ken's goofy grin, and that tremendous uni-brow!  Besides, it forced me to look up Ken Hunt, and I found that he apparently appeared on an episode of The Munsters?!?!

This card set me back just 10 cents.  I'm basically going to buy any card that I don't have that is 50 years old or more if it costs just a dime.  No matter how damaged, I just can't pass them up at that price (nor do I see them at that price very often).

Even the back is well intact.  Quite a few of the ones I picked up have heavy paper loss, or mysterious substances, but this one actually looks quite presentable.  If I ever chased the '62 Topps set I wouldn't even consider this one I'd need to upgrade.  By the way, look at that stat line for 1961, 25 HR and 84 RBI, not too shabby.

Here's one from the 1961 set, similar condition to the last card.  Jim Baumer was marked a quarter, but the owner said he'd apply the same 6-for-a-dollar rule with the quarter vintage.  Sold!

Once again, a random vintage card that I knew nothing about led me to learn about a very interesting player.  Check out Jim Baumer's career statistics, courtesy of

After debuting in 1949 with 8 games played as an 18-year-old for Chicago, Jim played for years and years in the minors before getting another chance at a big league roster in 1961.  He finally made it with Cincinnati, but lasted just 10 games, and that was it.  18 games in the majors, separated by 12 years.  Look at some of the stops on his journey, courtesy of the back of the card:

You can see his 8 games with the White Sox on the second line.  After that, Colorado Springs, Memphis, a year off for military service, back to Memphis, Hollywood, Mexico City, Hollywood (again!), Columbus and Salt Lake City.  That is a man who loved baseball.  17 cents or so well spent.

Here's the last one I'll show today, also from my 6-for-a-dollar pile.  Probably the roughest shape of the three, but 1959 Topps is my second favorite Topps set of the '50s, right behind '53.  I've toiled with the idea of building a low-grade set in a binder, so it was obvious I should grab this one.

Once again a nice back.  In the end, I picked up a big stack of this discount vintage, ranging anywhere from .10 cents to $2.  Many of them don't have backs like these, but the three I randomly grabbed and posted first all look beautiful.  Great cartoon on this one.

I'll definitely share some more of this stuff when I find some time...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Signature Sundays - Penmanship Battle - Fontinato vs. Baun

This week I'm featuring another pair of autographs from the Panini Classics Signatures set.  If you were a forward playing in the NHL 50 to 60 years ago, you wouldn't be thrilled to see either of these players line up on the opposing blue line.

Lou Fontinato was the rouger of the two I'd say, although obviously both players were way before my time as a fan (or a human being for that matter).  He was known as an enforcer, probably the enforcer in the league during the time he played.  Apparently had a long-running feud with Gordie Howe, and frequently was at the top or near the top in total penalty minutes each season he was around.

Paired up with Lou is another defenseman, Bobby Baun of the Leafs.  If you didn't pay attention, he could put you right on your back as well, but was known as a "cleaner" checker than Fontinato was.  Baun won an impressive four Stanley Cups with Toronto in the '60s.

What I want to know is, which guy do you think has the nicer signature?  I was very impressed by how well both of these turned out, especially given that Baun is now 77 years old, Fontinato 82!  I think I have to give the edge to Bobby for dramatically extending that final N out below his entire name.  Then again, I kind of like how Fontinato used a single stroke to cross both Ts.  What's your vote?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Red Sox Collection - Greenwell '93 Finest Refractor

Today I enjoyed a rare weekday off from work, and took full advantage of the free time to catch up on scanning and inventorying the gigantic backlog of cards here at Shoebox Legends headquarters (I also managed to sneak in a quick trip to the local card shop).  Here's one I ran across today that I purchased just over a year ago and had nearly forgotten about:

If you're old enough to have been collecting in 1993 then you will most likely remember what a huge deal the '93 Finest Refractors were.  Inserted at one-per-box, there are rumored to be only 242 copies of each in existence.  These were some of, if not the, first refractors ever issued.  They obviously caught on because they still sell for big bucks (relatively speaking) to this day, and Topps now jams refractors into just about every modern product they issue.

Greenwell is the first, and only, Red Sox card I've picked up.  I think it set me back just over $20.  I don't really care that it's graded, but that ended up being the cheapest route at the time.

Mike actually represents the third 1993 Finest Refractor in my collection overall, joining John Olerud and Will Clark.  I would love to own a Nolan Ryan someday, but given that they go for hundreds of dollars I don't think that's too likely.

If you were around in 1993, did you buy any Topps Finest baseball?  Do you have any of these refractors in your collection today?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cardboard Classics - Pelé

Pulled this mini out of a random retail pack of 2013 Allen & Ginter from my pack shelf the other day:

I am always on the lookout for interesting soccer cards, and while this is technically a baseball card in the strict sense, it's a great addition to my small soccer collection as far as I'm concerned.  This is very my first card of any kind of the man who most agree is the best soccer player of all-time.

This particular version happens to be the A & G back variation.  Just a great card, was the highlight of the pack for sure!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

COMC is My "National"

This past weekend the National Sports Collectors Convention took place in Cleveland, OH.  If you live in the States this is the show of the year, and unless you live under a rock you've probably seen plenty of people blogging about their experiences there.  I've never been fortunate enough to live within driving distance of one of these shows since I got back into the hobby in 2007.  I do, however, like any human being with a computer and internet access, have the wonderful site that is available at my fingertips.

I made my very first purchase on the site just about three years ago now, and was hooked.  There are definitely plenty of bargains to be had if you've got a sharp eye and a little patience.  Since I couldn't make this year's National, here's 10 random cards I recently had shipped from the next best thing, COMC:

I was really into the Topps Gypsy Queen set when it first came out a few years ago, but it's sort of run its course in my humble opinion.  One thing I seem to like every year though are the framed parallels.  When I found this white framed Jacoby Ellsbury from last year's set at just .40 cents I pounced on it right away.

Especially since the same seller had Carlton Fisk, again for .40 cents...

...and Wade Boggs as well, at the same price.  These three represent a complete team set for a very reasonable $1.20.  Take that National!

Here's a super shiny orange refractor from 2013 Topps Chrome.  Will Middlebrooks' card features one of the best photos from the set as far as I'm concerned.  I was happy to shell out a whole dollar for this card.  Hey, I've done much worse than this out of dollar boxes before.  I may look at picking up a couple of other parallels of this great card in future orders.

Here's a new one for me, Ellis Burks' 1987 Topps Traded rookie.  I already have the complete '87 Traded set, but this is my very first Topps Tiffany card!  I'm not sure why it took me 7 years of collecting as an adult before I ended up with one of these.

A recent Zistle trade brought me within striking distance of completing the 1993 Flair baseball set.  Enough so that I bothered to seek out a few of the remaining cards for this latest COMC order.  With Roger in hand I've got about a dozen left to track down from this iconic "high end" junk wax era set.

Remember when everyone went nuts for these Diamond Anniversary parallels back in 2011?  At the time they were pretty original and they certainly turned a lot of heads. 

Daniel Bard is one of those rare cases in baseball where a pitcher totally mentally loses it and seems to lose the ability to throw a strike overnight.  He went from being a bright prospect with a potentially successful career ahead of him to out of the game before age 30.  This year he was with the Rangers' single A team and was released after just .2 innings with a 175.50 ERA, 9 walks and 7 hit batters.  Yes, you read that correctly, .2 innings.  Not two, point two!  Wow.

Speaking of shiny, I'm awfully fond of the Pinnacle parallels that used dufex technology back in the day.  In the hockey card world they're called Rink Collection parallels, in the baseball card world Museum Collection.  Either way they are very shiny and visually appealing!  I couldn't pass on former Cy Young winner Frank Viola for the measly sum of .35 cents.

Here's another Topps Tiffany card, this time from the 1991 set.  No rhyme or reason behind this one, just always loved the horizontal photo on this particular card and it was cheap.

Last but not least a nice Pedro insert from a set I've never heard of released during a time I wasn't collecting, 2000 Pacific Invincible.  Sort of cheesy I guess but I thought it was unique and my Pedro Martinez selection is pretty lacking when it comes to Sox cards.

Total for these 10 cards...just $4.77!  I'll take that any day.  I may never make it to a National show, but in the meantime I sure am grateful to be living in the internet age...

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Red Sox, Courtesy of Zistle

Last month I completed a couple of quick swaps on Zistle to bring some more Red Sox cards into my collection.  First, I sent four 2013 Topps base card doubles off to user mfratella.  In return...

David Ortiz sporting a retro look from 2013 Topps Series 2, and also from 2013 Series 2...

Mike Napoli.  It's really inexcusable that I haven't completed the 2013 Red Sox team set, given that they won the World Series last year, but this pair gets me that much closer.

The final card from this trade was the Pedroia '71 mini from 2013 Topps Update.

Happy to land this card as it now sits next to...

...David Ortiz...

...and Nomar in my collection, completing the Red Sox team set from this small, 50-card insert set.

The second swap had me sending a '91 Stadium Club Barry Larkin and an '82 Topps Bob Horner to user 1carddawg.  A handful of Red Sox came back my way...

This Tony Clark, which was unexpected, is actually my very first 2002 Flair card.

A couple of obnoxious (but needed!) 1994 Ultra cards of Danny Darwin...

...and Aaron Sele.

This die-cut 1995 SP Championship Series card of Rick Aguilera was unexpected as well.  I'm guessing based on the awkward photo that this may have been an unlicensed set?

Last but not least, a new Hawk from 1993 Fleer Ultra.  The 1992 and 1993 Fleer Ultra sets are kind of a soft spot for me, I think this is a great looking card.

Thanks for the trades gentlemen!  With these cards in hand, I'm at 3,088 unique Red Sox cards and counting...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Signature Sundays - Wendel Clark, Owen Nolan & Glenn Resch

Three more re-issued 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures autographs from the 2013-14 Panini Contenders set this Sunday (I know, confusing and quite a mouthful)...

First up is Wendel Clark, who is clearly much more adept with a hockey stick than with a pen.  Basically just a "WCK", one of the weaker autographs in this entire set.  Nonetheless, Wendel was prominent in most of the sets I collected as a kid, and is a name and face I remember well.  I was bummed when his autograph wasn't included in the original Classics Signatures release back in 2012, and I'm glad Panini has put it out now.

I always forget just how long Owen Nolan played for.  In 18 NHL seasons he appeared in an even 1,200 regular season hockey games for the Nordiques, Avalanche, Sharks, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Flames and Wild.  I've got hundreds of signed hockey cards, but this is actually the very first San Jose Sharks autographed card in my entire collection, go figure.  While the signature is not great here either, I do think it's appropriate that Owen is apparently recovering from a nice shiner in the photo.

Last, but certainly not least, Glenn "Chico" Resch.  He did win a Cup with the Islanders in 1980, but it was Billy Smith who got the majority of the action that season.  Glenn enjoyed a long career as a broadcaster when his playing days were through.  He's also got the best signature of the three guys in today's post by a long shot!  I love that he includes his nickname, "Chico", within the giant R that starts his last name, great stuff.

That's it for this week, three more down from the recent Contenders release, still a few to go...
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