Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Pack Of 2010!

For the hell of it, I decided to go against an earlier decision and grab a rack of '10 Topps Update (Target is evil), and open it as my last pack of 2010 cards. Here's how I did, for those of you who are compulsively reloading your RSS readers instead of celebrating tonight.

Base Cards:

20 Jason Bay
28 Bill Hall
54 Akinori Iwamura
71 Jason Giambi

121 J.A. Happ in his Astros costume

122 Darnell McDonald
163 Marco Scutaro

164 Gaby Sanchez (I like this kid; don't tell Loria or he'll trade him)

223 Henry Blanco

231 Gabe Kapler as seen from 3 miles away

257 Joel Hanrahan
294 Aaron Heilman

All-Stars (of which there are way too many for a friggin' Update set, they need to stop this):

11 Put a helmet on, Vern!

80 David Ortiz
125 Adam Wainwright
126 Elvis Andrus
132 Corey Hart
141 Phil Hughes


200 Pu-Rod

270 Smilin' Vlad! (Crap, it's a double.)

Cards of 30 year old dudes with RC logos on them:

9 Danny Worth
59 Jeanmar Gomez (pretty sure this is a double)

181 J.P. "Hope they have better luck with this kid than that other guy named J.P." Arencibia

(This one's a double, but it goes to a Jays fan I know.)

191 Valencia! Psyched about this one, don't think I had it.

268 Logan "Don't Call Me Wolverine" Morrison

295 Andrew Cashner (Pretty sure this is a double)
311 Felix Dubront

Other Nonsense Topps Puts In Packs:

55 ZOMGSTRASBURG!!!!111111

(All kidding aside, I needed this one. I still need ZOMG MERRY STRAS-MAS if anyone has that, and the Bowmans, and probably a bunch of other crap I can't afford.)

153 McCann All-Star Thank God It's Gold I Was Getting Cataracts From Cropping White Borders

(0244/2010 if you're nasty.)

Turkey Red 131 Vernon Wells
Attax John Lackey

Whee, I saved 3 bucks by not getting the guaranteed MCG pack! Also: Schmidt!

My prize from the code:

There's offers up for this card, most of which aren't so good. The 2001 Topps Pudge which everyone on the planet but me has either in their collection or on the Topps Million site is one of the offers, and someone else is offering 2001 Topps Pokey Reese for it. POKEY :( I may need the card for my '77 set, but not at $3 shipping (and that applies to the '01s too). Thoughts?

Really, Topps?

More Tales Of The Game 7 (Tape-Measure Single, lousy Astrodome pic)

PP-117 (Huh-huh, I said "PP") Mike Stanton. I can't put a finger on why, but I like this card a bunch.

And finally, the only card you're more likely to pull than a Strasburg in Update this year...

252 Jim Thome. I love the guy and he had an awesome year for the Twinkies, but this is the 3rd copy I've gotten of this card. I'm giving one of them away in the "CAPTION THIS CARD!" prize package already. Soon, I will be able to make a suit of '10 Update Thome cards! (OK, maybe just a codpiece. Man, that'd be awesome. And really disturbing.)

That's a wrap for 2010, kids. Remember, the "CAPTION THIS CARD!" contest ends in a little less than an hour! Happy New Year to everyone until then, and I'll see y'all on the other side (probably tomorrow) with the contest results!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just a mini update for today...

OK, that was bad, I know. Nice card, though, right?

Anyway, with 2010 coming closer to the end, a few site news items:

1. The scans on the Robert Stephen Simon cards are a lot clearer now. Go re-experience the magic of a few days ago, this time with scans that don't make you claw your eyes out!

2. There's only one day left in my "CAPTION THIS CARD!" contest! I've got what I think is a pretty solid prize package, including a well-loved Fleer Ripken rookie (Cal, not Billy) and a bunch of other awesome stuff, and all you have to do is come up with a witty caption for this card:

If you've been late to the party, get your entry in ASAP! The contest ends at 11:59 PM Eastern Time tomorrow night. When the clock strikes Midnight, we'll have a winner and I'll announce it fairly soon afterward!

3. Does anyone reading this collect Upper Deck soccer cards?

Yeah, these guys.

I've got a stack of 50 here, 10 from the '07 MLS set and 40 from the '08 MLS set (for those wondering, no Beckhams, sorry) that I got when I thought I might be more motivated to get in on the action. I love soccer, I even play Yahoo Fantasy Premier League despite not having a clue what's going on, but in all likelihood, unless I end up getting really into the Red Bulls after I finally make it up to their beautiul new stadium, I'm probably not going to end up collecting soccer cards. I wouldn't mind a Pele' card, but that's about it. So, with that in mind, if anyone's interested in trading for these, let me know. I'll eventually just add them to the trade list if I don't hear anything, but I'd love to avoid cataloguing 50 more cards if I can.

4. I made a decision recently to start unloading non-duplicate cards of guys I'm not big fans of, but who, at some point or another, have fallen under the banner of "stars". I'll keep at least one card of each of these guys, even the accursed Chipper (Sorry, Braves fans in the audience!), but beyond that, unless it's a brilliant card or from a set I may try to build eventually, it's gone. Send me your lists of players you collect (I'm looking at you, Roberto Alomar fans), either in the comments or via email and I'll let you know if I've got anything for you.

5. Finally today, before 2010 is out (which doesn't rule out more posts tonight or tomorrow), I want to thank you all once again for helping to make Scott Crawford On Cards! such a huge, huge blast to write. I was so apprehensive about throwing yet another card site on the pile that it took me a long time to start, and I'm still not sure if I'm doing anything brilliant or revolutionary here (even within the genre), but I am having a hell of a lot of fun, and I hope you're having fun being a part of things here. Here's to more fun in 2011 and beyond for all of us.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some f00'ball cards from this afternoon...

I hit my local today to pick up Week 16 of the f00'ball Giveaway, and came across a few cards worth bringing home.

First up, Topps Magic is out this year, and it looks pretty smoove. Ford did a nice job of saving my other WRs' asses down the stretch in fantasy this year, too, so I grabbed this card and his regular Topps card to thank him.

 More Raidery fun, from when the Raiders were actually the Raiders and Al Davis was only 175 years old. This card is actually a mini. It's just a little smaller than the '80s Topps minis were, but has similar dimensions.

An awesome Knowshon card from the College To Pro insert set. Inserted into what, I have no idea, as I haven't opened any Topps f00'ball packs this year.

More College To Pro, this time Drew Brees. Sorry, Atlantans! I like me some Whodat.

Aaaaaand sorry again, Atlantans! This guy's pretty awesome. He's got that "can carry an entire city on his shoulders" vibe to him that you want your team's quarterback to have.

Joe Webb's not quite there yet, but he sure has been fun to watch in his first couple of appearances. If this kid catches on, even with the ball obscuring part of his face, this'll become one of the all-time great rookie cards, just because it's so unlikely. I've got my fingers crossed, because he really has been a blast to watch, and because, after having to endure two years of the Brett Favre circus and having the Metrodome's roof collapse (I'm really glad Target Field exists right about now), Minnesotans could use a break.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sometimes, people do stuff to cards.

From the front, this 1981 Donruss Rusty Kuntz card looks normal. Well, as normal as a Rusty Kuntz card can be, anyway. However, if you flip it over...

Yes, Ben Henry had his way with it! Ben used to send out a card like this with every trade he did (at least with me, anyway), but this is probably my favorite. Eventually, he sent me an unvandalized '81 Kuntz, too.

This is another card I got from Ben. J.R.'s mojo was such that he needed red lines drawn on him to illustrate just how truly powerful it was.

I actually got this Munson in the first copy of the '79 Burger King Yankees team set I picked up. Bum deal, right? No idea what the foreign substance is that appears to have burrowed a hole in his brain. Hasn't Thurman been through enough, man?

Finally today, a personal favorite of mine, though a scan does it no justice. You'll note that I've got extra space around the edges of this 1980 Topps Rick Cerone card, which is something I never do with normal cards on here if I can help it. However, this is no normal card. You see, when I got it, it was during Rick Cerone's first (and, some would argue, only; I still love the guy, though) summer of glory as a Yankee, and it being my first Rick Cerone card, and, even more amazing, a card of him before he was a Yankee, I decided that this card was important enough to laminate, so it would withstand the rigors of being in my wallet, travelling with me and other wear and tear! Yes, that space around the card is actually laminated. Once, many years later, I tried to see if I could remove it from the lamination. This didn't go so well, so I pressed it back together, and it's like that to this day. All things considered, the lamination did exactly what I wanted it to as a 6 year old!

Robert Stephen Simon's Super Star Card Set

At some point in the '80s, I got a handful of cards from the 1986 TCMA Robert Stephen Simon set. These cards are awesome, if you've never had a chance to look at 'em before. I eventually want to grab a complete set of them, but it'll have to wait a bit as my weird-card-set-buying budget is officially tapped out for a while. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these beauties, which put a lot of the recent "art" card sets to shame.

Ebbets Field.

Jackie Robinson, for the three of you who can't identify him on sight.

Good Ol' Gil Hodges.

The Mick. One of a few Mantles in this set, if I'm not mistaken.


Warren Spahn. Love the high leg kick in this picture.


And, to finish off, here's Yaz.

As I mentioned above, I'm of course interested in getting more of these (trades are certainly welcome), but in the meantime, do any of you have any of these cards in your collections, and if so, which ones?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Day Part II: Cards And Life Too, Kinda

Onto the cards. I again had packs that were very star and, in particular, New York star-slanted, but almost exclusively toward guys I don't collect. I rarely pull A-Rod cards and I never pull David Wrights, but I pulled two cards of Alex and 1 of Mr. "Damn, I'd look even better in a Royals uniform than Alex would!". Of course, for now, they're just going to sit and collect dust in my star boxes, just like the cards of Clemens, Sheffield, Nomar, etc. that I pulled today, unless they're doubles, but I'm thinking about thinning out those boxes a bit in the coming year, putting cards in the hands of people who collect and enjoy certain players I don't. (There's gotta still be some Clemens collectors out there, right?) I'd have to keep at least one, or maybe even a couple of each player, because I wouldn't want to not have a card on hand for reference, send away a cool card just because it's of a player I don't like or end up in a situation where a somewhat recent player gets into the Hall Of Fame and I don't have any cards of his, but I gotta say, as I've said before, there's no reason for me to have a ton of cards of, say, Roberto Alomar. We'll get into that after the new year starts, though.

Here are a few cards I pulled that I actually liked...

Yep, there was a Goodwin pack in there. This is a nice rendition of older Junior. The twinkle in his eyes is a nice touch.

" old did you say she was?"

I kinda hope Damon does come back to the Yankees, even if I have trouble watching them these days and he'd be the third guy they have who should be a bench guy or, at best, a full-time DH (A-Rod and Posada being the other two), just because Damon's fun to watch and he gives good interview.

Alas, the dreaded '07 Upper Decks were in there too (two packs, no less), but this shot of Reggie Willits did it for me for some reason. There's a flow to it, a kinetic energy that I dig. I was really hoping guys like Willits, Joey Gathright and Nook Logan would figure out how to hit at the big league level as well as run like Michael Bourn did, but it doesn't look like it's happening. Nook was a Newark Bear over the summer, Willits was nearly Herb Washington last I checked, and without looking it up, I don't know where the hell Gathright is. Oh, he's a Long Island Duck now. Well, at least there are a lot of cars for him to jump in Lawn Guy Land. I'll have to see if I can get an auto from him at a Bears or a Patriots game this coming season, if he's still there.

Guy's somethin' else. Or was about 4 years ago, anyway.

Bruuuuuuuuuuce. I'm probably the only one who likes these camo jerseys that the guys wear on armed forces days and such.

Finally, a card of a guy whose cards I actually collect on purpose! Love this shot of the Unit. As stark as the main card image is, there's something poignant about it, too. At the end of his career, tryin' to get those last few wins for 300, and he's got an uncertain look in his eyes, like "Do I still know how to do this?" I wish now that I'd gotten more '09 SP Authentics. I'll have to see if I can fix that.

Some of you are gonna think I'm nuts, but in a lot of packs where I got Randy Johnson, A-Rod, David Wright, Roger Clemens, Nomar, Griffey, Damon, Torii, all kinds of other guys, the thing I was most excited about was finally getting a base card of Brandon Inge that wasn't part of a set (the only card I had of him was in my 2010 Topps Heritage set). I love this guy. Great fielder, great teammate, works his ass off, plays hurt when he can, moved around the field to wherever he needed to in order to keep his job with the Tigers, and he does a lot of good stuff for the community too, especially for kids. I had none of his cards, though, and that was kind of a drag. Never pulled any in packs besides the Heritage card, and despite looking for them for a while, I never came up with any when I'd look through lots of commons. So, I've finally got my Inge player collection started. Send your doubles my way, I'm up for 'em!

But wait! There's more!


Seriously, no joke, two common base cards were among the highlights of my Christmas. I feel like the kid who plays with the wrapping paper over here.

Whenever I end up getting recent "junk wax" foisted upon me, there's always some '07 Fleer Ultra in there. I wouldn't call these junk at all, though. They're always great looking cards, so I could give a rat's ass what they're worth, how they sold or how many were printed. A lot of people I know miss Donruss, but me, I kinda miss Fleer. I wasn't around for the worst of what they did as a company or what Upper Deck's done with the name, but I have a soft spot, I'll admit it.

So, yeah, good snow day, and a really solid Christmas. It was quiet, people were happy, good stuff was received and good times were had. As it always does, the running around gets a little stressful, especially in the home stretch (I was literally in the stores until 7:30 PM Christmas Eve, but it worked out), but this year, it was pretty worthwhile.

I was sitting on the couch Christmas night, after the missus and I had exchanged gifts, and I said "We're really fortunate." I stand by that on a personal level, despite some of the hardships I do have going on. Yeah, I definitely struggle with some things. Sleep is a legitimately chronic, lifelong health issue for me (to the point where it interferes with my ability to do regular work; hopefully, that explains how I'm able to spend so much time crunching numbers, sorting commons and writing all of this stuff) and I have my other issues here and there (which often lead to me cataloguing junk wax commons by the thousands and things of that nature), but otherwise, my health's not too bad, knock wood. Money's tight because I'm out of work, but (often thanks to the generosity of others; thanks to you all, you know who you are) I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes on my back, friends I can talk to, I can get to where I need to go and by some cosmic accident, I do end up with some cash to pick up cards from time to time (usually not to the degree things have come in lately; I got some gift money this holiday season, which led to a few over-the-top, gaudy purchases which I scold myself for regularly), which is my primary means of retaining what's left of my sanity these days. I have ways to communicate with people and share my ideas with them, this site being one of many. (I'll get into the rest sometime soon; hopefully, you'll enjoy the ride.) Scott Crawford On Cards! has been an absolute godsend since I started it a few months ago, as it's given a rhyme and reason to those boxes of cards at the foot of my bed, given voice to thoughts that've rattled around in my head for ages, and given me an audience for it all that really seems to dig what I'm doing and who also seem to love bouncing ideas back at me. Thanks, folks. I dig a lot of your stuff as well.

None of us really have any idea how long we're here or what tomorrow's going to bring us, but right now, I'm pretty happy, and beyond appreciative for what I do have.

I hope y'all are, too.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow Day Part I: Books!

As you've probably read all over the place today, there's a little bit of snow on the East Coast. I went out early this morning, made sure there was gas in the car, food in the fridge where I am staying, grabbed a book that I've wanted for a while to round out the small pile of awesome books I have with me (we'll get to those), and grabbed some SNOW CARDS in the form of another one of those Target repack deals, this time the 10 packs for $10 one. Got back just as stuff was getting weird with the snow, ate, opened a bunch of packs of cards (we'll get to those too, just in the next post; the computer with the scanner is occupied at the moment) and planned to write about things earlier than I am, then watch some f00'ball...then I conked out. Long (but good) day yesterday, and I needed the rest, so I didn't get to see Da Bears beat the Jets in the snow today (I'll have to see if anyone I know "taped" it), nor did I know about what happened to the Giants until just now (45-17? Ouch. it was 14-14 close to halftime!). I'm up now, though, and I'm probably gonna be where I am a while, so let's talk a bit about my holiday, some cool stuff that came my way, and how, despite ever-present hard-ish times, I'm really fortunate.

First, the books:

The Barry Halper Collection Of Baseball Memorabilia is something I've wanted for a long, long time. It's a three book set issued by Sotheby's auction house, detailing their rather huge auction of the late Mr. Halper's baseball collection, which I'd been reading about and hearing about since the 1980's. I was fortunate enough to see the initial Halper Collection exhibit in Cooperstown while it was still there, and it was one of the highlights of my baseball life. Since then, some serious questions have been asked about the authenticity of some of the artifacts Mr. Halper obtained and later sold or donated, and also about whether or not these items were obtained legally, but I feel like this controversy adds, rather than detracts to the wonder and mystery of the collection, and makes these books even more of a must-own now. Having never seen the book set in person before yesterday, I was shocked at how huge it is. From this picture and others I've seen, it looked like a smaller paperback boxed set, but these are giant, heavy trade paperbacks, filled cover-to-cover with gorgeous photography, detailed descriptions of the items (occasionally with typographical or historical errors, but we'll let those slide), and essays written by Peter Golenbock, Yogi Berra and Ted Williams about Barry Halper and his collection. The next book I'm going to write about today describes this set as a must-own, and I couldn't agree more. Get them while you can, and enjoy!

Yes, I crossed one off my list just by getting the Halper books for Christmas! (It's item #127.) I'd leafed through The Baseball Fan's Bucket List: 162 Things You Must Do, See, Get, and Experience Before You Die a bunch of times in various book stores, and I finally broke down and grabbed it for myself this morning with some Christmas money I got. It's a really fun little reference book/conversation starter, light reading for being as detailed as it is, and covers pretty much all facets of the game from the World Series to Little League, from the present back to the 1800s. To date, I've done 38 out of the 162 items on the list, which I think is pretty good considering that a lot of them involve travel and I don't get out too much.

The last baseball book I got for Christmas is The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy. I haven't cracked the cover on this one just yet, as I am still working on The Fall of the 1977 Phillies: How a Baseball Team's Collapse Sank a City's Spirit and don't wanna work on two non-reference books at once, but I am totally looking forward to it.

Cards and a bit of a summary of things next, later this evening! Stay warm if there's snow near you!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Some more cards to cap off 2010...

I was jonesing for a reason to post tonight that didn't involve a ton of research, so I decided to look through the "current year" box and pick out some cards that, by now, most of you have probably seen a million times, but which I haven't posted about yet and I really enjoyed.

Can you believe that I actually got this Triple Threads Dizzy Dean card, numbered 65/99 from a commons pile? Maybe you can. I know some of you freak out when people find old vintage stuff in a commons box, as I do, but this is a card of Dizzy Dean (a guy who I don't see in that many sets) that less than 100 examples exist of and, base-ish card or not, it came from a crazy expensive pack of cards. It can be had for under $2 on Check Out My Cards and there are some poor souls on eBay trying to get $4-6 for it, but I think I got it for either a dime or a quarter. I understand why my local had it so cheap (it's a very New York teams/rookies/Pujols/Hall Of Famers that casual fans from NJ have heard of market and they've got limited shelf space, plus it makes people happy when they get a bargain on good stuff), but still, the commons pile? I feel like I did really well there. 

Even if I took a bath on the price, it's a beautiful card (hence my blowing it up REALLY big). When I came across it in my 2010 box, I stopped and really soaked the card in for a minute. We see a lot of bad photo retouching on cards, but this card is gorgeously done. I dig that you can see the texture of the flannel on Dizzy's uniform. I think they did a fairly rare good job on the quasi-colorization (better than on the '09 Update SPs, even). I also love the other players sort of obscured in what looks like a misty background, and I especially love what looks like a Ferris Wheel further in the background. Might be a tree or something else, but to me, it looks like a Ferris Wheel, so I say it's a Ferris Wheel!

I think I'll go big on all the cards tonight. Let me know in comments if it's crazy-making. I'm enjoying that I can see the detail and that they fit in my layout. The "Franchise History" subset in '10 Topps was one of the few things I liked about the set, but I've liked every card I can remember seeing so far. I've got the Mets with Seaver at the Shea closing ceremonies, the Rangers with Ryan, the Jays with Cito Gaston holding the trophy and breaking the "no crying in baseball" rule, and this one, which is my favorite for obvious reasons, even if it makes me sad. Were I to ever acquire the ability to time travel, rather than visiting lost loved ones, altering history in a positive way or anything like that, the first thing I'd do is go to a game at Ebbets Field. It breaks my heart that this place isn't there anymore. It looks like the coolest ballpark ever.

Some folks are glad to see Topps 206 go, and I agree that Topps really needs to focus their product lines a lot better, but there were a couple of great cards in this year's set, and this Vlad is definitely one of them. Great card that does an awesome job of capturing one of my favorite players. Admittedly, it was rough watching him field in NL parks during the post-season. The whole thing made me sad for him because he used to be so good in right field, with almost no cameras or national media attention within miles of him most of the time, and by the time he finally got to the Series, he really didn't have much left out there anymore. I hope he makes it back to the playoffs again soon and has a great run, because I'd love for him to do something awesome that people won't soon forget, and I think he still has that in him. He's still a better hitter than Hideki Matsui is (I love him, but it's true), and look at what 'Zilla did in his last World Series. I'd like to see Vlad light it up like that on the big stage at least once.

Here's another great one from 206. Admittedly, though, it's damn hard to do a bad Yogi Berra card.

See? I don't even like Turkey Red, but this was another too-awesome-to-pass-up Yogi that I came across this year.

What cards did you guys love this year that you haven't seen me (or other people) talk about online yet?