Monday, January 31, 2011

Totally ganking someone's experiment...

During my reading just now, I came across this awesome post from Cards from the Quarry. It's one of those "see how far you can stretch a dollar (or in this case, $5)" experiments, but the rules of the game make it top-notch. I've just begun my first one-month experiment, which means that by 6:53 PM Eastern Time on 2/28 (ooh, I even picked a short month), I'll need to have acquired at least 10 solid cards from eBay (either stuff I need for my collection, stuff that's too good not to add to my collection despite not being the focus of it or great tradebait) for the low, low price of $5 shipped. Pretty tight, eh?

Also: I'm only allowed to spend 15 minutes per day looking for cards for this experiment, and I'm only allowed to bid on single card lots. At least two of these cards must fit the following description: numbered, parallel, autograph or relic cards. Final requirement, and this is a fun one: nothing from "a major overproduction era set", which I'm taking to mean '87 Topps and '88-'94 everything. If I'm off on the years for that, Johnny, let me know.

I'll most likely be posting my as-they-happen results throughout February, because I rarely have the patience to avoid instant gratification, so stay tuned!

If you're wondering how Johnny from Cards from the Quarry did but are too lazy to click links, I think he did great. He scored an '08 Topps Chrome Troy Tulowitzki X-Fractor, a '79 Topps Jack Morris card and a bunch of other fun stuff, plus a Topps 206 mini of Adam Dunn which he'll be throwing on the pile of stuff we're putting together for a trade. He went over by 11 cents by accident (shipping got him), but it sounds like he had fun doing it, which is the point, isn't it?

People keep giving me stuff!

Not too long ago, I came across this really great post over at Section 36, great not just because it involved free stuff, but also because it gave me some great ideas on how to deal with the "excess card" problem. For now, I've just been trading things off and including them in giveaways, but eventually, I may want (or need) to go to the Section 36 10 Year Plan with my commons, and fairly soon, I think a school (or somewhere that deals with kids) will be getting a bunch of junk wax commons. If you need anything from the '87 Topps set, get your orders in now!

Anyway, in addition to some really great, refreshing perspective on how to deal with abundance, I also got some 2001 Rays cards from Section 36, so here are a few highlights from those.

Very early in the Rays' history, they had this Steve Cox feller, who I remember as being one of the first Rays worth watching. He played in Japan for a year after leaving MLB, too, and was also noteworthy as "the other guy" brought up from Durham on the day that Jim Morris was called up.

I was going to a fair share of Yankee games at the time, and sitting in or near Section 39 (not to be confused with the benefactor of this post), I got to hear some interesting things shouted at opposing right fielders. You guys can probably figure out where the Bleacher Creatures went with this guy, but what made it especially biting was the kid in the front row, probably about 8 years old, who kept yelling "You suck, Cox!" randomly throughout the game, which would get all the regulars started again when they'd forgotten about him. It's gotta be rough getting razzed by an 8 year old, especially with that last name.

Weird, eh? I think Bo got one of these too, when he got the '01 Pirates from the Section 36 giveaway. Here's what the back looks like, allowing us to see that it's Russ Johnson on the card:

Bad day at the printing press, Topps! I love a good error, though. Note that this card also counts as a Paul Byrd card!

A couple of the commons I got were anything but! Check out that Crime Dog!

And that one! Very cool way to punctuate a package of cards that was filled with the Russ Johnsons and Steve Coxes of the world, otherwise.

Thanks again to Section 36 for the cards and the ideas, and keep up the good work over there!

"It's a major award!"

While it wasn't a lamp shaped like a fishnetted leg, this Mantle card, which won me this Community Gum pack lottery contest a week or so back, arrived on Friday along with the rest of my winnin's, and I couldn't be prouder of it. Well, if it had been a Mariano Rivera, I could've, but still, I guessed the number of RBI and the number on the print run, and came within 7 players of nailing a 2 box prize here, so Mick took pretty good care of me! Anyway, onto the other stuff.

With my second entry, I guessed Carl Crawford, and actually came within 4 on the print run number with him, too. It's gonna be so weird seeing him in a Boston uniform in a few weeks.
I got another Mick, this one numbered to 25. Even in this oddball of a set (which I love), there can't be too many of those around.

Ditto for Capt. Intangibles here, though this is obviously a much higher achievement number, 214 hits and all. I didn't see any of these designs on the cards I'd gotten previously, though, so it was cool to add 'em to the M&M pile.

Those Community Gum fellers ran a little short on Yankees, so they threw some cards from other guys on my want list into my winnings, including this mean lookin' card of Doc...

...this rather awesome Smoltzie (with an awesome background)...

...and this absolutely dynamite Jim Thome card.

Oh, and I got this swell auto of Ross "Scott's Still In Denial About Collecting My Cards" Ohlendorf. Yeah, it's a sticker, but they did this cool embeddy/recessy thing with the sticker that made it much cooler. Plus, I've wanted an Ohlendorf auto since he was with the Yanks.

Thanks again for the cards, Community Gum fellers, and for running such awesome contests of late!

Jeff Trade Part VII: "...and the rest."

As a kid, the end of the "Gilligan's Island" theme song annoyed me on the first season episodes. Why didn't they think The Professor and Mary Ann were worthy of mention initially? The Professor was the guy who was gonna get them off of that stinking island, and Mary Ann was pretty hot in that "if I got stuck in a small town for the night" kinda way. Anyway, I used the nod to the 1st season theme in the title of this post only because it kept getting stuck in my head as I kept making posts about this trade, "I'll do the Al Newmans, the Bips and the on Gilligan's Isle!", not because the stars of this post are unworthy of mention by even a nickname. Enjoy!

I bet The Professor would've made a mean Bong had he tried.

Albert Belle is not a Bong, but man, does he look mean here.

David Cone (who kinda looks like Bob Denver...OK, I'll stop) is a total low rider here. This totally looks like it's gonna be some sort of Bugs Bunny pitch where it tunnels under the Earth before coming back up for strike three.

Randy Johnson, on the other hand, doesn't toy with that sort of thing.

If only Upper Deck had had the good sense not to toy with the color correction on his card that year. Ouch.

"You do a job like that on my card, and I think you can guess where this bat's going!"

When did I turn the corner on '90 Fleer? I love this set now. It's kinda weird. This Paul O'Neill is such a conventional looking shot, but it really works here.

I don't think anything was ever conventional about Bob Walk.

Were Upper Deck taking the piss here? I hope not! Have a little respect for Jim Abbott, you guys!

That's more like it, '94 Score! I didn't get to see this game when it happened, but I was really happy for Jim, and it was a bright spot in a not-quite-good Yankee season.

Julio Franco looks like a drill sargeant here. The color correction guys overdid it on another '92 Upper Deck card, too. Everything's just a little too bright and a little too sharp.

Tom Browning disapproves. 

What a pitcher this guy was.

This guy, too. I loved Teddy Higuera as a kid. Another guy, like Browning, who was cut down by arm injuries. This card, I've been referring to as "Teddy's Last Ride" as I've been going through the stuff for these trade posts, because of its proximity to the end of his career, so I guess it's fitting that I went with it for the last card here, too.

Thanks again for all the cards, Jeff!

Jeff Trade Part VI: Get The Hell Outta Town!

"Wade Boggs was a Devil Ray? Get the hell outta town!" That would've been a better name for this subset in '02 Topps, which is somewhat reminiscent of my "Weird Stuff Happened In The '90s" thing I reference here from time to time.

"Reggie Jackson, an Angel? Get the hell outta town!" (Note the huge missed opportunity for an Oriole Reggie card here.)

"Steve Garvey got laid in that Padres uniform? Get the hell outta town!"

I got a million of 'em. Actually, I only have 3 of these. Wouldn't mind getting more, though.

Jeff Trade Part V: Al Newman was pretty cool, Beavis.

Al Newman is a cat who caught my attention back in the '87 World Series, as he was fun to watch, even though he wasn't what you'd call the world's best hitter by a long shot. He worked hard and had fun on the field, and that's more than enough reason to like any player. Al had great cards, too, as you'll see thanks to Jeff. In this first one, he's totally flashing the jazz hands.

Here, he manages to out-Willie Randolph Willie Randolph!

This shot's terrific, too. Given that he only had one career HR in 8 seasons, and it didn't happen with the Twins, I'd love to know where the ball landed.

Always cool to add some Al cards, so if you're trading with me, keep 'em coming!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jeff Trade Part IV: "Here's lookin' at you, kid."

All I could think about, when I came across this card of Bob Walk in my package from Jeff, was Humphrey Bogart. Terrific shot.

I strongly thought about holding this one back for a caption contest, but it's just too good not to share now. Feel free to caption it!

If I were Jim Gantner, I'd have this picture hanging over my fireplace. Terrific portrait.

The Unit looks mildly annoyed about something. Could be that he bumped his head on the yellow border.

In this shot, Chuck Finley, worn out from a hard day's work and the heat, thinks wistfully about going home and watching his copy of the Whitesnake video collection.

"Laugh all you want, but I'm totally going to be the Yankees' Opening Day starter! If that goldbrickin' Pavano can do it, I can! No, screw you, Bartolo, it's MINE!"

Murph escaped the '80s proper again, but at least he's still in a Braves uniform!

I've posted an UD card of him before, but, not unlike Dale Murphy, I still can't wrap my head around Darryl Strawberry on an Upper Deck card. It seems almost sacrilegious.

Even Mookie's laughing about it. This is probably the best Mookie Wilson card ever. How can you not love that smile? When I came to this card in Jeff's package, I just kinda sat with it for a few minutes and soaked in how much fun Mookie appeared to be having.

Dickie Thon, bless his heart, doesn't seem to be having as much fun here as Mookie was on the last card. He seems almost as bored as Mookie was happy. With any luck, the Krukker came over and busted his chops a little after this picture was taken.

"I'll get right on that when I'm back in the dugout. Man, I'm thirsty. Can one of you guys throw me a brewski out of the cooler?"

Even in that awkward Cards uniform, Pedro Guerrero looks more awesome with each passing card. See?

Check how how unbelievably chill he looks here, rounding the bases at Wrigley (is it me, or did they use that park a lot in '92 UD?), casually glancing at where the ball is, floating on air. There's a total Zen about Pedro Guerrero, or at least his cards.

Vlad, at least at this early point in his career, shared no such Zen with Pedro, only a last name. Man, was he something else early on, though. I really hope he gets to have a few more great moments in his career, if only to keep America's enduring memory of the guy from being his fumbling around in the outfield in the World Series. He was such an amazing fielder for the first half of his career, too, which made that all the more painful to watch.

And to wrap this one up before I flood you guys out too badly, we go from one of the greatest Expos to the greatest Jay. There's something bittersweet about this shot, almost like Stieb can see the end coming even though he kept at it for a long time after his big injury. I always dug Stieb, though, and really wanted his comeback to work out. There was just something about the guy, y'know?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jeff Trade Part III: An Assortment Of Guys Who Can Hit The Crap Out Of A Baseball

We'll start off this 3rd assortment of stuff from Jeff with our pal Josh, from the '01 Traded set, a card that came out a few years into his time as a Rays prospect. No forearm tattoos yet. Also looks a lot less buff here than he does now, but he was younger here, and might've already been getting into trouble (I'm not super-familiar with the timeline on that). Even a few years in now, it's still great to see Josh back on track.

Here's the '83 Fleer card (I think the earliest regular issue card of the big guy, unless he snuck into '83 Donruss when I wasn't looking) of one of my favorite Facebook users, Ron Kittle. His Page isn't quite as, um, detailed as his user profile is, but if you manage to sneak onto his friends list for the user profile, Ron's actually a reason to login to Facebook. Every morning, he wakes up early, tells us all to kick ass at life and then talks about what he's having for breakfast. Great guy. Hell of a power hitter, too...

...kinda like this guy. Holy frig. I would not want to be the baseball in this shot. Kong smash!

Ol' Tuffy was known to hit a ball or two out of a stadium as well, though he did most of that in Japan. I'm just getting started on gathering Tuffy cards, so keep 'em coming!

Weird shot, this one. Hard to say if he swung early or fouled the ball off. Smed, you're good at this stuff. Any guesses? (Also: man, '94 Score was a good set.)

It's always cool when people do collector issue cards of Dave Winfield where he's not in a Yankee uniform. No knock on his Yankee days, when he provided me with untold hours of entertainment on the ballfield, but when people do retrospective cards on his career, he's typically in pinstripes, even though he did a bunch of time in San Diego, and played all over after he left the Bronx. Also: these '01 Donruss Classics are nice cards. Check out this Thome one...

Purdy, right?

Alright, which one of you huckleberries had Bo Jackson square to bunt for the picture? Why you gotta mess with the youngsters like that?

Whew! Much better.

Man...the '90s.

Let's close this one out with this '04 Studio Duke Snider, which was made deliberately to mess with us. The picture of Duke is from the Brooklyn days, obviously, but the background is of what appears to be modern-day downtown Los Angeles! Were Donruss trying to make fanboy heads explode or something? Geez, next thing you know, they'll Photoshop Mickey Mantle into one of the skyscraper windows with his beaver shooting binoculars!