Monday, December 31, 2012

The Last Cards Of 2012!

This Panini Black Joe Flacco base card, left behind by a hit collector and a Steelers fan at my local, was the last card of 2012. (Well, along with some Series 2 Topps and Topps Update that were way too boring to scan, it was.) Pretty sweet, even for an obvious Panini product. Jeez, these things are $180 a pack? I guess I can forget about getting the base cards of Eli and Fred Jackson (who has been cursed since I started collecting him).

But let's rewind about a week or so, to some other late entries...

I got a package in from Stubby just in time for Christmas, with 3 CDs' worth of tastefully selected Christmas music and some bubble gum cards. This Harper (which may be the first base Harper I've gotten all year, thanks a lot, Topps!) was in there along with some other '12 Topps I was still missing. But wait...there's more!


Yeah, but it's an unmarked, 50 year old checklist that I needed for my never-to-be-completed '62 set. Of course, I said this about '75 too, and I finished that, so who knows?

w0000000000000 A RINGSIDE

w00000000000000 ANOTHER RINGSIDE, this one of Jersey Joe! I'm 2/3 done with the Ringside Jersey Joes if I'm remembering correctly (the third being his in action card with Ray Robinson)...

...yeah, this guy. Now, when I got this package, I may not have had him listed as a have in my wants (I think my want list is possessed, anyway), because I'm pretty sure I had to take #43 out, but this is indeed a double.

What to do with a double of Sugar Ray friggin' Robinson that both Stubby and I have? Hmmm...

Well, if any of the three of you who collect Ringsides need him (it's a rough card as you can see, but it's still Sugar Ray), let me know soon (don't wait until July, eh?) and maybe we can work out a trade (an awesome deal would be one for a few commons that both Stubby and I need, but I need his want list first). Otherwise, I'll do a contest of some sort with this. Because I have the power to do giveaway contests with 60+ year old Topps cards of boxing champions, yes I do.

Huge thanks again to Stubby for the parcel (for the 3rd time, I think)!

And that's how 2012 ended, cardwise.

Been an interesting year's worth of collecting. I've watched myself and a lot of the folks I trade with, read and bitch about this stuff with get very, very frustrated with the current card hobby, especially with Topps. (Panini are harder to be mad at, since they're just kinda churning stuff out.) Most collectors I know feel like they as well be up the street from 1 Whitehall St. protesting the Topps fatcats at Zuccotti Park, and are heard and regarded almost as much as the Occupiers were by those other fatcats in that neighborhood. A lot of folks are thinking of going strictly vintage for now on/again. Some already have. Me, I'm just not seeing much of a point in paying the premium to open wax packs just to pay for someone else's autographs, most of which they don't want either. So, I probably won't be doing much of that in '13. I never say never, and I do like what I've seen of both base Topps and Heritage next year, but still, they seem determined to rid their customer base of set builders and only sell to compulsive gamblers, so it's kind of hard to rationalize giving my business to a company that pointedly acts like they don't want it.

It's also been a rough year in other ways for some of my local collectors, especially down in Dr. Wax's neck of the woods, because of Hurricane Sandy. The enormity of Sandy makes it kinda hard to think about bubble gum cards specifically, but I know a lot of folks lost a lot of things that they loved, and that's rough to think about. If you were one of the people who did lose cards (or anything else), please reach out to this site. I can't promise miracles or anything else, but if you're willing to tell us (and by "us" I mean "other collectors, as well as people I'm in touch with who aren't collectors") your story, we'll see if we can help you in any way.

Not to be all gloom and doom as 2012 ends, I've had a lot of fun this year, both within the card hobby and in general. I've gotten a ton of awesome stuff, had all kinds of laughs with my fellow collectors and friends, made some trades, travelled a bunch (I saw games in 6 Major League ballparks I'd never been to before in the space of a month between April and May), I finished the first baseball card set I ever started collecting, and gave away 15,000 cards (so far) to kids affected by Hurricane Sandy (and I've got more to give away, as soon as I find somewhere that can use 'em). That's not too bad.

Looking forward to 2013, there's stuff I definitely want to do and write about here. I'm strangely invigorated by how much the folks who seem to get so much wrong in the hobby (though, this hobby *is* 'Nam, and there aren't rules...) have challenged the rest of us to find our fun outside of the mainstream. I've got a few story ideas brewing. I'd LOVE to finish trades with anyone who I talked about trades with in '12 (or, hey, '11 or '10) where the deals just didn't quite come together, so please get in touch if you're one of those people! I've got a run of '78-'93 Topps done now, and I'd love to add a few more years to that. I want to make my time in the hobby way less about money than it already is, and more about trading, hooking other people up with stuff and digging for things in unlikely places. I want to hit more ballgames, more card shows, meet some of you in person, and continue to have a good time with this, because damn it, as much as we may get mad at how a consumerist, commercialist hobby has become even MORE commercialist and consumerist, there's still so much fun to be had here, however we may decide to pursue it personally. I hope you all continue to have that fun, I thank you for the time you've spent having that fun with me, and I think there's a lot more fun in store for 2013 and beyond!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Christmas Presents To Myself

I haven't been feeling Christmasy this year. Well, I haven't been thinking about what I'm getting for Christmas much, which to some may mean I've been feeling more Christmasy than usual. There was one thing I wanted to get at my local, though, and since the odds of the people who know me locally figuring out what it is are astronomically low, I went over there today to buy a Christmas present for myself.

The tragic irony of me wanting and getting this card right now, with everything that's been going on, and with me as firmly on a certain side of a certain debate that we won't have here (this is a card site, after all) as I am, is not lost on me. Still, it's another key '71 Topps Football Game card I was missing, and I do collect a lot of cards of infamous athletes, so this was a solid pickup on that front.

While I was at the shop, I noticed a familiar face (but one I hadn't seen at the store before) on the top of the pile of $5 autograph cards...

Pretty cool, eh? I do love these Archives/Greats Of The Game/retired player series, because you get autographs in those series that you just don't think of card companies as aggressively pursuing for their sets. I was happy to get a Darrell Evans auto. Now, to get a relic for the trifecta. Yeah, right. First, I'd have to find a Darrell Evans relic, then I'd have to hope it's the trifecta even still a thing?

Darrell wasn't the only Greats Of The Game auto in the pile, though! Herb Score! I'll be! Underneath Herb's card was a Bobby Doerr that I didn't pay much mind to, despite him being a Hall of Famer and one of the oldest living Hall of Famers. Just not a Sox fan. Then, there was this...

I'm probably going to get in trouble with Night Owl if I keep Bogarting all the Ron Cey cards. This is a great card, though. Great mustache, and a beautiful signature. (Did you notice that all of these are on-card autos?) This Cey thing, though, the Owl's gotta take at least some credit for it, because he does a great job of presenting what a cool, fun player the Penguin was to the rest of us. It's hard not to want the guy's cards.

I wasn't gonna get O.J. and the 3 $5 autos, but I got news of some incoming money while I was at the store and said "screw it, it's Christmas". So, this was my Christmas to myself. (The Doerr auto should still be there, for the 3 of you who haven't gotten him TTM yet. Let me know if you want me to pick it up as trade bait.)

This wasn't all I got, though! Bob was putting together card grab bags while I was there, and as I sometimes do while he's getting together random cards for the grab bag contingent, I went through some of the stuff he had in the "headed to the grab bag" boxes.

Wow, it's Re-Pete!

There's no way I could pass this one up.

 There were a whole mess of CMC minor league cards, so I went through them all. This card of Billy Bean jumped out at me, of course. Not to be confused with A's GM Billy Beane, Bean was only the second Major League player to come out as a homosexual, the first being Glenn Burke, who did it during his playing career. Bean didn't do it until he'd been retired a while, and from what I've read in interviews, he suffered mightily for being closeted while he was an active ballplayer, even missing a funeral of a lover of his during the worst of the AIDS epidemic here for fear he'd be "caught". It's pretty rough stuff, and while it's hard to imagine doing something like that, chances are pretty good that most of us have never been in his particular position, where so much was staked on his masculinity. He eventually wrote a book about his experiences called Going The Other Way which I'd like to read at some point, being that two of my strong interests (baseball and gay culture) intersect in it.

 On to a lighter subject, here's Claude Osteen in a really cool uniform!

Paul Blair coaching in the O's farm system...

...and finally today, Ron Washington not lookin' so good.

So, that was "Christmas". Here's hoping your Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice, Festivus or whatever you celebrate, if anything (if you don't celebrate anything, just have an awesome end of the year) is pretty solid!

Monday, December 10, 2012

East Dover First Aid Card Show Report

So, Sunday, I was at another edition of Dr. Wax's card show at the East Dover First Aid department in Toms River, NJ. Toms River resident and current Reds player Todd Frazier was the guest of honor, and the joint was packed. Dr. Wax has heard from our dealer friend Linda, but not from another dealer who lived in Seaside, but hopefully he will soon. Dealers had great sales days, Todd seemed like a pretty great kid, lots of people there who knew Todd dating back to his Little League days, and the charity auctions run by Dr. Wax, Todd, and featuring a bunch of great items from Rich Altman's Hollywood Collectibles were a hit and a lot of fun. (Still waiting for video to surface on YouTube of Todd salsa dancing to Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad" after the signed Victor Cruz jersey hit $250, though...).

I did not get pictures, alas, because the dealers all had such great stuff that my head was buried in the bargain bins for most of the show, but man, what bargains! Here are some of the highlights...

Couple of nice '62 Posts, including the Maris which I've wanted for a while now, $5 each!
A whole mess of cheap Isles! First 2 are OPC, rest of the old 'uns are Topps. Throughout the day, contrary to how I remember the last hockey strike being ("Eh, who needs 'em?"), the conversation at the show kept coming back to "I just want hockey back!". A lot of us needed a hug.

A 1971 Jack In The Box California Angels Alex Johnson card! This was a buck! (Got a buncha fun oddball stuff from the same $1 box, and passed on a ton more, but the guy seems like he's a regular dealer there now.) Blank back, a little longer horizontally than your average card, but how often do you find oddball Alex Johnson stuff?

Yep. A promo card for Bo's book, issued by his publisher. Also a buck.

A signed Mike Vail minor league card from '75. Beaten to hell. Signature looks legit, matched up against some on Google Images. Who'd forge Mike Vail's signature? I mean, seriously, what kinda person would be that low-down and dirty? $1.

Hoyt Wilhelm, coaching for the Tacoma Yankees. '78 Cramer Sports issue. A buck.

'82 Topps Cracker Jack Hank Aaron. A buck.

Bernie on the Clippers! A buck.

You've seen the dollar bin, now behold the dime bin, same guy! They're a little ratty, but these finished off my '86 Topps box bottom set. $.10 for the whole deal.

This was a really cool find. It's an original photograph of the facade of Memorial Stadium. Date unknown. $.10.

Y SO FORMAL DONRUSS? '87 Giant Mike Scott, a dime.

Looks a little longer than usual, right? (That's what she said.)

My first Baseball Talk card. Yep, a dime. Anyone know of a site that recorded all of these?

Another first. My first Sportscaster card! I got 6 in total, Ron Cey, Randy Jones and 4 other non-player-specific ones that I should test you guys on the featured players of, but I had to show off the Penguin. These cards were a LOT bigger than I thought they'd be (I was thinking '70s recipe card size, but they were close to '80 Topps Giant size). Very cool stuff, and all a dime a pop.

And the back!

Another super-cool find! From Baseball Cards magazine in '85, some custom Chuck Connors cards, including him on the Bums (pic supplied by Chuck himself) and a painted '52 Topps Chuck Connors done by my old cartooning teacher Gerry Dvorak, who painted the '53 Topps set (and some of the '52 set, if I remember correctly). Awesome to get a cool Gerry piece like this, especially for a dime.

The backs!

We'll finish off with some of those '80 Topps Giants I mentioned earlier, all of which were also a dime. (Check out that foreshadowing...) I got 14 of these in total, but I'll just stick to a few.


For a guy who's often portrayed in the media as such a miserable bastard, Kingman sure seems to smile a lot in pictures...

...almost as often as Ted Simmons looks ridiculously high in his.

Gorman Thomas is not amused. That's not a stain on the card, it's smoke coming from the wreckage of whatever Gorman just destroyed before posing for this.

So, yeah, tons of fun, cheap oddball stuff bought to spread some dough around among the local dealers, and a ton of money was raised for good causes during the charithy auctions. Win-win.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Last-Minute Reminder: Todd Frazier at Dr. Wax's Card Show TODAY!


Time: December 9, 2012 from 9am to 3pm
Location: East Dover First Aid Building
Street: 530 Garfield Ave
City/Town: Toms River NJ 08753
Phone: 732-506-9311
Door Prizes - every 30 minutes
 Rich Altman's Hollywood Collectibles, Inc. Presents Cincinnati Reds Rookie Phenom Todd Frazier signing autographs ($39 / $49) from 10:00AM-Noon followed by a Charity Auction with 100% of the proceeds being donated. Once the Charity Auction is complete the regular monthly auction will begin.
LIVE - Regular Monthly Auction Lots begin at 1:00pm due to signing
50 tables of Sports Cards, non-sports cards, comics, coins, toys, memorabilia, vintage Classic Rock and other collectibles

THE BATMOBILE - Get YOUR pic taken inside for SANDY VICTIMS
More details here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A few from my local...

Had a trip to my local on the agenda today, mostly to menace Bob as I'll be facing him in the first round of fantasy f00'ball playoffs, but I ended up picking up a couple of things, nice little hodgepodge of stuff, while I was there, too.

This Magic Johnson is from the new Panini Prizm set. As with anything this shiny and chrome-like, it looks much better when it's not on a scanner bed, but it still looks pretty alright.

Hey, an Archives I needed (actually needed a few there, but I'm not gonna make y'all look at Swisher), and it's a great picture, too! Slowly but surely, I'm finishing the base set. It grew on me.

I also grabbed this foil-stamped nonsense as well, because I was feeling generous and because Whitey was sorta lookin' at me.

'Sup, Broadway? Man, could your old team use you these days. I've been finding a bunch of Namath stuff lately, always glad to add more. On that note, since I realized while I was there that I had a store credit for a few bucks, I threw it toward this...


Apparently Bob, who played the hell out of the '71 Topps f00'ball game, hated this card as a kid because it always screwed him. It was sorta the "Take a walk on the Boardwalk" of the game inserts. Still, another nice '70s Namath for me, and I'm sorta working on this set so this was a nice one to scratch off the list.