Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014/2015

How’d I do on 2014?

Woof.

We’ve covered that this was a tough year, right?

Despite that, I’ve gotten some shit done.

The goals I met from my 2014 Card Collecting Goals post:
"2. Acquire at least 5 more playing era Brooklyn Dodger cards I need": Yep, I got this one. I didn’t get anything really gaudy this year, but I bought a few post-war Bums, and I even traded for a few pre-war Bums, which was kind of awesome!

"4. Acquire at least 5 cards from my top 25, including at least 1 from my Top 10": as predicted, I didn’t get any closer to my Top 10 than #10, the 1964 Topps Willie Horton card, but I did get it!



See?

I got some other cards with it, too!



The rest of these '64 Tigers, including Mr. Mossi, were part of a 7 card lot that Willie came from that cost $13 shipped. The Horton's off-center as you can see, but these other cards are some of the nicest raw '64s I've ever seen. So, chasing the easiest card to get from the Top 10 worked out OK.

There was also a pretty steady churn of the items at the bottom of the list, and I reckon that’ll continue for the near future.

"5. Finish at least 10 sets of more than 400 cards, including at least 1 '70s Topps set": I spent a little money to do it, but I nuked this. 1971, 1974, 1976 and 1977 Topps are done (setting me up with a run from 1974-1994), and I picked off a bunch of others (1981 and 1983 Fleer, 1993 Donruss, 1992 Leaf, 1997 and 2005 Topps, and 1993 Upper Deck) as well!

"6. Trade more, and get back to actually doing trade posts": I didn’t make as many trade posts as I’d have liked to, but I did make a few. I definitely made some trades, though, which was nice. Here’s hoping for more in ’15!

"7. Chase fewer insert sets": This wasn’t hard at all. I was broke for most of the year, so I didn’t rip wax, didn’t buy a lot of single inserts, and really wasn’t inspired to do much with ’14 insert sets at all. I’m hoping the ’15s will be equally boring to me.

"9. Find more affordable old wax from sets I need, and open some of it once in a while for the hell of it": I didn’t do a lot of this, but I was VERY happy to find a bunch of 1981 Fleer Star Stickers wax, and even built a complete set from it! Got a bunch of doubles, too, if anyone's interested!

"10.  Begin work in earnest on the 2002 SP Legendary Cuts Legendary Bat relic set": Hey, I got one!



I’ll keep working on this, because it’s a sweet set, and even if the wood’s from a toilet seat or something, it still looks great. Some of the names in it are intimidating as hell, of course, but the prices on those cards are not as bad as you'd expect.

Here's my want list for 2002 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Legendary Bat:

Alvin Dark
Bobby Bonds
Babe Ruth
Cal Ripken Jr.
Dave Parker
Duke Snider
Elston Howard
Early Wynn
George Kell
Gaylord Perry
Hank Greenberg
Jackie Robinson
Johnny Mize
Lefty Grove
Mickey Mantle
Mark McGwire
Nellie Fox
Nolan Ryan
Pee Wee Reese
Rocky Colavito
Ralph Kiner
Roger Maris
Ryne Sandberg
Robin Yount
Steve Garvey
Tony Gwynn
Tony Kubek
Tony Lazzeri
Thurman Munson
Tom Seaver
Willie Stargell
Yogi Berra

The goals I missed:

1. Acquire at least 10 more '07 Upper Deck Goudey high numbers: this set is gonna be the death of me.

3. Acquire at least 5 more 1951 Topps Ringside cards I need: I got a few this year, but I’m pretty sure I fell short of doing 5. No worries, as I’ve still got almost half of a beautiful set that came out in 1951.



Gotta love Ringside.

8. Buy complete sets when possible, even if I don't get to post ALL TEH NEW PUIGS 5 minutes after they hit Target: definitely need to plan for this in ’15. I wanna open some ’15 Topps flagship wax when it comes out, but just a few packs for fun, so I can shoot for a factory set. Through trades and other devious means, I’ll be hand-building the ’14 set (and if you’ve got a ton of it laying around, please send it my way)

2015 Goals:

1. Pause the football and basketball collections: aside from completing sets that I’m close on (there’s a few football I’m trying to finish, and I do want to finish ’86-’87 Fleer basketball, since I’ve got the tough card out of the way there), not much from these. Just not relevant to me at the moment. I’m not watching football as avidly as I was even last season (the NFL did that), and I’ve barely watched hoops since Jordan retired the 2nd time (which was, what, 2 out of 3 retirements? 4?). Don’t get me wrong, if I see something I really like for the right price, I’ll buy it, but it’s not going to be a focus this year if I can help it. On my way out the door, as an "OK, if I don't make a point to buy a specific football card for a while, let me make it good" present, I did grab this, because it's completely and totally friggin' awesome...


Yep, it's a goddamn Refrigerator Perry auto.

2. Stick to buying complete sets whenever possible: This one’s a repeat from last year, one of a few. I’ll undoubtedly buy packs of some things (2015 Topps looks fun, so I’ll do that and grab some trade stuff out of it), but it’s time to get serious about not manually set-building and not ripping wax unless I absolutely have to. Have you ever tried building a Topps Finest set without opening any packs? That shit’s hard! Definitely getting ’15 Finest from a case breaker. As for the rest of the sets I usually build? Let me see what they look like. Archives, I love the '57 and '83 designs, but '76 looks awkward and they made the set 100 cards bigger, so I gotta think about it. Haven’t seen a ’15 Ginter sell sheet, ’15 Heritage look as awful and boring as we’d been predicting they would, and (here we go again with this complaint) I wasn’t in love with the card stock on ’14 Stadium Club, so I’m taking a wait-and-see on ’15, too.

3. Get autographed cards (either certified or in-person) of at least 5 of my favorite players: Bernie Williams has been my favorite ballplayer of all time for a good while now. It’s a sin that I don’t have his autograph. Mark Buehrle, Reggie Jackson, Wade Boggs and Eric Davis, ditto. Hell, my SISTER has a Reggie Jackson autograph, and I don't!

I did add my first autos of 2 of my favorite players down the home stretch this year, though.





The Vlad's awkward lookin', but it's a Vlad auto, so screw it. The Dunn? Gorgeous. Love it.

4. Reconnect with writing about cards: I think the direction I’m trying to take right now, ideally toward slowing life down and appreciating what I have more, will help with this. I’m not gonna put a number of pieces per month or anything on this, but I’ll look back at the end of next year, and I’ll know how I did. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the attempt, too.

5. Unload the trade boxes: I have a LOT of cards here that I don’t need. I’ll be exploring my options all year on how best to rid myself of, oh, 60,000 of them or so. Stay tuned!

6. Get at least 5 more Brooklyn Dodger cards, including one from my Brooklyn Dodger Top 5: I didn’t have that last part in last year’s version of this, but this is one of the ones I did accomplish in ’14. Seems like a good thing to keep working on, so I will.

7. Get 6 more 1951 Topps Ringside cards: 6 more will bring me to 48 cards, or the halfway mark on a set that turns 65 this year. Unfrigginbelievable. Totally affordable, too. I don’t start getting backed into a corner on the pricey ones for maybe another 20 cards.

Here’s my want list for 1951 Topps Ringside:

1 Gus Lesnevich
2 Henry Armstrong
4 Jimmy Flood
7 Gino Buonvino
13 Billy Soose
15 James Carter
16 Art Aragon
19 Dan Bucceroni
22 Beau Jack
24 James Braddock
27 Petey Scalzo
28 Sal Bartolo
32 Rocky Marciano
33 Walter Cartier
36 Vic Toweel
39 Benny Leonard42 Tiger Flowers
47 Bob Montgomery
48 Rocky Castellani
49 Bob Murphy
50 Lou Ambers
51 Jess Willard
52 Lee Savold
54 James Jeffries
55 Bob Fitzsimmons
56 Joe Gans
58 Rex Layne
59 James J. Corbett
61 Pete Mead
63 Tony Canzoneri
64 Ray Miller
66 Luis Firpo
67 Paul Berlenbach
68 Steve Belloise
69 John L. Sullivan
71 Tony Pellone
75 Kid Gavilan vs. Paddy Young
76 Bill Bossio
78 Fritzie Zivic
79 Ray Famechon
80 Walter Cartier vs. Eugene Hairston
82 Joey DeJohn
83 Fred Apostoli
85 Jersey Joe Walcott vs. Ezzard Charles
87 Tommy Loughran
88 Joe Louis
89 Carlos Chavez
90 Nick Barone
91 Jimmy Herring
93 Marty Servo
94 Paddy DeMarco
95 Gene Tunney
96 Ezzard Charles

8. Focus more on players with fuller careers: This one’s got to do with how human beings behave, which can be unpredictable at times. Sometimes, people don't fully out themselves as total jerks until well after they retire, and I'm aware of that, but if a player's been around a while, talked to the media some, had a Twitter account, that sorta thing, you get some idea of who they are both on the field and off. And don't get me wrong, prospecting's fun, and it's something I'll continue to do to some degree, but I sorta think I should pump the brakes on starting player collections of fairly young players moving forward. OK, so I've added Jose Altuve to the list of active players I collect, but that's *it*, you guys!

9. Complete 5 more “flagship”-sized (400 or more cards) sets: I don’t have as many of them lingering this year, because I put a huge push on, but I wanna keep finishing the sets I’m building. It’s gonna get challenging after another year or two of this, because the “easy” stuff (you know, like 1971 Topps) will already be done.

10. Get at least 5 2007 Upper Deck Goudey high number cards: This one was the biggest whiff of 2014. It’s a TOUGH set, though! I do think it’s important to finish, though, even if I’m having some thoughts about not finishing the “Head’s Up” cards. They’re on the regular high number checklist, but they don’t look like 1-240 (and I’m not in love with the look of them, truthfully). I do have a fair number of those cards, though, so we’ll see. Overall, I have 31 of 88 cards, so I need 57. If I can’t get 5 cards from a particular set in a fairly normal year, on the resources I have, I’m not doing this right. If you’ve got this stuff, please trade it to me!

Here’s my want list for 2007 Goudey:

Regular SPs:

203 Cal Ripken Jr.
204 Harmon Killebrew
205 Reggie Jackson
207 Carlton Fisk
208 Yogi Berra
209 Al Kaline
210 Alan Trammell
211 Bill Mazeroski
212 Bob Gibson
213 Brooks Robinson
215 Don Mattingly
218 Lou Brock
219 Rod Carew
222 Tony Gwynn
223 Wade Boggs
224 Alex Rodriguez
225 David Wright
228 Ken Griffey Jr.
229 Daisuke Matzuzaka
230 Kei Igawa
231 Akinori Iwamura
233 Albert Pujols
235 David Ortiz
238 Pedro Martinez
239 Roger Clemens
240 Vladimir Guerrero

Heads Up (no writing):

241 Ken Griffey Jr.
242 Derek Jeter
243 Ichiro Suzuki
246 Kei Igawa
247 Joe Mauer
248 Babe Ruth
249 Johnny Bench
251 Carlton Fisk
252 Albert Pujols
254 Ryan Howard
257 Harmon Killebrew
258 Alex Rodriguez
259 David Ortiz
260 David Wright
262 Justin Verlander

Heads Up (with writing):

265 Ken Griffey Jr.
267 Ichiro Suzuki
268 Cal Ripken Jr.
269 Daisuke Matsuzaka
271 Joe Mauer
273 Johnny Bench
274 Reggie Jackson
275 Carlton Fisk
276 Albert Pujols
277 Nolan Ryan
278 Ryan Howard
279 Mike Schmidt
282 Alex Rodriguez
283 David Ortiz
284 David Wright
285 Al Kaline

11. (A bonus goal!) I’ve come up with a system I’m going to try to work within, for some of what I’d consider the “key” card and card set goals I have. Ready for it? Here goes. I’m going to try this 2 card rotation out on eBay, and I’m going to shoot for keeping my purchases around $5 per card (though obviously, I won’t be able to do that forever on some of these, and I’ll make exceptions if something extraordinary is out there).

January/April/July/October:

Brooklyn Dodgers (all)
1951 Topps Ringside

February/May/August/November:

1959 Fleer Ted Williams
2002 SP Legendary Cuts Bat Relics

March/June/September/December:

2007 Goudey
Autographs of players I like

If I nail anything for under $5, I can “bank” that money for the next round of purchases.

I think it’s a good way to keep myself engaged in the market for these cards, a good way to monitor the market, it makes reasonably good financial sense (as anything card collecting goes, anyway) and it gives me something to look forward to.

So, that's where I'm at. How'd you do this year, and what do you have planned for next year?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quick note on trades

Interest in trading with me has experienced a resurgence, which is fun. I've done two very quick from-scratch deals since I started the "Anyone? Anyone?" feature, and I'm getting a lot of emails from people I'm just getting to know now, and lots of you wanna do deals, which I'll be happy to look into.

However, with it being December and there being holidays and with my life still being kind of a mess, it may take me longer than what I consider "usual" to get a look at your want/trade lists and/or to contact you all. I'm not blowing you off, I'm just swamped. Please bear with me as I finalize stuff with the folks who are ahead of you in line, and get slightly less discombulated. Thanks for your patience!

To tide you over, here's some fun stuff I just got from Daniel at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop, from one of those deals I mentioned in the beginning.


I should have a year-end wrap-up and a 2015 goals post up soon, too, so there's that.

Hope everyone's doing well, and has a good holiday (or non-holiday, if you believe in nothing, Lebowski).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Joy Of A Completed Set: 1971 Topps Baseball

I don't plan on making a habit of doing this.

OK, maybe if I finish a few of the larger, more impossible-to-complete sets, I might do this again. Maybe 1959, 1961, 1964, 1967 or 1972 Topps. I also really adore the simplicity of 2008 Upper Deck and the photography is gorgeous. Thing is, none of those sets, off the top of my head, would inspire me to scan and post the card backs of every single card, no matter how psyched Night Owl would be to read all the cartoons. In this case, I really like the backs of 1971 Topps cards, even with the abbreviated stats. So, I went for it.

"Going for it" in this case involved more than the 5 hours of loading Ultra Pro sheets and scanning 84 double-sided pages. It also took about 4 years' worth of steady chasing, after picking up a few cards here and there over the previous 31 or so years I'd been buying bubble gum cards. It actually didn't involve spending more than $20 for any single card (not more than $10 on most of it, but I've no way of reliably tracking that, as eBay doesn't make it easy for us to see all of our purchases anymore), but I also got a LOT of help from people. In particular, Stubby and Tim contributed mightily, and huge thanks go out to them.

Then there was the guy who I bought the shoebox from at the flea market, $50 for a shoebox lot which is normally kind of a big chunk of change, but it had the majority of the '75 Topps set (my reason for buying) and "a few '71s and '72s", which turned out to be a few '72 high numbers, and about 150 1971 6th and 7th series cards, if memory serves. There were over 90 of the 7th series, I know that much, and when I was through combining them with the few I had by that point, I think I needed 9 of the 7th series cards. So, yeah, that happened, too, and without it, I wouldn't have had a chance in hell of doing this. So, thank you, guy who sold me the shoebox, because that really helped, and in hindsight, as much as I love the '75 set, too, it's almost an afterthought in that deal, crazy as that probably sounds.

Did I consider building it before that happened? Well, I was talking to Bob a number of years ago about finishing the '72 set, when I naively thought I had "a lot" because at the time, I had maybe 70 cards (granted, the Clemente and the Cey/Oglivie rookies were both in there), and we talked about how heartbreakingly impossible both were because of the high series. '71 seemed even more out of reach than '72, because I hardly had any, and there were all these keys to worry about. Munson. Garvey. Ryan. Mays. Aaron. Clemente. Hell, at that point, I thought I'd be lucky if I got the Dock Ellis card! I can't say that the discussion didn't make me go "Hmmm, maybe someday...", though. And, as it turns out, "someday" was about a month ago, when the last few cards arrived.

I almost didn't live long enough to get the mail that day, because I got into a car accident earlier in the afternoon that I was very fortunate to walk away from, even if I "walked away" with a concussion. A Hummer H2 hit the driver's side of my car travelling about 35 mph, and breached my gas tank, so it still could've been so much worse. When I got home from being checked out at the hospital, I saw the package in my mailbox and kinda laughed about it, "Wow, I almost died without ever getting to put these cards in with the rest of the set", but it was pretty serious, and I'm still trying to track down another car that I can afford. Feeling better, though, so there's that.

If you're wondering which card was "the last card", there are a few answers to that. #575 Bill Freehan was the last one I purchased, but it arrived before the final 4 cards, which were #70 NL Pitching Leaders, #72 NL Strikeout Leaders, #264 Joe Morgan and #300 Brooks Robinson. I actually used Brooksie when I mentioned my goal of finishing this set in my 2014 Collecting Goals post at the end of last year, his card number is the highest, and I'm not gonna go with a leaders card or a Joe Morgan card with a weird picture (those action shots weren't all Thurman Munson) for the exclamation point at the end of this story, so we're gonna go with Brooks Robinson. That's what I told Bob yesterday when I went in to get the binder and the sheets the cards now reside in.

The set is far from ready for PSA submission. Some of it's in "just happy to be here" condition. I was pretty surprised at how good those aforementioned high numbers looked, though. For some reason, I didn't remember them being fairly sharp for their age and provenance. (OK, I'll stop before you all show up at my door with torches and pitchforks.)

Anyway, yeah, the cards. I'm going to absolutely pummel you all with the written content I've starved you of for most of the last year in one spot here, because I may comment on every page. I may not, but seriously, there's great stuff on just about every page of this album. At least the fronts. The backs, well, we may let them tell their own stories. We'll see how this goes. Thanks for bearing with me, and enjoy!


What a way to start a set! OK, the Orioles team isn't visually extraordinary at #1, but then you have that Dock Ellis card I was talking about. From there, we have our first Dick of the set! (Year Of Dicks note: as I was looking through all the '71s, it seemed like there were a LOT of Dicks in this set. We'll see.) We've got George Scott down in the corner preparing to kill something with that bat and...am I forgetting something? Oh yeah. MUNSON. Dead center. Really, if the first card *wasn't* Dock Ellis, it should've been the Munson.

(Because this post is bogging down my site like whoa, I'm inserting a jump break after page one. I promise the whole set's visible after the jump. Cool with y'all? Cool.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Feature Starting Today: Anyone? Anyone?

I know I probably shouldn't be quoting Ben Stein given my political leanings, but yes, I'm naming my new, ongoing, not-showing-up-at-any-set-time feature after his most famous quote (of the things he said publicly, anyway).

Basically, I have something like 60,000 cards in my trade box (and probably a lot more that I could easily add to it; I haven't gone into the player collection boxes with much ruthless intent yet). So, it's time to do something with these things. I was going to wait until after the first of the year to start doing this (as so to line up with the 2015 Collecting Goals post I've got just about done), but I'm not doing very much at the moment, so let me get started on it now. The PSA 10 Jeter was sort of a "soft opening" on this, though it's probably the most MOJO! MOJO! thing you'll see here.

Here's how this is how this is gonna work:

From time to time, I'll post scans of cards or occasionally, if it's a big lot of cards, I'll write a list of the numbers involved. Sometimes, if it's a very big lot, I'll just count 'em out, take a picture of the stack of cards, and call it a day. (Nope, not writing another proper trade list. Not now, not ever. Too hard to keep up with at the volume I deal with.)

I'll mention if they're available for trade, or if I'd like cash (and if I mention cash, I'll give a price "or best offer").

If you're interested in something, email me and we'll take it from there. Nothing elaborate or confusing, these are just trade/for sale posts with a silly name.

When you contact me, let me know if you'd like to see a back scan, if you care what the serial number is on the card, things like that.

You can also "call dibs" in the comments, but for reliability's sake, make sure you email me first, because this stuff is all first-come, first-served, and I also don't want to lose track of anything you may be interested in.

As I burn through things, I will try my absolute best to make a note that they're gone, but I make no promises there. If you're curious, just ask.

First up are a lot of flagship Topps and Topps Update bronze parallels!

For clarification's sake, since there are dupes of a few of these, and in at least one case (Goldschmidt), I didn't put the dupes next to each other, if you're requesting something, PLEASE let me know what page of cards it's on, and what spot on the page it's in. For example: Page 1, Spot 7 is a 2009 Topps Corey Hart of some sort, so that's what you'd ask for. If by some bizarre chance you'd like all 76 of these cards, then you'd just ask for all 76 of the cards. Easy, yes?

Here we go!

Page 1:
 

Page 2:


'09 Brandon Phillips (Spot 7) is taken!

Page 3:


Page 4:


Page 5:


Page 6:


Page 7:


Page 8:


Page 9:


'12 Danny Duffy (Spot 1) is taken!

Page 10:


'14 Hyun-Jin Ryu (Spot 4) is taken!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

PSA 10 Jeter minor league card, anyone?


Yeah, it's available.

$200 or best offer.

(The only 10 on eBay right now is at $229 or so.)

No trade offers on this one, I have a car to replace, Christmas presents to buy, and all manner of other things to pay for.

Email me to make arrangements!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

This year...

It isn't over yet, but this year has been rough.


(We'll look at some '50 Bowman Bums I got recently while I'm talking about this, just to make it easier. This here's Jimmy Russell.)

I had all sorts of grandiose plans at the beginning of the year, both for this site (we'll get to those in a minute) and in general. Things were off to a decent start. I was posting here regularly. I was working on some things. I even won a Super Bowl pool for the second year in a row!

Then, things started happening.

I'm afraid to type out a list of every "major life event" that I or the people around me have been through this year, for fear that I'll slight someone. It's been rough in both my immediate circle of people, and in the world at large this year. In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure if it was any more rough than it usually is for people, but I and the people around me certainly felt like it was. Lotta passings, both friends and family (I'm officially at "that age"). Lotta things going wrong. Lotta people struggling to find common ground. Lotta people just plain struggling. And, hey, it's only December 7th, so I really hope things quiet down at least a little (to the degree that they can around the winter holidays), we've got a few more weeks to go on this calendar year.


(Jack Banta.)

At the same time, I had a lot of fun when and where I could. I turned 40, and celebrated my birthday in pretty grand fashion at Barcade. I went to my first Lebowski Fest, and got to see the Muhammad Ali Center while I was in town. I went to the Asbury Park Comic Con. I saw a bunch of concerts. I made some new friends, and reconnected with old ones. I travelled a bunch, not always for the greatest of reasons, but I got to see parts of my country that were new to me, and experienced new things while I was in them. I caught a few ballgames. And, of course, I got some more bubble gum cards.

If I've seemed incommunicado, out of breath, or kinda scattered this year, either here, on Twitter or in our trade correspondence, it's just been one of those years. As I type this, I'm sitting in a room that's been a place I throw things in between running around all year, but I won't be doing much running around for a bit (I totalled my car in mid-November, and while I'm relatively OK and that's the important part, it's gonna take a minute to replace it even if I don't spend a cent on cards for a while...). I'm exhausted, trying to catch up, still actually dealing with some "major life event"-type things, and just kinda lookin' around like "WHA HAPPEN?!?!?!".

Just the same, life does go on until it don't, so I'm trying to keep at the things I enjoy. I'm cleaning up around here, and putting away cards I've gotten over the 2nd half of this year. I'm gonna be looking at the remainder of my in-progress trades this coming week, to see who needs what sent to them (though that, I've made pretty amazing progress on, considering that I really wasn't home for a lot of this year). I'm figuring out what directions to move forward in with my collection (right now, I have a lot of stuff and I'm trying to get too much more). And, I am also trying to enjoy what's in front of me.


(Bobby Morgan. All 3 of these '50 Bowmans, common Dodgers though they may be, came in one lot for a little over $7 shipped. How amazing is that?)

I'm already working on my actual '14 wrap-up piece, starting to figure out my '15 collecting goals, and past that? I'm hoping I have a minute to think or breathe sometime soon.

As for this year's pet project, The Year Of Dicks? No, I haven't forgotten about it. I just might've been a year early with it. We'll look at it at or around the first of the year, dig?