Friday, May 20, 2016

Rangers from Jedi Jeff

The other half of 2x3 Heroes' Jedi Jeff's envelope contained New York Rangers. Their "effort" in this year's playoffs reminded me of some teachers I know at this time of the year....'Let's get this over with so we can go do summer stuff'. Golf does have it's charms I guess.

Anyway these cards from Jeff remind me of better times. Mike Richter up there is a Stanley Cup winning goalie. I like typing that. And Mark Messier...well when he was on the ice you knew there was one guy out there who would do whatever it took to win.

Remember when hockey players didn't wear helmets? I do. Heck I remember playing without a helmet. Crazy.

When I think 'Wayne Gretzky' I never think 'Rangers'. And that puzzles me because he was with NYR for three seasons. You know what else I never think...'St. Louis Blues'. He played 18 games with them.

More foil that doesn't scan well. Trust me, these are nice looking cards.

I loved Pat Verbeek, he could score. But if you believe in the +/- thing his numbers don't look that good.

I was sick when the Rangers dealt Carl Hagelin. One of those salary cap kind of things. And I was sicker still when I watched him the other night skating for the Pens. I kind of hope he gets his mane on the Cup...then again, maybe not.

Martin St. Louis' tenure with NYR was short but sweet. And buying his jersey taught me to never again buy a player specific piece of clothing, especially one as pricey as a hockey sweater.

Brian Leetch...good times.

Rick Nash....poof..a disappearing act. But SP has some really nice cards, no?

Zoook! He's like Messier, always doing all he can.

These are really sweet hockey cards. I really appreciate them Jeff. Wish I had a team I could root for because I miss watching Cup playoff games.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cards from Jedi Jeff...ok, I don't have a meme-like title for this

OK, I haven't completely abandoned the ship but I've certainly been neglecting the helm lately. I've been involved in a non-sport project lately that's kind of taken over my collecting focus and I'll post some of that next. Today I want to show off some cards that Jeff of 2x3 Heroes sent my way awhile back but I haven't acknowledged until now. Sorry about that, Jeff.

I'll break these into two posts as Jeff sent cards for fill two needs. Today I'll post Orioles cards he sent and in my next post I'll feature NY Rangers. I still need some time to get past the pain of the Rangers' lame, gutless and pathetic and whimpering exit from this year's NHL Playoffs. 

Anyway here are the Birds!

Frank Robinson shows off some hardware in a Topps History of the Game card. never seen this picture of FRobby. He was the 1966 MVP. Heady days indeed.

This is a sticker from a Wacky Pack-sort of insert set.

I really miss having Nick Markakis in B'more. Last I checked he's back to wearing the 'scruffy' look. But he was clean and classy in this Upper Deck card.

Gregg Zaun was 38 years old when this card hit the market. He looks 60.

A Panini Brooks. Not a bad no-logo card. Oh, btw....Happy 79th Birthday to my baseball idol. Brooks stands for everything right about sports.

JJ Hardy fills an open slot in my 2015 Stadium Club binder.

Big Lee Smith. His only year with the Orioles was 1994, the strike/walkout/lockout year. That was the last year I followed baseball prior to my own 'walkout' that lasted about 15 years. '94 was a really good season for Smith as he led the league in saves and made the All Star team.

Arthur Rhodes, another larger than life Orioles pitcher. He was better in other places.

Assorted 90s era Birds and other things. I must have been asleep when Vlad Guerrero was an Oriole. EDIT: I just looked him up and see it was 20111 and his last season. He hit .290 so there ya go. the other three had some memorable moments in Charm City, both good and bad.

Kevin Gausman reminds me of NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte in this one.

And finally a couple of guys who had interesting tenures with the O's. Mora's days with Baltimore were winding down when I started to pay attention again. He and Brian Roberts were established and popular and the attention they got made me feel like I had missed something.

Thanks again, Jeff. I really do have some stuff for you. It's just taken me some time to get it together.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why Ask Why?

Having an eBay seller pad the toploader with a bonus card is a fairly common occurrence. At least for me. I buy a lot of single cards because when I pick up a guy for my fantasy teams I lack the patience to wait until a COMC order makes sense.

Usually the card is trash worthy...a 1994 Flair Stan Javier or something along those lines. But a couple of weeks ago I pulled a toploader from a small envelope and in addition to my purchased card I found this 1974 Topps Ellie Rodriguez.

Is it in pristine condition? Nope. Is it a star player? Nope. Is it even a great shot? Nope. Is it even worth anything? Nope.

But the horrid airbrushed beauty of a '74 Topps Rodriguez  beats the hell out of a '94 Flair Stan Javier any day of the week. 1974 was Rodriguez' busiest year btw. He had 485 plate appearances and career highs in homers (7) and RBI (36).

He was originally a Yankee and was taken by the Royals in the '68 expansion draft. As a first year Royal he made the '69 All Star team but didn't play in the game and when he made the '72 All Star team while with the Brewers he again sat and watched. But hey, that's two more All Star teams than you or I made.

He twice led the AL in throwing out would-be base stealers and was in general a fine defensive catcher. He now serves as a consultant to the independent Atlantic League.

Monday, May 2, 2016

1992 Shell Oil Presidential Coins Set

My father wasn't a collector (so I didn't get the bug from him) but he did decorate his home office with items related to his long time employer, Shell Oil. Mostly it was the sort of stuff you find at Michael's and Hobby Lobby...'vintage' Shell signs, 'antique' miniature Shell gas pumps, that sort of thing. He had a few die-cast tanker trucks as well.

He also kept some of the Shell service station giveaways that we'd picked up through the years. Yes, gas stations used to do that sort of thing. And we always, always, ALWAYS bought Shell gas. That's a habit I have maintained to this day.

I have a few of his items stored away and every once in awhile I come across something Shell related that catches my eye and I grab it if the price is right. This Presidential Collectors coin set hit a couple of my areas of interest. It was an early 1990s item and there are a couple of different types of coins/holder I believe. I have no memory of the promotion at all. I'd have been all over it back then I'm sure.

Anyway the eBay seller listed it as 'complete'. It was dirt cheap and I didn't examine it all that closely before I pulled the trigger on a B-I-N. If you look back at the picture up top you will notice what I noticed as I took it out of the package. Yup, two Teddy Roosevelt coins and no Thomas Jefferson. I wasn't put off much by that. I'd seen the individual coins available so I found a single Jefferson and ordered it for a couple of bucks and then messaged the set seller just to let him know.

As I said I wasn't angry about it. This wasn't an item I'd been 'chasing' or anything like that but I figured the seller should know. He immediately messaged me back with an apology and offered to find the Jefferson coin for me. Then he sent me another message when he somehow found that I had already purchased the replacement and he reimbursed me for the cost of it. He's obviously a good seller who made an easy-to-make mistake. He had packed this thing as if it held the nuclear warfare launch codes.

Here is the Jefferson, front and back. It arrived on Saturday and it's in better shape than the coins in the original set but some bronze clearner will remedy that.

Bottom line is that I ended up with the complete set plus and extra of one of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt.

Here is the info from the promotion as printed on the back of the coin holder.

And here is how my set looks now with the correct coins in place. I put he ruler there for perspective.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Topps Now...yes, yes I did

I don't have anyone who can verify this but I thought of this concept a long time ago. Maybe you did, too. Go to press with a card the day after some event and produce a limited amount ASAP. I think I got the idea from the Gateway Stamp Company who did a lot of great event-dated and postal cancellation cachets. They still do those apparently although they long ago loped me off their mailing list.

It's kind of a neat idea and when I heard Topps was doing it I figured I'd grab one as soon as an Orioles player was so honored. I believe I missed out on a Joey Rickard card (nope). This Chris Davis issue came up and it filled the bill nicely. The card shows his three run dinger in Fenway on April 11.

I love watching Davis hit. He's got that smooth follow-through that's pretty distinctive. And the card itself is fine. Nothing that makes me go 'wow' but it's got Davis, the Orioles logo and some info on his feat. I felt I'd seen it before someplace and then I stumbled across last year's Topps Baseball History inserts that appear to have inspired these. There is a limited print run and the #13 refers to the fact that Davis' card is the 13th in the series which began on Opening Day.

The Topps Now pages give the press run for each but the cards themselves don't give any indication of this. Maybe it's in the fine print down there but my old eyes can't read that.

I haven't been tempted by any of the others other than the Jackie Robinson and briefly the Mark Trumbo but I passed on both. No sense in getting into the habit of routinely nabbing $10 cards. I can see myself pouring my money into that Topps hole if the Orioles would somehow make the Series. This type of card is going to produce some cool post-season cardboard.

I had wondered what Topps would do with an exceptionally slow baseball day and today I found out. Today's issue 'honored' (commemorated is probably the operative word) the end of Jake Arrieta's shutout inning run at Wrigley which occurred yesterday. Seems like a bit of a reach but maybe not.

Bottom line. I'm happy with my one foray into this type of card but something spectacular involving an Oriole player (or maybe one of my fantasy players) would have to happen for me to be tempted again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

1900 William J Bryan campaign pin

Well, I guess there's nothing like killing off what little readership I have after over a week off than to post a presidential pin but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

This one comes from the 1900 campaign of Williams Jennings Bryan who ran as a Democrat-Populist against William McKinley. Pictured on this jugate with Bryan is his running-mate, Adlai Stevenson I. McKinley won in decisive fashion but was assassinated in 1901 and succeeded by his VP Teddy Roosevelt. It serves as a nice companion piece to my McKinley-Roosevelt pin from that same year.

The paper backing gives a manufacturing date of 1896 which is curious because Bryan was also the Democratic nominee that year against McKinley. But his running mate was Arthur Sewell. I suspect that the company (Whitehead and Hoag, Newark, NJ) reused the paper backs from the 1896 buttons on these Bryan/Stevenson buttons four years later.

The turn of the century was an amazing time in America and I can't read enough about it. There is also a lot of historical fiction set in that era and I read quite a bit of that, too.

Monday, April 18, 2016

HeroDecks Orioles

The Billy Pierce Hero Deck card that I received from Mark Hoyle got me interested in the Orioles Deck (Set?) that I knew was available. Found it on eBay and it's a fun little bunch of cards. They were produced four or five years ago so current players are not here. No Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado or Zack Britton.

It's a cool oddball set. Something you don't see every day. I'm really pleased with the product, more than I thought I'd be. As you'd expect they are the size of standard playing cards. But I won't be dealing these during Friday night home games. They are staying in the box.

Here is Frank Robinson. The company name on these is Parody Productions so that may explain showing Frank smiling while at bat. A smile is the last thing you'd get from FRobby while opposing him on the mound.

The players are very loosely grouped into eras. Players from the same era share a 'suit'.

Players from the 'glory days of the 60s/70s are generally found as 'diamonds' in the deck. I like the artwork. It's very cartoon-ish and fun. I'm surprised that nowhere on the cards, box or website is the artist credited.

Players are more or less assigned a card 'number' that cooresponds to their baseball position. Brooks is 5 as in 3rd base (not his uni number). Palmer is an 'ace', get it? He's an ace. The hitting stars from each era, Frank, Cal, Eddie Murray and Jim Gentile are the 'kings'.

Ellie Hendricks gats a '2' as a catcher, Boog Powell has '3'.

Late 90s, early aughts are 'spades'. Brian Roberts is the closest to a current player as you'll find.

 Cal Jr. is in this grouping but like several others he could have fit into others.

Earl Weaver and Cal Ripken Sr. are the 'jokers'. Since they used managers I might have gone with Paul Richards in place of Cal Sr. but that's my only quibble with the checklist and it's a minor one. 

Players from the 1983 title era are 'hearts'.

Love the fact that they included Dennis Martinez' 'El Presidente' nickname. Denny is my main man!!

Guys who are from the 'old days' i.e. 50s and early 60s, are 'clubs'.

Andy Etchebarren and Curt Blefary are a couple of guys who got shuffled (pun intended) out of their era and into the clubs. I'm glad they did that rather than hold strictly to the era constraints. Although Clint Courtney and Gene Woodling would have been perfectly fine representatives in these spots.

My uncle and I always referred to Blefary as 'Clank'. It was a 'Baltimore thing'. It shows that they did some research to use that nickname.

To me the little things like portraying players in appropriate Orioles unis show a desire to produce a quality product. Love seeing Luis Aparicio drawn in the '63-'65 uniform.

The website sells these decks for $10 plus shipping. You can pick them up for less on eBay. I got this one for $6.

Here is the player checklist:

Al Bumbry
Andy Etchebarren
BJ Surhoff
Bob Nieman
Bobby Grich
Boog Powell
Brady Anderson
Brian Roberts
Brooks Robinson
Cal Ripken
Chris Hoiles
Chuck Estrada
Curt Blefary
Dave McNally
Davey Johnson
Dennis Martinez
Don Baylor
Don Buford
Doug Decinces
Eddie Murray
Elrod Hendricks
Frank Robinson
Gregg Olson
Gus Triandos
Harold Baines
Hoyt Wilhelm
Jackie Brandt
Jerry Adair
Jim Gentile
Jim Palmer
John Lowenstein
Ken Singleton
Lee May
Luis Aparicio
Mark Belanger
Melvin Mora
Miguel Tejada
Mike Boddicker
Mike Cuellar
Mike Flanagan
Mike Mussina
Milt Pappas
Paul Blair
Rafael Palmeiro
Rich Dauer
Rick Dempsey
Ron Hansen
Scott McGregor
Steve Barber
Steve Stone
Tippy Martinez
Wally Bunker