Saturday, February 18, 2017

Last Piece of the Civil War Puzzle

Time to put the Topps Civil War News set to bed with what is probably my last upgrade. I found a copy of card #44 on eBay last week for a decent price and it came in yesterday. It's far from pristine but it fits well with the condition of the rest of the cards in the binder.

It's also not the most graphic or well drawn of the bunch but it does have 'death' in the title so there's that. BTW...if you are scoring at home there are 14 cards of the 88 in this 1962 set that have 'death' in the title, three use the word 'deadly' and three more with 'doom'. 

And if you're thinking that my upgrade card could use an upgrade check out the new one and my original copy scanned together:

That trashed copy was part of my original bulk purchase of 20-something cards last summer. Here are the backs (the improvement is more dramatic in-hand):

So thus ends my pursuit of the Civil War News set. There are a couple of cards that could use a replacement if I decided to be fussy about it but rounded corners don't bother me much. You can check out the post that marked my kicking off this chase by clicking here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2016/17 Panini Houston Rockets

I really hadn't followed the NBA for a long time. 'Time' as measured in decades certainly. Oh, I'd been to a few games here and there as I picked up tickets from friends or some coaches I knew. When the Rockets moved to Houston from San Diego and played on the U of Houston campus we were regulars at the games. After all, they were free for me.

But the last time I considered myself a fan was back when Houston alum Otis Birdsong was playing for the Kansas City Kings.

But last year a friend of my sons took a job with the Rockets media department and we started getting free tickets regularly. It's been a fun experience. I quit griping about the relentless in-game promotions and hype and decided to just enjoy it. And the fact that the Rockets are winning this year helps. So does having seats down low or in a suite. 

James Harden is an obvious MVP candidate and puts up triple doubles regularly but he is surrounded with a lot of offensive firepower.

Defense? The Rockets don't need no stinkin' defense. They rarely play it.

These next two cards are of the two players I've 'adopted' as my favorites. Sam Dekker runs hot and cold from the floor but he's fun to watch.

Eric 'Flash' Gordon is gonna be Sixth Man of the Year' if there is any justice. He made the All Star squad without really being a starter for Houston.

Trevor Ariza is in his second go-round in Houston. He played back in the Yao Ming era I believe. I thought he was a young guy until I looked him up and found that he's been with like six different teams.

I still find it weird that some players are known by one name. It's seems common in soccer but having a hoops guy that goes by Nene is odd. Heck I still blink at the mention of Ichiro.

This is a Rockets team set that they had laying around in the concession area behind the suites one night. It may have been a give-away item at one point. I went ahead and grabbed one because, well, I am a card collector, right?

This is the back of one of the cards. Panini doesn't appear to have put a lot of effort into this set. About as much effort as the Rockets put into defense.

Michael Beasley moved on to Minnesota this season. I enjoyed watching him last year. He hustled his ass off. He's one of the more tattoo'd guys I've seen.

I'm still don't consider myself a full NBA fan. The fact that the last two minutes of game clock time take a half hour to play still makes me nuts. And I can't be bothered to watch any games on TV. I'm not all that aware of where the Rockets are in the standing except that I know they are a lot better off than they were last year.

But if the tickets remain there for the taking and I continue to have fun with my sons going out there than I'll keep going.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Little Show Diary and some Vintage

Made it out to the card show on Saturday. The result was a mixed bag but it was mostly positive. First things first.....I got my '58 Mantle. It was a bargain but came with a caveat that I'll save for my '58 Topps blog when I get around to posting Mickey.

The show, as are most TriStar events, was pretty well attended. But again, like most TriStar events, most of the folks in attendance were there for the autograph signings. They always have an impressive lineup of guests and this time was no exception. There was even a Phi Slama Jama 'reunion' with nearly all the players from that early 80s era high-flying Houston hoops squad signing. I bumped into my brother and my nephew who came to get a few items signed by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Looking at the prices they were getting it made me wish I had thought to get them to sign for me back when I was working in the athletic offices and they were just a couple of guys hanging out.

I griped before I went to the show about the cost of parking and admission. Well, that turned into a bad news/good news proposition. Parking at the NRG complex was $12 which was higher than I expected and I find it outrageous. But as I walked towards the box office to buy my show admission ticket some random guy handed me an extra he had, Saved me $9. Thanks random guy!

I spent more time at this show than I usually do. I found Darrell, my dealer friend who puts on the hotel shows, and hung out at his table. He always has great cheap vintage baseball and football cards in boxes that range from a quarter to a buck or two. The 61's in this post came from his table.

I spent another hour or so wandering the tables looking for other cheap vintage boxes and that's when I found the Mantle. I also got lucky and sniffed out a few dealers with inventory similar to Darrell's and made some purchases that are going out in packages this week. I wanted to get more but I only have a limited amount of  'bend over a box with a wantlist' time in these old bones.

Another dealer I've known for awhile recruited me to help him tear open some blaster boxes of 2017 Topps. I welcomed the chance to just sit, shoot the hobby breeze, and rip open packs. He threw a few goodies my way for my time.

I hit up some tables with mostly football and hockey pins and stopped at one more vintage card dealer's table on my way out. All in all it was a productive but tiring day.

I've just realized that I haven't mentioned the cards I have posted. I'm really on the fence when it comes to the prospect of chasing the 1961 Topps set. It doesn't get much love in the hobby that's for sure. I have a sentimental attachment to it as I can recall going to the Korvette's store near our home in suburban north Jersey with my Dad and him buying me cello packs of it.

I already own the MVP subset and most of the All Star one, plus the Orioles and some assorted star cards. But I don't think I'm quite ready to tackle another set quite yet. And I sure won't crank up another set-specific blog anytime soon.

But in the meantime I'll continue to add cards from it that I enjoy. I've casually collected Vada Pinson and Mudcat Grant cards over the years. And although he was a Yankee I've retained a soft spot for easy-to-like Bobby Richardson. I picked up a few more nice vintage cards but I'm debating whether or not to send them out to someone so I won't post the scans. I like to surprise folks.

For a couple of bucks I nabbed the Lenny Moore card above. I don't care much about relics and such but for $2 a Memorial Stadium seat card of one of my favorite BALTIMORE Colts stars was impossible to pass up.

Here are the pins I picked up. The Colts one says 'Since 1953' on the bottom so I'm including it in my collection. I bought the Super Bowl pin for $5 because I have pins from the previous two Houston SBs.

All in all it was worthwhile day at the show. My only regret is that by buying the Mantle I've blown my hobby budget for the month so this coming Saturday's hotel show will be a 'chat' session rather than a 'buy' session. Oh well.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Obligatory 2017 Topps Card Post

I got a lot of great stuff at the TriStar show on Saturday. None of it is in this post.

I haven't been in a Target or a Wal Mart to see if the 2017s have arrived out here in the boonies. So I picked up three loose packs at the show. A few packs to start the card season is my modus operandi these days. I'll pick up individual cards for my fantasy baseball binder as the season progresses.

So how did I do and what do I feel? We'll start with the first card out of the first pack. I like it. Nice picture, The Pirates have nice colors. I thought Matt Joyce was the name of the ump who blew the perfect game call at first base a few years ago but Google tells me it was Jim Joyce. What everyone says about the design is true. I've seen better, I've seen worse.

The first pack (amazingly given my track record) yielded my first Orioles card. But my first Oriole isn't even an Oriole. OK, he was one once upon a time but Dewey was retired after one year in Charm City when his 1992 Topps card was new. This is a stamped buyback, correct? My first thought...I hope I get a real Orioles card. I was, very predictably, going to be disappointed. Again.

Let's move on past some cards of just guys that I didn't scan.

Mickey Rooney!! Oh, wait...who the hell is this guy?

Leslie Jordan? The card tells me he's an actor who won an award for a show I never saw. Whatever. Unless I'm throwing out the first pitch, or it's a card of a supermodel wearing shorts I just don't see the point. In Minute Maid Park at Astros games I've seen three 'first pitches' before a game. If someone needs this LMK.

Kris Bryant. I'd go into a long monologue about how much I dislike horizontal base cards like this because I don't use any in my binder but nobody would care and most of you would roll your eyes and figure (correctly) that I'm an old fart that likes griping. Nevermind. It's cool to get a Kris Bryant even though I can't use it in my fantasy binder.

Chris Sale. The design and colors looks pretty good on this one.  My third favorite card of the bunch I got.

Question for the group. This card has a shiny and Butler is sort of 3D-ish. Plus it clearly says Series 1 in the bottom right hand corner. What does all this mean?

For just one nanosecond I got all excited when I got a tiny glimpse of this card coming out of pack #2:

Topps ad card, dammit. I really want a real copy of this. Then again, who doesn't?

The only other card of note in this pack was this one....Bryce Harper 5 Tool insert. You'd think I'd be all over these this year. You'd be wrong. Looks cooler in hand than they did when I first saw these posted. I thought they were too 'busy'. Maybe it's the fact that I have liked Harper since my Nats spring training trip in 2015 but I'm digging this one 5 Tool in  particular.

I really like the design of this special card of Ian Kinsler. Yes, there is wasted space but that's OK. I'm booting my 'Kinsler as a Ranger' card out of my binder for this one. Second favorite card from my packs.

Orioles team card. It's an Orioles card but it doesn't count really.

This is probably my favorite card of the bunch. Carlos Correa a.k.a. Baby Jesus. It goes in the binder, even over his rookie card that is in there now. Weird how this design looks good to me on some cards, lousy on others.

I didn't scan any card backs except the Mickey Rooney card because they've been discussed to death.

There is is, my 2017 Topps post. I'm looking forward to posting some of the vintage I got at the show. And waxing philosophical about how shows have changed over the years.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ending the War

A few months back I made a flurry of buys on eBay and COMC to try and close out this 1962 Civil War News set. I scoured the sites until I had dug up every needed card available in decent shape and at a good price. Then the well went dry but that's to be expected. When you run the same searches day after day for a set like this it doesn't take long to reach a point of diminishing returns.

I jumped back in a couple of weeks ago and in the course of a half hour or so I was able to knock out my wantlist with some pretty sweet cards. I paid a bit more than I had for most of the rest of the set but I tend to do that as I get close to finishing off a goal. 

The General Lee card above looks a bit washed out in the scan for some reason. It's better looking in hand. The original art isn't as vibrant as some of the others for sure.

'Death' and 'Dying' sure pop up on a bunch of these.

Here are a couple more that portray close range gruesomeness.

I remember being fascinated by the idea of a Civil War era submarine. I think I went and found a book about sub and marine warfare of the time in St. Mary's School's meager library.

I was also interested in Stonewall Jackson. I think I still have an old bio of him on my shelves somewhere. I poked around to check on the accuracy of this card. The date on the front is May 10, 1863.

Jackson was shot (yes, by his own men accidentally) on May 2. He died on May 10 and that fact was generally reported on May 13 or thereabouts. So if I was grading this as a history teacher might grade a report I'd give the Topps writer a "C".

So this ends my quest for this really cool (and nostalgia filled) set. I have two upgrades en-route and there may be another card or two that I'll look at eventually but now it's time for a different challenge.

As soon as I post this I'm headed over tot he TriStar show in Houston. It'll be good to get to a show for the first time in months. I won't even mind paying $10 to park and another nine to get in.*

My goal: a 1958 Mantle in 'f/g' shape for the price of a 'poor' one.

*= #alternativefacts. It's gonna piss me off royally to drop most all of a twenty before I even see one table.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Prodigal BALTIMORE Colt card appears

Back in 2015 I did a long series showcasing the history of BALTIMORE Colts cards and related items. It was the most fun I've had writing this meager blog. Chasing what I needed was a challenge and researching the cards very rewarding. I still lack a few odds and ends and those are listed on a wantlist page linked over in the sidebar.

As I was putting the Colts cards together I had an invaluable tool, a checklist I bought from this company. It was pretty thorough although I found a few small errors which I brought to the attention of the author. As advertised I was sent a free updated list a few weeks ago.

I figured double-checking my cards against the new list would be a good idea. Sure enough, before I even reached the bottom of the first column I hit a snag. My 1955 Bowman Colts group was a card short. I was lacking Tom Keane, card #30.

This card had been left off the original list. I immediately hit eBay and found this copy for $3. And as of Monday all is right with the world, my Colts card collection is back in order.

I love the 'Fake Reverse from Double Wing' play that graces the back of the card. Looks like something we ran at Nutley High in 1965.

Tom Keane attended both Ohio State and West Virginia, played football at both and squeezing a Naval stint in between. From Wikipedia:

Keane was a third round selection and 18th overall pick in the 1948 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Los Angeles Rams. He played four years with the Rams, where he won the 1951 NFL title. He left the Rams to go play a year for the Dallas Texans. Due to injuries, he started one game at quarterback for the Texans. He then played two years with the Baltimore Colts and finally ending his career with the Chicago Cardinals in 1955. During his career he was selected All-Pro twice and played in the 1953 Pro Bowl.
He later went on to coach for many years in the NFL with the Cardinals, Steelers and Dolphins. He was on the staff of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins squad.

Although he is pictured with Baltimore Keane was already with the Cardinals when this card was issued. I'm glad he's on a Colts card's one more look at the wonderful old school logo that just screams BALTIMORE Colts to me. I'm glad the team that uses this team name in Indiana didn't carry over this sweet logo.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Star Wars Stickers...yes, I actually typed that

I bought these last summer on a trip to Dallas for a coaches convention. I was in a Target looking for baseball, or football or anything to rip as I recall. I bought these and a pack of Topps baseball stickers. Why I chose a pack of Star Wars stickers I'll never know. Because it was there I guess. And I think it was marked down. I've already shown the baseball pack.

I know squat about Star Wars other than it's the biggest movie franchise in the US. I saw a couple of the early films but I never really followed the plot line so I was more and more lost as it spun by. No matter. I can appreciate the near universal love it's gotten over the last 40ish years. And watching Carrie Fisher in that outfit was nice even if I didn't know wtf they were all talking about.

Anyway the pack had five stickers. Having scanned this first one but not having it in front of me is a problem because I don't know what it is other than someone or something dragging a sled.'s Yoda!!!

And then .....Stormtroopers. (<---according to Wikipedia that is the correct spelling) Hard to imagine how much work went into all the costumes for these movies. You've got to be pretty confident that you'll have a hit in order to invest that much. These guys are the coolest things about the movies to me.

Well this was disappointing. A narrative sticker. I suppose if I had the whole set in the album I could follow the story with these but I'd rather have more Carrie Fisher stickers.

This one scanned poorly btw.

This is the best one by far. It's a bigger, sparkly Darth Vader. Pretty cool, no?

All in all not a bad way to spend 79 cents. My wife does academic testing and she uses stickers a lot to bribe kids to behave motivate kids. So these will be put to good use.