Thursday, August 27, 2015

Reading Is Fundamental

This is a cautionary tale whose moral is "Do You Homework". But I'm sure all of you do and I'm likely the only one to do something this dumb.

Anyway, that card is from the 2010 Allen & Ginter set obviously. When I was getting back into collecting in 2011 or so I discovered A&G and was instantly enamored. It was so unlike anything Topps had put out. I went back and looked through the checklists of the sets Topps had done beginning in 2006 and made a small want list.

In scanning the 2010 checklist the name Gary Stewart jumped out at me. As a long time fan of country music (well, old school country anyway) the name invoked some great memories. Gary Stewart was one of my favorite artists, a 70's icon for me. His songs of drinking, lost loves, sitting on barstools and the 'honky tonk life' combined with his incredible and distinctive vibrato voice made him someone whose albums I never tired of.

His Out of Hand album may be one of the best country albums ever recorded, it's certainly among my top three. I figure I saw him perform a dozen times in clubs large and small around Texas. Like almost all the country singers of that era his popularity waned as the genre got 'homogenized'. And, like a lot of the other artists of that generation, he fell victim to the demons of addiction and faded from the scene except to his hardcore fans (like me).

He was married for 43 years which would surprise anyone who heard his lyrics. But he was certainly a devoted husband. When his wife died in November of 2003 Gary Stewart decided he couldn't live without her and took his own life six days later. I've never stopped listening to his music.

When I saw what I thought was my Gary Stewart's name on that checklist I went online and found, not only the base card but a relic card as well!!! A piece of Gary Stewart's shirt. On a card! I was still sort of new to the concept of relics and I bought the card from one of the online stores (Dean's Cards maybe) that lists prices but doesn't show the card. I never did my due diligence and try to find it on eBay. If I had I would have seen immediately what I didn't find out until it was too late...
....that's a different Gary Stewart!

I'd never considered the possibility of there being another Gary Stewart, much less one who holds some sort of record for jumping on pogo sticks of all things. What a disappointment. But I stuck the card away in a box and forgot about it until I read Nacho Grande's post about his 2010 A&G relics collection. There was pogo sticking Gary on the list so this card will be on it's way to him. My mistake is Nacho's gain I guess. is Gary Stewart and his wife Mary Lou.

And here is 'Whisky Trip', the one song I would sing if you held a gun on me and forced me to do karaoke.

RIP, Gary Stewart. You were the best.

Friday, August 21, 2015

More Picking the Best Card

While I await the discovery of a mystical cure for my scanner woes I present a few more cards from my Fantasy baseball binder and the cards they bumped. I had these scanned for my original post but they didn't make the cut. So please ignore the fact that you are getting second string scans.

Here is what I said in the first post a few weeks back:
I put one card of each of my players in my binder. I have certain criterion in mind when I hunt up a player's card. I prefer a vertical card, one that shows the player on the correct team, and one from a year I had him. The whole thing forms a hierarchy with a card fitting the above description at the top, and a horizontal, multi-player, die-cut, minor league, different organization card from a previous year at the bottom. But I'll ignore all that to add variety or to spice up the binder with a card I really like. 

I had this minor league card of Freddy Galvis in the binder. I had Galvis a couple of years ago and he only had minor league cards so I had to overpay for one.

It's not bad as MiLB cards go but it gives no indication of his MLB team so it got the boot....

 ...for a 2015 Topps. The weird number of the back makes me think it was from one of those team sets that you see on cardboard hangers in stores. Wrong year but it shows him in the Phils' gear.

Nearly the same holds true for Yasiel Puig. I don't make many smart moves in fantasy baseball but drafting him before he made the Dodgers was one. He hasn't turned out to be the second coming of Willie Mays but he really made a nice impact on my club when he broke in two seasons back.

This card wasn'y hugely expensive but it cost more than the card I replaced it with for sure. No Dodger logos? No good in the binder!

I waited for a nice card to come along and this year I liked the Archives Puig. So there ya go.

But my Archives Maikel Franco which I picked up when I claimed him made way for a better '15 card.
I just got this one in a couple of weeks back. Stadium Club > Archives, at least in this case.

Kyle Seager on a Bowman card. I don't remember when I had this guy but that Bowman card, even if it was from the correct year, yuck. Dark and unreadable.

'15 Stadium Club, wrong year, better card!

But SC doesn't trump all. I really like this next one. James McCann chats behind his glove with his pitcher. Unique and really cool. But I can't get around the fact that either of them could be the card's subject. Aesthetically, it's a sweet card. But for the binder it's like a two player card. Unacceptable.

2015 Topps gives it the bump.

Finally we have the case of Jordan Zimmermann. I like the 2012 Archives. that's even the year I had him.

But I bounced it for a '15 Stadium Club. And I'm having second thoughts. I may switch back. that Archives may not be as pretty but it is from the right year, right team and it's the only one of that set in my binder so it ticks the 'unique' box. I need to think more on this.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Panini Presidents

I posted some of the 2015 Topps Archives Presidential Chronicles cards last month which led to a comment about these, the Presidents subset from 2012 Panini Americana.

Now I consider myself a 'penny-pinching presidential collector'. There is no way I'm going to spend what it takes to get an original Lincoln campaign ribbon for example, or an authentic LBJ signature. Those are two items I'd just love to have but won't pull the trigger on. 

But when it comes to my presidential collecting I love cards, cheap campaign pins and other knick-knacks. These cards were cheap, and they are really pretty nice. Black and white photos seem to suit a set like this. The gold presidential seal and the red/white/blue logo give them just enough color. A couple of the pics used are definitely too familiar but others are new to me.

Every President (and a couple of First Ladies) is included in the subset. The rest of the full base set comprises a weird mix of track athletes, women soccer players, astronauts, the Tuskeegee Airmen and heaven knows what else. But all I'm interested in is the Presidents.

I pulled and scanned the eight Chief Executives that I'm most interested in. 

Honest Abe......IMHO our greatest president. 

Teddy Roosevelt....maybe the most interesting guy to ever occupy the office. I've read five or six books about him in the last couple of years and I still haven't tired of him.

JFK, my first hero (outside of Johnny Unitas I guess). favorite president. A man of great strengths and great (maybe greater) flaws. I love this photo of him.

Richard Nixon..... he let his paranoia overwhelm his genius.

Gerald Ford.... seems to me to have been the nicest guy to ever serve as President, at least in my lifetime. I'd have loved to have met him to find out.

Bill Clinton...another very smart man who did some very dumb things.

Barack Obama...not the best picture of the bunch but it kind of shows the stress that comes with dealing with the political world today.

How's that for a "no politics" rundown of political guys?

About the same time I was buying these I came across a couple of other items that fit neatly into my collection but didn't kill my budget. One is a JFK pennant. Purports to be authentic but condition (nice) and price (cheap) left me with some doubts. I have it on my wall and it's a nice item either way.

The other is an souvenir LBJ pen. The seller speculated that it came from the White House gift shop but did that sort of thing even exist back then? It might have come from the LBJ Library gift shop but no matter the origin it makes a nice addition to my Johnson collection.

Sorry for the oversized photos. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

1977 Baseball's Greats Exhibit Postcards

Being a sucker for postcard-style items and old-timey player photos this little group of cards was right up my alley. The eBay seller had several different lots with about six cards each. I bid $2 on each of the lots and won this one. Add in $3 for shipping and that's a pretty good deal. 

Not much to say about these. they are not colorful (obviously) but these things hold a certain fascination for me. I like reading the captions under each photo. The backs are blank. 

The original Exhibit Supply Company (aka ESCO) of Chicago stopped issuing cards in the mid-60s. A hobby dealer, Paul Marchant, put out some reprint sets in 1980 and later. These are listed as a 1977 issue which puts them somewhere between ESCO and Marchant. I'm not sure what that adds up to. 

A collector of Exhibit postcards, Adam Warshaw, has a interesting page that displays hundreds of the different examples of what the Exhibit Supply Company produced and distributed in their half century of business.

These guys are all Hall of Famers but not all Hall of Famers are created equal. He's the Big Train, Walter Johnson. The caption credits him with 113 career shutouts but the correct number appears to be 110. Who's the active career shutout leader? Tim Hudson with 13. Baseball has changed just a bit.

Side note on Johnson. 417 wins, 2.17 ERA, 1.06 WHIP...for a 21 year career! The BBWAA elected him to the Hall in 1936 by naming him on 189 of  226 ballots. So 37 writers didn't vote for Walter Johnson. That's a tough crowd.

BTW... you can see some nice examples of their coin operated vending and amusement park machines right here on this page. Great stuff.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Picking The Best Card

I'm trying to avoid referring to fantasy baseball because usually that will turn off most people. This post IS related to fantasy, but only in terms of my collection. 

I understand the meaning of the term 'Frankenset' and my fantasy player collection doesn't fit that but I do face some of the same decisions that Frankenset collectors do. They might ask themselves which card best fills a number slot, I ask myself which card best fits the player.

I put one card of each of my players in my binder. I have certain criterion in mind when I hunt up a player's card. I prefer a vertical card, one that shows the player on the correct team, and one from a year I had him. The whole thing forms a hierarchy with a card fitting the above description at the top, and a horizontal, multi-player, die-cut, minor league, different organization card from a previous year at the bottom. 

But I'll ignore all that to add variety or to spice up the binder with a card I really like. I do all this for football, too. But that binder, with 35 seasons of players is quite a bit larger than the baseball one. 

Here are a few examples of cards that I picked up to supplant those in the binder, and a few that I considered that just didn't have what it takes to make the binder:

Mattt Wieters:

It's tough to find Weiters cards since he hasn't been in Topps sets. I had the Donruss card and it was fine. I like it a lot in fact. With him in his gear it's easy to ignore the fact that as an unlicensed card there are no logos. 

I came across this eTopps card for a good price and bought it. Without really thinking about it I pulled the Donruss and inserted this one. But I'm having second thoughts. It's chrome-y and all, but is it really a nicer card? Heck the 'Orioles' isn't a lot better than 'Baltimore' and there still isn't a logo. 

The eTopps stays, but I'll be reconsidering this one some. 

Here is an easy one that illustrates my preferences. Carlos Frias appeared on this Heritage rookie with another player. 

I picked it up for the binder because it was his only major league card for awhile but as soon as 2015 Topps Series Two included him I snagged one. Much better!

This Daniel Murphy from a few years back lost out to a cooler card.

Sure the Stadium Club card has hard to read names but it's a far superior card. Plus, I had him in 2015 so it matches my roster.

Here's an example of my obsession with having a card of a player. I drafted Ryu Hyun-Jin a couple of years ago before he made the Dodgers staff. I overpaid for the only available card he had at the time.

Last year I picked up a cheap card of him in a Dodgers uni. Do I dump the costly Korean card? Yup.

This manny Machado card was the binder card and I thought it would remain so. I really liked it. (Ignore the missing scanner absolutely HATES modern white bordered cards).

This card came along from a blog reader and for variety sake I replaced the original. But as nice as a touch of variety can be that's one busy card!

Brian from Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary included a couple of Manny cards in his recent PWE. This Stadium Club is just terrific!

But it's horizontal. So sad.

This other Machado from Brian is pretty snappy and it's unique. It's my new 'binder' Machado. Thanks, Brian.

I had Jed Lowrie rostered for about two hours this year but even with that brief a stay he has to have a card. I found that I owned this card from his Red Sox days already.

But his 2015 Series Two fits much better. He's an Astro and I owned him in 2015. Bingo.

Here is another case of Brian bumping a card out of the binder. Schoop's card was OK, but...

This yellow border Bowman he sent is unique. 

I really liked my Kevin Gausman card...

But this gold 2015 Topps is unique to the binder.

And then sometimes I make decisions based purely on whiskers. Dallas Keuchel was a heck of a pick for me this year. And I had a card of him. I think that's a WalMart or Target version. And I had no others like it. But that doesn't look like Dallas Keuchel. 

Now THIS looks like Dallas Keuchel. And into the binder it goes.

Funny how much time I waste sorting through my rather limited stash of current cards trying to weigh the merits of one card over another. Especially since absolutely nobody except me sees the fantasy binder. But that's the hobby for you.