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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Joey Rickard custom

My insistence (obsession) on having a card of every player on my fantasy teams as soon as possible has led to me overspending on minor league cards, Korean cards and other people's customs. I've bought complete sets in the past just to get one card. Yes, I'm an idiot.

So when I picked up rookie Joey Rickard I went looking for cards on the net. I found his minor league cards in sets but nobody had singles. Since I know he'll likely be included in a mainstream set sooner or later I decided to just save myself the cash and make a card for him. I've done that before but usually only for long retired NFL guys who never made a set of any kind.

I have Photoshop Elements but a) no PS skills and 2) no time to fiddle around with it so I stuck to trimming pics in IrfanView (freeware), compiled it with  MS Publisher, and tweaked it in MS Paint. I had to put his name where you see it to cover the photo's watermark (naughty me!). And I'd change every font and be more creative with the reverse if I was doing to do it again but it'll do for now.

Designing and putting it together is the easy part. The hard part is cutting, trimming and then sticking the back (printed on sticker sheets) to the front. Trust me, practice DOES NOT make perfect. But whatever. I have a Rickard card that'll do until something better comes along. And it only cost me a sheet of glossy photo paper, a sticker sheet and some printer ink. I feel like I just took the first step in a 12-step program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Catching Up

Alternate Title: I'm About Ready To Deep Six My Scanner

Right after I got the first envelope from Mark Hoyle I received one from Jeff Jones who writes Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum (don't we all?).

Jeff stuffed an envelope with Orioles cards and all but one are new to my collection. Up top are a couple of minis that I really like. I don't think I've ever actually bought a mini card (except for the Topps 1975 versions) but I have received a bunch through trade packages and as inserts when I was buying Allen & Ginter boxes for Gint-a-Cuffs. Last card show I went to I found some pages that they fit into and that solved my biggest mini issue, having them fall out all over the floor every chance they get.

That Machado looks really good with the black border. I'm guessing that's some sort of alternate border. Either way it's nice. Jim Palmer gets the GQ sepia treatment. And I like Gypsy Queen minis more than full sized version. I think the design works nicely in that smaller format.

Next is a Stadium Club Brooks Robinson. I think it's a 2014 SC. I wish the Orioles would break out this 1964/65 look from time to time. I know people think its bland but I love everything about it.

I got a pair of Frank Robinson cards. The first one is a busy thing, isn't it? If my math serves the 50 year logo pegs this as a 2001 card.

Another Topps insert. I've thought from time to time how hard it would be to actually attempt a 'complete' PC of a player like Frank Robinson. Or Brooks, or Mays, Aaron, etc. Forget 'hard', it would be impossible. Maybe that's why I chase players like Billy Pierce, Bob Moose, Ellie Hendricks and Moe Drabowsky.

The Bird!! Three different cards of the O's mascot.

And on these next two you get a look at why I hate my scanner. We can put a guy into orbit for a year, deliver a package with a drone and produce craft beer but we can't get a scanner/printer to scan a whole Topps card.

Nowadays when I see The Bird I'm reminded of the time his hat fell off into the dugout and Adam Jones tried it on for size.

people get bent out of shape about the 2016 Topps design but I really like this Manny Machado card. It's the Opening Day set which always puzzles me. How it this different than the regular set? Outside of the OD logo I mean.

Heritage Orioles team card. O's are off to a good start in '16. I hope I can see a lot more of this type of celebration.

And I'll close out with Kellogg's cards! 3D in all it's glory. First up is the ever underappreciated Bobby Grich. That's a 1977 Kellogg's card.

Next, a 1979 Mike Flanagan. I was a big fan of Flanagan back when he pitched for Baltimore. Never had a clue as to the problems he had battling depression. His is a sad story with a tragic ending.

This last one was the only card I already had. At least I think so. Could be that it's just a familiar pose. Another '79 from the shaggy hair era. Nowadays I wish I had enough hair to wear it shaggy.

A great package of Orioles goodies. Thanks so much Jeff. I enjoy your blog and I hope you'll continue to read and comment on mine.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Awesome Pierce Oddball

Yesterday I posted the '16 Heritage and Segui postcard I received from 'friend of every blog' Mark Hoyle. I get home and flip through the mail and there is another envelope from Mark and inside was this cool item.

The Billy Pierce Queen of Diamonds comes from a deck of White Sox cards that is manufactured and marketed as 'Hero Decks' by a company out of Ohio known as Parody Productions. I bought the Black America deck at the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham a few years ago to get the Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Muhammad Ali cards but I think it's still unopened in my closet. I was vaguely aware that there were other products in the same line out there. I think I've stumbled across a couple out of the Baltimore Colts/Ravens set here and there.

If you check out their website you see that they make decks for quite a few other cities/teams as well as decks for various other subjects. I don't see any licencing info but maybe they have a good lawyer on staff. The decks are not available individually from the company or I'd buy an Orioles set from them.

The artwork reminds me of some of Jack Davis' Mad magazine drawings. My scanner hated the front of the card so I laid it out with a sheet of white paper over it and it scanned fine that way. Anyway it's a neat addition to the Pierce collection. Thanks again for looking out for me, Mark.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hoyle's Spoils

I'm way behind in posting stuff, particularly the cards that I've received from you guys so I better get to work. Mark Hoyle hit me up with Orioles from this year's Heritage set. I buy a few packs of new card issues and have terrible luck when it comes to scoring Orioles. I really like the set this year so I'm glad to have these and as an added bonus the Joseph, Gausman and Trumbo cards fill holes in my fantasy baseball binder for this year.

I was in Baltimore for Gerardo Parra's Oriole debut last July. I was hoping he'd return but this Joey Rickart kid had done well so far filling an outfield spot and he adds some speed to the turtle-like Orioles so that's a plus.

Mark knows me well and knows how much I love postcards and team issued paper items. This David Segui postcard is done in a style I have never seen before. My first thought was that it was something Segui had done to answer autograph requests. But the text on the back has me thinking that it is actually a team produced card. I'd guess that it is something that was included in 'fan packs', the stuffed envelopes teams send when you wrote and asked for schedules and stuff.

Either way it's a nice addition to my Orioles postcard collection.

Side note: I'm assuming that this is an item from Segui's first go-round with the Orioles in the early nineties. The Orioles had black brims on caps and helmets then. And I'm also guessing that the opponent is Cleveland. I think they were the only team with those awful sleeve stripes in that era. Dressed To The Nines seems to back me up on that.

Thanks again, Mark. Much appreciated as always.