Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 Legends Inserts

Last week I was buying a Civil War News card on COMC. It was in great shape and very cheap and upgraded a terrible one in my binder. But the $4.00 shipping made me want to get a bit more into my cart to make it more palatable. I hate paying as much for shipping as I do for a card so I dug up a few 2017's.

I haven't read many (any?) positive comments about this '17 Topps subset. But I like them. I think they are sharp looking. Sure there is some wasted space but at least there isn't any 'fog' or ESPN-esque graphics. I know there are several different categories within this group of cards...Legends... Mother's Day.. Jackie Robinson Day, etc. but I'm not interested enough to investigate.

I'd seen the Frank Robinson Legends card on another blog. I don't have many cards of him with the Indians and I always sort of liked the 'caveman' feel the Indians' wordmark at that time. It's just ugly enough to be cool.

Koufax. Dude worked his ass off on the mound.

Jim Palmer. I've seen this photo before. He and...

...Brooksie are my go-to guys when it comes to buying 'pieces' of sets. That's what happens when you name your sons after ballplayers. When you find a card set you like you go look for Brooks and Palmer in it.

That's it, nothing earth-shattering today. Posting cards, finishing the workday and heading off to watch some college baseball.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

1964 Sadaharu Oh Morinaga Top Star

A couple of years back I was able to knock off a 'white whale' of sorts when I picked up a Sadaharu Oh Menko card. Once I'd done that the Japanese homer champ sort of fell off my radar, but not my eBay 'Followed Searches' list. I'd check from time to time but nothing came up that was both interesting and affordable. Then I saw this.

A few weeks back the colorful and fascinating Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko blog a Sumo card from the 1964 Morinaga Top Star series was featured. Sumomenkoman (I have no idea what his actual name is) mentioned the fact that Oh has a card in one of the two different varieties of the baseball version of the set. The Top Star cards are either die-cut (JG 1) or not (JG 2). This Oh card is part of the latter category. I went to eBay and found one with a decent opening bid and I placed one myself figuring I'd lose out.

But I won and this showed up yesterday. It's an oversize card issued by the still prosperous Morinaga & Company confectionery company of Tokyo. They've been in business since 1899. There isn't a whole lot of info on these on the web but they seem to be popular items on auction sites. Here is a bit of background from one of them:

From Heritage Auction:
1964 MORINAGA "TOP STARS". In 1964, there were actually two distinct baseball card issues created by Morinaga. Substantially more common (though quite scarce in its own right) was the production known [...] as "JG 1."  It was a die-cut affair, providing admirers the ability to fashion stand-up figures.  However, Morinaga also made a non die-cut variety (JG 2).  Currently, there are eleven different confirmed [that # is debatable, see below]...... They measure 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" and include vital information on the reverse. 
A look at the back shows minimal type that includes the player's vitals. The die-cut version have instructions for making the card a 'stand-up'.

Gary Engel's Japanese Baseball Card checklist/price guide lists the set as JF 2 rather than JG 2 and I'd tend to go along with his designations. He's an expert on cards such as these. I scanned his checklist out of my copy of the book. 12 baseball players are included here as opposed to the auction site's statement that there are 11. .

For perspective I scanned the Oh with a random modern Topps card.

I rarely go after graded cards and when I do there is always a debate going on in my head as to whether or not I should break them 'free' of their plastic prison. I think in this case (no pun intended...or was there?) I'm going to leave Mr. Oh alone. At least for now. I'd rather not risk damaging the card. I've had a few close calls. But either way this is a most welcome addition.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


When you're suddenly out of new (to you) stuff to blog, there's nothing in the scanned folder and you don't feel like making a custom card there's only one thing to do.....

....Eddie Murray!!

Because, well he's Eddie Murray.

More Murray, good cards and bad:

And then there is this:

Badassedness personified.

I hope you have a great rest of your Thursday. I'm taking my wife to see Sting as a belated b-day gift. Shhhh. It's a secret!

EDIT: Rob points out in the comments that tomorrow (Friday 2/24) is Eddie's birthday. Happy 61st to one of my all time faves!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy Presidents Day!

I'm gonna celebrate the day (it's also both my wife's and my late mother's birthday) by getting the oil changed on my wife's car, taking her to a movie and making breakfast tacos. But first I'm gonna post some cards from my Presidential card collection. In no particular order:

1952 Bowman Abe Lincoln. Our greatest President. If you are real quiet you can hear him spinning in his grave at this very moment.

2011 Obak John Kennedy mini

Jerry Ford graces the flip side of JFK's card.

A bunch of my favorite Presidents from the 2011 Panini set. These are sweet cards. First up...Honest Abe.

Teddy Roosevelt

LBJ My favorite President.

Bill Clinton

Here is the 1972 Topps LBJ

2015 Topps Presidential Chronicles Jimmy Carter

And JFK form that same set. Photo taken at Rice Stadium in Houston.

1956 Topps Calvin Coolidge.

And last but not least is my newest Presidential card. This is from the Barack Obama hosts the Cubs Topps now cards. I think there are three. I have this one.

If you have off today I hope you enjoy it. Again, Happy Presidents' Day!!

Oh how I long for those heady times when we actually had a President!

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.