Sunday, July 30, 2017

Too Cool For Words..and an OPC Update

Thought I'd post a few fun cards from the 1970 Topps set...and these are Topps, not O-Pee-Chees!!

That Lowell Palmer card had been shown on plenty of blogs but it's always worth another look. There have been other players shown wearing shades on baseball cards (my fave is the '59 Topps Ryne Duren) but Palmer's opaque beauties made it look like he had just come from having his eyes dilated.

Palmer, of course, appeared on other cards wearing his sunglasses. The always entertaining Fleer Sticker Project has posted those and many other photos of the righthander. He has to be one of the most discussed career five game winners in history.

Willie McCovey is another guy (like Warren Spahn) who never seemed to have a lousy card. This 1970 is one of his best and IMHO one of the best cards in the set.

Nothing really remarkable about this Rich Morales card other than the great look it gives at one of my favorite uniforms, the White Sox' roadies from 1969/70.

I always get a little twinge of nostalgia when I see a card with the iconic Yankee Stadium scoreboard on it. Fritz Peterson may be the only reason I ever visit Facebook. He posts constantly and always has some fun stories and memories to share.

Finally this George Scott brought a smile to my face almost as big as his. I can imagine Boomer being interrupted by some goofing teammates around the batting cage while the Topps photographer waited for him to turn back to the job at hand.  I really like this one. And it's one of the few that I don't remember from back when this set was fresh.

And I'll wrap up with a word on my set building 'setback'. In my last post I discussed my discovery that some of the cards I purchased in the starter lot that launched this set build turned out to be O-Pee-Chees. The final tally ended up at 47(!!!), all numbered between 460 and 550.

 After a day or two of considering my options I decided that a 'hybrid' set, as several folks referred to it as, would be unacceptable. Just before typing this post I spent an hour on COMC picking up Topps versions of the OPCs. I paid between $0.41 and $1.25 for nearly all of them. The two Mets cards seemed to carry a 'NY tax'. The cheapest acceptable Al Weis card ran me almost $2 which upped my average cost. The only two cards which ran me more than that were Tony Oliva and Bob Gibson. The Topps Gibby I grabbed cost $5 and is actually an upgrade over the OPC one that came in the starter lot.

Bottom line is that I have solved my issue for under $45. Of course that's money I could have used to knock off several more high numbers but I'm considering it a lesson learned. And there's always a chance that I will offset my 'losses' by selling the OPCs and/or working something out with my dealer buddy who sold them to me in the first place. That'll be something that'll be discussed at next Saturday's hotel show. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 28, 2017

1970 Topps Seattle Pilots....wait, not so fast...

Yesterday I was pulling and scanning a bunch of the Seattle Pilots from my 1970 Topps binder for a post I intended to do today. And then I noticed something. Check out the fronts of two of the cards:

Nothing unusual there. My post was going to revolve around the fact that the Pilots never took the field as the 'Pilots' in 1970. As we all know they became the Brewers shortly before opening day and Topps never acknowledged that fact in the set, not even in their late series which was compiled after the season started.

I was also going to explore the variety of uniforms that appear on the Pilots in the set. I loved their look and always thought that their unis were terrific.

But as I put these cards face down on my scanner's platen something odd jumped out at me. Take a look:

Yup, the Buzz Stephen card isn't a 1970 Topps card at all. It's an O-Pee-Chee! And that isn't the only one I have in my '70 "Topps" binder. Turns out nearly 20 on the cards in my original lot purchase are O-Pee-Chees. Yikes.

Hard to believe that it took me this long to see it. In my defense I have been working off a checklist and putting my newly acquired cards for this set in a storage box. I really hadn't flipped through it very much. When it was offered to me the possibility of there being OPCs in the mix never occurred to me.

It came already in the binder in pages so it isn't a matter of me not noticing when I paged it up. I flipped thru the cards that were there, saw the nice condition they were in, figured out that the cost was under 50 cents a card said 'OK'. And let me say right now that I'm sure my dealer friend who sold it to me was unaware of this as well. I guess we both share some responsibility here.

It's disappointing for sure. I thought I was less than 25 cards from completing the set but now it is close to 45. Now I face a quandary.

Do I just finish off the cards I need and call it a day? After all, the fronts are identical. It 'looks' like the 1970 Topps set. I won't ever be selling it so it really has no effect on 'value'. When it's finished I can page thru the binder and enjoy the set just as much, including the cartoons. And the final entry in the 'fuhgeddaboudit' column is added expense. While none of the Canadian interlopers are high numbers I figure it'll cost me $50 to $75 to replace them with their Topps equivalent. That includes the one star card involved, Bob Gibson.

OTOH...I suspect knowing that my binder contains a 'hybrid' set will bug me. The first thing I did when I discovered the Stephen card was run to eBay to find a Topps replacement. 'Fixing the problem' was my gut reaction. Even before I thought to check the rest of the cards.

In the grand scheme of things (and even my hobby enjoyment) this is small potatoes. "First World problem" as they like to say in FB comments. Right now my plan is to finish the cards I need and then assess where I am as far as 'repeal and replace'.     :-/      Stay tuned for that.

And today more than most days your comments/thoughts are very much welcome.


In response to one of the comments I thought looking at the two different backs of the same player would be interesting. I threw this together in a hurry but it serves the purpose:

I failed to mention earlier what is pretty obvious in both scans of the backs...OPC was printed on a different, darker cardboard.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1970 Topps: Bat Rack Boys

I've been busy lately knocking off my 1970 Topps needs list...with the help of some very generous bloggers, friends and Twitter pals. Those of you that have contributed...I'm very grateful. As I type this I am 37 cards shy of completing the 720 card checklist. More than half of those are high numbers but I've been lucky in finding nice copies at good prices. The only costly card of those 37 is Johnny Bench.

So far it's been a fun ride. I've grown to appreciate this set quite a bit. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea (Cardboard Connection is pretty brutal in it's description) but that's fine. 1970 was a significant year for me as the Orioles won the Series and I headed to Houston for college. Baseball was a big part of my life. I was in my nerdy Strat-O-Matic playing days. There are very few players in this set that I don't remember.

I have no plans to do a card-by-card blog for this set. God knows I'm very far behind in posting on my '58 and '60 blogs. But I do want to do some updates and a few 'theme' posts as this effort winds down. This is the first. Players posing at the bat rack is a favorite card photo scenario of mine. It goes back to the wonderful 1961 Wes Covington card.

There may be a few more similar poses in the '70 set. One or two probably got by me as I quickly flipped thru the binder but these are enough for one post.

Up top Tony Taylor squints at the camera. He was nearing the end of a long run as a starter for the Cubs and Phillies. He'd move to the Tigers before ending his career back in Philadelphia in 1976. He played in the majors for 19 years.

Jay Johnstone casts his gaze towards home plate in what I believe to be Yankee Stadium's visitors' dugout. Another three of these cards have a similar background. You'd never know by looking at this card that he was known as one of the sport's great pranksters.

OK, Del Unser isn't actually at the bat rack. He's holding a few bats at what appears to be a shopping cart or wire basket. Unser finished second to Yankee pitcher Stan Bahnsen in the AL ROY voting in 1968.

In an interesting side note the NL ROY award went to Johnny Bench in a narrow one vote win over Jerry Koosman. Bench outpolled the pitcher 10.5 to 9.5. That surprised me until I looked at the two players' numbers. Bench showed promise with his .275 average and 15 homers but Koosman won 19 games and had a 2.08 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for the not-so-Amazi' Mets who finished 9th in the NL.

Here is the universally loved Coco Laboy rookie card. Again the bats are in a basket. I'm sure this was a spring training thing. The rookie trophy, Laboy's pose and the colorful Expos uni all combine to make this a great piece of cardboard.

Like Del Unser Laboy was a ROY runner-up. He trailed Ted Sizemore in the NL vote in 1969. 1970 was his last season to appear in over 100 games.

Juan Rios' pose is not unlike that of Wes Covington as he leans over and smiles (sort of). His only big league action came in 1969. By the time this card was issued he was back in the minors where he played in four different organizations before he retired in 1974.

Harmon Killebrew is by far the best player in the bunch and I'd venture a guess that he could use any bat in that rack successfully. In Killebrew's 22 year career he was named an American League All-Star 13 times, the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player and a six-time American League home run leader. At the time of his retirement, he hit more home runs (573) than any right-handed hitter.

Gerry Moses made the AL All Star team in 1970. He was the third catcher and didn't see any action but he did get to witness teammate Carl Yastrzemski bang out 4 hits in 6 trips to the plate. That was his only AS game and 1970 was the only year he had more than 200 at bats.

And finally here is Bob Oliver sporting the old school 'windbreaker under my jersey' look in what feels like a spring training photo. He played eight big league seasons, mostly for the Royals and Angels. 1970 was his best year as he hit 27 homers and barely missed a 100 RBI season. He is the dad of longtime major league pitcher Darren Oliver

I'll be posting some other cards from this set over the next few months. My goal is to track down my remaining needs by the end of the year.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fairfield $5 box.

I finally made it into a Five Below store to check out their card selection. I found about a half dozen of those '100 cards + one pack' Fairfield repack boxes. Same thing I bought from a Walgreens a month ago which I didn't bother to post since it was so unremarkable.

I opened the box while I was out on the road and was hoping for something interesting which is probably a foolish expectation when dealing with a Fairfield repack. I was unimpressed that night and planned to vent about it in this post.

But as I went thru the cards a second time trying to pick out which ones to scan I found that there were a few 'gems' in the bunch as well as cards which filled in a gap or two in my card knowledge.

The 1994 George Brett at the top of the post is his last career card (I think). Any time I can do a little scoreboard detective work I dig right in. That photo is from Brett's second inning at bat in this 1993 game vs Milwaukee. Royals won it on a Chris Gwynn double in the bottom of the ninth.

The mid-90s are a baseball vacuum for me so I have few if any '94s. But at least I recognised the design as a Topps set. However this next card sent me to Google:

I'm sure that somewhere along the way I've been sent at least one 1996 Topps but I would have lost a bet on this being a Topps flagship set design.

The box covered a lot of ground. Oldest cards were 1981 Donruss....

...and the newest were from 2016. Yes, I got two of this card. It's (they) are from those team sets that come in hanging blister packs at Target.

Plenty of shiny stuff:

There were 17 Topps 2013 cards, by far the most from any set:

And that includes another pair of dupes:

El Presidente made an appearance. Too bad he isn't.

Here is a set that hasn't crossed my mind in a long time. Sportflics. This is Tom Browning from the '86 set. I had some Orioles because back then I bought everything Orioles-related. I'm pretty sure I tossed them out in the 'Junk Wax Purge' of 1993.

There were some other good players such as Andre Dawson....

...and a DK Barry Larkin.

I like the O-Pee-Chee Premier design.

1989 was Jim Rice's final year. Here is his Fleer card out of my box.

Greg Maddux out of an UD set I didn't collect. This was the card visible through the front of the box. Of the six boxes there I chose him as 'best available player'.

And Juan Berenguer. Juan looks like one of my brother-in-law's brothers-in-law. That guy is the life of the party, too.
There are nearly 90 others but none worth rolling my chair over to the scanner for. Now that I think about it the reason I was so down on the box at first was probably the pack that came out of it:

Ugg. ANY real card pack would have been better.

I've spent close to $25 or so on various repacks in the last six months. I think it's time to give it a break for awhile.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Batteries refreshed

I took a few days away from blogs and blogging (and just about everything computer related) after I got back from my road trip. Along the way I bought a few items including some Stadium Club. I realize that SC is now old news since Topps has released about four sets since then but whatever. It was new to me.

I'm just going to post the cards that are not plain old base cards that I one or two that I liked.

Here's a gold foil Jeff Bagwell posing in Busch Stadium II (or was that III?).

Nolan Arenado reflector/refractor/3D version. 

Sc always has some neat pics of old school guys like this. Here Willie McCovey is waiting his turn to launch a few baseballs into downtown Phoenix during Spring Training.

Gold foil Todd Frazier.

I like catcher cards of catchers doing catcher things. And I like Stephen Vogt even though I never know how to pronounce his name.

This is a black foil card. One of these two guys is Danny Santana.

Washed out Brian Dozier card with bronze foil. I liked the old time babe Ruth set with the sepia photos. These modern pics done that way leave me cold.

Finally here are the SC and my '16 Topps Now cards of Joe Musgrove. I picked up the TN version when I nabbed him for my fantasy team last year. Interesting that they used the same pic. I don't look at many TN cards but I haven't seen this happen other than here.

So there you are, one and done for Stadium Club. It's easily my favorite Topps current set. I may pick up a few orioles here and there but as far as buying more retail I don't think so.

Next disillusionment with repacks.

Monday, July 17, 2017

On the road again Part 2

I finished opening the Leaf 2016 Babe Ruth blaster box. To my surprise it had perfect collation. I received the complete base set, 1-80 and the two ten card subsets, Quotables and Career Achievements. Nice. I didn't pull a stadium seat or Ruth bat relic but that's OK. I found a cheap stadium seat card from the set on eBay and that'll serve as my 'insert example'.

It's a fun set to shuffle through. Lots of interesting pics of The babe. I am still relying on my phone camera so you'l have to excuse the pics. I'll just show a few. When I get home this will go into a binder.

There were several cards of Ruth with kids, his and others:

Wow, I need to take better pix with my phone. Anyway there were pic of Ruth messing around with other sports including these:

Gimmicky/publicity pictures:

But the best cards, of course, show the Babe in uniform on the baseball diamond. I chose some of my favorites for these two shots:

It's a neat set, especially considering I pretty much got it for free. I'm looking forward to seeing it in binder pages.

Oh, and I also opened the Sage college football jumbo pack. Here are the 'highlights':

Saturday, July 15, 2017

On the road again

I'm out here in beautiful (but weird) Austin on the first leg of a summer tour of the I-35 corridor in central Texas. I'll be attending a Texas teachers retirement seminar. It's the first step to the end of a fun teaching and coaching career. And then I'll head south to attend my final coaches conference. It runs thru the middle of the week.

I don't plan on doing any sightseeing so I figured I'd grab something to occupy myself hobby-wise. A stop at Target revealed that nothing new had hit the shelves but by digging around the bottom shelf  I came up with a discounted blaster of the Leaf Babe Ruth set of a couple of years back. I also picked up the football pack for no apparent reason.

Now the Ruth box isn't something I'd pay full price for. But I had a pair of $5 Target cards I earned with previous purchases of Tide and Cascade (LOL). I also had a five dollar good-for-anything coupon I got as a 'make good' from the time the power went out as I was being checked out at the register.

All in all most of my purchase price was covered. The box has 20 packs of five cards each. I opened one pack tonite and I took pics. No way I'm going to blog every pack but if something really interesting pops up I will put it to the side for later use.

The cards are sepia toned obviously.

Of the first pack only the picture used in the card above looks familiar, which is a good sign.

The back relate to the fronts and use a small cropped version of the same photo.

I'm guessing this is one of the subsets. I haven't looked at the checklist yet. I have know idea what I'm getting into set-wise. Not that it matters...I bought this box for entertainment purposes only.

Career Achievements sounds like there are some subsets.

I'll bust a few more packs tonite. Maybe I'll come across the '1 of 1 Cut Signature' card. If so my retirement will be a bit more fun.

LATE EDIT: Here is by far the best card of the packs I opened tonite. It's just so Ruthian.

One last pic just because. Here is tonite's diner:

Yup, it was good. No, I didn't finish the pizza. But I did finish the brew.