Tuesday, March 17, 2015

'Tis The Season To Be Zippy.

       I have declared this month the one where I settle all draft folder business.  I have finally (and mercifully) come to the end of my first tier of posts to close out, my unwritten trades.  It is a relief to have these out of the draft folder and into the world, if only to thank the kind souls who sent me stuff. 

This past Christmas brought me few glad tidings and fewer reasons for good cheer, but one shining exception was an unexpected package I received from Kenny, aka Zippy Zappy.  Kenny and I have exchanged packages since he started his blog two years ago and I must say, if we were keeping score, I would say he's winning.  This one was sent as a holiday gift in thanks for all our past swaps. 
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If you read his blog, you'll know that ZZ is a huge prospector and his love of rookies was my gain here, as I am now flush in minor league Mets.  One name really stands out here, L.J. Mazzilli is the son of Mets favorite Lee.  This was great to get in December but that joy has been slightly tarnished now that he has been suspended 50 games of the 2015 season.  Luckily, that tiny Dominic Smith card more than makes up for that.

ZZ sends off some major league cards too. 
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Better than jokes about my shiny Dickey would be mentioning my handsome little Dickey, right? Right?  Hello?  Is this thing on?

Back to the bread and butter of ZZ, the rookie prospects.  Here is a six pack of Extra Edition.  I have heard of two of these guys, so in that arena I am batting a cool .333.
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There was a bit of gratuitous junk wax, which is fine, but what makes these stand out is the immortal Kelvin Torve, the first Mets player since Willie Mays to wear #24 (the number is unofficially retired).  Hey, it's nice to have something to be remembered for.

Some more major league cards. I have a soft spot for that Topps Ticket to Stardom set from a few years ago, so it was nice to see more of those, including a Jose Reyes insert I didn't have.
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Seeing Luis Castillo going up for a pop-up is kind of a mean photo, Upper Deck.  Mets fans know what I am talking about. Lets move on before I get mad.

There was a few more older Mets cards, including a tremendous 1972 Tug McGraw card that I somehow didn't have. 
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He also included some New Jersey Devils cards.  I haven't bought much new hockey in the last decade or so, so these are always appreciated.  It would have been even more appropriate if they were in their green and red uniforms, given the time I got this package. 

Last but not least is the absolute highlight of all these cards:
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In our first trade, Kenny included a Japanese David Wright card and even translated it for me.  Here, he makes me a multiple David Wright Asian card collector with another oddball from the far east.  He also wished me Happy Holidays in Japanese.  So let me return the fond wishes here, on St. Patrick's Day mind you, and say thanks for Zapping me for Christmas, Kenny.  I should probably take down my tree, now that I think of it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reciprocation.

I have ended a long fallow period of blogging and declared this month the one where I settle all draft folder business so I can move on anew without dozens of unfinished posts hanging over my head.  This past week, I have concentrated on trade posts that for whatever reason, did not get completed. 

       In one week of August 2014, I received not one but two packages in return for my sending out unsolicited cards.  The first bunch is a perfect little pile from everyone's favorite chronicler, Fuji.  Apparently, I had sent him a little something in a fit of mass mailing and these are the cards he came back with:
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I must say, two game used cards and two autographs is tough to beat.  I especially love the Jorge Toca, one of my favorite Mets prospects that never panned out.  He was supposed to be the Cuban savior and he wasn't even as good as a Cuban sandwich.  Plus, it is hard to beat a shiny Dickey and an even shinier David Wright.  Allow me to extend a 遅ればせながら ありがとう to Fuji for these great cards I know I can use.

The other package that arrived in the dog days was one from Robert of $30 a Week Habit.  I had sent him a stack of gold numbered parallels I had found in a dime box over the summer for his Insanity Set.  Finding cards for this project of his has been one of my favorite altruistic distractions and he always returns the favor in kind.  This time, he outdid himself:
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First of all, more than anyone, Robert looks at and follows my want lists.  He sent me a half dozen 1983-84 OPC hockey cards for one of my pages.  And then, not to be out done, he sent a low numbered camo Mets card from 2013 and a Johan Santana game used Heritage jersey card.  Johan will always be a hero to us Mets fan, so this piece of cloth was greatly appreciated.
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I always refer to how endlessly polite Robert is, and his friendly note that was included in the package is no different.  Thank you, Robert.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More PWE Goodness from Off-Hiatus.

I have declared this month the one where I settle all draft folder business.  After a nice little respite yesterday, I continue with this week's project, taking care of all the trade posts that did not get posted.

Here on the Ides of March, I will highlight a fun little swap I did with Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball.  Tony is one of the most organized collectors I have seen in the blogosphere.  He consistently posts trade bait and is very good with the turnaround.  I saw in that post he had some Goodwin Champions baseball cards I could use to complete the page I was making.  I only wanted those two cards, so we quickly came to an agreement, a couple Gary Carter cards for those two aforementioned Champions.  A simple plain white envelope exchange.  Here they are, vintage classics both:
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The PWE arrived well protected with a thick paper note and proper use of scotch tape, in this case, using it to support an easily removed post-it. 
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Thank you so much, Tony (even if it is three and half months later than your own post).

Ah, but really, all this is an excuse to showcase the Goodwin Champions page I put together, which is in and of itself just an excuse to showcase one of my new favorite cards of all time.
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See, Upper Deck doesn't have a MLB license anymore so they have to get creative in how they display baseball players in their sets.  In this case, they have done something amazing:
The Penguin dressed as a penguin. I can't even.
That is Ron Cey, one of my favorite players, nicknamed The Penguin, in a tuxedo.  There is no way that is an accident.  That is simply amazing and you are now looking at one of my top five cards of all time.  Upper Deck's attempts at issuing baseball cards have been hit or miss at best for the last 5+ years but this one makes up for all of it.  I am ashamed it has taken me this long to highlight this stroke of brilliance.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Easy as Pi.

If you know the words, sing along...
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3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974
94459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230

Not enough for you?
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You can always go look at my breakdown of the classic Topps American Pie sets.  As for me, I am going to have a nice big slice of cherry pie for breakfast.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Break It Down For Me, Fellas.

Due to the copious amount of half-writtten posts therein, I have declared March to be the month where I settle all unfinished draft folder business.  This next week, I am bound and determined to get up and thank all of the kind souls who have traded with me and sent me cards. 

      Yesterday, I posted a contest winner and low and behold today I discovered another pile of booty I won from a generous blogger that had not been given proper showcase.  This batch comes from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown, a fine blog I suggest highly (mostly because of stuff like this).  Last June, defgav held a One Year Anniversary contest where the prizes were lots and lots of lots of autographs.  And when he announced the winner in early July, the randomizer had given me the magic number of 21 which came up, so thank you random chance and Marquis Grissom for the following lot:
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I chose the lot with the nicest Mets autograph - shocker, I know.  The Ron Swoboda has found a happy place in my Amazin' auto collection; odd coincidence that this is the second mention of good ol' Ron this week.  The George Foster auto is also pretty cool, and as for Toby Harrah and Daryl Boston, well, they aren't bad guys, are they.  Heck, those Topps Retired autos are cool no matter what.  The other 5 cards here I think are in return for the aforementioned Marquis Grissom rookies I sent Gavin.  Or maybe he just threw them in because he's a nice guy.  I honestly can't recall.  Who knew that Jacob DeGrom would pitch so well and win Rookie of the Year?

Oh, but that's not all for this little post, look at this:
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You gotta love the use of old school stamps for the job they were intended.  When I worked at the baseball card store back in the day, we used to buy stamp collections for pennies on the dollar (since most stamps aren't worth more than what they are issued for, after all) and then used most of the stamps to just mail stuff.  It was a slightly ingenious/diabolical way to keep shipping costs down.  Lastly, take a good look at the note Gavin included...

He drew me a David Wright sketch card!
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As you can see, I cut that beauty out right away and believe me, it has since found a place of honor in my Wright collection as (technically) my first 1 of 1 of him.  Thanks Gavin!