Thursday, July 26, 2012


       Tonight the crown jewel of the Mets farm system will debut: Matt Harvey.  Sadly, this call up is about 3 weeks too late to help a team that has now lost 12 out of its last 13 games since the All Star break.  Regardless, I am still very excited for this event and to mark the occasion, I would love to show you the cornerstone of my Matt Harvey collection:
2011 Bowman Platinum Matt Harvey Refractor Auto

No, there is nothing wrong with your browser.  Like I said, I would love to show you the card, but I cannot.  Why?  Why do you think...

That's a little small to see what I am talking about.  Enhance!!!

I got an email back in June telling me that my beautiful shiny Bowman Platinum Matt Harvey refractor autograph was going to be mailed to me.  That was nearly two months ago and yet the status of the shipping has remained "Pending" ever since.  Now, I have patiently waited for this card for a while anyway, so why did they tell me it was on the way and then not send it!?!?!?  Is Topps purposely fucking with me?  If they don't have the card yet, why tell me it's coming?  If they have the card, why haven't they sent it?  All the damn redemptions was one of the reasons why I stopped buying new product (you will see a three year lag in redemptions above).  This card was an exception I made; I bought it very early knowing the card would only go up in price as speculation abounded as his debut got closer and closer.  And the thing is, I don't want to even sell the thing, I just wanted to look at it and show it off on my blog...OK, and maybe snuggle with it a little while I watched the game tonight.  But all these things are not to be.  The more I think about it, the answer is yes, Topps is fucking with me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Day...

...another trade in baseball that actually made me do a spit take.  There was a time when Hanley Ramirez was practically untouchable.  Now he's been traded away, like Ichiro, for the proverbial bag of balls.
Plus, the Dodgers have once again hung their star upon trading for a Red Sox reject/malcontent/hitting savant via another team named Ramirez.  That worked so well the last time.
Hooray for Hanleywood!  Now back to my regularly scheduled summer drink-a-thon.

Coming tomorrow: Zack Greinke traded to the Angels for two Francisco Rodriguez bobblehead dolls and a fungo bat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I wake up from my vacation this morning (OK, more like sober up) and I find that Ichiro is a GD Yankee?!?
A few thoughts went through my head.  First and foremost is, did they trade Ichiro to the Bronx for the proverbial two bags of balls as repayment for sending them the shredded arm of Michael Pineda?  Seems likely...
...secondly, they gave him #31 instead of his customary #51, does this mean they intend to retire the aforementioned #51 for Bernie Williams?  Does Bernie Williams merit having his number up on the wall with the likes of Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig and DiMaggio?  Or even Mattingly, Howard, and Guidry?  And lastly, during the press conference, Ichiro used a translator.  He has been in America for 11+ years now, why does he still need a translator?  I have seen him privately interviewed and he speaks English pretty well.  Man, I am out of it for a little while and the whole world goes mad.

Friday, July 13, 2012


      Today seemed like such a good day.  I got a good night's sleep, the coffee was hot and effective; I greeted the day with a positive vibe and vice versa.  Then I realized what day it was and was overjoyed.  It's Friday!  And then the date occurred to me, the 13th, and an uncontrollable feeling of dread overwhelmed me.  Now, I am not the overly superstitious type.  I have no issue with black cats or mirrors or ladders per se.  But will I not walk under a ladder and I will sidestep a black cat and I have rarely power slammed a mirror against a know, just in case.  I also don't necessarily believe in lucky or unlucky numbers either.  The belief is universally held in the western world that the number 13 is unlucky.  No one can say specifically why, it just is.  Now, in Chinese culture, the number 4 is thought of as very unlucky and this at least has a reason: because it is a near homophone to the word death.  With all the jokes about how 7-8-9, this is somewhat understandable.  But why does 13 get a bad rap and not, say, 6 or 29?  I had a rotten year at the age of 29, so I have a lot more reason to hate that number than innocent old number 13.  OK, I'm rambling here, the point is, superstitions are silly yet we react to them anyway, usually irrationally. 

All that said, and as usual it was a mouthful by me, I would never ever wear the number 13 on a sports field.  Why temp fate?  Of course, correlation does not imply causation, but facts are facts.  Let's take a look.

Wilt Chamberlain:
He's one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  He was literally unstoppable - when he wanted to be.  He put up numbers that are hard to fathom 50 years after the fact (50 points a game for a season, 55 rebounds in a game, etc).  And yet, his career is looked at as something of a failure.  He had all this talent and was faster and stronger and taller than everyone else, so why didn't he win championships every year?  Sure, he won two, but Bill Russell, a direct contemporary, won 11, including 8 in a row and several directly at the expense of Wilt.  Bill Russell had the drive and the heart, they say.  Wilt just didn't have that killer instinct.  Or maybe, it was the number he wore.

Dan Marino:
He's sort of the Wilt Chamberlain of football.  He set all the records.  He had all the skills.  His release was quicker than anyone had ever seen.  Yet he only made one Super Bowl in his career and lost it to Joe Montana, who was not nearly as physically gifted as Dan. Some blamed the defense, some blamed the running game.  I blame the number on his back.

Kurt Warner sort of breaks the pattern here, but not really:
Kurt has one of the best feel good stories of all time.  He went from stocking groceries to winning the Super Bowl in less than a year.  He powered one of the greatest offenses of all time.  Cinderella don't have shit on Kurt Warner.  But then...then he lost to the Patriots.  Then his teams floundered.  Then he found himself out of a job.  Then he found himself behind Eli Manning.  Then, worse, he found himself behind Matt Leinart(!).  He eventually regained a starting job and then somehow led the endlessly unlucky Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl with a 9-7 record and had them winning that Super Bowl in the final few minutes.  But a few Big Ben passes later, the game was lost.  No one would ever say Roethelisburger is a lucky man (most would say he is a scumbag), so maybe it's the number - again.

Mats Sundin:
It was hard trying to even remember a hockey player that wore the number 13.  Then, thanks to google, they gave me a great example.  Sundin was a great player, and from all accounts, a great teammate.  But he had the misfortune of playing for one of the more snakebit teams of the last 40+ years, the Toronto Maple Leafs.  If you were Toronto, would you let your best player wear the number 13?

Billy Wagner:
Billy Wagner threw hard.  Real hard.  He also had one of the greatest sliders you ever saw.  He was also really good at blowing big saves.  Of all the "great" closers, I am hard pressed to find a better closer who blew more big leads in big spots than Wagner did.  With four different teams, he never did win a championship.  I think you might be on to my reasoning.

Baseball is all about numbers.  And part of that tradition is great players should wear great numbers.  Hank Aaron wore #44 (maybe not great if you're Chinese).  Mickey Mantle wore #7.  Frank Robinson wore #20.  These are dynamic numbers rich in history.
So when A-Rod came to the Yankees, why on earth did he pick #13?  Why?  This boggles my mind.  I know #3 was not available (duh), nor #23.  But #12 was, #30 was, #33 was.  If he liked the #3 so much, those numbers make sense.  Why go with #13?  As much as I despise Barry Bonds (#25 - also a good number), I hope Alex Rodriguez doesn't break the all time home run record just because the notion of someone wearing the #13 having such a hallowed record seems wrong.  But, that seems a bit moot since his body is breaking down at an alarming rate.  So, in the end, it appears the number will have/is having its way with poor A-Rod after all. 

Not pictured: Omar Vizquel (zero championships), Edgardo Alfonso (zero championships), John Valentin (zero championships), Lance Parrish (one championship), Don Maynard (one championship), Glenn Robinson (zero championships), Steve Nash (zero championships), and of course, Ralph Branca (gave up the Shot Heard 'round the World).

I am now going to go crawl back under the covers until tomorrow morning.  Better safe than sorry.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trade with Capewood's Collections.

       Seems some bloggers are getting their spring cleaning done a little late this year.  But hell, I don't mind if there is stuff in it for me.  Cliff over at the esteemed Capewood's Collections has been having a Summer Clearance Trade extravaganza.  He has been listing team lots (and some of the goodies therein) as up for grabs with the rejoinder that you send him some of his favorite teams in return: the Phillies and Astros.  This is a rather simple and elegant way of getting rid of cards you don't want and getting your hands on the ones that you do.  So I waited patiently for my Mets to come up and wouldn't you know it, when they did I pounced on them and got my boys in blue and orange.  Let's see what I got:
There was some of this year's stuff, which is always nice since I am not buying much new product (my post-birthday trip to Target not withstanding).  There were a bunch of cool David Wright cards that I didn't have. That Upper Deck X die cut is pretty sweet; those UDX die cut cards work as well as the base cards don't.  Plus there was a nice smattering of some vague old nineties stuff and even, impressively, a 1989 Upper Deck card that has somehow not made its way into my collection.  Actually, I think there are still two or three missing from that team set.  *sigh* This is yet another gap in my Mets stuff I should write down and put up on the wantlist.  Anyway, there was about 100 or so cards here and they were all appreciated...even the Jason Bay, though as I have stated before, he is dead to me. 

I saw a few days later that Cliff had previously listed the Expos and Nats as a combo lot and that there had been no takers.  I emailed him that I would double up my Phillies and Astros for him if that lot could make its way to me as well.  He happily agreed (and even threw in a couple more Mets he had laying around to boot):
I don't know where my soft spot for the Expos comes from. Maybe because they were never much of a threat to the Mets in their day. Maybe because that team was unreasonably ripped out of Montreal. Maybe because I just like old defunct teams in general. Maybe because they had sweet uniforms.  I am only speculating.  But between this lot and a previous one from Jaybarkerfan, I now have a shitload (it's an industry term) of excess Expos.  And such sweet cards they are.  I really do dig those handsome powder blue unis they wore.  I really do hope the Hall of Fame can see past their own stupidity and puts Tim Raines onto their hallowed walls.  Good stuff all around.  All that said, I am growing worried about their successors, the Nationals.  They have a strong young nucleus and will no doubt be a thorn in the side of the whole damn NL East for years to come.  That's not good for my Mets nor Cliff's Phillies (who can't seem to get out of their own way this year).  Anyway, I hope the cards I sent to Cliff were as entertaining as his lots were to me.  Thanks Cliff!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Double Meh.

       Lemme just clarify my thoughts on the All Star Game from last post.  I don't want to sound like one of these media folks who drone on and on about how boring and staid the ASG is.  This has been one of these go-to hack pieces of mid-summer for ages now.  "The game isn't the same" - "Since cable/interleague/free agency came to be, the All Star Game has become less special" - "We now see all the players all the time so there is no reason to watch/play the ASG" - blahblahblah and on and on.  The stories now pop up as early as when the all star ballots appear and usually peak somewhere around when the teams are announced.  I find these types of "stories" to be not only the lowest form of hackery but also insincere and unfounded.  The All Star Game itself is still pretty damn neat.  I think the game is still vital to the season and to the game as a whole.  I think the game is most important for - wait for it - kids!  Yes, won't someone please think of the children!  My point was that the game hasn't been special for me since I was a kid and there is a very damn good reason for that: it was still new and fascinating when I was 12 years old.  But I would never get rid of the game because there are still plenty of young fans who think the game is a exciting as I did 25+ years ago.  In fact, another story the baseball alarmists love to hammer over everyone's head is how the sport is dying because young fans find it boring.  Well, the All Star Game is probably the best thing they could ever market to kids.  The combination of tradition and freshness is perfect for that purpose.  It would behoove the media to also plug into this notion and quit with the tired "The All Star Game is boring and sucks" storyline and remember that there are still young fans who think and want to think the game is quite interesting and awesome.

That said, what a horrifyingly boring game that was...after the first inning, it pretty much sucked.

So, what about the two blasters of Allen and Ginter I opened?  Since I am on a ranting roll here, I'll say straight out that I know when you purchase retail blasters at the box store of your choice, you are not getting the high end hits...I know if you have two blasters, you have 16 packs and they will likely represent the 16 crappy packs you'd get in a hobby box (re: the ones without the cool hits).  You are literally getting what you paid for.  I know that going in and it still never quite soothes the disappointment when the blasters are what they are.  Follow that?  OK, let's get down to it.

I ate my burritos (by far the best part of my evening) and opened my blasters.  Now, I am not gonna go pack by pack, I find that tedious.  I am gonna show the highlights. First and foremost, lets look at the page that I made:
Now, I will admit that six of these cards came from doubles.  There were a lot of doubles.  I guess I grabbed the wrong two blasters.  As for the cards themselves, I like the art deco borders. They look cool without taking away from the picture.  They could have gotten ugly and busy fast but instead they are very understated and well done.  The only knock I have on the design is that one of the quirks of past A&G sets was that sometimes the pictures bled off the card and I like that sort of thing.  In fact, it would seem Topps went out of its way to strangle all the quirk out of this edition of Ginter.  More on that coming up.

On top of those nine cards, there are six others that will join my collection:
I really really really (really) like the Wright and Seaver cards.  The Seaver is a photo you don't often see and the Wright is very friendly looking.  I have no idea who Ewa Mataya is, but I can always support a sassy looking female in a borderline sport on a trading card.  I cannot say I am the biggest golf fan in the world, nor am I a big Arnold Palmer fan per se, but that is a pretty snazzy looking shot of him and I love his signature drink, so welcome to the vague sports binder, 2012 A&G Arnie.  The last two are from the Baseball Sketch insert set that A&G has featured the last couple years.  The subjects are usually very well chosen and presented, plus, how can you go wrong with Frank Thomas (one of my favorites) or Willie Mays (self explanatory)?

This is what I will refer to as the Ballad of Gilligan's Island end part: and the rest.  The usual historic inserts are their usual well done selves.  The code this year is a murder mystery, that as usual, I will have no interest in.  Sadly, overall, this year's Ginter is very very usual.
I miss the Groundhog cards.  I miss the revolving door.  I miss Pluto.  I miss Pablo Picasso, Edgar Allan Poe, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Having tons of retro superstars is very typical for any Topps set. How about some turn of the century players or some Negro League guys we don't always see?  Having vague sports figures is not enough to keep me very interested.  Gimme Chuck Woolery and Rutherford B. Hayes any day.

Seems I am underwhelmed with this year's Allen and Ginter (and I am).  Do I have anything nice to say?  Well, the collation of short prints was well done.  In 16 packs, I got eight of them, that's 1:2 packs.  Perfect collation.  I wish I could say the same for the 10 base card doubles I got.
I will also say that Frank Robinson card is a showstopper. 

The "What's in a Name" inserts are also very well done (and they were also perfectly collated). 
It has a nice mix of today's stars and legends of yesteryear.  The write-ups about the given names and the player's nicknames are also most informative.  I will be making two pages of these, one of the current players and one of the retros.  I like them that much.

And hey!  They didn't cheat me out of any of my minis either.  I got 16, one per pack.  Sadly, the selection I got did not exactly fill me with uncontrollable glee.
I cannot look at Jason Bay in a Mets uniform anymore.  I can't.  He's dead to me.  So is Jose Reyes.  Derek Jeter was never alive to me in the first place.  The Palmer, Lind, Ethier, and Billingsley have destinations, so if anyone wants to trade for any of the others, feel free to email me.  In fact, I will also put up a list of all the base cards I have at the end of this post; if you are building the set and need any of them, email me and we will work it out.  Wait, that is only 15, what happened to the other one. 

Well, here it is.  And it is also a keeper. Yup, that is Moses. Anecdote time!
My mother loves the movie The Ten Commandments.  They show it every Easter and she has watched it every year since she was a kid.  Her favorite part is when Anne Baxter squeals "Moses...Moses...Moses..."  She does a wonderful impression of it, in case you ever come to Easter breakfast.  Anyway, when she was pregnant with her second child (me) she decided she was going to name it Moses.  For the first seven months in utero, I was referred to as "Moses,"  But then along came this guy:
Moses Malone was one of the first basketball players to come straight out of high school and go pro.  This was a big deal back in 1975.  For months, all anyone talked about on the news was Moses Malone.
Well, after a while, my mom got tired of the name "Moses" (she's not much of a basketball fan).  She racked her brain and came up with "Max" after one of her favorite uncles.  And I am just Max, not Maxwell or Maximilian, I am just plain Max.  So I can thank Moses Malone for my name - as you can see I have plenty of his cards - and now I have one of the man who's name I almost had.  Of course, this set would have been much more fun if it also had a Charlton Heston card in there as well.


2012 Allen and Ginter base for trade:  4, 5, 7, 9, 26, 36, 66, 72, 80, 96, 97, 105, 109, 117, 123, 126, 127, 131, 136, 143, 145, 147, 161, 172, 180, 192, 201, 206, 209, 221, 222, 229, 230, 231, 246, 255, 259, 266, 267, 286 SPs: 302, 311, 312, 317, 319, 325, 335, 340

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


       I wish I was 12 years old again.  While there is a plethora of reasons this statement is true, in this particular instance, it's because I would/could be excited about the All Star Game again.
1974 - 13 years before I was 12.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I am watching it right now, probably out of some rote Pavlovian response.  Believe me, if I had anything anything going on on this summer Tuesday evening, I would be doing it - and besides, listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver is punishment for felony crimes in some nations. Anyway, I guess in my experience, it would seem excitement for the All Star game peaked somewhere between ages 9 and 12 and just faded away after that.  Oh well.  What I am excited about is this:

Yes, that is a giant FU Bloomberg soda, two Beefy Nacho Burritos and two 2012 Allen and Ginter blasters.  I will have the game on, but I am infinitely more interested in the entertainment at hand.  More to come.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

(In)Complete Set Sunday: 2001 Sunoco Dream Team.

        A couple years ago, yet another local card shop was closing.  This old dude had been at his location for like 30 years, but hard economic times and modern collecting sensibilities had driven him from maintaining a brick and mortar shop.  He had kept up with the times by having a strong online presence and it just made sense for him in time to keep that and ditch the overhead of the store.  This story has repeated itself locally a dozen times and nationally thousands of times over.  It is nothing new.  But where as I once had a bunch of local card shops to choose from, I now only have two, and both of those are basically offices for the proprietors to work out of.  Of course, in my sorrow, I am never one to overlook a bargain, and when this shop went out of business, he sold off a lot of his inexpensive-type inventory dirty dirt cheap.  I swept in and grabbed a lot of great deals and a lot of stuff I normally wouldn't have purchased.  There was a huge box of oddball sets marked down to a dollar each.  I'm not sure if I bought them all, but I came pretty close.  One of those sets was one I had seen a few random singles from but never the entire set, the 2001 Sunoco Dream Team Limited Edition set.

The cards in this set were supposedly given out at gas stations in 2001, but I never saw it advertised and if I ever stopped at a Sunoco station, I never got any cards out of the deal.  This was not Sunoco's first baseball card promotion; they were involved in some Fleer parallels in the mid 90's and those I remember, but this set slipped through my consciousness.  It is a 12-card set of All Time greats representing a famous team two at a time. You have wonderful duos like Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice, Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, and even some more eclectic combos like Yogi Berra and Don Mattingly, and Sparky Anderson and Al Kaline.  Anyway, they are pretty sweet looking cards and I got 3 or 4 of the sets in that card shop liquidation sale.  I sold the excess ones on eBay and kept one for myself.  And well, to tell the truth, I decided not to keep that set intact.  Twelve card sets just don't do well in a 9-card page setting.  I do have a few of them represented - mostly Fleer World Series sets from the 80's - and they either leave a nasty six card void, or if you put them together it is hard to keep a continuity, or worst of all, if I get cute and do six cards a page, you leave two three card spaces to fill.  They just don't work well for what I want my collection to look like.  So with the Sunoco set that I had, I kept nine of the cards for a page and I then divided the three cards I excised: one went into my team collection, one went to my player collections, and the final one went to a hardcore team collecting blogger.  Here is the page you were left with:

I assume this giveaway was an east coast/mid west thing as you have 2 Philly cards, 2 Yankees cards, then a Detroit, a Cleveland, a Cincinnati, and a Pittsburgh.   For completeness, let's look at the backs:

Each card has a snappy write up and even a title, which is a nice touch.  Plus, Coca Cola gets in on the sponsorship too (when doesn't Coke get in on the advertising?).  It is also nice, and kinda rare for this kind of oddball set, that the cards are authorized and therefore can use the MLB logos.  That always makes for a better looking card.  I keep this page in with my set binders because if I weren't so damn particular about how things look, it would be my mind's eye, it is.


You will see on the side margin there is a new bit of propaganda.  That is because I want you to go vote for Greg Zakwin on Beckett's website so he can win contest and a Sandy Koufax autograph.  I like his blog and I even genuinely like his entry best, so please take 20 seconds and do so.  Thanks.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Even More Joy.

       Complete pages are what my collection is all about.  Starting Nine is not just a name, it's a philosophy.  These eight pages have all been finished recently and then added to their respective books.  Each one has its own story of who, what, where, and why and I will fill in the blanks if circumstances call for it.

I didn't buy much 2010 Topps.  I believe I bought a series one jumbo out of habit and it was not long after when I realized the bloom was off the rose for me constantly purchasing new product strictly "out of habit."  This is not to say 2010 Topps was a bad set, quite to the contrary, I rather liked it.  I especially liked the Franchise History cards they gave each team.  It was a good way to add a little wrinkle to the base set.  I recently gathered the doubles from that aforementioned jumbo box and wouldn't you know it, I had nine of the Franchise History cards in there.  That calls for a page:
Sometimes I go out of my way to find nine very specific cards for a page.  This is a good example of the exact opposite, making a page out of only nine cards.  I mixed up the horizontal and vertical and got a nice mix of old and new teams, not to mention a nice mix of different pictures. 

I think I have made a good point of emphasizing my love of dime boxes.  I am the guy who, when he finds a nice one, will pull up a chair and pour over the whole thing while at a show.  I take care not to block others with equal love of the dime box, but I have been known to make an afternoon of especially good full boxes.  I found one such box at the White Plains show over the winter.  I plucked 442 cards from that one.  That particular haul has been poured over and divided a few times, but there were some leftovers that I never got around to sorting until this week.  The following five pages come from those cards.

I love Topps Finest, but in my typical contradictory fashion, I have never really bought any of it.  I can't really tell if it is a price thing or a fatigue thing (Finest usually comes out later in the year).  Finest, more often than not, lives up to its name, at least visually.  They are usually very good looking cards.  I found a vein of the 2010 base cards in this box and made a pile of them.
I then, while still sitting at the dime box, went though them, found a nice mix of players and poses, and plotted out my page.  I do this a lot and while it usually illicits a funny look, it hardly ever gets questioned aloud.  Eventually, I will make a page of all the Finest offerings, for now, I have a lot of mid 90's stuff and only a smattering of recent offerings. Quick aside: I once bought a box of 1993 Finest for a (relatively) cheap price just to find a refractor - and, of course, hope it was a good rare one.  Oh, and I got a refractor...the player I pulled: Lee Smith.  Oh well.

Dime boxes are usually the dumping spot for a lot of unwanted base cards plus unnumbered and unautographed inserts.  While this is a sad end for some nice cards, it also lets me build pages I otherwise never would have even considered for less than a buck.  Much like Finest, SP Authentic is a venerable brand that I have long admired but rarely purchased.  This is a page of abandoned 2008 SP Authentic inserts, a handsome little set called Authentic Achievements.
I kind of like these little orphan inserts.  The scan doesn't show it, but the writing is all in a shiny rainbow foil, and the set itself is like 50 cards, which is large but not unwieldy.  Anyway, there were only about 12 of these and this was the best I could do with what I had.  While not the most aesthetically pleasing group of pictures, I think it fits with the whole nature of this set and the reasons for me finding it.

Ahhhh, the 2008 UD Documentary set.  This set has been run through the ringer so many times, I am not going to dig up the corpse and do it again.  Needless to say, it is one of the perfect examples of a great idea poorly executed.  So poor, in fact, that this set may have been the nail in Upper Deck's coffin in the eyes of many collectors.  I avoided this set like the plague.  I heard so many bad things, I never bought a single pack and never even asked any one about it.  In this dime box seemed to be about 1000 of these cards. 
Enough time has passed since the initial release of this horrorshow, so I took a chance.  I made a pile and, once again, carefully selected a nice assortment of photos and players for the page.  I purposely ignored any write ups on the front or back, knowing that I would be infuriated by what I read.  Overall, I think this is a very good looking page, as long as I never read a word and just look at the pretty pictures.

I need to learn to write things down.  I know how unorganized I am and yet I do very little to remedy the fact.  If I consistently wrote things down, both important and trivial, I could save myself a lot of headaches.  Every once in a while, though, I randomly remember something at the right moment and those little moments of synchronicity make good things happen.  While going through this box, I found a little run of 1993 Stadium Club stars.  Big stars.  This made me recall that while looking at my Topps books recently, I noticed that the only SC year I was missing was 1993.  Instead of rummaging through all my boxes to see if I had any, I now had all I needed to make a page.  Well, almost...
...I got eight cards from this dime box.  Look at the names here and I will let you decide which is the one that does not belong.  That card was found amongst my endless team piles and placed on this page to complete it. 

The nice thing about collecting your way is you get to make the rules.  Every once in a while, I get to make an executive decision about a page and that word is law.  We're still in that same dime box and I found a bunch of 1994 Fleer inserts.  These inserts were as understated as the base set.  But, much like that set, they work.  And while they all seemed to be the same, it turns out, they were different.  I found 6 Team Leaders and 5 Prospects.  Not enough to make a page of each, but, since they looked so strikingly similar, I decided to make a page that combined the two sets:
Both sets have gray borders, super imposed players, gold titles, and big colorful logos in the background.  If you just glanced at this page quickly, chances are you wouldn't even realize they were different sets.  The differences and similarities contrast very nice, I think.  It makes for a nice change up in my Fleer book, if you are even paying attention. 

The last two pages here have been a long time in completion, at least in my definition of completion.  This first one has been sitting in my retro book since the set came out in 2002.
Well, eight of those cards have been in that page for 10 years, that middle one was only recently procured from COMC. These cards are specifically a subset called the All-Time Series Team and it is from the 2002 Fleer Fall Classic set (a most handsome faux vintage set as has ever been produced IMHO). I have no idea why it took me a decade to complete this page.  The middle card was forever a random insert from this set featuring Yogi Berra and Thurman Munson.  I am not sure if I didn't like the three outfielders breaking up the nice symmetry of the two players on the other cards or if I just never pulled one of the two outfielders cards from this subset. Recently, I decided I didn't like how this page looked - unfinished - so I went online and fixed that. 

Last but not least is a similar dilemma I found a distinctly different solution to.  I have, since they started the set in 2001, bought some of the Topps Heritage set when it came out.  Heritage has a nice regimented sameness to it.  The inserts always have the same theme yet a unified look to the design of the year in question.  Since I am a sucker for faux vintage in general and nostalgia specifically, the Then and Now inserts have always been a favorite of mine out of Heritage.  But what to do?  Having page after page of the same kind of insert set would be dull.  Plus, there is always 10 cards in the T&N set, which ruins my love of 9 card pages.  Who do I leave out?  Do I leave out the same card for every year?  Not to mention the cost of accumulating all these inserts would be prohibitive to the overall result.  What to do, what to do?  Well, make a page with one from each year, of course. 
I had between one and eight of just about each year of the Then and Now inserts.  I didn't have any from this year, nor did I have any from 2001, 2002 or 2004.  So, to complete the page with a run of years, I went back to COMC and grabbed the 2004/1955 Herb Score/Kerry Wood card you see there.  Perhaps in seven years, if Topps is still marching the Heritage set out every year, I will make another page, including the missing 2001 & 2002.  Please check back in 2019 to see if I do.


Robert of $30 a Week Habit has claimed the 2012 Topps Stickers from last post.  The system works.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


       I am a sucker for impulse buys.  The little pile of crap near the checkout counter was made just for me.  I own more shiny packs of gum, keychains, nicknacks, and bad magazines because of this retail tactic than you could possibly imagine.  I am not sure if this is a chicken/egg situation with my love of baseball cards as I often will scan the counter looking for packs...or perhaps I came to love cards so much because they are a prime choice for the front of the shop.  Anyway, this was true when I was seven and it is true now at the tender age of 37.  I was on a recent road trip and at a 7-11 getting car snacks and a soda when I saw they had these three packs of 2012 Topps Stickers.  Now, I haven't bought a pack of stickers in about 24 years (1988 Panini forever!) but for whatever reason, I just couldn't help myself.  I don't even know what they cost and now I am stuck with them - pun intended.

Oh, but am I?  I plucked out the Mets (all two of them) plus one other and now there is a neat pile of 21 cute little stickers cluttering up my computer area.  They are adorable and look great, but in the end, I don't want them.  So I ask my favorite question: Who wants it?  I will even list them in case someone is collecting the album: (11, 22, 23, 28, 29, 49, 68, 103, 105, 112, 121, 129, 135, 138/145, 202, 205, 209, 223, 231, 248, 291).  First one who comments they want them, gets them.  No muss, no fuss.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


O beautiful

for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!



God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good

with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!