Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Five Dollar Group Break: Update II

Alright, time for another preview of what some of the participants will be getting. Without any further ado...

darkship's Royals:
2006 Topps Turkey Red #381 Mark Grudzielanek Red Parallel
"Grudzy," a Wisconsin native, is pretty cool.

Ryan Cracknell's Dodgers:
1993 Upper Deck #22 Billy Ashley
I guess you would call this a "That Guy" appearance by Eric Karros. I would love it if anyone would send me any other images of cards with "That Guy" in the background, horning in on someone else's card.

Matt F.'s Mariners:
2006 Topps Opening Day SI for Kids Funny Photos #22 Ichiro
Johnny Damon is on the back of this one, but the presence of Ichiro on the front puts this one in the M's pile.

Aron's Astros:
2006 Topps U&H #UH215 ERA League Leaders
Oswalt has top billing on this card, so it goes in the Astros pile. To calculate who actually has top billing, I'm applying the top-left formula. Because of the way English text is read, the most powerful position on a rectangular array is the top-leftmost spot.

The most famous finagling of this phenomenon occurred during the opening credits of Cheers, where prima donnas Ted Danson and Shelly Long both demanded top billing. This is the solution the producers of Cheers came up with. God help me if a card like this turns up.

thehamiltonian's Blue Jays:
1989 Donruss The Rookies #12 Tony Castillo
Are the green backs of these awesome or what?

jackplumstead's Red Sox:
2005 Donruss #119 Derek Lowe
Only one pack of 2005 D'russ has emerged so far, but it was a monster. I've never really seen anything like it.

More spots still left. Thanks for the quick payments from everyone who's already in!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Five Dollar Group Break: Update I

Well, I've been having fun opening up the packs so far. I'm about halfway done now, and still sorting everything into team piles. As a little sneak preview, I've pulled a few cards (not-so-randomly) to help demonstrate the process. For everyone who has already paid, you're getting a look at one of the cards you'll be receiving. Here are the first five.

Captain Canuck's Braves:
2006 Topps Opening Day #25 Chipper Jones

steveisjewish's Mets:
1991 Topps Debut '90 #26 Chuck Carr
So far I've been pulling a shitload of Mets, probably twice that of the second most common team. I've set this one aside to showcase a fun blog called "Chuckie Hacks." It covers basically all Wisconsin sports teams and is a reference to Carr's short stint as a Brewer, most specifically his third-person self-referential statement as to why he failed to heed dugout instructions to take pitches after popping out to third on a 2-0 count.

Zpop's Nats/Expos:
1991 Upper Deck #143 Tim Raines
Zpop does indeed get all of the Expos and the Nationals cards. He doesn't, however, get Tim's "Rock" necklace.

gritz76's Cubs:
1989 Score Traded #84T Joe Girardi
Looking at this card has been plenty disorienting since I've pulled it. The colors are just so unfamiliar to me, despite a design that's etched into my brain. There's no reason to try LSD when there's 1989 Score Traded on hand.

madding's Cardinals:
2004 Fleer Platinum #6 Reggie Sanders
Some cards, such as this one, have presented a dilemma as to who gets it. I've set up some guidelines for singular players depicted for multiple teams on the same card, as well as multiple players for different teams on the same card. For the former, I'm going with whatever team the player is listed as playing for currently. Therefore, Reggie goes into the Cardinals pile, not the Pirates pile. The latter scenario will be dealt with in a subsequent post.

I've also opened the little 35-card blister pack, whose tag was clipped, making it unsafe for human consumption. The pack actually contained 39 cards...

...25 of which were Brewers!!! It was a freak pack, to be sure, but most of the Brew Crew cards were from the early 1990s, including two 1990 Topps Traded cards of Ron Robinson, possibly the ugliest Brewer of all time.

More teams to be spotlighted later! Also, if you haven't put in a request yet, some good teams are still left. There have been memorabilia cards, some serially numbered cards, and at least one autographed card pulled, but to be fair, I can't reveal which from teams yet!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Five... Five Dollar... Five Dollar Group Break

One of the great things about going on vacation and being a collector is that you'll probably have a giant pile of packages waiting for you went you come home. When today's postal deliveries were resumed, this beast was waiting for me.

I don't think I've ever received a more hastily wrapped parcel. I'm guessing USPS routed this thing through Mount Doom Couriers followed by Mariana Trench Underwater Delivery before it reached its final destination in Milwaukee. I'm happy to report that baseball cards can indeed endure the tremendous pressure of Challenger Deep and live to tell about it. Why don't we see what's inside...

Not too shabby. What you are looking at is a lot of cards and packs I won on eBay recently. The lot is comprised of seven 10-pack value boxes, each of which contain 50 loose cards, two packs of 2005 Topps Opening Day, two of 2006 Opening Day, a 2007 Topps Boston Red Sox team set, a 35-card assortment pack, and an 8-pack blaster of 2006 Topps Turkey Red. All told, that's 82 packs, plus another 400 or so cards.

Here's the deal. I've been seeing a lot of group breaks online recently, many of which are for high-end products. While these projects are a great way to get a great card or two without breaking your bank for a whole box, one often comes away from this with just a couple of cards, and potentially none at all. In my group break, you'll get a whole bunch of cards, and it won't cost you nearly as much as, say, a Triple Threads break might.

Here's how this will work. Follow these easy steps if you want in.
1. Indicate your team preference in the comments for this post. You can choose as many teams as you'd like. Each team will cost $5.00, which should cover shipping to you and the cost of this lot. Teams are up for grabs on a first come-first serve basis. You will then receive all of the cards pulled from that team.

2. Send me your entrance fee via PayPal. You can send it to this address:
If you need any assistance with this, e-mail me instead and I'll walk you through it.

3. In your PayPal transaction, make sure to include your team of choice as well as your mailing address. While I have many saved in e-mail folders, there might be some new people I haven't traded with yet. I'm setting a deadline of 11:59 pm on Friday, January 2, 2008 to send in payment.

4. That's it! Some time this weekend, you will get a chance too see some of the highlights of this lot, and who got some of the lucky hits. I'm not promising any amazing pulls or anything like that, but who knows? Packages will be sent out towards the beginning of next week. The Brewers are already claimed by me, so don't ask for them. Every other team is available, unless someone else gets to it first. After I confirm payment, I will be listing team choices in the space below. If you want the Red Sox, you will get the team set as well. And because a video recording all of this pack opening will be so prohibitive based on the lot's size, I guess that you'll have to trust that I'm sending everything that I pull. What it boils down to is that for the price of about two packs of cards, you'll be getting a bunch of cards of only the team you want. I believe that I am known as an honest and trustworthy trader in this community, and I'll go to great lengths to uphold that image. The blog is always open to comments, none of which I ever remove, no matter how badly someone might bash me for anti-Cubs statements and the like.

Oh, and if you have any questions about anything, anything at all, please ask. Most of the packs seem to be from 2006 and 2007, lots of Upper Deck, some Bowman, some Fleer Ultra, Opening Day, and there's even that '06 Heritage peeking out. It's the only one I can see, but there might be more among the unseen inner packs.

I think this should be a lot of fun, and I hope to have a lot of people participate. If not, I get to keep all the cards.

Teams Chosen:
Braves -- Captain Canuck
Mets -- steveisjewish
Nationals/Expos, Twins -- Zpop
Cubs -- gritz76
Cardinals -- madding
Royals -- darkship
Dodgers -- Ryan Cracknell
Mariners -- Matt F.
Astros -- Aron
Blue Jays -- thehamiltonian
Red Sox -- jackplumstead
Phillies -- deal
Orioles -- Kevin
A's -- tastelikedirt
Padres -- Rod
White Sox -- White Sox Cards
Yankees -- packaddict
Reds, Angels -- dayf

Card Show Report

The weekend before I left on my vacation, I stopped at the Gonzaga Hall card show. The key to this particular trip was entering with an agenda. I brought my want lists along with me, and allowed myself no more than twenty dollars of additional purchases. Here's what I picked up.

The last three 2007 Topps Prince Fielder Generation Now cards I needed to complete the set, #2, 9, and 21. Coincidentally, all home runs depicted here were on the road against division rivals.
Price: $6.00

A small amount of commons with funny pictures, good fodder for future posts.
Price: $1.00

2008 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts #LM-BS Bruce Sutter Legendary Memorabilia, numbered 04/10. The jersey swatch is a really nice powder blue that doesn't show up on a lot of cards anymore, relatively speaking. The beard is looking fantastic.
Price: $4.00

1975 Topps Mini #223 Robin Yount (RC)
I have rarely seen this for less than $20-30, so I've been holding out for an awfully long time. It's got a long, yet shallow crease, but that just means it has been cherished. I'll try my best to continue the love.
Price: $10.00

Here's a shot of it next to my regular-issue Topps Yount rookie, for perspective. As you can see, my cards need to be in the most meticulous condition possible.

That's about all, folks. $21 dollars spent, plus $1.00 admission. The one additional item I grabbed was a free pack people were encouraged to grab from a card table at the door. While there were rack packs of 1990 Donruss and half a box of 1991 Score Football Series I (the one without the Favre rookie), I snagged the best available: 1991 WCW Wrestling. A Pack a Day will soon be graced with its presence.

Oh, and while I was away, it looks like the Yankees completed their task of hand-picking one player from each of the other 29 teams. That's good for baseball.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Lynch-mas Everyone!!!

December 25, 2008:
1987 Topps #697 Ed Lynch

Every Who Down in Whoville Liked Christmas a lot...
But the Lynch, who lived just north of Whoville, Did NOT!
The Lynch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his chins were too slight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his jersey was two sizes too small.

If this was late in a Christmas week NFL blowout game, this would be the portion where all of the video assist monitor operators and Avid editors get their two seconds to wave hello to everyone at home. Since it's just me putting this show on for everyone, I'll say this:
Merry Christmas, one and all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 24

December 24, 2008:
1975 O-Pee-Chee #457 Mario Mendoza AUTO

At long last, we've made to the the final day of the 2008 Card-vent Calendar. There have been the good cards and the bad, the funny and the rare, but nothing quite so satisfying as the Christmas Eve entry. The card above was actually one of my favorite pickups of 2008.

At some point during the summer, I attended the most regularly-scheduled card show in Milwaukee, the Gonzaga Hall show. Admission is a dollar, the same dealers are there time after time, and I'm always on the lookout for something unique. Always stationed at the second table from the door is a guy selling Brewers stuff almost exclusively. It's this guy from whom I've picked up a few rare regional-only Yount cards for my collection. He's really got it all, from old pocket schedules to signed photos to stuff only he's the only guy selling because of his trade as a printer. For some reason, I decided to page through one of his binders and I came to a section of pages that wasn't just Brewers or Milwaukee Braves.

This card of Mendoza, notorious for his extremely low batting average, and at the same time tenacious for clinging to big league status, caught my eye immediately. I believe I paid $2 for it. If you look closely, you'll notice that the blue ink signature fails to match the black facsimile signature on just about every level. This was apparent to me well before plunking down my Jefferson, but the pathway of logic my brain constructed made the purchase an inevitability. Over and over I kept coming back to The Big Lebowski: "Like Lenin said, look for the person who would benefit." For the life of me, I just couldn't find one. Who in their right mind would fake a Mario Mendoza signature? And then sell it to a guy for two dollars? Or sell it to a dealer at a price that would earn him a small profit when he sells it for two dollars?

In my mind, it's real, and it's spectacular.

I'd like to take time today to thank everyone for following along with the Card-vent Calendar this year. If everything is going according to plan, right now I am somewhere in the middle of the pirate-free Caribbean Sea aboard the Norwegian Spirit. Sure, it's no Cote d'Ivoire, and Baumer isn't dictating letters in the next cabin, but it'll do for the honeymoon. The last week or so of the Calendar was written ahead of time and post-dated. I hope everyone appreciates the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this year's edition. If I find any packs of cards in Belize or Guatemala, I'll be sure to snag a few and bust them here when I come back.
Merry Christmas, and tomorrow...a savior.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 23

December 23, 2008:
2002 Topps Heritage #GG-EW Early Wynn Grandstand Glory Authentic Stadium Seat

I'm not going to do the math here, but I'd imagine that only a very small percentage of Cleveland Municipal Stadium seats made their way into Heritage cards like these. I can still remember my jaw dropping while reading the facts on the Indians page of my 1986 Topps Baseball Sticker Album. Each stadium's pertinent information was listed, and the 78,000 or so fans it could seat for baseball made my head spin.

It's pretty nice to get such a cool relic card from the Card-vent Calendar, though I'm positive there's been a lot of ass on my card. Unfortunately, I highly doubt any of it belonged to Early Wynn. Or Joey Cora.

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 22

December 22, 2008
1991 Fleer #154 Joey Cora

Some days treat you like a Robin Yount Triple Threads card numbered to 25.
Others...they treat you like a 1990 Fleer Joey Cora.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 21

December 21, 2008:
2006 Topps Triple Threads Hall of Fame #19 Robin Yount Blue Sapphire Parallel (11/25)

The only card that looks better than a green-colored Robin Yount card is a blue-color-dominated Robin Yount card. It really wouldn't be Card-vent without Robin Yount making an appearance, and he does so in 2008 in a blaze of Sapphire glory. That's right, don't you dare call it blue, unless you want to get bitch-slapped by a guy with more than 3,000 hits under his belt.

Curiously, card companies always seem to make the light blue (or Sapphire) parallel cards among the most scarce of all variants. It's king of like how food companies have agreed upon certain colors to stand for certain things. Let's review this unspoken agreement.

Green box = Reduced Fat. I believe this began with Snackwells and spread like a mutant SuperVirus through munchable commodities.

Orange = Nacho. Pretty self-explanatory. If not nacho, at least cheese-flavored.

Wild Card!
Maroon (or similar shades of dark red) = Barbecue flavored, mesquite if you're lucky.

Lime green = Sour Cram and Onion. If Little Debbie found a way to make a Sour Cream and Onion flavored Star Crunch, it would come in a light green box.

And coming full circle back to Young Goodman Robin, Light Blue = Salt & Vinegar. Like the Sapphire parallels Topps puts out, this flavor is not always easy to find. Seeing a can of light blue Pringles is a lot like witnessing a desert mirage. You're not sure if what you're seeing is real, so you pinch yourself. If you feel the pinch, you pinch yourself again, this time in a more sensitive area of your body. If the can finds its way to your shopping cart, you still can't quite verify their existence until they actually make it to your kitchen. And there you have it, I've successfully compared Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount to a cannister of heavily salted, highly processed potato snack treats. Today is a good day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 20

December 20, 2008:
1991 Pro Line Portraits #185 Billy Ray Smith

Some guys go for the Zubaz for their comfort.

Some guys go for the mullet for its style.

Some guys go for the wristbands for their performance.

Billy Ray Smith, the Greatest American Hero to Have Ever Lived, you have achieved the trifecta.

As if this weren't enough, you have topped it off with an NFL licensed Zubaz-brand Chargers shirt. Capital!

A man of such stature and nomenclature begs the question: Does he have a daughter named Miley? And does this speculative daughter have her own TV show called "Carolyn Maryland", the plot of which concerns a high school student by day whose alter ego performs as a pop star by night?

Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 19

December 19, 2008:
1985 Big League Cards #10-A565 Patrolman Levi Elk

One of the great joys of collecting cards is that it gives you a genuine shot at possessing something that perhaps no one else owns, or at the very most only a small handful of other people has. This year's Card-vent Calendar has been extremely generous in this regard. Right now I can claim to be one of the only people on the planet who owns a trading card of an ambassadroid. In fact, before this article goes live, "ambassadroid" got only nine Google hits.

A little background: Levi Elk works to fight the war against drug and alcohol abuse in NW Arkansas. The Harrison Elks Lodge teamed up with the Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention to distribute Patrolman Levi Elk cards free of charge to children in the greater Harrison area. Levi Elk's hobbies include singing and dancing.

This card is actually printed on a pretty nice 1980s-Topps-era stock, and has survived two-plus decades of love fairly well. I'm willing to bet this card is holding up better than Levi himself. I challenge anyone reading this to produce another Levi Elk card (aside from the guy who sent it to me, of course). Thanks Tribe Cards! Now I'm curious to know if there were more cards produced in this set.

PSA, expect a well-insured package soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 18

December 18, 2008:
2004 Fleer Greats #126 Roger Maris

If you haven't heard, fellow blogger dayf has been putting together holiday gift packages for anyone nice enough to ask politely. While I haven't received mine yet, I asked for a bunch of players pictured on cards wearing uniforms of teams they are not best known for. I'm sure there are tons of examples, but I'll let the cards speak for themselves when they arrive.

It just so happens that behind today's little cardboard door lurks a man fitting into just that same category. While he was best known for his legendary 61 in '61 (recreated with class in the film *61), Roger also played for a bunch of other teams, closing out his career with St. Louis in 1967 and 1968, helping them to pennants those years and a World Series victory in 1967.

No, Virginia, that's not Enos Slaughter.
Nor is it an extremely pale version of Lou Brock.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 17

December 17, 2008:
2004 Topps #548 Brady Clark

I seem to remember a discussion on A Pack a Day that brought into question the practice of 2004 Topps including the little outline figure guy on each card. I guess since I wasn't collecting at that time, I failed to even notice that the little fellow mimics the position of the player on each card, so thanks for bringing that to my attention.

While there are plenty, I'm sure, portraying a pitcher in mid-release or some chump at the plate with a bat on his shoulder, the Brady Clark card breaks the mold. Someone in the Topps Graphic Design Dept. really earned their money on this one. I'm guessing they weren't able to merely go back to their undergrad art school portfolio and pull out this particular human figure sketch. Rather, hours were surely spent, thumb firmly planted on pause, capturing just the right moment from a filmed entertainment of questionable taste with the phrase "All-Hyphen-Blank" somewhere in its title.

Thank you, Brady Clark, for properly demonstrating the Spread Eagle into Second Maneuver. Davey Lopes taught you that, didn't he?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 16

December 16, 2008:
2001 Bowman Heritage 1948 Reprints #5 Phil Rizzuto

This card is wonderful for several reasons. First of all, it looks as if Phil's head is being swallowed by his ill-fitting uniform. Maybe he's got on one of the Babe's old unis by mistake. Actually, if you look at old photos, pre-war baseball players rarely wore clothes that fit them. Today's hip-hop fashion trends truly do owe a great deal of thanks to the likes of Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, and "Big Ed" Delahanty.

This card is also awesome because Billy Madison couldn't write Rizzuto's name in cursive.

I hate baseball cards and I hate all of you!
(Just kidding. Thanks for reading the blog, folks.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 15

December 15, 2008:
1988 Fleer Glossy #171 Dan Plesac

This one of the most ludicrous and most hilarious cards I've seen in a long time. Why in the world is closer Dan Plesac posing for this card as a batter? And a batter in eye black nonetheless? I'm envisioning a bunch of "Caniplease"'s repeated over and over until the Fleer photographer acquiesced. Hopefully this was after explaining to him that as an American League relief pitcher, at a time pre-dating interleague play, will never, ever, ever, EVER, get a chance to bat. Ever.

Baseball Reference shows that Dan did get 15 ABs during his career after switching to the NL, earning one hit. Those batting gloves belong in the Hall of Fame. Alongside Dale Murphy and Jim Rice.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 14

December 14, 2008:
2003 Bazooka #108 Shin-Soo Choo

The makers of the Card-vent Calendar always seem to have a sense of humor when putting cards behind those tiny doors. I'm glad they decided to include the quintessential Bazooka baseball card in this year's incarnation. If any player would be the perfect spokesman for a gum company, it would be Choo. Topps really needs to get off their David Wright/Ryan Howard/etc. kick and sign Choo as the box boy for an upcoming product that has chewing gum included.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trade Me Anything! II Conclusion: Stealth Trade

Adam and Jessica from Missouri made me an offer I couldn't refuse. There's no better way to close the book on Trade Me Anything II than this.

Giving: 2008 Topps U&H #AS-KY Kevin Youkilis All-Star Stitches

Getting: Here's where it gets complicated. The Youkilis card was never part of the trading landscape proper, but that didn't mean it was off the table. My trading partners gave me a choice of game-used memorabilia cards, none of which really tickled my pickle. Then came the historic counter-offer. I'll show what they sent using a little holiday atmosphere.

What you're looking at are Famous Cover edition Marvel action figures of Daredevil and Doctor Doom. These puppies are fully poseable, eight inches tall, and have never been opened. Based on their size and the cloth nature of their costumes, I have no trouble calling these "dolls."

When you've got a Doctor Doom who could ride shotgun in Barbie's pink convertible, while at the same time wearing a satiny outfit that puts hers to shame, doll is no longer a four-letter word.

The backstory to this trade involves the woman in this relationship delivering an ultimatum to the man. Apparently, the woman told the man that he could continue only one of his hobbies. Thus, the man was faced with a choice: Getting rid of his cards or getting rid of his collectible toys. Obviously, the toys lost this battle, and now the woman has more room for her hobby. God, I hope for the man's sake the woman's hobby isn't collecting those faceless Willow Tree statuettes

A big shout out goes to the Bumble, who lent a toothless hand in showing off the goods.
And Adam and Jessica, thanks for waiting patiently, some extra Red Sox will be on their way soon!