Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trade Me Anything! II: Trade #15

Sorry for the extended absence from this blog, but I went out for a box of cards the other night and came back married. Imagine that.

Actually, it's been a wonderful week that's been going nonstop since Tuesday afternoon, and now I finally have the time to take a breath. Be on the lookout for typos in this post, since this is the first time I'll be blogging with a wedding ring on.

The trades keep coming on from Trade Me Anything, and now it's time to show off one of my favorites. It comes from Mark (mmosley) in North Carolina.

Mark decided to supply me with his own background comic, so he sent me Secret Origins #41 (June, 1989). However, I didn't want to spoil the cover art, so I'll be using my own background, a contemporary of this one.

He also sent a bunch of 1988 Donruss Robin Yount and Paul Molitor cards: #295 Robin Yount (x5), #7 Paul Molitor Diamond Kings (x3), #249 Paul Molitor (x3), and #BC-3 Paul Molitor MVP. Accompanying this lot in the middle of a cleverly constructed package that uses a comic book poly bag and some penny sleeves is 1995 Topps #544 Jeff Cirillo.

2008 Topps U&H #UH281 Chris Aguila Gold Foil Parallel

*Jeff Cirillo, even as a rookie, had a "pimp in his step."

*What isn't cool about the Rogues' Gallery? Flash villains are not among the most powerful or the most popular in the DC universe, but they entertain nonetheless. I was delighted with Piper's and Trickster's appearance in last year's Countdown crossover.

*Not to sound like a broken record, but I already have the Yount cards. I really don't want to end on a down note, so I'll show off one of the cards UK blogger Jack Plumstead (great name, by the way) sent to me recently. Unbelievably, it was a Yount card I didn't already have: 1992 Donruss/Cracker Jack Mini #8. Here's a look at it next to Robin's standard-issue 1992 Donruss card, for purposes of scale.

Don't forget, the 2008 Card-vent Calendar debuts tomorrow! Are you as excited as I am?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trade Me Anything! II: Trade #14

Kerry in Portland, OR, sent me one of the most deceptive trades I've gotten thus far.

Giving: 2008 Topps U&H #YR129 Rick Ankiel Year in Review

Getting: Well, first of all a Robin Yount card comes tumbling out. Unfortunately, it's a card I already reviewed way back when I started this site. It was one of my first posts, but I think all of my earlier observations still apply.

After the Yount card, I see a pack of 2004 Upper Deck Series 2, a nice little abandoned cheapie pack. I actually opened the package Saturday night/Sunday morning after getting home from a party, and I decided to save it for the post-cottonmouth morning. Now, I could bow to Kerry's superior skills of deception, but this next fact I'll give the credit to Sailor Jerry: I had no idea I was being tricked until I tried to open the pack. See, the trader decided to create a ruse by opening the pack, taking the cards out, and replacing them with a bunch of others, just before skillfully resealing the package with transparent tape. Ordinarily I'd be pissed, but how can I argue with Brewers?

Most of the replacement cards were oddballs of some variety. I especially liked the couple of O-Pee-Chee cards (1991 Greg Brock and 1988 Glenn Braggs) that were included. There were a few other non-Younts, but let's just get to the good stuff, the Younts.

1989 Topps League Leaders Mini #87, 1988 Topps League Leaders Mini #21, and 1990 Sports Illustrated for Kids #127

*It's probably better it wasn't an actual pack. The Brewers were still in the tail end of their Dark Ages, and the best I could have done was maybe a Ben Sheets. Meh.

*I already have all of the Robin Yount cards from this trade. Rats!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trade Me Anything! II: Trade #13

You know it's a great day when an 800-count box arrives at your doorstep and you can't remember buying anything that large. That day happened recently when Eric from Minnesota felt the peer pressure that all of the cool kids were putting on him and traded me anything. Sure beats the heck out of smoking squares beneath the bleachers during football practice.

Giving: 2008 Topps U&H #UH71 Mariano Rivera Gold Foil Parallel

Getting: While it's impossible for me to show everything that came in the behemoth (shown above), I instead picked out my ten favorite cards from the box. All 700-plus cards are Brewers, with production dates falling anywhere in between 1978 and the present. In no particular order...

1. 2008 Topps Chrome Refractor #120 Prince Fielder (I have the feeling that I'll be collecting this set for the rest of my natural life.)

2. 1991 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes #25 Hank Aaron 1976: 755! (The back of this card has a well-told account of Aaron final home run, hit as a Milwaukee Brewer. Fans outside of Milwaukee may not know this, but the place where Aaron's 755th HR landed is specially marked in the parking lot outside of Miller Park, whose present location is the former centerfield parking lot of County Stadium.)

3. 1989 Upper Deck #788 La Vel Freeman (La Vel Maurice Freeman played a grand total of two Major League Baseball games in his career, got three at bats, striking out twice. However, he scored a run without walking and without getting hit by a pitch, which leads me to believe he grounded into a fielder's choice and scored later in the inning. That's his career. What's great about this is that it was enough to land him a card in one of the landmark sets of collecting history. He's got a card while many thousands of fresh-faced hopefuls with shattered dreams do not.) Note: As far as I can tell, his only other MLB card is a 1989 Topps Debut card.

4. 1993 Fleer Ultra #224 B.J. Surhoff (Favre looks right, calls an audible...there's a man in motion, the snap...looks like a blitz in on, Favre pump fakes, rolls right, he's under heavy pressure but finds Surhoff in the flat! Surhoff avoids two tacklers at the forty, spins and hurdles a linebacker, there's plenty of daylight in front of him now...just one man to beat, he's heading for the corner of the end zone, at the 20, 15, 10, 5...TOUCHDOWN!)

5. 1993 Score Select #87 Kevin Seitzer (More bomb-diggity photography makes this card an easy choice. On the front you've got Kevin hitting the deck after an inside pitch. I remember Seitzer being the victim of a gruesome ball-to-face injury during his Milwaukee days at a game I attended. I experienced a brief thrill thinking I might have been at the game from which this photo was taken, but a little research proved otherwise, the photo being taken two years before the event. Let me share an excerpt from Tim Kurkjan's book, Is This a Great Game, or What?:
In 1994, Seitzer was hit in the cheekbone by Melido Perez. Four bones in his face were broken, and he spent the night in the hospital. He wanted to play the next day - the next day! - but Brewers manager Phil Garner said no. The doctors warned him if he got hit in the same place, "My eyeball could drop into my cheek." ... "In the on-deck circle before my first at-bat, I've never been so scared. But when I got to the plate, I felt bulletproof, invincible. I felt I could straddle the plate. I walked on four pitches. I was pissed. I really wanted to hit."
That's true superhero talk there.
The book goes on to describe how Seitzer got hit in the face again in 1995, this time by Scott Erickson:
"That one hurt 10,000 time more than the first one. It was like my face was crushed by a bowling ball, a bowling ball going 90 mph."
Amazingly, Seitzer played two days later and went 11 for 19 in the next few games.
On the back of his card, he's jumping very high.
6. 2008 Upper Deck X #56 Ryan Braun (Ryan is shown having no reaction to being "X'd" on the Jamie Kennedy Experiment, just like every other person who was a victim of a prank on that show, confused because they have no idea who Jamie Kennedy is and why he would be pranking them.)

7. 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces #47 Prince Fielder (His first inside-the-park home run. Can he make it three years in a row in 2009?)

8. 2006 Bowman Heritage #36 Rickie Weeks (Great picture, interesting background color, somehow it all works.)

9. 2008 Allen & Ginter Mini #57 Ben Sheets (The horizontal cards from this set are always cool.)

10. (tie) 1990 CMC #9 Joe Redfield, 1990 Best Cards #271 Leon Glenn, and 1991 Impel #181 Craig Faulkner (Of the three, only Redfield got to the majors, playing in one game with the Angels in 1988 and eleven with the Pirates in 1991, earning a career batting average of .100.)

Sorry I can't report on more of these cards, but I'd like to display all of the cards in a creative fashion. So for all of you math nerds out there...


Friday, November 21, 2008

Background Connection to Trade #12 Revealed

The only guess anyone made was a good one, but not my intent. So here you go...

Evan Longoria plays for the Rays, and the Atom's real name is Ray Palmer. Not bad, eh?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trade Me Anything! II: Trade #12

From Tim in Louisiana.

Giving: 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH137 Evan Longoria Gold Foil Parallel, FIrst Couples #FC-8 Martin & Hannah Van Buren, #FC-9 William Henry & Anna Harrison, #FC-10 John & Julia Tyler, #FC-29 Herbert & Lou Hoover, and #FC-31 Harry S & Bess Truman

Getting: 1986 Sportflics Rookies #10 Dan Plesac

1989 Fleer Brewers Sticker

1989 Topps Collectors' Series #2 Cecil Cooper

1990 Simpsons #23 Maggie Simpson

1991 Benchwarmers #47 Sandra Wild

1991 Pro Set Desert Storm #127 Navy Seals and #186 USS Richmond K. Turner

1991 Pro Set Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure #41 Genghis Khan

1990 Pro Set Super Stars MusiCards #255 The Doors

1991 Pro Set PGA #1 Fred Couples

1989 Donruss Warren Spahn Mini Puzzle

1985 Topps #701 Eddie Murray All-Star

1989 Topps Mini Leaders #59 Robin Yount

1999 Topps Widevision Star Wars Episode I #25 Bargaining With Watto

*The Cooper and Spahn are my favorites of the lot. I had no idea you could get of mini version of larger the one-per-pack Donruss puzzles. Does anyone know is this was available other years?

*Variety, the spice of live. Going into every trade blind, I never know what will arrive. Could be Genghis Khan, could be Robin Yount, you just never know.

*One more card knocked off my 1985 need list.

*The Benchwarmers card demonstrates how lax professional beauty standards were back in the early 1990s. We certainly have come a long way. At least there's something for the ladies to look at on the first Desert Storm card.

*A few of these are doubles to me, but not too many. I already had the Yount and, believe it or not, the Bargaining With Watto. Yes, I collected the Episode I cards pretty hard, but fell a few short of a full set. Let me know if it's sensible to post a want list for this set, otherwise I'm not going to waste my time.

Oh, I almost forgot...bonus props to the first person to identify the connection between the card I'm trading and its background comic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Secret Shame #5: My Favorite Things

Word on the street has it that there is a high demand for more of My Secret Shame, the analysis of a sticker book that has survived since my youth. Wait no more, plebians, I shall descend from my ivory tower and dispense the ambrosia made mine through manifest destiny. Yes, I mixed three different allusions to ruling class theory that took place on two separate continents, but I'm sure you can handle it. Horace Greely would have been proud.

Today's page is called My Favorite Things. I'm not going to get all Rogers and Hammerstein on you, but if you'd like to hum a few bars or sing a few notes about things like schnitzel with noodles, be my guest. As you can see, the page is filled with things all boys like.

Let's get the obvious out the of the way first. The only stickers I truly wish were not stuck in this book (and that's saying a lot, because there are some 1987 Fleer basketball stickers in here) are the two Brewers uniform puffy stickers. If I had a jacket like this, I could dress up as Rollie Fingers.

In the top right corner, we've got Mr. Greedy, a member of the conglomerate known as Mr. Men, a group of book (and TV, I've learned) characters, each of whose individual essence is boiled down to a singular physical or personality trait. In recent years, the term "greedy" has taken on new meaning for me. At my school, the children exclaim, "Dang, you GREEDY!" if someone either eats all of their food on their plate or eats something very quickly. I've always understood the word to mean wanting more that one's fair share, but that's me. All of those times I was a member of the Clean Plate Club, I was really just being greedy. I apologize.

There's more baseball present, but this time it's Brian Downing. The only thing that could have possessed me to put this sticker in this book was that it was a double. A few Bogllns are hovering around Brian. Man, I think I got a sheet of 100 of those from a cereal box.

What boy doesn't love balloons? And what's better than a regular old balloon? Why, a hot air balloon! A quick search through my iTunes library indicates the presence of two songs about balloons: "99 Luftballoons", of course, and the ever-popular "Up, Up and Away" by the Fifth Dimension. I guess I'm a sucker for great harmonies and being high on life. Always was, always will be.

Another sticker that puts into question whether this book was owned by a boy or a girl, the Walt Disney World Electrical Parade. My family took this trip in the summer of 1988. The only two things I bought was this sticker and a stuffed Brer Rabbit doll. I chose the Brer Rabbit because I owned and cherished a couple of different Record Books that featured the character. I suppose my parents had no problem opening a gateway to literacy through the use of mildly racist reading materials. Oh well, that's fine with me, since I spent all of elementary school going to the grade ahead of me for my reading group. If you want to enjoy Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby...

The one thing my parents did have problems with was guns. Never owned any toy guns, but that didn't mean that I didn't adore them. Brett Vet was a prepubescent orgasm in sticker form. God, did I love guns. And swords. And knives. And grenades. And sticks of dynamite. And rocket launchers. And don't forget scars. Never ever forget scars. This guy is a combination of Rambo and Dutch from Predator and Matrix from Commando all on their best day all rolled into one.

Boss Moss from Freakies. The cereal must have been re-released for a short time in 1987. I've read how it was a breakfast staple in the 1970s and was actively traded on the grain markets then, but it has since disappeared.

A transparent soccer ball made the cut, too. This image has become the de facto official soccer ball since time immemorial, but the design hasn't been actively used since like the 1930s when Uruguay was dominating World Cups because other more powerful nations could not afford the steam travel. I mean, have you seen the EPL ball in use this year? Yellow and blue is a far cry from this sorry-ass emmer effer.

I'm closing not with the best sticker, but with the one that has the best story attached to it. I can remember being very young and going shopping with my family. We were at a store that sold stickers, and I was allowed to choose a half dozen or so from a basket. I proudly held up this one for the parental seal of approval. At that moment, my dad's eyes lit up and he said something like, "Oh, yeah, that's gonna be on TV tomorrow night." The "that" he was referring to turned out to be a network screening of Karate Kid. Apparently my dad processed all Asian writing translating to something to do with karate and/or other martial arts.

Since then, I've thought of this as the Karate Kid sticker. I still know fuck-all about what it really says. Hell, it could be upside down for all I know. If anyone could interpret for me, I'd appreciate it. I will be very disappointed if it says "Nippon" or "Japan." I've got my fingers crossed it's the Japanese character for "bodybag."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trade Me Anything! II: Trade #11

Back to the regulation trades today, with some stuff from Dan in Baltimore.

Giving: 2008 Topps U&H #YR159 Curtis Granderson Year in Review

Getting: 2008 Topps Opening Day #179 Ryan Braun and 2008 Topps #TCP28 Prince Fielder

*While I never purchased any of the '08 Opening Day, the red borders are a nice departure from all of this year's whitebread offerings.

*I already have the Prince card.

*This trade didn't arrive without its snags. On Saturday a slip was left in my mailbox by the postman indicating a $0.20 postage due fee. When picking up the envelope from the post office, the laziest civil servant to ever don P.O. Box Blue took his sweet ass time when I had a million other errands to run. I could have sworn I saw chili on his shirt where there had been none a half hour before. So yeah, that sucked.