Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Talk: Gum (Not the Stale Kind)

One of the advantages of being a teacher is that you might be exposed to a wider variety of print materials than the average person, especially materials not necessarily aimed at your demographic. And one of the advantages of teaching in an underfunded public school is that these materials, library books, in this case, are going to be comically out of date. Let's take a look at one of these finds.

Here we have it, The Chewing Gum Book by Robert Young, ©1989.

In skimming this book, I found it to be especially informative on the process of manufacturing gum and the history of chewing gum in America. But that's not what drew me to this book. What I wanted was some content relating to gum's biological cousin, baseball cards. While I was not let down, I was a little disappointed with one glaring factual error. More on that later, but first...

This photograph captures the cultural zeitgeist of gum, a box of 1988 Topps baseball cards. One pack is opened for reference, but where's the gum? Isn't that the whole point? It actually looks like a pretty decent pack, with one Record Breaker and an Alan Trammell All Star. Hey, at least it's not Matt Nokes.

Next, the egregious mistake I hinted at earlier.

Ummmmm... wrong? I believe no further comment is needed.

Finally, the real treat from this book, some behind-the-scenes photos of the 1975 Joe Garagiola/Bazooka Bubble Gum Blowing Championship, which was documented on a 1976 Topps card of Kurt Bevacqua. I'm sure you have all seen this card, but just in case someone hasn't...

I must confess, I don't own this one yet, but someday I would like to have it.

Here we get a look at the contest in action, with the eventual winner Bevacqua taking on Johnny Oates of the Phillies in the Championship Final.

If you're interested, you can catch a video of the event here, but it's kind of a snoozer. I think preservation of this event for posterity is best left in the realm of pictures on paper, although in the video we can see some cool 1975 Topps cards behind each of the contestants. Plus, behind Garagiola you can see a big sheet of cards that looks like they're all of him. A little research found that these were examples of a promo card produced by Topps for NBC.

This last shot from the book is of a New York Met taking part in one of the preliminary bubble blowing rounds before the final. I have to admit I'm not sure exactly who it is. Any help on this one?

I'll close with this thought: Wouldn't it be great to have a set of those Topps/Bazooka calipers? Somebody out there still has one of those. I wonder if it will ever surface.

Friday, February 26, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment: Update #8 (One to Go!)

That's right, only one card left to complete Series 1.

Let me shoot off a quick thanks to Howard from Georgia and Emerald City Diamond Gems, who sent me packages that brought me within one card of completion. All that's left is #147.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

CC: Drunk on Sterling

Today's two cards complete the trifecta of "Warren Spahn Award" cards from Topps Sterling. You may remember the one numbered to 25 from a couple of weeks ago. Behold its two cousins.

2009 Topps Sterling "Back-to-Back Warren Spahn Awards" Quad Gray Jersey #4CCR-62 (01/10)

2009 Topps Sterling "Back-to-Back Warren Spahn Awards" Quad Patch #4CCR-62 (1/1)

The (01/10) card is pretty unnecessary, as it makes no real improvements over the (06/25) one. The one-of-one, however, has a really nice platinum-y finish on the front (and the back) that gives it an undeniably regal appearance. The patch aesthetics are top-notch, even without the sparkly gold thread that appears on some of his other patch cards.

Believe it or not, we are still not done with the Sterling here. Speaking of which, have anyone ever drank the brand of beer called Sterling? I remember picking up a twelve-pack with a buddy of mine about six or seven years ago. The twelver ran me only about $3.99, and I was psyched to see something so cheap claim some cooler space at my local grocery store, but then it disappeared as abruptly as it had shown up. We joked that it was a beer whose worth could be measured in pounds sterling. These cards are almost as good, if only less hoppy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Valentine's Day Card Haul 2010

Valentine's Day may have been over a week ago, but here at Thorzul Will Rule, temporal laws do not always apply. I received several more cards from my students than in previous years, so for the sake of brevity (and comedy), I will give a scant two-word description of each. Enjoy!

Wrong shape.

True words.

Best ever.

No Jordan.

Lenticular garbage.

Puppy mash-up.

One fairy.

Two fairies.

Three fairies.
(Sorry, that was too easy to pass up.)

Not sure.

Mutant heroes.

Thyroid condition.

Awful movie.

Haunted vigilante.

Calcium deficient.

Unlicensed failure.

Anal threat.
Brotherhood, friendship, and candy that tastes like chalk... this is our follow-up to Christmas?

If you can stand it, check out past years' hauls:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment: Update #7

What's the opposite of a conscientious objector? What do you call a guy who, in the shadow of a ceasefire, rallies troops to what used to be the front? Well, in these circles, we call him dayf.

Dude sent some 2010 Topps, a gallant contribution to the project, but one that didn't come without a threat.

Yeah, I expect it to come, maybe during those July doldrums, perhaps those awful post-All-Star Game days when no ball is being played anywhere. It'll happen, no doubt.

But then, in the middle of the lot, came some confusing messages.

I have no idea what these are about, but I suppose they have something to do with Bipping, or, more accurately, its absence. Or perhaps the hubris exhibited in my belief that my words can prompt other to action (or inaction).
(Speaking of which, don't forget to SAVE YOUR WRAPPERS!)

Anyways, I appreciate the generous lot that put me a few cards closer to my goal. That counter on this project might have to be shut off soon, hopefully.
I picked out two favorites to show off.
First, there's Craig Counsell. Rarely do you get a card of a Brewer taking flight. I certainly appreciate it.

And then there's Cito Gaston, having a good cry.

I realize this card has already been written about at length, so I'll bring this post to its logical conclusion.

UPDATE: Reading this post immediately after publishing it, I realized what dayf meant by "these pieces of crap." No more Topps Head of the Class cards, I gather? Good riddance.

Monday, February 22, 2010

CC: One-Hitter

This CC card celebrates the near-no-hitter Sabathia threw against the Pirates. One of the things that pissed me off that season was not something you would expect. No, I was not upset with the ruling the umpire made that turned a borderline error into a hit. Rather, I thought it was embarrassingly bush-league of the Brewers to petition MLB that the hit be ruled an error. That's just shitty, and I see it as an affront to the baseball gods. I'm glad MLB turned down the Brewers' request, since I think it would have been difficult for me to honestly call this the team's second no-hitter. The drama of the late-inning outs was completely absent from the game as it was played, and so was the pressure on the pitcher.

2009 Topps Sterling "One-Hitter 8/31/08" (3x Patch on Gray Jersey) #3CCR-81 (14/25)

Still, it's a pretty sweet card.

I haven't posted my master CC list in awhile, so here you go.

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Gold Foil
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Gold (0313/2008)
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Black (56/57)
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Magenta Printing Plate (1/1)
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #39
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #39 Gold
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #162
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #162 Gold Stamp
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #242
2008 UD Documentary #3048 MIL103
2008 UD Documentary #3138 MIL106
2008 UD Documentary #3228 MIL109
2008 UD Documentary #3318 MIL112
2008 UD Documentary #3948 MIL133
2008 UD Documentary #4038 MIL136
2008 UD Documentary #4128 MIL139
2008 UD Documentary #4218 MIL142
2008 UD Documentary #4308 MIL145
2008 UD Documentary #4398 MIL148
2008 UD Documentary #4488 MIL151
2008 UD Documentary #4578 MIL154
2008 UD Documentary #4668 MIL157
2008 UD Documentary #4758 MIL160
2008 UD Documentary #4848
2008 UD Documentary #4398 MIL148 Gold
2008 Topps Stadium Club #10
2008 Topps Stadium Club First Day Issue SP #10 (463/599)
2008 Topps Satdium Club Photographer's Proof #10 (66/99)
2008 Topps Satdium Club Platinum Photographer's Proof #10 (1/1)
2008 Topps Stadium Club Magenta Printing Plate #10 (1/1)
2008 eTopps #54 (344/499)
2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot #18
2008 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection #27 (081/350)
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic #44
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic Marquee Matchups (w/Ordonez) #MM-31
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic Marquee Matchups (w/Mauer) #MM-43
2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Micro Magnet
2009 Topps #170
2009 Topps #170 Gold Parallel (0949/2009)
2009 Topps #170 Black Parallel (28/58)
2009 Topps #170 Target Black
2009 Topps #170 Target Old School
2009 Topps Silk Collection (35/50)
2009 Topps Magenta Printing Plate #170 (1/1)
2009 Toppstown #TTT14
2009 Toppstown #TTT14 Gold Parallel
2009 Topps Vault First Edition Blank Back (1/1)
2009 Upper Deck #212
2009 Upper Deck Team Checklist #476
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS Game Jersey Triple Swatch "MIL" (45/99)
2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee #OPC-6
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS UD Game Jersey Dual Swatch "52" (136/149)
2009 Upper Deck #R6 Rivals (w/some guy on some other team)
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS UD Game Jersey Gray Swatch "J"
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS UD Game Jersey Quad Swatch "GAME" (08/15)
2009 Upper Deck #GG-CS Stars of the Game
2009 Upper Deck Documentary #4903 MIL-NLDS2
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum #54
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Turquoise Parallel #54 (10/25)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Black Parallel #54 (16/50)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Red Parallel #54 (016/250)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Green Parallel #54 (82/99)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Blue Parallel #54
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Jersey #54 (36/99)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Swatches #SS-CS (White Jersey)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum #54 Magenta Printing Plate (1/1)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Swatches #SS-CS (Red, Blue, White, Silver Patch) (24/25)
2009 Upper Deck SPx #WM2-PS (w/Peavy, Game-Used White Jersey)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History #51
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Red Parallel #51
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Blue Parallel #51 (161/299)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Green Parallel #51 (041/150)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Gold (47/75)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Red (49/99)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Blue (923/999)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Green (064/149)
2009 Upper Deck Goudey #112
2009 Upper Deck Goudey 4-in-1 (w/Santana, Hamels, Kazmir) Blue Frame #35-32
2009 Upper Deck Goudey 4-in-1 (w/Santana, Hamels, Kazmir) Red Frame #35-32
2009 Upper Deck Goudey 4-in-1 (w/Santana, Hamels, Kazmir) Green Frame #35-32
2009 Upper Deck Goudey 4-in-1 (w/Santana, Hamels, Kazmir) Black Frame #35-32 (10/21)
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Mini #112
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Mini Black Parallel #112 (10/21)
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Mini Blue Parallel #112
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlights #AGHS20
2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Stat kings Quad Swatch (w/Hoffman, Santana, Garza) #288 (082/500)
2009 Topps Unique Jumbo Patch #UJR-CS (03/40)
2009 Topps Unique Jumbo Patch #UJR-CS (06/40)
2009 Topps Unique Jumbo Patch #UJR-CS (40/40)
2009 Topps Sterling "Back-to-Back Warren Spahn Awards" Quad Gray Jersey #4CCR-62 (06/25)
2009 Topps Sterling "Led MLB in CGs and SHOs in 2008" #5SCA-37 (5x Game-Used Gray Jersey SHO CG) AUTO (08/10)
2009 Topps Sterling "One-Hitter 8/31/08" (3x Patch on Gray Jersey) #3CCR-81 (14/25)

These first three Sterling cards were nice, but keep your eyes open for some of the big guns, coming soon.

Bunch of Stuff For Sale, Ending Monday Night

Check out my auctions here.

Everything ends tonight.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment: Update #6 -- Special Delivery

OK, so this is weird.

Yesterday, as I went to get my mail, I noticed an envelope stuck between the inner and outer doors. There was other mail in the mailbox, of course, and seeing I often receive packages full of cards that cannot fit in the box, it's not at all unusual to find a package stuck in the door. When I looked at this door envelope, however, something wasn't right. There was no stamp on it, and my address was only partially complete. Odd.

A list of things that could have been inside went through my mind. Maybe it's another letter from that lady on the block who solicits donations for the March of Dimes. Perhaps the person who organizes payments for the alley to be plowed has a refund for me, since we haven't had that much snow this year, and because the guy was very, very late plowing for the last big storm we had.

Actually, it was neither of these things. The envelope, adorned with a return address in Milwaukee, was full of cards. Hand-delivered cards. There were three 2010 Topps cards I needed:
AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey...

Jhonny Peralta sliding into... let's call it third...

And a group of Orioles plotting a coup that would take them out of the AL East into another division.

There was also a Payne Stewart Pro Set card. This is particularly nice, since I never owned this card. Now I can put it with my completed set.

Rounding out the lot were a whole bunch of guys who were Brewers at one time in their career. Who would have thought Bob Sebra would have popped up twice on this blog in the last week?

It was a very nice gesture from a guy I'll call "Joe from the South Side," but I must admit I'm a little weirded out by the method of delivery. I have definitely drawn a line between my private life and things that are discussed on this site. I know that many of you have contacted me regarding becoming friends on Facebook or joining LinkedIn and stuff like that, all to no avail. It's not that I have a particular distaste for any readers or bloggers; rather, I've ignored all of these requests to the very last one. I'm just keeping things like that for real friends and family, and this blog is something entirely separate. That being said, I do appreciate the generosity of everyone who has sent me something over the years, and I do consider you comrades in this hobby universe.

This goes out to everyone: If you want to send me cards in the future, please mail them. (That goes for you, too, Jack Plumstead. Stay on your side of the Atlantic.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

You Can Now Get 1985 Donruss at Target

You heard me.

The other night, my wife and I made a Target run. Since we had some other business in one of the western suburbs, we visited a newly remodeled Target (that now sells booze!), not our usual store.
Well, somewhere on the short list of things we were looking for was a picture frame. Once we hit the right aisle, I thought I was in for twenty minutes of side-by-side comparisons, treatises on minute differences between shades of brown, and much second guessing. My mood picked up immediately after seeing this hot little number.

Believe your eyes, folks, that's a REstyle Target brand picture frame designed specifically for baseball cards. And it comes with a nice bunch of 1987 Topps cards! All of your old favorites are there... Alfredo Griffin, Steve Jeltz, and even Mario Soto in his warmup jacket! (Ironically enough, that Junior Ortiz in the bottom row was the final card I needed to complete my 1987 set a few years ago. Sometimes timing is a cruel bitch.)

With a few more frames on the rack, I ventured further to see if there was any variance between specimens. There was!
Gasp! The mother lode! Look at those beautiful 1985 Donruss cards! Bill Doran is in the house. Dan Quisenberry brought his submarine delivery to Target. Willie Randolph looks happy, and Jim Sundberg provides some local interest.
Curiously, a lone 1987 Topps card snuck in there. The world may never know why Mike Trujillo is upside-down. Trainee error, perhaps?

The final frame available is the oddball out of the three. There are a few stray 1989 Donruss Cubs peppered into a group of old-timey reprints, perhaps, or are they some off-market set that no one collected? In any case, they are hard to see, but I think I remember most of them being Dodgers, Sox, and Yankees, but no names on the front made it hard to identify exactly what these are. Any ideas?

All in all, it was a nice surprise on a shopping trip. I didn't buy any of these, and I don't think I would, either. The frame itself looked pretty nice, solid, but it's just plastic behind the glass, much like a 9-card sheet, but arranged in a 4-by-4 layout. I found the presentation to be very cheap looking and not at all likely to enhance the presentation of your cards. With a price somewhere around twenty dollars, passing on this item is a no-brainer.

Vote for your favorite in the sidebar!

2010 Topps Experiment: Update #5

Another Chris, also from Ohio, sent me some cards that arrived yesterday. A big thanks goes out to him, as he got me 14 cards closer to my goal. Here's my favorite one he sent.

Here's what remains: 6 9 18 29 53 57 63 107 127 147 159 160 163 177 191 211 216 220 233 236 267 277 284 287 298 303 311

Can we close this deal before Opening Day? Twenty-seven to go!

Friday, February 19, 2010

CC: Pt

All of you chemistry buffs out there should get the title of this post.

The part of my foolhardy, yet epic "Collect Every CC Sabathia-as-a-Brewer Card" quest that I love the most is the insight all of the searching gives me into the modern cardscape. Entire subsets of cards would have escaped my knowledge had I not embarked on this journey. Some searching a couple of weeks ago found me this:
2008 Topps Satdium Club Platinum Photographer's Proof #10 (1/1)

I hate how cards scan sometimes, and this is one of those instances. The scan makes it impossible to tell this card from the blue (which doesn't show up, either) Photographer's Proof I snagged last summer. This one-of-one has a silver color to the "filmstrip" on the front, but I guess you'll have to use your imaginations to see it.

Ahhh, the saving grace that lets you know I'm not foolin' is that little 1/1 stamp on the back.

By my count, that makes it six 1/1's in my CC Brewer collection. I think it's safe to say now that I'm the world's foremost collector in this microcosm of the hobby.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment: Update #4

Inching my way closer now.

A couple more donations of 2010 Topps cards arrived today. One was from Cardsplitter (awesome sounding name, even though I'm not quite sure what it means), the other from thesewingmachineguy, awesome dudes, both. Here are a few of my favorites from the lot.

Pujols, duh.

Gallardo, double duh.

Stephen Drew. Great shot of a bang-bang play with the ball in flight.

And a couple of slobs. Tuck your shirts in!

Cardsplitter also surprised me with a Target Red Back with a haunting photo of Jimmie Foxx on it.

And thesewingmachineguy added a Jordy Nelson jersey card. I now have exactly two Green Bay Packers jersey cards. The other, Aaron Rodgers.

Makes me wonder if I could get a jersey card of an altogether different Jordy... er... Geordi.
It turns out I could.

Thorzul's Department of War Has Declared... immediate Cease-Bipping!

At some point in the past month or so, have you gone to your mailbox, opened a package in a padded envelope, only to look like this------>???

2009 Topps T206 Old Mill Framed Relic #FR-15 Ryan Braun

If you can identify with this state of shock, you might be happy to hear this directive. Effective immediately, all Bippings are to stop. Too many lives have been lost. Too many limbs have been lost. I've been getting complaints from the US Post Office.

If you have Bipped someone in the last 24-72 hours, you are exempt from this declaration, as are those who have organized and packaged a Bip, and have planned to mail it this afternoon. Should you be found guilty of ex post facto Bippage, severe sanctions can and will be imposed. Expect to make travel plans destined for The Hague, for you will be court-martialed, and you will receive no leniency. At ease.

But Thorzul, you scream, what will we do with ourselves now?
On a serious note, I have been thrilled with the degree to which Bipping has spread. Truth be told, I couldn't keep up with the cataloguing anymore (at least in a way that would have done your hard work any justice). However, I think this practice has run its course. Any future Bippings I receive will not be posted (unless you want to add to my '89 Gallagher collection), and I probably won't be reporting on any occurrences on any other blogs. It was fun while it lasted, but I think it's fallen out of fashion.

Do I have another assignment up my sleeve? You bet your ass I do. I've got an idea brewing, but I would like to give everyone an adjustment/warning period. For too long we have been emasculating and humiliating our brethren. Soon, the true enemy of the common collector will feel our wrath. I cannot tell you more than that, but I can prepare you for a March 1st directive:

I repeat...

I invite you to postulate any theories about what this may mean, and who the target might be. I also implore you to spread the word on your blogs. Urge your readers, in as many posts as you deem worthy, to save their pack wrappers. Thank you.

If you can read this... you are the resistance.