Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Fatty Boom-Batty: Preliminary Results

After a whopping 40-some guesses for this contest, the preliminary results are ready. Taking a shot in the dark can sometimes pay off, which five contestants are about to find out. In no particular order, here are the correct player guesses.

Player: Frank Thomas
Guessed By: Kazi
Cool card, I might end up keeping it, but probably not. If you were eight years old when this card came out, you might have done anything to have gotten it... maybe even admitted to liking a girl.

Player: Paul Molitor
Guessed By: Alvin
Kind of ballsy to pick a Brewer, but a good one came through. If I can't find this card, I'm keeping it.

Player: Dave Parker
Guessed By: deal
The guy with adult ADD makes a great guess. I'll bet he wasn't counting on Parker appearing as a Brewer, though.

Player: Rickey Henderson
Guessed By: BA Benny
Ames All Stars are some of the nicest looking mini-sets of the junkwax era, even this one with the bent corner.

Player: Will Clark
Guessed By: Dustin
The most astute guess of the bunch, Will Clark actually produced five cards in the jumbo pack.
Sure, four of them were the same card, but hey...

The next step is to check the team card guesses against the actual number of cards pulled by those teams. Final results will follow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Contest: The Fatty Boom-Batty

I just braved pre-Brewers/Cardinals traffic to hit up Target to grab a few odds and ends before the school year officially starts on Thursday. Through a series of fortunate events, I am finding myself in the same school I was excessed from last year, teaching the same grade level. Some mystery money was found to fund the return of the class size reduction program my school had lost, so now I'm in the middle of moving all of my stuff back in. I narrowly escaped teaching second grade at the Milwaukee Academy of Chinese Language. This entire process, from guns blazing in Beijing, to hearing rumors of the return, to being back in my original school, all took about a week. These are the perils of teaching in a truly dysfunctional school district. Ni hao, bitches!

After busting a few hobby boxes earlier in August, my internal card budget will only allow for a few small purchases until September. At Target tonight, discouraged by the offerings, I decided to take a stupid chance. Yes, I bought a Fairfield 100-card jumbo pack.

The odds stated on the package tell me I have a 1:8 chance of hitting a memorabilia card. A sticker on the back also tells me to "look for" vintage cards (defined on the sticker as those from the '50s, '60s, and '70s), but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Here's the contest. Similar to one I held last year, to enter this contest, the first thing you have to do is pick a specific baseball player whom you think will appear in this pack. This has the potential for a multi-guesser tie, so here's how the tie will be broken. In addition to guessing a player, you also need to guess a team along with the number of cards you think that team will get.
Edit: You may not guess that a team has zero cards.

An example guess would look like this:
Steve Garvey
Pirates 6


If this pack contains a Steve Garvey card, then, and only then, will their tiebreaker guess of 6 Pirates cards be considered. If there's no Garvey, then the Pirates guess is meaningless.

The winning guesser will receive... all of the cards in this pack that I don't want. Yeah, not a great prize, but it's not a great pack. At least, it probably isn't. I will open it as soon as this publishes. You have until this time tomorrow to make your guess. Good luck!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The 100 Best Finds in a 30-Dollar Lot: #100

2011 Topps Sapphire Blue #WHP5 Albert Pujols

Here we are, friend, you and I. We've made it to the end of the road. It was a long journey, dating back to May of this year. Many trades have been made, the contenders have separated themselves from the pretenders, and the Summer Solstice has come and gone.

The is a very nice card to own, the Wal-Mart blue-collar equivalent of what I have dubbed Target's Ocean Spray. (And that failed to catch on, big time.) Trade offers will be entertained, and if nothing develops, I'll be putting this card up for sale with a few more 2011 Pujols inserts.

Well, that was 100 great finds. Are any of you wondering what the worst card in this lot was?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 100 Best Finds in a 30-Dollar Lot: #99

1995 Fleer Ultra All-Star #18 Ivan Rodriguez

I believe it's safe for me to say that Fleer (and by association, Fleer Ultra) had the best inserts in the history of baseball cards. The problem is that we collectors tend to look at the 1990s as a haven for gaudy design, foil, and, to a certain extent, the color turquoise. During Ultra's heyday, yes, it's true, these design elements came to overtake trading cards. However, if eyesore design had remained an intra-insert phenomenon, things would have been different. Inserts could have been as ostentatious as card companies would have wanted, but these would have been the desserts to the meat and potatoes of a clean, conservative base set.

My favorite Fleer inserts have long been Pro-Visions, but others throughout history have stood out. The 1992 Ultra All-Star team cards with the classy black marble framing still hold up today. Smoke n' Heat popped up a few times, never looking better than its most recent issue (2006). The 1994 Fleer flagship All-Star inserts with the American flag backdrop are also pretty nice.

To sum things up, do you think we could get Michael Imperioli to do some baseball card commercials. If someone could lure him away from 1800 Tequila, he could star in a great, minimalist ad where he wonders aloud what happened to the hobby and waxes poetic about remembering when pulling an insert actually meant something. Click on this link, close your eyes, and listen while envisioning Imperioli disgustedly shaking his head in reference to the Topps monopoly. I think it could work.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All August Group Break Cards Have Been Mailed, Except...

...the Padres. So, Padrographs, please get in touch with me, since you forgot to add a mailing address with your payment.

Everyone else, your cards are on their way. A few teams went out late last week, and the rest were dropped off at the post office today.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The 100 Best Finds in a 30-Dollar Lot: #98

2009 Topps Chrome World Baseball Classic #W90 Chi-Hung Cheng Refractor (471/500)

If you are trying to put together a complete World Baseball Classic refractor set from 2009 Topps Chrome, let me know...

...I'll do my best to talk you out of killing yourself for living a life completely devoid of any sense of meaning or purpose.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The 100 Best Finds in a 30-Dollar Lot: #97

This morning I was reading the latest issue of a magazine called Cinema Retro. It's published only three tines a year, and the last couple of years I've bought one at a well-stocked bookstore in a tiny town in northern Minnesota that we pass through on the way to the resort. Well, the article in question this morning concerned a list of the top ten films of 1979. There were a bunch I had seen, like Alien, Apocalypse Now, and Monty Python's The Life of Brian, as well as a few I hadn't, such as 10, Kramer Vs. Kramer, and Being There. The last one I really need to see, considering how great of an actor Peter Sellers was.

This card from 1979 would not make the top 10 list of cards from that year.

1979 Topps #142 Charlie Williams

Yeah, nothing special, but I did manage to acquire a pretty great '79 card from the Topps Diamond Giveaway. That's one you're going to have to wait for, however.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CC: Another Brick In the Wall

On this journey, I sometimes get the feeling that each step forward takes me another step or two back. Such is the case when I found this card.

2009 Upper Deck #476 Gold Parallel (52/99)

I had no knowledge of gold foil parallels in 2009 Upper Deck. While this gets me one step closer to total completion, it also means that I have one more card to chase, the gold parallel of his regular base card, #212. The CC cards I am actively seeking are listed at the top of the sidebar. A handsome reward will be paid to anyone who can help me track one of these down.

Now, I would never actively seek out such things, but you have to admit it is kind of baller to get the serial number the same as his jersey number. It's no Michael Jordan numbered 23 out of 500, but it's still nice to have.

August Group Break: Brewers & Pirates

At last, the final posting of the August group break. As always, I chose the Brewers, and was randomly assigned the Pirates.

Brewers
One of the first things I saw, because it was right at the top of the box, was this mysterious envelope. It's about the size of a post card. Let's see what's inside.

Hmm, what we have here is a 2004 Topps Total Rickie Weeks card, encased in a frame with a piece of "authentic jersey" framed at the bottom. I'm guessing this came from one of those Fairfield things where you're guaranteed a game-used card. The back sates that, "The enclosed piece of jersey was cut form an Authentic Jersey from the player pictured on the front. This Authentic Jersey was obtained from The Upper Deck Company." At the bottom is a logo for Vintage Sports Cards, with a big V that reminds me of Viacom's "V of Doom." (By the way, were you aware of the prominence of a phobia associated with closing logos from production companies of television shows? You've got loud, strange music, usually after a period of silence that accompanied the closing credits, the non-sequitir nature of the blast of sound, creepy, cheap-looking graphics... Stuff like that fascinates me.) This thing is a mess. The jersey is tattered, looking as if I was the one who cut out the swatch, and the Total card is glued in crookedly. There's also a little pop-out stand on the back like a real picture frame would have. As the only baseball jersey to emerge from this lot, I'm happy I got it, since it's a card only a Brewer fan could love.

I also got a few Yovani Gallardo cards I didn't have yet.
2010 Topps Opening Day #78 Yovani Gallardo

2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom #38 Yovani Gallardo

2007 Topps #404 Cory Hart Gold Parallel (1680/2007)
I already have one of these, but now the old one has a friend to sit next to in the binder.


Pirates
This team produced one of the most interesting cards in the entire break.
1978 (?) Dover Reprint of 1933 DeLong #12 Harold (Pie) Traynor
Sure, it's not the real thing, but this is a cool reprint. Topps has even included a Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig DeLong reprint in its CMG insert this year, and there's an Ichiro from 2007 as well. Great photo art! It looks like Traynor is a giant among men.

1963 Topps #122 Julio Gotay
You might remember this one from my Vintage 'Toons series. This Gotay is in better shape, so it's nice to be able to upgrade. Odd to get a double when I've got maybe five cards from the '63 set.

2010 Topps Allen & Ginter #??? Andrew McCutchen
Well, well, well... it wasn't until I sat down to type this up that I realized this was a no number parallel. I was just going to include this because I wanted to point out that McCutchen was awesome, but this makes it even better. I believe these are not serial numbered, but are limited to 50 copies each. More on McCutchen: I was listening to one of the Brewers/Pirates games this weekend, and Bob Uecker posited that McCutchen reminded him a a young Henry Aaron. That may be a bit speculative, but I do think he's going to turn into a major star. Whether he does it as a Pirate or on the East Coast is up for debate.

Thanks to all who participated in this break. I'll be back with something less labor-intensive in September.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CLAIM IT #8: Last One!

After this, I'm all outta cards from the August break, and I'll be ready to ship.

Upper Deck Netminders Vesa Toskala

Victory Drew Stafford

Obak Henry Chadwick (Invented the box score and the use of "K" to signify a strikeout.)

Topps Constitution Signers William Blount

Sportflics Rookie Records

A Mistake the Size of Mt. Elbert

Early on in the sorting process, I was setting aside all of the non-MLB cards in a separate pile. I must have been doing this too quickly, because I mistakenly threw in a card that actually belonged to one of the teams. Here it is.

2009 Bowman #SC-PD Pat Daugherty AUTO

Once I started posting the CLAIM IT cards, I realized that this one belonged to the Rockies. However, the Rocks were in the first pairing, so it was too late to include this card in their post. It's a little disappointing that this was the only autographed card in the lot, but that's the way it goes. Congratulations hiflew, you're getting the guy who scouted Matt Holliday.

August Group Break: Tigers & Twins

The final two teams to show off that aren't mine are separated by 10.5 games in the AL Central in the good way.

Team: Tigers
Buyer: Grand Cards
Cards of Interest: The Tigers go on to prove that when you have the best uniforms in baseball, you can make any color refractor look good.
2010 Bowman Chrome #BCP191 Wilkin Ramirez Green X-fractor
With the alternate color and the X-fractory-ness, I can't believe this card is not serial numbered.

2010 Topps Chrome # 177 Austin Jackson Purple Refractor (236/599)

1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #468 Bubba Trammell
I know what the Tigers were thinking: "Hey, his name's Trammell, the last one we had turned out to be a pretty good fit, so there's no way this won't work!"

1994 Ted Williams Card Company #M30 Al Kaline Memories
It took me a long time to figure out what this card is, part of an insert set called Memories. The surface of this card has a really interesting texture and look. Nice find.


Team: Twins
Buyer: Jason
Cards of Interest: There were actually a few more nice cards in this lot, but since there aren't any current Twins I don't despise (aside from Jim Thome; it's a shame he didn't hit his milestone with a more deserving team), all you get is this sweet vintage card.
1964 Topps #116 Jay Ward & Tony Oliva

Up next: What Thorzul Got

Monday, August 15, 2011

CLAIM IT #7

Conficius say: Participants in August group break one treasure may choose.

Allen & Ginter Confucius

August Wilson Chrome (0060/1776)

Michael Lorenzen

Obak Albert G. Spalding Mini

Allen & Ginter Velociraptor (Clever girl!)

August Group Break: Reds & Orioles

When someone mentions the name Frank Robinson, I'll bet that half of the people hearing it will think of the Reds, and the other half will think of the Orioles. Really out-of-touch people might think of the Indians, and stupid people will think of the New York Jets.

Team: Reds
Buyer: Alex
Cards of Interest: Pretty decent lot, I guess.
2010 Bowman Chrome Topps 100 #TPC11 Todd Frazier (085/999)

2008 Upper Deck Starquest #SQ-51 Ken Griffey, Jr. Common

2010 Topps Chrome #122 Jay Bruce X-fractor

2011 Topps #249 Aaron Harang Gold (1000/2011)
That's a pretty cool serial number.


Team: Orioles
Buyer: Kevin
Cards of Interest: I hope I get something good for my favorite team in the AL East.
2011 Bowman Bowman's Brightest #BBR19 Manny Machado
Is this guy the next in a long line of annual Baltimore saviors who will eventually propel the team to a 5th place finish? I hope he pans out.

1998 Pacific Omega #30 Eric Davis
This is a kitchen sink card. You've got etched foil, horizontal design, seam motif, double photo front, and epic name font. What a beautiful mess!

2010 Topps Chrome #213 Jake Arrieta Refractor and X-fractor

Up next: AL Central Leftovers

The 100 Best Finds in a 30-Dollar Lot: #96

2007 Fleer Ultra Swing Kings #SK-MT Miguel Tejada (Game-Used Jersey)

This guy is more interesting than I ever would have thought. Since he spent most of his career in the AL, I have remained mostly ignorant about his career. Steroid allegations, lying to Congress, MVP season, 6-time All-Star, 5th longest consecutive games played streak...

Baseball Reference has determined that the three most similar players to Tejada are Ryne Sandberg, Bobby Doerr, and Yogi Berra. Yet he will never enter the Hall of Fame.

August Group Break: Red Sox & Mets

"I'm making wise cracks in some night club. This guy was in game six."
-Jerry Seinfeld

Team: Red Sox
Buyer: shoeboxlegends
Cards of Interest: There were a ton of Red Sox cards here, as expected, but nothing really outstanding. That's OK, since shoeboxlegends has been claiming all the best non-MLB cards to make up for it.
1995 Fleer Ultra Strikeout King #2 Roger Clemens
Roger is surfing a large intestine or mitochondrion or some such thing.

2010 Topps Tales of the Game #TOG-13 Carlton Fisk

2010 Topps Turkey REd #TR142 Tris Speaker


Team: Mets
Buyer: (...Joe)
Cards of Interest: Like the '86 World Series, the Mets com up victorious.
1972 Topps #347 Tom Seaver Boyhood Photos of the Stars
Love to see the '72 Topps keep popping up.

1989 Fleer #38 Gregg Jefferies
Was there a kid alive in 1989 who wouldn't have stuck a shiv into his best friend while standing in the lunch line to get this card?

2008 Topps Chrome Dick Perez #WMDPC18 Jose Reyes Refractor

1979 Topps #197 Bob Apodaca
Former Brewers pitching coach. Interestingly enough, Bob got a 1979 card despite pitching in his last game in 1977.

2010 Topps Chrome #55 Jason Bay Refractor and X-fractor

Up next: Frank Robinson's Turf