Monday, January 30, 2012

Who Wants to Be on Thorzul's Podcast?

I'm excited to announce that I'll be going ahead with an idea I've been kicking around for a few months, adding a regular podcast to this blog. I've been listening to a few good non-card podcasts, and I've gotten a sense of what can make one great.

The format will be called "Card Wars." I will act as moderator/umpire/judge for the duration of the podcast, a "nine-inning" contest pitting two collectors and their cards against each other. For each inning of the contest, the competitors will need to select a card for battle according to criteria which I will establish before the event. For example, the first inning of a contest might be "1981 Donruss." Each competitor will then have to select a card from the set, which they will then tout against their opponent. Over the course of each clash, I will keep score and determine a winner. The criteria determining which cards beat other cards will be completely up to the whims of the judge, and each victor will be invited to return to defend his or her title on the following podcast.

Here's where you, dear readers, can participate. I'm fairly sure I have the first competitor locked up, but I'm appealing to the masses for a challenger. If this sounds like something you'd like to be a part of, leave a comment expressing such a desire. Consider this the essay portion of your application, but please limit it to 100 words or less. And make sure I have some way to get ahold of you, should you be selected.

Participants in the podcast must have a working Skype account (audio only), a card collection sizable enough to satisfy most reasonable requests, and the ability to send me scans (or photographs) of cards. I'm aiming for a weekend night to produce this, probably in the area of February 10-12 somewhere. I will contact the commenter of my choice, but don't get sad if you don't hear from me this first time... there will be plenty of opportunities to take part.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cards in Cinema: 50/50 Edition

On Saturday night, the wife and I had what married couples refer to as a "date." Frozen pizza, a diaper change, and a trip to the Redbox were all on the agenda. Movie snobs such as myself like to turn their noses up at the old Box of Red, citing the fact that you can rarely secure a movie that's been out longer than a month, but I've actually gotten around to liking the concept. I won't go too far into the pluses and minuses, but it's hard to argue with spending a dollar on a night's entertainment.

A word to the wise: If there's a film you want to see, reserve it first on your computer or smartphone. After a couple of failed trips early on in the process, that's what we did in order to secure 50/50, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Seth Rogen cancer dramedy. Really good movie, if you're wondering, but appearing in this post for reasons other than quality. In the past, baseball cards have shown up in some of the least likely places. The Parks and Recreation episode from earlier this season turned into a fun mystery to solve, and Iron Fucking Eagle had a few cards show up as well. I also remember the obvious "need 'em, need 'em, got 'em" pack ripping scene form Big, and Kevin's destruction of Buzz's room in Home Alone turned up a few pieces of cardboard. 50/50, however, is about as unlikely a place as you'll ever find the hobby, yet there they were, in the cubicle of a Seattle Public Radio office.

Early on in the movie, we see the two leads carpooling to their public radio jobs. It's then that we see the cards immortalized on celluloid. (Well, probably not celluloid per se, but you know what I mean.) Initially, we can see a very obvious 1990 Fleer Seattle Mariners sticker. I thought he was younger, but JG-L is actually 30 years old, so his character might have come of collecting age right when that insanely overproduced set was released. There's also, presumably, another Mariners card next to it, but the focus is not deep enough to immediately ascertain its identity. More on that later.

A few shots later, we can see sitting atop some file cases and near some framed photographs is another 1990 Fleer sticker, this time inexplicably encased in some sort of clear lucite display stand. At the top of this guy's cancer bucket list there's got to be a submission to PSA somewhere. Two of the same card on one desk... there's gotta be a backstory on that one.

And now back to that other player card. To my eye, I immediately got the impression of 1991 Upper Deck. It's got a white border, and the photo has a cutout in the upper left corner that makes room for a logo. The green stripe that runs down the left side of '91 UD isn't readily apparent, but could have been swallowed up a bit in the lack of focus.

So, after convincing myself that this was the set, I went to eBay to see enter some names of Mariners that would have appeared on a 1991 UD card. After a few misses, I totally nailed it. That's a 1991 Upper Deck card of Omar Vizquel, #593 in the set.

Omar really wasn't much of a threat during his early years on the Mariners, but perhaps he was a fan favorite to this character. In any case, I'm pretty proud of my detective work. In the meantime, I'll remain on the lookout for Cards in Cinema, and I'll report back to you when one is found.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Get on the Bus

Back in May, I wrote about my completed quest to finish off all of the insert sets within the 1994 Fleer Football set. At least, I thought I had completed it.

Fast forward to this past October, when I get an email from a reader who is trying to complete the same set with her young son. She stumbled across the blog looking for some of the cards they were still missing, and informed me that it looked like my Jerome Bettis Rookie of the Year set was a few cards short of completion. I never responded, but I did get an "Awwww, crap" feeling. I thought I was done. It was like that one time when I was a week or two from graduating from college and I got a letter that I had been taking the wrong coursework for my academic minor. That fiasco took a sweetly worded letter to the dean to avoid being a sixth-year senior. This time, I just shelved the idea of chasing the Jerome Bettis cards #13 through 15. They would have been easy enough to find, yet having already declared victory over this set, it just wouldn't have felt the same.

Fast forward a few more months. I'm cleaning up a few card-related items scattered across the house, and I find a couple of loose Ultra Pro sheets with cards in them. At the top of one of them, I see the motherlode. Jerome Bettis inserts #13, 14, and 15.

Hells to the yizzy, I had the complete set all along! I was wondering what was up, since I could have sworn there were only 12 cards in the set. Resourcefully, I went to the checklist, the 480th and final base card in the set. As you can see plainly in black and green: 12 CARD JEROME BETTIS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR" SERIES

Okay, my mind wasn't playing tricks on me after all. I'm accessing the farthest reaches of the memory banks here, but I have an inkling that the final three cards were available as a wrapper redemption. A story like this checks out, as my mom was one of those people who was forever getting free shit in the mail with proofs of purchase and cash register receipts and shit like that. I was the kind of kid who owned an M&M's painter's cap, some Kool-Aid suspenders, and a dinosaur game made out flimsy cardboard delivered to my house by the good people at Chef Boyardee. So it made sense that the 15-year-old me would have sent in an envelope full of wrappers to acquire the final three cards in the Bettis insert set. If anyone can direct me to some concrete proof that this was the way to get them, I'd appreciate it.

(Oh, and sorry if you this post's title made you think that you were going to get a few pictures of Charles S. Dutton.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Found One!

I've located one of the cards from this wanted poster.

A post will follow once it's in hand.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why Didn't You Think of That???

Just fiddling around this evening, and came up with this.

T-shirts will be available for purchase soon. (Minus the watermark, of course.)

No, really, they will be. I'll try to get to it this weekend. Until the dream becomes reality, let me know if you've already pondered buying one, and what you consider a reasonable price to be. I'd like these to be high quality garments, not a plain Hanes base crew-neck shirt.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vintage Lot Reminder

Just letting you know there's only a couple hours left until the end of my vintage zoolBay lot. Don Mossi still needs a good home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

zoolBay #10: Vintage Lot

Get your hands on this lot of vintage cards, including that rascal, Don Mossi.

Here's the contents of the lot:
1959 #154 168 254 302 375 (includes the Zeke Bella with the effed up corners)
1963 #122
1978 #287
1979 #653 (Sourpuss Warren Brusstar)
1980 #29 29 64 228 336 337 454

Bidding shall begin at $6.00 including shipping. To bid name your price in the comments. Bidding shall increase in 25-cent increments. Bidding will end at noon central time this Saturday. Happy bidding!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Pissant

The Time: July 16, 1990
The Place: Anaheim Stadium
The Event: The Birth of "The Pissant"

I distinctly remember listening to the radio broadcast of the Brewers/Angels game that night. It was a 3-1 victory, but all I remember is the performance of a kid who came out of nowhere to go 3-for-4 in his major league debut. That kid's name: Lee Stevens.
1992 Topps Stadium Club #281 Lee Stevens

I guess I just have something against precociousness. Wanna trigger my gag reflex? Tell me a story about a kid who graduates from college at 13. Show me an 8-year-old who can blurt out "Millard Fillmore" when you try to stump him on his memorization of the presidents with "13th."
And then there's rookies who bat .750 with their first taste of The Show.
Maybe there's something to be said about paying your dues. Maybe there are more deserving players, harder workers, guys who fortune decided not to smile upon. Lee Stevens isn't the go-to example for the pissant, but he's the first I can remember noticing. The next night he did not let up, going 2-for-4 with an RBI in a 8-1 ass whipping. Sure, his average dipped to .214 at season's end, but for a few fleeting nights against Milwaukee, he was a baseball god.

Fast forward 21 years. Thorzul buys his annual box of Topps Update Series. He lucks out... his one promised autograph or jersey card is an AUTO. A sinking feeling starts to overcome him when he sees who it is. He is the owner of an autographed card of a Modern Pissant... Colby Rasmus.
2011 Topps 60 Autograph #T60A-CR Colby Rasmus

Great, I get an autographed card and it's of this a-hole, this guy who stuck in my craw for the past couple of seasons until he was finally traded across the border? I don't know exactly why, but this guy was on my shortlist of my least favorite players, at least until he was sent to the Blue Jays. A true Modern Pissant.

I've used that word several times, but haven't had the chance to explain it. It's hard to define, much like Justice Potter Stewart's stance on what determines pornography: "I know it when I see it." I'll try to put together a few non-binding criteria to help you identify your pissants.
*Not a major star.
(This is important. Albert Pujols, while he decimated my Brewers in the playoffs, cannot be a pissant by any stretch of the imagination. He's too damn good.)
*Always seems to do unusually well against your team.
(How can a guy mash three home runs in a series against your team when he's batting .232? 'Cause he's a pissant!)
*Generally annoying.
(This is hard to quantify, but is has a lot to do with respect. St. Louis Cardinal Jon Jay may have played the Brewers tougher than most other teams, but he's a good player worthy of respect, so he's not a pissant.)
*Skinny white guy.
(Rasmus was a big dude, so that doesn't apply here. And being a person of color and a pissant are not mutually exclusive, but there is a trend.)
*Stupid name.
(Pissants often, though not always, have a stupid-sounding first name. Colby is just a moronic, trendy, three-second-glance-at-a-baby-name-book kind of name, as are all of its similar variations. Cody. Coby. For that matter, Mason. Names like that cause me to picture non-working mothers with tightly stretched face skin and sunglasses atop dyed black hair not watching their suburban children well enough at a public place. A little specific, but I hope it paints a picture for you.)

Now that the parameters are out if the way, let me share with you a couple more current pissants.

2009 Topps Unique #68 Ryan Ludwick Red Parallel (0585/1199)

Ludwick is the Jason Voorhies of pissants. I hated him during his early years in St Louis, thought I was rid of him. Then he shows up on division opponent Pittsburgh. Then, holy shit, just yesterday he gets signed by the Reds. Could you leave the fucking division already???
I hate his last name, too. Ludwick is a little too close to Lampwick, the naughty boy from Pinocchio who got turned into a jackass. I know nothing about the guy, but he's a pissant.

2011 Topps #347 Darwin Barney

This guy hasn't achieved full-fledged pissant status yet, but he's on his way. Small in stature, division rival, extremely stupid first and last name, he might be the burr under my saddle for years to come. Teammate Koyie Hill is also close, but mostly for his fucked-up name (see "Colby," variations, above). Catchers don't make good pissants, and neither do pitchers.

Pissants aren't exclusively residents of Major League Baseball. College basketball is full of them, and that's fueled by a lot of factors. Taunting student sections, proximity to the court, and all of that blasted "get big" defensive floor slapping makes college b-ball an ideal breeding ground for the specimen. I remember a guard from Iowa quite a few years ago who fit the bill. Ugly read hair, a stupid yellow mouthguard, and the propensity to hit big buckets against the Badgers were enough for club membership. And let's not forget Bobby Hurley, probably nature's most perfect pissant of all-time.

Now's your time to shine. Based on the established criteria, who are your pissants? And don't even think about naming someone I have in mind: Having anything against him just makes you a racist.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Best Hockey Logo of All-Time?

This morning I was reading dayf's post about an outing to a hockey game, wanted to learn more, and soon stumbled across this.

That's the logo of the Quebec Rafales, an IHL team that played for two seasons in the late 1990s after moving from Atlanta. I don't know what else to say about it except that it's a yeti wearing a scarf riding a hockey stick like it was a snowboard. In a perfect world, my house would have a basement rec room with the walls adorned with 10"x10" professionally drawn framed pictures of insane minor league sports logos.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Three Down, Three to Go

Completion of the 2001-02 Topps Basketball set is so close, yet so far away. In the past couple of weeks I've been able to track down three of the six remaining draft pick cards I need to finish the set.

#241 Joseph Forte (21st Pick)

#237 Michael Bradley (17th Pick)

#253 Ousmane Cisse (47th Pick)

Ousmane is nice, what with the picture being taken in a high school gym and all, but my favorite Cisse of all-time is Djibril Cisse, a French footballer who played for Liverpool, among others, and who always took the pitch with an interesting hairdo and facial hair.

If you can find the location of any of the three remaining cards I need for this set, please let me know. There will be a reward at stake if you can supply information that leads to any one of the following cards getting into my possession.
235 (Steven Hunter)
242 (Jeryl Sasser)
248 (Trenton Hassell)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January Group Break: Hockey and Baseball Card Randomizations

So, IkesCards gets the five-piece hockey ensemble, and I'll be keeping the Whelan/McDowell dual auto. Cool, an autograph of THE SECOND SPITTER!

Trade Me Anything V: #18

Is this going to be the last one? I mean, I started this in November, folks. This one's from Mad Guru.

2011 Topps Cognac #455 Logan Morrison

A Sack With Two Balls In It

A Ryan Braun 2008 Upper Deck X Die-Cut Parallel and a Basketball Bookmark
I'm proud to say I could identify all of the players on the bookmark without looking up any information. From the top we have Shaq, John Stockton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Grant Hill, Juwan Howard, and Danny Manning. Despite the mold growing near the start of the word CHALLENGE, I'll use this on one of the books I'm reading now, because hey, who could pass up an opportunity to use a Danny Manning bookmark.

A Bunch of Panini Americana Cards
I already have all of these, but the Romero would make a great bookmark as well.

A Trio of 1993 Topps Expos For My Set
This was probably my favorite part of the trade package. With a close play at the plate, the Gary Carter card got me curious to see if I could identify when this play took place. The only situation that fits all of the criteria (Fred McGriff PatP, Carter in the game, Expos at Padres) was in a July 3, 1992 game. In the bottom of the eighth inning of a 6-4 Padres win, McGriff led off with a single and was moved to second by a Darrin Jackson single. The next two batters struck out, but Jack Clark hit a short line drive to left, scoring McGriff. Taking my first look at the card, I had originally interpreted Carter's move to be an "I got 'im" gesture, but McGriff apparently beat the throw and crossed home in a cloud of dust.

Thanks, Mad Guru!

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Group Break: 2010 Famous Fabrics

And finally, the Famous Fabrics box.

I'm not afraid to say I'm a little disappointed here, but with a multi-sport product, those are the risks you take. Here's a nice look at the front and back of the card so you know who and what this came from.

Now the question is: Who gets it?
Not being a hockey fan, I had to look a lot of this up. Here's a list of who has the rights to each player and team.
Crosby - Penguins - Thorzul
Ovechkin - Capitals - Chris Mays
Stamkos - Lightning - IkesCards
Tavares - Islanders - Thorzul
Kane - Blackhawks - Chris Mays

The one thing that makes it easy is that each of these guys has played for only one NHL team for his entire career up until this point. The back of the card only mentions the Capitals by name, there's a London Knights guy, a Sarnia Sting guy, and Kane's and Crosby's teams are not mentioned at all. The blue pants swatch is doubly confusing, as this is a color that, to my limited knowledge, does not appear on a Pittsburgh jersey.

So here's what I'm proposing. Each of the five group break names is entered into a randomizer. I think this is the fairest thing to do, despite the odd team connections present on this card. If you have a huge problem with this, leave a comment. Conversely, if you agree with me, feel free to say so as well.

If no better solution is proposed, I'll be doing a video for this card and the Whelan/McDowell card some time this weekend, probably tomorrow.

January Group Break: 2005 Topps Rookie Cup


Kevin Whelan/Roger McDowell Dual AUTO
This will be randomed off on video later between sewingmachineguy and me.

Mark Kotsay AUTO

Reggie Sanders 1993 Rookie Cup Chrome Reprint (13/25)
Chrome on 1993 Topps??? That just looks weird.

The Famous Fabrics box is coming up next.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January Group Break: 2008 Topps Stadium Club

The boxes have been busted, and I'd say that we started off with a winner.

Babe Ruth Ceremonial Cuts Photographer's Proof (Authentic Bunting) (01/99)
I guess this makes me the Tim Tebow of group breaks. All Tebow does is win. All Thorzul does is pull Babe Ruth cards (for other people).

Ty Cobb Ceremonial Cuts (Authentic Bunting)
This was a nice bonus after only expecting one of these per box.

Beam Team AUTOS
Nate Robertson

Edwar Ramirez

Josh Hamilton

Jason Bartlett

Matt Tolbert

Rookie AUTOS
Danny Herrera

Travis Denker

Brent Lillibridge

Gregor Blanco

Burke Badenhop Gold Proof (38/50)

Blake DeWitt Blue Proof (76/99)

And, what might be the sleeper card of the break...
Evan Longoria Gold Proof (45/50)

I tried to redeem the Cuteo redemption card, but no dice. Expiration dates are the worst thing in this hobby.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Trade Me Anything V: #17

This year's Trade Me Anything is a beast that refuses to die. It's already been through the Swamps of Sadness, survived The Nothing, fought Gozer, successfully played the bones, had its heart ripped out by Mola Ram, and the trades still keep coming. No lie, I actually got two of them in the mail in the last two days. I'll share the first with you, from jaybarkerfan.

Giving: 2011 Topps Update Gold Parallel #US4 Brian McCann (0627/2011), Cognac Parallels #US134 Michael Bourn, #505 Tommy Hanson, and #245 Neil Walker

Getting: 2011 Topps Update Prince Fielder Home run Derby Cognac Parallel, 2002 Pacific David Martin Jersey Card

A Bunch of 2011 Topps Inserts From My Want List and a Bowman Card of a Packer Who Is No Longer On the Team

That is one serious side part Cy Young is sporting right there. A follicular continental divide, if you will.

Thanks, jaybarkerfan, great stuff all around!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top Five Pulls of 2011: #1

For the second consecutive year, my top pull was an entire box of cards. And again, it was a box of 2003 Topps Gallery Hall of Fame. Just an outstanding, outstanding product. It's hard to say which was better, this year's or last year's. It might come down to personal preference, but I think the 2011 edition will pull ahead slightly. Let's take a look at the hits.

#AR-JT Joe Tinker ARTifact (Game-Used Bat)
It's hard to believe, sometimes, that this type of stuff is even around at all. The piece of bat in the card must be close to 100 years old, if not more. If I was going for a set of cards that included a relic from each Hall-of-Famer, this would be a nice addition.

#12 Roberto Clemente Artist's Proof (Yellow Jersey Variant)
With Artist's Proof and the variant cards coming at one-per-pack, the combination of the two only appear once in each box. I can't think of a better subject to get. While most of the variations to the painting are subtle, Celemente's picture offers a stark contrast to his more common white uniform.

Currency Connection #CC-LG Lou Gehrig (w/1938 Buffalo Nickel)
Easily, one of the best you could get for your one-per-box coin card. Now I'd still like a Ruth or a Mays.

And here it is, the monster of the box, the General Sherman that didn't get away this time.
#ARA-OC Orlando Cepeda ARTifact (AUTO Game-Used Bat)
The autographs in this product are hard to come by, definitely not guaranteed in a box. Cepeda the person is a great guy, a humanitarian, and I'm proud to own a card with his signature on it.

So, whaddya say... should I buy another box in 2012?