Banks, Frank and The Killer

I did it. I took the deal dangled by an insider sports site and snagged three all-time great autos - including two players in my favorite player collection. I'm not an autograph collector - owning only a couple of signed baseballs guys signed personally for me at charity nights (and programs containing Reds and Tigers autos gathered in my youth) - so this was something new for me.

But I could not resist these guys! (By the way, the scans don't quite do them justice. Names and positions are in gold, along with gold border - very nice!)

And, for me, the bonus? Oddball cards! (See previous post for my feelings on oddballs.) I think the deal was all three for $20 - so what the heck, I figured.

I also like the backs - nothing fancy but full careers and facts too:
Very happy with all of them, particularly adding Robinson and Banks to my player collections - and Killebrew was pretty great himself, of course.


Nostalgic Wax: The Hostess Collection

I have a confession. I love oddball baseball cards.

I love the store chain-issued cards - the Kmarts, the cards from Ames and Hills. I love the 3Ds from Kellogg's. I even like the Post cereal cards - flimsy, yes, but nice.

But I suppose few cards - save the 1978 Topps - can top my love for the small assortment of baseball cards I personally cut from the bottom of boxes of Hostess Twinkies and King Dons in the late '70s. Yes, "King Dons". Yes, I'm snickering. No, I'm not 12. [Editor's Note: For more on King Dons, click here and scroll down.]

You see, these were the baseball cards that first graced my hands - the reason why Mom and Dad picked me up a handful of packs of '78 Topps for me a year later.

The Fidrych and Bell here - and a few others in my collection of 50 or so - were the true firsts for me.

I have about 50 Hostess cards - in a range of conditions. While I took excellent care of all of my baseball cards as a kid, the Hostess cards had to survive not just my youthful, over-sugared, hands but scissors too. Mixed results, you might notice.

It's also likely Mr. Bench and Mr. Rice (pictured below) partook regularly in the various statistically driven baseball games I came up with to amuse myself. They apparently were extra well loved.
Dave Kingman = Goofy
We weren't a huge snack family but clearly I successfully convinced my mom to pick some of these up from time to time. I was always much more thrilled to get to the cards than to the snack. At least that's how I remember it now. I also recall being bummed when mom would come home from the grocery with Hostess dupes - of which I still have a few.

I always liked the backs of these cards too. Plain, simple and easy to read - and full names that sometimes amused - "Bertram Ray Burris"? Sometimes the names barely fit. To wit:
So there you have it - a peak at some of the first cards I ever owned.

I adored these cards then and hold them even more dear today - knowing they kick-started what has been a fantastic hobby.

I'd love to hear if anyone else feels this particular way about a certain year, brand or even just a single card.


Belated Thanks!

When I ramped up this blog a couple of months ago, I was committed to posting my trades - like many of you do - but in the past couple of weeks I've not been able to do that thanks to too much traveling and various issues related to real life getting in the way.

I've been opening my packages and filing things away and not being as prompt with my acknowledgments. But, in the interest of getting something out there, and at the very least directing you to their fine blogs, here's a list.

Ryan Hughes at "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog 
- Ryan and I completed our first trade. He sent me some GQ and more that I needed.

Derek at Tomahawk Chopping 
- Second deal already with Derek. He sent me some GQ.

AJ at The Lost Collector 
- Third deal with AJ in about six weeks. AJ surprised me with more than I expected - including some coveted Heritage short prints.

Mark at Mark's Ephemera
- Mark had wanted to know if I was keen on a bundle of 1980s Topps. Indeed I was!

Johnny at Cards from the Quarry

- I completely forget what came from this other than remembering it was spectacular. I think it was our third deal already. Or maybe second. We're working up another one as I type this.

Justin at The Hopeful Chase 
- Second deal with Justin. A 1-for-1, I believe, getting him another Edward Murray.

I also sent packages out recently to the following and I'm looking forward to opening goodies from them soon.

Brian at Play At The Plate
Scott Fendley at Smed's Baseball Card Blog
Jim Hall at Garvey Cey Russell Lopes
Julie at  Things Are Funner Here 

So, to recap, sorry about the mass post but I do believe it's important to say thanks and, hey, maybe I'll even be able to get you all another follower. I love making deals with other bloggers and readers. It just makes sense to do.

Meanwhile, my trade pages are updated. 81-83 Topps is the lone exception - but it's fairly accurate. I'll update them soon. But if you're interested in anything else - take a look please to see if I can help out.


'55 Jablonski for '56 Kinder

I've been passing up offers for one of my diamond giveaway sites '56s for weeks now but here comes an offer of a '55 - and a Redleg too boot! For some reason I've grown attached to my Kinder but the older card and a player card from my favorite franchise has me thinking again.

What to do...

And, while I have the attention of my two readers, allow me to direct you to my trade pages. I have lots of cardboard for trade - including Heritage and Gypsy Q's. Heritage is updated, 'cept I'll be adding my wants tonight. The GQ list is actually a few posts below and I will be updating that tonight or in the morning as well - and bringing it over to the trading post.


Running Without Being Chased

I was always a late bloomer when it came to athletic endeavors.

I couldn't hit or field much of anything in my Little League days - and a couple of black eyes proved my reflexes weren't much to write home about either; could shoot but not dribble; wasn't a fan of getting hit on the football field - so forget that; and I was winded after a lap or two around the basketball court in gym class.

I grew fairly discouraged and turned my attention to the numbers of the games. Hence my early love of tracking baseball and football stats and collecting sports cards. (I also turned my attention to band, theater, literature and other excellent nerd-like pursuits.)

I toyed around with sports in high school but with several thousand students at the school and some excellent top-in-the-state teams, I had no chance of making any of the various teams. To stay close to the action and to be able to scrimmage with friends on the team, I managed the basketball teams and kept stats.

In my 20s, I found my confidence. I ended up joining several pretty tough softball leagues and intramural basketball leagues and ended up being a go-to player - not a star, but clutch. 

But it still didn't take much for me to get winded after a few times up and down the court. You see, I worked in the newspaper business and dined on a steady diet of fast food eaten while driving to assignments or, later, editing at my desk at all hours - then late night/after work beers with my ragtag newspaper buds.

Ten years ago, at a highly HIGHLY stressful point in my life, I took up running. I took baby steps. Literally. I would run 1/4 of a mile, then gradually ramped it up until 1 mile became my own personal marathon. Eventually I ran my first 5K and I goofed around for many years with that distance. I tackled one 10K early on but I was a mess with it.

I never seemed to progress in my running. I never got too serious - even with Chicago's Lakefront a few hundred yards away.

But late last year I decided it was time to commit to something bigger. I have a child, finally. I'm 42 now. 42 with 43 staring me down! (Side note: When exactly did all of that aging happen? I feel like I'm 22 - well, 30 if I'm being honest - but still, not 42.)

Bottom line: Life is speeding up. It happens to the best of us.

So, on May 7, I checked off one of those - and I'm not particularly a fan of this term, but I'll say it anyways - "bucket list" items.

I ran a Half Marathon - 13.1 miles - with close to 35,000 other people - the country's largest half. Bands played, residents of the neighborhoods cheered along the route, my wife, mom and daughter were there. I got to run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I didn't blaze trails but I beat my goal by 20 minutes.

And here's the thing - I want to do it again! 

Running before this had been something I had learned to enjoy - a way to cope with the stresses of life - but something I did in small doses simply to maintain a decent level of fitness. It made me feel better about my love of chocolate and pizza and the occasional bad food run.

But running became something different to me while I pounded the pavement of Indianapolis. With thousands around me, I felt alone. I loved that feeling.

It proved to be not only a physical challenge for me, but a great mental challenge. That was an awesome surprise.

I've written this as a record of my thoughts about the race but just maybe I'll inspire someone else to tackle something challenging for them - whether a run like this or anything else.


Moving Cards: Interested?

For reasons I'll get into later, I'm eager to immediately clear room in my card storage and would like to query card bloggers - and those who read them - about whether anyone would like 10 or 20, maybe 30, cards from a specific team or teams.

These cards more than likely would be considered "junk wax" era cards along with some recent cards and perhaps a handful of old ones. I don't expect anything in return for these cards.

However, I'd really like to toss them in as extras in a real trade (you know, one where I actually send something that you want - and you do the same for me).

Cubs and White Sox will be thin as I'm giving these to neighbor kids. Reds and Tigers pretty thin too. Teams that joined the league since 1992, well, I don't have anything really.

Every other team is available. Sign up while the gettin' is good. Make sure to propose me a real trade just to make the cost of mailing worthwhile.

Nobody? Really? Well, it didn't hurt to ask.

Meanwhile, just because I find it hard to post anything without adding an image, here's a card to look at. I have Gypsy Queen dupes I'd like to deal - listed in my last post - but altered since (due to a buying binge at Target last night). If anyone has a list of their dupes or availables, I'd love to deal.


For Trade: You Know You Want It - Gypsy Queen!

But first - what is the deal with this card? I'm sure the misspelling has been discussed on the blogs but my visits - due to busy times - have been few and far between. So, I've missed any chatter. Can anyone clue me in? "Feilder" ???

Now, below is what I have available for trade at this moment. Full disclosure, a couple of cards have been tentatively reserved for a couple of my frequent traders. They have first dibs today. As for what I need, feel free to propose something. Of course, paper frames are just lovely! But, I also need many of the base, HH, FS, SF and GO cards. I know, I need to be more specific.

Future Stars (FS) 3 - Yonder Alonso
FS3 - Yonder Alonso
FS10 - Phil Hughes
FS19 - Gordon Beckham
FS19 - Gordon Beckham
Home Run Heroes (HH7) - Miguel Cabrera

HH7 - Miguel Cabrera
HH8 - Prince "Feilder"
HH21 - Lou Gehrig
Great Ones (GO) 1 - Andre Dawson
GO2 - Babe Ruth

GO8 - Jackie Robinson
GO18 - Robin Yount
GO22 - Tom Seaver
GO24 - Ty Cobb
GO27 - Cy Young
GO27 - Cy Young
GO29 - Frank Robinson

9 - Scott Rolen
33 - Ian Kinsler
93 - Victor Martinez
103 - Magglio Ordonez
111 - Jason Bay
112 - Carlos Zambrano
115 - Jeremy Jeffress*
142 - Max Scherzer
203 - Brian Matusz
210 - Aaron Rowand
224 - Drew Stubbs
232 - Jhonny Peralta*
251 - Mark Buehrle
295 - Phil Hughes
314 - Yonder Alonso

72 - Justin Morneau
347 - Konrad Schmidt
227 - Cameron Maybin
129 - Aaron Hill
122 - Derrek Lee
222 - Heath Bell
183 - Rafael Furcal
114 - Chris Coghlan
169 - Orlando Hudson
241 - Brian Roberts
267 - Jake Arrieta (red back)
299 - Andruw Jones
117 - Dallas Braden
137 - Ricky Romero
189 - Mike Aviles (red back)
146 - Melky Cabrera (red back)
151 - Michael Young


For Trade: O-Pee-Chee 2009

(Note: This post was lost in the blogger goof-up the other day, so I'm reposting. Cards in red have been spoken for but everything else is available.)

I have been out of pocket, largely, while doing some traveling but I'm back and hope to be posting again in short order. For now, here's some trade bait for O-Pee-Chee 2009 fans. 

I'm interested in Reds and Tigers from this set or you're welcome to offer anything from my trade lists - or anything else that you think might be of interest to me (GQ included).

Here's an image example for those who have forgotten the design.

New York Mets
214 - Tim Redding
214 - Tim Redding
517 - Team Checklist
498 - Oliver Perez
290 - Carlos Delgado
159 - John Maine
8 - Brian Schneider (black border)
547 - Moments (Santana)

Atlanta Braves
421 - Peter Moylan
421 - Peter Moylan
199 - Jorge Campillo (black border)
461 - Matt Diaz
295 - Yunel Escobar

Washington Nationals
253 - Josh Bard
107 - Willie Harris
27 - Saul Rivera (black border)

Philadelphia Phillies
201 - Brett Myers
259 - Joe Blanton (black border)
146 - Chad Durbin (black border)
324 - Chad Coste

Florida Marlins
516 - Team Checklist
516 - Team Checklist
63 - Emilio Bonifacio (black border)
384 - Chris Volstad 

Milwaukee Brewers
397 - Dave Bush
499 - Carlos Villanueva

Pittsburgh Pirates
492 - Ian Snell
492 - Ian Snell
492 - Ian Snell
51 - Ross Ohlendorf
113 - Matt Capps (black border)
9 - John Grabow

Houston Astros
429 - Brandon Backe
46  - Jason Michaels
557 - Moments (Berkman)

St. Louis Cardinals
168 - Todd Wellemeyer
168 - Todd Wellemeyer
168 - Todd Wellemeyer
168 - Todd Wellemeyer
579 - David Freese
579 - David Freese
327 - Joel Pineiro
509 - Team Checklist
509 - Team Checklist
13 - Kyle Lohse
137 - Rick Ankiel
215 - Ryan Ludwick

Arizona Diamondbacks
186 - Jon Garland
166 - Felipe Lopez

Colorado Rockies
596 - Dexter Fowler
596 - Dexter Fowler
523 - Team Checklist
523 - Team Checklist
212 - Garrett Atkins
73 - Ian Stewart

San Francisco Giants
228 - Alex Hinshaw
497 - Keiichi Yabu (black border)

San Diego Padres
35 - Chase Headley
21 - Cla Meredith
21 - Cla Meredith
276 - Cliff Floyd
276 - Cliff Floyd
589 - Walter Silva

LA Dodgers
571 - Scott Elbert
329 - Randy Wolf
203 - Rafael Furcal
203 - Rafael Furcal
265 - Chad Billingsley
372 - Jonathan Broxton

502 - Team Checklist
502 - Team Checklist
406 - Jason Varitek
392 - Tim Wakefield (black border)

Baltimore Orioles
352 - Chris Ray
410 - Rich Hill
1 - Melvin Mora (black border)
462 - Oscar Salazar (black border)
82 - Mark Hendrickson
88 - Jim Johnson

Toronto Blue Jays
279 - Lyle Overbay
446 - Joe Inglett
446 - Joe Inglett
433 - Adam Lind
433 - Adam Lind
506 - Team Checklist
242 - B.J. Ryan
134 - Dustin McGowan
134 - Dustin McGowan
343 - Alex Rios

Tampa Bay Rays
464 - Matt Joyce
473 - Dioner Navarro
473 - Dioner Navarro
48 - Jason Bartlett
559 - Moments (Longoria) (black border)

New York Yankees
120 - Mariano Rivera
120 - Mariano Rivera
NY12 - Johnny Damon (New York, New York)
318 - Hideki Matsui

Minnesota Twins
311 - Nick Blackburn

Cleveland Indians
109 - Travis Hafner (black border)
98 - Jeremy Sowers
98 - Jeremy Sowers
567 - Scott Lewis
567 - Scott Lewis
447 - Kelly Shoppach

Kansas City Royals 
52 - Gil Meche
226 - Luke Hochevar
226 - Luke Hochevar
231 - Coco Crisp

Detroit Tigers 
234 - Fernando Rodney

269 - Jose Arredondo

Texas Rangers
530 - Team Checklist
530 - Team Checklist
260 - Ian Kinsler
260 - Ian Kinsler
340 - Michael Young
558 - Moments (M. Young)
558 - Moments (M. Young)
551 - Moments (Hamilton - Huff)
551 - Moments (Hamilton - Huff)

Oakland A's
357 - Russ Springer (black border)
570 - Landon Powell
564 - Josh Outman
564 - Josh Outman
208 - Michael Wuertz
472 - Travis Buck
402 - Sean Gallagher
57 - Bobby Crosby

211 - Jeff Clement (black border)
157 - Endy Chavez
407 - Erik Bedard
288 - Kenji Johjima
19 - Jose Lopez
544 - Moments (Ichiro)

537 - ERA Leaders AL
MM10 - Midsummer Memories J.D. Drew
MM15 - Manny Ramirez
WK3 - Walk-Off Winners Michael Young
HM10 - Highlights/Milestones Adrian Beltre


Trade Offer: Should I Do It?

I have a '56 Ellis Kinder on the Diamond Giveway thing-a-ma-thing and I've been offered a '58 Earl Torgeson and '73 Jeff Burroughs. I'm inclined to hang on to the Kinder, but first offer that made me think. Any thoughts?


Join My Trading Pal's Group Break!

Just in case anyone has missed this, Cards From The Quarry is hosting a group break with some fun cards involved. There are still a few teams available - and prices have been discounted. Should be a lot of fun!

Don't make me send this guy after you. Oh, who am I kidding, nobody is scared of this guy in 2011. Perhaps nobody was in 1983 or whenever. Speaking of this guy, if anyone wants this card, I picked up a pack of old OBAK recently to introduce myself to the cards. I liked some; this card, not so much. Just not my thing. But don't worry, if you want it, I won't judge.

Trade Loot: Cool Surprises From SewingMachineGuy!

I just love this hobby. I've quickly virtually met some great people in just two months through completing a boatload of trades (see my growing list of trade partners on my blog's front page).

SewingMachineGuy, aka Larry, and I have now completed our second deal. He posted about my end a couple of weeks ago. Larry sent me all kinds of cards I had not expected and I'm quite sure were not part of the agreed upon deal. What a great and welcomed surprise!

I will post a few of them. First, some pants worn by a player I probably should go ahead and officially add to my PCs. I'll refrain from making any beer-stained or related jokes. Love the odd tropical frame.
Next, my very first Gypsy Queen! I love this card! I've been trying to fight off the urge to buy into this set. You hobbyists are making it difficult, what with your tantalizing posts of various cards and fun things from the set. For now, I'm going to chase Reds, Tigers and Cubs and other players I collect. Actually, I've also yet to list Chapman under my PCs but I might as well get to it.

For SMG's next trick, he sent me this neato Magglio card. Maggs was my favorite in the years I had partial season tix at Comiskey and remained so when he headed to my favorite AL team. I always felt he was so underrated during his prime. It's like SMG was reading my mind whilst searching for cards.
I also received the Hit King's King of Kings card below. I saw Mr. Rose and the Machine many times as a kid in the late '70s. He was my first favorite player, although I later glommed on to Bench, Morgan, Foster and Concepcion. Great to have this card too as it's one I didn't have.
And, while I received several other cards, I only scanned one more from the bounty. This '71 Cubs card is yet another welcomed addition to my fledgling early-to-mid 70s collections.
The earliest set I'm chasing is 1976 but I'd love to pick up the Reds, Tigers and Cubs from all sets - a slow process I'm sure it will be. I particularly enjoy the look of the '71s.

Thanks again SewingMachineGuy!


Where Were You When You Heard?

This will be a rare off-topic post but in the wake of the great news of Osama Bin Laden's death, I thought it might be interesting to learn where you were when you heard about 9/11.

There's a tremendous sense of closure, it seems, at least with that part of it - that chapter.

As for me, I was living in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. My office was - and still is - located in Chicago's Loop, across from the Sears (now Willis) Tower. I was single at the time and had decided to go in late that day and was just getting out of the shower when my Mom called to tell me to turn on the TV. She asked me to stay home as at that time TV was reporting that one of the planes was possibly headed to Chicago and obviously the Sears Tower was feared to be a target.

I don't think I was quite grasping the reality of it all and went ahead and hopped on the El to get to work. People were strangely silent on the train that day, everyone looking at each other - stunned I guess.

When I got off the train at the Quincy stop near the Sears Tower, I found crowds of people standing and walking - many looking skyward. It was surreal and creepy. Before I got to my building, I saw co-workers nearby saying the office had closed. I went ahead and went up to get something and found everyone was gone - except one person - my boss of course.

He said I didn't need to be there so I took the cue and got out. Frankly, it was still pretty weird being down there and a presumed target - with so many conflicting reports and confusion at the time.

So that's my story. I still remember trying to use my cell phone while down there and getting nowhere. People around me all said the same thing. That added to the weird vibe.

Feel free to share your tale, or e-mail me if you prefer. The "Where Were You..." stories help further unite us sometimes...and can be interesting. Hopefully I won't feel too old and thus be forced to give up baseball cards - if you were all in grade school or something!

Search Me *shrugs*