The Defiance Treasure, Part II

I just have to provide a link to this cool story from the local paper - a follow-up to the one from yesterday for those who missed it.

Defiance, Ohio, where these 100-plus-year-old cards were found, is about an hour away from me. So close, yet so very far.

Boggles my mind that this treasure of 700 cards likely sat in that attic untouched for a solid century.

Meanwhile, I still expect to soon begin posting about actual cards that I've added to my collection in the past two months - including a nice little prize I won from Topps! Having "liked" the company on Facebook, I left a comment for a giveaway and managed to win a random draw. Yay, me!

I also just got some sweet cards from Jeremy at No One's Going To Read This Blog. I had sat on a mailer for him for probably a little too long after I didn't get it out before a long vacation, but ultimately I sent it along. He responded very graciously. More later.

Thanks to the guys who commented yesterday. It was good to virtually see some familiar virtual faces. Kyle, I owe ya big time. My card blogging sabbatical came at the wrong time for you, so sorry about that.

Have a great night all. With everyone here tucked in, I'm off to the couch to watch Part V of The Pacific.


Hello Again + Family (Not Mine) Finds Cardboard Fortune

Hey there! Well, I'm still around and thanks again to those of you who checked in during my absence. No real reason, just seems I needed a breather. I did have a blast with my wife and daughter in Disney World. What a great place for a little girl.

Since starting this blog, I don't think I'd ever let more than a week pass without posting until the past two months. While I've still been keeping an eye on the hobby, I had scaled back purchases for a few months with nothing from 2012 grabbing my attention like what happened last year.

I did finally find myself with some free time on Sunday and thus headed to the local card show. I grabbed some nice vintage and finally picked up a key card I need as I get preciously close to completing 1976. I'll plan to post about some of my finds soon.

I hope to catch up on the blogs in the next few days - and find out, among other things, what folks are saying about A&G 2012. Meanwhile, if I've missed anything awesome in the past two months, please point me to it. Feel free to plug a specific post or two from your blog! Or, I reckon there's probably a new blog or two out there that I've missed.

For now, I'll leave you with this amazing story. I don't know if this is old news for the blog world today, but just in case, I thought it was more than worthy of posting. This town is about an hour or so away from me.


Fantasy Recruitment (hoops, mostly)

I interrupt this baseball card blog to take a completely random shot at recruiting an NBA + fantasy fan for an incredible new league a good friend is running. It's a pay league and I'm the co-LM/slash gent who will collect the money.

I can 100% assure you, this is not yet another fly-by-night, soon-to-be-dormant league you like you surely - frustratingly - have been involved with before.

It's a unique head-to-head concept but actually one kept relatively simply. We have 12 owners so far and will start the league with 14 (so we need two yet, for the mathematically challenged). Every two years, assuming extremely low owner turnover, we'll expand by two teams (capping at 20).

League entry is $25, with plans to escalate $5 per year capping at $50.

The other LM has written an incredibly detailed League Charter. He's also a great guy whom I've been in leagues with for 11 years. All of the other owners are top-notch gents whom I've personally recruited over the years (for a couple of amazing baseball leagues).

I know I'm throwing the superlatives around - but after playing in leagues for a couple of decades - and having problems with owners quitting/inactive owners/unkind owners, I've been greatly enjoying playing in leagues with this group of guys for the past three years. Fantasy sports have become immensely more enjoyable.

Side pitch: If you are interested and also want on a list for both pay and non-pay fantasy baseball and football, let me know. On average, per year, in the leagues, 1 of 20 owners moves on so there are openings - they're just rare.



Reminisce: Saturday In The Park With George

A week ago today I was surprised to bump into a childhood hero, George Foster, while deciding last minute to attend the AAA Indianapolis Indians vs. Louisville Bats game. It seems like only yesterday. Ah, the memories. Read all about it! Go ahead, I'll wait.

Cue "Girl From Ipanema" orchestral mix.

Welcome back!

So, tonight, we're attending yet another minor league game after getting an invite from some friends. This one is in our new hometown - our first at what everyone says is an incredible minor league park and experience. I'm fully expecting to make at least a half dozen games this season - including Star Wars night with a friend on June 1.

Yes, Star Wars. It's probably no surprise - given the fact I collect baseball cards and actually write about them - but I'm a tremendous nerd.

In any case, George Foster last weekend so I fully expect to see Johnny Bench tonight handing out free autographs.
Will it happen? Stay tuned!

* Spoiler Alert: The odds are heavily against it.


Hey, Look! A Real-Life Cardboard Hero!

Well, I'm back to talk about my weekend and the details of the race I hoped to run followed by the more blog-related fodder of a chance encounter with a real life baseball hero of mine - back when baseball players were heroes to me.

I know you've been hitting refresh on your browser for the past 24 hours.

Let's recap Part 1.

Allow me, you rambled on and on and on - in a highly annoying voice, I'm sure - about your poor little heel and a bunch of loonies planning to run a bunch of miles without being chased. You pretended you had something about the hobby to reveal and then you went to bed without sharing. I'm guessing at least 27 followers and counting have dropped you in the past five hours.

OK, pardon the extended lead up to the blog relevant fodder but, well, there are some other things I wanted to get down on record. So, I'll continue just a bit more, if you'll indulge me.

Despite the pain in my heel, we decided to go ahead with our weekend plans. We had reservations at a nice hotel at the starting line and we planned some things with our daughter for Sunday. It was intended all along to be a little getaway.

But my wife knows me and knew I'd be moping around if I couldn't run the race or had to drop out with the heel issue.

She bought some heel padding for me and I decided to try running with it. It felt good but I was still convince the constant pounding of a half marathon would do me in.

Restless, I woke up at 4 a.m. and waited. From our hotel room, we had a straight show view of the seven to 10 city blocks where runners would be lining up. For the next 2.5 hours I peaked out every so often. The numbers went from zero to many, many thousands over that time.

My wife wished me the best and I headed downstairs to make my way to my designated corral. Me and 35,000 jammed together and I said a few words for my heel.
Do you see me? I'm right there
I told my wife there was a 90% chance I'd be back very soon. I figured I'd have severe pain 1/2 mile in and call it quits so as not to risk a bigger problem. It would be OK. Our hotel was immediately to the right in this picture, just a few feet from the shot here, so perhaps I wouldn't have far to hobble.

But, amazingly, a few steps into the run, I was OK. I still felt good at 1/2 mile and soon - slowly per my usual - began ticking off the miles. Just a dull pain but I was soon more concerned with the 90% humidity and blazing sun. The pain in my heel actually seemed to go away as the race went on. I didn't get cocky about it as I figured the next step easily could be my last.

When I hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at mile 6.5, I began to - if you will - tire. Runners get to lap the full track during this race. It was cool the first year. The heat from the sun on the track was brutal this year, and sapping my energy. Runners everywhere were already taking extended walking breaks.

I began seeing regular emergency vehicles and passed a half dozen (former) runners on stretchers or being attended to by medical personnel. I kept going. Conscious of the fact that I was doing this to stay healthy and not to end up on a stretcher, I slowed my pace and took water and/or gatorade at every station.

As I exited the 2.5 mile oval and hit the streets again, I realized my wife very well may have saved the day with the padding she purchased. But I tried not to think about that lest I jinx myself. I still had nearly five miles to go and so I focused on my own thoughts and the bands playing throughout the course.

At mile 11, I slowed to grab a water and my legs felt like noodles. I pounded two cups, walked through the water station and, eventually, kept going.

And, well, long story short ...

Uh, too late pal!

I made it!

My wife and daughter were there at the finish. My wife had received automated text messages as I crossed certain checkpoints and was equally stunned and excited that I could run on the heel. We all celebrated together at the post-race party (by resting in the grass, mostly). My daughter gave me a ribbon to pin on that she had my wife get for me.

Then, we headed back to the room and treated ourselves with room service to avoid the masses. I enjoyed a delicious big post-race cheat meal of a bacon cheeseburger and fries.

Afterwards, tired and full, I was ready for a rare mid-day nap and soon fell asleep. The ladies snuck out to go shopping. When they returned, I took my daughter swimming - the highlight of her weekend.

Finally, that night, we decided to go to the Indianapolis Indians vs. Louisville Bats AAA game. Victory Field is right across the street from our hotel. It took 90 seconds to walk from the hotel doors to the front gate - and that included waiting for the light to change and walking with a four-year-old.

Baseball, you say? Do I finally sense a blog-relevant point to this two-part blog entry?

Oh, yes. Indeed.

Third inning, the ladies get up to walk the concourse. Sixty seconds later my wife phones. "You might want to get up here. Right behind our section there's a guy wearing a Cincinnati Reds shirt signing autographs at a table. He might be somebody." I bounded out of my seat. Did I ever mention I'm a lifelong Reds fan?

Who could this be? But wait! I have nothing for this person to sign. ARGH! I have no cards! We had decided on a whim to go to the game because the runners' packet had a buy-one get-one free coupon?

I hit the concourse and see about six people in line. This signing was winding down. I get a closer look to see, sitting at the table - Big Red Machine alum ...

George Foster.

George "Friggin'" Foster, easily one of my favorite players ever, I tell my wife and daughter.

I fear he is about to leave so I buy a ball at a stand next to the table stamped with the Indianapolis Indians logo and we're quickly in front of him. Two minutes had passed from the time my wife called me at the seats.

My daughter hands him the ball.

He smiles, says hello and signs. And we move on.

I've mentioned before that I'm actually not an autograph kind of guy. I feel rather goofy as a grown man asking another grown man for his signature. That's just me. I'm particularly averse to the idea of paying for this. It's such a personal and impersonal experience all at once. It's a bit awkward.

But this was a no-brainer. Here was one of my heroes as a kid. Foster - known for the menacing stare, the black bat, the long sideburns - hit 52 home runs for the Big Red Machine in 1977, when I was nine. This was a very, very big deal. Leaders of the era routinely hit, I believe, in the 30s.
I first posted a picture of me holding this ball, immediately post autograph. I removed it. You're welcome.
Foster was a slugger I once thought would go down in history as the greatest home run hitter ever. To me, he is one of the greatest.

His baseball cards are legendary, to me. Next on my list will be to create my official Foster want list.

While I would have loved to have one of these signed, I now kind of like the fact he signed an Indianapolis Indians' ball. It's so random - but also preserves the memory of the evening and the weekend. That said, if anyone has an on-card Foster autograph for trade, please let me know.

So that was my big weekend - a personal milestone reached for the second time, great family time and a chance encounter with a cardboard hero come to life.


A May Day: On The Run

With a new week off and running, I thought I'd recap my eventful weekend. I certainly didn't expect any blog fodder to come from it, but something sure came out of left field.

Read on!

But first, Saturday was scheduled to be my second Indianapolis Half Marathon. I ran my first last year, and I eventually wrote about the experience. I run for weight maintenance, for general health (with a little one at 43 - that's on my mind a lot) and because I tend to love being alone with my thoughts.

There's no better place for that than on a run.

A half marathon is 13.1 miles. There was a time that I couldn't run .1 miles without getting winded. For a healthy stretch of my life, I hated running with a deep passion.

I was the kid who always finished last running the two laps around the gym in school. 

Crossing the finish line last year was extremely gratifying. But what about this year?

Training had been going well until the Sunday prior, when I hurt my heel during my final long-ish training run. I couldn't step on it without a fair amount of pain on Monday and Tuesday and at that point figured the gig was up. I self-diagnosed via Internet and guessed stress fracture - and reluctantly went to the doc.

She wasn't sure and we agreed to hold off on an X-Ray. She thought it could be heel spurs or some such. She prescribed some high dosage pain medicine. Reluctant again, I figured I'd do it and maybe it would get me through the race.

The doc, who also was set to run the same 13.1 miles, said:

"I think you could try running and if you experience excruciating pain then you should stop."

Ya think, I thought? Sound advice when experiencing excruciating pain in general, not just while running, I thought.

I took three of the pills over the next day and developed a constant headache and severe heartburn - and stopped the pills. Wednesday night I tried to run half a block - and the pain was still there.

I had trained for this. I was ready. To get hurt six days before the big day was rough.

At this point in the story, you're asking yourself. Should I keep reading. Is there really a baseball hook? Maybe I should move to the next blog. Why am I following this guy?

All valid questions.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to be published tomorrow at this time.

Wait a second. You're leaving!? What about the race? And what blog fodder came out of left field that you opened this drivel with? What kind of mind games are you playing here? And, can I have the 87 pain pills you've elected not to take?

Patience, gentlemen (and two ladies). The big reveal shall come.

I'm de-following you. You should know this.

For now, how about enjoying these cards I picked up at a AAA game this weekend at Victory Field in Indianapolis - where we watched the Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) blank the Louisville Bats (Reds) 4-0. Coincidentally, it was at this game where the cool thing out of left field happened to me.

This guy is up with the big club this year and doing all right.

They didn't have this year's Indianapolis team set so I snagged the 2011 set. Couldn't leave a baseball game without some cards. Enjoy, and see you tomorrow.
A few more of those I have heard of...including the head coach and former Red.


Groovy New Blog I Found - and Heritage To Deal

Every month or so it seems I happen upon a new blog to enjoy. The latest comes from Marcus at All The Way To The Backstop. Marcus is - get this - a Padres fan! A Padres fan in Texas, no less!

Marcus reached out to me a couple of weeks ago after seeing some cards for trade on my site. Marcus sent me a half-dozen Heritage 2012 cards I wanted and a few more cards were added after initial talks. I'll post those non-Heritage cards soon.

Too bad I don't have scans of the Heritage cards he sent. I'm on the road and apparently forgot to save my scans from this deal.

You guys (and two ladies) should see them! They are awesome! Joey Votto is there. His pose is iconic, I kid you not. Starlin Castro was included, looking all young and what not. Can you go wrong with a Joe Mauer card!? Look at it! Oh, right.

Well trust me, it's really cool.

Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, the Pope! the list goes on and on (well five more).

OK, sorry for no scans. And, Marcus, sorry for the delay in getting your cards over. You should have 80 or so Padres (new and old) and a few other guys you mentioned, arriving in the next day or so. Life, per usual, hung me up a bit.

Everyone, be sure to check out Marcus' blog.
Meanwhile, for anyone else chasing Heritage 2012, I'll highlight my available cards and cards I need. Be prepared. It's a real page turner...

Here goes:

13, 19, 23, 27, 32, 36, 37, 38, 42, 45, 47, 47, 47, 60, 69, 69, 69, 75, 82, 85, 89, 93, 103, 108, 110, 110, 112, 115, 115, 121, 124, 126, 128, 130, 132, 132, 137, 137, 157, 180, 192, 197, 204, 217, 221, 222, 224, 224, 228, 241, 243, 247, 255, 267, 271, 277, 297, 315, 328, 332, 342, 342, 347, 351, 360, 363, 363, 372, 378, 388, 388, 395, 395, 400, 400, 400, 401, 402, 408, 408, 413, 465sp, 470sp, 488sp, BF-SK, NF-JKE, NAP-TL, Checklist 5,

Note: The short prints are being held to ultimately trade for short prints I need from Heritage 2011. That seems to be the trend and really must be the best way for me to get a few more of them.

Stickers: 5, 14


35 Chris Sale
53 Dee Gordon

79 Detroit Tigers
87 Andrew McCutchen
95 Kerry Wood
100 Paul Konerko
138 Ryan Braun/Prince Fielder (Pride of NL)
140 Max Scherzer
160 Mark Buehrle
194 Francisco Cordero
207 Mike Trout
211 Freddie Freeman
218 Justin Verlander/Jose Valverde
223 Addison Reed
246 Felix Hernandez 
285 Adrian Gonzalez
327 Rick Porcello 
365 Jose Valverde
366 Dustin Ackley
393 Brandon Beachy
422 Dusty Baker
476 Prince Fielder


Outta Sight! Vintage: Anderson, G. '60

I've been a Reds fan since I first gave a hoot about baseball in early grade school. I've been a Tigers fan since my early teens.

My two rooting interests intersect with an old Phillie.
Sparky Anderson managed the Reds from 1970-78 and led the Big Red Machine to two World Series championships. Then, he went to Detroit and won another in 1984. He led the Tigers from 1979-95.

He's easily my favorite all-time manager.

I'll never forget standing outside Tiger Stadium with my Dad one night, after watching a game, and seeing Sparky in the passenger seat of a car waiting at a red light. He looked over, made eye contact and gave a little wave.

Pretty awesome for a 13-year-old kid. 

I've been trying to pick up his cards here and there - mostly manager cards, of course. When I returned to the hobby in early 2011, I hadn't given much thought to picking up his player cards. Playing the game, of course, was not his strong suit.

Sparky was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953 and spent five years in their minors. He was traded to the Phillies in late 1958 and spent 1959 as the starting second basemen - hitting .218 in 152 games, with no home runs and 34 RBIs.

That was it for playing in the big league.

I found this card at a local card shop. I think the appeal is that it's so out of my realm of thinking to picture him as a Phillie or to think of him as "George." I also love that you can see the premature gray/white under the cap.

The '60 set design itself, well, I'm not so sure about. The color shot with the black and white is off-putting. The alternating colors in the name seems a bit juvenile.

Still, this card is begging for a good display spot. Sparky, more than any other baseball figure, is why I'm forever devoted to the Tigers. He's also played a huge role in why I've never wavered from the Reds.

Now I need to go find the '59 George Anderson to complete my Sparky Anderson playing days card collection.

And maybe I should start cheering for the Phillies.



The Search For Jarrod Parker (Cards)

In honor of Jarrod Parker's first start with the Oakland A's, I wanted to be so bold as to link back to my first Hoosiers On Cardboard feature published last September.

Jarrod was traded from Arizona in the off-season since this post - in the Trevor Cahill deal - and I expect big things from him eventually in Oakland. It's been great to be able to root for a local kid. We nearly moved into his former school district but ended up one over.

I'm interested in any dupe Jarrod Parkers anyone might have on hand. It appears I only have this one. I'd pick some up at the local card shop, and might have to snag his auto from there, but all Parkers are just overpriced at this store. The proprietors are nice enough but they know they sell well.
Love to see Jarrod working his way back after Tommy John surgery. Hoping for the best for this kid. I believe, at the time of this post, he's battling in a 0-0 game in the sixth against the White Sox.


Heritage Design Trade Flashback Needs

Yeah, you know you're getting lazy about headlines when you just go with keywords. 
Many collectors have turned their attention to Gypsy Queen in the past week or so - either furiously chasing it or disparaging it - so I wanted to take a few minutes to briefly look again at our old friend Heritage 2012. I have some needs. I have some dupes. Read on!

While I'm not collecting the full Heritage set, focusing instead on completing the wonderful Heritage of 2011, I am gathering the 2012 inserts as well as select favorite players - and Reds, Tigers, Cubs and White Sox. I received a nice assist with those efforts recently after Ross at Design on Deck contacted me. Ross took a look at my want list and I'm very grateful for that. 

I'm a particular fan of Flashbacks. I believe Ross sent me five. Here are two of them.

Here is a sampling of some of the other fine cards Ross sent along.
Probably a top five current player of mine.

Still amused by pitchers named Homer, I am.
Berkman has long been a favorite of mine, admittedly from his glory years where he led my fantasy juggernaut. Also, his resemblance to my cousin is uncanny and an ongoing source of family amusement. I pick up Berkman cards whenever I can but still need a good auto.
Before I continue with various lists, I just want to say that I truly enjoy Design on Deck. It's unique and I really love his card designs. I don't believe I've actually ever told him that but I wanted to be sure to say something here. I wish he could print and issue his cards.

I wish I had the graphic design talents. They're sorely needed.

Meanwhile, Ross, your cards are coming soon. I was waiting to pick up a few more packs and hit more of your needs and I did manage to add a couple of extras. I wish I had more but I'm sending the diamond parallels and all the Heritage extras I had from your wants. I think it unfortunately doesn't total any more than the number of cards you sent.

For everyone else, are you collecting Heritage? If so, here are some cards I have for trade:

13, 19, 23, 27, 32, 36, 37, 38, 42, 45, 47, 47, 47, 60, 69, 69, 69, 75, 82, 85, 89, 93, 103, 108, 110, 110, 112, 115, 115, 121, 124, 126, 128, 130, 132, 132, 137, 137, 157, 180, 192, 197, 204, 217, 221, 224, 224, 228, 241, 243, 255, 267, 271, 277, 297, 315, 328, 332, 342, 342, 347, 351, 360, 363, 363, 372, 378, 388, 388, 395, 395, 400, 400, 400, 401, 402, 408, 408, 413, BF-SK, NF-JKE, NAP-TL, Checklist 5

Please indulge me as I present my wants:


14 Justin Masterson
35 Chris Sale
51 Alex Gordon
53 Dee Gordon

79 Detroit Tigers
87 Andrew McCutchen
90 Joey Votto
95 Kerry Wood
100 Paul Konerko
138 Ryan Braun/Prince Fielder (Pride of NL)
140 Max Scherzer
160 Mark Buehrle
186 Joe Mauer
193 Starlin Castro
194 Francisco Cordero
207 Mike Trout
211 Freddie Freeman
218 Justin Verlander/Jose Valverde
222 Chicago Cubs
223 Addison Reed
246 Felix Hernandez 
276 Ryan Braun
278 Jhonny Peralta
279 Matt Kemp
285 Adrian Gonzalez
320 Zack Greinke
327 Rick Porcello 
365 Jose Valverde
366 Dustin Ackley
393 Brandon Beachy
406 Al Alburquerque
422 Dusty Baker
476 Prince Fielder


Gypsy Queen: Through The Years

The Queen Is Alive
I loved Gypsy Queen last year and continue to add as many of the bronze- and green-paper parallels as possible. There was never any doubt whether I'd buy into it this year.

Still, I'm stopping short of declaring I'll collect the set. I'm directing the greater portion of my budget to completing sets from my youth and to old-fashioned cards.

But I know I'll look to pick up the Reds and Tigers and Cubs and favored players and the veterans in the set. I have the Tigers in Cardboard Heaven's group break, so I should be set with them. Take a look at his break, by the way, plenty of good teams available.

Today, I snagged two of the hanging value packs from Walmart. Each includes three paper frames. I'll show them near the end of this post. 

It's tough for me to know yet if I like 2012 more than 2011. It was all fresh and new last year so I'm partial to that on one hand. On the other hand, 2012 is fresh and new now and so I can't help but like it more at this particular moment. On the third hand (don't judge), oh, wait, there is no third hand. 

Let's do some comparisons, shall we?

It's a great shot of Chapman this year (left) but you'll see that the new design seems to intrude more into the photo. The "Gypsy Queen" logo - continuing a Topps theme in 2012 - is in a surfboard of sorts.

Yet, I like the ornamental design this year and I also prefer how the player's names are presented in the new set. It's just less intrusive on the photo.

The backs on the base cards are similar and a team logo is included on both. This is different than with the inserts - the backs of which I have some problems with.

Advantage: Even

Next, we have Moonshots, a not-so-veiled repeat of Home Run Heroes from 2011 (pictured left).  
The purple is going to have to grow on me and I'm not sure it will. And, why no artsy moon anywhere on the card? Maybe it's just the amateur astronomer in me nit-picking but I feel this is a lost opportunity. On the plus side, I pulled that Willie Mays as well as Babe Ruth.

As for the backs, I kind of like the off-white this year. But, my problem referenced above is that there are no team logos with the inserts. I also don't like the lack of a number for filing purposes. Not a fan of the initials. Perhaps minor quibbles.

Advantage: Home Run Heroes

Here we have Future Stars 2011 vs. Future Stars 2012. Really, Topps? No other names popped to mind. 

I like the color this year and it just feels like there's more picture - but perhaps that's an optical illusion. I guess I like both.

Advantage: Even
Ah, Great Ones of 2011 vs. Hallmark Heroes of 2012. I really like the look of Hallmark Heroes. I feel like I'm looking through a picture window or into a mirror. It's a softer, more eye-appealing design.

Advantage: Hallmark Heroes
I'm taking liberty here comparing this year's Sliding Stars to Sticky Fingers from last year. I didn't pull any Glove Stories today so this will have to do. Suffice to say, I love the look of Sliding Stars. The ornamental design is very artsy and I love the way the player's name is shown.

Finally, perhaps my favorite insert set of all-time - the paper frames. Here's a quick look at similar frames from 2012 (top) and 2011 (below). Of my three frames pulled today, I got Koufax, DiMaggio and Maris.

This is where the "Gypsy Queen" surfboard seems particularly unwieldy. There isn't enough room for the photos.

I also feel that the 2011 version is simply the better frame.

Advantage: 2011
So, it's clear I like and somewhat dislike parts of both releases. It'll be interesting, to me at least, to see if my perspective changes in a few more weeks.

Meanwhile, here are some other cards I snagged today.

Above are three of the six minis I opened. Three all-time favorites of mine! Also, the first card I saw today was the regular version of Warren Spahn. 

Next, it was nice to see Catfish Hunter in the checklist. And one can never argue with Bob Feller.

Finally, I'll close with some trade bait. The below three cards appeared in two separate value packs in the exact same order, thus I have dupes of these legends.

I'll be interested to read more about how others feel about this year's Gypsy Queen. I think I'll go explore the blogs.

Enjoy cards!


Outta Sight! Vintage: Pierce, B. '59s

Billy Pierce has fast become one of those old-timers whose cards I snag if the price feels right.

It all started back in the summer of '11. You and I (and even Billy) were so much younger then. We were carefree and innocent. You still had your hair.

I met Billy that fine summer. He was sitting at a table at a big card show in Chicago, an event hobbyists refer to as "The National." I was there, too, standing in line much like an overgrown kid. No, exactly like an overgrown kid.

I was sheepish and embarrassed, much like how a grown man feels when he asks another grown man for an autograph. No, exactly like that.

I handed Billy this faux vintage card. "Nice to meet you," I said.
Ryan's Pitch, back when he was just Reader Ryan, sent me this card a week before I handed it to Mr. Pierce. Thanks Ryan. At the time, I had no other Pierce cards.
Billy said "hello" then looked at the card and groused - albeit politely, if it's indeed possible to politely grouse - that he didn't understand why "folks keep sending me cards to sign I've already signed."

Oh, Billy!

I chuckled, offered my thanks and exited left. (For more about my first day at The National, click here. Or here or here for Day Two and Day Three stories.

Our encounter was brief, so brief in fact that I'll bet Billy might not even remember me. Ha! But it was enough to turn me into a Billy Pierce collector.

I recently picked up two cards from the 1959 set at a local card show. I love this set for the colors (most of them), the uniqueness, the logos and the lowercase names.

I've always called this set the "Rear Window Set."

Here's Pierce as viewed from Jimmy Stewart's binoculars. 
And, below, is Action Pierce, also from 1959. I love the "Baseball Thrills" cards for the great action shots. Near as I can figure, there were 10 in the set. The "Baseball Thrills" circle reminds me of a Batman cartoon. Now that's iconic.
Billy turned 85 on April 2. He's been heavily involved in children's charities. I have a keen interest in adding cards of players known to be swell gents. I'm also quietly a fan of the White Sox because of time spent at the park between 2000-05.

Billy was a seven-time All Star with the White Sox and the ace of the staff for at least a decade. He finished with a career 211-169 record, 3.27 ERA and 1,999 strikeouts. He holds the White Sox franchise mark for strikeouts, with 1,796. His 186 wins, 2,931 innings and 390 starts are team records for a left-hander.

He is considered by many to be one of the biggest Hall of Fame oversights in history. This from Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski: Billy Pierce has a strong Hall of Fame case that has been widely and enthusiastically ignored. He was, I think, the best pitcher in the American League in the 1950s -- and if there had been an American League Cy Young award he probably would have won it at least twice.  
Billy had a slight build - even slighter nowadays - yet he led the American League in complete games three times. He pitched four one-hitters and seven two-hitters, and on June 27, 1958 came within one batter of becoming the first left-hander in 78 years to throw a perfect game.

It was nice to meet you, Billy. You're a Hall of Famer in my book.


2012: Needs/Availables (boringest headline ever!) "Boringest?"

Is anyone out there still chasing existing 2012 cards? If so, I have quite a list of available cards below. Sorry for the oh-so-boring post, but I wanted to be sure to direct anyone in need to my lists.

After the long list of available base cards and inserts is a much shorter list of cards I'm searching for. I hope we can work out a deal.

And, if you instead are searching for Heritage 2012, please direct me to your want list. I have plenty of Heritage but haven't cataloged them yet. I do however have a list of cards I need.


And, now, the base set...

Base Set Available
1 - Ryan Braun
1 - Ryan Braun
4 - Jeremy Guthrie
7 - Mickey Mantle
15 - Melky Cabrera
19 - Yonder Alonso
21 - Chris Iannetta
22 - Alfredo Simon
24 - Ike Davis
29 - NL Win Leaders
30 - Derek Jeter
32 - Detroit Tigers
41 - Devin Mesoraco
43 - Brett Wallace
51 - Alcides Escobar
56 - Geovany Soto
57 - Yuniesky Betancourt
66 - Nyjer Morgan
66 - Nyjer Morgan
71 - Jeff Karstens
74 - Kevin Correia
81 - Liam Hendricks
82 - Rick Porcello
84 - Brian Matusz
89 - Dontrelle Willis
89 - Dontrelle Willis
91 - AL Home Run Leaders
93 - Skip Schumaker
94 - Logan Forsythe
95 - Chris Parmalee
99 - Michael McKenry
99 - Michael McKenry
102 - Chase d'Arnaud
107 - Luke Scott
110 - Mark Teixeira
114 - Matt Garza
114 - Matt Garza
114 - Matt Garza
121 - Josh Bell
124 - NL batting average
125 - Adam Jones
125 - Adam Jones
125 - Adam Jones
130 - Asdrubal Cabrera
133 - Ivan Nova
135 - Johnny Cueto
135 - Johnny Cueto
135 - Johnny Cueto
136 - Casey McGehee
141 - Brandon Belt
142 - Travis Wood
142 - Travis Wood
142 - Travis Wood 
142 - Travis Wood
143 - George Kottaras
144 - Marlon Byrd
146 - Carlos Gomez
148 - Chris Getz
151 - Chris Davis
151 - Chris Davis
166 - Brennan Boesch
169 - Brett Myers
171 - Koji Uehara
174 - Yadier Molina
175 - Jared Hughes
176 - Nolan Reimold
176 - Nolan Reimold
179 - Denard Span
187 - Jose Altuve
191 - Angel Pagan
195 - Ben Zobrist
196 - Matt Joyce
197 - Brendan Ryan
200 - Miguel Cabrera
201 - Doug Fister
202 - Andre Carignan
205 - Justin Masterson
208 - Mark Reynolds
210 - Zack Greinke
211 - Kelvin Herrera
213 - Alex Avila
218 - Kyle Hudson
218 - Kyle Hudson
220 - Jay Bruce
220 - Jay Bruce
220 - Jay Bruce
222 - Chris Coghlan
223 - Joe Saunders
226 - Ryan Hanigan
228 - Brent Lillibridge
235 - Joe Benson
239 - AL batting average
241 - James McDonald
245 - Adam Lind
245 - Adam Lind
246 - Bud Norris
247 - Clay Buchholz
249 - Trevor Plouffe
255 - Scott Rolen
255 - Scott Rolen
255 - Scott Rolen 
256 - Mat Latos
262 - Shaun Marcum
265 - Aroldis Chapman
265 - Aroldis Chapman
268 - Miguel Cairo
268 - Miguel Cairo
268 - Miguel Cairo
270 - Starlin Castro
272 - Nyjer Morgan
272 - Nyjer Morgan
274 - Alex Liddi
277 - Jeremy Moore
282 - Ryan Raburn
282 - Ryan Raburn
292 - Ben Revere
294 - John Axford
299 - Mitch Moreland
302 - AL Home Run Leaders
308 - Mike Leake
326 - Kevin Gregg
327 - Mark Kotsay

Gold Parallels
211 - Kelvin Herrera
272 - Nyjer Morgan

Classic Walk-Offs
CW3 - Johnny Bench
CW5 - Jay Bruce
CW15 - Derek Jeter

Golden Greats
GG33 - Mickey Mantle
GG41 - Cal Ripken
GG42 - Cal Ripken

Gold Futures
GF8 - Aroldis Chapman

Timeless Talents
TT1 - Molitor/Braun
TT13 - Larkin/Cabrera

Golden Moments
GM18 - Barry Larkin
GM28 - George Foster
GM31 - CC Sabathia

Gold Standard
GS7 - Frank Robinson
GS10 - Reggie Jackson
GS10 - Reggie Jackson
GS11 - Tom Seaver
GS11 - Tom Seaver
GS14 - Frank Thomas
GS22 - Nolan Ryan

87 Minis
TM-31 Brandon Phillips
TM-31 Brandon Phillips
TM-50 Curtis Granderson


Colorful parallels of Reds and Tigers

Gold Standard
GS-2 Stan Musial
GS-15 Ty Cobb
GS-16 John Smoltz
GS-19 Andre Dawson
GS-23 Tom Seaver
GS-25 Willie Mays

Golden Moments
GM-1 Tom Seaver
GM-42 Al Kaline

87 Minis
I need almost all so please let me know what you have available and I'll get with you fast.


Cool Cards From Mr. Habit (update)

Update: This full post, I noticed an hour after posting, was cut at the end, thus not revealing the trump card. I'm reposting.

One of my favorite regular trading partners is a fine gent with whom I really don't even work out trades - Robert of $30 a Week Habit.

We just hold cards back for one another and send them after awhile. This time, we happened to do that about the same day - in fact I believe we did it the exact same day.

I'm sorry, but this card is just stellar in every way. You cannot argue.
Robert came out on the short end of our latest exchange. I hope to make that up to him one of these times.

He sent the above Gypsy Queen bronze paper - perhaps my favorite insert set ever. I've been working harder lately to gather the bronze (and green) GQ paper frames and really should come up with a list of needs. If you have any available, please let me know.

Robert hit needs across several other areas - Reds, Tigers, Cubs - fun parallels, etc. and a SUH-WEET surprise I'll save for the end.

Here's the parade of fun.

Yes, Robert sent along the immediately above beauty from the Topps Chrome 2011 set that I'm closing in on. Awesome! What a great surprise to an already surprising package of cards.

Thanks again Robert!

Meanwhile, if anyone has Topps Chrome 2011 or needs some, check out the link and send me a note.


My Greatest Pack Pull Ever

Yesterday I was off doing my thing, running some errands in the town where I grew up - oil change, hair cut, returning library books, dropping three trade packages at the post office and stopping by Walmart to get a couple of things for a family dinner today.

I popped into the card aisle, with no plans to buy anything until Gypsy Queen comes out. I had already snagged plenty of Heritage even though I have no plans to collect it this year. (Speaking of which, if you need Heritage, please let me know and I think we can work out a deal. I have a chunk to trade.)

So, at Walmart, I decided to reward myself for some mini-good things of late and snag one of the value boxes with two packs of Heritage, a few backs of flagship and a special card of either Mays, Mantle or Griffey Jr. I pulled the Griffey, which is up for trade.

I took the value box to Subway for a bite of lunch and commenced opening packs. Three cards into my first pack out popped my best pull ever - by far. It was only the second auto I've ever pulled in a pack.

The first was this Ted Wills from last year's Heritage, a card I still have but would trade for a similar veteran Red, Tiger or Cub auto.
At Subway, sitting all alone in the restaurant, I stared at the card (featured below), not quite believing it even though I knew it was legit. I smiled and giggled - no, cackled! - and surely creeped out the nice woman waiting by the fixins for her next customer.

My first thought was "What an awesome addition to my collection!"

A few minutes later, I guessed this was probably a $50 card. Frankly, I don't know much about these things. I entertained no thoughts of selling it.

But, later, when I looked into it, I decided I couldn't keep this piece of cardboard. In a nutshell, it should fetch enough to pay for the insanely overpriced Cinderella breakfast we're taking my young daughter to next month during four days at Disney World - plus perhaps even one of our overnights. That could be a nice help.

As you can see, I pulled 01/25. A couple of others have sold on ebay for $175. 

Truth is, I'm not much of an auto collector. I don't go out of my way to seek them. I would balk at paying much of anything to stand in line for an auto - even of a favorite player. In fact, at The National last summer, I chose not to pay $79 to get Al Kaline or Johnny Bench to sign a card. Those are two of my all-time favorites.

I did obtain a slew of autos at The National (see post) as part of my gifted ticket package - and it was awfully fun to do - but in general it's not my thing.

While having a Hall of Fame auto fall into your lap is pretty great, I'm thankful this card doesn't feature Ernie Banks or Kaline or Bench or Frank Robinson. It eases the guilt factor of pursuing the dollar over the awesome card. If one of those four had signed this card, I'd be deep in a heated internal struggle right now.

Thanks again to the bloggers - Dustin at Coot Veal, Robert at $30 a Week and Kyle at Juuust a Bit Outside, who saw yesterday's post and wrote me about ebay procedures. I'm leaning toward going this route and, if I do, I have a much better idea going in thanks to all of your help.


ebay: Are You Experienced?

I've read plenty of comments and posts over the past year about the, ahem, thrills of selling on ebay. I've made passing note of them but never had any desire to do so myself, so I didn't pay a lot of attention.

But now I'm considering throwing some cards up there and giving it a whirl. I guess, what I'm wondering, is just how difficult it is to get started doing this. I thought I'd ask here before taking a deeper look at the site and trying to figure it out.

You see, today I pulled a very nice card - certainly the best one I've ever opened in a random pack - and I'm toying with the idea of selling it. I'll feature the card later today or perhaps tomorrow - or possibly even Monday depending on how busy Easter gets for me. Normally I'd never consider selling such a card - but I just might with this one for various reasons.

I would post it here now but I haven't had a chance to scan it.

Stay tuned, but any helpful ebay comments would be great.


Heritage 2012: I Have Some

This is just a quick notice for anyone who needs Heritage 2012. I have a few dozen for trade. I'll get a list up soon but first wanted to ask those looking for some to feel free to direct me to your want list and I'll look to see what I have right away.

For now, Heritage cards that I want are posted here.

Oh, and I also have a Clubhouse Collection Josh Hamilton bat relic and James Shields jersey relic. For those, I'm seeking any CC jersey relic of the players below. Thanks.

CCR-AC Aroldis Chapman
CCR-AM Andrew McCutchen
CCR-BPH Brandon Phillips
CCR-FH Felix Hernandez
CCR-JBR Jay Bruce
CCR-JM Joe Mauer
CCR-JV Justin Verlander
CCR-MC Miguel Cabrera
CCR-MK Matt Kemp
CCR-MR Mariano Rivera
CCR-PF Prince Fielder
CCR-SC Starlin Castro
CCR-TT Troy Tulowitzki


Cardboard Hero: Joe Greene 1979



I don't often blog about football cards - an exception being when I was giving away late '70s and early '80s football cards last May or so.

But I collected football cards as a kid and those particular cards mean a lot to me. I really only cared about finding Steelers but I held onto about everything I opened.

The Steelers were my team. Still are - and, I reckon, always will be. Sure, the Colts moved to my homeland Indiana a few years later - but by then the Steelers were firmly entrenched as my favorite. Nowadays, I cheer for the Colts as long as they're not facing the Steelers. And, I've always had a soft spot for the Lions and Packers, for various reasons.

One of my favorite football cards from my collection as a youth is this very card.

Mean Joe Greene was the Steelers to me. He was the icon. Sure, others thought that way about Terry Bradshaw - and I liked him, too - but it was Mr. Greene who was the face of the franchise to me. Well, Mr. Greene and Jack Lambert - and, OK, Franco Harris and Jack Ham and Rocky Bleier and Mel Blount and John Stallworth.

This card is certainly my favorite Joe Greene card - perhaps largely because this was the first set I collected. 1979, incidentally, is also the year this iconic TV ad appeared.
Greene's given name is Charles Edward Greene, by the way. He got the "Mean Joe" because his alma mater, the University of North Texas, is nicknamed the Mean Green. "Joe" comes from, well, beats me.

Time marches on. Greene, widely considered one of the greatest defensive linemen ever, and a cornerstone of the Steelers' legendary "Steel Curtain" defense, is now 65. He was an assistant NFL coach for 16 years before becoming special assistant for player personnel for the Steelers in 2004 - and then winning two more rings in that capacity.

Like many of my favorite cards, the close tie-in with my youth and entry into this awesome hobby means a great deal and I'm sure many such cards will be shown over the life of "The Cardboard Heroes" - my developing blog feature created to help me keep track of my all-time favorite cards.

Joe Greene 1979, a true cardboard hero.

Kimball Champions: Revisited

The idea of a miniature baseball card, I must admit, never much appealed to me in my collecting youth. But after my return to the hobby earlier this year, Kimball Champions soon arrived and I was hooked.
I had found my mini-set to collect.

Sure, most folks go on and on about the 1987 minis in the latest base offering, and sure they're pretty nice - especially the Reds, Tigers and Cubs in that insert set - but I was out of the hobby long before 1987 and have no personal connection to it or the reincarnation.

Besides, I need to focus and I'm honing in on finishing the Kimballs. Here's what I still need:

96, 101, 104, 107, 141, 147, 149

If you find yourself with any of these strays, please let me know. Recently, Mark - the Cynical Buddha of Collector's Crack fame sent me Kimball Danny Duffy in a larger trade package I hope to mention soon. Thanks Mark!

While I know some have complained that the Kimball card stock is not thick enough, it works fine for me. Mostly, I'm drawn to the art - both the close-up and the action down low.

Wouldn't you love to be the person who helps Potch complete his first insert set ever? I mean, can you imagine the glory and fame (and special blog post) that would come with that!?

Not really my problem, fella, but good luck all the same. Besides, methinks you're exaggerating about the glory and fame.

Here's how a page looks, almost completed, in a binder. Pretty, I think. One of those slots is filled now, but #96 eludes me to this day.


Oh, you're still here? Well, in that case, allow me to direct you to this post and ask you kindly to vote in the latest Fun-Time Hall of Fame poll - currently featuring the Cleveland Indians of yore. Thanks!


Fun-Time Baseball Hall: Your First-Ballot Padres

And, now, somewhat belatedly but without further adieu, introducing the newest members of the Fun-Time Baseball Hall. Per our rules (see bottom of post at the link in the next paragraph) four from the San Diego Padres are first-ballot inductees.

But wait! A caveat to the rules is that first-ballot inductees must garner at least 50% of the votes. Thus, just three Padres will be inducted in Year One. Oh, sorrowful Padres.

But wait, again!

You said no further adieu!

Hold on. Just a wee bit of adieu. If you haven't done so, go vote now, please, for the Cleveland Indians in the poll after reviewing this post.

And now, the Fun Timers, Padres style - Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman and Mr. Dave Winfield! Editor's Note: Reminder that players must be away from designated franchise for three full seasons, thus the great seasons of Adrian Gonzalez and Jake Peavy (remember when he was so good?) were not under consideration.

Tony Gwynn (OF)

Gwynn played his entire 20-year career (1982-2001) for San Diego. Leads the Padres in career average, hits, runs, RBIs and stolen bases. He made his name as one of the most consistent contact hitters in the game's history. He hit .338 for his career and won eight National League batting titles.
Gwynn is, without a doubt, the face of the Padres franchise. 

Trevor Hoffman (RP)

Pitched for the Padres from 1993-2008. Pitched in 2009 and 2010 for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the first player to reach the 500- and 600-saves milestones, and was the all-time saves leader from 2006 until 2011, when Mariano Rivera surpassed him.

Dave Winfield (OF)

Played first eight seasons (1973-80) of a 22-year career with San Diego. Played for the Yankees (1981-88, 1990), Angels (1990-91), Blue Jays (1992), Twins (1993-94) and Indians (1995).
Winfield was the first player to enter Cooperstown wearing a Padres cap.       

The voting breakdown. Better luck next year, Randy, Nate and the Friars!

Nate Colbert  - 6 (27%)
Rollie Fingers - 8 (36%)
Steve Garvey - 4 (18%)
Tony Gwynn - 21 (95%)
Trevor Hoffman - 18 (81%)
Randy Jones - 9 (40%)
Ryan Klesko - 2 (9%)
Phil Nevin - 2 (9%)
Benito Santiago - 4 (18%)
Eric Show - 0 (0%)
Garry Templeton - 4 (18%)
Dave Winfield - 15 (68%)

And here are the other members of the Hall, so far! I'll add the incoming Padres here soon.

Search Me *shrugs*