My Last Bite on 2013 Retail Flagship

I bought a blaster this afternoon hoping for luck pulling a few Reds, Tigers and some other favored players. This is surely it for my taste of 2013 flagship (retail purchases, at least) since I'm not collecting the base set. That said, opening at least a few packs of new cards can just be fun when the day's been rough. Before I go on, I've listed a bunch of cards I'm happy to trade.

My luck wasn't what I had hoped for but I did manage to pull the Walmart blue of the entire Marlins team (shown here).
I like Former Mike. Really not much of a shot but I'll probably keep it around.
I found precious few Reds in the box. Two, actually. Zack Cozart and the Walmart Blue Mat Latos. So, also with Sean Marshall in hand and a promise of Joey Votto and Didi Gregorious in a trade, I need everything else. Base cards, inserts, color parallels, so on.

I had more luck with the Tigers. I snagged Ryan Raburn, Max Scherzer and Jhonny Peralta and a Walmart blue Prince Fielder. I also have Tigers ALDS Game 5. 
I'm in the market for anything else Tigers.

By the way, check out the Raburn card.

At first I thought maybe this was some kind of extra special annoying short print, but apparently not.
Notice the couple of stray arms entering the shot from either side. How pissed you must be to be those guys. Oh so close to being on a baseball card. Wow. 
I suppose it could be worse. They could have made the card and been making a bizarre face - saved for card eternity. Or you could be shouting to the ages that you're a Pirates fan.

But really, how cool will it be for those people to show their grandkids? Amazing to think, but this card will be packed away in their great-great-grandkids basements in their houses on Mars long after they're all gone.
(Pictured) Great-great granddaughter's house of the dude in the yellow shirt who's head is cut off in the card.
Not the Pirates guy, but the other yellow shirt. 
The blaster did yield some cards I really wanted, or learned I wanted. On the Cubs, a team near and dear to many in my family, I look for a couple of Cubs (Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo).

I pulled zero Cubs from the base set but I snagged the Rizzo '72 mini, which is cool, and the Walmart blue Starlin Castro - which I think is sharp with the Cub uni.

My patch was the Bryce Harper, commemorative patch card. It's currently promised and not available for trade. I dig the logo and I guess these have some appeal to many.
Finally, below I'm listing the cards I have on the block. 
Reminder: I'm looking for Reds and Tigers that I didn't mention above; any other versions of Castros and Rizzos; as well as cards of local product Jarrod Parker - along with Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw. More on why those two in a future post.
So, here are my available cards (including inserts) broken down by teams in no particular order. If I trade inserts, I'd want the same back ideally. But obviously if you have a gold parallel or pink (yeah, I'm going to look for these), those carry weight with me.

Red Sox:
15 - Dustin Pedroia
66 - Daniel Nava
118 - Daisuke Matsuzaka
Emerald 279 - Vicente Padilla
(an additional insert card featured at end of post) 
9 - Dee Gordon
16 - Andre Ethier
74 - Kenley Jansen
Walmart Blue 158 - Chad Billingsley
295 - Brandon League
Chasing History 5 - Yogi Berra 
72mini - TM31 - Mark Teixeira
52 - CC Sabathia
Target Red 90 - Andy Pettitte (checklist)
212 - Eric Chavez
214 - Curtis Granderson
282 - Russell Martin
329 - Rafael Soriano
97 - Danny Espinosa
120 - Ian Desmond
170 - Eury Perez (who with 3 stolen bases is just 1,403 away from Rickey Henderson's record)
328 - Jayson Werth 

Walmart Blue 131 - Ian Kennedy
169 - Brad Ziegler
169 (again) - Brad Ziegler
240 - J.J. Putz
Walmart Blue 274 - Miguel Montero

167 - Luke Hochevar
243 - Aaron Crow

77 - Dustin Moseley
Target Red 111 - Casey Kelly
Walmart Blue 223 - Yonder Alonso
290 - Tom Layne

Walmart Blue 50 - Adam Wainwright
188 - Brian Fuentes

72mini - TM2 - Dan Haren
Target Red 187 - Nick Maronde
210 Vernon Wells
266 - Albert Pujols (checklist)
Walmart Blue 313 - Maicer Izturis

ChasingDream 20 - Tommy Milone
48 - Ryan Cook
76 - Brandon Inge
259 - Bartolo Colon

Blue Jays:
Chasing Dream 13 - Drw Hutchison
304 - Kyle Drabek
311 - Rajai Davis

98 - Gaby Sanchez
174 - Jason Grilli
262 - Kevin Correia

Chasing History 41 - Johan Santana
21 - Lucas Duda
89 - Johan Santana (checklist)

133 - James Shields
Emerald 168 - Kyle Farnsworth
218 - Ben Zobrist

Walmart Blue 3 - Hunter Pence
38 - Brian Wilson
132 - Ryan Vogelsong
256 - Madison Bumgarner WS Game 2
298 - Pablo Sandoval WS Game 1

165 - Ramon Hernandez
185 - Rob Scahill

Chasing History 34 - Robin Yount
149 - Yovani Gallardo
307 - Norichika Aoki

Chasing Histoy 40 - Mike Schmidt
Walmart Blue 6 - Ryan Howard
83 - Darin Ruf

17 - Shin-Soo Choo
267 - Jason Kipnis

72 Mini - 7 - Craig Kimbrel
105 - Freddie Freeman
Walmart Blue 115 - Tim Hudson

Walmart Blue 143 - Jim Johnson

Walmart Blue 252 - Dustin Ackley

No Team:
94 - AL ERA League Leaders (Price, Verlander, Weaver)
95- AL Wins Leaders (Price, Weaver, Harrison)
Emerald 95 - AL Wins Leaders (Price, Weaver, Harrison)
189 - NL Batting Average Leaders (Posey, McCutchen, Braun)

Oh, and before I go, I also found this card in the box.

I pretty much would be happy with about any other die-cut in return except for: Darvish, A. Jones, Price, Cruz, Cain or Hamilton.

Thanks for the pageview.


Sampling the Goods, Bads and Mehs

I'm a vintage guy nowadays. Whatever that means. I've made that fairly clear to the two readers who stuck with me after I returned from my half-year blog sabbatical.

Yet, like last year, I knew I'd act like a kid again and pick up a small sample of the new Topps offering. So, that I did.

In 2011, my return to the hobby, I collected the set. In 2012, I sweared off of the new base set and stuck to it - mostly. I picked up some cards the day of the 2012 release and absentmindedly snagged a pack once or twice. Instead, I asked for your Reds, Tigers and Cubs and made trades to gather them.

That's my plan again. But today, I was a kid again.

The coolest shots of my modest Target hangar pack bunch included the cards above. I pulled one other Cub.

I pulled just one Red and one Tiger card. I didn't scan those cards. Sean Marshall and Tigers ALDS Game 5, for the record.

I did scan, obviously, the fun cards below. I can't argue with anything that makes you smile.

Finally, some more inserts and parallels. I'm inclined to hang on to the Yount and Kimbrel but I'm not married to the idea. Again, players from aforementioned teams are preferable (although I really like those guys).

For a few personal reasons, I'd also love to pick up a handful of pink parallels so if anyone has any available, let me know. Pink Reds, Tigers and/or Cubs would be particularly swell!

So, again, I scanned the better cards. The others didn't do much for me, including:

Ramon Hernandez (COL), Ryan Cook (OAK), Jayson Werth, Yovani Gallardo, Rob Scahill-RC (COL), Luke Hochevar (pretty card, actually), Eric Chavez, Brian Fuentes (STL), Kevin Correia (PIT), Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brad Ziegler (ARIZ).

Oh yes, before I forget, here are the Target Reds I pulled.

Struck out on Reds, Tigers, Cubs - heck, even a White Sock would be nice. 

If anyone wants to trade, let me know. Perhaps we can expand any deal to other sets and needs.

So that's likely it for me and purchasing the 2013 base set. If I attend a show, I'll probably grab some players I like and a few cool inserts but the bulk of my card funds will continue to go to the old stuff.


Chasing 1978: 599 and Counting

The other day some just-because cards came my way and I'll show them off soon. It was a nice treat as I hadn't received cards in the mail for about six months after stepping away from the blogs.

Now, today, a box - 350 count, 400 count, I don't know - came in the mail to complete my first 2013 deal (several more are happening now). It was a doozy for me.

I received dozens and dozens of cards from three of the treasured sets of my youth - 1978 (the first cards I ever saw and thus critically important to me); 1981 Topps and a very healthy load of 1983 Topps (the last set from which I actively bought cards before discovering girls).

Major thanks to Paul at Carl Crawford Cards for the generosity. I sent him cards from his want list last week and he had previously notified me that he had a lot for me in return. We knew it was lopsided so I sent him a wee bit to cover shipping. I believe he ended up spending more than he realized and I hope to keep tabs on his blog and hopefully get him something extra one of these days.

Because so many cards were involved, and because I'm so thrilled to complete a deal after being away from the blog for six months, I'm breaking this trade post into a few short parts.

For my first post, a few of the beloved 1978s. I wrote a bit about just how beloved - three cards in particular - in this post some time ago.

Paul sent me 47 from the set, meaning I need just 127  to complete the set. From 76 percent complete to 83 percent in just one deal.
I met Mr. Bahnsen at The National 2011 in Chicago. He was signing cards and looked horribly bored and slightly irritated.

He signed a card for me though, so for that I'll feature his card here. You're welcome, Stan. This card reminds me that I miss the Expos.

It's funny how a bunch of commons can mean different things for different collectors. In the case of one card, it reminded me of a very specific and happy memory with my grandparents.

When I was in fifth grade - I think that's right, not 100 percent - my grandparents took me to meet two Cincinnati Reds at a mall in small town Ohio. This was a huge thrill for a young Reds fan who had already spent several years trekking to Riverfront Stadium with the family and forming lifelong team loyalty as a result. One of the players was Doug Bair.
Before he was Red.
Doug and the other player were, if I recollect correctly, sitting at tables with fans queued up for a couple of football field lengths, it seemed. This was big Reds country! When we got to the front, I greeted them and received from each a photocopied - on preciously flimsy cheap white paper - 8x10.

Today I'd fume over the cheapness of it all. But back then, Doug Bair and the other player instantly became heroes. I had those sheets of paper for two decades but they must have been lost to my mom's basement flood.

Yes, at some point in the early '90s, when I was out of college and working in West Texas, my mom's basement flooded. Many of my cards - long abandoned but not thrown out - perished that day. My '78s suffered greatly. My '79s were nearly decimated - so much so that years later I haven't even begun to decide if I should rebuild and add them to the late '70s/early '80s sets I aim to finish.

Oh, and if you're still reading and wondering who the other player was that I met that day long ago, take a guess in the comments. (One guess per person please.) The first correct guess wins a small prize. Nothing grand or anything - probably some choices among a few numbered cards and relics and hopefully I can offer up a few cards from a set you're collecting or some players you like. If you're a fan of some teams, where I have some excess, I'd love to be able to ship a chunk of cards your way - but I know not everyone wants that.

This should be an interesting experiment for me to see if anyone found their way back to my blog this month!

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with some more 1978 magic.
Players really need to bring back this look.
The Astros really should bring back that logo. ;)
This is just a chap I always enjoyed rooting for. Love the uni.


Outta Sight! Vintage: Freehan, B. '67

A couple of months ago, while attending a small local baseball card show, I got into a chat with a dealer about Bill Freehan, the longtime Tigers catcher from the '60s and '70s.

As a big Tigers fan, second only to the Reds, Freehan is one of those guys whose cards - particularly playing day cards - I chase. I hope to add a list of wants for him and some others very soon.

Freehan just seemed like a classic, gritty '60s baseball player. I always wished I could have seen him play. I'm sorry to admit that when I first stopped collecting baseball cards in 1983 I'm not sure I had heard of Freehan. I may have remembered seeing his 1976 card in the sacks my grandpa had brought home from a garage sale but otherwise I would have sworn that Lance Parrish was the greatest Tiger catcher to ever live.

It was only since my return to collecting a couple of years ago that I had began delving into the history of the sport and particularly of my favorite teams (Cubs, included).

And, so, I discovered Bill Freehan and began collecting his cards. Here's a favorite.
1967 Freehan
Obviously, posed - during Spring Training, I'm thinking (and someone out there probably knows for sure) - this is just a cool card. Freehan really frames the shot and you've gotta love how the big mitt upfront seems borderline comically large.

What's more, 1967 Topps is among my favorite 1960s designs. I need to get in on the ranking game soon.

Rather than write anything more about Freehan, I'll link to a fine article I read this evening. It highlights another one of Freehan's best cards (which I don't own yet) and details a lot about his fine career and life.  

I learned a couple of interesting things about Freehan from this article but I won't spoil them for those who don't know and want to take a look. It's a fine article.

It was that chat with that dealer at the show a couple of months ago when I learned a third thing, Freehan's present condition, which this article discusses at the end. I was very sad to hear it at the time and hoped it was just more speculation than fact.

But the article confirms it and, suffice to say, not a fitting cap for this good gent's life.


Masterpiece '08: Single Card Swap?

One of the finest looking card sets to come out in recent years is the 2008 Masterpiece collection, brought to you by your old friends, Upper Deck.

Chasing the short prints has been challenging. I reviewed a post I wrote 15 months ago and since then I've picked up two more.

At a recent card show, however, I found one in a 25 cent box so I picked it up. Here it is:

#119, Dave Winfield
I already have it and so I offer it to a fellow Masterpiece 2008 collector. This is a shot in the dark but would you happen to have one of these from the set for me?

95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104, 107, 108, 109, 110, 112, 113, 114, 117, 118

If not, I'm still chasing down select 2011 Heritage short prints as well, so that might be an option if you have what I need.



Goals: Finish What I Started 34 Years Ago

I returned to collecting cards in early 2011 after stopping roughly in 1983. I got swept up in new cards and discovering what I had missed in the 28 years I was gone.

I chased Heritage 2011 - and, of course, I'm still working on the short prints. I had fun with the flagship set of 2011. I dabbled heavily with A&G 2011 and Gypsy Queen 2011 - especially the cool paper frames. Some Lineage, too.

Then 2012 arrived and I felt lost. I didn't much care for anything and felt some burn out.

So, I fine-tuned my focus. It was easy really, pursue what always makes me smile.

Vintage and the sets of my youth (arguably vintage as well).

To me, vintage is either anything from the year I was born (1968) and earlier or from the year I stopped collecting - 1983 - and earlier. I can't decide.

At many local card shows, I've grabbed old cards here and there. Guys I had heard of - stars and semi-stars - and just cool looking cards I've found. I tend to focus on Reds and Tigers (my teams) and Cubs (my Dad's team and my still-living Grandpa's team).

But I also have renewed my focus on finishing the sets of my youth. 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983. As for 1977, I never had too many of them, so I bought a hand-collated set in the fall of 2011 at a garage sale. Through some other buys, please note I have a small collection of '77 dupes.

My top priorities right now are to finish 1976. I'm very close now and this is the set from which my other Grandpa had brought cards home for me from a garage sale in the early '80s. This is a very sentimental completion goal for me. I wrote all about it not long after starting to collect again.

Next priorities are to finish 1978 - the first cards I ever brought home from drugstores - and 1981 - a set I've always just had a fondness for and one I'm closer (although still far) to completing. 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1983 are taking a backseat - although I'd be happy to get them.

Many of my cards from my childhood sets were wiped out years ago in a basement flood. Sigh.
While I always took supreme care with my cards, I made up games with them and held them often. A few '81s suffered the consequences. Take Chet Lemon, for example. 
Another card I loved.
Despite my loyalty to the Reds, I always respected the then-rival Dodgers (and the '81 All-Star strips and sweet mustaches).
Meanwhile, it's nagging me but I believe I owe a collector an email from way back when. Had some Tiger cards, as I recall. He's probably long gone but just wanted to apologize for forgetting to return the note.

Meanwhile, part two, anyone know what happened to JABO? I was involved in his cards-being-sent-around-the-country-project. I had mailed then overseas and they came back to me recently several months later. He seems to be out of the collecting biz now.

Finally, if you care to read my previous post and want to vote on some all-time Indians in my pet project, please take a look and then go to the poll. A few hours left to vote and then I think I'll tackle the Giants (if anyone cares to nominate a few).


Hi There! Sorry I'm Late (to the HOF Party)

With apologies to the Harold "Potch" Wheeler estate, I'm back - as Indianaland Baseball Cards. Potch Wheeler and the Cardboard Heroes? Awesome as a band name. Quirky as a baseball card blog name. Less than beloved by the heirs of Mr. Wheeler. For now, on with the show...

But first, has anyone ever changed their URL? I assume you lose all followers. Any other issues? In any case, happy to be back. I never stopped collecting but I fine-tuned my focus. (More on that later).

With the Hall of Fame topic becoming old news, what better time for me to chime in.

As my wife always says, I love being invited to parties but I hate to attend them.

This year the attention surrounding the vote exposed several problems with the process. There are too many former sports writers who in the past decade-plus likely haven't followed the game as well as me you and the other guy reading this. Even some current writers surely know less about the game than us. Many cover one team.

Sure, they know about that team and how to put together a game story - but do they know the game's history, the numbers? Do they have the ability to put them into context with the era? More than the average fella, I suppose, but more than any given hardcore fan of the game? Iffy.

The Hall needs to figure out a way to revoke at least 10 to 20 percent (rough guess) of voting privileges. They can start with the writers who turned in empty Hall of Fame cards? That's a tragic joke.

Once done, commence carving out space for a select group of fans to vote - maybe 50, maybe more. I'm not talking about granting voting rights to just anyone a la the All-Star Game vote. There should be an application of some type, followed with interviews with these fans - basic questions about players through the years, statistics.

Those displaying considerable knowledge about the game would be grouped into a pool and chosen at random to vote for a five-year period. Then, the Hall can repeat that process.

Throw into the fray a few former/current scouts, front office employees and perhaps a small group of players elected into the Hall in the past 20 years and I think we'd have a great mix.

As for me, a bit late to write here after the fact, but I had a decent read on the eventual voting. If we're Facebook friends, you saw my post early yesterday morning.  

With the steroid guys gaining eligibility and creating havoc with the voting, I think it's very possible that nobody gets the required 75% of the vote for election to the baseball Hall of Fame.

 Craig Biggio just might make it but if anyone else is elected, I'll be surprised. 

Bonds and Clemens will be voted in in the next five years but surely not on prestigious first ballot or even second and third ballots as voters "punish" them but eventually reward them for their accomplishments that occurred allegedly before steroid use.

 Some guys have been robbed for years and should be in.

 I'd vote for: Biggio, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy, Alan Trammell - and probably Lee Smith and Jack Morris.

Biggio doesn't feel too bad. He was a Fun-Time Hall first ballot inductee. 
I probably fly against the majority but I actually like the idea of "punishing" the steroid guys and making them wait. I don't know if they care, but I do. I know it's silly in a way. You're either in the Hall or you're not, right? I just like the idea that Bonds and Clemens are not first ballot Hall of Famers. That's the price they paid for their actions.

I'll admit I'm torn on Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell. I think there's enough suspicion to wait another year but not enough cold facts to make them wait as long as some. If I truly did have a vote, it's quite possible I would have added them both this year - certainly Bagwell, no longer a first year guy.

Next year I'd vote for: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Biggio, Raines, Trammell, Piazza, Bagwell - and probably Lee Smith and Jack Morris. 

I keep saying probably with the last two because I'd need to do some more research. I'm torn.
My heart says "yes" as my gut says "Hall of Very Good".
Biases come into play for everyone and I'm no exception. I met Smith briefly at The National in 2011. He signed a ball and three cards for me. Swell fella.

Morris pitched for the Tigers - one of my beloved teams. I loudly hear the arguments for keeping both out. Biases are another reason I think a mix of voters is better than sports-writers only.

As for Trammell, how does Barry Larkin get 86% of the vote while Trammell still waits? And don't get me wrong, Larkin is deserving - so say my lifelong Reds devotion biases.
As for Bonds and Clemens, I'd make them wait. I'd be OK if they never got in but ultimately I suppose it's pretty clear you should admit them for their careers before they apparently began doping. 

That said, neither should get in before this guy.

Still waiting.
Rose is a supreme meatball, but enough already. The man has been punished. He's the Hit King. He, ahem, hustled like few before or after him. He didn't alter his body to build his numbers and income.

He bet on baseball. On his team. To win. Yes, you can argue as the manager he could have held back better players one game to rest them for the next (that he's betting on) but I'm not subscribing. It goes against the competitive grain of everything we know about Pete Rose.

Somehow, you know they'll make him eligible long after he's gone, so why not while he's around to enjoy it? Put him on the ballot and see what happens.

And, meanwhile, make Bonds and Clemens squirm into the next decade.

Search Me *shrugs*