Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not a DH to be found anywhere...

I just have a soft-spot for certain players.  I can't really explain it, but I like them.  One of those guys is Jeff Montgomery.  Recently I was considering going after some minor-league cards and saw one of his on COMC.

This card is great and I would love to add it to my collection.  I am making it "Most Wanted #6."  Jeff looks so young there.  I think what makes him look that way is.....WAIT A DOGGONE SECOND!  Why is he batting?  He's one of the greatest Royals relievers of all time!  He only had two MLB at-bats, both with Cincinnati in 1987 (and no hits).  Couldn't they find ANY pictures of him PITCHING?

It looks like fellow pitchers Bob Buchanan and Jerry Don Gleaton (Jerry Don!) suffered the same fate.
It must have been a new photographer.  His boss said "Go take pictures of these baseball guys.  And take this bat with you.  Make sure they all hold it!"

Al Hargesheimer thinks they are all idiots for holding the bat.  He brought his own glove so he would have a prop.

Manager Glenn Ezell is NOT AMUSED at these shenanigans.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Climbing the Walls in KC

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen #WC10 - David DeJesus

David DeJesus is one of my favorite players.  He tossed me a ball once before a game and has signed autographs for me twice.  I try to add his cards to my collection whenever possible.  This is one I still don't have, so I'm making it Most Wanted #5.

Most of the cards in this subset show the player making a grab going sideways or straight into the wall ("climbing it", if you will).  Poor DDJ looks like the wall is climbing him.  I don't know how much leverage and flexibility you can get going straight back...can't be much.

At least AT&T got some advertising out of it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

From the Mouths of Babes

One of my relatives recently sent me some beef jerky.  It arrived in a yellow bubble-mailer.  When my wife took the mailer out of the mailbox, my 22-month-old son yelled "CARDS!"

I think that's a sign I've been getting too many purchases delivered lately.  :-)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Incredible Chili Hulk - Most Wanted #4

I Want This Card:

1997 Fleer Ultra #432 - Chili Davis

Why do I want it?  BECAUSE IT MAKES CHILI LOOK LIKE THE INCREDIBLE HULK!  Or the blue/Smurf version of him.  Or else just really buff.  But I'm pretty sure that Chili Davis was the hugest, most ripped big leaguer ever.  If I ever meet Chili Davis in person, I won't say a word -- I will just grab his biceps to see if they really are as big as these pictures lead me to believe.  His neck is also ginormous.  

I heard some kids on the bus saying ridiculous things like "Santa Claus isn't real" and "There's no way Chili Davis is that big -- it's just due to some air getting under his rubber jacket during a sprint."  You know -- that kind of crazy talk.  Hopefully someday they'll figure out how awesome Chili is and be able to experience the joy of having a card of his.

If any of you have this one available, please let me know!  You can click to see the rest of my Most Wanted cards.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pack Searching with SCIENCE! - 2011 Topps Football

My birthday is this week, and my present from my wife arrived in the mail from Blowout Cards.

That is a Hobby box of 2011 Topps Football.  36 packs.  I have not had a full box of any product since 1987 Topps Baseball, which my Grandma bought for me when I had a broken leg.  This is very cool.  (Yes, my wife is awesome - thank you for noticing.)

The selling point on these cards is this:

Since I've been reading blogs, I've heard a lot about pack-searching.  I still have no idea how people do it while standing in the card aisle at the store.  They must use magic or potions or something.

Given that there is a guaranteed hit somewhere in here, I want to find it.  I could just rip open 36 packs, but these have to last me the full NFL season so I won't be doing that.  What should I do?  I suck at magic and am out of potions.  However, I have one tool left in my toolbox:


The packs with a relic/auto card have a different number of cards in them, so they should either be thicker or thinner (I don't know which) than the "regular" packs, right?  So I just have to measure them.  How do you measure pack thickness?
You bust out your calipers!  What?  You don't have engineering calipers?  I do...and that's how I will figure this out.  Thanks college lab courses!

Here's what I did:
  1. Open the box.
  2. Label each pack with a marker (1-36).
  3. Use the calipers to measure the width at the top, middle, and bottom of each pack.
  4. Put that data into Excel, graph it, and look for trends.
Here's the result of my measurements for all the packs.   
There were two things happening here:
  1. Some packs were much thicker at one end than the other (see the green box).  Sometimes the top was thicker and other times the bottom was thicker.
  2. Pack #8 was consistently thicker than all the other packs across all 3 measurements.
Looking at just the middle width measurement:
Putting error bars of 2 standard deviations on the middle width, I would bet that the hit is in one of the outliers (either pack #8 or #15).  I was willing to open these two:

and......I WAS RIGHT!
Pack #8 (the thick one) did have the hit.  It is a Ben Roethlisberger Gameday Jersey insert (GDR-BR).  This would be awesome, except that I hate Roethlisberger.  :-)  So that one is for trade or for sale if anyone wants it -- let me know.  That pack did feel noticeably more rigid than the others once I checked it again.

Pack #15 (the thin one) had both a Super Bowl Legends Giveaway card and a Sam Bradford mini.  The giveaway cards and minis both feel thinner than the regular base cards.  This also confirmed that the packs which are thicker on one end are packs that contain a mini.  So if you are looking for the minis, there you go.

I can't believe Topps doesn't throw in a dummy card on this product.  Panini puts in ones of various sizes, so I doubt this analysis would work on those products. 

Summary:  To find the hits, look for packs that measure over 0.170" in the middle, and keep your calipers hidden from the local shopkeep.  Easy!  :-)

Have any of you ever noticed a measurable variation like this in other products?  Did you use that knowledge for good or evil?  :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hard Hats and High Heat - Most Wanted #3

One thing I love(d) about Upper Deck baseball cards is that they weren't afraid to put the slightly goofy picture on their card.  Whether that was a guy with his dog, someone in a silly hat, etc., they were fine with it if it looked cool.  That brings us to my "Most Wanted" card #3.

 2008 Upper Deck #326 - Justin Maxwell (Rookie)

Mr. Maxwell appears to be playing a game on some sort of construction site (or maybe it's the lunar surface).  I'm guessing this was for the Washington Nationals Park.  I don't know why they would install home plate and chalk the lines before adding essential things like grass and seats and hot dog stands...but maybe I just don't understand baseball these days.  It was nice of all those construction workers to take a break to come watch him do whatever he is doing.  I am happy to see that they are all OSHA-compliant in their reflective vests and hard hats.  The catcher is in his full gear.  Everyone in this picture is very safe....WAIT!

Everyone in this picture is safe...except for the one person who needs a helmet most.  Justin Maxwell.  Stay safe out there, Justin.  Watch out for loose girders.  And inside fastballs.  

This card is awesome.  I love it and its oddball-ness.  It would only be better if it contained a jersey swatch of a reflective vest.  

If anyone has this card for trade, please let me know. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Most Wanted #2 - George Brett

In Wednesday's post I introduced my new "Most Wanted List" with the Drew Brees card.  That card was not really one that anyone would consider to be "collectible" or "valuable" by the hobby at-large.  Card #2 on the list IS a valuable one.

1975 Topps # 228 George Brett (Rookie)
George Brett.

The #1 Royals player of all time.  The only KC Hall-of-Famer.  13-time All-Star.  1 MVP.  3 batting titles, each in a different decade.  Led the league in TRIPLES 3 times -- I didn't know that until I just looked it up.  The guy could play (obviously).

I saw my first professional baseball game in 1986.  It was on a church bus trip to Royals Stadium for Royals versus Yankees.  I remember seeing the fountains and my amazement that the grass was SO GREEN.  From my perch high above home plate in the top deck I watched George get 3 hits that day.  He was the best player on the best team in baseball (they were the defending champs) and immediately became my favorite.  Dave Winfield had a homer that day, but I didn't take to him like I did to Brett.

Even in the late 80's Brett's cards were expensive.  7-year-old me could barely scrounge together the 40 cents needed for a pack, let alone what it would have taken to buy one of his earlier cards.  However, I remember seeing this card in the "Baseball Cards Magazine" and knowing that it was considered THE card of Brett to get.  I never did get it.  My interest in cards waned as I got older and that was that.

This card now has a book value of $80, and goes for $25-$50 on COMC.  As I've returned to collecting as an adult, I still have never paid that much for a single card.  If anyone has one for trade, please let me know.  I might break down and buy one someday, but can't see myself spending that anytime soon. 

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