Sunday, January 27, 2013

Postage Due

2001 Crown Royale - #117 - Kurt Warner
I had what I would consider to be my first "bad" Listia experience.  I got a bunch of "Greatest Show on Turf" (St. Louis Rams - Warner/Faulk/Holt/Bruce) for a pretty low # of credits + free shipping.  All is well, right? 

Wrong.  The lady sends me a bubble mailer with all the cards...and 90 cents of postage on it.

As all card traders know, sending a bubble mailer is at least $1.95 these days...and this particular package was $2.20, leaving $1.30 in unpaid postage to be paid by me.

Normally they would just send it back to the return address, except instead of a return address she just wrote "Danshelle."  Did nobody ever teach her what a return address meant??  Ay, ay, ay.

Anyway, at least I got this sweet die-cut Kurt Warner and a bunch of other Warners that I needed for my collection.  I'll just make sure I never try to buy from "Danshelle" again.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mike Felder and His Moment in the Spotlight

1992 Topps Mike Felder, 1992 Upper Deck Mike Felder

Pulling cards for a trade, I found these two bad boys.  This has got to be the exact same play from the exact same angle.  My bet is that these are subsequent clicks of the shutter from some free-lance photographer who sold the same pictures to Topps and to Upper Deck, who used them without knowing what the other company was doing.  That's pretty unique to have competing companies using the exact same shot...except then I went onto COMC and saw this...

1992 Score Mike Felder

The bat head is a little higher on this one (the ball just came off of it), so I think this is the first shot of the three (followed by Upper Deck then Topps).  Score, UD, and Topps all with the same picture?  Did this guy only have one at-bat in 1991 and they were desperate for a picture?  No...he actually had 348 at-bats that year.  

SOOOO.....if all three of these companies are using this shot, it has to be somewhat important, right?  Why else would everyone be so transfixed by a bunt????  Let's dig into it.  I will admit that I had never heard much about Mike Felder before, so this is all just some internet research.  First, the Giants are wearing throwback uniforms in 1991....that narrows it down somewhat.  This site tells me that they did their first big throwback event vs. the Cubs on June 23, 1991.  Starting there, we need to see if Mike Felder got into that game.  Using this page on Retrosheet, we see that indeed he DID have one at-bat as a Pinch Hitter.  So what?

Let me set the stage....Cubs lead 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth.  Dave Smith is on the mound.
  • Willie McGee singles to lead it off (tying run on base).
  • Jack Will Clark TRIPLES to score McGee (winning run on 3rd, no out).
  • The Cubs decide their only hope is force-outs, so they issue two intentional walks -- one to Matt Williams and one to Mark Leonard -- to load the bases with no outs.
  • Robby Thompson (the oldest-looking young man ever -- he really used to creep me out back in 1987) is hitting next...he grounds to Shawon Dunston at SS...who goes home with the throw to force-out Clark.  All runners advance...bases still loaded, tie-game, 1 out.
Due to some double-switching earlier in the game, the Giants' pitcher (Jeff Brantley) is now hitting 7th, and Mike Felder is sent to the plate to pinch-hit.  This situation is the prime example of a "high leverage" situation...Either Felder can end the game with a hit, or he can waste all his team's efforts by grounding into a double-play.  So NOW we see why everyone actually cares about what Felder is doing is literally the most important single moment of the game so far.

So what do the Giants do?  SQUEEZE PLAY!!!  Felder's superb bunting technique (see above) puts the ball in play, Matt Williams comes down the line to score and win the game.  Mystery solved!

All the photographers must have been raving to the photo editors about this play.  It's not every day you get to see a walk-off bunt.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Bronco, A Cardinal, and a Guy Named Mike

I made another Zistle trade with the SuperDuperMan from Fantastic Catch.  He and I traded just a few months ago, so it was fun to see that we already had enough for another trade.  The three best cards (in my opinion) that I got were these:

I'm always happy to get a Sweeney, and this is a very slick, horizontal design from SP.

My favorite subset from 2011 Topps Football was the Game Day insert set.  I'm slowly collecting those and Larry Fitzgerald escaping an Eagles tackle is a great shot.  Too bad his talents were being wasted down in Arizona last season.


This is Timmy T. on a 2011 Topps Rising Rookies card.  He looked GOOD in the Orange and Blue.  I think the missing Tebow storyline was a reason why this season has interested me less than 2011 did.

Thanks, SDM!  I'd recommend you all go out there and make a trade with him if you can.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Johngy is the Man!

Quick post here to give a Shout-Out to John of Johngy's Beat for hooking me up with the 1976 Topps Vada Pinson I needed.  You rock, man!

(I had blogged about needing it a few months ago.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What is the Lowest Number that you DON'T have?

Let's say you were making a Frankenset of your favorite team.  That is, you were trying to get a card of a player on that team for each number 1-792 (not a serial-number...just the regular card numbering).  What is the lowest number that you would be missing?  I would think everything under 100 would be easy to get since there are a lot of smaller sets that only go up to 100.  As you get higher and higher, there are fewer and fewer sets to choose from, and it would be more likely you would be missing something.

Luckily for me, I have all my Royals entered into Zistle.  This made it fairly easy for me to export my data and see what I am missing.   My guess was that I would be missing something above 50, but less than 150.  I keep looking through the data.....I had something (usually SEVERAL cards) for each of those numbers.  So I kept going...up, up, up.

Not until I reached #320 did I find that I was missing a card.  I had 5 cards for #319, 6 cards for #321...but nothing for #320.

So I got back onto Zistle to see what Royals cards out there were numbered #320...and it came up blank.

NOTHING????   There are no Royals cards numbered #320? 

Well, I know that Zistle data is far from exhaustive, so I decided to track it down some other way.  It took a long time!  I guess there really aren't that many out there.  (Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place -- is there an easy way to find this?)

Eventually I came across this Amazon listing for this card.

That's Roberto Hernandez, aka "The Guy We Traded Johnny Damon and Mark Ellis For."  Oh yeah, and we got stuck with Angel Berroa, too.  Egads.....

Despite that, I actually LIKE this if anyone has it for trade, please let me know.  I'm adding it to my "MOST WANTED" list now. 

After that, the next lowest number I am missing is #388....Tom Gordon here we come.  :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Subconscious Has Crossed a Line

I have very vivid dreams.  Usually they resemble an action movie...lots of chases, shoot-outs, and crime.  To my knowledge I have never before dreamt of Topps Triple Threads, but last night's dream was a first.  Imagine with me...

<Fade In>
I walk into a card-shop in a very shady part of town.  Guy behind the desk has a GREAT selection of boxes at awesome prices.  I ask him why are the prices so low?  He says he has a hard time making sales since everyone who gets anything good in his store gets immediately robbed outside.  He hasn't sold any boxes all week.

I scan the shelves and see this:

I can't pass that up.  I pay my money and he slides me the box.  A crowd gathers as I open it up.  The base and the first four hits are a blur -- I can't make them out...then I get to the last hit.  A hush falls over my fellow collectors as I flip over a CARLTON FISK AUTO DNA RELIC (WITH HAIR SWATCH) NUMBERED #11/14.  (yes, I really dreamt that serial numbering)

I don't think much of it, but everyone around me starts whooping and hollering!  "You got a Fisk DNA Relic!  That's a $450 card right there, man!"  "Look at that low Serial-Numbering -- only out of 14!"  They are all so happy and decide that I am going to make it out of that shop with my cards -- thugs outside be damned.

A plan is hatched.  They will sacrifice themselves to get me to my car.  Eight or nine dudes (yes, all dudes) gather around me in a tight circle.  We charge out the door en masse...and the robbers descend upon us.  With my box tightly clutched under my arm I barrel forward as my collector brothers fall on all sides of me.  As we approach the car, I pull out my unlock...and dive into the front seat.  My last compatriot falls as I start the engine.  I throw the Buick in reverse and make it to the street and relative safety.

As I drive away, I think of those brave souls from the card shop.  My only companion is Carlton's shiny lock of hair staring up at me from the passenger seat.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hear ye, Hear ye!

Hear ye, Hear ye, fellow denizens of the blogosphere!  It is my pleasure to announce that Tom of the blog Angels, In Order is one of the

1994 Topps Finest - Brian McRae - #62
 gentlemen out there.  He has clearly reached the


1996 Pinnacle Zenith - Johnny Damon

of generosity by sending me all these Royals (and a bunch more) out of the goodness of his heart.  I suggest that you


over to Angels, In Order and read everything he has there to look at (including his Tim Salmon posts)!
Thanks, Tom!

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Topps Football - Hall of Famers

Right before Christmas, my wife sent me to Toys-R-Us (TRU).  I was going to be out in that neighborhood, and she had an errand for me.  She had bought a Groupon-esque deal from somewhere that gave her $20 in credit at TRU for $10.  She wanted a specific brand/size/type of diapers for our son, so I said I'd pick those up for her.  After 20+ minutes of looking for said diapers, talking to the front desk, 2 trips to "check in the back", and much standing around, I finally had the pack of diapers in my hand.  It was $18.  I read the fine print on the deal...NO CHANGE/CREDIT GIVEN.  In other words, I had to find something to buy to get up to $20 or that value would disappear.

Fortunately(?) for me, I found the most pathetic card-display ever.  Some pokemon, full Topps sets, and $30 blasters of Ginter.  Yes, $30.  It was consistent that TRU priced all cards at 1.5x the price of cards anywhere else.  Their packs of Triple Play (that are 99 cents EVERYWHERE) were $1.50.  Whatever you do, DO NOT ever go to Toys-R-Us for cards.  I don't care if they have pretty purple parallels (and alliteration).  It will just depress you.

Finally, I settled on a $2.50 pack of 2012 Topps Football and just cracked it open today.

I got 3 Hall-of-Famers!

Well...Luck isn't there YET, but if he plays 10 years with yardage like this one he sure will be.  Picking up a base RC of him was a fun treat.  The Aikman is a "QB Immortals" insert (for trade if there are any Cowboys out there).  Ray Lewis is retiring after this season -what a beast of a player.  Watching his interviews is just as much fun as watching him play.  That Ravens season of "Hard Knocks" is still my favorite.

Was I happy with what I got?  Yes.  Would I ever buy cards there willingly again?  HECK NO.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Hand-Written Friendship Bracelet

When I was in 2nd grade, if you were buddies with someone you would give them a friendship bracelet. You'd get a couple of pieces of colored-string, braid them together, and BOOM -- instant friendship.  It was a personal gift that took some time and care, which is part of what made it mean something.

Now in the internet age, much is made of the "lost art of the hand-written letter."  With all the IMing, emailing, facebooking, and twittering, actually sitting down with a pen and paper and sending someone a personalized note counts as the height of graceful manners.

Relating this to the blogosphere...I'll admit that I am guilty of sending "impersonal" trade packages.  Maybe I'll just drop a team-bag into a bubble mailer and send it off.  If I'm lucky, I might offer a perfunctory "Thanks for trading!" on a slip of paper that I toss into the envelope.

So.....if the quality scale goes from short boilerplate email (bad) to hand-written letter plus friendship bracelet (very good), how can I possibly place a ranking on THIS?

Gene Mauch

This is by far one of the coolest things I have received from the card-blog world.  It's from TTG @ Friars on Cardboard.  It is a hand-collated pack of manager cards, wrapped in white paper, and then decorated with the cover art seen above.  If a hand-written item is notable...what can I say about a hand-drawn pack?  AWESOME is what I can say.  Keep in mind that this whole thing is the size of a regular baseball card and done in ink.  And this was a "Just Because" trade was involved.

And with that preview...I was hoping the pack would contain that top card.  IT DID.

1987 Topps Gene Mauch
There were several other manager cards from TTG (many of them grumpy, per my preferences), but this was my favorite.  It's a double-dose of grumpitude.

Buck Showalter and Jim Fregosi
Although I didn't know it, not only do I collect grumpy manager cards, apparently I also collect grumpy manager STICKERS. 

2012 Triple Play Sticker - Screaming Manager - #8
Another package from TTG had several Royals I needed, including Jeff Conine jumping rope with the old crossover technique.  Thanks to 4th grade P.E. class, I can do that same trick.  Maybe I should send that teacher a hand-written note of thanks?

Speaking of elementary school, Sherman Corbett and I had the same glasses, apparently.
1989 Topps Sherman Corbett, 1990 Topps Mike Scott
This exceeded anything I could have hoped for, TTG.  Thank you so much.  Know that I appreciate it a ton -- This hand-written friendship bracelet of a pack.  :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Shout-Out to my Mother-in-Law

I have to post a quick shout-out to my Mother-in-Law.  For Christmas she wanted to get me some cards, so she WENT TO A CARD SHOP and bought me the Royals team set of 2012 Topps flagship.  That's love right there.  :-)  I had most of them, but there were 4-5 that I still needed, so that was much appreciated.

The best cards in the set are definitely the catchers.  They are both action shots, and the full gear adds a nice visual element.

2012 Topps - Salvador Perez
2012 Topps - Brayan Pena

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