Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Winner in my (crooked) Contest and a Stack O' Brewers from Fuji

At long last I have finished my BIG BREWERS SORT. Which means we have a winner in the HOW BIG IS MY CREWNEVERSE contest. But before we get that...


Look at that! What a beautiful sight... everything so damned orderly. What you see there are my all-time Brewers binder, which now is home to a COMPLETE set of every player who ever appeared with the Pilots and Brewers, my oversized Brewers stuff, and my two Brewers monster boxes, with players sorted by name (plus some spillage). Each of these cards is now entered into the Trading Card Database... which gives me a little demographic info about my collection.  

1. Ryan Braun 262
2. Robin Yount 238
3. Paul Molitor 168
4. Prince Fielder 162
5. Ben Sheets 154
6. Greg Vaughn 126
7. Rickie Weeks 121
8. Geoff Jenkins 120
9. Dave Nilsson 112
10. B.J. Surhoff 99

There you see the top ten players in my collection. Not a lot surprising about that... although Dave Nilsson ranks a but higher than I would have thought. 

Anyway, I don't plan on keeping all of these cards in these boxes long-term. I ended up having some issues with the monster box set-up. First off, I have come to hate penny sleeves. You notice that most of these cards are in penny sleeves. It makes them slick as hell, and it's almost impossible to pick up a stack of these from the top without sending them flying out in all direction. I also erred on the player dividers. They look fine, but they are printed on normal printer paper and tend to slide down between the cards. In short, this is not a good set up to actually LOOK at the collection. My plan is to start binders with my favorite players - a Braun/Prince binder for example - which would make everything much more accessible and fun. But many players will remain in the boxes... Jose Valentine for example... not someone I regularly need to browse. Perhaps a Franken-set or something like that will also soon be in the offing. 

So what about that total???? Well, about that total...

I remembered as I was doing this that in the original post for this contest, I said that I would not count Brewers cards that I got DURING the count. Well, I did. I totally forgot my own rule and lumped it all together. Anyway, since I have no idea how to undo that, I'll just stick with changing the rule mid-way through the game.

So, now, getting to the winner of this crooked contest...

But WAIT! There are some Brewers cards in my collection that I have not yet added to this total. Cards I just got yesterday from San Jose Fuji. I had won a contest of his (not crooked, I assume) a while back and my prize lot was full of Brewers!


Here is Lorenzo Cain, the backbone of this year's team, in a great-looking SP from A&G.


Hey! And a Dan Plesac card from the Topps TV All Stars set... I've been wanting one for a while.


And.... yeah, that guy. He's... certainly on the team.


Here's a Ryan Braun I wasn't even aware of... signed by the artist! Very cool.


And a couple of Greinkes from this brief time as a Brewer. The blue-bordered cards in numbered to 199. Sweet. 


And HELL YEAH! The best of the bunch, a clear-cut Greg Vaughn. Thanks, Fuji!

Which is, oddly enough, from the same set as the Lenny Dykstra in the prize pack for the Crewneverse contest. Let's recap that prize pack.


There's Nails and some UD stickers...


... and a signed Tom Selleck card...

And that's all I'd gotten around to including. But, since I now know the WINNER of this contest, I can craft the rest of the prize package around their interests. 

(which includes a lot of football)

To the guesses one last time...


Laurens – 2,200
Angels in Order – 4,444
Sportscard Collectors – 4,444
Doug Hoback – 6,500
Mike Matson – 6,700
Gavin – 6,969 (nice)
Bo – 7,676
GCA – 7,955
Trevor P – 8,100
Adam Kaninger – 8,750
EP – 9,009
Nick – 9,219
Rob 792 – 9,482
Jon – 9,700
Fuji – 9,887
Adam Sanders – 10,100
ARPSmith – 11,111
The Lost Collector – 12,224
 
and the final tally is...
 
8,162!!!!

Which means Trevor of Bump and Run is our champion!!!!

I know I've got a few Packers somewhere around here that I will include in your package and I'm sure I can find a bunch of other fun stuff from your lists. In the next week or so, I'll put something together... if you can send me your address, I'll get it out ASAP.

Thanks again everyone for playing and for sending me so much great Brewers stuff over the past year-plus. 

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

S as in SORTING THINGS OUT

I am now through the S names in my BIG BREWERS SORT or CREWNEVERSE or whatever the hell I called it project. With the Sheffields, Sexons, Sheetses, and Seguris all tucked away in their new home...





...how cozy... my total stands at 6,375. Let's check that leaderboard...


Laurens – 2,200 

Angels in Order – 4,444
Sportscard Collectors – 4,444
THROUGH S - 6,375
Doug Hoback – 6,500
Mike Matson – 6,700
Gavin – 6,969 (nice)
Bo – 7,676
GCA – 7,955
Trevor P – 8,100
Adam Kaninger – 8,750
EP – 9,009
Nick – 9,219
Rob 792 – 9,482
Jon – 9,700
Fuji – 9,887
Adam Sanders – 10,100
ARPSmith – 11,111
The Lost Collector – 12,224

I have the remaining card sorted by name and ready to input and my guess is that I will end up somewhere around 7,500 to 8,000 for the grand total, which puts Bo, GCA, and Trevor in top contention for the prize... assuming none of them have died of old age while I took my sweet time in counting these cards. 

I ended up having A LOT more dupes than I imagined. Almost 3,500 so far. Yeesh. 

Once I am done with this project, I will be posting a series of TRADE BAIT lots, including making available for set-builders a bunch of the cards I recently acquired in my latest Goodwill mega-find. For those of you who missed it on twitter...




That's just a taste of the THREE 3,500 count boxes I picked up for 4.99 each. So, if you're working on any slightly off-beat sets from the late-90s or early 00s, I might be able to help you out. Or, if you collect a team that is not included in my team collectors group (Orioles, Mariners, Dodgers, Giants, Marlins, O's, Phillies, Rays, etc), I can offer a team lot. Plus there is some other stuff I've had sitting around forever that I'd like to use to spark up some new blog swaps. I am also going to broaden my PCs and update some wantlists on the blog here, so STAY TUNED and we can have some fun.








Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ain't Nothing but an (A thru) G Thang...

[Default comment about how rarely I post]

Anyway, with some mid-summer free time, I've made an effort to get back into my Big Brewers Count or whatever the heck I called it way back when I started this thing. (checking) AH! Brewneverse! Ok, whatever, I counted all my Brewers "G" cards and, now have tallied Aaron through Gwynn, Jr., my total stands at....

2,347 different Brewers cards!!


The "OG" of the group (Overall most often appearing with a G-starting last name) was hurler Yovanni Gallardo... who inexplicably turns up as a Brewer, with a years-old photo, in 2018 Topps series two. 

 And since there is a prize attached to the outcome of this count, let's check the leaderboard...

Laurens – 2,200 
THROUGH G -  2,347
Angels in Order – 4,444
Sportscard Collectors – 4,444
Doug Hoback – 6,500
Mike Matson – 6,700
Gavin – 6,969 (nice)
Bo – 7,676
GCA – 7,955
Trevor P – 8,100
Adam Kaninger – 8,750
EP – 9,009
Nick – 9,219
Rob 792 – 9,482
Jon – 9,700
Fuji – 9,887
Adam Sanders – 10,100
ARPSmith – 11,111
The Lost Collector – 12,224

Looking like I won't need to worry about that tie-breaker at 4,444...

Next up, the H's! Hall, Hardy, Hamilton, Hart...

and, uh, Hader... Yeah... what timing. 
 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Next Great Flagship Set Will be the One We Make Ourselves

The Topps Series II checklist came out today and - of course - it is the same old garbage we've all come to expect from Topps. My first outrage was seeing a card of Yovanni Gallardo as a Brewer (cut in spring training), but then I was alerted to the Brewers card of MATT GARZA - who was hardly an impact player on last year's team and was far from a fan favorite and is no longer in baseball and had NO CHANCE of returning to the Brewers for 2018. Why??? WHYYYYY Matt Garza? 


Because Topps doesn't give a shit. Base sets have become delivery systems for relics and parallels and SP'd RCs. Base is the soda, chase cards are the whiskey, and the hobby is old-timey drunk in a rumpled suit who just can't say no. "Coke, Pepsi... whatever. Mix it with some flat Sam's Club root beer for all I care. Taste is long lost, I just need my fix." 

But what if there was another option? A set of base cards that could reflect what the people who still give a hoot about base cards want? I've had this idea lately. It sprouted from the pure joy I have in building my BrewersNOW set and the utter indifference I feel towards any products. It's a simple idea, really - take the custom-made team set idea league-wide with a crowd-sourced set of 792 cards for the 2019 season. 

It won't be an easy thing to do. As I see it, this project will need:

At least 10-12 "team captains" who will be build team checklists, collect highish-res images of players and write copy for the backsides of their cards.

Someone to design the base cards and subsets, front and back.

People who can "harvest" player biographical info and stats from the internet and format them so they can be included on the card backs (I have no technical knowledge about this would be done)

Editors for the card copy and information. 

A checklist master who can arrange the cards and - as the 2019 season nears - update teams and photos as needed. 

Someone with printing knowledge enough to oversee many of these processes so the cards don't end up looking like crap. 

A printing company who will print, cut, and collate these cards. 

A decent number of collectors (50 or more?) willing to put up money for these sets so we have cash to cover what I imagine will be a very large printing bill. 

So, there would be a lot of work to be done. But, it would be fun work and we have plenty of time to do it. My biggest worries are about the money. I have no idea what something like this might cost. My uneducated guess is that a 792-card set would probably cost at least $100... but that is just a wild-ass guess. And we'd need enough collectors to sign on in order to make that possible. If there are only ten people interested in this concept, it's sunk before it even begins. 

And there are other matters to consider as well. First, this will be an unauthorized product. We'd be using photos without the permission of their creators and depicting ballplayers and team logos without any OK from anyone. I don't have a huge issue with any of that. I'd insist on the price point of these cards to be just enough to cover the printing costs. I want to do this because it would be hella fun and would - hopefully - result in the greatest card set of the decade. No one is making money, no one is losing out. It's a guerilla kind of thing, too. A rebellion against a corrupt system. Not exactly burning down the ROTC... but you get my drift. 

So, that is the heavy stuff. The work, the cheating, and so on. BUT... what about the FUN!

First off, we'd get to make our own damn set. Teams would get balanced coverage... FANS of each (or most) teams would get to pick the player depicted. MATT GARZA WOULD NOT BE INCLUDED. Middle reliever would return to cardboard! Managers! The photos would be GREAT! NO SPs!!!

And Subsets!! The limit is our collective imagination! Our set can have Record Breakers, Rated Rookies, multi-player leader cards. We could have a stand-alone card for Albert Pujols' 3000th hit! Playoff recap cards! Boyhood Photos of the stars! 

This is something that can be done. Please share and comment below if you are up for the challenge. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

And the Winner Is...

As promised, I put the names of everyone who commented on my True Crime cards post into the randomizer...


 With the top name after one click (so boring, I know) to get the prize of a couple of unopened wax packs.


And there it is! Congrats, Julie! You win some "Ghoulie" cards. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

2018 Bowman Mania is an Utterly Boring Mania... and Represents Perfectly the Modern Day Hobby

Card collectors are a bit testy these days. At least according to card twitter. The source of all this antagonism seems to be the new Bowman product. Normally a non-controversial release, this year's product features the coveted Ohtnai signed flashy whatever card. The initial offering of product at retail outlets sold very quickly, leading to a new "mega box" release that seems to be driving everyone involved in this thing we do a little crazy. 


People complain that they can't find the mega boxes. They trash Topps for this weird, unannounced release. They hoard the boxes to open or resell. They trash other collectors for hoarding the boxes to open or resell. They mock collectors for wanting the stuff so badly. They ooh and aah over "hits" from the product. Bowman Mega Box opinions have become a big part of daily life on the card twitter stream. 

I've been doing some casual reading in old issues of Baseball Card and Tuff Stuff mags while watching the Brewers the past few nights. Issues from the early 1990s, when there were dozens of releases every year from a half dozen different card makers, each of them trying to catch the collecting world's fancy... it was a weird and wild time. And then I check twitter and read all of this about retail Bowman. And something dawned on me...

The modern hobby is an utter bore. 

The Topps monopoly has drained all of the creativity out of the business. Even innovative products like Topps Now or the Living Set are executed in a cripplingly dull way. The Now set is an idea I've ripped off for my own custom set, so it's a good idea, but they take no risks with the set. It's largely the same teams and players as in the base product with a few terribly-written sentences on the back. The living set is more substantial, but the idea is less interesting. And the 1953 design again? AGAIN? 

Topps flagship is as devoid of new ideas as it has ever been. Heritage feels lifeless and lazy. Stadium Club has some stunning photos, but little else. I was just paging through my Update 2017 binder and - my god - it was so boring. 

And so this is what we are left with... arguing about Bowman. BOWMAN. When was the last time anyone gave a shit about Bowman? 

I've tried to get excited about new product, and dutifully buy my flagship boxes each year, but looking back at this stuff, I'm left with such an empty feeling. What do these cards mean to me? Not much. They're just not any... fun. 

FUN! O lord, remember FUN??? Collectors, we have been deprived of fun for so long, we've devolved. Paging through my 1991 Topps binder is a BLAST. Remember Upper Deck SP inserts? Prime Times Two? Man, that was awesome. Ted Williams Card Co? Hell, it was a new take. Pacific? It sucked, mostly, but it sucked it its own weird way. Topps MBossed? What a big, bumpy, wacky try at something new. 

2018 Bowman Rookie of the Year favorites? (crickets)

Now, I don't want to make this seem like I'm putting anyone down who is buying Bowman, or having fun ripping it. I actually tried to pick some up this past month and would have had some fun opening it up. But I feel like the furor over this far outpaces the actual enthusiasm anyone feels for this product as a whole. We have so little to get excited about, so it's a rather middling product like this that starts a firestorm. 

I have almost no interest in buying in a box of Topps series 2 this year. Sure, the completist in me WANTS one... for no good reason other than to fill another binder that will depress me some afternoon this winter. Maybe I'm done with new stuff for now. Maybe until someone issues a set that is actually worth collecting.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

1992 Eclipse True Crime - The Mega-Controversy the Card World Forgot (plus a contest!)


Look through a Tuff Stuff Magazine from the early 1990s once in a while. It is a real trip. I have a June 1992 copy and paging through it is like a damn time warp. There is just SO MUCH product being advertised, discussed, sold and traded.

SPORTS! The big four, boxing, golf, track and field. NON-SPORTS! This is where is really gets crazy.. cars, movies, motorcycles, wars (seriously), tractors, comics, TV shows, pin-ups… everything that anyone could have a passing interest in what given a damn card set in 1992.


And people had more than a passing interest in serial killers in 1992. Milwaukee’s own Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in the summer of 1991, sparking international fascination with his horrific spree of murders, mutilations, and acts of cannibalism. It was one of those moments where true crime goes mainstream for just a bit, and all the so-called “respectable” news outlets get to thrash around with the slop with those who write gory and sensationalized stuff for a while before returning to their ivory towers. So, with carnage and blood all over the news in 1991, it seemed natural that a True Crime card set would hit in 1992.


In that same issue of Tuff Stuff, there is a short column on a set that was due out in May from Eclipse, a comic book publisher who specialized in edgy material. In January 1992, the tv program Entertainment Tonight (one of those schlock-centric garbage shows that lived on sensationalism, but never owned up to being a  schlock-centric garbage shows that lived on sensationalism) aired a segment on the set, which they claimed would be dedicated to serial killers. The segment caused an uproar, but only got it half-right. The set was to be dedicated to True Crime, and it would include gangsters and crime-fighters as well as mass murders. But the outcry was enough to get legislators in eight states to introduce legislation to ban sale of the cards to minors or to prohibit them altogether – a bill in New Jersey would have given a penalty of 18 months in jail to anyone who sold the cards to kids. And this was all before even a sample card from the set had produced.

 Victims’ rights advocates and free speech supporters debated about the cards on TV. Larry King hosted a segment on the cards. Newspapers all across the nation wrote about the controversy. Meanwhile, Eclipse Co. upped their initial print order for the cards – which would sell for $1 for a 12 card pack – from 10,000 cases to 25,000.


And the cards sold like mad. Only one of the efforts to ban the cards came to fruition… Nassau County, on Long Island, banned sale of the cards to anyone under 18. A lawsuit by Eclipse, supported by the ACLU, eventually overturned the ban. By the end of 1992, with a second, 110 card series rushed into release, the New York Times reported that the company had sold $1 million worth of the product. The cards gained such a high profile that in early 1993, the Hillside Strangler – Kenneth Bianchi – who raped, tortured, and murdered at least 10 women, brought suit against Eclipse for using his likeness for commercial purposes. The suit was thrown out.


The booming success of the cards didn’t seem to do much for Eclipse’s trading card efforts. They had been in the game since 1988, issuing tongue-in-cheek sets on the Iran Contra scandal and political corruption. In 1990, they printed a set on the Kennedy assassination and a “Friendly Dictators” set and, in 1991, issued sets on the drug war and the savings and loan scandal. Although they had announced plans for an “AIDS Awareness” set for 1993 – which would feature Magic Johnson – the concept seems to have been scrapped. In 1993, Eclipse issued a handful of movie sets – including a National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon set – and then bowed out of the card game for good.


I picked up a lot of the second series on eBay recently. I was pretty impressed. The artwork is great and the backside have plenty of copy. There are far fewer “star cards” in this series. Dahmer, HH Holmes, John Wayne Gacy and the like all get their due in the first series. I’d like to pick up some of those to try to complete this set. It’s weirdness and controversy are just too much to pass up.


So what do you think of this set? The uproar seems kind of silly in retrospect, but it’s easy to forget that in 1992, trading cards were seen by many outside of the hobby as something strictly for kids. But so what? I was ten years old in 1992 and read plenty of Milwaukee Sentinel articles on the Dahmer case as it unfolded. No one was suggesting that kids not be allowed to read the newspapers. There is a definite double-standard at play in all of this, the kind that is found when people try to deny the fact that – in general – people are pretty interested in those who do wrong. And if they read about it in the papers or in books (like the books I write) or if they read about it on a trading card… isn’t the real difference in all this just the status of the medium?

And, for the record, no one said boo about the Civil War and World War II trading card sets… and that depicts something that killed more people than a caseful of Jeffrey Dahmers.


I have a couple of unopened True Crime II packs left... leave a comment below with your thoughts and I'll random them off. I'll give you until 11:59 pm on Wednesday, May 30.