Saturday, March 17, 2018

How Large is My Crew-neverse? A Contest!

I've been a bit off the blog grid recently, for various reasons. So, I wanted to take a moment to reengage by working my latest project into a GRAND AWESOME and STUPENDOUS contest... I call it the "How Large is my Crew-neverse?" contest!

At the moment, I am in the midst of my Big Brewers Sort - organizing ALL of my Brewers cards by player and entering the results into the Trading Card Database. I have made it through my A and B players so far, which has yielded 932 different Brewers cards. 

UPDATE - I should say that this number also includes those stupid 2009 UD Documentary cards, which I entered all at once. 

The contest is simple... guess how many different Brewers cards I will end up with once I am all done with the big sort. To give you a general idea of what I am working with...

Here is monster box number 1. You can see the remnants of my previous Brewers sort in here.

And monster box number 2. This one has the start of my new sort.

And this box...

...which contains C and D players I am in the midst of sorting. 

And my All-Time Brewers binder...

...can't forget these! (I should also mentioned that this does include Pilots cards)

Now, some of these cards will undoubtedly be duplicates. Those I set aside and do not count. I also posted recently about my confusion over whether or not to count certain cards as Brewers. I am still working on that, but there are so few instances of these cards I don't think it would really affect anyone's guess. I am ONLY counting what is seen in these images towards the final tally, however (for purposes of this contest, anyway). So if someone sends me a pair of 500 ct boxes next week, those will be set aside for right now. 

So make your guess! The nearest to the final total wins. The prize package is yet to be determined, but I have some ideas of what I am going to include and will be dropping some previews of the final haul as I complete the sort. I am also thinking of holding off on a "centerpiece" item for the package until we have a winner and try to tailor the big prize to whomever happens to guess closest. But this will be a pretty sweet package overall.

I am going to get crazy and give people til the end the day (central time) on March 27, the last day before the regular season starts, to enter a guess. I will be posting updates as I make my way through the letters on twitter (@mjpmke) if you want to follow along. I imagine the sort will take me probably another month to complete and once I get all the entries I'll do some kind of leaderboard post so everyone can follow along.

Comment on THIS post to enter your guess! And good luck!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Brewer by Any Other Name: How do You Define a Card's Team Designation?

I’ve seeing someone else, blogosphere.

Yes, it’s time I told you.

I’ve joined up with a team collectors group and have been making pretty all of my recent trades with that gang. It wasn’t something I planned on doing… it just kind of, well, happened.

Ok, that was my dumb little joke to start things out. I’ll drop it now. But it does set up what I’ve been up to lately. I have embarked on the BIG BREWERS SORT… a massive effort to get my 9,000ish Brewers cards into some kind of order. I’ve broken everything into letter piles and have started breaking those into player stacks. Then those stacks get sorted and everything goes into a monster box. This will eliminate all my doubles and permit me to enter EVERYTHING I’ve got into the Trading Card Database. I started last week and can tell already it’s going to take A LOT longer than I anticipated. I’ve slogged through the A and B piles so far and found 932 different Brewers cards therein. I am doing this in anticipation of all the Brewers cards I will be getting from this trade group. The basic idea with the group is that each team has a collector and people sent team packages to each other whenever they have something worth sending. The group has apparently been without a “Brewers Guy” for some time, so everyone’s Brewers reserves are well-stocked. When I joined up, the other members sent me messages that sounded vaguely threatening. “You have no idea what you’re in for!” etc. So, I want to be ready for the onslaught.

But, as I do with most things, this project has me a little twisted up about things. I am sticking to Major League sets for the sort, but including players who never made the Bigs (which I guess makes me a Khalid Ballouli collector now). But what makes a card a Brewers card?

I had this in my Brewers box…

That’s Nori Aoki from 2009. It was made for the World Baseball Classic when Aoki was still playing in Japan. Three years later, he signed with the Brewers and I picked this up because it was his only American issue at the time. But this isn’t a Brewers card.

But what about this one?

That’s a Ryan Braun WBC card, also from 2009. It was made when he was a Brewer, but make no mention on the team on the card. It’s closer to a Brewers card, but I don’t think it really counts, as Braun is repping Team USA.

So, the uniform counts, right? Sure. So how about this…

…this is some weird-ass Donruss issue that originally came encased. You’re darn right I cracked that SOB open and pawed at those swatches. It’s what the good lord intended. Anyway, another example of a card made when a guy played for the Brewers, but who is not in uniform and with no mention of the team. And what team is Sexson repping here? The MLBPA? Hmmmm. This one, I’m a bit torn on.

Speaking of laundry, here is Paul Molitor, dressed in the classic Brewers blue and gold…

…under (ugh) a Blue Jays wordmark. It even has a transaction bubble, which reads “chased out of Milwaukee by a GM who had no clue what he was doing and an owner too damn invested in orchestrating his take-over of the sport to give a shit about retaining a franchise icon at a reasonable price.” (squints) Or something along those lines. Heartbreaking as this is, it’s ain’t a Brewers card. It’s a Jays card with an out-of-date photo.

So, the team indicated outweighs a jersey? Ok. How about this…

…Obviously, Jackie Robinson did not suit up for the 1997 Brewers, but this is a Brewers-branded card in a Brewers team set. Even the Trading Card Database classifies this as a Brewers card. I might consider this part of the Brewers collection just for fun.

But what of this?

Here is Chris Bosio with a transaction bubble (stripe?) indicating his shift to the Mariners. BUT, it’s undeniable a Brewers card aside from that stripe. Is this more a Brewers card or a Mariners card? Can it be both? Can a card be partially a Brewers card? Does this look forward or backwards? Hmmmmmm.

Now THIS is obviously a Brewers card.

Looky there… it’s Ricky Bones in a Brewers uni, with a Brewers logo. Slam dunk, eh?

Hold the phone…

…Ah-ha! The stats on the back correctly state that he finished the 1996 season with the Yankees. The Brewers traded him at the end of August (remember when base sets came out really, REALLY early?) and Upper Deck did not have time to fix his card aside from those three letters on the stat line. Oddly enough, Bones only appeared in one other 1997 set – Fleer Ultra – which depicted him with the Reds, the team he played for in ’97. This is essentially the same thing as one of those Topps “NOW WITH XXX” cards, only without the note on the front.

So which of these would YOU consider to be Brewers cards? They all have at least a partial claim (except for Aoki), but a case can also be made against each. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Listing Badly: Big Scores on eBay and the start of a 1971 Project

Even though my posts do not reflect it, I have been a pretty busy collector as of late. I’m in the midst of a pretty significant re-org of my stuff and, having joined a team collectors trading group, I am shipping much of the “dead” parts of my collection to those who will enjoy it more. I’m getting streamlined and more focused. It’s a hell of a nice feeling.

My Topps sets, for example, have received a significant boost lately, thanks to a go-to seller of mine on the blowout forums. I recently purchased over 3,000 1998-2009 Topps flagship cards for the incredibly reasonable price of 1.5 cents per. He turned a few mediocre piles of mine into nearly-completed sets. Just take a look at my wantlists… look how damn neat and tidy those last entries are! Sometimes I just look at my wantlists, just to see how far they’ve come.

But I’ve also had an inkling lately to start a BIG project. A challenge I can really focus on. And, thanks to Gavin’s recent trade, I’ve finally found one: the iconic 1971 Topps baseball set.

Hot damn, those are gorgeous cards! Gavin’s package contained about 200, which got a good ways into starting the set. But I felt like I need another big bundle before I could really start into this thing. I had been watching a few lots on eBay and managed to scoop up a 380-some card lot for just under a hundred bucks. Like most lots, they had a picture of the stack and of a few key cards, with no complete list of what was included. Even with most of the cards coming blind, I felt like it was a pretty good deal. Here is what was showing:

Reggie! A beautiful card and one of the key early cards in the set… just two years removed from his 1969 RC.

Hit king! Always a pricey guy to find for these vintage sets.

Pops! The Pirates in this set look great with that black border.

Johnny Bench. Another top name in 1970s cardboard.

Joe Morgan’s final card as a ‘Stro. I already had this one in my collection, but it’s such a pretty damn thing, I’ll find use for another.

And Hammerin’ Henry! This came in an unfortunate run of less-than-stellar cards of the homer king. Remember his 1970 Topps card? What a woofer. And that came after two years in a row using the same picture. There’s nothing wrong with it, I guess, it’s just kind of bland.

Anyway, this is what I had bid on. A big chunk of the set, with a few key players included. But when I actually got the cards in the mail, I realized that the seller had left a number of really great cards in the stack when listing this lot.

McCovey and Maz! I definitely would have mentioned these if I had listed this item. HOFers are always a draw.

And as it would have been with these two. What a great-looking card of Lefty, too.

And another pair of mystery HOFers! And man, dig Santo’s arms. No wonder dude could mash the ball in a pitcher’s era.

And more Hall of Famers! The odd thing is, the listing came with lots of photos of the more mediocre cards. Why not snap a pic of these guys?

Or these guys?

OR OF THE ONLY HOF ROOKIE CARD IN THE SET??? This card has more value than anything included in the images but for Reggie and Aaron. Why keep it a secret?

Or this guy? The other big RC in the set.

Man, I hate to knock someone’s eBay technique when it works out in my favor, but damn, dude, get it together.

And if this wasn’t enough, check out what I picked up just a few days ago for the price of blaster at Target…

Not a bad deal at all for the priciest single card in the set. And it’s in passable condition, too. But this was also a weird listing, definitely from someone who didn’t really know cards. It was listed as “1971 Topps Nolan Ryan plus another 70s Nolan.” Hmmmm. What I paid overall was about what I wanted to spend for the ’71, so what is this other “70s Nolan?”


Yeah, that’ll do.

So I’m on my way with 1971. If anyone else is doing this, please let me know. I’ve got a stack of 150 or so dupes that I’d gladly deal for my needs. Head back to my wantlist tab to check them out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Round-trip on the Night Train: A trade with Gavin

So I have evidently moved in the “posting whenever I damn feel like it” phase of my blog. I’ve let some trades fall by the way, but I’m pretty sure I’ve thanked anyone who send me something or at least shouted out at them on twitter.

But one trade I certainly wanted to talk about here at the mothership was a recent swap I made with Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown. You can see what I send to him here, (with an excellent reference to Night Train bum wine) the jewel of the package was that 25/25 Carlos Correa autograph I won a few weeks back.

Gavin and I agreed to some base items for the swap and agreed to each throw in some other fun stuff as well. He sent a whole priority box my way. It was full to the tabs… but full of what?

Well, half full of CDs. Yes, in our digital and enviro-friendly age, Gavin made the wise choice and substituted used CDs for backing peanuts. I’m more of classic rock guy and have to admit that I had only head of a few of the discs he sent along. My wife, however, having been an alt-rock girl and JNCO jeans wearer, knew most of them and actually had cassettes of more than one. So they’ve found a good home, Gavin.

As for (cardboard) singles, I was most taken with this smooth-looking fellow here…

…yes! One of the most prized Topps RCs of the single-series era. Behind the Yount and Brett duo from 1975 and the 1980 Rickey Henderson, this was always king of the mid-90s price book for that era. And it’s a hell of a nice-looking card. It’ll go with my growing 1979 set.

My other single request (TLR joke? I dunno, I’m tired), was this dork…

Rob Dork!!! Before blocking me on Twitter, this guy threw 12 lousy innings for a lousy Brewers team in 1995. He never had a real Brewers card, so this one counts for my all-time Brewers collection. My total, as of this writing, now stands at 361 different Brewers signed cards. Not bad.

First, he needed to be freed some his plastic prison.

There we go! Fit for the binder!

I also asked for a few stacks of cards that Gavin had posted about a while back in a trade bait post. I got a couple of nice stacks of Stadium Club.

Which included these two ridiculous beauties. Once I get my stuff together, I’m gonna try and build me some TSC.

He also included some vintage fun. Look at this whopping stack of 1971s!

I have put this set into full build-mode since I got this package (more on that in my next post).

And my god, I love these cards.

We’ve got a flying Cookie…

A twisted Brooksie…

And a perplexed Hodges.

And one of my favorite early Brewers cards, Danny Walton looking mean in what appears to be a metal helmet. Yikes.

But Gavin, being Gavin, did not stop there.

Hey, it’s Heritage season, so here’s a Ryan Braun from ’08, back before everyone hated his guts. Did you know Braun didn’t have a base card in 2009 Heritage, only an All-Star? Yeah, weird.

Here’s a shiny Lucroy, who still needs a team for next season. He sent along a whole stack of Brewers.

And hey, here’s a Carlos Go… or wait, a Kris Davis? You know how people say their on-purpose errors look stupid? Well, their accidental ones don’t look much better.

A stack of Brewers minor leaguers to go into my small minor league collection.

And what would a Gavin package be without customs? This one is a great take on 1958 Topps, commemorating the Braves triumph over the Yanks in 1957.

Whoa! A 1-of-1 sketch card! And of Don Money, a Brewers great who gets almost no attention in sets these days. A very nice addition and a hell of good likeness of the Moneyman.

And more custom fun… a BBCB magnet featuring a fun Griffey RC mash-up.

It has a place on the rat cage in my office!

And that rat cage, our old cage, is in the office because (the music swells) we have new rats!

Meet Penguin (with the brown) and Pinecone. They’re gonna live in the office for a few weeks until we can introduce them to our older pair (the Grans, we call them). I’ve already given them a few cards and they’ve enjoyed chomping them and dragging them around the cage. It stays in the family, I tell ya.

Anyway, thanks for the swap, Gavin… and check back soon for the start of my very Mod 1971 Topps adventure.