Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Last Pick-up of 2017

So, here it is… my last pick-up of 2017.

It’s the 303rd signed card in my all-time Brewers collection. I actually have a longer post about some recent pick-ups for that binder, but I’ve decided to put it off until I get a COMC order that was my Christmas present to myself so I can do a whole project update thing at once.

But for now, we’ve got Dante. Most will remember Bichette as a four-time All Star with the Rockies, a slugger who placed second in the NL MVP voting in 1995 as the Rox won a playoff spot in just their third year of existence. He nearly won the award, finishing just behind Barry Larkin. But Bichette spent two years in Milwaukee before becoming one of the original Blake Street Bombers as a semi-regular right fielder. On the 1992 Brewers, which won 92 games and almost upset the Blue Jays for the division title, he batted .287 with 18 steals.

After the season, the Brewers – with Darryl Hamilton ready to start in right – traded Bichette to the brand-new Rockies in exchange for Kevin Reimer. The swap came as the Brewers were still “trying” to resign Paul Molitor. But, since Reimer was primarily a DH, it indicated the Brewers were resigned to losing the franchise icon to free agency. I wrote a whole thing on this awful period in franchise history about a year ago… it’s pretty good and it conveys some of the things I feel when I look at this card.

Funny thing about Bichette is that I remember him being a beast in Colorado, kind of a lower-level Larry Walker. But he ends up being one of these guys that advance stats casts a much different light upon. He had a decent three-year peak, but had very few walks for a power guy (just 22 walks in his near-MVP season of 1995), was a terrible fielder, and had some pretty wicked home/away splits. But most stunning – to me, anyway – was that for his career, which included 274 homers, over 1,000 RBI, nearly 2,000 hits – he totaled just 5.5 WAR according to baseball reference. I know that some people deathly hate WAR. I’m not at all sold on it as the elusive “God Stat” that will settle every baseball argument ever, but I do find it to be a useful jumping off point for stat discussions. And here is a guy who actually got three Hall of Fame votes in 2007 – who has a lower career WAR than Jonathan Villar.

And this is what I love about collecting. Here is a card I picked up for a few bucks because I needed it to fill a spot in one of my binders, and it told me a little story. Even the card itself – 1992 Leaf – brings me back to an aisle at our local ShopKo when I was ten years old, talking my mom into buying me a few packs on every shopping trip and being THRILLED when I pulled a Gold Rookie of Steve Hosey or some other such flop. It was a nice way to end my collecting year.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Secret Santa Time! Trevor of Bump n Run Delivers!

Happy Holidays!!!

To start things off, I’m happy for these holidays. Yes, this will make three posts in a row that will open with news about one of my pet rats. And if that’s too much for you, well, tough beans.

But this is good news. Idgie, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week and not given much of a chance to survive through Christmas, has made a pretty remarkable recovery. It seems the worst of her symptoms was being caused by an ear infection that, with a simple dose of antibiotics, has cleared up. She can eat and drink on her own again and is moving around much, much better than she was a few days ago. And that is the best present I will get this year.

But my secret santa gift was pretty nice, too. Trevor P from Bump n Run cards drew my name. he did the whole bit, wrapped up my gift and even sending along a family Christmas card… even with a damn poem on the back!

How nice!


Trevor did some fine common-scouring and came up with a few nice stacks of Topps base needs.

That 93/95 lot came in particular use these past few days as I put together those two sets from some vending boxes I recently picked up.

He also included cards that will make fine additions to my Brewers collection.

Rickie Weeks spent three years as one the best second basemen in baseball. And he had the best hair on the Brewers for even longer.

Braden Webb was a third-round pick in the 2016 draft. He had a decent debut with the Wisconsin T-Rattlers last year. This is my first card of his and, in honesty, I hadn’t even heard of him before I saw this.

Another shiny Bowman card, this one is pretty slick. I’m building up a pretty dcent Arcia collection.

More Rickie, this one serial-numbered.

Big Ben Sheets is probably the greatest right-hander in team history. This is my first Triple Threads card, I think. It’s rigid as hell, the type of card that wouldn’t crease, but just snap in two.

A Leather and Lumber Robin Yount, numbered out of 1,000. I think my next writing project will be a lumberjack-themed erotic novel titled, “Leather and Lumber.”

This is my first Gallery card of 2017 and I’m pretty glad I didn’t buy any of this. Don’t get me wrong, this Thames is awesome – highlighting his 10th inning walk-off against the Padres last June. It was an awesome moment in a season that was full of them and I LOVE cards that capture games like that. But the set itself seems a bit boring. I think they did not do the artwork justice with the presentation.

Go-Go in blue. Always nice to add a new Gomez card.

More Sheets! This one in their Negro League Milwaukee Bears alternates. It’s always a good look for them.

Here is Jeromy Burnitz relic card, back from they actually claimed that these swatches were game-used by the player pictured. I’m pretty sure this is my first Burnie relic.

Hey! Now this one goes right in the Brewers All-Time binder. I already had a Clark auto, but it was on a Panini card and licensed always bests unlicensed.

Thrillo Cirillo! One of my favorites from the dead zone of the mid-1990s. I have a few other Brewers from this Signature Rookies “Old Judge” set. It’s a weird-looking set, as was everything SR produced, and I wish they would have used a picture of him in a white or grey uni so that the autograph wasn’t quite so lost. But still, this is one of my favorite cards of the lot.

For a moment, I thought this was the shortstop Alex Gonzalez (who the Brewers INEXPLICABLY played at first base during his one season in Milwaukee) and I was pumped, since I lack his autograph. But, this is not that Alex Gonzalez. This would be Chi-Chi Gonzalez, the Rangers prospect who might now be a former prospect. It’s kind of tricky, as there is no team indicated and no bio on this card. Anyway, it’ll go with my Rangers cards.

And, in addition to these, there were some other Brewers cards that will find a place in one of binders just as soon as I have the time. Thanks much to Trevor for the package and Matt of Bob Walk the Plank for putting this all together.

Happy Holidays, all!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What's in the Box...?

It’s been kind of a lousy week for me. I shared in my last post a bit about our sick pet rat, and I’m sorry to say that the news from the vet was not good. Idgie has a brain tumor and will not be with us much longer. But she’s been doing pretty well considering, slowed down physically, but not mentally. So, I’ve been glad for distractions and my mood led me to do something I probably wouldn’t have normally done. But it turned out to be a pretty nice pick-me-up on an otherwise depressing day.

There is a comic book shop near our apartment with an antique/consignment area. I stop in every now and again to look for cards, but rarely find anything worth picking up. It’s that cross-hobby problem, I think, where you tend to overprice stuff that is outside of your realm of expertise. You see it a lot in antique stores. This shop had a factory set of 1990 Score priced at $35 that is a pretty good example of this. So, when I found an 800-count box marked “’70s Vintage Baseball, $20,” I was suspicious. And when I opened it up and thumbed around and found mostly 1982 Topps and early ‘80s Fleer commons, I almost put it back. But then I tried from another part of the box and turned up a vein of stars cards… Rose, Morgan, Reggie, etc from ’82, ’79, and ’78 Topps, I figured I might as well pick it up and give myself something to do.

The box was arranged by team, with stars cards arranged by player at the end. With a cold beer and some Riff Trax on the TV, I sorted them by set and came up with a decent stacks of 78, 79, 80, 81, and 83 Topps, as well as 81, 82, and 83 Fleer. With almost no dupes!

As for my “hits…”

There were a few ’83 Topps cards in the box as well, including this nice pair of HOFers.

The bulk of the cards were 1982 Topps, which is a set I am now on my way to building. Here is Johnny B and George Brett… I love that Brett card, with him preparing his bat.

A pair of second-to-last year Yazes.

REGGIE! And the last Ozzie as a Padre card.

And a pair of Brewers from the World Series team.

I also got a nice starter set of 1979s, a set I’m eager to start on so I can chase that Ozzie Smith RC.

That is, I believe, Munson’s last card. And I already had a copy of that Fisk, but it’s still pretty sweet.

BIG REDS! Looks like photos taken from the same game.

I managed to put together a smaller stack of 1978s, too. Here we have another Munson and a big Willie McCovery from his second tour with the Giants.

I also found four 1976 Topps traded cards, a set I have yet to begin.

I found just one card from my 1981 wantlist in the box, but snagged some decent dupes, including this Gibby RC and a Bench All Star.

I found 12 (!!!) cards I needed for my 1980 set, including this BALLER Gary Carter. The Schmidt is a dupe, but still a great card.

If anyone is in need of 81-82-83 Fleer, I can probably help you out. I got a huge stack of ’81s, including these beauties (which I might actually need to hold on to).

Some ’82s. This Rod Carew photo also appears on his ’82 Topps In Action card.

And a smaller stack of ’83s. This was the year they finally solved their printing issues, and with a clean design and sharp photos, it makes for a very nice set.

This alone would have made this worth the twenty bucks. But I still have yet to get to the three BIG HITS…

First up is the newest Hall of Famer… in this debut issue. I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I’ll certainly never scoff at adding a HOFer RC.

So, I certainly won’t scoff at adding THIS HOFer RC. Even my deeply-held hatred of the Cubs cannot put a damper on this find. It’s the best-looking of his RCs, in my opinion.

And then, for the BIG BIG HIT…

Kaboom! Hidden among the commons was this all-time classic. It’s a bit soft-cornered and off-centered, but a definite upgrade from the Henderson RC I had in my ’80 set. This card alone might have been worth the money and it ranks easily as my greatest in-a-random-box find.

So, this leaves me, fellow traders, with a few fresh new wantlists to post and some nice stacks of early ‘80s stuff up for trade. If anyone is interested in starting a 1980 Topps set, I’ve got plenty for you, including many stars. I also have a fair amount of 1981 Topps. I’d also be open to trading my old Henderson RC, which, as you can see below, isn’t in great shape. I think it got wet at one time…

… anyway, I’ve got several new wantlists up and will be posting new lists soon for 1993 and 1995 Topps. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fun Loot from Scott and Nick and Sick Pet Distractions

Happy holidays, all!

Allow me to welcome myself back to land of blogosphere living. I’ve been doing some “therapeutic” card-browsing this evening. One of our dear little rats, Idgie, has not been well. We think that she had a minor stroke yesterday (something not uncommon in rats of her age), and she’s been pretty weak and wobbly since. We have a vet appointment for tomorrow and there are steroids that might help her recover, so here is to hoping that they’ve got the thing to fix her up. I’m trying to stay positive by paging though some steroid-era sets… vision of Bonds and Manny and Sosa make me hopeful that our little fuzz ball can get all ‘roided up and beat this thing.

Here she is with her Brewers helmet this summer. She shall see a Brewers pennant in her lifetime!!!!

Aside from my steroid-era blues, I had completed a couple of trades recently that I wanted to share. First up is Dime Box Nick, who mailed out a stack he’d been saving for a while.

There was a number of Brewers, of course. And I’ve got to start with this one…

I remember this “flip-up” cards from Oscar Mayer products from when I was a kid. But I was unaware of these disc flip-ups. I flipped a disc in my back this summer and it hurt like hell. Anyway, this is mid-90s Brewers bopper Greg Vaughn.

On the topic of Brewers outfielders who could absolutely crush the hell out of the baseball, here is the sadly-departed Khris Davis, now with the A’s. It’s a purple parallel of some kind, and it actually looks pretty sharp.

Richie Sexson could rake as well. He is of the George Scott type for the Brewers. In both how he was a slugging first-sacker, but also in how he was involved in two great trades for the Brewers. They got him from Cleveland for a pile of near-dead arms, Slugged 133 homers for the Brewers with a .902 OPS, then was sent to Arizona for a bevy of useful pieces, including 18-game winner Chris Capuano and doubles champion Lyle Overbay.  

Orlando Arcia is a hell of an exciting young player. Here is one of the 30,000 different rookie cards Topps issued for him this year. It’s a new one to me.

Here is 4-time All Star Dan Plesac in the 1988 Score Young Superstars set. Did you know that Plesac made more All Star teams than Robin Yount? It’s true.

Mark Rogers was the 5th overall pick in 2004, but never did much with the Brewers. He had two stints in the big, and actually pitched pretty decently for 49 innings. I already had a Rogers auto in my all-time Brewers set, but this one is defiantly an upgrade and has won a place in the big binder.
I’ve made some modifications to my PC list lately, adding Joey Votto among others. Votto is a sickening kind of talent. For my money, he might be the best pure hitter since Wade Boggs, and he wears a dorky-tight uniform and seems generally like a grumpy kind of genius on the field. Nick tossed a handful of Vottos my way.

Here is a manu-stamp/patch/whatever. Not usually my thing, but with the connection to Jackie Robinson and all, this is actually a pretty cool card.

Here were have a 1979 look-alike. An underrated design, I think.

Here is a 1992 mimic from the latest Archives set. I really dig these ’92 design cards, although Topps didn’t QUITE get it right.

Note the tiny differences in the typeset.

I also put out the call for oddballs, and Nick sent me some very odd balls.

Here is my very first Mother’s Cookies card, a set I’d long been aware of, but had never come across. They’re weird cards, very thin and with a flat, glossy finish.

Willie Smith pitched seven innings for the Cardinals in 1994 in the midst of a 9-year pro career. He gave up four homers and seven hits in those innings.Yeesh.

Not really an oddball, but it doesn’t get much odder than a pitcher sliding on a baseball card. This would have to be in the running for the best card in that 1991 Fleer set.

I also completed a swap with Scott from I Need New Hobbies.

Base set needs mania!! He sent this lovely trio of 1976 needs. Even though it’s mis-matched, I really love that green on the Orioles cards in this set. I can’t explain why.

1990 Topps! The big ugly! This Glarin’ Sparky is one of the better cards in the set.

1990 was the last year for Turn Back the Clock cards, which is one of my favorite Topps subs of all-time-forever. I like these especially when I was a kid, because with the very-wide bordered design, it’s like getting a peek behind the photos on the base cards.

And the hell with everything, the 1990 All Stars are some of the best-looking cards of the decade.

2009 Topps is a set that I’ve really turned around on. I HATED these when first came out, I thought the design was one of the laziest Topps had ever done. I’m still not wild on the design, but I have come to appreciate its simplicity… particularly with the awful over-done cards of the years before. And the photos on these is a mile better than 2008… which was one of the most uninspired lots of pictures since, well, 1990.

I’ll close with Geoff Jenkins, a long-time Brewer seen here in his only season with the Phillies. That was, of course, the year the Phillies won the World Series. And the year the Brewers broke a 500-year playoff drought. Looking it up, Jenkins actually got an at bat against the Brewers in the NLDS, the first playoff game in Milwaukee (and Brewers playoff win) since game 5 of the 1982 World Series. I was at that 2008 games and I’m surprised I forgot that Jenkins played. His last at bat game in Game 5 of the ’08 series, when he hit a double and scored the go-ahead run.

So that’s what I’ve gotten in to lately. Now, back to my the sofa with my binders. Wish us good luck for tomorrow!