Thursday, November 30, 2017

Brewers Auto Round-Tripper Pt. 4

How about we get back to some of my recently acquired all time Brewers Autos? We're deep in the weeds, now. If you remember any of these guys, you are a True Blue Crew Devotee...

Jack Heidemann was once a hot-shot prospect with the Indians, but failed to produce either at the plate or in the field. He came to Milwaukee in June 1976 from the Mets and became the team’s regular third baseman, despite an atrocious .520 OPS. His career WAR of -6.1 ranks among the worst in baseball history. But Jack is a generous TTM signer. He signed my card and sent along a business card (he now works as a real estate appraiser) that has a picture of him with the Indians on the backside.

Most Impressive Brewers Stat: He hit a homer off Bill “Spaceman” Lee in September, 1976.

Gary Sutherland was no-hit infielder who was a regular with the Expos and Tigers before Detroit sent him to the Brewers for former ROY runner-up Pedro Garcia in the middle of the 1976 season. He played part-time for the rest of the year before being released.

Most Impressive Brewers Stat: Batted .538 during his first week as a Brewer (and .176 the rest of the way).

“Bullet” Bob Reynolds threw six innings for the Brewers in 1971. Over a six year career, he appeared with six teams. For two years with the Orioles, 1973 and 1974, he was dominant, posting a 2.25 ERA over 180 innings and helping the O’s to consecutive AL East titles. His fastball was known to top out at 100 mph.

Most Impressive Brewers Stat: Threw five scoreless innings against the AL West Champion A’s in 1971.

Art Kuysner was one of the less-memorable parts of the huge 1973 trade that send Ollie Brown, Ellie Rodriguez and Skip Lockwood to the Angels for Steve Barber, Ken Berry, and Clyde Wright. He appeared in 15 games for the Brewers in 1976. He was a part of history in 1973 when he caught Nolan Ryan’s second career no-hitter.

Most Impressive Brewers Stat: As noted in his Wikipedia page, he hit a three-run double against the Red Sox. It was the only three runs he drove in for the Brewers.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Throwin' it Back to the Mid-90s on Black Friday

I hate Black Friday. Only once in my life was I working a retail job on Black Friday… I was in high school and worked at Shopko. I worked at the one-hour photo counter and I remember people running… RUNNING… after the doors were opened to get to the BIG DEAL sale item in the electronics department. It was a VCR marked all the way down to $50. A little part of me died seeing grown people do that. Thankfully, I never had to see anything like that in person again.

So I stay in on the day after Thanksgiving. Except this year. My wife was working and I was bored, so I went to Goodwill. They were, unknown to me, actually having a sale, but it was only marginally more busy than usual. I’ve had pretty good luck find cards at this location but I’d never found anything quite like this. A bunch of mid-90s premium lots – kept in hard plastic boxes. I picked up a few – and a 1990 Score factory set – and was surprised when my total only came to $25. Seems that everything was 25% off. Nifty! This means my 1990 Score set only cost me $3.50. About a tenth of what I paid for it new when I was eight years old.

These purchases came with a bit of mystery. Were these full set? Randos? Did they match the clippings packaged with each box? I ended up being presently surprised. The first one I opened was the 1995 Leak Limited box. It contained a full base set.

These cards are shiny as hell but, I’m sorry to say, I don’t dig them too much. I don’t mind shiny, but the photos are way too straightforward. It is, to me, kind of a blah-looking set. Although it’s one of the few sets I’ve known that actually uses holographic foil for the card numbers. That was the ‘90s… the foil-overload era.

But that was not all in the case. I also found a set of the gold semi-parallel set. These are barely distinguishable from the base set, only with a slightly different tint to the shine. I also found a set of the “Bat Patrol” insert (WOW CREATIVE). These actually might be the best-looking of the bunch so far. 
And then I found these four gems…

Now these I dig. This is a wooden-fronted Lumberjacks insert set. They are actually printed on real wood, which makes each card unique in appearance. They are numbered out of 5,000 and were seeded one in every 75 packs – steep odds way back when. I’ve already had claims put in on the Mondesi and the Cecil, and I’m going to keep the Piazza and the McGriff.

Next was the 1995 Upper Deck SP box. This one was missing only the Derek Jeter. The first 30 cards of the set are die-cut.

Yeah! Brett and Nolan bad-ass. And check out this Hideo Nomo rookie card… probably one of the hottest cards of 1995.

I like this set. It’s got some great and clever photography.
How often do you see Ozzie Smith booting a grounder?

Or Rod Beck about to beat someone’s ass?

Or Ray Lankford upside down?

But this is probably my favorite card in the set. Pure and beautiful mid-90s baseball.

This one came with some inserts as well. 

The Platinum Power set is missing just one card. Although I really fail to see the appeal in it. That background… blech.

I preferred the pair of Special FX cards – another tough pull. I got a Jeff Montgomery and this Piazza. Hold it at an angle and he smiles as you. Creepy!

The last mystery-ish box was labeled “1994 Sportflics Rookie & Traded.” I knew that this one had an A-Rod rookie in it and was sorely disappointed when it turned out to be one card (guess which one?) short. 

Still, this is a fun set. It had lots of Brewers and a few big names. Checking back in my issues of Collector’s Sportslook that I salvaged from the basement recently, I learned that Pinnacle (who owned the Sportflics name) had nearly canceled this set in the wake of the 1994 players’ strike. They ended up giving it a limited release and it was – well into the 1995 season – a very hot item. My June ’95 price book lists the set at $50 with this Matt Williams insert listed at $20.

Oh those wacky ‘90s.

But my favorite get of the day was probably my 1990s Score set. As I mentioned early, I had one of these when I was a kid and flipping through these was a lot of fun. This one here…

… this was well worth the price of the set alone. I’m glad to have one of these back in my collection.

Odd thing about this set is the weird printing mistakes on some of the green-bordered cards.

Too much black ink, I suppose. A metaphor for the card industry in 1990 if there ever was one.

Aside from the Score set, I’m going to pluck through these for some choice players and leave the rest for trades. See something you fancy? Lemme know.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Catching up on Trades with Julie, Dayf, and Scott... "All Mixed Up" edition

Oy. It’s the time of thanks, and I’m certainly glad for so many trading pals across the web-o-rola. So many, in fact, that I’ve gotten behind on posting about them. I’ve gotten bad about this, as I’ve been doing more trades. When I get a bundle in the mail, especially needs for my Topps base cards, I am in such a rush to put them into my binders, that I have time to do no more than snap a quick picture of some of the key cards before they so to be with their “families.” So weeks later, when I get around to posting about the stuff, I’ve got a folder of random images with only a vague recollection of where they came from.

I know where most of latest batch came from… and I’ve got a few older folders that I haven’t gotten around to talking about yet. So, we’ll call this the “tying up loose ends” post.[edit - I ended up not calling it that]

My most recent package came from J. Meeks at A Cardboard Habit. He busted some Update recently and had a few photo variations up for grabs. The Brett Phillips was a natural for me and I also nabbed a fun Griffey to add my very small PC.

A few days ago, Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown wrote about a trade that I finally completed with him that got started all the way back in April. I won’t recount here (he’s a great rundown of it here), but it involved Dayf of the sadly mostly dormant CardJunk blog. I remember reading CardJunk way back in the late 2000s, when I made my first (and really lousy) attempt at card blogging. Earlier this year, when I got back into blogging, I gave away some of random crap I had in my collection as a way of making trade contacts. I sent Dayf some old Topps basketball cards and – last week – he responded with a very generous package.

Here is a shot of some of Topps base needs he helped me out with. At least, I THINK these were cards from Dayf. There’s a chance I’m mistaken… More on that in a bit.

Christ, it’s nothing but mystery and misdirection with this guy, ain’t it?

Here are some vintage Topps goodies that, again I’m pretty sure, Dayf sent.

Now this one, I know for sure came from him. I even yelped a bit as I turned it over in the stack.

Oh yeah! That’s a rookie card of the MVP and World Champion Jose Altuve. I’ve been after one of these for a while. I actually pulled one back in the day. I opened a decent amount of ’11 Update when it was new, although I never found a Trout. I did have an Altuve, but mailed it away when he was still doing TTM autos (it never came back).

Here it is in my mostly-full 2011 Update binder. Beautiful!

I also got a nice package from Julie Owens at A Cracked Bat. Julie sent a heap of great Brewers cards, many of which were new to me.

But the highlight of the package was a Brewers team set from 1994 Fleer Extra Bases… part of a series of “tall boy” sets they released. They had one for each sport, although I’m pretty sure none of the sets returned for a second year.

I also pulled off a Twitter swap with Scott of I Need New Hobbies, which is a new blog to me. Scott was smitten with the Bryce Harper 661 RC I pulled from a Fairfield repack and, after some negotiations, we agreed on a swap. He sent me a bunch of stuff I needed for my Topps sets – maybe those cards pictured above that I tentatively credited to Dayf? Maybe not? Anyway, if it wasn’t that stuff, it was pretty similar. I DO know, however, that Scott sent me these –

Those are some of Seattle Pilots from the 1969 Milton Bradley game set. Actually, Salmon was never a Pilot, but I like it nonetheless. These was a great scoop from a set I didn’t even know existed.

WHEW. So there you have it. I’m not totally caught up on trade posts, but I’m getting closer. And for that, I am thankful.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Freed from the Basement!

Getting caught up with many things at the moment with many posts (trade posts esp) to come. But, to all those who played in the basement fun game, your prizes on on their way!
Here they all are before they were on their way. 

Thanks everyone for playing and you will all find a lil something extra with your claim. 

Happy Thanksgiving, errbody! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

1988 Little Sun Legends of the Minor Leagues - BIG Card Show Find

Last time, I showed off some of my vintage pick-ups from last weekend’s Milwaukee card show. Today, let’s look at the oddballs I found. These are some very odd balls indeed.

I love these Topps glossy cards. The all-stars, the rookies, the send-in sets. There is something reassuring about them. I got this 1986 set for a dollar. I think I might send this Boggs off to get it signed. Boggs is a very good TTM signer, charging five bucks a sig.

I also snagged this from the same seller. It was a small set, just twelve cards, from some maker I had never heard of. But for a dollar, what the hell? The set was produced by Little Sun, a company based in Monrovia, CA. According to this brief history of the company, they released a number of sets between 1988 and 1992. I didn’t think much of it when I picked up and didn’t expect much based on the weird cover card. But when I got it home and opened it up, I was quite literally stunned by what I found.

Holy shit! That is a great-looking card! Each card was illustrated by artist Michael Guccione and it very reminiscent of the iconic 1935 National Chicle football set. This is Luke Easter, who clubbed 269 homers in the minors.

Here is Frank Shellenback, who was a master of the spitball with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League.

Jigger Statz had over 4,000 professional hits, with more 3,300 coming in the minors. Overall, he played in nearly 3,500 professional baseball games.

Meet Joe Hauser, a Milwaukee native who was the first professional hitter to ever belt more than 60 homers in multiple seasons. He topped out at 69 in 1933 for the Minneapolis Millers. He later retired to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, nearby to where I grew up.

Smead Jolley won six minor league batting titles, including marks of .397 and .404 for the San Francisco Seals.

Steve Bilko was six-foot-one and weighed as much as 265 pounds. One sportswriter said he resembled a “gigantic white eggplant.” In 1956, he smacked 55 homes and batted .360 for the PCL LA Angels.

This is instantly my favorite card of Pete Gray, who made history with the St. Louis Browns in 1945 by being the first MLB player who was missed a limb. He had limited success in the majors, but hit .380 with the Trois-Rivieres Renards of the Canadian-American League in 1942. He's shown here with the Memphis Chicks, where he batted .333 in 1944.

Lou Novikoff was a PCL MVP with Los Angeles. He saw action in a few seasons with the Cubs but loved to eat and drink and hated to meet curfew. He was a notoriously bad fielder and – per the bio on the back of the card – had a terrible fear of the ivy on the walls at Wrigley Field.

Ike Boone batted .370 during his 14-year minor league career and in 1929 hit .407 with 55 homers for Mission, His mark of 553 total bases that year set an all-time record (he played 198 games that season).

And then there’s Fidel Castro. Yes, THAT Fidel Castro. A very odd addition to the set, considering this “legend” of the minor league never played in the minor leagues, although was known as a huge fan of the game who played in his younger days. This set actually isn’t even listed in the Trading Card Database, but if it were, this would mark the only baseball card of Castro, who has appeared in a handful of non-sports sets. 

And here is an example of the set's backside, which includes a very nice biographical write-up. 

Anyway, those were my oddball adventures at the show. Next up, JUNK WAX!