Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Taking a Little Break

First off, I just waned to thank everyone for their kind words lately. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm in the midst of bad times, the type that everyone goes through now and again, but bad times none-the-less. 

However, in the parts of my life that are mostly frivolous and fun, there's also been a lot going on. I've purchased and won some really cool stuff lately and am very eager to share it with everybody, but now just ain't the time. I'm going to set it all aside and get back to it when things have cleared up. So, if we've swapped, I'll get around to talking about it... if we were working on some kinda deal... I'll get back to it. But for the next week or two I'll won't be posting much here or on the twits. 

But I will be back. And with a vengeance. Until then...


Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Helpful Dumbness of What We Do

It’s been one of those damn weeks, you know?

As I mentioned on Twitter, we had to put one of our pet rats down on Wednesday. Idgie had been sick for a while and was doing pretty well right up until the end. She was two and half years, which is pretty old for rats. She had a very good life and we will miss her very much.

Then, on Thursday, we got some very bad health news about a very dear family member. I won’t bother with the details, but the past few days habeen sad and stressful, lots of time on the road and in the hospital. Gloomy shit, heavy shit.

But, as they say, life goes on. Stuff both big and little. And in times like this, nothing feels littler than a hobby. It feels dumb and empty. I got home to cards and related stuff spread out all over, just as I’d left them. I’d like to get back to it, but it feels silly and a little disrespectful of the situation.

But hopefully, in proper doses, it will be ok. Hey, looky here…

… that’s a 2010 Topps Team Set Gregg Zaun I found in my mail box when I got home today. I got the whole set, actually, as this card is impossible to find on its own. This one, paired with the 1970 Topps Gordy Lund that should come next week will leave me just THREE cards shy of a complete all-time Brewers set. JUST THREE CARDS! It was nice to look at and think about for a while.

And in that picture there, that’s the 1997 Topps set I got for just three bucks at Goodwill that I was in the process of paging when I got called out of town... left on the guest bed like it was part of a crime scene. Maybe I’ll finished that tonight, since I’m too tired to do anything else. Or those 1985 cards in that box. I picked those up, with a 1986 set and an awesome stack of Brewers from ARPSmith of Sportscard Obsession from his recent Craigslist haul. I could get those in a box and ready for whenever I get some more pages.

So I’ll do something little and dumb and meaningless tonight. That stuff helps sometimes, you know?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Goodwill Gets, Part Two: The Sets

I made another trip to my local “jackpot” Goodwill today, just to see what I could find. I did indeed find some “new” cards on the shelves… but nothing that was worthwhile to me. There was an ’89 Fleer baseball factory set, a ’90 Score, some mixed lots of 1987/86 Fleer… stuff that might be fun for someone else, but not for this old bird.

But my previous Goodwill trips have been so BOSS that I still haven’t shared everything. This post will cover the complete and complet-ish sets I found.

First up, let’s take a look at the shelves from a few weeks ago.

Each of these boxes were priced between $5 and $7. Those Bowman boxes caught my eye hard, but flipping through them, I found that these had already been picked through… maybe in-store, maybe before they even got there, who knows? The big card here, of course, is the 1993 Jeter, which was missing from BOTH boxes of ’93 Bowman. Anyway, I left these behind.

Lots of Ultra, Lots of TSC, both included decent stacks of inserts, but nothing that I was overly drawn to.

I was bragging on here not that long ago about getting most of the 1993 Topps set with a couple of vending boxes. And not that getting a near-set for $13 is anything to sneeze on, but here I could have picked up a factory set – COMPLETE – for $6. I left it for someone else to grab. The other boxes in this pic are filled with 1988 Topps…

Except for this one, which yielded a COMPLETE set of 1997 Topps. This one, I grabbed right up. Just $4!

And it even came with the inserts…

But look at how this was packaged. That’s weird… maybe this was to protect the cards? I dunno. What it did do was smash them so tightly together that there was a lot of “bricking” going on, and many of the cards have the “snowflake effect” from old gloss sticking and being pulled apart. Hey, look at that, I invented two new card terms!

I also grabbed that set of 1993 Leaf. It contained all three series and a bunch of inserts. No bricking here, but look how the curl of the card varies by series…

Even in the Frank Thomas insert set that spanned two series. Odd. Does anyone know what causes that?

The Heading for the Hall set is missing just one card.

And I got a handful of Fasttrack and All Star cards.

And a full set of Gold Rookies, including a soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

Also, this nice one-off card honoring Dave Winfield’s 3000th hit.

I gotta say, I LOVE this set. It was a big step-up for the Leaf brand after it spent a few years trying to find its footing as a premium set. I don’t have an image of the backside, but they incorporate pictures from the city in which each team plays. It’s a classy design with staying power.

I also found this fella…

… which I believe is a full 1992 Upper Deck set. It even came with a few extras…

Once I get a little closer on my Topps builds, I might try a complete run of Upper Deck baseball sets.

Gosh… I wonder if these cards are worth anything?

Let me check the latest price book I’ve got…

Ah! Yes, Collector’s Sportslook… January 1995? Hm… well, the market hasn’t changed all that much since then, eh?

Whoa! I hope not! Man, a $55 set for just $6.

And what’s this?? That stack of Gold Rookies “books” at $100!! Gadzooks. I’d better get a screw-down case for that Jeff Hammonds.

So why am I flashing back to 1995? Well, because of this…

The 1991 Fleer Ultra Update set. This one cost me $5 and was easily the dud of the haul. First off, all the cards are damaged.

Yikes. And second, this isn’t really all that desirable of a set. You can get one on eBay for about what I paid for it, and in better condition to boot. But for some reason it stuck in my head as a rare item. Why? Well, let’s go back to 1995…

Yeah! What the hell? Why was this such a hot-shit set at one time? It’s nice to add a couple HOFer RCs, but this came off as rare as ’92 Bowman back in the day. Oh well. I’ll take that lump. And if anyone is interested in the Juan Gonzalez, I can do $10 for it.

I also had it in my head that this 1993 Topps Traded set was rare. But, per Sportslook, it never was. Nonetheless, I still needed it for my Topps binders and, at $2, I figured it was worth it, even it did look like it had been run over by a school bus and had cards missing. But just two bucks! I guess it was probably missing the stars and in lousy shape, but I got it anyway.

Well, I was wrong again. A Helton RC, a Pizza 2nd year, Bonds first Giants card, and a Paul Molitor that absolutely breaks my heart. It was about a ten cards short of complete… all commons. Go figure.

So that’s Goodwill tale number two… I have one more a-waiting and will hopefully get it up soon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2018 Series One Checklist Thoughts

O Happy Day! The Topps series one checklist has arrived, meaning that all us bloggers can now piss and moan about it! I'm gonna take a quick look at the Brewers on the list, but first... check out this exclusive LEAKED image of Ryan Braun's 2018 card...

.. thank God I got this (can't tell you how), or I would have had no image to go with this post! It looks... not great. Get it together, Topps. 

 So in the base set, we have:

Brandon Woodruff RC
Brett Phillips
Chase Anderson
Corey Knebel
Jonathan Villar
Keon Broxton
Lewis Brinson
Neil Walker
Orlando Arcia
Ryan Braun
Zach Davies
Zach Davies LL
Team Card

That's actually not too bad. The only guy no longer with the organization is Neil Walker, but I don't at all mind his inclusion here as this is his first card as a Brewer and will fit into my all-time roster binder. It's also a pretty decent-sized list, hopefully indicating a robust overall team checklist. 

We already know that series two will feature Manny Pina and Josh Hader (all-star rookies), and should include Eric Thames, Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, and Jimmy Nelson... leaving five spots open for guys like Stephen Vogt and Eric Sogard, who are each yet without a Brewers card, or for bullpen guys or role players.

We've also go certified autos of Domingo Santana and Brandon Woodruff in series one, which will also fill vacancies in my all-time Brewers auto set. 

And, hey, only three Aaron Judge cards in series one!

Overall, my early impressions from this list are pretty positive. What a weird way to feel about a new Topps product...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Goodwill Monster Box Pick-up: The Results

If you happen to follow me on twitter, you know that I’ve made some waaaay cool finds at my local Goodwill lately. A while back, I posted on some premium 1990s sets I found at the same location. That find surprising to me, as I had only found cards at that store a few times in the past and almost never found anything worth picking up. But, as the next few posts will show, Milwaukee’s Oakland Avenue location has seemingly became a hotbed for fun card finds. It seems to me that most of this stuff is coming from the same donation, with the store putting it out for sale a few items at time. The way the cards are boxed (and even organized within the boxes) is all pretty similar. I’ve found myself checking in now about once a week just to see if there is anything new. And I’ve been pretty lucky with what I’ve found.

The first item I’ll discuss is my find from a few weeks ago: the $13 MONSTER BOX. I’ve never seen one of these at any kind of second-hand shop before. I actually had some other stuff gathered up to take to the register when I spotted this thing by the furniture. I had to abandon my other stuff (a Zach Davies bobblehead most notably) because, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a car. It was a hell of walk home with this big bastard in some chilly weather but it was well worth the effort.

Of the 5,000 cards, about 1,500 of them were straight-up junk era filler. You can probably spot the ’88 Donruss in the photo above. So those, I set aside. Another 800 were Cubs which, as I mentioned in my last post, made their way to the Million Cubs Project and yielded a nice box of Topps needs for my sets. Big win! I found a few dozen cards from my needs list in the box itself.

The rest of the box was strangely in line with what I was collecting as a kid and adult… not necessarily in terms of the products, but the years covered: most early 90s to the mid 90s and stuff from the last few years… an indicator of someone who collected as a kid, tried to get back into as an adult and then ditched the whole works to the local Goodwill.

The contents also kind of struck me as a really, REALLY big Fairfield repack. Some decent stuff mixed with junk filler… and a ton of those Topps team set cards… the one without the foil Topps logo. I found about 50 of them from various teams.

Oddballs! Yes, indeed. Here is a Doc Gooden from the 1989 Farmland Milk Mets issue.

Or this not-too-terribly-attractive Tom Seaver single-player set card from Pacific. Dig that backside… yeesh.

This is a nice part of the Upper Deck set that was issued to promote the Ken Burns Baseball series in 1994.

And who doesn’t like a Hygrade Jackie Robinson? I found a number of cards from this set. All nice additions to my oddball stack.

And not really an oddball, but this Frank Thomas bobblehead punch-out is a nice relic of late-90s drive by US to bring kids back to collecting. (Update: since this one was already falling apart, I punched it out and set it up since the rat cage to see what they would do with it. 12 hours later, and they've stolen his head)

Speaking of which, I found a BIG stack of UD Fun Packs cards, including several fold-outs and even a few heat-activated cards. I also found lots of mid-1990s Studio cards and a big pile of 1996 Score.

And what says mid-90s more than a Hideo Nomo Fleer Emotion rookie card? I found a few Nomo rookies, and each one really took me back to the days when they were on FIRE in Beckett.

Throwing back to the werid-o Tom Seaver above, I found lots of other Pacific in the box. I’ve already shipping most of them to Nick at NJVV for his Spanish-language collection. I’ve always kind of hated Pacific cards. They always looked a little off… like one of those unlicensed sets that were all over the place in the 1980s. There was always something just a bit amateurish about their designs and the weird sets they invented.

But I gotta admit, these are pretty decent looking cards. It’s something called Pacific Aurora from 2000… back when companies named sets like car companies named new models.

Also found and already gone is this Barry Larkin Ultra All-Star insert. It’s missing its foil! An eBay 1 of 1! I sent it over to Nachos Grande for his Larkin collection.

Speaking of eBay 1 of 1s, how about this red parallel of Arodys Vizcaino (who got a star number for some inexplicable reason)… number 50/50! I still have this one if anyone is interested. 

There were not a whole lot of Brewers in the box, but I did find this 1986 sealed police team set. Alas, I cannot stand oversized cards. So this is now an object of scorn in my collection and I hid it deep in some box I’ll never look inside of.

Among the more recent Topps cards were these Archives 1991 designed cards. I looooove these. It’s one of my favorite Topps designs of all time and they did a great job reproducing it.

I also loooooove the glossy All Star cards that used to come one per rack pack. They brought back that design as well and pretty much nailed it… except for the gloss. What the hell? It was the defining feature of the original sets.

And maybe among the worst Topps repros I’ve ever seen is this “60 years of whatever/Berger’s Best/ Threw away” thing of a 1995 Frank Thomas. They replaced the gold foil with silver and made the border much larger than on the original. It looks terrible.

So that is mostly the gist of my MONSTER find. I’ll wrap things up with some common cards I found that hold a near n dear place to me…

Tony Kubek and the late Todd Frohwirth. What could these two have in common? They are both Milwaukee natives! I have it in my head to start a Milwaukee-collection some day.

And then this awful card of a former Dodgers farmhand. He played summer league ball in Manitowoc, WI, where I grew up, during college and his family and mine became friendly during the summer. My sister even still has one of his used uniforms from that summer. He topped out at AAA, but still managed a pretty long professional career. I was unaware he had ever had a card made (outside of MiLB team sets), so it was a nice surprise to find an old Manitowoc-er in the box.

So that’s my monster box recap. Coming up next in the Goodwill series is my BIG SET find!