Saturday, May 4, 2024

Completion! - 1959 Topps

I teased this several weeks ago on whatever I'm using as my current social media account, but then life came at me fast.  Before we get any further here, can we all just agree that the spring kind of sucks?  Yes, baseball gets underway, but for those of us from certain walks of life, February through May can be a real slog.  I race across town three nights a week for soccer practice, which eats up my whole evening.  Kids at school are going crazy because of district policies that have basically turned elementary schools into middle schools (in terms of behavior) over the past two decades.  And there have been a bunch of weekends when I've been out of town the whole time.  First Communions, water parks, Illinois soccer tournaments that don't even use linespeople to help officiate the games (WTF?!?!), it all got busy.  Most of it was fun, but the time to post just didn't exist.
 
But here we are now, time to unveil the final card I acquired to complete my 1959 Topps baseball card set.
#217 Carl Erskine

Back when you start a set like this, you never really know who the last guy is that you'll need.  To be honest, back when you start a set like this, you don't even know you're starting.  I'm not even really sure how long it took me.  I just know that I was at a card show in the late aughts, and there was a guy selling cards from the 1950s for 50 cents each.  Condition wasn't great, but I scooped up a bunch that looked cool.  What also helped was the 2008 Heritage set being released.  We're quickly coming up on a year when the Heritage design will come from a year during which I was alive, but at the time 1959 might as well have been 1776 or 1215.
 
For a while, my tiny collection of '59s just sat in a stack, not doing much of anything or bothering anybody.  At some point, I started going after the big boys in the set.  Getting the Mickey Mantle #10 in pretty decent condition at a fair price was probably what started to make things feel possible.
 
Yeah, I keep them in a binder.  Sue me.  Report me to the slab police.  I just prefer to put cards in albums instead of toting them around in a gun safe.  They're documents form the past, but they're not the U.S. Constitution.  They need to be accessible.  Cards tell the story of baseball, so a book seems like the best place for them.

Speaking of slabs, I have one card that isn't in the binder.  Back when I bought the Bog Gibson RC, I wanted to make sure I was getting the real deal.  The price on this PSA 4 is probably double now what I paid for it.  Glad I got most of the big ones pre-pandemic.  He would look really nice next to the Killebrew, though.

For the rest of this post, I'll just share photos of a few key cards/pages.  You'll see that condition varies from card to card, but I tried to get nice clean copies of all of the stars.
 
First page, starting with #1 Commissioner Ford Frick.

Hank Aaron, with Don Drysdale in the corner.

Fence Busters, Aaron and Mathews

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.

Both Robinsons on one page, what a great coincidence.

All those beautiful Baseball Thrills.

Mays, right in the center of things.

Campanella: Symbol of Courage, and the start of the All-Stars.

And finally, the page you show to people to make their eyes bug out.  It's one Holy Hell of a completed page, to be sure.

And now that I'm at the end of this post, I'm realizing that I've left out Sandy Koufax at least*, and there are probably a bunch more.  Oh well.  It was great fun building the set for the last 15-ish years, and now all that's left is to decide which one to try next.  Thanks for reading!

*Oh JEEZ, Roberto Clemente, too!  On two different cards!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Trade Me Anything XVII #9

If there's one thing I can count on with this annual TMA event, it's getting a trade package from Zpop in the springtime.  Hey, we had snow when this year's edition began (well, close to the opening, anyways, thanks to a Halloween snowstorm), and we've had snowfall since Zpop's package arrived, so in my book this all falls within the confines of winter.  The envelope, please.
 
Giving:
#US97 Kenta Maeda Gold Foil, #BG-11 Riley Greens ToppsBlackGold, #US145 Jeter Downs, #US257 Leody Taveras

Getting:
Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy
I've already read one baseball book this year, I'm in the middle of another one, and there's a third on the to-read pile.  Not complaining, though, I do try to get to everything you guys send me.  I look forward to reading this as I love books about athletes who are also smart.  Allow me to recommend John Urschel's Mind and Matter, it's at the top of this genre.
Package of NL East Stickers ca. 1990
Price tag on the back is from 2018 and displays a retail price of a hefty $0.19.
Pack of 2021 Topps WWE Heritage Cards
I got heavy into a couple of WWE Heritage sets a few years before this one.  It will likely make an appearance on a future post.

Thanks for a nice trade, Zpop, I look forward to reading, opening, and sticking.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Packs That Just Showed Up #2

Since the first post in this series I was actually able to sell some of those 2007 U&H cards with no foil stamping.  The Glavine went for $5.00 and I got $3.00 for all of the commons.  Nice to have some free money in the ol' eBay account.  The next pack I'm choosing to share is one of the two 2019 Topps Series 1 packs.  Shall we?

132 Miguel Andujar
313 Robinson Cano
157 Buster Posey
104 Joe Musgrove
84 Matt Carpenter
280 Miles Mikolas
121 Joey Wendle
That first card continues the tradition of the Cardinals having a guy on the roster named Carpenter with an extremely punchable face that goes back to the sandlot days of 1832.
RA-15 Ronald Acuna Jr. "Taking a Bow"
This is part of a Wal-mart-exclusive insert set.  Pretty cool and I will listen to trade offers if anyone is interested.
SSB-93 Albert Pujols Stars of the Game
Is it just me, or do the Pujols Angels cards make you feel melancholy?  Yeah, he was a mortal enemy, but he didn't deserve to languish in the boonies of MLB.  He was hitting milestones and shit in Anaheim and they made his career look like a joke.  It gives everyone with a "yeah, but..." a legitimate argument because he just became irrelevant.
126 Oakland Atheltics Team
134 Sean Reid-Foley
339 Josh Harrison
The Harrison is a great shot, though he should take off that dagblasted mitten.
Oakland Coliseum always looked beautiful from aerial photos like this, it's a shame they never got an "economically viable" stadium built.  Actually, it's more a a shame that a revenue generating stadium is a requirement, not just a nice place to watch baseball.  This sport is slowly killing itself.
326 Heath Fillmyer
60 Kyle Tucker
85 Garrett Hampson
146 Jesse Winker
A nice end to the pack with the Tucker rookie and a future one-season Brewer.

Well, that's the end of the pack.  A pack with 16 cards in it feels like the right amount.  If I'm elected President this November, I'm signing an executive order declaring this to be the minimum number of cards contained within a single pack.  I approve this message.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Packs That Just Showed Up #1

Hello, friends.
 
Let me set the scene.
One night last weekend my wife got together with one of my cousins and a mutual friend for a girls' night out.  The next morning, I walked downstairs and saw a little stack of baseball card packs rubber banded together and sitting on one of the steps.  The first few hours of daylight were filled with taking kids to various activities, so we didn't see each other until the afternoon.  I was pretty sure these packs weren't mine, though I wouldn't put it past myself to leave some cards on the stairs and not remember doing so.  When I asked where the packs came from, I got a delightful answer.  
My wife explained that one of my cousin's other friends had these packs for some odd reason, didn't want them anymore, and didn't really want to throw them away.  Not sure how the topic even got brought up between this woman and my cousin, but she made a heads-up play by saying, "Oh, I have a cousin who is really into baseball cards, maybe he would want them."  And that's how they ended up with me.

If you look closely, you can see some evidence of tampering.  Yes, these packs are all open.  My plan here is to "rediscover" their contents and share them in this space.  I put it to a vote over on my BlueSky account as to which pack I should open first.  Three people voted, and all three picked a different pack, so I went with the quickest comment, which was a push to the the 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights pack.
Here we go.
 
UH269 Grady Sizemore
UH55 Mike Maroth
UH237 Justin Verlander
UH281 Classic Combo Cole Hamels / Russell Martin
So far, so good.  I completed this set back in the fall of 2007, so these are all doubles to me.  Quality players in this bunch.  Let's continue.
 
MHR471 Mickey Mantle Home Run History 417
This one is new to me.  I obviously got a bunch of these back in the day, but I must have traded them all away of sold them.  This will go into my 2006-2008 monster box.

UH176 Kurt Suzuki
Uhhhhhh, OK?
Yeah, there's no foil on the front of this card.  I might have something here.  Maybe there's a Suzuki collector out there who would pay for this production error RC.  I'd imagine he had/has a pretty nice following as a one-time All-Star and World Series champion.

UH206 Tom Glavine
UH130 Eric Gagne
UH195 Marcus McBeth
More missing foil.  Someone's got to be willing to slide me a couple of bucks for that Glavine, right?

UH142 Jeremy Guthrie
UH87 Jeff Karstens
UH304 D'Angelo Jimenez
Checklist 3
Well, that was weird.  All of the cards after the mid-pack insert missing the foil stamping.  The black voids above and below the photos make these cards feel eerie, like the text is being redacted.  Maybe these cards are in witness protection.  Check back here for more packs, perhaps we'll get some more egg noodles and ketchup.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Trade Me Anything XVII #8

Today we had a snow day here in Milwaukee, the second one this week, so I had a lot of time to get to do a lot of the things that often get set aside due to normal daily obligations.  One of those fun things was to take care of the last TMA trade that I have yet to post.  This one comes from David, a repeat trader who stays true to the spirit of the "Anything" in this longtime trading series.  Let's see what this year holds.
 
Giving:
#MLM-FT Fernando Tatis Jr. Major League Material
#T88CU-32 1988 Blake Snell Topps 35th Anniversary Refractor
#US204 Hunter Renfroe, #US199 Matt McLain, #US137 Garrett Stubbs, #US77 Anthony Volpe

 Getting:
Box of 2023 Topps Archives Signature Series containing...
...some cards!
A nice mix of Brewers, soccer, and randomness, plus a Roger Clemens from my 2003 Topps want list.
A pocket knife
I think I'm going to throw this into my camping bin.  I've been caught wanting a knife a few times over the years, but never did anything about it.  Now is the time.
Packet of Golden State Zinnia seeds from the 2022 Orange County Fair.
Am I going to be doing some cultivating this year?  Maybe.
Tin of Altoids
Packet of GE Aerospace sticky notes
Handy at school, for sure.
Out of My League by Dirk Hayhurst
This is probably the item I'm most excited about.  I did some Googling and saw that this was Hayhurst's second book.  As a purist (for entertainment, if not baseball), I would like to start from the beginning, so I put a hold on his first book, The Bullpen Gospels, at my local library.  It came in the other day, so with the day off today I decided to take a five-mile run through several inches of snow and pick up the book before it closed at noon.  The run home was pretty tough, as I was getting pelted with snow carried by an easterly wind off of Lake Michigan, but a simple plastic bag kept the book dry while my clothes gained about five pounds of wetness.  It's been a great day, due in no small part to David's generous trade.
 
I hope these cards find you well, David, and I'm looking forward to next year's (well, this year's) trade already.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Trade Me Anything XVII #7

I got a package from Tim in the mail quite a few days before Christmas and I have a little bit of time before I have to move on to the next family obligation, so here we go.

Giving: 
All of the ASG Inserts I Pulled, #US291 Sepncer Turnbull Rainbow Foil, #AA-69 Bob Feller All Aces, #88US-16 Tanner Bibee, #88US20 Johnny Bench, #88US-46 Vladimir Guerrero

Getting:
A nice Christmas card...
...that had a Robin Yount Donruss Champions card inside.
Box #2 of 1990 Collect-a-Books
I bought box #1 back when these came out, but never got the rest of them.
A whole bunch of bagged cards.
These are arranged in a somewhat categorized fashion, too much to go through now, but they might make an appearance this summer.

This is all cool stuff, Tim!  Thanks for taking part once again, and enjoy the cards.