Monday, August 26, 2019

CC: Still Unearthing More

2008 Topps Stadium Club #10 Yellow Printing Plate (1/1)

It makes me happy that these are still popping up from time to time (albeit several years apart, at this point). If you look at it one way, it encapsulates the quintessential collector's dilemma. Can you ever really collect ALL of something? Would you even want to? Even if you narrow the parameters of a collection, as I have, is the search ever truly over? Unless I acquire every Sabathia 1/1 I know about, I'll still be looking until I'm 80 years old, I believe. Deathbed Thorzul is going to be hitting whatever the equivalent of refresh is on his subcortical implant CPU hoping that someone finally decides to part with the cyan plate from '08 Topps Updates & Highlights. And I'm fine with that.

Chase what makes you happy, and hope you'll never run out of something to pursue. I know I won't.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Thorzul Archives: Vol. 1

As you may know, this blog is an offshoot of my now-dead site, Thorzul Will Rule. I kept it going for twelve years, and during that time, I have been wrong about many, many things. Other things I have hit the nail on the head. And still other topics have developed further since publication. This feature will occasionally be used to go back and correct, tout, or otherwise expand upon something that I've written in the past.

Back in 2011 I did a quick post about some of the cards I picked up at a local card show. One of these was a 1957 Topps Reno Bertoia. In the post I remark that on his card, Bertoia appears to be "zonked." Not knowing anything about the player, this was merely a comment on his appearance. Just breaking balls, you know. People take less-than-ideal pictures all the time, caught mid-blink or something like that. I figured this was just one of those situations and joked accordingly.

As it turns out, Bertoia actually had a significant drug problem during his playing career. While reading the book Team Chemistry not too long ago, I came across Reno's name. A chapter partly about Bertoia indicates that he used the tranquilizers Equanil and Sedamyl to reduce his anxiety so he could be calm enough to play effectively. Most reports state that this began during the 1957 season, which would make it unlikely that he was on the pills while depicted on his 1957 Topps card. However, the dates could be off by a bit, perhaps better explaining his appearance in the card. Unfortunately, Reno died approximately three months after I wrote this post about him.

A very thorough article about Bertoia by the Society for Advanced Baseball Research can be found here.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

NSCC Fallout Pt. 11: Quarter Box Coma V - The Final Chapter

After this, I have nothing left to show off. In retrospect, I wish I had taken a little more time on day two to hunker down and dig.  

1973-74 Topps Julius Erving
This card has no place in a quarter box. Such is the mystique of the National.

1963 Topps 1962 World Series Game #3
Condition is not great, but still a fun find.

 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Buyback 2006 Juan Pierre
Look for these to clog up your local quarter boxes for the next 50 years.  Available for trade or sale.

1983 Donruss Cal Ripken
Pretty sure I didn't have this early Ripken where Cal looks a little spooked.

1974 Topps All-Star Catchers Fisk / Bench
It's tough to think of a better backstop duo of contemporaries than these two.

1979 Topps Johnny Bench
More Bench, nothing wrong with that.

1973-74 Topps Walt Frazier
Still looking good on those Just For Men commercials. (Though I doubt he needs it.)

1979 Topps Paul Molitor
It was recently asked on Twitter which player from the past you could keep healthy during their career. The correct answer for me is Rollie Fingers. The Brewers would have won the 1982 World Series if he had played. Molitor would be a close second.

Well, now I just have to keep my eyes open for a local show.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

NSCC Fallout Pt. 10: Quarter Box Coma IV

Be warned: Today's post is politician-heavy.  

2012 Topps Presidential Predictors Barack Obama (Connecticut)
I had honestly never seen one of these before. It turns out that in 2012 Topps Update there were 50 cards each for Obama and Romney, one for each state. There's a code on the back which you could enter if the candidate on your card won that state's electoral votes. (And you didn't have long to do so, either, withe the contest expiring on 11/13/2012.) From the winning codes, Topps randomly chose 50 winners who were awarded a manufactured patch Obama card. I couldn't find any examples of these patch cards in a search, but I'd love to see one. Let me know if you find one.

2012 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King
These I am familiar with. In fact, one of the MLKs is already in my collection. Oh well.

2007 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Zachary Taylor Legendary Americana (274/550)
This was part of a fun numbered insert in the Legendary Cuts product. I don't remember if these fell one or two per box, but it's a hard set to try to finish. I'm still working on the Legendary Lineage cards that make up the entire second half of the set. Basically, if you see one of these in a quarter box, buy it.

1976 Topps Lyle Alzado
There's a lot you've probably already read about Alzado, but there's one thing I'd like to explore. He want to Yankton College in South Dakota, which closed permanently in 1984. One other notable NFL player off the top of my head who attended a college that no longer exists is Dave Krieg. Krieg played at Milton College in Wisconsin, and was lucky enough to have finished school two years before it closed in 1982.

1971 Topps Boston Red Sox
You know, those corners and edges look pretty good. (Oh great. The word "edges" just made me think about how it's only a matter of time before I go back to school and have to listen to kids make fun of each other for their edges and hairlines. Seriously, you cannot make this shit up. Disciplining tomorrow's leaders today, man.)

1962 Topps Don Cardwell
I just love his #COLLECT-friendly name, so whenever I see one of his cards I pick it up. Dude looks like the guy who played Superman's dad in the first movie. "You... are here... for a reason." And then he has a gripper on the driveway. Great scene.

One more to come...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

NSCC Fallout Pt. 9: Dollar Box Vintage

One of my favorite phenomena at the National was the presence of massive troughs of cards set out by some of the dealers. Little rhyme or reason, every card is the same price. And, like hogs to slops, hoo boy, wasn't it a frenzy! The reports from the front could be Blade Runner-esque with little trouble. "I've seen things you non-collectors wouldn't believe..." It was at one of these troughs where I found some '59s I needed, and I decided to round out the purchase with to hit the ten-dollar mark.  

1976-77 Topps Jim Price
BIG. There were a bunch of these floating around this particular trough, so I grabbed the only Buck I could find. My first card from this set.

1954 Topps Vern Stephens
Someone took a few nibbles on this, but that cute Orioles logo is too much to pass up.

 1964 Topps Choo-Choo Coleman
I hope that before Mr. Coleman passed in 2016, someone got the chance to introduce him to Shin-Soo Choo. In person.

1958 Topps Bob Miller
Not sure why I picked this card. Pretty plain.

 1974 Topps Ron Santo
There's a bit of tension on this card. I like it.
1955 Topps Bob Kennedy

1958 Topps St. Louis Cardinals
The team cards are sometimes way overpriced in these '50s sets, so it's good to get one for a dollar.

That's it from the dollar slop bucket. More quarter box madness up ahead.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

NSCC Fallout Pt. 8: Quarter Box Coma III

The quarter box continues to produce...

 2007 Fleer Ultra Lucky 13 Daisuke Matsuzaka
These Lucky 13's were base set slight short prints in '07 Ultra, and right at the time I got back into the hobby, there was no hotter rookie than Dice-K. It's amazing what twelve years can do, as I'm sure this card was going for $15-20 back then. If I ever decide to make a run at the set, I'll need this one and be glad I got it for a quarter.

1974 Topps Tony Perez
I just love those spring training shots where you can see for miles behind the player.

1994 Donruss Frank Thomas Long Ball Leaders
As a 1:12 insert, this would have been a special pull back in 1994. I bought a few packs of the stuff back then, but never got any of this insert. I would argue that 1994 Donruss is one of the best looking sets of the '90s, and the Long Ball Leaders, though text heavy, looked pretty good, too.

 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects David Price Gold
The majority of this set, including base, chrome, and gold, is sitting in a box somewhere. I think once I finish something else, I'll put together a want list for it.

1977 Topps George Brett / Ken Brett Big League Brothers
Did a quick check after getting home. I had several of these brothers cards, but not this one. Happy to scoop it up.

1979 Topps Pete Rose
Wow, already 3,164 hits by this time, and it's not even the '80s.

1978 Topps Robin Yount
Another case of a card I already have, plus I've already completed the Topps set. This is something I can put on a table at a garage sale that some old guy will gladly pay $2 for.

2018-19 Panini Prizm Giannis Antetokounmpo
King of the city where I live, this card did not show up in the box I bought earlier, but now it's mine.

More to come...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

NSCC Fallout Pt. 7: Boxes of Product

It felt a little silly to come home from the National with all of my treasures fitting into a brown paper lunch bag, so just before leaving I bought a few boxes of cards. The easiest decision I made all week was to pick up a box of 2018 Topps WWE Legends. Dave & Adam's must have been trying to get rid of the stuff, because the price was right. You are guaranteed two autos per box. I hit FIVE. Needless to say, you'll probably have to wait until January to see what was inside.

 I also got a box of 2019 Topps Opening Day. I enjoyed the packs I bought at Target this spring, so I made the decision to put the set together. Those mascots, man, that's where they get ya.

 But what we've come her to talk about is this box. 2017 Topps MLS Stadium Club. Two autos per box, $20, I decided to give it a shot. SPOILER: I did not like this product.

Let's start with the parallels. For some reason, Topps decided that Stadium Club, a brand built on exceptional photography and vibrant colors, should include black and white parallels. Stupid. I'm showing these a red card.

Oh great, more parallels, this time the name is in gold. This is a studs-up tackle to the back of the knee. Terrible.

Giovani dos Santos Photo Variation
Got a good player, at least. The thing is, this photo is less exciting than the one on the regular dos Santos card. (1:19 pack odds.)

Are the parallels done yet? No? Terrific.
Joao Plata Members Only (5/6)
This is a Stadium Club standby, and perhaps with the low numbering I can get a few bucks for this, even though RSL doesn't have any fans. (1:128 pack odds)

Okay, we made it through that mess and are on to the inserts. These are called "Profiles," and they... what the hell? Where did the color go again? What is with the obsession with black and white? See, MLS made this really great choice when they redesigned their logo a few years ago. The league logo changes color in relation to the team clothing on which it is featured. This is just washed-out image cropping. Donruss Studio did this almost thirty years ago, with much better results.

Up next, Scoreless Streak goalkeeper inserts. Now that's what I'm talking about! A focused insert set with something resembling creative graphic design. This is what should have taken the place of all those waste-of-space B&W/gold parallels. Two per box is uncool.

#74 Ignacio Piatti
Perennial MLS All-Star, stuck in the backwater of the league so few know who he is. I will get $3 for this if I'm lucky.

#56 Ethan Finlay Members Only (19/20)
Not terrible. Finlay has an interesting story, with his family moving to north-central Wisconsin where soccer is almost nonexistent, and commuting to Milwaukee (well...Germantown) to play youth club ball. (1:80 pack odds)

With some luck, I might be able to eke a profit out of this box, since I sure ain't collecting it. Maybe I'll give the base cards to that little blind kid who sits outside my apartment complex.
More to come...

Monday, August 12, 2019

NSCC Fallout Pt. 6: Quarter Box Coma II

Nine more from the quarter box!  

2001 Pacific Jarious Jackson Premiere Date Parallel (29/45)
Let's talk about 2001 Pacific Football. To my eye, one of the best looking football sets ever made. I'm still collecting it because there are a lot of SPs and inserts to chase. Having opened up a lot of this product, I can tell you that these Premiere Date cards fall one to every couple of boxes. I've gotten a few over the years, no big stars, unfortunately. There are currently two of these available from the same seller on COMC for $23.24 each. Wishful thinking, yes, but I'd gladly sell mine for half that. The only problem is that I'd probably need to find a Jarious Jackson supercollector. Not bloody likely, but maybe there's a hardcore Notre Dame fan who'd like to put his money where his mouth is.

 2017 Topps Yulieski Gurriel Photo Variation
The only reason I caught this one is because I pulled this card from a pack in 2017 and sold it on eBay. I got a few bucks for it, and I'll try to do so again.

2007 Topps Updates & Highlights David Ortiz Gold (0102/2007)
Man, Topps Gold parallels used to look so much better when the cards had borders. This is a gold set (S1/S2/UH) I could realistically put together someday. Maybe after I finish 1993TAu, I'll start in earnest.

 2011 Topps Triple Threads CC Sabathia Bronze (81/99)
Why not?

 2007 Topps Triple Threads Barry Sanders Sepia (343/649)
 Again, probably a very flippable card.

2005 Donruss Diamond Kings Trot Nixon (31/50)

2013 Topps Jordan Pacheco Gold (0224/2013)
I think 2013 is Topps's most attractive design of the teens.

2008 Topps Triple Threads Justin Morneau Gold (98/99)
Trade bait? 

Ted Williams Magnet
Pretty cool item, a little smaller than your standard card. I looked on eBay and couldn't find another one. Available for trade or sale.

 More to come...