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.

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

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.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 24

December 24, 2023:
1993 21st Century Archives Varga Girls Pin-Ups 2 #Prototype Dec. 1945
Standards of beauty have changed over the years, in America and around the world.  The "licorice-haired Santa" from 1945 featured here fits right in with today's smokeshows without a second look.  Sure, she has the real Santa's severed face in her hand, but I'd be willing to overlook it for a roll in the sleigh.
And tomorrow, a savior.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 23

December 23, 2023:
2002 Upper Deck/Pepsi Arizona Diamondbacks World Champions #5 Craig Counsell
Lots of folks in my area were upset last month when Counsell signed on to be the manager of the Chicago Cubs.

I don't have any problem with it.  The narrative here over the last few seasons has been that the Brewers have enjoyed the longest period of sustained success in their history.  In a way this is true, but what's always missing form this story is the emergence of expanded playoffs.  There are lots of teams making the playoffs at a greater rate than ever before, but that's because there are more playoff spots than there have ever been.  If we're talking playoff series victories, he has one.  One.

This is no big loss for the Brewers, and it's a significant overpay by the Cubs.  He will definitely not win the World Series with them.

Did fans in Milwaukee overreact?  Definitely.  But the vandalism to the Little League park with his name on it?  Still super funny because of word choice and brevity.
*That's a weird cropping out of the background on this card, innit?  Looks like a hand extended to the third base coach during a home run trot, but without the coach visible it's just goofy.

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 22

December 22, 2023:
1961 Topps #107 Seth Morehead
When you've got Morehead, you need Morehat.  Good luck with that situation, Seth.

Friday, December 22, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 21

December 21, 2023:
1983 Donruss Magnum P.I. #9
Without any context, I have no idea what is going on in this card.  Magnum is looking good, hair and mustache perfect, and there's a horse giving some side-eye in the background.  Then the back of the card says this:
"Well, it seems there are some crooks down at the dock, and they are trying to steal a big load of pineapples," said Higgins.
I listened intently.

What this has to do with a equine matters, I may never know.  And how close is the stable to the docks?
I've never seen an episode of Magnum, nor any of the others shows Tom Selleck has been in.  In fact, the only things of his I've ever watched were Three Men and a Baby back near the time it was released, and in the 1990s Mr. Baseball.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 20

December 20, 2023:
1987 Fleer Limited Edition #31 Eddie Murray
Can we bring the cap-under-helmet-while-batting thing back to baseball, please?  Can we?
We're in a day and age where a player immediately slaps on a sliding mitten after reaching first base, and this is like eight decks of the Titanic lower on the stupidity meter than that is.  A guy takes his base after an 11-pitch base on balls and it's Hamburger Helper ahoy on his right hand?  For the birds.  Bring back the cool stuff.  I want more flip-up shades for outfielders, wristbands with your own picture embroidered on them, and one batting glove per batter.  While we're at it, let's make home whites and road grays mandatory, they're the coolest version of every team's uniform scheme.  (Road powder blues will also be acceptable on a limited basis, even for teams that have never tried it out.  Yankees?  Padres?  Red Sox?  You guys want in on this?  It's pretty fucking great.)
Commissioner Thorzul has spoken.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 19

December 19, 2023:
1994 Pinnacle #509 Bo Jackson
Wow, sometimes you look at a card and have absolutely no recollection of that guy playing for that team.  While it's much easier to remember Bo playing for the White Sox during a few post-football seasons, Bo in an Angels jersey is just mystifying to me.  It makes sense, though.  Jackson played in only 75 games for the Angels before the season was ended by the strike.  In 1994 I was buying very few cards, just some Donruss (beautiful, underrated set) and maybe a little bit of Topps.  And in 1995 I bought absolutely nothing.  So yeah, Bo Jackson on the California Angels would have passed me over completely if not for baseball cards.  They're a wonderful chronicle of the game, something that's mostly missing from today's hobby.
So what's your favorite "That guy played for them???" example?

Monday, December 18, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 18

December 18, 2023:
1970-71 Topps #72 Wes Unseld
Sometimes, the one thing that ties the Card-vent Calendar together is a big man in the middle.
Not sure how I was able to pull this thing through that little door.
Big card.
Big dude.
Not much more I can say to improve upon that.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 17

December 17, 2023:
2022 Topps #DGDC-37 Robin Yount Diamond Greats Die-Cut
That's a snezzy card.  (Not snazzy, snezzy.  It's a term coined by my group of high school friends.)
My Yount collecting has tapered off in recent years.  I'll pick up a few each year, and someone will invariably send me one or two in a trade, but there's nothing compelling me to chase his cards with any sense of fervor.  This is probably due to the fact that about half of his cards are released without the Brewers name and logo.  Panini cards all look like crap to me, and I refuse to buy them.  If it's the 1980s and I can get a card in a box of cereal or cut it off the back of a pizza box, that's one thing.  Those logo-less cards are that way for a reason, and the slapdash nature of the images adds to the charm.  You're getting them for free, and they look like they're free.

Modern Panini baseball cards are decidedly not free.  And, accordingly, Panini has gotten none of my money since acquiring the MLBPA license.  Other people like and buy these cards, and that's fine.  They're just not for me. 

As for Topps Yount cards, I'll continue to use discretion when buying them.  I like the cards I already have, and I'll likely fill in some of the holes if something really catches my eye, but if my Robin Yount collection stopped growing altogether, it would be something I could live with.

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 16

December 16, 2023:
1991 Sunkist Growers, Inc. Lanky Frankie
Could you imagine a Bucks frontcourt that included Lanky Frankie?  Billed at a height of 7'8" (9'8" when on his tiptoes, according to the stats on the back), Frankie and Giannis would be unbeatable.  Throw Dame in there and you've got the makings of a dynasty.

All a man can do is dream.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 15

December 15, 2023:
1986 Topps #418 Alan Knicely
If you don't have anything knice to say to me, don't say anything at all.

These were the words on a sign backup catcher Alan Knicely had hanging above his locker in the Phillies clubhouse during the last six weeks of the 1985 season.  During that time, Knicely was the victim of no fewer than 14 brutal hazing incidents.  Held in poor regard by his teammates, Knicely required two blood transfusions during this period, was treated for three cracked teeth (two incisors, one bicuspid), and underwent a "complete restructuring" of what team doctors would only reveal was a "very sensitive area."

Knicely's season of horrors officially ended when he was released by Philidelphia on St. Patrick's Day in 1986.  "The Quiet Torment," the Phillies' tradition involving the selection of the single player for bullying and assault over the course of a season, would continue, secretly and unchecked, for the next 19 years.  Only the hiring of Charlie Manuel as manager proved effective in ending the practice.  Manuel's "Quit that grab-ass and let's go play some baseball," is often cited as the watershed moment that allowed the Phillies to turn the corner toward success.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Trade Me Anything XVII: #6

I'll interrupt the Card-vent Calendar to share this late-breaking bulletin.  A trade has arrived from Jeremy, Editor-in-Chief of the blog Topps Cards That Never Were.  Here are the details.

#US298 Riley Greene, #US100 Jacob deGrom, #US87 Ryan Yarbrough, #US55 Taj Bradley

A bunch of Younts
The two on the top are new to me  On the left is his 1992 Upper Deck card, but it's not the plain old one I already have several copies of, it's from the factory set, which was released with a gold foil hologram on each card, not the standard silver.  I went to check if I already had this, and I couldn't find the regular one in my 1975-1994 Yount binder.  All cards in there are grouped by year, and I didn't see it among the 1992 pages.  Fortunately, I had accidentally put it with the '91s, so all is well now, with both version in adjacent pockets.
2005 Donruss Team Heroes Bill Hall and Lyle Overbay
My best memories of Hall are those of the way fans at Miller Park reacted to him.  He was really a fan favorite whose time with the Brewers bridged the really boring, bad seasons of the early 2000s and the time the Brewers got exciting again in 2007 and 2008.  It was not uncommon to hear a chant for Hall when he came up to bat.  I don't know who started it, but I always enjoyed the staccato "Bill (clap-clap, clap) Hall (clap-clap, clap)" on those warm summer nights, nights before children when there was hope of staying past the fifth inning.  

Great cards that prompted great memories, thanks to you, Jeremy!

We now return to your regular scheduled scrolling.

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 14

December 14, 2023:
2008 Donruss Americana II #HL-43 Edward G. Robinson Hollywood Legends (075/500) 
When you get a card like this, a fun little game to play is "How Many Have I Seen?"  I know for sure that it's a non-zero number, but I'd be surprised if it's anything more than one or two.  Let's consult IMDb.
 OK, going from going from the end of his filmography to the beginning, here's what I have seen Edward G. Robinson in:
1956 The Ten Commandments (Have I sat down and watched this from start to finish?  Probably not, but I'm sure I've caught most of this on TV broadcasts.)
1948 Key Largo (Saw this a few years ago.  He's absolutely menacing in it, and all the characters are stuck with him in a hotel during a hurricane.)
1944 Double Indemnity (Another one from a cheapo book from the '90s that's a list of home video classics that I'm slowly working my way through.)

And that's it.  If I'm aiming to double my output in the next year or so, I'd go with his breakout film Little Caesar, 1946's The Stranger, directed by Orson Welles, and The Cincinnati Kid, in which he's a bit older and gets fifth billing after Steve McQueen, Ann-Margaret, Karl Malden, and Tuesday Weld. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 13

December 13, 2023:
1993-94 Fleer Ultra #371 Dominique Wilkins
Pit hair, a ton of it, set against the majesty of Old Glory.

I feel that basketball cards tend to shy away from copious amounts of pit hair.  It's always there (excepting those seasons Adam Silver had everyone trying out the shirseys), but rarely takes center stage.  Good on you, Fleer, for making the sweatiest part of the male body something to be celebrated.

Actually this is not the most armpit hair ever to be featured on a card.  That title belongs to the 1986 Garbage Pail Kid Shaggy Aggie.  If you can think of any other contenders, share 'em below.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 12

December 12, 2023:
1993 Donruss Triple Play #78 Staying Fit
Whoa, stealth Bip Mojo!  His name might not be on the card, but our man from Berkeley is surely the star.  If you know any Bip Roberts collectors, maybe mention this one to them, as it might not show up on certain checklists.

If your December is anything like mine, you're feeling it right now.  Everything just seems... relentless, and we're only halfway through advent.  The demands of work, family, and holiday cheer keep smacking you in the face all day.  Obligation after obligation.  Before you know it, Christmas was three days ago and you haven't recovered yet.

In times like these, be like Bip.  Take a minute or two and limber up.  If you don't have an official MLB dugout bench handy, use something similar, like the back of a couch, or the shoulder of a small child.  Stretch it all out.  Feel the burn, but don't overdo it.  Be kind to your hammies.  Like Bip.

Monday, December 11, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 11

December 11, 2023:
1998 Topps #HG12 Dorsey Levens Hidden Gems
This is a really great idea for an insert set, especially seeing as how, in recent years especially, teams are finding crucial roster pieces in the latter rounds of the draft.  Look no further than Brock Purdy, who has gone from Mr. Irrelevant to MVP candidate in under two years.

Dorsey Levens fits the description, too.  As a 4th rounder, he wasn't that far down the board, but the Packers built a scheme around his strengths and turned him into the lead run option for a Super Bowl champion.  Dorsey's signature game was the 1996 NFC Championship against Carolina, where he gained 88 rushing yards and 117 through the air, just a monster performance.
This card has a cool look, with a rainbow-colored title design that absolutely pops.  Levens doesn't get talked about as much as some of the SB XXXI Packers, but he was instrumental to their success.  The surprising Pack has a game against the Giants tonight on Monday Night Football, so get ready to cheer them to victory.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 10

December 10, 2023:
1991 Parker Brothers Real People #132 Male
I swear, the weirdest stuff pops up in this calendar, and this year is no different.  Apparently this card is from a board game celled Real People.  The tagline: "Looks can be deceiving... and this game proves it!"
The game comes with a set of 400 cards featuring actual people (all of them unnamed), and the main action of the game asks players to identify which real person is being described given the biographical information from the back of the card.  I'm guessing this was what passed for "woke" in 1991, don't judge a person from the outside or something like that.  Social concept games like this were popular in their era.  I'm picturing the box for A Question of Scruples that my dad had gotten as a gift sitting in my family's games closet.  Sitting there was all it did, as I don't think anyone ever played it.  We were more of a Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur family.

This winner here shared the unusual fact on the back of his card that he never wears underwear, and his personal motto is "Don't get caught."  I don't think this guy and I would get along too well, but I do admire his secret fantasy, "Me, Charo, Paulina (Porizkova, I'm guessing? -Thorzul), and Candice Bergen eating jelly doughnuts in an ice cream parlor."  Yeah, that's 1991 for you.
BTW, I screwed up the order of the calendar countdown picture a few days ago and only noticed today.  Oh well.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 9

December 9, 2023:
1994 Classic Minor League All Star Edition #58 Terry Bradshaw

Let's just start by acknowledging an all-time great baseball name.  We all understand the football connection, and while we could say a little something about the more famous Bradshaw's decline as of recent years, let's take it in a different direction instead.
People my age grew up with the football pre-game show.  In our younger years it wasn't much of a thing.  But in our teen years, Fox NFL Sunday got to be a big deal.  It was longer than its predecessors on NBC and CBS, and it turned what was a stodgy preview of that week's nationally televised game into a free-for-all hang with the boys.  Lots of back slapping and good-natured nut punches and such  You could turn on your TV and spend some time with the same type of chucklefucks you might hang out with at home.  It was the natural progression of NFL football as sports entertainment in our country.
Now, I happen to have a sister named Teri.  At some point in the '90s, she was in high school (I was either a senior or already graduated), and she walked into her next class.  One of the guys in her group of friends greeted her as such: "Hey Teri, where's Howie and JB?"

It's just an absolute classic line, no malice intended, but purely a product of the time.  Would the same line work today?  I don't know.  If you have a Terry, Teri, or Terri in your life, give it a try.  I'm guessing in most cases there would be no reaction other than confusion, but perhaps someone will be on the same wavelength and pick up what you're putting down.  Worth a shot.

2023 Card-vent Calendar: December 8

December 8, 2023:
2015 Panini Wisconsin Team Collection #10 Paul Bunyan's Axe

It was two weeks ago today that the Wisconsin Badgers bought the Axe back to its rightful home.  Being beaten by the Gophers for two years in a row was positively distasteful.  If one looks at college football from a certain perspective, most teams play a slate of games each season that are essentially meaningless.  Take my Badgers, for instance.  I have gotten to watch my team win three Rose Bowls, two of them while I was a student in Madison.  We have also lost four Rose Bowls in the last decade-and-a-half, three of them in consecutive seasons.  We've won an Orange Bowl (2017) and lost a Champs Sports Bowl (2008).  Hell, we won a goddamned Mayonnaise Bowl a few years ago.  

Now image we could go back and change the outcome of any one of these bowls.  What would it change?
Not a thing.

Unless your team is in the CFP, you may not have a meaningful game on your schedule all year.  Maybe all decade.  If you're a team outside of the Power 5, maybe conference titles mean something to you, but not to the rest of the football world.

College football for most is just a series of exhibitions devoid of any real importance.  If you're outside of the playoff, no single contest is of any more importance than some game you could look up in a team almanac from 1983.  Unless...

Unless it's a rivalry game.  

Is there a game on the schedule that could at least partially determine your mood for the next 365 days?  I'm talking about the Iron Bowl.  The Game.  Army-Navy.

My Wisconsin Badgers have a few of those secondary rivalry games with trophies that have been around for less time than some of the socks in my drawer.  Yeah, I'm not losing sleep over the loss of the Heartland Trophy when we lose to Iowa.

But that Axe, though.  There's something about it that taps into a fan's primal nature.  It was a sick feeling to watch Minnesota parade around with it the last two years.  Seriously, the Badgers could go 0-11 or 0-12 or whatever for the rest of the schedule, and beating Minnesota could excuse all the other results.  Maybe it's the proximity to or the frequency with which I find myself in the state.  Or maybe it's the smugness of kids I went to high school with who thought they were outsmarting the system by going to the U of M and eschewing the more prestigious college in their home state.  (Oooh, you're such an iconoclast!  No, you're fucking stupid.)  Or maybe it's she shape of the trophy itself.  I mean, it's a big fucking axe.  It's an objectively cool thing.  Other rivalries tend to have these cornball trophies.  Two SEC schools battling over Pee-Paw's Old Hickory Spittoon, or a couple of mid-tier Pac-12 squads fighting to take home Prospector Snuffy's Slippery Sluice.  Nah, in my rivalry the trophy is something you could kill someone with, if you were so inclined.

So, if your team has that one significant game on the calendar each year, cherish it.  Hold it close.  It's a beacon of importance amid an endless series of Saturday afternoons that don't mean a damn thing.

Trade Me Anything XVII: #5

Things have been extraordinarily busy around here lately, which partially explains why I haven't posted a TMA trade in a while.  This one is from Brendan.  I have to preface this post with a mea culpa.  When Brendan claimed his cards, I mistakenly told him that a Mike Trout card featured in the very first trade was available.  Unfortunately, I had made an earlier mistake with trader Tom, missing that he had claimed this Trout card.  Without going into too much detail, it was basically a clerical error on my part.  Sorry, Brendan, but the Trout card has already been sent to Tom, who actually did claim it first.  I owe you one.

#US244 Corbin Carroll, #T88CU-80 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., #T88CU-89 Justin Verlander, #AS-9 Yordan alvarez Action Stars Black (007/299), #AS-24 Luis Robert Action Stars

Some Brewers
The two Big League cards are new to me.  Loving the Wanted poster for Yelich, and the Braun will go into what has become a dormant Braun Binder.

Some Panini Soccer Inserts
The Pickford card is very nice, as he is the keeper for my Premier League team of choice, Everton.  That 10-point deduction was quite the blow, but it may have turned out to be just what the club needed, as they have played much better since it was levied.

Some Panini Football Cards
There's a card of a guy my team just beat (Mahomes, and don't get me started on the refereeing.  There were about four incorrect calls in the final two minutes, two that benefitted each team.  It even out, and the Pack was the better team on the night.), a card of the guy who played at QB for most of my fantasy football season (sitting in the basement at 3-10 heading into the final week of the regular season.  Feel the excitement!), and a card of a hot Rams fan.

1983 Topps #210 Johnnie Cooks, #135 Butch Woolfolk
These are awesome, and they cut my want list down to four cards to complete the set.

Thanks for a great bunch of cards, Brendan, and another apology for the Trout mix-up.