Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Setting a new blog record (and an early start on the February Contest)

This is my 66th post of the month. That's the most posts I've ever had in one month. I didn't set out to do that this month, but it's kind of fun. I almost didn't make it with my sick days last week, but fortunately I recovered in time to get some more posts up. I won't go into the quality of those posts as I'm sure the quantity led to a drop in quality.

I plan on doing some fairly extreme organizing over the course of the next week, so I don't think there is much chance of hitting that number in February. The contest for February is going to be a multi-post contest, similar to some I've done in the past. I plan on having 7-10 "contest" posts over the next week. You can choose to comment on as many or few as you want. At the end, I'll randomly pick one comment from each post and that person will be entered into the randomization for the prize. That way I only have to enter 7-10 names in the randomizer instead of 100. I think I'll give away a blaster of 2012 Topps this time. How does that sound? Even you guys that don't want to buy any 2012 wouldn't mind a free blaster right?

Alright, let's get an early start on the entries for the February contest. I not only set a blog record for posts this month, I also set a high for blog hits in a month. Leave your guess in the comments and the closest person will get the first entry in the randomizer for this...make that next month's prize.

Thanks to all of you who are regular, or even sporadic, readers. I do appreciate every one of you.

This post is not about the Skip Schumaker SP!

Well, for the most part it's not.

If you read the Yahoo story about the Skip Schumaker SP, then you saw this quote attributed to "Topps".

"According to Topps, it's the first time in company history that a player's card has not featured the player's face."

I find it hard to believe with all the crazy photos that Topps has used over the years that they haven't had a card that didn't feature a player's face. I figured the blogosphere would be the place to find out. I looked at the regular 1973 Johnny Bench and it barely shows his face, but that search led to this:

That is one fine play at the plate in the making. I must have it! I'll be creating a top 10 most wanted soon and this one will be right at the top.

This isn't really bash Topps Tuesday although it may seem that way by the time Wednesday rolls around.

I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings...

I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings (Topps IT Department), but it's no secret that Topps online presence is a joke. I think a group of delinquent 6th graders serving after school detention in the computer lab could come up with a better website, keep it updated and relevant AND maybe even have a current blog.

The blogosphere is all abuzz with 2012 Topps and they can't even keep the 2011 Diamond Giveaway site up and running. It's down again and the codes will be extended a few more days. I just want to request the rest of the cards I've been waiting for and then I'm done with it! I'm sure the work involved in a site with so many moving parts is tough, but Topps is a huge company. Surely they have the resources to do that site and their website right.

Honestly, I think it's just another example that Topps the corporation doesn't care about the collector. I'm sure they have employees that care about the collector, at least I hope they do, but the corporation is just that; a corporation and if any of us peon collectors think Topps gives a rip about us, well I think that's a mistake.

*Disclaimer: I had a crappy day. Two hours of sleep in the last 30 and knowing that I'll be giving over some of my cash to Topps because I can't go cold turkey on cards isn't helping. I'm also a realist and know I'll be entering 2012 codes...ugh.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"O" No, Here We Go Again

Ryan over at "O" No, Another Orioles Blog, had been putting cards in a stack for me for a while. I lucked into a couple of cheap lots of cards on the Blowout forum and they happened to have a few Orioles I thought he would like, so a trade was born. I sent over some nice O's, but I think I really came out on top in this trade.

I can't even begin to explain these 2009 Goudey 4-1 cards. There are so many different ones and colors and...I don't even know. Actually I do know because I looked it up. You can find 100 cards in red, blue, green and black, with the black ones limited to 21. Well, that's what baseballcardpedia.com said anyway.

I like these Cracker Jack cards, but Michael Young looks like he's bunting in a sawdust field. Or maybe it's oatmeal. If you like 2004 Cracker Jack, then you should check out Nachos Grande's latest group break. It looks like a lot of fun.

I'm not too familiar with Upper Deck's 2006 Epic set. This is a cool Nolan Ryan Epic Events parallel, #637/675. The Epic Event just happens to be Ryan's 7th no-hitter. At the age of 44. Unreal.

I don't expect I'll ever bust a pack of Triple Threads, so it's nice to get Rangers I need from a fellow blogger. It's hard to imagine anyone collecting this as a set when the base cards are numbered to 1500 like this Ian Kinsler.

Ryan threw in the Emerald version of Kins too, #98/249.

Like many of you, I'm not a big fan of Bowman, but being a team collector, I have to get the Rangers. Getting the parallels for those Rangers is icing on the cake. This is a nice orange Julius...I mean Andrus, #231/250.

I pretty much started drooling when I saw this Michael Young on Ryan's site. I didn't have much hope of him trading it, but I just casually mentioned I liked it, and he was kind enough to set it aside for me. This Bowman Chrome orange refractor is #5/25 and is my second lowest numbered Michael Young.

Ryan, thanks for an amazing trade package. I'll be on the lookout for more Orioles for you.

I've been Clarked!

Forget Bip Roberts.

Forget Bippings as you know them.

I've been Clarked! Scott from Smed's Baseball Card Blog sent out packages to a number of people last week and he got me good!

I think this would be a nightmare for Night Owl, but I love it!

I bought a ton of 1988 Donruss back in the day and I never saw a mis-cut Diamond King, but Scott included two mis-cut Clarks in the batch, bringing the total "Clarking" to 11. I didn't scan the back, but you might be interested to know that Dale Murphy was the card next to Clark. Or you might not be interested.

If you've ever received a package from Scott, you know he includes a wide variety of stuff and this 1983 Fleer Rick Honeycutt is a great example. Rick looks pretty happy for a guy who just came off a 5-17 season.

Sticking with the 1983 theme, how about this nice 1983 Topps, Jim Sundberg. I really like this set. I don't know if there are any play at the plate shots in this set, but I would imagine that circle would mess up the shot.

This was a very welcome addition to my collection as I buy very few cards from Target. I think the Rangers look better with blue borders, but the red borders aren't bad. Not that I really need another parallel to chase.

Thanks a load Scott! I'll be checking your lists.

Game, Set, Match

Back in my TTM days, I requested autos from 7 professional tennis players. Five out of seven responded and three of them responded on two different occasions. The two holdouts were Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. No surprise there I suppose.

The successes were all women.

Tracy Austin

Tracy has one of the nicest signatures around. Many people probably don't know much about Tracy, but she turned pro in 1978 at the age of 15. She won two U.S. Opens, defeating Chris Evert in 1979 at the young age of 16. She defeated Martina Navaratilova in 1981. She was the number one women's player in 1980. She won a total of 30 singles titles and 5 doubles titles, including the mixed doubles Wimbledon title in 1980 with her brother John. Tracy earned just over $2 million in her career. She officially retired in 1994 after a couple of comeback attempts and can now be seen commentating at many of the Grand Slams. Tracy was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992.

Gabriela Sabatini

Gabriela Sabatini was one of the original "hot" girls of tennis. She turned pro in 1985 at the age of 14 and played until 1996. She won 27 singles titles, including the U.S. Open in 1990 where she defeated Steffi Graf. Her highest career rank was #3 in the world in February of 1989. She won 14 doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 1988 with partner Steffi Graf. She earned over $8.7 million in her career. She also won the Silver Medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. She lost to, who else, Steffi Graf. Gabriela was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996.

Gabby's people sent back pics two times, but I think they are the autopen type. Both sigs are exactly the same, but they're not pre-printed on the pics. They are at different angles and one is smeared just a bit.

Monica Seles

Monica Seles turned pro in 1989 at the age of 16. She won 53 singles titles in her career, including 9 Grand Slams. She won the Australian Open in 1991, '92, '93 and '96, the French Open in 1990, '91 and '92 and the U.S. Open in 1991 and '92. She also won 6 doubles titles. Monica had over $14.8 million in career earnings. She also won the Bronze Medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Seles was the #1 player in the world in 1991 and 1992, but in a 1993 match in Hamburg, Germany, a crazy Steffi Graf fan jumped on the court between games and stabbed her in the back. She wasn't seriously injured, but the psychological toll would cause her to miss two years on the tour. She did come back and win the Australian Open in 1996, but she never regained the consistent play that made her so special and played her final official match in 2003. Monica Seles is well known as the original grunter on the women's tour. If you've ever watched a women's tennis match and heard the players shriek or grunt loudly during the points, you know what I mean. Seles was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.

Seles was another player that responded to both requests. I've checked and these signatures do match up with others I've seen.

Chris Evert

Chris Evert turned pro in 1972 at the age of 18. She retired in 1989 as one of the greatest women players of all time. She won 157 career titles, including 18 Grand Slams. She won the Australian Open in 1982 and '84, the French Open in 1974, '75, '79, '80, '83, '85 and '86, Wimbledon in 1974, '76 and '81 and the U.S. Open in 1975, '76, '77, '78, '80 and '82. Evert also won 32 doubles titles, including the French Open in 1974 and '75 and Wimbledon in 1976. She had over $8.8 million in career earnings. Her career singles win-loss record of 1,309-146 (89.46%) is the best of any modern era player. Chris Evert was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995.

Steffi Graf

Steffi Graf turned pro in 1982 at the young age of 13. She won 107 career singles titles, including 22 Grand Slams. She won the Australian Open in 1988, '89, '90 and '94, the French Open in 1987, '88, '93, '95, '96 and '99, Wimbledon in 1988, '89, '91, '92, '93, '95 and '96 and the U.S. Open in 1988, '89, '93, '95 and '96. She won 11 career doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 1988. Her career earnings were nearly $22 million. She also won three Olympic medals, gold for singles in 1988, bronze for doubles in 1988 and silver for singles in 1992. Graf was ranked #1 in the world for 377 weeks, a record for any player, man or woman. She retired in 1999 as the #3 ranked player in the world.

Steffi sent back two autos each time.

Steffi married to Andre Agassi.

I'm running out of things to say about Steffi.

She was awesome.

If you read this far, I sincerely thank you!

It feels good to be back. I'll have an actual baseball card post later today.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back in the saddle

I'm not quite 100% health wise, but I'm getting there. I will be back to normal posting tomorrow. Thanks for the emails. You know who you are...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Barely functioning

I finally broke down and went to see the doc this morning. I then went to Target to drop off my prescription and pick up some card therapy. I used a $20 gift card to pick up a discounted value pack of 2011 Chrome ($6.94 instead of $8.99), a Fairfield Jumbo and a Fairfield 10 pack repack. Mojo to follow (hopefully).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tobacco Road

I'm always impressed with the generosity I find among other bloggers. Eric from Manupatches and Mustaches continued that great tradition of generosity last week. Eric had a series of posts describing a lot of early 1900s Tobacco Cards he got for a steal. I commented that I'd be happy to trade for one if he had any dupes. I've always wanted a real tobacco card, even it wasn't a baseball player. Well, Eric sent over 18 cards! I was blown away. Heck, I'm still blown away and I've been looking at these things for more than a week.

I'm just going to show a couple today. In my current sickly state, I only managed to get two scans done.

I regret not scanning the backs of these amazing little cards. This is a 1924 Player's Cigarettes Russian Relief Forces card. It is #9 in a series of 50 Army Corps & Divisional Signs. This card highlights a Russian Army unit that fought in Northern Russia 1919 and 1920.

The Australian Open is going on right now. That's why I chose this card out of the package. It's a 1936 Player's Cigarettes Miss Mary Heeley. This is card #6 of 50 in a series simply called "Tennis". It tells how England's former #1 tennis player, Miss Heeley, hits her forehand. I'll bet all of today's top players use these cards as a training reference. Well, maybe not.

Eric, thanks so much for the amazing cards! I look forward to showing a few more of them off.

Topps' Diamond Giveaway site is back up

It's regurgitating 1987 cards like it's, well, like it's 1987.

Hello, Bueller, Bueller, anyone? That's what I thought. Well, at least I can order my last few cards.

I still can't find my flash drive.

I need a 10 count

I don't what hit me, but it must be what's going around the blogosphere. I took a hit of Nyquil last night and just woke up, nearly 12 hours later. I'm going to try to schedule a few posts before the medicine wears off.

Has anyone seen my flash drive?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Music to my ears

I may be in the minority, but I was happy to hear that Prince Fielder signed with someone besides the Rangers. I would rather he stayed in the N.L., but at least he's not in the A.L. West. Now the Rangers shouldn't have to let a good number of other players walk so they can pay the Princely sum for Fielder.

I promised some music related autos, so let's get to it. I'll start off saying Country Music is most definitely not my favorite, despite being from Texas, so I'm not sure why I requested a couple of these. You know, other than the cute factor.

Trisha Yearwood, 8X10 color photo. Trisha Yearwood was a pretty big music star in the mid 90's. She put out albums from 1991 until 2001 and then took a four year hiatus. She made a comeback in 2005 and put out a couple of albums up to 2008. She is married to Garth Brooks. She has a pretty nice signature.

Amy Grant 8X10 black and white photo. Amy Grant is the biggest selling Christian artist of all time. She has sold more than 30 million albums and has won 6 Grammys. She has put out 15 regular albums and 4 Christmas albums. She is married to Vince Gill. She has a nice signature too.

Faith Hill 8X10 black and white photo. Faith Hill was just getting her career going when I got this photo back in 1995. Now, 18 years after she released her first album, she's sold 40 million records (I know, they're not records anymore) and is married to Tim McGraw, son of former major leaguer Tug McGraw.

I don't know what's coming up next. I'll surprise you.

What do these guys have in common?

Come on, take a guess.

Bronson Arroyo

Jeff Karstens

Ryan Dempster

Wandy Rodriguez

You can do it. I'll give you one more hint. These next two guys are half as happy as the guys above.

Yovani Gallardo

Chris Carpenter

Ok, I'll tell you. They are all happy they won't be facing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols in the N.L. Central in 2012 and beyond.

A little Rant

I've got a real rant coming. This isn't it. This is a small trade I made with Trey over at Rants, Reviews and Fandom. He recently posted the cards he got in a mini-box of 2011 Bowman Sterling. Seeing as how I don't buy cards that come in mini-boxes (unless you count blasters and value boxes), I've never purchased any Sterling. I jumped at the opportunity to trade for the lone Ranger (yes, I did) he pulled.

These dual swatch cards that have two of the same color swatches seem pointless to me, but this one cost me a Lance Berkman jersey so it was a good trade for both of us. This is the Alexi Ogando XFractor version which is #105/199.

Trey threw in a couple of other Rangers, including this shiny 2010 Bowman Chrome Ian Kinsler. I like these simple, straightforward trades. Thanks Trey!!

By the way, there are a couple of other deals I'm gathering cards for so if you're expecting cards from me, I'm working on it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some stars shine brighter than others

I grew up in the age of the sitcom. My earliest television memories include The Facts of Life, Different Strokes and What's Happening. I loved M.A.S.H. and watched I Dream of Jeannie reruns. If you ever saw Barbara Eden in that Jeannie outfit you'd love her too.

During my early attempts at the TTM game, I sent away to many sitcom stars. The return rate wasn't great, but I did get some nice autos back in the mail.

I never got Barbara Eden's auto. I just thought we could all use a little Jeannie.

Dinah Manoff 8X10 black and white photo. Dinah Manoff was in a number of movies, but it was Empty Nest (1988-95) that led to this request. I sent a letter to her co-star Kristy McNichol too, but didn't get anything back.

Joanna Kerns 8X10 black and white photo. I loved Growing Pains (1985-92) and Joanna Kerns was one of the original hot moms. Who didn't want a friend with a mom like Maggie Seaver?

Patricia Richardson 8X10 black and white photo. Home Improvement was one of my favorite sitcoms during it's orignal run (1991-99). I actually received two autos from Richardson, each one on the same photo.

Debbe Dunning 8X10 Color photo. Debbe Dunning wasn't the original Tool Time girl, but I think she's way better than the original one. It might have something to do with Pamela's history. Debbe didn't just send love, she included the ever popular X's and O's.

Christina Applegate 8X10 black and white photo. Christina Applegate played the very naughty, very dumb Kelly Bundy on Married With Children (1987-1997). Kelly and the show were pretty popular among my Navy buddies. I actually have watched a few episodes of her new show, Up All Night. She stars along side Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph. She and Arnett have good chemistry and some funny lines. I'm not sure about the authenticity of this autograph. Look at the next one and you'll see why.

A second request to Christina resulted in another return with the same picture and a different signature. This one matches up pretty closely with the way her autograph looked at the time. The first one I showed looks like it was signed by someone in the middle of an earthquake. It doesn't match up at all.

That's it for now, although I forgot one sitcom auto. I'll pair it up with another one in a different post.

Up next, a trio of musical ladies.

Sparkly, Shiny and See-through

The Diamond King recently had his "End of the Year Mega-Contest". The first round was a lot of Will Clark cards and reader Jeff Pedersen won the lot. He later emailed me that he saw my comment about Will Clark being my favorite player and offered to trade me some Clarks for some Cubs. I'm down for that deal anyday.

The Sparkly: 1996 Skybox Metal

Metal has always been one of the stranger sets out there, but it kind of grows on you after a while. At least in moderation. I remember opening boxes of this and just being overwhelmed with too much of the weird backgrounds.

The Shiny: 1995 Bowman's Best

This is a really nice card and I'm digging the 1995 All-Star patch on Will's sleeve.

The See-Through: 1999 Skybox E/X Century

This is one of those funky acetate cards. I'll never get used to seeing Will in an Orioles uniform.

The Non-Will card: 2009 Topps Ian Kinsler Wal-mart black parallel

Hey, it can't be all Will Clark, all the time. Unless...never mind. It looks like Ian is running into a black hole. I hope that's not what happens if the Rangers sign Cecil...I mean Prince Fielder. I'm afraid that would mean ultimately losing many of the current players as their contracts run out.

Thanks for the great cards Jeff! I hope you enjoyed the Cubs.