July 27, 2014

Cards From The Box #1: A Odd Rookie Obsession

**In this series we examine cards from my first era of collecting [1987-1995] which I haven't since 1999. You can find the origin post of this series here. **

Looking through these cards again I was surprised that I was quite the prospector. Unfortunately I collected during just about the worst possible time with so many cards being produced each year chances are much of my collection will never command high prices. I had hopes that I would find several copies of one of the few cards that has gone up in value, Derek Jeter rookies from 1993. I would be happy with Topps or Upper Deck, hell, I'll even take Score. But alas, no Jeters were to be found in the box. There were many, many, many other rookies cards for prospects that I was certain would be great [and we'll go into a lot more detail on that in future posts]. 

I would say 90% of the cards in the box were cards I pulled from packs myself. In my hometown of Eau Claire, WI we did have a card shop in the late 80's located in our downtown but they soon shuttered their windows about a minute after baseball cards popularity dropped in the early 90's. Other than packed pulled cards and a few from the card shop my other cards would have come from trades with friends and some thrift sale pickups found by my Dad. 

Long story short, having looked at my cards it's definitely an anomaly that I have three copies of Alfredo Griffin's rookie card. Who knows how I got them as I certainly wasn't busting packs in 1979...let alone alive. Card That Never Were did an interesting take on what Griffin's rookie card should have been.

1979 Topps #705 Alfredo Griffin/Tim Norrid/Dave Oliver

July 25, 2014

My First Card Collection

Long story short I started collecting baseball cards around 1987 and collected pretty actively through about 1994 when I switched over to comic books as my main vice. I put the best cards of my collection into this huge box and essentially since then it has been sitting at my parent's house in Wisconsin. 

Even when I started writing this blog back in 2008 and really began to get back into sport card collecting again I've never had my entire childhood collection with me. During my last visit home I had plenty of space in the car and so I grabbed this box and brought it home to combine with my other collection.

Of course there weren't too many places to buy supplies back in the late 80's so I had my own hand-made cardboard card dividers.

As I still do to this day I had my cards organized alphabetically by player.

Inside I found a lot of great cards I really had no memory owning so I'll be starting a regular series showing my collecting highlights and lowlights from the first few years of my collecting. 

So that being said, let's start with our first card...a penny sleeve. Or is it? A huge amount of the cards from my box had this think penny sleeves that looked like they could have been cut from a larger 9-card page. Is it possible they were?  They are certainly not made by Ultra Pro...I know that much. Does anyone out there have an idea who put these thicker penny sleeves out?

July 24, 2014

Milt Pappas and Roger Maris

The last time I was at the Bob Feller Museum I wanted to pick up an autographed baseball from their vast library of signatures and this time it needed to be someone other than Bob Feller. I have several Feller autographs already and wanted to expand my autographed baseball collection. I was interested in a few items but the inscription on this one in particular won me over.

"I Gave Up #59 To Roger Maris" signed by Milt Pappas.

And according to Milt himself he threw nothing but fastballs at Maris during that at bat on September 20th, 1961. He wanted Maris to break Ruth's record and not have an asterisk behind the record as that had been announced by the commissioner. 

I've got a few Pappas cards but his 1958 Topps rookie is my favorite. 

1958 Topps #457 Milt Pappas [Rookie Card]

July 22, 2014

Joy Of The Completed Set: Man's Best Friend Minis

I think I've had this set completed for quite a while but I never put the cards all together in their proper place. This 20-card set comes from 2012 Allen and Ginter and you could find one of these cards in every five packs. My favorite card in the groups is the pug although I don't know if I could ever own one myself...their breathing would give me an asthma attack.

Keith Olbermann On The Trimmed Honus Wagner Tobacco Card

A segment from tonight's Olbermann show:

July 21, 2014

Best Single 9-Card Binder Page in the 1971 Topps Set

This is always a fun experiment to do as I don't imagine that Topps thought we would be looking at their sets in groups of nine cards encased in plastic pages when they originally made these sets.

As far as all out fire power goes, nothing compares to card #64-70. You're getting three stars per page on each card with many of them Hall of Fame inductees. But I consider this sort of cheating in determining the best possible group of nine.

Look at all those wonderful stats! These cards are the only easy way you would ever be able to find who was the 20th best in RBIs or 17th in strikeouts.

As I flipped through the pages there were no obvious amazing pages and this is mainly because Topps used to spread out the star players giving them the nice round numbers of 100, 200, 300 and so on. So what you are hoping for is an established legend with some rookies or prospects that also eventually had great careers. So there are two main contenders that had at least two Hall of Fame inductees as well as other significant players. 

First up we have cards #244-252 with two Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Hoyt Wilhelm. You also have Twins fan favorite Jim Kaat and the rookie card for Royals great Paul Splittorff who you may not have realized won more than 160 games and over 15 games in four seasons. 

The other contender is the group of cards #523-531. This page's Hall of Famers, Ernie Banks and Carl Yastrzemski, together are of a higher caliber than Bench and Wilhelm. Sandwiched between two other rookies you'll find Bill Buckner's second year card. Hi actual rookie card was the year before when he was featured in the same type of "rookie stars" card. It is also important to note that Tigers fan favorite Mickey Stanley is in this group.

So which nine-card grouping do you think is best?  

July 19, 2014

R.I.P. Uncommon Sports Cards and Jeff's Sports Cards

Over the past week I discovered that two of my favorite local card shops have closed. When I was visiting family back in Minnesota I found that Uncommon Sports Cards near Minneapolis had shut its doors. Every LCS has it's good and bad points but Uncommon had a huge section of storage materials and toploaders. They also had great blind lots that they would sell for $5.00 a box. It had been a few months since I had been able to make it back to the Twin Cities so I'm not exactly sure how long they have been closed but the store will certainly be missed.

Yesterday I called over to Jeff's Sports Cards to see how late they would be open and the number came back as being disconnected. Not a good sign. I was going over to Topeka anyway so I drove over to see if my worst fears were true and sure enough there were empty windows.

When I first moved to Lawrence back in 2008 the shop was called Al's Sport Cards. 

Al had owned it for many years and sold it to Jeff who logically changed the store's name to Jeff's Sports Cards. They of course had a great selection of Royals and Chiefs [as well as my central location for former Kansas State Wildcat Jordy Nelson cards] and it was certainly the most well organized sections for singles searching. Everything was divided by teams and everything was priced...it really was a model of how cards shops should operate. 

It's sad to see both of these shops close their doors and it shows how even in larger cities the baseball card and sports card markets are finding it harder and harder to make a profit. These shops didn't have the obvious problems that some shops have such as owners that don't offer good customer service or poor pricing. I always found a deal whenever I made it into the shop. I'm afraid it's just the reality that physical card shops are finding it harder and harder to compete with online sellers.  

Episode 4 Of The Breaks Is Up