Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 69: Numbers 613-621

Frankenset Page #30 WINNER -- 1997 Topps #266 Eric Owens (13 votes)

I can't quite believe it myself, but a card from 1997 Topps, of all sets, actually won a frankenset page.

I say this because '97 Topps is almost universally regarded as one of the biggest clunkers in the Topps catalog -- I'd probably rate it as one of the ten worst Topps designs ever. But proving the "blind squirrel finds a nut" theory right, Eric Owens dominated last week's frankenset page, taking 13 of the 38 total votes for the win. He pretty much led from start to finish, and even defeated competitors from legendary sets like '73 Topps and '93 Upper Deck in the process.

It's a flash of greatness in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly forgettable Topps checklist, and it's a pleasure to welcome it into the Gallery of Frankenset Champions.

We soar into the super high-numbers with this week's page -- the Random Number Generator spit out #69 (nice), so we'll be taking a look at that page of the frankenset (#s 613-621) tonight.

Since I have yet to find a worthy nominee for the #618 slot as of this writing, it's a field of eight this week -- let's meet the hopefuls.

1993 Donruss #613 Pete O'Brien

I've always gotten a distinct Harry Potter vibe from this card.

1991 Topps #614 Luis Salazar

I've said it once, I'll say it till I'm blue in the face: 1991 Topps rules. 

2019 Topps Heritage High Numbers #615 Skye Bolt

I wanna have a name like Skye Bolt when I grow up.

1988 Fleer #616 Sammy Stewart


1989 Topps #617 Mark Parent

Supporting my theory that, on the aggregate, catchers get the best baseball cards. 

1989 Score #619 Kirt Manwaring

Frankenset legend Kirt Manwaring strikes again, seen here tagging out a Reds pitcher (note the jacket) on this excellent play at the plate. 

2013 Topps #620 Hector Santiago

The White Sox haven't lit up the standings in recent years, but they're #1 in the throwback jersey market.

1990 Upper Deck #621 Rick Luecken

Unlike one of our resident bloggers, I don't specifically chase night cards -- but they're fun to slide into the frankenset every now and then.

That's it for this week's page. The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Friday, September 13, 2019

The ups and downs of binder storage

If you walked into my room today and asked: Nick, can I see your cards of Keith Hernandez as an Indian? -- I might stare blankly for a few seconds wondering how you got in my house, but then I'd have the binder out and ready for you in two seconds.

Aside from the fact that my cards just simply look a lot better in binders, I choose to store them that way because it keeps me organized. A collection as large and scattered as mine needs a steady sorting system as its backbone. Take this '90 Score Traded Keith Hernandez as an example: an example of this legendary Short Term Stop I somehow didn't already own, and a former Dime Box Dozen need bestowed on me by the almighty Greg of "Night Owl Cards."

You'll find it in three steps: 1) take out the second of my three Indians binders, 2) flip to first basemen, 3) find my nine cards of Hernandez as an Indian sandwiched between Richie Sexson (13 cards) and Mark Reynolds (8 cards), and there it is.

Easy enough, yes?

But having stored cards in binders for virtually my entire collecting life, I will admit that there are some downsides to it all. The first that comes to mind involves minis. All things equal, I love, love, love minis -- but wow do they look weird in standard nine-pocket pages. I know mini pages exist, but they wouldn't really mesh with my organizing system since I don't own enough Kris Bryant minis to fill a whole sheet.

I don't often put disc-shaped cards in pages -- they roll around and are almost impossible to fish out when moved from slot to slot -- but I made an exception for that Snell candy lid insert from this year's Heritage since a) it's not truly a disc, and b) I didn't know what else to do with it.

Between the disc and the Heritage SP here, it's apparent that Greg is trying to turn my new Blake Snell collection into a super-collection.

I've already added almost two new pages to my Rays binder for the Snells I've accumulated, which reminds me of another slight downside to my storage methods: the need to buy binders and pages for an ever-growing collection. Pro tip: don't buy them new. I find binders at the thrift store for a buck or two a piece all the time, and pages can usually be bought in bulk online fairly cheap (I found a lot of over 200 on Ebay not long ago for less than $20).

Because being thrifty with supplies means more money for cards, of course.

Another reason I'm glad I started my frankensets is that I'll never need new supplies for them: the slots may change, but the sets themselves will remain at 666 cards, now and forever.

As I write this post, I am almost literally surrounded by cards: my binders line shelves on either wall of my room, and every new card I receive pushes those walls in just a little further.

It's true that binders take up a whole lot more real estate than throwing cards in boxes, but if you can spare the space, it's worth it -- collections are meant to be displayed, not merely stored.

Greg bulked my binders up a bit more with these 2019 inserts, including the final nail in the coffin I needed to complete that "Wall Climbers" insert series from Big League.

I also received a fun package from my buddy Adam of "Cardboard Clubhouse" fame that kinda reiterated a lot of these thoughts about binder storage.

Because in addition to a healthy serving of nice, normal-sized cards...

...came a big ol' stack of unwanted GQ minis Adam was nice enough to pass on to me.

Some of these come in colors I didn't even know GQ used (green? red?) -- and sure, they might look weird in binders, but come on, I'm not gonna turn down minis of Johnny Bench or Larry Doby I don't already have.

Also: another candy lid!

It's still a bit strange seeing these in standard nine-pocket pages, but with my system, that's where they're destined to live. Any kind of storage is gonna have its ups and downs. I prefer binders because they make my collection feel like a collection rather than a bunch of cards thrown into toploaders and boxes.

Now, if you want to stick around and see my Trouts after I've shown you the Keith Hernandez Indians cards, I'll oblige, but please: don't break into my house again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 30: Numbers 262-270

Frankenset Page #2 WINNER -- 2007 Upper Deck #16 Alvin Colvina (11 votes)

Last week's winner was a good example of a card I personally wouldn't have voted for, but one I kinda figured was gonna win.

While I'm more partial to Tzu-Wei Lin's Fenway panorama or Mariano Duncan's curious double dip, Alvin Colina took last week's page with a little help from the troops, collecting 11 of the 38 total votes for the win (Duncan was a close second with eight). Not bad for a dude who appeared in exactly two major league games, I'd say.

Now he's in the Gallery of Frankenset Champions for all of eternity.

We've only got a handful of pages left to cover in the frankenset: the Random Number Generator spit out #30 tonight, so we'll be taking a look at that page (#s 262-270) on the blog this week.

Let's meet the nominees.

1973 Topps #262 Jack Aker

The ivy in full bloom. 

2013 Topps Update #US263 Austin Romine

"Get back behind the plate, kid." -- Mariano Rivera, probably. 

 1994 Collector's Choice #264 Bill Spiers

The elusive fauxback/double dip combo!

2003 Topps #265 Grady Little

I collect kids on cards, but I'm thinking this could be a lone example of a grandkid on a baseball card. 

1997 Topps #266 Eric Owens

The Wicked Witch appeared a couple frames later. 

1993 Upper Deck #267 Wes Chamberlain

Points to the photographer who risked getting impaled by a bat shard to snap this excellent shot.

1978 Topps #268 Gil Flores

You could really get lost for hours in this photo. 

2012 Topps #269 Jason Vargas

One of my personal favorite throwback jerseys. 

1994 Collector's Choice #270 Doug Strange

Who says bunts are boring?

That's it for this week's page. The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Ways to my heart

As scattered and random as my collection is, I never worry that I'm collecting too many things -- I don't think that's possible.

I do, however, sometimes worry that people might be wary of trading with me because they simply don't know what to send. Someone who (seemingly) collects everything can, I guess, be as frustrating someone whose want list is three cards from 1946. But I like to think I've been blogging and trading for long enough to make the point clear: you can send me anything and chances are I'll find something I need out of the lot. Better yet, people I've traded with for a long period of time seem to have noticed trends in finding ways to my heart.

This, I think, was perfectly symbolized by a gigantic bubble mailer I recently received from Shane of "Shoebox Legends" fame, a longtime friend of the blog and a just generally excellent blogger and trader.

If the McGriff is any indication, one way to my heart is '90s stuff: particularly weird '90s stuff.

Dudes chewing baseballs, anything Pacific, cards literally made of steel, etc.

Oddballs and refractors are sure to make me swoon.

It's hard to communicate my love for 3-D cards since they're death on scanners, but believe me when I tell you that I still get an odd amount of joy flipping the images back and forth in my hands.

I'm not sure if Shane purposely did this or not, but he sent along two sightings of what is one of my favorite (and most sure to be forgotten) Short Term Stops in recent years: Josh Donaldson's 16-game stint with the Indians at the tail end of the 2018 season.

Seen on the left is a foil parallel of what I thought was Donaldson's only Indians card, and on the right is an insert I just plain didn't know existed.

There was a time in my life where I had zero concrete want lists -- I took whatever I could get from new sets and/or had a (often imperfect) list of stuff I needed in my head.

Though I still thrive on randomness, I do have a large amount of specific wants displayed on various alleys of this blog -- and maybe it's me mellowing out a bit with age, but I now find it incredibly calming to find, click, and delete cards from my want lists when people like Shane knock them out.

My heart is no match for minis.

My favorite trading partners are ones like Shane who know how to sprinkle frantic randomness within stacks of other specific stuff I like -- that, perhaps more than anything, is the way to my heart.

But the real coup de gras was what I found stuffed within a good three or four of the team bags in Shane's mailer, because they held...












Seriously, I loved this so much that I scanned all 100 cards. The standard 2001 Archives is one of the sets of my youth -- I credit it with spawning much of my current love for sunset cards and vintage in general -- and to have the Reserve set dropped into my lap in one swoop is especially nifty since I still need a lot of 'em and they aren't common dime box fodder.

The big names are all here, and they're all shiny, and they're all beautiful -- be still my beating heart.