Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Game 7 repack (from Walgreens)


I've barely had any time for baseball lately.

The sudden pile of essays, tests, and general busy work I've been getting at school couldn't have come at a worse time. I've only managed to catch bits and pieces of the first six games of this year's Fall Classic and haven't had a ton of time for blogging or cards in general.

Thankfully, though, I've managed to almost entirely clear my schedule tonight and will be kicking back and taking in (what I hope is) an exciting Game 7 at around seven.

I thought I'd celebrate the occasion by featuring a repack I recently opened. I've posted about repacks many times throughout my blogging career, but this one was a little different from the rest.

My dad spotted this 100-card lot in a clearance aisle a couple weeks ago at Walgreens, of all places. Originally priced at five bucks, he got it for $2.50. Though I've heard rumors of it in the past, I've personally never seen cards in a Walgreens.

I was interested to see how it would compare to the dozens of Target repacks I've opened over the years.




It started out with a bang, as you might have noticed from the front window of the repack.

This insert from Topps's "Vintage Legends" series is a nice addition to my growing Eddie Murray collection.

Though Topps somehow managed to butcher its own design (those nameplate letters are WAY bigger than the original '63s), I'm still happy to have it.




It's a shame that I didn't realize how great these team cards were when they originally hit the shelves.

I've been picking up more and more of these on the cheap these past few years, a constant reminder of my pre-blogger ignorance when it comes to recognizing cool cardboard.

Better late than never, I guess.




Even though they came from different retail outlets, I'm almost positive that these repacks were made by the same company.

I noticed a lot of similarities between the two. I've pulled a decent amount of mid '80s Fleer from Target repacks, but it was good to get one I actually needed with the Franco this time around.

A sweet Rickey Henderson oddball fell out of the last repack I opened. As fate would have it, another one popped out of this very Walgreens lot.

That can't be a coincidence.




The giveaway for me was that this batch featured a team-issue card with the Glavine, another one of the common threads between the two repacks.

Oh, and I spy a lurking outfield decal on the King Felix!

Maybe it is time to officially start that mini-collection.




Two great cards of The Kid.

From a Walgreens clearance shelf and into my binders.




Repacks are always good for a few fun cards.

Maybe it's just me, but that windup makes Larry McWilliams look more like a ballerina dancer than a big league pitcher. The Anderson is a beautiful new addition to my throwbacks mini-collection, and one I'd never seen before my dad picked up this repack.

At about two cents a card, you can't beat it.




These are both new additions to some of my more obscure player collections.

Pulling a minor league autograph of Ben Davis as a young lad is one of the earliest card-related memories I have. I still have that card, and I've collected him ever since because of that.

Why I collect Glendon Rusch, however, is anyone's guess.




If you're lucky, repacks can hook you up with a few cards from long-forgotten sets.

Metal Universe and early-2000's Finest aren't exactly what I'd call common finds in this day in age.




One thing that separated this batch from most of the others I've opened was the presence of inserts.

I'd say about 99 percent of the cards I've ever pulled from repacks have been base cards. And I'm completely fine with that. That's why I buy repacks in the first place.

Still, finding a couple inserts this time around was a special little treat.

Especially one with that wacky "Ultra Performers" design.




I've had this card for years, but that didn't make finding it in this repack any less intriguing.

To know that my man Wilbur Wood could be lurking in Walgreens aisles around the country is both comforting and off-putting.

Hopeful that he could find a good new home at any second, yet disappointed that he's probably lying unloved in clearance aisles next to toilet cleaner and bug spray.

You there! Go save Wilbur Wood from your local Walgreens!

That is, after you enjoy Game 7.

Then go to Walgreens.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The dime box frankenset, Page 35: Numbers 307-315


Last week's frankenset voting came down to the wire.

Win -- 1973 Topps #302 Terry Crowley (16 votes)

Place -- 1996 Stadium Club #299 Fernando Vina (13 votes)

Show -- 1994 Pinnacle #304 Pat Meares (4 votes)

Records were set all over the place. Crowley's 16 votes are the most we've had for a single card since this whole frankenset business started. Vina's 13 are a new record for most tallies in a loss.

And the 36 total votes are a new single week record as well, so a huge, huge thanks to everyone who made last week's frankenset page so exciting. It took hours of deciding, but I ended up giving Vina the slight edge over Crowley with my tally.

Both are among my favorite cards in the entire set, and I can definitely see why Mr. Crowley ended up taking the crown.




I don't know if this week's frankenset page can match the drama of the last one, but let's give it a shot.

Here are the nominees.



1997 Upper Deck #307 Scott Erickson

AL pitcher at the plate!



1990 Upper Deck #308 Ed Whitson

Props to pitcher Ed Whitson for somehow making it to second base. 



1996 Stadium Club #309 Scott Servais

Didn't your mom ever tell you to not look directly at the sun?! 



1971 Topps #310 Tommie Agee

I can't help but wonder if this magnificent shot was taken during the same game as the famous (and eerily similar) '71 Topps Bud Harrelson




1992 Score #311 Jeff Reed

I'm at a loss for words every time I see this card.

I've always wanted to scan it side-by-side like that.



1995 Upper Deck #312 Steve Buechele

A little tyke on the field at Wrigley. 



1994 Upper Deck #313 Kurt Abbott

Double dip! 



1992 Topps #314 Jeff Huson

A fantastic double play marred only by the unfortunate Jose Canseco cameo. 



2002 UD Victory #315 Jason Bere

This pitcher at the plate (and our third different Cub) closes out this week's frankenset page.

The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Incoherent


If I've brought one thing to the blogosphere, I hope it's the idea that not having a true center to one's collection is by no means a bad thing.

For all you team and/or player enthusiasts, I commend you for having a more firm grasp on your collection than I ever could. But don't be afraid to branch out a bit into other things if it's something you feel like you want to do.

Granted, I've branched out so much that those branches aren't necessarily connected to anything. I wouldn't have it any other way. Some might call what I have a Dime Box Collection or a Random Collection, but perhaps a better term for it would be an Incoherent Collection.

I think a recent package I received from my buddy Marcus of the spectacular blog "All The Way To The Backstop..." is a fantastic example of that. He has a terrific handle on what I collect, which means that he sent cards of just about everything you can imagine.

The first thing that caught my eye was this error-rific Dick Green. Only '73 Topps would print a card of a guy booting a ground ball.

Now, see if you can draw a line between that and the rest of what Marcus put together.




I doubt it's possible.

I have a feeling Marcus sent over that Jackson because of the prime bubble action. But the fact that it's a new card of Bo as an Angel actually meant more to me.

Given his horrific late-season beaning, it's unfortunate that Panini included Mr. Stanton in an insert set entitled "Fearless".

My best goes out to Giancarlo in 2015.




I know the Round Rock Express are Marcus's local minor league squad.

I'm guessing he picked up a team set and some point and graciously decided to send these two my way. Both are fantastic new oddities for my Profar and Olt collections.

Although I still don't know how I feel about a name like the Express.




Yes, that's a card of a dog.

Marcus sent me a card of a dog.

A card of a drug-detecting dog.




With stats on the back and everything.

Tia here had apparently seized over $48 million worth of the hard stuff by the time this one hit the streets.

I must say that this is the first time I've ever seen the word "cocaine" printed on a card.

Always makes me think of Dewey Cox. (Warning: Kind of NSFW.)




Marcus branched out from the canines and hit a rather spooky need from last year's "Curious Cases" A&G insert series.

From what the back says, UVB-76 is an unknown radio station that has been broadcasting monotonous tones that are broken up by random voices in Russian every once in a while.

Freaky.




Let's get away from the chills by diving into a couple more conventional A&G subjects.

I know I've seen that image of the Duke before, but I have to say that Carew shot is completely new to me.

Proof that Topps can actually put some effort into photo selection.




Marcus hopped on the mini bandwagon with these two.

My collection might be incoherent, but my love for minis will always stand the test of time.




A couple annoyingly short-printed needs from good ol' Heritage.

The Rizzo is my first of the colored parallels, and, although Topps certainly wasn't doing anything like that in '65, the red borders really do pop.

Staying true to the original can be overrated sometimes.




What you see on my "Dime Box Dozen" list is merely a handful of concrete wants from a list of literally thousands and thousands.

Marcus broke what was becoming a bit of a dry streak for my DBD with this '92 UD Minors Trevor Hoffman.

Though Hoffman only has one official issue as a Red, there are few minor league cards that depict his time in the Cincinnati organization. This is one of them.

I vividly remember seeing this card in a random box at a now-defunct LCS, but, for some stupid reason, I didn't buy it. I've had to live with that decision for a good six or seven years now.

Marcus finally allowed me to cope with that awful mistake by sending a copy of the long-lost Trevor my way.

Errors, dogs, minis, Dime Box Dozens. Any coherence at all? Don't think so.

Just how I like it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The garage sale gods strike again


I used to think garage sales were all baby clothes and self-help books.

Maybe most of them are. Yet, for whatever reason, I'm lucky enough to live in one of the only halfway decent garage sale pockets in the nation.

Some of you may remember the impressive pit of cardboard I stumbled upon in some guy's garage a few weeks ago. This morning, my mom discovered that the very same seller was advertising yet another sale on Craigslist this weekend.

It was almost a reflex to hop in the car and take the ten minute drive over to the guy's house. Some of the best days for new baseball cards are the days when you're not expecting to find any at all.

The guy remembered me from the last time around and I was glad to see that he had some new cardboard available. Still, a good chunk was the same stuff I'd picked through a few weeks ago.

The deal wasn't as staggering as the last time, but, then again, I doubt anything could be. I ended up with around 60 cards for 12 bucks, about 20 cents per.

The guy had a friend lurking around who claimed that this 2014 Donruss Yasiel Puig was going for something like five bucks on Ebay. I basically paid two dollars for this card alone, only to arrive home and find that what the guy was saying was complete BS.

It's still a nice addition to my growing Puig collection and I'm glad to have it, but I always feel a little queasy when I overpay for a card.




That aside, my latest garage sale dig was a blast.

As I noted the last time, the guy who I bought all these from is a more high-end collector. He was quick to show me his latest mojo hits, namely a Kobe Bryant autograph and some kind of Larry Bird/Magic Johnson thingamajig.

He even had a '65 Topps Roberto Clemente lying around as if to torture me. If I were to make an ultimate top-ten want list, that one would be on it. Unfortunately, the $60 price tag didn't match up with the three five-dollar bills in my wallet.

Maybe next time.

It's funny to observe the reactions of high-enders when they see the type of cards I buy. These are pretty much your run-of-the-mill base and low-end inserts. The guy tossed them aside like he was allergic when he was totaling everything up.

More for me.




I found myself wondering just how much Donruss this guy bought as I was digging through his cards.

The bulk of my purchase the last time around was mostly Donruss, and he had a whole bunch of new ones out this afternoon. Like most people I've heard from, the guy thought this set was a massive disappointment.

Aside from the colorful "No-Nos" series, I wouldn't say I particularly like any of these insert designs. But they're hard to pass up at bargain-basement prices.

I get the feeling I'll be finding tons more of these in discount bins soon enough.




This one was in a little box of randoms the guy had strewn across his table.

I'm making a more concerted effort to collect Hideo Nomo, so I couldn't let it go. Numbered out of 999 copies, it's from one of those early 2000's Leaf Limited sets. Which, as I found, don't scan very well.

I think it was priced at a buck.




Great shots of double plays and pitchers covering first from 2006 Topps.

These high-end people don't know what they're missing.




I don't know if Gold Label gets enough credit.

I have a hard time finding these things anywhere. Topps brought the brand back this year, but, of course, they made it into some impossible-to-find insert series. I still haven't seen one in-person.

Me, I'll just bask in the glory of Gold Label's heyday.

Back when people were drooling over Jack Cust and Sean Burroughs.




I think the reason my stack cost a little more this time around was because I bought more of the guy's penny-sleeve-and-toploader cards.

From what I've seen, that's basically a red flag to most high-end collectors that says THIS CARD IS WORTH SOMETHING!!! (And yet I still find unsleeved Bryce Harper rookies in dime boxes.)

Not a lot of them were priced, but I'm betting they contributed to the bulk of the twelve-dollar total.

I've been on the fence as to whether or not I actually collect Bo Jackson lately, but I guess I'm finally taking the plunge.

Buying this nifty '89 mini finally convinced me that, yes, I collect Bo Jackson now.




My eyes are trained to scope out even the most well-hidden baseball cards.

I found this one innocently tucked next to a couple piles of football and basketball singles. I don't know that a lot of other people would've even noticed it, but I did.

A life of discount bin hunting will do that to you.




Unlike the previous Donruss inserts I featured, these were in sleeves and toploaders and priced at a buck a piece.

Those "Hall Worthy" inserts are actually pretty darn ugly, but I only have one other card of Tim Hudson as a Giant.

Into the pile it went.




I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was seeing this right.

Is that actually a NICE card from Prizm?

Guess the brand isn't a total waste. It came out kind of bluish in the scan, but this is one of the purple parallels, numbered to just 99 copies. I plopped down a buck for this one of Freddie Freeman, one of my newest player collection inductees.

Up to this point, I don't know that I exactly got much of a bang for my twelve bucks. I needed every single card I've shown thus far, and some of them are rather nice. But for twelve bucks? I don't know. A decent deal, but not eye-popping...

Any inhibitions I had were put to rest by the last card I bought this afternoon.




My eyes lit up when they saw Jackie here.

The guy told me he'd bought a mini-box of Stadium Club and wasn't a fan. After that, I was secretly hoping that he'd have a few singles mixed in with his selection. And he did.

Most of the others were priced higher than I was willing to pay, but I think I forked over two bucks for this one. Coincidentally, this was this first card I saw while trying to get a glimpse of the (then) new Stadium Club release a few weeks ago.

Love at first sight.

As I was driving home, I racked my brain to try and figure out what I did to get on the good side of the garage sale gods. Nothing came to mind as I admired Jackie at the stoplight.

Your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The 1995 Fleer award show


When I first started this blog, I didn't have the slightest inkling that my love for 1995 Fleer would become anything more than a passing thought.

I wrote about it one evening a couple years ago, back when I was still getting my blogging feet wet. The post turned out to get a lot of views and comments and was one of the most well-received write-ups I'd done up to that point. (Still is, actually.)

These days, I enjoy waxing poetic about 1995 Fleer just for the reactions I get. It's basically either "EW, 1995 FLEER!!! GET IT AWAY!!!!!!!! ASPIRIN!!!!!" or "YAY, 1995 FLEER!!!! BEST SET EVER!!!!!!"

There really isn't a lot of middle ground.

Anyone who read my post about the unopened '95 Fleer pack I received from the Junior Junkie probably saw the fun I had opening it. I know my dad did, at least.

Unbeknownst to me, and without any kind of nudge, my dad went searching for an unopened box of 1995 Fleer on Ebay a few weeks ago. Box, as in 36 packs. As in 12 cards per. As in 436 total cards from 1995 Fleer.

And, doggone it, my dad found one. He surprised me with it before our trip to the flea market a couple weeks ago, saying it cost about 14 bucks and change, shipped. That's well under 50 cents per pack. I knew it was the real deal once I saw Raul Mondesi on the cover.

Only a '90s set would have anything like that.




What I found inside was pure bliss.

I hadn't opened a box of baseball cards in over a year before this, and I honestly couldn't think of a better set to break the drought.

I wanted to keep the fun going for as long as possible, so I actually broke from my usual box-busting ways and resisted opening all the packs in one sitting. I was able to make the 36 packs last for a little over a day before temptation got the better of me. The final 10 packs or so were opened all at once.

With the amount of writing I've done on '95 Fleer in the past, I was left wondering what else I could say about the wacky set. That's about when I came up with the idea of an "award show" dedicated to anything and everything 1995 Fleer. Applause from some, jeers from others.

If you'll indulge me, I'll be running through a list of random, quirky, and (hopefully) funny categories all devoted to '95 Fleer, the most demented set ever released.

Roll out the neon red carpet.




Most psychedelic design -- NL EAST

We begin with the hallmark of this set.

If you're not familiar with 1995 Fleer, each division received its own wacky design within the checklist. All the AL Central cards have the same template, as do the NL Central, and so on.

The craziest of the six designs, if you ask me, comes from the NL East. They're the perfect example of why I've come to call 1995 Fleer "The LSD Set".

The sheer amount of blue on this particular card has me worried that Roberto Kelly is drowning.




Most tame design -- AL EAST

This is what qualifies as tame for 1995 Fleer.

A card like this would stick out like a sore thumb in any other set, yet it's about the closest you'll see to normalcy in this post. The fact that "Donnie Baseball" here is a reverse-negative makes this specific card even kookier.

Mattingly, of course, was a lefty, and you can clearly see the flipped Yankee logo on his jersey.




Best uniform/design combo -- SEATTLE MARINERS

Something about that very '90s shade of teal works perfectly with this blobbish design.




Defunct '90s uniforms I'd most like to forget -- MILWAUKEE BREWERS

God, those things were horrendous.

Milwaukee's current jerseys aren't exactly a treat, but I'd take them a hundred times out of a hundred over these pajama bottoms.




Best use of irony -- 1995 FLEER WRAPPERS

I came very close to not catching this at all, but take a deep look at the words underneath the MLB logos on the back of this wrapper.

Do cards, not drugs.

Part of me hopes that the people at Fleer recognized the irony.




Biggest lesson learned about 1995 Fleer boxes -- YOUR COLLATION SUCKS, FLEER

Seeing as how 1995 Fleer is a 600-card set, I probably shouldn't have gotten many doubles (if any) in my 426-card box.

Not so. The only real downside to this awesome box was the crappy collation. I received doubles and triples of a healthy amount of cards.

I pulled this Mike Piazza/Pudge Rodriguez (on the flip side) insert, I repeat, insert four different times. These come one per pack, and I received the same one in four of them.

Fail.




Best action shot -- Ruben Sierra

With such a crazy design, it's easy to pass up the actual photos themselves in this checklist.

Truth be told, there aren't a lot of memorable ones. It's not an image-based checklist, which is fine for something of this nature.

But I'm a big fan of anything that features a leg kick like that.




Best Eck-Face -- ECK

Who else?




Best specs -- CHUCK McELROY, CHRIS SABO, BOB HAMELIN (tie)

I couldn't decide, so the award goes to all three.




Whitest kicks -- JEFF BAGWELL

Because that's what this LSD technology does to shoes.




Best back -- BRENT MAYNE

Again, given the insane fronts, the backs aren't necessarily a major point of concern.

But I felt they deserved a mention nonetheless. The backs are important parts of baseball cards, people.

I couldn't find many stand-out flip sides, so I gave the award to Brent Mayne purely for the shades.




Most obscure namesake for current MLB star -- JOSE BAUTISTA

You might know Jose Bautista as the perennial All-Star outfielder with the Blue Jays.

What might interest you, however, is the fact that there was a different guy named Jose Bautista (a pitcher) in the bigs a couple decades ago. This Jose Bautista posted a mediocre 4.62 ERA in nine big league seasons, ending his career with the Cardinals in 1997.

The more you know.




Most obscure relative of former MLB star -- TERRY McGRIFF

Did anyone else know Fred McGriff had a cousin who played in the majors?

I sure didn't.




Best sunsets -- GOOSE GOSSAGE, DAVE HENDERSON (tie)

Both Gossage and Henderson closed out their career in fairly unfamiliar uniforms.

"Goose" made 36 appearances for the 1994 Mariners, while Henderson played in 56 games for the '94 Royals. Both were out of baseball by the time the 1995 season finally came around.

These wacky designs certainly sent Gossage and Henderson out with a bang.




Cards most likely to give me nightmares -- KEN HILL, BOBBY MUNOZ (tie)

Fleer managed to make Bobby Munoz look a tad too devilish for my liking.

I wasn't sure what freaked me out so much about the Hill at first, but it hit me after about the third or fourth look. Those glowing eyes remind me of the famous Zoltar machine from one of my favorite movies, a scene that always used to scare me when I was younger for some reason.

Still scares me a bit now, to be honest.




The inserts in 1995 Fleer are actually pretty normal, all things considered.

Nice, normal pictures. No LSD-inspired designs. Solid work. A lot of the fun from this box came from seeing what inserts I'd pull with each passing pack.

While these are definitely neat...




Best inserts -- PRO-VISIONS

...these fit the 1995 Fleer mold way better than any of the others.

The "Pro-Visions" series is weird, wild, and spectacular.

Rocket ships flying off the barrel of Jeff Bagwell's bat. Cy Young Awards materializing out of a sea next to Greg Maddux. Manny Ramirez brandishing a tornado. Mike Mussina throwing literal fireballs. It's all there.

It's interesting to note that Fleer designed a similar insert series the year prior.

In hindsight, maybe that was a hint of what was to come in 1995 Fleer.




Best card of the box -- DEREK JETER "MAJOR LEAGUE PROSPECTS" INSERT

As great as everything else was, this ended up being the big WOW pull of the box.

It's among the first of the thousands of Jeter cards that would be produced during his illustrious career, for one thing. But what struck me most about this particular insert is the sheer awkwardness of seeing a #24 stitched across The Captain's back.

That famous #2 has pretty much become ingrained in my memory. Imagine how different things would've been had Jeter stuck with #24.

Makes you think.

Well, that about does it for this award show. Sorry, no lavish after-parties or anything like that. I'm sure there's some food in your refrigerator you can heat up or something. Maybe a tall glass of water to go along with the aspirin some of you are taking right now.

In the end, all I can do is honor the man who made this whole award show possible. My dad.

This box was an absolute blast to open, and it's all thanks to him.