Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 57: Numbers 505-513

Frankenset Page #54 WINNER -- 1996 Collector's Choice #484 Rex Hudler (14 votes)

Card backs aren't usually the driving force behind my frankenset picks, but then again not many card backs feature a guy milking a cow.

Not surprisingly, last week's voting resulted in a rout, with the cow-milking Rex Hudler taking 14 of the 32 total tallies for the easy win -- no other card received more than four votes. From what I've heard about Hudler and his zany ways, it seems like a perfect card for him (though it might not even be his wackiest one).

At the end of it all, I'm just glad to be able to induct a card with a cow on it into my Gallery of Frankenset Champions, so thanks, good readers.

I counted this afternoon, and it looks like we only have eight pages left to show in the second frankenset(!), so let the countdown begin with one of the final eight: according to the Random Number Generator, Page 57 (#s 505-513) is up for grabs this week.

Let's meet the nominees.

1975 Topps #505 Chris Speier

Even seemingly mundane action looks great with '75 Topps. 

1995 Collector's Choice #506 Alex Fernandez 

Hugs and handshakes on my favorite Collector's Choice design.

1973 Topps #507 Darrel Chaney

The rare runner-fielder-umpire triumvirate. 

1995 Collector's Choice #508 Norberto Martin

A great double dip made even greater with all the Spring Training ads in the background. 

1981 Topps #509 Pete Mackanin

Fact: weak-hitting middle infielders are shown bunting on 99.9 percent of their baseball cards (or at least it sure seems that way).

1992 Leaf #510 Andy Allanson

Play at the plate! 

1994 Topps #511 Devon White

The one and only card I own of a dude reading his fan mail, and it's glorious.

2006 Upper Deck #512 Chris Reitsma

Signing for the youngins. 

1993 Upper Deck #513 Jose Lind

Second-base action, with a cameo from Kirk Gibson's male-pattern baldness.

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

Happy voting!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Lost in the COMC funhouse

Logging onto COMC can often feel like entering a funhouse at a carnival.

Sure, you can start with the hopes of looking for specific things, but I almost guarantee that once you've been in there a while, among all the mirrors and links bringing you to this search and that, you'll have no idea where you started, or where in the heck you're going. I know this all too well: I received my latest COMC order a couple weeks ago and had trouble coming up with an explanation as to how I discovered a lot of the cards I did. What rabbit hole, for instance, led to me throwing a '56 Topps Vic Wertz into my cart?

I have no freakin' clue...but I'm sure glad for whatever rabbit hole it was since this beauty (paper loss and all!) cost all of about 70 cents.

At some point I discovered I somehow didn't already own these two surprisingly affordable '50s stars.

Often COMC is great at showing me stuff I didn't even know I needed: oh the years I've wasted not owning a Post Post!

I sometimes even buy stuff I have no knowledge of: that oversized Smoky Joe Wood comes from an oddball set called "Big League Collectibles," which is the first I'm hearing about it.

On the other hand, I know all too well the greatness of other oddballs like TCMA, Kellogg's, and alternate-universe '77 OPCs!

In case it hasn't become obvious yet, I often see vintage oddballs in the COMC funhouse mirror.

Permagraphics included!

Magnificent oddities of Hammerin' Hank and Johnny Evers receiving a cool old-timey car!

Legend liquorfractors, obviously.

I've said this many times before, but my most consistent use of COMC lately has been acquiring online-only cards I have little interest in buying directly from Topps wholesale.

None of these cost more than 75 cents, and I continue to be enthralled by those full-bleed '78s.

Throwback Thursday is another Topps promotion made affordable via COMC.

I check the site almost daily for these -- every once in a while I stumble upon a jewel a dealer decided to heavily mark down for whatever reason -- and it's good to know my persistence is rewarded with excellent rehashings of old A-Team or TV Westerns designs (among others!).

Topps Now cards retail at $10 a pop...

...so I don't know what it says about the hobby (or the general interest in these) that I was able to get a good handful of 'em for about a buck per on COMC.

Like the aforementioned Post Post, I never knew I needed a Rally Goose card until now.

I also snagged a handful of what I'm pretty sure was the first online-only Topps promotion: eTopps!

I rarely get a chance to buy these, and this order basically doubled my eTopps collection in the snap of a finger.

I didn't go to this year's National, but I did buy a bunch of past National VIP Exclusives for loose change, which makes me feel better.

Why am I buying base cards from sets like Donruss and Team Heroes, you ask?

Because these are actually also old National exclusives...numbered to just five copies a piece!

Daryle Ward and Pablo Ozuna rank highly on the Obscure Guys I Collect list, and thanks to some weird pricing quirk, these scarce parallels cost just 79 cents each, which is less than the regular base versions of said cards are listed for on COMC(?).

Bunch of funhouse randoms here: including ornaments, bubble refractors, and a card from something called the Topps Montgomery Club which from what I can gather is basically a paid membership program for people with much more money than me.

I love photo variations...

...when I can afford them!

I have no interest in hoarding Starting Lineup figurines, but I'll sure take the cards.

I'm still astounded that BBM cards can sometimes come so cheap considering they have to travel across an ocean to get here.

More oddballs from every corner of the funhouse, like a Mother's Cookies Shooter and a Burger King Cardenal.

Despite the tendency to get lost amid the oddballs and general insanity, this latest COMC order did manage to harpoon two white whales I've been chasing for quite some time.

First came this 1989 Kahn's Kent Tekulve, long desired by yours truly since, aside from being kinda scarce in general, it's the only other card I know of outside of his '89 Traded single to feature Teke as a Red(!).

Holy cow have I been chasing this card for a long time: I remember it being on my Most Wanted list when I first started my Most Wanted list in the first couple years of this blog's history before I gave up looking and deciding I'd never get to own it.

I mentioned alternate-universe '77 OPCs earlier, and this is pretty much the ultimate one for me: this doesn't just feature a completely different photo and team than John Lowenstein's standard '77 Topps card...it features him wearing the uniform of a team he never even played for! In other words: A ZERO-YEAR CARD!

Traded by the Indians to the Blue Jays in late 1976 for Rico Carty (coincidentally, the man featured on the other alternate-universe '77 OPC in this post!), Lowenstein lasted all of about three months in Toronto before being dealt back to the Indians just prior to the '77 season, never having played a single game for the expansion franchise. But somehow during that brief non-tenure he slipped into the hearts of Canada and into the '77 OPC checklist. And thus a white whale was born, one that's sure comforting to finally take down.

Thus ends my latest trip to the COMC carnival, but of course, knowing me, it won't be long before I go running back to the starting arrow, entering the funhouse all over again.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 54: Numbers 478-486

Frankenset Page #73 WINNER -- 2013 Topps #649 Ryan Hanigan (8 votes)

I sometimes worry about posting the higher-numbered pages in my frankenset because they're often a bit sparse and generally less exciting than others in the binder.

Despite being the second-to-last page in the frankenset, however, I thought last week's group was fairly solid, and the king of the super high-numbers ended up being the diving Ryan Hanigan, who took eight of the 31 total votes en route to the victory -- with both Steve Decker and Alex Cole on his heels (6 votes each).

As a frankenset builder, I'm ecstatic when exciting cards like the Hanigan wind up in the #500-600 range, because wow can they be scarce when it comes to filling my binder.

We're staying in the upper reaches of the frankenset binder this week, but thankfully the group is back to a full nine -- the Random Number Generator spit out #54, so we'll be taking a look at that page (#s 478-486) on the blog tonight.

Let's meet the nominees.

1976 Topps #478 Lynn McGlothen

A smile made for baseball cards.

2017 Topps #479 Ryan Madson

I've often thought about starting a high-five mini-collection. 

2012 Topps #480 JJ Putz

Those aren't pillows! 

2018 Topps #481 Ronald Torreyes

How To Crop A Baseball Card 101. 

1991 Leaf #482 Wally Backman

Double dip! 

1970 Topps #483 Gail Hopkins

That time Topps made a dude look like a zombie.

1996 Collector's Choice #484 Rex Hudler

Best card back ever! 

1959 Topps #485 Ryne Duren

The continuing saga of Ryne Duren and His Coke-Bottle Shades, and his hopes to win another frankenset page. 

1994 Pinnacle #486 Walt Weiss

The forever double-dipping Walt Weiss strikes again.

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

Happy voting!

Monday, November 4, 2019

The collector in winter

There's some truth to the famous Rogers Hornsby quote -- when winter comes, I often find myself looking out the window and waiting for spring.

Baseball, more than any other indulgence, guides the seasons of my life. I don't follow any of the other major sports, and I enjoy the cozy warmth of my home even more so during the chilly Novembers and Decembers. And even though I probably watched less baseball in 2018 than any other year of my adult life (less time + Cubs dumpster fire), I'm already feeling the gap left by the game even though the World Series ended less than a week ago.

So, then, how does one pass those sultry months from winter to spring?

Simply put, I try to stay connected to the game as much as I can, whenever I can.

Hot stove, winter meetings, all that. I've also reconnected with (and become subsequently re-addicted to) Out of the Park's sim game, which lets baseball become a year-round sport if I want. And I often find myself reading more baseball books over the winter than any other time of year. And, of course, I have my baseball cards!

Part of the joy of baseball cards is that they never go out of season -- I still get trade packages in the colder months too, like the one I recently received from Mark Kaz, a longtime friend of Dime Boxedonia and author "This Way to the Clubhouse...," an excellent blog I refuse to believe will be forever defunct.

While Mark hasn't blogged in a while, he hasn't lost the touch for creating killer trade packages.

I'm particularly interested to see how this offseason treats the Cubs -- they already have a new manager, and I can't help but wonder if a few of the team's bigger stars will be wearing the blue for much longer. Either way I'm hoping for an eventful winter that keeps the hot stove warm.

In the meantime, I've got this supreme assortment of Cubs I Collect from Mark, including blasts from the past (Ernie!), guys I rarely see cards of anymore (Geovany Soto!), and current favorites (Rizzo!).

Non-Cubs factored heavily here too though -- here's a new Jose Lima for the archives, as well as a scarce black parallel for my Cards with Kids mini-collection.

Little of everything here -- can't say I have a desire to read much Stephen King, but it's certainly cool to have a baseball card of him!

I'm also enthralled by those HOF plaques -- I own almost nothing of way-back stars Fred Clarke and Jake Beckley -- but I have no idea what they are: they're shiny, metallic to the touch, but obviously incredibly cool.

Archives is like a 29-year-old prospect who suddenly clicks -- just overnight, it seemed to become a formidable set (and one of my personal favorites) after many years of general apathy and dullness.

These, however, are a couple higher points from Archives' early days.

And finally here's one way to get me through the winter: A NEW HOYT!

In a weird way winter reminds me more about why I collect baseball cards than any other time of year. Packages like these remind me why I take such great solace in my collection. As the temps dive into the teens and negatives, at least I know I can always just flip open one of my binders for warmth.

In the meantime, I'll just be over here, looking out the window.