Sunday, November 4, 2012

More gifts from pop

I'm lucky.

I'm lucky to collect baseball cards. It's allowed me to gain a whole new perspective on the game as a whole.

Plus, it's a heck of a good time.

I'm lucky to have stuck with this hobby since day one. Most collectors I've talked to took prolonged breaks from collecting during their high school and/or college years.

Although my ways and means of being a collector have vastly changed over the years, I've always been doing it in some way since I was a kid.

But, most of all, I'm lucky to have such a great family, one who goes out of its way to support my hobby.

That's probably why I've stuck with it all these years.

Without them, I doubt I'd still be collecting today.

Sometimes, it's simply just indulging me in my thoughts about a random card from my collection. They're always there to listen, even if it's not the most interesting topic to them.

Other times, it's some extra funds for a card show or a few packs here and there.

Occasionally, they'll surprise me with something I didn't even ask for.

That was the case with my dad last afternoon, although it was far from the first time he'd done so.

He bought me a few items from "Checkoutmycards", right out of the blue. My dad says he just gets the inkling to shop for cards sometimes.

Like I said, I'm one lucky guy.

It's great to have a dad who can knock out one of my "Dime Box Dozen" needs. (As always, if you have any of the twelve cards listed on the sidebar, let me know!)

As a manager, I didn't care for "Bobby V" at all. I don't think I've witnessed a more misguided managerial tenure in my years of watching baseball.

Still, I can't help but chase the cards he had during his time as a player.

There were a few reasons as to why I wanted Valentine's 1980 Topps issue so badly, enough to make it a "Dime Box Dozen" need.

For one thing, it's his "sunset" card. By now, most of you probably know how much I enjoy those.

This one also completes my Bobby Valentine Topps "set". Somehow, I managed to get every single Topps base card he had during his career, starting with his '71 rookie.

It's also his only card as a Seattle Mariner, as far as I know. He spent the '79 season with them, the last stop of his 10-year big league career.

Plus, how often do you see the "INF-OF" designation on a card? I can't think of many other examples.

That's a lot of greatness behind a single piece of cardboard.

Even one of "Bobby V".

Back when I collected hockey, my dad had absolutely no idea what I collected.

He's not the biggest hockey fan.

He'd still give me some extra cash here and there to support me, but was always kind of bummed that he could never pick out any specific cards I wanted. Names like Doug Weight and Sami Kapanen were basically gibberish to him. (And probably still are.)

Thankfully, I reverted back to baseball cards about six or seven years ago.

Now, my dad is much more at peace in shopping for cards.

For how vast and random my collection is, he seems to have a pretty good grasp on what I have and don't have. Before he handed these recent purchases to me, he said that he was worried I'd already have a couple of them. According to him, the "over/under" on the doubles was three.

I was happy to inform him that I needed every single card he purchased.

It really is amazing that he continues to surprise me all the time.

I'd never seen that Senior League card of "Mr. LSD" himself, Dock Ellis. It's a great addition to the few cards of the sort I've found over the years.

That Fred McGriff card really amazed me, though. I don't even collect him, yet my dad had a feeling I'd enjoy that insert from the '92 Donruss Triple Play set.

He was right. A hundred percent right, in fact.

While I don't specifically seek to collect anything of McGriff, I'll be the first to say that he's got one of the greatest nicknames in history.

"Crime Dog".

This is the first card I've seen that proudly displays it across the front of the card.

It's definitely a welcome piece in my collection.

These cards are awesome to look at in-person.

Yet they scan horribly. So very horribly.

I don't know that there's a greater discrepancy between the first-person and third-person views of a card in this hobby. A lot of foil-based cards don't seem to scan to well, but these are 100 times worse.

I'm sorry you had to witness the hackjob by scanner did with these.

You'll just have to get one for yourself to see how great they really are.

For the most part, 3-D cards are a scanner's worst enemy.

Not these, though.

These are neat no matter how you look at 'em.

Before yesterday, I didn't have any '81 Kellogg's cards in my collection. I'd seen them plenty of times before, yet never been lucky enough to find any at card shows.

Thankfully, these two now sit happily in my Astros binder. I don't know that the yellow borders suit a team better than the Astros. They just seem to fit Richard's and Morgan's rainbow uniforms so perfectly.

It really ties the binder together.


Let's move to a few other cards made possible by sugary treats.

My dad also managed to knock out a few of my seemingly never-ending needs with a couple issues from the all-time greatest oddball set.

Both Sanguillen and Munson are among my favorite catchers of the 1970's, although neither of them are in the Hall of Fame.

Condition-wise, I don't think you'll find a greater variety than these Hostess cards. A couple of the ones I own are perfectly cut, almost to the point of OCD.

However, most of mine have a few issues. You can clearly see the miscut borders on these two.

Of course, I don't mind. With these, I almost prefer it.

After all, I couldn't cut in a straight line to save my life back in the day.

The Valentine wasn't the only "Dime Box Dozen" need my dad managed to hit, though.

This '71 Curt Flood has been atop my wantlist for a while now.

Seeing as how it's a semi-high number, I knew it wouldn't be an easy find. By now, though, I figured it'd somehow fall into my lap. Surely I'd find it in a discount bin at a card show soon.

I've had that train of thought for the last four or five shows, coming up empty every time.

As with the "Bobby V", this proved to be Flood's "sunset" issue. Since Flood is easily one of the more revolutionary players of the last few generations, not having his final card left a gaping hole in my collection.

After missing the entire 1970 season in his quest to eliminate the dreaded "reserve clause" (receiving a "zero-year" card along the way), Flood would hang 'em up after a 13-game stint in Washington during the '71 season.

On top of that, 1971 Topps proved to be the last time we'd see a team called the "Washington Senators" included in the checklist. The franchise would move to Texas and become the Rangers in '72.

Once again, I think it's easy to see why this was such a nagging need for me.

While Hostess cards, "Crime Dogs", and "Dime Box Dozen" needs are fantastic, this proved to be the crown jewel of the "gifts from pop".

As far as I can tell, this subset from the '62 Topps checklist represent some of the first "action" shots in cardboard history.

This one appears to capture a few moments of Warren Spahn's second career no-hitter against the Giants in '61. (At the age of 40, no less.)

I actually like these a bit better than the regular '62 Topps cards. Design-wise, I've always felt that 1962 was one of the few misses in vintage history.

This is far, far from a "miss", though.

It's nothing short of spectacular.

I cannot thank my dad enough for this wonderful array of cards.

Believe me, I don't take it for granted.

Collecting for fun and having a family who goes out of their way to support my sometimes crazy cardboard habits is all I ever wanted.

I couldn't ask for much more.

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