Friday, December 14, 2012

"The Dime Boxes Top 100": Cards 60-51

It's been a long, long time since I've attended a "new" card show.

I've been hitting the deeply beloved tri-yearly show for about five or six years now. It's an absolute blast every time my dad and I go to that one, but we basically know what to expect out of it these days.

The last "new" show I attended was probably about three or four years ago, a monthly gathering that's about a half-hour drive from where I live.

Well, if everything goes as planned, I'll be breaking that drought tomorrow.

I'll finally be hitting a "new" show.

I honestly have no idea what to expect out of it. As I mentioned in a past "Top 100" post, all I know is that this particular show is being held for two days and is charging admission.

That makes me think it might be larger than many of the shows I've attended in the past.

Other than that, though, I have no information about it.

My imagination is already racing.

Maybe I'll finally find that authentic T206 Honus Wagner to go along with the reprint currently sitting in my Pirates binder. Perhaps I'll even find it in a dime box.

Just kidding.

Or am I?

With a "new" show, the possibilities are endless.

Still, though, I doubt it will happen.

I can get a little hyped up on "card show eve". It's hard to take my mind off of it when it's only a day away.

For now, though, I'm going to try taking my mind off baseball cards with...well, more baseball cards.

So I welcome you, fellow readers, to another installment of my "Top 100". By the end of this post, we will have hit the halfway point in the countdown.

I thank all of you who have kept up with the first half of these posts thus far.

With that in mind, let's get to the next ten cards in the countdown.


#60 -- 2006 Topps Update #UH73 Cory Lidle "In Memoriam"

Tonight's countdown begins on a deeply somber note.

When I scanned this card in preparation for this post last night, I knew I'd have a heavy heart while writing about it the next day. As a baseball fan, few tragedies have stuck with me more than Cory Lidle's unfortunate passing in 2006.

But that was before the news broke about the horrible tragedy that occurred this morning at a Connecticut school. I'm sure you all have heard about it by now, so I'll just say that my thoughts are with all the victims and their families.

A heavy heart does not even begin to describe what I've been feeling all day today. It was pure coincidence that I'd be writing about one of the more saddening cards in my collection on the very same day.

Those may have been the hardest paragraphs I've ever had to write for this blog.

As I mentioned with the Darryl Kile card that took the #75 slot in the "Top 100", it was extremely hard to "rank" the more tragic cards in this countdown.

They're really in a class of their own.

The Lidle is especially important to me because it was the first time I believed a baseball card could act as more than something I simply "liked".

In many ways, they can act as a tribute, one that every single collector can appreciate.

Topps' "memoriam" of Mr. Lidle is a prime example of that.

#59 -- 1983 Donruss #525 Julio Franco RC

Let's get back into the "fun" aspect of this countdown.

Thankfully, this Julio Franco rookie card takes me back to one of my fondest memories as a collector.

It's just what the doctor ordered.

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog involved a local card shop, one that I'd describe as my "childhood paradise". 

It really was.

The shop had just about everything you could ever want. Discount bins, vintage, a box full of packs at a buck a piece, supplies, card-filled binders.


Sadly, as is the tale with many card shops around the nation, it closed down a few years back. Its closing just happened to coincide with my year-long hockey collecting phase.

I loved my hockey cards, but I still regret not having much interest in buying anything baseball-related during the last time I'd ever walk into that shop.

However, purely for "old times' sake", I did decide to buy a few baseball cards that night from their awesome 6/$1 bin.

One of those was this very Julio Franco card.

At the time, I just bought it because of my fascination with the thought of owning a rookie card of the "ageless wonder". Plus, it fit in nicely with the "unfamiliar uniform" theme I'd always loved, as Franco only spent one year in Philadelphia. (To my knowledge, this is his only card as a Phillie.)

Over time, it developed into something more than a simple card in my Phillies binder.

It was the last memory of my "childhood paradise".

If that doesn't warrant a slot in my countdown, I don't know what does.

#58 -- 2001 UD Hall of Famers #88 Hoyt Wilhelm HR

You had to know Hoyt would make an appearance sooner or later.

I was surprised by one thing, though.

As a slight "spoiler alert", I'll note that this was the only Wilhelm card to make my countdown.

Most of my cards of his seem to feature the same three shots in constant rotation. I love every single piece of my Hoyt collection, but I would've preferred to see more variety in the photo selection.

Upper Deck was one of the few that deviated from the norm.

In fact, this is the only action shot I've seen on one of Hoyt's base cards. 

That alone made it a prime candidate for the "Top 100".

#57 -- 1998 Ultra Gold Medallion #171G Steve Kline

I pride myself in the "little of everything" that can be found within my collection.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I think the fact that a Steve Kline card made my "Top 100" is a good indicator of that.

Although it was the basis for one of the more well-received posts in this blog's history, I don't know if I fully conveyed how much I loved the card itself back when I originally featured it in May.

The fact that it occupies the #57 slot should tell you just how proud I am to own this card of Mr. Kline.

It never ceases to put a smile on my face.

In the end, that's all I could ever really want out of a baseball card.

#56 -- 1998 Pinnacle #77 Ray Durham

This is probably the third or fourth time I've featured this card in my writings.

I can't help it. It's that great.

I fell in love with it the minute I plucked it from a dime box back in March.

It has a terrific "play at the plate" shot. It has flying helmets. It has throwbacks. More than that, it has Cubs-Sox interleague throwbacks.

Nothing against the guy, but I never thought a Ray Durham card would have such a strong hold on me.

That's the power of dime boxes, though.

You just never know what might turn up.

#55 -- 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #11 Roy Campanella OW

I'd love to see a countdown of the greatest "play at the plate" ever featured on a baseball card.

If these last two "nominees" are any indication, they sure make for awesome action shots.

Although I absolutely love a good Cubs-Sox "play at the plate", this one barely eked out Mr. Durham for the #55 slot.

Part of me wishes I could've grown up in 1950's New York, just so I could live through the famed Dodgers-Yankees rivalry of the time period.

I wish I could've witnessed Game 4 of the '53 World Series for myself.

For better or worse, I didn't live through it.

This baseball card is all I have.

Given the sheer greatness of it, though, I guess I'm okay with that.

#54 -- 2001 UD Hall of Famers #90 Mickey Mantle HR

Like the Durham, this is a card I've already featured quite a few times on this blog.

I still rank it as one of my all-time greatest quarter box finds.

Given the 1,951 combined homers between "Say Hey", "The Mick", and "Hammerin' Hank", I have to believe that this is the most star-studded card in existence.

Although a post-Yankee and turtle-necked shot of Mantle was certainly an odd photo choice on the part of Upper Deck, I'd chalk it up as a definite "stand-out" piece of my Yankees binder.

It certainly beats everything Topps has produced of Mr. Mantle in recent years.

#53 -- 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #2 Johnny Vander Meer OW

I really only asked for one specific thing for Christmas this year.

A box of Panini Cooperstown.

I can get past the whole "no logos" thing if it's an all-HOFer set. That's not surprising, as I'm an absolute Hall of Fame nut.

But what I'm really looking forward to seeing, however, are the "Ballparks" inserts. I love old-timey panoramic stadium shots. 

They are nothing short of striking.

That's precisely why this Johnny Vander Meer ranks so highly in my countdown. I have quite a few cards that chronicle his feat of tossing back-to-back no-hitters.

But this is the only one that features an actual shot from one of the games in question.

This beautiful image is a shot from Vander Meer's second no-no, one that came during the first-ever night game played at the legendary Ebbets Field.

In terms of photo quality, there are only a select few cards I would categorize as "jaw-dropping".

I think it's safe to say that this is one of those precious few.

#52 -- 2008 Upper Deck #175 Chad Bradford

There are submarine pitchers.

And then there's Chad Bradford.

As you can probably see on this magnificent Upper Deck specimen, he is the very definition of a "submariner".

I still have absolutely no clue as to how he pitched in the bigs for twelve years.

As a kid, I once tried tossing a couple pitches Chad Bradford-style.

My arm hurt for the next couple days. It's just not natural.

I'd probably never say that anyone should own a card of a specific player or team. Not everyone's collections are alike.

But, between you and me, I think you'd probably be doing yourself a favor by finding something Bradford-related for your collection.

Preferably this masterpiece.

#51 -- 1985 Fleer #640 Pete Rose SS

Any one of my four cards of Pete Rose as a Montreal Expo could've made my "Top 100".

I simply went with this one because it was my first, as you might be able to tell from its worn borders and edges.

This is one of my self-dubbed "half-year" cards, as "Charlie Hustle" played exactly 95 games with the Expos in 1984 before being dealt to Cincinnati mid-season.

Although I'll probably never know for certain, there's a good chance that this was the one that triggered my current fascination with "unfamiliar uniform" cards.

If that is indeed the case, I have Rose to thank for my cards of Randy Johnson as an Astro and Dale Murphy as a Rockie.

As far as my collection goes, "Charlie Hustle" was one of my biggest inspirations.

He forever changed the way I look at baseball cards.


AdamE said...

Throwing submarine doesn't hurt my arm. For me it actually feels better than overhand. I can also get a nasty curve submarine style while overhand I hardly get any break at all.

Have fun at the show tomorrow! If you happen to find a1984 Expos Stuart coach card featuring Virdon please pick it up for me. (that Rose in the Expo uniform made me think of that cause he is also in that same set with an Expo uni)

Hackenbush said...

The Vander Meer is awesome. Pictures of old ballparks have a real time machine effect on me. That's one reason I love Wrigley. You can still see the ghosts of all the greats and not so greats that played there.

Metallattorney said...

I have always been disappointed that there was never a Red Sox card made of Chad Bradford. He spent about half of the 2005 season with the team and was used quite a bit but he never got a card made. As a Red Sox collector, that would have been a great pickup.