I was really hoping this wouldn't become a regular feature around here.
But, for better or worse, it has.
I fell victim to yet another "impulse buy" last week. The fourth I've featured on the blog thus far. (You can see the others here, here, and here.)
Appropriately enough, the basis for this latest batch of cardboard originated right here in the blogosphere.
It all started with a comment on my last "Dime Box Heroes" post.
After I'd made a brief mention to my Kenny Lofton collection, blogger tourist504 from "The Junior Junkie" referenced an Upper Deck issue that pictured Lofton "running the bases with a parachute tied to his back" in the comments.
I'd never heard about that one before. At the time, it sounded like a card that would fit perfectly within my collection.
I took to Google to see what all the fuss was about.
And I was stunned.
There he was. Kenny Lofton. And he indeed had a parachute tied to his back. Almost like a funny car.
A couple things crossed my mind.
1) How could I have never seen a card like this in the past?
2) How was it not already in my collection?
As much as I loved it, though, I began to think.
"Didn't I just make an 'impulse buy'? I can't really afford to be throwing too much money around right now."
So I passed on buying it at that moment and threw it up on my "Dime Box Dozen" list. My conscience had gotten the better of me.
For about a day, anyways.
Like it or not, I just couldn't get the "funny car" Lofton out of my head.
Finally, I decided enough was enough.
I still had a good chunk of Christmas money available. I'd been trying to budget that remaining cash, but, for that brief moment in time, I couldn't help but think...
"Screw the budget."
"Screw the budget."
I took to Sportlots and nabbed the Lofton for a mere 18 cents.
But, as per the site's new "rules", Paypal purchases had to amount to at least $2.50.
So I delved deeper into the Sportlots depths.
To my knowledge, I don't think anyone has experimented with "glow in the dark" baseball cards.
This is probably about the closest the hobby has come. Whoever decided to couple Mike Norris's glowing A's jersey with the awesome night backdrop is a pure genius.
Still, I wouldn't stare at this one for too long.
You might burn your eyes.
I quelled a little non-sports itch with this recent "impulse buy" as well.
I've been on a mission to build the 100-card "Legendary Americana" insert set from '07 Legendary Cuts for the last few years now.
When I first decided to go for the set, I knew it wouldn't be an easy task. Each card is limited to just 550 copies.
However, I've made much, much more progress than I ever could've dreamed.
"Wild Bill" Hickok is the 97th card I've acquired from the set.
I'm down to needing just three more.
A seller on Sportlots has two of the remaining ones I need, but they're well overpriced. I'll still be combing the market to see what it has to offer, but I may have to bite the bullet and pay the ransom for the pair one of these days.
If I do, it'll probably be the basis for my next "impulse buy" post.
By now, I'd nearly reached the $2.50 mark.
However, I was still a few cents short.
As a result, I figured I might as well knock out a few "Dime Box Dozen" needs in the process.
I'd long had the '01 Archives reprint of Mr. Dent sitting in my Rangers binder. However, I'd never been able to track down its original counterpart.
Luckily, I landed a copy off Sportlots for just 18 cents.
Not bad for a "sunset" card of Bucky [bleepin'] Dent.
These two have been on my "Dime Box Dozen" list since day one.
And both are firsts for my respective binders.
That's the first card I've been able to find of Jamie Moyer as a St. Louis Cardinal. It won't be the last, though.
From what I know, Phil Nevin's only cardboard appearance as an Anaheim Angel came courtesy of his 1998 Fleer Tradition issue.
Truthfully, I'm not sure why I was so obsessed with that one. Nevin isn't one of my biggest player collections, by any means.
Still, that card had always been near the top of my "most wanted" list.
I guess "unfamiliar uniforms" just have that effect on me.
At that point, I'd well eclipsed the $2.50 barrier.
But I kept on going.
Hey, I'm not trying to save for a new phone or new video games or new whatever else around here. Cardboard is the only hobby I've ever known.
So I plunged further into my "impulse buy".
With this hobby, you've got to live a little sometimes.
Am I right?
As a result, another quarter went towards this 1981 Topps Traded issue of Mr. Mario Mendoza.
Almost unwittingly, I managed to hit a few major milestones with this latest "impulse buy". (Well, "major" to me, anyways.)
I knocked out the last pieces of my Mendoza "Topps set" with this one, for instance.
What is a "Topps set", you ask?
It's pretty simple.
Completing a "Topps set" is acquiring every base Topps card a player had issued during his career. Everything from "rookie" to "sunset".
It's a quest I've taken on with each and every one of my little player collections, Mendoza included.
What you see above is a page containing all of Mario Mendoza's Topps issues. 1975 to '82. (He didn't have cards in the '76 or '77 checklists.)
Now, I don't count parallels towards the "set", but I had to show his '75 mini. It's just so friggin' awesome.
Still, I managed to put a couple other "Topps sets" to bed with my latest purchase.
Ones that I'd been working on for a long, long time.
Like the Mendoza, Greg Luzinski's 1981 Topps Traded issue finally finished off my long-awaited "set" of his.
A lot of baseball fans might better know him as a Phillie, but I've always associated "The Bull" with the hometown White Sox.
Either way, I take great pride in knowing that I own every single card of Luzinski from his playing days. Everything from 1971 to '85.
Here, have a look for yourself.
Kind of cool, right?
It's like tracking a guy's career through little two-by-three inch pieces of cardboard. This is a prime example of the "little victories" that make low-end collecting such a rewarding task.
I'm still on the fence about whether to consider in-action cards as part of my respective "sets". I'm leaning towards doing so, just because they are part of the base checklist, after all.
Plus, they're pretty awesome in their own right. They really help tie the pages together, dude.
Although the last "Topps set" I completed isn't as expansive Mr. Luzinski's, it did prove to be the best of the bunch.
Needless to say, it's one of the best "sets" a low-end collector like myself could ever complete.
I'd long been on the hunt for this card.
Seeing as how Bill Lee is easily one of my all-time favorites, it was only fitting. Like so many other players of his era, the "psychedelic" 1972 design just seems to fit the "Spaceman" so well.
More than that, though, it was the last card I needed to complete my "set" of his. Given its high-number status, though, I knew it wouldn't come cheap.
Or so I thought.
I'd never even seen a copy of this one in-person before my latest "impulse buy".
As a result, you can imagine how surprised I was to see this one listed for a paltry 90 cents on Sportlots.
I still can't believe it.
Thanks to Sportlots, it gives me great pleasure to announce the following...
Here, my friends, is my complete "Topps set" of Mr. Bill Lee.
I've been waiting a long time to say that.
A historic day for my collection, without a doubt.
Still, the "impulse buys" didn't stop there.
As anyone who uses Sportlots knows, the "trick" is to try and get as many cards as possible from the same seller.
You save a ton on shipping that way.
Lucky for me, I nabbed the Lofton, Nevin, Mendoza, and Luzinski cards from the same vendor on the site.
From there, I noticed that there was only about a twenty-cent increase in his shipping costs from four cards to ten.
I used it as an excuse to pick out six more cards from his inventory. And I sure as heck wanted to make them count.
I immediately racked my mind for what my most pressing wants were. Almost instantly, one word popped into my head.
From there, another thing crossed my mind.
I've been on a huge oddball kick in the last few months. And, for my money, oddballs don't get a whole lot better than Hostess.
So, purely on a whim, I quickly searched to see if this particular seller happened to have any Hostess cards in his inventory. I wasn't really expecting the search to result in anything.
To my utter disbelief, the word "Hostess" returned a list of dozens of available 1970's sugar-coated greatness, all ripe for the picking.
Most of them were available at the extremely reasonable price of a quarter each.
Deals don't get much sweeter than that in this hobby.
As I've mentioned many times before, condition doesn't matter to me when it comes to vintage.
Now, when it comes to Hostess, it really doesn't matter.
In fact, I kind of prefer the miscut and/or candy-stained copies. They have a much more "authentic" feel to them than the flawless ones.
If the cards I've just shown composed the "meat and potatoes" of my latest purchase, than these Hostess issues proved to be the "dessert".
Appropriately enough, if you ask me.
For a quarter, I wasn't about to let this "sweet" Bud Harrelson slip through my hands.
And I especially wasn't going to pass up anything of "Campy" at that price.
Luckily, the seller had two Hostess cards of Campaneris in his inventory. For a moment, I contemplated choosing one or the other in order to not let things get too out of control.
Trouble was, I simply couldn't decide. So I chose the most obvious solution.
I bought both of 'em.
Hey, they were only a quarter each, anyways.
Wouldn't you do the same?
I think Sal Bando may have had the most underrated 'stache of the 1970's.
And I still believe that Cesar Cedeno is one of the more underrated players of the decade.
Either way, I was extremely happy to welcome these two "gems" into my collection for a couple loose quarters.
Can't beat that.
Now, this last portion of my "impulse buy" was easily the best of them all.
At four whole bucks, though, it was also one that I very nearly passed up.
After thinking about it for a while, I came to a final decision.
Was it the right one?
I'll let you be the judge of that.
Heck, just four bucks?
Creased or not, I just couldn't bring myself to let "Hammerin' Hank" go. Not at that awesome price.
I bought it without much of a second thought.
It's a card I've long wanted to add to my collection, and one that I'd personally never seen priced below eight bucks or so.
Besides, I'd won a few bucks in a poker ga...
Actually, since I'm not twenty-one yet, let's just say that I, um...borrowed a few bucks from one of my friends the night before after a good ol' game of cards.
I don't think I've ever turned "borrowed" money into anything as great as this before.
Truthfully, I spent a tad more than I'd previously intended on this latest "impulse buy".
However, from parachutes to "Topps sets" to Hostess, I can't argue with the results.
Not in the slightest.