Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Just Commons swap

I've been slowly selling off some of my expendable game used and autograph cards these past few months.

While I was into the whole memorabilia at one point in my life, I'm just not that type of collector anymore. I have a handful of personal favorites that I'll be keeping, but I'm planning on selling off the rest of what I have for a little extra income in due time.

A couple weeks ago, I managed to net around twenty bucks for three spare jersey cards from my collection. As it happens, my Just Commons cart was loaded up with, yup, almost exactly twenty bucks' worth of cardboard, 123 cards in all. That comes out to around 16 cents per.

So, in essence, I swapped out three extra jersey issues for a huge stack of (mostly) base cards on Just Commons. Sounds like a heck of a trade to me.

As ecstatic as I was with the order, it took a somber turn once I remembered that it included what would turn out to be the final card of Oscar Taveras's career. At 65 cents, it was the most expensive piece of the lot.

As you probably know, the young outfielder tragically passed away in a car accident a couple weeks ago. My order was in transit when the news broke. Not to get into a big thing, but it especially hit home since Taveras was the same age as me at the time of his passing.

Just twenty-two.

But let's set aside the sniffles for now and get into the real meat of my latest Just Commons venture.

The bulk of this order was devoted to Update. The couple rack packs and hangers I'd bought of the stuff set me back around $20 in total and netted about one-tenth of the base cards I needed.

With the exception of a few of the higher-priced big names (ahem, Abreu, Trout), I was able to score the last nine-tenths of the Updates I needed from Just Commons for a tick under ten bucks.

Everything from All-Stars... guys in their coveted new uniforms.

All for a cool ten spot. I'll often spend wacky amounts of money on retail whenever a new Flagship set comes out. Sampling a pack or two is always fun, but I think I'll be taking my business to Just Commons for the majority of my Flagship needs from now on.

Most of the Updates I bought were priced between 15 and 20 cents a pop. Fifteen cents for Jeff Francoeur, who surprisingly received a card in this year's checklist despite playing in all of ten games for the 2014 Padres.

Fifteen cents for John Baker, who, I'm glad to see, was rewarded with a card from Topps. His first Flagship issue since 2010, I believe.

Too bad they didn't grant my wish of getting a shot of him on the mound.

This, I think, is one of the most curious cards Topps has produced in a long time.

I don't usually splurge on inserts on Just Commons, which seems about right given the name of the site. I had to make an exception for this one, however.

As I raged about for nearly all of 2012, Omar Vizquel was unceremoniously snubbed by Topps during what would turn out to be his final season. That meant that no licensed card was ever made of him as a Blue Jay.

That is, until 2014 Update came around. While it was two years late, I'm glad that Topps finally got around to recognizing the real end to Omar Vizquel's legendary career with this insert.

In Toronto.

I sprinkled a couple other 2014s into this order as well.

Topps Chrome has never been a particular favorite of mine, but I had to have this Grady Sizemore.

It'll most likely go down in history as his only licensed card with the Red Sox.

As cool as Update and Grady Sizemore might be, this order wasn't all about the latest and greatest.

As I've mentioned time and time again, the real draw of Just Commons is their massive inventory of cards from the '90s and early 2000s.

That period just so happens to have by far the greatest selection of mini-collection hits, many of which I'm sure are still floating beneath the surface. Every Just Commons order seems to bring a handful of new themed additions to my doorstep.

I actually have a printing plate of this Ellis Burks autograph shot in my collection, yet the regular ol' base card had eluded me for years.

Go figure.

Double dips and cards with kids are always a welcome sight.

That just so happens to be my first card of former Cub Todd Walker as a Rockie, to boot.

A couple more for the mini-collection archive.

The Kile earns extra points for being taken at Wrigley.

While the late Mr. Gwynn here fits perfectly into my new "tip of the cap" mini-collection, I actually wanted this card long before I decided to start that theme.

I mean, it's Tony Gwynn on a motorcycle flashing that million-dollar smile of his. Oh, and this happens to be a "sunset" card as well. And, yeah, a tip of the cap.

Is that enough for you?

This card has existed for nearly thirty years.

Only now am I discovering its existence. How the heck did that happen?

Sparky has a good home now.

At just 18 cents, the Carter completed the spectacular 1992 OPC Tribute subset for me.

"The Kid" literally looks like a kid in that shot. I'm guessing it was taken sometime during his cup-of-coffee debut with the Expos in 1974.

I've been fascinated by that '92 Donruss Vince Coleman ever since I discovered it on the Junior Junkie's blog not too long ago. I'm sure I could write an entire post on the photo alone. It's two-thirds outfield wall, and one-third Vince Coleman.

Most of the shots in '92 Donruss are fairly tight, which adds a bit of mystery. Was it outside-the-box photography or just a simple cropping screw-up? We'll never know.

It screams '82 Fleer either way.

A couple gems from 1997 Fleer, still one of the more underrated sets ever made in my mind.

Appreciate the matte, people.

My collection is nearly devoid of post-Dodger cards of Dusty.

Though he'd later go on to manage the team, seeing Baker as a Giant during his playing days never looked right to me. That said, anything of him with the A's is just plain wrong.

I mean, come on. Dusty as an Oakland A?

Stop pulling my leg.

That obviously never happened.

I was all ready to go with a Goose Gossage "sunset" post last month when I discovered that I was missing his 1995 Score issue.

Needless to say, that one went into my cart in a heartbeat. I added his 1994 Pacific card for good measure.

You can't go wrong with the Goose.

This order also bulked up my Lee Smith "sunset" collection.

I owned exactly two cards of him as an Expo before his package arrived on my doorstep. I didn't think there were many more out there.

Wrong again, Nick.

Thanks to inspiration from a fellow blogger, I recently decided to start a long-overdue Bake McBride player collection.

I bought almost every Bake card Just Commons had in stock. While I do still need a few more, this order took care of most of McBride's cards from his playing days.

I'm still trying to figure out what took me so long to start collecting the guy.

A 'fro like that cannot be ignored.

I'm not even going to pretend to know who Jim Walewander is.

But that sure didn't stop me from spending a cool 12 cents on this card. Why?

The bio just so happens to mention one of my favorite bands. Near the middle of the second paragraph, Score wrote...

He became an instant legend in Detroit for his devotion to an obscure punk-rock band called the Dead Milkmen and for his unusual wardrobe.

The Dead Milkmen are the last band I'd expect to see mentioned on a baseball card. They're more of a jokey kind of punk group, though they did have a minor hit right around the time this set hit the shelves. The Milkmen are still touring, and they're the only band I've seen live more than once.

I even found an awesome article about Walewander while doing a little further research on the guy, one that features a great shot of him with the quartet in the old Tiger Stadium dugout.

Any fan of the Milkmen is a fan of mine.

In what was an order packed with fascinating cardboard, this one may have taken the cake.

I originally tossed Manny into my cart as an afterthought after seeing him on my buddy Douglas's blog fairly recently. I kind of forgot about the card until the package arrived.

There was a combination between awe and wonder as I held Manny in my hands for the first time. The Cubbies surprisingly signed Ramirez as a minor league player-coach last year. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that he actually seemed to have a lasting impact on the club's young guns in Triple-A.

I find it strange that Topps even put Manny in their Heritage Minors checklist to begin with. The set's surrounded with guys less than half his age. It's a quirky decision that's certain to earn this one a place on my Cards of the Year list next month.

The only complaint I have is that Topps listed him as solely an outfielder. I don't know about you, but I would've loved to have seen the extremely rare "coach-outfielder" designation.

Still, a small gripe for what is a stroke of pure genius on the part of Topps.

I'm constantly pushing myself to pack as much as I can into each passing Just Commons order. This feels like a new peak to me. A great combination of old and new, sane and insane, and just about everything else.

Certainly beats the tar out of a few pieces of fabric.


JediJeff said...

If you don't got Mojo Nixon then your store could use some fixin'!

Anthony Burbatt said...

When I was assigned to add more "classic" punk rock music to our college radio stations playlist, you best believe "Punk Rock Girl" was among the first additions!

Also, seeing Manny in (Iowa) Cubs colors is still just bizarre. Though it was completely ruled out, I still irrationally hoped that he'd get a ceremonial call up in Sept.

Not since Jim Edmonds have the Cubs signed such a major former star, ithe kid in me would have loved to see him in Chicago. That said, he did a wonderful job on the farm and I hope he comes back for 2015.

buckstorecards said...

That Ben Grieve was also shipped as part of my recent just commons run. I've been waiting to post it for so long, that Update had not even hit the shelves when I hit ship. I'm hoping to get that Vizquel at the Expo.

Mike said...

So that's Walewander AND your high-school English teacher into the Dead Milkmen...wonders never cease!

Love that Sparky card,too!!

Marcus said...

That Gwynn card is pretty rad, one of my favorites. For some reason, I've been thinking for a long time that the Milkmen did "Take The Skinheads Bowling". I was wrong.

Salgado said...

Must. Own. The Manny.

Kevin Papoy said...

I was actually wondering if there were any Vizquel Blue Jays cards out there (ok, didn't exactly do my homework either). So that's good to know ! As I posted yesterday, am still waiting for my justcommons order from a month ago...

Tony L. said...

I met Jim Walewander in 1987 or 1988 after a Brewers-Tigers game. He was wearing a brown corduroy three-piece suit, and a brown tie straight from the Goodwill/St. Vincent DePaul store.

When he was in the minor leagues, he apparently used aluminum foil for curtains in his apartment...because he liked it.

He was a little guy, too. Even at age 15 -- and oh, yes, I listened to the Milkmen back then...I greeted Walewander with "Don't you look like Siouxsie Sioux" and he laughed -- I was taller than him by about 2 inches.

Julie Owens said...

Sparky, Gwynn and the BJ Vizquel - why haven't I been shopping on Just Commons??? Cracked I am but insane too??