Saturday, April 29, 2017

I'll bite on the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge

If you're on Twitter, you may have already heard about the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge started by Tony of "Off Hiatus" fame.

It's a brilliant concept, but not one I was planning on tackling myself because I'm simply not very active on Twitter (for many reasons too lengthy to list here). As of late, however, the challenge has been spilling over onto the blogs, and -- like a couple other bloggers I read -- I've decided to bite by simply tying all 30 days of the list into one tidy post.

So, without further ado, here's a whole month's worth of cards and card conversation from the Dime Box household. Ready?

Day #1 -- A card from the current year with a photo you like

I'm already breaking the rules a bit, because here's a card with an otherwise ordinary photo that I enjoy quite a bit.

I haven't devoted a blog post to 2017 Gypsy Queen -- and don't plan to anytime soon -- but I thought these neat "Fortune Teller" inserts deserved mention.

Day #2 -- A card with more than one player on it

Technically a player and a manager, but one of the all-time best combo cards either way.

Day #3 -- A card from the first set you tried to complete

This is a tricky one because I've never been a set builder.

I have, however, tried to complete a few non-baseball sets, the first being the 2007 SP Legendary Cuts "Legendary Americana" insert checklist. Each subject in the 100-card series is limited to just 550 copies, and master wordsmith Walt Whitman here was the first one I acquired. It was love at first sight, and I knew then and there that I'd try my damnedest to get the other 99.

Just about a decade later, I'm currently sitting at 99 out of 100...only Charles Lindbergh separates me from a completed set at this point.

Day #4 -- A rookie card of one of your favorite players

My one and only rookie card of Vlad, and what a beauty it is.

Day #5 -- A certified autograph of one of your favorite players

A spiffy signature from Jim Bouton, master of the mound and the written word who penned the single best baseball book in existence, if you ask me.

Day #6 -- A card you spent more than $10 to get

This actually works out well, because I've been planning to get this card into a post for a while now.

I've admired this '59 Topps "Symbol of Courage" Campy from afar for a long time, and I finally found a copy within my price range about a month ago when I found one on Ebay for right around $15 shipped, one of my biggest scores of the year thus far.

Day #7 -- A card you bought in-person and the story behind it

When I was first getting back into baseball cards around ten years ago, there was a great little monthly show at a local bowling alley.

I have fond memories of that place. I'd often go with a couple of my card-collecting friends back when I had friends that collected. One dealer in particular always had great vintage on display, and I remember thinking there was some sort of mistake when I found out I could own a real-live Goudey card for only five dollars: thus, Joe Vosmik became mine.

Sadly, that show no longer exists. I tried going a few years ago when it was on its last legs, only to find a single card vendor sitting in the middle of that strange neon-blue bowling alley carpeting with no customers at his table. It was one of the saddest things I'd ever seen, watching that once-great show trimmed down to just a single middle-aged man all alone.

At least I'll always have Joe Vosmik to remember the glory days of that place.

Day #8 -- A card that reminds you of a family member

My grandma became a big Steve Garvey fan when she moved to San Diego in the mid '80s, and she managed to acquire a fair bit of his memorabilia along the way.

At some point when I was first getting into baseball, she passed a good deal of her collection onto me, a collection which included this '71 Garvey rookie I'll treasure for as long as I live.

Day #9 -- One of your favorite cards from the 1950s

'Nuff said.

Day #10 -- One of your favorite cards from the 1960s

Giving some love to my Defunct Teams collection with a young Rusty Staub, the Colt .45s, and the Topps Rookie Cup all wrapped up into a single, monumental baseball card.

Day #11 -- One of your favorite cards from the 1970s

Does it get any more '70s than Dock Ellis on '72 Topps?

Day #12 -- One of your favorite cards from the 1980s

My, that Kirk Gibson is so dreamy.

Day #13 -- One of your favorite cards from the 1990s

Nothing you say or do can change my love for '95 Fleer.

Day #14 -- One of your favorite cards from the 2000s

My Target used to have gobs and gobs of 2005 Bazooka in their small, discounted $1.49-a-pack rack, which proved immensely helpful for picking up cardboard on the cheap when I was getting back into baseball cards around a decade ago.

Unfortunately, both the $1.49 packs and Bazooka baseball cards are long gone, but the fond memories remain, including this Joey Gathright which holds a place in my heart for reasons I can't quite explain.

Day #15 -- One of your favorite cards from the 2010s

Upper Deck just managed to sneak into the "teens" with what would be their final release in 2010, an unlicensed set, to boot.

It's not going to wow anyone, but 2010 UD did manage to show the hobby that a passable set could be made, that interesting photos could be utilized without the use of logos (I'm looking at you, Donruss).

Day #16 -- A card of a player whom you appreciate but don't like

Madison Bumgarner has already distinguished himself as one of the premier pitchers of my generation, and I respect the guy for that, but the vacant Don't-Look-At-Me personality has started to wear thin on me.

Day #17 -- A card from the first set you put together hand-collated

Again, a tricky one since I'm not a set builder: in fact, the only sets I have hand-collated are the awesome 2010 Topps American Heritage and American Heritage Heroes Edition checklists, both non-baseball-related.

If you ever dreamed of seeing Harry Houdini on the '75 Topps design, consider your wish granted.

Day #18 -- A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team

Dusty managed the hometown Cubs from 2003-06, and I firmly believe baseball is a better game when he's involved in it.

Day #19 -- A favorite card from a country other than the United States

I was tempted to go with something from OPC or the small handful of Japanese cards in my collection, but instead here's the only card I own that hails from Venezuela: a sticker of Reds great and Venezuelan star Dave Concepcion.

Day #20 -- Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

I paid $15 for a mega-box of 2016 Update for the sole reward of getting the eight sparkly Chrome parallels inside -- that alone should tell you how much I love these things.

Day #21 -- A card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in

I've told this story before, but this is the first and last card I bought for "investment" purposes.

Turns out I didn't hit the jackpot, but Rich Hill did (eventually) wind up becoming a solid big-league pitcher, so I'm happy for that.

Day #22 -- A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

This is one of the good and bad things about coming of age as a collector in the technological era: common cards don't have to elude you.

I'm all for the "thrill of the chase," but if an easy card escapes me for too long, it's all too simple to say screw it and buy it for pennies online. Commons have never slipped by me for extended periods of time for that precise reason. I searched for this '82 Fleer Bill Lee -- one of the Spaceman's sunset cards -- at shows for months without success before breaking down and buying it for exactly 18 cents on the 'Net.

I've never been anything close to a "techie," but it sure does make things easier sometimes.

Day #23 -- A favorite oddball card from the 1950s

I'm not even sure this card is from the 1950s, as it's listed under "1947-66 Exhibits" in my big Beckett book, which means it could've been released during any of those years.

But I don't own very many oddballs from the '50s, so this one'll have to do.

Day #24 -- A favorite oddball card from the 1960s

Can't go wrong with Deckle Edge.

Day #25 -- A favorite oddball card from the 1970s

I am forever indebted to SSPC for producing the only card of Harmon Killebrew as a Kansas City Royal.

Day #26 -- A favorite oddball card from the 1980s

Come on, you didn't think I'd get through this whole post without mentioning Kellogg's, did you?

Day #27 -- A favorite oddball card from 1990 or later

A few months ago, my mom handed me a sheet of baseball cards and said: Here, these were in the paper today.

Apparently, the local Tribune had printed a set of Chicago Greats (as voted on by fans), and unbeknownst to me, the checklist included none other than HOYT himself!

Definitely one of the better surprises in all my years collecting baseball cards.

Day #28 -- A favorite relic/manufactured relic card

My general apathy towards relics is well-known, but I think we'd all agree that this is one of the greatest cards ever.

Day #29 -- A favorite card from before 1950, whether you own it or not

Here's a card I do own, because what fun is posting something that isn't in your collection?

I'll probably never have the budget to acquire a real card of any of the Eight Men Out, so this T206 of "Sleepy" Bill Burns here is most likely the closest I'll ever get. Burns pitched in obscurity for a few years in the early teens before becoming one of the gamblers involved in perpetrating the infamous Black Sox scandal.

It's also a good reminder that I really need to give Eight Men Out another watch sometime soon.

Day #30 -- Your favorite card in your collection

Bar none.


Mike said...

Cool concept, and cool cards!

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

some great cardboard there

Brian said...

Fantastic choices, I was hoping you would partake in this challenge!

ned said...

Day #29 Bill burns has 2 left hands,check out the glove

Tony L. said...

Great post, Nick!

Matt said...

That Dick Allen card is amazing!