Sunday, November 30, 2014

The dime box frankenset, Page 40: Numbers 352-360

Last week's frankenset voting was a laugher.

Win -- 1991 Ultra #351 Geno Petralli (15 votes)

Place -- 1995 Stadium Club #343 Jaime Navarro (4 votes)

Show (tie) -- 1993 Upper Deck #346 Devon White, 1995 Upper Deck #347 Mike Blowers (3 votes each)

In what might be the biggest blowout we've seen so far, Geno Petralli (and the unsuspecting photographer) ran away with the win last week. He took exactly half of the 30 total votes, and ended up with eleven more than his next closest competitor.

I was actually one of the few who didn't vote for the eventual victor. While I had a feeling Petralli would win by a wide margin, something about that digital clock in the background on the '95 UD Mike Blowers fascinates me. Only two other people agreed with me on that one.

Still, it was definitely a well-deserved win for Mr. Petralli.

Hopefully this week's frankenset voting will be a bit closer.

We only have eight contestants on this page, as I still haven't found a card to occupy the #360 slot yet.

Let's meet the nominees.

1997 Upper Deck #352 Kirt Manwaring

Another legendary appearance from the Frankenset MVP himself, Kirt Manwaring. 

1997 Topps #353 Charlie O'Brien

The beautiful backdrop is what really makes this autograph shot so special.

1994 Stadium Club #354 Pat Listach

Web Gem! 

1992 Leaf #355 Luis Rivera

I still can't decide if whoever cropped this shot is a moron or a genius.

I'm leaning towards genius. 

1995 Upper Deck #356 Pat Rapp

Pitcher at the plate! 

2014 Topps #357 Lorenzo Cain

A sparkling catch from the newest Kansas City fan favorite.

1997 Topps #358 Chad Mottola

That has to sting. 

1996 Stadium Club #359 Robby Thompson

We close up shop this week with a terrific Wrigley Field double dip.

The polls are now on sidebar.

Happy voting!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tweets, freebies, zappings, etc.

It's easy for me to get lost in all my new pickups in the weeks following a card show.

Even so, I don't want to give off the impression that I've forgotten about the great packages so many of you have sent me lately. Between the card show and my semi-sporatic posting as of late, I've kind of slacked on the trade posts.

I plan on changing that in the coming weeks. I have a folder full of trades waiting to be posted, and I intend to get started on that right now with the variety of spectacular PWEs and smaller packages I've received as of late.

Some of you might know that I recently became a member on Twitter. I don't use it as much as I did a month or two ago, but I still check in every now and then to keep up with the general goings-on in the hobby.

I forget exactly how, but Twitterer (is that the right term?) @jmkoenig found out that I was down to needing only Eddie Harris to complete my 2014 Archives "Major League" set.

He had a spare and was gracious enough to send it my way.

There's the quartet in all their glory.

It's funny that Harris was the last one I needed, considering he's easily the most obscure out of the four. I'm not even sure why he was included over someone like Cerrano or Lou Brown, to be honest.

Then again, maybe Topps is saving the others for a 2015 Archives "Major League" insert set.

Here's hoping so.

I'm proud to report that my frankenset is getting very close to completion.

I mentioned that I was down to a handful of numbers not too long ago. A short while after that, I got an email from Bo of the great blog "Baseball Cards Come To Life!" asking what slots I still needed to fill.

I gave him my list, and he went off and specifically hunted for fun and/or goofy cards that he thought I might like. Each of these (and quite a few more Bo sent) proved to be very frankenset-worthy and helped bring me even closer to having every number filled. 

Thanks to Bo, I think I'm down to only about a dozen open slots now.

There are few better words in the English language than FREE CARDS!!!!

That's exactly what John of the fantastic blog "Johnny's Trading Spot" was offering up a while ago. He had a stack of spare '81 Topps Scratch-Offs lying around, and made them available to the blogosphere for anyone who wanted them.

He set a limit of six per customer, which was probably a good thing. I, like many others, have a hard time controlling myself when I'm around oddballs. I could've picked out quite a few more, but I settled on these six beauties.

I've found that any kind of scratch-off cards make for awesome oddballs. I think it's time to bring these back.

Hear that, Topps?

John surprised me with another PWE not long after that.

The fun kicked off with a great new horizontal double dip.

This envelope also continued what is starting to become a trend here in Dime Boxedonia.

Baseball is obviously my focus, but people have strayed a bit outside the lines and hunted down mini-collections from other sports to send my way.

These aren't candidates for my "official" frankenset, but I've been setting these aside in another little box because, while baseball is far and away my favorite sport, cards like these are still cool.

I can't say I'm a huge Whitney Houston fan, but I can't say I've seen any baseball cards quite like that one. And, even though I've actually shown the Tisdale before, it deserves another mention on the blog.

We need more cards of guys playing bass.

John closed things out with one of the earliest "anthemic" cards I've seen.

Considering how much '86 Topps I've sifted through over the years, I couldn't believe I'd never seen this one before.

Guess there's always new gems to be found.

I thought I felt a shock come from my mailbox one ordinary afternoon.

And then, before I knew it...


I'd been Zippy Zapped by Kenny, who you probably know as the mind behind the awesome blog "Cervin' Up Cards".

He started out with a nice new '90s double dip for the frankenset.

Kenny then managed to come up with my first cards of Javier Baez, one of the many young up-and-coming Cubs prospects.

I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful combo to start the collection.

But the real jolt from this Zippy Zapping came in the form of what, to some, might look like a pair of obscure minor leaguers.

While neither ever got above Single-A, I doubt many professional ballplayers can say they had a movie made about them. Singh and Patel were, in fact, the pair of international prospects from India that made headlines after signing with the Pirates back in 2008.

Although I haven't seen it yet, the movie Million Dollar Arm was based upon their journey to American baseball. (It looks a little too "Hollywood" for me, frankly.)

I knew Singh and Patel had cards out there, but I could never find any. 

Thanks to this Zippy Zapping, however, this great story is now represented in my collection.

The last batch of cards I'll be showing tonight comes from one of the first buddies I ever made in the blogosphere.

William from the superb blog "Foul Bunt" has shown insane amounts of generosity to me and quite a few other bloggers over the years. I say this every time I feature cards from him, but William was really one of the first people to show me how great the blogosphere could be.

Better yet, I still find packages from him on my doorstep all the time. I know I'm always in for fun whenever William oils up the card machine.

The first thing that fell out of his latest group was this neat quad-stamp insert from 2014 Panini Golden Age, a great new addition to my non-sports collection.

I've been making a concerted effort to pick up some of Frank Thomas's later issues, and William came through on that front.

"The Big Hurt" looks so strange in anything other than a White Sox uniform.

William is one of the best with recognizing my goofy tastes in cardboard.

The McGwire is a prime new addition to my "throwback" theme. The Henderson, on the other hand, is just a wacky card that makes me laugh.

I didn't think it could get any better than that.

Until I caught a glimpse of this one, that is.

Even with the amount of time and effort I've put into investigating the brand, Stadium Club still manages to sneak gems past me on a regular basis.

I had somehow never seen this fantastic Larry Walker hockey-baseball mesh before William came along.

Stadium Club, you never cease to surprise me.

We may be in the drudges of the offseason right now. No baseball on the field, and not many new brands to get excited about.

Still, as long as I have the great people of the blogosphere around, I think I'll be just fine.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Inside the card show, Pt. 3: The vintage impulse

When you put vintage in front of me, there's no telling what might happen.

It's easy to blow through a good chunk of my card show budget because of my uncontrollable urge for old-time cardboard.

Plenty of vendors were advertising boxes of two-dollar vintage and heavily-discounted '50s singles on Saturday. They sure are tempting, always coming close to sucking me in. But, as somewhat of a card show veteran, I know I can pass up those types of tables and make a note to myself to return should my budget allow.

Discount vintage is another story. I consider "cheap" to be anything a dollar or less. At that price, I can allow myself a little room for craziness and not burn through too much budget. Thankfully, a lot of discount vintage vendors were out and about on Saturday.

The first is a staple of this tri-annual show, and the same guy who puts out those 12/$1 boxes I closed with in Part 1. In addition to those other bins you see above (as well as my dad's disembodied hand), he always has that bright-colored 50-cent (or 12/$5) box on display.

I've unearthed a good deal of gems from that box over the years, and I'm happy to report that the trend continued on Saturday.

The first thing that caught my eye this time around was a massively oversized card poking out the back of the box.

A closer look revealed it to be a 1964 Topps Giant single of former Colt .45 pitcher Ken Johnson. He's most famously known as one of the few hurlers who managed to spin a no-hitter and lose. It's a rather odd feat that is actually commemorated on the back of this very card.

I don't particularly know much about Johnson apart from that, but it's a pipe dream of mine to own every Colt .45s issue ever made. Pipe dream or not, this card was coming home with me.

Even if I'm still woefully short of my Colt .45s quest.

Now, my attempt to get every Pilots card ever made, on the other hand, is gaining some steam.

I went into more detail on it last Friday, but one of my goals for Saturday's show was to get closer to completing my Pilots team sets. Diego Segui was the lone Pilot I found, but every little bit helps at this point.

Out of the same 12/$5 box came my first solo card of Don Mossi. I've somehow gone all these years without owning anything of the former Tiger pitcher.

Those ears.

Cracked or not, I'm definitely in the market for Kellogg's at less than 50 cents a pop.

The box didn't mention anything about Kellogg's, but I managed to find these two beauties tucked away inside a few of the various Topps sections the vendor had organized.

The oddballs made this guy's table for me on Saturday.

Some of them weren't even baseball-related.

I was stuck on eleven cards at this table for a few minutes, trying to find a twelfth to round out my purchase. That's when I found Mr. Pierce stuck inside a stack of miscellaneous '70s Topps singles.

Franklin Pierce, as I well remembered, was the last piece I needed to complete my self-labeled "Presidential Set" until my dad came through last Christmas. Now, I somehow have a second card of one of the most obscure Commanders in Chief in US history.

I don't have much info about this oddball, but it certainly brought my time at this table to a satisfying end.

While a lot of the discount vintage vendors at this card show are familiar faces, there's always a few new guys that manage to surprise me.

Each and every box you see here was filled with dollar vintage. My phone camera couldn't even get them all into a single frame. You can see the beginnings of a couple more of these massive boxes in the extreme left if you look closely.

I could've spent hours and quite a bit of cash at this table alone (couldn't you?), but I decided to employ another one of my tactics to reduce the vintage impulse.

The limit.

If I see something like this, I'll say to myself...Okay, Nick. Twenty dollars max. After a copious amount of digging, I'll see what I have and, if I'm over my limit, put back anything I can live without. Again, I can always come back.

Although it's nearly impossible to put cards back sometimes, I was able to trim my finds from this table down to twenty bucks without much of a hassle.

This was the very first card I pulled from the dollar depths.

In the end, it turned out to be the only '75 mini I bought all day. It may not seem like a spectacular card on the surface, but this is Jim Perry's sunset issue.

I'm glad to finally have it in mini form.

While "book value" (ugh) might not say so, these 1961 Golden Press oddballs are pretty rare from my own experience.

I've only found a couple at card shows over the years. They might not get a lot of hype, but I really like the looks of these things. I was all too happy to drop a dollar on Sisler and Gehringer.

Both Hall of Famers, by the way.

Here's a couple more Hall of Famers, this time from '65 Topps.

Also known as The Best Set Ever Made (At Least to Me).

The Santo was especially shocking considering the obnoxious prices his cards can go for around the Chicago area.

My dad was nice enough to help me dig through these massive dollar boxes.

He took the '50s and early '60s singles, while I took the rest. My dad's a vintage guy through and through, and he knows the kinds of things I look for at these discount tables. I think the fact that he asked if I needed a '57 Topps Virgil Trucks is the perfect example of that.

I collected the late hurler before I joined the blogosphere, but the stories I heard about how great of a guy he was inspired me to seek out his cards with a whole lot more passion. I put the '57 Trucks in my purchase pile, and asked my dad to keep a lookout for the pitcher's '59 Topps issue, his sunset card.

My dad tapped me on the shoulder about a minute later. There it was. A '59 Virgil Trucks.

Just like that.

I love collecting big name old-timers, but cult favorite types of guys like Jim Piersall and Harvey Haddix sure are easier on my wallet.

Most big baseball fans know their names, but their cards aren't the most desired in the vintage industry. Hey, more for me.

That '61 Piersall was a huge find for me, seeing as how I now have every Topps card of his from 1958 to his '67 sunset issue.

Maybe I'll make a serious run for his complete Topps set now.

Though this table was stocked with treasures, I think this was the dollar find of the day.

I don't go into vintage dollar boxes expecting to score cards of guys like Harmon Killebrew. It doesn't happen often. But when it does, man, what a special feeling.

I'm lukewarm about '62 Topps, but these in-action cards make for one of my favorite subsets of all-time.


The vintage temptation nearly got the better of me about halfway through the show.

My dad ventured off to a table advertising discounted '50s and '60s singles while I was embarking on one of my dime box digs. After I was done, he let me know that he'd set a few aside for me to look at, ones he thought might capture my fancy.

Almost all of them did. Maybe too many, in fact. I could've easily dropped a nice chunk of change on what my dad picked out, but I managed to control my impulses and just settled on this spectacular '54 Bowman Enos Slaughter for the low price of five bucks.

Again, I figured I could always come back.

And come back I did.

Thanks to a more than generous grant from my dad (and one I still don't think I deserved), I had a couple bucks left in my wallet by the end of the show. That's when I remembered that table. The discount vintage people with the Enos Slaughter.

I found the aisle, walked up to the table, calmly plucked out the '56 Topps Minnie Minoso I'd left behind the first time, and handed the vendors four bucks. It ended up being the last card I'd buy on Saturday.


Controlling my impulses isn't so hard.

But sometimes they get the best of me.

I recognized one of the vendors as the guy who had a whole binder of Hostess singles from way back in March. What he had on display on Saturday, as I found, was a whole new Hostess binder, separated by year and packed with singles he didn't have the last time around.

Like in March, the binder was absolutely huge. One of those hearty three-inch binders. All Hostess, all the time.

I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

I picked until I couldn't pick anymore.

After the dust cleared, I found to my surprise that I had selected over 70 different Hostess singles from the massive binder. And although the total was a little, okay, A LOT more than I was planning on spending, I wasn't about to put any of them back.

It really wasn't that bad of a deal, as they averaged out to around 60 cents a pop. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I went through a bout of buyer's remorse afterwards. It was a great example of what happens when impulses get out of control. All that picking sure made a nice dent in my budget.

But then I really got to thinking. Where else could I have found that many Hostess cards in one place? I would've spent a heck of a lot more on the internet trying to hunt all those down. Plus, it's not like I blew all of my money at that table.

And, hey, it's not like I'm saving for a new sixty-dollar video game or a five-hundred-dollar TV or anything like that. I'm buying baseball cards. The things that really matter to me.

Ah, screw it.

Card shows are the one place where I can let my impulses get out of control.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Inside the card show, Pt. 2: Let's form a club

Though I'd heard a lot of people talking about it over the past month or so, I'd barely had a taste of 2014 Stadium Club before Saturday.

I can't remember the last time I'd been so excited to get a glimpse of a specific set. The preview images I'd been flipping through online had been nothing short of spectacular. I could only imagine how terrific they looked in-person.

One of my big goals for Saturday was to get my hands on some Stadium Club. I saw someone selling a box for $65 about halfway through the show. Though it was a far cry from the $100-plus they were commanding a month ago, wax wasn't my focus.

No, my friends, I was (of course) hoping for a dime box of singles. And, wouldn't you know it, I got my wish on Saturday. I found a vendor with a whole row or two of Stadium Club base cards tucked away inside a 3200-count box, all at a dime a piece.

I could feel the excitement building as I sat down and went to work. And then I saw Shelby Miller. The yawningly "game-faced" Shelby Miller. And yet another recycled photograph from Topps, to boot. The very first card from the box was a bore.

Was Stadium Club being overhyped?

Had I set myself up for disappointment?

No and no.

While there may be a few uninspired cards here and there, Stadium Club turned out to be one of the best all-around sets I've seen during my life as a card collector. And that's not an exaggeration.

I don't know if words can describe how much fun I had digging through all these dime box Stadium Club singles.

All I can do is give a heartfelt thanks to the vendor who made them affordable for a low-end guy like myself.

In an era where everything seems so phoned-in and catered towards the money-hungry collector, it's obvious that Topps put a lot of work into making this set enjoyable for people like me.

I've heard that a lot of high-end people weren't big fans of 2014 Stadium Club. The precious "hits" weren't enough for them to recoup their expenses, I guess.

All I can say to them is COME ON. You guys already have Five Star, Inception, and the number of other high-dollar sets out there. Take the loss and let the low-end people get the W on this one.

If you're at all into the photography and pure art that goes into this hobby, then you're bound to find something to like in this year's Stadium Club. True, Topps tried to revive the brand back in 2008, but it didn't seem to capture the true spirit of the brand. It was boring and gone in the blink of an eye.

The 2014 edition, however, is a masterpiece that I'll remember for a long, long time.

And, lest you think this is a horizontally-dominated set...

...think again.

No matter the layout, Topps managed to cram a few years' worth of slick photography into one checklist. And not to mention a slew of mini-collection hits as well. Autograph shots, throwbacks, double dips, the whole enchilada.

The first thing I put on my Christmas wish list this year was a complete 2014 Stadium Club base set. Guess I can cross that off. Though most of the bigger old-time stars were removed (Ruth, Cobb, Mays, etc.), I got pretty much everything else I wanted from this dime box.

In the end, the 130 Stadium Clubs I picked out became mine for the low, low price of thirteen dollars. Sure beats dropping five times that on a box.

Oh, and by the way, none of the awesome cards I've shown thus far were even in the top ten of the stack I bought.

I saved those for last.

#10 -- 2014 Stadium Club #145 Matt Kemp

Sure, Stadium Club may be a set of action, action, and more action.

But that doesn't mean they couldn't go outside the white lines.

Isn't that right, Matt Kemp?

#9 -- 2014 Stadium Club #133 Ted Williams

As I said, almost all of the older stars were tactfully taken out of this dime box.

I guess the guy missed ol' Teddy Ballgame here, and I couldn't be happier about his mistake. Rather than sticking to the norm and featuring yet another shot of Williams in his Red Sox uniform, Topps got a little unorthodox and picked a photo of him in his war uniform instead.

It's a refreshing change of pace and, at the same, a fitting nod to the Splendid Splinter's time in the military.

#8 -- 2014 Stadium Club #38 Robinson Cano

I love all throwbacks, but there's something about these retro Mariners jerseys that especially tickle my fancy.

#7 -- 2014 Stadium Club #29 Jose Reyes

I'm normally opposed to not being able to see a player's face on a card, but I think I can make an exception here.

Shots like these make me thankful for all the high-quality cameras we have at our disposal these days.

#6 -- 2014 Stadium Club #101 Mike Napoli

I don't know if I own a more heroic baseball card.

#5 -- 2014 Stadium Club #24 Anthony Rizzo

Nothing like signing autographs on beautiful afternoon at Wrigley.

I'm not exactly opposed to it, but I have to wonder how different this shot would've looked with a big scoreboard in the background.

Maybe we'll get to see one in 2015 Stadium Club for comparison.

#4 -- 2014 Stadium Club #21 Roy Halladay

It didn't hit me until just now, but there really aren't enough ceremonial first pitch cards out there.

How else could you get a shot of someone like Roy Halladay on the mound in blue jeans?

Oh, and let's not forget the mounties at attention in the background, either.

#3 -- 2014 Stadium Club #66 Matt Cain

The throwbacks actually take second-billing on this beauty.

What I find great about this shot is the fact that it basically captures the past, present, and future as far as pitchers go.

At 39 years old, Tim Hudson is probably in his waning years on the mound after a long and fruitful career. While he had a down 2014, I'm hoping it's only a bump in the road to what has been a terrific track record up to this point for Matt Cain.

And, after this past postseason, I'm sure everyone's itching to see what Madison Bumgarner has in store for the years to come.

It's almost like a triple-pronged timeline.

And they're all wearing rally caps.

#2 -- 2014 Stadium Club #141 Evan Gattis

I'm both scared and fascinated by this card at the same time.

In what is obviously a play on Gattis's nickname ("El Oso Blanco" or "The White Bear"), Topps decided to use a shot of the catcher surrounded by an actual bear hide.

There is absolutely nothing I can say to sum up my amazement over a card like this, so I'll let the photo do all the talking.

#1 -- 2014 Stadium Club #182 David Ortiz

Let's get one thing straight.

I hate, hate, HATE selfies. I hate the word "selfie" and I hate when people feel the need to stop and take a selfie every five seconds. (Do I sound like a grizzled old man yet?)

Now, if you're meeting the president or something, than I guess a selfie could be in order. Even if it is mostly a sponsored sham.

But, still, the sheer Inception-like feel of a picture of a guy taking a picture is pretty darn cool. And I'm almost positive this is the only presidential cameo you'll ever find on a baseball card.

I can't imagine the Commander in Chief plays second fiddle in many photos.

When you get down to it, 2014 Stadium Club is an indication that Topps does still care about putting out a quality product. While it may contain autographs and other high-dollar cards, the base set caters to the collectors in it for pure fun and love for the hobby.

Thanks, Topps.

I needed that.