Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 17: Numbers 145-153

Frankenset Page #41 WINNER -- 1967 Topps #363 Dave Johnson (13 votes)

I haven't written on the blog since my last frankenset post (dammit, work), but that didn't stop a nice little battle from building up with last week's page.

Despite a surprising run from the head-over-heels '95 Score Pat Kelly, bunting Davey Johnson grabbed 13 votes to Kelly's 11 (of 36 total) for the win. My personal choice actually wouldn't have been either: I'm partial to the Boston Strong Daniel Nava (which came in third with a mere six tallies).

But the public has spoken, so into the Gallery of Frankenset Champions Mr. Johnson will go.

Here's hoping for another close race this week, with Page 17 (#s 145-153) on display as per the Random Number Generator.

Let's meet the nominees.

2016 Stadium Club #145 Carl Edwards Jr.

Glove-on-head autograph shots are the best autograph shots. 

1991 Upper Deck #146 Ozzie Canseco


2014 Topps Update #US147 James Jones

A picturesque leap. 

2017 Stadium Club #148 Carson Fulmer

White Sox throwbacks are all over my frankensets, and here's another. 

1993 Upper Deck #149 Pat Borders

Seriously, does anyone not like '93 Upper Deck? 

1990 Upper Deck #150 Domingo Ramos

Turning two at Wrigley. 

1990 Upper Deck #151 Rick Honeycutt

That time when Upper Deck hired a two-foot-tall photographer. 

2014 Bowman #152 Kris Medlen

Negro League throwback!

1995 Stadium Club #153 Andy Van Slyke

Stadium Club rules, now and forever.

That just about does it for this week's page. The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 41: Numbers 361-369

Frankenset Page #68 WINNER -- 1972 Topps #611 Rich Reese (21 votes)

Not a lot of stress last week: Rich Reese obliterated the competition, taking 21 of the 40 total votes en route to an easy win.

High-numbered pages tend to be a bit weaker than some of the lower ones, which may account for the blowout, but there's little denying that Mr. Reese deserves the victory for his fantastic show of vintage bat-barrel action.

The almighty Random Number Generator spit out #41 this week, so we'll be taking a look at that page (#s 361-369) here tonight.

Let's meet the hopefuls.

1996 Topps #361 Randy Velarde

A great card from one of the worst Topps sets (in my opinion).

2014 Topps #362 Daniel Nava

Boston strong. 

1967 Topps #363 Dave Johnson

Back in the days when bunt poses were in vogue (with a Rookie Cup!). 

1999 Fleer Tradition #364 Carlos Hernandez

Carlos Hernandez, a classic example of a mediocre player who somehow received great cards throughout his career. 

1996 Upper Deck #365 Kevin Seitzer

For the autograph hunters. 

1982 Donruss #366 Chris Speier

A mundane card turned frankenset-worthy by the Wrigley Field scoreboard. 

1994 Upper Deck #367 Tom Henke


1995 Score #368 Kirt Manwaring

Kirt Manwaring is king of the aforementioned Carlos Hernandez ilk -- Manwaring probably has more cards in my frankensets than any other single player (including this PATP, of course). 

1995 Score #369 Pat Kelly

Doubling up on '95 Score to close out the page, this time with a particularly violent double dip.

The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting (and enjoy the World Series)!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dad goes antiquing

Last week, I woke up from a nap to a text from my dad, a text which had me convinced I was still sleeping, still dreaming.

The text in question went something like this: I just found a box of '50s-'80s vintage from an antique store for $5, need any of these? -- and there was a picture attached with a couple cards he'd purchased (more on the cards in that photo a bit later). I knew from the text alone that my dad had stumbled across something substantial, but it wasn't until I dug through the entire thing that I realized just how much of a goldmine he'd found.

I was blown away for a couple reasons. One: antique stores are, by most accounts, places that either a) don't have baseball cards, or b) horribly overprice the ones they do have. Apparently the shop my dad found was going out of business, and the guy in charge just wanted everything gone. My dad, as usual, simply seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

There's also the sheer fact that I've never actually owned a whole box of musty, glorious vintage until now, which is pretty exciting in and of itself.

For beginners, I have no idea how a Harold Baines autograph ended up with a box of antique-store vintage -- the only post-1970's card in the lot -- but I'm not here to ask questions.

This comes from that weird Walmart-exclusive 65th Anniversary reprint set from a couple years ago, and I'm thrilled to have it in my collection since Baines is a hometown hero (plus I can't imagine he has a ton of certifieds out there).

But the vintage...

Before I start posting all the keepers, I should say that if anyone's interested in some (mostly) lower-grade '50s-'70s stuff, let me know -- this is really the first time in my life I've had a considerable amount of vintage up for trade (I've already thrown a good portion into the trade stacks for a few fellow bloggers).

I will, however, be keeping the nice stack of singles I needed for my tongue-in-cheek quest to get every card ever made of the defunct teams of the '60s and '70s, like these Senators and Colt 45s.

Some fine frankensetters and just generally cool gets from Dad's Antique Box here.

I'm never one to turn down anything of the Wally Moon (aka The Mighty Unibrow), and that's my first card of Sterling Slaughter, a man blessed with perhaps the most awesome name in the history of humankind.

I don't generally make it a point to chase vintage team cards, but I'll certainly keep any that fall into my lap.

Besides, they sure look pretty in a nine-pocket page like that.

Okay -- now we're starting to get into some serious business.

Finding vintage of defunct franchises and team cards is fine and good, but not exactly rare. Finding not one but two early '50s Bowman Andy Pafkos, on the other hand...well, that simply never happens. That's the stuff dreams are made of. (Plus now I can say I own a '52 Pafko and not be lying about it -- as long as I don't elaborate.)

But this box was so great that even vintage Bowman almost became afterthoughts to the dream...

...because the big guns just kept on coming with every stack I grabbed.

One moment I was finding new cards for my Perry Bros. collection...the next, bigtime HOFer combos...

...then came the rookies.

Some of you may have noticed a certain '72 at the front of the stack in the picture at the top of this post, and no, your eyes weren't deceiving you: that was a Carlton Fisk (and Cecil Cooper) rookie.

Also of note was a 1970 Topps rookie of a sans-fro Oscar Gamble, a card I've long wanted but had a tough time finding given its vintage highnumberness (#654).

But even those were small potatoes compared to the heaviest hitters of Dad's find.

For starters, here's a card I'd never even seen before: a '59 Topps combo featuring Bob Skinner, Bill Virdon, and yes, ROBERTO CLEMENTE. (Also a high-number at #543 in the set!)

What could be better than a vintage Clemente?

Oh, I don't know...maybe a '69 Nolan Ryan?!

This was one of the cards (along with the Baines auto) that my dad showed me in his initial text. The Ryan alone was enough to send me reeling -- even low-grade copies go for big chunks of change since it's his first solo Topps card and yet another high-number (#533). Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd one day own it...and I certainly never thought it'd come by way of an antique store.

But while I'm not sure my dad knew it at the time, there was one other card in this box that I wanted just as much as a '69 Ryan, if not more so...

...and that was a gosh-darn '57 Topps Roy Campanella, aka a card that'd been sitting on my "Keep Dreaming" want list for most of 2018.

I had a chance to buy a relatively cheap '57 Campy during COMC's Black Friday sale last year (right around $8, I think). But for some insane reason, I passed, and by the time I came to my senses, the card was gone. I haven't seen another copy under $20-$25, and it's been a kick to the crotch ever since.

But no longer. Campy is mine. And as I've said time and time again on this blog, it's all thanks to my dad. Most people, including myself, would've walked by that antique store without a second thought. But not my dad. Maybe it's more luck than anything, but there's something to be said about digging through the dusty attics and unkempt corners of the collecting world. You never know when you'll find a '57 Campy.

In the meantime, I'll just be over here googling antique stores.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 68: Numbers 604-612

Frankenset Page #27 WINNER -- 1974 Topps #238 Fran Healy (8 votes)

As per my recent work schedule, I've decided to switch these frakenset posts from Fridays to Tuesdays, which meant that last week's page got a few bonus days of open polls.

Turns out it needed a bit of extra time: we had a three-way tie (Oliva, Healy, Rijo) going into the weekend and a two-way tie (Oliva, Healy) until this morning when a late vote for Healy broke the deadlock (winning with eight of the 36 total votes). It's easily the closest race we've had since I restarted these frankenset posts, but my personal favorite card of the lot ended up on top.

Tough to beat a vintage PATP and a Thurman Munson cameo in my book.

The Random Number Generator decided to give us our first super-high-numbered group of this frankenset with Page 68 (#s 604-612) this week.

Not a lot of my 600-level pages are complete (yet), so I thank the Generator for at least letting me show off a finished page without any gaps -- so let's meet the latest nine.

1991 Upper Deck #604 Jim Vatcher

Subliminal Nike advertising?

2011 Topps #605 Brandon Belt

It's not an official mini-collection of mine, but I've always enjoyed hoarding batting-cage shots. 

1994 Collector's Choice #606 Cal Eldred

Cal Eldred would like a better seat, thank you very much.

1984 Topps #607 Tom Hume

Little known fact: Tom Hume was also my 7th grade science teacher. 

2011 Topps #608 Casey McGehee


1992 Donruss #609 Carlos Quintana

An oddly-cropped and -angled double dip.

1992 Stadium Club #610 Howard Johnson

More from the batting cage, this time of the indoor variety. 

1972 Topps #611 Rich Reese

Vintage bat barrel action.

1991 Upper Deck #612 Dennis Cook

Dennis Cook, .264 career hitter(!).

That's about it for this week's page. The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Monday, October 15, 2018

My collecting life, as told through retail

For better or worse, I've lived in the suburbs my entire life.

Thus many of my earliest memories involve walking through the narrow, blinding aisles of retail chains. As time has passed, I like to believe I've become less retail-reliant than I once was (I mean, I no longer go to the mall for fun). But I got to thinking recently -- even if we're just talking about the baseball card part of my life, my memories are flooded by retail chains.

From what I can gauge by stories I've heard and the oddballs I've acquired, big box stores were once a supreme supplier of cardboard. I can't say I've ever stepped foot in a Rite Aid or Woolworth's, but I own baseball cards produced by both. Nowadays people are shocked when I tell them that Target sells cards at all. But still it's worth noting the impact the world of retail has had on my collecting life, whether I like it or not.

So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to take you on a trip through the memories of my collecting life, as told through the retail chains I've frequented once or a hundred times.


Target is my main source of retail purchases for many reasons -- not the least of which being that there's been one right across the street from me for much of my adult life.

For the most part, they run a pretty tight ship. They're timely with the output of new product and the cards are right by the cash registers. Get in, get out: that's the name of the game for retail in my book. Target's issued quite a few store-exclusives over the years, but my favorite have to be the red parallels they made before borderless Topps sets became a thing.

Barring something drastic, Target will be my retail home for the considerable future.


I buy cards from Walmart maybe once or twice a year.

There's not one close to where I live and I only go if I'm desperate and/or my Target's been slacking on their stocking. Even then it's rare, because have you ever been in a Walmart? I get headaches even driving through the parking lot.

Still, I'll admit they've probably had the best retail-exclusives of my lifetime with these all-black beauties of the late-2000s and early-2010s -- but even those weren't enough to get me inside a Walmart on anywhere near a frequent basis.


K-Mart was my biggest source for retail cardboard for a few years there in my teens.

Their card aisle was every bit as expansive as today's Target/Walmart and there's one almost literally next door to me. And they even had the retail exclusives like the other chains: I bought many blasters of 2008 Topps for these rookie variants alone (back when JR Towles was considered a hotshot prospect, which should tell you how long it's been since K-Mart's heyday).

The K-Mart by my house is still there, but the card aisle is long gone -- there's nothing but candy and party supplies where the rack packs and blasters once stood.

Toys 'R' Us

I can't say for certain that I've ever actually bought cards from Toys 'R' Us, but for the sake of this post I'm willing to bet I did at some point in my youth.

I have quite a few singles from the boxed sets Toys 'R' Us put out in the early '90s, and though you had to overpay to get 'em, these purple parallels from more recent years of Flagship are terrific. (Trouble is, they're impossible to find: I own maybe a half-dozen.)

Toys 'R' Us is now defunct, of course: a sad end for the overall aura of my childhood, but not necessarily a great tragedy for my card collection.


The only card memory I have of Jewel-Osco is a small plastic spinner of packs they had near the cash register for a brief time long ago.

The packs were woefully overpriced and you had to get a worker to open the case for you -- quite possibly every sign I could ever want not to buy any. But there were at least a couple times I succumbed to the temptation, tracking down some poor retail associate who probably hated me for interrupting their work so I could get my too-expensive pack of 2003 Upper Deck or something.

If I were to create a pie chart of my retail collecting life, Jewel-Osco would occupy that tiny, barely discernible slice -- but it's still there nonetheless.


The only other retail outlet in my memory is none other than Walgreens -- my prime repack supplier.

True, I don't buy nearly as many of those 100-card Fairfield repacks as I once did, but they're always tempting should I find myself in a Walgreens for a cheap soda or candy bar or something. And the percentage of cards I need versus the ones that go in an extras box isn't great. But repacks have long been a source of cheap pleasure whenever I need that pack-busting itch.

I don't go to Walgreens hoping to pull anything mind-boggling or even very much I want at all, but every once in a while, they do surprise me with cards like this Yoenis Cespedes rookie variation I got from a repack earlier this year (also a hit to my "42" mini-collection!).

So that's my baseball card retail life in a nutshell: some chains still standing, some hanging by a thread, others gone all together -- but the memories live on.