Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 1: Numbers 1-9

Frankenset Page #20 WINNER -- 1996 Collector's Choice #173 Gary Gaetti (8 votes)

I like when winning vote totals remain relatively low, because that often means I've done my job in crafting a well-rounded page.

This was the case last week: Gary Gaetti needed just eight votes (of 36 total) to take the crown. Two others (Blake Parker, Tom Haller) tied for second with six tallies each and every card received at least one vote (which I also like to see).

The Gaetti is one of the standout throwback shots in my collection, so I'm happy to add it to the Gallery of Frankenset Champions.

Well whaddya know: the Random Number Generator spit out grand old #1 today, which means we get to take a look at the very first page of my frankenset (#s 1-9) this week!

Let's meet the cover boys.

1991 Line Drive Pre-Rookie #1 Billy Bean

The frankenset kicks off with MLB's inaugural Ambassador for Inclusion.

2015 Bowman Chrome #2 Michael Brantley

Throwing it back to the Negro League's Cleveland Buckeyes. 

2019 Topps #3 Eduardo Nunez

A beauty from this year's Topps (sorry, Dodger fans). 

2016 BBM #4 Kazuhiro Wada

Flowers from the fans on a rare Japanese card in my frankenset (sent to me via a trademark Zapping, of course). 

1993 Stadium Club #5 Tony Phillips

The elusive double dip/throwback combo. 

1994 Topps #6 Derrick May

Prime bat rack action. 

1992 Upper Deck #7 Roberto Hernandez

The news as told by Channel 19. 

2017 Topps #8 Jose Berrios

Under the lights. 

2018 Stadium Club #9 Zack Godley

The one and only card I own of a dude jumping into a swimming pool.

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

Happy voting!

Friday, March 22, 2019


I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I can often be a hypocrite when it comes to my baseball cards.

I eat my own words a lot. Chasing stuff I said I wouldn't chase, buying stuff I said I didn't like, frowning upon stuff I've done myself. Etc., etc. I like to think we've all done it. But yet another example of hypocrisy to add to my laundry list attached itself to a mega-mailer I recently received from Tim of "I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning."

This, on the surface, seems to be a standard copy of Munenori Kawasaki's only card as a Cub from 2016 Heritage High Numbers -- a great card, yes, but one I already have.

But when I turned it over, I found gum stains -- or at least the version of what computers interpret gum stains to be.

You might already know that Topps has been inserting these "gum damage" backs into Heritage for a while now. I always thought it was a stupid concept, one of the most facepalm-worthy gimmicks from a company that specializes in them. But I'd never actually owned one before Tim sent this Muni over. Perhaps it's the simple fact that I get to add a second Kawasaki card to my Cubs binder when I thought I'd forever have just one, but I must admit, I kinda...like it. It might've even been my favorite card of the whole package.

God I'm a hypocrite.

This isn't to sell anything else Tom sent short, though, because he packed quite a wallop with the rest of the mega-mailer (seriously, I think I counted seven team bags crammed in there).

These mini-collection hits are all needs -- and the Wainwright is another example of my hypocrisy given that Topps has lazily recycled that photo many times over, and yet I'm thrilled to add it to my throwbacks list, again and again.

Me: There's too many inserts in the hobby these days!

Also me: Creates lengthy want lists for said inserts and gets oddly giddy when able to cross some out.

No hypocrisy here: Vlad rules and always has.

I don't often get to add cards to my RA Dickey and Adam Greenberg collections, so these were certainly a thrill.

I love my 1,027 different Vlads (seriously, I just finished cataloging them), but sometimes a card of a dude like Greenberg (of whom I might own 10 cards, at most) can be just as exciting.

A little shiny always wins my heart.

Oddball time, including an excellent minor league Junior Ortiz which features just about every piece of baseball equipment possible.

My reaction when '70s and early '80s oddballs fall out of a trade package is always pretty much the same: COOOOOOOOOOOOOL.

I'm no hypocrite when it comes to Dudes: send me all of them!

Yet I do often wonder if I'm kicking myself a bit too hard for having to eat my words so often. Reactions to something from afar can often differ from reactions to something in-hand. It's natural. But never in my life did I think I'd be so excited to see card that's supposed to look like it has a gum stain. Or a photo I've seen repeated on too many cards to count. The list goes on and on.

So I guess I might as well say it now: my name is Nick, and I'm a hypocrite.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 20: Numbers 172-180

Frankenset Page #66 WINNER -- 1991 Upper Deck #587 Kurt Stillwell (6 votes + tie-breaking vote)

Last week's page was admittedly not the most exciting one in my binder, but at least it culminated in an exciting finish: a tie!

Voter turnout was kinda low and pretty well spread out, meaning that both Kurt Stillwell and Brady Anderson topped the polls with just six votes a piece (of 31 total). As usual, I leave the tie-breaking to you: I ask the first five people who care to comment on this post to leave their choice between Stillwell and Anderson. The first card to receive three of these tie-breaking votes will earn the crown.

I'll update this post once we have a winner.

(EDIT: Stillwell wins!)

In the meantime, here's a look at tonight's new (and hopefully more exciting) page: the Random Number Generator finally gave us a bit of a lower number, decreeing Page 20 (#s 172-180) to be shown this week.

Let's meet the nominees.

2013 Topps Update #US172 Blake Parker

Throwbacks + Anthony Rizzo cameo = greatness. 

1996 Collector's Choice #173 Gary Gaetti

Hats aren't often the focus of throwback uniforms, so I'm glad Collector's Choice put those sweet Kansas City Monarchs caps front-and-center here. 

 2014 Gypsy Queen #174 Yovani Gallardo

Yet another throwback, this time paying tribute to the Negro League's Milwaukee Bears franchise.

1983 Fleer #175 Ozzie Virgil

I actually just picked up this early-Fleer looker at the show I attended three days ago, which might be a record as far as frankenset turnaround goes. 

1972 Topps #176 Tom Haller

A wicked (and weirdly-cropped) mash of bats, baserunners, and backstops. 

2011 Topps Update #US177 Rene Tosoni

This Bud's for you. 

2012 Topps Opening Day #178 Desmond Jennings

Play at the plate! 

1993 Upper Deck #179 Kirt Manwaring

The fantastic catcher action shot makes it easy to ignore the throwback jersey peeking out from underneath Kirt's gear. 

1997 Topps #180 Rey Ordonez

An odd gem from an off year of Topps.

That's it for this week's page (and don't forget to help break last week's tie!). The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Let's try this again (a card show report)

I'm happy to report that, after the unfortunate experience of having my car break down on the way to a card show a couple weeks ago, I was able to make it back to that same show at its next gathering this past weekend.

This became a kind of belated birthday party of sorts -- much of what I spent consisted of birthday money from my parents (as well as getting to use my mom's car to get to the show, since I don't much trust my car anymore). The rest of my budget was covered (and then some) by the Acuna Heritage ultra-SP I pulled. Couple that with the fact that I bumped into my buddy Jeff by surprise and you have a rollicking good time at the local card show.

All this was made even better by the fact that I found pretty much the one thing I was hoping to stumble across: a dime box that covered about 95 percent of my 2019 Heritage needs, including Pat Neshek's tribute to Lowell Palmer which I'm already declaring the Card of the Year.

Finding all that Heritage for dimes does admittedly make me feel kinda stupid for having spent so much on retail packs (this happens to me quite often).

In addition to another neat 1970 Topps homage with the Frazier autograph shot (a nod to a similar image of Bud Harrelson from the original set) came some cool quarter and fifty-cent inserts, including my first baseball card of the Supremes!

That same vendor also had a bunch of 2019 Donruss, which was a bit of a surprise since it'd been released just a few days prior.

My feelings about Donruss this year can pretty much be summed up in one word -- ick (though I am thankful for a true David Wright sunset card).

The dime boxes at last weekend's show didn't have a ton of variety, but I did manage to snare a few mini-collection hits with these.

I'm always game for photo variations, especially when they come out of dime boxes like the Ryu and Bell did (the Bell is actually a Super SP which recently sold for $30 on Ebay!).

I snagged the Jones and Kiermaier out of a dollar box run by a vendor who was younger than I was, providing me with another man-I'm-getting-old moment I didn't need.

Shiny stuff and high-end base will forever be dime box thrills.

I paid 50 cents for a Josh Hamilton rookie, but found a Christian Yelich rookie in a dime box.

This seems backwards to me.

I've had a sneaking suspicion I might find some online-only Topps stuff in a dime bin one of these days, and that finally came true at the show last weekend.

But it's still kind of shocking: I mean, someone had to go through the process of browsing and ordering these specific cards...only for them to wind up as dime box afterthoughts not long after.

I guess I'm kinda spoiled, in that it feels inconvenient for me to have to pay more than a dime for modern cards I want.

Still, I can't much argue about the fifty cents each of these beauties commanded (including the bizarro-world '84 Strawberry).

These two excellent Gashouse Gang TCMA oddballs were the first cards I found last Sunday, mine from a dollar bin just minutes after I entered the village hall.

Though I didn't know it at the time, they pretty much foreshadowed what was to become a massively vintage-heavy card show haul. It's odd because I've been on record as saying this show isn't as vintage-centric as some of the other ones in my area.

As you'll soon see, I don't think I can say that anymore.

Another vendor I came across late in the day had a few large stacks of dollar vintage up for grabs -- heavily discounted thanks to someone named Edward who stamped almost all of these cards at some point in their lives.

I heard a Card Show Bro next to me complaining about how he didn't wanna buy any of them because of the stamp -- in my head I couldn't help but think Great, more for me!

Regular readers of this blog might already know of my deep love for these vintage Fleer World Series cartoons, and I don't think I've ever seen more of 'em in one place before Sunday.

My head just about hit the ceiling when these came out of those dollar stacks  -- Edward applied the stamp on the back instead of the front, for some reason.

If that dollar vintage made me hit the ceiling, then I just about went to space after what awaited me at another table.

What I'm about to show you, my friends, was Discount Vintage Heaven, quite possibly the best vintage table I've ever come across. And I'm not exaggerating here. There's a vendor at this show who always has drool-worthy vintage for sale. Trouble is, most of it is in good shape and thus lightyears out of my price range.

But from what I can gather, he's either been holding out on me this whole time, or just recently decided to undertake a huge purge of his lesser-conditioned vintage. Because this past weekend, for the first time, he had a new box at his table comprised of two-dollar vintage. Two-dollar boxes aren't usually that exciting. I grabbed a stack without much enthusiasm. But then I found a '49 Bowman Johnny Sain and my head almost fell off.

Everything I'm gonna show you in the next few scans came out of that same two-dollar box -- and if you don't believe me, just remember that I have witnesses.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.






I just...I can't...I have no words.

And if all THAT wasn't enough, the same vendor even had a 50% Off tub, filled with a few large stacks of other off-condition and/or clearance miscellany.

Mr. Cub cost me all of $2.50 (half-off its original $5 price tag) and the Santo was a whopping buck-fifty.

They're not as vintagey as the rest of what I found, but I nabbed these two impeccably-conditioned Boggs RCs for five bucks a pop -- which completes my rookie-card triad of his since I already owned his Topps rookie.

Okay -- surely this guy couldn't have had anything better than what I've already shown, right?

Wrong. At the far end of the dude's table was another minefield of discount vintage -- all priced north of two dollars but still unbelievably affordable. I'd like to describe how I felt about all this, but I was too flabbergasted to remember.

Much of these came from the birthday money from my dad, who helped me pull some of this staggering display of vintage -- he's the one that found this '55 Bowman Kaline for five bucks.

Dad also found that '62 Berra for another fiver -- which has been a dream card of mine for a while now.

Meanwhile I was the one who discovered a '71 Willie Mays sitting in those stacks for another five-dollar bill, fitting since I'd just recently added it to my Keep Dreaming wants.

These two were also just FIVE DOLLARS EACH -- I grabbed them before anyone woke the vendor from whatever stupor he was in.

Now here's a card I just plain assumed I'd never own.

It's Nolan Ryan. It's a vintage uber-high number (#712). It's a well-known card. Put that together and you have something I'd never seen priced at anything under $50...until last weekend, when I found this copy (which isn't even that well-loved) sitting there for $10, for some reason.


This is why I enjoy buying off-condition vintage from vendors who mainly deal in pristine cardboard -- they treat well-loved stuff like a bad cold, and they price them accordingly.

How else can I explain how I got a Willie McCovey rookie (another card I never once dreamed of owning) for ten bucks?

From what I can gather, this is one of the scarcer cards from '63 Post/Jello (I can't tell which) set -- copies in good shape run in the three-figures.

Thanks to a little tape residue, however, I was able to take home this Clemente for another wrinkled ten-dollar bill.

And then the grand finale, the flourish after it all -- a '66 Clemente!

At $15, it was the most expensive card of the lot, but still a whale of a deal since the cheaper copies I've seen run twice that. When you put it all together, over half of what I spent the entire day came at this dude's table. Seriously, someone still needs to convince me I didn't dream all this.

The world works in strange ways. Perhaps the cardboard gods were just playing a cruel trick on me by having my car break down a few weeks ago. Maybe they were saying NO, NICK! You'll find all this better stuff if you just wait a while! The wind and snowstorm they caused that fateful day weren't enough to get me to take the hint. So they killed my car instead.

Perhaps they could've given me a better sign than having me go through stressful (and kinda expensive) car repairs, but still -- I guess I can't be too mad at the almighty cardboard gods, right?