Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 71: Numbers 631-639

Frankenset Page #3 WINNER --1995 Stadium Club #24 Julian Tavarez (7 votes + tie-breaking vote)

Here's something that hasn't happened in a while: a tie!

Stadium Club extraordinaires Jay Buhner and Julian Tavarez both finished with seven of the 34 total votes from last week's page. As is the standard tie-breaking protocol, I ask the first five readers who care to comment on this post to leave their choice between the two hopefuls. The first card to receive three of the five tie-breakers will win the page.

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

EDIT: Tavarez wins!

In the meantime, here's a look at our latest group: according to the Random Number Generator, we're soaring back into the high-numbers here with Page 71 (#s 631-639) up for grabs this week.

Let's meet the nominees.

2012 Topps #631 Ryan Kalish


1987 Fleer #632 Bob Horner

Perhaps the only thing more impressive than hitting four homers in a game is hitting four homers in a game your team lost, which Bob Horner indeed did on July 6, 1986. 

1977 Topps #633 May Bros.

Classic card from a classic subset. 

1998 Upper Deck #634 Brian Anderson

Because apparently pitchers need BP too. 

2018 Topps #635 Cody Allen

High five! 

2009 Upper Deck #636 Clete Thomas

Butt bump? 

2014 Topps #637 Freddy Galvis

Hero for a day. 

2011 Topps #638 Ryan Madson

I'm only now starting to notice this page's rather celebratory theme.

1993 Upper Deck #639 Jeff Gardner

Meet the press.

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

Happy voting!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The know-it-all doesn't know it all

I can, admittedly, have a tendency to be a bit of a know-it-all when it comes to baseball cards.

When the usual my-cards-are-worth-a-million-dollars thing comes up in pop culture or on Craigslist or wherever else, my reaction is less Oh no, they think their '88 Topps set is worth something... and more HAHAHA, THEY THINK THEIR '88 TOPPS SET IS WORTH SOMETHING! This isn't limited to non-collectors. Often I'll see someone post a card I've long loved and admired on the blogs or Twitter (the famous '84 Fleer Glenn Hubbard comes to mind), and once in a while it'll get a comment along the lines of Wow, I've never seen this card before! My initial thought is usually What kind of rock have you been living under?!

I'm not proud of this. People who don't collect would have no way of knowing their '88 Topps sets are landfill material, and people who do collect haven't had time to examine every card ever made. Moreover, I'm sure far from perfect myself. Despite having collected for about two decades now, I know there's still so many nooks and crannies out there I've yet to discover, ones that may well produce laughter from other collectors.

Case in point: I'd never heard of a set called National Treasures (apparently produced by Panini) until Brian of the excellent "Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary" blog dropped this stellar Hoyt relic on me.

These are both obviously mini-collection hits, but the Mantle sure had me stumped.

I was collecting full throttle in 2009 -- right in the middle of Topps's love affair with Mickey Mantle -- but I'd never once seen that particular card, which turns out was exclusively issued in Yankee team sets that year.

These are all needs from Brian (even the Marlon Byrd, though I've scaled back my collection of his for reasons I've previously discussed), but I'm also reminded that I didn't know Walgreens made exclusive parallels until very recently, far after most people probably heard about 'em.

I've checked a couple Walgreens in the time since that discovery (no luck), and the Bote is the first of those exclusive yellows I've added to my collection.

I also have no clue how a ballpark giveaway made it from Wrigley Field to Japan to the US again and into my mailbox, all in the span of a few months.

This well-traveled Baez -- issued as part of a National Baseball Card Day promotion at the Friendly Confines earlier this summer -- probably has quite a story to tell, and it came my way thanks to a glorious Zapping from Zippy Zappy of "Torren' Up Cards" fame.

Many of the cards in this Zapping still had their original price tags in Yen on the penny sleeves, which I thought was so cool that I scanned them that way.

I'd say a good 90 percent of the Kanebos and BBMs I own came via Zappings, and this package stuck with the trend (gaijin BBMs especially rule!).

Also, here's a big pile of stuff from the generous John of "Johnny's Trading Spot" that stumped the know-it-all.

These are all tiny, sticker-like, feature quite a few scarce Short Term Stops (including Manny Trillo and Kent Tekulve as Reds!), and came in both complete panels and individual singles from John. My first question: What the heck ARE they?

A little internet sleuthing uncovered the answer: they're from a 1990 oddball set called Publications International -- and though they're a bit too small for me to comfortably store in my nine-pocket pages, I'm still glad to have 'em if for no other reason than the research they made me do.

Shiny Cubs! Big League Cubs! Topps Total Cubs!

O-PEE-CHEE CUBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mini-collection hits abound from John, including a sweet '90s Dufex sighting and a Members Only parallel from this year's Stadium Club.

I'm not even sure how those 1st Edition parallels were issued -- nor did I actually see any when I was collecting in 2004 -- so I can understand why I still needed that Olerud.

But given how long and how passionately I've hoarded Jim Abbott cards over the years, how I didn't already own that fairly common '93 Topps Traded single is beyond me.

I also have no answer for why a card of Mickey Mantle Playing A Violin exists, but I'm sure glad a card of Mickey Mantle Playing A Violin exists.

Maybe, just maybe, this post's strange accumulation of sets I've never heard of, oddballs I've never seen, and photos I can't explain might help curb my occasional know-it-all pompousness -- I guess I'll just have to let you know what happens next time I see someone trying to pawn a set of '88 Topps for five hundred bucks.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 3: Numbers 19-27

Frankenset Page #57 WINNER -- 1994 Topps #511 Devon White (16 votes)

I've said it many times: I try my best to remain an impartial third-party when I post these frankenset pages.

That's easier said than done sometimes. Devon White reading his fan mail was so obviously my favorite suspect from last week's page: it sums up my frankenset so well, in that it's weird and quirky, a moment in the baseball life never seen on cardboard. Thankfully, a good chunk of you readers agreed with me: Devon ran away with the victory, taking 16 of the 36 total votes en route to a cruise-control win.

I thank you, Devon White thanks you, and Devon White's fans thank you.

With the dwindling number of remaining pages, we jump back into the low numbers with our latest frankenset group: according to the Random Number Generator, Page 3 (#s 19-27) is up for grabs this week.

Let's meet the hopefuls.

2017 Stadium Club #19 DJ LeMahieu

Just Stadium Club being its usual spectacular self. 

1998 Stadium Club #20 Jay Buhner

Great leap, even greater fan reactions.

2019 Topps Gypsy Queen #21 Matt Davidson

There's liquid coming from every corner of this card. 

1993 SP #22 Damion Easley

A particularly violent double dip here. 

1999 Team Best #23 Giuseppe Chiaramonte

Minor league throwback(!), and bonus points for having the most Italian name ever. 

1995 Stadium Club #24 Julian Tavarez

Talent comes in many forms. 

2016 Stadium Club #25 Chris Archer


1992 Studio #26 Jose Rijo

Which way's the gun show? 

1996 Upper Deck #27 Gary DiSarcina

It seems like a lot of my pages end with double dips, and I'm completely okay with that.

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

Happy voting!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 57: Numbers 505-513

Frankenset Page #54 WINNER -- 1996 Collector's Choice #484 Rex Hudler (14 votes)

Card backs aren't usually the driving force behind my frankenset picks, but then again not many card backs feature a guy milking a cow.

Not surprisingly, last week's voting resulted in a rout, with the cow-milking Rex Hudler taking 14 of the 32 total tallies for the easy win -- no other card received more than four votes. From what I've heard about Hudler and his zany ways, it seems like a perfect card for him (though it might not even be his wackiest one).

At the end of it all, I'm just glad to be able to induct a card with a cow on it into my Gallery of Frankenset Champions, so thanks, good readers.

I counted this afternoon, and it looks like we only have eight pages left to show in the second frankenset(!), so let the countdown begin with one of the final eight: according to the Random Number Generator, Page 57 (#s 505-513) is up for grabs this week.

Let's meet the nominees.

1975 Topps #505 Chris Speier

Even seemingly mundane action looks great with '75 Topps. 

1995 Collector's Choice #506 Alex Fernandez 

Hugs and handshakes on my favorite Collector's Choice design.

1973 Topps #507 Darrel Chaney

The rare runner-fielder-umpire triumvirate. 

1995 Collector's Choice #508 Norberto Martin

A great double dip made even greater with all the Spring Training ads in the background. 

1981 Topps #509 Pete Mackanin

Fact: weak-hitting middle infielders are shown bunting on 99.9 percent of their baseball cards (or at least it sure seems that way).

1992 Leaf #510 Andy Allanson

Play at the plate! 

1994 Topps #511 Devon White

The one and only card I own of a dude reading his fan mail, and it's glorious.

2006 Upper Deck #512 Chris Reitsma

Signing for the youngins. 

1993 Upper Deck #513 Jose Lind

Second-base action, with a cameo from Kirk Gibson's male-pattern baldness.

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

Happy voting!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Lost in the COMC funhouse

Logging onto COMC can often feel like entering a funhouse at a carnival.

Sure, you can start with the hopes of looking for specific things, but I almost guarantee that once you've been in there a while, among all the mirrors and links bringing you to this search and that, you'll have no idea where you started, or where in the heck you're going. I know this all too well: I received my latest COMC order a couple weeks ago and had trouble coming up with an explanation as to how I discovered a lot of the cards I did. What rabbit hole, for instance, led to me throwing a '56 Topps Vic Wertz into my cart?

I have no freakin' clue...but I'm sure glad for whatever rabbit hole it was since this beauty (paper loss and all!) cost all of about 70 cents.

At some point I discovered I somehow didn't already own these two surprisingly affordable '50s stars.

Often COMC is great at showing me stuff I didn't even know I needed: oh the years I've wasted not owning a Post Post!

I sometimes even buy stuff I have no knowledge of: that oversized Smoky Joe Wood comes from an oddball set called "Big League Collectibles," which is the first I'm hearing about it.

On the other hand, I know all too well the greatness of other oddballs like TCMA, Kellogg's, and alternate-universe '77 OPCs!

In case it hasn't become obvious yet, I often see vintage oddballs in the COMC funhouse mirror.

Permagraphics included!

Magnificent oddities of Hammerin' Hank and Johnny Evers receiving a cool old-timey car!

Legend liquorfractors, obviously.

I've said this many times before, but my most consistent use of COMC lately has been acquiring online-only cards I have little interest in buying directly from Topps wholesale.

None of these cost more than 75 cents, and I continue to be enthralled by those full-bleed '78s.

Throwback Thursday is another Topps promotion made affordable via COMC.

I check the site almost daily for these -- every once in a while I stumble upon a jewel a dealer decided to heavily mark down for whatever reason -- and it's good to know my persistence is rewarded with excellent rehashings of old A-Team or TV Westerns designs (among others!).

Topps Now cards retail at $10 a pop...

...so I don't know what it says about the hobby (or the general interest in these) that I was able to get a good handful of 'em for about a buck per on COMC.

Like the aforementioned Post Post, I never knew I needed a Rally Goose card until now.

I also snagged a handful of what I'm pretty sure was the first online-only Topps promotion: eTopps!

I rarely get a chance to buy these, and this order basically doubled my eTopps collection in the snap of a finger.

I didn't go to this year's National, but I did buy a bunch of past National VIP Exclusives for loose change, which makes me feel better.

Why am I buying base cards from sets like Donruss and Team Heroes, you ask?

Because these are actually also old National exclusives...numbered to just five copies a piece!

Daryle Ward and Pablo Ozuna rank highly on the Obscure Guys I Collect list, and thanks to some weird pricing quirk, these scarce parallels cost just 79 cents each, which is less than the regular base versions of said cards are listed for on COMC(?).

Bunch of funhouse randoms here: including ornaments, bubble refractors, and a card from something called the Topps Montgomery Club which from what I can gather is basically a paid membership program for people with much more money than me.

I love photo variations...

...when I can afford them!

I have no interest in hoarding Starting Lineup figurines, but I'll sure take the cards.

I'm still astounded that BBM cards can sometimes come so cheap considering they have to travel across an ocean to get here.

More oddballs from every corner of the funhouse, like a Mother's Cookies Shooter and a Burger King Cardenal.

Despite the tendency to get lost amid the oddballs and general insanity, this latest COMC order did manage to harpoon two white whales I've been chasing for quite some time.

First came this 1989 Kahn's Kent Tekulve, long desired by yours truly since, aside from being kinda scarce in general, it's the only other card I know of outside of his '89 Traded single to feature Teke as a Red(!).

Holy cow have I been chasing this card for a long time: I remember it being on my Most Wanted list when I first started my Most Wanted list in the first couple years of this blog's history before I gave up looking and deciding I'd never get to own it.

I mentioned alternate-universe '77 OPCs earlier, and this is pretty much the ultimate one for me: this doesn't just feature a completely different photo and team than John Lowenstein's standard '77 Topps card...it features him wearing the uniform of a team he never even played for! In other words: A ZERO-YEAR CARD!

Traded by the Indians to the Blue Jays in late 1976 for Rico Carty (coincidentally, the man featured on the other alternate-universe '77 OPC in this post!), Lowenstein lasted all of about three months in Toronto before being dealt back to the Indians just prior to the '77 season, never having played a single game for the expansion franchise. But somehow during that brief non-tenure he slipped into the hearts of Canada and into the '77 OPC checklist. And thus a white whale was born, one that's sure comforting to finally take down.

Thus ends my latest trip to the COMC carnival, but of course, knowing me, it won't be long before I go running back to the starting arrow, entering the funhouse all over again.