Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Cards of the Year: 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, it's hard not to look back at these last twelve months and ask what the hell was THAT?

It's been a strange year, for many obvious reasons, and that weirdness certainly made its way into the world of baseball cards. An example: I was in a Target the other day, and made the obligatory peek into the card aisle. As I got closer, I started to realize how different my Target runs have become this year. Back in February, I walked into the card aisle with excitement, waiting to see if the new cards were there. Here in December, though, I was already resigned to not finding anything. I was expecting to be disappointed. (And I was right: there were Cards Against Humanity packs hanging where the baseball cards should be.)

I suppose there's a "how it started/how it's going" meme in there somewhere. I don't know that I've felt as close to current product this year than I have in the past, mostly because I just plain haven't seen as much of it. It's fun picking up singles online and such, but I find that cards I get from packs stick with me a bit more than the ones I've cherry-picked. Given that, it was a bit harder for me to make a Cards of the Year list for 2020 -- not so much because there weren't any good cards issued (there were), but more just because everything's felt so much more scattered this year.

But in the end, my Cards of the Year list is a yearly blog tradition of mine, and one I still have a lot of fun with -- so here they are, my friends, the top ten cards we saw in the massive chaos that was 2020.

#10 -- 2020 Topps Big League #228 Kevin Kiermaier

Baseball players aren't superheroes, but they sometimes exhibit superheroic traits, and few cards sum that up better than this perfectly-placed shot from 2020 Big League.

#9 -- 2020 Topps Heritage #5 Gary Sanchez

Given the way the hobby often goes these days, it's easy to wonder whether the people at Topps actually know about baseball cards, or have any concept of their history.

Cards like this one, however, give me hope -- Topps Heritage has paid a few very specific tributes to iconic pieces of vintage glory the last couple years, and the trend continued in 2020 with this obvious nod to another rather famous play-at-the-plate featuring a Yankee catcher from '71 Topps.

#8 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter #333 Kenny Lofton SP

I often joke about being too young to see guys I grew up watching appear as "legends" in modern sets, but I think I'm more afraid of those players from my youth being ignored, and disappearing from our minds altogether.

Kenny Lofton is near the top of that list. I've been a fan of his ever since I was a kid, which of course means that I've collected his cards for a long time as well. It's almost cruel how little attention he's been given in the baseball card industry in the years since his retirement, which is why it was so great to see him pop up as a short-print in A&G this year. Lofton's last playing-day cards were issued in 2008, and this A&G SP is one of exactly two cards I own of his issued in the decade-plus since he left the game. I'll gladly trade the 784 Nolan Ryan cards made every year for just a single Kenny Lofton.

If it makes me feel old, so be it.

#7 -- 2020 Stadium Club #126 Travis Demeritte

Just a wonderful card, and timely given MLB's recent (and long overdue) recognition of the Negro Leagues.

#6 -- 2020 Topps Heritage "News Flashbacks" #NF-8 Willy Wonka

The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!

#5 -- 2020 Topps #560b Reggie Jackson (Photo Variation)

Safe to say 2020 Flagship hasn't grown on me -- if anything, I like it even less than I did when I first saw it earlier this year.

The cards themselves were almost entirely forgettable, which is why a photo variation (though a pretty darn good one) ended up being the only Flagship card to crack this list.

#4 -- 2020 Topps Big League #93 Javier Baez

The Cubs teams I've experienced during my adult life were way more fun to watch than the mostly bad and cellar-dwelling hometown squads of my youth.

And I can't think of a card that better sums that up than this one.

#3 -- 2020 Stadium Club #59 Sean Doolittle

For the life of me I can't understand why every pitcher doesn't use the bullpen car.

#2 -- 2020 Topps Big League #286 Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro's tearful farewell was mostly ignored in the baseball card world, but I thank Topps Big League with every fiber of my being for giving him the ride into the sunset he deserved.

#1 -- 2020 Stadium Club #290 Sandy Koufax

With this masterpiece, Sandy Koufax becomes the first player to be crowned my Card of the Year two different times, repeating his 2017 triumph (and on his 85th birthday, no less!).

I own over a hundred different Koufax cards, and it seems like card companies used the same three pictures for all of 'em. So I thank the blessed soul at Topps who decided to change things up a bit in 2020, and take it a step further by showing a photograph of him hitting. Shots of great pitchers at the plate are almost never seen on cards, or really in the baseball world in general -- I sometimes forget guys like Koufax or Bob Gibson had to hit, too. It's a card that'll forever stand out in my binders, a card I'll always want to take out of the page and admire. 

Safe to say 2020 was weird and difficult for a lot of reasons, but at least choosing my Card of the Year was easy, and pretty much painless.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Baseball's Eves (or, the second-best)

Christmas Eve has long fascinated me because, at least in America, it's a holiday celebrated for being the day before a holiday.

I generally love the opportunity to acknowledge obscure things. I guess it's one of the reasons drawn to the runners-up, the also-rans. Everyone else wonders who was the first person to do something, who has the most of something. Quite often I find my mind who was the second person to do that, or who's second on that list? It's a way of celebrating the uncelebrated. Larry Doby was the second African-American to play modern baseball, Brent Strom was the second pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery...the list goes on.

Leaderboards are designed to make the #1's stand out -- I mean, it's in the name of the thing itself. But with baseball statistics, that can get a bit boring, because most casual baseball fans already know who's hit the most homers, or won the most games. But the second-place finishers are more mysterious, and are usually overlooked. Some are known because they once held a famous record since broken, while others I would've never guessed in a million years. It's just so interesting to me.

So that's why, in honor of Christmas Eve, I've put together a short list of some of the game's most famous second-place finishers -- the Baseball Eves.

Home Runs - Hank Aaron, 755 (#1 - Barry Bonds, 762)

Might as well get the unpleasantness out of the way now -- based on numbers and numbers alone, Hank Aaron is second on the all-time home run list, seven behind Barry Bonds's 762.

For obvious reasons, however, Hammerin' Hank's 755 is the more famous milestone -- I admit I even had to double-check Bonds's totals because that number has never quite stuck in my mind.

Batting Average - Rogers Hornsby, .358 (#1 - Ty Cobb, .366)

I feel like Rogers Hornsby is barely remembered these days, which seems criminal -- dude hit .358 for his career, second only to Ty Cobb, and an average we might not ever see topped in so much as a single season again.

Consider this: Hornsby set the modern-day single-season record for batting average when he hit .424 in 1924...and somehow that might not have even been his best year, considering he hit .401 with 42 homers just two years prior.

RBI - Albert Pujols, 2,100 (#1 - Hank Aaron, 2,297)

Somehow I missed that Albert Pujols is now Baseball's Eve in the RBI category -- I'm not sure how much longer he's planning on playing, but he seems to have at least an outside chance of passing Hank Aaron.

Hits - Ty Cobb, 4,189 (#1 - Pete Rose, 4,256)

In recent years, it's been discovered that one of Ty Cobb's games was actually counted twice towards his total stats, which means that he finished with 4,189 career hits -- and not the more famous 4,191 number that was recognized for so long.

So, then, Pete Rose didn't break Cobb's famous record with his famous 4,192nd hit against the Padres, and that it actually happened a few days earlier, before anyone had discovered the statistical blunder -- oops.

Games - Carl Yastrzemski, 3,308 (#1 - Pete Rose, 3,562)

I had a pretty good idea that Pete Rose was the all-time leader in games played, but I had absolutely no clue who was second on that list -- and it probably would've taken a while for me to guess it was Carl Yastrzemski.

What's more impressive, I think, is that Yaz played all 3,308 of those games with a single franchise, and that we never had to swallow the anguish of seeing him play his final couple seasons with the Blue Jays or something.

Stolen Bases - Lou Brock, 938 (#1 - Rickey Henderson, 1,406)

The stolen-base record has often been called unbreakable in modern baseball history -- Ty Cobb's 892 were considered set in stone until Lou Brock came along, and Brock's 938 were thought of as untouchable until Rickey demolished it.

With the way the game's played these days, though, I think it's pretty safe to say we'll never see anyone even approach the stolen-base record again -- the current active leader is Dee Gordon, with a whopping 333.

Walks - Rickey Henderson, 2,190 (#1 - Barry Bonds, 2,558)

Rickey may be the stolen-base king, but he's the Baseball Eve of walks, almost 400 behind Barry Bonds (of course).

But I'd like to see the stats of how many of those walks Rickey was able to turn into doubles or even triples by stealing second and/or third.

Wins - Walter Johnson, 417 (#1 - Cy Young, 511)

Moving on to Baseball's Eves of the pitcher's mound, we have yet another record that won't be challenged anytime soon.

The easy math shows that a guy could win 20 games for 25 straight years and still fall eleven wins short of Cy Young's famous number -- but even if that same guy managed to win 20 games in a mere 20 seasons, he'd fall 17 short of the second-place finisher on that list, Walter Johnson.

Losses - Pud Galvin, 308 (#1 - Cy Young, 316)

I'm fully on board with acknowledging pitcher wins and losses as archaic statistics, but I still find them fun as novelties.

Cy Young and fellow dead-ball star Pud Galvin are the only pitchers to lose 300 games in a career -- Pud was no slouch, however, also winning 360 games and punching a ticket to the Hall of Fame himself.

Innings Pitched - Pud Galvin, 5,941.1 (#1 - Cy Young, 7,354.2)

Poor Pud, so often a Baseball Eve thanks to Cy Young's otherworldly exploits.

(Also you've just seen the only two Pud Galvin cards I own, which makes me wish there were more Pud Galvin cards in the universe.)

Strikeouts - Randy Johnson, 4,875 (#1 - Nolan Ryan, 5,714)

It's almost hard to believe that even with Randy Johnson's accolades and dominance and general greatness...he still finished his career with almost a thousand less K's than Nolan Ryan.

Walks - Steve Carlton, 1,833 (#1 - Nolan Ryan, 2,795)

It seems like every pitching record is held by either Cy Young or Nolan Ryan, and that includes the bad ones.

Like his much more illustrious strikeout marks, Nolan Ryan ended his career with almost a thousand more walks than the second-place finisher -- another all-time great, Steve Carlton.

Appearances - Mike Stanton, 1,178 (#1 - Jesse Orosco, 1,252)

Mike Stanton's a bit of an oddball on this list, but to me he's one of the more fascinating Baseball Eves -- he's far from a legend, and played for eight different teams, but he still managed to appear in the second-most games in the game's long history.

Also unlike anything else on this list is the fact that I think this number could be broken in the somewhat near future, given the way relievers are unceasingly deployed nowadays -- I could see a rubber-armed reliever like Stanton making a play for the record.

Saves - Trevor Hoffman, 601 (#1 - Mariano Rivera, 652)

Saves are strange, in that they're a much more modern statistic, and a bit arbitrary as far as how and when one can earn a save (kinda like a win!).

This is the one entry on this list where I just plain don't know if anyone will ever challenge this number in my lifetime -- a guy could save 40 games a year for 15 seasons, and still fall one short of Trevor Hoffman's 601 saves, not to mention 52 short of Mariano Rivera.

World Series Championships - Cardinals, 11 (#1 - Yankees, 27)

Like 'em or not, there's little doubt that the Yankees are the most successful franchise in baseball history, if not in all of sports.

But if an entire team can qualify as a Baseball Eve, then I think the Cardinals do just that. Their 11 World Series titles are pretty darn impressive, but almost never get mentioned below the Yankees' colossal number. No other teams have posted double-digit World Series wins -- the Red Sox (9) and Dodgers (7) are the closest.

The Cardinals might be second on the list of baseball's great teams, but I'm sure anyone third and below on that list wouldn't mind switching places with them -- as is the blessing and curse of being a Baseball Eve.

Merry Christmas (Eve), all!

Monday, December 21, 2020

The big reveal

I left a couple cliffhangers in last week's post about the Year of Dad, and I'll just clear things up now and say that the big card I was searching for and eventually found was a 1953 Bowman Color Pee Wee Reese!

I repeat: I now own a 1953 Bowman Color Pee Wee Reese! It's a piece of history that's basically unmatched in the baseball card canon, a masterwork I've always considered to be one of the most beautiful cards ever made. The only problem was that I was forced to admire it from afar. I'd never even sniffed the possibility of owning a copy. Heck, I don't know that I'd even call it a Dream Card, because it seemed more unattainable than any dream I'd ever had. Even off-condition copies routinely sell for at least $400-$500, and safe to say I don't have that kind of cash.

This was also one of the few times I was actually a bit picky about condition -- I saw a few affordable copies online, but they were all either creased to hell or in generally rough shape, obscuring the beauty of this incredible baseball card. It took a bit of searching, but I finally found a solid copy for a good price -- mine only has a couple small creases at the outer edges, and some light scuffing in the middle, minor flaws I can easily live with. The Vidal Brujan autograph I showed in last week's post basically paid for the Reese, and it seems serendipitous that the most money I ever got for a baseball card in turn funded the most expensive baseball card I've ever bought.

I don't know about you, but I'd make that trade every time.


The other cliffhanger I left, of course, was the contest to determine who would be getting the 1963 Topps Sandy Koufax my dad accidentally bought me.

We had 24 total entries in the giveaway, which I threw into a list and randomized three times -- and the winner is [drumroll]...

Congratulations, Kirk! Please shoot an email with your mailing address to me at nickpecucci AT gmail DOT com -- and feel free to let me know of any specific player/team/etc. collections of yours I can add to your prize pack.

Thanks to all who participated, and, in case I don't post before then, a (early) Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate!

Friday, December 18, 2020


I see the question asked all the time around card circles: what are your biggest personal regrets as a collector?

The question is, of course, usually framed and understood in a monetary sense. People trading/selling cards of prospects before said prospect became a star, etc., etc. A better question would be: what's the most money you lost collecting cards? I once owned the illustrious 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout rookie, and its liquorfractor parallel, but I sold them both a long time ago for a small fraction of what they're worth now. Would I like that money? Sure. But do I regret it? Not really -- I got what I wanted at the time, and it's not like I could've known how huge that particular bubble would get.

To me, regret works much differently, and is nowhere near as monumental as most people's definitions of it -- in my experience it's way more about the things I didn't do rather than the things I did. 

It's true that I once sold a Mike Trout rookie for almost nothing -- but as far as personal anguish goes, I'd rank the years I spent ignoring cards from the 1980s higher on the regret-meter higher than anything involving that Trout. 

When I was a kid, I either wanted anything that was brand new, or really old (i.e. vintage) -- '80s cards fell in between the two extremes, and were thus pushed aside. I've done by best to close those gaps since, but I'm still missing quite a few obvious '80s cards in my present-day collection, thanks to those years of ignorance.

Which makes me thankful people like Jeff of "Wax Pack Wonders" are so quick to patch those holes when I put them on my Dime Box Dozen list, as he recently did with the '82 Donruss Rick Monday at the top of this post that fell through the inevitable cracks of my collection for so long.

Jeff's been sending me cards for a while now, and while he hasn't blogged in a couple months I'm hoping it's more of a hiatus rather than a permanent pause.

Whether he's blogging or not, Jeff always seems to come up with cards I need -- oddball mini-collection hits this great make me regret not starting mini-collections a long time ago.

A couple mini-collection parallels here -- only problem is I still need the base version of that magnificent Kris Benson.

I regret not knowing about an insert set called "Boyz with the Wood" until way too recently.

Bert of "Swing and a Pop-Up" fame -- another blogger-on-sabbatical -- reached out to me not long ago, saying he'd be able to help with some of my recent Topps Archives needs.

Packages like this make me regret the years I spent not maintaining a want list -- because deleting a large chunk of numbers from my needs sure is satisfying.

Bert included a bit of other miscellany from my want lists, and even hit a Dime Box Dozen need with that Cavan Biggio.

I know I had that card at one point -- I must've sent it to someone somewhere along the line, a decision I kinda regretted when I decided to start collecting him and found I didn't have a second copy of it in my dupe boxes.

Lately I've regretted not tracking how many Dime Box Dozen needs you wonderful readers have taken care of in this blog's history -- I imagine the number's pretty high up there by now.

You can add one more notch to that list with this '94 OPC Mark Grace, generously sent to me by John of the relatively new "Adventures of a Baseball Card Collector" blog -- I collect Grace anyways, but the goofy photo catapulted it to an all-out need.

John was even nice enough to throw a couple more Gracies into the mix, including one from an early '90s SI for Kids set that always gives me the warm fuzzies.

It's an honor to say that I was the second party to John's first trade on the blogs when I sent him a stack of cards in exchange for a handful of reprints he unearthed at his LCS.

I don't remember my first blog trade, but I know I was hooked right from the start -- and almost instantly regretted all the years I spent making dull book-value trades on the forums.

I dunno if anyone else does this, but sometimes I regret already having a cool card when someone sends me a second copy of that cool card.

That TCMA Hank Aaron would've been the surefire centerpiece of the cards John sent me...if I didn't already own a copy of it -- I actually thought to myself, oh man, I wish I didn't already have this!

I also recently received a second huge box in the mail from reader Mike W., who some of you may remember from the first amazing box o' cards he sent me a while back.

There were quite a few surprises for me in there -- namely this Brewer-era Hank Aaron oddball -- but one thing I didn't expect to see fall out of Mike's box was a random stack of vinyl 45s for my dad (which I want Dad to write a guest trade post about soon).

I've never been huge on oversized cards, mostly because I still haven't quite figured out how to store them.

Problem is, I've ignored them for so long that I've overlooked a lot of stuff I need for some of my bigger player collections, like this quartet of oversized oddballs.

Today on Is This A Baseball Card? -- flash cards?!

My general apathy towards oversized doesn't extend in the slightest to these '70s Sportscasters cards -- they're awesome, and I don't think anyone's ever sent me any via trade before this.

(One thing I don't regret is the Hank Aaron theme this post has unwittingly taken.)

I noticed the box Mike sent me had quite a bit of weight to it, which made sense because, in addition to Dad's records, I found a book inside!

While Mike couldn't have known it at the time, passing this book along corrected a huge regret that's been sitting with me for a while now. I ran the sports section for a brief time at my last used bookstore gig, and we got this same book in stock one day. I debated whether or not I wanted to buy it for myself, and, for some reason, I passed and put it on the shelf. 

By the time I came to my senses and went back for it, the book was already gone, and I've never seen it since. Until Mike sent it to me out of the blue, that is. There's nothing quite like the feeling of lifting the weight of a once-heavy regret, and the stuff I've shown in this post was like an avalanche being carried off my back.

Whether it's books, baseball cards, or whatever else, I've started to realize that collecting is basically just a prolonged series of smaller regrets we do our best to rectify over time.

Monday, December 14, 2020

2020: The Year of Dad

Safe to say 2020 has been the Year of a lot of things, mostly bad, but I think we should decree it "The Year of Dad."

As you may already know -- and as he himself has written about on the blog before -- my dad works a side job stocking Target shelves, and one of his regular tasks is putting out sports cards. It's sort of two jobs, in that he has to a) actually put the cards on the shelves, and b) do it while dealing with the flipper-hungry mobs. Things seemed to have calmed down a bit in the early fall, but from what I've been hearing the flippers are back in full force now. (I've been pressing him to write a sequel to his guest post with the stories he's told me lately.)

On a human level, I truly sympathize with my dad, and wish people would leave him alone when he works (his fuse is longer than mine would be). But on a more selfish level, I love that Dad works these jobs, because it means he gets first crack at whatever new cards come out, and more often than not sets a few packs aside for his card-collecting son who'd otherwise never see new product. This is doubly the case because my dad, for whatever reason, seems to have a magic touch with the packs he picks out. And while that's been the case for a long, I don't think it's ever been more true than it has in 2020.

Example: over the summer, my dad grabbed me a blaster of 2020 Big League, decided to open the first pack in it for kicks...and promptly pulled a Jim Abbott autograph, numbered to 99 copies -- not a huge deal except if you consider the fact that JIM ABBOTT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLAYERS IN BASEBALL HISTORY.

Way back when everyone was going insane for Bowman, my dad picked out a few packs for me, and wound up pulling a card most retail flippers could only dream of.

This was, again, a pack my dad opened before giving to me, and he sent me a text at the time saying something along the lines of -- hey, I think there was an autograph of some Rays guy in there. I don't know much about Vidal Brujan, but apparently he's a somewhat highly-touted prospect in the Rays system, and thus a key target for "investors" (my heart hurts a little just using that term). I'm no investor, but I work a minimum-wage job and am thus partial to extra cash. And having no attachment to Mr. Brujan myself, I quickly sold it for more than I'd ever sold a baseball card before.

Since it was his pack and all, I wanted my dad to take the profits, he insisted I keep the money, and funnel it back into my own card collection (more on that in a bit).

Nearly the same exact thing happened a few months later, when Topps Chrome came out.

I still haven't seen a single pack of Chrome out in the wild at any of my Targets, but once again, Dad grabbed a couple for me to sample...and once again, he pulled an autograph. I at least know who Trent Grisham is, and recognized him as a somewhat popular prospect. Like the Brujan (and the Abbott), this was a parallel of an already bigger-money base autograph, and I quickly sold it for a handsome sum. My dad, again, made me keep the money. If I didn't know any better, I'd think he was searching packs.

All this, then, begs the question: what did I do with all that found money?

Answer: I bought more baseball cards, of course!

I don't often have this much extra spending cash available, so I wanted to specifically knock out a few bigger wants with the money. One was an absolutely HUGE card I'd wanted for a long time that I had trouble finding at a price I was comfortable with -- and in a weird coincidence, many long years of waiting were finally put to bed...just this afternoon. I'll post about that one when it arrives (sorry to be a tease).

One of the other biggies that instantly came to mind was a '62 Topps Lou Brock rookie. I've never seen a copy of this card at anything near an affordable number -- the cheapest copy I saw at the last big card show (remember those?) was triple-figures. So, then, you could understand why I thought a '62 Brock would eat up a good chunk of the money I got for Dad's cards. I stumbled upon an auction for a particularly well-loved Brock one afternoon, with a very reasonable starting price, and threw in a bid as almost an afterthought, thinking there was no way in heck I'd win it.

But imagine my surprise when it turned out I was the only bidder on that '62 Brock...and that I won it for all of $9.99 and a couple bucks shipping -- white whale, speared.

I also treated myself to a few photo-variation SPs from this year's Topps -- which included pitchers hitting(!) and a Reggie Jackson play at the plate with cameos from Sal Bando and Steve Yeager(!!!).

A couple more variations: another pitcher at the plate, and a true Ichiro sunset card that I wish didn't have to be a short-print, but a card I'm thrilled to have nonetheless.

But in the end photo-variations were small potatoes, because I had much more pressing matters at hand.

This is, indeed, the same Joe Charboneau you know and love, a few seasons removed from his years (year?) of glory and languishing in the low-minors of the Pirates system. It was his last stop before retiring, but you'd never know that by the smile on his face there. I kind of laughed to myself when I put this card on my Keep Dreaming list, because it truly seemed to exist in a dream -- I'd never even seen a copy of it offered for sale.

This is one of those cards, though, that I was determined to have, even if it took months, years, decades. At some point I decided to see if the whole Prince William Pirates set was up for grabs anywhere, and if, by chance, it was anything near affordable. 

To my surprise, I did actually find a dealer who had a partial set available (including the Charboneau) at a fair price, and, after a chase that wound up at so many dead ends, it seemed something like a miracle when I found Super Joe on my doorstep a few days later.

In the process, I learned a valuable lesson about buying minor league cards -- try to find the whole set, because a lot of the time that's cheaper than any of the singles, for some reason.

That was my strategy with this '83 Pawtucket Red Sox set, and it paid off, because the whole thing ended up being cheaper than any of the copies of the single card I really wanted from this checklist. (Even better was the fact that there was an Ebay coupon going around right when I bought it, and I basically ended up getting it for free.)

While there are a few familiar names here, anyone who's seen this set, and has read this blog before, probably knows the card I was after.

To my knowledge, this is the only card to come out of Mark Fidrych's failed comeback try with the Red Sox at the time it was happening -- there's a couple other "flashback" minor league singles out there, but I think this is the lone contemporary one.

It's a bit painful to see The Bird looking so haggard and worn-down -- boggles my mind that he was only a year older than I am when this came out -- but it's still a card that was right near the top of my Want List Mountain for a long, long time, and I can't tell you how thrilling it was to slide it into that empty slot in my binders.

Dad may have not been a direct supplier of the cards I bought with the cash generated from his pulls, but he indeed selected and purchased the last couple things I'll be showing here tonight, an early Christmas present for yours truly.

I had the insanely good fortune to find Bobby Murcer's fantastic '72 Topps In-Action card (an uber-high-number) in a 3/$1 box at a show a while back, but it's always felt kinda orphaned in my collection since I didn't have Murcer's standard '72 Topps single to go with it. Which is why it ended up on my Keep Dreaming list...and stayed there, because have you seen how much '72 Topps high-numbers cost?

As fate would have it, Dad came through with the illustrious '72 Murcer, which I'm pleased to announce has finally joined his action-packed brother in my Yankees binder.

But Dad went a step further on my Keep Dreaming list and unearthed a card I never thought seriously about owning until recently: a 1963 Fleer Sandy Koufax.

Koufax's Topps catalog dominates his legend, and for good reason. But while '60s Fleer mostly gets treated as a forgotten chapter in vintage history, you can't tell me this isn't just as good as any of the Koufax cards Topps made at the time. Like most Koufaxes, it's a bit pricey, but Dad was able to secure this miscut copy (not my scanner's fault) for a tag that matched our light pockets. My Koufax collection is among my favorites to flip through, and by some miracle, it just got a whole lot better.

So I think you can see why I'm all set to announce that 2020 is indeed, and always will be, The Year of Dad.


If you've made it this far, I thank you, and I might even have a little reward for your troubles.

In thumbing through my Keep Dreaming list, my dad accidently read the '63 Fleer Koufax as being a '63 Topps Koufax, and bought a copy of the latter. A great card, yes, but the problem is I already have one -- COMC took care of that a while back in those ancient times when they were actually shipping orders to people. So, with Dad's blessing, I'm holding a little pre-holiday giveaway where you, the reader, could win this very '63 Topps Koufax from Dad!

All you have to do is comment on this post, and you're in. Entries will be accepted until Sunday, December 20th, at 11:59 PM. I'll put the names into a randomizer, randomize the list three times, and announce the winner that following Monday. The victor will get the aforementioned Koufax, along with an accompanying prize pack of cards. All I ask is that you don't share this giveaway anywhere, as I want the winner to be someone who actually reads the blog. Also, due to shipping costs, I'm gonna have to limit this to US-only addresses (sorry, Canadian readers/friends!).

Other than that, however, please comment away -- and here's hoping the good fortune of The Year of Dad spills over into your household, dear readers.