Wednesday, January 11, 2023

It's not Black Friday without COMC

I'm sure the words "Black Friday" alone send shivers up the spines of many retail workers. 

I've been lucky enough to avoid Black Friday madness in my work career - bookstores aren't known for having huge sales - and, as a shopper, I don't go near any kind of retail store on that dreaded day. I don't like crowds, and I feel terrible for the people who have to work at said stores on Black Friday. 

But I must admit that I'm no Black Friday angel, because I did do a good amount of online shopping during COMC's crazy sales in what I imagine was a hectic time for the people who work there - I imagine people with carts running through a warehouse pulling thousands upon thousands of cards. Heavy discounts and free shipping convinced me to have the stack I was rapidly building sent off to me. This order had my usual of smattering of cheap fun, but there were also a select few "bigger" cards (see: anything more than two or three dollars) that I finally decided to pull the trigger on.

Case in point: this strange minor-league Hoyt that makes him look like Zorro (printing press mishap?) is a card I've been eyeing for a while (no pun intended), and at a little north of three bucks I decided the time was right to plop it into my cart.

I stumbled into a lot of neat minor league stuff this time around - including a fun early look at Dime Box Favorite Mike Easler and what I believe is one of Brad Ausmus's first professional cards.

Also, god knows I'm no Curt Schilling fan, but that's the first card I've ever seen of his early years in the Red Sox organization - he was actually drafted by Boston before being traded to the Orioles shortly after.

I regularly plug "TCMA" into COMC's search bar, and every once in a while I'll come across a nice payoff.

(Something about seeing Gaylord Perry in those McTastic Padres uniforms always makes me chuckle.)

Didn't set out to buy a bunch of SSPC Reds, but I can't complain with this quartet of Cincinnati stars - the Bench is a '75 SSPC, and the other three (George Foster, Ray Knight & Ken Griffey) are from the '78 checklist.

As usual, I snagged a bunch of otherwise unattainable Topps exclusives on the cheap - Cobb is from something called Topps Brooklyn(?) and while I'm not a huge fan of most of the Living Set cards I've seen, that Big Sexy is a gem.

I doubt I'd know about those Topps Logofractor things if I wasn't on Twitter - I think they're sold exclusively at the Topps Store in NYC and people were losing their minds about 'em for a little while there - so I was happy to find that Bryant for the princely sum of 80 cents.

Always love finding cheap Topps Now stuff.

Minis of various makes and models - and why am I only now learning there was an '88 Fleer Mini set?

Managed to find a few people selling Topps Retired Signatures at deep discounts, and I snapped up all of these without a second thought.

Topps Retired is fantastic at featuring guys who don't otherwise get a ton of cards (Tito Fuentes!), but once in a while you'll also find a famous dude on a weird team - anything of Ralph Kiner on the Cubs is a rare sight.

I think I managed to get two of the four Wrigley Field stadium giveaway sets back in 2013, which I'm thankful for, but up until now the fact that I'd missed the Jose Cardenal & Andy Pafko cards was a pain in the rear.

The A's cards are reprints of a neat (and scarce) '50s oddball set - before this order, I had no idea Johnny Sain finished his career with a brief A's stint. 

Shiny stuff and general higher-end cardboard that add a bit of glamour to my binders.

That Eddie Grant is a tough SP Legendary Cuts short-print and one of just an extreme few cards of his I've seen - I believe he was the only active major leaguer killed in WWI.

Oddballs remain the name of the game on COMC - I'm trying harder and harder to find affordable stuff from that Jewish Major Leaguers checklist.

(And can we get a round of applause for that Cracker Jack set which actually uses Cracker Jacks as the card border?)

Squirt Steve Garvey, an oddball play at the plate, Negro League founder Rube Foster, and minor-leaguer Rod Carew - all in one, tidy scan.

From Wikipedia: 1990 Score McDonald's is a 25-card set distributed at only eleven McDonald's restaurants in rural Idaho and Oregon during a three-week period in the Spring of 1990.

If you were ever gonna set odds on a set I'd never see, that'd be a massive longshot. But somehow I found one on COMC, and it just so happened the cheapest card for sale was a sweet Ozzie Guillen double dip!

Add oddballs from Remax, Holiday Inn, and west-coast Mother's Cookies giveaways, and you have quite a few cards that probably have no business winding up in my collection here in chilly Illinois.

A few horizontal goodies - I really should just try and build that whole "Nickname Greats" insert set already.

It's not a COMC post without scanning a few cards that have nothing in common together - Tsuyoshi Shinjo is one of those not-uncommon Japanese busts that I still have a soft spot for, and you better believe I needed that card of him discoing on a motorcycle!

("The Babe" is an awful movie, but how could I pass up a baseball card of John Goodman?)

Black Friday sales allowed me to add not one, but TWO(!) new Japanese Ichiros to my collection, now the fourth and fifth such cards in my binders - I remember when it was a pipe dream to get a single one.

Black Friday or not, it seems to be getting harder to find deals on vintage I need these days, but I managed to sneak a few gems into this order.

I searched far and wide for a cheap-ish copy of that '62 Dave Giusti at the card show I attended not long ago - I only recently discovered it even existed, and the walls of ads in the background make it an ideal frankenset nominee. Trouble is, it's a high-number, and I couldn't find one cheaper than $8 at the card show. Thankfully, COMC yet again came to the rescue - I snatched that copy for a shade over three bucks.

Couldn't pass up that second-year McCovey for $8, and finding any Nu-Scoops card for $4 is a coup, much less a big name like Cy Young!

I'd like to take a moment here to immense thanks to Jackie Jensen, a man I've mentioned a few times before, and a longtime friend of the Dime Box binders.

Jackie was a prolific slugger in his day, but his cards cost almost nothing now. I can't touch most '53 Bowman Colors I need, but I was able to get the Jensen from that set and his '57 Topps card for about what a single pack of modern stuff costs.

In short - all hail Jackie Jensen!

But the best and biggest Black Friday buy was an easy choice - none other than a '57 Topps Yogi Berra!

I don't own nearly as many playing-day Yogis as I'd like - they've always seemed to command a premium at shows - and this gloriously beat-up '57 is easily my oldest card of his now. I paid about $20 for it, but even being the cheapskate I am, I didn't flinch to click "BUY" because that's way cheaper than any other copies I'd ever seen. Just like that, another card I long assumed I'd never own somehow fell into my hands.

Whether I want to admit it or not, I think we'll all agree that my collection owes a deep debt to Black Friday.


Chris said...

Good condition vintage is getting scarce on COMC but you managed to find some nice ones! I was lucky to pick up a '53 Bowman Color Vic Wertz in my last order. Wasn't cheap though.

The Topps Retired singles are always a welcome sight, and I've promised myself to shop for SLUs again soon, with or without the cards.

As for that Hoyt, i have no idea why he's got eye black smeared all over his face but I'll have to add that one to my hometown collection eventually.

Mike said...

Holy moly..too many cool cards to mention!...I do need to see those Japanese Ichiros in person next time I come over!

GCA said...

Wow you've got several unique cards of some of my PC guys that I've never seen. And I have a COMC order packing as we speak. Guess I'll be back on there soon!

The Diamond King said...

Great Berra, congrats! And lots of awfully fun stuff in the rest of the batch, as always.

Bo said...

So many fun cards! That first Ausmus looks like the ball was taped or glued to the bat to make the pose. The Mickey Cochrane card is an interesting oddball - I have a Babe Ruth from that set. And that Shinjo card is fantastic.

Nick Vossbrink said...

WAIT you landed a Milk Duds Seaver and didn't even mention it?

Jeff B - Wax Pack Wonders said...

So much wonderful randomness. I always have so many thoughts but by the end of the post, don't know what to say. And how can I pick a favorite? Great finds as usual.

Mark Zentkovich said...


sg488 said...

Wow,yo sure love oddball cards.

Matt said...

Count me among those that never knew Fleer made a mini set in 1988!

Laurens said...

It maybe odd to say, but there is something weird about that Wilhelm card, where it's the printing error ends up making it a little spooky.

Anonymous said...

Carter looks like he's about to be stomped by Godzilla.

Jafronius said...

Excellent pickups! I always let Target know I was only available to close on Black Friday. No one shopped Black Friday night. The problem was when retailers started doing the open on Thanksgiving bit. If there was a good thing from the pandemic, it was shutting that option down, at least for a good long while.

Jon said...

It's amazing how expensive Yogi's cards still are. I wouldn't think that there would be that many people still interested in collecting him, but I suspect that it's all of the Yankees team collectors who are continuing to keep his prices high.

Uncle Charlie's Shoebox said...

Neat collection of odd ball cards. The Babe is truly an awful movie, but it was filmed in my hometown when I was a kid. It was cool to see when they changed the stadium in our town, which was already old, and put up the old time advertisements...

BaseSetCalling said...

Here's to hoping they bring back the Spring Cleaning sale so we can do this twice a year

Fuji said...

This post took me forever to finish... because I kept pausing and heading over to COMC to find singles. Sadly I didn't find anything within my budget, but I did start watching a BBM Ichiro on eBay (because of an awesome image I found on COMC). By the way... typing Topps Now into the COMC search engine will only lead to you to a headache.

P.S. A lot of great stuff as usual.