Saturday, January 19, 2019

Facebook Firesale

Within the last week or so, I have started to see a lot of "Firesales" going up on a couple of different sports card Facebook sites I follow.  I am not a big Facebook user but have been a little more active lately as I am trying to thin out my collection and sell a few things on the local marketplaces.  I had to explore a little to figure out the ins and outs but basically here is how these are working.

A person posts that they will be starting a firesale at a certain time or when they get a certain number of watchers.  They will usually give a high level description of what might be posted for sale and let you know how much shipping will be.  If you want to watch, you comment with a "W" and they you get notifications when new comments are posted.  When they decide to start, they post a picture of a card or cards they are selling with a price.  The first person to claim it gets it at that price.  I have seen a few sellers accept lower offers and in some cases some sellers will list cards for free to anyone that has already claimed a card to purchase.

I watched a few of these before deciding to give one a try.  Many of them focus on newer stuff, lots of Acuna, Ohtani, Gleyber stuff which really doesn't interest me. I am not a prospector and don't typically buy cards to flip.  The one I decided to join stated it would be a mix of vintage and newer stuff.

The first card that was posted got my attention and I decided to jump at it:
I was the first to claim it and got it for $5 which I feel is a great deal.  I love Dawson's signature and I think this design out of 2018 Museum Collection is sharp.  Dawson being featured in an Expos uni probably sealed the deal. I already have an auto or 2 of his in my HOF collection but this is a keeper as well.

I only bit on 3 recent cards during this sale:
 I wasn't sure if I needed the Posey but luckily it was one of 2 2016 Donruss Optic pink cards I needed.  I believe the Sepia Seager was a freebee and the manurelic was very cheap.  I figured with the number of Dodger collectors out there these would be easy to pawn off. Let me know if you are interested in either or both.

The mention of vintage was the draw to this sale for me and I picked up a few nice cards:

The 1964 Topps leaders cards are both in pretty nice condition although the ERA leaders is off center quite a bit.  The Sutton looks nice as well. The Morgan is creased and beat up a bit but for $1 I couldn't say no.  I already have my 1969 set built so I am not sure what happens with the Morgan but the other 3 will stick around in case I start a set build on either set.

The final card to share also shares top billing with the Dawson for my favorite pick up.

This card is from the 1950 Callahan HOF set and I believe Mathewson is 1 of 5 Giants in the set.  I already had Carl Hubbel and John McGraw so this card gets me to over half way to the team set.  It is also my first Giants card produced in their NY Giants days towards my 2019 goal of 20.  This card is smaller than a standard card measuring about 1.5 by 2.5 inches. It has a nice bio write up on the back and I am very happy to have found it.

So, all in all, I was able to pick up these cards for $20.50 delivered.  I think it worked out pretty well.  Have any of you ever acquired cards this way?  Think you will?

Friday, January 18, 2019

2019 Collecting Goals

I am a list person, I get stuff done my making lists and checking things off.  Last year I went to an extreme and had many goals and sub-goals.  The results were mixed so I decided to simplify things a bit this year.  Today I present my 2019 Card Collecting Goals.

1. Add 12 $100+ BV cards to my 1957 set

I bought a few really nice cards from 1957 at an auction in December and have picked up a few common singles at my LCS and a card show and I am down to needing a total of 334 cards of the 407 card set.  I have a long ways to go and this will not be a fast set build as there are quite a few very high dollar cards (Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Don Drysdale RC, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson RC, Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Brooks Robinson RC, and Yankee Power Hitters) plus there is a series, the 4th of 5, that is rarer than the other cards.

All up there are 30 cards on my want list that have a Beckett book value of $100 or more (the cards listed above all book for $500 or more).  My goal is to acquire 12 of these high valued cards this year, one per month on average.  Historically I have built my sets by picking up lots of commons and only having the high dollar cards to fill in at the end.  I am hoping this approach limits this.

2. Add 100 new Hostess card to my collection 

I bought lots from the 1975-1978 sets on an auction site a few months back.  There are 600 cards across the 4 sets and after the auction and a couple purchases I now need 388 cards to complete the run of all 4 sets.  There is a 150 card 1979 set too but until these are closer or I run into a starter lot, my focus will be on the first 4 sets.

I don't have a good strategy yet on how to pick up this many cards while keeping the prices down and not paying a ton of shipping costs.  My local card show wasn't any help.  If any of you happen to run across a good source point the way or let me know if you can work something out.  I would like to knock 100 cards off the list in 2019 which will cut my want list down by more than a quarter.

3. Finish 2 vintage sets that are currently on my want list

While I really enjoy picking up Trojans, Giants, 49ers and cards for my player collections, I have recently recognized the most fun and satisfaction I get out of my collection is derived from set building.  I have a number of vintage sets on my want list currently and would like to make some progress and puts some sets to rest.

My current list includes 1975-78 Hostess, 1972 Topps, 1972 Kellogg's ATG, 1969 Topps Deckle Edge, 1961 Gold Press, 1960 Fleer and 1957 Topps.  The odds of the 72 or 57 sets getting completed are virtually nil but I would be happy to completed 2 of the other sets this year.

4. Add 5 HOF autographs to my collection

I currently have representation of 101 different autographs of Hall of Fame players in my collection.  The number of affordable options continues to diminish so I am keeping this goal at less than one new addition every 60 days.  I need to do a little research and set up some eBay searches to pick my targets.

5. Add 49 new 49er vintage cards

I had a lot of fun and success picking up a majority of the 1970s cards I needed during sales on COMC since Black Friday. I have, either in my possession or my COMC account, cards that give me the complete from from 1968-1979 with the exception of 8 1972 high numbers and 9 1973 cards so many of these will need to come from the 50s and early to mid-60s.

My want list includes some insert and oddball sets but my focus is really on the main set of the year be it Topps, Philadelphia or Bowman.

6. Add 20 NY Giants era vintage cards

I had this goal last year and it worked so I am going to do it again this year.  I love adding vintage cards and there should be plenty of cards within my price range I need from prior to 1958.


That is 6 goals for the year.  I think they are obtainable and will result in great joy if I complete them by year end.  There were some goals I had in the past and/or considered for this year but ultimately decided against.  Here's why.
  • I have recognized that collecting my desired new sets is pretty much a given every year so a goal is pointless, kind of like setting a goal to breathe.
  • I recognized last year that a goal for each of my player collections doesn't drive my collecting focus, when I get the urge and have the funds I look to add cards for a player that feels right in the moment
  • My modern Giants collection, picking up the newest issues and filling past needs happens organically as well, so while it will remain a focus, no goal is needed.
Those are my goals for 2019, wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Baseball Book Review - Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic



I just finished Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic - Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's by Jason Turbow over the weekend.  It was a great read.

This book is a history of the 1970 Oakland A's, going through their ascendance, then their pinnacle years of 1972-1974 where they won 3 straight titles and finally their descent.  The book is just under 350 pages.  It took me a while to read, longer than may book of similar length but as I reflect on why I think it was due to the huge number of amazing stories in the book.  I found myself wanting it to last longer.

The book has a couple of chapters about the the move of the A's from KC to Oakland in 1968 and the owner, the legendary Charlie Finley.  The meat of the book goes through the 3-year championship run in good detail, sharing the events of the regular season, LCS and World Series for each of the 3 years (stating it was quite eventful is an understatement).  Finally there are a couple chapters at the end summarizing the quick dismantling of the championship team and the owner.  Finally there is a page for each of the Cast of Characters highlighted in the book including a little about their post mid-70s careers and some life after baseball.

I was born in 1971 so while I was alive during the peak years, I was much too young to be aware of what was going on in the baseball world.  The first World Series I remember vividly was the We Are Family Pirates in 1979.  However family legend claims I attended either one of the playoff or World Series games of the A's with my dad when I was a young kid.  I don't remember and have no evidence to support the fact.  This team has always interested and intrigued me and I found in reading this book that I knew very little about the team, the times, the Owner, or the players.  I have read dozens if not hundreds of baseball themed books in my life and this era was a blind spot until I read the book.

If you have been following me a while, you may know that 2 of my player collections are from this team, Reggie Jackson and Vida Blue.  While my Reggie memories are more of the Yankee/Angels version, knowing he started on the A's was a draw. Vida, on the other hand became a favorite, for his time on the Giants teams of my youth in the late 70s and early 80s.

I don't want to give a ton away for those that want to read it.  I don't know of many books I can recommend more.  I believe any baseball fan would love the stories about the team and all the drama. You get a first hand look at how teams operated so differently prior to free agency and what the move into the free agent era.  The depth and details of all the stories is amazing considering these events are over 40 years in the past.  It feels more like a book that was written within a year or two of the events.

I came away with a much better understanding of several things: 1) Charlie Finley was nuts, a genius and a jerk, 2) Vida Blue is not someone I should have looked up to as a kid, 3) some of the guys on the team were really great players during the period despite what history might tell us (Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, Ken Holtzman, Bert Campaneris, Mike Epstein, Gene Tenace), 4) Reggie was a fragile guy, and 5) Rollie deserves his HOF status.

Reading about something characterized in the book as one of the greatest World Series catches of all time made me You Tube it and seek out an autograph of the guy who made the catch.  I was pleasantly surprised to find this card commemorating that catch.

I really hope some of you read it and share your thoughts.  I thought it was an amazing read.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Trade with a Fellow Giants Collector

Back last year when I was trying to pare down my collection I offered up flat rate boxes by team to fellow collectors.  I didn't put a Giants one up for offer as my Giants duplicates were completely unorganized.  They sat in stacks on a shelf in one of my bookshelves in my hobby room.  In an effort to inspire myself to get them organized and help out a fellow Giants collector who had jumped back into the hobby I told Nick of n j w v that I would get some Giants cards together and send his way.   It took a while but I finally got that package sent out.

Nick let me know he got it and seemed pretty happy with the mix of cards I sent.  He reached out and asked if I would be interested in a custom set of cards he had put together commemorating the Giants 2018 season.  The season wasn't the best but Nick he had shown off some of the cards he designed and I quickly told him I would really like a set.

A little while back a package arrived from Nick and I wanted to show off what he sent my way.


I had shared on a prior post that I was a fan of the Score gold rush parallels and Nick helped fill some gaps for me.


 In addition to the gold rush cards, he shot me a few Giants I needed and even hit on a couple USC Trojans for my collection.


If not for the custom set, this easily would have been the highlight of the package.  These appear to be cut outs from The Mercury News.  I am going to toss the Chili Davis into my player collection binder and the rest go right into the Giants binders.  I couldn't fine a reference to these and have no idea how many were made but man are they super cool!  If there are any more I would like to track them down including a second Chili.

I decided to skip showing off much of the custom set, they are Nick's work product and up to him on how much he shows off. So here are just a couple samples:

I decided to share the Belt card to show off the great photo selection and the design of the front.  The backs show a line score and short summary of each game.  


I also figured I would share the header card and a beautiful tribute to my favorite player of all time, Willie McCovey.  I never did a tribute post to him, couldn't figure out what to say.

Thanks Nick for all the work you did on this amazing set.  If you decided to do it again in 2019, I hope I can figure out a way to get a copy!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

My Hall of Fame Ballot - 2019 Edition

I, of course don't have a vote on who gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame but I am a big fan of the HOF and follow the process pretty closely.  I have made a couple visits to Cooperstown, read several books on the Hall and subscribe to their weekly newsletter (which if you don't you should, it typically included a feature on a baseball card in each edition).

Last year I submitted a list of 10 players I would vote for and 4 of them did get it.  I will start with the other 6 as my mind hasn't changed on them.

1. Barry Bonds - simply the best hitter of his generation and one of the top handful of players all time.  You will see that for the elites, the PED thing doesn't really impact my vote.  I am of the camp that it was part of the game during that era and suspect those that predict 75% or more players were on some sort of PED and that there are players already in that used is probably accurate.

2. Roger Clemens - simply the best pitcher of his generation and one of the top handful of pitchers all time.  See above for my PED thoughts.

3. Curt Schilling - sure the guy has said some politically charged stuff and been off the rails on twitter several times but in today's age we have a president that does the same thing.  He has great career stats and even better postseason stats.  A true big game pitcher.

4. Jeff Kent - one of the best second basemen of his generation and all time when you take into account his offensive stats. Wasn't the best defensively but his peak years with the Giants were amazing.

5. Larry Walker - the more I look at his career the more convinced I am that he belongs.  My original hang up with the Coors Field effect but with his home and away splits it seems like less of an issue.  His durability is also a concern but not enough for me to support his induction.

6. Edgar Martinez - this is his last year on the ballot and I suspect he gets in.  I am not a fan of using one induction to support another but come on, if Harold Baines is a HOFer, how can Martinez not be?

That leaves me with up to 4 more votes and I will start with the new guys on this year's ballot:

7. Mariano Rivera - a slam dunk HOFer as perhaps the best reliever in history.  I was and am a Yankee hater but I won't let that skew my evaluation, the guy is a first ballot HOFer.


 8. Roy Halladay - I struggled a bit when looking at Halladay and assessing his HOF worthiness.  Ultimately I looked at his 8 All-Star game appearances, 2 Cy Young awards and the fact he was seen as one of the top couple pitchers in the game for a while and decided he would make my ballot.


Other guys on the ballot for the first time I considered were Todd Helton and Andy Pettite but I don't feel at this time they reach beyond the Hall of Very Good in my book.  Helton had the Coors Park effect to boost his stats and his splits aren't as nice as Walker's.  Pettite was a very good pitcher in both the regular season and playoffs but I think his stature was inflated due to his play on some very good Yankees teams.

I have two votes left so I went back to look at guys who hadn't earned my votes in years past and decided that I would add two more players to my ballot.

 9. Mike Mussina -he is getting my vote based more on longevity versus peak and this is against my normal thought process.  I generally think a HOF should have a strong peak as one of the best at their position for a few years and I don't think this fits Mussina but he was really good for a long time, I see him at his generations Don Sutton.


10. Scott Rolen - he was a 7-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glover, one of the best 3rd basemen of his generation.  His stats hold up well in comparison to other HOF 3rd basemen and I believe he should be getting more HOF buzz than he did in his first year last year.


I thought this might be a year where I didn't vote for 10 but in the end I guess I am a big Hall advocate.  Who do you think should get it?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

How Did I Measure Up to the Goals I Set for 2018?

As I look back on 2018, it didn't seem to go as expected in a number of ways.  My first blog post of 2018 shared a large collection I purchased and much more of my hobby time went to going through that collection that I expected.  It took up much of the time previously focused on blogging and trading.  And while I didn't have a problem spending my monthly stipend on cards, I was not as focused as I typically am.  I don't believe I have referenced these goals in probably 6 months and I suspect I didn't hit on too many.

Let's find out together.   The orange text will be the goals that I set and the black will be my evaluation.

Here is where my focus will go on my card purchases and acquisitions in 2018:
Set Building

  • Complete 1969 Topps Set (currently need 8 - Bench, Kessinger, Cox, Reggie RC, Mantle, Santo, Fingers RC, Teddy Ballgame)
  • Start new vintage set
  • Collect Donruss, Topps Series 1 & 2, Topps Update, Opening Day and 2-3 other 2018 sets
 Off to a good start here.  I did complete my 1969 Topps set - yeah!!!  I completed all the sets listed along with Topps Archives and Stadium Club.  I have a few oddball sets I have started working on but my most recent decision is a focus on the 1957 Topps set.  This was spurred by a purchase at an auction a few weeks back that I will share hopefully soon.

Grade - A 
HOF Auto collection

  • Get to 100 different players (currently at 94)
I added HOF autos for Tony LaRussa, John Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell, Vladimir Guerreo, Trevor Hoffman, Buck Leonard and Harold Baines to my collection.  That brings my total to 101.

Grade - A 

Reading

  • Finish and post on 6 sports books
  • Catch up on Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazines
 I didn't track my reading this year and didn't post one sports book review.  I am fairly sure I read at least 6 sports books but that doesn't count for much.  (Right now I am reading a great book about the 1970s Oakland A's - Dyastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish and Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's - I highly recommend it)  My magazine stacks continue to grow and I will discontinue my subscriptions since I can't find time to read them.

Grade - F

49ers Vintage collection (1950s-1970s)

  • Get collection into a binder
  • Reach 200 different cards (currently at 152)
The binder is done and I love it!  I am up to 251 different vintage 49er cards and getting close to the entire run of the 1970s.  The high number 1972s are my Achilles heel which reminds me of my issues with my Topps baseball run of sets.

Grade - A+ 

USC Football

  • Get collection organized
  • Establish focus and add 200 new cards
I really didn't do too much with respect to organizing my USC collection however I did add quite a few cards to my collection.  I unfortunately didn't keep track like I had planned to do but with my 115 card acquisition of new Trojans in my Black Friday COMC haul, I am confident I surpassed the 200 card mark.  I weigh new cards heavier than organization in my grade.

Grade - B 
Giants

  • Add 20 NY Giants era vintage cards
  • Add 100 1970s-1990s cards
  • Reduce parallel want list to 150 cards (currently at 233)
I started the first bullet point strong with a 10 card lot from 1934-1953 from the same seller on eBay.  A few pick ups here and there got me just over the 20 card mark.  

I destroyed the 100 card mark of 70s to 90s cards picking up some large team sets (87 Topps Tiffany, 80 SSPC HOF, 93 Topps Inaugural Marlins, 83 Giants postcard, 89 Bowman Tiffany) that alone got me over the 100 card mark.  Add in a Beckett.com order, a couple COMC orders, a couple TCMA team sets and a bunch of random cards and I believe I surpassed the 300 mark.

I thought the parallel list would be the toughest to achieve and while I didn't hit the goal of 150, I did get it down to 168 cards.  I am most excited about the Topps Gold Parallel list being down to 16 cards, a few Barry Bonds cards and a MadBum RC are the biggest obstacles in the way. 

Grade B+
Player Collections

  • Willie McCovey - pick up 2 items off want list from playing career
    • slim pickings, most of my needs are rare and expensive, don't recall getting even 1 card here
  • Rickey Henderson - pick up 5 items off want list from playing career, get checklist up to date
    • more than doubled this goal picking up about 13 cards
  • Dave Winfield - reach 850 different cards (currently at 805), get checklist up to date 
    • the checklist is up to date, but only at 833
  • Reggie Jackson - reach 700 different cards (currently at 626), get checklist up to date 
    • the checklist is up to date, but only at 661
  • Vida Blue - pick up 3 items off want list
    • picked up 9 different cards
  • Ben Petrick- reach 230 different cards (currently at 221)
    • only got to 227 different cards
  • Chili Davis - reach 465 different cards (currently at 453)
    • got to 504 different cards
  • Dave Parker - reach 160 different Pirates cards (currently at 140)
    • only got to 144 different cards
  • Fred Lynn - post about new player collection, reach 280 different cards (currently at 252)
    • got to 304 different cards
  • Ronnie Lott - reach 900 different cards (currently at 868)
    • only got to 886 different cards
  • Roger Craig - reach 380 different cards (currently at 361)
    • only got to 369 cards
  • Dwight Clark - reach 125 different cards (currently at 109)
    • only got to 115 different cards
  • Fred Dean - add 5 cards (currently at 25)
    • fell 1 short adding 4 new cards
  • Harold Miner - add 2 new cards (currently at 252)
    •  added 2 new cards to hit goal
  • Charles Barkley - reach 700 different cards (currently at 645)
    • only got to 654 cards
  • Patrick Ewing - reach 550 different cards (currently at 505)
    • only got to 512 different cards
  • Chris Webber - reach 750 different cards (currently at 710)
    • got to 759 different cards 
I didn't hit my goals more often than not, this seems to be the area that suffered the most from my lack of focus and from not referencing my goals throughout the year when I was making buying decisions.  I did pick up a number of really awesome cards for my player collections so I will give myself a passing grade.

Grade - C
 Will I reach all of these goal, heck no but I will have lots of fun trying! 

 As I mentioned above, the year did not play out the way I expected but I am pretty happy about the growth of my collection in 2018.  My biggest disappointment is around the lack of activity and attention I gave this blog and I can't promise posting will become more frequent but when I have some time and a desire to share something, I will do my best to get something posted.

Happy collecting!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Contest Results

Time to announce winners for my contest.  Of the 4 contests, there were only correct selections for 2 of them - #3 & #4.  I decided to randomize those that entered contests #1 and #2 and didn't already win to award the prizes.  I will share the results in reverse order since the last 2 had outright winners.

Contest 4 - I asked which brand of cards represented the most Giants pick ups in this COMC order and Matt of Diamond Jesters was the only one to correctly guess Topps Chrome.  His guess of 12 new cards was well under the actual 65 cards I picked up but the number was the tiebreaker.  Matt wins #4 outright.  He will have his choice of one of the sets I have available - congrats Matt.

Here are all the Chrome goodies I picked up:










Contest 3 - I picked up over 100 USC Trojan football cards in this haul but the contest was only to guess the number of hits.  With 38 autos and 1 relic the right answer was 39.  Two commenters picked 40 so the winner is Trevor P of the Bump and Run Football Card Blog who was the first to pick 40.  Trevor gets 25 random hits, I said in the contest I would let you pick football or baseball.  A mix of both is perfectly acceptable as well so drop me a note Trevor.

Here are the Trojan hits:






Contest 2 - This one was to pick the player collection I added the most cards to in this package. As mentioned, nobody picked the right guy, Chris Webber.  I picked up 18 of Webber's cards.  Webber played 7 seasons for my Sacramento Kings so I decided to random the list of entries 7 times and the winner is bbcardz of Stadium Fantasium.  He has a Rose Bowl contest up on his blog right now you should check out before 1/1/19.  He too will get a pick from a list of sets I have available.



Here is a quick look at the new Webber cards:




Contest 1 - The set I picked up the most cards from in this COMC purchase was 1960 Fleer, I picked up 17 new cards for the set.  Nobody correctly guessed 1960 Fleer.  There were 9 entries for contest 1 that didn't win contests 3 or 4 so I randomized those as well. I decided on 4 times in honor of my favorite number (and Willie McCovey's jersey number) 44.  The winner is Josh D of Royals and Randoms and he wins the extra 1960 Fleer cards I picked up in this package.  There are 7 cards total with one duplicate but I will also include some Royals cards as well as a return for a great package I recently received from Josh.



Here are the non-duplicate cards I picked up for this set:



Congratulations to all the winners!  For the set winners, drop me an email at arpsmith at aol dot com for a list of the sets I have available.  Trevor shoot me a note about which sport.  Josh, I think I have you covered from an address perspective but I will need a few days to put the rest of your package together.  Thanks for playing.