Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  2012 was a very good year in the ARPSmith household but here's to an even better 2013!!!

Happy Collecting!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Look Back at my 2012 Collecting Goals

Even though I didn't start this blog until April, I did set some goals at the beginning of the year that pertained to my collection.  I did a mid year report card that can be see here, lets see how I ended up the year.

1. Start a Blog - Short of my recent new baby induced lapse in posting, I think I have done a pretty good job of consistently posting.  Would still like to comment more on others blogs.  I even started up a weekly contest that is on hiatus but should return soon.

2. Complete my Giants Want List and post it to the blog - This was done my mid year and I am pretty happy with the want list. Not only does it help for trades but I have been able to access it on my phone when I am digging through boxes at card shows.  My current project with the want list is to compare my checklist with the team lists on TEAMSETS4U to see if I have any errors in my list.  this will probably be a long process as I have only made it through about 5 years.

3. Complete Giants Topps, Fleer, Donruss and Upper Deck team sets from 1981-2011 - At mid year here were my stats:
Topps - 73 cards
Fleer - 113 cards
Donruss - 5 cards
Upper Deck - 1 card
I ended up the year 1 card short - 2003 Fleer Tradition Update #391 Kevin Correia.  I was able to locate this card on but shipping was around $3 or $4 dollars so I decided to wait and see if it shows up on another site or if I can bundle a bigger order together to bring down the shipping/card cost.  I thought this would be a stretch and glad I got this close.

4. Complete Giants Fleer team sets from 1960-1963 - At mid year I was done with the 1960 team set and was cards away from the 1961 set and 2 away from the 1963 set.  There is no set from 1962. I was able to knock off 1 card from each set so I still need 2 1961 cards (Joe McGinnity and Ross Youngs) and 1 1963 cards (Willie Mays)

5. Complete Giants Topps team sets from 1963-1980.  Here is the count by set:
1963 - 4 (down from 17 at MY)
1964 - 4 (same as MY)
1965 - 1 (down from 4 at MY)
1966 - 4 (down from 6 at MY)
1967 - 7 (down from 9 at MY)
1968 - 2 (down from 3 at MY)
1969 - 1 (down from 8 at MY)
1977 - Complete (down from 1 at MY)
I am very happy with the progress on these team sets, I wish I had captured where I started the year on each set.  This was probably an overly ambitious goal anyway.  This should most likely remain on the 2013 goal list but I do need the 1966 Gaylord Perry high number SP and cards featuring Willie Mays so it will still be a challenge.

6. Add 5 Hall of Famer Autos to my Collection - I added Tom Seaver, Carlton Fisk, Joe Morgan, Hoyt Wilhelm, Reggie Jackson, Ryne Sandberg, Willie Mays and Enos Slaughter to my collection.  I also pulled autos of HOF broadcasters Dave Van Horne and Milo Hamilton.  That is a total of 10 so I definitely exceeded this goal.

7. Complete the 1975 Topps Set - Finished!

8. Add 1 pre-1910 Giants card to my collection - I added a third 1933 Goudey to my collection but did not meet this goal.

9. Be more generous with trades and bloggers - I can't be the judge of this one.  I do hope my weekly contest showed a generous streak and I will start it up again in January.  As a group I think we are a pretty generous group.

10. Read 10 Baseball Books - I slacked off during the second half of the year and only read 2 more.  I did read 2 additional sports related book (Hate Mail from Cheerleaders by Rick Reilly and Dream Team by Jack McCallum) but in reality other books just jumped to the front of the line.  Based on my diverse book interests, this was probably too aggressive of a goal.
1. Hammerin Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid
2. The First Fall Classic
3. Out of My League
4. The Quality of Courage
5. Calico Joe
6. Driving Mr. Yogi
7. Bill Veeck Baseballs Greatest Maverick

Overall I am pretty happy with my progress on my collecting goals.  Didn't hit them all but did pretty well overall.  Time to put pen to paper and finalize my 2013 goals. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trying to Get Back in the Saddle - Jaybarker's Junk Tradebait Draft Results

I have been struggling to find the time to do much of anything I enjoy that doesn't involve my family.  Don't get me wrong, life has been great through the holidays, my two boys are at a great age for Christmas, 8 & 5, we have our beautiful baby girl home, we have had tons of visitors for the holidays and to meet the baby, etc.  I have not been able to make the time to do some of the hobby related things I enjoy.  I haven't done a blog post since 12/20 (and to be honest it was one of a few I did several days before it was posted).  It took me over 3 weeks to read a book (I track books I read and it was my 50th of the year so you can see that is well beyond the norm).  I have stacks of cards on my desk that need to be organized, stacks of cards in our guest room that need to be filed away and a few cards that I need to send out to fellow bloggers and Sportlots buyers.  Between being super busy and super tired I just haven't found the time to partake in this hobby I love.

I am going to try to get back in the saddle tonight starting with this blog post.  I thought the best way to go about picking a topic would be to look back at the cards I have had scanned the longest and build a post around them.  So let's take a look at a trade bait draft I participated in quite a ways back on Jaybarkerfan's Junk.  Wes is actually holding another trade bait draft right now that I am going to pass on but I encourage you to check it out.

Here are the goods:
 As a bonus I was able to score a couple of unopened packs that I had fun cracking.  Didn't pick up anything too great but they were fun.  Here are the cards from the Pro Set Football pack:
 This is actually a pretty nice looking set.  I like the muted players in the background with the featured player being in full color.  Really makes for a nice looking card.  I actually pulled a card of Tim McDonald who I collect.  Tim went to USC and also played for the Cardinals and 49ers.  He also has a sports bar in Fresno that I usually frequent when work takes me in that direction.  Unfortunately, I have the card already and as a matter of fact I have 171/218 of all of his cards.   I want to work my USC Football players back into my 2013 collecting goals and still trying to figure out the best way to make that happen.  It was also pretty cool to pull a card of current 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.  I am hoping the Niners can win tomorrow to win the division, going the wild card route will not help them reach the Superbowl.
Here are the cards from the Power Up set.  I have opened a couple of these from repacks.  No Giants pulled but I did get a few pretty good players including Godzilla (who just retired), Nomar, Oswalt and Sammy Sosa.  At one point I dabbled in collecting Mike Sweeney but it never fully took.  I was a little bummed the sticker was damaged but this was a fun pack to open.

 I was able to get 3 cards that fit into my collections with an insert of Christy Mathewson, an insert of Matt Leinart and a sticker of Brett Butler. I had the Leinart but needed the other two.   Very nice pick ups.
 Here is a vintage basketball card featuring 2 All-Stars.  These cards have always intrigued me with the perforations, I have a couple with some star players on them somewhere around here.  This was a great pick up as Gus Williams played at USC.  While I am not as aggressive at going after USC basketball players, I do set them aside when I get them and this was a need for the Trojan collection.
 I was able to score this nick Sweet Spot Auto of Mark Mulder.  I do like the design of these cards and am happy to have a ballpoint pen signature which should help on the fading issue - still looks strong to me.  I like Mulder and while I don't collect him, I may hold on to this one unless a big fan of his or the A's knocks me over with an offer.
And finally one of the main reasons I entered the trade bait draft - Vintage!  Here are the vintage cards I picked up - all from the 1960s.  I was happy with the Senators cards, I don't have too many Senators in my collection. 

As I mentioned at the top, I am kind of behind. I actually entered and received the goods from a second Jaybakerfan's Junk trade bait draft.  I might as well share those cards as well.

In this second draft I actually picked up 3 Autos:

 Not the biggest names but I was still happy to score them.  I picked up Morel in my fantasy league at the beginning of last year thinking he was due for a breakout but that didn't happen.  If it does, I will be the proud owner of one of his autographs.  I love the classic 1952 design on the Anderson auto, any Sox collectors out there who want to pick up a couple autos from their team?  Finally a Bowman Heritage auto.  I hadn't seen this auto design and I am kind of fond of it.  The No Pepper Games backdrop for the auto is a nice touch.

Next up are a couple modern parallels that are serial numbered.  The Green Grady (alliteration!) is /450 while the Till man is out of /309.  309 is a very odd print run???

 Again my main target was vintage cards and this draft has quite a few 1969 cards so I plucked up 6 of them.  In addition to the Giants Rookie Card, I got two manager card with Giants connections in Leo the Lip and Alvin Dark.  I didn't have too many 69 cards in my collection so these are nice additions.
 Here are 4 other vintage goodies including a 1959 Indians card.  I actually love the politically incorrect logo from back then.  I haven't hear much noise about the 1968 design but I think I am a fan. Not my favorite but I think it is solid.

Here is my final pick up from the draft and I saved my favorite for last:
A 1968 card of HOFer Hoyt Wilhelm. Yeah it is a little miscut but it is a very cool card.  I have a few Hoyt's in my collection in his Giants uniform but was happy to pick this one up in the trade bait draft.

Speaking of trade bait, all except the few I referenced were part of my various collection are for trade.  Some may be a little more challenging than others to part with but if it doesn't have a spot in one of my permanent collections, it can be had.

Thanks Wes for the trade bait drafts!

But I can't let this post end without thanking Wes for his generosity, in addition to these great trade bait drafts I have gotten a couple recent envelopes of cards from Wes and here are some of the goodies he has sent my way.  This one came within the last week or so and was a PWE with 4 cards in it:
Very cool to score some Giants.  The Feliz Chrome card is new to me and I was very happy to score it.  The Lowry is definitely going to my younger son who shares his first name.  The other two are up for grabs to my kids as I had them already but I was very happy for this just because envelop.

Even more generous was a package I got a few weeks back, here are the highlights:
First up are some shiny Giants parallels. Brandon Crawford had a very solid second half and looks to be the answer at SS for the foreseeable future.  Lopez is still a solid lefty out of the bullpen but had very little impact on the World Series which surprised me.  I am very glad the Aubrey Huff tenure is over, he was huge in 2010 but fell off after that.  Fontenot and Burrell are long gone but respected contributors.  I am hoping Timmy can bounce back this year but if he does it will probably be his last year as a Giants, just don't see how we can afford another $20M pitcher.
 I also got these 3 nice parallels  I had the Cavan but needed the other 2.  For some reason the Gold parallels from the mid-2000s are tough to track down despite the fairly high print runs.
 I also got a few minis including an Astro.  Hard to blame Wes with the Stros sporting the orange unis.  Obviously the other 3 are pretty huge pieces to the current Giants team.

 Next are a trio of Lincecums and a trio of Willies.  Some super cool cards in this grouping, they all border on being masterpieces.  I scored a Hallmark Christmas ornament of Willie Mays making the catch for Christmas - one of my favorite gifts of the year.

 Finally, I also scored this nice auto of former Giants OFer and Manager Felipe Alou.  Like I said, Wes is a very generous guy. Thank you Wes for the trade bait drafts and your generosity.  While I am missing this current draft, I am hoping to jump back in on a future one.  Thanks!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Very Vintage Pick Up

Recently I was visiting a card store that is close to one of the offices I work out of.  Typically I search through their dime boxes for some bargains then look through their $1 and $2 cards for some 1970s set needs. Then I usually pick up 2-3 of their contest packs that contain one RC, one GU and one Auto and a chance to win a nicer prize.  I have actually had good luck with those winning 2 third place prizes.

This last trip I took a little different tact and looked through the higher end vintage case and one card just popped out to me.  Check out this beauty:

This is a 1933 Goudey Bill Terry card.  For some reason it is considered his rookie even though he has about a dozen cards that were printed prior to 1933.  I find it very hard to believe that I am the owner of a rookie of Giants great and Hall of Famer Bill Terry.  Terry has 2 cards in this set and this is obviously the "Throw" version.  He is sporting the high socks and sweet pinstripe uni in a nice field of green.  There is still some pretty nice color on this card despite being almost 80 years old.

Here is the back.  I really enjoy all the details they provide in the write up.  It includes some career info along with personal info and even talks about his early career where he was signed and sent to the minors.

I have 2 other 1933 Goudey cards in my collection and they are the oldest cards I own.  With 28 Giants in the set including 2 Mel Otts and 2 Carl Hubbells I don't see me ever completing this team set but I will definitely keep my eyes open to see if I can add a few more.  These are great cards and this Bill Terry is a great addition to my collection.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Couple Nice (and cheap) 1950s Vintage Pick Ups

Still trying to balance the blogging with the new addition to the family.  Still trying to get back to a couple bloggers on trades we had started so please bear with me.

I did get a nice little PWE from a seller on Sportlots. This is someone who tends to list quite a bit of vintage with all prices starting at a quarter. I have greatly enhanced my Giants vintage collection and this little package didn't disappoint.  Here are the two cards from the package:

The card on the left is obviously a 1959 card of Jackie Brandt, nothing too special but it did knock a need off my list.  For a quarter I couldn't pass it up.  I am down to needing 8 cards for this team set but it's completion is pretty far off.  I need 2 Willie Mays cards and 2 Orlando Cepeda cards amongst the 8 but I will slowly pick away.  More exiting to me was this Carl Hubbell.  This is cataloged as a 1950-56 Callahan HOF W576 and as best I can tell there are 5 Giants in this set.  Hubbell is the first one I have gotten but I do have a second on the way.  I scanned it next to the Brandt to show the size - a Mini!  I really like the art work on the front, a portrait of King Carl showing his fastball grip and a smaller, full body picture of him winding to throw.  A great looking card!

I also scanned the back to show this lengthy detailed write up.  There is tons of info on this card back, enjoy.  I particularly like the final paragraph including how his "greatness is mental, moral and physical".  A very cool write up.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

1970 Topps Set Quest - Post 1

One of my goals during 2013 will be to try and complete this 1970 set through card number 459.  The higher number cards are a little more challenging to get and definitely more costly with commons from 460-546 booking for $2, commons 447-633 booking for $4 and commons 634-720 booking for a whopping $10.  I don't expect to pay full BV but going after all those higher numbers in connection with the other collecting goals I have for the upcoming year just really isn't realistic.  I will try to get any of the high numbers I can but my goal will be to get the set up through 459 then go after higher series in future years.

Here are some recent Sportlots purchases I made and while I won't track my overall spending on the set, I will share how well I did on my purchases.

Each of these 12 cards came from the same Sportlots seller in auction format. I paid $0.65 shipping for each plus the following prices - McGraw - $0.25, Kaat - $1.50, Killebrew - $0.25, Seaver - $0.25, Powell - $0.25, and Boyer - $0.25.  All of the card are in pretty nice shape and I was very happy to add these to my collection.  Can you believe a Killebrew of a quarter?
Here is the second half.  Williams - $0.75, Pinella - $1.25, Carew AS - $2.25, Santo AS - $0.25, Howard - $1.25, and Koosman - $2.25.  Some really solid players in this group for really good prices.

This is by far my favorite recent purchase from this set, feast your eyes on this sweet looking Roberto Clemente:
It is a little off center isn't in perfect condition but for $9 plus a couple bucks in shipping I think I got a steal!  There are only 4 cards in the set that book more than the Clemente, Nolan Ryan high number, Johnny Bench high number, Thurman Munson RC and Willie Mays mid-high number so I am really happy to add this one to my set.  Outside of the Munson, I won't be on a quest in 2013 for any of these high dollar cards.

Here are some stats to start tracking my progress:

Total Cards added in this post - 13
Total Cards from 1-459 added in this post - 11
Updated status towards 2013 goal - 303/459
Updated status towards complete set - 403/720

If you have any of my wants for trade let me know.  I will keep my progress updated on the blog as well and my want list up to date.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Set Bites the Dust

I received a nice small packet of cards from a Sportlots seller in the mail the other day that I thought I would share.  The highlight of the package for me were these two 2012 Topps Opening Day inserts:

 These two inserts finished off my set of Opening Day cards. I completed the entire base set and all the insert sets this year.  These Opening Day Stars were my favorite insert this year and also the hardest to come by in trade.  I was very happy to finish this set off prior to the end of 2012.

I still have some set work to finish up and my goal is to get a few more of these done prior to the 2013 Topps release. I saw a post or two with twitter pictures of some new Topps cards so I need to get on my horse and get some sets done.

Sets I still need to complete are:
Panini Triple Play - Still need a bunch of base and a few inserts
Allen & Ginter - Base complete, still need a couple What's in a Name cards, 1 each of the Sketches and Historical Turning Points and a bunch of Murder in Willow Coves
Archives - need 4 SP base cards, a few Reprints, 1 Deckle edge and 1 Floating Head sticker
Topps Stickers - need 6
Topps Update - need several 1987 minis, Golden Greats and Golden Moments

Still quite a list but this same seller did help me out on Archives.  I like to bundle whatever I can to save on shipping.

Finally the same seller helped me out with some Giants:
The top 4 are mini parallels and surprisingly I have been able to pick up the entire team set minus 1 card - #70 Brett Pill. If you have that one let me know.  I haven't gotten too many of the Bowman Platinum cards but decided to pick up this Kung Fu Panda emerald parallel.

A nice little package and I always have to celebrate the completion of a set!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Group Break - Cardboard Collections - 1994 Fun Pack and 2003 UD Standing O

Colbey over at Cardboard Collections had a small group break a little while back with boxes of 2003 Upper Deck Standing O and 1994 Fun Pack that I decided to enter.  I actually had all the Standing O base cards and the die cut parallels so I was really just in it for the Fun Pack.  I only had 3-4 Fun Pack cards so I was hoping to fill in some team set gaps.  Let's see how I did.

First I will get the Standing O out of the way. I scored all 3 Giants base cards and none of the die cuts.  These will jump right into the Giants duplicate box.  Would have been nice to get all 3 if this set was new to me.

Now for the Fun Pack cards:
 Fun Pack appears to have cards 1 - 174 in this style and I got 4 of the 7 Giants. I also got this nice Scratch Off card that appears to be a game. Kind of a cool little added attraction to the cards as it showcases the Giants starting line up.  I hadn't seen the scratch off game before and I am very glad to add it.
Here are the other various cards from Fun Pack I received in this break. The two standout cards allow you to punch them out and stand them up.  I am sure as a kid with a box of this I would have set up some sort of baseball game with these set up on the floor and a marble serving as the baseball.  The Profiles card showcases Barry's Gold Glove defense.  I guess I should have scanned the back as it give a sequence of 3 photos against the ivy in Wrigley showing Bonds getting to a ball down the left field line and pivoting to make a throw into second.

The cartoon card shows a play and gives you a multiple choice to answer the question about the correct call on the play.  The answer needs to be read in a mirror or by slowing reading it backwards - a skill I taught myself at a young age.  The card with the black surrounding Barry is a Heat Activated card.  When you touch it with your finger the black goes away and you get a cartoon of a fan stealing Barry's helmet with a fishing pole.  I tried a couple times to scan it without the black but my scanner was too slow to catch it before turning back.  Finally a checklist card which is just that on the back, a list of cards 81 - 120.

I definitely accomplished my goals in this break as only 1-2 of the cards were dups.  I am now only a manageable 4 cards away from the team set.  Thanks for another great break Colbey!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Conlon Collection Series 2 Box Break - Pack 4

Time to get back to this awesome box.

Pack 4

This pack initially got me pretty excited as there was a card in the middle of the pack that was backwards.  I thought I had lucked into an auto.  However, it turned out to be an extra card in the pack and a duplicate of Bucky Walters.  The 2 Walters cards were stuck together and got a little damage as I was pulling them apart.

Series completion - 60/330
Duplicates - 1
Giants in this Pack - 0
Total Giants - 3
HOFers in this Pack - 3 (Lombardi, R. Ferrell, Haines)
Total HOFers - 19

Favorite Card Front:
Loving the uniform on this card.  The white hat looks slick.  The socks are amazing, I am a fan of the socks showing much better than the typical player now who has their pants legs down to their shoes.  He even has a gap between his socks and pants which you would never see in the more modern times.  The cool “P” old style script for the Phillies is nice as well.  Great swing follow through and an overall sweet card. 

Favorite New Facts Learned:
Wes Ferrell card back:

This card celebrates Wes’ no-hitter in 1931.  I have heard of Wes due in part to his brother, HOF C Rick Ferrell and seeing his name on no-hitter lists.  What I learned was that he had a sweet day at the plate during his no-no and that his brother almost broke it up. That would have made for an interesting holiday discussion over Christmas dinner!

Jesse Haines card back:

Outside of seeing Haines on HOF listings, I didn’t know anything about him.  He was elected to the HOF before I was born and played in the 20s and 30s.  Based on this card back, it appears he was a darn good pitcher and definitely earned the HOF honors.  He had a few 20-win seasons, pitched a no-hitter, won over 200 games and had World Series success.  It was fun to learn more about this baseball immortal. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trade Post - The Angels, In Order

A couple months back I got a note from Tom over at The Angels, In Order saying he had a stack of cards he wanted to send me and asking for my address.  I was exited and intrigued as he didn't share what would be coming my way and Tom didn't disappoint.

 First up were some misc. Giants cards.  My favorite is the Wal-Mart blue border parallel of Matt Cain followed closely by the Gold bordered Brian Wilson.  I am hoping the Giants contact to Angel Pagan doesn't end up being an Aaron Rowand type of deal, I wanted him back but the cost seemed a little high and the length a little long.  He is a very good ballplayer but is not elite - therefore he should not be getting elite money.
 I also got lots of help on my 2012 Topps Update insert sets. I have seen a lot of frustration with the Blockbusters inserts and I have to agree.  Great concept that was executed poorly.  Even if the headline was changed up for each card it could have been a big score.  I get the fascination this year with Gold but I am ready to move onto another concept after all the gold parallels this year.  Regardless, the help on these insert sets is huge.

Speaking of set help, a little mini help from Update as well with 3 1987 minis.  Also scored a sticker and eye black insert from Triple Play.  Do you have team needs from Triple Play?  If so let me know as I have tons of dups of the base cards.  Finally a couple Chrome cards.  These coupled with a few trades on SCF finished off this set for me!  Chrome is always a challenge as it is usually pretty costly to pick up a couple boxes, I am happy to have finished it off before the month of December was over.

And by far the highlight of the trade package were these cards from all the mini sets that were produced in 1988-89. These were a huge hole in my collection and I was so happy to see them in this trade package.  Several of the designs I hadn't seen before. Obviously Will The Thrill was the key Giant in these seasons and I am so pleased to have these as part of my collection.

Tom, thanks for reaching out and for the awesome trade package!

Monday, December 10, 2012

McCovey Monday #28 - 2012 Panini Cooperstown Box Break

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1100 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards every Monday.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

This week I am going to merge a box break post with a McCovey Monday post and you will see why by the end of the post!  With work demands trying to get caught up for my almost 6 week work vacation and the arrival of our new baby girl, it has been a few weeks since I have done a McCovey Monday post.  This recent McCovey get inspired me to get back on track.

So lets start with the box break.  I am not going to post or comment much on the base cards.  I already shared my thoughts in a pack break review found here.  I pulled 86 of the 150 base cards and 2 of the 20 colorized SPs.  Here are the 2 colorized ones:

There are a ton of different insert sets in this product.  I will share all the different ones I pulled from this box break along with my thoughts:

The top 3 cards are prints of the bronze plaques that are featured at the Baseball HOF. They are serial numbered to 599.  There are 100 in the set and I think they are very cool with a nice simple design. Getting 3 of these per box and knowing the serial numbers allows me to do some quick math to figure out how many boxes were produced (100 cards X 599 of each card = 59900 total cards / 3 cards/box = 19,967 boxes which probably would round to 20,000 boxes as a print run) These are reminiscent of the postcards they sell at the HOF gift shop.  The middle 3 are titled Credentials and highlight the induction year and some of the player's career and season accomplishments.  There are 19 cards in this insert set.  The bottom 3 are Famous Moments inserts and showcase a photo of a piece of HOF memorabilia that was used in a famous moment in baseball history.  There are 20 cards in this insert set.
Scan 2 starts with 2 High Praise inserts that have a quote about a HOFer.  I really like these quotes and the design of the cards.  I now have doubles of the Yogi if anyone is interested in trading for one.  There are also 20 in this set.  Line 2 is Field Generals and show some of baseball's best catchers.  This insert set features 10 of the 13 HOF catchers. Nice design here as well with an photo in full gear along with a head shot.  Next up is the Hall History insert set.  This is a 10 card set that shows scenes at the HOF throughout its history. Having visited it and read a couple books about the HOF history, I really like this set as well.  This scan finished with 2 Voices of Summer inserts that showcase 10 different Hall of Fame announcers. 
This scan starts with 2 The Village inserts.  These cards display many of the scenic areas in Cooperstown Village.  It is a beautiful place and these cards show some nice photography.  Again, another 10 card insert set.  The two baseballs are from the Museum Pieces insert set.  This one is a 20 card insert set. Not sure if they are all baseballs but these two show Ernie Banks and Mel Ott's 500th baseballs - very cool!  The final 3 shown here showcase old time Ballparks.  This is a 10 card set and very nice looking.
The Mike Schmidt and Brooks Robinson cards are 2 of the 25 Induction inserts.  The backs have a short quote from their induction speech and show a picture of the player on their induction day.  The Ted Williams is from the final insert set With Honors. It is a 10 card set with some of the baseball HOFers who served in the military.  Finally I showed my 3 Crystal Collection parallels, this is a 170 card parallel set to the base set and are serial numbered to 299.

I am fairly certain I am going after the 150 card base set and may extend it to the 170 card set with the colorized cards.  I am strongly considering chasing many, if not all the insert sets.  If I can find a reasonably priced lot of the Crystal Collection parallels, I may even go after my first ever parallel set.  If you can't tell by now, I am fallen pretty hard for this set.

One set I will not be going for from this is HOF Classes Induction Year.  These were supposed to be manufactured patches and were a late replacement. They look wood-like and are about the same width of a regular card. I found it funny that some of the packs had white decoys when none of the cards were different widths.  I pulled one of the better ones of Joe Dimaggio but I am not impressed.
And finally the "hit" of the box and the reason this post is going up on a Monday:
I am still in shock as I have never pulled an Auto of my favorite player from a pack.  This is a great looking card with an on card auto.  His auto has deteriorated over the years as he has aged but this one looks pretty nice.  This is also one of the shorted printed autos and is serial numbered to only 99 copies. I bought this box the day after my baby girl was born as kind of a present to myself and it ended up being a very nice gift. 

One of my best pulls ever and perfect to inspire me to get back in the McCovey Monday groove.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baseball Book Review - Bill Veeck Baseball's Greatest Maverick

I recently picked up Bill Veeck Baseball's Greatest Maverick at my local library and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are a fan of baseball history, particularly through the middle part of the 20th Century, this is a must read.

Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick

I will start with a personal disclaimer. Prior to reading this book my knowledge of Veeck's contributions to the game and his life in general were limited to him sending a little man to the plate to pinch hit and disco demolition night.  I also knew he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  That was about it. After reading about his life and his contributions to civil rights and baseball I am disappointed in myself for not knowing more prior to reading this book.

I don't want to ruin the book for all those who plan on reading it so I won't go into all the details I learned but here are a few of the highlights:
  • Veeck was a volunteer war hero and injured his leg in the war. Eventually after numerous surgeries he has his leg amputated, first below the knee then above it.  He used a prosthetic leg but was still very active and considered an inspiration for physically disabled people.  
  • He was a 4 time owner of MLB teams, the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Sox twice. He made several bids to buy other teams as well.
  • He played a huge part in integrating baseball. He was the owner of Cleveland in 1947 when he brought Larry Doby onto the Indians as the 2nd black player after Jackie Robinson.  He did so much more than that including signing Satchell Paige for several different teams, getting hotels to change their policies so entire teams could stay together and setting up exhibition games pre-integration between Negro League teams and teams with white players.  There is an appendix in the book that lays out a strong case that Veeck tried to purchase the Philadelphia Phillies in the early 1940s and field an all black team that would be part of MLB and play against white teams.  His thought based on the exhibition games were that whites did not object to playing against black players, just having them as teammates.  Veeck's dedication to equal rights went far beyond baseball, he was a true believe in equal rights for everyone and I admire him immensely for that.
As I mentioned above, this was a very enjoyable read and I would strongly recommend it to any baseball fan.  It provides great insight into how the game used to be, how it has changed and highlights a man who had a major part in many of the transformations.  I plan on seeking out his 1962 autobiography as well now, I am sure it will be an interesting read. If you have a chance to pick this one up, let me know what you think.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Random Rookies

First, I thought I would share a photo of my newest rookie, here is Katherine Elizabeth yesterday on her 5 day birthday.
Since this new rookie entered into our life, I thought it might be appropriate to share a few random rookie cards I have picked up over the last couple months, most of these are courtesy of Sportlots auctions.

First up is a pair of Kirby Puckett rookie cards from the same seller. These came very cheap and I am very happy to have them as part of my collection. I remember seeing Kirby in person at an Oakland A's game his rookie season and we were impressed with his hustle. He of course turned out to a great player and Hall of Famer.

Next up is another HOFer, closer Bruce Sutter.  I was able to pick up this card and the next one from the same seller for a total of $3.50 shipped which I think was a major bargain.  Sutter isn't sporting his huge, crazy beard he would later in his career but there are signs of it coming in.  The back of his card shows a pretty solid rookie year with a 6-3 record and an ERA of 2.71.  I had to go to to see that he also picked up 10 saves.  The following year would be the start of a streak of 9 consecutive 20 save seasons.  I was actually a little shocked to see that Sutter only played 12 season when looking up his stats, it just seemed like he played a lot longer to me.

The second half of that $3.50 purchase was one of the more iconic cards of the 1970s, a Mark Fidrych rookie!  I have the 1977 set but this is the first time I have had my hands on this card outside the set I purchased.  In my opinion this is a must have card in my collection and I was super excited to pick it up.  Fidrych had an amazing rookie season winning 19 games with an ERA of 2.34.  I like everything about this card, the rookie cup, the All-Star stripe along the bottom, the goofy look on his face, his kinda crazy signature, even the security guard hanging out in the background.  A truly iconic card and welcome addition to the collection.

Next up is a 1971 Bert Blyleven rookie card.  He is kinda hard for me to even recognize him off this picture, I am so used to the big beard and the older pictures on his later cards.  In reviewing Blyleven's stats and recalling his best in the game curve ball, I am still amazed it took so long for him to get into the HOF.   Would you believe I was able to pick up this awesome card for $4.25 delivered?  To me this is one of my better recent pickups. 

Speaking of good pickups, my most recent HOF rookie cards scored off a Sportslots auction is this 1966 Topps Fergie Jenkins.  This card isn't in mint condition with some corner issues but it is still a really nice looking card and for only $10 delivered it was impossible to pass up.

I am not really starting up a HOF rookie collection per se but when I see them for great prices I am going to jump on them. Hope you have enjoyed looking at the newest rookies in my collection!