Monday, November 17, 2014

McCovey Monday #63 - 2005 Donruss Classics Legandary Lumberjacks HR Relic 01/25

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1200 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.

With my collection expanding over the past few years, I don't spend as much time searching for McCovey cards from the past to get into my collection.  I try to get any new releases but don't do long searches looking for the cards I missed when they were released.

I recently stumbled across an auction for a relic card that I didn't already have. I do have a saved search for McCovey 1/1 cards and this happened to come from one of those annoying sellers who claim an non-1/1 card is an action 1/1 because, in this case, it is serial numbered 01/25.  This is the worst logic ever as it would take you down a path where a 07/25 would be a 1/1 as it is the only one stamped with a 7.

This card comes from 2005 which happens to be the year that my pipe dream of owning one of every card ever produced came to a screeching halt.  Up through 2004 Willie McCovey had what seemed to be a somewhat obtainable 775 different cards.  However in 2005 alone, the card companies produced 810 different McCovey cards.  With the total more than doubling in one year it was frustrating for a player collector. Since then my attitude towards collecting has changed and my goal now is to just get as many different cards of my players without breaking the bank.

When I saw this "1/1" listed, I reached out to the seller and we quickly struck a deal.  Here is the card I received:

Lots of empty space but I am okay with the design and it completes a rainbow of sorts, I now have all 5 different McCovey Legendary Lumberjacks.  The dual jersey in the shape of HR, the thing Willie is most likely known for, is a nice touch.  

Here is the back of the card promising the jersey was worn in an action game. You can also see the serial number "01" which actually connected this card to.  I know I will never collect every card from 2005 (heck if that year didn't exist my McCovey checklist would be almost 1/3 smaller) but any time I have a chance to pick up one of the missing cards at a reasonable price I am going to jump.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My First Shadow Box Card

I am not sure if it is due to Topps lack of creativity and its monopoly, but it sure seems like there are some pretty sweet designs coming from the other sports that we don't see in baseball.  Check out this great new card I got from USC alumnus Ronnie Lott:

This doesn't scan anywhere as well as it looks in person. This is a very thick card.  The picture of Lott on the left is in the foreground while the one in the middle is set back behind some clear plastic, hence the Shadow Box designation.  UD thought so much of this card it is calling it art and I actually tend to agree.  I am not sure how common these cards are, I recall seeing just a few on eBay when I picked this one up and while they are not super cheap the price wasn't out of this work.

Great designed card of a former USC Trojan in his Trojan garb definitely works for me!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Completed Vintage Giants Team Set - 1960 Leaf

I am sure each of us has a story of the one that got away.  Maybe it was a card at a show that you passed on hoping to find it for a dollar or two left.  Perhaps it was an eBay auction that you would have paid more than your last bid and got sniped at the last minute.  Maybe you didn't pull the trigger on a trade that you later regretted.  I am sure all of these have happened to me at one time or another but when I think of the one that got away, this is the card that comes to mind:

This design simplistic black and white card of obscure former Giant Marshall Renfroe escaped my grips at my LCS several months.  It was the last card I needed for this team set after I had picked up the Orlando Cepeda.  Both Renfroe and Cepeda are high numbers that are more scarce than the lower numbers and this Renfroe rarely popped up on eBay.  Imagine my surprise when this card popped up on the bid board deep in the heart of Dodger land.  I knew there were a couple other Giants fans that frequent my LCS but thought nobody would be interested in this card.  It had a buy it now of about $10-12 but I decided to save a few bucks and put a $3 bid on the card.  Apparently someone sniped me on the last day and I lost out on the card.

I have been on the prowl for one since then and finally found one on eBay that popped up for a $15 buy it now and I had to get it.  I doubt I would have paid that much if it hadn't been the one that got away.

A little bit on Renfroe, this is from his baseball reference page:  

Marshall Renfroe was a left-hander who pitched for seven different major league organizations during the 1950s and early 1960s. He made his only big league appearance in a late season start for the San Francisco Giants against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 27, 1959, and gave up six runs in two innings but was not involved in the decision.  

Marshall was a veteran of the Korean War, and had a younger brother, Dalton, who was a minor league catcher for eight years in the Washington Senators organization. Marshall was originally sent from the Crestview Braves of the Alabama-Florida League to the Philadelphia Phillies in an unknown transaction in June of 1954. He would spend six years climbing up the minor league ladder before his one-night stand with the San Francisco Giants.

Renfroe did not have a winning year until the 1958 season, pitching for the Danville Leafs of the class B Carolina League, going 12-11 with a 3.62 ERA while pitching 204 innings. He also had his second-best season (in terms of record), going 8-8 with a 3.54 ERA in 168 innings for the Phoenix Giants of the Pacific Coast League before his late-season fiasco in September of '59.
Marshall would spend three more seasons in baseball, all in the minors, finishing out his nine-season run in 1962 with a split season between Charlotte and Syracuse. He finished with a 60-88 record and a 3.99 ERA while pitching 1,131 innings.

Renfroe died tragically on December 10, 1970, in Pensacola, FL. The 34-year-old former pitcher was driving home from his job as a welder for Westinghouse when he stopped on a bridge to come to the aid of a stalled vehicle, and was hit by a gas truck. 
 The photo on this card is the photo used on Baseball Reference.

This is one of only two cards listed on Beckett for Refroe, the other being a 1960 Tacoma Bank card which is a minor league release of 3" X 5" cards.

 The Giants team set is only 6 cards and here they are all together along with a cool decal:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bid Board Pickup - An Auto of the Mad Hungarian

While my collecting interests are fairly broad they are also fairly well defined.  I collect any and all SF Giants and USC Football Trojans.  I have quite a few player collections (Willie McCovey, Vida Blue, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Ben Petrick, Dave Parker as a Pirate, Chris Webber, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Roger Craig 49er version, Dwight Clark).  I collect new sets and go after at least the flagship sets each year and other sets sporadically that I seem to enjoy.  I collect vintage Topps sets, hoping to complete a run from 1970 to 1972 to complete the run since the year I was conceived.  I also collect HOF Autos.

One great thing joining the blogging community has done for my collection is also broadened my collection into picking up cards that don't necessarily "fit" but that I just think are cool.  I can recall trading some cards on the message boards that I really liked while thinking they just don't fit into my collection.  Times have changed and this recent pickup is a perfect example.

I picked up this autographed version of Al Hrabosky's 1978 Topps card for a dollar off the bid board at my LCS.  I remember hearing stories about Hrabosky as a kid. I don't know if it was stories from the Game of the Week, Baseball Bunch or some other TV show or just articles I read in Sporting News or Baseball Digest but I remember always being a fan. I am sure his cool nickname of the Mad Hungarian humored me as a kid and all the stories made him out to be a great baseball character.

This card doesn't "fit" into any specific area of my collection but it will be a treasured card and part of my collection forever.  The broadening of my collecting spectrum is another reason I am thankful for this blogging community.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mission Accomplished - My 1973 Topps Set is Complete!

After months of patience and combing through daily eBay emails I finally pulled the trigger and bought the final card to complete my 1973 Topps Set.

It definitely isn't in mint condition but it fits nicely into the overall condition of the set.  This Mike Schmidt (and Ron Cey) rookie is the most expensive card in the set and that definitely pushed it to the end of my set quest.

This extends my consecutive run of Topps sets from 1973-2014 but may be my last completed vintage set for a while.  I am currently working on all 3 sets from 1970-1972 and really need a strategy on how to progress.  My focus was on the 1970 set but the high numbers are tough to track down and super expensive.  I may just slowly whittle away at all 3 sets until I get a surprising windfall or find a source for inexpensive high numbered cards.

Monday, November 10, 2014

McCovey Monday #62 - 2014 Topps 75th Anniversary Buy Back of 1978 Topps Record Breaker

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1200 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.

I am not completely sure how I feel about these types of cards but since it was a McCovey I had to jump on it and add another card to my player collection.

This year to celebrate their 75th Anniversary, Topps stamped a bunch of their vintage cards with the silver logo you can see on the bottom left of this McCovey 1978 Record Breakers card.  These were inserted in all 3 series of their flagship products and I don't believe any other products.  I have traded away a couple and still have 11 sitting on my desk from various packs and boxes I have opened.  All the cards I have range in dates from 1968 - 1978 (1-68, 1-69, 1-73, 2-75, 2-76, 1-77, 3-78).  I think they go back to when Topps started but assume the older ones are quite rare.  I did a quick look through about 200 eBay auctions and found 1 card from 1980 (Rich Dauer) and the rest were from the 70s and earlier.

I haven't been checking often, but I have yet to see any other McCovey cards pop up.  For now this one will have to keep me happy.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Immaculate Collection - What do you think?

I haven't seen too much noise about this set in the blogosphere, but that is typical for most higher end products.  Several weeks back Panini released Immaculate Collection.  Each box contains 6 cards with 1 base or parallel card and 5 hits.  Every card is serial numbered to 99 or less.  Boxes are going on line for about $160.  Personally I never see myself buying a box of this stuff but I did go after some Giants from the set.

One of my goals in 2014 was to pick up all the Giants base cards and short of some SPs and a couple recent releases I am doing really nice on achieving this goal.  I thought this set might stump me similar to 2013 Panini America's Pastime did last year.    However I did a quick shopping spree a couple weeks back and was able to score all 3 Giants from the base set.  Take a look:

 Starting off is Buster Posey.  I love the catcher poses on Panini products as the lack of a license really doesn't jump out at you.  I think this is a great looking card.

 Next up is World Series hero Madison Bumgarner.  This card is aesthetically damaged a bit with the lack of Giants across his chest and the SF logo on the hat. 

 Finally to finish up the base team set is Free Agent Kung Fu Panda. After the shout outs to resign Pablo during the victory parade I have a new level of confidence that the Giants will step and and make a good enough offer to keep him in SF.

I was also able to pick up a Panda relic for a very reasonable price.  It has a print run of 99 and has a plain black relic.  I like how the picture is different from the base card and while a logo would greatly enhance the card, it still looks pretty solid.

I am going to keep my eyes open for some more hits to see if I can score some on the cheap.  Also, Willie McCovey has some Padres themed cards in the set I need to try and track down. Wish me luck and let me know what you think of this set.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

1980s All Star Game Game Program Inserts

One of the items on my Giants checklist I pulled out of Beckett are some inserts from the All Star Game programs.  As far as I can tell, there was a page or two in each program from 1981-1985 that highlighted players that were eligible to be voted into the All Star Game.  There are a few pitchers as well so it can't just be the players on the ballot.  Regardless, they are on my checklist and therefore I must try and complete the team sets.  I found an eBay seller who had these at a pretty cheap price and finished off my team sets for 4 of the 5 years, I still need the entire 1982 team set.

Here are the Giants I picked up:
 These inserts are paper thin and measure 2 inches by 1 1/4 inches, smaller than your typical Allen & Ginter mini.  The top 3 are from 1983 and the other 7 are from the 1984 All Star Game in San Francisco.

While I was shopping I also picked up these 4 for my various player collections.  The 2nd Winfield comes from the year the game was in Canada as you can see from his position designation.

I need to track down and buy the 1982 team set one of these days.

Does anyone else have any of these in their team or player collections?  Has anyone seen how they were presented in the All Star Game Program?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Completed Giants Vintage Team Set - 1961 Fleer

Back in 2012 and 2013 I had set a goal to complete my 1961 and 1963 Fleer Giants team sets.  I recently shared my 1963 set completion, if you missed it check it out.  That tough Mays acquisition inspired me to try and finish off the 1961 set and I have now achieved that goal.  Here are the final 3 cards I needed to complete the set.

This Hughie Critz card was actually acquired over 2 years ago back when this set was one of my annual goals.  I had never showed it and it was still in my scanned folder so I figured I would include it here.  Critz had a 12 year career with the Reds and Giants.  He was a .268 career hitter and was runner up in the MVP race in 1926.

About 2 weeks ago I brought home the card of Joe "Iron Man" McGinnity.  I love how they used his nickname.  He spent 7 of hit 10 years with the NY Giants around the turn of the century (he spent 2.5 years with Baltimore - 1 in the NL and 1.5 in the AL and 1 year with the Brooklyn Superbas).  In those 10 years he has a W/L record of 246-142 with a 2.66 ERA and was inducted into the HOF in 1946 by the Old Timers Committee. 

The final card is also a Giants HOFer, Ross Youngs.  He played his entire 10 year career with the Giants in the teens and twenties and was a lifetime .322 hitter.  This card proved challenging to obtain as it was the last card in the set.  There were times I did eBay searched and none of these came up, regardless of condition.  When this one popped up with a reasonable buy it now, I jumped and now have a great completed vintage team set.

Here is the entire team set with a bonus Fleer Team Pennant Decal.  Lots of star and HOF power in this team set.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Anyone Remember Matt Barkley?

As a USC fan, I can't remember too many days that surpassed the day that Matt Barkley announced he was coming back to USC for his senior season.  I recall exactly where I was when I heard the announcement (pulling into my driveway with the door open and my family inside) and how I reacted (pumped my fist, yelled in pleasure and honked my horn).  After years of deal with the unfair sanctions (if there is anyone out there who really thinks the NCAA treated USC fairly, I would love to hear the case), it was time for USC to Return to Glory and take their place at the top of the national polls.

Well, it hasn't quite worked out as I thought on that glorious day but I am still a huge fan of Matt Barkley.  With Nick Foles' injury, Barkley moves to the #2 spot on the Eagles depth chart behind another USC alumnus Mark Sanchez.  He played in 3 games last year but has yet to take a snap this year.  That could change, hopefully in a blowout and not due to a Sanchez injury.

The good news with Barkley not elevating into super stardom is that his cards are pretty reasonable.  Here are a few I have picked up over the last few months.

 This trio of cards come from the 2013 Fleer Retro release.  I really enjoy this set, the players are featured in their college uniforms and are modeled after classic Fleer designs from the past.  I miss Upper Deck being involved in the baseball market, they do a really nice job on new designs and in using past designs.  Note how different photos are used in all 3 designs as well.

This is another Upper Deck release from 2013 Ultimate. I think this is a sharp looking card with a nice low serial number.  Again the players are featured in college uniforms and 3 of the better college QB prospects are featured here.

Here is a quad relic from 2013 Topps Prime.  This and the rest of the cards feature Barkley in his Eagles uniform.  This one is limited to 99 copies.  I don't think Topps Prime has that big of a following as cards from the set can be found at very reasonable prices.

 I used to be a big fan of Prestige when I did more collecting and set building of football.  I had a knack for pulling a big hit or two that would pay for the box (and sometimes more).  It has been a few years since I bought a box but this Draft Tickets auto card is a pretty nice design and very reminiscent of the Prestige brand.

Elite was another set I would pick up a box or two of and typically go after the set.  This 2013 Elite card of Barkley looks pretty good, the green color scheme of the border goes well with the Eagles.  Great looking card.

These final 3 cards are all from 2013 Topps inception and I picked them up in a lot with the Elite and Prestige card.  For under $20, I was able to score 5 certified autos of one of my favorite college players of all time.  I thought about possibly super collecting Matt Barkley but he had over 1750 cards released in just 2013 (nothing in 2014) so I quickly decided against that.  I will however be on the lookout for nice looking cards of his to add to my collection.

Monday, November 3, 2014

McCovey Monday #61 - 2014 Topps Chrome Rookie Reprint

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1200 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.

When 2014 Topps Chrome came out I saw a blogger break a box and pull this amazing card and I quickly had to do a search and get one for my collection.

This is obviously a chrome reprint of Willie Mac's iconic rookie card from 1960 Topps.  One of these days I will have to go through my McCovey binders and see how many different reprints of this I have but I always enjoy adding new ones to my collection.  These rookie reprints are case hits and I was happy to pick this up for under $10 delivered.  I hadn't looked at the checklist until writing this post and realize that there are some more I need to pick up off the 25 card checklist - Buster Posey, Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, and Rickey Henderson.  Pretty crazy that I need 20% of the set for my collection.  I am a little surprised that Dave Winfield isn't a part of this set, his rookie card is fairly iconic.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Sweet Pair of Hoyt Wilhelm Relics

I typically don't pick up too many cards from high end products like Triple Threads and Tribute.  Maybe a McCovey or two and I sometimes stumble across a reasonably prices current or retired Giants star.  Surprisingly over the last couple weeks I have been able to pick up two relics of a former Giants Hall of Famer for just a few bucks a piece.

This emerald parallel of Hoyt Wilhelm is numbered to just 18 copies and features a nice photo of Hoyt in his NY Giants uniform rubbing up the ball.  There is a pinstripe through the jersey swatch.  I don't recall the Giants wearing pinstripes and I am guessing this is a White Sox jersey even though he is pictured as a Giant.  I scored this card on eBay for under $9, including shipping.

I scored an even better deal on this sepia parallel numbered to 27 copies.  I picked it up on my LCS bid board for under $5.  It once again features a swatch from the assumed White Sox jersey but features an even better picture.  In this one, Hoyt is posing with his trademark knuckle ball grip.  Hoyt is featured on quite a few of his cards this way and I love it.

What excited me about these two cards is that he is featured as a Giant on both.  This surprises me as it doesn't appear to be a Giants jersey and the Giants were just 1 of 9 teams he played on during his career.  He did play for the Giants to start his career and for a total of 5 years which is tied for his second longest tenure with a team (6 years with the White Sox and 5 years with the Orioles).  Several players have multiple pictures/versions of their Triple Threads cards and these two are Hoyt's only versions.  I am very happy to have one of each in my collection!