Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reyes Moronta Rainbow

Last year I decided to start collecting cards of Giants reliever Reyes Moronta.  I was looking to add a recent Giant to my slate of player collections and was drawn to Moronta for a few reasons.  First, he seemed to have a lively fastball with some decent stuff.  Second, I enjoy his portly physique - I always think its cool when someone who isn't in peak physical condition can excel at a professional sport.  I think Rick Reuschel's stint with the Giants started this type of appreciation.  The third and final reason was due to his inclusion in a couple of higher end products in 2018 as a rookie, knowing that higher end products produce some nice patch cards.

As I am typing this post, I am thinking my intro post to my Moronta player collection should have featured some of these amazing patch cards but that will have to wait.  Today I scanned and decided to share the a few of the Moronta cards released in 2019. 

By now I am sure most everyone has heard of the re-institution of Topps Total.  It was a set originally released in 2002 as a 990 card set featuring a deep list of players including a lot of bench players and relievers not featured in many sets.  The set continued as a 990 card set in 2003 then was shortened a bit to 880 cards in 2004 then down to 770 cards in 2005. 

This set has been one that I know a lot of collectors and bloggers have desired to be brought back and finally in 2019 Topps obliged.  I am guessing I am not alone in my frustration on how it was released however.  Topps did decide to make the set 900 cards in length which is great but it is an online exclusive and the format is broken down into smaller series or waves. Every three weeks, a fresh batch of 100 cards in the set is made available through 10-card packs. These packs sell for $10 each. I can't even imagine building a full set and haven't even decided to go after all the Giants yet.

I did decide to seek out the Reyes Moronta cards and have a fresh batch of 3 to share, what is a Topps release without some parallels:

I really like this card!  The design is a great throwback to the original Topps Total cards and nice and simple.  The player is the star of the card. This photo shows off Moronta's impressive physique along with some attitude no doubt after throwing a high 90s fastball by a batter for strike 3.

As you can see I have picked up the base card along with the red parallel /10 and the black parallel /5.  Surprisingly I saw 3 of the blacks show up on eBay before the first red.  There is a 1/1 parallel but unless it shows up and a ridiculously low price my 2019 Topps Total Reyes Moronta rainbow is complete:

Looks great, doesn't it!  If you have any thoughts to share about Topps Total that you haven't blogged about, feel free to share in the comments.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Joy of Two Completed Insert Sets - 2019 Topps Series 1 Evolution and Revolution of the Game

Today I continue the sharing of the insert sets from my 2019 Topps Series 1 set build and I decided to share two together again, this time the Evolution 25 card insert set and the Revolution 10 card insert set.  Absent the similarities of the names, these sets don't have much in common.

The Evolution set is a card featuring one image on each side, the front sharing a photo of the past, the back a photo of how it has evolved today.  The first 10 cards showcase uniforms, the next 10 ballparks and the final 5 equipment.  The front photos are sepia toned while the backs are in full color.

I decided to share both sides of these cards since you need to see the backs to understand what evolution took place:

The Revolution of the Game set showcases 10 different people that influenced changes in the game.  Topps jacked up the numbering so there is no number 1 or 4, two number 7s and it goes to 11.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out how this happens but it pretty much an annual occurrence.

I am sharing all the fronts and the back of card #2 (the first in the set):

Pretty solid sets in my opinion.  I am glad the Evolution set continued in Series 2 as there are some key teams and ballparks missing here.  I like the variety of the people featured in the Revolution set, particularly the inclusion of Bill James.

If you are interested in a look back at other sets I have shared from 2019 Topps Series 1 you can link here:

150 Years of Professional Baseball
1984 Topps
Cactus League Legends and Grapefruit League Greats

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Baseball Card Book Review - Game Faces Early Baseball Card From the Library of Congress by Peter Devereaux

I have been reading quite a bit of non-fiction lately which is somewhat of a change for me.  I would typically intersperse a non-fiction book into every 5-6 books I read but lately it has turned around and I am probably at about 2:1 in favor of non-fiction.  A lot of the fiction I read is mystery/action/suspense like James Patterson, Nelson DeMille, Jonathan Kellerman, John Grisham and perhaps my interests are changing as they aren't keeping my interest.  My favorite author is Stephen King and while I enjoy his books, the last few I have to read are super long and tackling an 800-1000 page book just seems a little overwhelming.

Luckily there are tons of great history and sports themed books out there to keep me occupied and I finished a pretty good one last weekend that I thought I would share, it features baseball cards - what could be better!

I really enjoyed this read, it is a history of baseball and tobacco cards from about 1887-1914.  This is a book that was published by Smithsonian Books in partnership with the Library of Congress and features photos of tobacco cards from the collection of Benjamin K. Edwards.  Edwards collected a wide variety of tobacco cards and had a collection of over 12,000 cards when he passed away in 1943.  They were gifted to a family friend, poet Carl Sandburg, upon his death.  In 1954 Sandburg donated the collection to the Library of Congress so that it could be preserved and future generations could appreciate it.

The baseball cards from this collection are featured in this book and shared along with a good US History lesson around the late 19th and early 20th century with a focus on the tobacco industry.  I learned quite a bit but the best part of the book is definitely the pictures of a bunch of cards from the famous T206, set to some famous sets that have been recently reprinted like Gypsy Queen and Allen & Ginter to rare sets that I had never heard of or seen like Fatima Team Cards and Buchner Gold Coin.

This book was published in 2018 and I picked up this copy on loan from my local library.  It is about 150 pages and a pretty quick and fun read.  I would definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Some Oversized Giants Goodness

I joined a Facebook group focused on SF Giants cards a few weeks back.  A lot of the posts are people sharing their new Giants cards they have added to their collection.  It seems like Will Clark and Buster Posey are the favorites of the group which should surprise me.  I am still amazed at what a  following Will The Thrill has in the card collecting community, some of his auto cards go higher than Hall of Famers these days.  There are a couple big Tim Lincecum collectors with impressive collections and Joey Bart seems to be picking up steam.

I like seeing what others have added to their collection and occasionally some items are put up for sale.  A little while back, there was a posting with 2 cards that immediately interested me for $15 delivered.  I thought about trying to negotiate but ultimately decided I didn't want to miss out on them. They are cards that I have been desiring since their release in 2017.

These cards are box toppers from 2017 Gypsy Queen and the set is called GlassWorks.  These measure 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" and are super shiny silver.  The scans below show up blue. I love everything about the design of the cards from the shiny foil to the large picture to the Gypsy Queen artwork.

These two cards have been on my want list since 2017 but I never picked them up.  Prices seemed pretty high on the secondary market probably due to the difficulty in packaging them and mailing them.  The ability to pick up both Giants from the 25 card set was too good to pass up.  I do have the purple Posey parallel (say that 5 times fast) numbered to 150 which is nice but the base silver it the better looking version to me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Trade Post - $30 a week habit

I haven't had as much time as I would like to read everyone's blogs, some days I wonder if I am missing out on some great content by not staying up with everyone.  Luckily I was reading a few blogs a couple weeks back and noticed a post by Robert at $30 a week habit where he had picked up a 1981 Topps Reggie Jackson and in reading the comments I saw he was working on the set.  I clicked on his want list link and saw he still had a ways to go.

Earlier that evening I had run across a box of 1981 Topps cards from a collection I purchased a couple years back so I decided to see if I could help him out.  I was happy to find a pretty solid stack including the Gibson and Baines rookie cards so I sent him a note to make sure I had the correct address.  As luck would have it, the next box I picked up had a bunch of 1978 Topps cards, another set he was working on.  Another solid stack later and I was feeling pretty good about helping a fellow collector out.

Robert offered to take a look at my want list and I was happy he did as he sent me some set builder for my 2019 Topps Heritage set and even more excitedly my 2008 Topps Heritage set.  The collection I referenced above had a nice stack of 2008 Heritage so I decided to put a want list together and go after the set.  It is a little daunting to try and go after a set that is over a decade old that also has 75 short prints.  This trade with Robert was only the second trade I have been able to drum up to help on the set.

Here is the nice stack of 2008 Heritage, modeled after one of my favorite vintage sets - 1959 Topps:

That is a nice stack of 29 new cards for my set and I decided to share a few of my favorites:

 These combo cards are great and when I inherited my dad's childhood collection, the 1959 Topps combo cards were among my favorites.

Of the 29 cards, 3 were short prints including these awesome All-Star cards.  I only wish these could be labeled with Sporting News versus Topps News.

Finally, Robert was able to knock 6 SPs off my 2019 Heritage list.

Thank you so much Robert for the return package!  You have jump started my energy around the 2008 Heritage set.  Fellow Bloggers and Collectors, if you have some Heritage cards for trade from either of these sets, please check out my want list.  I am sure we can work out a trade.

Monday, September 9, 2019

McCovey Monday #97 - 1971 Mattel Mini-Records

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of almost 1400 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards on select Mondays.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

Today I decided to dig into the binders and share a couple items that I have had in my collection for quite some time.  One of the fun parts of collecting players that played prior to my birth are tracking down items that I never saw in the wild and the items I am showing today were produced in the year of my birth.

In 1971, Mattel put out a special mini-record player called "Mattel Show 'N Tell " that contained 2 1/2" plastic mini records that featured sports stars.  The checklist includes 18 baseball players, 10 basketball players, 17 football players and 8 hockey players.  Fortunately for my collection, Willie McCovey was included in the set.

 Here is the McCovey, it features a recording on one side and a color drawing of the player on the other. The picture appears on a paper disk that is glued onto the smooth unrecorded side of the mini-record. On the recorded side, the player's name and the set's subtitle appear in arcs stamped in the central portion of the mini-record.  It is a little hard to see but it is there.

There is a second version of each players that has pictures on both sides:

This is a more rare version but I am not sure by how much.  From a Beckett pricing standpoint, the black version is listed at $25 and the dual sided is $30.  The double sided discs are ivory instead of black and while the first side has the same photo, the second side has an awesome action photo of Willie Mac sliding into home plate.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Joy of Two Completed Insert Sets - 2019 Topps Series 1 Cactus League Legends and Grapefruit League Greats

As I continue my showcase of 2019 Topps Series 1 insert sets, I decided to lump two sets together that are similar in nature, Cactus League Legends and Grapefruit League Greats.  These sets celebrate players of today and the past that excelled in Spring Training.  Each set is 30 cards in size with the Cactus League set being horizontal in orientation and the Grapefruit League set being verticle.  These sets were retail only inserts with the Cactus League cards coming in the single packs and the Grapefruit League cards coming in blasters.

Once again I will share the fronts of all 60 cards and the back of card #1 of each set then let the scans do the talking:

 I am partial to the Cactus League set due to the presence of so many Giants and a couple of my player collections in Rickey and Reggie but it is hard to compete with the retired legend star power of the Grapefruit League set.  For whatever reason, the Grapefruit League cards proved harder to track down for me.

If you are interested in a look back at other sets I have shared from 2019 Topps Series 1 you can link here:

150 Years of Professional Baseball
1984 Topps

Friday, September 6, 2019

A New Non-Card and Non-Sports Mini Collection

I am well aware that I collect too many things and my wife is quick to remind me.  I must have a genetic mutation that encourages me to seek out different things to collect.  I usually just share my card and sports collecting here but I have also been a long time US Stamp collector and I also collect Sports books and books of a couple of my favorite authors.  My sports collecting will at times spread to magazines and other pieces of sports memorabilia as well.

I have given thought to but have yet to pursue collecting some items from some of my favorite pop culture genres, Star Wars and Super Heroes.  Well that changed a couple weeks back.  I was watching videos of You Tubers who had attended the National (living vicariously through them and drooling over their purchases) and ran across a guy that had a unique collection hanging on the wall of his card room.  He had a copy of every Marvel comic from the month & year he was born.

I thought this would be a relatively small and achievable collection to go after and I am a big Marvel fan.  I did some searching and found out that there were 22 Marvel comics issues in March of 1971.  In looking through the list, they all aren't Super Hero Titles but the completionist in me decided to go after all 22.  I haven't searched out all of them yet but I don't think there are any crazy priced ones in the group.

As I started to search I had some decisions to make, mainly around the quality of the comics and whether or not I wanted them graded.  I decided to go after non-graded copies because I want a chance to read them and I am not buying them for investment purposes.  In looking at prices of the first few, I decided to seek out ones in solid but not great shape trying to avoid any paper loss and massive amounts of creasing that would detract from the beauty of the cover.

To date, I have picked up 4 comics and I thought I would share them here today:

 The first one I received was The Hulk.  Pretty cool cover with what looks like a dead Hulk floating through space.  I am guessing he finds a way to survive.

 The second comic I received as The Ringo Kid.  This is a title I hadn't heard of and is a Western themed comic. I am pretty interested in digging into this one.

The third one I received was this The Mighty Thor comic.  This looks like another cover that teases the death of a Super Hero.

Finally, my fourth and most recent acquisition was the The Avengers comic.  I love the artistry on this comic and it features four of the five Avengers, this is probably my favorite cover to date.

I plan on seeking out one or two new ones per month until I finish off the collection and haven't ruled out a DC comic run as a next collection yet.

Any of you out there comic collectors and if so any words of advice?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Football Book Review - Letters to 87 - Fans Remember the Legacy of Dwight Clark

One of my favorite football players growing up was Dwight Clark of the San Francisco 49ers.  Clark of course is most famous for The Catch, a catch in the back of the end zone against the Dallas Cowboys on 1-10-82 to propel the 49ers to their first Super Bowl, Super Bowl XVI.  I was 10 years old at the time and had become a Niner fan a couple years earlier as an act of rebellion against my dad (he was a Raiders fan).  In the early 70s, the 49ers could not get past the Cowboys several times in the playoffs so this victory was a big milestone for the franchise and was the start of a dynasty that resulted in 5 Super Bowls.

Many Niners fans credit Clark and his amazing Catch as the catalyst for the dynasty and remember exactly where they were when they watched the play.  You can count me among those fans, I was at my parents' friend's house in Auburn, CA.  I have shared the story with friends and kids about how we ran around the house celebrating then nervously watched the extra point and last defensive series to finish off the game.

I am not the only one who has stories to tell about The Catch and this book captures the stories of dozens of 49er fans as a tribute to Dwight Clark.  One of Clark's wishes prior to succumbing to ALS last year was to have a book like this put together.  The author, Matt Maiocco sent out a message to fans to submit letters about their feeling about Clark and The Catch and he compiled them into a documentary.  I have yet to see the documentary but my dad, a converted Niners fan, says it is great.  After the success of the documentary, it was decided to put this book together and honor DC's wishes, here is a quote from him just a few months before his passing:
"I've often thought that if I could get the word out somehow to get the stories, I should put a book together of the stories that these 49er fans lived through at that moment.  Hopefully, long after I am gone, 49er fans will still enjoy that play and that year - the team that started it all"
 Here is the cover of the book:

The book consists primarily of fan letters that were submitted featuring stories of watching The Catch, meeting Clark and the way the 49ers brought families together.  It is very touching.  Additionally there are several contributors - Eddie DeBartolo Jr. - former owner of the 49ers, Matt Maiocco - the person who put it together, Ronnie Lott - HOF CB and S, Joe Montana - HOF QB, Brian Murphy - a reporter who covered the Niners, and Kelly Clark - Dwight's wife.

The letters were powerful and some were emotional, it is such a strong legacy for a former football player and executive made such an impact on so many lives and families.  It is a very quick read and super enjoyable for this 49er fan and I think any sports fan would be touched.  The portions written by the contributors are heartfelt and demonstrate how great of a man Clark was and what a legacy he left behind.

Another great aspect of the book is the photography.  In the Afterward it is shared that most of the photos were acquired by three photographers and have never been shared before.  They are all in black and white and of amazing quality.  I decided to take a pic of the back to share one of the photos:

The back of the book also features the logo of The Golden Heart Fund, this is a charity that was set up to help former 49er football players after their retirement.  All the proceeds of this book are being donated to this charity.

I saw an announcement that this book was coming and found it on pre-order for a discounted price and it was quickly delivered right after it was released.  I usually read a bit in bed before going to sleep and decided the structure of this book would lend to perfect bedtime reading.  It worked like a charm, although it was tough to put down a couple nights, and I quickly made my way through it.  One of my favorite sports reads in quite a while and I would recommend it if you are a football fan and need some reminders on how fanatical and emotional fans can be.

Monday, September 2, 2019

McCovey Monday #96 - 2019 Immaculate Collection Dual Bat Relic 43/49

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of almost 1400 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards on select Mondays.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

Today I am showing off another 2019 release of Willie Mac.  I wasn't sure if his presence would increase or decrease after his passing last October and it seems that it is just about the same as the last few years.  Today I am showing off a relic from 2019 Immaculate Collection and there are even a few low numbered sticker autographs in the product, I suspect those will dry up soon.

Here is today's card:

This is a nice dual bat card from the Legends subset.  I  like the design of this care, the swooshes in the background fit nicely with the Giants color scheme and the gold foil looks good as well.  This is a common photo of McCovey but it fits well on the card front.  Obviously a nice orange SF on the cap would be better but I am passed the point of complaining about licensing, it impacts the sets I collect but not the players.

I don't always snap a pic or scan the back but this card had a couple nice surprises on the back so I thought I would share it.

First, it is claimed this is from an actual game-used material, in this case I assume a bat.  I can't be certain but it seems like there are more instances of things being "player-used or player-worn" material denotations so maybe there is a little bit of honesty on this portion of the hobby.

The best part of the back is the quote from McCovey.  This is a quote I hadn't heard and I have read a lot about McCovey and followed his career since the late 70s.  It is a pleasant surprise to see a new quote like this, and a cool one at that.  I read a ways back that McCovey was one of the few Hall of Famers who hadn't either written an autobiography or been the subject of a biography.  I am not sure how many there are today will the expansion of the Hall but I sure would love to see a bio on Stretch one of these days.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2019 Topps Series 1 '84 Topps

The next insert set to share from my 2019 Topps Series 1 set build is the tribute to 1984.  This set consists of 100 cards featuring current players and retired stars in the design of the 1984 Topps set.  This is the second year in a row Topps has thrown it back 35 years to celebrate a set after the 1983 tribute last year.  In the 2017 set, they stayed a bit more current going only 30 years back to 1987.  Previews for 2020 have recently showed that a 1985 tribute is in the works next year.

Once again I will share the fronts of all 100 cards and the back of card #1 then let the scans do the talking:

This set does a nice enough job as a tribute to the 1984 set, this set came out at a peak collecting time for me and I enjoy it.  I have never taken the steps to rank card designs but I would have guess this one would fall somewhere in the middle of the 80s for me.

If you are interested in a look back at other sets I have shared from 2019 Topps Series 1 you can link here:

150 Years of Professional Baseball