Thursday, August 22, 2019

Rapid Robert Finally Lands in My HOF Auto Collection

Quick post today but in my opinion an exciting add to my HOF Auto collection.  Bob Feller was a  fairly prevalent signer in the hobby until his passing in 2010 and his cards aren't too expensive or hard to come across so it was a little surprising to me that I hadn't added this icon to my HOF Auto collection.

I decided to pick up this 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game on card auto.  I really like the image on the card and when I can get an on card auto over a sticker auto it is preferred.

Bob's signature is nice and bold and as they did at the start of the auto insertion timeline, there is an embossed seal certifying from Fleer that the auto is authentic.

Feller started his career with the Indians in the major leagues as a 17 year old, never spending time in the minors.  His entire career was in Cleveland, over 20 years from start to finish, but it was interrupted by a 4-year stint serving America in World War II.  He was perhaps best known for his blazing fastball evidenced by his nicknames - Rapid Robert, Bullet Bob and The Heater from Van Meter. 

Feller threw 3 no-hitters and 12 one-hitters in his career and won 266 games with 2581 strikeouts, imagine how those stats would have been even better if he hadn't missed 3 full seasons and a big part of a 4th in the prime of his career. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

1957 Topps Set Quest Update

I set some goals at the beginning of the year and the first goal was to do some work on my 1957 Topps set.  I really just started going after this set late last year when I picked up a few nice conditioned team cards at a local auction.  With some late in the year pick ups, I was down to needing 334 cards of the 407 card set on 1/1.  However, I decided to take a new approach to building this set and instead of trying to accumulate as many of the commons as possible to shorten the want list, I decided to try going after the bigger cards first.

I used the Beckett value as a guide knowing it wasn't accurate from a price perspective but generally reliable on which of the cards in the set are most valuable.  My want list included 30 cards with a book value of $100 or more and I decided I would shoot for 1 card per month for a total of 12 cards in 2019.  Since I stopped blogging during the middle of the year, I never did an update post on my goals and thought I would rectify that today.

This has been the goal I have spent the most time and money going after this year and I am happy to report that I have exceeded my goal and have picked up 14 cards from my want list so far this year.  I thought about breaking this up into multiple posts but who knows how long my blogging streak will continue so I will share them all today.  I have been keeping track of where I got them and how much I paid so I will share that with you as well.  Might give you an idea of what this set will cost if you decided to pursue it.

I have actually posted about two of the pickups:

1957 Topps Whitey Ford #25 - BV $160 purchased for $13.99 on eBay

1957 Topps Don Drysdale RC #18 - BV $500 purchased for $53.99 on Sportlots auction

The rest will go in the order I picked them up:

1957 Topps Dodgers Sluggers #400 - BV $240 purchased for $29.99 on COMC

1957 Topps Billy Martin #62 - BV $100 purchased for $20.25 on COMC

1957 Topps Warren Spahn #90 - BV $160 purchased for $15 on COMC

1957 Topps Larry Doby PSA 4 #85 - BV $100 purchased for $10 on Facebook

1957 Topps Richie Ashburn #70 - BV $160 purchased for 8.05 on COMC

1957 Topps Al Kaline #125 - BV $200 purchased for $25.65 on COMC

1957 Topps Eddie Mathews #250 - BV $120 purchased for $10.15 on COMC

1957 Topps Willie Mays PSA 3 #10 - BV $600 purchased for $70 at a local card show

1957 Topps Gil Hodges #80 - BV $100 purchased for $7 on Sportlots auction

1957 Topps Pee Wee Reese #30 - BV $160 purchased for $10.50 on Sportlots auction

1957 Topps Hank Aaron #20 - BV $600 purchased for $41.00 on Sportlots auction

1957 Topps Frank Robinson RC #35 - BV $600 purchased for $70 at CA LCS

 Overall I am pretty happy with each of my purchases and very surprised that I have made such great progress so far this year.  I still have biggies to get (Mantle, Yankee Power Hitters, Brooks RC, Clemente, Koufax and Ted Williams) but it has been nice to get a number of the higher dollar card off the want list.

I have picked up some commons but not a ton. As of right now I have 183 of 407 cards so my want list has shrunken from 334 to 224.  I feel confident this one will eventually be complete which is very exciting.  Perhaps my biggest question is which will be done first, 1957 Topps or 1972 Topps?

Monday, August 19, 2019

McCovey Monday #94 - 2019 Allen and Ginter

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.

When I decided to start blogging again in the last couple weeks, I decided to take a different approach.  I think part of the reason I took a break was that it wasn't as much fun as it had been in the past and at the root of that was a shift in my goals around the blog.  When I started, it was to take part in the community and share the things I liked about my hobby.  Over time the number of comments and views started to drive my satisfaction level.  If I took a lot of time on a post or came up with what I thought was a particularly great idea that ended up with a low view count and no comments it bothered me.

I am not as creative or as talented of a writer as Night Owl.  I don't have tons of local card shows to attend and pick up cheap cardboard goodness on a budget like Dime Box.  My flea markets aren't loaded with tons of sports cards adn memorabilia like Fuji.  Those are some of the reasons that I enjoy their blogs and why I try to read them as often as possible.  As I reflected, I realized the fun for any blogger who does it for fun has to come from doing and sharing what you like in your blog.

Maybe my approach will come across as self-indulgent and maybe it is.  But, moving forward I just plan on sharing what feels right when I have some time to blog.  I am looking at this endeavor as a way to document my collecting journey and if anyone wants to go along on the journey with me that would be awesome.  I am definitely not trying to drive people away but I am not overly concerned about view counts.

If you have made it this far, you might wonder why these discussion points are leading off a McCovey Monday post.  This is my first McCovey Monday post in about 2 years and the primary reason I stopped posting about my favorite player collection was due to a lack of comments and page views whenever I posted one of these. I plan on starting them up again and will draw joy from sharing my McCovey cards - my new goal with blogging.

Today I am going to share the McCovey cards from one of the most recent Topps release that includes Willie Mac.

I was very happy to see McCovey included in this year's Allen & Ginter release.  The photo selection, the cropping of the picture and old stadium background make for a great card.  So far I have picked up the base card, the gold border parallel, the regular back mini and the Brooklyn back mini /25.  Super happy to track down the Brooklyn back.

I still have a ways to go with the card variations.  I don't realistically expect to pick up any of the 1/1s (there are 7 different 1/1s), the metal mini /3 or the X Mini Red /5.  So here is my want list for this year's McCovey Ginter set:

Ginter Greats insert
Mini A&G back
Mini Black Border
Mini Framed Cloth /10
Mini Gold Border
Mini No Number /50
Mini Stained Glass /25
Rip Card /50 (will take a ripped or unripped)
X base
X Mini

If you happened to pull any of these and are up for a trade drop me a note.  Look for some more McCovey Monday posts in the near future.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Some Vintage Goodness

The day after my the 2nd post restarting my blog and talking about Facebook purchases, I saw a lot of vintage cards pop up on the Facebook Marketplace.  There was a single picture of a group of 10 cards including the 1972 Topps Roberto Clemente I posted a few days ago with an asking price of $150.  I was interested in a few of the cards including the Clemente so I sent the guy a message asking about condition.

He wrote back quickly with a description (that ended up not being all that accurate) and messaged me back again quickly asking about my level of interest.  I wrote back asking if he would consider letting them go for $120 and he responded saying he would if I could meet him that day at a location about 40 minutes from my home.

This was early in the day, right as I was getting ready to head to work.  I checked my schedule and realized my first meeting wasn't until late morning so we agreed on a spot and I was on my way.  It was an easy meet up and transaction - a little small talk, I got the chance to inspect the cards then decided to get them.  He actually brought an extra card and threw it is so I got 11 cards.  I think I did all right, feel free to let me know your thoughts.

I figured I would share them all, minus the 72 Clemente, in reverse order of my excitement level.

10. 1972 Topps Thurman Munson In Action - This was the throw in card and while I like it, it is one of the least valuable and I already have it for my 1972 Topps set build.

9. 1971 Topps Steve Garvey - As a young Giants fan, there was nobody I disliked more in the game of baseball than Steve Garvey so even though this is his rookie, that carryover puts Mr. Clean towards the bottom of my list.

 8. 1972 Topps Reggie Jackson In Action - I love Reggie, I collect Reggie but I have this card in my set, I have this card in my player collection and I had another as well making this my 4th copy of this card.  So, while I like it, the excitement level wasn't too high to add the 4th.

7. 1972 Topps Reggie Jackson - ditto from above (including the number of these in my collection)

6. 1962 Topps Boog Powell - A nice rookie card of Orioles legend John "Boog" Powell.  From this card forward I am pretty excited about all the cards.  I don't see me going after the 1962 set for quite a while but I will hold onto this for that day.

5. 1972 Topps Hank Aaron - I have this card for my set build and this isn't in the greatest condition but I am a big fan of Hammerin' Hank and this card in particular.

4. 1972 Topps Willie Mays -  Hank is pretty high on my favorite list of ball players but The Say Hey Kid is even higher.  I have one of these for my set and one in the Giants binder but I was happy to get another in this deal.

3. 1955 Topps Warren Spahn - 1955 is one of the least represented sets in my collection and while I think the look of the 1956 set is nicer, this is still a great looking set.  Having a Hall of Famer like this is my collection puts a smile on my face.  The condition of this isn't terrible, there is a ding on the top and the card is not centered well but I think it is a great looking specimen. 

2. 1965 Topps Roberto Clemente -  This is the card the seller was most impressed with - he has it in a one touch and told me it would grade a 7.  Well if you look at the bottom left corner there is a crease so a 7 is out of the question.  Regardless it is a nice looking card and once I get my 1972 and 1957 sets done or close to done, 1965 may be next on the list.

1. 1968 Topps Johnny Bench - While the 65 Clemente and 55 Spahn stood out in the pick, this is the card that really got me interested, a Johnny Bench Rookie!  This is a card I asked for condition details and he accurately describe it quite well.  It isn't perfect but I think it looks quite nice.  I have been tempted to start a 1968 set build a number of times but the presence of this card and the Ryan rookie have scared me a way a bit. Having one in my possession makes it pretty likely that I will seek out a starter lot of base cards one day fairly soon.

So what do you think of this purchase?  I don't think I broke the bank but think I did pretty well.

Friday, August 16, 2019

McCovey Stretch Drive Bobblehead

Last year my favorite player from my youth, Willie McCovey passed away.  I don't recall ever addressing it in this blog, in all honesty it was a little hard to deal with when a hero of my youth passed away.  I think there were some thoughts of me approaching the half century mark coupled with some health issues that my doctor sprung on me that made me struggle a bit.

Lately my attitude has started to shift.  I have sought out some old articles about McCovey from his playing days, had some good discussions with my dad about some games we went to when I was a kid and spending more time celebrating his career and enjoying the memories.  I have also had some success on the health related front which may have helped a bit too.

I was watching a Giants game on a little while back and there was an ad for the Junior Giants fund.  It is a charity in the San Francisco area to help kids play baseball.  They were reaching the end of this year's Stretch Drive, a movement that McCovey helped start, to fund raise.  Based on your donation amount, you could qualify for a gift.  The combination of the good cause and the prize had me online quickly to make my donation.

A couple days back, my gift arrived and I am very happy to add this bobblehead to my McCovey collection:

Here is the front view of the bobblehead out of the box.  I don't have a ton of bobblehead as I don't have tons of display room but this McCovey has a spot right on my desk for now.

Here is a view of the back with his name and famous #44 across the back:

On one side of the box, there is some more info about the charity this supports.

I know my dad has made an annual donation to the Stretch Drive and I think I will start that up in honor and memory of my favorite player.  Gift or not it is a great cause in support of the legacy of a great man.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Just for the "F" of It #15

It has been well over a year since I shared a card that I picked up Just for the "F" of it (that is fun for those of you who are new to the blog or don't have a long memory).  For this post I decided to share a set of 5 cards that I have picked up over the years.

These cards were inserted into 2008 Topps Finest and I recall a little bit of a stir when they first came out.  These were unannounced autos, Topps didn't share that these would be inserted prior to them starting to pop up in boxes.  The stir was caused when people thought or assumed that these were replacing autos of actual baseball players but I believe that wasn't the case, they were extra hits.

Topps TV is a YouTube channel put on by Topps and the first videos were back in 2006 with the oldest video on the channel being a rip of a case of 2006 Bowman Sterling Football.  These auto cards showcase the "characters" featured on the channel doing interview and card rips.  The channel was semi-active until 2012 then stopped producing content for a few years, starting back up in 2016.  Since then there has been some sporadic posting with the most recent being a Marvel promo just a few days ago.

 I picked up the Rachael and Felicia years ago at my LCS in CA.  They had a bid board and if stuff didn't sell it went into a 50% off bin at 50% off the starting price on the bid board.  I picked up Rachael and Felicia Just for the "F" of it, I think for 50 cents a piece.
Rachael's bat grip reminds me of an old school Ty Cobb grip

Felicia has some very nice penmanship, I wish some of the baseball signers would try this hard to make their auto legible

A few months back I was looking through and sorting some cards and came across the autos of these blond beauties and decided to find out a little more about the set.  My research resulted in the knowledge that there were a total of 5 cards in the set.  I quickly went over to COMC and found all 3 that I needed for pretty low prices and I picked them up.

Lindsey's auto looks like "UN" to me, do you think they are really twins?

Hollie was the only one to take the time and write her last name

I wonder if the "wow" inscription makes this a rare variation?
The ladies were all considered Rip Girls with Alan being the Rip Master, I wonder if that would fly just 11 years later in our ever increasing PC world?

This appears to be a case of the set completionist getting the best of me.  Ever go after a set just because?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Rekindling a Quest

One of my collection focuses has always been around building Topps flagship sets.  I started collection in 1979 but the first set I collected was the 1981 Topps set.  I vividly recall trading way to much to my buddy for the last card I needed, #221 Bob Davis.  The feeling of completing a set was incomparable and I still get a little burst of dopamine when I mark the final card off a want list.

Years ago I set a goal to complete all the Topps flagship sets back to my year of birth, 1971.  For at least the last 2-3 years the one set I couldn't complete was the 1972 Topps set.  I was able to finish much of the set with the exception of the high number series.  I am usually a fairly persistent collector but the scarcity of the the high series and the cost of the cards I saw available made me do something I just don't do - I quit.  I made a firm decision to give up on the set with a thought that maybe I would stumble onto a large lot of them some day or find a seller at a National Card Show that I didn't have planned to attend but otherwise my goal to get all the sets from my birth year forward was no longer a goal.

Still loving to work on sets, I have completed the 1970 and 1969 Topps sets in the last couple years.  I even started working on a 1957 Topps set.  I had visions of having every Topps set since 1957 done with the exception of that dreaded high series of 1972.  I doubt I will ever get all the 1960s set completed but that's where my head was at.

One day I was looking at my want list and doing some math and asked myself if I had prematurely accepted defeat.  I figured that at just over 100 cards needed, if I were to pick up 3 cards per month I would be able to finish the set in around 3 years.  That spoke to me in the moment so I went onto COMC and found 3 cards that didn't bust my budget and picked them up.  The quest was back on.

I haven't been scanning to share on my blog or keeping great track of my progress.  I do think there was a month where I didn't get any but there were a couple times I picked up more that 3 from a seller doing a set break on eBay.   I did pick up one of the few non-high number cards I needed off a Facebook seller and I will share the entire haul soon, didn't want 2 Facebook posts in a row.

I have always loved this card and am so happy to have one in my collection.  I always thought the floating ball looked super cool then add in an iconic player in one of my favorite uniforms with an interesting background, you have cardboard perfection.

So I am sure everyone (everyone seems to be a pretty small number these days, 4 months of no posting can sure have an impact on the number of page views) is on pins and needles wondering what my status is on the set.  Well let me share that with you.

As of today, I need:
  • 1 Series 3 card (#300 Hank Aaron In Action)
  • 1 Series 4 card (#491 Lou Pinella Kid Pix)
  • 3 Series 5 cards (including #559 Pete Rose & #595 Nolan Ryan)
  • 70 Series 6 cards (including 2 Carews, Carlton Traded, Robinson Traded, Morgan Traded, and the Cey RC)
The Series 3 & 4 card, along with a couple other cards I have already picked up, were knocked off my want list but when I bindered the set they were missing.  I have 2 Series 5 and 7 Series 6 cards sitting in my COMC account.  I obviously have a lot of work to do but I have knocked more than 20 cards off the list in the last few months so I feel good about my progress.

I am going to have to lay out some series cash for the Rose, Ryan and probably half the remaining high numbers but as they say, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  This will definitely be my most difficult set build, do any of you have any stories of difficult card collecting quests?