Saturday, January 25, 2014

Something new

After my earlier look at some of the vintage goodies that Nick at Dime Boxes sent me for winning his thousandth-post contest, let's examine some of the more recent cards that happened to land in my mailbox. Perhaps these newer cards don't have quite as much character as the vintage, as is true for most any manufactured item, but they have a beauty all their own, not to mention the pin-sharp photographs and (usually) glossy surfaces.

Adding to my Coors Field mini-collection, here's one of Luis A. Gonzalez, who played for my hometown Rockies from 2004-2006.

2006 Fleer Ultra #150 Luis Gonzalez
This is not the famed Luis E. Gonzalez of the Astros and Diamondbacks, the one who drove in the championship-winning hit of the 2001 World Series (that one still hurts), but it's still a great shot of Gonzalez at his primary 2B position, with a bonus view of the manually-operated out of town scoreboard in right field at Coors.

I also mentioned to Nick that I am a sucker for anything shiny or serial-numbered. To fill that want, he included these two parallels from 2013 Topps Update.

2013 Topps Update Emerald #US289 Kevin Correia
2013 Topps Update Gold #US291 Logan Schafer /2013

But these just aren't any parallels. That Emerald parallel on the left has to be one of the prettiest baseball cards I've ever seen. And the serial-numbered Gold parallel on the right matches the Brewers' alternate gold jerseys quite well.

This next one is a certainly a bit of an oddity. Clearly a Photoshop job, and a rather silly one at that.

2008 Upper Deck #326 Justin Maxwell RC
Upper Deck, who is so well-known for advancing the level of photography in this hobby with their 1989 set, is reaching a bit in my opinion. Surely this is supposed to be showing the construction of Nationals Park, which opened in 2008, but no umpire? No backstop? Construction workers loafing around? In fact, I was rather surprised to learn this wasn't some wacky short print like Topps' Abraham Lincoln cards in 2010, but actually his real, true, MLBPA-approved rookie card.

And what is Jim Thome holding while beginning a trot around the basepaths after slugging his 500th career home run?
2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces #23 Jim Thome
It looks more like a ramrod for a Revolutionary War cannon than a baseball bat to me. Kudos on 612 career homers, though.

And last, a non-baseball baseball card, this one from Topps American Pie.

2002 Topps American Pie #88 Buzz Aldrin
I've read numerous posts on Dime Boxes about the American Pie sets, but this is the first example I've owned. I really couldn't pick a better one to start the collection, as I am a total space nerd. To prove this, you can even see a comment I made nitpicking another moon landing card from the 2001 American Pie set. That card refers to the 1969 landing but shows a picture from Apollo 15 in 1971, the first Apollo mission to carry the lunar rover. But that really is Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 veteran Buzz Aldrin behind the reflective visor above, strolling around the moon in July 1969.

Nick assures me that his inclusion of this card in my contest winnings was purely a coincidence.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Something old

Vintage is a pretty small part of my collection. Without spending a massive amount of money, it's pretty tough to build up much of a collection of older baseball cards, especially if condition is important to you. For us younger fans, commons may not be as interesting simply because we haven't heard of most of the featured players. Which, of course, is why Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays cards go for several hundred to several thousands of dollars.

And since I only had two or three dollars a week to spend on cards when I was nine years old, my collection started to fill with 1993 Fleer and 1991 Topps, rather than rare items from 1962.

Anyway, the featured highlights from the thousandth-post contest at Dime Boxes consisted primarily of vintage goodies, significantly increasing my collection of older cards. Let's take a look at what Nick sent my way.

Who better to start with than The Mad Hungarian?

1974 Topps #108 Al Hrabosky
A fairly interesting photo for a 1974 card. With as far as baseball card photography has come since then, can you imagine how interesting cards would be that show him stomping around the mound and his pre-pitch warmup antics?

Here's Harmon Killebrew, the player whom the current MLB logo is allegedly modeled after. This one is in particularly good shape. Nice bat-barrel shot, too.

1972 Topps #51 Harmon Killebrew
There is a general strangeness about some of these cards, what with their empty dugouts and odd pitch release points.

1971 Topps #143 Steve Blass
1973 Topps #235 Jim Hunter
It was a decade of giant things. Giant cars, giant glasses, giant pant legs, giant ties, giant catcher's mitts...
1969 Topps #209 Larry Haney
...giant Afros...
1977 Topps #610 Jose Cardenal

...giant hair in general, come to think of it.
1980 Topps #405 Dwight Evans
But now for something non-giant...
1975 Topps Mini #123 Johnny Briggs

1975 Topps Mini #456 Bob Coluccio

1975 Topps MIIINNIIIIISSS!!!, as Night Owl so lovingly calls them, though with far more repeating letters. Glad to finally have a couple of these in my collection. As influential as Night Owl is, I don't think you're really part of this community until you can show some of these '75 minis off.

And last, a card I actually had a copy of already, surprisingly enough. I guess it's not an acquisition of new baseball cards without some duplicates in the mix. This one of "Spaceman" Bill Lee is available for trade.

1979 Topps #455 Bill Lee
Thanks again to Nick for this great stack of vintage!

Next time, some of the newer stuff.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's about time!

I am about to turn 30, and baseball card collecting has been an off-and-on hobby of mine since 1993. Astute baseball fans will recognize that year as the inaugural year of the Colorado Rockies. Yes, also the Florida/Miami Marlins, but that's not the team that got me hooked on the sport of baseball and its related collectibles.

I came of age in this hobby smack in the middle of the "junk wax" craze, when every third strip mall had a card shop, and we were all stockpiling 1991 Topps and 1992 Fleer as though it was our ticket to a life of wealth and luxury. Sadly, that was not to be, though I seemed to maintain enough interest in this hobby to keep most of my cards around all these years.

I still stop by the local card shop from time to time, I have a few local dealers I see once or twice a year, and I'll even pick up something at Target or eBay once in a while. In other words, I do not breathe, eat, and sleep this hobby like some of the other bloggers in this community, but I still have an appreciation and a healthy sense of nostalgia.

There are a few hundred blogs in this community, but I can't say I read too many of them. For a while, I read JB Anama's BDJ610's Topps Baseball Card Blog and the Dodger-centric Night Owl Cards. I've even glanced at Cards From the Quarry (because Go Rockies!) and Garvey Cey Russell Lopes (because there are an awful lot of Dodger fans in this community). But time constraints don't really leave room for much more.

I've even done a handful of trades. Several months ago, I sent some 1993 Upper Deck to TTG at From An Unlikely Source and he responded with a stack of Colorado Rockies cards, which were much appreciated.

But I really have to give full credit for my decision to finally join the blogosphere to Nick at Dime Boxes, who runs the best baseball card blog out there, in my opinion. He and I have done a few trades in recent months. In fact, I was the one who sent him the "Starter Kit" he blogged about in September, and I was ecstatic to see he was so pleased with the selection of cards and supplies I sent him.

So when I randomly won his New Year's contest a few weeks ago, and a stack of a couple hundred cards showed up in my mailbox earlier this week, complete with all the vintage goodies he promised, I decided I had to do justice to such a random act of kindness. I ordered a scanner on Amazon, and decided to stop lurking and start creating.

I am finally happy to count myself as a member of this highly esoteric yet tight-knit group of baseball card bloggers, and show one of my favorite cards that Nick sent my way.

Try another batting glove.
2007 Upper Deck #339 Roger Clemens

I am a Colorado resident and native, and I have seen most of my professional baseball games at Coors Field. I mentioned this to Nick when he emailed to verify my address and what I collect, and what shows up? A broken-bat shot of 300+-game winner Clemens at Coors Field. I've read enough Dime Boxes to know that Nick is a huge fan of pitchers at the plate and broken bats. Combine the two and I can't even imagine how tough it must have been for him to tear this out of his collection.

But that level of generosity showed me that it was about time for me to just "start a blog already!" (as it appears on my to-do list) and join what I have found to be a generous and passionate community.

There is plenty more where that came from, but that will have to wait for a later post.