Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 25)

Day 25: A favorite oddball card from the 1970s
"What is that?" you ask. "Is that a random small photo that somehow made its way onto COMC?
Well, kind of. Except the back identifies it as an actual trading card!

TCMA issued dozens of topical sets in the 1970s. And while people collect Topps because of its longevity, people look for TCMA sets for their history. TCMA is one of several brands that issued smaller sets featuring retired players who hadn't had a baseball card in years, or ever at all.

When I was a kid absorbing all he could learn about cards, I bought my first Beckett Almanac and studied all of the sets inside. I loved reading about the old tobacco and caramel sets, and dreamed of someday owning them. I knew that wasn't really possible, but a kid can dream, right?

And as I continued looking through the guide, I saw all of the sets issued by TCMA, Laughlin, Colla, and Fritsch. TCMA probably did it best, selling sets from around 1972-1987. The simple card you see above is "just" for my type collection, and is pretty simple and uninteresting on its own. But this card represents the beginning of the TCMA era, as it comes from their first set listed in my SCM guide.

I have type cards from most of TCMA's mini sets, and several of their issues have helped supply more-affordable cards of early stars for other parts of my collection. And I can see this particular set becoming very helpful for my one-of-every-player collection, too.

I think the simplicity of the card adds to its appeal. Many of TCMA's early issues have backs that appear to have been finished on a typewriter - the basic design might have been typeset with individual card information typed over a template. The most appealing of TCMA's sets are the 1952 Bowman "extension" and the other art cards they issued, mostly in the 1980s. But even with these relatively unappealing or simple designs, the other sets are great for player, team, or historical collectors.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 24)

Day 24: A favorite oddball card from the 1960s
As a kid, I had plenty of time for reading books. And when I got into baseball, I naturally started picking up baseball related literature. I read a few novels, but what I really liked were true stories. I read a biography on Babe Ruth and studied baseball statistics reference books. One of my favorite types of books were the ones full of short non-fiction tales. These were more than just simple stories of victory or adversity, instead focusing on the strange. Some books told about players like Eddie Gaedel, while others retold stories of big blunders on and off the field.

The Nu-Cards Baseball Scoops set is just like that, giving a very short look at some of the more interesting happenings in baseball, both memorable (like Gehrig's consecutive streak record) and slightly odd (like the blown call above). I would love to have a full 80-card set! Someday, I might try to put one together.
Honorable Mention today goes to the 1969-76 Fleer Cloth Patches. Team logos are art, too, and logo stickers are a fun oddball to collect. The Indians logo above probably won't be revived anytime soon.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 23)

Day 23: A favorite oddball card from the 1950s

I don't have many 1950s cards, and those that I do have aren't exactly oddballs. I love oddballs, but getting them isn't easy, especially not living in the US. I could scour eBay for bargains or spend lots of time on COMC checking for new cards I don't have. I could, but I don't have time for that.

I could post some more menko cards from the 1950s - for all of you in the States, menko cards are oddballs. But those were the norm back then, so I feel it's cheating just a little to do so.
As far as US cards go, I think the 1950s Red Man cards are beautiful, with nice paintings of the players. The best ones have visible stadium backgrounds instead of solid color backgrounds, like the Robin Roberts you see above.
Honorable Mention goes to this game card for the very visible beanball. I mean, he could have been hit in the arm or leg, or even drilled in the ribs. But, no, the 1957 Ed-U-Cards baseball game chose to show this poor cartoon guy getting a concussion. He's not even wearing a helmet!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 22)

Day 22: A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

We're moving into the final quarter of this challenge, and I must say that it's been fun. There is a tall stack of other stuff for me to post, but I doubt I'll be getting to that until next month. I guess I won't run out of post ideas for a while, huh?
While this comes from an insert set, it's not supposed to be terribly uncommon. In fact, based on odds at BaseballCardPedia.com, it's one of the most common inserts found in packs - 1:4. I didn't have much trouble finding the other 9 first series cards, and I'm pretty sure I have the SP 11th card found in the second series.

But for some reason, the NHL Winter Classic card remained quite elusive. Elusive to the point that it's not found on COMC (sold out), Sportlots, or eBay. I finally got one in an eBay auction last year, but this card is one tough cookie. Is someone hoarding all of the copies? Was it short printed?
From a base set, one card that I finally got was the Robinson Cano from 2008 Stadium Club. Again, not quite a "common" card, as '08 SC has a ton of short prints. But there are 999 copies of this card, and I've never seen one. The whole 2008 Stadium Club set is full of short prints and variations, and to get around the difficulty and price of obtaining the regular SP'ed base cards, I have been getting parallels too. Many times, the parallels have been the only versions available, and in several other cases, they are cheaper than the base cards. Just yesterday, I picked up a parallel from Sportlots to finish off the "short" veteran base set.

My '08 Stadium Club set is getting closer to being a full master base set - I have all of the veteran base cards (or parallels) and the "A" version rookies, most of the "B" version rookies (41/50), and a handful of cards from the autographed rookies subset.
I'm not sure how "common" they are, but finding an affordable card of the following 2005-06 basketball sets still elude me:

  • Finest 103, 104
  • Big Game 142, 143
  • First Row 146
Those are premium releases, and the cards are of celebrities - Jay Z, Shannon Elizabeth, and so on. I've finished off the other subsets from that year, but those five cards remain evasive. I think some of them are SPed. That quad relic isn't on my want list, though it would be neat to have.
I haven't chased it extensively, but there are some common cards from a fairly common set I still don't have. The 1996 Collect-A-Card Centennial Olympics set remains unfinished, as I still need #2, 18, 22, 56, 64, and 105. And the POGs #11 and 18. And posters #4, 6, 7, 10, 15, 16, and 17. That base card above is one of only three listed on COMC, and the asking price is $10 (currently on sale for $6.25). I can buy a whole set on eBay for less than that if I really want to!

So those are the cards that did and still do remain missing from my collection. Can anyone help a collector out?

Friday, April 21, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 21)

Day 21: A card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in

I'm not the investing type. I only buy Bowman for my type collection, not for prospecting. I don't hoard RCs and keep an eye on who's hot and who's not. It's entirely possible I have a 1993 SP Jeter rookie sitting in a box in Georgia. Or any other 1990s high-value rookie card.

When opening cards at a shop, occasionally I'd get a card that the owner expressed interest in; "Oh, he's going to be good for Seattle next year!" "That's the best rookie in the set!" I'd get a little happy with my luck and completely forget about it.

If anything, I'm the opposite. When I buy cards for my type collection, I go after the cheap players. For the Awards collection, I wait if I can't find a cheap card for the ROY award. I rarely, if ever, collect sets focused on rookies, unless it matches one of my existing collections (Diamond Kings, for example).

That said, there are two players that I've collected since their rookie years.
The first was Jose Altuve. I was very impressed by his action on the field in 2011 when I saw him a couple times in the LA area. And I got a bat he broke during the game, which I will keep in my collection. Who needs relic cards when you have actual relics? Anyway, as soon as I saw him on cardboard, I grabbed what I could. Obviously, he's turned out to be a very good player, and there are a few cards I can't find at reasonable prices that I missed out before.
The second is Buck Farmer. I collect him because he was my student in high school and I was a coach for the baseball team. I'd love for him to make it big, but I'll never sell my collection of his cards even if he does.

So I'm not really investing in either player, though a good bit of money has gone into each collection.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 20)

Day 20: Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

I'm all about oddballs, and while I don't buy much of it, I love vintage. So I started thinking about vintage parallels and oddballs. Checking my database, the first real parallel can probably be considered to be the 1975 Topps mini set. It was a unique release, though, not marketed with the regular cards as a parallel.

You could go back further than that. Tobacco cards had a variety of backs based on the product the cards came in, but most people consider those variations, not parallels. And I do too. But I do think having all those different card backs would be cool!

The Desert Storm parallels for 1991 Topps are great because they were a unique gesture on Topps' part for troops fighting overseas. And they paved the way for 1992's Topps Gold and Leaf Black Gold. And every other parallel that exists today. (Yes, Topps Tiffany came first, but it wasn't packed out, only a luxury form of complete set.)

But what's my favorite?

Topps Chrome Refractors.

The regular refractors look pretty cool; I liked refractors all the way back in 1993 when they debuted with Finest. And those 1993 Finest Refractors are beautiful. But I like Chrome's parallels better simply because of the rainbow of colors they offer. Sure, Finest has colored refractors too, but Chrome's colors just look better on those "white" bordered cards Chrome was itself a parallel of.
It wasn't until 2002 that Topps Chrome got colored refractors. And it was only black and gold.
In 2003, they added silver. That's kind of confusing, since the base refractors are essentially silver.
Two more types were added in 2004 - red x-fractors in the regular set followed by regular, but uncirculated, x-fractors in the traded set.
The 1/1 Superfractor made its debut in 2005 as a gold card.
The blue debut came in 2006.
We had white in 2007. This made sense in a year where the base cards were black, negating the black refractors.
2008 saw the first copper refractor.
2009 was same-as-always. But in the 2010 base set, two new colors appeared: orange and purple. Another color would show up in a wrapper redemption:
Green had been a part of Finest for a while, but it didn't come to Chrome until 2010.
I count 13 parallels in all in 2011 Chrome. And a few were new. Atomic Refractors and Sepia Refractors were most common.
The Gold Canary Diamond was the most challenging, with a 1-per print run.
After no new colors the next year, 2013 brought camo and pink as two limited parallels.
Topps must have ran out of ideas, because again 2014 saw nothing and 2015 only saw Prism, which is a variation on SuperFractor, X-Fractor, and Atomic Refractor styles.
And 2016 saw Blue Wave, another variation on the previous year.

There's no doubt that white borders give Topps Chrome better parallel options, but the new etching-style refractors add a bit of a twist to the old colors. I count 20 total refractor types over the years, though Topps certainly doesn't issue 20 parallels each year. By the way, here's a comparison of a few sets based on my data (some Asia parallels might be missing?):
  • Topps Chrome (2016): 9 refractors
  • Topps Finest (2016): 9 refractors
  • Bowman Prospects (2016): 9 paper parallels, 11 refractors
  • Donruss Optic (2016): 12 parallels
  • Panini Prizm (2015): 15 parallels
  • Pacific Prism (2000): 15 parallels

  • Upper Deck Masterpieces (2007): 18 parallels
Panini put out more in Optic and 2015 Prizm, but Chrome remains my favorite. Those 2015 Prizm parallels have been fun to collect, though - the only one I don't have for Buck Farmer is the 1/1 Black Finite. And those Upper Deck Masterpieces parallels are very difficult to distinguish from each other at times.

Did I miss any other super-parallel sets?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 19)

Day 19: A favorite card from a country other than the United States

I could take the easy route. I live in Japan and have a ton of cool Japanese cards to choose from. Menkos, old Calbee cards, bromides, autographs, relics. Ichiro's rookie card. And so on, and so on, and scooby dooby doo.

Instead, let's dig deep.
 
First is this autographed card from the CPBL. It's numbered out of 200, and is one of two autographs I have from CPBL releases. I like it not just because it's autographed, but because it has a clean, attractive design. If I remember correctly, the base cards from this year had a similar color scheme with a design that resembles a letter or envelope. It has hints of retro but isn't quite throwback.

I really should go back to Taiwan to visit the card shops and go to more games. And do some sightseeing too, of course!
I also really like this credit card-style card from 1991 (if I'm doing the year-math correctly). It's one of the first CPBL card issues and has a nice clean design. Plus, it's difficult to damage! While the CPBL is still young, it's great to have some cards from the league's infancy.

I have a few other CPBL cards, but not enough. I'd really like to get caught up on my type collection and discover what they've offered up over the past five years!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 18)

Day 18: A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team
Meet Bobbly Cox. Bobbly Cox is the newest bobblehead in my collection. Bobbly Cox is done in the likeness of Bobby Cox, the Hall of Fame manager of one of my favorite teams.

Without any intention for today's post, I picked this up today from a secondhand shop. I didn't notice the little label on the box, but it turns out that the little Hall of Fame plaque at the bottom had broken off. Someone must have tried gluing it back together, and it broke again. A few drops of superglue later, and we'll see how well it holds going forward.

Bobby Cox isn't a player I collect, yet. But now that I have this bobblehead, I'll eventually get to making a collection of his managerial and playing day career.
Speaking of which, Bobby didn't see much action on the field until he was in charge. He played some third base for the Yankees in the late 1960s, but had bad knees so basically gave that up. He also played a few years in the Venezuelan Winter League. With very little playing time, he has only one mainstream card: his 1969 Topps card. I don't have it yet; I do have plenty of Cox from his managerial career scattered throughout my collection though. I find it interesting that Cox was an All-Star rookie that year, despite being on his way out. He managed to get 9 home runs and 58 RBIs during his brief time with the Yankees, finishing with a .225 batting average.
In the 1970s, Bobby Cox got his start in the dugout as a coach and manager in the Yankees minor league system and managing in Venezuela. He was the first base coach on the World Series Champion 1977 Yankees.

As manager, Cox started with the 1978 Braves before moving to Toronto. His first stint in Atlanta wasn't very successful overall (266-323), but he managed to rebuild a team that would then see some success in the 1980s. He also moved Dale Murphy to the outfield, which probably is the only reason he was eventually able to have a successful career.

In Toronto (355-292), Cox was able to slowly improve the team until they finished first in 1985, eventually losing in the ALCS to the Royals. He then returned to Atlanta as the General Manager, eventually making himself manager in 1990. The next year, after a last place finish, the Braves made it to the World Series. They would make it to the playoffs every year through 2005, an unbelievable accomplishment led mostly by great pitching. Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz would give Cox one World Series ring in 1995.

The 2006 season would be the first of many bad years, and while the Braves made the playoffs in 2010 and 2012, they haven't been anywhere near as dominant as they were in the 1990s. Cox was a mainstay as important as Chipper Jones in Atlanta, and despite not really having a hot temper, he holds the record for the most ejections - 158. I was at the game on August 14, 2007, when he was ejected for the 132nd time, breaking the previous record held by John McGraw.

Bobby Cox is one of only four managers with more than 2500 victories - he finished with 2504, and a winning percentage of .556. He is also one of only four managers with 2000 victories as manager of one team, and is fourth all time on the managerial wins list. He was named manager of the year four times, and eight times by The Sporting News.

The Braves are one of my favorite teams, owing to the fact that I lived in Atlanta for almost 20 years, through their dynastic period. And they are the team I can associate with the most, as I've seen more games in Atlanta than everywhere else combined. It's only fitting that Bobby Cox is the manager I feature today.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 17)

Day 17: A card from the first set you put together hand collated

This is basically the same for me as day 3. I believe the first set I completed fully was 1992 Topps. And back in 1992, all my cards came from packs - I don't think I traded to finish that set, although I had card collecting friends.

I stopped buying tons of boxes of the same product soon after, instead "sampling" each product with a single box. Back then, it was affordable.. or, at least, my family/I was able to afford it. I don't remember if I hand collated any sets or just bought complete ones. Or maybe I did neither. Or both. Really, who knows? I do remember buying a whole bunch of junk wax at one point and putting together sets - 1990 Donruss, some late-90s non-sport stuff. You know. But since I had no focus and just opened packs and collected for fun, I don't really remember what sets I finished. It just wasn't important. Which may be why I stopped collecting - with no focus, buying boxes had no purpose.

Speaking of non-sport, I spent a lot of money trying to finish the Casper movie card sets. I somehow completed the Fleer set, but I'm still missing cards from the Ultra set.

Does anyone know any non-sport single card dealers? I'd love to finish that and a few other sets.

Anyway, when I got back into baseball card collecting in 2003, I started as a player collector before starting my type collection. I also started chasing insert sets that I liked. (That's three starts in a row...) I've finished a bunch of those sets, some by hand and some through complete-set purchases.

Because I kind of went on a set-buying/building blitz, I can't tell for sure what set I completed first back then.

But, I had a mini-hiatus in 2009-2010, where I collected a little bit but again was focused elsewhere. In 2010 I basically restarted my life, moving back to California, and again returning to cards. And the most important first set I built pack by pack was 2011 Topps.
2011 was a great year for me as far as card collecting goes. There were some great releases, and the flagship set was one of them. I finished the entire set - Series 1, 2 and Update - pack by pack. In fact, I did most of it with retail packs, just like when I was a kid. And not only did I finish the base set, but I also put together the 60 Years of Topps, The Lost Cards, Kimball Champions, and Reproduction insert sets, and earned enough points through the online giveaway to get the Diamond Anniversary factory set, too. Over that year, I would finish a lot of other sets, too, technically before finishing Update, but this one stands out in my mind.

It really was like I was a child again - I would grab a few packs as I checked out at Target or WalMart, and open them up in the car to see what I got. I kept a want list and traded with a few of you all to get the last few singles I needed. Beyond the fun of opening packs and the sense of accomplishment that comes with hand collating a set, the interaction I had sharing the set on this blog and trading with others across the country really made this set the first truly memorable hand collated set I have.

This year is the first year I'm hand-collating the flagship set since 2011. I've finished the first series, and I'll buy jumbo boxes of series 2 and 3 when they hit shelves here too. It's fun, but it won't be the same as that 2011 experience!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 16)

Day 16: A card of a player whom you appreciate but don't like
I hate bat flips. I get the passion, but this peacocking attitude pisses me off. Don't dance in the end zone in football. Don't flip your bat when you hit a home run.

Jose Bautista has over 300 home runs over 14 years, and he comes through in the clutch. But I hate bat flips.

Really, anyone who showboats loses a lot of points in my book. I'm all about celebrating, but quit being Peter Griffin.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 15)

Day 15: One of your favorite cards from the 2010s
Yesterday, I posted about a non-sports card, and today I'll do the same. As I mentioned, a big part of my life is based on entertainment - movies, music, and TV shows. My coworkers would probably tell you at length how annoying I can be when I quote random shows that none of them seem to know.

Tara Reid hasn't made the best choices in her life, but she's had some good movies. Underappreciated, in my opinion, are two of my favorite movies, Van Wilder and Josie and the Pussycats. Of course, she was also in the American Pie movies as well as a couple dozen extremely forgettable comedies and horror films. She was able to play the cute girl role pretty well, though I'm not claiming she was the best. She was acting during a teen-movie renaissance of sorts, with a pretty talented group of peers.

I think I should pull out my DVDs and cue up Van Wilder tomorrow night!

Friday, April 14, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 14)

Day 14: One of your favorite cards from the 2000s


When I stopped collecting in 1998, it was because my interests were elsewhere. There were many things I was, and still am, into back then, but perhaps most importantly during my college years was my interest in movies.

I've always been a big music and movie fan and I love plenty of TV shows, too. From 1998-2002 or so, I worked at Blockbuster Video. Each week, I'd watch my five free movies from our store, plus I'd go to the theater to see a couple of the new releases too. I was a college student, so tickets were cheap. And I went to the theater on days I could get free popcorn, giving me more bang for my buck! And as time passed, I would watch more movies each week - my manager let me use his five free rentals too (he never had time for movies).

Anyway, while my film school graduate coworker would critique every drama that crossed our threshold as if she were writing for the New York Times Film Review magazine, I focused mostly on comedy. Leslie Nielsen was one of my favorite actors. Of his one hundred-plus films, I've seen:

  • Forbidden Planet
  • The Poseidon Adventure
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie
  • Airplane!
  • Prom Night
  • Creepshow
  • Airplane II: The Sequel
  • The Naked Gun
  • The Naked Gun 2-1/2
  • Surf Ninjas
  • Naked Gun 33-1/3
  • Rent-A-Kid
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It
  • Spy Hard
  • Mr. Magoo
  • Wrongfully Accused
  • 2001: A Space Travesty
  • Scary Movie 3
  • Scary Movie 4
  • Superhero Movie
  • An American Carol
  • Stan Helsing
I've seen a lot of the TV shows he's appeared in, too.

Definitely, the standouts are the Airplane movies and Naked Gun trilogy, but I enjoyed Spy Hard, too, and I'm a fan of the Scary Movie series.

I'm glad Nielsen had a certified autograph in at least one set, so I can have a nice memento of his career in my collection.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 13)

Day 13: One of your favorite cards from the 1990s

Back in the 1990s, I collected everything. There are so many interesting sets from that era that I could highlight here Sets that people have long forgotten or don't even know exist.
Do you remember Upper Deck Fun Pack? At the same time that Topps Kids and Donruss Triple Play was being marketed as a children's product, Upper Deck came out with an even more-90s card for children. Collector's Choice was priced for kids, sure, but let's face it: that was a poor man's Upper Deck. This was for kids. And beyond the loud base cards seemingly designed by Nickelodeon, the set had tons of subsets - scratch offs, glow in the dark cards, holograms, and art cards like the Griffey above. It wasn't childish, it was awesome.
And before there was Topps All-Time Fan Favorites, there was the Ted Williams Card Company. The two sets they issued focused on retired players, many of which were local stars. They did subsets on Negro League and AAGPBL stars and created what I think is a very attractive card set that might have been before its time.
There were plenty of failures. Topps might have had the most - DIII was an ultra-premium three-dimensional card that didn't quite live up to the hype. And Topps Embossed didn't last long. Topps Laser was too pricey. Pinnacle tried all kinds of gimmicks too - metal cards (Pinnacle XPress), coins in cards (Pinnacle Mint), cards in cans (Pinnacle Inside), cards in cards (Zenith had rip cards and Pacific had Cardsupials), other jumbo cards (Donruss Studio). I like all of those gimmicks, though. They were an attempt at bringing something new and novel to the card collecting world.

Unfortunately, the three things that came out of the 1990s were parallels (forced supply limitations getting more and more rare), relic cards (which led to controversy over cutting up valuable artifacts, authenticity, and even appropriateness - I remember the "What's next? Sock cards?" discussion coming up in card shops), and autographs. Don't get me wrong, all three of those can be fun to collect, but couldn't we have not been so harsh on Cardsupials?

And yes, cards in cans sound stupid. But the cans are great displays for a collector stacked up on a shelf, or having just one can of your favorite player next to a Starting Lineup figurine. And now cards come in nice wooden boxes or metal tins that people keep and display - with no players on the front at all! Yes, the card set inside Pinnacle Inside was lackluster at best, but the gimmick was sound, even if you needed to raid the kitchen to open your packs.

I digress. The 1990s were the peak of my card collecting years, and I enjoyed the ride. My favorite card is one that you can easily find for less than a buck, though:
Upper Deck's SP cards were some of the most sought-after inserts in their day. MJ playing baseball? Well, before he suited up for the Barons, he took BP in Comiskey Park, and Upper Deck put him on a limited baseball card. Tom Selleck with Frank Thomas for Mr. Baseball. Robin Yount and George Brett reaching career milestones. And in the 2000s, Upper Deck revived the SP inserts. #7: LeBron James tossing out a first pitch in Cleveland.

There are a lot of Upper Deck cards commemorating Rickey Henderson's stolen base record and Nolan Ryan's achievements late in his career, but this one remains my favorite. It's an art card featuring two of my favorite players at their greatest moments. Vernon Wells is probably one of the two most prolific baseball artists out there (Dick Perez, anyone?). So this card remains special for me even today, when I can sometimes find it in quarter or even dime boxes.

Let's not forget that Nolan Ryan's 5000th strikeout was Rickey Henderson. Do you think Rickey did that on purpose when he had the chance, so he would get one more mention in the record books?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 12)

Day 12: One of your favorite cards from the 1980s

The 1980s are full of oddball issues. This is the decade where food issues and one-off sets were the norm. ASA made all kinds of sets early in the 1980s. TCMA put out a bunch of stuff. Later in the decade, Star issued dozens of single-player small sets. Well, they started early, but by the late '80s they were issuing tons of sets each year. Coins came with Slurpees (mmm, frozen sodas), and browsing the cereal aisle in the summer would always turn up at least one box with cards on the back.

While they aren't the most visually attractive sets, TCMA's issues put many historical legends on cardboard for the first time, or at least made them accessible to collectors. They're a great motivator for learning about some of baseballs historically great teams, many of which have been forgotten to the Yankees dynasties or simply time itself.
I don't have any specifically "favorite" cards from this decade, unless I dive into the player collections, but you've seen many of those already. But now is a great time to feature more art - the 1980 Laughlin Famous Feats set. The Mel Ott above is from the second series, and is blank-backed. I like Laughlin sets, with their cartoon images and interesting topics.
The Casey Stengel may have the best image, but Ott is the only card I have from this set. Really, it's discovering oddball sets like this that really drive my interest in my type collection, even if the bulk of what I have is modern day cards.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 11)

Day 11: One of your favorite cards from the 1970s
I don't collect many old-time players. My interest in baseball came in 1989, when Nolan Ryan was still five years from retirement; Mike Schmidt would retire that year, while Ken Griffey Jr. was becoming an instant hit. Nolan Ryan is the only one of my favorite players with a rookie card in the 1960s, with the next-oldest being Charlie Hough.

I saw Hough pitch in person once, but it was watching him pitch the first game for the Florida Marlins that really made me take note. Here was a really old guy just tossing balls at the plate and nobody could hit them. Last year, I finally decided to add Charlie Hough to my player collection, and I have since developed a sizable collection, with 248 different cards of the 349 he has. Yes, I can't quite get that number down to 100... yet.

Charlie Hough's rookie card comes in the 1972 Topps set. He's on one of those cards with three players, appearing alongside Dodgers Bob O'Brien and Mike Strahler. I have the 1972 Topps card,but I also have the O-Pee-Chee card, which is what you see above and below:
I love seeing French on cards. Lanceur... you would think they were holding swords.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 10)

Day 10: One of your favorite cards from the 1960s

I don't have many cards from the 1960s. My type collection has about 60 cards (hey, nice coincidence!) but most of those are in the US. Someday, I will tackle a 1960s Topps set. 
As far as the cards I have "access" to that are in my collection, this one might be my favorite. Card #215 in the 1960 Topps set has Bob Elliott, manager of the Kansas City A's. Why is this card great? The photo on the front looks like a promotional still from a bad live-action Disney movie that would have probably starred Hayley Mills. Elliott is smiling at something off-screen and there's nothing but blue skies behind him! It's the feel-good 1960s baseball comedy your family has been waiting for! The design of the card is simpler than player cards in the set, but this year, managers got a pennant at the top with the team logo and name. And the alternating colored letters at the bottom remind me of a circus.

Then, the back gets a cartoon. Elliott had success as a player, and the cartoons reflect that, instead of the usual team statistics I remember from my early collecting days. His MVP award is the reason I have this card. And I love art on cards! I bought this card on COMC, where it sits waiting for shipment.
 The newest baseball card in my collection is also from the 1960s - 1962, to be exact. This uncut sheet of menko cards is from JCM 14e, 1962 Bat on Right. The set has 40 cards, of which I have 12 all at once. The biggest name on this sheet is McManus (center row, far right), only because he's a foreigner. The real stars in this set are Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima. Imagine if this uncut sheet had both of their cards!
My scanner likes to crop images a little too much for my liking, but this is slightly miscut - short on top and long on bottom. The backs on my cards are green, which is the scarcer variety, though there probably isn't a premium for it.

This sheet has some great images, too - oddly colored photos that show off some classic uniforms of NPB's earlier years. And that's why I love it!