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

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Friday, March 23, 2018

As Luck Would Have It

Sometimes, luck isn't on my side. So many times, things go wrong in life, and you have to take the bad with the good. In the card world, I've completely forgotten about auctions or just happened to miss them. I've had great cards and then let them slip through my fingers. And I'm sure there are plenty of cards sitting in storage that I could have sold at some point in the past and made a pretty penny.

But sometimes things go well. I have more than half of Buck Farmer's 1/1 cards. (Where are the rest? Who has them? Give them to me!) I do occasionally get nice pulls in boxes and packs. And this month, I've managed to knock several cards and sets off my want lists.
59-year-old Otis Nixon had a length career in Major League Baseball, starting in 1983 with the Yankees, then bouncing around the continent: Cleveland, Montreal, Atlanta, Boston, Texas, Toronto, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Atlanta again. Not exactly known for his glove, Nixon was a terror on the base paths, stealing over 100 bases between AA and AAA in 1982.

He is tied for the single-game stolen base record, with six steals on June 16, 1991, and finished his career with 620 swipes. He holds the record for most steals in a career without ever appearing in an All-Star Game. Nixon's career batting average was a respectable .270, though he hit only 11 home runs - less than one per year over 17 seasons.
Otis has had a tough life, battling a cocaine addiction during and after his career. While he claimed to overcome his addiction in 2010, he was found with a crack pipe and some crack in 2013. He went missing last year for a day, though was found safe.

Despite being clumsy with a glove at first, Nixon has a .989 fielding average over his career, and is an Atlanta legend for The Catch in 1992:
It was for his involvement in that great season - my first full year living in Atlanta - that made me want his autograph, and I've been waiting and watching for a long time. The last autograph sold back at the beginning of the year for about $10 shipped, and I didn't even get a chance to bid on it. But I got the above card for only about $7, a happy surprise!

And now I can scratch that piece of history off my want list. It'll display nicely next to my lithograph of The Catch, if I ever settle down and have a man cave again.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

One Card = Two Cards

When it comes to the Olympics, there are two sports I really look forward to: figure skating in the winter, and gymnastics in the summer. They are art in motion, plainly put.

It doesn't hurt that the US has had some really good competitors in these sports. I could probably ramble off at least a dozen names between the two sports (in no particular order, women only):
  1. Dominique Moceanu
  2. Dominique Dawes
  3. Shannon Miller
  4. Simone Biles
  5. Kerri Strug
  6. Carly Patterson
  7. Gabrielle Douglas
  8. Aly Raisman
  9. Tonya Harding
  10. Nancy Kerrigan
  11. Sasha Cohen
  12. Nastia Liukin
  13. Shawn Johnson

Thanks to sets like Goodwin Champions and Allen & Ginter, I've managed to accumulate several relics and autographs of the US's best. Yes, the Topps Olympics sets and some Leaf and Panini issues have contributed hits of Olympians as well. My newest acquisitions are these two relics of McKayla Maroney.

I don't have the cards in-hand; they are at my mom's house. But I believe that Maroney gave a leotard or warm-ups to Topps for these relic cards, rather than just a T-shirt or pair of jeans. Honestly, I would have been happy with just one card, but the seller was offering these as a pair, and patience is not my middle name. Besides, I now have two color swatches for the same card.

I do know Aly Raisman's relics in 2016 Goodwin Champions are from a leotard, which I think makes them so much better than most memorabilia cards in sets like Americana. Maroney and Raisman are athletes, and as such, their memorabilia cards should reflect that. (Side note: Kerri Strug's relics are from a warm-up jacket, and Sasha Cohen's are from a warm-up shirt).

McKayla has a relation to baseball, in a way - she tossed out the first pitch at a White Sox game in 2014:
That event got her a baseball card in Topps' First Pitch set (I miss that set; I hope it makes a comeback soon). She also threw out the first pitch with her gymnastics teammates in Dodger Stadium in 2012:
Until next time...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Snow Never Bothered Me Anyway

Once again, I say to you, happy spring.

It snowed today. It's not that crazy, as in 2010 it snowed in mid-April in Tokyo. I expected precipitation, albeit in the form of rain, so I still did what I planned to do. Well, mostly. I didn't go to any card shops as I originally hoped to, partly because my shoes aren't waterproof and my feet were cold, and partly because there are some auctions and such going on that I'm waiting to end before picking stuff up at those shops. 

So I got home a little earlier, and did nothing. And so this post is late, if there is such a thing. I've spent most of the evening doing basically nothing...

Anyway, I haven't been completely unproductive lately. Yesterday I showed you some sets, so today here are a couple recent single cards I've picked up. Think of this as a little bit of my March eBay haul. (I hate hauls, so this isn't a haul.)
 Spot the difference. (Yeah, there is none.) I have to use eBay scans, since my cards are on the other side of the world, but the American League Standouts and Astros sets use the same photos for Altuve. I haven't checked other players. The card on the left is from the AL Standouts blister pack set, while the right-hand card is from the Astros set. I got both of them for my Altuve collection, as well as a Tanaka card for my type collection. And one more from this set:
 Buck Farmer on his first Topps card since 2015! He appeared in 2016 Donruss and minor league team sets in 2016 and 2017, but it's been a long time since I've had a new Buck Farmer to chase. And it's already done. Though Topps does have an awful habit of making those large-sized limited sets, and there might be some /99 or /49 jumbo parallel online exclusive. But I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.
And speaking of Buck, I managed to find one of the more-elusive cards needed in my collection. This is the 2015 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph Red Refractor card, numbered out of five. With the 2018 Topps Tigers Team card above, I now have 246 Buck Farmer cards! That's of 282 known cards, and a few of those might not even exist.

What's missing for Buck?
2015 Panini Immaculate College Blue (#/10) and Gold (#/5)
2015 Panini National Treasures College Gold (#/10)
2015 Panini National Treasures College Rookie Signatures Gold (#/10)
2016 Panini Georgia Tech Gold (#/25) and Black (#/10)
2016 Panini Georgia Tech Autographs Silver (#/99), Gold (#/25), and Black (#/10)
...and 27 1/1 cards. 

I'm not so sure any of those Georgia Tech cards exist, which makes up half of the "obtainable" Buck Farmers. It's funny how all the cards I need are Panini, too. (For the 1/1s, there are plenty of Topps cards, but I'm not counting those in this statistic.)

Hopefully Buck finds some success this year, and maybe makes his way on to a bit more cardboard. Though I'm not sure my wallet can afford it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Happy Spring!

Here's a single Tsum Tsum sticker for you. It's the only one in a lot of about 20 that I needed for either of my sets. What does it have to do with spring? Nothing.

Speaking of sets, I've been kind of busy lately with new releases.
My most recent eBay pickup was the 2013 Leaf National Convention set. While I generally just pick up singles from sets like this, Leaf tossed in a bunch of oddball sports stars and celebrities. It's like Goodwin Champions, but without the vintage look! I guess that would make it similar to Panini Americana... but with athletes. Some of the cards are autographed, too, but I already have autographs from everyone I would want in the set.
Also, I can check off the 2018 Donruss set. I went with the full set including variations, since there wasn't much difference in price. Along with that, I picked up an extra Diamond Kings subset for the separate collection.
Finally, I grabbed the 2018 Topps US Olympic Team set plus the Did You Know insert set. Jessie Diggins is the last athlete that I have on my want list for a relic or autograph, and they aren't cheap.
 I also took care of a few things through Sportlots. It's amazing how cheap it can be to put together full sets compared to their actual selling prices on eBay. I like the oddball sets Topps tosses into Opening Day. While this year's 15-card Team Traditions & Celebrations set I was bidding on sold for $6.24 plus $3.75 shipping (I bid $1), I picked up the full set for $2.70 plus shipping.
The Opening Day insert set from the same seller added less than $5 to my total (eBay price: $7.59). I ended up getting these 35 cards and another 39 for other collections for $17.36.

It pays to shop around. What does that have to do with spring? Nothing.

But tomorrow's my day off because the first day of spring is a national holiday in Japan. So Happy Spring!

Until next time...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Blog Bat Aroundish: My Various Projects

Image result for 1887 old judge
I want this card.
Today's post comes from another question/discussion posted on another blog. Night Owl wrote about his various projects a week ago, and others have chimed in. So while I spent yesterday hinting at the multitude of boxes that fill up storage, my mother's house, and my apartment, let's look at the baseball card side of things.

While Night Owl speaks of less than a dozen projects, my collection isn't that easy.

Are you ready?
  • Type collection (focus: base cards, insert cards, and oddballs)
    • MLB
    • MiLB
    • NPB
    • KBO
    • CPBL
    • whatever else!
  • Base set runs (focus right now: Donruss and Score, plus current sets)
    • Image result for joe garagiola bubble gum card
    • Topps
    • Donruss
    • Fleer
    • Score
    • Upper Deck
    • Stadium Club
    • Ultra
    • Allen And Ginter
    • Goodwin Champions
    • Gypsy Queen
    • Diamond Kings
The base set collection is so extensive that I rarely focus on building single sets. That said, I will eventually start a new old Topps set.
    Image result for upper deck baseball heroes
  • Thematic sets
    • Olympics
    • Team USA
    • World Baseball Classic
    • Women In Sports
  • Any other sets
    • Diamond Kings and other art sets
    • Upper Deck's Baseball Heroes
    • other sets that pique my interest
Image result for jose altuve rookie cardThere are over 100 sets in my want list right now, which are the sets I focus on card-by-card. A large percentage of those are from the Diamond Kings series, though there are plenty of other insert sets scattered throughout.
  • Thematic collections
    • Award Winners and Clubs
    • In-Game Collection (one card for every appearance of a player in a game I've attended)
    • Archives Collection (one card for every player ever)
    • Tobacco Mini Frankenset
    • Player Collections (mostly needing figures here)
My Award Winners and Clubs collection stays pretty much complete, though there are always a few holdouts from the prior year, and many older players with only one or two obscure cards or no cards at all. The In-Game (~2300) and Archives (~19,000) collections are massive undertakings, and I don't put much effort into the minis, due to availability here.
Image result for kirsten dunst autograph small soldiers
  • Non-Sport collections
    • Movie and TV sets
    • Hits for celebrities and non-baseball athletes that interest me
I don't do much with the movie and TV sets, though there are many I'd like to get. It's too expensive with shipping right now, but occasionally something shows up at the right price. But I'm always on the lookout for certain memorabilia and autograph cards.
  • Other Japanese collections
  • Image result for japanese pikachu card
    • Hits for certain athletes
    • NPB Players (Motonobu Tanishige and Alex Ramirez)
    • Pokemon (gotta catch 'em all!)
    • Japanese MLBers
    • Foreigners in Japan
    • BBM and Calbee set runs
      • I'm working on a few Calbee sets card-by-card right now, as I mentioned in a recent post
    • A bunch of sets, for baseball, other sports, non-sport, and idols
Okay, that's seven collections, with a bunch of pieces, many with sets of their own lists. Baseball card collection inception: a list in a list in a list in a list. And then Freddy comes to get the Shepherd out of your dream because you've been hoarding old toothbrushes and maggot-covered sandwiches in your locker and then your father becomes a butterfly... oh, sorry. I had a South Park moment.

My thing is extreme flexibility. One collection might have come to a standstill, but the others could have some open areas. Many of the MLB insert sets I'm collecting are too expensive at the moment (COMC, Sportlots, and eBay are generally my only options), but I can find some new Jose Altuve cards or poke around for a cheap base set. And once the stock on COMC gets replenished, I could find some good bargains. 

Having many collections means having lots of lists, and hopefully someday I'll whittle most of them down to being really simple, short want lists, but I do like having options!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Monday's Question, Wednesday's Answer

My macaroni is cooking... soon it will be macaroni and cheese. So while that's happening, let's look at Pack War's Monday Question for the week:
Do you collect other items besides cards?
Why yes. Yes I do.

As a kid, I collected books. My grandmother was a librarian, so that shouldn't be surprising. Between all of my family members, I probably received about one book a week. Scholastic Book Club must have loved me. (Actually, it was through them that I first really developed my interest in baseball cards.) I probably had over 500 books as a kid - maybe more - split between my house and my grandmother's house. I read many more books than that, though, as I was a frequent visitor to my school's library and the neighborhood library near my grandmother's house.

These days, I don't have as many books. The kids books at my grandma's house are in some other family member's possession, hopefully being enjoyed by my cousins' children. And I'm really not sure what happened to the books that I carried with me to adulthood - I remember having a couple boxes but I'm not sure where they ended up.

But I've developed a small collection of other books over the last twenty years or so, too. I've kept a few books from my older childhood years, like Robinson Crusoe and Anne Frank's Diary. I have a few other novels in boxes, some of which I've never read. I believe I have about half of the Harry Potter series, and no, I've never read a page of Harry Potter.

In high school and on through college, I was big on pop culture - movies, music, and TV shows. So I have books related to those interests. I have photo books, like the Then and Now city series, and plenty of roller coaster and amusement park-related books. I also have a bunch of non-fiction books, relating to science, history, and economics. I've read through and kept many of George Carlin's and Michael Moore's books. And there are several travel books I've used for reference, though these days I use the internet more.
Of course, I have baseball books. I might have more than 200. I might have more than 300. All I know is, I have a lot. When I was a kid, I read some fiction baseball books, but I prefer books that tell the real story of baseball's past. One of my favorites is Fair Ball, by Bob Costas. But many of the books I have remain unread.

All told, there is no number on how many books I have, but I do know there are more than 150 books in boxes at my mother's house - the ones I collected over just 15 months. What's left in storage? I hope to find out at the end of the year. (I'd guess around 200 more. I went on a big book-buying spree when I moved back to San Francisco.)

I could stop this post here and be good. But there's more. Oh boy, there's so much more.

I've been to several concerts and events over the years, and I've picked up a good collection of memorabilia (set lists, guitar picks, drum sticks, even a water bottle and small cut of hair!).

I have some magazines that interest me, but I've gotten rid of almost all of them.

At several events, I've managed to get autographs, and I'm up to 101 autographs now. That collection stalled out when I moved to SF, as I haven't been to DragonCon since 2009. It's a stagnant but not inactive collection.

I have lots of movie souvenirs, usually simple trinkets, but I've collected some movie wardrobe and props and a bunch of posters.

And I've tried to cut back on it, but I have collected a lot of tchotchkes from my travels, too. I used to try to get one small thing from every place I stopped, but since moving to Japan I've tried to limit it to just one per city or area, plus anything really special.

Speaking of Japan, I've also picked up a bunch of licensed goods. There's way to much to talk about here, but I hope to eventually make a series of posts about my collection. I'm going to sort through what I have first, because I want to focus on just a few areas.

Anything baseball - books of course, figures, card tins and boxes, game-used stuff, hats...

Really, my collecting focus has changed over the years, and as I've picked up new interests, I've started new collections. That said, I really want to focus my efforts in just a few areas... how I can do that, I don't know!