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

Want Lists are located here. NPB Baseball Want List is located here.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Goals in Review

I've been busy for the past several days. My vacation started Saturday, and I've been working on card stuff almost exclusively since then. I've gone through a lot of my cards, getting caught up on organizing and scanning. Which leads right into today's post.

While I didn't post much during the year, I stayed pretty active working toward my goals. I came up with fourteen back in January, so as usual, let's review those goals and my progress.

1. Acquire flagship sets. I was specifically looking for reasonably-priced complete sets for:
  • Topps 1995
  • Topps Traded 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2014, 2015
  • Donruss 2004, 2005
  • Fleer Tradition 2005
My goal was ten of these fifteen sets. I got fourteen. What did I not find? 2004 Donruss. 2002 Topps Traded, 2005 Donruss, and 2005 Fleer Tradition are "short" sets without SPs, which is perfectly acceptable in my mind.

I now have the complete run of Topps Traded/Update sets, with the acquisition of 2002 Traded in November. I also added 1978 and 1979 Topps to my collection, meaning I now have a complete run of Topps flagship sets from my birth year forward!

2. Have 80 or fewer sets left to complete.

I started the year with 100 sets on my list. Today, I have 93. Ten of those are from 2019, meaning I knocked almost 20 sets off the list. I also made significant progress on many of the other sets, as I see several needing only one, two, or three cards.
3. Complete my Pokemon card collection.

I needed 12 cards in January. I'm down to three. I came pretty close on this goal, and might be able to hunt those three down in the coming year.

4. Complete the mini frankenset.

I needed about 200 cards in January. I need about 125 today. I'm not too surprised that I couldn't meet this goal, as I'm still avoiding using US card services. Finding 75 or so minis in Japan was a pretty good feat.

5. Get team cards for Japan Series and World Series teams.

I never tried to do this. My first real failure of a goal for the year. To be fair, these don't really exist in Japan for what I want, so I might need to make customs.
6. Re-check players with "no" cards to see if that's changed.

In mid-November, I went through my lists and picked up a bunch of pre-war players with newly-accessible cardboard. I also checked through my Japanese want lists and found a few good cards.

7. Get one Nolan Ryan card.

I needed 1968 and 1970. I now need neither. My Nolan Ryan career Topps flagship run is complete! My 1968 card is a PSA 1, but at least I have one now. The 1970 is an SGC 70/5.5. I picked both up in March.

8. Get an Ichiro or Masahiro Tanaka autograph.

I found an affordable Ichiro autograph in March from the Leaf Best of Baseball set, and just a couple weeks ago I got a Ma-kun autograph (#5/5!) to cross him off the list too!

9. Add 3 MLB figures to my player collections.

In March, I found a Charlie Hough bobblehead and a Miguel Cabrera figure. And in October I got a 1988 Starting Lineup of Julio Franco. Of course, I still need many more.
10. Get my Japan set want list down to 100 sets.

This is one last-minute goal I can check off the list. I think I cleared off about 35 this year, and now I'm down to 84. Several sets were deleted. Others were complete except for SPs or insert sets, or complete only as SPs/inserts, and I have no real interest in building the other side. And I managed to finish several sets as well!

11. Add at least 3 Calbee or BBM sets to my collection.

I picked up five sets: 1994 BBM was completed in May, and I found 2005 BBM 2nd Version back in January. March brought me 2007 Calbee, in August I finished 2013, and I found the entire 2011 Calbee set in November. I'm two cards away from finishing 2004 Calbee, too.

12. Complete the following tasks:
  • Organize my Japanese single card collections.
  • Organize my Japanese player collections by year.
  • Order MiLB cards needed for Japanese MLBer and Player Collections.
  • Order non-sport cards needed to finish off sets.
  • Reformat my Japan Type Collection spreadsheets. 11/20
  • Update/print labels for the Japan Type Collection, and apply labels to cards.
  • Update MLB Archives list for 2018 11/13
  • Update MLB Type Collection for 2018 11/24
  • Update MiLB Type Collection for 2018 11/23
  • Verify Japanese MLBer list 11/13
  • Verify NPB Foreigners list 11/13
I didn't get the cards ordered, and I never got a chance to print labels. Printing would require me to be home, which didn't happen very much in 2019. I was just lazy when it comes to ordering the non-sport and minor league cards. But I got all of the 2018 and 2019 updates done in the middle of November, which means I don't have to do them next year. And I also updated the awards for 2019's recipients in Japan and the US.
13. Organize my complete set lists.

I went through my main list in October and pulled out the specific collections. All of the want lists stay on the same spreadsheet, but set runs like Allen & Ginter and themes like USA cards are now easily tracked on another sheet like I do for my flagship sets.

14. Create some custom cards.

I wanted to actually print cards, which I didn't do. I made card fronts for a lot of sets I wanted to do, though I haven't made any card backs yet.

Only two goals were complete failures this year, and four goals were satisfactorily completed, though not completely met. Eight goals were 100% met, four goals passed, and only two failures. Not good for an air traffic controller, but good for a hobbyist.

What will I try for next year? Tune in next year to find out!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Set: Completed: Last of the Year?

I could make better use of watch lists. So many of my sets would be completed if I had added them to watch lists on eBay and Yahoo! Japan Auctions. One that I finally added was the 2000 Broccoli Seibu Lions set. I had ended up with nearly a complete set a couple years ago, and for some strange reason I decided to finish it off. I found most of the cards at shops as I've traveled around Japan, but one card remained surprisingly elusive:
Elusive no more. Note to self: add sets to watch lists to finish them faster.

The 2000 Broccoli Seibu Lions set has a 99-card base set, a Special insert set, Daisuke Matsuzaka insert set, and the Gold Signature insert set you see above. I have a full set of all of those now!

Given that we're running out of days left in the year, I doubt I'll be able to finish off any other sets before the calendars get tossed. Now I'm curious about which I'll be able to finish first next year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Christmas isn't a holiday here in Japan. So I'll enjoy some fried chicken and a slice of cake, and work. I hope you enjoy today!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Everything's A Relic, A Relic for Everything

The first baseball cards with relics had pieces of jerseys. I'd guess that jerseys are some of the easiest relic cards to make: cut up a shirt and glue it to the card. It wasn't too long before everything in a stadium found its way onto cards. And some things from outside the stadium.

What has been used as a relic on a baseball card?

  • jerseys
    • patches
    • tags
    • buttons
    • button holes
  • pants
  • jackets
    • patches
    • tags
  • socks
  • wristbands
  • undershirts
  • hats
    • logos
  • knit hats
  • hoodies
  • bats
    • knobs
    • barrels
      • nameplates
  • cleats/shoes
    • spikes
  • fielding gloves
  • batting gloves
  • bases
  • home plates
  • pitching rubbers
  • balls
  • seats
  • walls
  • dirt
    • pitching mound
    • batter's box
  • catcher's mask
  • catcher's chest protector
  • catcher's shin guards
  • tickets
  • tablecloth from Manny Machado's press conference
  • mascot costume
  • Santa hat
  • cornstalks from Iowa
  • coins
  • subway tokens
If it's in bold, I know I have an example. I'm sure I'm missing some in the list. Add them to the comments below! Note that this is baseball only, and any non-baseball relics (like from Allen & Ginter) aren't to be considered part of this list. But as you can see, anything related to a baseball player "on the job" would count.

Until next time...

Monday, December 23, 2019

These Sets Are Cool: These Cards Are Actually Worth Money!

Back when Vlad Jr. was in diapers, I was getting reacquainted with relic cards. One thing I've wanted to do, and will do eventually, is to have a relic card for every type of thing ever used. That's a post for another day.
One relic set I came across while thumbing through my new 2004 Beckett Almanac (um, back in 2004) was the Currency Collection coin relics set from 2003 Topps Gallery. Each of the 25 cards has a coin from the player's home country, including Panama, Curacao, Venezuela, and Japan.

That was the first set I actually noticed having coin relics, and I quickly found a few more in the guide.
The 2003 Topps Gallery HOF set included another Currency Connection relic set, this time using vintage coins from 12 players' careers. For example, Babe Ruth has a 1916 dime, and Willie Mays has a 1958 penny. The design is similar to the 2003 Gallery set.
Before that, however, the 2000 Topps Subway Series set had a FanFare Tokens set of 36 cards, including a New York City Subway token. These were found one per complete set, and are probably the most common coin relic cards.
In 2003, Topps Tribute World Series had a Subway Fan Fare Tokens set as well, with twelve players featured with a subway token. All the players are from New York, and use New York City Subway tokens, just like the 2000 set.

That would be the end of money in cards until 2011, oddly.
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter had a non-sport insert set featuring international currency, and the 30-card relic set features cold hard cash from thirty different countries.
In 2013, Topps Gypsy Queen had a Hometown Currency relic parallel set for all 350 cards in the base set. This set was numbered to only 5 copies each, and featured state quarters or foreign currency, as applicable. Coco Crisp's card may be the best framing job I've ever seen.
In 2015, Topps' flagship set included coins from players' birth years, along with a stamp. These were also found in the Update set.
Some 2016 Topps retail factory sets included 5-yen Japanese coins in cards featuring Ichiro.
The 2016 Topps Series 2 set included a World Champion coin and stamp relic set.
Topps has also included coins in their Heritage line since 2011, when they included coins from 1962 paired with historic events and players. By 2013, they dropped the events and stuck with just the players.
Finally rounding out this post, Topps Heritage Minor League also started including coin relics in 2016.

Naturally, I am ignoring manufactured coin/medallion relics. What do you think of coin relics?

When I first came across the Topps Gallery coin relics, I added them to my want list, and for a decade they sat there without me making much progress on the set. So I finally took them off. However, they are cards that I'll gladly welcome in my type collection.

All images in the post came from COMC because I don't have access to my own cards. And I don't own a lot of cards from the sets I wanted to feature in this post.

Until next time!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Perfect Card Collecting App

Last week, I talked about how I track my collections, and that got me thinking. We all know that's a dangerous thing, but in this case, perhaps some good might come of it.
What would the perfect iPhone app look like for collectors?

The answer to this question will depend on the collector, I'm sure. There are some things people want that might not be feasible, at least in a budget-friendly way. And in general, a player collector will want to track different things than a set collector or a type collector. A lot of what I talk about below was done for PC software back in the 1990s, so it's not that difficult or processor-intensive.

1. Speed/Flow. It needs to work quickly, but also be very user-friendly, with fast searches and easy inventory management.

2. Comprehensive checklists. Linking with TCDB could allow real-time updating of checklists.

3. Images. Front and back. Viewable outside of just the app or the iPhone itself.

4. Multiple lists. Want list goes to need list. Is it in a type collection, part of a set building project, or a player collection?

5. Notes and additional data. Purchase date, purchase price, notes on condition or serial numbering, grading information, storage location, etc. can be very useful.

6. Import/Export/Cloud Data and Multiple Platforms. Integrating with Google Docs or similar services would make this very feasible. People want backups. Furthermore, a speedy web interface would allow easier editing at home on keyboards or viewing on iPads.

7. Reports. Speaking of viewing - want lists, have lists, values, graphs, charts. Viewable on the phone, exported to Reminders, formatted as PDF or HTML, and/or shareable in some way.

8. Filtering. The filter view is my most important tool when using Google Sheets.

9. Pricing. This is the most challenging thing, but a lot of people want it.

Beckett's app, if you pay $50 a year for the collecting feature, and I'm assuming also pay for the online price guide feature, has a lot of this. It's pretty fast and has a fairly comprehensive checklist. I can't really try it out since there's no trial feature and I'm not paying $7 just to take it for a test drive for a month.

There are database apps out there, but my biggest concern is being able to edit data quickly via web-based spreadsheets or some other easy form. I've poked around Airtable and MobiDB, but haven't really given them too much thought. Airtable is pricey for my needs, thanks to the big type collection.

MobiDB integrates with Google Docs, but it isn't too pretty and it can be a little hard to see long rows on a sheet. I do like the easy searching/filter function, but I haven't tested it with a big spreadsheet.

Really, Google Sheets' only problem is the filtering - if I could easily filter my view, Sheets would be the most useful collecting software out there today. The filtering function is always at the top, though, and that isn't useful when you're 2000 rows below that.

Has anyone found any quality card collecting apps, especially ones that work cross-platform? Is there anything I didn't mention above that you think would be important?

Until next time...

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Insane Japanese Sellers

I need to rant for a minute.

eBay isn't so big here in Japan. Instead, sellers use Yahoo Japan Auctions or Mercari. Both of these sites have a lot of benefits over eBay's system, as a buyer and I'm sure as a seller. The fee structure for them seems to be less focused on per-auction or final value fees, and more on monthly fees for having a store. This means that prices often stay lower. YJA card sellers often have shipping under a buck - the cost of the stamp and perhaps the envelope. Part of this is because the Japanese postal service can handle delivering envelopes without ripping them open or bending them, so bubble mailers aren't really necessary.

Mercari doesn't allow bundling, and until you buy something there's no way to contact a seller. So any price negotiations or combining of purchases happens in the comment section. Mercari sellers usually include shipping in their prices for smaller things, so it really pays to discuss a total for several purchases. This can slow things down.

Yahoo's system feels outdated, but it's generally pretty fast. Only recently have they improved their checkout system for combined wins/purchases, and some sellers use some old storefront form of checkout which makes things much more complicated.

Both systems (other than the storefront checkout system in YJA) have an automatic system for notifying buyers and sellers about the progress of completed purchases - whether shipping information has been sent, whether payment is completed, whether the item has been shipped, and for tracked items on Mercari, whether it's been delivered. Both systems require buyers to mark the goods as received before sellers can get their money as a form of protection, but the system will automatically complete this after an extended period of time with no claim.

Sellers can block bidders for whatever reason, mainly to keep harassment to a minimum (non-paying bidders on YJA, and those who leave harassing comments in Mercari).

Now here's where I have to rant.

Twice in the past week, including just now, I've tried buying or bidding on something, only to find out I've been blocked.

On Mercari, I was blocked by a seller I never bought from. The seller listed a bunch of cards from a set I was interested in, but didn't give any details. My comment was a question asking if there were any cards from a particular set of numbers... and the seller deleted my comment and blocked me from buying his auctions.

And on YJA, I've just come across a seller that I've purchased from before who has cards I want to bid on. I have perfect feedback there, and he left me positive feedback on an auction four years ago. Yet he blocked me.

What is wrong with these people? Seriously, Japanese people. Get some social skills. I don't even know if eBay has a blocking function, but no sane seller would block someone simply for asking if certain cards were in a lot with no details. And no sane seller would block someone who paid for their auctions that they've won before.

Of course, since they've blocked me, there's no way to see what is wrong with those people. And in my mind, there must be something wrong with them. Since I asked a simple factual question to one, and I paid for my auction for the other, and they left me positive feedback.

The problem isn't being blocked. The problem is that I can still see their listings. No, I take that back. The problem is that I'm blocked without doing something wrong. So the problem is that these sellers are insane. Prove me wrong.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Alumni on Cardboard

My most personal collection is my player collection of Buck Farmer. As I've mentioned before, he was my student when I was teaching in the States, and I was an assistant coach for the baseball team while he was there. Buck now has over 300 unique cards, including parallels, and I'm missing only five non 1/1s: Panini issues #/10 or #/5 that I've never seen.
Buck Farmer is the only baseball player to come from the school I worked at. And after doing some digging about the schools I attended as a student, I've found a few more baseball players to look into:
I grew up in Silicon Valley, an area not exactly known for sports. But the 49ers now play just down the street from where I used to live, and the San Jose Giants weren't too far away. Santa Clara is the birthplace of Troy TulowitzkiHappy HoganKyle Barraclaugh, Charlie Graham, Mitch Haniger, Adam Melhuse, umpire Gabe Morales, Greg Gohr, Ryan Hancock, Bret Hemphill, and Eric Thames, among other non-baseball notable names.
My high school has one baseball player in its list of alumni: Drew Waters. Drew is a prospect in the Braves organization. Buster Skrine, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, PGA golfer Chris Kirk, and Chandler Riggs, an actor in The Walking Dead, also went to my high school. They're all younger than I am, and unless they walked into Blockbuster Video while I was working there in college, I've never met them.
However, my high school split into two just after I graduated, and Nick Markakis went to the new school just down the street. Also from the same town is Lew Carpenter, a Senators player in the 1940s, and Matt Skole. Markakis is already in my player collection for his connection to one of my hometowns.
Moving on to college, I actually attended three. My first one has no notable athletes, as it didn't have a big sports program, though the founder of the Varsity restaurant chain attended that school. I love their onion rings!
I got my Bachelor's degree from the same school that Ty Pennington, Larry Nelson, James Wade, and a handful of senators and congressmen attended. And several baseball players, too: Willie Harris on the Nationals, Max Pentecost from the Blue Jays, and Richard Lovelady.
Rounding out my education, the university from which I obtained my Master's degree has a Hall of Famer in its alumni. Umpire Marvin Hudson went to that school, as did former Yankee Johnny Mize. The school's athletic center is named for him, and the campus also has a museum devoted to his career.
Going back to Buck Farmer's high school career, as a coach we played another local high school which spouted out another major leaguer: Tyler Austin. I always wondered why that name always sounded familiar to me when Zippy Zappy talked about him, and now I know. I saw him play in high school. (Side note: his team was quite dirty on the field. But I remember him as a beast at and behind the plate.) And here's another "small world" moment: Austin signed with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars last month to play baseball here in Japan in 2020.

Buck Farmer and Nick Markakis are already player collections, but as for the other players, I'll probably look into getting a single card from each of them, or possibly a small handful. Some players most likely have no cards at all. I think it'd be great to have an "alumni/hometown" mini-collection!

This post, like all of my posts this week, were inspired by Corky's question posts over at Pack War.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Hate's a Strong Word, But...

What's the most challenging part of your collection? I've accepted that there are certain things I want that either don't exist or are out of my price range. I talked about some pipe dream bucket list items a few days ago, but specifically, I don't see myself every owning a complete 1952 Topps set. There are thousands of players who have no baseball card; there are plenty of Hall of Famers with no easily obtainable card.

And I know there is no chance of ever having a complete type collection.
The MLB type collection currently sits at 46,992 cards. I have more than 26% of those. From 1980 through 2000, I have over 50% for each year. My most complete year is 1995 - I have 84.60% of cards issued that year, which gives me 390 unique cards. It's not the year I have the most cards for, though. That goes to 2005.

The 1995 season saw 461 individual sets reach the market, including parallels and inserts. Ten years later, a total of 3463 unique sets were distributed.

This wasn't a steady increase, either. in 2003, there were 1549 sets. In 2004, it jumped to 2474, and in 2005 we reached 3463 sets. In two years, the number of sets issued in a single year more than doubled!
I've talked about this before - somewhere in this blog's archives is a post about this phenomenon. There are many reasons, but one major cause of the glut of sets at this time is Donruss/Playoff's loss of their MLB license. In 2005 in particular, they issued tons of forgettable releases to unload their stock of relic pieces and autographed stickers. Given what they did in 2004 as well, perhaps they knew the end was nearing.

Looking at the types of releases in 2005, there are 92 major release sets, 350 parallels, 258 insert sets, 545 parallels to those insert sets, 359 relic and autograph sets, and 1802 relic and autograph parallel sets. The remaining cards are oddballs. With 2161 hits, it's the third biggest year for those types of cards. (2019 is up to 2217 hits so far, and 2018 saw 2312 hits.)

And, well, I hate that.

The 2005 card season in particular made me rethink my realistic goals for my type collection. Instead of hoping for 50% or even 33%, I've now set 25% as my goal for any particular year. and beyond that, I've been refocusing from the total percentage to percentages in each category of card. And, well, I hate that.
There are more cards to collect, but hits - and parallel hits especially - don't offer much overall to my collection, and instead weigh it down. I have 250 hits total from the 2005 season, which is a bit over 10%, but these often parallel the base set or other inserts in a particular release.

The answer, of course, is to do as I've mentioned above, and to collect the more relevant cards - non-parallel base and insert cards.

But I still hate that.

This post was inspired by Corky's question: What year bothers you? His question was in regards to PCs, but I haven't run into any big snags for any of my player collections.

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

My Want Lists Revisited

I'm going to try to finish today's post in less than an hour. I've been spending too much time working on posts this week! Not that I have anything better to do, really. I mean, the bathroom needs cleaning and there are a couple dishes in the sink, but...

On with the show.
Again, Corky from Pack War is my muse with his question:
How do you you track your wants?
While the question is focused on now, let's look a bit at the past.

My first want lists were on paper, like most collectors back in the 1980s. I eventually had a typed checklist that I could use for any card set up to 800 cards, so I had something professional-looking. In the 1990s, there was a computer program that initially was through MS-DOS, though eventually it migrated to Windows. It came with updated checklists and pricing, available monthly, via floppy disks and later CDs. When I just had a big collection with no focus, this worked well, because I could generate lists pretty easily, which could then be printed out.

I'm pretty sure I stuck with the software through the 1990s until I quit collecting baseball cards, though in later years I might have just completely stopped bothering to track my collection.

When I returned to collecting, I had everything typed up in Word documents, though I tracked some of my cards through Beckett's system. Their website is just not fast enough for my needs, though (whose is?), and 15 years ago it was really slow and clunky.

As my lists got more detailed, sorting became much more important. Spreadsheets allow for easy sorting, calculations, and quick inputting. Originally, I used Excel, but now that I have an iPhone with Google Drive I keep everything in the cloud, easily accessible via computer or phone.
Each major collection is separated into its own book, further split into different sheets for ease of viewing on the go. There are separate books for:

  • MLB Type Collection, generally separated by decade (through 1990) or year (2001 to present)
  • MiLB Type Collection, which has individual sheets for every five-year period
  • Japan/Non-US Type Collection, with individual sheets for BBM, Calbee, and Epoch, and a separate sheet for non-Japanese cards
  • Japanese Collections: sets in progress and completed sets have individual sheets, plus single cards, individual sheets for different themed collections, sheets to track Calbee and BBM sets, and one sheet for my two player collections
  • MLB Awards and Clubs, with individual sheets for different major categories, like annual awards, achievements, and clubs
  • NPB Awards, functionally similar to the MLB list
  • Non-Sport Sets, with just one sheet for all of the sets, and another small sheet listing vintage singles
  • Player Collections, where each player has his own sheet
  • Set Collections, where each set run has its own sheet (i.e. Topps flagship, Diamond Kings, or Team USA sets)
  • Sports Card Lists, which includes my set want list, completed sets that aren't in the Set Collection book, individual cards and hits, and individual sheets for different themed collections.
Some sheets get more use than others, and at a show or shop I usually need to switch between a few different books, which can be a pain in the rear. To see some of my want lists, just use the link here on the blog! I should note that since I'm in Japan trading/buying is quite difficult...
Why don't I have just one list? Each collection tracks something different, for starters, and thus the data I store for that collection is different, and they are formatted differently to fit those needs. The second main reason is maneuverability. Just looking at 2019 in my type collection is a challenge, thanks to Panini and Topps issuing somewhere around 3700 sets including inserts, parallels, and all the insert parallels. I often rely on filters to focus on what I want to focus on as it is!

Maybe I collect too much?

Anyway, until next time...

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Abandoning Ship

About six weeks ago, Corky over at Pack War asked the question which inspired today's post:
Have you ever seen a set that initially interests you, but after hitting a point you decided against adding the cards to your collection?
Why, yes. Yes I have.

While many sets have interested me, at this point my type collection is enough to cover my interest in a set. There were many sets I bought boxes for and put together want lists for, mainly in the 1990s, but I never really decided against adding the cards to my collection. I do have a lot of those cards in storage as "extras" at this point as my collecting focus changed after college. I chase several sets now (nearly 100 as I look at my want list), with some that aren't even started. But they sit there on my list.

There were some sets that I chased for a while before finally dumping them, and that's what you're here to see, right? I actually have an archived copy of my want list from 2013, so I can see what sets I wanted six years ago that have since disappeared from my list, incomplete. Images from COMC.
Packaging Sets. One trend that I see is the deletion of several sets of "non" cards. The earliest were 1998 and 1999 Upper Deck Retro's lunchboxes. Also from Upper Deck, 2005 Origins included Tin Signs in their tin boxes, and I only had two in 2013. Goodbye to them.
Manupatch Sets. These days, manufactured relics are pretty common, but they were just getting started in 2003. The earliest on my list is 2003 SP Legendary Cuts Historical Impressions; I had 20% of the 40 card set. 2003 Sweet Spot and Sweet Spot Classic also had about 80 patch cards each; I probably had only one card from each set in 2013. And 2003 Upper Deck Patch Collection had tons of them. I managed to get about 1/3 of the set before giving up. This might be a set I return to whenever(if ever) I move back to the States. I managed to collect 3% of the 728 different patches in 2004 Sweet Spot Classic.
1999 and 2000 Stadium Club die-cuts. 1999's Triumvirate and 2000's 3x3 were die-cut sets designed to be pieced together like mini puzzles. Like the two groups above, these two sets just proved to be too rare and pricey to finish. I put together one puzzle for each and called it a victory.
2000 Topps Gold Label. Topps has issued some interesting sets over its history. The original Gold Label sets had a beautiful shine to them that inspired me to add it to my list. But I lost interest and deleted it after getting only a couple cards.
Coin cards. 2003 Topps Tribute World Series had an insert called Subway Series Fan Fare Tokens. The 12 card set included old subway tokens. And the 2003 Topps Gallery set had an insert called Currency Connection, which included old coins. I had three Currency Connection and no Fan Fare cards when I deleted these sets.
Topps All-Time Fan Favorites/Archives. I could have started a set run of this series of throwback sets, but I realized I was more interested in the concept than the actual cards. Many of the insert sets in Archives and Heritage could be added to this list, too, for similar reasons. The type collection is good enough for these sets!
2009 Upper Deck 20th Anniversary. This set has 2500 cards. That didn't bother me. What did bother me was the high price of the singles, and the repetitiveness of the set. There were 2500 cards in the set, but only 500 subjects - each topic and picture was repeated five times. Card #1-5 were the same subject and "headline", with the only difference being the blurbs found on the back. A little adjustment to the design and text editing would have easily fit all of that copy on the back of one single card, but Upper Deck just wanted a massive set. I managed to get over 16% of the set, which is 400 cards. It just got too boring. If they had made only 500 cards, and I only had about 100, I might have been more interested in chasing the other 400 over time. If someone got me with 500 cards of a full set, I'd be interested in chasing after them. But this set is just done.

What do you think of these sets?

Until next time...

Monday, December 16, 2019

Set: Completed (and another, and another, and another...)

I'm separated from my cards and the ability to scan for a while, so unfortunately you're stuck with me making idle chatter. But one card I scanned a few months ago brings to a close one of the more challenging BBM sets.

The last post I made before my disappearance was about a set that was nearing completion, and a couple months later, I finally got this card:
The Carp are always a popular team, and Maeda and Etoh were big names back in the 1990s. So it makes a bit of sense that this card would be tough to find. How about that card title? Red Scare?

With that card, the 1994 set is complete. The other big BBM set is 1995 - it's the largest single-series set at 651 cards, and most expensive, with a "book" value of about $550. I haven't started that set, and might not. The set doesn't seem to have any super big-dollar cards in it (I could be wrong... I have no price guide in front of me), but the overall size plus short prints is where its value lies. Of course, the set has plenty of Ichiro and Hideki Matsui cards. As for other BBM sets I need, those, too, are tough to find, though not as pricey. However, my eyes are open for deals.

While I don't have scans of other sets (see above), I have had a good bit of luck picking up some recent Calbee sets.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 14, 2019

On Display, or Not?

Let's keep the question train going, shall we?

Today, I answer Corky's question of whether or not I display my cards.

Spoiler: the answer now is no. (TL:DR at the bottom.)

Short story long: (if we say long story short, why not short story long to mean an overly descriptive story?)

As a kid, I didn't really display my cards. My first cards were rubber-cemented to some thin poster board and then stored under my bed. Those "posters" could have been displayed for a while, but it couldn't have been for too long. As I got into collecting and had more than a couple packs worth of cards, I had a few souvenirs on a shelf, but my cards stayed in a box or binder when I wasn't sorting, studying, or just flipping through them. Yup, all those originally-mint-condition '89 Donruss cards got their corners softened as I got to know the players on each team. I eventually turned the tiny closet in my tiny bedroom into a baseball shrine... a boy's man cave of sorts. But I don't think I ever displayed cards there; the wall space was reserved for posters and newspaper clippings.

When we moved across the country, I got myself a normal-sized bedroom and an unfinished half-basement to call my own full-size man cave. I ended up getting two showcases which I used to display a few cards and small souvenirs, and little shelves for my bigger souvenirs. I must have had one or two of those cheap wall-hanging 30-card displays at some point. But for the most part, my cards stayed in binders or boxes. I lost my bedroom when the basement was finished; the basement was both my bedroom and man-cave. So I had less space to do something like display cards.
This picture is in part of my basement bedroom after it was finished, but before they actually put shutters on the windows (it was a half-basement). So it's probably 1993. You can see the display case, which holds some Topps Coins, a few game tickets, and a couple oversized cards as well. I have a baseball poster on the right, and a small shelf with a few souvenirs above the computer. The binder held my star cards, whatever that meant back then. It might have held Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey Jr., Jose Canseco, and some Braves cards.

Eventually I stopped collecting in college, and when I came back into the hobby I didn't display any of my collection for quite a while. Even when I moved into my own two bedroom apartment I kept the cards stored away. Some of my souvenirs found their way onto shelves, but I don't recall displaying cards.

I then moved into a loft which had lots of open space. This was perfect for setting up shelving to display my collections. And again the cards stayed in storage - binders or boxes that could be looked through but no cards on display to look at. However, once I got my Nolan Ryan and Ken Griffey Jr. autographs, I had a desire to have them on display. So I put them on shelves with figures of those players. I did the same with a Tony Gwynn autograph I had.
I think I had six cheap Ikea "bookcase" shelving units - they cost about $20 and weren't strong enough to hold binders or boxes of cards beyond the bottom shelf, but they were perfect for displaying all of my random memorabilia. And boy did I have a lot. The binders you can see actually have ticket stubs from my travels and events I've attended. The right-most shelving unit has all of the packaging and oddball cards I've gotten from packs and boxes, while the other two have team souvenirs.

I still have that Wheaties box, and it still has its cereal. And those bats are all game-used cracked bats I picked up at minor league games. If you look closely at the shelves, you'll see there's only one team on each shelf. I was very happy to have the space to do that, though the Indians shelf is quite sparse, with only a cross-stitch logo my mom made for me.

I have some uncut sheets, which I put on display too. About 15 years ago, when all kinds of crazy relics were coming out, I used some snap cases and magnet tape to display some cards on the breaker door on my wall. It was pretty poorly located - right in the eyeline of someone first looking in the apartment - so covering it with cards was an attempt to make it look better. I suppose I could have put one of those uncut sheets over it, or some poster. Regardless, there weren't many cards on display even though I had tons of cheap souvenirs on cheap Ikea shelving.

But when I moved back to California, everything went into storage, and while living in SF I didn't display any cards. I brought one cheap card from every Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Score, and Upper Deck set with me when I moved to Japan, and I used removable double-sided tape to display them along the top of my wall, like a border.

Unfortunately, when I moved out of that apartment, anything I had on display was packed away, and while I now have a couple figures on a small shelf, my apartment is essentially devoid of any decorating or personalization. I still have all of those cards, and some day I may take the time and effort to line them up along the wall of my current apartment.

How about the future? One thing I would really like to do is to frame the roller coaster cabinet cards from 2012 Allen & Ginter and display those on a wall. It combines two of my favorite interests into one little attractive package. I would like to display uncut sheets along a wall. And I would love to have a little display for each of my player collections - perhaps a representative card alongside the player's bobblehead or other figure.

So long story short: no, I don't display my cards now. I used to have a few on display, and I'd love to do it again!

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Idiot Box on Cardboard?

Back during the last snowy season, Corky of Pack War asked on one of his Monday Question Days about pop culture. That sounds right up my alley.

His question:
Is there a television show that you watch and would like to see a trading card set built on?
He mentions Futurama, which is one of my favorite TV shows. I could definitely latch on to that idea! There are so many concepts to turn into subsets or inserts, too. In addition to 140 episodes and the movies, there are at least 60 characters and plenty of themes. Fashion, technology, planets, spaceships, food, language, inside jokes, and opening credit gags. Plus the comics and video games. Autographs and sketch cards would round out the release.

There are plenty of old Nickelodeon shows I'd love to see on cardboard. Some of them may have made appearances in other sets before. But how about Clarissa Explains It All, The Secret World of Alex Mack, You Can't Do That On Television, Hey Dude, Salute Your Shorts, All That, The Amanda Show, Double Dare, the Nicktoons that don't have comprehensive sets already...

There are also some really obscure Comedy Central shows, like The Sarah Silverman Show, Ugly Americans, and Drawn Together.

Community might make for a fun card set. Robot Chicken? Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World.  Kids in the Hall. What I think would be really great would be a series of card sets featuring all of the greatest TV shows from each decade. Perhaps a nine-card set for each show. Some sets just don't work as a full release, but this would be a great chance to bring back Silver Spoons, Punky Brewster, Mister Ed, and all the other shows of the past. I'm not sure how possible relic cards would be, but there are lots of autograph opportunities.
And that same concept would be great for movies and music... but today's post is about TV.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 12, 2019

30 for 30: One Year Late on a Blog Bat Around

Another day, another blog bat around. Gotta catch up somehow, huh?

I saw this one on several blogs early this year, but the first one I saw was over at Too Many Grandersons, so he gets the credit. The concept: the player who first comes to mind when thinking of each team.
How I made this list: I simply found a list of MLB teams, and as I typed each team's name, I added in the name of the player who first came to mind. Then, I went back and filled in the logic. And then, the images.

  1. Atlanta Braves - Greg Maddux - my favorite player during the Braves dynasty, Maddux just defines the team for me.
  2. Miami Marlins - Ichiro - while Ichiro will be most remembered as a Mariner, the Marlins are on the list first, and his name came to mind the fastest. And after all this, nobody else has come to mind... ahh, Miguel Cabrera. And Giancarlo Stanton. There we go. Perhaps I should have said Charlie Hough? Why did his name not come to mind for so long?
  3. New York Mets - Nolan Ryan - this list has several players with the "wrong" team... but that might say more about the team than the player. After Ryan, Casey Stengel came to mind. Um... David Wright?
  4. Philadelphia Phillies - Roy Halladay - I hated the Phillies in the 1990s: John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, etc. But Halladay wasn't a part of that nasty team in my mind. 
  5. Washington Nationals - Bryce Harper - Why? I hate this guy. But he was the biggest player in the District of Columbia until he decided he wanted a cheesesteak. Stephen Strasburg...
  6. Chicago Cubs - Anthony Rizzo - he's such a fun player to watch, and it's probably only a matter of time before I add him to my player collections. I'm sure the Cubs have had other good, memorable players, right?
  7. Cincinnati Reds - Pete Rose - I dislike Pete Rose the man, but I respect Pete Rose the player. Barry Larkin was pretty cool, but Rob Dibble can choke on a baseball.
  8. Milwaukee Brewers - Hank Aaron - because Maddux. Wow, I can't think of another Brewer. Oh, Yount. He played in Milwaukee, right?
  9. Pittsburgh Pirates - Andrew McCutchen - just an amazing player, and someone else who might end up a PC. There's also Clemente, of course.
  10. St. Louis Cardinals - Mark McGwire - Since he finished his career here and had his most PED'd season here, it makes sense, I guess. Stan Musial is next in my head.
  11. Arizona Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez - because Randy Johnson just didn't come to mind first.
  12. Colarado Rockies - Larry Walker - I was in high school when the Rockies came into existence, so this makes a lot of sense. Really, many of the 1980s/1990s names should be very obvious. Nolan Arenado is the second name that pops into my head.
  13. Los Angeles Dodgers - Sandy Koufax - I can't think of a more iconic player on the LA Dodgers. If this had said Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson, naturally. Then there's Clayton Kershaw.
  14. San Diego Padres - Tony Gwynn - one of my favorite players since I was a child.
  15. San Francisco Giants - Barry Bonds - the guy who overshadows any other modern player in San Francisco. Thinking back to my childhood, Dave Dravecky, Kevin Mitchell, and Will Clark. And there's Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda...
  16. Baltimore Orioles - Cal Ripken Jr. - I would argue that Ripken is the most famous Oriole regular ever. Brooks Robinson is also in my mind. Manny Machado? Boy, I hate that guy. Great glove, horrible personality.
  17. Boston Red Sox - Babe Ruth - The Sox came before the Yankees, and Ruth came to mind first. Amazing. Johnny Damon. Curt Schilling. Pedro Martinez. Fenway Park.
  18. New York Yankees - Joe DiMaggio - it's only after returning here, and running through all the other 17 teams, that Mickey Mantle comes to mind. I could probably ramble off 30 different historical Yankees players. Ah, Jeter. A-Rod. Whitey Ford. Reggie Jackson. Dave Winfield. I should stop here.
  19. Tampa Bay Rays - Wade Boggs - probably because I had the Red Sox just two teams before, Boggs came to mind for the Rays. I remember seeing him in a Rays jersey and how weird those colors looked on him. I guess Evan Longoria?
  20. Toronto Blue Jays - Joe Carter - the Blue Jays beat the Braves in the '93 World Series. The Jays also have that jerk Bautista. Ugh. Next team.
  21. Chicago White Sox - Frank Thomas - The Big Hurt was a superstar when I was most into collecting. Who else played in Chicago? Um... umm... wow. That's bad. Uhh. Shoeless Joe Jackson.
  22. Cleveland Indians - Joe Carter - I just realized that he came up twice. Jim Thome actually popped into my head earlier, but when I was writing this list Carter was the first name in my mind. Bob Feller?
  23. Detroit Tigers - Buck Farmer - while Lou Whitaker, Justin Verlander, Cecil Fielder, and Miguel Cabrera are much bigger names, Buck was my student when he was in high school, so he'll probably always be the first to come to mind when I think of the Tigers now.
  24. Kansas City Royals - George Brett - Yount and Brett got their 3000th hits in 1992, and while I can't think of another Royal right now (ouch) Brett will probably be the most iconic Royal in my mind for a long time. Hal McRae was a Royal, right? Paul Molitor!
  25. Minnesota Twins - Kirby Puckett - If I didn't think of Puckett with the Twins, that would probably be a sin. How many times did I hear about Puckett playing the ball off of the hefty bag in right field of the Metrodome? Harmon Killebrew also comes to mind.
  26. Houston Astros - Jose Altuve - another one of my favorite players, I can't think of the Astros without thinking of him. Beyond that, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, and of course Nolan Ryan.
  27. Los Angeles Angels - Albert Pujols - it is odd to me that I didn't think of Pujols playing with the Cardinals, but by the time I got to LA he was the first name out of my memory bank. Dave Winfield played for the Angels, too, right? Gene Autry was an Angel... sort of. And Nolan Ryan, Reggie Jackson. Mike Trout?! That took a long time to remember.
  28. Oakland Athletics - Jose Canseco - my first favorite player, where he was playing when I first got into baseball. Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, and does anyone else remember Terry Steinbach? Walt Weiss! Wow, the 1990ish A's dynasty.
  29. Seattle Mariners - Ken Griffey Jr. - are you surprised? There's also Felix Hernandez, A-Rod, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner.
  30. Texas Rangers - Nolan Ryan - he's the second guy to end up on this list twice, and this time it wasn't subconciously. Ryan was just so dominating, even in his twilight seasons. Juan Gonzalez is the second name to come to mind... and from there we're about done.
And with that, this list is complete!

Until next time...