Shlabotnik PWE

So last week I was surprised by a PWE from Shlabotnik Report who appears to going through and purging some of his excess cards.

This latest PWE appears to have been inspired by my updating my Giants search list to have a lot more junk wax on them. For the longest time I was just focusing on Topps but as I’ve started to fill in the rest of the manufacturers it felt right to give people a sense of what else I was missing as well.

These two Donruss cards certainly fit this bill. 1981 and 1982 are both years I rarely encountered cards from. Maybe one or two in a repack. And I did buy a wax pack of each of these back in the late 80s. But nothing major and definitely not enough to build a stack of Giants.

The Jerry Martin is of course barely a Giants card but it counts. Frank Robinson though is always a nice one to add. I’m still not used to Donruss having manager cards.

When I actually commence my 1985 Fleer build* I’ll need to double acquire these Giants. For now though they’re in my Giants album. Dan Gladden was on those first teams I followed and it’s always fun to add a Johnnie LeMaster.

*I periodically search for starter lots on Ebay but to-date that’s been not particularly fruitful.

Three 1985 Fleer minis. I appreciate that these use different photos than the regular set rather than just being mini versions of the main set. Where 1985 Fleer is a design I love, 1986 is one that seems to be permanently forgettable for me.

This is the highlight of the envelope. In 1997 Wheaties had cards in its cereal boxes. All the same design as this one but for whatever reason they were branded with different companies. The cards are also more like 2″×4″ rather than the standard size.

Anyway this is a box card in the tradition of classic Post cards only there are stats on the back. Not at all something I was expecting to see from 1997 but very cool to add to the binder.

Three modern cards, all from 2022. The two Bowmans are new to me. The only Bowman I but are cheap singles to take to Somerset so it’s nice to add Giants. The Posey is one I’ll have to check with my kids about to see if either of them has one and, if they’re both missing it, it’ll make my youngest very happy.

And finally a new Metacard for the PC. Rockie Joe Rock is great. If he doesn’t end up in Colorado I hope he gets sent to Texas so he can play for Round Rock. I’ve added a couple aspirational cards (eg a 1933 Goudey or Tattoo Orbit of Red Lucas as a Red and the 1954 Red Heart Red Schoendienst) to the page but this is the first addition I’ve made since I got the Ernie Johnson half a year ago.

Super cool. Thanks Joe!

Two PWEs from Johnny!

Johnny started giving away ~nine cards to a random commenter on each post on his blog way back in last fall and is still doing these giveaways like nine months later. I got a couple in the beginning of things but have been skunked for the past five months now.

Some of this is because I don’t comment on every post. I’m not prizehunting so I only comment when I have something to say. That said, Johnny posts a lot of interesting things so I do comment petty frequently. This month though, much to my surprise, I ended up winning twice so close together that I have to combine the mailings into one post.

I’ve mixed the cards together but before I start I have to admit that I’m impressed at Johnny managing to get 21 items into two PWEs and that both of them came with a postcard stamp instead of a forever stamp. Zero chance that my local post office would let me get away with that.

Starting off wth a few random Giants cards. The glorious miscut 1970 Rookies card features John Harrell as well as Bernie Williams in his first of three consecutive multiplayer rookie cards. I still need Bernie’s 1972 card.

The 1991 Topps Archives Leo Durocher attempts to fill in some of the holes in the original 1953 Topps set. These “cards that never were” are a nice way of addressing how Topps and Bowman sort of split the checklist that year. They’re also an interesting variation on the 1953 design in that they replace the paintings with a black and white photo that has been given a duotone background. I have no idea why they used a red box for Durocher’s name though since that was only used for the American League in 1953. This takes me to only needing  four cards to complete this team set.*

*#38 Jim Hearn, #115 George Spencer, #303 Sal Maglie, and #323 Wes Westrum. Yes it’s a bit weird that I have the 1953s of Hearn and Spencer and not the 1991s.

And in a similar modern take on a old design, the Topps206 John McGraw expands one of McGraw’s T206 cards to fit a modern trading card’s size and dimensions. I’m not a huge fan of this in part because the reproduction looks pretty bad. My bigger issue though is that Topps’s branding suggests that the T in T206 stands for “Topps” instead of “tobacco.”

A half-dozen parallel-designed Topps Flagship cards. The 2020 camo pattern is numbered to 25 and features a player who didn’t make the team out of Spring Training. Is interesting that the camo is a digital camouflage that suggests the Universal Pattern which the Army stopped using in 2019 (and whose replacement had been announced in 2014). I also don’t like using camo for what Topps calls a “Memorial Day” parallel since Memorial Day is a day of honoring the dead.

I’ll lump the handful of 2021 and 2022 Holiday cards together since I don’t have a lot to say about this set. This set is so stupid but it’s stupid in a good way where I wish it was even stupider. I love that Topps has been branching out into baubles and holly instead of just snow. Maybe one of these days we’ll get holiday lights around the border.

My kids love these and if I could ever find a blaster for them for Christmas they’d be so happy. Alas all we get are Giants cards in trade packages months after the fact. Plus the truly-fun SPs with the the santa hats, candy cane bats, and snow balls all go for prices more than I’m willing to spend.

Oh, I do need to mention that that Kris Bryant was the only US-released card on Kris Bryan on a 2021 Flagship design as a Giant. So it is nice to add one of those to the team for that year.

A half-dozen rookies/prospect cards from various ages of the hobby. The 2001 Donruss Rookies are from the era of I don’t know how many companies making I can’t even begin to count how many sets. These don’t look like 2001 Donruss baseball but they’re clearly of that era. Three of the names I remember with David Brous being the only one I have no recollection of.

The two Bowman Sterling are from 2021. We’re still waiting for Ramos to make a splash in the majors and we’re still waiting for Bishop to get there. These are nice cards but I have no idea where one acquires them or what the point of the set is.  I have grabbed cheap autographs out of this set though.

A pair of pocket schedules from one of the high points of my Giants fandom before the 2010s happened. Despite the painful ending, 2002 was a magical year and it’s great to have a schedule from that year as well as the 2003 one which commemorates that year. I still have a few two-pocket pages with  vertical pockets* that fit these perfectly too.

*Meant for First-Day Covers.

Johnny included two Stanford cards as well. I didn’t have either of them. No surprise about my missing the Shawn Green Flair insert. I only added him to the searchlist a year ago and Flair is off my radar in general–meaning that Flair inserts aren’t even something I think about. Very cool to add something that different.

Missing the Piscotty is more of a surprise. I have a green(?*) parallel of this card as well as the paper Donruss card but did not have the base Optic card. Go figure.

*Turquoise? Panini color parallels mystify me.

Wrapping up with a few cards Johny sent because of where I live. First off, a fun postcard of Princeton Stadium in the 1980s. It’s cool to see what this area looked like before it got remodeled. I’ve only known it as a two-deck stadium which moved the running track into a fancy shmancy facility located where the practice field is in this photo.

Surrounding the stadium, the building in the bottom left corner was replaced with a very nice chemistry building instead of whatever that warehouse-looking structure was. And the empty space in the top left corner is where the engineering library designed by Frank Gehry now lives.

Finally, the greenish space at the top/top right of the photo beyond the stadium has been torn up for the past year as Princeton is currently building a new suite of buildings for Engineering and Environmental Studies.

And last but not least, Johnny hit me with this Alf card from 1987. Did it make me laugh? Yes it did. Will it make my kids groan? Yes it will.

Meanwhile I’ve yet to make it to Atlantic City. Heck I’ve only made it to The Shore once. One of these days I guess I’ll rectify that.

Anyway, very cool stuff Johnny! For taking a blind stab at my collection, hitting with 19 cards that I didn’t already have is super impressive.

Some awesome trade packages

Time to wrap up a few trade packages I’ve gotten recently. Things have been pretty quiet on this front due to a combination of me having zero trade bait* and everyone else being in basically the same place.

*Hard to get trade bait when you only buy the specific cards you want because Topps has made the experience of opening new product nowhere near as much fun as to be worth the price of buying the product.

The first one came from Alley (@_AlleyAwesome) who lives in NorCal but collects Dodgers. She’s often posting fantastic photos of the Shasta area wilderness which makes me miss California but, aside from the Dodgers thing, also shares similar interests to me regarding cards in that she loves box cards and holograms.

She posted a photo of Cramer Baseball Legends box bottoms which prompted me to respond with one of those all-too-common “oh crap I had no idea these existed looks like I need to update the searchlist” tweets that every single person on card Twitter has both written and inspired.* She however lived up to her Twitter handle and surprised me with a “how about I just send you a duplicate” response.

*We are our own worst enemies.

The box bottom is great. It comes from the 1986 combined release of all the different series of these cards and you technically need it to complete the set since these four cards are on the checklist. I both loved this set as a kid and was too immature to appreciate it since I didn’t treat cards like this as “real” cards even though they were all I could get.

I’ve thankfully grown out of that mindset and wish that similar sets existed for my kids now since there’s currently zero way for them to learn about the history of the game through baseball cards.

Speaking of hologram cards, I recently started building 1996 SPx which is a 60-card set featuring fantastic holographic images. They scan like crap but photograph pretty well. I picked up a good-size lot starter lot and swapped some duplicates with Matt Prigge who’s also building the set.

The only duplicate Matt had which I needed was this Eddie Murray. Always nice to add a Hall of Famer and I’m at 29/60 complete on the set now.

Matt also sent me a copy of his latest book because I helped him out with these promotional trading cards (which he also sent me copies of). It was a fun challenge. Card people will recognize that this is inspired by the 1982 Topps In Action design by turning it into more of an Opening Day bunting sort of feel. Matt printed these out as 5″×7″ postcards from Vistaprint and cut them into quarters by hand.

Finally, Mark Del Franco sent me a stack of eleven 1959 Topps cards. Mark’s been building this set and evidently was on the receiving end of a lot of generous maildays since when I expressed my admiration for this design as one that’s been growing on me significantly he was very fast to offer to send me a bunch.

I’m not sure what it is but I’ve mentioned before that there’s something about this design which screams Baseball Card in a way that few other designs do. Despite containing things like small photos and facsimile signatures which I typically treat as deal beakers, everything about these just works for me.*

*That my son dressed up in this design for Halloween is a nice bonus.

The only non-Giants 1959 Topps cards I had were the nine in my colorwheels page and the Elston Howard and Ozzie Virgil in my Colorline project so it’s nice to be able to put a page together. Some of Mark’s cards—such as that fantastic Blasingame—will unseat cards on this page, others will go in the binder to be admired, and a few fit other collecion purposes.

For example, this is my first Richie Ashburn card so it slides over into the Hall of Fame binder. There’s definitely a crease on this but it barely shows even in the scan.

These two meanwhile slip into the moves and no-longer-in-existence teams binder (I didn’t include the Senators card in he firs gallery since it doesn’t fit in well with the other vertically-oriented cards). They’re not from any last or first season but I still like having examples of these teams existing on cardboard.

The rest are in the general binder for now. But it’s a lot of fun to have a Ryne Duren card and I’ll always be happy coming across Bobby Thomson.

Last package comes from Jason and contains a 1995 Score Gold Rush Robby Thompson that he pulled from one of his pack nights* as well as a random postcard from the Minneapolis Review of Baseball which suggested that Al Dark, Monte Irvin, Wes Westrum, and Willie Mays all had some sort of Minneapolis connection.**

*A bunch of the Chicago SABR guys have a regular rip night where they get together and rip all kinds of old boxes of cards. The box bottoms Jason previously sent me were from one such night.

**Westrum is from there. Mays played in Minneapolis before becoming a Giant and Irvin spent a short time there. Dark though never played in Minnesota.

The Thompson is totally one of those things I love to add but will never get on purpose. I do find the printing interesting though since it demonstrates some of the same opaque white effects that Chrome cards show. Since this is printed on foil stock, a pass of opaque white is necessary on every area where Score doesn’t want the foil to show through. This always looks strange when there’s another player in the image who ends up fading into the background.

The back of the postcard though shows that the image is actually just about Westrum and includes the other three players as examples of who he played with when he got to the show.

And yeah. Thanks guys these were indeed awesome. It’s nice to get four mailings. Seems like trading is picking up again. Maybe packs will wind up in stores soon and be priced to where ripping becomes feasible again.


Mailday from Fuji

A couple weeks ago Mark/SanJoseFuji (I’m pretty sure the most popular name on Card Twitter is Mark/Marc) asked me for my address so that he could send me a few cards for myself and my kids. Last week a pair of PWEs showed up and what was inside was definitely good stuff for the three of us.

We’ll start off with the things that are clearly for me. Three Stanford autographs of random guys who my kids have never heard of. Fuji also collects Stanford guys so I assume these are his duplicates.

Justin Armour was not in the binder yet. I’ve been hitting the  pre-1990s guys but haven’t put the list together of junk wax NFL cards of Stanford guys. Todd LaRocca is definitely one I remember watching play. It occurs to me that I should look through those mid-90s signature cards and see if there are any other Stanford players on those checklists (I do have Jed Hansen already). And that Steve Stenstrom signed $2 phone card is one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen. I don’t even know where to begin.

Explaining pay phones and phone cards to my kid is going to be tough enough. Adding in the idea of them being certified autographs of sports players? Weird. Plus a $2 phone card in the age of 20¢ phone calls would actually have been a decent number of calls.

The first batch of cards are all ones I have at some level. I don’t know if my Kellogg’s are in this nice of shape though so I’ll definitely be doublechecking those before I distribute them to the boys. I really like the UK minis and MLB Debut is one of those sets which I wish Topps still made.*

*My dream would be if the MLB portion of Bowman became MLB Debut so that those cards would never show up in Update, we could lose a lot of the rookie bloat in flagship, and a bunch of guys who normally don’t get cards would be able to get a real MLB card.

A half-dozen shiny cards for us to fight over. Though to be honest these all have my youngest’s name written all over them. My eldest is a traditionalist who likes his cards to be made of paper and emphasize the photography. My youngest likes the bright colors and shiny backgrounds and it’s always a bit heartbreaking to see him realize that those cards are not intended to be affordable for kids.

I’m not sure what they think about the logoless Panini stuff though. Is interesting to me to realize that this entire batch is non-licensed including that Lincecum where Upper Deck hilariously didn’t bother to do anything to remove the logos.

Finally, Fuji included a Tim Alderson relic. Very much a “who was this?” card now even though he would’ve absolutely been a big deal in 2008 after he was one of two Giants first round draft picks in 2007 (the other being Madison Bumgarner) and was on track to being one of the California League ERA leaders that season. In 2009 the Giants would send him to Pittsburgh in exchange for Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez became a key part of that 2010 World Series team. Alderson meanwhile topped out in AAA ball.

Thanks Fuji this was fun!

Shlabotnik Surprise

Last week I found a surprise envelope from Shlabotnik Report in my mailbox. Inside were a pair of cards and some newsprint clippings.

Let’s start with the cards, in particular the classic 1985 Topps Gary Pettis error which features his younger brother. As with the 1984 Fleer Glenn Hubbard, this is one of those noteworthy cards from my youth that for whatever reason never made it into my collection.  The story behind it is pretty fun and includes the information that Pettis refuses to sign the card.

This one isn’t as obvious a keeper as the Hubbard but collectors my age all know about it and know why it’s special so I’m very happy to add it to my binder after all these years.

The other card was an extra Goggomobile that he had mistakenly ordered form COMC and which he felt would look good next to the Ferrari card I grabbed earlier. Such a weird set with super-sporty Ferraris that people still admire and whatever this with a silly name, is but if I assemble a 6-pocket page of them it’ll definitely be a fun one to look at.

I’m glad Shlabotnik included a note about how the newsprint wasn’t just packaging since it was a good read. I didn’t scan them since they came from the current Sports Collectors Digest and you can just read the article online.

Shlabotnik thought of me because the article contained printing information about the 1960s Post sets.

Rotogravure printing was accomplished by Post’s graphic designers creating 150 percent scale mockups of each box, including the back panel. The group of mockups for each cereal brand and size were then arranged in the way they would be printed. A photograph was made and used to etch six color rotogravure cylinder plates. Each set of plates printed the boxes for one particular cereal.

Rotogravure makes sense since it’s ideal for single-sided packaging. This prompted me to loupe my Post cards and I can see how the text and linework isn’t as crisp as I’d expect it to be with offset. It’s still solid but all the edges have a slight dot screen aspect to them. The real interesting thing is the 6-color information but I suspect it’s really just CMYK process plus corporate logo spot colors.

Very cool stuff. Thanks Shlabotnik report!

Pre-War Christmas Cards

A couple of late-arriving Christmas cards both showed up last Wednesday. One of those weird kismet things where both mailings worked really well together as pre-war grab bags.

The first mailing came from Anson at Pre-war Cards* and featured three cards that are perfectly tailored to my interests. The first two are a pair of aviators best known for their work with lighter-than-air flight—in part because they both lost their lives through lighter than air flight disasters.

*According to Anson it’s been en route for weeks so it must have just been waiting for just the right moment.

I’ve actually mentioned both before on this blog so this will be fast. S. A. Andrée was previously covered in my Polar Exploration post. Since this Felix Potin card dates to 1898–1908, it was printed after he and his balloon expedition had disappeared into the Arctic and entered the realm of myth and legend. Quite an amazing story to read about and a lot of fun to have a portrait of the man to go with my card of his balloon.

It is worth noting though that the Felix Potin cards appear to be photographic prints. Not cabinet cards or cartes de visite but the same mass-produced photographs that the 3D Cavanders cards are. Unlike the Cavanders though the Felix Potin has a blank back (which I’m assuming is standard rather than this being a skinned card).

Admiral Moffett is a card I actually have already. As per that previous post, I have a special attachment to him having grown up in the shadow of his eponymous naval air base. His card was printed in 1934, the year after he perished in the USS Akron crash—basically ending the United States’ lighter-than-air program and makes a fitting pair to the Andrée card as memorials of a sort.

The third card was a 1927–1932 Die Welt in Bildern card featuring a Josetti Bilder back. It’s a great image of a California Sequoia with a tunnel carved trough it. I’ve gone ahead and just included a screenshot of the Google Translate back since it seems like a straightforward translation. I’m now wondering what other cards are in this series (is it trees, USA, California?) and it kind of amazes me how there are so many sets out there with checklists that aren’t online.

The other mailing came from Marc Brubaker who stumbled into a weird cache of cards at a local store last week and proceeded to do his usual thing where when I receive one envelope from him there’s a 50% chance another is arriving very soon. He posted a photo of these in the Discord “look what I just got” channel and I immediately recognized them as being “like” the 1934 Hints on Association Football set.

Turns out they’re more than like and are in fact the same set only also released in 1934 only in China by the British American Tobacco Company. So no text and Chinese backs both otherwise basically the same aside from the decision to omit the final two cards in the British set (#49 Receiving a Penalty and #50 Goalkeeper Narrowing the Goal) and turn the Chinese set into a 48-card set.

When I looked closer though I realized that they hadn’t just removed the text, they’d modified the artwork so that all the soccer players were Chinese with rounder facial features and blacker hair. I’ve gone ahead and inserted scans of the same cards in the British set for comparison purposes. Yes here are other changes to the uniform colors and the softness of the artwork but the big change is the racial one.

No much to say about the backs except to note that there’s no obvious branding and the overall design is super simple. Just text surrounded by a border with a simple card number in one corner.

Google Translate doesn’t do well here but it does enough to suggest that the text is trying to translate from the original English. So I’ve gone ahead and included the English backs along with the screenshots. I’m mainly interested here in how Google Translate handles the top-to-bottom, right-to-left text flow by just rotating the English text so it flows the same direction as the Chinese.

Very cool stuff and I get to add another country to my Around the World post now too. Thanks Anson and Marc and have a Happy New Year of collecting.

More Holiday Mail

A couple more holiday mailings trickled in after my last post so it’s time for another roundup post. These both warranted further comments so this post took a while to get up.

Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown is one of the custom card makers who I really enjoy. He’s been playing with intentionally fading 1991 Fleer and sent out a bunch of his experiments as a Christmas surprise to various card bloggers.

A lot of bloggers were writing about theres in the week before Christmas and I figured that I just hadn’t made the cut. I don’t trade very much and it’s been years since I traded with Gavin in particular.* It turned out that Gavin still had my old address and had sent my card to my previous apartment. I was dropping off Christmas cards locally and when I swung by my old place Gavin’s card was there waiting for me (along with a few other Christmas cards).

*Though I did inspire a couple GIFs.

The Christmas overlay is as fun as expected but I really just love the faded yellow card by itself. I’ve never hated on 1991 Fleer as much as other people do since the only problem is the yellow. Design and photographywise it’s actually a nice card and toning the yellow down eliminates the only questionable design decision.

I’ve gone ahead and included a scan of the unfaded card as a way of showing the difference. Gavin’s clearly doing more than just leaving a card out in the sun since the image isn’t faded at all.

I’ve gone ahead and put a gif together of the faded and non-faded cards. My unfaded card is actually more yellow across the board but it’s clear that Gavin has masked the image so that it didn’t get hit by the UV from the sun.* Since UV breaks down yellow pigment first.** The orange signs and yellow foul pole are both mostly untouched while the border is almost all gone.

*A discerning eye will also note the slightest of differences in the cropping and logo placement.

**Also magenta but yellow is clearly the most reactive. A combination of UV susceptibility as well as basic color physics in how blue light is higher energy and while blue pigment reflects blue light, the other colors absorb the higher energy wavelengths. 

It’s a transformative way of looking at 1991 Fleer and making the design itself more apparent. I want to try it myself once we have sun again as well as think about other junk wax sets or cards that might benefit from the same approach.

The cards will have to feature a design with prominent red or yellow elements. 1990 Donruss came to mind first but the white lettering for the player name may not work. The 1988 Topps All Star cards on the other hand might be perfect (though cutting the mask for the head will be difficult*). And heck maybe even 1987 Topps could be interesting. Plenty of time to think about it since we won’t have proper sun for a while.

*Hehe so Gavin was doing exactly this while I was drafting my post.

Plenty of time to also think about doing fun things with the mask as well as changing reds to magenta or greens to cyans. I’m interested to see what else Gavin cooks up

I also got a nice bubble mailer from Marc consisting of a combination of cards from a childhood pile he’d inherited and some unwanted cards from various boxes he’s ripped. This firs batch of Giants is clearly form the collection with a bunch of late-90s/early 00s cards. I have some of these but need to check my notes since I also don’t have many of them.

It’s interesting to see the 1981 Fleer design get remade using higher-quality graphics and how the better quality makes the cards look even more amateur. As a 1981 design I love it. As a ~2001 design it falls into the uncanny valley. I also enjoy the Pacific cards. They’re sadly no longer in Spanish but it’s always nice to see Pacific‘s unique take on cards. Also the foil stamping on the JT Snow Bowman is massively misregistered to the point where it almost changes the card design. I’m not sure if I love the mistake or if it gives me hives. Or both.

The rest of the Giants includes a pair of Rich Aurilias from set I’ve never seen before and an always-welcome Kenny Lofton card. Lofton, like Eric Davis in the first photo, only played for the Giants for one season but it’s nice to have had a chance to root for a player I always admired.

The 2022 cards are all from various product rips Marc’s had. Nice to get a Chrome colored parallel as well as a pair of Holiday cards. Also nice to be able to slide my first Ginters into the binder.

A few Stanford cards. Total is always appeciated. As is Donruss. Since I focus on Topps Flagship for this PC the other brands/products only make it in as I come across them. The Shawn Greens are nice too (almost all caught up on his Topps run now) and these are the firs 2023 Ginter and Chrome to make it into the Stanford album.

And finally a handful of other cards. I’m pretty sure this is one of Scott Erickson’s last cards and comes from a set that’s not well represented in the binder. And Marc sent me the three New Jersey™ cards in this year‘s Ginter set. TWO Pork Roll cards suggests that there’s a heavy New Jersey contingent working there and I’ve loved seeing how many people have zero idea WTF Pork Roll is.

Thanks so much guys! Happy New Year!

Holiday PWEs

Every holiday season I’m surprised by a few PWEs from other card bloggers and people out there. Sometimes these can be kind of amazing but most of the time they’re assorted randomness which consists of people getting surplus cards out of their house and into the hands of people who’ll appreciate them. This year’s examples fall into that category.

The first PWE was nine John Elway cards from Johnny’s Trading Spot—basically the Elway version of the Giants I got in my first batch. I have a few Elway cards in the Stanford binder but it’s a pretty random selection or whatever was cheapest. These don’t make it less random but do flesh things out a bit. I especially like the Pinnacle Idols card as well as the 2013 Topps Archives using the 1976 design.

My two favorite cards though were the Spanish Pro Set card and the Game Dated highlight. I love Spanish-language cards released in the United States. They’re one of the things I collect casually and it’s great to add them to the Stanford album. I also just like the wider-angle horizontal photo on the highlight card. I’m not used to seeing images like this on cards and it’s a nice change of pace.

I also got a pair of 1989 Donruss cards from HayMay who’s no longer on Twitter but is part of our Discord “Card Twitter in Exile” community. As one of those sets where I’m at the point where buying lots makes zero sense (due to duplication issues) and buying singles makes even less sense (due to just not being worth it financially), every bit of progress toward set completion is fully appreciated.

The Bo is admittedly a bit weird. A bit larger than it’s supposed to be and for whatever reason it wasn’t trimmed fully on the bottom so the corners got torn off. The Eck is nice though. Always fun when the A’s cards are in the team color gradient too.

And finally a Christmas trade with Clearush, a new trading partner who’s also on the Discord. He had a bunch of off-grade 1953 Bowmans including one I needed. I had a handful of 1974 Topps cards he needed for his set build. PWEs were dispatched on the weekend and by the following Wednesday I had card #1 Davey Williams in hand.

Yes there’s some tape. And yes I was advised of this beforehand. It doesn’t matter though. A lot of the Williams cards I’ve seen are misregistered and this one is sharp. Plus most of my 1953s have some kind of major damage whether it’s tape, creasing, or a hole punch. It takes a lot to detract from the quality of this set though. Only two more left for the team set now!*

*Leo Durocher and Whitey Lockman (plus Bill Rigney and Hoyt Wilhelm for the Black and White set)

Thanks guys and Happy Holidays! It’s always fun to get this kind of Christmas card instead.

Dimebox Anniversary PWE

First off. A big congratulations to Dimebox Nick for making it to eleven years blogging. He celebrated by offering a bunch of cards to pick from from his website. Usually I only see these offers by the time they’re thoroughly picked over but when I read his post I was pleased to discover that a couple of cards I wanted hadn’t been grabbed yet. So I had a claim and a week or so later I found a PWE stuffed with stuff in my mailbox.

These were the two cards I wanted. For some reason I was able to put together the three cards in Mother’s Cookies 1991 Father & Son set which featured Ken Griffey Jr. but never tracked down the card featuring Senior by himself (well Junior is in the background). Very happy to finally finish that set 30 years later. The Nomo meanwhile is a fantastic action image which captures a bit of his tornado windup. I may not root for the Dodgers but Nomo was indeed something else to watch.

I also grabbed a few other oddballs of guys who represented the best of the best when I was a kid. Eric Davis in 1988 was arguably the top player in the game* and Dave Stewart in 1990 was definitely one of the top pitchers. Rickey of course was Rickey and remains probably the most exciting player I’ve ever seen play. Lots of fun to have cards of all of them from sets which I didn’t have in my oddballs binder.** And it’s nice that each of these oddballs designs works reasonably well with the team colors.

*A few years ago my eldest received a pack of 1987 Topps which he proceeded to hand to me after he opened it because “there was no one good inside.” Only the top card was Eric Davis so I had to do a bit of explaining that day. 

**In the Giants binder? Absolutely. 

Nick managed to stuff another half-dozen cards into that envelope though. While I had the two Heritage cards, having a duplicate Krizan is nice so I can send to him next spring. For once Topps did something clearly good by getting him a few proper cards after 11 years in the minors.

The other four cards I did not have. I somehow didn’t hit any of those Stars of MLB cards on my breaks and Chrome and Archives are both sets I don’t buy. As always I very much appreciate getting samples of those sets in the mail. It’s impossible and impractical to stay on top of every Topps release but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy having some of the variety in the binder.

Thanks Nick! Congrats again on eleven years blogging.

Thanksgiving Zapping

I haven’t been doing a lot of trading recently. The thing with trading is that you need to be acquiring product which has things that you don’t need or want. And I’m barely acquiring product anymore at all let alone anything which produces the kind of bycatch needed to trade nicely.

Which means that it’s always a surprise and please when I do find a package in my mailbox. Thanksgiving weekend one such surprise package arrived from Kenny. It was a large, suspiciously-light box which turned out to be mostly packed with boxes and toploaders as Kenny is rehoming his excess storage supplies. But there was also a decent stack of cards in there too.

I went through quickly and pulled out everything that looked relevant to my collecting interests. The Jack McDowell is a new card for the Stanford album and reminds me that I don’t have a lot of 1996 Score. Matt Cain is a Giants card I didn’t have though I still have no idea what ToppsTown was.

It’s not a primary project but I’ve been slipping cards of Hall of Famers into their own album for a while now. While I don’t picture Kaat, Smith, or Pudge as Yankees it’s always nice to add cards to that album.

I’m also putting a small collection together of guys who I’ve see play at Trenton or Somerset. While this is mostly focused on Major Leaguers I’ll totally add Bowman or Panini cards if I come across them. Is very nice to get Rookie Cards of Abreu and Deivi as well.

Two African-American cards are great to have. I wish Topps had Negro League players in Allen & Ginter every year but I’ll never turn down a Moses Fleetwood Walker card. It’s also always fun to get a Japanese card—in this case a nice foil Hideki Matsui.

And finally a few 1980s oddballs from toy stores. I remember the Toys R Us cards but never saw the Kay Bee ones. A bit funny to see who was considered a “young superstar” back then.

Most of the cards though was various assorted Yankees from multiple sets. I do have to admit though that I’ll never turn down the chance to add more cards from before I began collecting. I’m mostly thin on any set before 1986.* With this batch I now have almost a page each of 1972s (all Yankees), 1973s, and 1974s. The 1972 Kekich makes me want to get a 1972 Fritz Peterson to pair with it and the 1973 Blomberg is a fun on for first DH reasons.**

*Exceptions are 1975–1979 due to an 800-count box that I found on ebay for $10 that was labeled and listed at 1991 Donruss but was actually stuffed with commons from 1975–1979 Topps. This is why I ended up building 1978.

**I TTM’d him the 1974 card which lists him as DH.

The 1980–1985 cards are also welcome as I only ever got a pack’s worth of those cards as a kid. I have more now of a few of those sets* but it’s always nice to flesh those out a bit. There’s something about those sets from before my childhood which still scratch a collecting itch.

*A decent number of 1984 and 1985 Topps.

The 1986–1988s here though are cards from when I was accumulating a lot of things. They go in the duplicate/TTM pile or might become trade packages for someone else. Yes even that 1988 Traded Jay Buhner which looks so wrong as a Yankees card.

More of the same for a lot of these cards. Though it’s worth mentioning that the 1989 Donruss cards are the Traded set and that the Deion Sanders The Rookies is one I missed as being for my oddball album. This also goes with the Melido Perez Pacific card which belongs in my Spanish-language album.

Kenny also included a bunch of Minor League cards which are starting to slip into the stream in this photo. The 1993 Pulaski Yankees design is a super-basic Minor League set whereas Classic was a more nationally-distributed production.

Into the 2000s with a bunch of cards I don’t have much to say about. Andy Brown must’ve been someone who was getting prospected a bit though. There are also three guys who I remember form the Giants here. Kenny Lofton of course needs no introduction as he’s one of those criminally-underrated players who deserved serious Hall of Fame consideration but dropped off the ballot in only a year. Brett Tomko wasn’t bad either but the less said about Sidney Ponson the better.

Late 2000s to early 2010s with more of a grab bag but it is worth commenting on the two stacks of 2011 Topps and 2011 Topps Update. A few fun cards in there and definitely nice to have a representative stack to look through from that year. I enjoy getting Thairo cards as he’s become a bit of a fan favorite in San Francisco. No idea why there are two different sizes of Bowman minis. And I do like 2014 Allen & Ginter.

Also I did not open the 2014 Staten Island Yankees team set but it appears that there are Thairo Estrada, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Torrens cards inside.

To the last batch which is increasingly a Minor League grab bag. The random Topps Archives cards are fun and I’ll have to be on alert with the Hudson Valley teams set next season in Somerset.

The main point of interest here are the Stars and Stripes USA cards. I’m a bit weirded out that cards of kids who are on the under 15 team exist. Especially since my kids are approaching this age. I did a quick look through and most of the names are completely unknown to me. There was however one card of Charlie Saum who was a freshman at Sanford last year so I guess that’s going into that album too.

And finally Kenny’s calling cards. I have sent him a Torrens custom before so getting his “you’ve been Zippy Zapped” custom back makes perfect sense. And the Power Puff and anime girls are also on brand.

Very cool. That was a fun way to unwind after hosting Thanksgiving. Thanks Kenny!