¡Por Fin!

A quick roundup of a few mailings that I haven’t posted about yet but which I did not receive while I was on vacation. The first one came from Mike Sommer before I left. Mike blogs over at Wax Pack Hero and is one of the few guys who are big into the selling side of the hobby who I can stand.

There are a lot of guys on Twitter who sell cards and claim to be collectors but who are really just flippers looking to make a quick buck without offering anything of value themselves. Mike though specializes in the long tail and is willing to put the work in to turn large lots of cards into organized 18¢ singles on his Sportlots.

While I’d love to dig through big unsorted boxes of cards like he does, I’d much rather pay him 18¢ a card just for the cards I want rather than spending 100 times as much and having to deal with sorting and storing everything.

Anyway a couple months ago he was sorting through some 1984 Fleer and tweeted that he’d come across the legendary Glenn Hubbard card. I responded that I still hadn’t purchased one  for my collection and he just offered to send this one to me. Which means that at least one gaping hole in my 1980s and 1990s iconic card photos* is now filled.

*Still need Jay Johnstone, Billy Ripken, Bo Jackson, Gary Pettis, and Mike Perez.

This is such a weird card in how it’s both a common and not. No one wants to spend a ton of money on a Glenn Hubbard card just because it has a silly photo. At the same time, everyone wants one of these and holds on to them. They‘re frequently not available on any of the card purchasing sites which is an astounding thing to say about any card from the junk wax era.

Thanks Mike! I’m super happy to finally have this one in the photography binder.

On the topic of photography, a couple weeks ago Shlabotnik Report saw me mention my appreciation for the goofiness on 1976 SSPC and promptly filled up a PWE to send me a few. Only three SSPCs but they definitely fit the bill—especially the Jim Colborn card.

He managed to fit a dozen cards into the PWE though and managed to hit with most of them. Lots of Willie Mays inserts which I didn’t have. A shiny Kris Bryant insert.* A fun Joe Panik card from San José Giants. And of course a SPAM card** for the Python collection.

*Interesting to see Panini trying to keep Donruss Elite a thing still. As if the hobby would go bananas about a /10,000 “limited edition” card nowadays.

**Oh lord is it dangerous to know that SPAM cards exist. One of these days someone out there is going to send a whole mailer of SPAM cards. Also I should definitely consider converting a 1980s/90s food oddball to be a SPAM oddball for a se of Hawaiian-born players. 

Awesome stuff, thanks Joe Shlabotnik!

Vacation PWEs

While I was on vacation, in addition to the sixteen TTM returns I was also pleasantly surprised to find a handful of PWE trade packages waiting for me as well. Always nice when it’s not just bills and junk mail waiting.

The first package is from Greg/Night Owl and includes a page’s worth of fun. I missed out on his giveaway* and apparently these are the only remaining 1985 Fleers he had to get rid of. I’ll gladly take them though and remind myself to put a need list together.**

*Relying on an RSS reader means I miss out on any timed contests.

**Though I also don’t have enough cards to feel like a needlist is necessary yet. Who puts a set needlist up with over 600 cards?

The two 2009 O Pee Chee black borders are great. The more I look at the last 25 years of baseball cards the more sets like this one stand out for being distinct in both feeling like a traditional set while also not directly copying an old design. It would’ve been nice to see what Upper Deck did with this brand had Topps not grabbed an exclusive license in 2010.

Not much to say about the rest of the cards though I do appreciate the 2022 2021 Big League Crawford since I’m not hitting that set hard at all. Also I’m super curious how Greg, as a Dodgers fan who doesn’t go for all the fancy shmancy new stuff, ended up with a 2019 Montgomery Club Giants team card.

A PWE from Jeff Katz almost works as a TTM return. Years ago I was playing around with photoshop and throwing together some Ginter-like cards. Jeff was one of the first I ran through the Ginterizer since his moment wearing the Mayor Quimby sash for the Simpsons day was brilliant. Yeah I couldn’t get all of “Mayor” to fit without making Jeff look like Kingpin.

When Marc printed these all up he sent them to everyone. I got my copies but when Jeff got his I asked for a signed one. He signed small so it would fit on the paper. I’m curious how a silver sharpie would’ve worked instead but not everyone has those lying around.

Another PWE had two packs of John Racanelli’s Literal Cards. This has been an ongoing thing on Twitter where John posts often awful but also often hilarious tweaks on existing cards. I never expected him to actually produce these but I’m glad he did.

There’s something about making them real cards that takes the joke to the next level. My kids also enjoyed them—especially Les Rohr and Willie Mays—which surprised me a little because they always groan when I make these kinds of jokes.

And finally a mini-zapping from Kenny who came into a nice lot of Card Gens and generously decided to spread the wealth. These are always welcome in part because it gives me an excuse to link to Kenny’s You Tube video again but because the actual use of these cards is so far outside how we’ve thought of using cards in the US.

The few Card Gens I have have all come from Kenny and to-date, have been from the 2010 set. This is the first 2012 I have and the fact that it’s a Giant is even cooler. I still hold out hope that I’ll run into the 2012 Sam Fuld on of these days since it’s the only card he got that year.

Very cool guys and thanks for livening up my post-vacation mail pile.

A big pile of photos

A couple of years ago* Marc Brubaker came across a huge pile of 8×10 photos. For a while he was using some for TTMs and posting scans of a few others but aside from a couple randoms that showed up in trade packages they kind of disappeared from his feed.

*Yeah I know at some point “a couple” turned into five and I don’t know how 2020 feels a decade ago while 2017 feels much more recent.

Then a few weeks ago* it seems like he realized that he should offering lots to team collectors, etc. and clear out the storage space that the photos were taking up. I don’t normally pursue photos but for the right lot and the right price (in this case basically just covering shipping) I’ll happily slip them into the binder. Early last week the package arrived and I got to see them in person.

We’ll start with the New York photos. The one that caught my eye is the aerial photo of the Polo Grounds. Turns out that it’s a photo of a halftoned image but you can only tell if you look closely. I like the image because it puts the Polo Grounds in location among buildings that are still there today.

The other four photos—Bobby Thomson, Eddie Stanky, Al Dark, and Hoyt Wilhelm—are all very nice photo prints from, I’m guessing, the Photofile/TCMA archives since I recognize a lot of the images from the various all-time greats cards I grew up with in the 80s and 90s. Nice to see them big and nice to have some good prints showing the details of both the home and road New York Giants uniforms.

There were also eight San Francisco photos. The first four are photo prints of a much more mixed bag of quality. Matty Alou and Mike Aldrete are great-looking portraits of players who you don’t expect to see prints of.* Vida Blue and Juan Marichal meanwhile are the kind of stars you expect to see but the prints are of much lesser quality with Marichal fading badly and Blue looking like it was enlarged too much from a copy negative.

*I was seriously surprised by the Aldrete and have slipped that into my Stanford album.

One of the reasons why I don’t normally grab photos like this is because I have no idea how to account for the fact that they’re modern prints of old photos. They’re a great option for autographing when you can’t get a card* but never feel like they’re part of anything bigger.

*Something I did when I was a kid with Jim Davenport since I couldn’t find a card of him. No not even his 1985 Topps Traded.

I’ve decided to sort these all by about when the photo would’ve been taken and mix them in with the res of the cards. But I can also see yanking them all out and keeping undated photos like this in a separate album too.

The four 8×10 “set” though is not photo prints and as such I actually like more. I have a set of these from 1989* and 1990** so I’m guessing these are from 1991. These came as photo packs from team souvenir stores and while they aren’t cards™ they function in a way that feels much more similar to that world than the individually-ordered 8x10s do.

*Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, Robby Thompson, and Rick Reuschel.

**Robby Thompson, Jose Uribe, Matt Williams, and Will Clark & Kevin Mitchell

They give me a sense of who the fan favorite players at the time were and I immediately relate to them better as objects. I also have zero problems mixing these with cards and they offer a fun alternate timeline in how they connect to Ticketmasters and Jays Publishing photos from the past.

Marc being Marc slipped a bunch of other cards into the envelope even though he’d just sent me a package. The first batch were a small stack of well-loved 1985 Fleers and a large stack of well-loved 1989 Donruss. 1985 Fleer is a set I’ve decided to build. Why? Because that’s what my first baseball card ever was. Do I have a searchlist yet? Not at all because I have maybe three dozen cards total so far.

1989 Donruss I’m closing in on. Under 100 cards left. I haven’t updated the need list yet since I need to do a good look through for condition/photo upgrades. 1989 Donruss has probably the single most variance in printing of any set I’ve seen. I can have four copies of a card, one will be great, one will look sunburned, one will look 4 stops underexposed, and one will be miscut. It’s wild. Anyway I’m happy to have the slots full but suspect I’ll be working on this one for a while despite being close.

A handful of Giants cards. I actually already have a 1979 OPC Halicki already but it’s an even worse miscut than this so I appreciate the upgrade. Marc also continued his streak of sending my my first copy of a card from every non-flagship set. In this case these are both my first 2022 Bowman and my first 2022 GQ.

The Bowman is a Bowman card and looks like every other Bowman card I’ve seen in the past decade. I swear Topps has an AI designing these because they’ve got too much going on to be this boringly generic.

GQ* meanwhile sure is something. The HDR tonemapping look has bothered me for a long time** but I appreciate that it went full steampunk this year. Not convinced about the 3D effect for the team punch card but having designs go over the top weird is much better than playing it safe all the time. A version of these with black borders, foil-stamped photo corners, and a sepia duotoned image would be something amazing.

*I’m honestly shocked that no one’s given Topps shit about using a racist slur in this product name.

**A shame since the photos are often better than Flagship’s.

Some random craziness. I love the Xavi card since at times he’s my favorite player of all time. It’s always nice to add a Stanford card as well. But the real story here are the customs. Marc made a great set of Houston Manager cards based on the 1960 Topps manager design. I’m jealous of his local print shop and the paper he’s able to use since these feel wonderful in hand especially when compared to the flimsy stuff I get from Magcloud.

The Shawn Chacon got to me just in time for the Thunder game last week and I’m very happy to have been able to contribute to his Astrograph project. Dave Trembley meanwhile is a coach with State College so these cards would’ve had to have gotten to me almost a month ago when they were in town. Hopefully he signs TTM there.

And finally. Marc sent me a couple 1990 Donruss factory set variations. I didn’t scan all of them but I did scan the two Stanford guys and combine them into gifs with their pack-pulled cards. The speckle changes are a little too subtle for me to really care about* but it’s nice to have a couple pairs and see how different the entire lockup can be.

*My line appears to be between this and the 1991 Donruss variants which are similarly subtle but feel more intentional than just being a background speckle pattern. 

One of the interesting things about 1990 Donruss is that the script names are not fonts and each card has different letterforms and a different angle to the text. Donruss clearly left things loose as can be seen on the Buechele text jumping all over the place.

This is a reminder about how this kind of thing was all done by hand back in the day and as much as the lack of consistency sort of drives me nuts I also enjoy seeing the printer’s hand in the final product.

Cool stuff Marc. Your Chacon should be arriving any day now.

Mailday from Bru

Found a nice PWE from Marc in my mailbox last week. School is over and summer has officially begun so it’s nice to start it off with some cards in the mail.

This isn’t the usual fare but as we’ve all stopped ripping new cards and sort of filled in the obvious collection items, I think we’re all casting about for other stuff to send each other. In this case, Marc has come into a good-sized lot of 1979 Topps cards and remembered that I had’t put together my Candlestick page for that set.

Being an Astros collector means that Marc has a decent number of cards feature The Stick in the background. These seven 1979s definitely complete my page and the 1980 Andujar doubles the 1980 Candlestick cards I own. Og these I like how the Lemongello shows off the black hole in center and how Cabell captures the left field bleachers and scoreboard.

All seven didn’t make my 1979 page but four of them definitely did. Once I get more than nine cards I try and spread things out to get different views and I definitely like how that page looks now.

The early-1980s needs work but I’ve not yet gone looking for cards here. It’s nice to have a complete page though even if it spans 1980–1985.

Marc also included two 1979 cards form the Jean-Michel Basquiat checklist. I enjoy the connection to the “real” art world and it’s a fun mini-PC to put together. Rather than digging through the comments of my SABR post I’ll list the checklist here.

  • Joe: Steve Henderson
  • Jerk: Bob Randall
  • Hot Dog: Steve Kemp
  • Wally: John Matlack
  • Bus Pass: Ed Glynn

These are the first two I own from that theme (I had a Steve Henderson but sent it out TTM a couple years ago and it never returned)

And yes even though we’re not ripping product Marc apparently is still. A handful of Donruss cards is very much appreciated, especially the Camilo Doval card since for whatever reason Topps isn’t featuring him. I’m not keen on this design but a least it’s very Donruss™ without being derivative.

Oh and the Diamond Kings card looks like a Diamond Kings card. I’m assuming it’s this year but I can never tell.

For a while I was considering only buying Donruss cards this year since boycotting MLB-licensed stuff is about the only way I can make a statement as a fan. But then I don’t buy anything anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

A couple Match Attax Barça cards. No idea where these are sold or if anyone plays the game but they’re a fun add to the non-baseball sports album. Ansu Fati in particular is on the cusp of becoming something great and I hop he realizes his potential. That #10 shirt is really heavy and, while I think they gave it to him too soon, the fact he wears it now says a ton about how he’s perceived in the team.

And lastly a Safe Hit Texas Vegetables crate label. Marc got a big batch of these and has been selling/distributing them. Not the kind of thing I actively collect but with Marc being in Texas I totally understand why he jumped on this.* It’s a cool image with a local angle and even the concept of “Texas Vegetables” evokes a weird combination of the Texas Leaguer with a Can of Corn.

*I’d be much more tempted if I came across a Best Strike Apple label since Watsonville is borderline Bay Area. But even then I try really hard to to get sucked into too many different collecting interests. 

I also had the weirdest reaction to this piece as a physical object in that my gut felt that it was fake but there’s jut enough going on that I can’t trust that gut reaction plus I don’t know a thing about how labels like these were typically printed. The thing is that my gut wants the text to be nice and crisp and it’s not. No crisp edges anywhere. The blacks and reds are screen mixes. All of these things are frequently tells that something has been photographed and reprinted.

But if the entire label including the text was painted as a single piece, this is exactly how it would look. Especially if printed slightly out out register the way this one is. Plus the small vertical “INC” in the bottom right corner is printed as linework which suggests it was added in after the original artwork was photographed for press. And there’s no sign of being rescreened anywhere on here.

Also, the paper, while slicker than I expected, is only slick on one side. Definitely doesn’t feel like paper you’d get today and is probably way cheaper than what you’d get from Vintagraph.*

*Worth noting that this version of the label has been restored and I suspect has had all the type re-set as linework so it prints crisply. 

Very cool stuff Marc. I was half expecting a Shawn Chacon custom for Trenton but it’s great to fill out more Candlestick pages.

Holy moly

So Jeff/Deetdedee has been teasing me for months about sending me some cool cards. I’ve been sort of half paying attention since while I see no need to pester people about sending me stuff for free, I also do like to be pretty open about making sure that they know that if I haven’t acknowledged receipt of something on Twitter then it means I haven’t received it yet.*

*If I don’t tweet or, for anyone not on Twitter, shoot an email saying thank you it doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful it means that it got eaten by the USPS. This has happened before.

Anyway, last week I found a bubble mailer in my mailbox and was not at all ready for the coolness that was inside. Were they worth the wait and the tease? Absolutely.

We’ll start with the oldest card, a 1926 Zeenut of Syd Hansen. At first I thought this might be a 100+ year old 1920 Zeenut and fill a hole in my type collection. it doesn’t match that design though plus if I loupe the year I can see that it’s supposed to be a 6. Also the background is the same background as the 1926 card I got earlier this year but by showing people sitting on the wall it’s a lot more interesting.

Still it’s always fun to get a Zeenut. I don’t ever want to get tired of these cards and the way they represent sort of a mirror world of professional baseball in the US.

Hansen meanwhile is not a particularly noteworthy player. He pitched only two seasons in San Francisco, giving up 31 earned runs in 47 innings over 20 games pitched.

This is the card Jeff had been teasing me about since last year. A batch of these hit eBay and quickly passed my comfort level in the bidding. Jeff was trying to get a few of them for his Seals/Lefty O’Doul collection and ended up winning a couple. He very generously offered to send me one and for a while I thought he’d sent it PWE and it had gotten lost in the mail.

This is a 1949 Sommer & Kaufmann promotional card of Gene Brocker. Brocker is another player who’s not particularly noteworthy but I do love this image as both a great catcher photo as well as how it shows off the single-deck Seals stadium.

Sommer & Kaufmann was a San Francisco shoe maker whose shoes show up in local museums and whose storefront was located at 838 Market Street. Looking at old photos a the SF library suggests that it’s not the same building at that location now.

Jeff also provided a pair of 1949 Kagome Round menkos from the Seals 1949 tour which I covered in a previous post. The card on the left is Jim Moran while the card on the right is Al Lien. Both of these guys played professionally for over a decade and stayed with the Seals until about the end of things in the mid 1950s.

Moran’s image looks A LOT like Lefty O’Doul but his name (in the pennant) is nothing like オドール. Also the big text across the card is the same katakana for Seals (シールス)  that shows up on the Melton bromide. Al Lien meanwhile gets a super-patriotic American flag with thirteen visible stripes but even more suggested.

As I understand things these are basically like the POGs of my youth. The backs feature the Kagome star and the usual menko hands as well as some nice border detailing. These cards make a fantastic addition to my Seals project and add even more color to the page.

Those weren’t the only menko in the package though as this pair of unidentified players (all text is just the team name with スターズ indicating Stars and 南海 indicating Nankai) was also in there.

Poking through TCDB suggests that these could be from the 1949 JRM 50 set which would mean that the Stars player is Makoto Kozuru while the Hawks player might be Tokuji Iida. Both of these are huge guesses though as it’s entirely possible that this set is uncatalogued.

The colors and text are a ton of fun and I really dig the comic book nature of these. I have a hard time buying any cards like these without a hook but my lord are they fun to own and look at.

Jumping a dozen years to 1961 and Jeff also sent me my first graded card. It’s coincidentally a duplicate of the only card from this set that I own* but the one I have is my usual beater condition with round corners, soft edges, and a pinhole. Definitely not used to see something like this pack fresh** but it’s nice to have no compulsion to crack the slab too.

*I just haven’t looked for more Giants plus the Merkle Pulls Boner card is (completely understandably) desirable to more than just card collectors.

**I’m basically incapable of distinguishing between anything higher than a 6.

And finally flashing forward to 2020 and the Topps Super 70s late-70s mashup design. I dig the mashup attempt of 1976’s borders, 1977’s position flag, 1978’s team name, and 1979’s player ribbon. It also feels somewhat sterile, partly because this color combination doesn’t feel right to me and  partly because I see the individual pieces more than a brand new design.

Fun to have a sample in the album. Very glad I didn’t buy any online packs of this.

Super cool stuff in general though Jeff. I’m not sure how to thank you properly.

Opening Day from Bru

I guess it’s not officially baseball season until I get a mailday from Marc. Not only has he been pointing out Ebay auctions he’s also still coming up with cards despite going on two years of product being impossible to find.

While the bulk of the package was my usual collecting interests (Stanford and Giants) we’ll start off with this 1965 Topps Stan Williams. Cleveland purchased his contract on March 30 1965 and as a result, Topps clearly didn’t have a photo of him in an Indians uniform. Even though this is a fifth series card and came out later in the season (probably July) it was still too soon to get an updated photo.

While they didn’t touch the Yankees uniform, Williams’s cap is a much different story with the NY logo being blacked out. Sloppily blacked out. The further upstream you can do these fixes the better and this fix is about as far downstream as you can go with a black NY that looks like it was scribbled on to either the black film separation when burning the plate or the actual plate itself during printing.

The tell in this case is that the NY is 100% black. If it had been done before doing the color separations it would be some kind of four-color mix. Instead it’s solid black which is why it looks so weird on the card.

Moving to the Stanford section of the mailing with a nice selection of guys who are currently active as well as a few non-baseball options. A decent number of new cards to me here, especially the non-Topps options like the Mosaic Edman and minor league Helling. I also hadn’t added that Bob Mathias card despite having other Olympic cards.

With Heritage being increasingly boring it’s nice to see that Lowrie and Hoerner got interesting examples this year with Lowrie’s horizontal card being one of the better ones in the set.  Also it’s always fun to add a couple Elways to the collection.

The last Stanford card is a very cool signed Adam Keefe. Marc apparently got this TTM a couple decades ago and decided it didn’t fit his collection anymore. I’m very happy to add it to mine. Keefe wasn’t a star but he put together a decent NBA career and I enjoyed his years in Utah as the “Garbage Man” to Karl Malone’s “Mailman” who was responsible for cleaning up the boards and and putting trash shots back into the basket.

Moving to the Giants and starting off with a selection of junk era cards. I almost missed the most interesting thing here but three of the 1995 Flair cards are in fact missing the silver foil stamping. Those cards are so shiny it’s easy to overlook that the player and team names are missing.

What’s cool is that you can see a ghost image of where that foil was supposed to go. While this could be intentional so that the foil doesn’t pick up any of the textures on the card, given the difficulty of registering foil stamping I almost want to suggest that something went wrong, the stamping ran out of silver foil for a few sheets, and the resulting ghost image was an inadvertent almost deboss.

Last batch of cards are current-day Giants. As with before the non-Topps cards are always welcome. The Topps cards meanwhile will go into the for the kids pile. Well except for the foil Archives “Big mini” or “mini Big” Buster Posey. That’s staying in my collection in part because I’m a Topps Big fanboy but also because I’m fascinated by Topps’s choices for which parts of the cards would get opaque white ink and which parts would let the foil impact the image. Definitely not the choices I would’ve made but they say a lot about what parts of the card Topps considers to be important .

Very cool stuff. I’m long overdue on a reply mailing but I’m also long overdue on buying cards in general.

New box cards!

Every month or so it seems like Jason and the rest of the Chicago SABR guys get together for a junk wax rip party. The rest of us on Twitter get to look on jealously as they post the pile of boxes to be ripped as well as the resulting haul. Their most-recent party included a few boxes of 1994 Topps Stickers and, much to my surprise, I realized that there were box cards on them.

Yes, box cards have existed for decades before the 1980s with Hostess in the 1970s, Post in the 1960s, Bazooka in the 50s and 60s, and Wheaties in the 50s (to name but a few). But the idea of having box cards on baseball card boxes was something that I thought first happened in 1985.

To be clear there is something special about the 1985 Donruss cards in how the box cards are of the same design as the rest of the set. That doesn’t take away anything from the fact that there were Topps cards on the 1984 Topps Stickers boxes though. There they were, box cards a year before I realized they existed.

As a box card lover I was suitably impressed and Jason was generous enough to offer to send me a panel. No Giants or Stanford guys in the set but I was also not at all picky. I will take any and all box card panels I can get.

The panel I got has two fan favorites in Bill Madlock (ex-Giant!) and Eddie Murray. It’s kind of a wonderfully awkward design. Blank backs and just a photo with the yellow bat looming over the players’ heads. For some reason Topps included the team and batting information outside of the cut lines too. Add in the weird border around the cut lines and you have something that may actually look better as intact panels.

Jason included a bunch of other cards in the mailing. The two highlights are a 1980 Squirt cover card and a 2022 Buster Posey Home Run Challenge card.

The Squirt looks like a boring cover card: corporate logos, “get three cards free with  purchase,” and “good while supplies last.” The back though is not what I expected at all. Instead we have a list of the active players with lifetime .300 batting averages.  It doesn’t look like there are any others versions out there though but I like that Topps actually did something interesting with this card. Also, despite the decline in batting for average in the modern game, a card like this in 2022 would still have eight guys and the highest average would be .310.

The Posey card is just hilarious. The idea is that you scratch off the code on the back and pick in which game you think Posey will hit a home run. If you guess correctly you win a special card. Kind of a fun gimmick except that Topps had to go to press before Posey retired so now this card is a guaranteed loser. Is definitely a fun one for the album though.

Nine cards from the 1990s (well one from 1989) including a bunch of 1994 O-Pee-Chees which I didn’t have. Never saw these as a kid. Not the hugest fan of the knocked-out team name but the laying effect OPC did is pretty neat. Not easy to do without computers. Probably not that easy to do with computers in 1994 either. The black is not overprinting the image and is instead getting trapped with it. Also I need to remind myself to keep this player name treatment in mind moving forward.

The last batch of cards is from the 2020s. I’m not entirely sure why the Patino is here unless it’s Jason giving me a hard time about him winning his first career game against the Giants (okay it could be the ponle acento action with the tilde). The rest of the cards though are obvious.

I actually do need the “2002” Mays and “1955” Irvin since I don’t collect Archives. Though that Irvin is the kind of thing I hate. I don’t like but can tolerate Topps reusing all of its designs.* I really hate it though when Topps essentially remakes a card with apparently zero awareness that it’s doing so. Monte Irvin on a 1955 design? That had better be saying something interesting about his existing 1955 Topps card.

*Tolerate even though I don’t like it. It fits in with a lot of the way my generation in particular has approached nostalgia as something to be strip mined, repackaged, and drained of all meaning through constant reuse and an inability to grow up into new perspectives. So many things—especially movies and TV shows—from my youth are getting remade with zero desire to actually look at them with new eyes. And in the rare instance someone tries to update a property to today’s standards or values, my generation loses its shit and has a hissy fit about our childhood being “ruined.”

And I need to mention again that the Heritage Mays features the fantastic Hamm’s Beer advertisement only with the beer colored red. I’ve assumed it’s because Topps doesn’t want to feature a beer advertisement in the same way that they changed all the cigarette references in their T206 remakes.

Very cool stuff Jason. Thanks!

Colorwheel Surprise

A couple days ago I found a surprise PWE from Shlabotnik Report in my mailbox. He’d seen my colorwheels update and decided that he would send me a few of the cards I was missing.

The yellow 1967 and purple 1977 slide in and complete two pages. The 1967 page looks great and I just need to figure out what card to slide into the last slot on the 1977 page. I’m leaning Big League Brothers but there are a decent number of choices. The brown 1969 made me realize that I actually have a bunch of browns only they’re in my expansion/moves binder. Yeah I’m collecting Pilots cards in general so this one slid into those pages.

The most interesting card here though is the 1967 Gene Brabender. I’ll ned to do a proper post about cards like this but I’m always intrigued when I come across an image where Topps has just removed all the magenta and yellow from the background in order to make it look like sky but you can still see all the background details in the cyan screen. I don’t have a lot of these but the 1968 Manny Sanguillen is another such example in my collection.

Thanks for the cards! It’s always great to complete a page and in many ways those two pages also completed the project as well.

Set building and set completion

Spring cleaning seems to be a hobby thing as well. This year I’ve seen a bunch of guys express a desire to streamline their collections and offload sets and set builds which are eating up storage space but provide them no joy. This is a good thing. A lot of us have a lot of cards in storage that would make someone else much more happier and routing those cards to the correct person makes everyone happy.

Steve/Cardboard Jones was one such cleaner and when he mentioned what he was getting rid of I pinged him on 2014 Topps since I’ve been trying to build that set for a while. I was half expecting just a pile of cards to go with my existing pile of 2014 cards but Steve actually went through my search lists and sent me only cards that I needed.

No I’m not going to scan them all but I continue o enjoy this set. he design is a bit of a mess but it’s also mostly ignorable. Photo is big. Names are readable. And the photo selections do a good job providing the splash of color which the design is missing.

There are also a lot of photos, especially of celebrations, which look like the kind of thing Topps would short print nowadays. It’s really nice to see these as just regular base cards and serves as yet another reminder how the optimization around variant images has really hurt the quality of the base product.

Anyway I’m down to needing only 10 cards on this set build now (current status is on my search list page).

42 Mariano Rivera
123 James Paxton
133 Xander Bogaerts
342 Brad Miller
358 Christian Yelich
401 Felix Hernandez
424 Jose Ramirez
496 Jose Abreu
657 Corey Hart
659 Ervin Santana

Paxton, Bogaerts, Ramirez, and Abreu are all rookie cards.  Yelich is a first flagship. I don’t expect any of them to be expensive but the market can definitely be stupid here.

I also went though and put together a list of cards which are currently in a different binder (mostly Giants or Stanford). I don’t need these to feel complete on a set build but it’s always nice when there are no holes anywhere.

8 Coco Crisp
399 Hector Sanchez
423 Marco Scutaro
442 Angel Pagan
446 Tim Hudson
537 Madison Bumgarner
607 Jed Lowrie
615 Drew Storen

Actively looking for these? Not really. But they’re nice to have in hand if I’m looking to gang a few cards on to a Sportlots order.

Steve also noticed on my set building search list that I was one common card away from completing 1994 Topps. The bulk of this build was actually another spring cleaning pick up a couple years ago. Despite dropping 1994 cold turkey I decided that completing the set would make a nice bookend on my 1986 set as a way marking my childhood collecting years. Plus it’s got a lot of fun photos.

Joey Cora is a weird one to end up with as the last card but sometimes that’s the way things break.

As with 2014, there are a couple of cards which I’d kind of like to get doubles of so that I can have them in different binders. One of these is Stanford, the other is a Giant.

237 Curtis Pride / Shawn Green / Mark Sweeney / Eddie Davis
433 Dave Burba

Thanks so much Steve! I’m glad I could put these into a good home.

A surprise from Pre War Cards

Last fall I finally started watching Cowboy Bebop. As much as I like anime and animation Bebop had never really appealed to me. Space ships and guns weren’t my thing and it seemed like one of those shows which was designed to appeal to the worst kind of anime fanboys. But with the live action remake providing a handy excuse, enough people whose taste I respect were able to convince me to give the show a shot.

I’m very glad I did. For whatever reason no one had properly explained the brilliance of the music and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed savoring my way through the series. No I’m not done yet. I can only watch late at night after the kids have gone to bed and as a result I’m not able to get through episodes very quickly.

Anyway, as is my wont, once I have a good template set up I’m incapable of letting it sit around unused. So I went to my Carreras Famous Airmen template and created three more cards to go with the four Miyazaki cards I had previously created.

At first these were just for fun and I had no real desire to print them. Then Pre War Cards started tweeting about ripping boxes of Cowboy Bebop collectible card game packs. So I piggybacked the cards on to my most recent Magcloud order* and cut them out.

*Not currently impressed with Magcloud’s support since they screwed up two of my items and it’s approaching two weeks now without getting to the correct support desk. 

They look like a lot of fun in my album but I went ahead and sent Anson copies for his albums too. A week or so later he sent me a nice thank you package.

First off. 6 duplicates from his Bebop collectible card game. We’ve got cards featuring the five members of the Bebop crew plus one which depicts the first episode of the show. Looking at the cards I have no idea how the game is intended to be played. And truth be told, the idea of making a game based on Bebop seems incredibly stupid unless the point is that at the end of each game you haven’t accomplished any of your planned objectives.

It’s cool to have a sample though, especially since these don’t seem to circulate too much. Every time Anson tweets about them it seems that other Bebop fans jump in with “WTF are those!” excitement.

That of course wasn’t the only stuff in the envelope. There were also these two playing cards. The 8♣️ depicts Memorial Church at Stanford while the 4♠️ shows San Francisco Chinatown. Obviously Memorial Church will slide into my Stanford album while the Chinatown one will go with my pre-war postcards and things.

One thing to note about the printing here is that the colored ovals are a solid ink color. Yes there’s a black halftone on top from the photos since in neither of them is the sky pure white, but all the color is a solid spot color. I’m sort of curious how many different colors here are and if they correspond to each suit.

These cards come from a deck which looks to have been distributed on the Southern Pacific Coast Daylight route. Based on the design of the locomotive it looks like either a GS-2 or GS-3 which dates the deck to 1940 plus or minus a couple years.

Having ridden the route as part of Amtrak’s Coast Starlight service. I can easily see why it was considered America’s most beautiful train when it was running in the height of the streamliner age. Whether enjoying the coastal views from the train or just seeing that streamlined red and orange livery pass by the train is an obvious looker.

I’m assuming the deck consists of landmarks that are roughly served by the route. So a lot of Bay Area and LA scenes and probably some stuff from Santa Barbara as well. The back of the deck definitely looks like it’s included one of Mission Santa Barbara’s bell towers along with the Santa Ynez Mountains in a made-up scene for the train to speed through.

Very cool stuff. Thanks Anson!