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!

Sport Magazine

So last December jimmybunchanumbers (@haymay67) put out a tweet asking who he should send a Sport Magazine with Willie Mays on the front cover to. This was part of a pre-move purge where he was looking to clear out stuff that would be better placed in other people’s collection. A bunch of people nominated me so I said I’d be happy to take it.

*I mostly kid here. Even as the USPS has gotten worse it’s been more reliable than Fed Ex, UPS, and Amazon.

It took a while to get to me. USPS is gonna USPS*. But it eventually arrived in January and looks even better in person. A great photo of Mays at the peak of his powers. June 1965 is right in the middle of his second MVP season. That he finished the year with 52 homers and a 1.043 OPS (and 11.2 WAR) means he has a lot to smile about.

I also need to quickly mention the back. I’m not sure when gun advertisements stopped showing up in sports magazines but hey were long gone by the time I was a kid. Really really weird for me to see them. It’s just not a world I’m used to at all.

Anyway, while this is in the collection because of the cover, the best thing about these vintage magazines is the articles inside. The Mays article by Monte Irvin is a lot of fun. Nice to see Monte’s memories of Mays as a rookie and compare those to the observations of him as veteran leader who’s the best player in the game.

The “What Willie Mays Really Wants” framing though is both great and sad. Turns out that in 1965 Mays really wanted to coach/manage and thought that he could bring a lot to a club that way. I hadn’t ever read about that side of Mays before and I’m a little sad that he never got the chance to try. I’m also sad that it took so long for MLB to even hire Black managers.*

*Pretty much only Frank Robinson until the late 1990s.

The article that ended up being even more interesting though is Len Koppett’s piece about what players want in a new commissioner. This is especially interesting to read with the currently going on but it’s also a great glimpse into how little the player’s understood about their power back in 1965.

What the players wanted? A strong commissioner who would reinforce scheduling rules like not having day games after doubleheaders. No real sense of contracts and compensation issues. Instead they got Bowie Kuhn who proceeded to lose labor case after labor case over the next couple decades as the players got more power than they ever dreamed of.

There was a nice story about the 1948 Indians and their season with little snippets about each player as well as highlights from the pennant race. Fun vignettes about Bill Veeck and Satchell Paige. A bit about Don Black and the way the club supported him after his stroke. But the most interesting parts was how open it was about Emil Bossard’s groundskeeping shenanigans in sloping the foul line and soaking the infield as well as Ernie Groth stealing signs via binocular with Marshall Bossard relaying them to the batter by crossing or uncrossing his legs.

Other articles in the issue were about Tim McCarver as the resident comedian on the 1960s Cardinals (beating out Bob Uecker even), how Bo Belinsky and Dick Stuart would take the Phillies over the hump after their 1964 choke job (the Phillies finished 6th in the League in 1965), whether Eddie Mathews would rebound in 1965 after his injury in 1962 and “no excuse” 1963–64 seasons (it’s worth noting he had a 132 OPS+ and averaged over 6 WAR in those down years), and a couple profiles of Wally Bunker and Dick Radatz.

And finally there were a couple fun baseball card advertisements in the back. Interesting to see complete sets being sold but the prices are definitely eye-opening. $13 in 1965 translates to around $116 today (making each $2.15 series equate to almost $20).

I’m especially curious about the catalog as well as the hobby card album. It’s been my understanding that 9-pocket pages didn’t come into being until the late 70s. Ultra Pro’s patent* doesn’t list any pocket-pages prior art but does list some flexible plastic card holders from the 1960s so we know something existed.

*I did do a post about this. 

Anyway very cool. I took my time getting this post up because I wanted to enjoy reading it. Plus I had to treat it pretty carefully since the spine isn’t in the best shape.

PWE from Night Owl

A short post about a PWE from Greg/Night Owl. Thanks to his previous mailing I added Shawn Green’s Topps run to my Stanford search list. This apparently inspired Greg to go through his extra Greens and see if he had any of the Topps run since the first mailing had none.

Not a huge success as he was only able to find the 2005 card but I’ll take it. Will make a nice pair with the 2005 Opening Day that’s already in the binder. The more I look at the 2005 design the more I like it. It’s never going to be a favorite but it’s a basic competent design* with a nice splash of team color on the borders.

*My biggest problem are the cards which replace the player name with DRAFT PICK or PROSPECT without changing enough of the rest of the design.

Greg also included this 2021 Archives Will Clark which I’m sure he was thrilled to get out of his house. Since Clark’s last season was 2001 this almost works as a career capper card. Nice to see him in a Giants uniform though. The Cardinals one looks so wrong. I’m not sure how Topps chooses which vintage logo to use for these though since the 1980s primary logo that shows up on all the 1980s cards makes a lot more sense than the cap logo which Topps selected.

Anyway. I’m happy to slot in another Green card into the Stanford album and I’m happy to add some Archives since I don’t buy that product. Thanks Greg!

A pile from Night Owl

Way back in November, Greg/Night Owl made a plea for people to take a bunch of extra Dodgers cards off his hands. While his request was intended for other Dodgers collectors, I figured it was a sign that I should take the plunge into collecting Shawn Green so I commented hat if he felt like dumping a bunch of Shawn Green on me I’d be happy to take them.

The madness of the holiday season means that sending mailings out like this gets backburnered until the week after Christmas. Sure enough, I found a bubble mailer in my mailbox on New Year’s Eve and inside was the stack of Shawn Green cards and an almost-threatening note.

I appreciate that Greg kept things in check. Where the other Stanford guys who didn’t play baseball for Stanford tend to not have many of cards at all, Green has a ton.* As I said way back when I first added him to the binder, I don’t want to supercollect him. But I won’t turn down a big stack and as a legitimate star/semi-star he does show up in a lot of sets which I’ve not included in the binder.

*Checking Trading Card Database. Bill Wakefield has 14, Bobby Brown has 34, Kenny Williams has 62, and Shawn Green has 4,445.

Anyway, to the pile. Since Greg is a Dodgers fan it only covers 2000–2005 when Green was getting Dodgers cards. He did however do a nice job in giving me a few cards from each year.

Starting off in 2000. I’m glad there’s one card depicting Green as a Blue Jay here. I have Giants cards from most of these sets but I’m pretty sure none of them are represented in my Stanford Album. I’ve tended to focus on either the base flagship sets or oddballs in that album. This is partly for simplicity’s sake and partly because I can’t be bothered to learn about the thousands of sets released in the 1990s and 2000s

This group of six kind makes that point since not only are none of them are from base flagship sets, they’re all from releases that only lasted a couple years. In many ways I love how much the hobby was trying things out. In other ways it’s a clear sign that everything was out of control.

To the 2001. Same story as with the 2000s except that I need to point out that my Stadium Club coverage of these years in all albums is thin to none. Greg included Stadium Club cards for 2000–2003 and they were my first representatives of those sets in any of my collections. I should probably rectify that for other Stanford guys as well as the Giants. Anyway this 2001 Stadium Club card is an especially nice image of Pac Bell Park in its first year.

The two Topps HD cards intrigue me. I don’t quite understand what makes this set HD since nothing besides the card thickness really jumps out to me as being different. I also don’t really understand what was going on with Topps Fusion. Both of those sets appear to be single-year experiments though so it’s nice to have a couple samples.

2002 has probably the most interesting mix of cards. Traditional photography like Stadium Club. Crazy chromed out stuff in Finest. Retro “painting” on the Topps 206. Acetate/clear stock on the E-X.

The Bats Incredible card is the one that catches my eye though. It kind of looks like an insert and it kind of looks a base card from a set that was designed to have a relic or signature in the top right corner on the hits. Definitely another one-year-wonder of a release but I can’t help but wonder how and why it was released.

This image covers both 2003 and 2004. Not a ton to say about these except that I love the 2003 Playoff Portraits card. As leery as I am about most of the fake paintings that end up on cards, the way this set is actually textured really enhances the painting feel. I’m pretty sure this was around for only one year which is a shame since it would’ve been nice to collect a couple seasons of these.

The Bowman Heritage in the 1955 design meanwhile shows the kind of thing that I dislike about so many of the Heritage cards. 1955 Bowman, despite the color TVs dominating the design, has a really distinct photographic look. An extreme crop from a generic action image like this doesn’t quite measure up and demonstrates a certain lack of understanding about what makes sets memorable.

Finishing up with the 2005s. Where the Playoff Portraits is great, the Diamond Kings is mess. It’s worth pointing out here that this is the only year with anything approaching the standard base cards. These are the only base Donruss and Fleer in the pile and the Opening Day is basically identical* to the Flagship card.

*And arguably an improvement with the blue foil on the Dodgers card.

Having the Opening Day card inspired me to add Green’s Topps Flagship run to my Stanford wantlist page.* I’ll probably take a gander at Sportlots or Cardbarrel at some point. No real rush though especially with so many Green cards in the Binder now.

*As well as Bobby Brown’s Bowman run.

Thanks Greg! I’m glad I could help with your duplicates problem.