Category Archives: Giants

An NSCC mailing from Jason!

Jason went to The National and was nice enough to ask me if there was anything I wanted him to keep an eye out for. Between my budget and my increasingly-specific searchlists I find it more and more difficult to have people search for specific things now.

My Stanford project is down to only a couple dozen specific cards I’m looking for and those are spread out in year from 1955 to 2019 and cover a dozen different names. My Giants project meanwhile has coalesced around stars and high numbers for pre-1973 cards—not exactly the cheapest cards–and has random holes for everything 1994 to the present.

Neither of these as as simple as set building where you can just submit a list of numbers. However on the one set I’d’ve considered asking him to look for I’m down to eight cards—all Hall of Famers and big-name rookies. Meanwhile the rest of the sets I’m building are modern cards which I shouldn’t be buying any of.

So I declined and thanked Jason for the offer. But he said he’d keep an eye out for pre-70s Giants anyway. Then on National Baseball Card Day, after I returned from hitting two card shops with my kids* there was a bubble mailer waiting for me.

*Not enough for a post but we visited my childhood LCS South Bay Sportscards, got a blaster of Stadium Club to share, said hi to Ben/Cardboard Icons, then visited Steven’s Creek Sportscards and picked up a blaster of Big League. We each ended up with three packs of National Baseball Card Day cards and are, as a family, two cards short of a complete set. I love being able to spend a couple hours with the kids at a card shop and it’s great fun to watch the rip party afterwards too.

I was not prepared for what I found inside. Jason, as my committee co-chair likes to send me packages which reference previous posts on the blog. This 1933 Goudey** Lefty O’Doul is a direct reference to his most-recent post about players who appeared in the same set* as both Dodgers and Giants.

*Where “set” includes traded/update sets as part of the main set.

**Full disclosure, as a font/design/typesetting guy I frequently write Goudey as Goudy.

As cool as that is though what’s fantastic about this card is that it’s now the oldest Giants card* and 3rd-oldest baseball card** in my collection. Pushing back that oldest-card distinction is always a noteworthy event and I’m happy it’s a player like Lefty O’Doul who’s important for many different reasons.

*The previous title holder was Billy Jurges.

**The only older baaseball cards I have are a pair of 1917 Zeenuts so this O’Doul is also my oldest Major League card.

Yes he’s a New York Giant here. But he’s also a Bay Area sports legend who spent decades with the Seals and, besides Joe DiMaggio, is really the only Seal player people might be able to name. I’d love to acquire a Zeenut of him from when he was with the Seals and one of the jerseys I covet from Ebbets Field Flannels has his number on the back.

O’Doul is also noteworthy for his contributions to baseball in Japan and his legacy can still be seen there in the Yomiuri Giants team name. I haven’t gone deep into the Japanese card rabbit hole but I have a few—all of which are Giants. As a San Francisco fan I have to admit that the Yomiuri uniforms and colors appeal to me a lot even though I feel like picking them as my NPB team is too obvious.*

*I haven’t picked an NPB team. Not that I have to. But the Giants have an obvious appeal. As does any team based out of Fukuoka (Nishitetsu or Softbank) for family history reasons.

Anyway the O’Doul would have been more than enough to make this a great mailing but there were a couple other cards in the envelope. This one is not a post. Yet. But it should be since we’ve had plenty of discussions about players whose names match their teams. A card of Dave Philley with the Phillies? How fun is that.

It’s also nice to get a black background card from the 1959 set. There’s only one of these in the Giants team set (Billy Muffett) and it’s a bit of a shame since it’s a nice change of pace from all the other colors while still being easy to print.

Two inserts from the 1960s with a 1968 game card and a 1969 deckle edge which are both callbacks to the blog and represent some of the fun, more affordable cards of the 1960s. I love that both of these are mini-sized as well. Modern Heritage remakes of these have been full-size and there’s something about the small size which makes these even more enjoyable.

And the last card of the package is this 1988 Topps Big Candy Maldonado. This card calls back to my post about how Topps has handled Latino double last names. I love the 1988 Big design and its 1980s updating of the classic 1956 design.

The fronts look great—I don’t even mind that there’s no team name or position. And the backs are a nice update of the 1956 backs, updating the name to be the full name, adding full-color printing, all while keeping the cartoon focus and single line of stats. The only problem is that where the spot-color usage on the 1956 backs made the occasional all-same-skin-tone not stand out, on the 1988 backs the cartoons stand out as treating everyone as being white. Not a good look to my eyes.

Super cool Jason. Thanks!

MLB Debut

My youngest has caught the baseball bug pretty bad. After taking my eldest to his first game last summer, we’ve had a pretty baseball-heavy start to this season and it became apparent that I’d have to take him to his first Major League game this summer.

We thought briefly about all going up together but it felt right for him to be able to experience it on his own without his big brother being the “expert.” So last week we took the train up the peninsula for a game against the Nationals.

Untitled

He was excited verging on nervous. He’s familiar enough with trains that he knows they don’t always run on time. This is mostly New Jersey Transit’s fault but Caltrain hasn’t helped either. We got sit on the top floor of the train and it wasn’t too crowded—mostly other Giants fans—since we’d left before the commute started in earnest. Once we were moving he calmed down a little.

I always enjoy taking the train though since it allows me to actually spend time talking with him. He was excited to realize that he was going to be one of the few people in the park who’d been to the original Polo Grounds location and I duly pointed out where Candlestick had been and where we used to park when I was going to games decades ago. Then as we pulled into Fourth and King I pointed out how he could se the stadium lights from the train.

DSC_0007

He literally skipped all the way from the station to the ballpark.

I asked him if I was walking too fast and he just said “no I’m just excited” and kept on skipping. Loved seeing Willie Mays. Giant eyes as we went through security and got my phone scanned.* And a face that rivaled his excitement at seeing Winnie the Pooh when he saw the World Series trophies. We picked up his “My First Game” certificate** and a program and scorecard*** and then he finally got to see the field.

*Rant about how physical tickets no longer exist goes here.

**Very cool. Not sure how I missed these last year.

***Good lord the $1 Giants scorecard is an afterthought to an afterthought. It’s the same piece of paper that’s stapled into the programs and doesn’t even pretend to be a functional souvenir. 

DSC_0008

Untitled

DSC_0010

He was excited to see that batting practice was going on. The next time we go to a game I suspect that we’ll just find out seats and watch BP but this time it was time to make a circuit of the park before things got too crowded.

So he went down the Coke slide (it was much faster than he expected). Checked out the bobbleheads (I had to lift him up to see the top row). And wandered along the arcade by McCovey Cove where I got to point out the Willie McCovey statue across the water.

It’s great to see the park from multiple angles and get a sense of the field—especially walking along that right field wall which starts off so far away and gets so much closer as you reach the foul line.

Untitled

Untitled

Then we found our seats so we could eat dinner and be ready for starting lineups. I figure that he’ll want a scorecard from this game in the future even though there was too much to keep track of for him to keep score himself.

We were up high in almost the same set of seats I took his brother to last year. Same row just the other end. My favorite place to sit in the ballpark. Up high where you can only be at a Major League game and, in this day and age of defensive shifting, a great perspective on how defenses are being set up.

Untitled

The game wasn’t particularly good but we did get to see a fantastic play by Kevin Pillar and caught a beautiful sunset. Unlike his older brother he never had a crisis of faith in feeling like the game was now over. Unfortunately this is because the Giants never felt like they were in it. Even going into the 9th inning when they were down 3–0 it felt like they were down 10–0.

It sucks that he didn’t get to see the Giants even score a run but I was pleased that he still got excited with each hit even though he was increasingly pessimistic that they’d be able to pick up another.

DSC_0024

It was nice just to be up there and enjoy being with him as things went on and hope slipped away. We watched the seagulls come in and the Coke bottle get “brighter.” The stadium was only 75% full so we didn’t feel like we had to run* to the train afterward.

*Walk fast, yes. Run, no.

He was down about the game but not upset or grumpy. We talked about it being bad but also remembered the cool things we’d seen. He read the program until he fell asleep on the train ride home and the following day took great pleasure in re-enacting Pillar’s catch for his grandparents and showing the video clip to anyone who’d watch. Even a bad game can have memorable moments and I’ve got a photo of Pillar that I need to make into a card for him after the season is over and I finish my custom cards.

Next time we go to a game it will be all of us together. Maybe it will be at Pac Bell Oracle. Maybe it’ll be at the Coliseum. Or perhaps Citizens Bank, Citi, or Yankee Stadium. Lots of options open to us now that his Giants fandom has been cemented and he’s had that proper first MLB game experience in the correct park.

Mailday from Bru

My kids have been dragging their grandparents to the local shop this year. I think they’ve been three or four times already, getting each other packs for their birthdays and capitalizing on grandparent generosity to pick up an extra pack or dig through the box of Giants commons to find something for themselves. It’s fun to see and is very much how I used to spend my summers. It’s nice to be the age when going to the card shop every weekend is all you really want to do. I’ll take mine next week for National Baseball Card Day and I’m sure we’ll have a blast.

As my buying has gotten more specific and focused on older cards, the rhythm of the hobby has changed for me. It’s no longer a summer thing coupled to the games being played. I’m more stuck to the retail cycle that rewards purchases of any kind at certain points of the year. In some ways this is a good thing since it’s not like pre-1960 Giants cards should ever go out of season but it does discourage a certain disconnect from the baseball season itself.

Which is why summer maildays are especially fun for me. It’s nice to just get a stack of cards during the height of the season and be brought back to the current moment. Marc Brubaker sent me such a stack last week. Lots of randomness but at least half of it was cards from this season that have come out during the past month.

Allen & Ginter is one such set. It’s not for me but I appreciate that Topps has stuck to its guns and kept this brand as distinct as it is. I do like getting a few Ginter samples each year so I’m very happy to see these. I can see why people like these and I daresay that the line gets better looking each year in terms of the image processing.

One interesting thing to note this year is that background images are old parks that have been dropped in via computer. There aren’t a lot of different ones but thankfully Topps isn’t using the exact same cropping. However the fact that Marichal and Longoria are consecutive card numbers makes me wonder if things will look kind of weird when a set is paged up and the same background images show up multiple times per page.

Bowman Platinum is another set that I never buy. All this shiny stuff is not my thing and I guess I’m resistant to sets that look like they should be inserts. Yeah, actually,  I’d probably really like these if they were inserts.

I have to admit though that as I’ve gotten more into autograph hunting I’m beginning to see how cards like these will sign well. Where the silhouetted player and shiny background annoys me as a photo guy, it makes a nice, less-busy place for a signature to go.

Also as I’ve gotten to more and more  minor league games Bowman sets have gotten more appealing. I’m not prospecting prospecting but it’s nice to have a supply of cards for autograph reasons. The Ramos here will be nice if I ever get to a San José Giants game (though San José Muni is pretty dire for autograph hunting now) and may be handy if he’s in Richmond next season too.

Another new-to-me 2019 set are Topps’s Stickers. These are actually the sticker backs* and unlike previous years the backs both function as cards and are card-sized. Not something I’d buy as a card but I really enjoy them as peeled off backs which are now worth** saving instead of just throwing them out.

*Blank fronts since Marc is actually sticking the stickers into an album as if he’s one of those uncivilized soccer fans.

**For certain values of worth.

I’ve not gotten into the sticker thing yet but the concept is one I’ve long been intrigued by as a soccer fan who’s very familiar with the Panini World Cup albums. I just refuse to commit to a project of collecting 650+ stickers at 20¢ apiece. The baseball album looks a lot more manageable at ~250 stickers although the per-sticker price of 25¢ each still means that it’ll cost more than a full set of Flagship to complete (though at least you get two sets out of it).

Continuing with the 2019 cards we have a Brandon Belt Prizm Red Parallel (I’m assuming). Given how monochrome the Belt image is since all the Giants branding has been Photoshopped out the red is a nice touch of color. I’m also looking at this card and trying to determine if it’s manufactured the same way Topps’s chrome cards are. Probably easier to just search for printing plates.

The Buster Posey shows the front of the Topps Stickers. It’s actually a nice design although all that lightning would have rubbed people the wrong way if it were in Flagship. Buster’s not going into my Giants album though because of who’s on the back.

The back of the Posey sticker is Jed Lowrie’s only 2019 Topps card.* Lowrie’s been out injured all season and I don’t expect him to show up in Update so it’s very cool to have this i the album to mark his 2019 season.

*I don’t count on-demand stuff like Total.

The 2017 Lowrie is also nice to have since I think mine’s bundled with a complete set still.

Three 2019 Stephen Piscotty cards round out the batch of new cards. I’ve already covered Ginter and Stickers (There’s a Tampa Bay Ray on the back of this sticker) but I haven’t mentioned Stadium Club yet. I was skeptical of this design when I saw the preview images online. Font is a disaster (except for the Pirates) and the drop shadows were huge.

In hand it’s not nearly as bad. I still don’t like it as much as 2017 but I appreciate that the ground fog is kept to a minimum. Oh, and this is a red parallel which is pretty cool.

Okay, to the rest of the cards starting with the rest of the Giants cards. Three from the 2000s. The Bonds is a buyback with REDISCOVER TOPPS stamped right on top of his name so that it looks like this is actually a “Barry sddoʇ ɹǝʌoɔsıpǝɹ” card. The Lincecum is from Upper Deck X—a set which I still don’t uinderstand.

The Liván Hernandez card though is wonderful. It’s an insert from 2002 Donruss Estrellas and is a fantastic addition to my Spanish-language collection. I wish I’d known about this earlier and am wondering now where Marc found it.

A handful of 2010s Giants including a 2012 sticker to demonstrate the change in size, a bunch of Triple Play including the disastrous 2013 drawings that look nothing like anybody, and a couple Buster Posey Archives cards in the 1990 design.

The Posey Archives card is extremely interesting to me because Topps was unable to print the borders in the oversize halftone screen they used in 1990 and instead faked it with a stochastic screen. One of these days I’ll do high-definition scans of these cards and write an esoteric post for SABR about this.

Three 2017 cards including a couple more Honus Bonus cards. I appreciate with those guys were trying to do with the game tie-in but the cards themselves are tough to look at. Something about the selective desaturation makes me feel like me eyes are going bad.

And finally a couple 2018 Giants cards. Watson’s been featured on this blog before. The McCutchen though is one of the SP image variants so those are always nice to see turn up.

I already covered most of the Stanford cards but these three were also in the stack. the 1994 JackMcDowell is one that not only do I not own it, I didn’t even know about it. Very cool since I actually bought packs of 1994 Donruss as a kid.

The 1995 Helling and Hammonds are nice to have as well. This is a set from the first year I didn’t collect and while I’m focusing on Topps Flagship (and related) for the Stanford project it’s always nice top flesh out with examples from other makers.

To the random portion of the stack starting off with a pair of 2003 Donruss Estrellas and another addition to my Spanish-language album. I’ve been double-dipping and using my Giants and Stanford collections as a way to target what cards to get. This is a good way to stay disciplined but leaves the album a bit light on examples form these sets since the Giants and Stanford ones go someplace else. All of which means it’s nice to have some generic examples.

I’m not an A’s fan but I remember Mulder and Hudson both being great in the early 2000s. Hudson of course is also a future Giant who picked up a World Series ring in 2014.

A handful of Triple Play stickers for the kids. Not much to say about these except to note that Marc must’ve gotten a few packs of Triple Play in repacks. The kids should like these though.

And the last two cards are this random pair from 2019. The Trevor Richards is for the multi-exposure action collection. Is interesting to me that instead of showing all action that it shows him getting the signs, coming set, and then delivering the pitch.

The Tiger Mask card shows exactly what I like about Ginter, the non-baseball stuff. At their best the non-baseball stuff is wonderful and weird peppered with odd bits of culture. They’ve been getting less-weird recently but this is a good one. More of this please (and an Emperor Norton card too).

Now that we’re in non-baseball we can finish off the stack with this pair of Barcelona cards. This is a collectable card game and the cards have a nice bit of spot varnish effects going on that doesn’t show up in the photo. Fun to have a Jordi Alba who’s been a mainstay for Barça and Spain for a while now. Malcolm meanwhile just left to not much fanfare and, while not bad, didn’t stand out much either.

Whew. That was a bigger stack than I realized. Thanks Marc!

Another TTMer enters the fray

While I wrote about my eldest taking a stab at TTMs, I haven’t provided much of an update on his activities. He’s only sent out a couple more requests and hadn’t gotten any returns yet. This is more what I expected (and had warned him to expect) and reflects both how much work it is to write a letter and how hard it is to send duplicates when your inventory is already so small.

Yup I’m making him write the letters himself. I’ll take care of postage and even stationery for now but he’s got to write the letter. I’m a bit more lenient on providing cards though. Current-year cards are difficult to get duplicates of in a timely fashion* but I’ll provide all the junk wax he wants.

*Especially because I’m having a hard time finding breaks in recent months.

Late last week his drought was broken with a junk wax return. He’d been inspired and excited to try to send to Bruce Bochy after he saw my return so I pulled out an extra 1988 Topps Bochy for him to send. It looks like Boch spent some of the All-Star break answering his fan mail and after 81 days of waiting my son got his second return.

Oh, and my youngest got his first return too. Yup, I had a bunch of 1988 Topps duplicates so I told him that if he wrote a letter I’d help him mail it. Challenge accepted.

I love this letter very much and I really hope Boch read it. I’m not going to take photos of all their letters but I’m very happy to have a copy of their first letters. Whether or not they continue in this hobby, they’ll still have these cards and letters and a memory of what they did. Until then it’ll be fun to encourage them and see what kind of players they choose to pursue in the future.

A batch of TTMs

Where my previous TTM post consisted of only a couple returns, I’m now visiting my parents and there was a nice big stack of envelopes waiting for me.

Yup. Over a dozen returns and, since I’m away from my scanner, iPhone photos are going to have to suffice until I get around to scanning and replacing all the images in this post.

Since the returns this time are almost all Giants I’m breaking this recap down into the different sections I’ve organized my Giants autographs into.

Old Giants

The first part of my album are “old guys” who predate my time as a Giants fan. Many of them are guys I’ve only learned about through cards. Some though are guys who I was well aware of even though they’re not “stars.”

Ed Halicki is one of those guys. The Giants when I was a kid specialized in close calls for no-hitters. No Giants pitcher could close out the 9th inning. As a result John Montefusco and Ed Halicki held a certain amount of interest as marking the time from when the Giants had last no-hit anyone. This wasn’t a huge deal in the 1980s when the drought was only a dozen years but as the seasons went on the drought started to become a bigger and bigger deal. Montefusco gets most o the press but Halicki, as the last Giant to throw a no-hitter in San Francisco before Jonathon Sanchez did it in 2009 was also worth remembering.

I had a duplicate 1979 card as a result of the packing that Mark Armour included in his “chain letter” so I sent it out and got it back 43 days letter.

Mark Armour gave me a bunch of duplicate 1979 Topps cards and this 16-day Marc Hill card is another one of those. Hill played a bunch for the Giants in the late 1970s and was the preferred catcher for a few of those seasons as he and Mike Sadek sort of battled each other for the position. Hill is most notable for me though because he shares his 1975 rookie card with Gary Carter and as a result was a bit of a thorn in my side in terms of collecting.

Vic Harris, also on one of Mark Armour’s 1979s, came back in eleven days. Harris is listed as an outfielder but was a real utility guy who appeared in over two dozen games at six of the nine positions. He never pitched, caught, or played first base but he did everything else.

The last of this batch is David Green who was only a Giant in 1985. He came to the Giants in the Jack Clark trade* and I like him for the way the 1986 team set includes guys names Brown, Green and Blue. Not a big Giants player but I’ve got two cards, he looked like a good signer, and these came back in 29 days.

*This basically amounted long term to the Giants trading Jack Clark for Jose Uribe and, while I liked Uribe, that’s not one of the Giants better moves.

Roger Craig Giants

To the Roger Craig Giants who were the formative team of my youth.* And we’ll start with the big name player who embodies those teams. I’ve written about Will Clark before and I love that he’s such a good signer now. Only one item at a time and this one came back in 23 days. I thought a long time about what card I wanted before picking this one since I like the way the chewing gum offsets his still-intense look.

Jeff Robinson was a relief pitcher by the time I became a Giants fan and is probably most-notable for being traded for Rick Reuschel in the 1987 season. For me though he’s one of the fun notes about my first Major League game ever in that I got to see him play right field for two innings instead. And yes that absolutely went in to my letter to him. His 1987 Topps card with the weird red name box (all the other Giants cards are orange) came back in 39 days.

Ken Oberkfell is someone who I have on my 1989 ball but who for whatever reason I didn’t bring a card of his to Philadelphia. He’s a single-season Giant who was mostly a late-inning pinch hitter or sub but that 1989 team was one of the highlights of my childhood and getting these in only six days sort of fills in some of the gaps in my childhood collecting.

Gil Heredia is another guy who wasn’t with the Giants long but he represents my interest in minor league baseball. He was one of the first San José Giants to make it to the Majors and seeing him play in Candlestick cemented the promise of how watching minor league ball can pay off years later. This is one of his few Giants cards and it came back to me in 23 days.

Dusty Baker Giants

Switching managers and moving to the Dusty Baker Giants who I saw at spring training when I was in high school and who got me back into baseball after the strike. William Van Landingham is another San Jose Giant who I got to see pitch at San Jose Muni and Candlestick. He sent these two cards back in 29 days.

Glenallen Hill is another fixture of those 1990s Dusty Baker teams. He wasn’t bad but always felt like he was poised to break out into something awesome. He’s now the manager of the Albuquerque Isotopes and sent these back in 24 days.

Current Giants

Moving to current Giants and one of my favorite returns of all time. Hensley Meulens is the current bench coach and everyone in the Bay Area is convinced that one of these days he’ll be an MLB manager. I sent him this card and a couple of my GiantsNOW customs. He kept the customs and 17 days later sent me this fantastic “Sir Hensley Meulens ‘Bam Bam’” signature which looks awesome on the Studio 91 card.

I think I like this one even better than the Bill Spaceman Lee return.

I didn’t expect to get any more spring training returns but Derek Holland’s found its way back to me after 127 days. Very cool. He’s had a rough 2019 but he was the most reliable starter on the team last season. Nice signature too.

Holland also sent me one of my customs so it’s pretty cool to still be adding signed versions of those to the album too. I like the way he signs these cards over the name/team graphic on the bottom. I kind of wonder what he does with diagonal graphics now.

Other players

And wrapping up this post with a couple non-Giants players I sent to. The first here is Bert Campaneris who’s a bit of a Bay Area legend. This 1976 card is kind of beat up but I love the 1976 design and it’s always nice to add another to the album. He sent this back in only 8 days too.

Campaneris also signed an index card. These are always fun to get back. I’ll need to figure out something to do with these eventually but for now they’re nice to have in the album

The second is this 104 day return from Charlie Hough. I’ve been toying with starting a guys-from-Hawai‘i collection and Hough’s a clear standout there. I just wish I’d had a Marlins card but since I stopped collecting in 1994 I didn’t pick up too many expansion team cards and that’s not an area I’ve been collecting yet.

Holy Shit

So yesterday a surprise envelope arrived from Lanny. Seeing how he’d just sent me three 1954s including a Monte Irvin this was not just unexpected but verged on being confusing. Inside was a team bag with its contents obscured and just a note showing that said “Read First!”

So I did and why don’t I just let it speak for itself.

So I know this is beat up. Like, REALLY beat up. But I remember you saying you'd never be able to get one, and it's 100% authentic! I stopped at my LCS for boxes, almost forgot to drive by. As I was checking out, this was on his desk, he had just bought a collection. I told him the story, he cut me a great deal, the rest is history, enjoy!

This shot my eyebrows up. One, because the list of cards that I’ve mentioned that I’ll never get is pretty short and consists of cards that are massively out of my price range. And second, because Lanny is notoriously picky about the condition of his cards and so I was curious about what condition “like REALLY beat up” meant to someone like him.*

*For me it would mean massive paper loss someplace or torn in half. In other words typical Zeenut condition.

Since the card was still hidden between some advertising inserts* I had a bit of unwrapping left before I started swearing.

*Amusingly enough these were “Spring Fever Baseball” inserts from 1986 Topps Mini Leaders.

Swearing in a good way. As in giant smile holy fucking shit are you kidding me kind of swearing. Is it beat up? Absolutely. But aside from the two top corners it’s in really great shape. None of the picture itself is damaged. No creases. No scuffs. I’m not sure this even got flipped. It was definitely loved and taped into an album but compared to most of my 1961 cards it’s in much better shape.

As with some of my favorite things, wear like this indicates card usage rather than card abuse to me. Which is great. It’s beat up in a way that suggests how it was taken care of. And it’s taken care of in a way that I can only conclude that it was was valued by a previous owner in the way that little kids love things to death. Yes I can totally see my kids taping their favorite cards into an album.

Am I assuming it was a favorite card? A little. But it’s Willie Fucking Mays—Willie Fucking Mays the year after he won the MVP and the World Series and made The Catch and wait that’s all on the back of the card.

Yeah there’s writing here. To my eyes it looks like “194 193” which I don’t understand but guess it might have something to do with the card number. Thankfully it doesn’t obscure any of the text. And thankfully the owner didn’t push any harder since it’s pushing through to the front as it is.

It’s wonderful to have all this back information though and be reminded of a time before Mays was the best player in the game. It’s not just that the New York Giants Mays cards are super cool because they predate the move West, their early-career nature shows Mays’s emergence and it’s wonderful to see him so young.

I never expected to get any of May’s 1950s cards—especially his New York ones. 1955 is a great one to have. Great photo. Nice color. Captures the stats and highlights of one of his best seasons. And it competes my team set of 1955 Topps Giants cards. Yes there are only 10 in the set* but it’s still a completed team set. Until yesterday my oldest set was 1973. Now it’s 1955.

*Bowman has 17 for comparison.

Thanks so much Lanny! Sorry about all the swearing.

Housewarming from Marc

My wife’s starting to get suspicious at how fast envelopes have been showing up at the new house. Late last week a mailer from Marc Brubaker arrived. Inside was the usual mix of cards for all my different projects.

We’ll start off with a few Stanford cards. The Castro celebration card and Lowrie parallel are the kind of things that never even make it on to my searchlist radar. Base cards and oddballs are my main goal. Inserts and parallels are things I ignore even though I love adding them to the binder.

I’ve just watched too many other collectors descend into madness trying to stay on top of all those things. Plus it feels like the kind of thing that risks turning the hobby into a chore. Having an insert or a couple parallels here or there adds a bit of variety. Feeling like I need ALL of them though is a place I never want to be.

The 1993 Osuna is a new one to me as well. The photo looks like it was taken at Candlestick and I’m staring at his uniform and realizing that I never noticed that the Astros wore the same uniforms at home and on the road in the late 80s. Also that out of focus baseball makes that card go from basic to interesting.

As is his wont, Marc included something that’s above and beyond the usual trade package stuff. This time it’s a Mark Appel autograph that Marc got through the mail a few years ago. This would have been a big deal six years ago and serves as a warning for all the crazy-overpriced prospecting that’s currently going on in Bowman. What was a big deal then is now probably only of interest to a weirdo like me who collects Stanford guys.

Also I have to point out that Appel notes Romans 12:2* on this card where his other card in my collection indicates Matthew 5:16** and yup, now I’m wondering if he’s ever been tempted to cite the something from Mark.

*And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

**Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The next stack of cards confused me for a moment because the Chris Carter card was on top. Chris Carter is a Stanford guy only he’s white and never played for the Astros. This Chris Carter is completely different and I needed his card for my 2014 set build.* I’ve not gone big on this yet but every little bit helps and it’s nice to strike another 6 off the searchlist.

*Current status of which is on the set needs page.

Moving on to the Giants portion of the mailing. A fair amount of Bowman including some gold parallels I’ve not seen and a black border Kyle Crick which I didn’t realize was (possibly) special until I put it in the binder. Bowman is such a trainwreck that I still don’t know whether the black border is a parallel or just a different set.

And a few 2019 cards including a foil Jeff Samardzija from Series 2 and a couple shiny Prizm cards. Since I couldn’t get into any Series 2 breaks it’s nice to get some of the extra cards in mailing like this. Prizm meanwhile is, like the rest of Panini’s products, one of those sets that I never see. These look pretty cool and deal nicely with Panini’s unlicensed status.

The last bit of the package consisted of a half-dozen 1994 Upper Deck World Cup cards. I only had one of these before now but have been considering getting many more. The 1994 World Cup is still the last international soccer games I’ve attended and Marc tried to get me cards of guys I watched play (plus Jorge Campos who’s just cool).

Four out of the five are indeed guys I watched play. And the fifth is John Doyle who, while he didn’t play in the 1994 World Cup, is a Bay Area legend who played with both the NASL Earthquakes and MLS Earthquakes as well as continuing on to be the Quakes manager so I have no complaints there.

Of the players I watched, the clear highlight is Bebeto who I saw score a couple goals—one against Cameroon and the winner against the US—in addition to having an all-time classic goal celebration. While I became a Barcelona fan through watching Romario in this World Cup, I very much enjoyed watching Bebeto play as well.

Thanks Marc! Maildays like this help me feel really moved in.