Friday, February 12, 2016

Foiled


I'm feeling nothing in terms of a post, so why not discuss something for which I feel nothing:

Foil parallels.

Nobody who read this blog yesterday knew it, but I actually received two cards from Texas Dave. The second card that he sent along with the Jhonny Peralta Perspectives night card was this Chase Utley foil parallel ... oh, excuse me, rainbow foil parallel.

I decided not to show it yesterday because I had nothing to say about it. That's what I feel when I pull one of these parallels (which by the way are not numbered, which I can't decide whether that's a good or bad thing). Nothing. It's taking up space. It's one of those card blockers except with a photograph and some words and letters, you know, like a base card.

These cards are so inconsequential, so boring -- existing in that depressing purgatory between a useful base card and a super shiny chrome card -- that I've decided I'm just not going to acknowledge these cards anymore.

That's right. It will take something terribly interesting and notable for me to ever display one of these ... um, rainbow ... foil cards ever again.

In fact, here:


Anybody want these? Is there anyone collecting a complete rainbow foil set?

This is all that's left from last year's revival of foil cards. And that's only because the one Rockies trader I know has gone MIA, and we all know there are no Rays or Marlins collectors.

I placed the above foil cards in my 2015 Topps binder, and then I decided to take them out. They don't deserve to be with the other ones.

I'm still holding onto the Dodger foils, because I have a disease, but I'm not too happy about it.

These are the Dodger foils that I own from 2015, most sent to me by generous folks because I can't even pull lame parallels of my favorite team:


Can you tell any difference between them and the base cards?

No?

HA! Because they ARE the base cards! Foiled again!


These are the foil Dodgers. They have a bit of a tint to them, and the difference between the foil cards and the base cards in real life is only slightly more apparent.

That's the big reason they bore me. They aren't like colored parallels or gold parallels or anything that I like. They're useless. Somebody in my last rant about foilness suggested it might have to do with my night-time schedule. Not enough sunlight to reflect the foil. My environment could have something to do with it, but more probably related to the gloomy Northeast weather. Everyone around here has a Vitamin D deficiency because the sun doesn't shine between November and May.

I tried to find some place well-lit where I could see these cards supposedly shine. It wasn't easy. It's very snowy today. So I plastered some foil cards up against a window sill in a room upstairs that gets a lot of light.



I gave up after only a few tries. Sure, they reflect the light a little bit, maybe half as much as your typical refractor. But I'm still looking for that rainbow.


The coolest thing was the card's reflection in the window.

Maybe if I lived somewhere where it's 85 degrees and sunny all the time and everyone plays with their cards outside, this would be a terrific parallel. But, still, probably not.

Somewhere on this blog, around 2009 or 2010, you probably can find me stating that the time for foil cards has passed. Foil parallels showed up in the '90s and then kept showing up through the end days of Upper Deck. I grew tired of them very quickly. And it was time to give it up.

Then, five or six years later, Topps decides to put foil parallels in their 2015 set. Because that's new and refreshing, right?

You won't see me mention a foil parallel card again. I'm done with them. They never existed.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Awesome night card, pt. 253: gaining a new perspective


This is it. My first night card of the new card season.

I received it in the mail the other day from reader Texas Dave. He said it belonged in my collection more than mine. Glad I'm getting the word out.

This card is pretty outstanding. The night panoramic view is not one that's shown up on baseball cards very often. I don't even care that it's a card of a blasted Rhedbird.

I'm one of the many collectors who enjoys the Perspectives insert set quite a bit. They're beautiful-looking cards. I've read the complaints that the lettering on the cards looks "cheap" or amateurish. But I think that comes from people experienced in the ways of graphic design, or just younger people who have been around computer graphics more often. Me? I'm an old guy who used crayons and scissors to form letters and words. Looks just fine to me!

This doesn't make up for the digitizing of the 2016 base set. See Ben Henry's perspective if you haven't already. If this is the way the base set is going, they've lost me as a regular customer. I'll vintage away the rest of my collecting career.

But at least there's something in 2016 Topps that I can look back on fondly when we've moved on to 2017 and 2018 and whatever that year will be when you can no longer hold new cards in your hands.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Night Card Binder candidate: Jhonny Peralta, 2016 Topps Perspectives, #9
Does it make the binder?: No. Nobody's knocking out Stan. But there are other Perspectives night cards.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Like magic


I've been blessed with good genes when it comes to basic intelligence, common sense, empathy and a sense of humor. Then there are the other genes that I wonder what I did to deserve them.

One of those less-than-desirable traits is a tendency to be scatterbrained. I get that from my grandmother, and although it's not nearly as much of a problem as it was with her, I'm a little concerned about what I will be like when I'm the age she was when I knew her.

I'm pretty sure my scatterbrained behavior cropped up when I suddenly found a decent amount of money in my COMC account and to this day have no idea how it got there.

I had just spent some COMC money from Christmas, the results of which you saw. And I know I spent all of that money. Because if I have cash to blow, I'm burning it to the ground. Nothing's getting left behind.

But, suddenly, there was a new total in my COMC account. I double-checked my emails. No reason for that money being there. I double-checked my bank account. Nothing about that new total. Also, weirdly enough, there is no record in my COMC account about the Christmas transaction. That place where you see the cards you recently purchased? They ain't there.

It's as if I created a new, separate account -- with my knowledge, mind you -- and ordered those other cards. And now I had more money. Like magic.

Now I'm old enough to know that I'll probably pay for this somehow -- in fact, I probably already paid for it and just haven't figured it out yet because of the whole scatterbrained thing. Likely, I mixed something up between paypal and COMC. But, for now, I'm clinging to the idea that I got some cards from the internet through magic. This is what the internet should have been from the start! And finally, it's come true.

So, let's see those cards that I got like magic.


I went for some 1996 Stadium Club Hideo Nomo inserts. Because they're snazzy and for members only and glow pink when you shine light on them. Look at the size of that baseball.



If I'm going to collect the TCMA Baseball Immortals set, the least I should do is get all the Dodgers first. Duke Snider is the latest to join the colorful-bordered blue crew.



"Come on knock on our door. Free money is waiting for you ..."

This is the latest addition to my '70s TV show/movies page/binder. Three's Company had everything to do with my teenage years. Chrissy and Janet made me the man I am today -- or something like that.

This set is actually a sticker set, and that is so completely '70s. Look at how '70s it is. It's perfect.



 This is the card that completes the 1981 Donruss set for me. I'm not going to say more about it because I'm saving a separate completion post for sometime soon. But I love that Yaz was the last card.



Upgrade alert: This is a mini '75 Reggie. As you know, I completed the '75 mini set with Reggie as one of the three final cards that I needed.

That Reggie had a bit of a bubblegum-staining issue on the front. Normally, I wouldn't be in a rush to upgrade something like that, but '75s are different for me. Besides, somebody wants the other Reggie, I believe:


All right, let's move into the crux of the package -- because I've always wanted to use the word "crux."


I've started to get super-serious about my 1972 Topps completion quest, which for me means tracking down the super-serious high numbers.


Both Mota and Cannizzaro are high-rent district '72s that I haven't gotten around to acquiring for the set task because they're already in the Dodger binders. (Incidentally, I've had the Cannizzaro card since I was a young teen, I don't know how a '72 numbered at #759 landed in my grubby Three's Company-watching hands).


Nine positions down from Cannizzaro is this Willie Horton card, which I've seen so many times that I thought it was in my collection already. Now, it actually, really, truly is.



Denny McLain's been traded you guys. Can you tell? Perhaps Topps could make it bigger?

The Traded set in '72 Topps is some nasty territory -- tough cards to nab. Now, with McLain, I just need two more toughies, Morgan and Carlton.


Ron Reed is the final card in the set. No. 787. This means there's no turning back. You don't purposely get the last card in the set and then not complete the set. What mad man would do that?



I told ya, super-serious.

Rod Carew's card in this set is very tricky. One of those cards that gem-mint, graded-card people talk about in hushed tones. I don't care about none of that stuff. A regular, old VG-EX Carew is tough enough for me. And now it's mine.

This brings me down to 43 more cards until the set is complete. I believe I can handle that before 2016 is done. Especially if I'm not collecting 2016 sets (please, please, please, let Heritage be a shocking disappointment so my wallet is spared).

I don't truly know how I got these beauties. My rational side says it wasn't magic, but my wallet.

But the scatterbrained side says, "See? I come in handy once in awhile."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Gag order


One of the most dangerous things you can do when communicating with a journalist is to tell him or her a piece of key information and then say they can't tell anyone what they've just been told.

My first reaction in this scenario is to think: "Who do you think you're talking to?"

Whoever spilled that piece of information should now be aware that the journalist is going to do everything in their power to make sure they tell everyone what they've just been told.

And that brings me to a package I received from the preeminent Tim Wallach baseball card collector, Corey. In that package, he spilled some really juicy beans regarding his collection. And then said I can't tell anyone. I really would like to tell you. But, nope, I can't.

So we'll just move onto the cards and I'll ignore that voice in the back of my brain with every fiber of my being.






Here is some '90s parallel action. This is back when parallels were formed only with precious metals, gold and silver. Oh, and rainbows. They actually squeezed rainbows into cards in the '90s.






Some 2014 parallel and insert needs. But nobody needs to see the hat on Greinke's head. I'm sorry you saw it.



A nice collection of 2009 OPC black borders. I still haven't put up a want list for this, which explains why I got a Roy Halladay black border that I have already. (But the fact that it's in my blog header should have been a tip-off).



I don't collect these minis. I file them under the heading of Mini Abuse. Also it gave me the horrifying thought that in 2024 when Heritage produces its 1975 tribute, that it just might put out a mini parallel set, too. I've got to find a different hobby by then. I'll never survive.



Time to venture into some oddballs. This here is an Eddie Murray Kraft Dinners card expertly cut off the box back in 1987.



Another "off-the-box" card and it's a key one. I figured Fleer stopped with Kirk Gibson in its 1989 box-bottom checklist. I was dead wrong.


Dead brown cardboard wrong.



Feast your eyes on the very wrinkled Al Kaline from 1973 Kellogg's. It's not an off-the-box card, but an in-the-box card.

This card looks exactly like it was owned by one of the kids in my neighborhood back in the '70s. But you have to get a look at the back for the full effect.


Yep. I knew the kid who owned this card. Coincidentally, his name was Cory, too.



This is Stack being cute. A year-and-a-half ago, I (and some other people) got in a Twitter fight with Greg Swindell. It was all in good fun and everyone has forgotten about it, except one guy who insists on sending me Swindell cards.

Just for that, I think I'm going to tell everyone what I'm not supposed to tell.

It's regarding ...

Ah, never mind.

But I do have a surprise for the return package.

And I'm not telling what it is.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Start and finish


I was listening to a podcast a week or two ago by Jesse Spector of The Sporting News. It was sort of a many-topic discussion with baseball cards as its base. It amuses me when people with high visibility and a large fan base feature baseball cards, eliciting an overwhelming reaction. I try not to think to myself, "hey, I featured that card 5 years ago and wrote a whole blog post about it and got a couple of crickets," but sometimes it just spills out.



Heh.

Anyway, I decided to give a listen to what they had to say about cardboard -- any kind of attention for the hobby is great, right? Jose Bautista and Facebook and bat flips, right? Can't be boring the kids with no Mario Mendoza.

So, on the podcast, they discussed a few Dodger cards because Dodger beat guy Eric Stephen was the guest. They began by talking about an Orel Hershiser card, his last Topps card, and how it doesn't look all that different from his earlier cards. They discussed how Hershiser hasn't seemed to have aged.

I can see that because Hershiser always has had a baby face. (However, you can definitely tell now -- 16 years after his last card -- that Orel has aged, he's got some gray hair).

Hearing this discussion gave me the boost for a little blog series that I've been kicking around for quite awhile.

It's quite simple: I just compare a player's first card with his last card. And fun and hilarity ensues!

Let's start with Orel Hershiser, shall we?


Hershiser's career spans from the 1985 set to the 2000 set. And it's true, Hershiser hasn't aged all that much. Being an athlete keeps you young, apparently.

I pulled out a few other players with notable rookie cards and compared those with that player's final card.



By "final card" I mean a card issued during or just after the final year of the player's career. With Rickey Henderson, all of those cards are of Henderson as a Dodger. Pretty cool that I can collect Dodger Rickey cards.



Mike Piazza's final cards are with the Oakland A's, bizarrely enough. But at least he looks like Mike Piazza as an Oakland A, as he returned to the long hair and mustache. That's a very good reason why Piazza shouldn't go into the Hall of Fame as a Met. He didn't even look like Mike Piazza as a Met!


Of course, I had to go with mini Robin Yount just to break out that beauty again. Yount has a few cards in 1995 sets, but that's just wrong because Yount's last year was 1993. The '90s were so out of control.

Yount shows the greatest change in this exercise, although he looked like "young Robin" only for about the first five years of his career.


Now, I am definitely not all about notable rookies. The most interesting part of this series for me is to dig out cards of once-notable players that no one ever discusses anymore, particularly in the card world.

Today's subject is -- no, not Keith Smith, but -- Mike Easler.

Easler, aka, "The Hit Man," fared the best out of this Rookie Outfielders foursome. Even being airbrushed into a Pirates cap and jersey in his first Topps appearance wasn't a handicap to his career.

But for the sake of easy comparison, I'm going with Easler's first solo card.


Love everything about this card.

Let's place it side-by-side with Easler's final card.


Oooh. That took an ugly turn. I forgot Easler was a Yankee.

Future editions of this series will include more obscure players like Easler. But I'll be sure to include a few well-known players and cards, too.

You know, for those people who only follow guys who write for major sports publications.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Moving on to cards that I like


Not every 2016 Topps card is brutal -- I just discovered a couple of night shots in the Perspectives insert set that I simply must have -- but I'm pretty much done sampling it. Just the Dodgers for me, thanks.

Plus, when the current set comes out and you don't like it, it's a blessing. Because you can focus on cards that you really like.

I've already been doing that -- you'll see some of what I picked up soon -- but I also need to show off Night Owl-collection-centric cards sent to me by fellow collectors. Today, you will see a bunch of goodies from Tim B., of I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning. Coincidentally, his blog is where I saw the Perspectives night cards. So I must repay him with a post.

Speaking of smelling cardboard, Tim really sniffed out my want list for these cards.

 Let's see what he found extra stinky:


Zach Greinke, doing a little traitor-foreshadowing by appearing framed in Diamondback red. This brings my 2013 Dodger Target red parallel completion quest down to a single card. You'll be seeing Target red Matt Kemp on the Nebulous 9 pretty soon.


The best way to show cards of Bowman prospects that did next to nothing for the Dodgers is to group them together and try not to admit you need cards like this. And already I've said too much.



Here's a Bowman Chrome card of a guy you've heard of -- but that's not why people buy Bowman Chrome. Sorry, Adrian, Bowman Chrome fans don't care you're in the set. But I do.



1996 Bowman foil parallels. A scanner's mortal enemy.



Tim is another brave collector who is not afraid to send me cards of a set I dislike. It's on the want list for a reason, right? And that reason is to wonder why on earth Don Sutton's uniform is blue.



1999 Flair was a bizarre set with bizarre classifying and bizarre cards that looked nothing like each other. These were the best-looking cards of the group.


More want list needs from the 2003 Fleer Tradition Update set. Where do collectors find this stuff?



I'm officially Stepping Up! This is the last Stepping Up Dodger card that I needed. That's a big deal because there are approximately 400 Dodgers in this set. Apparently Mariners and Twins don't step up.



There aren't enough Branch Rickey cards. I don't know what Branch is doing here. Signaling an usher for cotton candy?


This is a card of Dodgers manager Chuck Dressen from the 1979 TCMA Dodgers of the '50s set. This is a set that needs more of my dedication. For starters, you can see what's in the background.


So that was some real want list melting from Tim, but he didn't stop there. He also sent me stuff that wasn't on my want lists.


A bunch of 2003 T206 minis. There were mini variations in this set, which probably seemed fun at the time but now just seems shoulder-shruggy.



Clayton Kershaw minis that weren't on my want list. What's wrong with me?



The Yasiel Puig mini is just my second from 2015 A&G. I dropped the ball on that set. The Dan Haren black beauty is numbered as all get-out.


I still don't know what to do with these patch things. And I can't give anyone a reasonable answer to why Dee Gordon is paired up with something that says "1941 Brooklyn Dodgers."

OK, let's see some parallels shall we?


Present-day foil parallel.


Soooo 2010 xrefractor parallel.



Pretty pink Chrome parallels.


And a hard-to-find Toys R Us purple parallel.

Really, really, really great stuff, Tim. You sure did your homework.

Meanwhile, I don't expect this post to get a lot of hits or comments. Everyone loves a good rant and a venting and that's what I've done the last couple of posts.

But when you say you like cards, sometimes nobody cares.

That's too bad. But I get it.

I just can't trash everything because here's the thing:

I like cards. A lot.