Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Absent-Minded Collector

The Red Sox lost again tonight. They couldn't get anything together on offense. Surprise, surprise.

Jon Lester has been scratched from his start tomorrow night, so all circuits point to him being traded before the deadline. The team most likely to obtain him is now Pittsburgh, according to the "experts".

Let's move onto other happenings. Since the Red Sox aren't making me happy, how about some Red Sox cards?

These came from Jeff from "One Man's Junk Wax". I have a small stack of these, but I think I only may have had the Bobby Doerr. Even though I'm able to buy a lot of cards on the cheap, unfortunately they are more often then not sans Red Sox.

He also sent me a few from the 1991 Swell Baseball Greats set. I think I may have one card floating around somewhere.

I wasn't expecting this and was curious as how he obtained all of these cool cards. He said he had picked the Red Sox in a group break he participated in at "Waiting 'til Next Year".

He was only interested in the Ted Williams cards and had planned to send me the rest.

He also said he had posted about the break on his blog, and I told him I must have missed it.

Come to find out, not only did I not miss the post, I even commented on it. See, he had also gotten the Red Sox and Angels from the 1976 SSPC set and boy was I envious. I believe the term I used to display said envy was "drooling".

So he sent me all these cool cards and I went all Alzheimer's on him.

Sorry Jeff, but the forgetfulness happens to us old-timers on occasion.

Thank you so much for sending me such a cool assortment of Red Sox, and I sent you a return package of cards...

...I think.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Here We Go Again

If I had told you that the Bobby Valentine - led 2012 Red Sox would have had a better record at the trading deadline than the 2014 Red Sox, would you have believed me? Was anybody thinking about the possibility of worst-to-first-to-worst?

By admitting that they are building for April 2015, the Red Sox have officially thrown in the towel for 2014. The name mentioned most in trade rumors is Jon Lester. I've heard Seattle, Baltimore and the Dodgers as possible teams interested. A couple of days ago there was a push in the Lester for Matt Kemp rumor, which thankfully has died down somewhat. It has been reported that if he is traded, Lester has said that he wants to sign back with the Red Sox for the 2015 season, although my opinion is once he's gone, he's gone. The Red Sox are reportedly shopping John Lackey as well.

Utililtyman Mike Carp has asked for a trade. Pitcher Felix Doubront has said he does not want to be in the bullpen and is unhappy. There have also been trade rumors involving Andrew Miller, Stephen Drew and Johnny Gomes.

Since June 18th, the Red Sox have released Grady Sizemore, Chris Capuano, A.J. Pierzynski and traded Jake Peavy. I predicted in May that the team we would see in late August would be much different that the team we were seeing at the time. It looks like even though I was wrong on what players would be different, let's hope it's not August and September 2012 all over again.

Friday, July 25, 2014

1989 Donruss Pop-Ups

In addition to the monster boxes that I buy from my LCS, occasionally I'll pick up a cheap box of cards as well. Off to the side they always have an assortment of boxes and sets for $10 a piece. You'll find your usual assortment of junk wax Score Football, Donruss Baseball, NASCAR, and other boxes that are tough to give away, much less sell. This box would fall under the "tough to give away" description for those collectors concerned with potential ROI. But for me, who collects for fun, this was right up my alley.

There are 48 packs in a box.

Each pack contained five base cards...

...one pop-up card...

...and of course, one card containing three pieces of the Stan Musial puzzle.

The backs of the base cards show their stats for the 1988 All-Star Game, their career All-Star Game stats, plus highlights of each players career.

This is what one of the pop-up cards looks like "popped-up".

It is a sixty-four card set, each player from the AL and NL as well as both managers can be found in this set. The starting nine from each league plus each manager received both a base card and pop-up card.

 There were three Red Sox in the set.

Wade Boggs was the only Red Sox player in the starting lineup, so there is both a base card and pop-up card for him, plus there are base cards of...

Roger Clemens...

...and Mike Greenwell.

I was able to put together two complete sets out of the box (with a complete puzzle), plus some dupes.

Here's the checklist for the set. (Cards 1 - 10 and 33 - 42 have pop-up cards as well as base cards)

     1      Mark McGwire         Oakland Athletics       
     2      Jose Canseco         Oakland Athletics       
     3      Paul Molitor         Milwaukee Brewers       
     4      Rickey Henderson     New York Yankees        
     5      Cal Ripken Jr        Baltimore Orioles       
     6      Dave Winfield        New York Yankees        
     7      Wade Boggs           Boston Red Sox          
     8      Frank Viola          Minnesota Twins         
     9      Terry Steinbach      Oakland Athletics        
     10     Tom Kelly            Minnesota Twins         
     11     George Brett         Kansas City Royals      
     12     Doyle Alexander      Detroit Tigers          
     13     Gary Gaetti          Minnesota Twins         
     14     Roger Clemens        Boston Red Sox          
     15     Mike Greenwell       Boston Red Sox          
     16     Dennis Eckersley     Oakland Athletics       
     17     Carney Lansford      Oakland Athletics       
     18     Mark Gubicza         Kansas City Royals      
     19     Tim Laudner          Minnesota Twins         
     20     Doug Jones           Cleveland Indians       
     21     Don Mattingly        New York Yankees        
     22     Dan Plesac           Milwaukee Brewers        
     23     Kirby Puckett        Minnesota Twins         
     24     Jeff Reardon         Minnesota Twins         
     25     Johnny Ray           California Angels       
     26     Jeff Russell         Texas Rangers           
     27     Harold Reynolds      Seattle Mariners        
     28     Dave Stieb           Toronto Blue Jays       
     29     Kurt Stillwell       Kansas City Royals      
     30     Jose Canseco         Oakland Athletics       
     31     Terry Steinbach      Oakland Athletics       
     32     A.L. Checklist         
     33     Will Clark           San Francisco Giants    
     34     Darryl Strawberry    New York Mets           
     35     Ryne Sandberg        Chicago Cubs            
     36     Andre Dawson         Chicago Cubs            
     37     Ozzie Smith          St. Louis Cardinals     
     38     Vince Coleman        St. Louis Cardinals     
     39     Bobby Bonilla        Pittsburgh Pirates      
     40     Dwight Gooden        New York Mets           
     41     Gary Carter          New York Mets           
     42     Whitey Herzog        St. Louis Cardinals     
     43     Shawon Dunston       Chicago Cubs            
     44     David Cone           New York Mets            
     45     Andres Galarraga     Montreal Expos          
     46     Mark Davis           San Diego Padres        
     47     Barry Larkin         Cincinnati Reds         
     48     Kevin Gross          Philadelphia Phillies    
     49     Vance Law            Chicago Cubs            
     50     Orel Hershiser       Los Angeles Dodgers     
     51     Willie McGee         St. Louis Cardinals     
     52     Danny Jackson        Cincinnati Reds         
     53     Rafael Palmeiro      Chicago Cubs            
     54     Bob Knepper          Houston Astros          
     55     Lance Parrish        Philadelphia Phillies    
     56     Greg Maddux          Chicago Cubs            
     57     Gerald Perry         Atlanta Braves           
     58     Bob Walk             Pittsburgh Pirates      
     59     Chris Sabo           Cincinnati Reds         
     60     Todd Worrell         St. Louis Cardinals     
     61     Andy Van Slyke       Pittsburgh Pirates      
     62     Ozzie Smith          St. Louis Cardinals     
     63     Riverfront Stadium   Cincinnati Reds
     64     N.L. Checklist    

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Digging In The Dirt

I've finished up the second half of the latest 1500 count monster box that I bought from my LCS. The second half was better than the first as it gave me some cards I didn't have. First though, were more of the same.

There were one hundred and eighteen cards from 1987 Topps, giving me four hundred and forty-nine total. This was almost one-third of the box and put me halfway to yet another complete set. Yipee.

Back in 1987 there was no way I could afford the 1986 Donruss or Fleer Jose Canseco rookie cards, so this had to suffice. Twenty-seven years later I still don't have either of them.

This was another card I used to put into toploaders "back in the day". I even used to buy the toploaders that said "Rookie Card" on them just for cards like this.

Speaking of being close to completing another set, there was another big chunk of 1986 Topps. Three hundred and thirty-six cards worth.

I believe that gives me seven hundred and eighty-nine cards from that set, more than half of the box. I think there are not any dupes, so I'm probably just a few cards shy of my second set. I'm sure in my dupes box I have the rest I need.

You're probably thinking that it couldn't get any worse, could it?


....you're right. It was pretty much all good stuff after that.

Like a hundred and fifty-eight from 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen.

I hadn't bought any of this yet, and with only a few dupes, it's a good starter set.

A small stack of 2014 Topps Series 1 was included, 99 cards worth. I've already finished this set, so I didn't need any of these either. Hopefully some of you out there haven't finished this, because I've got quite a bit to spare.

The last stack of cards in this monster box was from 2014 Topps Heritage. Only eighteen cards, but since I haven't bought more than a couple packs of this, it'll do.

Take away the Gypsy Queen, and this box was a solid F. It doesn't damper my enthusiasm for buying them however, because as soon as I finished going through this box, I went to my LCS and bought another. 

Of course you'll get the details in an upcoming post. Lucky you.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Review - Where Have All Our Red Sox Gone?

One of the things that I get kidded about frequently is my penchant for reading books, newspapers, etc., far after the publishing date. It's not so much that, but there's not enough time in a day to read everything I want to. So to read a book in 2014 that was published in 2006 is not uncommon here, it is expected. Someday I will catch up, really I will.

Before I began reading this book, I was not sure what it was about. I thought from the title that it might be about the 2004 team and how quickly it was dispersed. I've read a lot of books about the Red Sox that were written after the 2004 World Series victory, and most of them really haven't been all that good.

"Where Have All Our Red Sox Gone?" takes you on a journey of forty ex-players and ex-managers sharing their memories of what being a member of the Red Sox meant to them. As interesting as that was to me, I really liked reading about what they are doing now (or in this case, in 2006).

Some may feel that the "cast of characters" were a bit lacking (for example, instead of Jim Rice and Dennis Eckersley, you see Reggie Jefferson and Ken Ryan). But that is one of the reasons I like the book. I know how players like Rice and Eckersley felt about their time as a player, and I know what they are doing now. I would much rather read about how Jody Reed felt about his time with the Red Sox, or what Rick Wise felt about being traded to the Indians in 1978. You also get a chance to hear from some old-timers, some who spent a lot of time as a Red Sox player (Frank Malzone, Mel Parnell), and some that didn't (George Kell, Gene Conley).

One disappointment however were the mistakes that could be found throughout the book. Take for instance this section on Rich Gedman:

     "Gedman in the first two-months plus of 1990 was able to play in only ten games for the BoSox, getting only fifteen at-bats.
      Then on June 7, 1989, Rich Gedman's time with Boston came to an end."

Really, nobody noticed that?

Or catcher Birdie Tebbetts being referred to as "Bernie".

The back of the book features the career statistics of all the players featured in the book. A nice touch, but if you are going to feature the stats of Joe Morgan...

...you probably want to make sure it's the right Joe Morgan.

Again, nobody noticed this?

Mistakes aside, I did enjoy reading this book. While I would not call it well-written, it did offer enough to hold my interest throughout.

Interestingly the author has also written his share of books about the New York Yankees. I wonder if the same "care" is taken with that franchise, or do New York fans read about 4-time World Series Champion "Birdie" Williams.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Where Does The Time Go?

In one of my last posts I gave credit to bloggers who could post everyday. I have good intentions about posting everyday, but things happen and before I know it, a week has passed.

Well it happened again. My last post was over a week ago. It's not because of lack of interest...it's been lack of time. So while my wife is watching "Ghost Adventures", I am....

...sorting hockey cards.

This disorganization problem that I have doesn't apply only to my baseball cards, it applies to all the cards I collect...and quite a bit of other things in my life.

Part of my excuse for not posting was spending part of the 4th of July weekend at my family's camp. It was the first time my wife and I had gone up all year, but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.

It rained just about the entire time we were there.

I took this picture right before we left. As you can see, it had stopped raining. You can also see by the waves that it is quite windy. It was so windy that the waves were lifting the back of the pontoon boat so high it was coming down and landing on the dock. Not good.

I had already left before this started happening and had to turn back to fix it. When I got there my mom was on the dock holding onto the boat to keep it from doing any more damage to the dock.

What you see below is possibly the ugliest looking makeshift dock bumper you've ever seen in your life.

But it worked.

I've also gone through about half of the monster box that I wrote about in my last post. I had hyped it up to be a pretty crappy box, and so far the hype has been justified.

We'll start with 1986 Topps. Four hundred and fifty-three cards worth.

I already have a completed set that took me quite a while to build because there was one card I could never seem to find.

Now I have two.

Also included in the first half of the monster box were three hundred and thirty-one cards from 1987 Topps. Yes, I have enough of these to wallpaper a mansion, but I still have a fondness for this set as I had just started back into collecting at this time.

Fifteen bucks a box...and I bought a lot of them. I also was buying baseball card magazines whenever I could find them, so I have memories of a lot of fun collecting during this time period. So all eye-rolling aside, I did enjoy going through them.

This used to be one of the biggest cards in the set back in 1987. Devon White was coming off a monster rookie season...24 HR's, 87 RBI's and 32 stolen bases and finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

He was unable to match that season in 1988 and pricing for his 1987 Topps card fell back to Earth.

For those of you who were not collecting in 1987 (or even born yet) may be surprised to know that Cory Snyder cards used to be worth something! We used to put these in toploaders! No shit, really!

Finishing fourth in the 1986 ROY voting and having an even better 1987 season will do that. But like a lot of sluggers that start of strong and peter out (injuries being his downfall), those cards quickly came out of the top loaders and were placed in the commons bin, where they still are today.

The Red Sox had a lot of young players coming up from Pawtucket in 1987 and 1988 such as Ellis Burks, Jody Reed, John Marzano, Brady Anderson and Todd Benzinger, but the only player to appear in the 1987 set was Mike Greenwell (Burks was in the Traded set).

He also had the unenviable task of following a string of three HOF left fielders; Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemki and Jim Rice.

Now that's pressure.

He started off well, finishing fourth in the 1987 ROY balloting and second in the 1988 MVP race, but as the years passed, his production declined.

One of the only cards which has actually increased since 1987 would be the Barry Bonds rookie. Around the end of the 1987 season this card was going for about forty-five cents. Now it's the biggest card in the set at about eight bucks...and I got it for less than a penny.

This was one of my favorite cards back in 1987. He was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year that year with an eye-popping 49 HR's and 118 RBI's. At the time this was the biggest card in the set and still is one of the more valuable (valuable being a relative term) cards in the set.

Another card I used to throw in toploaders back in 1987 was Will Clark. (I would put anything that was listed over a dollar in those.) Obviously I had far less cards back then compared to what I do now. I think I may have only had a few thirty-two hundred count boxes of dupes back then. Now I think I have over thirty.

Did you know that for a short while, people used to hoard Kal Daniels rookie cards also? Those silly 80's. You would have needed a couple of bucks to acquire one of these beauties back then.

Now this card was never more than a common. Even back when price guides used to list a good portion of the 1987 singles, it never got any love. I had never noticed this way back when, but looking at this card now, I have to ask;

Where the hell is he?

Is that his backyard?

He played seventy-nine games with the Expos the previous year, what, they couldn't find an in-game photo of him? Poor guy gets shafted on his baseball card and to make matters worse, doesn't appear back in the majors until 1989.

And there you have the first half of the monster box. I'll try not to stay away so long next time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monster Box Mistake?

A week ago last Sunday, I drove down to the local card show. This is the closest one to my house and is also the one that has the table full of oddball cards that I've featured a few times on this blog. However when I got there I found out the show was changed...to two weeks earlier. Ugh.

I've never called to confirm a show before, but no worries...instead of the local card show, I'll go to the local card shop. To satisfy my baseball card craving, I picked up another ten dollar monster box of cards. I've been buying these for years, and I would say about ninety percent of the time it's full of good stuff.

Then there is the other ten percent of the time.

Oh dear.