Monday, December 30, 2013

The Holiday Spirit

The month of December is a very festive time of year in every neighborhood across America.  The blog world itself is also a bit more cheery and generous.  Generosity is a strong trait that all baseball bloggers share towards one another and the kindness takes an uptick during the holiday season.  The baseball card blogs host some fun contests while giving away a sweet treat of cardboard and this spreads some joy throughout the community.

There also seems to be a Secret Santa among the blogging world around this time of year.  Names get paired up and bubble mailers get randomly dispersed throughout the globe.  Fantastic Catch organized a Secret Santa this year and I received a nice gift from a participant named Roger.  I had a good time reading some of the blog posts about the cardboard gifts that people received on Christmas.  Some cool looking cards were obtained and shown off during Christmas week.

I was glad to get this bubble mailer so I can have a nice baseball card Christmas gift to dive into.

This card really stood out from the rest of the grand bunch that Roger sent my way.  A mid-90s card of Hideo Nomo batting will almost always be the big winner for "Best Card of a Bubble Mailer."  Nomo is surely cranking out a homer in this photo.  I was also probably at the game and the ball landed about five feet over my head.

My Hall of Fame collection gets a boast!  Hip, hip hooray!  I have been really focusing my collecting habit on getting cards of the legends enshrined in Cooperstown.  This is my first Ozzie Smith relic.  I have explained in the past how I feel Ozzie is a cardboard superstar.  He is one of my favorite Cooperstown inductees to collect because so many of his cards are action packed.

I know it seems weird to bring up the high energy impact that Ozzie had on baseball cards while staring at a card of him posing the same way Little League kids pose.  Just keep in mind that this piece of jersey may have been involved in an epic defensive play or worn during a head first dive at third after legging out a triple. It is possible that this jersey was game worn.  Please just let me hope.

This is a very nice manupatch featuring two Brooklyn icons, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.  I would actually wear this logo on a shirt or a hat.  I would even wear a shirt with this striped pattern.  I hope I have a reader that is a fashion designer and can make this happen.  You wouldn't even need and MLB licence since the patch is of a trolley and the name Brooklyn in the classic Dodger cursive.

Thanks for the cards, Roger.  It was a very kind gift with many great cards.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Skimming Through The Stack

Before I get into the meat of this post, I would like to inform the blog world that binders are pretty cheap at Costco.  Some of my readers may have already been privy to this information.  The sight of seeing four sturdy, two inch ring binders for 11 bucks total was a joy to me.  I recommend shopping at Costco because they treat their employees better than some other retail stores and they also have some sweet deals.  Oh yeah, and the pizza and hot dogs at the snack bar are grand treats as well.

Costco didn't pay me to write that and I am not an employee of the company.  I just wanted to give the blog world a heads up on a bargain for collectors and to give props to a big company that deserves some praise from the buying public.

In my last post, I mentioned that I picked up a bag full of dime box goodies from my local card shop called Luxury Box Sports Cards.  I picked out some more of my favorite cards that I pulled from my stack of cardboard.

The '89 Topps set was one of the first that I remember buying packs of as a child.  Heck, I think '89 Topps was the first packs I ever purchased.  These cards still stand the test of time with a beautiful swirling design, some iconic images and a splendor color scheme.

I probably already have this Bo Jackson card.  I most likely do and I don't even have to check.  This was just a card that I remember as a kid while being enamored with Jackson's athletic prowess.  It also helps that I am an Oakland Raider fan and Bo Jackson is still a beast in the minds of the Raider faithful.  Jackson played for the LA Raiders which was sweet because they were the local pro football time in '89.  Now the only pro football in LA is the overpaid USC Trojan football squad.

Jackson had a Saturday morning cartoon around this time as well which appealed to me.  Sports and cartoons were top notch to the 1989 version of me.  Jackson also had a legendary Nike ad campaign which became embedded in my mind even though I don't wear Nike shoes.  Other than Jackson's baseball and football exploits, he is also well known to the Nintendo playing generation that spent hours playing Tecmo Bowl.  The Raiders were my team and Jackson was an unstoppable force in that game.  Nobody could tackle Bo Jackson.

The '89 Topps set also delivers my favorite All-Star design for a baseball card.  The colors pop and the card was probably considered flashy at the time.  All-Star cards deserve to stand out because it is a honor for ballplayers to showcase their skills among their peers.

Jose Canseco was another athletic marvel in 1989.  He could mash a 450 foot home run, steal a base and flex for the crowd with his body builder physique all in the same game.  Canseco was one of my favorite players while growing up.  I still enjoy his buffoonery to this very day.  I have read his book "Juiced" where he rats on all his former teammates and friends.  I watched him on "The Surreal Life" on VH1 where a seminal episode at Canseco dressing in drag.  It is good to see athletic prowess gets you to such great heights in this society.

More importantly, I still collect Jose Canseco baseball cards.  I have probably been placing his cards in binders since 1989.  There have been some years when I didn't collect but, since I started back up again a few years ago, Canseco cards have been hoarded by me.

Don't be shy and send me some Canseco cards.  I know some of you despise the muscular fellow.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Dime Box

Today is one of those rare days where I have no tasks to complete.  I am able to choose my own adventure this Black Friday.  The adventure that I choose was to head down to my local card shop.  That is the usual destination for a cardboard addict with some free time on his hands.

While at the card shop I noticed that people were buying up some high end Panini products and receiving some special Black Friday packs.  This intrigued me for a moment as the other customers were pulling some stupendous autos and cards of superstars.  On a table in the middle of the shop was a well filled dime box with cards mostly from the early 80s to the mid 90s.  This box of baseball cards is my jam and I dug in.

You were able to fill up a small brown bag with as many cards that would fit for five bucks.  I was able to get around 300 gems for the five dollar price tag.  That was a great deal and under a dime apiece for some cards to bolster my collection and give my cardboard habit a much needed jolt.

I was mostly sticking with some 90s sets that beloved at the Platter.  My Hall of Fame PC took a leap forward with this stack that I purchased.Carlton Fisk isn't as prevalent in my Hall of Fame binder.  He has many cards and his vintage cards are reasonably priced.

Getting a Donruss Triple Play card will most likely place this Fisk as a center pager in my binder.  The borders on this Triple Play card is like a supernova of lasers and fire that will burn through the toughest metals.

Here is one of my favorite cards of the day.  Roberto Alomar is playing leapfrog or trying to turn a double play while hovering over a Red Sox player who is just keeping the #34 jersey warm until David Ortiz signs with the club years later.

When I dig through a dime box, I begin to notice that certain players have a large quantity of nice looking baseball cards.  Alomar is one of those players that seems to be captured in a moment of dazzling action by a photographer.  I usually end up with quite a bit of his baseball cards while I am dime box digging.

Ozzie Smith is another player with an exceedingly high rate of stellar baseball cards.  I have a ton and just bought some great cards showing off his acrobatic defensive play.  I may already have this card or have just seen it on another blog before.  Either way, I wasn't going to pass up owning this for my Ozzie collection.  It is better to have this card rather than need this card and not have it.

Those were some of my favorite dime box cards from today so far.  I will probably keep digging through my stack and show off some more greatness over the next day or so.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm A Show Off

It is a dreary day in Los Angeles right now.  The sun hasn't risen in a few days and the dark clouds have finally burst with filthy, acidic rain.  My little Fiat has been sliding over the roads as I cruise along the freeways of the Valley.  It is better to just stay in and enjoy the glorious cardboard that has been sent my way from the blog world.

I started to write out a daily task list each morning.  I heard this was the best way to try and accomplish some goals.  I had actually heard this over a decade ago and I let procrastination get the best of me.  After two whole days of writing out a to-do list, I am finding out that listing out goals may actually work.

One of the objectives of this cloudy Thursday, was to write up a mega trade post.  Some bubble mailers have been piling up on my desk and it was time to start sorting through them.  

Democratic Roadkill is a big time Allen and Ginter mini collector.  I have been trying to complete some Ginter mini sets of my own from 2012.  This has proven to be an extremely tough task and is taking a very long time.  I have been reluctant to even put up the 2013 Allen and Ginter sets that I am currently trying to finish.  I was just hoping that readers of the Platter could just see into my mind and send me some 2013 mini Ginter inserts.

Democratic Roadkill has knocked off many of the 2012 Ginter cards that I was after.  This has given me the motivation to post up the 2013 Ginter cards that I am chasing.  I am very thankful for that.

One of the keys to my collecting heart is getting cards of my childhood idols.  Specifically, receiving 90s inserts of my favorite Dodgers.  Some might say that getting 90s inserts of my favorite players is the key to my collecting heart.  Actually nobody says that.  Only I find that to be true.

The Lost Collector brought some shiny greatness into my collection.  I would have traded a Fleer Ultra insert of Cal Ripken Jr. or of Frank Thomas back in '96 for this Mike Piazza card.  This would have been highly sought after by a young bike riding Spiegel.

The Piazza wasn't the only 90s gem to fall out of a bubble mailer sent to me by the Lost Collector.  He also sent me this embossed Raul Mondesi insert from '95 Fleer.  Back in the day this card would have cost me a John Kruk or a Tim Salmon insert.  I would have gladly dumped a mullet haired fat guy or a rotting salmon for a muscular Rauuuuul.

The Lost Collector made my heart warm and fuzzy with these two cards for my collection.  What a swell fellow.

Sometimes I bump into bloggers on other corners of the collecting landscape outside of the blog world. Over at the Sports Card Forum, I ran into Tim from the Home of the Toddfather blog.  We worked out a trade and sent each other cards of our favorite teams.  

This Hideo Nomo is new to me which is always a good thing at the Platter.  This card hails from a set I had never heard of called Ballpark Idols by Upper Deck.  This card also features Nomo standing on the edge of the mound peering at an incoming grounder.  This photo may have been taken during some sort of fielding drill as no other players are standing in the background.

I used to watch pitchers work on fielding drills back in the day during spring training in Vero Beach.  Pitchers always seemed bored going through these drills.  Fielding your position is important and fans always get hulk style angry when a pitcher boots an easy comeback dribbler during a game.  

Nomo looks focused in the picture.  He was a true professional.

I was sent many great cards from this bundle from Tim but this is my favorite.  This actually may be one of my favorite cards of all time.  Tommy Lasorda drinking a milkshake?  In the form of a cartoon caricature? As the card states this is fun stuff.  Cards like this makes me so proud to be an avid collector of Dodger baseball cards.

This Lasorda is definitely the show stopper for this mega trade post.  Thanks for the cards my fellow bloggers.  Time to drop the mic and walk off. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Choice Is A Headfirst Dive

One of my favorite parts of living in Santa Clarita, California is being really close to a swap meet.  The Santa Clarita Swap Meet is literally minutes away from my place of employment as well as my home.  Another benefit of this particular shopping bazaar is that it is run three days a week.  I have the option of walking around a rundown speedway searching for baseball related items on a weekend or on a Tuesday.  The Tuesday event usually has less total vendors and less patrons.  The weekend swap meet is really crowded and has many more dealers to scope out.  Both days have its benefits but, Tuesdays are more my speed because large crowds make it hard for me to breath sometimes.

I channeled my inner Fuji and made my journey to the swap meet last week.  I was on the hunt for some baseball cards, bobble heads or any other interesting item that is baseball related.  For some reason, I am always tempted to pick up that random box of '91 Fleer mixed with some '88 Topps.  Those types of assorted boxes always call my name but, I choose to hold out and wait for something more worthwhile.

I actually talk back to the '89 Score cards or the '92 Topps cards.  This behavior isn't too odd at a swap meet because a fair amount of weirdos that are stranger than me seem to show up at these types of places.

I actually pass on more items than I actually purchase when I go bargain hunting.  Sometimes, I just negotiate with a vendor to see how low of a price that I could get.  After hearing the vendor mention his price, we go back and forth and then I just walk away.  This keeps my haggling skills sharp for when I see an item that I really, really want for my collection.

One such dealer didn't even need to hear my haggling skills.  His price was just perfect for me.  He had an assorted mix of early to mid nineties packs of baseball and football.  I skipped the football and skimmed through his assortment.

I came across a nice smattering of packs from my childhood.  I found some '94 Collector's Choice packs. The Collector's Choice sets from back in the day will always have a special place in my heart.  The packs were cheap in the nineties and had superb photography.  These were the cheaper version of Topps Stadium Club.

Luckily for me, '94 Collector's Choice packs are even cheaper than they were back when I was a younger cardboard hoarder.  I picked out a handful of packs and the vendor told me that they were fifty cents each. That is a perfect price and needed no negotiation.

The packs did not disappoint.  The photographs used by Upper Deck for this set were fantastic.  I really enjoyed all the cards featuring players making headfirst dives.  Such dives as Mike Gallego going after a grounder or some nice looking shots of players soaring into a base.

I had two regrets from my latest swap meet adventure.  One was not buying the rest of his '94 Collector's Choice packs and then trying to get them at a reduced rate.  I was afraid the cards may have some sticking and chipping issues.  These cards had very minor issues, some of which is hardly noticeable.  The fear of having little white marks on the masterpieces from this pack kept me from buying more.

The second regret that I had was the breakfast burrito I gorged on that I purchased off a food truck.  The breakfast burrito didn't make me sick.  It just had no flavor and lacked grease dripping from it.  Those are two flaws when it comes to food purchasing.  I need some flavor and some grease.  I had to add a lot of Tapatio just to remind my palate that I had food in my mouth.

I will probably be off to the swap meet again next week in the hopes of more cardboard buys.  Maybe I can find some more Collector's Choice or some elusive late nineties cards that I know were produced but, seem hard to find.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Retro Modern Stuff

I am still a fan of collecting the retro baseball card sets.  There may be waning interest among collectors for sets like Allen and Ginter, Topps Heritage or Panini Golden Age but the interest is still present for me.  I chase down the Allen and Ginter insert sets and am trying to track down 2013 Panini Golden Age.  I also think the retro sets look best for my hunt of in-person and through the mail autographs.

The history of baseball is something that I find fascinating as well.  I enjoy reading up on old school ballplayers from the early 20th century.  If I ever finish building my time machine, Ebbets Field would be my first stop.  The '55 World Series would be the specific event that I would travel to.  I would even dress the part with a nice suit and a big cigar dangling from my mouth.  A flask of the finest whisky would also be present in my coat pocket.

I don't think they had metal detectors or pat downs at baseball games in 1955.  I think the heavy security that we face entering ballparks is a more modern occurrence.  The flask of whisky definitely would be in play as I attend the '55 World Series.

Going through a trade package sent to me by Jeff from the 2 by 3 Heroes blog gave me the motivation to start wrapping up the construction of my time machine.  I am slowly chipping away at the 2013 Panini Golden Age set and Jeff helped me get a little bit closer.  He sent me a nice stack from the set and I will be sure to update my want list just in case another kind blogger is willing to send me a bundle.

Branch Rickey wasn't with the Brooklyn Dodgers anymore in the glorious championship year of 1955. Rickey was still a key component of the construction of that team though.  Rickey was the one that brought Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn ball club.  Rickey was also a Dodger executive when the team signed Duke Snider.  All Snider did was hit four jacks off the Yankees during the '55 World Series.

Sadly, one of the more forgotten LA Dodgers is Tommy Davis.  Davis didn't have a legendary, hall of fame career but, his 1962 season in LA will always standout.  His teammate Maury Wills would go on to win the MVP award during the '62 season.  Davis was no slouch that year as he belted 27 home runs, batted .346 and collected 230 total hits.  He led the league in all three of those categories.

The 1962 season should be remembered fondly by Dodger fans due to the contributions made by Tommy Davis.  I am glad that Panini has him pop up in the Golden Age set and this may help him be remembered by younger Dodger fans.  That is if young kids are still purchasing baseball cards.

Even though Panini Golden Age has surpassed Allen and Ginter in my mind, that doesn't stop me from compiling cards of my favorite players from the Ginter set.  Jeff sent me my first Ginter relic of 2013.  Oddly, I haven't even been buying packs of 2013 Ginter to be able to pull the inevitable relic of a Diamondback or Royal.

Luckily, Jeff helped me out by sending me a relic card of one of my favorite current Dodgers, Andre Ethier. This may be one of the last pieces of cloth from a Dodger uniform that Topps will put into an Andre Ethier card.  The rumors are heating up on the hot stove that Ethier may be dealt by the Doyers to some other team.  I will have mixed emotions if a trade goes through and it all depends on who the Dodgers will get in return for their outfielder.

Topps Heritage is in distant third place among my favorite retro sets.  I haven't enjoyed the card stock as much as I used to and the cards have a more glossy feel than they used to have.  I do enjoy the big checklist that Heritage provides as many non-stars are included.  Everyone loves a Luis Cruz baseball card, right?

The black bordered cards look exceptional in my opinion.  The blue pops out more with a darker border.  Topps includes so many parallels in their card sets now, that I forget where the black border cards come from.  I am not sure if this Ethier was from retail only, a hobby exclusive or some online style purchase from the Topps website.  Maybe a smarter collector can fill me in on the answer.

I don't have time to look it up myself.  I need to go back to building a time machine.  Johnny Podres is about to pitch a Game 7 gem that I need to attend.

Thanks for the cards, Jeff.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Best Blogging Name

I have had some days off of work recently.  My latest days off have had me spend some time on organizing my baseball card collection.  This mostly consists of updating my various lists at the Platter as well as cataloging my collection on Microsoft Excel.

I never fully realize how many individual cards I own of my favorite players until I scroll down to the bottom of a spreadsheet and start typing.  My benchmark for placing a singular player collection into its own personal binder is 200 cards.  Once a player collection reaches that milestone, then he gets his very own binder for storage.  I even write his name on a white shipping label and stick it on the binder.  I go that extra mile for the players that I adore.

Ichiro is one of those players that I have had the pleasure of watching play the game of baseball since his debut in 2001.  I have seen him play baseball in-person on a few occasions at Dodger Stadium and in Arizona during spring training.  His style of hitting is still interesting for me to watch.

The lunging and quick sweep of his bat through the hitting zone is a joy to see.  The speed that he had when he first debuted in the United States was like watching a track star round the bases.  Some players create a certain buzz and murmur throughout the ballpark.  Ichiro has that effect on baseball fans no matter if he is at home or on the road.

The Diamond King sent me a slew of Ichiro cards as part of a trade we made.  The Diamond King lives in the marijuana loving state of Washington and that is the place where Ichiro used to patrol the outfield tracking down fly balls.  I am not saying that the Diamond King is a marijuana user, I am just stating that his neighbors probably partake in Washington's favorite past time.

Ichiro is a solo binder guy for me.  After receiving this awesome trade package from the Pacific Northwest, I am almost at the 300 mark for Ichiro baseball cards.  Not only has Ichiro been a great ballplayer, but he has been a hobby superstar since his 2001 rookie season.  He has many cards out there for me to track down and I will probably have close to 400 Ichiro cards by the end of 2014.

Ichiro has been an electrifying baseball player and the card companies have done a swell job capturing this on cardboard.  Flipping through my Ichiro binder is one of my favorite page turners of my collection.  My Ichiro binder is a close number two to my solo Hideo Nomo binder.

The Diamond King was kind enough to send me some cards that are new to my collection.  They are also new to my eyes since I haven't seen them on the internet or anywhere else.  Maybe one of my readers can inform me on the origins of the Topps/Nestle team-up.

Was this card in a package of ice cream bars at some point?  What do freezing temperatures do to baseball cards?

I love oddball cards of the players that I collect.  They add an extra layer of uniqueness to a binder page. This Upper Deck Pepsi card may have been a stadium giveaway in Seattle?  I say this because there is a logo for a 25th year anniversary of some sort.

I wish more stadiums and modern food companies would release sets again.  I would buy a lot more loaves of bread or boxes of sugary cereal if baseball cards were included.

The Dodgers have about 81 home games a year, where they distribute bobbles of current and past boys in blue.  Maybe they can squeeze in one day and hand out an exclusive pack of baseball cards.  That may get at least one kid introduced to our glorious hobby.

Thank you for the additions to my collection, Diamond King!