Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finding Some Treasure In A Mystery Box

I have been digging through the cardboard filled mystery box over the past couple of days.  The search has been enjoyable as I have seen sets that remind me of my early days as a collector.  My first foray into the world of baseball card collecting began in the late-80s.  I remember getting packs of '88 Donruss and '89 Topps back in the day.  Those were some prime years as far as card collecting popularity.  The mystery box has those two sets included as well as a slew of others from the era when I was a rookie card hoarder.

I have been compiling a stack of keepers from this box that will end up in binders eventually.  The mystery box has given me some nice cards to hold onto.  Some of these junk wax era cards have a fresh pack pulled feel and look to them.  The pristine condition of some of these cards from over 20 years ago lends to my nostalgic feeling when '90 Topps packs were opened frequently by childhood me.

I have no idea who Monty Fariss is.  I have never heard that name before and rarely have I heard the name Monty.  A reader may be able to clue me in on anything Monty Fariss.  I tried to Google his name and Google told me to just ask someone rather than constantly relying on the search engine for answers.  So there you go.

This Fariss card is in the running for the Top Ten from the Mystery Box.  This may be my favorite card that I pulled so far.  Topps Stadium Club seems to come through with random photographic brilliance a lot more often than any other set in the history of baseball card sets.

It wouldn't be a dig through a box full of overproduction era cards without a picture of '91 Fleer, would it?  This Fleer set is every blogger's favorite or least favorite set ever.  I always forget which opinion stands stronger within the blog world.

No matter your feelings towards the obnoxious yellow set, the Dennis Martinez card is a standout.  Martinez was a really good pitcher for the Montreal Expos when this card came out.  He posted a sub-3.00 ERA during the 1990 season.  The Expos also had one of the best uniforms in baseball back then when Montreal had major league baseball.

One Halloween I should don a full Expos uniform as a costume.  I will speak with a French-Canadian accent with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth while complaining about Bud Selig.  Oh, one of these days that will happen.

The search will continue with this mystery box.  I am almost halfway through skimming through the cardboard and will post more golden items as I find them.  The time warp through my childhood sets must commence.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Mystery Box

The first time I bought a large lot of cards was a lot of fun to dig through.  The latest purchase that I made consists of around 3000 cards from the overproduction years of 87-91.  The box may contain cards from other years but the bulk is prime time junk wax.  This is going to be very enjoyable for me to skim through.

Some collectors may be able to tell which sets are in this box based on the color pattern of the tops of the cards.  Many collectors have seen a box like this since the late 80s and some may even have a box like this stashed in a closet never to be seen again.  A lot like this set me back a whopping five bucks.  This same mix of cardboard will give me hours of fun checking out.

I will post some random, neat looking cards as I skip through stacks from this box.  The contents of this box will probably get me to figure out another Top Ten Countdown at the end of my search.

Get ready for some awful mustaches and stupid haircuts courtesy of the 80s.  This is going to be a blast from my childhood.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Always Adapting

A baseball card hoarder's collection is constantly changing with additions from trades or purchases and subtractions from selling or trading.  The collector's baseball card piles will always change in numbers.  Binders will become many and some binders may be condensed into other binders.  The baseball card collection is forever evolving for the devoted compilers of cardboard.

My hall of fame collection has been more of a focal point for my collecting habits.  2013 has seen me add more autographs of some of the legends of Cooperstown than in previous collecting seasons.  It is only July so, I will probably add a few more signed gems to my collection.

I am starting to think of some parameters for which to build my hall of fame collection.  I am starting to get somewhat picky when it comes to autograph purchases.  The card companies flood the market with many Cooperstown inductees so, the collector has many options to pick from when choosing signatures to acquire.

One of the parameters that I have set up when I seek out hall of fame autos is the search for on-card signatures.  Sticker autos annoy me for several reasons.  The signer has very little room to sign their name on a tiny sticker.  The sticker may leave out some artistry to the ballplayer's way of signing.  Another bothersome point about sticker autos is that a lot of the player's signatures look the same.  The more room that a signer has to work with the more unique a signature may appear in size, shape and a possible inscription.

This George Kell auto is a perfect example of an on-card signature adding some character to the baseball card.  Kell couldn't sign diagonally on a sticker and he also would not be able to add his HOF induction year.  Also, card companies would not place a sticker auto on a card that is crooked and placed on the player's back.

I am unaware how most of the blog world feels about signatures like this.  The card design has a tiny picture of Bruce Sutter at the top and the logo on his hat is airbrushed.  This may be a turnoff to some collectors but,  I am not one of those collectors.  I place the niceness of the signature over card design.  I also enjoy Leaf trying something new on its autograph cards.  Leaf let Sutter expand his signature and inscription.  I view this as a good thing and the card stands out to me.

I don't have too many hall of fame sticker autos in my collection.  Luckily, I didn't go to deep down that patch.  I am more than willing to pay a couple bucks more for a sweet on-card auto of a legend.  The few sticker auto cards that I have in my hall of fame collection may come up for trade soon.  I may use those to help out my Dodger collection.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Belated Top Five From The Fun Box

The mind seems to lack creativity in immense heat.  Well, my mind is at least affected by the extreme summertime conditions going on in LA.  It seems that the summer is zapping away some interesting thoughts that I usually share at the Platter.  Well, those thoughts are usually at least interesting to me and a few others, I hope.

I usually like to share some insight into my life with my loyal readers.  The hundred degree heat has taken away some of those thoughts when I gaze at my laptop trying to figure out what words to type.  I have been doing some fun activities this summer like going to the beach, catching some ballgames and picking up some nice baseball cards.  It just seems to put a strain on my mind when it comes time to sort through those activities and relate them to baseball cards with someone like Juan Samuel being pictured.

School was a good time to try and prepare for a post during the occasional daydream during class.  If an idea popped in my head about baseball cards during class, I would write it down and possibly use the thought later at the Platter.  My mind was already programmed into trying to come up with interesting concepts to write about so I could get a solid letter grade as a reward for my efforts.  The mind turns to mush during the summer months and it is only the beginning of July.  I hope I still remember to feed myself by the time August rolls around.

Last month I began posting about a 4,000 count box I purchased that had random inserts and base cards from the late 90s up until now enclosed.  The box was a lot of fun to dig through stack by stack.  I even started to post a Top Ten list and got through cards 10 to 6.  I felt the unintentional cliffhanger that I left lingering had lasted long enough.

Let me show you guys what I consider to be the five best cards from my random fun box purchase.

2002 Topps Stadium Club Jim Edmonds

Jim Edmonds used to make me nervous when he came up to the plate against the Dodgers.  The guy was a beast at the plate and seemed to collect some big hits off of Dodger pitching.  Edmonds was also stellar with the glove.  He would patrol center field like a hawk and track down every fly ball hit in his general direction.

With that said, this card is still a keeper for me.  The photo is superb and once again showcases why Topps Stadium Club is simply awesome.  

I am heading over to a card show this weekend.  One of my goals is to find a box of Topps Stadium Club from any year at a reasonable price and make the buy.  A hobby box full of photography gold will be a fun filled purchase.

2005 Fleer Ultra Jerry Hairston

Fleer Ultra is another fallen set from yesteryear that was able to capture some great action shots of baseball players.  This was Fleer's answer to the high quality photography that Upper Deck and Topps Stadium Club had going on.  

This card features current Dodger Jerry Hairston as a Baltimore Oriole.  This photograph seems to depict Hairston missing a fly ball while making a diving attempt.  The quick fingered photographer captured the moment of Hairston watching the ball go by him.  I am also unsure whether the ball bounced and Hairston mistimed his slide.  Did the ball bonuce off of Hairston's glove and sputter by him?  

The photo doesn't display what happened after Hairston's attempt at catching the ball.  The photograph does leave that open for discussion and works as a conversation piece.  That is the type of baseball card action shots that I enjoy most.  The card will look good in a binder and have my mind work out a play by play for Hairston that may be completely false.

2004 Upper Deck Eric Byrnes

Some bloggers collect cards featuring a play at the plate.  Other bloggers name their blogs and collect cards of the thrilling play between a runner and a catcher.  The play at the plate is one of the more exciting plays in the sport of baseball.  The fans can see the entire play unfold from start to finish.  When watching a player rounding the bases after a base hit the crowd begins to roar in anticipation of the runner chugging home and scoring.  The throw thrown to the plate is tracked by the crowd while the fans know that the play will be close.  After the runner slides home and the catcher attempts to apply a tag, the crowd eagerly awaits the signal from the home plate umpire.  Once the call is made the home crowd either cheers in excitement or gets eerily quiet.

Play at the plate cards is a fun sub genre to collect.  I don't seek all of them out but, when I see a cool one, I keep it for my collection.  They make a binder look better and more fun to flip through.  I totally see why some bloggers collect play at the plate cards.  An entire binder full of them is probably interesting to scope through when wanting to kill some time.

2009 Topps Update Tony Gwynn Jr.

I have featured this card at the Platter before.  Once I pulled this one out of the fun box, I knew it would be a top ten card at the very least.  When I was trying to figure out which cards I would feature in the top ten, this one just kept popping out at me.  This play at the plate card just kept standing out in the countless gems that I pulled.

The card having current Albuquerque Isotope Tony Gwynn Jr. on it also pushed it forward to number two on the list.  Headfirst dives into home plate may not be recommended for a player's health but, it is more pleasing on the eyes.  Diving headfirst looks a lot more action packed and gives the impression of increased effort by the base runner.

2002 Fleer Ultra Aaron Sele

Now onto the top slot which features not one but two ex-Doyers.  Not many cards feature the play of a pitcher covering first base and showing a close photo finish at the bag.  This card stands out as stellar photography.  When I pulled this one out of the many '02 Fleer Ultras that the box contained, I immediately set this one aside knowing that I had gold in my hands.

I hope the umpire got the call right on this play.  The umpires screw up some calls and may have missed this close play.  Luis Gonzalez actually appears to have beaten out an infield base hit.  The ball is just inches away from Aaron Sele's glove as Gonzalez touches the base.

This will probably be the only Aaron Sele card that I will ever have in my collection.  I am glad that I own what is probably known as his best baseball card.  Maybe some Sele collectors can let me know whether or not this is his best card.  I can't see anything else topping it.

I hope to make another purchase like this someday.  The price was cheap and it gave me hours of entertainment.  I also enjoyed writing up a countdown.  Reading countdown posts are fun for me and I am unsure why I don't write more countdowns.  This will have to be done again at the Platter.

Have a fun Fourth of July!