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!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Super Sized Nomo

I love accumulating items for my future man cave.  I have a wide assortment of mostly Dodger related items that will be on display whenever the day arises and my man cave is established.  The plan of one day becoming a homeowner has been on my mind for several years.  When I have enough funds and a solid job, my future home will have an extra baseball themed room.  Since, that day is not today, the process of hoarding items and dreaming is part of the process.

The dozens of bobble heads, autographed photos and signed baseballs currently reside in my bedroom.  A bedroom is not a man cave.  A man cave is a separate space in one's home reserved for sports watching, beer drinking and a place to view all my showy baseball memorabilia.  The time for the debut of such a space will be here eventually.  It will be a grand sight to see.

A group break was held by the Nachos Grande blog and one of the sets that Chris opened up was 1997 Pinnacle Zenith.  The particular Zenith set was of the 8x10 variety.  The set features extra large versions of the regular base cards from the '97 Zenith set.  I have the regular sized Hideo Nomo version and now I have the super sized 8x10 version.

This is one of my favorite Nomo cards in my collection.  I have just finished updating my Nomo haves list and according to the count on Microsoft Excel, I have over 300 cards of the former Doyer superstar.  The 8x10 version of this stellar photograph will be hanging in my future man cave.

This will also look great signed.  Now, I just need to track Hideo Nomo down once more for that opportunity.  Until then, this glorious photo will have to wait for that day to be hanging on my wall as I drink a Tecate and watch the Dodgers play some baseball on an HD flats screen television.

Any of my readers have their own man cave already?  What are some of your favorite items on display to show off to your guests?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Things I Remember

This is my post for Round 1 of the contest being run at the Nachos Grande blog.  The contest is a bracket style post runoff that has readers vote on their favorite posts pertaining to a specific baseball card assigned by Chris at Nachos Grande.

My assigned card is a '97 Collector's Choice Ken Caminiti.  The Collector's Choice sets always add some superb photography.  The sets were cheaply priced and I used to pick up packs of those sets at a local CVS in a great little town named Richboro,PA.  The Caminiti card above depicts the uniqueness and wackiness that a Collector's Choice set included.

Back in the 90s, when I was a boy in age and in mind, I wasn't as into baseball numbers as I am now.  Now I am a man in age with a boyish mindset and baseball statistics matter a lot more to me.  The internet wasn't at the height of greatness as it is in 2013.  I wasn't online for hours a week looking up stats on ballplayers to better understand the game that I love.  I judged baseball players by the old fashioned "eyeball test" which I find somewhat outdated nowadays.

I remember some things about Caminiti as a baseball player.  These notions may be completely false right now, but I believed them to be true at the time.  Some of my remembrance of him may have been proven wrong through statistical analysis as baseball fans evolved into intelligent beings.

I will list out some of the things that I remember about the former slugger.  No more paragraphs for you to skim through and now for an easy to read list format for the folks with short attention spans.

Here are the things that I remember about Ken Caminiti:

  • He was scary.  The boy version of Spiegel was frightened by the sight of this bearded, ripped and mean looking monster.
  • Caminiti may have been an actor on the old HBO dark comedy, OZ.  I still believe this to be true.
  • Caminiti was a beastly defender at third base.  He had a rocket of an arm and was always covered in dirt from the old Jack Murphy Stadium.  He was also always covered in Jack Murphy dirt when playing on the road because the San Diego Padres were too cheap to afford a washer.
  • The above point about Caminiti being a great defensive player may be untrue with modern saber metrics.  He won some Gold Gloves but, we all know now that the Gold Glove award is kind of a sham.
  • Caminiti was the NL MVP in 1996.  I remember that.  The award was probably tough to hand out back in '96 because every major league ballplayer hit over .300 with over 30 jacks.  
  • I even remember Wilton Guerrero hitting 31 homers in 1996.

Those are a handful of things that I remember about Ken Caminiti and a little tidbit about Wilton Guerrero thrown in just for fun.

What do you guys remember about Caminiti the ballplayer?  Do you remember the era when all baseball players looked like freakish body builders?

Also, please don't leave any comments about his life off the field.  Those incidents were just sad and should only be spoken about after several beers in a dark dive bar when being a jerk is acceptable.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grande Group Break Loot

When it comes to Dodger cards, my collection has some dead zones.  The dead zones are gaps in years where my binders are missing some potentially great Dodger cardboard.  I have a ton of 90s cards.  The 90s was the greatest era for everything including baseball cards.  One of the few problems for collectors of that era was that a million card companies released a million sets each year of the finest decade.  The number of sets that came out to the adoring public in the 90s has left some gaps in my collection.  This isn't too big of a problem for me since the explosion of set releases also led to some creativity among the card designers.  It is just an obstacle to overcome.

Another dead zone in my pursuit of Dodger baseball cards is the first half of the 2000s.  I wasn't a big collector in the early part of the 21st century.  I am probably missing out on some 2001 Topps Dodger cards.  The 2000-2006 era of baseball cards seems harder to track down for some reason.  In the rare case where I have a chance to pounce on some cards from the elusive early 2000s, I get in the ready position and leap towards the opportunity.

Chris from the blog Nachos Grande held a group break in which he was opening up boxes from my collection dead zones.  He offered up some 90s cards as well as some cards from the lost days of the early 2000s.

I have probably never seen this action shot of a leaping Adrian Beltre before.  2000 Skybox Dominion was not on my list of next purchases.  A group break with a sweet variety netted me this gem.

2004 Fleer is a set that I probably would have collected had I been interested in baseball cards in 2004.  It has a simple retro design lifted and slightly updated from an early 90s Fleer release.  This type of card stock is perfect for an autographed signature.  This group break may have gotten me most of the Dodgers I needed for this set.

The 2000 Topps Gold Label set is one that I have been digging for awhile now.  After seeing a box of it broken over at Nachos Grande, it is now on my purchase radar.  The base set is flashy with some decent photography.  The insert sets are really nice and well designed.  A box of these cards will be mine in the near future.

One of the benefits of joining a group break is being able to sample a little bit from a variety of sets.  It is a helpful way to acquire an abundance of cards for your collection and get a chance to discover something new from the collecting world.  I have bought boxes before after seeing them in a group break.  2000 Topps Gold Label is next up for me.

Furthermore, the '93 Upper Deck set was my jam back in the day.  The set had an awesome design with some world class sports photography.  Any group break that is going to open up some '93 Upper Deck is calling my name.

Even though, I have been around a lot of '93 Upper Deck cards, this Eric Karros may be new to me.  Karros cards are one of the leaders in my collection.  Hideo Nomo is in the lead but, Karros and his great hair aren't far behind.

This group break netted me some great cards for me collection.  The boxes opened at Nachos Grande even included a Zenith set that had 8x10 cards in them.  The 8x10s deserve their own post because they are picture frame worthy.  That post will be worth the wait.

Thanks for hosting a fun group break, Chris.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Friendly Contest Made With Nachos

The Nachos Grande is hosting a bracket style contest among sports card bloggers.  Each participant gets to write about a certain card that is posted on Nachos Grande and readers get to vote on whose post is the best for that round.  This should be a fun, friendly competition in the blog world.  Many bloggers have signed up and it will be a blast reading all the posts written by my peers of competition.

Over on this link is the page to Round 0, which is what this post is about.  You can click on that link to also get a better idea about this bracket contest.

Now that I got the little summary typed out, I can get into the meat of this post.  I can reach the point where I can type words about a baseball card.  One of the main perks of this contest is being given assignments on writing topics.  Sometimes it is difficult to come up with a blog post idea and actually feel enough motivation to write about a topic.  Nachos Grande is going to be my idea machine.  I see a card on that blog and now it is time to write.  Gather my thoughts and try to find some golden paragraphs while staring at a Topps Attax card of Franklin Gutierrez.

Another motivation for me to write for a contest like this is to get a pat on the back from my peers.  I am not going to lie.  We all need a pat on the back from people in our circle that share similar interests.  Only another baseball card blogger can know what it is truly like to crack a joke on a cheesy game such as Topps Attax.  The people that read the Platter and those that will recognize a Franklin Gutierrez baseball card are my peers.  Praise or even criticism from those folks holds a lot more weight than if it came from a non-collector who has hobbies that are dull and bland.

Gutierrez is a ballplayer that I hardly know.  The faintest memory that I have of his existence is that he was a former Dodger prospect.  He was once a highly touted Dodger farmhand that was dumped to Cleveland for the infamous Milton Bradley.  I also say dumped to Cleveland because anyone who ends up in that town is dropped there against their will.

Gutierrez has been a solid defensive outfielder in Cleveland and then to the Seattle Mariners.  Gutierrez even got into some games for Seattle in 2013.  He played in 41 games to be exact.  I wonder if Mariners fans even knew that.

The main contribution that Franklin Gutierrez has made during his baseball career is being the key component to the Milton Bradley trade to the Dodgers.  Bradley was a nutcase with a violent temper.  Having Bradley don the Dodger uniform has left me with millions of jokes about him that involve violence, yelling at cops, throwing bottles at fans, threatening his wife after she asked him to not smoke weed in front of their kids, spending time in jail, injuring himself severely while arguing with an umpire and berating reporters and teammates publicly.

All of these incidents would have been over my head if Bradley had stayed in Cleveland.  His career would have meant nothing to me.  Instead Milton Bradley has given me a wealth of entertainment at his expense.  Some of this credit must go to Franklin Gutierrez for being the chip that enticed Cleveland to send Milton Bradley into my world.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Words of Distraction

The pain of the Dodgers playoff defeat by the hands of the Cardinals hasn't fully sunk in yet.  I am still in the zombie-like state of shock.  Totally unsure which emotion I should actually be portraying at any given moment.  I probably laughed at the most inappropriate time at work last night without even realizing laughter was not called for at the time.

The Dodgers lost in embarrassing fashion by a score of 9 to 0 in a playoff elimination game.  Clayton Kershaw started the game for the Dodgers.  Kershaw is the god-like pitcher who has the 2013 Cy Young Award wrapped up by winning an ERA title and thoroughly dominating everyone except the Cardinals.  Getting crushed when your team's ace is on the mound is the second worst way to lose a season ending contest during the postseason.

The absolute worst way, in my opinion, is by losing in walk-off fashion.  That would have hurt even worse seeing a beast like Carlos Beltran up in the bottom of the 9th and hitting a game/season ending base hit to beat the Dodgers.

The outcome is actual outcome is still terrible for Dodger fans.  Its just that it may feel even worse today if we had a grand opportunity to win Game 6 in the later innings.  Maybe that will make my fellow Dodger fans feel slightly better.

Just say to yourself, "well it could have been even more awful."

I decided to buy a pack of 2013 Topps Update this morning.  I felt I needed a pick me up and purchasing some new baseball cards seemed like a great idea.  When fat kids feel gloomy they eat ice cream to feel better.  When I feel dour, I scoop up some baseball cards.  That is what addicts of baseball card collecting do.  I guess if you are down in the dumps, fat and a card hoarder you eat ice cream while buying baseball cards.

This retail rack pack yielded me my first pack pulled Yasiel Puig rookie card.  I had just gotten a Chrome Puig rookie from Brad's Blog.  Maybe getting Puig cards in 2013 is pretty easy?

This Sandy Koufax image has been used before by Topps.  It is another recycled photo that Topps uses just to add Koufax into a set on the cheap.  I still love this image of a celebratory Sandy Koufax.  I just don't want Topps to ruin the joy I have of seeing this photo of a happy Koufax.

Just writing this post should help me make it back to the real world after the Dodgers demise.  Seeing a stack of baseball cards that are ready to be sorted.  I can feel a slight change in mindset that the power of the Platter is giving me.  Writing this post has brought me one step closer to reaching full on off season mode.  I will get there eventually.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reverting to the Old Standard

The stresses of a playoff run by your favorite ball club can do some damage to your mind.  The Dodgers were last in postseason play in 2009.  That seems like so long ago and a distant memory.  The anguish a baseball fan goes through while watching his team play can be three hours or more of pain during the playoffs.  Even playoff victories lend stress induced blackouts to a person's psyche.  Each playoff game has high impact moments.  The blowout games even have intense innings before a team breaks loose and crushes the ball.

Playoff travel days for the Dodgers give fans some reprieve from high anxiety and gives supporters a chance to breath.  Today is an off day from the NLCS for the players as well as the fans of the Dodgers and Cardinals.  An off day for me personally is a day to be devoted to getting my baseball card collection in order.

Today is also a great time to unwind and not focus my mind solely on the Dodger playoff chances.  That is going to be difficult but, nothing is like immersing yourself in a pile of cardboard gold to take your mind off of anything.

This is my first Yasiel Puig baseball card.  I have taken a slight hiatus from purchasing 2013 baseball cards.  I have been dipping back into the pool of 90s greatness.  Most of the cards from sets that came out during the second half of the baseball season have been obtained through trades.

Brad from the well named site called Brad's Blog had sent me a nice loot of 2013 Dodger cards.  He included a good amount of 2013 Topps Chrome cards that I haven't even seen yet.  I have yet to rip open a pack of 2013 Topps Chrome and now that I have several Dodgers from the set, this makes me less inclined to pick any up at the card shop.

The Puig rookie is probably one of the most sought after cards from the Chrome base set.  He is an electrifying player that is having a solid playoff run.  Glad to have this card in my collection.

Another swell 2013 card that Brad sent me features NLCS Game 5 hero, Adrian Gonzalez.  Gonzalez belted two home runs in the Dodger victory yesterday afternoon.  One of his homers was a soaring shot that went halfway up the Right Field Pavilion.

I only have a handful of Adrian Gonzalez cards that show him donning a Dodger uniform.  I may not even have the regular base version of this card.  Gypsy Queen has been somewhat avoided by me this year.  Panini Golden Age has been more my speed as far as retro sets go.

This post should have gotten most of my mind clear of thinking about playoff baseball.  I can now just zone out and place baseball cards in binders for a couple hours.  No thought of anything else except which cards will look best lined up on a 9 pocket page.

Thanks for the cards, Brad!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Calm Before The Storm

I have been reading about the Dodgers NLDS series against the Braves all morning.  I have read the series previews, studied the Dodgers playoff roster and even thought of the many scenarios that may occur during the opening series.  I feel that I need a slight break from playoff talk and need to clear my head of Dodger baseball for a moment.

The Dodgers open the series against the Braves tonight in a little over five hours.  The thought of the first pitch is making me jittery with nervous excitement.

Rather than have a Dodger themed post that may make my heart race too fast for comfort, I have decided for a 90s style post.  Maybe showing some cards from one of the better insert sets from the great decade will work as a natural form of panic reducing Xanax.

I recently finished opening a box of 1996 Upper Deck Series II.  One of the draws for me when deciding on a cheap box to purchase was the V.J. Lovero insert set.  These cards are epic and show some of the world class photography that Lovero was known for.

Ken Griffey Jr. had the sweetest swing that I ever saw.  It was smooth and quick.  Griffey packed a punch when he connected on a pitch.  Normally, Griffey cards don't make it into one of my binders.  This card is an exception because it shows the swing of sweetness is a high quality piece of glossy cardboard.

The Seattle Mariners had some great baseball players in the mid to late 90s.  Jay Buhner was one of them.  He looked like a mean fellow that had a future of being a bouncer at a biker bar.  Instead he was a masher that hit some bombs for the Mariners, which was probably a much better career choice.

I have seen this card before on some other blogs.  This card would probably make some bloggers Top 100 lists.  When I see this card, I don't think of Jay Buhner, I think of the little Buhner.  What direction in life did his son choose?  Is he an athlete like his pops?  Is the little Buhner a tough looking dude that gets into fistfights just for kicks?

I also wonder what do kids of ballplayers that appear on baseball cards think when they look back at those cards.  Are they embarrassed to see a childhood photo of themselves being collected by complete strangers?  Do they have a sense of pride knowing that they made it on an Upper Deck card without being a big league ballplayer?

I am just realizing that this is a Mariners themed post.  In an effort to avoid Dodgerness for a minute, I have been carried away to the Pacific Northwest.  The name of my blog may be changed to Jamie Moyer's Fish Market when all is said and done.

I don't outline my posts before I write.  I just have the words flow freely from my mind to my keyboard.  Some bloggers seem very prepared and thoughtful when posting.  I am not one of those guys.  I just see words in my brain and type them as I go.  That is why you may see typos or random thoughts that don't fit the mold of the opening paragraph.

Anyway, the card above is another 90s classic.  This card is featuring Randy Johnson actually looking happy.  Johnson always seemed like the surliest guy in the world when he was on a baseball diamond.  He appeared to be full of rage and anger like a lot of mullet rocking metal heads.  It is nice to see that Johnson did have a good time at least once in his life when V.J. Lovero stopped by for a photo shoot.

It is time to break up the Seattle stronghold of this post.  May has well show off a beautiful photograph of juicer poster boy, Brady Anderson.  This card shows Anderson sliding into home on a close play with the pitcher covering.  This play in baseball doesn't happen often and is rarely captured on film.

The dust cloud and the shadow of the umpire add to the charm of this masterpiece.  I believe the umpire is making a safe signal as his arms seem spread apart.  This may be the first and only Brady Anderson card that I deem binder worthy.

Opening up a box of '96 Upper Deck was a lot of fun.  I will probably pick up another 90s box very soon.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Time for a Return

The Platter had been closed up for about a couple months now.  Since some folks have probably wondered why I was away or why I have been slow to return emails, I should address that.  This little hiatus didn't have to do with being too busy.  I have had plenty of time between work and Dodger games to churn out a post over the last couple months.  The reason is more to do with lethargy and a slight disinterest in baseball cards.

When my level of interest waned on collecting, that made it hard to write something interesting or even semi-interesting about the topic of collecting.  I have at least tried to entertain a few folks over the lifespan of the Platter.  My joy of collecting was usually seen through the words I typed and the interaction that I had with the blog world.  Interest in card collecting has been on the upswing lately and I felt the time was right to start typing up some words.

I have been pondering recently about, "what makes me happy?"  You can apply that question to any topic such as baseball card collecting.  I was wondering about what makes me happy about the cardboard hobby?  After being able to have some ideas bounce around my head about collecting happiness, it was an easy transition into focusing on getting back into the game of collecting and blogging.

One of the questions that I answered was, "what should be my collecting focal point?"  Obtaining Dodger cards is obvious but, my love of the hobby goes beyond just grabbing cards of my favorite team.  I wanted a niche that could be paired with my Dodger collection.  I have always loved 90s cards because those were the cards of my youth.  I began opening packs and collecting in the late-80s.  The 90s was when the cardboard addiction fully kicked in.

I thought a good way to get back into card purchasing was to start buying some random boxes of cards from the great decade of the 90s.  I started to order cheap boxes online and even finding a box of '91 Leaf at a flea market that was cheaper than a pack of smokes.  The set building process began and the joy of the stellar photography is a lot of fun.  Buying boxes from the 90s is also inexpensive and is an awesome way to spend a few hours of your day.

Going on a 90s cardboard kick was one of the ways that brought me back to the Platter.  Another reason was that I would still get trade packages and offers from fellow bloggers.  Nick from the big time Dimes Boxes blog sent me one the other day.  Nick and I just send each other cards every now and then.

It made me happy that even though I vanished, he still wanted to send me some cardboard.  It made me glad that Nick did this.  I have been compiling some gems for him from the hobby boxes that I have been purchasing and he will get those soon.

Some other bloggers have also sent some cards my way.  I am not sure if I owe them anything in return.  My head has been kind of lost and I have sadly forgotten what I owe and to whom I owe cards to.  Do I owe Tom from Waiting till Next Year any cardboard?  I am pretty sure I owe Jeff from 2 by 3 Heroes some baseball cards.  May you two just email me to confirm that?

Also, anyone else that I may owe cards to, please email me.

I almost went this entire post without even mentioning the two cards above that Nick sent me.  I also didn't even mention the Dodgers are in the playoff until just now neither.  Man, I am a ranter with no focus sometimes.

Thank you for the cards Nick.  I may post again someday.

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.