Saturday, February 28, 2015

Zistle Me, Again

I'm up to three trades on the Zistle website, and all three have been terrific!  I'll take this opportunity to recap my second foray into Zistle trading, which was an exchange with member BucCollector.

Kevin Mitchell's '87 Topps card had been missing from my Mets collection for way too long.  And I'm pleased to report that this beauty is now secured thanks to this trade.  Is this the best action shot from the '87 set?  Gotta be, right?  It's certainly the dustiest photo.  I mean, it looks like the General Lee just peeled away.

Here's another that was firmly on my radar for quite some time.  From the SSPC set in 1976 when Say Hey was the Mets' batting coach.  As far as Mays as a Met, this card's the next best thing to owning a vintage copy of Willie's 1973 Topps card, which I do not.  Yet.

A pair of Lenny Dykstra rookies from 1986 Fleer and Donruss, respectively.  I don't think either tops Nails' Topps rookie in terms of photo choice, but both were essential pickups.

I really enjoy these Swell cards.  And I especially enjoy them when they highlight a guy like Harrelson who may not have been a superstar, but was nonetheless an important cog in a championship team.

In addition to Mets, I'm always eager to trade for a cool horizontal card or two for my frankenset quest...

Probably not the flashiest or most unique, I was still drawn to this John Cangelosi card from 1999 Pacific.  It gets bonus points for taking place at Shea Stadium and we've got a decent look at bat-ball contact.  Plus, it was a chance to get the scrappy journeyman into the set.

And, trading with a guy whose member name is BucCollector, I had to find a Pirates card to acquire!

Jason Kendall sure does have a good number of fantastic horizontal cards.  Great action here.

The two horizontal cards I received in my next Zistel trade are even better than these two.  But, that'll have to wait til next time...


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mail from Marcus: Mets and More

One of the primary reasons I began a baseball card blog was to trade with fellow collectors.  Not exactly a revolutionary idea, but that's what began this whole mess.  And what a beautiful mess it has been.  I can't put into words how trading has amplified my collection and my collecting horizons.  I went from a narrow-minded, unfocused compiler to...well...whatever I am now.  Point is, I'm having more fun collecting these past few years than ever before.  Maybe since I was a kid, at least.

The first blogger I ever traded with was the handsome devil at All the Way to the Backstop.  Marcus and I have been exchanging cards for over two years now.  Hard to believe how time passes!  The constant over that time period has been the quality of the loot he sends my way.

And that trend continued with a recent mailer I got from the Lone Star State.

For instance, a Hubie Brooks common normally wouldn't be much to write home about.  However, when that Hubie card happens to be his epic '92 Topps issue, then we've got something to talk about.  I've been needing an extra copy of this card for my Horizontal Heroes frankenset...and now I've got one secured!

Here are a few of the other highlights of my latest delivery from Marcus...

Ah, David Wright's 2015 Topps base card.  It's always an important milestone to get the first Wright card of the year.  Though, it's kind of an awkward picture of the Mets captain.  Though, it's probably deserved after a below-average and injury-marred campaign in 2014.

Speaking of milestones and firsts, this Dilson Herrera card is my first of the prospect infielder, thus eliminating another need from my ATMP list.  Herrera has a bright future thanks to a potent bat that produced a .323 average with 13 homers and 71 RBIs in the minors last year.  He could supplant Daniel Murphy at second base in the not too distant future.

While we're on the subject of second-baggers with pop, here's one that the Mets let slip away a tad too early, eh?  This is the Topps rookie of the future HOFer, and a good one it is.  Though, it's strange that Kent didn't appear in the prior year's flagship offering or the Traded set at the very least.  After all, he was in both the main Pinnacle set and the Fleer Update release in 1992.

Ya ever heard of this guy?  Me neither, but who cares -- it's a Mets card!  Andy Sides was a Missouri high schooler taken by the Amazins in the 11th round of the '03 draft.  He never made it above short-season rookie ball and was out of pro baseball following the 2004 season.  So, my obvious question is this:  How in the heck does Topps choose some of these guys for their checklists?!?

I can't be sure, but I think I've given up trying to chase after the WalMart blue parallels from 2013.  It was fun while it lasted and, who knows, maybe I'll pick up the torch again someday.  In the meantime, this one completes the red (Target), white (base) and blue (WalMart) chain of 2013 Jordany Valdespin Topps cards in my collection.

And now to the non-Mets portion of this trade post...

Now this is a cool checklist card!  If it wasn't such a high number (#779), Swisher would have a guaranteed spot in the HH frankenset.

And we close with a Gabe card...

Trust me, it says Gabe somewhere under all the foil and scanner smudge.  And it's a Bowman International parallel, too.  Neat card!

For the umpteenth time, a well-deserved hat tip to Marcus for another great lot of cards.  I hope we'll have many more exchanges yet to come, buddy.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

YDF, 2.25.15

2015 Topps Future Stars Pin Vintage

Yer daily fix for a frigid Wednesday was a truly accidental find.  Then again, that's how you find most of the good stuff on eBay, isn't it?  I didn't know these pin 'relics' existed, much less in a "Vintage" variation that pays homage to the '87 Future Stars logo.  But I stumbled across an auction for this one about a week ago and won it for about five bucks delivered.  Probably didn't need it, but I had to have it.  The card itself is made from super-thick stock like most of the Topps gimmick inserts these days that contain embedded coins, rings, medallions or Monopoly pieces.


Monday, February 23, 2015

YDF, 2.23.15

2009 TriStar Obak

Yer daily fix for today is probably one of the best non-vintage Seavers I own.  This one was uncovered in a quarter box at a local card show a few months ago.  I can't readily think of any other cards of Tom Terrific that feature him in a minor league uni.  I don't own many Obak cards, but they can't get any better than this one, right?  By the way, Seaver posted a 12-12 mark and a 3.13 ERA for Jacksonville in 1966.  He was in the bigs the following year and rest, as they say, is history.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

YDF, 2.22.15

1998 Fleer SI World Series Fever #94

Today's daily fix was a card show pickup a few months ago.  I'm pretty fond of this one and was excited to find a handful of these Fleer Sports Illustrated cards in a dime box at one vendor's table.  Hideo Nomo's 12-year, 323-game career included a brief detour in New York in the late '90s.  The former Rookie of the Year posted a 4-5 record with a 4.82 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) down the stretch for the '98 Mets, who failed in their pursuit of the NL Wild Card.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

YDF, 2.19.15

2011 Bowman Draft Gold #BDPP47

It was halftime of the Super Bowl and I was fighting back the urge to retch at the thought of the terribly tacky halftime show that was about to unfold.  So, I took to eBay in search of an affordable Russell Wilson rookie card. I found this one which was paired in the same auction with a Madison Bumgarner first-year Bowman gold parallel.  The duo for five bucks.  It's my first baseball card of the should-be two-time Super Bowl champion.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Franchise and Friends

I don't know how he was able to dig his way out of his house and tunnel to the mailbox with all the snow the folks of New England have been getting, but Shane from Shoebox Legends somehow got it done!  Two envelopes full of cards for your's truly.

And most of them were Tom Seavers.  It doesn't get any better than that.

The up-top card of Tom Terrific is my favorite of the batch, as you've got a great look at the Rheingold Beer scoreboard advertisement over his left shoulder.  Rheingold used to be the official beer of the Mets back in the day.  Never had it personally, and I'm not even sure if they still make it.

Anyhow, let's look at some more of my new Seavers...

This is the same photo as the horizontal card at the head of the post with the same Rheingold ad over The Franchise's shoulder.

This one was my second favorite among the Seavers.  Nice to see a different photo choice, for goodness sake!  I mean, Tom played for 20 years in the big leagues, yet Topps and UD both felt the need to recycle the same five or six photos.  What're ya gonna do, right?

In addition to the Seavers, some other goodies from Shane's latest delivery...

Niiiice!  I've really grown fond of Topps Debut cards.  I didn't much care for the minor league issues initially, but I now see the light.  And, naturally, it's extra cool that it's d'Arnaud, who will be New York's full-time catcher in 2015.

Nope, you're not seeing double.  Topps photoshopped and recycled the same image for TdA in the 2012 Debut set.

And then a bunch of 2015 Mets!  Including some of my most-wanted... the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom, replete with "Future Stars" tag.

And EY Jr., who is no longer a Met, but he's still A-OK in my book.

A way up-close look at Duda's manly, Lost-esque beard.  Probably too up-close.

Another from the "Future Stars" lot with Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares.  A nice looking card!

These "1st Home Run" inserts are okay, I think.  For a pretty bland array of inserts that Topps offered up in 2015, I like the idea behind these the best.  It's pretty neat to read about the first long ball delivered by our current-day superstars.  And, better than that, Topps actually chose a photo from the 2004 season, as you can see the edges of the Shea Stadium 40th anniversary patch on David's sleeve.  Well done!

These, on the other hand, are just completely uninspired and unimaginative.  Let's just throw two cropped and overused photos of guys from the same franchise onto a drab background and...Poof, Insert City!  Don't get me wrong, it's a Mets card that has Seaver and Harvey on it, so it's better than most.  But, I mean, did someone get paid to think this up?

And we finish with a non-Mets card, but a good one nonetheless.

Yup, A-Rod!  I kinda feel like Topps did the free agent theme a couple of years ago in their Update offering, but whatever.  I think these are pretty well done, all things considered.  Not an insert set I will chase, but getting my favorite players from it would be nice.

Shane, thanks for taking a timeout from building your snowman army to send these great cards my way.  As always, I appreciate the thought and care put into each mailing!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

YDF, 2.15.15

1967 Topps #25

My first card of the great Elston Howard.  I fell in love with it at first sight when I was at a card show a couple months ago.  And, for just a couple bucks, I couldn't possibly leave it behind.  It's Howard's last card in which he's depicted as a Yankee.  His final Topps card would come the following year as a member of the Red Sox.


Friday, February 13, 2015

YDF, 2.13.15: Variation Nation

2015 Topps #136 (Photo Variation)

Yer Daily Fix today comes courtesy of the 72-card hanger box that I recently cracked open.  I really do love the whole photo variation thing by Topps.  These cards are hard to come by, but they ain't impossible, as evidenced here.  I haven't seen any lists or pictures of all the Series 1 photo variations, but I knew this was one of 'em right away since it was mixed into the middle of the card brick with the rest of the inserts.

Anyhow, what do you think is going on in this photo?  Manny looks like he might be agitated, thus being restrained by Trout.  Then again, he also could be doing a Joe Pesci impersonation. Who knows!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

My First 2015 Card...

At last, Topps 2015 and I are intimately acquainted.

My wonderful wife, Mrs. K, surprised me by tracking down two rack packs and a hanger box from the WalMart just across the state line in Maryland.  The packs were waiting for me on my card table when I came home from working an evening event at the school.  A very nice surprise, indeed.

Anyhow, no need to bore you, my handsome/lovely reader, with an agonizing amount of scans, since everyone and their mother has posted oodles of pics of the '15 Topps cards for the past couple weeks.

But, it's become tradition in the short few years I've kept up this blog to share the first card of the new collecting season.  After all, I really enjoy seeing what all of my fellow collectors draw as their first card.

As you can see above, I didn't get the most palatable name.  I've really soured on Braun over the past couple years for obvious reasons.  But, you just can't choose these kind of things.

Just a few more scans; I promise I won't overdo it.

My first Mets card of the new year...

First Met of 2015

I was not a fan of these uniform tops, which were part of Military Mondays at Citi Field in 2014.  Don't get me wrong, I'm as patriotic as can be, and I admire the hell out of our servicemen and women.  But, camo baseball tops just don't do it for me.  I'd rather them just wear an American flag patch on their sleeve or on the side of the cap instead.  But, that's just me.

And, I can't end this entry before I share a couple of quick opinions about this year's product.  Most of these things have been mentioned or expounded upon throughout the blogging universe, but, well, I can't sit by idly without throwing my two cents into the bucket.

Good as gold

Five Things I Like:

-- Colorful borders, which are reflective of each team's color scheme
-- Bigger base set, with 350 cards for Series 1
-- Non-foil player name on the card front... Woo!!!
-- I LOVE the card backs. Maybe the most attractive in a decade or more.
-- The gold parallels are great looking this year!

Rookie Cup + FS = Double fault

Five Things I Don't Really Like:

-- The Rookie Cup logo and "Future Stars" tag should NEVER, EVER be piggybacked.
-- Way too many super-duper close-up photos for my taste. Tight cropping has become too much of a fad these past couple years.  It makes for a bland offering.
-- Even though I love the look of this set and appreciate the colorful border design, I kinda miss the red and blue parallels from the respective retail giants.  It dawned on me as I was opening the packs and I became sad.
-- The inserts. They're pretty uninspired.  Again.  Not even any minis to speak of.
-- Boring tri-panel League Leader cards.  Along with team cards, these just don't excite me.

What does excite me are fantastic base cards like this...

That's what I'm talkin' about!

Hey, bottom line, I'm thrilled that 2015 baseball card season is underway. The base cards are colorful and mostly fun and I'm looking forward to tracking down all the Mets cards.

Even the crummy inserts.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Product Placement: Pepsi Cola Edition

1999 Fleer Tradition, #264

I mentioned this a couple of posts ago, and I felt inspired to actually have a go with it today.  

One of the best scenes from Wayne's World is Wayne's corporate sell-out debate with producer Benjamin Kane (played by none other than "Hi, I'm Rob Lowe").  Naturally, while Wayne rails against the idea of sponsors influencing the content of his show, he's shamelessly posing with a Pizza Hut box, a bag of Doritos and Nuprin tablets among other things.  It's prop comedy at its best and it still makes me chuckle to this day.

So, bringing it back to the hobby at hand, any time I see a baseball card with an overt advertisement in the background, it takes me back to this scene.  And there are tons of cards featuring some variety of big, gaudy in-stadium ad signage.  Thus, I thought it would be fun to grab one of these cards every so often, scan it, and present it here for a giggle or two.

Above, you see former Met Preston Wilson chillin' pregame at Shea Stadium.  Looks like a hot summer day in the Big Apple.  Perhaps the perfect opportunity to enjoy an ice cold Pepsi Cola?

Just sayin'...


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Zistle Trade No. 1

After many months of enjoying Zistle from the standpoint of tracking my collection and adding card images, I finally got my first taste of the site's trading capabilities.

Not sure what took me so long.  After all, the site make it super easy to craft and propose trades with fellow Zistlers.  So, when member John H. (aka "MiJohn") contacted me regarding a potential exchange, I was pretty excited to pull the trigger.

I wound up netting nine new cards towards my Mets collection, including the ready-for-framing David Wright Turkey Red card above.

And another card of the Mets captain in the form of this 2007 Topps Update All-Star issue.

Then there's the 'bullpen' portion of the trade package...

Not sure how I didn't already have a copy of this, but...well, I didn't

Topps Traded cards from the early '00s are pretty rare to come by, at least I've found.  So I'm happy to cross this one from 2003 off my want list.  Even if it is just the non-exciting Mike Stanton.

Side-arm hurler Joe Smith continues to be a productive right-handed arm out of the 'pen, pitching nowadays for the Angels.

And then there's ol' Perpetual Pedro, who pretty much pitched every other day when he was a member of the Mets bullpen.

Breaking the string of relief pitchers now...

Diaz acquired the nickname "Mini Manny" in sport talk radio circles for a hot second because his body type was somewhat similar to the immortal slugger Ramirez, plus he absolutely raked in the minors.  He had brief -- and I mean brief -- flashes of Manny-ness in the big leagues, but never panned out.

And, back to the "How the Heck Didn't I Already Have These?!?" department...

I swear I had both of these cards at one time.  In fact, I'm quite sure I had an old shoe box filled with nothing but copies of Magadan's '90 Donruss card.  Yet, both of these were missing from my collection.  Now that I think about it, I seem to recall selling off a big box of junk wax cards (mostly '88 and '90 Donruss, '91 Fleer and '88 Topps) for a quarter or two at a garage sale a dozen or so years ago.

So there you have it.  Nothing that would make front page, above-the-fold news, but a helpful trade nonetheless. More so functional than flashy, but there's nothing wrong with that.  Anytime you can turn duplicates into new-to-you cards, it's a satisfying experience.

My first of many Zistle trades, I hope!