Thursday, April 30, 2015

Four Topps, #190

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but my last installment of Four Topps came nearly three months ago.  February 2, in fact.  The '90 Matt Nokes was the winner of the four-card derby on that occasion, should you be interested.

Anyhow, let's get on with it.  Four cards from the glorious Topps years of 1987-1990, which were the years I cut my teeth in the hobby as a young'n.  And, today's totally random card number is, as always, courtesy of

So, shall we explore what card No. 190 has to offer?  I think we shall...


As always, we begin with the elder of the batch, '87 Topps.  With 190 being a semi-glamour number within the Topps checklist--reserved for current or past All-Stars normally--we draw three-time American League All-Star and multi-time Gold Glove backstop Jim Sundberg.  The powder blue Royals unis from the '80s always have eye appeal, and they look that much better when framed within the wood-grain beauty of '87 Topps.  Hey, Stat Man: Though he wasn't an All-Star in 1986, Sundberg set a personal career-high with 12 homers for Kansas City.


The Candyman!  Maldonado was a key cog in the highly successful Giants clubs from the late '80s  The Puerto Rican outfielder was never an All-Star during the course of his 15-year career, but he's a guy who was a fan favorite wherever he played.  And he played in a lot of places, including L.A. (NL), Toronto, Cleveland, Texas, Chicago and Milwaukee in addition to San Fran.  Hey, Stat Man:  Candy clubbed 20 homers for the Giants in 1987, which were a career-best at the time.


A two-time All-Star, Witt finished fifth in ROY voting in 1981 and third in Cy Young voting in '86, both occasions as a member of the Angels.  A pretty standard photo from the '89 set, as it appears Witt is enjoying a casual moment during warm-ups prior to the game.  Call me crazy, but I like the pink, gold and Forum blue color combo that Topps concocted for the Angels cards in '89.  Hey, Stat Man:  Witt won 13 games for the Halos in '88, marking the final time in his career he would reach double figure wins.


We conclude with veteran righty Rick Reuschel, who started the '89 All-Star game for the NL squad.  I knew this without having to look it up because ESPN's 30 for 30 Bo Jackson doc was on the other day and they showed the sinker baller in action....perhaps for not the best reason.  Reuschel served up back-to-back homers to Jackson and Wade Boggs in the bottom of the first, his lone inning of work.  The Junior Circuit won the contest, 5-3, in case you were curious.  Hey, Stat Man:  Rick won 17 games for the '89 Giants and finished eighth in Cy Young voting.

And the Winner Is:  A pretty solid but unspectacular lot of cards at the 190 slot.  It was down to Sundberg and Candy for the gold medal and I opted to go with Candy because I like the photo better.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Enjoy the Silence (aka Holy Hoyle, Batman!)

This one is hot off the presses.  I couldn't wait to share the contents of the envelope that arrived at my house on Monday afternoon.  It was from Mark Hoyle.  And, if you follow the sports card blogging circles even passively, you know that means something special.

I have read a good number of awesome Mark Hoyle trade posts on various blogs, including that of my pal Shane at Shoebox Legends.  The yields of Mr. Hoyle's packages are always quite epic and full of unbelievable vintage scores.

So, when Mark contacted me via Shane in regards to some '77 Topps cards, I was equal parts honored and excited.  The '77 set is my vintage pet project, as I acquired a bulk of the set in one shot when my uncle unloaded all of his boyhood cards on me about a decade ago.  I've been slowly and steadily been working on it since then, with no real pressure or rush.

Well, Mark put together a stack of 50 cards off my '77 want list, and that stack arrived at Kaz Manor today.

As you will see -- and if the iconic Reggie Jackson card above is any indication -- Mr. Hoyle crafted a whopper of a package.  Here are the highlights, presented to you without any annoying interruptions from your's truly.  After all, the cards speak for themselves.  As Depeche Mode put it, "Words are very unnecessary, they will only do harm."

Here we go...

Suffice to say, Mark knocked a lot of toughies off my want list.  The Rose, Carter and Munson are my absolute favorites.  The Reggie, as mentioned earlier, is one of the iconic cards of the '70s, so that's a gem, too.  And, I mean, you can't go wrong with a Dale Murphy rookie either, can you?

Thanks to this extraordinary delivery, I'm just a shade over 100 cards needed to actually complete this beautiful set.  Still a few big hurdles to clear, including the Seaver, Ryan, Brett and Schmidt cards.  But like I said, I'm in no rush to get this done in any sort of time frame.  Thus, I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

And, yes, the silence, too.

Thanks again for an incredible group of cards, Mark.  I am truly humbled!


Friday, April 24, 2015

PWE Ping Pong

My on-going match of PWE ping pong (you prefer table tennis?) with Shane at Shoebox Legends is really a thing to behold.  The regularity with which I receive tremendous nine-card offerings from Shane is simply amazin'!  He never fails to 'wow' me with the assortment of Mets cards he's able to dig up.

These 2005 Topps Rookie Cup base cards are fantastic, so much so that I had been recently hunting for them on eBay.  There are quite a few Mets in the set, including the likes of Gooden, Strawberry, Swoboda and Seaver to name a few.  Koosman joins Gregg Jefferies as the only cards of the Mets persuasion that I own.  Good find, Shane!

I'm a sucker for oddballs of any variety, so these next two were right up my alley.

This is from a set called Action Superstars produced by the Broder company in 1988.  Not a whole lotta action happening on this Kevin Elster card, and even less on the back...

Doesn't matter. These are the bee's knees!

Gregg Jefferies looks like he's posing for his Little League photo.  Seriously, is that cap made of foam and mesh or what?  Terrific!

Here, Captain Kirk has advanced past light speed and is approaching ludicrous speed on this green 'n sparkly card.  "They've gone...plaid!"

I recently realized that there are a crap-load of A&G base cards that are missing from my Mets collection.  Like, a lot.  I guess I never felt the need to chase them before.

How wrong I was.

I was wrong, not Wright.

Very wrong, indeed.

But, no need to lash myself over it unnecessarily.  Plenty of time and opportunity to make things right.  Especially if I keep getting assistance from my blogging buddies.

Wilmer's second Heritage 'solo' card.  He shared a rookie prospects card with Travis d'Arnaud in last year's base set and then was featured in a stand-alone in the 100-card High Number set thereafter.  Flores, while perhaps questionable defensively, is starting to find his stroke in the bigs after years of big offensive production the minors.

And I've saved the best for last...

A most excellent on-card auto of former super blue-chipper Alex Escobar, who was supposed to be the second-coming of Darryl Strawberry.  We're still waiting, by the way.

But, forget the player, this is a brilliant card.  A beautiful signature , a solid photo and a sharp design.  It's a winner!

Shane, you've outdone yourself again.  Thanks for a perfect assortment of Mets!

As of this moment, I'm 11 shy of 5,800 unique Mets cards in my collection!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

By the Numbers: Thorzul Rules!

When I recently pulled a Ryan Braun jersey card from a pack of '15 Heritage, I decided to gauge the interest of Thorzul, a noted Brewers collector.  An email or two later a deal had been struck, with promise of Mets cards coming my way.  I certainly wasn't looking for anything great or grand cos, well, it's just Ryan Bruan after all. But what Thorzul sent me was an awesome four-pack of Mets cards, three of which were serial numbered!

Never have I ever seen such a card before!  Whoa baby!  This superb Beltran is an insert from '05 Donruss Throwback Threads.

The best part?

The back!  A homage to the old Polo Grounds, former home of the NY Giants as well as the original home of the Mets.

Here's a confounding specimen.  Roger Cedneo was not on the Mets in 2004 or 2005, yet this '05 Donruss Champions card shows Rog in Mets garb and features a Mets logo and Mets colors in its design.

Hey, whatever!  He had two stints with the Mets and it's a cool serial-numbered card.  I'm not complaining!

And the fourth card isn't numbered, but it's nonetheless amazin!

The other side (technically the front of the card, I believe) features the first baseman from the other New York team at the time.  Some guy named Giambi.  But, whatever, Big Mo is the real drawing card of this New York's Finest relic from 2002 Fleer Tradition Update.

Lovin' these additions to my Mets collection.  Thanks for a great trade, Thorzul!


Monday, April 20, 2015

To Be or Not To Be (A Mets Card)

I'll admit it, I've got my hang ups about a great many things.  And that extends way beyond the hobby, but this ain't the place to broadcast my mild (or not so mild?) neurosis.  Rather, I'll keep it to baseball cards.  For now anyway.

I'm very particular when it comes to admitting a certain card into my Mets collection.  I'm sure that's not a unique trait for a collector, but I think I spend way too much time thinking about the minutia of the hobby. Ad I let it fester and nag so that it starts to effect the fun of it.

Like I said, neurosis.

Case in point: Tony Phillips' 1999 Fleer Tradition Millennium Edition card.  Looks like a Mets card--and a really outa sight one at that--at initial glance.  Phillips in his trademark batting crouch, awaiting a pitch at ol' Shea Stadium, wearing the blue and orange accented uniform of the New York Mets.

However, look a little closer at the team name listed above Phillips' name on the front of the card.  And notice the annoying little "Free Agent" icon stamped on the left side.

And then there's the back...

That little Oakland A's emblem makes it officially official: This is an Athletics card.

But, does it have to be?  I mean, I can make it whatever the heck I want, right?  If I darn well wanted to, I could put this in a binder with a bunch of Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles California cards, correct?  Sure, it's shattering common sense and human decency if I did so, but so what?  It's my collection to celebrate or ruin my own way.

It is with the spirit of defiance that I decided to buck the norm and classify this as a Mets card in my collection. It'll sleep in the same bed as the rest of the official Mets cards which feature Mets logos and team banners, etc. Fleer can't bully me into shuffling this beauty into the abyss of my other Athletics cards.  And I'll rest well tonight having come to this huge life-changing decision.

At least that's what I'll tell the therapist.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Doctor Who?? (aka Help!)

In my quest to electronically categorize all my Mets cards to help make sense of it all, I often times run into a card that's truly a monkey wrench in the process.  I'm sure all of you who catalog your cards fall into such quandaries from time to time, as well.  I mean, it can't just be me, right?

Welp, here is one of 'em.  I know this Doc Gooden card was cut out from a sheet that was inserted into one of those baseball card price guide magazines from the early '90s.  Of that I'm fairly confident.  But, my repeated Google hunts have come up dry.  What I thought would be an easy solution has lingered for a couple months now, and the card remains still unidentified.

I even sought the services of my intrepid better half (Mrs. K) who is probably one of the finest Google engineers in the Mid-Atlantic.  And even then, no dice.  As a matter of fact, she reported back to me after an hour or so of searching with this bit of intel: It doesn't exist.


Thus unsatisfied, I turn a weary glance to the sports card blogging community for assistance with this junk wax era riddle. Anyone out there who can tell me what year and/or what magazine this card hails from will have my eternal gratitude!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

YDF, 4.18,15 (A Piazza in the Gallery)

I'm in the process of scanning and entering into Zistle a big batch of Mets cards I recently picked up.  This Mike Piazza card from '99 Topps Gallery really stood out from the rest.  I think it's the second card I own of Mike's in which he's wearing the goalie-style catcher's mask  He only wore it for a couple games and wasn't a huge fan of it, if my memory serves correct.  Anyhow, it's an awesome picture and a really attractive card design.  Definitely in my top five of favorite Piazza base cards!


Monday, April 13, 2015

(Home) Opening Day

In honor of the Mets home opener (a 2-0 victory over the Phillies!), here's a pack of 2015 Opening Day that I snagged from Target on my way home Monday afternoon.  My first foray into this year's edition, and probably my last, since I'm not super 'into' Opening Day as a set concept.  Besides, my resources are best conserved for other pursuits--like Heritage, for instance.

Anyhow, I ripped this pack prior to the matinee contest at Citi Field and it proved to be a good omen for the home team, I suppose, since it contained not one, but two Mets!

Travis d'Arnaud drove in one of the two Mets runs with a sac fly in the 8th, while Grandy drew a pair of walks, giving him a league-high nine through seven games this season.

So, not only was it a Mets "hot pack" but it also turned out to be a Rookie Cup jackpot, as the d'Arnaud was just one of three trophy-adorned cards I received.

Didja see the amazing catch George Springer made to save a walk-off grand slam on Sunday??  An early pick for catch of the year!

Not too bad!  The Springer is the same photo featured in the Series 1 flagship set, while I believe the TdA and Wong cards are "previews" of Series 2, so to speak, as I don't think either player is featured in the seminal series.  I could be wrong about that.

Anyways, the rest of the pack...

Homer is card No. 1 of the checklist, if that sort of thing interests you.

Gattis is now a member of the Houston Astros.  So much for capturing the whole 'Opening Day' vibe.

And, finally, a pretty good looking insert design featuring a pretty goofy photo...

I guess baseball is supposed to be fun, so I can't hate on this card too much.  Lincecum is a pretty strange dude, though, huh?

Hey, for one penny shy of a buck, I coulda done a lot worse than these seven cards.