Monday, August 31, 2015

Something Old, Something New

Even though his beloved Red Sox took two outa three from my Mets this weekend, I can't hold it against Shane from Shoebox Legends.

Firstly, the Sox showed the grit of a team embedded deep in the pennant race, which is pretty remarkable considering they are mired in last place in the AL East.  Gotta give props when they are due, and Boston got fantastic starting pitching in all three games and produced tough at-bats in the late innings.  Hell, at the end of the day, I'll root for Boston 9/10 times against the rest of the sport anyhow.  Especially in a division rife with the likes of the bloated Yankees and the cocky upstarts in Toronto.

Secondly, how can I be upset with someone who continues to provide me with regular installments of Mets cards??

The most recent PWE from Shane included a nice mix of hot-off-the-presses and better-with-age.

I hadn't purchased any Ginter retail nor had I the opportunity to yank any singles from the '15 edition.  So, my first up-close sampling of the stuff is courtesy of Shane's envelope.

No offense to Mr. Cuddyer (who had the game-winning hit in Sunday's game), but the A&G highlight of the package was this guy:

This is a 10th Anniversary parallel.  At first glance, kind of lame.  It's just the regular base card with some gold text running down the left edge of the card.

But, the beauty of this parallel is in its scarcity...

Nice!  Numbered out of just 10 copies!  Another great score, Shane!

As was this:

My first card of New York's 2014 first-round draft selection out of Oregon State.  It's an insert from this year's Topps Debut set.

When he was drafted, he was touted as one of the select few batters who were essentially major league-ready.

Conforto has not defied that label, as the lefty swinger has been an integral part of the Mets outfield platoon since his call-up last month.  He's got a beautiful natural swing which generates line drives all over the field. He's got a top-notch arm in left field, as well.  Really excited about this guy's future!

So, from the brand-spanking new, we now turn back the clock to the early '70s...

For the second consecutive PWE, Shane unearthed some vintage Mets goodies.  Included were a pair from the '71 set.

Sure it's a little, shall we say, well-loved, but this Koosman is still tough to argue with.  It's a great card no matter what!

Another card of the Kooz, this one from the '72 Topps edition.

Plus three of his friends...

As far as '72s go, I'd say these are all in fine shape.  They pretty much match the condition of the others I have from the same year.  I mean, when it comes to vintage, I'm not very picky.  Certainly, I can't afford to be if I actually want to own these cards, but beyond that I think the worn-in look gives these cards a warmth and nostalgia that you can't get from today's shiny, glossy, refractor-y card landscape.

So, congrats to your Red Sox on a series victory over the weekend, Shane.  May Papi and the gang bring much pain to the City's other team, plus that team from Up North.

And, as always, thank you for some great cardboard!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Four Topps, #608

It's time once again for my longest-running regular feature!  (Never mind the fact that it's my only regular feature.)

It's Four Topps time!

We'll grab a random number from 1 to 792 and examine the corresponding card numbers from the cornerstone Topps sets of my youth; that is 1987, '88, '89 and '90.  You call it junk wax, I call it nostalgia.

Today, handed us card No. 608.  At first glance, it doesn't read like a glamorous number which will be populated with perennial All-Stars or a Hall of Famer.  But, there's only one way to find out...


Welp, right off the bat my initial assumption is blown away.  This is not only an All-Star, but it's also a HOFer.  In a past edition of this feature, I established a guideline that unless there are multiple All-Star subset cards for a certain number, I would try to avoid selecting the AS card.  For what it's worth, I do happen to like this particular card an awful lot.  Hey, Stat Man:  Boggs led the loop with a .357 batting average during the '86 season.


This is Kerfeld's third--and final, as it turns out--Topps card.  His seminal card appeared in the '86 Traded set and he also had a card in the '87 regular set.  Points to Charlie for the aviator frames, first-rate mullet, official Astros windbreaker and smooth, chubby cheeks.  Hey, Stat Man:  Posted an 0-2 mark with a 6.67 ERA in 29.2 innings for the Astros in 1987.


This is one of Bradley's two Topps cards from 1989, as he was also featured in the subsequent Traded series wearing an Orioles uniform.  A long-time member of the Mariners, this is Bradley's second card as a Phillie; the first was included in the '88 Traded set.  By the way, I really love the powder blue and purple team/name banner reserved for the '89 Phillies cards!  Hey, Stat Man:  In his first season as a Phillie, Bradley batted .264 with 11 homers and 56 RBIs in 1988.


Not only a rookie card, but a FUTURE STARS card!  Eric Anthony is truly one of the chosen ones to have received the prestigious FS banner on his card.  Growing up, I considered the Future Stars just one rung below the guys who got the Rookie Cup cards.  Come to think of it, I guess I still do.  Hey, Stat Man:  In just his second big league game, Anthony slugged his first home run--a two-run shot in the second inning off Rick Reuschel--to propel the Astros to an 8-1 victory in the Astrodome on July 29, 1989.

And, the Winner Is:  Hey, rules are meant to be broken, right?  I'm gonna go with the Boggs All-Star card since the three other competitors are just way too blah for my liking.  The Star of the Future, Eric Anthony, gets the runner-up position.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cards from Cards on Cards

A week or two back, I received a surprise package from Kerry at Cards on Cards.  It had a little bit of old, a little bit of new, and even a little bit of basketball!  I'm thankful for Kerry since he is pretty much my only consistent Celtics card pipeline.

But, let's talk baseball first!

There are so many great oddballs out there, but very few capture my attention and affection the way the Drake's cards do.  Great action shot of Straw taking a mighty rip at a pitch.

At first glance you'll chalk this Carter up as an Expos card, but note the "Now With Mets" in the bottom left corner of the photo and the "Mets" team name within the yellow text box.

In 1993, O-Pee-Chee produced their flagship set as well as a "Premier" product.  This card of El Sid is from the former.  It marks the first time OPC deviated from mimicking that year's Topps base design.

In my estimation, this is a pretty solid design.  These are my first two '93 OPC cards and I will certainly look to track down all the other Mets from this set.

Some foil-y 2009 Topps Attax action featuring Carlos Beltran.  I know this probably goes against every fiber of my being, but I hope the Yankees make the postseason.  And why would I dare hope for this?  Because Carlos Beltran + playoff baseball = Big home runs.  (I make no apologies for still being a Beltran fan!)

This is a pretty neat rookie card of former Mets backstop Omir Santos.  Apparently, Topps Unique numbered their base rookie cards to 2,699 copies each.  The downside to these cards?  The black framing is very susceptible to chipping, even on the surface (as you can tell on the scan).

Along with EY Jr., Omar is one of my favorite part-time Mets from this decade.  He never did anything extraordinary, but was just a solid shortstop and could handle the bat well enough relative to his place in the baseball universe.  But, more than that, he stands alone in Mets annals as the only 'Q' last name.

Another of those cool "Hometown" parallels from 2014 Bowman.  Love these things!  Diaz, a native of Venezuela, is presently pitching for Advanced-A St. Lucie where he is 5-11 with a 4.36 ERA.

Would you believe I have not ripped one pack of Series 2 Topps from this year?  I've purchased one pack, but that one is for my son's pack collection.  As I did last year, I plan on picking up the factory set.  I know that means I miss out on the chance for parallels and inserts and autos and variations, etc.  But, I'd rather just keep my ducats for card shows, eBay and Just Commons to satisfy my itch for those things.

That's where your fellow blogger comes into play, too.  Great collectors/bloggers like Kerry always seem to be there to help fill in the gaps.

That includes the inserts.  Pretty standard fare here for Topps, but at least they are getting better.

It sure is nice to have David Wright back on the active Mets roster.

Oh, and I mentioned Celtics cards.  Kerry always manages to include a nice helping of C's cards with his mailings.  Of course, that includes Larry Legend!

But, this is my favorite of the Bird cards:

Awesome stuff, Kerry!  Thanks for keeping me in mind!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Zistle the 14th (Baseball with a splash of hockey)

Zistle trade No. 14 is in the books, and it is my second trade with a Zistle member from north of the border. This time it was member jaysfan46.  As a result, seven new Mets cards have made their way into my burgeoning collection of Amazins cardboard.

Two of the cards feature Mets ace Jacob deGrom, including the header card from 2015 Panini Elite.  Lack of MLB licensing aside, I really dig how Panini continues to resurrect these old brands such as Elite and Pinnacle. One thing sure hasn't changed: these dang things don't scan well at all!

Another brand brought back from the abyss by Panini is Diamond Kings.  Naturally, this is a mini, and it's my first such Panini mini.  Pretty well done, if you ask me.

More from 2015 Diamond Kings.  I really like the look and feel of these.  Even if you're someone who refuses to acknowledge the non-Topps cards because they are without logos, team names and true team colors you have to admit this is a sharp-looking presentation.

More Dilson.  This one from 2015 Panini Prizm.  Again, this is a nice product if you are without bias. The way I see if, if I can lovingly welcome a card 1990 Post card (or any oddball or food issue from that era) with completely airbrushed logos, why should I discriminate against these Panini cards?

I can't and I don't.

Mike Baxter's brief Mets career will forever be linked to the amazing against-the-wall catch he made during Johan Santana's eventual no-hitter in 2012.  Still the lone no-no in Mets history.

Damn you foil!  This is Tim Redding.  The 2009 season was Redding's only as a Met.  It was also his last big league season.  He went 3-6 with a 5.10 ERA in 30 games (17 starts) for New York

Because I traded with a Canadian, I figured why not get a card of Jason Bay's that I was missing?

And, because I traded with a Canadian, I figured why not grab a hockey card?  At some point, I'd like to seriously start building up my New York Rangers collection, but that's not even on the back burner right now.  More like: still in the cupboard.

Nice, solid trade all around!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Spirit of '73 (Vintage Mets and others from Shane)

In the 53 year history of the New York Mets, the club and its fans have celebrated two World Series championships and three pennant winners.  It's not the richest history, mind you, but for an expansion team from the early '60s, I think that's pretty all-right.

One of the three pennant-winners hailed from 1973, a club that improbably took out the vaunted Big Red Machine in the NLCS and proceeded to push the mighty Oakland A's to a seventh game before bowing out. The '73 team isn't remembered as romantically as the Miracle Mets of '69 were, of course, but they're still a team that holds a pretty firm spot in the hearts and minds of the fanbase.

This brief history lesson is a prelude to a far-out (if I may exercise the vernacular of the era) PWE my good buddy Shane shot me a while back. [Ed. Note: I do sincerely apologize for being behind in my posts!]

Included in this 10-card mailing were a hearty helping of Mets from the '73 Topps set.  It might be my favorite set of the '70s, but I haven't thought it through fully in some time.  Anyhow, it's a groovy set and I still need quite a few of its Mets cards.

Enter Mr. Shoebox Legends himself!

Along with the team card you see above, Shane scratched these five beauties of my 'need' list...

Best manager cards ever?  You could make a strong case.  My first "Yogi as Mets manager" card, too.

A southpaw reliever and spot-starter, Sadecki pitched in four of the seven games in the '73 Series, earning a save in Game 4.

Milner would adopt the nickname of his boyhood idol, Henry Aaron. "The Hammer" hit .296 (8-for-27) with two RBIs for the Mets during the '73 Fall Classic.

Hennigan appeared in just 30 games for the '73 Mets, playing his final big league contest on July 7 of that season.  Therefore, he did not factor into the club's postseason ledger.

Traded to the Mets from Atlanta following the 1972 campaign, Millan was an indispensable part of the Mets success in '73.  The second baseman cracked 185 hits to the tune of a .290 average during the regular year and crafted a .316 mark in the NLCS versus Cincy.

Great cards, all, Shane!  Getting vintage cards is always a treat!  And, thanks to this six-card array of '73s, I'm just eight cards shy of the complete Mets team set from that year.

But, wait, there's more...

A green parallel of Dilson Herrera from this year's Bowman set.  These cards are numbered to 99.  Very sharp!

An insert from 2010 Upper Deck I never knew existed -- Portraits.  Pretty classy looking card.

And, as has become customary over the past few PWEs, Shane included a couple of new gems for my Vlad Guerrero collection.

A couple of real beauts right there.  That takes me to a whopping 355 different cards of the future HOFer.

As always, thanks for a truly great assortment of cards, Shane.  Til next time!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lucky 13

My 13th trade via Zistle is in the books!  The highlights of the one, which netted me a whopping 85 new Mets cards, were absolutely the oddballs.  I mean, when are oddball cards not a highlight for a team collector?

There were oddballs cut out from sheets inserted into early '90s baseball card price guides, such as the HoJo up top.

And these...

Clearly, this Jefferies is my favorite in terms of photo choices.

My trading partner (Zistle member dmk250) was very up-front about the condition of these cards since they were hand-cut.  I absolutely always appreciate a trade partner like this, and I told him so.  And, honestly, he was way more critical about their condition than he needed to be.  I've seen (and own) waaay worse than these. Are the cuts razor-perfect and straight?  Mostly, no, but it also doesn't look like they've been ravaged or abused.

Also on the oddball menu was a card from the late, great Topps Magazine...

I loved Topps magazine and I remember how excited I was when I discovered it in 1992 at the age of 12.  I still have the cards from the issue or two I had -- some I have since traded away.  But, this is my first Mets card from the defunct mag.

Of course, what oddball lineup would be complete without food issues?

Ronnie looking a tad bit stoned on this one, from Kraft Foods in 1987.

By far, this Gary Carter Drake's Cakes box cut-out from 1988 was the worst in terms of cut quality.  But, the funny thing is that I have the Gooden from the same edition and it is terribly cut in much the same way as this one!  Done by my own eight-year-old hands, even!  So, from that standpoint, I wholeheartedly approve of the condition of this card.

Do we consider the Classic brand to be an oddball offering?  For the most part, I think I do.

Pacific's "Tom Terrific" set?  Check.

What about something like Pacific Spanish edition?

These are from the 1993 set.  I actually really like this design, I have to admit.

And, wrapping up the oddball portion of the trade are at trio of MLB Showdown game cards from 2004.

Pretty pumped to get a couple of new Piazzas, especially oddball Piazzas!

Ditto for a good-looking action photo of Cliff Floyd.

Okay, let's try to get a little bit normalized before we end today's post.  There were plenty of non-oddball cards in this recent trade.  So, here are some of those highlights...

In terms of photos, does it get any better than this '94 UD Prospects card of Brook Fordyce?

Oh.  I guess it does.   Both pretty awesome in their own ways.  I have been without this Brogna beauty from '97 Topps for way too long!

Newly-minted Hall of Famer.

Old-school Hall of Famer.

Not a Hall of  Famer.

Lovin' the intense photo of my boy Aaron Heilman.  Go Irish!

A golden Lo Duca.

This is an "All Latino" insert from 1994 Pacific.

David Wright is set to begin a rehab assignment in Port St. Lucie.  Hallelujah!!

Another Saberhagen.  This one's a Silver Signature parallel from '94 Collector's Choice.

Cool insert of a very young and hungry Rey Ordonez.

An early card of Daniel Murphy.

In my estimation, these are the nicest inserts or subsets ever produced for an A&G set.

A very Ginter-y insert of a forgettable Mets player.

Great card!  Been on my 'wish list' for a long time.  Gotta be Stearns' best card, right?

Not a thing to hate about 1994 Studio, is there?

This friggin' thing was on my want list forever and a day, too.  Who knew it could be such a trying process to track down an '89 Topps Traded card of Juan Samuel?

Yup, this was missing from my Met collection, too.  Shameful.

Le Gran Orange!!

The Mets will be seeing Jose a lot over the next month.  Four games at Citi against the Rockies next week and then three in Denver the following weekend.

Again, why didn't I already have this?

From top to bottom and from oddball to common, this was a tremendous trade!

I'm hoping to reach the 7k mark for my Mets collection by the end of the summer.  Still a smidge over 200 cards shy of turning that trick, but I have faith.

As they say in the Borough of Queens, "Ya Gotta Believe!"