Hey, y’all, a card trade!

 Bo recently got himself into the pre-1978 card collecting game, finally, with a pretty big vintage purchase, so I was finally able to trade him some old stuff, and he did the same for me.

Got some ’67-’69 cards, so we’ll go in order. I cannot get over Don Sutton ever being this young. He looks like he’s 12 here.

Damn, I love this McCovey.

Onto ’68s, where I’m across the 400 mark on the set now (of course, the last 191 cards have something like 30 Hall of Famers, including Mantle and the Ryan and Bench rookies, so I probably won’t finish that soon). Never have a problem with getting a Hank Aaron card I need, though. (The other guys don’t suck, neither.) Keep ’em coming!

Billy Williams, with some artistic embellishment.

I’ve been buying cards for 38 years, and have owned hundreds of thousands of cards over those years. This is, amazingly, my first ever and only playing-era flagship Eddie Mathews card.

Pops cards seem to come to me late in set-building, too, so this is welcome.

Elston Howard looks thrilled both to be a member of the Red Sox and taking this picture.

Bill White looks cool, like he usually does.

This card of Pete is almost in condition as bad as my Munson rookie. Fine with it. Upgrading intentionally would be money I don’t wanna spend on this guy anymore.

Ken Boyer and Superman both go to the same barber.

I also crossed the 400 mark on ’69! (I never would’ve guessed that I’d ever be anywhere near that.)

I have at least 2 Joe Niekro on the Cubs cards now, and it’s still not something I’m used to yet. Looks like some alternate universe shit.

World Series cards, lookin’ awesome.

GREAT card of Odom. He’s got that “Don’t even try it” look in his eyes.

Here’s Rico…

…and Sutton, still looking way too young, to close it out. I went through his cards after I scanned these, and figured out that the back of the ’71 card is when Don looks like he went through puberty.

(Borrowed from The Trading Card Database because I didn’t wanna get it out of my album.)

Suddenly, he looks like a grown-up. It’s like he saw some shit during the ’69 off-season, and he’s a man now.

Thanks, Bo, for trade #5939203582010382!

Still Here, Hella Busy, Here’s Some Stuff

So yeah, between health stuff (the flu this year was a nightmare and I was sick to some degree or another for 3 months, but I am better now), wedding planning, home renovation and other things, it’s again been quiet here of late. So, let’s wake things up a little with a few pictures.

Holy crap, new Megos! I traded a spare that I had, and got these two well-loved but still pretty solid looking guys in exchange! I haven’t had a Falcon figure since 1986 or so, and I’d never owned a Mego Aquaman before I got him (one of only a few from the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes line that I hadn’t owned; I’ve still never owned an Invisible Girl, Penguin, or the regular, non-Fist Fighting Riddler…). They’ve both taken up residency on my desk, along with some others from my Mego loose figure collection.

(From back to front, though some will need no introduction: Superman, Batman, Mr. Fantastic, Mr. Spock, Iron Man, Falcon, Aquaman, Lizard, and a 7-Eleven Metamorpho cup in front of Lizard, also a relatively recent add.)

Our local flea market opened for the season recently, too, which was a blast, because it seems like every year on opening day, all of the vendors have a real “I’m so glad we made it through another winter” vibe about them, like a very real appreciation that we’re all still here together, and even if “here” kinda sucks sometimes, we’re at least at the flea market.

I only ended up getting one picture in the field on opening day, taken of an APF TV fun Pong clone. I don’t see a bunch of ’em in the wild these days. I passed, because I’ve got a Super Pong, an Ultra Pong, and Atari 2600 Video Olympics, and for me, that’s Pong enough. Still good to see ’em surviving, sorta.

Here’s what I did pick up on the comic book end of things. These were all very affordable, even the Avengers #181 (which I’d forgotten was the first appearance of Scott Lang, who becomes Ant-Man not long after that). From left to right: Avengers #181, New Teen Titans Vol. 1 #7 and 8, Infinity Inc. #1, Moon Knight #24 and 26, Marvel Premiere #51 (Black Panther), Captain Canuck First Summer Special (always happy to find some original Comely goods in the wild), and Fantastic Four #232 (the beginning of John Byrne’s big FF run).

Don’t worry, people who came here by way of cards. I got some cards, too!

I had a few of these (Palmer, Slaton, and Doyle Alexander are doubles, and all are available for trade), but generally, if I see Hostess cards, I buy Hostess cards. Very happy to snag a Carew (his cards in any set ever are tough for me, for some reason) and, of course, SIXTO!

So, what’ve y’all been up to?

2018 Topps is here! Yay, I think.

Let’s jump right in. Here is the first card of the 2018 season, for me, anyway…

Thumbs up to you too, Matt, though I’m not sure if you’re giving me the thumbs up because you did something in this game, because you got traded away from the Barves, because you figure there’s a good chance you’re gonna get paid a ton of money to sit on your ass, or because you just wanted a cool baseball card. Either way, this may be my favorite Matt Kemp card of all time (though it didn’t have a ton of competition).

Here are the card backs, for those curious…

They got me used to partial stats fairly quickly, in part because my vision’s taken a serious hit in the past year or so, but also because it sorta reminds me of Donruss. The fronts do, too. The designs are different, but something about the use of color and the full-bleed on the front reminds me of late-period pre-Panini Donruss, figure ’03-’05.

I am with all of you who think there was a better use of that dead space to the right of the social media and the factoids, but I don’t know if a QR code would’ve worked at that size, and there’d probably be some debate as to what site it’d go to, or what function it’d serve. Stats at mlb.com or Baseball Reference? If it gets you a Bunt card of the physical one, do they just give you white base, or is there some element of chance there? Speaking of, I don’t think the flagship design lends itself to the “10 parallels of the same base card” dynamic on Bunt, so we’ll probably see another season of divergent physical and digital flagship cards, bah. But yeah, if they’re taking away full stats, dead space is a bad idea. Even, from a graphic design perspective, if they’d widened the facts, and centered the social media box, I think it would have been better, but this reeks of “we were going to put something in that space, probably a QR code, and had to nuke it at the last minute”. Moving onto some more cards…

Springer was a lot of fun to watch in the Series. Not as much fun for me as Alex Bregman (who I think is gonna be an unbelievable player), but still a lot of fun.

Mookie looks like he’s simultaneously pulling a Carlton Fisk and dancing here. Mookie don’t care, though, because he won his arbitration case!

Well, I won’t have to worry about these being super-overpriced when it comes time to finish this set. Frazier’s got an RC logo on his card when he was first in Bowman in, what, 1994?

I won’t have to worry about these, either. Would you believe I got these back-to-back in my hanger box?

Here’s some ’18 base of other players I collect (I mostly limit my current players to my fantasy team, hence the Mookie above, but I have been buying Greinke’s cards forever, it seems). I really love the Realmuto card. It’ll probably be his last Topps Marlins card, but it’s a gem.

The box promised 2 Jeter highlights cards, and now that his name is mud, they gave me three! I’ll hang onto them, though. He may have a plan in Miami that doesn’t just make him look like a big jerk forever (one of the sports stories of the next decade’s gonna be seeing how that all plays out), and I have some good memories of watching him play. Plus, I finally live in a part of the country where people will part with Jeter cards without asking for vital organs.

Anyone want these?

The Arenado sorta-gold’s 755/2018, if that makes a difference. Really disappointed that they didn’t go with actual card stock for the ’83s, like they did with the ’87s last year. And yeah, I’m basically good on any of these insert sets, not building them. Pretty flat inserts this year, and for this, I am RELIEVED.

I should also mention, though they won’t be pictured here, that I got 14, count ’em, 14 horizontal base cards in a row in this pack. The reason they won’t be pictured is that they were 14 pretty uninspiring horizontal base cards, of players I don’t have much of a vested interest in. Still, that’s what they went with in this pack, after the inserts were done. Weird collation.

How do I feel overall about the pack and this year’s flagship? It’s a mixed bag, but a step up from ’16 and ’17 on the base design. I’ll be building it (damn it), so send me your base doubles. The inserts are pretty lukewarm, especially the ’83s, so I’m gonna pass on those and trade whatever I get that isn’t a player I collect. Still, I don’t feel like I actually wasted my time and money buying these, like I have for 3 out of the past 4 seasons (’15 was awesome, but it was the only truly awesome flagship set of the past 5 years).

So, here’s my want list for Series 1 base:

2018 Topps (Have 63/350): 2-3, 5-6, 8, 10-13, 15, 17-21, 23-51, 53-74, 76-78, 81-82, 84-86, 88-93, 96-104, 106-107, 109-116, 119-121, 123-126, 128-137, 139, 141-143, 145, 148-154, 156-160, 162-167, 170-178, 180-182, 184-192, 194-197, 199-202, 204-211, 213-220, 222-224, 226-233, 235-240, 243-247, 249-251, 253-254, 256-258, 260-262, 264-266, 268, 271-274, 276-285, 288-289, 291-304, 306-310, 312-316, 318-322, 324-325, 327-329, 331-333, 336, 338-346, 348-350

How’d y’all do?

Roy Halladay 1977-2017

Roy Halladay was one of the best pitchers I’ve ever seen.

For perspective, here’s an incomplete list of other Hall of Fame, future Hall of Fame, and just plain great pitchers that I have specific recollections of having seen pitch live during their Major League careers, either in person or on television:

Tom Seaver
Steve Carlton
Phil Niekro
Don Sutton
Nolan Ryan
Dennis Eckersley
Rich Gossage
Bert Blyleven
Tom Glavine
Greg Maddux
Randy Johnson
Pedro Martinez
John Smoltz
Roger Clemens
Mariano Rivera
Curt Schilling
Clayton Kershaw
Trevor Hoffman
Justin Verlander
Andy Pettitte
Jack Morris
Mike Mussina
CC Sabathia
Tommy John
Ron Guidry
David Cone
Max Scherzer
Kevin Brown
Orel Hershiser
Bartolo Colon
Dwight Gooden
David Wells
Zack Greinke
Jon Lester
Johan Santana
David Price
Adam Wainwright
Cliff Lee
Chris Carpenter
Felix Hernandez
Dan Quisenberry
Fernando Valenzuela
Tim Hudson
Jimmy Key
Tim Lincecum
Kenny Rogers
Roy Oswalt
Madison Bumgarner
Corey Kluber
Mike Scott
Jamie Moyer
Chris Sale
Cole Hamels
Mark Buehrle
Kenley Jansen
Stephen Strasburg
Kerry Wood
Hideo Nomo
Orlando Hernandez
Mark Prior
Dontrelle Willis
Teddy Higuera
Jose Fernandez

Roy Halladay was better than most of those guys.

Ryan, Maddux, Johnson, Pedro, Clemens, Rivera…he was as good as any of them, and consistently better than just about any active pitcher I’ve seen. His work ethic and preparation were unmatched (and the stuff of legend, to the point where I think he scared some of his contemporaries), and it was such a pleasure to watch him work, even if he was in the process of dismantling the team you typically rooted for.

While I never got to see him pitch in person, he’s the only pitcher I’ve ever seen throw a no-hitter in its entirety (only on television, but still). I’ve caught no-hitters in the middle, I’ve caught them at the end, I heard the first 4 innings of David Wells’ perfect game on the radio and thought “Man, he’s dealing today”, then got out of the car and found out about it later, but I saw every single pitch of Halladay’s postseason no-hitter, and save for a bullshit call that led to Jay Bruce’s walk (YEAH, I SAID IT, I DON’T CARE IF PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO BE CLASSY RIGHT NOW, JOHN HIRSCHBECK BLEW THAT CALL), it was glorious.

It is also worth mentioning that, for a guy who came of age in New York in the mid-1980s, Roy Halladay was so good that I was more than OK with people calling him “Doc”. In fact, when I woke up to messages about Roy’s passing a few hours ago, all I saw initially was “Doc”, and I feared the worst in those first few seconds for Dwight Gooden, before I realized that the person talking about “Doc” was Canadian, and then the wheels started turning in that direction. For the record, losing Doc Halladay this week is every bit as sad for me as things would’ve been had we lost Doc Gooden this week.

Since this is a site about collecting things, and I do collect baseball cards of Roy Halladay, I should probably talk some about that, too. I actually don’t have a huge number of his cards. Now, it should be said that I’m a set-builder more than a player collector, and I do have a good number of his cards in sets I’ve completed or am trying to complete (I’m pretty sure that I have all of his base Topps cards, including his rookie card, and I have the card at the top of this post, which was probably my favorite of his), but even with that in mind, and though I obviously liked him a bunch, Roy Halladay’s section in Box 1 of my star card boxes isn’t overflowing with cards the way Vladimir Guerrero’s and Wade Boggs’ sections are (a few dozen for Roy, compared to a couple hundred Vlads and about 100 Boggs cards). Looking through the rest of that box, the number of Roy’s cards I have would be about even with Felix Hernandez, which makes a little sense, as they were contemporaries as starting pitchers who I both liked. (I probably end up with more cards of position players than pitchers, even if I really love a lot of pitchers. Not sure why that is.) One of them’s still playing, though, so that’s not an entirely even comparison. It could just be that people are not usually willing to let go of their Roy Halladay cards, and I’d accept that as reasonable.

I also don’t have Roy’s autograph (and while this is about the most trivial part of this tragedy, to the point where I feel a little embarrassed even mentioning it, that just got a good deal harder to get), and I don’t have any game-used relic cards of his, either. I had one years ago, and I promptly gave it to a friend who is not a big card collector, but is one of the biggest Roy Halladay fans I know, and, in fact, is the person I mentioned above, who messaged me to tell me he’d passed. I know he already enjoyed it, but I hope he and his family continue to, even if it’s undoubtedly gonna be bittersweet moving forward.

Other people, much closer to the subject matter than I, are more qualified to speak about what kind of a guy he was, how he helped people, that sort of thing. I know some of the details, but not a lot. If you have stories about Roy, particularly stories about him doing good things that you’d like to share here, please, by all means, do so.

This is still…I dunno, I woke up in the middle of the night to this news, and, though I realize that it’s not uncommon to feel this way, it just doesn’t seem real somehow. It’s real, it pretty much always is, but it doesn’t feel that way. Roy Halladay was younger than me, seemed invincible within his chosen profession, and while he had a high risk hobby that’s claimed the lives of a few ballplayers in my lifetime, it’s still too early and too hard to process right now.

Rest in peace, Roy. I didn’t know you personally, but you still brought some joy into my life, and you’ll be missed.

I’ll wrap this up with a few more of my favorites of his.

Three Months

Boy, I’ve been slacking over here.

I will tell you, my readers, that the biggest obstacle to my regular posting is almost always an aversion to scanning things.

Here’s how it goes:

1. I get something new, or come across something old that I haven’t shown off anywhere in a while, if ever.

2. I get excited about it.

3. It goes in a pile.

4. The pile gets bigger.

5. I curse the pile.

6. I eventually scan the pile, but then it takes me forever to write about it or I forget to.

So, in the interest of breaking that trend, let me throw a few things in your general direction from the past 3 months.

Pedro here comes from Bo, which, if you’re familiar, you know that he sent me a lot more than Pedro. Bo is a very frequent contributor to The Pile Of Things I Really Like But Really Don’t Feel Like Scanning Right Now.

I also got a bunch of ’03 Finest from Bo, including this Adam Dunn. They don’t hit it out of the park every year, but there are some gorgeous Finest sets out there.

I should really just bite the bullet and grab and ’89 Score Rookie & Traded set already. I love the cards I have from it so far (especially my PSA 10 Griffey, maybe my favorite of his cards, even including That Card), the photography was really solid for the time, and the card design (border colors, etc.) always seems to pop more than it does on the base ’89 set.

I’m going to limit the view of my Bo trade acquisitions to about 1/1000th of the deal for now (Thanks, though, Bo!), and move onto some other cool pickups, just to spread the love around.

I am up to 7 Eri Yoshida cards, thanks (I believe exclusively) to Ryan, who was super-patient while I took forever to get to his want list.

Ryan also sent me a metric ton of menko, including all of these Tiger Mask cards! If you can’t quite nail down the form factor, they’re slightly larger (and much thicker) than tobacco cards/Allen & Ginter minis. I’ve got doubles of a good number of these, too (lesser condition, but c’mon), so if you’re interested, let me know. Thanks, Ryan!

Another long-in-gestation trade was one I made with Adam from Infield Fly Rule. He threw me a bunch of set fills, largely from his Rockies stash, but the showstopper in the deal was this one…

I love me some Gold Label cards, and I rarely get any ’98s. Thanks, Adam!

Honorable mention at this point goes to Greg at The Collective Mind, who was part of the other trade that had been proposed years ago, and we finally got to when I was cleaning out my inbox this past month. Greg sent me a nice handful of Topps football set fills that, unfortunately, got filed before I could scan highlights of, but they are just as loved and appreciated as the stuff I did scan, I assure you! (Perhaps even more in some regards, because I didn’t have to scan them!) Thanks, Greg!

I also picked up these recently…

I had not noticed, until I scanned them, how oddly cut they were. Still fun cards that I’ve never had any of before. If y’all are interested, and condition doesn’t bother you much (obviously Fleer had some cutting issues, but some also have corners I wouldn’t describe as 100%, and the cards are bowed just a bit from storage, as well…think of them as “not getting submitted to PSA, but MY WORD, MAN, MICHAEL JORDAN FORESHADOWED SPACE JAM BY LIKE 5 YEARS!!!!” cards), I have 8 more complete 6 card sets of these. Let me know if you’re game for a deal.

Even with as much progress as I’ve made on trades of late, it isn’t all I’ve been doing. After a very long stretch of living out of boxes, we’ve just about got the living room done at the not-so-new house now (almost here 2 years already…time flies…). So, I’ve spent a decent chunk of this week reacquainting myself with some old friends…

My (Ninja) golf game still needs some work.

Beat the game yesterday with Chun-Li and Wolverine, without too many continues.

I am so woefully out of practice on this one, but it’s so ridiculously awesome that who the hell cares?

This one, I’m still pretty damned good at. I even started a new Career Mode game just so I’d see how well I played on default stats, and yeah, I still got it.

On the other hand, this one, try as I may, I can’t beat battlefield #6. Halp.

I told y’all I’d be writing about more than cards here, and I meant it. I’ve read a bunch of comics lately, and I’ll eventually go into more detail there, but for now, you can check out my recommended reading in the sidebar of this site.

Oh, and I went on vacation, too.

That’s also probably a story for a longer post, though. In the meantime, enjoy the teaser pics, and I will hopefully see you all back here in less than 3 months!