The 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge…In One Day!

I’m a little behind the rest of you, so I’m just gonna knock this out in one go. I did decide that I was going to go entirely with cards that I own, but I may use old scans or other folks’ scans of these, in some cases, just so I don’t have to chase cards all over my house. I will probably eventually chase down my originals to do proper scans of everything, but I wanted to focus on writing and posting, rather than scanning, so hopefully you’ll bear with me in the meantime. Some of these will also look like Greatest Hits Of My Old Site, because it’s well-worn territory, but I feel like these are the cards I wanna highlight, so we’re just gonna go with that.

Everybody ready?

Day  1. A card from the current year with a photo you like

The design’s not much to look at, but it’s a good, solid photo of Jose.

Day 2. A card with more than one player on it

How could I not? We need to look at this one in its awesome beaten-to-crapness every so often.

Day 3. A card from the first set you tried to complete


From the first pack I ever opened. I don’t know that I “tried to complete” the set for at least a few years, but I knew I wanted all of ’em.

Day  4. A rookie card of one of your favorite players

Just posted this one recently, but let’s have another look!

Day  5. A certified autograph of one of your favorite players

Twitter’s seen this, but those of you who just read the site have not. Got this about a week ago. Isn’t this a gorgeous card?

Day  6. A card you spent more than $10 to get

I forget what I paid for it. Definitely under 100, not sure if I cleared $50. Went nuts that winter, and got this, the ’56 Jackie and a ’61 Mantle.

Day  7. A card you bought in person and the story behind it

Do stickers count? I’m gonna say they count. So, in ’81, way more interesting to me than the cards that year were the Topps stickers. Man, I loved these things. I had like 3 or 4 albums going at once, and of course, I stuck all the stickers in the albums. Thing was, while there were something like 4 or 5 Mike Norris stickers in the checklist, #6, for the life of me, I could not find. I opened an absolute ton of these things, and it just wasn’t happening. Early the next year, I went to my local card shop, and asked if, by chance, they still had singles of the ’81 stickers, which they didn’t, but they did still have some packs. I bought a handful of them, and sure enough, the first pack I opened, there he was, Mike Norris. This was the first set of any kind I ever managed to complete. Unfortunately, I think that sticker album is lost to the ages (I have a few ’81 albums here, but I think the full one’s gone), but I’ve gone back and bought a complete sticker set since then, and this one hasn’t gone in an album. I may eventually put them all in mini pages. I think I’d like that.

Day  8. A card that reminds you of a family member

So, I don’t talk about her enough on any of the things I write, but my mom was and is still pretty awesome to me. She’s put up with a lot of my crap, and done a lot for me over the years. Still does. I mention this because back in the summer of 1986, when I was first getting serious about the grown-up investment hobby of card collecting, she took me to my first fairly big card show, at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ. Hank Aaron was the guest of honor that day, and sure enough, she dutifully waited in line with me to get the beaten up ’69 Aaron I’d pulled from the nickel box at my local signed by the all-time home run king, for a grand total of $6.00. She also waited around while I ran all over Convention Hall buying cards and reselling them. I had a hot streak buying ’84 Topps cards, and probably pulled and flipped about a dozen Mattingly and Strawberry rookies that day, using them to buy all kinds of stuff; my first big batch of Cramer Baseball Legends came from that, and back then, one would’ve thought me insane to sell those rookies to buy Cramer stuff, but nowadays, I find Strawberry rookies in dime boxes on the regular (Mattinglys, less so, but it’s pretty easily a sub-$5 card if you shop for it), and see Cramer sets getting more and more expensive. She sat through a lot of this sort of thing when I was younger, and will still occasionally get stuck with me at the card counter when we’re out running errands during one of my visits, so, thanks, mom!

Day  9. One of your favorite cards from the 1950s

I’m not gonna claim it’s the best example of the card you’ll ever see, but I still can’t believe I own it.

Day 10. One of your favorite cards from the 1960s

The first playing era Maris I ever got my grubby little hands on. Didn’t matter that it was him as a member of the cards, with him still in a Yankee uniform. Also didn’t matter that he looks like the weight of the world’s on his shoulders. In fact, that’s kinda his thing.

Day 11. One of your favorite cards from the 1970s

Gravitas, late 1970s style.

Day 12. One of your favorite cards from the 1980s

My first Oriole Reggie. Most peoples’ first Oriole Reggie, in fact.

Day 13. One of your favorite cards from the 1990s

Went with the “Artist’s Proof” for this. Either’s good, though.

Day 14. One of your favorite cards from the 2000s

My favorite card from the set that made me fall in love with cards again.

Day 15. One of your favorite cards from the 2010s

This one made a lot of year-end lists. It’s an all-timer, I think.

Day 16. A card of a player whom you appreciate but don’t like

I know you Barves fans aren’t gonna be happy with me for this, but look on the bright side: it means you get all my Chipper cards. I have a LOT of Chipper cards right now, too, so hit me up. To be truthful, I didn’t “appreciate” him as a player, either. He was called The Accursed One around my house. Respect? Sure. Helluva ballplayer, but no, no “appreciating” Chipper Jones.

Day 17. A card from the first set you put together hand collated

Using artistic license for this one, since I said “stickers count” above, which would mean I’d have to use ’81 stickers for this day, but this specifically asked for “a card”, so I’ve gotta use a card here. Why B.J. Surhoff? Maybe it’s the color combo on the card, maybe it’s the fact that, while I’ve never really collected his cards, and he never played for a team I rooted for, I always enjoyed watching him play, but this card puts me in my Zen place, man. You’d think that’d be hard to do with 1987 Topps, given that I had tens of thousands of the things at one point, but nah, it’s doable still.

Day 18. A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team

This is another technical. I don’t have a “favorite team” these days. The Yankees beat that out of me with their bullshit over the years, and no one’s stepped up to become the favorite team since. However, when I last had a favorite team, Joe had risen from the ranks of player to eventually manage it, and he was pretty good at it, too.

Day 19. A favorite card from a country other than the United States

Yep, here’s a Luis Aparicio oddball card given out with gloves by a sporting goods store in Venezuela! We found this in a box of commons at my local one day, and I eventually managed to buy it.

Day 20. Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

This card is loud as hell, and I love it. Don’t collect Jeff’s stuff, don’t collect ’14 Topps particularly emphatically, but I knows what I likes, and this is what I likes.

Day 21. A card of a rookie you thought you were “investing” in

Yup. This is the one that got me.

Day 22. A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

I bought almost as much ’86 as I did ’87.

I did not finish the ’86 set until 1994.


This fuckin’ guy…

Day 23. A favorite oddball card from the 1950s

This card smells so awesome.

Day 24. A favorite oddball card from the 1960s

I’ve posted this here recently, but as it took me a couple years of constant looking and some overpaying to even get it, hey, let’s get some more use out of it. ’60s Kahn’s cards are damn tough to get. Worth it for Tony Horton, though. May he be enjoying life, wherever he may be today.

Day 25. A favorite oddball card from the 1970s

SSPC? Check. Promo set for SSPC? Also check. Mantle chillin’ on Old-Timer’s Day, probably half lit? Eeeeeeeeeeyup. I should probably be ashamed of myself for not using a Burger King Yankee, but we’ll pretend the Munson I posted above is a Burger King and call it even.

Day 26. A favorite oddball card from the 1980s

For about a week in 1986, these were the hottest cards in the hobby, where I lived. I still love this set. And I had to work Doc in somewhere.

Day 27. A favorite oddball card from 1990 or later

I paid almost as much as I would’ve to go to the National to get this! Nah, I’m just kidding. It wasn’t cheap, though. 424/999. I’m still in the believer camp where Strasburg is concerned.

Day 28. A favorite relic/manufactured relic card

I really need to rescan this someday. After all, we’re talking about Roy Campanella’s pants here.

Day 29. A favorite card from before 1950, whether you own it or not

I own it.


Cookie Lavagetto and Pete Reiser on the same card (this is actually considered Pete’s XRC). I’ve got his RC, too (’48 Bowman). And I’ve got Cookie’s ’39 Play Ball, which is his RC (but not his ’34-’36 Batter Up, which is Cookie’s XRC). I may not have accomplished much in this lifetime, but damn it, I’ve got Pete Reiser’s and Cookie Lavagetto’s rookie cards.

Day 30. Your favorite card in your collection

(Another one I really need to get a rescan of.)

Yup, still my favorite. I mean, not surprising. I still have the New York Daily News sports page from October 2nd, 1961 framed above my desk. (I found it in a card shop 50 years to the day from Maris’ 61st HR, in fact.) Maris is still a pretty big deal in my world, and he’d have a good chance of being my favorite all-time player, had I gotten to see him play in my lifetime. (Gil Hodges and Jackie Robinson are strong contenders there, too, though in Jackie’s case, what he means really kinda transcends baseball and sports.) And yeah, this is still my favorite card, over 30 years from my first having seen it on that Turn Back The Clock card in ’86, and over 6 years since I got it. And, I mean, as you see above, I’ve got some pretty cool cards. I didn’t post it, but I’ve even got that Billy Ripken card from ’89 Fleer with the dirty words on it. I believe this is a better card than that one. There’s just something about it…

Whew! 30 days in one post! I’d like to thank Tony Lehman from Off Hiatus Baseball Cards for coming up with this thing, even if I fudged a rule or two of his. It’s been fun reading everyones’ posts, since Tony created the Challenge.

2017 Donruss!

Finally had a chance to pick up a blaster of this stuff, which I’d been waiting for fairly eagerly since I saw the sell sheets. How’d I do?

Not too bad, I suppose.

If you’re seeing this year’s set for the first time: yeah, they riffed on 1990 Donruss baseball, which was…not many peoples’ favorite card design, but they managed to make it look solid just by making it not look red.

Just for a quick comparison, here’s Bernie Williams’ rookie from that set (sorry for the low-res pic, I just screenshotted it from Trading Card Database because all of my ’90s are upstairs). Now, by itself, it’s a fine looking card. Bernie being on it helps. But if you have to look at 716 of these, you’re probably not gonna be thrilled.

Anyway, Donruss changed their logo, added those diagonal stripes on the border, and rounded the corners of the pictures, but it’s a clear homage.

If this is the first time you’re seeing modern Donruss cards, you may be noticing that they don’t have logos or team names on them. They’re licensed by MLBPA, but not MLB. I will say that this seemed to limit their photography, or just the overall look of the base cards, a bunch this year, if only that it made the cards look kinda monochromatic.

It’s not as much of a problem in their 1983 Donruss homage inserts. The border colors help here. I wish the player name font had been a little more accurate…

(Also from TCDB, for quick comparison. Name lettering doesn’t look as…tense.)

…but otherwise, I’m more inclined to chase the 1983 inserts than I am the base set, after grabbing a blaster.

Some of that has to do with these cards, which are part of the base checklist, being seeded about 1 every 4 packs. There’s a reason why this set is selling for about $160 on eBay, and it’s because it’s very, very difficult to complete. By comparison, the 1983s, which are not part of the main checklist, come in at 2 per pack. After 7 packs, I’m over a quarter way through that set, and I’ve got 2 out of 45 from this part of the base set. It’s an old complaint with modern Donruss, they’ve been doing this every year since the brand relaunched in ’14, but this is the first time I’ve really looked at the numbers.

Then you throw in stuff like base variations (here, they’ve replaced Corey Seager’s name with “ROY” because he won Rookie of the Year), and it just gets to be a headache.

(This one’s already been traded to Night Owl.)

I did get some cool inserts, though. I mean, on a set like this, you can’t complain about these 3 names on numbered cards. Keeping the Altuve, the Trout’s definitely up for grabs (or going to COMC if it doesn’t go before I send out my next shipment), and I’m still deciding on the Machado (I don’t collect him, but it’s a nice looking parallel and it’s low-numbered).

They’re also seeding “hits” in every blaster this year (dunno if this is a new practice or not), and this is what I got. This is available for trade for the time being, too.

So, I’d say it wasn’t a waste of a blaster (or the money), but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, either. I do like the Altuve card, and the base cards look good, but the short-prints at the front of the set checklist (unlike something like Topps Heritage, where they put them at the back where you can deny they exist) are a psychological deterrent to collecting this stuff seriously. It kinda does the opposite of what Panini wants it to do, I think. People want a run of 1-whatever, not 46-whatever, and they’re generally not willing to drop $3 a card to get there, especially without team logos.