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.

Why?

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.

Lordy.

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.

Cards From The Great White North!

No, not these hosers!

The deal was with Trevor of Supporting The Minnow, who’s something of an O-Pee-Chee supercollector. I had some lower grade ’71-’72 hockey, and some late ’70s baseball he was interested in, and he had some stuff I could use, so we bit the bullet on the shipping (not as insane as I was expecting, but still not cheap), and got a deal done.

Here are some of the fun things I got…

‘sup, Frank?

First, Trevor put a hurting (heh) into my ’90 Score Rookie & Traded wants.

Then, he chipped away at the remainder of my ’92 Stadium Club wants. Down to 5 cards needed out of 900, which, when I get those last 5, would make it the biggest set I’ve built, unless you count Topps flagship and Traded/Update as one set.

…and here’s why I went through all that trouble. Great photography, especially for the time. My favorite of the ’90s Stadium Club sets.

Then, some Islanders showed up! Man, I miss Frans Nielsen. A lot of the Isles he sent over have already flown the coop, even though they were pretty recent cards. I’m trying to figure out if it was ownership, management, the arena, money, some mix of it all, or something else entirely. Anyway, this is a cool retro parallel from one of the recent OPC sets.

Here’s an Isle that’s still around, though! This is actually a Tim Hortons card! It’s also very shiny, though the scanner made it look cooler than it already did.

Speaking of food issues, here’s some Canadian Post from ’91! He sent along most of this set (and a nice scattering of food issue stuff, including some other Canadian Posts and some ’87 Coke Tigers), so it’s in my wants now. For being cards with no logos, they look pretty great, though the NL design with the red is definitely better than the AL design with the blue borders.

Always fun to get bilingual Expos cards!

Another fun oddball and a great picture. Somehow, I’ve ended up with none of the Boardwalk & Baseball box set before this deal (I got Lance Parrish along with Rickey). I should work on that some more.

Hey, Ichiro! With the 5 Biography cards I got from Trevor, I’m officially a third of the way through this insert set I’ll never finish from 2010 Upper Deck. 200 days of cleverly sorta avoiding team logos in the pictures!

Ali!

Trevor finished off the AW Sports boxing set for me! I’d gotten a bunch from Stubby a while back, and it’s a fun set. Nice mix of guys who were current in ’91, who I used to watch on MSG boxing cards, and the old-timers.

Here’s Jake, swell picture…

 

Here’s Abe Attell, who was my first Topps Ringside card, and who was also accused of being the messenger in the Black Sox Scandal, though he was acquitted.

Boom Boom, just to show that they had the more recent fighters in the set. Nice mullet, Ray!

…and then you come across one of those pictures that makes you question why you have an interest in something. Amazing photograph, but, to put it mildly, being hit like that by Rocky Marciano could not have been good for Jersey Joe Walcott. I mean, I grew up watching fights, so it’s one of those things that I didn’t really have a choice about being familiar with, and, being a human (inherently flawed as we are), I have marvelled at the athleticism and the drama of boxing on and off for most of my life, but when it comes down to it, it’s still two people beating the holy hell out of one another, sometimes just one person beating the holy hell out of the other, and it does lasting damage, particularly to the brains of the competitors, which, as someone who’s had a number of brain injuries himself, is kind of a sensitive subject. Boxing, like a bunch of sports I’ve got cards of, is a bloodsport, and it wrecks people. It’s a part of our shared history, of course, and a fascinating one (which makes me grateful for the cards, certainly), but I spend some time these days wondering if we’re really doing ourselves many favors by following and financially supporting bloodsports. Yeah, I know, a bit of a tangent in the middle of a fun trade post, but that’s what y’all pay me for. I believe in looking at the things I enjoy, and have enjoyed, with a critical eye, and with a goal of eliminating cognitive dissonance when and where I can. I think it’s important to do. Helps us understand stuff, or try to understand it, anyway.

To switch subjects, though, since I went on about this a bit, let’s move onto “the main event” of this post…

Hey, it’s an Eddie Murray rookie! But, wait! Didn’t I finish the ’78 Topps set a few years ago, back when I was on my old site? Yeah, I did. So, why would I trade for another one of…oh, wait…

Yup, it’s an O-Pee-Chee Murray rookie! Super cool.

 

Yup, it stands to reason that an O-Pee-Chee collector would have some decent doubles laying around, and I got a few fun ’78s along with the Murray, including this very “classic OPC miscut” Hawk here!

Yay, more bilingual Expos cards!

Pete’s hangin’ to the right here, too, but he got a hero number in OPC, so it’s all good!

Last card coming up…

Look, you guys!

It’s an O-Pee-Cey!

Thanks again for the deal, Trevor! Lotsa fun stuff in it!

This Year’s Fantasy Team

So, for the 19th season in a row (I’ve been in ever since Yahoo! bought a site called Sportasy.com, which I’d never even heard of until I did some reading on Wikipedia the other day, and made it Yahoo! Fantasy Sports), and the 16th in a row in this particular league that I created, I’m playing fantasy baseball.

The pictures above are of my 2017 roster. We run a dynasty league, which means we can keep as few or as many players from the previous year’s 25 man roster as we like. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep one player who I’d have really liked to keep, for reasons so much bigger than fantasy baseball or even the actual games, because Jose Fernandez is gone now. That sad event aside, I ended up keeping 22 out of my remaining 24 players this off-season (I won the league last year for the first time since ’09, so my guys were pretty OK), which gave me 3 picks in the draft.

My picks were Clint Frazier, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Yulieski Gurriel. The first two are still prospects. Very good ones, but they’re not making the big leagues right away (Frazier’s closer than Vlad Jr., but he’s still a little ways off). This gave me two extra active roster spots, since we have 2 NA spots in our league for minor leaguers, players on suspensions and such, so it was both forward-thinking and very, very sneaky!

Gurriel, I remember as far back as the first World Baseball Classic in 2006, when he played some very good baseball for the Cuban national team. There was also a guy named Yoandy, or Yoandi Garlobo (I’ve seen it spelled both ways) on that team who was an extraordinary hitter, but as far as I know, he’s still in Cuba, he appears to have retired 4 years ago, and as he turns 40 this year, he’s likely not ever playing in Major League Baseball even if he leaves now. Back to Yuli, he had a long road to America and the majors, but he’s here now, and while practically, he’s already at least 32 years old and third baseman #3 on my team (I’m still trying to lock down a great 3B, though I’ve got hope for Jose Ramirez and Ryon Healy), he’s insurance if one of those guys doesn’t work out, and a guy I like rooting for.

Now, I mentioned the 2 extra roster spots I gained by putting the prospects in the minors. I used them to pick up the best starting pitchers I felt I could get my hands on after the draft. They were Ivan Nova and Robert Gsellman. Gsellman’s more of a risk than Nova, because there’s a lot of competition for the Mets’ 5th rotation spot (knowing the Mets, they’ll make room for him in some snakebitten kinda way), but Nova’s a guy I had good results with in ’16 (but no room on my keeper roster, as he was guy #26, with Trevor Story ending the season on the DL), and someone who’s done good things in camp so far.

I had no luck getting closers in this draft, so I’m either going to punt Saves for this year, or bottom feed as closers falter throughout the season. Hopefully the rest of my team’s good enough to let Kenley Jansen balance an entire category on his shoulders.

Our draft was fun as usual. We had 2 more teams this year than last (some turnover last year, as life happens), including one of our long-timers returning, and Kerry from Cards on Cards (who I’ve traded bubble gum cards a bunch with over the years) joining us. Good turnout, lots of time to catch up (as the draft app auto-drafted our keepers), and there were no real hitches on the tech end.

So, if you’re wondering if there’s a tie-in between this league and my collecting hobbies, there’s a thing I’m considering doing more actively, related to all this fantasy ball stuff. As I’m getting to keep my teams intact from year to year, I’m considering both collecting most of the players on my team more seriously, and doing what I can to fill my fantasy team with players I’d want to collect. I think it’ll be an interesting experiment. I mean, I’ve always tried to keep guys like Mark Buehrle and Adam Dunn on my teams, often well beyond the point where it made for sound game strategy, but I want to see how much synergy I can get going between my fantasy game and my card collection.

Right now, the sticking points would be Albert Pujols (great player, has helped my fantasy teams in 5 different seasons, but not a guy I like to root for; too chummy with Tony LaRussa, who’s kind of awful), Carlos Martinez (terrific pitcher who’s been the workhorse of my staff since I traded for him 2 years ago, but he’s on the Cardinals and I really don’t like the Cardinals, sorry, Kerry, more cards for you at least!), and the amount of fairly hot rookies I’ve got on my roster (those get pricey, and are hard to get people to let go of in trades), but otherwise, I like most of my team, and I think it’ll be fun to trade for more of their cards. So, I may see what I can do about making that a pretty integral part of my game and my collection.

Who’s Up For A Card Trade Post?

Hell, who’s up for a metaphor?

We’re up for a metaphor!

(Sorry. Needed to scratch that itch. I love Sparks.)

Back to the card trade post, though. Shane from Off The Wall and I have had a trade in gestation forever, and this week, we finally got ‘er done! Well over 1000 cards involved between our two sides, stuff all over the place in terms of years and types of cards and so forth, and something like a one-day turnaround on shipping because we live in the same general area now. It was a good time! Here are some highlights!

We start with a ’53! I still don’t have a lot of these! Great name! So great, the painter (possibly my old cartooning teacher Gerry Dvorak, rest his soul), snuck it into the painting!

w0000000, Gilliam! Love adding to my Bums collection! Also: I have even fewer ’55s (at 11, they’re the cards I have the least of out of any flagship Topps set), so it’s good to see any.

’57s are always nice to look at! Did you know that Gene Stephens, on June 18th, 1953, became the first player in the post-1900 era to have 3 hits in a single inning (a feat only matched by Johnny Damon in 2003), or that he played for the Chunichi Dragons in 1966? I sure as hell didn’t! Thanks, Wikipedia!

A nice lookin’ Clem Labine card, from the “I’m not L.A., not still in Brooklyn” year!

All in all, Shane sent over a solid pile of older cards in this ‘un…

I mean, look at this respectable stack of ’59s!

That’s a team set or so!

Of course, just to frustrate all of you who want to see the array of ’59-’70 mostly commons (all of which I needed), I’ll now skip to 1968…

 

…because I needed this, too! With Tony Gonzalez in the mix, I’m now 2/3 of the way through this set! (Still need the Mantle, but that’s not a tough card to get.)

And now, we’ll jump even further forward, to 1984, and a Darryl Strawberry rookie I didn’t have until now!

Also from ’84, this is a great Jim Rice card. Candid.

Bip! Only need 2 more of his flagship/Traded cards now.

Solid Jimmy Key card, too. Love this guy.

Funny story about this one: when I first started buying cards again after the strike, it was 2001, and the two players that kinda drew me into picking up handfuls of cards here and there were Ichiro and Alfonso Soriano. I wanted cards of both of these guys. (For whatever reason, Pujols wasn’t even on my radar that year.) Then, I saw that Soriano’s actual rookie card was in ’99 Traded, a set with a ton of rookies, and I was like “Man, I’m never gonna get that!”. Never say never! It ended up taking me 16 years, but I got it. It took me something like 14 or 15 years to get the Topps Ichiro from ’01, too, but I got it.

“Hey, girl.”

This was the last flagship/Traded Topps Eric Davis I needed. I really like seeing him on 2000s card designs, considering how much he went through in order to get there. Had he stayed healthy, I’m pretty firmly convinced that he’d have been talked about in the same breath as Willie Mays, but he still ended up having a fine career.

There were a bunch of ’01 Tradeds in the package (I still need a lot of Topps Traded and Update from the first half of the 2000s, so keep ’em coming, people), so let’s take a look at a few more…

Nomo!

Esix Snead! Another terrific sports name, really underrated. Always liked the ring of it. Esix Snead.

Cheer up, Juan Uribe! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.

2015 Topps Baseball

My last 2 cards to get were Mookie Betts (thanks, Thorzul) and this one. I really though the Mookie was gonna give me more trouble than David Lough. Set building is weird sometimes.

Onto some stuff from other companies!

My word, is this a terrific looking card. And man, Kenny Lofton was a helluva ballplayer. Now that Raines is in, Lofton’s HOF case should really be re-examined. They’re comparable (a lot closer than you’d think, considering the near-200 stolen base jumpstart Raines has on him), and Kenny had great numbers. He also made the postseason 11 out of 13 years between ’95 and ’07 (only missed in 2000 and 2005). Never won a Series, which hurts him, but yeah, Kenny Lofton was a great ballplayer.

I still don’t know how a human being does this. El Duque was awesome.

Rickey in his last year! As I was going through these cards, I found Rickey in the ’80s in the Drake’s stuff, Rickey in the ’90s, and Rickey in the ’00s (this is from ’04), and on every card, he looks like he could outrun you. Like, even now, I think most people would have a really hard time outrunning Rickey Henderson in a straight sprint.

Another one with a super cool wind-up. I’m glad to see Dontrelle’s caught on as a TV analyst. He seems like a good guy. Would it have killed Upper Deck to actually use a picture of D-Train from the game they named as a highlight, though? No way that’s Pro Player Stadium, and that’s where the game mentioned here was played.

OH HELL YEAH

(I’m never, ever going to finish the 2006 Upper Deck set.)

And Mo! I love getting new cards of guys I have a ton of cards of, from flagship sets. I am admittedly running out of real estate there (it’s mostly Upper Deck and ’00s Donruss), but it still makes me happy when it happens.

Donruss really made the best of both Mark Prior and this design (which was pretty hit and miss) on this card.

So, I quietly added Jeter to the list of players I’m actively collecting recently, which makes this another nice add (again, ’00s Donruss can be tough). If you’re wondering how I was once a Yankee fan who watched his entire career (he even gave me the cool guy nod from short at the old Stadium once when I threw the horns at him) and wasn’t collecting his cards, it’s because 1. there are too many of them (and I’ve no illusions about getting even an impressive fraction of them) 2. there was way too much competition for Jeter cards in the New York metro area and 3. because of that competition, even base cards were expensive there. When I did my most recent audit of my star cards, though, I noticed that I had (by my standards of star cards that aren’t part of a set I’m building) a pretty good pile of his cards for a guy I don’t collect (I keep pretty much all of them because he’s one of the tougher gets when you’re set building, and because he’s Jeter), so that motivated me a little, but if you wanna know what put me over the top here? It was The Players’ Tribune. People didn’t know what to expect when Derek announced he’d be publishing it upon retiring, and I think a lot of people were thinking it was gonna be all puff pieces, all the time, but it is a consistently fantastic read, with a journalistic bent that really gets the word out on some important issues (first-hand accounts of the effects of head injuries and mental illness among them). I’m proud of Derek and his team for putting the Tribune together, they’re doing great work, and it was a strong factor in my decision to go after his cards a little more seriously than I have in the past. There is also the small matter of him, um, not being quite as popular in the part of the country that I live in now, too.

Now, for some other sports!

I have wanted this card since it came out. I think I had one pretty crappy copy of it once (I may still have it, but I don’t think I do), and this one’s lived a little, too, but I’m glad to have it.

HOOPS! I’m 11 cards away from finishing the “first set” of panels (which means I’ll have one of every card, if you’re not familiar). Unfortunately, I think a couple of them have Bird on them, but I’ll get there. I got Bird/Magic/Dr. J out of the way, that’s the big ‘un.

If you’re curious and/or have a stash of doubles, these are my needs:

1 (3/181/258), 10 (47/177/196), 15 (22/63/256), 24 (57/90/254), 39 (65/83/121), 44 (79/135/216), 48 (30/143/232), 49 (31/146/198), 51 (62/149/262), 62 (42/169/218), 78 (4/33/230)

Finally…

IT’S A MEADOWLARK SANDWICH!

LOVE these Globetrotters cards. Glad I’m actually running into them more nowadays, too. Pro tip for finding them: look in areas of the country where Cumberland Farms stores were popular. This is true of all Fleer products (I got my first ’86-’87 Jordan at one, after all, and at times when you couldn’t find Fleer baseball at any of the card shops in the mid-’80s, you could usually walk into a Cumberland Farms and buy them by the box), because Cumbies moved a LOT of Fleer products (gum, cards, etc.), but it seems especially true of the Globetrotters stuff. Call it coincidence if you will, but I’ve never found one of these cards in person in a town that didn’t have a Cumberland Farms store in it. They came out way before card stores were really a thing, and my guess is, unless you got the Cocoa Puffs ones (a shorter version of the set was released in boxes of Cocoa Puffs), you got them at Cumberland Farms.

So, that’s a pretty good cross-section of what I got from Shane! Thanks again for the deal, Shane, and I hope you enjoy the stuff I sent you, too!