Friday, November 13, 2015


Plain White Envelope. No Return Address.

 A few weeks ago I received a PWE in the mail. I had come home from work.  Picked up the mail on the way into the house.  Shuffled through it.  Bill.  Bill.  Ad.  PWE.

That caught my attention.  I opened it and these came out.

1969 Topps Mini Album Inserts
Cleveland Browns (Bill Wade) (card # 4)

1990-91 Skybox
Del Harris (card # 315)

1981 Detroit News Tigers Centennial
Earl Wilson (card #51)

1989 O-Pee-Chee
Orel Hershiser (card # 380)

1996 Topps Stadium Club - Virtual Reality Members Only
Orel Hershiser (card # 26)

They were all on my Elusive Eight want list.  After dinner I rushed out to some meeting or rehearsal, thinking that I'd scan and put them away later that evening.

I don't remember what happened.  I guess I forgot about them, or decided to do it later.  The cards were placed back in the envelope and set aside.

When I went looking for them later, they were not to be found.  I looked in drawers, near the computer, on my bedside table, with the other cards.  Nowhere.  A sickening feeling started to form in my stomach.  I renewed my search with vigor.  That stack of papers.  With my other cards.  With my other cards on the bookshelf.  With my other cards in a box.  Nothing.

I let it go for a few days.  Ah.  That special place where I put the important papers.  That's where I left them.  No.  Inside the cover of that book I want to read next.  Back to the stacks of paper.  Near the other bills.

My wife had noticed that I was actually doing some cleaning while looking for the cards.  That made her happy that I was decluttering, but made me sad that I still hadn't found the.

Time to retrace my steps.  I finally found the envelope.  It had fallen off the stack of a clump of papers, down near my dresser.  They had been found.  There was much rejoicing.

So, kids.  This is a true, but cautionary tale.  Get a system in place to process your cards.  Know where they are.  I don't care if you scan them, blog about them, file them a month or even a year later.  But know where they are.

So, a big thank you to whatever kind and benevolent reader took the time to go through my wantlists, procure and send me these cards.  I'll be a better steward next time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Reviving the ancient custom

I found reference to the Obak baseball cards in an issue of the United States Tobacco Journal from 1909.

United States Tobacco Journal - October 9, 1909
from Google Books

I found several different advertisements from 1910 that featured the Obak brand, but I haven't found one for the smokes featuring cards.

San Francisco Chronicle - June 8, 1910

Here's an example of the T212 Obak cards.

Obak T212 - Hogan
from the Library of Congress

A nickel a pop?  I'd buy them by the carton.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tennessee 2015 Football Schedule

I like pocket schedules of local teams, either professional or collegiate. Living in the Knoxville area I have the opportunity to obtain both.  Nothing spectacular about this one.  Dates and opponents  Rather bland photo of Neyland Stadium and fans.  I'll keep it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tennessee Smokies Military Card Set

On May 30, 2015, the Tennessee Smokies, along with Efficient Energy of Tennessee, had a promotion at the ballpark. As part of Salute To Heroes Night, the first 1,000 fans would receive a special military card set, featuring 30 East Tennessee veterans and their stories.  I didn't attend, but did trade some junk wax to a friend who did.  Here's a sample of the unnumbered cards.

To those who have served, or are serving in the military, thank you.

David A. Foraker

Seaman Morgan A. McNabb

Richard Quinn Phelps

Major Gary L. Taft

Melissa Watson

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tears of a Clown

1971 Topps
Jim Hickman (card # 175)
Several weeks ago a friend of mine, Jeff Archer, said that he was going to attend a card show in Cincinnati.  Would I like for him to help me with my 1971 Topps wantlist?  Sure!

He let me know that he was successful, mostly with dime box plunders.  We live on opposite sides of Knoxville and our paths didn't cross until last week when we both attended the final game of the Tennessee Smokies.

a few older Cubs enjoying the view at Smokies Park

We exchanged pleasantries, but more importantly we exchanged cash for cards. I came away with 56 cards. 54 cards that were on my wantlist, 1 dupe, and a Jeff Lewis card.

2000 Topps
Jeff Lewis (card # 294)
I thank Jeff for his friendship, but mostly for his willingness to be my card show proxy.  And his snarky attitude on Twitter.

Friday, August 14, 2015

1998 Southern League Top Prospects

A few weeks ago I was at Smokies Ballpark. In the gift shop they have a large tub of older card sets for a buck a piece.  I've got all the Knoxville teams that they offer.  While double checking that I came across this set.  For a dollar, I figured I'd pick it up.

It is always nice to reminisce about players you've seen come up through the minors.  I'm fortunate.  I live about 14 miles from Smokies Park.  I've seen a number of the Cubs' players go through Kodak, Tennessee.

But back in 1998 the Smokies were still playing at Bill Meyer Stadium in Knoxville.  I did catch a game or two there.  It wasn't much of a stadium at the end.

These design of these cards don't do much for me.  I haven't compared them to other cards of that era, but I'm just not digging it.  They'll go back in the team bag and in a few years I'll pull them out again and critique them just as harshly.
Carlos Lee (card # 14)

Bronson Arroyo (card # 25)

And the checklist.  Three guys named Jason.  And two guys named Mike.
Top Prospect Checklist (card # 31)

I think that this is Pringles Park, now known as The Ballpark At Jackson, which opened in 1998.
Heery Ballpark Design (card # 32)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2005 Upper Deck Flyball

Yesterday, after a visit to the dentist, I stopped by a local thrift store. I usually look for books, CDs, something that might catch my eye. This did. It was an unopened, but far from mint, starter box of Upper Deck's Flyball. Some sort of interactive baseball card game.

I guess one would use the Fly Pentop Computer (sold separately) to play the game.  It isn't clear to me looking at a card how one would do that. Here's what one of the cards looks like, courtesy of

2005 Upper Deck Flyball #40 - Mark Prior - Courtesy of
2005 Upper Deck Flyball #40 - Mark Prior

2005 Upper Deck Flyball #40 - Mark Prior - Courtesy of

Included in the starter box are 28 Interactive Upper Deck Player Cards.  There are 210 cards in the set.  My digital edition of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (ca. 2009) doesn't have a listing for them.

The box was $3.99.  I walked around with it for a few minutes and put it back on the shelf.  Not that it isn't a good deal.  I'm sure it is.  I just don't need more cards in my house that don't fit in with my collecting scheme.  Maybe I'll go back, buy it, and donate the cards to the Pack-A-Daily-Circus fiasco.

By the way, I didn't have any cavities.