Friday, January 13, 2017

A Thing of Beauty

Back in November I ran into Buddy Gilbert at a SABR meeting.  He was an attendee and I was a speaker.  We've met a few times before.

Buddy and my Dad
He's a hoot.  So's my dad.  They didn't get a chance to talk for any length of time.  Buddy was telling me that he was about out of his baseball card.  The place where he usually purchases them just had a few and they wanted $4.00 a piece.  I told him I'd see what I could do.

Off I went to COMC and was able to snag a mess of them for about a dollar each.  I called him to see if he wanted me to purchase them.  He was tickled about it.  I ordered them during their Black Friday sale for the free shipping.  They arrived in mid December.


My daughter, Caroline, and I delivered them to him.


He told her some corny jokes and they laughed a lot.  He's got a booming voice that scared her a bit.  She got over it quickly and now they're friends.  I asked Buddy if he had any memorabilia from his time in baseball.  He pulled out a few boxes of signed balls and started to tell some stories.


But this is a card blog, so back to the cards and the title of this post.  I asked Buddy to sign two of the cards for me.  He pulled out his special signing pen and went to town, being careful not to put them back in their penny sleeves until the ink dried.
Look at those signatures.  This, from a man who is 81 years old.  It is a thing of beauty.

In the coming weeks I'll be headed back to Buddy's house to talk more baseball and to help him digitize his scrapbook.  I'm guessing I'll have more stories to share.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Topps Wacky Packages - MLB edition

Back down to the Dollar Tree last night. Had to pick up some gift bags for teacher gifts. The lines were long and just a few registers open. I put myself in the line with the trading cards in the impulse buy zone. It worked.


I hadn't yet seen these. It reminded me of the early releases from Topps. I remember them from the mid 1970s.  I grabbed two packs, thinking of my friend --David, of the currently resting Tribecards.net site.



Some of the renderings are a bit hokey, but isn't that what Wacky Packages are supposed to be?

I actually think that the Cardinals Wings Sauce is classy.

This one says --David.

Not so much --David, but Indians.  Which is --David.

I just noticed that the crackers are home plate shaped.


Starting to head towards the Garbage Pail Kids.

Over used pun.

Smart.


There's a checklist available at Beckett.com.  Apparently both a retail and a hobby release.  The hobby issue has signatures and relic cards.  Go figure.

A nice way to divert my mind for a few minutes.  I hope the teachers are happy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A New Grading Scale?

Grading cards can be a difficult task.  What looks like a Very Good card in your card shop will immediately turn into a Near Mint in the short time that it takes the shop owner to leaf through his favorite pricing guide.  Funny how that happens.

We have all heard the phrases: "Purchase the best quality card you can for your collection."  "Quality over quantity."  "Avoid dinged corners at all cost."

That last one reminded me that there are (or were) several card blogs that have condition / grading in their blog names.
So, what's in a grade?  First, it is important to know what the standards are.  I'm more concerned about the labels than the nuances that go into them.

The 2009 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards uses the following:
  • Mint (MT)
  • Near Mint/Mint (NM.M)
  • Near Mint (NR MT)
  • Excellent (EX)
  • Very Good (VG)
  • Good (G)
  • Fair (F or Fr.)
  • Poor (P)
The also suggest that the collectors may encounter intermediate grades, ie: VG-EX or EX-MT.   As seen in the following snippet, the SCBC mainly uses NM, EX, and VG for pricing.



PSA, one of the leaders in the card grading industry, uses both numbers and words to grade the condition of cards.
  • Gem Mint 10 (GEM-MT)
  • Mint 9 (MINT)
  • Near Mint - Mint 8 (NM-MT)
  • Near Mint 7 (NM)
  • Excellent - Mint 6 (EX-MT)
  • Excellent 5 (EX)
  • Very Good - Excellent 4 (VG-EX)
  • Very Good 3 (VG)
  • Good 2 (GOOD)
  • Fair 1.5 (FR)
  • Poor 1 (POOR)
Well, that's similar to the SCBC labels.

Beckett Grading Services have their own system, which is numerical (1-10).  The other minor grading companies have a combination.  Look them up on your own.

Since many of the card collectors that I interact with do it for their own enjoyment and pleasure, that they think of it still as a hobby and not an investment vehicle, I'm going to suggest a simpler grading scale.
  • Pristine 
  • Handled
  • Loved
  • Well Loved
  • Run Over By A Truck

I'll explain each of them and show you some examples from my own collection.

Pristine


I think this is the only graded card I have in my collection.  I bought it on ebay years ago.  PSA deemed it a NM 7.  The left/right centering is off.  Corners are sharp, as are the edges.  The surface is clean and good.  Looks like it came right out of the pack, despite the fact that it 56 years old.

I collect Earl Wilson cards because he was the first black player signed to the Boston Red Sox.  Pumpsie Green was the first black player to play for the Red Sox, but Earl was signed a few years before Pumpsie.  Do I have plans to upgrade this card to maybe an 8 or a 9?  Nope.  I'm perfectly fine having this.  I'm not planning on cracking it out of the slab.


Handled

This 1971 Topps Bill Melton has been handled.  The corners aren't crisp, but you can still see that they are corners.  Clearly not Pristine.  The '71 set, with black borders, show just about any edge imperfection.


Loved
This 1953 Bowman Color Joe Garagiola falls into the Loved category.  Rounded corners, a bit of scuffing.  Fully acceptable in my book.


Well Loved

A previous owner of this 1934 Batter-Up Cuccinello wrote their name on it.  No regard to the aesthetic of the card.

It could be worse.  Half of it could be missing.  Probably due to a kid folding it over, and over, and over, and over again.



Maybe this 1971 Jim Hickman is a good example of the Well Loved category.  Rounded corners.  And a pink Bic Banana goes to town on his face.



Run Over By A Truck

It is hard to determine which type of truck ran over this 1967 Hank Fischer, but clearly one did.  Almost like it was taken to shop class and dropped on the belt sander.  (Note: the Hank Fischer card is no longer in my collection.  It happily resides safely in Tony's binder.)

I like the cards for what they are.  I wonder what the story was behind them.  Who was Paul M. Longacre?  Who despised Hank Fischer enough to not treat him with some care?  Why pink clown tears for Jim Hickman?

I propose that the collecting world switch to my proposed grading scale.  The sooner, the better.

This blog post was spurred on by Jeff Katz's post on SABR's new Baseball Card blog.

Monday, December 5, 2016

26 Cards from CardsOne

I had to stop in at the Dollar Tree in town on Saturday. Needed some Scotch tape. They had their droppers chock full of cards.  Random packs.  Basketball.  Football.  The other football.  Cartoons.

And baseball.  I grabbed a pack.  No peeking.  Just the first one.  The packaging says 30 cards.  I got 26.
Kenny was in a penny sleeve, so I guess it makes up for it.  I don't remember the Zenith Edition.  I've seen them.  I've got some of them.  But I don't remember them.  They came out the year after my son was born.  At the end of next week he'll be finished with his undergraduate studies in college.  A semester off to do some substitute teaching and then he'll be starting his Masters studies.
More shiny.  More scratches.  No clue what this is.  Well, I can read, but I wasn't aware of it when it came out.  I do like the textured sidebars so you can hold it securely and it won't drop and scratch.  Little Timmy didn't use them.
Stadium Club Chrome?  When I bought Stadium Club cards I was just happy that they were using Kodak film and paper.
More Chrome.  It is like going to a Rod Run in Pigeon Forge.
Glossy, but no chrome.  Donruss had a Club?
I wasn't expecting Gypsy Queen.  Is the modern Queen the poor man's modern Ginter?
Finally.  Some cards I can relate to.  A trio of Topps greenbacks.  1982 variety.  Mark Clear has a fantastic mustache.
Garry is looking a bit too deep into the upper deck.
Tom, I've got nothing.
Still stuck in the '80s, we have an '86 Fleer
The Pete Rose Years.  Card #2.  A nice crease, too.
A mis-cut '81 Topps.  This Romo's back is fine.  Pants are too tight, but the backs' fine.
Some manufactured vintage.  The circle insert makes Cameron look like he's wearing a corset.
And to round it out, one of the many mini boxed sets. This one is from Ames.  The chain went out of business in 2002.
No, I'm not going to show the rest of the cards from the pack.  Standard junk wax.  We've all see them.  I'm not going to clutter up this blog with crap.  Well, junk wax crap, at least.  Look.  I only post about once a month.  This might be the last one for the year.  You don't want to look at 1988 Donruss.  Do you?  I didn't think so.

So, who puts these packs together?  CardsOne.com does.  They've got some cool stuff at their site.

This item caught my eye and I immediately wondered if Night Owl had it.  Or had heard of it.

They have some cool Olympic cards and items.  They even have a whole category that dayf would like.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Auto to the Max

A few weeks ago I was given a small box of baseball magazines and media guides by a friend that plays vintage base ball in the area.  One of them was a program for the 2005 USA Baseball National Team.


A lot of talented young players.  Like Max Scherzer and Matt Wieters.   I don't think that Bill & Sheri In The Morning! were young then.  Certainly not now.


My friend that gave them to me apparently asked Max for his autograph.  Max put pen to program.


Congrats, Max, on winning the NL Cy Young Award.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

Earlier this year the Tennessee Smokies held their annual salute to Military Veterans.  There were many pregame ceremonies.  Gold Star Mothers and Families were recognized and players presented them with flowers and hugs.


A group was selected to appear on set of cards.  Veterans spanned World War II through the current conflicts.


A card set was made and handed out to the fans.  These are just a sample of the 30 or so cards in the set.
Curtis L. Conway, Sr.
card # 22

Austin Michael McGregor.
card # 14


Brandi McGehee
card # 11


Joel Connell
card # 08


Joel is a friend of mine and I was very honored to have submitted his name for inclusion in this set.

He's an active motorcyclist and rides frequently supports vets and other worthy causes.  That day he brought one of the Gold Star Mothers to the field.  Because he was involved with introductions he didn't leave at the same time as the other riders, so he got to disrupt the bullpen activities.


Thank you, Joel, and all of our Veterans, for your service to our country.