Tuesday, November 28, 2017

His parents' basement is now clean

Matt over at Summer of '74 recently held his version of the Big Fun Game, although in this instance the "B" stood for "basement". You see, Matt cleaned out some of his old stuff from his parents' basement and created a very unique BFG.
My prize ended up being two Sports Shots collectors books by Scholastic. I actually expected them to be a standard sized book, but they are actually quite small. They are barely bigger than an actual card, as you see here.
Impressive that Griffey was featured after just two seasons!

Matt was kind enough to throw in a few Yankees, as well!
I didn't know Danny Willett had a First Pitch card in 2017. The Yankees usually don't have many guys featured in these sets, so I don't keep a close eye on the checklist.
There was also a very, very shinny Mark Teixeira Heritage refractor. Pretty card!

Thanks, Matt! Hope the basement cleanup was as fun for you as it was for us.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The curious case of Billy Mays Hayes

In the package that Paul of Scribbled Ink sent me, there was a curious card.

It was an autographed card of Bill Hayes of the Yankees, featured with a picture of Joe DiMaggio. I hadn't heard of Hayes, but that's not uncommon for some of the lesser known players of the '30s.
I also hadn't seen "Big League Cards" brand.

I had some digging to do.

From what I can tell, Hayes never made it to the Majors. The back of the card says that he spent 14 years in pro ball, but I assume they were all in the Minors. I can't find any of his stats, however. Perhaps I am not very good at Google.
That is a lot of "quotes".

The most info I can find comes from his obituary (credit: Amarillo Globe News):
Bill spent 16 years in professional baseball, starting in the spring of 1937, including two years in spring training with the New York Yankees. During his baseball career, he also served the Chicago White Sox, Boston Braves and Detroit Tigers. After the 1951 season, he appeared on the cover of the Sporting News magazine as the Minor League Executive of the Year. In 1954, he moved to Texas and became well known as a pioneer in developing a two-party state. He won the first contested Republican primary for lieutenant governor of Texas and delivered more than 1,300 speeches. In 1964, he was nominated unopposed as U.S. congressman-at-large and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention pledged to Sen. Barry Goldwater in his bid for the presidency. He flew with Sen. Goldwater to many cities, including Amarillo, where he spoke preceding Sen. Goldwater's address.
Interesting. It looks like he was obviously a very bright and well-rounded guy to play pro ball for so long, serve as a successful minor league executive, and then have a very accomplished career in politics.

As for Big League Cards in Teaneck, NJ, here is a Google image of the office since the address was listed on the card.
Upon searching, it is actually the brand of cards that Jim Bouton created! Check out the website here. It was most recently run out of Dayton, OH, although the link no longer works to order cards. But clearly the same card design!
My biggest question is where did this card come from? Did Hayes himself order a bunch of these as a keepsake for his career or to sign and give to fans? Did a fan order this to sent to Hayes for a TTM autograph? Who put the sticker on the back that says "Bill Hayes/Joe DiMaggio at Boston 1938"?

So many questions still unanswered, but this is certainly one of the more unique cards I've ever received from another blogger.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Scribbled Ink is the best ink

A few weeks ago, Paul over at Paul's TTM Blog held a contest to rename his blog. The results?

Scribbled Ink.

Awesome! My lame name suggestion was something like "Paul's Card and TTM Blog". Really, me? Shocking that wasn't the winner.

Paul was cool enough to send me a batch of Yankees for participating. One of the neatest was this Bill Hayes autograph. I have a bit more to say on this and will save it for a future post.

I was also given my first batch of Topps Fire. Not sure if I'm in the minority or not, but I like these a lot. Probably because they feel like they are from the '90s. The Rizzuto is a gold parallel.
Mattingly cards were sweet. He always had great poses on cardboard.
Every time I come across this Andy Pettitte, I wonder what's he doing. I assume charting pitches or scouting reports of some sort.
Early Bernie images make me laugh. It's as if Dwight Shrute ended up being a multiple-time All-Star and World Series winner.
I won't lie, I'm glad this guy is back for the next three years.
And a few more of the guys I collect.
Paul, thanks for the great package. Best of luck at Scribbled Ink!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

K-Mart saves the day

This past week, I took Tuesday-Thursday off. It was kind of weird to take three mid-week days off, especially during a busy time. My wife traveled for work, and without family members able to come down to help with school drop-offs and pick-ups, I just decided to burn a few extra vacation days and stay home.

On the final day, I decided that I'd swing by Target after I dropped off each kid at school. I was hoping to look for a a few card products, in this order: Topps Chrome Mega box, Topps Fire, Topps Update.

Here is what I found:
No baseball cards. Ok, I should clarify. There are two baseball cards. A blaster of 2016 Series One, and a bunch of untouched Mets team sets. Plus some baseball stickers. Meh.

Now on one hand, this is the cleanest I've ever seen the card aisle at this particular Target. Usually it's a mess and has a cart filled with all the store returns just sitting there.

On the other hand, baseball cards were sold out. In speaking with someone in the industry recently, he told me what a huge year it was for cards. Obviously this is the Judge/Bellinger effect, but the hobby is strong right now. This is a good thing. I don't want cards to be a scarcity, but it's good seeing them fly off of the shelves versus collecting dust like the hockey cards.

Disappointed, I headed to the toy aisles and picked up a few small Christmas gifts for the kids. Cruz Ramirez and Hudson Hornet McQueen!

On the way home, I decided to stop at a local shopping plaza that has a Dollar Tree and K-Mart. I went into the Dollar Tree first to see if they had any of their repacks. Bone dry.

I then went to K-Mart, and luckily found some Update. Salvation!

They had two 36-card jumbo backs and two 72-card hanger boxes. For some reason, K-Mart doesn't participate in the same pricing as the other big box store, as the hangers were each $12.99 instead of the standard $9.99. I decided to buy the two jumbo packs and leave the hanger boxes.

Overall, I did pretty well! This is the very first card that greeted me.
I also snagged this HR Derby Bellinger, and three Judge cards total, two of which I didn't have. Those are certainly worth the price of the packs.
This Gary Sanchez was new for me as well.
I was happy to see these guys get some Update love. TTM fodder for the spring! Higashioka is a great signer. I'm not sure about Torreyes. I sent to him once without success.
Is this the first card to feature a dab?
Lastly, a few more solid pulls. I thought the Rizzo was a buyback, but it's actually a Rookie Cup insert.
I still wish I would have gotten a Mega Box, but my two packs ended up being pretty darn good from K-Mart. Not a bad way to end my mini staycation.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Last day to enter my contest

Just a reminder that this is the last day to enter my contest. Go HERE.

More important than the contest, check out the Q&A with the awesome Josh Kusnick and the incredible collecting feat he accomplished.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fuji hits it here

 A few days ago, San Jose Fuji sent out about 100 packages. I was happy to see my zip code listed on his outgoing mail list. That always makes me feel special.

Seriously, here's Fuji's mailing. Other post office customers must have been very happy with him.
The majority of the package was filled with Tinos from the '90s, which is always fun. Even when I have many of them, it feels like an opportunity to look through them and appreciate them again, something I don't do enough with my collection.
For instance, this 1998 Pinnacle Hit It Here insert card.
Or this 1997 Topps Stars base card, which was a very premium set back in 1997. I remember seeing these cards featured on the page of Beckett. I even got the courage to buy a pack once, and pulled a Vernon Wells rookie that I actually sold a friend for $5.

The '90s had great sets. I know they were and still are confusing waters to navigate for sellers, but cards like this make it worth it:
Fuji also sent two cards of 2017 Yankees All-Stars Dellin Betances and Luis Severino. While Betances really lost his way in the last few weeks of the season, his overall body of work was solid and he's still an asset moving forward.
Severino is a Cy Young finalist, and while he won't win, a 23-year-old finalist for such an award is incredible, especially given he lost his rotation spot in 2016.

Fuji, thanks my friend!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

I don't see many Tino Martinez cards I need on eBay these days, at least ones I can afford. I'm at the point now if one comes up for $.99 with $3 shipping, I strongly consider it. I don't love paying so much to ship one card, But when it's a rarer relic, it makes the decision a bit easier.

This was the case with my newest Tino, this 2004 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Blue bat relic, numbered 50/100. I had both the Red and White versions, so the blue was much needed. There is also a Gold (/50), Emerald (/5), and Black (/1). I haven't seen any of those listed.

They are great looking cards, and I assume the Emerald ones in particular are beautiful.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

PWE Habit

A few days ago, I got a surprise PWE from my friend Robert over at $30 A Week Habit. It contained two cards, and both were new to me.
I'll start with a new Tino! Robert was kind enough to see this in a dollar bin at a show and snagged it for me. I didn't have it, and it becomes Tino #821. I am missing a ton of parallels from Tino's "lost years" with the Cardinals and Rays. This is a gold parallel from a pretty forgettable set, Upper Deck MVP. According to BaseballCardPedia.comhttp://www.baseballcardpedia.com/index.php/Main_Page, there are also silver and black parallels (#'d to 50). Looks like I need to track those down, although I could totally have the silver and just not know it, thinking it's the base.
One thing I really liked about 2017 Topps was the return of legends parallels. I enjoyed when Topps did this earlier in the decade, and was happy to see them come back. Some of the photos were really great too. This Babe Ruth is actually Series 2 #580. It's sister card in Series 2 is Matt Holliday. In searching for this card, it was tough to find info on it...it's actually the Super SP! WHOA! An SSP! Very rare card, indeed, and the first of it's kind that has ever been in my possession.

I literally had no idea it was an SSP, and I'm going to venture a guess that Robert might not of either. I think we're both "regular" collectors and things like this don't dawn on us. It's hard enough to keep up with the SP variations. Throw another "S" on there and how could you ever know?

Robert, thanks for looking out for me, pal!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

An amazing collecting feat (+ a contest!)

A few nights ago on Twitter, Joshua Kusnick showed off an incredible collecting feat - he completed the 1988 Pacific Legends set with an autographed card from everyone who was alive at the time of the set's release - 171 signed cards! And it only took him 29 years to do it. I had a hard enough time with my Topps Yankees Project, but this is other-worldly!
I first met Josh on Twitter a little over year ago (follow him HERE), when I was attempting to do a blog Q&A with Yankees prospect and autograph hound Tim Lynch. You see, Josh is an MLBPA agent and reps several different guys. However, he is a collector too, and a damn dedicated one at that. An agent and a collector? Sign me up. Sounds like a dream career!

Josh was kind enough to answer a few questions about his collecting quest. Please enjoy his responses, check out a few of the photos he provided, and look out for a contest below as well.
Lost Collector (LC): Give me a brief description of you for those who don't know you?
Joshua Kusnick (JK): I’m a 35-year-old MLBPA agent. I rep Carlos Asuaje, Seth Lugo, Jeremy Jeffress, and Steve Selsky amongst the list and have done work for Mike Brantley since ‘05. And Tim Lynch!!

LC: Tell me about the project. How did it start? Why this particular set?
JK: I have had 43 surgeries for bladder exstrophy and my dad would always write letters to players with his childhood cards to get signed while I was sick. The 1988 Pacific Legends set was one of the first we got - series 1 then obviously series 2. The first card show we went to was in St. Pete, FL in ‘89 – DiMaggio, Williams, Killebrew, Mantle, Bob Allison, and a super ticket on flats was like 75.00 for all in attendance. I still remember every bit of that day.

Note: Josh's story of overcoming bladder exstrophy is truly remarkable. Read this SI piece about him HERE

LC: What was the toughest card to track down?
JK: Vic Raschi, Charlie Keller, Doc Cramer, Rip Sewell, Zoilo Versailles and Sal Maglie and any version of Roy Campanella - either machine or wife-assisted. Roy could not sign post-accident and looking back it’s kind of macabre but the machine his wife would sign and he’d essentially hold the pen. Yeesh.

LC: Any good stories during the in-person (IP) signings?
JK: Buddy Lewis! He owned a car dealership in NC post-career for years and was super gracious to me when it came to signing. That first show meeting Williams and DiMaggio changed my life.

LC: Who helped the most along the way? 
JK: My dad....and really my autograph friends over the years especially Jeff Sachs. Really though the players via TTM, the non-stars like Jim Perry, helped the most.
LC: 29 years on a project is a long time. Did you ever want to give up or think that it just wasn’t going to happen?
JK: I just assumed it was finished. My dad started this with me and he happened to be at my house 2 days ago. I had insomnia and every 6 months I’d check for any version of Campy and low and behold I found one for the first time ever. I’d still buy the machine version should someone have one but now it’s done 171-171 maybe only one ever and I’m still shocked.

Also there was a 1-month window for Harvey Kuenn and Ted Kluszewski to sign the cards before they passed. I’d pay anything for either should they exist. I’d literally trade my signed Koufax ‘55 Topps RC PSA for both of them lol.

LC: What’s your favorite card in the set?
JK: Buck Walters. Ironically the hardest pain in the ass card to find for years. Campy you expect given his health but Walters? It took YEARS.

LC: Do you have any projects on the horizon?
JK: Well there is 29 unsigned cards. I need 29 cuts up next. Ruth, Gehrig, Clemente, Munson, Cobb, Hornsby....I’m sure that’ll be cheap lol! I obviously can’t afford all that but maybe one day!
Lastly, what advice do you have to collectors with lofty project goals?
Pick a new set and start the day you get it. The faster you act the better the odds. Me finishing the set is the dumbest luck of all time.

Also I’m working on the 99/00 Topps Stadium Club hockey set and have 196/200 done I need Martin Straka (who doesn’t seemingly sign that card), Scott Stevens, Tony Amonte (whom I’ll eventually get), and Harry York the white whale since he’s essentially vanished off the face of the earth.
Contest time!

Josh has graciously offered up a duplicate signed card from this 1988 Pacific Legends set to one random winner. To enter, please do one or both of these things:

1. Any comment below - one entry
2. Suggest how Josh should display this set - additional entry 

Contest will close November 14 at 11:59pm ET.