Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A forgotten member of the 1998 Yankees

One of the forgotten members of the 1998 Yankees was 1B Dale Sveum.

Despite a lengthy playing career, I don't think I had heard of Sveum before he joined the Yankees. Outside of a power surge in 1987, he was a light hitting infielder that a kid growing up in the steroid-era really wouldn't have noticed if he wasn't playing for the hometown team. Even as a collector back then, I don't remember pulling cards of Sveum the way I remember getting guys like Chris Sabo or Bobby Ayala.

Then the Yankees signed him in the offseason to back up Tino Martinez at 1B, so I became aware of him then.

I don't even remember him playing that much, although baseball reference tells me he played in 30 games. I remember one of them, as I was coming home from a baseball game of my own, and I hadn't kept up with the Yanks that night. I asked my sister if Tino did anything in the game, and she said "He didn't play. Someone named Dale did."

He actually played quite a bit in May, as Tino landed on the DL after being hit in the back by Armando Benitez, sparking the great brawl. (Side note - Tino was on his was to another big season before he got drilled, and while he still he 28 HRs and over 120 RBIs, it felt like a down year after his 44/141 the year before)

Regardless, whether or not I have many memories of him, he was a member of one of the greatest teams of all time.

I only remember seeing a few Sveum cards, but luckily I had the one above from 1998 Pacific Online. Sveum was kind enough to sign it for me in about six weeks time.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Saved Searches

Ebay saved searches are both a positive and a negative for me.

They are a negative for me because of how easy it's become for me to quickly find cards and spend money, especially on cards I don't need.

I should limit my searches, although some are more to monitor a market than to actually buy. For example, I set up a saved search for that Michael Phelps autograph A&G card that I got int hat crazy $25 online marketplace lot. I have no intentions of selling it, but the search helps me keep tabs on frequently they are listed and what they go for. (P.s. They still routinely for for $200.)

One area where saved searches are a huge benefit are for my player collections. With these saved searches comes a massive amount of patience. Given where I am with these collections, there is A LOT of sifting through cards I already have, or rolling my eyes at listings like this:
However, once in awhile, through all he clutter, a card like this pops up.
It's even more fun when I'm the only bidder on a low-priced auction with free shipping, as this was the case.

More often than not, this is the kind of card I buy from my saved searches. Nothing major, but parallels or smaller cards that somehow get missed or overlooked.

What about you? Do you have a lot of saved searches that you rely on?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What has Napkin Doon been up to? A Q&A with a blogging legend

A few days ago, Bob Walk The Plank came out of semi-retirement to make a blog post. I half-jokingly asked two legends, Napkin Doon and Jaybarkerfan, to do so as well. But since Wes' retirement is a lot more recent, I decided to check in on Napkin Doon, who has not blogged since March of 2014.

Napster was kind enough to answer a few questions and share what he's been up to.

The Lost Collector: "Napkin Doon is a Jerk" is still one of my most popular blog posts. How does that make you feel? 
Napkin Doon: About the same as when you asked me that in our last Q&A. (my note: burnnnn. Still got it, Nap.)

TLC: Are you still a jerk? 
ND: No. I’m a good person now. A very, very, very good person now.

TLC: Are you ever coming out of blogging retirement? 
ND: Despite relentless peer pressure from you and Wes, I don’t see it happening. There are times when I come up with something that I think would be a good blog bit, but I then realize I couldn’t sustain a blog again for longer than a month or two. I just don’t have enough to say to start up
TLC: Are you currently collecting, and if so, what's your focus as of late? 
ND: Yes, I still collect. My focus has been on Topps Runs of HOF’s and my favorite players. I just finished my Frank Robinson run recently, and it’s awesome! And I have a few other main focuses:
  • Still chipping away at 52 Bowman.
  • Trying to add more T206s when I can (I recently picked up a card of a guy named Boss Schmidt that apparently beat up Ty Cobb and wrestled bears. I had to have that card. I mean, look at the flipped-up collar, and his name was “Boss.” (This should be a must own for every card collector)
  • I’ve basically completed my Topps sampler album (1 page for every year of Topps from 1951 to now, with no player in the album more than once)
  • I’m about 3/4 done with a junk wax sampler album (1 page per year of base of Donruss, Fleer, UD, Score, Bowman and Sportflics from 1981 to 1999). This project has been really fun (and mostly inexpensive) and the album is awesome to flip through. I’m trying to add any of the notable cards (Bill Ripken FF card, 89 UD Griffey, 84 Donruss Mattingly etc.) of the era are in it when possible.
I’m trying to cut down my bulk collection. I was inspired by the book “The Joy of Tidying Up” (even years ago before it was cool) and I’ve been limiting wax buys as much as I can because the bulk boxes of cards I’ve accumulated don’t bring me as much satisfaction as they used to. My kids have no interest in this stuff, so I’m imagining long term that when I hand over my collection, I’d rather it be manageable and interesting to whomever inherits it, rather than bulky and a big nuisance.

TLC: You recently sold a Vlad Jr card you've been hanging on to, and used it to buy a few
awesome cards. Care to share? 
ND: Sure! I bought a gorgeous T206 Wee Willie Keeler that I’ve wanted forever, a Johnny Bench Rookie, a 1959 Clemente and a 1972 Traded Frank Robinson. All paid for by a non-autographed card from 2016.

TLC: 2019 Bowman - yay or nay? 
ND: I won’t be buying it if I can help myself, but yay on the design. It’s pretty sharp looking IMO. Buying Bowman is one of the topics I was referring to when I mentioned I sometimes think of bits to do if I still had the blog. The bit was to have an ongoing series called “The Collector.” I was going to pretend like I was “The Bachelor” on TV, and all of these card collecting options were going to be like the hot babe contestants trying to get me to marry them at the end of the season. Early on, I would kick Finest, Triple Threads and other expensive sets to the curb because despite how hot they looked, all they wanted me for was my money. Modern Bowman was going to be one of the early favorites since I’ve bought so much of it in the past, but after Bowman and I would go on our “ one-on-one date” I would decide there was no future with “her” long term, and it ultimately wasn’t going to work out between us. Interestingly, before our one-on-one date, there would be a scene where 52 Bowman would pull me aside and go through this act where she tells me how much she cares about Modern Bowman because they are related, BUT, as much as it hurt her to say, Modern Bowman was nothing but a short term fling and not in my best interests. It would all lead to an emotional rose ceremony, with me sending Modern Bowman home, while all the remaining contestants looked on in shock and catty satisfaction. Plot Twist: later in the season, the cameras were going to catch me and Bowman making out away from the mansion and all sorts of drama would unfold with the contestants that were still around. Spoiler Alert: Topps HOF Runs and 1952 Bowman were going to finish in an unprecedented tie for the final rose. (my note: Folks, this is the kind of stuff we're missing around here.)

TLC: Which product are you looking forward to most this year? 
ND: Topps flagship. That’s it for the new stuff.

TLC: Any final thoughts? 
ND: Yes, but they are too disturbing to admit.

And there it is folks. As legendary as ever.

Thanks, Napkin Doon!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Built Ford Tough

Last night, Yankees rookie Mike Ford hit his first career big league home run.

Ford's story is pretty awesome. He was an undrafted free agent out of Princeton, where won Ivy League Hitter AND Pitcher of the Year in 2013. The Yankees scooped him up after the draft for some organizational depth.

Since then, all he has done is hit and climb the organizational ladder, and was pressed into service at the big league level as the Yankees legitimately have an All-Star roster on the IL. Ford seems like a very likable player, so it's great to see him make an impact right away.

Several years ago, Ford was kind enough to respond to a TTM request of mine, where he sent me three signed cards of his own, as well as a nice note.
Things like this make it even easier to root for a guy like Ford. I wish him the bets of luck!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Thank you, Wes

I've been wanting to post this for awhile, but the scanned cards in my folder have just been very daunting. Yes, I'm talking about my haul from Wes "You'll Always Be JBF To Me" of Area 40's final cardboard giveaway this past holiday season.

For whatever reason, Wes decided that I would be an often recipient of his generous "bombs." The first package came in May, 2011. I had started blogging in February of that same year, so for basically as long as this blog has existed, JBF has been a constant source of blog fodder, usually the result of his ridiculous card packages he'd send at any given moment.

I tried to think of a favorite card he sent, but I couldn't possibly. I've got over 65 posts dedicated to him, and he's really one of the main reasons my collection is as large as it is, and has as many amazing cards as it does. I appreciate each and every bombing, as they were always well thought out and personalized. You could make one small comment at some point, and Wes stored that information for future card packages.

So with that, I'll show a few of the amazing cards he sent my way as part of his incredible final giveaway.

The most interesting item was easily this jumbo memorabilia swatch of Mariano Rivera. The card is massive (and has a regular sized card embedded, with a truly enormous piece of jersey included. It's obviously a swatch of a mesh spring training jersey, with some elastic either from a sleeve or collar. It's so large really pops out of the card. I have never seen anything like it! Plus, this was pulled right around the time of Mariano gaining election to the Hall of Fame. Someday I'll probably frame this.
Probably the other most interesting card is a cut autograph from 2018 Leaf History of Baseball. Hall of Fame Hill Dickey is the subject of this card, with a cut HOF post card embedded within the plastic case. I know many are not big fans of cut signatures, but I'm very thankful to own a signature of a Yankee Hall of Famer.
There were plenty of more memorabilia cards pulled, including several from Topps Clubhouse Collection. Sorry these scanned so dark:
I really like relics of bases as well (why doesn't Topps do this nowadays?), and this Posada from the 2003 All-Star Game is definitely cool looking.

here were plenty of autographs too, including a Clint Frazier, who has gotten off to a torrid start this season. The Enos Slaughter IP/TTM is really beautiful as well.
When I saw this Winfield, I was definitely confused since I hadn't seen it. Turns out it was a Topps on demand issue.
Here's a few more cards that jumped out to me as scan-worthy.
Wes, all I can really say is thank you. Thank you for this card package. Thank you for the countless others over the last 8 years. And thank you for choosing me as one of the many recipients of your generosity.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Ty Hensley heads back to Evansville

A few weeks ago, it was announced that Ty Hensley will be returning to the Evansville Otters for the 2019 season. You can read about it HERE.

I still have an outside hope that Hensley will catch fire and open up the eyes of an Major League team. Guys get plucked out of independent leagues all the time, and he's a former first round pick with low mileage on his arm. If he dominates, it seems likely that someone would roll the dice.

I did send Ty a 'thank you' card for the amazing gift he sent me before Christmas. However, I'm not sure if he got it, and hopes he doesn't think I didn't appreciate it. I'll send him another one when Evansville's season starts in mid-May, just to be sure.

My two newest Henlseys are right here. The first is an orange auto from 2013 Bowman Platinum. These were exclusive to the National Card Show. It's numbered to 5.
The second is from that same set, a red refractor numbered to 25.

Best of luck to Ty this season!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

What?! A 2019 Tino?!

This morning, while browsing my Tino Martinez saved search, I came across this:
Whoa! I had no idea Tino was going to be included in 2019, albeit as a buyback autograph. Tino does have a 1989 Bowman, which is his first RC that isn't his XRC from 1988 Topps Traded.

I guess it's his true RC.

I don't love 1989 Bowman for the reasons many don't, namely the oversized yardstick. But still, a certified signed RC?! That's pretty cool.

Tino hasn't appeared in a Topps set since 2006, although I guess that's not entirely true because he did have stamped Bowman Anniversary and Rediscover Topps card. From what I can tell is that he hasn't has a Topps contract since then, as he was left out of recent Home Run Derby insert sets. He was the 1997 champion, after all.

I'm hoping that by signing some of these cards, he has a new contract at that might open him up to a random appearance in Archives or something, similar to Paul O'Neill or Orlando Hernandez. I'd say he's fairly on par with those guys.

Regardless, I thought the $39.99 was a little steep, and sent an offer of $20 figuring seller would counter at $30ish or so. But he accepted the $20, so I won the card. I'll be curious to see how rare these are are where the price ends up going to new ones listed as people open more Bowman. The other players featured are:

  • Andre Dawson
  • Bert Blyleven
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Carlton Fisk
  • Dale Murphy
  • Dennis Eckersley
  • Edgar Martinez
  • John Smoltz
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Mark McGwire
  • Roger Clemens
  • Ryne Sandberg

And Tino! Solid checklist. Now, I just gotta hope this redemption gets fulfilled. Yikes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A bunch of shiny Schmidt

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I had been picking up a bunch of Clarke Schmidt cards. I'm not going to officially collect the guy. I'm not at that point of my collecting life right now where I want to commit to another player. But I do think he's still undervalued right now, although most people (and prospect investors) are catching up.

Pretty much when I find a low-numbered parallel or autograph for a decent price, I pounce. And over the past couple weeks, they've been rolling in.

This was the best of the bunch.
Then came a couple Leaf autographs I don't really know about. They don't scan well but one of them is Blue I think.
Lastly, some low-numbered parallels. I don't follow Contenders much, but this is a cracked ice version.
I have a couple more rolling in, but for now, my Schmidt autographs are looking good. Too bad I never bought the Bowman Chrome autographed refractor though. Oops. Too late now.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

But I still I love Tek-nology

The other day I got a warning from Bob Walk The Plank that a mysterious card was arriving at my house that day. I assume he picked up a card from eBay or another online site and had it sent to me directly to me. He also warned me that it was not the card he purchased for me on our epic wager on the Camping World Bowl, in which Syracuse beat West Virginia.

Instead, I opened the envelope and found this:
Cool, a 1999 Topps Tek Gold Tino Martinez, numbered to just 10!

I think this is my only graded Tino.  I might have one or two others I don't recall. This card didn't grade out too strongly, as the corners and surface dragged it down. I think I might free it at some point.

Topps Tek is both an awesome and stupid/frustrating set at the same time. The cards are really nice - and I loooove clearcuts - but it's super confusing and the concept is pretty maddening. 1999 had both home/away versions as well 30 different patterns. Oh, and the year before had 90 patterns. WTF.

But still, for far too long I treated these cards as a "have" for a single card on my Tino list, but that's silly. They are parallels and different cards. So I need to go back through my collection of these and pull out all the unique ones. It'll inflate my Tino numbers a bit more, but they are different cards, dumb as it may be.

This is definitely my first gold though, so I thank Matt for thinking of me. Any time I can get a super low numbered Tino, I'm very happy. Thanks, Matt!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A little Tino spring cleaning

Going through my scanned folder, at some point over the winter I did scan these five Tino cards without doing anything with them in terms of a post. So why not lump them all together here?

My favorite of the group is 1998 Leaf, the Fractal Matrix parallel. This was another one of those confusing '90s sets with a ton of parallels and versions, but they were quite attractive cards. There also aren't a ton of cards where Tino is sliding into a base.
This card reeks of America, and I like it.
I was surprised I didn't have this Panini die cut, but again, parallel colors that are hard to keep track of.
Here's a cool minor league issue from when Tino was in AAA.
Lastly, here's a card I accidentally bought for a second time, which I do all the time. At least it's #'d to 100. I don't really get why Tino is a Mariner here, as it was from 2002 when he was going from the Yanks to the Cardinals. Maybe because it's Rookies and Stars and he was a rookie with the M's? But that is not a photo of him as a rookie, so I really don't know.
Anyhow, four new Tinos and a low-numbered dupe!

Saturday, April 6, 2019


I know we all go through it here and there. I do. But this time feels a little different.

I'm bored with collecting.

I think it's because I don't really have a focus right now. I'm still picking up Tino Martinez or Ty Hensley cards when I can, including this one that set me back a little over a buck after the $3 eBay coupon. It's not a particularly special card, and the jersey swatch is tiny and underwhelming, but it's one I didn't have for my collection.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's just a bit of a melancholy or uninspired feeling right now when it comes to collecting. Even when I snag a blaster, which I've still been doing, it's just sort of a 5-minute, uninspiring feeling. Open cards, look at them, set them in a pile that remains untouched for a while. Just going through the motions.

I'm not sure what I need to do to snap out of it. Maybe a set will come along that I enjoy, or a new prospect will emerge that I'll start collecting. I did just snag a bunch of 2017 Yankees first rounder Clarke Schmidt, and then he went out and out-pitched last years #1 overall pick in his season debut.

Maybe I'll send some more TTMs, although it feels like dwindling success rates are also to blame for this lackluster time. Plus those damn $.55 stamps.

Even when checking online marketplaces for cards, my next search term is "golf clubs" because it's been more fun to try and find a nice set that someone is unloading. In fact, I just got a pair of really nice Taylormade irons for $40 that someone was getting rid of.

Anyways, this is just becoming whiny, so I'll stop here. I'm sure I'll snap out of it soon, and maybe I need to fire up trading again or send a few "just because" packages to make things a little more exciting.

Most of us go through it, and most of us snap out of it. I look forward to that happening soon.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Signed Chicken Man RC!

Wade Boggs has been a pretty good TTM signer these last few years. Probably 6-7 years ago, he'd sign a card or two with no fee. Then he started requesting $5, which still wasn't bad given that he's a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest hitters of all time.

After a while, he stopped signing for $5, and started charging his present-day rate of $10. Still not unreasonable.

About a year or two ago, I sent him his 1983 RC with $5 to sign, and I got it back unsigned, along with the $5. I had missed out on the window when he was signing for $5, but at least the card and money were returned.

They sat together in my "outgoing" TTM box for awhile, the $5 bill still wrapped around the card. I'd get around to sending it one day, I told myself. Just need another 5 bucks.

I notoriously don't carry cash. I don't like to. It has nothing to do with being in NYC all day or anything, I just prefer to use my debit card. I use my debit card on everything, even purchases that are only a few bucks. Maybe that's annoying to people, but it's just my preference.

Anyhow, I did happen to have a $10 recently, and broke it on a cup of coffee. Amongst the change I received was a crisp $5 bill. I decided to take that new $5, and add it to the other $5 I still had, and send to Boggs again.

This time....success!
It's pretty cool to have a signed RC of a HOFer!

Monday, April 1, 2019

You're fooling' me, that's not Tino!

A few days ago while browsing eBay, I came across a listing for a Tino Martinez card I didn't have.

The only problem was, it wasn't Tino who was shown!

The description was for Tino, but pictured was former Mariner Carlos Guillen. I wasn't sure if this was meant to be a Tino card, or a Guillen card.
Luckily, it ended up being a Tino card once I notified the seller and he updated the listing, and for $2 I was able to secure a Tino #'d to 99 that I didn't have!
I liked Pacific Private Stock a lot. I believe it was Pacific's answer to Topps Gallery. While the set wasn't around for long, it did look pretty nice. Plus, I have a soft spot in my heart for Pacific.

I'm glad that in the end, the bogus listing ended up being for a card I needed!