Tuesday, June 21, 2016

1990 Collect the Stars Magnet #26

Card Review: 2.5  This magnet has spent the last two and a half years sitting atop my "Most Wanted List."  By no means did I believe it was the rarest card remaining on my Most Wanted List, which made it's elusiveness all the more frustrating.  These magnets are relatively easy to come by, but for some reason I could not track down a copy of the Wallach.  Then this comment was posted to my Most Wanted List:

Needless to say, this comment did not instill a whole lot of confidence in me as to the prospects of ever finding one.  I had more or less given up on it, and had actually considered removing it from my list with the assumption that they were never actually printed.  Then this showed up on ebay last week.  I did a quick double take, and immediately pulled the trigger.

As a "card" it's not much to get too excited about.  It's small, and for obvious reasons, has nothing on the back.  But it's got some things going for it.  For one, the random "Phoenix" written on the front is the kind of weird stuff that I really like.  That's the name of the company, but it could be confused as the "Phoenix Expos," which is kind of awesome.  Adding to the weirdness is that "Phoneix Ind." is actually located in Missouri (don't ask me, I have no idea).   I also like the back of the packaging with it's suggestions for use.  The front features a very strong photo.  At first glance the picture seems rather bland, but upon closer inspection, it's actually a very cool photo of a common shot.  The angle of the photo is different than the vast majority of Wallach cards with similar pictures.  For whatever reason, this particular photo stands out to me in a positive way.  It also gives a great look at the "Mims Band" on Wallach's left forearm.  It's a different color than the one I own, so now I have to go track down one of those. 

Further complicating things for me is that this "card" is still sealed in the package.  If I'm only going to have one, I prefer it be sealed like this, but now I want one to stick somewhere even more than I did before.  So the search will continue, even if it's now coming down off of the "Most Wanted List."

Number of cards in my collection: 1

FYI: A 2005 Topps Rookie Cup Rookie Reprint Gold Refractor #/1 (that's a mouthful) is now the number one card on my most wanted list.  I'm not very optimistic of ever finding it. I say "it" because there's only one.  Which is annoying.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Peoria, IL

Regular contributor Tom, of Peoria, IL sent these cards recently, and joined an exclusive club in doing so.  Tom joined the ranks of those who have sent me cards I didn't previously own.  These are my first two '93 Cardtoons "Wallach cards."  I've known about these Cardtoons for years but have never pulled the trigger on any.  The main reason is I forget about them.  My daily ebay search is for "Wallach."  "Tim Wallet" usually doesn't show up, and when it does, I've always told myself to make a note and pick a few up next time I order on Sportslot.  Likewise, they don't show up under "Wallach" and Sportlots either, and as such, I've never actually remembered to pick any up.

Additionally, I've always been on the fence as to whether or not they should count as "Wallach cards."  I was going to pick some up eventually, regardless of my ultimate decision on that issue, but it was another factor holding me back and delaying me.  Tom took care of it for me.  Now I have two, and in hand, it was a pretty easy call, they're "Wallach cards."

Thank you for the cards Tom.

Updated Totals:

1991 Fleer: 141
1993 Cardtoons: 2
1994 Flair: 7

Friday, June 17, 2016

1993 Cardtoons #89

Card Review: 3.8
I've had a long internal debate as to whether or not to count this as a Wallach card.  Ultimately, I've decided it counts.  As a card, it leaves a little to be desired.  The front is fine.  For what it is, it works, I guess.  This is the only card from this set that I've seen, so it may be unfair to judge the entire set, but the back leaves a lot to be desired.  It's just a stupid parody that has nothing to do with the player.  They should have made an effort to tie the back into the player on the card.  Even if it was stupid, and had no correlation to the actual player.  Give me a brief write-up on how the wallet effects or helps fielding.  It wouldn't make the card much better, but it'd at least be an improvement.  And there's plenty of room for improvement with this card.

And tempting as it may be, this will not replace my "wallet card," which has been an '82 Topps that I've carried around for the last 15 years or so.  I'm locked in at this point, as the card is now on about it's fourth wallet.

Number of this card in my collection: 2

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Elgin, IL

These cards were sent by Jim of Elgin, IL.  Jim sends me cards faster than I can post them.  I'm not complaining, I'm just making excuses for falling behind in my updates. 

Included with these cards was a Fleer Expos sticker.  I have good number of Fleer stickers in my own collection left over from my pack buying days as a kid.  However, I have very few older (pre-90) Fleer Expos stickers.  That's because when I pulled an Expos sticker it usually got stuck somewhere.  Notebooks, bikes, binders, etc.  I'm a huge fan of the older Fleer stickers, but they're not the sort of thing I think to buy, so it's cool to get them in the mail like this.  Even today, I'd much prefer a team sticker to 99% of the garabage Topps shoves in their packs that aren't base cards.  Though I don't think I'd be sticking them on things as often as I did thirty years ago, but who knows, the there are plenty of things in my garage may benefit from some.

Thank you very much Jim.

Updated totals:

1987 Donruss: 376
1987 Topps x3: 736

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Garvey, Cey, Russell, Lopes

These 22 cards were sent by retired blogger Jim, formerly of "Garvey, Cey, Russell, Lopes" fame.  I read the note before looking a the cards, and figured "lurker" meant cards lurking in his collection.  This lead to some confusion as to why he had sent me a handful of Jim Gott cards, until I flipped them over and saw Wallach "lurking" on the back.  I think I prefer the term "lurker" to "cameo," but haven't decided yet.  At somepoint I plan on doing a post on all the cards Wallach "lurks" or makes "cameos" on, and I figure I'll decide then.

Thanks for the cards Jim.

Updated totals:

1993 Flair: 31
1993 Triple Play x2: 28
1994 Collector's Choice x2: 36
1994 Donruss: 26
1994 Fleer: 30
1994 Pacific: 9
1994 Stadium Club: 29
1994 Topps: 84
1994 Triple Play: 26
1994 Upper Deck: 67
1995 Collector's Choice x2: 28
1995 Collector's Choice SE: 33
1995 Pinnacle: 30
1995 Stadium Club: 19
1995 Topps Embossed Golden Idol: 2
1995 Ultra x2: 36
1996 Donruss: 18
1996 Pinnacle: 40

Friday, June 3, 2016

Newburgh, IN

These 17 cards were sent by Dave of Newburgh, Indiana.  It's the 2nd time by my count that Dave has sent cards.  He previously made a contribution back in June of 2014, which was also 17 cards.  What makes this current group of cards really stand out is the five 1984 Donruss.  Since I started this blog, I had only previoulsy been sent a total of six '84 Donruss, this envelope nearly doubled that number.

Overall 1984 Donruss isn't particularly scarse, with 115 copies in my possession.  Of the 1980's base sets by Topps/Fleer/Donruss, there are several that have been more difficult for me to come by, here's a run down of the most difficult to find:

Most scarse 1980's base set cards
1. 1985 Fleer ......................67
2. 1985 Donurss .................71
3. 1982 Fleer ......................72
4. 1983 Donruss .................85
5. 1984 Fleer ......................99
6. 1983 Fleer .....................101
7. 1986 Fleer .....................107
8. 1984 Donruss ................115
9. 1986 Donruss ................117
10. 1982 Donruss ..............164 

Despite 1984 Donruss not being all that difficult to come by,  I think it still carries a reputation as being a set that was produced in lower numbers.  My own informal research efforts suggests that's simply not true, but sellers often demand more for '84 Donruss commons than they do other sets from the era.  I blame Don Mattingly, and the decade or so his 1984 Donruss rookie card spent as the most coveted card of a generation.  My point is, I think the perceived scarcity of '84 Donruss is just that, "perceived," and not an actual reality.

In any event, thank you very much for the cards Dave.

Updated Totals: 

1982 Topps: 1,132
1984 Donruss x5: 115
1986 Topps x3: 258
1988 Donruss: 683
1988 Fleer: 218
1988 Topps: 557
1988 Topps AS x2: 544
1992 Stadium Club: 34
1993 Upper Deck x2: 241

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Newark, DE

These cards were sent by Mark of Newark, Delaware.  Mark is also known as "Clubhouse Kaz" of "This Way to the Clubhouse."  This is the 8th time Mark has sent cards.  As always, thank you very much Mark.

The 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites is one of my favorite Wallach cards.  It's a huge improvement over his original 1990 Topps, which featured a somewhat dark and drab photo.  It is by no means a horrible looking card, this 2003 variation is just better.  However, today it's hitting a bit of a sore spot.  Archives came out this week, and once again, I was disappointed to find that Wallach was not on the checklist.  Come on Topps, throw me a bone.

Updated Totals:

1994 SP: 32
1996 Collector's Choice Ser.II: 22
2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites: 13

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Edition

Spine Cards - The 1980's

Last week I posted a run down of the cards I keep in my 1970's binders.  Much like majority of the sets from that decade, choosing the cards is a work in progress.  I'm four cards short of completing the run of sets from 1980-89, missing only three commons (9, 248, 495) and the Nolan Ryan from the 1980 set.  I'm also much more committed to my choice of spine cards, though they are far from set in stone.  Here's a run down of the current "spine card" selections:

1980 Lou Whitaker
Chance of staying: 35%
Lou's chances have more to do with my desire to swap out the '83 Reggie than anything to do with this card.  I've always been a big Lou Whitaker fan, and this has always been a card that I really liked.  However, Reggie is a guy that demands to be in a spine, and I'd like him to be in a Yankee uniform.  1980 or 1977 are the two most likely landing spots for him.

1981 Eddie Murray
Chance of Staying: 95%
This was a set I never thought I cared for.  Until I actually made the effort to put what I had (about 50% of it) into 9-page sleeves and a binder and get down to finding the rest.  In completing this set I picked up a new found appreciation for it.  There are a ton of great looking cards.  It's also a very affordable set to complete.  The Padres have particularly nice looking cards with the brown uniforms and red borders, which made Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield tempting choices.  But the Winfield isn't the best picture and Ozzie belongs as a Cardinal.  Eddie Murray is 3000/500 guy and one of the more under-appreciated All-Time greats.  I love this dug out shot with the water cooler and sideburns.  It's staying.

1982 Rickey Henderson
Chance of Staying: 100%
There's no debate here.  This is on my short list of All-Time greatest baseball cards.  A guy that goes on my Mt. Rushmore of ball players doing what he does best.  Sure there are later cards of Rickey showing slides and dirt flying, but if you think about it, that wasn't where the excitement was.  The excitement of Rickey was in the suspense (or lack of) when he got on base.  Everybody in the Stadium knew he was going to go.  You can practically feel the nerves of all the unseen players radiating out of this card.

1983 Reggie Jackson
Chance of Staying: 1%
I love Reggie Jackson, and I love this card.  The sunglasses are perfect.  On top of that, it was the card used on the display box.  However, Reggie wasn't really an Angel, and the 80's aren't the decade he belongs in.  So he's moving.  Carlton Fisk is the clubhouse leader for this spot (yes, I think of him as a White Sox), and Fernando Valenzuela is another strong canidate.  Regggie will likely end up in the 1980 spot (I know it's the wrong decade, but it's a great looking card) or the 1977 spot.  But he won't be here.

1984 Tony Gwynn
Chance of Staying: 85%
I've really struggled with this card and set.  Gwynn, oddly, really does not have a wealth of great looking Topps base cards to choose from.  This is probably my favorite, but it's really early in his career.  That said, I think this card stays here for the forseeable future.

1985 Ryne Sandberg
Chance of Staying: 90%
I always thought 1985 Topps was one of my favorite sets, until I got around to completing it.  It's far from terrible, it just isn't as great as I thought it was in my head.  Too many posed torso/head shots of guys with grass or sky backgrounds.  This Sandberg stands out to me, and I'm satisfied with it being here.

1986 George Brett
Chance of Staying: 90%
This George Brett near the halfway point of his career and coming off his first World Series win.  There were actually a decent number of cards to choose from for '86, but this one works for me and why make thing more difficult than they need to be.

1987 Darryl Strawberry
Chance of Staying: 92%
Straw is going to have home in a spine, and there are no shortage of great looking Strawberry cards to choose from.  1987 Topps, depending on my mood, is my favorite Topps set.  So if I waiver on this card, it's due more of a feeling that the set deserves something epic.  Still, this card represents it well, the Mets were defending Champions and Strawberry was still at the top of his game.  Also the Mets logo and uniforms look great in the sun with the wood border.

1988 Tim Raines
Chance of Staying: 65%
There are probably 20 cards from this set that I would feel good about using.  For now it's Tim Raines in Shea.  Raines will always have a home in a spine, even if some shuffling has to occur, which it will, as my 1995-99 set building efforts linger between 50% to 0% complete (I literally have no Topps from '98 or '99)

1989 Don Mattingly
Chance of Staying: 47%
Mattingly is probably getting moved, it's just a question of where he goes, what card replaces this one, and when.  The player selection for this set is going to be heavily influenced by who ends up in the 90's spines, but given that I haven't even have binders for the second half of that decade, it could be awhile.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Seattle, Washington

These cards were sent by Mark from Seattle, Washington.  This is the first time I've received a card like the '89 Bowman that Mark sent.  I'm pretty sure that's a Joe Hesketh head transposed onto the Wallach card, giving it an NBA Jam look (google it kids).  I can remember cutting up Garbage Pail Kids and sticking them onto baseball cards for goofy effects.  Beckett used to run a feature on it.  So don't worry Mark, no offense taken, but fair warning, I'm probably going to attempt to peel the Hesketh head off of the Bowman.

Thanks for the cards.

Updated Totals:

1986 Leaf: 22
1987 Sportflics Tri-Stars x2: 9
1988 Score: 223
1988 Topps Big: 51
1989 Bowman: 135

And since these cards came from Seattle, I'll use it as an excuse to post some images related to the Greatest American Rock and Roll band of all-time.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Chad Wallach Cincinnati Reds Spring Training Jersey

I recently acquired this Chad Wallach Spring Training jersey on the MLB Auctions webpage.  I really liked the new Spring Training logos used this year, and that served as some of my justification for the price of this jersey, which was still well under what a new authentic jersey would demand on the Shop MLB website.  But regardless of what kind of "deal" I got, blowing anything on something like this inherently counterproductive to my ongoing efforts to load up on Wallach baseball cards.  I can't imagine ever having much occasion to wear this jersey, and it's not going to end up framed, so it's probably going to hang in a closet with what is slowly becoming an alarming number of collectible jersey's for guy who doesn't collect jerseys. 

The "interstate" Spring Training patch is made out of a sort of firm rubber material, and the MLB logo on the back is of the same material.  The Reds patch, and running man logo are both of the more traditional variety.  The other distinction with this jersey is the Spring Training logo pattern used on the numbers on the back.  I noticed this at some Spring Training games this year, and just thought it was some sort of ugly color variant from afar.  Up close, it's kind of cool, but what's the point if the only way to tell is up close?

This marks the second jersey of the Wallach trio of children that I've come across.  A year or two ago a reader sent me a Matt Wallach St. Patricks Day green Dodger jersey.  I mentioned it in that post and I'll mention it here again, but I'm curious how much stuff these guys actually get to keep.  I'm talking about the Spring Training invites with little to no expectation of making the roster.  There must be an impulse to take everything from jersey's on down to extra gum home with you as keepsakes.  At some point in player's career, I'm sure it becomes gratuitous, but it has to be sort of cool to see your name on a big league jersey for the first time, even if an MLB career is the expectation and you've enjoyed success/fame in college and/or the minors.  So I feel a little guilty having these hang in my closet if the players themselves weren't able to shove a couple jersey's into their travel bags when they left.  For that reason, it's a standing offer, if Matt or Chad Wallach ever stumble across these post and would like these jersey's back, just ask, they're literally yours.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

1,000+ 1982 Topps

For a month or so there had been a listing on ebay for a lot of 225 1982 Topps Wallach cards.  With shipping, the "buy it now" price came out to about 13¢ a card.  That's a completely reasonable price, but even at that price, 225 of them adds up.  So I held off, hoping it would drop in price when relisted.  When it listed for a third time, I caved in and pulled the trigger.  225 1982 Topps Wallach cards arrived in my mailbox a few days later, pushing my total to 1,131 copies.  It's the first card to crack the 1,000 mark.

I imagine a lot of people would be inclined to sort through 225 copies of the same card looking for "gem mint" examples.  I do the oppossite.  I eagerly sort through hoping to find miscut, off-centered or other imperfect examples.  This lot was by and large in great shape.  However, there were a couple copies with a decidely blue or green tone.  The most extreme example being shown above (and below).  In person, the purple hockey stick stripe looks even more blue than it does in these pictures.  Perhaps the person in charge of producing the 2005 Topps Rookie Cup Reprints was looking at one of these blue examples.  It's the first time I can recall seeing this printing defect (but I haven't gone back and looked at my other ~900 copies). 

Belwo is an example of the 2005 Rookie Cup Rookie Reprint, with the blue hockey stick stripe.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Edition

The Spine Card

I'm sure I put entirely too much thought into the "spine card."  The card that I insert into the spine of a three-ring binder that holds the set.  I've come up with many different schools of thought for choosing the "spine card," and am sure most of you have your own system.  Mine own has evolved in recent years, into something much more complicated than it once was.  In a nutshell, I try to have one player from each position (with one "wild card") represented in each decade, a rule I am currently breaking for every decade.

As much thought and effort as I waste on choosing a spine card, it's still a work in progress.  In part due to my limited cards to choose from for a lot of sets, and in part due to discovering new cards that I had never seen before that instantly demand they be placed in a spine.  Such is the case that happened this week when I picked up a '78 Mark Fidrych card.

I could have sworn I had every Fidrych there was to be had, but after sorting through some '78 set needs, I guess I didn't.  I'd have liked to use Fidrych as a spine card, but my favorite was his '77 which bears both a Rookie Cup Trophy, and All-Star banner.  I try to avoid cards with those as I feel they aren't representative of the majority of the set.

So the '78 Fidrych went into the spine.  Looks great.  But now what about the '78 Rod Carew?  Carew needs to be represented on the wall of binders.  He's one of my all-time favorites, and owns a legacy that is wildly under appreciated.  I'll be damned if my own collection is going to snub Carew.  So begins a game of spine card shuffle.

The first step is to swap out the Carew for a Fidrych.  I can't deny taking a lot of satisfaction in having found an acceptable Fidrych to use amongst my binders.  That was easy.  Now the issue of where to put a Carew.  Carew unfortunately, had a lot of bland Topps cards over the years.  My favorite is probably his '68, but that's too early in his career, has a rookie cup, and my duplicate copy is in extremely poor condition.  '83 is another awesome Carew card, but it shows him at first base.  The man deserves to be represented as a second baseman.

I landed on 1970.  My current 1970 was just a placeholder and never meant as a permanent solution.  I just chose it because it was an awesome looking card.  1970 is a tough set to choose one for because the vast majority of the cool looking cards are of stars past their prime (Aaron, Banks, Clemente).  As it happens, I had duplicates of Carew, and while it's not the best looking card in the world, it's acceptable and will work for now.  Adios Mr. Laboy.

With that switch, here's a run down of the current state of my 1970's "Spine Cards" and their outlooks moving forward.

1970 Rod Carew
Chance of Staying: 40%
Carew will always have a home in a spine, but I don't think this is the spot.  I'm about 85% of the way to completing the '70 set and when I do, it'll be time to go through and pick the right card.  Circumstance may demand it remain Carew, but a change seems more likely than not.

1971 Tom Seaver
Chance of Staying: 85%
I wanted Seaver as a Met, and the '71 card isn't the worst looking card of Seaver's.  I'm only about 50% of the way to completing the '71 set, so the possibility of discovering a "new" card I've never seen is strong.  The Munson has been ruled out due my desire to avoid using a horizontal card for a vertical set.

1972 Roberto Clemente
Chance of staying: 98%
This is one of my all-time favorite cards, and has been since the first time I saw it on a 1987 Topps "Turn Back the Clock."  I also think it's unlikely I'll end up with duplicates of a 50/60's Clemente and decide to use it and knock this card out (one spine per player).

1973 Johnny Bench
Chance of Staying: 80%
I'm not even half-way to completing this set, but I'm fairly confident this Bench will remain the card. Anything is possible, but I want Bench represented, and this seems like the card to go with.

1974 Pete Rose
Chance of Staying: 25%
There's nothing wrong with this card, I just plan on using a 60's Pete Rose at some point.  As it stands, my 60's "spine cards" are a random collection of minor stars such as Mickey Lolich, Joe Peptione, Rusty Staub and Jim Bouton.  It's my most sparse decade as far as set completion and my available duplicates reflects that.  When Rose makes the move, I'll have to find a new '74.

1975 Doc Ellis
Chance of Staying: 35%
This is a tough set to choose for.  It's one of my favorite sets, but a lot of the most iconic cards are rookies (something I try to avoid), and a lot of the Hall of Famers are kind of dull head shots.  Ellis seems to have the personality for the set, but ultimately I expect to switch him out for a more Hall of Fame caliber player.  I'm just not in a huge hurry to do so.

1976 Mike Schmidt
Chance of Staying: 75%
Schmidt has perhaps the worst selection of Topps cards to choose from of any player anywhere near his caliber.  This '76 is one of his only even remotely interesting cards.  For that reason, it seems likely to stay.

1977 Lou Brock
Chance of Staying: 10%
Lou's stripped batting helmet on this card is only going to take him so far.  Oddly, '77 is the set I have the most work to do as far as completing, so there's a lot for me to see.  I don't yet have a card in mind, although I'm leaning airbrushed Reggie Jackson (airbrushing deserves to be represented).

1978 Mark Fidrych
Chance of Staying:  99%
Unless I break all my rules and use Bird for the '77 set, this card is staying.  I'm about 25 cards short of the set, so I feel like I've seen all there is to see.

1979 Andre Dawson
Chance of Staying: 55%
Dawson is another guy that is going to be used somewhere, it's just a question of where.  I want him as an Expo, which leaves me limited options as the early 80's is very crowded and pretty locked in at the moment.  I've completed this set, and there really isn't much to work with, so Dawson may stay here for awhile.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

1989 Alaska Goldpanners All-Stars Team Set

I recently picked up a couple of these team sets on ebay.  The Wallach card from this set spent over twenty years atop my most wanted list before I finally acquired some back in 2013.  I was beginning to doubt they even existed.  So when these team sets popped up, I went ahead and pulled the trigger.  To be blunt, I question their authenticity.  Granted, I couldn't tell a difference with the one's I already had (from a very trustworthy source), but it wouldn't be the hardest set in the world to counterfeit.  My questioning comes more from the fact that the dealer immediately listed more sets to sell after I bought out the two that he had listed.  At the same time, I don't doubt the possibility of someone stumbling across a box filled with hundreds of these things in the back of the Goldpanner concession stand either.  I guess my final judgment call is that their legit, but I'm glad I already have a couple coupies I trust too.

Below are all the cards from the set:

Floyd Bannister: 15 MLB seasons, 134 career wins, was an All-Star in 1982 when he led the AL with 209 strike outs.

Mike Boddicker: 14 MLB seasons, 134 career wins (same as Bannister above), was an All-Star in 1984 when he led the AL with 20 wins and a 2.79 ERA.

Steve Kemp: 11 MLB seasons, 1,124 career hits, All-Star in 1979 (.318, 26 HR, 105 RBI) 

Greg Harris: 15 MLB seasons, 74 career wins, 54 career saves.

Tim Leary: 13 MLB Seasons, 78 career wins, led AL in losses (19) and wild pitches (23) as a Yankee in 1990.

Pete Redfern: 7 MLB seasons, 42 wins, 4.54 ERA

Scott Sanderson: 19 MLB seasons, 1990 All-Star,  163 wins, 3.84 ERA

Don Slaught: 16 MLB Seasons, 1,151 hits, 476 RBI, .283 avg. 

Dave Smith: 13 MLB Seasons, 2x All-Star, 216 saves, 2.67 ERA 
Ed Vande Berg: 7 MLB seasons, 25 wins, 22 saves, 3.92 ERA, led AL pitchers with 78 games in 1982 as a Mariner.

Tim Wallach: 17 MLB Seasons, 5x All-Star, 3x Gold Glover, 2,085 hits, 260 Home Runs, Led NL in doubles in '87 and '89 

Dave Winfield: 22 MLB Seasons, Hall of Famer, 12x All-Star, 6x Gold Glover, 3,110 hits, 465 home runs.