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.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Edition

Errant Dribbles

Somehow on Twitter, it recently came to my attention that the card above was selling for what I deemed to be rather obscene amounts on ebay, amounts north of $200.  I assumed it had be some rare chrome, refractor, microwave oven, gold variation or something, but I checked into it anyway.  Modern Topps base set cards don't sell for that kind of money, least of all basketball with it's tiny set size.  Sure enough this card is selling for obscene amounts on ebay.

I had bought a ton of this set from Target back in 2009, chasing the ever elusive rookie card of legendary Syracuse Orangeman, Jonny Flynn, he of 6 OT fame, and superhuman ability to propel himself into the air.  I never did pull a Flynn, but apparently I pulled a Curry.  I found it right where I left it in a white cardboard box, stacked in my garage, not even in so much as a penny sleeve.  Guess I didn't think much of the Davidson star, even if he did do me a solid by knocking Georgetown out of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

I also was excited to find three James Harden rookie cards.  I don't really watch much NBA, given how incredibly boring it is, and that by the time the NCAA Tournament is over, I'm coming off a stretch of having watched several hours of college basketball a night since mid-November.  So I'm pretty much ready for baseball and not interested in the inferior brand of basketball that is the NBA (mix in a zone, full court press, or at least bring back Kermit Washington or NHL style fighting you cowards!). That said, I'm aware enough of the NBA to know James Harden is an A-List star these days.  His cards must be in the same ball park as Curry's card, right?  Not so much.  A quick look shows one having just sold for $1.04.

Too bad I didn't pull three Curry's instead, even poor Jonny Flynn (whose promising start to his career was knee capped by incompetent doctors in Minnesota) still demands a buck.  I don't quite understand the phenomenon of one card in a set selling at ridiculously higher prices than other cards in a set.  It just seems like a bad investment to me.  If the Harden can be had for a buck, then it can't be that scarce.   Which is why I'm very tempted to list the Curry on ebay.  $200 buys a lot of Wallach cards.

This isn't a unique situation.  It's similar to the 1986 Fleer set, and dozens of others across all-sports I'm not going to bother mentioning (you over paid for card #1 in '89 UD). The 1986 Fleer basketball set has been one of my collecting goals for about twenty years now.  I don't work very hard at it, but I'm always on the lookout.  One of my glaring needs is the Michael Jordan.  That card still demands about a grand.  There's no universe that I'm willing to admit exists, where a Jordan card should be selling for 20x to 100x more than the Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Akeem Olajuwon, or Karl Malone from the same set.  If I can pick up the Dominque Wilkins card for $10, than the Jordan isn't worth a grand.  At some point I will likely pull the trigger on a PSA 1, or "PSA Altered or Authentic" copy (damn counterfeiters forcing me to go graded) just to kill off the set, but I'm not going to like it when I do.  Unless something goofy happens.  Had I found three Curry's instead of three Hardens, I'd be attempting to make that swap as we speak.  I need to go check if there are any O-Pee-Chee Hockey gems to be found from 2007-10

For now though, this has triggered an itch to go ahead on complete the set sans Jordan.  If anyone is interested is in trading, I have a decent number of doubles including doubles of a few key rookies like Olajuwon, Ewing and Barkley to name a few.  They're lower grade, but that's all I'm looking for in return.  My need list is at the bottom of this page.   But first a few more pictures of what is really a classic card set.

1986 Fleer Basketball need list:
1, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 21, 26, 30, 31, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 53, 56, 57, 69, 71, 72, 74, 92, 99, 112, 122, 130, 132

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Allen, Texas

These 243 cards were sent by fellow Wallach Super Collector, Nick, of Allen, Texas.  He sent so many cards they wouldn't even all fit into one envelope.  Nick has now sent me more cards than anyone else on the planet (a title he already held before this recent arrival).  Were he also trying to hoard all the Wallach's for himself, I suppose that would make us fierce rivals, but he's of the sane variety and is content with one copy each.  This is the seventh time Nick has sent me cards, and the total cards he's sent now number 1,281.  As always, thank you very much Nick. 

updated Totals:

1982 Donruss x3: 164
1982 Fleer x2: 72
1982 O-Pee-Chee: 21
1982 Topps x3: 906
1983 Topps x2: 231
1984 Fleer: 99
1984 Topps: 209
1986 Topps x3: 255
1986 Topps AS x2: 463
1987 Donruss: 375
1987 Fleer x3: 172
1987 O-Pee-Chee: 15
1987 Sportflics x3: 45
1987 Topps x7: 733
1988 Donruss x11: 682
1988 Donruss AS x3: 42
1988 Fleer: 217
1988 Panini: 11
1988 Score x3: 222
1988 Sportflics: 9
1988 Topps x10: 556
1988 Topps AS x11: 542
1988 Topps Coins: 3
1988 Topps Mini Leaders: 29
1988 Topps Stickers x3: 24
1989 Donruss x3: 288
1989 Bowman x6: 134
1989 Fleer: 242
1989 Score: 153
1989 Topps x6: 548
1989 Topps Big: 14
1989 Upper Deck x2: 168
1990 Donruss x5: 319
1990 Fleer x3: 262
1990 Score x4: 173
1990 Leaf: 80
1990 Sportflics: 5
1990 Topps x2: 365
1990 Upper Deck x9: 204
1991 Classic: 4
1991 Donruss x4: 183
1991 Donruss MVP x7: 155
1991 Fleer x3: 140
1991 Leaf: 66
1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier: 57
1991 Score x3: 173
1991 Score The Franchise x4: 131
1991 Stadium Club x2: 61
1991 Studio: 64
1991 Topps: 183
1991 Ultra: 63
1991 Upper Deck x6: 221
1991 Upper Deck Checklist x7: 160
1992 Donruss x4: 152
1992 Fleer: 87
1992 Leaf Gold: 11
1992 Pinnacle: 83
1992 Studio: 33
1992 Topps: 170
1992 Triple Play x2: 77
1992 Ultra: 109
1992 Upper Deck x11: 239
1993 Donruss x2: 78
1993 Fleer: 38
1993 Humpty Dumpty: 5
1993 Leaf: 66
1993 Pinnacle: 26
1993 Score Select: 37
1993 Topps: 119
1993 Triple Play: 26
1993 Upper Deck: 95
1994 Collector's Choice x2: 34
1994 Collector's Choice Silver: 3 
1994 Studio: 18
1994 Topps: 83
1994 Upper Deck: 66
1995 Collector's Choice SE: 32
1995 Collector's Choice SE Silver x2: 12
1995 Donruss x9: 38
1995 Flair: 14
1995 Pacific: 2
1995 Score: 35
1995 Topps Cyber Stats: 15
1995 Ultra: 34
1995 Upper Deck Electric Diamond: 18
1996 Collector's Choice Silver: 6
1996 Collector's Choice Ser.II x2: 21
1996 Collector's Choice Ser.II Silver: 6
1996 Pinnacle: 39
2005 Topps Rookie Cup: 36

Friday, May 13, 2016

Redwood City, CA

This envelope of 14 cards was sent by Michael in Redwood City, CA.  Michael is becoming a fairly regular contributor, with this being the fourth time he has sent an envelope my way.  Thanks for the cards Michael.

Updated Totals: 

1986 Topps All-Star: 461
1987 Topps: 726
1989 Topps x2: 542
1990 Leaf x2: 79
1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier: 56
1991 Topps: 182
1991 Upper Deck CL x2: 153
1992 Fleer: 86
1992 Leaf: 67
1993 Score Select Update: 9
1993 Topps: 119

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Watertown, NY

These 15 cards were sent by noted Expos hater, Greg "The Night Owl."  To my knowledge the Night Owl doesn't actually hate the Expos, if I recall from his annual pre-season rankings of teams based on likability, they were historically in the middle. 

Thank you for the cards Greg.

Updated Totals:

1993 Bowman: 18
1993 Leaf x3: 59
1994 Collector's Choice: 32
1994 Leaf: 37
1994 Score: 56
1994 Upper Deck x2: 65
1995 Pinnacle: 29 
1995 Score x2: 34
1995 Stadium Club: 18
1996 Pinnacle x2: 38

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nova Scotia, Canada

These 8 cards were sent by Ryan of Nova Scotia.  It's the eleventh time Ryan has sent me Wallach cards, which ties him with T.J. "The Junior Junkie" for most all-time frequent contributor.  As always Ryan, thank you.  Take note of the two '89 card backs in the middle, you'll notice the one on the left is O-Pee-Chee.  I don't know why, but the different card number in the upper left always seems more out of place to me than the different logo in the upper right.  In any event, I love picking up the OPC variants.

Updated Totals:

1988 Donruss: 671
1988 Score: 219
1989 O-Pee-Chee: 9
1989 Score: 152
1989 Topps: 541
1990 Donruss: 314
1992 Fleer Ultra: 108
1993 Fleer Ultra: 34

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday Edition

"Get off my lawn!"

I'm thirty six years old.  I've never yelled at a neighborhood kid to get off my lawn.  I don't feel old, or out of touch, but I find myself thinking young kids are getting dumber on regular basis.  Which is probably just a sign that I'm getting older (though I don't think there's any question today's music sucks).

However, I do have a Twitter account.  And even if I think Twitter is pretty stupid, populated primarily by idiots and mean spirited losers, and disparage it as "Tweeter," I still have an account and can't deny that I check it daily, and send "Twits" on a near daily basis.  So how old can I be?  In any event, it was on Twitter that I first started hearing chatter about "Topps Now."  For the most part, I do very good job at ignoring everything beyond the base set, with some curiosity for Heritage and Archives.  The "Topps Now" talk though became enough that I decided to google it, and I can't say I like what I found.  Really?  Really, Topps?  And even more so, really fellow collector's?  You're paying for this crap?

I would not be at all surprised to learn that I'm the last one to this party, but as refresher, here are some screen grabs to explain what "Topps Now" is:

Bullshit.  I'm a passionate fan, and a passionate fan of Topps, and the only thing I've provided feedback for is repeated demands that they bring back my gum.  Who is asking for more of this?  If a card looks like it came out of a cereal box, then it should come out of a cereal box.  But whatever, if people want to pay a buck or two for a handful of these, who am I to tell them not to throw their money away.

What?  Ten dollars for this?  I'm sorry, have you people lost your minds?  I see stuff like this, and it reaffirms my decision to not look into what exactly those virtual/Internet/whatever cards are.  If they're seriously just a jpeg file for an online photo album, I think it would be too much for me to handle.  As a collector, we're all lumped in together by the masses, and stuff like this, doesn't help the negative stereotypes about us.

Look I don't mean to tell you how to spend your money, ultimately, this is an individual hobby, and if these things scratch that itch we're all trying to scratch, then go for it.  They're just not for me.  Over the last year or so, I've been making a much more concentrated effort on completing the Topps base sets.  In theory, all of them from '52-'91.  My current focus has been on the '70  set  (with my ongoing 1952 efforts).  I'm not sure how '70 ended up being my current focus after completing '75 about six months ago, it was pretty scatter shot across the decade for awhile, but that's the set that has emerged as my primary focus ('72 is on deck).  This week, I scratched a pretty big 1970 itch:

Four of the more expensive remaining needs off of my 1970 need list.  Each of which I picked up for less than the price of that Corey Kluber.  Again, I'm not telling you how to spend your money, but I'd put anyone of these for up to the old "Pepsi Challenge" with that Kluber.  And with the arrival of these four, I took my red sharpie to my checklist book, a bizarrely satisfying exercise:

My 1970 Topps effort now seis at about 72% complete, with mostly high numbers remaining.  If your interested in trading me any of the remaining cards on those list above let me know, I have a good number of doubles from 1970-91 Topps.

While I'm showing off recent ebay pick-ups, here are a few more, each of which came in at under the price of a "Topps Now" card (the '52 Monty Irvin was the only one even close at $8.80).  There's a '51 Bowman in there too.  I've been trying to avoid vintage Bowman and just focus on Topps the last year or so, but that Catiglione reminded me of the '51 Mays (one of my all-time wants that'll probably never have) and I loved the pine trees, so I splurged and dropped $2.25 even though there's no number in my book to cross out in red sharpie.

Ultimately, I guess Topps Now actually helps vintage buyers like myself.  The fewer of us there are, the less we'll have to pay.  Because Topps can't just print up more of it tomorrow, the way they literally brag about doing with "Topps Now."

Friday, May 6, 2016

Denver, Colorado

These four cards were sent by Peter of Denver, Colorado.  Thank you very much for the effort Peter.  Topps base cards are my favorite type of Wallach cards.

Updated Totals: 

1994 Topps x3: 82
1995 Topps: 34

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Midlothian, IL

Tony of "Wrigley Roster Jenga" sent these cards.  Tony also sent cards back in April of 2014.  That Panini card Tony included is the source of some debate amongst online checklist.  Some list it as simply "Panini Canadian," others as "Panini Top 15."  I don't really care what the proper name is, I just want more of them.  This is the first one I've ever been sent from a reader and the first one I've picked up at all since 2013.

Thanks for the cards Tony.

Updated Totals:

1987 Fleer x2: 169
1991 Panini Canadian: 5
1992 Studio: 32
1996 Collector's Choice: 17