Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sportlots Order

Sportlots Order

Other than the cards generously sent to me by readers in the mail, is my primary source of adding new cards to my collection.  I pick up a good number of "high dollar" cards on ebay (which for my penny-pinching fingers is anything over about $5), but for sheer volume, it's Sportlots.

 Anyone that reads this blog even occasionally, knows that beyond hoarding Wallach cards, set building is the other focus of my collection.  For set building, there's really nothing that compares to and it's selection of vintage cards at 18¢ a card.  If there is, and I'm unaware of it, please tell me.

A few years (maybe more/less?) ago, Sportlots dramatically changed the shipping options for their site.  You used add cards from an individual sellers, who then set their own shipping prices.  My habit was to find a seller or two with reasonable shipping, then filter my results by those sellers.  Then they introduced "Box Shipping," which gave you the option of having the seller ship the cards to Sportslots, who then held all your orders until you were ready to have them shipped.  I think it's phenomenal, as many sellers now offer "free shipping" with this option.  You still have to pay Sportlots to ship you a box full of your orders  and their rate isn't exactly cheap (I also tend to put off having my box shipped for months at a time), but in the end it's a great deal.  There's a link to the site below.

The end result of this new procedure for shipping, is that a couple of times a year I have a box like the one above delivered to my house stuffed full of smaller individual orders from a few dozen different sellers.  Here's a break down of what was inside this one, beginining with a nice batch of 1973 Topps needs.  I have a long way to go before '73 is complete, but I wouldn't mind hammering out the first two series of the set while I focus on completing '72.

I'm still on the fence as to how I feel about the 1973 Topps set.  For years I dismissed it as ugly with poor photo quality (not selection, but the actual exposure of the photos).  As I've added more of them to my collection I've come around a bit and it's grown on me to a degree.  However, I don't know if it's the black ink Topps used on the backs, or the card stock itself, but I feel like these cards are consistently of poorer quality than any other Topps set ever printed going back to '52.  They often seem to sort of erode/deteriorate along the edges.  I still have a very long way to go to complete this set, so much so that I haven't even bothered to post the high numbers I'm missing on my needs page.

A couple of years back I completed the 1970 set.  It was as satisfying an accomplishment that I've ever felt in my nearly forty years of buying these silly little cardboard photos of ball players.  At the time I was pretty focused on knocking off the 1974-79 sets (or what was left of them, as I had already completed a couple of them).  After the finishing '70 though, working on any single series set after '73 lost a lot of it's appeal.  As such, '74, '76, and '77 have been limping into the finish.  I did knock off a few more needs here though.

A pair of stray '74, that I'm not sure how they ended up in my order, but I'll take them.  Here's what I'm missing from 1974:

1974: 3, 29, 43, 50, 53, 80, 95, 130, 153, 179, 229, 265, 280, 297, 323, 331, 333, 337, 470, 473, 482, 500, 582, 596, 598, 600, 604, 605, 622, 637

Seven more 1976 needs to hammer out, including a nice little of quartet of stars with Boog, Cecil, Oliver and Louie.  Any one care to guess how many hits and home runs Powell, Cooper, and Oliver combined for?  I didn't think so, but I'll tell you anyways, the three combined for 6,711 hits, 799 home runs, 16 All-Star game appearances, and nine Top 5 MVP vote finishes.  Powell had the fewest hits and ASG appearances of the trio, but won the AL MVP award in 1970 with the Orioles.  It's little difficult to look at Al Oliver's baseball-reference page and come up with reasons why he isn't in the Hall of Fame.  Here's what I'm still missing form the 1976 set:

1976: 17, 24, 48, 55, 73, 104, 118, 119, 128, 147, 150, 160, 169, 179, 192, 202, 205, 230, 300, 330, 341, 344, 345, 347, 348, 420, 421, 435, 480, 504, 531, 550, 581, 589, 590, 596, 606, 643, 650

The 1977 Dawson was the first real vintage card I ever owned.  As an Expos fan in the 1980's Dawson along with Raines were my favorite players after Wallach.  As a kid in 1986, the 1977 Topps  set may have well as been printed in the 1920's, so the Dawson felt like an ancient relic when I received along with an '81 Donruss Raines for my birthday.  That card made me the envy of the neighborhood when Dawson went to the Cubs a year later (The Cubs were easily the most popular team in my Phoenix neighborhood back then) and promptly won the MVP award (Though both SI and the Sporting News named Tim Wallach as their choice for MVP in '87).  As such the 1977 set used to fascinate me.  Sadly, I've grown a little bored with it, and my progress (or lack there of) towards completing it shows.

1977: 6, 8, 10, 34, 74, 100, 113, 183, 208, 231, 232, 234, 265, 277, 285, 287, 320, 327, 355, 256, 387, 390, 412, 418, 430, 434, 445, 450, 467, 473, 476, 494, 504, 518, 546, 547, 560, 580, 597, 615, 621, 630, 632, 634, 650, 655, 656

I also knocked off a few more recent needs with the cards above.  With the three 2008 Topps, that set is now complete.  2008 was the first year I bought cards after an over 20 year hiatus, so it feels nice to finally be able to put it in the books.  The pair of 2009's also represent the final needs of that set, it's complete as well.  

The lone 2015 brings my need list to that year to one, with 616 Kris Bryant still not in the binder.  But before anyone gets feeling all generous, I've already ordered one on eBay, at a very annoying $8 shipped price tag.  No card from the 2015 Topps base set should cost more than a buck or two shipped.  Worse yet, I know I had multiple copies of that card back in 2015.  I don't know if I gave them all away (I know of Cubs fans with kids), or out smarted myself by sticking them someplace "safe" and not with the other 2015 cards.  In any event, I'm calling it "complete" with another Bryant now in the mail.  The 2017 pick up, reminds me just how historically ugly 2016 and 2017 Topps were (they should thank 2020 Topps for helping people forget), and brings my need list for the set down to one card.  If anyone has a spare #596 laying around I'll be happy to take it off your hands.  Those four 2018 Topps complete the set.  So I can sleeve them and never think about it again.  Nice.

The final set building additions in this order were a few 1987 and '88 Fleer Basketball needs pictured above.  Mike Gminski is guy I've heard entirely too much of lately.  As anyone who hasn't been living under a rock the last ten years knows, one of the great tragedies in the history of sports occurred when Syracuse left The Big East Conference for the lowly ACC.  A painful wound to sport fans everywhere that we were all reminded of recently with passing of The Great John Thompson.  Gminski was one of those easy to hate Duke kids in college, and now he's an easy to hate broadcaster for the poorly produced, and hard to find on tv "ACC Network."  He's ended up calling a lot of Syracuse games the last few years (when you can actually find them on tv and not just the internet, a problem The Big East never had).  His numbers prove he was very basketball player, however he is very poor at calling games on tv.  To his credit, he's every bit as upset about Syracuse being in the ACC as the rest of us are.  I guess even an ACC-hack like Gminski can't deny the greatness that was the old Big East.

But back to the cards.   I've been working on the '86-88 Fleer Basketball sets for awhile now.  I keep all three sets in the same binder, and it's really become one of my favorite projects.  I'm down to just the Jordan and Bird in the '86 set, and probably won't complete it anytime soon given the Jordan's price tag, but I swear the Bird as tripled in price the last year or so.  Is it just me, or has "vintage" (I have hard time from calling a card from '86 "vintage) across the board really spiked in price the last year or so?  In any event, here's what's left of these three sets:

1986-87: 9, 57

1987-88: 1,  9, 11, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 42, 48, 49, 54, 56, 59, 61, 68, 69, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 85, 92, 95, 97, 98, 99, 106, 109, 118, 123

1988-89: 9, 16, 21, 25, 43, 57, 64, 85, 115, 124

I also added seven more copies of the 2020 Chad Wallach rookie card.  I'm not going to go out of my way to pick up any more of these, but I'll still take any that fall into my lap.  And of course, it wouldn't be a Sportlots order without adding some "Tim" Wallach's as well.  I'm not going to deny that I enjoy that fact that one of the Wallach kids finally has a Topps card and that distinction needs to be made.  This order was flush with early 1980's Fleer, one of my favorite runs of Wallach cards.

Here are the updated Totals for those Wallachs:

Also worth pointing out that these 108 Wallach's pushed my collection over the 26,000 card mark.

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