Monday, July 5, 2021

Citrus Heights, California

These 21 cards were sent by "BigShep" of Citrus Heights, California.  It's a nice assortment that included an '82 Donruss rookie and a trio of '85 Topps, which is near the top of my list of favorite Wallach cards.  It's been awhile since I've compiled the numbers of Wallach cards sent by individual contributors, but I suspect that when I update them, BigShep will be near the top of that list.

Thanks for the cards.

Updated Totals:

1982 Donruss: 242

1984 Topps: 443

1985 Topps x3: 391

1986 Topps x3: 466

1986 Topps AS x3: 712

1987 Topps: 1,029

1988 Donruss: 977

1988 Topps AS: 825

1990 Donruss: 538

1990 Fleer: 492

1990 Score: 359

1991 Topps x2: 321

1993 Topps: 264

1994 Topps: 140

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday Edition

Odds & Ends

My collecting has been somewhat scatter shot lately.  It's still primarily driven by set builds, I just haven't been able to focus on a single set since knocking off 1972 Topps a couple of months back.  1953 Topps has somehow turned into my primary focus.  This week I picked up a big one in that Pee Wee Reese card above.  It's actually my first Reese card.  He's a high number in the '52 set, so isn't one of the ones I picked up while knocking off cards 1-310 in that effort.  The Willie Mays is the last major hurdle between where I am and completing the '53 set.  Billy Martin, Phil Rizzuto, Ed Mathews, and Warren Spahn are going to cost me a few bucks, but they're all going to be closer to the cost of going to Buffalo Wild Wings than they are a car or house payment.

Eddie Robinson and Virgil Trucks are couple of the last "low hanging fruit" cards I had to pick up.  Here on out it's pretty much all high numbers and Hall of Famers.  Below are three high numbers I picked up.  While the '53 high numbers are no where near as expensive in price as their '52 counterparts, they seem to be going up in price almost daily.  I keep having to raise my self-imposed limits on what I'm willing to spend.  Unfortunately I think that trend is going to continue.

I'm not currently working on the '54 Topps set, and am not a particular fan of Ed Mathews (I don't have any issues with the guy either), but ended up picking up this card.  I was looking for the '53, and this showed up in the eBay results for some reason.  It was priced right so I figured why not.

I can't seem to decide whether I want to focus on 1971 or 1973 Topps, so as a result I've been making slow progress on both.  Here are few cards that crossed my desk this week.  That Game #5 Brooks Robinson card seems to go for some screwy prices on eBay, but I got lucky and found one more in my range on Sportlots.

And as if I wasn't too spread out in my efforts as it is, lately I've decided it would be a good idea to start working on 1987-88 and 1988-89  Fleer basketball sets.  I'm one card away from knocking off the 1988 set, and down to about a dozen for 1987.  To make things more difficult for myself, I've decided I'm going to go after the stickers as well but have yet to make a list for those.

One of my habits when I buy cards on Sportlots and other sites, is see if the seller as any Wallach cards I can add to my order without adding to shipping cost.  Here's a look at some Wallach's I bought with all of the above cards.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Halifax, Nova Scotia

These six cards were sent by frequent contributor Ryan, of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  That's in Canada for all of you geography enthusiasts.  Included in this batch was an '87 Fleer Glossy.  They can be easy to miss if you're not paying close attention as the backs were identical to the standard '87 Fleer and the gloss effect is less than overwhelming.  Thankfully Fleer went to different backs for their '88 and '89 glossy sets before doing whatever it is they did with 1990 Fleer Canadian or Glossy (depends on who you ask as to what that set is called).  The Panini sticker is one that doesn't cross my desk much.  Even with those two contributions, the two '82 O-Pee-Chee rookies are the stars of this show.  That's a card I really can't get enough of.

Thanks for the cards Ryan.

Updated Totals:

1982 O-Pee-Chee x2: 26

1985 Topps: 388

1987 Donruss: 470

1987 Fleer Glossy: 39

1990 Panini: 8

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Coralville, Iowa

These five cards were sent by Matt of Coralville, Iowa.  Matt last sent cards back in 2016.  This envelope was sent some time ago, but I can't tell for sure when due to the cancellation stamp being too faint to read.  In any event, better late than never.

Thanks for the cards Matt.

Updated Total:

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Grand Rapids, MI


These two cards were sent by Mathew of Grand Rapids, Michigan,....back in January of 2020.  Recently I found a batch of envelopes that I had carefully set aside in a safe place for future posting, a little too safe I guess, because I ended up forgetting where I put them and only recently stumbled upon the stash tucked away in a box.  So there will be a few more 2020 offerings popping up in the coming weeks (along with my 2021 backlog), at least thats the plan, assuming I don't put them anyplace "safe" again.

That sticker above is of the O-Pee-Chee variety.  It's only my third copy, and the first one to be added to my collection since the original post went up for it back in 2013.

Thanks for cards Mathew.

Updated Totals:

1988 O-Pee-Chee Stickers: 3

1992 Score: 111

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Leesburg, GA


This autographed '84 Donruss was sent from Leesburg, Georgia by Dub Mentality.  It even has a little hologram sticker stuck to the back to show that it's legitimate.  I'm not an autograph expert by any means, but I can say I looked at this one a little bit closer due to the sticker.  I'd guess that wasn't the desired effect of the company printing off the stickers, but it's the effect it had on me.  Unfortunately, despite the closer inspection, my authenticating skills did not magically improve and I still don't have a clue.  It looks okay to me.  I can't imagine there is enough of a market for Wallach autographs to make forging them a worthy endeavor. 

That said, I am quite comfortable asserting that this is definitely an authentic 1984 Donruss card.  As someone who once got burned on eBay with a bogus 1984 Donruss Darryl Strawberry fifteen years ago or so, it's a set I always give a second look at now.  Some of you younger collectors may not remember, but back in the late 80's there was no shortage of knock-off copies of the 1984 Donruss Darryl Strawberry's and Don Mattingly's.  They were right up there with the '75 Yount and '63 Rose for popular cards to counterfeit.  I've yet to come across a counterfeit Wallach, and to be honsest, it's kind of disappointing that no one saw Wallach as enough of a prospect to counterfeit cards of back in the early 80's.

Thanks for the card Dub.

Updated Total: 

1984 Donruss: 170

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sunday Edition

Vintage Binging

    A few weeks ago I came across two stray packs of 2021 Topps in my local Target for the first time since their release.  I bought them both, and haven't seen any since.  While I'm not going to sit here and say I don't miss buying a couple packs of cards here or there along with my toothpaste and coffee filters, I have found other ways to scratch my card collecting itch.  Specifically, I'm making huge strides with my vintage set builds and vintage purchases.  Below is look at some of the cards I've picked up over the last month or so.  

I hadn't finished a vintage set since 2017 when I completed 1970 Topps.  With the arrival of those two cards above, I finally completed 1972 Topps.  It's a project I've been working on for four years, but made huge strides on in the last six months.  I guess I have the sad pathetic saps setting up camping gear in Target parking lots to thank for my recent progress.

Bobby Veale arrived in the mail after Rick Monday, so officially he goes down as the "last card."  Not to pat myself on the back too much, but finishing off this set really feels like one of the bigger collecting "accomplishments" I've ever had.  Between the last two series and all the star power in the first four series, this set really was a monster to complete.

I'm sure every set builder can relate to the annoyance of shipping cost on small purchases.  Often it's $3 plus to ship one card that may only cost a quarter, or dollar or two.  I find with many sellers, especially on sites like Sportlots, it cost the same to ship 1 or 2 cards as it does for 10 or 12 cards.  As result, when I'd by a '72 I needed, I'd max out the shipping capacity by filling up my cart with other set needs.  I actually inadvertently completed the 1974 set prior to '72 using this method.  The 1975 Topps mini set is another effort that has seen some strides towards completion due to this approach.  I don't expect to complete it this year, but it's not outside of the realm of possibility.  Here's a look at cards I'm looking for in the '75 Mini set.  I have a lot of duplicates and am more than willing to trade: 

1975 MINI: 6, 7, 9, 28, 33, 43, 60, 76, 81, 90, 111, 120, 130, 141, 154, 166, 168, 169, 179, 182, 189, 192, 199, 205, 207, 208, 211, 221, 223, 233, 245, 255, 256, 259, 262, 264, 268, 269, 271, 280, 281, 295, 308, 310, 311, 312, 319, 323, 327, 330, 337, 347, 356, 362, 371, 372, 379, 384, 385, 402, 414, 415, 518, 425, 427, 430, 435, 539, 440, 442, 450, 456, 459, 460, 462, 463, 466, 467, 469, 474, 475, 487, 488, 489, 493, 497, 501, 508, 511, 522, 524, 532, 533, 537, 546, 560, 563, 556, 558, 559, 575, 578, 582, 590, 591, 593, 595, 599, 603, 607, 612, 615, 617, 618, 619, 621, 623, 624, 626, 628, 631, 632, 636, 637, 638, 643, 645, 650, 658, 660

1973 Topps is going to be my next primary focus.  I opted for that over '71 for the simple reason that I'm closer to completion.  That Hank Aaron above is a card that has eluded me on eBay for years.  I don't know how many times I lost out on one with someone else's last minute bid.  This predates my set building days.  Some people might find issue with it's condition, but they'd be wrong.  It's awesome.  I've had similar issues with the Willie Mays as a Met card.  I've wanted that since the days Topps cards still came with gum, but have never been willing to pay what others are.  Here's what I'm still looking to pick up:

1973: (2nd Ser.) 305, (3rd Ser.) 410, 442, 447, 448, 453, 473, 474, 482, (4th Ser.) 529, 530, 533, 536, 542, 550, 556, 563, 567, 569, 575, 576, 582, 590, 595, 596, 601, 603, 608, 609, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, 616, 619, 620, 622, 623, 625, 627, 628, 632, 633, 635, 636, 637, 638, 639, 640, 641, 644, 645, 646, 647, 649, 650, 652, 653, 656, 658, 659

Using my maxing out shipping rates strategy, these '71 Topps landed in my mailbox as well.  If I manage to complete the '73 set this year, this will be the next focus.  By the time I get to it, I imagine it'll be the last remaining set from the 70's on my list.  I haven't even posted a need list for it yet, but I'm about 200 cards short or so.

This batch of '77 Topps included a large portion of the most overrated "dynasty" in baseball history.  For a group that won all of two World Series they sure get a lot of attention and respect.  It's not that I don't think there were a lot of great players worthy of the Hall of Fame on those Reds teams, I'll just never understand why they get more historical ball washing than say the A's of the 70's who won 3 World Series, or have more Hall of Famer's than the Bernie William's led Yankees who won four and went to six.  In any event, I have most of the '77 Topps Reds now, and my need list for the rest of the set is so small I'm not even going post it, I expect to be finishing it within the next few weeks.

1953 Topps has long been a set that I've slowly been making strides on.  Somewhere along the line over the last 8 to 10 years, it's actually started to show some semblence of being within reach.  I'm to the point where every time a batch of cards arrives, one or two of them completes the 8-pocket page in my binder when I sleeve them.  I've gone so far to keep a list of what's left.  

1953: (1st Ser.) 10, 31, 37, 48, 54, 61, 62, 66, 68, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78, 86, 96, 109, 111, 114, 120, 121, 134, 135, 138, 142, 146, 147, 149, 151, 158, 160, 162, (2nd Ser.) 191, 206, 216, (3rd Ser.) 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 228, 230, 232, 233, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 269, 270, 272, 273, 274, 276, 277, 278, 280

Sort of at the other end of the spectrum of my collecting habits is this Felipe Rivero.  You can be forgiven if you don't remember Rivero, he changed his name to Felipe Vazquez for reasons that I'm not interested enough to research.  Felipe after changing his name was a two time All-Star in 2018 and 2019, but is now on the restricted list (just cut the scumbag already) after being charged with soliciting child pornography.  I don't have a side project of athletes who go to  prison, this was just the last card I needed to complete the 2017 Topps set.

I came across these two cards on eBay at prices that I couldn't really say no to.  The corner of the '62 Spahn is hanging by a thread, but I don't mind.  That card is pretty spectacular in hand and I highly recommend finding one of your own in a condition that suits your budget.  You won't regret it.  Fun fact, since Spahn's retirement, no one in baseball has won more career games than he did.

These three aren't for any set builds, but they're the sort of cards I love picking up.  The Wilhelm is currently sitting on my bookshelf.  I don't really advertise that I collect cards to my friends in "real life," but I do keep a rotating assortment 3 or 4 cards subtly placed on a bookshelf in my house, or stuck to my fridge with a magnet, if anyone were to look closely.  I haven't had a chance to try Wilhelm's grip yet, but hope to soon.

Vintage hockey may not be for everyone, but I love the stuff.  Here's a pair of 1957-58 Parkhurst that I found in my price range, less than $2 apiece.

Larry Csonka is a proud member of the #44 legacy at Syracuse.  It's a group that includes the likes of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Derrick Coleman and John Wallace.  After Wallach cards, collecting former Orangemen is probably my oldest running collecting habit.

Finally I'll end with this.  It's beat to hell and has paper loss, but that's the only reason I finally own one given it's normal price tag.  This is the first standard size card of the player I consider to be the greatest basketball player of all-time.  My list may be unorthodox, but I can defend it well.

Spare me the recency biased ignorance about the Jordan/LeBron debate.  Kareem won three National Titles (more than those two guys combined, and as a freshman at UCLA, his freshman squad would run the National Title winning varsity off the floor), he won six NBA Titles, was a 19x All-Star, 15x All-NBA selection, and is the All-Time Leading Scorer.  I'm embarrassed for people when they suggest someone other than Kareem is the greatest player of all time.  He was so dominant they literally banned dunking for a time.  It's like that old adage about it being better to be remain silent and be thought a fool then opening your mouth and confirming it.

This card is going to remain on my bookshelf for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Card Barrel Pickup

One of the first websites I discovered as a source of buying Wallach cards in bulk was a page called "Just Commons."  For a few years it was probably my best source of Wallach's.  I also used for filling out my modern Topps set builds as it often charged well under the 18¢ minimum price on Sportlots.  "Just Commons" is just one seller though, and there are only so many times you can go to the same well before it runs dry, and eventually I cleaned out the Wallach inventory.  

The site has since changed it's name to "Card Barrel," and I still use it about once a year to see what kind of restock has occurred.  This haul of 71 Wallach's is my most recent pick up from the site.  Above you can see a nice haul of early 80's Topps, Fleer, and Donruss.

There was also a nice batch of some of my favorite later Wallach cards including five K-Mart Dream Teams, and a few '91 and '92 Fleer.  The five Silver '95 Collector's Choice SE are probably the most copies of that card I've ever picked up at once.

The highlights of the bunch were these O-Pee-Chee.  I don't care how many copies of OPC Wallach's I acquire, they will always seem exotic to me.  The Topps Tiffany as well to a lesser degree.  Leaf, well, Leaf is cool but for whatever reason just isn't as cool to me.  I imagine it's due to my local card shop having packs of '86 Leaf in 1986, and bought a ton of it.  To this day I've never seen a pack of OPC in the wild.

Updated Totals:

Friday, April 23, 2021

Coventry, Rhode Island

These five cards were sent by Trevor of Coventry, Rhode Island.  It's the first time I've been sent cards from Rhode Island, making it the 44th State I've received cards from.  I've also received cards from The District of Columbia (which hopefully will be a State soon), and four Canadian Provinces.  I'm still looking for cards from Alaska, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.  I guess those States hate baseball, which is grounds enough for me to strip them of their Statehood status.

Thanks for the cards Trevor.

Updated Totals:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Watertown, NY

I've been sitting on these six cards, and probably close to ten other envelopes at this point, for over a month now.  I don't really have an excuse.  I've been pretty focused on my vintage set builds, tried to squeeze the ski season for all it was worth, and well, just lazy.  But hopefully this post will kickstart things and I'll catch up.

I'm sure many of you already guessed who this Dodger rich batch of Wallach cards was sent by from the Watertown label up top, but I'll go ahead and mention it anyway, these were sent by The Night Owl.  Night Owl, in his capacity as the unofficial clearing house of all Dodger Era junk wax, always has an oddball Wallach or two included in his offerings.  This time it was the '94 LAPD D.A.R.E. Wallach.  It's only my fifth copy of that card.  I also couldn't help but notice the stamp.  Very appropriate.

Thanks for the cards.

Updated Totals:

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sunday Edition

Vintage Buying Spree

Today is March 7, and as of this morning I still sit approximately 660 to 792 cards away from completing the 2021 Topps set.  I don't know for sure as I haven't pulled a checklist, or any card for that matter, because I have as of yet to see a single pack of 2021 Topps for sale out in the wild.  Speaking of checklist, when did Topps decide to get rid of those?  I'd go so far as to actually build the update series if it was full of checklist, managers, record breakers, and classic style subsets, instead of fifteen variations of the flavor of the week (how's that stack of Ohtani's working out for you hit chaser guy?).

Since I've been unable to scratch my pack buying itch, I've been splurging on eBay with a ton (at least by my modest spending standards) of "low end" vintage purchases.  To be honest, I had decided long before I knew I wasn't going to be able to buy packs of cards, that 2021 would be another factory set year for me due to it's less than eye appealing design (2016, '17, and '20 were also too ugly to spend money building the traditional way).  Also, when I say "low end," that's not meant as a pejorative.  I'm just saying the "condition" of a vintage card isn't too important to me.  The traditional Near Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good and Poor scale has always felt too snobby and overly complicated to me.  I have a three tier scale of: 1. "Wow, that's in really nice shape,"  2. "Wow, that's in nice shape," and 3. "Wow, that's a real vintage card."  I know there is a craze right now to take your card, send it a stranger not affiliated with MLB, the Players Union, or any card manufacturer, who has no professional licensing board, has no required training, or required experience of any kind, is accountable to no one, and (for a very large fee) they'll arbitrarily and subjectively tell you what shape your card is in, and give it a score like some East German Figure Skating Judge, then lock the card inside a giant ugly case that can't be opened or put in a 3 ring binder page.  To each their own I guess.  Here's a look at what I now own after a two week binge:

A half dozen 1953 Topps were the oldest of the bunch.  That black book isn't new.  It's my trusty Topps checklist book that I put together years ago and has been far more useful than I ever envisioned.  I spent the better part of a decade slowly piecing together the first 310 cards in the 1952 set.  They now sit wonderfully in 8-pocket pages inside a three ring binder.  I own exactly 2 of the 97 high numbers.  So rather than chase those, I've turned my attention to '53.  I've been slowly working on it for a few years now, and on that note, please indulge a plug for my side-project blog: 

I've long trolled eBay for low grade vintage and about ten years ago lucked into an extremely beat up, but authentic '53 Mantle, for a price that I couldn't touch today.  I started looking for the Willie Mays next and imposed a $100 price cap.  I could of landed a few of them back then for under that, but my own frugalness kept my bids even lower than that cap and they got away.  I didn't worry about it then.  Now I can't envision ever getting into one for under a grand.  Which is to say, I'll probably never complete the set.  I'm about half way done as it stands.  

If I weren't such a "Topps Snob" I would make a run at the 1955 Bowman set, don't adjust your dials, there was no pun intended.  1951 Bowman (sans the two RC's) and '54 Bowman are sets I imagine would be fun to work on as well, but won't be attempting anytime soon.  That said, there are some really great looking Bowman cards from the early 50's.  The umpires in the '55 set are definitely a run I plan to complete.  Hal Dixon here is my third umpire from the set.  The '54 Rizzuto is actually my second copy of that card.  I don't have any deep love of Phil Rizzuto, but when a '54 Bowman Rizzuto is available for less than the price of a beer at Wild Wing's, I'm not one to say no, with or without corners.

None of these cards are from sets I'm currently building.  But when I'm making a purchase from a seller who combines shipping, I look around.  1957 is set I desperately want to build, but I can only have so many efforts going at once.  That said, when the opportunity to snipe a couple on the cheap presents itself, I take it.  Luis Aparicio might be the least expensive Hall of Famer of the era to buy cards of.  I don't know why that is, but I'm all too happy to pick up his cards as a result.  

I am so close to finishing this 1972 set that I can literally taste the stale gum off the back of the cards.  This large group has me to the point that I can name the players remaining by card number as I've become very acquainted with their names.  On a side note, who the hell is paying so much for the Bobby Murcer base card and Tim Foli "In Action?"  Seriously, what gives?  Is this some sort of lesser version of the '64 Curt Flood or '66 Bart Shirley situation that I'm unaware of?  Regardless, here's what I'm still looking for (and I have nice stack of duplicates to offer in trade): 

1972: (5th Ser.) 550, 560, (High #'s) 688, 706, 708, 709, 710, 714, 719, 724, 729, 730, 751, 753

Finally I picked up this quartet of 70's set needs.  I would have bet (and lost) my arm that I already had the '76 Bench.  Maybe I did at one point, and lost it to time, but I have it again now.  The '75 Mini Carter is a big one (sorry), but I still have about 200 cards to go to finish that set.  I'm close enough that I went out and bought the mini 9-pocket pages to sleeve what I have.  The pair of '73 Topps are both set needs, but I think I'll be going after 1971 after I finish '72, but it never hurts to get a head start.

Thanks for reading.