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.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sportlots Pickup

I picked up these Wallachs on Sportlots recently along with a few 1970's set needs.  I primarily use Sportlots for set building, but when it's economical for shipping purposes, I try to add Wallach cards from whatever seller I happen to be making a purchase from.  This particular seller had a nice assortment of some less common Wallachs including a trio of Tiffany ('84, '85, '87), some Bowman, and good number of '90 Leaf.  Allegedly the '85 Topps Tiffanies are somewhat scarce.  I can't say that's been my experience, thought they are tough to fine with white edges.  Most have a yellowish discoloration, including this one.  If I had photographed the front, you would see that.

Updated Totals:

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Chad Wallach 2020 Topps Heritage #507


Card Review: I like it

I've decided not to give the Chad Wallach cards number grades out of ten the way I do the Tim Wallach cards.  It's just fun to see Chad Wallach showing up in regular card sets.  Hopefully he's able to put together a few more years in the majors and show up in a lot more sets going forward.  As it stands, I didn't buy any Heritage this year.  I don't think it ever showed up in my Target.  I suspect the lady who stocks my Target is wise to the current number of certifiably insane lunatics buying new baseball cards right now, and has figured out a way to scam the product for herself to sell on the secondary market.  My area is not a baseball card crazy area.  In twelve years of buying cards at my current Target I've never seen a single other person buying sports cards.  A few kids buying their comic book or pocoman cards or whatever that other stuff is.

After seeing this card, I'm not sure I missed out.  I like the 1971 design, but I'm not sure my life would be better by paying to get to own copies of Francisco Lindor and Tim Anderson on it.  Nothing against those guys, my money is just better spent trying to complete the actual 1971 Topps set.

Number of this card in my collection: 2, but one is plenty and I'm not going to be keeping track.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Sport Mania No. 38 September 1983

I recently picked up this copy of SportMania on eBay.  It's entirely in French, and I don't speak French.  I ran the cover headline through google translate, and according to them, "femmes de baseballeurs" means "Baseball Women."  Sounds legitimate enough to me.  Here's a look at the two page article with Lori Wallach and Jaque Francona:

If anyone speaks French and feels like translating this in the comments, by all means, feel free.  I'm not going to transcribe the whole article, but here's the opening paragraph:

Jaque Francona and   Lori Wallach who, comfortably seated in front of a hot dog and a soft drink (their supper), explain with a laugh that being the wife of a baseball player does not mean not just go to the stadium and eat popcorn during the game

I imagine the rest of the article goes on like this with nothing too wild or controversial, but I won't be taking the time to find out.   I'm not sure where this magazine fits into my Wallach collection, but it's certainly a unique peice.  That said, there's been a few oddball items over the years that I've throw this offer out on, and am doing so again with this magazine, if a Wallach family member happens to be reading and wants this issue for their own collection, feel free to email me and I'll send it your way.

The rest of the magazine has some articles on topics ranging from tennis to aerobics.  There's a couple of nice posters, including the one below, and a centerfold of a trio of Montreal Canadian Hockey players that is too large to scan.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

1986 Wallach Lot

I recently picked up this lot of "15" 1986 Wallach cards on eBay.  With the shipping charges it was going to be a couple cents over my per-card cap-price, but I was feeling frivolous with my money that day so I went ahead pulled the trigger on the purchase.  To my pleasant surprise, when the cards arrived, there were 23 of them, not the 15 promised in the eBay description.  The difference knocked the per card price (with shipping) well below my self-imposed eBay limit.  It worked out for everyone I guess.

The 1986 Topps Wallach has long been an afterthought for me.  Amongst what I consider the the "classic" run of Topps Wallach cards from 1982-1991, I've always slotted this card near the bottom, probably 8th or 9th ahead of only the 1991 and 1990.  The only reason I never have it at the bottom of the list, is due to the photo selection of '90 and '91.  I don't care for the 1991 design, but it's a set loaded with some of the best photography Topps has ever put on cards.  The Wallach photo is rather vanilla by comparison, and I always felt sort of blurry too.  I'll preemptively apologize and hedge my next comment as I know it's not popular amongst my fellow vintage enthusiast, but I love the 1990 Topps design and view it as a "sister set" to 1975 Topps.  That's not a hill I'm willing to die on, and will make no effort to convince anyone else to see it my way, but that's the way I see it.  That said, The Wallach photo has never been my favorite.  It's too dark, the cropping is poor, and it's just a weird angle for the photo.

The 2003 Topps Fan Favorite set only served to reinfoce my opinion that a better photo would have made it a much nicer card, as it corrects all of the problems I have with the original.  1990 is also another great set as far as photography.  Though it doesn't get the love of 1991 Topps (and for good reason), some of my favorite players have some really great cards in that set.



Getting back to this 1986 Wallach, I've always been lukewarm on the 1986 Set.  I came to have new found appreciation for the set as a whole when I finally got around to sleeving it in pages a decade or so ago, but the Wallach still didn't jump out at me.  I always thought he looked too small in the frame of the card.  I think I'm willing to admit I was wrong.  I'm not sure I like it enough to jump it ahead of any of the other Wallach Topps cards from the era, but it can certainly hold it's own.

Updated Total: