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:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Centreville, VA


These 34 cards were sent by "Lee" of Centreville, Virginia.  It's one of the more off beat collection of Wallach cards I've been sent in recent years, maybe ever.  I'm not sure a reader has ever sent 8 copies of '83 Donruss at once.  There was also a 1990 Topps coin (it appears to be hidden under cards in the photo above) and an '83 Topps sticker along with four '82 Donurss.

Also of note, this batch of 34 pushed my total number of Wallach cards over the 27,000 mark.  That feels like a lot.

Thanks for the cards.

Updated Totals:

1982 Donruss x4: 240
1983 Donruss x8: 167
1983 Topps Sticker: 44
1985 Donruss: 138
1986 Fleer Mini: 42
1986 Topps Sticker: 52
1987 Donruss: 469
1987 Topps Sticker: 14
1988 Fleer Mini: 17
1988 Kay Bee: 39
1988 Score: 324
1988 Topps Super Star: 35
1989 Bowman: 183
1989 Fleer: 445
1989 Topps x4: 857
1990 Donruss: 537
1990 Fleer: 491
1990 Score: 358
1990 Topps Coins: 11
1990 Upper Deck: 361
1993 Cardtooons: 6

Monday, February 15, 2021


 Max, of "The Starting Nine" card blog came through with these seven cards recently.  An unexpected side effect of running this blog for the last ten years is I've developed an appreciation for postage stamps.  This offering featured a nice looking John Lennon stamp.

Thanks for the cards Max.

Updated Totals:

1987 Topps x2: 1,028
1988 Topps Big: 74
1989 Bowman: 182
1990 Fleer: 490
1991 Topps: 319
1991 Upper Deck: 350

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday Edition

1972 Topps Set Build

"Trade With Me...Please"

It's been nearly four years since I sleeved #710 Felix Milan into my 1970 Topps binder  and completed the set on April 8, 2017.  1970 Topps was the first series'd vintage Topps I ever completed.  It still remains the only such vintage set I've completed.  

Since that day in April back in 2017, I've turned my focus to the 1972 set.  In retrospect, probably not as much focus as I should have, being far too scatter shot in my multiple ongoing set building efforts, but it's certainly been my primary focus.  As of writing this, I sit 51 cards short of completing the 1972 set.  I've been hammering it pretty hard the last few months, and the end is in sight.  But I can also see the math, and at $3 to $10 apiece for the remaining cards, it could end up being a pricy 51 cards.

As it is, I have a lot of duplicates from 1972 Topps.  I'm talking an 800 count box full of duplicates, including a couple dozen high numbers and a lot of Hall of Famers.  So it occurred to me, maybe I should try the trade route I hear so much about on Twitter.  If you're working on the 1972 set, and have any needs, I'd love to work out a trade and take a break from shelling out dollars on eBay.  Here's what I'm looking for, and have to offer in return (the '72 in the picture at the top are all duplicates as well).

As far as my need list, #581 is one I have already, but would like to upgrade due to significant paper loss on the back.  Which isn't to say I care that much about condition.  Creases, non-existent corners, the stray pen mark, none of that really matters to me.  I just draw the line at paper loss.  For the most part, my duplicates are in VG-EX shape with a few outliers in either direction.

If you want to try to work something out, please, shoot my an email or reach out on Twitter.  Also it doesn't have to be '72 for '72, I'm more than willing to try to find something else you need, or if you need some of these but don't have any of the ones I'm looking for, take a look at my other need list, or even just ask, and I'll probably send you a handful to help out just to help out a fellow collector and reader of this blog.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ten Year Anniversary Post

Ten years ago today I started this blog.  While deciding what to add to the side bar, I added the little box to the right hand column asking people to send me their Tim Wallach baseball cards.  It was sort of a joke.  About a year later someone actually did it.  In January 2012 the "Emerald City Diamond Gems" blog sent me 7 Wallach cards in the mail.  I remember staring at them on my desk in disbelief.  I can't say I actually expected anyone to ever send any cards.  

Since then I've been flooded with cards from generous readers from all over the Country.  It's still a thrill every time a random envelope shows up, and as you may have guessed from the photo above, I've saved every envelope (or at least a part of the larger ones) that I've ever been sent.  I also, thankfully, decided to keep a chart of where every envelope I was sent came from on a Google Map.  It was on a whim, but it's become one of my favorite things about this blog.

When I hit all 50 States I I'll probably print this thing out and frame it in my card room.  Get your act together Montana.

Prior to starting this blog, I had been playing around with a random card blog I created called "Classon Ave."  There wasn't much of a theme to it, other than to post random cards and write about them, one or two at time.  It sort of evolved into a thing where I would write about something random, usually about sports, and then post cards that were loosely related.  However I found I was always resisting the urge to post Wallach cards, and for the most part not posting any, as I didn't think they would interest anyone besides myself.  After about six months of this, I created this blog.  The idea wasn't that anyone would want to read it.  It was going to serve as more of an online data base of my cards.  A way of keeping track of what I had.  The first Wallach card I ever had as a kid was his 1983 Topps card, and that's what I went with for the first post.  Here's the post that started it all back on February 11, 2011:

It took about two years to do a post for every unique Wallach card and item I had in my collection.  Initially, back in 2011, I figured reaching that point would be the end of the blog.  It would be complete, like the wonderful "Oh My O-Pee-Chee" blog after it completed it's inventory of all the OPC variations.  Chance and circumstance had other plans though, as by the time I got around to posting my last unique card (others have since been added), it was clear this blog had evolved into something else. It had become centered around the generosity of readers willing to send their old 80's and 90's junk wax of a more or less forgotten player, for a team that no longer exists, to a stranger in New Mexico.

I know this may be shocking to hear from a guy who owns 27,000+ plus Tim Wallach cards, but I have a few OCD tendencies.  One of them is a love for numbers, and patterns, and tracking them.  It's an itch I have, and one that this blog does a great job of scratching for me.  To mark the occasion of ten years of blogging, I've put together some graphs, showing the relative growth in numbers for ten years of Donruss, Fleer, and Topps Tim Wallach base cards from 1982 to 1991.  I find the results to be fascinating.  I think there are some clear patterns to be found, and probably serve as decent way of estimating print runs for the various sets produced over that ten year period. 1982 is the anomaly, as I believe my numbers are artificially inflated for Wallach's rookie card as at one point in the early 80's, people other than me where hoarding it on speculation it may one day pay for their kids college tuition.

I hope you find these charts as interesting as I did, or at least, a mildly entertaining curiosity.

Topps Base Cards 1982 to 1991

It's pretty clear where the 1982 line spikes around 2014.  It's a by product of there being a large number of 50 to 200+ card lots of it available for purchase on eBay.  But the rest of the chart is about what you might expect.  1983 to 1986 more or less tracks together.  1987 starts off higher, as I had more of them to begin with, and tracks a little steeper as there are more to be found.  Same for 1988 and 1989.  1990 drops a little, probably due to more brands being produced, creating less demand (and lower print runs) for the Topps base set, and 1991 falls more or less in line, albeit below, the 1983-86 levels.  No surprise, as by 1991 there were probably close to a dozen different sets being made with Stadium Club, Leaf, Ultra, Studio, and so on.  Here's a look at the numbers with 1982 removed:

And finally, here's a look at just how closely 1983-1986 track with each other.  I would wager that 1982 would fall more or less in line with this set if Wallach's rookie card had been in say 1980 Topps instead of 1982, but unfortunately there's no way of knowing.

Donruss Base Cards 1982 to 1991

With Donruss, 1988 is clearly the year that production ran wild.  Like Topps, there is near identical cluster of progress from 1983-1986, with '82 tracking just above.  1987, '89, and '90 all show a similar path that is decidedly steaper than the early 80's.  Here's a look at how closely '83 to '86 track with each other:

Fleer Base Cards 1982 to 1991

1989 and 1990 Fleer are clearly the heavy production runs for company.  1982 is up there in total numbers but took a much different, less steady path reaching there.  Again there is a cluster of steady numbers from 1983 to 1986.  If there's anything to be learned here, it's that 1987 Fleer probably had much smaller print runs compared to other years of Fleer, relative to Topps and Donruss.  Do what you will with that information.

Here's 1983-86:

One final chart for you look at, for now, I may do more of these down the road.  I may even take the time to learn how to do fancier ones with better graphics and that easier to read.  But for now, I leave you with this, the three companies from 1984 to 1986 overlaid with each other:

On a final note, thank you to everyone who has ever read this blog over the last ten years.  I didn't start it as a way to get free cards, but it's turned into that.  So in that spirit, I'm going to be doing a series of giveaways over the next ten days.  The first one right here on this blog.  Post a comment, or just leave your name, email or twitter handle as a comment, and I'll use a random number generator to pick someone.  The rest will be on Twitter over the next ten days.

First up are these two cards of the greatest third baseman of all time.  It's a well "loved" 1974 Topps with it's fair share of issues and a '75 Topps mini.  I'm sorry I don't have 500+ copies of each of them to send to everyone whose ever sent me cards, but this is what I can do for now.

Hopefully we'll all still be here to see the numbers for a 20th Anniversary Post

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Citrus Heights, CA


These 37 cards were sent by frequent contributor "Big Shep" of Citrus Heights, California.  It's a nice sized mixed with a few cards that fall on the less common side of the Wallach card spectrum, including the 1995 Leaf, three copies of 1989 Donruss Baseball's Best, and '87 Topps Sticker and '91 Cracker Jack.

You can check out Big Shep's card blog by clicking the George Brett icon at the bottom of this post. Thanks for the cards Shep.

Updated Totals:

1987 Topps: 1,026
1987 Topps Stickers: 13
1988 Score: 321
1988 Topps All-Star: 824
1989 Bowman: 181
1989 Donruss:  514
1989 Donruss Baseball's Best x3: 29
1989 Fleer: 444
1989 Score: 210
1989 Topps x2: 853
1990 Bowman: 131
1990 Donruss x3: 536
1990 Donruss Baseball's Best: 15
1990 Fleer: 489
1990 Topps: 618
1990 Upper Deck x5: 360
1991 Donruss: 319    
1991 Donruss MVP: 301
1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier: 86
1991 Score: 273
1991 Topps: 318
1991 Topps Cracker Jack: 12
1991 Upper Deck: 349
1991 Upper Deck Checklist x2: 290
1993 Score: 41
1995 Leaf: 22