Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Believe it or not, Iowa has been among the top states listed amongst the COVID-19 hotbeds. Fortunately, just before our latest COVID flare-up, I was able to attend a card show in October for the first time in ages. Usually, it's hosted at the Urbandale American Legion, with dealers coming as far away as Nebraska and northern Iowa.
However, for whatever reason, the American Legion is no longer hosting these Sunday card shows. Since August, a new bar in Ankeny, Uptown Garage Brewing Co,, has been hosting this monthly event. I arrived at 9 a.m., and stayed for an hour or so. I have to say I was amused by the waitress' asking the dealers if they wanted anything to drink, that early in the morning.
Needless to say, whether it's a COVID-19 thing, or whatever, things seem to have changed quite a bit since my last show. For beginners, there were only about a half dozen dealers at the show (Usually there's 7-10). Gone were the nickel and dime boxes - the cheapest loose card box that could be found was 25 cents.
And yes, all the dealers and the majority of those in attendance were wearing masks.
While there was plenty of 2020 baseball product to be found, hockey was in short supply. Besides the "dime" boxes, it seemed as if most of the cards were priced a bit more on the expensive side. I even heard one dealer talking about a certain box running over a $1,200 (I didn't catch which one it was). I love my cardboard, but that's just pure craziness.
I was more than happy, however, to be able to find a plethora of Padres in the quarter boxes.
Where would you like to start with the highlights? Old school Padres players?2018 Donruss Dave Winfield (#112), 2017 Topps Gallery Hall of Fame Winfield (#HOF14), and a 2010 Topps Update Willie McCovey SP (#US15B).How about shiny, new cards for that special Tony Gwynn Collection?
2019 Topps Chrome Update 150 Years of Professional Baseball (#150C24), 1997 SP Special FX (#17), and a 2016 Topps Chrome Holiday Mega Box 3,000 Hits Club (#3000C12).How about shiny, bright, colorful cards?
2020 Topps Chrome Pink Refractors Adrian Morejon (#86), 2019 Topps Chrome Pink Refractors Eric Hosmer (#174), 2020 Topps Chrome Pink Refractors Andres Munoz (#149), and a 2018 Topps Chrome Update Pink Refractors Eric Hosmer (#HMT39).
Perhaps a few cards of one of the Padres' hottest players?
I missed out on El Nino's rookie cards, but here's a few other Fernando Tatis, Jr. cards I picked up. How about four of his 2020 Topps Fernando Tatis Jr. Highlights (From left to right - #FTH11, FTH27, FTH26, and FTH24).
I found three additional Tatis cards, including a 2020 Stadium Club In the Wings (#ITW4), 2020 Topps 2030 (#T202013), and a 2020 Topps Fire (#95).How about a few other "cool" cards (At least, I thought they were cool)?
2020 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractors Michael Baez (#187), 2014 Donruss Press Proofs Silver Everth Cabrera (S/N 84/199) (#113), and a 2017 Topps '87 Topps Silver Pack Chrome (#87WM).
It was just nice to be able to pick up Padres cards from A to U, in a relatively safe environment.
2020 Donruss Optic Rated Prospects C.J. Abrams (#17) and a 2018 Bowman Chrome Hashtag Bowman Trending Refractors (# #LU). By the way, did you know, that no MLB team has ever had a player with a last name beginning with "X" on it's roster.
While it's hard to tell if and/or when there'll be another card show, as the virus makes yet another surge, I was happy, at least for one morning, as I was able to soothe my cardboard longings.
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy out there.
Monday, December 28, 2020
I work as a Recess and Lunch Supervisor at an elementary school in a Des Moines (Iowa) suburb. Our kids are completing on-line education until Jan. 4, when they return to full-time school. As our teachers are still conducting that training from our school, towards the end of the day, I put on the suit on the right (and yes, that's my real beard) and visited each of the teachers in their classroom. Four of the teachers actually called up their husbands to bring their kids to the school, in order to see Santa.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
In my last post, I mentioned how I've been checking out some estate sales and auctions and showed some of the track and field Sportscaster cards I picked up. Today, I'll show you a huge lot of 1990 Collect-a-Books I was able to find at a really decent price.
Issued by the Collectors Marketing Corp. (CMC), a division of Impel, these "books" were patterned after the 1970 Topps Comic Book Inserts. While the Topps set measures 2-1/2" x 3-7/16," the CMC set measures 2-1/2" x 3'1/2. Also, the Topps set consisted of 24 cards, the CMC set had 36.
Each "book" has eight pages and easily fits into a penny sleeve or sheet. The inside pages feature photographs and stats, as well as biographical and personal information about the ballplayer.
The front has a nice color photo of the player, sandwiched between the "Collect-a-Books" logo at the top and the player's name at the bottom. The back has a caricature of the player, illustrated by Ken Vandervoort, a sports illustrator who drew a syndicated weekly sports feature called "Sports by Voort," and an informational blurb, just like the back of a baseball card. Players ranged from Bo Jackson, to Ted Williams, to Bob Feller.
The collection I picked up had only 21 of the 36 cards, and there were a few copies, but for the price, I didn't really mind.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Lately, I've been checking out a few estate sales and auctions, both online and in person. While I have trouble keeping my head above water with some of the sharks that prey on some of the higher end cards you may find at these sales, depending on how they break up collections, I have been able to find enough track and field, Padres and oddball cards to keep me coming back.
For example, during an online auction that piqued my interest last month, I won a bunch of Sportscasters sports cards.
Surely you remember those huge Sportscasters cards - available through subscription only (from 1977-79), with slightly rounded corners and costing less than three dollars for a 24-card pack. Measuring 4-11/16 x 6-1/4 inches, a total of 2,184 different cards were produced for U.S. distribution alone.
These cards are actually printed in Japan and Italy, and have been produced for many other countries and languages. According to the PSA, there are cards in French, Belgian, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, and the United Kingdom. Not sure of your card's country of origin? Sportscaster cards have small numbers printed on the back, for series, country and card number.
Remember when I mentioned there were 2,184 different cards in the American set? Of those, 307 cards featured running-related subjects, ranging from Steve Prefontaine, to the Penn Relays.
Here's the back of his card, complete with a nice, little narrative of his "Roman Glory." As far as I can gather, this is the American version (03 005) of the card, and part of set 8, card #23.
I also was found the perfect storage sleeves for these cards at Michaels, the hobby store. They're labelled Card Storage, from The Paper Studio. They're A7 card storage bags, measuring 5.438 x 7.313 inches. You get 20 to a package, and they're also acid free and archival safe.
And as usual, I have a few leftovers - 15 to be exact. They are Alpine Skiing (Ingemar Stenmark), Archery, Billiards, Curling, Handball (Sweden), Horse Racing (Secretariat), Jail Alai (Pelota), Powerboat Racing, Sand Yachting (Rules and Categories), Surfing, Swimming (Murray Rose), Table Tennis (Holding the Paddle), Tennis (Rod Laver), Yachting ("Kriter'-Craft), Yachting (Robin Knox-Johnston).
And as usual, they're up for grabs. They're all yours if you can send me 2-3 track and field cards (please no Impel, or 2012 & 2016 Topps Olympic Team - I have more than enough), or 2-3 Japanese baseball cards (no American-made Topps or Upper Deck products, please).
Next time, I'll feature another nice estate auction win.
Please, stay safe and healthy out there.
Monday, July 27, 2020
While there's a lot of baseball board games out there, again, Stratomatic comes to mind, there are very few actual baseball "card" games, especially those of the collectible kind.
Once I became a collector, there were two different baseball games I remember collecting and actually playing - Sportsclix, from WizKids, and MLB Showdown, from Wizards of the Coast, the same people who created Magic the Gathering. MLB Showdown came out first, from 2000-2005, with a slight overlap of Sportsclix, which came out 2003-05.
At the height of their popularity, a couple of local gaming shops (both since long gone), held leagues for each of these games. While I enjoyed playing Sportsclix, actually becoming a Sportsclix Coach, or WizKids envoy, who could help adjudicate and run games, I enjoyed MLB Showdown much, much more.
This was a card game I could actually get into. MLB Showdown cards were nice, bright and fairly easy to read, with nice game action shots on the front. It was a hoot to play and the gameplay seemed more realistic, especially when strategy cards came into play, plus you didn't have to click your characters after every at bat.
The only downside, is like other Wizards of the Coast games (can you say "Magic the Gathering") they would come out with multiple sets each year, including Pennant Run and Trading Deadline, as well as those must have strategy cards, such as "Go Up Hacking." In the 2001 printing alone, there were 462 cards in the base set (including 75 strategy cards), 175 in Pennant Run (25 strategy), and 50 "promo" cards.
For our 2001 MLB Showdown season, we held a pack draft. Each player bought four packs of the 2001, 1st Edition, and four packs would be opened at a time, the strategy cards were removed, and the player cards were then spread out on the table. Once you got a look at who was available, the draft began.
I believe I had the third or fourth pick, so I immediately went for Randy Johnson (foil) as my number one pick. It was a wise decision, as he became the ace of my staff. If I remember right, I believe I finished fourth in our nine-team league, but for the life of me, I don't remember any of my other player cards, except for Padre reliever Troy Hoffman, who usually got the job done for me.
Fast forward to 2020, where my collecting interests have since expanded to Japanese baseball cards.
Takara originally produced a 30-player baseball game set for the six-team Central League (from 1978 - 80) but expanded their print run to include each of the 12 teams from the Nippon Baseball League in 1981. Each set included two dice, a playing sheet, a team logo card, as well as a set of instructions, printed in Japanese, of course.
Recently, I found a 1990 Takara Nippon-Ham Fighters set off E-Bay, with Mat Winters, who played five years with the Fighters, showing through the front slot.
These 2-1/8" x 3 - 3/8," rounded-corner cards are okay, with player shots from the chest up, as modeled by Winters. He's decked out in the Fighters' red and yellow striped jerseys, which the team wore from 1982-1992. The players' biographical information can also be found on the front of the card.
One issue I've found, is since it's printed in Japanese, there are no player names, only their uniform numbers are listed. I've noticed a disparity between Gary Engel's Japanese Baseball Card Checklist Price Guide (Vers. 2.1), and the Trading Card Database website checklist. For example, Engel lists the #9 card above as Matt Winters, while the TCDB lists him as Brian Dayett. There's also a few other differences with a few of the other players in this team set.
While I trust Engel's guide implicitly, it does get a bit confusing at times.
As for playing the game istself, Dave, over at Japanese Baseball Cards ran a post on game play a few years ago ( http://japanesebaseballcards.blogspot.com/2008/02/takara.html ). However, I'm pretty sure I won't be playing Takara baseball - I don't think the collector in me will allow it.
I've also since found a 1990 Toyo Carp set as well, and am awaiting delivery from Canada.
Stay safe and healthy out there.