30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, January 15, 2018

Our Community is a Great Example

The past year has truly opened my eyes to a lot of things involving gender and cultural equality, politics, social justice, and the fact that we really haven't progressed as far as I once thought in these areas.

Apple Think Different Poster (1990's)

However I have hope that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream will one day come true, because I witnessed first hand that people can hang out, work, and live together in relative harmony.

My Classroom

I was fortunate to grow up in a community filled with people from different ethnic backgrounds.  Was it perfect?  Of course not, but the vast majority accepted each other.  And I've witness people coming together to support each other much more often than the other way around.

I am also blessed to have family members, friends, co-workers, and students that span almost every ethnicity imaginable.  This experience has helped me have a deeper appreciation for other cultures.

This includes our amazing sports card blogging community.  We come from all over the world to write and read about a common interest.  On a daily basis we're able to read blog posts recapping generous care packages.  We can read comments offering condolences for the loss of loved ones or congratulations on new additions to families.

Over the past eight years, I've published over 1,600 posts and I can't remember a single offensive comment left on my blog, nor do I remember reading any racist comments on the blogs I'm subscribed to.

The beautiful thing is we find a way to keep things positive among us, even though we don't always agree.  We might argue over who should and shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.  Our favorite sports teams might battle each other.  Heck we might even talk a little smack.  We collect different things and it's safe to say that there aren't two collections out there that are exactly alike.  But at the end of the day, we accept and respect each others' differences.

Now don't get me wrong.  I realize that our cardboard community is only a small sample size in regards to our country or planet.  But it's a start in the right direction.

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr.!  Happy Monday and sayonara!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Embracing My Heritage

I've made my fair share of mistakes in life.  I mean, who hasn't?  But in hindsight, there aren't a lot of life-altering regrets.  Sure... I could nitpick and say I regret buying a bunch of Mike Greenwell rookie cards or tell you about how I regret not studying harder in middle school.  But honestly... those are just things I have accepted as part of life.  We live and learn.

One thing I would probably change is embracing my Japanese heritage much earlier in life.  Hopefully this doesn't offend anyone, but my family called me a "banana" for years because I was yellow on the outside and white on the inside.  I didn't start going out of my way to learn about the Japanese culture until my 30's.  I'm really glad I did though, because it eventually led to my interest in Japanese trading cards.

Last month, Ryan who runs the blogJapanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko, sent me a flat rate box for the holidays.  Inside was this HUGE addition to my Japanese PC:

I didn't have to be in touch with my Japanese heritage to know who is featured on this beautiful vintage baseball card.  That's Sadaharu Oh!  He's one of the greatest Japanese baseball players of all-time and is best known for hitting 868 home runs.

Of course, I wanted to know more about this card, so I searched Google images and eventually found a post written by The Commish which informed me that this card is a 1973 Menko.

Ryan included this really cool, vintage sumo card album:



Inside of the album were these four trading cards:

Just like the Oh, I had no idea what these were.  However last year, I purchased the greatest, most informative book on Japanese sumo wrestling cards around:

His book helped me identify the four sumo cards.  Here's the excerpt from the book:

Looks like Topps wasn't the only card company to produce minis in 1975.  As you can see, Ryan includes a checklist and an informative writeup that discusses the history behind the set.  This book is truly amazing.  There are hundreds of sets listed and thousands of color photos.  If you are interested in purchasing a copy, click here.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

One vintage Japanese card I wasn't able to identify was this:

I'm pretty sure it's a Menko, but I don't recognize the wrestler.  I also assume that he's not a sumo wrestler, which is why I didn't bother to look for this card in Ryan's book.  Any ideas?  Anyone?

If the vintage, Japanese cards weren't enough... he also sent me a nice stack of packs.  Some were unopened.  Others were packs he had opened and reviewed on his blog and at A Pack to Be Named Later.

Here's a rundown of the opened packs:

2017 BBM Infinity

1997 Bandai K-1 Round One

2016 BBM Masterpiece

1998 Bandai WCW/NWO

1997 BBM Sparkling Fighters

Last year, Ryan moved to Germany and has already started to familiarize himself with their trading cards.  Here's a pack of 2017 Topps Star Wars Rogue One (Germany Edition) cards:

Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I love anything Star Wars related... so these are really cool additions to the collection.

Before I wrap things up with the remaining German trading cards, I wanted to show off these delicious treats he included in the box:

These aren't you everyday, run-of-the-mill chocolate covered cookies.  I was blown away by the quality of chocolate used.  I'm kind of a chocolate snob and this was some of the creamiest chocolate I've eaten in awhile.

Okay.  Now for the grand finale.  Last August, showed off his Neil Armstrong rookie card from the 1967 Heinerle set.  I was super excited to see that he donated a few duplicates to my collection:

One card really stood out:

1967 Henerle #110

I'm sure a lot of you saw Billy's favorite non-sports cards last week.  One of these days, I am going to borrow his idea and make my own list.  When I do, this card will definitely be featured.  Here's a closer look:

If you're not familiar with this famous photo, it was taken on August 23rd, 1966 from the Lunar Orbiter and depicts the first photo of Earth from the moon's orbit.  Is that a beautiful sight or what?

Thank you Ryan for the delicious treats and awesome trading cards!  I guess I need to start tracking down some Yuta and Lairds for your collection.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Set Building Inspiration

Manufactured patches.  Collectors seem to either love them or leave them.  Although I can't remember paying a premium for one, I've slowly grown to appreciate them over the years.

Back in 2014, I wrote about my favorite set of manufactured patches which features replica rookie cards.  Wait.  That's right, I did have to pay a premium for the two cards that wrapped up that set.

Anyways, today I wanted to show off some cards from another great looking manufactured patch set.  Back in 2016, I picked up this Catfish Hunter off of COMC for $1.25:

2012 Topps Retired Number Patch #RN-CH

One of the highest honors in baseball is to have a franchise retire a player's number.  To put things in perspective... there have been thirty-six Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics players enshrined in Cooperstown, but the franchise has only retired six numbers and one of them is Jackie Robinson's 42.

Catfish Hunter's #27 was the first number to be retired in franchise history.  The A's retired it on June 9th, 1991.

The dark green borders help the bright yellow swatch pop off of the card.  I thought it was cool that Topps went out of their way to find a photograph of Hunter wearing one of those bright yellow road jerseys.  Although they could have went a step further and found an early 70's photo where the A's used white numbers on their road jerseys.  Oh well... beggars can't be choosers.

Sadly... this card was buried among all of the other Oakland A's cards I've accumulated the past two years... until I recently opened up a Christmas card from Daniel over at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop and saw these two cards:

2012 Topps Retired Number Patch #RN-RH

2012 Topps Retired Number Patch #RN-RJ

After putting these three cards together, I wondered how many other Athletics Topps produced for this set and discovered the only card I'm missing is the Series 1 card of Reggie Jackson that features a gray swatch with a green #9.  I figured I might as well check out how many Padres made the checklist.  There are two: Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield.

2012 Topps Retired Number Patch #RN-DW

To my surprise... I own the Winfield, but not the Gwynn.  I'll periodically look for both Mr. October and Mr. Padre on COMC and eBay.  However I don't think I'm ready to pay a premium for either.  And if I really wanted to go crazy, I could also chase down the Rod Carew, Frank Thomas, Jackie Robinson, and the two Montreal Expos also included in the set.  But I'll save that for a future endeavor.

Getting back to Daniel's Christmas card... he also sent me the following inserts and parallels:

Oh how I miss the Money Ball Era guys.  I've been meaning to create a special section in my collection for these guys, but I just haven't found the time.

Plus he threw in a few new era Oakland Athletics who are no longer around, but are still admired.  And finally a quartet of shiny refractors:

I realize that Topps has flooded our hobby with refractors spanning every possible shade on the color palette, but I'm not gonna lie... they're still my favorite parallels of all-time.

Thank you for all of these awesome cards Daniel!  You've inspired me to build another pair of team sets.  I hope you and your family had a safe holiday season.  Here's to a great 2018!  I'll definitely hit you back with some Diamondbacks for your collection.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Isn't It Iconic, Don't Ya Think?

Back in college, I hung out with a guy who owned a 1982 Topps Traded set.  He wasn't a card collector, but even he knew what he had.  At the time, card #98T was really gaining in popularity because the guy featured on the card front was closing in on Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak.

1982 Topps Traded #98T

Although it's technically not his rookie card, the Cal Ripken Jr. from this set is hands down one of his most desirable cards.  In fact it's one of the most iconic cards from that decade.

Sadly the card was way out of my price range for years.  I remember back in the 90's, there was a time when this card fetched around $200 (maybe more).  It got to the point where I assumed I'd never own a copy.  In fact much like the Hank Aaron autograph I wrote about on Tuesday, I just stopped looking.

Then last year one of my buddies picked up the complete set for around $100, which caught my attention and put the card back on my radar.  I decided to target a graded copy to avoid any counterfeit issues and should have bought one earlier in the year when the prices were a little softer.

Prices have pretty much settled over the past few months on PSA 8 copies.  If you're patient and lucky, you can grab them for around $65.  However most copies sell in the $70 to $80 range.

I purchased my copy for $77 (+ $3 shipping).  Although it wasn't exactly a steal, I was glad to finally add Iron Man to my collection after wanting one for three decades.  I decided to chase down this particular card, because it seemed really clean.  There's a slight centering issue, but it's not significant enough to take away from the card.

Now that I have secured this card, I'd like to own the rest of the set.  I'm also interested in seeing what the future has in store for this card.

I don't envision this card ever commanding the money it once did at its peak in the mid 90's.  On the other hand, it's hard to imagine seeing this card in NM-MT condition drop below $50 either.  I'm thinking this card has leveled out for now, but only time will tell.

Well there ya go.  That's my final big purchase of 2017.

Okay... it's your turn.

When you think of iconic cards from the 80's, which cards do you think of first?

Here's a song to get you in the mood...

I look forward to reading your responses.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!