Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mystery Men

As a player and team collector, I typically buy cards of specific players who I enjoy collecting.  But every now and then, I'll add a card to my collection of a guy I've never seen or heard of.  Ryan over at Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko sent me a package with a few cards featuring guys who are complete mysteries to me.

First up is this die-cut sumo wrestler...


I have no idea who this is, since I don't read Japanese.  But that doesn't matter, because this card is sweet!  If you're a fan of Topps Laser products from the mid 90's, then you'd love this card too.

The next mystery man is this Japanese baseball player that kinda reminded me of the Japanese soldier on Gilligan's Island:


It seems like a lot of Japanese men wore the circular spectacles back in the day.  I wonder if this guy was a coach or something.  And is Chub Nipon the same thing as Chubu Nippon?  It doesn't matter.  This Menko disc is awesome and a welcome addition to my Japanese baseball card collection.

The mystery continues with another Japanese baseball player...


Based on the photo, I can see that it's a Hiroshima Carps player probably from the 60's or 70's.  I tried to find the card on the internet, but couldn't find another copy.  Whoever it is... it's another fantastic vintage Japanese card.

The final mystery man is a boxer...


I'll be honest... I'm having difficulty figuring out if this guy is even Japanese.  Maybe this is a famous American boxer.  Either way I'm happy, because it represent my first Japanese boxing card.

Ryan also sent me a bunch of famous guys too...


Here's a Recollection buyback of The Kid from this year's Topps.  I own a bunch of Carter cards featuring him with the Montreal Expos, so it's kind of nice to add a New York Mets card to the binder.

In addition to the Carter, he sent me four additional buybacks:


I obviously heard of Jerry Reuss and Al Cowens.  I kinda remember Littell or at least I've seen his name on cards before.  Never heard of Nelson Briles, but he's not exactly a mystery man.  Thanks to Wikipedia and Baseball Reference, I discovered he's a 2x World Series Champion and a Santa Clara University alumni.

Here's another guy who's not a mystery.  In fact, he's probably the most recognizable guy in the area of martial arts...


This is the fifth Bruce Lee Japanese card I've added to my collection and all of them were from Ryan.  

And if those cards weren't generous enough... he also threw in a bunch of unopened packs:

2016/17 BBM Fast Break 1st/2nd Half

1997 Takara Basscolle '97

I'll be busting a pack of each of these and showing them off over on A Pack to be Named Later sometime in the near future.  The rest will be added to my unopened Japanese pack collection.

Thank you Ryan for this awesome care package!  I will definitely get something shipped out to you before you head off to Germany this summer.  Until then...

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Eye of the Tiger

It's funny... a fighter is the last thing any of my friends or family would consider me.  In fact, I've only gotten into one physical altercation in my lifetime and it involved me jumping on a guy's back, him throwing me to the ground, and then him sitting on me until the yard duty arrived.  I know... it's not one of my finer moment's.

Anyways...let's get back on track.  Even though I'm not a fighter myself, I've always enjoyed sports like mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and that's what today's post is all about.

However... before we get to the cardboard, let's set the mood with some Survivor...


There are a handful of songs from my childhood that literally get the adrenaline flowing and this song is one of them.  Now that we've got some mood music in the background, let's check out some cards that Chris over at The Raz Card Blog recently sent me...


2016 Topps Slam Attax #259

Two weeks ago, he wrote a post about these WWE gaming cards and I asked him if Topps produced Harry Fujiwara or Ricky Steamboat cards.  Topps dropped the belt and left Mr. Fuji off their checklist, but it was nice to hear that they showed The Dragon some love.  As I've mentioned a few times on this blog, he's one of my favorite wrestlers of all-time.  Raz pulled an extra from his packs and generously sent it my way.

He also sent me another duplicate sitting in his collection:

2016 BBM True Heart Autograph #NNO

I honestly don't follow Japanese women's wrestling, but I always enjoy reading about their trading cards on Raz's blog.  The wrestlers featured in BBM's True Heart sets always seem to have the coolest autographs around and Dash Chisako doesn't disappoint.  I love how she incorporates a face into her signature.  Wouldn't it be cool to see Mike Trout infuse a glove into his autograph?

Last... but certainly not least are these two cards of Daniel Cormier:

2016 UFC Museum Collection Meaningful Material #DCO
2016 Topps UFC Top of the Class Black #TOC7

DC trains right down the street from my place and is one of my favorite UFC fighters.  He's also currently the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and is set to fight Anthony Johnson again in two weeks.  The two fought two years ago for the vacant title after Jon Jones had his title stripped from him.  Johnson has the ability to knock out DC, but hopefully Cormier will wear him down like he did the first time and retain the title.

Thank you Chris for this very generous care package!  Spring Break will be coming up in a few weeks and when it arrives, I'll make sure to ship some cardboard in your direction.

Until then... happy Saturday and sayonara!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Tried So Hard

Why don't we have more Blog Bat Arounds?  It's a brilliant concept that gives all of us the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions on a single topic.  

Last week, Nachos Grande asked us...



What's the hardest set that you have ever collected or tried to collect?

Three baseball sets came to mind...


Set #1:  1981 Granny Goose A's



Depending on how you approach this set, it was either very easy or very difficult to build.  On one hand, if you don't consider short prints as part of sets... then I picked up the 14 card set above with one click of a button.



However, I wasn't satisfied with that.  I really, really, really wanted the hard to find Dave Revering short print too.  Call if California dreamin'...



Back in 1981, Revering was traded to the New York Yankees and rumor has it that most of his cards were destroyed.  But a few cards slipped through the cracks and were distributed to collectors which created a pretty rare collectible.


It took a few years and some patience, but I finally added one to my collection for $11.49 (free shipping) off a local guy who posted his copy on eBay and my 1981 Granny Goose set was officially complete.



Set #2: 1988 Kenner Starting Line Up





Back in the 90's, I was 100% into the Kenner Starting Lineup craze.  Remember the crazy people who stood in line waiting for stores to open, so they could get first crack at the new figures?  Well... that wasn't me.  But I would go to Toys R' Us and Kaybee Toys on a regular basis looking for stars I needed.

A few years ago, I came to the realization that the figures took up too much space, so I decided to focus on the cards that came inside of the package instead.  That's when I decided to build the inaugural baseball set, which consists of a whopping 124 cards.




There was a brief two to three month period where I searched eBay on a daily basis in an effort to complete this set.


It proved challenging for two main reasons.  It was hard finding certain guys who were distributed in their local regions only, which led to the second problem... cost.  Smart vendors research what they own, so they price these cards accordingly.

Unfortunately, I refused to pay $5 for a Buddy Bell or Kevin Seitzer card, so I waited and waited and waited.  Then I found a guy who listed reasonable priced lots on eBay with the cards I needed, which meant I only need one more card:




I have no idea the Nolan Ryan is so pricey, but it is.  I refused to pay sellers ridiculous prices, but when I was down to just this card... I bit the bullet and purchase two copies for $20.  It's a little more than I wanted to pay, but it was worth it to complete the set.


Set #3: 1998 Donruss Signatures Significant Signatures




The final set took me seventeen years to build, although to be honest... I didn't originally think I'd ever actually own the entire set.  It started out with me picking up singles I wanted.  But at some point, I realized I have more than half of the set, so why not collect them all?



The Duke Snider was the final piece of the puzzle.

Or was it?  Technically there are still two more cards I'm trying to track down:

#1:  Catfish Hunter (signed in blue ink)

#2:  Billy Williams (non-redeemed)

According to Beckett, Catfish signed some of his cards with blue Sharpie too.  I've seen plenty of black signatures over the years, but the blue signature has eluded me.


Billy's story is a little different.  Donruss chose his autographed card to be the Sandy Koufax redemption card.  Collectors who pulled a Billy Williams autograph could send it in for the Koufax autograph.  Solid trade, right?  When collectors received their Koufax, they also got their Billy Williams autograph too.  Donruss stamped the Williams with the word "redeemed" on the back to prevent collectors from sending it in again.  I'm looking for one of the Williams cards that was never redeemed.




Both of these cards are proof that you can't always get what you want.  I'm actually content with the cards I have now... but if either of these cards pop up with a reasonable price tag, I'll snag them.


Until then... why don't you join the fun and respond to Nacho Grande's question...



What's the hardest set that you have ever collected or tried to collect?

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Black Beauty

Back in November, I listed out some of my favorite black bordered sets in honor of Black Friday.  I had a good time flipping through my binders looking for cards to use in the post.  I covered everything from 1971 Topps baseball to 1989 Kenner SLU football, but there were two sets I left out of the post:  1962 Topps football and 1991 Topps Toys R' Us Rookies.

In January I added a 1962 Topps Bart Starr card to my collection... and on Saturday I opened up a package from Tom over at The Angels, In Order and saw this:


Damn... that's a mighty fine looking card.  From 1987 to 1991, Topps produced 33 card small boxed sets for Toys R' Us.  


Each year, Topps would switch up the color of the borders and card back designs, but they would always use the same simple, yet attractive set design.  The 1987 and 1991 sets both used the black borders, but if you look at the Frank Thomas card you'll notice the word "Rookies" is printed with white text in a blue background.  The 1987 set substitutes blue for pink.

I'm such a big fan... that my goal is to eventually collect all 165 cards and display them in a binder.  So far, I have the 1988, 1989, and 1990 sets... but I still need the bookends.

Well... that's it for today.  I hope all of you have a great week.  Tom... thanks again for the cards.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Giving Thanks


In the last two weeks, I received five packages from fellow bloggers and one YouTuber.  I've been meaning to write up individual thank you posts, but between putting in long hours at work, watching WBC and March Madness games, attending San Jose Sharks and San Jose Earthquakes games, and trying my best to keep up with everyone's blog posts... it just wasn't going to happen within a respectful time frame.

I remember hearing that people have a year to send out wedding thank you's.  That just seems insane. I'm not sure what the rule is for sports cards, but I'm reaching the two week mark on some of these packages and the last thing I want is for people to think that I don't appreciate their generosity.

So without further adieu...

Thank You #1:  Tom @ The Angels, In Order


Earlier in the month, I mentioned that I was going to build the 1990 Upper Deck Comic Ball 1 base and hologram set.  Tom left a comment offering me these two holograms.  That leaves me only in need of the Road Runner hologram and three base cards.

In addition to these two shiny holograms, he also hooked me up with a nice stack of Frank Thomas cards:


There was also a 1991 Topps Toys R Us card of The Big Hurt, which I set aside for a future post.  It's one of my favorite Frank Thomas cards in my binder.

Thank you Tom!  Like I said before... I have a few Angels cards set aside for you.  I'll ship them out to you during my Spring Break which happens in mid-April.


Thank You #2:  Chris @ The Pedestrian Collector

Last month, Chris mentioned on his blog that he was going to bust 5 boxes of 2017 Heritage and offered to trade some of his duplicates to fellow bloggers.  I mentioned that I was interested in the Oakland Athletics, so he hooked me up with these:


I was really excited to see the Ryon Healy/Jharel Cotton card.  Both of these guys are young players who have the opportunity to do big things in Oakland with the possibility of being traded for more prospects (insert a sarcastic wink, wink).

There were also these two Rediscover Topps buybacks added to the batch of Heritage:


Maybe I'll try to build a 1987 Topps A's team set of these buybacks.  I happened to pick up one of the bigger names at the flea market today.  Stay tuned.

In addition to the Heritage, he threw in a stack of inserts from various teams/players I collect:


And rounding out the package was this sweet addition to my Hockey Enforcers PC:

2003/04 Topps Tough Material #TM-GL

Georges Laraque is a beast.  A beast who gave frequent beatdowns to challengers willing to go toe to toe with him in the rink.  He's one of my favorite hockey enforcers of all-time.

Thank you Chris for the package of cards.  I don't have a lot of extra Red Sox, but I'll definitely scrape up some New Jersey Devils and extra Green Bay Packers I have laying around.


Thank You #3:  Daniel @ It's Like Having My Own Card Shop

Back in mid-February, Daniel offered up a lot of 57 cards to anyone willing to pay $2.50 to cover shipping.  I took him up on the offer, but he never accepted my money.

Here's a look at the refractors and inserts that were part of the lot:


My favorite non-refractor was this rookie card of Matt Joyce:

2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects #70

Joyce started off hot at Spring Training hitting two home runs in his first two games.  He's been struggling the past two weeks though... collecting only one hit in his last thirteen at bats.  The good news is there's still a good chance he'll be the A's starting right fielder on Opening Day.

Thank you Daniel!  I know you won't accept my PayPal payment, so I guess you'll have to accept some Diamondbacks for your collection.


Thank You #4:  Hackenbush @ Can't Have Too Many Cards

Back in January, I opened up a blaster box of 2015 Panini Rookies and Stars and pulled a Chicago Bears rookie that Hackenbush was interested in.  I packed it up in a PWE and shipped it off. In return, he sent me some cool San Jose Sharks stickers/magnets:


Thanks David!  If I get anymore Kevin White cards, they're yours.


Thank You #5:  Zane the Man (YouTube Card Collector)

Once upon a time, I was really into watching sports card videos on YouTube.  These days, I've narrowed it down to about ten YouTubers.  Zane the Man is one of them.  He's a down to earth, humble high school kid who makes entertaining videos.  He's a great example of a young collector who has a deep appreciation of our hobby.

Three weeks ago, he had a giveaway and I threw my name into the mix and won.  Here's a look at my winnings:


Zane hooked me up with a pair of autographs... one of which was the Atlanta Braves 2015 1st Round Pick.  In addition to these two signatures, he also sent me:


I'll have to check, but I'm pretty sure I don't own the Jackie Robinson or Billy Burns yet.

Thank you Zane!  Keep up the great work... and I look forward to watching future videos.

Well that's it for now.  There's a bunch of games I'll be following over the next few hours.  I'll be watching USA take on the Dominican Republic in the Final Pool F game, while monitoring the San Jose Sharks and San Jose Earthquakes scores.  And in between commercial breaks, I'll be checking in on Purdue and UVA tournament games.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!