Friday, January 30, 2015

Take the Whole Family!

The last time I took our family (five of us) to a major league baseball game, I had to drop $200 on tickets- and that's not counting concessions or souvenirs. Now, granted, we did have some pretty nice seats on the third base line AND we got to see Ken Griffey Jr.'s final major league at-bat, but still... I couldn't afford that luxury but maybe once a year if we lived any where near a major league city. But once upon a time, a guy could afford to have the best seats in the house without having to break the bank.

As cool as they are, I have never collected team pocket schedules. But I had a change of heart recently as I was searching for Dale Murphy items on eBay- where I came across this item (well, actually a lot of 6) for all of 99 cents.

Eight bucks and change for the best seats you could buy at the box office? Not too bad- I think a guy could have actually attended quite a few games a year at that kind of price. Heck, the wife and kids could have joined him as well.

If there's anyone interested in trading for one of these, shoot me a line & I'll send one your way.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Looking for Junk: 1988 Donruss Braves Wantlist

Once again, I've turned my attention to the task of getting my collection in order. This involves putting team sets into binders, checking a couple of resources that contain checklists and then making want lists. You know the routine- it's tedious, but necessary.

It's hard to believe that someone could actually be missing cards from the junk wax era, but as I'm going through the 1988 Donruss Braves team set, I've discovered that's exactly my predicament. Can anyone out there in cardboard land help a brother out?

Here are the needs and I'm offering up singles from '77, '78, '81-'84 Topps in return.

1988 Donruss Braves Team Set

#22 Glenn Hubbard DK
  67 Ken Oberkfell
  78 Dale Murphy
 143 Ozzie Virgil
 167 Zane Smith
 190 Dion James
 202 Ken Griffey
 266 Dave Palmer
 290 Albert Hall
 314 Glenn Hubbard
 325 Jeff Dedmon
 389 Rick Mahler
 414 Damaso Garcia
 437 Gerald Perry
 448 Rafael Ramirez
 513 Jeff Blauser
 537 Charlie Puleo
 560 Ted Simmons
 571 Pete Smith
 627 Andres Thomas
 644 Tom Glavine
 654 Ron Gant

"The Rookies"
10 Pete Smith
47 Ron Gant
49 Kevin Coffman

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Unflattering Photos

Yesterday's post featured a card I found on the COMC website, but it wasn't the only example of cardboard gold I found while window shopping. So, I've decided to feature a few more from the late 70s/early 80s TCMA sets that are just as entertaining. All in good humor, of course.

Leading off is a card chosen because of the subject's name: Bean Stringfellow. 

Surely his teammates called him 'string bean'? Well, he's not skinny- just an unfortunate recipient of a horrible nickname. After his playing days were done, Bean became a player rep with Proformance, a baseball agency he co-founded with Jeff Beck (no, not the guitarist). Unlike many other agencies, these two focus on player negotiations and leave other services (like, ahem, bean counting) to specialists outside the company.

Remember My Name is Earl, and whenever Earl had his photo taken this would happen?

"Ken, Dave Chase. I just want to congratulate you on winning our club's  'Most Flattering Photo' Award."

  *Chase has had a long successful career in baseball, including gigs as President/GM of the Memphis Redbirds, President/ Executive Director: The National Pastime Museum of Minor League Baseball, and President/Publisher of Baseball America for 17 years.

Looks like he doesn't have a clue. Duane Theiss  had a couple of cups of coffee in the majors. And, by the looks of it, a few too many joints while in the minors.

A minor league Elvis-like snarl on his face. Clearly not ready for the bigs. 

Looks more like WUSSinger!!!

Interesting fact: The pride of Notre Dame High School in Utica, NY made it to the bigs as a second baseman for the Braves. No- it's not Mark Lemke, but Jim Wessinger! 

Mad at the world and ready to club something. Perhaps a baby seal. Or maybe he's just pouting. I guess we'll never know.

*See Dave Chase, above*

Looking at these cards leads me to believe that TCMA was on a shoe-string budget. "One photo, that's it." Kind of like a recording artist trying to do something in just one take. It's possible, but oh, so hard to pull off.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sad Sacks

So I was window shopping on COMC last night, when I ran across this beauty from 1978:

I knew it was a TCMA minor league release, but who in the world is the dude on the left? Could it be some sad sack Warriors wannabe?  And what the hell is that thing next to him? 

You know that times are tough when you make your mascot don only a headpiece and no other part of a costume.

Anyway, I flipped the card 'over'- because COMC is cool like that- and lo, and behold, here's my answer:


Let's just see THIS thing get released in 2015. Somehow I don't think it would ever make it to pack out.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

1982 Atlanta Braves Team Issue

I recently ran across a lot of 11 1982 team-issued Braves cards on eBay with a starting bid of 99 cents (which is the price I ended up paying for them). Up until about three weeks ago, I had never owned any of the black and white 3" x 5" cards; now, I own fourteen.

The first ones I purchased consisted of a couple of Dale Murphy's and a Bob Horner from 1983 and 1984, respectively. This second purchase gained my interest primarily because it included a "Rookie" card of Brett Butler, who had been one of my favorites during his short time in Atlanta, as well as his Topps rookie card partner, Steve Bedrosian.

One of the other interesting pieces in this release (but not in the lot I purchased) is the Bob Porter card. At first, I thought that Beckett (where I got this checklist from) was in error- that it should have read Horner, not Porter. But I searched for info on a Bob Porter and found that there was, in fact, a player by that name who had played in a few games for Atlanta in 1981 and 1982. An obscure name that I didn't remember. That's one of the great things about team-issued cards such as these.

I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll try to finish off the set, but I have a good start, should I do so.

#1 Jose Alvarez
#2 Steve Bedrosian
#3 Bruce Benedict
#4 Brett Butler
#5 Rick Camp
#6 Joe Cowley
#7 Carlos Diaz
#8 Ken Dayley
#9 Terry Harper
#10 Randy Johnson
#11 Rufino Linares
#12 Rick Mahler
#13 Larry McWilliams
#14 Dale Murphy
#15 Bob Porter
#16 Joe Torre MGR
#17 Bob Walk
#18 Bob Watson
#19 Larry Whisenton
#20 Chief Noc-A-Homa

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sweet Leaf

When I first met you, didn't realize. I can't forget you, or your surprise. You introduced me to my mind. And left me wanting- you and your kind... My life was empty, forever on a down. Until you took me, showed me around. My life is free now, my life is clear. I love you sweet Leaf, though you can't hear." ~ Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf

You think I'm going to talk about dope, but I'm not.

 Yeah, that's right- I'm talking the best drug of all... cardboard. Cheap, mind blowing and highly addictive. Although, as you may have come to realize, it has been known to cause burnout.

As I was going through the collection recently, putting team sets into binders, I ran across a few singles from the 1992 Leaf baseball set. Surprisingly, I came up really short on the number I needed to complete the Braves team set. Fifteen in all were needed, so I headed on over to Sportlots, found a dealer who was able to supply my needs, and finished off the set. My pocket book took a very small hit: $2.70 for all of them.

My love for Leaf began in 1991- the year I re-entered the hobby; it would have started a year earlier, had I been collecting then. The big appeal for me in '91 and '92 was the grey used on the borders (as well as the use of the color in the 1990 release). It had an elegant look to it and the nice, clean design on the back left me wanting more. It was, as the kids say today, dope.

Nineteen Ninety-Three came and with it, changes. Gone was the grey; instead, color. Intense and rich. Foil and high gloss were introduced to us, as well as full-color bleed photos. It was a new strain of cardboard; a cheap knock off of Stadium Club and Ultra, brands which had opened my mind to entirely new things.

Unfortunately, my love for Leaf wouldn't last but for another year or two. By 1995, I was done with it, looking for something different. A new high.

That year, I found Fleer.

As Dayf over at Cardboard Junkie would say, do cards- not drugs. Otherwise, you might end up like Mr. Osbourne.

Does anybody still collect Leaf around here?! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Food-Issue Friday: Vocal Warm Up

do, do, do, do

Clears throat 

Bee-chum. Blow-zer. Bell-yard.

Grabs scotch. Drinks scotch.

Bee-chum. Blow-zer. Bell-yard. (While checking self out in mirror)

Clears throat.

A triumvirate Lykes hot dog vendors.

hot dog vendors. Ven-doors

hooodooo hooodooo

Blowzer. Blowzer was born on the bayou.

The human vacuum is a fast freight train.

choooglin  choooglin

Beech is on his daddy's knee.

THE Beech. the BEECH

War Chant sounds.

We're on in

Good evening. Leading off tonight, we will take a look at three recently acquired cards from the 1995 Lykes Braves set...

Bumper music....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


My geekdom began as a teenager who loved music. My older sister may disagree, but I digress.

Countless times during my high school years my three closest friends and me would pack into one of our cars and head over to Boise, which is a twenty-five mile drive from our hometown. The occasion? Record release day (always on a Tuesday, I do believe). Westgate Records, or Five-Mile Records, would be our destination to pick up our copies of the latest album by whichever hard rock act. But before that exciting day hit, there was another moment of great anticipation- and that was the day we would hear the release dates for said albums (usually in Circus or Hit Parader magazine).

Well, yesterday was that day. But instead of hearing which act is releasing an upcoming album, it's what cards are going to be included in 2015 Topps Series 1. This year, however, was marked not with anticipation as much as it was trepidation. 

What caused such a feeling? Well, if you've followed the hot stove league, you are aware of the many moves Atlanta has made during the offseason. And I just had a bad feeling that many of the Braves players featured in Series 1 would be individuals who will no longer don the Red, White, and Blue of my team. 

So as I sat down to eat my lunch, I found the checklist and so began the pain.

36  Julio Teheran (yay!!!!- he's still on the team!!!)
x 58 Evan Gattis---Hello, Houston
64 Braves team card---We still have a team?
x 69 Justin Upton---Where in the world is Justin Sandiego?
73 Freddie Freeman---who will he hug?
x 181 Jason Heyward---the man who would turn Dayf against us
184 B.J. Upton---Come get a BJ bobblehead
x 201 Tommy LaStella--- Maybe Chip Caray can get him a table at his grandfathers restaurant
202 Mike Minor--- I fully expect him to be next on the block
255 James Russell---now we're talking; I"m getting excited about collecting now
283 Chris Johnson---*yawn*
x 349 League Leaders- JUp, Adrian Gonzalez and Giancarlo Stanton---Up Up and Away

What, no Zoilo Almonte?!!

So as you can tell, a number of cards in the team set feature ex-Braves, each marked with an 'X.' Hardly anything to get excited about. But, to rub salt in the proverbial wound, Topps went and made an insert set called 'First Pitch' featuring celebs who threw out the first pitch at ballparks around the majors. After seeing who was listed under 'Atlanta,' I opened a new tab and googled the name: Austin Mahone. What I saw was this d-bag

Yeah, that will draw interest from 30-60 year old men. Imma chasing that card.

I guess now we'll just wait for Kimbrel to be traded, and then it will be...

Ladies and Gentlemen, your new Braves closer...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Base(ball) Oddity #25: Convenience Stores

"I tell you, Rat, the business is sh*tty. I mean, the kids today, they're not even listenin to Aerosmith."~ Mike Damone, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

But, unlike today, the kids back then still collected cards~ The ChopKeeper

In my previous Base(ball) Oddity post, I lamented the loss of 7-11 convenience stores in our area. Well, the same company that bought out the local 7-11 franchisees also bought out the local Circle Ks. But back in 1985, there were plenty of each in our area. And Aerosmith was back in the saddle again.

1985 Circle K #11 Eddie Mathews

I was out of card collecting by the time this set was released. The years between 1982 and 1985 were a period of great change in my life. As a thirteen year old in 1982, I was still actively collecting cards; as a sixteen year-old in '85, I related more to the youth in Cameron Crowe's 1982 classic film, and my love of Aerosmith rivaled my love of baseball. Had I known that their 1985 'comeback album', Done with Mirrors, would be (IMO) their last great one, I would have bemoaned with Damone about the downfall of such a great band.

Convenience Truth

If you have seen Fast Times (and really, who hasn't!!) then you know the role that convenience stores play in movie: Damone, the sleaze ball scalper, is left holding many Blue Oyster Cult tickets, which, he says, brought him this close to having to get a job at 7-11; Brad Hamilton, a single and successful guy, gets fired from his dream job at All-American Burger, then quits another rather than making a delivery while wearing a pirate costume. He then gets a job at a convenience store (Mi-T Mart), where he thwarts a robbery attempt and becomes store manager; in the movie's close, it's revealed that Damone gets busted scalping Ozzy Osborne tickets and ends up working at 7-11.

Convenience stores also played an important role in my childhood. I lived about 1/4 mile from a 
Circle K and it's where I bought a majority of the cards during my childhood. I remember buying packs of '80-81 Topps NBA and pulling the Bird/Magic Rookie Card; packs of '81 Topps football and pulling the Joe Montana RC; there was also that 1982 Orioles Future Stars card with Bob Bonner on it. And, had I still been collecting, it would have been the perfect place to pick up this great 33-card set. The set recognized the top home run hitters of all-time in order by their career totals (for some reason, DiMaggio is not included). And while I didn't pick up a set back then, they're easily enough found today.

Righteous Bucks

I paid a buck for this card, which seems about the normal price on eBay. Check Out My Cards have quite a few for half that. There's a nice boxed set currently available on the 'bay for six bucks, delivered.

You Worked In Oakland

So, what was Eddie Mathews doing in 1985?  I didn't know, so I decided to look into it and after spending too much time on it, I still don't know. He did work in the Oakland organization as a minor league hitting instructor between the years of 1981 & 1983. At one point in 1982, a spot was detected on his lung in and, after the A's doctors examined him, was found to have Tuberculosis. Mathews also worked in the Brewers and Rangers organizations as a coach and scout- none lasting very long, admittedly due to his hard drinking ways.

Oddly Enough
The quote at the beginning of this post was from a scene that did not make the theatrical release of Fast Times, but was used in the edited television version. I like to think of these type of gems as the equivalent of the oddball set

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cool as a Cucumber

As the back of card number 4 from Fleer's 1993 Career Highlights set tells us, Tom Glavine was known throughout his career as being unflappable. He lost seventeen games in his first full major league season, had first-inning trouble through his career, and yet always remained that same stoic force on the mound- devoid of showing any emotion.
"It goes back to a lesson I learned in the minor leagues," he once said prior to his Game 7 start in the 1996 NLCS.  "When you're out there pitching,  don't show any emotion. Act like you have complete control, even when you don't. And for some reason, I've had that ability, with whatever is going on in my life, whether it's on the field or personal stuff, to set is aside and concentrate on what I'm doing."

So it's no wonder that following the Seattle Seahawks improbable come from behind victory over Green Bay that Tom sent out this tweet regarding Russell Wilson's tearful breakdown :

Now, you know Tom's one of 'my guys'- one of my favorite players of all-time. When the faithful badmouthed him for his involvement as a union rep and his hard-lined stance during the 1994 strike, I withheld any real opinion (and I'm very much anti-union); when he left Atlanta for New York, I was disappointed, but never voiced any bitterness towards him. But still, I thought it was ridiculous of him to speak out about a guy who just overcame the worst game of his professional career, leading his team to the Super Bowl. So, I shot a tweet back his way- not expecting any reply. Well, I was wrong...

Yep- Tommie's still as cool as a cucumber. And he had just made my day that much better.