Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lost Years: 2006 Topps '52 Tom Glavine

One of the downsides of being out of the hobby for a while is coming across unknown products upon your return. One such unknown product for me is the 2006 Topps '52 set.

Because I missed the release and the press that the set would have accompanied it (and, unfortuantely, I'm at work and do not have my Standard Catalog) I have no clue as to why Topps did the back the way the did. I'm not referring to the design- I get that; I'm speaking about the stat line which reads, "Past Year." In it, Topps included Glavine's 1987 stats with the Braves. While the "Life Time" stats line is current, the former is from his debut season. Even the write up on the back speaks of his debut season. 

Like I said, I'm on my lunch hour at work as I write this and do not have my reference book (and it's the only card that I have from the set), so tell me: Did Topps do all of this set that way? 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Base(ball) Oddity #5: Hooray for Hollywood!

For years I have heard about, but had never ordered from, Burbank Sportscards- the 'Sportscards Superstore' that claims to have the 'World's Largest Selection' (40 Million cards in stock). Articles have been written about them and complaints are plenty on the forums (or, so I read while googling them- I don't participate in the online forums), so I decided to check out their site recently. After all, with that kind of an inventory, they're bound to have a significant number of cards that I need.

Located near Hollyweird, the city of Burbank, California is also the home to many media and entertainment companies (hence the city's nickname, "The Media Capital of the World"), as well as the Bob Hope Airport. With the city being synomynous with entertainment, what a perfect place to operate your Sportscard Superstore!

As a Braves fan during their not-so-glory years, our hope was in a Bob Horner homer. And thanks to the Veres', I now have a few more Bobs to add to the collection. Hoooooooooooray for Hollywood Burbank!

 The original '91 Fleer. Yowza!!!

Too much blue for one card. Where's the yellow?

Of course, once Dale broke out, he was the man. Once again, like the '82 Drakes card, there's just too much yellow. Who designed these things, anyway?

2005 Topps Finest #164

How this thing flew under my radar, I'll never know. I only discovered it as I was pursuing the Dale Murphy cards in the Burbank database. I'm not a huge fan of the retired players in recent products (save the Topps base variations), but this one was a welcomed addition.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Food-Issue Friday: Mark Lemke. Can. You. Dig. It?

Gangs in the streets. Lookin' for you, looking' for me. Gangs in the streets. Ready for you and they're ready for me. ~ Loverboy (I never thought I'd quote a song of theirs!)

The Warriors are making a comeback. No, I'm not talking about the Bay-area basketball team; nor is there a remake of the 1979 cult classic on its way. The boys are coming out to plaaay in the upcoming 2014 Topps Archives set, which will feature an insert set celebrating the 35th anniversary of the movie Entertainment Weekly once billed as one of the 25 most controversial movies ever made.

I'm not going to go into the plot, but I will say that one of the many gangs in the movie is referred to as the Baseball Furies (or, just 'Furies'- as their uniform backs declare)- a gang of dudes who look like KISS dressed in New York Yankee garb. Silent and creepy, these pantomime punks hit more like the 1990 New York Yankees than the one from the late '70s. 

Mark Lemke was a teenager in upstate New York in 1979. Now, I've never been to the Empire State, but I can only imagine that (culturally) Utica is worlds apart from NYC. Still, I wonder what the Lemmer was like during this impressionable time period of his life. Did he have any interest in gang life? Did he rock out while spinning vinyl discs of the hottest band in the world (and fellow New Yorkers), KISS?!!! I suppose I will never know the answers to these questions- but one thing I do know:

Mark Lemke looks like a badass in this 1990 Dubuque Braves card. 

I mean, throw some paint on his face, replace the idyllic background of the card with the streets of Riverside Park, and what you have is a match made in heaven- or Hell's Kitchen, at the very least.

Mark Lemke. CAN YOU DIG IT?!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Base(ball) Oddity #4: 1982 K-Mart #43 Hank Aaron

In a set which celebrated their twentieth anniversary ('62-'82), K-Mart issued a card commemorating Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run. The boxed set contained forty-four cards (they should have had Hank as #44, but I guess they're smarter than me), each featuring an NL MVP, AL MVP, or a special card, such as the Aaron, which celebrated certain accomplishments of each select player.

Well, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Hammer's famous home run, so number 43 will be the card featured in tonight's post.

Take a look at the '82 K-Mart set and you will notice that almost all of the cards feature a replica of the Topps card from the year that each respective player won the MVP. The exceptions being the cards for 1962 NL MVP, Maury Wills, and the 1975 AL MVP, Fred Lynn- neither of whom had cards in their MVP years.

The three record breakers featured in the set (Aaron, Rose, and Drysdale), to me, stand out for the unique designs used by Topps and would be the only ones I would chase after for my collection. Unless, of course, they created one for Aaron's 1957 NL MVP- I'd be all over that one. Dang K-Mart; why couldn't they have been celebrating their 25th Anniversary in 1982?!

Here's a gem: Vin Scully's call of Henry's 715th Home Run

Saturday, April 5, 2014

New Books!

My wife, daughter and I made a quick stop at a thrift store this afternoon so I could look at the books. Such visits usually don't net me anything for my modest baseball-related book collection, but today wasn't the typical disappointing visit. In fact, I was able to add not one, but two new titles to my bookshelf! 

My first find was the 2004 release, Ichiro on Ichiro- Conversations with Narumi Komatsu. I have always enjoyed books that are in this genre (conversations) and this should offer an interesting look at the game through the eyes of one of the best hitters of our lifetime.

Like I mentioned earlier, I don't have a whole lot of luck finding books at the thriftstores, so I was excited to find the Ichiro book. You can imagine, then, how thrilled I was in running across this next one... 

Ask Dale Murphy by Dale Murphy with Curtis Patton

My childhood hero- Dale Murphy.

It would have been much more special if it had been an autobiography (or biography)- which doesn't exist, to my knowledge- but this will certainly do. The format of this title is a series of questions from children, with Dale's response to each one. Chapters include Q's about breaking into baseball, hitting, defense, playing with the right attitude, life in the majors, and family and future plans. It evens includes an introduction by legendary sportswriter Furman Bisher.

Six bucks, well spent.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Base(ball) Oddity #3: 1984 Baseball Cards Magazine Dale Murphy

One of my favorite designs of all-time is the 1953 Topps baseball set. Whether it's the large, beautiful portraits on the front or the easily identifiable card numbers on the back, everything about its design cries, "perfection."

Because my affections for this set run deep, I went cookoo for today's card upon learning about its existence. Problem was, I could never find one to purchase. In fact, I've spent years looking for one on eBay- but had never found one. Until recently.

The Murphy Baseball Cards Magazine card that showed up on eBay was part of the full sheet from the August, 1984 issue that also featured Ted Williams. According to the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, this issue was the 'pioneer' of all the replica cards that magazines used as a means to sell more issues. Unlike all the cards that would be included in later magazines, the cards from the '84 issue are on a cardboard stock much like the original cards.

My only 'complaint' with the Murphy card is that I would like the jersey to be white, rather than the baby blue. I liked the uniforms, but on this card, with the blue sky, blue on the cap and the blue fence- it's just too much. Still, I'll take it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Comic Cards

I hope you don't mind me saying that we collectors are a finicky bunch. Please don't take offense, because I include myself in that statement. We complain about the same old, same old- but when someone does something different, we complain. 

2014 Topps Opening Day Breaking Out #BO-1

One such card design that I'm tempted to complain about is the Breaking Out insert set out of this year's Opening Day product. I call them the "Comic Book Cards." They remind me of something from 1994 Fleer (was it called Pro Vision?)- only with more foil. It was a set that I didn't think too highly of.

Lest I become the 'curmudgeon collector' that I often complain about, I had to tell myself that this is a product directed at kids and that this is something that they (as well as many adults) might like. I don't have to approve of everything that Topps does; they don't have to gear every product towards my collecting preferences. 

If I can get this through my thick skull, well, I might just find a little more enjoyment in the hobby (not that it's really lacking).

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fired Up and Seeing Stars This Opening Day

Of all the licensed products released each year, I've got to think that Opening Day is the bottom feeder among the ocean of baseball cards. The thing is, it is a cheap product to open and they often have some interesting inserts.

I recently picked up two of the inserts off of ebay for a cheap price and they are a perfect expression of my thoughts on this Opening Day.


With flames which look hellish, this insert could have been called, "Lake of Fire." Thankfully, it wasn't.

Hopefully, this shot of Kimbrel is a foreshadowing of a save he will earn today.


This is a beautiful looking card; they have to be seen in person to truly appreciate them. The best lenticular card since the 1983 Kellogg's set, imo.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Micro and Mini and Macro Murphys...Oh, My!

Re-organizing my collection today and I realized that there's no such thing as an ordinary Dale Murphy card. In fact, they come in all shapes and sizes:

1992 Topps Micro #680

Micro Minis
1989 Red Foley Stickers #84

1990 Red Foley Stickers #67

1992 Red Foley Stickers #70

1993 Red Foley Stickers #68

1987 Fleer #74

1988 Fleer #65

Macro Minis
1989 Panini Stickers #45

Mini Macros
1990 Topps Big #40

1986 Donruss All-Stars #4

Friday, March 28, 2014

Base(ball) Oddity #2: One Giant Leap for My Collection

Neil Armstrong once described the difficulties he faced in landing the lunar module Eagle, saying, "the unknowns were rampant, there were just a thousand things to worry about." Not to downplay the importance of the event, but I've discovered that the first part of that quote can apply to eBay, as well- as in, an abundance of good stuff. In fact, I recently found an item on there that seemed out of this world. Or, at the very least, from out of this country.

 I've been aware of box panels from O-Pee-Chee baseball, but I had never seen the larger box bottoms from the Canadian product. So you can imagine how overjoyed I was to find out that they had commemorated the Braves 1991 Worst-to-First finish on the bottoms of 1992 O-Pee-Chee baseball boxes. WHAT?! How come no one ever told me about those? Heck, even my handy-dandy Standard Catalog doesn't even mention those things.

So...what could be better than finding one of these splendid box bottoms? Doubling your pleasure, that's what. The seller had two for only 5 bucks, delivered.

As you can tell, they're pretty rough- as far as the cut goes. I'm not real crazy about the neon orange and am thinking of trimming them along the outer edge of the white border. Since it's not listed in the catalog, I really have no idea what their 'official size' is considered to be. Before their arrival, I thought they would measure out at the standard 2.5 x 3.5 size. Had I read the description that the seller included more closely, I would have known.