Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Great cards from The Junior Junkie (including a surprising 1988 Topps variation)

I was one of many lucky bloggers to get a package from The Junior Junkie this week. He hit a few of my wantlists and threw in some surprises too. Here are some highlights.

I didn't know Topps had resurrected the Finest brand in 2014. When I first saw this I actually thought it was a Chrome 2015, it kind of looks like the 2015 set.
 I did know that Topps had revised Stadium Club, and I had mentioned to Junkie that I didn't have any. He sent me a bunch, including this great Evan Gattis card.
Stadium Club is great but Upper Deck still set the standard for great candid shots in addition to action shots. I guess this type of shirt is something that screams 1990s?
 He also sent me a few unopened wax packs. I have the complete 66-card set of 1988 Topps Sticker Backs, but I opened the pack anyway because some day I would like to go back and get the sticker books and put in the various stickers I accumulated. I actually had the sticker books when I was younger but did not save them like I did my card. The first card in the pack was Lee Smith, which caught my eye because even when I was a kid I had noticed that there were two error variations of this card. Well it turns out this is a third variation - a completely correct stat line!
 The two versions I have had since I was a kid both have errors in the stat line. Both have the headings for a starter instead of a reliever, and one of them also switches the W-L and games pitched numbers.
Interestingly, I can find no mentions of any of these three variations online. Tradingcarddb has one of the error versions in their scans. There are four copies of the card on COMC, two each of each error version. There is one error version on ebay. But a correct version on Sportslots. I am guessing that the correct version is rarer. Incidentally I do have extras of both error versions in case anyone wants to trade for one.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wallet Card visits a few old signs

Here the wallet card visits a few very old signs that have survived into present-day Manhattan.

The Clover Deli on 34th Street has been around since the 1940s, and their famous neon sign is almost as old as the store.

Above this typical eatery on the corner of 6th Avenue and 24th Street is a sign labeling the corner as "The Corner". The sign dates back to when this building was constructed in 1879 as a vaudeville theater called "The Corner".
Finally, a sign from the front of Master Cutting Table, a fashion supply store on 27th Street that is virtually unchanged since the 1960s. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Player Profile: Craig Brazell

I have four cards of Craig Brazell. This one is from 2003 Topps.

Playing career: First baseman Craig Brazell played for the Mets in 2004 and the Royals in 2007. In 29 games he hit .263 with 1 HR and 3 RBI.

Where he is now: He has played in Japan since 2008. Last year he was limited to just 35 games with the Chiba Lotte Marines due to injury, hitting .276 with 4 HR and 14 RBI.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Craig Braz, ahead of Craig Brazeman, CEO of Profiles Investigations. There do not appear to be any other prominent Craig Brazells.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Dewon Brazelton.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wallet Card at The Daily Planet

In the original Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, the offices of the fictional newspaper Daily Planet were at the real offices of the newspaper Daily News, with their giant globe in the center.

The coolest part about the globe are the notes around the base that give you an idea about the relative size of our world within the larger universe. The News Building is three blocks away from Grand Central, about a half a mile.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Player Profile: Bill Bray

I have three cards of Bill Bray. This one is from 2004 Topps Traded.

Playing career: Bill Bray pitched for the Nationals and Reds from 2006 to 2012. In 258 games he went 13-12 with 3 saves and a 3.74 ERA.

Where he is now: A pitching instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction and Jamestown High School in Virginia, he also writes a column for The Sporting News.

My memories: Last month he shared his thoughts on cards with this blog.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Bill Bray, ahead of Bill Brayton, a professor of art at Hampton College. Another prominent Bill Bray was Michael Jackson’s bodyguard.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Craig Brazell.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wallet Card following Joe DiMaggio

Time to make the wallet cards a little baseball related.  Here it is at a couple of the former residences of Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio.

During his playing career he lived for a while at the New Yorker Hotel on Eighth Avenue. I have to admit that when I would see the famous sign I thought it was the headquarters for New Yorker Magazine.

He also lived at The Whitby apartments on 45th Street. (As you can tell by the snow I took this one a few weeks ago.)

From 1972 until the bank's demise in 1992, DiMaggio did television commercials for The Bowery Savings Bank. Though the bank hasn't existed in more than twenty years it's name can still be found on a building on 42nd Street, across from Grand Central, now home to a restaurant.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Player Profile: Steve Braun

I have sixteen cards of Steve Braun. This one is from 1982 Fleer. The photo appears to have been taken in Philadelphia, so it was probably taken by Bob Bartosz.

Playing career: Outfielder Steve Braun came up with the Twins in 1971 and was a regular for them until being selected by the Mariners in the 1977 expansion draft. Braun spent a year and a half in Seattle before moving on to the second part of his career, as a pinch-hitter extraordinaire for the Royals, Blue Jays and Cardinals. In 1982 he helped the Cardinals win the World Series with an RBI hit and a bases-loaded walk.

Where he is now: An associate at Ignite, an energy marketing firm in New Jersey.

My memories: Before my time. Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is seventh when you type Steve Bra, between Steve Brancato, star of the reality show “Prospectors”, and Steven Brahms, a photographer. The first entry when you google Steve Braun is not the ballplayer but an actor.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Bill Bray.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Awesome cards from Baseball Card Breakdown

Defgav of Baseball Card Breakdown sent me a small flat-rate jammed with awesome cards, all the kind of randomness I love. There were a lot of Padres, probably extras that he gets and doesn't need. That's probably a good idea for me to look for when trading with team collectors, get some of their random dupes. I collect everything and love them all!

There was too much to show here, so I'll just show some of the highlights, the hits and the stuff I had seen but never had before.

Gav recently made some awesome custom card-magnets from the "Springfield Nine" episode of The Simpsons. I must admit I had rarely watched the show after the first couple of seasons, but have started getting back into it recently.
 And a "blog-used button"!
 Very cool when a memorabilia card tells you exactly when the piece of memorabilia was used. Now whenever I go back to read "The future of sticker autos" I'll know I have a piece of the shirt that helped create it.
 It's pretty hard these days to find a type of set I'd never had before, so it's really impressive that Gavin came up with three. Being on the east coast, I'd never had a Mother's Cookies card. It's got a bit of a minor-league feel (in a good way) with the pitcher wearing eye-black, and with a team he's not generally thought of as being with. I think of Smith as a Brave and a Met but he did spend a year and a half as a Padre.
 This was a set put out in 1991 with everyone who ever played with the Orioles. I'd seen these on blogs before but never thought I'd get any. I find this set interesting, and also should probably scout out the sets put out for the Dodgers (that GCRL showcases every week) and the one for the Yankees put out by The Wiz at about the same time. In these sets you can tell they struggle to get photos of the obscure players. Looks like a private eye with a telephoto lens took this shot.
 Finally, my first 2015s! I never buy retail anymore, I just get all my new cards by trade. Works out pretty well. This is my first card of the newest Yankee starting pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Player Profile: Ryan Braun

I have 22 cards of Ryan Braun. This one is from 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces.

Playing career: Outfielder Ryan Braun came up with the Brewers in 2007 and quickly established himself as a star, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award that year and the MVP four years later. In his first six years in the majors he hit .300 five times (hit .285 in 2008), hit 30 HR five times (25 in 2010) and drove in 100 runs five times (97 in 2007). However, after his 2011 MVP win he failed a steroid test, and though he initially was able to blame the test due to irregularities in the way his sample was handled, after the 2012 season he was linked to Biogenesis and accepted a lengthy MLB suspension, which coupled with some injuries has limited him from superstar to merely pretty good.

Where he is now: In 2014 hand and rib injuries limited him to 135 games, and he hit .266 with 19 HR and 81 RBI.

My memories: He seemed like one of the best stars in the majors, and I was rooting for him to be innocent of the original drug test failure. Sadly it has not worked out well for him lately.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Ryan B, between Ryan Bingham, a singer, and Ryan Boatright, a point guard for the UConn Huskies.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Steve Braun.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2013 Topps Series 2 is off hiatus and off my want list

Tony L. of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards put a nice dent in my 2013 Topps want list, knocking out the entirety of series two. I only had about 30 cards in series two, so there were probably about 300 cards in Tony's great package.

Some highlights:

Still can't believe Derek Jeter is not a Yankee anymore.
 Topps sure does use the same style of shot over and over again. Occasionally though there is something just a little bit different, like Juan Nicasio's bulging eyes.
 Francisco Cervelli always seemed to be in the middle of a walk-off win. Here he has just scored off an RBI single from Raul Ibanez at the end of the season, when Ibanez was pretty much carrying the team.
 Can't tell if Steve Lombardozzi Jr. is getting doused by fiery lava or is wearing a bright orange fur scarf.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Great trade package from Sport Card Collectors

Got a ton of minor league cards from Sport Card Collectors (who incidentally is running a World Series contest). A lot of unusual, hard-to-find cards, with lots of the awesome weirdness that you can only find on minor league cards.

Here are some highlights:

Not to many coach cards where the coach is shown coaching.
 This one really caught my eye. Who is Ernie Sierra, and why is there a picture of a 1940s-style Red Sox on a 1989 San Jose Giants card? The back of the card tells nothing. Looking at Baseball-Reference, Sierra played for San Jose when it was a Red Sox farm team from 1947-1951. Presumably he was still working for the team in some capacity.
 Air guitar?
 Here's another odd card, Joe DeDario.
 At least this time the back of the card gives some explanation.
 Incredible shot of the ball just as it hits the bat. Or maybe it was just taped to it...
 Another goofy pitching coach shot from the Giants organization.
 A Rick Vaughn card from before he was traded to the Indians' organization and converted to pitching.
 Finally, he threw in this pack of Elvis trading cards from 1992. I didn't open it and is up for trade if anyone wants it. If anyone from the Trade-A-Thon is interested in this I'll gladly add it to their cards.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chris Dickerson is producing his own line of baseball cards

Earlier this month Blue Jays outfielder Chris Dickerson shared some of his sports card memories with this blog. It turns out he is also putting out his own line of baseball cards, and it sounds pretty cool. He kindly sent me some pictures of one of the cards.

"I forgot to tell you about some cards we did last year with an enviromental company called ECOR. The baseball cards are made out of used baseball material (bats, baseballs, and jerseys)."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Player Profile: Ryan Braun

I have two cards of Ryan Braun. This one is from 2007 Fleer.

Playing career: Ryan Braun pitched for the Royals in 2006 and 2007. In 35 games he went 2-1 with a 6.66 ERA.

My memories: I remember the two Ryan Brauns coming up at the same time and wondering if we would have a lot of cards of the two of them over the years. I guess not.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Ryan Braun is now?

Google Autocomplete results: Ryan Braun Royals is fifth when you type Ryan Braun R, between Ryan Braun Rookie Card and Ryan Braun Rotowire, which presumably refer to the more famous Ryan Braun.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Ryan Braun (the Brewers outfielder).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Some photos from Fleer photographer Bob Bartosz's personal collection

In a follow up to my interview with him this weekend, Bob Bartosz kindly sent me a whole bunch of photos from his collection. Lots of great photos showing the photographer at work, including a photo of him snapping the picture that was used on Reggie Jackson's 1983 Fleer card.