Saturday, December 5, 2009

1981 Fleer Steve Renko: A Cardboard Mystery

I present to you the mysterious Steve Renko player card from 1981, Fleer edition:

You may be asking yourself, What is that "thing" behind Steve? Here are a few possibilities:

1. What's left of the bomb that has just toppled Steve Renko. (He's falling and falling fast.)

2. That freaky smoke cloud from LOST. (Could Ben have been a Yankee fan in 1980?)

3. Evidence that Jim Rice spontaneously combusted during a game. (Then came back from the dead?)

4. Maybe it was Yastrzemski practicing for his now defunct Vegas magic act.

5. The shadow of the tree that was planted as a memorial to the Bucky "freakin" Dent baseball. (Like goal posts and Yankee monuments, trees should not be in the field of play. Neither should weird sloping hills. I'm looking at you, Houston Astros!)

6. God, in an updated burning bush, letting the Sox fans know that there time will come.

7. Rick Burleson was a shape-shifter.

8. Manny was being Manny even back in 1980.

9. Fleer was being metaphorical: When Renko pitched, Fenway became a war zone. (Steve was 9-9, average at best, but not terrible.)

10. This was the precursor to the 1989 Billy Ripken card. The rare original has Glenn Hoffman flipping the double bird right at the camera. This more common version shown here is referred to as the black smoke version. I have heard there is a version where Hoffman is behind a big black box. Other versions include a scribble and Hoffman's birds replaced by "thumbs up".

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Best Trade Ever...for me!

Mets fan, graphic artist, and general nice guy, Sean, of Condition Poor AND scary relic fame sent me a 2nd package to complete an earlier trade. Sean collects EVERY Mets card so filling holes in his collection is like shooting something in a barrel (as I am told that is easy to do, although I think the Mythbusters said the shockwave is what kills the unsuspecting fishes).

The second package was unnecessary but possibly the coolest trade item I have ever received.

Three important facts about these three gems:

1. All three come from my 1-of-every-Met wantlist. (The Pre-2008 list is pretty tough to find outside of 1991 Mets Wiz.)

2. They are SlangKo originals. (Quickly becoming my brand of choice!)


3. They are all autographed!!!! (They were sent out to these dudes and they all sent them back. And then they were sent to me!)

Unbelievable. I can't wait to fill another box to send Sean. Thanks.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I was recently decided against keeping ALL of my 1986 Donruss set. Many are in my "to be traded" boxes but I couldn't rid the collection of this Pat Tabler card. Donruss immortalized Mr. Tabler with his nickname, Mr.Clutch.
Tabler didn't come by his impressive moniker by chance. He hit a more than respectable .488 (43 for 88) with the bases jammed. Some might call him the Jerry West of baseball. I am just not one of them (West was also known as Mr.Clutch). Tabler currently works as a color commentator for the Toronto Blue Jays.

I can't think of any other examples of random base card additions in the 80's but I am sure there are some. (Maybe Pete Rose had one?)

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Getting packages is awesome. The bulk of the mail I get is bills, advertisements, and more bills.
Beardy sent me a sweet package of cardboard delight to complete a trade. Here are the highlights:

A foursome of old school Goodwins:

Carlton Fisk: Best all-time catcher for both types of SOX. Also, he was the original Pudge.

Mike Schmidt: Best third baseman EVER. Thinks Pete should be in the Hall and that his autograph is worth a fortune.

Grady Sizemore: Hey, he's not an old-timer! But he does look like one in that new, non-racist, classic Indians uni.

Ken Griffey: The elder Griffey, in action on a perfect spring day. Just look at those clouds.

An Obak mini:

Jacksonville Suns standout, Tom Seaver. I think he will do well for the Mets. Johann could use some help in the rotation in 2010. Maybe if we gave Tom a cool nickname like "Terrific."

But wait, there's more to this tiny Terrific:

Numbered 13/25. I don't have too many numbered cards, so this gets me excited. I'm not sure why! It turns out that since Tom won the ROY award in 1967, he probably won't be a factor in the 2010 Mets rotation, OR WILL HE?????

Thanks Beardy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Night Owlish

Night Owl is one of my favorite trading partners. Like Condition Poor and White Sox Cards, Greg has a pretty good want list over at Night Owl Inc. (I'd love to know about any other completist team collectors with exhaustive wants lists.) Here is a choice selection of cards I recieved:

New York Mets Upgrades:
Much like the real Mets of 2009, my 1-of-every-Met collection could use some upgrading. While not the best all-time Mets, these 2 dudes deserve the shiny/fancy treatment just like all the big stars.

Sweet Goodwins Portrait:

From the stack of Goodwin needs, I pulled out this nice close-up of Justin Verlander. Nice looking card of a quality pitcher. Great card!

Mets Frenchy:

That still doesn't sound right. Here's hoping the Mets have a player that is better than Jeff that stays healthy in 2010. This is my first Frenchy in Mets duds. (Did anyone notice how little I blogged about the Mets this year? It was a tough season!)

As usual, thanks for the trade, Greg.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Roll Out the Democratic Roadkill Barrel

I recently posted some non-baseball baseball cards for trade. The request s poured in, the cards shipped out, and then the cards rolled in. Here are a few I particularly liked:

From Ed at Roll Out the Barrel: Carlos Beltran - Showcase StitchesCarlos was injured for much of the 2009 campaign, as were most of the Mets. If you didn't notice that gigantic "O" in showcase, you may not have seen that bit of game-used fabric. I still like getting jersey cards of Mets and other guys I like. This one will replace some other Beltran card in my 1-of-every-Met collection.

From Duane at Democratic Roadkill: A&G Done Right and 08 Goudey SPsI love the A&G cards of the retired players. Both of these make the cut in my 1-350 A&G set. Why did Topps stop including these type players in the regular set?

My 2008 Goudey Baseball Only Want List is getting small thanks to Duane, ebay, and Check Out My Cards. These B&W are especially nice when compared to all the over-the-top designs of the 90's and 00's. Two cards closer!

Thanks Ed and Duane.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dinged Corners Assignment: Favorite "On Card" Autographs

When Patricia, of Dinged Corners, assigns us bloggers some homework, we best get to it without complaining. So here are my favorite on-card autographs (of which I have very few).

#3 - 1996 Signature Rookies Torii Hunter
My mom has been on the yard/garage salecircuit for a few months now and happened upon a big box of baseball cards. She paid $10 for the lot. The cards were super fun to go through. I kept a few, my brother kept a few, and the rest will find their way to the blog world in due time. One of the gems of the box was this Torii Hunter autograph, numbered to 5000. Torii has turned out to be a pretty good player as well as an excellent Topps card poser. Thanks Mom!

#2 - 1991 Score Brian Barnes

I got this one in person at a Jimmy V fund event. Brian is from North Carolina, not too far from my hometown of Tarboro. My brother asked him if he remembered playing our high school team. He did and even remembered who the opposing pitcher was. I got cards signed by Marquis Grissom, Lee Smith, Kenny Lofton, and others that day but the interaction with Barnes was the best.

#1 - 2004 Topps Cracker Jack Lucy (Silver Ink) This remains my one and only TTM autograph. Unlike many stars who scribble their names without regard to what it looks like, I have heard that Lucy practices first so that each fan gets her best. That is how it should be.

There you have it. My 2006 Turkey Red Roy Oswalt on-card auto may be my most collectable card of this type but the previous three are my favorites. The thing they all have in common is some personal connection.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cards from Slangon

I got an email from relatively new blogger Sean of the graphically elite, Condition Poor, about our mutual love for the Mets. He thought it would be beneficial to us both to aid each other in our quests for Mets cards. It took me a while to send my part of the trade, as I was once again pairing down the old collection, but I finally filled a small box and sent it on its way. Here's a sample of what I got in return:

A Mets team logo card to commemorate our shared disappointment of the 2009 season:A digitized Obak of sure-thing prospect Greg Jefferies (not Jeffries!) The info on the back of these cards is better than any product that I can remember. I have only bought 2 packs so this former Met is much appreciated.A few Goodwin Champions from the want list. I wrote a controversial, albeit late post on Goodwins being better than Allen & Ginter. I guess everyone agrees since I got little opposition! These 3 look outstanding.My 1-350 A&G set is a little more complete. Sean sent a few, including this horrific card of future HOFer Pudge Rodriguez. Wouldn't this card look better if Ivan had a catchers mask on with his head in the clouds. (See Godwins comment in above paragraph.)Sean did his homework and noticed that I read comics. I really like the fantastic four so this was my favorite of a stack of marvel comic cards. Johnny Storm is too cool.And last but far from least is this slightly mis-scanned Slangko original of Mark Sanchez:
I am no huge football fan but this card gets a spot in one of my albums. It looks fantastic! Sean makes custom cards as good as they come. The only thing I liked better than the front was the back. (I am partial to Stats on the Back.)
Gridiron Stars No. 6 is awesome. Thanks for sharing your talent with me.

Sean sent a note saying he owed me a little more in this trade. I think his quality trumped my quantity but I wouldn't say no to another Slangko original!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tito Fuentes (1975)

It's time for another Tito Fuentes card. If you haven't visited the newly sponsored Tito Fuentes reference page, GO THERE NOW! We are up to 1975 in our review of Fuentes' cardboard legacy. 1975 Topps is a beloved set, with it's two-tone fronts and it's miniature counterparts.What says San Francisco Giants more than PINK, YELLOW, and BLUE? Tito is a star and he knows it. He now dots his "i" with a star and he still doesn't feel the need to separate his first and last name or capitalize the "f" in Fuentes. Us regular folk can't get away with such tomfoolery. As usual, Tito appears to be cool: nice stirrups, and an ever so slightly dented cap. Did you notice that miniature Tito is every bit as cool as the regular sized Tito!

Check the Stats-on-the-Back:Here is what we learn:
1. Runners are out when they go outside the baseline. Seems to be a weak trivia tidbit. Tito would never run outside the baseline. I wonder if Donavon McNabb knew that? (Yes, I know about football, I just don't love it like baseball.)
2. Tito had a down year. He hit .249 with 0 Hrs. His 97 hits and 390 ABs were his lowest totals since 1969.
3. Tito set an National League record with only 6 errors in 1973. Jose Oquendo only had 3 errors in 1990. (Do you remember when he played every position in 1 game?)
4. Tito's .249 average seemed even smaller on the mini version of the card.

In related news, while it won't be his name when he is born, my wife and I are affectionately referring to our baby boy in the oven as Rigoberto!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Trade Me: Me Like Baseball

I thought I would put a few cards on ebay just to get them into the hands of people who want them, but I thought I would offer them for trade first. They are baseball cards of non-baseball players. Cards in Yellow mean they have been claimed.

They can be yours in 4 easy steps:
1. Tell me which ones you want in the comments
2. Email me your address
3. Wait patiently until your card or cards arrive
4. Send me "something"

Group 1 - 2009 Goodwin ChampionsA pass-catching skier, a b-baller with 2 foods in his name, a cowboy played by Kurt Russell, a Russian mystic, a Loony Tune character, and a surfer dude
*My brother pulled the first 2 out of his Goodwin box. He was not a happy camper.

Group 2 - A&G Mix and MatchCanonballer Autograph, a short emperor, a horse + rider, 2 A&G backs of US Olympic medalist, a gimpy golden girl, a British Landmark, a codebreaker, and 2 national heroes
*I actually sent the Wong card back to Topps because it was damaged. The replacement came in just a few days. I was also missing a relic from my box. They sent a CC!!!

Group 3 - 2008 Goudey
A dude who was fast before Bolt was faster, Mr.Hockey!, a volleyballer, a Celtic God, a lady baller, and Kobe
*I love 2008 Goudey but decided only to collect the baseball cards in the set. I have a want list!

Group 4 - UD Why-trospective?
The 2008 Republican ticket, Mrs.Thatcher, a trio of non-baseball stars, and 2 god-awful excuses for cardboard.
*These 20th Anniversary cards are the only reason Goodwins wasn't great.

Group 5 - Random Randomness
2009 Tiger, a comedian and his dog, Sasquatch, a submarine, and the Kitchen Debate
*the Tiger is the best of this bunch, since Woods is an athlete, but Bigfoot comes in a close second because he would be a great NBA center if David Stern didn't have such harsh restrictions.

That is all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Goodwin Champions > Allen & Ginter

This one's a little late but...

The baseball card blogger's love for 2009 A&G cannot be questioned. Gint-A-Cuffs swept through the cardosphere faster than H1N1. I enjoy the Allen & Ginter. I bought a box back in 2006. I bought multiple blasters in 2007. I split a box with my big bro in 2008 and 2009. I have dedicated 1 album to a "Best Of," 1-350 multi-year set of the Ginter. I even made my mother a set of 4 custom 2008 A&G cards.
All that being said, I believe that 2009 Goodwin Champions is superior to 2009 Allen & Ginter.
Quite simply, the images used on the cards are better. This is NOT up for debate. A&G images took an upturn in 2008 with a few action shots but the Goodwin images are great. The "artsy" effect on the photos adds to the image rather than detracting from it. The backgrounds are varied and interesting. And the added insignia such as the trophies and old school logos are super fun.
A&G looks roughly the same as it did 3 years ago. We shall see if Upper Deck can improve on the 2009 edition with no logos or team unis. (Goudey was outstanding in year 2, not so much in year 3.) Yes, the Topps cardstock is better and they did it first but I'll take a mustached Ryne Sandberg at Wrigley any day.
Any unwanted Goodwins can be shipped to me. Check out my base card want list.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Collecting 101: 1997 Collector's Choice

The 1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice set contained a small subset of checklist cards called "Collecting 101," which featured Ken Griffey Jr. on the front and collecting tips on the back. Let's see how Upper Deck's tips hold up to 12 years of cardboard evolution:

The Junior-themed fronts:Two of the six are posed, studio shots. One shows Griffey happily autographing a card with a batting glove on and the other has Griffey cheesing it up while holding a 1997 Collector's Choice card. (I am too lazy to research which card he is holding.)

The Tips:
1. Sorting Your Cards - Sorting out your cards and putting them in numerical order can be a tedious and time-consuming task. Fortunately, all Upper Deck sets are sorted by team, so just divide the cards by team, and subsets, and put each stack into the right order, using the checklists as a guide.

*There are few sets still sorted this way. But how hard is sorting cards by 100's, then 10's, then by number. I collected many sets back in my younger days. I remember being excited when I would get long runs of numbers that I had all of, making lists of numbers that I needed, etc. Set collecting is alive and well out there in blog land.

2. Subset vs. Insert - A subset is a group of related cards included in the regular set. Inserts are themed cards not included in the regular set, but inserted into packs by pre-determined odds. One way to tell the difference: a subset card just has a number; an insert card has a letter or abbreviation with the number.

*It all seemed pretty simple back in 1997. Now there are parallels and relics out the wazoo. 1991 Fleer Provisions was the first insert set I really wanted. Diamond Kings are still my favorite subset. After all my purging over the last two years, I have never gotten rid of a diamond king!

3. Completing a Set - The regular cards of a baseball set serve as a "Time Capsule" for the sport and the backbone of the hobby. Chances are you won't get the whole set by just buying packs, so keep a network of friends and dealers with which to trade so you can complete the set.

*Middle relievers and pinch hitters struggle to be memorialized in the yearly set offerings. I am all for complete sets even though they are now way down on my collecting priority list. Remember when you could go to a card shop and finish your set for $0.05 per card? Good times!

4. Caring for Your Cards - It is very important to keep your cards in the best shape possible. So to display them, put them in clear plastic sheets and a binder. Put them in nine to a sheet, so that you can easily view both the fronts and backs without damaging them.

*I protect my cards but I am not sure why. Whatever you do, make sure you can LOOK at your collection. I still enjoy studying stats, reading bios, and trivia on the back of baseball cards.

5. Using your "Doubles" - If you've completed a set by getting packs a few at a time, you're probably left with a few duplicates. Don't just discard them. Sort them out to see if you're close to completing a second set, or trade them with friends or at a local card store to get extras of your favorite cards.

*I used to never trade a non-double. Now I give away or trade all doubles plus many cards I have one of but do not want or need. The land of blogs seems to sometimes be just a great way to traffic baseball cards to those who need a daily cardboard fix.

6. Collecting on your Own - For a great way to keep your collection interesting and more personal, try collecting for your own personal subsets. You can make sets of players with a common theme, such as former MVPs, sons of former Major Leaguers, players from your hometown, etc.

*This is the best tip and the one I abide by most as of late. I collect 1 of every Met, Tito Fuentes, 1 of every HOFer, 1 of every player on my simulation league team, a few sets, and random other things I like. Good fun!

The Checklist + Tip-filled backs:
Upper Deck did a pretty good job with their tips back in 1997. In 2009, there may be a few more tainted tips like:
1. Make sure Pujols spelled his name with a "j" or it might be a fake.
2. Try collecting cards of all players listed in the Mitchell report. For added fun, collect a before and after card for each slugger.
3. For Mets fans only: Pay way too much for a Mo Vaughn card and feel the regret of a big league team.
4. Beware of the SuperFractor, you might burn your eyes out!

Please share any tips that Upper Deck or I have missed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tito Fuentes Baseball-Reference Sponsor!

I finally took the plunge and did the only thing a self-proclaimed Tito Fuentes Super-Collector could do:

I am now the sponsor of the Tito Fuentes page at I use the site several times a week (Yes, I am a stats junkie!). I figured I should do my duty and pay for my use of the web's best free sabermetric wonderland. I guess that makes it not free for me!

To commemorate this great day for Stats on the Back, I present one of the few autographed collectibles I own:
Tito inscribed it, "Safe at 3rd base 8-29-66." According to retrosheet, Tito did not reach third that day. I think this game against the Phillies happened earlier that year. That's Dick Allen just missing Fuentes. Go check out baseball-reference and retrosheet if you haven't already.

I have plenty more Tito posts to come. TITO 23!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BEST: Center Field

Maybe the toughest of all the positions! Positions one through three are a toss up.

1. Willie Mays
- ROY, 2 MVP, 12 top-tens, 20 All-Star games, 12 Gold Gloves, 3283 hits, 660 HR, 2000+ runs, 1900+ rbi, .302 avg, 156 OPS+. His greatness over so many years gives him the edge in my book. He was great EVERY year from age 20 to 41.
2. Mickey Mantle - 3 MVP, 9 top-tens, 16 All-Star games, 172 OPS+, 536 HR, 7 World Series rings. He and Mays were so similar. Two great players. Mantle was great from age 19 to 36. Wow!3. Ty Cobb - 1 MVP, 4189 hits, .366 avg (best all-time), .433 obp, 2246 runs, 1937 rbi, 892 SB, 167 OPS+. I can't really give a good reason Cobb isn't number 1. He definitely loses some credit for not having to play all the best ballplayers.I'd start a team with any of these three guys.

Others Considered:
Ken Griffey Jr - His 30's took a toll on his body and his career numbers. He was fun to watch and collect when I was a kid. An impressive top three keep him out of consideration.

Joe Dimaggio - Not the MVP in 1947! (Did you know that Ted Williams won the triple crown twice and finished 2nd in MVP voting BOTH years!!!) That hitting streak sure is impressive. No player has come within 10 games of topping it.

Eric Davis - In 1987, Davis hit 37 HR and stole 50 only 129 games. Jose stole his thunder one year later! Eric Davis never played more than 135 games in a season. He was great when he wasn't hurt. Oh yea, he's my favorite player ever!

Current Players Who Might Make the List:
Grady Sizemore - I keep waiting for him to explode. He's 26 and coming off of 2 surgeries. He better explode quick to get in the conversation.

The Babe and the Hammer are next up in BEST: Right Field

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Overdue New Stuff Part 3, Still Need a New Couch

The insurance paid to have the couch cleaned, but my wife has issues with things that have been wet. Could there be mold INSIDE the sofa? Maybe! She never liked it that much anyway. Here are the last of the new additions during the great Toilet flood of 2009:

Thanks to Brock or my first Zistle trade. I sent him a load of Mets and he sent 11 cards, all of which I needed for my 1-of-Every-Met collection.
Fun variety of cards! Brock's favorite is the Siebert. I have to believe it is because his jersey says JUICE! The Figueroa was most interesting because he was drafted by the Mets in 1995, was traded around the league, and then finally made his Met debut in 2008.

The final card he sent was this:
I am no LoDuca fan, but I LOVE Turkey Red. This Refractor Auto looks great. It replaces an A&G base card in my Mets collection. Truly GREAT trade for ME!

Thanks to Chris of 1980 Topps Cards for filing some HOF needs:

The HOFers that I am missing are tough to find, so 11 in one shot is awesome. The Rube Foster is my favorite. Plenty more 1998 Donruss for Chris and anyone else who needs some.

Thanks to Bo for the Stack-o-Mets. They are filed away already. Sorry! I know that you sent a Roy Lee Jackson and a John Pacella in Mets attire that replaced two cards sans Mets gear.

Thanks to Kevin of Orioles Card of the Day for this Mickey Weston card:
When I purged cards about 2 years ago, I had this card. I wasn't collecting 1 of every Met and honestly don't remember Mickey ever playing for the Metropolitans.

Since the house is back in order, regular posting should return. We'll see!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Overdue New Stuff Part 2, New Floors & New Paint

The house is almost back to normal after 4 weeks of toilet flooding craziness. Here are a few new additions to the collection:

Thanks to Pack Addict for a few A&G upgrades and this Don Drysdale:Two fun facts about Drysdale:
1. Played High School baseball with Robert Redford
2. Herbie, the love bug, was given the number 53 because of Drysdale.

Check out my A&G want list and my HOF want list.

Thanks to Ian aka Ernest of Canada for some O-Pee-Chee coolness and 1/24 of an A&G box. After 23 years, this gum has grown attached to Mr.October, LITERALLY! (dayf, I have a special one of these coming your way soon!)Thanks to the Tim of Great Sports Name Hall of Fame for this shiny memory of some brighter Mets days:
I haven't blooged once about the Mets this season. It has been too painful. Here is a To-Do list for the Mets for next year:
1. Get Healthy.
2. Stay Healty.
3. Help Santana with AT LEAST one pitcher.
4. Insure that Frenchy is NOT the best player on the active roster.
5. Fire everybody, including the Wilpons.
6. Change the dimensions of Citifield.
7. Play better.

More to come!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Overdue New Stuff Part 1, Drywall is Up

Thanks to all the well-wishers. The drywall is up and the new molding is in place. Paint is next! My wife and I have spent TOO much time in the one room of our house not affected by the toilet flood waters.

Thanks to Brian of the still, yet to be posted on, Play at the Plate blog. I sent him some junk and he sent me some 2008 Goudey set needs and a few Mets. These 2 were especially interesting:

2002 Fleer Authentix, with the accent on TIX Mark Corey
2002 Topps Finest Refractor Edgardo AlfonzoThe Alfonzo Finest card is gaudy and great. The Corey card seems to contain a tiny fake ticket. Game torn tickets would be cool. I'm sure this card will replace whatever pedestrian card now sits in my 1-of-every-Met binders.

Thanks to Canuck for also taking my junk and sending me Mets. There was a shiny Phil Humber:
This card forces me to ask: What happened to Humber? Since getting dealt to Minnesota in the Johan deal, Phil continues to underwhelm in AAA. The shininess of this BASE card is overwhelming, thus making this card completely "whelming"??????

Carl Crawford Cards sent 2 Mike Hampton autos from 1996 Leaf. ON CARD! And I won a card in Virgil Trucks-Fest.
I now have an extra Hampton auto for trade. And the Trucks card will join a few 1955 Bowman in my collection of slightly too large cards.

Kerry, aka Madding, sent my first game-used David Wright card for a few Cards Cards. And another thing: IT'S PANTS!!!
More to come. I miss my sofa, and my kitchen, and multiple bathrooms.