Thursday, October 9, 2014

Baseball Card Therapy #2

Hello there. Don't be alarmed by the title…the pets here are fine, and life is pretty good. You probably wouldn't believe how good the trout fishing was right there at the end of the season last week, but that's another hobby.

Work though, has been annoying as all get out. My actual jobs are great and I thoroughly enjoy them. The clients though……

Which is of course one reason baseball cards are so great. Just relaxing little picture cards, full of nice calm numbers on the back. Whatever is happening in life, baseball cards won't let you down, well, unless you are desperate to pull a "hit" card by purchasing them retail. But if that is your collecting, err, speculating style, well, I won't be much help.

So when I got home from yet another work excursion (my career is almost as incompatible with baseball card collecting and baseball card blogging as perhaps over-the-road trucking would be), I reached immediately for some baseball cards. 

Aside from working on the ever ongoing Sea Turtle parallel project, I have also been dedicating my available baseball card time to preparing my piles of baseball cards for the long term. Some will hopefully get headed towards sale via COMC (probably still a few weeks out), and some need to be placed in binders….
And yes this means I can finally type….


Though I didn't want to use that in the post title and steal just totally everything from the Night Owl. That scan there, definitely owes him something as yes, that is a page of minis in the new binder pages from Ultra•Pro for these cards. And he certainly helped push them into making this obviously needed product in the baseball card world.

I love 1972 style cards. One of my favorite designs after 1975, 1953, and 1956, and, well, maybe I'll rank them all some day, but probably not. But 1972, oh yes. Sadly, at the age of 5 I was not yet buying baseball cards in 1972, and I haven't made any effort to acquire many of my very own original 1972 cards. Until the rise of internet card sales, that was always a scary idea for me. Expensive, not completely simple to do through the mail unless buying a whole set, and there just aren't many card shows (i.e. none) in a county with only 20,000 people living in it.

So when I saw the 1972 style mini in my first pack of 2013 Topps Series One, I knew I would be collecting all of them.

That is a pretty good Mike Trout card there, a nice On-Deck Card it looks like, with plenty of baseball context viewable on-card with the stadium behind him. Quite striking amidst the other 8 seemingly now standard action shots cropped to the torso, which generally blurs the background, on his page.

Now I love the card design, the Psychedelic Tombstone I've read it described as (probably at the Night Owl blog, again), and it turns out these new versions scan really well - probably more vivid in the scans than real life. When the green cards pop this much, I even like the non-harmony of green cards for 'red' teams. Seems fitting for these.

On this page I love the gleam of Adrian Gonzalez's helmet there, and I can still tell Chris Sale was photographed in Detroit, even on a cropped down mini card. Topps prints so many cards shot in Detroit I'm starting to think about looking into who the Detroit based photog for those might be. I also like seeing Rizzo in the Cubs alternate home uniform, complete with National League shoulder patch. Cubs cards next season might be quite varied - they sported 9 different one day alternate / throwback unis this past season.

Page 2 of these cards also shows some downside to the new mini pages. Every time you move the page, the cards go for a ride in the pockets. And doubling them quickly reveals the other card hiding behind the front you are looking at. OCD collectors will struggle with these pages, but for me, they are fine, I just like to look at pretty baseball cards.

This third page makes me wonder if Jose Reyes throws like a girl - professional shortstops in the Women's Fast Pitch Softball league probably do throw better than he does.

That's an interesting dug-out shot of Ryan Braun there, he's sporting a pink armband probably from Stand up to Cancer day in MLB. But his inclusion in this little insert set again makes me wonder why suspended players get baseball cards but we can't have any new Pete Rose cards.

The Dickey card reveals that Topps in no way attempted to use the Heritage approach on these cards, with mimicked poses from the original set. R.A. has two other regular size 13 cards featuring a nearly identically zoomed/cropped photo as this one.
These cards did arrive before A-Rod's eventual suspension of course, and I have to admit I like his card here. Nice shades, and is a nice reminder that the new Yankee stadium tips it's architectural cap to the previous edition.

I like the leg kickin' Cliff Lee card here … it was only with the scanner's help I've noticed it's a card shot in the late afternoon, which I usually like and have a small pile of, waiting for the ever precious free time to be bindered, scanned, and blogged. There are several Night Cards in this set, and though none are all that memorable with this much crop/zoom, they do stand out because there are so few in the base card set these were inserted with.
Here with the sudden change in the checklist from a nearly alphabetic one (by home city name, including 'Anaheim' for those ever mysterious Angels), to a run of Superstars of the past, we reach the end of tonight's blog post.

That is indicated by the Gio Gonzalez card back peeking out at us. The backs of these are authentic to the '72 style, complete with a trivia question on each one. I read some of them; the best one was answered by that card to the right of Gio's back-side - Who was the last ROY to make the HOF? Yes, baseball card prospectors might shudder with the answer - 1982's Rookie-of-the-Year Cal Ripken, Jr.

For the most part though, it is just too hard to squint out from under my glasses (Old Man Need Bi-Focals could easily be inside my next fortune cookie) to read the back of a mini baseball card. Which at least made for an easy decision on whether to keep 9 or 18 cards on each page of these.

But I'm drawing to a close here because this set is not complete, and the Series 2 checklist has even more holes. The missing card there is #44, Nolan Ryan.

My needs list from the Series 2 run of these is:

51 Griffey Jr., 56 Wright, 62 O'Neill, 78 R.A. Dickey (again?), 82 Sheffield, 83 Mattingly, 86 Brett, 89 Middlebrooks, 94 Ortiz, 99 Ozzie Smith

And since I'm typing up lists of cards in hopes you might have one for me, I should note that I am about a similar amount short of the '71 minis from Update. I hadn't thought to collect them at first, and indeed even shipped a few out that I now need. But I bought so much Update chasing the parallels that I had pretty close to a set of those, and they too look pretty good on a binder page. I do need:

2 Ruth, 10 Votto, 12 McCutchen, 15 Kershaw, 21 Kinsler, 26 Rivera, 27 Musial, 28 Bench, 31 Puig, 33 Posey, 36 King Felix, 39 Stanton, 40 Garciaparra, 41 Cespedes, 44 Myers, 47 Mattingly

I do have a nice little stack of these cards to trade, and I look forward to scanning the rest of the pages for you. The blog will likely stay in semi-regular mode as I continue to work on nice permanent binders of cards for the future … but the ever increasing hours of darkness this time of year mean I can only work but so much, hopefully giving me a bit more time to hang out with y'all in the weeks ahead.

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