Archive for the ‘good traders’ Category

waiter, there’s a fork in my 75 topps

January 30, 2011

Well, it only took me four years after deciding to rebuild my set of 1975 Topps baseball cards to accomplish the goal. It was a ton of fun, and I am pleased with the fact that that I managed to pull together a great condition set pretty much only via trading. It is absolutely fantastic to be able to flip through my binder and look at the cards’ fronts and backs, much like a great book.

Dwight Evans (1975 Topps no. 255)

Although I do still plan on upgrading five cards due to condition issues, I consider the set complete with the trade I made for this Dwight Evans card. I do have a bunch of duplicates in fantastic condition, as well as a good number of cards from the set in less than ideal condition, so drop me a line if you have holes in your set. I will keep them as trade bait rather than dumping them off on eBay.

So now what? I toyed with the idea of building a set of 75 minis, but have decided instead to keep working towards the completion of my 65 Topps and 72 Topps sets as priorities, and hoping to one day stumble into an unopened box of 75 minis. I know there is a box out there somewhere with my name on it.

I will definitely continue writing players with cards in the 75 set and asking them to add their signature for my collection. I will even consider PAYING one of the dudes $30 to autograph his card the next time I find myself in Las Vegas.

– Kris

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cards your great grandmother didn’t throw away

December 12, 2010

Yesterday, December 11, 2010, marked the 135th anniversary of the birth of Roy A. Stamm. Odds are stacked against you having heard of this man before, but considering that you are reading this blog, I would imagine that you would have shared some common ground with him.

Roy Stamm and friends circa 1890

Given my interest in most things historic, I always have an eye peeled for early mentionings of baseball and baseball cards. As a result of my ongoing research, I have amassed a sizable database of historical accounts of the origins of baseball in the New Mexico Territory, including the names and addresses of businesses and homes associated with people who either played baseball or had their hand in the industry in one manner or another… saloon owners, tobacconists, printers and photographers are prime examples of historical folks I collect data on. The bottom line is that you simply cannot know when that sort of information will prove valuable, even though your hunch tells you that you should try to only have to sift through the written archives once. At any rate, I’ve already gone further into all of that than I intended to do here.

With little spare time to spread around, I sometimes must make a decision to ignore the stacks of unsorted baseball cards on (or near) my desk, and pick up a book instead. The result can prove both entertaining and informative. The written account of Roy Stamm’s life struck me like an unexpected bubble envelope stuffed full of baseball cards off my want lists. Although Stamm completed his work in 1954, “fOR ME, THE SUN: The Autobiography of Roy A. Stamm, An Early Albuquerque Business Leader,” the book wasn’t published until 1999, some 42 years following his death.

Stamm the man, his book and his balloon (1890)

The following except from the book followed an incident in 1882 in which a bully had tossed the author, then six-years-old, into a mud puddle on South Second Street in New Albuquerque and attempted to force him to eat a toad. I’m not sure which is worse, the incident or one’s mother finding out about it.

“She was of Puritan Massachusetts and Mohawk Valley Dutch ancestry and had taught school in Kansas. Outraged by this “plain evidence of racial resentment”, she saw that from that time on I rode my saddle horse during most of my childhood (I became so accustomed to this, I’d ride across the street instead of walking!).

This decision was all right with me. Forbidden to play tops or marbles “for keeps” and ordered to hold myself, literally, “above those bad boys,” I used this easy transportation to reach the tremendous distinction of owning the “third largest cigarette picture collection in town.” The first and best belonged to a black boy whose father and brothers were porters in saloons; the second, to a newsboy. Their inside sources of supply were partially balanced by my ability to move around and to trade for pictures desired by others to complete their sets.

All of which distressed mother but, fair minded, she allowed me to retain my well won trophies. No matter how strong and possessive a mother’s instincts may be, unless he is predisposed, a boy’s natural inclinations seldom will permit him to become “sissified.”

The only conclusion I am going to allow myself to draw from this segment of Stamm’s book is that card collectors of the past were as varied and passionate about the hobby as are card collectors of today- and most likely, the future. I did contact Roy’s son to tell him how much I enjoyed the book and to thank him for his efforts in helping bring his father’s words to print. We were not able to pinpoint which cigarette cards were contained within the collection, but I have been having a blast paging thru my copy of “American Tobacco Cards: Price Guide and Checklist” by Robert Forbes and Terence Mitchell and wondering about what treasures may have been contained within Stamm’s collection.

Allen & Ginter: “American Indian Chiefs” and “American Editors” series

I think it is reasonable to predict that Roy may have been fond of the Allen & Ginter American Indian Chiefs series since he was an twelve-year-old boy growing up in the wild west when the cards were issued in 1888. As wonderful as these cards are, I feel the need to remind readers that many of the men featured on the cards were still alive when the amazing Linder, Eddy & Clauss lithographs were reproduced as tobacco cards. Even if Roy didn’t collect the Allen & Ginter American Editors (1887) cards, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Albuquerque newsboy did, and would have traded handsomely to complete his 50-card set.

Roy Stamm and his UNM football teammates (1894)

Roy Stamm led a fascinating life; regardless of what angle you choose to examine it. However, I will not be spoiling potential future book sales by stating whether or not he included more about tobacco cards or baseball as he drew from his extensive journal that he kept throughout his life. Stamm passed away two years after the release of 1952 Topps baseball cards, 10 years before the first Sharpie mark became permanent and decades before the dawn of blogging. I wonder whether he would have adapted to trading his cards via the internet, or if he would have stuck to his guns and traded only on horseback.

– Kris

and then there were three… or four

October 11, 2010

Although my hobby goals are generally unwritten, one of them has been to complete my set of 1975 Topps baseball cards before the Night Owl completes his review of the entire set. While I haven’t reached the summit of that mountain yet, I have made fantastic strides toward that end this season almost exclusively via online trading.

As of this posting, I technically only need a single card- no. 255 Dwight Evans to complete the set. That said, I also have to replace two damaged cards- no. 393 Gary Gentry and no. 649 Jack Heidemann before my binder will be satisfied. There is also the situation of card no. 484 Glenn Beckert that I mailed for an autograph some eight months ago and haven’t gotten back. Possibly, I never will… I refuse to buy these cards on eBay because I would feel absolutely no joy in completing the set in that manner.

The vast majority of the 75 Topps cards I picked up this year have arrived as part of trades with collectors who are members of Vintage Card Traders (VCT). While not all 121 VCT members are as active as the rest (placing myself in the “relatively inactive category”), I would hazard a guess that their overall membership is likely a little more active in working card swaps that the current baseball card blogosphere. I would not hesitate to recommend any dedicated baseball card collector to check out the membership requirements of the 11-year old VCT. Just keep in mind that the group is primarily interested in vintage cards, just as the name suggests. Even if you aren’t collecting vintage cards, I would suggest that you check out various VCT member want lists and try to initiate trades of modern cards.

On a final note, I do have a considerable number of duplicate 1975 Topps baseball cards for trade, so feel free to contact me if you are working on the set and have cards to trade that I need from other sets.

– Kris

the improbable dream: 1965 topps

May 29, 2009

Like many of you, I was born in 1965. I don’t remember the first time that I saw a baseball card that was issued in my birth year, but I can tell you that many years passed before I owned one. And that is really interesting considering what a great looking set of cards the sixty-fives are.

At some point after I picked up my copy of Frank Slocum’s Topps Baseball Cards: The Complete Picture Collection (A 35 Year History, 1951-1985), I studied the sixty-fives and developed a “wish list” of cards that I would like to pick up at least one of as a representative sample of the set. A couple of weeks later I commented to a buddy that I had been getting outbid on each of the single sixty-fives I had been trying to pick up on eBay. Frustrated, and obviously outgunned, I tabled that project for “another time.”

Not long after that, my pal Marty hooked me up with my first 1965 Topps baseball card. It wasn’t just any random card, but a sweet autographed Luis Aparicio card. Check it out!

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Luis Aparicio – 1965 Topps no. 410

Although I haven’t featured this card before, it has appeared here partially as I utilized it in part in a post about Steve Finley since he was also born in 1965. At any rate, I had pretty much come to terms with the notion that this was going to be THE card in my collection to represent the 1965 Topps set. At least I had one!

Then a strange and mysterious thing happened….

While conducting research for a blog article about the roots of my baseball collecting habits, I stumbled into a deal that resulted in the acquisition of a boatload of vintage cards the likes of which I never seriously thought possible. Long story short, I was able to add the goal of building a set of 1965 Topps baseball cards to my list of vintage cards to collect in addition to my other favorites– 1975 and 1972.

Don’t worry; I have no intention on discussing every single card in the 1965 set. I believe that Kevin of the Great 1965 Topps Project is doing a fantastic job of documenting this set. However, I will be posting scans of the cards that I end up getting autographed. Unless I mention otherwise, it is safe for you to assume that I am getting these cards signed through the mail, or “TTM.” I mailed the following four cards with short letters to players just over a week ago.

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Ty Cline – 1965 Topps no. 63

Ty Cline leads off since he will be celebrating a birthday on June 15th. If you happen to be planning on asking Tyrone to sign TTM, this would be a great opportunity as you could also send him a birthday card. Playing for Cincinnati, Cline was the first player to record an official at bat at Three Rivers Stadium during the summer of 1970. At the end of that same season, Ty scored the winning runs in the first and third games of the National League Championship Series as the Reds sent the Pirates migrating to the golf courses for the winter.

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Dal Maxvill – 1965 Topps no. 78

What can I say about Dal Maxvill that hasn’t already been written? Appropriately featured with his leather rather than a piece of lumber, Dal’s 1965 Topps card has it all. Noting that Maxvill supplemented his income by working as an electrical engineer during the off season, the Topps artist in charge of rendering his comic for the back went so far as to depicting Dal in the process of electrocuting himself.

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Max Alvis – 1965 Topps no. 185

Alvis was selected to the American League All-Star team in 1965 and 1967. The comic on the back of Alvis’ 1965 card indicates that the Jasper, Texas native tried his hand at pitching in the minors in 1959. Always searching for a hidden story, I decided to check into that. Yes, Max did pitch for the Alabama-Florida League Selma Cloverleafs- a single inning in which he walked one batter and struck out none. Of course, his lifetime ERA of 0.00 is nothing to sneeze at!

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Max Alvis – 1965 Topps Embossed no. 3

Never a fan of the foil slapped onto cards these days, I have to admit that these embossed 1965 Topps All-Star cards are extremely nifty. Even niftier when artfully autographed!

Again, I am actively seeking trades, and am interested in establishing long-term trading relationships with other collectors working on the 1965 Topps baseball card set (or any of the other vintage sets found in my online want lists). Don’t be shy!

– Kris

seventy million dollar man

January 14, 2009

Growing up in west-central Illinois, in the rich watershed drained by the river that had helped make Edgar Lee Masters famous, it was expected that a baseball fan root for either the Cubs or the Cardinals. Given those options, I chose to follow the Orioles.

With few exceptions, my personal heroes can easily be classified as underdogs. Born eleven days after me, and a few hundred miles to the south, Steve Finley’s path was predetermined to cross with mine more than once as the years passed. While Steve’s future in baseball would be taking off with a bang, mine would be borfed with a wiffle.

After breaking into the majors with the Orioles at the age of 24, Steve went on to play for the Astros, Padres, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Angels, Giants and Rockies. Steve Finley played hard, solid baseball for each of the eight different teams he suited up for throughout his career.

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It isn’t a simple task to explain WHY Steve Finley was a unanimous, first-ballot inductee into my personal Wall of Fame given that typical baseball stats do not account for qualities such as spirit, ethics, enthusiasm, effort, dedication and charm. It seems as unnecessary to attempt to justify my fondness for the man, as it would be to try to describe why I enjoy listening to DEVO. Perhaps it all boils down to the fact that his on field attitude was capable of inspiring any fan that had the desire to see a player lay everything on the line day in and day out without getting caught up in the madness that was taking place along the sidelines.

A lifetime .271 hitter over 10,460 at bats, Finley probably won as many games with his glove as he did with his bat. Given an opportunity to pitch during the Arizona Diamondbacks magical season of 2001, Finley maintained a perfect ERA while walking only one batter and plunking another. Sure it was only for a single inning, but clearly Steve had the opposing batters mystified.

In spite of the fact that I saw Steve Finley play in hundreds of baseball games in Phoenix, and even lived next door to his teammate Travis Lee during the entire 1999 season, I wouldn’t actually get to meet Steve until the spring of 2006. While seemingly everyone in Scottsdale was shoving and elbowing in order to be the first person ignored by Barry Bonds, I was hanging out in the calm. Ultimately, I was rewarded by the opportunity to meet Steve in person as he was walking into the stadium from the parking lot. He did not “big league” me when I asked him to sign a card for my collection, but instead thanked me for coming out to the park. Class!

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Steve Finley’s signature has always been suspect at best!

I’ve recently been trading for Steve’s baseball cards with readers and other bloggers, without setting any unrealistic goals such as trying to accumulate one of each of his different cards. It has been quite entertaining to receive these cards in the mail, and easily more enjoyable than buying them online. That isn’t to say that I won’t pick up one here and there, but I think trading is the approach I will strive to employ for this particular aspect of my collection.

Here is a scan of Steve’s 1989 Bowman card (no. 15). Most noticeable is the complete lack of stats on the back. I received this card absolutely FREE under the condition that I give it a good home.

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One of my long time favorite Steve Finley baseball cards is his 1990 Topps card (no. 349). Given my strong attraction to the 75 and 72 Topps sets, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am a big fan of the 1990 Topps product.

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I wasn’t collecting baseball cards in 1995. If I had been, I suspect that I may have been all over this Fleer issue. I believe that I like everything about it, except the foil. I am of the opinion that foil should be used only to wrap potatoes before baking, and possibly to cover rabbit-ear style antennae of portable television sets (although even that will prove to be an annoyance following the national conversion to digital only).

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This is one of the cards I got for FREE this Krismas from one of the more generous trading card bloggers on the circuit. I’m not naming names because I don’t want Santa Claus to have any reason to put out a contract on the guy. With that out of the way, I really like this card. This 2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond Gold (no. 59) card is probably one I would have to put at the top of my pile in the event that I ever have the chance to get Steve to sign another autograph. The scan does not do the card justice.

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The 2002 Upper Deck Vintage set was easily my favorite product of the past decade until I stumbled over my first pack of Topps Allen & Ginter cards. Finley’s card in this set is number 275. The blurb on the card back attests to the fact that like the best racehorses, Steve has always been a strong finisher.

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Finally, another Steve Finley card from an absolutely fantastic team set issued by Mother’s and given away to fans entering Bank One Ballpark before a game in 2001.

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I’m not sure exactly how much money Steve Finley earned during his 19 years of service in Major League Baseball, but I do know that the $70 million figure is a conservative estimate. At some point I will get around to providing a list of Steve Finley cards that I either have or need, depending on what makes the most sense at that time. In the meanwhile, feel free to contact me if you have duplicate or unique cards that you think I might be interested in. I probably will be!

– Kris

1972 – electric BOOG-a-loo

January 8, 2009

I’ve yet to experience the absolute joy that I suspect one would feel by opening a pack of 1972 Topps baseball cards. Instead of collecting baseball cards, the majority of my free time as a seven-year-old was spent trying to comprehend the jokes being served on television programs such as Sanford and Son, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show and Fat Albert – all of which premiered that year. What can I say? I was a kid and my priorities were unformed. In fact, chances are that I would still sometimes pretend to be sick in order to stay home from school on cold winter days- especially for a chance to watch the 5000th episode of Captain Kangaroo.

A full two years would pass between the point in time when the psychedelic 1972 Topps baseball cards were sold in stores and when I began collecting. That is not to say that I failed completely to own any of those cards while the players featured on them were still active.

I distinctly remember that the first time I saw any of these cards was during the autumn of 1975. Forced to accompany my family during a visit to the Pearson household in the small, midwestern town where I was raised, I had taken along a Velveeta cheese (product) box bottom filled with cards from my collection to entertain myself. Satisfied to be using the light from the television to read the backs of my baseball cards while the rest of the kids watched the Wizard of Oz, I was as happy as a bug on a shag rug.

Tom, the middle Pearson child, was a senior in high school- practically an adult, so we really didn’t have much in common. I recall thinking that Tom’s girlfriend, Diane, was very nice because she insisted that Tom turn on one of the lights in the family room so I wouldn’t have to strain my eyes trying to read in the dark. (MANY more years would pass before I came to the realization that her insistence that the light be turned on next to the recliner they were sharing was probably more of an effort to slow Tom’s rapid advancement in the field of biology than it was concern for my vision.)

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After Diane went home, Tom told me that he hadn’t collected baseball cards for a couple of years, but was willing to bust the shoeboxes out of his closet if I wanted to take a look at some older cards. He had some crazy cards that I had never imagined in my wildest dreams, including a sizable stack of cards that his father had given him.

After declaring that all of his money was earmarked to be spent on his car and girlfriend, Tom offered me the sweetest deal in that he would be happy to trade any of his duplicates for any 1973 or newer cards of players from “his team”- the American League representative from New York City, or any other “star” players that I was willing to part with. When Tom informed me that I would run into a similar collecting roadblock myself one day, I was convinced I had discovered a sucker. He was, of course, correct.

I have seen a beautiful, hand-collated set of 72 Topps baseball cards on more than one occasion. Derek, the owner of one of the local card shops, never fails to plop the binder on his counter each and every time I stop in- even though I am usually only shopping for card storage supplies, browsing, or sleep walking. The set is as visually intoxicating as the price tag is sobering.

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The 72 Topps design is the equivalent of Dock Ellis’ outlandish acid-“enhanced” performance of June 12, 1970. I have no doubt that while the rest of America was listening to the Eagles’ debut album and Don McLean’s “American Pie” on 9-volt transistor radios, the design staff at Topps was busy creating tiny masterpieces while spinning new vinyl discs pressed with Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy a Thrill, Lou Reed’s Transformer, and glam rock band Mott the Hoople’s All the Young Dudes.

The brilliant, neonic borders on these cards inspire me to imagine a jukebox-pinball hybrid that might just have well been created by a nuclear scientist gone mad in Andy Warhol’s Factory while in the process of overdosing on caffeine. Granted, the printing quality of many of the photographs utilized on these cards is a far cry from their modern day descendants, and alignment is often quite problematic, but they are what they are- cards worthy of the chase. The 787-card 1972 Topps set is loaded with intriguing imagery ranging from Ellie Hendricks’ timeless catching stance nowhere near home plate [card no. 508] to Joe Torre’s demonic pose [card no. 500] that (some say) Linda Blair used as her muse while preparing for the role of young Regan during the making of the Exorcist.

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I recently picked up just over a quarter of this set as part of a blockbuster trade with Saint Dan of the Cheap Seats (along with a brick of 2008 Allen & Ginter minis). Although I will be looking to upgrade the quality of a number of the cards, it provides a fantastic kick in the pants to begin working on this groovy set in earnest.

What a long, strange trip it will be…

Wouldn’t you like to join in on the fun?

–  Kris

(I obtained the Tom Burgmeier [card no. 246] autograph in person, and the fantastic Bill Lee [card no. 636] autograph through the mail after reading The Wrong Stuff and Have Glove Will Travel. A collector from the Baltimore area obtained the Boog Powell [card no. 250] autograph for me in person in appreciation for me having done a considerable amount of 50/50 graphing service for him.)

the wind cries “trade me”

December 26, 2008

“A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life”

Partially inspired by the relationship between Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Mayfield, but mostly looking for things to do rather than writing thank you notes for gifts I received for Krismas, I thought I would pull together a quick entry about a number of trades that I have completed “recently.” As much as I enjoy a good trade, it is funny how I almost always have some other ongoing project that requires my attention more than blogging. Here is a prime example of why I sometimes fail to write anything at all

I have no intention on including scans of every card I’ve received in trade, or even listing them in their entirety. This isn’t because I’m a jerk, but because I don’t believe anyone really is that interested in reading about the trades in that detail. On the other hand, if you have made a trade with me and I’ve omitted your name, feel free to chalk that one up to me being a total jerk. Please accept my sincere apology and do not hesitate to call me on the omission in the comments section.

In no particular order then, THANKS!

I recently received ten 2008 Allen & Ginter mini cards from half of the S&M blogging duo that composes A Cardboard Problem in trade for some random Cardinals infielder I’d never heard of. A few days later and I was packing up a few cards for the other half of ACP for a swap for a handful of Steve Finley cards I wanted. True to karma, I’ve pulled more cards of the two players that I sent out in trade in the few days since the trades were completed than I have of anyone else. Geesh!

A sizable trade of Topps 52s Rookie cards with The Easy Life resulted in the addition of a stack of 2008 Goudey baseball cards to my office after I decided I would collect the National League half of that set. Steve also tossed in a bunch of awesome Dodgers cards, including my first Upper Deck Masterpieces card. (Uh oh… these things are NICE!) Not only did I score cards of baby Dodgers to potentially get autographed this next season, but also a couple of cards that had already been autographed.

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Whether we are talking about Cory Snyder or Jay Howell, it must be obvious that I won’t hesitate to scan and post images of autographed cards due to the fact that they are completely different from regular cards that anyone has an opportunity to pull from a pack. It has gotten to the point for me that when I see a baseball card, I feel that it isn’t “complete” until it has been autographed by the player. I guess that is just the historian in me.

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In one of the most intriguing deals of 2008, Mark from Stats on the Back traded me 25 Steve Finley cards in exchange for a full half-inch of empty space in one of, what I assume must be, MANY monster storage boxes. (Expect to read more about that in a future post.)

Not to be outdone, the ever charitable folks behind the curtains at Dinged Corners supplied me with cards shiny enough to top any respectable pine tree, while the Cardboard Junkie continued to feed my addiction with a badly needed A&G mini here, a 75 Topps there, another hit of 08 Heritage that I just can’t seem to kick, and other random goodies I didn’t even know I needed- until I had a taste!

I’ve completed trades in person with local collectors as well as with a number of blogless collectors via a few interweb message boards that have been proving quite useful in chasing out the sets I am building. Oh sure, I could simply be purchasing the majority of these cards on eBay, but where’s the joy in that?

I also want to take a moment to thank in advance Danny at Saints of the Cheap Seats and FanofReds at Nachos Grande for trades that are either currently in the works, or possibly passing like postcards of ships in the night.

If you are looking to increase your pool of card trading friends and have yet to check out any of these bloggers’ want lists, I urge you to do so immediately. That is, AFTER you have revisited my updated want lists!

“Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blown in the past”

– Kris

paul’s random trade

November 29, 2008

I recently completed a seemingly random trade of a fistful of autographed baseball cards with a Mets fan from New Jersey. As proof that “things” happen much more quickly back east than they do here in the dusty southwest, I offer that the cards Paul shipped were waiting in my mailbox upon my return from the post office the very afternoon I sent his. Heck, he even managed to blog about the completed trade before I got around to it.

I have no intention on posting images of each of the cards I added to my collection, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the following: Wayne Krenchicki – 1982 Topps, 1985 Topps and 1987 Topps; Webster Garrison – 1995 Signature Rookies Preview; Shane Heams – 2000 Upper Deck Victory Team USA; and Kevin Nicholson – 2002 Arizona Fall League. The truth of the matter is that Paul is such a well-organized trader he even took care of scanning and posting all of the cards he sent!

I really should include a scan of the Kevin Nicholson Arizona Fall League card, but that is a can of worms that is going to have to remain sealed this evening. Not only are those cards seldom discussed (possibly because the AFL quit producing sets for some bizarre reason)- but also because the Arizona Fall League is one of the main reasons for my return to collecting baseball cards. The Fall League also served as a springboard that launched me into the world of in person autograph collecting as well as the hazards of self-inflicted Sharpie tattoos all over my hands, arms, clothing, etc. Yes, the AFL is a digression best saved for a snowy day at some point this winter.

Here then are my two favorite autographed cards that I received from the innkeeper at Paul’s Random Stuff:

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This 2007 Topps 52 Rookies Billy Petrick card (no. 124) is already getting along famously with the other 96+ cards I have gotten autographed from the 2006 and 2007 sets. Again, I urge any readers who may have an extra autographed card from these sets to contact me in order to open a potential trade dialogue. Or if you see any of these cards listed on someone’s trade bait list, please either shoot me an email, or send them a link to my list of autographed Topps 52 Rookies available for trade.

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While reading down Paul’s list of cards available for trade, this 1971 Topps Dick Such card (no. 283) stuck out like a sore thumb, and I knew it had to be mine. I’m glad I had enough Mets, ex-Mets or future ex-Mets cards to offer in trade. That may not have been the case if there had been a Rusty Staub auto on the list.

If you haven’t already checked out Paul’s ever-shrinking Mets autograph want list, I recommend that you do so… PRONTO.

– Kris

confronted with error cards

November 24, 2008

Baseball players are interesting folks. This post examines the basic approaches players tend to employ regarding autograph requests on “error cards.” Some refuse flat out to sign them… end of story.

Other players (Eric Patterson comes to mind) will autograph an error card while explaining that it isn’t their photo on the front. Obviously they are not concerned with any perceived extra or lesser “value” assigned to the card.

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A third subset of players choose to handle the situation similar to Koyie Hill as in this example by flipping the card over and signing their stats. That leaves the grapher with the interesting prospect of having to remember to try to get the front of the card autographed by the player depicted in the photo. In this instance, I will need to bump into Alan Zinter again before I can file this 2005 Topps Total card (no. 401) with my other completed autographs.

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Speaking of Alan, this 1990 Score card (no. 671) illustrates Zinter’s unique signature. This card is a double, and is currently “in the mail” as part of a small trade of autographed Mets cards to Paul’s Random Stuff.

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Personally, I get a kick from these oddities as they provide an interesting topic of conversation amongst collectors, and also serve as an excellent icebreaker prior to hitting a player up for a signature. Have I mentioned lately how much I miss Topps Total?

– Kris

topps 52s autos: alfonzo to vandenhurk

August 5, 2008

I believe I will sit and write a spell while the most recent baker’s dozen autographs I’ve gotten on Topps 52s cards cool on the windowsill. Only time will tell whether these will represent the final harvest of the summer since the Albuquerque Isotopes season wraps up at home this month. The Isotopes will be facing teams that have already visited the Duke City this year, so if nothing else, I will be able to target players with cards in this series to use as potential trade material.

Eliezer Alfonzo (2006 – no. 59)

After slugging a game winning two-run bomb off Orlando Hernandez (New York Mets) in his first major league at bat, Eliezer Alfonzo finished the 2006 season as the San Francisco Giants primary catcher. Alfonzo is currently one of the catchers employed by the Fresno Grizzlies. A proven clutch hitter, Eliezer is prepared to join and contribute to the parent club at the drop of a hat. Alfonzo will happily sign two autographs per fan prior to the first pitch, so please… no shoving!

Travis Buck (2007 – no. 11)

Travis Buck seldom signs autographs for fans before a baseball game. He doesn’t sign that frequently after games either, but when he does, it is one autograph per person. It is worth noting that Buck employs a sort of Mike Scioscia strategy to his autographing. That means that if you want his signature, be prepared to walk alongside Travis as he makes his way to the team van, and hope the distance is great enough that he gets to you before he reaches the van. Do not expect him to smile like he is on his card! Buck is presently an outfielder with the Sacramento RiverCats (Oakland A’s) who lead the Pacific Coast League Pacific South division by 5 games.

Chris Denorfia (2006 – no. 9)

No longer in the Cincinnati Reds organization, Denorfia has packed his bats and his knack for stringing together interesting hitting streaks and moved to Sacramento where he helps patrol the RiverCats outfield. Denorfia is a nice guy, but I don’t think this will be the last you hear of him.

Travis Ishikawa (2006 – no. 141)

Ishikawa doesn’t appear to be immune from the streak either; hitting seven homers in his past eight games. I realize that it is early in August, but this dude is hitting .615 with nine RBI for the month! Honestly, I’m surprised Travis even had the time to sign for me given all the base running he’s been doing.

Justin Knoedler (2006 – no. 181)

Originally drafted as a pitcher, Knoedler was converted to catcher by the San Francisco Giants. Now with the Sacramento RiverCats, it doesn’t appear that the Oakland As have any intention of converting him back to pitcher in spite of the fact that he still hits like one. Justin is a very friendly player, and would be a welcome addition to my Razzball fantasy team.

Jay Marshall (2007 – no. 112)

If you are looking to get a Jay Marshall autograph these days, don’t strain your eyes looking for the dude depicted on the front of his card at Sacramento RiverCats’ games. Instead, be on the watch for Serpico. He’s your man! Catch Jay at the right time after a game, and he’ll sign anything you hand him.

Patrick Misch (2007 – no. 156)

A pitcher for the Fresno Grizzlies, Misch will sign before any game that he isn’t starting. Of course I’m talking about Triple A baseball here, and not at major league ballparks. Still, I’d bet that Pat remains as fan-friendly whenever he gets his call back up with the Giants.

Dan Ortmeier (2006 – no. 188)

Back to the fascinating topic of Razzball… I think Dan was drafted pretty early in our fantasy league- not long after I picked up Rich Aurilia. Battling back from a broken finger at the beginning of the season, Ortmeier has amassed a .128 batting average in 86 plate appearances in the minor leagues, scoring six times and driving in four runs (including himself twice via the long ball). I’d say he’s ready for the call up! Even Dan’s autograph is Razztastic!

Eric Patterson (2007 – no. 155)

I didn’t get this card autographed when the Iowa Cubs were in town the first time because Eric had just been called up to Chicago. I also was not able to get it signed the second time the Cubs passed through as they had just traded Eric to Oakland. Luckily, the A’s don’t seem to have a better idea of how to handle Patterson than did the Cubs, so they shipped him off to Sacramento in time for their trip to Albuquerque. Eric made no attempt to disguise the fact that he didn’t care much for the Cubs while signing his cards. He even went as far to suggest that we might as well throw them away.

Eric Patterson and Felix Pie (2007 – no. DD8)

Similar to the case of Eric Patterson, I missed the chance to get Pie the first time the Cubs visited Isotopes Park this summer because he hurt his hand swinging during the first game. Felix was shipped off to Arizona where they iced it down for several days, but he was back with the Cubs in time for their last visit.

Multiple player cards are frustrating to keep organized in a meaningful way that allows you to avoid missing guys when they come to town. However, the feeling you get as you complete these cards makes it worth the while. Luckily I was able to complete this card when I got Patterson’s signature one week after Pie’s- so I really didn’t have time to misplace the card.

Danny Putnam (2007 – no. 42)

This is one of numerous reasons I’m not a professional baseball manager. Putnam is a great kid, and I would be tempted to have the Sacramento RiverCats lineup cards preprinted with his name on them. What I don’t understand is how the left-handed hitting Putnam’s .324 batting average against lefties is a full 80 points higher than his average against righties. Clearly I’m missing something.

Guillermo Rodriguez (2007 – no. 77)

Rodriguez is a solid catcher for the Fresno Grizzlies. He tends to hit better in California than on the road, and even the thin air of Albuquerque failed to awaken his bat as he went 2 for 12 with no runs, zero RBI, and handsful of cards signed. Guillermo is definitely no slouch with the Sharpie!

Rick Vandenhurk (2007 – no. 123)

Rick was recently sent to Albuquerque from Florida after Marlins officials realized I needed to get his Topps 52 rookie card autographed for my collection. I didn’t get a chance to speak directly to Rick though as he was busy talking on his phone while he signed a couple of cards for me after a game. I don’t speak Dutch, so I can’t tell you what he was talking about. Possibly he was ordering tulip bulbs to plant across the warning track at Isotopes Park. Another fantastic signer- Rick will autograph cards until your Sharpie runs dry!

Perhaps you are a new reader to this blog and are just discovering that there is another person who is trying to pull together as nearly complete of an autographed set of these Topps 52s rookie cards as possible… and are finding it difficult to believe that this person also enjoys trading? Well, it is absolutely true! You should not hesitate to check out my trade list posted on the Aardvark Trading Co. website. As they say in certain reruns on the Game Channel, “Let’s Make a Deal!”

– Kris