Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

rock the wells with cards of non-sport

December 24, 2008

Season’s Greetings from your bloggin’ buddies at Aardvark Trading Company!


Hopefully you are reading this because you are completely finished with all of your holiday preparations, as opposed to using Cards in the Attic simply to avoid wrapping those last few presents and getting them under the tree where they belong. I’ve either completed all of my Krismas tasks with time to spare, or I’ve forgotten to do something altogether. Whatever the case, I might as well take advantage of that time to highlight a 15-year-old set of trading cards that happen to contain a little holiday charm.

The Curtis Publishing Company released the 90-card set of Norman Rockwell Collector Cards (Series 1) in 1993. The cards consist of old covers of The Saturday Evening Post that featured Norman Rockwell paintings and illustrations. The painting above of Santa plotting his gift route was used on the magazine cover published December 16, 1939. I’m sure all you keen-eyed readers had already begun questioning why the fat man had skipped over New Mexico entirely, but rest easy- I didn’t live here (or anywhere for that matter) in 1939, so no harm.

Classifying these cards as non-sport was tough given that nearly one quarter of the cards in the set are related to one or more sports- including baseball, football, horse racing, fishing, weight lifting, swimming, diving, golf, hiking, light outdoors recreation, camping, checkers and marbles. If you aren’t aware that “marbles” is a sport, I recommend sitting down with your grandfather (or his dad) at some point and having a LONG talk. Be sure to ask him about the first time he lost his marbles over some girl as depicted in this painting featured on September 2, 1939.


The 2003 Norman Rockwell Collector Cards set contains five cards that deal specifically with baseball. I am not going to include them all here because I am a firm believer in the joy that comes from personal, first-hand discovery.


Wouldn’t you agree that this painting captures many of the components that are GOOD about the game of baseball? Even though tiny Timmy is calling for the pitcher (let’s assume it is his father) to deliver the ol’ slurve in order to make gramps look silly, it would be next to impossible to not bust the elderly gentleman with a pitch high and inside just to watch him dance like a sugarplum fairy. After all, it’s nobody’s fault but his own if his pocket watch gets broken as it dangles unprotected over the plate. Appearing on the cover on the August 5, 1916 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, this was the third of Rockwell’s illustrations to be used by the magazine. Rockwell was 22 at the time.


It is difficult to make out from this scan, so you’ll have to take my word that this Saturday Evening Post cover from July 3, 1939 reads “100th Year of Baseball.” The painting is fantastic, and I wonder if the baseball article inside is as well written. My guess is that the article should be avoided by anyone not aligned with the Abner Doubleday camp.


This card is one of my favorites in the set. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of you have even seen this image before, as it is quite popular. And why wouldn’t it be? Titled “Bottom of the Sixth,” this painting used on the cover on April 23, 1949 features major league umpires Larry Goetz, Beans Reardon (seriously) and Lou Jorda pondering “what if” as the skies appear to be ready to open up above Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. More humor is provided along the right side of the painting as Pirates skipper Bill Meyer and Dodgers coach Clyde Sukeforth conduct their own meeting of the minds. I will have to defer to the Night Owl to make the call as to whether or not this constitutes a night game. (Trivia buffs make note that it was “Sukey” who managed Jackie Robinson’s first major league game in 1947. Four years later, it was Sukey’s decision to send Ralph Branca to the mound to face Bobby Thompson in the infamous ninth inning of the third game of the National League playoffs.) This card is a MUST HAVE for Dodgers fans!

A single foil pack contained 10 cards; a full box included 48 packs. While I have seen hand collated sets available on eBay ranging between 9 and 19 dollars, I would recommend picking up a full box for probably right around the same amount of lettuce and building at least one full set. A factory-sealed box also provides an opportunity to pull one or more of these interesting “wood” inserts.


The inserts appear to be printed on a micro-veneer of wood, yet the backs are lined with paper, so I really don’t know what they are all about. A second series released in 1995 contained a short run of chrome Santa Claus card inserts. If you pick up a box of Series II, I would be happy to make some trades, as I don’t have any cards from that set.

Finally, in response to Dinged Corners’ Christmas request for current views of blogger landscapes, I offer the present condition of my Victory Garden that is kept under constant surveillance by my trusted, bodiless scarecrow “Gourdhead.”


Happy holidays to one and all!

– Kris

2008 sioux falls canaries dav team set review

October 31, 2008

2008 Sioux Falls Canaries DAV team set
Official Score – RAIN OUT – no make up date scheduled
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printing source)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

Who doesn’t love FREE baseball cards? It would be impossible to not like FREE baseball cards, right?

…. er, not so fast ….

The 26-card Sioux Falls Canaries limited edition subset of the 2008 DAV minor league baseball set is a complete tragedy. The cards themselves are well made- and certainly well intentioned, but the photography is atrocious. I toyed with the notion for a while that they might be so bad that they are actually kinda “good,” but no, they are worse than that. They are so frighteningly bad that I think Halloween is the most appropriate day of the year I can choose to blog about them.

I won’t pretend to be all knowing about the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, but I will make the assumption that the majority of the players, coaches and staff involved in the league work very hard to put a quality product out on the field for their fans. Therefore, I believe the players and coaches of the 2008 American Association Champion Sioux Falls Canaries deserve to have had their photographs taken by someone who has a better understanding of the workings of a camera than my grandmother. Sure, grandma may have somehow always managed to get her thumb into each and every shot, while sometimes accidentally cropping off the top of the head of the tallest person in the photo, but at least her shots were in focus.

Catcher Andrew Barbaro stands at the plate thinking, “Is it just me, or does the ball seem sort of fuzzy coming off the mound?”

No Andrew, it isn’t just you. Your entire team is out of focus.

Unless the photographer was also responsible for selecting and editing the images, then submitting them to the DAV representative who coordinated the free card promotion, I would say that more than one person should share in the diSTINKtion of having created one of the worst team sets in the modern era. Even the printer should have called the DAV rep and asked if they were positive that they wanted to go forward with this project.

I’m trying to think of something positive to say about this card of Canaries pitcher Angelo Morales. Beyond the fact that it is rectangular, I’m drawing a blank.

Perhaps it comes down to being a toss-up between inexperience (ie., never having seen a real baseball card before) or taste. It may be worth adding that Ballpark Digest recently named the Sioux Falls Canaries as having the “Best New Food Item of the Year” (2008). How intriguing! What on earth could it be? Try “Fowl Balls” on for size. That’s right; deep-fried turkey testicles. Honest.

I’m not sure if it is worse for the player who may only find himself on a single baseball card in his entire life- and that card is part of this set, or of it is worse for those players with minor and/or major league experience who may have become accustomed to being depicted somewhat realistically on their other cards.

I feel very sorry for each and every Pat Mahomes supercollector who is going to have to scramble to get one of his cards from this train wreck of a set. After accumulating more than 450 strikeouts in the major leagues while pitching for the Twins, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Cubs and Pirates, I guarantee you that Pat never saw a batter miss by a margin equal to the substandard execution of this set.

Mahomes isn’t the only player with major league experience included in this compost. Manager Steve Shirley pitched in some eleven games for the 1982 Los Angeles Dodgers. Don’t be shocked if you recognize more names when you scan through the checklist that I have gone to the trouble of typing up. Ex-big leaguers and determined young dreamers such as Kris Regas coming together to play baseball in places like “the Birdcage” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota should be celebrated instead of having their season tarnished by a product such as this. Even for FREE, these cards are overpriced.

If you really want one of these sets, you should expect three coach cards, four outfielders, five infielders, eleven pitchers, two catchers and one mascot- whom I suspects steers as clear of the “Fowl Balls” concession stand as possible.

1 – [166] Andrew Barbaro (c)
2 – [167] Alex Bardeguez (inf)
3 – [168] Lenny Bays (p)
4 – [169] Kennard Bibbs (out)
5 – [170] Kelly Casares (p)
6 – [171] Benny Castillo (hitting coach)
7 – [172] Ryan Ford (p)
8 – [173] Ryan Grant (p)
9 – [174] Tim Hutting (inf)
10 – [175] Travis Kane (p)
11 – [176] Josh Kite (p)
12 – [177] Pat Mahomes (p)
13 – [178] Mike Meyer (pitching coach)
14 – [179] Ben Moore (p)
15 – [180] Angelo Morales (p)
16 – [181] Josh Patton (inf)
17 – [182] Kris Regas (p)
18 – [183] Patrick Reilly (inf)
19 – [184] Grant Richardson (inf)
20 – [185] Mark Roberts (p)
21 – [186] Steve Shirley (manager)
22 – [187] Will Smith (out)
23 – [188] Paul Smyth (c)
24 – [189] Beau Torbert (out)
25 – [190] Ben Van Iderstine (out)
26 – [191] Cagey (mascot)

As is the case with all DAV baseball card releases, cardstock is thin, yet the cards are reasonably sturdy. There are no stats on the backs of the cards- standard for DAV sets. Surface treatment is a semi gloss that doesn’t require preparation prior to autographing.

I wonder if there are any graphers living in Sioux Falls. If so, I would love to find out if the baseball cards given away on August 12, 2008 are different than these, or these are the only cards fans have to commemorate the Canaries championship season. Normally, the DAV lists dates that they appear at ballparks, but for some reason Sioux Falls was omitted from the 2008 list. Possibly that is because the Canaries are not associated with major league baseball, or someone got a look at these things at the DAV after they were printed, but not early enough to cancel the giveaway, and removed that line from the website.

At any rate, you can’t buy these cards from the Canaries. Possibly you can find them on eBay or from some other secondary source, but I’m not going to even waste my time to look. Neither should you.

– Kris

welcome back dodgers

September 22, 2008

Did I ever tell you about the baseball franchise that preceded the Albuquerque Isotopes? Actually, there were a number of teams that called Albuquerque home over the past 120 years, but arguably no team was more popular than the Albuquerque Dukes.

The Dukes were the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A affiliate from 1972 thru 2000. Prior to that, the Double-A Albuquerque Dodgers provided the citizens of this dusty burg with many evenings and DAYS of exciting professional baseball games. Add them all together and you discover that the Dodgers have groomed young ballplayers for the majors in the Duke City for a period of 29 years. During that period, the Albuquerque teams compiled a winning record of 2,898 wins and 2,618 losses.

All of that is about to change…

Representatives from the Dodgers front office were on hand at Isotopes Park Monday afternoon for a press conference with the Isotopes to officially announce that the old partnership had been renewed. It wasn’t really “news” given that the signing of a two-year player development contract between the two clubs had been announced at the end of last week.

Isotopes general manager John Traub assured the crowd that neither the Isotopes name nor their colors would be changing as a result of the affiliation. Hushed groans of disappointment could be heard from grey-haired season ticket holders while members of the press remained quiet.

The press conference was highlighted by an official exchange of jerseys and ball caps. Okay, they also served lunch, but I found the jersey exchange to be more interesting.

I didn’t live in Albuquerque when the Dukes played here, so I don’t share that connection to the past. Aside from my ongoing historic research of Albuquerque baseball, my only real connection to the Dukes were the few times when I tuned into game broadcasts on the am radio in my car as I made my way across the high New Mexican desert while driving between Phoenix and Illinois for one reason or another (or none whatsoever).

While I did enjoy seeing and getting to know many of the players connected with the Florida Marlins organization over the past six seasons, and will continue to follow their careers in baseball into the future, I would not classify myself as a Marlins “fan.” In other words, I can’t claim that I will be losing any sleep over the deal.

Personally, the biggest change will be seeing a complete change of coaches and players next April, causing me to radically modify what baseball cards I target in trading and purchasing over the next six months in order to be prepared for obtaining autographs during the 2009 season. My collection is noticeably short in Dodgers items since their old farm club, the Las Vegas 51s, only visited Albuquerque for a quick four-game series every other year.

Just something for you to keep in mind as you are pulling together your trade proposals this coming winter…

– Kris

By the way, I assure you that there is a “connection” between “Welcome Back Kotter” and the Dodgers- just so you don’t go thinking that I am completely random with my graphic. Bonus points will be awarded to anyone who bothers to comment on the nature of that connection – extra free time for those of you who simply move on to the next blog post in your RSS reader…

trading arizona (1975 topps)

August 14, 2008

Then over here you have favoritism.”

“Bill Roberts?”

“No, not that motherscratcher… Bill Plummer!

If you aren’t familiar with Bill Plummer, he was a major league catcher who managed to maintain Ueckeresque hitting and fielding stats for the better part of a decade while playing for the Cincinnati Reds throughout the 70s. Bill rode the pine for the bulk of his career while backing up Johnny Bench, yet he was an integral cog in the Big Red Machine that won World Championships in 75 and 76. Although he batted only .188 lifetime, Plummer absolutely owned Ken Brett and Steve Carlton- whom he hit .444 and .429 against respectively. In fact, 2 of Bill’s 14 career homeruns were launched off Carlton.

Bill Plummer (1975 Topps no. 656) and a 1975 Dodge Dart Custom

Bill Plummer doesn’t spend nearly as much time in the bullpen these days. Instead, he makes the dugout his primary address and maintains a vacation home in the third base coaching box, as he is currently the manager for the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks). I was able to get this card autographed earlier this spring when the Baby Snakes slithered over to the Rio Grande Valley to take 3 of 4 games from the home team by a combined score of 41 to 23. That’s some RAZZTASTIC pitching!

More recently, I have rebuilt my 1975 Topps set to right around 90 percent. I now only need 28 cards to complete the set, although there are an additional 40 cards that I will replace once I encounter “better” ones. There are also a few cards in the set that I will always take nice specimens of in trade, including Bill Lee, Cookie Rojas, and Oscar Gamble. Are YOU currently working on building this set? I currently have hundreds of 1975 Topps baseball cards for trade.

– Kris

2008 inland empire 66ers team set review

August 3, 2008

2008 Inland Empire 66ers team set
Official Score – 3-UNASSISTED (“hidden ball trick”)
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Retail price: $6.00

Participants in the California League, the Inland Empire 66ers are the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The sixty-sixers’ highway sign-inspired logo will make even the most sensible fan nostalgic for bygone days either experienced or imagined.

I recently reviewed another team set that used the same Grandstand template as the one chosen by the sixty-sixers. Do you recall what team that was for? I liked them then, and I like them still. How could you not?

These minor league-thin cards exhibit a semi gloss surface ready for immediate autographing. The backs consist of four-color printing of typical player stats in black and short bios in blue over a light image of a glove and some tattered baseballs. There is no printed checklist for this team set, so please allow me…

1 – [51] James Adkins (p)
2 – [26] Alberto Bastardo (p)
3 – [29] Josh Bell (inf)
4 – [11] Matt Berezay (of)
5 – [36] Henry Cruz (hitting coach)
6 – [50] Francisco Felix (p)
7 – [12] Justin Fuller (inf)
8 – [8] Tommy Giles (of)
9 – [9] Javy Guerra (p)
10 – [40] Gabriel Gutierrez (c)
11 – [49] Charlie Hough (pitching coach)
12 – [5] Bridger Hunt (utility)
13 – [38] Joe Jones (p)
14 – [62] Brent Leach (p)
15 – [7] Francisco Lizarraga (inf)
16 – [27] Drew Locke (of)
17 – [34] Paul Koss (p)
18 – [6] Jaime Pedroza (inf)
19 – [14] Eduardo Perez (inf)
20 – [54] David Pfeiffer (p)
21 – [22] Jordan Pratt (p)
22 – [21] Trayvon Robinson (of)
23 – [45] Ryan Rogowski (of)
24 – [59] Jesus Rodriguez (p)
25 – [41] Carlos Santana (c)
26 – [46] Tim Sexton (p)
27 – [13] John Valentin (manager)
28 – [15] Josh Wall (p)
29 – [35] Cody White (p)
30 – [61] Garrett White (p)
31 – [‘08] Steven Downey (strength coach)
32 – [‘08] “Possum” Nakajima (athletic trainer)
33 – [66] Bernie (mascot)

The sixty-sixers field staff includes three men with a wide range of big league experience. Were you aware that manager John Valentin is the only player in major league history to both hit for a cycle AND turn an unassisted triple play? I wasn’t… until I read it as part of his bio on the back of his card. As interesting as that is, Charlie Hough gets the nod to have his card featured here as he ponders blogger/collectors who are interested in bullpen telephones.

Fifteen of the cards in the 2008 Inland Empire 66ers team set depict pitchers. Only one in the bunch is a posed headshot, the remainder being mound action photos. Two of the cards are horizontal in orientation. Amazingly, the photos include a considerably wide variety of angles, backgrounds, jersey variations and day/night situations that serve to prevent these cards from appearing to be repetitive. I would tip my lens cap to the photographer(s), but no photo credits were included. Well, you know who you are…

I’m presenting this Tim Sexton card as an example of one of the pitchers. Not because it is the best photo- it isn’t. Instead, I’ve chosen this card due to the presence of the mountains in the background. I’ve never been to Inland Empire, but it would appear to be a fabulous venue to take in 9 to 12 innings while enjoying a dog and a couple of beers, and possibly even pulling in a foul ball.

Catchers? There are two. Half of them feature a horizontal orientation, which brings the count to three (so far) in this set. I was going to just describe them in general terms, then post a scan of the Carlos Santana card- but as I looked at the cards side by side I began wondering just what in the heck was going on.

At first glance, these photos would appear to have been shot during different days. Well sure, it isn’t impossible to expect to see two catchers in the same game. For example, one of the two may have pinch hit for another player at some point in the game. But wait… how many (non-All-Star) games have you seen where players from the same team wear different uniforms? So they must have been taken during different games. But wait again… wouldn’t you also agree that the faces in the crowd look somehow familiar?

Perhaps these shots were captured during a double header? Should I consult the 66ers schedule to see how many twin bills they’ve played at home this season? I don’t think so, and here’s the “why.” Some of these people are doing exactly the same thing in both photos. Granted, the guy screwing around with the cap (who is already wearing one) does seem like he would be the kind of person who would screw around with a new hat for two games straight. But how long do you expect that the kid in front of him, or the couple sitting behind him would maintain their exact same positions- especially in the presence of such a fidgety person?

Then I’m left wondering where all those other people to the right side came from, and why they aren’t in the other photo. I’m beginning to suspect that some kinky Photoshopping has been going on in Inland Empire. I’m not complaining, mind you… just curious.

You’ll get eleven cards of position players when you obtain your own 2008 Inland Empires 66ers team set. Six are variations of the classic batting stance. If you enjoyed the background people-looking aspect of the catcher subset, then you will also find these entertaining. Personally, I believe you can look to the remainder of the position player cards to find three worthy candidates for best overall card in the set.

Okay, so this card of Justin Fuller is a bit dark and unfocused, but the use of the wall ad as the background helps elevate this card above the majority.

I also really like this action photo of utility player Bridger Hunt hustling down the first base line.

Finally, this card of Josh Bell has absolutely nothing wrong with it other than that fact that it got a corner dinged during shipping. I should point out that a reader, and not the Inland Empire team shop submitted this set for review.

The 2008 Inland Empire 66ers team set is a bargain at only six bucks. In fact, the deal is so sweet; you may expect to hear the Dragnet theme playing immediately after placing your online order. I’m here to tell you that that probably will not happen. I’m kind of surprised that they don’t charge at least $6.60 for them to help stay with the theme.

The Inland Empire 66ers online team shop also has team sets from 2003 thru 2006 available. Possibly if you order more than one you will save a small amount of coin in shipping charges. Fans of the Mother Road would have a tough time if they could only order a single item from the sixty-sixers’ team shop. Fortunately, the only limit is between them and their credit card issuer.

If you are planning on just purchasing this team set on the secondary market, be sure to budget approximately double the price offered by the team.

– Kris

2000 charleston riverdogs team set review

July 15, 2008

2000 Charleston RiverDogs team set
Official Score – two out DOUBLE
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
Sponsor: Pepsi
Retail price: $6.00

Believe it or don’t, I was actually writing up a review for a different team set review prior to the beginning of the MLB All-Star home run derby. In light of what went down in the “House that Josh Demolished,” I shifted gears and leagues to bring you this review of the 2000 Charleston RiverDogs team set. Yes, only the font remains the same.

So why this set? I offer…

This isn’t exactly one of Josh Hamilton’s first baseball cards since he appeared in several issues in 1999. Still, this remains highly collectible given the relatively low press run of most minor league team sets.

I find it intriguing that Beckett lists this card as no. 11 since there is no checklist. They must have organized the cards alphabetically by last name, including the mascots, to place Josh 11th. Although I don’t mind the concept of their alphabetical system, I do refuse to recognize mascot cards before players or coaches. Thus, I have created my own master checklist based on the system I have used with other Grandstand team sets- by player jersey number order with the nonessential cards dropped to the bottom.

Go ahead and read the list of players included in the 2000 Charleston RiverDogs team set. You may (or may not) be surprised by some of the names you recognize.

1 – [5] Frank Moore (2b)
2 – [8] Jorge Cantu (ss)
3 – [11] Castulo Valdez (c)
4 – [13] Josh Pressley (1b)
5 – [14] Derek Anderson (p)
6 – [15] Neal Frendling (p)
7 – [16] Chris Schrock (if)
8 – [17] Joe Kenney (p)
9 – [19] Brian Stokes (p)
10 – [20] Travis Minix (p)
11 – [21] Brian Martin (of)
12 – [22] Josh Hamilton (of)
13 – [23] Jose Ortiz (p)
14 – [24] Carl Crawford (of)
15 – [26] Brian Chwan (c)
16 – [27] Radhames Peguero (p)
17 – [30] Jose Rodriguez (p)
18 – [31] Jim Magrane (p) – ODD BACK PHOTO
19 – [32] Angel Batista (of)
20 – [33] Patrick Hertzel (p)
21 – [34] Jason Pruett (p)
22 – [35] Chairon Isenia (c)
23 – [37] Dan Grummitt (1b)
24 – [38] Jesse Cornejo (p)
25 – [45] Juan Salas (3b)
26 – [na] Milt Hill (pitching coach)
27 – [na] Charlie Montoyo (manager)
28 – [na] Dwight Smith (hitting coach)
29 – [na] Charlie (mascot)
30 – [na] Chelsea (mascot)

The 2000 Charleston RiverDogs team set is a MultiAd product. No credits are given for the player photos that have been isolated and placed over an interesting background that includes a pocket watch displaying high noon, a baseball, fragments of a couple of 1940s–era photos, a ticket to a baseball game and a few stray kernels of popped corn. A strip of solid purple that covers the left-most fifth of the cards contains player names and jersey numbers. That strip takes up to much real estate in my opinion, but what has been done is done.

While the card fronts contain a color RiverDogs logo, the backs include a small Tampa Bay Devil Rays logo. The backs are printed in greyscale and include a nice player headshot along with player stats and short bios. The cards have a semi-gloss finish that requires no preautographing preparation.

You may have been wondering what the Carl Crawford card looked like, so here it is. As you can see, not a whole bunch of variation from the Josh Hamilton pose. The set contains seven players in the act of hitting, wearing a couple of different uniforms, and facing pretty much every direction imaginable (within a batter’s box).

Frank “Frankie” Moore is one of three cards in the set that contains an image of a position player in the field. The front of Moore’s card would prove completely useless in trying to identify him in his street clothes. However, the small headshot on the back of the card would prove extremely useful in that undertaking. Frank Moore would go on to spend the 2007 season with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (Florida Marlins).

The Jorge Cantu card offers another look at position players in non-hitting poses included in this team set. This is also an example of one of the better photographs used in this set.

Here is the front of pitcher Jim Magrane’s card. Nothing to get riled about, but it works.

If you would then, please check out the headshot on the back (right). Is Magrane holding an arrow in front of his face, or is something messed up with the photo? After staring at is so long that I was beginning to develop my own magrane, I did a little Photoshopping to see if I could figure out what that straight line of seemingly foreign pixels was all about. My results (highlighted in red) were inconclusive.

Radhames Peguero provides a different look to the classic pitching pose. Once you’ve seen these two variations, you’ve more or less had a taste of all thirteen.

Well, I may as well also include Brian Stokes while I’m at it. Stokes is currently pitching for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs (New York Mets). If I am lucky, I will be able to get this card autographed in person when the Zephyrs return to Albuquerque to close out the Isotopes season at the end of August.

The remainder of the 2000 Charleston RiverDogs team set includes a pair of catchers, the manger, two coaches and two mascots. If I overlooked anyone in this set I assure you it was inadvertent as I was busy hashing out a clever title for this post.

One thing is certain. Whether you pick up the 2000 Charleston RiverDogs team set in person at their team shop, or directly from the RiverDogs online, you will have to keep an eye peeled for police lights in your rearview mirror after STEALING this set for only six bucks! I hadn’t seen this set available on eBay since mine arrived a couple of weeks ago- that is, until soon after the MLB All-Star home run derby had ended. It should be interesting to see how much that set goes for, and whether more people start posting auctions of the set or individual cards from the set.

– Kris

all-star salute * triple-a

July 4, 2008

Congratulations to each of the following four Albuquerque Isotopes players named to the 2008 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster!

John Gall

2004 Upper Deck SP Prospects no. 177

Dallas McPherson

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X no. 6

John Baker

2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres no. 57

Chris Seddon

2005 Bowman’s Best Silver no. 99

Be sure to tune into ESPN2 on July 16th and cheer these guys on in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Louisville Slugger Field.

– Kris

dos mulas para la hermana sara

March 8, 2008

I am impressed. Just a few days ago I sent a letter to John “Mule” Miles and included a couple of his baseball cards from the ever-popular 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter set. Unable to choose between the base card and the mini, I sent them both and asked him to sign one if he had both the time and the inclination.

Mr. Miles responded in less time than I can manage to turn around a Netflix offering- and was nice enough to have autographed both cards. What a sport!


It leaves me with hope that as I get older, I might find ways to become more efficient with my time. Of course, I doubt my mailbox will be flooded with autograph requests when I’m 85.

I would like to find myself in a position to meet and chat with Mr. Miles. I suspect it would prove to be a riot. My favorite quote from him is, “I didn’t hit for percentage, I hit for distance.”

Atta boy! That’s what I like to read.

– Kris

saving time in a cigar tin

March 1, 2008

I don’t think I’m crawling too far out on a limb by admitting that I often daydream of discovering a long-forgotten baseball card that has been safely squirreled away in some dark, dry corner of my world. It wouldn’t even have to be a significantly valuable card to make me happy either. A simple unexpected link to the distant past would be nice.

Who hasn’t heard a story of some couple tearing out a wall in an old home and finding a nest of old circus posters rolled up and serving as makeshift insulation between the studs? Of course such fantastic discoveries would never be possible if somebody hadn’t placed neat objects in the wall in the first place, then sealed it up and allowed time to perform its magic.

With that in mind, I did seal a couple of Barry Bonds cards in the walls of our house while I was remodeling our bathroom back in 2006. I don’t know who will find them, or under what circumstances, but I hope they appreciate the gesture. I also hope that the finder discovers some value in those cards, however value of such things may be determined at that point in the future when they are discovered.

This past week another stellar time capsule opportunity came knocking on my front doorstep and I simply could not refuse to answer like I would if it had been a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses trying to hand me the latest issue of The Watchtower.


Having pooled resources, the city of Albuquerque and our historic neighborhood association have begun a project to replace broken and/or uneven sections of sidewalks, including a couple of segments in front of our house. Just before the work crew began pouring the concrete, I was able to bury a small tin box about 4 inches below the surface for some lucky son-of-a-gun to discover long after I have posted my last blog entry. The sidewalks segments that were replaced were constructed in the early 1920s, so I would hazard to guess that the tin might easily be sealed underground for the next 100 years, or possibly longer.

I’ve decided to share with you the contents of the time capsule since I don’t think there is much of a chance that any of you are going to spoil the surprise.


The box is a slender black tin that once contained 10 small cigars from Dannemann Brasil. The width of the tin prevented me from including any regular-sized baseball cards, but that didn’t matter since I had already decided to only include 2007 Allen & Ginter minis. The cards include Prince Fielder, Connor Jackson and Mike Napoli. I thought it was appropriate to include one of the Groundhog Day cards given the subterranean nature of the capsule.


Each of the cards was sealed in an individual plastic sleeve, then two were sealed in another sleeve, and finally the four were encased in another plastic bag. The person who discovers this package will likely win some type of scientific award for having finally solved the old riddle of what ever became of the world’s tape supply.


The tin also contains a single penny dated 2007, and four small bags of silica gel desiccant that I think will help draw any moisture that might happen to form inside the tin away from the cards. The bags are clearly labeled “Do Not Eat – Throw Away.” Hopefully that will prevent the finder from thinking the bags contain tea and brewing himself a cup of stupidity. Of course, they would probably be better off eating that stuff than anyone currently busting boxes of cards from the 1980s and dares to stick that old Topps gum in their mouth.


Finally, I placed my business card in the tin to help prevent the finder from wasting too much time wondering “who” would have done such a thing. Then the tin was placed in plastic and wrapped with tape several times over. Not that I expect the item needs waterproofing since it is going to live under a sidewalk in the high desert… but just as insurance in the event that my sprinkler system goes bananas and I flood the neighborhood.

I sat on the front porch of my 100-year-old house and watched while the workmen poured the concrete and smoothed the surface of the sidewalk with trowels. I thought about time and history, and my small role in it- chuckling to myself while watching the workmen trowel the sidewalk surface a second time after a neighbor’s dog tracked through on his way to make his own deposit of more urgency amongst my irises.

Then a strange thing happened. That same night I received an email from one of the people who lived in my house exactly 50 years ago. He had stumbled across the results of my historical research of the property on one of my other websites, and was intrigued enough to introduce himself and tell me what it was like living here half a century ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT suggesting that the two events are related in any way, but it was very nice to get a surprise from the past just hours after leaving one for the future.

– Kris

and now… something completely different

January 28, 2008

I’ve had one goal ever since I opened my first pack of baseball cards back in the early 70s- to open another pack, then another… and another, and then a box, etc. Odds are that if you are reading this introductory entry to our blog, you can relate. I had read stories about guys who busted entire cases of baseball cards, but tended to brush those aside as casually as any mention of Bigfoot or UFO sightings. That’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of, right?

Fast forward thirty some years and I find myself entering into a business partnership with someone where that dream will soon become a reality. Lyndol and I first crossed paths several years ago in a minor league ballpark in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Unlike the All-Star home plate collision between Pete Rose and Ray Fosse, our meeting resulted in a friendly handshake and a mutual respect for the game of baseball.

Often during the past several years Lyndol would mention that he would like to own a trading card shop. Of course I would immediately begin badgering him to open one and hire me to help him sort commons. Eventually we settled on working together to create a business that endeavors to introduce our favorite hobby to whole new generations of fans. At the same time, we are aiming to create and maintain friendly relationships with “vintage” collectors who know more about the history of the products than both of us combined.

Thus was born Aardvark Trading Company. As owners of a new business, we thought it might prove interesting to write about our experiences as we learn about what sorts of ideas work in the trading card industry, as well as those items that we try that don’t seem to work out like we have drawn them up.

While I cannot speak for what all Lyndol will write about, my topics will include reviews of new and old products; challenges and opportunities resulting from owning a trading card business; stories from card shows, baseball games, and meeting players; introductions to other baseball card blogs and excellent trading sources; and probably an entire host of items that really don’t belong to any single topic. In spite of my cynical nature, I do tend to try to avoid slamming people or writing negatively as I find those types of entries are as unrewarding to read as they are easy to write. Thus, instead of discussing things that I think are “wrong” with the hobby, I will do my best to write about the positive aspects of collecting and trading.

We welcome thoughts from people outside the company whether you are customers, trading contacts, ballplayers, card manufacturers or even insomniacs who have, upon finding our website, decided that you have finally succeeded in surfing to the far end of the Internet.

Please keep in mind that as owners of the company and creators of our website, we reserve the right to allow and reject comments to our blog entries as we see fit. While we don’t expect everyone to agree with our tastes or opinions, we do ask that you check your guns at the cyber door and wipe the mud off your boots before entering our domain. If you find that you are unable to write a sentence without using overly vulgar language or invoking the “Y” word, we recommend that you get your own blog.

– Kris