Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nothing like the comfort of Soup

I heard the news late last night and finally found some time to post today. I grew up idolizing humor that was irreverent and people who weren't afraid to fly in the face of conformity. When you sprinkle that with the innocent intention of shining the light back in the face of people who take themselves too seriously, just to show them that life is about laughing and having fun. You get a glimpse into my philosophy of life.

I was a little guy when Soupy was at his peak but I still remember "discovering" him and another of my "heroes", if you will, around the same time. Here they are together in one of my favorite YouTube clips.

Thank-you Milty.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coming Soon..............

A box break "canuck" style.

Hey, Upper Deck!!! THIS is O-Pee-Chee, ALRIGHT!!??!!

LE VRAI!! Indeed!!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Impulse Buy #6

Recently I have been enjoying some success at the hands of my other favorite pastime, sports wagering. Normally I am pretty good at limiting myself to what I buy when it comes to cards. I tend to hover around the flagship releases and try to stay away from the more "hit oriented" releases. While I was in the local hobby store to pick up my Topps U&H order I decided to splurge and grab a couple packs of 'SP Authentic'.

I have read some glowing reviews of the product and decided there would be little harm in seeing what it was all about up close and personal. I have mentioned on here before that I am not one to purchase a product solely to chase hits and it would seem on the surface that this product is designed for that purpose. When only 40% of the base set is un-gimmicked and the rest are SP'd or serial #'d then in my mind you are not catering to the set collector. The lure of pulling an autographed buy-back of Derek Jeter's 1993 SP rookie card is great but once again, not for a set collector.

So, what did the two packs I bought produce? Here's a look.

The base cards are nicely designed and thankfully feature the player most prominently. For me, in a higher priced product you want something different in design, something a bit more artistic. The card stock is nice and sturdy too, once again it is something I would expect at this level.

Pack one delivered base cards of Dustin Pedroia, Joey Votto, Yadier Molina and Andy Pettite.

Pack two had the base cards of Derek Lowe, Ichiro and Carlos Zambrano (yay Cubs!!).

Now for the EPIC FAIL part of this release. Upper Deck, I understand the monumental task of releasing a self-congratulatory 2500 card set celebrating your existence for 20 years. Everybody loves a birthday. However, when you take away from me a card I WANT to buy and replace it with a card I could not care less about if I tried, and to add insult to injury put it inside a pack where the price-per-card is over a dollar, you tend to PISS ME OFF!!! Nothing does wonders for a companies image more than making your consumers feel like you are insulting them. I don't care that I got a card of The Golden Bear, because I also got a card of some jag-off.

Lastly I get to the "hits" of the packs. The first card is an excellent design and depending on the checklist could be a nice little set to put together. I got a 'Platinum Power' die-cut insert of Josh Beckett. The name is a bit hard to read on the top banner but other than that it is a nice looking card. Secondly, I pulled one of the cards that I have still to form a solid opinion on. I am still on the fence over these manufactured patch cards. The fact that they are autographed is a definite plus but the awkwardness of the card and the small signing make for a pretty dull and potentially crappy looking autograph. I guess the low serial number (#/30) should make it more appealing but I am not sure it does, at least to me. I pulled an autographed manufactured patch of Jon Lester numbered 4/30.

Ultimately, SP Authentic is not a set I would recommend for the set collector. It works well for the player collector or the hit-chaser but other than that it is not what I would term a great set. As for the ridiculous 20th Anniversary annoyances, Upper Deck has unleashed a gigantic fail upon collectors , and reinforcing that fail with every release makes me wonder what kind of impact it will have next year when Upper Deck struggles to claim their share of the market.

To end on an up note while I was opening these packs at the hobby store a guy beside me pulled an auto'd rookie patch that I was interested in and managed to get it from him for a few bucks. One less Ricky Romero card for me to find now. However, correct me if I am wrong but does each rookie patch card have 11 variations spelling out 'SP Authentic'? If so I have a little bit of searching to do. Yikes!!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

In Search of.....T.W. [Jumbo Edition]

A few days ago during one of the first NHL games I have found the time to watch this season I ripped through the Jumbo box of 1992 Upper Deck Baseball I had purchased in hopes of finding one of the autographed Ted Williams cards still up for grabs. Back in the day this box would have probably sold for around $50 so getting it for roughly $10 was okay in my books considering the potential. What I have decided to do with the singles is package them off by team and give them away to loving, deserving homes. Some teams have already been claimed but there are still others up for grabs. You can check the availability in the post below this one.

So, how did the jumbo box break out, you ask? Had this been 1992 instead of 2009 I am quite sure I would have been elated to break this particular box. Firstly, trying to build a 700-card set was what the hobby was all about back then. Chasing patches, short-prints, variants, printing plates or whatever else it is people today desire would have been insulting to most collectors. It is amazing to me how the hobby has changed since I first started, but, for the most part change is good.

I won't keep the suspense building to whether or not I pulled what I was looking for. I will tell you that I had a brief shot of excitement when I first started to unveil this card but, alas, it is missing one key ingredient ;


Two other Ted Willams cards accompanied this one out of the box. One is a holographic version of the above card and the other was one of the 'Baseball Heroes' insert cards marking Ted's inclusion in the 500 Home-run Club.

One of the cool things about revisiting some of the older sets is learning or sometime re-learning something about the set. I had forgotten that these early artist cards were drawn by Vernon Wells Sr. and being a Jays fan it was extra special to appreciate these cards again. These are truly some of the nicest artist cards I have ever seen. Here are the others from the box.

One of the things Upper Deck had on their side in the early years was that they brought a new life to the photographs used on the cards and they also used photos on both sides of the cards. Two cards I pulled in particular used a triple-exposure effect rather nicely. Card #333 belongs to Jose Canseco and card #424 belongs to Ken Griffey Jr.

Speaking of Junior, when you are the spokesman for the Upper Deck company you tend to pull a little weight when it comes to decision making. One of the clearest examples of this is this card ;

Including this issue, Craig Griffey had 5 different cards issued throughout his minor league career. One of them I am actually looking for is from the 1995 UD Minors set, it is a part of another collection of mine. In looking up the ultra-lesser-known Griffey I came across this article from 'The Priceless Pursuit'.

For those of you who have already claimed teams I thought I would let you know who had the most cards and who had the least cards from this box. The highest number of cards goes to the Seattle Mariners with 26 and the lowest number was a three-way tie between Detroit, Toronto and the New York Mets with 12 cards each.

I had mentioned earlier that had this been 1992 I would have been pleased with this box break. One of the reasons was that I pulled one of the better rookies in multiple which I am sure will make 'All Tribe Baseball' happy.


Going through the players who were around in 1992 was a nice trip as well. The best reminder was just how special it was to watch the Milwaukee Brewers back then. Yes, the Milwaukee Brewers were special at one point. Not only were they in the American League but they had this future HOF duo suiting up every day. Sure, Jeter and ARod are a dynamic duo but I would take these two over them any day, any decade, anytime. What a treat indeed ;

What would a baseball card retrospective post from 1992 be without Mr.Home-Run King? Sorry, I don't mean the "true" king Henry Aaron, I mean Barry. The stats on this card list Barry as being 6'1" and 190lbs, pretty decent for a major leaguer. He's smiling and happy, almost looking like he is enjoying himself. The back of this card is what is "rare", it shows that Barry once did have a sense of humor, or, at least didn't take himself so seriously.

Lastly I am going to finish with a few cards that caught my eye as I went through the packs. Some of the more interesting photos as well as some seriously dated images as well.

Here's Otis Nixon in a pose that, back in 1992, proved to be quite prophetic on the part of Upper Deck. The last at-bat of 1992 ended with Nixon like this and Mike Timlin flipping the ball to Joe Carter!!

Another Brave from that year I just had to post was Lonnie Smith. Never has there been a better representation of the hi-top haircut. Awesome-90s-ness!!!

I have no idea what Greg Gagne is trying to do here but this may be one of the most disturbing cards I have ever laid eyes on. The only thing that would save this card is if he jumped 10 feet in the air to snag a line drive. Still, there must have been a better file photo of GG.

Ramon Martinez does perhaps the best impression of Reed Richards that has ever been captured on cardboard.

Finally, what is the one recipe that could make a baseball card legendary. How about an All-Star player, A legendary figure from the world of sports, a lawn chair and a water bottle. Well, if that is what it takes then Upper Deck delivered back in 1992. I don't think we will see Prince posing like his Pa, ever!

I hope you enjoyed this quick run through the year 1992 brought to you by Upper Deck. I will be busting the regular pack box tonight as I watch my winless Toronto Maple Leafs remain such at the hands of the New York Rangers. Perhaps Ted Williams will be making an appearance tonight.

Stay tuned.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Double Sandbergs from The 'bay

I have come to the understanding that it really is a wise thing to either ;

1 - Keep a running record of what I am looking for on eBay and focus a little better on one or two things.


2 - Resign myself to the fact that I am going to have to learn to love "doubles" again.

I received a couple of envelopes in the mailbox last Thursday and figured I would hold on to them and open them this Sunday with my coffee. When I dumped the contents onto the table my immediate reaction was, "Uh oh, I think I need to have a talk with myself." I had these, staring back at me, in all his mustached glory.

Two identical copies of Ryno's Goodwin relic. The only thing I can think plausible is that I found the one with the blue stripe in the middle of the swatch AFTER I bid on the one with the blue stripe peeking around the corner. Nevertheless, I have two copies and having two of anything is just greedy. If there are any Cubs fans or Ryno fans out there that would like to trade for any of the other Cubs relics or Blue Jays relics from Goodwin drop me a line and lets swap.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Melting Thumper Team Selection List

Here are a list of teams available and teams claimed for the 1992 Upper Deck giveaway I am hosting. Some teams I have assigned to people who I know collect certain teams. If they don't want them they will go back on the block ;

Atlanta Braves - captaincanuck
Baltimore Orioles - beardy
Boston Red Sox - AdamE
California Angels
Chicago Cubs - heythatsmine
Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians - alltribebaseball
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Dodgers
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
Montreal Expos
New York Mets - mcanncantriple
New York Yankees
Oakland A's - wickedortega
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres - spastikmoose
San Francisco Giants - brian
Seattle Mariners - spastikmoose
St. Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers - wickedortega
Toronto Blue Jays - duane

Freebie Card Giveaway & In Search Of.......A Pre-Thawing Ted Williams

Today I finally had a complete Saturday unto myself with no responsibilities or work that needed to be ignored. Thanksgiving dinner/house guest prep is not an issue this year (my wife is out of the country so no turkey this weekend) so I decided to visit a few card stores that are a bit of a drive from home.

I have always enjoyed the surplus of production of cards from the mid-to-late 80's right through to the mid-90's because, for me, it makes what I enjoy about this hobby easy. I have never been nor will I become one who uses the hobby to plan their retirement or hinge their financial future on prospecting rookies. I buy boxes to rip packs and build sets, that to me is a "hobby". The prospect of pulling some super-rare hit has its place and appeal but it seems to me that card manufacturers have intentionally steered the hobby towards these kinds of "consumers" and away from the hobbyists.

I was a collector when the initial wave of this philosophy hit the market. The Upper Deck Company became one of the first companies to purposefully seed their product with "chase cards" in order to promote the product. Let me qualify this by stating that there have indeed been insert cards prior to UD, I am not saying they invented them, I am saying they were the first to market their product around them. They reinvigorated a hobby that was booming but needing a shot of creativity.

Enter the 'Heroes Autographs' insert.

I will save the boring history lesson as I am slowly straying from my purpose here. One of the recent articles I read over at Wax Heaven, Mario shared a story about the shocking treatment that has apparently befallen Ted Willams. I read this and was blown away. This story had also reminded me that in 1992 Upper Deck had inserted a Ted Williams autograph card as part of their Heroes set. I had been a Topps collector back when I first collected cards and had ignored the Upper Deck brand. However, with the over-production being what it was and the current price point of the product today being very low I decided I would search out some boxes and see what I could find.

This brings me to today.

For $20.00 I was able to get a regular box and a box of jumbo packs of the 1992 Upper Deck baseball from one of the stores I stopped at and I decided that while I would enjoy ripping the packs and seeing what I get I am still fairly loyal to Topps and probably will not build the set. So, here is what I am proposing. I will bust this stuff and see if I am lucky enough to pull a Ted Williams autograph. What I will do with all the base cards is offer them up on a first-come-first-serve basis, sorted by teams. Essentially this will be a group break but it will not cost you, loyal reader, a dime. What it will cost you is some small token of voluntary appreciation in return.

A trade, simple as that.

What am I looking for?

I currently collect 2 teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago Cubs. I also collect certain players, Jackie Robinson, David Wright, Pete Rose, Ryne Sandberg, Marco Scutaro, Ricky Romero, Dion Phaneuf and Wayne Gretzky. I also, as some of you already know, collect a personal sub-set of any and all cards featuring players attempting to bunt. As I mentioned before I collected from the early-to-mid 80's to the mid 90's. I stopped collecting in 1996 and as such I have a gaping hole in the collections I mentioned above. Seeing as I picked up collecting, in earnest, again around the middle of 2008 I am hoping to fill the void.

I say this is "voluntary" because what team you choose is NOT contingent on some return deal. If you ask for a team you get it. In the early stages I hope to keep the requests to one or two teams per person and then if others are available they are more than available. So, let me know what you think and start requesting teams in the comments section. I will build a list when it becomes necessary of who is left and who is taken. Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your friends' enemies, tell your enemies' friends!!!!!

I have enjoyed giveaways from other sites so it is now LFB2B's turn to return the favor.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yep....still here....barely, but still........

In the last little while it has been increasingly harder to find the time to post something. I have been working on some posts regarding some super trades and some excellent donations from some generous fellow bloggers. I am also super-sickly-late in posting my appreciation and displaying the booty from my first monthly breaks from 'I Am Joe Collector'. I did however, want to take a break from the Yankees/Twinkies game to post something that has been gnawing at me.

Part of the stuff I received from Joe Collector was this cool card ;

What struck me about this card was the seemingly monolithic task a group of scientists have taken upon themselves. I have, and always will be, impressed with science and the minds associated with it. However, I am absolutely amazed at this latest task so I decided to see just how daunting it truly is.

The results are in.

25,000 Genes??? Unfathomable!!!

I racked my brain and can only come up with 15. See Scientists are amazing!!!

Gene Upshaw, Gene Kelly, Gene Roddenberry, Gene Rayburn, Gene Simmons, Gene Wilder, Gene Hackman, Gene Tierney, Gene Vincent, Gene Krupa, Gene Autry, Gene Pitney, Gene Okerlund, Gene Tenace......and OF COURSE the MOST FAMOUS GENE OF ALL!!!!!!!

Chuck Barris FTW!!!!