Monday, July 28, 2014

Remember the Astrodome Miscellaneous 90's Cardboard Spectacular!

The problem with getting behind on a project as work-intensive as a card blog is that the it can be tough to catch up.  Then it can get so far gone that catching up seems like an insurmountable feat.  Despite all that, cards keep coming in the mail that need your attention.  That sounded like a complaint, but it's not, especially in the case of the awesome stack I got from Marc at Remember the Astrodome.

Marc put up a post of items he had for trade, and I claimed a stack of non-sports cards from the 90's.  You might remember these from the Desert Storm set.  The actual cards looked like this:

Look at Cheney's awkward-Dad Glamour Shots pose.  I can't laugh too much here because he actually looks a bit like my Dad.  I'm a big fan of the A-10 "Tankbuster," too ever since I was a kid.  There were lots of these cards in Marc's trade - these are just a few favorites.

Ghostbusters II, one of the best sequels ever made, IMHO.  That would be Bill Murray on top, so it's going in my Bill Murray collection for sure.  Plus we have the late, great Harold Ramis immortalized on cardboard.  I love these.

I think Slimer was in the second movie for only a moment as a bus driver - still, why did they need artwork?  He didn't change at all from the first one apart from the bus driver cap.

It's still amazing to me how big this movie was when it came out.  It's really weird, and I'm not sure Pacino even claims it as one of his.  I need to re-watch this out of pure curiosity.  The last time I saw it was in the theater in 1990.

Can't go wrong with these bad boys.  How about April O'Neil in that yellow jumpsuit?  Mm-hmm.  You know what's up.  Even eight-year-old me knew that thing was made to come off...

Mikey is either saying they are #1 or flipping off somebody behind him.

You may remember those lassoing robots from "TMNT: the Arcade Game."  They were a serious pain the the shell!  Get it?  Turtles?  Yeah, I can do it too...  I love that one of Bebop and Rocksteady before they were mutated by Shredder.  And look how hard they had to force the "TM" in after Splinter's name before the apostrophe.  Geez.

These are from the movie, obvy.  Shredder wore pajamas and a basket on his head - if you haven't seen the previews, the new Shredder looks much scarier.  I was always a fan of Casey Jones because he made good use of sports equipment and because he was the only character who could conceivably get April out of that tight little jumpsuit.

Here's a sentence you'll never hear again: Superman III is my favorite Superman movie.  I don't know what it is - maybe I just saw it at just the right time in my formative years for it to endear itself to me.

The first Batman is also my favorite of that series (not counting the Christian Bale reboot).  Best villain, best Batmobile, best acting - best pretty much everything.  These cards rock.

I'm not a big Quinn Early enthusiast, but that's a great-looking card.  I can't imagine kids reading Sports Illustrated being excited about Willie Roaf, but I do remember Jake Delhomme being pretty popular here in NOLA in his day.

Thanks, Marc!  I have a bunch of Astros coming your way.

And if you come across any more April O'Neil cards, you know where to find me...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2x3 Heroes PWE: Pog White Envelope

I got a gentle nudge from Jeff of the great 2x3 Heroes asking that I "get [my] ass back to [my] blog."  It was a coincidence, too, as I was just sitting down to start scanning some cards.  I've been really, really behind lately as I have been getting used to the new laptop running Windows 8.1, trying to make my HP6500 work with the new laptop (you'd think it would be simple), and trying to remove the forced use of iTunes from my life.  I'm making huge strides with all three, by the way, but these combined with two long trips and a car accident (not my fault, no one hurt, etc.) have put blogging on the back burner.

While I haven't been reading or writing much at all, I continue to acquire cards thanks to my blogging friends.  Here is the first in a series of posts looking to make it right with my trade partners who have sent me stuff even while I have been incommunicado in the blogsphere.

The above note is from Jeff.  I know this because Jeff's signature looks like "Jlo."  He always sends great stuff, too:

When I saw "pog" on the note I was thinking just a small, circular card; but this is an actual pog.  The thing that makes is a pog and not a small, circular card is that it makes no sense.  First we have the texture which is unscannable.  That's OK - lots of cool cards are unscannable, but this has almost a denim quality to it.  It's very liney, but not quite as much as this scan would have you believe.  Then we have the word "Hawaii" across the bottom there.  Why?  I don't know.  The only reason I can think of is that it's a pog, and you're not supposed to get it.  The little signature is cool, though.

Let's flip it over for a little explanation:

Okay, I see nothing about Hawaii.  It's a matte black with silver foil that reads "Signature Caps."  The signature I get because his signature is, indeed, on the front.  I don't know where caps come into play.  He's wearing a batting helmet on the front, and the reference to Hawaii remains unexplained.  At least we can take solace in that only 25,000 of these were made.

I poke fun, but this was a really cool surprise to get in the mail.  Pogs are stupid, but I freaking love it and all its mystery.  If anyone has any info about it, please pass it along.

I was delighted to see Griffey on this Topps design for 2014 Archives.  I'm trying to get Griffey on every vintage topps design through 1988, and I'm now only eleven years short.  Excellent picture, too.  Absolutely love this card.

And you can't go wrong with a pair of Bones.  This is just before he started with the famous goatee.

Thanks for the cards, Jeff, and the kick in the pants.  I will try and get back to my former regularity now that things are getting back to boring around here.

Have a great week!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Pair of Holy Grails

You haven't heard from me much lately - I've been Spring cleaning, selling off my surplus of collectables on eBay like hotcakes to finance a new laptop.  Don't worry - no Griffeys were lost.  In fact I've picked up a bunch.  In lieu of the many, many necessary trade posts I owe to several generous bloggers out there, here's a pair of recently acquired Holy Grail cards I've been chasing for years:

I'm not just a Griffey collector - I also collect a few non-baseball guys like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and O.J. Simpson.  The most difficult collection to build, however, has been my Bill Murray collection.  Mr. Murray is a fan of the game and has owned several teams.  For that reason he's made it onto a precious few baseball cards.  This Salt Lake Trappers card is the crown jewel.

I decided a while back to keep quiet about my Bill Murray collection until I could land this card, and it on finally popped up on the 'Bay for more than a reasonable person would otherwise pay.  Just look at that picture.  It's Murray's '89 Upper Deck #1, his '52 Topps, his on-card-autographed 1/1 quad-patch with genuine hair relic.  Chivers, eat your hearts out.

Now what kind of Holy Grail post would this be without a Griffey?

I made a nice chunk of change on eBay in the last few days, so I thought I'd grab a little something just for me.  I may never have the dual-signature version, but at least I can say I was able to land this beauty.  It's even prettier in person what with the excellent blue-to-green background and perfectly rendered dipositions of both Junior and the Mick.  An amazing card to say the least.

I have a million other posts to write in the coming weeks, but I thought I'd share these two proud acquisitions to hold over any Junior Junkie...well...junkies of which I'm certain there are thousands.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Those Major League Cards and Why They INFURIATE ME

Man, that is a sweet card, and look at the size of this wax pack:

It's a 5x7 wax pack, guys.  Huge.  Surreal to hold, it's colorful, beautifully printed, soft to the touch, and peels open with ease and with minimal damage to the pack.  It's like a hipster maker art project.  Amazing.

The cards are huge but solid.  I would like to be able to pull these from a pack, but I haven't seen any Archives for sale.  Not once.  Why?  Because this insert is so cool and original that everybody is snapping up boxes as they arrive at my LCS.  See that, Topps?  Make something cool and original and people buy it.

Anyway it's jumbos for me, but that's not why I'm so angry over this set.

I'm a little surprised Ms. Phelps got a card over the hilarious and perfectly-cast coach played by James Gammon.  He's definitely my favorite character.  Cerrano and Hayes would have been nice to see, too.  What I really would have liked is a card of that standee with the removeable clothes.  Ahem.

Still not why I'm angry.

Some might think that this is the best card in the set, but we know they're wrong.  Jobu is the obvious star of this show even though he's only available in jumbo form.  Here's the back of Jobu's card:

"Take fear from bats?"  That's freaking hilarious.  Who the hell did this??

OK, look - I'm utterly impressed by this insert.  I can't believe someone at Topps even made it happen.  It's just so original and....I mean, who works at Topps that did this?  When did they start?  Originality at Topps.  Topps: you know, the guys who recycle the same photos over and over?  I just....I can't.  I can't even.  I just can't.  Frankly, I'm pissed.

Here's why: when I was in high school I got a 29 on my ACT's.  This is not me bragging - I'm making a point.  29 is pretty good, so you would think my parents would be pleased.  My Dad almost killed me.  He said "If you're this smart, why are your grades so bad?"  He had me there.  Laziness.  There was no other excuse.

This insert is bloody genius.  It has people who haven't bought a pack since childhood or that never even collected cards busting $5 packs.  I can't even find packs to buy, and I collect baseball card actively.  So why don't we see great stuff like this ALL THE TIME?!?  I look at these and all I feel is frustrated - maybe even a little bit cheated.

Don't get me wrong, I've seen some neat stuff from Topps in the last few years, but the fact that these cards exist...I just....I thought it was a rumor, you know?  I thought, "Yeah, right, somebody photoshopped a few Major League cards and are trying to pass them off as genuine Topps cards.  They would never do something this cool  Psh, not fallin' for it."  I shouldn't be thinking that.  I should be thinking, "Of course, another fresh, brilliant card idea from the exclusive Major League license-holder.  They did it again."  I never think that.  Not ever.

So do I get my hopes up now?  Is everything going to change?  I don't know what to think.

Shame on you, Topps, for showing us how awesome you can be.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I sent a package to Will Clark, and today I got it back.

A few weeks ago my wife informed me quite nonchalantly and in a single breath that she works with a guy who hangs out with Will Clark, and if I get a few cards together she would pass them on to this fellow who would get Will to sign them.  My response was, "Wait, what?!?"

So I scrambled through my collection, trying to figure out which cards to send.  Should it be all rookies?  Should every team from his time in the majors be represented?  When I was done I had 34.  She told me that maybe I should whittle the pile down to ten, and I begrudgingly agreed.

So I chose the best ten from that stack of 34 and put them into a snap case secured by rubber band.  I put that case into a small white card box along with a sharpie, a business card for my blog, and a note.

I'll admit that thenote was a little fan-boyish, letting him know things like the fact that we went to the same high school, and my uncle who is a teacher there taught him English, and I'd written a blog post once about the major leaguers of the school's alumni that he could check out if he wanted.  I also invited him to inscribe the autographs however he wished.

I didn't tell him that my cousin was a huge fan who also went to the same school only a year behind me, and that my cousin had even met Will once after a morning assembly in the late 90's.  I left out that my cousin kept in his bedroom a framed picture they had taken at that meeting that I still look at whenever I visit my cousin's house.  I didn't tell him that my Will Clark collection is really a tribute to this cousin who left us seven years ago.  Maybe I'll tell him someday.

So Will didn't know what a gesture this was to me.  I like to think that were my cousin around today I would share these cards with him.  Maybe I'd tell him to put together a box of his own.  The way I see it, they're kind of his, anyway.  I always liked Will Clark, but he was undoubtedly my cousin's baseball hero, probably in part because his Dad taught Will English.

Look closely and you can see that Will inscribed each auto with his corresponding uniform number.  How cool is that?  You've got to admit, too, he's got his underlining swoosh down.

The last of the bunch is a relic card I was a bit conflicted about sending off, but I'm really glad I did.  If you are a regular reader you probably have seen this before:

That's Will in our high school's baseball uniform.  It had a nice, big field of empty space that was just begging for some ink, and it's finally got it!

If you do read this, thanks a lot, Will.  You've made an even bigger fan out of me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

1995 Upper Deck Part 3: The Griffeys

This is the final post in a three-part series all about 1995 Upper Deck.

Check out Part 1: The Set and Part 2: The Box.

At long last, let's look at some Griffeys:

1995 Upper Deck #100

I talk at length about why I love this card in part one.  Suffice it to say, yeah, it's pretty good.

There are two parallels of this card, Electric Diamond Gold (1:35 retail packs) and Silver (1:1 retail packs).  I only have the silver, and here it is:

1995 Upper Deck #100 Electric DIamond Silver

The only difference is the color of the foil and the little home plate Upper Deck logo with the parallel name.  Not much to it, really, so I'm not hurting for the gold version.

1995 Upper Deck #110 90's Midpoint Analysis

I turned this on its side so you can get the full effect.  Our guy is above-average in every category here.  Can I get a "what, what?"

I have both parallels of this one:

1995 Upper Deck #110 90's Midpoint Analysis Electric Diamond Silver
1995 Upper Deck #110 90's Midpoint Analysis Electric Diamond Gold

Electric Diamond was the 1:1 retail parallel.  Let's look at the 1:1 hobby box insert:

1995 Upper Deck Special Edition #270

This has all the qualities of a parallel, but it's not.  It's really just a massive insert.  While I'm not crazy about the unscannable front, I love the back here.  That oversized bat sure has made the rounds on cardboard, hasn't it?

1995 Upper Deck Predictor #R4 Home Run Leader Game Card

Before we talk about this card, let's take another look at the boxes:

These are clearly all taken from the same photo session.  And why not?  It's a great portrait and made for one of my favorite Griffey cards of all time.  A great-looking design with a classy marble border.  These cards look expensive.

I won't sit here and type how the Predictor cards worked.  Suffice it to say there were no winning Griffeys this year.

1995 Upper Deck Predictor #R4 Home Run Leader Redemption Card

This redemption card for the series two first-set Predictor is one of the few that adorn the background of this very blog.  As you can see the design was identical to the game card but with holofoil instead of bronze.  It's also got a proper back instead of game rules.  The blurb is bittersweet.

1995 Upper Deck Predictor #H3 Most Valuable Player Game Card

This is the series one hobby box version Predictor.  It's red instead of green and features an action shot in lieu of a portrait.  Not as iconic as the sharp portrait cards but still very much a looker.

1995 National Packtime Trade Card

I don't count these as Griffeys per se, but I do keep a couple in the binders next to the National Packtime redemption cards.  It's got the Kid's name on it - that's good enough for me.

There was also a Griffey in the Upper Deck Minors set from this year:

1995 Upper Deck Minors Craig Griffey #59

Craig is just a little younger than Junior, but his major league career never really panned out.  We still got a very small number of cards for him including a very nice family portrait card in '92 Upper Deck and this card depicting Craig laying down a savage bunt.  Again, I don't count this in the Griffey totals, but it belongs in the binders.

Here are the Griffeys I need from 1995 Upper Deck:

#100 Electric Diamond Gold
Special Edition #255 Gold
Predictor #H3 Redemption
Predictor #R45 Game
Predictor #R45 Redemption
Predictor #R52 Game
Predictor #R52 Redemption

Those last two Redemption cards listed are going to be tough to pin down as there was only one winning card in that entire half of the Predictor checklist.

So that's everything.  I've got a few more scans of some side-by-side comparisons among parallels for you to enjoy if you're so inclined, but when it comes to 1995 Upper Deck posts, I'm spent.

Have a great week.

Base card Electric Diamond Silver vs. regular

90's Midpoint Analysis Electric Diamond Gold vs. Silver vs. regular
Predictor #R4 vs. Predictor #H3 vs. Predictor Redemption #R4