Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 Summer Clearance Wrap-up

A few weeks ago I announced my mid-summer clearance and the response was fantastic. So much so that I may do it next summer. This was the deal. I had a lot of recently acquired (mostly 2010 and 2009) cards (mostly commons) which I didn't really want. I was offering these cards by team to anyone who wanted them. All they had to do was send me back some Phillies or Astros cards they didn't want and it they were feeling generous to feature the trade on their blog, if they had one.

I sent out 611 cards to 11 people. I got back 271 cards from 6 of them. More may be coming. Of the 271 cards I got back, I needed 118, or 44%. But even the cards I didn't need, I still wanted so I turned 611 cards I didn't want into 271 cards I did want. And even better, 13 of those cards go right into the Reference Card book as examples of specific sets. Here are those cards. I'll feature the best of the rest later.

2004 Reflections Jim Thome #49I actually had a couple of jersey cards from this set which I'd acquired on eBay but not a single base card. And it's Jim Thome, not only a Phillie, but one of my favorite players. This and the next several cards are from dayf at Cardboard Junkie who probably hates me now that the Phillies clobbered the Braves. There's still the wild card!

2002 Topps Traded Chrome Jimy WIlliams #70
I had a number of cards from this set but I didn't have a manager card. I try to collect the subset cards of a set as reference cards as well. I actually have this card as the reference card for the regular 2002 set. For all I know, it's the only manager card in the set.

1998 Topps Chrome Brad Ausmus #43
I had a couple of insert cards to this set but none of the base cards. Another great card from dayf.

1990 Score Rookie Dream Team Eric Anthony #10
Not only didn't I have any of this set, I'd never heard of it. Score also had a Dream Team insert set that year of veteran players. This and the next few cards are from Cathy.

2002 Leaf Rookies and Stars Statistical Standouts Pat Burrell #35
We loved Pat as a rookie but he just never seemed to be as good a player as everybody thought he would be.

1995 Donruss Top of the Order Darren Daulton #300
Another card I never heard of. This was yet another attempt to devise an interactive card game based on baseball. It lasted one year. This is from Kerry.

1987 M&M's Mike Schmidt #3
I loved that Daulton card from Kerry, but this is even better. In the 1980s and early 1990s there were many cards available in food products. These came two players on a perforated panel in large bags of M&Ms. I'd still be eating M&M's from 1987 if I'd known these were available.

1985 Topps Super Juan Samuel #28
Another great old card from Kerry. It looks like a regular 1985 Topps card but it's 5" by 7"! Apparently Topps unsuccessfully tried in 1984 and again in 1985 to convince people they wanted huge cards.

1999 Skybox Premium Live Bats Scott Rolen #13
A great insert card from Brian. This insert card from Skybox Premium is loaded with red foil. And Scott Rolen is my second favorite Phillies third baseman. For those who don't know, Skybox was the parent company of Fleer before Upper Deck snapped them up.

1991 Stadium Club Charter Member Terry Mulholland #23
These last 4 cards are from Rod at Padrographs. 1991 was the first year for Stadium Club. I knew that they had a 50-card Member's Only set which was available by mail order. What I didn't know is that the first 100 people to sign up for their Stadium Club club, got a 50-card Charter Member set.

1987 Sportflics Mike Schmidt #115
I had more than enough of these Sportflics cards (which I don't really care for), but I didn't have this subset called "Tri-Stars". This card features National League Third Basemen. Unfortunately, when you scan the card it looks mostly like the Expos Tim Wallach. You can just about make out Mike's feet at the bottom.

1998 UD3 Scott Rolen #195
1998 was the 2nd, and I think last, year for Upper Deck's UD3 set. I have a few from 1997 but had none from 1998. The set featured multiple card designs with different materials and printing. This card features a dufex background on the photo and holograph foil all around. It's a nice looking card if you like this sort of thing (which I do).

2006 Topps Co-Signers Changing Faces Silber Bronze Roger Clemens #2A
The regular 2006 Co-Signers features a head shot of the player on the left and an action shot on the right. There are multiple parallel cards featuring a team mate on the right and a second facsimile signature (I guess this is why the set is called Co-Signers). I have a few of the base cards but none of the parallels. The card is numbered on the back as 017/125. Thanks Rod!

And thanks to everyone who participated in the 2010 Mid-Summer Clearance!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Song of the Week - If You Run by Boxer Rebellion

This band was featured in the movie Going The Distance which we saw last week. The movie was good and the band intriguing. I looked up their recent album Union on iTunes, liked it an bought it. Unfortunately, this song wasn't on it but on the soundtrack album, so I had to buy it separately. Boxer Rebellion is a British based band, although the members are from all over. Read about them on Wikipedia here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

1991 - The Year in Baseball Cards

I started collecting baseball cards as an adult in 1985. 1991 is one of my favorite early years in collecting. Many of the designs were good and there were several exciting new releases. The hobby hadn't yet been taken over by insert-mania and parallel set excesses. Looking back, I can see that 1991 was probably the last year when a determined adult collector with some money to spent could acquire all the cards for is favorite team. Saying that, I still don't have all the 1991 Phillies cards, but I've got most of cards from the regular releases. I've been scanning Phillies cards recently so here is 1991 as represented by Phillie Mickey Morandini

Bowman #492Bowman is probably the weakest design of the major manufacturers in 1991. I'd say it is better than 1989 and 1990, but nothing to write home about. Bowman will hit it's stride with the 1992 set. I was actually still missing a few 1991 Bowman Phillies so I just bought the Phillies set on eBay.

Classic I #79
I won't argue that this was a major release but I think the cards were widely available. This is an update to the 1991 Classic Game set. There is a Morandini card in that set as well, but according to, Darren Daulton appears on the card. I'd like to get my hands on that.

Donruss #44
This is the last of a series of Donruss card designs which appear to be the result of the designers imbibing mood-altering drugs. This is also the first post-1981 set to be released in 2 series, another plague on the hobby. The first series had this blue background while the second had a green background.

Fleer #407
I know a lot of people don't like this set because it is so, well, it's so yellow. I'd always thought that Fleer cards up through 1990 were pretty boring. This set was not boring. Fleer, designs would get wilder as the 1990s went on.

Leaf #383

This was the second year for leaf. It's a good design although not real exciting. As near as I can tell, this was the first set with a parallel set included as inserts, Leaf Black Gold. They weren't particularly hard to get at 1 per pack, but trying to assemble all the Phillies would have been hard. I only have one Phillies Leaf Black Gold.

O-Pee-Chee #83
The other 1991 Morandini card I don't have. For the first time ever, O-Pee-Chee produced their own cards, instead of just repackaging Topps cards for Canada. The cards were on white card stock and quite attractive. I'm sorry I only have this lousy scan from There are only 3 Phillies in this set and I only have one of them.

I had really liked 1990 through 1992 Score but I think future designs are dull and by the late 1990s Score will be gone.

Score 1991 Rookie #33
This 40-card set was available only as a boxed set in hobby stores. If you were a fanatical Morandini collector you would have probably missed this one.

Stadium Club #535

Stadium Club was a new release in 1991 and it was pretty exciting. Photograde, glossy printing, full bleed fronts, and gold foil. All firsts for a major issue card. The backs, instead of being a list of statistics, presented unusual statistics and a picture of the player's Topps rookie card. This was another Phillies set I was missing a few cards but was able to just order on eBay.

Studio #218
This was the initial release of Studio and you can see it takes a different approach to card design. All of the photos are posed, there are no field or action shots. Studio was always a favorite of mine. Last year I bought the entire set on eBay mainly to get the Steve Lake card where he has a parrot on his shoulder.

Topps #342
For it's flagship set, Topps was still pretty traditional. But compared to the last several years, the design is fresh (especially after the psychedelic mess of 1990). And that 40th anniversary logo looks great.

Topps Debut '90
Another boxed rookie set only available through hobby shops. It was more extensive than the Score Rookies set. It also was easily overlooked. I believe it was several years after 1991 until I was even aware of the set. I bought the entire set in 2004 for about $10.

Ultra #268

The third new major premium card issued in 1991. Like Stadium Club, these cards were much more expensive than regular cards like Donruss or Topps, making collecting your favorite team or favorite player that much harder. I liked the first 3-4 years of Ultra but later years didn't do much for me.

Upper Deck #18
By now, Upper Deck, in its third year was the veteran premium set. And, while I still like the design, it was starting to show its age when compared to Stadium Club or Ultra. The 1991 design is not much different than 1990 or 1989.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Song of the Week - I Saw A Stranger With Your Hair by John Gorka

I have 10,220 songs on iTunes. This is one of them.

You may not know John Gorka. He's certainly been around awhile, since the mid-1980s. We used to see him at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in the early 1990s. As far as I know, he's never had a hit single, but that doesn't say anything really about his quality as a singer-songwriter. This song is from his second album, from 1990, Land of the Bottom Line. It's one of my favorites.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Night at the Movies - The American

In The American, George Clooney, plays Jack, a guy nearing the end of his career. He's been a loyal company man for years, but now has to face the uncertainty of retirement. He's good at his job but competition from younger employees, in particular a woman in his traditionally male dominated profession, has started to make him feel less competent. If you've seen the trailers, you know that Jack isn't a mill wright or an advertising executive, but a hired killer. I guess the poster could have suggested that, or maybe a policeman.

In the opening moments of the film, even before the credits, Jack survives an assassination attempt against him. He's quite cold blooded about it. He heads to Italy, where, apparently, his contact lives. This man tells Jack to lay low in a particular little town and gives him a cell phone. Jack, ever cautious, ditches the phone and takes a small apartment in a different town.

As a character study, I thought the movie was pretty good. My wife who doesn't like movies which are character studies, didn't like it. Clooney is very good. It is hard, however, to like Jack. We're given no reason to. We don't know who he's worked for. He's called The American simply because he's an American in a small Italian town. Did he work for the US government? Was he free lance? The Italian connection suggests that maybe he worked for a crime syndicate. At one point he tells a priest, who has inexplicably taken an interest in Jack, that he had good reasons for doing the things he did. Maybe so, but it's also clear that he's coming to regret those things as he's trying to complete one last job (it's an easy job he's told, you're not the trigger man, you just have to make the gun). Can he complete this job and somehow find some peace? Does he deserve peace? I don't know the answer to the second question and you'll have to see the movie to find out the answer to the first.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Phorgotten Phillie Phile - Amalio Carreno

If you remembered this guy at all, it might just be because of his smile. That's a smile that could be seen all the way across Vet Stadium. This card is from the 1990 Reading Phillies Star minor league set. The Phillies traded Luis Aguayo to the Yankees for Carreno 1988. He spent the next 3 years in the minors, finally getting a call up to the Phillies in 1991. He was called up because the Phillies need a pitcher to replace Roger McDowel who was injured. In his third appearance on July 14th, he hit Steve Decker with a pitch after being warned not to. This got him ejected from the game and sent back to Scranton the next day. At the end of the season he became a free agent and was picked up by the Orioles. He appeared in spring training for them in 1992 but didn't make the club. And that was the end of his career, great smile and all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 Topps 206 Part 2

Last week I featured the regular Topps 206 cards. I said I'd feature the inserts and short prints in Part 2.

Just like last year, the set features Bronze cards printed in heavy board. There are 352 cards. None of the cards (as near as I can tell) are short prints. In the base set, the cards numbered over 300 are short prints. The Bronze cards come one per pack. I featured this card because it's the only card I have with Johnny Evers. Now all I need is Tinker and Chance.Topps didn't go overboard with non-baseball cards in the set. There is one non-baseball insert, called Historical Events. They are mini cards and there are 20 of them. I got a few in my 3 blasters so they seem easy to get. This one features the first sale of an airplane by the Wright Brothers to the army.
As I mentioned, the cards numbered over 300 are short prints which feature a different picture from the non-short print card. The cards are also un-numbered. There are two Pujols short prints so I don't know which one I got.
Here is the back which is different than the regular cards. One thing I forgot to mention in my other post is that none of the cards (regular or short print) have fake smudges on the back. Last year's set had facsimile smudges to make them look old. The problem was that every card had exactly the same smudges.
The mini cards follow the same predictable pattern of ancient tobacco brands. Except for the card number, the backs are the same for each mini card within each subset. As usual, Piedmont is the easiest to get. There is one mini card per pack.
Based on what I got, American Caramel is the second easiest to get. Notice that the player's team name is on the back.
And since it's a Phillie, Chase Utley, I'll show you the front.
I got two Polar Bears.
And one Old Mill.