Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mike Schmidt - The Wall

I'll get back to the 30-day Baseball Card Challenge on Monday, but first this...

A few days ago I saw the movie "Pink Floyd The Wall" on TV. I wasn't buying a lot of records in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and although I'd been a fan of Pink Floyd in the early 1970s, I'd completely missed their 1978 album "The Wall". And somehow, I didn't know that there's been a movie made.

So anyway, a few minutes into the movie there's a riot at a concert and as the rioters are being rounded up by the police, this flashes across the screen.


What a surprise, to me, at least.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 13

Day 13: One of your favorite cards from the 1990s

1993 Upper Deck #755


An impossible task to look through my 1990s cards. So again I decided to narrow down to a favorite set and pick from there. 1993 Upper Deck is a set I didn't used to like, but in recent years I've come to appreciate. So here's a player I collect signing autographs for kids.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 12

Day 12: One of your favorite cards from the 1980s

1985 Topps #703


I have at least 6,000 cards from the 1980s so this was a daunting task. I decided to narrow it down to 1985, since that's the first year I started collecting. I further narrowed it down to 1985 Topps cards (in those days I only bought Topps) that I didn't have any acquisition data on. Which narrowed it down quite a bit. I'm going to arbitrary declare that this is the first baseball card I ever acquired.  And therefore, one of my favorites. Plus it's George Brett.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 11

Day 11: One of your favorite cards from the 1970s

1978 Topps #210


I was following the Phillies closely in the 1970s and beyond but I wasn't collecting baseball cards. I have nearly all the Topps Phillies cards from the 1979s however, and a few of other players as well. I'm going with this one because it just says "1970s" to me.

Monday, June 19, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 10

Day 10: One of your favorite cards from the 1960s

1960 Topps #138


I'm going with this beat up old Art Mahaffey rookie card. I don't remember where or how I got it. I'm a big baseball fan now, but when I was a kid (I was 8 years old the summer of 1960), I wasn't much of a fan. But I can remember that I was somehow aware of Art Mahaffey. He played 6 years with the Phillies, 1960-1965, compiling a 58-60 record. He was somehow an All-Star in 1961 (when he was 11-19) and again in 1962 with a bit more respectable record of 19-14. He was 12-9 in 1964, the year the Phillies blew a big lead in September and lost the National League pennant (which to be truthful, I hardly remember).

So this might not be my absolute favorite card that I own from the 1960s, but I have a story to tell about it so it's my choice. And really, without a story, what's the point of picking any particular card?

Friday, June 16, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 9

Day 9: One of your favorite cards from the 1950s

I'm going to restrict this to cards from the 1950s that I actually own. There are only 49 of them and most are Phillies. Looking through them, it was no contest.

1958 Topps #230 Richie Ashburn




I got this card in 2007, paid $7.80 for it on eBay. It's in pretty good shape and is a great looking card from a great looking set.

I grew up listening to baseball on the radio and for most of that time, Richie Ashburn was the Phillies color man. I don't really remember him as a player but I loved him doing Phillies games. He worked as a Phillies broadcaster from 1963 to 1997. He was planning to retire after the 1997 season but he died of a heart attack, at age 70, in his hotel room after broadcasting a Mets-Phillies game on September 9, 1997.

A fact we didn't know until he passed is that Ashburn and my father, who also loved Ashburn, were born in the same day.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 8

Day 8: A card that reminds you of a family member.

2016 Berger's Best #31



I started collecting as an adult in 1985. This card reminds me that my younger brother started collecting a few years prior and had bought into the whole 1980s thing of buying cards as an investment. He believed that you should buy sets, put them in the closet and leave them there and retire on the income (I'm exaggerating a bit). Of course, this Berger's Best card is a reprint from the 1982 Traded set, which I don't know if he has. But I know he has the 1982 base set and I remember him being excited about the Ripken rookie card.

So, how did the whole investment thing work out? He's still got the boxes in a closet, hasn't looked at them in years. The 1982 Cal Ripken rookie card currently books at $12.50 and is readily available on eBay (in non-graded form) for around that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 7

Day 7: A card you bought in person and the story behind it.

In an earlier post I said there were hardly any baseball cards I'd spend more than $10 for. Here's another.

2005 Topps Touch Em All Base Relics



I paid $20 for this at a card show in Houston in 2013. It's got a lot going for it. It's a Phillies card, it's Jim Thome, one of my favorite players, even before he was a Phillies, it's a base relic card, it's from the 2004 All-Star Game which was held in Houston, it's limited (one of 50), Jim Thome was in the game, and even better, I was at the game. BTW, Thome wasn't a starter but got two at bats, unfortunately, going o for 2.

I guy I knew had season tickets for the Astros and had gotten 2 All-Star Game tickets and invited me along. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 6

Day 6: A card you spent more than $10 to get.

There are hardly any baseball cards I'm willing to spent more than $10 for, but I made an exception in this case. It's the single most money I've ever spent on a single card. And of course, it is Mike Schmidt.

1999 SP Signature Autograph



I paid $46 for this back in November 1999. More even than I paid for his rookie card. It's the only Schmidt auto I have and I'm very happy with it. Earlier in the year I had paid $6 for the non-autographed version.



Monday, June 12, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 5

OK, back to the Challenge:

Day 5: A certified autograph card of one of your favorite players.

Since Jim Bunning just passed away, and I was on vacation so I couldn't make a note of it in my blog, I'm going to go with this.

2001 Fleer Greats of the Game Autographs


I got this on eBay way back in 2005 for $8.50

And just because I have it, the non-autographed version.

2001 Fleer Greats of the Game


I paid $0.30 for this later in 2005.

Friday, June 9, 2017

1986 Dorman's Cheese Mike Schmidt

A quick break from the 30-day Baseball Card Challenge.

Just when I think I have every 1980s Mike Schmidt card, another one comes along. It's one of the things that makes collecting cards so much fun.

1986 Dorman's Cheese


A card from this set was featured on tradingcarddb.com's Card of the Day. I figured that a 1986 set should have Schmidt in it and it did. There were several available on eBay. These cards came as a 2-card piece, perforated between cards. As it turns out, the featured card of the day was Rickey Henderson, the other half with Schmidt.

It's hard to tell the card size on tradingcardb so I was surprised to see how small the card is, smaller than a Topps Sticker. But, it's still a Mike Schmidt card I didn't have.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 4

Day 4: A rookie card of one of your favorite players.

The obvious card here would be Mike Schmidt's rookie card but this would be the answer for several of the days, so I'm gonna hold it for now.

Besides the Phillies, my favorite team is the Astros and my favorite Astro (from even before I moved to Houston) is Jeff Bagwell, finally elected to the Hall of Fame.

1991 Stadium Club Members Only #11



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 3

Day 3 - A card from the first set you tried to complete.

I am not a set collector. The only set I've actually tried to complete is 1987 Topps. I attempted to complete the set not so much because I like it (although I do like it) but because you used to see a lot of it in repacks and one day I realized I was near completing the set. With the help of several trades and out right gifts arranged through the blog, I was able to complete it a few years ago.

This is one of my favorite cards, because it is the last known baseball card of Yogi Berra during his career.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 2

Day 2 - A card with more than one player on it.

I had a hard time narrowing this down to one card so I'm going to cheat on the rules here (assuming there are rules) and feature 4 cards.

1993 Score #512

There are a lot of reasons to love this card. For one thing it features a rare play, the unassisted triple play. For another, it was pulled off by a Phillie. And finally, it wasn't just anybody involved, it was Barry Bonds.

1991 Studio

For its pun value alone.

2009 Topps Update #316
I got to see Pence's early years as an Astro and he was fun to watch. He sure enjoyed his first All-Star game in 2009.


Here's the whole challenge list.



Monday, June 5, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge

I've been seeing posts on a lot of baseball cards blogs taking the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge. I may be a little late to the party but I thought I'd give it a go. 30 days worth of baseball card blog ideas? How can I past that up.

Here's the entire list.


#1. A card from the current year with a photo you like.


Topps #121. With about 850 cards to chose from this was harder than I thought it would be. But I eliminated Panini branded cards and parallels which reduced the choices. I narrowed it down to a couple of action shots but decided to go with this one. There are plenty of baseball cards featuring players celebrating. I may be reading this card wrong, but Santana seems to be expressing some of the fundamental frustration of baseball, watching a pop-up going nowhere.

Friday, June 2, 2017

May 2017 Reading List

Posts have been sparse lately as we've been traveling. Back to baseball card posts next week.

A science fiction coming of age story. Esme is the oldest daughter of Philip Coromina, the ruthless head of an interplanetary corporation which supplies weapons to the numerous warring factions in human space. When she is a young adult, her father contracts a deadly disease and she is thrust into a leadership role that she's been preparing for all her life but still isn't ready for. The story was OK but I found the character of Esme to be a constant whiner. Probably the beginning of a series.

Although written in 2010, I found this book on the impact of our digital culture to be still relevant. OK, 2010 isn't that long ago, but it terms of the development of social technology it might as well be another century. I never heard of Lanier but apparently he's been long involved in technology and web development so he has the background to know what he's talking about.

In a small California town, a guy, who was the chief suspect in a series of rapes, is found murdered. It appears that the murder was motivated by revenge. His victims and their significant others are the obvious suspects. Various characters tell the story as a first person narrative, moving from person to person, always advancing the story. The town's mayor, the detectives in charge of the case, several of the rape victims, the murdered man's wife, and several others are all give points of view. I thought it was well written, but the choice of narrative device did not work, for me, as a murder mystery.

I was 15-years-old during the 1967 Summer of Love and wasn't too personally involved. But Danny Goldberg is about 16 months older than me and was. He writes about the politics, the personalities and the music of 1967. I was aware of what was going on mainly through the media (which Goldberg rightly points out, distorted what was really going on). An interesting read for an aging baby boomer like me. I'm not sure that people much younger than me (like my kids) would be too interested.

I am not a big fan of alternate history but I like Benford. The cover says it all. The story is about Karl Cohen, a perhaps now forgotten, member of the Manhattan Project developing an atomic bomb during World War II. Cohen, who happens to be Benford's actual father-in-law, was an early proponent of the centrifuge method of separating uranium isotopes. In real life, this method was not favored but in the book, it is and leads to the development of a bomb in time to use during D-Day. The story is pretty dry and technical but interesting.

Ian Rankin has a large body of work about Scottish detective Inspector Rebus. I've read a few of them. Rebus is retired now, suffering from COPD (too many cigarettes) and boredom. He starts looking into an old case, the murder of a rock and roll groupie, that was never solved. It turns out his hobby investigation has implications for a current case being worked on by his former colleagues and he finds himself as an unofficial advisor to the police. Hanging over the story is a shadow on his lung seen in an X-Ray. Could this be Rebus' last mystery?

I got the Kindle version of this book for free through bookbub.com. It was pretty simple minded military science fiction. After expanding through the galaxy for years, humans have run up against an implacable enemy which seems only intent on mankind's destruction. The main character is a ship captain who happened to be there when the aliens were first discovered and moves up through the ranks as he makes one fantastic tactical decision after another, saving the day for the humans. These brilliant moves however, are based on sudden visions of the future he has which tell him what to do. It was a pretty good read and I'll probably try to find the next part.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, we've been traveling. We were back on the East Coast visiting family and friends. At my sister-in-law's house, I admired a wooded sculpture on her mantle. Turns out it was made by the author of this book. Her husband helped get the book published. He had extra copies and gave me one. I grew up near Pennypack Park in northeast Philadelphia in the 1960s and spent a lot of time there so the book was very interesting to me.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Repack Bang or Bust #6

Today's edition of Repack Bang or Bust is, unfortunately a total bust. This was an 11-pack box from MJ Holdings I got at Walmart a few weeks ago. The box brags "Including one hobby pack in every box". 4 of the 11 packs were this.




2012 Triple Play. 

This was just an awful set. I did pull one of the generic relic cards but that hardly makes up for the 28 of the 72 cards this product represented in this box.



As I said, I don't like this set. The original Triple Play in the early 1990s was aimed at kids. I imagine that kids have even less interest in baseball cards today than they did then. And cards like this don't seem like they would draw kids back into the hobby.



Both of these examples would likely cause nightmares in impressionable youngsters. Especially the Strasburg card.

2007 Upper Deck Series 2

I guess Upper Deck was on its last legs in 2007. This dull offering was their flagship set.



Half of the 8 cards were of the horizontal orientation which I think looks worse than the vertical. I'd have been happy to have this pack when it was new, as 3 of the cards were Astros. But by now I already have those cards.

2015 Panini USA Stars & Stripes

It's always interesting to pull from a repack something I've never seen before.


Not a bad looking set. 150 cards of college baseball players. Some of the players I pulled have been drafted by major league teams, although Ober apparently hasn't. Two design problems. The large Stars & Stripes logo on the front makes it look like the player is straddling the logo on many of the cards I got. And why would you design a card back to have a large color photo just to repeat the front photo? As long as I collect cards I don't think I'll ever understand that.


This is a 150-card insert set featuring the same players, in the same order, as the base set, but with a different photograph. The card has the look and feel of Topps Chrome. 

2016 Babe Ruth Collection

I never saw this set live but it's been showing up in repacks since last summer. I've got about half of the 80-cards set now. There were two 5-card packs included in this box but there was only one I didn't have.

There were also two packs of this.

I opened them, looked at them and threw them away.

So, there turned out to be 27 cards of the 72 that I needed (needed being a very relative term when speaking of 2012 Triple Play). I usually like a repack to be around 50% productive to be satisfied.