Thursday, January 31, 2013

Random Cards From My Collection #36

Card #26038
1991 Score #793 Sandy Alomar, Jr.
In 1991, Score had 5 cards featuring Sandy, after his rookie year of 1990.

Card #2775
1980 Topps #655 Tug McGraw

The Tugger saved 20 games for the 1980 World Series Champion Phillies.

Card #2422
2003 Stadium Club Born in the USA Relics Jim Thome
In 2003, Jim lead the American League in home runs, with 47 and strike outs, with 182.

Card #21331
1995 Score Platinum Team Set #515 Billy Hatcher
These Platinum parallel cards were only available as team sets through a mail-in offer. They came in a plastic box with a certificate of authenticity. They are pretty available on eBay these days.

Card #9304
1988 Score #656 Steve Bedrosian
The random spin has brought up yet another Score set. This card is from their inaugural year.

Card #10210
2008 Upper Deck #780 Derek Jeter

Card #11871
1995 Topps #510 Scott Elarton
 Scott was the Astro's #1 draft pick in 1994. His best year was 2000, when he went 17-7 for the Astros. He was never that good again.

Card #6204
2005 Topps Grudge Match #1 Jorge Posada/Pedro Martinez
Should baseball cards be commemorating on-field fights?

Card #15866
1988 Score Young Superstars I #23
Cards from this set were inserted into 1988 Score rack packs and were also available in a 40-card box.

Card #8974
1993 Fleer All-Stars #9 Darren Daulton

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2011 Topps American Pie - Part 2

In December 2011, I did a post about a blaster box of 2011 Topps American Pie I had bought. As I continue to put away three years worth of card purchases, I recently came across them again. I thought I'd see what else from the set I could find on eBay.

2011 Topps American Pie Relics #24 Susan Lucci
Lucci plays Erica Kane on the long running soap opera All My Children, a program I've never seen even though it was on TV from 1971 through 2011. Apparently, Lucci has been on the show for the entire run. The card features a piece of memorabilia "from an authentic item worn by Susan Lucci". I didn't get this because I'm a fan or hers, but because, at $3.99, it was the cheapest card from the set I could find. I was saving my money for this next item.

2011 Topps American Pie Pieces
If it looks like this card has a little plastic bag of dirt embedded in it, well, it does. It contains "authentic earth" presumably from the Lewis and Clark Trail. The Trial runs for 3,700 miles, some of it through private property, so I imagine that Topps didn't have too much trouble getting a spadeful of dirt from somewhere along it's length. I can hardly believe I paid $15.25 for this. It's about the weirdest individual card purchase I've made. There are 4 cards in this set. The others are The Statue of Liberty, The Grassy Knoll, and Gettysburg. I don't know for sure but I guess they all contain a little bag of "authentic earth".

This card is as thick as 8 regular cards. If it was inserted into a pack of American Pie, it must have been the only card in the pack. Also, since it is so thick, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. It sure isn't going into a standard 9-pocket album sleeve.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites

All-Time Fan Favorites was a set produced by Topps from 2003-2005. It featured past players on cards with designs which were contemporary with their careers. These were not, however, reprints, but featured new photographs. I had purchased a few packs of this product back in 2005 but recently went looking for some set inserts on eBay.

The set featured a lot of different designs, including designs that you don't see often in other similar Topps sets.
For example, 1991 Topps with the 40th anniversary logo. I happen to like this design.

Or 1990 Topps, which I don't much care for. I guess in another 30 years or so we'll be seeing this in Topps Heritage. I'll be over 90 years old then so I probably won't care.

There are a handful of non-players in the set,
like New York Yankees play-by-play man Michael Kay.

The 1951 Topps design is another you don't see too often. As I was looking for relics and autos from the set I saw this and had to have it.

This is the 1978 Topps design. Note that the stats on the back go through 1981 after which Boone left the Phillies. Here's Boone's actual 1978 card to illustrate the different photos.
The sets always featured chrome refractors. I just bought this one on eBay.

The autographed and relic cards were pretty pricey on eBay. I was lucky to find a Phillies auto at a reasonable price.
Notice that the auto is on-card. Lonnie Smith had a pretty amazing career. He had a 17-year career and played in 5 World Series with 4 different teams. He has 3 World Series rings, including the Phillies 1980 World Series win.

The relic cards do not feature a past year design.

The relics are numbered to 200.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gems from yet another Fairfield Repack

This was one of those with 300 loose cards in the package. I bought this back in October and am just getting around to seeing what I got. There is the usual mix of lousy cards (I swear if I pull another 1988 Donruss card from one of these...). But there is always a nice scattering of gems. 

1981 Fleer #202 George Foster
George Foster was the real deal in 1981, so much so that Fleer included two cards of him in the set, I already had the other. In the 4 years prior to 1981 he'd hit 147 home runs with 460 rbis, while hitting in the neighborhood of .300. By 1981 however, he'd passed the peak of his career.

1981 Fleer #230 Don Zimmer
And who doesn't love The Gerbil?

1981 Fleer #536 Jim Kaat
Kitty had a 25 year career. I'm mostly familiar with the 3 years he spent with the Phillies in the 1970s.
A note about these scans. These cards look great, don't then? I like to color correct the scans which tends to remove the yellowing with age, so in person, these cards actually look like 32 year-old-pieces of cardboard.

1983 Topps #789 Bryan Clark
Two photos of this guy on the card and this was the best they could do?

1988 Donruss #429 Ray Searage
Here's one of those 1988 Donruss cards. Sorry, couldn't resist the 'stach. A real soup-strainer.

1990 Fleer #265 Todd Zeile
1990 wasn't a great year for card design but there were still players I collect in those sets. Individual cards from these sets are hard to come by so I'm always happy to pull a Player I Collect from a repack, especially if I didn't already have the card, like this one.  Rookie card no less.

1991 Topps 1953 Archives #326 Dizzy Dean/Al Simmons
Before there was Topps Heritage and and many attempts by Topps to mine its own past, there was 1991 Topps 1953 Archives. There were 280 cards in the original 1953 Topps set, while there are 330 cards in the Archives set. The extra 50 cards are labeled on the back "The Cards That Never Were". This is one of them. Dean and Simmons had been inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953. Dean played for the Cardinals and the Cubs. He appears to be wearing a Senators cap in this picture.

1992 Upper Deck College POY #1 Dave McCarty
These full bleed holographic cards were inserts in 1992 Upper Deck. I could be wrong but I think these were the first full holographic cards in a main stream set. There are only 3 cards in this set. I've got two now, the other came from a repack as well. POY means Player of the Year, in this case, minor league POY.

1995 Collector’s Choice Special Edition #211 Jeff Montgomery
There's nothing special about this set except for the concept. Upper Deck introduced the "Collector's Choice" set in 1994 as a cheaper (aimed at kids) alternative to their main set. With the 1994 set, Upper Deck helped introduce the concept of the parallel set. In addition to the base cards, there were Gold and Silver signature cards inserted randomly into the packs. The signature cards were identical to the base cards except they had facsimile signatures in either gold or silver foil. In 1995, Upper Deck introduced Collector's Choice Special Edition. An entire other set with the same design as Collector's Choice but with blue borders and a blue foil logo. At least the cards had a different checklist. But it also had silver and gold signature versions. Would card collectors really fall for this? Of course we did and parallel cards are going strong more than 20 years later.

1999 Upper Deck MVP Silver Script #159 Bob Abreu
Here's the same concept as the Collector's Choice silver and gold signature cards carried forward to 1999. I didn't buy much of this product in 1999 and only had one of these Silver Script parallels, and it wasn't a Phillie.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Song of the Week - Eighteen by Alice Cooper

In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine published a list of what they called the top 500 songs of all time. I happened to run across the list on-line last year. These kind of lists are always fun whether you agree with them or not. This list is actually a list of great rock and roll songs that have come out since about 1950. It's a solid list of great tunes and I already had a bunch of them on iTunes. I've been collecting the ones I don't have ever since. I've got 353 of them now.

"Eighteen" by Alice Cooper is #487 on the list, so it barely squeezed on. I like the song but it wouldn't be on my top 500 songs of all time. No date on the video but it looks contemporary with when the song was released in 1975. There is a live YouTube video from 2011 and Alice is a bit heavier and a bit uglier then he looks here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My top 4 solo musical artists

I've been reading Neil Young's autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, but more about that later. I've been a fan of Young's for almost as long as he's been performing and own nearly everything he's released. It made me think about other artists who I like a lot. And an idea for a post was born.  You have to take inspiration where you find it.

I've put Neil Young at the top of this list but the next 4 are in arbitrary order.

Neil Young

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that this album cover makes up part of the heading for the blog. The first Neil Young song that I ever heard was probably "Mr. Soul" on Buffalo Springfield's 1967 album Buffalo Springfield Again, but it's this album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere that really turned me onto Neil. Released May 14, 1969, this is actually Neil's second solo album. The first, simply called Neil Young was badly produced and didn't sell well. It's also a great album but I didn't know about it until later. On Everybody Knows... Songs like "Cinnamon Girl", "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down By The River" just blew me away. I've only seen Young perform twice, once during his "Live Rust" tour back in 1980 or so, and more recently on his "Le Noise" tour.

Leonard Cohen

Undoubtedly, the first Leonard Cohen song I heard was "Suzanne" from Cohen's first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen released in December 1967. My parents bought me a record player for Christmas in 1967, and I think this album was one of the first I bought for myself. Songs like "Master Song" and "The Stranger Song" were like nothing I had ever heard before, certainly like nothing being played on the radio. I own just about everything that he has released. I've only seen him in concert once, in a small theater, appearing solo.

Kate Bush

Released in September 1985, Hounds of Love is actually her 5th album but I had never heard of her until a friend gave me a mix tape with "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" on it probably in 1988. By then the album was hard to find and I had to settle for a cassette tape version. I love this entire album. I eventually acquired her earlier albums and nearly everything she released since.  She took a long break from recording (1993-2005) but her return album Aerial was worth the wait. I have not seen her in person as she doesn't like to travel and has never performed in the US.  There are a lot of other female artists I like (Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, Tory Amos to name a few) but only Kate Bush has held for me for such a long period of time.

Bruce Springsteen

The first Bruce Springsteen song I ever heard was "Spirit In The Night" from the January 1973 Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. As far as sales went, the single was not a success but I loved it the first time I heard it and still love it today. I bought the album as soon as I could find it. I lived in Philadelphia then, and Bruce was heavily played and promoted by the city's one "progressive" station, WMMR. Bruce's best work, in my opinion, are his songs that tell stories and every song here, from "Lost In The Flood" to "For You" tells a great story. In fact, "For You" is all tied up in my memory with a girl I was dating at the time.  I've only seen him perform live once, in a Jersey bar called Uncle Al's Earlton Lounge. He was with the full E-Street band and the performance was just stunning. I will confess that I fell out of love with Springsteen after Born In The USA but I've come back and even acquired the albums I missed.

I had fully intended this to include 5 artists, but as I was putting it together I realized there wasn't a fifth artist who, for me, made such an impact as these 4. People like Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and the aforementioned Tory Amos come close. And of course there are bands (The Beatles, Steely Dan, Yes) who do rise to that level, but that's another post.

And as I finish this up, Neil Young's "Words (Between The Lines of Age)" comes up on iTunes.

Someone and someone were down by the pond
Looking for something to plant in the lawn
Out in the fields they were turning the soil
I'm sitting here hoping this water will boil

When I look through the window and out on the road
They're bringing me presents and saying hello
Singing words, words between the lines of age
Words, words between the lines of age

If I was a junkman selling you cars
Washing your windows and shining your stars
Thinking your mind was my own in a dream
What would you wonder and how would it seem?

Living in castles a bit at a time
The king started laughing and talking in rhyme
Singing words, words between the lines of age
Words, words between the lines of age

This song came out in 1972, over 40 years ago and I never tire of hearing it.