Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Trade from across the sea

I haven't made a trade with John from England for awhile but I got an email from him last June proposing our usual trade, Red Sox cards for Astros cards. We finally got it pulled off. John writes a card blog "The Pursuit of 80's (ness)" but hasn't posted since earlier in the year. Come on John, let's see something new.

I always get a pretty varied collection of stuff from John and I always wonder where he finds this stuff in Kent.

Let's have a look and some of what he sent.

1965 Milkana Astrodome

This is a real oddball. Milkana is a German cheese company which apparently sold from a location in London. In searching for something about it the only substantial information came from a post John did in 2010. We both are guessing that the card dates from around when the Astrodome opened in 1965. The painting was done by someone who probably didn't know anything about baseball. Milkana is still around. They have a cartoon blue heart with hands as their mascot that goes by the name of Mr. Doo Dhu.

1976 Topps #171 Greg Gross

I don't actually collect Astros from before 1995, but 1976 cards are always welcome as I only have a few and most of them are Phillies. Future Phillie Greg Gross shows off the colorful Astros uniform in full splendor. The Astros have incorporated some of this rainbow goodness in their current unis but not like this. I assume that the '40' on the shoulder was a tribute to someone. His uniform number is on his pants.

1997 Score Reserve Collection #487 Chris Holt

1997 Score wasn't a very attractive set but they made up for it with a series of confusingly named parallel cards. This featured a silver foil background with raised silver foil rays behind the player.

Score Hobby Reserve #370 Brad Ausmus

This one featured an embossed gold shield conveniently placed for Ausmus to sit on.

2002 Donruss Fan Club #160 Lance Berkman

Donruss also issued in 2002 "Best of Donruss Fan Club" which had exactly the same cards as above but were printed on foil board.

2003 Upper Deck 40-Man #369 Octavio Dotel

From 2002 through 2005, Topps issued their Topps Total set which contained every player on each team's 40-man roster. Not to be outdone, Upper Deck did the same thing in 2002 and 2003. These sets were huge, with about 1,000 cards each.

2003 Upper Deck MVP #17 Lance Berkman

This was an inexpensive set which I never cared much for so didn't buy much of. This is now the only Astro from the set that I have. I only had one Phillie as well. This drove me to eBay where I was able to pick up the Astros and Phillies team sets for a couple of bucks apiece.

2008 Upper Deck Goudey Autographs J. R. Towles

As named by the Night Owl, the "Ken Griffey says" set. Pretty forgettable but still an autographed card and much appreciated. Towles (pronounced tolls) hit .375 in 14 games in his 2007 debut year and looked like the next big thing. In 5 total years with the Astros (155 games) he only hit .187.

2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Blue Framed Paper #256 Nolan Ryan

Another much appreciated card from the 2nd year of Gypsy Queen. I didn't get any variation of the Ryan card from that set. This is numbered 147/599.

2013 Triple Play #32 Matt Dominguez

If I were Matt Dominguez, I'd sue over this card.

2015 Donruss Studio #7 Jose Altuve

Panini's not entirely successful attempt to revive Donruss Studio.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Two Consecutive 2015 Topps Update Cards

Tell me, do you think Topps did this on purpose, or is it just one of those coincidences that make life worth living?

Chad Qualls - Topps Update #292

Cesar Ramos - Topps Update #293

Or is it just my imagination that these two cards look remarkably alike?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The 1990s Baseball Card Face-off - 1991 Fleer vs 1996 Pinnacle Aficionado

I'm going to determine the best baseball card set from the 1990s. Check this post to see my methodology.

As promised, I'm going to finish off the first level of the Babe Ruth Division 2nd Quadrant. Here are the standings at present.

Today we've got kind of a weird match up, a very old-school card trying to be new vs. a one-shot, modern gimmick card.

1991 Fleer vs. 1996 Pinnacle Aficionado

1991 Fleer #61 Eric Davis

1991 Fleer #276 Matt Williams

1991 Fleer makes a statement, and that statement is YELLOW! Other than the color and the photo on the back, there is not much difference between 1991 Fleer and any other year going back to 1981. A solid Stage 3 card for sure but but starting to fall behind. Based on what I've seen in other blogs, I believe that 1991 Fleer is not much favored by collectors but I always liked it for its boldness.

1996 Pinnacle Aficionado #24 Kirby Puckett

1996 Pinnacle Aficionado #89 Gregg Jefferies

1996 Pinnacle Aficionado was a one-off set that was a bit weird. The all-horizontal card features a sepia-toned photo on the front with a 3/4 head shot of the player in rough textured silver foil. The card backs are black with another head shot in black and white. But the really weird thing about these cards is that they have a smell. The smell is pleasant and is supposed to be of bubble gum although it didn't smell like bubble gum to me. The smell is subtle, not say like a perfume ad in a magazine. Now, nearly 20 years later, the smell is difficult to detect. I always thought the silver foil head shot on the front was kind of creepy. 

The result: You might think, sight unseen, that almost any card from the later 1990s would beat out 1991 Fleer, but I'm giving this to the Fleer product. Despite it's color, it's still a solid, uncomplicated baseball card. Aficionado is just too gimmicky.

Next week we start the upper level competition to crown the champ from the 2nd quadrant of the Babe Ruth Division.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Random Cards From My Collections #77

Card #5,083
2004 Skybox Autographics #47 Greg Maddux

Comments on the card/player: A pretty nice set from Fleer/Skybox with a bit too much gold foil logo on the front. You'd think with a name like Autographics, it would at least, have a facsimile autograph. These cards had a high catalogue value in 2004 which dropped rapidly.
How/When acquired: I bought a few packs for $0.53/per card. A little pricey for 2004.

Card #11,793
2004 Fleer Genuine Insider Tools of the Game #6 Jim Thome

Comments on the card/player: Fleer had so many sets in the early 2000s it was hard to keep track. This was an insert in 2004 Fleer Genuine. As you might expect, there was a relic version of this card, but with a jersey swatch instead of a bat chip.
How/When acquired: I got this as a gift from a friend of the blog in 2009

Card #12,416
2001 Upper Deck Minors Centennial #88 Adam Walker

Comments on the card/player: This was a pretty nice looking minor league set put out by Upper Deck in 2001. Adam Walker was a 27th round draft pick by the Phillies in 1997 who never made it to the majors.
How/When acquired: I got this in a trade with a fellow blogger in 2009.

Card #21,111
1995 SP #92 Heathcliff Slocumb

Comments on the card/player: One of the nicer SP sets. The blue triangle on the left is a nice holographic foil. I always like cards featuring players signing autographs.
How/When acquired: I paid $3.94 for the 8-card Phillies subset in 2010

Card #33,251
1992 Stadium Club #92 Rob Deer

Comments on the card/player: 1992 was a pretty good year for Rob Deer. He hit 32 homers but only struck out 131 (his career average was 198 Ks per year). He also hit for a .241 average, well above his career average of .220.
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #20,707
1993 Topps #99 Mike Williams

Comments on the card/player: This was the pitcher on the 1993 Phillies not nicknamed "Wild Thing". Mike was 1-3 in his 2nd year with the Phillies. He only appeared in 17 games, including 4 starts.
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #35,055
1982 Fleer Stamps #107 Pete Rose/Larry Bowa

Comments on the card/player: In 1982, Pete was an All-Star for the Phillies (his 13th time) while Bowa played for the Cubs.
How/When acquired: I got a bunch of these 1982 Fleer Stamps for 3 cents each in 2012. As a bonus, the seller through in the album.

Card #25,789
1992 Triple Play #204 Jim Abbott

Comments on the card/player: I bought a lot of this set in 1992, thinking because it was the inaugural set it would gather some value. Well, I was wrong. It sure is garish though.
How/When acquired: I'm sure I got it in 1993, but I don't remember the cost. It was not expensive as it was meant for kids.

Card #28,615
2011 Topps Lineage #26 Grady Sizemore

Comments on the card/player: Here's a set I never much cared for. That's probably due to the fact that most of the cards in one of the rack packs I bought we very badly cut. And they're ugly.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.38/card for 2 rack packs of Topps Lineage in August 2011.

Card #26,351
1990 Fleer #444 Mel Hall

Comments on the card/player: There's not much to say about 1990 Fleer or about Mel Hall. Mel was an average player with a 13-year career. Of course average is way better than anything I could have accomplish.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.04/card for a Fairfield cube repack in April 2011. I haven't checked recently but I must be pretty close to having the entire 1990 Fleer set, acquired mostly in repacks.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The 1990s Baseball Card Face-off - 1994 Donruss vs 1998 Collector's Choice

I'm going to determine the best baseball card set from the 1990s. Check this post to see my methodology.

Here's where we were last week.

There are 2 match ups left in the Babe Ruth 2nd quartile. I'll get both of them done this week. Next week I'll try to run the Red, Green and Yellow levels so I can take a week off for Thanksgiving. My goal is to get the Babe Ruth 3rd Quartile done before Christmas.

1994 Donruss vs. 1998 Collector's Choice

1994 Donruss #27 Cecil Fielder

1994 Dunruss #185 Jeff Kent

1994 Donruss is one of the best Donruss sets from the 1990s, which pretty much means it's one of the best Donruss sets ever. It has full bleed action shots front and back with out too much gold foil. The photos are crisp and jump right out at you. The design isn't perfect. I don't really like the box with the team logo on the front and the gold foil lettering in the colored strip is a bit hard to read. I'd also like to see more stats on the back. Up to this point, Donruss always had at least the past 5 years of stats. They could have done that here. I do like the black box with the player's bio information. Nice and easy to read.

1998 Collector's Choice #217 Willie McGee

1998 Collector's Choice #295 Andy Benes

1998 was the fifth and last year for Collector's Choice. For reasons probably forgotten by everyone, Upper Deck dropped Collector's Choice in 1999 for a new set called UP Choice, which pretty much looked like Collector's Choice and served the same purpose. Anyway, after 5 years, Collector's Choice was getting a bit stale. The design had changed little, just some rearranging of the main elements. "Stumpy", the umpire figure on the back making his second and last appearance, was almost enough to stop buying this product after one pack. The set did have good photography and full career stats so was a good low cost choice for set collectors.

The Result: While there's nothing really bad about 1998 Collector's Choice (except for Stumpy), 1994 was an exception set so it goes forward.