Archive for rookie cards

He won more World Series titles than Ric Flair had major World Heavyweight Titles

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , on March 6, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Ric Flair is widely recognized as having held a major wrestling Heavyweight Championship title in the WWE(WWF), WCW, and NWA 16 times. Did you know there is a baseball player/coach who won more World Series titles than Flair held wrestling heavyweight belts?

Enter Frank Crosetti of the New York Yankees. Crosetti played 17 seasons in the majors and after his playing days went in to coach the Yankees. In all, he made 23 World Series appearances and was a member of 17 championship teams. Here he is pictured on his 1933 Goudey rookie card, one that I recently picked up from


Rookie Card Upgrade 5: 1970 Topps Thurman Munson

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , on February 24, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

About a decade ago when I started to seriously collect vintage rookie cards condition was not a priority for me.  Rounded corners, creases, ink, etc.  None of it really mattered.  All it did was make the card more affordable for me.

Truthfully, I still operate this way in some cases.  But I also like to upgrade rookie cards — key rookie cards — when the opportunity presents itself.

Such was the case with the 1970 Topps Thurman Munson rookie card.  Munson is one of those players whose legend lives on.  A stud players who died far too young, one who has a strong following, one that seems to get stronger over the years as more people appreciate him.

I bought my first Thurman Munson Topps rookie for about $30.  I might have over-paid for the condition, but having the card was important for me.  And then a few years later I was able to acquire the Canadian version, the 1970 O-Pee-Chee rookie.  Again, there was much to be desired in terms of condition, but the opportunity was there and I jumped on it.

So for years, these two Thurman Munson rookies sat in my collection, filling the void for the Hall of Famer.

IMG_9761 IMG_9762Then opportunity knocked again a few weeks ago to make a huge upgrade for my collection for a fairly decent price.  I unloaded a bunch of low-priced stuff on and was able to acquire this gorgeous old-label Beckett Vintage Grading (BVG 6.5) copy with fantastic subgrades, 8,8,8.5, 6. The low grade is on corners.

IMG_9760This card arrived from COMC over the weekend.  Now that I am able to examine it in hand, I can see that the corner grade was given not because the corners aren’t sharp, but because they are a tad white — probably from sitting in a card saver without a penny sleeve for too long.

I have more stuff from COMC that I’ll be showcasing in different ways in the coming days.

You can see more Rookie Card Upgrade posts HERE.

Thrift Treasures 80: Jon Lester rookie, more for $2.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on February 9, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Quick Thrift Treasures post here.  Earlier in the week I stopped at one of the thrift stores in the city where I work and they had a baggie of cards — about 100 — priced at $2.99.  Itook a quick look and could see that there was a Jon Lester 2006 Upper Deck rookie card inside so i decided to take a shot.

IMG_9123Well, as it turned out, Lester was the best card in the bag, but that’s not to say there wasn’t anything else that interested me.  There were some rookie cards that I needed to go through to see if I own them yet.

IMG_9252IMG_9253And a handful of star cards, a parallel — JJ Hardy Ultra gold #’d/999 — and a few inserts.


Not a huge win or anything, but they can’t all be full of bigtime steals.  The big plus here is that I did not have the 2006 UD Lester rookie yet.

Total cost of these treasures: $2.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE



The Mickey Mantle Collection

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , on January 23, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

IMG_8719When it comes to collecting baseball cards there are just a few names that really strikes a cord with collecting Perhaps the biggest name is Mickey Mantle.  Mantle may not have been the best player in the game, but he is probably the most popular among cardboard enthusiasts.  When I was a kid I only dreamed of owning a single Mantle card.  Any Mantle card.  And when I was 16, Topps released the Mickey Mantle reprint series which turned the hobby on its ear.  Yes, believe it or not, reprint cards were selling like hotcakes.  If you were a collector back then you surely remember the hunt for Topps.

While those reprints were an affordable way for collectors to own reprints of the original Mantles, they are reprints and there is nothing quite like the real thing.

Over the last five years I’ve managed to acquire some real Mantle cards, including his rookie.  No, not that 1952 Topps card that is often mistaken for his rookie cards.  But his true rookie, the 1951 Bowman.  I digress. In addition I’ve added a few of his singles from the 1950s and 1960s, and I figured I’d post them all on my site.  Not only for you to see, but so that I have a visual reference to what I already own.  As the header to the page says, the cards may not be mint, but they are indeed real. Enjoy.


Rookie Card Upgrade: 1968 Topps Johnny Bench

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , , on January 9, 2015 by Cardboard Icons


I’ve come a long when in terms of quality for my Johnny Bench rookie. The first Bench rookie I acquired was a raw version that had ink on the back. I kept that for about a year and a half before I found a good deal on the SGC 60 (equivalent to a PSA 5/BVG 5) shown on the top picture here. I had all intentions on crossing it over to a BGS/BVG slab at some point but never got around to it. Then I found a nice deal on a BVG 7 that I could not resist.

The SGC card already has a new home with a good friend and collector, whom I have the Bench SGC for a price lower than I actually paid for it. So he wins.

And the Bench BVG looks amazing in person. Centered, good surface. Only issues are slightly soft corners. It’s a solid 7.

COMC Mailday: Vintage Mantles, a Mickey rookie, two 2015 HOF autos and more

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

After about 10 days of “processing,” my latest COMC shipment arrived on Friday. And while it was small in number, it was filled with an seven PC items which I shall reveal here  If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve already seen three of them. But I’ll recap the keepers right here for everyone.

We’ll start with some ink. Why? Because everyone loves autographs.

Here we have a pair of pitchers who will likely be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. The Pedro Martinez hails from the 1996 Leaf signature set and is his first certified autograph. The Randy Johnson comes from the 2000 Ultra “Fresh Ink” autograph set.  Both players have been signing for companies in recent years, especially Pedro, whose been signing for a lot of Topps and Leaf Products.  I would have preferred Pedro on a Red Sox card, but the price was right on this, plus I like the fact that it is his first certified auto … and it’s on card.


As for Randy, his autograph has always intrigued me. He’s played for multiple teams, but I kind of dig the fact that he is shown here as a Diamondback. One thing of note on this Randy Johnson autograph — I didn’t know Fleer used stickers on their Fresh Ink cards in 2000; I never owned one. But now that it is in my hands, I can see that this is a foil sticker that was adhered to the card and then stamped with the Fleer seal of authenticity afterward.

So, Lou Gehrig’s card in the 1961 Topps set has always been one that I wanted.  But it appears so does everyone else.  I personally have never stumbled upon the card when it was priced in an area I felt comfortable.  Not imagine finding one that looked decent for under $7. Yeah. Mine! I hit this one — as well as the other vintage below — with some instagram filters for fun and to show off the imperfections.



If you don’t like Willie Mays, then you have issues.  I have a core group of legends whose vintage cardboard I chase.  Among them is Mays.  This 1958 came to me for about the price of a retail blaster … and it is not trashed. It’s actually centered nicely and has ZERO creases.  Winner!

IMG_7716Mickey Charles Mantle, THE Cardboard Icon. I’m not a Yankee fan; I’m actually a Red Sox fan. But I know Mantle was a stud and I know that he is this hobby’s top name — all time. I still get a special feeling when I know I am acquiring a vintage Mickey Mantle base card eventhough I have his true rookie, the 1951 Bowman. Well, via COMC, I was able to acquire not one, but TWO Mantles for about $30 each.  And while they might not be top shape, they are far from being in horrendous shape.  The 1963 card shows creases but the card is stiff because it’s been taken care for many year since it was initially damaged.  The same can be said for the 1964, albeit it is a tad softer.

IMG_7715IMG_7717You read the title of this post, right? You see the “Mickey rookie,” right? Well, here it is …

IMG_7740Mickey. Mickey Mouse, ya’ll! This is a 1935 O-PEE-Chee Mickey Mouse Card #1, which by my assessment appears to be the first year that Mickey Mouse appears on any trading card.  There is an “American” release of this, but this is the Canadian OPC version. The back is written in English, just like the American counter part.  And like the other vintage here, the card is not bad for being nearly 80 years old and in raw form.  No creases, just touched corners. My intention is to send this to Beckett Grading for encapsulation. This was probably the biggest steal at just a smidge over $10. Check eBay before you laugh.

Thrift Treasures 76: A sealed 84 Donruss set for price of a blaster

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

This was not your typical Thursday in California.

IMG_7134The San Francisco Bay Area was facing its “worst storm in five years,” which received a ton of hype and of course failed to live up to the billing.  It was windy, the rain was continuous and streets were flooding.  But it’s not like homes were being ripped from their foundations or anything. Anywho, that is not what made this particular Thursday atypical.

I work a rotating shift work schedule which allows me to be off on some weekdays, and a day before this fateful Thursday my wife send me text messages about some estate sale that starts on a Thursday. She saw some pictures posted in the online advertisement, including stuff she is interested in, and then stuff she knew I would be into.


IMG_7132Well, the stuff she knew I would be into was a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer sign with a Baseball Bat as a part of the advertisement, a shelf of “old” baseball magazines, and a picture of some random cards.

The cards I could see in picture didn’t intrigue me much. What I wanted was the sign.

So I took my daughter to school and my 4-year-old son and I ventured through the storm and arrived about 15 minutes before the doors were supposed to open. Due to the weather, they just started letting people in whenever they arrived. By the time we walked in there were a dozen buyers in the house, including a group looking at the aforementioned magazines.

I heard the host of the sale throw out a price point of $15 a magazine, and then the small group dispersed as they laughed at the high price. I knew at that moment that this thrift adventure was not going to end well …. or would it.

Immediately after hearing those words I located the Pabst sign on the wall.  Unfortunately it had a $145 price tag on it.  No way I was down to pay that much.  I then thumbed through the loose cards and two binders of cards nearby and asked how much.  I immediately saw a decent shape 1971 Topps Steve Garvey rookie, so I figured I would pounce if the price was right. Then I got the dreaded, “Well, it depends. Some of those cards aren’t supposed to be in there.  Like that Garvey rookie.” The host then removes it from the binder. Yeah, no thanks, Pal.

So I take my son through the house hoping to salvage the trip with a little trinket for the boy. This was to no avail. Nothing remotely even kid friendly there … except for the cards of course.

IMG_7111Before we leave the house I take one more look at  the card area and decide to blindly ask how much his boxed sets were. I could see one was a 1987 Topps factory set, a 1989 Score factory set, and then two factory Donruss sets, which I just automatically assumed were 1988 and 1989. The host said $25 each. I looked closer at the Donruss sets and saw that one said “’84” and another said “85.” I opened the lids, expecting to see a box of commons but was floored when I saw stacks of sealed bricks of cards — the way Donruss packaged their sets during the mid 1980s.  The 1984 set was a no-brainer if it was complete given that Don Mattingly’s best rookie card is a part of the set.  The 1985 one was too, but I had my doubts that they were complete, especially when I asked the seller if they were complete and his response was “Yes … well, I think so. That is how they were sold to us.”

I looked through the stacks and the numbering seemed to indicate that the Mattingly rookie should be there.  But I had never physically held a mid 1980s Donruss factory set.  The puzzle pieces held together with rubber bands increased my doubt. I started to wonder if some savvy collector had removed the brick of cards that contained the Mattingly. The seller said I could have the two Donruss sets for $40 if I wanted them. Part of me wanted to pull two $20 bills from my wallet and hand it to the seller and run, but I started to get that feeling of “this is too good to be true.” I felt that I could stomach a $20 gamble a whole lot better than $40. So I talked the seller into unloading one set (1984) to me for $20. Done deal.


I tucked the box under my arm, grabbed by son and trounced through puddles to get back to the car.  Once I buckled my son in I opened the box and located the brick that should have had the Mattingly. And sure enough, there it was … super sharp.

At that moment I had thoughts of running back in to get the 1985 set as well, but by this point dozens of other cars had just pulled up to the neighborhood and people were running into the estate sale. Remember it was raining, and this was the first day of an estate sale.

I located the three key rookie cards to this set, the Mattingly, the Darryl Strawberry and Joe Carter Rated Rookie.


The Mattingly is sharp, but centering might be a slight bit off.  The Strawberry and Carter, however, look to be dead center. Fantastic copies for grading purposes.

IMG_7118 IMG_7121

The sealed set was a bargain at $20. These sets usually go for upward of $100 on eBay as they are broken by people looking to grade the contents.  I will say this though, I got really lucky with the quality of the key cards. Factory sets typically offer the best condition cards, but as you can see here, some cards were badly off center. Thankfully they were not the ones I treasured the most.


Total cost of this treasure: $20.

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE


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