Archive for sports

Thrift Treasure 81: MLB Showdown ASG finds a home

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I’ll say this up front, I am not a big card game guy.  I never got into Magic.  I never played Pokemon. I don’t hate it.  I don’t dislike people who play such games.  I, personally, have never felt the need to sit down and learn or play those games.  They are games of strategy; I prefer to apply my knowledge — the little that I have — to my hobby, where I acquire real things. That’s just how I operate.

IMG_9512Having said that, I do find some intrigue when I find card game cards at thrift stores.  I have a little knowledge as to what is “worth” money, but I can say that I have not cashed in on anything card game related.  This post, I suppose, follows in those foot steps.

So, in the early 2000s, Wizards of the Coast, makers of the Magic The Gathering cards, produced a series of baseball strategy card game that spanned the course of four of five seasons I believe. The game had a mild following. I don’t recall the cards ever being scorching hot.  And every now and then I find them in thrift stores, usually mixed in with some typical baseball cards. I usually pass on them unless I see an absolute reason to buy:  Multiple foil cards, many “first edition” cards, multiple stars, quantity for little money,  etc.”

On this occasion, I happened to find this box (shown here) sitting in an aisle of photo albums.  It must’ve been mistaken for a photo box, but I knew what it was immediately. When I opened it, I got a bit excited because while the bx itself makes for a fun display, it had a fair amount of cards. I was even more exited when I learned that the $3.99 price tag on it was incorrect for on this day, this item was half off.

IMG_9513So for $1.99 everything in this picture came home with me.  And while I won’t strike it rich with this find, it turned out to be a bargain.

The box contained 5 foil cards …

IMG_9543A bunch  of cards, albeit it a 4:1 ratio of strategy cards to player cards

IMG_9545Some neat team — and other subject/set — dividers

IMG_9546and … 50 2002 All-Star Game cards, which is the whole set.

IMG_9544The funny thing is the 2002 All Star Game is infamous for having ended in a tie, which ultimately led to then-Commissioner Bud Selig to the ASG “count” in subsequent years.

Total cost of these treasures: $1.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

So …. “Thrift Treasures” has been nominated for an award

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on January 21, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

ThriftTreasuresLogoTo say that this blog is what it was six years ago when I started it would simply be untrue.  The industry has changed. My life has changed.  I was married for a mere three years when I started this thing, and I didn’t have any kids.  I now have two kids who are 6 and 4 and my wife and I will be celebrating our tenth anniversary later this year. Oh, and I had a career change some four years ago. Yeah, time flies.

There was a time when page hits were important to me; when I felt the need to publish something everyday.  But the more that I let that motivate me, the more this hobby became like work. Over time I did my own thing.  I branched out and got published elsewhere and used this site to do what I initially set out to do, chronicle MY collection and share MY thoughts.

One of the things that has developed through this site is ‘Thrift Treasures,” which has been my constant theme in which I chronicle sports items — usually cards — I find during trips to thrift stores, antique stores, flea markets, etc.

It came as a surprise to me this week when I learned that the “Thrift Treasures” series has been nominated for “Best Recurring Subject,” in the “2014 Bip Awards” as hosted by fellow bloggers over at A Cardboard Problem.

I’m humbled by the fact that I have even been nominated. The other candidates are among some of the stronger and more popular blogs in our hobby.  Anyway, I’ll quite rambling. If you’re so inclined go vote for somebody — even if its not me.

And in case you missed it or care to read them again, all of my Thrift Treasures posts can be read HERE.

Some of my favorites include:

* A 1971 San Jose Bees (Royals Single-A affiliate) signed baseball (read)

* Sealed 1984 Donruss set (read)

* A signed George W. Bush book (read)

* a Cal Ripken Jr. signed book (read)

* A signed Harry Caray book … which I returned to the owner (read)

* A full game-used bat that might be photo-matched to a card (read)

* a team-signed 1997 USA Baseball jersey (read)

* A signed Casey Stengel 1963 Topps card (read)

* And of course, the legendary find of a game-used Earl Weaver jersey (read) which has been the gift that keeps on giving. The find led to new opportunities within the hobby for me, including a chance to meet Earl and have his sign the jersey before he passed away in 2012. (Beckett first-hand piece from 2012)

Thrift Treasures 77: The ‘Special’ and ‘Young’ editon

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

So there I was minding my own business in the toy aisle of one of the local thrift shops when I saw dozens of little bags filled with sports cards, some of which were actually in Card Saver II’s.  What’s that? Google it, kid.IMG_8014

Anyway, I was intrigued. I picked up each bag and checked as best I could to get an idea of what was inside of each.  Was this going to be a baggy of 1990 Donruss cards, or was there enough intrigue there to get me to buy it?  Out of the dozens of bags, four of them said “Buy Me!”  I should note that one baggy actually had a certified autograph inside, but when I saw that it was as shiny Topps Platinum auto of former 49ers running back Glenn Coffee tucked into a stack of 1989 Topps baseball, I exercised restraint and left it behind for someone else. Someone else can have the pleasure of owning that treasure.

I resisted the temptation of opening the baggies in the car and later opened them at home. I’ll explain real quickly about why each bag intrigued me.

The one on the left contained hockey cards, but my quick check revealed a Bobby Orr Power Deck insert card that I knew was worth the $2.99 purchase alone.  On top of the second bag there was a Juan Gonzalez Donruss Preferred die-cut insert card that I believed to be numbered to like 1,500 copies as well as a San Jose Sabercats team set and a San Jose Giants team set. In the third bag I could see a Reggie Miller gold portrait card that I had never seen before. And the fourth bag contained a stack of cards in Card Savers as I mentioned earlier.

In all, the baggies revealed the following … and three surprises.

The Bobby Orr insert mentioned above …

IMG_8023The Juan Gonzalez …

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A Reggie Miller Skybox USA Gold Portrait…

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The team set of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League … a set that contains four cards of players who played at San Jose State University when I was there.

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A 2006 San Jose Giants minor league team set …

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Some random star cards …

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And a stack of 1994 Donruss ‘Special Edition” parallel cards of the sets biggest stars …

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So, about those surprises.

Well, there was this shiny Upper Deck Roadrunner hologram…

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SANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_8021And … just an autograph of San Francisco 49ers legendary quarterback Steve Young.

IMG_8026 The Young is not certified and does not come with a Certificate of Authenticity (which is good in my opinion), but if you compare the signature to any of the certified autographs he has, it’s spot on. That’s a hell of a score … no pun intended.

Total Cost of these treasures: $11.96

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

 

Tales from the Vintage Bargain Bins: 59 Topps Mantle, 68 Bench RC, more

Posted in Newspaperman, Vintage Bargain Bins with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

So in my previous post, I documented a sweet pull that came from a 2012 Panini America Signature Series pack. That pack came as an impulse buy after I spent an hour digging through the card shop’s Price Friendly Vintage boxes. It’s a great shop for vintage, and I used to go through these boxes more often. But in recent years I’d slowed down this hunt.

But there I was on Wednesday going through the boxes that I had not gone through in more than a year.

There were a couple high-dollar scores, some not-so-significant rookie cards I (think I) needed for my collection, and a few “different” types of cards that caught my attention.

On that note, let’s start with the “different” items.

I’m sure you’ve seen these before, but this is a 1965 Topps Embossed card of Ernie Banks. These were inserted into regular packs in 1965 and offered collectors a “different” type card of star players. There was a badly cut Roberto Clemente in the box for $5, but I liked the value on this Ernie Banks at $1. The card is scuffed and has a pin hole at the top, but it’s still worth 100 pennies to me.

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Here are a pair of 1969 Topps Sticker Albums. These also were inserted into packs and basically served as a place to put the player stickers that were also included in some packs. The albums are separated by team and show players inside with their stats. The albums I got are of the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. The Astros one doesn’t have any stickers, but the Cubs has a few, including Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. One a side note, the back side of these albums showcase facsimile signatures for players on the team. Surely that was a nifty idea for the time. These were 50 cents each.

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IMG_6901IMG_6900IMG_6903And here are a pair of 1970 Topps Booklets, one of Pete Rose and one of Ernie Banks. These are essentially comic books telling the career story of the depicted player. Kinda neat. Banks cost me $2; Rose was $2.50. Pretty good shape considering the card stock is thin like paper.

IMG_6911IMG_6912

IMG_6907IMG_6908And now some rookies:

We’ll start with a PSA 7 1981 Topps Jari Kurri rookie. I’m not big on hockey cards, but a PSA 7 for $3 seemed like a goo deal so I nabbed it.

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Speaking of graded. Here’s a 1981 Topps Harold Baines BGS 6 for $2. The grade is lower, but looking at the breakdown, the reason this got a 6 is because of the centering. Either way, I’ll pay $2 for older solid rookie cards in BGS slabs.

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And lower grades … here’s a creased 1992 Topps Derek Jeter rookie card for $2.50. Not exactly vintage, but it was in the box. I’ll bite at that price. It still presents nicely.

IMG_6913How about a 1967 Topps Sal Bando rookie card. I own one already, but this one looks a LOT better than the one in my collection.

IMG_6904Here’s the rookie card of 1970 American League batting champion Alex Johnson, 1965 Topps.

IMG_6905And the 165 Topps rookie card of Cleon Jones, a key member of the 1969 New York Mets championship run.

IMG_6909So, I went a good five years without acquiring a Bobby Cox rookie. And about a year or so ago, I found one in an antique store for just a few dollars. It’s a gorgeous card. During this trip I located another Cox rookie and it was $3. I like adding those kind of cards to my collection for the price of a pack of cards.

IMG_6906And now the three big purchases of the day.

We’ll start with a 1948 Bowman Marty Marion rookie. Truthfully, I have never seen one of these. This one is in good shape aside from the centering. Price $16. Not bad for a Hall of Famer.

IMG_6914 Creased cards get a bad wrap in our hobby. It’s almost the death of a card if it has been bended. That said, I can’t let a 1968 Topps Johnny Bench rookie card sit in this box for $9. Surely someone can appreciate just owning a Bench rookie. I already have a graded one, so this one will be made available at some point.

IMG_6898And now the main attraction. Remember what I said about creased cards? The crease in this 1959 Topps All Star Mickey Mantle card killed it’s value. But for $15 I cannot — nor shall anyone else — leave an authentic vintage card of perhaps the hobby’s biggest name in a box.

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Published in Beckett Baseball and it feels so good

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

Mag1For the last year and a half I’ve had the good fortune of having some of my writings published in Beckett Sports Cards Monthly. After spending about a decade in the newspaper business and seeing my name on newsprint, it’s been fun to see my name in a magazine related to my hobby.  But recently things took an even cooler twist when I was asked to write more for Beckett Baseball, which is THE magazine I had been reading since I was like 7 years old.  And this week I picked up the latest copy — featuring National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen on the cover — and found my first published column (on Page 16) in the baseball magazine. Obviously I knew it was coming, but it’s been awesome to finally see my name and my writings in the baseball magazine.  I’m looking forward to writing more in the future.

Thrift Treasures 58: Romanowski signed book, SPs, and Money Ball

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

ThriftTreasuresLogoIt’s been three months since I’ve posted a Thrift Treasures entry.  That’s not to say it’s been three months since I’ve found post-worthy items.  I’ve probably got a dozen entries I need to write.  But we’ll get to those items in the future.  For now we’ll focus on items I found Saturday night while thrift shopping.

My family went to a shop in South San Jose, one I only happened to find about three weeks ago.  The store apparently had been there for years, but I’ve never stepped foot inside.  Reality, however, was that when I walked in the first time, I was short on time and was instantly turned off by the crazy prices.  They had baggies of cards (roughly 50 in each) priced at $7.99 to $9.99. Ugh.

But on Saturday, I decided that the family should make a trip to this location because my wife — who also digs thrift stores (she loves jewelry and clothes) — haven’t been there before.  Turns out this trip yielded a few decently priced treasures.

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First item is a promotional T-shirt for “Money Ball,” the flick starring Brad Pitt and featuring the Oakland Athletics.  In 2011 when the movie hit theaters, the A’s had a T-Shirt giveaway at O.Co.  This shirt, which is a size XL and bears the Pepsi Max logo on the back, was given to like 10,000 fans at a game.  This is the first time I’ve seen this shirt at thrift. And with the $2.99 price tag — which happened to be half off today because it’s been in the store for a while — it was a no-brainer purchase.

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So yeah, cards.  As I noted earlier, they had cards at this store when I first checked it out a few weeks ago.  And today they had even more.  Sadly it was a lot of the same — overpriced crap from the 1980s and 1990s.  Seriously, bags of 1988 Fleer baseball, 1992 Pro Set football, and 1991-1992 Fleer basketball for more than $7.99? Hell, no!

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But among the peg hooks I found a few smaller baggies priced more in my range.  This one caught my eye because I could see some 2012 Topps Heritage and 2012 Topps Archives inside, and I could see at least one SP cards. It was worth my while.

As it turned out there were two SPs within he bag (Heritage Kyle Seager; Archives Griffey), a pair of Matt Moore rookie cards, and rookie-year cards of Yu Darvish and Matt Harvey. No too bad.

IMG_9322***

And then there was Romo …

Not Tony Romo.  Bill. As in Bill Romanowski.

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I’ve mentioned before my recent love for the book aisle in thrift stores.  I’m not a big reader, I have just had fantastic luck in finding signed books.

Here we have a signed — and non-personalized — copy of Romanowski’s autobiography

IMG_9316IMG_9317I’m going to be honest … I put this one back on the shelf and at one point left the aisle.  I saw that it was signed, but the $5.99 price tag was a bit steep for my penny-pinching ass.  Besides, I hadn’t even paid that much for any of my Presidential signatures. That said, I decided to buy it when I realized we had a 30% off coupon.

It’s a fun signature to own.  But it does remind me of the time that I passed — yes, passed — on a signed Ronnie Lott book last year.  Grrr …

Total cost for these treasures: About $8.80

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

 

 

 

Cardboard Icons’ celebrates 5 years of “blogging”

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

It’s a milestone day. Today is indeed the fifth anniversary of this blog. And what better way to celebrate the day than to give you a very short update. I’ve been rather infrequent in posting over the last month or two; time flies. A day turns into a week, a week into a month, etc.

I’ve found that at this point, there are so many ways to express my thoughts or show my creativity, which essentially has been my objective of this blog. When I started, I tried to post something — anything — every day and it was fun. Then we had the addition of Twitter and Instagram to our collecting worlds. I tell you, its a lot easier to hammer out a few 140-character tweets from anywhere than it is to sit in front of a computer, write out a concise piece and then add pictures. Believe me, I’ve spent hours laboring over some of my posts in the past. (Like this one from earlier this week: The World is Your’s: The Life and Times of Lil B Weezy)

And personally, Instagram has been a God-send. I’ve always sought ways to show off my cards; using the Instagram app has made it fun and allowed for some interesting images.

Anyhow, I’ll wrap up this officially brief anniversary piece by saying that I plan to write more in the near future — perhaps this weekend? — but as is the case with everything, only if time permits.

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