Archive for the Misc. Category

Upper Deck captured the fun of the ballpark in 1992

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2021 by Cardboard Icons

A few weeks ago my son and I opened a pair of 1992 Upper Deck baseball boxes in search of one of the legendary Ted Williams certified autographs. While we did not pull any of the signed cards, we did complete a full Baseball Heroes insert set (sans the short printed Header card) of the Splended Splinter.

Over the last two weeks, the boxes of base cards had been sitting around and earlier today I decided to take another look at them before putting them into another box I’ll likely donate. While checking the contents, I started to noticed that 1992 Upper Deck captured something other brands from the era seemed to routinely gloss over. Upper Deck captured various fun moments at the ball park, specifically the interaction with fans and players signing autographs.

This is not to say that other sets didn’t even capture this. But Upper Deck’s design allowed for two photos to be used per player, the dominant image on the front, and the one on the back. And while looking at the fronts and backs, enjoying various images I came across 18 different cards from the boxes that showed this pre-game interaction between fan and players, and I couldn’t help but wonder if this type of thing would ever be common place again given the way COVID-19 has changed the world.

What’s sort of fun in these images is to see which players were captured signing, what items were being offered and in one case it looked like someone was trying to give a $1 bill for a signature.

We start with a pair of Hall of Famers in Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn.

Ripken was still about three of so years away from breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak, but he was an established star and on the front of his card he is shown signing a large poster that’s been rolled up and brought to the ball park.

The front of Tony Gwynn’s card is a action game image, but the back is where we see Gwynn signing for fans, several of whom appear to be offering an Upper Deck promotional piece.

One could argue that Dale Murphy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame however he still remains on the outside looking in. But if there was an autograph HOF, Murphy would be a first-ballot member as his flowing, loopy signature is a favorite among fans. Here we see Murphy signing autos with his left and — which is opposite of his throwing hand — and there is no shortage of demand. My favorite person here? The person in the center in the Hard Rock Cafe shirt, totally geeking out as he looks to be placing his signed card back inside his binder page.

At the start of 1992, Darryl Strawberry was still a major star in the game, coming off a 28-homer performance in his first season as a Dodger. On the rear of his card, he’s shown signing a few autographs down the right field line. It’s worth noting that Darryl appears to be signing baseballs with a black marker, which is not really the preferred method. But would you complain? Not I.

The following 14 cards showcase MLBers who weren’t exactly of the same caliber of those mentioned above, but it’s worth noting that fans are fans, they’ll seek a signature from whomever is in uniform offering to ink their collectibles. The first seven will be cards with signing occurring on the front, while the second set will show the interaction on the backs.

Here’s Brewers pitcher Chris Bosio signing what appears to be a baseball.

Former prospect Ben McDonald is shown on his card conducting an interview while signing a baseball in blue marker. What’s comical here is the fan shouting in the background and the Diet Pepsi logo in the foreground as it was on the side of what looks to be a promotion Orioles baseball cap.

Phillies pitcher Mike Hartley is shown here signing the underside of a Phillies cap with some sort of marker.

Mets pitcher Anthony Young appears to be signing some sort of flat — probably a card — as it rests on the wall along the first base side of the field.

Angels reliever Mark Eichhorn appears to be enjoying himself as he signs for several members of the US Military. I wonder if those guys ever learned they were featured on a baseball card.

Braves reliever Marvin Freeman took his signing session to the next level and sat on the dugout pregame signing for fans using the ever popular blue ballpoint pen to make memories.

White Sox pitcher Melido Perez is shown signing autographs, specifically what looks to be a game-day lineup sheet from a Program. What caught my eye here is the fan in the background holding a $1 bill. It’s not clear if the fan is offering to pay him for a signature or if they wanted him to sign the money.

Blue Jays star pitcher Dave Stieb looks to me making friends as he sits on the tarp at what I believe is Angels Stadium.

Brewers closer Doug Henry is shown on his card preparing to sign a glove with a collectible team ballpoint pen.

Cubs catcher Rick Wilkins is pictured using a purple Sharpie to sign a program. It’s worth noting that the autograph probably turned out upside down.

Phillies shortstop Kim Batiste was captured signing autographs at Spring Training.

Cubs starter Frank Castillo is shown signing before a game at Dodger Stadium. A couple fun things of note: Castillo is going to sign a baseball with what looks like a scented (blueberry?!) blue marker and someone is holding a poster featuring Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan, possibly offering for that to be signed by Castillo.

Orioles relief pitcher Todd Frowirth was captured pausing between signatures at the old Memorial Stadium … and there are those pesky Diet Pepsi logos again.

And lastly t here is veteran outfielder Mike Deveraux returning a hat after signing it. And given by the looks of things, it is probably one of those promotional Diet Pepsi/Orioles hats. Fitting.

I don’t own every card of this set, but that seems to be a lot of fan interaction for the 72 packs that my son and I opened. It’s an 800-card set so there’s probably more that I’ve missed.

Have one from this set that I missed? Leave it in the comments, or share it over on Twitter.

Sour card experience by day; hobby redemption by night – the story of my Wednesday.

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , on December 10, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

A 40 year old man walks into a Target on Wednesday morning after running an errand. As a card collector it’s almost a habit to stop at whatever store nearby sells cards.

And so he does what he does: He sets the vehicle in park, dons a mask due to COVID-19 protocol and heads into the store hoping there will be something to buy.

He’s a baseball collector and dabbles a bit in basketball these days, but this time it’s mid December and neither of those sports are in season. The cards at the front of folks mind these days are those of football, a sport the man abandoned as a true collector almost a decade and a half prior. But here he is, two weeks before Christmas, walking into a Target, grabbing a hand basket and heading to the card aisle.

The collector sees two heads already over there, which of course piques his curiosity. It was only a year or two earlier when the only heads seen in that area were those of kids or others of his kind. Now the collector contends with young adults half his age, more wise to technology, mostly there seeing an opportunity to profit. The collector had stopped at Target out of habit because that is what he knows. As it turns out the two heads he spotted from a distance are really three, and all of them were here because they heard in a Facebook group that new cards were being stocked today at this Target and there was an opportunity to double or triple their money.

The collector walks up with a basket in hand, and from the left the card vendor shows up with a half dozen boxes of promise, or so it seems anyway.

As the vendor eyes the shelf to make room for the newest product, one of the three heads who’d been waiting wheels his shopping cart out of hiding — it is already full of new product that draws the ire of the vendor and his other two Facebook partners.

“Did you get those from here?” The perplexed vendor asks, motioning to the seemingly sealed boxes of product he had been sent there to stock.

The man with the shopping cart plays dumb, saying a female employee had placed the cards out earlier and he grabbed them all. But all standing there already knew the fix was in; the man with the shopping cart had an insider with whom he’d been working. The game was unwinnable for all others who were there to play.

There were a dozen of one box, two dozen of another, and yet another row of unknown product beneath that. The man with the shopping cart had already won the lottery and he stuck around to press his luck a bit more.

The collector was at a crossroads. Does he stick around to see if he can get some of the leftovers — assuming the other two heads even agree to share — or does he walk away in frustration, resigned to the fact that the old ways of his hobby are antiquated to a degree?

After a brief moment of internal struggle the collector decides to bow out knowing it is not in his nature to argue in public over the ability to purchase baseball cards. After all, what exactly was he there for anyway? Certainly it was not the heartache and frustration this seemingly spontaneous trip was beginning to cause.


The story above was my experience on Wednesday and I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that this situation really put me into a funk for a good portion of the day. Sure, part of it was the actual happening, but majority of the depressive thoughts were due in part to the fact that the sharpened hooks of FOMO and hobby addiction had again become sunken deep into my cheek and the barb wasn’t allowing for a simple catch and release.

Realizing this, I had to step away from Twitter for much of the remainder of the day. And instead of sharing here, I’d honestly still be wrestling with this internally if it weren’t for something I saw later that night.

For one reason or another I realized that Greg of NightOwlCards was going to be on the About The Cards podcast. I’d been following Greg since 2008 when I found his work in the infancy of this blog and remarkably this east coast native made time to be on the only podcast I consume regularly, one that doesn’t start until 11 pm on his side of the country. I listened to Greg talk for about 45 minutes and he reminded me of times gone by and really about how much I used to enjoy writing here about my experiences in the hobby.

I realize that my experience in this hobby is very specific to my situation; hell, much of this is true for all of us save for the the cards themselves, those are the ties that bind us.

That said, Greg’s appearance on the podcast really hit home for me in a time when I sort of needed something to bring me back to center; that is why I chose to share the entirety of my Wednesday experience and thoughts here instead of in a format built for stream of consciousness sharing. Maybe I need to revisit this writing thing and not just condense all of my thoughts into snippets every time something pops up – after all, writing IS part of my hobby experience which I realize I’ve been neglecting.

Collecting Kershaw: Game Used baseball likely used for his 898th career K (Mark Buehrle)

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , on November 6, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

I think I found myself a gem in the rough. Today I present you with what I believe to be the ball used for Clayton Kershaw’s 898th career strikeout on August 10, 2012.

This ball bears the Florida Marlins Park 2012 inaugural season stamp and is authenticated by MLB as a third inning foul tip by batter Donovan Solano, who would end up being Kershaw’s 899th career K.

Authentication processes at the time did not detail the same way as we see these days with multiple pitches, their speeds, pitch type, etc. So I did a little research and here’s what I came up with for the life of this ball.

In the prior at-bat, Kershaw faced opposing pitcher Mark Buehrle, and got ahead 0-2, the second strike coming on a ball fouled out of play. A new ball is introduced — the ball I believe I now own — and Kershaw missed high (73 MPH curve) on the next pitch and then away with a 94 MPH fastball on the following one. The third pitch is a 93 MPH fastball that Buehrle can’t catch up to and he’s down on a swinging strikeout; the catcher throws the ball around the horn.

Video shows Kershaw circling the mound and then waits for the third baseman throw him the ball and he gets right back on the mound. No new ball is introduced.

Kershaw then faces Solano, starting with a 94 MPH fastball down the middle of the plate, then an 84 MPH (changeup?) pitch off the plate. His next pitch is an 85 MPH curve that spikes at the plate and Solano swings. The ball hits either the bat (play by play said swing and miss) or the catchers knee saver/shin pad and then ricochets toward the Marlins dugout. A new ball is then introduced and Kershaw then misses with a ball and then gets Solano to swing and miss on another curveball in the dirt which the catcher gloves and tags the batter — the catcher keeps the balls and heads to the dugout.

Given that the ball is authenticated as a “foul tip” and Solano only swing twice in that atbat, it’s likely the ball is from the third pitch of the atbat, which with a swing and an audible “thud” and ricochet could be construed by the authenticator as a foul tip. And we know that ball to have been used for pitches 2 and 1 of the Solano atbat, which I also believe to have been used for the final three pitches of the previous atbat which ended in a strikeout.

Not sure if I’d be able to get MLB to add a note to the authentication, but the evidence looks pretty strong to me and I’ll plan to display it in my collection as such. It’s NFS anyway. 🙂

Link to the YouTube video (full game) is here ( The Buehrle atbat is around the 47:00 mark. This ball was in play for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Team Lots for sale

Posted in Misc. on August 26, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

The follow team lots are for sale at the listed prices PLUS SHIPPING. The description for each team gives you an estimate of how many cards are included and some estimate on the number of certain players. I usually rounded down to account for errors.

These lots contain mostly 2008 through 2018 with some 2019 sprinkled in. There are some earlier cards as well, but the majority is from the last decade. The brands are mostly Topps related – flagship, Heritage, Bowman, Chrome, etc and others. There are also some Panini brands as well. Most of these are base cards, but there are some inserts and parallels included, also prospect stuff as well. There will be duplicates.

I realize that shipping is cost prohibitive when dealing with these kind of lots which is why I priced each team as a stand alone and am offering the following shipping options: ONLY SHIPPING TO UNITED STATES ADDRESSES AT THIS TIME.

Medium Flat Rate Priority Mail – fits 3 550-count boxes: $15

Large Flat Rate Priority Mail – fits 4 550-count boxes: $20.

I have included the number of boxes that each team is made up of. If you buy multiple teams I WILL COMBINE SHIPPING when possible. This may include combining teams into boxes if necessary. I am NOT looking to make money on shipping — I hate the cost, but its necessary. I am NOT offering other methods at this time.

If a team is listed as “Sold” or “Not Available” it is not available.

If you buy two or more teams I will offer a 10% discount on the team price. Payment expected after deal is completed; payment through Pay Pal only.

If you see something you want, contact me via Twitter: @cardboardicons. These will be sold on a first come, first serve basis … unless a larger deal is made. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

***** AL West *****

Mariners: About 830 total cards, featuring Felix Hernandez (~50), Ken Griffey Jr (~15), Robinson Cano (~40), as well as cards of Ichiro, Randy Johnson, Mitch Haniger, Edgar Martinez, and many more. All contained in 2 550ct boxes. Price: $25.


Angels: About 770 total cards, featuring Albert Pujols (~75), Mike Trout (~15), Shohei Ohtani (~20), and many more. All contained in 2 550ct. Boxes. Price: $40


Rangers: About 730 cards featuring Nolan Ryan (~14), Joey Gallo (~30), Roughned Odor (~30), Adrian Beltre (~50), Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, And many more. All contained in two 550ct boxes. Price: $20.


A’s: About 875 cards featuring: Rickey Henderson (~23), Matt Chapman (~12), Matt Olson (~17), Marcu

Astros: About 970 total cards including Jose Altuve (~85), George Springer (~69), Carlos Correa (~71), Alex Bregman (~47), Justin Verlander (~38), and many more. All contained in two 550ct boxes and one 400ct box. Price: $60.


***** AL Central *****

ROYALS: Not Available.

Indians: About 980 total cards including Francisco Lindor (~60), Shane Bieber (~12), Corey Kluber (~62), Bob Feller, Mike Clevenger, Carlos Santana and many more. The cards are contained in two 550ct boxes with a small amount in the side. Price $20.


White Sox: About 810 cards including Jose Abreu (~45), Frank Thomas (~32), and many more. Note: There are NO Luis Robert cards in this lot. These are contained in two 550ct boxes. Price: $25


Twins: S


Tigers: SOLD


***** AL East *****

Rays: More than 800 total cards including Evan Longoria (~48), David Price (~15), Blake Snell (~15), and many more. These contained within two 550-count boxes. Price: $15


Blue Jays: About 930 total cars including Jose Bautista (~40), Josh Donaldson (~50), Troy Tulowitzki (~15), Marcus Strowman and many more. Contained in a 550-CT and 660 CT box. Price $20


Orioles: About 800 total cards including Cal Ripken (~25), Manny Machado (~65), Brooks and


Red Sox: SOLD


Yankees: SOLD

***** NL West *****

Giants: SOLD

Padres: SOLD


Rockies: About 840 total cards including Nolan Arenado (~40), Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and many more. Inside two 550-count boxes. Price: $20


Diamondbacks: About 890 cards including Paul Goldschmidt (~50), Zach Greinke (~40), Randy Johnson and many more. Contained within two 550-count boxes. Price: $15.


Dodgers: About 1,000 total cards including Cody Bellinger (~60), Sandy Koufax (~22), Jackie Robinson (~10), Clayton Kershaw (~13), Walker Buehler, Duke Snider, Corey Seager and many more. These are in three 550-count boxes. Price: $50

***** NL Central *****


Pirates: SOLD


Reds: About 925 cards including Joey Votto (~70), Johnny Bench (~30), Barry Larkin (~25), Joe Morgan (~25), Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver and many more. Contained within three 550-count boxes. Price: $30.


Brewers: SOLD


Cubs: SOLD


Cardinals: About 1,200 total cards including Yadier Molina (~45), Lou Brock (~18), Albert Pujols (~8), Stan Musial (~17), Paul Goldschmidt (~18), Ozzie Smith (~40), Bob Gibson (~12), Adam Wainwright (~35), and many more. These are contained within three 550-count boxes. Price: $50

***** NL East *****

Mets: About 990 total cards including Jacob DeGrom (~55), David Wright (~40), Noah Syndergaard (~50), Tom Seaver (~20), Nolan Ryan (~15), Mike Piazza and more. These are contained in three 550-count boxes. Price: $40.


Nationals: About 960 total cards including Bryce Harper (~85), Stephen Strasburg (~50), Max Scherzer (~60), Anthony Rendon (~30), Trea Turner (~25), and many more. There are NO Juan Soto cards in this lot. These are contained in two 660-count boxes. Price: $50.


Marlins: About 690 total cards including Christian Yelich (-20), Giancarlo Stanton (~40), Ichiro (~30), Jose Fernandez (~20) and many more. These are contained in two 550-count boxes. Price: $15.


Phillies: About 830 total cards including Aaron Nola (~35), Roy Halladay (~10), Mike Schmidt (~25), Ryan Howard (~15) and many more. These are contained in two 550-count boxes. Price: $20


Braves: About 925 total cards including: Ronald Acuna (~5), Freddie Freeman (~75), Hank Aaron (~9), Chipper Jones (~20), Greg Maddux (~7), Ozzie Albies (~12), Warren Spahn and many more. These are contained in two 550-count boxes and a smaller box. Price: $50

This feels like a bad time to be investing in unknowns …

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on July 27, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

This surely is an interesting time in our hobby. Money is flowing like water for some folks and many are willing to take more chances than ever.

You do you. But if you ask me … this sure seems like a horrible time to be investing in unknowns.

Major League Baseball returned to action this week after having the season delayed due to COVID-19. And after three games we have our first major outbreak with more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and personnel returning a positive test.

The result has been at least one canceled game, which immediately reignites the talking point that some have had for months: How the are they going to play a completed “season” during a health crisis like this?

You can believe what you want about COVID. Fact of the matter is that it’s real, people have died — and yes many have not — and we don’t know how each individual is going to react if they contract the disease so safety protocols are enacted all over the world t slow the spread until a vaccine is produced. In the sports we’ve been introduced to a term like “in the bubble,” and we frequently hear about mandatory testing and quarantine.

So how does all of this relate to card investments? Well, here: If games can’t be played, then players can’t prove or disprove their relative worth to their sports or teams, and thereby collectors/investors have nothing to really gauge their value.

Don’t you find it odd that during a 100-day period where none of the major sports were being played that values of young players — and a fair amount of stars — skyrocketed?

It’s because much of the investing side of this hobby/business is built on “promise.” It’s built on the idea that today’s big prospect is tomorrow’s next Mike Trout, who of course is still in the midst of being the next Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays. This is the baseball analogy, but there are similar arguments in other sorts.

And if this 60-game baseball season can’t have a proper conclusion — all games being played and a playoff — how are those guys going to show their worth?

Luis Robert had a really good weekend, Kyle Lewis did as well. But if the season got called off today, or in a week or month, is that going to be enough to keep your interest longterm?

And how on earth is Jasson Dominguez ever going to show us how he performs in a game with professionals if the Minor League season has been canceled? I mean batting practice homeruns can only keep the pilot light on for so long.

Investing, or maybe flipping is better term, is an art. I realize that. None of the aforementioned players have to become a Hall of Famer for YOU to have done well on your particular investment, after all the key is being able to capture the money between buying low and any higher price. But for the ones who keep buying at the high end, doesn’t the uncertainty of games even being played scare you away?

Again, you’re going to do what you do with your money. I’m no financial guru. But for me, I just don’t see how this is an optimal time to be buying on the high end for any player whom I can’t sit and at least think about their good years simply because they’ve not been able to have them.