Archive for baseball cards

Card show bargain bin find brings back a fond memory

Posted in Memory Lane with tags , , , , , on March 10, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Last week I managed to make it to the first night of the annual GT Sports Marketing show in Santa Clara, California. One of my favorite things to do it dig through the bargain boxes while everyone else is clamoring over the newest, shiny cards in the show cases.

As I dug through one dealer’s dollar box, I stopped dead in my tracks when I came to a stack of Frank Thomas cards because there in my hands was a copy of a card that I honestly called the second best card — second only to my my 1993 Elite Eddie Murray — I had ever pulled to that point in my life.

In 1994, I was a freshman in high school and my parents had been separated for about five years. My father was living with his girlfriend in a city about 15 miles away and on the weekends I would go to his house and spent time fishing and just hanging out. In that small town there was a card shop run by a gentleman who smoked cigars while customers browsed the shelves and showcase.

That year 1994 Score caught my attention because for the first time the brand had created parallel cards (Gold Rush) that were seeded one per pack and at the time that was a big deal. I bought a fair amount of Series One and completed a base set and had a partial set, so when Series Two was released I was excited.

I had no money, but my cousin — who is a year younger than I — had $10 and said I could borrow it if I promised to pay her back. You know I was down for that deal, and so she gave it to me and I plunked the cash down on the counter and asked for nine packs of 1994 Score Series Two — it would have been 10 packs if not for taxes.

I ripped pack after pack and somewhere in the middle of the session came out a 1994 Score “The Cycle” Frank Thomas card. It was one of 20 cards on the checklist, and the cards were seeded 1:72 packs, which was a common ratio for rare inserts of the time. And Frank Thomas was no slouch — his popularity in the hobby was on par with Ken Griffey Jr. at the time; they often traded top positions as the top player on the Beckett Baseball’s monthly hot player list.

When the cards were priced in Beckett, that Thomas — and the Griffey — were listed at $75. The Thomas I owned went right into a four-screw, 1/4-inch screw case for maximum protection — sans penny sleeve of course.

That Thomas stoked a great passion of mine to chase that entire set. I spent much of the fall trading various football rookies — Heath Shuler and Trent Dilfer to be specific — for various cards on the checklist, mostly the lower end guys. Dealers were more than happy to take the hot quarterback rookies for these inserts.

I never did finish the set as a kid, but it is something I have half completed at present time and intend to finish at some point.

Although I already owned a copy of this Frank Thomas card — it’s not available even for $75 — I could not pass on the chance to obtain another at such a low price. It’s not that I needed the card for my collection, but I needed it for my collecting soul and so that I could revisit that story and share it with you.

Introducing “Collecting Bumgarner” – a new PC

Posted in CollectingBumgarner, Misc. with tags , , on March 1, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

There’s something about pitchers that make me revere their skills above most others.

From the time I was young I always admired the way pitchers can dominate – Roger Clemens, Bret Saberhagen, and Dave Stewart were three of my favorites when I was a kid.

Of course I went on to collect Clemens — I kept his 1985 Topps rookie in a Card Saver taped to the inside of my school binder in 1990 and 1991.

And in the late 2000s I became enamored with Clayton Kershaw and that knee-buckling curve ball. Of course it only seemed to make sense to collect him when unearthed his Bowman Chrome Draft Refractor auto in 2006.

Officially speaking, Clemens and Kershaw have been my PC guys for several years. I’ve often toyed with adding a third pitcher, one whom I had the pleasure of watching in person locally for years.

Over the years I’ve amassed quite a bit of Madison Bumgarner cards. In 2008 I actually pulled his Bowman Chrome Draft Blue Refractor auto — a card I later sold to acquire a base auto and a few other items for my rookie collection.

But I recently made an acquisition from a friend of mine. Tom in Las Vegas is a guy with whom known for about 20 years. A few weeks ago he bought into a Nation Treasures baseball break and wound up with a sweet One of One Bumgarner pitch card that I instantly recognized as the “S” from the “World Series Champions” patch the Giants wore in 2015. I expressed interest; he cut me a good deal and we both won.

So now that the card is in my possession, I’ll formally announce that Bumgarner is a PC guy. Now I’ve got to catalog those and get them into a binder.

Collecting Kershaw: Of course this happened… and that’s why we don’t make definitive statements

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , on February 29, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

About a week and a half ago I sent out a tweet mentioning that I planned to write a piece about how I generally no longer chase autographs of the guys I personally collect. In my case that’s Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw.

No less than 24 hours I sent the tweet, and much before I sat down to write anything, I received a message from my Good Friend Tom out of Las Vegas.

Of course he hit area of my Kershaw collection I had failed to cover: a 2005 Team USA autograph.

The price tag said $75, and before I could even really respond, Tom said he’d already worked the shop down to $60.

Of course I had to own it at that price.

I would have preferred a single-signed Team USA Kershaw autograph but for the price It was good — and it doesn’t exactly hurt that the other player on the card is an all-star, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances.

I’ve still not written my autograph piece, and I will cover all of my philosophical thoughts here, but even though I feel somewhat hypocritical based on my tweet, I’m happy to have added this one to my collection — and really happiness is all that matters.

It’s now one of three Kershaw autos that I consider to be head and shoulders above the rest.

The others?

The 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Refractor /500 that I personally pulled from a blaster at WalMart that year, and the 2016 Stadium Club because the moment depicted in that autograph card is one I experienced in person — I was there the night Kershaw tossed a 1-hitter in San Francisco in 2015 to clinch the National League West title.

Valentine’s Day and the cards that allowed boys to show some emotion

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on February 14, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

In the 1980s and 1990s, the World was changing, becoming a more softer, gentler place. However, it was still common to reinforce the notion that boys cannot show any real emotion aside from anger and rage.

You only said “I Love You” to your mom or your girlfriend, and aside from a high five or a punch to the arm, boys were to express no positive emotion toward each other.

At least that’s how I perceived the world when I was entering adolescence.

So when it came to Valentine’s Day in elementary school, we selected the most boy-thing ever:

Sports Valentine’s Day Cards.

The messages were very Bro-tastic; what we deemed to be an acceptable way of telling other boys that “we’re cool,” “we good,” “you’re my boy” — or simply, we are friends and I care about you.

As a card collector from a young age I always kept these cards when I got them because … I was a collector.

Over the years I’ve lost a few, but I still manage to have these two, ones of Michael Jordan (I’ll upload a better image later) and Barry Sanders, and I believe I have a third one somewhere of Ken Griffey Jr., which I could not locate for this post.

Anyway, it is Valentine’s Day, and if these still existed and we were still in school I’d write my name on the back of them and place them in each of your poorly decorated Valentine’s bags at the edge of your desks.

Don’t just invest your efforts and money today in chasing down Optic basketball, get flowers and a card for the person in your life — because THAT is an investment worth making.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

2020 Topps Rookie Logo ManuRelics have won me over

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on February 13, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

I’m really not a huge fan of Manufactured relics. Hell, I don’t think anyone is. But the 2020 blaster-exclusive Rookie Logo medallions have won me over.

I enjoy the simplicity of the card; it’s not some wacky design with a chunky piece of metal or rubber. It’s essentially a reprint of a rookie card with the small Rookie Card Logo embedded within and honestly I’m kicking around the idea of working on this set.

I’m drawn to them like no other ManuRelic I’ve seen in the past; maybe it’s my affinity to rookies. Rookie card reprints have been used as ManuRelics in the past — I believe Topps did them as silk patches in 2013 (I did NOT like them) — but the 2020 cards really are gorgeous, even more so when you hold them.

I enjoy the matte finish and the fact that even though the card is thick and has a piece of metal in it, it’s weight is not grossly imbalanced. And while the stock is thick, it resembles something I’d expect to see on a high-dollar release.

We know why ManuRelics exist — it’s an incentive to make people buy blasters; to help consumers feel as if they’ve received something special. And for the first time in a while — maybe even ever — I do feel that way with these.

If you’ve got any you’re looking to unload I’m interested. I’ll be seeking the regular versions of everyone on the checklist; and then variations of the Clayton a Kershaw and Roger Clemens cards from the set.