Archive for Hall of Famers

And then … there was one. Another big 2000 GOTG SP Auto acquired

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Never did I ever think I would get so close to finishing one of the greatest sets of all time. The 2000 Greats of the Game autograph set has been one of the top sets I have ever seen and over the last two years I have spent time and money trying to finish this thing.  I have bought cards locally, I have purchased cards at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland in 2014, and I waited nearly a month for a card to arrive from New York after some snafu with the Postal Service. And now … I have brought a card back to the United States of America from Tokyo, Japan.

Behold, the second to last card for the set, the George Brett certified autograph from Fleer.

IMG_0819I’ve noted before that the George Brett autograph was one of the hardest to acquire and over the last few months a few have popped up on eBay with Buy-It-Now prices that would make some heads spin. And even though some of those sellers take offers, none of them would come down to a price range I was happy with.

And then IT happened … one was put up for auction by a seller in Japan.  After a week of bids, and many last-minute ones, I managed to win the card and today it arrived at home in less than two weeks from the date of purchase.

This acquisition leaves me ONE card shy of the set.  You can see 91 of the 92 cards here.

19 Days in Postal Purgatory — story of Johnny Bench SP Auto

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on October 2, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

So, it’s no secret at this point — I am working feverishly on the 2000 Greats of the Game baseball autographs set.

IMG_4708This set, as I have said here and in one of my recent Beckett Baseball Monthly columns, is easily one of the most iconic sets of our hobby’s history. It is one of the best looking and boasts one of the strongest signature lineups. And even though it is nearly a decade and a half old, there is a loyalty to the brand as many of the harder-to-find autographs fetch a serious premium.

Well, in August at The National, I met two guys who formed a business relationship.  At their booth I spotted a handful of short prints that I needed for the set.  At the show I was able to nab two of the cards, Tommy Henrich and Dave Winfield.  But there were still at least three others that I needed that they had.

In the weeks after the show I reached out to the dealers and they still had the cards that I needed.  We struck a deal for the Johnny Bench, whom I think has one of the best-looking autographs in the sport.  And so I sent a money order to the dealers in exchange for the card. The card then was presumably stuffed into a padded envelope and mailed from New York — en route to me in California — on Sept. 13.

The seller sent me an e-mail advising as such and even provided the tracking number. The package was also insured. I checked the tracking info and it estimated that delivery would be made to me on Sept. 16. I was stoked.

Well, Sept. 16 came. No package.

Then Sept. 17 came. No package.

Sept. 18 came and went and still no package.

I feared that the package might be lost, but I waited a few more days knowing full-well that the package would have fallen behind a bin somewhere. After all, I had a deal just two weeks earlier in which I sent a card from California to Georgia and it took 10 days for it to arrive.  Frustrating, but I know things happen.

Well, I waited and after 10 days I reached out to the dealers to advise that the package had not arrived and that if there was anyway they could check with their post office.  After all, the last shipping information showed that the package had merely departed the post office. No further updates after that.

At this point I realized that I could receive text messages advising me of every time the package is scanned along the route so I signed up for that.

And then just hours after I sent the e-mail to the dealer, I received a text message advising that the package had departed from … New Jersey.

Perplexed I was. But hopeful I remained. (whattup, Yoda!)

So I sent an e-mail to the dealer advising of movement and we both were excited as it seemed that the package should be in my hands within just a few days and then w could proceed with a second purchase.

Well, guess what?  The trail went silent.  After departing New Jersey on Sept. 23, 2014, there was no update for a week. I had no card. I had no clue where the card really was. And on Sept. 30, a week after the last update, I spoke with the dealer by phone and he told me that he had spoken to the post office — they advised to wait another week and if the package had not arrived then to proceed with the insurance claim.

At this point I figured the card was at the bottom of the ocean, stick in the wheel well of some airplane or just sitting in some postal carriers home — theft does occur, we all know that.

And then lo and behold that same night, as I was preparing to put my kids to bed, I get a text message advising that the package was in California.

Overnight I receive multiple text messages advising that it had been scanned here, sent there and ultimately placed out for delivery.

IMG_4707And so, after 19 days in what I’ll call “Postal Purgatory” the card arrived. My 2000 Greats of the Game Johnny Bench short printed auto has arrived and taken its place along with the other legends of this set.





The Vintage Bargain Bin Challenge

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on July 10, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

I kind of wish I could take credit for this, but the idea is not mine. The concept was a simplistic one: oldest card at the lowest price wins. Wins what you ask? Nothing, just bragging rights for about 5 minutes. It was a spur-of-the-moment challenge thrown at me by Beckett Baseball editor Chris Olds via Twitter. I mentioned on Twitter that I wanted to make a quick run to the card shop to pour through the “price-friendly” vintage boxes and next thing you know we’re both heading to the shops to win the challenge.

Well, I’m not sure if Chris plans to show off his piece on the Beckett Blog, but apparently he unearthed an original 1909-1911 T206 common White Sox player for $9.50. The best I could do was buy a trimmed 1952 Bowman Eddie Robinson (also White Sox) for a buck. I think he won.

But as I mentioned, I had other reasons to be there: I wanted to find something worth owning at a cheap price. And as usual I did — I purchased nine cards for a total of $20.50. The lot includes five Hall of Famers.

I’ll start with this 1960 Topps World Series celebration card of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I always run across these cards when I go digging through these vintage boxes, but I recently received some cards from Night Owl and owe him some cards. I hope he does not have this one already. Cost: $1

While we’re on the $1 price point, I might as well show off this 1966 Topps Harmon Killebrew that is in brutal condition. When I saw it was Killebrew I knew I had to have it. And then right before I sat down to write this piece I realized that this card seemed really familiar to me. Reason? Last time I hit this card shop’s boxes in April I bought the same card in better condition for the same price. Doh!

All Star cards really have lost their luster over the years, but the AS singles from the 50s are still awesome to me. In this case, even more so because this 1959 Topps card features former Red Sox slugger Jackie Jensen. Not going to set the hobby on fire with this card, but it’ll look good in my Red Sox collection, right next to the signed 1954 Bowman Jensen I own. Cost: $1

And now the Hall of Famers …

For the last two years, I’d been wondering if there had ever been a card made of Branch Rickey, the baseball executive who facilitated the Major League Debut of Jackie Robinson. Sure enough this 1960 Fleer Baseball Greats was sitting in the bin with an incredible price tag of two bits … 50 cents. C’mon, now.

Sparky Anderson has been one of my favorite baseball personalities. I had a chance to get his signature in person in 1991 at a Tiger-A’s game in Oakland and have since re-acquired his signature through the mail to replace the in-person one which has been lost over the years. It was always my intention to get his rookie card for my on-again, off-again rookie card project. Finally, I acquired one at a price I was comfortable with. Cost: $4

As was the case with Sparky, I had the opportunity to meet Orlando Cepeda during a free signing session at a local Piazza Hut. I forget if I told this story before, but Cepeda showed up like two hours late, but arrived nonetheless and signed everything in sight … at least until he got annoyed with some of my friends who had collected probably a half dozen signatures that day. At the time I thought he was an asshole. At the time I was 9. At the time none of us really appreciate when a Hall of Famer is signing autographs for free. Anyway, here we have a second-year card of Cepeda. Figured it was a must-add to my collection since I have yet to purchase his rookie. Cost: $2

I have had a penchant for finding vintage Carl Yastrzemski cards for almost nothing. I once purchased at thrift store a copy of his 1968 Topps card for a dime. Yes, a dime, as in the cost of two mini Tootsie Rolls. And somewhere else I purchased his 1965 Topps card for $5. Might not be a steal like the ’68 was, but $5 is solid nonetheless. And alas we have this 1969 Topps All-Star card for what I think was a good price: Cost $2

And what better way to close out a post about vintage cards than to show off yet another reasonably priced Mickey Mantle card. It may not be one of the nicest looking Mantles, or one that is even worth a ton, but this 1965 card commemorating a game-winning and record-setting home run he hit during the 1964 World Series seemed like a bargain.  Interesting to note that the image shown here doesn’t look like Mantle is connecting for a home run. In fact, it looks like he is striking out on a ball picked out of the dirt by St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver. Cost: $8