Archive for Hank Aaron

Sometimes I wish for simplicity

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When you look at your collection what is it that you see? What makes you proud? What still has you passionate about the hobby? Does the amount of cards or the complexity, or lack of focus, weigh you down?

These are the types of questions I often ask myself.

When I started collecting cards I collected because I enjoyed the idea of acquiring cards. Value wasn’t a big factor. Of course time has changed and I needed a focus, and as you know by now, value — or perceived value, or worth, or whatever you want to call it — most certainly does play a big factor in our hobby these days.

By the time I entered college I realized that I truly loved rookie cards because they were a player’s first card, often their most iconic card, and for better or worse the value of said first cards seemed to rise and fall with performance more than any other a player’s card. And so I determined that I was going to be a rookie card collector.

First it was a rookie card of every baseball player who had one. I actually pulled out a Beckett Almanac and started making a checklist of cards officially designated with the RC or XRC tag.

And then I narrowed it a bit to just Hall of Famer Rookie Cards, but I realized I was missing an entire generation of players who starred on baseball diamonds before Goudey cards were a thing. So I expanded to include t206 or any suitable tobacco or gum card released from HOFers playing days.

For the most part I had accomplished all I set out to do. I do not own a 52 Topps Eddie Matthews because they’ve never been affordable by comparison to what it cost me for other HOFers.

But I do own an authentic rookie or tobacco era cards of just about every other HOF player.

Ruth. Gehrig. Honus. Cobb. Big Train. Mantle. Mays. Aaron. They’re all there in my collection.

For all intents and purposes, my cardboard dreams have come true. I have accomplished what I set out to do — with or without the Eddie Mathews.

But sometimes I sit and wonder what my hobby experience would have been like had I not taken the plunge and sought out rookie cards.

Once I pulled the trigger on the 1951 Bowman Willie Mays in 2006, the seal was broken for me. I was no longer “just collecting cards” I was buying pieces of Americana; I was buying the most iconic baseball cards created. And because I had gone down that route, it seems as though I have spent the last 13 years chasing the fleeting feeling I got when my Mays arrived — and that is an impossible task. Because when the card of your desire arrives via whatever means, it usually creates a situation where you’re instantly looking for the next one that evokes the same emotion. It’s like a drug user constantly looking to match the euphoria they got on the previous hit.

Many people never collected the way I did when I actively chased the HOF rookies. In fact, most people are content with what makes/made them happy regardless of what it is. And in many ways I envy that; I have a great appreciation for those who find the same joy and express such passion in simplicity.

It’s nice to accomplish your goals, but inevitably there is a point where you begin to ask yourself: Now what?

The hunger, the passion that I once had for cards has waned a bit. And I have taken joy in reverting to player collecting. But it does at times feel like I poisoned my own hobby experience. I miss the ability to cherish my pulls, to enjoy cards for what they are and what they represent without constantly measuring them to the HOF collection. While I do not regret the path I have taken; I am not sure where I go from where. I’m not sure there is a suitable answer for the “what’s next” question.

Traffic, weather ruin Valentine’s plans; leads to Optic, Topps break

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Well, yesterday I spoke of having Valentine’s Day dinner plans with my girlfriend after work. As it turns out bad weather caused unsafe road conditions and actually closed the roads over the mountain between our houses.

I spent three hours on the road trying to get there, but I had to be at work the next morning so the plans got nixed.

So I got off the freeway and found myself at Target, where I decided to cheer myself up with trading cards.

The Optic packs felt like I had to jump on them or I’d never see them again. The highlights were a Base Luka Doncic rookie and a Blue velocity retail exclusive Trae Young Rookie. Also, the Warriors cards are a nice addition to my collection.

The Topps pack was a no-brained as the Mike Trout green retail exclusive was on the front.

Doncic, Young and Warriors are not available, but the others may be had for Kershaw cards I need or current Golden State Warriors cards.

Sometimes you win, Sometimes you lose, Sometimes you break even … in theory

Posted in New Addition with tags , , , , , , , on February 18, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

About a month ago I located on eBay a lot of cards that I thought might have a nice return for me. The auction was poorly titled and clear as day in the pictures was what appeared to be a 1963 Topps Mickey Mantle.

For as long as I have been on eBay — which is now 20 years — I’d dreamed of coming up on a group of cards featuring an authentic Mantle card priced for next to nothing.

Well, I’ll need to keep dreaming.

I won the auction for $40 — a bit of a gamble, but not overly expensive. And when the cards arrived in my hands I opened the package and went straight to the Mantle. The card felt weird and the image looked soft. I grabbed my jewler’s loupe and confirmed my suspicion: The Mantle was a fake.

The stock was wrong. The type face was blurry and there were grain lines printed into the cardboard. And the card is slightly smaller than other 1963s I own.

Gone was the dream.

Gone was my confidence.

Gone was my $40. (The seller didn’t accept returns — which isn’t a problem as I do not allow them either.)

I let the cards sit on my coffee table for about a week before the disgust wore away and I was able to appreciate what was still in the package, which included two cards I did not already own.

The two highlights from this package were a 1973 Fleer Laughlin Baseball’s Famous Feats Babe Ruth and a 1976 MSA Isaly’s disc Hank Aaron. Both items are oversized, but would look neat in a display piece I’m thinking about making.

Additionally, the package also had this 1964 Topps Giants Harmon Killebrew, which is also oversized and may make its way into the piece I’m envisioning.

The remainder of the lot is rounded out by a 1964 Topps Jim Kaat, 1965 Topps league leaders HR featuring three Hall of Famers including Willie Mays, a 1969 Topps Deckle Luis Aparicio, two 1986 Sports Design Products unlicensed wannabe 1969 Cards of Whitey Ford and Eddie Mathews, and an intriguing 1957 Topps Dick Williams.

Why is the Williams intriguing? The bottom border has been cut off and a previous owner clearly had this thing taped to something — perhaps a bed post? — which always reminds me of how cards were enjoyed before they became items associated with money.

While the package didn’t quite deliver the value I’d hope, in hindsight it still offered more value than a lot of current stuff. I mean this lot did have vintage cards of three of the game’s most prolific power hitters — Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.

The Joy of Sets

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Kid Collectors, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on September 7, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

We did it. My son and I completed our first baseball card set.

There is something special in this hobby about a parent collector who is able to pass down the hobby to their child or children, and at times I wondered if my children would ever be into the same hobby that i have enjoyed for almost 30 years.

I mean my kids (ages 7 and 5) have always been around my stuff, and at times they’d ask about why I collect cards, but when I’d offer to buy them sports cards they often pass, or ask for some cartoon cards, comic cards or something else.  It’s cool; I get it. I’ve always been of the mindset that if my kids didn’t enjoy my hobby then I would not force it upon them. But I’ve always been willing to support whatever hobby they decided to take up.

And then just a week ago my son asked me about baseball cards. He wanted to know more. He wanted me to buy some. He wanted me to buy some for him.

insert tear drop.

img_1851Without hesitation I bought a blaster of 2016 Topps Bunt. He enjoyed it (and so did his cousin). I told him about Hank Aaron — one of the first cards he pulled — and how at one point Aaron had the most home runs in baseball. And when I said the name he remembered a conversation we had a few months ago about a signed 16×20 photo of Hammerin’ Hank that I have hanging on the wall. “That’s him!” he said pointing to the photo and then looking at the card.

So yeah, proud Dad moment for me. Anyhow, a day after we ripped into those packs, we went to a different card shop to pick up some supplies and he asked me about buying a few more packs of Topps BUNT.

For my readers who don’t know much about BUNT, it’s a price-friendly product that features a great 200-card checklist that mixes old and new players.  In my opinion it has been Topps’ greatest effort to bring in the new collectors as the set is based on the popular Topps BUNT digital trading card app.

Anyhow, I looked at my son and he was genuinely excited. At that moment I decided just to buy an entire 36-pack box as it was only about $30.  I figured it’d be something we could open together and maybe put the set together.

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It took us a few days to open all of the packs, even with the assistance of his cousin. We could have rushed through it, but I wanted to take time and look at each card and read the player name and the team, in a way I was hoping that I was laying the ground work for future endeavors and the foundation of baseball knowledge. So when he started to get tired of opening or reading, we stopped for the day and later picked it up.

After a few days we finished going through the box. We separated all of the base cards from the inserts and then separated the code cards — which can be used to unlock packs of digital cards in the phone app.

The next step was to see if we had a complete set. I grabbed a stack of 9-pocket Ultra Pro binder pages and used a black marker to number each of the pockets. I figured this would be a simple way for my son (and his cousin who helped us at times) to see where the cards go. In a round about way this was another school lesson for them as they are in kindergarten and still learning some of their numbers.

img_1745And so we spent maybe a total of three hours over two days taking turns reading the card number and then finding its location in the binder. And by the end we had a complete 200-card set with 22 cards left over.

I’m sure some of you — if you’re still reading — are wondering what the entire set is worth. Honestly, not much in terms of actual money. I mean while there are some big names in here and some decent rookie cards, the set could probably be bought in its entirety on eBay for about $20. And yes, it’s easier to just buy an entire set, but what’s the real fun in that?

While not worth much money, this product just got my kid into the hobby, gave him a task to complete — which didn’t involve pixelated pick axes (yes, I’m speaking of Minecraft) — taught him some organizational skills;  involved reading words, names, logos and numbers; involved hand-eye coordination as we placed the cards into binder pages, AND was definitely quality father-son time.

Never again will I call a low-priced baseball card set worthless as it can be priceless for others.

Thanks, Topps.

 

Thrift Treasures 91: Couldn’t get to The National so I went antiquing … 

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

This blog along with my passion for finding items at second-hand stores has led to fantastic opportunities, such as writing on occasion for Beckett Media.  The gig with Beckett has afforded me the opportunity to get to two of the last three National Sports Collectors Conventions, but this year it was it in the cards, so to say.  

So with many of my fellow collectors arriving in Chicago for this years NSCC my family and I headed for one of our favorite towns, which has a slew of antique shops.

The first shop we hit had something I hadn’t seen in this store before. A 2006 Allen & Ginter Rip Card of Roberto Clemente, serial numbered 72/99.

  
As you can see the price was $29.99 and was now 70% off.  Now, we all know the deal with Rip Cards — they contain an additional card within, something that is rarer than other cards in the set. Well, as you probably guess this is a ripped Rip Card.

  
Even though the rear of the card is technically missing, the price point of $8.99 after discounts, made it appealing.  The card is even cooler since it features the old serial number style. And of course the 2015 A&G set was just released and it celebrates the 10th anniversary. The Clemente is from that inaugural set.

In the same area where the Clemente was at, there was a box of cards marked 25 cents each. Lots of commons from 1988 and 1989.  In the box was this 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken.  

This is not the vulgar version, this is the “scribble” version, which isn’t a super rare variation, but not super common either. 

And at the very last shop I found this sealed deck of baseball playing cards for $3.50

  
The front of the box bills this as the “Baseball Card Game,” which judging by the rules, appears to be a take on “Go Fish.” Whatever … I was more excited about the adds featuring Hall of Famers and discussing their stats. There are 13 players features and all have four cards. Each card focuses on a different stat.

  
Total cost for these treasures: $12.74

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here

Thrift Treasures 67: 1967 Coke, Sprite and Tab Hank Aaron and Willie Mays Bottle Caps Hank

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

The family and I went to the Alameda Antique Faire today, the self-billed largest antique Faire in all of California. Not sure if this is true or not, but I will say it was the largest re-sell atmosphere I’ve ever been in.

That said, there were some sports items tucked in here and there, but most of the stuff was traditional antique type stuff.

There were many items I would have enjoyed in my collection, but nothing that was cheap enough or spoke to me in the way that this small lot of 1967 soft drink bottle caps did.

We wandered the aisles for three-plus hours, but within the first 30 minutes I had found MY purchase for the day.

In a box of bottle caps marked $2 each were these two Willie Mays and one Hank Aaron ones. There were dozens from this same era, all of which depicted a baseball or football player. But I didn’t want just any cap … I wanted one or ones that needed to be rescued from the darkness of antique purgatory. There was a really bad Pete Rose I considered and a Willie McCovey as well, but I decided to go with these three, figuring I could negotiation then 3 for $5 instead of $2 each. Of course the seller took the money.

The Hank Aaron is a traditional Coke brand. One of the Willie Mays ones is a Sprite cap and the other is a Tab cap.

Condition wise they are not mint. They have some rust on the backside, but for the most part they still have their original shape. I loved the purchase instantly and liked it even more when I saw that sellers on eBay were asking $10-$40 each.

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Monster Mailday: Superstar Signatures and Chrome Prospects

Posted in New Addition, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

Ah, the beloved mailday post. It doesn’t get much more easier or gratifying than this.

Over the last three months I made several purchases on COMC.com using store credit I earned by selling my lesser valued cards. I turned those into some pretty major additions to my collection. As it turned out, this package of 14 cards arrived on the same day as another big addition I made via eBay.

Let’s start with the eBay mailday.

IMG_9744Hank Aaron is still a mythical figure to me. Sure, Barry Bonds sullied the All-Time Home Run mark, ripping the title from Hammerin’ Hank. But Hank is still Hank. He’s revered in baseball, still a legend in our hobby, and in my mind, his signature is a must-own.

Hank’s autograph has worsened over the last 10 years, likely because he’s getting older. His signatures are not hard to come by, but getting his name inked on a card you love is something that can be a costly endeavor. For me, that card is the 1954 Topps rookie card.

Here’s the 1994 Topps Archives 1954 Topps rookie reprint of Hank Aaron, which was limited to 1,954 copies and was available via redemption cards that were issued into packs of the nearly 20-year-old product. The quality of the signatures on some of these cards is suspect. At times the ink can be seen running off the card. This one however looks great. The grade “8” issued by Beckett Grading Services might be a tad off-putting for some. But the reason the card graded so low was the “7.5” mark issued for centering. I’m 99.9% sure this would re-grade higher. Both the front and back have really good centering, certainly better than the issued “7.5.”

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OK, now my COMC mail …

I’ve been raving about this site for almost three years now. I’ll start by saying that it is not for everyone. You have to spend a little money and time to make your lesser-valued cards work to your advantage. But if you’re the kind of collector who doesn’t really have the space or desire to keep a lot of inserts, the the site could work to your advantage.

Here’s a small grouping of signed rookie/prospect autos I needed for my collection:

2005 Topps Chrome Nate McClouth, 2004 Bowman Sterling auto Carlos Quentin, and 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Yasmani Grandal

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A few more Chromes …

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph Kolten Wong. (I upgraded from a 2012 Bowman Prospects auto orange /250, almost straight up)

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Refractor Sonny Gray

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph Trevor Bauer

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Refractor Matt Moore BGS graded 9/10 (upgraded from a basic Chrome auto for about the same price)

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A 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Joey Chestnut autograph. Chestnut and I went to the same college, and truthfully, this will go well with my 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Takeru Kobayashi signature. Eat up, Boys!

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Here’s some PSA Graded rookie action. Both were acquire for about $5 each:

1987 Topps Traded Greg Maddux rookie PSA 9 Mint.

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1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Jr. rookie PSA 9 Mint.

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A vintage hall of fame rookie … 1933 Goudey Fred Lindstrom rookie card. Creased, but priced accordingly.

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Now my big three in this batch from COMC…

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Matt Wieters is going to save baseball!

Before Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and even Stephen Strasburg, Wieters was considered the next big thing. I’m sure you remember. His 2007 Elite Extra Edition autograph was easily a $150 card.

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Well, Wieters hasn’t been the immediate massive mashing monster we all thought. But he has been an all-star and he’s a solid contributor for the up-start Baltimore Orioles. That said, I’m thrilled to have added this card to my collection post-hype for just about the price of a retail blaster.

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Matt Harvey is the next Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver!

A stretch? Probably. But the price of his signed 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects card certainly makes you wonder if it’s closer to the truth.

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Harvey is the current champion of the hype machine. He’s THE guy to own right now, (aside from Yasiel Puig) and as luck would have it, I did not own this card. Well, after some finagling of items on the site and some back-and-forth negotiating, I managed to acquire one. The front looks awesome, but the back is slightly off center. Not a big deal to me because the signature is really clean.

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Sandy Koufax signs a lot!

If you’ve joined the hobby in the last two or three years, you’re probably sick of hearing about that Sandy Koufax guy. His face is in damn near every Topps insert set and his signature is the high-priced trophy we all try to obtain when ripping packs. Well, before 2011 Koufax really didn’t have many certified signatures on the market. He had a few Upper Deck cards, and one 1998 Donruss Signatures signed release, which also came in a refractor-style parallel.

Well, looky here ….

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One popped up on COMC and I was able to negotiate it down to a price at which I was really, really happy to add it to my collection.

All in all, a quality mailday. Two major signatures finally added to my collection and most of the cost was off-set using funds I acq1uiredby “selling” cards I already owned.

IMG_9745Interested in COMC.com? You can see my seller list here.