Archive for nostalgia

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.

Six cards, FOUR different brand/style cases

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A funny thing happened this weekend. I received a package of various 2019 Topps Heritage inserts, a lot that I really bought for one card — a Clayton Kershaw Heritage cloth sticker. The others were basically free considering what the market is for a single Kershaw card.

When I opened the package, I noticed the cards were shipped in a way that made me laugh, smile, and take a trip down memory lane.

All six cards were packaged safely in separate holders. But there were two cards in Card Saver I holders, one in a Card Saver II holder, one in a Card Guard holder (same size as Card Saver II,) and two in Ultra Pro holders that are the same size as the Card Saver I.

I legit laughed out loud, I loved the randomness. What makes it even funner is there are collectors today who never had the pleasure of storing their cards in Card Savers.

As a kid I would hound my mom for a pack of 100 Card Savers every few months. There was always that moment when I removed the tape from the wrapper and held the brand new stack of protectors in my hand, envisioning the cases filled with cards of great value.

I did the same when the Card Saver II’s were released. And then I recall seeing more and more of the Card Guard cases in the early 1990s, the boxes of course doubled as a storage box, just like the Ultra Pro ones do these days.

Of course my friends and I later switched our collections over to include Top Loaders, which initially were NOT designed to hold penny sleeve, which seems asinine when you think about it.

A slice of my childhood just arrived

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A few days ago I wrote about a recent purchase I made from the Topps Web site. In that piece I wrote about how I longed for the days of the Topps school folders designed to look like the cards of the year. I wrote about how I own(ed) a 1989 Topps Mark McGwire and a 1990 Topps Dave Stewart.

While writing that piece it dawned on me how cool it would have been to own a Roger Clemens from that era. Heck, I wasn’t even sure if one existed. The best I had in school was a generic folder I decorated with pictures of Roger Clemens action photos and other images I clipped from a magazine. (Fun note: One of the pictures is of Roger with his three kids, all of whom now have their own baseball cards.

I digress, when I finished that piece the other day, I decided to check eBay and lo and behold there was a 1988 Topps folder posted for sale. Three clicks later and the item was mine. The folder arrived today and it came with all the feels I thought it would These measures about 12×9 and have two pockets inside to hold loose pieces of paper.

In 1988 I would have used this for school, then used it during the summer to keep the notebook paper with which i wrote my stats from playing “Baseball” on Nintendo.

Pack Break: 2 1984 Topps packs

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

So, later today my son and I are going to our first Golden State Warriors game together and I knew my son was excited when he woke up this morning asking to go to the card shop.

Turns out he not only was thinking about the game all night, but he also was thinking about Panini Optic basketball, since I had explained to him yesterday that the product came out this week.

“Daddy, can we do go the card shop today?” he asked not less than five minutes after waking up. Uh, yeah. You know I’m always down for an LCS run.

So we went and he grabbed a retail Value Pack featuring three retail packs and one of the retail exclusive packs. I didn’t have anything in my hands and wasn’t going to buy anything until I realized the LCS had packs of 1984 Topps behind the counter at $3.50 per pack. I wouldn’t know if the price was high, but I figured that two packs of that would likely be more enjoyable than buying something else I didn’t want. Besides, I’d never opened these before.

The Don Mattingly rookie card is the one to own in this set, and they are not overly expensive. But the nostalgia of opening a pack 35 years old and not breaking the bank to do so sounded well worth the $7. Also, my son recognized that these original 1984s were the set upon which the 2019 Topps anniversary silver pack and insert cards were based.

So, without further adieu, here are the results. These contain 15 cards, one contest card, and one piece of gum.

Pack One: Doug Bird, Alredo Griffin, Rick Sutcliffe, Scott McGregor,Ken Oberkfell, Onix Concepcion, Tigers Team Leaders, Bob Gibson (rookie card), Rick Miller, Dickie Noles, Rich Hebner, Don Slaught, Ryne Sandberg (second year), Bob Shirley, and Harry Spillman.

Pack Two: Rick Sweet, Checklist #1, Luis Sanchez, Mike Proly, Mike LaCoss, Bob James, Andy Hassler, Dave LaPoint, Dave Lopes, Hal McRae, Jerry Remy, Jerry Martin, Tom Tellmann, Ken Forsch, and David Green.

As you can see, the first pack was solid with a sweet Ryne Sndberg second-year card.

The second pack was saved, in my opinion, by the checklist (which shows Don Mattingly at #8) and by the existence of Jerry Remy and Jerry Martin on back to back cards to give me the duo “Remy Martin,” which got a giggle from me.

Thanks to South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif.) for having these available.