Archive for Roger Clemens

Oddball items can be fun; glove tags are a favorite

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I love baseball gloves.  I remember when I was in Little League and sometime in February we would start looking for a new glove for the season. I went to the store – usually Big 5 Sporting Goods – and marvel at the wall of leather.  There were gloves for people of all ages, price ranges, qualities, etc.

I always wanted a player model with a MLBer’s name or signature stamped in the palm. My two friends – who were brothers – had matching Rawlings Frank White gloves and I thought they were the coolest thing.  Sadly, these player issues were never in the price range my family could afford. We usually ended up with some off brand like Regent. But hey, it did the job.

But even though the player models were never really in the cards for me, this didn’t dissuade me from dreaming, from grabbing the models off the rack and putting them on my hand.  There were two gloves I always wanted: a Rawlings Mark McGwire first baseman’s glove, and a Wilson Roger Clemens model.  The McGwire was cool because I thought first basemen gloves were so detailed; and of course McGwire’s signature looked amazing.  The Clemens was a little more subtle, but it was Clemens and it also had a version of his signature stamped on the glove.

What made these player models even neater were the tags that came on them.  Being a card collector, anything that slightly resembled a trading card was instantly appealing to me. Like the gloves, I had not acquired one of the tags that came with it – at least not until earlier this month.

I was doing a search on eBay for Roger Clemens items and an oddball lot popped up and one item within the lot caught my eye.  It was a mint hang tag for Clemens model Zett brand glove, which I believe he wore circa 1993/1994. Being the Clemens mark that I am, I knew that he wore Wilson and Cooper brands at various times early in his career. And there was like one season where that off “Zett” brand was visible on his wrist. Sure, this tag was no the one I recall seeing in the store when I was looking player model gloves, but the notion of owning it and running through this series of memories was too strong for me to pass.  I mashed the Buy It Now button and the package of the odd ball items arrived over the weekend.

I wasn’t quite sure when I was going to write about this – or if I ever would – but recently one folks I interact with on Twitter (@ShaneKatz73) has been showing off some odd ball items in his collection, so this seemed like a fun thing to piggy back on.

I’m sure at some point I will go out of my way to own a Clemens glove, even if just the store model.  But this bright yellow Zett hang tag will suffice for now.

 

 

Everyone remember’s their first …

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you started collecting cards before the late 1990s, there is a good chance you remember the first autograph or relic card you obtained featuring a player you really liked.

Certified autographs started hitting the hobby in the early 1990s and really became more prevalent in the middle of the decade with a slew of Donruss releases featuring not only the major stars, but also a bunch of others. Of course these came on the heels of the Upper Deck releases featuring Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan and Ted Williams.

But there was a time when as a teenager I would have given anything to own a certified autograph card of my favorite player, Roger Clemens.

In 1995, Upper Deck ran a promotion in which you could get an autograph of the Rocket by sending in 36 empty packs and they’d mail one back to you. I was 15 at the time and it took be a little while to accumulate the required number of packs. When I met the quota, I mailed the wrappers off in a PWE. I couldn’t wait to get my first Clemens autograph. As fate would have it, no such card would arrive for me. My envelope with all of the wrappers was returned and the outside of the envelope stamped with something along the lines of “Promotion Expired.” What I think really happened is they had run out of autographs.

And so for three more years I went without owning a Clemens auto. There were releases in 1996 and 1997 Donruss brands, but they were too expensive for me. But in 1998, I would get my very first.

At the time I was a member of the America Online message boards and at the time I was a heavy buyer of football products. Hell, I had just gotten my first job at Target and a lot of my income was being out toward cards of all brands. In a Donruss pack I received a redemption card for some NFL Europe guy. I mailed it off and several months passed and nothing came back — remember, we didn’t understand how long redemption cards would take at the time.

While checking the message boards one night I came upon a thread in which folks were complaining about redemption cards, and I got a message from a guy who supposedly worked for Donruss, Leaf, Playoff (DLP) at the time. The guy asked what sport, team or players I liked. Of course I shot for the moon and said “Roger Clemens.”

About a week passed and lo and behold in my mailbox I received a small padded envelope sent from some place in Texas. Inside was a 1998 Donruss Signature Millennium Marks SAMPLE card signed by The Rocket, who was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time.

The mailday blew my mind and I decided that this Clemens autograph card would never leave my collection as I figured it must be way rarer than the regular Millennium Mark card, which was numbered to 1,000 copies.

Flashforward to today and it is still here in all it’s glory, only it is now one of about 50 Clemens signatures I own. Also among the signed cards is the traditional 1998 Donruss Millennium Mark card numbered 0398 on the back.

While the signature cards still mesmerize me, it should be noted that I also remember my first Clemens relic. The first piece of Clemens game-worn memorabilia came to me in 2000 via eBay. Relic cards were still relatively new at the time, and I had owned a few, but never had I owned one of anyone I actually cared about.

I recall paying about $45 for this 2000 Upper Deck Legends relic, and when it arrived it did not disappoint, save for it’s condition. I immediately removed the card from the case in which it was shipped and placed my finger on the swatch. I remember what a big deal that was for me given that I had been following Clemens since I was about 8 years old. And then I looked closer at the card and realized it was creased.

I wondered: Why would someone crease such a card. And then the notion of card thickness in relation to base cards and it dawned on me the seller had likely searched the packs in a box that contained this card,

Nonetheless, crease or not, the card was not going to leave my collection. And like the autographs, this is now one of several I own — I’m over 100 Clemens relics at the moment.

The love and hate of Topps Moments and Milestones for player collectors

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Over the last month or so I’ve spent a good amount of time locating all of my Roger Clemens cards, sorting them, cataloging them on Trading Card Database, and then placing them in my binders.

The process has been tedious but fun. When I started this process I had an estimated 1,400 unique Clemens cards, which feels like good amount, but by the time I had most of the base, parallels and insert cards entered into My Collection on the site, I was sitting just under 10% of his entire run, which is like an artificial threshold that I felt like I wanted surpass sooner rather than later.

While I paged through the site and tallied what I had it became inherently obvious that a good chunk of the Clemens cards cataloged on the site were from 2007 and 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones, and from 1999 and 2000 Topps Tek.

Topps Tek has a certain following — and sometimes those base cards especially the early ones — can be tough to locate and quite pricey when they are found. While I intend to obtain some or all of those at some point, the Topps Moments and Milestones cards I felt might be a good place to mark off a good chunk of my checklist for relatively cheap.

For the record, I hate this set. I hated it when it was released, I hated it when I used to run into them while checking bargain boxes, and I hated it when I started this cataloging process. The only love I have felt is when I acquired 75 of the damn cards recently and started checking them off my checklist. My completion percentage seemingly rose by more than half a percentage point.

The reason I disliked the Topps release so much was because I felt like the company took the idea it implemented in 1999 with the Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire Home Run Record Cards and bastardized that cool idea over the next few years with Barry Bonds HR cards in 2002, and then those Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez Home Run cards in subsequent years. And then in 2007 (and 2008) the company went all in on this idea of creating one card per any given stat hoping that player collectors would flock toward them.

I’ll merely speak for myself here, but I HATED the idea. So I stayed away. Hell, in the 12 years since the initial release I had managed to obtain just one card from the 2007 set — and it was a printing plate that I scored for under $20 like five years ago.

I’m sure there are people who loved the product, or others who feel like I do. But this one was just not for me. That said, I am looking for more Clemens cards from this set. If anyone has them available, I am seeking the base /150 and looking to pay about a quarter per card on the ones. I’d also trade for them as long as you’re not expecting Mike Trout or any hot players in return. I hate that I am soliciting for the cards, but this is the life of a player collector. I mean I don’t HAVE to have them … but I kind of do, if you know what I mean.

Thrift Treasures 115: Something For Everyone

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Persistence.

That’s the one word I’ll use to describe what it takes sometimes to find so-called treasures in second-hand stores. From personal experience, I will tell you that the number of people buying and re-selling items these days has made it much more difficult to find items that appeal to me.

The days of finding boxes of trading cards in Goodwill Stores, or other thrift stores, are gone. Now they are much more difficult to locate. Heck, there is still a segment of the population that believes all cards are word a ton of money. But, every now and again there will be some goodies left behind, even if the thrift stores themselves are sometimes marking up the prices.

I have several thrift stores in my general region, and the closest one to my house is a Goodwill Store about a mile and a half down the road. In the mid 2000s I would go there daily and fish out old Nintendo-brand video games from the various consoles and flip them for card money. Hell, there is a good portion of my collection that was build on cash profits from those sales.

I digress, this specific Goodwill in the last five years has been really poor when it comes to video games and sports collectibles. They just simply do not show up on the shelves or in the show cases. I suspect they either 1) aren’t getting them as much as they used to. But also Goodwill does run auctions on their Web site, so I wonder if they are posting items there — I never look at auctions there, just not my deal.

But even though the pickings have been slim at this store in recent years, I still find myself going there on the off chance there might be something for me. As it turned out, Wednesday was that day.

I’ll preface the remainder of this post by saying that I definitely paid more for this random lot of items that I would have in the past, but there was enough randomness, and enough intrigue to make me whip out my wallet and throw down a $20. Hell, I haven’t bought a single pack of cards in over a month and this was my shot at finding something, either for my collection, or for others folks.

I asked the clerk to see the mound of three Ziplock freezer bags of cards they had piled in the corner of the standing showcase and could tell from one price tag the items had been there at least three days. The bags were taped shut so I could not open them, I merely had to do a visual inspection. I could see there were some sealed bags within, as well as a 100-count snap case full of what looked initially to potentially be Sports Illustrated For Kids cards, as well as enough oddball stuff to make me say “I’ll take them.”

Here’s what was within.

We’ll start with these Chipper Jones cards, which we all should know by now are not rookie cards, or even ones that garner much attention. But what really caught my eye on these are the two early-90s stackable snap cases. These were legit … at least I thought so. I loved them as a kid, and if memory serves me right they were like $1 each at the time, so they weren’t “cheap.” I’ll remove the Chippers and keep the cases as they remind me of the times when I viewed these the same way many view One-Touch magnetics these days.

From Chipper, we’ll go into the Refractors. It’s not often you find Refractors in thrift stores — unless you’ve had some spoiled collector or breaker just completely give up. Here there were four, three of which were serial numbered. The Mallex Smith Jefry Rodriguez are /499, that Luke Hochevar is /150. The Frank Thomas is from 1999 Finest and is the Refractor Left version. Not numbered, but still a fun find here.

The next grouping of cards made me smile. I mean, the 1990 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr feature’s The Kid’s infectious smile, as does the 1992 Upper Deck Frank Thomas. And that 1989 Upper Deck Triple Exposure Nolan Ryan was a hot card in 1989 — at least until the update set came out and his “With Football” Rangers card was released.

There is no shortage of early Derek Jeter cards, but it’s still shocking and fun when I come across these. This 1994 Classic “Cream of the Crop” isn’t worth a ton, but I was always fascinated by the inserts and bonus cards that Classic released so it’s a fun one to own. The 2003 Topps Joe Mauer-Justin Morneau is a classic and must-own for Twins fans. It’s super inexpensive, but features two MVP and fan favorites on the same card. An that 2014 Topps Chrome Xander Bogaerts is a rookie card — although I am miffed by the fact that the previous owner didn’t put it in a penny sleeve first. Cmon, man…

Let’s move to the sports oddball segment of this post. We open with two 1988 Fleer box set releases, a poorly diamond cut 1988 Topps Jose, and then two 1989 Topps releases, the Cap’n Crunch food issue, and the KMart Dream Team. I didn’t need these for my Clemens stash, but finding Clemens cards and essentially saving them from the dump always makes me smile.

Speaking of KMart … how about two of these 1982 Topps MVP sets. These sets were released through the retail giant in 1982 and commemorated 20 years of AL and NL MVPs but showing a reprint of their Topps card from the year of the award. The cards ARE NOT RARE … but what’s cool about this find is one of these sets has never been opened. Hell, the gum was still inside. And no, I will not eat the gum — honestly, one portion of it is seriously discolored. What’s really cool to me is the number of price tags on the front of these boxes. The sets appear to have been discounted no less than five times after the original $1.97 price tag.

As a collector in the Bay Area during the early 1990s there was no shortage of oddball or food issues showcasing someone on either the Oakland Athletics or the San Francisco Giants. It’s no secret that Mother’s Cookies releases are my favorite. But I was always intrigued by the Pepsi releases — I’m an equally astonished that many of them survived given their crappy card stock. But in this find, I located a complete 1991 Pepsi Rickey Henderson release. I remember these coming one card per 12-pack of cans … I forget how the whole sealed set was released.

On that note, the Post Cereal cards were always fun. I really enjoyed the relatively inexpensive hand-cut cards of the 1960s, and several years ago actually found an un-cut panel featuring Hank Aaron. But in this find there was a much more modern Post release, an entire 1994 set still in sealed box.

Continuing the trend of “oddball” releases, here is a stack of 60-plus San Francisco Giants “Donate Life Day 2014” Stadium Giveaway cards. This is a four-card set that appears to have been released in a perforated strip. The previous owner looks to have taken 16 strips and broken them down and placed them inside the snap case — the perforated edges are what made me think these were SI For Kids cards.

Let’s close out the baseball portion of this post with three vintage cards, which are always super cool to find in random collections like this. I always feel privileged to be the finder of true vintage baseball cards as I feel I have saved them from being completely destroyed. Here we have a 1957 Topps Dick Groat (little paper loss on back likely from being TAPED to the album or bedpost), a 1957 Topps Ed Bailey (I can see a ring of glue residue but all stats and verbiage is clear), and a 1969 Topps Jim Grant, which is notable because 1969 was the first year the Montreal Expos existed in Major League Baseball. Grant was a Dodger in 1968 and looks to have been a member of the Indians in the old image Topps used here. He was the 36th pick of the National League 1968 Expansion Draft.

Moving from baseball lets go to hoops … women’s hoops. Someone apparently was really into Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoops and more. One cool WNBA card in this lot was actually a 2000 Ultra WNBA Feel the Game Game-Worn shoe relic of Sacramento Monarchs player Kedra Holland-Corn. That swatch is legit –it’s black leather. In some ways the swatch alone reminds me of the 2001 Topps American Pie Elvis Presley relic card featuring a swatch of a leather jacket. I actually pulled one of those; good stuff — good money too.

Do you speak Klingon? I don’t. But here are three mid 1990s Star Trek inserts featuring the Klingon Disruptor Rifle, Klingon Tactical Display and Klingon Sash.

Do you read comics? I’ve got a slew of Wizard Comic Price Guide promo cards. I know these are not rare, but they do look awfully good.

In some circles, when it comes to Halloween some collectors package up some of their extra cards and give them to kids trick or treating instead of giving them candy. It appears that in 1991 that was already a thing. Here are 14 packs of Trading Card Treats. The packs appear to contain three Impel brand cards showcasing various comics and TV Shows such as Wolverine, Spider-Man, Widget, Inspector Gadget and Universal Monster. My favorites, though, are the two Nintendo themed packs with Super Mario Bros 3 artwork cards on the front.

Speaking of Mario … here is a Super Mario RPG Legend of the Seven Star perforated card from an issue of Nintendo Power. My son even walked by the table while I was writing this and stopped to ask what the card was. I haven;t told him yet, but this an d the other Super Mario items are for him — he’s a big Nintendo/Super Mario fan.

We’re getting close to the end … I promise.

When I was a kid, Garbage Pail Kids were my jam — hell, my mom started buying then when I was 5 years old, and it was this collection that actually introduced me to card collecting. Sadly there were no GPK here, but there were a slew of Wacky Packages both old and new. There were almost 30 original Wacky Packages from 1979 and 1980 in here, and twice as many modern ones, including a red, gold and holofoil parallels. Anyone collect these? I see the vintage ones do OK on COMC — which is where they’ll likely end up.

And we’ll close this edition of Thrift Treasures with two non-card items. The first is a ticket stub from the 2006 New Year’s Day game featuring the Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers. The the second is a commemorative Sept. 11, 2001 “We’ll Never Forget” stadium giveaway pin from the San Francisco Giants. The pin is still affixed to the original card, but does have some surface issues along the top border.

Total cost of these Treasures: $19.86

You can read more Thrift Treasures posts here

eBay Bucks purchase arrives; cracked from slab after 16 years

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Last week I chronicled here what I did with my eBay Bucks: I turned the bonus funds into a card I wanted for nearly two decades, the 1998 Upper Deck SP Authentic Chirography Roger Clemens autograph, limited to a reported 400 copies.

The card arrived Friday and I was anxious to see how bad the edges on this card were — the card was graded a 7.5 by Beckett Grading in October 2002, hammered significantly for edges.

When I opened the box I could see the issue, two finger nail digs near the top left border. I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe someone tried too hard to get it into a Card Saver II, or used their finger names to remove the card from a Top Loader? Either way, the grade was justified. But that, of course, didn’t mean I had to stare at that hideous 7.5 grade every time I wanted to look at the card.

And so I cracked it from it’s case. I broke off the top right corner of the BGS case with a pair of pliers, then slid a butter knife between the two parts of the slab and twisted the knife, to create separation. And then pried the top and bottom apart to free the card. This process is usually neater than what occurred here, but the card came out safe.

I often say Ultra Pro One-Touches are overrated — and I still feel that way, especially if you’re using them to secure cards during transport. I still believe top loader and penny sleeve are still the best for that.

But I do think One Touches serve as a nice case for display — they’re the new school version of my old favorite, the single-screw recessed screw down.

I bought the whole lot for one card…

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

You know you’re a player collector when you buy an entire lot of a player’s cards solely because you thought you needed just one of them.

Such was the case last week when I was conducting an open-ended search on eBay for Roger Clemens cards. I came upon a lot of 43 Clemens cards that initially looked like the majority of lots that hit eBay — full of standard issues from 1987 to 1998.

But this is why I try to check every single lot of Clemens cards when I do these searches — you never know what may be within the lot that was not mentioned in the title.

In the fourth image attached to this lot was a shiny blue die-cut 2000 Pacific Crown Royale Platinum Blue serial numbered to 75 copies.

The seller knew the card was special; they even show cased it on its own in the fifth and final image of the auction. But it was not listed in the header, so any person who was looking for this specific card would not have seen it. It also was not specifically listed in the description, just described as a die-cut card serial numbered 23/75.

The remainder of the lot wasn’t terrible. As it turned out there were five other cards in the lot that I did not have: 1995 Upper Deck Electric Diamond, 1998 Fleer Decade of Excellence, 1998 Ultra, 1998 Skybox Dugout Access, and 1998 Upper Deck All Star Credentials.

As far as the dupes, there was a 1997 Fleer EX-2000 – another reminder of the 1990s being full of cutting edge stuff.

Not a bad haul for under $6 delivered.

eBay Bucks are Great: my January 2019 purchase

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on January 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you’re not enrolled in eBay’s eBay Bucks program, and you’re a frequent user of the auction site/app, then you’re missing out.

For the uninitiated, here is the deal:  You get 1% eBay bucks on all of your purchases, which may not seem like a big deal. But several times a quarter eBay runs specials in which you can get 8%-10% eBay bucks – usually available to those using the eBay app — which some of us collectors treat like a holiday. That’s when you pull out all the tricks and hit that PC card and enjoy the reward. See a card you like for $70, buy it and get $5.60-$7 in eBay bucks later.  The eBay bucks add up for three months, and then each quarter eBay presents you with your digital eBay bucks, which are essentially used like a gift card on the site.

Obviously the more you buy, the more you accumulate.  I have gone quarters where I have tallied just a few dollars, and other times where I’ve approached $70.  This quarter, I was pretty much right in the middle at about $37.

I’m funny when it comes to free stuff, sales and gift cards, or in this case eBay Bucks, because I’m always looking for a “deal.”  I’m such a cheap-ass sometimes that I am looking to make a one-for-one transaction just so that I can say I got a particular item for free – even if it matters to no one but myself.

And so this week, after receiving my eBay Bucks, I spent four days looking for the item I wanted to obtain.  And Sunday I found it … although it was not a perfect “for free” item as I hoped.

For several weeks I’d been watching a 1998 SP Authentic Roger Clemens autograph slabbed a low grade by BGS.  The grade doesn’t matter to me, I wanted the damn signed card!

For so long Roger Clemens autographs were like unicorns to me, not like they are today where you can routinely find them in the $30-$60 range. And the 1998 SP Authentic Clemens, limited to some 400 non-serial numbered copies, is a classic as it is one of his cards signed while shown as a Blue Jays player.

The card sat for almost a month at $49.99 and then it ended early this morning with no buyers.  It was re-posted at $47.99 and I knew I had to hit it before someone else did.  The Mint graded versions are posted for the $90 range, and I have not seen any raw copies.

And so, with my eBay Bucks, I essentially got the card for about $10, plus $3 shipping of course.  Is it the most-savvy purchase ever?  No.  But it’s a big deal for me since I’d been eyeing this card for two decades, and been on the fence for about a month as to whether or not to buy this copy.

As mentioned above the grade leaves much to be desired, it’s slabbed a 7.5 — the card was nailed for “edges.”  I love BGS graded cards, but this one will be cracked and placed in some other type of holder to go along with my other Clemens autographs.