Archive for sports

Cardboard Icons Turns 8

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

WeaverBagIt all started here eight years ago today with a little post about an iconic 1951 Bowman Phil Rizzuto card. And what has become Cardboard Icons the blog and the opportunities this site have provided for me are things I never could have imagined.

When I started this blog in 2008 I had few connections to other collectors.  The Beckett Message Boards (the old ones, if you remember them) was my favorite way to communicate with other hobbyists. And when the company reformatted its Web site the message boards lost their steam and some collectors went looking for other places to talk shop.

For me, I decided to try my hand at blogging. After all, at the time I wrote for a living and had collected baseball cards for more than two decades (I’m actually coming up on three decades now). I was pretty much as qualified as anyone else to write about the stuff. And so Cardboard Icons the blog and persona were born.

I’ve always maintained that this site is really nothing more than a chronicle of my journey through this hobby. Sure, there were times early on after gaining some readership through connections that bigger ideas started to enter my mind, but many of those never really came to fruition. And honestly, probably for the better. Because what ended up happening was really  far beyond any of those “big” ideas that had entered my mind.

This blog started just about the time Twitter was starting to take off, and so I now had two platforms to share my stories and experiences, especially my passion for not only collecting, but also hunting sports cards and memorabilia through second hand stores, flea markets, etc. To this day the signature feature of this blog is the “Thrift Treasures” series.  The blog in an of itself was doing relatively well by my standards for the first few years. And then in late 2011 I discovered in a thrift store an item that would take the game to a whole new level for me — a 1977 game-used jersey of Hall of Fame Baltimore Orioles Manager Earl Weaver. Such items being found in such fashion are almost unheard of.

The discovery of that jersey ultimately aided in me fulfilling a dream of mine — being published as an author in Beckett Baseball magazine, a publication I had been reading since I was just 8 years old.

My first-hand account of finding the Weaver jersey opened more doors for me. It led to more writing opportunities for the magazine, which led to a trip to the annual National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore in 2012 where I got to meet Weaver just months before he died.  This journey was also picked up by Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew, where author David Brown wrote: “A collector named Ben Aguirre must fancy himself a real, live Indiana Jones of sports memorabilia after recently finding not one, but two game-worn Baltimore Orioles jerseys — including one that used to belong to legendary manager Earl Weaver — at a Bay Area thrift store.”

In the following years I was able to assist in the creation of content for two special baseball magazines through Beckett Media and authored a monthly column for Beckett Baseball for almost two years. The column ended during the summer of 2015. And no, I am not bitter about it. The timing was right.

And so here we are.

By the standards of some of the larger and more popular (and way better, I might add) blogs, my near half-million page views aren’t special. But for a guy who really just started this as an extension of his own journey through the hobby that’s pretty remarkable. And I thank you all for contributing to the success I have enjoyed thus far by your continued reading and viewing of content on this blog.

Thank you,

Ben Aguirre, aka. Cardboard Icons.

In addition to this blog, you can also follow me on Twitter and on Instagram.

 

Congrats to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza on their HOF selections — 89 UD, 92 Fleer BGS 9

Posted in Hall of Fame Rookie Cards, Hall of Famers with tags , , , , on January 6, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

   
 

The Final Word: Last Beckett Column Published

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , on October 13, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I didn’t plan it this way, but if I was going to pick the subject of my final Beckett Baseball column it definitely would have been about thrift shopping.

Thrifting is the subject of my current column, which is on newsstands now in Beckett Baseball Issue #116, which features likely AL MVP Josh Donaldson on the cover. And as it turns out, this appears to be my final column.  

Just days after submitting the piece I learned that Chris Olds, who had been the editor of said magazine for almost seven years, was moving on from his position. And this change in scenery for him likely meant the end of my column.

It was a fun run that lasted almost two years and essentially fulfilled my childhood dream of writing for the magazine that I grew up reading. I do appreciate the opportunity that Chris gave me when he was the editor. I wish him well in the future.

As for me, while the column has come to an end, this basically means that I can get back to writing more stuff here.

I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t holding back here so that I didn’t burn material for column that was going to be published. 

Thank you all for your continued readership. I’ll get back to writing more here shortly. In the mean time you can follow me on Twitter @cardboardicons

Thrift Treasure 81: MLB Showdown ASG finds a home

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I’ll say this up front, I am not a big card game guy.  I never got into Magic.  I never played Pokemon. I don’t hate it.  I don’t dislike people who play such games.  I, personally, have never felt the need to sit down and learn or play those games.  They are games of strategy; I prefer to apply my knowledge — the little that I have — to my hobby, where I acquire real things. That’s just how I operate.

IMG_9512Having said that, I do find some intrigue when I find card game cards at thrift stores.  I have a little knowledge as to what is “worth” money, but I can say that I have not cashed in on anything card game related.  This post, I suppose, follows in those foot steps.

So, in the early 2000s, Wizards of the Coast, makers of the Magic The Gathering cards, produced a series of baseball strategy card game that spanned the course of four of five seasons I believe. The game had a mild following. I don’t recall the cards ever being scorching hot.  And every now and then I find them in thrift stores, usually mixed in with some typical baseball cards. I usually pass on them unless I see an absolute reason to buy:  Multiple foil cards, many “first edition” cards, multiple stars, quantity for little money,  etc.”

On this occasion, I happened to find this box (shown here) sitting in an aisle of photo albums.  It must’ve been mistaken for a photo box, but I knew what it was immediately. When I opened it, I got a bit excited because while the bx itself makes for a fun display, it had a fair amount of cards. I was even more exited when I learned that the $3.99 price tag on it was incorrect for on this day, this item was half off.

IMG_9513So for $1.99 everything in this picture came home with me.  And while I won’t strike it rich with this find, it turned out to be a bargain.

The box contained 5 foil cards …

IMG_9543A bunch  of cards, albeit it a 4:1 ratio of strategy cards to player cards

IMG_9545Some neat team — and other subject/set — dividers

IMG_9546and … 50 2002 All-Star Game cards, which is the whole set.

IMG_9544The funny thing is the 2002 All Star Game is infamous for having ended in a tie, which ultimately led to then-Commissioner Bud Selig to the ASG “count” in subsequent years.

Total cost of these treasures: $1.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

So …. “Thrift Treasures” has been nominated for an award

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on January 21, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

ThriftTreasuresLogoTo say that this blog is what it was six years ago when I started it would simply be untrue.  The industry has changed. My life has changed.  I was married for a mere three years when I started this thing, and I didn’t have any kids.  I now have two kids who are 6 and 4 and my wife and I will be celebrating our tenth anniversary later this year. Oh, and I had a career change some four years ago. Yeah, time flies.

There was a time when page hits were important to me; when I felt the need to publish something everyday.  But the more that I let that motivate me, the more this hobby became like work. Over time I did my own thing.  I branched out and got published elsewhere and used this site to do what I initially set out to do, chronicle MY collection and share MY thoughts.

One of the things that has developed through this site is ‘Thrift Treasures,” which has been my constant theme in which I chronicle sports items — usually cards — I find during trips to thrift stores, antique stores, flea markets, etc.

It came as a surprise to me this week when I learned that the “Thrift Treasures” series has been nominated for “Best Recurring Subject,” in the “2014 Bip Awards” as hosted by fellow bloggers over at A Cardboard Problem.

I’m humbled by the fact that I have even been nominated. The other candidates are among some of the stronger and more popular blogs in our hobby.  Anyway, I’ll quite rambling. If you’re so inclined go vote for somebody — even if its not me.

And in case you missed it or care to read them again, all of my Thrift Treasures posts can be read HERE.

Some of my favorites include:

* A 1971 San Jose Bees (Royals Single-A affiliate) signed baseball (read)

* Sealed 1984 Donruss set (read)

* A signed George W. Bush book (read)

* a Cal Ripken Jr. signed book (read)

* A signed Harry Caray book … which I returned to the owner (read)

* A full game-used bat that might be photo-matched to a card (read)

* a team-signed 1997 USA Baseball jersey (read)

* A signed Casey Stengel 1963 Topps card (read)

* And of course, the legendary find of a game-used Earl Weaver jersey (read) which has been the gift that keeps on giving. The find led to new opportunities within the hobby for me, including a chance to meet Earl and have his sign the jersey before he passed away in 2012. (Beckett first-hand piece from 2012)

Thrift Treasures 77: The ‘Special’ and ‘Young’ editon

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

So there I was minding my own business in the toy aisle of one of the local thrift shops when I saw dozens of little bags filled with sports cards, some of which were actually in Card Saver II’s.  What’s that? Google it, kid.IMG_8014

Anyway, I was intrigued. I picked up each bag and checked as best I could to get an idea of what was inside of each.  Was this going to be a baggy of 1990 Donruss cards, or was there enough intrigue there to get me to buy it?  Out of the dozens of bags, four of them said “Buy Me!”  I should note that one baggy actually had a certified autograph inside, but when I saw that it was as shiny Topps Platinum auto of former 49ers running back Glenn Coffee tucked into a stack of 1989 Topps baseball, I exercised restraint and left it behind for someone else. Someone else can have the pleasure of owning that treasure.

I resisted the temptation of opening the baggies in the car and later opened them at home. I’ll explain real quickly about why each bag intrigued me.

The one on the left contained hockey cards, but my quick check revealed a Bobby Orr Power Deck insert card that I knew was worth the $2.99 purchase alone.  On top of the second bag there was a Juan Gonzalez Donruss Preferred die-cut insert card that I believed to be numbered to like 1,500 copies as well as a San Jose Sabercats team set and a San Jose Giants team set. In the third bag I could see a Reggie Miller gold portrait card that I had never seen before. And the fourth bag contained a stack of cards in Card Savers as I mentioned earlier.

In all, the baggies revealed the following … and three surprises.

The Bobby Orr insert mentioned above …

IMG_8023The Juan Gonzalez …

IMG_8024

A Reggie Miller Skybox USA Gold Portrait…

IMG_8025

The team set of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League … a set that contains four cards of players who played at San Jose State University when I was there.

IMG_8028

A 2006 San Jose Giants minor league team set …

IMG_8029

Some random star cards …

IMG_8022

And a stack of 1994 Donruss ‘Special Edition” parallel cards of the sets biggest stars …

IMG_8020

So, about those surprises.

Well, there was this shiny Upper Deck Roadrunner hologram…

IMG_8027

SANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_8021And … just an autograph of San Francisco 49ers legendary quarterback Steve Young.

IMG_8026 The Young is not certified and does not come with a Certificate of Authenticity (which is good in my opinion), but if you compare the signature to any of the certified autographs he has, it’s spot on. That’s a hell of a score … no pun intended.

Total Cost of these treasures: $11.96

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

 

Tales from the Vintage Bargain Bins: 59 Topps Mantle, 68 Bench RC, more

Posted in Newspaperman, Vintage Bargain Bins with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

So in my previous post, I documented a sweet pull that came from a 2012 Panini America Signature Series pack. That pack came as an impulse buy after I spent an hour digging through the card shop’s Price Friendly Vintage boxes. It’s a great shop for vintage, and I used to go through these boxes more often. But in recent years I’d slowed down this hunt.

But there I was on Wednesday going through the boxes that I had not gone through in more than a year.

There were a couple high-dollar scores, some not-so-significant rookie cards I (think I) needed for my collection, and a few “different” types of cards that caught my attention.

On that note, let’s start with the “different” items.

I’m sure you’ve seen these before, but this is a 1965 Topps Embossed card of Ernie Banks. These were inserted into regular packs in 1965 and offered collectors a “different” type card of star players. There was a badly cut Roberto Clemente in the box for $5, but I liked the value on this Ernie Banks at $1. The card is scuffed and has a pin hole at the top, but it’s still worth 100 pennies to me.

IMG_6910

Here are a pair of 1969 Topps Sticker Albums. These also were inserted into packs and basically served as a place to put the player stickers that were also included in some packs. The albums are separated by team and show players inside with their stats. The albums I got are of the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. The Astros one doesn’t have any stickers, but the Cubs has a few, including Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. One a side note, the back side of these albums showcase facsimile signatures for players on the team. Surely that was a nifty idea for the time. These were 50 cents each.

IMG_6899

IMG_6901IMG_6900IMG_6903And here are a pair of 1970 Topps Booklets, one of Pete Rose and one of Ernie Banks. These are essentially comic books telling the career story of the depicted player. Kinda neat. Banks cost me $2; Rose was $2.50. Pretty good shape considering the card stock is thin like paper.

IMG_6911IMG_6912

IMG_6907IMG_6908And now some rookies:

We’ll start with a PSA 7 1981 Topps Jari Kurri rookie. I’m not big on hockey cards, but a PSA 7 for $3 seemed like a goo deal so I nabbed it.

IMG_6916

Speaking of graded. Here’s a 1981 Topps Harold Baines BGS 6 for $2. The grade is lower, but looking at the breakdown, the reason this got a 6 is because of the centering. Either way, I’ll pay $2 for older solid rookie cards in BGS slabs.

IMG_6915

And lower grades … here’s a creased 1992 Topps Derek Jeter rookie card for $2.50. Not exactly vintage, but it was in the box. I’ll bite at that price. It still presents nicely.

IMG_6913How about a 1967 Topps Sal Bando rookie card. I own one already, but this one looks a LOT better than the one in my collection.

IMG_6904Here’s the rookie card of 1970 American League batting champion Alex Johnson, 1965 Topps.

IMG_6905And the 165 Topps rookie card of Cleon Jones, a key member of the 1969 New York Mets championship run.

IMG_6909So, I went a good five years without acquiring a Bobby Cox rookie. And about a year or so ago, I found one in an antique store for just a few dollars. It’s a gorgeous card. During this trip I located another Cox rookie and it was $3. I like adding those kind of cards to my collection for the price of a pack of cards.

IMG_6906And now the three big purchases of the day.

We’ll start with a 1948 Bowman Marty Marion rookie. Truthfully, I have never seen one of these. This one is in good shape aside from the centering. Price $16. Not bad for a Hall of Famer.

IMG_6914 Creased cards get a bad wrap in our hobby. It’s almost the death of a card if it has been bended. That said, I can’t let a 1968 Topps Johnny Bench rookie card sit in this box for $9. Surely someone can appreciate just owning a Bench rookie. I already have a graded one, so this one will be made available at some point.

IMG_6898And now the main attraction. Remember what I said about creased cards? The crease in this 1959 Topps All Star Mickey Mantle card killed it’s value. But for $15 I cannot — nor shall anyone else — leave an authentic vintage card of perhaps the hobby’s biggest name in a box.

IMG_6897

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,957 other followers