Friday, November 28, 2014

One sided trade with JayBarkerFan

Wes, well, Jay Barker Fan, is a legend among these parts.

That's the way I see it anyway from my small overseas window. To tell the truth, I'm kind of lazy. I have my comfort zone and tend not to go out of it. But hey, to have a comfort zone, you have to create one in the first place, give me some credit. Anyway, I know there are tenths of blogs out there, but I only read a few of those.What can I say, I have a short attention span. I do have about 30 blogs on my blog roll, so I'll always have an eye out for those, but I'll always read my 4 or 5 favorite ones in the morning, with my coffee mug in my hand and my sleepy eyes trying to focus.

What I'm trying to say is that I realize that I only read a small sample of what's out there, and I don't mean to belittle all of you great bloggers out there, but Wes is in a league of his own (as is Night Owl, for example, and I'm sure we all agree on that). I got there too late to participate in his World Cup of trading, but as a European soccer fan (it always makes me smile when Americans say it's a boring sport where nothing happens, and at the same time are able to spend 3 hours in front of a baseball game or in front of a football game where there's nothing but time outs and the actions amount for about 15 minutes), I could only applaud the idea.

I contacted him, saying I knew he retired from blogging (but not from trading) and that I'd love to send him some Braves cardboard, just as a thank you in the name of the blogosphere, for his generosity. Yeah, it's probably a little bit silly, I know, but I liked the idea. He answered by saying that he had some cards for me. And ok, I'll admit my heart skipped a beat for a minute, and I was very curious to see what he'd send me. A few days later, and the day after that great package from Matt, it had crossed the ocean, and those cards were finally home.

A couple of Wells, including a numbered one, and that nice minor league auto. It's very strange how it looks like a simple in person auto, and not like it was signed for the company. I really need to write a post about what I think of people who sell the cards the had signed in person...

Those two relics look absolutely great. I love the idea of the logo on the bat, cattle style.

Some autos ! Those Sp authentics don't look that bad, and I actually prefer not to see a player at all, than seeing him airbrushed. Yeah I know, I'm partial, it's because I love Upper Deck and hate Panini. Sue me. Mc Gowan's days as a Blue Jay seem over (he's a free agent), but I'm still glad I got this auto, my first of his.

Cesar played just one season for the Blue Jays, and he's not the same Izturis who now plays for Toronto, Maicer. And Delgado will always be Delgado.

I'll say it again : those By the letter cards are an awesome idea.

And of course, here's the card I really wanted.
I feel like I'm part of the family now.
I could almost cry.

Thanks a lot Wes for the great cards, even though you have no idea who I am ! I hope we'll have the opportunity to do this again, and I'm hunting down some Braves and Willinghams for you in any case !

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bob Walk the line : sign here

It's always nice to get surprise (almost) unexpected packages, especially when they come from such a great trade partner as Matt from Bob walk the plank. Ok, this is only our second date, but still, this might just be a long term relationship. It's a good thing we don't have Thanksgiving here (for obvious reasons), or I might have invited him over to introduce him to my parents. We do have Christmas though...I'll think about it.

Ok, let's have a look at that nice, heavy enveloppe :

I've already stated that I find amazing that Roy Halladay doesn't have more of a following. His cards can be found for real cheap (then again, whose cards can't be had for cheap ?), except autos, as there aren't that many out there. I already had the Frank Thomas in that Ultimate Star collection, and I really like that Turkey Red. There are a lot of questions raised about the authenticity of game worn items, but frankly (my dear), I don't give a damn. I like the cards because they look nice. They might as well just cup up some nice, clean jerseys, call it a day and stop charging so much for packs that will be weighed anyway by people who don't have better things to do with their days than hang out by Wall-mart with an electronic scale.

Matt managed to find one of the rare Leaf signatures series card I didn't already have. I love those. I don't remember for how much packs sold at the time, for what we'll call a very, very deep lineup of common cards, but the idea was a great one. The ones I have are actually faded because I've had them in a frame for so long, and I guess they didn't enjoy the sunlight as much as I do.

A couple of nice autographs, including my first Brett Cecil (I'm expecting an Arencibia any time soon in my mailbox). And even though I'm not a fan of Gypsy Queen base, I do like their inserts and relics. Nice on card auto.

Two beautiful cards, and the Orlando Hudson didn't really scan well, it looks much better in real life. This is the second Anthony Gose auto Matt sends me, after the amazing 1/9 Topps Triple threads from last time, and it's another really great card. And you won't hear me say this about Bowman very often !

Finally, the "clou du spectacle" is that Sweet spot Lyle Overbay signature. Matt was nice enough to put it in a magnetic holder (supplies aren't that easy to find here, or with outrageously high shipping fees), to give it the shrine it deserves. They really did an amazing job on that card, and you'll notice its number....001/366 ! Matt is the king of first number cards.

As you know, I don't really care about the value of cards. I like the idea of having a $300 card that I've only paid $20 for (because, well, that's what it's really worth considering its condition), but besides that, history has shown that modern cards seldom hold their value. None of these cards are technically worth a lot, but the thing that's priceless to me is that fact that Matt made this selection just for me, based on what he's read on my blog. I suppose that's what trading's all about, and those kinds of packages (and I've received a bunch of them in the past few months thanks to you guys) always bring a big fat smile to my face. If we did have Thanksgiving, that's what I'd be thankful for.

Ok, maybe I need to get a life....I'll ask for one for Christmas.

Monday, November 24, 2014

1992 Mc Donald's Who's Who

In the mailbox today were a few ebay pick ups. The main one took a month to get here from Canada, even though a same package from Richard at collecting blue jays took about 3 days, also sent surface mail. Go figure.

Anyway, the first time I saw a 92 Donruss Mc Donald's MVP Blue jays card, I knew I needed to get the rest of the set. I picked one up for 50 cents (plus $5 shipping, which seems a little silly, but it's still worth it), and I have to admit that it's close to perfect. The lineup has no flaws, and the Blue Jays gold series is a great idea. Donruss knew how to go full bleed in 92. What a shocker. The backs of the cards are the same as the regular issue, save for the mac donald's logo and copyrights, but the fronts are different.

Jack's mustache looks so much better in a gold frame.

Also got that autograph for cheap. Accardo may have had a clear path to greatness, but he was stopped short by injuries. He did have a good year for Toronto though. I have mixed feelings about that card. It's acetate and transparent  so it kind of has a nice look to it, but it's way too dark, and that sticker doesn't help its case. Ah well.

Those I bid on and I don't even know why. They look nice though, even if I have no idea who these players are.

Finally, to avoid looking at the Knicks play, I decided to look for autos. The good thing about a horrendous season is that you can pick them up for cheap. I had never heard of Toure Murry before, and those Shumpert cards sure are shiny. Panini really likes shiny stuff.

I can't help but wonder how Charlie Ward would have fared in the NFL. He was, after all, a Heisman Award winner (among others, and he's in the College Football hall of fame). He had a decent career as a point guard for the Knicks for ten years, so I'm happy I landed that card. Jordan Hill hardly played for the Knicks, on the other hand, and he's having some solid last couple of years in the league. The only very frustrating thing about that card is that I have no idea which L it is, in his name.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Soft kitty, warm kitty

A few days ago, Daniel at It's like having my own card shop offered to send some free cards.
Those things happen from time to time in the blogosphere alongside cool contests. I raised my hand and he was kind enough to send some over the ocean.

He warned that they were in a really bad shape and that they had seen better days. But I'm not about to let some cards stay unloved on the side of the road or in a shelter where the only popular ones are the sharp young guns. The life of cardboard can be so unfair. I couldn't resist those old tired puppy eyes and I opened my arms to them, offering them food and a safe place to poop at.

Daniel wasn't lying, those cards definitely had it rough and have been in their fare shares of alley brawls. But it's not a reason to abandon them.

And since I'm absolutely in love with the 1972 set, I'm glad that's what I wound up receiving for the most part.

So I'm guessing those last three were David's

And for good measure, Daniel included some cards for my PC and team collection. A real nice Neon Deion that I needed, and the entire 33 card set from 1992 Topps micro. Yup, micro. Not mini. And when you see the size of those things, you understand why....

Thanks a lot Daniel for sending those, and to have the reflex to ask around if anybody needed them before...yikes...throwing them out to be recycled !

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trade post : some Mr Hoyle vintage

I've already explained that the reason I collect Blue Jays cards is because my mom's from Toronto (she came to France when she was 19, met my dad and never came back). I collect Knicks cards because the Raptors weren't around when I started collecting and I spent a year in New York when I was 11.
Anyway, one of the frustrating aspects of collecting Blue Jays is that they only got there in 1977. Which means: no vintage. And I absolutely love vintage ! There's something about holding a 50 or 60 year old card (yes, card, what did you expect me to write ?) that moves me. I love cards from the 90s because they bring me way back with waves and gushes of nostalgia. But I see vintage cards as a piece of history, which is why I don't mind at all if they're in bad shape. At least, it means they had a good life and changed hands many times. Of course, that should't keep me from getting cards from before 1977, and it's exactly what I'm doing !

Mark doesn't blog. But he follows blogs a lot. He lurks in the shadows and often participates by posting comments. He approached me after I myself posted a comment somewhere (maybe on Bob walks the plank), telling me he could probably help me with some of my needs (it's not every day that a man (or a girl, for the matter) approaches me with such an offer). He saw on my want list page that I wanted at least one card from each year, and also in one of my comments that I was looking to get as many 'In Actiont' cards from the 72 set, so he sent a little of everything, alongside some 90s Blue Jays from my want list.

So let's take a look, and keep in mind that I'm holding all those design in my hands for the very first time, as I wasn't into vintage at all 20 years ago. I didn't have sufficient knowledge back then and saw the cards as very expensive pieces of cardboard I could never own. Plus, all that grading confused me. I was familiar with the designs because, well, I look at cards a lot (and Archives happened), but it's awesome to look at the real actual thing.

1962 ! of course, it reminds me of 1987 Topps instead of the other way around. And yay, a manager card ! It's a great design, I'll try to track down Mays and Maris cards from that set one day.

1963 ! And a Houston Colt 45s card, so that's a plus.

1964 ! Zoilo Versalles is a great name. Sounds a lot like Versailles, which is very near where I live. And for those of you who skipped World history class, that's where French kings (and Marie-Antoinette, for those who didn't skip the movie) spent their days and nights in that huge castle, 3rd most visited monument in France after the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

1965 ! One of the best designs ever, and I think it's the first time I see that Twins logo. Is it me, or is that glove gigantic ?

1966 ! Another Twins player, another great name.

1967 !

1968 ! I don't know about that design. It looks like some very outdated wallpaper. Still, it's a well centered Yankees catcher (didn't play much, though) with a well centered glove.

 1969 ! They had some extra circles from the previous year, so they re-used them, but them on the upper right side and called it a day.

1970 ! This being my first Senators card, I had to research it a little bit. And what a mess. So the Senators went to Minnesota to call themselves the Twins in 1961.But the same year, they awarded an expansion team to Washington and they named themselves...the Senators. After all, why not make things confusing ? It's the 60s. Everybody's confused. They were such a bad team that they were the Major's laughingstock, and I suppose they don't appear in the 1971 set, since that's the year they moved to Arlington, to become the Texas Rangers (granted, the Texas Senators would've made as much sense as the Los Angeles Lakers or the Utah Jazz). Anyway, that's a God ugly design if I ever saw one.

1971 !That's much better ! I only know Hal McRae, though. People who collect only sharp looking cards must have a really hard time with those black borders.

1972 ! An iconic set, and I wonder how people looked at it back then. I mean, what a change from previous years. Considering how they toned it down the following years, I wonder if it means that they got complaints from parents worried that their kids would start popping acid.

1972 again, that time with great In action cards .

1973 ! another great set with amazing photos. Can't wait to get my hands on more of those.

I mean, come on, look at that beauty ! I think I saw it on dimebox Nick's blog a few weeks ago, and it's been on my want list since. Amazing card with an amazing cameo.

If you're reading this (and I suspect you are), thanks a lot for those great cards, Mr Hoyle, I absolutely love them !

Monday, November 17, 2014

Breaking 92 Stadium Club down like Evander Holyfield

There's nothing to expect out of 92 Stadium Club other than base cards. But base cards with great photos that are sharp looking and the great idea of putting the Topps Rookie card on the back. The photos selection isn't as impressive as 93 Stadium Club, but it has its good moments.

One of my theories is that the person in charge of finding 900 pics was really into catchers (not that there's anything wrong with that). Another theory is that the person in charge with collation was horrible with statistics, as I'm still missing 30 cards for the 300 card set despite a 540 cards box. Then again, this means I got exactly 270 base cards and 270 duplicates. That person is a mad genius, I stand corrected. Genius or not, it still annoys me, but that was part of the joys of the nineties.

Anyway, I just scanned a bunch of catchers cards to make my point.

A couple of nice cameos.

The first one is one of the best plate collision cards ever, at a Braves - Twins World series game. When I saw the second one, it also had a World series feel to it, and sure enough, you can see the patch on the right sleeve.

Here's also one of the best shots ever. Just imagine if it was a head first dive at the plate, instead of 3rd base...Come on Tim, gear up and block that plate. You were allowed to back then.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Paying tribute to Flair

I don't know what it is about Flair. I really like the cards, even though they're cheesy as hell. At the time, super thick card stock with so much foil and glossyness was something new. The price tag also. But for $14 a box, I was willing to recapture my adolescent years, when I'd marvel at the little cigarette-like boxes the cards would be wrapped in. WHat I didn't realize at the time was how much plastic was involved in the wrapping. The box is shrink wrapped. Each individual box is also. And the cards are in some kind of plastic bag. I definitely do not need that much plastic in my life, thank you very much Fleer. Plus, of course, it takes forever to open the various layers.

To me, Flair looks like obituary cards. The kind you'd have at someone's funeral (or retirement party, to sound less morbid). The superposed pictures, the blurred background, the gold lettering, the cute font used for the capital letter of the player's name...everything's perfect.

here's the only insert aailable for that product. The Piazza is actually the biggest 'hit' possible. Manny looks very, very young, and not everybody made it to the future in the Majors, wave or not...

Couple of cards I needed for my collection. Always nice to add a Molitor.

A floating head of David Justice in front of empty seats, looking right at us, mourning people.

There aren't many action shots in Flair. Which is natural, as you're saying good bye to one guy, not two. Here's an exception, but it's always nice to see Bonds make a cameo where he's about to be out. You know what ? This is a pretty nice card.

A couple of rare horizontal cards. They'll adopt that format in 95, and they should've kept it that way.

I have no idea where he's pitching, but he must feel really lonely, in the middle of nowhere like that. And Angel among angels...

This one's perfect. It's as if he's looking at himself in the sky, hovering over the crowd, finally at peace.

Here's airbrush gone wild. What were they thinking, erasing that poor umpire ?

Finally, a card that epitomizes Flair. They also remind me of those horrible posters you see from time to time, with dolphins jumping in the sea in the sunset. That's exactly what Joe Girardi is doing there. Jumping like a dolphin in the reddish sunset.
I'm moved to tears.