Thursday, February 28, 2008

2007 Topps Generation Now - Ryan Zimmerman

Why are the card companies obsessed with mirror cards? What purpose do they have? Every time that I open a pack and come across one of these cards, I cringe. A little part of the collector dies inside of me.

I don't need 58 different cards of Ryan Howard commemorating his 58 home runs that basically look the same. This is madness! Topps did manage to slightly change the picture every dozen cards or so, but still. These cards have no reason to exist, except to keep the base cards away from the pack.

Don't even get me started on the Mickey Mantle mirror cards or the Alex Rodriguez ones. At least Alex's uniform changes around every 150 to 200 cards. So it's got that going for it. I don't care how many home runs steroid boy Barry Bonds hit. I don't need over 700 cards for each of his home runs.

Upper Deck seems to be getting in on the action with their Yankee Stadium Legacy set. I don't need 6,500 mirror cards of the Yankees. If they want to put that out, it should be it's own separate release. It shouldn't be in every release that Upper Deck comes out with baseball-wise in 2008.

I hope that these types of insert sets will die out soon. I don't know of a single collector that actually collects this stuff. It would be a different story if all the cards looked, well, different. It's overkill. It's time to put this idea to rest. Let it die a slow painful death. I've got rows of mirror cards in my collection that nobody really wants. There should be some type of compensation for hanging on to this crap.

Hey, Topps, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And they said, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money in these cards, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

1982 Perma-Graphics All-Stars - Carlton Fisk

Maybe I was too young or too focused on other things when this came out in 1982. I'm sure it was a combination of the two. I didn't get my first pack of cards until 1983. I watched my first White Sox game in 1982. At least it was the first game that I remember taking a vested interest in.

I'm not sure what to make of this card. Does it want to be a trading card? Is it a knock-off credit card? Is it a promo? I'm not sure what this is trying to be. All, I can find out is that these cards were produced from 1981 until 1983 in various sets.

When I look up Perma-Graphics, I find a laminating company that manufactures credit card equipment. Possibly, the company thought this would be a fun way to test the equipment out. I'm at a loss as to what to think.

All I'm really sure of, is that this is a great oddball find. I haven't seen anything quite like it. I doubt I ever will again. This is a lot different than the collectible phone cards of the nineties. This feels different. It's thicker and less bendy. Plus, it just looks cooler.

1933 George C Miller R300 - Ivy Andrews

This card could potentially be worth $20,000. Why, you may ask? Because of a fixed contest by the George C. Miller Company.

This card is part of a 32 card set. All the cards are lovely examples of early 30's artistry. These cards even look better than the Goudeys and DeLongs from the same year.

The reverse of this card offers a prize for submitting all 32 cards back to the company. In order to give away as few of the prizes as possible, the Ivy Andrews card was held out of circulation, except for a very limited number.

Today, there are less than twenty examples of this card. The cards that were redeemed, were cut along the bottom as a cancellation, so they couldn't be used again. Only two or three cards are known to exist without being cut. There were so many intentional butcherings done to this card in 1933, that it is a highly sought out collectible.

If you run across one of these, I'll gladly take it off your hands for free. You may feel the responsibility of owning a card such as this would be too daunting of a task. I will relieve you from that responsibility. It's the least I could do to get my bills paid. Eh, I mean, cherish a rare commodity. Yeah, that's the ticket.

1969 Topps Deckle Edge - Pete Rose

I'm not sure which genius came up with the deckle edge cards at Topps, but I'm not a huge fan. It seems to me that the deckle edging would create a hazard for the overall condition of the card. It seems to me that a deckle edge would cause the card to tear more easily.

This was probably a precursor to the die cut cards that became popular in the nineties. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but a card that looks like an oversize postage stamp doesn't really appeal to me in the short term. I suppose in time, I could learn to love the cards. Nothing is impossible.

If I were to receive any of these cards as a gift, I would gladly accept them. I'm not ungrateful and I love oddball cards. I would classify this as the lovable misfit oddball card. It doesn't fit in with the other cards, but dammit, it's still a card! It needs love too!

Prices for individual cards from this set range from $1.50 to $20.00 in top condition. Pete Rose falls in the high end of the middle at $12.00. I'm assuming that it used to be much higher. That was before Pete was banned from baseball for life. Although, I'm beginning to realize that banned for life means banned after death too.

I wonder how many kids in 1969 got punished from their parents for ruining their cards because of these deckle edge cards? Some kid's mother spends hard earned money on a pack of cards for their offspring. When the kid shows the cards to the mother, they look abused. Little Johnny or Little Jill probably got a sore butt for these cards from parents not in the know.

I'm sure it happened to at least one kid. Drinking was probably involved on the parent's end. I'm positive one child, somewhere, has gotten the living crap kicked out of them for this card. And all Pete Rose can do is look dumbfounded on this deckle edged card as he watches from the card in horror. If you really look at the card, it does look like a kid took a pair of scissors and tried to make a doily.

Monday, February 25, 2008

1990 Classic Update - Nolan Knows Bo

Meant to
Mock the
Industry by
Kitsch crap.

And boy do these gimmicks work! I remember when this was the hot card that everyone had to have. Gimmicks always work the same way. They start high.

Everyone has to have this new thing. Everyone will pay outrageous prices for these things, so they can have them first. Or they will pay for the privilege of having one of an assumed low quantity. Then, the bottom drops out.

This card has a high price of $2.00 on Beckett right now. People were paying big bucks for this card when it first came out. Now, it's almost commonplace. This is the problem with gimmicks. There's only a small window of opportunity, in which to make your money back. After that, you're stuck.

My card came in a set, so I paid under 10 dollars for this card and 49 others in the set. If I sold every card for Beckett high value, I might make my original investment back. Might. Who am I kidding about investment? I was a kid and this was the most talked about set. I wanted my superstars in pictures that would never make it onto a major card companies cards at the time. Yes, I was suckered in by gimmicks too.

Now gimmicks are everywhere. There's no stopping them. There are computer manipulated cards, "pulled" cards, "leaked" cards, one of one cards, red cards, blue cards. It's maddening! Everything is a gimmick now. There can't be a release without a gimmick. It's pathetic.

I can trace the intentional gimmick card back to this card. There have been others before it and plenty since. This is the first instance in which a gimmick card was featured on a gimmick card. My brain hurts just thinking about that.

I am reminded of the Billy Ripken profanity laced bat knob card. I would classify that as a mistake, not a gimmick. I am also reminded of the Bo Jackson 1987 Classic card, which is the card featured in this Nolan Knows Bo card. I call that more of an opportunity, than a gimmick.

This is the card that started the innocent trend of kitschy cards down the wrong path. It led to a path of mayor's involved in a World Series celebration and deceased star players watching from the dugout. It is not a pretty path. It is dark and treacherous. I will respect the card company with the least amount of gimmicks in any given year.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

1989 Score #660 - Red Sox Win Streak

This has got to be one of the most boring highlight cards I have ever seen. The back has more action than the front. Something is wrong with that picture. The back features a smattering of Red Sox players congratulating themselves after something good, I would presume.

The front is a different story. It features an unknown manager at the time, Joe Morgan, walking nonchalantly to the pitcher's mound to yank an unseen hurler from the game. This is a highlight? Joe also appears to be scratching his butt, slyly, in the picture too. I repeat, this is a highlight?

Score would have had to have a picture of Dwight Evans snapping Wade Boggs with a towel after a game to reach a more inappropriate level in photograph selection for this highlight. Come to think of it, that would even make more sense than Joe walking tall.

The record is pretty impressive. A 24 win home game streak. That's damn good! Especially after a 43-42 record before the streak. It set an American League record at the time. Score couldn't find a shot of Jeff Reardon celebrating after a save? They couldn't find a shot of Ellis Burks hitting one out of the park? No shot was available of Wade Boggs or Jody Reed hitting a gapper?

A colonoscopy is more exciting than this card. Maybe if the card was celebrating the most trips to the mound by a manager in a season, this would be the first picture I'd choose. Score couldn't even find a picture of Joe signaling for a right hander. Unacceptable. At least Joe has a nice card he can sign. But the card promised highlights it couldn't deliver. That's just plain wrong.

Monday, February 18, 2008

1991 Donruss #744 Dr. Dirt & Mr. Clean

I remember Lenny Dykstra and Dale Murphy being huge deals in the 80's and early 90's. I do remember both as being on the Phillies. I associate them with different teams though. Dale will always be a Brave to me and Dykstra will always be a Met. I can never shake that.

This card is odd. This was also when anyone who sniffed a baseball ended up on a card. This was the time of filler cards. Not that two players of this caliber didn't deserve a card together. It's just overkill though. On the other hand, it is nice to see.

This card feels like a free promo for a Philadelphia area dry cleaner. Dr. Dirt is kinda dirty looking, but in a clean kind of way. Sort of like Dennis the Menace. Mr. Clean lost the earring, grew some hair and traded in his floor cleaner for a Phillies uniform.

This is where gimmick cards got their start. Not with this specific card, but cards like it in this era. Could this be the inspiration for the Studio line that Donruss put out in 1991? Maybe. This reminds me of two buddies in their softball uniforms. After many beers, they decide to go to Sears and get a portrait done in their uniforms. It didn't matter that one played all day and the other sat on the bench watching. They had the uniforms that looked like real major league uniforms.

I hope Lenny and Dale got some good money for that dry cleaners spot. I'll bet they had no idea that it would end up on a card. That should be a lesson to all players. Don't take show up to Sears in your uniform. They will get you to pose in front of a cheesy background. It will end up on a card.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1989 Topps #215 - Kevin Gross

I have no idea what happened to this card. This one is personal though. This card was found in a game of Sox Or No Sox on A Pack A Day.

The insert card had apparently latched onto Kevin Gross for sustenance. This clearly resulted in Kevin's eyes to be sacrificed in order to save his pitching hand. The blob even split off into a mini-blob in order to slowly engulf Kevin's finger on his left hand.

Heat does nothing to stop the blob. Only the most frigid temperatures, like an air conditioned movie theater, can stop it. After being heated to sauna-like temperatures, this pack must have been frozen by a quick blast of cold air. The blob was stopped in its tracks and Kevin's life was spared to pitch again.

Now Kevin Gross has supersonic hearing, making him a deadly pitcher. That is to say, what makes him a deadly pitcher is that he is now blind. What batter in their right mind would step to the plate against a blind pitcher. Even pitchers with sight hit batters in the head by accident. What's to prevent Kevin from beaning Andre Dawson and blaming it on his lack of sight? Nothing.

Before you put your packs of baseball cards near a fireplace or a barbeque pit or the back of a jet plane engine, think of what it is doing to the player. These men have to live with these deformities for the rest of their careers. Be kind to them. They may be traded to your team in the future. Then how bad would you feel if your team traded for a blind pitcher? Not very good I would imagine. Save the players and beware of the blob.

1990 Publications International Stickers (Large) - Sam Sosa

When I first received this in a trade recently, it looked familiar but I had no clue as to what it was. Was it a photo? Was it a sticker? I couldn't tell. The only thing that I knew was that it had been hand cut.

My dad always reminds me that I was a fan of Sammy Sosa when he was on the White Sox. This is mostly true. I am a fan of everyone that comes through the organization. Good or bad. When Sammy was with the White Sox, he was bad.

Sammy struck out a lot, which is something he never really solved. He couldn't hit a home run to save his life. Not that they were flying out of the park at that time, they weren't hit by anyone on a regular basis until Frank Thomas came along. Sosa made mistakes and didn't really do anything spectacular to make up for them.

I remember being at new Comiskey Park in 1991 when Sammy was in right field. It was a game against the Royals. How do I know this? We always saw the Royals for some reason. Whenever my family would find the time to go to the park, the Royals were always in town. It still baffles me to this day.

The entire section behind Sammy would yell at him while he was in the field. S-A-M-M-Y-S-O-S-A, WAKE UP!! This went on every half inning. I thought he was a bad fielder, but I didn't think he deserved that. Could that moment be the deciding factor in his "ahem" future home run performance? I don't know. I often wonder about that.

The weird thing about this sticker besides the size of it, is the name. Sam Sosa. I've never seen that on a card or a sticker before. It makes me smile a little. Maybe he didn't want to be called Sammy. Maybe it was forced on him by the media or his agent. Maybe he always longed to be called Sam. It's a more respectable variation of Samuel.

Sammy reminds me of a child. That's exactly what he turned into later on in life. There was still hope left for Sam when this photograph was taken. There were subtle differences to tell Sam from Sammy.

Sam could speak English. Sammy forgot how. Sam would give his best and try but ultimately fail. Sammy would take every advantage to get ahead, which made for some interesting news stories involving such things as cork and drugs. Sam was a team player. Sammy was a selfish SOB.

This sticker reminds me of a ballplayer, not a media darling who acted like a sideshow freak. I guess that's the difference between Sam and Sammy. I could like Sam, but Sammy wouldn't let me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

1992 Cecil Fielder Mystery Card

I love oddball cards, but this one has me stumped. I have two of these Cecil Fielder cards in my collection of boxes. The thing is, I have no idea where they came from. I also have two of John Goodman as Babe Ruth and I had one that I gave away in a trade of George Brett.

The card itself contains a place to obtain an autograph. I remember that as being a selling point of this card, but I don't know why. My mind is drawing a complete blank. Was this card part of a magazine? Was it part of a giveaway? Did a card shop owner stick me with these cards? Did I knowingly purchase them? I haven't a single clue.

I do find it funny that Cecil is stuffing his mouth full of food and his team's insignia is a chicken leg with a bite taken out of it. That's classic stuff. Even better is the interview on the back of the card.

Q: For a while your obesity was a target of criticism, but your remarkable hitting seems to have put an end to that. Is your extra poundage acceptable to the club now?

A: Oh, more than acceptable. Starting with our next homestand our dugout will be featuring a buffet table, and all our players will be encouraged to eat as much and as often as possible.

Q: No kidding? This could bring a whole new meaning to the term "heavy hitters." Thanks to you, this team could power itself to the top. You could become the biggest influence on home run hitting of all time.

A: Sometimes a guy's got to throw his weight around.

Q: Gosh! If this new plump'em up to thump'em out approach of yours works, what kind of contract will you be asking for?

A: Fatter.

Is this a real interview? If so, Cecil really loves his food! It sounds like a bad joke writer came up with this on a deadline. Buffet tables in the dugout? A fatter contract? Please. Very punny. Maybe this is what happened to the Tigers in the early 90's. They ate themselves out of contention.

Friday, February 1, 2008

1991 Upper Deck Hologram - Hank Aaron

I found this card in a pack of Upper Deck when I was a kid. This was probably my second best find in Upper Deck packs that year. My first would be the Michael Jordan card in a White Sox uniform. This was always a close second though.

I loved Hank Aaron as a kid. Whenever I would find a card of him in a new product, a huge smile would come across my face. He was the Home Run King! He was better than Babe Ruth! I'm afraid kids may be saying the same thing about Barry Bonds right now.

I was always hungry to find out everything I could about the history of the game. Any book about the past or the oddities in baseball, I would devour as soon as I got my hands on it. I found out everything I could about past heroes. I loved the way Hank Aaron went about his business. He didn't get caught into the same traps that some of his peers got into. He just showed up and quietly went about his business. I admired that about him.

This was the first card of Hank Aaron's that made me feel like I was at one of his games. I guess it was the 3-D effect that made me feel that way. Whatever it was, it made this card seem special. It always stood out to me, even when some of my friends were less than enthusiastic.

I'm also a sucker for older uniforms. They seem interesting to me. These Braves uniforms stand out, as well as the Astros and Pirates from this era. All that older cards do now is make me remember how I felt the first time that I saw that particular card. When I first laid eyes on this, I thought it was the coolest card of Hank Aaron I had ever seen. It may not be the coolest card ever of Hank, but it was the coolest card of him from 1991.