Tuesday, March 31, 2009

1982 Davco Publishing Hall of Fame Baseball Stars

What you see above (the 'way' above) is a 1982 Davco Publishers Bob Feller card. It is one of the many oddball Tribe items I own. The card is printed on heavy stock, though not thick. It's one of my favorite oddballs because I haven't seen many like it. And, of course because it features the great "Rapid" Bob Feller!

The card itself is actually part of a 25-card Hall of Fame set. They have blank backs. Each has a painted scene of the player being depicted. The tag line reads: "(c)MCMLXXII Davco Publishing, Skokie, Ill."

Often referred to as the "Blue" set, it features these players:

1 Hank Aaron
2 Grover C. Alexander
3 Roy Campanella
4 Ty Cobb
5 Joe DiMaggio
6 Bob Feller
7 Jimmie Foxx
8 Frankie Frisch
9 Lou Gehrig
10 Bob Gibson
11 Hank Greenberg
12 Rogers Hornsby
13 Walter P. Johnson
14 Sandy Koufax

15 Mickey Mantle
16 Christy Mathewson
17 Willie Mays
18 Stan Musial
19 Jackie R. Robinson

20 Babe Ruth
21 Tris Speaker
22 Pie Traynor
23 Honus Wagner
24 Ted Williams
25 Cy Young

You can actually find complete sets online, if you're looking. Individual cards can also be had, though those are actually harder to find than complete sets. Go figure.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

CyberAction Digital Trading Cards

Around the year 2000 or so, I came across a CD in the discount bin. The CD read "Major League Baseball: The Year the Records Fell." I looked it over, and it turned out to be a disc with "digital baseball cards" on it. Well, that's all I needed. I paid the $5 and took it home. Now, in those days, CyberAction was still a viable company, doing things with digital trading cards that no one else was doing. Unfortunately, when the "dotcom" bubble burst, so did CyberAction, Inc. Ironically, the address I found using the WayBack Machine still exists, and the phone number is still registered to CyberAction. I wonder if it'd be worth a call to see if I could get the digital cards on the cheap.

The cards pictured in this post came on the CD. You can still find the CD if you search long enough online, and you can usually get it for about 2 bucks. The downside is that you don't have access to the cool cards that came later. I actually managed to download a bunch of their free cards, but I'm sure the files have long since gone to electron heaven.

The files themselves are in Macromedia Director format, which is some kind of file type that my computer loves to hate. There is a CyberAction Viewer that gets installed from the CD, but evidently it can't handle newer version of QuickTime. This means you can look at the front of the cards, but you cannot 'interact' with them.

The 'interaction' part came in the form of an animated 'flipping' of the card to read the back, and many cards came with a short 'highlight video.' Of course, you need to be able to run QuickTime to play the vids, and it shipped with quickTime 3, which is only like 7 or 8 versions behind or something. The most you can do is arrange them on the 'table' as I have done in these photos.

The CD comes with 54 cards plus a bonus card if you register your CD with the included code. Of course, you can't very well unlock it if the site doesn't exist anymore, can you? Or can you? I'm working on it to see if I can 'trick' the program into showing me the bonus Yankees card.

In addition to many 'regular' issue cards, the CD does include Collector's Edition cards of Rod Carew, Al Kaline, and I think Babe Ruth. I really wish I could see the backs of the cards, just for the stats and such. As it is now, though, looking back at these digital cards is kinda cool. I had forgotten about them.

If there is demand for them, I will capture and post ALL the cards on the disc to my blog. Also, if I manage to get a hold of the other .dcr files, I will see what I can do about sharing those and the cyberaction viewer. Since the company is defunct, I don't know the legal ramifications I may run into (or skirt around).

In addition to baseball, they also did Star Trek, wrestling, and some specialty cards like Fructis...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Baseball Card Coffee Table

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from Matt at Collected Studio. He told me about a project that he had recently done involving baseball cards and furniture. That piqued my interest.

I went to his site and found this. A detailed post about the making of this baseball card coffee table. Included is a YouTube video of the making of this piece of art.

I was digging the Animals song on the video. It's one of my favorites and I've been bugging my friend to learn it, so we can record it. That's a bit off track, but so what.

Matt sells these custom tables out of his studio, according to the video. I think this is a great way to use unwanted cards as art. We all have piles of early nineties and late eighties cards that are just taking up space. Why not sacrifice those doubles in the name of art?

Matt has done this process with everything from a lazy susan to mirrors. There's even a snack tray lined with cards and a card storage box. It just goes to show that with a little creativity, you can turn a five cent card into a masterpiece.

Thanks for sharing this project, Matt!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Topps Wal-Mart Black

This year, Topps tried to go stealth on us. In April, Wal-Mart was supposed to sneak indistinguishable blasters into the mix with the regular 2009 Topps blasters. Well, Wal-Mart being Wal-Mart decided to mix them in a month early.

While the product reached the shelves unannounced, the immediate reaction was mixed upon the card collecting community. Some were elated. Some were confused. Some were mad. Some even tried to make a quick buck on eBay.

After the initial dust had settled, Topps in a rare openness, revealed the information about this variation. They included the UPC numbers that identified the blaster as having "black" cards. Topps also confirmed that a different variation was planned for Target stores and gave the UPC numbers for that variation.

I think Topps did the right thing when first confronted. Normally, the word would be deny, deny, deny. I, and many others, appreciated the honesty and frankness of Topps. This makes the madness of a variation project like this, fun and smile inducing.

As for the cards themselves... they look great, in person. They don't scan so well, but they scan well enough. Some people have nothing better to do than to put the cards up to their nose and sniff. There is a faint odor to the cards, but you really wouldn't notice it unless the card was millimeters from your face.

The cards look absolutely gorgeous. The background is darkened and the player is not. This creates a spotlight effect on the player. The result is spectacular on most cards. How would you like to be facing Greg Maddux highlighted, while everything else is blackened? His fastball about to come out of his hand looks fierce. Greg looks scary, as everything else is gone. I would not want to face him in this scenario. Truthfully, I wouldn't want to be in the batter's box against Maddux in pristine conditions. This would scare the life out of me, if I was a batter!