Saturday, July 31, 2010

More From Hygrade

Last week I featured these Cubs cards from Hygrade's Baseball All-Time Greats set.

I knew very little about the cards because there was no copyright information on them at all.

I learned that they were put out by Hygrade, but knew nothing at all about Hygrade.

I thought Hygrade was a hot dog company.

A comment from Chris Stufflestreet mentioned that Hygrade published price guides. That comment rattled around in my head for a while. There was something familiar about that. And then a couple days ago, it finally registered. I have one of those Hygrade price guides!

This is the cover of my book, published in 1987 and I had totally forgotten about it. But I had an idea where it might be and was able to dig it out. The book featured the prices of every card put out by Topps, Fleer, Donruss, and the latest entry into the baseball card arena, Sportflics.

Check out this ad, which has a super special offer for 1987 Topps, Donruss, and Fleer sets. Pick up all three for the bargain price of $124.95. You can buy those sets today for less than $10 each!

There was another Hygrade ad and it includes the cards I featured earlier. They are in the Baseball Card Collecting Kit, which you paid $39.95 for. The cards are the "Card Set of 50 All-Time Greats."

It was fun to look back at the prices for cards and compare them with what they are going for today. It was also kind of scary. Most of the prices for compete sets are down from what Hygrade claimed they were worth in 1987, 23 years ago.

This chart has the Hygrade 1987 "book value," current set average prices taken from Ebay on July 2, 2010, and the difference between the two. If you are looking at baseball cards as a long term investment, look won't like what you see.

YEAR1987 Hygrade2010 EbayDifference

Friday, July 30, 2010

D-Lee Says No to the Angels

I guess Derrek Lee wasn't ready to wave good-bye to Cubs fans just yet!

It came out in the media on Wednesday that Derrek Lee would not allow a trade that would have sent him to the Angels. That was his right as a 5 and 10 man (five years with the same team / ten years in the majors) . And I can't say I blame him. His contract with the Cubs expires this year and it's probable that he will be moving elsewhere. Why go through a mid-season move now and another at the end of the year.

I guess I'm glad that Lee wanted to stick around with the Cubs. While his numbers are down, he still seems like a good person to have on the team and in the clubhouse. Right, Z??

This is the second time that I can think of when a Cubs player refused a trade to the Angels.

The first time happened a long time ago; 1974. And the player to refuse the trade....

...was Ron Santo. In fact, Santo was the first player in MLB history to veto a trade. The 5/10 clause was new during the 1974 off-season. The Cubs were dumping all of the remnants of the 1969 team and had a deal worked out with the Angels.

But Santo had put roots down in the Chicago area and didn't want to be half a continent away from his family. So the Cubs moved on to plan B, and worked out a trade that Santo approved, sending him to....

Notice how Topps used the photo from the 1973 card to make this horrible looking airbrushed traded card.

....the White Sox. The Cubs got four players including pitcher Steve Stone for Santo. The problem for Santo was where to play. The Sox already had an established star at third, Bill Melton. Santo ended spliting time between third, second, and DH. He had the worst year of his career and retired after the season.

Would things have gone better for him if he went to the Angels? We'll never know. Should Lee have gone to California? We shall see how that turns out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random Thoughts on Topps 2010

Now that I've got the complete set and have had some time to go over it, some random thoughts....

....the Franchise History cards are unnecessary. Of course I may be a bit biased, since my team's history is, well, forgettable! But seriously, I'd rather have another card of a player. With only 660 cards in the set, were talking only 21-22 players per team. Players are always getting left out. Topps should try to put in as many as possible.

...I don't like inconsistency and the team cards had them. The backs of series one cards had a picture of the manager. In series two, the picture on the back was a cropped version of the front. Why no managers in series two?

...Why did the Rangers get a team card in both series one and series two, while the Rays got left out of both series?

...There were too many checklist cards. Ten checklists is five cards too many. That could have been five more real players in the set.

...Rookie of the Year cards, but no Topps All Rookie Team. I miss the trophies!

EDIT: I guess there are just slap one on the ROY cards and give the two extra cards to another player!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goodies From Greg

Greg, aka Night Owl, was looking for some '71's a while back. I had a bunch of extras from when I put my set together that were just collecting dust, so I sent some his way.

Yesterday I got a return package full of Cubs.

First of all, he used blue tape on the team bag! In his note, he thought I would already have these cards. I did have many, and they'll find a home in WW Jr's growing Cubs collection. Among the cards were....

Ernie Banks 2010 National Chicle

Billy Williams 2008 Goudey

I'd like WW Jr to know and appreciate some of the Cubs stars from the past, and these cards will help.

Of course, having a card of a budding star never hurts either!

There were some cards that I didn't have, too.

Upper Deck Spectrum is a set I've never collected, but now I've got four Cubs from last year's set.

Topps Gallery is another set I've skipped.

But after getting these, I may have to change that. My original collection goal was team sets, with emphasis on the word team. I like sets that include a bunch of players. But now that I've got a majority of them, I'm turning my attention to smaller sets like Gallery, which had between 150-200 cards per set. That meant only 5-7 Cubs per set. That shouldn't be too hard to track down.

So thanks, Greg for the cards, and another brand to chase!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Printing Problems with 2010 Topps

So are these going to be worth thousands for me? :)

Is this the 2010 version of the 1990 Frank Thomas no-name?

There were some printing problems with my 2010 Topps factory set.

This is the name on #453 Jesse English. The silver is missing. All that's there is the black.

Here is what the whole card looks like. The silver is there on the Topps logo in the upper left corner. So why is it missing on the name? And that wasn't the only one.

The same thing happened on Dusty Hughes' card.

And there were some others with other problems with the silver.

It's cut off at a weird angle on Jenrry Mejia's card.

And one these two, the silver was not lined up in the correct spot.

So how did these get past Topps' quality control department? Does Topps have a quality control department?

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Andre Dawson

It was a classy speech from a classy man. He had some really nice things to say about the Cubs and Cubs fans. He said, "I never knew what it felt like to be loved by a city until I arrived in Chicago. You are the reason I kept playing the game. I can't thank you enough for what you gave to me. You were the winds beneath the Hawk's wings."

He also repeated this phrase several times: "If you love the game, it will love you back." Check out his speech here if you haven't heard it yet.

Today I've got more Star cards of Andre Dawson from 1988. But I'm at a loss as to what set these belong to. They have 1988 copyright date on them but they are numbered from 60 - 71, which means they are part of a larger set. I've scoured the Standard Catalog and found only Star Platinum in 1988 that has Andre Dawson cards #61-70. But the Platinum cards have that label on the front. So I'm not sure what I've got here.

Did anyone collect these when they came out? Does anyone have any ideas?

These look a bit better than yesterday's pink cards; its hard to not look better than baseball cards in pink! They have the exact same descriptions on the front as the pink set. There is one less card because the pinks had a checklist, these don't.

The information on the back is the exact same as the pink set, too. The top card is from the pink set, the bottom is from today's

As you can see here, word for word they are identical; its just presented in a different format.

Thankfully, the pictures are all different too. So go ahead and take a look at ten more cards of Hall of Famer Andre Dawson.

They should have shown him as an Expo, since up to 1988 that was the only team he had post-season experience with.

Has anyone ever seen a card with veritcal printing but a horizontal picture? It looks very weird.

Why show him in an Expos uniform when he won the NL MVP as a Cub?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hawk in the Hall

Andre Dawson's special day has finally arrived and today he officially becomes a member of baseball's Hall of Fame. Congratulations Hawk!

To celebrate, I've got a recent pickup to show you. These are from another late '80's - early '90's company that I had never heard of, Star.

Star's gimmick was putting out sets with multiple cards of a single player. The Dawson cards I've got here are from Star '88 and there are eleven different ones of Andre Dawson.

Star was not putting out high quality stuff. The card stock is pretty flimsy and the information on the back is minimal. And who decided to go with the pink border? Also, the copyright on the back says 1984, but obviously these can't be from 1984.

But it sure was easy to add a bunch of Dawson cards to the collection.

These are numbered 1 - 11, each with a different theme.

#1 The Hawk, has a checklist on the back

#2 Minor League Stats, and we've got him in an Expos uniform. Did they consider Montreal minor league?

#3 Major League Stats, I guess Montreal is major league after all.

#4 Playoff Stats, Dawson was 9 for 40 in two post-season series for the Expos in 1981

#5 All Star Stats, and he's back in Cubbie blue.

#6, 1977 NL Top Rookie, but why not show his as an Expo?

#7, 1987 NL MVP, this is an interesting angle, one you rarely see on a baseball card. I like it.

#8, Records, with Dawson showing off his cannon-like arm.

#9, Career Highlights, with a nice posed shot. I like this one, too.

#10, Personal Data, and we get a double Hall of Fame picture

#11, The Future, do you think those nuns knew something the rest of us didn't?