Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Little National Help, Please

The National Sports Collectors Convention gets underway today in Cleveland.  I't being held at the I-X Center and runs through Sunday.

I won't be there.

I've toyed with the idea of attending the National for a day when it was in Chicago (Rosemont, actually) last year, but decided against it.  The show will be back in Rosemont in 2015 (and 2017, too), so I'll have more chances to go if I want to.

I would like a little help for any of you who read this that will be in Cleveland this weekend.

Would you mind being on the lookout for an oddball card similar to this one?

The card if from the 1989 Broder set of Windy City Superstars.  From a post a couple weeks ago, I was able to figure out that the card I'm missing is #6, Shawon Dunston.  I've never seen the card, so what I've got is my version.  The picture on the front of the real deal will be different.

The back should look exactly like this:

The simple back was easy to create.

I you happen to spot one, grab it for me please! I'll gladly pay you for your trouble.

And then I will be troubled by this missing card no more!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

1978 Dave Kingman Disc Update

A few weeks ago I had a post on my acquisition of the 1978 Saga Dave Kingman disc.

Kong's position is incorrectly shown as 2B, while on the BigT  version, he is correctly shown as OF-1B.

I also found an auction for a BigT disc that looked like this...

...showing the incorrect position.  I assumed that there were two versions, and I immediately bought the 2B disc.

Unfortunately, this is what came...

...with his position as OF-1B.  I emailed the seller to find out what was going on.  He was confused by my email and called me.  I explained what I was expecting to get, and he said he'd check into the situation.

Later in the evening he called my again. It was bad news.  He made a mistake with his listing, using a Saga picture with 2B instead of the BigT picture.  It seems as if there is no error version of the BigT disc.

So here is the scoop: If the position listed is 2B, you've got a Saga disc.  When it says OF-1B, then the disc is BigT.  There is no corrected Saga disc, nor an error BigT.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

1993 Finest Cubs

I've got my run of Topps Finest in hand now, all 144 cards, and without any stickers (yes, I decided to take the protective coating off of the cards).  I'll be showing the brand year by year over the next several weeks.

Today, I've got the initial issue of Finest, from 1993.

The set was groundbreaking in a couple ways.  First, it was Topps' entry into the high-end market.  Seven-card packs had a retail price of $3.99, but as popularity of the product soared, packs were fetching $20 each.

Finest introduced chrome cards to the hobby.  In just a few years, the hobby has gone from cardboard, to glossy paper, and now to chrome.  In addition to chrome, the set also has the first refractor parallels.  Where would rainbows be today without Finest?

The set was a hobby-only product.  Topps limited production to 4,000 cases, meaning there are about 30,000 copies of each base card.

The set had 199 cards, an unusual number.  Why not add one more for an even 200?  Of the 199, there were just six Cubs.


The big three hitters were all included - Grace, Sosa, and Sandberg.


Three pitchers were the others.

I wasn't collecting much in 1993, so I don't have any memory of the wow factor that these must have produced. They're not big deal today, but were real mind-blowers 21 years ago.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Allen and Ginter 2014 - The Complete Set

Along with the flagship brand, the only other complete set I buy each year is Allen and Ginter.  I've had my set for a few days now and it has been safely added to the sheets and binder.

Here are a few random thoughts of my on the 2014 version:

  • As usual, the team with the most cards would be the Yankees, who netted 24 players.  For you math majors, that is 6.8% of the set for a team that makes up 3.3% of the league.
  • On the flip side, the team that was on the short end of the stick was the Twins, with only three cards.
  • Because many of the shots are posed, Ginter usually offers a good look at the players' tattoos.  Here are a few I picked out

Topps keeps putting horizontal cards into Ginter and they continue to look out of place

This card of Sandy Koufax would be nice looking in other sets, but notice how the card has a non-Ginter look to it.  On all of the vertical cards, there is a lightly colored cloud surrounding the person's head.  On the horizontal card, there is no cloud.  The actual backround is used instead.  It just doesn't look right.

  • The set has its usual eclectic collection of "champions."

I don't think Judah Friedlander would have a chance to show up in any other sports related set.  He doesn't seem like much of an athlete but I did enjoy him on 30 Rock.

Is this what you think of when you hear "Gilligan"?  I don't.

If Topps was going to make a Gilligan card, doesn't it have to look... this??

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,638 Cubs cards from 92 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1978 SSPC #250 Steve Ontiveros  I always thought that Steve Ontiveros looked like he wanted to tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.

Anyone else have the same thought?  Tony Steve missed half the 1978 season because of surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder.  He played in only 82 games and hit .243.

1980s: 1988 Fleer Glossy #428 Paul Noce  He was included in Fleer's 1988 set because played in 70 games for the Cubs in 1987.  But he didn't make the team coming out of spring training in 1988 and in July was traded to the Expos.  He didn't surface in the majors until a one game stint with the 1990 Reds, his final MLB appearance.

1990s: 1997 Team Issued #13 Turk Wendell  The Cubs gave away 10,000 sets of these cards on August 7.  They beat the Giants that day 6-3 in front of 24,510 fans.  Wendell did not pitch in the game.  If he had, it would have been his last appearance as a Cub.  He was traded to the Mets on August 8.

2000s: 2008 Bowman #122 Aramis Ramirez  Isn't it cute the way Aramis makes the little circle for the dots in the i's of his name?  It looks like that must be a signature he used early in his career...

....he got a little lazier later on.

2010s: 2012 Topps #114 Matt Garza  The picture on the card is from June 27, 2011.

The Cubs beat the Rockies 7-3 as Garza picked up the win going 7 1/3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs while striking out six.  The win gave him a record of 4-6.  He finished the season with an even 10-10 record and a nice ERA of 3.32.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mini Billy Ginter Collection

Normally I'd call this a rainbow, but it doesn't have a whole lot of color.  Rainbow it's not; collection it is.

Four of the players I collect were in this year's Ginter set.  With three of the four, I'm just settling for a mini card, to go with the base card that is already in the team set.....Ernie, Ryno, and Andre....I'm looking at you.  Sorry boys.

Yes, I'm playing favorites, but I can do that with my all-time favorite player.  That's what "favorite" means!

With Billy, I didn't just settle for one mini card, I got six different versions.

Like I said, there's not much color here.  These are (top row left to right) base mini, A&G back, A&G no number back, and (bottom row) A&G red flag, red border, and black border.

Four of the six have and identical front, which makes the "rainbow" even more boring.  And if you were a skeptic, you may think that I just made four copies of one front and don't even have the three A&G special back cards.

For you, I have this....

the backsides.  The top row is the base, black border, and red border (/33) The three A&G backs are on the bottom, with the number version, the no number, and the red flag, which is hand numbered /25.  The no number is supposed to be /50 but there is nothing on the card to indicate that.

The minis that I don't have are the wood version and the printing plates, which are all 1/1.  The cyan printing plate is on Ebay right now with a BIN of $59.99.  I like Billy Williams, but not that much.

Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 Ginter Cubs Extras and Relics

It seems that a couple years ago Ginter went relic crazy.  In 2010 I had five Cubs relic cards.  In 2011 it was even worse, with twelve Cubs relic cards....yes, 12!  2012 didn't bring much relief, with "only" ten relics.  Things finally calmed down last year as I had to pick up just five.

Moving on to this year, it got really easy.  Only one Cub player has a relic card, Anthony Rizzo.  There were however, two version, the framed mini and the full sized relic.  With only two to chase, I went ahead and got them both.

Topp even used different pictures on both relics and his base card; three cards, three different pictures.  How unusual for them to take the extra step.

I also picked up the three Cubs that have cards in the 100-card insert set Pastime's Pastimes.


Topps included Mr. Cub and the usual two of Castro and Rizzo.  And look, the Rizzo picture is another different one.  Four Ginter cards, four pictures....a new record for Topps!

There is one more Cubs card I picked up, though it is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Among the insert sets is one called Fields of Yore.   You would assume that the cards feature ballparks from the past now gone.  And it does.  The checklist includes Ebbets Field, Cleveland Municipal, Griffith Stadium, Metropolitan Stadium, the original but renovated Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Sportsmans Park, the Astrodome, and Shea Stadium.  They are all stadiums or yore, and all but the Astrodome are gone.

So why the heck is Wrigley Field on the checklist.  It's still being used!! It not an apartment complex (Ebbets), a football stadium (Cleveland Municipal), a hospital (Griffith), a mall (The Met), a park (Yankee Stadium), an empty lot (Tiger Stadium), a Boys and Girls Club field (Sportsman), or a parking lot (Shea).  It's a ballpark...a still in use by a major league team ballpark!!

The picture on the card is from

Opening Day, 2012.  I'm not one to consider 2012 to be "Yore," do you?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ginter 2014 Cubs!

After a downer of a post yesterday, I'm got much more exciting things to share today...Ginter!!

As usual, I placed an order with super case-breaker Brentandbecca, and as usual, he delivered the goods on time and as promised.  My order included the Cubs team set, the Cubs in the Pastime's Pastimes insert set, and one complete set of the base and SPs.  I've got complete sets of Ginter going back to their first set in 2006 and I plan to keep adding a set each year.

As far as the Cubs go, they netted 10 cards on the 350 card checklist. When you subtract the approximately 50 non-baseball people that were included, having ten cards is spot on.

Since the Cubs are still in rebuilding mode, five of the ten Cubs were retired players.


It's nice to see Billy Williams included again and it's even nicer that Topps didn's use that picture of him at the Polo Grounds that's shown up on so many of his recent cards.  This picture is from one of his last two years with the Cubs, 1973 or 1974.  It's a picture that hasn't been used too often by Topps.

This is the only example I have of it in my collection.

The other players were all safe choices, Banks, Dawson, Jenkins, and Sandberg.  Still no Ron Santo--I wonder if we will ever see a new card for him.

The picure of Fergie should look familiar since it was used...

...on his 2014 Archives set.

As far as the current players, only three of the five are still with the team.


Samardzija was traded and Olt and all his 84 strikeout in 212 plate appearances were sent to Iowa.

Junior Lake is the team's new strikeout machine...hopefully he will be joining Olt in Iowa soon.


That just leaves the two All Stars, Castro and Rizzo.

And no Darwin Barney  :(

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bye-Bye Barney

It was a sad day at the Wrigley Wax World Headquarters yesterday when the news came that the Cubs designated Darwin Barney for assignment, ending his tenure as a Chicago Cub.

Anyone interested in buying 190 cards?

I started my Barney collection back in April, 2011.  After a late season call-up in 2010, a hot spring landed him not just a spot on the roster, but a spot in the starting line-up.  I was interested in starting a player collection, I liked the way he played, and he was a kinda under the radar guy.  My Barney collection was born.

He was NL Rookie of the Month in April, 2011---I looked like a genius.  He tailed off a bit towards the end of the year, but had a decent season---I still was looking pretty good.  Though his bat starting sinking, his glove in 2012 was red hot...golden actually, as he tied the ML record for errorless games and won the Gold Glove---I had attached myself to a star for years to come.

And 2013 his bat turned into a wet noodle.  His glove wasn't enough to keep him in the lineup and the Cubs started looking at other options.  This season, though his average was up, well, .230 isn't going to cut it.  He went on a paternity leave and the Cubs called up Arismendy Alcantara.  Alcantara got off to a great start, and Barney was out.  I don't know what they named the new baby, but they should consider renaming it Wally, as in Wally Pipp.

With all the highly touted infield prospects in the Cubs system, I knew that Darwin's time with the Cubs was numbered.  I just didn't think it would happen this quickly and that he would just be DFA'ed.

My Barney collection now stands at 190 cards.  I don't think that he'll be included in any of the other sets to be released this year, so I guess that means that I'm done.  I'm not really interested in getting cards of him with another team if he does get picked up by someone.

It's been fun chasing all his cards, but it's also gotten a bit tiring.  There were just too many parallels with some of the sets.  I enjoyed the player collector experience but I really think that I'll just stick to being a team collector.

So here is what the 190 card Darwin Barney collection looks like.  I've got them in order by year, then brand name.  You may notice several fronts are identical---that's because the backs may be different.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keep the Protective Coating?

Among the many packages awaiting me after vacation were several filled with Finest cards.  I've started sorting and scanning, but have a couple questions.

First, it seems that from 1995 through 1999 Topps put a protective coating sticker on each card.

What have you done with it...kept it on or taken it off?  I'm inclined to rip it off since the cards will be stored in a binder.  I'm also not worried about the resale value of the card.

Question two:  were Finest cards prone to bowing?  I've had a tough time scanning many of them because they are bowed.  I know that there were some bowing issues with Chrome a couple years back.  Was this an issue with Finest, too, or did I just get some bad cards.

Just a quick post's back to the scanner.

Monday, July 21, 2014


This is what your blogger dashboard looks like the day before you go on vacation:

I'm back in cool Michigan now after spending a week in Nevada and Arizona.  A nephew was getting married in Sedona, AZ, and Mrs. WW has always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, so we combined both into our family vacation.

After a week out west, I have to say that those who claim the 100° in Arizona isn't bad because its a dry heat are nuts.  Dry or not, 100° is hot!   The day we got home, it was 68 degrees in Michgan....much better!

Our vacation got off to a very interesting start.  It turned out that our flight from Chicago to Vegas was the New Kids on the Block Party Plane.  A couple dozen fans paid extra to spend the flight with the NKOTB.  The rest of us we included in the party too.

I was never a fan of theirs, but I must say that the five guys seemed genuinely nice.  They didn't act at all like they were too big for us common folk.  They joked, took over the plane's intercom and made goofy announcements, bought drinks for everyone one board, gave free tickets to their Vegas show (we didn't go...weren't in town that day), gave us their newest CD, and...

...even passed out the snacks!  That's Jonathan Knight.  I asked for peanuts and he said he was out.  He then went to the back and got more so I got my peanuts after all.

Here is a Billboard Magazine article about the flight.  MTV has a little something, too.  They shot a video of the flight, too

I could see the back of my head for about half a second, but otherwise, no closeups of the WW family.

Despite the heat, the trip was nice.  We spent some time driving up and down the strip in Vegas, a place that isn't really my cup of tea, but I can at least say that I've been there.

The Hoover Dam was our next stop.  It's very big and very impressive!

The wedding was in Sedona, Arizona and while there we got so see some beautiful scenery.  This was taken as we hike to Cathedral Rock.

After the wedding it was on to the Grand Canyon.  Again, very big and very impressive.

We also spent a day a bit north of the Grand Canyon, in Glen Canyon.  The Colorado River is much calmer there and we spent 3 1/2 hours on a smooth raft trip.

From there it was back to Vegas.  WW Jr. wanted to see Penn and Teller's show, so we caught that our last night.  The most impressive thing is that both Penn and Teller greet the audience in the lobby after the show and will pose for pictures and sign autographs for anyone who wants one.  They stay as long as it takes to accommodate everyone, including WW Jr.  Major League players could learn something from them.

We flew home the next day.

I was on vacation, but my mailman was not.  A huge pile of PWEs and bubble mailers were waiting for me, and I'll be getting into them tomorrow.