Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For Those Who Still Care

I've not gone away.

Real life has just been consuming any time I might have to write real articles here. Hopefully things will be less hectic sooner rather than later and I can get back to organizing that trading night.

I've also not forgotten about anyone who I owe cards to. I just ask that you please be patient with me. My word is always good and I hope that I can make up for getting my half of trades together so late by finding some really cool stuff to send to you guys.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

2008 Topps heritage- The Hits!

Okay, back to basics. Here's every non-base (or black back parallel) I pulled from two hobby boxes, two blaster boxes, and eleven single packs of 2008 Heritage so far. If you see anything you like (except the Carmona and the Beckett, those are for mine and my brother's personal collections) let me know!

Take it away...

2008 Topps Heritage- The Hits from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trade Night Logistics #1

Okay, here's where I start to actually plan this thing out.

For everyone who responded positively to the idea of a mass-meeting/trade night via some internet chat room, (and for those who have not yet responded, there's still time!) I pose this question:

Which night of the week works best for you? Figure on setting aside maybe 2 hours for this event.

Let me know!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Holy crow am I frustrated right this second.

I watched what is probably my all-time favorite movie, Searching For Bobby Fischer, the other night and since then I've had a bit of a chess bug. I used to be pretty decent at chess back when I played it a lot (1999-ish). I didn't always win, but I always hung in to the bitter end. Well, nearly ten years of not playing has left me incapable of scoring a victory over even the most novice of chess players.

The reason this is so frustrating is not because I don't like losing. I don't love losing, but if I really feel like I'm playing my best and someone still beats me, I'm not one to whine about it. No, what is so frustrating is that I KNOW FOR A FACT that I'm a better chess player than what I've been putting on display lately would make anyone believe.

And I cannot figure out what on earth is wrong with me. I cannot figure out what I used to do that I'm not doing now. Basically, I know how the pieces move and I've lost everything else I had learned about chess. I have NO idea what happened to my brain in the last ten years, but if my head were an apartment building, I'd be standing outside the door where Mr. Chess Skills lived ten years ago just knocking and knocking, wondering if he even lives there anymore.

Arrrrrrgh. I'm actually giving myself a headache.

And I actually have stuff in the works for this place too, but I'm too frustrated to do anything right now.

Excuse me while I go bang my head on something hard for a while.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Funny Cards: Mellie Hapsbeef

It's time for another funny card all-star.

I present to you the slightly unstable-looking Mellie Hapsbeef. Mellie plays "bug zapper" for Los Pogna Resa.

LPR have the best uniforms we've seen so far. They seem to combine elements of the 1980 and 1991 White Sox uniforms, and Mellie makes it look good.

The only other thing that we can determine from the front of this card is that games in this league are attended by large amounts of shrubbery.

To the back!

This sort of looks like a Fleer-inspired back, with the little picture in the upper left (in which Mellie looks a lot less nutso.) There's a star with the letter "s" (or is that a number 5?) in the upper right and a whole mess of stats that we'll try and analyze.

Aside from the first two years of his career spent with the "Brogs," Hapsbeef has played for a different team every year he's been in this league. Here's how that breaks down:

1987-88: Brogs
1989: Zino Piffy
1990: Sholde
1991: Running Cowards
1992: Twist Flintstone
1993: Lime Squeezers
1994: Bag Faces
1995: Make-A-Mask Promos
1996: Fresno (Playing for Fresno is kind of a running joke on these cards. Dropping that in the middle of all these oddly-monikered teams always made us laugh.)
1997: Ultraviolet Sox
1998: Wind Up Toy Dragons
1999: Park Ranger Hats
2000: Los Pogna Resa

As for the stats themselves, they're pretty straightforward. Home runs, runs batted in and then... zones? I think that tracks how many times he "zoned out" during a season, and man did this guy zone out a lot during his career.

I guess he had slightly above-average power, since he topped the ten home run mark five times and the twenty RBI mark also five times. Actually, if you're hitting fifteen home runs and end up with only eighteen RBI for the year, as was the case when he played for the Park Ranger Hats, something's not exactly right. Maybe he was the leadoff hitter. I don't know.

The bio reads: "Mellie was the best guy in the league who was not voted to the all-star game or the hair-flinging squadron."

Good for him.

Funny Cards: Brondug Ramsey-Stapler

For today's funny card we present Brondug Ramsey-Stapler.

Brondug held the position of wishing well cleaner for Denise's Tea in 2000. Aside from his mad scientist hairdo, this guy looks more like a baseball player than anyone we've featured so far. Clearly he's wearing a jersey and what appear to be baseball pants. He even has an outstretched arm waiting to catch a ball. His team sports a somewhat snazzy logo too.

Let's learn more about him, shall we? My scanner cut off some of the back of this card, but it's all text (a la' 1949 Bowman), so I will just re-type it here, word-for-word.

"Life Story

Born in 1927 and soon fixing acorn catapults, Brondug became a member of the New Brunswick farm team in 1940, only to be released three days later. In 1980, he was hired at Tim Horton's and was amazing at pie slicing. He fell off a log in 1982 and played the banjo for a year before walloping 32 home runs for the t-ball squad his son played on. Had a good year in 2000."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Funny Cards: Hector "Goodness Gracious" Wintub

Today's funny card spotlights one of the stranger players in whatever league these players are in.

Hector "Goodness Gracious" Wintub is apparently the catcher for the Choice Sirloin Sox. I say "apparently" because the front of this card is sending a ton of mixed signals.

As you can see, Hector is listed as a catcher (the card very helpfully tells us that "catchers catch the ball") and the card, from the "Roxaleenia Set," lists his team as the Choice Sirloin Sox in the header. He is clearly wearing a Sox jersey in the picture. However, the card also tells us that he was "traded to Bonbotomy" and that he is "now with Chinchillas." Hmm.

Wintub also seems to play in a league where the catcher stands in front of home plate while the batter (our cousin Steve Zola in this instance) stands next to the plate and faces the third base dugout.

Hector's uniform, as you can see, is made up of a relatively standard-looking baseball jersey, huge bell bottom pants and a catcher's mitt that looks like some sort of lobster claw.

Maybe the back will help explain this insanity.

Hmm... no such luck.

It seems that Hector, who has no nose, has had a very sporadic career, missing stretches of three to six years at a time on more than one occasion.

In 1988, he played for Ra-Limo, getting injured twice and being liked by only ten percent of fans. In 1989, he played for Mashatmo where his number of injuries increased by one and his like-ness percentage dropped by four tenths of a point. Apparently this was unacceptable because Wintub followed up that season by dropping out of baseball for six years.

Re-emerging in 1995 with the H. Ross Perots, he smacked nineteen homers, only had "a few" injuries and posted the highest like-ness percentage of his career.

Three years later he played for the Twins, walloping twenty five round-trippers, playing the whole season injury-free, and tying for the league lead in like-ness percentage... with a .09% likeness rating? I have to admit, I now have no idea what this category is supposed to track.

Another three years go by and the Bob Barker Nunheeb Tribe signs him up only to have him get injured ninety times that season. For crying out loud.

His bio reads:

"Wintub was traded from the Bob Barker Nunheeb Tribe to the Choice Sirloin Sox for manager Chup Scotlock and 2nd base coach Umpire McLewiston."

That seems like an unprecedented move, trading a catcher for a manager and a coach. I didn't even know baseball had second base coaches.

Finally, the "70's Corner" portion of the card offers up a "Baseball Majic Word Scramble"


That's a head scratcher all right...

Oh, and we never did find out what "Bonbotomy" was or what "now with Chinchillas" meant.

Goodness gracious indeed.

2002 Upper Deck Vintage Needs

Updated 4/22/08, here are the cards I'm still missing from the 2002 Upper Deck Vintage set:

3, 7, 19, 33, 46, 62, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 78, 79, 81, 110, 117, 148, 150, 180, 183, 185, 188, 218, 220, 247, 250, 254, 276, 277

Monday, April 21, 2008

Funny Cards: Forlona Gretzky

My brother and I were always interested in expanding out hobbies to encompass other hobbies we had. I'm sure we didn't do this with any conscious thought; it just seemed to happen all the time.

Along with collecting baseball cards, another of our big hobbies was drawing. Naturally, it took very little time to combine the two and start drawing our own cards.

We didn't draw real players. That was no fun to us. We liked to make stuff up whenever possible, so we used real major league teams and filled them out with our own cast of characters.

At first, the cards were really simple. Since the first baseball cards we collected (and therefore the only cards available for reference material) were '88 Topps, our cards looked a lot like '88 Topps cards. We had the little 45-degree angle banner in the bottom right with the player's name and the team name in big letters up top and that left us a lot of room on the index card to draw the players' picture.

The players we created in 1988 appeared on various cards over the years until 1995, which was the last year we made a serious effort to draw a new set. Every year we added new rookies. Maybe some players retired, maybe some players got traded. We tried to make sure the backs of the cards reflected this made up history accurately.

At first, the backs served only to provide the most basic info. We had the player's birthdate, which hand he threw with, if he batted lefty or righty, and a year by year breakdown of which teams he had played for. 1995 was the only year, however, that we included actual stats on the backs of the cards. Before that, a player's yearly output was represented by squiggly lines running horizontally across the card.

We drew in pen for some reason, and we were bound to make mistakes, so there were lots of half-finished cards floating around as a result.

Somewhere along the way we had the brilliant idea to "finish" these cards in the most insane way possible, filling them out with ridiculous statistical categories and turning these players into guys no one in their right mind would ever want on their team.

Eventually, this got to be more fun than drawing the "real" cards and as late as 2001 we were still drawing these completely off-the-wall misfits.

At my parents house this weekend, my brother and I spen an hour or so going through all these cards and laughing hysterically. I figured that baseball card fans might appreciate some of them, so I'll scan and post the more hilarious ones. And really, you do sort of have to be a baseball/baseball card fan to appreciate some of the humor.

First up on the hit list is Forlona Gretzky.

As you can see, Forlona is the mascot-slash-first baseman for the Pottsberg Pirates. He also appears to be some sort of actual pirate himself, sporting an eyepatch, hoop earring and a shiny (gold?) tooth.

The back of the card is where things really get hilarious.

Right off the bat, we have some fancy interpretation of his name, using two totally different typefaces for first and last.

His "Fun Facts" are that he is "... a father of many fathers!" and also "He spends money!"

The statistical categories on back are extremely specific, highlighting "Shots Heard 'Round The World," "Times Seen Cackling Like A Chicken, " and "Shortest Distance From Second Base On Attempted Steals." As ever, categories in which he led the league are denoted in italics, with a diamond added if he tied for the league lead in something.

At this point in his career, he had played five years for five different teams. In 1997, while playing for "L.A." he led the league with 128 times seen cackling like a chicken. He also fared well in that category in 1998, cackling 116 times for the "Lou Easy Undies" to tie for the league lead.

For the Pirates in 2000, he was only 9/16 of an inch away from stealing his first base ever, and the info at the bottom of the card reveals that Gretzky is "a well-travelled veteran" who "plans to steal one base before retirement."

I wonder if he ever did...

Let's Trade: 2008 Topps Heritage

Updated 4/29/08, here is my want list for 2008 Topps Heritage, along with the doubles I have available for trade. Right now, I'm mainly interested in just completing the very basic green-back set. After I've done that, then I'll be more likely to try and get all the black backs and insert subsets.

2008 Topps Heritage Needs:

7, 11, 16, 22, 60, 61, 81, 82, 84, 91, 98, 110, 117, 135, 150, 177, 228, 231, 323, 330, 335, 336, 338, 370, 411, 415, 418, 421, 426, 429, 430, 433, 435, 436, 437, 438, 443, 444, 445, 446, 447, 455, 456, 457, 458, 464, 465, 467, 468, 469, 477, 479, 481, 482, 485, 487, 490, 492, 493, 494, 497, 499, 500

2008 Topps Heritage Doubles:

1, 14, 27, 30, 31, 33, 33, 36, 46, 47, 51, 51, 51, 53, 53, 55, 59, 64, 65, 69, 75, 77, 77, 85, 86, 87, 93, 101, 105, 105, 105, 108, 111, 111, 115, 118, 121, 121, 123, 129, 132, 134, 134, 138, 138, 140, 143, 151, 152, 156, 160, 165, 166, 170, 171, 189, 189, 189, 190, 199, 200, 202, 204, 205, 211, 213, 214, 215, 215, 216, 217, 220, 233, 235, 236, 237, 238, 240, 242, 245, 247, 248, 248, 248, 253, 255, 255, 260, 260, 260, 261, 264, 265, 268, 269, 269, 272, 273, 273, 273, 276, 279, 280, 283, 283, 291, 291, 294, 294, 296, 298, 299, 304, 307, 312, 316, 316, 317, 317, 317, 325, 326, 328, 333, 334, 340, 341, 345, 346, 348, 352, 353, 353, 357, 358, 358, 362, 363, 364, 368, 372, 374, 378, 380, 383, 384, 387, 389, 390, 390, 394, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 400, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 414, 414, 419, 423, 461, 476, 478, 478

Black-Back Doubles:

18, 28, 65, 71, 197, 211, 265, 283, 283, 283, 286, 350, 360

Short Print Doubles:


There is, of course, one short print that I am especially looking for:

Consider this card "always in need."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Things Done To Cards

Steve from White Sox Cards has recently opened up his Things Done To Cards blog to anyone who wants to write for it.

Here's my first post.

When you're done with that, read all the other posts on that site too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pack-Breakin' Time: 1991 Topps Cello

A couple of days ago, I decided to get another hobby box of 2008 Topps Heritage. Well, I can't just go and get one box and be done with it. No no. I have to satisfy my urge to open with a few boxes of easily affordable packs.

In addition to the box of Heritage, I also picked up a 1992 Donruss series one box, a 1992 Topps Stadium Club series two box, and a 1991 Topps Cello box, from which this pack was pulled.

As you can see it would have cost a dollar in 1991. I've never opened a pack at work before. This is my first. Let's dig in!

Well, actually, hang on. As you can see on the wrapper, this was the year Topps randomly inserted one of every card they ever made between 1951 and 1990. I've personally never known anyone who pulled so much as 1986 common, let alone a 1957 Mantle or something. Oh well. Here's to hope. Now let's dig in.

769 Tim Sherrill
334 Todd Benzinger
529 Marc Newfield (#1 Draft Pick)
735 Ron Darling
706 Brad Arnsberg
152 Mickey Hatcher
14 Dennis Lamp
20 Pedro Guerrero
101 Rob Ducey
488 Jeff Manto

This is a cool card. Manto was a great player for the Buffalo Bisons in the mid to late 90s. His number 30 is only the third number to be retired by the team.

386 Cecil Fielder AS
365 Mike Schooler
140 Fred McGriff

492 Ernie Whitt
514 Mike Stanton
619 David Wells
194 Xavier Hernandez
55 Jeffrey Leonard
747 Tony Fossas
759 Oscar Azocar
641 Mike Henneman
353 Tony Castillo
280 Bret Saberhagen

I just saw him on the Field Of Dreams DVD talking with Kevin Costner, Johnny Bench and George Brett.

Topps Instant Win Game
655 Erik Hanson
579 Roger Craig MGR
558 Otis Nixon
485 Terry Pendleton
671 Andy McGaffigan
21 Joe Morgan MGR
284 Billy Spiers
377 Rene Gonzales
454 Kevin Appier (Trophy Card)
563 Brent Knackert
420 Bobby Thigpen

Overall, not too bad. I feel like if I had paid a dollar for this pack back in 1991, I would have been pretty pleased. No random retro Topps card, but a few big names for the time (McGriff, Fielder, Appier, Thigpen), a couple managers and a number one draft pick makes for a decent selection.

Oh, and then there's Oscar Azocar:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why? Why? Why?

I can afford it, really.

I'm not in dire straits by any means.

Maybe I don't have as much of a savings as the next guy, but I do okay.

Then why do I feel bad about just buying another hobby box of Topps Heritage for 69 bucks?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baseball Legends

Soon, I will be contributing to a website that many of you already know about, Baseball Legends. Go check it out and read what people who love baseball have to say about the players that inspire that love.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Casey Blake

I was just thinking about this and realized for as much as I like Casey Blake, I only have four, that's right, four of his cards.

I pulled these two from packs:

And I got these two at that card show I went to this past weekend (and that I will, really, write about very soon.)

So what's the point? The point is this: I need more Casey Blake cards. Anything I don't have, I'm interested in. Base cards, parallels, refractors, autographs, game-used, anything. As long as he isn't on my list of players I collect (see the left-hand column) chances are very good that I will trade you cards of your favorite players for any Blake cards I don't have.

Some Loose Ends

Just a quick note that I've added Wax Breaker to my list of blogs worth checking out.

Also, while I'm here, I might as well remind you that we are still looking for more participants for "The Great Card Blogger Trading Summit" or whatever we decide to call it. Early details about this idea can be read here. Should be fun.

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break 7

Packs 19-21, accompanied by the exciting vocal stylings of The Marcels!

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break 7 from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

Well, after getting burned-out on Heritage much like everyone else did, I walked into Target this weekend and saw some blaster boxes of this stuff for the first time and WHAMMO! Right back into it. I didn't really pull anything great from that blaster. In fact, the one Indian I pulled that I actually needed was OTM. Still, it was enough to remind me I hadn't finished posting the results of my hobby box break so here we are.

I like the two Minnie Minoso inserts a whole lot since they shine a spotlight on his Cleveland days.

I'd totally forgotten I had that Joba card too. I saw it on A Pack A Day and thought "Even though I hate the Yankees, that's still a cool looking card." I actually almost bought it for 60 cents at a card show I went to this past weekend (more on that in an upcoming post) and now I'm glad I didn't.

That photo on the Carlos Guillen All-Star card was clearly taken on the same day as the photo on the Jeremy Bonderman card from "Heritage Break 6" when the two of them got lost in the Hundred-Acre Woods on their way to the game.

I like that Jason Marquis card: "What? Me? A picutre? For my own baseball card? Wowee!"

Then there are the cards I like just because they are well-composed: Justin Morneau, Jack Wilson, Mark Teahen. What do these cards have in common? They look like baseball cards! No jungles or mountains or portait-studio backdrops anywhere, just stadiums, outfield walls, rows of empty seats.

Three more packs to go, then my only excuse for not picking up another hobby box of these will be, well, money.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just An Idea...

I was thinking, what if a bunch of us card bloggers got together in some sort of online chat room somewhere on a pre-determined day at a pre-determined time and just traded cards?

I'm not entirely sure how this would work exactly, but if enough of us like the idea we can work out the wrinkles later.

Just let me know if this sounds good to any of you. It's just something I'd been thinking about recently.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Adventures Of Links

Being fairly new to this whole blog thing I doubt you'll be hearing about any of these sites here for the first time, but that doesn't mean they're not worth checking out.

Here are the latest additions to my blog roll.

Baseball Cards & More

Capewood's Collections

Cincinnati Reds Cards

Dinged Corners

Indians Baseball Cards. Always.

Orioles Card "O" The Day

I kill a lot of time visiting these and all the sites on my blog roll.

I LOVE This Set!

Okay, so maybe I'm six years late with this review but I wasn't collecting in 2002 so it's new to me.

Sunday was my birthday and there's a tradition in my family where everyone tries to be the first one to wish "happy birthday" to you when it's your day.

My mom called me at 7:30 Sunday morning. These birthday calls usually happen at around 6am, so I can only assume that my mom thought she'd let me sleep in since it was the weekend.

I had planned on waking up at eight anyway so I could go to the flea market on my way to my parents' house. I didn't have any specific ideas of what I wanted, but I knew that if I could find some relatively newer unopened baseball stuff that wasn't going to cost me an arm and a leg I'd be happy.

There are basically four guys I deal with at this flea market.

The first guy has hundreds of boxes of singles from 1980-present priced at one cent each or $6.50 for an 800 card box. He also has some (mostly) overpriced late 80s and early 90s vending and wax boxes.

The second guy deals mostly with newer stuff. He opens a lot of current-year product and I've gotten a bunch of Heritage singles from him recently as well as a few regular Topps Baseball inserts I was needing.

The third guy I go to has probably the best selection of new and old wax packs in the place. His prices per pack are fair, especially on the new stuff, and his selection of pre-1986 wax packs is second-to-none at this dirt mall.

The fourth guy has a decent selection of older (1987-1995) wax packs and boxes priced pretty fairly, as well as a good selection of newer stuff. He also has the best prices on supplies, so I usually get my top loaders and boxes from him.

After quick stops at the first three, I headed over to the fourth to see what I could get in the way of newer wax boxes. He had a lot of 2008 stuff at the same prices everyone else had 2008 stuff going for, and he also had a wax box of 1989 Donruss that I was seriously considering picking up until I saw a small-ish, mostly black wax box featuring Ken Griffey Jr. and sporting the words "Vintage Baseball." What was this?

I asked the dealer (Brian is his name) what the box was exactly. He said it was 2002 Upper Deck Vintage Baseball and that the cards looked like 1971 Topps.

Now I remembered! I had seen examples of these cards somewhere (not sure where, but they were familiar) and thought they looked pretty neat. Still, I had definitely not seen many (if any at all) in person and I asked if I could see the box close up.

Holding it in my hands, I saw that there were 24 packs of ten cards in the box, pre-priced at $1.99 per pack. I didn't really want to spend a ton of money on Sunday so I had only brought 25 dollars with me. I was sure that this would be something I had to pass up, no matter how cool I thought it looked.

I started trying to figure out how to come back next weekend with more money and I asked how much he wanted for the box.


"I'll take it."

I didn't even have to think about it. Quickly, I pulled the twenty from my pocket and handed it over. Given the pre-pricing I was expecting this box to be sold for twice as much at least. I couldn't believe my birthday luck.

I excitedly drove home to my parents' house and couldn't wait to sit on their couch in the living room opening packs just like when I was a kid.

Well, this box was certainly everything I could have hoped for.

Out of 24 packs, I didn't pull one double.

I got six insert cards :

Sandlot Stars- Derek Jeter
Sandlot Stars- Chipper Jones
Night Gamers- Derek Jeter
Night Gamers- Albert Pujols
A Day At The Park- Mark McGwire
A Day At The Park- Sammy Sosa

I pulled a Canseco (in a White Sox uniform) and a Dante Bichette back-to-back in the same pack and handed them directly to my brother, as those are his favorite two players.

From one box of 240 cards, I have the set 77% completed (232/300).

I love the look of these cards. They really nailed the vintage feel very well.

In short, I am now trying to complete this set that I knew next to nothing about less than a week ago.

I am planning on going back this weekend to see if Brian has any more of these boxes. If not, I'll probably need some help, so here's my current need list, in the style of Jason from The Writer's Journey:

2002 Upper Deck Vintage

Missing: 23% (68 out of 300)

Cards needed: 2, 3, 7, 13, 19, 21, 33, 35, 36, 39, 40, 41, 46, 50, 57, 62, 63, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 78, 79, 81, 86, 93, 108, 110, 111, 117, 121, 128, 141, 146, 148, 150, 153, 156, 164, 176, 180, 181, 183, 185, 188, 189, 191, 196, 197, 198, 210, 214, 218, 220, 231, 245, 247, 248, 250, 254, 265, 270, 276, 277, 278, 279, 296

Any help would be appreciated. If you have any of the above mentioned cards, let me know and we'll work out some trades.

In closing, here's a few examples of this fantastic set:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Has Anyone Seen These Yet?

Last night the bass player in my band gave me a pack of cards for my birthday. It was a pack of 2008 Topps series one baseball, and he said he found it at the dollar store. Sure enough, right there on the wrapper was a big "$1". The pack also conatined seven instead of ten cards.

I've never seen these anywhere.

On the surface, this seems like a decent deal. I mean, most places charge $1.75 minimum for a pack of ten cards; here, you get seven for a dollar.

I had moderate luck with my pack. I pulled a card of my favorite Indian, Casey Blake, and also some other cool cards that escape me right now. I didn't really look over the wrapper, but I'm curious if some of these packs contain inserts or if it's all just base cards. I also didn't get any gold cards, so I don't know.

I guess I really should have researched this article better.

Anyway, has anyone else seen these? A dollar a pack for current-year base Topps? What is this? 1995?

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Productive Birthday and A Question About Mail

Well, yesterday it was my birthday. I hung one more year on the line...


Okay, yesterday was really my birthday and all week I was looking forward to getting up nice n' early (something I rarely do on Sundays) to head out to the old flea market and then off to my parents for a nice home-cooked birthday meal.

Well, neither of these planned activities disappointed in the least.

While at the flea, I picked up a few cards that I will be writing about very soon and also a box of cards that I got far cheaper than I would have expected.

While at my parents, I managed to pick up all the issues from the first year of Baseball Cards magazine that I will be doing articles on (1989), picked up my 89 Score box so I can finally let Jason know what I have to help him with his set, and also got to sort through a good chunk of my collection looking for cool cards to put in my soon-to-be-better-than-ever baseball album.

Now here's the question I have for all you experts out there:

What is the best way to mail about 400 cards to someone? My only concern is that the cards get to their destination safely.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm Still Here

I'm just taking a break from those Heritage videos and waiting until I go to my parents' this weekend to get my Baseball Cards magazines. I've also gotten really behind on my sorting and I know some people (well, Jason from The Writer's Journey) are waiting to hear about my 89 Score. So I'm trying to get to that as well.

Went to the flea market this past weekend and bought three packs of the aforementioned Heritage. Got an Aramis Ramirez auto redemption card. Other than that, nothing great. I'll probably go back on Sunday and hope for some birthday magic to strike, in card form!

I'm gonna quit now before this post gets any more lame.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break, part 6

They're baaaaack...

Box Break 6 from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

Well, there's a couple nice things in there.

That Lance Berkman jersey card is pretty nifty if I do say so myself. I appreciate that there's part of a pinstripe and not just a plain white swatch.

The Magglio Ordonez insert card looks, well, un-attractive, but in a 50s kinds way, so that makes it a little bit cooler.

Besides those two cards, there's the Franklin Gutierrez and Greg Maddux base cards and not a whole lot else for me to get excited about in these three packs.

As always, contact me if you see anything you like!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Collecting Memories: 1988 Topps Baseball

For as long as I've liked baseball, I've been a fan of the Cleveland Indians.

Living in Buffalo, people assume the reasoning behind this is that the Bisons are Cleveland's AAA affiliate team. Well, although that may be true, I started following baseball in 1988, at which time Buffalo's minor league club was affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, 1987 was the last year the Bisons would be affiliated with the Indians until 1995.

No, quite simply, I'm a fan of the Indians because both of my parents are from Cleveland. My brother, however, was an A's fan since his favorite player was Jose Canseco.

1988 was also the first year that my brother and I started saving the baseball cards we bought. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we had purchased baseball cards before. I distinctly remember my dad teaching me to sort 1986 Topps cards by team and I can also recall opening up packs of 1987 Topps cards (those green wrappers are what I remember most) on a TV tray in my living room while drinking a grape soda from a glass bottle. What happened to these cards I'll never know, but very likely they were thrown out when my family moved in the summer of '87.

This memory is a little fuzzy, but in the spring of 1988 my brother and I went with my mom to visit... somebody. I don't remember who. It was definitely a Saturday. On the way home my mom stopped to get us something to drink at a convenience store and we asked her to look and see if they had any Garbage Pail Kids. They did not. Instead, she came out with two packs of 1988 Topps baseball cards for each of us. I remember being disappointed that these cards weren't Garbage Pail Kids and being jealous that my brother got a checklist card, but that's about all I remember about those packs.

Since at the time they were merely a substitute for what we really wanted, my brother and I pretty much forgot about those baseball cards until the day before school started that September. My mom took us to the local convenience store and we looked for, you guessed it, Garbage Pail Kids.


Not ones to go home empty-handed, we were determined to use our allowance on something. He bought five packs of 1988 Topps baseball (The Real One!) and I bought...

...ten packs of ALF cards.

My brother got one double in those five packs- Mike Loynd. He gave the card to me and it was the first 88 Topps card I ever saved. The cards from the packs we got in the spring failed to re-surface.

All throughout the fall that year, we'd buy some packs whenever we could. It's funny now that I can afford a wax box of the stuff pretty much whenever the mood strikes me. I remember when saving up allowance and getting five packs was a big deal. I remember how the outside of those packs smelled and how much I loved it. I also remember being forced to buy a pack of cards from a drugstore after the lady behind the counter caught me smelling it a little too vigorously. "Don't put that back in the box after you've had your mouth on it," she said. Embarrassed, I didn't have the courage to tell her I didn't have my mouth on it, I just enjoyed the smell... aaaand now I'm getting off-track here.

For some reason, my brother and I had a weird fascination with those "leaders" cards. I remember looking through friends' piles and pulling out all of those vignetted beauties I could find. Naturally, they assumed I knew something they didn't and were very reluctant to trade them. The day I came home from school having just traded for a beat-up looking Twins leaders card was a proud day. It was the first time I had acquired a leaders card my brother did not have first.

Another thing my brother and I were always excited to get were manager cards. Especially Doc Edwards and Tony LaRussa, at the time the managers of our favorite teams. We really liked the team checklist feature on the back of them, because at that time, we sorted our cards by team.

Naturally, I tried to collect the complete Indians team. By mid-fall, I had all of them except one.

Tommy Hinzo.

I had never heard of the guy at the time, and his career, as you can see, didn't last very long but I will never ever forget that name as long as I live.

Try as I did, I never pulled him from a wax pack. Neither did my brother. None of my friends had him in their piles. The only person I knew of who had a Tommy Hinzo card was this kid my brother and I hung around with. He had the complete factory set of 1988 Topps. He also had a saying- "One to keep, one to sell, one to trade!" At least he let me see the card. He'd never trade it to me (and I tried really, really hard to get it; I have to believe Mattinglys were offered at some point), but at least I knew what I was looking for now.

Well, November rolled around and by this time my brother and I had started pulling more doubles from packs than cards we needed, so we started buying Donruss baseball (Fleer was nowhere to be found in my parts until 1990 and then you couldn't avoid the stuff if you tried).

Guess who one of the first cards I pulled was?

So there I sat with my 1988 Topps Indians team set with the 88 Donruss Tommy Hinzo that my mom convinced me was just as good rounding things out.

I eventually ended up with the 88 Topps version but I have no idea how. I don't think that bratty kid ever relented and I know my brother got a complete factory set that year for Christmas, but I don't think it came from him. Probably I don't remember because by the time I got it it was likely 1989 and I was too shocked to see cards of Ron Kittle and Terry Francona in Indians uniforms to care much about last year's team set.

Still, it's a pretty cool looking card. And by cool I mean it looks like the photo was shot on an absolutely miserable day for baseball.

Whenever I run across one of these cards today (and it's still not a common occurrence; I've bought maybe two wax boxes, three cello boxes and at least three vending boxes and have maybe 3 of these cards total) it's as exciting as it would have been had I pulled it back when I needed it in '88. It's like I needed this one card for so long that it's kind of programmed in my mind to be excited when I come across it, no matter how many I might already have.

You'd think, having started collecting in 1988, that I'd have memories of looking for that Canseco or McGwire or Bo Jackson card. Nope. Saw lots of those at the time. They were cool, but I didn't need them for my Indians team set.

By the way, I think it was fitting that it took me about a half hour of internet searching to find the image I used in this article. Still as hard to find for me as he ever was, that crafty Tommy Hinzo.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Baseball Cards Magazine and The Great TV Auction

Remember these?

My brother and I had a bunch of them when we were kids. I specifically remember reading that Mattingly issue (probably the Q & A section- always my favorite) on the floor in my living room in the summer of '89 after getting back from swimming in my uncle's pool down the street. Don't know why. That's what that specific issue reminds me of.

And now, a little info about me: I work in TV. Specifically, I work in public television. You know, PBS.

Not sure how many of you watch PBS all that regularly but once a year many of the affiliate stations suspend regular programming for as many as ten days to hold The Great TV Auction.

In the days before eBay, the Auction was a great place to get deals on everything from collectables to wine, from artwork to ice cream, from dinner packages to oil changes and so on...

The Auction was always a lot of fun for me since it was the only time literally everyone on staff was involved specifically with a TV production. Whereas most of our productions had a crew of ten at the most, when the Auction rolled around, it was like having a crew of seventy-five people, plus a bunch more volunteer workers, all putting what could sometimes be described as total chaos over the airwaves.

Well, I worked every Auction from 2000 until its final year in 2006, but 2001 is the year I got us all into the biggest pickle... no wait.

2001 was the year that someone donated a complete set (literally every single issue) of Baseball Cards Magazine to be auctioned off. Employees were absolutely forbidden from bidding on items but I knew I wanted those magazines. Problem was, not only was I an employee, but the guy who donated them set their value at 600 dollars. Way too rich for my blood.

Apparently, way too rich for anyone else in Buffalo and Southern Ontario as well because they didn't even get one single bid.

Anything that doesn't sell on-air is put up for sale in our studio at the "after Auction sale", usually at one-third of its value. At 200 dollars, it was still way too rich for my blood. The sale was open to the public and is two days long, so I was sure that some die-hard collector was going to come to the sale that weekend and scoop them up and kill my chances of having back an important part of my childhood.

But, even at one-third of their (probably over-estimated) value, they didn't sell.

Monday rolls around and as part of the studio crew, I'm brought in to help tear down the sale and pack up the things that no one wanted and take them to a storage facility. Needless to say I was thrilled t osee the magazines were still there.

Hoping to catch the Auction Manager in a good mood, I quickly decided that I could realistically offer fifty dollars for the box. I figured fifty dollars was better than the zero dollars that had been offered for them so far, so she might be inclined to make that deal.

I casually walked over and looked in the box like I had never seen it before, trying not to appear too excited. I caught the Auction Manager's attention and called her over.

"What, um, what do you think you're going to do with this box?" I asked.

"What's in it?"

"Oh, you know, just some old junky magazines."

"Well, we're not allowed to keep any newspapers or magazines at the warehouse so we'll probably just throw them away." she said.

"Um, well, can I take them?"

"Knock yourself out." And she walked away.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I immediately wrote my name in huge letters on the side of the box, accompanied by the words "DO NOT THROW AWAY." I wasn't taking any chances. That summer was spent watching Saturday baseball on Fox (I didn't have cable) while sorting through some newly acquired 80's cards from the flea market, a purchase directly inspired by those magazines.

And now I have in my posession every single issue of Baseball Cards Magazine. All the magazines were in great shape, they all contained the original "collector cards", and they were actually in the box chronologically so I didn't even have to sort them out. And I got them for free. This is without a doubt one of the luckiest things that I've ever had happen to me.

My hope is to share all these great magazines with all of you via some sort of regular feature on this blog. So, you know, keep reading!

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break, part 5

This set of packs actually helps illustrate a problem I've been having since getting back into card collecting this year. More on that after the video.

Box Break 5 from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

Okay. Pretty standard stuff. No inserts or anything, but at least a bunch of guys I've heard of.

And there's the problem.

Outside of the World Series and Indians games, I haven't followed baseball regularly since about '96 or '97. I have almost no idea who's good and who's not so good anymore. I'm judging a pack's value based on how many players I've heard of, and most likely if you're not a superstar, you play on a National League team that hasn't made the playoffs in a while, you don't play for the Indians, Yankees or Red Sox or you started playing baseball after Bill Clinton was president, I've not heard of you.

Let's take the first pack.

I know Soriano is good because in my area (even though we're distance-wise closer to a bunch of other teams) everyone seems to root for the Yankees. He played with the Yanks, so I know who he is.

Piazza I remember from when I was a kid, but is he still considered a "star?"

Carlos Lee- I have no clue. Name sounds familiar though.

Emilio Bonifacio- Okay, he's a rookie. Probably not a lot of people know much about him yet, so I'm likely not alone on this guy.

Red Sox- Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I know a lot about them because they beat my Indians in the ALCS last year. My second most disliked team (though there's a few individual players I kinda like) behind the Yankees.

Jason Giambi- Again, I know him from when I was a kid (and from the whole steroid scandal), but have no idea how relevant he is now.

Yadier Molina- Name sounds familiar.

... and so on and so forth.

Now like I say, I know the big stars. Ortiz, Prince Fielder, Manny... umm...

Mario over at Wax Heaven made a great post a while back detailing how he organizes his collection. I think it's a great system that I could very well implement to put my cards in order (something else that hasn't really been done since Clinton was president) but I just DON'T KNOW WHO A LOT OF THESE GUYS ARE.

But there's hope. I'm gonna buy some baseball magazines this weekend (do they still do Athlon's?) and I read a lot of these blogs, which has seriously helped polish the rust off my baseball knowledge like Coca Cola on chrome.

Still, I'd like to hear from all of you. All two or three of you (for now) who read this page.

Who do you collect?

Who is worth saving regardless of who you collect?

Who are the big stars?

Why did it take me more than thirty seconds to realize J.D. Drew is not J.T. Snow?

I await your responses.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break, part 4

Circle wipe! I don't know why I didn't think of this before, as it works perfectly with the design of these cards. Also, "Hello Stranger" is one of my favorite songs ever, and certainly one of the best songs from its time period.

Box Break 4 from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

Fausto! Great looking card; I love that shade of blue.

I'm pretty sure that Sam Fuld card uses the same photo as his regular-issue Topps card.

I like that "Words Of Wisdom" card there. Based solely on their facial expressions, it looks like the conversation went something like this:

Randolph: Yeah, John, uhhh... throw some strikes okay?

Maine: That's what you call words of wisdom?

(I'm well aware that they're two separate photos, by the way.)

The inserts (minus the chrome parallels) have left a lot to be desired for me so far. I guess they're nice, but I haven't gotten really excited about them either. That could change, especially if I pull a game-used card with something actually used in a game and not just used to watch a game.

I can't think of anything fun to say about the second pack there, except that the Alaska card came OTM with a huge corner ding.

That Chase Utley will end up in my top ten favorite cards in the set, I'm sure of it.

Brian Bannister chrome refractor! Pretty nice.

Once again, anyone sees anything they like just let me know.

Thank You To White Sox Cards

Steve at White Sox Cards has written a nice review of my new blog on his blog and I just wanted to thank him again.

It's nice to see that as fans of division rivals we can still get along as collectors! Ha.

Seriously, Steve's is one of the better-known baseball card blogs and I can't thank him enough for the publicity.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break, part 3

DISCLAIMER: This is probably the best three-pack run of the whole box. That's not to say that there aren't other good individual packs to come, it's just the following represents what I would consider the three best consecutively-opened packs of the whole shebang. Take it away, Jackie Wilson!

Box Break 3 from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

So there you go. That last pack was just unbelievably exciting for me. A Josh Barfield, an Indians multi-player card (and by now you know how much I like those multis) and that Chipper Jones chrome card that looks really nice. It's such a classic pose, as is the card of Braves team-mate Jeff Francoeur.

Speaking of classic poses, what is up Ted Lilly? That card could have come straight out of the original '59 set.

Speaking of Cubs players, Ernie Banks game-used... seat? Oh well, it's still a pretty cool card.

Some more random thoughts:

I just love the colors of that Asdrubal Cabrera card. I'd like it even if I weren't a fan of the Indians.

The Lance Berkman card also looks great with that red border. Hanley Ramirez too.

I really, really dislike the Yankees, but A-Rod looks like a superhero on his card.

Here's a question I honestly don't know the answer to. Do any cards in the '08 set sport the exact same team logo as the '59 set? I'm having a hard time thinking of any team whose logo hasn't changed even a little in the last fifty years, so the answer very well may be zero.

Back for more very soon!

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break, part 2

Now with 200% more transition effects! I'm also trying to use songs that are of (roughly) the same vintage as these cards are supposed to be.

Box Break 2 from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

Well, obviously those were some pretty great packs. While most excited about that Martinez All-Star card, I was happy to get a bunch of cards of legitimate stars and superstars. Once again, those multi-player cards are really, really cool.

As I was opening these packs, I remember thinking more than once that "this set would look great displayed in pages."

These videos are easy to put together so look for at least one more before the day is through.

2008 Topps Heritage Box Break, Part 1

I have always loved the 1959 Topps design ever since I saw it in a really thick book I had as a kid, The Consumer's Guide Baseball Card Collecting Handbook.

It just so happens that 2008 is the first year I've bought more than one pack of current-year baseball cards since 1993. I started with the Topps regular-issue set and when I saw what Heritage was going to look like this year, well...

So, I went down to the local card shop and bought three packs and this set is evertyhing I hoped it would be. I went out and got a whole box at Dave & Adam's Card World (I live literally five minutes away) and documented my box break via photo montage!

I'm not even sure I'm interested in collecting the whole set (it would be nice, but likely financially impossible) so for now i'm just trying to get all my favorite players and be happy with that.

Here's packs 1-3.

2008 Heritage Box Break, packs 1-3 from Rich Borosky on Vimeo.

So overall I'm pretty happy that in the first three packs I pulled two chrome cards, a Jake Westbrook and an Indians team card, and a few of those nifty looking multi-player cards. I am considerably less happy that...


... every single pack in the box only had seven cards.

I'm working on getting Topps to send me what I missed out on.

If you see anything you like in this or any future posts of mine, just let me know. I'm open to trading pretty much anything that doesn't feature a Cleveland Indian or one of my favorite players.


Well, after about two solid months of reading everyone else's card collecting blogs, I finally decided that yes, I wanted in too. So here I am.

I'm sure the title needs some explaining.

Way back around the time my brother and I first started seriously getting into collecting cards, our mom was working at the post office and had a boss named Vinnie who also collected cards. He would occasionally give us tips on keeping our cards in good shape, what to buy ("Ya gotta get the wax!" was one of his favorites; he probably still has that cabinet in his basement full of 1988 Fleer wax boxes...), who the players worth saving were, etc.

I'll always remember the night Vinnie had us come over and numerically sort out two vending boxes of 1987 Topps baseball. My brother and I had started buying and saving baseball cards in 1988, so while we definitely remember having some cards from 1986 and 1987, they were not saved past the year they were issued and thus these vending boxes were like buried treasure to us. For the longest time, anything pre-1988 was referred to as an "old card" by us, and we both kept all our "old cards" separate from the rest of our collections. Anyway, I digress.

One night Vinnie was over to look through our cards and referred to a lot of them as "out of the mill", or so we thought. We also thought he was referring to their condition. In reality, he probably was calling our cards "run-of-the-mill" and referring not to condition, but to the outright average-ness of the players we collected. Remember, this was a time when something like a 1986 Donruss Dave Shipanoff rated rookie card was a big deal to us.

Long story short, my brother and I always refer to poor condition cards as "out of the mill" or "OTM" for short because of that mis-remembered conversation with Vinnie almost 20 years ago. Lately, it has become something of a joke between us. We take really poor conditioned commons and sign them "OTM- Vinnie" in Sharpie to officially brand them as a certified OTM card. Sort of like grading, but instead of preserving a card for all-time, we're pretty much assuring its next appearance will be in the recycling bin. Still, we often find ourselves seriously referring to cards as "OTM" just as often, and the term is now a part of our card-collecting lexicon.

Feel free to use it for yourself the next time you run across a card with more wrinkles than a dress shirt that's spent two weeks at the bottom of a laundry hamper.

And please do check back often. I plan on making this place as fun as possible. And I'll hang some stuff up on the walls as soon as I get a chance.