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?