Thursday, September 30, 2010

Post #300! Tike to Kick Something Off!

I have finally reached post #300. It took almost 2 years, but I made it. I struggled for a few days trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do in celebration, and then it occurred to me... Why don't I do what I've been talking about doing for a year, now; blog my entire 1955 Topps set, card for card.

Here is a quick breakdown of what you can look forward to in the set:

  • 206 cards
  • Rookie cards of Sandy Koufax, Harmon Killebrew, Roberto Clemente, Don Zimmer and Ken Boyer
  • Lots and lots and lots of Hall of Famers

I really hope that you all are interested in seeing this set on here, card for card. I had a really fun (and expensive) time putting it together over the course of something like 2 years.

It all started with a Christmas present from my mom and ended with a trip to the card show in Raleigh. In between there were ebay purchases. One of them a drunken ebay purchase (Rizzuto). Only a select few people have seen the set in person and an even fewer have held the Clemente RC without it being in a top loader.

I saw the other day that I lost a reader. I also recognize that my blog isn't the best blog out there, so it is my goal to try a little harder in bringing some interesting topics to the table. I would definitely appreciate feedback on the set and posts. Have any thoughts on how you would like me to lay it out? Any facts you want me to include? I will start the posting tomorrow. I really want to make sure I don't rip off the guy who blogged the entire 1988 Topps set, but I liked a few of the little things he included (a running tab of hall of famers, also a running tab of deceased players, future managers, etc). I'm going to try my best to include information that everyone can find as useful.

Thanks for checking out my blog, please come back again and again!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Went Racing Again This Weekend

My dad decided to go racing again this weekend, and I was able to take off from the card shop so I could help out. My wife was also afforded a rare weekend off, so we were able to make a family deal out of it. Dad decided to race both his Pro Modified (the Yellow car) and his 'Classic Gear Jammer' (a Red 1967 Corvette). Because of the task of managing both cars, I decided to help out with the Gear Jammer.

Here we are pushing Dad along the staging lanes for his practice run in the car. We have his crew man Paul checking tire pressure, my brother Andy in the orange t-shirt, me with my handy dandy Lookouts hat and my brother Kenny by the door.

I had never seen dad race this car before, but I realized this weekend that I really enjoyed watching it. The car is LOUD and pops wheelies as it launches, which is really cool and brings back memories of how things used to be way back when.

Dad lost in the second round of eliminations in the red car and made it to the semi-final round with the yellow one. Both cars ran very consistently all day long. My aunt and grandma also made the trip, here is a picture of my grandma watching the action with my son, Christopher.

Here is a cool picture of Dad prepping for a run in the red car (I should have taken one of him in the yellow car too, but didn't think of it at the time).

I did shoot a video, however. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Not to be forgotten, my brother, Kenny, raced his dragster. My wife took this picture, which I thought turned out pretty well. Kenny lost in the first round, bought back in and lost in the second as well. He ran well, it just wasn't his night.
We were at Farmington Dragway for their Chick-Fil-A Family Fun Day, and one of the promotions was for a couple exhibition runs of a Top Fuel dragster. It had been 12 years since I have seen a top fueler in person. It was pretty bad ass. My wife and son had never seen one, and the look on their faces after the run was priceless.

It ended up raining once the semi-final round of Pro Modified was completed, so we didn't get to see the conclusion of the race, or another pass by the Top Fueler.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mmm Leftovers

Yeah, like I said yesterday, pickings are really slim right now for me, as far as cards go. I found this card I got while visiting my brother in Columbia, SC last month.
2010 Upper Deck Matt Wieters. I am and will always be a Topps fan, but, I'm not liking this exclusive deal. Much like the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW, competition is a good thing and it brings out the best in everyone.

I also do not like the fact that Wieters has an exclusive deal with UD, meaning, he doesn't have any Topps cards yet. I'm not sure when that deal ends, I'm sure someone can tell me.

Wieters sure hasn't had the best of years, but he has been hot lately. It looks like he will end the season with a .260 average. Not great, but getting there. I think he will come into his own next year and prove all the scouts and columnists right about his talent and future.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Orioles Thoughts

I don't have a whole lot card-wise to blog about lately, but I sure have a renewed feeling when it comes to being an Orioles fan.

The reason? BUCK SHOWALTER!!!

I don't think Buck is the total reason for the turnaround of the O's. Some has to do with the fact that the team is finally healthy; injuries took a huge toll early in the year. The return of Brian Roberts does coincide with the O's improved play. Replacing Roberts at the top of the order isn't exactly easy. He is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. The O's proved this season how hard it really will be to replace him in the future. I'm glad they locked Roberts up til 2014.

The Orioles' starting staff has also turned it up. Even Kevin Millwood has joined in and started throwing much better. I can't complain about Millwood at all. I know he is a serviceable starter, he definitely shouldn't be at the top of a rotation in the AL East. I think he has one more year left, and would fit in well in the NL, especially the NL West.

Nick Markakis has proven, this year, that he is not a 30+ home run threat, but is (like Roberts) a doubles machine. Nick's average will hover around .300 and he will give you 175-180 hits each year. I also love his cannon for an arm. If the O's can get a legitimate home run threat to bad behind Nick in the lineup, his numbers will get even better.

I think that's enough of me talking about the O's for now. I may write more later, since I don't anticipate getting a whole lot of new cards anytime soon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Birthday Present - Paul O'Neill Auto

My brother's girlfriend, Gina, totally surprised me when she got on the phone with me last weekend and told me that she got me a birthday present. I have not had too many opportunities to get to know her, but the weekend before, we sat on the golf cart at the racetrack for a while and had a very good conversation. I knew that she was a bit of a baseball fan, since she told me the first time I met her. She also told me that one of her cousins married former Reds and Yankee great Paul O'Neill.
According to Gina, O'Neill doesn't sign a whole lot anymore, but she was able to make a call and pull some strings. I like the card that it is on too, the mid 90's Stadium Club cards always had a nice look to them, and this one scanned really well.

I really appreciated this unexpected gift. I always respected Paul O'Neill as a player, even though he played for the Yankees. He was definitely a team leader and one of the main reasons the Yankees won their championships in the 1990s. I definitely think he should have gotten more support for the Hall of Fame.

Thanks for the present, Gina, I really appreciate it. I hope this blog entry does it a little bit of justice :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Meet the New Boss, Not the Same as the Old Boss...

It's no secret that I have been following the Dodgers a lot more lately, since my best friend is a Dodger fan. In order to keep our baseball conversations fresh, I try to make sure I'm up to speed on all things Dodgers as he has done the same with all things Orioles.
It was announced today that Donnie Baseball is going to replace Joe Torre as the Dodgers' next manager.

I think this is awesome for many reasons. My best friend's team gives a true baseball icon a chance to helm the club next year and there will be new Don Mattingly cards issued to celebrate his place as Dodger manager.

I have so many friends who LOVE Don Mattingly. He is my mom's favorite player of all time (yes, Mom is a Yankee fan). My good friend Pete is a huge Mattingly fan as well.

I'm sure some Yankee fans will throw up in their mouths a little when they see the former Yankee Captain on cards in a Dodger uniform. My thought is: I really hope he does well and punches his ticket to the Hall of Fame. Wouldn't it be weird if he wins a couple World Series as Dodger Manager (my prediction is that he will) and goes into the Hall with a Dodger cap on?

How do you Yankee fans feel? Is it bittersweet that you are stuck with Joe Girardi? Or, would you be afraid of Mattingly managing where he is a legend and most assuredly would be fired at some point? Everyone knows most managers hre hired to be fired. This is the biggest reason I don't think I want Cal Ripken as the Orioles' manager (which I believe he has no interest in becoming O's manager), however, I'm perfectly happy with Buck SHowalter at this point.

I'm already excited for next season. I am very happy for Don Mattingly to finally get his chance to prove himself at a new position in the game. Good luck to him and good luck to the Dodgers!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2010 T-206 Thoughts

I picked up some loose T206 cards from the Greenville Card Shop this past weekend while Max was visiting me for my birthday. He was able to get a bunch of Dodgers while I got several Orioles.
My scanner cut off the bottoms of the cards and I'm too lazy to hook back up to it with the laptop to correct it... Sorry guys. Here is the Reimold. I made sure I got the 206 of my new favorite player. I really enjoy pulling for Reimold. It helps that he was really cool when I met him. I may devote an entire blog entry to that trip again, you know, cause it's my blog and I can write about what I want haha.
I really like this Cal. My wife likes it because he looks like Bruce Willis. Yippe-Ki-Yay. I'm glad they still make Cal cards, it's always nice to add to my huge Cal Collection. 400+ cards and going strong.

YES. Another Roberts to add to that collection as well. Brian looks super sleepy on his card. Roberts, in my opinion, is a huge reason that the O's are on the tear they're on. Roberts will be back full-on next year and make a serious run at 60 doubles. That's my prediction for next year. Count on it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Got My Topps Tribute Redemption Back

I got my Topps Tribute Auto/Dual Relic Matt Kemp back the other day, which is really cool because it usually takes something like a decade to get a redemption back from Topps.
Pop Quiz: I got a sweet Dodger card. Do I still own it?

Answer: Hahahaha. Nope. Max has it already.

It was a pretty sweet card when I had it, but I know it is in a good place with someone who will definitely enjoy it much more than I will.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birthday Stuff From Mom

I can always count on my mom to remember little things I mention throughout the year and completely forget about when it comes to stuff to get me for my birthday. Max and I spent a good portion of this summer catching as many minor league games as we could. At a Carolina Mudcats game in Zebulon, I bought myself and Max posters which listed all of the minor league teams and logos. He and I both thought that the Montgomery Biscuits was the best/oddest team name/logo out there. I spent a Saturday at the card shop with my little brother Andy looking at different logos and team shops, thinking about, maybe, buying a jersey; or, at the very least, a hat.
Something I did notice on the Biscuits' team shop was a plush biscuit mascot, which Andy and I both thought was AWESOME. I emailed Max a link to the item and he thought it was pretty cool as well. I got to my parents' house that night and showed my mom, and she thought it was cute and even remarked that she wanted one as well...

Well, she got herself one, and one for my birthday! Pretty cool, huh? But wait, that's not all:
Also in the box was a Biscuits jersey!!! Fan-freaking-tastic!!! Max and I WILL make a trip to Montgomery next year, and now, I have a jersey to wear! Pretty sweet. I just think a team called 'The Biscuits' is really cool. I mean, Evan Longoria wore a Biscuits jersey, so you know they're cool, haha.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Birthday Party

Yeah, so, I'm turning 30 on Tuesday, so yesterday, my wife arranged a surprise party for me at our local bowling alley. I had discovered that a party was happening the week before when she got off the phone with her parents, but I was still surprised about all the people who came. It really made me feel good.

Max came and spent the whole weekend with me, which really meant a lot to be able to spend the weekend with my best friend. We spent a good bit of the time watching old wrestling dvds. We also went to the ballfields yesterday and hit around. I found a golf ball while we were there and made a bet with Max that I could connect with it in less than 5 swings. I threw the ball in the air and hit it more than 500 feet on the first swing. Talk about clutch.
So, I got a bowling pin from the bowling alley in celebration of my birthday and everyone in attendance signed the pin. I thought this was really cool and it will definitely go in my china cabinet when I can re-establish my card room. (Will need a new house first).

I love where Max signed his, and you can see toward the bottom where my boss, Terry, signed it. I was amazed that he made it from Charlotte. It made me feel good. I work for a really good company with some really good people.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Tobacco Card - Rube Waddell

I got another T206 off of Ebay last week for a very reasonable price (under $30.00) because of watching Ken Burns' 'Baseball.'
A 1909-1911 T206 Rube Waddell. As you can see, it is in rough shape, but I'm still happy. Below shows that it is a Piedmont back card, which is pretty cool as well.
Hearing stories about Waddell are pretty funny. He would chase fire trucks during games. Opposing fans found that they could distract him by holding up puppies or shiny objects. He was Manny Ramirez before Manny. I bet, if he were playing today, he would be crucified by the news media (and probably diagnosed with some form of mental disorder). I doubt we'd see headlines that read 'Rube being Rube.'

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tobacco Card/Hall of Fame Pickup - 1909-1911 T-206 Addie Joss

I have been watching Ken Burns' 'Baseball' lately in preparation of the upcoming release of 'Inning 10.' During my viewing of this groundbreaking documentary, I have been trying to research some of the historic players of the early days of baseball. I have been checking out ebay auctions, seeing if I can get some cards of a few of these hall of famers at a decent price.

I happened upon a T-206 Addie Joss last week and was able to win it for less than $20. Not bad. As you can see it is all effed up. The back of the card is what I had shown last week. I do intend on watching the youtube video of the glue/paper removal once I can tell that my connection is dependable. I'm still a little leery of putting a 100-year old card in boiling water. I have enough geology books here (studying for part II of the ASBOG exam) to dry the card out, but I'm still scared I'm going to mess it up (worse than it already it is).

Joss is the only Hall of Famer to have played less than 10 years. He was forced to retire at age 30 when he contracted tubercular meningitis. It was this disease that took his life a year later at age 31.

The first 'All-Star Game' was played for the benefit of Joss' family.

Joss was elected to the Hall of Fame via the Veteran's Committee in 1978 with a career won-loss record of 160-97 (for 9 seasons... WOW), a career ERA of 1.89 and 920 strikeouts. Joss played his entire career with the Cleveland Bronchos/Naps (Indians) from 1902-1910.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What I Did This Weekend

I took this weekend off from the card shop so I could witness history....

After wrecking his car on November 1, 2008, it looked like my dad was going to sell off everything and retire from drag racing.

His Pro Modified 1963 Corvette had tagged the guardrail, flipped and caught on fire. His HANS device (neck protection) caused him to be caught in the car while it burned. He got out ok, was shaken up a bit, but hadn't felt right about the car since.
He attempted to race again in April 2009 and got as far as making the burnout, but shut the car down when fluid was leaking from the engine. Possibly the same thing that caused his car to get out of shape when it wrecked.
He shelved the car for almost a year and a half, and indicated that he was going to sell it and retire from professional drag racing.
I suppose the 'bug' kind of crept into Dad's psyche recently as he indicated about a month ago that he was going to run at Farmington Dragway, but plans were foiled when the guys who had volunteered to crew for him backed out at the last minute. Dad rode to the track that weekend anyway and saw how packed it was and wanted to get back behind the wheel even more than before. He lined up more dependable help and set his sights on September 4th.
Max and I decided that we would check out the race, as Max had never been. I hadn't been to a race since September 2008, so it had been a long tim for me, especially since I grew up at the race track.
We also had the opportunity of watching my older brother Kenny race his dragster. He won co-rookie of the year for Farmington Dragway last year. He was in a three-way tie for 7th overall in the series points standings this year before the race started. Kenny ended up losing in the third round of competition, but his car was fast all night long.
Dad was allotted 3 qualifying passes and improved each time. Sadly, there weren't a whole lot of cars there for Dad's class, but it was still a competitive bunch. He ran 4.23 seconds, 4.20 seconds then 4.19 seconds in the first through third runs respectively. Not too bad for not having run in 2 years.
Finally, in the first round of eliminations (only three cars made the final eliminations due to others having to back out with mechanical failures), Dad lost while running 4.14 seconds to his opponent's 4.10 seconds. It was a very competitive race, and was definitely worth watching. After a 2-year layoff, with a 12-year old race car (normal shelf life for one of these cars is 2-3 years), an 8-year old engine (normal shelf life for one of these engines is 1 year), the engine is approximately 70 cubic inches smaller than most competitive engines out there for this type of racing, and a 56-year old driver who definitely had to have a little bit of nervousness, it was a very successful Saturday at the drag strip. I am very happy to say that after the race, Dad said that he WAS back and was planning on updating some aspects of his car (not buying a new one, though because the one he has is still good) to be more competitive in the future.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I need some help... maybe

Hi everyone. So, I won a T206 card off of ebay, and I was fully aware of the condition it was in. I got the card for less than $15 bucks, so I'm really satisfied with it. However, I may need some help with it. Maybe.
As you can see, the card is a Polar Bear back, which is pretty awesome, but, someone pasted it into an album. I'm thinking that it might be possible to remove the paper, but I don't want to try anything that will mess the card up worse than it already is, AND I think, maybe the paper adds something to it.

Sooooo, anyone got any thoughts? Leave it as it is or try to restore the card as best I can??

Greenville Drive vs. Asheville Tourists game 8/29/10

The whole reason we drove all the way to Columbia, SC (other than seeing my brother) was so that we could catch a Greenville Drive game. My brother had told me that Greenville's field was pretty nice, and it would be another different park I could go to this year.

Fluor Field is pretty nice. I liked the building paralleling the field, reminiscent of the Warehouse in Baltimore. You can see how packed the place was; the game had playoff implications, as I believe Asheville and Greenville were tied before this game atop the league standings. We were on hand to witness a pretty good game and ended up with some free baseball. Greenville ended up winning with a walkoff wild pitch. It would have been nice for a little extra drama, but I'll take what I can get.

Here are my son, Chris and my niece Harper enjoying the game. I could have done without the little leaguers bowling them over trying to get one of the outfielders to throw them a ball. I slid down the hill and threw some elbows to make sure our kids weren't trampled. Chris found it amusing, but Harper didn't know what the hell was going on. She did enjoy the game. I also bought her very first pack of cards earlier in the day, a pack of 1990 Topps for fifty cents. She enjoyed looking at the pictures, then threw them in my brother's floor board (she's 2, so thats understandable).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Columbia Trip Part III

We went to a second card shop in Columbia during our trip and picked up a few things. I'll post some of the others later, but I wanted to post these MLB Exclusive cards that I got for free.
YES, Nolan Reimold. Welcome back to the majors Nolan!!! (He got called up today when rosters expanded). I grabbed a few notable players of these cards, since the guy was giving them out for free.
I read the back of Reimold's card and got a little surprise. Max was a little surprised that Reimold was part of the set and the back says '...50 of the greatest players in MLB history.' I like Nolan Reimold. He's probably one of my favorite active players now, but greatest of all time? Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Here is one of the greatest ever... Cal Ripken. Yaaay, another Cal I didn't have already. I like the way these cards look. Pretty simple.