Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home stretch

My apologies for the complete lack of posts in the past week. Thanksgiving vacation started a bit earlier than anticipated. Sometimes, life gets in the way.

But I'm back and ready for the home stretch of 2008! New stuff tomorrow (Monday, if you're keeping track) for sure.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Searching for Straw

My first box of packs finally came! Unfortunately, I broke the mail key and it's stuck in the box specially designed for packages (it's bigger). So I'll post it as soon as I track down a carrier to open it for me. No worries though, my second box came and the mail carrier crammed it into our actual box.

So without further ado, I present to you a pack from 1992 Upper Deck! Let's see if there's a Strawberry hidden in there...

The pack:

The first group:

No Straws, and no worries. There's still more! I some how deleted the scan of the second group of cards, but there were no Straws so I didn't feel like rescanning them. So the final group:

Dang, nothing good. Literally. There wasn't single good card in the pack! I'm not going to subject you to all 36 packs that came in the box, but from time to time I'll post one. 36 packs, 15 cards per pack... there's gotta be at least one Darryl in there somewhere.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ebay thoughts

I always see these Gartlan ceramic plates available on ebay. Where did they come from? Were they sold on TV during those QVC (or whatever your home shopping channel of choice was) sports specials? Are they dishwasher safe? I'm always tempted to buy one, just for the ridiculousness factor it would add to my Strawberry collection, but thankfully I can always talk myself out it. One of these days...

I can't decide if it'd be cool to eat off one of these, or... weird.

1986 Fleer Baseball's Best No. 38 of 44

At this point, the cards may start jumping around a little bit chronologically. For whatever reason, I have a bunch of 1986 cards lined up before some '85, and I'm sure it'll happen even more as I move forward. No big deal, I just don't want people to think I can't arrange years correctly.

This card comes from the 1986 Fleer Baseball's Best set, another one of those popular mid-80s glossy sets, and is numbered 38 of 44. Twice the size of those Topps Glossy sets, which was nice of Fleer. Nothing like added value, ya know?

Normally I like to point out what I find interesting from the back of the card, or at least retype what the card says. Not necessary here, as there is almost literally nothing on the back of it! Even though this was the case for Topps Glossy as well, at least they stretched out the design to use up all of the available space. But Fleer, not so much; more than half of it is blank. There must've been something interesting they could've come up with.

As for the front: not much of an action shot, but I still like it. I really like the patch on Strawberry's left arm, which research tells me was to commemorate the organization's 25th Anniversary. The jersey is of the v-neck pullover variety, which was fairly common back then. The photo is a glimpse of what things were like before Under Armor; note that Darryl is wearing an actual turtleneck shirt under the jersey. Very retro!

I wonder, though, why at the bottom, where it says "Sluggers" before Darryl's name, they chose to list his batting average?? And it's his major league career average, too, not from just 1985 or '86. Odd that it's listed on the back under "percentage", as opposed to "average". They should've gone with his far more impressive home run totals.

I own three of these cards.

On a non-specific card related note, I should be receiving the first of three boxes I've ordered off ebay today, so keep a lookout for the "Searching for Straw" feature. I can't decide whether I'll do it through videos or pictures... probably some of both. Speaking of ebay, isn't it frustrating when you're charged a premium for shipping and the seller doesn't bother to ship your item 2-3 day priority? I don't mind paying a little extra for shipping; I don't care if you charge $12 for a $9 flat rate box. Just don't charge me priority and proceed to send my item via media mail!

Mail Call

A couple weeks ago I entered a contest over at Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius. Upon finding out that I finished second, I was asked which player and/or team I collect, so naturally I responded with Darryl Strawberry and Yankees cards. Here's what I got:

The first card is a signed 2007 Topps Sean Henn rookie. I'm assuming that this was either obtained via mail or in person, as there is no sticker anywhere on the card. This is a good thing, as I much prefer a personally signed item over a sticker applied by a company representative any day of the week! Henn has a pretty crazy signature too. Loopy, big, yet illegible. Very nice.

Next up:

A 2006 Upper Deck game used Jason Giambi jersey. I LOVE game used cards, and have since they were first issued in 1997 Upper Deck. Unfortunately, while fairly common these days, they're still only inserted at rates of just one or two in boxes of more affordable cards, so I've only pulled a few in packs. I have plenty of cheap ones that I've won off ebay, though. Anyway, I love the stripe visible in the patch. I wonder if card companies wash the jerseys first, or if this card would reek of Giambi's sweat if I removed the screw down holder? I won't chance it.

No Strawberry cards, but still cool nonetheless.

Thanks, Matt at Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius! You definitely need to make his site part of your daily routine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1988 Topps Bazooka #21 of 22

From the back of the card: WAS SELECTED AS ROOKIE OF YEAR IN NL FOR 1983.

Hmm, another 22 card set from Topps... interesting.

I have absolutely no idea how these cards were distributed. Certainly not like the Bazooka cards from the late '90s/early 2000's, which was a larger set and sold in packs. If they came inside boxed of Bazooka gum I wouldn't have known, since I probably wasn't allowed to have gum when I was six (or I was at least limited to the sugar free variety). It's not a particularly exciting card, either. Strawberry is just waiting his turn in the cage during Mets batting practice, perhaps checking out a Gary Carter bomb in to the Upper Deck. Or maybe a plane just flew by and it's actually Mookie Wilson laying down bunts... I guess we'll never know.

The back of the card is more colorful than the front, which is strange, especially for being 1988. I like the stats over the lightly colored "Bazooka" logo, especially the Game Winning RBI column. What a strange, old school stat to feature on a card! Straw was CLUTCH in 1986 with 15 of 'em. That is, if you believe there is even such thing as "clutch".

The line about his ROY award is odd. Why just "Rookie of Year", without the "the"? There's plenty of real estate for the extra word. Maybe Topps wanted "Rookie of Year" to stay on the same line, and adding a "the" would split it up? I doubt anyone would've cared.

I own three of these cards.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mail call

Got a nice Halloween package from David at Tribe Cards, a blog dedicated to all things Indians. Would it be a box full of tricks, or would it include a nice assortment of treats?

The answer: Both.

There was an oddly large amount of Delino DeShields cards scattered throughout. Not that there were hundreds of 'em, but any more than five qualifies as a lot, wouldn't you say? Especially since we're talking about Delino DeShields.

But among some of the treats:

Cards of Jay Bell and Greg McMichael are certainly nothing to get excited about, but 1997 Fleer (and the '96 set, too) is one of my favorites of all time. I really, really liked the matte finish, which Fleer pitched as being perfect for autographs. And they are, I guess, even though I've never had a '96 or '97 Fleer card signed. Soon, I hope, thanks to my addiction to this site. These packs also contained quite a bit of inserts, which I was in to at the time. I believe Fleer touted that one insert could be found in every five packs, on average! Madness!

Then there were these beauties:

Yeah, that's right! Jose Cruz, Jr. and Kerry Wood 1997 Bowman Best rookies! If only either of these guys could've lived up to their potential... Nobody EVER would've given these away 10 years ago.

The hilarity continues:

Silly Bret Saberhagen, that's not a baseball its an apple! I sure hope he didn't cut up and eat a baseball with his breakfast that morning. Also worth noting is the fact that this is a "gold hologram" variation, meaning the little Upper Deck hologram on the back of the card is gold, not silver. I'd read about these variations, thinking they might've been some "rare" subset inserted in packs, but research showed that the gold just means that this card came from a factory set. Still kinda cool, but it's sad that someone, somewhere, is one Bret Saberhagen card short of a complete gold foil set.

And of course, the best of the box:

There are more Darryl Strawberry cards than the scan shows, which is fine. You'll eventually see them each individually.

Thanks, Dave from Tribe Cards! Be sure to check out his site for more baseball card goodness. As I continue to sort through my collection I'll make sure to set aside all of the Indians and send them his way.

More from my personal collection coming soon.

Ebay rant 3

The item you see above is so rare, so sought after, so valuable, that the auction very probably ended with a "Buy It Now" just seconds after it was posted.

All you see at first glance is a 1991 Score Darryl Strawberry #640, but look at the holder its in. Its that familiar red border of a PSA graded card... and now look at the grade: GEM MINT 10!!!!

Wow. I mean, there couldn't have been more than 20,000,000,000,000,000 sets of '91 Score produced, so this Gem Mint 10 is ultra-rare. If I had to guess, no more than 35,000 (Gem Mint 10s, I mean) are in circulation. And it could be yours for only $14.99? I'd feel like I was robbing the seller.


This card had to have been submitted among a massive quantity of cards to be graded, because what reasonable human being would ever submit a card from '91 Score for grading? At least the seller spared us a long fluffy description of why this card is so great.

Something I've always wondered, though, about the grading process that maybe a reader knows the answer to: Will PSA call you if you submit something stupid that they're only going to assign a grade of 5 or 6? I can understand something from, say, 1957 Topps benefiting from a 5, but not '92 Upper Deck.

OK, I know they won't call before taking your money, but can you easily remove the graded card from the holder it's returned in? If I were selling cards, I'd feel like less of a man for auctioning a PSA 7 of anything within the last 15 years. The average person likely wouldn't see any blemishes if they weren't pointed out on an ungraded card.

Anyway... the auction for this card ends tomorrow, so you'd better hurry!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1989 Topps Glossy All-Star #19 of 22

Ok, wait a minute...

This is the third "#19 of 22" of the four Glossy All-Star cards I have. Is Topps even trying with this set? The background is so simple, so basic, that Topps isn't putting even a second of thought into the design. They're just editing the text box with the year and sending it off to print.

Why bother even changing the picture?

Well, this particular photo is so similar to the '86 card that it appears they hardly bothered at all.

In the 1988 All-Star game, Darryl went 1-4 with a strikeout, in case you were wondering.

This marks the end of my mis-cut, off centered, poor photo quality Glossy All-Star collection, so thanks for sticking with me through these tough times. Trust me, you'll be rewarded.

I've got a new feature coming soon, which I'll call "Searching for Straw." Or I might call it "Needle In a Haystack", because straw and hay are very similar. Or are they the same thing? I'm not sure; I have no farming experience whatsoever. Anyway... What I'll be doing is purchasing old boxes of packs and searching for Darryl Strawberry cards (see where I get the title from?!) and posting the results. And in the 700+ card sets from the late '80s and early '90s, finding any one particular card is tough, hence my alternate title of "Needle in a Haystack". Perhaps you all can comment on which title you like better. Comment quickly, though, because my first unopened box of cards is on the way. I'll wait until it arrives before I reveal the brand.

By the way, I own three of these '89 Glossy All-Star cards.

Monday, November 10, 2008

1988 Topps Glossy All-Stars #19 of 22

Yep, another glossy All-Star... only one more after this, I promise.

For now, take a gander at the '88 card, number 19 of 22 in the set. I can't tell if Straw is sitting on a 2-1 count looking for the heat or if it's 3-0 and he's taking the next pitch no matter what. That's what was so great about Strawberry; you were intimidated every single time he stepped up to the plate. At least I bet pitchers were scared. I've never actually faced him.

Darryl went 0-2 in the '88 All-Star game. No big deal, there'd be others.

I own three of these cards.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

1987 Topps Glossy All-Star #8 of 22

Look everybody, another miscut Glossy All-Star! It's too bad they didn't put more time or effort into this set, the gloss was a nice touch back in the days before, err... gloss. This is a much better action shot of Strawberry, no doubt taken after a double lined off the center field wall.

Check out the starting line up from the '86 All-Star game. Absolutely loaded with Mets. Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Darryl Strawberry batted third through fifth in the order, and Dwight Gooden started on the mound. Darryl had a mediocre day, going one for two at the plate.

I own 22 of these cards, most of them acquired via ebay auction.

Monday, November 3, 2008

1986 Topps Glossy All-Star #19 of 22

Look, I'll be the first to admit that these Topps Glossy All-Star cards aren't the most exciting in the world, but they deserve blog time as much as any other card in my collection, so they must be posted!

I promise to move through them quickly.

Here we have the 1986 Topps Glossy All-Star #19 of 22. Much like the Glossy All-Star from 1985, it comes from a set far smaller than the amount of actual All-Stars. Also like its '85 predecessor there isn't much to the back of the card, and I'm not too impressed with the front of it, either. It's hard to tell from the scan, but the photo quality of this card is quite poor, even by 1986 standards. It's dark, blurry, and uninspired. There are definitely less Mets logos than the previous Glossy All-Star shot, and I don't think Strawberry did much in this at bat, perhaps just a line drive straight to the right fielder.

However, it should be noted that in the 1985 All-Star game Strawberry went a very impressive 1 for 1 with a walk, hit-by-pitch, two runs and a stolen base. Very much deserving of the gloss.

I own three of these cards.