Saturday, September 26, 2020

‘93 Topps missing players are done and Stadium Club in the wild

Yesterday I was able to finish the last 40 or so cards to complete the 1993 Topps Traded missing player checklist. The whole finished set is posted on my 1993 Topps & Topps Traded page if you would like to view it.

Today, while I was at work, my wife went by Target, and I was kind of hoping that there would be cards on the shelves as I have read about some bloggers finding some lately. Sure enough, she was able to find a few packs and blasters of 2020 Stadium Club. She got a 40-card blaster, and I had my almost 4-year old son help me open the packs. 
For the most part, he was pretty gentle with the packs and cards, and he had fun naming the teams that were on the cards, even getting the Astros logo right on the Nolan Ryan card I pulled. I'm going to have to be on the lookout for some really cheap boxes of cards like '87 Topps or something that he can just rip into and look for teams in. Like me, he says his favorite teams are the Rays and Tigers. It's going to be a fun next few years doing baseball things with him.

As far as cool cards from the box, I pulled 2 Tigers, 2 Rays, 1 PC guy, and a few cool inserts/parallels.
For Tigers, I pulled a Miggy base and a Ty Cobb Red parallel. I pulled a base Charlie Morton, and a Red Randy Arozarena for my Rays, 2 players who I hope come up big in the postseason. I know not to get my hopes up like I did in 2008, but I like how Tampa is playing right now. Just hope they can be better than whoever they are playing in each series. The Yankees, Dodgers, and to a lesser extent, the Blue Jays and Padres scare me with how they could get hot. I just hope somehow that the Yankees get eliminated. If they can get their pitching to click, I don't see how anyone can beat them. The Rays have decent pitching, but it is inconsistent, and the bats can be at times. If Tampa can get through the AL, I think they match up well against basically anyone except for the Dodgers. With the Braves pitching staff being injured, I think Tampa could get past them. San Diego has the hitting, but I think the Rays pitching can stop them, and their bats can outlast San Diego's pitching. I think the can get past Philly, the Cubs, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Miami, the Mets, but I think the Dodgers just have better pitching and better hitting. I'll be ok with whoever wins, as long as it's not the Yankees, White Sox, Padres, or Cardinals. Night Owl is right. San Diego and thier fans are getting annoying. 
As far as the rest of the coll cards, I pulled a box topper of Sandy Koufax, a Power Zone Jeff Bagwell, an Emperors of the Zone Walker Buehler, a Bash & Burn Rickey, a Red In the Wings Juan Soto parallel, which was 1 in like 180 packs, an Orange parallel Barry Larkin, and a Black Michel Baez. It was a fun group of packs to open, and it was a nice change to actually have cards in the store again.

Now that my '93 Topps/Traded set is done, I have a few options as far as new sets to work on. I think I am going to go all out and work on the 1992 Topps Traded set, and do backs for it, just like I did with the main set. That may take me a while to finish, but perhaps, I could have that and the 1994 Traded set (only fronts) be my goal to finish by 2022. After the '94 Traded, I'll go ahead and finish the '98 Traded set, and then start at the beginning of the '90s with either the '90 or 91 set.

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Tigers Manager sunset cards

 A few days ago, Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced he was retiring due to health issues. I'll have to admit, although I have been following baseball a little more in the past year or two, that I was not a really big Gardenhire fan. Not because of the guy himself, I just would've liked a bigger name person to manage the Tigers. I wasn't really even convinced to stop sleeping when the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus before Gardy. I thought Alan Trammell was a great hire (and should get a good amount of the credit for Jim Leyland's '06 AL Champion team). I was a huge fan of Leyland. I guess I figured the Tigers would hire somebody with good playoff pedigree like Buck Showalter or perhaps somehow lure Mike Hargrove out of retirement. Ausmus had potential to me, but wasn't given much time, and was forced to see the Tigers start to rebuild during his tenure, so I think he deserves more credit that he was given. Gardenhire, to me, seemed like he was kind of finished with baseball after leaving the Twins. He was a coach for a little bit, but I had figured his managing days were over, and kind of like Grady Little or Lou Piniella would just disappear from the sport entirely. Then the Tigers go and hire him, and you could tell it was kind of like 'let's get a well-known name, and hire him for a few years while we get prospects'. I am kind of excited to get another manager, but before I get to some names I would be ok with being the next Tigers manager, I'm going to throw some Tigers sunset manager cards your way.

Gardenhire was the last Tigers manager. I believe with his health, this will be it for Gardy. He probably won't appear in the 2021 Topps set, so I'll go ahead and use this custom as his sunset card. 

Before Gardenhire, the last Tiger manager to go off into the sunset was Jim Leyland. He should've won a title or two with Detroit, and I will always despise the Cardinals and Giants.
There were some years of turmoil between Jim Leyland's first year and the 1995 season, and nobody really worth noting who was a manager, although one or two actually did earn sunset cards during those years. 1995 was Sparky Anderson's last season. He led the Tigers to their last World Championship in 1984. 

Sparky Anderson took over in 1979, and between 1971 and then were a few managers, most noteably, Billy Martin. 
The final sunset card I have for you today is a 1971 Topps sunset card of Mayo Smith, the guy who led the Tigers to the 1968 World Championship. 

The Tigers have had a run of some really good managers who have finished out their career with the team, and I hope that they can maybe do that with the next one (as well as a few World Championships!)

Among some of the names I would like to see managing Detroit in the future: Buck Showalter, Joe Espada, Mike Hargrove, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, Will Venable, and Hensley Meulens.
I don't really favor guys with no experience unless they have a great reputation or long stints coaching (Espada and Meulens with the coaching experience, and Venable with the reputation). Among some of the guys listed as candidates are AJ Hinch, Venable, George Lombard, Vance Wilson, Don Kelly, Pedro Grifol, Mike Redmond, and Lloyd McClendon. I would be ok with Hinch, but that is just asking for drama. I guess I could learn to approve of Wilson and Kelly since they are former Tigers with intelligent reputations. Lombard is still getting into coaching/managing, I don't know much about Grifol, and Redmond (Florida), and McClendon (Pittsburgh and Seattle) have had chances to manage, but didn't do anything but lose. If they really want an internal candidate, I would be intrigued with Omar Vizquel, and Ramon Santiago are interesting, but the lack of experience would worry me. Dave Clark and Mike Rabelo have been names that were thrown around too, as well as Phil Nevin. If I could choose anyone right now, regardless of them being with another team or not, I would love to have Dave Roberts, Dave Martinez, or Joe Maddon. I've always thought Martinez would do great, and he finally showed he could in Washington. Maddon has been amazing with Tampa and Chicago, and Dave Roberts is just on the verge of a title in LA. Gabe Kapler seems like he has potential too, and he is a former Tiger. I guess we'll see. Now that I've named about 40 guys, I've probably named their next manager.  Things could shape up to be good in the next few seasons with a lineup of Spencer Torkleson, Christin Stewart, maybe a part-time Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, Niko Goodrum, Riley Greene, Parker Meadows, Isaac Pardes, and others, plus they will have a rotation of Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, Joey Wentz, Alex Faedo,and others. If they can entice some top tier free-agents to sign, the 2020's could look good for Detroit, and I'm looking forward to my son learing about baseball just as the Tigers get good and the Rays hopefully stay good. 

Things got a little messed up with the vacation in the past few days. My wife is going to finally have some surgery on her veins to hopefully unclog some areas and we are hoping it may reduce some of the high pressure in her head. Perhaps between a successful surgery and programming her shunt to drain more cerebral spinal fluid, she can get some relief from these horrible headaches. I'm hopeful. Her surgery is in the middle of next month, so instead of taking a week and a half vacation, I'm going to take a few days off for her surgery and the day or two after, and we'll probably take a 3-day weekend at some point and just drive somewhere that the leaves will change at, while my mother-in-law will have our son. Not the ultimate vacation, but I will still get away from work, and get some much needed time alone with my (hopefully healed from surgery) better half. 

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post and offered to send me cards to complete my Devil Rays Topps run. I hope to do more trading in the future. Just gotta get my hands on some cards out in the wild. 

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Knocking out some Topps Rays teams sets and my vacation plans

Last week I finally bit the bullet on an eBay listing of a number of complete Rays Topps sets. It had every one from 1997 to 2010, plus a few from 2011, but it was missing a few cards with Cubs on them (the guy was a Cubs collector), and a few of the Update cards. I figured I would get a number of Rays sets done with the cards, so I purchased them, and they arrived yesterday. 
I knew that I would still be short from completing a few sets, as I knew I was missing a few flagship Topps cards from Player Collection guys. Going through my Rays Wantlist, I checked off all of the cards that the lot I purchased had added, and it looks like I have the 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2018, and 2019 Topps/Topps Update and or Traded sets completed. There are also a few with only 1 or 2 cards needed to complete them. I figured now would be a good a time as ever to list all of the cards needed to complete my Topps Rays run. 

T19 Paul Hoover
T20 Ryan Rupe


T6 Josh Pressley

T86 Rocco Baldelli

T106 Greg Vaughn


362 Chin-Feng Chen/Corey Patterson/Josh Hamilton Prospects


T170 Matt Diaz

568 Aubrey Huff

341 Akinori Iwamura


61 Carlos Pena HR Leaders

501 Elliot Johnson

UH124 Alex Rodriguez/Evan Longoria

UH168 Ben Zobrist


22 Evan Longoria/David Price combo

UH191 Ben Zobrist


52 James Shields ERA Leaders

US203 Fernando Rodney

US239 Luke Scott

US305 David Price All-Star


94 David Price ERA Leaders

95 David Price Wins Leaders

US26 Wil Myers Rookie Debut

US148 Ben Zobrist All-Star


336 Ben Zobrist

US6 Jose Molina

US203 Cole Figueroa


US278 Rene Rivera


US17 Chris Archer All-Star

US198 Chih-Wei Hu


98 Jesus Aguilar

305 Tyler Glasnow

406 Charlie Morton

548 Brian O'Grady

554 Mike Zunino

626 Nate Lowe

664 Yonny Chirinos

If you have anything  you can spare to help me complete some of these sets, anything would be appreciated, and I'm kind of looking to get some trades going again. It looks like I'm only 36 cards away from completing the run (perhaps it will be closer to 50 when 2020 Topps Update comes out). 

I came back from getting my car looked at today, and it was a little disappointing. I have a stick shift (everyone should drive one in their lifetime), and the car was sounding like it would stall out if I had the AC running while at a stop light. Then yesterday on the way home from work, my low tire pressure light went on. I had scheduled todays appointment about a week ago, so I took it in, and there was a recall on a coil in the engine which they thought was causing the stalling issue, and my tire originally needed a patch, but turns out it was dry rotting, so I had to get a new tire, and then they also informed me that the battery was pretty low, so it turned out to be an expensive trip instead of just a repair that I was hoping would be covered under the Kia warranty. At least it is good to drive for a while. It ran like a dream on the way home. 

I'm a little nervous about money right now just because of all of the repairs and because we have a vacation coming up. I think we'll be ok, I just can't have any major repairs come up and probably won't be purchasing any more cards for a little bit. I'll get a nice bonus check before Thanksgiving, so that will be nice. 

For vacation, we plan on leaving for North Carolina on October 15 or 16, and seeing some of my wife Karen's relatives that haven't met our son Kyler yet. After spending a few days there, we will drive up to Michigan, and see some of mine. I'm sooooo looking forward to a week plus off of work. Too much drama with coworkers, I don't trust anyone there, and the worst boss I've had since I've started working in 1999. I'm not wasting a second thinking about work when we are on vacation. Although there won't be any stadiums or baseball games this year, I am hoping to find a baseball card shop somewhere on our trip. I know I've seen one or two in Grand Rapids when we went there last year. If you are close to Grand Rapids, hit me up, and maybe we can do an in-person trade at a card shop. I'll wear my mask.

I think the best thing for me about vacations is eating at different places. There are new places to eat that are only located in certain parts of the country, and you can usually find a restaraunt in every city that is unique and has something great that makes you want to come back next year. I also love how you can just chill and don't have to rush to do anything. That is what I am all about. I am going to take my time, not have to get up at friggin 4 AM every day, and just get to hang out with my wife, son, and (mostly) decent people. Counting down the days.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Cards from Kerry, Gavin, and remembering 9-11

It's been a little slow on the card front lately, and rightly so. Back before Covid, I would randomly buy packs at Wal-Mart or Target just to get a sampling of new product. With things the way they are now, all of the Millenial idiots and non-Millenial scumbags have been hoarding up all of the cards that come on the shelves, leaving little for the rest of us people who actually have jobs and such. The last actual packs I've seen in stores have been Heritage, Big League, and Series 2, and I have yet to spot any Bowman, Archives, Allen & Ginter (not that I collect it), and whatever has released since the first group I listed. I haven't checked online to see prices for any of the stuff I am missing, but I wonder if all of this nonsense has caused the price to go up any on cards? People could theoretically buy all of the cards off of the shelves, and charge more than Topps charges from their site, driving the prices to absurd levels. Topps could then raise the standard price, and this could ruin collecting as we know it. 

Maybe I am freaking out a little. It appears that some bloggers have got their hands on some new cards, a few of those being Kerry and Gavin, who were nice enough to send me some Rays to help me try to complete some 2020 sets. 
First up, Kerry from Cards on Cards had a giveaway break a few weeks ago where he opened a few packs of 2020 Bowman, and some packs of late '90's Upper Deck Victory. I was lucky enough to get 2 Rays from the Bowman, and Kerry was nice enough to send me some more guys I needed from 2020 Archives, Topps Series 2, and Donruss Optic. I love the shiny and the McKay card. Thanks for doing all of the giveaways you have been doing, Kerry. Many collectors will look back on this time in years to come and not think of a time where cards were being hoarded off of shelves, but remember how you generously did a number of giveaways and breaks. 

Next up are some cards from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown fame. I sent him some Black Gold cards a while back, and he returned the favor with some guys I collect, and Rays that I needed. I could've sworn I had the Robertson, but turns out I just have the 'paper' version. The Huff Blue Refractor is sweet, and so is the Wendle Gold card. Thanks for the great trade, Gavin.

Lastly, I probably won't have tons of time to do a post tomorrow, so I figured I would write it today. Tomorrow marks 19 years since 9-11-01. It's hard to believe it's been that long. I was 18, had just moved about 8 hours away to Mobile, Alabama to go to college for my freshman year. I had just got to know a few people in school who would turn out to be the guys in my first ever band. I got breakfast on a Tuesday morning, and then headed to my first class, which was an early American history class with Dr. Hinson. When I got to class, everyone announced that it had been cancelled due to a plane crash. I went back to the cafeteria and just kind of reflected about everything with my friend Andrew. I didn't get the magnatude of eveyrthing then, I was just so sheltered and young at that point. Later, at lunch, I met up with the guys in the band, and we talked about it, and eventually, I ended up back in my dorm and me and my roommates watched the news for the rest of the day. My mom called and wanted to make sure I was ok. Everything was just so surreal during that day and for some of the coming weeks. I was actually crazy enough to take a plane ride home to Florida a few days before Thanksgiving that year, and although I had never flew in a plane before that, I could tell it was different than normal, as I had to get thoroughly searched, and the same thing with my bags. On the way back to Montgomery, I had stashed as many baseball cards as I could in my suitcases, and the guys doing security that day must've thought I was crazy. I kind of wish they would still be that vigilant with the security now, but technology has improved since then. 
I was actually lucky enough to visit Ground Zero in New York in 2008, while on a trip to New York City/Boston/Cooperstown. The tribute site hadn't been finished yet, and there was a piece of a broken cinderblock in the area of Ground Zero that I feel was probably part of one of the buildings, and I took it back home with me as a reminder of what happened. 
I also have a card that kind of relates to the day, an American Heroes relic of John Finn. He had just worked a night shift as a NYC fireman, and he bravely kept working to try to save people from the wreckage. At one point, I had his base card from the American Heritage set, and tracked him down on MySpace, and he was kind enough to sign it for me. Unfortunately, it was one of the cards I sold with my autograph collection. 

Lastly, there is kind of a baseball connection to all of this. Marty Boryczewski was a catcher in the Detroit Tigers system. I must've seen him play a game or two in Lakeland, because I have his autograph on a pennant. 
After baseball, he became a trader, and was in one of the towers on 9-11. I wish I would've payed more attention to the players back in '96 when I probably got this autograph, but I was only 13. It's kind of sad to know that I have an autograph of someone who was in the towers that day. I hope that everyone who was in the towers that day is remembered tomorrow and that those left behind can live their lives in rememberance of those who aren't with us. With things as crazy as they are in 2020, we all could use some brightness and hope (and packs of cards on shelves).

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

1993 Topps main set is finished

I have mentioned before that when I finally got the missing player checklists finished to all of the Topps sets, that I would finish up the 1993 Topps set. Well, after a lot of hard work, I have finished the main set. The last card was card #1343, and since the 1993 Topps set was a whopping 825 cards long, that means that Topps missed out on giving us 518 cards, which probably is closer to 450 players and coaches, since I have done stadiums, team photos, highlight cards and stuff.  
I figure I will work on the 1993 Topps Traded set while I am at it. The 1994 Topps set is complete, so any problems with finding photos should be non-existant, and with the time that has passed since I have finished the '94 set, it gives a greater chance for new ones to pop up. 
Here are all of the 1993 Topps missing cards.

Special thanks to many of the guys from the FB Custom Cards group (Michael H., Richard B., Lynn P. and others), as well as Paul B. for his help with the checklist and some of the cards as well.  There are probably a few others I have forgotten, and I apologize.

I won't have much time for customs in the next 5 or 6 days, as I am going on day 3 of a 7 day straight stretch of working, and I just have a lot going on with getting my car looked at, mowing the lawn, dealing with insurance idiots for an accident that happened 3 months ago that wasn't my fault and I'm still dealing with crap from. Fun fun. Could be worse, I guess.

Hope you have a nice weekend in 2 days. 

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