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Random Awesomeness (part 2019.2)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Steelheart: The Reckoners, Book One by Brandon Sanderson.

Purchase the new Black Keys single “Lo Hi” here.

Reds from Tennessee

I suppose one might say that folks in Tennessee are lucky. Since they have no MLB team, they are free agents when it comes to fandom. As such, the Tigers are the fortunate beneficiaries of @robbyt86‘s fandom. And I am the beneficiary of his non-fandom of Reds, as evidenced by our recent trade. I will only hit a few highlights here because it would take probably a month full of posts to show off everything Robert sent my way.

Let’s start with the cards everyone loves to hate…Donruss.


I know I’m an odd duck, but I prefer Donruss to Topps over the past few years. I think the 2018 product looks great, and can’t wait to get it in-hand. Topps has been getting further and further away from what drew me to collecting in the first place, and Donruss just piles on the nostalgia more and more each year.

Then there are the cards that I hate to love…parallels.


I do not put parallels on my wantlists, but I love it when they show up in my mailbox. I normally just add a note to my list in parenthesis, then hit it with the strike-through. Robert packed the package full of colorful borders, including a strangely appealing purple-bordered Bronson Arroyo. Why do those Toys R Us parallels look so fantastic?

Also in the envelope was the complete team set of 2003 Shoebox Collection.


Reprints of rookie cards of several Reds legends, except for Ken Griffey. Topps reprinted Senior’s 1981 card, instead of his 1974 RC. Strange.

Robert also helped me finish off my 2015 Topps Reds set.


The only base Reds card I was missing from 2015, Kristopher Negron, has now joined his comrades. Hmmm…Reds, Comrades? Maybe I should rethink that wording.

What a great trade full of legends like Johnny Bench


Legends in the making like Joey Votto


And legends of the future like Tyler Stephenson


Man, I can’t wait for Opening Day!


Thanks for the fantastic trade, Robert! (And thanks for getting those Tigers out of my house!)

OPC Group Break

Thoughts And Sox just recently hosted his first ever group break, and it was the first one I’ve ever particpated in…because it was dirt cheap. A bunch of ’87 O-Pee-Chee and Leaf, and a few ’87 Donruss as well. Check it out…

Tom Browning

Dave Concepcion

Bo Diaz

Nick Esasky

Mario Soto

Bill Gullickson

Terry McGriff

Eddie Milner

Mario Soto

Buddy Bell

Tom Browning

John Franco

Dave Parker

Mario Soto

AdamE also threw in a couple of wrappers and a stick of gum.

My wife told me not to chew the gum.

My sports heroes

Growing up, there were certain people I admired in the world of sports…Chris Sabo, Eric Davis, Michael Jordan, Ickey Woods. Oh yeah, and Dick Perez.

“Wait a minute, dude…Dick Perez wasn’t an athlete!” No, but he was a sports artist. The mastermind behind the Donruss Diamond Kings artwork from 1982-1996, Perez influenced me to become a sports artist. I never actually became one, because my skills are nowhere near that of a professional, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming.

Now that I finally have all my Reds cards in binders, I want to focus on obtaining more Diamond Kings. I believe I have the complete series from 1988-1991, but I am seriously lacking in the early years and the later years. I also want to collect the “Gallery of Stars” cards from 1992 and 1993 Triple Play, as well as the special “Canadian Great” cards that were issued in Leaf sets from 1985-1988. I have compiled a master checklist of these cards, and over the next few weeks will be crossing off the ones I have. So if you have some DK’s collecting dust in your 5,000-count boxes and you want to find them a good home, I’d be more than happy to provide that.

Diamond Kings were the thing that set Donruss apart from Fleer and Topps. Beautifully painted artwork, shrunk down to collectible size, they were always the highlight of the wax pack for me. Nothing thrilled me more than pulling a DK from a pack.

A couple of quick notes…I am not interested in getting every version of the DK’s (i.e. the Trammel/Trammell variations, or the colored/non-colored banners of the Eric Davis variety). Just one of each will do. And I intend to sort the 1982-1990 cards by team, not by year. 1991 and beyond, I have not decided for sure how I will handle those. But 1982-1990 would fit in a 9-pocket binder perfectly, and there is a certain continuity with the large portrait and small action sketch in the corner. Perez departed from that formula in 1991.

Perhaps, if I am able to complete the earlier sets, I may start another blog dedicated just to Diamond Kings. I realize the later sets will be a bit more difficult to complete, as they became more limited. But for those first 10 years, they were readily available and should be littering nickel and dime boxes and cards shops and shows all over the country. I don’t expect it will be too difficult to get 1982-1987 complete…heck, there were even fewer teams in the majors back then!

Wish me luck…and if you’re not already familiar with Dick Perez, visit his website and click through some of his online galleries of Diamond Kings, Turkey Reds, Hall of Fame postcards and more. If you like what you see, like his work on Facebook.

2008 Donruss Threads Cincinnati Reds Team Set

I saw this on eBay the other day, and probably should have bid on it. It ended up selling for just 99 cents, plus $3 shipping, so about a dollar a card. The four cards in the set are Cincinnati legends who will never be forgotten: Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Tom Seaver and Alexis Oliveras.

Wait a second.

Alexis Oliveras?

I had no idea who this guy was, so I had to look it up on The dude is a minor leaguer, and since he is a Reds minor leaguer, will probably never be anything but a minor leaguer.

I’m glad I now know there are minor league cards in this set. I won’t be buying any packs. I’ll just pick up some singles here and there, but I don’t want to waste my time with minor league players who I’ll never hear about again.

New Pete Rose baseball cards?

I’m not sure how Donruss managed to pull this off, but they have issued new cards picturing Charlie Hustle in their 2008 Threads product. They also have Joe Jackson in the set. Both of these players are banned from baseball, yet baseball (and their licensees) can still profit from them?

Another question…why in the world hasn’t Topps gotten in on this deal? Too busy making upside-down cards of Jay Bruce? Of course, none of these supposed “error” cards have actually surfaced in photographs or videos…just scans that are quite suspicious looking.

And what about Upper Deck? Rose retired before Upper Deck started up, and was banned before they could issue a “Baseball Heroes” insert subset. Let’s just hope that if they do, they will triple-check the facts before they send them to press.

Now that Donruss has stuck its foot in the door, will Upper Deck and/or Topps slam through it?

Does all this mean that I have started collecting cards again? Sadly, no. I just don’t have the time in between working full-time and volunteering for the greatest radio station in the history of mass communications. (You can learn more about my role in the station by clicking here or here or here.)

I do intend to start trading online, if anyone is interested. Semi-blind trades. You send me x number of Cincinnati Reds cards, and I will send you x number of cards of your favorite team. I don’t know what you’re sending (other than it is Reds) and you don’t know what I’m sending (other than it’s the team of your choice, and I have lots of Reds doubles so we can even do a Reds-for-Reds trade). I gotta get rid of some of the cards that are doing nothing but taking up space…collecting dust…providing no entertainment whatsoever for me. If you want to do this, leave a comment with your e-mail address, how many cards you want to trade, and what team you are interested in. I will check as quickly as I can to make sure I can pull off the trade, and then we’ll work out further details.

Plus I still have that box of 1983 (I think) Fleer stamps to finish busting. Looking for a Mario Soto…no whammy, no whammy, no whammy…Soto!

Dick Perez, a Hall of Famer in my book

Cooperstown honors baseball players, umpires, managers, broadcasters, writers, etc. Why not an artist? Dick Perez was the artist of the Donruss Diamond Kings from 1982-1997, and they were consistently my favorite cards of any set each year. I had dreams of growing up to be an artist like Perez, working for a baseball card company and producing “art cards” for them. Unfortunately, as with most of my dreams, I gave up on that a long time ago. Read the rest of this entry

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