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Blog Bat Around: My Card Collecting Projects

Blog Bat Around

I’m not sure if I have ever participated in a Blog Bat Around before, but this one might help me organize my thoughts on collecting. Thanks to Night Owl Cards for starting the topic. Here goes…

MY CARD COLLECTING PROJECTS

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: I know I will never own every Cincinnati Reds baseball card, but that doesn’t stop me from attempting to create a master checklist. It’s an ongoing project, as new sets are released every year and I discover older sets I never knew existed until some kind soul sends me a card from the set. I’m still working on crossing out my recent acquisitions, and I found a shoebox that had several other needs that have not been inventoried yet.

Stillwell

Kurt Stillwell: The former second-overall draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has right around 100 cards. At one time, I had a good checklist and kept up with the collection. I was close to completion, and something went off the rails. I have several empty slots in the binder, and the checklist has disappeared, and I really have no idea which cards I still need. It’s not a huge project, and so close to finished, I really need to figure out where I’m at with it.

Shawon Dunston and Doug Dascenzo: As a baseball fan in the mid- to late-’80s and early ’90s, I saw a lot of Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN. I loved watching Dunston fire the ball to first base, nearly breaking Mark Grace‘s hand. I loved seeing Dascenzo hustle around the bases and take the mound on occasion. Both were fantastic “through the mail” signers to boot, so I have quite a few autographs of each. I would like to eventually acquire, at a minimum, all their Cubs cards from their playing days. Both moved on to other teams, and I do have some cards from those later years, but I remember them best as Cubs.

The Jacksons

Reggie and Bo Jackson: I think Reggie was my first favorite player. Or at least my first favorite non-Reds player. I don’t have a huge number of his cards, but one of my prized possessions since middle school has been his 1973 Topps card. I recently came into possession of his rookie card, which is now the pièce de résistance of my small Reggie collection. These are not organized at all, and I have no idea what I might be missing. Bo was an amazing athlete. For those who never saw him perform live—even if only on television—you truly missed out. Acquiring his cards from his playing days, even if including the football issues, seems a little more doable than Reggie.

Non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Buddy Bell, and Dave Parker: Davis and Sabo had their best years in Reds uniforms, while Bell and Parker were better known for their time with other teams. I don’t have checklists available for these collecting goals yet, but I like to pick up cards I don’t think I already have occasionally.

Stars and Famers

Stars and Famers: I used to hoard cards of Hall of Famers. I didn’t care how many 1986 Topps Ozzie Smith cards I had, they were never available for trade. Until recently. The cards were just taking up so much space, and I didn’t ever look at them. A much more manageable project is to keep one or two favorite cards of these guys. The rest have been shipped off to team collectors. Likewise with the likes of Don Mattingly, Ken Boyer, Dale Murphy, and a few guys that aren’t really should-be Hall of Famers, but once seemed to be on the right track, like Darryl Strawberry and Will Clark. Same rule as HoFers: one or two favorite cards of each is enough for me.

Horror

Horror-related cards: “Cereal Killers” is one of my favorite horror sets of all-time. I only have a handful of other horror-related cards, such as Eddie Munster and Freddy Krueger.

Music

Music Cards: Pro Set Musicards, Yo! MTV Raps, Donruss KISS cards, and a very small selection of other brands. I have nearly the complete set of Musicards (missing only a handful of cards). Two of my favorite music cards came from Steve over a year ago, when he had Topps make custom cards of Vivian Campbell and John Sykes for me.

Miscellaneous: Here is the catch-all. If it’s something I like, I’ll collect it. Be it He-Man cards, Dukes of Hazzard cards, Star Wars cards, Superman cards, you name it. I may never chase the entire set, but I like to have a few cards of pop culture awesomeness in my possession. Come to think of it, I might be close on that He-Man set. No closer than I was 15 years ago when I first bought that wax box, mind you, but close still.

I look forward to reading all the other bloggers’ various card collecting projects.

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A one in a million trader

I don’t post the cards I receive in the mail very often anymore on here. I usually post them to Twitter then put them in the stack to be sorted. I think I will change that, because this blog needs some lovin’. So here is a trade recently completely with Beau of the One Million Cubs Project, who I met via Twitter (@onemillioncubs). I sent him a handful of Cubbies recently, and he loaded me up with Reds and Reggies.

Reggie Jackson is one of the non-Reds players that I collect, and Beau hit a few holes in my collection here. I don’t have an official wantlist, but I believe there are at least four cards in this lot that I didn’t previously have.

Reggie

Then there were the Reds. From Eric Davis to Tucker Barnhart to Pete Rose to Mario Soto, Beau scattered the selections throughout several eras of Cincinnati baseball.

Reds

And he sent over a few 2014 Allen & Ginters, which I don’t even have on my wantlists yet! I need to change that soon. I got a Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, and a mini Billy Hamilton rooooooookie card…

BHAM

And it’s always cool to get an autograph, even if you’ve never heard of the guy. Tanner Rainey was a second round draft pick in 2015 and split last year between Dayton and Pensacola, so he’s not a washout yet. Hope this guy can get to the bigs and help out the Reds…they sure need it on the mound.

Rainey

Eric Davis is another guy I collect everything of, whether Reds or not. It’s hard to find a Reds card of Davis I don’t have (though there are a handful), but when you send me Dodgers and Tigers and Orioles and Cardinals cards…there’s a good chance I don’t have it yet. Like Reggie, I don’t have a wantlist up yet, but maybe I’ll be able to change that this summer? (HAHA yeah right)

Davis

But what is this? Yes, it IS a Reds card of #44 I didn’t already have! From Baseball Cards Magazine…

Davis

Beau posted this and several more Reds from Baseball Cards Magazine, and I knew I had to ask if they could be included in the trade. Fortunately no one else had spoken up yet. If you need any of the non-Reds from the panels, let me know and they are yours (except for Darryl Strawberry, he’s already spoken for). The other Reds besides Davis were Barry Larkin, Randy Myers, Scott Scudder, Rosario Rodriguez, and Joe Oliver (sharing a card with John Wetteland of the Dodgers)…

Larkin

Myers

Scudder

Oliver

All of those came on uncut panels with other players, but they will be freed and bindered at some point.

Thanks Beau for an awesome trade!

Happy Reds birthday, Eric Davis!

Davis

May 29, 1962

The rumor in Cincinnati in 1987 was that the Hall of Fame had already cast Eric Davis’ plaque. Davis intimidated pitchers both at the plate and on the basepaths. In 1986, he hit 27 homers while stealing 80 bases; in 1987 he fell three home runs shy of becoming the first 40/40 player in history. Injuries limited his playing time, and fickle Cincinnati fans turned on their brightest star. After the 1991 season, the Reds sent Davis to Los Angeles with Kip Gross for Tim Leary and John Wetteland. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Reds fans soon realized what they had lost. He returned to Cincinnati for one season in 1996 as a free agent, and continued playing through 2001. Eric the Red is now a “Special Assistant, Player Performance” for the Cincinnati franchise, and a very popular guest at fan functions such as Redsfest.

Baseball cards from Orlando

packs

I have been sitting on this post for absolutely no reason other than laziness. I bought a handful of fifty-cent packs when I was in Orlando at the beginning of the month, and scanned a handful of them, even uploaded the scans, but just haven’t been motivated to post them. I have nothing else planned for today, so let’s see what I got…

Davis

First up is Eric Davis from the 1987 Fleer Star Stickers set. These cards are very similar to the 1986 set, but with a green border instead of maroon. Either way, the border clashes with the red jersey.

Mattingly

The 1988 Fleer Star Stickers went with a gray border sprinkled with colorful stars. This Don Mattingly is the best card I pulled from that pack.

Davis mini

Franco mini

Back to 1987, and a pair of Reds in a pack: the best centerfielder and the best relief pitcher of the second half of the decade. John Franco is criminally underrated.

Benzinger

Benzinger

Clark

Clark

I bought a couple of packs of 1990 Donruss. Don’t look at me like that. I did not have any Grand Slammers cards, and I wanted a couple. I pulled the Todd Benzinger from one pack, and Will Clark from another. If I had found another pack with Bo Jackson on top, I would have bought that one too.

Big Hurt

I did not know the 1992 Fleer “The Performer” cards came in packs of their own. I assumed they were inserts. In a five-card pack, I pulled Nolan Ryan and Frank Thomas. And probably some ‘roiders, I can’t remember now.

Griffey All-Star

Henke

Art cards will always be my weakness. I’m not sure why I picked up a pack of 1992 Score, but I was happy to pull these bad boys.

Ryan

Henderson

Also from the same 1992 Score pack.

Thome

There it is. I knew there had to be something cool showing on the top of a 1992 Score pack for me to buy it, even at only fifty cents. Jim Thome is the man.

Dennys

Kirby Puckett from 1996 Pinnacle Denny’s. Not sure why I bought this one-card pack. Oh well, at least it’s a Hall of Famer.

Double Headers

Double Header

I have always wanted some Double Headers, but have never seen them in person. Vince Coleman is from 1990, while Wade Boggs and Andre Dawson are from 1989.

Brett

candy

Think this candy is still good from 1991?

buttons

Finally, a couple of 1990 Baseball Buttons. I already have several of these, so I probably shouldn’t have bought them, but it was only fifty cents.

The want lists were updated while strains of Zeppelin filled the air

xmas

That’s a good bit of my Christmas loot there. A brand new record player, a stack of vinyl (including Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynryd, and Led Zeppelin), and several stacks of baseball cards. I have not scanned any of the cards I scored today yet, but earlier this week I received cards from Night Owl and TWJ contributor Patrick, and had a few minutes to scan them.

2015

Greg from Night Owl Cards helped fill several needs from the 2015 Topps and Donruss sets. I love the Donruss design; I know a lot of people aren’t crazy about them, but I love how they pay tribute to the heritage of 1980s designs.

2014 hamilton

The Owl also sent over some other needs, such as the Billy Hamilton Heritage “Rookie Stars” (above) and the 2013 Hometown Heroes Eric Davis (below)…

Davis

I also received my very first 1975 Topps mini card…

Carroll

…which coincidentally (or not?) featured a cartoon owl on the reverse…

Owl

There were several other cards in the package, including the late Ryan Freel.

Freel

It was just before Christmas three years ago that Freel took his own life. A very sad story. Freel was a huge fan favorite in Cincinnati because of his hard-nosed play.

2014 and 2015

Patrick also hooked me up with quite a few 2014 and 2015 Topps cards. I have gone from having only a handful of 2015 Reds to needing only two for the whole team set. So if you have an extra Daniel Corcino (209) or Kristopher Negron (547) laying around, shoot me a message.

Patrick also gave up a couple of hard-to-find gems. First, from 2015…

Gapper and Rosie

Rosie Red and Gapper dancing on a special All-Star Game card that was available during the FanFest, and I believe a few were handed out at RedsFest as well.

And then, from 2006…

Nuxy

The ol’ left-hander, Joe Nuxhall, from a set that I’m not familiar with. I tracked down a Chuck Harmon card from this same set online, but no full checklist or information about how they were distributed. I love getting cards that I know nothing about, because that just means I have something else to learn.

The Reds want lists have been fully updated to the best of my knowledge. You might have noticed that there are some non-Reds things in some of the stacks pictured at the beginning of this post. I got some nice stacks of Shawon Dunston, Chris Sabo, Kurt Stillwell, and Doug Dascenzo as well from my family for Christmas. I will eventually update those want lists at All-American Baseball Cards and fire that blog up again. I haven’t posted since January there, but I think I have a way to overcome the monotony of what I was writing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 2016 on that.

Thank you again Greg and Patrick for the cards you sent! I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and that 2016 is awesome!

Blind trades are often the best trades

I received an e-mail from Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life a couple of months ago proposing a trade. He had a stack of Reds cards that he didn’t need anymore, and he wanted oddballs in return. I was happy to oblige and purge a good number of 1988 Donruss Baseball’s Best, minor league cards, and department store issues from my collection. I also sent along some duplicate stadium giveaways Reds sets that I had, and we exchanged 300ish cards with each other. Below is some of the loot I received…

botrade

Bo hit several needs, filling in a bunch of 1990s cards that I had never seen before. I haven’t had time to update the want lists yet, but I know I’ll be crossing off several entries thanks to this blind trade.

You’ll notice at the bottom a few non-Reds. In addition to my hometown Cincinnatians, I also collect cards of Doug Dascenzo and Shawon Dunston, as well as non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Buddy Bell, Chris Sabo, Dave Parker and Kurt Stillwell. And if I ever get organized (ha!), I’ll probably add more names to that list. But Bo was kind enough to throw in some cards of these players that I had not yet obtained.

I love doing blind trades, though I don’t do it as often as I used to. It wasn’t very long ago that I gifted thousands of cards to a friend in the area, so I don’t have much in the way of non-Reds cards to trade anymore. Luckily, Bo was looking for some items that I just happened to still have and was more than happy to send away.

Thanks for the trade Bo!

The kindness of strangers

A reader named Mike contacted me several weeks ago, telling me of a Kurt Stillwell card that he had not seen on my blog. It was a self-issued “testimonial” card, autographed by the former shortstop/second baseman. He also offered a 1988 team-issued postcard, of which I was aware but had not yet obtained for my collection. I sent him a few Stillwell cards he was missing from his collection, and Mike sent these two cards:

Kurt Stillwell baseball cards

But Mike didn’t stop there. He included several other Reds cards, including an autographed Duane Walker 1983 Topps…

walker

…and nearly the entire set of 1990 Best “All-Decade” Cedar Rapids Reds, a set that includes Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and several other stars of the 1980s and 1990s Reds teams!

cedarrapids

These cards were unexpected, but very much appreciated. Thank you Mike, for your kindness! I’m on the lookout for more Stillwell cards from your wantlist!

Midsummer memories

ESPN recently published a piece entitled “Midsummer Memories,” prompting their writers and analysts (including former players Barry Larkin, Rick Sutcliffe, and John Kruk) to recall their favorite moments in the All-Star Game. Even fans have their favorite memories.

The first All-Star Game I remember watching was the 1987 affair in Oakland. I had to get special permission to stay at my neighbor Dan’s house to watch the whole game. Eric Davis started in left field; the Reds were also represented by catcher Bo Diaz and relief pitcher John Franco. Ozzie Virgil of the Braves was also named to the team; he was dating one of my sister’s friends at the time and had signed a few cards for me (in ballpoint pen! The horror!). The game itself was an extra-inning pitching contest, finally ending after thirteen innings. Tim Raines drove in Virgil and shortstop Hubie Brooks in the top of the 13th, and the Mets’ Sid Fernandez was awarded the save when he held the AL scoreless in the bottom half.

The next year, the All-Star Game was held in Cincinnati, and the Reds sent Larkin, rookie third baseman Chris Sabo, and pitcher Danny Jackson. I attended the work-out day and Home Run Derby, and let me tell you, it would have been awesome if it actually happened. That was the only time the day-berfore festivities were cancelled due to rain. I was extremely disappointed. I can’t remember who was supposed to appear in the HRD that year; I’m sure Davis was among the sluggers scheduled to participate, along with Darryl Strawberry and Jose Canseco, and maybe Mark McGwire. Our seats were in the top section of Riverfront Stadium, but with the weather, the crowd had thinned out and we were able to sneak down to the field level. We worked our way up to the edge of the field, but I hadn’t brought anything with me for autographs, so I had to settle for a handshake from Astros’ pitcher Bob Knepper, who did not play in the game the next day. Even though the Home Run Derby was rained out, I still enjoyed being in the park and seeing all the players from so many different teams.

What memories will be made tonight? Will Devin Mesoraco hit a home run? Will Todd Frazier make a spectacular dive along the third base line and rob a future Hall of Famer of a sure double?

What are some of your favorite All-Star Game memories?

Four out of five Reds Hall of Fame bobbleheads announced

Sparky Anderson, Jim O’Toole, Eric Davis, and Barry Larkin will be the first four bobbleheads offered to Reds Hall of Fame visitors on select days this season. A photo of the Davis figure was posted on the Reds Hall of Fame Twitter account today…

Davis 44 bobblehead

Pretty nifty, eh?

Become a member of the best team Hall of Fame in the country! Details here!

New acquisitions from the Antique Mall

I love post-Halloween sale prices. I spent most of the day yesterday running from store to store grabbing some creepy odds and ends for next Halloween, including a Scream mask for $1.50 and a cool “Be Afraid” yard sign for $3.00. I was disappointed that some of the stores were still expecting 50%, but Kmart had most items marked down 70% and two Target stores that I hit had already slashed their prices by 90%.

In between those stops, however, I made time for the Florence Antique Mall. This is one of my favorite places to shop for baseball cards because of the decent prices and wide selection of Reds, new and old. I limited my purchases to three oddball items for a whopping fifty cents each…

That’s right, I walked out of the Antique Mall spending only a buck fifty.

The first items is from 1975, the year of my birth, and features the Reds Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan

Joe  Morgan 1975 Hostess

This is the second 1975 Hostess card I have picked up, and both are badly hand-cut. I think that’s part of the charm though.

Next we go to 1981—and it’s another hand-cut item—George Foster from the 1981 All-Star Game Program.

1981 All Star Game Program Insert George  Foster

These things are minuscule. From what I can tell, they were included in the program from 1981-1985, but I’m not sure exactly how player selection was determined. In 1981 there were eight Reds featured in the program, six from 1982-1984, and four in 1985. I wouldn’t really consider these “cards,” but they are listed by Beckett and Beckett knows all. This is my first 1981 issue. The backs are very basic:

1981 All Star Game Program Insert George  Foster

Next we hop to the last time the Reds won the World Series, 1990, and another oddball, not really a card but card-sized in height and width. Eric Davis was the only Red featured in the 1990 edition of Collect-A-Books by Collectors Marketing Corp.

1990 Collect A Books Eric  Davis

I only had a few of these back in the day, and never did pick up any of the Reds. I love the brief information and pictures on the inside pages, but my favorite part of the Collect-A-Books is the cartoon on the back.

1990 Collect a Books Eric  Davis comic

Unfortunately, that “force” was only felt for a short time after the collectible was produced. He was unable to maintain the high level of play he demonstrated in the 1980s, and never played for a world champion again after 1990. He did make a brief comeback in the late 1990s after a struggle with cancer, and had a very productive 1998 with the Baltimore Orioles, but dropped off again the following year and hung it up after the 2001 campaign.

I’m pretty happy with my $1.50 “antique” purchase yesterday.

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