Grrrrrr…. again, sort of

27 04 2010

(As puppy Griffey would say…)

Haven’t been able to do any baseball cards for a while. I’m moving to New Jersey, an hour outside of Manhattan, for work next week. Been extremely busy trying to wrap up the work in Columbus this week and last, while at the same time get work on getting my condo sold. I’ve still got a vending box from 1980 set to open, and I’m excited to get to that. Hopefully I can do this weekend, otherwise it might really be a while.

I’ve always been a little bit of a Yankee fan, or at least a fan of the history. I wonder if living in somewhat close proximity to the Bronx will make me more of a fan? Possibly. I hate to be a bandwagon jumper, but man the Reds really stink this year. It does look like Harang will finally get off the losing / getting hammered streak tonight (or maybe I just caused an 8th inning jinx). I’ll definitely catch a couple of games in at both of the new stadiums when I move to the east coast. Also thinking a trip to Cooperstown might be doable to see the Hawk get inducted – that definitely wasn’t possible before!

Anyways, hopefully next post will be a vending box update!

Great tip!!!!!

19 04 2010

Handcollated gave me a great tip to try for the wax residue – rubbing the gunk off with pantyhose. It was a little time-consuming, as there were 36 cards with this type of stain – the first card of each pack. But it was worth it – this trick definitely worked! This is a helpful idea; originally, I’d thought I’d have 2 bad cards out of 15. The gum stain is still something that will be a problem on 1 card per pack – those cards are ruined on the back. But at least now I’ve got 14 good cards per 15-card pack.

This netted me 27 additional cards toward my set completion (9 of the formerly-gunky cards were doubles). I’ve adjusted the numbers per my previous post to account for this, and I’m updating the completion percentage. Next step is to open the vending box I bought, but it might be until next week until I can do this.

Thanks again to handcollated!!!

1980 Topps wax box break

11 04 2010

So my first Topps box break is completed. “Statistics” listed below:

36 packs per box * 15 cards per pack = 540 cards overall

– 31 doubles

509 of the 726 card set. (70.1% set completion)

Additionally, there were 53 cards out of the 509 that have wax on the front of the card or a gum stain on the back of the card. Basically, the first card opened of each pack usually had a residue from the was pack stuck to the front of the card and the gum was next to the back of the last card. Usually this was pretty noticeable and caused these cards to look pretty bad. I guess I need to decide if I want to include these cards in my set. I’m really just trying to complete these sets, so on some level it seems like I should just keep the cards. But there are a couple of factors here – these are actual foreign substances on the cards, and I consider this much worse than a poorly centered card, or even a nick or crease. Also, I’d be a little worried about the gum or wax rubbing onto the other cards in the set. Adding 50 more cards to collect won’t be that bad since none of them we’re really good players (I think Dave Parker and Bert Blyleven were the best two players), and I’m still going to buy a vending box that may eliminate the problem for a majority of these cards anyways. So I’m not going to include those in my set. This will probably be an issue for any of the card sets that have gum in them and/or are from actual wax packs, so I’ll follow this rule throughout my quest. I will, however, include those cards in my “statistics” I track from each box. My rationale is that most of these stains wouldn’t be there in the summer of 1980, or even a few years later; this is more of an issue of the fact that I’m opening these 20-30 years after originally packaged.

As mentioned in the last post, I did pretty well in this box. I got the 4 best cards available (Henderson RC, Ozzie  2nd year, N. Ryan, P. Rose). Some of the better cards I didn’t get include Mike Schmidt, George Brett and Eddie Murray. Only 31 doubles and no triples shocked me at how good the collation was for 1980. Makes you wonder how it was so notoriously bad (at least from what I remember) for all companies in the late 80’s and early 90’s. My next step is to open a vending box for this set, which I ordered from BBXC and received last week. I’ll probably open that next weekend.

Pictures – 1980 Topps box

10 04 2010

OK, finished opening the box. Overall, pretty good pulls – I got the Henderson, which is the key card. It’s in really good shape (no gum stain, sharp overall), except it’s probably 60/40 centered. Overall, though, I’m pretty happy since I pulled it on the 3rd to last pack, and was thinking I wasn’t going to get a Rickey! Also got the Nolan Ryan, the Pete Rose, and the second year Ozzie Smith. Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray, and George Brett are the biggest names I missed out on. See some scans attached:

The three best cards in the set, all in somewhat decent condition!

Here’s the different subsets in the set – Future Star triples, Batting Leaders, 1979 Highlights, and Manager/Team Checklists.

I liked these cards, because they showed some of the more interesting haircuts of the day. And because there was a red-headed dude named Mike Tyson. I bet he really hated his parents for giving him that name a few years after this set came out…

These guys are all more famous for reasons other than their baseball playing careers.

3 feared hitters. I love the picture of Hawk – one of the better ones in this set, which tends to be poses that don’t seem very genuine. Dawson and Rice are both recent HOFers who waited their turn to get in, but if you ask me, were both very deserving.

Three more recognizable players, all 3 photos that I kind of enjoyed.

Members of the 500-HR club. As mentioned, I didn’t pull the other two guys in this set – Murray and Schmidt.

At this point in time, these guys were probably considered the best players at their position, or at least upcoming prospects. Whitaker isn’t even on the HOF ballot any more, and Trammell and Murphy hardly get their fair share of votes. I think all 3 should be in, hopefully some of them will eventually get some love from the veteran’s committee. For now, they’ll have to be happy with mention in my blog.

8 of the 9 Big Red Machines. The middle 3 all wearing different uniforms. Seeing Perez in the Expos uniform just looks weird. Missing only Joe Morgan (who I believe will be in a Phillies uni for this set). Nope – looked it up, still with the Reds, and I actually missed a couple stops in between. Here’s his card and the one other BRM card (Pete Rose Highlight).

So that’s it for now. Need to go through and figure out how much of the set I filled, etc. It didn’t seem like I got as many doubles as I would have expected for 1980 collation.

First packs – 1980 Topps Wax

4 04 2010

OK, work and other commitments have pushed the beginning of this “project” back a couple of weeks. But I’ll choose to look at this in a positive light – I’m now starting my trek to collect the Topps sets on an appropriate day. Opening Night 2010! This is one of the more exciting days of the year for me – I’m an accountant, so it signifies the ending of my busy season and back to more normal working hours. Even before I was working, though, Opening Day was still special. It means (for the most part) that winter is over, spring is here, and baseball is in the air! OK, that’s a little cliché, and I probably just jinxed myself and ensured that it will be snowing next weekend. But once the first Monday of April hits, that has always meant the start of the best time of year.

When I was a kid, this meant Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall calling my hometown Reds – and often me hiding a Walkman from my parents to hear the end of the game, and hopefully Marty’s signature call line “This one belongs to the Reds”. Joe’s no longer with us, but Marty is still calling games the same as he has been since 1974. Now, he’s alongside a number of guys, most frequently the Cowboy Jeff Brantley or his son Thom. I really like Jeff, and Thom’s not so bad either, but something about me misses the combination of Marty and Joe. Here’s to you Joe!

Side note – here’s some interesting trivia: Who did Marty replace in the Reds radio booth? Answer to come in a future post!

In honor of opening night, my wife and I cooked a “dish” we saw on one of the food network shows. It comes from the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, IL. Which apparently is just outside of St. Louis (BOOOO Cardinals). So we sautéed up some “Philadelphia cheese steak nachos”. Goes excellent alongside an old slugger ale brewed in Cooperstown NY. I had one saved from my trip there last summer. Actually, it was just at the back of the fridge, but tasty nonetheless!

So as I watch the Yankees pound Josh Beckett, on to the point of this blog! 1980 Topps Box, purchased from Baseball Card Exchange for a price I won’t mention on this blog (this is the one box that will actually cost me some decent cash). BBXC was more expensive than eBay, but since this one is pretty expensive, I’d rather ensure I’m getting a box that hasn’t been tampered with or replaced with a bunch of packs once someone found a Rickey Henderson rookie in theirs. I found out Terry Puhl of the Astros is the cover man for the box. An interesting choice by Topps – he was a decent major leaguer who typically hit around .280 (.287 in the year before, 1979) and made one All-Star team (not 1979). Topps has some advertising “NOW 15 CARDS IN EVERY PACK”, which was an increase from 12 previously.

It was difficult opening the first pack – I felt like I was ruining a bit of history with something packaged 30 years ago, up to and including the 30-year-old stick of gum (probably not as tasty as the old slugger)! But eventually I got through that and ripped the first pack. And the first card staring at me was a………

Poorly centered Jerry White!!!! Card #724!!! I have, until now, never heard of Jerry, but  he played for the Expos, and according to the back of his card, he did pretty well in the American Association in 1977. And the Expos traded him to the Cubs, and then traded back for him. Maybe this is foreshadowing why MLB  doesn’t have a team in Montreal any more?

Well, the rest of the first pack mirrors the makeup of this set. I pulled 2 HOF-ers (Carlton Fist and Don Sutton), and more than a few recognizable players. Bob Boone prior to his days ruining the Reds’ rotation, Doug DeCines, and Jose Cardenal. From the back of the card, I learned that Cardenal is the cousin to another pretty good major leaguer – Bert Campaneris. Also found a Don Zimmer manager card with the Red Sox team picture. Didn’t know Zim managed the Red Sox. Maybe Pedro should have thought about that when he threw the old coach to the ground 4 or 5 years ago in the bench-clearing brawl. Also got a Reds future stars card – apparently the Reds’ future looks bright with Are DeFreites, Frank Pastore and Harry Spilman waiting in the wings!

I’m only opening 9 packs today. Later packs included some other interesting names. So far, I’ve pulled 3 of the Big Red Machine – Johnny Bench, Cesar Geronimo, Ken Griffey. My favorite two cards thus far are a close up of Andre Dawson and Reggie Jackson. It’s also hilarious to see some of the hairdo from 30 years ago. Scans to follow tomorrow…