Friday, December 28, 2007

The Stars At Night are Big and Bright!

Deep in the heart of the All-Star Game!

We now take a trek down the path to immortality. A sure fire way to have 2 cards in next year's Topps or Upper Deck main sets. A way for all to know you had one heck of a season. We are talking All-Star Game selections!

Today's example is a 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor of Ken Griffey Jr. Who could not want this card? The clean black borders. The squares? The picture of Mr. Griffey slamming Home Run No. 542 at home. Take note because this will probably be the pose on the Junior 650 Home Runs insert set by Topps issued over 6 years. The George Kenneth Griffey Jr. signature on front.

That's right!
I have a Ken Griffey Jr.
autographed card!
Get Some!

I knew his name was Kenneth but never knew that was his middle name. You learn something new every day.

The card back screams Hall of Fame. No room for any fun facts. Barely room for his name and personal info. Seven league leader stat lines. One R.O.Y year. One M.V.P. season line. What should have been another M.V.P. line for 1994; however, Frank Thomas of the White Sox stole the election. He sent all the voters bad Ken Griffey Chocolate Bars and made them sick. Saw a documentary on youtube about it. Then he came to Cincinnati. 2000 was a good year by Griffey standards. But someone forgot to call the exterminator and kill the injury bugs. Instead of becoming the only player to make two All-Century teams he began the slide to becoming a great player who should have retired. Thank goodness he did not. These past two seasons have revitalized my admiration of him and make it a treat to listen to him cracking the lumber on the radio.

2007 was a year all Reds fans have been hoping for. A solid season of production from Griff. Leading up to the Midsummer Classic he was halfway to 78 runs, 30 HRs, 93 RBI and a .277 avg. Not too shabby for an 18 year vet. He was the feel good story of the year (for us Reds fans) during the first half of the season. Along with Josh Hamilton he showed that you can come back from injuries and be productive. While this is never going to be a "classic" Griffey card in the same way of 1989 Upper Deck, it still reminds me of the season he made me smile. All because I know I am seeing greatness and understand it better than when I was watching Johnny Bench as a kid.

So good luck George Kenneth Griffey Jr. in your quest for 600 HRs next season. May it come at home and be a bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two out game winner. That seals another All-Star Game start!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Vintage Pack Opening Lesson 1

This is probably the most important video any collector of high value cards can watch.
It is so chock full of good pack opening tips I had trouble taking it all in! Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ode to 1961 Reds

Ah. The 1961 Cincinnati Reds. The strongest team in the National League. 93 Wins vs. 61 Losses. 4 games over the L.A. Dodgers. The team of destiny. They were the team destined to lose to The Yankees. Yep. Those Yankees. The 1961 Yankees. Maris and Mantle. Maris hits 61 Homers.

So here we have a card even the most hardcore collectors may not ever remember seeing. "Joey" Jay was the No. 2 pitcher on the 1961 Reds. But he was the only one to win a game in the world series. He pitched a Complete Game 2 for a 6 - 2 win over the Yankees. In '61 Jay won 21 and lost 10. He was an All-Star pitching selection that year.

Still no clue on the card? Hint: It has rounded corners.

1961 was Joey Jay's first year with the Reds after a December trade from the Braves along with Juan Pizarro to the Reds for Roy McMillan. That was a steal. For the Reds. Jay put together 2 straight All-Star seasons of 21 wins as soon as he came over from the Braves.

About the card. It was an interesting find. Produced in the '80's (I forget when), it is one of the set I picked up at an estate auction. The entire Reds roster from the 1961 World Series is in the manila pack. It gives basic info on the player. Bats: Both (hit or miss, I guess, looking at his .090 avg.), Throws: Right (into 21 wins).
Name, Birth date, etc. Not exactly an eye-catching card. But have you ever seen one? The card itself is made of cheap business card type paper. Like the stuff you can get at Staples and make at home. It was made on a standard 2 color press. Not well-balanced. It is like having a 1957 Aaron with the color from the name bleeding into the photo.

Any idea yet? Here's one last clue.

That's right! Stat geeks and APBA Game players might have recognized this right off the bat. I saw the game in the box and thought it would be neat to own and find out how to play. I got it and a Pete Rose Baseball Board Game together for 3 dollars. An 8 year old at the auction (drug in by his Mom) thought the Pete Rose game was "way cool! Something so old (made in 1989)!" so he got it for free. No cards in it so I did not mind. The APBA game came with 2 teams. The 1961 Reds and that team from the A.L. who shall never be named in my posts again. I was very surprised to find them and think how lucky I am each time I look at the envelopes that hold the cards. The sets were only available by mail order after you bought the game. So even though it is not much to look at, it is "way cool" to own. When is the last time you even thought of one of these game cards? So keep up the searches for your team cards wherever you can look. You never know what you will find. I never even knew these were made and how many others didn't?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Because 1 card will NEVER Satisfy a card collector

Who out there only wants one boring card of their player from each set? Why settle for just 3 cards that are the same basic photo with a different border. Who can live with just 10 like any Donruss issue from 2001 - 2005?



Pattern 86

Pattern 69

Pattern 62

Pattern 33

That's right! 90 different patterns of one card. And I want them. All. Pattern 7 is on the way. Is it because I heard Gordan Geko proclaim "Greed is good" in the 80's? More than likely it is. It could not be any other reason. What true collector does not want all 90 patterns of his team's players? Besides Mets collectors. Who in their right mind collects the Mets? WNBA fans?

And this is what is great about being a collector. The searches. The time looking in want ads. Looking over posts on trade blogs. Talking to your local card shop owner. Finding people who share your passion. Nothing like the search.

These are actually nice cards. See through acetate means no bent corners or creases. They have cool patterns for each card. And the ladies like the "Bling" factor in the sheen.

Barry is staring at one of his 2,340 hits. I think it was the game winning double on June 16, 1997 in Cleveland in their first trip there in interleague plays first year. Nothing like beating The Tribe at the Mistake they call The Jake in front of 42,961. That's just me though.

Now the back:

Barry looking towards his future baseball milestones. Wearing the only Reds cap I have never bought.

2000 - 3,000 Total Bases
Did it!

2001 - 200 Home Runs
Nope ;(

Only hit 198 for his career.

2001 - 400 Stolen Bases
Nope ;(

Thefted 378 total.
Dang getting older thing!

So if you have any patterns collecting dust, let me know. We may be able to work something out.

Seacrest out!

Let's Get In On the Card Bandwagon!

That's right! Everyone else is doing it! We can sell more magazines and every buyer is getting a "rare and valuable" card!

Bellow is a "Rare" 1993? Sports Card Values Magazine Barry Larkin. Seriously.
Who actually cut theses out of the magazines? Did they really expect to make money off of this?

First off the picture is ho hum at best. Barry staring into a sunny field! Leaning on a batting cage! On game day! At least they paid the money to get permission to have the Reds logo shown. The "card" itself is thin business card stock. Even thinner than the cards put in Tuff Stuff recently by Upper deck. At least there are no jagged rip off edges all around the card.

Now for the true art of every card:

The Back!

At last they get one thing right. Barry was the best Shortstop in the League at the time.The 87 Topps is a good looking card, but it is not even the card they quote the price on. That honor goes to Larkin's 1987 Fleer. One good looking set.

But after all this ranting, guess what?


Where are you going to find this? I came across it after nearly an hour at a flea market table. It was in the middle of the 3rd 10,000 count box - under the table. That is why this card is a true gem. It is the fruit of my labors to rebuild a Reds collection. So look at my card and get full of envy. Caus I am not going to get rid of it. Unless you offer a dollar.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sean Casey 2001 Fleer Autographics

The Mayor.
Sean Casey.

This is how autograph cards should be. On card autograph. Clear signing area. Sharp and good looking photo of the player. You know exactly who made this card and what set it is from as soon as you see it. If you bother with such sets.

2001 Fleer AutoGraphics Sean Casey is one of my favorite autograph cards. It shows Sean in the process of scooping up a short hopper from Mike Piazza for an easy out at first. The gold "I Got Religion and Money" chains jumping of the neck. Mr. Redleg smiling cause he knows Piazza just messed up hitting to Casey. I was disappointed to see Mr. Casey leave for the Pirates. But things have worked out for him. An A.L. Championship ring with the Tigers. A .529 Avg. in the World Series is nothing to sneeze at. Sean was an All-Star caliber player for the Reds from the Trade (theft) from the Indians in 1998 until his departure for Pittsburgh. He made the N.L. Squad in 1999, 2001 and in 2004. How he did not make it in 2000 is beyond my little head. It was his best stat season after 2004.

Good luck this season in the job search Sean! Looking forward to seeing you in action.

Something other than 87 Topps?

That's Right! A Barry Larkin Rookie Card! And not 87 Topps! Who knew he had any besides 87 Topps?

I like this design. It helps that blue is my favorite color and Barry is my favorite retired player. The faded blue borders remind me of the two tone paint jobs I like on trucks. The name clear as day on top and easily read. He has the look on his face of someone daring Mike Scott for a high breaking ball to hit. Those hands clenching the pine. Ready to excite the blurred out crowd in the back. Those folks probably did not think they would see a slap hitting shortstop win it all in 90 and then a 1995 National League MVP Award.
According to the card back, Barry was destined for a great career stat wise. 1 full season in the minors. .329 Avg. in Denver in 1986 in 413 AB! 136 Hits with 51 RBI and 19 Stolen Bases! No wonder he got that September call up in August. He may have gone 0 fer in his debut but that consisted of 1 at bat that resulted in a ground out for an RBI. The first of the Reds for the game.
I hope you enjoy this good looking and overlooked early card of a 3rd ballot Hall of Famer.

Fact about Barry you may not have known:
He was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the MLB draft in 1982 by the Reds but turned down the hometown team. Was redrafted in 1985 in the 1st by the Reds. Smart move as the time at Michigan matured his playing without a long road through the minors.