Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ignorance is bliss, because knowing takes the fun out of it

I did not set out to have my ignorance about certain baseball-related topics shatter into a million pieces.  I did not set out to have two completely different venues shatter my rose-colored view of my baseball ways.  But, it happened. And, I was all the better not knowing any of it.  Allow me to explain.

Last weekend, my wife and I went shopping and stopped by Books-A-Million to see what they had (in general, but also for my son who has required summer reading for school).  On the dollar rack, I saw "Bases Loaded" about the steroid era.  It was a buck, so why not?  The book sat in my home office doing nothing for a few days before I started reading it.  In the meantime, I finally broke down and started entering hundreds of cards into TheCardCollector - to see if I needed them or already had them.  By "hundreds," I mean more than 2,400 cards in 800-count boxes. I am down to one 800-count box and a box of cards and items I thought I had already done. That should be fun (insert sarcastic eyeroll here).

During a break from collecting, I started to read the book. I hate it. It tells me all the things I knew were going on, but was blissfully ignoring.  And that was all of the first 20 pages. I quit reading it. Frankly, I don't want to know what I don't know. I'd rather not know which of the baseball "heroes" I looked up to took part in the juicing, the womanizing, etc.

While entering cards, I discovered that some of my sets were showing as having inventory (that is, I had the cards already in my collection), but the names of the players were stricken from the system for those sets! AUGH!  Now, I have several sets that show I own cards but they have no names. For example, my 1994 Conlon Collection cards.  Now, in some sets, this is not a big deal. I can look up the card numbers and names either online of in the few Baseball Almanacs I have.  But, the Conlons are different.  See, in the program, the cards are listed from 1-whatever.  However, the ACTUAL cards are numbered starting with about 600 and going up.  So, the card with ID# 51 might actually be card #723 in the set.  The program "handles" this because the people who made the program preface the cards with their actual numbers.  So, Card 51 might look like: Card 51 #723 Robert Feller Qty Owned 1 - That is, when everything was still there.  Now, the program joyfully shows: Card 51 Qty Owned 1.  Lovely.  What actual CARD NUMBER is #51!?  I have no idea.

This means I now have to go through the database looking for missing names, then hit the binders and look up the actual cards to re-enter the names into the database. AUGH!

 Oh, I know, it sounds like I'm whining. I suppose I am a little, but I am very exasperated.  Many of the missing names belong to sets that I added myself because they were not originally in the database program.  Well, after the company ADDED those sets, it unceremoniously deleted the player names from the sets I had created.  I am just very lucky that it kept the inventory tracking.  Otherwise, I'd be looking at starting all over again and building up to my now 10,250+ cards and items.

Having said that, I am curious about those that keep their cards in a spreadsheet - or their own database.  Would you mind sharing the file or the layout?  I figure I better have a backup plan in case this turns into a "start over from scratch" situation.

So, there it is... I now know more than I wanted to about the "behind-the-scenes" of baseball, and I am fully aware that my card database may no longer be valid.  I want my ignorance back. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pack-searching exploit - Good, Bad or Who Cares?

Chris Harris of Stale Gum fame had someone email him a "secret" that can be used to pick out Target 2011 Topps Heritage Baseball loose packs that evidently contain a "hit" in the pack.  Packs without the "mark" do not have any hits (or at least are not marked such as to indicate the possibility of a hit).

Apparently, people are going bananas over this: checking the backs and only buying potential "hit" packs.  By bananas, I mean people are trashing Chris for exploiting the issue.

Frankly, I say kudos.  And, Chris, if you read this, email me the secret and I'll happily put it to the test in the Texarkana region.

I don't see the point in keeping it a secret anyway. What are the chances, really, that the respective readers of the blogs/posts of those who know the secret will run to the same Target to snag up all the "hit" packs?  Also, so far the hits are simple inserts and short prints. Whoop-dee-doo.  If we were talking a jersey every time or an auto in every marked pack, then that might be a little hard to swallow.  We're not. I'd do it if I knew it, just because I like to have added fodder for my giveaways.

I agree with Chris' assessment: he is simply the messenger (and really not even that since he is not posting the exploit, just the breaks he picked up by using the exploit himself).  The real "enemy" here is Topps.  But, then, that should be no surprise to anyone.  From fake "error" cards to re-creating the MLB card monopoly of the pre-1980's, Topps is well-known to create its own media/collector frenzies.  Topps should be blamed for pulling such an obvious manufactured telltale.  I suppose next year, they will just put a sticker on each "hit" pack saying, "This pack has the insert."

So, Chris, I say you keep buying the packs in the name of research. And, as I said, if you'd like some geographic distribution to test your theory, feel free to email me: - why not.

To see the 10-pack test:

Monday, July 25, 2011

M'Alomar'd by Thorzul

As soon as I opened the package I received today, I knew.  Actually, I had that strange feeling even BEFORE I opened the package.  You see, the return address simply said, "Thorzul."  And I knew...

So, you see kids, there are all kinds of things you can do with 33* Sandy Alomar, Jr cards!

He was VERY kind enough to include a 2009 Upper Deck FMSHMG (pronounced "Fimshmig" according to the OED... That's the Old English by Dave).  Er, wait, this is a 2009 UD Franchise Members 4 featuring Sizemore, Hafner, Martinez, and Garko (580/999)!  Very cool:

Let the retribution packing begin... Hmmm... What shall that include??

*each word above was made with the 33 cards, just to be clear here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My haul from the 4-Buck Oddball Break

I spent a bulk of the evening Saturday sorting the items from my recent 4-Buck Oddball Break.  Those packages are ready to mail, except for a couple folks for whom I need addresses (I have contacted you via email).  My daughter helped me sort through things, so if you get a little something extra, or if you ended up a card or two shorted, that could be the reason.  Actually, I made sure no one got shorted. We had a lot of fun "spreading the wealth" when it came to cards featuring more than one team and the two teams no one claimed (Angels and Tigers).  Emily loved being "in charge" of handing out the two unclaimed Topps Coins items. 

Since I hosted the break, I snagged the Indians.  I ended up with duplicates of almost every Tribe item pulled, so there are future giveaway items right there! 

First up, I pulled the Fleer sticker logo: 

I have always found it funny that card companies pointed out just how to remove a sticker from the backing.  Really!?  They didn't think kids knew how stickers worked??  I guess that says a lot, huh? 

Next up, we have Fleer sticker Andre Thornton plus Topps Rubdowns Julio Franco and Andre Thornton:  

I also pulled a Julio sticker and a Brett Butler to boot! Very nice.  From the Swell pack, I managed to get hold of a Jose Cardenal! 

The last two items are the oversized cards from Topps Fold-outs.  There are players on the back of each of these, but have no fear!  Everyone got their team and then I even had extras when all was said and done.  Extras were randomly distributed among the teams featured on the particular card.  Here, I got Bert Blyleven and Bake McBride! 

After looking back over the other cards/teams in the oddball break, I think those of you that took a chance are going to enjoy the items you will get!  Very cool stuff in there for sure.  I haven't checked my indians haul against my collection yet, but I am pretty sure I have crossed a few things off my want list!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tribecards from dayf!

When dayf sent his oddball break gift, he also included a host of cool Tribers to go along for the ride!  Let's take a look at Indians players from the past and present!

1964 Al Luplow! Wow, that is fantastic! I love vintage Topps, and the '64 set featured an area on the back that you could gently (lightly?) rub with a pencil to reveal the answer to a trivia question: "Who holds the Mets' record for hits in a year?"  Luckily, we don't have to take graphite to cardboard.  In the right light and at the right angle (actually more of about 35 degrees), the answer shows to be Frank Thomas in 1962 (152 hits).  Remember, the card is from '64.  Next, Manny being Manny on a '93 Upper Deck on a Top Prospect card.  Man, he was thin back then. Of course, I was too. Jason Davis comes to us on an Upper Deck Sweet Spot:

Holy flaming balls, batman! We have Doug Jones on a 1990 USPC 7 of Spades.  When I spotted the next cards, I was afraid I was headed for an "Alomaring" but there were just two:

Yo, yo, ol' Joe.  carter, that is. Looks like he is calling for the ball to be thrown: "Come on, man! I'm getting my picture taken for my ballcard, man! Give me the ball."  The middle card is one sweet O-Pee-Chee!  We have a Materials card featuring Hafner, V-Mart, and Westbrook! Dayf, that is a GREAT card! Dennis Cook appears in one of the most normal-looking cards I've ever seen of him:

Kenny Lofton takes a "7th Inning Sketch" and joins us from the Fleer Skybox Dugout Axcess set, followed by Charles Nagy and Mitch Webster:

Tom Lampkin is looking pretty tall with the cameraman lying on the ground in order to get this shot. I've never really understood this angle on cards.  Why not shoot straight? Julio Franco appears on the back of a 1989 sticker, and then we have Jim Thome Fleer Skybox Metalsmiths !  Oh, this is killer!

CC "Diamond Prosigs" Sabathia enters the fray followed by Future Star ManRam on a 60 Years of Topps retro card.  I loves me some die cuts, and dayf tossed one in for good measure (okay, actually there is another, too, but still...): UD3 Future Impact Russell Branyan!

Digging into the first post-Topps-monopoly era, we have Donruss '89 with Bud Black. Richie Sexon gets all shiny on a Topps Chrome, and Jeff Kaiser celebrates 40 years of Topps:

The 2005 Donruss cards have the clarity of Topps HD without the 3-inch thick card stock.  Pretty dang good photography, too.  The next die cut comes from Topps Laser.  I know a lot of folks were not a fan of these, but I think they are pretty "swooft" (as the vernacular goes).  And, how can you go wrong Wynn you've got Early in the box!?  See what I did there? Of course you did.

1970 Topps is one of my favorite sets. I love the simple, clean look.  Yeah, the gray is a bit dull, but I associate this set with my grandparents that lived in Cleveland the most. I was only (or not even, really) one year old when this set came out, but it was one of the first that I (later) collected like mad. In fact, the 1970 Alvin Dark was one of my first hobby store buys.  Pete O'Brien takes a pose for us and hands it off to Matt Williams on a UD3 Homerun Heroes card.  This one features a very shiny inset and a faux bat embossing:

Rounding out the package from dayf, Indians All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera.  Excellent!  Dennis Martinez does a double take on the 1994 Fleer Flair card (which is as thick as a Topps HD). Omar Vizquel waits for the lightly tossed ball to come into play as he creates an action shot for his baseball card.  I think he and Joe Carter may have gone to the same "Baseball Card Photos 101" class.  And last, but not least, Enrique Wilson on a very purple Pacific Omega. 

Thank you VERY much, Dave, for these cool Tribecards!  I'll be sure to include some extras Braves cards when I ship out your oddball loot!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Finally - Oddball Group Break short video (15 mins)

Yeesh, what a day!  Converting the video I recorded yesterday has been a bigger chore than I imagined.  I uploaded the hour-long video to a site call "Megavideo" and it took forever to get it processed through them. I assume that is because I am a non-paying customer.  In any case, you have TWO options to watch last night's break:

OPTION 1 - The YouTube short version:


OPTION 2 - The hour-long (and much funnier in my opinion) version -

In any case, thanks to everyone! I'll get these sorted and shipped out over the next few days.  As this was my first break, feel free to offer opinions, suggestions, etc.

4-Buck Oddball Pack Break Update, of sorts

Hey everyone!  Well, we had a late entry into the fray: dominicfdny claimed the A's and the Expos late last night (in fact, my daughter and I had just finished the break when I saw his request).  Since he was not aware of the cards opened at the time, I am letting him in! Besides, it is all in fun and charity, right!?

The video is taking longer than expected to process, so I snagged a few quick picks with the ol' iPod for your enjoyment and to get those card-collecting salivary glands going!

Enjoy some samples of what was busted open late last night:

Topps DoubleHeaders:

Swell Baseball Greats:
 Topps Fold-outs Relief Aces:
 Topps Fold-outs Stolen Base Leaders:
 Topps Heads-Up (seriously one of the freakiest baseball card pics I've taken):
 Fleer Star Stickers:
 Topps Rubdowns:
 Various coins, pins and buttons:

I will get these sorted and mailed out over the next couple days.  Thanks again to EVERYONE that jumped into this fun group break!  When all is said and done, it looks like we had Angels and Tigers as the only unclaimed teams! That is fantastic!  Per the rules, I will divide those p and share the wealth among everyone as best I can.  Once the video is uploaded, I'll share the link with everybody, too.  It's about an hour long, but hopefully worth at least skimming through.

4-Buck Oddball Pack Break Coming Up!

Hey everyone!  My daughter and I recorded the 4-Buck Oddball Break and I am processing the video then uploading it after that.  Lots of fun and weird stuff in here!  These have been flipped horizontally to show the true orientation. Evidently, my "super, cool, wowie wow wow MacBook" doesn't know how to record video so that it isn't BACKWARDS when you play it back. Actually, that's probably an operator error. In any case, the video is horizontally backward, creating something of a fun game for viewers.  If there is ever another video break, I'll fix that.  Take a look at some of the samples:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Last calls for Oddballs!

Okay, folks, this is it. This is "last call" for anyone thinking about jumping on the 4-buck oddball break bandwagon! I still have several teams open for claiming here.

Remember, any unclaimed teams get shared among those who joined in! Also remember that I am donating the "gift" you send to the Shannon Stone Memorial Fund in honor of his passing due to a fall at Rangers Stadium.

I will be busting the packs open on Saturday evening/night most likely.  I am seriously considering broadcasting the breaks live just because I foresee some goofiness going on with these oddball packs. And, well, goofy is my middle name.  Okay, not really. But it might as well be.

Atlanta Braves - Dayf (PAID in the closest thing to a fruit roll up method as I have ever seen! FTW!)
Baltimore Orioles - BRNW (PAID)
Boston Red Sox - AdamE (PAID or close enough to be counted)
Chicago White Sox - Jeff L (PAID)
Chicago Cubs - Jon (PAID)
Cincinnati Reds - FanOfReds (PAID)
Cleveland Indians - Tribecards (HOST!)
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros - Kiley B (PAID)
Kansas City Royals - Tim (PAID)
California Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers - Ernest (PAID)
Milwaukee Brewers - BRNW (PAID)
Minnesota Twins - BaseballDad (PAID)
New York Mets - BaseballDad (PAID)
New York Yankees - Ryan L (PAID)
Oakland Athletics
Philadelphia Phillies - Jim (PAID)
Pittsburgh Pirates - Hiflew (PAID)
San Diego Padres - Jon W (PAID)
San Francisco Giants - Matthew R (PAID)
Seattle Mariners - BRNW (PAID)
St. Louis Cardinals - Tim (PAID)
Texas Rangers - BRNW (PAID)
Toronto Blue Jays - Duane (PAID)
Montreal Expos

Details about the break are here:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10,039 hits and counting!

If you are a regular reader, you know that my main desktop computer crashed a bit ago.  Luckily, I keep my card database on our media server.  Even better, once I reinstalled CardCollector 7.0 on my machine, I was able to pull up my card collection.

Fast forward to today.  After watching the USA Women's Soccer Team win the round against Brazil, I decided to enter some of the cards I still have in boxes.  These are cards that I've received as trades, gifts, and through purchases that have yet to be entered (or compared to) my database collection.  I managed to get through most of one box, which leaves the rest of that one plus at least 3 others I have stacked in the ol' home office.

Now, I said all of that to say this: THANK YOU!  I know I gush like a little girl at a Justin Bieber concert when I get cards in the mail, and I try my best to thank everyone that sends cards my way, but I have to say that the cards I am going through now have *ALL* been picked from the last want list I had posted (more than a year old, I'm afraid).  Okay, not ALL of them, but nearly all of them, and the ones not from the want list have come from the lack of being on my OWNED list.  You guys ROCK! 

I have now broken through the 10,000 non-duplicated Indians item mark!  Most of my collection consists of cards, but there are non-card items as well: schedules, tickets, a house key, some Indians-related scrapbook stickers, handmade greeting cards from readers and friends, etc.

It is only by the amazing card community found online that I have been able to grow my collection from about 4500 cards just a couple years ago to the 10,039 it is right now.  Maybe I shouldn't be so blown away by that, but I grew up in a time when the only trading going on came in the way of local friends who happened to pick up a few packs at the Dairy store down the road or where I could take a trip to the hobby store down the road from my grandparents in Cleveland (Lakewood, really, but who's counting?).

Here is to everyone that's helped get this far and I'm looking forward to growing my collection in the years to come! THANKS!

4-buck Oddball Break: Proceeds to Shannon Stone family fund

 There are still plenty of teams available for the 4-Buck Oddball Group Break.  I have decided to donate *ALL* the money gifted for this break to the Shannon Stone Family Memorial Fund, administered by the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce (here).

Here's your chance to help out and to pick up some oddball cards in the process.

Atlanta Braves - Dayf (Pending)
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox - AdamE (Pending)
Chicago White Sox - Jeff L (PAID)
Chicago Cubs - Jon (PAID)
Cincinnati Reds - FanOfReds (PAID)
Cleveland Indians - Tribecards (HOST!)
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros - Kiley B (Pending)
Kansas City Royals - Tim (PAID)
California Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees - Ryan L (PAID)
Oakland Athletics
Philadelphia Phillies - Jim (PAID)
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres - Jon W (PAID)
San Francisco Giants - Matthew R (PAID)
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals - Tim (PAID)
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Montreal Expos

For group break details, go here:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Use your modem to get updates! So 1994...

We moved into our new building at work about a year ago.  I am just now getting to the point of cleaning out the packed boxes of "stuff" that we moved.  What does this have to do with baseball cards?  Well, while going through one of the boxes, I came across this little gem:

This a box for the 1994 Microsoft Complete Baseball.  It even still has the shrink wrap on it! I was excited and amused all at the same time.  I pulled the package out of the box and turned it over:

Sorry for the blurry scan, but the back of the box is in pretty rough shape.  I find it interesting that the two teams featured on the back are the Phillies and the Blue Jays. After a quick search, I learned that they were the teams featured in the 1993 World Series.  So, there ya go.

It turns out that the shrink wrap may be on, but no software is home.  The box had everything inside (licensing, getting started, etc) *EXCEPT* the software CD. Figures.  Well, I can only hope to find it while looking through the half dozen boxes filled with CDs, DVDs, and who knows what other means of software distribution.  One piece of advertising I found quite entertaining:

Use your MODEM to get daily scores!  I wonder if I do find the software if there is some Microsoft online process running somewhere that actually still updates this program. I know, I know... Probably not. But, it would be fun if it was something happening. It is hard to believe this was $49.95 when originally released! Whoa.. I bet they only sold a handful of copies at best. Ouch.You can "Buy It Now" on eBay for a buck. Wait, a BUCK!? (Well, after a quick side trip to the eBay store, I bought the thing. Why not?)

I also found a similar box for "Complete Basketball 1994" and it was void of software as well.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Come Get Some: 4-Buck Oddball Pack Break

This is a friendly reminder that I have plenty o' spots open in the 4-Buck Oddball Break.  Come on down and get in on this unusual break for just four bucks. That covers everything: cards, packaging, shipping.  It's a wild and wooly collection of packs to be opened on or about July 16, 2011.

(Mail Day)^2 + TonT = Fun Tribecards Time!

Today was MAIL DAY!  Yeap, that's right, I **finally** pointed my Charger toward the Post Office and mailed off several bubbleopes I have been meaning to send off for weeks now!

And, today was MAIL DAY! I had a package from the good Cap'n himself, Capt Canuck from the Great White North!  Let's see what's inside:

First up, we have a great selection of Indians O-Pee-Chee cards from 1985!  Man, do these guys bring back some memories!

Then, we have a bunch of Panini stickers from 1989!  I don't know off-hand which ones I need, but I am pretty sure I don't have the Cleveland Stadium sticker. That is SWEET!

Rounding things out, how about a couple of Victor Martinez cards and a pack of 1990 Donruss cards!  Oh yeah, there will be some "Tribe or No Tribe" tonight!  In fact, that is coming up right after you look at these beauts:

Now, let's bust open this pack of Donruss for a little Tribe-or-no-Tribe action:

17 cards in the pack plus a puzzle piece. Par score = 9 points at 0.5 per card

Carl Yastrzemski puzzle piece. Well, I suppose that gets the base +0.5 score. Total = 0.05

Dave Stewart (A's) MVP card - +0.5 points, total = 1.0 point
Chad Kreuter (Rangers) - +0.5, total = 1.5 points
Willie McGee (Cardinals) - +0.5, total = 2.0 points

Felix Jose (A's) - +0.5, total = 2.5 points
Eric Show (Padres) - +0.5, total = 3.0 points
Gene Larkin (Twins) - +0.5, total = 3.5 points (Well, we are on par anyway)
Ricky Jordan (Phillies) - +0.5, total = 4.0 points
Gary Pettis (Tigers) - +0.5, total = 4.5 points
Rickey Henderson (A's) - +0.5, total = 5.0 points (Now, THAT is awesome. Period!)

Bill Doran (Astros) - +0.5, total = 5.5 points
Brad Komminsk (Indians - TRIBECARD!) - +2, total = 7.5 points

George Canale (Brewers) - +0.5, total = 8.0 points
Billy Ripken (Orioles) - +0.5, total = 8.5 points (no "error" here! That's just for Topps)

Chili Davis (Angels) MVP, +0.5, total = 9.0 points
Les Lancaster (Cubs), +0.5, total = 9.5 points
Jim Acker (Blue Jays), +0.5, total = 10.0 points

Ron Robinson (Reds - TRAP!) - -1 point, 9.0 total points

Aw, dawg. I thought I was going to have a big time with that Indians card, but then fate stepped in and tossed me a trap card!  Well, I still scored above par on this pack!  Al-in-all, a *GREAT* delivery from Captain Canuck!!  Thanks a bunch!!