Friday, August 28, 2009

Pending Trade

I am slow but surely making my way through some boxes, and have secured some interesting gems for Night Owl. I'll let him display the random madness on his site once he gets the cards.

Anyways, I'm still on the look out for 07 and 08 Topps, and the boxes I am currently going through are 81 to 87 Donruss and Fleer and 88 Score. Does anyone out there need anything from these years and manufacturers?

If so, post a comment with where I can see your want lists. Or, you can drop me an email at uncle_docs_closet(at)yahoo-dot-com. (Be warned though, I have two kids under the age of two, so it may take a while to get cards out)

L
ooking forward to hearing from someone so I can unload the madness.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2010 Topps Base Wax - When the Price is Right?

I need a break from the Topps Cards That Never Were...

Bad Wax had a recent post about what he’d like to see in 2010 from the sole MLB licensed trading card company, Topps. He broke it down into base or flagship product, then Chrome, blah, blah, blah. No disrespect to Bad Wax, but I’m more of an old school collector, so only the base set interests me.

That being said, the topic of base set wax prices came up, and they ranged from $1.50 for 15 cards up to $2.00 for 10 cards. However, the base cards desired were the old, non-gloss, straight up cardboard versions ala 1952 to 1992 Topps. Sure, a few insert ideas were proposed, but nothing really beyond what I saw back in my day.

This got me thinking again about card prices, and how I’ve harped on how pack prices have gone up exponentially since the change to “fancy” cards in 1993. So, 10 cents to 20 cents per card in 2010? Man, that will not get me back into the hobby, nor would it make a lot of kids want to drop the kind of cash I did back from 84 to 92 (prime Bad Wax Era).

So, I went back to my peak as a kid-collector, 1989. This was the year I busted my tail doing chores, scrapping together 5 bucks here and there, so I could ride my Huffy to the local pharmacy to pick up 11 packs of 89 Topps for just under five bucks. Five bucks back then brought home 165 cards, all with the hopes of a Tony Gwynn, or the immortal JosΓ©.

Based on their desires, $5 now would bring home 25 to 50 cards. That does not seem like an easy way to build a collection as a kid. True, 5 dollars now is not five 1989 dollars, but inflation hasn’t gone up that much in the past 20 years. I remember when a loaf of bread…

Being statistically inquisitive, I pulled the Cost of Living increase numbers from the Social Security website, and started from 1989. 89 Topps got you 15 cards for 45 cents, or 3 cents a card. Since 1989, inflation has risen 61.4% cumulatively, which would put a 2010 Topps pack at 82 cents compounded (
One must also remember that items seem much more desirable when they are under or at one dollar). Fifteen cards per pack at say 85 cents to round up, would be between 5 and 6 cents per card. Now five 2010 dollars would get you around 90 cards. Now we are talking.

As a kid, there are two aspects of collecting. First, trying to complete a set, and second, collecting your favorite players. To do either of these, one must have many cards, including lots of doubles, so one can trade. Trading would be dang hard to do if all you could get was 25 cards for $5, especially if the set size goes back up to 792 cards.

One can estimate, you need at least double the set size in cards to obtain a set. So, if you need to buy approximately 1600 cards to complete a 792 card set, we’re talking $160 to $320 based on $1.50 to $2 packs of 10. I don’t know many kids that have that kind of scratch lying around, let alone a parent that would dole that money out, when they can buy a complete hobby set for $40 to $50.

Now, if packs were 85 cents for 15, you’re in the ballpark of $80 for a kid to try and hand-collate a set. That’s still a lot of money to a kid, but at least it is somewhat reasonable. I’m sure Grandma gives at least $20 in birthday cards now, given inflation, of course.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1967 Sandy Koufax

I hadn't planned on doing a Koufax card anytime soon, however, Night Owl had a great post last night about what to do with your collection when the Grim Reaper is drawing near. I thought his post was very insightful, if morbid, and I thought I'd return the unbeknown favor with a custom Dodger card for him.

I was pretty sure Topps only gave Sandy the usual highlight or leader cards for 1967, but after reading his 1966 stats, I had to double check for a base card. Sure enough, no base card. When you read his stats at the bottom, you'll know that Topps WAS OUT OF THEIR MINDS not issuing a 1967 version. This leads me to believe that maybe Topps no longer had/has rights to print cards of retired players.

Koufax's last season was unbelievable. Definitely hard to see that career end, yet if my memory serves me right, he was having arthritic arm troubles.

Not My Best Work - Stupid pixel on his stirrup I'm too lazy to fix

Here are Koufax's stats from 1966 at the age of 30:

YEAR CLUB W
L
PCT
SO
BB ERA
1966 Dodgers
27
9
.750
317
77
1.73

I'm starting to feel like a one trick pony!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1990 Mike Schmidt

After some delay, I'm finally getting around to posting the Schmidt card. I've had two anonymous requests to make this card presumably from the same incognito collector, so here you go my friend. I also know that my pal, Plungerhoo, will enjoy this card as he was a Phillies fan until he crazily switched allegiance to the Nationals because of Ryan Zimmerman.

In his last season, Schmidt did not have a stellar campaign compared to his previous seasons, but I still do not think that warrants him getting the shaft. Schmidt retired at the end of May in 1989, and gave one of the more memorable retirement speeches. At the time and even now, I still say "there is no crying in baseball." But since he had just retired, I guess it is alright to shed a tear, since he technically was no longer in baseball. Also, if I said otherwise, I'm sure he is still in great enough shape to kick my ass out of the ballpark. Plus, I did my fair share of crying after striking out in Little League or getting roasted while on the mound. And for those paying attention, he retired at The Murph, which I didn't realize until I watched the video again some 20 years later.

Anyways, this card was fun to make. I particularly enjoy how Schmidt's head is on one side of the Phillies name and his bat is on the other side. This was only possible because the template I used had to remove John Kruk's monster mullet from the photo, which required me to resize Mike to fill the void, thus putting his bat in the background and his helmet in the foreground.


Here are Schmidt's stats from 1989 at the age of 39:

YEAR CLUB G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
1989 Phillies
42
148
19
30
7
0
6
28
.203

Backlogged cards ready to roll include: 88 Jackson, 80 Hunter, 77 F. Robinson, 76 F. Robinson and 75 Kaline.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Props

Just when I thought I had jumped the shark on the custom card making (Ernie Banks didn't get much love), Night Owl featured a custom card I made for him, to which I must give big thanks.

"Once they were Dodgers"

It makes me feel like the hobby is still alive for me, even if only in a virtual forum.

Thanks again, Night Owl, even if you are a Dodger fan! Go Padres...in 2012!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1972 Ernie Banks

Matt R requested a 1972 Banks, and I happened to have that one already done, so he gets back to back requests (Night Owl, check your email for the Boog Powell card, and the Kingman card will take awhile).

These cards couldn't have turned out any better in my opinion. Either I'm getting better at this, or 72 Topps is just such a great template.

Anyways, 72 Topps was missing Mr. Cub from their product line, and with 787 cards in that set, I find it hard to believe Ernie couldn't make the cut. True, Mr. Banks had a very subpar year for his standards, barely scratching any respectable ABs in 1971. I don't know the history, but he must have been injured that season.

This set allows two versions, the standard card and my first In Action card. The In Action card was a sure fire pain because the name text has a wave to it. I cheated, and didn't give the name the true wave:

Version 1 - Mr. Cub

Version 2 - In Action!
(photo courtesy of Steve's Baseball Photography Pages)

Here are Ernie's stats from 1971 at the age of 40:

YEAR CLUB G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
1971 Cubs
39
83
4
16
2
0
3
6
.193

Backlogged cards ready to roll include: 90 Schmidt, 88 Jackson (almost), 80 Hunter, 77 F. Robinson, 76 F. Robinson and 75 Kaline.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1974 Willie Mays

Matt R requested a 1974 Willie Mays. This was actually one of the first cards I made, but I just wasn't satisfied with one of the versions. Also, the font on the name is just not quite right. I wish someone had put together a list of all the Topps card font types and sizes over the years! A color wheel wouldn't hurt either...

Anyways, yet again Topps dropped the ball in 1974 when they failed to release a Willie Mays card for his final season. Say Hey was a sure fire HOFer, and despite his lackluster stats in 1973, he should have had a card. Heck, he even played in the World Series against the A's that year!

Willie hammered 6 dingers in 1973, giving him 660 lifetime, which I always remembered because those early 70s sets had 660 cards. Willie is also part of one of my favorite trivia questions that Balco Bonds ruined...

The top three home run leaders of all time all began and finished their careers in the same town, but on different teams. Who and what are they?

Hank Aaron (755) - Milwaukee Braves and Milwaukee Brewers
Babe Ruth (714) - Boston Red Sox and Boston Braves
Willie Mays (660) - New York Giants and New York Mets

This all time class act deserves three versions:

Version 1 - Old Mays

Version 2 - Straight out of the 74 set!

Version 3 - Close up shot!

Here are the Say Hey Kid's stats from 1973:

YEAR CLUB G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
1973 Mets
66
209
24
44
10
0
6
25
.211

As always, I am taking requests!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1980 Lou Brock

For me, following up that Killebrew card has been some hard work. The Killer card came out awesome. I think sky blue background nearly matches the card color, so every card I’ve made since seems to pale in comparison (I have a backlog already!).

Will this deter me from making more missing HOFer Topps cards? I didn’t think so. The Killer card has also seemed to spark a friendly rivalry in the card-o-sphere. Check out White Sox Cards post, and see some of his past “cards that never were” work. Awesome.

Up next is an attempt at Lou Brock’s final 1979 season, which gives birth to a 1980’s Topps. After doing some research on Lou’s last hurrah, I cannot understand why Topps left him out of the 1980’s set.

Lou’s last season was on par with his previous 18 seasons, and it ranks as one of the best final seasons of a HOFer. Unlike Aaron and Killer who had subpar batting averages in their last year, Brock shined through with a .304 average, which was 11 points higher than his career average!

Heck, Lou was even selected for the All-Star game, which makes his presence that much more missed from the 1980 set.

As far as the cards, the 1980 template is a real pain. The banner flag is difficult to cut around, and I still am having trouble getting the exact font types. If anyone has suggestions for font sizes and types, let me know and I can update the cards.

Version 1 - Classic Topps Pose
Version 2 - Thinking About Third
(Photo Courtesy of Steve's Baseball Photography Pages)

Here is Sweet Lou’s line from 1979 in 80 Topps format:

YEAR CLUB G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
1979 Cardinals 120 405 56 123 15 4 5 38 .304

I’m baffled at his absence from this set.

PS - If you've got a request for a HOFer's missing last Topps Card, let me know in the comment box, and I'll give it a shot.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1976 Harmon Killebrew

Well, it looks like the Aaron cards were a hit, and I must admit that I love making these custom "Topps" cards. I had some good feedback from followers, including one who thinks Topps should do inserts or a subset to honor those HOFers who got the boot from the set in their final season.

Another thing I thought of, is I wonder how many kids missed out on the final stats for these HOFers? Nowadays we have Baseball Reference and encyclopedias to tell us their final stats, but back then, I would imagine that baseball cards were the "Baseball Reference" of their day. I don't doubt almanacs existed, but I wouldn't think many kids would have access to those.

For me, Harmon Killebrew was always a guy in my Sports Illustrated Superstar Baseball game that struck out a lot and hit a lot of dingers. I think his average in our league was below the Mendoza line. Imagine my surprise when I landed a 75 Topps card of him and saw he had well over 550 homers! Truly awesome considering his era. He's 9th on the HR list with 573 (6th if you go by the asterisk list).

So, without further ado, here is another 500 HR club member Topps disgracefully cast aside in his final season. The Killer! I think it would have been awesome to have a Harmon Killebrew card in a Royals uniform. He will always be known as a Senator/Twin, but his Royal's card seems to fit him.
By all accounts, The Killer is a standup man, so I wish Topps gave him his final due.

This card was really hard to make, not because of the template, but because I could only find two shots of Killer in a Royals uniform. One shot was from an existing card (which excludes it from consideration), and the other photo reminds me of the 1972 Topps with his gaze into the distant horizon...

Akin to a 72 Nostril Shot

Here is Killer’s line from 1975 in 76 Topps format:

YEAR CLUB G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
1975 Royals 106 312 25 62 13 0 14 44 .199

Little doubt that .199 average led to the end of Killer's career at the age of 39. I wonder if he had hit a little better, if we'd have another 600 club member. I wish it was so.
NOTE: After reading a Punk Rock Paint comment in a Bad Wax blog, I will now give reference to where the pictures came from. This photo is from Sports Memorabilia.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Topps Cards That Never Were: 1977 Hank Aaron

Before I began this blog, I came up with a list of topics and recurring themes. Prior to ever posting, I had ideas for at least 60 posts, and about 5 themed topics. I even wrote out 10 of them, and was waiting to scan some cards to go with the posts. Alas, we no longer have a scanner, so I need to focus on other topics besides how my collection was amassed.

Looking for an idea, low and behold, Bad Wax dumped a treasure map right in my lap. One of my recurring topics was to discuss Topps cards that were never made for sure fire HOFers. All I needed was some free imaging software, and a Google search engine, and I was set. After reading Bad Wax’s post, I now have free imaging software with somewhat understandable instructions, and I can now unleash my homemade cards on the world.

Which brings me to the topic at hand, why in the world did Topps not print cards for the last seasons of baseballs greatest players? Was it really that important to have a no name nobody who scratched 50 ABs in their fifth season deserve a card, and leave out immortals like Aaron, Mays, Schmidt, etc.? It absolutely boggles my mind.

So, I decided to honor all those baseball legends who ended up on the Topps cutting room floor for the likes of Enzo Hernandez.

First up would be The Hammer, arguably still the reigning Home Run King. I made two versions of this card because I like both action shots I found. The DH turned out much better than I thought it would, but I’m not completely satisfied with the font type and color.

Version 1 - "Aaron at the Bat"

Version 2 - "Run, Aaron, Run"

Here is Aaron’s line from 1976 in 77 Topps format:

Year Club G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG

1976 Brewers 85 271 22 62 8 0 10 35 .229


Not too shabby for a 42 year old at the twilight of his HOF career, and much more deserving of a 77 Topps card than many others from that set.

Which card do you like best?

EDIT: After seeing Punk Rock Paint's awesome version of the 77 Aaron card, I forgot that those cards didn't list DH, they listed DES. HITTER. So, I edited the picture to be more accurate. Also, PRP, do you remember the font style you used for your version? Mine is almost, but not quite right.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Calling all cards! Calling all cards!

I recently decided (unilaterally) that I may start dipping my toe back into the collecting world. As though in the know are aware, things are in a sort of an upheaval in our household, but we are optimistic the economy and job market will turn around soon.

In the meantime, the mad dash to eliminate my massive backlog of 70s and 80s toys is underway on eBay, as well as the thinning of my bloated media collection (i.e., DVDs, CDs, textbooks, books, video games, etc.) via Amazon. Next on the block would supposedly be the 3 foot by 5 foot by 8 foot (that’s 120 cubic feet kids) mountain of baseball cards barricaded in the family room closet.

From a philosophical perspective, I don’t think I could sell the cards. If times got tough, I’m sure I could auction them, or play games with Bad Wax on Craigslist, but while times are decent, I think I could trade them. That being said, I think it is time to thin my inventory by trading for new(er) cards.

When I was a kid, I began collecting the 75 Topps set because it was my birth year. Now with two kids, I think it would be fun to collect their birth years 2007 and 2008. To pass muster with the Mrs., the household rule is to reduce quantity in exchange for quality. Also, I have a firm limit on the number of cards allowed in the house (i.e., no more than are already there), which is why my office has various packs bought and given to me, ahem, Plungerhoo, since we were married.


Well, I’d think that reducing my inventory in exchange for cards meant for our young kids should fit the quantity/quality rule. I am reducing quantity in exchange for quality sets for the kids.
So, I guess you could say I’m officially on the market for trades. If interested, drop a line and I’ll check out your lists.

I’m looking for 07 and 08 Topps base set only. No inserts, no variations, just plain old base cards.

Current haves:
2008 – Nothing!
2007 – 1, 15, 56, 127, 201, 218, 234, 238, 254, 325, 326

Disclaimer: It will likely take me a while to find your wants, so please no one send me anything in the mail until I mail you something. As for trades, details can be discussed over email, and as a heads up, I don’t care for price guides. When it feels right, it is right. Also, if you don’t already have a blog or are “known”, I’m not interested. Sorry, but I don’t want to get ripped.

PS - I'm surprised no one even touched the Topps Pack Prices blog. Too much tinfoil hat I guess.
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