Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Urbandale Card Show March cards

Now that I'm back on my horse again, I'll show you the group of cards I picked up the last time I attended the monthly card show at the Urbandale American Legion Hall. I'm almost ashamed to say it was last March, but I know at least two of their past shows were on drill weekend.

I'll begin with last year's Bowman cards that haven't found their way into my collection yet, namely these 2015 Bowman Draft Hunter Renfroe (#159), Austin Allen (#123), Austin Smith (#180), Jacob Nix (#153), Trevor Megill (#62), Zech LeMond (#127).
While the 2016 season is now heading into the final stretch, I also took the opportunity to begin my collection of this years' edition of Topps cards. Here's my newest 2016 Topps Jedd Gyorko (#40), Colin Rea RC (#141), Alex Dickerson RC (#281), 2016 Topps First Pitch Tony Hawks (#FP19), 2012 Topps Pro Debut Minor League All-Stars Rymer Liriano (#RL), and a 2014 Allen and Ginter The Pastime's Pastime Jedd Gyorko (#PPJG). Who would have thought by the end of the 2016 season Gyorko and Liriano would be ghosts of Padres past.

And while we're on the subject of First Pitches, I picked up these additional Topps First Pitch cards - A 2016 Topps First Pitch Bill "Lean on Me" Withers (#FP15), 2015 Topps First Pitch Jeff Bridges (#FP01) and Suzy (#FP13), a 2015 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Stan Lee (81), and a couple more 2016 Topps First Pitch Irone Singleton (#FP20) and Evelyn Jones (#FP5). While I'm not a particularly huge First Pitch fan, I know a few collector's who'd be happy to find these in a trade package. Not bad for a dme box, eh?

Being a life-long comic book fan, how could I pass up this Stan Lee card, a man who I've admired for most of my teen, then adult life. The man, the myth, the legend is now 93 years old, after all. 'Nuff said.

I picked up a few 2015 Bowman Chrome cardsf, with Austin Hedges RC (#188), 2015 Bowman Chrome Prospects Kyle Lloyd (#BCP151), 2013 Bowman Chrome James Shields (#13), 2015 Topps Chrome Cory Spanagenberg RC (#132), 2015 Topps Heritage Combo Cards Wil Myers/Justin Upton/Matt Kemp (#CC10), 2011 Topps Samuel Deduno RC (#412), and a 1996 Bowman Minor League POY Gabe Alvarez (#12).

I also included these 2015 Topps Heritage Brendon Morrow (#637), Melvin Upton Jr. (#619), 2014 Topps Heritage Daniel Webb RC/Chris Robinson RC (#398), 2009 Upper Deck Goudy Matt Antonelli (#164) and an Upper Deck Goudy Mini Green Back Matt Antonelli (#164), and a 2005 Donruss Chris Oxspring (#311).

You know, you just can't turn down a couple of Padres legends, so I grabbed this 2002 Sweet Spot Classics Game Bat Dave Winfield (#BDW) and a pair of new to me, Tony Gwynns - one a 2014 Allen and Ginter (#223), the other a 2015 Diamond Kings (#133).

My last item is a 2002 Donruss Super Estrellas Posters de Jugadores Tony Gwynn (#11), basically a four-fold Gwynn poster.

You know, this Sunday marks the September version of the Urbandale American Legion Hall card show. This might be the perfect opportunity to darken their doorstep again. I know a few vendors who would more than likely be happy to see me again.

Friday, September 9, 2016

On the boards again

It's been quite some time since I last hit the keyboard to submit a "Bleedin' Brown and Gold" post. Back in September, I had a legitimate excuse, as we were in the middle of a move from our recently-sold house to our new 2-bedroom apartment.

While work has been fairly busy lately, including an annual training trip to Alaska, I don't think that's the actual issue in this particular case. Since the end of March, I feel I just hit a point where sports cards have lost their luster somewhat.

I halted going to the Urbandale Card Show. I stopped perusing the wax repack boxes and loose packs at Target and Wal-Mart stores. I haven't darkened the doorways of any of our local brick and mortar card shops. I haven't spent a single cent on a sports card purchase on E-Bay for quite some time.

I have piles of Padres cards I've accumulated up to that point in March (including a package from P-Town Tom), just tossed into boxes. They haven't been separated, sorted, inventoried, or placed into their specific player slots within my five-5,000 count Padres boxes.

And I haven't written a single post since March 15.

Why? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe its because the majority of my Padres cards are stuck away in storage, about three miles away. Maybe it's because I miss the old thrill of shuffling through them, while appreciating the photography and the stats and comments on the back of them.

To quote a line from Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, ",,,I've gotten much better."

At least, I think so...

So, in order to get back onto my horse, I'll begin with a post about a few cards I picked up through COMC, way back in March before my cardboard malaise. While I did pick up some flashy, colorful chrome, I also tried to make a conscious effort to pick up a few old-school, "vintage" Padres cards, if you can consider cards from a team that began in 1969 as "vintage."

In any case, here's a few of those cards that I picked up a few months back. One thing that was rather interesting, however is, except for the Austin Hedges card, I believe this was my biggest group of ex-Padres cards I have received in one package.

This purchase begins with the truly colorful - a 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects Series 2 Pink Wave Refractors Jose Urena (#BCP45) S/N 33/65, 2014 Bowman Draft Top Prospects Green Max Fried (#TP8) S/N 68/75, 2014 Panini Prizm Prizms Red White and Blue Pulsar Jedd Gyorko (#119), and a 2015 Panini Prizm Autograph Prizms Red Power R.J. Alvarez (#68) S/N 20/125 

Eventually, I'd like to have at least one card from every player who've ever worn the Padres uniform, pictured in a padres uniform. To further this goal, I grabbed a 1980 Topps Jay Johnstone (#31), 1974 Topps Dave Hilton (#148A) San Diego, 1974 Topps Bill Grief (#102B) Washington, 1971 OPC Jim Williams/Dave Robinson (#262), 1970 Topps Rookie Stars Jerry Morales RC/Jim Williams RC (#262), and a 1971 Topps Al Santorini (#467).

Continuing with the older, one-of-every-player theme, is this 1969 Topps Dick Kelley (#359) and Tony Gonzalez (#501), 1972 OPC Al Severinsen (#274), and 1970 Topps Tommie Sisk (#374),  Jack Baldschun (#284) and Walter Hriniak (#392).

And finally, players from the ghosts of Padres past, are a 1981 Topps George Stablein RC/Craig StimacRC/Tom Tellmann RC (#356), 1969 Topps Rookie Stars Bill Davis/Cito Gaston RC (#304), 1973 Topps Rookie Pitchers Melvin Behney/Ralph Garcia RC/Doug Rau RC (#602), and a 1975 Topps Jim Beswick RC/Steve Mura RC/Broderick Perkins RC(#725)

And finally, a Gwynn, a rookie and a hockey goalie, including a 2000 Vanguard High Voltage Red Tony Gwynn (#32) S/N 133/199, 2015 Topps Heritage SP RC Austin Hedges (#720) and a 2015-16 Upper Deck Young Guns RC Malcolm Subban (#211).

To those who used to enjoy reading my humble posts, I apologize. I believe I'm on the right track again.

After all, "...I've gotten much better." I think.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2016 San Diego Padres game giveaways

Even though there's three weeks to go until the start of the 2016 regular baseball season, the San Diego Padres released their 2016 promotional schedule quite some time ago. Once again, they're featuring "Baseball Night in San Diego" as part of their Saturday home games, which include a plethora of Padres giveaways, some great, some good, some ok and some, just "meh."

Actually, this year we hope to return to San Diego again as part of our wedding anniversary. The last time we were there, was during Christmas 2011. We took the oppportunity to visit some old friends, old haunts and celebrated the Yutetime season sans Iowa cold and snow.
We usually enjoy going during the September – October timeframe, after the tourists are generally gone. We also try to get in at least one Padres game during our visit, so there may be a freebie or two we may get to enjoy during our trip.

This year's giveaways begin with the Opening Series Rally Towels, sponsored by Sycuan Casino. These towels, given out during each night of the initial series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, resemble game jerseys, with the first night featuring a white “jersey” towel, a familiar brown and yellow jersey towel for the second night and the new Navy Camouflage towel on the third.

The giveaways end Sat., Sept. 24 (San Francisco Giants) as the Padres close out their home baseball season with a Padres Team Photo and 2017 Schedule, courtesy of the Mighty 1090 radio station. As a matter of fact, there will be a total of four different fireworks nights this season, as well as a lazer light show.

In between, there’s a whole mess of other Padres goodies to look forward to. As for clothing, on Sat., April 23 (St. Louis Cardinals), Mission Federal Credit Union is giving away a Tyson Ross Jersey T-shirt. On Sat., May 7 (New York Mets), Toyota is giving out a black Padres Hoodie. The final clothing freebie is a Throwback Jersey being offered on Sat., Aug. 6 (Philadelphia Phillies), sponsored by Fanatics.

On Sat., Aug. 20 (Arizona Diamondbacks) fans will actually have a better option than the current presidential election process – namely, a fan’s choice of a Back-to-School San Diego Lunch Bag, or a Back-to-Tailgating Sand Diego Bottle Holder. As far as reusable bags go, that’s yet another giveaway, this one coming on Sat., May 22 (Los Angeles Dodgers), with the issuing of an MLB Network Reusable Bag. However you look at it, it still appears to be a tote bag to me.
Among the most interesting giveaways include San Diego Padres electronics, including a Padres USB Charger on Sat., Sept. 10 (Colorado Rockies) and the Padres Ear Buds being given out on Sat., July 30 (Cincinnati Reds) by United Airlines. There’s also a $10 Coupon to the Padres Majestic Team Store on Sat., July 16 (San Francisco Giants).  

Other giveaways include a trifecta from Cox Cable on Sat., April 16 (Arizona Diamondbacks) featuring a Padres Ball Cap, San Diego Decal and a 2016 Schedule Cling; a Padres Pet Calendar, “Padres and Puppies” on Sun., April 24 (St, Louis Cardinals); Knockaround glasses from Knockaround on Fri. June 17 (Washington Nationals); another Padres Fedora, this time a blue one, from National University on Sat., June 18 (Washington Nationals); and a Padres Hall of Fame Coffee Table Book and Pet Bandana, courtesy of Petco on Fri., July 1 (New York Yankees).
By the way, Fox Sports San Diego is providing an unspecified giveaway on my birthday this year, the mysterious "To Be Announced" during the Sat., June 4 game against the Colorado Rockies. 
Another interesting facet about this year's promotions are the "Theme Games," which include African American Heritage Night; Sunday Funday; San Diego State University Day; French Heritage Night; Nurses Night; Teacher Appreciation Night; University of San Diego Night; Faith and Family Night; Class of 2016 Night; Pride Night; Dog Days of Summer; University of California San Diego Night; FIlipino Heritage Night; Portugeuse Heritage Night; Zombie Day; USC & UCLA Rivalry Night; Ghostbusters Day; Team USA Day; Game of Thrones Day; Bark at the Park; Japanese Heritage Night; Movie on the Field; Naval Academy Day; Superhero Day; Pac-12 Night (Why not a Mountain West Night?); Polish Heritage Night; PCL 80th Anniversary; Native American Heritage Night; and (finally) Oktoberfest.
Any way you look at it, it should be a great time at PETCO Park this season. Now, I just can't wait to stop "California Dreamin'" and  actually get down there again.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Family Fun with the San Diego Padres

Like many team collectors, one of the pure joys of my collecting disease is discovering yet another one of those out-of-the-way, esoteric San Diego padres card team sets. I truly delight in those weird and unique little sets, like the 1984 Smokey the Bear safety set (28 cards), 1977 San Diego Padres schedule card set (89 cards) and 1981 Topps Scratch-offs (4-cards)

Recently, I found six cards from another partial set on E-Bay that whets my collecting appetite and gives me yet another excuse to spend a bit of money in the pursuit of another hard-to-find oddball Padres set...This time, the 1978 Family Fun Centers San Diego Padres 39-card set.

In 1978, the San Diego Padres hosted their very first All-Star Game, so the San Diego Family Fun Centers issued this set of 39 cards complete with Padres players and coaches, as well as announcers Jerry Coleman and Dave Campbell, and owner Ray Kroc.

Here's the front and back of the Dave Winfield card (love that 'stache).

These 3-1/2 x 5-1/2 cards are made to look like wooden plaques, with a posed color photo set against a wood-grained background. The player’s name is in a gold plate at the bottom, with the Fat Friar and Family Fun Center logos above it. The backs are black and white, complete with the player's uniform number, brief biography and stats at the top of the card. The players' description of "My Greatest Thrill in Baseball” is wrapped around his mug shot, with a facsimile autograph taking up the bottom of the card.

Derrell Thomas, Chuck Baker and Don Williams

The Family Fun Centers produced four different Padres sets, including one in 1977 (33 cards), 1979 (30 cards) and 1980 (7 cards), as well as a 38-card California Angels set in 1978.

Mickey Lolich, Gaylord Perryi

The gem of this Family Fun set is supposed to be the Ozzie Smith Rookie Card. It's my understanding it's hard to find a copy without a crease down the middle of it.
Unfortunately, I don't ever remember going to a San Diego Family Fun Center when we lived there. But then again, our first-born would have been quite young at the time.
The set is listed in alphabetical order, as follows: 

1. Bill Almon
2. Tucker Ashford
3. Chuck Baker
4. Dave Campbell ANN
5.  Mike Champion
6. Jerry Coleman ANN
7. Roger Craig MG
8. John D'Acquisto
9. Bob Davis
10. Chuck Estrada
11. Rollie Fingers
12. Dave Freisleben
13. Oscar Gamble
14. Fernando Gonzalez
15. Billy Herman
16. Randy Jones
17. Ray Kroc
18. Mark Lee
19. Mickey Lolich
20. Bob Owchinko
21. Broderick Perkins
22. Gaylord Perry
23. Eric Rasmussen
24. Don Reynolds
25. Gene Richards
26. Dave Roberts
27. Phil Roof
29. Ozzie Smith
30. Dan Spillner
31. Rick Sweet
32. Gene Tenace
33. Derrel Thomas
34. Jerry Turner
35. Dave Wehrmeister
36. Whitey Wietelmann
37. Don Williams
38. Dave Winfield
39. 1978 All-Star Game

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The joys of a 24-card Gypsy Queen Blaster

My wife truly loves me.
While I was up in Ames yesterday, officiating at the Iowa State University Big 4 indoor track meet, Jan decided to do a little shopping at the Walmart in West Des Moines. Since I hadn't picked up any cards in a while, she thought she'd pick up a pack or two as a surprise.
She settled upon this 24-card 2015 Gypsy Queen blaster. Her reasoning: The Gypsy Queen packs run $2.99 each for six cards. She'd be getting four packs worth of cards, and paying about half the price.
I have to admit, this was a rather nice surprise.
All 24-cards were packed in a single cellophane bag inside the box, which by the way, included "3 Exclusive Pearl Parallel Cards Inside!"
I don't know about any "pearl" parallel cards, but there were three framed white cards, which included Bo Jackson (#9), Ryan Braun (#169) and Mookie Wilson (#82).
There were also three rather nice insert cards, as well, including The Queen's Throwbacks Miguel Cabrera (#QT1), Mini Red Max Scherzer (#93) S/N 45/50, and a Walk Off Winners Travis Ishikawa (#GWO19). Sometimes black and white photographs work on cards, especially with retro jerseys. I don't feel it particularly worked on this particular Cabrera card.
Two particular cards especially caught my attention. The first was a Jenrry Mejia (#285B). Mejia is one of those hard-to-find variation cards that I've never been able to pull. This particular variation finds him sporting the orange New York Mets jersey. The second card I was happy to pull was this San Diego Padres Matt Kemp card (#38). A Padre yes, but, maybe it's just me, but I still find it weird to see Kemp wearing the Padres blue and grey, instead of the Dodger's grey and blue.

And when it came to old school players, the box included a Jose Canseco (#8), Frank Thomas (#20), Rickey Henderson (#190) and Ryne Sandberg (#151).
The rest of the cards included Paul Goldschmidt (#16), Albert Pujols (#49), Evan Longoria (#94), Corey Kluber (#95), Alex Cobb (#106), Hyun-Jin Ryu (#160), Jayson Werth (#173A), James Shields (#179A), Juan Lagares (#202) and Dellin Betances (208A).
I may have to make another Walmart run this weekend just to pick up another box or two of these Gypsy Queen cards.

My wife - What a great woman!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Rainy Days and Thursdays

Since I had the week off (you have to love "Use it or Lose it" leave), I decided to swing by "The Rookie" a local brick-and-mortar card store. Anders Olson, the owner, had to move recently, since the strip mall where he and 15 other business resided, was sold. The site is to be demolished, with a phased retail development taking its place.

In any case, I decided Thursday was a fine opportunity to pop in and see his new digs.

It was fun to see Anders again and his new shop is very nice. It's clean, well-lit, and spacious, with a ton more room for plenty of product.

Another reason I was glad I stopped by, Anders was running his, "When it rains, it pours" special. Every day it rains, all cards in the $1.00 boxes (three for $2) are just 50 cents. Anders actually sweetened the pot, making those same cards a quarter each. Even though there's still snow on the ground, we're in the midst of a good, cold 38-degree rain storm here in the heart of the Midwest.

I took the opportunity to amass a nice pile of hockey cards (see my other blog "The Hockey Card Geek," if you're interested in seeing those cards), but I was able to pick up four new (to me) Tony Gwynn cards, as well as a Justin Upton card.

It's amazing the amount of Tony Gwynn cards that come out year after year since his retirement in 2001. For example, there were a total of 246 Tony Gwynn cards released in 2015 alone. with 376 more produced in 2014.

Two of those most recent Gwynn releases include this 2014 Classics Legendary Lumberjacks (#4) and a 2015 Leaf Heroes of Baseball (#55). Typical of the Panini line of cards, all of  Gwynn's Padres logos have been airbrushed out. Speaking of airbrushing, it may have been pretty cool if Gwynn were actually wielding an ax on that Lumberjack card.
And then I found this pair - a 1998 Pinnacle Plus Lasting Memories (#29) and 2013 Topps Triple Threads Amethyst (#34) S/N 148/650. Unfortunately, the scanner doesn't really do justice to the regal purple of this amethyst card.
As for the Upton card, it was his 2015 Donruss the Elite Series (#14) S/N 639/999. Upton arrived in San Diego with minor-leaguer Aaron Northcraft from Atlanta in December 2014. Preller raided the Padres' minor league system, sending Max Fried, Dustin Peterson, Mallex Smith and Jace Peterson to the Braves. Upton, basically a rental player, became a free agent on Nov. 2, 2015. He hit .251, with 26 homers, 81 RBIs and 19 SBs. He also struck out 159 times, while drawing 68 walks. Was he worth a one year contract? The Padres still finished 74-88.

I now own a total of 830 of the 9,770 Tony Gwynn cards that have been released since his initial 1982 Hawaii Islanders TMCA minor league card.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

"Hells Bells" in 2017!

Congratulations to Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza for their election into the MLB Hall of Fame. Griffey, who set a record with 99.3 percent of the vote, was followed by Mike Piazza, who spent his fourth year on the ballot and received 83.0 percent. Jeff Bagwell finished third with 71.6 percent of the vote, Tim Raines was fourth with 69.9 percent and Trevor Hoffman rounded out the top five with 67.3 percent.
The vote, by the Baseball Writers of America, consists of 440 total ballots. A total of 330 votes, or 75 percent, is needed for election to the Hall. Qualified BBWAA members name 10 eligible players they consider worthy for the Hall of Fame. Players are removed from the ballot if they're named on fewer than five percent of the ballots, or if they've been on the ballot 15 times without election.
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that Hoffman, featured here on the Padres' 2006 Media Guide, fell just short of induction by 34 votes. By the same token, however, I'm rather stoked about his chances for 2017. After all, like Griffey, this was Hoffman's first year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Also, historical trends show those who finish with more than 50 percent of the vote are eventually inducted into the Hall.
1996 Leaf Signature Autographs
For Hoffman, a senior advisor with the Padres, what's there not to like. If you consider his credentials - a two-time runner-up in National League Cy Young voting who also earned seven All-Star selections, 601 saves (second to Mariano Rivera's 652), including nine 40-save seasons - I believe he's indeed Hall worthy.
Not bad for a shortstop drafted in the 11th round of the 1989 MLB draft by the Florida Marlins. In light of the relievers currently in the Hall of Fame - Hoyt Wilhelm (216 saves), Rollie Fingers (341), Goose Gossage (310), Dennis Eckersley (390) and Bruce Sutter - Hoffman would be in great company. And like Sutter, Hoffman played his entire MLB career (18-years) as a reliever

2008 Upper Deck X
One question I have, however, is WHEN he's inducted into the Hall of Fame, are they going to play his iconic "Hells Bells" song? One thing I always loved about Padres games, was whenever it was "Trevor Time" and Hoffman would make his entry onto the field, AC/DC's classic song blasted over the sound system. After all, the song was used in his highlights video during his induction into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.
Using "Hells Bells" as his entrance tune began July 25, 1998, the night Hoffman tied Rod Beck's record of 41-consecutive saves. According to Bob Chandler, in his book "Tales from the San Diego Padres," "Who came up with the idea of Trevor's musical accompaniment? It was a Padres salesman named Chip Bowers." Bowers now serves as an executive with the Seattle Supersonics.
1998 Ultra Gold Medallion
 This would have to be one of my favorite Hoffman cards. It's actually neat to see the then-all time Saves Leader decked out in catchers gear.

Here's to "Hells Bells" in 2017, when Hoffman will actually be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.