Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fuji strikes again

One of my favorite bloggers would have to be Mark Fujimoto over at The Chronicles of Fuji. A Bay-area Californian, he's a collector of the San Jose Sharks, Seattle Seahawks, LA Lakers, and Oakland A's, as well as the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Padres (as if I needed any more reason to enjoy his musings).
Amongst his best reads, are his flea market finds, which are the stuff of legends.
Mark was kind enough to send me a package of Padres cards more than a few months back. Since we were in the middle of packing for our move, I scanned the cards, put the photos into my blog folder in my computer and promptly forgot about them.
The cards themselves are nestled comfortably within my collection of Padres cardboard somewhere within the confines of our storage unit. The memories, however, remain forever.
Who'd of thunk that San Diego had this many players who spent time on the USA Baseball team rosters? Mark began with a very nice bunch of Padres USA Baseball memorabilia, enclosing a 2010 Bowman Draft USA Baseball Jerseys Chris Okey (#USAR13) S/N #/949, 2002 Sweet Spot USA Jerseys Tagg Bozied (#TB) and Jake Gautreau (#JG), 2004 USA Baseball 25th Anniversary Signatures Blue Ink Rob Bowen (#BOW) S/N #/510, 1995 Signature Rookies Previews Signatures Glenn Dishman (#8) S/N 1830/6000, and a 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Relics Mat Latos (#ML).

He then also included these 2013 Bowman Platinum Chase Headley (#46), 2013 Topps Chrome Yonder Alonso (#149), 1974 Topps Randy Jones RC (#173A), 2013 Hometown Heroes Chase Headley (#132) and Jake Peavy (#225) cards, and a 2014 Donruss Everth Cabrera (#113).
A great package of cards from a very gracious and kind blogger, who's also a great read.
Thank  you Mark! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Duff by any other name

Having a unique, mono-syllabic name like "Duff" is quite the interesting experience, to say the least. Growing up, I've certainly heard all the jokes and plays on words of my name that can ever possibly exist.
According to the dictionary, duff, as a noun, is "A flour pudding boiled or steamed in a cloth bag," and "decaying leaves and branches covering a forest floor." As an adjective, duff is "of poor quality," or "incorrect or false." As a verb, it means "beat someone up," or "a mishit, as in a shot." And then there's the phrase, "duffer" which is often used to describe certain golfers and/or old people.

And, believe me, I'm not about to go into some of the other definitions that duff entails (pun intended).
In junior high school, I remember coming across a book in our school library, entitled "Duff, the Story of a Bear," published in 1950 by William Marshall Rush. There recently was a movie out at the cinemas, entitled "Duff," and of course, there's always Duff Beer, Homer Simpson's favorite beverage of choice.
While there's a few folk with Duff as their last name - American writer James Duff, actor Howard Duff, actresses Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff, while Canadian hockey player Dick Duff also comes to mind - you don't come across too many with the first name of Duff.
There's Duff McKagan of Guns 'N Roses fame, and the Food network's Duff Goldman, but Duff is actually just their nicknames.
And then there was once a baseball player named Duff Brumley.
When I first came across Mr. Brumley, he was a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. I remember the surprise of finding someone else with the first name of Duff, and them being a baseball player, to boot. Heck, I actually wrote him a letter about having been blessed with such a unique name. Of course, I never heard back from him.
Duff was drafted by St. Louis in 1990 (24th round) and spent his entire Cardinal career within the Redbirds minor league system. On July 30, 1993, he was traded to the Texas Rangers (as the infamous player to be named later) for P Todd Burns. The Cards would release Burns that September.
At the age of 23, Duff appeared in his first of only two MLB games for the Rangers, debuting June 1 against the Brewers, while pitching his last game June 6 against the Yankees. After facing 22 batters in 3.1 innings, he compiled a 16.20 ERA, with six hits, six earned runs, one HR, five BBs, and four Ks. He finished out his baseball career over the next two years, playing in Texas', Cincinnati's, Seattle's, and Philadelphia's minor league systems.
After retiring from baseball, he served as a police officer with the City of Cleveland, Tenn., from 1997 until 2010, at which point he was fired. He then lost an appeal against the City of Cleveland, Tenn., "seeking review of the City Manager's ruling affirming the City's decision to terminate his employment."
He is now a Freight Coordinator at Riverside Transport in Charleston, Tenn.
And now for the rest of my Duff story...For those curious minds who remain interested in how I got my name.
Shortly after I was born, my grandfather looked in on me in my crib as I wailed, screamed and flailed away.
"My, he's quite the duffer, isn't he," was his comment upon laying eyes upon his first grandchild.
So they shortened it to Duff and gave me his middle name (Ellis). Actually, I think there's an island out there on the east coast named after us. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

August COMC Package

Over the course of our move, the mail continued to pore in, which, in this case, included my latest batch of cards from the COMC website. To date, I've earned 467,825 points (good for about $467) through their inventory challenges, and have used that to order more than 400 cards.
I get free cards, they get help in inventorying the thousands of cards they get each week. For every inventory challenge I complete, I get 100 points. For every 1,000 worth of points, they give me $1 that I then put toward the purchase of even more baseball and hockey cards.
But enough of that.  Let's move on to those cards...

Being a die-hard San Diego Padres fan, it's a given I'll grab Tony Gwynn cards whenever possible.

Here's Tony's 2002 Topps Chrome 5-Card Stud Kings of the Clubhouse Relics Jersey (#5KTG), 2007 Topps Sterling (#145) S/N 153/250, 1997 Donruss X-Ponential Power (#10a) S.N 1622/3000, 1998 Upper Deck All-Star Credentials (#AS19), 1995 Collector's Choice Gold Signature (#73), 1998 Donruss Preferred Great X-Pectations Tony Gwynn/Jose Guillen (#20) S/N 1433/3000. 

I also picked up copies of Gwynn's 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Great American Heroes (#8) S/N 2318/2500, 1998 Donruss Silver Press Proofs SG (#410) S/N 1500, 1998 SP Authentic Sheer Dominance (#SD19), 1990 Starline Long John Silver (#4), 2004 Playoff Champions (#12) S/N 1784/1997, 2002 Donruss Elite All-Star Salutes (#2) S/N 445/2001.
Lastly, here's Tony's 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Ticket Masters Tony Gwynn/Ken Caminiti (#5) S/N 308/2500, 1994 Pacific Silver Prisms (#35) and 1994 Pacific Silver Prisms Circular (#35).
By the way, on Monday, Oct. 19, a section of San Diego's Interstate 15 from Scripps Poway Parkway to Camino Del Norte, which runs near Tony Gwynn's longtime-home in Poway was dedicated the  "Tony Gwynn Memorial Freeway." Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, Tony's wife, Alicia,  and family members all took part in the ceremony.

I decided to pick up a few Padres autographs while I had the available funds, which included these  2009 Finest Autograph RC Matt Antonelli (#157) S/N 87/107, 2004 SPx Swatch Supremacy Signatures Young Stars Adam Eaton (#AE) S/N 73/999, 2005 Studio Private Signings Silver Freddy Guzman (#231) S/N 2/100, 1996 Leaf Signature Autographs Scott Sanders (#202) and Joey Hamilton (#90)

Apparently, there's a total of eight, 2005 Topps Rookie Cup Ozzie Smith (#41) cards, and I was able to find four different flavors within the COMC site, including a Yellow S/N 179/299, Orange SN 32/399, Green S/N 2/199, and a regular, plain old, Rookie Cup Card. There's also a blue, gold, red and silver card, as well. I also picked up this 1990 Baseball Wit Rollie Fingers (Unnumbered), and a 1984 Donruss The Chicken (#651). When it comes to the Chicken, how can you not like this San Diego fowl? I was able to get the Chicken to autograph a photo of him kissing my wife from his last visit here during an Iowa Cubs game.

Rounding out my baseball card "purchases" are these 2005 Finest Refractors Black Jake Peavy (#55) S/N 28/99, 2014 Bowman '89 Bowman is Back Silver Diamond Refractors Trea Turner (#89BIBTK), 1993 Tops Commanders of the Hill Andy Benes (#28), 1977 Padres Schedule Cards Bobby Tolan Kneeling/Holding Cleats in Hand (#58B), 1974 Padres McDonald Discs John Grubb (#5), and a 1979 Topps Comics Dave Winfield (#31).
If you're a Slapshot fan, this first card should be easily recognizable - It's the 2011-12 ITG Enforcers Autographs Bill "Goldie" "Harpo" Goldthorpe (#ABG). If you recognized him as Slapshot's  Ogie Ogilthorpe, the goon brought in by the Syracuse Bulldogs for the championship game, you'd also be correct. I loved the line from Charleston Chiefs announcer, Jim Carr as he introduces Oglethorpe in the finals: "This young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him."

My other hockey cards include the 2013-14 SP Authentic Autograph RC Anton Belov (#317), 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Update Aaron Ekblad (#U30), and 1996-97 Zenith Champion Salute Paul Coffey (#4) and Mike Richter (#14).

I just placed an order for another 40 cards from COMC, so it won't be long before I'll have a few more cards to show.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Finally over the moving blues!

Well, it's done and finally over!

After 17 years of owning a 3-1/2 bedroom house, we've actually taken the plunge, selling it and moving into a nice, 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment.

The funny thing is, we weren't really planning on selling our house - at least not for another two years when I have to retire from the Iowa National Guard. In late June, my wife checked with our bank to see what we had left on our mortgage and mentioned we were thinking about down-sizing in a few years.

Two days later, our banker called back saying he had a real estate agent friend, who had a young client who just lost out on a house in our area. He was wondering if they could stop by look at our place. After two visits, the buyer came by a third time, with his mom in tow, to look it over. Within a few days, he asked if he could make an offer and provided one we felt we couldn't refuse at this point in time.

Of course, we now had to find a new place to live. We quickly narrowed down our choices, deciding to either remain here in Johnston, or find a nice apartment downtown. We settled on a nice, village-style apartment complex slightly more than a half mile from our former home.

And that, my friends, was the easy part.

Even though it seems as if we had a bit of time before the move, I had to depart for three weeks of annual training at Fort Polk, La. Shortly after I returned, my wife had to spend another 10 days out at the Iowa State Fair as part of her job.

That wasn't our only headache. Simply put, what do you do with that mass of stuff accumulated from 17 years of residing in one place? As my wife loved to point out, "Most of that crap belongs to you."

To give you an idea of my dilemma, here's a picture of just a small portion of my card collection room. This doesn't take into account the cards stacked against the other wall, the additional shelf space in the basement, nor the additional cards in my home office.

Again, my basic issue is I hate to throw anything out, because I know someone, somewhere wants and/or needs that stuff. Even the gaming cards. Even the basketball cards. Even the wrasslin' cards.

So, we began collecting boxes from work and began picking up those huge plastic tubs. We made numerous runs to our local Goodwill, Stuff, and Half Price Book stores, while giving away a whole bunch of other unneeded items to family and friends. We got a climate-controlled storage unit to put what we wanted to keep in, plus loaded up half of one of the two garages we got with our apartment.

Once everything was finally packed, we rented a Ford truck to haul most of our stuff and hired a local moving company for our bigger items like the bed, dressers and china cabinet. Then came the final reckoning of those items we weren't quite sure whether we wanted to keep or not, as well as a final dusting, mopping and cleaning of the house.

It was, however, a bitter-sweet afternoon when we signed the final paperwork and after 17-years of home-owning, turned in our keys and garage door openers to the new owner. What proved to be two to three weeks of a very stressful time for both us and our two dogs was finally over with the stroke of a pen.

Now that we're finally situated into our new place, though, we've discovered the fun part of figuring out exactly where everything is and what exactly did we pack certain items in. Our winter hats and gloves? Not exactly sure where they are. Some of my wife's art supplies? There's a chance they may be in the corner of our storage unit. The books I want to put into our new bookshelf? I haven't a clue.

My wife and I have, however, reached a working cardboard compromise -- I can keep my four, 5,000 count boxes of Padres cards on a shelf in the closet of our office, as long as she can't see them. Also, I can keep no more than two boxes of my inventoried baseball cards in the apartment, as well. So, if I need to bring in another box to inventory, that's fine. I just have to put it back into the storage unit once I'm done.

I can live with that.

While we thought we may have a few problems getting used to a smaller place, we really love it here. Things are so much more relaxing -- I don't have to worry about mowing the lawn anymore, or having to replace a leaky water heater. We're now actually free to do fun stuff on the weekends again.

Heck, I can't even wait to begin blogging again. Now, if I can only find that last box of cards......