Dec 28, 2010

Wishes for the Holiday Season

NOTE: As with everything lately, I´m late posting this. Anyone recognize who this is an homage to?

If I had just one wish for this holiday season, I would wish all the collectors of the world would get together at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

If I had two wishes for this holiday season, I would wish for $100, 000 per week deposited in an anonymous bank account dedicated to the proposition that all collectibles should be collected and I should be the one to collect them. And of course, I would wish all the collectors of the world would get together at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

If I had three wishes for this holiday season, I would wish for a 31 day trip into the Topps vault, helped along by employees that I properly bribed into my idea. I´m sure my family would enjoy my disappearance for awhile as I emerge with wild eyes and babbling ideas about conspiracies in the hobby and then I drive them all into the same condition as they get the same paranoia about every other aspect of their lives. I would also wish for the money dedicated to that noble proposition mentioned before and most importantly, I would wish all the collectors of the world would get together at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

Wait a minute! Who are we kidding? How are we going to get all of the collectors of the world together? The logistics of the things will be impossible. There are only so many basements to check and so many people who would openly talk about such things. All right, so let´s reorder. First, the wait, first the vault thing, then the money, and then the.....

Of course, I forgot about revenge against hobby scam artists! Ok, so that´s first...then, the vault and the paranoia, then the money, and then we will continue to strive to bring together all the collectors of the world at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

Happy Holidays!

Dec 21, 2010

(Possible) Tale of Shame: Cut Signatures of the 1927 Yankees

A historic first-time idea for a card left to nothing more than a bitter taste in the mouth. A fresh bloom shriveling into dust before its time has come. The tepid taste of swamp water.

The imagery may be a bit much, but the initial excitement of the pull of the 1927 Yankees lineup cut signature card has been severely tempered.

Since the card was pulled and issued out on auction, the allegations are clearly discussed here at

Here's the prime passage.

-Babe Ruth forgeries are everywhere…..Sports Collectors Daily just advertised an embarassingly fake Ruth signature on a “2010 Topps Tribute” card, and alleges it features authentic signatures of the 1927 Yankees. Here’s the article: Billed as a “1-1 Legendary Lineups autograph book card,” the Topps product features horrible forgeries of both Ruth and Gehrig. Who authenticated this one? The experts we spoke to deemed them poorly executed forgeries. The card is being offered on EBAY by Beckett Select Auctions with a minimum bid of $20,000.

-A comment by Richard Simon on Net54 sums up the cut signature fiasco best. He said: “If Upper Deck can be stupid enough to use multiple forgeries in their cards, why can’t Topps be stupid too?”

For my part, I am not an expert and unable to distinguish a fake Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig signature from an authentic one. However, if it turns out that these signatures on this "epic" card are forgeries, it is a major black eye for the industry and the one remaining licensed company by MLB (Topps). Upper Deck underwent a similar situation a couple of years ago and the embarrassment probably still stings more than anything else.

How can we as collectors trust that what we receive is authentic when they are not duly certified and verified by the manufacturers themselves? Enough care was given to make this card a redemption to not be restricted by pack-out schedules. Unfortunately, either Topps didn't do their due diligence or their authentication party and/or source did a disreputable job.

At the end of the day, it's collectors who are disheartened and bound to think twice about what comes out of a pack.

Dec 16, 2010

The Tristar Obak Want List (2009 and 2010)

I am now attacking with zeal the two releases of Tristar Obak. You saw one of the boxes opened right here in this very space many moons ago. Here is what remains.

2009 version

Base Set
18, 32, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114

(is it just me or are the set numbers over 100 shortprinted?)

Mini Set
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 18, 19, 23, 24, 29, 34, 36, 38, 46, 47, 55, 59, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67

2010 Version
Base Set
11, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 118, 119 ,120

Mini Set
1, 6, 7, 11, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 32, 39, 41, 43, 44, 45

Dec 13, 2010

Breaking News: Cliff Lee has Returned to Philly!

We interrupt this lazy blogging month to bring you the news that the Phillies signed the prodigal son, Cliff Lee, to join the starting rotation for the 2011 season (and beyond). As reported by Jon Heyman of at this link, it is probable that Lee accepted a discount in both dollars and years compared to the reported bids by the Yankees and Rangers. It was reported that Lee took a liking to Philadelphia and his Phillies teammates during his time there in 2009.

What does this mean for the Phillies? Well, at first glance, it looks like the forming of a stacked rotation (and that is a not an adjective to throw around lightly) by name value and performance value (with the latter being infinitely more important). They will have the pitchers ranked 1, 2, 17, and 22 in the league over the last 3 years in WAR, and all are projectable to be in this range at least for 2011.

At second glance, it means someone's gotta go. Probably, Joe Blanton, he of the $8 million salary, for a couple of minor leaguers. As a 5th starter, Blanton is superfluous (though he is a grinder and a perfectly fine league average pitcher who can go about 6 innings per start) because of the presence of Kyle Kendrick and the possible emergence of Vance Worley. Also, they have a sudden need for an outfielder with the departure of Jayson Werth to either play full-time or be a platoon mate for Domonic Brown and/or Ben Francisco and/or Raul Ibanez (think the 1993 Phillies outfield arrangement).

Another possibility is that Ibanez is shipped out since he's in the last year of his contract, paying him $12 million for this year, or that Francisco is used to bring in a relief pitcher. If Amaro has proven one thing during his time as GM, it's that he's not shy about making deals with nearly any team in the league.

Let's just say that 2011 will be another potentially exciting year. Kudos to Amaro for pulling off a buzzworthy signing. And maybe the most underrated part of the whole deal is the return of a pitcher with the eminently rhythmic name of Clifton Phifer Lee.

Dec 6, 2010

Pyramid Contest: Tier 2 Results

Thanks to all for your comments. These years were really the sweet spot of my collecting years. I would say most of my cards(if I ever locate them all again) are from those 4 years. It's when it was permissible to get hobby boxes twice a year plus we made frequent visits to the Fort Washington Expo card show in PA (quarterly) and the mall shows in Neshaminy and Franklin Mills malls. Those were good times.

Here is the ballot of favorite sets by the commenteers:

93 Upper Deck: 4 votes
93 Topps: 2 votes
93 Kraft, 95 Emotion, 96 Emotion XL, 95 Bowman, 94 Flair, 94 Topps, 95 Collector's Choice: 1 vote

I apologize for the delay in getting this out because I was trying to figure out my new webcam, and I failed miserably. I could not get any sound to work. So, all you'll get is screenshots. I entered everyone in a list in with the appropriate number of entries and did the randomization three times. The name on top Randomization 3 is the winner.

Randomization 1
List Randomizer

There were 22 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. BA Benny
2. BA Benny
3. dawgbones
4. Play at the Plate
5. night owl
6. Dustin
7. Brad
8. cubsfan731
9. BA Benny
10. Brad
11. Cam
12. Derek
13. cubsfan731
14. dawgbones
15. cubsfan731
16. Fuji
17. FanofReds
18. night owl
19. Play at the Plate
20. Play at the Plate
21. Dave
22. Spankee

Timestamp: 2010-12-07 07:07:02 UTC

Randomization 2
There were 22 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. cubsfan731
2. Brad
3. BA Benny
4. Derek
5. Fuji
6. Dustin
7. Cam
8. Spankee
9. Dave
10. BA Benny
11. Brad
12. dawgbones
13. dawgbones
14. FanofReds
15. cubsfan731
16. Play at the Plate
17. night owl
18. BA Benny
19. night owl
20. Play at the Plate
21. cubsfan731
22. Play at the Plate

Timestamp: 2010-12-07 07:08:18 UTC

Randomization 3
There were 22 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. cubsfan731
2. night owl
3. Dustin
4. dawgbones
5. Cam
6. BA Benny
7. Play at the Plate
8. BA Benny
9. cubsfan731
10. Derek
11. FanofReds
12. cubsfan731
13. BA Benny
14. Spankee
15. Dave
16. dawgbones
17. Brad
18. Play at the Plate
19. Fuji
20. night owl
21. Brad
22. Play at the Plate

Timestamp: 2010-12-07 07:09:00 UTC

Congratulations, cubsfan731! You are the winner of an unopened box of 1993 Flair. Please e-mail me your address and I will get the box out to you.

Thank you all for playing.

Tier 3 is on the horizon. That's where the Clay Dalrymple card will come in....really.

Dec 3, 2010

Card Spotlight: 1955 Bowman Robin Roberts

Just a reminder: the contest will run until this evening at 11:59 PM PST. Comment to win an unopened box of 1993 Fleer Flair.

What is a baseball card but a suspension of a moment in time? In days of yore, treetops lined the spring training fields as preparation began for a new season. Uniforms and faces change, but then return. The brisk wind of February blows on the heels of a winter gone in Florida as the flowering palm trees mark the arrival of hope and longing for the new season to begin.

Behold Robin Roberts wearing a blue undercovering to shield off the rust and the raingusts. Coming off a Cy Young-like year in 1954 (before the award existed), leading the NL in 10 various categories, Roberts exudes an air of focus and confidence as the first few spheroids are gently flung into the catcher's mitt as a remembrance of the spring/summer routine.

1955 Bowman is a landmark set, being the last before the Topps monopoly. It also captured the essence of the era with the television mock-up, celebrating the proliferation of color TV in the country. One image, one design, one moment captured in time.

Dec 1, 2010

non-HOF Profile Derby #17: Lou Whitaker

Just a reminder: the contest will run until Friday evening at 11:59 PM PST. Comment to win an unopened box of 1993 Fleer Flair.

Next, is one of part of a long-time keystone pairing in Detroit (and really a true HOF omission)Sweet Lou Whitaker.

Place on the WAR chart: : Below Johnny Bench and Billy Hamilton and above Brooks Robinson and Luke Appling. He is the 2nd highest rated eligible player (non-pitcher) not in the HOF.

Career Overview and Some Numbers:Played for the Tigers from 1977-1995 almost exclusively as a 2B. Won ROY in 1978. Also had 5 All-Star appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers. What defined him and maybe made him overlooked is that he never led the league in any one category (or finished in the top 10 very often). However, he only finished with an OPS+ below 100 once in a full season (incredible for a second baseman) and had 5 seasons of greater than 130 OPS+. Most similar players numbers-wise were Ryne Sandberg, Alan Trammell, and Roberto Alomar.

Best Season:Hard to say really, since he didn't have standout seasons, but really a long string of good to great seasons. How about 1983: Hit .320/.380/.457 (133 OPS+) with 94 R, 12 HR, 72 R, 40 2B and 67 BB: 70 K.

The Final Numbers:: .276/.363/.426 (116 OPS+) with 1386 R, 420 2B, 244 HR, 1084 RBI and 1197:1099 BB:K

Why He Should be Remembered:: Steadiness as a good-to-great player is easily forgotten when it comes to HOF voting. Second baseman with his stats are not common. Especially, uncommon is the longevity with which he was able to maintain his level of performance. Witness the career path of Roberto Alomar or Ryne Sandberg(higher peaks and steeper declines than Whitaker). Also, was a great fielding 2B, accumulating more defensive WAR over his career than Ryne Sandberg with a higher range factor. Was also a key figure on the historically great 1984 Tigers team.

HOF Balloting Performance:one year on the ballot with 2.9% vote in 2001.
Rookie Card:: 1978 Topps #704
Modern Cards:: 2001 Topps Archives Auto, 2002 Stadium Club World Champion relic,