Monday, January 26, 2015

1953 Topps Project - Clyde Vollmer

As we prepare for a monster snowstorm here in the Northeast, I've got another addition to my 1953 Topps set.  Hopefully I can ride out this storm without losing power, but the snow's already coming down here so if Clyde Vollmer ends up atop the blog for a few days you know the reason...

Clyde Vollmer actually came up with the Cincinnati Reds all the way back in 1942.  He homered in his first big league at bat; he was only the fourth player ever to accomplish that feat.  After just 12 games played in the 1942 season Clyde, like so many ballplayers of this generation, was called to serve in World War II.  He would return to the Reds in 1946 after being relieved of his military duties.

Over the next few seasons Vollmer would play for the Reds, Senators and Red Sox before hanging up the spikes after the 1954 season.  In a career that spanned 10 years, he compiled a .251 lifetime average with 69 HR, 77 doubles, 500+ hits, and 339 RBI.

This card represents an interesting benchmark in my set.  The complete set contains 274 cards, and with this being my 74th I'm down to an even 200 cards left to chase.  Someday I'll get there!  Maybe...

Set Progress:  74 of 274 (27%)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Favorite Catcher Card

I don't have any autographed cards scanned and ready to go for Signature Sundays this week.  To make up for it, I've got one of my absolute favorite vintage cards to show today.  It's probably my favorite catcher card in my entire collection, one I've been meaning to post for a while now.  I sought this card out for almost two years before finally picking one up for a price and condition that I was satisfied with...

Behold!  Red Kleinow represents just my third T206 card, all of them Boston Red Sox.  This amazing card, which features a great look at turn-of-the-century catcher's gear, is my favorite of the three by a long shot.  You won't find a plaque for John Peter "Red" Kleinow hanging in Cooperstown, but he sure got a gorgeous tobacco card.  After purchasing the card, I found out that Kleinow was one of the early adapters of the chest protector pictured here.  Can you imagine catching a Major League game without a chest protector?  Well, that was the norm only a few seasons before the T206 set was distributed.

This instantly becomes one of my favorite Red Sox cards (a countdown I definitely need to revisit at some point).  To me, the condition is more than acceptable; I'm alright with rounded corners, and the crease in the upper left corner doesn't detract from the image itself, or the overall visual appeal of the card.  Hell, these flaws are the only reasons a guy like me can afford one of these to begin with.

Complicating my search for this card was the fact that two versions exist; one that lists Red with the Yankees, and one that lists him with Boston.  He was sold to Boston by the Yankees during the 1909 season, so at some point during the T206 print run the cards were updated accordingly.  I'm not sure that either version is more rare than the other, but any way you slice it there are less total cards available with each team.

The other thing I loved about this particular copy is that the back, a Polar Bear variation, looks amazing.  No glue spots or rips to be seen!  Still has a lot of color and pop for being well over 100 years old now.

I hope to make further progress on a T206 Red Sox team set in 2015.  I know that Tris Speaker isn't going to happen, but there are still quite a few cards I should be able to get for around $20 - $30 if I keep my eyes open.  Not sure any of them can top this one though...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Package of Prizm (and More) from Jason!

Back when I posted the first few packs of my 2013-14 Panini Prizm retail box, reader Jason left a comment.  He had purchased a couple of blasters of the product on discount at Wal-Mart, and wasn't interested in hanging onto the cards.  A trade was born, and in the end Jason shipped me over 40 cards towards the set!

My absolute favorite of the base cards was Teemu Selanne.  I don't know too many hockey fans who don't like Selanne.  I am not a player collector, but if I was he'd be on my list.

Included in the 40+ cards for the base set were a few short-printed rookie cards as well!  Roman Cervenka was already a well-known commodity in Russia before coming to the NHL (his 31 goals were the most by any player in the KHL in 2010-11).  He lasted only 39 games with the Flames though, and is back playing overseas.

Your 2013 Calder Memorial Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau!

Younger brother of Jamie McGinn.  Now with the Sharks organization.

It wasn't just the base cards that Jason was willing to send, as he included this David Backes Pivotal Players insert.  I've pulled one of these from my box so far.

Perhaps my favorite Prizm cards in the package were these blue parallels.  The colored parallels from this set look amazing in person, especially when there's a match with the jersey color.  They don't scan half bad either I have to say.  There were 8 of these in total.

Some pretty big stars amongst the parallel cards.

Jason was even kind enough to include his one hit from the 2 blasters he ripped, this Stefan Elliott autograph.  After just a single game with the Avs last season, Elliott has yet to be promoted from the AHL in 2014-15.  He's having a great season down there though, with 11 goals and 14 assists in 39 games as a defenseman.

Sending me all those great Prizm cards would have been more than enough, but Jason picked out a couple of other cards he knew I'd like from reading the blog.  This Ron Francis is from the brand new Artifacts set, and represents my first 2014-15 Whaler cardboard.

Last but certainly not least, my two favorite cards in the entire package were a pair of 2009-10 Champ's Yellow parallels.  These aren't the easiest cards to come by, and I try to pick them up on the cheap whenever I can.  At one-per-hobby-box I doubt I'll ever complete the 100-card set, but I'm definitely going to try.  Jason sent along future HOFer Jarome Iginla...

...and HOFer Tony Esposito.  This card is great!  I'm up to 13 of these parallels now, which isn't half bad.

Jason, thank you so much for the thoughtful package, and for reading my blog.  I will have another envelope of cards off to you sometime this coming week...

Friday, January 23, 2015

One Card Post - Bobby Robins!

What:  2014-15 Upper Deck #205 - Bobby Robins Young Guns RC SP
Where:  eBay
How Much?:  $3.75 (free shipping)

:  Saw this card posted on Coast to Posts a while ago, and knew I wanted a copy.  I'm sure getting an officially licensed Upper Deck hockey card meant more to Bobby Robins than it does a lot of players in this year's set.  Look at what he went through after college before finally reaching the NHL with the Bruins this season:

Guy played all over the place, including in Europe, and finally got to crack the Bruins' NHL roster back in October.  True, he lasted just 3 games, 7 minutes and change of total ice time, and accrued 14 PIM, but he made the show.  Congrats Bobby on making it to the NHL, and on receiving a proper Upper Deck Young Guns rookie!

Other:  Apparently Bobby is a fellow blogger!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

More Packs of Panini Prizm

Time to crack into four more packs of 2013-14 Panini Prizm hockey.  I opened the first 4 packs of my 24-pack box a few weeks ago, time for the next four...

Just four cards per pack, so this should go by pretty quickly...

Short-print rookie in the first pack.  Matt's been off and on with San Jose this year, after 62 games with the club last season.

Pack 2...

One of the hottest net-minders this season, who is now injured...

My first Pivotal Players insert.  Not sure if I'll collect this insert set or not.  If not, I'll be shipping this card to my buddy Mitch in Michigan...

Pack 3...

Love this particular Capitals uniform look...

Actually played with the Devils in 2013-14, not the Wings.

Always nice to pull one of the big stars out of your box so that you don't have to buy it for your set later on the secondary market.  Also, it does not appear that this card gave the mumps to any of the other cards in the pack.

Some good star power to close out pack 3 with Crosby and Price back-to-back.  Pack 4...

My first pack that contained four plain old base cards, no inserts or parallels to be found.  I've decided to collect the set though, so I don't mind.  I'll get to ripping more of these in the future, and I've also gotten a huge stack of them via trade which I'll be posting about soon...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

One Card Post - Marquee Mel

What:  2011 Topps Marquee #62 - Mel Ott
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $.39

:  The photo.
Other:  Really all about the photograph.  I happily paid $.39 to add it to my collection.  It's fantastic.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1953 Topps Project - Frank Campos

Now that we're a good three weeks into the new year, it's high time I got to posting my first 1953 Topps card. 2014 wasn't super successful in terms of this lifelong set-building goal. I went into the year with 61 cards profiled, and finished it with 72.  A net gain of 11 cards means I added less than one per month, and to make matters worse I haven't done one of these posts since July!  My goal for this year is to add 18 more cards to my set, which would get me to an even 90...

First up is one of the least experienced MLB players to grace the '53 Topps checklist.  Frank Campos looked great in 8 appearances at the end of the 1951 season (.423 average over 26 at-bats!), enough so to see more significant time in 1952.  He sort of crashed back down to earth though, and after just 10 pinch-hit appearances in 1953, his career came to an end.

71 total games played over the course of three seasons, all with the Washington Senators.  A career .279 hitter with no home runs and just 13 RBI.  Hey, that's 13 RBI more than you or I will ever accumulate, and was good enough for a place in one of Topps' most iconic sets!

Set Progress:  73 of 274 (27%)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Trade with Mark Hoyle!

Towards the end of last year (I think), I finally got around to exchanging cards with one of the more well-known traders around the card blogs, Mr. Mark Hoyle.  I'm not sure what took so long, but I'm glad Mark got in touch as he lives right in my neck of the woods!  I sent him a bubble mailer stuffed with extra Red Sox inserts and parallels I had laying around, and in return received an amazing envelope of '70s hockey cards.

The majority of the lot, like the fantastic Ed Giacomin above, came from the 1973-74 Topps set.  I'm trying to complete every Topps hockey set starting with '89-90 and working my way backwards, and this package made a gigantic dent in the '73-74 set in particular.  I've finally gotten around to scanning them all in and adding them to my set binder, but there's no way I can show every card Mark sent in this post.  Instead, here are just some of the amazing cards Mark sent along for my set...

At this point I've gotten far enough back in time to where I don't care much about condition, and will take any card that A) I don't have; or B) is in better condition than the one I do have.  This well-loved Dallas Smith was the former.

Same for this great Johnny Bucyk, featuring a fairly well-known defenseman in the background.  This card illustrates a relatively common problem with this set, poor cutting that often revealed part of a neighboring card on the printed sheet.  In this case Johnny Bucyk's neighbor to the north had a blue border.  A few of the cards in my set suffer from this, and while I may try to upgrade them someday it doesn't bother me a ton.

Of course, like any '70s hockey release, you have your share of guys standing around in hallways and/or in front of cement walls.

It's not like Mark sent me all scrubs or commons, there were plenty of big name players, and even HOFers, to be found!

My absolute favorite thing about the '73-74 set are the in-game action shots sprinkled throughout the checklist.  I wish the entire set were like this, love these cards.

Ditto for the team checklist cards.  Would be cool if Upper Deck would bring this back for even just one set one year.  Although, I'm not sure if teams even sit for a photograph like this any longer?

Another awesome, crowded, action shot on Ken Hodge's card.

The action photos work best in a horizontal format if you ask me.  I always get a kick out of seeing just how poorly lit the rinks were during this era.

I also love what was done with the All-Star cards for this particular release.  Cropping the photo in the shape of the NHL shield just works.

Some of the photographs fall into the "so bad they're good" category.  This one may seem like a blurry, poorly cropped mess, but I like the look at Bouchard's signature mask and wooden Sher-Wood stick.

One of my favorite cards in the entire package, always been a fan of Bobby Clarke's.

How about a Bill Barber RC?!?!  Do I care that there's a spot on the card that makes it look as though Bill's wearing a pearl earring?  Not in the least.

A better example of a more carefully chosen in-game photograph.  I love how this one is framed.  Just a lowly common, but probably one of my favorite 20 cards in the entire set.

Towards the end of the checklist are some cards that summarize the previous season's playoff matchups.

Yes that is a helmet-less Gump Worsley minding the net!

Most of the portrait shots are boring to me compared to the game action photos, but every once in a while I stumble across one I really enjoy.

Great look at the old purple Kings' sweaters on Juha Widing's card.

Sweet a Dryden!  Not Ken, but still a Dryden...

Topps knew how to close out a checklist, as this beauty represents the final card in the '73-74 set.  I've often thought about starting a mini-collection of all cards featuring actual photographs of the Stanley Cup.  This is one of the better ones out there, even in black and white!  This envelope leaves me at less than 60 cards to go to complete this set.  Even with some of the bigger names left (Orr, Esposito, Dryden, Lafleur), I should be able to knock this one off in 2015 if I stay focused.

Here's another!  Mark also included a stack of cards from the previous year's set as well.  '72-73 Topps featured cards on the checklist for the major trophies.  Most are featured at the back end of the checklist, but the Stanley Cup card depicted here is towards the beginning, right after the cards that summarize the Bruins' winning Stanley Cup run.

This early-career Bobby Clarke is probably my single favorite card from the entire envelope.  This is Bobby's first Topps card, with his formal RC coming in the previous season's OPC set.  Just awesome!

Here's a look at one of the other trophy cards; the Vezina!

Last but not least, Mark was kind enough to throw in a Red Sox card as well in the form of this great '60 Topps Frank Malzone.

Mark, thank you for the awesome cards!  I'm sorry it took me so long to post this, but it was only due to the sheer number of cards you sent over that had to be scanned and sorted.  I really appreciate the trade, and I've already got my next bubble mailer started for you!
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