Friday, April 18, 2014

Game Used Gold

 My collecting habits have tailed off across the board of late.  But one of my favorite elements of my growing collection has been my array of game-worn jerseys.  I've largely focused on more unique pieces - throwback jerseys, commemorative patches, Jackie Robinson Day.

But a trip to the flea market last weekend caused me to stretch my collecting scope a bit broader.  While digging through a dime cards of one vendor I regularly buy from, I ran into a box right in front of me.  A sheet of paper on top said Pirate Jerseys - $30.

I quickly took a glance at the box, expecting to find some China knockoff jerseys or at best some jerseys of guys who left Pittsburgh that the vendor was able to score on clearance elsewhere.  I was quite surprised to find a box full of Spring Training jerseys complete with MLB hologram and decent signs of use.

I flipped through the box, but no players stood.  Lots of non-roster Spring cannon fodder - Brandon Boggs, Rick Vandenhurk, Logan Kensing.  I already have more stuff than I can display, so I figured best to just get my $5 in dime cards and be on my way.
And I did, all the way to the parking lot.  Until I made an abrupt U-turn.  These gold ST jerseys are by far one of my favorites from recent memory.  They only lasted for a couple seasons before being phased out by a black on black abomination this year.  For a mere $30 I'd be kicking myself for passing on these jerseys somewhere down the road.

Another dig through the box found the best of the bunch - Jeff Clement, who appeared in 23 games for the Bucs in 2012 late in the year.  And heck, he's only one letter off from a much more famous Pirate.  But the icing on the cake?  Clement came to the Bucs as part of the Jack Wilson trade with the Mariners, so there's a semi-valid connection there.

One jersey closer to acquiring an example of every jersey style the Bucs have worn during my lifetime.  And still a long, long way to go.

On the Road Again

Finally!  After a month-plus away, I'm back behind the wheel of my beloved blog.  The last month or so has been pretty hectic.  My hour drive each way to and from work each day has really taken a toll on me, and it feels like I've been living out of my car.  Not literally of course - my card collection would never fit. 

But stacks of paperwork, arts and crafts projects, food wrappers, and empty water bottles have made my backseat look frighteningly similar to the contents of an adopt-a-highway cleanup day.  And doing some cleaning over the weekend I discovered some long forgotten (and assumed mailed) trade packages.  I think one of them dates back to last calendar year (sorry Jeff!).  Hopefully the contents will more than make up for the sun-faded ink, long waits, and occasional pizza grease on the packages.

The flip side to some more disposable income has been...a complete and utter disinterest in collecting.  No, I'm not hanging up my toploaders.  Not by a long shot.  But there just isn't much in the hobby keeping my interest.  COMC is a gutted and unsearchable shell of itself.  While I like some of the low-mid end releases Topps has put out this year, I'm still not going to tempt restarting my wax addiction.  And new Jack Wilson additions have crept to maybe one card per quarter over the last year or two.

But that doesn't mean I've given up completely.  I had a few packages come in over my collecting lull, there were a few fantastic ebay purchases, and flea market season is getting in full swing.  So I hope you all will forgive me Houdini act for the umpteenth time and I'll jump right back into the madness.

I've bemoaned how tough it has been to find new Jack Wilson cards over the last few years countless times.  The life of a no-name player supercollector is a hard knock life, after all.  So when those big scores do come in, it isn't always through the most conventional means.  I was at home finishing up some paperwork a few weeks ago when I got a text.  It was from Brad, a Sean Burnett collector I've cyber-known for almost a decade but have never actually met in person, asking if I needed a 2005 Leaf Certified Materials Emerald Jack Wilson.  For some Jack cards I'll have to double check my master checklist - but no such need on the Mirror Emerald.  Its absence in my collection is seared into my collecting memory.

I few quick texts directed me towards a thread on Blowout's forums with the card for sale for a mere $8.  Only problem?  I didn't have a blowout account.  Or if I did, the username and password are long lost to my memory.  I quickly registered for an account, only to be informed that I would need to wait for moderator approval to actually be able to post.

The better part of the next 24 hours were spent repeatedly refreshing my email waiting for activation and refreshing the thread hoping nobody would snag what was to me the deal of the year.  Key word: to me.  In reality, I had little to worry about.  When my account was finally approved, there wasn't even so much as a nibble on the Wilson - a card that I would have gladly bid significantly more than $8 for on ebay.

The LCM sets are among my favorites (though I'm partial to Jack's '03 card over the '05), and the Mirror Emeralds are tough finds at only 5 copies.  I believe I recall one or two collectors working on the set around the original release date, so the cards are particularly scarce.  I don't think I have ever seen the '05 Emerald previously.

Hopefully it won't be another month until my next post!

Thursday, April 17, 2014 my posting habits?

Geeze, it's been a long while since I've had the time to write about, buy, or even think about cardboard.  But it's time to break my non-blogging ways, get some long overdue trade packages in the mail after cleaning out the backseat of my car last weekend, and get back on the card train (toot toot).

In the mean time, I dug a draft out of the archives for your viewing pleasure.

I believe most or all of these cards came from a local mall show back in 2007 or so, when my collecting interests were still taking shape.  All I knew was back then I rarely came across vintage, and these cards seemed awesome for a buck or less.
A few years later, I still agree with myself.

The Brock is unquestionably the gem here.  I don't have the same appreciation for men holding bats that Dimebox Nick does, but even I have to admit that red bat is pretty awesome.  As are the ridiculous white stripes on the batting helmet.

 The Yaz is probably the card I'm least excited about out of this group.  But it's a nice vintage issue of a HOF'er, and in pretty good shape. 

I have always had a soft spot for cards that commemorate a particular date, whether it's playoff games, milestones, or individual accomplishments.  This card definitely fits the bill, even if the Bucs weren't in the series.  Brooks Robinson making a diving stop?  Just icing on the cake.
Another nice looking '71 here, this Wilhelm actually met a few collecting interests that I didn't even have when I picked it up.  Wilhelm's long and atypical career path took him to Chicago for just 3 games in 1970, so this card captures a very brief period in time at the twilight of one of the more unique HOF careers.