Adventures In Dimeboxing, Part 1

At the card show I went to recently, I spent a fair amount of time going through dime boxes… Maybe too much time, but I suppose it’s all part of the process of refining my goals each time I go to a show.

While I didn’t find those dime boxes full of Kellogg’s, Mother’s Cookies and Hostess cards like some other people seem to, I did find plenty of fun stuff. This will be the first of at least two or three “Dimeboxing” posts.

First off, a couple of die-cuts… This first card is an insert from 2014 Bowman Chrome, and while the die-cut isn’t terribly appealing and the card seems to be worth about a dime, it features a Mets prospect and his brother… and how can I resist that combination?
Gavin Cecchini is a shortstop who played a handful of games for the Mets this September. He was the 12th overall draft pick in 2012 and Baseball America has included him among the Mets top 10 prospects every season since then.

His older brother Garin is a third baseman who had cups of coffee in 2014 and 2015 and has had a similar track record of being among the Red Sox top prospects. Last winter Garin was sold to the Brewers and he spent 2016 playing for AAA Colorado Springs.

A slightly older die-cut comes courtesy of Pacific… This oddball Rickey Henderson is from the 2000 Pacific Crown Royale set.
People talk about missing Upper Deck, but I miss Pacific. They went a little over the top with foil, but they had some nice sets and their bilingual set taught me a few baseball terms in Spanish.

I found a small number of 2006 Rittenhouse WNBA cards in one dimebox. I don’t follow the WNBA, I can probably name only a handful of players from the entire league history (Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi… um…), but I so rarely run across any WNBA cards that I’m always tempted to pick up one or two on the occasions that I do.

So I thumbed through this stack of 30 or 40 cards and I didn’t recognize any names and wasn’t grabbed by any of the action shots and I don’t have any sort of connection to any of the teams… So I picked a couple of cards for …um… other reasons.

Kristen Mann was the 11th overall draft pick in the 2005 draft
She played in the WNBA from 2005 to 2010, and it appears that she’s been playing in European leagues since then.

Stacey Dales was a two-time All-American for Oklahoma, set numerous school records and had her number retired by the University, was drafted 3rd overall by the Washington Mystics and played for Canada in the 2000 Olympics.
It wasn’t until I got home and started poking around online that I found out that Stacey Dales is currently a studio host and reporter for the NFL Network. I enjoy watching my Steelers, but I’m not big enough into football to watch the NFL Network. Sorry, Stacey.

For those who might be interested, here’s the back of the Stacey Dales card.

OK, getting back to baseball… I love picking up cheap Pro Debut cards, especially for guys who have already made it.

Here’s Brian Dozier shown with the New Britain Rock Cats, a team which moved to Hartford for the 2016 season but never played a game there due to ongoing and still unresolved ballpark issues. It’s too involved to get into here, Google it if you don’t know already.  If you listen closely, you can hear the distant sound of New Britain snickering (they got an independent Atlantic League team before their ballpark got cold)
The Twins are badly in need of a talent influx, and with a new GM who has no loyalties to any players, could Dozier be shipped off for a bunch of prospects? Stay tuned.

I also got another impressive young infielder, Francisco Lindor of the World Series-bound Cleveland Indians. I saw Lindor in the minors a couple of years ago and was impressed with him at the time, so he’s become someone I make a small effort to collect.
Since I looked it up, I’ll share it with you… The Lake County Captains are based in what I presume is a suburb of Cleveland. Lake Erie is the lake in “Lake County”.

The World Baseball Classic is rolling around next March… Many of you don’t care, and as for me… well, it’s competitive baseball in March.

The last time around, Anthony Rizzo was an up-and-comer who had played 136 games over two seasons with the Padres and Cubs.
…Now, of course, he’s a three-time All-Star and getting ready to play in the World Series.

Carlos Beltran was hoping he’d get to the World Series with the Rangers. I wonder why they can never seal the deal despite talented teams…
Beltran’s a free agent and seems likely to end up as someone’s DH.

I was pleased to find that the dime boxes I went through had some of this year’s Stadium Club cards.
No stars, of course, but great for filling out team and player collections.

I ran across this 1993 Fleer card for my Darren Daulton PC.
This is a nice-looking card, but unfortunately it doesn’t appear that there are any other players from this insert set who fit into my collection (No Cal Ripken?)

And to wrap up, I had to get this “Short Term Stop” involving Jim Thome of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Thome was acquired from the White Sox on August 31st, 2009 and would play 17 regular season games and 5 postseason games for the Bums before going to the Twins as a free agent.

A Couple Of 1974’s From An Alternate Universe

I’ve been getting new cards from all sides…  Card show last weekend, a blaster from Target, two different batches of cards in the mail (thanks to, in chronological order, Shane & Bob!)…

…And I got a couple of cards from my counterpart in the alternate universe!

I believe it’s been over a year since I’ve written about the alternate universe, so I’ll give everybody a quick back story… There’s an inter-dimensional rift in my attic through which small objects can pass from one universe to another.  The other end of this particular rift lies in the attic of that universe’s Joe Shlabotnik, and we’ve been trading cards for a number of years.

Just as “Alt-U Joe” was freaked out by the cards I sent him that show Reggie Jackson with the Yankees – I’ll have to find out where Reggie went in that universe – I was similarly freaked out over Willie McCovey with the Brewers…
I’d read somewhere that when the Giants were looking to move McCovey after the 1973 season, some AL teams like the Brewers and Rangers had interest, but Willie didn’t want to be a DH so the Giants found a National League trading partner in the Padres. I guess over in that universe, the Giants weren’t as accommodating.

More puzzling was this 1974 Traded card showing Randy Jones being shipped off to the Expos!
The back says he was traded for pitcher Balor Moore and another player, but didn’t get into why the Padres would trade a promising young pitcher like Randy Jones. Here in our universe, Randy would have two dominating seasons (including the 1976 Cy Young) before being derailed by arm troubles.

Speaking of pitchers being traded, the buzz is already starting about how the weak market for free agent pitchers could result in some blockbuster trades this winter.  Here at Shlabotnik World Headquarters, our top-notch staff of graphics artists are gearing up for another Hot Stove set based on a vintage Kellogg’s 3-D set… and yes, the cereal boxes will be back as well.  I don’t have a go-live date right now, but it should come sometime after players start to move around.

By the way, there’s no real reason why I would mention custom cards in a post about cards from the Alternate Universe… Just wanted to get it out there while I was thinking about it, I guess.

After Three Years… A Complete 1972 Mets “Master Team Set”

Three years ago, I thought I’d completed my team set from 1972 Topps… and by most people’s standards, I *had* completed a team set.  I had all of the regular cards, the “In Action” cards, the Boyhood Photos, the Rookie cards, the Leader cards… 47 cards in all. Yep, it’s a very large team set.

Then I realized that there was also “Puzzle D” on the back of some of the “In Action” cards… Puzzle D features Tom Seaver, so even though the front of the cards featured non-Mets, the backs were a different story.

At the time I’d made this realization, I had a couple of the cards I needed to complete the puzzle. It took me a while to find ones in the price range I’d had in mind, given that these are High #’s, and given that I’m cheap. I suspect that there might also be something of a premium based on the Seaver puzzle.

This past weekend I finally found the last two cards at a price I liked.

I found the Jim Kaat In Action for $3.
That “402 FT” marker behind him looks familiar, but I’m shaky on vintage A.L. ballparks. Milwaukee?

Here’s the back of the Kaat IA:

I also found the Bobby Murcer In Action for $3.50
I spent a bit of time trying to figure out who the catcher is. In 1971, when this photo was probably taken, there were three American League teams which had red as their primary color: The Senators, Indians and White Sox. If you look closely at the piping on the sleeve and the pants, it looks like the narrow red-white-red piping of the ChiSox. Unfortunately, there were five games where Bobby Murcer scored against the White Sox in 1971, but we can at least narrow the potential catchers down to Ed Herrmann, Tom Egan and Chuck Brinkman. I’m thinking Tom Egan, but that’s largely just a guess… Does anybody have any input?

And here’s the back of the Murcer:

And because I know you’re all dying to know what the completed puzzle looks like…
Not a terrific photo of Tom Terrific, I have to say.

And for reference purposes, here are the 6 corresponding card fronts…
…and the “checklist” for Puzzle D:
692 – Curt Blefary IA
694 – Allan Gallagher IA
696 – Rod Carew IA
700 – Bobby Murcer IA
706 – Pat Corrales IA
710 – Jim Kaat IA

Oversized Load, Part 4: Mets from 1985 – 1987 Donruss All-Stars

So a funny thing happened at the show I was at this past weekend…

I had an opportunity to buy a decent-sized stack of unopened packs of 1986 Donruss All-Stars, an oversized oddball from a series of sets I’ve always enjoyed because I’m one of those strange people who likes oversized cards.

I couldn’t remember where I stood with the set, but I remembered that a couple of years ago, I’d written a series of posts on oversized Mets cards. Thinking that I may have mentioned whether or not I had a complete set, I used my phone to access my own blog, but I couldn’t find the post that featured the 1986 set.

After a moment of deliberation, I threw caution to the wind and bought the packs anyway.

When I got home I tried to figure out where that post was, and it took me a while but I found it.



So, as long as I was aware of the draft, I figured I may as well finish and update the post.

First up is a 1985 Action All-Star of Dwight Gooden.  Like the other cards in these series, the card is 5″ tall and 3.5″ wide — twice as big as a standard-sized card.  As with the two prior Action All-Star sets, the set is complete at 60 cards, and packs came with 3 pieces of a Lou Gehrig puzzle… I think it’s the same puzzle that came with regular Donruss packs.

1985 Donruss Action All-Stars Dwight Gooden

The design shares a black border with the regular Donruss set, but not much else.  The back is a standard 1980’s Donruss back, and not worth reproducing.

For 1986, the set became just “All-Stars”… “Action” apparently was no longer part of the sales pitch.  The design is a pretty similar to 1986 Donruss.  There’s only one Met in the base set, Mr. Ron Darling.

1986 Donruss Action All-Stars Ron Darling

The back varied somewhat from Standard Donruss, but I didn’t scan it and I’m not going to go back and scan it.

Packs came with 3 All-Star cards, 3 Hank Aaron puzzle pieces and one of 18 Pop-Up cards (reflecting the 9 starters from the prior year’s All-Star Game).  These are meant to fold so that the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome (site of the 1985 All-Star Game) is behind the player’s head.

1986 Donruss Pop-Up Darryl Strawberry

The final oversized Donruss set came out in 1987.  It was pretty much the same deal as the 1986 set with the design echoing the regular Donruss set without actually duplicating it.

1987 Donruss All-Star Sid Fernandez

I don’t have a scan of the 1987 pop-ups because I don’t have any, but they’re largely similar to the 1986 version;  the main differences being that the background features the Astrodome and the player’s name, team and position listed on the front.

As for the packs I bought, I found out when I got home that I needed only 3 base cards and one pop-up.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get that out of these packs.

If you’re interested in the three-year-old posts about the other oversized sets, you can link to them here:

Part 1:  1980 & 1981 Topps “Super

Part 2:  1983 & 1984 Donruss Action All-Stars

Part 3:  1984 Donruss Champions

Mickey Mantle Says “Have A Nice Day!”

…And I did have a nice day on Saturday, because I finished a vintage oddball insert set I’ve been casually chasing for about two years.

This past Saturday I was at a card show with several goals in mind, one of which was to finish off the 1968 Topps “Game” insert set. I was at the table of one of my favorite dealers, going through his bargain bin, when I ran across this Mickey Mantle for $2.
And obviously, it’s $2 because someone ink-stamped a “Have A Nice Day” smiley face on the front. I’m guessing somebody used a stamp to “brand” his cards, rather than writing their name on the front.  It’s OK, kid, I forgive you. The stamp doesn’t really overlap with his face, and the card’s in pretty decent shape otherwise, so there’s no way I would’ve gotten it for $2 without the stamp. It’s not like condition is a primary criteria for me, especially with this set which is strictly a “fun” goal.

With Mantle checked off the list and only partway through the bargain bin, I continued in search of the other two cards I needed. For some reason I had it in my mind that I needed Willie Mays. I went through the bin with no success, and then figured I’d at least cross Mantle off my paper checklist… which is when I saw that I didn’t need The Say Hey Kid, I needed Hammerin’ Hank.  I’d forgotten that I got the Mays in a COMC shipment earlier this year.

Getting back to the bin, I said “Aaron? I saw an Aaron in there!”

After some semi-frantic re-shuffling through the cards, there was my second need, also $2.
Much nicer condition than the Mantle for the same price, but you know… It’s merely a card of the guy who hit 755 home runs, it’s not MICKEY MANTLE (cue the scene from Blazing Saddles where everybody takes off their hat and a choir sings at the mention of Randolph Scott).

So after going through the bargain bin and finding Mantle and Aaron, I was left with one card standing between me and a complete set… and just by dumb luck it wasn’t a Hall-Of-Famer I needed, but a guy I knew just a little about (other than I needed his card).

It was at this point that the dealer astutely mentioned that he had more 1968 Game cards in his showcase, and I said “Well, I do need the Gary Peters card to complete my set…”

The next thing I know, I’m being handed this card…
So I overpaid slightly by buying this for a buck, and as it turns out, this Gary Peters card, with no yellowing, creases, stains or other marks, is in the nicest condition of any 1968 Game card I own.

Quick aside regarding Gary Peters (who I really only knew from the 1964 Topps “Giant” set)… He was a pitcher who had a few cups of coffee from 1959 to 1962, but in his first full season of 1963 he lead the league with a 2.33 ERA, won 19 games and was the A.L. Rookie of the Year.  In 1964 he was an All-Star and won 20 games, in 1966 he lead the league with a 1.98 ERA, and in 1967 he was an all-star for the second time.  He also was a good hitter who had at least one homer each season from 1963 to 1971.  On 5/26/1968, he batted sixth in the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees… his batting sixth may have been influenced by a grand slam he hit earlier in the month in – you guessed it – the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees.

Getting back to the newly-completed set…

I have to say, what started off as a series of “What the heck” purchases turned into a really fun vintage set to chase and complete. I didn’t keep track of my spending on this, but based off these three cards and my COMC purchase history, I’m guessing I spent about $30 to complete the set.  Again, my set is not one that anyone would send off to be graded, but it was most definitely a fun set to chase after.

WBC Prototype #3: A Slightly Different Take On 1976 Hostess

The World Baseball Classic is rolling around again next March, and I’ve been thinking that it would be fun to devote a small set of customs to it, and to leave the design of the set open to nominations followed by an online vote.

Next up in the parade of prototypes is a somewhat-modified version of 1976 Hostess, using a photo from the 2013 WBC:


The original 1976 Hostess set had red, white and blue at the bottom – because 1976 was the Bicentennial and everything had to be red, white and blue.  I think it was some sort of overreaching Federal legislation or something.

Since the WBC is an international tournament, I thought it more fitting to use the colors of the country depicted.  I’m happy with the way it turned out;  it nicely tweaks the original design without getting into significant “Stone the heretic!” changes that bring 2001 Fleer Platinum to mind.

If there’s a vintage, semi-vintage or not-really-vintage-at-all card design you’d like to nominate for this custom WBC set, leave a comment.  Three suggestions:

1 – Oddball sets are most definitely welcome.

2 – It doesn’t have to be a baseball design, so long as it works as a baseball set (i.e. no goalposts, hockey sticks or basketballs incorporated into the design).

3 – I’m shying away from anything that has team logos, mainly because I’m not sure what I would substitute for those.

A Quick Post Full Of 1970’s Multi-Sport Goodness

This post will be quick because I’m deep into updating my wantlists for a cardshow I’m going to tomorrow… My first show in nearly a year, so it’s obviously a big deal for me.  I  hope you can forgive me for this largely text-free post.


FYI, this is a 1977/78 O-Pee-Chee; Greg Joly doesn’t appear in that year’s Topps set.

At the time, Jack Snow was second only to Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch for receptions and receiving yards by a Cleveland/Los Angeles Ram, but both have been passed by several Rams since then.
Jack’s son J.T. Snow played for the Yankees, Angels, Giants and Red Sox and won 6 gold gloves at first base.

The only non-3D Kellogg’s set…




Have a great weekend!