The “Cool But Stinky” Dime Box, Part 1

I’ve been spending the past month or so getting my hobby ducks in a row.  In addition to organizing and cleaning up my physical collection, I’ve also been organizing and cleaning up the various scans of cards on my laptop.  In both cases, I had spent too long in a constant headlong rush into everything, leaving disorganization and clutter in my wake.  This post is one which has been planned for months, and I’m just now organized enough to get to it.

Back over the summer – July, I think – I went to a regional card show, and what ended up being the highlight of the show for me was a dimebox that didn’t look like much at first glance, and which smelled to high heaven like someone’s dank basement.  I’m a bit sensitive to mold, and I’ve been known to just walk right past boxes of cards if they’re overly musty, but once I started poking through this one I realized it was a form of ODDBALL HEAVEN and I plowed right through it with a smile on my face, smell be damned.

So what kind of oddballs are we talking about?

We’re talking TCMA… a lot of TCMA, to be honest.  There were cards from the 1979 “The 1950’s” set…  This card features former Yankee great Tommy Henrich.

Henrich just barely qualifies for a set called “The 1950’s”, as the five-time All-Star played his last game in 1950.

The bulk of my purchases came from the TCMA “The 1960’s” set, which is much more in my ballpark, pun slightly intended.  This one is of slugger Mike Epstein in his glorious Washington Senators uniform.

I know that emulating the 1953 Bowman set was a recurring thing for TCMA, with both of these TCMA sets and the 1976 SSPC set going in that same direction, but I have to say I prefer having some sort of visual clues on the front regarding which player we’re looking at and what set this is… which is clear enough from the back of the card, but I like having a design on the front.

…but despite that, I’ve really grown to appreciate these cards over the years.  I used to think of them as little better than filler, but now that I’ve gained a better appreciation for the players of the 1950’s and 1960’s – not to mention the uniforms and ballparks as well – and these cards have become a much more appreciated part of my collection.

…And the funny thing is, it’s not about the HOFers.  Oh, sure, it’s fun to get an affordable Roberto Clemente, but I get just as much enjoyment out of cards featuring some obscure New York Mets player or anyone wearing a Houston Colt .45’s uniform.

While TCMA did make up a large percentage of the cards, there were also the similarly-themed Pacific Legends cards.

…and who doesn’t like cards of Don Mossi?  I have to admit that I sometimes feel a bit guilty that I collect Mossi solely because of his distinct appearance.

There were also cards from Action Packed, but only a few.  I scoffed at these in the 1990’s, and I still think the embossing is too gimmicky, but I like the photos they use.  In my scan it’s a little hard to read the name on the bottom, but this is Cesar Cedeno.

Between the Colt .45’s, the “Shooting Star” Astros uniforms of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, and the “Tequila Sunrise” uniforms as shown here, the Astros had a tremendous sartorial start to their existence… It’s a pity that nothing they’ve had since then has been quite as appealing or memorable.

There were also a couple of cards from the short-lived Ted Williams Card Company.  I find those cards to be a mixed bag, but as a long-time fan of the book “Ball Four”, I can’t bypass any cards of Jim Bouton.

One interesting thing about this photo is that it appears that the digit on his back is either an 8 or a 3… but Bouton famously wore #56 for most of his career.  If I remember correctly – it’s been a number of years since I last re-read Ball Four – he was assigned 56 going into Spring Training and even when he made the team he kept the number to always remind himself that he wasn’t expected to make the team.  I suppose this photo could be from a prior Spring Training when he was assigned a different high number and didn’t make the cut.

I’m going to feature one last card, and one which is of a pair that greatly surprised me.  Now paying a dime for a 1973 Topps card is a pretty decent bargain to start with, and I collect Bill Virdon anyway, but this card is potentially even more of a bargain.

It’s relatively small, but check out Virdon’s jersey:  This card is autographed!  I’m far from an expert on this type of thing, but in comparing the signature to authentic ones out on the internet, it at least looks like it could be legit.  Like I said, I’m a Virdon collector anyway, so even if it’s a fake it’s still a fun addition to my collection.

I’ve got another Pirate autograph on a 1974 Topps card, but I’ll save that for another post.

…And obviously, since I called this post “Part 1”, there will be more of these.  I had so much fun going through this dime box that (hopefully) I’ll be able to express my enjoyment for a while. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 

My Collecting Goals Are Like A Roll Of Toilet Paper (And Weigh-In #64)

There’s a saying, maybe you’ve heard it before: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper… The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes”.

I’ve got a variation on that regarding my collecting strategies: The further along I go, the faster I re-evaluate my goals.

When I was a kid, I wanted every Topps baseball card. Period. And this was the mid 1970’s, so this WAS a relatively modest number of cards… something like 15,000 cards.

Somewhere in the now-distant past I realized that I was far too cheap to spend triple-digits on vintage HOFer cards, so I changed my goal to collecting every Topps set from 1974 (my first set) forward… but I grew to hate several of the Topps sets of the late 1990’s, so that broke me of any desire to see that goal through.

I’ve also come to realize I’m not *really* a set collector, that when I do collect sets it’s more out of love for that particular set than it is about any need or desire to check off all the boxes.  The only set builds I have in mind for 2020 and beyond are 1970’s oddballs like Hostess and Kellogg’s… and I don’t know how hard I’m going to go after those.

Then there’s my team collecting goals, predominantly for the Mets. At one point I’d figured that collecting every Mets card there has been was an achievable goal… But even that goal has taken a beating thanks to HOF rookie cards (Seaver & Ryan), HOF sunset cards (Duke Snider) and ridiculously expensive high number cards of decidedly average players like Lou Klimchock.

The 2010’s saw the advent of online exclusives –Topps Now, Living Set, Throwback Thursday and others – and I gave up on the idea of collecting most of these Mets cards.

Now I’ve crossed into a whole new realm… I’ve come to realize I don’t even WANT all of the affordable Mets cards.  This was brought home to me this past weekend when I was going through a stack of 2019 Mets cards I got from dime boxes. After going through a bunch of samey-same cards of Jacob deGrom at various points in his delivery, I looked at the cards, shook my head and said “What the heck am I *doing*?”

….and this burnout was on just base cards, I’d already given up on most parallels.

So my 2020 goals, on paper, aren’t much different than my 2019 goals – streamline my collection and goals, get things organized – the only real difference is the level of resolve and the “tightening” of my want lists, especially on non-vintage cards.

So that I don’t finish this part of the post on a complete downer… I’ll mention that as part of my online Black Friday shopping I finished an “unofficial” goal for 2019:  I have bought the last 3 commons I needed for my 1979 Topps set, so…. yay, achieved goal!

…or at least “achieved goal” once the cards arrive in the mail and are put in the binder.

And now, on to the long-overdue Weigh-In #64… This should’ve been posted at the beginning of October, but the day after Thanksgiving seems as good a day as any to get this out there (OK, fine, “dump it out on the blog”).

These weigh-ins are part of an ongoing goal of mine to streamline my collection, to get rid of the clutter and leave just the cards that I love, either individually or as a part of some greater project which I love. By posting quarterly updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection, I get a good look at the big picture and – because I’m making it public – I find that doing this keeps me somewhat honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

It’s almost always guilt these days.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 7/11/2019 to 9/30/2019):
Net change in the collection: +299 (448 added, 149 removed)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +823 (1118 in, 295 out)

Since I keep talking about streamlining my collection, these numbers should both be negative.  Shame on me.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,893
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,118

I don’t want to think about the last time this “net change” number was negative.

Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 51,534
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -14,981

I always try to focus on these numbers when I’m not making great progress… Even with all the added bloat of the last year or two, I’m still significantly better than I had been at the start.

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 67,368
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 13,817

…which means I’ve got at least 81,185 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc) $287.61
Year to date: $827.92

Average per month for 2019 so far: $91.99
Average per month for 2018:  $79.03
Average per month for 2017:  $43.63
I didn’t track my spending before 2017.

The 2019 average should drop in the 4th quarter, as I’ve all but stopped my card buying while I concentrate on organization.

Size of my MS Access card database:
A few years ago I created an Access database and began tracking my collection in there. There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity by finding out how much information is currently in my database.

My database currently contains 938 set definitions (up 11 from the last weigh-in) and 231,690 card definitions (up 2,248 from the last weigh-in).

It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, that set represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.

1961 Mets “Prequel” Set, Part 2: Thomas, Woodling And Chiti

For those who missed the first part of this series – or forgot about it because over two months have unintentionally passed since that first part – the general idea of this series is that I’m building (and am almost finished with) a sort of “Prequel team set” of anyone who played in a game for the expansion 1962 Mets and appeared on a 1961 Topps card.

Had I been born… oh… 15 years earlier and kept my collection organized by every teams current roster (as I have since I was a kid), then my stack of “Mets” would’ve been something like the end result of this project.

In addition to providing me with a fun and achievable vintage project, it also gives an insight into how the 1962 Mets had been assembled and tweaked during the course of the season.

For each player featured, I’ll share his 1961 card, his card from the 1982 Renata Galasso “20 Years Of Mets Baseball” set (if there is one) and a Topps card showing him with the Mets (again, if there is one).

FRANK THOMAS – OF/1B/3B

How he came to the Mets: Traded by the Milwaukee Braves, November 28, 1961; Cash and two Players To Be Named Later were involved… On May 21, 1962, the deal was completed when the Mets sent outfielder Gus Bell to the Braves in exchange for infielder Rick Herrscher.

…Since the 1961 Topps card doesn’t match the transaction, I’ll mention that Thomas started out his career with the Pirates but after 8 years in Pittsburgh he became something of a journeyman; he was with the Reds in 1959 and the Cubs in 1960 and early 1961. On May 9, 1961 the Cubs traded him to the Braves for IF/OF Mel Roach.

How he left the Mets: Traded to the Phillies for IF/OF Wayne Graham, P Gary Kroll and cash, August 7, 1964

While the Mets lost a record 120 games in their famous first season, that does not mean that the team was bad across the board. There were players who did put up respectable numbers during that long season, and one of them was “The Original Frank Thomas”. Thomas ranked 6th in the league with 34 home runs, which of course lead the team as well. He also lead the Mets in games (156), runs (69), hits (152), doubles (23), RBI (94) and slugging (.496).


GENE WOODLING – Outfield

How he came to the Mets: Purchased from the Senators, June 15, 1962
How he left the Mets: Released by the Mets, March 8, 1963 (which would be the end of his career).

Although Woodling’s 1961 card lists him with the expansion Washington Senators, it appears that he is wearing an Orioles cap. Woodling had been selected from the O’s in the December, 1960 expansion draft by the “New Senators” (the team which would eventually become the Texas Rangers).

Gene Woodling was the type of player who was fairly common on the 1962 Mets: An older player who had name recognition in New York. Woodling played for six years with the Yankees, and appeared in five World Series, four of which were against the Dodgers and Giants. It’s probably not a coincidence that his manager during those five World Series was 1962 Mets manager Casey Stengel.

Woodling would turn 40 years old during his 81 games with the Mets, and batted .274 with 18 runs and 24 RBI.

Bonus 1954 Red Man card and ‘Fun Fact’:

In late 1954 Woodling was part of a 17-player trade between the Orioles and Yankees. Among the other players changing teams were Don Larsen, Bob Turley and Gus Triandos.


HARRY CHITI – Catcher

How he came to the Mets: Purchased from the Cleveland Indians, April 26, 1962
How he left the Mets: Returned to the Cleveland Indians, June 15, 1962

Just as I was about to start this post, I found a note I’d written to myself which said ‘ELEANOR – FIND CHITI’.  It was at that point I’d realized that… No, no, wait a minute.  That’s a plot point from the TV show “The Good Place”.

Sorry.  I’ll start over.

Harry Chiti made his major league debut with the Cubs as a 17-year-old in 1950. He also played for the KC Athletics, Tigers and Orioles.  After the 1961 season he was sent to the Indians, and then early in the 1962 season he was acquired by the Mets.  In 15 games with the Mets he batted below the Mendoza Line with 1 double and 2 runs scored. After being returned to the Indians, Chiti would play in AAA through the 1964 season before hanging ’em up.

The popular story has Chiti being traded to the Mets for a player to be named later, with that PTBNL ending up being Chiti himself, but I’ve seen enough inconsistencies in that story to wonder if it’s technically true. It’s certainly true that the Mets got Chiti from the Indians and then sent him to the Indians AAA team after it was decided that he wasn’t the Mets’ solution behind the plate.

There are no baseball cards which show Chiti as a Met; in fact, his 1962 card shows him with a blacked-out cap and listed with the Cleveland Indians, a team he never played for (Zero-year card!). I’m thinking I might add that card to my collection as an unofficial Mets card. With the wood grain border and Chiti’s blank cap, it would certainly fit in with the rest of my Mets team set.


This post kinda sorta fell together, and while I was wrapping things up I realized that none of the three players featured had been acquired in the expansion draft, and that two of the three had played in the American League the previous season; these two facts are not completely unrelated, as the player pool for the expansion draft consisted only of National League players.  Also because of the NL-only draft, the majority of the players came on the 1962 Mets roster came from National League teams.

Maybe next time – which I promise you will be sooner than two months – I’ll focus more on players taken in the draft.

“Hot Stove” Customs: Brewers, Managers And Will Smith (No, Not That One… Or That One…)

I’m a bit behind the times with this, but the Milwaukee Brewers released a new set of uniforms early this past week, and while the new uniforms are a big improvement over the previous set (which were “fine” in the somewhat dismissive sense), I’m still wanting something a bit more… but on the other hand, I’m not entirely sure what I would change.

The standard home uniform is pretty similar to what the team wore in the mid-1970’s, complete with wide (by 21st century standards) blue and yellow stripes on the sleeves. There’s also a pinstriped version which is similar to what they wore in the late 1970’s and all throughout the 1980’s.  (…and by the way, this is a Faux 3-D parallel of the Hot Stove set)

My unpopular take: I don’t love the ball-in-glove logo. Yes, it’s all clever and such with a lower case ‘m’ and a lower case ‘b’ forming a glove, but from the day of the original’s introduction, it always struck me as a little *too* clever for it’s own good. I’ll admit, this is probably a lingering emotional reaction to what 13-year-old me thought when they introduced the BiG logo the first time. I always kind of liked the serifed “M” that the team (*ahem*) borrowed from the Milwaukee Braves.

The road uniform isn’t much to talk about, but I have to say that I like the road alternate uniforms, even though some people have pointed out that it looks like the Cub Scouts uniform… Or maybe, on some level, *because* it looks like the Cub Scouts uniform. I was active in Scouting for a number of years, so maybe that contributes to my liking this alt.

All in all, I’m in favor of this change except for two things: I would’ve preferred Royal Blue instead of Navy Blue, and I would’ve liked powder blue road uniforms… but I suppose this all comes back to my wanting the mid-1970’s Brewers uniform back.

Time to catch up on managerial hirings… and I still haven’t made a custom for Joe Girardi… and the Pirates still haven’t hired a manager yet…

I’ve always been a fan of Carlos Beltran, even during his time with that *other* New York baseball team. While I went into the offseason thinking the Mets would do best to hire a manager with experience, I like Carlos too much to hold that against him.

And with Beltran reclaiming his traditional #15, it looks like Tim Tebow is going to have to wear a different number in Spring Training. Maybe he can adopt a Japanese convention and go three digits (Now batting… Number 115… Tim Tebow…)

Judging from the reaction I saw on Twitter, the Giants’ hiring of Gabe Kapler is not a popular one… and it’s not like I don’t understand. He had some talent on his Phillies team, especially in 2019, but delivered some very mediocre results.

I can only think that Kapler gives one hell of an interview… And with Brad Ausmus out of a job, Kapler is a contender for “Most handsome manager of 2020”.

As you can see, my manager “Hot Stove” customs generally come from press conferences, and feature the newly-hired manager wearing a cap and a jersey over a dress shirt. Joe Maddon would have none of that during his press conference, though. From the many photos I searched through, I could not find one where he’d buttoned up his jersey or put a damn cap on his head.

…But I suppose it’s just as well, because you know and I know that Maddon won’t actually wear a jersey once the season starts. What I did instead was find a more appropriate photo of Maddon in a Cubs hoodie and photoshop it into the likely Angels apparel.

I don’t know whether Maddon and actor Bradley Whitford looked much alike in their younger days, but they seem pretty much interchangeable now.

And now, on to Will Smith… No, not the actor… and no, not the Dodgers catcher. This is the relief pitcher formerly of the Royals, Brewers and Giants who signed a 3-year contract with the Braves. Since there hasn’t been a lot of player movement just yet, and because I felt like making a custom last week, I whipped up a quickie for Mr. Smith.  I’m not 100% happy with the results, but I’ll leave it to you to determine what I don’t like about it  (and once again, this is a Faux 3-D parallel)

Every year I would love to do a Hot Stove set that’s more like the 1970’s traded sets with simulated bad airbrushing and – ideally – guys looking skyward. Photos of guys looking up at a bird, at a plane, at SUPERMAN! are not the kind of thing you find out in the wild, however.

To wrap up, and just for giggles, I’m going to share the other four customs I’ve made of Carlos Beltran over the years.

2012 TSR

2013-14 TSR Hot Stove

2016 TSR

2016-17 TSR Hot Stove

Postcard Show!!! 2019 Edition

For the third straight year, I went to a not-really-local (i.e. about an hour’s drive each way) postcard show.  The first time I went, it was something different to do “just because”… but I enjoyed it enough that I went back a second time, and now this third time I came to realize that I have a favorite dealer, so I guess that says something.

I’ve tagged all of my various postcard show posts, if you want to see what I’d gotten previously.

Although I enjoyed myself again and plan on going again in 2020, my haul from the show is modest;  3 baseball postcards and 4 for my other postcard focus, the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  Since this is a baseball card blog, I’ll feature the baseball postcards up front and leave the World’s Fair ones for the end.

The Cleveland Indians did a series of team postcards during the mid-1970’s, right during my initial introduction to baseball and also coinciding with what are (in my eyes) the best Indians uniforms of all time.  Because of this, I have more Indians postcards than anyone who isn’t an Indians fan would normally have, but I’m just enjoying the heck out of these things.

This 1974 Postcard of Frank Duffy caught my attention because of all the groundskeeper-y items in the background like hoses and rakes (and implements of destruction – couldn’t resist an “Alice’s Restaurant reference) …Just a fun “behind the scenes look”.

I have a modest collection going for former All-Star and 20-game winner Fritz Peterson, so I quickly grabbed this 1976 Indians postcard of Fritz.  This is the third Fritz postcard in my collection;  one Yankees and two Indians.

Back in 1985 I saw a pitcher by the name of Johnny Abrego pitch for the Pittsfield Cubs of the AA Eastern League.  That same season, he pitched 6 games as a September call-up, and given that I was new to minor league baseball at the time, this was enough to cement him as a guy to keep my eye on.  It also didn’t hurt that “Johnny Abrego” sounds like a gunslinger from a TV show like Gunsmoke.  “Sheriff, I hear that Johnny Abrego’s gunnin’ for ya!”

Unfortunately, Abrego battled injuries after that, retired at the age of 24 and that September stint turned out to be the entirety of his MLB career.

So here’s the thing:  I officially collect Johnny Abrego, but there honestly isn’t much of him to collect.  Prior to this weekend, my Abrego collection consisted of this 1986 Donruss card.

Now, I’m proud to say that I’ve DOUBLED my Abrego collection with this 1986 TCMA “Stars Of The Future” postcard.

According to Trading Card Database, the only card left for me to get is a a card from the 1986 ProCards Iowa Cubs team set …but don’t hold your breath.

Among the baseball-related postcards I *didn’t* get were some Exhibits of players like Phil Rizzuto and Bob Lemon.  I gave some thought to picking up the Rizzuto, but I don’t know enough about Exhibits to be sure whether i was getting a deal on a vintage card or paying way too much on a reprint.  There were also a number of Exhibits of celebrities which looked neat, but I didn’t know whether there are any famous movie stars of the day that I might have wanted to look for.  I’m mentioning this as a note to “2020 Me” to brush up on Exhibits a little bit before heading to the next postcard show.

OK, now on to the World’s Fair postcards.  As I’d mentioned in prior posts, I’ve held a lifelong interest in the buildings that had been left over from the Fair, especially the Unisphere (the big stainless steel globe which has become a symbol of the Borough of Queens).

The first postcard is of what I used to think of as “The Capital T Building”, but which had been the Port Authority Heliport and “Terrace on The Park”, a restaurant/catering hall with views over the whole Fair.

A night view of the aforementioned Unisphere…

Another view of the Unisphere, with the New York State Pavilion’s Tent Of Tomorrow and Astro-View observation towers in the background on the right…

The last postcard I’m featuring is a view of the Fair as taken from one of the  observation towers.  In the distance on the left, you can see a brand-spanking-new Shea Stadium.

Just like I like a baseball scorecard which has been used to score a game, I enjoy postcards which had been mailed – Even though there’s a little bit of a “I’m reading someone else’s mail” feeling… Enough so that I’m not going to share the note or address (which wasn’t terribly exciting anyway).

However, there is a very cool Project Mercury stamp with a World’s Fair postmark.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got this same stamp in my stamp collection from high school (not that anybody really cares, I suppose)

So that wraps up this year’s Postcard Show recap.  I know that these shows are not anywhere as common as sports collectibles shows, but if you find out that there will be one near you, I encourage you to go check it out… just keep in mind that every dealer organizes their postcards differently, but every one I’ve run across has been very happy to help you find whatever you might be looking for.

Keeping It Three: Photobombing Capitals

My hockey collecting activities have fallen into three main categories lately…  From most to least conventional they are:  Filling in my Washington Capital needs from 1974 to the mid-1990’s;  Collecting “Dead Parrot” cards of NHL and WHA teams which no longer exist; and finally, “Photobombing Capitals”, where I’m collecting cards which have cameo appearances by Washington Capitals players.

In the mid-to-late 1970’s, the photographer Topps used for many of their hockey and basketball cards was based in the Capital Center, home of the Caps and Washington Bullets.  Collecting cards of Photobombing Capitals has turned out to be more fun than I’d expected, whether it’s just a star-spangled shoulder or leg, or if the Capital is more prominently featured than the player whose card it’s supposed to be.

So today I have three recent Photobombing Capitals to share, just because.

The 1975-76 Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets have a lot of photobombs in it, including this OPC card where the Sabres’ Larry Carriere takes up about a third of his own card.  I particularly like the “Traded To Atlanta October 1st” transaction line on the side of the Capital.

If this photobombing Capital is #20 (which is what it looks like to me) then it appears that he’s defenseman Bill Lesuk, who was sold by the Kings to the Caps and played one season in D.C. before jumping to the WHA’s Jets.

In 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee had a Tribute subset for the newly-retired HOFer Guy Lefleur.  Card #1, the card dedicated to Lefleur’s time with the Canadiens, prominently features one of my all-time favorite Capitals, Bengt Gustafson.

The nickelbox I was digging through also had Card #2, showing Lefleur with the Rangers (my Dad’s favorite team), and I’m thinking my Dead Parrot project could stand to include card #3, which features Lefleur with the Quebec Nordiques.

Since most of the Photobombing Capitals cards were taken by the Topps photographer at a Capitals home game, that most elusive of prey is any card which features a Photobombing Capital in his red road uniform… And that’s why I love this nickelbox acquisition of the 1994-95 Leaf Card of Rod Brind’Amour.

The card is technically a Flyers card, but this baby is Capitals all the way.

It looks like the player on the left is wearing #3, which would make him defenseman Sylvain Cote. Since the stars on the sleeve line up nicely with the 3, I’m thinking it’s not a number in the 30’s, but I could be wrong.

Judging from the style of cage on the goalie’s mask, along with the stars on the bottom, I’m thinking this is Don Beaupre. Olaf Kolzig had a similar design on the jawline, but his cage was different.

Pack Animal: 2003 BBM Rookie Edition (Japanese Baseball)

So this pack has a backstory that briefly played out on Twitter.

I was feeling the need for some Cardboard Therapy but I had made something of a promise to myself to keep the retail pack-buying to a minimum until 2020 Heritage comes out.  I went to Walgreen’s for a repack and came up empty.  I went to Five Below because I’d heard they have good repacks, but the only cards my local Five Below has was a dozen-or-so Topps Yankees Retail Team Sets… from 2016.  The worst Topps set of the decade, combined with the Yankees… Yet somehow I resisted.

On the way home, I realized I have a small stash of Japanese wax packs which were perfect for this sort of situation, so I pulled out a pack of 2003 BBM Rookie Edition.

This is a 152-card set which was from early 2003 and primarily features the players taken in the previous year’s draft.  According to NPB Card Guy, the set is made up of 90 draft picks and 60 players shown in their rookie season (which explains the two different designs you’ll see in the pack)

Wei-Chu Lin

This is the draft pick card, and it’s a pretty decent design.  Wei-Chu Lin played 10 seasons for the Hanshin Tigers, although from the number of games played he either wasn’t a starting player or had horrible luck with injuries.

Here’s the back… I’m guessing the photo is of the entire Tigers’ draft class?

Tomohiro Nioka

Nioka was a rookie in 1999, so this is clearly the “established players as a rookie” subset… if you can call 60 out of 152 cards a “subset”.  Nioka played 15 seasons with the Giants and Fighters.

The back is pretty standard BBM fare.

Hisahiko Irino

Baseball-reference has a page for Irino but no stats… I’m guessing that means he never played for the Yomiuri Giants.

Katsuhiko Maekawa

Maekawa played 10 seasons in NPB and pitched for the AAA Memphis Redbirds in 2009.

Masataka Minatogawa

The only information on Minatogawa on BBREF is that he played in Italy in 2005.

Masato Kobayashi

Pitched 10 seasons for the Chunichi Dragons, mainly in middle relief.

Daisuke Kayajima

Another player with no stats on BBREF.

Keita Asama

pitched two games in 2003 for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

When I first went through this pack I was a little disappointed that I’d never heard of any of these players… and now that I’ve researched the players it looks like even if I’d followed NPB since 2003 I’d be disappointed by this pack. At least now that I know what “Rookie Edition” is, I wouldn’t bother buying more packs, should I be in a position to buy more Japanese wax packs.