Living In A Land Of Make Believe

I was thinking about what I’ve been posting lately and how I wish I had some new cards to show off here… when it occurred to me that there are plenty of cards I’ve gotten at shows that I’ve never posted here… and if I really wanted to, I could say that they were new acquisitions and you wouldn’t have any way of knowing otherwise.

But I wouldn’t do that to you!  I’ll admit that they’re not new but show them anyway.

Would you believe I got this 2017 Topps Pro Debut Pete Alonso card for just 20 cents?

Of course, it helped that I acquired it in 2018.  It’s all in the timing, don’tcha know.  BTW, Alonso played 30 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2016 after being drafted out of the University of Florida in the 2nd round.

Because of a childhood exposure to “The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book”, I’ve long had an appreciation for Don Mossi cards.

1957 Topps and the original Yankee Stadium are among the things I gained an appreciation for later in life.  I’m not exactly collecting Don Mossi, but I’m also not not collecting Don Mossi.

So here’s a bit of trivia I learned yesterday… The first shutouts in Blue Jays and Mariners history were both thrown by pitchers who worked primarily as relievers and who already had earned a Save before throwing their shutout.  For the Blue Jays it was Pete Vukovich, and for the Mariners it was Dave Pagan.

The Jays and the M’s were the first baseball expansion teams I was exposed to, so I have this weird fondness for 1977 cards of those teams.  I can’t believe it took me until the 21st century to realize that 1977 Hostess cards also had those airbrushed caps.  In the defense of the airbrush artists, there’s no telling what they had to work off when trying to duplicate a cap that nobody had worn on the field.

This 1984 Donruss card of Steve Garvey came out of a dime box. It doesn’t fit in any defined part of my collection, but…. it’s an 84D Garvey for 10 cents!!!  I just couldn’t leave it behind.

My first year of collecting was 1974 and Danny Murtaugh was the first Pittsburgh Pirates manager I was aware of.  I didn’t know at the time that he was in his fourth stint managing the team and in his first season as a manager his Pirates would play against those long, long lost teams I heard about from my parents’ generation, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

Even now that I know better, it still seems terribly odd to see Danny Murtaugh on a 1960 Topps card.  Murtaugh was in his early 40s in this shot.

At one point… back when I had goals that I tried to achieve… I had an idea of getting one card from each vintage Topps basketball set. Like much of my collecting ideas, this is on hold while I reorganize and reassess, but I do have this 1969-70 Topps “tall-boy” card of Dick Barnett with his jersey on backwards, as was often done when being photographed for Topps sets.

Dick Barnett won two championships with the Knicks.  Me, I’m old enough to remember when the Knicks won championships.

Here’s the back, for anyone who isn’t familiar with this set…

I became a Steelers fan in college in the early 1980s and all I knew about the team’s history prior to the dynasty of the 1970s was that they generally sucked… an opinion that wasn’t entirely true or fair.  They were doormats for much of their history, but they had their seasons and their players.  John Henry Johnson played six years with the Black and Gold, was the first Steeler to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, and is in the Pro Football HOF.

Here’s something I didn’t know… There are three Steelers who wore #35 and are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame… but the Steelers have not retired #35.  Aside from John Henry Johnson there’s also “Bullet Bill” Dudley (who played for the Steelers in 1942, 1945 and 1946) and Walt Kiesling (1937-38).

OK, I guess I’ve shown you enough from my card show in the Land of Make Believe…

Still Lacking Time, Energy & Brain Cells

Intelligently-written, cohesive posts don’t grow on trees… and while I have ideas on several I could be doing, I don’t have what it takes to do one of those today (or this entire week), so I’m just picking scans out of my folders and writing what comes to mind.

I don’t see myself ever doing a “Dead Parrot” project for basketball like I do for hockey, but I occasionally pick up basketball cards representing long-lost teams, especially from the ABA.  I think this might be my first card for the Utah Stars.  While the Stars ultimately folded, they proved that pro basketball would work in Salt Lake City, and the Utah Jazz (almost as ridiculous of a relocated name as Los Angeles Lakers) have proven this to be true.

This 1974/75 Topps Basketball set is an odd one;  some shots are action shots, but all of the posed shots are superimposed in front of a psychedelically-colored game shot.  I kinda dig it.

The following year’s basketball cards look like this… One of these days I’m going to adapt this for some sort of custom design (I almost used it for a curling set I had in  mind to do this winter, but I’m going in another direction, leaving this design out there for some yet-to-be-determined future project).

BTW, I love the double shadows on Dan Issel.

I did a “Forgotten Franchises” post on the Kentucky Colonels over four (!!!) years ago;  The Forgotten Franchises series is not permanently in the “Forgotten Blog Post Themes” category;  I’d like to get back to it some day but the posts are time-intensive.

I recently bought a cheap 1965 Topps “Embossed” card of the Mets Ron Hunt… Not because I like the card… Gawd, no, these things are fugly… but my fairly-recently-completed 1965 Mets team set is 28 cards, which leaves just one card in the fourth 9-pocket sheet.  As a result, I’m making a half-hearted attempt to fill in those open pockets which mock me.

I found this B.J. Surhoff “The Rookies” card in a nickel box… Even if I weren’t a fan of B.J.’s from his time with the Orioles, I appreciate how he often looks good on a baseball card.  One of these days I’ll up my game and actively work on my B.J. Surhoff PC… Once I’ve got fewer irons in the fire.

B.J. has two nephews currently in the Majors:  Pirates infielder Colin Moran and his brother, Marlins pitcher Brian Moran.  Brian made his MLB Debut on September 5th against the Pirates, and the first batter he struck out was his brother.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Back on August 4th I was at a local card show, and I bought this 1960 Topps card of then-catchers Joe Pignatano and John Roseboro.  PIgnatano is someone I collect because he was a Mets coach during my first years of following baseball,  plus it’s just a nice-looking card.

I later found out that the day I bought this card – 8/4/2019 – happened to be Pignatano’s 90th birthday… which just made me like this particular card that much more.

I’ll finish up with a football card I’d scanned 7 years ago and it somehow never made it into the blog.  It always weirds me out to see Fran Tarkenton in a Giants uniform, even though he played five years with the team. From my childhood memories, Fran Tarkenton should be in a purple Vikings uniform with the helmet’s horns logos airbrushed out!

I really liked Tarkenton as a kid;  another “someday, not now” project will be to start a Tarkenton PC… most likely without the very expensive rookie card, but at some point I’ll be keeping an eye out for a badly cut and well loved 1962 Post Football rookie year card of “Francis Tarkenton”… I’m not a rookie card guy, but that one just calls out to me.

OK, that’s enough rambling for now. Gotta get back to the rest of my life.

1992 Sports Illustrated For Kids… Plus Weigh-In #62

Whenever I’m going through dime or nickel boxes, there are several types of cards which catch my attention and usually get me to just grab whatever I find without any thought to whether I need them or not.

1976 SSPC cards are always a “buy first, ask questions later” proposition.

MLB Showdown cards are another favorite. Even though I don’t play the game, part of me loves the fact that I *could* play the game if I so desired.

When I went to a local show in February, there was a guy with nickel boxes, and just from glancing at the tops of a section of cards in the box, I knew he had a third type of “Don’t think twice, it’s alright” cards…

Sports Illustrated For Kids!

I don’t care if the card features a baseball player I collect, or features an Olympic Gold Medalist from a sport I don’t follow…

…Sports Illustrated For Kids cards are just too damn much fun to pass up… and these were a nickel apiece!  I went ahead and took everything he had and added them to my stack.  There were a few from other years, but most of them were from 1992.

And this 1992 design… I mean, there’s no doubting this is from the early 1990’s.

As a character from a very famous 1990’s TV show might say, “Could it BE more Nineties???”

These cards are just too damn much fun.

(Darrell Waltrip says “Boogity, boogity, boogity!”)

But the thing is that as much as I enjoy getting these cards, I don’t have a lot to say in this blog about the cards, so I thought I would combine the scans with my quarterly “Weigh-In” post.

So on to the standard run-through of what these weigh-ins are about: It’s 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.

I find that posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection gives me a look at the big picture, keeps me honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

There’s almost always “guilt” involved these days.

So let’s get on to the numbers…

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 1/1/2019 to 4/3/2019):
Net change in the collection: +687 (687 added, 0 removed)
First quarter of a year is something of an uphill challenge because of the new products. This time around, I also happened to have two shows in two months, which rarely happens to me anymore… Plus the one show involved the aforementioned nickel boxes (that’s 422 cards right there) and the second show I bought a wax box of 1990 Pro Set Hockey (which I’ll tell you about when I get a chance to write about that show). Most of the Pro Set cards will be going back out the door at some point (at the very least, into the recycling bin).

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +1,926 (2,206 in, 280 out)

Not too bad, all things considered.  Obviously I’ve got a backlog of cards I’ve acquired but haven’t moved into my collection.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,395
Net change to the collection, to date: +4,996

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 50,574
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -17,251

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 65,015
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 13,970

…which means I’ve got at least 78,805 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:

This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc) $363.10
This is kinda a lot for me, but it’s also extremely unusual that I go to two card shows in the space of two months.

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 199 set definitions (up 19 from the last weigh-in) and 226,284 card definitions (up 3,323 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, it represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.

Ist Das Nicht Ein Nickel Box? Ja, Das Ist Ein Nickel Box!

O, du schoene
O, du schoene
O, du schoene nickel box!

I recently went to a local show… and that fact alone was exciting for me because we haven’t had a local show in several years, and we haven’t had a *recurring* local show in… Oh, I don’t know how long.  I’m thinking at least ten years.  Long time.

So yeah, so even though this show had only 8 dealers I was determined to throw some cash around because I really really wanted them to come back and do another show.

If and when they do come back I know where I’m heading as soon as I get in the door… The guy with the monster boxes priced at 20 cards for a buck.  NICKEL BOX!!!!

To me the best thing about a nickel box is that the fun lasts long after the show is over, because if there’s any chance at all I might be interested in a card, it’s not worth debating for a nickel;  on to my stack it goes.  Even better, if there’s a bunch of cards together which seem like they might be worthwhile, like 1982 Donruss which is a set I’d bought from backs when it was new and one I’d like to complete someday…

That’s even better because I can just grab the entire bunch of them.  Even if they’re all doubles and triples of Broderick Perkins and Rob Wilfong, y’know what?   It doesn’t matter, they were a freakin’ NICKEL!

…And because I often grabbed sections of the box, I don’t always know what I’ve bought until I have time to sit down and go through my haul.

I used this strategy enough to have a couple of post in the works about particular sets and insert sets… but that’s later.  Right now, I just wanted to share a bunch of cards which were just cool.

I think I’ve become something of a “Johnny Damon in the minors” collector.  Now, I’m not a particular fan of Johnny Damon and I never actually saw him play in the minors, but it started off with a few cards of him with the single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, which is a team in Delaware whose games I’ve attended a couple of times around the time when Damon played there… So even though I didn’t actually see Damon in Delaware, there’s still the “Damon wearing this familiar minor league uniform” thing.  Except in this case, I didn’t even look at the uniform, I just saw a minor league Johnny Damon card and added it to the pile.  In the larger scheme of things, I’m just a sucker for pre-rookie cards of guys who had some success.

The next two images are the front and back of the same card.  Fortunately I saw the Darren Daulton side first, otherwise I probably would’ve passed it by.  I collect Daulton, so this quickly went in my pile.

I’m still not sure which one is the back;  the Dutch side with the card number, or the Pudge side with the copyright information.

This Jay Buhner card is from a 1996 Upper Deck insert set featuring the work of photographer V.J. Lovero.  I’ve had this card on my “yeah, I need to track that down someday” list since it came out.

Pacific Legends cards never get passed by in nickel and dime boxes. They’re just too much fun.

This card is like the Johnny Damon card. While I appreciate Jean Segura, I’m not exactly a fan. But still… Minor league card of Jean Segura!

Back in 1984, Topps put out a two-headed set as a food issue. There was the “Ralston Purina” set which was issued with Ralston-branded cereal (i.e. Chex and Cookie Crisp before those brands were acquired by General Mills), and there was also the generic “Cereal Series” which are nearly identical except for the logos and text.

At this point I don’t even know what I’ve got or what I need, I just like to pick up these cards.

By the way, does anybody know how the generic “Cereal Series” cards were issued?  I know that Ralston has long been behind store-branded cereals, I wonder if these cards came in some of those store brands.

Moving on…

I collect Doug Flutie about as much as I collect any non-Steelers football player. The main reason is because I am approximately Flutie-sized and I cannot imagine being an NFL (or even CFL) quarterback.

OK, I’ll admit that Starline Long John Silver cards aren’t all that amazing of a find, but I kinda like them so in the stack they go.

It’s funny, when I was a kid first learning about pro sports, I approached it almost academically… Well, “academically” by kid standards, anyway. I mean, I’d played basketball in various people’s driveways, but the NBA? Nobody in my family followed it, but I was interested because at the time I was interested in any professional team sport.  So what did I do? I would see something in the Scholastic Book catalog with a title like “Basketball Stars of 1976” and I’d buy it and read it cover-to-cover several times.  (Hey, I had plenty of time and it wasn’t like I was reading Albert Camus or anything…)

So during my brief attempt to like basketball – a failed attempt, because even now watching basketball does not “spark joy” – I latched on to Rick Barry as the designated “favorite player”.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the reason I went with Barry is because kids always look for a bit of themselves in their heroes;  that way they can imagine themselves in their shoes… and Rick Barry was probably the guy in my “Basketball Stars of 1976” book who looked the most like me.

So that’s a quick preview… Just to give hints of other Nickel Boxes posts to come, there was a batch of “Heritage” cards which came before Topps Heritage, and there was a batch of cards that were specifically intended “For Kids”.

I Feel Like Posting Random Stuff

I haven’t done enough random stuff lately… well, there was an arbitrarily-themed post last week, but before that… who knows.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any cards from 1956… It’s been a while since I got any 1956.

After I complete my 1957 Orioles team set, I probably should move back to 1956… just to have a goal involving 1956 Topps, rather than just buying cheap, appealing ones. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Gotta include the backs of anything from 1956.

This card of Bart Giamatti always makes me sad. He was a huge baseball fan, seemed well-suited for the role of Commissioner and seemed to relish the position… but he suffered a fatal heart attack just shy of one year in office.

I bought a pack of 2016/17 Panini Complete basketball at a Dollar Tree just for grins. I like these cards… Low price point, simple but appealing design, large checklist. It almost makes me wish that I had any kind of interest in basketball.

I remember Steve Hargan as an unspectacular pitcher for the Texas Rangers in the 1970’s and ever since I got this card I’d been meaning to look up what got him on an insert card in 1968.

He was an All-Star in 1967, that’s mainly what. That season, when Hargan was 24, he lead the league with 6 shutouts. Contrast that to his last season of 1977 where he was taken by the Blue Jays in the expansion draft, traded back to Texas, sold to the Braves and then released, all by June 15th.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Someone needs to bring back drop shadow lettering like this on baseball uniforms.

I’ll wrap things up with a 1954 Bowman Johnny Klippstein which I got because it was cheap and I have damn few cards from 1954 Bowman… I ignored the 1950’s for the longest time but have been dipping my toes in over the past 10 years or so.

Klippstein pitched 18 years with 8 different teams and at various times lead the league in wild pitches and hit batsmen. His nickname was “The Wild Man of Borneo” (which was the name of a 1941 movie).

Bat-Around: All-Autograph Team – Prepare To Be (anything but) Astounded!!!

Late last week I heard about a Blog Bat-Around that sounded interesting;  I started off reading the entry from Wrigley Roster Jenga, but the originator was Torren’ Up Cards, so I feel I should  give them both a link.

So the idea is to assemble a baseball lineup from the autographs in your collection.  At first, I dismissed the idea of doing it myself… I’m not much of a autograph collector and I wasn’t sure I could even fill out a lineup.  Even if I could, I figured it would be full of names like Dwayne Hosey and Steve Scarsone (No offense intended, Dwayne & Steve… love you both)

Once I started assembling a roster, though, the team turned out a little better than I thought it would be.  My team would still get their butts kicked by pretty much any other blogger’s team, but it’s not completely embarrassing and that’s good enough for me (and maybe will encourage others with less-than-HOF auto collections to join in on the fun).

Without any more ado, here is my somewhat impressive All-Autograph Team

Catcher – Duffy Dyer

This is from a postcard set commemorating the 1969 “Miracle Mets”; each set came with an autograph.  Duffy was Jerry Grote’s longtime backup with the Mets.

1st Base – Butch Huskey

Huskey played 7 years in the majors, mostly with the Mets but also with “short term stops” with the Rockies, Red Sox, Mariners and Twins.  “Butch Huskey” is one of Mrs. Shlabotnik’s favorite baseball names.

2nd Base – Ty Wigginton

This is a bit of a stretch, but Wiggie did play 168 games at 2nd base over his career.  I’ve always liked Wigginton and this was cheap on COMC.

Shortstop – Bert Campaneris

The best autograph I’ve ever pulled out of a pack.  Campy was a key member of that dominant Oakland A’s team of the 1970’s.

3rd Base – Rick Schu

Rick Schu was one of the earliest players I saw in the minor leagues who later made it to The Show.

I could’ve cheated here and passed off my wife’s autographed copy of Cal Ripken’s book “The Only Way I Know” as part of my collection, but I wouldn’t do that. Mrs. S only has a few autographs to her name, but she’s worked much harder to get hers than I have to get mine.

Outfield – Richie Ashburn

This card came as part of a padded envelope from CommishBob of The Five Tool Collector, and is the only Hall-Of-Famer on my team… and is one of two cards which are also on The Five Tool All-Autograph Team.

Outfield – Jim Wynn

This is the first autograph I ever got, and I got it in 1976, the year the card was issued.

I went to a baseball camp that year – mainly based on my enthusiasm for baseball and the fact that my parents were probably overjoyed that I would even try a sport (I’ve never considered myself to be even remotely athletic).  Towards the end of the camp they brought in a Major Leaguer to meet us kids, and that was Jim Wynn, who was in the area because the Braves were playing the Mets.  For the occasion I brought Wynn’s 1976 card with me that day.  Wynn seemed larger than life to me, although I later learned that he was relatively small (5′ 10″) for a Major Leaguer.

Outfield – Frank Catalanotto

Like me, Frank is from Long Island, a fact I discovered when I happened to see him play in AAA one year (“Hey, this dude’s from Smithtown!!!”)  Since nobody from my high school has ever made it to the Majors, I tend to adopt anybody from the same county I grew up in (Suffolk County, NY… for those of you keeping score at home).

This card came from Julie over at A Cracked Bat, who sent me a number of nice additions to my Frank Catalanotto and Ryan Zimmerman PC’s.

Pitcher – Dwight Gooden

A couple of years ago I found out that Dwight Gooden was going to be at a minor league game not terribly far from where I live…. Doc threw out the first pitch and was signing autographs, so for the price of a minor league ticket I got to watch a ballgame and meet Doctor K. This lifelong Mets fan couldn’t say ‘no’ to that.

Pitcher – Jim Brosnan

I pulled this from a pack of 2012 Heritage, and blogged about it waaaaaaay back in the early days of The Shlabotnik Report.  If you just went and followed that link, I have to confess:  I still haven’t read Brosnan’s book “The Longest Season”.

Bonus Pitcher – Tyler Mahle

This is just an excuse to show off a card I pulled a few weeks ago; I bought one single hanger pack of 2018 Donruss just because I saw it there in an out-of-state Target Store, and managed to pull an auto of a Reds pitching prospect

Designated Hitter – Stubby Clapp

I just wanted to get my Stubby signature in here somewhere.  How can you not like a ballplayer named Stubby Clapp?


Utility – Mike Phillips

This card was a temporary placeholder at shortstop until I remembered the Campaneris card… but since I scanned it, I figured I’d throw it in.  The signature isn’t much more than a blue scribble on the card, but it counts.  It looks a bit better in person than it does here.

The card is a 1976 SSPC, and Mike Phillips was a 1st round draft pick of the Giants in 1969.  He played 11 seasons in the Majors, but only in 1974 and 1975 did he play more than 100 Major League games in a season.  The Mets picked him up on waivers from the Giants in May, 1975.

Manager – Joe Torre

Before Joe Torre was the “F-ing genius” manager of the Yankees, he was the “F-ing idiot” manager of the Mets.  (Not  my words in either case, believe me).  This came in the same package from CommishBob as the Ashburn card above (and is also on his All-Autograph team).

Power Forward – Mark Hendrickson

What’s a baseball team without a power forward?

Mark Hendrickson was a two-sport player who pitched for the Orioles, Rays, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Marlins… but he also played hoops at Washington State and in the NBA with the Sixers, Nets, Cavs and Kings.  I ran across this card fairly cheap on COMC and couldn’t resist.



I gave some thought to a clever subject line, but this is a post full of random scans which I’d meant to post before but never did.  “Stuff” works just fine.

As a fan of hockey and a fan of doughnuts, I felt like I should own at least one card of Tim Horton. It works out well that this card shows him with the Rangers, which was my father’s team.

Just in case anybody things I’m being facetious, hockey player Tim Horton opened the doughnut shop which evolved into the Tim Hortons chain of today. Horton himself was a HOFer who played over 20 seaons, mainly with the Maple Leafs, and died in a car accident while still an active NHL player in 1974.

One of my many back-burnered projects is to complete the 1977-78 Topps Hockey set. In a failed attempt to kick-start the project, I picked up a couple of needed key cards, like this one of HOFer Guy Lafleur.

Here’s another one, the rookie card for goalie Mike Palmateer, who was a favorite of mine from his time with the Washington Capitals.

This card just makes me laugh… Not only because it’s a goofy photo of Bobby Bonilla…

…But it also reminds me of the episode of M*A*S*H where Charles was sitting for a portrait painted by Colonel Potter, but spent the entire session complaining. The kicker at the end was that finished portrait:

R.I.P, David Ogden Stiers.

I’ve never been a basketball fan… When I was a kid I did give it a good try; I wanted to like every team sport. In the end, I had a better appreciation of lacrosse (specifically the indoor one-and-done Long Island Tomahawks) than I ever did of basketball.

That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate basketball cards. I’ve always really liked the design of the 1957-58 Topps Basketball set, but you know what?  Even the commons from that set are budget-busting.

Then I discovered that Topps did a 50th Anniversary insert reprint in 2007, and I said “Hey, good enough for me!” …especially when I found some in a dime box.  I picked up a couple of Hall-Of-Famers in Bill Russell…

…And Dolph Schayes, who played his entire career with the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers franchise.

I hadn’t even realized that the Syracuse Nats had become the Sixers until I did some quickie quickie research for this post. Guess I should’ve saved this card for a “Forgotten Franchises” post. Here’s the back of the Schayes card.

Update: These cards are way more than I’d realized; see comments for details.

I have to admit, there’s a small part of me that wishes that 2018 Topps Heritage had cards like this, even if they were just variations.

During the Olympics I saw a segment about the 1960 Gold-medal winning USA hockey team… They had some game footage, and I am always jarred by the sight of goalies who aren’t wearing a mask (like Gilles Gilbert here):

I was watching the footage thinking “Have you lost your mind? Go put a mask on RIGHT NOW, young man!”

I understand it was a different game then, but it still freaks me out a bit.

John Bednarski rookie card!  Wooooo!

John Bednarski’s only card!  Wooooo!  I remember Bednarski’s name from when my Dad watched Rangers games on TV, but I couldn’t tell you anything about him other than he played for the Rangers.

It’s funny… I bought hockey cards in 1975 (more because they were cards than because of hockey), and I got into hockey cards for hockey reasons in 1977, but in the meantime I completely missed the 1976 set, which is kind of a shame because I think that “1976 Joe” would’ve really liked these cards.

After hockey, basketball and baseball, I feel like I should include some football. Here are two 1968 cards that I got cheap (25 cents each, I think) mainly because I like the 1968 design… it’s basically the 1957 basketball cards all over again, don’t care who’s on the card, just like the cards.

I could tell you about these players, but it would just be regurgitating Wikipedia. Look it up yerself, ya lazy bum!

$4 Worth Of Entertainment From Dollar Tree

The other day I ran some lunchtime errands which took me in a direction I don’t normally go, and whenever I take that path less traveled I make a point of stopping at a Dollar Tree along the way. This particular Dollar Tree is unique among the ones in my area because this is the only Dollar Tree I’ve found which actually has cards.

I bought two 30-card CardsOne “Mixed Sports Ultimate Jumbo Packs”, a 30-card Presstine baseball repack and, just for the heck of it, a pack of 2017-18 NBA Hoops.

The “junk” in the repack was of a slightly better quality than I normally run across… Case in point, out of the 90 repack cards, I got only a couple of cards from the wildly overproduced three-year stretch of 1988-1990 Donruss. Many of the cards I did get were from 1980’s Topps sets that I’m not actively chasing, but also wouldn’t mind completing someday.

I’ve gotten so used to seeing glossier versions of these cards that it was a bit jarring to see a real 1983 Topps card.

Marshall Edwards had a fair number of baseball cards considering that he never appeared in more than 69 games in his 3-season MLB career.

The CardsOne bags guarantee a HOFer in every pack;  here’s one right here..

Pulling a Rollie Fingers card is never a bad thing…

I got a couple which fall into the “not-Mets” category…

I was surprised to pull a 1991 Bowman card of a Met that I needed.  I ripped a bunch of packs of ’91 Bowman at the time – I ripped a lot of EVERYTHING in 1991 – but I never went back and filled in my team sets.

There was also a 1983 Fleer card, which was a welcome sight.  I don’t get the impression that 1983 Fleer is a beloved set, but I really liked it then, I really like it now.

1983 Fleer was a nice bounceback after the poor attempt that was 1982 Fleer.

I also got a 1982 Topps Sticker of Gary Carter, which was my other guaranteed HOF and, for me,  was worth the price of the pack it came in.

The biggest surprise of the repacks were these three cards from the 1991-issued Topps “1990 Major League Debut” set.

These don’t technically fit into any of my collections, but when I get around to doing my 1991 Team/Player Frankenset these cards may very well fill in an empty spot in the Reds, Angels or Cardinals “rosters”.

I also got a bunch of cards from this 1990 Checkered Flag IHRA set, which isn’t of huge interest to me, but they’re fairly nice cards. I’m going to add one or two of these to my “type” collection.

I also notice that there are almost none of these out on COMC, and as I’m getting ready to replenish my COMC store’s inventory I might send a couple of these in to see if “low supply” wins out over “low demand”. (Don’t worry; I’m not one of those sellers who slaps a $24.95 price on low-population commons)

I got a Reggie Jackson! Unfortunately it’s not THAT Reggie Jackson.

Today I learned that the Detroit Pistons have a point guard named Reggie Jackson.

And I also pulled a LeBron James!  Wooo!

That’s a car payment right there! (as long as the car in question is from the Hot Wheels bin at Kroger)

One last thing I got at Dollar Tree: A “theater-size” box of Milk Duds, which did not survive the afternoon.  I really need to stop listening to the voice in my head that says “Hey, as long as we’re here…”

Forgotten Franchises: The ABA’s San Diego Conquistadors / Sails

Going into the 1972-73 season the ABA had two teams fold, so to keep the league with 10 teams the league expanded for the first and only time.  The expansion team was granted to San Diego (which had lost the Rockets to Houston), and that team was called the Conquistadors, or “Q’s” for short.

For the first season the team was coached by K.C. Jones, who would go on to lead the Celtics to two championships and also make the Hall Of Fame as a player.  The team was expected to be horrible, but surprised by being on the low side of mediocre, finishing with a 30-54 record and squeaking into the playoffs.  They got swept by the Utah Stars in the first round.

For their second season, the ownership made a big splash by signing Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain to be their player/coach.  However, a Lakers lawsuit prevented Chamberlain from suiting up, so he remained solely the coach of the Q’s.

1974-75 Topps - [Base] #250 - Wilt Chamberlain - Courtesy of

1974-75 Topps – [Base] #250 – Wilt Chamberlain – Courtesy of

Wilt’s heart didn’t seem to be in it as solely a coach, so he was one-and-done with the Q’s.  The team did make their second and final playoff appearance, and once again lost to Utah in the first round, but this time they took it to 6 games.

The third season saw two new coaches come and go and ended with a 31-53 record.

After the third season, the team was sold and the name was changed to the San Diego Sails, complete with new colors, new uniforms and mostly new players.

The team made a go of it, but struggled out of the gate, and it also became apparent that the team would never be allowed to join the NBA to compete against the Lakers in southern California.  On 11/12/75 the plug was pulled and the San Diego Sails folded, the second of three ABA teams to fold during that final ABA season.

The NBA’s Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego in 1978 and became the San Diego Clippers. That Clippers team lasted just six seasons before moving north in 1984 to become the Los Angeles Clippers. San Diego has not had an NBA team since.

Featured Cards

Red Robbins was a career ABA guy, having played in 8 seasons with 5 teams, being named All-ABA twice, and winning a league championship with the 1970-71 Utah Stars.

Travis Grant was a 1st round (13th overall) draft pick of the Lakers in 1972.  Early in his second season he was dropped by the Lakers and jumped over to the Q’s.  He’d also play in the ABA for the Kentucky Colonels and Indiana Pacers.

George Adams played in all three seasons that the team was the Conquistadors, but despite what the card says, he didn’t play for the San Diego Sails.

Other notable players
Billy Shepherd – dangerous 3-point shot guy
Chuck Williams – 2nd in the ABA in 1972/73 in Assists
Caldwell Jones – 3rd in the ABA in 1973/74 in Rebounds
Dwight “Bo” Lamar – All-Rookie for the Q’s in 1973/74, would play a season with the Lakers

Hey, Kids! Collect U-KNOW-M Stamps — Now In TSR Fun Packs!

That’s right, you get four fun stamps in every pack…

…Featuring your favorite athletes, musicians, actors, historical figures, Nobel Prize-winning economists, game show hosts, cartoon characters, authors, theoretical physicists, sportscasters, members of Congress, mascots and celebrities who are famous for being famous!

You know you’ll like ‘em… because U-KNOW-M!

Here’s your first sheet… Make sure you go to your local VIRT-U-L-MART to pick up the official stamp album!

I fell asleep watching Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday night, woke up for the 9th inning, and ended up watching a fair amount of what followed on  FS1, the Pearl Jam concert film “Let’s Play Two”. I have to admit that even though I’m largely indifferent to Pearl Jam (their music just doesn’t speak to me) it was an interesting film. At the beginning there were shots of the band hanging backstage and I wondered “Who’s this guy hanging with the band, the one with short-cropped hair and glasses looking like Bob Saget’s younger brother?” As it turns out, Saget The Younger turned out to be Stone Gossard, rhythm guitarist for Pearl Jam. This amused me enough that I created a stamp for him.

For those who missed the debacle, the USMNT (U.S. Mutant Ninja Turtles Men’s National Team) were eliminated from World Cup qualification, bringing shame and disgrace on our country for generations to come. I haven’t seen the USMNT lately… and apparently won’t for quite a while… but Christian Pulisic sounds like he’s the future of soccer in the United States. Just the fact that he’s a 19-year-old playing in the German Budesliga impresses the hell out of me.  Maybe things would’ve gone better for the USMNT if the Mutant Ninja Turtles had been sent out to play against Trinidad And Tobago… or at least if Splinter had been the head coach.

I was amused by a t-shirt I saw, one which featured Cookie Monster and says “Straight Outta Cookies”. I like the shirt, but given Cookie Monster’s speech patterns, wouldn’t he say “Straight outta cookie”? …or maybe I’m just overthinking this.

Hagar Ben Ari is the bass player in the house band on The Late Late Show With James Corden. She’s often seen in the background and has this cool vibe about her, but I’d never seen her do anything but play bass and react to things on the show. I’ve been intrigued by her for a while, even more so when Googling turned up only her name, the fact that she’s Israeli and…. um….. she plays the bass.

Hopefully you enjoyed these… let’s see what else is in this particular Fun Pack!

While I have no love for the Washington Nationals, they recently did something I whole-heartedly approve of… They installed a full-blown organ for their organist Matthew Van Hoose (who previously had been using a keyboard).

I grew up listening to Jane Jarvis playing the organ at Shea Stadium, so I feel like a good organist should be part of a baseball game.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Nationals Park, but when I return to watch the Mets take on the Nats, I’ll make sure to appreciate Dr. Van Hoose.  I have a feeling, however, that he won’t be playing “Meet The Mets”.

When Nathan Walker took the ice recently, he became the first Australian player in the NHL. I thought that was really cool, and it almost made me want to root for the Capitals again. Almost. You know the rules… I won’t have any thoughts of reconciliation with the Capitals until Ovechkin’s gone.

The absolute best thing about this story is that Walker was congratulated by the Australian ambassador to the United States, a gentleman by the name of – and I am completely serious about this – Joe Hockey. My sources tell me that Mr. Hockey does not spend his winter skating on a frozen-over birdbath, thinking things like “Here’s Joe Hockey at the Stanley Cup Finals…”

If you hadn’t heard, the NBA is allowing teams to wear an advertising patch on their uniforms starting this year. What you may not have known is that the Indiana Pacers will be sponsored by 1994 Fleer Baseball.

The Angels’ Parker Bridwell went 10-3, 3.64 with a 1.198 WHIP. He also went at least 6 innings in 13 of his starts. The Orioles really could’ve used a guy like that in their rotation….

What’s that?

The Orioles had Parker Bridwell and DFA’ed him in April?