By Popular Demand (And To Buy Time): My 10-Card Curling Collection

Because there was interest expressed in the comments of my last post – and because I haven’t had the time to scan any of my recently acquired cards – I’m going to share my collection of curling cards…. And yes, there are such things as curling cards, although many of the ones in existence (and all of the ones I own) are part of larger multi-sport sets.

All of these cards have been featured in The Shlabotnik Report at some time or another (so I didn’t have to do any scanning… Yay!) but have never been shown in one place at a time, so I will present them here and share my minimal knowledge of other curling cards out there.

This is strictly a “for funsies” collection, so even though there are curling inserts related to many of these sets (parallels, minis, relics, autographs), I haven’t chased them.

2014 Topps Olympic And Paralympics Hopefuls – base cards

2014 Topps Olympic And Paralympics Hopefuls – inserts
Games of the Olympics

Olympic venues

There are also parallels, relics, autographs and patch cards from this set.  I can’t find any advance notice of a 2018 Topps Olympic And Paralympic Hopefuls set, but I’m hoping that there will be one.

2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions

There are also minis, relics, and autographs from this set.

2014 Upper Deck 25th Anniversary

2015 Leaf Sport Kings (short print)

There are also parallels and minis of this card.

At this point, my collection is likely to stay at 10 cards for a while. As I’ve found out, there are more curling cards than I’d imagined there would be, so I’m probably going to take a step back and figure out where I want to go with this.

For the record, here are the other curling cards I’m aware of… Thanks to Mike of Not Another Baseball Card Blog for telling me about the two Ice Hot International sets!

1921 Liebig Evolution Of Winter Sport – Curling
1929 Churchman’s Cigarettes – #20 – Curling
1932 Sanella Margerine – #21 – Curling
1961 Wheaties Great Moments In Canadian Sport – #24 – Ernie Richardson
1977 Sportscaster Cards – at least 2 different Curling cards
1992 BNA Canadian Winter Olympic Hopefuls (includes men & women curlers)
1992 BNA Canadian Winter Olympics Winners (includes Women’s curling team)
1993 Ice Hot International (Canadian curling set)
1994 Ice Hot International (Canadian curling set)
2009 BBM (Baseball) 2nd Version – First Pitch insert – Mari Motohashi
2015 BBM (Baseball) 2nd Version – First Pitch insert – Sayaka Yoshimura #FP-09
2016 BBM Chess On Ice (Japanese curling box set)

There And Back Again

On Saturday I went to my first sports collectibles show in 9 months… I drove 2.5 hours in the morning, spent the entire afternoon walking a show floor, spent every dollar I had on me and drove 2.5 hours home… 250 miles round trip, $10 admission, about $15 worth of gasoline and a 10-hour chunk out of my day.

HELL YEAH it was worth it!

Naturally, when I got home from the show, I found a box from COMC in my mailbox… Because, you know, feast or famine.

So the good news is that between the show and my COMC order I’ve got over 1,000 new cards spanning seven decades, nine sports and six countries to share with you. Of course, it’s mostly baseball, but still… this stuff is fairly well all over the place.

I’ll give you a quick sample today, but you’ll be seeing more cards as I get organized.

When I counted up the sports, I counted this one as “wrestling”, although I suppose it could be listed as “non-sport” in a couple of ways… this is from the 2017 Topps WWE set, and becomes the only card I own from a wrestling set.

I know nothing about NXT or Cathy Kelley™… yes, her name is trademarked… but I was going through a dimebox and her red dress caught my eye, so I tossed the card on the stack.

I’m pretty sure I don’t need this Ron Cey Hostess card, but there are certain sets where I buy whatever I find in a dime box, regardless of whether I need it or not.

I never saw Johnny Damon when he played for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, but I’ve been to Frawley Stadium to see the Rocks play, and I like these uniforms.

The card – keep in mind this is from 1995 – says he’s “one of the top 10 prospects in the minors according to Baseball Weekly” and “Worships George Brett, Michael Jordan, Kevin Costner, ‘Days Of Our Lives’, ‘Wayne’s World’, Sega games and Cookie Dough ice cream.”

Current-Day Johnny Damon says “Dude, cut me a break, I was 21!”

I bought about 25 of these 2017 Pro Debut cards from one dealer.  My former source of these cards has dried up, so 25 is more than I’ve had from any of the prior two years.

Chance Sisco is an anticipated catching prospect who’s 22 years old, in AAA, and one of the reasons the O’s let Matt Wieters walk.

Finally, here’s a card I got from COMC, and one which puts my Curling collection at a whopping TEN CARDS!  Woo!  Second binder page!  This card is from the 2014 Upper Deck 25th Anniversary set and has been something of a “White Koi” for me;  I was chasing it for a while, but couldn’t find a card at a price I was willing to pay (until now, of course).

Rachel Homan is the skip of the team which ran the table in winning the World Championship earlier this year.

So that’s about it for now. I’m really excited to share some of my purchases, and you’ll be seeing more of these over the next month or two… three… four… Well, there’ll be a certain point where I’ll just stop telling you that the cards I’m showing you came from the July show.

Oh, one other fun thing about this show… it’s on the approach path to a major airport, so there’s always plans flying relatively low overhead… sometimes low enough to read the markings on the plane.

We have clearance, Clarence.  Roger, Roger.  What’s the vector, Victor?

Saturday Side Trip: Track #1 From A Beatles “FrankenAlbum”

This is largely off-topic for this blog, but I’m doing it because it seems like it will be fun.  I’ll throw in some scans of cards from the 1993 River Group “The Beatles Collection” set just to keep it somewhat relevant.

Card collectors talk about building “Frankensets” where you fill a binder with cards from assorted sets numbered as if it were the same set;  a card #1 from one set in the first pocket, card #2 from another set in the next pocket, etc.

In a moment of daydreaming, I decided to apply that concept to Beatles albums… To make one 14-track album out of the 12 Beatles Albums by selecting the best first track, the best second track and so on up to 14.  I’d be excluding the post-breakup albums (Anthology, Hollywood Bowl, Love, etc.), the half-soundtrack “Yellow Submarine” album, and the “Past Masters” collections of singles and EP’s.  This admittedly leaves out a lot of great songs (“She Loves You”, “I Feel Fine”, “Day Tripper”, “Paperback Writer”, etc.), but the competition will be fierce enough as it is.

This is clearly an objective exercise, so I’ll tell you up front where my Beatle tastes lie:

  • The period from “Help” to “Revolver” as the absolute pinnacle of Beatledom.
  • Sgt. Pepper is a bit overrated and overplayed.
  • Over time I’ve grown to generally prefer John over Paul… Partially because some of Paul’s bigger songs had a limited (although very large) number of listens in them, and I’ve passed that point for songs like “Yesterday”.

Fear not, there’s also going to be a poll at the end of each post, plus the comments, so that you can let me know what an idiot I am for picking a particular track.  At the end of all this, we’ll have two different FrankenAlbums:  “Yours” and Mine.

I’m going to choose my tracks in a tournament format.  First, I’m going to do a sort of March Madness “Play-in” matchup between the two disks of the “White Album”. After that, I’m matching the tracks up as if they were seeded by release date. So, Track 1 from “Please Please Me” (the first album) goes up against Track 1 from “Let It Be” (the last album);  “With The Beatles” (2nd album) goes up against “Abbey Road”… you get the idea. Then the winner of “Game A” goes up against the winner of “Game F”, “B” against “E” and “C” against “D”.  At the end of that round we’ll have three tracks from which I will pick the “winner”.

Now that this is out of the way, let’s get to today’s matchups. The first track is a tough one, because we’ve got four title tracks in the competition and you know those tracks are going to be big songs.

White Album Play-in Round:
“Back In The USSR” (White Album Disc 1) vs. “Birthday” (White Album Disc 2)
Right off the bat we’ve got two well-known Paul songs. Both songs are worthy, but I’ll go with the slightly-less-fluffy Beach Boys homage/parody.
WINNER:  “Back In The USSR”

First Round:
“I Saw Her Standing There” (Please Please Me) vs. “Two Of Us” (Let It Be).
“Two Of Us” is one of my favorite songs off of the “Let It Be” album, but I can’t in good conscience go against “I Saw Her Standing There”.  One two three FOUR!
WINNER:  “I Saw Her Standing There”

“It Won’t Be Long” (With The Beatles) vs. “Come Together” (Abbey Road)
Very little deliberating on this one.
WINNER:  “Come Together”

“A Hard Day’s Night” (A Hard Day’s Night) vs. “Back In The USSR” (White Album)
In the end, I have to go with The Beatles being The Beatles, and not being The Beach Boys.
WINNER: “A Hard Day’s Night”

“No Reply” (Beatles For Sale) vs. “Magical Mystery Tour” (Magical Mystery Tour)
This was a tighter contest than you might think, but in the end the more famous track wins out.
WINNER: “Magical Mystery Tour”

“Help” (Help) vs. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club’s Band (Sgt. Pepper)
Help is an all-time favorite, whereas Pepper is a song I’ve grown a bit tired of over the years. For many people this would be a hard choice, but not for me.
WINNER: “Help”

““Drive My Car” (Rubber Soul) vs. Taxman (Revolver)
Another tight contest, but I can’t resist the snark and George will need all the wins he can get.
WINNER: “Taxman”

Second Round:
“I Saw Her Standing There” vs. “Taxman”
…But Taxman doesn’t make it past the second round. Both songs have great count-ins, but “I Saw Her…” is more iconic.
WINNER: “I Saw Her Standing There”

“Help” vs. “Come Together”
As I mentioned, middle-period Beatles (Help through Revolver) is king in my book.
WINNER: “Help”

“A Hard Day’s Night” vs. “Magical Mystery Tour”
In a matchup of movie title tracks, Hard Day’s ebullience wins the day.

Championship Round:  “I Saw Her Standing There”; “Help”; “A Hard Day’s Night”
Oy, this is tough… But I’ve got to go with “Help” over the other two…. Especially if we cheat and include the ‘James Bond intro’ that was on the U.S. Album. I know it’s soundtrack music and not anything the Beatles actually performed or desired to be on their album, but I grew up with that intro always leading into “Help” and it’s *my* FrankenAlbum, so there.

And now, here’s your chance to be heard. You may, of course, express your disdain and incredulity over my pick in the comments, and you can vote for your own track.  You have one week to vote (if I’m setting this up correctly) and I’ll share the winner in the next post (which hopefully will be next Saturday, depending on how quickly I can turn these things around).



Sports Card Haiku

CommishBob of Five Tool Collector fame recently had a 100-word post that made me think of haiku (although it wasn’t meant that way… I don’t think).

…But I will gladly take inspiration from anywhere I can find it, so I figured I’d try some sports card haiku. I’m thinking that the Haiku Society of America will not be beating a path to my door.

Airbrushed Flyer guy
Red paint goes through the number
What is up with that?

Saw him with Akron
He looked pretty good out there
Trade for Brandon Moss

Say he’s with the Tigers
Red piping on a black cap?
You’re not fooling me.

A Golden Gopher
Winfield looking real bad-ass
Wish it were color.


Grich is clean-shaven
Is that the Eiffel Tower?
Card is not 3-D.

A Forty-Year-Old MLB All-Star Ballot

Back in 1977 I was 11 years old and at Shea Stadium for a Mets game. The ushers passed out the all-star ballots, I punched it out between innings and, for reasons I don’t remember, I didn’t get a chance to put my ballot in the boxes out on the concourse.

So here it is now.

At the time I took the voting seriously, because you can see I didn’t vote for any Mets even though the Mets were and are my favorite team.  I wonder if this was after the June “Midnight Massacre” trades that sent Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman elsewhere.  Probably not, but I’m not sure when voting ended back then.

This is also interesting for me because – and forgive me, Mets fans, for I have sinned – I also liked the Yankees from 1974 to 1976, but moves like firing manager Bill Virdon and signing Reggie Jackson went a long way towards driving me permanently away from the Bronx Bombers… but I clearly wasn’t there yet during the 1977 season, because I still voted for Yankees favorites Willie Randolph, Thurman Munson and Mickey Rivers.

So what do you think of my votes?  How would you have voted in 1977?

Fashionably Late COMC Black Friday #3: Japanese Baseball

Wrapping up my small COMC shopping spree with a number of Japanese baseball cards I acquired…

First off, here’s a young Koji Uehara, fresh off his 20-4 rookie season with the Yomiuri Giants. I’ve gotten to the point where if I find a reasonably priced BBM or Calbee card of Koji, I’m there.
Koji signed with the Cubs for 2017, if Munenori Kawasaki makes the team then we’ll have my two favorite Japanese players on the same roster, which would be cool… but not enough to make me root for the Cubs.  Sorry, Northsiders, you’ve officially lost your perpetual underdog status and you’re just another team standing between my Mets and the World Series.

This next card is from the 2006 BBM Nostalgic set. I have no idea who Tokuji Iida was, or which team he’s pictured with… the Hawks, maybe?  I just know I fell in love with this card.
Here’s the equally Japanese back to the card… Not even so much as a “Did you know?” tease.

This card made me smile, plain and simple. How can you not love a card where someone is holding up a giant car key?
Given that this set is “2013 BBM All-Star Game Memories – 1980’s”, should we assume that Boomer Wells got an Isuzu for being the game MVP at some point? I tried researching this, but came up short.

I also started to research how long it’s been since Isuzu pulled out of the U.S. automotive market… and then I found out that Isuzu hasn’t pulled out of the U.S. market, it just seemed that way to me because the nearest Isuzu dealer is over an hour away.

…And whatever happened to Joe Isuzu?

The final two cards are from 1991 BBM, and I just got them because I kinda like both players.

Without really meaning to, I’ve got something of a Marvell Wynne PC going.

…and I had to think for a minute to remember my reasons for wanting a card of Don Schulze.
I think I saw him play in the minors… maybe.  I saw him pitch somewhere. He was a journeyman in the Majors, pitching for five teams over six seasons before pitching three years for Orix in NPB.

So that’s the highlights of my COMC purchase.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog, already in progress.

Rumble Ponies, Jumbo Shrimp And Other Seemingly Random Words

This past week we had a couple of minor league teams announce new team names (and, in two examples, their logos), and since I had discussed the pending change for the AA Binghamton Mets back in May, I thought it was worth a follow-up.

I’ll start with the former B-Mets.  That team’s new name is the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, which somehow relates to Binghamton as the Carousel Capital Of The World.  You can read about the name change and see the logos here.

To the people of Binghamton and surrounding areas… You are not the laughing stock of baseball because the trend in the minors is to go with names which are more and more… shall we say “Unique”?  At any rate, once the furor dies down, you’ll get used to it and either refer to them as just “The Ponies” or just keep calling them the B-Mets.  Life will go on.

Besides, it could be worse.  You could live in northeastern Florida, where the team changed its name to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.  I kid you not. The team had been known as the Jacksonville Suns, which is a perfectly fine name, and apparently the team ownership did the branding change without consulting the fan base, which rankled many… but you’ll notice that teams which have “name the team” voting will only announce a “winner”, they never release the voting breakdown, so you can take that as you will.

The third rebranding of the week was the Down East Wood Ducks (Kinston, NC), which seems relatively sedate in comparison.

You may be wondering why minor league baseball is rife with odd names these days.  Well, there’s an excellent reason for this, best summed up by a certain ancient, short, pointy-eared, Muppet-like character from a well-known movie…

No!  Not Yoda!

This guy:
That’s right, Yogurt… Merchandising!   Like it or not, merchandising has become a significant revenue stream for a lot of minor league teams, especially the teams which have names and/or logos with appeal outside of their territory.  While you get some traditionally-named teams which sell a lot of merch, like the Durham Bulls and Charlotte Knights, the fact remains that the annual list of Top 25 Merchandising Teams often feature names like RubberDucks, Isotopes, Mudcats, Chihuahuas, TinCaps, IronPigs, Blue Wahoos and Flying Squirrels.

Like anything else, however, this is a trend and it’s bound to run out of gas at some point. Back in the 1990’s, minor league teams in every sport were going with the “Adjective Animal” template… River Cats, Sea Dogs, Valley Cats, Beach Dogs.  That trend burned out after a while, and sooner or later the pendulum will swing back on these branding exercises… You can only out-outrageous each other for so long before people no longer get worked up about the Atlantic City Sea Anemones or the Porcupine City Fluorescent Knights and the merchandise stops selling.  At that point, maybe we can reign it in a little bit and bring it back to more baseball-y names.

Maybe then we can bring back the Piedmont Boll Weevils.

Update:  The New Orleans Night Owls?  It’s sure looking that way, the New Orleans AAA team tweeted “Our new name is a real hoot!” and the date 11/15/2016.  I know someone who should like that name better than Rumble Ponies.