Hello, Dum-Dums… (A “Show & Tell” Post)

For those who weren’t aware, there were Flintstones cards back in the 1990’s. This is card #100 from the 1993 Cardz Flintstones set… and yes, it’s “Gazoo”, not “Kazoo” or “Gadzoo”.

If you’re wondering why I suddenly got belligerent and started calling my readers juvenile names, “Hello, Dum-Dums” was sort of Gazoo’s catch phrase.

…And for those who may not have known this, Gazoo was voiced by the late, great Harvey Korman.

Y’know what?  As long as we’re discussing the Flintstones, I’ll throw another scan in here.  This card features The Way-Outs, who were a pop band posing as aliens… which probably fit right in with a general “What planet did these Beatles come from?” vibe of the times.

The character on the right was clearly a celebrity guest since he’s drawn realistically, but I can’t remember (nor Google) who he was.

Gonna go way out
That’s where the fun is, way out

I don’t remember how I came to own this 1996/97 Pinnacle McDonald’s Hockey card of Keith Tkachuk… but it’s 3-D! Gotta love 3-D!

I also really liked those “Peyote Coyote” uniforms, especially compared to the boring unis they wear now.

I ran across this card a couple of weeks ago while shopping on COMC. It’s a checklist card from 1991 Topps Micro.
1991 Topps Micro - [Base] #131 - Checklist - Courtesy of COMC.com
…And I ask you… Is there anything in this great hobby of ours which is so completely and utterly pointless as a ‘Micro’ checklist?

I’ve got a backlog of these 2018 scans comparing flagship to Opening Day or Chrome, so I feel I should get another one in here… That’s Series 2 on the left, Chrome on the right.

I’m going to wrap up by teasing two upcoming posts…

Tease #1

I found this MLB Showdown card in a dime box two years ago, and now that Roy Halladay is a HOFer, this card might be worth TEN TIMES THAT! Woooo!

…but that’s not why I’m posting this here.

One of the reasons I’m taking the easy way out with this post is because I’m working on a post about MLB Showdown, and I will be diving in a little deeper than “Fun oddballs I love to pull from dime boxes” (as true as that statement may be).

Tease #2

I completed my 1977 Topps baseball set decades ago, but I recently made an impulse buy of this O-Pee-Chee Dave Kingman card. I normally don’t buy OPC cards which are little more than French-language parallels to Topps cards, but because O-Pee-Chee didn’t include the “N.L. All-Stars” banner on the bottom of this card, you can see Dave Kingman’s knees.  Ooooh…

The reason this is a tease is because I’m finishing work on a belated “Looking back at 2018 and looking forward to 2019” post, and one of the things I’ll be wandering in circles muttering about is whether I need to give more thought to which cards I acquire, as well as which cards I should give a pass. This card might just fall into the “take a pass” category, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get rid of it.

One project I’m working on that is likely to survive the upcoming “Great Prioritization” is the 1957 Topps Orioles team set. Even if I didn’t have this project, this next card would be a target of mine just because I enjoy cards which feature the original Yankee Stadium.

Don Ferrarese was a journeyman swingman who pitched for five teams over an eight-year career. On his final three Topps cards (1960 – 1962) he went capless, airbrushed and capless.

…And that concludes another meandering “Show & Tell” post!


1980’s “Desert Island Binder, Part 5: …And Don’t It Feel Good?

For those who are new to this series, here’s the premise: I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, those who wish to silence me because I know THE TRUTH — I’m here to tell you that The Facts Of Life are NOT all about you, and never were.

All I’m able to bring with me to the desert island is the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

Let’s fill some more sheets in this binder!

I’ve had this card since 1987 and it still weirds me out.

This card is from the 1987 Topps Woolworth’s “Baseball Highlights” box set, and it commemorates Steve Carlton getting his 4,000th strikeout;  that happened during his six-game stint with the Giants.  You’d think that some Topps photographer would’ve taken a picture of this epic moment, but we have to make do with an airbrushed cap.

Carlton started against the Reds but gave up 7 hits and 7 runs in 3.2 innings…. but he *did* get three K’s and that’s all that matters.

He also got something else –  his release.  The Giants cut him loose, and Carlton  hooked up with the White Sox, where he finished the 1986 season.

The next card weirds me out in a similar way, but I would guess that the weirding out is not a universal thing. Pretty much all of Brady Anderson’s accomplishments as a player came as an Oriole, including his 3 All-Star appearances and his “Did that really happen” 50 homer season (which is more than twice his second-highest total).

Young outfielder Brady and minor leaguer Curt Schilling were traded to the Orioles for Mike Boddicker. Years down the road, Orioles’ VP of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson still has an office in the B&O Warehouse after many others got shown the door in this winter’s restructuring.

There are all kinds of arguments that can be made about 1981 Topps vs. 1981 Fleer, but you know what Fleer had that Topps didn’t? A Maury Wills card.

Wills may not be a Hall of Famer, but he stole 104 bases in 1962, was a 7-time All-Star and… Well, you know what?  Allow me to include another card, even though it’s status as a card for this 1980’s binder can be debated:

…Yes, Maury Wills was the 1962 National League MVP, but he wasn’t under contract to Topps at the time so he didn’t have a 1962 Topps card… So Topps made one after the fact; first for the 1975 MVP’s subset, then for the 1982 K-Mart MVP Boxed set, and then for this card. I love this sort of “official custom”, and when I was scanning cards for this project I happened to come upon the 1987 Topps card before I came across the 1982 K-Mart card, so this card gets in the binder. I probably will have one of those K-Mart cards in the binder at some point.

I was going to introduce this next card as my favorite rookie card from 1989 Upper Deck (take THAT, Junior!)… but then I remembered that Jim Abbott’s rookie card came as a Team USA Player in 1988 Topps. Oh, well. It’s still a cool card.

The card would be a bit nicer if UD had rotated the team logo and player’s position to match the horizontal photo, but I guess they were new at this and can be forgiven.

Back in the late 1980’s I flew out to visit a friend in San Jose, and I couldn’t fly out to the west coast without checking out a Giants game.

My three most vivid memories of the night game were: 1) Candlestick wasn’t quite the dump I was expecting it to be; 2) It was pretty damn cold that night; 3) The fans’ call & answer cheer for Jose Uribe (“OOO!” “REEBAY!”) stuck with me and he ended up being a player I semi-collected just because I’d smile whenever I saw one of his cards.

To this day, Mother’s Cookies cards – this one is from 1988 – remain an exotic collectible for this east coast guy.

Let’s wrap things up with a famous card that doesn’t feature who it says it features. This 1985 Gary Pettis card actually features Pettis’ kid brother Lynn.

If you’re not familiar with the story… well, there’s not a whole lot more to it than that. Gary Pettis won’t sign the card, that’s the only thing I have to add.

…But it’s an essential 1980’s card in my book… err… binder.

Before I close out, I’ll total up how much is in the binder.  We’re adding 7 standard-sized cards to bring the total up to 31… so that’s four 9-pocket pages (one of which has only 4 cards in it) plus a single 5×7 card in a 2-pocket page.

And now it’s time for the Eighties song of the week:  “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.  Make note of this occasion, because there aren’t going to be a lot of songs in my “playlist” that got any kind of mention on American Top 40.

I had a crush on Katrina Leskanich at the time, but that didn’t quite translate to fandom for me;  I love half of the songs on Katrina & The Waves’ debut album, and pretty much nothing they did after that.

Custom Sunday: Four Somewhat Recently Signed Free Agents

It wasn’t technically a New Year’s Resolution, but over the past few weeks I’ve been giving increased focus to organizing my collection and the room it’s housed in. The effort has paid off in some small ways – I’ve found some items I forgot I had, I haven’t felt the need to buy packs just for the sake of buying packs, and I can actually see the fake wood grain on the top of my desk.

The downside of this is that I’ve had less time for things like custom cards. I apologize for that, but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.

Today’s post is short and sweet and highlights four free-agent signings done up in the style of 1969 Topps Stamps.

Andrew Miller returns to the National League for the first time since his stint with the Marlins from 2008 to 2010.

I like Miller and was kinda hoping the Mets would sign him, but I’m generally happy with the direction the Amazin’s are heading.

The Nationals signed former Twin and Dodger Brian Dozier to play second base.

…and the Yankees signed former Rockies All-Star D.J. LeMahieu to form a double-play combo with former Rockies Al-Star Troy Tulowitzki.

Finally, the Brewers signed former Dodgers All-Star Yasmani Grandal.

I did get an idea from Twitter for a non-sports custom set, so maybe you’ll see that next week… or the week after that… or never, depending on how happy I am with the results.

Pack Animal: 2005 BBM Touch The Game (Japanese Baseball)

I recently stumbled across a pack of Japanese baseball cards which I’d acquired a number of years ago, but which had been misplaced and temporarily forgotten… Since there’s nothing good in the stores and I felt like opening a pack, I decided to tear this bad boy open.

This is a pack of 2005 BBM Touch The Game, which the wrapper declares is a “Premium” set.

Here’s the wrapper (it’s a hanger pack, if you couldn’t tell)

First card is of Shugo Fujii, about whom I know nothing. Wikipedia says he pitched 14 seasons for four teams and was an All-Star twice.

I should point out that the entire border is silver foil; the textured foil turns up as silver in this scan, but the smooth foil shows up as black. In the middle of the photo, also in silver foil, it says this:

bbm baseball cards premium
2005 Touch The Game

followed by this printed in black ink (also right over the player photo):

one of the great players has ever owned.
he will be remembered by supporters for long years to come.

I cannot emphasize enough that I was very careful to type this exactly as it appears on each card.

As for the image at the middle of the card, the player image is glossy and the background is matte, kind of like recent Pro Debut sets.

Next card… Gaijin Alert! It’s John Bale, who I kinda sorta remember pitching for the Orioles. In December, 2000 the O’s traded a minor league catcher – one who had been drafted in the first round in 1997 – to Toronto for John Bale. Any guesses as to who that catching prospect was? The answer comes after the images of this card.

Here’s the back… a bit more traditional

Answer:  Jayson Werth, who would go through a couple of organizations before blossoming as an outfielder.

Masahide Kobayashi may be familiar to MLB fans; he pitched in relief for the Indians in 2008 and 2009. Before that he was a top closer in Japan and was on the Silver medal-winning Japanese Olympic baseball team.

Those Chiba Lotte Marines uniforms are really… something. I was about to say that they’d never fly in MLB, but then I remembered the uniforms the Diamondbacks are wearing, and I back away from any such statements.

“Impressive Scene” insert featuring another American, Marc Kroon… Kroon appeared on a few MLB cards in the 1990’s. In Japan, he was a closer and became the first pitcher to hit 100 mph in a game.

Last card, and this is one of those rare instances where a checklist is the best card in the pack.

If you can’t read the text at the top of the card, it says “They also enjoyed interleague game”.  BBM clearly needed a better translator.

I had to do some detective work to figure out who the mascots are. The one on the right has a Chiba Lotte Marines hat, and when I googled on Chiba Lotte Marines mascots, I found that the two in the middle are also Marines mascots (I think the three of them are meant to be sea gulls). The one on the left looked familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it/him/her. Since the card references interleague games and the Marines are in the Pacific League, I guessed that the mystery mascot is from the Central League, and a little more research came up with Doala the Koala, a mascot for the Chunichi Dragons.

The checklist is on heavier cardboard than the rest of the pack, as if they’re trying to fool pack feelers. Do they have pack feelers in Japan?

I’d never seen a Japanese checklist before, and I’m guessing most of you haven’t either, so I’ll show you the checklist side.

One other thing came in the pack;  this was on top of the back, printed on thick-ish paper. It looks like it could be a contest entry, but I have no clue (not being able to read any of it).

Thoughts on the pack as a whole: I guess I can’t complain about a Japanese pack where I’m familiar with three of the four players included, but I’m not a fan of sets where the cards are more about the design than the photos. If I had an opportunity to get more packs like this I would probably say “No thanks, I’m OK”. But they’re still Japanese cards, so they’ll go into my Japanese binder (but would likely be the first to get bumped if space becomes a issue).

1980’s “Desert Island” Binder, Part 4: It’s Good, Good, Good… Like Brigitte Bardot!

For those who are new to this series, here’s the premise: I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, those who wish to silence me because I know THE TRUTH about extraterrestrials living among us disguised as smoke detectors.

All I’m able to bring with me to the desert island is the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

After three posts, I’m one card short of having two full 9 pocket sheets (17 total cards), plus I’ve got a half-filled 2 pocket sheet (which has a 5″x7″ card in it).

Let’s fill some more sheets!

What follows is a bit of a comparison of two 1981 oddballs and how my attitude towards them have changed over the past 38 years.

1981 Kelloggs
What I thought then:  “I don’t understand the appeal of this gimmick-y piece of plastic.”

What I think now:  These are fun, I can’t believe I turned my nose up at them before!

1981 Permagraphics
What I thought then:  I don’t understand the appeal of this gimmick-y piece of plastic.

What I think now:  I still don’t understand the appeal of this gimmick-y piece of plastic…. but I have to have at least one just because.

This next card comes with a bit of a story…

I started following baseball in 1974, but I lived on Long Island and couldn’t have even told you where the nearest minor league baseball team was (Probably the Connecticut-based West Haven Yankees, whose ballpark was a good two hour drive away).

In 1982 I was in Reading, PA with friends and had the opportunity to see my first minor league baseball game, as the Reading Phillies took on the Buffalo Bisons (odd as it seems, Buffalo was a AA city from 1979 to 1984).  The two  most vivid memories I have of that game was walking up to the box office an hour before the game and getting front row seats by first base (attendance in Reading back then was – *ahem* – modest),  and also going to get a hot dog and seeing one of the Buffalo players on line at the concession stands.  That just blew my teenaged mind.

Anyway, later that summer I bought a TCMA team set of the Reading Phillies, in all it’s black and white glory.

Even by 1982 standards, this was a somewhat low-budget minor league set.  The Bisons team set (which I really should get one of these days) is in color.

Steve Jeltz was the first player I ever pulled from a pack after seeing him play in the minors, and because of that I have a modest player collection of him.

In 2018 I saw a card from the 1985 Hostess Atlanta Braves set on someone’s blog – I’d give a link if I could only remember whose blog it was – and I just loved the card design. I’m telling you, I would’ve bought a lot of packs of a flagship set that looked like this.

I poked through the checklist for the set and decided on Chris Chambliss, since he was a player I liked in the 1970’s.

Fleer sets of the 1980’s tended to have some goofy cards, but their sense of fun was sometimes more subtle, like with this “Prospects” card from the 1986 Fleer set.

Billy Jo Robidoux is one of my favorite all-time baseball names, and Mark Funderburk is fun to say as well. You can’t tell me that these two guys just arbitrarily ended up on the same card.

There’s nothing special about this card, but I like it. It’s colorful, it’s action-y, it’s full of primary colors.

You know what?  I didn’t realize (or more to the point, remember) until I was writing this post, but there*is* something special about this card:  Mario Soto never pitched for the Dodgers. He pitched one 1988 game for the Bakersfield Dodgers and that was it for his Dodgers (and pitching) career.

I’m trying to think of ways to work Hall-of-Famers into this binder. Regardless of how that shakes out, I can’t help but include this 1981 Fleer card of HOFer Rod Carew with a mountainous backdrop.

I’ve seen a few Angels cards with mountains in them… I’m guessing they were taken in Palm Springs, CA – that was the Angels spring training home from their start in 1961 to the early 1980’s. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

I’m going to wrap up with that because I have to get myself to that annoying and time-consuming work thingie… But in adding these cards to the binder it brings us to 2 full 9-pocket pages, a third page with 6 cards, and a 2-pocket page with one 5×7 card.

Starting with this post I decided to extend the 1980’s theme and make something of an Eighties playlist… But just like the binder contains only cards I actually own, the playlist is going to consist of songs I have copies of, which means that you’ll find no Madonna, U2 or Whitney Houston here.

Just because the line about Brigitte Bardot popped in my head when I first started pondering a 1980’s playlist, I’m going to start with “Message Of Love”, a 1981 track from The Pretenders. I would’ve liked to have included the original video, but the ones I could find were lacking in audio quality, so I went with the one official remastered-audio version out there on YouTube.

The Pretenders are a mixed bag for me… I have the “Learning To Crawl” album but the tracks on their other albums are either “Love it!” or “meh” with little middle ground… and I hadn’t realized that one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Cuban Slide” was a B-side.

Dead Parrot FrankenSet: Shoebox Legends Edition, Part 2

This is the second post about the contributions that Shoebox Legends has made to my “Dead Parrot” Frankenset, a project featuring NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch).

My most profound apologies to “Shoebox Legends Shane” on this;  the prior post was over two months ago, and I got sidetracked by the holidays and other things… but mainly by my own lack of planning and poor time management skills (both of which I’m working on improving in 2019).

I’m going to run through the challengers in Chronological order…

The challenger for card # 36, representing the Indianapolis Racers (logo) and the New England Whalers (photo), as well as 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA Hockey… Rosaire Paiement

This card is from one of my favorite WHA sets, and is an excellent “Double Parrot”, as Paiement is listed as being with the Racers, but shown with the Whalers.

Currently in slot #36, another “Double Parrot” representing 1974-75 Topps, the Kansas City Scouts (logo) and the California Golden Seals (photo)… Gary Croteau

The verdict: Croteau was once a challenger, beating one of the “Muppets Take The Ice” cards… but an NHL headshot simply cannot beat a WHA action shot.


Next… The challenger for card #71, representing the original Winnepeg Jets and 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee… Pat Elynuik.

Currently in slot #71, representing the original Winnepeg Jets and 1990-91 Topps… Hey, wait a minute!

The Verdict: Yep, the challenger and the current card are identical cards from Topps and O-Pee-Chee.  While it’s somewhat neat to have a bi-lingual OPC card in the binder, it’s not cool enough to unseat its twin and I like the placement of the “Topps” logo better than the placement of the “O-Pee-Chee” logo.


Third… the challenger for card #438… representing the Quebec Nordiques and 1993-94 Parkhurst… Valeri Kamensky!

There’s a whistle on the play!

This card would be an excellent addition, but right now the FrankenSet goes only up to card #396, so there’s no place for a card numbered 438. This one will get revisited if the Dead Parrot binder is ever expanded.

The fourth challenger, going for card #87, representing the Hartford Whalers and 1994-95 Fleer Ultra… Sean Burke!

There is no card in slot #87, so Burke goes in unopposed.

Quick note before I leave this card… This is the first card I have from this set, and every time I look at it, I think that the horizontal front looks like it should be the back. Just my two cents.

Today’s final challenger, going for slot #188 and representing 2010-11 Pinnacle and the Atlanta Thrashers… Ondrej Pavelec!

There current is no card in slot #188, so the Thrashers are now represented in my Dead Parrot binder! In case you didn’t know, the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and are the current Jets.

I now have every “Dead Parrot” NHL team from the 1960’s forward represented. The WHA is an entirely different story, but I hope to get as many of those represented as I can.

Once again, a big thank you to Shoebox Legends for providing today’s challengers! Because I live in “The Land That Hockey Forgot”, I don’t get to add to my binder as often as I’d like… as a result, I appreciate the heck out of these cards.

1980’s “Desert Island” Binder: Part 3, Nerds In Paradise

For those who are new to this series, here’s the premise: I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, those who wish to silence me because I know THE TRUTH about how a 1966 car crash actually killed three Beatles – John, George and Ringo – and the “Paul Is Dead” rumors were a more elaborate red herring than anybody had imagined.

All I’m able to bring with me to the desert island is the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

Shall we begin?

Just about everybody doing a “Top cards of the 1980’s” list would have this next card in there somewhere. In my case, I came upon it through a different route.

I didn’t approach this card as “The Mark McGwire rookie card”; while flipping through my 1985 Topps binder I came upon the Team USA subset, thought “That’s a cool subset, I really need to include that”, but when I was trying to pick out a card to single out… well… If I picked Oddibe McDowell or Cory Snyder instead, that would almost be chosing their cards to spite the McGwire rookie, so I decided not to battle against the current.

Regardless of how one feels about McGwire, Team USA cards are cool, and I say that as someone who isn’t necessarily a “Sports Patriot” (I tend to root for Sweden when Olympic hockey rolls around). Now that I think about it, I’m mildly surprised that O-Pee-Chee didn’t do a Team Canada subset, even if it was just a couple of players.

I’ve featured this first card before.  It’s is one of my favorites from 1981 Topps, because I watched the Mets in 1980, I saw John Pacella pitch, and he really did lose his cap with pretty much every pitch.

Pacella, who was born in Brooklyn and went to high school on Long Island, had already pitched his last Mets game by the time this card came out.  He’d been traded to the Padres in December, 1980, then traded to the Yankees at the end of 1981 Spring Training, and would pitch for the Yankees’ AAA team in Columbus that season.  He’d go on to pitch for the Yankees, Twins, Orioles and Tigers.

I was recently reminded of this 1984 Milton Bradley Ted Simmons card, which is a favorite because the airbrush artist went above and beyond when he did his job.

The artist wasn’t satisfied with removing the “M” from Simmons’ Brewers cap, they also inexplicably added red to the uniform, making the uniform an odd mix of the Brewers and Expos.  They actually did a pretty good job of doing this, and to be honest, Panini cards could be a lot more interesting if they added colors rather than just subtracting them.

One of the best recurring subsets of the 1980’s was the Donruss Diamond Kings. I hope that Donruss gave a raise to the person who had the idea of giving artist Dick Perez his own subset.

I generally don’t have a lot of Donruss on my wantlists outside of team and player collections… OK, and I wouldn’t mind completing the 1982 and 1989 sets some day… but I’m thinking that maybe I should make a point of collecting all of the original run of Diamond Kings.

This next card, if it had come a year earlier or a year later, would’ve been a 1980’s classic. C’mon… “Steve & Carlton / Carlton & Fisk”? That’s gold right there.

Unfortunately, this pairing happened to come in the 1982 Fleer set, which suffered in execution. I’ll write more about the disappointment of 1982 Fleer in a future post.

I’ll wrap up with a card that makes me feel warm and Spring Training-y on a cold winter’s day.

It’s making me feel better to imagine myself among that sparse pre-game crowd, sitting under those blue skies, soaking up the sun and watching the shades-wearing Joey McLaughlin (who would pitch for Toronto in 1980) pose for a Topps photographer.