Working On A Puzzle

I recently moved two steps forward to completing my 1972 Topps New York Mets team set… Check out these two cards from the tough 6th Series…

First we have Hall-Of-Famer Rod Carew In Action…
1972 Topps Rod Carew IA

Then we have “good field, no hit” catcher and manager-to-be Pat Corrales.
1972 Topps Pat Corrales IA

I’ve been chasing down affordable copies of these cards for two years, and it’s a relief that I’m so close to finishing this ridiculously large Mets team set after all this—

What’s that?

No, no, I’m fine. I appreciate your concern for my mental health, but I do not need to get to a nearby urgent care facility.  Rod Carew and Pat Corrales most definitely belong in my Mets team set.

The reason why they belong has to do with what Topps refers to as “PUZZLE D”.

First I’ll show you the back of the Carew card, to give you the idea…
1972 Topps Rod Carew IA Seaver back

…and then Corrales.
1972 Topps Pat Corrales IA Seaver back
See?  “PUZZLE D” features Tom Seaver, and I’m including the puzzle as part of my Mets team set.  …So please put down the phone, you don’t need to call 911.

Here’s where my puzzle currently stands:
1972 Topps Puzzle D (Tom Seaver) Nov 2015
Once I pick up the remaining two puzzle pieces, I’ll be finally, FINALLY done with this 53-card (by my definition) team set.  Between the upcoming COMC Black Friday promotion, and a card show I plan on attending in December, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to show you the complete puzzle by the end of the year.

Got The Time Tick-Tick-Tickin’ In My Head…

Monday evening I had a post ready to go, but when I came back to it Tuesday morning to post it, it seemed a little more mean-spirited than what I’d intended, so I shelved it and ran one of my “reserve posts” in it’s place.

But it also threw off my schedule for the week… I’ve got a couple of posts in the works, but none are ready.

That got me thinking that I could write up something new, but I’d need time…Where would I find the time?

That’s when I decided to do another one of my playlists, this time featuring songs that include “Time” in the title.

There are a heck of a lot of songs with “Time” in the title.  Even after I took out the lesser songs and songs with compound words like “Summertime”, “Sometime” or “Anytime”, I had a bunch. I then cut out songs that had “Times” in it (i.e. “Where Have All The Good Times Gone”), and I ended up with 44 songs.

Here they are, in alphabetical order.  Feel free to add anything I forgot or just didn’t know about.

Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More – The Allman Brothers Band
All Kinds of Time – Fountains of Wayne
Any Time At All – The Beatles
Bad Time – Grand Funk
Big Time – Peter Gabriel
Born at the Right Time – Paul Simon
Borrowed Time – John Lennon

1970 Topps Mike Lum

1970 Topps Mike Lum

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – Chicago
Falling for the First Time – Barenaked Ladies
Feels Like the First Time – Foreigner
Foreplay/Long Time – Boston
Get It Right The First Time – Billy Joel
Got the Time – Joe Jackson
Have a Good Time – Paul Simon

1993 O-Pee-Chee Kirk McCaskill

1993 O-Pee-Chee Kirk McCaskill

Long Time – Cake
Long Time Gone – Crosby, Stills & Nash
Lovers in a Dangerous Time – Barenaked Ladies
Night Time – J. Geils Band
No Time – The Guess Who
No Time This Time – The Police
Not A Second Time – The Beatles
Not Enough Time – INXS

1980 Topps Bert Blyleven

1980 Topps Bert Blyleven

Once Upon A Time In The West – Dire Straits
One More Time – Joe Jackson
One Piece At A Time – Johnny Cash
Right Place, Wrong Time – Dr. John
She’s Right On Time – Billy Joel
The Longest Time – Billy Joel

1979 Topps Mike Schmidt

1979 Topps Mike Schmidt

The Time Warp – Rocky Horror Cast
This Is the Time – Billy Joel
Time – Pink Floyd
Time – The Alan Parsons Project
Time After Time – The Hooters (Their version of the Cyndi Lauper song)
Time After Time (Annelise) – R.E.M.
Time and Time Again – The Smithereens
Time Has Come Today – The Chambers Brothers
Time Is On My Side – Rolling Stones
Time Is Tight – Booker T. & the MG’s
Time of the Season – The Zombies
Time the Avenger – The Pretenders
Time To Let Me Go – Gloriana
Time To Run – Lord Huron
Twilight Time – The Moody Blues
Your Time Is Gonna Come – Led Zeppelin

1972 Topps Bobby Heise

1972 Topps Bobby Heise

Remnants Of A Failed Post Idea: TV Markets Which Are Bigger Than Milwaukee & Cincinnati

I had this idea for a post… I started researching it, found that the facts didn’t support my premise and that was the end of that.

…But some of the facts I found along the way were interesting, so I figured I’d share them anyway.

The basis of everything in this post comes from the list of TV Markets for the 2014/15 season, as defined by Nielsen Media Research – the people who track TV ratings.  They break the entire country into Direct Market Areas (DMA’s), and those DMA’s are ranked by the number of “TV Homes” in that designated market.

Please note that the figures I’m throwing at you apply only to the United States.  I’m sure the results would differ if I could only find the correlating Canadian numbers.

Milwaukee (#35) and Cincinnati (#36) are the two smallest TV markets in the Majors… no big surprise there.

1972 Topps Dave Bristol

What was surprising was that there are eleven TV markets which are larger than Milwaukee and Cincy and do not have Major League baseball… Some of them don’t even have a team above A-ball.

Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne is the 18th largest TV market in the U.S. and the largest U.S. TV market without a Major League team.  Orlando does not have a team at all, but there are a couple of Florida State League teams within that DMA, most notably Daytona and Melbourne .

Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto (#20), Charlotte (#24), Raleigh/Durham (#25), Indianapolis (#27), Nashville (#29), Columbus, OH (#32) and Salt Lake City (#34) have AAA teams.

Hartford/New Haven (#30) and San Antonio (#33) have AA teams.

There isn’t an affiliated team in the city of Portland, OR (#23), but the Hillsboro Hops of the short-season Northwest League play in a Portland suburb.

If you wanted to add teams to the New York market in order to “dilute” the number of TV homes per team down to Cincy levels (876,000 TV Homes per team), you’d have to add six more teams to the Mets and Yankees.  Similarly, you’d have to add 4 teams to Los Angeles and 2 teams to Chicago.

1981 Kelloggs Tom Seaver

And completely unrelated to what I’d been researching, but it’s always my favorite bit of trivia when it comes to DMA’s… The five smallest television markets in the United States are:
Helena, Montana (27,850 TV homes);  Juneau, Alaska (25,480);  Alpena, Michigan (16,580);  North Platte, Nebraska (14,830)… and at the very bottom, with 4,330 TV homes, four-thousandths of one percent of the US TV market… Give it up for Glendive, Montana!

Coming Back On Stage To Play “Freebird”

Since I came back from “vacation” I’ve featured 2015 Bowman, non-sport cards, oversized oddballs and customs. I kinda feel like some of you might look at this like one would regard a concert by a famous rock musician who insists on playing all the stuff from his new album instead of the stuff that everybody really came to hear.

With that in mind, here’s a post featuring nothing but vintage cards which fit in a 9-pocket sheet… Well, except for one card which goes in an 8-pocket sheet.

I’m slowly working towards the 1968 Topps “Game” insert set, and here’s a card I just got featuring MLB’s PeteRose-a non grata…
1968 Topps Game Pete Rose
I’m not particularly a fan of Mr. Rose, but I like this card…  Not even sure why.  It’s kind of funny that the all-time hits king should have a “ground out” on his game card, but I guess somebody had to.  My own thoughts are that Pete Rose will eventually get in the HOF, but not until after he’s shuffled off this mortal coil.

In order to keep my efforts from getting too scattershot – yeah, right – I’m trying to focus my Kellogg’s acquisitions on Mets and the 1976  set… But that doesn’t mean I won’t pick up a cheap 1972 Kelogg’s when I see one…
1972 Kelloggs Dick Drago
Dick Drago was never a star player, but he was one of the better players in early Royals history.  In 1971 he was the Royals’ Pitcher Of The Year, going 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA, 15 complete games and 4 shutouts.

This 1972 Richie Scheinblum has a classically bad airbrush job. I think everybody should take a moment to appreciate the poorly-placed logo on the airbrushed cap.
1972 Topps Richie Scheinblum
1972 was Scheinblum’s only season as a regular, and he batted an even .300 while making the All-Star team.

I’ve been making something of an effort to get a better representation of the 1950’s in my collection.  Being a Mets fan from a young age, it’s not surprising that I have relatively few cards from before the Mets’ first season in 1962.  I’m also an Orioles fan, but I became one much later in life, so I don’t quite have the emotional attachment to vintage Orioles.  As a result, I’m often left with few budget-friendly cards to go after from the 1950’s.  Instead, I often go after guys who would later be Mets coaches from when I was a kid in the 1970’s.
1954 Bowman Eddie Yost
Eddie Yost was a Mets coach from 1968 to 1976.  Known as “The Walking Man” for his ability to draw a base on balls, he has a higher career on-base percentage than HOFers like Rod Carew, Joe Morgan, Honus Wagner, Tony Gwynn and Willie Mays (as well as Derek Jeter and Pete Rose).

I’ve been thinking of shopping for 1950’s cards using my 1956 modus operandi – go for the beautiful commons, regardless of who’s featured on them…  Cards like this:
1956 Topps Roy Sievers

If anyone’s got suggestions on any Bowman or pre-1956 Topps that fit this category, please leave me a comment (and if it’s a card you’ve featured in your blog, a link would be greatly appreciated). Thank you in advance!

Let’s Face It, I’m Tired

I’m worn out.

Shlabotnik Peanuts sigh

I sit down to write a new post, and the energy just isn’t there.

It’s nothing specific to blogging or collecting, I’ve just got a lot going on and it’s worn me out.

1975-76 Topps Jean Ratelle

1975-76 Topps Jean Ratelle

Soldiering through it hasn’t gotten me far, so I’ve decided to go on autopilot for a little while.

The good news: I’ll be posting on a daily basis for a while.

The bad news: I’ll be saying very little in each post, just posting images – mostly of recent acquisitions.

1975 Hostess Tom Seaver

1975 Hostess Tom Seaver

So, to sum up: I need a break. Look at the cards!

1972 Topps MVP Award

1972 Topps MVP Award

Are We Not Stars? 1972 White Sox Rookie Stars (Eddy, Lemonds)

…Answering the age-old question, “Who are these guys?”
1972 Topps White Sox Rookie Stars Eddy Lemonds

Don Eddy: Don Eddy was a lefty reliever in two seasons with the White Sox, although both came before this card.  Overall he pitched in 29 games and finished with a 2.39 ERA.  He also got a double in his only Major League at bat.  Halfway through the 1972 season he was traded to the Padres, but that mainly meant that he played his AAA games in Hawaii instead of Tucson.  1973 was his final season.

This card is Mr. Eddy’s sole cardboard appearance.

Dave Lemonds: In 1968, Lemonds was an outstanding college pitcher for North Carolina, averaging more than a strikeout per inning and being named a first-team All-American.  That June, the Cubs took him with the first overall pick.  (Side note:  The biggest name in the first round, by far, was #13 Steve Garvey).  He made it up to the Cubs for a cup of coffee in 1969.

After the 1970 season, he was traded across town to the White Sox.  He made it back to The Show in 1972, where he spent the entire season at the back of the White Sox rotation.  On August 11th of that year, with the Chisox and A’s battling for first, he went toe-to-toe with Catfish Hunter.  Lemonds shut down the A’s for 6.2 innings, giving up 2 hits, one walk and no runs en-route to a 1-0 White Sox victory.

Lemonds would pitch in AAA in 1973 and 1974 before retiring.

This was the second of three cardboard appearances for Lemonds.  He was also a “Rookie Star” in 1971, and in 1973 he had the double luxury of having his own card and not being airbrushed.

Closest To Being A Star: Although neither player had a prolonged MLB career, Lemonds was a top prospect and had that game against the A’s to put on his C.V., so I’ll name him as the closest.

A Post To Put You To Sleep

I’ve been very busy lately.

Being very busy leads to a lack of sleep.

Lack of sleep leads to a lessening of brain function.

Lessening of brain function leads to a post like today’s, where I’m going to combine card images with a “Top 10” list of songs… and since sleep is what I desire, sleep is what you get.

…And because I don’t want to take the effort of winnowing it down to just 10 songs, you get my top TWELVE songs (aren’t you lucky?) with “sleep” in the title.

…Combined, of course, with unrelated baseball cards.

I’m Only Sleeping – The Beatles
The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask – Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
1965 Topps Larry Miller
Love Is Only Sleeping – The Monkees
Don’t Sleep In The Subway – Petula Clark
Sleeping on the Sidewalk – Queen
1975 Topps Dwight Evans
I Don’t Sleep, I Dream – R.E.M.
Sleep Walk – Santo & Johnny
Sleeping in the Flowers – They Might Be Giants
1972 Topps Alan Gallagher
Who’s Been Sleeping Here? – Tuff Darts
Sleeping With the Television On – Billy Joel
Behind The Wall Of Sleep  – The Smithereens
1991 Topps Glossy Rookies Sandy Alomar

I Can See It In Your Eyes, You’re Ready For Another Cards & Songs Post

I hate to let more than one day go by without posting something, but nothing in my drafts folder is ready to go… And that’s where these “Playlists and unrelated cards” posts come into play. I come up with a playlist theme, gather some images of cards, mix well, bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, and serve.

So today’s theme is songs with “eye” or “eyes” in the title. Normally this would be a Top 5 or Top 10 list, but there were so many songs I liked that I’m just dumping them out here…

Joe Shlabotnik’s Top 28 Songs With “Eye” In The Title (in alphabetical order):

Behind Blue Eyes – The Who
Brown-eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Cross-eyed And Painless – Talking Heads
Cross-eyed Mary – Jethro Tull
Drunk-eyed Waltz – The Health & Happiness Show
Ebony Eyes – Bob Welch
Eye Of The Hurricane – The Drongos
1972 Topps Mike Hegan
Eye Of The Storm – Sara Hickman
Eyes Of The World – Fleetwood Mac
Far Away Eyes – Rolling Stones
Four-eyed Girl – Rhett Miller
Greeneyed Lady – Sugarloaf
I Can See It In Your Eyes – Men At Work  (Ooooh, the “title track”)
Killer’s Eyes – The Kinks
1971 Topps Jerry Reuss
Lazy Eye – Hem
Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – The Beatles (“Live at the BBC” album)
Lyin’ Eyes – The Eagles
Narrow Your Eyes – They Might Be Giants
Old Red Eyes Is Back – The Beautiful South
One Long Pair Of Eyes – Robyn Hitchcock
Polka Your Eyes Out – “Weird Al” Yankovic
1984 Donruss Ray Knight
Rosalinda’s Eyes – Billy Joel
Sight For Sore Eyes – Aerosmith
Starry Eyes – The Records
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills & Nash
Temptation Eyes – The Grass Roots
The Story In Your Eyes – The Moody Blues
These Eyes – The Guess Who

…And I’m going to wrap this up with one card that is appropriate for the musical theme, the 1972 card of Ross “Crazy Eyes” Grimsley
1972 Topps Ross Grimsley

…and this is where you shake your head and rattle off the seven obvious songs I neglected to mention.  Give it to me with both barrels!

Ya Get Whatcha Get: Randy, B.J., Batman and Milt

One of the things I did during my COMC Black Friday shopping was buy up any and all cheap Kellogg’s cards I found (and needed). This Randy Jones came from the 1976 set (in case you couldn’t tell by the red, white & blue motif).
1976 Kellogg's Randy Jones
Turns out that this particular card was damaged in a sneaky sort of way… No cracks, no damage to the edges but there was a spot in the middle where it almost looks like someone tried to push something through the back. Oh well, it’s still a nice card for the most part. Did I mention the cheap part?

Even if I weren’t a B.J. Surhoff collector, I would’ve picked this card up just for the photo:
1991 Stadium Club BJ Surhoff
Nobody in the field, nobody in the stands, it looks like B.J. is by himself in County Stadium, running the bases for the heck of it. If any of you are familiar with Buster Keaton’s film “The Cameraman”, it kind of reminds me of the scene where he’s alone in Yankee Stadium and pretending to play a game.

This is far from the most exciting card in the 1966 Batman “Black Bat” series…
1966 Topps Batman Black Bat 5 Roof Top Vigil
…But it’s a card I need to complete the entire 11-card “Batman Vs. The Joker” subset. When I’ve got all 11 cards I promise I’ll post all of them in sequence so you can enjoy the story being told.

This 1972 Milt Wilcox is one of a dwindling number of needs for the 4th series of 1972 Topps.
1972 Topps Milt Wilcox
Milt is showing off the long-lost skill of looking up at the sky / a pop fly / a bird, all in the name of making it easy to use the photo after a guy’s been traded.  In December, 1971 Milt Wilcox was traded from the Reds to the Indians for Ted Uhlaender… and at this time a year ago, Ted’s daughter Katie was preparing for the Sochi Olympics… Which has nothing to do with nothing, I just figured I’d mention it.


Ya Get Whatcha Get: 4 Arbitrary Cards From Black Friday

When I’m writing about my new acquisitions, I often end up trying to organize cards into themed posts, and a lot of cards have fallen by the wayside as a result.

So…. I’m going to try something new where I’m just going to write about cards on a first-in, first-out basis… Starting with this 1972 Topps Leo Cardenas In Action.

This card was a fairly cheap 1972 that was among my many, many needs. When you’re talking about a 700+ card vintage set, the needs are many.
1972 Topps Leo Cardenas IA
…Not that I’m working towards the 1972 set. Because I’m not. :-)

At a quick glance, it almost looks like an Orioles card, but I tend to forget that the Angels’ “A” was lower case for a short time.

Da Boid!  One of my secondary goals is to finally complete my 1979 and 1980 sets, as much because I’m embarrassed that I haven’t as it is because I want to.
1979 Topps Mark Fidrych
By the time this card came out, the former Rookie-Of-The-Year’s career had already been derailed by rotator cuff issues, but it’s still a good card.

A 2012 Heritage High # of Bruce Chen, one of those cards where desire converges with price. I’ve been a fan of Bruce’s since his time with the Orioles, so I couldn’t pass up an affordable, artificial “high number”.
2012 Heritage Hi# Bruce Chen
Bruce looks like he’s about to impart some wisdom on us… or more likely unleash one of the bad jokes he’s famous for.

Clay Kirby once had a no-hitter going through 8 innings against the Mets in 1970.  With San Diego down 1-0 in the bottom of the 8th, Padres manager Preston Gomez pinch hit for him. They’re probably fortunate that there were only 10,373 fans in attendance, because it could’ve gotten ugly.
1970 Topps Clay Kirby
Clay Kirby also took two no-hitters into the 8th in September, 1971. The Padres still don’t have a no-hitter in their history.

Kirby died of a heart attack at the age of 43.  When one is older than 43 (as I am), that tends to freak one out a little bit.

I’m going to end this post with a shameless plug: I’ve got a sale going on at COMC! Many other sellers are running promotions, and there’s free shipping when you buy & ship 30 or more items. Check it out!