All It Takes To Brighten My Day Is Some 1984 Donruss

Last month I was at a show in another state, and when I travel a couple of hours just to get to the show, I do what I can to maximize the time spent looking at tables.  Hungry?  No time for overpriced convention center food, that’s why there’s trail mix in the backpack.  Need to sit?  Find a dealer’s table with chairs.  Need a bathroom break?  How badly do you need it?

After 5 hours of shopping I was burned out and bleary-eyed, shuffling down the aisles, unintentionally doing my best impersonation of a “walker” from The Walking Dead.

I was making my final pass through the floor, thinking that I should just get in my car and head home, when I saw it…

…a dime box…

…a dime box with a large quantity of 1984 Donruss!

1984 Donruss Gorman Thomas

O, frabjous day! Callooh!  Callay!

1984 Donruss Jeff Reardon

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think much of 1984 Donruss back in 1984. At the time, Donruss regularly finished a distant third to Fleer and Topps. And in many ways it’s really not that great of a set, it’s just another Donruss set with dark, uninspired photos.

1984 Donruss Jerry Koosman

…But I also didn’t see a lot of 84D back in 1984, and since it’s relatively scarce by Junk Wax Era standards, it’s fun to look for them now.

1984 Donruss Willie Randolph

I wouldn’t even think about completing the set, but I couldn’t resist filling out some team and player collection needs.  Plus I got some other cards that I just liked, such as this Bill Russell…

1984 Donruss Bill Russell

…And Bobby Grich…

1984 Donruss Bobby Grich

Padres fans will recognize this next guy, although the mustache might throw them off a bit…  And I’m still surprised that he’s not the Nationals’ manager in 2016.  No slight intended towards Dusty, but I thought hiring Bud Black was as close to a no-brainer as you’re going to get with a managerial hiring.

1984 Donruss Bud Black

I love the way the crowd is distorted in this picture;  too bad that Concepcion himself is backlit.

1984 Donruss Dave Concepcion

This Davey Lopes is a nice shot, and would’ve been a great shot if his face weren’t in shadow.

1984 Donruss Davey Lopes

And I’ll wrap things up with another former Met… A very young Frankie V on the verge of his breakout season.

1984 Donruss Frank Viola

I got a bunch of Mets and Orioles as well, but I’ll share them another time.

What’s The Matter, McFly? CHICKEN?!?

For many years I’ve had a lingering sense of shame about a gaping hole in my collection… A trio of cards that any collector from the 1980’s should have, and yet I did not.

I lived in disgrace for years, hiding my secret from other collectors for fear of being mocked, ridiculed, outcast.

But just like Marty McFly in “Back To The Future”, it took just one word to spur me into action…


…More specifically, San Diego Chicken.

I’ve always wanted these cards of The Chicken, but I never had any of them. This was despite the fact that I bought a lot of 1982 Donruss…
1982 Donruss Chicken

…and I bought some 1983 Donruss…
1983 Donruss Chicken

…and in 1984… well… I think I bought a pack. Maybe two.
1984 Donruss Chicken

It doesn’t matter. My lack of Chicken cards has been a tiny little grain of sand in my shorts for the past 30 years… but I finally broke down and bought all three from COMC.

Houston, The Chicken has landed.

We all have our “white whales”, but does anybody else have cards that they’d been meaning to get for years, but just never quite got around to?

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!

I Went To COMC For Some TOMC …ver

I never set out to buy up a bunch of Tom Sever cards when I was doing my Black Friday shopping, but it sure ended up that way. I guess that there were just good deals to be found on Tom Terrific.

It mainly started with knocking some cards off my Kellogg’s want lists, including the infamous two-dimensional set of 1973.
1973 Kelloggs Tom Seaver

…The patriotic 1976 set…
1976 Kelloggs Tom Seaver

…and 1980. I don’t mind the Reds uniform or the lack of a fake pitching pose, it’s still Seaver.
1980 Kelloggs Tom Seaver

I later turned my attention to those cards in the 1980 Burger King Pitch, Hit And Run set which had a different photo than the regular Topps card. Just so happened that one of my needs was Tom Seaver.
1980 Burger King Tom Seaver

Back in 1984, I think I bought one pack of 1984 Donruss and my reaction was something along the lines of “Meh”.  Lately I’ve been appreciating that set much  more than I did 30 years ago.

I went to see if there were any interesting 84D cards to be had and – Oh, look! Tom Seaver!
1984 Donruss Tom Seaver

2002 Topps Super Teams is a set that I always feel like I should make more of an effort on, especially since both the 1969 Mets and 1986 Mets were considered to be “Super Teams”. I only have a handful of these, but I added this one to the group.
2002 Topps Super Teams Tom Seaver
Between the black armband and longer hair, I’m thinking this photo is actually from 1976.

Finally, I was looking for cheap cards to fill out my 2005 Topps Rookie Cup collection. This set has been growing on me despite the design. I just like the photos. I got an Ozzie Smith (which I’ll feature later) and – What are the odds? – Tom Seaver.
2005 Topps Rookie Cup Tom Seaver
If they had used the full photos without cropping the background and used a more appealing design, I would’ve been seeking out each and every card in this set instead of looking for particular players or cheap cards.

I still have another 40 or 50 Black Friday cards to share, so you’ll be seeing more of this in the next couple of weeks.

O Broder, What Art Thou?

So I was in Target during lunch yesterday, stocking up my “work pantry”, and I decided to check out the 100-card repacks on the way out. I know these repacks aren’t worth the money I’m putting into them, but they can be a fun diversion… or a Junk Wax Festival. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

My attention was caught by one repack which had this card on the back:
1990 Shanks Rookies Gary Sheffield

I thought “What the devil is that?”

Yeah, right. I really thought “What the @#%&*! is that?”, but I like writing “What the devil…” because it makes me sound like a scientist from a low-budget 1960’s science fiction movie. And there are worse things to be.

“I was a mathematician before I became a bad actor… That number is pi!”
(Let’s see if anyone gets THAT extremely obscure reference)

I kinda like the card, even if it is book-value worthless… as opposed to any other 1990 base card which has a book value only because Beckett has to give it SOME value.  The card sort of has a 1966 Topps bottom and a 1969 Topps circle.

Here’s the back to the esteemed Mr. Sheffield’s card:
1990 Shanks Rookies Sheffield back

“The Shanks Collection”, eh?  All right, if you say so.  I did some Googling on “1990 Shanks Collection” and all I got were some eBay listings.  I think this can be safely classified as a Broder.  You know, it’s been many years that I’ve been using the term “Broder” for an unlicensed-by-anybody card, but I’ve never seen an actual Broder.  Maybe someday…

UpdateBy “actual Broder”, I mean the original Broders, as opposed to cards which fall under the generic term “Broders”.

Wait a second, I hear a truck… Crap, I’ve got to put the recycling out by the curb.  I’ll be right back…

OK, sorry about that.

Well, you’re here and I’m here… Did you want to see what else I got in the repack?

I figure that, on the whole I got 10 dime-b0x needs for my $4, but I did well in terms of cards I actually want.  Here, let me show you…

I got this lovely George Foster Diamond King that’s been on my want list for… Oh, thirty years.

1983 Donruss George Foster DK

George Foster is one of a line of big-name players that the Mets brought in past their prime and who did just fine for the Mets but not anywhere close to the expectations of the fans who foolishly thought the Mets were acquiring a star player in his prime.

Moving right along…

Ahh… The elusive 1984 Donruss!  And it’s Shlabotnik favorite Benny Ayala!

1984 Donruss Benny Ayala

In 1974, Benny hit a homer in his first Major League at bat for the Mets.  This young Mets fan’s expectations of Benny were based on that random occurrence.  Silly me.  Anyway,  Benny had a 10-year career as a 4th outfielder, mainly with the  Orioles.

Jerry Willard!  A player I collect!  Wooooooooo!

1986 Donruss Jerry Willard

I saw Jerry play in the minor leagues, just in case you were wondering why someone would collect Jerry Willard cards.  I saw Jerry when he was in the Phillies system, but he traded to the Indians before he made it to the Majors.  This is why you shouldn’t get hung up on the fact that your local minor league team isn’t affiliated with a team you like… There’s always a decent chance that the guys you’re watching will make it with some other team.

Moving along… “Captain Kirk” McCaskill!  Another player I collect, even if it’s from the tremendously drab 1989 Fleer.

1989 Fleer Kirk McCaskill

I know we were meant to think “pinstripes”, but I’ve always thought “jail cell”.

Attica!  Attica!

Finally, I got this interesting TCMA “Baseball History” card of Jim DePalo.

1979 TCMA Baseball History Jim Depalo

Who is Jim DePalo?  If Baseball America had existed in the 1950’s, he might’ve been on the Yankees’ Top 10 Prospects list.  He peaked at AAA in 1956, going 13-5 for the Denver Bears.  I’m guessing that the TCMA guys found this photo and said “Hey, let’s add it to the set!”

1979 TCMA Baseball History Jim Depalo back

Aw, hell, look at the time!  I spent too much time on this, I’ve got to go shower.

…And thus ends my early morning free-form blog odyssey…  “On the bass:  Derek Smalls, he wrote this…”


No Rhyme Or Reason #1: A Clearinghouse Of Cards, Comments & Questions

My local Walgreen’s had 2012 Topps Series 1 packs on clearance for $0.49 apiece, in case anyone might want to check their own Walgreen’s.  I bought 4 packs for grins, and for my $2 I knocked 4 base cards off my wantlist and got one of last year’s “1987 minis” of Andrew McCutchen… So the ROI wasn’t there for me.  Maybe it will be for you.

1988 Big Baseball John Franco

A few weeks ago I had a baseball game on the TV in the background, and I heard someone mention Barney Jackson DeJesus. Just as I was starting to wonder who the heck Mr. Barney J. DeJesus is, I realized that they were giving the three Cubs coming to bat in the next half-inning: Darwin Barney, Edwin Jackson, David DeJesus.

Are hand-collated sets a thing of the past?  That question occurred to me when I was at a show a couple of weeks ago.  I walked the floor and saw hand-collated sets from 10-20 years ago, but I didn’t see anything more recent.  Has it gotten to the point where the only people interested in sets are the ones who want to build it themselves?

If you ever want to look around the showroom of a car dealer without being bothered by a salesman, tell them “I’m just waiting on my wife, she’s picking her car up from service”.  I did that the other day, and I was waiting on my wife, but I instantly became invisible to the salesmen.  I will keep that little trick in mind for the future.

Has “retail” Pro Debut ever surfaced in a retail store?

You can’t read the last name on this scan, but it’s Manny Machado.
2012 Pro Debut Manny Machado

The San Jose Sharks’ new uniforms are boring.  Not quite as boring as the generic snooze-a-aplooza that the Phoenix Coyote’s wear, but pretty darn close.

My Reward For Being A Courteous Holiday Shopper

I went out on the Saturday before Christmas and braved the area of concentrated retail surrounding the local Open-Air Upscale Shopping Experience (once referred to as a “mall”).  My next-to-last stop was at Target, so I decided to reward myself for meeting the pre-Xmas frenzy with a smile.  I walked into the card aisle, and the first Fairfield repack I saw hanging there had this on the front:
2008 Topps Back To School David Wright
David Wright & Mr. Met said “Psst, Joe!  You can’t NOT buy this repack!”

I’d assumed it was a card from a Topps Mets team set, but when I got home and opened the pack, it was numbered TB5.  What the…?

I did a little Googling and found that it’s from an 8-card 2008 “Back To School” set. You can read about these cards via some 4-year-old posts from JayBee (he of the Blogroll and Topps Baseball Card Blog) and Paul (he of the Random Baseball Stuff).

Should you not feel like linking, the gist of it is that Target (and perhaps other stores) sold a “Back To School” bundle which included 2 packs of series 1, 2 packs of series 2 and two cards from a special 8-card set (numbered TB1 – TB8).  If I saw those “Back To School” packages in my local Target in 2008, I probably only saw ones which had Chipper and A-Rod in them.

The repack also contained this lovely 1984 Donruss Ron Cey.
1984 Donruss Ron Cey
It’s funny how I largely ignored this set in 1984, bought maybe one or two packs and said the Eighties equivalent of “meh”;  yet I now like the set, I value it for it’s relative scarcity, and I hang on to any cards that come my way.

1986 Topps Glossy All Star StrawberryFinally, I got this Darryl Strawberry All-Star Glossy which has somehow eluded my grasp for all these years. The 4 Fairfield repacks I’ve bought over the past month or two have contained so many All-Star and Rookie Glossies from the 1980’s that I’m going to have to make those the next sets that I inventory, just to see how many of these I really, really need.

Since I didn’t wish everybody a Merry Christmas – Hey, I was busy! – I’ll wish everybody a happy Boxing Day.  I hope that, whether for Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whichever December holiday you observe, you all got some cool stuff.