Stuff That Made Me Think Of Cards

Not that it takes much to get me to think of cards…

The other day I saw something about Dirk Nowitzki retiring, and that made me think of this card I got and have been meaning to post:
2007-08 Topps Basketball 50th Variation Dirk Nowitzki
As it turns out, the “news” about Nowitzki retiring was an April Fool’s joke, which is just as well. Nowitzki is one of the relatively few NBA players I know something about beyond his name (i.e. he’s German), so it just wouldn’t do if he were to retire.

At any rate, I didn’t buy this card because of Nowitzki… well, not entirely. I bought it because I recently became enamored with the simple yet appealing design of the 1957-58 Topps Basketball set, and I proclaimed “I’m going to get me one of them there cards!”

Shortly thereafter, I found out just how expensive them there cards can be, so for the time being I decided to go with a 50th anniversary variation set from 8 years ago. Here’s the back of the card:
2007-08 Topps Basketball 50th Variation Dirk Nowitzki back
It’s not bad, but ultimately unsatisfying. I’ve also been thinking of starting a type collection of vintage Topps basketball , so maybe I’ll start keeping an eye out for relatively cheap commons from the original set.

Regular readers may remember that back in November I made a custom 1957-58 card of Stanford Senior Amber Orrange.
1957 topps basketball Amber Orrange
Aside from the fact that I like her name, I also like any basketball player that’s my height. Amber’s Stanford team made it to the Sweet 16 this year, and she should be taken pretty high up in the upcoming WNBA draft.

Another thing that made me think of a card I’ve been meaning to post was seeing Al Leiter on Rachael Ray’s show.
1992 O-Pee-Chee Al Leiter
Al and Willie Randolph had an Opening Day cook-off, which Al won on the fifth tiebreaker (or something like that). I frankly don’t get the appeal of cooking shows… You can’t smell it, you can’t eat it, you can only see it. I guess maybe it’s like watching golf… You appreciate it more if you do the same activity yourself (and by that I mean cooking, not eating).

By the way, you might be saying to yourself “I know the 1992 Topps set backwards and forwards, and I don’t remember that card of Al Leiter”. That’s because the above card is one of a handful of 1992 OPC’s which don’t have a Topps counterpart.

A third thing that made me think of cards came during an Orioles Spring Training game when they were talking about Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson Mike, who is a minor leaguer in the O’s farm system. I don’t have a card of Mike yet, but I’ve got plenty of cards of Carl.
1968 Topps Game Carl Yastrzemski
…And thanks to The Walking Dead, every time I run across someone named Carl, in my head I’m thinking “Get in the house, Carl!”

The fourth thing that made me think of cards was having a bowl of Kellogg’s Product 19 cereal. Eating Kellogg’s always makes me think of collecting Kellogg’s.
1978 Kelloggs Dave Winfield
Like I said, it doesn’t take much to get me to think of cards.  I keep going back and forth on my Kellogg’s strategy. Buy up any cheap cards I find? Focus on a particular set? Both? So many decisions to make, so many decisions…

Oh, My (Black Friday) O-Pee-Chee!

One of my favorite sorta-set-specific blogs is the fairly-recently-concluded “O, My O-Pee-Chee”, which featured every O-Pee-Chee baseball card which differed from the Topps set.  I enjoyed checking out each day’s cards, and I still want to go see what today’s card is, but then I remember that the blog has run through them all.  Doesn’t matter, the blog is still fun to go through and an excellent resource.

I knew going in that 1977 OPC had significant differences, but I wasn’t aware of many of the other different cards. Every time an interesting card was featured, I added it to my wantlist.

While shopping on COMC on Black Friday, I decided that I’d see how many OPC’s I could knock off my wantlist.

I’ll start with the 1977’s… Bob Bailor’s OPC card features the same photo as his Topps card, only he gets the card to himself rather than sharing a rookie card with 3 other guys. It’s a pretty decent airbrushing job, if you overlook the blank jersey front. Bailor was the Blue Jays’ first pick in the expansion draft.
1977 OPC Bob Bailor

Dock Ellis appears with the Yankees in both the Topps and OPC sets, and yet OPC gave him a different photo. It doesn’t fall under the “1977 OPC as an update set” idea, but who cares. It’s got a different photo, I want it.
1977 OPC Dock Ellis

I got three cards from the 1971 OPC set, even though two of them don’t really fit into my collection. The uniqueness was just too much for me to handle (and they were cheap).

Claude Raymond had two different cards in 1971 O-Pee-Chee; one that matched his Topps card, and this one.
1971 OPC Claude Raymond

John Bateman fans also got a double-dip in 1971; this is the “bonus” card for die hard Exponistas.
1971 OPC John Bateman

Ron Hunt was the first Met to start an All-Star game, and he’s a player I collect in or out of at Mets uniform.  This is a different photo and different card # from the Topps version; unlike Claude Raymond & John Bateman, Ron Hunt had just the one card (I think).
1971 OPC Ron Hunt

1992 wasn’t quite as significant as 1977 in terms of variations, but there were more significantly-different cards than most years. OPC ditched the All-Star cards and replaced them with a very nice Gary Carter tribute (which I featured here) and a number of players who didn’t make it into the Topps set. This is one of those cards. I wasn’t yet an Orioles fan in 1992, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting this…
1992 OPC Tim Hulett

I’m pretty happy with this specific subset of my Black Friday haul…  As you can imagine, there’s more where this came from (hint:  I got a shipment of 177 cards… no, I won’t subject you to each and every one of them.)

Mets Monday: O-Pee-Chee paid a nice tribute to Gary Carter in 1992; what will the Mets do in 2012?

This 5-card subset in 1992 OPC is a very nice tribute to a future HOFer, with one card devoted to each stop in Carter’s career.  My kneejerk reaction to seeing this again was “This is such a nice subset, this type of thing should be done more often”…  Then thoughts of 196-card tributes to Alex Rodriguez or Chipper Jones filled me with dread, and I backed off on my wishes.

As for what the Mets will do this season… I’m sure there’ll be a patch;  it might be as simple as a black patch with “KID” in white letters, it could be something more elaborate.

I’m sure there will be some sort of appropriate tribute at the home opener.

What a lot of Mets fans are asking are “Will the Mets retire #8?”

My feelings are mixed on this;  If you asked me 10 years ago if the Mets should retire 8, I would’ve said “No” because I didn’t regard it as unthinkable that anyone would ever wear 8 again.  To me, being a HOFer isn’t enough to get your number retired, you have to have meant so much to the team that the mere thought of someone else wearing that number elicits an “Aw HELL no!”  Since nobody burned down Shea Stadium when Dave Gallagher, Steve Swisher, Carlos Baerga, Cookie Rojas, Desi Relaford and Matt Galante wore the number after Carter, then there obviously wasn’t an “Aw HELL no!” involved.

The number’s been out of circulation for 9 seasons.  Last year I would’ve said they should either retire it or put it back into production.  Fish or cut bait.

But now?  Now, the Mets have painted themselves into a corner.  If they retire 8 now, many fans (myself included) would say “If you were going to retire it, why couldn’t you do it when Carter was still ALIVE, you schmucks?”

If they give the number out to a current player, they’re heartless bastards.

I see this playing out in one of two ways:

1)  They’ll wait a few years until some plausible reason comes up, and then retire 8 for both Gary Carter and Yogi Berra.   One could argue that Berra meant as much to the franchise as Carter did, and he wore the number more than twice as long as a player, coach and manager.

2)  They’ll keep it out of circulation until a worthy player comes along and requests #8, and they’ll say “We don’t like giving this number out, but since it’s <insert All-Star player’s name here>, we’ll make an exception”.  Then the Mets front office will thank their lucky stars that the number’s back in circulation and when that player leaves they’ll leave it as an active number.

…But it’s the Mets, so who knows what they’ll do?

An important message to you, the faithful reader of The Shlabotnik Report

I’m proud to say that this is the first time in this blog’s history where I featured cards where I wasn’t sure where the cards were but was able to find them.  I’m proud because it means that I’ve gotten the Shlabotnik collection organized enough that I can find things again.

My intent from the start was to document the process of focusing my collection, and sharing all the cool stuff I rediscovered along the way.  While I knew that I needed some motivating factor (i.e. this blog) to get me past that depression that swept over me every time I looked at the mess of a room, I didn’t fully appreciate how much of a mess it was.  Now that I can find stuff again, I can be better about sharing the fun stuff I’ve accumulated.

Thanks for sharing the journey so far, I hope to repay you for your dedication.