Check Out My… Bookmarks???

My never-ending quest to find new oddballs during my COMC shopping sprees turned up these little beauties… Well, not-so-little beauties…  What you see below are technically not baseball cards, they’re bookmarks.  To be specific, 1993 Diamond Marks.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks Darren Daulton
These cards are roughly 2.5″ x 5″, just a little taller than “Tall Boys”.  They were originally sold in packs of 10 – doesn’t everybody buy their bookmarks in foil packs? – and there are 120 unnumbered bookmarks in the set.

The front has a nice glossy coating on them;  here’s what the back looks like.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks Darren Daulton back
Just to dip my toe into the water, I bought two cheap bookmarks for my player collections.  I like these enough that I’m going to go back (at some point) and pick up the Mets and Orioles, plus a few more for my other PC’s.

As part of my “investigative reporting”, I just went and tried these two out in one of my 6-pocket sheets, and they fit quite nicely… So they can get stored with your Tall Boys and other standard-width-but-taller cards.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks BJ Surhoff

As you may have noticed, the small print on the back says that these are from “The Colla Collection”.  Barry Colla is a noted sports photographer who is known in collecting circles as having issued a number of postcard sets in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks BJ Surhoff back

One thing I found interesting about these… I’ve seen these referred to as a “test issue”, but if you go out to eBay or wherever and look at images of the packs, it actually says “1993 TEST ISSUE” across the top of the pack.  I don’t recall having seen anything that promoted itself as a test issue before.

This looks like a fun, relatively cheap set.  I got my cards for $0.45 each, but from a quick look at COMC and eBay, the HOFers will set you back a couple of bucks.

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.


Repacks, Small Boys In Target, Weird Airbrushing And Other Things

Back in January I was in Target to get a couple of things, and while I was there I grabbed the last Fairfield 100 card repack they had… I put it in my basket and then started looking at the other stuff there.

Also in the card aisle was a boy, I’m guessing about 8 years old (although I’m terrible at guessing ages), and he looked at me and asked “What did you get?”

I showed him the repack and said “Oh, I’m just getting this… I’ve had pretty good luck with them”.  I saw a couple of packs of Topps football cards in his hand, so I said “I like the Football cards this year”.  He went on to tell me that he liked the Redskins and RG3, I said I didn’t care one way or the other about the Redskins but I liked RG3.  I made a comment about baseball cards coming in another week or two, and then said something along the lines of “see you later” and left.

Afterwards it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember the last time I had a verbal hobby conversation with someone who wasn’t trying to sell me cards. Now I kind of wish I’d spoken to the boy longer.

At any rate, it was nice to meet a boy who was interested in cards, and it was very nice see a kid in the card aisle instead of some guy camped out on the floor feeling up packs.

Before we got to talking, this card on the back of my repack caught my attention:
1984 Milton Bradley Ted Simmons
When I saw the card, a voice inside my head – very much like Mel Brooks doing an old man – said “What the hell is this?”  The airbrush artist wasn’t satisfied with removing the Brewers logo, he decided he’d go all-out and add red to the collar and red side panels on Simmons cap. It’s odd, but sort of appealing. The end result is a sort of combination of the Brewers and Expos… Ladies and gentlemen, your Montwaukee Brewxpos!

Here are the other highlights of the the repack…

This Oriole came from the 1990 Donruss “Best Of The American League” box set. I wonder if the “regular” 1990 Donruss set would’ve been met with such universal disdain if they’d used this blue instead of traffic cone orange.
1990 Donruss Best Jeff Ballard

I also got the usual assortment of Topps Stickers, including this one which features two Shlabotnik favorites:  Steve Jeltz and a very young B.J. Surhoff.
1990 Topps Stickers Samuel Surhoff

On the back of some other stickers, I got a Sid Fernandez to add to my Mets collection…
1990 Topps Stickers Sid Fernandez

Finally, I got another addition to my 1980’s/1990’s Topps Glossy insert collection:
1991 Topps Glossy Rookies Scott Ruskin

I have to admit, I was fairly well disappointed by this repack.  It was largely devoid of  “fun junk”… I know that’s very subjective, but there were no obscure regional 1980’s box set cards, no Studio cards, no Topps Total or UD 40 Man, no cards older than 1982, just the one Topps glossy insert, and only a couple of what used to be “high end” cards (i.e. Stadium Club, Leaf).  Part of the disappointment might be because a couple of cards which could’ve been fun were done in by having Sammy Sosa on them.

The Last Time The Orioles…? Probably 1997

Some of you who aren’t Orioles fans might be looking on the team’s unexpected success and wondering “Hey, when was the last time the Orioles…?”

Doesn’t matter how the question ends, the answer is probably 1997.

The last time the Orioles ended the season with a winning record?  1997.

…were 20 games above .500 in September?  1997.

…Made the playoffs?  1997.

…Won the division?  1997.

Had a closer with 40+ saves? 1997.

Had a winning record at Yankee Stadium?  1997.

It doesn’t apply just to the Orioles.  When was the last time the Red Sox had a losing record?  …The Indians were in the World Series?  …The Brewers were an American League team?  1997.

Back in 1997, the three division winners were the Orioles, Indians and Mariners.  Damn, that WAS a long time ago.  The Orioles beat the Mariners in the Division Series, but lost to the Indians in the ALCS.  The Indians would lose to the wild card Marlins.

It’s very exciting – and admittedly very odd – for the Orioles to be back in the thick of things, especially since I began the season preparing for a very long season for both my teams. I have no idea how things will shake out, but for now I’m hoping they manage to pass the Yankees, and we’ll see what happens from there.

Let’s go, O’s!!!