PWE Playhouse: One PWE, Two PWEs, Who Knows

I’ve been so bad at sharing the PWE’s I’ve received from Shoebox Legends that I honestly don’t know which of these scanned images came from the latest PWE and which came from the one before that… I guess it doesn’t matter, I’m still very appreciative of the cards I received… and as usual I need to reciprocate… I think. Probably. I’ve been a little disorganized lately. OK, a lot.

But not too disorganized to use my new “PWE Playhouse” artwork…
PWE Playhouse

Studio was a hit or miss set for me, fortunately 2004 falls into one of the “hit” years. And it’s a newly-minted HOFer to boot!
2004 Studio Mike Piazza
I know that’s the Empire State Building on the right; I feel like I should know what the tall building on the left is.

Buddy Carlyle is one of those middle relievers that almost never gets on a card, so was happy to receive this “Pride and Perseverance” card. I believe that Carlyle’s previous cardboard appearance was in 2009 Upper Deck.
2015 Topps Update Pride And Perseverance Buddy Carlyle
2009 was also the year that Buddy Carlyle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which is why he’s featured in this insert set. Not technically part of the team set since it’s an insert, but one I am very happy to have.

Former Oriole Jason Johnson is also diabetic, and was the first player to wear an insulin pump on the field.
2015 Topps Update Pride And Perseverance Jason Johnson

Another 2015 insert I’m really enjoying is the Rookie Sensation set. I tried to count my Cal Ripken PC to see what this card brings the total up to, but I started to lose count somewhere north of 300. Let’s call this card #307, that’s close enough for government work.
2015 Topps Update Rooke Sensations Cal Ripken
The Cal PC is sort of driven by Mrs. Shlabotnik; she enjoys seeing new cards I pick up, but she never looks at the Cal binder I have set up. Not a big deal, I like both players and player collections are fun, no matter what the motivation.

Doc Gooden is a player I would be collecting regardless of my marital status. And this is a fine looking example of Doctor K cardboard.
2015 Topps Update Rooke Sensations Dwight Gooden

I am ThisClose to finishing my 1973 set, so this card wasn’t technically a need…
1973 Topps John Milner
…but much of my 73T set is in fairly rough shape, so this was a much-appreciated upgrade of “The Hammer”.

The rest of this post is taken up by cards from insert sets and subsets I hadn’t been aware of. First off is a 1997 Fleer Ultra Rookie Reflections insert of Rey Ordonez.
1997 Fleer Ultra Rookie Reflections Rey Ordonez

Rey Ordonez was a good-glove, no-hit shortstop that I always enjoyed watching… And he’s one of three Mets to wear #0 (along with Omar Quintanilla and Terry McDaniel).

Next up is a die-cut team checklist featuring Todd Hundley from 1998 Pacific Paramount.
1998 Pacific Paramount Team Checklist Todd Hundley
It’s kind of odd to have a die-cut subset within a non-die-cut base set, but that’s Pacific for you. Pacific did some odd things sometimes, but I miss them despite/because of that.

Another Piazza, this one from the 1999 Upper Deck 10th Anniversary insert set.
1999 Upper Deck 10th Anniversary Team Mike Piazza
Can’t think of  much to say about this.  Piazza.  Yay!

This card is a 2000 Upper Deck “Second Season Standout” card of Edgardo Alfonzo.
2000 UD MVP Second Season Standouts Edgardo Alfonzo
Fonzie’s second season was in 1996, so I’m not sure what the point of this subset is, but it’s all good, it’s a nice-looking card of an underrated Met.

So that wraps up my PWE… or PWE and a half… whichever.

Thanks so much, Shane! Hope you survived the snow!

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.

Losers Weepers (2015 Topps Chrome Update)

Earlier this week I was in a different town and decided to stop in the Target store there… I needed some things, but I was also looking for these Topps Update Mega-Boxes which included the exclusive packs of Chrome Update.

When I got to the card aisle, I was disappointed to find that there was not a mega-box in sight.  This was the third Target I’d checked, and I came up empty again.

Dejected and looking for a “consolation prize”, I reached down to the cardboard tray on the bottom shelf to see what kind of discounted blasters they might have.

Down there, behind the discounted blasters, was a box that was larger than the others.  “Wonder what that is?” I thought as I reached for it.

I picked it up and realized…
2015 Topps Update Mega-box
…It was a mega box! I’m guessing someone hid it until they could come back with more funds, but I thwarted their nefarious plans. Nyah-ha-ha!

Lesson #1:  Just because you don’t see the product doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  I’m sure many of you have similar stories.

So you may be wondering about the cards…

I generally don’t go for parallels or shiny cards, but the Chrome Update cards are pretty nice. Here are a couple of examples…
2015 Topps Update Swihart and Walker

As it turned out, the second pack was custom-made for a Mets fan like me:
2015 Topps Update Syndergaard and deGrom RS
I love the deGrom, and the Syndergaard isn’t shabby either. It’s funny, I’ve pulled a Syndergaard variation, I’ve pulled a Syndergaard Chrome, but I still don’t have a base card for Thor.

This box comes with a second lesson… I’m starting to feel like an episode of Fat Albert: “If you’re not careful, you might learn a thing or two”…. Anyway, I got caught up in some of the mega-box excitement and didn’t properly do the math. I’d thought that the “Five packs of Update” were worth about $10 by themselves (5 packs * $1.99 ea.), meaning that I figured I was paying about $5 for the two Chrome packs.

But that’s exactly what Topps’ marketing people wanted me to think. Five loose packs are, indeed, $10… But those packs have 12 cards each, while the Mega-box packs have 8 cards each. The non-Chrome mega-box packs are probably worth more like $7, which means you’re paying something like $4 each for the Chrome packs… or $1 per card.

I don’t see myself getting another mega-box, but I also have no regrets… I have two Chrome cards I like, five more are already on their way to a new home, and I have yet to open a couple of the non-Chrome packs, so maybe there’s something super exciting hiding in there.

Over? Did You Say “Over”?!?

Nothing is over until WE decide it is!

2015 TSR AH-1 Bluto Blutarsky

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?  HELL, NO!!!


(“Forget it, he’s rolling.”)

…It ain’t over now.

‘Cause when the going gets tough….



…The tough get going!

Who’s with me?  LET’S GO!!!!!

Thoughts On The Mets, Plus Recently Acquired Mets Cards

I’ve been pretty quiet about the playoffs so far, and I would guess that some of you are wondering why a Mets fan hasn’t weighed in on the subject.

I’ll admit, part of my silence was not wanting to jinx the Mets.
1969 Topps Cleon Jones

When this season started, my expectations were “This is the year we don’t suck!” A wild card spot would be cool, but being something other than painful to watch (not to mention putting the whole “LOLMets” meme to bed) was my wish for the season.
1992 Stadium Club Dwight Gooden
Halfway through the season, that’s about what it looked like. The Mets were a decent team, but didn’t look like world-beaters.

…But then again, neither did the Nationals (despite all the preseason talk of 100 wins and a championship).
1997 Pinnacle Denny's Todd Hundley
Then the Mets made a move where they actually traded away prospects for major league talent, rather than the other way around. They picked up Kelly “The Happy Wanderer” Johnson and Juan Uribe for two fringey pitching prospects. I liked the deal, and thought that would be THE big move towards acquiring mid-season help. After all, the Mets weren’t going to be serious contenders until next year, right?

2013 Topps Archives Howard Johnson
They also picked up Tyler Clippard to bolster the bullpen, another nice trade to help the team without selling out on the future.

Then, much to my surprise, they picked up Yoenis Cespedes. It was at that point that I realized that they had more than meaningful September baseball in mind.

2013 Topps Finest Matt Harvey
But all along, I kept in mind that this wasn’t necessarily supposed to be happening. I enjoyed the Nationals falling apart because that franchise’s arrogance annoys the crap out of me (a subject for another post, another day), but I didn’t get carried away about the division title… Hell, both wild card teams had better records than the Mets.
1962 Topps Gus Bell
I tried to keep in mind that the Mets, like Dante in the movie “Clerks”, were “not even supposed to be here today”.

They beat the Dodgers, which was thoroughly enjoyable because I’d run across a fair number of Dodger fans who were beating their chests about how unbeatable Kershaw & Greinke were…. Plus I’m still pissed about the Dodgers beating the Mets in the 1988 NLCS.
1964 Topps Jim Hickman
The Cubs made the NLCS difficult for me because the Cubs were my second-favorite team in the postseason and I have a few friends who are Cubs fans. As games between the Mets and Orioles have taught me, it’s harder to enjoy a game when you like both teams.

…which is why, after the Mets swept the Cubs, I switched my AL rooting interest to the moderately obnoxious Royals. I decided that, win or lose, the World Series would be more fun with a bad guy. Hopefully I won’t come to regret that.
1967 Topps Bob Shaw
So here we are, on the cusp of Game 1. I still maintain my mindset that this season is already an overwhelming success, and anything else is just gravy. Sure, I want the Mets to win, but given all the unexpected joys of this season, all I really ask for is that the World Series be fun to watch.
1970 Topps Tom Seaver
Let’s Go Mets!

Are You Sure The Mets Can’t Blow The Division Lead Somehow…?

So I was out with my wife last night, and at one point I checked my phone and said to her “Oh, the Mets are up 10-2, looks like they’re going to clinch tonight”.
2015 TSR #401 - Jeurys Familia
When we got home, I fired up MLB.TV and watched the ninth inning, and then spent what must have been an hour watching postgame interviews and celebrations. I enjoyed that, I enjoyed watching the players go back out on to the field and celebrate with the Mets fans who were in Cincinnati…
2015 TSR #402 - Lucas Duda
…But even though I enjoyed it, I didn’t get excited. This is what 42 years of following the Mets will do to you. There’s always a voice inside me that resists the urge and says “Oh, no… You’re not pulling a fast one on me again!” Oddly enough, the voice often sounds like Daffy Duck during one of those cartoons where he repeatedly gets his beak blasted off by Elmer Fudd’s shotgun. (Bugs: “Wwwwwwwwwwabbit.”, Daffy: “Duck! FIRE!!!!” – BLAM!!!)
2015 TSR #403 - Curtis Granderson
But this morning, just in case I had any lingering doubts, there it was showing up on my laptop and in the newspaper… 2015 National League East Champions.
2015 TSR #404 - Wilmer Flores
So now all attention turns to the Dodgers, and getting home field advantage against the Dodgers.
2015 TSR #410 - Matt Harvey
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Nationals, where the season started with talk of 100-win seasons and World Championships, and here they are in late September, eliminated from a playoff spot and still with a chance of finishing below .500.
2015 TSR #425 - David Wright
My apologies go out to the Pittsburgh Steelers… I’m not the most dedicated fan of the Black And Gold in that I don’t pay much attention to football until baseball is over for me… and this year, it’s going to be later than usual. We’ve been here before, the Steelers will get by just fine without me.
2015 TSR AS-7 Jacob deGrom
I’m sure that the upcoming postseason will all sink in during the coming week, and I’ll start to get excited. The Dodgers have their ginourmous payroll and an impressive one-two punch in Kershaw and Greinke, but they are not infallable. Both pitchers went 1-1 against the Mets this year, and it needs to be pointed out that the Mets lineup which Kershaw shut out on July 23rd had Eric Campbell playing third and John Mayberry Jr. batting cleanup (and Mayberry’s not even in the organization anymore).
2015 TSR #400 - Yoenis Cespedes

1962 Topps Remastered (But Is It Improved?)

Just over a week ago I was reading Night Owl’s Topps’ Set Countdown when I had a thought…

Night Owl referred to the 1962 design as a “peeling poster on a wooden fence”… and even though I know that’s what it’s meant to evoke, I hadn’t really thought about in a number of years…  It just is what it is.

I’ve always thought that the 1962 design was a little bland and could use a little spicing up, so I idly thought “too bad there wasn’t something more than wood under the peeling poster”… And that’s when it hit me – What if the peeling poster revealed an “older” poster underneath? And that poster could have the player’s information while getting a splash of color involved…

So I played around for a few minutes and came up with something.

Here’s an original 1962 Topps Ed Bouchee (which I chose because it’s a higher numbered card that features an actual Mets uniform):
1962 Topps Ed Bouchee

…And here’s my tweaked version.

1962 Topps Ed Bouchee improved 2

As Joel on Mystery Science Theater 3000 would say… “What do you think, sirs?”

1998 Pinnacle Team Snapshots (Mets) – As The Oddballs Go, It Was Odder Than Most

Back in the late 1990’s, Pinnacle was not afraid to experiment.  That much is evidenced by the “Pinnnacle Inside” set that came packaged in metal cans (take THAT, pack feelers!).

Another example of their experimentation are the 1998 Pinnacle Team Snapshots sets.  These sets were issued for 15 different teams and each team set had 18 snapshots.   I built a Mets team set of these back in 1998, which wasn’t terribly difficult as long as you could find somebody selling the eight-photo packs.

These sets are about as obscure as anything you’ll find from a major company. While they’re undoubtedly a collectible, they’re not cards. They’re 4″x6″ and printed on photo paper.  I would guess that the target audience was more the casual fan than the collector.

Here’s the Bobby Jones snapshot from the Mets team set.
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Bobby Jones

and here’s the back:
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots #14 back

As you may or may not be able to see, the back is done up like a photo, almost to a fault. The only information is the Pinnacle, MLB and MLBPA logos, some legal information and the numbering (14 of 18). No mention of who’s pictured on the front.

To further the “I just got a bunch of snapshots back from being developed!” experience, each pack was an envelope similar to the kind used by any business that printed off photos for you…. camera stores, pharmacies, as well as mail-order and online services.

Here’s the front of the one opened pack I hung on to… I think these came shrink-wrapped, but I can’t remember now.
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots pack front
…and here’s the back:
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots pack back
Eagle-eyed collectors will notice that the text at the top that reads “MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL OFFICIAL SNAPSHOTS” is in the same style as was used for 1998 Score Series 1 cards.

From what I can see on eBay, the other teams had similar envelopes, with only the team name and team logo changing.  The “sharing” of envelopes is probably the reason for something else I’d noticed – the photos on the envelope have the team logos removed, presumably to avoid confusion over why a pack of Mets cards would have pictures of Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees on the outside.

The flap on the back opened like an envelope of photos…
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots pack side

The photos that they used were either candid shots or action shots… as if a friend of yours had gone to Spring Training, took a bunch of pictures, and printed a bunch off for you. It would’ve been nice if the imaginary friend had “written” the players’ names on the back of the photos before sending them to you.

I really like this set, and couldn’t decide which particular Mets Snapshots I should share, so I’m just going to feature all of them.

Bernard Gilkey;  A blurry Al Leiter (#22) is in the background, and for some reason that’s his only appearance in this set.
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Bernard Gilkey

Bill Pulsipher
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Bill Pulsipher

Brian McRae
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Brian McRae

Butch Huskey
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Butch Huskey

Rey Ordonez and Carlos Baerga
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Carlos Baerga

Edgardo Alfonzo
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Edgardo Alfonzo

Jay Payton
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Jay Payton

John Franco
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots John Franco

John Olerud
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots John Olerud

Carlos Baerga and Paul Wilson
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Paul Wilson

Preston Wilson
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Preston Wilson

Rey Ordonez (and – I think – Dodgers catcher Tom Prince sliding)
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Rey Ordonez 2

Rey Ordonez
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Rey Ordonez

Rich Becker  (I’ve never been able to figure out who the guy right behind Becker is… Feel free to offer up any ideas).
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Rich Becker

Todd Hundley
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Todd Hundley 2

Todd Hundley
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Todd Hundley

Todd Pratt
1998 Pinnacle Mets Snapshots Todd Pratt

So that’s the Mets Team Snapshot set.  According to the 2008 Standard Catalog Of Baseball Cards, these sets were also made for the Angels, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Devil Rays, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Indians, Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies and Yankees.

I’m not an autograph collector, but I think that these would look fantastic with a big ol’ signature on them.

If any other bloggers have some of these for another team, I encourage you to post about them, I’d love to see Pinnacle Snapshots from other teams.  If you’ve already posted about them in the past, please leave a link in the comments!

Autopilot, Day 6: Three MLB Showdown Cards Of Met Pitchers Wearing Black Jerseys

2000 MLB Showdown Orel Hershiser
2000 MLB Showdown Orel Hershiser

2001 MLB Showdown Kevin Appier
2001 MLB Showdown Kevin Appier

2003 MLB Showdown Jesse Orosco
2003 MLB Showdown Jesse Orosco

A Day Late And A Cartoon Short

If I were more on top of things, I would’ve re-posted this artwork yesterday on MAY THE FOURTH:
Cardboard Yoda

This was created for the first (and so far only) post in an intended series called “Cardboard Yoda”.  I still have intentions of doing more posts in that series, if I can come up with any wisdom to impart on all y’all.

…Oh, and this is the last “Autopilot” post for now.  I’ll be back in the game in the next day or two.

For Opening Day: Meet The Mets (1975 Version)

Just like yesterday’s unveiling of my TSR custom set, sharing a version of “Meet The Mets” has been a Shlabotnik Report tradition since 2012. This year I’ve got a 1970’s version that I’d completely forgotten about but is well worth sharing.

Put on your dancing shoes and meet the Mets!

Meet the Mets!
Meet the Mets!
Step right up and greet the Mets!

1971 Topps Tom Seaver
Bring your kiddies, bring your wife
Guaranteed to have the time of your life

2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Rafael Montero
Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball
Knockin’ those home runs over the wall

2014 Topps Opening Day Stars David Wright
East side, west side, everybody’s comin’ down
To meet the M-E-T-S Mets of New York Town

2012 Topps Archive Ed Kranepool
Oh, the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets
Where do they go?
To meet the Mets!

2009 O-Pee Chee Jose Reyes
Oh, they’re hollerin’ and cheerin’ and they’re jumpin’ in their seats
Where do they go?
To meet the Mets!

1968 Topps Cal Koonce
All the fans are true to the orange and blue
So hurry up and come on down

2014 Topps Eric Young Jr
‘Cause we got ourselves a ballclub
The Mets of New York town!

2010 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Matt Harvey
Give ‘em a yell! Give ‘em a hand!
And let ‘em know you’re rootin’ in the stands!

1964 Topps Galen Cisco
Come on and meet the Mets! Meet the Mets!
Step right up and greet the Mets!

2010 Topps Heritatge Johan Santana AS
Bring your kiddies, bring your wife
Guaranteed to have the time of your life

2003 MLB Showdown Jesse Orosco
Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball
Knockin’ those home runs over the wall

2002 Topps Heritage Tsuyoshi Shinjo
East side, west side, everybody’s comin’ down
To meet the M-E-T-S Mets of New York Town

2007 Topps Opening Day Mr. Met
Of Newwwwwww Yoorrrrrk Towwwwwwn!