Your typical good news/bad news situation

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

First the bad news...I am under the pump at work. Absolutely slammed. So no more posts from me until Thursday night, I'm afraid.

Now the good news...we, as a staff, voted to eliminate student work portfolios as an assessment tool, effective next term. So no more cramming a term's worth of work into a binder, running around, chasing after half-completed assignments from the little dears. We'll be sending work home every couple of weeks, which will greatly improve my sanity and sleeping patterns.

I'm still sitting on nine packs of unopened 2010 cards. I've opened one at a time occasionally as a little treat to myself for getting work done. The highlight so far has been an Ichiro. The lowlight is this Toppstown cards in every pack, which apparently count as one of the eight cards. I call shenanigans and I still haven't figured out what Toppstown is.

The First Pack

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Well, the various check marks in the various boxes on the report cards have been filled in, so I figure it's time for a brief reward, then back to the grind. But let's open my first pack of 2010 Topps.

I'm excited, because this is the first current pack of baseball cards that I have opened since some '91 Topps, unless you count those O-Pee-Chee Premiers I still have no recollection opening. So it's kind of a big deal to me. It'll probably be as big a let down as the 1990 Topps pack I opened for A Pack to be Named Later.

Anyway, here's what we've got. 8 cards, no bubblegum to ruin the cards. That reminds me, I need to by some toploaders, apparently. Wonder if there's any hobby shops in town...

115 - Gordon Beckham (Wow! Right on top, a highly touted young player for one of my favorite teams. I'm liking things so far.)
182 - Coco Crisp (Oh well, we can't have everything.)
204 - Checklist 2 of 5 (Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler)
311 - Jose Valverde (Blech...Astros)
Bob Gibson 1959 Yo Mamma Card (with original back)
PP9 - Bob Gibson Peak Performer Card (miscut)
Some card with Adam Dunn for something called ToppsTown (what the hell is that?)
164 - Carlos Carrasco (RC)

Well, the Beckham was definitely a win. No parallels, the closest thing was the Gibson Yo Mamma with the original back, which told me that his nickname was Hoot (like I didn't know that already) and that he was optioned back to Omaha from the Cards in 1959. The checklist I could have done without, and Valverde was disappointing because I, well, hate the Astros.

The Beckham pull means the Sox will be the first team I preview, when I finally get the chance. Which probably means Thursday night.

They're here!

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Twelve packs of 2010 Series 1 cards were waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home today. Unfortunately, I have to cook dinner. But I'll be opening up the first couple packs later on tonight to see what I've "won."

Coming up soon at RGB Cards...

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Wow, three days without a post. Sorry about that. As a teacher, and with the end of the term coming up and reports and conferences and stuff to do, it can get a bit hectic. Thorzul knows what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I'm still waiting on the Topps Series 1 packs to arrive from Victoria. To give you some idea of the geography, it's like being in southern California and waiting for something to come regular first-class mail from Florida. Only the infrastructure in Australia isn't as robust as it is in America.

I'm thinking they'll come in the mail today. I also bet that they won't deliver them, and instead leave me a note saying to come to the post office to pick the package up because it won't fit in the mailbox. This will be tricky because, as I said, I've got parent/teacher conferences after school all this week and next. Oh, and the post offices aren't open on Saturdays. I probably should have timed this better.

When I do get the cards, you can bet I'll be posting my finds on the blog. I'll also be doing my own season preview for each of the five teams we cover here. (I say that like I have some kind of news-gathering organisation).

Can't wait - in two weeks, it'll be Easter break, and I'll have two weeks off to watch baseball and...well, that's about it.

The Ageless Wonder

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , ,

I loved this Jayson Stark story about Jamie Moyer, and how, at age 47, he has no desire to slow down or even think about retiring. That inspired me to dig through and find the oldest Jamie Moyer card in my collection, his 1987 Topps card:

 A couple of things struck me about this card. First, the 1987 Topps was the first complete set that I owned (received it as a Christmas present that year). And there's still a guy pitching in the big leagues who had a card in that set! It's funny, because I don't really remember Jamie Moyer back then. Probably because he was a young guy pitching for the Cubs, and I tried to avoid the Cubs at all costs, unless they were playing the Reds on WGN.

Secondly, the 1987 card holds special significance, because, as Stark points out in his column, 1987 was the last time a team had such a geriatric pitcher in their starting rotation (the Indians and 48-year-old Phil Niekro, in case you're wondering). I don't think that 1987 Jamie Moyer looked at Phil Niekro that season and thought he'd be in the same place, 23 years later. But I could be wrong.

Finally, here's the back of Moyer's 1987 card. It looks a bit, well, incomplete compared to what we know now. No Mariners, no Orioles, no Phils:
How about that factoid! Johnny Vander Meer, eat your heart out.

Million Card Theory

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Dayf's post about the Topps Transmogifier being constantly stuck on 1980s cards got me thinking. Given the Million Card Giveaway's slogan is "win back the cards your mother threw out," and since a lot of us seemed to begin collecting in the 1980s, is the transmogifier sensing this somehow and spitting about a bunch of '87 Topps wood grain finish cards because those are the ones our hypothetical mothers would have hypothetically tossed? (you know, if we hadn't obsessively catalogued every card and kept them under lock and key)

To test my theory, when I signed up for my account on the website, I put in my dad's birthday. I'm now expecting to get a bunch of 1950s cards. I'll let you all know when I unlock the Mantle.

Griffey (senior, that is)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

I must say it's been fun flipping through the box of assorted commons. My memories of my collection consisted of Topps, some Score, and a few Upper Deck. But, as it turns out, there's a bunch more in there. Stuff that, quite frankly, I can't remember buying, and not sure exactly why I would have, given some of my card-buying prejudices. But there's some good stuff. Take this one, for instance:

I love this card. And I'm not a fan of Donruss, at all. Their main selling point, as near as I can tell, is that you get to find out players' middle names. But this card all kinds of fun. For example:
  • It says "Ken Griffey, Sr." Which of course, implies there's a Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Senior is a Mariner on this card, and he made history by being a Mariner and playing on the same team as his son.
  • He's wearing one of those early-'90s pre-Lou Piniella Mariners jerseys that I just loved.
  • It's an action shot. If I didn't know any better, I'd say a 40-year-old man was stealing a base.
See, I had totally forgotten about this card. And maybe next time, I won't wait 15 years to look through my collection.

Cards of Oz

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

As you might imagine here in Australia, you can't just walk into a store and buy a pack of baseball cards. AFL (Aussie Rules football) cards, sure. But baseball cards...not so much. In fact, the next store I see baseball cards in will be the first.

So you can imagine that I was pretty excited to find someone on eBay, in Australia, selling 2010 Topps Series 1 cards. So excited, I rushed out and bought the rest of the ones he had. 12 packs are headed my way from Victoria as we speak. I can't wait to open them up and do some pack breaks.

In the meantime, I'll keep looking for cards that don't feature a flat cricket bat.

Orioles of my youth...and Tom Niedenfuer

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , ,

aving dealt with the Reds, and (sort of) the Mariners, it's time I posted a Orioles card. But first...why the Orioles?
When you grow up, as I did, in North Carolina in the '80s, your choices were the O's on Home Team Sports (before the days of MASN, kids - ask your parents) or the Braves on TBS. I was firmly in the O's camp. First of all, I just watched more HTS because it showed, well, sports. I really didn't care about all the Andy Griffith re-runs that The Superstation showed throughout the day and during rain delays.

Secondly, let's face it - the Braves stunk. Remember this was the mid to late '80s, before the Braves pulled the worst to first trick and became the National League juggernaut that nobody saw coming. To be fair, the O's weren't that good, either - they hadn't been the same since Joe Altobelli won the World Series in '83 with Earl Weaver's team. But there was a sense that they were at least trying, and were on the cusp of something...until 0-21 happened.

Anyway, as I had mentioned before, I was looking through this box labelled assorted commons. "Great," I thought to myself, "I can find an O's card, tell a quick anecdote about the shlub on the front, job done. I might even toss in a personal story about watching cable TV in 1987." Well, trying to find an Oriole in that box was about as successful as the O-Pee-Chee pack. I found two - an '89 Score Tom Niedenfuer, and a very strange card that I'll have to save for the right time. I was about to give up when I flicked past this one:
I'm trying to much hair was left under that hat? (You'll discover that I have an obsession with people's hairlines - probably because mine is in full-fledged retreat mode.) Then I thought...oh, how I loved the Oriole Bird. I should really get one of those throwback hats.

At any rate, it's good to see St. Cal of Aberdeen make an appearance in the blog, especially since I wasn't planning on it. I was looking straight down the barrel of a Tom Niedenfuer, for goodness' sake.

"One of the few bright spots for the lowly Orioles." Oh, how 1988 sucked.

I'm a putz

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

So you know that big long post yesterday about going through two packs of 1993 O-Pee-Chees and not finding a single Red, Oriole, Mariner, Athletic or White Sox? Not sure how I missed this gem, right near the beginning:

In my defense, it's not terribly obvious that he plays for the M's in this card. There's no logos on the front, his back is turned so you can't see the team name, and his cap is partially obscured. Also, despite his four lackluster years in Seattle, I tend to think of him as a Brewer (as I'm guessing do most people). I know - excuses, excuses. If I had bothered to look carefully at the back of the card, it would have been a lot more obvious:

As penance, I am wearing my brand-new 59Fifty M's cap that I got as a gift from my tee-ball team to remind me what exactly a Mariners cap looks like, every time I look in the mirror. I'm sorry, Chris Bosio.

An International Post

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , ,

Almost three years ago, I moved to Australia from the USA. And yet, it was just this January before I successfully moved my card collection over. Cost me more than 100 bucks in excess baggage charges, too.

My collection isn't as extensive as some people's - I tended to spend my money on yearly sets, taking the view that if I do that, I'm guaranteed to have one of everything. I'm a completist like that. But as I was moving, I found a box with some random cards. A lot of them are Reds team sets, but, towards the bottom of the box, I found a pack of 1993 O-Pee-Chee Premier cards.

Now, here's the thing about this...I have no recollection of how I got these. I've been to Canada three times in my life - five if you count the stopover at Pearson Airport on my way to the Netherlands and the time we may have drifted over the maritime border while sailing on Lake Erie.

Of these visits, none would have been in 1993. The closest would have been 1994. August 1994. You remember what happened in August 1994, right? Well, that was during this trip. I doubt I would have been buying any baseball cards then. Especially not year-old bilingual cards, unless I did it with a sense of detached irony.

Anyway, back to the cards. As I was flipping through the set, it was about what you'd expect - heavy on the Jays and Expos, four Star Performer cards (Joe Carter, Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff, and, umm, Pat Listach). Barry Bonds (card no. 1) also makes an appearance! It's his first year with the Giants, so his head is normal size.

However, would you believe that, in flipping through 36 cards (so it must have been two packs), there wasn't a single Red, Oriole, Athletic, White Sox or Mariner? I found Walt Weiss, but in a Marlins uniform. Scott Fletcher, but as a Ranger. I even got not one, but two Andy Van Slykes. He was an Oriole for about five minutes, but that was still in the future. Yep, we were facing a shutout.

That is until...

Wait a second...

No, it can't be!

IT IS!!!!

Yes, it's the immortal John Smiley. In 1993, he was just starting his Reds career, a career that would see him go 48-48. But Smiles was the ace of the staff in '95, the last time the Redlegs made the playoffs. He went 12-5 with a 3.46 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 176 innings. Later on, he would be traded along with my dad's least-favorite Red of all time, Jeff Branson, in the deal that brought Danny Graves and Scott Winchester to Cincinnati.

John Smiley, you may not have had the most illustrious career, but you'll always bring fond memories.