Eight bucks worth of Orioles (Part 3 - Pinnacle)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

On we go to part three of the eight-dollar lot of Oriole cards I got off of the Bay. This time, it's cards from Pinnacle. Once I have this done, it's on to the "Big Five" - and I might have to split things up into more than one post per manufacturer.

Let's start things off with this '92 Pinnacle Joe Orsulak. There's nothing really special about the card, per se. It's just a base card from the junk wax era with nothing to really make it stand out:

So why the heck am I showing it? It's because of the subject. Joe Orsulak, to me, symbolises the Orioles of the late '80s and early '90s. Even though 1992 was his last year with the Birds, I'll always identify him with the Orioles for some reason. Don't ask me why.

Here's a '94 Pinnacle Big Ben McDonald. Before Mr. Roethlisberger, the boy from the bayou was the original "Big Ben," not counting that clock in London. I scanned this card in because I liked the full bleed photography and the shot of Ben's pitching motion. Then, I looked at his '93 Pacific card en espaƱol:

It's virtually the same picture, only substitute a home uniform for a road uniform and change the arm slot a little bit. Even Ben's necklace is all akimbo in both pictures. Oh well.

A 1995 Pinnacle. It's interesting, and a bit weird and stiffly formal, how the front of the card simply reads "Palmeiro." It reminds me of the kid who got Bobby Knight fired from Indiana after he simply called the coach "Knight." Of course, The General went into a blind rage due to the lack of proper respect and deference that young whippersnapper showed.

Going back to the Palmeiro card, if I had a duplicate, I'd modify it slightly:

1996 B.J. Surhoff Pinnacle Aficionado. It's all metallic and speckled, plus B.J. is a fellow Tar Heel. And honestly, how can you not like a product line called "Aficionado"? It sounds like it should be marketed to rich, fat old white guys who can afford it at $50 a pack.

This is a 95 Pinnacle Select Bobby Bonilla. The front has him in a Mets uniform, but the Orioles logo technically makes it an O's card, I guess. The uniform is one reason why I scanned the back of the card instead of the front.

The other reason is the cool way that they did his season stats, breaking it up by opponent. An interesting idea with really nice presentation. Although nowadays I can't help but think that instead of hits and RBI the card companies would include OPS and runs scored instead.

Finally, this Gregg Zaun '96 Select card, which is fairly unremarkable except for one tiny thing. Can you spot it? You might have to click on the larger view...

Trade Time - Drew from Drew's Cards

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Many of you already know Drew from his website. From what I can see, many of you have already traded with him as well. I was having a look on his site and saw that he had a few of the 2010 Topps Cards that I needed. Fortunately, I had a few cards that he needed as well. It is from such situations that great trades come from, of course

I got my end of the deal in the mail the other day. It only took 10 days to come across from the States. That's pretty damn good! Here's what was inside

First, seven base cards that takes me up to an even 270 out of 330 cards. Only 60 more to go! Also, Drew included two more Yo Momma Cards with the original backs, 2001 Ichiro and 1970 Steve Carlton. I don't know how long it will take me to collect all of the original back cards, but I have to try. I screwed up of the scan of the Ichiro card and I'm too lazy to re-scan it. But hey, it's Ichiro!

There was also a Turkey Red included in the package, Ian Kinsler. You know, if it wasn't for Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler would probably be the sluggingest Jew in the majors today.

There was also another Legendary Lineage card - Grady Sizemore and Tris Speaker. Do you think that with Sizemore's recent (that is, all this season) struggles, Topps execs wish they could have a do-over with this card?

In addition to the 2010 Topps cards, Drew also included some cards for my various team and player collections. Some of them were 2010 Upper Decks, my first cards from the unofficial series. I've included David "Lights Out" Aardsma to represent these cards. Maybe I'll post a picture of his card every time the Mariners have another come-from-behind victory. I just wish I could tell what team he played for, but there's absolutely no way of knowing:

There was also another 2010 Upper Deck, but of a decidedly different look and feel. This goes into the King Felix collection, along with another card I recently aquired. My Twitter followers got the news first about that card (mostly because I tweeted about it as soon as I left the card shop).

Of course, Drew couldn't include Ichiro and Felix without giving Junior some love, too. He was kind enough to toss in the UD Biography card that commemorated Junior's return to Seattle:

And how about a Bowman of Bacon Beckham? Try saying that five times fast:

Two of the cards that I sent to Drew are shiny Yankee chromes from my 2010 Heritage box. I know that they are going to a good home and Drew will love them much more than I ever good. In return, he sent me a shiny Dan Haren. Even though it's techinically a D-Backs card, he's wearing his Oakland uniform:

And finally, I lied. Not intentionally, but there is one more 2010 Topps card to show. It's Adam Jones, and it looks like the base, but it's definitely not a base card:

I believe this is what the kids today call a "short print" :)

Thanks for a great trade, Drew!

Eight bucks worth of Orioles (Part 2 - Leaf)

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Next up on Eight Bucks Worth of Orioles are highlights of my cards from Leaf. It turns out, I've already posted a Leaf card and didn't even realise it. That Jerry Adair card that I had no idea about is actually a 1960 Leaf (thanks, Adam!), and the second-oldest card in my collection. Sometimes you get lucky, and the person who sells you the stuff doesn't know what they have. Of course, sometimes you don't know, either!

Here's that Jerry Adair card again, now posted in its "correct" place:

On to some more recent Leaf cards. Here are a pair of 50th anniversary cards from 1998. There were actually about five in the lot, but I chose these two in particular.

Eric Davis was selected...well, I hope I don't need to explain why! In the late '80s, when I was old enough to start following baseball religiously and actually have a clue what was going on, ED was the man for the Reds. He will always give me fond memories, and I was glad to see him revive his career with the Orioles.

Mike Mussina, on the other hand...well, to this day I still can't believe he signed with the Yankees. It seemed like a cruel joke when I heard the news. And yet, I still can't help but like the guy. Let's move on.

Oh Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey. You were supposed to be the one. The next great Oriole outfielder. What happened to you? Maybe it's because your parents misspelled your name.

I like the full-bleed photography on the card (that's what it's called when the picture goes all the way to the edge and there's no border, right?) I'm a big fan of full-bleed (man I hope that's the right term and I don't end up looking like an idiot).

Finally, let's end this post with a bang. How about some Ripkens?

There were plenty of Leaf Ripkens in the pile (at least four or five). I picked the '91 Studio card because of the black-and-white photography. I think that black-and-white photos, when done well, can be absolutely stunning. I love how this photo, even without color, still captures Cal's famous steely-blue eyes.

There's also a lot to like about the '93 Studio. Full-bleed design. A shiny (albeit replica) autograph. The fact that it's a Cal Ripken card. But the best part is the prominent nature of the best name of any logo in professional sports history, The Ornithologically Correct Bird.

Yes, it was sad to see the (cartoon) Bird go from the caps. But the '80s were nearly at an end, and the '90s ushered a new era of seriousness. But an organisation as classy as the Orioles couldn't just call the new logo a "lifelike" bird. Oh no, that wouldn't do. So a dictionary was consulted. And the 13-year-old me learned a new word.

Don't believe me on the logo name? Here's the proof.

Eight bucks worth of Orioles (Part 1)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

So a couple of months ago, I won an auction for a couple hundred Orioles cards. It was one of the first auctions that I won since getting back into the hobby, and I did it just to boost my Orioles team collection. The description on the auction wasn't great, and to be honest, I was expecting a bunch of junk wax.

My folks sent the cards in their latest package, and I'm glad they did. Looking through, the lot had its share of junk wax, but also a bunch of really interesting cards. Nothing along the lines of Thorzul's 40-dollar haul, but value for money as far as I'm concerned. I've enjoyed sifting through the cards, and am pleased to share some of the highlights with you. So sit back and enjoy...Eight Bucks Worth of Orioles:

The first installment contains the oddball cards from "non-traditional" manufacturers. Later on, I'll do posts for Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss, etc. The first card - well, you can't beat Sportflics. Unless, of course, you tried to scan a Sportflics card. Can you even tell who this is? I'll give you a hint - it's not Jim Palmer:

If you said "Mike Boddicker" - you win! If you said anyone else, you lose. If you said "Jim Palmer," then I'm sorry, but I simply can't help you.

A side note - I'm having a heck of a time trying to figure out the card number for this card. On the left hand side, it says "Series #1 Card 104". But on the right-hand side, next to the Sportflics logo, is a picture of a baseball with the number 52. So which is it?

Next up is this card of former shortstop Jerry Adair. I can't make hide nor hair out of this card. First of all, there's absolutely no clues as to what year this card comes from - none - which makes me think it's a reprint. On the back, there are two lines of stats: "Past Year" and "Lifetime". The copyright information is for Sports Novelties - Chicago, Ill. with no year. In fact, the only year that's mentioned in 1958, when Jerry made his debut for the O's. And yes, the card is in black and white, which robs us of a good look at those first Oriole caps.

Now this next card isn't a re-print, as such, but a re-interpretation of a classic baseball card design. An homage, if you will. It comes to us from Baseball Card Magazine, and has obviously been cut out. Poorly, I might add:

I'm willing to overlook the fact that the original owner apparently used a machete to cut out the card because it has a picture of Chris Hoiles on it. Chris Hoiles was great. At least, it seemed that way to me at the time. I've got nothing but good memories of Chris Hoiles and there's nothing you can do to tarnish them. Besides, Fred Lynn was washed up by then, anyway.

Moving on, here's a card of Ken Singleton from a sponsored set. In this case, Drake's Bakeries:

Ken is a Drake's "Big Hitter" and in 1980 he hit 24 home runs, certainly a big total for that time. Nowadays, if a corner outfielder doesn't hit 24 home runs he's not pulling his own weight. Sadly for Ken, the '80 season was the fifth and last time he blasted 20 or more homers. He hit 13 in the strike-shortened '81 season (when this card came out) and only hit 18 in '82, his next full season. He retired two years later with 246 career blasts.

Drake's is best known as the company that brought you Devil Dogs and Ring Dings.

The final three cards are all from the good folks at Pacific. These two are from the 1988 Baseball Legends set:

As I said before, any card with Brooks Robinson on it is a good card. The Brooksie card was actually the first card I saw on top of the pile. My first thought was "oh great, this is going to be a bunch of reprints and inserts. But I was, thankfully, wrong.

The final card today is also from Pacific, or should I say, Pacifico?

Yes, it's Ben McDonald, lanzador in Pacific's 1993 Spanish-language set. It's a good thing I took five years of Spanish in school so I can tell you that Ben finished with 158 strikeouts in 1992, and his 227 innings pitched made him the third-most durable pitcher on the team that year. He was also the first pick in the 1989 draft, but I didn't need to be able to read Spanish to know that.

Next up in the series - my Leaf cards from the stack. There are some good looking cards, so stay tuned!

Don't worry...I'm back

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

This is a busy time of year for me. Being a teacher, I'm often busy, doubly so as a teacher at a year-round school (all the schools are year-round schools here in Australia - I like it better, but I digress).

Anyway, we're coming up to the end of term. That's at the end of June, but I have to start writing report cards now so they can be checked by the principal and edited in time to go home. It keeps me busy. Add to that the fact that I haven't had any new cards in a while, and the frustrations of the new house (still don't have the keys yet - grr!) and it's not been easy to find the time and energy to write.

But fear not...I got paid, and I'm about to place an online order for some 2009 boxes. According to the website, they should arrive in 3-5 days. I assume that's business days, but I'll still believe it when I see it. I've also got a trip up to "the big smoke" this weekend, and you can bet I'll hit up Al's Card Shop (shameless plug alert!) for more supplies so I can do some organising when I feel the need to take a break from reports. Finally, I got a lot of about 200 Orioles cards off of eBay. There's some interesting cards in there, and I'm thinking about doing a series a la Thorzul's "Tales from the $40 Card Lot" series. It's not as good a find as that bunch, but I was pleasantly surprised for the $8 that I paid for it. Look for the first post to arrive later tonight as I get the scans done.

I've got big plans. The key is finding the time to put it all down on virtual paper. Thanks for your patience, and for reading and commenting!


End of the Blaster

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

Well, the last pack of 2009 Heritage that I open (probably in like, forever, unless someone gives me some) and I found this little gem buried in the middle:

This will go straight in the King Felix PC binder. If, you know, I had one. Or even the sheets for one.

Sometimes living in the sticks sucks. But I don't have to tell you that, do I, Night Owl?

You never know...

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

After my trip up to Perth got cancelled delayed for a week, that's kind of slowed down my progress. I've got a bunch of cards that need to be sorted but nowhere to put them. Also, I went to the store to pick up some binder sheets (they were back in stock) only to find they weren't quite right. They were Ultra-Pro, all right, but they weren't the platinum ones. They were the "hologram series" and frankly, crap. The plastic feels different in your hands and is a lot slicker. In fact, the cards that I did put into the sheets are already trying to escape.

Basically, they're useless to me. It sucks, because I thought I found a local solution, even for a quick 10 or 20 sheets at a time. I guess I just have to keep looking. I'll probably just give the sheets away to my students for their football cards. They're too young to be picky about storage. Hell, some of them even keep their cards in their pockets! (I make sure to let them know that's not the proper way to store cards). I also refuse to trade with them for cards with dinged corners. I believe in tough love.

Anyway, what's the best way to deal with having too many cards and no place to put them? By opening more cards, of course. Specifically, a blaster pack of '09 Heritage. Yes, I know I went on a Heritage rant last week. But this is '09 Heritage. Completely different.

Not really. In my first pack, out of the eight cards, I got two team cards and two insert cards. Only the fact that one of the team cards was the Reds and one of the insert cards had a picture of Brooks Robinson saved this pack:

Pack two at least were all cards of players, but none from the teams I collect. I did get this guy, again:

I always seem to get Lincecum cards, no matter what manufacturer or set I'm opening. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to start collecting him. He is a darn good player, at least.

Pack three, however, was the best of the lot. I could tell I was in for something when I saw the side edges of the cards were different colors. Hidden in the middle was this:

Yes, it's another Yankee. But it's an old Yankee, Bobby Richardson. And it's not a Yankee relic card. Look closely at the description. It's a relic from a seat at the old palace on 33rd Street, Memorial Stadium.

A freakin' Memorial Stadium relic!!!

I haven't opened packs 4 through 8 yet. Quite frankly, I'm not going to get better than I've already got so why even try?

A classic good news/bad news situation

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The good news: We planned a trip to Perth this weekend for my father-in-law's birthday, which means a trip to the card shop.
The bad news: I forgot that I have to be back in town for 8:30 mass on Sunday, so no trip to the card shop for me.

The good news: I found out from a couple of my students that they sell Ultra Pro binder sheets at the supermarket, of all places.
The bad news: When I got to the supermarket, they were sold out.

The good news: It turns out that Dave & Adam's website will ship internationally (most card shops won't) and at fairly reasonable shipping rates.
The bad news: I have to wait until the next paycheck to order, so I missed out on the moving sale.

The good news: I have enjoyed organising the older cards in my collection, as well as the cards I have received in the mail through group breaks.
The bad news: See Nos. 1 and 2. I am now critically low on binder sheets and the organisation project has ground to a halt.

The good news: My wife cooked a delicious curry for dinner tonight.
The bad news: I had to clean up all the dirty dishes.

The good news: The Reds are in first place!
The bad news: There is no bad news. Here's a Brandon Phillips card to celebrate:


Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

A package arrived at the house today from my parents. Inside were some baseball cards that had been delivered (I'll post more about those later), a CD-ROM for my wife, and this little gem:

It's my Ken Griffey Jr. "The Kid" bobblehead. I won it on eBay about a week after the game and had it sent to my parents' house. They were kind enough to send it over so I didn't have to wait until July to get it. It'll go on my bookshelf next to my Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns bobbleheads to complete the ex-Red trifecta.

It's the same old song

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

The Reds beat the Pirates 5-0 yesterday, finishing off a three-game sweep of the Buccos. Not only was it a sweep, but it was nearly a total whitewash - one run off Bronson Arroyo on Monday was the only time Pittsburgh managed to get one across. Johnny Cueto's one-hitter on Tuesday was followed up with what might have been the best performance of Homer Bailey's big-league career, a four-hit shutout where he struck out six and didn't walk a single batter.

With their now five-game winning streak, the Reds are officially the hottest team in baseball right now. They're 19-15 and just a game back of the Cardinals. The pitching is starting to live up to the promise, the bats are coming alive (Cueto's win was a 9-0 game), Mike Leake made the jump straight to the bigs and Aroldis Chapman is waiting in the wings in Louisville. Life is good, or so it seems.

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but I've seen this show before. In fact, I see it every year, just about. The Reds start out slow in April, then catch fire in May. By the end of May or early June, they're leading the NL Central. Last year, they were only two games out at the beginning of July.

Then, they crash, and crash hard. A losing record is always the result. If the major league season was 62 games instead of 162, the Reds would have a playoff appearance streak of Braves-like proportions. But this is a team that hasn't seemed suited for the long haul, and hasn't had a winning record since the last millenium (it was the 2000 season, and yes I just went all millenium pedantic on you).

Here is my wish for this season: I wish that the Reds build on the momentum of last September, when they went 18-9 and that included a five-game losing streak. I wish that they remain competitive in the division through at least the end of July this time. I wish that if they do remain competitive, Walt Jocketty has the good sense to see the big picture and not mortgage the farm system at the trading deadline. I wish that Mike Leake continues to do well (I read an article that compared him to Tim Hudson, in terms of size, velocity and pitch selection, and that's just fine with me). I wish that Aroldis Chapman's contract turns out to be money well spent.

And most importantly, I wish for a winning season this year, so the team can have the confidence that they can compete and make a serious run at the NL Central title next season. It doesn't have to be much. Even 83-79 will do.

I don't think that's too much to ask.

Trade post: Chris at Nachos Grande

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Well, this is special...my first trade post at RGB Cards. I haven't quite decided how I'm going to handle trade posts - will I go with what seems to be the "industry standard" and create posts for each trade, or will I go the Thorzul route and create a special section for trade posts? If you see another tab pop up at the top of the blog marked "trades" you'll know I've reached a decision. Regardless, I do believe that anyone who is kind enough to help someone out with their collecting goals should be publicly recognised, and I will do that on the blog.

Anyway, back to Chris...I participated in one of his group breaks last month (he was kind enough to let me in after it had already started), and he sent me the cards for that. Not a trade, I know (unless you count trading cash for cards), but in our conversation, I mentioned that I had some 2010 Topps insert cards he could use. And, in turn, Chris was kind enough to send along some 2009 Series 2 base cards that I needed. Those have now been placed in the appropriate place in the binder, and I am now at 87% completion for that set. So thanks, Chris!

Here are some of the more exciting or colorful cards in the package:

Having seen this Frank Thomas Starquest when it was posted on the group break, I have to say the scan doesn't do it justice. I love the blue metallic look up close, and it's got me thinking about getting my hands on some more.

Another Frank Thomas insert, this Yard Work card has a bronzey-copperish bar going down the right side. It commemorates The Big Hurt owning the Sox all-time home run mark. At the time of the card, he was sitting on 286 and had the record for two seasons. He finished his time with the Sox in 2005 having blasted 448.

Between these two cards and the others I got in my pack, I'm almost considering starting a Frank Thomas PC. Nonetheless, his pages will certainly have pride of place in my White Sox binder (whenever I get that).

After a few short months "back in the biz" I've entered a couple group breaks to help build up my collections. And I can't explain it, but I've had some great luck with hits. Oh, okay, I'll come clean. I've entered four breaks, and I've gone 4-for-4. Even the Nachos Grande break that is going on now, I've already pulled a Bret Boone relic card. Now that I've blabbed this, I'll probably hit a massive dry spell, but the streak's got to end some time, right?

Anyway, this Canseco relic was my hit for this break, and it came towards the end. Now, I have to say, well, I don't think too highly of Jose Canseco, let's leave it at that. And this was before all the stuff he did after he retire. I've never really warmed up to him. The Bash Brothers were like Coke and Pepsi, Blur and Oasis, PC or Mac. You were either a Canseco guy, or a McGwire guy. One or the other. And I have always been a McGwire guy. So here's a McGwire card.

You can tell this Starquest card was from 1998 because it has McGwire in an A's uniform on the front and a Cardinals uni on the back. It also makes mention of his 363 homers with Oakland, good enough for the franchise lead. So that's two franchise home run kings in one post.

Chris also tossed in a couple of random 2008 A's cards (Scutaro and Shannon Stewart). I mention this for one reason - up until I got these cards, my only exposure to '08 Topps was scans on people's blogs. It didn't really get me excited about the set. But you know what? In person, they look a lot sharper. I think this is another set I might have to start chasing (maybe when I'm finished with '09). So Chris, my wife and my bank account hate thank you.

Finally, one last card. It's technically just a base card, from the 2005 Upper Deck Classics set, but...

OMG IT'S LUIS APARICIO!!!11!!!!@!@!!!Q!!!W!!!!

My first Little Louie base card. Only it's from 32 years after he retired. Nonetheless, it's going in my Luis page, along with some random Topps insert cards.

Thanks again, Chris!

Junior Takes a Nap

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Okay, quick survey...raise your hand if you've never dozed off at work, say in the middle of a long meeting or something interminable.

Yeah, that's what I thought. And heck, the Mariners' season this year is enough to put anybody to sleep, even The Kid. So I'm not too worried about his "behaviour" the other day. I guarantee you he's not the first major leaguer to fall asleep in the clubhouse while the game was still going on, and he won't be the last. It's not like they couldn't have sent a batboy in to wake him up if his presence was required.

Besides, he at least stayed at the stadium, unlike some other people I know...

What's more concerning (for me) is the main part of the story...that the M's are possibly going to release Junior if he doesn't retire first. Now, I'm not saying that the M's aren't justified in doing it. He's not exactly earning his roster spot right now - .208/.265/.234 ain't really getting it done (and it's always embarassing when your on-base percentage is higher than your slugging percentage).

What I'm saying is, don't release Junior. He doesn't deserve an ignominious end to his career like that. Come up with some dummy injury, stash him on the DL, bring him back when the rosters expand in September (or whenever the Mariners are well and truly out of the playoffs) and let him have one final end to the season. To let him go, or even force him to retire, before season's end just seems, well, incomplete.

Yes, it is special treatment. And quite possibly what I'm proposing goes against baseball rules (not like there haven't been other suspect "injuries" to players who are grossly underperforming). But if anyone deserves special treatment, it's Junior. After all, he is the most important person in the history of the Mariners franchise.

At least until Ichiro leads them to the 2013 World Series title.

Edit: Now MSNBC is reporting  that the Mariners have no plans to release Griffey, thus instantly making my post obsolete. Whatever. I'm leaving it up. My guess is that the Mariners front office did give Griffey the ultimatum, and now they're in spin control after the news was leaked.