Thursday, October 23, 2014

ebay purchase

Believe it or not, when it comes to indiscriminately amassing as many cards as you can of one player, ebay is not the best option.  In fact, it's more of an option of last resort.  Large lots of cards at reasonable prices are the exception and not the rule when it comes to ebay.

That's not to say you shouldn't regularly check ebay.  I monitor it almost compulsively for new Wallach items.  How do you know if your checking it enough?  Well, a good way to tell is if you've started sorting search results by "newly listed" instead of "ending soonest."  This way you get first crack at everything, and no "Buy It Now" is going to get snagged by someone else first.  If your at the point where you find yourself checking the ebay app on your phone while stopped at a traffic light, you should probably dial it back.  Wait until you get home.  (or so I've been told)

Mostly what I find on ebay are odd ball Wallach items.  But when a good deal like the one above does show up, I'm still very happy to place a bid.  This lot was for 71 cards, and came in well under the 10¢ a card ceiling that I loosely enforce upon myself.

Check out this sellers business card.  It's included with the cards above, and I put another picture below.  He also sells marbles.  I didn't realize marbles were collectible.  It makes sense when I think about it, but I guess I had never thought about it.  I'm in no position to judge the hobby/collecting habits of anyone, so I don't point this out in a disparaging manner.  I'm just pointing it out because I find it interesting.  I'll have to keep an eye out for MLB licensed marbles on ebay.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peoria, Illinois

These cards were sent by Tom O., from Peoria, IL.  This is the second "Tom" from Peoria to send cards.  What are the odds of that?  Included with the cards was what I can only assume to be a complete Expos team set of 1991 Topps Micro.  Pretty Cool.

Thanks for the cards Tom O.

Updated Totals:

1988 Topps All-Star: 378
1989 K-Mart: 19
1989 Topps: 365
1990 Donruss: 192
1990 Topps: 242
1991 Denny's: 11
1991 Donruss: 118
1991 Studio: 43
1991 Topps x2: 113
1991 Topps Micro: 5
1991 Upper Deck: 140
1992 Leaf x2: 37
1992 Topps: 110

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Portsmouth, NH

This card was sent by Bert, of "Swing and a Pop Up."  Bert just sent cards, but I guess he found one more.  That always seems to happen to me too.

Thanks for the card Bert.

Updated Total for 1982 Topps: 389

Monday, October 13, 2014

1980's Montreal Expos Home Jersey

This has been my go to Wallach jersey for about three and half years now.  I bought it after my previous one was signed by Mr. Wallach at a Spring Training game.  It didn't occur to me to post it as part of my collection at the time.  But a few things have changed my thinking on jerseys as collectibles.  For one, I have more of them now.  And as I've acquired more, I've decided that I like them, and want more .  Also perhaps more importantly (for my interests anyways) is the subtle differences between them.

I'm not expert on jerseys and game worn/used items.  So maybe these little nuances I find so interesting aren't anything to get excited about, but I'm ok with being less than informed when it comes to this stuff.  Each of the Expos jerseys I have sew the logo and "expos" lettering onto the front differently.  And the material of the logo is different.  At the bottom of this post, below the pictures of this jersey, I break down the differences.

I'm not a huge fan of the way this jersey does the "expos" and logo on the front.  On this jersey, it's all one giant patch sewn onto the jersey.  I don't know if the Expos ever did their jerseys this way, or if it's just the result of this jersey being a cheap knock-off, or "replica" as I've seen them described.  It's better than the screen printed stuff I've seen, but I still don't really care for it.

On the "1982 Home Jersey," The logo and letters are sewn on separately.  Also, the logo itself is made out of some sort of felt material.  This jersey is easily my favorite of the ones I have.  Unfortunately the company I bought it from no longer carries it.  The tagging was different as well, specifically labeling it a "1982" style/design.

On the road Expos Jersey I just picked up, the letters and logo are sewn on separately, but the logo isn't the same fuzzy one as the '82 above.

Then finally there is the game worn 1988 road jersey.  It's nearly identical to the one above, but the material is clearly of a higher quality, and even more so in person than the pictures suggest.

Friday, October 10, 2014

1986 O-Pee-Chee Tattoo

"Card" review: 0.2  These are more or less identical to the Topps Tattoos.  The photo to the left is the reverse negative of the actual scan, but how the tattoo would look if actually applied.  At least in theory, as I recall these cracker jack type tattoos always just turned into a colored blob on your skin.

The only way I can tell the difference is from the copyright information on the bottom of the sheet, which if you tear the tattoos apart into individual cards along the perforation, doesn't even show up on the Wallach.  I've read some claims that the ink or colorization is different on the O-Pee-Chee's than it is on the Topps, but I can't see a difference.

When all I had was the Topps variation, I wrote that I didn't know and couldn't tell how these were sold.  With this O-Pee-Chee I have my answer.  They came in long strips of three "cards."

Number of this card in my collection: 2

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1980's Expos Road Jersey

This just arrived in my mailbox.  It's my first road Expos jersey I've ever bought to wear around.  Arguably the Holy Grail of my Wallach collection is his actual 1988 road Expos jersey, but I'm not about to wear that to the Home Depot on Saturdays when I pick up weed killer and pet stain remover. 

This one looks to be in the same style as the '88 Expos jerseys, and not the 1982 Home Jersey (my '82 is also just a custom job I ordered online).  The only way to tell the difference is the Expos logo on the front.  On the '82 it is almost a varsity letter type felt material.  Not as puffy as a varsity letter, but not the smooth material the logo on this one and the '88 game worn are made out of.  I have no idea when they changed it.  This jersey would be changed once more in '89 or '90, as the Expos would had a blue outline to the number on the front and the name and number on the back (this card shows it pretty well).  I believe they left the home jerseys the same.  In any event, I don't have one of those jersey's yet, and am more inclined to track down the '93 road and the '93 home Expos jerseys (even though they are criminally ugly) first.

My first impression of things like these jerseys often ends up not being my lasting impression, but this one made a very good first impression.  It's likely going to be my go to Dodger Spring Training game jersey, replacing the home white I've been going with the last few seasons.  Here some more pictures of the jersey:

I wore it last night hoping it would bring some luck to the Dodgers, but it came up a little short.  In fairness to the jersey, I foolishly took it off around the 6th inning to avoid staining it when my daughter got a little rowdy with her desert covered fingers.  I'll give it a full nine innings this afternoon and evening.  Between the jersey and Kershaw, I like the Dodgers chances.

Friday, October 3, 2014

New Banner for MLB Playoffs

You have noticed the banner at the top changed.  If you didn't I'm sure you have now, as I'm beating the point in now with this post.  Not the best photo editing I've ever done, but as good as it's going to get.  It's just a temporary change, and will go back to the '88 Topps Expos header after the Dodgers win the World Series, or don't win the World Series, which ever happens first.  I'm hoping for the former.

Good Luck Dodgers.

Redwood City, CA

This large envelope of cards really made me chuckle.  For the most part the cards were just stuffed in there.  I literally had to turn it upside down and shake it to get all 52 cards out.  A few were in a 9-page sheet that served as some protection, but most were scattered loosely inside.  It was awesome.  There is something a lot more fun about shaking a huge bundle of cards out onto your desk than there is carefully cutting tape off of a plastic case.  Granted, the case does a better job of protecting the cards, but I'm not collecting these as an investment. It's a hobby, and as such, I'll take "fun" over "value" everyday.

That's not to discourage people from carefully sending cards in protective cases, by all means, send them however you want.  I actually kind of enjoy trying to find creative, "safe" ways to send cards, so whatever way you like to send them is fine.  Just keep sending them.

This is the second time Michael has sent cards, and he gets his money's worth when he does.  Last time he sent 44 cards, this time he sent 52.  Which brings his total to 96, and puts him at #3 on the All-Time Total cards sent list.  This package also pushed my total number of cards received for free in the mail from readers over 1,500.  That number now sits at 1,516 (more on that below).  Thanks for the cards Michael.

Updated Totals:

1984 Topps x10: 172
1987 Donruss x2: 264
1987 Donruss Opening Day: 17
1988 Donruss x3: 557
1988 Score x2: 183
1988 Topps AS x4: 377
1989 Donruss x13: 209
1989 Upper Deck: 84
1990 Donruss: 191
1990 Score x3: 126
1991 Upper Deck CL x3: 97
1992 Score: 36
1993 Fleer Ultra: 26
1993 Stadium Club x7: 33

1,516 cards in the Mail

Top Ten Cards Sent
1. 1987 Topps ...........64
2. 1989 Topps ...........58
3. 1990 Topps ...........57
4. 1988 Topps AS ........51
5. 1988 Topps ...........49
6. 1991 Donruss .........41
7. 1989 Donruss .........33
8. 1991 Donruss MVP .....31
9. 1993 Donruss .........30
10. 1990 Donruss ........29

Top Senders  (Total Cards, # of envelopes)
Nick (Allen, TX) .........................122, 1
Mark (Dedmond, ME).........................98, 1
Michael (Redwood City, CA) ................96, 2
"Junior Junkie" ...........................71, 8
Lucas (Cooperstown, NY) ...................69, 1
"Night Owl" ...............................52, 3
Anthony (New Castle, OK) ..................42, 2
"Nolan's Dugout" ..........................40, 1
Jeff (Antelope, CA) .......................39, 1
"Angels in Order" .........................38, 2
"Swing and a Pop Up" ......................38, 2 
Tom (Peoria, IL) ..........................38, 1
Mike (Horsett, NJ) ........................31, 1
"The Todd Father" .........................30, 3
Ryan (Nova Scotia) ........................29, 6 
unknown (Niceville,FL) ....................29, 1
"Clubhouse Kaz" ...........................28, 6
"Unlikely Source" .........................28, 3
"Starting Nine" ...........................26, 4
Sam (San Carlos, CA) ......................26, 1

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Norton, MA

Mark sent these cards from Norton, MA.  It's not the first time he's sent cards.  The '88 Score is well worn and I love it.  I have an affinity for cards that show a lot of wear and look their age.  However it needs to be organic.  I'm not sitting around folding cards in half and dragging their corners across the floor.  That would be cheating.  When your dealing with 10, 20, or 500+ copies of the same card, anything that makes one stand out from the others is a welcomed event.  Off center cuts, weird hues in the printing ink, sun fading, etc, all good.  I can't think of anything more depressing than a stack of PSA 10's all encased in slabs and looking identical.  I'll take one, and another 1,000 or so slightly to completely different.

Thanks for cards Mark, yours, and everyone else who sends cards generosity does not go unnoticed and is very much appreciated.

Updated Totals:

1988 Score: 181
1992 Triple Play: 49

And if I could impose on all of you without strong rooting interest of your own, to be so kind as to pull for the Dodgers in the Postseason, that would be great.  I would very much like to see Mr. Wallach, and Mr. Mattingly win well deserved and long overdue World Series Rings this year.  Thanks a lot, and Let's Go Dodgers.

Friday, September 26, 2014

South Glens Falls, NY

These eleven cards were sent by Nolan in Glens Falls, New York.  Thanks for the cards Nolan.

Updated Totals for cards sent:

1990 Fleer: 186
1990 Topps x4: 241
1991 Score "The Franchise": 76
1991 Topps x3: 111
1992 Leaf: 35
1993 Pinnacle: 22

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Up Up and Away"

Recently, I was told (or rather boasted at) by a Judge that he wasn't reading enough.  He makes a point to try to read 30 books a year, and he wasn't on pace so far this year.  He needed to catch up.  I simply nodded and agreed that it's hard to find enough time.  Truth be told (and I didn't volunteer this to the Judge), I rarely read books.  Maybe two a year, tops.  That's not to say I don't read.  I subscribe to three newspapers, six magazines, and waste countless hours reading articles online.  But I don't read many books, and I never read non-fiction.  When I do read a book, it's almost always a biography and/or baseball related.

So placing a pre-order for a book is a rather rare event for me, but that's exactly what I did last April.  I even bragged about it to the author on twitter.  The delay in this review is not due to my delay in reading it.  I burned through it in three days.  I wasn't going to review it at all.  But after passing it off on a friend, and having the obligatory "discussion" about it after it was returned (I assume people do this to prove they actually read it?), I've decided to share some thoughts.

As a preemptory matter, here's a link to purchase the book on Amazon (I believe it'll be available in paperback very shortly).  I also want to stress, it's not a bad book.  By all means, click the link and buy the book.  As a historical accounting, I'm sure it's very thourough and accurate.  So what follows may read like less than an endorsement, and I apologize to the author.  It just wasn't what I was hoping for.

Obviously I was hoping for a lot of Tim Wallach content.  He is after all the franchise all-time leader in hits and games played, as well as the first team captain in franchise history.  Hell, do a google search of "Montreal Expos All-Time Records" and this is what you get:

So I don't think expecting a good amount of Wallach content in a book about the history of the Expos is asking too much.  I'd go so far as to call him the face of the franchise.  I was disappointed however, to find that there was very little.  Not a single quote.  Nothing on the alleged Galarraga rivalry, inside details on his view of Runnells as manager, Tim Raines sliding head first, or new insight on the trade to Los Angeles.  There was a suggestion that trading Larry Parrish was a big reason the Expos never went back to the playoffs, which I found a little off-putting.

It wasn't just a lack of Wallach material that I found disappointing.  My "Expo Fandom" was from around 1983-1992.  A solid decade of reading every box score, and watching every pitch of every inning I could every time they played the Cubs, Braves, or Mets (teams whose games I could watch).  That entire decade of Expos history is more or less glossed over.  Which I understand to a degree.  Obviously the teams inception, and rise to contender, peaking with the '81 season is going to dominate any history of the Expos.  Naturally the ultimate move to Washington, with it's genesis at the '94 Selig caused strike will also demand a lot of attention.  The middle sort of gets squeezed.

I understand all of this.  But in my mind, when someone says "Expos catcher," I think Mike Fitzgerald, not Gary Carter.  That's not a knock on Carter, or this book.  It's a just a period of Expos history that I was hoping for more of.  And I'm sure I'm not the only fan who has fond memories of that era.

My other mild gripe about this book is that it's just far too nice.   Maybe it's a Canadian thing, or maybe every single player to ever put on the pinwheel hat really was a great guy, or a great guy who made a mistake but found redemption later.  I know what the '86 Mets thought of Gary Carter after reading "The Bad Guys Won." This book isn't "The Bad Guys Won."  I have no idea if many (or any) Expos felt the same way.  I'd be very surprised if a single person named in the book could possible come away being offended by it.  Which is fine.  It's clear Mr. Keri loves the Expos, and if doesn't want to cast them in any sort of negative light, he has every right not to.

By all means, buy the book.  It's a fun read.  I have no problem putting mine on the same shelf as "Three Nights in August," "Ball Four," "The Bad Guys Won," "Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," "A Well Paid Slave," and the rest of my baseball books I try to push on unsuspecting relatives during the holidays.

Now, I'd like to use this book to post some Expos baseball cards of players in this book, because no team ever looked better on cardboard than the Montreal Expos.

Tim Foli 1975 Topps Mini: Foli was good fielding, terrible hitting shortstop for the Expos.  There isn't a lot to be found on him, but there is a funny anecdote about a fight over facial hair.  Foli didn't want to shave his moustache.  This card suggest he did.  Foli was before my time, but for whatever reason, he seems to be one of those guys whose cards I always came across.  As kid, when I only had a handful of cards for each set in the 70's, I seemingly always had the Tim Foli, and it wasn't by design.

Gary Carter 1976 Topps: I've come full circle on Gary Carter.  I liked him when I was very young and still with the Expos, couldn't stand him as a Met, then eventually got over it and he retired as one of my all-time favorites.  He also has one of the coolest assortments of Topps cards ever assembled.  You'll never convince me that there weren't competing Carter and Carlton Fisk fans working at Topps trying to produce a cooler card for their hero for the better part of a decade.

Warren Cromartie 1979 O-Pee-Chee: The 5th overall pick of the 1973 Draft, Cromartie put together a more than respectable career with the Expos batting .280 with 1,068 hits over nine seasons, while teaming with Andre Dawson and Ellis Valentine as part of a very formidable outfield.

Barry Foote 1975 Topps: The Expos took Foote with the 3rd overall pick of the 1970 Draft.  A promising start to his Expos career was knee capped however by the emergence of Gary Carter and a surprisingly healthy knee.  History shows the Expos made the right call, however the book is rather sparse in the details as to how well Foote took the news at the time.

Dave Cash 1978 O-Pee-Chee: Dave Cash was a star with the Pirates and Phillies, before spending three seasons as the Expos second baseman near the end of his career.  I believe that was long enough to put him in the top 3 or 4 of most games at second base by an Expo to this day. 

Steve Rogers 1980 O-Pee-Chee: Steve is probably the single most quoted player in the book.  It seems he talked a lot during his career too.  While not one of my favorites, I believe Steve Rogers to be one of the more underrated players of his era, a list that has more than it's fair share of Expos.  Perhaps there is a correlation.

Ellis Valentine 1979 O-Pee-Chee:  Valentine was supposed to have the career that Dawson went on to have.  He put up some fantastic numbers for a few years with the Expos, before his off the field habits made him expendable.  A few of the more colorful (though not nearly as colorful as I'm sure they could have been) antidotes in the book are about Valentine.  If I have one takeaway from this book, it's that I'm now an Ellis Valentine fan.

Bill Lee 1980 O-Pee-Chee: I'll never get tired of Bill Lee stories and this book had a great one.  It involves Bill storming out of the ball park after learning of a teammates release, and downing beers and shooting pool at a bar, in full uniform, while the game is on tv.  There is a beer commercial to be made in there somewhere.

Larry Parrish 1982 Donruss: On the inside of the book sleeve, there is a picture of the author wearing a Tim Raines jersey.  Based on the ball washing bestowed upon Larry Parrish throughout this book, I can only imagine his Parrish jersey was at the cleaners the day the photo was taken.  On a side note, this is an awesome looking baseball card.  And for what it's worth, I came away liking Larry Parrish far more than I previously did.  By accounts he seems like a was a great teammate.

Charlie Lea 1982 O-Pee-Chee: The late Charlie Lea was always one of my favorites.  He's barely mentioned in the book, but I'm not about to throw up a post full of Expos and not include Lea.

Rodney Scott 1981 Donruss: "Cool Breeze" replaced Dave Cash at the Expos revolving door of second basebman.  He didn't hit much for average, but walked more than his share and stole a lot bases.

Jerry White 1981 Fleer: Jerry didn't play a lot, but he spent parts of ten seasons with the Expos, and was the subject of this awesome looking '81 Fleer card.

Tim Raines 1983 Topps All-Star: Tim Raines is my second favorite Expo.  I loved the guy as a kid, and to this day he is one of my all-time favorite players.  He belongs in Cooperstown, and I'll be there when he gets in.  So I understand why the author didn't want to address whether or not his hold out in 1987 cost the Expos the NL East.  They finished 91-71 and 4 games behind St. Louis (and a game better than the NL West champion Giants).  They started the season picked to finish last, then went 0-5, and ultimately 8-13 before Raines rejoined the team.  Of course, the real scapegoat should be the owners who wouldn't pay Andre Dawson.

1983 Stuart Andre Dawson: Another one of my favorite Expos as a kid.  Dawson is the proud owner of Tim Wallach's 1987 NL MVP Award.

1990 Fleer Joe Hesketh:  Don't ask me why but I was a big Hesketh guy when he was with the Expos.  The guy had a knack for picking up wins, and in seven seasons with the Expos he never had a losing record.  His name doesn't appear in the book.

1991 Upper Deck Andres Galarraga: The only Expo I ever actively rooted against.  Very little details in the book to justify why I didn't like him.