Friday, October 17, 2014

Super Awesome Contest Winnings From Super Awesome Bob Walk The Plank

Aloha readers and trade partners,

Ever since the Dodgers were bumped from the playoffs, it's been getting colder and colder around here. I might actually have to stop wearing shorts pretty soon! 

My last post centered around vintage cards and the joyful memories of past baseball seasons that they bring to me. Old cardboard really hits the spot when I'm feeling nostalgic - but I don't always pine for the past.

Modern, contemporary cards work equally as well to inspire me with feelings of the awesomeness of today. That's exactly what happened when I opened my package of contest winning cardboard from Matt over at Bob Walk The Plank.

Sure, some bloggers throw around the superlatives like they're cheap popcorn, but I gotta tell you, the cards Matt sent to me are absolutely AWESOME! At first I thought there was some kind of mistake; heck, I won Fourth Place in the contest, not First. 

Anybody who's traded with Matt knows he sets the standard for most excellent trades and now he's raising the bar for contest winnings. I'm going to reveal the cards to you in the same order that I first saw them out of the package.

Leading off are the Japanese pitchers. The first two cards look a little scratchy, but that's because they sit within sealed protective cases.  I don't want to break the seals (yet), so we'll enjoy them like Mona Lisas of cardboard, behind the glass. Besides, the scratchy surface works like the cracks in an aged oil paining...

Dodgers SP RC !!! That's always a nice way to start things off. I remember poor ol' Kaz for getting struck in the face with a hit ball. It was pretty horrible as you might imagine, but he recovered pretty quickly and got back on his horse to pitch again. 

Kaz is still pitching over in Japan for the Saitama Seibu Lions. Boo! Go Tigers! 

Next up is my favorite Japanese pitcher in a serial numbered 245/250. (Surface imperfections from the plastic slab)

This card rocks its simplicity. Flat cathedral borders quietly frame the action shot, which itself is free of background visual noise. We simply catch a glimpse of the master practicing his craft, as though we're watching through an elegant knothole in the fence. 

 Some collectors are over the serial numbered niche - not me, no way. I totally dig the fact there are only a limited amount of these cards around, and now I've got one. 

Dodger fans can't get enough blue and this sweet blue swatch fits the ticket exactly. Love the way the jersey swatch is broken up by the black number one, a number certainly fitting for Nomo-san.

Usually  a short print Rookie Card, serial numbered Nomo and a swatch card would be enough for some cool prizes, right? Not for Matt. He was far from being done.  He then proceeded to dial it up to 11.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the RBI leader for all of Major League Baseball in 2014...

My jaw just about dropped when I saw this baby. Adrian Gonzalez!!!! Triple Threads!!! Autograph !!! Jersey!!!! Serial numbered under 100 !!!!! Wow !!! 

Beautifully designed and simply stated with the same kind of quiet power that El Jaguar brings to every game.  And the topper, I mean the cream on the top...did you notice the serial number? 

Yup, Jackie's number 42. Excellent! 

That wasn't all. These contest winnings weren't done with me yet. Once I finished amazing at the Gonzo card, I peeked at the final one, ready for an anticlimactic finish.  I mean, what could top an autographed, serial numbered jersey card of the Dodgers' and major league's RBI leader?

How about a trip to the Dodgers' roots in Brooklyn?


Are you kidding me !!!!????!!!!!  Johnny fricken World Series Hero Podres!!! 

As the A-gon card nearly dropped my jaw to the floor - this Johnny Podres autograph finished the job. I absolutely couldn't believe it then, it's still hard to believe now. 

Matt went the extra mile and sought out cards he knew I would personally appreciate and would hold high places in my collection. Now that's Contest Prize Bad-assery! 

Those are fantastic prizes. THANKS and THANKS again, Matt. Wow! 

On a personal note: Some of you might have noticed I haven't been posting a lot these days. That's because I've been working on another personal net-project on the side. It's coming along, but not yet ready to be revealed to all of you. Look for an announcement in the coming 2 or 3 weeks. Until then, if you notice me missing in action sometimes...I'm over there...working on that project.  


Friday, October 10, 2014

MARK my words, this is a HOYLE lotta cool VINTAGE

Aloha readers and trade partners,

The 2014 baseball season is over in Los Angeles. 

It pains me to write those words. Yes, of course I'm pained because my team is now out of the run for the World Series - but also because it will soon be the end of baseball for all of us. My favorite time of year, summer - baseball season - is over. 

When I'm feeling melancholy about autumn's arrival, and the sun setting earlier by the day, I travel back in my mind to that place of summers gone by. 

That's when wonderful vintage cardboard takes its place front and center to be held and admired in all of its worn and sun-faded glory. 

In a stroke of cardboard collector generosity, an envelope arrived from Mark Hoyle. When I opened it, it was full of beautiful early 70's Dodgers vintage.  Perfect timing. 

These cards are particularly poignant because they represent the true Dodgers of my youth. These were the Boys in Blue when I first became a major league baseball and Dodgers fan.   

Let's take a ride down Dodger Blue Memory Lane...

 This 1971 card fills one more hole in my team set. This year's Dodger squad sure could have used Osteen in the rotation. 

On to my favorite cards from the stack of 1972 Topps Dodgers...

Before Steve Garvey and The Infield, Wes Parker held down the first base bag. Speaking of nostalgia, I absolutely love cards featuring old time Dodger Stadium. 

Here's a nice smile from the 3-Dog. 

Summers gone by gave us the lost art of the knuckleball. Charlie Hough practiced that craft for the Dodgers.

Coming up next are a couple of cards from classic Topps subsets, All-Star Rookie Cups and "In Action"...

Moving forward to 1973...

 Anybody remember when the Dodgers experimented with Bill Russell as manager? 

For something like 50 years the Dodgers had only two managers and one owner.  That era of stability was followed by a revolving door of progressively worse owners and more managers than I can remember. 

That said, I would be content to wake up tomorrow to news the Dodgers will have a new manager in 2015.

Phony poses for everybody! 

 Before Kershaw and Grienke, the Dodgers' had a one-two pitching punch of Don Sutton and Andy Messersmith. 

I close with a card I've been coveting from afar ever since I fist saw it in card magazines; my first exposure to the world of card collecting came from the magazines Beckett and Tuff Stuff.

You can't get much more "in action" than this shot...

 What a glorious celebration of baseball on cardboard! We get the old time and yet timeless imagery of the Dodgers' home white uniforms, the bright sun-yellow Dodger seats, and the tradition of the brushback pitch captured in one image. 

When I opened that magnificent envelope from Mark, out poured many memories of the baseball seasons from my youth.  

THANKS so much for these great cards, Mark! Fantastic. It will take me a bit of time to get the resources to adequately return the favor to you, but mark my words one more time, card karma from L.A. is coming your way.    


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Final Batch - The Night Owl Big Box O' Cards

Aloha readers and trade partners,

Did your team make it to the playoffs? How are they doing? One  benefit of the Cardboard Blogoshpere is the ability to share the playoffs through my contacts and friends out there in the nets. 

Some of you back teams that are already out, like Matt, a Pirates blogger over at Bob Walk the Plank, and some back teams that are still in, like Arpsmith over at Arpsmith's Sportscard Collection. The Dodgers have tied their series - Madding over at Cards on Cards knows - and we pick it up again on Monday in St. Louis. 

Some of you are fellow Dodger fans, like Night Owl over at Night Owl Cards, who sent me a big box o' Dodger cards that I've been posting my favorites from.  Today we get the final installment, the cards from today's Dodgers. And awaaaay we go!

 While young Joc Pederson did not make the playoff roster, he was a September call up for the big club. Pederson was a beast in AAA and Dodger fans were clamoring all season to get him out of the farms and into a Dodgers uniform. 

When he got his chance, he became one more option for Dumb Mattingly to use instead of Andre Ethier. I believe if the kid had actually been able to continue his power hitting at the major league level, he would have made the playoffs over Ethier. Alas, Joc couldn't figure out big league pitching fast enough, so he's watching the games on TV with the rest of us. 

The above card is beauty in blue. Crawford got hurt a lot during the season, but he's currently healthy and doing well in the playoffs. 

Here's the star pitcher from last night's Dodger win. Dodger fans are spoiled to have Clayton Kershaw, whom is often referred to as the new Sandy Koufax. 

I wish the media would give Greinke his due as an ace in his own right, and refer to Kershaw and Greinke as the new Koufax and Drysdale. 

Can I play skipper? Come on, lemme play.

A very attractive shiny card in the style of '61 Topps - and it's limited to /1961. Bison was the other hero last night, blasting a tie-breaking home run in the bottom of the 8th, allowing the Dodger Nation to breathe again. 
Poor Clayton Kershaw. It wasn't exactly his fault that the Dodgers gave up a 6-2 lead over the Cardinals in Game One. He pitched good enough to be winning 6-2 on a 95 degree, hot-ass day. But Damn Mattingly didn't trust his shoddy bullpen, so he left a tired Kershaw out there to pitch on fumes. 

If Kershaw has one more bad postseason outing, deserved or not, people are going to start thinking of him as the Fran Tarkenton of baseball, but at least Tark was able to get his team to the Super Bowl.  

Sunday Night Bonus! How about a few of my favorite tribute cards from the box...

What's a fistful of cards from Night Owl without miiiiiiiinnnnnniiiiiiis? Nice choice on this one N.O. I really dig this card.

 Cool matchup here with a Dodgers-Reds coin (?) pog (?) from the Ted Williams card company. 

We mentioned Brushback Drysdale earlier, and we get a little extra with this card featuring Campy. 

We'll finish off with the one and only...

Here's hoping some Koufax Dodger magic will filter down from heaven and help Kershaw and the Dodgers to beat those Redbirds. 

That was a fantastic box, Night Owl! Thanks so much. What fun it was to sort through all of them and write about them. Much appreciation and Dodger love from LA to NY. 

Now let's knock those Cardinals out of the way and get at those Giants once again. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Night Owl Big Box O' Cards - The 2000's

Let's continue onward with the penultimate installment of  my favorite cards that were sent over to me from Big Daddy Night Owl.  Let's check out some cool cardboard...

 I dig the blue on blue color schema and Metropolis design here. Nice action photo as well. 

 Not easy to tell from this scan, but Sheffield is on one of the card fads from the early 2000's. Back then, card companies were trying different media like metal and plastic. Here is a beauty of a card on transparent plastic. 

Our PED pitcher can strike out your PED batter!
 The 90's gave us card photography that bled out to the edges. In the next decade, frames returned in a big way.

 Diamonds are forever, but alas, Russ was a Dodger for only 5 years. I love Dodgers vs Giants cards. Note how this guy is about to be out by a mile.

 My previous post in this series sparked an interesting debate (in the comments) on who was the best Japanese pitcher for the Dodgers - Hideo Nomo or Hiroki Kuroda. 

Zippy Zappy chimed in that Kuroda had better stats over a longer period of time. My take was stats don't tell the entire story in this case as Nomo had to also deal with the psychological stress and pressure of being the first Japanese pitcher in MLB. He carried the weight of a country's pride on his shoulders and had to deal with the press and Nomomania everywhere he pitched. 

In the end, ZZ made the great point that our debate was a bit like the apples and oranges argument. The important thing is it was a fun back and forth between two passionate fans and friends. I'm also glad they both pitched for my favorite team.  

 How about ol' Paulie Lo Duca in a great action shot that we rarely see on cardboard - despite the fact we saw a similar photo earlier in the Russel Martin card. 

We usually get defensive shots of catchers chasing pop ups or blocking the plate, but this time we get Lo Duca captured mid-play at Dodger Stadium throwing to a base trying to nail an advancing runner. From the angle of the runner and Lo Duca it looks like he's throwing over to third.

Is that a Pirates uni? He was probably out. :) 

Kids, note the perfect fundamentals here.
 I loved Nomar as a Dodger. Loved his Lowrider walk-up song, loved the 2-minute drill of adjusting his batting gloves -after every pitch, and loved his home runs. He does a great job on the Dodgers braodcasting network these days.

What's a big box o' cards without some swatch love? I get my first relic of Derek Lowe and it's extra sweet because he's pitching at Giant Soda Bottle Stadium up in the bay area. I'm sure he won that day. 

As I was also a winner with all of these cool additions to my Dodgers collection, thanks again to Night Owl.  That box was so jam-packed, there's still one last installment to come - The Dodgers on the current squad.