Saturday, January 23, 2021

RIP Hank Aaron

We all thought 2020 was bad, but 2021 looks like it could end up being worse. In just three short weeks we have lost Tommy Lasorda, Don Sutton and now Hank Aaron.

Out of all the Hall of Famers and other MLB legends that have passed over the last year or so, none have hit me harder than finding out that Hammerin' Hank Aaron passed away yesterday. 

Perhaps it's because as the former Home Run King, Aaron is legitimately the biggest name. But I suspect its because I have been a fan of Hank since I was a kid and while I never saw him play, I've ben collecting his cardboard for close to 30 years. His 1976 Topps base and '75 Record Breakers card were the first individual cards I ever bought from a card shop circa 1990.

Here is a look at what I have been able to acquire. My goal is to collect every one of his Topps cards from his playing career.

1954 Topps

1956 Topps

1958 Topps Braves Fence Busters

1958 Topps World Series Batting Foes

1959 Topps Fence Busters

1959 Topps Aaron Clubs World Series Homer

1960 Topps

1961 Topps

1961 Topps 1960 Home Run Leaders

1962 Topps All-Star

1963 Topps Power Plus

1964 Topps 1963 National League Home Run Leaders

1964 Topps 1963 National League R.B. I. Leaders

1966 Topps

1967 Topps

1967 Topps N. League 1966 RBI Leaders

1967 Topps N. League 1966 Home Run Leaders

1968 Topps All Star

1968 Topps 1967 National League RBI Leaders

1968 Topps 1967 National League Home Run Leaders

1968 Topps Game

1969 Topps 

1970 Topps All-Star

1970 Topps 1969 National League Home Run Leaders

1972 Topps

1972 Topps In Action

1972 Topps 1971 N.L. R.B.I. Leaders

1972 Topps 1971 N.L. Home Run Leaders

1973 Topps 

1974 Topps New All-Time Home Run King

1974 Topps Hank Aaron Special 1962-1965

1974 Topps All-Star

1975 Topps

1975 Topps Mini

1975 Topps '74 Highlights

1975 Topps 1957 - Most Valuable Players

1976 Topps

1976 Topps '75 Record Breakers

Aaron had a long career and was featured on plenty of Topps cards during his career between his base, all-star, combo cards, league leaders and other cards. Even with all of the cards I have, I think I am still missing 30 plus cards. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Who is the most obscure player that you collect?

My Most Wanted list is looking a bit barren these days. The Diamond King sent me a 1992 Fleer Robin Yount Pro-Vision that was on it and before I updated my Most Wanted list I got another pwe from Baseball Card Breakdown with the same card along with several other cards on my Most Wanted list.

These 1987 Fleer Baseball's Hottest Stars cards of Bob Horner and Eric Show complete this set for me. I had bought a collection with this set in it, minus these two cards. The Barry Bonds card was there, but no Bob Horner or Eric Show. I am really enjoying all of the boxed sets from the 80's and so I am happy to call this one complete.

Gavin also sent these two Mother's Cookies cards that complete this set for me. I collect both Piazza and Salmon, so these are extra cool. Piazza and Griffey were my main PC guys when I was a kid and Salmon and I went to the same high school that I did.

This Heritage Flashback card featuring the great Roberto Clemente finishes off this insert set for me.

These cards and the Yount Pro-Vision were all on my Most Wanted list, so thank you very much Gavin!

Gavin also sent a few other cards.

I love the tribute sets that Fleer inserted into their products back in the 90's. I need to see where I am at with this particular set from 1992 Fleer Ultra honoring Tony Gwynn.

Gavin is also probably one of only a few bloggers out there that remember that I collect Ryan Roberts. I haven't been able to add any Roberts cards to my collection in a while. So while I already have this Roberts card, it is nice to know that someone remembers that I collect Tatman.

So my question for you is who is that obscure player that you collect that most people aren't aware of?

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Hall of Fame Rookie Card: 1959 Topps George "Sparky" Anderson

Over the past few years I have been drawn to collecting rookie cards of Hall of Famers. Some are cards I dreamed of owning as a kid. Most of the time, finding them in lower condition has allowed me to be able to make the purchase. Sometimes they are still pricey. The most money I have ever spent on a single card was $225 for a 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card. I spent 3 digits on a 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie as well. But I've found that most Hall of Fame rookie cards can be found at reasonable prices. Even cards from the 1950's and 60's can be found for $10 or less, depending on the player, or in this case the manger.

Here is a 1959 Topps George Anderson rookie card. George would only spend one year in the major leagues as a player; 1959. In 152 games he would bat .218 with 34 RBI and 0 home runs.The crazy part to me is that he played in 152 games out of 154, but then never saw more playing time at the big league level. He would spend the next 4 seasons in Triple-A trying to make it back, but never did. In 1964 he would begin his managing career that would ultimately lead to his enshrinement into Cooperstown as he would lead the Reds to two titles and the Tigers to one as Sparky Anderson.

You can see that the condition isn't great, but it is centered nicely and I was able to put in a best offer and get it for $8 shipped off eBay, so I'm happy to add the rookie card of this Hall of Famer to my collection.

Another recent purchase is this light box. I have a lot of issues with lighting in my house when I try to take pictures for the blog. I think it's because most of the time I am doing it in the early hours of the morning when it's still dark. I've see multiple collectors using these recently for taking photos of cards and so I purchased one on Amazon. The two photos above were taken using the light box. Let me know what you think of the photo quality.

Personally I had hoped the photos would turn out better. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I'm not sure. They don't look horrible, but I feel like they could be better. Let me know if you have any tips or tricks on using a light box.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Pro-Vision from The Diamond King

When I think of Donruss I think of two things. Puzzles and Diamond Kings. One of my goals in 2021 is to organize my collection. I have all 17 Donruss puzzles that they issues in various products over the years. I want to frame each of them and put them up on display. I had seen someone on Twitter that  had framed up one of the Donruss puzzles and I fell in love. I reached out and asked where they got the frame. Wal-Mart. Okay, easy enough. I went to Wal-Mart the other night and found the frame and bought one just to try it out. It looks great, but there are two problems. Problem #1 is that the frames cost $9.87 each before tax. With tax I'm looking at $175 to frame all 17 puzzles. Problem #2 is the space involved to display these 17 famed puzzles is more than I currently have. 

But enough about my problems. Check out how awesome it looks. And this is with bad lighting.

In addition to the puzzles, eventually I will own all of the Donruss Diamond Kings cards that were part of the base Donruss sets. Unlike, The Diamond King, I don't need all of the Diamond Kings that we interred and or numbered. Speaking of The Diamond King, he recently sent me a pwe with this card, which was on my Most Wanted list.

This 1992 Fleer Robin Yount Pro-Vision card was on my Most Wanted list because, just like I want the puzzles and Diamond Kings from Donruss, I want all of the Fleer Pro-Vision cards and I needed this one to complete the 1992 baseball set. Notice I said I want all of the Fleer Pro-Vision cards. I didn't specify the sport and that's because I am going after all of the Pro-Vision cards; baseball, basketball and football. I'm getting close.

Because I was late in opening and then in updating my Most Wanted list, I actually got a second copy of this card from another blogger. Thank you Gavin! The remainder of the cards I got from Gavin will be showcased on a seperate post on another day, although I am going to learn my lesson and update my Most Wanted list now by crossing off the other cards that Gavin checked off my Most Wanted list.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Beckett Issue #1: November 1984

I listen pretty regularly to a few baseball card podcasts and I recently came across the Dr. James Beckett Sports Card Insights podcast and I've been listening to it while I've been working in my card room. I really enjoy it and think that most everyone reading this would probably enjoy it as well.

All his episodes are 15 minutes or less and he talks a lot about his early days in the hobby before starting the Beckett price guide, his time running Beckett publications, and his time since selling his company back in 2005 or 2006 as not much more than a collector. He browses quarter boxes at card shows and sells on He does a lot of interviews with people in the hobby. It's good stuff.

My card shop has a copy of Beckett issue #1 hanging up, but it's not for sale.I see it every time I'm there and between that and listening to the podcast, I started looking for a copy of issue #1 for myself. They are available on eBay, but are pricey. There is a reprint however from 2001 that can be had for about $5 and so I picked that up.

Here is the front cover. You can see where it says Reprint 2001 under $2.50. In one of the podcasts Jim mentions why he picked these two cards for the cover. He wanted to feature two cards representing both older and newer players/cards. Clemente was his all-time favorite player and so he represented the older players/cards and he thought Dale Murphy was one of the hot current players at that time, which makes sense since he had won back to back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983, so he choose his rookie card to represent new players/cards. 

Here is the back cover.

I have seen the cover before, but I don't recall ever seeing inside, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. This is from November 1984, so I was only 3 years old at the time it was originally issued.

The inside cover has some information about the magazine, cards in general (things like buying and selling, condition, etc.) and some information on how prices were determined.

The next page features a letter from Jim Beckett introducing himself and the magazine, with pictures of the Sports Americana price guide books he had published as early as 1979.

I won't show all of the price guide pages, but here are a few. The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is priced between $1200-$1400, while the 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie card is priced between just $350-$375.

The 1963 Pete Rose rookie card is priced at $225-$350, so roughly the same price range as the 1951 Bowman Mantle.

Here are the center pages of the magazine. It is black and white photos of what is supposed to be a card from every set that is priced in the magazine, but although 1960, 1961, and 1963 Fleer are showcased below, those sets are not in the actual price guide.

As soon as I saw this page, I thought "New collecting goal!" So I will be looking to see how many of these cards I already own and then will start tracking down the others.

The price guide section ends with 1984 Donruss, Fleer, and Topps and then there are just a few additional pages.

The Readers Write section which is just Hot and Cold lists. Ryne Sandberg is on nearly every Hot list, while Darryl Strawberry frequents many of theHot and Cold lists.

There are some names on here that are very interesting. Like "84T Bobby Meacham" is on one Hot list, while another features "55T 151-160"

The next page is a survey form, so that you too could provide your own Hot and Cold lists and other feedback about the hobby. In all my years of reading Beckett magazine, I don't think I every sent in a survey. How about you? Did you every send in the survey to Beckett magazine? If you did, were you ever selected as a winner?

On the back of the Survey is the Subscription Form. In his podcast, Jim mentions how this was done on purpose hoping that as people would send in the Survey, they would also fill out the Subscription Form as well.

The inside of the back cover has a Condition Guide and a Legend.

A couple of questions for you. Were you collecting in 1984? Have you ever owned the original of issue #1 of Beckett magazine? What do you think of this issue? Have you listened to Dr. James Becketts Sports Card Insights podcast?