Saturday, June 28, 2014

Steering Through the Crossroads

There are a handful of moments in life where you hit a crossroad. I'm there right now and I've got about a billion different routes I can take. The house I've been renting was sold this week and I've got until July 11th to be out. No big deal, I just don't know where to move to. I've applied for jobs from California to Maine and am at varying stages on each. The one I'm closest to getting (not saying much) is in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Maybe I'll end up there. Maybe I'll end up in Tennessee or Washington or Florida or Idaho. I don't know.

The thing is, I've got to move somewhere. I'll likely put most of my stuff into storage (including cards) for a couple of weeks and find an extended stay hotel until one of these jobs goes through. Thankfully I've got a small savings that I can get by on for a little bit and a strong support system around me. 

To top things off, my great aunt (who was more of a grandmother to me than one of my real grandmothers) passed away last night at the age of 92. We knew it was coming and had been preparing for a long time. She's the spunkiest woman I've ever met and supported me through so much in life. She went to bed at 10:00 PM last night and I got the call from my grandmother that she wasn't breathing at 10:48 PM. I made it to the house by 10:55 PM but she was gone. I spent the next several hours consoling and being consoled with my family while we waited for the coroner and undertakers to arrive to pick her up. If you've ever been with a loved one as they pass on, you may understand the unreal spiritual connections and feelings that can't be explained in words. All I can say is that there wasn't much sadness, just a lot of inner warmth and peace. Calling such things beautiful may sound weird, but it really can be.

You know what else is beautiful? Friendly trades and unexpected surprises! (How's that for a tie-in?)

The first four cards came courtesy of The Lost Collector in exchange for a 2013 A&G Relic of Paul O'Neil. Thanks AJ!

The rest came from Backstop Cards in a completely unexpected and awesome package! There was a little bit of everything inside. Royals, minis, BBB's, PC cards and a healthy amount of repack-style gems!


Tearing it up in the minors I'm told.

I think my first digital camera had an effect option that could do something like that. 

Love me some Sportflics! The Conine doesn't really do much, but if you wiggle it his left arm and leg kind of pop out. Knoblauch fields an awkward grounder.

Nishioka had an insane year in 2010 for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the NPB and earned a contract with Minnesota for 2011. He couldn't recreate the magic and went back to Japan in 2013 where he's a good but not great infielder.

Warning: I want your 2014 Prizms. I know you all despise the set, but I love the cardstock. Please send them to me!

2013 Rakuten Eagles All-Star! The orange hanger-pack parallel fits really well with the Marlins team colors. I've mentioned my affinity for this color combo as well as my new love for the Rakuten Eagles on the blog. Marcus is either super attentive or really lucky. Either way, I sure as heck appreciate it!

Felix is being bashful

The scan doesn't do this card justice. Love me some random pre-Royals vintage!

I guess I was Rainbow Wang'd?

Thanks again fellas! I ask that everyone thinking about sending out to me holds off now for a few weeks. Once I nail down a new address, I'll make sure to let you guys know. Posts will be rare and sporadic for the time being. Until next time, wish me luck at the crossroads!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Hobby in 1910 Part 6

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

It's 1910 in Buffalo, NY and you're 11 years old.

The summer is winding down and you're dreading returning to school. Your father says that after this year you can be done and join your brother down at the mill.

Ma always said the dog could hold still longer than you could.

It's Saturday morning and you have two choices. You and your brother (Lev) can sit around and listen to your father keep talking about how Buffalo is going to be the largest city in New York by the end of the decade, or you can head down to the square and catcall at the pretty ladies walking by.

It was a pretty easy choice. Lev runs into the corner shop and grabs a couple packs of cigarettes. He smokes Piedmont and you smoke Hassan. Lev won't shut up about the Bisons, the local Eastern League team. You think the Bisons are pretty lame. You're more of a New York Highlanders fan, but you'd never say that to Lev. "Hot dog!" Lev yells. He shoves the cigarette card in your face.

You ask him who that is. "It's Dummy Taylor you dummy!" Now you remember. Dummy Taylor is that old fart pitcher for the Bisons. He's a deaf-mute, but he's pretty darn good. 

You rip open your pack of cigarettes, light one up and grab your card. 

Welcome back to 2014. Featured above is "Race of Young Bucks", one of the fifty cards in the Indian Life in the 1860's tobacco card set by Hassan Cigarettes. Yet again we have another example of incredible color and art work on what wasn't meant to be more than a fancy piece of trash. Two young Indians are racing along a makeshift track with (spandex?) leggings and feather tails tied behind their colored loin cloths. Green seems to have the edge, assuming they're running straight ahead. The Indians in the background (who look like women in oriental robes) are not amused. Maybe these two hooligans aren't the tribe sprinters, maybe they're just confused young men who actually believe they're male deer. Personally, I'd find that very amusing.

To-day there aren't many full-blooded Indians left anywhere. In 1910 it was a different story. Some of the top athletes were Native Americans including 1911 NY Marathon winner Lewis Tewanima, NY Giants Pitcher John "Chief" Meyers, and perhaps the greatest athlete of all time, Jim Thorpe. 4-5% of Americans are at least 1/32nd Indian today with many more having Native American Heritage farther down the line (including myself at 1/64th). You might be surprised to learn that there are three Native Americans in the MLB today. Kyle Lohse of the Nomlaki Tribe, Joba Chamerlain of the Winnebago Tribe and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Navajo Tribes. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

A&G Relic Exchange Update & Contest Results

Less than a month ago I introduced the A&G Relic Exchange to a lot of support. A free contest was held to kick it off, with a lot of worthy entries. I'm pumped to random off the winner, but first, let's see the booty that was added over the last few days. A month ago there was 50 A&G relics in the program, today there are more than 150! 

Here are a boatload of 2012's that I picked up via Ebay:

The next seven came via Judson at My Cardboard Habit. I'm hoping Judson had a helluva weekend on the lake and isn't nursing too bad of a sunburn. 

Rosario has become one of my top unintentional PC guys. He has so many good cards!

I traded out a 2013 Paul O'Neill not to long ago, so I was pumped to restock!

This is now my favorite celebrity relic. I was hoping it would be a piece of his suit (like the 2012 Gumbel) but it appears to be a t-shirt. Still cool!

If any cards look off-center, it's because my scanner likes to autocrop at weird times. The nice thing about mini-relics is that they're pretty universally solid on centering. 


There were 48 entries in the contest - Everyone is eligible to win one prize

Grand Prize: A 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster Box
2nd Prize: Your choice of any A&G relic from the exchange database
3rd Prize: Same as 2nd prize, but 2nd gets to choose first


2nd Prize: Hackenbush
3rd Prize: Roger

Congrats guys, thanks to everyone who played! If you had your eye on an A&G relic, feel free to email me to set up a trade!