Wednesday, July 31, 2019

I've always been a set collector...until now?

I never really understood player collectors.  I've been a Topps set builder since 1987.  If I ever strayed from that, it didn't take long for me to catch myself and reel myself back in.  Some of my favorite players when I first started collecting in 1987 were George Brett, Don Mattingly, Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson, and Rod Carew.  I never got to a point where I wanted to get every card of one of those players.  Even with the limited number of brands in the 1980's, I would never have known how to organize my collection if I did collect a player.  Yesterday, I ordered over 100 different Mariano Rivera cards.  I have dozens of other random Rivera cards coming in, and already have every Topps & Topps Traded card as part of my set collections.  I've always been a Rivera fan.  Although proud to be an American, I was born on a military installation in Panama City, so I've always been a fan of Panamanian players.  I always knew that Rivera would be the 2nd Panamanian to enter the HOF after Rod Carew.  During Rivera's retirement announcement, I remember him talk about building churches after baseball.  I was so impressed with his HOF speech that I started purchasing all of his earliest cards that I was missing.  Then I started going after every 1990's card that I was missing.  Now I seem to be going after every Rivera card I'm missing.  This isn't going to be pretty because I'm not sure how I'm going to organize this collection.  The first page will be easy, starting with his 1990 card and ending with his 1995 Topps Traded card.  The second page will start with the rest of his 1995 cards, and so on.  For the first page I'm only missing Rivera's 1994 ProCards.              

Sunday, July 28, 2019

1951 Topps #A43 (Red): Maurice McDermott, Boston Red Sox

Maurice McDermott played 12 seasons in the Majors from 1948-1961 for 6 teams beginning with the Red Sox.  One of the highlights of his career was winning a World Series with the Yankees in 1956 against the Dodgers.  McDermott led the league in Strikeouts per 9 innings in both 1951 and 1952.  In was involved in trades with names like Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Clete Boyer, Jackie Jensen, and Gus Zernial.  McDermott was used as both a starting and closing pitcher, pitching 54 complete games throughout his career.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

We Love You, Mariano Rivera!!!

My all-time favorite player is also a great human being.  I just bought one of his shirts for me and my wife at  I also went ahead and purchased his 1990 Diamond #17 XRC.  It was the largest single card purchase I ever made.  His HOF induction speech was outstanding.  Although primarily a complete set collector, I guess you can say I just entered the players market.  I will now be building a separate Mariano Rivera collection.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

1951 Bowman Reprint Replacements

I recently replaced these Bowman reprints with originals. My '51B collection now comfortably rests above the 10% mark, which is my first real benchmark in building a new set.  It really only means that I've finally entered the market for a set but I'm far from serious about it at this point.  Overall, '51B is fairly affordable in comparison with similarly aged sets except for 3 cards: Mantle, Mays, and Ford.  Since completing the '68T set in reverse chronological order, I've been the map between 1948-1967 collecting where the best deals were to be found.  Since then, I've completed 94% of the 60's Topps collection (missing only 324 cards), 68% of the 40's-50's Topps collection, and 47% of the 40's-50's Bowman collection.  Goal is to continue chipping away at nearly completed sets and go after the best value on commons to build up the percentages.  When supplemented with reprint cards like all of my incomplete sets up to 1953, the urgency to build originals isn't so great, which may be why I haven't become too serious about 1951 Bowman yet. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Breaking up my 2016 Topps New Era set

So I've had my 2016 Topps New Era set listed for sale for quite some time without any takers, so I've decided to break it up into singles and see how they do.  The problem with a 9-card set is that shipping and fees chews up much of the sale price.  The alternative is to take the time to individually scan each card as I've done below.  Shipping is much cheaper this way and I can sell 2 cards for what I was asking for the whole set.  Both ways have their pros and cons but I was getting tired of waiting. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Forgotten Baseball Heroes: Hal Newhouser

Hal Newhouser seems to be one of those forgotten heroes in baseball.  While scanning through price guide listings, it'd be easy for many collectors to skip right over his name without even realizing that Newhouser is a Hall-of-Famer.  I think some reasons for this easy oversight is that Newhouser really only had like 2 real baseball cards that were released towards the end of his 17-year career.  Also, price guides are only recognizing him at just above minor star pricing.  It probably doesn't help that the majority of Newhouser's stardom occurred during the heart of WWII when most other big name players where away fighting in the war and baseball card production was scarce.  To be fair, Newhouser did try to enlist in the Army, but a heart murmur kept him from servicing his country.  His baseball career, however, was legitimate.  Newhouser was a 7x All-Star consecutively between 1942-1948.  He was also the AL MVP as a pitcher in 1944, 1945, and almost again in 1946 as the runner-up.  He won a World Series with the Tigers in 1945 and then appeared again in the World Series with the Indians in 1954.  Newhouser won the Triple Crown winner in 1945, coming close in other years as a constant league leader in Wins (4x Top-1), Strikeouts (7x Top-3), and ERA (3x Top-2).  Although he was voted into the HOF by the Veteran's Committee in 1992, Newhouser actually appeared on the HOF ballot for 15 years, reaching as high as 42.8% of the total vote.  Newhouser's two major baseball cards include a 1953 and 1955 Topps card for his final season with the Tigers and then with the Indians.  Except for maybe a 1955 Topps Doubleheader and a 1948-1949 Leaf card, Newhouser doesn't really have any other cards from major set releases issued during his playing days.  Even though his 1953 Topps card books for barely above minor star pricing, in actuality, Newhouser's '53T card appears to be actually selling for noticeably higher than it's book value.  His 1955 Topps cards looks to remain a good deal right now though.

Friday, July 19, 2019

1951 Topps #A49 (Red): Al Zarilla, Chicago White Sox

Al Zarilla played 10 seasons in the Majors for 3 different teams between 1943-1953.  Interestingly, he started with the Browns, Red Sox, White Sox, and then went back to the Browns and then the Red Sox.  Zarilla appeared in the 1944 World Series and was an All-Star in 1948 for the Browns.  He hit good for AVG and Doubles, earning league Top 10 three times in each category.  He was also a good Triples hitter, but wasn't always so great defensively.  Zarilla spent his entire MLB career in the outfield--mostly right.  After being released by the Red Sox at the start of 1954, Zarilla played in the Minors, which spanned from 1938-1956.  He missed the 1945 season while serving in the Army.         

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bob Uecker is surprisingly costly and so disappointingly undervalued

One of the toughest 1960's Topps baseball cards to get in terms of actual costs vs. book value belongs to Bob Uecker.  I just can't figure it out though.  Did somebody try to buy up all of his cards over the years or what?  Uecker's 1964 Topps card lists for only $40, which means that I should be able to find one in Poor condition for somewhere between $4-$8 (10%-20% BV), but actually finding one for under $30 (75% BV) is even a little bit of a challenge.  For comparison purposes,  '64T Rose books at $250 and Clemente books at $200, but with a little patience I found them both for about $25 and $20 each, respectively (10% BV).  I can easily find a low-grade '64T Koufax ($120 BV), Musial ($100 BV), Mays ($100 BV), or Aaron ($100 BV) for far less than I can find a low-grade Uecker ($40 BV).  It's truly amazing.  I understand that the market is what it is, but the question remains--do price guides actually understand the market anymore?  His value hasn't changed since at least the '90s.  Should Bob Uecker actually be in the Hall-of-Fame as a broadcaster?  I mean his cards are worth more than Aaron, Mays, Musial, and Koufax.  Even knowing this, Uecker's card market still never fails to surprise me year after year as I attempt to mark his card off of my wantlists.  With a BV of $15 for '63T and a BV of $40 for '64T, leading price guides appear clueless as to Uecker's true value as well as with many other cards.  This isn't a price fluctuating thing.  Uecker's high market is consistent.  Both '63T and '64T need to be bumped up to at least $100 BV.  You know what that means.  If all other card values in '64T remain the same, then the top cards of '64T in order goes: Mantle $500, Rose $250, Clemente $200, Koufax $120, and then 4 tied for $100 (Aaron, Musial, Mays, and Uecker). Truly unbelievable.  It is what it is.  Bob Uecker doesn't come cheap.        

Sunday, July 14, 2019

1951 Topps #A7 (Red): Howie Pollet, St. Louis Cardinals

Howie Pollet played 14 seasons between 1941-1956 for the Cardinals and three other teams.  He was a 3-time All-Star in 1943, 1946, and 1949 with military service between 1944-1945.  Pollet earned 2 World Series rings with the Cardinals in 1942 against the Yankees and 1946 against the Red Sox.  He led the league in Wins and ERA in 1946.  

Saturday, July 13, 2019

1953 Topps Explosion

For me, the acquisition of 23 new additions to my 1953 Topps set is considered an explosion.  These are the reprints I replaced with those acquisitions that have been scanned for sale.  Readers of this blog know that I started my 1940's - 1950's collection with reprint sets that I've slowly replaced with originals over the years.  At 180 cards, the set is getting really close to the 2/3's completion mark.  Past 220 cards gets really tough since then you're dealing with premium high numbers.