Saturday, April 4, 2020

My First Tattoo

No, I do not actually have a tattoo.  

I really do not have anything that I want etched onto my body.  

I have plenty of friends with tattoos, no problem with them in general, but they are not my cup of tea.

I did recently pick up a Tattoo though.    

I actually splurged a bit recently for a vintage card of a former Durham Bulls player who has a card in the 1933 Tattoo Orbit Baseball Card set.  It was an early bubble gum set put out by the Orbit Gum Company.  There are a couple of Cardinals in the set, which I would not mind finding, but the former Bulls player, Charlie Grimm, is one of the cheapest cards in the set.  

Last year, I added two other cards of Charlie Grimm.  One was a Goudey....

I also found a 1922 American Caramel card.....

which is 99.9% likely a trimmed card.  Got a pretty steep discount for a 1920s cards with some square corners.  Still happy it's here.  

As a player Grimm spent 20 years in the Majors, recorded more than 2,000 hits, and 1,000 RBIS.  He played most of his career playing for the Pirates and Cubs.  As a manager, he guided the Cubs to three different National League championships, and later managed the Milwaukee Braves in the early and mid 1950s.  He did not get the Braves into the Postseason, but made the decision early in his tenure as the team's manager to ditch veteran players like Andy Pafko in favor of young players like Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews.  The Braves fired him in 1956.  

Here is my newest card.  

Love that discoloration around the edges, and the round corners.  There is a little bit of paper loss around the top edge and top right corner.  Overall, not bad for a card that is almost 100 years old.  The Tattoo Orbit cards are always really easy to recognize with the bright backgrounds behind an almost black and white photo.  

The coloration on Grimm's face sort of surprised me.  I also thought the pictures were completely black and white.  I did not realize that there is color on the face.  I had to go back and look through photos of other cards on Ebay and Google Images to make sure I was not getting the Turner Classics colorized version of a baseball card.  

Thursday, April 2, 2020

I Miss March Madness

If we were living in normal times, I would be watching the Final Four this weekend, and the National Championship game on Monday night.  Whether your team makes it to the final or not, it's still always a fun event to watch.  I was especially looking forward to the tournament this year.  

My son and I have been attending NC State games for the last three years.  

He has always paid attention to the games, followed along with the action, and kept track of the score.  This year was a little different in that he actually paid more attention to the individual players on the teams, and also followed the standings.  As long as they were not on late during a week night, we also watched many of the games that we did not attend. 

Favorite NC State player on the men's team is Markell Johnson 

Favorite NC State player on the women's team is Aislinn Konig.  I cannot find a short clip of her playing for NC State, but here is a video of her breaking the single game three point FIBA record playing the Canadian National team.  


In all, we went to ten games this year, six men's games and four women's games.  

The women's basketball team plays in Reynolds Coliseum, which is on the NC State campus.  The men's team played here too until the late 1990s when they moved down the street into their current arena, which is actually on the state fairgrounds.  The men's team still plays two games here every year.  Reynolds is smaller and you can hear the players and coaches talking.  The women's basketball team was ranked in the Top 10 for most of the season.  

The women's team actually got to play in their conference tournament before the NCAA canceled the season, and they beat Florida State to win the ACC title.  


I have never had the chance to see one of my rooting interests win a National Championship, but I was excited about NC State's chances this year in the women's tournament.  Last year they made the Elite Eight.  I had high hopes.  The little man was looking forward to watching them too.  

They are probably the best team I have followed since the 1993-1994 Missouri men's team, which went through the Big 8 undefeated, and made it all the way to the Elite Eight where they lost to Arizona.  

Melvin Booker, Devin's father, was the best player on that team.  

There is my card for this post.  Amazing.  

The men's team finished fifth in the ACC this year, pretty sure they were going to be in the tournament, but I am not sure how well they would have done.  We went to go see them play several conference games this year.  

They did not play well at other times.  My glimmer of hope for them making a deep into the tournament was the fact that the destroyed Duke this year.  They had them down by as many as 25 points during the second half, and ended up winning the game by 22.  

It was too late for my son to stay up and watch until the end, but he watch the condensed game the next day.  For whatever reason, Duke always has problems playing on the road at NC State.  Is it the rough thirty minute commute to Raleigh?

I am not sure.  State was terrible while I was in school, they still beat Duke at home. 

At least half of the NC State roster had career performances during this game.  

I am happy to be at home, seems like a better option than being at work, and possibly getting sick.    I am happy to have a job.  I am happy to have a little more time with my kids during the day.  I miss March Madness.  

I miss the last second shots.....

Crying piccolo players..... 

Most of all, I am miss watching some basketball my son.  

No, he won't watch replayed games.  "We already know who won this game."

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Last Year's Bulls

I did not get many cards of the Durham Bulls players last year.  I am not sure why exactly, there were plenty of older players on the team who had cards and certified autographs before joining the team.  I ended up with a few of them over the last two weeks since I have been at home.  Most of them are pretty inexpensive. 

All autographs.  

First up is former Phillies prospect Dylan Cozens.  He was only on the Bulls for two games, and I managed to be at one of those two appearances.  I had seen him before while he was playing for the Lehigh Valley, which is the Phillies Triple A team.  

This autograph is from last year's Gypsy Queen set.  It's an on card autograph, and a really inexpensive card.  Maybe waiting a year to collect these cards might be the way to go.  


Jalen Beeks was another player who was barely in Durham.  A grand total of three games, but he pitched over 100 innings last year in Tampa.  Not the best player on the Rays, so I would not be surprised if he ends up back in Durham again at some point.  Beeks is another player I saw a few times playing for another team.  He was on Pawtucket for two seasons prior to joining the Rays last year.  

I like the Chrome autographs.  I think he actually has two of these, but one of them has a sticker autograph.  I like this card.  


I saw Nick Solak while he was at Louisville.  He played half a year with the Bulls last season, and then got traded away to the Rangers.  They brought him up to the Majors at some point, and he ended up hitting.  I think Solak has a chance to be a decent player in the future.  I really like the 1985 Topps design on this card.  

Last one for tonight.  

I love when the Bulls have players like this on there roster.  Emilio Bonifacio has played 11 years in the Majors, and made more than enough money to retire.  Yet, he spent time as a 30 something year old playing baseball in Triple A.  I think you really have to like the game to stick around and ride the bus around in the Minors in that situation.  

This is an older autograph from the 2010 Upper Deck set.  Bonifacio actually has a bunch of autographs from earlier in his career.  Some are pretty nice.  

Sunday, March 29, 2020

A 1980s Card Part 37 - 1988 Smokey Bear John Tudor

I think that I have mentioned my love for the Cardinals Smokey Bear giveaway sets on these 1980s Cardinals posts before.  They were the baseball card set giveaway during the mid to late 1980s.  I know that I have done a few of these before, just not from the 1988 set.  I like all the Smokey Bear sets, but this is my absolute favorite. There are some great photographs in the set, plenty of action shots, and the simple design really works for me.  

John Tudor had a really good 1988, so I thought I would use his card from this set.  Plus, I like this action shot of him pitching.  

He started out 1988 with the Cardinals, only managed to win 6 games, but that was more about a lack of run support than the quality of his pitching.  The Cardinals did not have a great offense in 1988, in part because they decided to sign Bob Horner to play first base.  He did not hit.  So, the Cardinals traded John Tudor to the Dodgers for Pedro Guerrero.  

How did Tudor's year turn out?  

He started Game 3 of the World Series, and the Dodgers closed out the A's in 5 games.  Shout out to the A's for playing the Golden Girls theme in the background when the Dodgers win.  It starts at 0:23 on the video.  

Pedro had some good years with the Cardinals, and managed to get a Smokey Bear Cardinals card the following year.  So, that was a good thing.  

If you collect Cardinals cards, and do not own some of these Smokey Bear cards, the sets and the singles are both pretty cheap to buy on places like Ebay.  The 1988 is seriously incredible.  As I said before, so many great pictures.  Just picking out a random card to scan as an example......

Saturday, March 28, 2020

This Card Is Terrible.

Long before getting stuck at home, I had found another copy of a 2012 Topps Archives Jose Oquendo autograph.  For those not familiar with the player, or the cards, here is a little background.

Oquendo played for the Cardinals during the 1980s and 1990s.  Whitey Herzog, the Cardinals manager nicknamed him "The Secret Weapon".  He played almost every game, but you just did not always know where he was going to play.  Players got double switched out of games, and you could almost bet that part of the substitution would be Oquendo playing somewhere else.  

Topps decided as a part of their 2012 Archives set to include Jose in their autograph set.  They also added a little wrinkle, by making 9 different versions of the card, one for each position.  I have a bunch of the cards, but not all of the cards.  They are all on a 1988 Topps style card.  

One already in the collection......

The late 1980s were the prime years for Jose Oquendo, so I really like that they used this 1988 style card for the autograph set.  

My newest card from the set arrived a few weeks back, and has been sitting on desk.  I took a little time to catch up on life yesterday, which included a little time cleaning.  I took the card out of the envelope, scanned it, and filed it away in its box.  Scanning and filing is kind of non-thinking activity at times, my brain flies on automatic.  

At some point, I came back and looked at the scan.  This card is terrible.  

Why is Jose Oquendo all blurry?  

Why is the catcher in the background blurred out?  

Why did I not notice this before I bought the card?  

So, I did a little digging.  Maybe there is a reason why the card is made this way.  

It's obviously a game at Busch Stadium.  Oquendo has a patch on his sleeve.  The Cardinals wore sleeves patches three times during Oquendo's career:

  • The 1992 season, which was the team's 100th Anniversary.

  • In 1990, in memory of long-time owner Gussie Busch

  •  During the 1987 World Series against the Twins.  

The blue catchers gear pointed me towards the 1987 World Series.  

Google search "Jose Oquendo" and "1987 World Series" and what turns up?  

Clearly the same play.  I just don't get the reason behind blurring out the Twins catcher and using a grainy photo of Jose Oquendo.  Is Tim Launder not allowed on baseball cards anymore?  

This is the center fielder variation of the Jose Oquendo cards.  Isn't there a photo somewhere of Oquendo playing the outfield?  

This photograph is easily one of the worst I have seen on a baseball card, and I just do not understand why the card has to look this way.  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Break For Cards

I am taking a break for cards.

It is going to take a few minutes to scan the cards that were in my mailbox this afternoon.

I am taking a break, because it has been a busy day.  

I spent my morning teaching my own third grader reading and math.  

This afternoon, I spent time making rules for a Google Meet that I am having with the group of third graders that I teach for my day job.  Here are the rules.  

No, you cannot show up for the meeting, but please continue reading.

My third graders were actually supposed to be reading with a kindergarten class today.  Reading buddies.  Everyone loves reading buddies.  Since we are not in school, I found my own reading buddy.

I could not find a kindergartener, so I settled for a student from the 3 year old Preschool room that is currently meeting everyday in my living room.  

We made a grainy video reading the book "Dragons Love Tacos 2".  Earlier in the week, I read "Dragons Love Tacos".  Great books, if you are currently teaching kids I highly recommend both.  My reading buddy enjoyed these books.  

The three year old room is generally a pretty good class, unless it's nap time.  

I am going to call that kid's parents later tonight.  

The scanner has stopped.  I hope these cards were worth the wait.  

First up is a Brandon Lowe card.  This is from last year's Topps Tek set.  Nice card.  His cards have become a little more affordable over the last few months, so I am starting to loop back and pick up a few of the ones I missed out on.  

Similar story with this Ryan Helsley autograph.  I like the design too.  That's a huge draw to this card.  I wish the airbrushing on the front of his jersey was a little better, but overall still a really good card.  

Last two are 2020 Topps cards.  I am not putting together the complete set of these, but I am trying to pick up a bunch of the Cardinals and former Durham Bulls players.  I have picked up a few from the few packs that I have opened.  I also picked up a Snell from COMC before it all but closed down.  

Love the detail with the team's keep the same color schemes as they had in the 1985 set.  Wish they would have used the 1985 logos though.  That would have been a nice touch.  

Picked up a Pujols too, so I guess I am also collecting former Cardinals players.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A 1980s Card Part 36 - 1986 Donruss Tito Landrum

It has been really hard to find the motivation to write during the last week.  I do not have a job where I normally sit very much, nor do I spend much time looking at screens. After a long normal day of not sitting in front of a computer screen, ten to fifteen minutes to talk about baseball cards is the perfect way to unwind.  With my school going to distance learning, I am spending a lot of time on my computer, and often just want to walk away by the middle of the afternoon.

I hope everyone is healthy, and finding plenty to do while they are at home.  On with the baseball cards.  I really like this one. 

Tito Landrum was not really that good of a player, but he was still a favorite with Cardinals fans during the 1980s.  He was mainly a right handed bat off the bench, and the Cardinals started him against left handed pitchers during the early parts of Andy Van Slyke's career.  He did not have any power, only 13 career home runs over 9 years in the Majors, and did not have much speed either.  Tito only stole 17 bases in his entire career.  That's a really low number for a 1980s Cardinals player. 

Tito's claim to fame actually came after he was traded away to the Orioles in 1983.  He hit the series clinching home run in the American League Championship Series against the White Sox. 

He was later traded back to the Cardinals.  

Why do I love this card?  It's pretty cool to see a regular position power doing a little catching.  Always makes for a good card.  Fleer made a really good card of Brian Jordan wearing catcher gear for the Ultra set in 1998.  

I like the Jordan card better than the Landrum card for obvious reasons.  Still, it's kind of neat to see Tito out behind the plate catching warm-up pitches in between innings.  

Back of the card.  

Terry Lee Landrum.  I love how the old Donruss cards used to have the players full name on the back of the card.  You can also see his blah stat line on the back, and mention of the home run for the Orioles against the White Sox during the ALCS in 1983.