Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shameless Pimping for All About Cards Contest

All About Cards is hosting a Panini America NFL Player of the Day Promotion where you can win a number of great prizes - check out the details here All About Cards - Contest.   There are a number of prizes available and a number of ways you can enter!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Greatest Overachievers: 1993 Phillies

I make no attempt to conceal that I am a lifelong fan of the Fightin Phils.
I grew up during the glory years watching some really solid teams from 1976 through 1983 (including two trips to the World Series and a world championship).  Those were great teams...then stars of my youth got old and retired and we had some not so great teams (from the mid 1980's through the early 1990's).

We hit bottom in 1992 -  the Phillies lost 92 games and finished in dead last in the NL East.  There was not a great deal of optimism that the Phils would do much better in 1993.  But 1993 was a magical season - a worst to first Cinderella story - a season that included 97 wins, a playoff victory over the 104 win and heavily favored Braves, and a trip to the World Series.

What made this possible?  Certainly luck had something to do with it.  But more important was a sense of team - an unselfish style of play that allowed the Phils to platoon 3 positions (second base, right field and left field) with fantastic success.  I was recently reminded of the incredible statistics these platoons generated by Mitch "the Wild Thing" Williams on MLB Tonight as he fondly remembered the 1993 team and compared it to this year's A's team.

Let's take a look at the platoons -

2nd Base - Mickey Morandini/Mariano Duncan
Although Duncan played several positions for the Phil's in 1993, he is primarily known as a secondbaseman. Between Duncan and Morandini they accounted for 106 RBI and scored 125 runs.

RF - Jim Eisenreich/Wes Chamberlain
A true platoon in right field, Chambelain hit .282 and Eisenreich batted .318 and between them they knocked in 99 runs.

LF - Milt "the Stilt" Thompson /Pete Incaviglia
Another true platoon (Inky only played against lefties), this platoon managed 28 homers and 133 RBI and scored 102 times.

Although perhaps not as well remembered as Dykstra, Daulton, Kruk, Schilling and the Wild Thing, these 6 platooners were truly the key to the Phillies 1993 magical season.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Collecting History Part 2 (the 1990's)

After a decade long hiatus from trading cards during the 1980's, I jumped back into the hobby in the early 1990's.  The hobby had changed quite a bit (more brands, more sets, nicer card stock, better photography) and cards were everywhere  - CVS, Rite Aid, hobby shops, and card shows just about every weekend in hotels and shopping malls.

Another thing I discovered around this time was the existence of price guides - Beckett, Tuff Stuff and a host of other magazines that charted the "book value" of cards.  Since Ebay was still a number of years away, there was no practical way to gauge the market and I, like many other collectors, just assumed "book value" was the same as "fair market value."

Like many collectors from this period, I have lots and lots of cards that look this

and this....

and this....

Notwithstanding the fact that these cards are "worthless" from a monetary perspective, they are (in many cases) beautifully designed and photographed cards.   The fact that these sets and singles, many of which include fantastic cards of hall of famers, can be obtained for next to nothing makes them extremely "valuable" in the sense that they are an extreme "value" to purchase.

For a fraction of the price of any current hot or even marginally hot "prospect" who may or may not ever make a major league roster, you can obtain dozens of hall of famers and future hall of famers from their playing days.

What you prefer in your collection -

This card

or a shiny, flashy card of some 16 year old kid you've never heard of who will probably never make it out of AA ball?  What if I told you the shiny card would cost you a $1 out of a 4 card pack at Target and would probably be warped and chipped right out of the pack?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Kindness of Bloggers

As I look back on my various phases of collecting  - (from the 70's, the early 90's, the early aughts, and over the last several years) - the hobby has never been more accessible or enjoyable.

One of the aspects that has energized me to renew my interest in collecting over the last couple of years is the blogosphere and the community of collectors that resides in it.  I've enjoyed reading, commenting, participating in contests and group breaks...and I've really enjoyed the community (both as an observer and as a participant).

I recently participated on one of Kyle's group breaks at Juuuuust A Bit Outside.  Kyle hosts a group break every month and I regularly participate - usually selecting the Phillies.  Kyle recently sent me a card accidentally that was intended for another Phillies Phan.   Realizing his error, he emailed me and asked me to forward the card to another participant.  Kyle was very apologetic and offered to reimburse me for the postage - but the amount was minimal and he has always been great with his breaks - so I was more than happy to make sure the card made it to its rightful home.  

Fast forward a couple of weeks and, after the last group break, Kyle sent the following (in addition to my haul from the group break) -

As a Phillies phan I was thrilled with all 4 cards - thanks Kyle!!

The rest of the break was pretty kind to me as well.  It included a box of 1990 Leaf and 1998 Bowman's Best and I took the White Sox largely because I never owned a Frank Thomas rookie (too expensive in "the day").  Well - I no longer have that problem....

I now have these two...AAANNNND

These two!!

Plus a Sosa:

And a Pair of Maglios:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm Ready for Some Football-Themed Loot From the National

In honor of the first day of the 2012 NFL season I thought I would show off some of my promo/redemption loot from this year's National in Baltimore.  It was my first National and I had been planning to attend for nearly a year (since reading and hearing so much about the 2011 Chicago National).

I attended on Friday to avoid the Saturday crowds .  I arrived before the doors opened with my list of redemptions and special offers in hand.  When the doors opened I headed straight to the corporate area, and lined up at the Topps booth to obtain the special 2012 Gypsy Queen mini National promo cards.  After over an hour in line, we were told they were out of the Bryce Harper card, but I was able to obtain the remainder of the set - including these football minis (Ricardson, RGIII, Luck, Tannehill, Blackmon, and Floyd):

Next I lined up at the Panini booth for another hour-plus wait to secure the special Panini redemption packs (which were loaded with great stuff).  Below are some of the football cards I received (I also scored an autographed hockey puck [Matt Read] a cut autograph card of Hall of Famer Eddy Rousch and some assorted baseball, basketball and hockey cards - which I will show in a future post).

Now - on with the football (which includes this really cool Robert Griffin III towel card):

Three Richardson cards:

A couple of Blackmon's:

A few RB's you might have heard of (the Gore is numbered to 5):

Oh - and a few QB's who might do OK this year:

After the redemptions, I ended up roaming the floor and digging through cards for the next 5 or 6 hours.  My feet were tired, but I sure could have used another day to roam the floor!!

Happy football season everyone!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

First Post - My Collecting History (Part 1 - the 1970's)

Welcome to Screaming Line Drive.  After lurking around the blogosphere for some time as a regular reader, dabbling in a few group breaks and contests, and participated in a few trades, I decided to surface and actually post something.  I hope to get my wants/trades lists up over the next few weeks, but for now - an introductory post.

While this is my first post, I am not new to the hobby. Like many in my demographic, I started collecting as a kid in the 1970's (77, 78 and 79 were prime collecting years for me) and then drifted away during my teenage years.  Fortunately, my mom did not throw out my cards BUT I did discover during my college years that I could convert the better cards into beer money (which I gladly did). Although I wish I could turn back the clock and get some of those cards back, I did manage to retain a decent stack of cards from my childhood.

Growing up in the Philadelphia area, Mike Schmidt was my favorite player and Steve Carlton was, in my view, the best pitcher in the game.  I collected Phillies, Phillies and more Phillies.  The following cards in many ways epitomize why and how I collected as kid (and highlight certain aspects of cards and collecting that I still gravitate towards today).

First, Tim McCarver 1977 Topps #357.
The McCarver card is cool on a number of levels.  First, it is action shot...and it looks like a baseball card should.  He's either looking at a long drive (hoping its fair) or he has just roped one to the opposite field and he his hustling to first.  Tim was never known as a speedster (particularly at this stage of his career), but looking at the back of his card I was surprised to learn that Tim hit 13 triples in 1966.  Tim would retire after just a few games in 1980, and by 1977 he was basically Steve Carlton's personal caddie while Bob Boone was the everyday catcher - but I've always appreciated and valued the card.  The other reason I like the McCarver card is the iconic powder blue Phil's away uniforms - symbolic of the 1970's bad uniform era, but fondly remembered by any phan of Phil's during the late 1970's.

Next, Garry Maddox 1977 Topps #520.
Garry Maddox's card is every bit as 1970's as McCarver's, but for different reasons.  Sporting a 'fro that rivals that of Oscar Gamble, the "Secretary of Defense" would later team with Bake McBride to anchor one of the fastest and most exciting outfields in all of baseball.  Garry's card is of the classic posed variety (while trying to appear candid) which is also omnipresent during this era.  I'm not sure what Garry is looking at or how his "extra tall" hat manages to stay on his head, but despite the static pose, Garry looks fast even standing still.

Finally, Mark Fidrych 1977 Topps #265.
I present to you the late, great Mark "the Bird" Fidrych in all his glory.  The Bird, along with Randy Jones of the Padres, lit up baseball for a single season unlike any I can remember as a 9 year old.  Randy Jones sticks vividly in my mind because my little league team that year was the Padres (and Jones was 16-3 at the all star break in 1976!).Outside of Phillies cards, my collecting focus in the late 1970's centered around the coveted "All-Star" banner and the cool Topps Rookie cup logo.  The Fidrych card had both.  In an era largely devoid of inserts and parallels, these were the "hits" that we chased as kids. 

I will be back with Part 2 of this post - which will focus on the early 1990's  and my re-entry into a very different hobby....