Friday, October 17, 2014

Super Awesome Contest Winnings From Super Awesome Bob Walk The Plank

Aloha readers and trade partners,

Ever since the Dodgers were bumped from the playoffs, it's been getting colder and colder around here. I might actually have to stop wearing shorts pretty soon! 

My last post centered around vintage cards and the joyful memories of past baseball seasons that they bring to me. Old cardboard really hits the spot when I'm feeling nostalgic - but I don't always pine for the past.

Modern, contemporary cards work equally as well to inspire me with feelings of the awesomeness of today. That's exactly what happened when I opened my package of contest winning cardboard from Matt over at Bob Walk The Plank.

Sure, some bloggers throw around the superlatives like they're cheap popcorn, but I gotta tell you, the cards Matt sent to me are absolutely AWESOME! At first I thought there was some kind of mistake; heck, I won Fourth Place in the contest, not First. 

Anybody who's traded with Matt knows he sets the standard for most excellent trades and now he's raising the bar for contest winnings. I'm going to reveal the cards to you in the same order that I first saw them out of the package.

Leading off are the Japanese pitchers. The first two cards look a little scratchy, but that's because they sit within sealed protective cases.  I don't want to break the seals (yet), so we'll enjoy them like Mona Lisas of cardboard, behind the glass. Besides, the scratchy surface works like the cracks in an aged oil paining...

Dodgers SP RC !!! That's always a nice way to start things off. I remember poor ol' Kaz for getting struck in the face with a hit ball. It was pretty horrible as you might imagine, but he recovered pretty quickly and got back on his horse to pitch again. 

Kaz is still pitching over in Japan for the Saitama Seibu Lions. Boo! Go Tigers! 

Next up is my favorite Japanese pitcher in a serial numbered 245/250. (Surface imperfections from the plastic slab)

This card rocks its simplicity. Flat cathedral borders quietly frame the action shot, which itself is free of background visual noise. We simply catch a glimpse of the master practicing his craft, as though we're watching through an elegant knothole in the fence. 

 Some collectors are over the serial numbered niche - not me, no way. I totally dig the fact there are only a limited amount of these cards around, and now I've got one. 

Dodger fans can't get enough blue and this sweet blue swatch fits the ticket exactly. Love the way the jersey swatch is broken up by the black number one, a number certainly fitting for Nomo-san.

Usually  a short print Rookie Card, serial numbered Nomo and a swatch card would be enough for some cool prizes, right? Not for Matt. He was far from being done.  He then proceeded to dial it up to 11.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the RBI leader for all of Major League Baseball in 2014...

My jaw just about dropped when I saw this baby. Adrian Gonzalez!!!! Triple Threads!!! Autograph !!! Jersey!!!! Serial numbered under 100 !!!!! Wow !!! 

Beautifully designed and simply stated with the same kind of quiet power that El Jaguar brings to every game.  And the topper, I mean the cream on the top...did you notice the serial number? 

Yup, Jackie's number 42. Excellent! 

That wasn't all. These contest winnings weren't done with me yet. Once I finished amazing at the Gonzo card, I peeked at the final one, ready for an anticlimactic finish.  I mean, what could top an autographed, serial numbered jersey card of the Dodgers' and major league's RBI leader?

How about a trip to the Dodgers' roots in Brooklyn?


Are you kidding me !!!!????!!!!!  Johnny fricken World Series Hero Podres!!! 

As the A-gon card nearly dropped my jaw to the floor - this Johnny Podres autograph finished the job. I absolutely couldn't believe it then, it's still hard to believe now. 

Matt went the extra mile and sought out cards he knew I would personally appreciate and would hold high places in my collection. Now that's Contest Prize Bad-assery! 

Those are fantastic prizes. THANKS and THANKS again, Matt. Wow! 

On a personal note: Some of you might have noticed I haven't been posting a lot these days. That's because I've been working on another personal net-project on the side. It's coming along, but not yet ready to be revealed to all of you. Look for an announcement in the coming 2 or 3 weeks. Until then, if you notice me missing in action sometimes...I'm over there...working on that project.  


Friday, October 10, 2014

MARK my words, this is a HOYLE lotta cool VINTAGE

Aloha readers and trade partners,

The 2014 baseball season is over in Los Angeles. 

It pains me to write those words. Yes, of course I'm pained because my team is now out of the run for the World Series - but also because it will soon be the end of baseball for all of us. My favorite time of year, summer - baseball season - is over. 

When I'm feeling melancholy about autumn's arrival, and the sun setting earlier by the day, I travel back in my mind to that place of summers gone by. 

That's when wonderful vintage cardboard takes its place front and center to be held and admired in all of its worn and sun-faded glory. 

In a stroke of cardboard collector generosity, an envelope arrived from Mark Hoyle. When I opened it, it was full of beautiful early 70's Dodgers vintage.  Perfect timing. 

These cards are particularly poignant because they represent the true Dodgers of my youth. These were the Boys in Blue when I first became a major league baseball and Dodgers fan.   

Let's take a ride down Dodger Blue Memory Lane...

 This 1971 card fills one more hole in my team set. This year's Dodger squad sure could have used Osteen in the rotation. 

On to my favorite cards from the stack of 1972 Topps Dodgers...

Before Steve Garvey and The Infield, Wes Parker held down the first base bag. Speaking of nostalgia, I absolutely love cards featuring old time Dodger Stadium. 

Here's a nice smile from the 3-Dog. 

Summers gone by gave us the lost art of the knuckleball. Charlie Hough practiced that craft for the Dodgers.

Coming up next are a couple of cards from classic Topps subsets, All-Star Rookie Cups and "In Action"...

Moving forward to 1973...

 Anybody remember when the Dodgers experimented with Bill Russell as manager? 

For something like 50 years the Dodgers had only two managers and one owner.  That era of stability was followed by a revolving door of progressively worse owners and more managers than I can remember. 

That said, I would be content to wake up tomorrow to news the Dodgers will have a new manager in 2015.

Phony poses for everybody! 

 Before Kershaw and Grienke, the Dodgers' had a one-two pitching punch of Don Sutton and Andy Messersmith. 

I close with a card I've been coveting from afar ever since I fist saw it in card magazines; my first exposure to the world of card collecting came from the magazines Beckett and Tuff Stuff.

You can't get much more "in action" than this shot...

 What a glorious celebration of baseball on cardboard! We get the old time and yet timeless imagery of the Dodgers' home white uniforms, the bright sun-yellow Dodger seats, and the tradition of the brushback pitch captured in one image. 

When I opened that magnificent envelope from Mark, out poured many memories of the baseball seasons from my youth.  

THANKS so much for these great cards, Mark! Fantastic. It will take me a bit of time to get the resources to adequately return the favor to you, but mark my words one more time, card karma from L.A. is coming your way.