Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This Way To The End of 2015 *sniffsniff*

Aloha, everybody,

This will probably be the last post of 2015 for ATBATT.  So I'd like to thank all of you out there - fellow bloggers, readers, traders and friends (some of you belong to every catogory) - for reading and joining me in my humble little corner of our hobby over this past year.

Unless a new surprise should pop up in my mailbox before Jan.1, this will stand as my last fistful of cardboard received in 2015. These cards came to me courtesy of Mark Kaz and This Way to the Clubhouse, the place to be for Mets fans and Mets cards. Get on over there and see if you can't help Mark to complete that huge Walmart Blue Series project of his. 

Today is the birthday of Dodgers legend, World Series hero, retired number 32, greatest southpaw pitcher ever - Sandy Koufax. 

So it's appropriate that we lead off with one of his cards. Ah heck - it's the end of the year. Let's run with a few Koufax's...

First up is this thick-cardboard beauty, a 2013 Topps Silver Elite.

We've seen plenty of Koufax and Kershaw cards, but this time it's Sandy with a Korean partner. I like the idea here, but that mid-ground bypasses simple and goes straight to simplistic.

Finally, a tribute. I will never get tired of Koufax cards. Nope, never. 

Here's a very cool solo Ryu...

As much as my Dodger blue-tinted glasses want every Dodger to be a legend - alas, it cannot be so. Presenting...

 Hernandez was a below-average catcher who spent his Dodger career playing backup for Mike Scioscia and Mike Piazza. 

Aside: Hernandez may have reached legend status in his home country, for being the second Venezuelan-born catcher in MLB. The first was Bo Diaz, which may have GM's around baseball wondering if the third time will be the charm. 

Finally, we have an LA kid who left Cali to be a star on Mark's team, the Mets. In fact, he was an All-Star eight straight times. 

Darryl Strawberry tore it up as a Met, and he was the NL leader in home runs in 1988. I still remember the Dodgers battling the Mets in the 1988 NLCS, and dreading every time I saw Strawberry in the box for the Mets.

After the 1990 season the Straw returned to LA to play for the Boys in Blue, and the city opened its arms wide. He was big in his first year as a Dodger, but the high life took its toll. 

Strawberry's good buddy Eric Davis mercenaried over from the Reds, there was a scandal with those two driving around the Dodgers parking lot tossing firecrackers at fans, and it was all downhill after that. 

 But all's forgiven as the Straw eventually got his life together, and as I said, he's an LA homeboy, so I love me some Darryl cardboard. 

Matt chose well with this 1991 Upper Deck, which is new for my collection. Here we see brand-new Dodger Strawberry, fresh from conquering New York and seeing future roads of baseball gold laid out before him. 

THANKS for these great cards, Mark! 

Once again, thanks to all of you out there for riding along with me in 2015. I'm looking forward to what cardboard thrills 2016 will bring. 

Happy New Year and aloha, everyone, wherever you may be.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cardmas Continues Walking Right On Down The Plank

Aloha, everybody,

So many packages of Cardmas cheer arrived at ATBATT HQ over the past couple of weeks that I find myself scrambling to ensure I cover them all here before the year's end. 

Up next is another package that shattered the winter calm with the excitement of awesome Cardmas cardboard inside. This one came from my longtime trading partner and good friend (from Bob Walk the Plank), good ol' Matt

It was a small package in terms of quantity, but boy it loomed large in quality. What to lead off with?

Let's go with a 2014 Topps High Tek (not cardboard, but acetate) Sandy Koufax, Spiral Brick insert, numbered 27/75. Sweet!

Looks like Topps cropped the photo from the front and gives us Koufax's face, which is all that remains as he is apparently being beamed up to pitch on another planet - Tatooine perhaps?

Let's follow that opening act with an autograph from another Dodgers legendary hurler...

While my Sutton collection holds a few swatches and even a bat slice, it is now well-rounded with its first Sutton autograph. Panini doesn't get to use logos, but nevertheless, this card rocks because of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame references. The black and white photo and classic framing are nice touches, and of course, the on-card autograph wraps everything up nicely. 

But Matt wasn't done yet. He slipped in one more awesome auto, from the Toy Cannon.

Man, this card is the shite! 

The venerable Night Owl featured a Jimmy Wynn Fleer Sports Illustrated card on one of his posts earlier in December. It was the first time I had ever seen that card, and I commented that I had to get my hands on one of those for my collection as well. 

I don't know if Matt saw that exchange and then made a point of seeking out this autographed version, or if the Cardsphere Force simply worked its magic to bring him to auspiciously choose that card for me. 

Either version makes for a great Cardmas miracle story that I highly appreciate. THANKS so much for the awesome card gifts, Matt. They're grrrrrrrrrr-eat!!! 


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cardboard Santa Brought Me The Best Zippy-Zap Ever!

Aloha, everybody, 

Whew! What a Christmas, am i right? I've got just a few days to lose all of my new Christmas weight before the New Year's feasts begin. 

Before Christmas hit, Cardmas hit me even harder with one of the greatest packages to ever arrive at ATBATT HQ. Zippy Zappy from Torren' Up Cards/Cervin Up Cards zip-zapped me - and it was a doozy! 

Enough about me; let's get to the cards. Leading off are a couple of Topps highlights cards honoring Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.

 Here are current Dodgers Clayton Kershaw and Joc Pederson in action. Pederson is up first with a great shot of him coming out of the box, bat in hand..

I love Kershaw's ASG face here, but that 70's trucker hat is the worst. 

ZZ likes to include several zaps of minor leaguers in his packages, which is perfect for a collector like me. I'm the kind of guy who almost never rips packs of minor league/rookie class product, so gifts like these are always welcome in my collection. 

 I'm digging that Inland Empire 66ers shield. I've never seen these cards before. Martin pitches for the Phillies organization now. 

Young Corey Seager burst onto The Show at the tail end of 2015. He set a Dodgers rookie record by reaching base safely in his first 16 starts, and was the Dodgers' starting SS in the NLDS. I'm looking for him to be there on Opening Day 2016.

 Here's Corey playing for Team USA...

I love this shot of 2014 first-rounder Holmes with a Dodgers jersey, a tie, and some kind of draft board in some kind of studio, with a live-feed cameraman hovering behind him. This card accurately captures the artificiality of the entire affair. 

You know ZZ likes to toss in vintage, and this time was no exception. This zip-zap was gonna hit all the cylinders...

Willie Crawford is a sentimental-favorite Dodger for me...

Believe it or not, Mr. Hunt is my first 1968 Dodger. I believe I've just been handed a mandate. 

A package with just those cards (and the others I didn't scan this time) would have been a very nice Cardmas surprise, but good ol' ZZ stepped into the Extreme-Cardmas Zone with this one. 

A bit more context would be appropriate right about here. 

Back when I posted up my Ultimate Nine baseball cards, I mentioned that this 1933 Goudey was the oldest card in my collection...

ZZ said this in the comments about that post...
"No knock on the Goudey but I don't like that it's the oldest. Let's change that shall we..." 

I knew what the statement implied, but I never dreamed that someone whom I've never even met in person would be so generous as to make a statement like that come true. 

Well folks, there is a Cardmas Claus, and his name is Zippy Zappy. 

Ladies and gentlemen, from the famous 1909-11 T206 white-bordered, tobacco card set, take a gander at this little piece of cardboard gemology...

 The T206 set was released over a span of three years, and Joe Dunn played for the Brooklyn Superbas in 1908 and 1909. I figure that places this card as a 1909 or '10 issue - meaning this 'ol boy predates my Goudey by a quarter of a century. And it's my first ever Superbas player card! 

 The T206 set is most renowned for being the home set of the famous Honus Wagner card, as well as HOFers Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Cy Young. 

Dunn was no Georgia peach, and he didn't even crack the Mendoza line (before there was one to crack) in his brief stint with Brooklyn, but he did go on to become a championship minor league manager. 

This precious - yes, precious - 106 year-old card is now in my collection simply because of the goodness of another collector. The warm and sincere generosity of our community is absolutely incredible, and like nothing I've experienced anywhere else.

When I mention generosity, I mean it in a broad sense. Some of us give time to keep the big blogs on the block running with new material for us to enjoy day after day. Others are generous with commenting on posts and corresponding as friends behind the scenes. 

Some of us are generous with contests and opening packs every day of the season, with the intent to later give all of those cards to all of us. Some of us surprise each other with PWE's and packages "just because", or share their art creating custom cards that are later gifted out. 

Of course, our blogs would be forgotten without the silent readers out there who generously give us their time to come and read the ramblings about our hobby. 

Everyone gives in the way each can, and that's why I love hanging out in the cardsphere. It was a wonderful 2015, and I look forward to continuing the tradition into the new year. 

THANKS for everything ZZ (and shoot an email to me at your convenience. You can find my email address on my profile page). 

Aloha, everybody! 



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

You Also Say JENGA When You Save Cardmas!

Aloha, everybody, 

And the Cardmas magic just keeps on rolling. 

In my previous post I showed off some of the cardboard stocking stuffers that Tony B from WRJ sent to me, but I forgot to show the cool oddball that he sent along with the bunch. 

Somehow I left said oddball in the envelope, and at scanning time it remained there, forgotten. Have no fear, because Tony noticed it wasn't in my post, and he sent an email asking me if he had forgotten to pack that oddball in the first place. 

It turns out the timing of all of this was perfect, because a Dodgers news story broke since that first WRJ post, which grooves right into this new post perfectly. 

The Dodgers just announced they will dedicate their first stadium statue in 2016. Statues at stadiums are far from a new thing, but up until now, Dodger Stadium hasn't had one (I certainly don't count a giant Tommy Lasorda bobblehead as a statue). 

Who gets the honor of the first statue? Of course, he's the patron saint of ATBATT, and the player whom I take Stealing Home, my nom de blog from..

 Tony included this oddball of Jackie in the envelope as well, and I must point out that although I already had a couple of these, this one is in pristine shape, as though it came out of a pack yesterday. 

That however, was not the original oddball that Tony was referring to, and I had forgotten. This is...

It's a slightly oversized bio/portrait card of Branch Rickey, who some might refer to as the patron saint of Mr. Robinson. 

For the three of you out there who don't know yet, Branch Rickey was the guy who convinced the Dodgers to take on the task of breaking the black/white color barrier in MLB.  He also convinced Jackie to suck up the abuse hurled at him from the stands and opposing dugouts, and show through his playing ability that he, and others no different than him, deserved to play alongside white, Caribbean and Latin ballplayers. 

He was also played by Han Solo in the movie 42 . 

Here's the bio on the back. Check out Rickey's birthday - he's a Christmas baby - more Cardmas magic! 
 So I now have a piece commemorating one of the most influential men in baseball, and it's thanks to Tony B. 

P.S. for Zippy Zappy. Please grab my email from my profile and shoot an email to me, ZZ.  
P.S.S. for Matt and Tony L. Check my reply to the beer trading comments on Matt's blog. It's in the "Skinny Bonds" post. 

 Aloha - and Merry Christmas, everybody, wherever you may be.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Say JENGA When You Publish W/Out A Title and When You Get A Great PWE

Aloha, everybody,

The flurries of Cardmas continue with tonight's cards coming to us courtesy of Tony B and Wrigley Roster Jenga. This is the first time we've swapped cardboard, and I must say, just as he knows how to decorate a Cubbie Christmas tree, good ol' Tony knows a thing or two about stuffing a Cardmas package.  

Let's start off with one of my favorite things, a southpaw Dodger pitcher...

  Early Clayton Kershaw cards - Not a bad opening act. 

How about a Korean lefty... 

Complete with an All-Star Rookie cup
 And now my favorite lefty bat in the current Dodgers lineup, whom Vin Scully refers to as "The butter and eggs man"...

My previous post featured a Raul Mondesi Starting Lineup figure, and here come a few more Mondesis, of the cardboard variety...

Most cards feature Mondesi at bat, so I'm glad this Leaf Studio card has Mondesi showing off his throwing arm, "El Canon". Raul even has a tattoo of a cannon on his arm.
This was the first Rauuuuuul card that I ever pulled from a pack, and it remains my sentimental favorite.


Fleer Ultra was a product that I ripped plenty of packs of back in the day. 

But Tony B doesn't just send a few base cards. No way, baby. Inserts and special cards are par for the course as well. Leading off is a very nice white framed 2014 Gypsy Queen Han Ram...

Here's a shiny, shiny mini. this is one beautiful card in hand...

Now some tribute cards...

This is one of those "cards that never were". Campy was left off of the 1954 Topps checklist. 1955 Topps didn't carry him either. 
I'm usually a purist when it comes to mitts, but this two-tone job on Sutton is a beauty. 

Speaking of Dodger southpaw pitchers, the best one ever, with added photobombing kids...

You want numbered cards? I got yer numbered cards right here...

I love these Ovation cards with the tactile baseballs. This is the first time I've even seen a Dodger on one of the inserts.
Nice low number. 

Here's an old-timey Brooklyn Dodger by the name of Napoleon (Nap) Rucker...

I didn't know anything about Rucker, so getting his card was an extra treat and a chance to learn about yet another Dodger left-handed pitcher. 

Rucker threw a no-hitter against Boston and holds the all-time Brooklyn records for most NL shutouts (38) and most strike outs in 9 innings (16). Not bad, Nap! 

Last up is one of those cards you don't know you want until you have it. Remember when Will Ferrell made his Spring Training publicity stunt, playing for every team in one day? 

Topps printed baseball cards commemorating his tour, and now I've got Ferrell pitching for the Dodgers.

 He's not a southpaw, but he seems to have a decent game face. 

That was a way beyond decent Cardmas package, Tony. THANKS for all the great cards! 


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Han Solo Figurines Step Aside - Here Comes My Cardmas Action Figure

Aloha, everybody, 

Earlier this week I received a package from Dennis and Too Many Verlanders. Inside was a fun assortment of Cardmas goodies. We'll get around to that surprise mini-package in a moment, but first let's start off with highlights from the cards portion of the package and a mercenary...

 I always liked when it was Penny's turn in the rotation as he was a solid bet for a good outing. However, he isn't the Dodger I ordinarily associate with number 31. 

More pitchers...

Some folks don't think there's anything special about these RC shields, but they still catch my eye. I want 'em. 
 Gimme dat shield! Beautiful base card.

This is a perfect card for my collection, as Kuroda was a favorite of mine and he did not appear on a lot of product as a Dodger. 

I admired Kuroda's heart and consistency, and I wanted him to remain in LA., but flawed ex-G.M. Ned Colletti saw things differently. He pursued flawed Aaron Harang, while letting Kuroda slip away to pitch for the Yankees. 

As it turned out, not only has Kuroda's heart and rubber arm kept him going strong, but just last week Kuroda signed a contract to pitch for his previous Japanese team, the Hiroshima Carp. He is now the highest-paid ever Japanese baseball player. 

Nice going, Colletti! At least you were consistent as well. 

The words "trade bait" play an important role in the ATBATT name, and there's a very real reason for that. As we all have our personal reasons for blogging, trading with other collectors was why I joined our community, and will always be at the heart of this humble little blog. 

That said, Dennis sent me a fistful of trade bait that I can immediately offer up to football, college football, and USC Trojan collectors. Up for grabs, folks, with but one comment: Go Bruins...

Cards were not the only thing in this fun package. Here's an "also"...

 This almost laptop-sized cardboard sandwich is protecting something inside...

 It's a whole lotta somethings! 

Oversized Tom Cadiotti! 

 Even more over-sized and headless 1998 Pinnacle Raul Mondesi!  This looks like it was ripped because something was inside, but I have no idea what that hidden treat was. 

The real jewel of the batch was this super-sized Studio portrait of a lost Dodger who went on to become a legend for the White Sox...

Lots of Dodger fans, me included, loathed the day the Dodgers traded Konerko for Jeff Shaw. To this day, many Dodder collectors, me included, love to get our hands on early Konerko issues, with him wearing Dodger Blue.

This is available for trade as well, just in case any Konerko super collector might be interested. 

Now for the grand finale of the package. While it wasn't the biggest item in the package, it packs a fun punch. We saw this before...

What's in there? I spy a Dodgers helmet and arm. I grabbed the scissors and carefully snipped the packaging open. 

Whoa - it looks like Raul Mondesi! Without seeing the uniform number, there's also a decent chance this might be Juan Samuel. 

Is there anybody else out there like me? 

I don't immediately toss this out, because I think I may need this little packing to send some currently unknown something out to someone else....someday.

But I digress. Back to this very cool Rauuuuuuuuuuullllll Mondesi Starting Lineup figure...

That explains this matching Starting Lineup card ...

To everybody rushing the gates to get the latest Han Solo action figure, brought to you by Disney, I ask, does Solo have Kung-Fu action, swiveling hips and neck like Rauuuuuullll? 


Raul immediately slid into my bobbleheads display. See below...

THANKS Dennis, for the fun package and new additions to my collections. Raul says "Gimme a big cardsphere high five!"