Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sox home park is the Polo Grounds?

So popped into Target last night to get a couple of things and found that they had a ton of 2011 Topps Heritage. Gravity feeds, retail packs, rack packs, and blasters.

Picked up one blaster and came across this card.  Bobby Jenks, sweeeeet!! Wait a second, why is he pictured against the back drop of the Polo Grounds?????  I noticed also that my Dustin Pedroia is also pictured at the Polo Grounds. Two other Sox I got in my blaster, Lars Anderson and Clay Buchholz are just head shots so no stadium back drop. Are there others or are these variations like last years T206 with some variations having with and without hats?

No hits in my box unless you count a Richie Weeks chrome. Those that collect Chrome Heritage I think will be very excited. That wood grain looks like you just sprayed 3 cans of Pledge on it. The checklist I got had a different stock, almost similar to the SPs last year. Was numbered 4 of 6 so not sure if these are short printed. Other insert was a News Flashback on the Mona Lisa touring the U.S. for the first time.

Overall, nice cards cards but some have that overdone Photoshop appearance in their faces ala a number of the '59 style Heritage. Not sure if I will attempt the set, thinking about it though.

Will post some more pics when I get a couple of minutes to breathe. Crazy week ahead of me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Heritage Live on eBay

Just happened to look on eBay and people are breaking down boxes/cases of 2011 Topps Heritage.

Like what I see so far! One thing that is back, and looking at the other sets from the '60s will be more hatless player shots. So while people love the wood grain design of the 1962 set, will they get over the fact that there will be countless, hatless, player mugs.

Also staying true to the original, blue tints. Not sure how many there are or what the seeding is.

I think I'll give the LCS a call at noon and see if they got their shipment in but think it will be closer to mid next week.


Just got a combo printer/scanner yesterday that I hope to put to good use. Got a trade to review from Night Owl I'd like to get up on the blog. Plus I finally got a wantlist of 2009 Goodwin Champions minis that I need to post as well. Work has been crazy this week so hopefully can do some much needed posting this weekend. Also headed to Vegas at the end of next week for a bachelor party (not mine as I am happily married) so if some have some insights on where to go and what not to do, feel free to post. Also, if you know of any card stores out there, I'll need to kill a good chunk of my Sunday before the return flight. And finally, Joe for Bound for Beantown and Dan from The Other World, your packages are going into the mail today. Both are 400 count boxes!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Jim Ed

Looking back, I don't remember the day that I said: Jim Rice, he's my favorite baseball player. It had to be sometime in 1980 when I remember searching my little stack of 1980 Topps and seeing a player who I thought was Jim Rice. It had a cool angled photo of a batter at the plate and you couldn't really see his face but I thought it had to be him ... no?

Well turns out it wasn't Rice but Bob Watson, see for yourself.

 It's ok though, when I did find the Rice, I said to myself that this was a way cooler photo and it had the awesome "A.L. All-Star" banner at the top. From that day on my Jim Rice collection was born. At the height of his playing days and of my collection, I thought I had every know Rice card and collectible out there. I also had two sweet game used bats from two different periods of his career. For some reason I ended up taking the cards out of sheets and into a box. I think it's high time I go back and fill in the blanks that I missed along the way, such as the 1979 Topps Comic or the countless issues of bat, jersey, auto relics that have popped up since the early 2000s.

Always wondered why Rice didn't get solo treatment ala George Brett, Robin Yount, or heck, fellow Red Sox rookie Rick Burleson. Clearly Jim Ed's minor league stats spoke volumes. So instead, he shared his Topps debut with three other players ...
Dave Augustine of the Pirates only played a handful of games in 1973 and '74 and was done. Look at his minor league numbers and he was a no-hit, no-speed, no-batting average stiff.

John Scott of the Padres, was the 2nd player overall in the 1970 draft, earned only 24 at bats between the '74 and '75 seasons. It wasn't until 1977 when he was selected in the expansion draft by the Blue Jays did he rack up over 250 plate appearances.

Pepe Mangual actually made his Major League debut in 1972 with Montreal!!!!!  HEY TOPPS ... UUHHHHMMMMMM 1972!!!!!!?????!!! He also played games in 1973 and '74 yet Topps decided to wait and place him next to an eventual HOF'er. 'Ol Pepe did have the second best career of this four-some swiping some 57 bases between 1975 and '76. Mangual did spend 3 years at AAA and manage to put up some decent numbers and definitely knew how to take a walk.

Jim Rice’s days with the Red Sox began in 1971, when he was the team’s first round pick in the June draft.  He went on to play sixteen major league seasons for the Sox, making the All-Star Team eight times, and winning the American League MVP in 1978. Respected by teammates, opponents, and fans, Jim Rice easily followed the footsteps of his left field predecessors Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski into Red Sox lore. In 2009, he followed Ted and Yaz once more, when he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

My favorite Jim Rice memory ... July 4th, 1984. The only time that I went to Fenway Park as a whole family with my dad, mom, and brother, Corey. It was a hot, hot, humid day and somehow we got  tickets down the 3rd base side, maybe 20 rows up from the field. It had already been a good day for my hero, having already gone 4 for 5 with a couple of rbi, but he wasn't done when he strode to the plate to face Gorman Heimueller.

"The guy (Gorman Heimueller) had struck me out the previous time I faced him on a screwball. But this time, I had my eyes wide open. I wasn't going to leave it up to Tony (Armas). I said to myself, I've got to do something right here."

Rice's homer was the only logical way to end the three-day affair, in which the average time for each game was 3 hours, 35 minutes. That hot, humid day at the Fens still remains one of my favorite Sox games that I have ever attended.

Happy Birthday Jim Ed, and to many, many more.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A creepy look in the '11 Ginter ...

So one card caught my eye in the images Topps released for the 2011 Allen & Ginter. That card will be part of the Uninvited Guests (spooky tales and other paranormal things).

Gotta be a first no? A cemetery card ... well it turns out "Bachelor's Grove Cemetery" has some interesting history and paranormal happenings behind it.

It's a small, abandoned cemetery in the Chicago metropolitan area, located near Midlothian and Oak Forest (IL) in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve on the Midlothian Turnpike. It is well-known for its haunted stories and ghost sightings. There are countless reports of glowing balls, apparitions, squeaks, moans, groans, and unexplained noises.
Hidden down a thin gravel path is the most haunted cemetery in the world. Bachelor's Grove is rumored to have the most ghostly disturbances among all cemeteries, boasting many different experiences never before heard of in a place of rest. A once respected site, the people of Chicago have buried their dead here since 1834 (official opening in 1864, however some graves date 30 years prior). The name of the cemetery is almost as much the anomaly as the stories behind it. Bachelor's Grove derives from the earliest settlers to that area, most of them being German immigrants who took part in constructing the Illinois-Michigan Canal. Many of the immigrants were single, therefore bachelors, when they died and were buried in the cemetery. 
Surrounding the cemetery is a small lagoon made famous by the mobsters who found this an ideal dumping ground of men who crossed the mob during the Prohibition days. Many bodies were found here on a regular basis adding to the legendary spirits that now haunt the waters. Al Capone may not have stepped foot in the grove himself, but his men most surly dumped the bodies of his enemies into that pond. One of the many reasons why this cemetery is haunted by the ghosts below...

The White Lady (Mrs. Rogers or The Madonna of Bachelor's Grove):
The lady dressed in white is known to walk the grounds of the cemetery during a full moon. The deceased woman rumored to be the White Lady is buried in the cemetery beside her son and can sometimes be seen holding a baby in her arms.

The Phantom Farmhouse:
Not all ghosts are confined to the cemetery, and not all ghost are people. On the path leading to the cemetery, a picturesque white farmhouse appears and then quickly disappears. Most reports of this phenomenon happened around the 1950s. 

The Farmer and his Horse:
In the 1870's a farmer plowing the land near the cemetery got too close to the famous lagoon, proving to be a fatal mistake. The horse fell into the water first, pulling the plow and farmer in with him. Almost 100 years later, two forest rangers reported seeing the same farmer still plowing his land by the lagoon.

Lights and Orbs:
This site has common sightings of blue colored lights and orbs that fly about the cemetery. Some other accounts talk of reds comet-like lights flying over the graves.
The Woman sitting on the Grave:
One of the most famous sights is the woman sitting on a gravestone. What makes this account so famous is that it was caught on camera and featured in the Chicago Sun-Times. A very real picture shows the transparent image of a woman sitting comfortably and staring away from the camera out into the woods.

A description of the experience from the famous photographer (courtesy of ghost-hunter.com)
Sent in from Jude Felz: "My name is Jude A. Huff-Felz and currently I live in Dixon, Illinois. I took this picture in the late 80's or early 90's at Bachelor's Grove Cemetary in Midlothian, Illinois. It is taken in broad daylight on infrared black and white film during the summer."
Jude went on to explain this photo was taken using an ordinary, late 80's era 35 mm. camera. Upon developing the film, the image of a woman was discovered sitting on a gravestone, who was NOT present when the photo was taken. This picture was also published in the Chicago Sun-Times.

So as I sit here at one in the morning, and needing to get up in four hours for work, can't say I am really tired. Can't wait to see what other oddities lie in the Uninvited Guests insert set. Pretty interesting stuff if you ask me. So if you want to read more about Bachelor's Grove click here ... if you dare ....


Trade recaps: Lifetime Topps Project & The Call of Cardboard

Take a crazy work week and thrown in two big freelance projects and I pretty much have worked no-stop since Friday with absolutely no time to post anything. I was lucky enough to happen to see all the 2011 Ginter posts that have gone up the last 24 hours. Very happy that Topps is bringing that back again. One card preview peaked my interest and will showcase that tomorrow. Okay, time to share two trades ...

First trade comes via Charlie over the Lifetime Topps Project. I happened to be reading one of his posts when I noticed he had a 2011 Topps sparkly card of Sox fav, Jon Lester. As a Lester collector, I offered up three 2011 Topps sparklies for the one. Charlie was also nice enough to include some other goodies too.

Here we have the best lefty in the junior circuit and a 2011 Topps Kimball Champions mini Clay Buchholz. As a retro mini collector, I think these cards are pretty sweet; too bad these weren't the '11 Ginter design. Where I am collecting this set, I'll need another mini of Clay for my player collector too. Also in the package was four 2011 Topps Red Sox I still needed for my '11 Topps set.

Lars and Scutaro actually ended up in my Red Sox All-Time Roster collection since they show their 2010 Sox stats while VMart and Paps went towards the Topps base set. Come the end of the 2011 (VMart has already left for Detroit), these guys will all be gone from the Sox organization. Paps is clearly headed for free agency, one time top prospect Lars Anderson is blocked by Theo's man-crush, Adrian Gonzelez, and Marco (Polo) Scutaro is a bridge to prospect Jose Iglesias.

Thanks again Charlie for the trade and be sure to check out his blog. It's a nice ride back in time when many of us were getting our feet wet in the baseball collecting universe.


Next trade recap is from my buddy Chris over at The Call of Cardboard. Chris sent along another package of 2009 UD Goodwin Champion minis. I still need to put a want list together, just need to find five minutes to do so.

First three mini are of the retired legend variety. A young looking Whitey Ford, Bucky "Bleepin" Dent and World Series hero, Joe Carter. I always like Joe Carter when I was younger. Never got in trouble, seemed to always be having fun playing the game and a heck of a ballplayer to boot. I cannot tell you how many times growing up as a kid that we would hear rumors of Joe Carter coming to the Sox or the Sox trading for Carter. Seemed to happen almost every year. He would have been a nice fit at Fenway for sure.

Next up, some current day players, including another guy I wished had donned a different color of Sox, Jim Thome. He has had one heck of a career and I think evades of the "juice" and "roids" talk. From afar, Thome has always been a class act and a pretty consistent player. I was glad to see him go back to Minnesota for another year. Also in this lot, a possible (yet he's hurt again already) fantasy bounce back player in Brian Roberts and the lone face of the Rays, Evan Longoria.

And finally some Goodwin non-sport (real sport) minis. I never got into the whole MMA craze so I couldn't tell you who the two on the right are. I have heard of Evelyn Ng thanks to ESPN's poker coverage, surfer and artist (done a couple of his art puzzles), Laird Hamilton and the biker, uhm no clue but cool card (according to my six-year old). So 11 more minis closer to a set.  Thanks again Chris, will have your cards in the mail this week and I'm sure we'll be wheeling and dealing soon!