Monday, April 30, 2012

Ice Cream Helmets

Because of the box break I did recently, I didn't really send out any autograph requests or make any purchases to showcase on this Mailday Monday. Instead, I'll show off one of my Cubs sub-collections.

Last year at a card show, I came across a table with a whole bunch of these ice cream sundae helmets. I scooped up what he had for the Cubs with no real plan for them although I've been slowly getting them autographed.

Below are 11 of the helmets that I have gotten signed so far. Some are pretty legible but others are a little tougher so let's see how well everybody knows their Cubs autographs. Leave guesses as a comment.

A.B. C.

D. E. F.

G.  H. I.

J. K.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sandberg Sunday

Everybody who has collected cards at some point has probably seen Ryne Sandberg's run of the mill base cards. I literally have thousands of his cards and I'm pretty sure several hundred different variations that have been produced over the years. One of the other reasons I wanted to start this blog was to get more organized, which definitely includes the Sandberg collection so I won't end up intentionally buying duplicates.

However, I do know, that this is the card that I have paid the most for in my collecting history. And considering it it does not have an autograph or relic seems a little ridiculous. However, it is a 1/1.

I present to you, the 2011 Ryne Sandberg Canary 1/1 card:

Note the 1/1 designation just below the sliding runners helmet, above his nameplate. Here is the back which seems to be the same as the base version.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I love structure. I can be a little scatterbrained so I learned early on that checklists are not just for baseball cards sets. I use them everyday for work, home and my hobby. When I decided to start my blog, one of my biggest concerns was that there would be days where I would draw a blank and not be able to write anything. But now that I've been doing this for about two weeks, I've come up with a basic structure of themed days that will get me through the week should the need arise. Some of these I'll do every week, some just when needed.

Sandberg Sunday - Without a doubt, my favorite player growing up was Ryne Sandberg. I have thousands of his cards (hundreds of which are different), dozens of autographs and plenty of other memorabilia to showcase.

Mailday Monday - Whether its eBay purchases, trades, autograph requests being returned or bills, Monday tends to be my biggest mailday. I'll share some of my bounty from the previous week.

Tab Tuesday - It seems logical to me that following a big mailday, I should update the different collections featured in the tabs underneath my header (tabs coming soon!). Also, updates and reminders to any upcoming box breaks or contests will be noted here. Date of last update will be included in tab name.

Wantlist Wednesday - After sorting through everything from Mailday Monday, I will update my wantlists accordingly. As I dive deeper back into the collecting world, I fear this list may grow faster than it will shrink.

Trade List Thursday - I can't expect people to help with Wantlist Wednesday without something in return, so on Thursdays I'll showcase a few items looking for a more appreciative owner.

First Pitch Friday - Debuted yesterday, this is a fun little insert for my ATCRCS that I developed on a whim. While looking for photos to use, I came across quite a few celebrities who have thrown a first pitch at Wrigley Field.

Signature Saturday - As part of my overarching Cubs collection I collect autographs as well. With a pretty good headstart and continuous acquisitions, I should have enough to cover Saturdays for a long time.

Although this blog will be heavily Cubs themed, I hope there is enough variety to keep others interested. Feedback always welcome!

Friday, April 27, 2012

ATCRCS - First Pitch Friday Edition - Hope Solo

What good is a set that doesn't have any inserts? Today's post brings just that with this card of Hope Solo throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field on August 21, 2011. Numerous celebrities, athletes, politicians and others have thrown out a first pitch over the years so it shouldn't be too hard to keep a subset like this going for a little bit.

The front is the same as the regular set. The back has had the statistics chart removed and font enlarged for the blurb. Nothing fancy, just a little something about the date of the game, who the Cubs played and what the featured person is known for.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

ATCRCS - John Hairston

John Hairston is an example of a player whose card I struggled with something to write. He played in only 3 games and although he was part of the (in)famous 1969 Cubs, it was before my time. I was much more familiar with Jerry Jr. and Scott and their father Jerry Sr. I even knew a little about Sam (Jerry Sr.'s father and Jerry Jr. and Scott's grandfather) who also played because of the significance of the three generations of ballplayers. But I didn't want to include that because although he was part of the family, he wasn't in that direct line. The Hairston family does hold the record with 5 MLB players, just ahead of the Boone and Bells who each have 4.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ATCRCS - Fergie Jenkins

Like Don Kessinger from yesterday's post, Ferguson "Fergie" Jenkins was a player whose prime was before my time. I caught the very end of his career in his second stint with Chicago and I do remember having some of his baseball cards as a kid in the early 1980's and not wanting his Rangers cards. And of course, later as part of the coaching staff.

Jenkins was also not one of the players I had trouble with when looking to write the blurb. In fact, it was quite the opposite as I had to decide which facts and figures to include. I was able to include most of his major accomplishments and awards but omitted was the fact that he struck out 6 batters over 3 innings in the 1967 All-Star Game, including fellow Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle and  Rod Carew. He was the first pitcher to retire with more than 3000 strikeouts (3192) while allowing less than 1000 walks (997). That feat has since been matched by Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. I could go on and on but without further ado, here are the front and back sides of my custom card.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ATCRCS - Don Kessinger

I can't really explain it but Don Kessinger is one of my favorite Cubs despite him finishing his playing career before I was born. Here's a better shot of the front that you've already seen in the header:
This was one of my first that I had made and looking back on the player cutout makes me cringe a little. When I started making the cards I had absolutely no Photoshop experience and taught myself using Google searches and Youtube tutorials. I should have cleaned up the edges a little bit more and maybe I'll eventually go back to fix it up but I'll leave it for now to show how far I've come.

With credentials like Kessinger's, writing the blurbs on the back are a whole lot easier than guys that just had a cup of coffee with the team. Sometimes I have to really dig deep into some box scores and pull out a game-winning hit or run. Luckily, Kessinger won some major awards and it only took a minor search to discover he also holds a record.

Monday, April 23, 2012

First Custom Cards

In the introduction to my blog I talked briefly about making my own All-Time Cubs Roster Custom Set (ATCRCS). A lot of trial and error went into the initial design of the set to get to the final template. I wanted something uniform that could span the different eras of the Cubs teams and am happy with where I ended up.

Since you've already seen Dennis Lamp in my header photo, I thought I'd use him to help explain my process. The other 3 will get their own posts eventually.

Since I could desaturate color photos to turn them black and white a whole lot easier than I could colorize black and white ones, I decided to go with an old-timey look. As you can see, I started with a yellowish parchment papery background. The border is a simple set of interlocking rectangles. I added the classic C logo in Cubs red and gave it an aged appearance. From there I added a photo of the player cutout from the original background with a few Photoshop tweaks. The players name is in Cubs blue with the same aged effect as the red C.

I had started with some of the more popular/famous Cubs players so the inclusion of Dennis Lamp may seem a bit out of place. But actually, there was a private signing Lamp was doing and since he is a semi-tough autograph to get, I put the card together and sent it off. Plus, that's a pretty sweet mustache in the photo!

The backs are a little bit more complex than the fronts, even with a template. They pack a lot of information into a very small area, hopefully without looking too cluttered. The names are the same font that the Cubs use for the names on the backs of their jerseys. Next to that is their primary position and years spent with the team, followed by the Cubs logo from that player's era.
Underneath is the player's DOB, throwing hand and batting side. Below that is a chart featuring common statistics only from the player's time with the team. Up the left side of the card, in blue, is the date of the player's Cubs debut. And finally, there is a space left for a little blurb about the player and his Cubs tenure. Obviously, some players have more highlights than others so the area is big enough and small enough that I can play with font sizes to accommodate any difference. You'll notice I tend to start the blurb with how the player was acquired. If there are significant career achievements, I'll talk about those. If not, I'll scour box scores on to find a particularly good game to recount.

If it sounds like a lot of work, you're right, it is.

I started the design process in late 2011 and have made about 100 fronts and 75 backs so far. I did not get my first one signed until January 2012 and my short term goal is to have 100 autographed by the end of the year. Once I start chronicling them here on the blog, I'll keep a running tally somewhere in the sidebar if I can figure that out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

King Pavlov

So I spent just a little bit of time researching this King Pavlov card and couldn't find much. The theory I've seen most often is that they're most likely Topps employees featured with some made up names and backstories. Here's another scan of the front and one from the back. There are some listed on eBay but none have sold yet.
This one should be worth a ton because not only is King Pavlov one of the starting pitchers but he also serves as the King's GM!! Now what you've all been waiting for....who gets it? I headed over to, typed in all of the team names, hit the randomizer and...
Crap! Of course I only win when it's totally unfair to actually keep it. So I took a screenshot and few seconds later hit the Again! button and came up with...

...the Orioles! Congrats Jeremy! This will go with your package and I should have it everybody's packages out to you ASAP.

Well, that wraps up this break. It was a lot more work than I anticipated but I had a great time doing it. I thought this was a fun way to introduce my blog and hopefully some of you will stick around and follow the progression of my Cubs Custom Roster set as well as join in future breaks. Thanks to everybody for participating!

Parallel Minis from Gypsy Queen Box Break

I didn't scan in all the minis, just the parallels. The first group are the Straight Cut Parallels. As far as I can tell, the only difference is the back. They were 1:6 packs so here are the 8 I got in the 2 boxes and the backs.

Next were the Gypsy Queen backs. Same ratio of 1:6 packs and again I got the 8 I was supposed to get.

Other miscellaneous parallel minis. The Glove Stories, Moonshot and Sliding Stars in both pictures below came as part of the 10 pack box of minis in each hobby box. The rest were pulled in place of the regular mini inserted into each pack. The green minis were 1:24 packs so one per box and the black ones were 1:12 packs so 2 per box. 

Next up will be the randomizer for the Gypsy King card!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Video links for Gypsy Queen Break

Finally, all four videos are loaded. The link below should take you to the first one and autoplay the next 3 in order. Enjoy!

2012 Gypsy Queen 2-Box Break

2012 Gypsy Queen 2-Box Break Inserts

While we wait for the videos to upload, here are the scans for some of the various inserts. I rushed the scanning job so please forgive the tilted cards and cropping.

First off we have the Sliding Stars inserts. They were 1:3 packs so I have 8 from each box, 16 total. I liked these cards because of the great action shots.

Reyes, Kemp, Weeks, Kinsler

Castro, Andrus, Gordon, Braun
Another Gordon & Braun, Granderson, Ellsbury
Morgan, Jeter, Pedroia, McCutchen

Next are the Moonshots which were also 1:3 for a total of 16. They didn't do a good job collating these as I got several duplicates. The edges on these cards aren't great either, probably because f the darker color.

Belle, Cruz, Granderson Jackson
Mays, Robinson, Thomas, Thome
Fielder, Howard, Jackson, Longoria
Pujols, Robinson, Thomas, Thome

Glove Stories were 1:6 and I ended up with the proper amount of 8 between the 2 boxes. I liked this insert too because they pinned down to the photo to an actual event and described it on the back. A couple of duplicates here too though.

Francoeur, Mays, Revere, Wise
Jeter, Mays, Robinson, Wise

Next are the numbered parallels.
First box: Lind Mini Sepia #90/99, Frank Robinson Blue Paper Frame #576/599
Box # 2: Hunter Pence Mini Sepia #45/99, Nelson Cruz Blue Paper Frame #408/599, Jacoby Ellsbury Blue Paper Frame #049/599

I will post the minis later but for now here are the hits you've been waiting for:
Box 1:
Framed Mini Relic from Freese, Cardinals and a Steve Garvey, Dodgers Jersey
Box 2:
Pettitte Jersey, Yankees & McCutchen Jersey, Pirates

And for autographs...
Box 1
Belt, Giants & Escobar, Royals
Box 2
Nate Eovaldi, Dodgers & Joe Benson of the Twins

But wait....there's more!

There were 2 other big hits in the first box. The first is a Gypsy King Autographed card of King Pavlov. I have no idea who he is/was or who even signed the card. There are a couple on eBay right now but none have sold. I saw they are limited to 100 but there is no numbering on the card itself. Each team will be put into a randomizer for a chance at this card. And last but not least is a mini Framed Moonshots 1/1 Yellow Printing Plate of Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. The card itself would have been pretty rare as the Mini Moonshots are only 1 per hobby box and there are 20 subjects but I'm sure this 1/1 will make Josh pretty happy.

Like I said, minis will come later. I've been at this for hours and need a little break. Thanks to all the participants!