Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Phantom Parallels: The Checklist Replacers

I'll have my September update coming in the next week or so. Got a crowded few days ahead of me including some baseball IP outings!

In almost every base set for four decades, Topps produced the loathsome checklist card.  No one wanted to pull it from a pack: it didn't feature a player, just a list of who was on what card. In the early days, kids would mark them off and use them for their intended purpose. In later days, everyone wanted a 100% mint condition set, so it was little more than space-filling junk.

1992 birthed the brainchild (or spawned the brainbastard, depending on your outlook) of the parallel set. Take the base set, tweak something but change nothing else, and whammo, new tough-to-find collectible! Topps Gold was the first to do this before every company followed suit and now today you have the crazy rainbow chasers who need every single variety of a guy's Chrome or Prizm or whatever card.

So of course, the last thing ANYONE would want is for their short-printed parallel that they pull from a pack to be the checklist card. Instead of leaving gaps in their sets, Topps printed what I call the phantom parallels: inserting players to replace the checklists, but those players didn't have a regular card.

I'm always interested in oddball cards to get autographed so I started to wonder how many of these would be possible to get signed.  I haven't gone that far, but I did finally assemble a list of who the phantom parallels were in each set.

1992 BB Gold
131: Terry Mathews
264: Rod Beck
366: Tony Perezchica
527: Terry McDaniel
658: John Ramos
787: Brian Williams
132T: Kerry Woodson

1992 FB Gold
109: Freeman McNeil
218: David Daniels
316: Chris Hakel
341: Ottis Anderson
452: Shawn Moore
563: Mike Mooney
759: Curtis Whitley

1992-93 BK Gold
197: Jeff Sanders
198: Elliot Perry
395: David Wingate
396: Carl Herrera

1992-93 HK Gold
525: Alan Conroy
526: Jeff Norton
527: Rob Robinson
528: Adam Foote

* * * * * * * * * *
1993 BB Gold
394: Bernardo Brito
395: Jim McNamara
396: Rich Sauveur
823: Keith Brown
824: Russ McGinnis
825: Mike Walker

1993 FB Gold
329: Terance Mathis
330: John Wojciechowski
659: Pat Chaffey
660: Milton Mack

1993-94 BK Gold
197: David Wingate
198: Frank Johnson
395: Will Perdue
396: Mark West

1993-94 HK Gold
263: Martin Lapointe
264: Kevin Miehm
527: Myles O’Connor
528: Jamie Leach

* * * * * * * * * *
1994 BB Gold
395: Bill Brennan
396: Jeff Bronkey
791: Mike Cook
792: Dan Pasqua

1994-95 BK Spectralight
197: Keith Jennings
198: Mark Price
395: Chris Webber
396: Mitch Richmond

1994-95 HK Special Effects
274: Rudy Poeschek
275: Michael Peca
549: John Druce
550: Matt Martin

* * * * * * * * * *
1995 BB Cyberstats
395: Darryl Strawberry
396: Luis Alicea

It doesn't look like Topps did any phantoms for the 1994 Football Special Effects set. Shame, as I'd love to have seen some punters or long snappers represented. The parallel craze died (for Topps at least) following the 1995 Series 1 baseball.  Of course Pacific ran the concept into the ground in the late 90s, but they also didn't print checklist cards in the base set. Topps got smart and eventually made the checklists as a random one-per-pack insert that wasn't part of the set, then took from Upper Deck and put them back in the set but put a player or something interesting on the front with the list on the back.

There were a few similar to this in the O-Pee-Chee baseball sets that I'll need to assemble a list of as well. I know Delino Deshields and Nate Minchey both had a 1988 card after the Expos drafted them (Deshields replacing Earnest Riles and Minchey replacing the Nolan Ryan Record Breaker card), and there were several cards replacing the All-Stars in the 1992 set. O-Pee-Chee also typically denoted trades on their cards, such as Dennis Lamp's 1987 card that shows him as a Blue Jays but has Chief Wahoo and a "Now with Indians" notation, and even gave Blue Jays catcher Rick Cerone his own 1977 card instead of just stashing him on the Rookie Catchers card that Topps had, where he was still with the Indians. Granted, the OPC set usually was an abbreviated set rather than a true parallel and a guy might be on card 630 in Topps, but then on 390 in OPC. But aside from that, the cards look the same. So finding a card that wasn't in the Topps set but was in the OPC set is kind of a phantom in its own right.

EDIT: There's a blog on the OPC variations!

Of course, some of these guys might not sign, and some-- such as Rod Beck and Terry Mathews-- may even be dead. But if you're looking for some oddball items to potentially get signed, look no further than the phantom parallel.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

August report

As they come to a close I noticed 2019 was a vastly slower year for my baseball IP outings. 9 games (plus two just watching) vs. close to 30 last year. Even non-ballgames, this year had the Vegas MISL event, whereas last year had the NFL and NHL drafts, the National, and the NASL event.

Is my career winding down? Do I just need a break? I dunno. Maybe a little of both. I'm 35. This certainly isn't a hobby that's viewed favorably by the masses when done by anyone my age or older, even when done by those of us who aren't in it for a fast buck. I think I'll have a major resurgence once the 2021 Heritage sets come out-- though MLB IP graphing will suck in the Rangers' new ballpark. But 2022 should be a banner year with the 2021 Heritage Minors set and another planned roadtrip to the National. I'll have to hit the TTMs pretty hard for the MLB guys.

Anyways, a recap of the month...

Dave Hoggan, c/o home, 5/5, 3 weeks

Joe Torre, c/o MLB Offices, 4/4, a year and a half
Von Hayes, c/o home, 1/1, 3 months

AUGUST 17 - DallasCardShow and Kansas City T-Bones at Texas Air Hogs
Tatu, 17/17
Shawn O'Malley, 1/1
Daniel Nava, 3/5
Henry Owens, 3/3
Chris Bando, 6/6

Dale Mitchell, c/o home in Canada, 7/7, 5 weeks

Tim Wittman, c/o home, 3/3, 3 weeks

AUGUST 24 - Northwest Arkansas vs. Frisco
Scott Blewitt, 3/4, 1/1
Zach Lovvorn, 2/2
Brady Singer, 1/1
Daniel Tillo, 3/3
Blake Perkins, 4/4
Khalil Lee, 1/1
Tyler Zuber, 1/1
Doug Henry, 9/9
Gabriel Cancel, 2/2
Abraham Nunez, 3/3
Kevin Merrell, 3/3
Walker Weickel, 3/3
Greg Hibbard, 4/4
Jackson Kowar, 1/1
Leody Taveras, 1/1

Bobo Lucic, c/o team in Slovenia, 3/3, 7 weeks

Bobby Brown, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week, 3 weeks

AUGUST 29 - KC T-Bones at Texas Air Hogs
Shawn O'Malley, 1/1
Daniel Nava, 3/3
Erik Manoah, 1/1
Carlos Contreras, 5/5
Zech Lemond, 9/9
Chris Bando, 9/9
Henry Owens, 3/3
Brett Eibner, 1/1
Kevin Joseph, 2/2

Bill Crook, c/o home, 5/5, 7 weeks

I mailed off several in the last few weeks, with a few more ready to go soon. I'm venturing out into a few musical requests as well this month: custom index cards to Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper (of Booker T and the MGs), as well as Jack Ashford and Joe Messina (the last two living members of the Funk Brothers, Motown's instrumentalists).

Speaking of music, my previous band kicked me out, so I'm in search of a new one.  Also, I built a guitar out of a National Treasures box.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday Free-For-All: Trade Chains

It's been a while since I've gone totally off the topic of collecting, but I was thinking about this recently and figured I'd put it out there into the world.

What's the longest trade chain that you can think of in current baseball?

By this I mean picking a player who was acquired by his current team for a player, who was traded for a player, going on back as far as you can get until you hit a wall with a player who was drafted or signed as a free agent.

A recent example would be the Indians: Yasiel Puig was acquired for Trevor Bauer, who was acquired for Shin-Soo Choo, who was acquired for Ben Broussard, who was acquired for Russell Branyan. That goes back to 1994: not bad.

Travis Fryman was an interesting one for the Tribe just because of the sheer volume of third basemen involved: Fryman for Matt Williams, for Jeff Kent, for Carlos Baerga, for Joe Carter, for George Frazier, for Toby Harrah, for Buddy Bell. Of the eight players involved, six played at least a significant bit of time at third for the Indians and spans a 1969 draft pick on up to a 2002 retirement. You can even sub in Jose Vizcaino for Jeff Kent: both were acquired for Baerga and both were shipped out for Williams and both played a bit at third in their careers (though only Kent did for the Indians).

Of course, the longest one for the Tribe now is Corey Kluber, who can be traced back through eight trades to Jerry Dybzinski's 15th round selection in the 1977 draft (14 slots after him? NBA All-Star Danny Ainge!). And with the trade rumors that have circulated around Kluber for the last year-plus, that chain could grow longer (Currently: Kluber for Jake Westbrook for David Justice for Kenny Lofton for Willie Blair for Alex Sanchez for Bud Black for Pat Tabler for Dybzinski).

Looking through the closest team to me geographically, the Rangers don't really have any longer than one or two links: most acquisitions have been via free agency and drafts lately, or a single chain like Willie Calhoun for free agent signee Yu Darvish. Even most departing players have been as free agents or retirements with zero return (Matt Garza, Julio Franco, Josh Hamilton, Mitch Moreland).

So, who has the longest current chain in all of baseball? Who has the longest one for your team? Any fun oddities like the third-base-heavy chain of Bell to Fryman?

A few fun ones from some googling, as the question has been asked before...

The Mets can trace Robinson Cano's acquisition back to drafting Tim Bogar
Martin Prado of the Marlins goes back to Charles Johnson

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Super Collector? Fingers crossed...

Every four years or so, I make it a point to go to the National Sports Colllectors Convention because it's typically in my hometown of Cleveland.  I went last year, I went in 2014, and before missing a few years in the 2000s due to a lack of funds, I went in 2004, 2001, and 1997.  This year's show in Chicago is getting skipped, as almost certainly will next year's Atlantic City show and 2021's Chicago show. But I'll be back to Cleveland in 2022. The plans are already being set in motion...

Meanwhile, you may know my favorite baseball player of all-time is Cory Snyder. Ever since I was four years old, I have no idea why, but Snyder was my favorite and remained my favorite even after the Indians shipped him to the White Sox, and he bounced on to the Blue Jays, Giants, Dodgers, Red Sox org, Padres org, and finally Spring Training in 1997 with the Cardinals. I even had a Dodgers hat when I was in third and fourth grade.

Anyways, out of 1068 career games, Cory Snyder played 657 of them in an Indians uniform.

So you can imagine how dumbfounded I was when I heard he was one of the VIP autograph signers at the National this year.  Not one of the Cleveland shows, but in Chicago, where he played a whole 50 games (and batted only .188, thanks to Walt Hriniak's "my way or no way" approach to coaching hitters).

So, I'm missing out on a chance to meet my favorite player.  But I did apply for Cory Snyder Super Collector status over at SCF today (the same day he's signing at the National).

While I wait for approval or denial, take a look at some of the photos I took of my collection.  I don't have all the cards photographed, but here are a few of the better items and oddities.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The rest of July

Rich Robertson, c/o home, 1/1, 2 months

JULY 14 - Amarillo at Frisco
Hudson Potts - 7/7
Luis Torrens - 1/2
Owen Miller - 2/2
Jimmy Jones - 4/4
Peter Van Gansen - 1/1
Brad Zunica - 1/1
Ivan Castillo - 1/1
Taylor Kohlwey - 1/1
Lake Bachar - 1/1
Phillip Wellman - 1/1
Rodrigo Orozco - 1/1
Dauris Valdez - 1/1
Nick Margevicius - 2/2
AJ Kennedy - 1/1
Collin Wiles - 5/5
Leody Taveras - 1/1
Tony Sanchez - 2/2
Walker Weickel - 4/4
Charles Leblanc - 1/2
Hunter Pence - 1/3
Jonathan Hernandez - 5/5
Joe Barlow - 1/1
Blake Bass - 1/1
Andretty Cordero - 1/1
Brendon Davis - 1/1
Michael De Leon - 1/1
Demarcus Evans - 1/1
Alex Kowalczyk - 1/1
CD Pelham - 1/1
Tyler Phillips - 1/1

Tim Fedewa, c/o team, 4/3, 6 months, added in another signed card

Bernie James, c/o team, 1/1, 2 weeks

JULY 26 - Tulsa at Frisco
Yadier Alvarez - 2/3
Justin De Fratus - 2/2
Josiah Gray - 1/1
Adam Melhuse - 2/2
Jared Walker - 2/5
Rob Zastryzny - 2/2
Logan Bawcom - 1/3
Connor Wong - 1/3
Jonathan Hernandez - 2/2
Charles LeBlanc - 1/1
Leody Taveras - 1/1
Brock Burke - 3/3
Tony Sanchez - 1/1
Jake Lemoine - 3/3
James Jones - 2/4
Wade Lamont - 2/2
Michael De Leon - 1/1

JULY 27 - Arkansas at Frisco
Evan White - 1/2
Luis Liberato - 2/2
Aaron Knapp - 3/3
Wyatt Mills - 3/3
Logan Gilbert - 2/2
Joe Odom - 1/1
Kyle Lewis - 1/1
Isiah Kiner-Falefa - 2/3
Greg Hibbard - 3/3

Sunday, July 7, 2019

A (mostly) IP report

Glad I got the May-to-mid-June one out of the way, so I can just knock out the end of the month through this past week.

Jim Evans, c/o home, 1/1, 2 months

Mark Eaton, c/o home, 4/4, 6 months

JUNE 30 - Midland at Frisco
Bobby Crosby 4/4
Zack Erwin 6/6
Logan Verrett 5/5
James Jones 3/3
LeDarious Clark 1/1
DeMarcus Evans 1/1
Tony Sanchez 2/3
Grant Holmes 2/2
Daulton Jefferies 6/6
Taylor Motter 2/2
Mikey White 6/6
Kevin Merrill 3/3
Leody Taveras 1/1

JULY 2 - MISL40, Day 1
Brad Smith, 3/3
Dave MacKenzie, 9/9
Alan Mayer, 8/8
Juli Veee, 10/10
Godfrey Ingram, 19/19
Gordon Jago, 4/4
Perry Van der Beck, 9/9
Gerry Gray, 7/7
Zoltan Toth, 16/16
Nick Megaloudis, 1/1
Guy Newman, 1/1
Norman Piper, 1/1
Dave D'Errico, 1/1

JULY 3 - MISL40, Day 2
Gus Mokalis, 8/8
Jim Sinclair, 1/1
Len Bilous, 1/1
Kai Haaskivi, 26/26
Doc Lawson, 16/16

For more on the MISL40 event, check out my entry on it on my Pacific Soccer Autograph Project blog.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Late June Recap

I was going to do the latter half of May and all of June in one post, but I'll be out of town at the time when I'd be putting that together.  So, here's one for the last month-ish.

MAY 13
Ron Bryant, c/o home, 2/2, 2 weeks
Dennis Higgins, c/o home, 1/1, 2 weeks
Ken Sanders, c/o home, 1/1, 2 weeks
Jerry Bell, c/o home, 1/1, 2 weeks

MAY 16
Gary Pettis, c/o team, 4/4, 3 weeks

MAY 21
Daniel Suarez, c/o team, 4/4, 3 months

MAY 24
Denny Doyle, c/o home, 1/1, 1 month

MAY 28
Brendan Gaughan, c/o home, 3/3, 5 months

Martin Truex Jr., c/o team, 1/1, 4 months

Heinz Wirtz, c/o home, 2/2, 1 month

JUNE 15 - Northwest Arkansas Naturals at Frisco Roughriders
Abraham Nunez, 3/6
Taylor Featherston, 2/4
Gabriel Cancel, 2/2
Travis Jones, 1/1
Nelson Liriano, 5/6
Brady Singer, 1/2
Khalil Lee, 1/2
Doug Henry, 8/8
Andres Sotillet, 1/1
Andrew Beckwith, 1/1
Anderson Miller, 2/3
Meibrys Viloria, 2/2
Preston Beck, 2/2
James Jones, 6/6
Jonathan Hernandez, 6/6
Michael De Leon, 2/2
Christian Lopes, 1/3
Tony Sanchez, 2/3
Juremi Profar, 1/1
Joe Barlow, 1/1 (I'm an idiot; I thought he was Joe Palumbo so it's on Palumbo's game program...)

Ryan Newman, c/o team, 4/4, 4 months
Tyler Reddick, c/o team, 3/3, 6 weeks

So as the link above says, I'll be in Vegas for a MISL 40th Anniversary Reunion event. I might try to do the Aviators-Aces game while I'm there, but likely will have to miss that-- the only games while I'm there are at the same time as major reunion weekend events. I will be going out to Frisco again on June 30 though. Got Midland coming to town again and a pair of Bobby Crosby jersey cards that need a sig on them.

Hmm... Las Vegas and the MISL... think former Cincinnati Kids co-owner Pete Rose might be there?

Monday, May 13, 2019

April to Mid-May Recap

Going to have some busy weekends the rest of the month, so my high hopes for a lot of IP in Frisco are kind of dashed until June.  Plus the TTMing has slowed a bit-- most of my stamp budget has gone to buying guitar pedals. On the positive side, I have a very full pedal board now, though I still have a few I'd like to add.

Kyle Larsen, c/o team, 4/4, 2 months

APRIL 7 - Midland at Frisco
Jake Lemoine, 3/3
Bobby Crosby, 5/7
Greg Deichmann, 1/3
Zack Erwin, 4/4
Tommy Everidge, 5/5
Jonah Heim, 4/4
Kevin Merrell, 4/4
Logan Verrett, 2/2
Trey McNutt, 4/4
Mikey White, 9/9

Lance Lynn, c/o Rangers ST, 1/1, 3 months
Brad Keselowski, c/o team, 2/2, 2 months

Chad Little, c/o home, 5/5, 2 months - envelope was RTSed (postmarked March 30)

Joe Mullen, c/o home, 1/3, 1 year and 1 month - returned two unsigned

Ken Aspromonte, c/o home, 2/1, 1 week - added a signed photo

Will Middlebrooks, c/o home, 2/3, 1 week - kept 2013 72-mini insert

MAY 11
Bob Reynolds, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week
Bruce Froemming, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week
Ken Schrader, c/o home, 4/4, 3 months
Christopher Bell, c/o team, 3/3, 4 months

Looks like I have another 3 coming in today per USPS Informed Delivery. My guesses based on postmarks: Jerry Bell, Ron Bryant, and Dennis Higgins.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Achievement Unlocked: 2007-08 Upper Deck Rookie Class Set Complete!

A while back I had hit a point where I knew it was no long "if" but "when" I would finish this set. About three years ago, I picked up a bunch of set needs from a collector that got me down to only needing two more from the 2007-08 set. After a short while, that become one more: the Ryan Callahan card.

Callahan is actually a decent signer. He's been known to TTM and is good in-person. TGhe problem is I rarely have access to visiting teams in Dallas, and since hockey TTM seems to go through phases of reliability/unreliability, I never mailed off. I had an offer of help from a member at a message board, sent him the card, but he was never able to get it done.

I even have a notice set up on eBay to email me every day with any new listings of Upper Deck Rookie Class hockey autographs.

Well, a few managed to slip through the cracks on those emails. Like the Callahan card that didn't use the word "hockey" in the title. I don't know how long it had been listed, bur when I saw it for $3, I had to snap it up.

And with that, the set was finished!

Bobby Ryan, Ondrej Pavelec,
Patrick Kane, Kris Russell, Matt Niskanen,
Andrew Cogliano, Jonathan Bernier, Marc Staal

Nick Foligno, Peter Mueller, Jiri Tlusty,
Brett Sterling, Petr Kalus, Rob Schremp,
Andy Greene, Frans Nielsen, Martin Hanzal

Devin Setoguchi, Matt Smaby, James Sheppard,
Kyle Chipchura, Ryan Parent, David Krejci,
Lauri Tukonen, Anton Stralman, Tobias Enstrom

Tyler Kennedy, Mason Raymond, Thomas Greiss,
Drew Miller, Curtis McElhinney, Ryan Callahan,
Brian Elliott, Vladimir Sobotka, Jonathan Sigalet

Ville Koistinen, Torrey Mitchell, David Perron,
Jannik Hansen, Chris Bourque, Milan Lucic,
Tuukka Rask, Jonathan Toews, Sam Gagner

Jack Johnson, Carey Price, Nicklas Bergfors,
Erik Johnson, Bryan Little, Nicklas Backstrom
As always, a big thanks go out to those who helped complete this projects with trades, 50/50s, and anything else, notably Paul Buxton, Arron Littleton, and Peter Fallon.

And now, time to start looking for upgrades! Chipchura used a terrible pen, as did Kalus. Hanzal is pretty badly smeared. The rest are at least passable. I might try to get a few black pen guys in blue (Koistinen for one-- already got someone in Germany offering to help me with that one).

I'll have an April TTM/IP update coming soon...

Monday, April 1, 2019

March Recap

It's been a whirlwind month but out of it comes the start of baseball season and hopefully some nice outings to Frisco. Got my first one coming April 7 against Midland. There's no publicly available Rockhounds roster so I'm going to end up half-assing it on them. But after that opening series, it's on.

March was a bad IP month (not even going to get into my Sidekicks-Sockers experience...), and slow on TTMs, but I got a few...

Scott Fulhage, c/o home, 3/3, a year and a half
Dirk Nowitzki, c/o team, 1/1, 3 months
Raisel Iglesias, c/o team ST, 2/2, 2 weeks

Bubba Wallace, c/o team, 2/2, 3 months
Alex Bowman, c/o team, 4/4, 1 month

Paul Stastny, c/o team, 1/1, 6 months
Hut Stricklin, c/o home, 4/4, 2 weeks

Dana Barros, c/o home, 4/4, 3 months

Michael Andretti, c/o home, 2/2, 3 months

AJ Foyt, c/o home, 2/2, 3 months

Taylor Davis, c/o team ST, 1/1, 3 weeks

Joey Logano, c/o team, 1/1, 5 weeks

Erik Jones, c/o fan club, 4/4, 6 weeks

Some pretty cool news from the sports world, the Kraft Hockeyville USA vote was won by Calumet, MI. Their rink gets $150,000 for upgrades, plus $10,000 in hockey equipment, and an area rink gets to host an NHL preseason game (I'd guess Michigan Tech's MacInnes Arena that's just down the road will get that honor if the Colosseum doesn't; Dee Stadium also has a chance).

The Calumet Colosseum, formerly the Calumet Armory, is where my dad learned to skate as a kid. It opened in 1913 and has been in use ever since-- the longest continually-operating ice rink in the world. The aforementioned Dee Stadium is 7th-- and only because the original Amphidrome burned down in 1927.

Me at The Dee, July 2016. I'll add a 1920s photo of the Colosseum
from my grandmother's collection later.