Sunday, October 7, 2018

Mailbox Joys: A Package From Geof

While this is a few weeks past due, it does not diminish the gratitude I have for Geof sending these my way.

It is a smattering of things from my wish list, which I will update accordingly in the next week or so. There are plenty of odds and ends that I never see out and about, when I browse card shops and card shows. The 1965 Topps Embossed is a good example. Stamps, coins and decals would be other good examples. Even the Post Cereal cards are getting harder to spot in those places. I love my oddball cards and especially love them when they are older than I am.

Throw in some Topps flagship cards ranging from 1960 to 1967 and I am in awe. I have been slowly picking away at these Topps lists for some time now. It gets more and more difficult when all these shiny new releases are dangled in front of you with even more new White Sox cards.

It's getting harder to keep a balance between collecting new and old. At least I narrowed my collecting down to a few players and one team. I can't begin to imagine what my collection would look like if I still tried to collect every card. I would be chasing down vintage cards of long deceased Hall of Fame players with no end game. As it is, my collection of just White Sox cards takes up more room than I care to admit. And I'm still not done.

Part of the joy in collecting is obtaining the cards. The thrill of the hunt and the stories of kind souls and the tales of white whales litter every collectors' life. Mine is no different. These stories are half of what makes collecting fun. I am thrilled for circumstances, like this package from Geof, out of the blue, unexpected bundles of joy. It is one of the best feelings about collecting cards. Almost as good as holding that piece of cardboard in your hands.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Topps Vault Negatives

I have seen these offered on eBay a lot. Until about a week ago, I had never seen one in person. Thanks to Lee, I now have this Topps Vault Negative of Royle Stillman and two different negatives of Rich Morales.

Each comes with a certificate of authenticity and is encased in plastic with a Topps sticker sealing in the freshness on top. I'll admit, this is not what I was expecting at all. I'm old enough to send film through the mail to be developed. We would get back all the pictures we sent in and the negatives. This "negative" does not remind me of a negative. If anything, it reminds of transparencies.

While not exactly what I was expecting, these are cool and unique. I'm always a bit apprehensive and excited when I receive items that are brand new to me. Usually they are worth the risk and do not fail to disappoint. These definitely did not disappoint!

Thanks, Lee!! These were awesome!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Remainder Of The 2016 Birth Year Cards

As life got in the way of a perfectly good baseball card blog, I got behind in a lot of things. I'm trying to take care of that now. Here are the remainder of the 2016 Birth Year cards. If you recall, we left off at card #202, Dioner Navarro. We'll pick up with the next card, Matt Purke.

2017 Birth Year cards will be up in the coming weeks. Then the 2018 cards.

Card #203 - Matt Purke
Born: July 17, 1990
Card #204 - Austin Jackon
Born: February 1, 1987
Card #205 - James Shields
Born: December 20, 1981
Card #206 - Miguel Gonzalez
Born: May 27, 1984
Card #207 - Jimmy Rollins
Born: November 27, 1978
Card #208 - Jason Coats
Born: February 24, 1990
Card #209 - Alex Avila
Born: January 29, 1987
Card #210 - Carson Fulmer
Born: December 13, 1993
Card #211 - Brett Lawrie
Born: January 18, 1990
Card #212 - Matt Davidson
Born: March 26, 1991
Card #213 - Hector Sanchez
Born: November 17, 1989
Card #214 - Justin Morneau
Born: May 15, 1981
Card #215 - Omar Narvaez
Born: February 10, 1992
Card #216 - Jacob Turner
Born: May 21, 1991
Card #217 - Anthony Ranaudo
Born: September 9, 1989
Card #218 - Blake Smith
Born: December 9, 1987
Card #219 - Charlie Tilson
Born: December 2, 1992
Card #220 - Kevan Smith
Born: June 28, 1988
Card #221 - Juan Minaya
Born: September 18, 1990

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Topps Baseball Card Day

It's Baseball Card Day today!! Don't forget to visit your local card shop today for various promotions and free stuff!!

Always remember to support your local card shop.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Experience And Lost Time

First of all, I would like to apologize for my absence on this blog recently. I'm hoping to rectify that. It feels like life is intruding more and more and it seems like I find less and less time for myself. It feels like I am just catching my breath, for the first time, after nearly a year of running nonstop.

Many of you are familiar with certain beats of my life in the past five years. I moved from the Chicago south suburbs to Michigan around five years ago. I did it for the best possible reason... love. I found a job fairly quickly and excelled at it. About four years ago, I got married and found myself with a family of my own.

As I advanced in that job, I found myself blogging less frequently. The passion was there, but not the time. It got very hard to find time enough to pull away from family and work obligations. About three years ago, I took a management job at work. It was exactly what I had been striving for since I started. Everything started to get extremely busy about a year ago.

Last August, I found out that I would be one of the managers that would go to third shift. I wasn't a stranger to third shift work, as I had done that for nearly a decade in the late teens to mid-twenties. Prep work would start in September and I would spearhead thirds by late October. Two major experiences happened in late October... my move to thirds and...

... my grandson was born.

My job was in retail, so this was our busy season. I was to take over as one of the managers on third shift for five days, but on the sixth day, I had to work second shift. So there a new baby in the house and I'm working six days a week on a rotating schedule. Let me throw in another wrinkle, the retailer I worked for was Toys R Us.

Third shift did truck unloading, merchandising to the floor, signage, display changes and fulfilling online orders. We were set up with a brand new ordering system that was tested in July. We were sent iPods to use on those orders, instead of the old archaic system we were using, which was a blend of computer and paper. This would ensure no mistakes would happen. This would ensure that order fulfillment rates were up. That was great, until the whole system crashed.

You see, Toys R Us built all of these new improvements on top of a flawed system, then tested it with one hundred orders. It worked fine. In testing. When the orders went up to two thousand, the system shut down. For days. The company lost millions of dollars in that time, not to mention thousands of cancelled orders and countless people soured from that experience that never came back.

I was putting in fifteen hour days, then coming home to spend time with the grandson, just to sleep for a few hours and do it all again. It was worth it for the paychecks. I looked forward to this time of year all year long. Besides, after inventory is done in January, I could take it easy until Easter.

Best laid plans never seem to work out. Just as I was about to settle in to an easier schedule, Toys R Us announced a round of store closings. We knew they were going into bankruptcy since it was announced in September 2017. Bankruptcy does not always equate going out of business, sometimes it is just a restructuring. When they announced those stores closing, we were assured it was part of restructuring. Even though my store was not part of the closings, we still had to deal with the aftermath of that decision. It got tiring explaining the whole spiel to each customer that walked in that our store was not closing, but some were.

After a few months of that, "Wave 2" was announced. It was the rest of the United States stores. We went from having to say no to having to say yes, overnight. Fortunately, we had a pretty nice liquidator, although the experience of liquidation is not something I would recommend anyone to go through. I stayed until the end, as did our entire management team. The worst people come out to shop at a liquidation. And they are never satisfied. While we got to say goodbye to our regular customers, there was little joy in our store and it was extremely hard to get the staff to keep motivated.

To make things worse, our two salaried managers had a bunch of "use it or lose it" vacation time. I have no ill will towards them taking it. I would have done the same. In fact we all encouraged them to take the vacation days, even if it meant harder work for the hourly managers.

Our last day open to the public was June 27, 2018. I gave out a certificate of appreciation, that I made, to the last customer, which happened to be a mother and daughter that were regulars. When the last toy was sold, we shut the doors to the public. As the closing manager that night, I had to stay to clean and let people in for fixture pickups. I turned a lot of disappointed people away, looking for toys.
The managers had to come in the next few days to make sure things were in order and to be present for the handful of people that had not picked up their fixtures. That last morning, we had donuts and orange juice, while we walked our now empty store, searching for stray items that lay forgotten in the empty aisles. The once bursting at the seams aisles that I patrolled every day, were a mere shell, barren of toys and knick knacks. I walked out the door on my last day, richer for the experience and leaving a crew that I considered family.
A few odds and ends from this year that may be of interest. My first White Sox card of the year was Jose Abreu. I was really excited when I found it in my first pack of 2018 Topps. Then I never got around to posting about it. The day that it was announced that our store was going to close, during our morning meeting, the MJ Holdings representative took half of our trading card stock, boxed it up, and sent it back to the company. The day liquidation started for our store, he came back and boxed the rest up. No sports cards, Pokemon, Magic, or any other trading cards even sniffed a liquidation price. The NECA representative never showed up to send their stuff back, so people got some really sweet deals on collectible figures.

I am still contemplating my next move. It's going to be hard to find another job that I love enough to put my heart and soul into it everyday. I genuinely enjoyed going to work every day. It broke my heart to see the place I called home, slowly disintegrate before my eyes. I liken it to watching a loved one go through a terminal illness, where all you can do is show up every day and love them even more, knowing you have precious time left.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

RIP Oscar Gamble

Thank you for the memories of two stints with the White Sox. You will not be forgotten.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday, August 24, 2017

WSC Birth Years: Dioner Navarro

Card #202 - Dioner Navarro

Born: February 9, 1984

Dioner was signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Yankees in 2000. Navarro has improved on defense over the years, culminating in an All-Star appearance in 2008 with the Rays. While he has a little pop in his bat, Dioner never has hit for average, as he bounced around the majors.

The White Sox signed Navarro for $4 million. Before he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on August 26, 2016, Dioner hit .210 with six home runs and thirty-two RBI in eighty-five games. He committed eight errors with the White Sox.

Friday, July 7, 2017

WSC Birth Years: Mat Latos

Card #201 - Mat Latos

Born: December 9, 1987

Mat was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the eleventh round of the 2006 amateur draft. Scouts considered him a first round pick, but immaturity issues allowed him to slip down to the three hundred thirty-third overall pick. Latos didn't actually sign with the Padres until a few days prior to re-entering the 2007 amateur draft. Mat demanded three million dollars as a signing bonus, which San Diego balked at, but settled at $1.25 million, after watching all of his junior college starts.

Latos found success with the Padres and Reds, including a twenty-one game streak without a loss. After knee and elbow injuries, Mat has bounced around the majors, with erratic effectiveness. He spent time with the Marlins, the Dodgers and the Angels before he came to the White Sox. His first four starts with the White Sox were brilliant, ending up with an ERA of 0.74. Then, everything fell apart for Latos and he gave up twenty-nine earned runs over the next thirty-six innings. On June 9, 2016, Chicago designated Mat for assignment after acquiring James Shields.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

WSC Birth Years: Tim Anderson

Card #200 - Tim Anderson

Born: June 23, 1993

With the seventeenth overall selection in the 2013 amateur draft, the Chicago White Sox selected Tim Anderson, a toolsy infielder with a ton of potential. The White Sox viewed Anderson as the shortstop of the future. After a steady rise through the farm system, the future shortstop made his MLB debut on June 10, 2016 against the Kansas City Royals, in Chicago.

Tim did not disappoint in his first game. His first MLB hit was a double off pitcher Ian Kennedy in the bottom of the third inning, in his first at-bat. He later scored on a Jose Abreu single to left. Anderson finished with a single and a groundout to add to his double. He was also at the plate when an Avisail Garcia caught stealing ended the eighth inning. Tim finished the season with a .283 average and pretty respectable numbers across the board. He even had some brief consideration in the Rookie of the Year voting, coming in seventh.

Friday, April 7, 2017

WSC Birth Years: Michael Ynoa

Card #199 - Michael Ynoa

Born: September 24, 1991

Michael was called the crown jewel of the Best Latino Prospects of 2008. Compared to Felix Hernandez, a bidding war broke out, with Ynoa agreeing to a deal with the New York Yankees. While that deal fell through, the Athletics emerged the victor and signed him for 4.25 million dollars, a record for the club, at that time. He appeared in three games for the AZL Athletics before needing Tommy John surgery. After the 2014 season, he was traded to the White Sox with Jeff Samardzja for Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt, Rangel Ravelo and Josh Phegley.

On June 14, 2016, Ynoa made his MLB debut with the White Sox against the Detroit Tigers, in the top of the seventh inning. Michael pitched for two innings, without giving up a run. Ynoa was mostly put into games that the Pale Hose were losing, but he did come out of twenty-three games with one win, one hold and a respectable 3.00 ERA. He will be looking to improve upon that in 2017.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

WSC Birth Years: Todd Frazier

Card #198 - Todd Frazier

Born: February 12, 1986

Todd was drafted thirty-fourth overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2007 draft. Frazier made his MLB debut against the Phillies on May 23, 2011, striking out in his only at-bat. Todd blossomed into an All-Star for the Reds. He became the 2015 All-Star spokesman, when the game was held in Cincinnati. It was his second straight All-Star selection.

On December 16, 2015, Frazier was part of a three team deal between the Reds, the Dodgers and the White Sox, with the latter getting the services of the third baseman. Todd stabilized third base for the Pale Hose for the first time since the days his manager, Robin Ventura, called third base home. In fact, Frazier blew past Ventura's team record for home runs by a third baseman, clubbing forty in 2015 to Robin's thirty-four in 1996. On the other hand, the Toddfather had career lows in average (.225) and triples (0). With the team looking to rebuild, Frazier's time on the South Side may be short, but he has already made a positive impact in his first season for Chicago.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The First White Sox Card Of 2017 Is...

OK. Settle down. I know I haven't been posting on here as much as I or you would like. I apologize for that. Between a management position at my job and a new house to customize, it's been difficult to find the time to devote to one of my favorite hobbies (and blogs), but I did open some cards a few days after the Topps flagship release, so here are the first results.

The first White Sox card of 2017 is...

Lou Ferrigno? 

Well, that was unexpected! As luck would have it, a few cards further would produce the first 2017 White Sox PLAYER card...


Jose Quintana!

Eventually, I would get the entire base set of White Sox and most of the insert sets, but interestingly enough, no parallels of White Sox yet. While the flagship set is still somewhat new, there is still time to fill in the rest of the gaps with the inserts and parallels. The one thing that I have found a bit frustrating with this release is the parallel cards. They don't stand out at all. I actually passed up a parallel or two because I didn't recognize it right away.

Happy collecting, everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 WSC Hall Of Fame Ballot

Here's a Hall of Fame that anyone can vote for: The White Sox Cards Hall Of Fame.

Yes, it's that time of year again, but this time around there will be a shorter window for voting.

You can vote for as many or as few players as you want. The rules are the same as the MLB Hall of Fame. 75% of the vote will get a player in. At least 5% of the vote will keep a player on the ballot for next year. A player has to be away from the White Sox for a minimum of five years for ballot consideration. If a player cannot get 75% of the vote after 15 tries, he is taken off the ballot.

Last ballot, three players were voted into the WSC Hall Of Fame. Who will make it in this year?

The 2017 ballot includes a player for each positional spot on the field, a designated hitter, a manager, and pitching has been split into spots for starter, middle relief and closer.

Joey Cora  – 2nd Base (1st year)
Joe Crede – 3rd Base (1st year)
Oscar Gamble - DH (7th year) 
Rich Gossage – P (1st year)
Dummy Hoy  – OF (4th year)
Frank Isbell – 1st Base (6th year)
Fielder Jones – OF (6th year) 
Al Lopez – MGR (7th year)
J.C. Martin - C (1st year)
Jack McDowell
- P (1st year)
Minnie Minoso - OF (1st year)
Bobby Thigpen - P (6th year)
Buck Weaver - SS (5th year)

Voting will be through July 11, 2017, with the results announced shortly after. You can vote on the right sidebar. Any position left open due to election or cuts will be filled by another player next year.

The results should prove interesting. Have fun!
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