Wednesday, March 12, 2014

First Dime Box Card Show: World Legends

It's pretty simple: I like baseball cards. All of 'em. But I'm pretty down on my chances of actually owning a copy of each one ever made. So it's prudent, while chasing everything, to prioritize a little. A quick glance at this site would reveal an obvious top-two on that list of priorities: Dodgers and Grips. But there are others...

2009 Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects Shunsuke Watanabe Japan #BCW58
2009 Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects Yolexis Ulacia Cuba #BCW33

And since Nick, my much appreciated Card Show by Proxy shopper, follows this blog (no doubt out of a feeling of reciprocal obligation), he knows that WBC and other international baseball cards are a strong candidate for the third spot on my priority list. You can crank up the fun-factor by taking notice that Shunsuke Watanabe is a sub-mariner who is known for having the world's lowest release point, and who apparently holds the Japanese record for skipping stones. Talk about bonus points! On the other hand, Yolexis Ulacia apparently remains stuck in Cuba. If he holds any stone-skipping records, the fact hasn't escaped the island.

2009 Topps Chrome WBC Refractors Phillippe Aumont Canada #W99 (305/500)
2013 Topps Tribute WBC Adam Jones USA #13

Here's that '09 Topps WBC insert design that I like so much, with the giant logo, this time in serial-numbered refractor form! And Nick also picked up only my fourth Topps Tribute WBC card, the first three having been graciously supplied by Michael, of Nomo's Sushi Platter. (I hope he's just on a hiatus, rather than retired.)

2002 Fleer Greats of the Game Hoyt Wilhelm NYG #57
2002 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classics Catfish Hunter OAK #55

I've got my priorities straight. The first two, anyway. But there are many candidates for the third spot on the list. If it's not international baseball, then perhaps it's cards of retired players. My collecting dead period was rife with sets built on former greats. And I missed out on them all. Bad timing. But Nick knows this, and he shopped accordingly.

2010 Topps Vintage Legends Walter Johnson WSH #VLC-50
2004 Fleer Greats of the Game Mickey Cochrane DET #8

I have a soft spot for pitchers and pitching. By extension, I'm also a big fan of catchers in their capacity as field generals in charge of handling their pitching staffs. That's a pretty sweet card of Hall-of-Famer Mickey Cochrane. But it's this one that made me do a serious double take:

2003 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Mickey Cochrane DET (actually Pinky Whitney) #90

It's old news to most of you out there, no doubt (eleven years, to be exact). But having missed out on these cards at the time, I'm just now (thanks to Nick) discovering this odd error. I knew this wasn't Mickey Cochrane the minute I saw it. It took me another few seconds before it registered. Cochrane is on this card. That's his hand, holding the ball that's tagging Pinky Whitney of the Phillies. This is from the famous picture that's featured on the cover of Bill James' 2001 update of his Historical Baseball Abstract.

2001 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Casey Stengel MG NYY #90
2001 Upper Deck Legends Roger Maris NYY #41

I don't just like pitchers and catchers. I'm a big fan of managers on cards. And of classic Yankees. Oh, hell, I like 'em all! I just do. So, while it's good to prioritize, it's really not necessary. If it's on a little piece of cardboard, and it depicts some aspect of this game that I love, I dig it.

1995 Megacards/TSN Conlon Collection Jackie Hayes Beating the Odds WSH #1429
2012 Leaf The Living Legend Pete Rose MON #44

That's because every card comes with a story. Jackie Hayes lost his eyesight after being hit by a burning cinder during a game, and went on to help kids who'd also lost their sight to deal with their blindness. Incidentally, this card is currently the last card, numerically, in the Conlon Collection (except for a checklist). I say "currently" because rumors exist that the project, which was originally planned to be twice as big before the '94 strike changed the market for baseball cards, will be resumed someday. Let's hope! Of course, we all know the story of Pete Rose...

1991 Homers Cookies Classics Bob Feller CLE #6
1976 Topps Ted Williams All-Time All-Stars BOS #347

One of the great things about new cards of old players is that they will one day become old cards of old players. One thing that will never get old, though, is having a friend with impeccable taste in baseball cards who's willing to do some shopping for me. And this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. When next we revisit the Dime Box Card Show it's time for Dodger Baseball!


  1. Did you give Nick a list to work with or just some guidelines or was he on his own. The Bill James book is a must read.

    1. I asked Nick to keep his eyes open for a few things, but mostly I just trusted that he knows what he's doing when it comes to shopping for cards. Totally justified.

      I've read every page of the Abstract at least 4-5 times, and some parts in double digits. It's the perfect bedside book. Wish he'd update it again.

    2. You ever read Rob Neyers book of baseball lists

    3. Yup. Got the Lineups, Dynasties, and Blunders books. Good stuff.

  2. I'm so glad Watanabe is pitching for the Red Sox on a minor league deal this spring. I caught one of the innings he threw the other day and it was fascinating seeing his throwing motion. It's even more submarine than Chad Bradford. Though it's probably a longshot, I hope he makes the Sox roster.

    I've had a copy of that Cochrane/Whitney in my collection for a while now and never realized it didn't actually feature Mickey Cochrane. I, too, own a copy of that edition of the Baseball Abstract. I brought that thing to school with me almost everyday my senior year to read during study hall. One of my absolute favorite books.

    1. I was wondering if you already knew about the Cochrane. Nice Random pickup! There's another one coming up that might also surprise you. Maybe, maybe not...

    2. Cochrane grew up n a town about 15 minutes from where I live and grew up.

  3. My favorite card is that Ted Williams. In fact... one of my favorite subsets is the 76T Sporting News All-Time All-Stars.

    1. No question, it's a beaut. And this was well before legends snuck into every base set and a gazillion inserts each year, so they really were something special.