Sunday, March 30, 2014

I May Not Have Been an Oscar Winner... But I Sure Got One Heck of a Booby Prize!

With the Dodgers and Yanks even at a game apiece, Sal Maglie took the mound for Brooklyn in the pivotal game five of the 1956 World Series. The winner of the series opener, "The Barber" was on his game, tossing eight innings and allowing just two runs on five hits to the Bronx Bombers.

2001 Topps Archives Sal Maglie BRO #97

But there was to be no victory for Maglie in this game, or for the Dodgers in this series. Sal's game five start came against Don Larsen, pitching the game of his (and just about every other pitcher's) life. Brooklyn would fall to the Yankees (again) in seven games.

It probably comes as cold consolation (perhaps it's lukewarm), but the World Series losers do still get a nice cash bonus for coming up a buck short on the field. Well, I got to experience something similar recently, only in my case the consolation prize was white hot. It took me well past consolation, past contentment, and all the way to Dodger Blue bliss!

2002 Fleer Greats of the Game Preacher Row BRO #59
2002 Topps Super Teams Walt Alston MG BRO #15

And who better to serve up Blue bliss than a fellow Dodger fan? Oscar, of All Trade Bait, All the Time, he of the Grand Salami of Trade Bait, recently returned to his blog from a brief hiatus and celebrated by holding a simple contest. A comment on his post would get you into two randomized drawings for a stack o' cards from your favorite team. Now that's my kind of effort level!

1994 Topps Archives 1954 Junior Gilliam BRO #35
1989 Smokey Dodger Greats Maury Wills LAD #69

A couple of days later the results were in. It was time to see how far down the lists my name would pop up. There are a lot of deserving card bloggers out there, and one of them not named Ethan invariably ends up on top. And this time it was no different. Well, it was a little different. This time I finished second. Both times!

1983 Fleer Stickers Steve Garvey LAD #113
2002 Topps Archives Ron Cey LAD #5

It was an interesting way to lose, at least. I commented: "What's the booby prize for finishing second both times? Sheesh! (Just Kidding.) Thanks for the contest." Oscar replied: "Ask the Broncos. LoL. Tough break, kid." (That's a football reference, right?) So, cute story. End of story. Right?

1990 Topps Big Willie Randolph LAD #43

Wrong. (You'd probably figured that out by now.) A few days later I check my email inbox and see this message from Oscar: "What a burn to finish second ...TWICE !! I feel ya on that one. Since we're fellow Dodger fans, I can certainly help out a second place winner. Shoot me your address and I'll get some Dodgers out to you."

1993 Donruss Spirit of the Game Kevin Gross LAD #SG-19

That was certainly nice of him! Cool, a Dodger booby prize. I'd probably get a few base set commons that Oscar had lying around. Or maybe one nice card, like, I don't know, Aaron Harang displaying a grip for my mini-collection, or something. Right?

1999 Flair Showcase Row 1 Eric Karros LAD #113 (4132/6000)

Wrong. (I know you're too smart to fall for the suspense gag, while I'm showing you the cards... but, hey, let's face it, unless you're Oscar, and maybe even if you are, you're just looking at the pretty pictures of great cards, anyway.)

2000 Fleer Impact Gary Sheffield LAD #52
2003 Topps 205 Shawn Green LAD #25

And they are great cards. Yes, this is my booby prize. Correction: it's a minority portion of my booby prize. And it's not just a bunch of commons. It's stars, oddballs, serial numbered cards, relic cards, inserts... you name it! All Blue, and all beautiful!

2002 Upper Deck Diamond Connection Paul Lo Duca LAD #65
2001 Topps Heritage Chrome Kevin Brown LAD #CP21 (512/552)

And all right in the wheelhouse of my collection void from about 1997-2007 (except Topps base sets). Repeating that often has paid off. But rarely, if ever, has the payoff been this friggin' fabulous. All for finishing second twice. As Vin would say, "Deuces Wild!"

2001 Private Stock Game-Used Gear Kevin Brown LAD #90

I don't know how he did it, but Oscar seemed to know exactly what i needed and exactly what I wanted. Hell, I don't even have that kind of grip on my own collection. Dude must be psychic or something!

2004 Fleer Platinum Hideo Nomo LAD #135
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Takashi Saito BOS #103

For example, look at that Nomo! There are a lot of great cards of Hideo out there, and I have a fair number of them. But I'd never seen this one, and I love it! The play of the sunlight, Nomo's motion caught as he's poised at its pinnacle, before The Tornado whips his way forward, with the Platinum logo seeming to twist with the twister... awesome.

2008 Topps Year in Review Derek Lowe LAD #YR65
2011 Bowman Gold Hiroki Kuroda LAD #147

Oscar knew that I not only enjoy Dodgers, I particularly enjoy pitchers. How sweet is that gold Kuroda? (And are you now stuck on "My Sharona" like I am? G-G-G-Gold Kuroda!)

2012 Topps Heritage Aaron Harang LAD #363

Hey, Oscar did send Aaron Harang displaying a Grip for my mini-collection! Whaddaya know!? Looks like Harang was trying to hide it, but to no avail.

2011 Topps Stickers Juan Uribe LAD #264
2011 Topps Finest Matt Kemp LAD #32

I chose today to display Oscar's generosity because it's a big day for us Dodger fans. We get to see our team win its third game of the season before anyone else manages to win a single contest! In fact, I hit the "publish" button the moment of the first pitch. I'll let Oscar chime in:

Go Dodger Blue, indeed. Happy 2014 everyone! The year really starts now. And thank you so much for the booby prize, Oscar! (Yes, I do just like to type the word "booby.") I may not have been an Oscar winner, but Oscar sure made me feel like one.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

First Dime Box Card Show: Trippin' on Oddballs

Nick's brilliant choices as my Dime Box Card Show proxy shopper had me giddy from the start. I mean, just looking at groovy cards like this has to give you the warm and fuzzies...

2001 Upper Deck Decade 1970's Dave Kingman NYM #75
2001 Upper Deck Decade 1970's John Mayberry TOR #10

But then something odd happened about the time that Nick passed me this...

2003 Fleer Tradition Jung Bong ATL #435

Jung Bong?


2013 Topps 75th Anniversary Donkey Kong #81
2013 Topps 75th Anniversary Battlestar Galactica #73

Suddenly I found myself thinking about my childhood, back when people didn't give me funny looks when I said I felt like playing. Visions of sitting in front the the Atari with a six pack of Pepsi by my side came floating through my brain. I said "felgercarb," whatever that means, as a barrel came rolling toward me at dangerously high speeds. I saw a robotic dog and a mad gorilla. I remembered that I had a crush on Erin Gray, though I couldn't remember who that was. It was just so... what's the word...?

Dude. Right. Random. I was totally going to say that. Random. Ran. Dom. What a trippy word. Ran. Dumb. Fan. Gum. Bran. Plumb.

1991 Post Rickey Henderson OAK #27
1993 Hostess Darryl Strawberry LAD #7

Then, just as suddenly, I was hungry. I wanted cereal with strawberries. I wanted Ding-Dongs and Twinkies and Sno Balls...

1992 Markesan Police Department Chris Bosio MIL
1993 Jimmy Dean Doug Drabek HOU #19

I wanted sausage, too. And I began to develop an irrational fear of the police. Dude, I wasn't doing anything wrong. Why did the fuzz wanna harsh my buzz? (Wait, I have a buzz...?)

1995 Kraft Singles Superstars Barry Larkin CIN #24

(Why do I have a buzz...?) Ooooooo, look! Cheese slices. These will go great with that sausage! And there's a baseball card... with instructions? Woah. After reading the instructions, like, eight times, I finally gave up and started tugging and pulling on different parts of the card. I mean, I had to play with the thing, right...?

No... friggin'... way! I just sat there and stared at this thing for, like, three hours (or was it 30 seconds?). Whatever, man, it's all 3-friggin'-D, dude!

What was I talking about, again? Oh yeah, I think it was baseball cards or something...

1989 Star Brian Champion Durham Bulls #69

Wow, this guy must be good. He's a star. He's a champion... bull rider...? Is that how his teeth got that way? And what's that stuck to the end of his bat? And isn't he worried about that giant set of eyes watching him? You see them, don't you? It's not just me, is it? Why am I so paranoid!?

Com'ere. Lemme tell you a secret. I don't know if I should be telling you this, but the Dime Box king sent three dime bags in this package. They were minor league team sets for a cool dime apiece. Too bad you can't just walk up to some guy in the park and buy stuff like this.

1989 Best Stockton Ports Chris Moreno/Mike Wickhan Batboys #26
1989 Best Stockton Ports Danny Fitzpatrick #12

Where else are you gonna find batboy cards, or a big burly Irishman who doubles as a bouncer when the game is over? (Is that logo a drawing of the bouncer holding a bat!?)

1990 Best Knoxville Blue Jays Woody Williams #18
1990 Best Knoxville Blue Jays Pat Hentgen #4

Where else you gonna find future solid major-league pitchers who are now retired with baby faces, just getting started?

1990 Best Jacksonville Expos Richie Lewis #20
1990 Best Jacksonville Expos Lorenzo Bundy CO #27

Or a guy who clearly lost a bet? (I'm not the only one who sees a stuffed little guy on his lap, right?) Or your first card of the new Dodgers third base coach? And how about that logo? They took the Expos logo and rolled a J for Jacksonville. The logo sure looks happy to be here, doesn't it?

Those minor league cards were great, huh? You're certainly not gonna get stuff that good from that guy who's always standing on the corner in a trench coat, even when it's eighty degrees out. Wow... These cards are really starting to get to me. I'm not sure how much more I can handle...


1961 Post (Box) Jerry Lynch CIN #187

I'm starting to lose my sense of time. One minute I thought it was 2014, the next, I'm in the early 1960s...

1960 Leaf Tom Borland BOS #26

Now things are turning black and white! (Hey, that guy stole Don Mossi's ears! Give 'em back, dude!)

1969 Globe Imports Willie Davis LAD #9S
1962 Exhibit Stat Back Wally Moon LAD #27

Now my sense of proportion is starting to go. I could have sworn that one of these cards was tiny and the other huge!

I had all but lost touch with reality by the time Nick started to reel me in...

Thanks, Nick. I needed that! Stay tuned. When next we revisit the First Dime Box Card Show, we'll take Nick's advice to heart. In the meantime, pass the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, wouldja...?