2021 Bowman and a Big Buncha Other Stuff

2021 Bowman made it's debut on the market, a week and a half ago. Over the years, one of my favorite baseball card traditions has been opening a hobby box and checking out that year's crop of new prospects. I wrote about that last year, when I broke my Hobby Box of 2020 Bowman.


A box of 2021 Bowman was included in the most recent group break, conducted by my Pal's at Pal's. When I paid for my spot in the break, he said that Bowman would be coming in on Wednesday that week. I asked about the price of a box and was given a number that I should have expected. A bit too much for me, but that's the state of the baseball card market today. Now with the hobby box price of Bowman almost doubling from last year, I think I'm gonna sit this round out.

My plans were to stop in the day it came out and pick up a box before work. That way, I'd have something awesome to look forward to after my shift. After all, product doesn't sit on shelves anymore. If you don't buy it immediately, the next time you go back, it either wont be there, or cost you a whole lot more. I was present for all of 2020. I saw what it did to the inventory at the card store...


I drew the Nationals (and Expos!) for the group break. Obviously, making me happy right from the start. While seeing Expos wasn't too likely, it could happen, and likely be something I needed if it did. However, the Nationals don't have one of the top prospects in the 2021 Bowman checklist, so the potential huge draw definitely wasn't likely.

At least I didn't draw the D-Bags...

Some really nice stuff popped up during the break. Including a beautiful hand-painted (on card) Roberto Clemente, 1 of 1. Meaning that terrible teams are not necessarily the worst thing to draw in a break. I got a serial numbered (out of 250) Juan Soto parallel, from 2020 Topps Gallery. But was shut out on the low card quantity, high dollar lottery packs in the break.

2021 Bowman was saved for last, and I'd almost forgotten that I had the Nationals since I wasn't seeing too many of them come out of the box. This was my first look at the product, so I was more interested in seeing the base and inserts than anything. Just so I knew what I was possible, if I decided to buy a couple of packs.


I remembered I had the Nationals when Soto and Scherzer showed up.

A few packs later, the "guaranteed autograph" surfaced:


A sweet looking Jackson Cluff Autographed Purple Refractor, numbered to 250. I'd never heard of the guy, but saw the Walgreens W in the corner, representing the Nationals... So that's now my card! Nice!

When I paid for my spot in the break the previous Tuesday, he mentioned a 3200 box that just came in, full of random stuff from all years. I love digging through that kind of thing, but had to get to work, so I couldn't that day. However, I'd be in to pick up my Nationals and do a little mining that Saturday.

That box he told me about had some great stuff inside. Not in terms of book value or stuff to send to PSA, but some cards -mostly commons- for team and player collections that I hadn't seen before. I'll show a couple of those off later, but first I want to cover the 2021 Bowman subject.

Boxes were sold out by this point, a whopping four days since it's release. There were a few regular hobby packs and five Jumbo packs left. The Jumbo packs had an appropriate limit of 2. So I grabbed my 2 and added them into my mining mission. During which, I decided those 2 jumbo packs (netting me a total of 64 cards), would serve as the 2021 equivalent of my traditional Bowman Box Break. 


Traditionally, some of the nicest stuff in Bowman are the Chrome inserts, in all their Refractory glory! I seem to attract Emerson Hancock cards, so I guess I’m going to collect him.


The Bowman Scouts Top 100 insert set is back, and looks great! Though not as great as last year’s set, which were even more colorful! Austin Martin is arguably the top new prospect in 2021 Bowman. While I didn’t get his base card, in either paper or Chrome form, I’m happy with this being my first Martin card. One that isn’t an unlicensed 2020 Panini draft product.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...


The other pack also had a Top 100 insert, this one being a Minnesota Twins prospect. After a slow start to his 2021 Big League season, Kirilloff had been on a tear against the Kansas City Royals. With 4 home runs in 3 games! 

Then he got hurt...


This guy needs to start hitting. Minnesota has been a terrible disappointment this year. While it looks like I'm only blaming Kepler here, it's actually more due to our horrible bullpen. Bowman doesn't make cards of below average middle relievers. Well they actually do, but they are still just 19 year old prospects in Bowman sets... But Kepler isn't helping either.


Did get a couple of Twins prospects, which I was hoping for. Keoni Cavaco had a rough debut in 2019, and I was worried that missing the 2020 season would really stunt his development. Even though it’s a very small sample size, Cavaco has 5 hits in his first 12 at-bats for the low A Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. (Yeah…) His double play partner in Ft. Myers is Yunior Severino. Who doesn’t appear to be as heralded a prospect as Cavaco.

The card that I really wanted from 2021 Bowman was Aaron Sabato, Minnesota’s first round pick from 2020. A polished power hitting first baseman out of college, is not a typical Twins draft pick. He appears to be one of the more desirable players in the set, looking at the current market. He could either be really good, or Travis Lee. But I just want it for the Twins collection (an autograph would be really nice). Just like Travis Lee should have been... (There's another story I've been wanting to write...)

Heheheheh... If the Twins are able to keep Jorge Polanco at second base, by the time those two prospects develop, Minnesota could field a double play combination of Cavaco to Polanco to Sabato. That rules. I guess in that scenario, Royce Lewis has moved to center field. Replacing Byron Buxton, who is probably with the Yankees at that point. 

Grumble...


Last year’s top Rockies and Marlins picks.

I'll likely collect Max Meyer, just due to the University of Minnesota connection.


Couple of Major League rookie pitchers...


And a couple Major League rookie position players...


One of those nice looking “Atomic” Refractor parallels...


And a base autograph! Honestly wasn’t expecting one from my two Jumbo packs. This serves as what would have likely been my “box hit”, had I purchased a hobby box as I’d wanted. Baltimore’s 4th round draft pick in 2020, he’s only 19 and signed for more than triple of that draft slot value. Mayo looks to be a decent prospect, even with the namesake of my most hated condiment.

Then there’s the prize from the night before...


Which looks a whole lot nicer in person than this scan shows.


Flipping it over to the back, I gained a deeper appreciation for this card: Born in Littleton, Colorado. That’s the town bordering my beloved Englewood, directly to the south. I don’t know if Cluff spent his teenage years in Littleton, and brief internet research didn’t turn up anything, but if he attended Littleton High School, chances are good that I saw him play. The apartment I lived in from 2006 to 2018 was directly on the city border between Englewood and Littleton, with Littleton High School’s athletic fields just across Big Dry Creek. My third floor balcony overlooked the high school fields, and I could (and did) watch the high school baseball games that would take place. 

So while I don’t know for sure, chances are pretty good that I saw Cluff play baseball several years ago.

And that makes this card really cool, if it’s true!

If this ends up being all I get for 2021 Bowman, I'm okay with that. I hope to find more of the base singles I'm after, but even those are tough in today's market, without resorting to buying them online. It's sad that I wont find the stuff I want the most from this set, when that is the stuff that everyone else wants the least. But that’s collecting in 2021...

******

With the exorbitant prices for new baseball product, I’m seeing myself buying significantly less in new unopened product than I did in 2020. Some of that savings will be just that, saved. But the money allocated to my baseball card hobby will be better spent on singles for my team and player collections. Cutting back on the amount of 2021 singles will hopefully mean more effort on cleaning up the collection. New BaseballCardLand desperately needs some attention in the organization department.


This picture is from November 2018. 

A lot more has been added to and around these shelves. Much work needs to be done... Entering April of this year, I had roughly 60 full albums with cards from 1957-2019 (I hadn’t gotten around to putting the keepers from 2020 in pages yet), all organized by year and set. Not the other albums filled by complete sets. Not the albums set aside for housing Twins, Rockies and Expos cards. But the albums holding each year’s Whatever. 


Whatever being defined as what cards I chose to best represent each set that was released for every year. Consisting of stars, lower tiered rookies, inserts and commons that I liked. These albums have been long established and added to for many years now, averaging about 100 cards per set. Some have more, some have less. 


The more valuable stuff will remain in the ever-growing pile of Top Loader filled shoe boxes.


While duplicates of value are placed in sleeves and sorted by team, then filed into Monster Boxes. All stored on this handy shelf my dad made me, nearly 25 years ago. Commons that I’ve decided to keep are also sorted by team and placed in similar boxes. Those commons don’t get sleeved or shelved. Just stacked until I find a better place for them.

The more I thought about it, the less I liked that setup.

Since everything else in my collection is sorted by team, except those albums, I was starting to have difficulty in remembering if I already had a new card that I liked, and where to put it. Not to mention if I picked up a decent stack of singles from a set like 1982 Fleer (for example), adding them into the albums would then cause every album after 1982 Fleer to move. That’s not the best way to do things.

About a year ago, I first thought that I should begin the process of reconfiguring my baseball card albums. After debating long and hard about one of the keystones of my collection, I’ve now made that call. The incredibly painstaking process of removing all the cards from their albums, then resorting them by team, has begun. Once that part is done, I can combine then with the sleeved and common boxes, to replace them in pages. Many commons will likely find a demotion along the way.


But for now, the real work in is removing tens of thousands of cards from album pages, and sorting them by team. (Still love that 1991 Gold Leaf Rookie insert of Todd Van Poppel. He definitely gets a spot in the player collection binders.) As I go, I can synch them up with the commons and sleeved stars, to include cards that were filed in the wrong place. I can thin out the albums, and include sleeved cards and commons that should be placed in pages. Which means sorting by team, then by player. I’m liking the idea of keeping certain players cards in pages grouped together. Why shouldn’t I have an album filled with only Ken Griffey Jr. and Jeff Innis cards? 


From sorting tray, to temporary placement in Monster Boxes. So far I’ve completed the years 1974 through 1992. 1974 was voted on by me, as the year to start this sorting project. 1974 saw the first Topps set to be released in a single series of 660 cards. Making it the end of my vintage collection sorted by card. 1974 Topps is also the oldest set where I had a large quantity of commons, with close to 500 in various shades of fair to poor condition. 

1973 cards and earlier will remain paged by card number. All of these singles have been purchased for a specific reason. Since they're all cards that I wanted, they make a damn fine Whatever!

Most important aspect of this time consuming project is that I can start setting aside the cards I want to get rid of. Once I know if I have them in pages, I can get rid of duplicates I don’t want. I know I have at least 15 copies of Chipper Jones’ 1992 Upper Deck Minor League card. I don’t need at least 15 copies. I don’t like Chipper Jones. So it’s time to get rid of a bunch of them. Perhaps packaged with 200 other Chipper Jones cards I have that I don’t need or want?

How to get rid of them is something I’ll have to figure out later...

******

I’m going through a stretch where I haven’t finished any of the projects I’m in the middle of. The last story I finished to post here was Twisters burritos. Which in itself was a quickly slapped together story because I wasn’t finished writing any of the other three stories I started last month. In the near month since posting that story, I’ve still not finished writing anything else…

So this is another quickly hashed out replacement.

A story about not writing stories if you will...

Well then, what all has been keeping me from finishing anything up?

Sometimes I have to deal with un-fun adult stuff...


Like replacing a broken washing machine with a not broken washing machine!


But as great as the new washer is at making clothes undirty, I almost miss going to the laundromat every weekend. Sitting there alone for a couple of hours was a nice quiet break. Time where I could sit and write in my notepad between loads. And people watch. It was almost like boothrotting in a way. There's some fascinating specimens at the laundromat...

Instead of going to the laundromat, the other day I got to go to Cheapo Records, to buy a new CD! Yes, in this age of digital downloads, there are certain artists that will always mean I need a physical copy of their latest work. Which is pretty much Negativland or any project involving Mike Patton, these days. At least I’m no longer living in a time where a new CD costs me at least three hours of work. That’s how it was in the early 1990’s, when I first got my CD player. And wasted a ton of good money on bad music.

But this is good music!


Tomahawk - Tonic Immobility


And it’s oh so good...

Because I have to keep adding to my bank of abandoned building photos (not that I’m in any danger of running out of material), I have to stay on alert for new additions around town. In just the past few weeks alone, I’ve added these properties to my inventory of abandoned buildings to write about in the future:


Bakers Square - Blaine, MN

Conveniently located next door to the Cheapo Records, that sold me new Tomahawk! Baker’s Square was a chain family restaurant, forced to downsize due to Covid. This location closed permanently last Summer. I first photographed it in October of last year, when it was still pretty clean inside. All of the booths and tables were still in place then, and it looked like it would be open in just a few hours. When I stopped back to check on the place a couple weeks ago, all the tables had been removed and it was fairly trashed inside.


IHOP Riverdale - Coon Rapids, MN

I was somewhat saddened to learn of this IHOP’s closing. This was my late night boothrotting spot of choice in 2004 and 2005, before I moved back to Colorado. Much of Wasted Quarter issue #61 was written in the booth at the bottom of this photo. Coffee, pancakes and notebook scribbles... Good times! But I don’t think I’ve been here since May, 2005.


Anoka County Library, Northdale Branch - Coon Rapids, MN

Northdale Shopping Center is an aging and dying retail complex in my hometown. It has been photographed several times throughout the years, but I had to go back for this shot. A sign had recently been removed from the worn old wooden facade, uncovering a label scar from the old Anoka County Library that occupied this storefront back in the mid-1980’s. The library moved out well over 30 years ago, and I was shocked there was still this much evidence of it’s stay here, left behind.


Burger King - Ramsey, MN

This Burger King closed last December, and looked promising from the trash left in the parking lot and busted up Drive Thru menu board. But the interior was empty (save for a pile of colored chairs stacked in the visually obstructive indoor play land) and boring. I took enough photos, but it was kind of a let down.


US Bank, 7th Ave Branch - Anoka, MN

US Bank closed this location several years ago, and the building has sat empty ever since. I’d always meant to stop by for pictures, and just hadn't. I drive by it almost every day, so I don't have a good excuse. But the building had recently been sold, which added some urgency to getting that done. It’s a very small, dated and oddly shaped structure that needed to be recorded, just in case new ownership decides to knock it over.  


Wright Tire - Anoka, MN

After taking the US Bank pictures, I posted one of them to Facebook. Soon after, a friend commented with a tip that a gas station on the west end of town had recently closed. He said it would soon be demolished due to eminent domain. Upcoming freeway expansion needs that land more, so a long time local business has to go. From the signs posted on the building, the owners were none too happy about this...

******

Yet another distraction that's causing me to fall behind on getting anything done, has been the return of baseball. Staring blankly at Quick Pitch on MLB Network, late at night, when I should be writing, should have been predicted. Even though the early going has been rough on my teams, I cannot not be enthralled. And while I fully expected the Arenado-less Rockies to struggle mightily, I wasn’t expecting the Twins to play anywhere near as horrible as they have been doing so far.


At least this guy is hitting...

And still getting hurt and missing games...

But half of our lineup forgot to bring their bats to the regular season. The bullpen has been atrocious and the starting pitching has been spotty at best. Yeah, it’s still early... But as the fine knowledgeable folks at MLB Network have recently opined, no expected playoff team in baseball has done more to hurt their chances at making the postseason, than the Minnesota Twins.

Since I'm working during most of the weekday games, I get to listen to them lose on the radio. Just like the old days of Basement World, before every game was televised. Several times a game, they will play a certain advertising campaign with Byron Buxton talking about his favorite brand of sausages: 


For parts of three years now, I've enjoyed Buxton's deadpan delivery describing "Sheboygan Shaushagesh". Which are a damn fine brat! I grilled up a big mess of them last weekend, and took leftovers to work for the next three days. At least Buxton's shaushage ads are so much better than the woman singing off-key about "Porta-Dock.com", trying to sing as Minnesotans as nearly mockingly possible. I really hate those ads.

Just as I still really hate 2021 Topps...

But I really liked 2021 Topps Heritage!


Even if they went a little too heavy on the “In-Action” subset, I’m a big fan of 2021 Topps Heritage. For the second year in a row, my goal is to complete the full set. Including those pesky short prints and late season High Number (update) set. With its own batch of pesky short prints. For the 2020 set, I’m down to needing about 30 cards (all of which are short prints), with a few more needed for the 2021 set. I really like how these look in pages.

But the most welcome development of the early 2021 baseball season?


But you couldn't have done this before running Nolan Arenado out of Denver?

What the Rockies SHOULD do (but won’t in a million years) is hire Theo Epstein to be the new GM/team president, or whatever label he wants to be called. Epstein loves the impossible challenge, bringing World Series championships to both the Red Sox and Cubs, ending decade-long streaks of futility, to back that up. What would be a more impossible situation to build a winning ball cub, than in Denver? There’s all sorts of challenges there! From the altitude’s overall effects on the game to the team’s terrible ownership and clueless philosophy! 

Although it's not all gloom and doom for Colorado baseball...


Due to the State of Georgia's efforts to make future elections more favorable to the red team, Major League Baseball shockingly took the 2021 All Star Game away from Atlanta, and gave it to Denver. This was completely unexpected, but it gave the Rockies uniforms a nice new patch to wear!

******

As I stated earlier, before getting sidetracked, I’ve been extremely busy and haven’t finished any of the stories I'm in the middle of writing. Even this story started off as a small quick update on a couple points that I think I already deleted. Intended to be posted 3 weeks ago, more has been added to it, taken away from it, to the point where I’m capping it at this and posting it in the morning. Just so I can say it’s finished.

But amongst the other stories I’ve been working on over the last two months, these are the 3 most started:


2002 Topps Total Box Break

The current state of the baseball card hobby has me disgruntled, to say the least. The lack of available product and the make-up of today’s product, has me longing for the days of long ago. A product that I’ve always wanted to open a box of was 2002 Topps Total. A massive 990 card set that covers all 30 teams major league roster and a bunch of top prospects. I finally got the chance to break a box in September 2019, when Laura and I travelled to Delaware. So I’m in the middle of “Whatevering” that box and writing up some key notes from that great vacation.


Coon Rapids Blvd Railroad Bridges - Coon Rapids, MN

Sticking a little closer to home is a story I’m writing about the old railroad bridges in my hometown.

With specific focus on the classic graffiti!


And for some stupid reason, I’m writing a story about this guy...

But back to whining about the retail side of baseball cards!

Targets have adopted a strange policy of only selling cards at 8am on Fridays, with no overnight camping out in line allowed. (Yes, that was actually a thing.) Whether that works out for them (or collectors) in the long run is still up in the air. Walmarts has seemingly given up on selling cards in-store altogether. However, you can still order them from WalMarts website. But from what I’ve heard, that’s hit and miss depending on if they have any supply available to even sell.


Recently posted to Facebook from a WalMarts in Indiana...

And then just a couple days ago, this story about a sports card related shooting outside a Target. From Fox News Milwaukee.

I don’t know what any of this means for the future of card collecting. Not being able to buy them at these typical outlets is definitely going to hurt the hobby. As much as I’ve always hated this argument, I have to say: “Think of the children!” Kids aren’t going to buy cards if they have no exposure to them. 

And you can thank the damn greedy flippers that fill online sale sites with retail product inflated 300%.

But they haven’t ruined collectable toys...

Yet...

Hasbro recently released a few updated Transformers based on characters from the 1986 movie. These look a lot more like what was featured in the cartoon, instead of the boxey original toys that came out with the movie. 

That was almost 35 years ago now.

Damn...


Transformers The Movie - Hot Rod

Hot Rod looks great. He even comes with a miniature Autobot Matrix of Leadership.

Which is all sorts of extra awesome!

These are so cool, I'm really tempted to take them out of the package...

But we don't believe in that, brother!


Transformers The Movie - Blurr

The only other figure in the series that I've found so far, is Blurr. Looking a whole lot better than the original awkward clunky Blurr toy that came out in 1986 did.

I’m sure there are more to this series, but these two are the only ones I’ve found at a Targets or WalMarts. At least I haven’t seen any of the other figures for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $150 each. Not until Panini starts making Transformers anyway...

And no matter what’s going on in daily life, I still have to periodically stop by the Walgreens to pick up prescriptions. After several long gaps of nothing hanging from the pegs, some new Fairfield Re-Packs have begun showing up occasionally!


Since moving back to Minnesota in 2018, I’ve picked up quite a few Fairfield Re-Packs. These are the biggest motivating factor in wanting to change the card albums. Granted, most of the cards from these re-packs are immediately thrown away, but the ones I choose to keep create a problem with that storage method. Like I said before, adding cards into 1981 or 1982 sets causes the problem of having to move everything after that forward. Sorting by team/player means I can just add a page wherever needed. Which doesn’t effect every album after that.


Fairfield RePacks get sorted into the following piles: 

#1 - Random singles I want for sleeves or albums. 

#2 - Minnesota Twins (cards I need, extras for sleeves, junk for garbage can)

#3 - Montreal Expos (cards I need, extras for sleeves, junk for garbage can)

#4 - Colorado Rockies (cards I need, extras for sleeves, junk for garbage can)

#5 - Hits (Typically junk autographs, which still get Top Loaders, regardless of how worthless they may be.)

#6 - Unopened Wax Packs 

(The 2021 Topps Opening Day packs were surprisingly found at Targets, NOT at 8am on a Friday morning. I got nothing in these packs, but I didn't get shot buying them.)


This round of Fairfield included some unopened 1991 O Pee Chee Premier Wax Packs. Which I have not purchased, nor opened, since I was WAY into this product in the Summer/Fall of 1991. Not sure why. When I opened these, I felt completely underwhelmed. Hard to believe I was paying more for a pack of these in 1991, then I paid for the entire Re-Pack box.

Time gives perspective, I guess...

I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t even felt like setting up the scanner. So these digital pictures of recent singles will work just as well.


A different trip to that card store brought a nice sized stack of 2021 Topps Silver Pack singles. I’ve always liked how these Topps inserts looked and was glad to see a bunch of them added to the team sorted singles boxes. I’ve made a lot of these type card purchases lately. With unopened product going for far too much money, I’ve been adding to my less heralded team and player collections. 

Stuff like this is another major reason why I decided to shift the albums from a year/brand configuration to team/player. 


From that same day’s purchases, a couple more singles from the team boxes. I’m finding myself buying Kershaw cards more than I’d ever expect me to buy Dodgers. But it’s Kershaw. I have to collect him. And that black bordered Rendon parallel (serial numbered something out of something) is just sweet. As far as those Twins, I has happy to get that 2016 Bowman’s Best Byron Buxton insert, and even more happy to get the Refractor parallel at the same time. That 2021 Donruss Ryan Jeffers autograph satisfies the Jeffers autograph gap in my collection.


But most importantly, I simply had to pick up this cheap autograph from Manon Rheaume. I’ve wanted this card (or one of the multiple similar copies) since it came out. Rheaume created quite a stir in the hobby by signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992. Even though she only played in two pre-season games, it was enough to get a contract with Classic to sign a significant amount of cards. While these were very expensive back in the Junk Wax Era, nearly 30 years later, they’re a lot more affordable.

And because I had a massive crush on her back in the day. 

Then I did decide to hook up the scanner...


Warming it up with a 1993 Classic 4 Sport Manon Rheaume, in honor of that autograph. Even though you cant see if it's really her under the mask and pads on this card...

******

As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this rambling nonsense, I was going to show some highlights from the 3200 count box of random singles at the card shop. These are just a few of the 100+ I pulled out last weekend.

Speaking of Classic, they started making cards as part of a trivia game, in 1987, before branching out into the draft pick market of the four major sports. I don't really know what happened to Classic in the mid-1990's. I know they cranked out some NFL stuff in 1994 or 1995, but then they seemed to disappear. I've looked online and not found any information on the companies that produced Classic cards, or bought the company that produced Classic cards.

For the most part, they went ignored by me until they started to produce minor league cards in 1991. I didn't buy any of the boxed (game) sets until 1992, so there are a bunch of Classic cards from the Junk Wax Era that never made their way into my collection. Which is why it makes me happy when I find some of them inside a Fairfield Re-pack, or several small clusters of them in singles boxes like this one was.


This 1989 Classic Andres Galarraga just screams 1989!


It's a shame the Expos had to trade future Hall of Famer, Randy Johnson, for just a half season rental of Mark Langston. Montreal didn't make the playoffs in 1989, and Langston left for the California Angles after the season. I'd never seen this 1990 Classic card proving that Langston was once an Expo.


And how often can I say I have a new (to my Twins collection) David West card? Bet that hasn't happened since about 1993. Even though he’s just Dave here...


Royce Lewis wasn't even born in 1993. This Lewis is the Refractor version of a 2017 Bowman card that I bought when I still lived in Colorado. This one wasn't in that 3200 box, but a new addition to the Twins bin. Either way, it belongs with me.


Neither was this 2017 Bowman Josh Naylor. It was a nice cheap pickup because I like the Bowman Purple parallels and he was fresh in my mind for playing well against the Twins a week or so previous. When you keep hearing a player's name, sometimes it makes you buy their card...

Professor! What's another word for pirate treasure?

Well, I think it's booty! 

Booty!


That's what it is!

Signature Rookies was another upstart that produced Draft Pick sets back in the mid-1990's. They pioneered the "one autograph per pack" gimmick, back in 1994. They made a ton of unlicensed cards, with most of the logos removed (not sure how Booty's Marlins uniform escaped the rules unscathed), and disappeared quietly, just as Classic did.

While Signature Rookies was a cheap looking junky card brand in the mid-1990’s, they couldn’t hold a candle to the awesome Conlon Collection card sets produced by Mega Cards around that same time.


One of their sets was just honoring Babe Ruth. Who appears in the middle of this card from 1995, which is all sorts of awesome. Even if it’s a colorized black and white photo.

Wonder what kind of camera was used to take this photo?


And was it larger or smaller than the behemoth that former Colorado Rockies shortstop Neifi Perez is hiding behind?


2005 Donruss Team Heroes was a set that I always liked. I picked up a bunch of these at the Highlands Ranch WalMarts back in the winter of 2005. I didn’t get Jason Jennings then, so I was happy to pick it up now!

And lastly, a couple of Expos...


I’d never seen any singles from this insert set out of 1998 Skybox Thunder. Which is a pretty cool card, even though all 4 corners were kinda crappy. Still a worthwhile addition to the Expos binder. The Hebson card is from 2001 Topps Stars. Another set I never bought a pack from. And Bryan Hebson is an Expo I never heard of before.

He kinda looks like EC3...


Finally, it’s not a card, but I wanted to honor former Twins #1 draft pick (5th overall in 2014), Nick Gordon. Who finally made his Major League debut on May 6, 2021. He went 1 for 2, with a walk, against the Kansas City Royals. More notable, he set a Twins record with 2 stolen bases in his first Major League game. No other Twins player had ever stolen more than one in his first game. It’s not earth-shattering, but a nice accomplishment for a guy who persevered for years before reaching the games highest level. And he gets a team first, in 60 years of franchise history!

******

Another big time time waster for me over the last month has been the return of PS4 Baseball. Since we moved into the house back in September 2018, the PS4 has sat upstairs and been used mostly as our DVD/BluRay player. When I’ve been in the mood for playing some baseball on the Playstation, I’ve used the old PS3, downstairs in my office. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that needed to make a change. So I swapped the machines, hooking the PS3 up to the upstairs TV so it can do those same functions up there, with the PS4 moving down to my basement office. 


Now I can play MLB The Show 19 again!

After my very first game (pitching), Captain Honkass was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Washington Nationals.

Well that’s cool… 


What’s even cooler is the Nationals included both the 1969 and 1994 Montreal Expos uniforms!

Guess what I wear during my games...

Hint, not the Nationals...


If I ignore the presence of Walgreens around the stadium, I can almost fool myself into believing that Montreal built the Expos an outdoor baseball only stadium, which is now featured in this game!


Even though Matt Vasgersian still has not recorded audio of himself saying: “Honkass”, I can still wear my digital custom jersey for games! (I’m not going to tell you why I wear 66. If you know your Honkass Trivia, the reason for that should be a no-brainer.) Now I just have to remind myself that I need to put the controller down. There’s too much other stuff that needs to be done.

Like mowing that damn lawn...

Suddenly, Laura tells me she ordered me a late birthday gift which should be in the mail any day now!


Guess I’m not writing about 2002 Topps Total, railroad graffiti or Darryl Strawberry any time soon...

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