If I’m being honest, I’d have to say that the Christmas season and new years just didn’t seem “festive”. It may have been the weather (it has been getting up past 80 degrees here at times), but I’m not quite sure exactly what it was. To help it to feel more like winter, we agreed to play broom hockey with my friend’s church.
I decided to facebook it: “Broom Hockey at Midnight”
A lot of people had a blast making fun of me, because apparently there is no such thing as “broom hockey”. It is “broom ball”. :/
A good time was had by all. Out of the 50+ people who played, I was far and away the highest scorer with 5 goals. I was a true MVP that night. We won’t mention that the average age of everyone on the ice was 13.
Since my whole family was on the ice, I decided to have some fun and make a few cards to commemorate the night that I dominated all of the children. I only fell like three times, but let me tell ya – at 36, when you fall on the ice, you *feel it* in the morning.
Here they are:
A good time was had by all. Until, that is, last night when my phone fell out of my pocket. It fell from 2 feet onto the ground and was toast. $225 later, I’m up and running. A word to the wise: If you have a Samsung Note 5, get a case. I’ve seen snowflakes that are stronger! It is ironic that I was falling all over the place on the ice, and my phone made it out unscathed.
NOW, onto my collection. Hanging with Jose at his house in 2015 was the best thing to happen to me in this hobby. Because I’m a cardboard crack addict, I still remember a few of the cards I missed out on because I was driving to his house. (How messed up is that? Being upset about missing out on pictures of the player you are about to hang out with.) 2015 was still huge for my collection.
2016 was bigger. MUCH bigger. I picked up a slew of 1/1’s and other rarities for my collection, plus I put together my searchable website displaying all of my collection. Over half of the items displayed in the “favorites” section of my website (including customs) are from 2016!
The thing that sticks out the most for me, is when Bob surprised me (and that is a HUGE understatement!) by sending me two of my white whales for absolutely FREE. The 1988 Topps Cloth and the 1989 Leaf Blue Chips.
I picked up cards that were just as big in 2016, but to me, these will forever be remembered above and beyond the others, because of his generosity. It has been a half a year since that happened, but I have to say once again THANK YOU BOB! I am still giddy over them 🙂
The kindness has surely not stopped there. Two days ago, forum member RandyB sent me a 2016 National Treasures Notable Nicknames autograph. Thanks so much Randy – I love it!
I’m also happy to report a big addition to my collection of a very difficult card. Let me set it up, first:
1994 was the first year that Score entered the parallel game. In addition to the regular, they also produced a “gold rush” parallel. Apparently, it was a hit, because in 1995 they repeated the Gold Rush parallel. In addition to this, they upped the ante by offering the following promotion: If someone collected an entire team set along with a platinum redemption card (1 in 36 packs), they could send the cards in and receive a platinum team set.
While most gold rush sets were returned back to the collector along with the platinum set, some were returned with holes in the form of the Pinnacle logo in the corner of the Gold Rush cards. While many of these were likely thrown out for being “ruined” with holes punched in them, the general understanding was that the vast majority never were punched, because the platinum set requests overwhelmed Score. In fact, no series two cards have surfaced as having been hole punched. It is funny to think that the “ruined” card is now seen as *significantly* more valuable than all other versions of the card combined.
That is why, when Spike posted that he had a number of these types of cards on the forums earlier last year, I promptly asked him if he had Canseco, and if it was for sale. He told me he DID have the Canseco, but it was NOT for sale. I offered a good amount of money for it, but he declined. He did request my address stating “You never know what Santa may bring you!”
Several months later (about a week ago from this writing) it showed up in my mailbox! Thank you again SO MUCH Spike. It is awesome!
There is just something about landing a MEGA rare card from 20+ years ago that feels special. It is an itch that no new auto/patch card can scratch.
While some of the following cards are from the very end of 2016, I have not loaded them into the website, so I decided to lump them in with my latest 2017 acquisitions. While there is a LOT of 2017 left to go, I’ve got to say that I’m extremely optimistic with how it is going so far!
For the Christmas season, I decided to have a little graphics fun to show people I’m looking for Canseco cards, so here is what I came up with. I’m not sure it helped, but I had fun making it and thought it turned out cool!
I thought it was pretty fun 🙂 Especially now, since I can add 4 more to it!
As you probably know, I am first and foremost a card guy. I don’t do magazines, newspaper clippings, starting lineups, etc. I’m pretty particular with my collection when it comes to things outside of cards. These next two pieces have a very good reason to make my collection their home.
Original 1986 Sporting New Press Photo
This has some interesting history. Based upon my research, (much of it thanks to many helpful folks on the forums!) it looks as though that baseball teams would produce these to send to news outlets so they could use these pictures whenever they ran a story on that specific player.
This was apparently property of the Sporting News, (as shown on the hologram on the back) and shows crop marks, notes, etc. For all intents and purposes, this is an original “rookie” publication piece, dating back to 1986. It is something I’ve never seen before, and after spending more time than I care to confess googling it, I came up empty handed. The only thing I found similarly was a Reggie Jackson version of this, and it wasn’t for sale. This is one of those rare times when it is a GOOD thing that you search for something and cannot find it anywhere.
The final thing that makes this piece so interesting is this. Notice anything familiar with the head shot?
Here, let me give you a hint …
This picture was taken seconds apart from the picture shown on the most famous Jose Canseco card ever. I actually thought this was the same picture, and it was important to me for some reason that it was previously. Now, I’m happy that I have a second photo from the same famous photo shoot. It could have very well been the picture Donruss used instead, but for some reason they chose the one they used, and Sporting News / other news outlets got this one.
For some reason, I had on my bucket list to create a Rated Rookie that was slightly different, so I came up with this:
Ehhh … that’s not exactly what I had in mind.
C’mon, now! That is just blasphemy!
I think the black & white with the colored design looks really, really good. Without this picture, I had considered photoshopping an 86 Donruss Rated Rookie of him blinking or smiling bigger … something like an “outtakes” version. This rookie publication piece is significant to me because the photography was from the most famous Canseco photo shoot ever, and comes from the Sporting News Collection. It may not be the only one, but it is likely the only one from the Sporting News with crop marks, and I’ve never seen another out there.
To continue along with the non-card theme, the last piece of our deal was quite possibly the most intriguing. It breaks some rules for my collection. I generally don’t do non baseball things, but I thought I could bend the rules on this one 🙂
Jose has had run ins with the law. One very infamous photo of him is his mugshot. I thought it would be fun to use the mugshot with a “WANTED” message for cards I wanted. Here it is (though I don’t use it anymore).
When a piece like this comes up, you don’t mind that it isn’t a card.
The infamous Jose Canseco mugshot. It is always found online in black and white, with closer cropping on the right (my photo actually has even more showing on the right…apparently I cropped the pic above too much!)
Before I saw this, I had never seen it in color before. I’m not sure if this is a copy, or if it is the only one that came straight from the court house. All I know is I’ve never seen one like this before and could not be happier to have this in my collection. It makes it much more meaningful to me that this is a unique version of a very popular mugshot.
One of the other things that makes it so much more interesting, is my excitement for adding it to my collection shown on my website. I take pride in knowing that checklists out there of Canseco typically only have these items that pre-date his 1986 cards:
Whereas my collection has these: (Yeah, I know a few are customs, but I gotta keep them there!)
From what I recall, the ’81 year book is the first publication with him in it. The ’82 year book is the first publication with him playing baseball (his senior year.) The ’82 pocket schedule is from his first professional baseball team, and the ’83 medford program is the first (known to me) publication showing him playing professional ball.
ANYWAY, back to the piece I picked up. The mugshot is from 1984, well before he stepped foot onto the field as a member of the Athletics. Even though I generally say my collection is all about the cards, pieces like this fit into my collection *perfectly*.
While I may never know the true story of this picture, I tend to believe this does originate from the booking, since it is so famous and I’ve never seen one exactly like this before. While it would be great if this were the only one in existence, I wouldn’t see it as being too far fetched to say the jail may have printed off multiples, but then again – it isn’t like he was a known person back in 1984, so who knows? Either way, I’m glad to have a great piece of pre-mlb Jose Canseco history in my collection.
With a piece like this, how can it not spill over into some form of (digital) cardboard?
Alright, so I know this has already been ridiculously long, but I do have one more thing to talk about. I may be writing more in depth about it later, but I am truly saving best for last.
One of the most innovative things to come out of the 90’s in the way of baseball cards was the chrome technology. Collectors were introduced to the highest end baseball card ever produced at the time: 1993 Topps Finest. This is also where the refractors first came from. Many of the most significant modern-day rookie cards are from Bowman Chrome.
But what if I told you that Topps wasn’t the first to use Chrome? What if I told you that Signs & Glassworks / SGW / Chromium Graphics first brought it to another company before Topps?
Yes, folks – we may have been close to having Upper Deck Chrome cards. This story is very intriguing in and of itself, but guess what.
Samples were made.
The sales director had these samples in storage and decided to get rid of them. Many of these samples were prototypes and tests of various Topps / Finest cards, utilizing different effects. Immediately, I reached out to Ryan to see if he had any Canseco prototypes and sadly, he said there were no Topps / Finest / etc. pieces of Jose.
He did have something much … much … MUCH better.
1991 Upper Deck Chrome Silver Slugger Prototype
It took months nail down a deal, but it was totally worth the wait, and I am so happy it is in my collection.
Ladies and gentlemen, (wait, who am I kidding?) Boys and and older boys, I’ve talked a LOT about the importance of a back story for cards. A simple little history of a rare card can truly make the value of a card skyrocket. I LOVE the stories of the 1988 Topps cloth tests, the 1989 Blue Chips, the 1995 Score punched cards.
This story / historical significance on this piece blows all of them away.
It is a hugely significant piece of modern baseball card collecting history with one of the best back stories I’ve ever heard. It is the tangible evidence of when our hobby was at a fork in the road. One of the main reasons I create custom cards is for my love of being able to flesh out “what if” scenarios of the cardboard from our childhood. That is why I get a kick out of making a 1987 Donruss Rated Rookie Canseco, a 1992 Donruss The Rookies Derek Jeter. It is the reason I had a blast creating a mock up of a current release of Fleer Ultra baseball.
And here I am, holding the genuine article. A piece of what could have been. This likely will never be checklisted, because there are so few of these (only 3 known Canseco), and that is ok. These are way too significant for ANY checklist to add any value to what they are to me. This piece is like an unknown holy grail. I’d be VERY curious to see what some would go for at auction.
Thanks for sticking with me on this novel I’ve written! Stay tuned for more lunacy down the road, and as always – if you have any rare Canseco cards, you know who to go to 🙂
Here is a video of me going through the cards: