Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone!  I hope you have a wonderful holiday - and stay safe out there!  As for me, last year my 4th of July post got to show off my progress on my barbecue cart - a cart that survived both the winter and the move to my new home...and I'm pleased to say that it now resides on my new deck and I use it all the time when grilling!

This year, my change in job titles has kept me in the office much, much more...and with that I haven't had nearly the amount of time to tinker in the workshop.  In fact, other than making a couple of shelves and a small landing for outside our garage door, my woodworking tools have been dormant.

No matter though, perhaps next year's Fourth of July post will have more exciting images of projects I'm working on - this year I'll leave you with the big project at work (don't worry, it's not me doing the construction).

As you may or may not recall, I've been named my college's Director of the Math Center - a brand new initiative scheduled to open in time for this fall semester.  From the above photo, you can make out the basic framework of my future office - plus some of the space for the Math Center.  My college has never had a Math Center - so my spring and summer has been a lot of planning of both the physical space (meeting with architects, electricians, etc.) and planning for the academic aspects of the Math Center.  It's a lot to figure out, but hopefully the end result will be worth it!

Happy 4th everyone!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Barry Larkin Collection 376: 2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions - #12

Barry Larkin
Year:  2013
Brand:  Panini USA Baseball Champions
Card number:  12

I generally stay away from most things Panini (the non-licensed part ruins most of their products for me).  However, given that we are in a long weekend thanks to July 4th, I figured it would be appropriate to show off one of the more patriotic Larkin cards that I haven't yet shown in my collection!

As for this particular card, the USA theme works well because Panini can show off the USA Baseball logo.  I also like the big ol' American flag in the background - very patriotic and fitting with the theme.  The back of the card isn't quite as nice, but I can appreciate the write-up because it taught me something new about Larkin's early career (not easy to do with all the Larkin cards / Larkin write-ups that I own)!  All told, for an unlicensed set I have to say that this card looks really nice - kudos to Panini for this one (too bad so many other Panini offerings have been abysmal train wrecks)!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Delivery Time! Sports Cards Ate My Brain - The Ken Griffey Jr. Countdown (#6 - 1)

It's finally time to end our countdown of awesome Ken Griffey Jr. goodness courtesy of Scott over at Sports Cards Ate My Brain!  We began with 17 contenders..and now we are down to the final six cards.  Which Griffey Jr. card takes the cake?  Read on to find out!

#6:  2005 Donruss (something or other):

The front design of this particular card is kind of neat in an old school way - but the real reason this card ends up in the #6 position on the countdown is 1) it's brand new to me and 2) it's numbered 20/50.  I know there are way more than 50 Ken Griffey Jr. collectors out there...so I feel lucky to have any Griffey numbered out of 50!

#5:  2004 Donruss Studio:

I have no good reason to have this card in my top 5 except for the fact that I've always been a sucker for "credit card" type baseball cards.  The card isn't numbered...the team logo is ridiculously small, and there's even text going in all directions (a big design no-no for me).  And yet, I love it.  This is why sometimes we need to give baseball card companies a bit of slack - collectors are fickle even if we don't like to admit it!

#4:  2007 Goudey:

This is the red back mini version - and it's a great looking card.  I've been working on collecting a few different years of the Goudey set so this particular card is right up my collecting alley!

#3:  2002 Upper Deck (something or other):


This particular Griffey Jr. is serially numbered but this time it's out of a rather large 4,225 so it's not quite so impressive.  What is impressive though is the clean design - I love getting Griffey as both a Mariner and a Red on the same card - and the design is simple enough it shows off both uniforms nicely.

#2:  2006 Upper Deck Epic:

While "Epic" is a stupid name for a set, I can't deny the pretty foilboard card!  And the serial numbering (out of 675 this time) is only icing on the cake!  This card gets bonus points for mentioning the fact that Griffey passes a pair of Yankees.  Anytime a Red beats the Yankees I'm happy.

Before I get the #1 card on the countdown, I would be remiss if I didn't show off one more of the non-Griffeys that Scott sent my way:

That's a pretty cool manufactured patch of Frank Robinson.  I like the throwback commemorative patch...and in the case of the Reds, the design comes from 1890 which is a legitimate throwback!  None of that 1960s throwback nonsense for my Redlegs!

All of that leads us to the #1 Griffey Jr. card...

#1:  1999 Topps Stars and Steel:

Yeah, it's a set based on a gimmick (cards printed on actual metal) but it's a cool gimmick.  Plus, if a robber ever barged into my house I now have a Griffey emblazoned weapon (those corners are sharp)!  Seriously though, this is simply a cool, cool card.  The design is top notch and the colors really seem to pop off the steel card.

Thank you so much for the great trade Scott!  And, as always, if anyone else would like to trade be sure to take a look at my want list and make an offer!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Delivery Time! Sports Cards Ate My Brain - The Ken Griffey Jr. Countdown (#9 - 7)

Over the past few days, I've been having fun counting down the 17 Ken Griffey Jr. cards from a recent trade with Scott over at Sports Cards Ate My Brain.  Today, we take a look at the next chunk of the countdown...plus we get a peak at a few cool non-Griffey Jr. cards as well!

#9:  2008 Topps Heritage

The '08 Topps Heritage set was an exciting set for me.  After all, it was the 2007 set that got me back into collecting modern cards (which is ironic in a way if you think about it).  The '08 Heritage set was the followup so I felt I had to collect it as well.  Of course, this was before I realized just what a pain the short prints are in Heritage...in fact, it's now 2015 and I am STILL trying to complete my 2008 Heritage set.  In case you are wondering, here's what I still need from the set:
2008 Topps Heritage Wants Base: #464, 465, 480, 488, 495, 500
But yes, despite my failure at completing the set so far, I have to admit that this is a nice looking card - the red border works well with the Cincinnati Reds' uniform!

#8:  2002 Fleer Showcase

There's nothing particularly special about this card (it's not serially numbered or anything)...but for whatever reason I simply like it.  A lot.  Maybe it's the giant Reds' logo?  Maybe it's all the boxes?  Maybe it's because Griffey Jr. was one of the few good things about the early 00s Reds teams?  No matter the reason, this card slots in at #8 in my countdown!

I mentioned in the preamble of this blog post that I had a few non-Griffey cards from Scott to show off as well.

Scott ended up sending me a pair of awesome Ginter relics.

There's really not much better design than a framed Ginter relic.  I don't even care that the two cloth bits are boring grey.  The frames are so nice - and that 2010 set is especially nice since I'm actively trying to collect the entire relic set from 2010!!

#7:  2009 Topps Heritage

We end this portion of the countdown with another Heritage Griffey Jr. card.  Although this card doesn't show Griffey as a Red, it still manages to rank higher than the '08 card simply because this card features a better photo of everyone's favorite baseball "kid."

Many thanks, once again, Scott for all the goodies.  I think I'll be able to finish off the countdown in the next post - but we shall see how my energy levels are when I get around to writing it.. No promises...though I guess I can safely promise that I will eventually get through the entire countdown!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Barry Larkin Collection 375: 1996 Select - #32

Barry Larkin
Year:  1996
Brand:  Select
Card number:  32

I am not afraid to admit that I love the 1993 Select set quite a bit.  Unfortunately, the magic of the '93 set never seemed to wear off on most of the later Select sets.  In the case of the 1996 Select set, there's nothing glaringly wrong with the card per se...it's just a boring card.  The front image is the same two hitting images of Barry Larkin that we get on just about every card while the back features vertical stats (which are a no-no in my book).  Also, why is the team logo so stinking small on the back of the card?  Also, why is Larkin's face outlined with a red box on the card back?  Come to think of it, I guess there is plenty of stuff wrong with this card - including that smokey (?) background used on the back of the card.  Even so, I still appreciate the addition to my Larkin collection (even if I'll never chase the rest of the 1996 Select set)!