Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Testing The Waters

My daily routine is quite a mess. For the most part it revolves around staring at either my phone screen or computer screen with the brief instances where I sleep, wake up, go to school or work and go home sprinkled in.

Because my schedule is so hectic, I struggle with daily challenges like the 30 Day Song challenge that Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards has been doing on Twitter. It's not like I couldn't do them if I saw Tony doing them (I can just reply to his Tweets). I can't do them if I'm the one starting them. I lose track of these things by day 4.

So a while back Tony, inspired by the song challenge, created a 30 Day Baseball Card challenge. Where you post about certain cards that meet the criteria/topic of the day. As previously established, I'm not diligent enough to do these daily. I'm doing all 30 at once with my own personal thoughts at the end. Strap yourselves in, this is gonna be a long one.

Also, I could've very easily done this in a half-joking manner and included non-baseball cards, but since this is called the Baseball Card Challenge, I've answered all questions with JUST baseball cards.

Day 1: A card from the current year with a photo that you like

From the 2017 BBM Sekibetsu Kyujin set (a set full of sunset cards for players who retired in 2016) is this sunset card of Hiroki Kuroda. In what is probably one of my favorite shots ever. This card was sent to me by Ryan from This Card Is Cool. Thanks Ryan!

Day 2: A card with more than one player on it

Carp-era Kenta Maeda and Giants stud Hayato Sakamoto. If you're wondering when Sakamoto is coming to the US, it's likely never. The Giants almost never let go of their players and they'll pony up to keep Sakamoto.

Day 3: A card from the first set you tried to complete

Tried and finished have different meanings but because I don't want to talk about the first set I ever tried to make (and failed at) I'd rather focus on the first set I did complete. In which case it becomes 2012 Sega Card Gen.

Day 4: A rookie card of one of your favorite players

Now what makes a card a "true" rookie card is very murky nowadays with prospect cards being printed out more and more, but I went with a rookie card in terms of the player's first card as an active major leaguer. Luis Torrens doesn't have an official RC yet so I went with Bryce Harper for now. His rookie cards take me back to 2012, a year I'll remember fondly for the rest of my life for various reasons.

Day 5: A certified autograph of one of your favorite players

Because I focus more on incorporating the latest going-ons in Torrensworld in my posts where I announce Torrens acquisitions, I forget to actually talk about the cards themselves. Like this Holiday Bonus exclusive of Torrens from 2014 Leaf Metal Draft. This card is quite shiny and I quite like it. It's also basically like the base variation except with a serial number and sticker autograph. Oh yeah, here's a reminder that I still need the base to finish the normal rainbow (and one more plate to finish the master one).

Day 6: A card you spent more than $10 to get

I've yet to blog about Ryosuke Nomura here, but he's one of my sleeper picks in the Dragons org. This autograph cost me $35 (aprox) in Japanese yen.

Day 7: A card you bought in person and the story behind it

The day was August 19, 2014, the 2014 New York-Penn League All Star Game was being held in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Blog hero Luis Torrens was playing in it and during the game I stopped by the gift shop where I noticed they had the Top Prospects set for sale. They inserted two prospects from every team into these sets and Torrens was one of them. I bought two right on the spot, got one of the Torrens from this set signed, and gave the other complete set to Torrens as a thank you present. I since acquired a few more so I could later get unsigned copies for myself. Like the one above.

Sidenote, this challenge is far too lengthy to fit in 140 characters.

Day 8: A card that reminds you of a family member

Look, as far as my family and I are concerned, Mr. Sugishita is Mr. Chunichi. My grandmother saw the parade after Mr. Sugishita and the Dragons won the Japan Series for the first time ever, and the rest of my family has known him as everything that's good about the Dragons (while the front office represents everything that's bad about it). So with that, this is why I'm reminded of my family whenever I see Mr. Sugishita.

Day 9: One of your favorite cards from the 1950's

Photo Taken By Sean
I don't own this card, in fact I just snatched the photograph you see above from Sean's blog Getting Back into Baseball Cards... In Japan where he talked about Hall of Famer Wally Yonamine. Which is a great read for those of you interested in a collector who came back to a collecting hiatus, in Japan. Wally Yonamine is a favorite of mine since he's a Japanese American like I am. And he played for the Chunichi Dragons. And I hope I can own a card of his one day. Preferably from time as a Dragons player. It's tough to tell which set this is from or even if it's from the 50's (it might be from the 40's) but I still think it's cool.

Day 10: One of your favorite cards from the 1960's

The very first vintage baseball card I ever owned was this 1966 Topps Roger Maris. I paid top doller ($30) for this at a card shop back in 2012. At the time I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I've since seen the likes of Nick The Dime Box King and Night Owl Cards acquire other vintage Marises for cheaper, making me feel like a chump. But I still like this card that depicted Roger Maris as an active Yankee for the last time.

Day 11: One of your favorite cards from the 1970's

My admiration for 1979 Topps is very well known. I think I'll just go with my signed Lou Piniella card from that set. The Sweet Lou signature you see above was the very first in person autograph I ever got at a card show. It was my very first time paying money for an autograph ticket and meeting an actual legend. I'm glad because Piniella was very kind. We talked a bit about Ichiro Suzuki and shared some laughs.

Day 12: One of your favorite cards from the 1980's

For this one I went with a 1984 Calbee card of Kazuhiko Ushijima. Ushijima was one of the most dominant relievers in the Dragons' franchise history. Although he tried being a starter a few times (it didn't work out), he was lights out as a reliever/closer, locking down the most saves in the league in 1984 (29 saves), 1987 (24 saves) and 1988 (25 saves). Back then the reliever category didn't have too many awards but apparently he did win a Most Valuable Reliever Award and a Fireman Award (MLB should have a Fireman Award too). I don't own the Calbee card, but I do sure want it.

Day 13: One of your favorite cards from the 1990's

Got to go with a baby faced card of the Big Hirok here. Hard to believe that that slender frame would later go on to be the best Japanese-born MLB pitcher of all time. It's also hard to believe he ever showed that much emotion on cardboard.

Day 14: One of your favorite cards from the 2000's

This one was very difficult. Not because there were so many to choose from, but because I don't have too many cards from the 2000's. After all, I'm always complaining about how I never see them around. Anyway, I went with the card up there because I remember my uncle buying a few NPB cards way back when. Long before I ever became a collector.

Day 15: One of your favorite cards from the 2010's

This is tough for the exact opposite reason. A good 90% of my collection comes from the 2010's. I could make a top 100 2010-2011 era cards list and still have to make painful cuts, let alone add in the rest of the decade we've gotten through (and have yet to go through) too. I decided to just pick at random and this popped up. An in person Mariano Rivera autograph on a foil Sega Card Gen. The subject of one of my earliest blogposts on here too. Such sweet memories.

Day 16: A card of a player whom you appreciate but don't like

If I ever went as far as to "dislike" a player, whatever made me dislike them in the first place was enough for me to lose any sort of appreciation or admiration (if I had any) for them. These would be the Josh Luekes, Jose Reyes' and Delmon Youngs of the world. You can look up their actions (both proven and alleged) on your own time, and the unfortunate fact is that they're not alone. So I have zero players in this category and therefore zero cards to show.

Day 17: A card from the first set you put together hand collated

We're back it again with the 2012 Sega Card Gen set! I love this set. I was watching my old video where I recorded myself playing the game and I really wanted to play it again.

Day 18: A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team

Crud, I already used up Piniella. I'm a closet Dodgers fan so I'll just throw Donnie Baseball up here.

Day 19: A favorite card from a country other than the United States

I've done the challenges thus far from the perspective of a collector who collects Japanese and American cards so I needed to find something made outside of both. So off to Canada! With the OPC 1979 Topps card of Gary Matthews. Sarge was another in person autograph signing and it was pretty great. He had a great sense of humor.

Day 20: Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

The superfractor. I've owned three of these (technically four) in my possession and I'm always impressed every time I see these. All I can say to you superfractor-less people is, you're missing out.

Day 21: A card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in

If by "investing" Tony actually means investing time and effort, then yes, I have indeed invested a lot into my Torrenterion Collection.

Day 22: A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

What do we mean by common? Do we mean common as in run-of-the-mill player, or common as in he's in every single product ever? In the latter sense I'd go with Bryce Harper. He's in everything and yet I almost never get his cards.

Day 23: A favorite oddball card from the 1950s

The fact that I own any cards from the 50's at all is the odd part.

Day 24: A favorite oddball card from the 1960s

The fact that I own any cards from the 60's at all is the odd part.

Day 25: A favorite oddball card from the 1970s

1979 Topps comes to the rescue again, this time a 1979 Topps card issued by Burger King. I got the Bake McBride autograph at a local card show and now I can proudly say I have one signed 1979 Topps flagship, Topps Burger King and Topps O-Pee-Chee card in my collection.

Day 26: A favorite oddball card from the 1980s

This 1980 Nostalgic Enterprise oddball came to me via Nick The Dime Box King. I recently reposted the post where I reflected on this card and Davis' career after it went down due to how most of my scanned photographs were deleted when I moved from a certain picture hosting site to my current one. Anyway, I really enjoy this oddball, and I still remember how fun it was to revisit his career. I hope to one day track down the Jack Chesbro card from this set.

Day 27: A favorite oddball card from the 1990s or later

I'll go with this Baseball Heroes card from 2009. WBC mania was big at the time and there were a lot of great cards of great players produced. I still enjoy looked at these oddballs and being reminded of just how much of a big deal it was to be in Japan and watching the whole country go nuts. After all, it was a contest to see which country had the best team in the tournament, and Japan had a chance to win it all by beating Korea (which they did), that made it all the more sweeter. I picked Cano here because, why not?

Day 28: A favorite relic/manufactured relic card

Once upon a time this blog was called Cervin' Up Cards, named after Francisco Cervelli (NOT Bob Cerv). One of my goals after I acquired this particular card was to get it signed, and have "Cervin' Up Cards" inscribed on it. That goal will have to wait for another time (if ever). Even though it's just a blank gray space, I still enjoy this card for what it is. An absurdly large piece of cloth embedded into a thick card. A patch would've obviously made this look fantastic but you take what you can get.

Day 29: A favorite card from before 1950, whether you own it or not

Luckily for me, I do own this T206 Jack Chesbro. It seems so long ago when I last brought it up, but I do still consider myself a fan of the New York Highlanders. I'm still trying to assemble the T206 Highlanders team set.

Day 30: Your favorite card in your collection

Oof, Tony picked the best for last. This is just as hard as the "favorite card from the 2010's" question only with 10 more potential cards to pick from.
I just went with the most obvious answer I could think of. You don't need an elaboration on why I picked that.

Day 31: Your favorite card you acquired in a trade

This wasn't part of the 30 Day challenge that Tony made so I added it. This is very tough because over the years I've gotten some of the best cards I could've hoped for from my collecting chums (both on and off our section of the blogosphere). Trying to pick one out of the thousands of cards I've received over the years is impossible, but I tried.

I'll go with this custom of Luis Torrens. As of this post, this is still the only card of Torrens as a Padre. P-Town Tom of Eamus Catuli! had commissioned Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown to make that card specifically for me. Like when people in ye olden times had works of art commissioned by world class artists for close relatives and friends. To me it truly represents all that is wonderful and so great about the little corner of the blogosphere our blogs call home.

Other strong contenders were other custom creations sent my way like the glow-in-the-dark Hiroki Kuroda sketch card Gavin drew, the Luis Torrens drawing on a bubble mailer sent my way by The Lost Collector (he drew it himself) and another pencil draw of former PC-guy Eric Jagielo by The Lost Collector.

And those were my responses to the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge. Thanks for the material Tony.

And as always thank, the readers, for stopping by.

Take care :).


  1. In retrospect, I might have included your Day 31 in place of the "card of a player you appreciate but don't like."

    Great post, Kenny!

    1. Yeah, this was originally supposed to go up before you made the Challenge official and everybody did it (hence the title) but unfortunately it started before you could alter the questions so I left it as is.

  2. Epic post. Awesome cards. Super cool challenge by Tony.

    I wanted to comment on a bunch of cards in this post, but I spent way too much time reading it and need to get to work. Great stuff Zippy!

  3. Fun read. Don't see the Japanese cards posted all that often, most of those designs were all new to me.

    1. Thanks Billy. Glad I could show you something new :).

  4. A lot of great stuff! Glad my bubble envelope has withstood the test of time.

    1. Thanks TLC. And of course it did, I still think that was the coolest packaging ever :).

  5. Great list! Happy to see that Lefty Davis card here, those really were some of the coolest oddballs I've ever dug up from a dime box.

    Also, I recently finished a book I thought you might be interested in checking out if you haven't already: "You Gotta Have Wa" by Robert Whiting. It deals with the history of baseball in Japan and specifically some of the Americans that have gone over to play in the NPB (Bob Horner, Warren Cromartie, etc.).

    1. Thanks Nick. Your Lefty Davis truly is a gem.

      And thanks for the recommendation. I have heard of that book but never got around to reading it. I'll do so when I have the time. Have you read it Nick?

  6. Great stuff! Love the Bake.
    If I'm able to get around the the Challenge, I'll probably do it survey style like this too.

    1. Thanks defgav. Can't wait to see your Challenge answers too :).