Friday, December 1, 2017

A Tour of the Cave

For the past few years I've had posts on this blog talking about purchases for the "Man Cave". This included anything from tin signs to posters and memorabilia. Essentially, anything that's been spoken about on this blog is in the Man Cave. While it's not 100% finished, I thought it was about time to take you all on a tour of the cave. I still need to frame and hang my World Series newspapers, but either than that, the room is essentially finished.

Here's the view if you're looking from the back of the room. While there is a foosball table and television in there for entertainment, it would have been nice to have a pool table in there as well. Unfortunately, there's just not enough space.

To the right of the foosball table are my seats from Riverfront Stadium. I refuse to call them Cinergy Field seats because I still don't agree with the whole stadium naming rights thing. Above the seats is my tin Louisville Slugger sign.
At the far end of the room are two additional tin signs (Topps baseball and a Shoeless Joe Jackson shoe sign), an autograph card display of some of my favorite former Reds players, and my autograph Joey Votto jersey.
To the left of the jersey is my desk where I scan most of the cards you see on my blog. On the top shelf of the desk you'll notice my trifecta collection (Rookie card, printing plate, and certified autograph) for Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and Joey Votto.
To the left of the desk are a couple of Reds signs. The large street sign fits perfectly above the access doors on the knee wall. The Reds felt logo sign is just a neat piece detailing the various logos the Reds have had throughout their existence. 
To the left of that is where the heart of my collection resided. I have two bookshelves that are completely stocked. In between the bookshelves is the futon with a Reds felt blanket my wife and daughter made for me a few Christmases ago. Behind the futon are panoramic prints of Riverfront and Great American ballpark.
The bookshelf to the right of the futon contains all of my Reds autograph baseballs, a few bobbleheads, my Pete Rose autograph glove, my World Series tickets and all of my Reds Team sets. I also like the old school pennant behind the Big Red Machine bobbleheads.
To the left of the futon is my other bookshelf that contains the rest of my Reds bobblehead collection, a display of my old Reds player's ball gloves, and binders containing the few sets I have in my collection.
Finally, across from the futon is the TV, guitars and amp. Hopefully I can eventually add one more Fender guitar and another amp. But this is a baseball card blog and I won't bore you with that.
So, that's it... my "Man Cave". With a collection that's taken more than 15 years to put together, I enjoyed every moment of this hobby and I'm glad that I'm part of a blogging community that enjoys the sport as much as I do.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Genorousity of Others

It amazes me just how generous the members of our blogging community are. I read all the time about packages many of you receive from others containing cards that are now permanent fixtures of you collection. Case in point, last week I received two packages. The first was from Jared over at Cards My Mom Didn't Throw Out. He contacted me about an Alex Rodriguez relic card he had that I needed for the 2003 Fleer Authentix set build. Not only did he send the relic, but also a TON of Reds cards. Shock and awe! There were a ton of Heritage Reds cards in there as well as a nice mix of Stadium Club. The 2016 Chrome Sepia Stevenson Jared sent has me pondering chasing that parallel set once I have a few other projects wrapped up.

The second package I received was from Fuji over at The Chronicles of Fuji. Fuji always has a nice mix of oddballs in his packages and this one didn't disappoint. While there were some nice Bowman and Topps cards in the package, my favorites are the Chris Sabo Starline cards and the Chef Boyardee Eric Davis. That's the first time I've ever seen those cards. I might have to track down the other 38 Starline cards that make up this set.

Thank you guys for the cards!

Monday, October 23, 2017

I Dig it!

A few weeks back Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown was looking to send some of his CDs to a good home. Those interested could send him some cash to cover shipping and he would take care of the rest. I sent Gavin a quick message to let him know that I was interested and this past weekend a box stuffed with CDs arrived at my front door.

 Talk about a selection of music. The Beatles, Guns n Roses, R.E.M., Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Hendrix, The Ramones, Violent Femmes...a little bit of everything in here.

 These are probably my favorites in the package. I'm still in shock at Gavin's generosity.
 In addition to the CDs, Gavin also included a smattering of Reds cards, many that will be going out in the mail for my TTM project! He ALSO included a few of his custom cards that he's so well known for. Finally he sent along a 1982 "Official" Baseball Card price guide.

 Thanks again Gavin! I definitely dig it all!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Changing My Mind

It's not very often that I change my mind when it comes to things. Once I decide something I try to stick with it (in terms of my collection anyway). This helps me to stay focused and prevents my collection from growing out of control like a giant blob gobbling up my funds and leaving behind nothing more than despair and destruction. A while back I had posted that I was trying to complete the 2003 Fleer Authentix set with the exception of the relic cards. While I had intended on sticking to that goal, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really liked the look of some of those cards. Granted, I don't like everything that's in that set (the Hometown Hero subset) but there are plenty of cards that I like. Case in point, the Game of the Week is a 10 card relic set that consists of two jersey swatches from two separate players with a replica ticket that's embedded in the card. You can either get the common "ripped" version or the more limited "unripped" version that's limited to 50. 2003 Authentix also has a 10 card bat relic set and a 25 card jersey relic set. Each of these sets only include 1 relic from a player with a replica ticket embedded in the card. There are "ripped", "unripped", and "All-Star" variations with those cards. So after a lot of thought, I've decided to chase those relic sets because it comes down to the first rule of collection...collect what you enjoy. I definitely enjoy these cards. Besides, with the way technology is going, I'm sure there will be a day in the not too distant future when you can't even get a paper ticket to go to a game. Instead you'll be required to get an electronic ticket on your smartphone.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I normally don't go for manufactured "relics", but I had to make an exception in this case. When I saw these 2017 Topps Independence Day Commemorative MLB Logo patch cards I had to purchase one....if a Reds player was in the checklist. Luckily there was one and I added this Joey to my collection. For anyone interested, there are 50 cards total in this set. When Topps released their 2015 MLB Logo pin cards I had hoped that a Reds player would be included within that set but unfortunately that wasn't the case. Regardless, I'm happy for this latest addition to my collection.

Friday, July 21, 2017

My First Base Card

Here it first base card (not the other base cards we as collectors are accustom to). For the past fourteen years I've been working on the 2003 Fleer Authentix baseball set. I've tracked down all but 4 "base" cards and I still need the Ballpark Classic and Ticket Stud inserts. According to baseballcardpedia, during the 2003 All-Star game this Jeter card is part of an eight-card set that was available exclusively through a redemption program at the 2003 All-Star Game FanFest in Chicago. Each card company got to issue two cards for this promotion. In a twist from previous FanFest sets, the first four cards in this set all feature a piece of a game-used base that the player took part in. Each of the four game-used cards are serial-numbered to 2000 copies. You can view a checklist of the set here. I have the Konerko FanFest card as well from this set. I'm looking forward to purchasing the Ballpark Classic and Ticket Stud insert sets in the coming months and since I don't consider parallels or relic cards to be necessary for a master set, in my humble opinion, I'll be on the verge of completing my first master set!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Thinking back through all your years of collecting, has there ever been a moment when you've regretted something you've done? For me, my biggest regret was selling my 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen set. I know a lot of people don't show love for this set but this was a huge set for me in 2011. I love the fact that a retro set Topps created had a nice mix of old and new players. The standard baseball statistics that are the hallmark of traditional baseball cards were nowhere to be found on these cards. You had to read the small narrative on the back to glean any pertinent information from the player pictured on the front. Speaking of pictures, this wasn't your run of the mill standard photography but rather filtered photographs to make the images appear old. Lets not forget about the different insert sets and autographs that grace this product. The Great Ones, Future Stars, Home Run Heroes, Sticky Fingers and Wall Crawlers are all fantastic subsets and complement the base set nicely.

 While all of the things I've mentioned about 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen are about the design of the card, it's the memories and experiences I had in 2011 when I was putting this set together. 2012 was a rough year for me. I the course of eleven months I lost my Dad, an Uncle, an Aunt and my best friend. To say that 2012 was a terrible year would be an understatement. 2011 was the last year I spent with those I lost the following year and while I can't say I did anything spectacular with them that year, it's the simple things I remember. Whether it was going to the Indians game with my buddy Jeff when the Tigers were in town (Jeff was a huge Detroit fan since he was originally from that area), or spending the last Christmas with my Dad and talk about life in general. Thinking back, 2011 was a great year for me because it was the year I was able to say goodbye to to them.

It's funny how holding a little piece of cardboard can open a floodgate of memories that you once thought lost as time has passed by. But everytime I hold a 2011 Gypsy Queen card a memory from 2011 will come racing back into my conscience. So, what's that point of this post? Well, I decided to once again chase the 2011 Toppy Gypsy Queen set. This will probably be the last set that I put together as a collector (unless Topps were to release something so revolutionary that I couldn't resist...but I highly doubt it unless more companies enter the arena with an MLB license). One thing's for sure, I'm sure I'll be making new memories as I build a set that helps remind me of past memories that I'll always cherish.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I saw the sign!

And it opened up my eyes!  Here's the latest purchase for the man cave. This Louisville Slugger tin sign is fantastic on so many levels. It's the same color as my baseball team, it looks old, and it's a representation of the true American pastime (I still don't acknowledge football as holding that title). With this addition, there are only a few more items left to purchase and I'll be ready to show off the room. Just bear with me as I wrap it up and have it ready to show in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Eric Davis Bobblehead

I picked up my 40th and FINAL bobblehead today, Eric Davis. This is my first Dr. Pepper bobblehead and it's fantastic. There were only 10,000 of these nodders given out on July 20, 2002 when the Reds faced the Mets. Cincinnati lost that game by a score of 8-7. I'm glad that I've finally added this bobblehead to my collection at a price I could stomach. Most of those listed on eBay were $70 or more but I was able to buy this for just a little more than half of that. now I just have to wait for this to show up in my mailbox.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hot Off the Press....Well, Sorta!

For the past few weeks I've been keeping an eye on a couple of cards that appeared on eBay under one of my followed searches. On Saturday I decided to finally purchase both card - a 2013 Topps Opening Day Magenta Joey Votto printing plate and a 2013 Topps Mini Yellow Joey Votto printing plate. I'm excited to finally be adding not one, but two new "cards" to my 2013 Topps Joey Votto rainbow project. It has been well over a year since I purchased a card for this project and I was wondering if the well had run dry with trying to find cards I still need. There are now 33 different cards that comprise this rainbow. I still have hope of trying to track down three more cards to put me at 36. I would eventually like to purchase 4 ultra pro 9 card screw down cases and display the cards on the wall of my man cave (similar to an Andy Warhol work of art). 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Change of Scenery

For the past month I haven't purchased much in the realm of baseball cards. I have picked up a few Pete Rose cards here and there that I needed for my Rose PC, but nothing worth blogging about. I've also made some strides in getting my man cave set up. Hopefully that will be something that's finished in time for Opening Day. So, what have I been up to lately? I decided to get into learning guitar. I've been playing around with a Squier the past few years, but recently a buddy of mine at church was looking to sell his Fender VG Stratocaster. To say that I've been having a blast playing it would be an understatement.

It's a black Mexican Strat with a maple fret board. The biggest thing that made me ultimately buy the guitar was the emulating options this guitar can do. I've posted a video below if you're interested. There were a couple of things I wanted to change on the guitar. I recently added some locking tuners and swapped the strings out to 9s so that it would be easier for me to play. I'll probably also replace the neck plate with a Fender logo plate just because I don't like the blank plate. I'd also like to swap the gig bag out for a nice tweed case, but that's not high on the priority list. I'll probably keep the rest of the guitar the way it is because I think it sounds great and the pickups are fantastic. I would eventually like to purchase an American Strat sunburst but that won't be until I've gotten decent enough playing to justify the cost. I am kicking around the idea of possibly modifying my Squier strat (adding locking tuners, new pickups, new bridge and block, adding an lsr nut) but I'm not sure I want to sink a lot of money into it. Anyway, I hope to put some finishing touches on the man cave and have photos for you before April 1st.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

2017 Topps

I'll be blunt, I'm not a fan of this year's Topps base design. When I saw the design six months ago I wasn't impressed. Now that the cards are out, my opinion has changed whatsoever. There's just too much wasted space on the cards because the design takes up about a third of the real estate, not to mention how overpowering it is. I've come to expect the photos to be the primary focus but that doesn't appear to be the case with this year's issue. Maybe it's me, but I miss borders on Topps flagship set. Full bleed photos should be reserved for sets like Stadium Club. Perhaps I'm just old fashioned when I say that I prefer a simpler design to a set that's been around since the 1950s.

Friday, January 13, 2017

1974 Reds Team Signed Baseball

I decided to save the best for last when it comes to the autograph baseballs in my collection. Although the 1985 autographed baseball holds a special place in my heart because of Pete Rose passing Ty Cobb's mark of 4,191 hits on September 11, 1985, this baseball features many prominent members of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine. While the 74 Reds didn't make it to the Fall Classic, the fact that this ball is autographed during the Big Red Machine era puts it as the pinnacle of my autographed baseball collection. There are a total of 23 autographs on this baseball and the signatures I can discern are: Sparky Anderson, George Scherger, Johnny Bench, Fred Norman, Cesar Geronimo, Bill Plummer, Darrel Chaney, Phil Gagliano, Alex Grammas, Don Gullett, Denis Menke, Joe Morgan, Ross Grimsley, Ted Kluszewski, Pedro Borbon, Pete Rose, Andy Kosco, Tony Perez