15 November 2014

Winfield in the Round with Corners (Part 4)

     When perusing the offerings on eBay while hunting for these various circular issues, one will encounter any number of "uncut", "proof" or just plain "square" versions of almost every MSA-produced disc.  In most cases these are not, in fact, proofs, they are simply pieces cut from a larger poster.  From about 1985-1990, a great many of these MSA discs were accompanied by a mail-in offer to order the complete set as a poster.  The posters were intended to exist as just that, a poster.  They were almost always without borders or perforations and not intended to be chopped into pieces anymore than was the cover of a Red Foley's Best Baseball Book Ever was intended to be hacked to to bits and sold as "cuts".



12 November 2014

Winfield in the Round (Part 3)

1989 Cadaco Ellis

     This is one of those issues I used to see in the big price guides and had no idea what it was.  Then I happened across a copy of the Cadaco Ellis All-Star Baseball game in a Walden Books in the mall (yes, this was years ago).  Sadly, I was an extremely brainwashed mainstream soul in those days, so concept of playing a board game that wasn't produced by Parker Brothers or Milton Bradley was somehow foreign to me and I didn't give this game a second thought.  For most of the years the game was produced, these were just blank discs with players names on them and no pictures like this one:


     But by 1989, everyone was getting a license from MLBPA, so Cadaco Ellis added player photos to the discs, courtesy of Mike Schechter & Associates.  Here is a good website that explains the game, and apparently still creates new discs for players, even though the actual game is no longer produced.  I imagine it has a following similar to the various statistics based games like APBA.

07 November 2014

Winfield in the Round (Part 2) - More MSA Madness

    All throughout the mid 1980s, Mike Schechter & Associates continued to churn out promotional tie-ins for the MLBPA.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on the item), Dave Winfield figured into most of them.

1985 MSA Thom McAn / JOX

02 November 2014

Checklist Translations: 1998 C&C 1997 Chinese Pro-Baseball (CPBL)

    In 1998, Golden International Corp. (國堡國際股份有限公司), was enlisted to produce the yearly cards for CPBL.  The company produced two different sets, C&C and Diamond, that represented different price points in the hobby, similar to how Score issued both Select and Pinnacle or how Fleer issued Ultra and Flair.  Neither set was big on presenting statistics or biographical information, instead focusing on the photography, offering quality color photos on both sides of the card.  The C&C set was the pricier of the two offerings, selling in 1998 for 50 yuan (Taiwan New Dollars), which was roughly $1.60 U.S.  Production was reported at 8,000 boxes of 36 packs each.  Not sure exactly how many cards came per pack, and I have been unable to find any images of the packaging.

     The C&C set consisted of 221 base cards, organized by team in the order of the standings for the 1997 season.  In a move that I'm surprised I've never seen with an American card company, the base checklists for both the C&C and Diamond sets are identical.  The insert sets in the C&C set covered the more standard subjects seen in most CPBL sets, Best 9, Gold Gloves, Monthly MVPs and seasonal Award Winners.  Being the "high-end" set, the C&C inserts all feature some manner of die-cutting.
  • All-League Best 9 (9 cards) limited to 5555 cards
  • Gold Gloves (9 cards) limited to 5555 cards
  • Monthly MVP (8 cards) limited to 3200
  • Award Winner (14 cards) limited to 1200
The set is described in this blog post, from which almost all of the information in this post was derived:
http://jackli7751.pixnet.net/blog/post/28095699

The Award Winner set is shown here:
http://jackli7751.pixnet.net/blog/post/41504267

The Best Nine set is shown here:
http://jackli7751.pixnet.net/blog/post/41712934

The standard base card front and back:


Chao-Huang Lin

01 November 2014

Checklist Translations: 1998 Diamond 1997 Chinese Pro-Baseball (CPBL) [COMPLETE]

    For 1998, yet another company, Golden International Corp. (國堡國際股份有限公司), was enlisted to produce the yearly cards for CPBL.  Looking at the company's website today, I get the impression that the CPBL was basically price shopping each year, looking for the best deal from whichever printing company they could get, similar to how minor league teams tend to switch between Grandstand, MultiAd/Brandt and Choice Marketing or just printing the sets locally.  As such, until TSC came along, it doesn't seem like there were actually any real "sports card companies" in Taiwan, just marketing companies contracted to produce the sets.

    The company produced two different sets, C&C and Diamond, that represented different price points in the hobby, similar to how Score issued both Select and Pinnacle or how Fleer issued Ultra and Flair.  Neither set was big on presenting statistics or biographical information, instead focusing on the photography, offering quality color photos on both sides of the card.  The Diamond set was the cheaper of the two offerings, selling in 1998 for 30 yuan (Taiwan New Dollars), which was roughly $1 U.S.  Production was reported at 8,000 boxes of 24 packs each.  Not sure exactly how many cards came per pack, and I have been unable to find any images of the packaging.

     The Diamond set consisted of 228 base cards, organized by team in the order of the standings for the 1997 season.  There were two unnumbered checklists covering all of the base and insert cards. The insert sets were all serial numbered and covered the usual subjects:

Hot Rookies (11 cards) limited to 4500 cards
HR Hitters (11 cards) limited to 4500 cards
Power Pitcher (7 cards) limited to 3500 cards
Record Breaker (7 cards) limited to 3500 cards
The Franchise (7 cards) limited to 2400 cards
Career 100 HRs (3 cards) limited to 3200 cards
Autographs (3 cards) limited to 100 cards

The set is described in this blog post, from which almost all of the information in this post was derived:
http://jackli7751.pixnet.net/blog/post/28105481

The base cards can be seen in this album:
http://jackli7751.pixnet.net/album/set/16814924

The standard base card front and back:
Ted WoodFeng-An Tsai

31 October 2014

Quirks of the modern "certified" autograph


     Autographs are a funny thing in the modern hobby.  There are various schools of thought regarding them, how to collect them, how to buy and sell them.  Some fans are all about the chase, picking up as many "In-Person" (IP) and "Through-The-Mail" (TTM) autos as they can get, while not really caring too much about actually buying an autograph second-hand.  Then there are those who won't touch an autograph unless it came in a pack as part of an official product issued by a fully (or partially) licensed card company.

    These different perspectives make for some interesting dynamics in the pricing of autographs of the non-prospect and less than Hall of Fame caliber players.  Many collectors consider an auto of John Tudor or Paul Assenmacher to be filler, and complain loudly when pulling one of these instead of a Derek Jeter or Albert Pujols or [insert overpriced, hot prospect of the week].  Other collectors get excited about those infrequent autographs of Bill Madlock or Carlos Baerga in something like Topps' Fan Favorites sets.  But in the U.S. market, rarely does that more obscure player's signature command much, if any, premium even when they do turn up.  There are numerous Bill Madlock autos, both certified and not, that failed to clear the $5 mark recently on eBay, and that is including shipping and handling.


    Throw in the Japanese market, and suddenly the whole market is turned on its head.  In 2013, BBM issued two sets dedicated to foreign (basically any non-Japanese) players to appear in Japan over the past 35 years or so.  In some cases, these resulted in the only pack-issued, certified autographed cards for some of these players.  Many of these players were so completely off the radar of the U.S. card manufactures that they would likely never even get an honorable mention to be included in a Fan Favorites type set.  These are players whose non-certified (IP or TTM) autographs regularly fail to get even a minimum bid on eBay.

    Yet have that player sign a limited quantity of cards in a set in Japan, and in some cases, you get what you see at the top of the page.  That is a screen capture from a completed Yahoo! Auction from Japan of Hensley Meulens' only certified auto.  The card was limited to only 48 copies.  That card sold for 10,500 yen, which at the time of the auction was about $100 U.S. dollars.  A cool Benjamin.  For an autograph of Sir Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulens.


     A month earlier, the Bill Madlock from the same set, limited to 39 copies, sold for 12,650 yen or about $120 U.S.  Those two mark the high end of the spectrum, but other players hit similarly surprising numbers; Roy White ($30), Ralph Bryant ($52), Benny Agbayani ($30), Gene Bacque ($85), Darryl Spencer ($40), Don Buford ($25), Jim Paciorek ($50).  Even the likes of Mike Easler, Juan Eichelberger, Lee Stevens and Willie Fraser clear $10-$15.  Even Tuffy Rhodes autos still clear $25-$40 in Japan and he's got dozens of certified issues there.

    My apologies to anyone who has read this far expecting a payoff.  There's not really a moral to this story, so much as a pile of frustration for someone who collects lesser known players who happened to spend time in Japan.  Out of a print run of 48 cards from a set issued in another country, of which there are still plenty of unopened boxes on the market, it is unlikely I will ever be able to track down that Meulens card at anything like a price I'd actually be willing to pay.  I love this hobby, but sometimes it drives me crazy!