Quicker Than Bob’s Yer Uncle

When it comes to looking for cards to trade and throwing an exchange package together, it doesn’t get any easier than with Good Trading Buddy™ BobFranklin at baseballcardz.com. Mark at my LCS knows to set aside any non-standard Braves and Phillies, and if they’re ones that Bob can use, I pick them up and add them to his pile. Not sure where Bob gets his Twins, but he’s always got some good stuff, including the odd AU or GU cards. When our respective stacks get to critical mass, they get bundled up and sent on their way. Thanks again for the trade, Bob!


clockwise, from top left: 2006 Topps Co-Signers #CS-74 Francisco Liriano w/Ervin Santana (dual auto); 2010 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection #CCR-JCR Joe Crede (jersey); 2017 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor #54 Joe Mauer [209/299]; 2009 Upper Deck Gold #734 Francisco Liriano [55/59]; 2014 Bowman Silver #6 Oswaldo Arcia [27/75]; 2017 Bowman Draft Chrome Blue Refractor #BDC-191 Nick Gordon [044/150]; 2017 Topps Toys ‘R Us Purple #126 Miguel Sano; 2016 Gypsy Queen photo variation #16 Miguel Sano

Some additional acquisitions below the break…
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Been A While

It’d been so long since I traded with Spiff (almost seven years?!) that when we made a trade at The Bench and he pointed out that we’d traded before in the past, I had to do a little research. Sure enough, I’ve done business with the proprietor of the Texas Rangers Cards blog twice. Really, shame on me for not visiting some of the other card collecting bloggers more often.

With our PWE trade, Spiff sent an exemplary package; besides the three Holiday Topps cards I needed, he used in a recycled penny sleeve with a ridiculously high price sticker still on it, within a recycled yellowed top loader (one with scotch tape residue is also considered acceptable), and masking tape instead of scotch tape sealing the top. I personally use blue painters tape, but either way, it leaves the toploader in great shape to turn around on another trade, unlike the gummy transparent stuff. Well done, Spiff!

Additionally, here are a few more of my recent pickups:


clockwise, from top left: 2017 Bowman’s Best Best of 2017 #B17-RL Royce Lewis (auto); 2017 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Refractors Purple #CDA-CBA Charlie Barnes [188/250] (auto); 2018 Topps 1983 Black #83A Zach Granite [34/99] (auto); 2017 Topps Update All-Star Stitches #ASR-ES Ervin Santana (jersey); 2007 Upper Deck SP Authentic By The Letter Signatures “I” #BL-13 Boof Bonser [38/50] (manu-patch/auto); 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Full-Size #FSRB-MSA Miguel Sano (jersey); 2017 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection #CCR-BB Byron Buxton (jersey); 2007 Bowman’s Best Blue #83 Glen Perkins [28/99] (auto)

Island Life

Wanting to take a small break from the winter, Mo and I returned to our favorite sunny getaway — Ft. Myers, FL, and specifically Sanibel Island. We’d visited Sanibel (and Captiva) several times on our trips to Florida, but this was our first time staying on the Island proper. We spent four nights on Sanibel, staying at the West Wind Inn.

We visited with many interesting folks around the pool, several who have come back year after year for over twenty years. The shells were there, but seemed to be a couple yards out from shore whenever we walked the beach, and no jellyfish visible anywhere this time around. Temperatures were between 50s and 70s with no rain, so we couldn’t have asked for more in that regard. Our first two evenings we dined with Sandy, my recently retired boss of twenty years, and her husband Rich, who I also worked with. Retirement seems to agree with them (and why wouldn’t it??)


first sunset on Sanibel

With the weather so nice, besides spending time on the beach and poolside, we took several excursions to the various hiking trails on the island. We enjoyed a nice morning walk along Sanibel River in the SCCF Nature Center‘s collection of trails, seeing a few waterfowl, turtles, and fish, but generally just soaking up the peaceful walk. One highlight was a bald eagle taking off parallel with us about 15 yards out in the clearing alongside the path — the sound of its wings was impressive.

Our second hike was at Ding Darling Bailey Tract, which was more exposed than the Nature Center’s trails but included a lot of open water, which lead to more sightings of waterfowl (and gators). We saw several of the larger bird varieties here: Wood Storks, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and their lesser brethren like Common Gallinule, Blue Heron, and American White Ibis.

We later returned to both locations to hike other trails that we hadn’t gotten to the previous time. We learned that the first hikers on the trail in the morning have the responsibility of clearing any spider webs :/


Great Blue Heron drying itself at Bailey Tract

On our return to the airport, Mo allowed me a few minutes to wander around Hammond Stadium and “breathe in a little MN Twins baseball” while there, since she inexplicably scheduled this vacation before spring training began. There were a handful of people at the ticket office, and groundskeepers doing their thing. I wandered into the team store by the front entrance and had a nice visit with the employee there…and grabbed a handful of pocket schedules.


Hammond Stadium, home of the Minnesota Twins Spring Training

Not sure when we return to Ft. Myers, but it’s always a good time there.

Offseason Activity

Pitchers and catchers report shortly, and like the Twins’ front office, I’ve been busy this offseason as well. Between Black Friday purchase from COMC, visits with Mark at my friendly neighborhood Local Card Shop, and swapping card-filled padded envelopes with my Good Trading Buddy Bob from Peggy’s, I’ve added several nice cards to the collection. Figured I’d best get this post out the door before the 2018 cards hit the street…


clockwise, from top left: 2005 Leaf Limited Lumberjacks #LJ-27 Paul Molitor [39/50] (auto); 2015 Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Green #SSA-TM Trevor May [34/50] (auto); 2016 Topps Strata #SA-MK Max Kepler (auto); 2017 Topps Tier One Break Out #BOA-MKE Max Kepler [245/300] (auto); 2009 Topps Commemorative Patch (1985 All-Star Game) #LPR-87 Tony Gwynn (manu-patch); 2015 Topps Museum Collection Signature Triple Auto #SST-KV Kennys Vargas [033/249] (auto/triple jersey); 2017 Topps Tier One Break Out #BOA-MK Max Kepler [147/300] (auto); 2007 Topps Co-Signers Silver Gold #117 Glen Perkins [059/100] (auto)

Additional acquisitions below the break…
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South By Southwest

Due to my unforeseen “clerical error”, last month I realized that I would come up one leg short of the requirements for qualifying for Southwest’s A-List for the next year. This left just over one month (and a busy one) to try schedule a quick flight, and hopefully an inexpensive one.

Having A-List status is a real boon for our vacation trips, as it allows me to board earlier and store overhead bags as well as save a neighboring seat for Mo. Besides that bonus miles, it also avoids the hassle of logging in 24-hrs in advance to reserve a line position. Unfortunately, our vacation trips this year had been purchased using frequent flier points, which is why I came up short in the first place.

SWA had a brief sale going on, and the cheapest flight I was able to identify at the least inconvenient time was a roundtrip flight Saturday Dec. 2nd from here to Wichita, KS, returning by way of…Las Vegas?!

The morning of the flight, I pocketed a free parking coupon to use at the airport, a free drink coupon for on the plane, and filled with Christmas cards, Christmas newsletter, Christmas stamps, and return address stamps — I was resolved to use this forced exile as a time to get all my holiday cards written and mailed.

Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita is a nice, quiet little airport — it made for a peaceful locale for lunch, and a counterpoint to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

I enjoyed quite a few excellent vistas with the deserts of southern US passing by my window.


Utah/Arizona border near Tower Butte and Antelope Island

After the turnaround in Vegas, I returned home in the evening with all my Christmas cards completed, along the way probably picking up the cold that I’m only now getting rid of. :/ An A-List cold, though.

A Bit Of The Mid Atlantic States

When the “save the date” arrived for Greg & Tiffany’s wedding, Mo and I sat down and worked out a vacation trip around it in which we could leisurely visit several locations for the first time.

Our trip started on the end of September with Niagara Falls. We could easily see the mist drifting up from Horseshoe Falls in the distance as we landed in Buffalo. Mo had our first stop though for lunch at Sophia’s Restaurant, a Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives-featured restaurant in Buffalo.

After getting settled into our hotel, we walked over to Niagara Falls State Park and made our way over to the American Falls. As we got closer, we could see the Niagara River picking up speed around Goat Island. It was a real eye-opener as we reached the US side of the river and saw what all the rush was about.


Mo poses with American Falls

While the view was outstanding, it was pretty obvious why everyone says to see the falls from the Canadian side — the American side is closer (you’re right on top of American Falls!) but the other side of the river gives a better panorama of all the falls.

After a leisurely stroll across from the falls, we drove further into Canada to the southern shore of Lake Ontario, where we had a nice lunch at Lake House Restaurant overlooking the lake, with the tall buildings of Toronto visible across the lake at the horizon. We then travelled south into Twenty Valley and bought some homemade fudge, and sampled wines from Cave Spring Winery.


American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side

Leaving Niagara Falls, we took the NY Thruway to Syracuse and then northward to Lake Placid. The trees were changing, and there were lots of burgundy and deep orange and red colors, but not so much yellows — maybe we were spoiled by the Aspens of Colorado.

We were also spoiled by the lower elevations compared to Colorado. We hiked several trails while in the Adirondacks, but the most taxing was the 1/5th mile climb from the parking lot to the top of the Whiteface Mountain — a combination of stairs and large rocks. The temps at the top were just a bit above freezing, but the view was outstanding, with Lake Champlain visible to the east and the skyline of Burlington, VT and Montreal visible at the horizon.


Lake Placid from the top of Whiteface Mountain

Just two hours away is Fair Haven, VT, home to several of Mo’s immigrant ancestors. This was a great excuse to visit Vermont for the first time for both of us. We had a chance to hang with the locals as we lunched at The Wooden Soldier, then made our way over to St. Mary’s cemetery, where after a little searching we found the grave markers of Edmund and Mary Pinders, James and Catherine Morgan, and Patrick and Ellen Sloan, who are Mo’s g-g-g-grandparents, g-g-grandparents, and g-g-grandparents, respectively, all originally from Ireland.


Edmund and Mary Pinders’ grave marker

On our route back to Lake Placid we passed Fort Ticonderoga, and we stopped at Swedish Hill Winery, where we made my life more difficult by picking up two more bottles to pack for the flight home (plus a wine glass).

Following our stay at Lake Placid, we spent one night in Lancaster, PA, and the next morning on our way to pick up K at the Philadelphia airport we had a pleasant drive on roads shared with several Amish horse buggies.

This was the first time in Delaware for all three of us, and the wedding and reception at Thousand Acre Farm were beautiful. We enjoyed catching up with the Morgans and with others we’d met a few years back, and our time with them went by much too fast.


the wedding couple with some additional Morgans and tagalongs

(btw, the three wine bottles arrived home unscathed)

Killer Cards

The blog posts are getting further apart, so here’s an update on the collection to fill the space while we wait then next few games for the Twins to lock down a playoff spot — it’s been a while!

I finally have all of my backlog of autographed and game used cards scanned and posted. Some are newly acquired, including the two Harmon Killebrew cards and my first autograph of Twins player and one-time manager John Goryl (the 210th different Twins player in my autographed card collection), plus another manufactured patch letter, a Boof Bonser “N”.


clockwise, from top left: 2007 Upper Deck SP Authentic By The Letter Signatures “N” #BL-13 Boof Bonser [33/75] (manu-patch/auto); 2004 Fleer Greats #GBA-HK Harmon Killebrew (auto); 2003 Fleer Fall Classics Series Contenders Harmon Killebrew (bat); 2003 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Star Rookie #P46 Matt Moses (auto); 2007 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Ultimate Future Signatures #FS-JK Jason Kubel [03/25] (auto); 2013 Topps Heritage Real One #ROA-JG John Goryl (auto); 2003 Upper Deck UD Patch Collection Rookie Innovation #160 Willie Eyre (manu-patch); 2003 Donruss Champions Rookie #157 Rob Bowen [352/375] (auto)