COMC on the Road: 2018 Toronto Fall Expo Recap & Final Show of the Year Announcement

On behalf of the COMC team at the Toronto Expo (Boo-Barry, Geoff “Don’t call me Steve” Holland, and “Steven King” Hollander), we would like to thank everyone who stopped by to chat with us. Visiting the GTA twice a year, it’s beginning to feel like we’ve formed and established some really great relationships with our customers in the area. We look forward to continuing to build upon that foundation in 2019!

We would normally announce this as our final show of the year, but the COMC Canada team will be in attendance at the 2018 Legends Weekend from November 16-18 at the Langley Event Centre. There will be more giveaways and prizes to be had! We will also be accepting your consignment submissions all throughout the show. For more details visit their page at: http://www.bossashows.com/2018-legends-weekend

Without further adieu, here are the winners of the 2018 Fall Expo Spin-to-Win contest.

A-S – 2016-17 Upper Deck #468 Mitch Marner RC – kariyas_cuz
A-H – 2016-17 Upper Deck MVP #368 Auston Matthews – will411
2-S – 2015 Leaf Executive Collection Cut Signatures Walter Payton – jdawg1414
2-H – 2017-18 Upper Deck UD Game Jersey Patch #GJ- DB Dustin Byfuglien #/15- dabumko
3-S – 2016-17 Upper Deck MVP #367 Brayden Point – ZKORPYONEX
3-H – 2016-17 Upper Deck Compendium Blue #900 Auston Matthews – thishan
4-S – 2017 Upper Deck Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Autographs #MLM-GV Garry Valk –thecampbell
4-H – 2015-16 Fleer Showcase Metal Universe Precious Metals Gems Blue #MU-12 Mikko Rantanen #/50 – knighttt
5-S – 2016-17 Upper Deck Ice Frozen Fabrics Red #ff-JQ #/20 Jonathan Quick – mbutt75
5-H – 2017-18 Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #7 Auston Matthews – 28STABWOUNDS
6-S – 2017-18 MVP Bright Futures #BF-51 Auston Matthews Achievement #BF-51 Auston Matthews Achievement – PaulGohn316
6-H – 2016-17 Upper Deck Overtime Optimum Performance #OP-20 Wayne Gretzky – Crazy8ights
7-S – 2017-18 Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #3 Nico Hischier – surferdudevw133
7-H – 2016-17 Upper Deck NHL Firsts #NF-23 Auston Matthews Achievement – Darrenwilliams
8-S – 2016-17 Upper Deck Instant Impressions #II-21 Auston Matthews Achievement – rft5480
8-H – 2017-18 Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #1 Connor McDavid – NewYork
9-S – 2017-18 Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #47 Connor McDavid – slopitchfanatic
9-H – 2013-14 Upper Deck Black Diamond Star Rubies #230 Morgan Rielly #/150 – mattg504
10-S – 2016-17 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Rainbow Color Wheel #155 William Nylander – bennett88
10-H – 2017-18 Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #32 Brock Boeser – Djssj

Don’t forget that in order to claim your prize, you must contact staff@comc.com with your name and username before January 11, 2019 @ 23:59:59 PST. Due to the Canada Post rotating strike, the prizes will not be available to process into winner’s accounts until the middle of next week at the earliest. Submissions received at the Expo are also delayed with the strike taking place in Mississauga at the time of our drop-off at Canada Post.

Coming next Monday, we’ll be announcing the details of our upcoming Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sales Event. Stay tuned!

Rich Reminisces: Roger Craig

One of the great aspects of my role with COMC is the freedom I have within my office. The way I’m able to work is with an oldies-based internet radio station, old radio air-checks, or old sports radio broadcast playing just about at all times. Of course, I do turn them off for the occasional work meeting or other important aspect, but since I’m in an office by myself most of the time, some background noise is very appreciated.

Out of all those sports radio broadcast stations available on sites such as youtube, my personal favorite is “Classic Baseball on the Radio:” This user posts exactly what his name is, which is old radio broadcasts, which have been preserved in many cases for more than 60 years. The person got most of his air checks from a person who lived in Upstate New York and thus the vast majority of the games are either New York Yankees or New York Mets games. Since I grew up watching those two teams, albeit a few years later than these recordings, there is a great pleasure in hearing about those players one never saw being brought to life.

In my GTS column, I have mentioned the work that the great Raymond Jones has done in helping us with the Adat Chaverim show. Raymond comes up whenever I receive a new donation and takes boxes with him to see if he can make sets based on what he notices in those boxes. I think Raymond made 20-30 sets for us for the last show and also did some yeoman work in verifying sets were actually complete. I mention Raymond because for a good 2-3 months Roger Craig seemed to be on the mound (or would come on in relief) in every Mets game. We’ll go through his career later, but yes, he pitched in a time when many starters would come in for an appearance. Try that in today’s baseball world and you would hear screams from every executive. For fun, check out Lefty Grove‘s statistics some time on Baseball Reference. You will see some interesting categories he led the league in during the same season.

So for those reasons, we agreed Roger Craig should be the official baseball player of the DFW COMC office. The only other athlete we (actually I) considered for this honor was WWE Superstar Alexa Bliss. Raymond and myself have a running conversation about whether we prefer ‘The Godess’ Ms. Bliss, or his favorite, ‘The Empress of Tomorrow” Asuka. If you have never seen this bit entitled a Moment of Bliss from a recent WWE Raw episode, you are missing the development of a future actress. Note how easily she delivers the line comparing herself to Nelson Mandela, or discussing herself as a 7-year old goddess while building up a match against rival Trish Stratus. She actually has a future in Hollywood if she does desire:

And now that we have finished with our digression about Ms. Bliss (and who would really object to focusing on her?), let’s return to Roger Craig. Roger’s rookie card are in the 1956 Topps set, and yes there are two versions available (White and Grey back). Those cards are very affordable and show the stats of someone who did help the Brooklyn Dodgers win their only World Series the previous season.

Roger would continue to be part of the Dodgers organization for the next several years. His best year as a Dodger was probably in 1959 when he tossed four shutouts to lead the National League and garnered the only MVP votes of his career. But after the 1961 season, his career would turn, and not in the best way. Whilst he only spent two seasons with the expansion New York Mets, he compiled an 15-46 record. Now the saying goes you have to be a pretty good pitcher to lose 20 games in a season, so he must have been a great pitcher to do that in consecutive seasons. Here is his first Topps card as a Met and just as with the 1956 card there are two varieties. We are picturing the Green Tint Topps card in the card on the right.

A side note on 62 Green Tints: When I was collecting a master 1962 Topps set way back in the day, it took me forever to get a Moose Skowron green tint card. To me, that card was probably harder to acquire than the now well-known 1961 short print Skowron card. But I think the bemused expression on Craig’s face presaged his next two seasons.

At the end of the 1962 season, Craig was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals and as if the gods were shining down, Craig pitched on another World Championship team.

Frankly, by the conclusion of the 1964 season, Roger’s career was pretty much concluded. He did spend the 1965-66 seasons with two different NL teams and completed his career shortly after his 35th birthday. His final card as a player was a 1966 Topps High Number which does make sense, since by that time in his career Topps was not always sure he would make a major league roster. As Sy Berger would note, Topps usually had a pretty good concept of who would make the team coming out of spring training. Not perfect, but pretty darn good for that era

But we are not done with Mr. Craig. Roger ended up as a baseball lifer and spent almost a quarter-century as either a pitching coach or a manager. He was the pitching coach for the 1964 World Champion Detroit Tigers and managed the 1989 San Francisco Giants to the World Series.

Here is a really cool Mother’s Cookies Roger Craig card with him in a traditional managerial pose:

Roger has continued to have cards issued almost to the present day. A few years ago, Topps Heritage included him in their 2015 Real One Autographs insert set. As they have done a “reprint” final year card was created so the player could autograph those cards for random placement in packs.

 

Quite a life for the nearly 90 year old Roger Craig and we are happy to show you some of the cards of Mr. Craig, the official baseball player of the COMC DFW office.

I would love to hear your comments and your suggestions for future blog post subjects. Reach me by email with your thoughts at RichKlein@comc.com.

Montreal Anti-Expo Card Show Recap & Contest Results

We had a wonderful time at the 2018 Fall Anti-Expo last weekend in Montreal! Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to chat, participated in our contests and giveaways, and dropped off their consignment submissions. If you were able to attend the show and stopped by our booth, you probably partook in our Dice Roll Contest. If so, here is the moment that you’ve been waiting:

Dice Roll Contest Results and Winners! 

Grand Prize Winner:
(Roll a 3, 4, or 5) –  2017-18 Upper Deck UD Game Patch #GJ-PR Carey Price #14/15 – Fragfrogs

Runner-Up Winners:
(Roll a 6 or 7) – 2016-17 Upper Deck Canvas #C261 Thomas Chabot – DirtyMcFly
(Roll a 8) – 2016-17 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Color Wheel #1 Connor McDavid – Patyas
(Roll a 9) – 2015-16 Upper Deck Canvas #C244 Guy Lafleur – Omnious
(Roll a 10) – 2015-16 MVP #276 Max Domi RC – Scotttessier
(Roll a 11) – Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #1 Connor McDavid – robertbergevin3
(Roll a 12) – 2016-17 MVP #366 Thomas Chabot RC – johnmaher
(Roll a 13) – 2013-14 Prizm Autograph #A-GA Brendan Gallagher – Jimm83
(Roll a 14 or 15) – 2015-16 Upper Deck Canvas #C246 Patrick Roy – dmknation17
(Roll a 16, 17, or 18) – 2017-18 Upper Deck UD Game Patch #GJ-AG Alex Galchenyuk #14/15 – pkchu

To claim your prize, please contact staff@comc.com with your name and username before December 14, 2018 @ 23:59:59 PST.

We will announce the second chance store credit draw winners next week on our Facebook page! Stay tuned and good luck!

#Cardstock Volume 12 – The Future is Now

#CardSTOCK is an ongoing series created by Baseball Cards Daily’s Chris Steuber that details the hobby value of baseball players based on their popularity and performance . You can check out all past editions of #CardSTOCK here. You can catch Chris’s podcast ‘Baseball Cards Daily’ for free on itunes and Google Play.

With the 2018 MLB season coming to a close, now is the time to look back and reflect on the accomplishments of these five players who are quickly becoming household names. For some, the dream of the post season is still alive, while others will potentially be snubbed for awards they should win. Yeah, we’ll say it: Blake Snell for American League Cy Young! Regardless, these players made an immediate impact to their respective teams, and as a result their card values and desirability has risen tremendously.

 

 

 

Rich’s Reminiscences: Bobby Bonilla

For those members of the COMC Nation who are not familiar with me, my name is Rich Klein and my current role in the hobby is that of a catalog maintenance expert for COMC. In performing this job, I see cool cards, many of which I have never seen before, and sometimes they trigger a thought about how interesting a card or a set really is. I’ve been in this hobby since the late 1970’s and set up at my first show at Montclair State College in New Jersey in 1979. Since then I’ve done just about everything in this business, and in terms or writing I’ve published had Rich’s Ramblings for Sports Collectors Daily for several years, and currently write a monthly column for GTS. These posts, as noted, will be about specific cards and/or sets, and we would prefer these posts be based on your suggestions rather than just what I think is interesting. I always credit our users and contributors and am grateful for anything you might send our way.

Now that was a long-winded way of saying: Welcome! This column was triggered by a card I saw yesterday while doing basic catalog work. The card which triggered this was a 1983 TCMA minor league card of Roberto Bonilla. We, of course, know him today as Bobby Bonilla, and every July 1st is lovingly known as Bobby Bonilla day because he receives more than one million dollars on said date each year. However, 35 years ago, he was just a young kid from the Bronx and we used his full name…

Bobby was such a prospect that when the Pirates lost him to the White Sox in the 1985 Rule 5 Amateur Draft, they traded one of their best pitching prospects midway through the 1986 season to bring him back to Pittsburgh. There he teamed up with fellow 1986 rookie Barry Bonds to lead the Pirates back to the playoffs after being dormant throughout the 1980’s. Those late 1980’s-early 1990’s Pirate teams were always knocking on the door but never quite made the World Series. Not that Bonilla had anything to do with this play, but this Sid Bream slide showed just how close the Pirates would come to the promised land:

By that point, Bonilla was already a member of the Mets, and the Pirates dismantling had just begun. Bonilla would bounce around a bit for the rest of his career but would still be an important player for the rest of the decade. In 1994, on the eve of the baseball strike, He offered to show a New York media personality the Bronx he grew up in. There was another incident as well which is still well know in the New York area:

But there were happier moments as well: If you watch the highlights of Cal Ripken Jr.‘s famed trot around the field after playing in his 2131st consecutive game, Bonilla is one of the players pushing him out of the dugout so he can enjoy the moment, and then two scant years later, Bonilla was a starter for the 1997 World Champions Florida Marlins. That is an honor his good friend, Barry Bonds was never able to enjoy. As his career wound down, the Mets asked to defer his salary at eight percent interest and pay him over a 25 year period between 2011 and 2035. So, this young kid from the Bronx who we originally knew as Roberto Bonilla, we now know today as Bobby Bonilla, patron saint of bad contracts. Quite a ride over those 35 years indeed.

I would love to hear your comments and your suggestions for future blog post subjects. Reach me by email with your thoughts at RichKlein@comc.com.

COMC x Seattle Mariners

Earlier last month, Topps unveiled their first-ever player curated set, ‘Topps x Bryce Harper’ . Topps worked with Bryce Harper to create “220: Second to None” , a box set containing not only players chosen by Bryce, but also cards designed by him as well. The base checklist includes Bryce Harper’s personally chosen fantasy starting lineup as well as five additional pitchers.

That set inspired us to curate our own set, appropriately named ‘COMC x Seattle Mariners’. In our set, we’re also creating our fantasy starting lineup and pitching staff, but we’re doing so using some cards that you’ve probably seen before. While Bryce’s team consisted of his favorite current baseball players representing all 30 MLB Teams, we’re focusing on just one team. So without further ado, here is our proposed set of favorite current and historical Seattle Mariners:

The Infield & Designated Hitter

1st Base – How could we possibly create an All-Mariners team and not include Mr. Mariner himself? First base has been a rotating door for the Mariners for the better part of the last twenty years. Alvin Davis provides consistency and power while hitting for average.

2nd Base – This was the toughest infield position to pick by far, as arguments could be made for former Mariners like Bret Boone, Harold Reynolds, and even Joey Cora. We went with current second baseman Robinson Cano, who’s three all-star appearances in a Mariners uniform, three hundred plus career homers, and continued production provide too strong of an argument to not include him on the team.

3rd Base – He only spent five of his 21 big league seasons playing for the Mariners, but future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre was an obvious choice at third base. Plus, we need someone to help keep Felix Hernandez (spoiler alert) in check, right?

Shortstop – Ask five baseball fans in 2018 what they think of Alex Rodriguez‘s baseball career and you might get five different answers. There were controversies and unhappy fan bases, but before the hundred million dollar contracts, it’s hard to find anything not to like about Alex Rodriguez. His time in Seattle produced nothing but good memories and huge stat lines.

Catcher – A case could definitely be made for Dave Valle, who spent ten years behind the dish for the M’s, but his successor Dan Wilson gets the nod on our All-Mariners team. Wilson embodied so much of the heart and soul that made the Mariners of the 1990’s so memorable.

Designated Hitter – The future Hall of Famer (mark our words) is an obvious choice to fill the designated hitter role on our team. A career .309 hitter with a WAR of 68.4 games, Edgar Martinez not only provides a ridiculously tough out in our batting order, but his grounded personality, leadership, and hitting knowledge is invaluable to this dream team.

The Outfield

Center Field – Was there ever any doubt?  If there was any other card than a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. RC to represent our center fielder, this blog would have lost all credibility. Ken Griffey Jr. is the cornerstone of our All-Mariners team.

Left Field – of the three outfield positions, Ichiro played left the least over his career.But we’re 100% confident that if Ichiro could play left in 2018 for the Mariners, he can certainly play it on our All-Mariners Team. With so many power hitters on the team, Ichiro provides speed at the top of the line up.

Right Field – It was difficult to leave Nelson Cruz off of our team, but Jay Buhner spent nearly 14 seasons in right field for the M’s. With over 300 career home runs, a cannon of an arm, and a huge fan favorite in Seattle, ‘Bone’ slightly edges our Cruz as our final pick.

Pitching

Three of our five starting pitchers were obvious no-brainer inclusions. We give the nod to Felix Hernandez as our Opening Day starter over Randy Johnson, while Jamie Moyer provides change of pace stability in the center of the rotation. James Paxton‘s career with the Mariners has been short up to this point, but we’ll speculate on his future returns. The fifth spot in our rotation could have went to a number of pitchers (Chris Bosio, Gaylord Perry, and Aaron Sele come to mind), but Freddy Garcia had three stellar seasons out of the five and a half he spent in Seattle, finishing second only to Carlos Beltran in the 1999 Rookie of the Year voting. The Mariners closing role has been a hodgepodge of good, bad, and ugly over the years, but with Edwin Diaz posting what might be the best year of any closer ever in 2018, that enough is reason for his inclusion on this squad.

So what do you think? Do you agree with our picks, or did we snub one of your favorite or deserving Mariner of the past or present? Let us know in the comments below!

#Cardstock Volume 11 – Undervalued and Under 30.

#CardSTOCK is an ongoing series created by Baseball Cards Daily’s Chris Steuber that details the hobby value of baseball players based on their popularity and performance . You can check out all past editions of #CardSTOCK here. You can catch Chris’s podcast ‘Baseball Cards Daily’ for free on itunes and Google Play.

This time around we’re highlighting a unique group of players under the age of 30 who are all experiencing different trajectories of their careers. Each of these players came into the league with high exceptions, and while some have performed better out of the gate than others, we still have faith that the others will come around. While Alex Bregman and Trevor Story cards are reaching new heights almost daily, there is still plenty of room for growth. On the other hand, cards from players such as Byron Buxton and Amed Rosario remain largely undervalued, and could see huge growth if these players can live up to their expected potentials.

Who are you investing in from this group?