I am eccentric, maybe even a weirdo. In the truest sense of the word, I am an oddball. I may look like a regular guy but I recognize that I am different and have some weird tendencies and superstitions. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like that I’m not a Regular Joe. I like the fact that you aren’t going to find a Patagonia hat on my head. You aren’t going to find me sipping coffee at Starbucks and reading the newspaper. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with those things but I’m not that guy. If you find me wearing a hat, it’s either my trusty FMC cap or I’m showing Bulldog pride. And when it comes to sipping, it’s probably a crown and Diet Dr. Pepper while I’m reading somebody’s baseball card blog.I’ve got what I think is a pretty thick southern drawl when I talk but I like doing periscope videos opening cards because some of my card collecting buddies join in and it feels like they are right there with me while I’m doing it. We can chat about the cards and learn from each other as we go through the stack. I’ve had people that I work with, or play softball with, see the scopes and ask, “What the heck is that about? Are you just sitting there opening baseball cards and talking to yourself?” Well, maybe I am sometimes but I usually have a couple of knuckleheads in there with me and they know exactly what’s happening. Again, that probably makes me different to a lot of people in my personal life.I have even had enough good luck opening cards on Periscope that I don’t want to open them without Nathan Gunderson (@GundersonNathan) watching because he has become a good luck charm. The only way I can open packs without that good luck charm is having my daughter Bailey open the packs for me. She has always been my good luck charm but she has spent more time at friend’s houses this summer than at her own. So Nate, looks like you’re stuck for now. I’m sure the luck will shift at some point and I’ll have to switch things up. It’s sort of like having to wear the same UGA shirt on game day until we lose. And I have to eat at Pearly’s for breakfast on those game days too. And if I’m not at the game, I have to drink out of the same UGA cup every game. Just ask Mrs. Dub; it can get exhausting.I have the same zany behavior in softball. If I have a bat that is working, I use that one and that’s it. I don’t monkey around with success. I even have Mr. Kinnett’s bat from this past season still in my truck because it was so hot for me. Don’t worry Ash, the bat is safe and will be returned. Everybody that plays with me will tell you that I have to be the last player out of the dugout too as we take the field each inning. I play 1st and 3rd so coaches have even gone out of their way at times to make sure we were in the dugout on whatever side I was playing to accommodate this ridiculous superstition. It IS ridiculous and I don’t dispute that but I am going to be the last one out every inning. I will stand at the door of the dugout and rush people out if I have to.Let’s talk about TV and movies for a minute. I really don’t watch as much as I used to, but when I do, it’s usually something from the 80’s or 90’s that I have seen a hundred times. It’s just comfortable. Give me King of the Hill, Married with Children, Seinfeld, Welcome Back Kotter or WKRP in Cincinnati and I’m a happy guy. When I do watch modern TV, it’s not anything my wife wants to watch with me. As for movies, I love 80’s cheesy horror movies. I have an app on my phone called “Shudder” and it has everything you can think of in the horror genre. My whole family will go to sleep and I’ll get in bed with headphones and watch “Phantasm” like I’ve never seen it before. Just last week I watched “Endangered Species” on YouTube – in bed – on a weeknight – at midnight because I couldn’t put it down.I’m pretty sure my heart and soul is still in the 80’s. I have spent the last couple of weeks listening to Yacht Rock on XM for crying out loud. I am riding down the road singing Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross!! I jump at the chance to introduce my kids to ET or Gremlins. I’ve tried to get Bailey to play the Nintendo but, not surprisingly, she thinks it’s a bit dated. She doesn’t even laugh at “Saved by the Bell” and I’ve seen the crap she watches. She thinks “The Thunderman’s” and “Bunked” is hilarious! I can’t wait until she’s old enough to watch Silver Bullet or Night of the Living Dead! I hope my wife doesn’t read this one. We did find common ground with Stranger Things because she really likes being able to watch something sort of scary and I love it because it oozes nostalgia.
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t like 2017. I didn’t like 2015 or 2010. I realize that I am using an online blog (not in existence in the 80’s) and Twitter (not in existence in the 90’s) to talk with people all over the world about my passion. There are some things I wish I could keep from now and go back to then. But for the most part, I miss the old graphics of Atari and the VHS tapes that had to be rewound and the video store you had to rent them from. Damn, I miss Video Stores! I’m sure others get this way sometimes and I wonder often whether I am any more nostalgic than the next person. But I get a lot of positive emotions from going back in time. Sometimes, I feel like I’m addicted to it.Someone asked me this week why I was so dedicated to bringing Junk Wax back and I didn’t have a real answer that would persuade anybody. I just said, “because it’s what I like.” Everybody has their thing and this is mine. I don’t care about over production. I think (I know) these old cards have value to people my age. They are representative of a simpler time in my life. Nate shared a picture the other day of Bowman Platinum boxes he bought and the very first thing that caught my eye was a 1991 Glenallen Hill in the background. I’m telling you, I am really an odd cat.
I have found people like me out there. We have a lot in common and I enjoy conversations with those people. I guess you could call me and several of my Twitter friends a “support group” in a sense. Everybody is nostalgic to a degree but it’s a daily routine for me. I can’t really switch it off. I don’t know that I want to. I know it makes it more difficult to appreciate things today. But I go through life thinking not enough people appreciate things from yesterday so I guess it all evens out. That’s from Seinfeld’s “The Opposite” episode, if you weren’t aware.I bought two t-shirts at Kohl’s this past weekend. One was a Super Mario shirt for me and the other was a Golden Girls shirt for my wife. In the last 5 years, Mrs. Dub and I have seen Poison, Cinderella, Def Leppard, Journey and a Fleetwood Mac tribute band; all live and in person. My DVR is set to record Hank Hill and Cops every day. I bought a box of cards from 1991 on eBay last night. My favorite baseball player hasn’t played a game in over 10 years. My favorite basketball player hasn’t played in almost 20. My favorite movie is from 1994 and my favorite video game is from 1991. Am I the only one? How odd am I, really?
I think there is a place for oddball’s in this world. There is a place for the unique or the lame or the geeks or the nostalgic, or all of the above. Those are usually the kindest and least confrontational people you’ll find in a world that is no longer kind and thrives on confrontation. Maybe that’s what I miss the most about the 80’s and 90’s. Sure, we had problems. We had corruption and war. But we sure seemed to get along a lot better back then. I don’t remember people being so intolerant of each other back then but maybe it is because I was a kid. But then, that would be something else I miss about being a kid; adult problems.
Part of the allure of the card community to me is that we don’t care about what other collectors look like or where they live or whether they are high end or low end or new or vintage. We are all the same at our core. We enjoy collecting little pieces of the past and that makes us happy. It could be an old faded piece of cardboard or a shiny printing plate or a jersey; there is something out there for all of us. The true collectors I have met leave their judgment at the door. We are a community and some of the collectors feel like family to me. Not a single one of us knows everything there is to know about collecting. We all have our niche. But that makes us stronger as a whole. If I need to know about new products, I know where to go. If I need to talk vintage, I know where to go. If I have brain farts about junk wax, I have those guys to go to as well.So maybe I’m not the odd one. Maybe the people who don’t have the benefit of knowing others who have the same passion for something as they do are odd. I’m not searching for what makes me happy; I already know what it is. And I’m not searching for a place where I fit in because I’ve found it. It doesn’t matter what team I root for or what time frame I like the most. I’m home. I’m among people just like me. I’m where the snozzberries taste like snozzberries and the Topps Gum smells like Topps Gum. This is a great time to be a part of this hobby and I’m so very grateful that this was the hobby I chose 30 years ago. Maybe it was fate or maybe it was dumb luck but my version of odd is pretty damn awesome.We might as well discuss some cards while we are here. It should also be an oddball set since that is the theme. I found a little set at the card shop a few weeks ago that I had never seen before. It was right in my collection timeline so having never seen it caught me off guard. It had a price tag of $3 so I yanked it off the shelf faster than Kent Hrbek did Ron Gant in 1991. Yeah, I went there @JunkWaxTwins. The NBA All-Star Game has always been around my birthday and I usually watch most of the weekend’s festivities. I especially did back in the 80’s and throughout the 90’s. Give me MJ and ‘Nique in a slam dunk contest and Larry Bird and Reggie Miller in a 3 point contest all day long!The 1993 All-Star Game has a lot of meaning for me for several reasons. First, 1993 was one of my prime basketball years. I was 16 and in the best shape of my life. I could run up and down the court all day, never get tired and still go out that same night and hang out with friends. Basketball was life for me for a while and this was right in the middle of that. There were some significant events at this All-Star game as well.
• This was Michael Jordan’s last All-Star game before leaving to play baseball;
• Isiah Thomas’ last All-Star game;
• Shaq’s first All-Star game;
• The first All-Star game that featured a Hornet (Larry Johnson) – Who didn’t have a Charlotte cap or starter jacket in 1993?
• The All-Star game was in Utah and Karl Malone and John Stockton shared the MVP;
• Mark Price won the 3 point contest;
• And most importantly at the time, Harold Miner (Baby Jordan) won the slam dunk contest.In 1993, I was a HUGE Harold Miner fan. I had his Heat jersey and a Heat cap that I eventually lost in a break-up. This is the one I mentioned on Facebook, Kin! For one brief moment, we were all vindicated for calling him Baby Jordan when he won that slam dunk contest. Of course, that didn’t last long and we know how the story ended. I still appreciate Harold Miner a lot for what he meant to me during that time. This All-Star game was stacked with all time greats. The game displayed the likes of Jordan, Shaq, Malone, Stockton, LJ, Isiah, Pippen, Clyde, Barkley and David Robinson. These were the starters but the reserves were loaded too! Patrick Ewing, Dominique, Tim Hardaway, Hakeem Olajuwan and Shawn Kemp came off the bench!Back to this oddball set. I found this box that almost looked like a deck of playing cards but they were in fact basketball cards from the 1993 All-Star Game made by Upper Deck. I love the All-Star logo from that year in Utah. It’s a 40 card set and is advertised as “Full Bleed, UV Coated, Holographically Enhanced NBA Basketball Cards.” Yes, please! The checklist is every bit as exciting as you can imagine. Plus, there are 5 All-Star Flashback cards in the set. I couldn’t wait to see what was in this box.The first 10 cards in the set were legends. We’re talking Wilt, Oscar Robertson, Walt Frazier type legends! The photos were really good for vintage photos. They were very crisp!The next portion of the checklist was reserved for current NBA All-Star Heroes. These were players who had significant moments or achievements in an All-Star Game in their career. There were 7 representatives from the East. I love the MJ photo. Also, The Chief and Moses Malone are some of my favorites to collect.The West had 8 representatives in the NBA All-Star Heroes collection. There isn’t a player in this stack that I didn’t like.The next section was the NBA All-Star Recruits, which was made up of projected future All-Star’s and All-Star first timers. Some of these guys wound up having stellar careers. The three centers alone; Zo, Dikembe and Shaq were unbelievable forces for a long time. Throw in Grand-Ma-Ma, Steve Smith and the rest and you can see why the NBA was so much fun to watch in the early 90’s. And yes, there is a Baby Jordan sighting!The last 5 cards were the flashback cards. Here is where you will find Larry Legend; the greatest shooter in NBA History. I don’t care what you have to say about Steph Curry or Kevin Durant, Larry was the man!Without a doubt, this is the best $3 I have ever spent in my entire life. Well, I forgot about the first time I rented the movie “Clerks”. There is really nothing to knock about this set. It was affordable, loaded with stars, was very good quality and the cards didn’t stick together like other UV Coated issues tend to. I’m looking at you ’91 Stadium Club. This was a very easy 5 on the Dub-O-Meter. It’s hard to beat an old oddball set in my opinion. Whether it’s the K-Mart All-Stars, Drakes Hitters and Pitchers or now, the NBA All-Star Collection from 1993; these sets belong in my collection. If you were a fan of 90’s basketball, there is no reason not to add this to your PC. Like “Mike and The Mechanics” would say, these were “The Living Years.” I know, more Yacht Rock. I guess I really am an oddball.
1. Let me be the sacrificial lamb so you don’t have to buy these cards. Just read the post and thank me later.
2. There is worse but there is much better – not worth the effort though.
3. Middle of the road – I wouldn’t talk you into buying these but I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of them.
4. You should probably go out and buy a box and enjoy the rip – I did! It has some downside but worth the ride.
5. Stop reading and find a box to buy and get to Breaking! What are you waiting on?