January 31, 2016

Going Out A Champion or: We Need More Subsets Like This

It's still January for a few more hours and looking back on my blogging month, I've already done a few 'this day in history'-type posts. Well, here is one more. I do rather enjoy them, but as the year progresses, I'll be sure to space them out a bit. The truth is, I couldn't pass up writing this one for two reasons.

On this day back in 1999, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII. Yes, there's the tie-in since they'll be playing in Super Bowl 50 next week, but that's not the reason I'm writing. Growing up, John Elway was my favorite football player. It wasn't even close. My first memory of watching the NFL was one of watching the Broncos-Browns playoff game in which 'The Drive' occurred. From then on, I couldn't help but cheer for him. As it turns out, Super Bowl XXXIII was his last game. What a way to go out! Super Bowl MVP and Back-to-Back Champions!  It was a storybook ending to an incredible career. 

Now, paying tribute to my favorite football player of all time is one of the reasons I wanted to write this post, but now that I'm about to get to the obligatory card scans, it's almost time to reveal the other reason.

This 10-card subset was included in the 1999 Fleer Ultra checklist. Each card depicting a great moment from the Big Game. It's the last time I am aware that a card company did something like this. Sure, there has been sporadic World Series Highlight subsets in a Heritage set here and there, but I think that this should be the norm. No matter the sport, there should be a multi-card highlight subset of the Championship Game/Series. Wow, I've written the word subset a bunch of times, but that's what I'm looking for here. I don't want an insert set with potentially crazy odds or base set SPs, just simple 'common' subet cards. I'm not saying it need to take up 10 spots on the checklist, but I think 4-5 would be great! I'm pretty sure I'd immediately have a mini-collection of such subsets. In fact, this one from Ultra was awesome because they were easy to obtain, but had parallels to chase if you were looking for more of a challenge. The best part of the parallels here is that there were only two...yes two parallels. The gold medallions were seeded one per pack and then there were platinum medallions that were #/40.

So, am I alone in this, or does anyone else out there think that something like this should be  a regular inclusion in all sports? How many cards do you think would be optimal? Thanks for reading! Go Broncos!!!

January 30, 2016

A Trade Offer I Couldn't Refuse

According to my email, I received my first message from P-Town Tom back in November. That message contained an offer I couldn't refuse. Tom, who writes the great blog Waiting 'til Next Year, would send me the Nationals(and some Yankees) from his trade box in return for...my address. There was no way I could turn that down! I replied and shortly after, there was a medium flat rate box on my doorstep. It was jam packed with awesomeness, but the contents have been edited to fit in this space. Let's dive in.

Here are the highlights of the Nats. I love the top row of minor league guys. There's even a chance that two out of three of three end up signed, assuming the Stephen Perez and Matthew Skole make their way through Durham by way of Syracuse(the Nats' Triple-A club). For now, it looks like Eury Perez will end up unsigned since he is currently in the Houston system whose affiliate is in the PCL. Gotta dig getting a card of the reigning NL MVP, even if it is logo-less. At least he photo selection makes it really difficult to notice the lack of licensing. Who doesn't enjoy mascot cards, right? I chose to highlight that Heritage Ian Desmond because he is a personal favorite. While it looks highly unlikely he will be back in DC(and he must be sweating out this time on the free agent market), recent rumors suggest there is a small chance that he will end up with the Rays. That possibility already has my gears turning as I envision a potential rehab assignment with my Durham Bulls! A guy can dream...

Before I get to the Yankees portion of the package, I was thrilled that Tom was able to help me out with the following card.

This Ryno hails from the 1993 Hostess set. After pulling a small bunch of these from various repacks last year, I decided to attempt to complete the set. It has been slow going, but that makes it all the more exciting when I see one of these pop up in a trade package.

Let's keep the oddball train-a-rollin' with some Yankee minis!

I'm also half-heartedly attempting to put together the 1988 Topps UK mini set. I needed both the Winfield and the Randolph.

Man, I love oddballs! These are all great, but my favorites would have to be the not one, but two awesome cards from periodicals. I remember having a copy of that Topps Magazine Donnie Baseball when I was younger. I have no idea when or where it disappeared from my collection, but I am happy to have a copy once again. Winfield is saying what I was thinking as I flipped through this package's contents: you're the man, Tom!

There were Yankee stars for me too! I'm partial to the Opening Day Bernie with him tipping his batting helmet. I was pretty happy with four new cards of The Captain as well.

These are sentimental favorites. Like many of you, I like it when you can tell exactly when the photo on a card was taken. While it's true that these two kinda cheat because no research is needed, they're no less awesome to me. The Charlie Hayes highlights a moment that I will long remember, the out that clinched their first WS Championship since I was eight months old. My apologies to Shane and any other BoSox fans out there for posting that second card, but it definitely shows an iconic moment in Yankees-Sox post season lore.

Thanks for such a generous and awesome package Tom. I know you aid you weren't asking for or expecting anything in return, but I will definitely be putting together a return package in the near future.

January 29, 2016

e-Pack and Repack

Thursdays are my long day at the office. I'm typically there from around 8am-8:30pm. I know there are plenty of people that only work 12 hour shifts, so I'm not complaining, but I usually find a lot of my impulse buys are on these days simply because it helps me get through the day. Whether I open whatever I get during my break or save it until the end of my shift as an incentive, grabbing a little something to open definitely helps me get through the long day. Yesterday, right as I was going to leave the office, I noticed an email that detailed Upper Deck's new digital card app. When I heard about it, I sat in my car and created an account and immediately opened my daily free pack.

I know a lot of you out there don't consider these 'cards' and won't waste time with apps like this, but I really dig flipping through a new 'pack', especially when I'm not depending any money. I'm also intrigued by the concept that Upper Deck has come up with. This is like a hybrid of other digital trading card apps and the eTopps concept. Apparently, you can opt to have actual cards from your collection within the app sent to you. Here's pack number one.

I'm definitely going to add it to my daily digital trading card routine. After checking out the app, I felt the need to open some real packs. I needed to run an errand that would bring me near another Target that is not my normal local Target. When I stopped in, I found the first 100 card hockey repacks that I've seen in my area. I've seen the unopened pack varieties before, but never wanted to spend the 12 or 20 bucks to pick one up. When I saw this face card, I figured it was worth the 5 dollar gamble.

I cracked it open and ripped the pack open first.

I haven't collected hockey cards in a really long time, so I'll just dive in. Feel free to drop some knowledge on any of these.

I recognize Getzlaf only because I know some of you out there collect him.

Cammaleri is a current Devil, so therefore a favorite. Also pulled a rookie, but it have no idea if it's a 'true RC' or if that is even a real concept in the world of collecting hockey cards.

The final card of the pack at least sports the Devils logo. Based upon the wrapper, I think this may be a gold rush parallel? Not sure. Now on to the highlights of the 100 card block. It was heavy on 1990 Bowman and one of the '90's Parkhurst sets and overall, I found it to be a really enjoyable stack.

I'll start with two of the three Devils in the pack along with an awesome net minders card. I remember Ed Jovanovski when he was the first draft pick in the early '90's. When I see a Tie Domi, the first work that comes to mind is 'goon'. My only memories of seeing him on the ice involve him throwing fists. Lastly, a really cool award winners hologram of Dirk Graham.

Don't know any of these guys, but they're all pretty cool. I mean until I checked out the back of the upper right card, I thought the guy's name was Moose Jaw! Turns out it is a team checklist. At least I got a laugh out of it.

Now here's the star portion of the program. All told, two Hull, two Roy, a Messier, a Modano, and a Lemieux is a pretty strong showing.

These are two of my favorites of the whole pack. The Smirnov may have a boring pic, but I love the retro design. The LaBarbera is, by far, my favorite photo of the whole pack. That was a pretty good pack, but it turns out that I had the one out of four that included a hit.

I've got no idea who either of these guys is and I don't have particularly like the Blues, but a dual relic is still awesome! I'm not sure how many more hockey repacks I'll ever go for, but it sure was an entertaining repack. Thanks for reading!

January 27, 2016

Remembering a Giant

A few months back, I acquired a few cards that don't really fit in the normal scheme/structure of the blog. I knew right away that I wanted to share them here so I waited until today so I would have a way to tie them in. On this day back in 1993, one of my childhood heroes left this Earth. 

When I was much younger, I was an avid pro wrestling fan and one of my earliest favorite performers was none other than Andre the Giant. Not only was he physically larger than life, but he had a giant personality and charisma too. One of my first wrestling memories was watching a Piper's Pit segment.

The two biggest stars and soon to be former friends were facing off. Moments after this photo was taken, Andre would rip off Hulk's tank top and crucifix setting up a title match at Wrestlemania III. Andre lost that night, 'passing the torch' to Hogan in the process. However, about a year later in February 1988, Andre would 'win' his only World Title.

It was quite a controversial victory, but the title reign was official nonetheless. He didn't last much longer in the ring due to health problems and less than 5 years later he would be gone. Twenty-six years on, we have these iconic images and great memories of the legendary giant. That's not all though. As a kid, I also remember him this way:

To this day, The Princess Bride is still one of my favorite movies. These days, I get to watch it with my daughters. Thanks for the memories, Andre. My childhood wouldn't have been the same without you.

January 26, 2016

The Final Holiday Package of the Season

Let's keep rolling right along with The Great Trade Post Catch Up. Today's installment comes courtesy of a surprise holiday envelope from Stealing Home. I had been reading All Trade Bait, All the Time for a little while, but hadn't really commented or interacted much. It came as quite the pleasant surprise when I received an email from SH telling me that a few cards were set to the side and all that was missing was my address. I thought I replied quickly, but there was some glitch with the email being sent. After most of the holiday packs had already been sent on their way, I got a message from Julie over at A Cracked Bat, letting me know that someone was looking for me. I clicked the link and saw the day's post on ATBATT which asked me to get in touch. I sent my address and a few short days later, I received the following:

A hefty dose of new-to-me Negro League cards were inside! I can't pick a favorite from this group. I only had one or two of the Ted Williams Company Negro League subset cards prior to this envelope's arrival. The old school goodness didn't stop there.

I really dig the pic on the Joe Black, but out of this group, the A&G Ron Teasley has to be my fave. Great uni, clean design, and a subject not often seen on cardboard all make for a treasured new addition to my collection. I included the red, sparkly Zoilo Almonte in this scan because it was a cool card that I wanted to show off, but it didn't deserve a solo scan. All in all, it was a great and unexpected boost to a part of my collection that doesn't grow nearly as fast as the others. Mahalo to Stealing Home for thinking to include me in the holiday mailing list. I'll be sure to put a little something together to send back your way.

January 24, 2016

If You're Going to San Francisco...

...be sure to throw some footballs in the air! No, I'm not going to embed the video for that song here. Now that I've said that, Championship weekend is officially over and the Super Bowl match-up has been set.

I couldn't be happier. In two weeks, it'll be my (kinda) home team, Carolina Panthers against my beloved Denver Broncos for the NFL championship. I almost feel like its a win-win situation for me. Don't get me wrong, I'll be pulling for the Broncos all the way, but if the Panthers happen to walk away with the 'W', at least I will still be happy. It's my second-best case scenario!

DT didn't really factor into the win tonight, but he's going to have to come up big in the final game of the season. This awesome new addition comes via Panini's 2014 Father's Day promo release and has a great pic from the last time Denver was in the 'Big Game'. Enough talk about the offense, tonight it was the D/ST that won the game.

Cody Latimer had a great catch for a first down, but his real contribution came in the form of some huge tackles on special teams. I've already shown this patch/auto off before, but it's one of my favorites of a guy who ended up being a difference maker despite limited snaps.

Roby played a great game, blanketing Pats receivers all night long, but it was his interception on the two-point conversion that sealed the win! I've shown this one off too, but I promise there will be some more new-to-the-blog cards if you keep reading.

DeMarcus did all the little things needed to keep the defense rolling. This is a recent pick-up from the relatively new Topps Platinum set. While the intangibles don't show up on the stat sheet(he only had a few tackles and a half sack), it sure was fun watching him have a standing reservation to meet Von Miller at Chez Brady.

I don't like being cliche, but Von was all over the field and was definitely the engine that made the defense run all night. With 5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a pick, he was certainly the player of the game! Here's yet another recent Topps Platinum addition, this being of the gold parallel variety. It's printed on super thick stock and is even more refractor-y than the base cards.

Hopefully the old adage that defense wins championships proves true in two weeks. It would be great to see the Broncos hoist the Lombardi Trophy again. Kinda like this:

This is the ultimate 'sunset' card in my opinion. It not only shows my favorite football player, but he is celebrating Denver's last Super Bowl win and as the card brand logo suggests, he was the MVP of that, the final game of his storied career. This great piece of cardboard hails from the 1999 Upper Deck MVP set and perhaps 17 years later an NFL card set could have a card of another Broncos Super Bowl winning QB riding off into the sunset. Thanks for reading.  Go Broncos!

January 23, 2016

An Arrrt Filled Trade Package, Matey!

Shortly before the holiday season really kicked off, I received another hit filled envelope from Pirate fan and author of one of my favorite blogs out there, Matt of Bob Walk the Plank. This is the second time I've been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a package from him and it packed a big punch just like the first. This time around all of the cards were very artistic.

It's been a while since I've added a new Jorge relic. This one looks like they took a photo and applied a filter to make it kinda look like a painting. Pretty cool to see the edge of a pinstripe instead of the common plain white swatch.

Here's my first relic of new Yankee OFer, Aaron Hicks. The lack of logos and the way Hicks is positioned on here cleverly hide the fact that this is a Twins jersey. With the pinstripes in the pic/painting, I can almost convince myself that this is a Yankees jersey, I just have to ignore the 'MIN' near his batting helmet. It's a very cool card, and my first Jersey King from the 2014 set. I'm excited to see what Hicks can do this season.

Last card of the pack and I was thrilled to get another High Tek Yankee(an autograph to boot). While this card features an actual photo and not some sort of painting, the wild background pattern teamed with the blue, red, and black linear design remind me of 'modern art'. Leiter carved out a pretty good career for himself over parts of 18 seasons for four different teams where he was a contributor to three World Series Championship squads. I really enjoy watching him on MLB network these days.

Thanks for another awesome envelope Matt. I'll have some Buccos packed and ready to head your way in the near future. Thanks to everyone for reading another installment of The Great Trade Package Catch Up.

January 22, 2016

Some Tim Horton's to Keep Me Warm

This morning I awoke to a winter wonderland in the making. Like much of the East Coast, my town in NC is expecting a hefty blanket of snow over the next few days. I for one am thrilled. I grew up in Orange County NY and unlike most transplants, the main thing I miss about my hometown is winter. Snow storms are quite a bit different here in the south, mainly due to the lack of equipment/know-how to handle the precipitation, but I've grown to love watching these southern storms from the safety of my house. The temps over the next few days are expected to be some of the coldest of the season so far, but I've got some Tim Horton's goodies to keep me warm.

I know I've shared some of these in multiple posts already, but I haven't grown tired of them yet. This lot of six came to me by way of the Land of Listia. The Carey Price Season Highlights card is my first from the set and it turns out they are checklist cards. Despite adding another of the die-cut cards in this lot, I think my favorite card of this group would have to be the Ovechkin. This brings my set completion total all the way up to 16/100. I'm not sure I'll officially make the push to complete the entire base set, but so long as I can keep finding a few of these here and there, I'll have fun tracking my progress. Stay safe in the wintry conditions, especially if you're in the mid-Atlantic blizzard warning zone and as always, thanks for reading!

January 21, 2016

A Very JBF Christmas

The Great Trade Post Catch Up continues today with a great bubble mailer from Wes of JBF fame. Shortly before the holiday, Wes offered to send some cards to folks in return for a message about their collecting preference. I decided to jump on the offer and a very short time later, the previously mentioned bubble mailer arrived.

Nothing but good stuff in the envelopes I've received from Wes. The Kahnle is numbered and I love any blue refractors of a Yankee player since the border color complements the uniforms. I had been missing the base version of the Just Minors Elway until now. I already had the very similar promo version, but I was pretty happy to find this in the stack. That Private Stock Clemens is really nice and quite unique. The card stock is parchment-like, very thin. It's a great card.

Next up are some high end singles. I have never opened any Triple Threads and rarely see them in the boxes I dig through at shows so it is always appreciated when I receive these from a trading partner. It's a bonus that Mattingly and Boggs were two of the best hitters in the AL in the '80's. The Biggs is even numbered. The Mussina is the career stat line parallel and has a nice foil finish, a great new card of 'Moose'.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I flipped to the 1961 Post Booby Richardson. It may have a bit of paper loss on that left side, but I couldn't be happier to add it to the Whitey Ford I was able to pick up a few months back. The Denny's Upper Deck hologram is yet another new-to-me Donnie Baseball. The scan actually came out way better than I thought, but still doesn't do that card justice.

I was digging it when I saw this Classic Clippings auto. It's actually a cut auto and the player brought back some fond memories. There was a time in the early 2000's that I was reading the Navarro was going to be the successor to Jorge Posada. I actively sought his RCs in the last year that I really collected before falling out of the hobby for around 4-5 years. He may not have ended up being the next great Yankee catcher or even a big MLB star, but this guy has put together a solid career and he's still going strong. He'll be suiting up for the ChiSox in 2016. There's actually one more reason that I was happy with this auto: Dioner and I share the same birthday, February 9. While I don't have an official birthday PC, it was still cool to find a 'hit' of someone born on the same day as me.

That wraps up another great package from JBF headquarters. Thanks Wes, I'll keep my eyes open for something that I can send back your way soon.