Friday, April 28, 2017

NHL Playoffs: Round 2 - Here We Go Again

My apologies for the "ghost post" yesterday.  I hit the Publish button instead of the Save.  The Michigan finale will be the next post (probably tomorrow).

After the first round of the playoffs, the regional sports networks no longer carry the games.  National coverage takes over and is led by NBC and it's affiliates.

The Nobody But Crosby flagship station...

 The Nothing Besmirches Crosby's Sublime Nobility network....

And the Capitals Never Beat Crosby network...

Doc Emerick and the boys are great announcers, but let's be real.  We know who they like.  Whether it's their own preference, or coaching by the NHL...

I had written another rant condemning them to one-sided coverage of the series.  I must admit, it wasn't nearly as badly biased as I expected, at least, during the game.  Well, until Squidney scored twice.  Then the "unbelievables" and "amazings" started flying around.  I didn't watch the analysts between periods.  I'm guessing they couldn't stop gushing about 87's godlike abilities.

The Caps are not only fighting the players on the other side, they must combat the fact that the Pens are the most promoted team in the league over all others, and that usually, Pitt gets all the bounces, deflections, bad penalties, and dumb luck in their favor.

That pretty much continued....

Both teams played very well.  The Pens got some (or all, as usual) lucky breaks early in the second.  The Caps caught up by the third period.  Then a breakaway gave Pitt the lead again.  At this point, the refs stripes turned yellow and they called a slashing penalty on what is generally considered fishing for a rebound.  The Caps allowed only two shots on the kill, but then only had a couple minutes to try for the tie.  Even a seven car pileup in front of the net couldn't provide an opportunity for a score.

Hopefully, the Caps will be able to keep up the pressure for the rest of the series.  It seemed like a much more even matchup this time.

Which means Caps don't have much of a chance.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The 30 Day Challenge In Five Posts Or Less - Part III

These are the most interesting challenge topics, I think.  16 thru 23 cover a diverse mixture of players, card types, eras, and personal favorites. 

16. A card of a player whom you appreciate (respect as a player) but don't like.

I bet a lot of people will put Barry Bonds here.  My impression of Rocket is about the same.  Great player who apparently used artificial means to keep playing etc.  Not so bad for some guys, but ol' Roger continued to be a jerk about it afterwards.

Honorable Mentions (most of which I'm not big on as players either) - Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Braun, A-Rod (just weird), Mark Teixeira, AJ Pierzinski.

17. A card from the first set you put together by hand.

This is really the same as the #3 challenge, as I've never actually tried to complete a set and FAILED.  Some of them just stay on your want lists longer than others.
A more interesting twist on this one would be to show which card was the last one you needed to finish the set (see my #22 below).  A lot of people would be posting big stars or high numbers for most vintage sets, but it would be cool to see that elusive Micah Bowie or Jack Billingham that someone had to chase.  I've already posted my last card to complete the 1979 Football set, and I can't really remember which 1980 baseball was the last one (I know it wasn't Rickey), so here is just another typical 1980 Topps card. 

18. A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team.

Frank Robinson is one of the rare HOF Superstar players of whom from time to time I consider starting a player collection.  The redundant copies of his vintage cards are the main reason why I dont' do it, but I could just do his post-career and oddball stuff.  I have a few manu-patches and things like that already.  This SP variation has a neat action shot complete with Sal Bando cameo in the Oakland trademark yellow jammies.
Frank became the first manager the Nationals ever had.  He also led the Orioles for a few years in the early 90's.  So he covers both my local teams.

Honorable Mentions - Dusty Baker (a PC of mine already),

19. A favorite card from a country other than the United States.

Livan Hernandez XRC from the 1994 Cuban set.  Figured it was printed in Cuba too.  Nope!  Back says "Printed In Canada".  I was really trying to avoid the default O-Pee-Chee answer!
If I could have used a hockey card, it would have been a Sergei Fedorov from Russia.

20. Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player.

When I think of parallels, anything made of acetate (Topps Clear), Blue Chrome, or anything by Pacific in the 90's would make my short list.  But I ultimately had to pick these framed blue parallels from 2012 Gypsy Queen.  They're just so retro-elegant, and the frames give them depth that makes even the most cliche picture into a modest work of art.  The GQ logo is a bit in your face, but overall these are my winner.

21. A card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in.

I am so NOT into rookie prospecting, so here's a bit of a twist on this theme.
I once found a shop while traveling and they didn't have a whole lot, but there was one box of really nice vintage from 1962, '63, and '64 for 25¢ each.  I picked out a big stack of singles (which became my starter lots for those sets - '64 is now officially active) and brought them to the counter.  The kid at the register looked at my pile and said "That looks to be about 100 cards." and rang me up.  I paid and left and almost sprinted down the street because I had actually pulled about 330 singles.  When I saw these two in the piles, I thought I had struck gold at an even higher level!  But alas, these are not actually the rookie cards of Gaylord Perry and Tony Oliva.  Oh well, still a bargain!

22. A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you.

 I do remember this one being the set killer for 1974.  Wasn't the Washington Nat'l League variations, or the no-position Alou, or Winfield, Griffey, or Madlock rookies, it was this dude.
There are more elusive cards for me in other sports.  Still looking for one single 2008-09 OPC hockey single to finish both series and all the inserts, and a couple quarterback rookie cards to kill football sets.

The next section will deal with oddball cards from all the decades.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Star Trek - The Retro Football Card Set - card #7

Now, a new addition to the set.  At some point, I'll have to rig up a checklist card.

Card #7 is Communication officer Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols.  She was, of course, the better half of the "first interracial kiss" on TV, and an inspiration to women and minorities everywhere for being in such an important position on the Enterprise crew.

1957 Topps Lieutenant Uhura.

Had to rework the lettering a lot to get it right.  And I hadn't noticed how spartan this design really is.  It's basically two photos with single color backgrounds with the letter bars over them.  So simplistic yet effective.

The purple color isn't actually authentic, but it's what was behind the original portrait photo, so I didn't mess with it.

As usual, let me know what you think.  Hailing frequencies are open!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Michigan Shop & Show Tour - Part 3

One of the must-see venues of my visits to Michigan has become Collectibles Unlimited in Clio.  They're right along the main street in town (126 W. Vienna Street).  Here is a shot of the storefront from a few years ago.

It looks modest on the outside, but when you go in, there's an impressive selection of cards (and actually comics, action figures, gaming cards, etc.)  They've cleaned up and organized a great deal since our first visit.  So now the front room has showcases and neat displays of various items.  The far wall is stacked solid with card boxes that are clearly labeled.  That would be an impressive selection on its own, but a little farther back in the shop is a hallway and a whole other room that is nothing but stacks and shelves of card boxes.  Again, most of these are labeled as to their contents, whether it be by set or by sport (in the case of boxes containing just certain stars).

It took us two days to go through it all (again).  Their stock turns over regularly since they're always out buying collections.  There is actually another part of the building where they bring new stock in for processing.  But you'll have plenty to look through just in the shop alone.

Our haul for the two days doesn't look like a lot, but my lists took a beating for sure.

Believe it or not, there are singles from all four sports, some starter sets, and oddball items all here.  And at a great price.

Here is most of my haul spread out where you can see the diversity.  Highlights include some oversize player collection items, and GameDay/Power Play inserts, Redskins and Capitals singles, baseball and football set singles, and inserts, killers for 2003 Topps baseball, almost all my 2001-02 Topps Archives hockey, and more....

The elusive 1987 Hygrade Mantle "bat low" pose....

Several error cards from 1989 Fleer and 1988 Topps...

There are several whole boxes of 2001 Topps regular and Traded, from which I built almost an entire Traded set....

And we added on a 2006 Fleer football set with a generous amount of the rookies too!

So if you're ever in the Clio area and have some time for digging, stop by and see Matt and Chris and tell him that guy from Maryland sent you.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Star Trek: The Retro Football Card Set - Card #6

This is the last of my 2011 creations of ST:TOS characters in old football designs.  Changed it up a bit with the choice of a matchbook cover instead of a card.

The next ST:TRFCS post will be a 2017 creation!.

1934 Diamond Matchcover Dr. Leonard McCoy.  Fonts match better to the green example of these covers.  The name over the football came in a couple different fonts.  I didn't have anything to match the one in the tan original.  Also had a hard time figuring out what to substitute for the football.  Not many sketches of the original NCC-1701 starship out there.  Nice oddball item instead of the same old Topps or Philadelphia designs.  I'm running out of cool designs to use.  There aren't as many nice ones for football as there are for baseball.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The 30 Day Challenge in Five Posts Or Less - Part II

7. A card you bought in person and the story behind it.

Got one of these from a dealer that I'd see regularly at the Chantilly, VA show.  He was an older gentleman with only a few showcases who mainly dealt in vintage stars.  Usually he had some "off-condtion" stuff that most of his customers weren't interested in.  I don't ever need pristine examples of every star card - if they're too perfect they don't seem real.  So he had one of these (the scan is not my example, I was just too lazy to unsrew it out of the holder it's in.) as well as a '52 Bowman Duke Snider.  The worst defect I can see on mine is a creased corner and maybe a little centering.  Needless to say I got a bargain on the pair, and they're two of the oldest star cards I own.

8.  A card that reminds you of a family member.

My cousin's name is Charles Hudson.  Though he's a skinny white dude born in 1980.  '88 Yankee Charles is African American and was born way back in 1959!

9.  One of your favorite cards from the 1950s.

My first thought was to consider something from my favorite '50s set - 1959, but I just like the set as a whole.  There aren't too many cards that stand out from the whole decade.  Then I saw this one in my star binder.  "Big Klu" and his trademark sleeveless jersey is the "leading muscle man of the Redleg powerhouse."  The uni and the old school team name just make this a consummate 50's card.

10. One of your favorite cards from the 1960s.

I really struggled with this choice.  With all the 60's sets, '68 isn't my favorite design, but the "fine" burlap and the right colors is pretty nice looking.  I almost went with '68 Ernie Banks because he's so happy.  Another choice was '66 Whitey Ford with the Yankees and their stadium, plus Whitey in the follow through pose and the windbreaker under the jersey, but some of those things are associated with different decades.  I settled on Bird Belters here mainly because of the clean layout, the multi-player cards that were so cool in the 60's (the shine is lost on the current efforts), and the depiction of the two immortals from my local favorite Orioles.

11. One of your favorite cards from the 1970s.

I picked this Yaz not because of the '74 design (which I do like a lot), or the cool colors (the black and yellow really pop against the red outline and the photo), but because this is one of the original cards I ever had in my possession.  I recall starting out with a handful of '74s in junior high school (in '78) And I know Yaz was one of them.  The other two I know I had were two Brewers, Pedro Garcia and Eduardo Rodriguez.  I don't know when I traded those two away, I just know my specimens now in my complete set are way too nice to be originals.

12. One of your favorite cards from the 1980s.

 1982 Donruss reversed negative Phil Garner.  I love chasing the variations from the early 80's (and every other decade.)  The early 80's is when they came to the forefront.  I looked through my '81 Donruss and Fleer sets and could have chosen some of the more subtle errors in the text or the "fingers" on the backs of the Fleers.  But I found I was actually missing some of them that I thought I had, and Phil here was the prettiest of all of them anyway.

13. One of your favorite cards from the 1990s.

Three images of the same card out of my Mussina collection.  Was looking for the coolest gaudiest insert from the 90's.  I was not an active collector for the decade, but I consider it the peak of special effects, materials, and innovations in card construction.  This e/x card has some of my favorite things, acetate, varied and elegant fonts, and rainbow reflective areas that aren't overwhelming the design.  I don't chase shiny, but I like it when it's used well.

14. One of your favorite cards from the 2000s.

Took this image off the TC database, but I do have one in my complete set.  I remember when this and Torii's 2007 Allen & Ginter came out.  His expressions are similar on both and pricelessly hilarious without being contrived or forced.

15. One of your favorite cards from the 2010s.

 Ginter has one or more gorgeous ladies each year, but they're not usually related to baseball much more than a few of them being fans or reporters.  But the First Pitch series that Topps has been doing since 2015 is a great way to put celebs on cards to mix it up and still connect it directly to baseball.  They're one of the innovations that Topps CAN take credit for since the exclusive contracts started.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Blog Bat Around: What Was The Toughest Set You've Completed

Late to the party on another trending topic, but here goes.  Maybe I should start posting more than every other day.

Anyway... The question is officially "What is the toughest set that you have ever collected (or tried to collect)?" There are several possibilities for me...

1. 1909 T205 New York Giants team set.  Status: In progress
See my progress on my want list site.  I'm down to seven left out of twenty-two total.  Age and expense are the main hurdles to getting these.  And then there's Mathewson - 'nuff said.

2.  2002 and 2003 Upper Deck 40-Man.  Status: Complete +
I finished both base sets and even the Lumber Yard inserts from 2002.  Still need a few McGwire Flashback inserts.  The other inserts are GUs, so they don't count.  Talk about sheer volume!  Base sets are 1182 and 990 respectively.  (Guess they figured they'd tone it down in 2003.)  The only set I can think of that is larger would be UD Documentary, but that was games, not players.  I really like the 2002 design, though.  I'm currently working on the football version - UD XL which is just about average at 600 cards.

3. 2007 Sweet Spot Classic jerseys  Status: In progress
I'm down to relatively few of these (there are 95 total), but the ones I'm missing are the high dollar ones.  These are one of my favorite sets in that the photos aren't the same old ones you always see, especially of the older players.  They're so crisp and colorful.  I don't usually go for gamers except the one or two that come out of packs I open, but in this case, the base set is serial numbered to 575, so I haven't even come close to that.   And I've often wondered if the swatches are really from the player pictured on the card or not.  The cards say that the memorabilia has been used in a MLB game, but doesn't say "by <this player>".  Here's what I am missing:

I subbed base card pictures for the few that I've never actually seen available.

4. 2012 Gypsy Queen black minis.  Status: In progress
Started these just 'cause they look cool, but I figured from day one that this would be a "lifelong" build.  Usually I trade away all the minis from GQ or Ginter, but these I decided to go for.

Only 219-ish more to go!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Two Not-So-Pedestrian Trades That Came in Good Order

Running at full warp power here this week.  Stay tuned for consecutive posts!

Piling on to my Michigan haul last week were two packages in the mail.

I had sent a message to Tom from The Angels In Order that I had found some of his wants in my continuing quest to find collectors who need certain teams.  There are several teams that are much more numerous in my trade boxes than others, and the Angels are one of them.  I wasn't able to send Tom an 800 count box or anything, but did strike a few off for him.  In response, Tom sent me just as interesting an array of list hits.

From 1995 E-Motion, Boggs and Jeter.  I'm always glad to knock Jeter off of any want list.  He appears the most often.

Some of those Homerun Heroes from 1992 Upper Deck.  Yes, it is incredible that I still need things like these.  I saw some in Michigan, but didn't realize I had listed them.  Got a few anyway!

Four from 2007 Bowman Heritage.  These are really nice, especially since three of them are the "no facsimile auto" versions that are short prints.  And Travis Buck for the A's is really having a good time.

Two nice additions to 2009 Heritage.  These are short prints too, which all late additions to Heritage are....

And finally, a couple unrelated but appreciated finds.  Unmarked team card from 1977 football.  And a very rare retail-only insert to 2012 Archives - the 1982 style In Action of Cal Ripken.  Can't usually find those kinds of things to buy from a vendor, so trades are really the only way to go.  Thanks Tom!

Chris from The [Pedestrian] Collector had posted about women in sports and responded to my request to build up my Washington Capitals team collection.  He came through with a varied selection of Caps from every part of their history.

The one non DC player is a list hit from 2008-09 Upper Deck Young Guns.  The rest are the most current Caps from the Ovechkin era, plus a OPC Platinum Gartner.  It's always interesting to me that some of the old Caps stars really are regarded with the greats of the game.  I didn't watch the Caps consistently until about 2008, so I have little reference to the stars of earlier teams.

Now departed Semin, Green and 'enforcer' Brashears.  And Matt Bradley, who, according to my friend the Sal, would bleed for the team on command.

Now we step back a page to the blue, black and gold years.  Always nice to get a Starting Lineup card.

And we're back to when what now are the "throwback" uniforms were the regulars.  Love the Joly '76-77 card.  Made a bid on some vintage hockey that was closer to the mid 80's at one of the shops in Michigan, but they said that nice vintage hockey in bulk lots is highly desirable and commands a premium.  Is that true?  I see baseball and football from the early to mid 80's (and older) in big lots for cheap all the time, but is hockey really that rare in comparison?  Is it normal for what would be a 25-50 dollar 5000 count box of commons in baseball and football to be 200+ for hockey?  Could be true, I guess....

Anyway, Thanks Chris for bolstering the ranks of my Caps collection.  I will still look out for more women athletes to send you.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Michigan Shop & Show Tour - Part 2

After we picked up the 1992 Fleer boxes the first day, we headed over to The Stadium in Bay City. 

This shop also does a lot of gaming.  The center of the shop is long tables usually occupied by tournament players.  But they do have an extensive inventory of sports singles.  You just have to ask for what you want and the employees will bring it out to you (and pick the cards for you).  While this is a bit cumbersome, it is understandable that they need to control their inventory.  They track each card in a computer database, so they can tell you instantly if they have the singles you're looking for.  They also have an online store.  There are some late 80's/early 90's stuff in binders and boxes off to one corner, as well as local team singles and higher end cards in several long display cases.  There are some binders that you can pick from as well that are sorted by star player or local Detroit team.

Our purchases from this shop were relatively light, but not insignificant.  Stuart had started me on a basketball set a year or two ago, 1991-92 Hoops.  It is only my third set of basketball cards.  I was down to just a couple cards on my wantlist, but I didn't realize that I only had Series One.  There was a whole other half of this set that I hadn't seen yet.  So I picked up a box of the second series here at the Stadium.

While the guy helping us was picking through their stock for Stuart, I had him check on some of my Priority page wants.  These are my top set killers that I am looking for over all others.  We managed to find one from that list.  It was the last Gypsy King from the 2012 Gypsy Queen set.  I'm not sure ol' Wasso actually existed - he may just be a character that some suit at Topps came up with.  If you google "Price Wasso", all you get is the cards.  Anyway, I'm glad to get him off that list.  Now if I could only find the last few framed blues and the rest of the mini blacks....

One of the other shops we hit was what I know as Rick's in Mason, MI.  It is actually called Extra Innings.  Rick's inventory is not as extensive as some, but he can find you what you want.  And is just a nice guy to talk cards and sports with.

The picture is from Google maps, so it isn't that great.  He is located near exit 66 on Route 127 near the Wendy's on Cedar Street.

The first items I found were several of my player collection guys in a very unusual item.  Sportscaster cards were advertised on TV and were similar to several different themed series in the same medium.  These oversize cards put large color photos on the front, and tons of facts and stats on the backs for every sport imaginable.  And Rick had a lot of them there.  You could get Joe Morgan along with Jai-Alai, and horse racing, and any other imaginable sport.

Found a few more singles from his dollar box and a few other places, and we were on our way.

Next post - the treasure trove that is the shop in Clio!