Thursday, May 29, 2014

The U.S. National Team Is Set

With the recent announcement of the 23 players who will make up the U.S. National Soccer team that will appear in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next month there were a couple of names surprisingly left off.
In early May the 30-man roster was announced and ex-Seattle Sounder Eddie Johnson was left off.  Over the past two seasons in Seattle, Johnson scored 23 goals and last year scored 5 goals in 15 appearances for the US team. I am bummed by this because Johnson has been a part of the National team since U-17 in 2000.

I think the biggest surprise though was the snub of Landon Donovan off of the final 23-player team heading to Brazil. This has caused an outrage in the soccer community, yes Donovan is getting a little long in the tooth (32-years old) but he also has 57 goals in 164 appearances making him #1 All-Time US scorer which includes 8 goals last year in 11 appearances.

The only reason that could have led to his being left off of the team, besides age, could be the perception that he has a lack of heart. In 2012 he announced that he wasn’t planning on going to Brazil for the World Cup and last year during the qualifying stages he took time off from the team.

Either way most people are surprised by the decision by coach Jurgen Klinsmann but we will see if his selection of youth over experience works out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Exquisite's Triptychs Are Quite Cool

In a recent preview Upper Deck showed off the upcoming 2013 Exquisite Football, why it is a 2013 product I don’t know. They are even including 2014 NFL Draft picks in the release, but anyway…
Upper Deck is always trying to step up their game and in this release they are including Triptych Signature Cards, a tri-panel hand painted booklet card. Each panel is hand painted and together they make an entire scene, which is signed by the player.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day, A Day To Honor!

Today we honor all of the men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country. Since 1775 over 1.34 million U.S. soldiers have died during war and another 1.5 million were wounded. They have given all to ensure that the rest of us have our freedom, for this we thank you and your families.

Friday, May 23, 2014


This past week has been very stressful for my family and unfortunately the stress has gotten to me after we received additional bad news. Without going in to detail I have begun to lose faith in people, when someone is wronged we hope that other people are willing to do what is right but yesterday proves that people (at least some people) can ignore what is right and go on with their lives not caring what happened to anyone else.
Last night I was considering walking away from my blog, I am just that shaken right now. But I do not want to make such a serious decision in a matter of hours because I have had so much fun over the past five years. To keep active I decided, for now, to keep my posts short and use some pieces I have already written along with showing some cards from my collection and hopefully my passion for collecting and blogging will return when things are back to normal. Sadly my fifth blog-eversary is in a couple of weeks and I had some big plans but that is on hold, I just do not have the focus to complete what I planned.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Coming Soon To A Pack Near You (Not Really)... Mel Brooks The Trading Card Set!

I was watching Robin Hood: Men In Tights this morning and I started thinking about how cool it would be to have a Mel Brooks set, I really respect him as an actor, director and producer. I grew up watching his comedies and I could see Panini or Rittenhouse putting something together. A set built on some of his best movies like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, History of the World Part I, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men In Tights.
Obviously the highlight of the set would be the autographs. The list would be legendary and could be made up of cut signatures and preferably on-card signatures. Just some of the people who could be included, besides Mel Brooks: Cleavon Little (cut signature), Harvey Korman (cut signature), Madeline Kahn (cut signature), Alex Karras (cut signature), Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle (cut signature), Marty Feldman (cut signature), Dick van Patten, Cloris Leachman, Don DeLuise (cut signature), Gregory Hines (cut signature), Orson Welles (cut signature), John Candy (cut signature), Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis and Dave Chappelle.
Now who wouldn’t be happy pulling an autograph from that list? Almost all of them would be a great pull. I think this set would be more geared towards the older generation of collectors but if you think about recent releases like Leaf’s Muhammad Ali and Pete Rose releases and Panini’s Beach Boys release, these sets are also geared towards the older collectors and have done well.
I put together some of the cards for fun to give an idea of what I have in mind, excuse the limited design flair I literally put these six cards together in 45 minutes. But I think it gets the point across.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

NBA Draft Lottery Time

I wrote this post before the Lottery selection process began so I didn't know how it played out. We now know the Cavaliers paid someone off to take the top pick after last years Anthony Bennett debacle. I don't think it is very fair to win the #1 position two years in a row let alone 3 out of the last 4 years. 

The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight and I had planned on doing something highlighting NBA cards but looking through my binder I realized that besides a couple of blasters of 2013-14 Pinnacle Basketball I have not bought a pack of NBA cards in years and it has been longer than that since I bought any singles, outside of Steve Kerr cards and some other University of Arizona guys.
I do watch some basketball and I was proud, and surprised, of the Suns this year. They had a successful failure of a season, actually coming within just a game of making the #8 spot in the West. If they were in the East they would have been the #3 seed but instead they are a Lottery team, which is a positive because they can only get better.
This year is looking like a strong class and depending on who you talk to the #1 pick is not a certainty with Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins most likely the top pick. After those two the top 10 include guys like Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Aaron Gordon (a U. of Arizona player).  But we will have to wait until the June draft to see how that plays out.

To add some cards to the post I am adding some of my favorite finds from over the years that now grace my basketball binder.

1988-89 Fleer Michael Jordan: I won this in a pack war when I first returned to collecting in the early 1990s, this is the card that led to the name of my blog. This is my oldest Michael Jordan card.

 1995-96 Fleer Metal Maximum Metal Jordan: The Maximum Metal die-cuts are pretty cool, this is probably my favorite Jordan insert.
 1998-99 Skybox Soul of the Game Allen Iverson: I don't know why but I have always liked AI even though he is full of attitude. I love this card, I think it would be better as a die-cut
 2005-06 Press Pass Lute Olson Autograph: What University of Arizona collection is complete with out the legendary Lute Olson?

2013-14 Pinnacle Clear Vision Larry Bird: I like the Clear Vision cards, they are quite cool.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Professor Enters The Room

I have a couple of recent pickups that I am pretty stoked about, this is one card that has been near the top of my list for a while. In January Russell Johnson passed away, he was probably most well-known for his role as the Professor on Gilligan’s Island, though his acting career spanned nearly 50 years.
I had been looking to add his autograph to my collection for about a year now and when he passed away his autographs launched up in price. There are a number of licensed autographs from Panini, Donruss and Rittenhouse, and someday I hope to add some of these to my collection, but the one that I have been waiting for is this Dart card.
This card is part of a Dart Gilligan’s Island release in 1997 and even though this is a TTM autograph what drew me to this card is that the scene is from my favorite episode “The Invasion”. In the episode the castaways find a brief case marked “Secret” and Gilligan accidently handcuffed the case to his wrist. While he is sleeping he has a dream where he is Super Spy 0014 (because he is twice as good as 007). This scene is from the beginning of his dream where the Professor, acting as an M-like character, briefs Gilligan.
The card shot up in price after Johnson’s death and I have been waiting patiently for it to drop back down, and like most of Russell Johnson’s autographs, it finally did drop in price. After months of sitting at $19.99 and not selling the dealer first dropped it to $14.99 and then finally down to $11.99. I am very excited to have this card finally, now I can start looking to add a Dawn Wells autograph to my collection.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1933 Goudey Ray Kremer

This month’s VCoM goes back to one of my all-time favorite baseball sets, the 1933 Goudey release. Ray Kramer pitched 22 seasons, 12 in the minor leagues and 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. While in the major leagues he was a picture of consistency. In his 10 year pro career he had one losing season (1931 he went 11-15) and he ended with a 143-85 record and a 3.76 ERA. He was the NL ERA Champion twice and led the NL in wins twice and helped lead the Pirates to the World Series Title, winning two games during the Series even besting Hall of Famer Walter Johnson in Game 7 for the title. In 1927 he led the Pirates to the World Series again but they lost to the Yankees led by Murder’s Row.
It is cards like this that I enjoy having in my collection, looking at the card it reminds me of old worn leather, plenty of creases and a personality of its own.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Upper Deck's Shadowbox Frame Wall Art

Upper Deck will occasionally post “Brag” photos on their blog when they have something new or unique. Yesterday they posted up something pretty cool, an evolution of the Shadow Box card. The piece, which is 16x20, is made to be mounted on the wall or displayed like a picture. Essentially it is a large Shadow Box card but significantly more expensive. They have 2 different pieces available, a Gretzky Oilers piece and a Tiger Wood piece, and they both run $1600 (Yikes!)
What is cool is that, like the Shadowbox card, there are layers that make it appear 3 dimensional. With the autograph on the middle acrylic piece it looks like it is floating. Not that I could afford one but a Ken Griffey Jr. piece would be so cool. Even an unsigned (seriously cheaper) version would be neat to have.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Steeeeeve Kerrrrrr!

I am a die-hard Steve Kerr fan, he is one of my personal player collections. I have been watching him since his University of Arizona days in the mid-1980s. He may not have had a Hall of Fame career but his playing days have been filled with challenges and achievements; the 1986 FIBA World Championship Gold medal, led the Wildcats to the 1988 Final Four, 1997 NBA Three-Point Shootout Champion, 5 Time NBA Champion (1996-99 and 2003 w/ Bulls and Spurs) and he has the highest three-point shooting percentage for a season (94-95 season) and career. His time as President and GM of the Suns were filled with rebuilding of the team and an run at the Western Conference Finals.
When rumor began that Phil Jackson wanted Kerr as the Knicks coach I was distraught, I am not a Knicks fan but once the Warriors got tossed in the rumor mill I perked up. I have always felt that Kerr would make a good coach, he has that demeanor and basketball intelligence to lead a team. Will he be successful? I don’t know, the Western Conference is tough but the Warriors are young and Curry is a great catalyst.
In honor of Kerr taking over for Mark Jackson (that was a surprising firing) I am going to post my favorite Steve Kerr trifecta. The first card is actually a pre-rookie from the 1987-88 University of Arizona Tucson Police Department set that my dad got for me when I was 16 years old. The 1997-98 Autographics design is one of my favorites. Selecting a relic from my collection was difficult but with this being a multi-colored relic it wins out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Prize That Is Finally Mine

During the 2013 Industry Summit Famous Fabrics, to promote the upcoming Horrors of War II release, inserted three different relics in random packs. The three relics; WWII Navy Flight Suit, Vietnam Army Uniform and Spanish-American War Tunic, were limited to #/30 each for a total of 90 cards in the set.
I picked up the WWII and Spanish-American War relics right after the Industry Summit but the Vietnam relic card supply dried up. Since March 2013 I have been waiting patiently for a sign of any of the Vietnam relics to show up with no luck. Last week a Canadian dealer posted up two of them for auction, I was in heaven, and at $9.99 (plus $4 shipping) I was the only bidder so I won with no change in the price. I didn’t see what the second one sold for but at the $13.99 total price I paid was actually less than I paid for the other two cards ($18 & $24).
Here are all three of my cards together, a nice collection for a history buff like me. It is always a great feeling when you complete a set, even though this is only 3 cards it was a chase.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Deadman's Hat

In September Topps will be releasing a new WWE product called 2014 Topps Road To Wrestlemania, which seems odd that they would release it half way between Wrestlemania events. Some of the biggest names to appear in the 30 years of Wrestlemania will make an appearance in the set like Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, John Cena, Triple H and more.
While the return of Hulk Hogan and Trish Stratus to a WWE product will probably lead the charge for most collectors the one card that I would prefer over all is the dual relic of the Deadman. Limited to only 22 the card includes a hat relic and pants relic. Sadly the WWE decided to have Brock Lesnar defeat the Undertaker at last month’s Wrestlemania XXX, ending his streak at 21 wins, personally I believe this was a huge mistake on WWE’s part. By far this is one of my favorite WWE relic cards ever.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Play At The Plate Hits 2,000 Posts... Time To Celebrate

When you are a blogger it is always fun to hit a cherished moment like 500 posts or your 1-year anniversary, some of us have been fortunate enough to be around for our 1,000 post or our 5-year anniversary but over at Play At The Plate he has done it in style. In five years he has posted 2,000 times, definitely something to celebrate.

How do you celebrate a momentous occasion like this? You give away a hobby box of 2014 Bowman Baseball, donated by Topps specifically for this give away.

If you are interested in a chance to win the box of 2014 Bowman Baseball just head on over to Play At The Plate and help him celebrate.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Now What Johnny?

Now that the big question of where Johnny Football would end up we ask the question of can a Cleveland Browns player draw in the casual collector to pay the money that Manziel cards are already demanding? His Leaf Cleveland predictor card and Upper Deck autographs are sitting in the $200+ range, not that we are seeing a lot of action on them the cards are still being priced that high.
I am not ripping on Browns collectors, it just seems like players who should be collectible seem to disappear once they put on the uniform. Trent Richardson, Brady Quinn, Kellen Winslow and even going back to the return of the Browns in 1999 with Tim Couch.
Time will tell. Personally I would like to see this kid start the first game so he can show what he can do, there is no way he could do any worse than Tyler Thigpen, Alex Tanney or Vince Young. Using the 2014 Topps Football card design I put together what Manziel's first licensed card may look like.


For a little humor, I came across this picture of a mannequin wearing a Browns QB jersey. This is a list of all of the QBs that have been under center since the 1999 Browns expansion team.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The History Of The NFL's #1

In honor of the 2014 NFL Draft, which should start within the next 30 minutes or so, I decided to put together a piece displaying the rookie cards (if available) of each #1 pick going back to the first NFL Draft in 1936. To keep the post uniform I will use their Topps card if possible, if not available I will use another company’s rookie card. Some of the players did not have rookie cards, if this is the case I will select the earliest card of their career.
So while the card I show may not be from the player’s rookie year the players are in order with the most recent #1 pick at the top. It was pretty common in the early 1980s and before to not include a rookie in a set until the following year, in some cases a player did not appear in a set for a couple of years. For example, Jim Plunkett was the #1 pick in 1971 but his first cards were in the 1972 sets. An extended example would be Tom Cousineau, who was drafted by the Bills in 1979 but his first card is not until 1983 when he was with the Browns. No matter which card I show I will have the player listed correctly in the year they were drafted. For players who had their rookie card, or first card, in a later release I have marked the player as such.

2013 Eric Fisher, OL, Kansas City Chiefs
2012 Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
2011 Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
2010 Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
2009 Matt Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
2008 Jake Long, OL, Miami Dolphins
2007 JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland Raiders
2006 Mario Williams, DE, Houston Texans
2005 Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers
2004 Eli Manning, QB, San Diego Chargers Traded To New York Giants
2003 Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
2002 David Carr, QB, Houston Texans
2001 Michael Vick, QB, Atlanta Falcons
2000 Courtney Brown, DE, Cleveland Browns
1999 Tim Couch, QB, Cleveland Browns

1998 Peyton manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts

1997 Orlando Pace, OL, St. Louis Rams

1996 Keyshawn Johnson, WR, New York Jets

1995 Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

1994 Dan Wilkerson, DT, Cincinnati Bengals (1994 Fleer Ultra)

1993 Drew Bledsoe, QB, New England Patriots

1992 Steve Emtman, DT, Indianapolis Colts

1991 Russell Maryland, DT, Dallas Cowboys

1990 Jeff George, QB, Indianapolis Colts

1989 Troy Aikman, QB, Dallas Cowboys

1988 Aundray Bruce, LB, Atlanta Falcons (RC was in the 1989 Topps release)

1987 Vinny Testaverde, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RC was in the 1988 Topps release)

1986 Bo Jackson, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RC was in the 1988 Topps release)

1985 Bruce Smith, DE, Buffalo Bills (RC was in the 1986 Topps release)

1984 Irving Fryer, WR, New England Patriots (RC was in the 1985 release)

1983 John Elway, QB, Baltimore Colts Traded To The Denver Broncos (RC was in the 1984 Topps release)

1982 Kenneth Sims, DE, New England Patriots (RC was in the 1983 Topps release)

1981 George Rogers, RB, New Orleans Saints (RC was in the 1982 Topps release)

1980 Billy Sims, RB, Detroit Lions (RC was in the 1981 Topps release)

1979 Tom Cousineau, LB, Buffalo Bills (RC was in the 1983 Topps release)

1978 Earl Campbell, RB, Houston Oilers (RC was in the 1979 Topps release)

1977 Ricky Bell, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RC was in the 1979 Topps release)

1976 Lee Roy Selmon, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RC was in the 1977 Topps release)

1975 Steve Bartkowski, QB, Atlanta Falcons (RC was in the 1976 Topps release)

1974 Ed Jones, DE, Dallas Cowboys (RC was in the 1976 Topps release)

1973 John Matuszak, DE, Houston Oilers (RC was in the 1974 Topps release)

1972 Walt Patulski, DE, Buffalo Bills (RC was in the 1973 Topps release)

1971 Jim Plunkett, QB, New England Patriots (RC was in the 1972 Topps release)

1970 Terry Bradshaw, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (RC was in the 1971 Topps release)

1969 O.J. Simpson, RB, Buffalo Bills (RC was in the 1970 Topps release)

1968 Ron Yary, OL, Minnesota Vikings (RC was in the 1972 Topps release)

1967 Bubba Smith, DE, Baltimore Colts (RC was in the 1970 Topps release)

1966 Tommy Nobis, LB, Atlanta Falcons (RC was in the 1967 Philadelphia)

1965 Tucker Fredrickson, RB, New York Giants (RC was in the 1966 Philadelphia)

1964 Dave Parks, WR, San Francisco 49ers (RC was in the 1965 Topps release)

1963 Terry Baker, QB, Los Angeles Rams (I was unable to find a licensed cards, the 1991 Heisman set is shown)

1962 Ernie Davis, RB, Washington Redskins

1961 Tommy Mason, RB, Minnesota Vikings (RC was in the 1962 Topps release)

1960 Billy Cannon, RB, Los Angeles Rams (1960 Fleer)
1959 Randy Duncan QB, Green Bay Packers Signed With CFL British Columbia Lions (RC was in the 1960 Topps CFL release)

1958 King Hill, QB, Chicago Cardinals (RC was in the 1959 Topps release)
Tell me you were thinking this when you read "King Hill"

 1957 Paul Hornung RB, Green Bay Packers

1956 Gary Click, DB, Pittsburgh Steelers (RC was in the 1958 Topps release)

1955 George Shaw, QB, Baltimore Colts (RC was in the 1956 Topps release)

1954 Bobby Garrett QB, Cleveland Browns (1954 Bowman)

1953 Harry Babcock, End, San Francisco 49ers (I was unable to find any cards of Babcock)

1952 Bill Wade, QB, Los Angeles Rams (First card was in the 1951 Topps Magic release)

1951 Kyle Rote, RB, New York Giants (RC was in the 1952 Bowman Small release)

1950 Leon Hart, END, Detroit Lions (1950 Bowman)

1949 Chuck Bednarik, OL/LB, Philadelphia Eagles (1949 Leaf)

1948 Harry Gilmer, QB, Washington Redskins (1948 Leaf)

1947 Bob Fenimore, RB, Chicago Bears ( I was unable to find a licensed card, this is from an Oklahoma State University release)

1946 Frank Dancewicz, QB, Boston Yanks (RC was in the 1948 Leaf release)

1945 Charley Trippi, RB, Chicago Cardinals (RC was in the 1948 Leaf release)

1944 Angelo Bertelli, QB, Boston Yanks (First card was in the 1955 Topps All-American release)

1943 Frank Sinkwich, RB, Detroit Lions (First card was in the 1955 Topps All-American release)

1942 Bill Dudley, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (RC was in the 1948 Leaf release)

1941 Tom Harmon, RB, Chicago Bears (First card was in the 1955 Topps All-American release)

1940 George Cafego, RB, Chicago Cardinals (First card was in the 1955 Topps All-American release)

1939 Ki Aldrich, OL, Chicago Cardinals (I was unable to find a licensed card, the 1941 Redskins Matchbook cover is shown)

1938 Corbett Davis, RB, Cleveland Rams (I was unable to find a licensed card, the 2011 Tristar Obak is shown)
1937 Sam Francis, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (I was unable to find a licensed card, the 2011 Tristar Obak is shown)

1936 Jay Berwanger, RB, Philadelphia Eagles Traded To Chicago Bears (First card was in the 1955 Topps All-American release)
I find it interesting that Jay Berwanger, the first #1 NFL Pick ever, never played a day of professional football. The Eagles drafted him but didn't think they could cover his asking price so they traded him to the Chicago Bears. Chicago offered him $13,500 a year, he countered with $15,000 year. When neither side would move over the $1,500 difference Berwanger decided to quit football and work in a rubber manufacturing plant.