Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 The Year That Was

With a little more then an hour left in 2009 and we can say that the hobby changed greatly this past year. The big changes:

-Panini coming to America to join in on the fun
-Panini buying Donruss
-Panini signing an exclusive NBA license

-Topps signing an exclusive contract with MLB
-Topps losing the NFLPA license

-Upper Deck losing out on the NBA and MLB license
-Upper Deck signing an agreement with MLBPA and NCAA

2010 will be a different landscape with certain licenses being exclusive, but just as Donruss produced baseball cards without a MLB license I think we will still see the 3 major brands pushing out releases in the major sports.

A few hopes for the New Year:

-Sticker autographs go the way of the dinosaur.

-Limited edition and SP cards actually marked as such so they cannot be reproduced ala Rookie Premier fakes and fake patches.

-Donruss hires card designers that don’t love lines and odd shaped die-cut windows.

-Chris Olds actually opens a box without a 1 of 1 or case pull.

-Beckett covers the real hobby, including the good and the bad, and not the fluff pieces that appear month after month .

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why Brett?

I hate to say it considering I have rooted for and respected the guy most of his career, but is Brett Favre blazing his legacy (in a bad way) as he continues to play the way he has over the past 3 seasons? Following the 2007 season Green Bay tanked in the NFC Championship Game at home and then Brett retired in to the sunset but then decided to un-retire and hold the Packers hostage. In New York he started off like a rocket again but then the team lost 4 of the last 5 games and missed the playoffs all together, again Brett scattered out of town on the first bus and left the Jets to rebuild. Now Minnesota has lost 3 of the last 4 games and they went from a Super Bowl lock to being tossed in to the jumble of hopefuls. You wonder if Brett Favre is slowly adding the letter “I” in to the word “Team”.

Favre is at odds with his coach, he is at odds with many of his teammates and he is isolating the fans. Where we once saw a true player sitting there contemplating retirement in Green Bay we now see an egotistical shell of the man wearing Purple for the season, you wonder what team he is going to implode next season.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Custom Mariners Logo Patch Card

Originally uploaded by Jumper48
A few years ago Upper Deck was having a contest where you could design your own cards, the theme was open and left for the designer to create. I decided to throw my hat in the ringer. Since then I have enjoyed creating custom cards and recently I wanted to try and work with relics.

I made this card for my son for Christmas using the logo from a Seattle Mariners baseball cap. This was a unique situation, for most custom cards I would print a front, back and center support card for a total of 3 layers. This time I had to create die-cut windows of varying size to support the card and relic. In total there are 8 layers in this card counting the front, back, relic layer and the die-cut window layers. I probably could have added an additional 4-6 layers because the logo is pretty thick and actually pops out from the card face. This was definitely a learning situation

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ho Ho Ho... Merry Christmas Relic Style

It is now a little past Midnight here, I wanted to take this time to post up a few of my favorite Santa Claus cards that I have picked up over the years. There have actually been quite a few “Santa Claus” inspired cards over the years, mainly in the early 90s when companies like Action Pack, Pro Set, Edge and Pacific included various Santa Claus cards through out their releases. In the 1998 Upper Deck took things a step further and released Santa relics.

I will begin with the first Santa Claus relic card, originally released by Upper Deck in 1998; this card is oversized at 3 ½ “ X 5”. This card was created for Upper Deck employees and special customers only. I bought this card 9 years ago for $20 and I thought I was being ripped off at the time but I wanted to have the card for my son’s first Christmas. The card has become very rare and when you can find them now, they are selling for well over $100. < LINK > If anyone knows how many were released please let me know.

The second card is my Ken Griffey Jr “Santa Hat” card. This card was part of a special holiday release by Upper Deck in 1999. The cards are also oversized, 3 ½” X 5”, and I believe there were 3 cards in the set, Griffey, Kobe and Garnett. This set is also rare but if you are interested in buying one I suggest waiting until after Christmas when the prices drop.

About 6-8 years ago I came across a Santa Claus autograph card created by one of the major manufacturers (I have forgotten which company though). The card has popped up for auction from time to time but I have always lost out in the end. While I still hunt for that elusive Santa autograph, Topps has made things a bit easier for me in the mean time when they released the 2007 Topps Santa set which included 18 cards total, including a 1952 Topps Santa Rookie, a Santa Claus autograph and Santa relic card. I picked the set up in Target after Christmas that year for like $5 on clearance.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Topps Scores Again

Topps just announced that they signed an exclusive deal with Stephen Strasburg, the #1 Pick of the 2009 MLB Draft. I wonder if UD was even in the running or if this was a slam-dunk for Topps.

The question now is how long will it be before we see Strasburg breaking in to the Nationals starting lineup. I have a feeling that he will either be the #2 starter in 2010 behind Jason Marquis or you will never see him pitching in a National uniform. He is said to have so much potential and there has been a list of pitching prospects that were rushed to the Majors who ended up not living up to expectations, most recently Rick Ankiel, Kerry Woods, Mark Prior and Andrew Miller come to mind and you hope that Strasburg does not get added to that list.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

JaMarcus Russell From Top Dog To Left Out

JaMarcus Russell may want to begin packing his bags, it looks as if his position as the starting QB has ultimately been sacked. Russell was benched when the Raiders brought in Bruce Gradkowski who led the Raiders to a pair of upset wins over the Bengals and Pittsburgh before tearing the MCL ligaments in both knees.

You would think that this would be an opportunity for Russell to step up and show that he is the true starter but the Raiders instead choose to use Charlie Frye, who has not played in a game in over a year, to be the starter. To add insult to injury they signed JP Losman, who was not even playing in the NFL, to be the Third string QB. You wonder how long it will be before Losman becomes the #2 guy and Russell is handing out water and towels during timeouts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Bengals Chris Henry Has Passed Away

Bengals Henry Football
Originally uploaded by Jumper48

Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chris Henry, after a fall from the back of a pickup truck, is reported to be on life support and “Battling for Life” in a Charlotte, NC hospital. According to a police report Henry and his fiancĂ© were having a “domestic dispute” when she attempted to leave the residence in a pickup. Henry jumped in to the back of the pickup as she drove away and at some point he fell from the back of the truck.

Chris Henry has had a spotty off-field record and was one of the on-going embarrassments for the Bengals over the years with his numerous arrests and suspensions from the team. He was actually released by the team in 2008 but returned before the beginning of the next season. This season he was used sparingly and had only 12 receptions for 236 yards before breaking his arm in October.

He may not have a HOF career but he has been productive for the team when he has focused and this would be a terrible end for young life. Unfortunately the vultures have already begun showing up on eBay, listing cards for $50 and up for what could have been purchased for a few cents just yesterday.

My hopes and thoughts go out to the Henry family.

UPDATE 12/17

Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chris Henry passed away this morning due to the injuries he sustained after falling out of the back of a pickup truck yesterday afternoon.

Like everyone else in the sports community I would like to send my condolences to the Henry family, his fiancé and their 3 children.

Patch Works- Kolb

Originally uploaded by Jumper48
Player: Kevin Kolb
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Set: 2007 Leaf Rookies & Stars - Longevity
Card # : 221
Serial # : 1/2
Description: The letter “L” and part of “B” cut from the jersey Kolb wore at the 2007 Rookie Premier

This was a nice card, I was a bit disappointed by the letter placement considering they could have easily made this a 4 card set instead of a 2 card set. So instead of getting just the "L", I get a cut off "L" and a seriously cut off "B".

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Playoff National Treasure Rookie Signature Preview

Panini posted a few more images from the 2009 Playoff National Treasure Rookie Colossal Prime Jersey Number Signature inserts and I think this is one of the most bad-ass patch cards that I have ever seen. If I was offered this card or an NFL Shield patch version I think I would actually take this one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Playoff National Treasure- Rookie Signature Preview

The 2009 Playoff Nation Treasure football set is scheduled to be released on January 27, 2010 and Panini recently released some photos of the actual Rookie Colossal Prime Jersey Number Signature inserts. These cards are numbered to /50 or less and contain on-card signatures.

You will find the top rookies of 2009 in the set including Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, Beanie Wells and Mark Sanchez. This looks to be a nice set and Panini finally learned to keep the design simple and forget the sticker autographs.

I will review the entire product at a later date, I just wanted to get out some of the images of the Rookie Signature inserts. Hopefully this will be a trend for Panini.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jackie Deserves Better

Originally uploaded by Jumper48
Jeff at New Card Smell recently wrote up a story about cut autographs and gave his take on the subject. I got inquisitive and took a look at cut autos up for auction on eBay and was surprised to come across an abomination of a card <link>.

I am utterly surprised to see that someone at Upper Deck thought it would be a great idea to take a machete to this beautiful Jackie Robinson autograph and then stick it in to a card, number it to /7 and call it a day.

I guess there are collectors out there that have similar feelings about this card because it could not even garner the .99-cent opening bid. It truly is a sad day when a Jackie Robinson autograph can’t even sell of under a buck. To make things worse, or hilarious depending on how you see it, the seller turns around and takes this horrific card that could not even sell for $1 and puts it up for a Buy It Now of $1,599 with free shipping

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Umaga RIP

Originally uploaded by Jumper48
It has been reported that former WWE wrestler Umaga, real name Edward Fatu, has passed away earlier Friday evening following his second heart attack. Over the last 3 years Fatu had been connected with growth hormones and this past Summer was released from WWE after failing his second drug test and refusing to go to rehab. It is pretty sad to look through a list of wrestlers who have died over the last 10 years, too many of them are dying of either drug related or heart problems and most are under the age of 50. Obviously there is a connection here.

While I will not say that there has been a mass influx of Umaga cards showing up for auction, there has been a significant amount posted in the last 12 hours with his autographs leading the way. Currently a 2006 Heritage II autograph card <link> is closing in on $40 with 2 days left.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The End Of Wax Heaven?

Mario Alejandro of Wax Heaven made a most unexpected post today <link>. Apparently he will be shutting down Wax Heaven by the end of the year. Details will follow shortly as to why and what this means for him and the website, but if this is a permanent shut down this will be a sad day for the sports collecting blogsphere.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Patch Works- Newton & Chandler

Originally uploaded by Jumper48

Player: Joe Newton and Scott Chandler
Team: Oregon State and Iowa
Set: 2007 Topps Draft Picks and Prospects- Senior Standouts
Card # : SSCR- NC
Serial # : 40/49
Description: Patches from the jerseys of Joe Newton and Scott Chandler that were worn at the 2007 Senior Bowl.

Some pretty decent patches as far as patches go considering who the players are.

Joe Newton went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft and signed with the Seattle Seahawks, he currently sits on the Seahawks practice squad and has never played a professional down in the NFL.

Scott Chandler has done a little better, drafted in the 4th Round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played in 1 game for the Chargers and was waived after the 2008 season. He is currently on the Dallas Cowboy's practice squad.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who Dat?

The New Orleans Saints are 11-0 this season, Drew Brees is on track to throw for over 4,500 yards and has a 3-1 TD to INT ratio and Marques Colston should top 1,000 yards received for the season. The Saints even topped the New England Patriots Monday night to show that they are a team to consider for the long run.

You have to wonder then, why are the Saints player’s cards selling for pennies compared to some of the other top players in the league? You can get a Drew Brees 2009 Limited Auto/Jersey card for under $2 with 4 days left. His rookie cards are selling for literally cents. A Marques Colston 2008 Limited Jersey/Auto #/25 is going for .99 cents with no bids. Even Reggie Bush, once the darling of the 2006 NFL Draft, has autos and jersey cards under $10 each. These same cards were selling for hundreds of dollars a few years ago but are now being used as kindling.

I understand that Bush has been producing less and less each year but the rest of the team has been putting up significant numbers. There is so much production from this team, WRs Colston, Devrey Henderson and Robert Meachem are all there willing to take a pass from Brees and don’t forget TE Jeremy Shockey. Running the ball are RBs Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas, who are sharing the load equally. This team should be a collector’s dream but there does not seem to be much love outside of Louisiana.

I have been a Saints fan for quite a few years; Bobby Hebert and Sam Mills were two of my favorites. Mario Bates, who played with the Saints from ‘94-97, was a personal friend of mine (even though he ended up choosing ASU over U of A)and I have always been a huge fan of the underdog Drew Brees and Univ. of Arizona product Mike Bell. I am a Saints collector but I seem to be alone in this endeavor.