Friday, July 29, 2011

Temporary Absence

I apologize for not having any recent postings, we had an unexpected passing in our family and my wife and I are taking care of the needed arrangements and honestly my mind has not been on sports cards. I will return to blogging next week.

Thank you for understanding,

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Winnipeg Jets New Logo

Today the "New" Winnipeg Jets have unveiled their new logo and it is inspired by the Royal Canadian Air Force. They decided to build a logo that would be a strong identity for the team as well as show respect towards Canada's military.

 I actually like it, I like that the continued with the old Jets color scheme but came out with something new. Now the big question is will the team follow Atlanta's futility or will they make it in to the playoffs sooner then later?

2011 TriStar Obak Dual-Auto Pairings

TriStar is putting up some more preview images of their upcoming 2011 Obak: History of the Game product, which should go live the second week of August. If you are familiar with last year’s product you will know this product which is not necessarily a bad thing in this case.

An interesting concept that caught me eye is the dual-autograph pairings which include Babe Ruth & Charlie Root, Joe DiMaggio & Ken Keltner and Ichiro & George Sisler. Root is the pitcher who gave up Ruth’s “Called Shot” home run during the 1932 World Series. Keltner was the 3rd Baseman who threw out DiMaggio ending his 56-game hitting streak and Ichiro broker Sisler’s 257-hits in a season record.

 I absolutely love the idea but I do not like the design. I know there are licensing issues with using a player’s image but something could have been worked out. The designers used four different fonts (a big no-no in design) and they overloaded the design with text. This is a case where more equals less.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vintage Card of the Month: Jack Pfiester

Jack “The Giant Killer” Pfiester was a decent pitcher who played from 1902 until 1911 though he did come back for one more season with Sioux City Indians in 1916 at the age of 38. Over the length of his career he played for the Spokane Smoke Eaters, San Francisco Pirates, Pittsburgh Pirates, Omaha Rourkes, Chicago Cubs, Louisville Colonels and Sioux City Indians. His lifetime record is 71-44 with a 2.02 ERA, add in his Minor League stats and he went 159-113 with a 2.44 ERA.

This 1909-11 T-206 card shows Pfiester in the “Throwing Pose”, another card in the set shows him in the “Sitting Pose” with an orange background and holding a bat. This card is actually a perfect representation of Pfiester, you notice the rough edges but then you take a closer look and you see a decent card with a nice surface… as long as you don’t get distracted by the giant tear in the corner. I picked up this card years ago, I have always been drawn to this set and will pick up the occasional card from time to time, most unknowns will run a couple of dollars with lesser stars $50 or less depending on the back.

 A couple interesting facts about The Giant Killer,

He pitched a complete game (1-1 tie) with a dislocated tendon in his pitching arm against the Giants in September 1908. The tendon was repaired by a doctor whose nickname was “Bonesetter” Reese.

His lifetime 2.02 ERA ranks him #4 on the All-Time ERA Leaders list ahead of Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and Mariano Rivera.

He went to the World Series 5 times (1x Pirates and 4x Cubs) winning twice with the Cubs in 1907 and 1908 though he only pitched in 5 total World Series games going 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA.

 I came across this picture while he was with the Omaha Rourkes in 1905; Pfiester is in the bottom right corner giving the camera man the stink eye.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TriStar's National Sportscard Collector Convention Promo Cards

The National Sports Collectors Convention is the place where many card companies showcase previews of upcoming sets and they will also often hand out promotional cards for these sets to give an actual on-hand experience for collectors and dealers alike. The most recent company to release details about their special convention cards is TriStar with a 10-card set previewing two sets scheduled to be released this fall- TriStar Obak Baseball: History of the Game and Obak Football.

The 10-card checklist consists of: Ken Griffey Jr., Nolan Ryan, Cap Anson, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Gale Sayers, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Stan Musial, Bob Kalsu, John F Kennedy and Gerald Ford. Each VIP bag will contain 7 random cards and you can pick up the remaining 3 by opening 3 packs of Obak Baseball or Signature IMPACT wrestling at TriStar’s booth and redeeming each wrapper for one of the missing cards.

So far they have released the images of three cards: Gale Sayers, John F Kennedy and Ken Griffey Jr.

Gale Sayers: TriStar has some designers that come up with interesting backgrounds. The 2010 Baseball set was a prime display of randomness.

What exactly does Gale Sayers have to do with Arizona? The background image is a perfect example of a desert moon following one of our monstrous dust storms. This background actually distracts from the player due to the bright coloring and large moon and while it might make a nice postcard you would find up at the Grand Canyon or Tombstone, it is not a background that I like on a card.

John F Kennedy: This card, while accurately displays a young JFK in his Harvard football gear, is a stretch. He played one season, 1937, on the Junior Varsity team and then hurt his back and never played football again. I know that adding presidents to a set is all the rage right now but this one really does not belong in a set. At least Ford played on 2 National Championship teams at Michigan and was offered a pro contract from both Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

Ken Griffey Jr: As a life-long Griffey fan and collector all that could come to mind was:

Come on… we are talking about Ken Griffey Jr…. The Kid… the man we all loved swatting homerun after homerun… the man who played at full-speed all the time (until the 2000 season when he always seemed to be on the DL). But there is my point, here is someone who will always be remembered for his youth and TriStar instead punishes the collectors with a card depicting the old, bloated Griffey. The guy who people claim fell asleep in the club house during a game. A slap in the face to all Griffey collectors really.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Preview: Ringside Boxing Round 2

Schedule Release Date: August 3, 2011
Box Configuration: 8 cards per pack/box
SRP: $100/box

Box Break:
1 Autograph card
1 Memorabilia card
3 Base cards
3 Turkey Red cards

My Thoughts:
Outside of the occasional boxer being added to a release (Like Allen & Ginters and Goodwin Champions) boxing has gotten very little love for the past decade but with Creative Cardboard Concepts Ringside Boxing Round One last year and Leaf’s Muhammad Ali set this year things have changed. CCC is now set to release Ringside Boxing Round Two in August and they are gaining attention with the release.

Last year the release was 10 packs per box with 4 cards per pack, autographs were seeded 1:2 boxes and memorabilia cards were also seeded 1:2 boxes and box prices were around $40-45 each. The change this year to 8 card pack/boxes, while a reduction in cards, now seeds both autographs and memorabilia cards to 1 per box. With these changes comes a double in box prince too. Is the change worth it? Only time will tell.

The 100-card base set consists of 5 different subsets with Gold (#/9) and Onyx (1/1) parallels the Mecca Turkey Red cards will also have both parallels. A big plus is the addition of cut signatures along with Ringside Seat memorabilia cards that contain fight tickets, 1/1 ring side logo relics and there are even 1-per-case hand numbered Muhammad Ali toppers #/10

Hard-signed autographs

Appears to be a solid checklist

Turkey Red cards

Cut signature cards

Muhammad Ali limited case-toppers

Pricey at $100/pack

It is difficult to rate the set because I have only seen a handful of cards, last year’s set was decent and if it is similar to last years product I would expect a solid release.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Preview: In The Game Series 2

In The Game is getting ready to release the second round of their baseball release, 2011 Heroes & Prospects Baseball, next month and they have started to release some information of what we can expect. There will be 5 cards per pack/box with each card being a hit and I would figure similar pricing ($75/pack). I have only seen a couple of images from Series 2 and besides a couple new 1/1 inserts it is built upon Series 1.

 While I am still not a fan of the product what I do like is that In The Game realized some more attention needed to be paid to the “Heroes” part of the set and they added some interesting new 1/1 insert sets.

New this series is:
Heroes Hard Cuts, cut signatures of baseball legends

On The Barrelhead, a portion of the barrelhead from a legends game-used bat

 First Pitch, presidential autographs. Now I have only seen Obama’s autograph so I do not know if previous, still-living, presidents will also be included.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Final Preview Images of 2010 Gold Standard Basketball

Panini posted up some final preview images of the 2010-11 Gold Standard Basketball release, which is scheduled to hit within the next 10 days and expect to pay $175-200/pack.

Each pack contains 12 cards and breaks down:

3 Autograph cards
2 Memorabilia cards
3 Base cards
3 Inserts

I may be taking a leap here but I see this as a product that sells to a specific type of collector. With packs running $200 and the obvious use of gold foil board will turn many people away. Yes there is a chance of pulling a card that contains actual gold (Gold Medalists relics) and who can complain about a solid checklist but there is just too much gold coloring for my eyes. 

 For more preview images, 48 to be exact, head on over to Panini’s blog The Knight’s Lance and take a look at Tracy Hackler’s post.

Wade Gold Medaists Gold Relic
KJ USA Relic

Nash Gold Records Relic
Brooks Autograph

Gilmore Base Card
Mavericks Dual Auto
Gold Threads Insert
Gold Nuggets Insert
Kobe USA Autograph Relic
Durant Relic

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Preview Images of Panini National Treasure NBA

Last month I posted up some preview images from Panini showing their upcoming 2010-11 National Treasure Basketball releases, still set to release in early August. Early pricing has it hitting @ $385/box and you will pull 6 Autos or memorabilia cards, 1 common #/99 and 1 Legend/Rookie/Parallel or other insert.

 I love the patches, who wouldn’t love a Logoman patch or prime multi-colored patch, but the design is just horrid. The designers just seemed to keep adding and adding on these cards. Take the rookie patch-autograph cards, it is like they started with a jumbo patch (good start) but then added some designs, I figure the conversation went something like this…

Designer #1- “OK, we have a solid start with the jumbo patch, oh wait… a quarter-sized player image should go here.”

Designer #2- “Uh oh, we forgot the autograph what should we do?”

Designer #1- “Well let’s just put it on the bottom border and toss in some laurels around it to make it pretty.”

Designer #2- “Sweet, we can now send it to get proofed and then on to print. What’s next on the schedule?

 The Logoman patch cards are pretty cool (Even though they changed from the promo images released last month) and I also like the Souvenir Cuts and ABA Legends autographs but the rest I could easily pass on without a second thought.

Friday, July 8, 2011

End Of The Great Yao Ming Project

Yao Ming has decided to call it a career, ending not like the “Great Center” that many predicted but more like a lamb playing in all of 5 games in the last two seasons due to foot problems. In 9 seasons with the Rockets he averaged 19.0 ppg and 9.2 rpg and he took Houston in to the Playoffs 4 times (3 First Round exits and a Second Round exit). I will admit that I was one of those people who expected him to have a memorable career but that never panned out. I have a feeling people will be saying the same thing about Greg Oden in a few years.

 He showed flashes of brilliance over his career but he has not played in 82 games since his second season. His lifetime total consists of 9,247 points and 4,494 rebounds playing 486 regular season games and 28 playoff games but he never won an NBA Championship, Conference Championship, Division Championship, MVP Award (No major awards actually). He was selected to 8 All-Star teams (His final as an honor not a deserved position), 5 All-NBA Teams (2x 2nd Team and 3x 3rd Team), the All-Rookie Team and the Rookie All-Star team.

 Ignoring his CBA accomplishments he was just an average NBA center, nothing more. I find it funny that people are already talking about his inclusion on the NBA Hall of Fame ballot in 5 years. Does he really deserve a Hall of Fame nod? Here is a list of players based on a monitor score to see how they stack up against other players (HOF, current and retired players). You will notice that Yao Ming is absent from the list (I tallied his score and he only hit 42) falling well below basketball monsters like Steve Francis, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Charles Oakley.

You can find his autographs and relic cards for under $20 easily and his rookies range from a dollar or two up to $100-200 for his 2002 Topps Finest and Upper Deck SPX cards.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Preview: 2011 Topps Tier One Baseball

Topps is taking full advantage of their sole MLB license and have added another release in to their already-swollen release schedule. Topps Tier-One is a mid-range product consisting of serial numbered cards, patches and on-card autographs plus each 12 box case will contain 1 Top-Tier autograph. I am not a fan of this set, I do not like most of the card designs. The Pineda 1/1 is completely hideous, the ghosting around the edge ruins the card and this is coming from a life-long Mariners fan.

Top Tier autographs: Hank Aaron, Albert Pujols, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Bob Gibson, Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Sandy Koufax, Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay, Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton and Evan Longoria.

 Each box runs $84 and contains one pack with 7 cards. Each pack will include:
2 Autograph Cards
1 Relic Card
1 Parallel Card
3 Base Cards