Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - Indianapolis

Vrooom vrooom! The Collector's Sports Card Tour bus speeds into the Hoosier state. Today we're in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis is home to two pro sports teams - the Colts and the Pacers. It is also home to my writing idol John Green..

..which (mostly) explains why he name-checks Pacers great Rik Smits in his best-selling book The Fault In Our Stars.

I have a few Rik Smits cards in my binder..and a few Detlef Schrempf cards..

 ..but my all-time favorite Pacers player is Reggie Miller.  

Dennis sent 31 cards of #31 in the big box I received last week:

I think I have over 40 Miller cards now, which has to be the most I have of any one NBA player. Thanks again, Dennis!

The only other Pacer in my star player box is Paul George, or "Playoff P" as he calls himself.

I have one more George card in my 2015-16 Donruss box. (I'm keeping these separate from the rest of my basketball cards - for now.)

Myles Turner might be the only current Pacer in my collection. 

The Antonio Davis crystal parallel was one of a baker's dozen in the eBay box. 

I bought this Chris Mullin refractor for just over $1 on COMC. 


Mama! There goes that man. Mark Jackson, Mullin, and Miller were teammates on the 1999-2000 Eastern Conference champion Pacers - the only finalists in the franchise's NBA history.

I have no personal ties to Indiana - but a lot of my favorite athletes and entertainers do. My favorite comedian Jim Gaffigan has Indiana roots. Don Mattingly and Larry Bird (head coach of that 2000 Pacers team) were among my favorite sports stars of the 80's, and one of my all-time favorite football stars is Colts legend Peyton Manning.

Manning was a maestro on the field, and he's been just as much fun to watch off the field, appearing in at least a dozen commercials, guest-hosting Saturday Night Live, roasting Ann Coulter Rob Lowe and hosting the ESPYs.

For a while it seemed like Manning and the Colts would never get past their arch-rival Patriots and win the big one - but the five-time NFL MVP led Indy* to its only Super Bowl victory in 2006.

*the Colts won Super Bowl V when they were still in Baltimore

I was thrilled for "The Sheriff" - especially since he beat Tom Brady and my team's arch-rival, the Bears.

I've never had any Manning relics or autos, though my dream football card would be a triple auto of Dan Marino, Brett Favre, and Peyton. I did have some of his lower-end RCs like Playoff Prestige and UD3, but I sold them for an upgrade:

This is likely my only Manning RC; I had two copies of his 1998 Finest RC (one was part of a complete set) but I think those are gone, too. 90's Finest/Chrome cards do not hold up well.

The Colts' line of succession rivals only the Favre-Rodgers era in Green Bay. Manning led the Colts to ten or more wins in 10 of his first 11 seasons, then missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury. After the Peyton-less Colts finished the season 2-14 they drafted Andrew Luck first overall.

Peyton Manning is on the front of this Passing The Torch card

For a guy with horseshoes on his helmet and "Luck" on his back, Andrew has already had more injury misfortune than Manning. Luck missed the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury, and Indianapolis finished 4-12 without him. The Colts traded down with the Jets and will pick 6th overall in tomorrow's NFL Draft.

Because I've stopped buying new football products, I don't have any Luck base cards. The Colts cards in my star player box are all retired players.

Have I mentioned how much I love 2002 Topps Pristine?

These blue refractor cards were cheap COMC buys. The Harrison Masterpieces was part of a trade stack I claimed from Chris (Nachos Grande)

I wrote a statistical analysis post about running backs and accidentally proved that Edgerrin James should be in the Hall of Fame ("accidentally" because the post subject was then-Colts RB Frank Gore.)

I really need to replace my irregular-sized binder pages before I wreck all my irregular-sized cards like this box topper.

In my Green Bay post I mentioned that I bought a few autographed 8 x 10s at a memorabilia store in my local mall. This Marshall Faulk auto was in the group; the first one I picked out was smudged and I marched back into the store and switched it out.

My other PSA-graded Colts RC. Marshall Faulk was the best all-around back of my generation; I'm surprised that this card was only $10.

Like Faulk, Eric Dickerson also ran for the Colts and Rams. This is the only Colts relic in my collection; it's numbered to 75.

I've got a small Dickerson PC, including an unopened Starting Lineup figure from 1988 and his 1984 Topps RC, which you'll see in my Los Angeles post.

The latest addition is this "1987" Donruss card, which cost me a mere 45 cents on COMC.

The NFLPA logo is missing at the bottom because Pro Set.

All of the items you've seen in this post are in my possession - until now. I wanted to acknowledge the fact that hockey legends Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier started their pro hockey careers with the WHA's Indianapolis Racers before the team folded in 1978.

There are a couple mainstream Gretzky issues that picture him with a Racers jersey, but I don't have them in my collection. And if I'm going to show you cards I don't have, why would I choose a black-and-white card from 1990-91 Topps?

This aftermarket oddball looks like it belongs in a repack - but it has actually been the subject of confusion, as some sellers have tried to pass it off as a legit pre-rookie card.

Colts card I'd like to own: A Peyton Manning relic

Pacers card I'd like to own: Eventually I'd like to complete the 1988-89 Fleer set, and the Reggie Miller RC is one card I still need.

Favorite Colts player: Andrew Luck... but holy crap Adam Vinatieri is still kicking? Wow.

Favorite Pacers player: TBD. Let's see how this series with the Cavs shakes out.

Next tour stop: Jacksonville

Thanks for reading!


Monday, April 23, 2018

Blog Bat-Around: We need a catcher, not a belly scratcher

I'm caving into peer pressure and joining Zippy Zappy's Blog Bat Around 

I'm not much of a TTM/IP collector, and some of the autographed items I do have are buried in a closet somewhere. (I've scheduled a vacation week in May for some serious spring cleaning.)

You may have already seen some of these on my Sports Card Tour, where I discuss some of my favorite cards, players, and teams in a city-by-city review (my Houston post is here) I will likely repeat some items you see in today's post, but I couldn't pass up this great idea.

Like some other bloggers, I won't exactly be following ZZ's guidelines. This is a matter of necessity, not an act of defiance. I really tried to build a bullpen, honest. But I'm lucky I have one guy that can maybe close out games. And my catching situation is ..well, you'll see.

Behold! The best lineup I could make out of autographed cards in my collection.

Leading off...the Left Fielder. Number six. Stan Musial. 

Bought this on eBay a year or two before he passed.

Batting second...the Right Fielder. Number six. Al Kaline. 

 Pulled this out of a tin I bought from Dave and Adam's.

Batting third...the Designated Hitter. Number thirty-four. David Ortiz. 

 Snatched this up on COMC during a Black Friday sale.

Batting cleanup...the Center Fielder. Number seven. Mickey Mantle.

My mom gave this to me a few years ago. I don't remember how or where she got it, but she had it in her closet since at least the early 90's.

Batting fifth...the First Baseman. Number three. Harmon Killebrew.

 Bought this for $30 sometime around 2003-04 at a card shop in the mall.

Batting sixth...the Third Baseman. Number seventeen. Kris Bryant. 

 Bought ungraded for about $200 in December 2014. Submitted to BGS via COMC.

Batting seventh...the Second Baseman. Number fifteen. Dustin Pedroia. 

 I have five Pedroia autos in my collection. These two were acquired on COMC.

Batting eighth...the Shortstop. Number nineteen. Robin Yount. 

I also have an 8 x 10 auto which I promise to find before my Milwaukee post. 

Batting ninth...the Catcher. Number twenty-three. Blake Swihart.

Yes, Swihart finally gets to play. No, he does not belong with these legends.

On the mound...the Starting Pitcher. Number nineteen. Bob Feller.

One of my first major purchases on COMC.

My bench would look like this:

This Duke Snider ball was a pack war prize. (I'm too lazy to take a better photo.)

Matt (Bob Walk The Plank) sent me this Jim Rice Cooperstown card.

I bought this Nomar Garciaparra on eBay a few years ago.

I pulled this Tony Oliva from a tin I purchased at a card show about eight years ago.

This Omar Vizquel auto was a $5 impulse buy at a card show I attended last month.

Can't recall where I got this Bill "Moose" Skowron auto. eBay maybe?

The rest of my pitching rotation..and one relief pitcher:

Jim Palmer signed this for me at the East Coast National a few years back. 

I bought this Johnny Podres auto for $10 at the same show that Palmer signed my photo.

Last but closer. Tremble in fear before the Bard!

To be fair, Daniel Bard was a solid setup man...for about three seasons. But that's the best I've got. I don't even have an autographed card of a relief pitching prospect. Guess I'll have to hope that The Mick, The Man, and Big Papi can out-slug our opponents.

This was fun. I think I might do one for hockey, if that's okay. My lineup will be much more balanced.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Zippy for the great BBA idea!