Thursday, February 25, 2021

Prizmachrome

Panini Prizm singles are one of my go-to searches on BaseballCardStore. I used to hoard as many as I could find in card show dime boxes but the last time I attended the Milford show they had been mostly picked clean. The online dime box still has plenty of Prizm, though the big names get scooped up fast. 

 

This Devan Dubnyk from 2013-14 is one of about a dozen Prizm cards I picked up in my latest order. 

I actually had a dream the other night that Dubnyk was drafted by the Seattle Kraken. Well, I have to assume it was Seattle - there were no logos or anything. It was just a tall man in a suit jacket and tan pants (he looked too young to be Ron Francis) standing behind a card table in a banquet room. There was a large notebook on the table, about the size of a guestbook. The nameless GM paced a bit behind the table saying "Now all we need is a goalie." (*btw, expansion teams always pick goalies first - not last.) 

He scribbled in the book as he said "Dubnyk" and I groaned from the other side of the table "Oh, come on!" like I was upset we 'lost' Devan - though I can't be sure if I was a fellow GM or a fan. 

As Shoebox Shane mentioned on his blog, this was the only proper Prizm set issued for the NHL. O-Pee-Chee Platinum has filled the void, and I pick up singles of those whenever I can, too: 

The Baseball Card Store is based in Canada - and flippers often lay off of hockey cards - so their inventory is especially abundant. I only picked up a half-dozen this time because I've bought so many hockey singles in the past that my boxes are overflowing. No parallels here, though I can get those on COMC fairly cheaply - if I ever order from them again. 

I'm currently working on two Prizm set builds - 2014-15 basketball and 2015 football. I'm six cards away from finishing the NBA set - but three of those are high-end RCs including Joel Embiid. Not sure if I should keep trying to finish that set, the Embiid might out of my budget. 

The 2015 Prizm football set doesn't have any high-end RCs to worry about, but I've got less than a third of the set and BBCS doesn't have any (more) singles I need. That didn't stop me from picking up some Prizm football: 

No big names but some above-average players - and a Packer is always a nice find. Delanie Walker shares my birthday.
 

If you can't see the names they are: Jameis Winston, Gerald McCoy, Duke Johnson, Andy Dalton, Danny Woodhead, and Martellus Bennett.
 

I'll pick up Donruss Optic cards for a dime, too. (The last two 2017 Prizms are Jadeveon Clowney and Tom Savage.) Sometimes I'll pick up Optic baseball even though they're unlicensed but I don't usually seek out any Prizm baseball singles. 

That said, I have been hoarding 2018 Topps Chrome cards ever since I bought a megabox at Wal-Mart.


These seven singles bring my total to 65 out of the 200-card set. No big names here either but rookies are always good; they're tougher to trade for. I filled out this scan with a Kevin Russo X-fractor from one of the mystery repacks I purchased from BaseballCardStore. 


 

Are you working on any Chrome or Prizm set builds?




Thanks for reading!




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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Completely Arbitrary Repack

This past Saturday I received a surprise package from Brian, author of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.  Apparently I'd won a contest at the end of 2019 by correctly guessing Brian would choose 1974 Topps as his next setbuild. My prize for winning this completely arbitrary contest was a repack box with a 1974 Topps Cecil Cooper showing: 


If I ever went anywhere interesting this would make a great wallet card.

This custom-made repack was loaded with Red Sox - and there was more than one hit included:



The Bernie Carbo autograph (in the '74 Topps design) is my favorite here.
 



More shiny. The Aurora insert is really nice. I'm interested to see where JBJ will sign - and when.


Lots of guys who aren't Red Sox anymore. I think Benintendi will break out in Kansas City.
 

Some Packers oddballls and a Ted Williams stamp. It's not every day that I add a new Packer to my collection but this is definitely my first card of Emmitt's brother Emory Smith (he's not even listed on Pro Football Reference) The Ken Ellis is a Wonder Bread issue, and the David Whitehurst comes with a COA. As promised, the repack came with a sealed pack - BBM Diamond Heroes. I haven't opened it yet. 


Brian, thanks again for the surprise repack!


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About ten days ago I placed an order on the Beckett Marketplace. I was on the hunt for some missing All-Time Teams players and found a seller who offered free shipping with just a $12 purchase. I filled my cart with 17 cards totaling $22.60 - a third of that ($7.50) was for a 1969 Topps Reggie Smith single listed as "Near Mint-Mint" - and placed my order. Usually I get an email within a day or two if any cards were out of stock - which was apparently an issue with other collectors who bought from Mac's Collectibles. 


I didn't get an email that anything was out of stock, and I didn't get an email that my order had shipped. A week after placing the order I emailed Mac's and asked them for an update. I got no response. Today the entire $22.60 was refunded without an explanation. Just an FYI for those of you who shop on the Marketplace - unless you're buying from Burbank or 7th Inning Stretch, proceed with caution. 

Guess I'll have to fill those All-Time Teams needs through TCDB trades...



Thanks for reading!



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Monday, February 22, 2021

They're gonna eat the mystery pack! Even dad won't eat the mystery pack. These guys are cool!

My order from the Baseball Card Store arrived today - a day early I might add. Last time I ordered from there Stephen & co. included an extra mystery pack. This time I got a Martin Brodeur bonus:

This is what everyone's yard looks like right now. (Well, maybe not Fuji's) Oh, and this card is numbered to 999.

I did not pick out any basketball singles but I grabbed one mystery pack just for fun. Here's what a dollar gets you on bbcs.ca:


I have to assume that even the most overproduced MJ card would sell for a dollar by itself. Anything else in this pack would be a bonus.


Three Kings including a cool team card, a Nuggets logo card (love it), a parallel, and a Hall of Famer. I actually thought the Bill Walton was unlicensed at first because I didn't see any team name above his number. Then I saw the Laker and scratched my head for a second before noticing the 'blazers' wordmark along the side of Walton's jersey. Vertical lettering never made any sense to me.


One third of a card fell out of the repack, and it's a pretty good one. Walter Davis was once attached to this card with East All-Star(??) George Gervin, but it's almost as cool without the Iceman. The prize for me is the Isiah Thomas All-Star sticker, which is a nice upgrade from the one I got in a TCDB trade.

I'm probably going to get a half-dozen posts out of this order, but first I have to catch up on some other arrivals. If you haven't bought from BaseballCardStore I highly recommend it.


Thanks for reading!



p.s. Did any of you follow Allie Brosh's blog Hyperbole and a Half? Or Brandon and Bryan at A Beer for The Shower? Those were among the first blogs I ever followed. Wonder what happened to them..


 

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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Reader Ken Strikes Again

Two months ago friend of the blog Ken jumped into my NFL week swap meet, sending a box of over 400 football cards that pushed me past 10,000 total.

In my last post I stated a new goal to complete each Topps flagship baseball set from the 2010s and he chipped in again - this time sending two boxes of 2013 baseball cards that pushed me over 30,000 total for that sport!

 
Before Ken's box arrived I had 156 of the 660 cards in the base flagship set. There were 205 cards from 2013 Topps included in Ken's box. Will I get to 50% of the set?


Not quite but Ken doubled my total, which is awesome. But wait! There's more!

I wasn't planning on building the 2013 Topps Update set, as I only had 13 of the 330 cards. Until now. With Ken's contribution of 190 new cards I'm at 61.5% completion of the update set. Hmm..

But wait! There's more!

16 inserts were inserted, mostly Chasing History. Lots of big names here. But wait! There's more!

The second box contained 2013 Bowman cards - another nice surprise. Ken, thanks again for all the great cards!

 

Two packages arrived in today's mail - a stuffed bubble mailer from Brian (which I will get to later in the week) and a small trade from TCDB user clay. I offered up sixteen Steelers cards and got these in return:

Six cards from '16 Donruss football. I'm down to just 36 needs for this 400-card set but only five away from completing the non-rookie chunk of the set (the first 300 cards).


Some Stillers from the Stillers fan. I now have 93 of the 300 cards from 2015 Panini Prizm, with one more on the way in a separate TCDB trade. Speaking of Yinzers, do any of you watch U-Tree on YouTube?


Lots of good stuff here including Kelsey Cook, the last of the three A & G cards on my wantlist. Nolan Ryan completes my 2011 Topps Lineage set build! Jeter was a big name I needed for 2014 Topps. This Eric Dickerson sunset card could be used for a future post on The 1993 (not that anyone would notice)  The 2013 Prizm Clay - from clay - leaves me just two rookies short of completing the Packers team set. Finally a Marino Mosaic to go with the fat pack I bought earlier this winter. And while we're at it..


This misnumbered stadium card from 1993 Triple Play completes my Marlins All-Time Team. I've been working hard at completing this frankenset and there are lots of new additions on the way from baseballcardstore (which has shipped) and Beckett (which hasn't - and the seller's feedback has me worried.)  The All-Time Teams wantlist has been updated and you may have noticed a new name or two. I've found some "missing" players and I made some roster moves. Perhaps I'll discuss them if anyone is interested.


Thanks for reading!






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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

What's Next?

I helped myself to some hockey cards as a reward for finishing the All-Time Teams series. These are the first cards I scanned with the scanner I got for Christmas:

I'd found a seller with two 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee cards I needed and a ton of older hockey cards in high grade. The only one that fit my collection was this Serge Savard single from 1970-71 OPC:

After some back-and-forth negotiating through eBay Best Offers I added this to my 1970s Canadiens collection for $34.20. More than I wanted to spend, but at least the shipping was free.

If this sounds like a lot to spend on such a card (especially in NM 7) it probably is. I'm still having trouble grappling with the sale prices of high-grade singles these days; I knew they'd appreciate in value but it's happened a decade ahead of schedule. For instance, here is the oldest Wayne Gretzky card I own:

This was scanned on my old machine. Can you see the difference?

I spotted this Gretzky at a card shop/batting cage nearby that I used to frequent before my girls were born. It was ungraded, in a top loader, displayed in a showcase with a handful of other hockey cards. I asked the shopkeep how much he wanted for the card and I think he said $20. I examined it in my hand, noted the tiny imperfection on the left edge.. and bought it anyway. Then I sent it to PSA in my next submission, where it returned a Mint 9 as you can see. For years I had a nice $30-50 card on my hands.

Look at what this single sells for now. Whoaaa baby!


Here are a couple cards from my first 4 Sharp Corners order in November 2013:

 

I was on a bit of a mission to collect great players' rookie cards in high grade - and 4 Sharp Corners had loads of 'em at the time. This Greg Maddux Fleer Glossy XRC cost $41.27 then. It sells for $200-300 today.

As for the Jagr.. I purchased that card mainly because he was playing for the Devils in 2013. It was a card that I'd seen quite a few times ungraded, despite it being less common than his Score or Upper Deck RCs. This one set me back $34.39. Fuji clued me in to what these sell for now. Good lord, that's just mind-boggling! 

I never bought these cards to flip for a profit - at least not this quickly - but I'm sitting on enough cards that are suddenly selling for triple digits (or more) that I am seriously considering a Shoebox Legends-style sell-off.

There are so many important things I could do with a sudden influx of cash - invest it, save it for home repairs, or a new house, or the girls' college fund. Or I could finish my 1956 Topps set and then sell that in a few years (or not.)  

 
One more on the way..

My latest purchases are not going to appreciate in value. The 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee set is a money pit, something I'm working on bit by bit just as a challenge. Savard and the Habs project are one of a handful of half-finished mini-sets I'm chipping at slowly, like the 1961 Golden Press set or 1964 Topps Giants. 


The hobby is getting harder to enjoy. Sports in general are harder to enjoy, and after last year I've learned to live without them. Too many ads in NHL games. Too many super-teams in the NBA. Too many rule changes in the MLB. And until Tom Brady retires or dies (whichever comes first) I won't be able to truly enjoy the NFL again. 

New cards don't excite me anymore. The prices have skyrocketed, the flippers hoard everything that was previously affordable, and the monopolies have produced more cards with far less effort and attention to detail. I don't see myself collecting future releases much, if at all. Instead, I'm going back.

Aside from the vintage/graded projects previously mentioned I plan to complete the run of 2010s Topps baseball sets. I've got a factory set of 2011, and hand-collated sets of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. That leaves 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014. None of these are particularly exciting- though I kinda like '13. But it gives me something to trade for since I've still got hundreds of 2017, 2018, and 2019 Topps dupes.

 

If anyone has piles of these cards taking up space let me know and I'll be happy to make a deal.



As for what's next here.. I'm not sure. I have an order on the way from baseballcardstore.ca that I'll discuss when it arrives - though that might not be until March considering the weather and the post office. I do have an idea for The 1993 though. It's not in my nature to fish for followers, but.. if I can get 25 readers over there, I will reward you with a list of my 93 favorite cards of 1993 - across all sports.

It won't be as insightful as Night Owl's Countdown of 1980s cards but I think it will be fun. Until then...




Thanks for reading!



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Sunday, January 31, 2021

All-Time Teams: Finale

We've reached the end of The Collector's NHL All-Time teams series! Before I reveal the Rovers, our "Best of the Rest" roster I want to sincerely thank those of you who read these posts - whether you followed along with every team or just stopped by to see your favorites. I know hockey isn't the most popular sport on the blogs and I wasn't expecting the same amount of feedback as I got on my MLB All-Time Teams series. This was a labour of love, and I'm thrilled that it received as many comments as it did. 

If you missed a post and/or you'd like to go back to re-read any of these rosters, the entire catalogue is listed in a brand new tab at the top of this blog. And now, without further ado, here are the leftover Rovers:

source

So... here's the problem I was tasked with when creating this roster: I had to select the best 23 players from a pool of hundreds of players who were not selected to an 'established' All-Time roster. 

It was easy to identify modern stars that didn't stay in one place or were stuck behind all-time greats - but it became much more difficult to compare them to Hall of Famers from the early days of hockey.

Until 1967 there were only six teams in the league - did that make the competition tougher, or easier? And how am I supposed to compare players who played 24-game seasons in the 1920s to those who played 82-game seasons in the 2000s? I'm not Stan Fischler or Bob McKenzie. And so I decided to create two more teams. Here are your pre-expansion Rovers. I'll spare you the details on these guys.

1st Line: Cy Denneny(Senators) - Nels Stewart(Maroons) - Hooley Smith(Maroons)

2nd Line: Toe Blake(Canadiens) - Max Bentley(Leafs/Hawks) - Roy Conacher(Blackhawks)

3rd Line: Bert Olmstead(Canadiens) - Frank Nighbor(Senators) - Gordie Drillon(Leafs)

4th Line: Lynn Patrick(Rangers) - Joe Primeau(Leafs) - Bobby Bauer(Bruins) 

Spares: Cooney Weiland(Bruins), Sweeney Schriner(Leafs/Americans) 

Defense Pair 1: Bill Gadsby(Hawks/Rangers), King Clancy(Senators/Leafs) 

Defense Pair 2:  Babe Pratt(Rangers/Leafs), Georges Boucher(Senators) 

Defense Pair 3: Lionel Conacher(Maroons), Jean-Guy Talbot(Canadiens) 

Spare: Bill Quackenbush(Bruins/Red Wings)

Goalies
: Bill Durnan(Canadiens), George Hainsworth(Canadiens)

Head Coach: Dick Irvin
(Canadiens)  Captain: Toe Blake


*
The Senators noted above are not the same franchise as the current Ottawa Senators.


And now, your post-expansion Rovers roster:


1st Line


Left Wing - Steve Thomas A two-time 40-goal scorer, Steve Thomas tallied the same amount of goals (421) in his 20 year-career as Vincent Lecavalier and Joe Thornton. "Stumpy" leads all remaining left wings with 933 career points. He played the bulk of his career for Chicago and Toronto, but his best shot at an All-Time Team would have been with the Islanders, where he produced 258 points in just 275 games.

Center - Pierre Turgeon A point-a-game player overshadowed by Gretzky, Lemieux, and Yzerman, Pierre Turgeon has the most goals (515) and the most points (1,327) of any unaffiliated player. The four-time All-Star also had his best seasons on Long Island in the early 1990s, posting 340 points in only 255 games. Turgeon's tenures in Buffalo and St. Louis were nearly as successful - but neither lasted more than 327 games.

Right Wing - Joe Mullen The first of four Hall of Famers on this roster, Joe Mullen won two Lady Byng trophies and a Stanley Cup in Calgary - where he notched 388 points in 345 games. However Calgary's All-Time roster had no room on the right side. Mullen wasn't a great fit in St. Louis - where he scored 335 points in 301 contests - and his 325 points in six seasons with Pittsburgh weren't enough to slide into the Penguins' roster.


2nd Line


Left Wing - Cory Stillman The sixth overall pick in the 1992 draft, Cory Stillman played all three forward positions over his 16-year career. His longest stay was with the team that drafted him, though his 393 games in Calgary yielded the lowest points per game output of the six stops in his career. There aren't a lot of unaffiliated left wings worth considering but Stillman's 449 assists and 727 points is a strong total for a late 1990s-early 2000s star.

Center - Marc Savard A breakout star of the post-lockout years, Marc Savard dished out over 60 assists every season from 2006 to 2009. His brief tenure in Boston ended after 304 games due to concussion issues, and he didn't play enough games for any other franchise. Initially I had him in a group of five similar centers but his playmaking ability and production in a scoring-neutral era earned him the nod over players like Dennis Maruk and Pierre Larouche.

Right Wing - Alex Kovalev How does a player who ranks in the NHL's top 80 all-time in goals and points not find his way onto an All-Time team? Alex Kovalev played nine seasons with the Rangers - where he won a Stanley Cup - producing a solid but unspectacular 330 points in 492 games. He fared better in Pittsburgh, scoring 0.97 points per contest over parts of six seasons. But that Penguins roster is a tough nut to crack - just ask Joe Mullen.


3rd Line

Left Wing - Geoff Courtnall A six-time 30-goal scorer, Geoff Courtnall is as well-rounded a left wing as you'll find on the list of leftover players. In addition to his 799 points in 1,048 games, Courtnall posted a plus/minus rating of +118 and served 1,463 penalty minutes. His best years were in Washington, where he only played two seasons, and Vancouver, where his 246 points in 292 games wasn't enough to push for a roster spot.

Center - Saku Koivu No one on this Rovers' roster played more games for a single franchise than Saku Koivu, who suited up 792 times for the team that drafted him in 1993. Of course that team was the Montreal Canadiens, who didn't have room on their roster for Koivu and his career 0.74 points per game. The Habs' captain for nine seasons, Saku will wear the 'C' for this best-of-the-rest squad.

Right Wing - Tomas Sandstrom One of the toughest roster decisions of this series involved leaving Tomas Sandstrom off the Rangers' All-Time team. The Swedish sniper scored 308 points in 407 games for the Blueshirts in the late 1980s. That wasn't quite enough for an Original Six team with several Hall of Famers in the mix, but his 394 career goals and 856 points are more than welcome on this roster.


4th Line

 
Left Wing - Wendel Clark By popular demand, the 1st overall pick in the 1985 draft has found his way onto a team. Wendel Clark posted six 30-goal seasons including a career-high 46 goals in 1993-94. The bruising power forward totaled 1,690 penalty minutes in 793 games, primarily with Toronto. Clark's -91 rating and 0.73 points per game weren't enough to secure the Leafs' last roster spot over Phil Kessel's -80 rating and 0.88 points per game average, but 330 career goals paired with truckloads of grit and sandpaper can't be overlooked.

Center -  Ken Linseman How about another physical force who can also fill the net? Ken Linseman racked up 1,725 penalty minutes in 860 games  - including 275 PIMs for the Flyers in 1981-82. "The Rat" also notched a career-high 92 points that season, but his 269 total games in Philly weren't enough to crack the Flyers All-Time roster. Linseman scored 372 points in 389 games for the Bruins - another team loaded with great centers.

Right Wing - Bill Guerin Currently the General Manager of the Minnesota Wild, Bill Guerin played for eight NHL teams in his 18 year-career. The Devils' first round pick (fifth overall) in 1989, Guerin only qualified for New Jersey - where he won a Stanley Cup in 1995 but tallied just 214 points in 380 games. A two-time 40-goal scorer, Guerin's 429 career goals are better suited for a top-six role, but the Rovers have loads of options at right wing.

 

Spares - Igor Larionov, Pierre Larouche

A three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, Igor Larionov is enshrined in the Hall of Fame more for his success in the former Soviet Union than the NHL. However his stateside totals are impressive considering his age and the era in which he played: 475 assists, 644 points, and a +104 rating in 921 games from 1989 to 2004. Pierre Larouche averaged over a point per game from 1974 to 1988, piling up between 235 and 255 points in 235-255 games for three franchises: the legendary Canadiens, the forward-rich Penguins, and the Rangers - which might have been his best bet if he'd stayed there a bit longer. 

Pete Mahovlich, Dennis Maruk, and Jim Pappin were among a handful of forwards I considered.


Defense Pair 1


Mathieu Schneider - Jacques Laperriere

Mathieu Schneider is third among unaffiliated players in point shares and third among available blueliners in defensive point shares. His 520 assists leads all available defensemen. A veteran of 21 seasons and 1,289 NHL games, Schneider's only qualifying team was the Montreal Canadiens. The same goes for Jacques Laperriere, a Hall of Famer and five-time Stanley Cup winner whose "best of the rest"  +256 rating wasn't enough to make up for his 40 career goals in 692 games - all with the Habs.


Defense Pair 2

P. K. Subban - Bryan McCabe

The 2013 Norris Trophy winner, P.K. Subban is one of only two active players on this roster. The four-time 50-point scorer tallied 278 points in 434 games for the Canadiens before a 2016 trade sent him to Nashville. At the risk of turning this roster into Montreal's 'B' team (and his production falling off a cliff in Jersey) I think his 77.9 point shares in 721 career games is deserving of a spot on this roster. Bryan McCabe's 97.9 point shares are the second-highest total among available defensemen. A veteran of 15 NHL seasons, McCabe notched three 50-point seasons with the Maple Leafs, the only team for which he played more than three seasons.


Defense Pair 3


Jeff Brown - Carol Vadnais
 
A puck-moving maestro in his fairly short career, Jeff Brown topped 60 points in a season three times including a career-high 78 points for St. Louis in 1992-93. I tried to wedge his 294 points in 329 games onto the Blues' roster but Paul Cavallini seemed like a better fit as a spare. Carol Vadnais earned 92 point shares and tallied 418 assists in his 17-year career. New York was his only option, but the Blueshirts' blueline had so much depth that Jim Neilson, Rod Seiling, and Marc Staal didn't make the cut.


Spare - Dave Ellett

Most of these players are here because they played for Original Six teams. Dave Ellett spent seven seasons with the Maple Leafs, but his best shot at a roster spot was with the Coyotes(née Jets) who just happened to have a glut of offensive-minded defensemen. The Rovers could use another stay-at-home blueliner, but they'll be happy to find a place for Ellett's 568 points and 88.4 point shares.


Goalies

Starter - Carey Price

Backup - Ed Giacomin

There are at least six Montreal Canadiens goalies that deserve a spot on an All-Time team. Carey Price was the easy choice as this team's starter, as he leads all Habs goalies in wins, minutes played, and point shares. The 2015 Vezina trophy winner has several seasons remaining to add to his legacy. Hall of Famer Ed Giacomin was a workhorse for the Rangers in the late 1960s and early '70s. It was a tough call leaving him off New York's All-Time team but the 1971 Vezina trophy winner gets the call here over Andy Moog and Tim Thomas.


Head Coach: Mike Babcock  Captain: Saku Koivu

Mike Babcock has the most wins of any head coach not previously named to an All-Time Team. A Stanley Cup champion in 2008, Babcock won 458 games in ten seasons with the Red Wings - for a .649 winning percentage that would top just about any franchise that didn't employ Scotty Bowman.



This concludes the Collector's All-Time Teams series. It's time for me to take a long break from posting and catch up on other things - including your blogs. Thanks as always for reading!



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