Monday, March 27, 2017

Howe You Doin?

I bought one card this past weekend. 

I was hoping to add some cards to my 1984-85 OPC hockey set, which is now at 70% completion. My source for these PSA-graded singles has been 4 Sharp Corners, but it seems I've cleaned them out; they only have two PSA 9 singles I need, and the PSA 10's are either cards I already have or they're way out of my price range. 

There was one eBay seller who had five singles I needed - including a Denis Savard upgrade. I didn't have a lot of money, but I thought I could grab a couple PSA 9 HOFers for under $10 each and one PSA 10 HOFer for under $15.

This Mark Howe cost me just over $15, which is a bit more than I wanted to pay but a bit less that 4SC is asking for. The PSA9s of Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier sold for $13+ and the Savard PSA 10 did sell for about $10 - but I passed on it because I already had a 9.

Once this card is in hand I'll be at about 71% completion.. which sounds like an accomplishment. But if 4SC doesn't restock their inventory and I have to pay $15 for PSA9 HOFers (not to mention the handful of Wayne Gretzky cards I still need) this is going to get a lot harder from here.

Speaking of difficult projects...I'm at 18% completion of the 1956 Topps Baseball set. My four newest additions were about $15 each:

How are you doing with your set builds? What collecting project(s) are you working on?


Thursday, March 23, 2017

More Women On Cards: A Custom Card Wishlist

While writing my last post, I thought of some cards I would like to add to my meager collection of Women On Cards (the Whitney Houston anthem card, another Manon Rheaume, any Alex Morgan, etc.)  ..and then I thought of cards that do not actually exist. 

There are plenty of great female athletes missing from my collection. Wouldn't it be cool if I could create customs with some of my favorite sports card designs? Well, I can't. I don't have Photoshop - and even if I did, I don't know how to use it. But some of you do...

A few months ago Jupiterhill (Royal Card Review) created multiple customs of local track star and 2016 Summer Olympian Sydney McLaughlin, at my request. So I thought I'd put some more requests out there. Then I remembered that I had contacted Gavin (Baseball Card Breakdown) about potentially creating a sampler of celebrity sports fans similar to the "Fans Of The Game" inserts from various sets. 

I wanted custom cards of my favorite actresses Jennifer Lawrence reppin' Louisville basketball and Kristen Bell rockin' Red Wings red, but I didn't have the time or motivation to research any other celebrity sports fans to fill out the set. Why not combine the two and make a Custom Card request list with sports stars and celebrities - but not necessarily celebrity sports fans?

If any of you are interested in creating a custom card off my wish list, I would certainly send you some actual cards in return. I was thinking of sending a PWE (with specific cards from your wantlist, team PC, set, etc.) for every Photoshopped custom produced, and a stuffed bubble mailer for any physical custom card produced. The specifics can be negotiated, of course. 

Here is my "Women On Cards" custom wish list: 

Ginny Baker - 2017 Topps Heritage Baseball

Ginny is the fictional heroine of the Fox show Pitch, which is the story of the first female major leaguer. It's doubtful that the show will be renewed for a second season, so a custom card of Ginny (played by Kylie Bunbury) would be a unique collectible of the most famous fifth starter the Padres never had. You might be partial to the 'authentic' look of the '68 Topps set, but I wouldn't mind seeing a blue sky and some fluffy clouds behind Baker. (I wouldn't say no to a Mike Lawson custom, either.)

Jennie Finch - 1992 All World Football


Finch is a female fireballer who actually does exist. She's even appeared on a few cards.
Not many of them have decent action shots, and some of them have minuscule photos or no photo at all. The action image below might work well with a horizontal border like 2013 Topps Baseball - if you can slap a USA logo in the bottom right corner.

Breanna Stewart - 1969-70 Topps Basketball

A tall star deserves a tall, girl custom (bonus points if you can fit "Connecticut" across the bottom. This might not be doable for a physical card; as a backup I think this photo on a 1984-85 Star Basketball card would look pretty cool. 

Alex Morgan - 1994 Upper Deck World Cup Soccer 

Like Jennie Finch, Alex Morgan has a decent amount of cards - I just haven't found one I like yet. Some of Morgan's cards are quite expensive, and 1994 World Cup Soccer was one of my favorite sets as a kid. All of the cards (including the Mia Hamm) are long gone from my collection but the simple, clean design is suitable for either the photo above or this practice shot:

Hilary Knight - 1993-94 Fleer Ultra Hockey

Fleer Ultra was one of very few sets to produce Team USA cards; Upper Deck pretty much pretends that USA hockey doesn't exist. Knight and the rest of the women's team are threatening to boycott the upcoming World Championships over inadequate and inequitable funding, training facilities, and resources. (Alex Morgan has tweeted her support for the US women's hockey team.)

Now for the celebrity customs...

Kristen Bell - 1991-92 Pro Set Platinum Hockey

Pro Set Platinum is one of the nicer sets to emerge from the 'junk wax' era; some of the photography is quite impressive. I was hoping to find a picture of Kristen wearing a Red Wings jersey to mimic the 'Celebrity Captains' subset from the '91-92 set... but I could not find one. No matter, only half of the original subjects are wearing team gear.

Jennifer Lawrence -  2016 Donruss Football

The pic that started it all. When I first saw J-Law wearing Cardinals red I thought that would be perfect for a Fans of the Game card. I had a hard time finding a design I liked, but this one was good enough:

Last but most definitely not least, my current crush...

Taryn Southern - 2015 Bowman's Best Baseball

If you don't know Taryn, she's a YouTube "internetainer" who has also done some singing and some acting, and she's super awesome. (You may have noticed this pic on my sidebar.) I would love to see this on a Bowman TV-style card, and I thought that since she's an online celeb, this updated HD screen would be most appropriate:

I really thought I had this Ortiz card.  

However, I'm also a fan of the classic Color TV look of 1955 Bowman, and I think it would be neat if the card front just said SOUTHERN.. like this card of MELE

If you would like to cross something off my custom card wishlist, drop me a comment or an e-mail (sutherlandct @ gmail .com) 

Thanks for reading!



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Women On Cards

March is Women's History Month, and I've had a few blog post ideas percolating in my mind as to how I can tie that in to sports cards. I've only been touring the baseball card blogosphere for a few months, but there's only one female card collector out there that I know of (hi, Julie!) 

While there are very few female card collectors, there are slightly more female card subjects. Much of this is due to Benchwarmer cards, entertainment/non-sports cards, and fighting sports like UFC and WWE... none of which I collect. Andso because I only collect sports cards - specifically baseball and hockey, with some football and a rapidly increasing amount of basketball - I only have a handful of women in my card collection (not counting anything in a complete set.)

You've probably seen some of them before; I scanned and discussed First Pitch cards of Mo'ne Davis and Victoria Justice in recent blog posts, and shared my Hillary Clinton card on President's Day. Here are a few more that I found in my binders:

The "first lady" of hockey, Manon Rheaume was a huge hobby star after playing goal in a pre-season game for the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning. She's the sister of former New Jersey Devil Pascal Rheaume.

I really thought I had the Masterpieces card in my collection, but it's not in my commons binders or my star player box. However I did find a couple other hockey players in the "miscellaneous" section of my binder:

North American Rivals Cammi Granato and Cassie Campbell. Cammi is the sister of former NHL player and coach Tony Granato, and is married to former Hartford Whaler Ray Ferraro. Cassie appears to be wearing goalie gear, despite the fact that she was a defenseman (defenceman? defencewoman?)

I'm not sure where I got this Rebecca Lobo card, but it's the only card of a UConn Women's basketball star in my collection. If I ever got serious about collecting Huskies alums I'd have to add a Sue Bird, Nykesha Sales, Diana Taurasi... and a more recent star that I'll discuss in my next post.

This is one of the 1,000+ basketball cards Jon sent me. It's a gold parallel version, from 2000 Topps Team USA. I recognize Lisa Leslie at the top, Dawn Staley on the left, and um.. that's it. I'm guessing at least one of the others went to UConn, but I cant put names to the faces. Ten points to anyone who can correctly identify every player without using Google.

I don't have this Whitney Houston Pro Set Football card. I thought I had it, I should have it.. but I don't. Whitney is buried in the town next over from me. I've heard that there are (armed?) guards who keep watch over her final resting place so that no one does anything disrespectful. 

This Willow Bay card from 1995-96 Upper Deck basketball has been in my collection since I was a teenager. I vaguely remember watching her co-host Inside Stuff once in a while, but I'm pretty sure that the only reason I held onto it was that lovely smile of hers.

Here are two of my all-time favorite U.S. Olympians. Kim Zmeskal was my first athlete crush (and possibly my first crush, period.) I remember reading about her in SI for Kids in the Summer of 1992, when she was expected to win multiple gold medals. Unfortunately she broke her ankle and didn't win any individual medals. 

I hadn't heard of Noelle Pikus-Pace before the 2014 Winter Games, but after NBC profiled her during the broadcast I was intrigued. Noelle had some awful luck with injuries, and after just missing the medal stand in 2010 she retired from Skeleton. Her husband convinced her to give it one more shot in Sochi, and she won a silver medal. 

What was even more awesome to me was her enthusiasm and appreciation for all the support she received. Noelle was so bubbly and thankful in every post-race interview that I was more invested in her performance than I had been for any Olympic athlete since Kim Zmeskal.

This is my only relic of a female sports star:

Like millions of men all over the world, I was a big fan of Maria Sharapova throughout the '00 decade. This dress piece comes from 2005 Ace Authentic, and apparently it's a Promo because it's numbered AA-PROMO. I don't think I noticed that before. I soured on Sharapova long before her two-year ban for the performance "enhancing" drug Meldonium - which was part of a widespread, state-sponsored doping regime by a Russian government so powerful they were able to influence an American election (allegedly.)  

PEDs or not, she was like 1-62 against Serena Williams in her career.. and she was only slightly more likeable than the Williams sisters. I still like her though, just not as much as when I bought this card.

Do you have any cards of female athletes (or other famous women) in your collection?


Monday, March 20, 2017

Pacific Sunset - Basketball box finale

I finished second in a random-drawing contest hosted by Jon (A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts) which is not the same as coming in second place. But I'm not complaining because he sent me over 1,000 basketball cards - and has indicated he might have even more for me! 

I've got so many new basketball cards that I've had to shuffle around some binders to make room, something I've been meaning to do since I bought the wrong 9-pocket pages for my 2017 Topps Heritage cards. But before I stored the new cards in my collection I sorted them into team piles and counted how many I had of each. And then I posted about my favorites by division. 

This is the sixth and final installment of the series, cards from the NBA's Pacific Division:

before: 11 commons, 7 star base, 2 rookies, 2 inserts
after: 34 commons, 9 star base, 6 rookies, 3 inserts

 Favorite cards (click to embiggen):

Did you know the Warriors had three Hall Of Famers on their roster from 1989 to 1991... and none of them were named Tim Hardaway? I knew about Mullin and Mitch Richmond, but I still have trouble comprehending how Ralph Sampson and Sarunas Marciulionis were inducted. (I know, it's not the NBA Hall of Fame...but still.) Sprewell's assault of head coach P.J. Carlesimo was a major reason why I turned my back on basketball. Adonal Foyle went to Colgate, which is also the alma mater of my bff's ex-girlfriend. He used to rip on her for going to a "toothpaste school." There were no cards of Steph Curry or Draymond Green in Jon's box, but the colorful Bogut card is just as cool.

before: 12 commons, 2 star base, no rookies, no parallels, 1 insert
after: 34 commons, 4 star base, 2 rookies, 3 parallels, 2 inserts

 Favorite cards:

I really don't like the new Clippers unis. I understand they were largely unchanged since the franchise moved to L.A., but they could have been a lot more creative. Olden Polynice had a cameo in the Whoopi Goldberg movie Eddie - though I think he was a Sacramento King at the time. Jackson is sporting the captain's 'C' that I thought was rare but have now seen it on at least five cards. The Bird's Eye View of CP3 is nice, but the blue paint is kind of bland. I used to have a Danny Manning Starting Lineup figure when I was a kid, and seeing this Prizm card makes me want to buy one on eBay.

before: 13 commons, 11 star base, 3 rookies, 1 insert, 1 parallel
after: 35 commons, 30 star base, 4 rookies, 5 inserts, 1 parallel

Favorite cards:

I can't say I'm surprised that the Lakers have the most star cards in my collection. Magic was one of my first favorite players (I was so young and naive I liked him and Larry Bird) I remember feeling devastated when he announced he had HIV, and thinking Magic's gonna die. 25 years later, he's alive and well and running the team. There were plenty of Kobe cards from this Panini set, and a few assorted Shaq cards in the box. I really like the Jerry West Passing Kings insert. 

before: 16 commons, 4 star base, 3 rookies, 1 parallel
after: 37 commons, 14 star base, 3 rookies, 2 parallels

 Favorite cards:

I don't think I realized how many superstars have passed through Phoenix; the last time I really noticed the Suns was when they lost in the 1993 NBA Finals. My friend Phil let me borrow his Kevin Johnson jersey around that time - and unlike the jackass that stole my Christian Laettner jersey, I actually returned it. The Jason Kidd Victory parallel was one of my favorites from Jon, and I'm thrilled to add a Suns Shaq card to my collection.

before: 20 commons, 1 star base, no inserts, no rookies
after: 40 commons, 5 star base, no inserts, 2 rookies

Favorite cards:

Man I miss those powder blue uniforms! I can't say I ever saw Wayman Tisdale play, but I remember rooting for him because he was a really good player on a really obscure (to me) team. I still can't believe that 2002 "Queens" team blew the series against the Lakers - though there may have been some shady officiating involved. Isn't it fascinating that the Kings stayed in Sacramento largely because the city's mayor happened to be the aforementioned Kevin Johnson? Having come from an area that lost our only pro sports team I'm glad to see the Kings stayed put. Time will tell if their decision to unload Boogie Cousins was good for the long-term health of the team.

Well, that wraps up my team-by-team tour of the 1000+ new cards Jon added to my collection. However, there were dozens more cards from All-Star, College, and USA Olympic teams. 

I didn't count them all, but I've scanned my favorites:

I had no idea anyone made cards of the NBA D-League. The Kevin Love Press Pass is the only Love I've got (insert bad joke about my personal life here.) I had never heard of Louie Dampier and had no idea what to do with a Kentucky Colonels card - until I learned that he's a Hall of Famer. That means he goes in the star player box - along with the Love, the Chris Paul, and the two All-Star cards you see here.

Jon, thanks again for all the great cards. I truly had a blast sorting through them and sharing what I knew - and what I learned - in the process. 

Next time I'll post about a more 'popular' topic - like my 1956 Topps baseball cards... or my super collection of an NHL enforcer who's been retired for over a dozen years.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

North By Northwest (and a surprise mailday)

I've got a lot of blogging to catch up on before I visit my mom in Connecticut this weekend. Unfortunately I was exhausted and crashed early last night, when I had planned to post another batch of basketball cards from Jon. 

That is, until I got home today and found two small bubble mailers in my mailbox - one contained a white whale for my PC (I'll discuss that next week.) The other was a surprise gift from Ryan (Base Card Hero.) I had sent Ryan some Twins buybacks and a few base from 2017 Topps Heritage, and he returned fire with a handful of cards for my player/team PCs (actually I think I got his end first, but you get the idea.)

And then he hit my mail box with a second batch of goodies. This time they were all from one team:

Indeed, there were 15 Red Sox cards in this surprise pack - and they were all new to my collection. Rubby De La Rosa didn't pan out but I had fun (mis)pronouncing his name whenever he pitched while rubbing something for good luck. I have a theory that Mo'ne Davis was the inspiration behind the main character of the Fox show Pitch. Also, I've been meaning to do a "women on cards" post for Women's History Month and just haven't been able to find time. The Kimbrel is best viewed horizontally, but I wanted to fit Ryan's note in the scan.

Boom! A nice six-pack of Bowman's Best - including a David Ortiz. Lucky for me I bought the refractor on COMC and not the base, cause now I have both. And now I also have Xander Bogaerts in regular and refractor form. These cards smell shiny, if that makes sense... very similar to 1992 Fleer Ultra. The Top Prospects cards look exactly like the 'main' set; I'm always happy to add an Andrew Benintendi card to my collection, as they're getting expensive.

Ryan, thanks so much for the surprise Sox! I'll be sure to send more Twins your way in the future.

And now back to our regularly scheduled basketball post (If you're not a fan of these you can stop reading now. But please don't!)

Here are my favorite new cards from Northwest Division teams:

before: 13 commons, 5 star base, 1 rookie, no inserts, no parallels
after: 41 commons, 10 star base, 6 rookies, 3 inserts, 3 parallels

Favorite cards (click to embiggen):

I mentioned before that the old Dallas Mavericks logo was one of my faves, right? Well, this classic Denver Nuggets logo is number one in my book. Everything from the rainbow colors to the pixel-looking city in the foreground just looks so '80's. A few years ago I was in line at a Popeye's and there was a guy in front of me wearing a retro Alex English jersey. I would have paid him $100 on the spot for it.. if I had $100 (and no shame.) The McDyess gold parallel color-matches with the newer - but still retro - Nuggets colors. 

before: 9 commons, no star base, 2 inserts, 2 rookies
after: 26 commons, 1 star base, 2 inserts, 2 rookies

Favorite cards:

Believe it or not, I have exactly as many K.G. base cards as K.G. inserts in my Minnesota collection. (I scanned up the insert card in a post I wrote when he retired.) Chris Smith was one of the first UConn Huskies I collected, along with Tate George and Scott Burrell. I actually bought a replica Wolves jersey like the one Corbin is sporting when I visited the Basketball Hall of Fame sometime in the early 1990's. Not sure why I picked a Christian Laettner jersey.. but it was stolen from me anyway :/

before: 2 commons, 1 star base, no rookies, 2 inserts
after: 5 commons, 4 star base, 1 rookie, 2 inserts

 All of my new Thunder cards:

Until Jon sent me 1,000 basketball cards (give or take) I had so few OKC cards that I stored them on the same page as my Sonics cards - which would be considered sacrilege in the Seattle area. I still don't have that many Zombie Sonics base cards, but nearly half are of K.D. or Mr. Triple-Double Russell Westbrook, who made a guest appearance on my daughter's favorite TV show.

before: 13 commons, 4 star base, 1 rookie, 2 inserts
after: 39 commons, 13 star base, 5 rookies, 3 inserts

Favorite cards:

Once again I favor the old-school look, though the Blazers' logo and color scheme hasn't changed much over the years. Terry Porter is sporting a captain's 'C', which I've only seen on a basketball player once or twice before (Chris Mullin maybe?) '94-95 Flair is an automatic addition to my favorites, and I had to add at least one card of Clyde "The Glide." Greg Oden is being too hard on himself; unless Anthony Bennett suddenly becomes a star he won't be considered the biggest bust in NBA history. Like Oden, Brandon Roy's career was cut short by injuries. The background of the R&S card fits perfectly with the Blazers uni.. and the Prizm card is my first of Baby Dame Dolla.

before 14 base, 8 stars, 1 rookie, 4 inserts, 2 parallels, 1 relic
after 32 base, 14 stars, 3 rookies, 8 inserts, 2 parallels, 1 relic

Favorite cards:

I'm not even a Jazz fan and I'm still mad about Michael Jordan pushing off Bryon Russell into the third row. Malone and Stockton were magic together, and I had to include at least one card of each (the two Stockton inserts are among my favorites in the entire box.) Are those "UD Legends" cards short printed? As someone who has collected Upper Deck hockey cards for +25 years, I wouldn't put it past them. I've read two interesting articles about the Jazz recently; one ESPN article about how black players adjust to playing/living in predominantly white SLC.. and an article on Grantland The Ringer about emerging superstar Gordon Hayward. (I didn't get a Gordie in this box, but I already have a couple.)

And I'm adding a bonus team to this division...

before: 16 commons, 5 star base, no inserts, 1 rookie
after: 39 commons, 11 star base, 2 inserts, 3 rookies

 Favorite cards:

Every sport has a franchise that should have never left their original home. Like the NFL's Browns, the MLB's Expos, and the NHL's Whalers, the Sonics still have a loyal following years after their departure. (what's that? the Browns are an NFL team again? prove it.) I wish I had hung onto my Sonics swag, when I was a pre-teen I had this poster of Xavier "X-man" McDaniel on my wall. Not even sure where I found it. I do know that I found a Ray Allen jersey at Savers two or three years ago... and sold it at $0 profit, like an idiot. 

I've learned a lot about basketball through the cards in Jon's box - not just about the players (why isn't Tom Chambers a Hall of Famer?) but about the cards themselves (the Wilkens is an insert? Why did I think it was a subset card?) Also, it appears the captain's "C" was more common that I thought.

One more basketball post to go... I'll try to fit the Pacific Division in tomorrow. There will be a bonus "team" at the end, so stay tuned for that.