Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - Buffalo

We're headed north for the next two stops on The Collector's Sports Card Tour 2018. Today's stop is Buffalo.

Buffalo's two pro sports teams are 0-6 in championships, including 4 consecutive Super Bowl losses by the Bills. The Sabres lost a Stanley Cup final on a very controversial call, and filed for bankruptcy less than four years later. The city has also been passed over for an MLB expansion team, and lost its NBA franchise.. but at least they have awful weather.

You can probably tell from this group of Bills 'hits' that most of my football cards are from the late 80's to the late 90's. I don't have any Bills cards worth more than 50 cents or so, except maybe this Andre Reed RC:

When I was in college (and working less) I had to shrink my sports card budget and narrow my focus. As a result, I stopped buying football boxes and packs from 2005 to 2016. I filled in some of the holes in my collection with a large eBay lot a few years ago, but that only caught me up to about 2010. These two Marshawn Lynch cards came from that box o' base.

Maybe it's the nostalgia factor, but I still love 1990 Pro Set. I probably have about 10-12 Jim Kelly cards; these are my favorites.

I used to have a Thurman Thomas Score rookie reprint parallel #d/1989..must have sold or traded it. I think I had a Bruce Smith RC, too. A lot of my football cards were purged long ago to raise funds for baseball or hockey card collections.

Dominik Hasek gets my vote for best athlete in Buffalo sports history. All six of "The Dominator"s Vezina trophies and both Hart trophy wins came while Hasek was backstopping Buffalo, usually with sub-par talent in front of him.

My wife bought me a replica version of this jersey about ten years ago. I still have it, but the crest looks like blood was splattered on it (no idea how that happened.) I don't have any high-value Hasek cards but I've got a couple dozen base and insert singles.  

Did anyone play these Powerdeck CD-rom things? I never even thought to try; I hear they have highlights on them.

Hasek isn't the only former Sabre enshrined in the Railway Canada Hockey Hall of Fame presented by Tim Horton's (brought to you by Carl's Jr.) Gilbert Perreault was part of the famed "French Connection" line that led Buffalo to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 1975...where some weird shit went down.

Pierre Turgeon and Alexander Mogilny are borderline Hall of Famers (I've evaluated Turgeon's candidacy before on this blog) I think Mogilny is deserving as well; I can still remember checking box scores 25 seasons ago to see if he scored one of his 76 goals. Beyond those impressive single-season and career stats, Mogilny was the first Soviet player to defect to North America. 

Much like my football star box, my hockey card collection doesn't have any Sabres stars from 2005 to 2016 ...but that's because they didn't have any. Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek had brief stays in the star box but they've since been relegated to the commons binders. (That said, if Team USA had somehow beaten Canada in the 2010 Olympics I probably would have started a Ryan Miller PC.)

One last look at my Sabres commons. I really wish Miroslav Satan played for New Jersey (I think every Devils fan did.) Jim Schoenfeld coached the Devils after his playing career ended - and famously told referee Don Koharski to have another donut!


Nigerian-born defenseman Rumun Ndur was the first African player in the NHL...two decades before major league baseball had its first African-born player. Speaking of baseball, Chris Drury was a hero in my home state when he led Trumbull, CT to victory in the 1989 Little League World Series over Chinese Taipei. Like Ryan Miller, Christian Ehrhoff was very nearly an Olympic champion, winning a surprising Silver medal with Germany in the just-concluded Winter Olympics.

My best Buffalo cards, including some from my favorite hockey sets: a Topps Pristine Gold Die-cut of Ales Kotalik, a Daniel Briere Be A Player auto, and an Exquisite base card of Tyler Ennis - who probably didn't deserve to be in such a high-end product, but every team has to be represented in every set.

I've got another Ennis incoming from COMC, and a Jack Eichel UD Canvas card that cost all of 28 cents. E-pack has likely halved the price of Upper Deck hockey singles-including higher end items like this Jack Eichel Young Guns RC.

It definitely cost more than 28 cents..but I don't think I paid more than $40 for it.

Final thoughts...

Sabres owner Terry Pegula bought the Bills for a reported $1.2 billion in 2014, outbidding a fellow by the name of Donald J. Trump, who "only" bid a billion. I'm just going to leave this here:
"I’m glad I didn’t get the team, because if I bought the Buffalo Bills, I probably would not be running for president", Trump said.

Favorite Bills player: LeSean McCoy
Favorite Sabres player: Eichel

Bills card I'd like to own: It would be nice to have that Bruce Smith rookie card back in my collection

Sabres card I'd like to own: A Dominik Hasek goalie pad relic

Braves card I'd like to own: Either a new Bob McAdoo insert or a vintage team card

Bring your passports..our next tour stop takes us to Calgary.

Thanks for reading! 



  1. As a Buffalo native, so much to say here:

    A) Buffalo doesn't really have awful weather, no worse than Chicago actually. Most of the big snowstorms travel south of the city.
    B) I was working in Niagara Falls when Mogilny defected and joined the Sabres. That was one of the first wild days in the newsroom that I ever experienced.
    C) Glad you brought up Turgeon with the Sabres, it's annoying when people equate him with the Islanders
    D) I love Hasek cards. If I collected hockey as much as baseball, Hasek would be Hideo Nomo for me.

    1. As someone who grew up south of Buffalo (Dunkirk, NY) I can confirm this - lake effect gets us every time! Thanks for the memory trip for Buffalo sports - Go Sabres!

    2. Thank you both for debunking my snarky attempt at humor :) I've only been to Buffalo once, so I was mostly going on reputation. Glad you enjoyed this post!

  2. Thanks for not forgetting the Braves. The Bills along with the Falcons are the two NFL teams I'm a fan of. Great memories with your cards as well as some heartache. My favorite current player is LeSean McCoy. My all-time favorite is harder. My all-time favorite is much much tougher to decide. I wasn't around really for the Simpson era and I'm a huge James Lofton guy but he was only with the team for 4 years. That leaves me struggling between Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly, Joe Feguson, Joe Cribbs, and Jerry Butler. I have to go with Butler though for no good reason. Not an all-time great but I still think of him when I think of the Bills. Great post.

  3. I"d never heard of the Buffalo Braves. Nice card.