This is the 99th post on my blog, and I thought it would be fitting to publish it on the 99th day of 2018.
Most bloggers celebrate their 100th post (or 500th or 1,000th) but not me. I'm celebrating my 99th post because, as Josh Charles once said on an episode of Sports Night, "What, there's a law it's got to come with 5s and 10s?"
You may have noticed a new banner and profile pic here. I'm working on a better background, too. It might not be ready by the end of the day but it's coming soon (if I can get it to work the way I envision it.)
What would be an appropriate way to celebrate 99 posts? How about 99 cards of players who wore #99? This page from Sports Illustrated's book Any Given Number has a partial list of the best athletes to wear the number.
I only have one George Mikan card, and the '99' is much more visible in the book than it is on the card.
Turk Wendell wore #99 with the Mets, but I didn't have any Mets cards so I cheated a bit with these Cubs cards. Not going to do that with Manny Ramirez; that would be too easy.
The Walker and Williams cards were plucked from complete sets. Same for these two Ryu.
There's another baseball player who wears #99...we'll get to him.
As you could tell from that SI page, #99 is a popular number for NFL defensive linemen.
Warren Sapp is one of the all-time greats to wear the number. The Bowman 1st Round Pick parallel has been in my collection since I pulled it from a pack in 1995.
You'll probably see these J.J. Watt cards again when I write my Houston post next week. 1988 Topps was the first football card set I ever bought, and still one of my all-time favorites. I thought I had more Jason Taylor cards in my stars/HOFers box but I could only find two.
If it wasn't for that jumbo box of 2016 Donruss I bought from Dave & Adam's I wouldn't have any other active 99s in the NFL.
I have over 2,000 Packers cards in my collection (rough estimate-I've never counted them) but only two cards of players wearing number ninety-nine. There aren't a lot of 99s in Packer history. Aldon Smith has had some serious issues since his All-Pro season in 2012.
In my last Sports Card Tour post I mentioned that I was withholding my Wayne Gretzky cards... and I had two reasons for that. There are so many Oilers cards in my collection I knew I could do a comprehensive Edmonton post without Wayne. And a surplus of unused Gretzky cards was the basis for this celebration of 99.
Some 'vintage' Oilers issues. The 84-85 is a Topps card, I still need the O-Pee-Chee for my PSA set.
Back in those days, the Great One had about a dozen cards in each set.
Upper Deck took that to the next level in 1999-00; there were tons of Gretzky cards in flagship, MVP, Victory...and special Gretzky-only sets celebrating his career.
The oversized SI card was a gift from my nephew, it's not in great shape. The 98-99 Finest is a box topper jumbo.
I've got to share a story with you guys. It's one of those lessons you only learn much later in life. There was a girl in my 5th grade class that got picked on a lot, and she used to wear an L.A. Kings jacket. The boys took our sports seriously - you didn't rep a team unless you were a fan. So the guys interrogated her about a jacket she probably just wore for the color scheme, and kept asking her to name one L.A. King. Just one. She wouldn't or couldn't, or she just wanted to be left alone. I laughed at her. I feel bad about that.
There was a sports apparel store in our mall that sold hockey jerseys, and I nearly bought a Gretzky Blues sweater on sale..but I knew he'd never re-sign with them.
I was in Canada during Wayne's farewell tour, and if I wanted to make this post really long I'd scan up the front page of the Toronto Star from his last game. I'll dig it out someday.
These are from my completed sets of 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee and 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Retro. To date, this is the only parallel set I have ever completed (though COMC/ePack is tempting me to build the 2016-17 OPC Platinum rainbow set.)
I'm almost finished with the 2015-16 OPC Platinum Retro Franken-set.. but that's not a true parallel set. It's more of a parallel of an insert set.
Since I don't own a Gretzky rookie card or a Portfolio All-Star relic numbered 1 of 2 this is the best Gretzky card in my possession:
My wife pulled this card before we met. I have no idea exactly what the odds are, but considering that Platinum is the rarest of the four tiers, and Gretzky is the best player you could possibly pull, and it's a die-cut...I'd say it's a long shot.
Are you tired of Wayne Gretzky yet? Because I did try to find another hockey player who wore 99 before it was retired by the NHL. There are two: Rick Dudley and Wilf Paiement.
Dudley doesn't have any cards from his brief time with the double-nine, so it's just Wayne and Wilf. I don't have that Paiement card in my collection..and I don't have these two Gretzky inserts, either.
I had both of these rookie reprints in my Oilers box, but I consigned them on COMC a couple years ago. (This is another example of me being baffled by Beckett prices; the Chrome card was valued at $100.) I originally listed them on eBay but the buyer refused to pay for his purchase. He immediately decided he didn't want them, and made no excuse or apology.
Speaking of cards I no longer have in my possession...I'm going to tell you the story of the greatest card I ever pulled out of a pack in my life. Only, I didn't know it at the time.
In 2012, 2013, and 2014 I bought a lot of Bowman baseball. Not cases or anything, but at least one jumbo box around Christmastime. 2013 was my favorite, I loved the design of that set. And in one box of Prospects I saw some shiny peeking out of a pack. Gold shiny.
I examined the card. It was an autograph.
Of a Yankee.
Aaron Judge. Hmm. I was nonplussed. I didn't know anything about him, so I pulled up his page on MILB.com. Turns out he was injured in 2013 and didn't play after the Yanks drafted him. Great. Who knows if he'll ever become anything.
They nearly did just that, as the Reds were asking for Judge in an Aroldis Chapman deal. But once Chapman was charged with domestic violence the price dropped. Judge stayed in the Yanks organization, and this gold refractor auto stayed in my collection.
You'll notice the COMC wordmark on that scan. I did sent it to them, but not to sell:
2013 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects - Chrome Prospect Autographs - Gold Refractor #BCA-AJ
Aaron Judge [BGS 9 MINT] #9/50 
|BGS 9 MINT|
BGS 9. Just like my Trout.
In any case, Judge climbed his way up to the Bronx - where he proceeded to hit about .160. The voodoo worked! This dude was more bust than beast. He struck out like 35% of the time, and he was already 24 - which is kind of old for a prospect. There was no guarantee Judge would even make the team in 2017.
So I cashed in my gold chip. I got $400 for my Judge card. Not bad, eh?
Of course if I held onto it another year, I could have made five times that.
And that, my friends, is why I don't buy Bowman boxes anymore.
But..this is supposed to be a celebration post, am I right? So what if I had two of the most highly-coveted cards of the last ten years slip through my fingers? At least I had 'em.
And at least I held on to my other pack-pulled Aaron Judge card, this photo variation from 2017 Topps Heritage:
I actually listed this on eBay last year for a BIN of $80. No one bid, so I kept it. I'm glad I did.
And I'm glad that the prices of last year's Heritage hobby boxes were reasonable, as opposed to this year with Shohei Ohtani's short-printed variation jacking up the cost.
I'm glad that Judge had such an impact on the hobby, because it's always great to see more interest in sports card collecting. And I'm glad that COMC sellers had his Bowman and Finest RCs available during the Black Friday sales - in case he actually is the next Mickey Mantle.
So there you have it, 99 cards of players who wore #99.
I planned to write about the NHL playoffs and the Red Sox hot streak, but I might need a few days off to rest, read your blogs, and reorganize my messy collection.
Hope to see you back here for post #100. Thanks for reading!