Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - New Orleans

The Collector's Sports Card Tour is closing out the month of May in the Big Easy. Today we're in New Orleans

NOLA is home to two pro sports teams- the Saints and the Pelicans.

The Saints won Super Bowl XLIV after the 2009 season. The Pelicans are the original Charlotte Hornets-even though their name and history was returned to the expansion Charlotte franchise. I had to explain all of this to my brother-in-law during the Pels' closeout win over Portland last month. 

Anthony Davis scored 47 points in that Game 4 win over Portland, leading the Pels to the second round for the second time in their history. The "Brow" base cards are the only Pelicans in my star player box. I don't have any DeMarcus Cousins or Chris Paul base cards yet..

..but I do have this dual relic with CP3 and David West. Both this and the Artist Proof parallel were part of the COMC 500; the relic card actually cost less ($1.15) than the Davis ($1.23) 

There's another David West card that has caught my eye more than a couple times:

It's tempting to spend $3.25 on this card, but the tiny crease above the 'C' scares me off.

Earlier this month I bought a 75-card repack of basketball cards and pulled this Baron Davis Topps Prisitne single. It was a nice surprise and easily my favorite card in the pack.

14 of the 26 NOLA-based basketball cards in my base binders are of these four players -
Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday..

...Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans. Anderson, Gordon, and Chris Paul were teammates with the Rockets this season.

None of my New Orleans cards are from the first five years of the Jazz franchise (both my Pete Maravich cards are Atlanta Hawks inserts.)

New Orleans was all but destroyed when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. The Louisiana Superdome was used as a shelter for displaced residents:

Saints owner Tom Benson used the damaged Dome as leverage to get a new stadium built, threatening to move the Saints to San Antonio in the wake of Katrina. Instead, the recently deceased billionaire got a more favorable lease - and the Superdome was renovated (and renamed.)

The Saints returned to the Superdome for the 2006 season, with a new anthem and a new leader.

Drew Brees led New Orleans to the NFC title game in his first season with the team; three years later he was MVP of the Saints' Super Bowl win over Indy. Barring injury, he will become the all-time leader in passing yardage during the 2018 season. The Playoff Ticket parallel is my only Brees 'hit' unless you count this:

Multi-player cards clash with my OCD; I have a separate section in my binder for them - even if all of the players depicted are on the same team.


The Saints went all-in on Ricky Williams, trading their entire draft for him in 1999. The gamble paid off.  After 33 NFL seasons the franchise finally earned a playoff win in Ricky's second year. The enigmatic running back was traded to Miami after just three seasons with the Saints.

After Williams left and before Brees arrived the Saints did not make the playoffs - though they were an extra point away in 2003.

You'll have to click 'watch on YouTube' but it's worth it for the announcer's reaction alone.

Two longtime Saints greats can be found in the Pro Football Hall of Fame - and my star player box.

This is my only Rickey Jackson card. He was part of a killer linebacking crew along with Sam Mills and Pat Swilling. I remember ESPN's NFL Prime Time did a story on the trio; they did a cheesy rap song intro which I won't bother looking for.

A kicker in Canton? Yesss! Morten Andersen won a lot of games for the Saints when I was a kid, and kept on kicking until age 47. He's likely the only special teams player in my stars/Hofers box; I don't have any George Blanda, Jan Stenerud, or Ray Guy cards.

Remember the Flat Rate box of cards I bought on eBay? Of the 130 football cards therein, 75 of them were Saints.

74 of them were Marques Colston (a single Reggie Bush card must have slipped in by mistake.)

If I had 75 Jim Everett cards my wife would be happy. Alas, I only have six from his Saints seasons.

Archie Manning never played in a playoff game and only had one non-losing season as Saints' signal-caller. His sons were pretty good, though.

The rest of my Saints hits (no bounty payments needed.) The Chrome Delhomme is a rookie card, though it's not labeled as such.

Favorite Saints player: Drew Brees

Favorite Pelicans player: Anthony Davis

Next tour stop: New York City

Thanks for reading!


Monday, May 28, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - New Jersey

Memorial Day is homecoming day for the Collector's Sports Card Tour. Today we're in New Jersey.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils play in Newark - but they're not the only pro sports team you'll find in the Garden State. The "New York" Giants and Jets share MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford - and since the New York post will be crowded enough, I'm including them here.

The NBA's Nets played 35 seasons in New Jersey before moving to Brooklyn.

New Jersey native Tate George helped put UConn basketball on the map in 1990; he went to high school in the town where I work. Dwayne Schintzius is probably best known for playing Ivan ("Ivan make basket") in the Whoopi Goldberg movie Eddie. I considered buying a Keith Van Horn jersey once-but only so that I could own a new New Jersey jersey.

Newly-elected Hall of Famer Jason Kidd led the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 (they lost both times.) Of the many holes I found in my basketball card collection this one is inexcusable: I have no Jason Kidd Nets cards. Andso my Nets stars consist of three Vince Carter cards, four Drazen Petrovic cards (also a Hall of Famer) and one Dikembe Mutombo card that cost me approximately $1.33 at the card show.

I have 21 Curtis Martin cards for no particular reason other than his career spanned the apex of my football card collecting years. He's fourth all-time in rushing yardage at the moment; Frank Gore is one good game away from passing Martin.

Four Brett Favre cards is not technically a hole in my collection - but for someone with over 600 different Favre cards, having so few from his season in New Jersey is pathetic. What's more, I never saw Brett the Jet play a home game here. 

My father-in-law took me to a Jets-Packers game in 2002; the Jets needed the win to make the playoffs and when I went into the bathroom stall (wearing Packers gear) I could hear drunken Jets fans shout that if they saw a Cheesehead they'd kick his ass. Which is exactly what the Jets did to Favre and the Packers. Just a fun day overall.

Mark Sanchez is generally considered a "bust" despite leading the Jets to two AFC Championship games. How many other QBs can say that? None. How many other QBs have been responsible for a "Butt fumble"? Also none. This Rookies & Stars patch is numbered to 20; it only cost $1.56 on COMC due to "edge wear on top" I've examined it closely three times an I still haven't found any flaws on the card.

The rest of my Jets hits. Boomer Esiason told a story on his radio show about his fellow Rangers fan Nick Mangold shouting at Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff; Ruff turned around to stare down the fan.. and I imagine his reaction went a little something like this:

While we're on the subject of Giants...

Lawrence Taylor was one of the most ferocious linebackers in my lifetime and one of only two defensive players to be named NFL MVP. Tecmo LT was so fast he obliterated kickers. Michael Strahan took the torch from Taylor as Big Blue's best pass rusher. This 2002 Upper Deck card depicts Strahan's record-breaking sack - which Brett Favre gift-wrapped for him on an ill-advised bootleg. [Little-known fact about that game: it was not originally scheduled to be the season finale. The Packers were supposed to play the Giants in Week 2 - but the game was postponed after the September 11 attacks.]

John Elway didn't want to go to Baltimore because he hated Frank Kush. Eric Lindros didn't want to go to Quebec because he didn't speak French. Eli Manning didn't want to go to San Diego because...?

Whatever his reasons for dissing San Diego it worked out well for Eli and the G-Men. Manning's two Super Bowl victories over the Patriots punched his ticket to Canton. I don't consider myself a Giants fan but I cheered for them in each of their four Super Bowl appearances.* It takes a three-headed monster like Brady, Belichick and Kraft to make me root for New York to beat Boston. 

*Not counting SB XXI because I was too young to remember it. I was in fifth grade when the Giants won SB XXV; my friends came over for a Super Bowl party and one of them hit on my sister. She was 25 at the time. 

 Some notable Giants base cards. Bart Oates played himself on an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Jason Sehorn was once voted the most overrated player in the NFL. Kerry Collins is the only Giants QB to lose a Super Bowl. Does anyone know a Rodney Hampton collector? Or a Mario Manningham collector? ;-)

The best of the rest, including four of my eleven Tiki Barber cards. Jeremy Shockey was a fan favorite back in the day; my nephew Sam has his jersey. The Rashad Jennings Blue Prizm is numbered to 50..and cost me about 50 cents on COMC.

My in-laws have had Giants season tickets since the new stadium was built (Pop put his name on the waiting list in the '80s); they had Devils season tickets from 1993 to 2004. If I had a room big enough to display all the Devils memorabilia my wife and I have accumulated over the past 25 years it would be the mother of all man caves.

The hardest part of writing this post has been deciding what Devils items to scan and discuss.

Nearly all of the Devils memorabilia in my house belongs to my wife; I bought all of the cards you'll see in this post. Someone on Sports Card Forum offered me a lot of money for the Stevens auto- he was building the Stanley Cup Signatures set. I knew I couldn't replace it so I passed. 

Upper Deck's The Cup had an auto/jersey insert set called Stanley Cup Titlists, which were numbered to the number of titles the player won. I failed to procure the Jason Arnott 1/1...

...but I made up for it (somewhat) a couple years later.

When Arnott scored his golden goal (on an assist from Patrik Elias) I was passively cheering for the Devils-mostly because I didn't like Dallas. I was also happy the Devs upset Detroit in the 1995 Final and angry that they lost to Colorado in 2001. That said, I wasn't fully invested in the team until 2003.

From 2002-2004 In The Game/Be A Player produced ten-card insert sets of the prior year's Stanley Cup champions. These jersey cards were not serial numbered, but the print run was announced at 40 sets.

I happen to have one of them. It took a few years and at least $200 to complete. Jeff Friesen was the last one I needed. I paid $20.55 for it, ten cents more than I paid for this Ice Scripts auto of legendary goalie Martin Brodeur:

If you want to tell me that Brodeur is not the greatest goalie in NHL history I won't argue. His save percentage could have been better and his wins totals were inflated somewhat from playing behind a great defense and after the shootout was implemented to eliminate ties. 

That said Marty's longevity, durability, and consistency are second to none. This Upper Deck Signed Jersey card caught my eye on my way out of the card show; I haggled with the guy and knocked the price down from $70 to $60. 

This Black Diamond Brodeur rainbow was completed a few years ago; I'm halfway to finishing the Patrik Elias. Not sure I'm ever going to find the quad black #d/10 though.

I snagged this Taylor Hall patch auto for $21.50 during COMC's Black Friday sale. I added it to my watch list the second I saw it and was very nervous when the price dropped. The Devils have never had a Hart trophy winner as NHL's MVP. I'm hopeful Hall will change that.

Most of my major (and minor) purchases have come  from COMC, including this Adam Henrique Signature Patch...

...and this Jaromir Jagr auto. This was a Spring Cleaning purchase in 2015; I paid $37.45 for the redemption card which was fulfilled about a month or two after I bought it.

 Here are some cards I didn't buy on COMC.

Zach Parise scored a goal in his first NHL game- which also happened to be Sidney Crosby's first NHL game.That prompted the Devils fans to chant "Parise's better!" My LCS managed to book Parise for an autograph session when he was a rookie; there were so many young women lined up around the store that the owner had to sneak Zach out of the back door.

Patrik Elias recently had his number 26 retired by the Devils. He holds Devils records for points in a season and career. I'd love to see him enshrined in the Hall of Fame one day, but I can't say he's better than still-waiting wingers Keith Tkachuk, Alex Mogilny, and others.

I bought one tin of the Cup for $449 in 2006, just to say I did it. I still have the eBay receipt, the empty tin, and two of the cards - this gold parallel Patty, and the Grant Fuhr Scripted Swatch auto. [The other four cards were: Steve Shutt base, Petteri Nokelainen gold rainbow auto, Andrej Meszaros 1/1 plate..and my autographed patch RC was Ole-Kristian Tollefson. yay.]

There are tons of Devils cards I could add to this post, but I'll leave you with an autographed Voices of the Game card of color commentator and former Devils goalie Chico Resch (If there's a Doc Emrick card I want it)

And a High Profile Fans jersey card of Jersey's own Kevin Smith.

I once visited Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank. My nephew bought a Jason Mewes auto and I asked Walt Flanagan if there were any Kevin Smith autos available. There were not. But they did have Devils Stanley Cup banners (and Joey Lauren Adams' Maple Leafs jersey from Chasing Amy) hanging up in the store.

Favorite Devils player: Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, Miles Wood

Favorite Giants player: #2 overall pick Saquon Barkley

Favorite Jets player: #3 overall pick Sam Darnold

Next tour stop: New Orleans

Thanks for reading!