Monday, June 18, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - Philadelphia

Two-thirds of the Collector's Sports Card Tour is in the books. Today we're starting the third period in Philadelphia

The city of brotherly love is home to four pro sports teams - the Phillies, the Eagles, the 76ers, and the Flyers. The Eagles are defending Super Bowl Champions. The Phillies have won two World Series, in 1980 and 2008. The Sixers' last title came in 1983, while the "Broad Street Bullies" won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.

"I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out."

The greatest player in Phillies history - and the greatest third baseman in baseball history - is Michael Jack Schmidt. 

I have ten Schmidt cards in my collection, none of them older than 1984. I've had a Schmidt bat relic card on my COMC watch list for 2 1/2 years. I like the card but the price is unreasonable -even on sale- and at this point I'm just leaving it there to see if it ever sells. That said, it would fill a huge hole in my collection: I don't have a single relic or autographed card of any Philadelphia-based team.

There were a few relics in my collection at various times-including a Nick Foles jumbo relic from Topps Museum Collection. I bought it on COMC for $1-2, brought it home, and sold it with some other football cards before he returned to the Eagles.

I also had a few John LeClair memorabilia cards, including a Black Diamond dual stick relic. LeClair was one of my favorite players in the mid-late 1990s. Here's a picture of me sporting his jersey in high school:

LeClair's "Legion of Doom" linemate Eric Lindros was one of my favorites as well. He entered the NHL with as much hype as Shaq did in the NBA. Both were larger-than-life superstars who attracted casual fans from all over North America. I bought an Eric Lindros poster at a school book fair (along with an Hakeem Olajuwon poster) and spent way too much money chasing his cards. 

The owner of my LCS offered me a huge box of hockey cards-including RCs of Brett Hull and other HOFers-for $300. I convinced my mom to help me pay for it largely because there were so many Lindros 'hits.' Most of them are long gone from my collection, but I've held on to a few of them:

When the Flyers won the Eastern Conference title in 1997 it was the first time a hockey team I cared about had won anything. Unfortunately for me the Flyers lost to Detroit in the Cup final. There were more than a few Red Wings fans in my high school - including one who signed my yearbook "Remember the Legion of Broom. Sweep Sweep!"

One of the first people I ever met online was a girl with the AOL screen name "Zubrusbabe" because she was a fan of Flyers rookie Dainius Zubrus. I had forgotten all about that until he played for the Devils a decade later. 

I was still somewhat of a Flyers fan when Scott Stevens laid out Lindros in the 2000 Eastern Conference Final but Eric's act was already wearing thin. I met my wife a year later and eventually adopted her Devils as my favorite team. 

The Devils and Flyers had back-to-back 1st round picks in the 2015 and 2017 NHL Drafts and area fans have been keeping a close watch on who will "win" each pick.

The Flyers are winning this one. Provorov is a top-pair defenseman and Zacha is tradebait.

Jersey's got the early lead here - Hischier had a better rookie season than Patrick.

Randall Cunningham is one of my all-time favorite Philadelphia stars. The Eagles QB (who was listed as "QB Eagles" in Tecmo Super Bowl) could throw, run, and even punt when called upon. 

When I was in 6th grade some punk Cowboys fan was talking smack about his team, challenging my sports knowledge, and generally pissing me off. He goaded me into betting $10 on a Monday Night Football game between the Cowboys and Eagles. Everyone in my class thought I was going to lose. And just to show off, the kid (or one of his cronies) told me that for every day that I don't pay up the bet doubles.

The Eagles won big. That Tuesday morning I felt ten feet tall. All the kids who were certain that I was going to lose knew that I had won. John and his boys at the back of the class knew that they lost. 

I held out my hand "Ten dollars please." He slumped down in his chair and mumbled "I don't have it."

"OH?" I said, loud enough for the whole class to hear. "You know it's double for every day you don't pay." The next day he handed me a $20 bill. He said he stole it from his mom. (I don't doubt it.) $20 was a lot of money to me back then - but it wasn't about the money so much as it was the arrogance of that kid, trying to humiliate me and having it backfire in front of everyone. 

Thank you, Randall. Thank you, Reggie.

I rounded up my 1986 Topps Football cards to prepare for a potential set build. There are 17 in my collection - including the Reggie White RC:

 Randall and Reggie never got the Eagles to a Super Bowl - but Donovan McNabb did.

Base cards of Cunningham and McNabb are in my star player box despite neither being HOF-worthy. Terrell Owens will be inducted into Canton this summer - even if he doesn't show up for his own ceremony.

The rest of my Eagles hits. I only have five current Eagles in my collection-and they're all from 2016 Donruss/Optic. My basketball card collection has been rebuilt over the past 18 months. It's time to do the same for football.

 I'm always ending these posts with basketball, so let's change that up. 

Wilt Chamberlain put up some video game numbers in Philadelphia - with the Warriors. When he returned to the city as a Sixer his stats were less mind-blowing, but still legendary. Maurice Cheeks will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this summer.

Back when Craig Kilborn hosted The Daily Show he used to ask his guests 5 of his guests was Snoop Dogg, and the question Craiggers asked was "Who is the greatest small forward in NBA history?"

The Answer is...

Larry Bird. But Snoop was adamant that it was Dr. J. 

Kilborn told Snoop that was incorrect but the Dogg wouldn't hear it and eventually 'Kilby' relented. I don't know how or why I remember that..but neither answer is valid now.

There's been some talk of King James joining Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philly, to speed up the "process." Personally I think LeBron should sign with Houston..but I'm getting off-topic. I don't have any cards of current 76ers. The most recent Sixer in my collection is this Immaculate bronze parallel of Nerlens Noel..who was dumped off to Dallas a year and a half ago.

I'm always fascinated when a city's most successful franchise (in terms of winning championships) is long gone from that city. Such is the case with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Connie Mack managed the A's for 50 years and won five World Series with such legends as Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, and Al Simmons.

The Philadelphia Phillies have been in business for 136 seasons and have a grand total of two championships.

Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, and Pete Rose led the Phils to their first title in my birth year of 1980.

Ryan Howard and Chase Utley powered Philly's offense to the 2008 title. The Phils repeated as pennant winners but lost the 2009 World Series to those Damn Yankees.

The final two appearances of Pedro Martinez' career were World Series losses in the new Yankee Stadium. I picked up this eTopps card on COMC to memorialize Pedro's "short-term stop."

The "Whiz Kids" suffered the same fate in 1950 - losing the World Series to the Yankees. I don't have any 1950 Phils, but I have six from 1956:

Yet another former Philly star will be immortalized this summer:

Jim Thome's Hall of Fame induction will come before that of Owens and Cheeks. Phillies aces Curt Schilling and the late Roy Halladay could soon follow Thome into Cooperstown.

The rest of my Phillies hits, including an out of this world insert, a Blue Wave refractor, and a Jackie Robinson Day photo variation. You won't find any of those cards in this book:

This was given to me by my father in law. He passed away one year ago today. We miss you, Pop.

Favorite Phillies player: Rhys Hoskins

Favorite Eagles player: I'm pretty pleased with all of them at the moment

Favorite 76ers player: J.J. Redick

Favorite Flyers player: Wayne Simmonds

Next tour stop: Phoenix

Thanks for reading!



  1. Pedro will never look right in a Phillies uniform...

  2. I'd like to see Halladay in the HOF.. I don't know if he'd be a Phillie or a Jay though.
    At one point for a couple years the Phillies were unofficially known as the Blue Jays..

  3. Love the Surf books!

    Phillies were my second favorite team for a long time. That ended in 1983. I still like them more than I should for the amount of trouble they've given the Dodgers.

  4. I almost had go skip this link and not gain ny points for it. Being a NY fan, philly is not something I want to view. Esp the Eagles

  5. I just got my first Nolan Patrick card this week. Still don't have a Hischier. I pulled the Patrick so maybe I will be able to pull a Nico as well.

  6. I love those Surf books. I have the Pirates one. I am engaged to a 4 for 4 Philly sports fan and hate to see the teams be successful because I have to hear about it. I HATE the Flyers....all of them.

    Fav Phillies: Odubel Herrera
    All time: Kent Tekulve

    Fav Eagles: BigDickNick
    All time: Shady McCoy

    Fav 76er: Embiid
    All time: AI

    Flyer: none
    All time: Max Talbot

  7. Beautiful grouping of 56 Topps, and I love those Wilt Chamberlain cards too!

  8. Great story with that Monday Night Football game. As a Giant fan I've never had any hatred for the Eagles, oddly enough. The Cowboys, though . . .

  9. I'm actually surprised that kid paid up. I feel like kids would typically not pay up on a bet and just live with the consequences. But good for him for not only paying but paying interest as well.

  10. Michael Jack Schmidt and Jim Thome are my favorite Philadelphia athletes. As an Indians fan/collector, it still hurts that Thome left for Philly, but then Carlos Santana did the same this last offseason. Looking forward to this final third of your blog tour. Keep up the great work!

  11. Favorite Phillies player: Steve Carlton
    Favorite Eagles player: Reggie White
    Favorite 76ers player: Charles Barkley
    Favorite Flyers player: John LeClair

  12. You seem to have a ton of 1956 Topps cards graded. Is that something you're collecting?

    1. Yes I'm trying to complete the 1956 Topps set. Right now I'm one card shy of 40% completion. Most of them are in PSA 5 or better; my ultimate goal is to have the complete set PSA-graded.

  13. Late on the read, but sounds like you are close to my fandom area. When I was younger, my loyalties would vary on team but now it mostly all Philly love. The exception would be I just like the Steelers more than the Eagles. like 1, 2 type of stuff. Maybe it is because it is a family thing.