Monday, July 16, 2018

Stadium Club Group Break Results & Trade Recap

A lot of new cards have come in lately, thanks to a couple of trades and a group break. 


Matt, author of the blog Diamond Jesters, writes one of my favorite series Time Travel Trading. He's always got some great stuff available, and I claimed five cards for our latest swap:


Two of the newest additions to his trade stack were the 1964 Topps Roman Mejias (really clean card!) and the 1976-77 Topps Jacques Lemaire. I jumped on those right away. The Moses Malone had interested me when Matt first added it to the stack, and since it was still available I claimed that, too. Matt nudged me in the direction of the Sweet Caroline card - which I had totally missed - and I threw in the Carlos Correa for my star player box.

As a bonus, Matt threw in the Martin Brodeur Pacific Heads-Up card and the Sunkist Protoceratops (I think I mentioned collecting dinosaur toys as a kid.) Matt, thanks again for another great trade!

I've been shuffling through my surplus baseball cards and trying to fill as many wantlists as I can. When I made my first trade with Bo (Baseball Cards Come To Life!) I kind of flaked out on checking his wantlist and just sent him a bunch of Yankees. This time I did my homework and found 31 cards he needed. Andso I picked out 31 cards from his tradelist...

Bo had two cards from 2011 Topps Update - this Andrew McCutchen All-Star and the J.D. Martinez RC at the top of this post. That J.D. is red-hot, so I expanded the trade beyond a swap of base cards.


Two more for my 2016 Topps set. Most collectors dislike '16 and '17 flagship, and I don't disagree with them. I can live with the smoky '16 set though - and it's been easy to piece together most of it. I only need 19 more cards ...if anyone can help me put that set to bed I'd sure appreciate it!


Some 1994 Leaf, a few stars, and a Rogers Hornsby insert. In my St. Louis post I mentioned that I'd like to add more Hornsby cards to my collection..didn't take long to address that.


I grabbed a bunch of Topps Lineage from Bo because the player selection and design appealed to me...


...and also because I think one of my blogger friends is collecting this set. I can always use more tradebait.


I showed these Giants in my San Francisco post. The Belt RC is a dupe, as it turns out.


Finally we have five Rockies. I had no idea that I picked so many of one team, but I'm not complaining. The Jimenez and Helton are keepers. Possibly the Walker as well.  

Bo, thanks again for the great trade!

Before these trades were completed I had joined a group break hosted by Trevor P (Bump and Run Football Cards) Trevor is a fellow Packers fan, but this was a baseball box break-the first he's ever hosted and the first I've ever participated in. 

The 4-box break included two Hobby Boxes of 2018 Stadium Club, a hobby box of 2018 Diamond Kings, and a blaster of 2018 Topps series 2. I was tempted to choose a potentially profitable team like the Angels or Yankees, but I played it straight and went with the Red Sox. My randomly assigned team was the Brewers..which would have been okay, except Robin Yount isn't in any of these sets :/


Here's the Diamond Kings. I've never bought packs of logoless Panini before..these aren't bad at all. Taking that 2016 Topps smoke effect to a whole new level. I got 5 of the 8 Red Sox in the base set (missing Harry Hooper, Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio.) Didn't pull any SPs or variations, but Trevor was kind enough to assign the J.D. Gallery of Stars insert to me. He's clearly pictured in Arizona colors, but the card says Boston. I'll take it!

Trevor's box of Diamond Kings yielded the entire Milwaukee Brewers team set. Here it is:


No Ryan Braun, no Robin Yount, no Gorman Thomas...nothin'. At least there would be some nice Brewers in Stadium Club.

The one Brewers card that I was really hoping for was the Keon Broxton, which in my incomplete analysis is a top-ten card in the set. Did I get it?


Nope! I got every Brewers base card except Broxton! Figures, huh? At least I got my first Milwaukee cards of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. 


Here's the rest of the Brew Crew-including the four base cards from the Topps2 blaster. The Mike Fiers was one of four Brewer freebies. 


Eight of the ten Brewers I have (and 8 of 11 overall) were vertical, but all of the Red Sox I pulled are horizontal. It just so happens that the three Sox I didn't get - Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts - are the only three vertical Sox in the set.


These two have drawn raves from Sox fans and non-Sox fans alike. Its no wonder Dustin Pedroia keeps getting hurt-his glove is much too big!


The Topps2 blaster yielded just one Red Sox base card, but two inserts in Williams and Devers. The Boggs insert, Vazquez, and Brian Johnson were among the ten Boston bonus cards Trevor added.

 

While I didn't get any 'hits' it was a fun break. I would certainly consider joining another one - when I have some extra money to spend. Great job Trevor, thanks again!


Have you participated in any group breaks? If so, what products were in the break? If not, what are your thoughts on group breaks?



~




Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - San Jose

The Collector's Sports Card Tour closes out California week with an originally unscheduled stop in San Jose.


San Jose was a late addition to the tour - even though the Sharks have played there since 1991. I had planned on grouping it in with another Bay Area city, but couldn't decide on which one. And so I asked our resident San Jose expert Fuji where to put the Sharks. "If you're doing separate posts for Oakland and San Francisco, then you probably want to give San Jose their own post, since technically Oakland and San Francisco are closer to each other than San Jose is to either of them." Thanks for the help, Fuji!


The story of the NHL's expansion to San Jose is bizarre and fascinating. The first new NHL franchise since the WHA merger was somewhat of a merger itself-with the Minnesota North Stars. The Sharks stocked their roster with North Stars, then both teams participated in the expansion draft.


The Sharks were predictably bad in their first two years. Jeff Hackett and Arturs Irbe were competent goalies who improved behind better teams. Tough guy Link Gaetz racked up 326 penalty minutes in the Sharks' first season-a team record that still stands. Doug Wilson was San Jose's first captain and currently serves as their general manager. He's one of only two eligible Norris Trophy-winning defensemen not in the Hockey Hall of Fame (Randy Carlyle is the other.)


 

The Sharks' logo and color scheme were an instant hit with young hockey fans-myself included. In junior high I was invited to a pool party by the first girl I ever crushed on. Being a sports-loving boy I decided to wear my matching San Jose Sharks t-shirt and shorts to the party. When I arrived I was greeted by the gorgeous birthday girl-and her even more gorgeous older friend who was 15 going on 25. The very tall, very fashionable blonde indicated my teal-clad clothing and said "Well, aren't you coordinated." One of those little word grenades that I shrugged off at the time but destroyed me a minute later.



Pat Falloon was the Sharks' first-ever draft pick and second overall to Eric Lindros in 1991. He led the team in scoring as a teenager, but never improved on that 59-point rookie season.


Patrick Marleau was a much more successful second-overall pick. The Sharks' all-time leader in goals, points, and games played signed with the Maple Leafs in 2017. The Frozen Fabrics at the top is my only Sharks relic. Marleau has scored 500 goals and 1000 points, but I still don't think of him as a star or future Hall of Famer. 

For sorting purposes, Marleau's base cards do get the star player nod - mostly to save me some room in my binders. Based on Doug's repacks I've considered designating all 500/1000 NHLers into the star box, as I have with 10,000-yard running backs. I don't love the idea of giving Dale Hunter, Dave Taylor, Alexei Kovalev, and Pat Verbeek star treatment though.


Joe Thornton was the #1 overall pick (ahead of Marleau) in the 1997 draft. Like Marleau, Thornton is still an active and productive NHL player over two decades later. The two were teammates on the Sharks for 12 seasons. Thornton and Marleau are also 1-2 in career points among active NHL players (assuming Jaromir Jagr is really, truly retired.)


No NHL team had ever traded a league MVP or scoring champion during said season - until the Bruins shipped "Jumbo" to the Sharks in 2005. Now that Alex Ovechkin has finally won a Stanley Cup I'll be cheering for Thornton and the Sharks to win one as well. They are Washington west after all ;-)


Joe Pavelski is the Sharks' current captain and leading scorer. His 14 goals during the Sharks' run to the Stanley Cup final in 2016 led all postseason scorers that year. 2006-07 Upper Deck was one of the few Young Guns sets I didn't try to complete. The only RCs that interested me were Pavelski, Shea Weber, and Travis Zajac.


Pavelski's cards are in my star player box as well. I'm fairly confident in that decision, but my hockey knowledge is slipping - I didn't know Pavelski is already 34 years old.


Logan Couture just signed an eight-year extension to stay in San Jose. His league-leading 30 postseason points in '16 might have earned him the Conn Smythe trophy had the Sharks prevailed over Pittsburgh. I packed a black parallel of Couture's Victory RC in a care package shipped to Fuji when I first joined the cardsphere. The Score card next to it is my only Brent Burns Sharks base*. That's a huge hole in my collection that must be filled.


*I have one from his Minnesota years

 

Jonathan Cheechoo led the league in goals while playing on Joe Thornton's wing in 2005-06. His career quickly declined after that 56-goal outlier.


2001-02 Pacific Atomic was one of my favorite hockey sets. Since the Team Nucleus card combines Nabokov, Nolan, and Selanne I did the same here. The Gold parallel Selanne is numbered to 200. The EA Owen Nolan was included with my purchase of the NHL 2002 CD-rom game. I don't know much about these, other than it's a nine-card set inserted one per game, and the Nolan is a Silver. 


My wife won an autographed Owen Nolan stick at a Devils dinner raffle back when they had items of other NHL teams [and fancy dinner events for season-ticket holders.] I don't have a picture of it (I tried scanning the stick blade but it came out crappy) nor do I have a picture of my Evgeni Nabokov mask...so I'm stealing this scan from Dave and Adam's:


I bought a box of Upper Deck Mask collection at a card shop that used to be in my nearby mall. The cards didn't really appeal to me, but each box came with one of these replica masks. I pulled the Nabokov - and bought a Martin Brodeur on eBay soon after.


Some of my favorite Sharks cards, including another Nabby. Any card showing the Shark-mouth entrance is a winner in my book. Tough guy Todd Ewen is chomping down on a puck in this picture, which reminds me...


...competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut is also from San Jose.


The rest of my best Sharks, including a pair of Upper Deck 20th-anniversary parallels. These aren't quite as sturdy as the originals, but it's nice to see the newer teams on that landmark design. The Timo Meier Compendium was an ePack purchase, I enjoyed it their first year but I've since lost interest in the cards - and the concept.


Favorite Sharks player (current): Joe Thornton
Favorite Sharks player (all-time): Joe Thornton


Next tour stop: Seattle


It's my goal to have the last six posts finished by Friday, July 27th and begin the prize pool draft two weeks from today, on July 29th. You've been waiting long enough, am I right? :-)


~


Friday, July 13, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - San Francisco

California week continues on The Collector's Sports Card Tour with another one-sport city. Today we're in San Francisco.


The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. They have played in six fall classics since moving to San Francisco in 1958.


The 49ers won five Super Bowls from 1981 to 1994. The team recently moved to Santa Clara - which is closer to our next tour stop, San Jose. But we'll include them here because they're still called the San Francisco 49ers.


Joe Montana led the Niners to four Super Bowls in the 1980s. I was just getting into football when he was at his peak, and a lot of my friends were fans of his. I didn't like nor dislike him (his wife was pretty though!)

Even though I had no allegiance toward San Francisco teams, two cards you'll see in this post were important to my early collecting years. Montana was at or near the end of his career when I spied this Topps RC at my LCS. For some reason I wanted it, and for some reason the shop owner (who would become my boss a few years later) allowed me to pay the $200 sticker price in installments. It took me all summer (because I bought an autographed 8 x 10 of Christina Applegate from another store) but I did eventually take home the Montana rookie card. Don't ask me what I did with it.


I have yet to own a Jerry Rice rookie card, but it is on my bucket list. Rice is without a doubt the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and perhaps the greatest player regardless of position. I once had a page-a-day calendar of sports quotes and I'll never forget his "I feel like I'm the best, but you're not going to get me to say that." If I'm ever going to build the 1986 Topps football set the only card I will want PSA-graded is the Rice RC.


Steve Young waited very patiently for his chance to lead the 49ers' West Coast Offense and finally got his chance in 1991 after Montana missed the year with an elbow injury. By the end of the '90s he had completed his own Hall of Fame career-which included two league MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP. Young is one of the greatest athletes ever with Connecticut ties - though not everyone considers him a Connecticut guy.

Like Jerry Rice, Young's rookie card is also in the 1986 Topps set - though not everyone considers it his true rookie card. 


Terrell Owens has been a prima donna for so long it's hard to remember him ever showing humility. I can only recall one such moment-but I'll never forget it. The Niners were playing my Packers in a 1998 playoff game. Steve Young was leading the come-from-behind drive (which should have stalled because Jerry Rice definitely fumbled) and hit T.O. for the game-winning T.D. 


Watch this celebration. You won't believe it's the same guy. 


Speaking of humble Hall of Famers...Deion Sanders isn't one of them, either. I was never a Deion fan but he had some cool cards and cool commercials. These cards are all in my stars/HOFers box; Ricky Watters is the only one not enshrined in Canton.

 

Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers were the top two quarterbacks available in the 2005 NFL Draft. The 49ers passed on Rodgers (a California kid) and drafted Smith first overall. Smith lost the 2011 NFC Championship to the Giants and lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick the next year. Kaep killed my Packers in the 2012 Wild-Card game, and nearly led the Niners to victory in the Super Bowl that year.


Some of my best 49ers 'hits'. I had the Elvis Grbac Laser in my commons binder until writing this post. The Willis and Gore were COMC purchases. If it sounds like I'm mentioning COMC a lot in these posts it's because one of the reasons I came up with Sports Card Tour was to discuss each of the 500 cards I had shipped to me last Black Friday. Can't say this for sure but it's a good bet that every pro sports city was represented in that order.


Two of these '59 Giants were also purchased there. I bought the Landrith and Jones ungraded more than a year ago. The Bill White was part of an eBay order, from a seller who overstated the condition of his cards (this was listed as MINT!) but I'm still happy with it.


Some post-career Willies. The 1958 design is from a Topps 65th anniversary set. I disagree with Upper Deck's assessment that Mays is the second-greatest player of all-time. Babe Ruth might be the greatest power hitter the game has ever seen.. but he couldn't run, throw, or field like Willie Mays. 

Back when I was an '80s kid collecting '80s cards, there was a small card shop about four blocks from my house. That's where I got my first look at the 1968 Topps set - and the Willie Mays card.


The owner of the shop had his cards in thick screw-down holders and instead of using red price tag stickers he wrote the price on the holder in black magic marker: $50. I was maybe ten years old at the time, I didn't have fifty dollars. But my mom made a deal with the owner-and with me. I earned my first vintage card by doing extra chores and forfeiting my allowance for at least a month - possibly the whole summer.

Eventually I traded that '68 Mays and a Barry Sanders Score RC to another dealer in town - for a 1962 Topps Mays.  I sold that Mays to help pay for the 1955 Bowman Mays in my New York post. Not planning to upgrade that one any time soon.


This 1968 Topps Juan Marichal is still in my collection. I purchased it on 4 Sharp Corners. The McCovey relic was a COMC purchase.


Here's a pair of 1964 Topps Giants...Giants. Another project I've sort-of started but will probably never finish.


For those of you who prefer free-range cardboard. The rookie reprints are both 60 Years of Topps inserts; I bought a lot of 2011 flagship.


Will "The Thrill" Clark was San Fran's star during my childhood. I always thought of him as the west coast's Don Mattingly - but he had a better career than Donnie did. (If I grew up in California I'd probably have Clark's cards in my star box and Mattingly's in my commons binders-instead of the opposite.) 

By 1989 I was officially obsessed with baseball, and I watched the Giants play the Oakland Athletics in the "Battle of the Bay."


It was a depressing series, due to the earthquake that occurred before the start of Game 3. I had rushed upstairs to watch the game in my mom's room and when the broadcast cut out I thought there was something wrong with her TV - until the sound came on and Al Michaels alerted us of the disaster. 

 

Just three years later the Giants nearly moved to Tampa-until a new owner stepped in and solidified the franchise by signing Barry Bonds. I remember there was some kind of announcement during the 1993 Expansion draft but I can't recall if that was regarding the Bonds contract or quashing the relocation rumors.


Bonds bulked up by the end of the '90s and became the most feared hitter in baseball. Even if his home run records fall, his walk totals will never be touched. I was thrilled that the Giants blew Game 6 of the 2002 World Series - and Barry's best chance at a ring - because I could not stand his arrogance dating back to his Pittsburgh days. After the series loss, Bonds threatened to physically assault ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez (who admittedly had been an annoyance.)


Jeff Kent wasn't a warm and fuzzy guy, either, but he was the 2000 NL MVP and the all-time leader in home runs by a second baseman. I'd give Kent my Hall of Fame vote before I'd give it to Bonds, though it's obvious which one was the superior player. 


Tim Lincecum's small stature almost made his team name sound sarcastic. The two-time Cy Young award winner and three-time World Series champ was one of my favorite pitchers to watch in the early '10s. It helped that he looked a lot like Mitch from Dazed and Confused.



By the time Timmy lost his spot in the Giants' rotation another young ace was ready to step up..


Madison Bumgarner was as dominant in the 2014 postseason as any pitcher I've seen in my lifetime. He can hit when healthy, too. I had some high-end Bumgarner cards including two 2008 Bowman Chrome prospect autos and a 2007 Bowman Chrome refractor. Like the Sidney Crosby Upper Deck RC, I sold my Bums at peak value after he won a third title. 

 

One more Bum just arrived courtesy of a trade with Bo (Baseball Cards Come To Life!) I'm trying to finish Sports Card Tour as quickly as I can, but I'll be sure to squeeze in a thank you post for all of the trades I've made this month.


One of these two Buster Posey cards is an actual Topps rookie card, the other is a 60 Years of Topps insert. My initial reaction would be to complain about reprinting a one-year old card.. but 60 Years means 60 Years - including the most recent ones.


Brandons Crawford and Belt appear on this card. Wouldn't it be cool if the Giants had signed Brandon Phillips and Brandon Inge to round out their infield? My baseball-loving Bay area buddy Brandon would have loved that.


My prospecting days are over but I saved a handful of 1st Bowman Cards, including this Steven Duggar gold refractor #d/50. Duggar made his major league debut earlier this week. I don't know if he has eighteen siblings or not.


Let's bring out the closers to finish this post. Brian Wilson was fun to watch in his "Fear The Beard" days. Joe Nathan saved 377 major league games, but only one for San Fran. Tim Worrell pops up in my eBay searches because I'm on the hunt for 'Topps Traded Gold Worrell' ..unfortunately I'm looking for Peter Worrell. And we'll finish with "Shooter", a blogosphere fave.


Favorite Giants player (current): It was MadBum for a while..now it's probably Posey or Cutch
Favorite Giants player (all-time): Willie Mays
Favorite 49ers player (current): Richard Sherman

Favorite 49ers player (all-time): Roger Craig or Merton Hanks 

Next tour stop: San Jose


Have a great weekend everyone! Thanks for reading!


~