Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Second Look

I've got a lot of catching up to do here on the blogs, and I wanted to wait until my entire card collection was cataloged on TCDB (done) and neatly organized (not done yet) ..but then Doug sent me a surprise mailer of Devils cards and UConn alums he picked up at the Expo..
and then I got my very last PSA order..
and a smaller batch of vintage from eBay..
and then Bart Starr died and Bill Buckner died..
and Dustin Pedroia all but announced his retirement..
and the Stanley Cup Finals started..
and I really can't put off posting another day because sooo much is happening. 

I'll sprinkle some stats about my card collection into future posts, but as expected I have more Devils cards than any other sports team. Thanks in part to Doug I'm at 3,443 different Devils - good for 4th place on TCDB.

The same three collectors ahead of me on the list are also in the top four when it comes to collecting Martin Brodeur. I'm in second place on that list, with 483 unique singles.

I definitely want to reach 500 this year, and eventually I'd like to have one card for every one of his 691 regular-season career wins.

Former Devils such as Marcus Johansson, John Moore, and assistant coach Jay Pandolfo are a secondary reason why I'm cheering for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup - even though the Blues have never even won a game in the final. It's not easy to go against the underdog, not when a tween girl with a rare disease is inspiring the squad, or the anthem singer is battling MS, or the bookies taking bets could lose millions if the Blues win. Boston has won enough titles, we should let St. Louis have this one..right?

Naah. Sorry, can't do it. There's no one to root for on this Blues team. They don't have any hateable players like the Bruins do with Brad Marchand, but they don't have anyone like Joe Thornton that neutral fans can get behind. There's no Brett Hull or Al MacInnis or Chris Pronger on this Blues squad. Vladimir Tarasenko is really good, but he's not an all-time great. And their OGWAC is...Jay Bouwmeester?!? Meh.

So yeah, I hope the Bruins win, I hope the name McAVOY is engraved on the Stanley Cup and I hope that Titletown gets another parade. It's been a looong drought after all.

Even with the Game 1 win, it was a sad weekend in Boston sports. 

It's impossible to mention Bill Buckner's name without bringing up Game 6, which is almost as unfair as the way he was treated by Red Sox fans. At least the Nation came to appreciate him while he was still alive and well - but we all know he deserved better.

Bill Buckner was 36 in the fall of 1986. Dustin Pedroia will be 36 this fall - and he may have played his last game. Pedey's left knee was shattered by Manny Machado's bush-league slide two years ago, and hasn't healed since. He's been my favorite player for over a decade and last year's World Series title was significantly less enjoyable with him sitting on the sidelines.

I'm holding out hope that Pedey can play again, but if he does it probably won't be much more than a David Wright-style send-off. The Sox had a rule that only Hall of Famers could have their number retired - but Johnny Pesky and David Ortiz have received the honor. I think #15 should hang from the Fenway facade one day - whether he makes it to Cooperstown or not.

If Pedroia has played his last game, most baseball fans would agree that his career falls short of the HOF standard. After 2016 or so I figured Pedey was about three good years and one or two mediocre ones away from serious Cooperstown consideration. But it doesn't look like he'll get there, and there are better second basemen ahead of him:

Lou Whitaker.276/.363/.426244108414375.1ROY, 4x SS, 3x GG
Dustin Pedroia.299/.365/.43914072513851.7ROY, MVP, 1x SS, 4x GG

Lou Whitaker should have been a Hall of Famer years ago. Instead he fell off the ballot after receiving 2.9% of the vote in 2001. That year, two players were elected - including one whose career was cut short at age 35:

Kirby Puckett.318/.360/.477207108513451.1LCS MVP, 6x SS, 6x GG
Dustin Pedroia.299/.365/.43914072513851.7ROY, MVP, 1x SS, 4x GG

Pedroia's numbers are..kinda close to Kirby's. And Puck was a first-ballot HOFer. That doesn't mean he should be enshrined - but I sure hope he gets a better look than Sweet Lou did.

This is not the first time one of my favorite athletes has had a potential Hall of fame career abruptly ended by injuries.

Sterling Sharpe played just seven NFL seasons before a neck injury forced him to retire after the 1994 season. If he could have played two more years he'd have earned a Super Bowl ring and a bust in Canton.

I didn't think Sterling played enough to be considered a "Hall of Fame Contender" as Panini did, but if Calvin Johnson and Rob Gronkowski are certain HOFers then perhaps it's not inconceivable.

Were any of your favorite athletes forced to retire due to injury (or illness)? 


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Stanley Cup Contest Winners

Programming note: My card cataloging and reorganization project is almost complete. Regular blogging activities (and trading!) will resume on or about June 1.

The St. Louis Blues punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final last night, eliminating the San Jose Sharks in six games. Since no one claimed the Blues or the Boston Bruins in my playoff contest I can announce the winners now.

The teams that were claimed are listed below:

Tampa Bay Lightning - Gregory (Nine Pockets)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Commishbob (The Five Tool Collector)
New York Islanders - Corky (Pack War)
Pittsburgh Penguins - Brian (Collecting Cutch)
Washington Capitals - Greg (The Collective Mind)
Calgary Flames - Gavin (Baseball Card Breakdown)
Nashville Predators - Jon (A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts) playing for Billy
San Jose Sharks - Fuji (The Chronicles of Fuji)
Vegas Golden Knights - Billy (Cardboard History)

Those of you who participated get one chance at the main prize (a bubble mailer full of hockey cards) for every playoff win your claimed team accumulated. Here's the full list of wins by team:

Golden Knights
Golden Knights
Golden Knights
Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs



I entered this list into and randomized it four times (to represent the four rounds of playoffs) The team at the top is the winner:

I should not be surprised that the winner is Fuji since San Jose won the most games of any claimed team by far. Fuji, I wish the Sharks could have won the Stanley Cup - but at least they won you some free cards!

Now we'll do the random drawing for a PWE of hockey cards. Everyone (else) gets an equal chance:

Gregory wins the PWE, wehich makes me feel better about this since the team he claimed didn't win one single playoff game. Gregory, email your address to sutherlandct@gmail (dot com) and I'll ship the prizes out this weekend.

Thanks for playing and enjoy the Stanley Cup Finals. Let's Go Bruins! :-)


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Free Cards, COMC Style

This is going to be a long post with a lot of scans - but I'm planning a series of very short posts with 1-2 scans and few words to even things out..

I've been feverishly working on COMC challenges all year in an attempt to earn as many "free" cards as possible and overcompensate for the four months in 2018 that I struggled with a shitty internet connection. The Spring Cleaning sale starts tomorrow, and part of the reason why I had my 100-card batch shipped to me in April rather than wait until December was so that I could add that $5 credit to my bank in time for the sale.

Some of the cards in this order have been discussed before, such as the Johnny Mize Bowman RC above and the Jim Taylor 1961 Topps below. Mize looks fantastic in hand. However the flaws on the Taylor card (specifically the thumb-shaped crease by his elbow) were only visible to me once it arrived.

Buying ungraded vintage on COMC has been a mixed bag for me, but overall I've had a lot more hits than misses.

This Tom Sturdivant ($1.44) would be a candidate for grading if I still submitted cards to PSA; they've been working on my order for months and my subscription expired in the mean time.

Johnny Kucks ($2.38) was my first card purchase of 2019. The bottom right corner looked dinged on COMC but it's barely noticeable in hand.

One morning before I got ready for work, I caught a sale that started at 8 a.m. and jumped on this Brooks Lawrence card for $1.25. Even if I had time to examine it more closely I doubt I would have seen the faint crease extending from the left edge to the bill of his cap. 

That seller had a bunch of Kurt Warner cards available, so I bought this Impeccable base card for $0.75. You'll see more high-end base (and another Warner card) later in this post.

Once I'd earned some more challenge credit I went back to that port and snagged this Sandy Amoros for $1.25 even though I already have a graded copy.

Some other set fillers I needed. I'm gonna have to start trading for these 2017 Topps Heritage inserts. Getting tired of paying 60 cents or more - and these were the cheapest needs I found.

I only need 22 cards to finish the 2015-16 Donruss set. Of course they're all rookies - including Kristaps Porzingis, Devin Booker..and Nikola Jokic :/

I'm now at over 50% completion of the 30-card Exquisite base set thanks to this Shane Doan ($2.65). Hoping to add one more card tomorrow, depending on the sale price.

Every other high-end/low-numbered base card in this batch cost less than Doaner here, including Drew Brees ($1.65), Eric Dickerson ($1.62)...

...Peyton Manning ($2.00), Leonard Fournete ($0.95), and Roddy White ($0.88)

I'd love to crack open a box of Panini Immaculate one day, but it's hard to justify spending $300+ when the singles are so cheap on the secondary market. This Terrell Suggs relic (#d/55) cost just $2.50:

I've discussed these two Black Sox-era greats on my blog before, but the Joe Jackson card has an interesting story.

I bought this card last year, and didn't have any inventory for Black Friday so I put it up for sale and made a small profit...

Then I bought it back for $1.52. In the same transaction, I bought an Art Monk Prizm:

Perhaps I'll start collecting Monk cards again. I did trade for a few on TCDB, with varying results.

Panini Classics was well-represented in this batch. (BTW I scanned each card individually in case I decide to upload them to TCDB) Dickerson was the most expensive of these at $1.30.

The Jordy Nelson orange parallel #d/25 ($1.15) cost less than the Doug Williams gold #d/99 ($1.25)

There's no way I'm going to reach my New Year's goal of 1,000 different Brett Favre cards.

 I'm not even at 700 despite the new additions to my PC; these only get me to 696 :/

I couldn't pass up this James Jones Five Star base card for just $0.52. Many other Packers were purchased, but I should move on to other sports or this post will take all day.

Over a dozen Devils cards were included in this order. I won't waste your time on the 27-cent singles so here's a pair of rookie goalie MacKenzie Blackwood, including his Upper Deck RC ($3.40) The Game-Dated moments card honors his back-to-back shutouts; I was at the first one but not the second.

Pro tip: don't buy the Game Dated cards direct from Upper Deck. I learned that lesson the hard way when I bought Nico Hischier's very first card for $4.99. The Taylor Hall cost $0.75 on COMC, which has the Hischier available for $1.40 (and probably less than that this week) 

Also I should have checked my collection before paying $0.53 for an extra SPx single. (it's going in the prize pile.)

I hadn't planned on buying this Brian Boyle relic for $1.15..but it's event-used! Not a photo shoot!

More puck purchases for my PC including a Joey Anderson auto ($1.90), some Conn-tent with Columbus sniper Cam Atkinson ($0.99) and his playoff opponent Charlie McAvoy ($0.65)

An article about Michael Rasmussen's potential led me to pick up his YG for $2. Marcus Petterson was traded to the Penguins mid-season so I'm betting 50 cents that he'll rack up some power play stats playing with Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, & co.

This Sergei Bobrovsky National Treasures patch is thick. I want to get more cards from this set but I doubt I'll find another decent example for $2.85.

When I committed myself to buying cards on COMC exclusively with challenge credit I found it hard to resist filling my cart with cheap singles. Instant gratification and all. Aside from Johhny Mize ($24.25) and Jim Taylor ($9.07) I didn't get any cards over $8.

The Bobrovsky was the 12th-most expensive card out of the 100 I had shipped. Just ahead of it were a pair of cards that don't fit my collection, but I couldn't pass up for the price.

I was amazed that this Billy Wagner Topps Tribute auto cost only $2.95. Not only is he a solid HOF candidate but I imagine that some poor sap bought a box of this for $200+ and this was their hit.

Why did I buy this Bernie Williams bat card for $3.05? Tradebait. And because I like jumbo bat relics. If I do let this one go, it won't be to some passerby who claimed the card in a contest and never came back.

Even Red Sox fans are turning on Dustin Pedroia but I'm staying loyal. Hell, my favorite hockey player is bros with a guy who overthrew our democracy. Pedey's gonna have to do a lot more than get hurt a few times to lose my support.

Museum Collection relics are always a good value on COMC. The Pedroia was just $4.50 and I was willing to pay $7+ for this Max Scherzer/Stephen Strasburg dual patch-if I'd had the credit at the time. Lucky for me the price dropped to $6.16 and I grabbed it.

And finally my most expensive modern card purchase: a 2013 Museum Collection jumbo relic of future HOFer Justin Verlander. I was pretty psyched to add this to my cart for only $7.75.

Again, none of these cards cost real money. And I did get a lot of bargains. But just for fun/torture, let's see what single card I could have acquired if I'd saved every cent I spent on this order - which came to $156.61 including shipping.

I might have made enough for the Aaron by now and if not, it might be on sale soon. Oh well.


Before I end this post here's a quick look at the standings in my Stanley Cup Contest:

7 wins* - Sharks (Fuji)
4 wins - Islanders (Corky)
3 wins - Capitals (Greg)

3 wins - Maple Leafs (CommishBob)
3 wins - Golden Knights (Billy)
2 wins - Predators (Jon/Billy)
1 win  - Flames (Gavin)
0 wins - Lightning (Gregory)

0 wins - Penguins (Brian)

Just because the Sharks are the only claimed team remaining doesn't mean Fuji is definitely going to win the mailer full of hockey cards. But he's got the most chances (why didn't anyone pick the Bruins?!? lol) And don't forget, I'm having a second random drawing for everyone listed above.

Are you planning to shop on COMC during their Spring Cleaning Sale?

Thanks for reading!