Thursday, April 30, 2020

The State of Things

Lots of new cards are arriving at The Collector HQ. I've been making more purchases than I expected to under the circumstances. None of these are budget-busters, and I'm rationalizing them by reminding myself that I saved $500 to go to the National in Atlantic City this summer - and there ain't gonna be no National in Atlantic City this summer - so why not spend less than one-fifth of that on one of the few things I can still enjoy. 

not my cards :/
Two weeks ago I placed an order on the Beckett Marketplace for about $50 worth of singles. This was during their Customer Appreciation Week sale so I spent just under $40. 

I might have saved even more had I known about; their Anniversary sale seems to have had some of the cards I bought on Beckett. After seeing their name pop up on a couple blogs I placed an order there earlier this week. Another 120 cards are headed my way for the low, low price of $16. This is less than I paid for one PSA-graded single on eBay.. which is also due to arrive soon. 

And then there are trades. When I shipped out all of my Free Stuff Friday gifts I had a couple stamps left over, so I headed over to TCDB to make some deals. 

Before I get into that, please let me know if you have received your PWE because they should have arrived by now and I have only heard back from two bloggers. [Elliptical Man, I still need your address.]

I was just about to lose hope on a trade with GooseWayneX after nearly six weeks. He didn't reply to five direct messages or a forum post, and I kept telling myself to leave a negative feedback and give up on ever seeing the cards. I didn't do either.

Tuesday the cards showed up - almost all of them.

I had traded him 14 Dodgers cards (including the Jerry Sands auto I got in the eBay box o'randomness) and I had asked for 14 cards in return: the four scanned above and ten Brett Favre cards I didn't have.

Lee left out the 2001 Bowman's Best card. Grrr. The good news is, this increases my Favre count to 810. 

I still can't believe I have that many cards of #4. And once all of my trades/purchases come in (including my COMC inventory) I'll have over 825 unique Favre cards. 

In fact, once all of my transactions are completed I should have over 99,000 total cards in my collection. There are other milestones within my reach this summer:

I'm five cards away from 70% completion of all Peter Worrell cards. There are six Worrell singles in my COMC inventory, including one that I'd been hunting for 15 years.

I'm eleven cards away from 50% completion of the 1956 Topps baseball set. There are three singles in my COMC inventory. I doubt I'll pick up eight more before my 40th birthday in August but that was that plan (deep sigh..) Perhaps I'll get there by the end of this already godawful year. 

Crazie Joe stumbled into my Blue-and-White Whale, and has agreed to break his Toronto PC rule to help me finish a 16-year old hockey set! 

Also there are dozens of cards incoming for my All-Time Teams frankenset, as well as other (traditional) set builds. I haven't completed all of the team checklists yet, but I'm close to determining the greatest baseball players who are not in my collection. Stay tuned for that.

If you haven't perused my player PC page please check it out and let me know if you can spare any cards of these players. I'm planning to expand the list this summer to include:

I also plan to reduce my blogging output to once a week this summer - after a few show-and-tell posts. There's also a thought kicking around in my head to pause collecting once I acquire my 100,000th card. Something about turning 40 and re prioritizing.. I dunno. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Thanks for reading!



Saturday, April 25, 2020

Sports Card Tour 2020 - Las Vegas

While we're pretending that everything is fine let's dust off the ol' Sports Card Tour bus and take a trip to Sin City. Today we're in Las Vegas, home of the Golden Knights and Raiders. 

Vegas entered the big leagues in 2016 when the NHL unanimously approved Bill Foley's bid for a franchise in the area. While some may have questioned the viability of hockey in the tourist-heavy city, the record number of season ticket deposits quickly erased that thought. 

The Golden Knights were not the first pro hockey team to play on the Vegas strip. In 1991, Caesars Palace hosted an outdoor game between the Rangers and Kings - the first of its kind, and a precursor to the Winter Classic. [If you're interested, here's an oral history about this event on the Golden Knights' page.]


Las Vegas was home to a minor league hockey franchise in the 1990s, the IHL's Thunder. I remember seeing quite a few Thunder cards in 1994, when Radek Bonk was projected to be a top pick in the NHL Draft. I have one such card in my collection today:

It's not the cool 4 Sport card with the lightning background, but that one is going on my want list.

Curtis Joseph, Alexei Yashin, and Manon Rheaume also played for the Thunder. You might even recognize one of their announcers: 

Las Vegas has hosted the NHL's awards ceremony since 2009. Perhaps that event laid the groundwork for the Golden Knights' arrival less than a decade later.

The Knights avoided the struggles of a traditional expansion team thanks to shrewd roster moves by GM George McPhee and two built-in advantages: an exceptional pool of players to choose from due to the salary cap, and no competition with another new entry. 


Upper Deck produced the first Golden Knights cards in 2017, featuring photos from the expansion draft. Marc-Andre Fleury was the first pick and the first player featured on a Knights card.

The first Golden Knights card I purchased was this William Karlsson O-Pee-Chee Platinum rainbow parallel. However Knights fan Billy sent me this card of Vegas resident (and former Las Vegas Wrangler) Deryk Engelland before my COMC order arrived, so he gets the honor of contributing the first such card to my collection. 

Since then I've added six more Knights cards - though once again an O-Pee-Chee Platinum rainbow parallel is held up at COMC (this time it's a Jonathan Marchessault.)

Las Vegas was in mourning as the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history occurred just prior to the start of the Golden Knights' inaugural season in 2017-18. The tragedy accelerated the bond between the new team and the community, and inspired the Knights' magical run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Vegas became the first first-year expansion team to win a game in the final, defeating the Capitals in Game 1. However the Caps roared back to take the next four games and the Stanley Cup. I mentioned this in my Washington D.C. post, but it's worth re-posting here:

Former Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper was cheering for his hometown team in the series. Harper and Cubs All-Star Kris Bryant are both Vegas natives and Knights fans

There's no MLB franchise in Las Vegas but the city has produced its share of major league talent. Harper and Bryant played on the same little league team as Rangers slugger Joey Gallo.

Las Vegas has been home to a triple-A franchise since 1983. The 51s were rebranded as the Aviators upon moving into a new stadium for the 2019 season. (I don't have any cards of either team.)

Before the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks entered the MLB as expansion clubs my friends and I created several names for potential teams, including the "Las Vegas High Rollers". I know of one superstar that would be perfect for a Vegas baseball franchise.

The Oakland Raiders finally left the dilapidated Coliseum and moved to Las Vegas following the 2019 season. Allegiant Stadium is expected to be completed before the 2020 season kicks off in September (hopefully.)

On Thursday the Raiders made Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III the first pick of the Las Vegas era. The draft was initially scheduled to be hosted by the city - which has since been awarded the 2022 draft. [Not surprisingly, commissioner Roger Goodell bungled this announcement.]

Las Vegas hosted NBA All-Star Weekend in 2007 and was once discussed as a potential relocation site for struggling franchises such as the Sacramento Kings. The WNBA's Aces play their home games at Mandalay Bay. Bill Laimbeer is the Aces' head coach.

These cards are not mine. I do have an A'Ja Wilson college card in my collection from a stack of cards Wes sent me with his pack blowout prizes. 

Sports Card Tour has primarily focused on pro teams, but I do want to mention the UNLV Runnin' Rebels. UNLV won the NCAA Championship in 1990 - the first tournament I remember watching. They returned to the Final Four in 1991, losing to Duke by a bucket.

Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon were the stars of that UNLV team. I traded for this LJ Wild Card single on TCDB specifically for this post. Head Coach Jerry Tarkanian lasted less than a year as Spurs bench boss after leaving the university in 1992. [I'm leaving this documentary about the UNLV basketball program here if anyone is interested.]

I hope you enjoyed this bonus stop on the tour. This will absolutely be the final post in the series unless a big-four franchise comes to a city that doesn't already have one. If you're new to The Collector and you'd like to read more Sports Card Tour posts you can find the entire library on the Your City, Your Team tab. 

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Free Stuff Finale

I honestly feel like this whole "Free Stuff Friday" thing has jumped the shark. It started off as a very generous idea by Jon, and it was nice to see other bloggers take the ball and run with it. (Rod has really outdone all of us.) However the number of bloggers making claims far outweighs the number of those who offer up something for others to claim.

It's frustrating to see a blog post that takes time and research and creativity get a smattering of comments while a "Free Stuff" post draws dozens. It's disheartening to see comments from people who haven't visited a certain blog since the last time there was a giveaway. And it's aggravating that Fridays on the blogosphere have become one big race to see who can claim the best stuff first. 

I'm guilty of it, too. I've been looking forward to Fridays, checking blogs to see who's offering what. I'm getting competitive with other collectors and resenting those who simply claim all the available cards for a given sport. I try to be mindful of this when I comment - only claiming cards that truly fit my collection, deferring to others even when I get there first, and writing a meaningful comment that shows gratitude. 

Some bloggers (myself included) aren't reading the fine print. Jim (GCRL) offered up some great cards but they weren't quite free. He was just looking for a little help with his want list, a la Nachos Grande. Which reminds me...
 my wantlist tab has been updated. Hint hint nudge nudge wink wink. 

Anyway.. you're not here to read my complaints. You're here to claim some cards, am I right? 

I've moved "Free Stuff Friday" ahead a day because I'm off tomorrow and I will be venturing out to the post office to ship out trades and claims. I had planned on doing one more round of Free Stuff next week but I'd rather get this all out now while I can.

Please claim up to eight of the cards scanned below and indicate if you do not want me to ship your cards out tomorrow (I know Billy is holding off on receiving mail; not sure about anyone else.) 

We finally get an actual legit sporting event tonight! I'll be watching as much of the NFL Draft as I can, for three things in particular:

  • There was talk that the Dolphins would Tank for Tua last year but they played hard down the stretch (3-2 in December) and they might end up getting him anyway at #5. I hope they do. If Tagovailoa is still on the board when the Panthers pick at #7 it will get interesting. 
  • This draft is loaded with impact wide receivers. The Packers are in desperate need of a play-making pass-catcher to pair with Davante Adams... so they're probably going to end up taking an offensive lineman from Iowa :/
  • The Las Vegas Raiders have two picks in the first round, #12 and #19. I'm not usually interested in the Raiders but I'm curious as to how they will kick off the Vegas era. It's a key component of my next post. Hint

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the NFL draft - if you're not in a hurry to claim cards ;)

Again, please make sure to indicate if you do not want me to send your claims tomorrow. I'll have no trouble sending out PWEs but if you've claimed more than 12 cards total and the scene at the local post office is too much to handle I might have to break them up into multiple envelopes rather ship in a bubble mailer. (I should probably do that anyway to save money.) 

Thanks for reading!