Friday, November 9, 2018

Ho Hum, It's Just a Pedestrian Collection Package

Chris, the Collector, has recently finished his Sports Card Tour and has been one of the most active bloggers I've seen in the cardsphere of late.  When he's not posting new content, he's one of the first commenters on a lot of the blog posts that I read.  It seems like it just registered with each of us that we are both cheeseheads, and Chris reached out to offer me some extra Packers he had.  Since he is just getting started with the Trading Card Database (username: hockeydude), we went that route to complete our trade.

First, Chris found some early 90's holes to plug in my collection.  I feel like I had most of these cards at some point in my life, but I'm not sure whatever happened to them.

Here are three QBs who appeared on cards in 1992.  All three of these cards pull double duty in my collection.  Ty Detmer is a BYU legend who was drafted by Green Bay in 1992.  This card will go in the Packers binder.  Mike Tomczak started 7 games for the Pack in 1991 and was rewarded with green and gold card in 1992, but he spent the '92 season in Cleveland.  This particular Tomczak card will go in my 1992 Ultra set build binder, as it was missing before.  1992 was the first year a kid named Brett Favre donned a Packers helmet.  Sixteen years later, he would retire as a Packer.  Kind of.  The first time, at least.  This card will go in my 1990s All-Decade Team binder.  Three QBs, one year, three different binders.

Speaking of great quarterbacks, all three of these Packer signal callers have a legitimate argument as the best of their generation.  They face stiff competition, to be sure, but they were (and are) outstanding for years at the helm of the Green Bay offense.  Yes, we Packer fans have been spoiled.  I'm really not looking forward to the day when Rodgers calls it quits.  We've seen Hundley and Kizer and what this team is without Aaron Rodgers.  It's not pretty.

Here is an indication that there is something wrong with us collectors.  These two cards came in the same package.  They look identical.  Did I really need both?

Yes, apparently.  If you look at the birthplace line, they are different.  The bottom is an error; Sharpe was born in Chicago.  See, they're two completely different cards.  See?

 We're not done with the legends, either.  Here is another card filling a dual role for me.  This card will likely end up completing my Hornung page in the Heisman binder.

There were some notable rookies included in the trade package.  I believe this is my first Robert Brooks rookie, so I'm very pleased.  The red foil Johnathan Franklin is serial numbered to 199.  I don't know why, but Franklin is a guy I just like to collect, even though he had only 19 carries in his pro career.

How about some fan favorites?  I'm always happy to add a new Jordy Nelson, who is probably my #2 PC guy.  John Kuhn and B.J. Raji are fun, too.  I believe this is the first Tramon Williams that will go into my Packers binder, outside of the set builder cards I have of him.  And I love that Leroy Butler.  He was probably my favorite 90s Packer besides Reggie White.

Chris also threw in some extras.  The Schwarbers are nice, especially the 1st Bowman Chrome card.  Orlando Pace and Dermontti Dawson were beasts, and I love the o-line cards.

Chris may call his blog "The Pedestrian Collector," but this trade package was a bit more than that for me.  Thanks for the great first trade!  I hope there are many more to follow.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Purchases from Toys 'R' Us Via Wal Mart (I Think)

The card section in both of the Walmarts near me was shrinking.  As this past summer went on, I noticed fewer and fewer cards being offered.  Fewer new products were hitting the shelves, and the clearance blasters had dried up months ago.  Then one day, I walked into the card section and found the hangers of jumbo packs of 2018 almost empty, but there were two full boxes of blasters and value packs from years past marked with big stickers denoting a clearance situation.  I was shocked.  Then, as I searched through the offerings I noticed something interesting: some of the clearance items advertised exclusive purple parallels.  Wait.  Purple parallels?  At Walmart?  I started to wonder if Walmart had bought out some soon-to-be liquidated merchandise from Toys 'R' Us to sell in their stores.  With that thought in mind, I decided to splurge and buy more than I would normally have, just because I worried that once this supply was gone, that would be it.  So, for discounted prices, I picked up four value/jumbo packs and two blasters, just to strike while the iron was hot.

This is what I got, and it will take me a series of posts to get through:
  • 2012 Bowman baseball value pack
  • 2016 Topps Chrome baseball value pack
  • 2017 Absolute football jumbo pack
  • 2017 Panini football jumbo pack
  • 2017 Elite football blaster
  • 2017 Playoff football blaster

Since it's football season right now, I'll start with a football break.  Here are the results of my 2017 Absolute jumbo pack.

As has been the trend for the past few years, 2017 Absolute was shiny.  The shine might not show up well in the scan, but the scan does a better job of showing something I hadn't really noticed: there are sections of the card in which the background is still visible.  It gives the background almost a ghostly feel, but it's not as noticeable in-hand.

There were two inserts in my pack.  Doug Martin is still in the NFL, but this Fantasy Flashback to a monster game he had in 2012 may well represent the last time he was truly fantasy relevant.  Hurdles is an odd theme for an insert set, but I guess it does give a chance for Panini to show off some interesting photos.  Although I find this card interesting, both of these cards are available if somebody would like to trade for them.  Any Bucs fans out there?  Lions?  Anybody?  Anybody?

So the question remains: did Walmart obtain these cards from a now defunct Toys 'R' Us?  I'm not sure.  I know that the card scene has picked up somewhat, but the selection has never been overwhelming.  I bought a bunch of stuff impulse-style for fear that it would be my last chance at Walmart clearance cards, but they have actually kept it stocked since then.  So I don't know.  Regardless, even though I spent more than I probably should have, I dragged out opening the cards for a few months, so I have been able to resist too many retail purchases since.  I guess it evened out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spooky Additions, Courtesy of the Database

I've been sitting on this trade for a while now, waiting to do a Halloween post.  Way back in the summer, or maybe even the spring, I completed a TCDB trade with user herkojerko.  This was my second trade with him, and in my dealings with him, I have found him not to be a jerko at all.  Sorry, that one was awful.

He hooked me up with some oddballs from a set that I have decided to collect, one that has fascinated me for almost 25 years.

These oddballs come from 1994--The Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron.  I remembered these coming one per 12-pack of Coke products when I was a kid.  I thought they were kind of cool, and I actually collected quite a few of them back then.  I'm not entirely sure how; my mom is most decidedly a Pepsi gal and I don't recall ever having much Coke in the house.  Maybe it was Sprite we bought?  I don't know.

But the cards came out around Halloween-time for a couple of years.  Each team was represented by one player who was put into a costume and given a photo shoot.  The player names were sometimes based on actual player nicknames (like John "Jumbo" Elliott) or was a player name base pun (Shane Conlan "The Barbarian").  Some made sense with the player's skillset (Randall "Rocket Man" Cunningham), and some I have no idea (why is Sean Jones "Ghost"?).

Some more of these cards came my way in a trade with jlcre, another TCDB user.  As 1994 was the first year for the expansion Panthers and Jaguars, they got a simple cartoon to represent them.  You can see from this scan that some photos are better than others.  Steve Atwater and Eric Swann look pretty good, but what is that thing on Hardy Nickerson's card?

I only need a few more cards for the set.
Emmitt Smith
Pat Swilling
Marshall Faulk
Reynaldo Turnbull
Junior Seau
Tom Rathman

I saw that Kerry from Cards on Cards had a couple of those in his goodwill pickup trade stash.  Kerry, if you're reading this, expect an email shortly about some of the football goodies you have for trade.  That would leave me with really just the big names remaining.

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I'll end my post with my Halloween-winning costume today:

A proud papa moment happened when my son asked, "Is that a baseball card?  I thought it was just something you were putting on your head, but then I saw it said 'Topps.'"  Raising 'em up right!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Crewniverse Contest Winnings

It's high time I posted this mail day, now that it's almost a month late.  At the end of September, I watched the Cubs slowly collapse and the Brewers turn on the jets and tie everything up on the final day of the season.  October 1st became Game 163 to decide the National League Central title.  The game came on just after my final class for the day, so I turned on the TV in my classroom to watch the game while I graded papers.  It was crushing to watch the Cubbies fall at home to the Crew and drop to the Wild Card after boasting the best record in the NL just two days earlier.

I had been expecting a package from noted Brewers fan Matt Prigge, from the Summer of '74 blog because I put out an almost miraculous guess of how many Brewers cards in his "Crewniverse" collection.  When I got home, I found that very package in my mailbox.  Frankly, I was a little nervous that I was going to open up the envelope and find a bunch of Matt's Brewers doubles greeting me.  That would have been pretty awful timing.  Luckily, Matt had sent me some random goodness that helped ease the pain.

Here are some serial-numbered football cards.  Two of them (McCown and Henry) are numbered below 100, and the McCown even goes as low as 25.  I wasn't expecting anything like that.

Some football inserts from recent years.  I like what Panini has done with Playoff since it revived the name a couple of years ago, and these inserts look pretty nice.  The highlight is the Rookie Roundup of James Conner who has been pretty big this season in Le'Veon Bell's absence.

How about some mid-to-late 90s shiny Bowman's Best?  These are pretty cool cards that I just don't have many of.  Drew Bledsoe was one of my under the radar favorites back in the day.

Of course, a package coming from Wisconsin to a Packers fan will probably contain some Green and Gold.  The highlights are two Brett Favres that I've never seen before.  One is an oddball, and the other is an ODDball.  I love the all character in the Pro Line card.  And look, another serial number!  Eddie Lacy may have fizzled out in Green Bay, but he is still one of my favorites to collect.

Here are some pretty cool cards.  These are both Promos from SAGE.  I don't think I ever would have seen these cards before, and they happen to fit perfectly in my collection.  I collect Heisman winners, and it's always a bonus for those cards to feature the player in their college uniform.  I know, Reggie Bush technically is no longer a Heisman winner, but come on.  The guy won the Heisman.  We all know he did.  They can take the trophy away, but in my binder, the 2005 page will still show the guy who actually won.  Really, though, it's kind of a shame that things shook out the way they did because another kid (Vince Young) really had a pretty good claim to the trophy that year, too.

Let's end the football portion with some Hall of Famers.  The top left card is one of those trippy Time Warp inserts from Collector's Edge in the 90s.  I have several of these, but this is the first one featuring two HOFers: Ronnie Lott chasing down Gale Sayers.  Dan Fouts makes another serial number.  The gem here is the Buck Buchanan all the way from 1968.  Yes, my friends, Matt sent me a 50-year-old card of a Hall of Fame defender.  And the condition isn't too bad, either. I've definitely seen worse.

We're getting to the highlights now.  When I saw this card in the package, the back was facing me.  I saw the gold of the Padres and I my thought was that it was a Gold parallel Topps card.  I didn't imagine that it would be an actual Anthony Rizzo rookie card!  That is sweet.  That alone could have been the prize, but there was more.

Ta-da!  A Tom Selleck Mr. Baseball insert from 1992 Upper Deck . . . with an auto.  At first I wasn't sure if an autographed version of this was inserted into packs back in the day.  As it turns out, this is either an IP or TTM auto of Mr. Selleck.  I'd be interested in hearing from Matt the provenance of this card.  How did you get it, Matt?  Either way, I'm stoked about it because it had only been a week or two earlier when I sat with my dad and watched a western (Monte Walsh) starring Mr. Selleck and I remarked to my wife how awesome I thought the guy was.  And then this shows up!  It was the best part of a great package for me.

When all was said and done, it was truly deflating to watch the Cubs go down in Game 163.  This package came just at the right time to ease the pain a little.  It was like the Brewers giving back to this disappointed Cubs fan, in a way, since this package came because of a Brew Crew centered contest.  Thanks a ton, Matt.  It was well-appreciated and very generous.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Franchise 9: Atlanta Falcons

Next up in our Franchise 9 are the Atlanta Falcons.  They fit my Super Bowl criterion perfectly because they came into the NFL as an expansion team in 1966, which just so happened to be the year of the first AFL/NFL Championship Game.  This list reflects the entire history of the franchise.  Throughout most of its history, though, Atlanta has muddled through mediocrity.  They had some good teams in the 90s, and have had quite a bit of success in recent years.  They looked like they had their first Super Bowl victory in hand a few years ago, but then watched it slip away in the second half.  The upshot of recent success is that this is the first team I've done to have more than one current player already considered one of the team's all-time greatest.  A third is just recently retired.  This list may have some of the more recent players on it, but don't expect to see a ton of household names.  This franchise just doesn't have a whole lot of those in its history.

1. Matt Ryan, QB (2013 Topps Strata)

Quite simply, he’s the best QB the Falcons have ever had.  He’s had the helm of the offense for over a decade now, and he’s performed remarkably well.  He’s the franchise leader in pretty much all passing categories.  And he’s the only Falcon to ever win an MVP.  Whether he will go to Canton is to be determined, but he is bar-none the best field general Atlanta has ever seen.

2. William Andrews, RB (1983 Topps)

In the 80s, the Falcons actually had two solid running backs in Gerald Riggs and William Andrews.  At the end of the decade, they were sitting 1-2 as the franchise’s career rushing leaders.  To this day, they are still #1 (Riggs) and #3 (Andrews).  For this team, Andrews gets the nod because of his added value as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.  Andrews’s receiving yards almost doubles Riggs’s, and Andrews added 11 TDs through the air.  As an all-around back, Andrews made four Pro Bowls and gets the nod for this team.

3. Julio Jones, WR (2016 Score Franchise)

In just 100 career games, Jones has moved into 2nd place on the team’s receiving yardage list.  In those 100 games, he’s averaged an eye-popping 96 yards per game.  He’s found paydirt 43 times.  In short, Julio Jones has been nigh unstoppable throughout his career.  And he has yet to turn 30.  He’ll probably be productive for a few more years to come.

4. Roddy White, WR (2012 Absolute)

Only White ranks ahead of Jones on the Falcons’ receiving ranks.  His 808 catches, 10,863 yards, and 63 touchdowns are all Falcon records.  He was a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time All Pro.  The Falcons took him with a 1st round pick in 2005; he spent 11 years in the NFL, all with the Falcons.   I think the investment was worthwhile. 

5. Mike Kenn, T (1992 Score)

Mike Kenn spent 17 years in the NFL and missed only seven games.  In those 17 seasons protecting his QB’s blindside at left tackle, Kenn was one of the best in the game.  From 1980-1984, Kenn was named to five consecutive Pro Bowls and received All Pro honors in 1980.  In 1991, at the age of 35, Kenn received his second All Pro nomination.  Though it seems his career has been largely forgotten, Pro Football Reference lists Hall of Famers like Jackie Slater, Art Shell, and Ron Yary as having comparable careers.

6. Claude Humphrey, DE (1978 Topps)
In 1968, the fledgling Falcons began their third season by selecting Claude Humphrey with the third overall pick in the draft.  He won Defensive Rookie of the Year and proceeded to make the Pro Bowl in six of the next eight years after that.  No Falcon has ever spent more time in the opponents’ backfield.  Unofficially, he had 94.5 sacks for Atlanta, and that would be the franchise record.  It took a while, but Humphrey entered the Hall of Fame in 2014.

7. Tommy Nobis, LB (1973 Topps)

Two years before Humphrey joined the team, the expansion Falcons made Tommy Nobis the first pick in the draft—and in franchise history.  Like Humphrey, Nobis got right to work.  He was named to the Pro Bowl as rookie and 1st-Team All Pro the following year.  Nobis anchored the defense from his middle linebacker position for 11 years, and retired as a career Falcon.  Heck, he even earned the nickname “Mr. Falcon” and had his number 60 retired by the team before his election to the Hall of Fame.
8. Jessie Tuggle, LB (1993 Upper Deck)

Like Nobis, Jessie Tuggle spent his entire career quarterbacking the defense in Atlanta.  Tuggle was true Georgia, too, having been born and raised in the state and then spending his entire playing career with the hometown team.  In 14 years, he racked up almost 1700 solo tackles, including a five-year span (1988-1992) in which he averaged 194 solo stops per season.  Amazingly, he was only named to one Pro Bowl during that span.  It was the first of five career Pro Bowls for Tuggle.  He never received much recognition, but he was Atlanta’s most consistent performer during the 90s.

9. Deion Sanders, CB (1992 Upper Deck)
Deion is quite simply one of the best corners to ever play.  He’s the very model of a shutdown corner, with speed to burn and a knack for big plays.  Though he only spent the first 5 years of his career in Atlanta, that was all he needed to establish himself among the best.  For the Falcons, Deion picked off 24 passes and took three of them to the house.  He also returned kicks and punts for the Falcons, leading the league in kickoff return yardage in 1992 and scoring on 5 kicks.  Prime Time was always exciting whenever he was on the field.

The Falcons Franchise 9 were a tough team to put together.  There have been some good players in team history who excelled for a short time.  Guys like Mike Vick, Andre Rison, or Tony Gonzalez were incredible in the time they played, but they just didn’t play long enough in Atlanta to pass some of these players on this list.  Other players, like Bill Fralic or Jeff Van Note, mirrored some of the players on this list who were solid, but never stars.  I feel less certain about this team than others.  I’m open to feedback, especially if anybody considers themselves a knowledgeable Dirty Birds fan.  Any disagreements out there?  Let me know!