Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Overdue TCDB Roundup (Part 3 ) + Some eBay Cougars

I love collecting BYU football players. Over the past few years, it has been my favorite collection to grow. It feels like college connections are less common than pro fandoms among collectors, so barring the few NFL superstars that the school has produced, I usually have little competition in getting cards and many of my trading partners are probably happy to unload the common BYU cards I request in trades. But anybody who pays attention to football news probably realizes that this year, I will have competition for a certain young QB. Zach Wilson just became the highest NFL draft pick to ever come out of BYU, going #2 overall to the Jets. I anticipate that I'll have some trouble trying to pick up Zach Wilson cards at price points that I feel comfortable paying. But I have been at it already.

Leaf Draft dropped last month and I entered a player breaks, trying to score Wilson. I didn't win any breaks, but I was able to pick up both of his cards in the base set on eBay afterward. These two cards cost me just $2 shipped. Here's the crazy thing: I didn't read the listing carefully and I didn't realize that the All-American subset card was part of it. I thought I was only buying the one on the left. That was a nice surprise.

In the meantime, I bought another single of the All-American card. This was a surprise, too, because the seller sent me 3 copies. He included a note that said he sent all three because there was chipping along the left side on all three backs. But I wasn't too concerned about that. Now I just have three copies of this Wilson!

The one Leaf player break I did win was Matt Bushman, and I ended up getting lucky enough for auto. You know, BYU sent 12 players to the NFL this year, five drafted. At this time last year, I would have said only two players on the team were NFL-caliber: Bushman and Khyris Tonga. Then the team exploded into the national spotlight--and Bushman didn't even play. He suffered a season-ending injury on the first day of training camp last August. So for the hype surrounding the Cougs last season, Bushman missed it all, but still received a UDFA contract from the Raiders.

While searching for other Zach Wilson cards on the cheap, I came across these that are copyrighted by somebody called "Rookie Gems." Normally, I don't go for customs, but since I have seen other Rookie Gems on eBay, I figured they were probably decent quality. The artwork is pretty good, too, so I liked the look of them. Since I worry about finding any cards that I can afford, I decided to try these for the novelty of it.

Here are the backs. I have to say, these Rookie Gems cards, while well-designed, look much better in pictures on the computer screen than in-hand. The cardstock is awful and pretty much every custom I've ever received from you bloggers is higher quality. But at least they'll be somewhat unique in my collection.

Leaf brought back Pro Set this year, and I was happy to find this one in a Jets lot. For under $5, I picked this card up, along with some other Jets cards, including a Darrelle Revis rookie, a numbered relic of Revis, and a relic of Leonard Williams. How I was the only person to jump on this lot, I don't know.

My first cards that have all the licenses to include legitimate uniform photos came from Score. I was lucky enough to pick up this lot for around $3 per card. That happens to be more than I would like to spend, but it was reasonable to me, so I jumped on it. As more football releases have come out, the Zach Wilson cards I'm seeing are more expensive, so I'm glad I picked these up. My Wilson collection has a decent start now.

Chris Wilcox is another player I failed to win in a break. Luckily I found this lot for just a tad more than a dollar per card.

So I've been pretty busy on eBay, at least by my standards. But many of my TCDB trades this year have brought in some former Cougars. To finish my outstanding TCDB trade posts, we'll take a look at BYU players I've swapped some cards for.

Kyle Van Noy rookies. And I love that retro Bowman of all-time leading receiver, Cody Hoffman. For my money, I would have pegged John Beck to have a better NFL career than what I've seen from Zach Wilson, so I hope for Zach's sake I'm wrong. By the way, if you watched any BYU football games last year you probably heard about the Beck-Wilson connection, when Zach used his time off of campus during the pandemic to drive to California and train with Beck.

Taysom Hill. Will he beat out Jameis Winston to replace Drew Brees? If he didn't claim the job outright last year in his extended audition, I'm not sure it will happen. But Sean Payton seems to love him, so we'll see.

How about some Cougars with Super Bowl rings? McMahon, Gouveia, and Morris all have one. Vai Sikahema was the first Tongan to play in the NFL. Ronney Jenkins didn't finish his college career at BYU because he transferred to Northern Arizona, but he managed to score 29 total TDs in his two seasons with the Y.

Some baseball Cougars and a pair of football players who found themselves playing in Canada. Sweet CFL cards.

And we'll end with these former BYU baseball players. And speaking of baseball, I need to wrap this up to get my sons to their little league games tonight. Go Mets and White Sox (little league-wise, that is)!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Another A-Z Challenge: Favorite Players

I love making lists. So I'm all in on this latest A-Z challenge of naming a favorite player for each letter of the alphabet. For my list, I tried to choose only players that have played in my lifetime so I would have an actual memory of them. There are some older greats, however, that I've been far more interested in learning about their achievements than in following contemporary players, so a few players on here finished their careers before I was born. For some of these players, I can't explain why they are favorites. Many are Cubs. Some just seem like good dudes or are easy to root for. Some I like the way the play, like contact hitters, consistent performers, or good baserunners. And there are a few that I just gained some kind of attachment to in my youth.

A: Jake Arrieta

2015 Panini Diamond Kings #67 Jake Arrieta Front

 Two Cubs no-hitters.

B: Javier Baez


My current favorite player. 

C: Roberto Clemente

2012 Panini Cooperstown - Hall History #6 Roberto Clemente Front

An all-time great and all-time great guy. I wish I could have seen him play. 

D: Andre Dawson

 1991 U.S. Playing Card Co. #J♣ Andre Dawson Front

League MVP on a last-place Cubs team. 

E: Dennis Eckersley

1993 Hostess #11 Dennis Eckersley Front

I really liked the A's when I was a young kid in the late 80s and early 90s. Eck was a dominant pitcher at the time. 

F: Bob Feller

2016 Topps Archives #163 Bob Feller Front

I've always been fascinated with Feller's career, military service, and fireball. Another I wish I could have seen. 

G: Mark Grace

1997 SkyBox E-X2000 #61 Mark Grace Front

 My favorite player ever. The 90s hit king.

H: Rickey Henderson


There were a few H's to choose from, but Rickey was one of my favorites as a kid. He was just cool

I: Ichiro

2004 Fleer Classic Clippings #8 Ichiro Suzuki Front

One of the best contact hitters any of us have ever seen. 

J: Randy Johnson

2015 Topps Update - Highlight of the Year #H-84 Randy Johnson Front

 His dominance and personality made him fun to watch.

K: Jason Kendall

1997 New Pinnacle #120 Jason Kendall Front

Probably my favorite catcher. I loved that he could run (pre-ankle injury).


L: Derrek Lee


My favorite player through the aughts. 

M: Greg Maddux

1991 Stadium Club #126 Greg Maddux Front

I love how Maddux pitched. I don't love that he left Chicago after his first Cy Young and then proceeded to win the next 3 NL awards.

N: Otis Nixon

 Like many other bloggers have stated, "N" was hard. I liked Nixon's speed.

O: John Olerud

 1994 Post Cereal #24 John Olerud Front

Good hitter and easy to root for.

P: Hunter Pence


Such goofy, fun personality. Hunter Pence signs and his reaction/interaction were my favorite.

Q: Jose Quintana

2018 Topps Gypsy Queen - Green #70 Jose Quintana Front

I don't hold the price the team paid in the trade against him because it wasn't his fault. There wasn't much choice for "Q," though.

R: Cal Ripken, Jr./Nolan Ryan

1998 Collector's Choice #40 Cal Ripken Jr. Front1991 Upper Deck - Baseball Heroes: Nolan Ryan #16 Nolan Ryan Front

Probably my two favorite non-Cubs ever. It is impossible to choose between them and just unfortunate that both started with "R." 

S: Ryne Sandberg


One hundred twenty-three games without an error. And a slugger, too.

T: Mike Trout

2013 Topps - Making Their Mark #MM-2 Mike Trout Front

Hands down the best player I have ever seen because he may be the best ever. 

U: Chase Utley

2014 Donruss #19 Chase Utley Front

Behind two former Cubs (also on this list), the scrappy Utley is my favorite second baseman that I've seen play. 

V: Justin Verlander

2016 Topps Gypsy Queen #34 Justin Verlander Front

I think appreciate how much Verlander helped franchises that had been not-so-great in my lifetime find success while he was on the team.

W: David Wright

2008 Topps - Back To School #TB5 David Wright Front

 Because David Wright is Mr. Met. I appreciate his great play for one team throughout his career.

X:  I got nothing.

Y: Carl Yastrzemski

2016 Stadium Club #60 Carl Yastrzemski Front

Triple Crown winner. I never saw him play, but he was my favorite historical figure for "Y."

Z: Ben Zobrist

2016 Bowman's Best #28 Ben Zobrist Front
World Series MVP for my 2016 Champions.
*All images taken from TCDB, but is a card I own in my collection.

So there you have it. These may not be the best to ever play, but they're the players I tend/tended to root for the most, for varying reasons. I may have to try this with other sports, too. I had fun doing it.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Overdue TCDB Roundup, (Part 2)

I still have more TCDB trades that I haven't posted yet, so how about another round? This time around, we've got some football.

We'll start with some older cards that don't really have a place in my collection, but I was trying to fill up a trade and all of these players were pretty good and I wanted to add them.

We'll keep it in the 80s with this trio of All-Decade performers for my collection. I think it's pretty cool that the Rams team card has both Jack and Jim Youngblood, but the reason it goes in my collection is Nolan Cromwell.

Two more 80s cards brings me another Nolan Cromwell. The Washington card is needed for Dave Butz, #65. Butz was an All-1980s DT, but he only has 36 cards linked to his ID on TCDB. So even though he's fairly anonymous on this card, I'll take it for my attempt to fill a page of each All-Decade player.

We'll keep the All-Decade train rolling from the 80s (Minnefield) to the 90s (Wisniewski) to the 00s (Mawae and Ogden) to the 10s (Wagner).

 And one more for the 2000s All-Decade Team, La'Roi Glover. I don't remember him with the Rams.

Yes, I traded for some Packers. As always, I'm happy to add some Jordy Nelson base cards that I didn't have before.

All of these cards go into my collection of one card for every base set that has been released. I didn't have any representation of these sets in that binder. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that Emmitt Smith and Jay Barker doubled up on 1997 Pacific Philadelphia from two different trades. Whoops. At least Barker can go in the Through the Years binder, while Emmitt will feel at home with the rest of my Emmitt Smith cards.


Finally, a trade that is just a hodgepodge of different cards I wanted: White, Griffin, and Howard for the Heisman; Winslow, Easley, and Atwater for the All-Decades; Joe Greene just because he's Joe Greene. And another missing Jordy.

The credit goes to the same group of traders who were mentioned in my last post. I have one more TCDB roundup to post before I'm caught up.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Last Last Day of School?

Today I sit in my empty, summer cleaning-ready classroom, the students having just left the building on the last day of school. At our school, we have a faculty luncheon to close out the year, but there are two hours between when the students leave and when the luncheon begins. There are a few end-of-the-year loose ends to tie up, such as cleaning the classroom or getting check-out sheets signed. But I don't have those things to do. Taking advantage of free labor, I give each class a cleaning chore before the last day. So by the time school lets out for the summer, I'm all set. With that little time-to-myself-at-work period, I like to open some packs or boxes of cards that I have set aside for the occasion.

This year feels different, though. First, I wasn't able to procure any unopened cards. Obviously, Walmart and Target weren't options for me. I went to the friendly LCS, but I couldn't justify spending the money for new products, and I wasn't about to drop $40-$60 for a blaster box. But I did find these two grab boxes for $6 apiece. I picked up one football and one baseball and I figured that I would most likely run across something that I needed. And about a penny or penny-and-a-half per card, it seemed worth the investment. We'll check out the contents in a minute.

The second reason that it feels different this year is that not only do I have the counters cleared off and the tables shoved against one wall, but I have also removed all of my personal effects from the room. This was my last year as a classroom teacher. Next year, I'm moving into an administrative role at my school. So I'm not sure if I will continue to use the last day of the school year to open some new cards before I go home. I won't have my own, private classroom for the task. Plus, this day won't mark the beginning of summer break anymore. At least not in the way it has in the past. Things will still definitely slow down enormously compared to the school year. But next Tuesday, I'll be back at it for a few weeks before I get any extended time away. So I'm looking around this empty room, walls bare and cabinets empty, books boxed up and bookcases gone, and it's certainly not the typical last day of school.

But what you're really here for are the cards. So here are some of the highlights of my end-of-school year. Having bought this top of grab box from this shop before, I expected the football to outshine the baseball. Typically, the football boxes lean toward modern Score, while the baseball has more 1990 Donruss and 1991 Upper Deck than you can shake a stick at. I figured the value of this purchase would come if I could just get a few cards I want to keep and a good stack that people might actually be interested in trading for, even if I ended up with piles of overproduced cardboard that nobody wants to take off my hands. 

(Get ready for a lot of pictures!)

Well, baseball didn't disappoint. Not only was it not filled with junk wax, but it even had some non-base cards. These are actually all pretty good players, too. I don't collect any of these guys specifically, so they're probably going to be available for trade if anybody wants them.

So to my surprise, 1991 Upper Deck wasn't the most dominant set in the box. In fact, it didn't even show its face. Here are some of the most plentiful sets I pulled out of the baseball box.

Lots of 2019 Heritage, which I like, but didn't buy much of. Here are a few Heritage keepers from the box, highlighted (for me, at least) by the Pat Neshek callback card.

There was also a lot of 2020 Panini Chronicles in the box. I bought a few boxes of 2017 Chronicles, the first year Panini produced it, and I was severely underwhelmed. Since then, Panini has changed the format of the set, incorporating designs from the past and crossovers with their football lines, and I like the change. I would buy Panini Chronicles if I ever saw it in the stores--which I never have. This is a sampling of the variety of sets represented in 2020 Chronicles. I think they look really good. Why does Panini seem to struggle so much with creating an attractive Donruss or Prizm set for baseball when they clearly have the capability to come up with something good like this?

A very pleasant surprise was the inclusion of Stadium Club in the box. Let's just behold the marvel of Stadium Club in this representative sample. What greats cards and great shots. Mike Soroka insert available for trade, if anybody's interested. I'm starting to notice that the box is kind of Braves-heavy now. Freddie Freeman in particular has a few nice cards in this box.

I'd be remiss if I failed to show off the additions to my Cubs collection. Once again, Stadium Club steals the show.

And here are a few other definite keepers for me. I love all four of these cards for various reasons.

So no early 90s Upper Deck or Donruss. In fact, these are the oldest cards of the entire box: 2014 Bowman Chrome. Definitely not what I expected. Also, you can totally see my ID badge in the reflection of this picture.

As for football, I expected some 2019 Score, based on my past experiences. Anyone who has ever collected football cards can immediately tell me what the majority of this box was.

Yep, 1989 Pro Set. This one seemed to have had all the star power removed from the set, too, so there isn't much to show off. The best card in 1989 Pro Set was probably Howie Long.

You probably recognized a lot of older Topps, too. It was one 1985 and a big stack of 1988, which didn't interest me because I've already completed that set.

There were a few interesting cards, though. Such as these Mosaic parallels.

Or a few other inserts and parallels. Of course, I love the Aaron Jones. Darius Leonard is a sweet card of a good player, too. There were a few Red Press Proof from this year's Donruss, but I only showed Quentin Nelson because he was by far the biggest name. Jimmy G and Damien Williams are available for trade.

And this was the rest of the keeper pile. Not a lot that interested me from the football box. I'm pleased with the haul, though, and I'm considering stopping by for another box on my way home. 

I haven't put it all on TCDB yet, but there may be some desirable cards on my tradelist in the near future. If you need 2019 Heritage, let me know because that was the biggest stack. Or if you want 1989 Pro Set or 1988 Topps football commons for a set build, I might have something for you.  
Concerning the new position, I have no idea what it will do to my posting frequency. Not that I'm all that frequent anyway, but I will just have to see what a new job will do to my schedule. I have some new series planned and some old ones to finish off that I hope I'll still be able to get to.

Note: I did decide to pick up another box on the way. I picked out a baseball box and found this inside:

Lots of red and candy striped borders. This box is almost entirely 1990 Donruss, 1988 Fleer, and 1990 Fleer, three of my least favorite overproduced sets. D'oh!