Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Pair of Packer Packages from Ebay

I recently picked up a couple of Packers lots on ebay.  One was a part of an order in which I also picked up a non-Packers card, which I'll show off first.

I recently came to the conclusion that defensive players no longer get enough love in most card sets.  I found that most sets have a few offensive players and maybe one defensive star for each team.  I started thinking about which defenders I would like to collect, and decided that Eric Berry is one of my favorite guys in the NFL.  His story alone warrants attention.  He missed half of the 2014 season after being diagnosed with lymphoma, underwent chemotherapy in the offseason, and returned to the in 2015.  In fact, he played every game in 2015 and garnered All-Pro honors along the way.  That's incredible to me.  So when I came across an auto on ebay, I looked into it.

The seller was obviously from the KC area, as they had a ton of IP autos of Chiefs and Royals.  I know there is no guarantee when buying a non-certified auto, but I figured for less than a buck, I'd add it to my collection.  I checked it against some of his known autographs and feel fairly certain that this is the real deal.

To save on shipping, I added a Green Bay lot from the same seller.

Obviously, this seller likes Finest.  The second Montgomery is a silver parallel numbered to 150.  I'll be interested to see what his future holds.  Will he remain a running back?  If so, does the team let Eddie Lacy walk?  Do they try to draft a new running back or do they give Montgomery the job?

Speaking of Eddie Lacy, here he is on three cards.  I hope he sticks around and stays healthy/conditioned.  I really like his running style.  And chasing his rookie cards is one of the things that brought me full-scale back into the hobby, so he holds a special place in my heart (and my collection).

Some more Finest of who I believe also has an uncertain future in Green Bay.  No he's not a free agent this, but I'm guessing that his price tag, combined with the wealth of receiving talent on the team, will be enough that his next contract will not be with the Packers.

Some new Aaron Rodgers, including a couple of parallels finishes out this order.

My second ebay Packers order features some oddballs.

These 1985 McDonald's cards were apparently part of a promotional game and did have tabs on the bottom.  I picked this lot up for $2.  I was surprised when they arrived that they were so oddly shaped.  I didn't expect squares that were too big for pages, so into the extra Packers box they went.  But I still think they're pretty darn cool.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Multitude of Zistle Trades

 There is a flurry of activity happening on Zistle right now.  The only problem is that it's the same people creating transactions over and over again.  With the uncertainty caused by Beckett's takeover, it seems that many Zistle users have jumped ship.  But there are still a couple dozen there, and we are all trading like crazy before the chance is gone.

I've pulled off at least 10 trades on the site since the New Year, with more in the works.  The cards have been coming in faster than I can handle them all, so I'm afraid that I can't really remember which cards came from which user and how big the trades were.  So these pictures may be all sorts of disorganized, but let me hit the highlights of what could be trades on Zistle's deathbed.

Set Help:

I'm now down to one card left in the Pride and Perseverance Insert set.  Ironically, it is Mr. Pride himself.  Curtis Pride, that is.

Will I ever complete this set?  Probably not.  But the cards are just fun enough that I'll take them when I can.

I asked for the Perspectives card here, but the MLB Debut card was thrown in as a bonus.  Not a bad card to get, since I have a little Ryan Howard collection going due to his Rookie of the Year award.

This beautiful insert set from 1998 is not even halfway complete for me, but once again, I'll pick them up when I can.

Baseball Award Winner Collections:

I've found that Sasaki cards can be hard to find.  I was glad to get this relic for my collection. 

 I've really taken an interest in Bobby Crosby cards of late.  Here he is with a pair of fellow Rookies of the Year.  A second relic card is shown here.

Here I am, bolstering my Crosby collection again.  The back of the A&G mini is shown because the front is identical to the one on the left.  I just wanted to show off the A&G back parallel.  This trader must have thought he was dealing with an A's collector when he was pulling cards for me.  Nope--the team just has had some great rookies through the years. 

 I really need more Nomar in my collection.  I've always been a fan, even if I was a little disappointed in his Chicago stint.

These three cards really seem like they don't belong together.  But they all go in the same binder!  I really like the Bazooka card here.

 These are two beautiful cards.  The Trout is my first National Baseball Card Day release.

And here is the Fish God again paired with a favorite player for me to collect.  I really dig these Donruss 1982 inserts.  They even make it work without the logo, which turns me off.  I'm not chasing the set, but I have been gathering a bunch of the players I collect.

We'll move from the ROY to the All-Star MVPs, though Sandy was both.  I think his Team 2000 card is my favorite here.

What a great quartet of Cals.  Three oddballs and a beautiful Upper Deck Sweet Spot.


Here we have some great Cubs hurlers.  I love seeing both Prior and Wood on the NL Strikeout Leaders card.  Oh, what could have been if not for injuries to both young stars.

 Mark Grace seems very happy to be added to my collection.  I love this Billy Herman, even if the condition is not great.  I never knew that Action Packed made baseball cards until I found this card on a tradelist.  I knew had to have it.

 A couple of horizontal Gracies.  The 1998 Omega is the first I've ever seen of this set, too, and it's a beaut.  All Cubs of this set are now on my wantlist.  As if I were turning away Cubs cards in the first place.

Some random Cubs to add to my binder.  I believe this is the first Todd Hundley Cub card I have.  The picture of Darwin Barney turning two is a great shot.  I think I need to check my Darwin Barney and find the percentage of cards that have him either airborne or celebrating.  He always seems to be a great photographic subject.  I think my favorite card of this bunch is the team card featuring Wrigley's iconic old school scoreboard.  It just feels like baseball.

Here are two formerly unrepresented Northsiders for my collection.  I don't even recall the name Tommy Shields.  It turns out he played 28 games in 1993, making 36 plate appearances and manning every position but shortstop and the battery.  He didn't play in the Majors again after that year.

 Other Baseball:

 All of these cards fit in my collection.  I like the Rizzo because it's one of his first cards with the Cubs.  And it may not be a Cubs card, but I couldn't pass up the chance for Arrieta's rookie in a trade.


Ooh, shiny!  Here is a beautiful Reggie White from 1995 Pinnacle.

I like this Erik Affholter.  I've never heard of the guy before, but he was drafted as a kicker/wide receiver.  Gotta love the versatility.

Here are some old-school Packers and 1996 first round pick Jon Michels.  He wasn't a good player, but this is my first card of him, so into the binder it goes.

Here is a good mix of Green Bay greats.  I'm shocked that I don't have that 2014 Prestige Cobb already, as I have most of the set.  But I never seem to pull Packers for myself.

All-Decade Teams:

I think the 1989 Pro Set is actually a great set.  1989 was the year that Score and Pro Set changed football cards forever, much like Upper Deck for baseball that same year.

All of the above Steelers were named to the All 90s team, and these cards all came from the same Steelers fan getting rid of his extras.  I appreciate them because offensive linemen cards are harder to come by and I really had next to nothing by way of Carnell Lake and Levon Kirkland.  In fact, it was until last year I got my first Kirkland.  By the way, the 1995 Fleer football set is not nearly as bad as the baseball version, and I actually find it quite interesting.

Those of you who were really paying attention are saying, "Wait, didn't he just barely show that 1989 Pro Set Zimmerman?"  Yes, yes I did.  But I just happened to have worked out two separate trades simultaneously for the same card.  Has anyone else ever done that?  At least I'm saved by the fact that Zimmerman had a place on both the 80s and 90s teams, so one can go in each binder.


Two of the greatest runners of all time.

And some of the greatest recievers.  How cool is that 1997 Pacific Revolution set?

And let's hear for the great defenders.  

We'll round out the All-Decade teams with a pair college uni rookies of Curtis Martin and Marvin Harrison.


And, staying true to my collecting focus for the year, I added to my BYU collection. The Chad Lewis is my first, which seems weird to me given how long he stuck around in the NFL.

But let's not forget that BYU has a baseball team.  Danny Ainge won the John R. Wooden award as the nation's top college basketball player and went on to a successful career with the Celtics, but he also played baseball.  Fun fact: he is the only player to be named a high school All-American in baseball, basketball, and football.  The Pirates Future Stars card features Vance Law, who played for BYU and returned to coach the team following his playing career.

Local Fun Card:

Though I did not grow up in the same town as Bruce Hurst, I did spend a good portion of my adult life living in the same small town where he grew up.  I now consider it my home and hope to move back within the next couple of years.  I pick up Bruce Hurst here and there when I can.

So thanks to a bunch of Zistle users for the cards above.  I have a couple more trades in the works, but I just had to get these out of the scan folder.  I hope Zistle survives the year, but it's looking bleaker and bleaker as more sets are released and no one is there to add them to the site.  I'm getting my set in order to move to another organizational tool soon.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Playing Jenga with My Collection

I was surprised a week or two ago by a PWE that I wasn't expecting.  But I knew the return address, and was excited to see the name of a certain Roster Jenga blog proprietor.

It was not a big envelope, but as usual, Tony knew how to pack a punch.

First, we have some cards that might have been hard to let go of.  A couple of vintage Cubbies from 1958 became the oldest cards I own.   A nice cereal oddball, a Herrera with a great sliding shot, and the first Hee-Seop Choi in my collection are the highlights for me.

And we'll end with the cards I'm sure he couldn't wait to get rid of.  I already have 2011 Packers team card, featuring the Lombardi trophy and Rodgers's championship belt, but it will never get old.  This is the first time I've ever seen the 1993 Collector's Edge set with its purple border.  I can't decide if I like it or hate it.  I mean, it is kind of different and cool, but what team color, besides the Vikings, does it not clash with?  I don't think I would like the effect of the purple haze if this set were completed and displayed in a binder.

Thanks for the unexpected goodies, Tony.  As always, I'm glad to take those unwanted Packers off your hands.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Card Collecting Gone Mainstream

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Patriots won the Super Bowl last night.  Tom Brady became the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history, it was the first overtime game, largest comeback, yada, yada, yada.  Can we talk about the major news from the game last night?

Trading cards were featured in a commercial!

Now, I rarely rave about a commercial after the game, but come on!  How often does this happen?   Especially nowadays, when we are decades past the Golden Age of collecting.  I mean, I asked my students once about their collections (because they're kids; they've got to collect something, right?) and hardly any of them admitted to collecting anything.  Most thought the idea of accumulating things for the sake of accumulation was silly.  Not one mentioned a sports card collection.  And the card shows I attend are filled with guys my age and older with a small handful of kids mixed in.  And yet here we are with a Donruss Terry Bradshaw in the artistic hands of a child on a Super Bowl commercial.

As far as I can tell, the card actually pictured in the spot does not exist.  But the photo matches Bradshaw's 2016 Donruss Legends of the Fall insert, shown here courtesy of COMC because I don't own this card.

What does this mean for the hobby?  If Topps were still around, the answer would be obvious: a Bradshaw rookie reprint with a stained shirt SP.  But on a larger scale, how will the hobby handle all of the certain exposure this will bring?  Will those of us who have been collecting for years welcome all the new blood this commercial will surely bring?  Or will we wall off and feel the need to defend our collections in a "I liked collecting before collecting was cool" manner?  Only time will tell.  But in the meantime, let us all bask in the limelight of a three-second stretch of a minute long Super Bowl ad.  We're the cool kids now.  Welcome to the mainstream.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Musical Chairs

So, I guess I'm next in line to take Baseball Card Breakdown's challenge to channel our inner Night Owl and pair albums with cardboard.  In all honesty, this was a major challenge for me because music and cardboard never really went hand in hand.  When I was 14 years old and got my first job, wielding a shovel out in the irrigation ditches of my hometown, I spent all my money amassing cards.  Just a couple of years later, I had a car with a CD player and I spent all my money amassing CDs for said car.  One collection began when the other ended (which reminds me of a song from album that just missed inclusion.  "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.")  Now it's been years since I bought any new music whatsoever, and I'm back to spending my dough on cardboard.  They've never happened simultaneously.  I guess I can only afford one interest at a time.

The other reason this was difficult was how varied my musical tastes have been through the years.  My friends used to laugh that my CD collection had everything from George Strait to Tupac, from Sinatra to Metallica.  Each musical genre kind of phased in and out with periods of my life.  I eased this challenge by holding tightly to Gavin's edict to choose from albums that influenced your teenage years.  I've read some more vaguely worded responses that said "youth," defined by teens to early 20s, and that opened up too much for me to work with.  I fudged in another area, however, in which I chose a round dozen instead of an even ten.  Without any further, ado, allow me to post music on this blog for the first time ever.

In no particular order . . .

Dave Matthews Band--Under the Table and Dreaming

Dave Matthews is still one of my favorites today, but from ages 15-19, my appreciation bordered on obsession.  Here is my confession (married women, prepare your eye rolls): I still own, and wear, my DMB t-shirts that have been in my closet since 1998.  My wife is appalled that a) that statement is true, b) I admit it, and c) that I just disclosed it to other people.

Speaking of near obsessions from my youth, and tying in nicely with the first track on this album, Barry Sanders will always be "The Best of What's Around."  Yes, I've been a Packers fan since around the time Barry entered the league, but I can't deny that I still hold that he is the most talented football player I've ever seen and an absolute joy to watch.

Garth Brooks--Fresh Horses

I grew up in rural Utah.  I have two uncles and three cousins who made their living in professional rodeo at some point.  Failure to include any country music whatsoever would be to deny my roots.  That said, this particular Garth Brooks album was one of the last of my childhood before my musical tastes branched out in my teenage years.  Today, I still like the country of my youth, but I'm much more rock influenced than anyone else in my family.  But I listened to Fresh Horses countless times, even when some of my friends were begging me to turn it off.

Note: Apparently Garth Brooks videos are hard to come by on YouTube.  I can't find any with Garth actually performing; they're all covers.  But at this point in the draft, I'm not changing the write-up.

The final track on this album is "Ireland."  It was my favorite, and I still use it when I teach my poetry unit to middle schoolers.  I'm not sure if it was because of this song or not, but Fresh Horses actually hit #1 on the Irish charts late in 1995, knocking What's the Story (Morning Glory) by Oasis out of the top position.  Connecting to the song, I have representation of the Golden Boy Golden Domer and my favorite Notre Dame gridiron star turned hurler.

The Wallflowers--Bringing Down the Horse

If my early childhood was defined by country music, then Bringing Down the Horse is a turning point in my musical timeline.  This was the first non-country album I owned, and the sound of it is really a natural bridge from the country to the alternative that I grew into in my early teens.

Since this album will always be meaningful to me for the transition it represented in my personal development, I think it's fitting to commemorate three future Hall of Famers who transitioned from college hoops to the NFL.  Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates could conceivably go down in history as the top tight ends to ever play the game.  Julius Peppers has been terrorizing quarterbacks for well over a decade.  All three played college basketball, and Antonio Gates never played college football.  And all three fit nicely in my collection as members of the All-2000s team.

Third Eye Blind--Third Eye Blind

This album possibly got more play on my stereo than any other.   The final three tracks could be put on loop for the entire day and I'd be happy.  "Motorcycle Driveby" is probably my favorite song ever.  Oddly, most of the songs that were released and got airtime on the local radio stations are my least favorite; I love the deeper tracks on this one.  It almost feels like the band had two different personas when recording this one, and the pop-rock sound that drew me in, while very good, was the inferior of the two.

Fittingly, the album with two great but distinct sounds was released in 1997.  That year, Brett Favre and Barry Sanders shared the NFL MVP award.  This album produced some of my favorites songs.  Brett and Barry were my two favorite players.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Barry Sanders makes his second appearance in this post right here.


This may be the most obscure mainstream band on this list.  They were one-hit wonders whose one hit, "What I Didn't Know," never was huge.  Lest I be accused of "I like music you've never heard of" mentality here, I wish they had been more popular.  Alas, after hearing their second album, I understood why I never heard from them again.  It was a bit lackluster and didn't really have the feeling of the first.

Throughout the Cubs' playoff run, I heard it said that the Cubs were destined to win because they were such a young team that the key players were too naive to understand just how difficult it actually is to win at that level.  Not knowing any better, they would just assume that they would win because that's how they had always done it.  I like that idea, though it is logically flawed.  At any rate, tying in with the song "Spotlight," here are some young Cubbies who just had a chance to step into their own spotlight.

Eve 6--Eve 6

The punkish quality of this band struck a chord somewhere in my extremely-not-punkish-self.  Actually one of the things that attracted me to the songs was the excellent wordplay.  I'm a sucker for a well-turned phrase, what can I say?

One such wordplay is Eve 6's breakout song, "Inside Out:" "Socal is where my mind states, but it's not my state of mind."  My card connection to this is legend in the making Mike Trout.  Sure, he plays ball down in Southern California, but whenever I look at him, I see a Jersey boy.

Counting Crows--August and Everything After

No one could place a "Yeah" in a song as perfectly as Adam Duritz.  I loved the Counting Crows sound that lent itself so well to an acoustic version of the songs and the poetic nuances of the lyrics.   By the early 2000s, their style had changed a little and I liked it a lot less, but the first few albums were gold.

Track 2 of this album is one of my favorite Counting Crows songs: "Omaha."  Yeah, I think you know where I have to go with this.  It's almost too easy.

Old 97s--Fight Songs

I'm not even sure what genre this belongs in.  I guess I've hear the term "alt-country" before and it fits.  I was introduced to this band by a friend who had a demo CD of different new artists and he thought I would enjoy the song by the Old 97s.  He was definitely right.  Here's the strange thing: the CD was of fresh new rap music.  Not sure who decided this was a good fit.  Interesting side note: after many, many listens, I have concluded that "Murder (Or a Heart Attack)" is about losing a pet.  What do you think?

My last post actually referenced the fight song of BYU, and my hometown team is the focus of my 2017 collecting efforts.  But I'm actually an alumnus of Southern Utah University, and, therefore, a hardcore collector of Brad Sorensen, my alma mater's first ever NFL draft pick.   In the spirit of college fight songs, here are my three most recent Sorensen pickups.

Sister Hazel--Somewhere More Familiar

Bluesy and acoustic, this band is right up my alley.  I love me a strong rhythm guitar and upbeat tempo.  Following The Wallflowers, Sister Hazel was next in my non-country listening.  During my early 20s, when I decided to buy a guitar and attempt playing it, I tried to learn some Sister Hazel songs.  (No, I never really learned, nor do I currently own a guitar, so don't ask.)

Sister Hazel hails from Gainesville, FL, home of the Gators.  Now, UF has seen some great players in multiple sports through the years, but in my lifetime there is only one Mr. Gator: Tim Tebow.  I was older when he played, but I am too young to remember Emmitt Smith being there.  Tebow did things in college that Emmitt never accomplished anyway.  Regardless of what you think of him, the guy knew how to win.

Evan & Jaron--Evan and Jaron

Don't let the appearance fool you.  This is not a boy band.  At least not of the N Sync and Backstreet Boys variety.  These two young men were brothers who formed yet another band that I appreciate whose sound centers around an acoustic guitar.  Musically, this is the least influential of all the albums on this list.  However, the effect it had on my life is immeasurable.  I was a senior in high school when they debuted with the song "Crazy For This Girl."  I had just started dating the girl who turned me down when I asked her to homecoming (moral of the story: never give up).  She bought me this CD and led me on a crazy scavenger hunt through the mall to find it, and it became our song.  Sixteen years later, we're still married.

I've heard rumors that these two didn't last in the music industry due to their devotion to their Jewish faith.  Holding the Jewish Sabbath sacred, they refused to do shows from sundown on Friday through Saturday.  I have to say, I respect the decision, even if it cost them their careers.  After all, Friday and Saturday nights are pretty big for concert-goers.  I'm not entirely sure it's true, but that's what I heard and I'll roll with it.  Since I won't presume to know which professional athletes are devout Jews, I'll widen the net a little and include devoutness of any faith.  Here are some TTM autographs I've received through the years that include an inscription of scripture.

Tonic--Lemon Parade

What a great mix of up-tempo rock and slow ballad on this album.  The music is great, but it was the oft-poignant lyrics that hooked me.  And, as an English teacher, I appreciate the Whitman reference in "Mr. Golden Deal."  To this day, I've still never heard a Tonic song I didn't like, and even former lead Emerson Hart's solo stuff from the mid-2000's is great.  I'm actually surprised this group isn't better remembered.

Who better to represent "Mr. Golden Deal" than the man with the richest contract in NFL history?  Andrew Luck not only has a golden deal, but he has also been deemed the golden boy from the very inception of his career.

Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband--Dream Big

 This is a local group that I discovered as a senior in high school.  On a whim, I decided to take my girlfriend (yes, the very same aforementioned one) to a free concert.  We both loved the show.  It's totally a bluegrass band, so not everyone will appreciate it.  Since then, I've seen them live in concert five times, own all of their albums, and have met the band a few times.  It's happy, uplifting, sometimes downright silly music ("The Corn Dog Song," anyone?), and I love it.  The album Dream Big was not their first, but it was the only release they got from a major label in Nashville.

"Banjo Boy" is a whimsical song about trying to make it big, but simply lacking the right tools.  I think back to the recent past when the Jacksonville Jaguars professed their confidence that Blake Bortles can lead them to a title.  I, however, think that Blake Bortles is a Banjo Boy--I once believed in him, but I don't see him finding much more success in the NFL than he has already had.  And that's not much.  All of the hopes that he will transform into a superstar look to be about as realistic as becoming a rock star equipped with a banjo.

 Other albums that just missed the cut:
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack
  • Matchbox 20-Mad Season
  • Our Lady Peace--Happiness Is Not a Fish You Can Catch
  • Semisonic--Feeling Strangely Fine
  • Ben Folds Five--The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
  • Goo Goo Dolls--Dizzy Up the Girl
  • Stroke 9--Nasty Little Thoughts
If I were to repeat the same task, but focus on my early twenties, I'd find something different from my college years.  Just for the record, the albums that most influenced my musical tastes from that period would include:
  • Pat McGee Band--Shine
  • Matt Nathanson--Beneath These Fireworks
  • Mat Kearney--Nothing Left to Lose
  • Better Than Ezra--After the Robots
  • Kid Abelha--Acustico ao Vivo
  • Colors--Outside the Lines
Anyway, I probably droned on enough about this.  This was a very time-consuming and difficult post.  Which makes it only that much more rewarding.  I hope you enjoyed some of the tunes.  Let me know what you think!