Monday, May 29, 2017

My Top 10 Barry Sanders

I'm just barely getting my entry for Collecting Cutch's contest in, but it is partly because I've had a hard time choosing a favorite player.  Currently, I would have to say Jordy Nelson.  But historically, I could say a few people.  In the end, I decided to go with the guy I was thinking of all along.  He may have never played for the Packers, but that was all the more reason for me to feature him.  I could have chosen Reggie White, but all of my faithful readers (the 2 of you) see enough Green and Gold on this blog.  Then the selection of cards was a good reminder that I am very much a low-budget collector.  I have no hits to speak of, and relatively few inserts.  It's mostly base cards and stories.  So without further ado, here is my Top 10 of Barry Sanders:


10. 1995 Pro Line #206

This base card may not be the coolest, but I love this image.  First, it shows Barry's incredible body control and balance.  Watch any highlight reel, and you'll see him stay on his feet in impossible positions.  Second, it shows the outstretched hand of a Buccaneer whiffing at the air where Barry used to be.  It seemed his best games came against Tampa Bay, and I knew I had to have a card featuring one of those games.

#9. 1995 Pro Line Pro Bowl #PB10 

What's this?  Two Classic Pro Line in a row?  That's a surprise, even to me.  I still remember pulling this shiny die-cut from the pack.  I believe it was the first insert of Barry Sanders I ever pulled myself.  It's got a ding on the corner, but it has been in my collection for a long time.


 #8 1995 Bowman #300

I never opened or even a saw a single pack of this product.  This is the only card I own from this set.  I'm not even sure when or where I picked it up.  But I really like the design.  Again, the image of Barry with his body twisted and hips sunk like he is sitting in mid-air makes me picture one of his amazing runs.


#7 Pro Line Live #405

I have never been a big comic book guy.  But I always loved good comic drawings on my cards.  I remember trading my friend an Emmitt Smith in seventh grade for this bit of awesomeness.  I'm still not entirely sure what I'm seeing here, though.  It appears to be Barry riding on a jet or in the middle of a football stadium.  Whatever it is, I still like it after all these years.


#6 1999 SP Authentic Athletic #A6

This one of the newer additions to my collection.  I love the color scheme and classy look of this card.  However, the border is far too big and the picture is but a thumbnail.  Plus, the card always looks off-centered and miscut.  But something about it just looks like a great high-end card to me.


#5 1996 Fleer #47

I really like this set.  It's got a clean look, good photography, and a little Greatest Game blurb on the front.  True to my earlier statement, it looks like Barry's greatest game was indeed against Tampa Bay.  Once again, a great shot of shifty running.


 #4 2015 Score Gridiron Heritage #12

This set has a great classic, almost vintage feel to it and a good checklist to boot.  There's nothing really special about this card, other than I love this set and it is my favorite card in the set.


#3 1996 Upper Deck Hot Properties #HT-20

This is another card I picked up in a trade with a middle school buddy almost 20 years ago.  I really like this one because besides being a good-looking card, it also features another running back who I really loved at the time--

Thurman Thomas.  Valuable (for my standards) insert, contrast between photo and background, cool red outline, and two awesome players.  Check, check, check, check.  It all adds up to one of my favorite cards.


#2 1996 Skybox Impact No Surrender #18

This card is embossed so you can feel the texture of the football.  But that is really only the third reason for this card's selection.  First, it was one of the few great inserts I remember pulling from buying retail packs at the local grocery store.  Most of my Barry Sanders cards came from trades or the secondary market.  This one, however, has always been mine.  The second reason is that it was valued at $18 by Beckett, making this the most valuable card in my collection until I started collecting again as an adult.  I loved this card as a kid, and that loved has remained with me to this day.


#1 1989 Pro Set #494

This isn't the prettiest copy of Barry's Pro Set rookie.  It's way off-center, as you can see.  But I still remember my mom giving me this card, along with the 1989 Pro Set Troy Aikman rookie, for my 10th birthday.  She worked a block away from a card shop, and sometimes would pick me up something during her lunch break.  I like this rookie card because it is his only rookie with an action photo, and I have a bit of a fascination with Heisman winners, and this one shows Barry as he was during his Heisman-winning season in 1988.

There you have my Top 10 Barry Sanders cards.  There's no monster hit or rare card in here, but for each these cards, I either love the picture of an absolute wizard in action or I have a story that makes the card special to me.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Check Out My Photo Dump!

I've been working on clearing out my photo folder, and I came across a some pictures of a COMC purchase I made in February.  Honestly, I'm not even sure why I had it shipped and didn't just wait until free shipping, but the cards are in hand and assimilated into my collection now.  I think this was one my favorite COMC purchases ever.

I added some good cards to my Jordy Nelson PC.  I don't really buy any high-end stuff, so the Triple Threads base is a somewhat unique addition to my collection.  I love the Upper Deck Rookie Premiere.  The photo reminds me of an old picture of Hall of Famer Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch that I saw as a kid. 

I never knew much about Hirsch, but the nickname made him one of my favorite old-timers when I was growing up.

Adding to my All-1990s team, I picked up cards of my favorite QB and offensive lineman of the decade.  These two had polar opposite careers, it seems.  Favre was dealt to the Packers for a song and had little expectations , while Boselli was a can't-miss pick who started out his career very well.  Both played at high levels, but Favre was durability personified while Boselli had his career cut short by injuries.  Favre was a gunslinger who worked by improv, but Boselli was a technician.   I'm happy to have all of these cards.

Here are some modern cards of 1980s stars.  I think I now have 4 unique cards of James Lofton with that photo.  I think the Legendary Contenders card shown here is the only in color.

All of these big men are All-2000s picks.  For all of my All-Decades collections, the linemen of the 2000s have been the hardest to fill.  They just don't have enough cards made.

Here are two interesting pick-ups.  Despite being a former Packer and Cougar, this is the first Brady Poppinga in my collection.  I'm not a big fan of relics, and especially not manu-relics, but I thought this card was interesting.  Plus, it's an insert set exclusively of Green Bay.  The card on the right is of former BYU receiver Ben Cahoon.  A native Canadian, Cahoon decided to go north to the CFL instead of entering the NFL draft.  He was drafted by Montreal 6th overall in 1998.  In his 13-year CFL career, Cahoon set the league record for most career receptions (1017) and caught more passes for more yardage than any player in Grey Cup history.  He is currently on his second stint as BYU's receivers coach.

I added a bit more to my BYU collection, including my first cards of linebacker Bryan Kehl and defensive end Travis Hall.  I have a love/hate relationship with Jim McMahon, as he quarterbacked my Cougs, but then went on to lead the Bears to their greatest success in the Super Bowl Era. 

I love this card completely, though.  It commemorates BYU's first ever bowl game win in the 1980 Holiday Bowl.  The "Miracle Bowl" may be the greatest comeback in college football history.  With under 3 minutes remaining in the game, BYU trailed SMU 46-25.  In those 3 minutes, BYU managed to score, recover an onside kick, score, have a defensive stand, block the punt, and win the game on a last-second Hail Mary. 

This COMC order knocked out some autograph needs for my BYU collection.
  • Rob Morris played for the Colts after being drafted in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft.  
  • Austin Collie also played for the Colts, but his promising career was cut short by a series of concussions suffered after some exceptionally violent collisions. 
  •  Bronson Kaufusi was the Ravens third round pick last year, but his seas
  • on ended in training camp with an ankle injury.  He should get some playing time this year.  Todd Watkins went undrafted and signed with the Cardinals, got cut and signed with the Raiders.  He played for two years, catching 8 passes in his career.  
  • Terenn Houk went undrafted and unsigned last year, but SAGE still found it necessary to include him in its auto checklist.  
  • Jamal Willis left BYU as the all-time leading rusher (since surpassed twice) and played for the 49ers in the late 90s.  I remember him as the coach who succeeded my high school football coach and let me go from the staff before I even coached one game.  At the end of my senior season, my coach asked me to coach the sophomore team the following year, but Jamal came in with his own staff, and I never got the chance.  Now I'm making up for it by coaching a t-ball team.  Not to mention teaching adolescents every day.

Finally, I added to my Brad Sorensen collection, as I do with every COMC order.  I'm now up to five Sorensen autos.  He doesn't have the best signature, but I'm trying own all of them.

That's it for my February COMC order.  I'm glad I found the pictures before I forgot about them forever.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Tale of Two Trades

It was the best of trades, it was the worst of trades.  Well, actually, there was nothing bad about either one of these trades.  I have two more trades to post today, both from TCDB.  But they are quite different from one another.  The first came from user joshthurman and was completely baseball.

Josh helped me out with some of the best names of the Team 2000 checklist.  Here's a quiz for you: Which of these players had the best WAR from 1990-1999?  The answer will be at the end.

I received a pair of cards for my ROY collection.  Bagwell was the NL ROY in 1991, while Knoblauch took home the award for the AL in the same year.  

I got a random assortment of junk wax Cubbies.  I believe this is Gary Woods's first representation in my Cubs collection.  I love the image of Rick Wilkins holding up the ball after the tag.  I wish I could see who else was involved in the play, but I hope he was called out.

I think the oddballs here are the highlight of the trade.  The Mark Grace is a 1990 Starline Long John Silver issue and the bottom three are 1993 Hostess.  I remember eating more Hostess baseballs that summer than I ever have before or since.  

The second trade was football.  It hit my All-Decade collection and gave me some set help.

From 1990 Pro Set Super Bowl, I got some Supermen who also played their way onto the All 80s team.  I have a special affinity for the guys in the trenches, so when I see one of the original Hogs, Joe Jacoby, pulling to get out and block in open space, that card is a winner.

No, I'm not collecting the 1989 Topps set, but all of these cards belong in my collection.  Growing up, I always thought these cards were boring.  Now I really think they're good-looking cards.  My only issue is the random color schemes on the helmet stripes on the side.  1989 was a good year for football sets.  I like all three major releases: Topps and the iconic inaugural sets of Score and Pro Set.  They were all very good looking sets with one of the greatest rookies classes of all-time.  Of course, these players were all well-established by 1989, not the rookies, but it is a good set.

Much like 1989 Topps, I never appreciated 1991 Pro Set Platinum as a kid.  It was kind of Pro Set's "premium" offering, but I always disliked it and tended to view it as not a real set.  It was probably due to the lack of names on the front  of the cards.  Now when I look at it, I'm wholly impressed with the action photography and clean look of the logo.  Look at the shot of Jerry Rice's celebration, for example.  Or great Bill Fralic battling another great John Randle, with two more outstanding players--Chris Doleman and Mike Kenn--on the ground in the background.  What a card!  For those who need a refresher, the players featured are Art Monk and Jerry Rice on the top row, and Mike Munchak, Bill Fralic, and Anthony Munoz on the bottom row.

I got some '88 Topps for my set as well.  My build is going quite nicely.  It seems like a lot of people are just dying to get rid of their extras, and I've been quite happy to take them.  There are some good names here.

I'll end with a couple of individual cards of All 80s players.  First, we have safety Nolan Cromwell in the form of a Topps Sticker.  And as a finale, one of the most interesting cards in my collection.  This Jerry Rice came from 1999 Sports Illustrated for Kids and proudly features its perforations.  But check out the path of the football.  Apparently it is circling Jerry's head until he's ready to catch it.  Or it bounced off his shoulder, paused--in mid-air, mind you--made a left turn, and landed in Rice's hands.  I haven't seen any other cards from that year's SI for Kids.  Do they all have the same type of photo on them?

Well, that does it for those two trades, one baseball, one football.  For those who actually tested themselves on the trivia question, the WAR ranking in the 1990s for the three players above goes as follows:

3.  Juan Gonzalez--30.2
2. David Justice--33.2
and, our winner
1. Bernie Williams--34.4

As you can see, all were pretty good players, and all had similar success.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Topps Redeemed?

Back in 2015, I pulled a sweet redemption card out of a box of Topps Museum.

A Russell Wilson/Marshawn Lynch dual-autograph?  Sweet!  I did a little research on this card and found that it was numbered to 10.  I went online and redeemed this code in February 2015.  And then I waited.

I waited for about 20 months.  When Marshawn Lynch retired, I didn't think he would be be signing much for card companies at that point. I decided to cut bait and ask for a replacement in October 2016.

And then I waited some more.  I'd heard that Topps was fairly quick about replacing redemptions, but I waited about 6 more months before I received my replacement.  Last month, in April 2017 (2 years, 2 months after my original redemption), I received my replacement.

Along with the replacement, Topps sent me one of their "Sorry It Took So Long" letters and a second card to make up for the wait.  The extra was.......

Lee has 115 receptions for 1465 yards and 5 TDs in his three-year career.  Last year was definitely his best, when he recorded 63 catches for over 800 yards.  I'm hoping that his career is hitting an upward trajectory this former 2nd round pick. 

But the star of the show--the main event--was this beauty....

A Red Refractor Rookie Auograph of stud running back David Johnson.  This is numbered to 5, and Johnson is one of the hottest players in the NFL right now.

I'm pretty satisfied with the value of the replacement, despite the long wait.  I wasn't sure how Topps would match the value, but I think they did.

What do you think?  Did this sufficiently replace the Wilson/Lynch auto #'d to 10?  Did I come out ahead or get the short end of the stick.  Let me know in the comments below.  I'd like to hear your opinions.

Friday, May 19, 2017

I Think I'm Becoming a Set Builder

And I blame Trading Card Database.  The entire site caters to set builders.  You want to build a wantlist?  Here, you can add players one card at a time, OR you can add a set all at once.  It's so much easier to add a set.  You want to propose a trade?  You can view a list of sets that the other person has cards to offer, OR you can search letter by letter to find a certain player you might want.  TCDB has statistics of how much of the set you have completed, even if it is only one card meant for the PC.  And what about adding cards to your collection?  Well, it is easy find everything on a set checklist.  If you want to find a card by player name, you can see a list, but you can't check the box until you enter the set checklist.

I know it was just a couple of months ago that I thought I was veering away from set collecting, but I use Trading Card Database to track and build my collection and facilitate trades.  And it's sooooo much easier to go by sets.  Plus, I'm starting to see the end of my award-themed projects.  When that wraps up, I would like to collect as a record of players of the times.  I still think that set collecting is more expensive, but I'll figure out how I plan to go about it.  Right now, I'm finding that the satisfaction of completing a set and the aesthetics of displaying a set all together are causing my set needs lists to grow.  Plus, I've figured out some storage and display questions that I've had, and it seems that sets will fit nicely into my plan.

On that note, I've sought trades on TCDB recently that have aided my set-building.  From user ShoTime, I received the Yu Darvish above for my 2016 Archives set.

He brought my 2017 Flagship set eight cards closer to completion, including a couple of Cubs.

I think I mentioned the Whatever Works set in my last post, but I'm now two cards closer.  It's funny that I never knew people called Jim Palmer "Pancakes" before I received this card.

I like the Traditions set from Triple Play.  I would like to build it and share it with my boys as a merging of two traditions I'm trying to cultivate: baseball and card collecting.

1988 Topps football was the first set I ever collected.  I was six years old when my dad brought a pack home for me, and I was forever hooked on cards.  Besides the nostalgia factor, it is a really attractive set.  I've decided it's finally time to go back and build the set.  ShoTime helped me out with a couple of the iconic cards from this set.  At one point I owned both of these--and the Bo Jackson rookie--but I don't anymore.  At least these two are back now.

I'm sure at some point I will turn away from set-building again.  I don't know how many iterations of my card-collecting self I have created, and I sure don't know how many more there will be.  As long as I have some purpose, though, I've found that the hobby is more enjoyable to me.  A big thanks to TCDB user ShoTime for helping me out with these set builds.

Monday, May 15, 2017

More Trades from the Database

I haven't spent much time opening new product as of late, but I have been immersed in the Trading Card Database.  I've completed over a dozen trades that I'm trying to get posted here.

My next trade was with user minibbcards.  I believe that every card I sent him was a parallel, and true to his name, he asked for a few minis.

In return, I got mostley inserts.  All of these cards will go into my mini collections binder as All-Star MVPs, ROYs, or both.

I'm now one card from this Wal-Mart exclusive Cal Ripken insert set.

I'm working on this Whatever Works set.  I'm not in love with the paisley in top corner, but I love hearing about baseball players and their superstitions.  It's a fun little set that I didn't pay much attention to when it was released a couple of years ago.

Also included in the trade was one of the most nonsensical cards I know of: a 2016 Berger's Best reprint of the classic 2015 flagship Kris Bryant rookie.  Really?  Did we need a reprint one year later?  However, I still don't own the original.  I bought so many Series 2 rack packs trying to pull this card that I nearly completed the series twice over.  I saw neither hide nor hair of the Bryant rookie.  So this Berger's Best will have to do for now.

The AFL/NFL merger is one of my favorite topics in sports history.  Back when I was a history major in college, I had to propose and complete a senior thesis on a historical topic of my choice.  I really wanted to write on the merger, but the NFL Hall of Fame is kind of stingy with the primary sources stored there.  The only way to access them is in person, and even then, you have to have some sort of permission to enter the archives.  So I chose a more local topic instead.  When I saw this card, though, I wanted it.

My next was with a guy who calls himself herkojerko. 

I got some great Cubs cards from him, including my first Jason Kendall in Cubby blue.

My Willie Mays page was looking pretty empty, so I picked up some junk wax of one of the greatest "Baseball Heroes" of all-time.

Some new additions to my ROY binder.  I especially love that the Donruss Bagwell denotes him as a Rookie of the Year award winner.

And here is some 80s goodness of a couple of great outfielders.

The third trade I'm posting today comes from dsorek.  He took some of my 2017 flagship inserts in exchange for some flagship base help.

He also sent a couple of my favorite insert set so far this year, Opening Day's Opening Day.

I'll have some more trade posts coming in the near future as I try to catch up with all my incoming trades.  A big thanks to the three traders featured today.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Couple of Trades Courtesy of TCDB

I'm starting to get into the swing of things on Trading Card Database.  I reviewed the site in my last post and mentioned that my inbox was flooded with lots of trade requests.  I've completed about a dozen so far, and I'll show the highlights as I endeavor to catch up on my posts.

Today's first trade came from user jmiller4.  He was apparently working on some of the many Topps insert sets that have been released in the past few years.  In return for some help on those sets, he helped me with my own insert set build.

Because I'm crazy, I decided to build an 80 card insert set from 25 years ago using only cards I had never pulled from packs.  I had never seen these cards until a few months ago and when I looked at the checklist, I thought, "Hey, why not?"  As illustrated by the cards shown here, there are some pretty good names on the checklist.  Most of them were just beginning to show signs a of a solid career when this set was released, and it makes Pinnacle look like a great prospector.  Most of them were coming to the end of their careers by 2000, but a lot of them had a solid mid-decade run.  I'm 20% done with this collection, with 16 cards so far in my attempt.

Another set I'm slowly going at is the Wrigley Field set.  At first I wasn't sure about collecting it, but when the Cubs won it all last year, I thought that I couldn't pass up a set devoted to Wrigley Field in the very year the curse was broken.  I don't have too many of these yet.

Another set I couldn't pass up is the Marketside set.  Aside from the buzz it created with the return of food issued oddballs, the set is really nice looking.  I'm going slowly on it, as well, because it seems like everybody is working on it and there aren't too many for trade and I don't want to pay the $.99 per card that ebay is asking right now.

This card is probably my favorite of the trade, and it wasn't even included initially.  I got the package with a note telling my the Team 2000 John Olerud had already been traded and he hoped with would work as a substitute.  Bryant for Olerud?  I think I got the better end of the deal here.  This is a Contact Sheet insert from 2016 Stadium Club.  I know that Stadium Club is a favorite around the cardsphere, but none of my local stores carry it, so I had never seen this set before.  It 's a pretty sweet card.

To cap off the trade with jmiller4, I got a great Bryzzo.  I hope these guys remain best buds for a long time to come.

My next trade came from Broadway (the username, not the location).  Broadway wanted Heritage; I wanted Archives.  This is what I got from this deal.

First, some help with my 2016 Archives build.

A nice 1969 Archives insert of Jake Arrieta, looking as intimidating as ever.

A Kris Bryant insert and mini.

And a Heritage rookie of my latest ROY addition, Michael Fulmer.  Fulmer is off to an even better start this year than his award-winning performance of last year.  The Tigers appear to have a good one here.

I still have more TCDB trades to post, but I'll stop here for now.  Thanks for reading!  And thanks to jmiller4 and Broadway for the trades.