Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Lot of New Faces: A Cardpocalypse Challenge, Day 7

I don't think I'm observant enough to pick up on hobby trends. I see what products are out there. I buy a few of them. I catalog, file, and trade the cards. But I usually don't make a mental note of, "Oh yeah, this is happening," until I hear about it from other bloggers. And trends that I have noticed recently, like online exclusives, pushing back release dates, and skyrocketing prices I'm not a huge fan of.

The trend of free stuff is obvious. And it's good. It was my first thought for favorite new trend. I mean, I've partaken. I have my own free stuff planned for when I get through the large boxes I purchased last week. But I sometimes feel awkward when I claim free things. I don't like to feel like a moocher. So despite all the free cards that have so generously been sent my way, I don't think that is my favorite hobby trend.

No, my favorite hobby trend is the new reading material on the blogs. Some new blogs have sprouted up. Maybe this is an effect of all the stay-at-home orders. People have more time at home, more time in front of a computer, and they start considering a blog. Whatever it is, there are a few new blogs that have made their way on to my reading list and I welcome the new perspectives. Card Hemorrhage , Hobby Love, and Wax Pack Wonders have been posting some interesting material and are well-written. I've been enjoying them. Not all of my new reading material is new, though. I discovered an older blog that was somehow not on my radar, and I've enjoyed reading it. Thank you, Diamond King. And the rebirth of Tim's blog, Cardpocalypse (formerly known as I Love the Smell of Cardboard) led to this series of posts this week.

As I said, I don't always pick up on new trends until somebody else points them out to me. So if there are any other new blogs out there, I'd love to hear about them. Let me know!

And thus concludes my Cardpocalype Challenge response. Seven posts in seven days. Thanks for the writing material, Tim! I've enjoyed posting on these and seeing what responses others have made so far.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Three Cheers for Liberty!: A Cardpocalypse Challenge, Day 6

Challenge Report: Day 5

Each challenge has been met successfully. Each has been fun to complete. No real hiccups yet. Anticipate smooth completion of assignment.

Challenge Report: Day 6

Favorite non-sport card? Oh, crap.

I don't own any non-sport cards. I've thought about picking up some Doctor Who cards at some point. I'm quite jealous of Matt's Psych set. If it came down to it, and I really wanted a non-sport collection, I think I would buy a bunch of those Harry Potter chocolate frogs and collect the cards in there. But I had to think outside the box to complete this challenge. As it turns out, I have two cards I thought about, but both are baseball releases. Also, neither is A&G.

Option 1 is Patsy Cline. I was raised on country music. I don't know how many kids growing up in the 80s were listening to Patsy Cline on their parents' record players, but I was one of them. I'm not claiming she was my favorite, but she is legendary.

But I have to choose this card over Patsy Cline. As a history major, I'd be remiss to go any other direction with this one. The occasion is memorable enough to commemorate on cardboard that I don't even really care who the depicted signer is. Even so, I think this card would be cooler if it were of Thomas Jefferson. Or even the other Paine, Thomas. No relation to Mr. Robert Treat Paine. At least no close relation. Anyway, these represent about the only options I have for non-sport cards. I have a few more Golden Age cards and some Heritage inserts, but it's really not much to choose from.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Grappling with a Challenge: A Cardpocalypse Challenge, Day 5

My collection is divided about as follows:
  • football--55%
  • baseball--42%
  • basketball--2.5%
  • other "miscellaneous" cards--.5%
I don't have many "other" sports in my collection. But I have a couple to consider as my favorite, which is today's blogging challenge from Tim.

I'm not a huge boxing fan, but I do enjoy seeing some bouts. I'm not about to throw a big party for a pay-per-view title match (although, I think I remember my dad doing that years ago), but I know many of the big names. My wife, on the other hand, has an extreme distaste for boxing and makes that known any time it's shown on a movie or whatever. I like this card mainly because Jack Johnson is a legend and I remember him from my American history classes. Athletes are indeed impactful in a cultural history.

But my top "other sport" card is this Cael Sanderson. I realize it's technically a baseball card set, but I'm counting it. When I was a high school wrestler, the Sanderson family was legendary. And they were local, coming from a high school about 30 miles away from mine. Cael was the best of the bunch. When I was doing my high school wrestling, Cael was in the midst of his unprecedented college career. His record at Iowa State was 159-0. That's not a typo. He never lost a college match. He topped his career with a gold medal cherry at the 2004 Olympic games. I know a lot of people would have a WWE card to show as their favorite "other" sport, but I'll take the real deal wrestling and a local legend for mine

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Balling Out: A Cardpocalypse Challenge, Day 4

Today's challenge: write about your favorite basketball card in your collection. I don't actively collect basketball anymore, but I was happy to accept this challenge because it gives me a chance to show off a couple of basketball cards from my collection, which I have only ever done a couple of times since this blog was born.

As was the case with football, my mind immediately turned to BYU and the greatest player I've ever seen take the court for the Cougs. Jimmer-mania was huge ten years ago. I remember seeing "You've Been Jimmered" and "Shoot It From Here, Jimmer" t-shirts all over the state. My Jimmer collection is pretty small, however, so I don't have much to choose from. I identified this as my favorite Jimmer card, but I quickly realized this wasn't my favorite overall basketball card.

So I turned to my favorite basketball set. I own exactly one complete basketball set, and it is 1996-97 UD3. This set is awesome! I remember building it when I was 14 and it was quite an achievement for me because it felt so high-end. Everything in this set looks nice, and the rookie class is one of the best ever. We're talking Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, and, of course, Kobe Bryant. But Bryant wasn't the guy I always enjoyed watching through his career. I'm a sucker for a play-making point guard, so this beautiful Steve Nash rookie card got some consideration as my favorite. But it still wasn't quite there.

And this is where I ended up. I can't choose between these two. Back in 7th and 8th grade, Grant Hill was my world. Both of these cards have nostalgic value for me. I remember going to a Jazz game when I was 12 and buying a pack of Upper Deck from the team store. Surrounded by my friends, I pulled the hottest rookie at the time, and a guy who was quickly becoming my favorite player. I was stoked. It's a really good-looking card, too. The next year, I pulled this Reign Men insert from Stadium Club. It seems like I remember the odds on this set being kind of steep, so when I pulled my idol for myself, it was huge. Plus, this card booked for something like $25 back then and it was the most expensive card in my collection. I couldn't choose between the two, so you get to see both as my favorite basketball card.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

One-of-a-Kind: A Cardpocalypse Challenge, Day 3

Today's challenge was difficult for me. Many bloggers are baseball collectors with a little side collection of football. My main collection is football. So when I am asked to choose my favorite football card in my collection, I'm stumped. I had to think hard about this one. And I'm still not sure I got it right.

My first thought was, it has to have something to do with BYU. My BYU fandom is the deepest running one that I have and I have a ton of great memories. So I considered this card, which appears to depict one of the clearest, most enjoyable sports memories I have. I remember watching this game in my sister's living room with my brother-in-law. We were both on the edge of our seats when the Cougars had one play in the game. It was either score or drop the game to arch-rival Utah. John Beck came up with this gem of a play.

I think this is the play on the card. We both went nuts, by the way, while our wives looked at us warily.

Then my thoughts turned to the Packers. I know have some really cool Packers cards. I flipped open my binder and when my eye rested on this, I knew it had to be considered. This was from one of the last packs I bought before my hiatus. Truth be told, I don't think I had bought anything at all the year prior. But just for fun, I picked up a Fleer Tradition pack and this came out. It's acetate, and 3/4 of the circle in the middle is transparent. I loved it then, and I still think it's awesome.

That got my mind going on other great cards I acquired during my youth. It reminded me that I had a Barry Sanders card that had been my favorite at one point. This was an expensive card at one point, one that I would have never considered buying as a single. Fortunately for this Barry Sanders fan, I had a trading buddy who was an Emmitt Smith fan. When he pulled this insert, I had a Stadium Club Emmitt insert to swap him for it. I don't remember the details, but it seems like both inserts fell about one per box. We both walked away happy and this has been on my shortlist of favorites ever since.

None of those would be considered my favorite (I don't think). I kept asking myself, "If I could only keep one card, which one would it be?" What I settled on was this 2013 Panini Black Printing Plate. I came to this decision because Brad Sorensen is my favorite player to collect and I pride myself in thinking that I have the largest Sorensen collection anywhere. And if I'm proud of my unique Sorensen collection, then a truly unique, no-one-else-has-this card would be a crowning jewel. So, if I could keep only one card, I would choose to hold on to one that is a true one-of-a-kind of my one-of-a-kind collection.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Now That's Interesting: A Cardpocalypse Challenge, Day 2

The second challenge in Tim's blogging gauntlet was to post a card from the current release year with a unique photo. I thought of a few candidates.

Here is a 2020 Opening Day card. Honestly, I don't know what is happening in this picture. It looks like Anderson has thrown his bat, not dropped it after a swing. But I can't read the expression on his face. Is this a look of disgust after a called strike three? Or is it excitement when he takes ball four after working a good at-bat? Maybe he just walked in a run? Or got beaned? I guess it could be a bat flip of a sort. I can't tell, but I can't say I've too many "throwing a bat" cards.

For football, I'm using 2019 as the current release year. This candidate shows Alejandro Villanueva catching a pass. It was probably a short-yardage touchdown. So why is this unique? Well, how many cards feature photos of an offensive lineman catching a pass? How many of those are in a set called "All-Hands Team?" This is one unique card.

But my winner is the card that I immediately thought of when I read the challenge. From 2019 Donruss, here is the T.J. Watt photo variation. He is caught mid-sack celebration, folded in half at the waist with his arms completely extended. When I first pulled this card, I couldn't tell what orientation it was. Is his head tilted back and eyes up, or is running while bent at the waist? It wasn't until I focused on the background that I could tell how Watt was standing. One of the best photos of the year, I think.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Banking on a Good Card: A Cardpocalypse Challenge, Day 1

Over on the newly revived blog Cardpocalypse, Tim recently laid down the gauntlet for a blogging challenge. I looked over the topics he suggested and thought,

Who doesn't love Barney Stinson?
Day 1 was an easy challenge and it gave me the chance to post about a card that has been in my queue of posts for a while anyway. About two months ago, Tom of The Angels, in Order held a contest to celebrate his 10th anniversary of blogging. I won, and Tom sent me hands down my favorite card of this quarantine. One of my favorites ever, in fact.

A 1956 Ernie Banks. Let's just go over what this card has going for it.
  • It becomes the oldest card in my collection, by two years. It's the first card I own that is older than both of my parents.
  • Ernie Banks is an absolute baseball legend. 
  • I just happen to be a Cubs fan, so there is probably no more desirable name for me to add a vintage card to my collection.
  • Let's just mention how great the inset picture is, too, of Banks being congratulated as he crosses the plate.
I don't think I can possibly thank Tom enough for putting this card into my hands. It's my favorite new acquisition of this quarantine, without a doubt.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Set Review: 1994 Collector's Choice

Earlier this month, I had some eBay bucks to use. My unofficial collecting focus this year seems to be knocking out older sets on my wantlist, so my attention drifted that way. Part of cleaning up those old sets has been to make sure that I have a complete set from every year that I have actively collected. Spending my quarantine time one day going over and enjoying cards in my collection, I realized that I had two 1994 sets in my collection, but one was a small 100-card base set of Classic NFL Experience and the other was a small food-issue Coca-Cola set. Neither had any rookies. Now, part of my reason for wanting to complete a yearly set is to see the rookie crop each year brings to the league. So I decided on a 1994 set that I have always liked. It's simple, it's clean, and it's cheap. Collector's Choice was my choice, and I went ahead and bought a completed set off eBay.

The front of this set is great. Clean white border. Interesting photographs. Simple design for the name and team. Product logo is clear but not overstated. And I'm a sucker for the position illustrations in the bottom corner.

See? Interesting photographs, including shots of activities that may not be within the rules of the game. Yes, Neil, that is holding right there.

Here are some shots that I like that don't show game action.

Although, the Greg, er, Steve Wisniewski has a major problem on the back.

Wisniewski wasn't the only glaring mistake. You may be looking at these checklists thinking that I have them out of order.

But not so! The numbers shown on the front of the checklists don't match the numbers actually represented on the back. Plus the egregious misspelling of Sterling "Sharp."

But I won't let a few mistakes get me down. How could I when the back is nearly perfect? Another great pic, full stats, and a write-up when there is room. Even when there were a lot of stats, they didn't skimp. They found a way to give us everything and keep the pic, too. Phil Simms's sunset card is a good example of a masterful card back design. If I'm going to nitpick, the only thing I would change about the back is a "How Acquired" portion to the vitals line.

Remember those rookies that I needed? It was a pretty decent draft class. Shown here are Marshall Faulk, Willie McGinest, Bryant Young, and Aaron Glenn, in case you can't read the lines. I like that the rookies are clearly distinguished. The back of the rookie cards shows the draft selection they were in big, bold letters. I like that a lot.

There are two subsets included. This one is "Images of 93." It's a 15-card subset that highlights remarkable individual achievements, such as Sterling Sharpe's four-touchdown game, Jerome Bettis's 212-yard performance, or John Carney's record-breaking 29th straight successful field goal attempt.

Can you tell me what these three players have in common?

Or these three?

Or how about these three? If you noticed that they all attended Notre Dame, USC, or the U. of Miami, respectively, you got it. The second subset is called "Traditions of Excellence," and it features 15 players who played for those college programs. Why? I don't know. Does anybody know the story behind that? I didn't know that's what this subset was until I started reading the card backs and I was like, "Why are these cards all about Notre Dame?"

This set is nearly ideal for me. I love the simple design. Even though it is photo-centric, there is still plenty of good information given--through both text and numbers. The size is perfect to me; 384 cards allows the company to include more than just the offensive superstars without being too cumbersome for me to collect/store. I like having the highlights of 1993 in a subset. If I were in charge, I probably would have expanded the rookie cards to 45 and dropped the "Traditions" subset, which only is of interest to fans of three select college programs. Other than that, this set's design and size are just what I prefer.

Friday, May 15, 2020

This is Classified (and My Giveaway Results)

Here in Utah Craigslist isn't very widely used. Facebook might be used as a marketplace; I'm not sure because I don't have a Facebook account. But the most popular choice in these parts when it comes to classifieds is KSL. KSL is just a local news station, but its website has a great classified section. It's fairly common to hear somebody, "I got it on KSL." I have bought and sold many things on KSL, but I have never bought cards there. I've sold cards on KSL, and I've browsed around the offerings, but I always find that most people don't have a clue what cards are worth. For example, there is currently an ad on the site selling a 2015 Bowman Joc Pederson rookie for $30. But a couple of days ago, I got on and found something that caught my eye.

Somebody was selling some boxes of random football cards. I worked out a deal for two of the boxes and

a box of 1991 Fleer. It turns out that it is four packs shy of a full box, but at least I don't have to worry about a pack searcher removing all the hits before passing it on to me with 91 Fleer. I know it gets a bad rap, but I agree with Fuji and I kind of enjoy the yellow borders. It's both distinctive and nostalgic for me. I don't really have any plans for these cards yet because I don't think I'll be building the set. I'm just wanting a fun break. So dust off 1991 Fleer wantlists, because I'll probably find something you need.

I don't know yet what is in these boxes beyond what I can see on the ends. But there are approximately 2200 cards for me to go through. Throw in a fun wax break, and I figure if I can find a couple hundred keepers, then I've got my money's worth. Either way, I usually treat myself to a break on the last day of school, so this will do it for this year.


So, I've been running a giveaway for the past little while. To enter, you needed to write a post about a unique, non-sports card collection and post a link on my post. I'll pick three winners to receive one of the cards above. Since Fuji was the only one to post a link in a comment, he's our #1 winner. Congratulations, Fuji! You get first pick. For the others, I have identified a few people who have written their own post. If you wrote one and I didn't see you and put you on the list, I'm sorry--but you didn't give me a link.

Here are our participants:

And after randomizing the list, we get:

Bo and Billy round out the winners. So Fuji, let me know which card you want. Then Bo, you get the second choice. Billy, I'll send you the last one. Will each of you also please send me your address at tntcardsstg at gmail? Thanks for those who played along. I enjoyed seeing your other collections. It seems that collectors of one thing usually have something else they collect, as well, and it was fun to see what all of you have.

Monday, May 11, 2020

State of the Set: 1990 Action Packed Football

I feel that there are too many sets on my wantlist that have been sitting there for years while I slowly chip away at them. This year I noticed that a lot of those sets are well within striking distance this year, so I've tried to swing some trades for set needs while focusing my recent Sportlots purchase on sets as well. We'll see how many sets I can kill before the year is out.

For the past few years, I have written a post that summarizes my set completion quests for the year. I still plan to do that for 2020, but I also decided to give a progress report for sets that I'm actively acquiring cards for along the way. I thought this might be more interesting than writing one giant post that tries to tie all the different cards from a trade or a purchase together.

On today's docket: 1990 Action Packed Football

I remember when Action Packed came out. It was unlike anything that had ever been done before. Each card had a gold foil border and was embossed. And it was amazing! I couldn't afford to get much of it back when I was a kid just starting out, but I got a pack or two and was completely astounded. Plus, there is plenty of good action photography on the cards.

Another great feature of the product was the Action Note on the back. It was meant to describe the action happening in the picture. In the case of the Gary Reasons card, I remember watching that game live, down in my grandma's basement. I couldn't have told the final score or even the winner of the game before this card gave me that information, but I do recall the hit pictured on the front.

However, I do have to take the Action Note with a grain of salt. Look at this card. The Action Note says that Butler is kicking a 25-yard field goal. But where is the holder? Unless the long snapper managed to snap the ball so it could stand on its end while the kicker kicked the field goal, I'm thinking this shot is a kickoff. Years later, today's sports card manufacturers often struggle with the details of a "player used" article in the card. As for Action Packed, there are some cards where it's easy to see that the Action Note is adding useful information to the photo. The more generic looking photos, however, have to be considered just storytelling to allow the reader to visualize a possible scenario.

This set is full of Hall of Famers both on the offensive side.

And the defensive side. There's enough visual information on the Tippett and Haley cards to make me trust the Action Note on the back.

Why I'm collecting this set: This is part of my quest to complete one football set for every year that I actively collected. I've been choosing one set for each year that I liked the design and look of, and Action Packed was the one I had my eye on for 1990. A good starter set for an affordable price on eBay finalized the decision and got me going in the right direction.

How long has it been on my wantlist (roughly)?: It has been in my mind for about a year now, but I haven't even officially put it on my wantlist yet.

Current state of set completion: Base set--279/280 (99.7%); Rookie Update set--1/84 (

1.1%); 280/364 (76.9%)

Current needs: #9 (Deion Sanders), Basically all of the Rookie Update set.

Prognosis: This depends on my ability to find a good price for the Rookie Update set on eBay. I don't plan on piecing it together right now, so I'm hoping to find a good hand-collated set on the cheap. For the base set alone, it's a slam dunk to be finished by year's end. Only one card to go there.

Friday, May 8, 2020

A Cavalcade of Comity

Whether it's Free Stuff Friday, Picking Pockets, or BFGs, a number of bloggers have sent me some great things in the past couple of months. I've picked up something for just about every aspect of my collection from these generous bloggers and I've been saving it all for one post. The contributors to this post deserve applause and thanks: Chris the Collector, Johnny's Trading Spot, Padrographs Rod, Julie and her Cracked Bat, and the Highly Subjective (or is it Completely Arbitrary?) Brian.

Let's start with those All-Star MVPs. The Cals came from Rod. I picked two Ripkens from his free stuff giveaways, and he threw in a few more. In the second pic, Maury Wills is an ASG MVP whose page is not yet complete in my binder, so this Hygrade was much needed. To the right is an awesome Deckle Edge of Tommy Helms, who is a former Rookie of the Year. This a sweet card from John's Big Fun Game and a perfect fit for my collection.

We'll stick with our Rookie of the Year cards for a minute. I didn't realize before I got this Ben Grieve card that 1998 Topps Gallery was shiny. It's a really good-looking card.

Ben Grieve makes another appearance here with his Rookie Cup. Fellow ROY Kazuhiro Sasaki has one, as well as former Cub phenom Starlin Castro (who did not win Rookie of the Year). Jackie Robinson did, though. The pitcher on the bottom left is Lamarr Hoyt, who won the All-Star Game MVP in 1985. Joe Mauer was neither, but what a great card!

Here we have a mix of all the above: All-Star MVPs (Raines and Young), Rookie of the Year (Verlander), Cubs, and a guy who was none of the above but the card is just amazing.

Moving away from baseball, how about a couple of Packer receivers sent by fellow Packer fan Chris? Also, a Heisman winner in his college uni (sort of) is another mini-collection of mine.

We'll end this with a couple more college unis. Steve Young and Shawn Bradley are representing the Y here, and Bradley is doing it in serial-numbered fashion.

One thing I have loved about this giveaway trend is that it has given me addresses for bloggers I had never interacted with before, like Rod and Julie. So those two each have a PWE going out to them today. John, I have one for you, too. Chris and Brian, I'll keep setting aside those Sox, Packers dupes, and Twins to get something back to you, too. Thanks a bunch to all of you.

Now, I have some unfinished business on this blog. I tried to start a BBA to get people to share their unique collections. To enter, you just need to write a post and comment with the link here. I was going to random off 3 Brazilian phone cards to those entrants over a week ago. I only got one official entry. But, I'm counting Bo's post that sparked this idea. Also, Billy mentioned in a comment that he had already done similar posts. I would like to write a follow-up post with links to the bloggers' posts. So Billy, if you would like, choose a favorite other collection post and copy the URL in the comments. I'll count your entry and include a link to your post. So, that's three entrants. I've decided to give this one more week, so I will random them off a week from today, on Friday, May 15. If you have unique, let's see it.