Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Franchise 9: Kansas City Chiefs

Way back when I started this blog (five years ago today, by my reckoning, actually), I had an idea for a series about the building of a football Frankenset. I called it the Franchise 9. Here we are, 1826 days later and I still haven't finished the series. I'd better get on that. Plus, we are now down to one more game before this NFL season is in the books and I haven't had a single Franchise 9 post. So today, let's take a look at the page for the team that will be defending its championship in two weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs.


1. Len Dawson, QB (2011 Topps Super Bowl Legends)

Before there was Patrick Mahomes, Len Dawson was quarterbacking the Chiefs to a championship. To this day, Dawson leads all Chiefs in career passing yards, TDs, 1st-Team All-Pro nods, and Pro Bowls. Add to that a Super Bowl MVP, and he rightly deserves to be on this list. Patrick Mahomes may very well pass him, and do it very soon, but Dawson is tops in Kansas City annals.


2. Tony Gonzalez, TE (2006 Topps Chrome)

Before there was Travis Kelce, there was Tony Gonzalez. Interesting fact: the Chiefs are the only franchise for whom both top pass catchers (in terms of yards and receptions) in team history are tight ends. Kelce may very well pass Gonzalez, but Gonzalez was just as dominant during his time. For seven straight years, he was named to either the 1st or 2nd All-Pros teams. That's a run that will make it difficult for anybody to stake a claim for the greatest tight end of all time.


3. Will Shields, G (1993 Classic)

Gonzalez was an All-Pro for seven consecutive years. During the same span, Will Shields accomplished the same feat for five straight years. In all, Shields made six All-Pro teams and 12 Pro Bowls, all as a Kansas City Chief. He ranks second in team history in Pro-Football Reference's Approximate Value metric. He's also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.



4. Bobby Bell, DE (1988 Swell Football Greats)

For six straight years, Bobby Bell was a first-team All-Pro. Are starting to notice a pattern here? Though on the opposite side of the ball from Gonzalez and Shields, Bell continues the streak of long All-Pro streaks for this team. Bell was part of the Chiefs' "Redwood Forest" defense. Traditional stats are hard for a defender of that era to come by, but Bell's career AV ranks fourth on the Chiefs.


5. Buck Buchanan, DT (1973 Topps)

Bell's teammate on defense, Buck Buchanan, had a streak of six consecutive All-Pro years. He was also an eight-time Pro Bowler and is enshrined in Canton.


6. Willie Lanier, LB (1972 Topps)

He didn't have the same streak as we've seen others have here, but Willie Lanier was an All-Pro in five of six seasons between 1968-1973. With another Hall of Famer in the front seven, the Chiefs defense of the late Sixties through the mid-Seventies was hard to run on. Beginning in the first year of the Super Bowl Era through Bell's, Buchanan's, and Lanier's tenure together, the Chiefs finished in the top five of run defenses five of eight years; the other three years finishing nine, eleven, and eleven.



7. Derrick Thomas, LB (1994 Score)

Derrick Thomas is the Chiefs' all-time leading sack master. With 126.5 sacks in 11 years, who knows how many more he could have piled up if his life hadn't been tragically cut short in a car accident? He still owns the single-game record for sacks, taking the Seahawks Dave Krieg down seven times in memory of his father on Veteran's Day. Though injuries hampered Thomas later in his career, he was still effective. In 1997, he was limited to 12 games and still managed 9.5 sacks. He earned a spot in the Hall of Fame.

8. Jim Tyrer, T (1972 Topps) 

It looks like I may have mistakenly put Tyrer out of order on this page. No matter; I'll change it in my binder, but I'm not going to re-scan it. Jim Tyrer may not be a household name, but know this: he is the Kansas City Chiefs all-time AV leader. According to Pro Football Reference, no player was more valuable to this franchise over the course of his career than Tyrer.  Part of that may be due to his longevity; he spent 13 years with the franchise, starting way back when they began as the Dallas Texans. But when you consider Tyrer himself made nine consecutive All-Pro teams, you know he was just the best at his position during his playing career.

9. Johnny Robinson, S (1990 Pro Set Super Bowl)

One more member of the Redwood Forest defense here, and another All-Pro streaker. Johnny Robinson was a first-team All-Pro six years in a row. His 57 interceptions are second in team history and his AV is fifth. With a track record like that, the only question I have about Robinson is why it took until 2019 for him to get a call to the Hall.

The Chiefs are one of those teams who have had so much success that it was hard to leave some players off the list. Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas, All-Decade performers like Neil Smith and Deron Cherry, and great playmakers like Otis Taylor, Priest Holmes, and Jamaal Charles just didn't have a spot for them. And I've already mentioned Mahomes and Kelce, who will most certainly bump somebody off of this Franchise 9 if their careers continue on their current trajectories. This has been one of the most successful franchises in the league. We'll have to see if they add a third Super Bowl title next month.

Some notes on this series:

  1. This includes Super Bowl Era players only.
  2. The "nine" in Franchise 9 is to fill a page in a binder. There is no intent to fill a roster or even a starting lineup.
  3. A player can represent multiple teams.
  4. I tried to find a balance between steady producers with longevity and explosive players with shorter careers. Time with the team does count for something, as does impact with the team.
  5. For a link to Franchise 9 lists that I have already posted, click here.
  6. This is all subjective, so I'd love to hear whom you would choose!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Cards In the Wild!

The last time I posted about football was back in October, to do a State of the Set post for my 1997 UD Legends build. Before that, it was right at the beginning of the football season to show off my fantasy football roster. Do you want to know how the season turned out? Well, in the first round of the playoffs I scored 151 points. The closest person to me scored 125 and my opponent was 54 points off of my score. That may sound pretty good--but only until you realize that the 54 points was in the other direction. Yes, I scored the second-most points in the league and still lost by more than 50 in the first round of the playoffs. That left me battling for 3rd place. In that final round, I scored even better: 161 points. That was second-most in the league again. Once again, it was my opponent who scored the most, with 163 points. I had Josh Allen as my QB on Monday Night. He threw a TD to pull me within 2 points with 13 minutes to go in the game. And that was the last time he saw the field. The Bills pulled him at that point, leaving me just shy of 3rd place. The guy who scored 205 on me in the first round? Well, he played for the championship, scored 98 points in that game, and won. So despite my scoring the most points combined in the playoffs, I lost both of my matchups and ended up in 4th place. It was like that in our league this year. Our top two total point scorers for the season, cumulatively, both missed the playoffs as they always seemed to run into their opponents' best weeks.
And now the Super Bowl is nigh, and I haven't even posted any new football cards. The reason for that is simple: I haven't seen any 2020 football cards on the shelf. At all. None. Nada. Until now. On Monday night, I made a run to Walmart for a few items and saw cards for sale. There was only one product, but I made sure I picked up a blaster.

The box promised one auto or relic, which came out in the first pack. Let's just say I'm happy with the pull and show these packs in reverse order of opening them to save the hit for last.

Pack 5
2020 Contenders was the product. This was my first time buying contenders for a few years. Because of the limited size of the base set, each pack is pretty much star-studded. Watt and Lamar are keepers from this pack. I pulled one insert per pack. This one was a JK Dobbins Rookie of the Year candidate.

Pack 4


My first Packer from a 2020 product is a guy who had a monster season and led my fantasy team, Davante Adams. That's a keeper, along with my first Buccaneer Brady, which was my insert for the pack.
Pack 3

Another Packer, likely 3-time MVP, Aaron Rodgers. I keep thinking that it would have been cooler to have pulled Rodgers in the MVP Contenders set (instead of Brady) because it will probably have come in an MVP season for him, and Brady in the Winning Ticket set because, well, Brady just wins. Except I hope not this Sunday. Rodgers and Mayfield are the two keepers in this pack.
Pack 2
Too many Vikings in this box. Dalvin Cook came in the first pack I showed, and now there's Adam Thielen and the insert of Justin Jefferson and Jeff Gladney. I may decide to keep the Kelce, but all the rest are up for trade, I think.
Pack 1
Here was the first pack. Frankly, after this pack, I was happy with whatever else came from the box. The Rodgers was a nice finishing touch, but how about starting the blaster off with a hot pack of top rookie Justin Herbert? I'm keeping both the relic Rookie of the Year Contenders insert. Herbert was impressive this season and I'm glad to see so much of him in my first 2020 football card purchase.
I noted the cards I plan to add to my collection; all the others are available for trade. Let me know if there is something that catches your eye and you would like to trade for.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Still the #1

I know we're halfway through January, but I'm still working on my yearly updates for 2020. Today we'll see the new additions to my Brad Sorensen collection. Last year when I did this update, I had a completed rainbow to show off. I don't have anything of the sort this time around, but even though new Sorensen cards are getting harder for me to pick up, I'm still not relinquishing my grip on the Sorensen collector title.

Now this represents only those collections that are on TCDB. But I think it's fair to say that not many other people out there are interested in matching me.

As always most of my Sorensen acquistions came from COMC this year.

These nine came from COMC. One downside to collecting an obsure player who only had cards in his rookie season is that today's rookie market is all about the auto. I have every base card of Sorensen, but there are still almost 200 cards that I still don't have. Most of those are autos. I already own over 40 Sorensen autographs. How many do I need? But that's what is out there if I want to pick up all of his cards.

The only other Sorensen I picked up that was not from COMC came from a Sportlots box order. I'm telling you, he's hard to find. I've never once traded for a Sorensen card because no one seems to have him. 

So if you have any Brad Sorensen cards lying around, send 'em my way. I may still be the #1 collector, but my collection is only 30% done and my wells are running dry.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Chris the "Supplies"er

Last month, Chris "The Pedestrian Collector" ran a PWE Swap Meet to bolster his football card collection. This seemed like a great opportunity to me because I always have too many extra football cards and not enough people who would want them. Selfishly, I unloaded a 400-count box filled mostly with my set-build dupes on him. I didn't expect him to match it in return. I was also unaware that he was having a giveaway for those who participated in his swap meet. Honestly, I was just trying to clear out some space.

And then I won his giveaway. Well, I can say goodbye to any space I cleared out. I sent out a 400-count box. This is the box I ended up getting back.

Inside, it was full of other boxes!

What you're seeing there is a package of top loaders, a 400-count box stuffed with baseball and football cards (that I haven't fully gone through yet), and another, larger cardboard box

marked "card supplies" on the label. It was filled with, well, card supplies. Completely filled.

In the "card supplies" box, Chris included a large box of top loaders, a package of pages, and lots and lots of penny sleeves! This is huge for me because every card I own, whether PC or trader, is either sleeved or bindered. I just bought 100 pages last month, so I'm good there, but there is no such thing as too many pages. Penny sleeves, on the other hand, were starting to worry me. I bought 10,000 sleeves from BCW a few years back and I'm down to my last few packages. Well, I was down to a few last packages. Chris filled a 400-count card box to the brim, plus another smaller box with penny sleeves. I don't even know how many sleeves fit in that box, but I know it has to be a lot. This was a welcome and timely care package of supplies.

Nestled in some of the boxes were some other goodies. I'm not sure where the stickers on the bottom right came from, but I can at least date them to the late 2000s because of the team logos. The Cal Ripken picture you see is a little pamphlet from True Value, and the Wrigley Field postcard is really cool to me.

Chris also included this 5x7 Conlon Collection photo of Home Run Baker.

I mentioned that one of the boxes was full of cards, too. While I haven't seen all of them, I have glanced through them quickly.

The first thing I noticed was that it was as if Chris had been reading some lists that I have been working on that I haven't even published. All of the players you see above are former All-Stars. Most of them are guys I didn't have a card of already. Last month, I decided to begin a new project (because I don't have enough of them): I'm building a Frankenset comprised only of players who made a Major League All-Star team, along with at least one card of every All-Star. I'll have more on that later, but when I popped open the box and started through the cards, out of the first five cards, it seemed that three or four of them were vintage All-Stars that I would have needed to track down.

Besides an entry to his giveaway, Chris also provided a swap as part of his PWE Swap Meet. Before I found out I had won anything, I received a PWE from him in return for the cards I had sent. All three of these cards were needed for my Cubs and ASG MVP collections. I love the Blue Walmart border on a Cubbies card.

These cards, from one Packers fan to another, were part of the PWE swap. I needed all of them. I'm not sure which Favre I like more: the one from his first season as a starter, the silly one with the camera, or the one from Diamond Kings, which I have always liked. And bonus points for getting me a Jordy Nelson base card that I didn't already have.

Thank you, Chris, for your generous offering. Like everything else, card supplies are harder to find right now and I am a penny sleeve fiend. I don't know how many people out there would have gotten as excited as I did to open up a box and find nothing but hundreds of penny sleeves in it.

I'd also like to take a moment to mention another giveaway. Collector's Crack is holding his annual Almost the Easiest Super Bowl Contest on the Web. Click the link to predict the Super Bowl outcome and enter for some great prizes. We may have a new year upon us, but the generosity among card bloggers is still going strong.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Sets Dropping Like Flies

For the past few years, I've been keeping track of the last card I obtained for a set. Because of this, I have a running tally of every set that I have knocked off my want list since 2017. In 2019, I managed to finalize a record 12 sets and I felt pretty good about myself. This year, killing off sets from my want list became even more of a collecting priority for me. This was partially because there were sets I was tired of seeing on my want list after years of back-burner status, partially because I had ideas for new projects that I didn't want to start while I still had too many sets to think about, and partially because new products this year were uninteresting/unavailable to me. The result of spending my time and money searching for set needs was a whopping 27 sets completed in 2020. My annual disclaimer for this post is that these sets weren't necessarily started and finished during the 2020 calendar year, but 2020 was simply when I collected the final card needed for the set.

Some of the images below are photos I took upon receiving the cards, while others come from TCDB.

2016 Panini Absolute Unsung Heroes

20 Cards; Last Card: #13 Joe Thomas

I never opened a pack of 2016 Absolute, but I saw this set and had to have it. This is one of my favorite checklists ever, with guys like Eric Berry, Joe Thomas, and John Kuhn as well as two former BYU Cougars, Brett Keisel and Ziggy Ansah.

2013 Panini Triple Play

100 cards; Last Card: #98 Stephen Strasburg

I really don't like this set. I only decided to build it because I had accumulated the entire base set and thought, Why not? Except for the last 10 cards, which are short printed and harder to find than you might expect. The SP subset is "When I Was a Kid" and is pretty fun. Strasburg was the final one eluding me for a couple years, but I was able to pick it up and put this set to bed.

1992 Fleer Ultra

450 cards; Last Card: #331 Barry Foster

I bought a box of 1992 Ultra on a whim about three years ago. I probably could have finished the set earlier, but the collation was awful and the box didn't get me as close to the set as I had hoped. Every other card that didn't come from the set came from trades.

1992 Fleer

480 cards, Last Card: #469 Steve Young

See above.

1993 Fleer

 500 cards; Last Card #399 Anthony Miller

See above.

1996 Donruss

240 cards; Last Card #143 Emmitt Smith

This set took about 3 years of "once-in-awhile" collecting before I polished it off. This is Donruss's first foray into the football field.

1992 Upper Deck Gamebreakers

9 Cards; Last Card: #9 Michael Irvin

Last year I completed the 1991 Gamebreakers set. I mentioned that I was close to the 1992 set. Well, now it's done. Two holograph sets that fit neatly into a nine-pocket page. 1991 featured running backs; 1992 was all receivers. I didn't realize this before, but I just learned that these had one-per-box odds, so that's kind of cool

1999 Pacific Paramount

250 cards; Last Card: #100 Edgerrin James

Last year, a TCDB member was selling some partial sets and I decided to pick up a few. Even though I had no 99 Paramount cards before that, I ended up buying enough of the set to conclude it was worth finishing it. I took less than a year to buy and trade for the remaining cards. The set has a couple of nice rookies, including this Edgerrin James and Donovan McNabb.

1986 Topps 1000 Yard Club

 26 cards; Last Card: #22 Roger Craig

Earlier this year, I picked up a couple of large boxes of football cards from the local classifieds. Among the good stuff in there was a near-complete set of 1986 Topps 1000 Yard Club inserts. I immediately decided to add the collection and it didn't take long to trade for the last 3 or 4 that I needed.

2017 Topps Update

300 cards; Last Card: #US221 Mark Zagunis

This is a set I thought I had completed a few years ago. It turns out I was still missing one card. A Cub, no less! But I rectified through a trade this year.

2020 Topps Opening Day

200 cards; Last Card: #175 Austin Meadows

My annual box purchase once again yielded a complete set. All of these cards came in one fell swoop, but I marked Meadows as the last card needed as it was the last card of the last pack.

2020 Topps Opening Day Opening Day

15 cards; Last Card: #5 Milwaukee Brewers

This repetitively-named insert set is usually a pretty fun one. I had no particular interest in completing it, though. Until my box came up just one card short. It was a quick TCDB trade away from completion. 

2019 Topps Opening Day 150 Years of Fun

25 cards; Last Card: #23 Francisco Lindor


This was my yearly Opening Day insert set from last year. It took my a little longer, but I finally made the trade for Lindor that completed it. I wonder if some team will finally make a trade for Lindor in real life. It seems like he's been the subject of rumors for ages.

1992 Pinnacle Team 2000

80 cards; Last Card: #29 Brian Hunter

This was an interesting set for me to build. I had never bought any 1992 Pinnacle and had never seen this insert set. But when I did discover it a few years ago, I loved the checklist so I decided to chase it. I just completed an 80-card, nearly 30-year-old insert set that I had not started before. It was fun to do.

1996 Select

200 cards; Last Card: #200 John Elway/Barry Sanders Checklist

Like the Paramount set above, this came from the same lot of set starters I bought from a TCDB member. This design isn't my favorite; it's all horizontal and the football leather texture makes it hard to read the text. But 1996 was a pretty good rookie class and Select was a pretty good product back in its day.

2016 Topps Archives

300 cards; Last Card: #101 Babe Ruth

This set was completed almost completely from blaster boxes and then trading. This last card cost me way more than it should have, but I guess the pandemic-induced price hikes on cards included modern-day Babe Ruth base cards. I paid over $2 for this card, but I haven't been able to trade for it and I really wanted this set off my wantlist, so I went for when I saw a seller on Sportlots that I already had included in my cart had a copy available. Although, I have to admit that showing the Babe as a pitcher for the Red Sox makes for a pretty cool card.

1998 Pinnacle Mint Bronze

30 cards; Last Card: #7 Ken Griffey, Jr.

This is such a weird product. The base cards have big holes in them. Coins came in packs with cards. This particular set is one of three parallels with foil coins printed in place of the hole. These parallels look more like real cards than the base. I picked up a starter set of base, coins, and bronze for $1. I'm still working on the coins, but Griffey polished off the Bronze foil set.

2016 Topps Bunt Program

30 cards; Last Card: #P-10 Albert Pujols

It feels like this set has been sitting on my wantlist forever while I just added a card or two every year. They weren't hard to find or cost prohibitive to pick up, but I always seemed to find something else that I would have rather picked up. With one Sportlots order, I decided just to knock out the last few that I needed. I really fell in love with the idea and the design when they first came out, so I'm glad to finally have them all.

2017 Prestige

290 cards; Last Card: #267 Jeremy Sprinkle

There are actually 300 cards in this set, but the final 10 are short-sprinted and too far out of my price range for players that amount to just set fillers for me, so I don't plan to collect those. As far as I'm concerned, this set is done.

2020 National Baseball Card Day

30 cards + 3 Bonus; Last Card: #9 Francisco Lindor

I already posted about my quest for this set. Thanks to a generous card shop owner, I was able to come within a few cards from free packs alone. The last few came from Sportlots and eBay. Francisco Lindor is my final card in a second set this year.

2019 Topps Big League

400 cards; Last Card: #375 Christian Yelich

I really thought it would be easier to build this set. Two hobby boxes barely netted me 50%, but I was determined to finish it. Most of my TCDB trades this year involved 2019 Big League, but this popular Christian Yelich had to come from Sportlots to finish the set.

2008 Upper Deck X Xponential

90 cards; Last Card: #X-RO Roy Oswalt

This cool holographic set was the bright spot for 2008 Upper Deck X. It took me years before I decided I wanted to complete this set and another year or two before I decided to complete it and get it off my wantlist. Once I did, I found it was surprisingly easy to chase it down. I like the sister insert set, Xponential 2, more and I'm making good progress on it right now, too.

1998 Ultra Pizazz Subset (Short Printed)

25 cards; Last Card: #494 Mark McGwire

I never made a goal to put the 1998 Ultra set together. I merely acquired a good chunk of these sparkly Pizazz cards and thought it would be nice to finish it off. I didn't know that these cards were SPs at the time. I think this set is the highest value set (by average card, not cumulatively) I have ever put together. No, I'm not a high-end collector.

1997 Upper Deck

300 cards; Last Card: ??

One more set that I bought off the TCDB seller and completed. I don't know which card was the last because I didn't realize that it was done until later and I couldn't remember what the last card was.

1988 Topps 1000 Yard Club

28 cards; Last Card: #24 Eric Martin

After I completed the 1988 Topps football set for nostalgic purposes (the first cards I ever owned), I thought I'd add the one-per-pack 1000 Yard Club Cards to the binder. This set came almost entirely via trades. Fun fact: due to the 1987 strike, the threshold for these players to be included in the 1000 Yard Club was only 750 yards.