Sunday, August 31, 2008

Below The Mendoza Line

Editor's Note: I had planned on writing this article, but after seeing the pull that Mario got, it made it that much imperative, at least in my mind, that I write it.

Way back when in 1990, I started collecting sports cards.  Now, 18 years later after starting and stopping a few times, I'm still collecting sports cards.  However, I have a problem.  I've opened thousands of packs, hundreds of boxes.  I've bought odd lots and trades away cards for other cards and money so I could actually eat dinner one night, but that's a story for another time.  Sheer quantity is not something that I'm lacking in.  However, one thing that I am lacking in is quality hits.  One would think that after opening pack upon pack, especially in this day and age with the proliferation of inserts, I would have a few quality hits under my belt.  Now, you ask, what exactly am I defining as a quality hit.  I'm saying that a quality hit is an insert, generally a relic, autograph or a card that is produced in small quantity,  of a star player, a player I like or a player from the Braves.  In all of my years of collecting, I have in my possession just 4 quality hits in 18 years.  Sure, I have a lot of other hits and I do enjoy getting those, but to have the hits be of someone in the upper echelon, be it in your own mind or in the mind of the public at large, just takes it over the top.  I will now tell you of my 4 quality hits:

1) 2002 Leaf Gold Clubhouse Signatures Javier Vazquez #ed/25
I got this out of a K-Mart retail pack back in 2002.  This remains the best hit I have ever gotten.

2) 2007 Allen and Ginter Luis Castillo Mini Bazooka Back #ed/25
Again, this came out of a blaster and is a quality hit due to my love of A&G and it being low numbered.

3) 2008 Topper Heritage Brooks Robinson Flashback Relic
Again, from a blaster and from one of my favorite old timers

4) 2008 UD Spectrum Green Chipper Jones #ed/199
Another blaster pull and a semi-low number of these were produced, but it is my favorite player.

Oh sure, I have many other pulls and a few of them come close to being quality pulls (ie. 2008 GU UD Derek Jeter jersey, but it just doesn't excite me.  If it had a pinstripe, maybe).  Most of everything I have are mid to low level players who either don't do anything for me, or haven't done anything in the major leagues.  I don't know if it's just my bad luck or what, but I've never pulled an autograph or relic of a Braves player or of a player I like.  I've also never pulled any 1/1 or anything numbered less than 25.  No printing plates for me either.  I truly do enjoy collecting cards and collecting sets, but the feeling when you pull a card of your favorite player or someone from your favorite team that is "rare", you really can't beat that feeling.  I'm sure all the Joe Collectors are reading this and thinking I should go buy a box of Triple Threads or Sterling or something like that.  Quite frankly, I don't have that kind of money to spend on less that 15 cards and I'm not guaranteed a hit of an exciting player.  So I'll continue to buy boxes and try and build my sets, while still searching for that elusive biggest hit ever.  I'm assuming that sooner or later the law of averages will eventually catch up to me and I'll pull an Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn, and Hank Aaron triple cut signature from something one of these days.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Best Thing About The Olympics on NBC

Is the return of "Roundball Rock" to broadcast airwaves.  "Roundball Rock" was written by none other than John Tesh and is more commonly known as the NBA on NBC theme.  Once the NBA moved to ABC, they didn't take the theme with them.  This was a bad move as the theme defines NBA on broadcast television.  Of course the best thing about the theme was when Conan O'Brien would put the theme to different scenes of "ER" and "It's A Wonderful Life".  Of course, YouTube has deleted all of those because of copyright stuff.  However I can inflict the theme upon everyone and have it stuck in your head all day long.

Packapalooza Extra!

Despite being warned about this product, I bought a few packs of Donruss Americana II 2 weeks ago. I'm not going to put you through cards of random 7th Heaven cast members or Danielle Rousseau from Lost, but I will give you what were my good pulls from the packs. And there were actually some good pulls.

Glenn Ford Used Material #'d/100
The back of the card says he had the fastest draw in Hollywood at 0.4 seconds. Of course, most of us know him better as Pa Kent in the original Superman movie. This is either a proof or one of the Silver Screen Swatches as it's numbered out of 100.

Todd Bridges Proof #'d/500I'm talkin' bout this proof card, Willis!

Elijah Wood Proof #'d/500
He looks like he's staring into your soul with 2 Eyes of Sauron.

Willie MaysThis card is here to remind you that Willie Mays was, and always will be, a pimp.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Random Friday Packapalooza, The Finale

After all this hooplah all day long, what can I possibly give you that will top all the packs opened today? What is it? Is it Triple Threads? No, that'd be too Joe Collector of me. Could it be Bowman Originals or Topps Finest? Nope, not that either. Friends, what I've got here is something that I could hardly contain myself when I saw that the hobby store had it. I got tingles when I saw that it was a fresh box and I picked the first packs out of it. 2 packs of this cost me less than 2 packs of 2008 Allen and Ginter Hobby would have cost me. Enough suspense. I plunked down cold hard cash for 2 packs of this:

That's right kids, 1982 Donruss. These packs are as old as I am. And it makes me feel warm when I open up really old packs. And the fact that these were box fresh and unsearched makes it that much better. Alright, lets see what we have

Pack #1
Puzzle Piece of Babe's ear
202 Tom Brookens
190 Whitey Herzog
7 Dwight Evans Diamond KingsDick Perez spent most of his time painting the mustache.

167 Joe Niekro
155 Rick Peters
583 Rick Leach
572 John Denny
560 Julio Valdez
57 Hector Cruz
46 Jack ClarkLove the brows.

34 George BrettIn the typical George Brett fielding pose.

212 Jamie Quirk
201 Steve Yeager
189 Sparky LyleAnother great mustache in this pack.

178 Jackson Todd

Pack #2
Puzzle Piece Babe's chin(s) and Donruss logo
148 Tom SeaverTom looking Terrific as always

136 Pedro Guerrero
125 Allen Ripley
113 Rickey HendersonRickey looks like Rickey is wondering why Rickey took a strike looking on Rickey's 3rd year card.

102 Ralph Engle
90 Bobby Grich
467 Johnny Grubb
456 Reggie ClevelandThe namesake of the Bill Simmons created Reggie Cleveland All-Stars.
444 John Harris
432 Barry Bonnell
421 Dave Concepcion
409 Tommy JohnShould be in the Hall of the Fame due to his surgical contributions to MLB.

147 Dick Davis
135 Lou PinellaSweet Lou in his slimmer days

124 Tony Pena

A great set of two packs. Hall of Famers, fan favorites, coaches and just goofy looking 80's styles. I really enjoyed opening these old packs and they were surprisingly cheap considering what packs of new stuff cost. I hope everyone enjoyed Packapalooza and I'll probably do this from time to time when I have a little time during a day.

Random Friday Packapalooza, Pt. 4

Along with the Goudey blaster, I got one of Allen and Ginter to help my set along. How did I fare? Well let's find out!

Pack #1
116 Mariano Rivera
203 Jhonny Peralta
263 Yadier Molina
27 Brad Hawpe A&G Back Mini
Crack the Code Ad
166 Bram Stoker

Pack #2
20 Vladimir Guerrero
184 Felix Hernandez
143 J.J. Hardy
World Leaders Mini Manmohan Singh India
223 Nyjer Morgan
72 Clayton Kershaw

Pack #3
57 Ben Sheets
40 Justin Upton
348 Justin Masterson (SP)
57 Ben Sheet A&G Back Mini
State Flags Wyoming John Buck
154 Jesse Carlson
273 Jay Bruce

Pack #4
67 Kevin Kouzmanoff
236 Alex Gordon
220 Erik Bedard
313 Harriet Beecher Stowe (SP)
187 Les Miles Mini
State Flags Nebraska Alex Gordon
Checklist 3 of 4
42 Luke Scott

Pack #5
131 Todd Helton
149 Freddy Sanchez
17 Kenji Johjima
198 Steve Holm Mini
217 Friedrich Nietzsche
286 Pat Burrell

Pack #6
239 Brian Bannister
270 Lance Berkman
267 Andrew Miller
315 Tom Glavine (SP)
298 Greg Smith Mini
State Flags Illinois Curtis Granderson
Checklist 4 of 4
252 Callix Crabbe

Callix Crabbe has to be the best name in the whole set, bar none.

Pack #7
204 Julio Lugo
150 Johan Santana
235 Dan Haren
180 Ryan Braun
169 Howie Kendrick A&G Back Mini
Crack The Code Ad
233 Pluto

Pack #8
120 Derek Jeter
93 David Eckstein
51 Brian McCann
304 Victor Hugo (SP)
108 Alex Romero Mini
State Flags Florida Lastings Milledge
22 Chin -Lung Hu

Nothing spectacular in these packs, but I'm not looking for inserts. I'm trying to complete my set. And guess how many cards I got I needed for my set? 0. Not even any of the flag cards. Oh well. At least I have some to trade. I've got one more installment of Packapalooza and I have been saving the best for last. Oh yes I have.

Packapalooza Commercial Break

I've been shamelessly plugging my needs list on occasion on here and have received many offers. If I haven't gotten back to you, I'm sorry. I've been here, there and everywhere the past few weeks. I'll try and get back to everyone I haven't contacted ASAP. But Dan from over at Saints of the Cheap Seats came through and sent me 78 cards I needed for my '08 Heritage Set. I'm working on getting his package together to send to him, but my list will be updated accordingly so everyone can see what I need now. Thanks Dan and yours will be in the mail soon. Packapalooza will continue in a little while.

Random Friday Packapalooza, Pt. 3

So after I hit up the hobby shop, I went to Wal-Mart for a few things that I needed as well as a few blasters. The first up is 2008 Goudey.

Pack #1
191 Frank Thomas
35 Rich Hill
15 Erik Bedard
145 Richie Ashburn
176 B.J. Upton
72 Magglio Ordoñez
20 Jeremy Guthrie
108 Corey Hart

Pack of Blandness except for Ashburn.

Pack #2
165 Ichiro
113 Glen Perkins
61 Victor Martinez
9 Jeff Francoeur
19 Phil Neikro
192 Alex Rios
88 Billy Butler
Yankee Stadium Legacy 2928 05/29/1960 Moose Skowron

Great pack. Frenchy and Knucksie make this pack. And I don't think there's ever been a bad card made of Ichiro

Pack #3
137 Catfish Hunter
85 J.R. Towles
87 Luke Hochevar
5 Chris Young Mini
166 Felix Hernandez
114 Justin Morneau
62 Brad Hawpe
102 Eddie Matthews

Another great pack. Catfish is a great pull as well as the mini, but Eddie throws it over the top. 2 vintage Braves in 3 packs.

Pack #4
59 Grady Sizemore
7 Mark "Show Me the Money" Teixeira
198 Vernon Wells
234 U.S. President James Monroe
48 Joe Morgan
178 Carlos Peña
140 Ryan Howard
36 Kosuke Fukudome

Fukudome, a US Prez and Tex in a Braves uniform. Another good pack. And I can't get a Joe Morgan card and not link to one of the best sports blogs on the internet.

Pack #5
33 Alfonso Soriano
163 Juan Marichal
111 Delmon Young
22 David Ortiz
152 Tom Gorzelanny
100 Chin-Lung Hu
161 Aaron Rowand
154 Jake Peavy

This is a disappointment after the rest of the packs. Not even Marichal could save it.

Pack #6
187 Marlon Bird
135 Dennis Eckersley
83 Hunter Pence
31 Pee Wee Reese
34 Derrek Lee
126 Mariano Rivera
74 Andrew Miller
YSL 2953 07/28/1960 Yogi Berra

Pee Wee, Yogi and Eck along with Mario's favorite player. Good pack.

Pack #7
71 Gary "I'm on waivers" Sheffield
109 Yovani Gallardo
57 Cookies and Creme Sabathia
5 Chris Young
190 Roy Halladay
138 Daric Barton
34 Derrek Lee
24 Josh Beckett

First Pack without an old timer.

Pack #8
97 James Loney
45 Nick Swisher
175 Vince "A tarp machine ate me!" Coleman
269 1936 Ryan Howard Mini
164 Noah Lowry
112 Johan Santana
60 Fausto Carmona
8 John Smoltz

Wonderful pack. Being able to remember the hijinks of Vince Coleman along with the '36 Ryan Howard and John Smoltz's smiling mug make for a great last pack. Overall, I might try and make a set of this. I like the design, the way the pictures look like paintings and the inclusion of older players. I wish there were more minis though. More Packapalooza to come!

Random Friday Packapalooza, Pt. 2

Back in 1993, I bought a box of 1993 Leaf Series 2. I came close to completing the set, but alas never did. Imagine my delight when I looked in the bargain bin and found 1993 Leaf Series 2 packs 6 for $5! I couldn't turn it down. So here's 6 packs of 1993 Leaf with limited interruptions:

Pack #1
374 Jose Mesa
385 John Orton
396 Willie McGee
407 Charlie Lebrandt
302 Reggie Jefferson
338 Wes Chamberlain
439 Robin Ventura
430 Julio Vallera
411 Jose Rijo
345 Rene Gonzales
242 Ivan Calderon
253 Jim Abbott
264 Pat Listach
275 Phil Plantier

Pack #2
245 Roberto Alomar
224 Ryne Sandberg
323 Mark McGwire
312 Alex Cole
315 Shane Mack
241 Jose Canseco
240 Steve Cooke
229 Brian Jordan
356 Domingo Martinez
392 Larry Walker
328 Ozzie Smith
383 Darren Holmes
374 Jose Mesa
365 Frank Tanana

Good Pack. 2 Hall of Famers, 2 Cheaters, 1 Spitter and Atlanta Favorite Brian Jordan in a Cardinals uni.

Pack #3
415 Eric Young
426 Gary Redus
437 Carlos Quintana
338 Wes Chamberlain
394 Lonnie Smith
321 Kevin Mitchell
260 Gary DiSarcina
269 Barry Bonds
278 Tom Henke
438 Omar Olivares
327 Dave Nilsson
228 Joe Carter
239 Dave Hollins
250 David Cone

Notice how small Bonds was in 1993.

Pack #4
303 John Cummings
292 Chuck Finley
281 Daryl Boston
300 Dennis Martinez
313 Mark Gardner
287 Norm Charlton
278 Tom Henke
269 Barry Bonds
260 Gary DiSarcina
19 Chipper Jones Gold Leaf Rookie (!!!!!!!)
334 Scott Fletcher
431 Cal Ripken, Jr.
422 Mike Macfarlane
413 Willie Wilson

Ok, I could just stop opening packs right now and be happy. Pulling a Chipper insert from 1993 is incredible as well as it being a card I don't have. The rest of these packs will just pale in comparison to this one.

Pack #5
389 Jeff Reardon
381 Manuel Lee
401 Mike Moore
412 Pete O'Brien
402 Jose Lind
297 Ray Lankford
306 David Segui
315 Shane Mack
324 Mark Langston
384 Charlie Hough
291 Rickey Henderson
302 Reggie Jefferson
313 Mark Gardner
324 Mark Langston

Pack #6
329 Candy Maldonado
230 Brett Butler
242 Ivan Calderon
248 Mike Felder
263 Joe Oliver
274 Chito Martinez
285 Wade Boggs
296 Jamie Navarro
225 Ron Gant
409 Bryn Smith
420 Tim Raines
401 Mike Moore
412 Pete O'Brien
383 Darren Holmes

A really good set of packs. Cracking the gloss adhesion between 15 year old cards should be an event in the World's Strongest Man competition. I'm ecstatic over the Chipper insert. I'm not pleased by the collation however as there were lots of doubles and even a double in one pack. That might explain why I didn't complete the set in 1993. I've always like this set design, especially the backs with the player superimposed in front of their team's city skyline or a landmark. Donruss would reuse this motif from the backs as the main design in 2004 Studio. I also like the team logo holograms in the corners. More Packapalooza later!

Random Friday Packapalooza, Pt. 1

I ran down to the hobby shop today to pick up some pages for my binders and to maybe grab a few packs of Goudey as I haven't bought any this year. So I get there and Goudey as well as A&G were both 2 packs for $12. 2 for $12! Luckily, I was going right to Wal-Mart after that for some other things so I hoped they'd have blasters (foreshadowing). But I started looking around at the bargain packs and came across a few that I got. So throughout today, I'm going to be posting the packs that I got. To start off, we're opening up some 2003 Topps T205.
I never opened any of this when it came out in 2003, but I have a few of the cards that I aquired in trades or assorted lots. And I really wanted to open some of this, so 2 packs for $5. Better than either Goudey or A&G. Let's tear in.

Pack #1
53 Craig A. Biggio
77 Adam T. Dunn
24 Luis Emilio Gonzalez
30 Todd L. Helton Mini Brooklyn Back
TF13 Dynamic Duo Randy Johnson & Curt Schilling Triple Folder
125 Joseph P. Mauer
83 James H. Thome

Not a bad pack. I love Todd Helton with no facial hair. The Triple Folder is quite cool and a really neat insert. Now on to the next pack.

Pack #2
49 Carsten Charles Sabathia
103 Jason D. Kendall
18 Miguel O. Tejada
22 Mike Scioscia Mini Polar Bear Back
TF34 The Go-Ahead Run Jimmy Rollins & Pat Burrell Triple Folder
137 Jose Contreras
68 Frank E. Thomas
149 John J. McGraw

Another triple folder and an awesome John J. McGraw card. I'm really happy with the purchase of these packs. I love the full names with middle initials on the backs as well as the write ups. I might have to find a box of these in the future. Packapalooza will continue later today.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Today Another Voice is Silent

The voice that many of us in the South and across the nation have heard call Braves games for many decades is now gone.  Skip Caray, 68, died today in his sleep.  I know from my childhood, I grew up listening to Skip, Pete and Joe call games on TBS and the Braves radio network.  While he never grew to have as much fame as his dad, he called games his own way often having great quips. He called the Braves for 33 years and his most famous call is probably that of Sid Bream's winning run against the Pirates in the 1992 NLCS.  I'll always love his naming random Atlanta suburbs for fans catching foul balls.  While he was probably done wrong by the Braves in his latter years by being relegated to radio and Peachtree TV instead of the TBS games, Skip was always a professional and called games with words that, even on the radio, made it seem exactly like you were there.  Every time I went to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium or Turner Field, I loved the experience, but always missed hearing Skip call games.  Skip's son Chip has been calling Braves games for awhile now and I'm glad that his father got to pass the torch to him and hopefully, he can become as good as his father was.  A consummate professional, I'll miss you Skip.  We all will.  

Saturday, August 2, 2008

2008 Allen and Ginter Dual Box Break

What you're going to get from this break of boxes is stats, pictures and a bit of commentary:

Box 1:
1 Cabinet Card (Battle of the Alamo)
Base: 143/350 (40.85% complete)
Doubles: 0
Short Prints: 12/50
State Flags: 22/50
Autos/Relics: 2 relics (R. Furcal Bat, B. Crosby Jersey)
World's Greatest Victories: 1/20 (Man Walks on the Moon)
Pioneers of Aviation: 1 (Piloted Glider)
World Leaders: 2 (Norway, Mongolia)
Allen and Ginter Minis: 13
Allen and Ginter Backed Minis: 6 (B. Butler, J. Papelbon, A. Pujols, G. Atkins, A. Huff, F. Hernandez)
Black Bordered Minis: 2 (A-Rod, J. Votto)

Box 2:
1 Cabinet Card (Three No-Nos)
Base: 144/350 (41.14% Complete)
Doubles: 0
Short Prints: 12/50
State Flags: 20/50
Autos/Relics: 3 Relics (A. Dunn Jersey, T. Helton Jersey, A. Kearns Bat) 1 Auto (O. Hudson)
World's Greatest Victories: 1/20 (Bill Mazeroski)
Pioneers of Aviation: 1 (Ornithopter)
World Leaders: 2 (Brazil, South Korea)
Baseball Legends: 1 (Pee Wee Reese)
Allen and Ginter Minis: 12
Allen and Ginter Backed Minis: 6 (Wild Bill Hickok, J. Smoltz, A. Romero, J. Chestnut, L. Hochever, R. Ohlendorf)
Black Bordered Minis: 2 (A-Rod, J. Votto)

Boxes Combined:
Base: 281/350 (80.29% Complete)
Doubles: 6
Triples: 0
Short Prints: 24/50

I've been waiting for this set ever since last year and I can say that Topps really didn't disappoint. The first box was scant, but the second box was packed. 4 autogamers as well as a pleathora of other inserts made me a happy camper. Having only 6 doubles between the boxes is incredible and a set collectors dream. The World Leaders insert is better than last year's Flags in my opinion and I love the Pioneers of Aviation. I was surprised to pull the same 2 black bordered cards from both boxes, however. I might try and collect all of the baseball legend minis. Trying to complete the whole mini set will be a pain this year due to so many mini inserts. Maybe retail will relieve this. I haven't decided if I'm going to buy another box or just go strictly retail and trading from here on out, but I think box prices will determine that. Overall, I think that this, once again, might be the best set of the year.

Allen and Ginter Boxes to be posted tonight

But in the meantime, I went to Target today and they had a few 2008 Heritage Blasters that I guess they found in the back, so I bought one as I am trying to complete my set. So feast your eyes on my pull from the blaster: