Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Resurrection of a Player Collection

March Madness is just about over, we have the finale tomorrow night.  I have watched a grand total of about 90 minutes of the tournament this year.  Over the last few years my interest in college basketball has diminished to almost nothing.  For the past 2 years I haven't even filled out a bracket.  This coming from someone who attended 2 NCAA tournament weekends and spent several first rounds in Vegas sitting in a sports book at watching and betting on games.

I have given thought to why my interest in college hoops is at an all time low, I have a couple of theories but haven't settled on one reason that has resulted in my lack of interest.  I do know the fact that my alma mater's lack of consistent competitiveness hasn't helped.  USC has a very nice facility and should be able to draw from the vast amount of Southern California talent but we have never put together a consistently solid program.

When I was in school we had a great 2 year stretch in 1991-1992.  Our head coach was George Raveling and we had some very solid players like Robert Pack and Duane Cooper along with 1 legitimate superstar in Harold Miner.  His accolades included 3-time All American, 3-time All-Pac-10, Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (1990), Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year (1992) and Pac-10 Player of the Year (1992).  His NBA career was short lived but he was a 2-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion.  He was also nicknamed Baby Jordan which I believe ended up being more of a curse than a blessing.

In addition to attending school with Miner, we were also neighbors and while not friends we were solid acquaintances.  We lived on the same floor in Century Apartments and 2 doors and across the hallway from each other.  I had an iron, he had an ironing board and we often shared.  Once he asked to borrow my basketball and invited me to come down to our apartment hoops court and shoot with him.  We ended up playing HORSE and after I got on a hot streak and got 3 or 4 letters on him he  looked at me, started dribbling from half quarter, approached the rim at top speed after a cross over dribble and performed a ridiculous reverse 2 handed slam dunk.  He quietly approached me with the ball and stared me down as he handed it to me.  We had agreed no dunking (I am a 6' white guy with no hops) but I recognized the situation and took a letter.  He started raining jumpers and took the game.  It was awesome and a highlight of my time in school.

As you can imagine, Miner is one of my favorite players of all time and I collected his cards back in the day.  Short of a few rare releases, I had most of his cards from his playing days.  Until a few months back, I wasn't aware that Upper Deck had started putting him in new products and when a couple base and inserts popped up on my LCS bid board I got very excited.  I picked them up and did a quick search and discovered he has quite a few cards out there from the last 3 years of hoop releases.  As you can imagine the card collector in me has started having fun.

The two SPx cards are the ones that resurrected the player collection from the LCS.  That great looking Fleer Retro ZForce card is numbered 264/399 - I love that the ZForce brand has made a comeback as part of Fleer Retro.

These two cards are obviously from the Sign of the Times in both 2012-13 and 2013-14.  I really like the background on the top card with the basketball court but overall prefer the bottom design.  It has two different pictures on the front while the top uses the same photo twice and I prefer the font as well.

These two Autographics cards come from the 2013-14 Fleer Retro release.  I have always been a fan of the Authographics cards and at different times I have contemplated going after the entire run in baseball, basketball and football.  In looking at the checklist that is probably not a doable collecting goals so I have never taken the plunge but I may need to look deeper into the Retro checklist.

This is the final Fleer Retro card in this post, this one coming from the 2012-13 release as a Fleer Focus Fresh Ink design.  This would look so much better with an on-card auto but still a pretty solid design.

This Exquisite card is nice and thick and has an on card auto.  I wish the design allowed for more of a picture to show but overall it is a very nice card.

The final card in my recent resurrection splurge is a booklet card.  Above are the front and back of the booklet.  I really like the full picture on the front, I have seen quite a few booklets where the design on the outside of the card is punted with only a focus on the inside but UD didn't do that here.

I just love the inside design!  Two pictures of Miner, a close up and a full body shot just getting ready to shoot.  A nice big place for an on card auto. On the other side a cool patch with tons of detail showing the Seal of USC.  This card is limited to 99 copies which is a nice number, keeps them affordable but not so plentiful that they are a dime a dozen.

I have my sights set on some new Miner cards and will probably get a few in an upcoming COMC delivery.  I have also found a source for a few of the rarer cards from his playing days that I plan on picking up to plug holes in my player collection.  The baseball collector in me is very disappointed with the lack of Upper Deck baseball offerings but cards like these show they are still on their game in the areas they can be.  My Miner collection is full speed ahead again.


  1. Man oh man. Once upon a paycheck, I spent a pretty penny one Baby Jordan rookie cards.

    Sweet collection!

  2. Talk about pressure. It is one thing to compare guys to Jordan now, but back then had to be rough. Jordan was still at the top of his game.

    Cool story about playing horse. Great collection!

  3. That is a great idea for the book cards -- manupatch the school seal on one side. Heck - I'd buy some Iowa State manupatch cards all by themselves! :-)

  4. Very cool...and your connection to him is even better. Glad to see he is embracing the sport again- I know he kind of shied away from it for a while. (I watched a great interview with him, last year sometime, I THINK on Sports Illustrated's website.) I don't really do college cards, but that booklet is very cool. And I agree with you on Z-Force, that has always been a favorite of mine.

  5. That Baby Jordan nickname is a Pavlovian response for me at this point whenever I hear Miner's name. It's too bad, as you said, that he got it -- because he was a solid player otherwise and that nickname gave too high of expectations.