Sunday, August 31, 2014

An Amazing USC Pick Up

Yesterday was the start of the college football season for my USC Trojans.  I attended USC in the early 90s and greatly enjoyed their glory years under Pete Carroll while living in Trojan Country (Orange County, CA).  As an eternal optimist, I am hopeful that the sanctions are behind us and we can Return to Glory.  We had a great start destroying the Fresno State Bulldogs (and I won a free lunch in a bet with a buddy) yesterday so I thought I would share a wonderful Trojan card I picked up for my collection.

I recently scored a card that back in 2006 would have gone for hundreds of dollars for a less than the cost of a couple blasters.  Check this out:

Reggie Bush was drafted #2 overall in the 2006. Matt Leinart wasn't far behind at #10.  Lendale White was drafted #45 overall and was actually the 5th Trojan picked behind offensive linemen Winston Justice and Deuce Lutui.  It was quite a year for the Trojans with a total of 11 players drafted.  I went crazy that year buying boxes and boxes of cards.  However I stayed away from the high end cards so adding this Triple Threads is a huge score.

As a Trojan fan, I can't think of a much better score than a triple auto relic that spells out USC. The players go back to the glory days for the Trojans - before sanctions, scholarship reductions and Pete Carroll's departure.  I am hoping with the penalties behind us and the new coaching staff we can rise to the top once again.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

More $10 Mystery Packs = More Winners & More Trade Bait

Time to share a few more of my LCS Mystery Packs.  I typically go after these when there is a prize or two that excite me.  During my latest trip the only card of interest was one of the third prizes, a Barry Bonds relic.  The top prize right now is some Matt Kemp card and second prize is a trio of Paul Konerko autos.  I decided to pass.

As you will see below, I was much more excited about some of these prizes - sorry to ruin the suspense.

We'll start with this pack:
This was the second Walker I have pulled in these packs and the first one went to my 2014 Donruss Series 1 set.  One of you Dodger collectors has to be salivating over that Ron Cey card.

This one had 2 autos.  I was happy to see the Monday in an A's uniform.  I got an auto from him before as a Dodger and this is a big upgrade.  I am a Monday fan resulting from his patriotism in taking out a wanna be flag burner and stealing the flag.  I hadn't heard of Robinson before getting this card.

Speaking of Dodgers fans, here are two more. One of the IP variety and one certified.  I am not a fan of Reuss, he no-hit the Giants when I was a kid but he does have a solid autograph.  Penny helped out the Giants a bit during a World Series stretch run but this card has him in the wrong uniform.

For me the highlight of the pack was the Deion Traded rookie card, a definite keeper for me.  Another Dodger, this time a relic, but what should I expect living in LA LA Land.  This pack also produced a third prize winner:

I had my eye on this Tony Oliva autograph card for quite a while.  As I shared in this post, I passed this up once for a Duke Snider auto.  I was happy to get it. The more I read about Oliva's career, the more I think he should be in the Hall of Fame. If that ever happens, which I doubt, I will have this card ready for my HOF collection. If not, I will still have it as a reminder of a great career.

As I was going through this pack I was shocked to see an Al Kaline IP auto.  I already have a certified auto of Mr. Tiger but this was pretty cool to see in a $10 pack.  Imagine my surprise when the bottom card was a 2nd prize winner and allowed me to jump on this card:

A relic out of 50 of none other than Roberto Clemente!  I had my eye on this for quite a while.  I doubt I will ever add an autographed card of Clemente into my HOF collection but this bat relic will do just fine.  The first place card was a Jackie Robinson jersey relic with a patch and someone else won that card but I am sure happy that the Oliva and Clemente cards are in my collection.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Introducing My Favorite Football Player of All Time - Ronnie Lott

Much of my collecting focus has shifted to baseball but I still do have collecting interests outside of my favorite sport.  One of my favorite collections has gotten very little attention on this blog, if my tagging is correct I have only featured one of his cards and it was towards the end of a Mail Day post.

With my fantasy draft happening this weekend and football season virtually upon us, I thought I would share some of the cards of my favorite player, Ronnie Lott.  Lott is a Hall of Fame defensive back who played college football at USC, was drafted by the 49ers (my two favorite football teams) and also played with the Raiders and Jets.  He has a few cards with the Chiefs who he tried out with but never played.

I had the chance to meet Lott a couple times.  The 49ers used to train in Rocklin, very close to where I grew up, and we would go and watch practices quite frequently.  My dad was an insurance agent and Lott's uncle was a client.  When his uncle found out I was going to attend USC he set up a time for me to meet Ronnie after a couple different practices.  It was very cool at the time and remains a fond memory.  Ronnie was close to his uncle (I believe the uncle was best man at his wedding) and they were friendly with each other and with me during the meetings.

With the connections to my favorite college team, my favorite pro team and the meetings it is easy to see why he is my favorite. Couple that with his famous toughness, his ability to hit as hard as anyone ever and his presence on 4 Super Bowl winning teams and it just doesn't get any better.

I have been scanning his cards for a while without posting so here are some of my more recent acquisitions.  I suspect I will crack open the binder and share some of my favorites at some point during the football season.

 First up are his two rookie cards, a nice All Pro card as a rookie and an In Action photo as well.  This was from 1982, back in the day where you didn't get a card until you had played a season.  These 2 cards are newer to me but I have had copies in my collection for quite some time.  I just ran across them for a too good to pass up price.

 This card came from 2011 Panini Playbook, not the greatest card design but it is pretty solid.  Over the last 3-4 years Ronnie's signature has gotten quite a bit sloppier, I don't have a better one in this post but will share one sometime soon.  As you will see, he has quite a few recent cards wearing uniforms other than the Niners so I always get happy when I see the Niner Red and White.  This card is serial numbered 35/49.

 Perfect evidence of the presence of Ronnie featured on other teams.  He only spent 2 of 14 years on the Jets but has a lot of cards with them.  This is also from the 2011 Panini Playbook release and is numbered 37/49.

 These are two cards from 2012 Certified and are the Fabric of the Game cards.  The top one is the regular card numbered 058/199 and the bottom is the Prime version numbered 08/49.  The white on the prime comes from a number or stripe while the white swatch is from a white jersey.  Niners patches from this time period don't get too exciting.

 Another card from the 2011 Certified release, this one is the Fabric of the game with the team name diecut jersey swatch.  it is numbered 23/25 and is a great looking card, one of my favorites.

 The final 2012 Certified card in this post features Ronnie from his two years with the hated Raiders.  That was a tough move for me to swallow. The Niners during this time period followed a "get rid of them a year early versus a year late" philosophy which saw my favorite players like Lott, Roger Craig, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice all leave my team prior to retirement.  This card is the gold version with a nice patch and is numbered 31/49.

 This cards is obviously another Jet card and features a great 3 color swatch from 2012 Limited.  It is numbered 38/49 and is a great looking card, both the design and swatch.

 This card is a nice dual HOFer swatch with Eric Dickerson also featured.  Two players who are better known for their careers prior to joining the Raiders.  This one comes from 2012 Panini Momentum and is numbered 014/149.

 This card from 2013 Goodwin Champions shows to what lengths a player collector will go to in order to grow his collection.  Other than the fact that my favorite player is featured, there is really nothing redeeming about this card.  Next...

 Here are two nice looking cards from 2012 Press Pass Legends Hall of Fame.  Even though the 49er logos are airbrushed from his helmet, both these cards look really nice.  The top is 15/35 and the bottom is 19/50 with the only difference the color of his name and the Hall of Fame product plate.  There are a few versions of these but these are the only two I reeled in.

My final card to show in this post is my favorite. It comes from 2012 Fleer Retro Football.  It showcases Lott in his USC uniform with a throwback Autographics design.  Upper Deck's production of cards featuring players in their college uniforms is great for a college collector like me.

I have over 700 different Ronnie Lott cards in my collection and back when I was active on Sports Card Forum I was deemed a Lott super collector (however I have since run into another collector who has a more extensive collection than me).  With the Giants stinking up the joint over the last several weeks, I am sure ready for some football!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Trade Post - Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle

Time for a past due trade post.  I believe Greg from the Dodger centric blog Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle posted his end of the trade over a month ago.  Better late than never :-). 

I pulled a low number 10/10 auto out of 2014 Donruss Series 1 of Chad Billingsley (why couldn't it have been Nolan Ryan!) and was glad to flip it to a Billingsley collector. In return I scored an auto of my favorite Giants pitcher who unfortunately is out for the year but that doesn't diminish the coolness of adding another of his autographed cards to my collection.

 This is just a great looking card from back when Upper Deck had a baseball license - I miss those days.

 Greg was also generous enough to add in this card of former USC Tailback Chauncey Washington that I needed for my USC collection - a cool Senior Bowl card.

He also included some nice random Giants.  I didn't even know Ragira was in the Giants system until getting this package.  The Bowman mini is pretty sweet and I always like adding cards from Will the Thrill Clark.

Thanks for a second great trade Greg!

Monday, August 25, 2014

McCovey Monday #59 - 2014 Panini Golden Age Box Topper

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1200 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards every Monday.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

Recently I walked into my LCS and noticed a big familiar face staring back at me from the bottom of the big board:

 This is a box topper from 2014 Panini Golden Age.  I didn't even know this card existed when I saw it and a $6 buy it now price tag worked for me and I snatched it up.  The minimum bid was $1 but I didn't want to risk losing it.  McCovey's presence in Golden Age has been odd.  In 2012 he had a base card and all the mini parallels.  In 2013 he only had a relic card.  This year this box topper and a Relic box topper /50 are his only appearances.  I have only seen 1 Relic box topper come up for sale and it went for well outside my price range at $50.  I am hoping a few more pop up and I can grab one for under $20.

I like the design of Golden Age this year and am glad that Stretch is included.  I am contemplating going after the base set.  I have purchased 2 retail blasters with very few dups but I haven't made a want list yet.  Might try and make a good deal on some singles at the LCS.

I figured I would share the card back as well.  The card measures 5 X 7 and is on very thick card stock.  The story on the back is a common one about Willie's first game but it is nice to have my favorite player included in this set of 12.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Trade Post - Home of the Toddfather

I have been missing blogging and sharing my collection over the past few weeks.  Have some free time today in the daylight hours (which doesn't happen much with 3 rugrats running around) so I have sneaked off to my man cave to see if I could knock out a few posts.

While I do have some older trades I should blog about, I am feeling more like touching on a newer one, I can catch up later.  Not too long ago, Tim from the Home of the Toddfather reached out to see if I was interested in working out a deal for a card before he eBay or Sportslotted it.  I quickly jumped at the opportunity and for $5 and a few random Rockies I scored this:

You might think wow a Tim Lincecum Ginter mini.  This guy can't even get into the 4th inning right now and you could probably score this card for 50 cents somewhere.  However when you flip it over...

  Check out the back, an A&G backed carded hand numbered 17/25!  A sweet card for my Giants collection.  My goal this year is to complete the regular minis (minus the extended) the A&G non serial numbered backs and the black border then get 1 each of the others.  Ideally the 1 each would be of Willie McCovey but I suspect I won't be able to track down one at a decent price.  I have a nice Sportlots order coming in that is propelling me to the complete team set goal and this card is a huge addition for the remainder of the goal.

Tim was also cool enough to toss in these 6 extras:

The 3 across the top are new to my collection and the bottom 3 already have a home in my son's collection.  He was excited because he knew of all 3 players.

Tim, thanks for thinking of me and giving me the chance to add this great card to my collection!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It Is All About Perspective

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t posted in a little while.  I figured I would dive into the personal a bit but promise I will get back to card collecting before I end this post.

Most of you who have traded with me or followed me for over a year know that my family and I moved last summer. It was a job change for me with a company I have been with for over 20 years.  The job was a lateral (no extra cash) but they did pay for relocation.  My wife left a great job that paid very well (she is now in a similar position in our new, similarly priced area, that pays 40% less) and I uprooted 2 of my 3 kids from their school and friends.  It was a tough decision.

The reason for the change was the allure that this new job was a developmental job that I would be in for about 2 years then move up to the executive level and that’s where the big bonuses and better financial security come into play.  It wasn’t a promise but I was “sold” the idea stating that my past performance and the skills I brought to the table were perfect for the next level, I just needed some broader experience.

Well, 7 months into my new job we had a change at the top and the department I am in is somewhat under attack.  We are a support group where in the past I have always been part of the core business.  My boss isn’t the most effective and she is struggling with the new leadership team and based on some feedback it appears my reputation is getting caught up in this mess. I am now being questioned regarding if I am top talent.  Quite disappointing and I have been struggling to keep my attitude in check.

Then, while struggling through this I got a really bad infection on my left index finger.  Sounds like not a big deal but for about 5 days it was the most painful thing I have ever experienced.  To make a long story short, I ended up needing surgery to clean out the infection and biopsy it.  I am on the road to recovery and the pain is pretty much gone.  BTW thank goodness for my health insurance and that we put money into an HSA - just got the bill today for the surgery - over $20k!

As I was going through all the finger stuff I had a lot of time to think and my head wasn’t in a good spot.  I wasn’t anywhere close to the depression Robin Williams faced (RIP he was one of my favorites) but I was looking at everything as half empty.  The job, the pain, the boredom, feeling alone as my wife had to do everything because I couldn’t function, focused on the moments of bad behavior from my kids, etc.  Not being able to type took the blogging option away as an escape.  I am normally a half full guy.

Well as my title states, sometimes it is all about perspective.  A couple of days ago, I walked in the front door and was greeted by my 20 month old daughter.  She yelled “dada” from across the room, put her arms into the air, ran across the room with a huge smile on her face and gave me the biggest hug and kiss ever.  She has greeted me similarly but never with so much joy.  Looking at her and hugging her completely turned my attitude and my world around.  Screw the BS at work, the injury is temporary - I am blessed with a wonderful family and I am lucky enough to have a job that pays the bills, takes care of my family and allows me to partake in this wonderful hobby.

Speaking of the hobby, here is my tie in.  As mentioned above, for a few days I was incapacitated with tons of time to think and my blog and card collecting crossed my mind quite a bit.  I realize I still get a ton of joy out of chasing sets, going after Giants, looking for HOFer Autos, seeking out cards for my player collection.  In short my love for the hobby is still strong.

I also recognized I was feeling anxiety and stress about not posting on my blog.  I have seen quite a few posts from other bloggers who seem to be having struggles on posting frequency, how many views or followers they have, what to collect or if to collect.  I gave it a lot of thought and tried to put the blog in perspective. I thought back to why I started blogging.  I saw an opportunity to broaden my collecting network, make new trading partners, show off my collection, have fun with my cards doing more that just buying them, cataloging and put them away and overall just add another layer of joy to my life through my hobby.

A couple benefits have popped up as well in that I have met a few people I truly consider friends through this.  I also have an online want list I can access wherever I am.  I have decided to put my blogging in perspective as well.  I plan on doing it for the reasons that it all began.  I will not put stress on myself to post at a certain pace, while I may look at blogging stats, I will not allow my stats impact me - I am doing this for me.  Now I hope you gain some entertainment or enjoy some of the cards but that isn’t my driver.  There will be stretches where I blog daily for long periods of time and other times some gaps and I am going to be fine with that.

One of those friends who I have met though the blog is Jim aka mr haverkamp. He doesn’t have a blog but I do know many of you have traded with him.  I have had the pleasure of meeting up with Jim 3 times and exchanging several cards.  A few weekends back Jim gave me a call from a card show he was at and thought I would be interested in.  He described the cards, shared the price with me and I decided to take the plunge and am I glad I did. 

 This set of all time Giants greats from Mother's Cookies is one of my favorites and now I have autographed copies of the two players I collect!  These look nice scanned and even better in person. Two of the best cards in my collection.

Jim also tossed in some 1971 cards for my set quest.

But Jim's generosity and  thoughtfulness wasn't over.  He dropped me a note and let me know that the guy selling the auto was a distributor for Mother's Cookies and had tons of back sets for sale at a card store in the Bay Area.  Jim asked me to send him my want list and he would go by the store for me.  I shot him my list and he was able to pick up all the complete sets for me - 6 Mother's Cookies sets, 3 Keebler Sets and 2 4-card player sets!  Now I only need a few singles to finish off the complete Giants run.

Here are a couple of pictures from different perspectives to show off the sets:

 He also tossed in an autographed Wayne Bebb who I am assuming is the distributor.

So putting things in perspective, this is a great hobby with great people involved.  My blog has brought more fun to the hobby for me and allowed me to interact with an amazing group of fellow card collectors.  I plan on continuing with my blog at my pace and have fun with it and try and keep away any guilty feelings when posting isn't in the cards.  Hopefully that works for all of you and we can continue to trade and share our passion for the hobby.

Jim, thank you for helping me with my collection.  You have added a great many awesome pieces to it.