Sunday, May 31, 2015

USC Wide Receivers

Historically USC is known for its great tradition of running backs including Heisman Trophy winners Mike Garrett, OJ Simpson, Marcus Allen, Charles White, Reggie Bush and other stars like Ricky Bell, Anthony Davis and Frank Gifford.  However in recent years they have produced a solid stable of Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers as the offense has opened up.

My USC football collecting has lessened since I took up my aggressive approach to SF Giants collecting.  I tend to pick up base singles from the quarter box at the LCS and cheap relics and autos on Sportlots auctions or the LCS bid board.  My scans have started to accumulate and I decided to clean out the scan folder and share all the Trojan wide receiver cards I have picked up over the last few months.

 First up is Dwayne Jarrett, he played at USC from 2004-2006 and was a 2-time All-American.  He accumulated 216 receptions, 3138 yards and scored 41 touchdowns while at SC and was selected as a 2nd round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers.  I would characterize Jarrett as a bust, playing 4 seasons in the NFL and accumulating only 35 receptions in 32 games.  He was a touchdown machine in college but only crossed into the end zone 1 time as an NFL player.  He retired in 2012 at the age of 25 after playing in the CFL.  This card, from Topps performance is numbered only 2/5.  I have a total of 122 different Dwayne Jarrett cards in my collection.

Next is Damian Williams, he played at USC in 2008-2009 after transferring from Arkansas.  At SC he pulled in 128 receptions for 1879 yards and 15 TDs during his two seasons.  He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Titans and appears to still be in the NFL getting into 1 game last year with the Rams.  He has been far from a star in the NFL but has out produced Jarrett accumulating 107 receptions in 55 NFL games and scoring 5 TDs. His best year was his 2nd year where he corralled 45 receptions for 592 yards.  This card is numbered 13/25 and Mr. Williams really needs to work on his signature.  I have 54 different Williams cards in my collection.

Next is Ronald Johnson, I have 4 nice cards of RoJo.  Johnson played all 4 years at USC and collected 138 receptions for 1750 yards and 20 TDs.  He was a solid contributor to the Trojans but never a star however he was able to work that into a 6th round selection in the NFL Draft by my San Francisco 49ers.  Johnson didn't make the 49ers as a rookie and was picked up by the Eagles.  I don't believe he ever made it into a game and has no documented receptions.  What he lacks in NFL production is partly made up by some nice looking cards and a cool autograph.  I am usually not a fan of short autos but using the first two letters of your two names which also happens to be his nickname works for me.  I like the design of all 4 cards but the Quantum card with the big stripe and gold signature is a work of art.  I have 11 RoJo cards in my collection.

Robert Woods had 3 years has USC including an amazing sophomore year where he totaled 111 receptions for 1292 yards and 15 TDs earning All-American honors.  His stats declined in his junior year due to the extra attention he received and the emergence of the final WR I will share next.  For his college career Woods scored 32 TDs on 252 receptions and 2930 yards.  He has had a solid 2 years with the Bills catching 105 passes for 1286 yards and 8 TDs.  The 3 cards of his at the top are all from Fleer Retro - I love that set with the usage of the college uniforms in retro designs.  All 3 look great.  My favorite of the hits has to be the Topps Five Star, always a great looking set.  I have 17 cards of Woods in my collection.

Finally we have Marqise Lee, a Trojan who celebrated one of the best years ever for a college football receiver in 2012 with 118 receptions, 1721 yards and 14 TDs.  I watched every game from that season and Lee was unstoppable.  He benefited from Woods lining up on the other side but that should take away nothing from his dominance. He was an All-American in 2012 and ended up 4th in the Heisman voting.  He had some injury issues his junior year but still finished his 3 year college career with 248 receptions, 3655 yards and 29 TDs.  He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Jaguars and didn't set the world on fire but collected 37 receptions for 422 yards and a touchdown.  I am hoping he produces at a better pace in 2015.  The top 2 Lee cards are from the Topps Chrome Mini set, the Pulsar is numbered 041/102 and the Camo is numbered 75/99.  The Leaf Valiant auto pops pretty well in the scan and looks even better in person.  I have only 14 Lee cards in my collection so these represent half.

The Trojans have another highly rated wide receiver from this draft with Nelson Agholor who was drafted by the Eagles with the #20 pick overall in the first round.  I have my eyes open for my first Agholor card.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Player Collection Catch Up - Ben Petrick

One of my goals in 2015 was to place a little more focus and pick up some cards to grow my player collections.  I have made varying degrees of progress but decided it was time to post updates for some of the players to gauge my progress.  In this post I will share some of my more recent Ben Petrick pickups. 

My recent base card pick ups happen to number 9 and fit perfectly on my scanner screen.  Petrick has a number of really nice looking cards.  My favorites here are the Fleer Focus in the middle and the 3 along the bottom.  The Topps Fusion was a really odd release.  I recall buying a few packs when it first came out and it was pretty confusing with all the different designs.

This is a nice looking die cut auto.  The use of the baseball makes for a great design.  As a matter of fact, 2014 National Treasures has some autos with a very similar design.  

This Topps Gallery card came to me for only a buck or so.  While I am a big fan of the Topps Gallery design, this card doesn't really differentiate itself from a design perspective from other autos.  I think I may have preferred a more artistic feel to the card.

The final card in this post is this nice looking Topps Chrome dual relic.  This is a cool concept for a relic design and could also work with a trio of outfielders or maybe a double play duo.  The pinstripes are a nice addition to this card.  my only beef is that the small lettering above the names indicate there is a piece of jersey and a piece of bat when this is obviously 2 jerseys.  Regardless, I really like this card.

I am thinking I am ready for another infusion into the Petrick collection in the near future.I currently have 128 of his 308 cards or 41.6%.  I would love to add another 26 cards to get to the 50% mark.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Topps Hit My Rickey Henderson Sweet Spot

A few days back I shared my 5X7 Giants team set that featured 9 current Giants and Willie McCovey in a 1952 design.  During that same time ordering, I decided to pick up the set of Rickey Henderson cards that (supposedly) reprinted each of his base Topps cards in 5X7 format with black borders serial numbered to 199 sets.  I mention supposedly as Rickey's last card from 2003 Topps was not included.  As I pulled out my Rickey binders, I decided to scan that card and the Traded cards throughout Rickey's career that were purposely not included in the set.  I will lead with those cards:

It shouldn't be a surprise with all the different teams he was on that Rickey has so many Traded cards.  The 1985 design appears twice as Topps has some reprints in the 2001 set.  I realized as I was pulling cards that I am missing the base card from 2002 Topps Traded so I showed the gold parallel.  The Red Sox card in the bottom left is the card that Topps missed and the Dodgers traded card is sadly the last Topps card of Rickey's playing career.

The set came with this cover card:
I guess the cover does clearly state the set stops at 2002, I just don't understand why.  I sent off an email to Topps asking why last night when I was scanning but I am fairly certain I will never hear back from them as I pretty much never do.

I am going to go ahead and show all the other cards without commentary, until the end where I will show the back of the 2002 card as it is the closest to having all his career stats.

Some observations: Most of Rickey's cards show action photos, with a player that was as action packed as Rickey, that makes a lot of sense.   Topps seemed to use the original cards and just blow them up without any enhancements, his early cards look quite pixelated.  Not sure if I like this or am bothered by this.  Many of the cards look pretty good bordered in black.  Rickey wore 6 different numbers in his career (14, 22, 24, 25, 35, and 39) but none of them match the #30 that my set is serial numbered to. 

Here is the back of the 2002 card, gotta love all the league leaders in red!

Overall I am pretty happy to have this as part of my Rickey collection.  I noticed a Willie Mays set was recently produced but so far I have stayed away from.   If a Willie McCovey set is produced I will not demonstrate the same restraint.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

1951 Topps

I don't know if you saw the news but it appears Topps will be releasing a Heritage set based on their initial release in 1951.  Cardboard Connection give the details here.  It will be released in box set format like the last couple years of Heritage update and will consist of 104 cards.  They will be in the design of the original red and blue back cards from the original 1951 Topps release.  Apparently each box set will also have 21 parallels and an autograph.  I am not sure what the price point will be but my LCS owner guesses around $100.  I am not sure if I am going to pick this set up, I typically haven't gone after these boxed sets but this one may pull me in.  I also may just try and pick up the base set after someone has cracked one chasing after the Kris Bryant autograph card.

I am a fan of the 1951 set but haven't really actively pursued the Giants from this set for some odd reason.   The team set is only 6 cards deep and with a recent pickup of a Whitey Lockman card, I now have 2 cards from the set, here is the Lockman:

I think these are cool looking cards and I wonder if this new set may drive up some collector interest.  In addition to the Lockman, I have Wes Westrum's card. I need to pick up Larry Jansen, Henry Thompson, Eddie Stanky and Monte Irvin.  The Irvin is listed as his rookie and will probably command the highest price.  I think I may need to focus on finishing this set in the next couple months, it would be great to have another team set from the 50s complete.

What are your thoughts on this set?  Do you like it?  Will you be going after any or all of the Heritage set that honors this one?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Trip to the LCS - 12 for $10

I recently stopped by my LCS on the way home from a business trip to Grand Rapids, MI.  Every once in a while I peruse through some boxes he has set up with $1 cards.  They also advertise 12 for $10 and I decided to take a run at the $12 since my bid board winnings consisted of only 1 card.

To start, here is the bid board win:

 I was able to pick up this card from the 1964 set for $3.50, I thought that was a decent price considering the condition.  Hammering Hank paced the league with 130 RBI, a sizable advantage over Boyer and White who plated 111 and 109 respectively.  Outside of the 3 guys, only 3 others passed the 100 RBI mark including two of my favorites - Willie Mays with 103 and willie McCovey with 102.

 Now onto the 12 for $10 pickups:
 I already have the single of this 1975 Hostess Bobby Murcer but decided to add this panel.  I remember Zisk as a Mariner and Hendricks as a Cardinal and Angel.  A quick look at Baseball Reference shows Zisk only played 3 years on the Mariners and 6 with the Pirates (along with 3 in Texas and 1 with the White Sox) and Hendricks also played for the A's, Padres and Pirates in addition to the Indians and 2 teams I remember.  Those early 80s years where my collecting was new seems to have resulted in some etched in memories.

Next up is this Commemorative Ticket from the first year of interleague play.  I really am not sure if this was a stadium giveaway or something else.  It is pretty big, about 4.5 inches by 10.5 inches.  I obviously picked it up because it features the Giants, a neat little souvenir.  

 Many of the other cards are just random pickups.  A quick Beckett search shows that Rick Reuschel only has 4 certified auto cards and all of them feature him as a Cub.  I remember his Giants years fondly and despite a crease down the left side of the card, I was happy to find an auto card of him as a Giants.  I couldn't pass up a pink border /50 for less than a buck and if nobody here is interested in trading for it, I will try and flip it on Sportlots.  The Alex Avila is the A&G back hand serial numbered 25/25, again if nobody is interested in a trade onto Sportlots it goes.

It was impossible for me to pass up a nice looking relic numbered to 50 for such a low price.  The Schmidt Museum collection card is a beauty.  The Bagwell Hobby Masters Topps insert is from 1997 and fills a need for my 1997 Topps master collection.  I haven't even started a checklist of the inserts for 97 but knew this was a need.

Finally I ended the purchase with some vintage goodies.  The Concepcion rookie card is a set need and even though there is a small hole I decided that I would pick this up and mark it off the needs list.  The other 3 HOFers are cards I think I already have but at this price and in pretty solid condition I decided I couldn't pass.

Most of these are up for trade if you are interested so drop me a note if you want/need any of them.