Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - Cincinnati

O-hi..there! The Collector's Sports Card Tour 2018 has arrived in the Buckeye state. Today's stop is the queen city of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati has two pro sports teams: the Reds and the Bengals. The Reds have won five World Series titles, the last coming in 1990.

The Bengals' last playoff win was also that season; they are 0-7 in the postseason under current head coach Marvin Lewis. Boomer Esiason was Cincy's signal caller in Super Bowl XXIII, when the Bengals were three minutes away from the title.

My father-in-law and I used to listen to Boomer and Carton in the mornings; I never liked Craig Carton (even before he got busted for running a ticket scam) but I liked Boomer enough to grab a few of his cards on COMC, including this Panini Playbook relic:

Limited Edition is actually correct in this case, these are #d to 49. I think I paid $3.25, though I can't recall if that was a sale price or not.

One of the last football boxes I got as a gift was a mini-box of 2003 Finest my mom bought me for Christmas. Somehow I pulled a Carson Palmer autographed RC..but I sold it shortly after, because the Beckett value was $150 at the time. That wasn't the only time I got lucky pulling a Palmer..

My LCS ran a "player of the day" promo and I won a free pack of cards when the pack I purchased yielded the SP Authentic Palmer at the top right. 

I don't have any Andy Dalton cards (except for one in my 2016 Panini Contenders set) but I do have ...an Akili Smith insert!

Guys (and gal) I don't even want to tell you how much cash I sunk into that QB class of 1999. I spent well over $200 on Topps Chrome boxes alone. And I was 19 at the time.

Now that I have more wisdom (and less cash to blow) I focus on vintage.

At the height of the hysteria over Communism, the Reds changed their name to 'Redlegs.'

By 1959, they were back to being Reds. I didn't like the '59 set for the longest time, but it's grown on me over the past few years.

Like most of my vintage cards, the oldest Hall of Famer in my collection came courtesy of COMC. "Sunny" Jim Bottomley played 1st base for the Cardinals from 1922-32, but joined the Reds in '33 when this card was released:

When this card popped up I think it had a 'poor to fair' condition note - but I could not see any paper loss, pin holes, or other obvious flaws. For about $19 I took a gamble, and I'm glad I did. The 'Good 2' grade is due to creases that only show through on the back.

This is probably going to bother some bloggers, but I have very few cards from the 1970s. I started collecting in the '80s, and when I hunt for vintage gems I often focus on cards from the 1950s and select sets from the '60s. As a result, '70s sets often fall through the cracks.

Contest time! The first person to correctly identify which Reds legend is missing from my card collection wins a PWE prize (Hint: it's not Barry Larkin.)

Ken Griffey, Jr. sacrificed a lot to play for his dad's former team. It's a shame that Cincy didn't have enough talent around him to chase a championship. The 2003 Finest card on the right is a refractor. I had a Griffey Reds relic but it was immediately sent to Corky (Pack War) as payment for a custom card set he made.

I'm not sure if Canadian slugger Joey Votto is a drinker, but his surname reminds me of this scene from The Simpsons. The Bowman's Best orange refractor was an impulse buy on COMC. Just like the Boomer relic, the Votto set me back $3.25. 

Adam Sanders, author of the blog Cardboard Clubhouse recently wrote a post about the demise of Cincinnati Gardens, home to the NBA's Royals from 1957 to 1972. Both my Oscar Robertson cards picture him with Milwaukee, not Cincinnati, so I'm adding this card to my want list:

I wanted to mention pro hockey in Cincinnati, but I seem to have misplaced my Robbie Ftorek O-Pee-Chee card from the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers (and it doesn't picture him in the right uniform anyhow.) 

This Mark Messier custom card was borrowed from a Maple Leafs-centric blog; the author (I can't find his name anywhere) has a ton of great customs available for sale.

There is an NHL team in Ohio, but it's not in the 'nati. The NHL's Blue Jackets are up the road in Columbus - closer to Cincy than Cleveland. Since they're probably not interesting enough for their own post I'll squeeze them in here. 

The Blue Jackets have yet to win a playoff series in their 18 year-history, but they're currently leading the Devils and Panthers in the wild-card race. Two-time Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky is having yet another stellar season between the pipes.

Former #1 overall pick Rick Nash is still the franchise leader in almost every offensive category. I have a lot of trouble with Nash's base cards - he's no longer a star but I can't demote him to the commons binders until I make more room. (Once this tour ends I'll have a lot of reorganizing to do.)

The two Jackets autos in my collection have ties to my favorite teams: John Moore is now a Devils defenseman, and Geoff Sanderson was one of my favorite Whalers as a kid.

The rest of my Blue Jackets hits, including a Ron Tugnutt Titanium parallel #d/31. Connecticut native Cam Atkinson played against my nephew in high school.

Reds card I'd like to own: A Bowman Chrome Autographed RC of New Jersey native (and Little League hero) Todd Frazier

Bengals card I'd like to own: A Devon Still card, or maybe an Anthony Munoz RC

Blue Jackets card I'd like to own: A Cam Atkinson SP Authentic Autographed Future Watch RC

Favorite Reds player: Joey Votto

Favorite Bengals player: A. J. Green

Favorite Blue Jackets player: Bobrovsky, Atkinson, and Zach Werenski

Next tour stop: Cleveland

In my previous SCT post I used St. Patrick's Day as an excuse to post a pic of a flame-haired actress, and today I'll do the same because Cincinnati...Reds...red-heads?  I dunno.

Here's Katherine McNamara, the lovely young star of the Freeform YA series Shadowhunters (season 3 starts tonight, y'all).

I promise this won't be part of every tour stop...unless there is a legitimate excuse ;-)

Thanks for reading!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Who Am I Missing?

Quick post today..this is a complete list of the sports card blogs I follow:

$30 A Week Habit

2 x 3 Heroes

A Cracked Bat: Baseball Cards and a Hot Dog

A Pack To Be Named Later

A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts

Adventures In 1952 Topps

All Cardinals All The Time

All Trade Bait, All The Time...

ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession

Baseball Card Breakdown

Bob Walk the Plank

Can't Have Too Many Cards

Card Boarded

Cardboard Clubhouse

Cardboard Greats

Cardboard History

Cards My Mom Didn’t Throw Out

Collecting Cutch

Collector's Crack

Dawg Day Cards

Diamond Jesters

Dime Boxes

Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary

I Feel Like A Collector Again

Infield Fly Rule

It's like Having My Own Card Shop

My Cardboard Habit

My Hockey Card Obsession

Nachos Grande

Night Owl Cards

Not Another Baseball Card Blog

Nothing If Not Random

Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Old Red Sox Cards

Once a Cub

Pack War

Plain Gray Swatch

Puck Junk

Red Cardboard

Royal Card Review

Scribbled Ink

Shoebox Legends

Sportscards From The Dollar Store

Starting Nine

Summer of '74

The Angels, In Order

The Card Papoy

The Chronicles of Fuji

The Collective Mind

The Five Tool Collector

The Hopeful Chase

The Lost Collector

The Raz Card Blog

The Shlabotnik Report

The Topps Archives

Too Many Verlanders

Waiting 'til Next Year

Wax Stain Rookie

Wrigley Roster Jenga

Is your blog on this list? If not, let me know and I'll add you.

Is there a sports card blog I should be following? If so, recommend one (or more) to me in comments.

What's that rule about having at least one card in every blog post? Well, it just so happens I got two envelopes in the mail on Saturday: the aforementioned Tim Anderson auto from Mike (Not Another Baseball Card Blog) 

..and an oddball set of Brett Favre cards form Angus (Dawg Day Cards) 

I had forgotten all about this trade.. but Angus didn't. Thanks for sending these my way! I'll have your card shipped by the time you read this.

I've organized my card collection and sorted through my blogroll, but I have to do a better job of checking my pending trades. I've been putting a star next to any e-mail with a pending/incomplete trade. Right now I have three:
Tim (no return), Jeff (giveaway; need his address to send a return) and The Angels In Order (no trade yet, I just have to remind myself to pull out things that will fit his collection)

Mike, Angus..thanks for the trades! To all of you who follow this blog, thank you for reading and commenting. I truly appreciate it, and I hope to me more diligent about commenting (and trading) from here on out. 

p.s. I didn't get the job.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - Chicago (part 2)

This is part 2 of my weekend "tour" through Chicago. In part 1, I discussed the Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks. Today, we're celebrating St. Patrick's Day with the Cubs and White Sox.

Both of Chicago's baseball teams have had historically long title droughts. The White Sox last won a World Series in 2005, while those "lovable losers" the Cubs haven't won since Barack Obama was president. Get it together, guys!

In the early days of baseball (when teams traveled by train) many cities had an American League team and a National League team. Boston had the Red Sox and Braves. Philadelphia had the Athletics and Phillies. St. Louis had the Browns and Cardinals. New York had the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants. But the only city that never lost either of its ballclubs is the Windy City.

Not that there weren't a couple close calls, mind you. Comiskey Park had survived the Black Sox scandal and Disco Demolition Night, but the White Sox were long overdue for a new stadium and finally got one in 1991. Upper Deck did a great job of chronicling the move:

Unfortunately neither of these cards are actually mine (images courtesy of TCDB) I might have a sealed factory set somewhere, but I"m pretty sure I only have 1989 and 1990 UD.

A lot of my higher-end White Sox come from the Comiskey era - and a lot of them are graded (sorry..not sorry)

The '58 Sherm Lollar was one of a bunch I purchased ungraded on COMC then submitted to PSA (I also sent in a '56 Lollar that came back an EX 5) I bought the Peters and a '68 Tigers card for my father in law's set build in a COMC best offer. Then I went back and got a '68 Dodger. 

I also got this Minnie Minoso on COMC, for about $8.50. When I was about 12 years old my "frenemy" managed to get his hands on a 1952 Topps Minoso, which listed him as Orestes. Naturally the blockhead bragged about his "Otis Minoso" card. It was pretty beat up, but I have to admit I was impressed that a 15 year old owned a '52 Topps card of a near-HOFer.

Here's another underrated White Sox star from the 1950's. I promised CommishBob I'd show off my Billy Pierce collection. Prepare to be amazed, Bob!


Boom. Mic drop. Lol.

When I was a young collector, the kids in my neighborhood thought of the Frank Thomas Leaf rookie the way we think of the 1990 Topps No Name On Front error: there was no way any of us could afford it, and it was amazing just to be in the presence of it.

I forgot all about that when I bought this gem during a COMC Black Friday sale; I was just hunting for Hall of Famer rookie cards. (I'll get to Sammy in a minute.)

My favorite Big Hurt inserts - and other pale hose hits. 1993 Donruss Diamond Kings and Score Franchise were so much fun to pull. I bought boxes of that stuff - more than Topps and UD (although I bought a lot of everything in '93.)

These guys wore both White and Red Sox (Moncada I mean, not Carson Fulmer)

So did Carlton Fisk. The Abreu relic was from my 5-box break of 2017 Topps Heritage. I also have a Tim Anderson Stadium Club auto incoming from Mike Matson. [edit: it got here today.]

I must admit I was a huge Sammy Sosa fan back in the day. I was already a fan before the Home Run race, mostly because I thought he had 40/40 potential. When he caught fire in the summer of '98 it was a lot easier (but more expensive) to collect his stuff. I probably had 200+ Sosa cards and a half dozen action figures at one point - plus an autographed 8 x 10 photo I got as a gift.

It's a shame what's happened to "Slammin' Sammy" since then: the corked bat, the way he walked out on his team at the end of the 2004 season, and that pathetic performance before the US Congress. I'm not going to kill the guy for declining to speak English - but when his statement read "I've never broken the laws of the US or the DR, or the rules of baseball" I knew what he was really saying.

I was already downsizing my Sosa collection when he made a comeback with the Orioles and Rangers. Now it's probably half of what it was, and most of my relics have been sold or traded. These are two of my favorite remaining relics, especially the Fleer Jersey rack..

 ..which is numbered to Sosa's number (eBay 1 of 1!)

I also collected Kerry Wood and Mark Prior at the time, but a lot of those cards are gone, too. Some of them were recently shipped to P-Town Tom, who sent me a nice stack of '63 Topps and Red Sox (and '63 Topps Red Sox.) I also sent a bunch of Chicago cards to Tony Burbs last September.

Those old Cubs collections have been replaced by a new PC, Kris Bryant:

I have about 30 Kris Bryant cards - though a third of them are 2014 Bowman 'paper' Top Prospects. The best Bryant card I have might be the best card in my collection, period:

I spent my Christmas bonus on this card in 2014, then submitted it to BGS after he made his big league debut. Unlike the Mike Trout and Aaron Judge cards, I actually held on to this one. 

No Cubs collection would be complete without Mr. Cub, the legendary Ernie Banks:

I don't think I've ever seen a boring Banks card, whether it's a new 'classic' or an original.

This is why I love 1968 Topps. Some of the hatless cards are awful, but when Topps put some effort into it they produced fantastic photos. I'd always wanted a '68 Banks, almost since childhood, and finally bought one on eBay shortly after his passing. The '56 is one of a handful of HOFers in my set build.

Here's one more look at that glorious 1956 design - with a modern twist:

I'm thrilled that the Cubs finally broke their title drought and won a World Series, and I'm happy that the north siders have a pair of superstar corner infielders to build around.. but the Boston fan in me curses the day my Sox traded a young Anthony Rizzo to the Padres.

Cubs card I'd like to own: The Kris Bryant SP from 2017 Topps Heritage is one of my ten most wanted cards.

White Sox card I'd like to own: Any card from the 1970's that shows a player wearing a red White Sox jersey, collared shirts and/or shorts, or any other zany Bill Veeck idea. (if there's card depicting Disco Demolition Night, I want it.)

Favorite Cubs player: Bryant

Favorite White Sox player: Yoan Moncada

Next tour stop: We're hitting Ohio all next week, starting in Cincinnati.

Thanks for reading this. I hope you all have a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day. Here's a lovely lass for ya:

What's that...Karen Gillan is Scottish? Close enough, right? Collecting Cutch, I need a ruling here. :-)