Wednesday, February 10, 2016

One Card Post - Museum Collection Bubble

What:  1995 Pinnacle #128 - Ken Griffey Jr. - Museum Collection Parallel
Where:  eBay
How Much?:  $4.99 (plus $1.95 shipipng)

Why?
:  Why not?  I've always considered this one of the more recognizable cards of the '90s.  I've wanted a copy of the Museum Collection parallel for a long time now, so when one popped up for $5 at the tail end of last year I jumped.  While I don't collect Junior specifically, I love picking up cheap to mid-range cards like this one of the latest HOFer.  Classic.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Sticky Whalers

The most recent trade package I received from longtime friend of the blog Douglas Corti, aka buckstorecards, contained enough Hartford Whalers stickers to coat a Trapper Keeper!  In fact, inside was close to an entire team set of 1988-89 Panini Stickers.

Amazingly, I had none of these in my entire collection prior to receiving this group.  The players are nice, but I like these first couple of stickers even more.  The logo sticker that led off the post is cool, but this one featuring the home and away "kits" (sorry, my inner soccer fan sneaking in there) is even more interesting.  This is back during a time when the white sweater up top would be home and the dark would be away.

For a smaller sized surface area, Panini did okay with the design for these.  The larger right portion of the sticker contains an action photo, and the left a portrait shot with player and team name.

I'm betting there are some epic mullets to be found on the checklist, but the Whalers stickers are fairly tame by '80s hockey hair standards.


Kevin Dineen gives you a nice look at those solid green road get-ups!


Ron Francis' 'fro looks like you could bounce a quarter off of it!




The last two Whalers cards on the checklist are kind of cool...

...as they each represent one half of a complete team photo.  Put them together and you get something like this:

I would have probably stuck these all over the place when I was a kid, was very thoughtful of Douglas to hook me up with all of them and give my Whalers collection a nice boost.

Oh and he included one baseball card too, an awesome autograph of catcher Blake Swihart from 2014 Bowman Sterling.  Because Douglas is just that kind of guy!

Thanks for the great cardboard always!  I'll have a return PWE on the way up north within the next few days I hope...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Signature Sundays - Not Everyone's an All-Star

Not everyone gets to be elite in their sport.  For every Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan or Mike Trout there's a host of mediocre to decent players.  To me, these guys are just as interesting, and I appreciate everyone who has left their mark (however big or small) on the sports I enjoy.  So, for today's Signature Sundays post I've got a handful of those lesser known and lesser appreciated type guys.

Andrew Ference is a perfect example of the type of player I'm talking about.  Boston acquired him during the 2006-07 season, and he'd end up being a key component of their defensive corps for a few years afterwards.  Andrew's definitely not flashy (6 goals are the most he's ever tallied in a season), but was a reliable stay-at-home defenseman during his time in Boston, including solid contributions during the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship season.

A local kid drafted out of Boston College, Steve Heinze went on to skate with the Bruins for nine seasons before wrapping up his career with brief stints in Columbus, Buffalo and Los Angeles.  I've mentioned before that this particular year of Be A Player is one of the worst card designs I've ever seen, and I stand by that!

A first round draft pick for Boston in the 2003 entry draft (21st overall), Mark Stuart was actually dealt away during the middle of that 2010-11 Stanley Cup season to the Atlanta Thrashers.  He's still with the franchise this year (now the Winnipeg Jets).


Here's one of my favorites from this post, longtime team enforcer Shawn Thornton!  I've got just four cards of Shawn and this is my lone autograph.  He doesn't exactly have a ton of certified autographs out there.  This guy has probably made more sacrifices than your average star just to stay in the league over the years, very happy to have him represented in my autograph collection.


Center Seth Griffith cracked the NHL roster for 30 games last season, but this year has appeared only twice.  Count me among the Bruins fans that are mystified that he hasn't seen more time.  He's absolutely killing it at the AHL level (47 points in 37 games).  Meanwhile Frank Vatrano, Max Talbot, Landon Ferraro and Joonas Kemppainen have appeared in 30 or more games each, and Zac Rinaldo has appeared in 44 games.  All centers, none of them with more than 7 points.  I know AHL success doesn't always translate to the NHL, but what gives?  Anyone know something I don't?

This last hockey autograph is a cool one to have, since Matt Fraser was one of the pieces to come to Boston in the Tyler Seguin trade.  He didn't last long, was claimed off of waivers by Edmonton, and last I knew was with the Jets.  Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin...

How about one baseball autograph to close out the post?  After a horrid start to 2015, Joe Kelly looked great at times and even went on an epic win streak at one point.  With David Price the clear ace heading into 2016, it will be interesting to see how guys like Buchholz, Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello slot in behind him.

Well, that's all for today, enjoy the Super Bowl!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Old, New, and Everything in Between

Today I finally found a few minutes to scan, crop and inventory the latest PWE from one of my most frequent trading partners, Joe Shlabotnik of The Shlabotnik Report.  I never know what cards await me in one of these, and once again Joe did not disappoint in terms of variety!

There were some cards inside that are older than I am, like this awesome Dennis Eckersley sticker.  I've had this one in my cart on COMC many time before but could never find anyone willing to take my low-ball offers.

Here's another one from the same year, the latest in a string of great '70s and '80s O-Pee-Chee Red Sox that have been coming in trade recently.  This one's in pretty immaculate shape for an O-Pee-Chee card too, hard to believe it's now 35 years old.

From there, how about some new cards?

This pair of First Home Run inserts are from 2015 Topps Update, so they're only months old.  I don't recall seeing these plain white iterations (as opposed to silver or gold stripe down the center of the card) in the flagship set, thinking this was an Update-only thing maybe?

One last insert from 2015 Update, the lone representative for Boston at the 2015 All-Star game, utility superstar Brock Holt.

That covers the old and the new, time for the "everything in between"...

My very first Arquimedez Pozo card!  Pozo did appear in 25 games with Boston between 1996 and 1997, and since he's depicted with Boston's AAA affiliate here this counts as a new card for my all-time Red Sox collection.

Here's a set I've never seen before, 2003 Donruss Team Heroes.  New cards of longtime backstop and team captain Jason Varitek are always welcome around here.

Same with Nomar.  I was at a very impressionable age when Garciaparra burst onto the scene with Boston, and he was certainly among the small group of players that were boyhood idols for me.

I'm up to a dozen Red Sox cards now from 2002 Topps Total, plus an insert, and I believe every single one of them have come in trade.  This hobby certainly seems to attract generous people.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that my hockey collection was missing this junk wax staple until now.  Had I ever come across this one in a dime or even a quarter box I would have snapped it up instantly, but that's just never happened.  Very grateful that Joe included it.

Finally, my favorite card in the envelope...

I was really astounded by this one!  The 1988 Starting Lineup cards may be my favorite oddball release of all-time, certainly within my top five.  This is just my third card from a set that's design was practically tailor-made for Red Sox cards.  This is possibly the greatest Roger Clemens card of the dozens and dozens I've received in trade over the years.

Thanks for the killer envelope Joe!  I'll see if I can find some time before the Super Bowl tomorrow to get a return PWE prepared...

Friday, February 5, 2016

$10 and One Hour at the Hobby Shop

Yesterday afternoon I had exactly one free hour and managed to make it by my local hobby shop for the first time in at least a couple of months.  2016 Topps was in stock, but I stayed strong to my recently revised collecting approach and passed on that.  Wasn't too difficult either, since I haven't been overly impressed with what I've seen on the web so far.  Instead, I opted for my favorite way to approach the hobby shop; grab cards from all over the place, throw them into a stack, and negotiate a price at the end. 

With limited time to browse I tackled a couple of quarter boxes of hockey cards first.  What can I say, I've been in a definite hockey mood lately and there are generally some nice cards in these. 

If you follow this blog you've probably seen me write about the SP Authentic subset Authentic Moments once or twice.  They're quickly becoming some of my favorite hockey cards of the past few years.  The photographs are generally very unique, and the concept of them being tied back to a specific moment in time is right up my alley.  This Mark Messier/Mike Richter is my first one from the 2014-15 set.

2013-14 Panini Select is a nice looking chrome set.  I'd never try collecting the set, but the retired stars that pepper the checklist are too hard to resist on the cheap.  On this particular dig I grabbed Paul Coffey from his Oilers days...

...and Phil Esposito!  Great photo choice on this one.  I know a lot of folks aren't huge on Panini but they really made some nice cards in my humble opinion.

Other than retired HOFers I'm trying to stay away from these like I said, but there were two Prizm parallels which are even shinier.  Almost blinding in the scan even.  Besides, they're also two players who have a good shot at enshrinement down the line.

Surprised to find a Patrice Bergeron parallel like this for a quarter here in New England!

One of the things I love about this shop is that the owner, who's a great guy, always has new stuff coming in and moving out.  Inventory moves like crazy, and he's always investing in new stuff whether it's vintage, modern, entire collections, you name it.  Stuff is everywhere.  I found this card buried in a monster box that had three other monster boxes on top of it on the floor in the back corner.

In fact, there were a whole load of '90s parallels and inserts in that box.  Seems like the former collection of someone who spent a lot of money 20 or so years ago.  I knew I needed this pair of Score Gold Line parallels for my Whalers collection.  I kept digging and from there it got better for a '90s fan like me.

Flair inserts!  I'm saving most of them for a post on this set at some point in the future, but I scored eight out of the ten Scoring Power inserts from the '94-95 set, including Pavel Bure here.

This junk wax insert and parallel box really turned out to be a gold mine, producing this Patrick Poulin Leaf insert.  I just realized I subconsciously used a terrible pun in that last sentence.

A trio of Center Spotlights from that same Flair set were in there too, with Mario Lemieux being the best of the three.  This makes two posts in a row featuring new Mario Lemieux cards.

Score Gold Rush parallels.  There were probably a hundred or more of these in the box.

I exercised restraint and grabbed the Whalers only, as I know I don't have many of them.  Ended up with three I needed and one dupe, not bad.

Love this Franchise Futures Arturs Irbe insert.  This was the lone card from this set in the box, definitely makes me want to track down the remaining nine.

That pretty much did it for the random box of '90s stuff.  I still had some time to kill so I grabbed another hockey quarter box and pulled a few more cards...

An obnoxiously shiny O-Pee-Chee Chrome insert of arguably an all-time top five defenseman?  Yes, please!

I grabbed this Hometown Heroes Al MacInnis insert with Douglas Corti in mind.  Looks like he doesn't have a copy either, so this will be in the next PWE I ship him.

This was just perfect, as I've got the first two cards from this insert set and Hasek here is the third on the checklist.  These are great for my small but growing collection of cards featuring the greatest trophy in sports.

Same with this one, from the previous year's PowerPlay set.

I led off this post with my first 2014-15 Authentic Moments card, but I also grabbed two from the 2012-13 set out of the quarter boxes.  The way that Discover card logo on the boards lines up with the edge of the card looks kind of odd to me.  Not my favorite from this set, but I like these enough that I'm not leaving any I don't have behind at a quarter.

The other one that was available was also a Kings card, with a photo taken just a couple of weeks after the Dustin Brown card above it.

My stack was not all hockey, just mostly.  When I saw this 1982 Topps Coca Cola Brighams card on the counter I was instantly intrigued.  I don't recall having seen these before, and sure enough it turns out this is the first one in my collection.

I also snagged this die-cut Mo Vaughn from 1997 Upper Deck SP.  The Red Sox count goes up by just two on this trip, back to hockey now...

A pre-beard Henrik Zetterberg card is an old Henrik Zetterberg card.  Topps sure made some nice hockey cards.  At this point I had just a few minutes left, but did one more quick sweep of the shop.

I found a small stack of some more recent hockey singles, just sitting loose on a shelf.  Three of those came home with me.  Though he didn't quite live up to expectations with the Bruins, there was a mild amount of hype when he first came to the team, and for that reason I'll always gravitate just a bit towards Carl Soderberg cards.  I've got a certified autograph or two of his already, so it was nice to land his standard O-Pee-Chee rookie.

I'm definitely one of those collectors who enjoys a card of a star player with a team you don't normally associate him with.  For that reason I simply couldn't resist this late-career Daniel Alfredsson from his time with Detroit.

This might have been my score of the day.  Though his super hot start is a ways in the rear view mirror now, and he's come back down to Earth a bit, Nathan MacKinnon's cards seem to still be relatively sought after.  I didn't have a proper rookie card of his until now, and while I could see how some would maybe find this design to be a bit much, I like it.

I love these Traxx parallels from 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum, and I rarely run across them for whatever reason.  Even lowly commons seem to go for at least a buck or two on Sportlots or COMC.

Here's the final card I picked out on the day, my first Between the Pipes Masked Men insert.  The one and only reason I don't have more of these is that this is the first one I've ever seen in person.  Very cool card.

When the owner, John, thumbed through my stack and asked me how ten bucks sounded I didn't even try to talk him down.  Seemed more than reasonable in my estimation, and it was certainly a fun (and cheap) way to kill some time.

Also, because John is such a solid guy, he noticed that I had a few of those Authentic Moments cards in my stack.  It just so happens he had some Upper Deck promo packs featuring those very cards and he let me pick any one I wanted.

These are five-card packs wrapped in clear cellophane.  On top is this small fold-out guide to card collecting featuring everyone's favorite young star.  Clearly geared towards kids entering the hobby, it had some basic info about the different sets and types of collectors out there on one side, and a glossary of common collecting terms on the reverse.

The pack itself contained five cards, all from the 2014-15 Authentic Moments subset!  My pack didn't get off to the most exciting start, seems like the folks at Upper Deck were stretching a bit including an early-season game where Seguin and Benn each registered two points in this set.

Things began looking up from there though, as I scored my second Nathan MacKinnon card of the day.  This one pays tribute to a much more appropriate feat, and that is Nathan leading all rookies in goals, assists and points in 2013-14.

Here's a perfect example of everything I love about this subset.  I don't think I've seen this photo of Brian Leetch used on too many other cards, if any.  Also I'm shocked that it took until 1994 for an American-born player to win the Conn Smythe?!?!

While maybe not the best photo in the set, I was very happy to pull this Jaromir Jagr as I've sort of half begun collecting him in recent months.  What he's doing with the Panthers at his age this year is nothing short of inspiring.

The final card in my pack, and my final card of the day, is another one for my Stanley Cup collection.  I love the concept of The Great One and his father on the same card, definitely the only card in my collection that I can say that about.

I feel like I say this every time I leave the shop, but I'm not sure there's anywhere I could have made $10 stretch further, or had more fun spending it.  I definitely hope it's not another two months before I'm able to make it back there...
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