Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1994-95 Fleer Franchise Futures

Quick post today featuring a '90s insert set that I was able to grab the remaining cards I needed from cheaply at the hobby shop.  From the 1994-95 Fleer hockey set, it's Franchise Futures...

Fleer certainly liked making "busy" cards in the mid-'90s, and this insert set is no exception.  These cards kind of have a lot going on, and nothing going on all at the same time.  Aside from all the writing, there's a multi-colored grid of boxes in the center of the card, but it's mostly obscured by the depicted player.

The backs are a little better.  You can see that they carried that checkerboard grid pattern over from the front and used it for the bio/write-up.  I will give them credit for at least using a different photograph (and writing the player's name only once on the reverse).

Fleer did fairly well with the player selection for the 10-card set, especially given how many total busts came out of the era.  Hell, Rob Blake here became a HOFer in 2014.

Rangers' fan favorite Adam Graves made the cut, fresh off of a Stanley Cup championship!

This was the first card I had from the set, and the only one I had earmarked specifically for my collection before running across the others for a price I couldn't refuse.  I always liked Irbe back in the day, but really it was because of his odd helmet and strange name as much as anything else.

Joe Juneau had a productive rookie year for the Bruins, who sadly dealt him away for defenseman Al Iafrate towards the end of the following season.  Not one of Boston's finest trades either, as Iafrate would last just 12 total games with the B's.  Juneau is a really smart dude; he earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytech in just 3 years before he began his NHL career.  Oh, and that was in English, his second language.

Interesting that in a ten card set Fleer decided to go with two San Jose Sharks.  I remember Sandis Ozolinsh much more fondly from his time with the dominating Colorado Avalanche teams of the mid to late '90s.

I've talked a few times on the blog about the fact that I was enamored with the Flyers' Legion of Doom line as a kid.  While Mikael Renberg is certainly the least known of the three players who made up that line, I still enjoy picking up new Renberg cards to this day.  In fact, this might be my favorite card in this insert set.

Outside of HOFer Rob Blake, Keith Tkachuk had probably the best career of anyone in this set.  He's regarded as one of the best American-born hockey players to date, and actually played all the way through 2010!

With two Sharks in the set, you had to know Fleer was going to include someone from the other new NHL franchise at the time, the Senators.  They made a wise decision in going with Alexei Yashin over the bust that was Alexandre Daigle.

Zubov had just won a Stanley Cup with New York, but really went on to make his mark during the 11 seasons with Dallas that closed out his NHL career.  The Stars won a Cup as well during that stretch, and in retrospect Zubov was a pretty under-rated D-man during his tenure with the Stars.

Well, that's it for the '94-95 Fleer Franchise Futures set.  Not the most exciting grouping of hockey cards you'll ever see, but it's hard for me to turn down inserts from my youth, especially when the entire set cost me around a dollar...

Monday, July 25, 2016

One Card Post - Mini Fisk

What:  1975 Topps Mini #80 - Carlton Fisk
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $1.45

:  What a feeling adding this iconic '70s card to my Red Sox collection for less than a buck fifty!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Signature Sundays - Random Autos

A little scan folder clean-up this Sunday for my Signature Sundays post.  These handful of autos all joined my collection sometime in the last couple of years and never managed to get a post of their own, so I'm lumping them together for today's edition...

This Johnny Podres was one of those late-night eBay impulse buys, just because I've always liked the Brooklyn Dodgers, and because the card set me back less than $5.  I'm less than thrilled with the boring design and sticker autograph though, so this one might end up getting shipped out in a trade package someday.

Ah Dougie Hamilton, what could have been!  I had such high hopes for this kid when he first appeared for the Bruins.  A big, young defenseman with good offensive upside who was under the team's control for a few years to come.  It was not meant to be though as Boston sent him in trade to Calgary.  I was crushed at the time, but Dougie hasn't really developed into the star I thought he would be either, at least not yet.

Either way, this auto/relic/rookie will serve as a nice representation of his brief time with the B's.

While we're on hockey for a moment, here's another player whose career with Boston didn't quite pan out the way the team and the fans expected.  He's still kicking around the league though, having just played the first year of a five-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Here's my lone autographed card of Junichi Tazawa, who has become a mainstay in the Boston bullpen over the past few years.  In fact without looking I'd have to guess that he's maybe the longest tenured member of the current bullpen staff?  Five Star autographs sure are beautiful, and if I can find them for just a few bucks like I did this one then it's hard to turn them down.

Last of the five autographs I've got queued up for today, young lefty starter Eduardo Rodriguez.  This kid looked so promising after last season, but had a few rough patches early in 2016 after recovering from a Spring Training injury.  He's looked pretty good in his past couple of starts though, and his ERA is slowly starting to creep back down to a respectable number.

For just a couple bucks I figured this one was worth picking up in the event that he turns it on and becomes a solid number two or three starter, which I believe he has the makeup for.

That's all for today, scan folder is starting to look a bit better!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Buyback Franken-set - From Guidry to Griffey

Let's evaluate ten more buybacks for induction into my franken-set on this sunny summer Saturday, shall we?

#202 - 1979 Ron Guidry Record Breaker

Neat one here to kick things off, a record breaker card commemorating the 18 strikeout performance that Ron Guidry had against the Angels in '78.  Ron's 1978 Cy Young campaign was one of the most dominant of the modern era, I'm thrilled to have it represented in some form in my franken-set.  I don't foresee this one ever being bumped from slot 202.

#225 - 1974 Paul Splittorff

Pulled this one from my lone box of Topps Update last fall.  It's an interesting enough card as Splittorff, who played his entire career with the Royals, had just come off his lone 20-win season in 1973.  Paul was a steady and under-rated starter who's actually a member of the Royals' HOF.

#256 - 1966 Lew Krausse

Random bit of trivia, Krausse pitched the first shutout in the history of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise.  The bulk of my franken-set has been '70s cards so far (though that will soon change thanks to an amazing PWE from Mark Hoyle), so it's nice to get some '60s representation here.

#161 - 1969 John Purdin

I don't know much about John Purdin, but back-to-back '60s cards for my set is never a bad thing.  These were two of the older buyback cards from the large lot that I bought to really jump-start this set.

#178 - 1978 Dave Chalk

You'd be hard pressed to find someone putting in less effort on their baseball card than Dave Chalk is on his 1978 release.  Dave's career was already winding down at this point, in fact 1978 would be the final season in which he'd appear in more than 75 MLB games.

#224 - 1972 World Series Game No. 2

I've got a pretty great card occupying slot 224 at this point.  This is probably the closest I'll come to getting a Brooks Robinson into this franken-set, as I've never even seen one of his official releases stamped as a buyback.  I'll certainly take this one though, which I really stole at less than a dollar on Sportlots a year or two back.  Like the Guidry that I led off the post with, I don't think this one is going to get bumped from the set any time soon.

#304 - 1971 Ron Brand

Here's another one that I actually pulled on my own in my hobby box of 2015 Topps Update.  Despite being a tad bit off-center, it's actually in pretty amazing shape for a black-bordered '71.

#311 - 1978 Jose Baez

This one also came from my hobby box, and it might be the least exciting of the handful of buybacks I ended up with from that break.  I considered trading this away when I first pulled it (as if anyone would want it!), but I'm glad I didn't as so far it's the only #311 buyback I've got.  Jose's place in the set is tenuous to say the least however.

#441 - 1971 Milt Pappas

Second '71 Topps card of this post, and this one is more the condition I'd expect after a few decades of existence.  Milt was a 3x All-Star, and actually pitched a no-hitter on my birthday in 1972 (though I hadn't been born yet).

#420 - 1979 Ken Griffey

This one feels appropriate to close out today's post with, since Ken will get to watch his son be enshrined at Cooperstown tomorrow.  This was definitely one of the bigger names to come out of the large lot I picked up.  One day I hope to acquire a buyback of Griffey Jr. so that both father and son are represented in my franken-set, though I haven't managed that just yet.

There's another ten buybacks, all ten of which make my set without any conflict at this point.  I'll be back with some more next week as I close in on the 10% mark!

Franken-set Progress:  62/792 (8%)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Quick & Dirty Stadium Club Blaster

When Stadium Club hit the shelves a couple of weeks back I picked up my obligatory blaster at Target:

The cards are gorgeous, I know.  For some reason though I'm less enthused about this year's set.  Maybe it's because my blaster wasn't all that exciting.  Maybe it's because the cards are a bit expensive and I still haven't finished last year's set.  Thinking it's more the latter.

I was happy to pull the one base card I wanted most, Mike Trout and his life-sized bobble-head statue.  Reminds me a bit of the Dennis Eckersley in last year's release.

I don't care a whole lot for the inserts, but thankfully I received only two in this box.  For me, it's all about the base cards.  Unfortunately I got precious few retired stars like Harold Baines here, and many more players I'm only vaguely aware of or have actually never heard of at all (Michael Reed?  Peter O'Brien?).

So yeah, no more blasters of this stuff for me.  I had fun ripping this one, but I'm not in love with this set enough to justify paying 50 cents per double.

I'll certainly scoop these up out of dime boxes, or happily accept any in trade, but that's about it.

Of the few retired legends that I did pull, this Willie McCovey was by far my favorite. 

Surprisingly, the nicest photograph in my blaster was a current player:

I know I'm about the 100th blogger to say so, but that is a beautiful card right there!

As far as Red Sox cards go, I pulled just three.  Brock Holt...

...and Rusney Castillo from the base set.  Really nice Fenway Park backdrop on this one.

I also ended up with a Wade Boggs Gold Foil parallel.  My other two Gold Foil parallels, and both my inserts, are headed out in trade packages already so I'm not going to bother showing them here.

So there you go, a quick and dirty Stadium Club blaster...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pirates, Clowns, and a Free Prize Inside!

Today's post comes courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik of The Shlabotnik Report.  As the post title indicates, Joe's latest PWE came with a free prize inside.  We'll get to that shortly though, first let's take a look at some excellent new Red Sox cards that were included in the envelope...

We'll start off with a couple of junk wax "how did I not have this already?" cards.  You have to love the awkward portrait shots with locker room backdrops that make up the '94 Studio set.

Was really surprised that I didn't already own a copy of this one.  Was also really surprised that this is the photograph of Mike Greenwell that Donruss decided to go with for this set.  This has to be up there among the ugliest cards released in 1992 by anyone, right?  Photo aside, it's not even cropped well.  Looks like I still need 2-3 Sox from this set, hope they're more visually appealing than this one.  As any team collector knows though, they can't all be gems.

Michael Chavis is currently ranked the 9th best prospect in Boston's organization.  He was drafted right out of high school in 2014, and is still just 20 years old, so time will tell I guess.  I believe this is a refractor, though it's not noted as such on the back (collecting pet peeve of mine, it shouldn't require a ton of detective work to determine what card you're holding in your hand).

Sweet, one card closer to a 2016 Archives team set!  Brian's got the stuff to pitch at the MLB level, at least it seems so, but struggles with anxiety.  He's battling his way back from this, and is currently working his way through the Boston farm system again.

I've mentioned this a few times now, but Classic cards are some of my absolute favorite oddball releases from the '80s/'90s.  Any trade package that introduces a new one to my collection is an automatic winner.

Nice shot of Wade Boggs here on one of those Glossy Send-in cards from the mid-'80s.  This pairs nicely with the Jim Rice I have from the same set, which I believe also came in trade (and possibly even from Joe).

I shouldn't have been surprised to find a 1976 SSPC card included, as Joe is basically single-handedly responsible for getting me most of the way to a team set now.  I will never get tired of receiving new SSPC cards, Red Sox or not.  For those who care, this is Doug Griffin.

Lastly, a new '70s Red Sox card from Canada!

Now, those eight cards alone would have made for a great PWE, but as I mentioned this one actually had a free prize inside.  Like myself and many other traders, Joe uses one row of a nine-pocket sheet when sending a PWE, and when I removed the sheet from the envelope this was staring back at me from the middle pocket:

I believe this is officially the first ever prize I've received in a PWE!  When I peeled back the cover I found my prize safely nestled inside a handful of '87 Topps Fred Lynn cards:

As you can see, Wade survived the journey up the East Coast just fine.  The Lynns were layered to just the right depth to protect Boggs on his travels.  If you're wondering how many Fred Lynns it takes to protect a Wade Boggs coin, the answer is four:

The best part of the whole prize, which I neglected to notice until cleaning up the mess, is that the cover cards on either side of the stack of Lynns were customized Shlabotnik style:

Thankfully I don't have a fear of clowns.  I know a co-worker who'd likely experience nightmares after getting a look at that Tom Magrann card.  By the way, something about '90 Donruss sort of works well with a clown card in some weird way.

Thanks for the great PWE Joe, and for the excellent prize!  I'll have something headed back in your direction by the weekend...
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