Sunday, September 21, 2014

Signature Sundays - Jari Kurri and Mark Howe!

I've really been slacking with my weekly Signature Sundays posts, where I feature a card (or a few) from my growing autograph collection.  This week I'm bringing it back (by request believe it or not!), and of course I'm making the return in the form of the 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures set.

Today we've got two Hall-of-Famers.  First up is one of my favorite players on the checklist and an autograph I've wanted to obtain for a long time, Jari Kurri!

Jari doesn't have the most spectacular signature of the players in this set, but he does have one of the best careers.  600 career goals, just shy of 1,400 career points, 5 Stanley Cup Championships.  I know there's the "Gretzky factor" but Kurri and the boys won a Cup without Wayne, which is something Wayne himself never managed after his days in Edmonton.  Kurri's card is short-printed in this set, so there aren't a ton of these floating around out there either.

I'm particularly fond of this one as the picture gives you a good look at Jari's famed JOFA helmet, and he's also wearing basically the same uniform as he is on probably my all-time favorite Kurri card:

As my first SP, Kurri is a significant addition to my set.  I'm under no delusion that I'll ever complete the entire autograph set, given that there are quite a few SPs and SSPs I've never seen even once in over two years of watching.  Not only that, but I've seen nearly every SSP card listed on eBay sell for well beyond $100, which is generally out of my budget.  The product's been out long enough now that folks have moved onto other things though, so every once in a while an auction for one of these rarer cards falls through the cracks so to speak.  When it does I'm happy to pounce on it, as I did with this one.

The other card I'm showing today is a case of the same thing, as I got this fantastic Mark Howe autograph for what I'd consider a steal.  Mark is one of the premier two-way defensemen in the history of the game, and like Kurri, is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.  He played for my beloved Whalers in both the WHA and the NHL, though the majority of his NHL career was spent with the team he's depicted with here, the Philadelphia Flyers.

Mark's autograph card is also an SP in the set.  For well over a year after the set's release I never saw a single one of these cards pop up anywhere.  This past summer a few cropped up at long last, and I seem to have gotten the best deal yet as far as eBay's concerned.

I couldn't believe it when I took this one home with a winning bid of just over $22 back in June:

Given that I hadn't seen one yet, and knowing what I had seen other SPs go for, I figured this card would quickly climb past what I was willing to pay and easily end up somewhere north of $50.  I felt like I got a steal, and the next one I watched after it seemed to validate that:

You can click for a larger image, but this next auction for the same exact card attracted 14 bids and finished north of $70!!!  A couple more have popped up since and while they haven't quite gone for this much, they've still been more in the $35 - $40 range, nearly twice what I paid for mine.

That's all for today.  Glad to finally be able to feature a couple of SPs after so many Sundays of showing my cards from this set.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quick Rip - Two More 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball Packs

Time for a couple more packs of 2009 O-Pee-Chee from the discount blaster I picked up in May.

Normally I detest Carlos Lee cards.  He seems to be that guy I always pull on the rare time I pick up packs of mid-tier or high end product.  This one's beautiful though.  On a personal note, I like that my initials are right next to the baseball along the top of the photo.

Seth Smith is apparently still in the league and playing for the team I just referenced, the San Diego Padres.

This isn't the most original shot but I do like that it's at least from an angle you don't see everyday.

Not too bad, my second Red Sox insert of the blaster.  This was apparently the box meant for me.

Since I'm not interested in the majority of the black parallels, I think I've already sent this card out in a trade package, and if I haven't I will be doing so soon.

A nice finish to the pack with a Koji Uehara rookie.  Even though he totally imploded towards the end of this year, I'll always remember him fondly as a member of the 2013 World Series Championship team, and for being as near to perfect as you can be in relief for well over an entire calendar year.

Pack 2!

Leading off with a really nice catcher's gear photo of one of the game's premier backstops.

This was an interesting one, I can honestly say I'd never heard of Keiichi Yabu before.  He was a mediocre pitcher in Japanese baseball before making his MLB debut in his late 30s.  Was actually released by the Giants prior to the 2009 season, but I love cards of obscure players like this.  Probably my favorite card in this pack.

Off to the trade box.  I really need to find a Royals fan who wants to swap Royals for Red Sox, as I've got a ton of Royals cardboard cluttering up my trade box at this point.

I love that this set uses these great stadium shots on the team checklist cards.  I've never been to Wrigley but would love to see a game there someday while it's still around.

Even the good sets have their boring cards...

...and this pack happens to end with two of them.

That's a wrap for today...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cardboard Classics - Cheering for Cal Clutterbuck

I've picked up a decent number of 2012-13 Upper Deck hockey cards recently via repacks and grab bags from my LCS, and I have to say that of the cards I've seen thus far Cal Clutterbuck's might be my favorite photo:

This tightly-cropped shot, which features Cal celebrating with a couple of his Wild teammates, is just awesome.

On the back we get a different photo showing a nice scowl from Mr. Clutterbuck.  Great stuff...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Giant Stack of Sox from Marc B

Recently my friend Marc B sent me an amazing and very large surprise trade package, which I'm still sorting my way through.  I've already posted about how he brought me within just two cards of finally knocking off the 1982 Topps baseball set.  Well, there was also a healthy dose of new Boston Red Sox cards included in the box, which I'm showcasing today.

I found a nice selection of players and sets from the last 10 years.  The majority of the cards Marc sent were new to me.  The few that weren't will still go to good use, in fact I've already sent a handful back out the door in other packages.

I'm still missing a surprising amount of Sox cards from the Topps flagship sets, like this one from 2008 featuring two players whose days in MLB appear to be over.

These two, along with the Jason Varitek that led off the post, have me within striking distance on a 2011 Topps Heritage team set.

Pedroia cards always seem to attract more collectors than most other Red Sox players, so I'm happy any time I get a new one via trade like this.

Marc must have opened a fair amount of 2006 Fleer Ultra because there were numerous inserts from this set in the package...

Here's a set that's new to me, 2003 Upper Deck Superstars.

An Upper Deck 'Masters with the Leather' No-mah insert.

Another of those 2006 Fleer Ultra inserts.

I'll take any Red Sox card I don't have, but man this 2005 Donruss Leather & Lumber is one of the worst designs I've seen in a while.

I've talked a couple of times about recently discovering the beautiful 2005 Donruss set, so I was psyched to find this Byung-Hyun Kim.  Even more so because he's an obscure player from Boston's past.  This is just my third card of Kim in a Boston uniform.

One of my favorite players from the 2004 World Series team, Bill Mueller.

More 2006 Ultra, in the form of a David Ortiz base card...

...and Home Run King insert.

Easily one of my favorite cards in the entire package.  I just posted the Varitek from this set a couple of days ago, which I received recently from Mark Kaz, and now I can slide the Pedroia rookie cup card into the binder too.  I really need to knock out this team set soon.

Here's an obscure one, Wily Mo Pena Gold Medallion style.  The guy struck out a lot but Holy God could he crush the ball when he got a hold of one.

Another Opening Day card, this one from the 2007 set.  I prefer the look of the white over the black that Topps went with for the flagship set that year.

A pair of 2006 Fleer base cards, including a Craig Hansen rookie.  Craig's career (barring an unforeseen comeback) was cut short by illness and injury.  He last saw Major League action in 2009 at age 25.

Another one of my favorites, just my second card paying tribute to the 8 total games John Smoltz appeared in with the Red Sox in 2009 as he wound down his career.

I didn't care much for them at the time, but in retrospect I sort of like the look of the 2009 Upper Deck set.

Here's one of those Opening Day Stars 3D parallels that scanned in way out of focus.  Looks much better in hand, and I was happy to see this card as it's one I've nearly picked up on more than one occasion.

This 2011 Topps insert is really cool, I can never have too many cards of Babe Ruth, especially in a Red Sox uniform.

Even after this pair I'm still missing 7 or 8 Red Sox from the 2011 Topps set.  How is that possible?

Last but not least, a nice Allen & Ginter Pedroia.

Marc, once again I want to thank you for the amazing package of cards!  I haven't forgotten about a return package, just trying to figure out what I have that I could possibly repay you with.

The '82 Topps and huge stack of Red Sox wasn't all that was in the box from Marc, I've got at least one or two more posts coming down the line...
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