Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Roll Out the 1974-75 Topps Hockey

I finally got around to scanning the 2nd part of the package from Ed at Roll Out the Barrel. In addition to the Red Sox cards he sent, Ed included a staggering 39 cards from the 1974-75 Topps hockey set! This is a set I've been sort of half collecting since I picked a lot up on Ebay a while ago. Ed must've looked over my collection on Zistle before sending me these, as I had none of the 39 cards he sent. Here are a handful of my favorites:
I think I like the 74-75 Topps set just because it is so poorly done. While the design of the cards is actually pretty decent, the photography is horrible. There are two types of shots that seem to dominate the set. The first, like the Dennis Ververgaert card pictured above, features portraits of the players that look like they could've come out of a high school yearbook. If you looked at the photo alone you'd be hard pressed to even recognize this as a hockey card.
The second type of shot that is featured prominently is the player fully dressed, but simply standing in front of a wall in a hallway or locker room somewhere, like this Ken Hodge card. As a rough guess, I would say probably 2/3 of the individual player cards in the set show one of these two types of photographs.
One thing that I do really like is that coach cards were included. This is something I wish we saw more of in today's modern hockey releases. In fact, I can't recall pulling a single coach card from a pack since I got back into collecting in 2007.
Here's another example of the "standing in front of a wall" pose. Nearly every Blackhawks player card I have features this wood-grain wall in the background. It's like they lined the players up and just had them stand in the same spot one at a time. Awful.
The Team Leaders cards are one of the few areas where these yearbook style headshots actually work rather well. I always appreciate adding a new Golden Seals card to the collection as well!
Without looking, I think I can safely say this may be the only hockey card in my collection featuring a headband...
This was one of my favorite cards in the package because it actually includes what appears to be an in-game photo! The stick blade to the right of Stewart's shoulder illustrates just how different blades and sticks in general were back then. Look at how flat that thing looks, and such a small amount of tape!
A very early Bob Nystrom card, his second year card if I'm not mistaken. He looks much different without his trademark moustache!
Finally, this Dick Redmond beauty. Again, we have the wooden wall. How bad is the lighting in this picture? I seriously think an 8th grade art student armed with a camera could've produced better work than this.

Ed, thank you again for the wonderful package! As much as I just bashed these cards, they are a welcome addition to my collection, and a significant chunk of a set I hope to one day complete. I will be dropping your return package in the mail today!

Monday, December 28, 2009

In Search of 2009-10 Upper Deck Hockey!

Alright, I think I've reached the point where I won't be buying any more 2009-10 Upper Deck Series 1 hockey wax. After 2 blasters, 15-20 hobby packs, 2 retail packs and a retail rack pack I'm at the point where I'm pulling too many doubles to justify picking any more up. I'm hoping someone out there can help me make a dent in what I have left before I resort to buying singles. Here's what I need:

4, 7, 8, 9, 18, 19, 22, 28, 32, 34, 49, 63, 69, 70, 80, 82, 83, 88, 89, 99, 102, 105, 109, 125, 126, 131, 135, 136, 139, 150, 152, 154, 155, 160, 162, 171, 174, 175, 178, 195, 199

If anyone has any of these they're willing to send my way, I'll make it worth your while! I've got plenty of doubles from this set, as well as other hockey and baseball sets. Thanks for reading!

Trade with Old School Breaks

I recently completed my first trade with John from Old School Breaks. This was different than most trades I've completed, in that it was a simple exchange of a few cards going each direction. I had posted about a Nolan Ryan Upper Deck Decade 1970's card I had picked up, and how I couldn't seem to find many cards from the set. John responded, had busted a box and had a few Red Sox to send me. I sent him some Yankees inserts and a few Devils cards. Here's what John sent:
5 Red Sox cards from the Upper Deck Decade 1970's set. This Dwight Evans is an example of what the regular base cards look like. Very very similar to the 1975 Topps design, but I'm a sucker for retro feel and cards featuring retired players.

I always think of Aparicio as a White Sox player, and forget that he spent the final 3 years of his career with the Red Sox.

This Fred Lynn card is from the Rookie 1970's Flashback subset. Not much different from the base cards. They moved the player name to the top of the card and slapped a big black and white Rookie banner across the bottom.

The second Lynn card in the package is from the Award Winners subset. This card obviously pays tribute to the 1975 season in which Lynn captured the AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, and the hearts of New England sports fans. I do have a complaint though. They used the same photo as the Lynn card above. It really bothers me when companies do this. You don't have another photo of Lynn Upper Deck?

The final 70's Decade card was probably my favorite. The last 10 cards of the base set are these World Series Highlights cards (one for each year 70 - 79). Great way to end the set. The final card in John's package was this:

2003 Topps Finest - #FRB-NG - Nomar Garciaparra - Although I have a decent number of Garciaparra cards in my collection, this is definitely my first game-used card.

The Garciaparra card was a great addition to my collection, and the 70's Decade cards are pretty cool. I really don't need another set to build right now, so I have to resist the temptation to buy a hobby box. Thanks for the great package John!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sick as a Dog

Just wanted to throw up a quick post to let everyone know I'm still around. The holidays were pretty hectic as usual, and on top of that I've been incredibly sick since yesterday morning. My last two days have consisted of nothing but hot drinks, Tylenol Flu and Airborne tablets as I drift in and out of sleep.

Hopefully I'll be off the DL soon, as I've got a few things to post, including great trade packages from John at Old School Breaks and Sal at Puck Junk. While I didn't receive any cards for Christmas, I did get some very thoughtful Hartford Whalers items from the family which I plan to show off as well.

In the meantime, here's a card I recently added to my collection to tide you over, a 2001-02 Topps Archives auto of long time Bruins captain and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, John Bucyk. This is a set I'd love to complete some day, and I didn't have any autos, so I was thrilled to win this for around $10 on eBay. Until next time...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Roll Out the Red Sox

Last week I received a package from Ed at Roll Out the Barrel. Inside were two team set bags stuffed with great cards. The first contained Boston Red Sox cards. I can't show everything but here are some of the highlights. First off we have three 2009 SP Authentic Red Sox. I didn't buy so much as a single pack of this stuff, so these cards are a nice addition to the collection. There's nothing spectacular about them but they do look pretty nice.
Two 2008 Upper Deck Heroes parallels. I think these are the "charcoal" parallels inserted one pre retail pack. The Boggs is great!
Two 2009 Upper Deck X cards. Yet another set that I did not buy any of this year. These cards are awfully shiny, but they actually scanned quite well. The Pedroia is a regular Xponential insert, and the Ortiz is an Xponential5 (to the fifth), which I'm guessing is harder to pull.
Two 2008 Topps Stadium club cards. I really love the look of this set and I'm disappointed that I didn't buy more of it when it was out in retail. I think the short prints just threw me off and ruined what could've been a great set.
Included was this 2008 TriStar Projections Adam Mills card. I think this is actually the first TriStar card in my collection of any kind.
A 2006 Fleer Flair Showcase Jonathan Papelbon rookie. Yet another set I had none of before receiving this package.
Two Updates & Highlights gold parallels. Kotchman looks to play a larger role for the Sox this year with Lowell supposedly heading out of town for Texas. Unless of course they pull off a blockbuster for Adrian Gonzalez. Base/U&H Topps was my favorite baseball set of the year. I regret that I didn't pick up more of these. I could easily see myself getting a hobby box once next year's sets are out and prices drop a bit.
2008 Upper Deck StarQuest Super Rare Manny Ramirez. This will go nicely with my Super Rare David Ortiz!
Took me a few minutes to realize what this card was. Unless I'm mistaken this is a 2008 Heritage insert. Is that correct? Was this a retail only insert set?
Ed also included some older Sox from the junk wax era, but I needed the cards so they're not junk to me.
Finally, the cards that prompted the package to begin with, three Red Sox base cards from this year's Sweet Spot release. I really love the base design in this set. I've gotta take a look to see if there are any other Red Sox I need. How great would this set look with vintage players as subjects?

Of the 30-some-odd Red Sox cards Ed sent there was only one that I already had. What a package! The other team set bag contained hockey cards, and I'll be doing a separate post on that one soon. Thank you for the fantastic cards Ed! I've started a pile of Brewers for you that I hope to finish and have out the door soon!

David Krejci Collection - Cards 12 & 13

David Krejci seems to really be finding his game after a slow start to the season. He lit the lamp twice in last night's loss to a very talented Chicago Blackhawks team on the road in Chicago; the game's first goal in the opening period and another in the waning minutes to send the game to overtime. The Hawks are an outstanding team and the Bruins will gladly take the 1 point on the road.

The card featured above is the "retro" parallel from this year's O-Pee-Chee set. It looks alright I guess but doesn't appear to be based off of any actual set, which is a disappointment after last year's 79-80 parallels, which were the highlight of the set in my opinion. Below is his 05-06 In the Game Heroes and Prospects base card.

The Bruins are in Toronto tonight for the first time this year, in the midst of a 3-games-in-4-nights stretch. With any luck I will be able to post another Krejci card tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

David Krejci Collection - Card 11

David Krejci scored another goal on Saturday night against the Islanders, but unfortunately the Bruins lost the game in overtime. I didn't get to watch the game until Sunday (thank you DVR!), so at that point I figured I'd wait this post out in case he scored Monday against the Flyers. That did not happen, and the Bruins dropped their second straight game, blowing a late lead.

Hopefully the team can turn things around this Friday night in Chicago against a very good Blackhawks team. Thanks to Justin G of Is This a Wasteland - No It's Tampa Bay Sports for sending me this very shiny Stat Leaders insert card from this year's O-Pee-Chee set. I'll have your Upper Deck cards in the mail soon Justin!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Card of the Month - December 2009

2007 eTopps Nolan Ryan Les Paul Bronze eConvention Something-or-other

December's card of the month is my very first (and likely only) foray into the realm of eTopps. To be quite honest with you I'm not even 100% sure of exactly what eTopps is. I bought this card to add to my Nolan Ryan collection based on the fact that only 10 of them exist and I won the auction at a mere $10, which seems pretty reasonable. I'm always partial to Ryan cards that feature him as a Met as well.

From what I can gather, eTopps is a site where you can create an account and accumulate and track "virtual" cards online. It seems as though Topps prints the cards though, and you can decide to have the physical slabbed card shipped to you (which this seller must've done prior to the auction). If not, Topps will store it for you in a climate controlled warehouse.

I've seen the "regular" instance of this eTopps card, a 1967 Topps Ryan that never was, but this one is a gold and foil disaster! I have no idea what an eConvention is, nor do I know what place a Gibson Les Paul guitar has on this card. As someone who plays guitar though, I thought it was a unique addition to my collection.

The back is pretty cool too, with the old school cartoons and all. In checking eTopps' website, it doesn't look like they've released any hockey cards since '03 (probably can't due to Upper Deck's exclusive licensing deal with the NHL). I doubt I'll ever purchase any of the virtual eTopps cards, but this slabbed beauty is a welcome addition to my growing Nolan Ryan collection!

Is there anyone out there who is familiar with eTopps and can shed any light on what exactly this card represents?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Box Break - 2009-10 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Blaster

I still haven't purchased a hobby box of 09-10 Upper Deck Series 1 hockey yet, despite it being the first (and so far really only) hockey set of the year that I'm going to collect. In the meantime, I was in Target picking up some cold medication for my fiance and they actually had 2 or 3 blasters left so I picked one up. You get 12 packs in a blaster, but they are smaller 5 card packs. Short-printed Young Guns rookies are found at 1:6 packs in these smaller packs, so each blaster should net 2. In the interest of time, I'll show my favorite card from each of the 12 packs...
Pack 1 - Maxim Lapierre Base - Pack 1 yielded 5 of the more boring base cards I've seen so far. I needed 4 of them for my set though, so still a good pack.

Pack 2 - Martin Brodeur Hockey Heroes - The Hockey Heroes insert set is back, and this year's subject is none other than Martin Brodeur. A fitting choice as he seems to be setting a new record every time I turn on the TV.

Pack 3 - Tyler Myers Young Guns Rookie - My first of two Young Guns short prints, and I'm very happy with this one. Aside from the Tavares, this is one of the cards I was hoping to pull most. This 19-year-old defenseman stands at 6'8" and has been seeing steady time with Buffalo. He's got a few things to learn given his lack of experience, but he is a smooth-skating giant on the ice, and I'm betting he'll be an impact player in years to come.

Pack 4 - Eric Staal Top Guns Insert - I wasn't impressed with this insert set when I pulled the Parise, and I'm still not impressed after pulling the Staal. Boring!

Pack 5 - Andrei Kostitsyn Base - Two of the cards in this pack were doubles, severely limiting my choice for favorite card. I settled on this one.

Pack 6 - Joe Pavelski Base - Three doubles in this 5-card pack, probably the worst single pack in the box.

Pack 7 - Maxime Talbot Base - PatsCards commented on an earlier pack break saying that the Marc-Andre Fleury base card may be a shot taken shortly after the Pens clinched the cup. I'm thinking this was shot moments later.

Pack 8 - Chris Mason Base - I just like the lighting (or lack of it) in this card. Judging by the shadows and the fresh sheet of ice, this picture was probably taken during team/player introductions.

Pack 9 - Tomas Kaberle Draft Day Gems - This is the first I've seen of the Draft Day Gems insert set, not sure if it's retail only. I like this better than Top Guns at least, that's for sure. Kaberle's having a great year in Toronto, I had no idea he went in round 8 of the draft. What a steal!

Pack 10 - Michal Neuvirth Young Guns Rookie - My second Young Gun short print wasn't quite as good as the first. Michal saw action in 5 NHL games last season for the Caps, going 2-1. This year he's played in 2 games for Washington, both losses. On a side note, how come whenever I search any up-and-coming hockey player on Google, the first thing the search engine tries to auto-fill as I'm typing (aside from just the player's name) is "player name - girlfriend"? Don't believe me? Try it! There are some strange people out there...

Pack 11 - Sidney Crosby Base - We're finishing up strong with a Sidney Crosby base card. You might want to think about shedding that moustache buddy...

Pack 12 - Jarome Iginla Base - Another pretty good base card to end the break.

I was extremely happy with this blaster overall. Before ripping this, I had 81/200 base cards and 5 Young Guns rookie short prints. The 60 cards in this blaster yielded 40 new base cards that I needed, bringing me to 121/200. Add to that the 2 Young Guns rookies, one of which I really wanted, the 3 inserts, and 15 doubles for trading and I'm a happy customer. Just to be clear, there weren't 15 doubles in the box, I just happened to have these 15 cards from what I'd busted previously.

If you're going to try building this set, there is very little incentive to go with hobby over retail. Here's what you'll get out of a hobby box for around $63:

8 packs, 24 cards per pack - 192 total cards

6 Young Guns rookie short prints

A handful of inserts and probably 2 game-used cards of minor stars

For the same $63, here's what you get out of retail:

3 blasters (12 packs, 5 cards per pack, 60 cards total) & 1 retail pack (8 cards) - 188 total cards

6 Young Guns rookie short prints (7 if you get lucky at 1:4 in your retail pack)

A handful of inserts (probably 10 or so) and maybe a game-used card of a minor star if you're lucky

Let's face it, if you collect base Upper Deck you're probably not seeking hits, just the base set and the Young Guns rookies. If that's what you're after buying retail is as good as picking up hobby. I think I'll do one more blaster of this stuff and then get a want list and trade list up.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

David Krejci Collection - Card 10

David Krejci scored his 4th goal of the year on Thursday night against Toronto. It's nice to see Krejci starting to accumulate some points. It's been a slow year for him compared to last year as far as point totals go, but the team is really starting to play well consistently (8-1-1 in their last 10!).

Krejci's goal came when he blocked a shot and a Toronto defender fell, leaving Krejci to break in alone. A couple of nice moves left Toronto goaltender Vesa Toskala completely confused, and Krejci slid the puck into a wide expanse of empty net. We'll see if the Bruins can continue their run tonight on the road against John Tavares and the New York Islanders!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mail Day - Captain Canuck

I returned to my desk earlier this week after a few days away to find a surprise package waiting for me. I knew the return address instantly, Captain Canuck! I wasn't expecting anything so I was curious to see what made its way down from Canada to Rhode Island. As usual, there were a couple of packs of junk wax (not junk in my opinion!), which is much appreciated. First off, there was a 31 card jumbo pack of 92-93 Pro Set hockey. This is the 3rd one of these packs I've gotten from Brian. Here are a few highlights:

#7 - Andy Moog - Boston Bruins

#23 - Theoren Fleury - Calgary Flames

#66 - Wayne Gretzky - Los Angeles Kings - If for no other reason, this pack was a winner for adding a new Gretzky card to my collection!

#85 - Patrick Roy - Montreal Canadiens - Since Brian was generous enough to send me these cards I guess I'll show a lousy Canadien...

#125 - Peter Sidorkiewicz - Ottawa Senators - I did get any Whalers but I did pull a couple of ex-Whalers, Peter Sidorkiewicz...

#134 - Kevin Dineen - Philadelphia Flyers - and Kevin Dineen. Two of my favorite late 80's/early 90's Whalers.

#246 - Wayne Gretzky - Los Angeles Kings - Statistical Leader - Make that two Gretzky's that I didn't have.

#254 - NHL Pro Set Hockey Clinic - This is just a bizarre card. I guess I sort of pulled a Whaler in this pack. Apparently the Pro Set Youth Hockey Clinics took place on baseball diamonds?

Team Leader #11 of 15 - Doug Gilmour - Toronto Maple Leafs

#CC-1 - Mark Messier - New York Rangers - Award Winners - Pretty good pack overall, I only pulled one double and ended up with 30 new cards for my collection. Brian also sent a pack of something I'd never seen before, 1999-2000 Upper Deck Gold Reserve:

10 cards per pack. I own virtually no cards (baseball or hockey) in the 1995 - 2007 range since I wasn't collecting.

#30 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere - Calgary Flames - These are heavy on the foil, that's for sure. They sort of remind me of Upper Deck Black Diamond releases, only with gold foil rather than black. As usual with these types of cards, they look better than they scan.

#94 - Eric Lindros - Philadelphia Flyers - I'm not exactly sure what Glen Wesley is doing here. I guess sliding for a shot block?

#147 - Alexei Yashin - Ottawa Senators - Star Power - This guy put up good numbers pretty consistently, but he never really seemed to achieve what people thought he would in the NHL.

#139 - Paul Kariya - Anaheim Mighty Ducks - Star Power - I can't believe they actually made a legitimate NHL franchise based off of the Mighty Ducks movie. This was a dark era for the NHL.

Along with the two wax packs, the Captain sent along a handful of singles.

1990-91 Topps Team Scoring Leaders - #3 - Cam Neely - This card brought back some memories! I definitely have to track the rest of these down.

1997-98 Upper Deck Collector's Choice - #116 - Geoff Sanderson - There wasn't a Whaler in the Pro Set pack, but I ended up with this Geoff Sanderson Collector's Choice card. Good stuff.

2008-09 Upper Deck Black Diamond - #4 - Marco Sturm - I have probably 20 or so cards from this set, but luckily I did not have this one. It would be nice if Marco would start putting some more pucks in the net.

2009-10 Upper Deck McDonald's - #4 - Marc Savard - I have last year's complete base McDonald's set, but this is the first 09-10 UD McDonald's card I've seen. I have to say that I like these a lot better than last year's. The B's just locked up Savard for 7 years, and he proved he's worth it with a hat trick against Toronto on Saturday night, helping to spoil Phil Kessel's return to Boston. Finally, the card I think prompted this entire package to be sent...
1991 Conlon Collection - #7 - Mel Ott - The only baseball card in the package is one I've been wanting for quite some time. I opened a box of 1991 Conlon Collection a few months ago and this was the single base card I didn't get.

Thank you Brian, I really appreciate the package! You've added some cool stuff to my hockey card collection and helped me finish a baseball set too. I definitely have a good amount of Conlon doubles, drop me an email with your want list and I'm sure I can help you out!

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