Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Red Sox eBay Winnings

I received two packages at work today, each containing an individual card recently won in an eBay auction. Both cards are very welcome in my Red Sox collection, and are so different I decided I had to show them off. Here's the first...
#234(B) - Boston Red Sox (Rudy Guiliani)
Yeah, I'm a little behind on picking this one up. What can I say...I just didn't buy a whole lot of 2008 Topps and definitely didn't care about desperately searching for this gimmick card. I ended up grabbing it for 99 cents, which I'm sure is more than I should've paid but at least I can cross it off of my Red Sox needs list...

1965 Topps #42 - Earl Wilson

This is the card that I was really excited to receive. The 1965 design is one of my favorites from the decade, and this Earl Wilson card is the definition of an awesome vintage card in my opinion. I really love the way the Red Sox pennant looks on these cards, and this one has me convinced that I should make this one of the first vintage team sets I should go for.
So there you have it, two new Red Sox cards created by Topps 43 years apart! Believe it or not, the 1965 card was cheaper than the 2008!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ridiculous Cards - Mike Corrigan

Continuing with the lot of 1974-75 Topps cards I recently picked up, here's another gem. If I had to choose one word to describe Mike Corrigan and his haircut, I'm not sure if I would go with "slow" or "medieval". The pen marks on either side of the Kings name just add to this card in my opinion. Could the photographer have tried any less to get a decent photo?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ridiculous Cards - Fred Shero

I recently won a 1974-75 Topps hockey lot on eBay. I've never owned any of these and wanted to get a start on the set. I kind of like the cheesy design and the photography is horrendous. I'm going to show a few of what I think are the funniest cards from the lot, starting with this Fred Shero.

Shero was actually a great coach who led the Philadelphia Flyers to two straight Stanley Cup championships in the mid-70s, and is the winningest coach in Flyers history, yet all I could do was snicker when I came across this card in the stack. Fred passed away of stomach cancer in 1990, and his son Ray is the current GM for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Playoff Run in Boston?

Posting has been sparse lately because of work. Not only that, but the combination of an HD-DVR and the Vs. network pretty much guarantees that every free moment I have for the next couple of weeks will be spent watching playoff hockey, at least until the first couple of rounds are through and there are fewer series to watch.

I did want to sneak in a quick post though to celebrate an outstanding regular season for the Boston Bruins. I don't have time to talk about every player, so I figured I'd focus on those pictured on some 2008-09 Upper Deck Champs mini cards I recently picked up. After picking up 2 packs of this stuff I decided to stay away for the $100+ dollar hobby boxes, and in fact from the set in general. I do like the mini cards though, so I hopped on eBay and haggled with a seller. I ended up getting what I think is most of the Bruins mini cards for about what I would pay for a hobby pack.
We'll start with Phil Kessel. This was most definitely a breakout year for Phil. He scored an impressive 36 goals, despite missing 12 games. Had he played a full 82 he would've undoubtedly scored 3 more, which would've made him a top 10 goal-scorer in the league (he finished tied for 12th as it stands). Not bad for a guy who's just 21 years old huh?
Patrice had a solid season and was a contributor at both ends of the ice, on the power-play and on the penalty kill units. Best of all he dressed for 64 games after missing all but 10 last year due to a serious concussion. Patrice is a finalist for the Masterson trophy this year, awarded to a player who shows exceptional perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
The name Milan Lucic undoubtedly makes some hockey fans think of a goon or a tough guy. That's not entirely inaccurate, as he will drop gloves with anyone, ended up in the top 5 in the league for hits, and made plenty of highlight reels putting an opponent through the glass earlier this season. Lucic is a very skilled player though, and what the average fan might not know is that in his second season he improved dramatically in almost every single statistical category.
Here's the tallest guy in the NHL, and should-be Norris trophy winner Zdeno Chara. He's anchored the team all year and is one of 3 guys who I think really needs to maintain his level of play if the Bruins are going to make a significant playoff run.
Here's the second guy who really needs to stay hot in order for the B's to make a playoff push. Savard was outstanding this season, he led the team in scoring and was 8th in the league overall. Can he produce like this when the high pressure playoff atmosphere and grinding, physical style of play become factors?
I've already posted about David Krejci at least a couple of times, so I will keep it to a minimum here. He's my favorite player in the game right now and definitely did not suffer any symptoms of a sophomore slump. He's a talented scorer and setup guy, but is also a very intelligent player who rarely makes a mistake and as a result saw significant time on both the powerplay and short-handed units. He recorded his 100th career NHL point in the final game of the season. Perhaps most amazingly, he led the entire NHL in +/- this season. No, that is not a typo.
Coach Claude Julien advocated for this guy in the off-season when Montreal was frustrated with his performance last year. Ryder didn't disappoint, as he seemed to mesh well with linemates Krejci and Blake Wheeler. He would've likely reached the 30 goal mark had he not missed significant time after having his face literally broken by a stick blade. He was inconsistent at times though, will he be able to kick up the intensity in the first round against his former team?
Finally, the most important guy on the team, and the final player who I think needs to come up big in the playoffs. There's no doubt about this one. Tim deserves to be the Vezina trophy winner as far as I'm concerned. Best Goals Against Average and save percentage of any keeper in the league.
The series against Montreal kicks off on Thursday night, I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Budget Card Store Run - 1991 Pinnacle Pack 2

Here's my other pack of 1991-92 Pinnacle. It brings the grand total to $5.

#60 - Christian Ruuttu
#52 - Tim Kerr - I already poked fun at Tim back here. Nice mustache...
#57 - Craig Janney
#220 - Al MacInnis - I wish the Flames would go back to using their late 80s/early 90s jerseys, even just as an alternate or something.
#215 - Craig MacTavish - Craig is the current coach of the Oilers, and is in some hot water at the moment. Rumor is he'll be out of a job if the Oilers miss the playoffs.

#218 - Greg Adams
#222 - Bob Sweeney - I'm starting to see a pattern here...

#230 - Alexei Gusarov
#225 - Charlie Huddy - OK, it's official. I think this may take the record for most caterpillar mustaches in one pack, no?
#402 - Brian Benning - Sidelines - Just like the sidelines card from my last pack, I really don't care what Brian Benning's hobby is. I see what they were going for here but I just don't think it works.
#387 - Patrick Roy - Rogatien Vachon - Idols - I like this card because of Vachon's killer mask. I just wish Patrick Roy wasn't in the way of the photo.
#372 - Kelly Miller - Good Guy - One of the dumbest subsets I can recall seeing. I guess Kelly is a "good guy" off the ice, so he gets an illustrated portrait card...
Not quite as good as the other pack, no rookies this time either.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Opening Day Thoughts - Beckett Shines

The Sox just won their opener against the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 5-3. Great start to the season, here are my quick observations from the game...

3 Stars
1st Star - Josh Beckett - Josh did all he could to erase any doubt that he is the ace of this team. His struggles last year combined with Lester's domination towards the end of the season left some questioning whether Beckett was still the number 1 guy in Boston. How did he respond today? How about 7 IP, just 2 hits, 1 run and 10 strikeouts! Best player of the game by far.
2nd Star - Jason Varitek - After a dismal season last year (batting just .220!) and a bungled attempt at free agency in the off-season, Jason has a lot to prove to the team, Sox fans, and himself. He got off to a great start with solid defensive play, and a solo home run. His 1-4 on the day is deceiving as he smashed a line drive in his first at bat directly to the left fielder.
3rd Star - Jonathan Papelbon - Papelbon was his usual self, taking care of each of the 3 batters he faced in the 9th for his first save of the season, and hitting mid-90s on the radar gun.
The Ugly - Hideki Okajima - Okajima came in to start the 8th only to hit and then walk the first two batters he faced. They would both eventually score to make the game 5-3 and give the Rays some life. Honorable mention to Jacoby Ellsbury who was the only player out of the starting 9 not to get a hit, and looked lost during his 0-4 performance at the plate.
Looking forward to game 2 tomorrow!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day is Here!

At long last another brutal New England winter is coming to a close, and the baseball season starts today! While I do my best to completely avoid hearing any news of the game (which begins at 2 P.M. Eastern time) until I get home from work and watch it on my DVR, I'll be anxiously awaiting hearing Jerry Remy provide some quality color commentary.

I think Jerry is the perfect commentator for the Sox, and while his giggling with play-by-play guy Don Orsillo may irritate some people, I definitely prefer NESN's coverage to any of the national stations.

To celebrate the start of the season, here's Jerry's card from the year I was born, 1982. Below you'll find a clip that should give you an idea of how goofy Remy can be sometimes. If you live in New England and get NESN, I apologize ahead of time, as you've undoubtedly seen this ad nauseum, but if not I encourage you to give it a look!

Go Red Sox!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Budget Card Store Run - 1986 Topps Rack Pack #2

Here's the other 1986 Topps rack pack I picked up. Is it better than the first? My glossy all-star insert was Graig Nettles...
#1 - Pete Rose - Sadly, this will not be the only baseball star in this pack whose incredible career was tainted by a series of horrible decisions. Although in Pete's case, at least his horrible decisions came AFTER his career was over and didn't improve his career statistics in any way.

#180 - Don Mattingly

#233 - Steve Lyons - The first of two Red Sox cards I pulled. The second one was much better, I guess...

#280 - Tim Raines

#386 - Cecil Fielder - This is his rookie right? Nice.

#471 - Bobby Cox - I have to confess that I did not know that Bobby Cox spent time in the Blue Jays organization.

#597 - Sammy Stewart - I recalled reading about Stewart's struggles with drug addiction on Kevin's Orioles Card of the Day blog a while back as soon as I pulled this card. Sad story...

#600 - Dale Murphy

#630 - Fernando Valenzuela

#661 - Roger Clemens - Here's the card I've alluded to a couple of times already. I would've been excited to get this card 15 years ago...

#704 - Ozzie Smith All-Star - This might be my favorite card from either pack. It's not a good looking card by any means, I've just always liked Ozzie.

#716 - Rickey Henderson All-Star
I also pulled doubles of the Kent Tekulve and Rod Carew cards from my 1st pack, so I'm pretty sure this one takes it far and away. Grand total so far...$4.
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