Monday, May 31, 2010

Classic Cards - 1993 Upper Deck Mike Stanton

Not a lot of time today, hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. Since there's been a heavy dose of vintage lately I figured why not post about a card that's not so old. 1993 Upper Deck is easily one of the top ten post-1990 sets in my opinion, one that is shared by most collectors.

I was scanning through a stack the other day and noticed this Mike Stanton card was particularly cool. In case you didn't look closely or click the picture to see the full size scan, the sign says "I [heart] the Braves, especially Mike Stanton". Nice shot Upper Deck!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Collecting Yaz - 1967 Topps

All I've been interested in lately is vintage. It's been over two months since I've purchased anything newer than 25 years old, and I don't see that changing for a long time, if ever. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if it weren't for vintage I'd probably quit collecting altogether, or at least take a very long break.

As much as I love the 1953 Topps set though, I need to mix things up a bit from time to time in order to keep myself entertained. So, as part of refocusing my collection I've decided on 4 players to start collecting, and will be featuring their cards here from time to time as I acquire them. The first of the 4 is Carl Yastrzemski. This was a no-brainer. I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan, and he is the most successful and well known Red Sox player from the period I intend to collect, plus his cards are reasonably priced given that he's a Hall-of-Famer and Boston sports legend. In fact, I'm ashamed that I've been running this blog for over two years and have yet to feature a Yaz card. Well, I'm going to correct that starting with this beauty:

I don't have many 1967 Topps cards, in fact I think this one, which I won a few weeks back is only my second. I've recently been watching a ton of the "Baseball Seasons" series on MLB Network. If you haven't seen this show, and you appreciate the history of the game like I do, you have no idea what you are missing. Each hour long episode details one baseball season. You get statistical breakdowns, season highlights, great interviews and vintage video footage, etc. I've seen them profile seasons as early as the 1950's and as recent as 1995 so far. I'm absolutely hooked on the show.

A few weeks back I caught the episode on the 1967 season. I've known about the amazing 1967 "Impossible Dream" Red Sox season, and moreover Yaz's amazing individual 1967 season since reading about it in baseball books as a kid many years ago. In fact, most people agree that 1967 was the absolute pinnacle of Yastrzemski's career. He won the AL MVP and led the league in many statistical categories, including batting average, home runs and RBI. This gave him the famed triple crown, a feat that no other player has accomplished since. Seeing the season play out on my TV screen and viewing some of the actual video footage for the first time made me realize that a 1967 Topps Yastrzemski was an absolutely essential card for a vintage baseball collection, especially one belonging to a Red Sox fan.

So there you have it, the first of hopefully many vintage Yastrzemski cards to come!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Condensing Begins

I'm really motivated to condense my collection, then organize and find a nice way to display what I have left, the cards I truly care about. To get myself started I picked up a couple of these Priority Mail flat rate boxes at the post office the other day. I figure I'll jam pack each one with as many unwanted cards as I can fit and then give them away via the blog.

A while back I had this plan to sort out all of the cards I wanted to purge by sport, then by team. I thought I would then find a blogger, if I didn't know one already, that was into that particular team and send out all the cards that way. I know myself though, and it's just that type of anal, detail-oriented thinking that got me into this mess to begin with. Instead, I grabbed the flat rate box and just started cramming. I had boxes and team set bags strewn about left and right, and was literally just grabbing chunks of cards as I could, trying to get a decent variety.

I did at least make an effort to organize by sport, so everything in this first box is baseball (with the exception of a handful of 1990-91 Pro Set hockey packs). Listen, you won't find a vintage Mickey Mantle in here, there's a reason I want to purge myself of these cards. At the same time, I tried to get a good variety of cards in the box so that it's not all junk wax nobody would want. So yes, you will find some 1990 Topps, etc, but you'll also find some Topps and Bowman Heritage, quite a few 2007 - 2009 releases, some inserts/parallels and some other odds and ends. There are easily over 1,000 total cards in here, kind of like a grab bag on the Barry Bonds workout program.

So, are you interested? All you have to do is be the first person to leave a comment on this post (US only please due to the flat rate box, I will send you some cards if you want though Canuck!) indicating that you would like the cards. I need an address, so if you're not comfortable leaving it in the comments then please email it to me or include your email so that I can contact you. If you'd like to make a Paypal donation of $10 to cover the shipping cost that would be great, but if not no big deal. I am happy just to be rid of the cards!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1953 Topps Project - Post #38

So it's been a few days. Game 7 was a crushing loss, but don't worry Canuck, you won't find me about to jump from any ledges. I have no regrets about attending the game, it was the loudest and most exciting pro sports event I've ever attended in person and a great way for the fiancee and I (who I've slowly turned into a hockey fan!) to start our vacation.

The pain was also dampened by the fact that I spent my last 3 days traveling New England and attending two Pearl Jam concerts (one in Hartford, one in Boston). They've been my favorite band since about the mid-90's and have never disappointed in the dozen or more times I've seen them over the last decade or more. This tour was no different, as the guys (who aren't getting any younger) put on a couple of amazing shows. If you're a fan of the music but have never seem them live you really owe it to yourself to check them out.

Anyway, I'm pretty beat and my voice is a bit shot from all the yelling and singing, but it's back to relaxing for the rest of the week. While I've had little time for the collection lately, I have spent a lot of time thinking about where I want to go with it. I have made up my mind, at least for now, on a couple of things. First and foremost, while I don't think I'll quit collecting overall, I want to condense. I don't know exactly how many cards are in my possession but I would guess north of 20,000. I would like to get that number down to under 5,000 well organized cards. I picked up a couple of "cram whatever you want and pay a flat amount" boxes at the post office the other week in order to get this process started, but that will be for another post. The second thing I've determined is that with the hockey season winding down I'm going to focus on vintage (1950 - 1979) baseball for a while. On that note, it's time for the return of the 1953 Topps Project...

#153 - Andy Seminick - Cincinnati Reds

Andy Seminick is my 38th card in what will likely become a failed attempt to collect a graded 1953 Topps baseball set. Although featured as a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization on this particular piece of cardboard, Seminick is most closely associated with the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Seminick played for Philadelphia for 9 seasons between 1943 and 1951 and then again for better than 2 seasons to end his career in the mid-1950's. During his playing days, he was known more for his bat than his fielding ability, as evidenced by the fact that he led the NL in errors in 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1952!

Andy seemed to be one of those players who really loved the game, and he proved this by staying with the Phillies organization in many capacities for over 40 years after he retired. He coached the Phillies for two different stints, managed some of their minor league teams and even served as both a scout and instructor. Sadly, Andy passed away at age 83 back in 2004...

Set Status: 38/274 (14%)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Going to Game 7 - Great Idea or Gigantic Mistake?

I am going to game 7 in Boston tomorrow night. The idea crept into my head today as I was driving to work and wouldn't go away. A few hours later, a perfect storm of conditions (I'm on vacation from work for 9 days beginning tomorrow afternoon, and I've always wanted to see a Stanley Cup playoff game 7 in person) led to a purchase from Stub Hub.

I'll be sitting in a loge box seat just 8 rows from the ice tomorrow night as the Boston Bruins either pull off a gigantic win or complete one of the most monumental playoff collapses in all of sports history. I figured it was worth the risk and would be a great game to see regardless.

Please don't blow this Bruins! Listen, I watched every single minute of every game you played this year. I know you can sometimes be painful to watch. I know at times it seems almost physically impossible to score a goal. I know you had no business even getting up 3 games to none on this Flyers team to begin with. For those few games at the end of the Buffalo series and the beginning of this series, I think most fans were in amazement that the team was even capable of that level of play. Well now you have come back down to the level of play we saw for most of the season...

For once (in the last 15 years) the city of Boston is actually interested in it's hockey team. People are attending games, cheering their hearts out (and sometimes booing their hearts out). I actually hear hockey talk on Boston's sports talk radio stations! Don't blow it! I know you had no business getting up 3-0 in the series, but you did! Don't lose 4 straight and go down in history with that damn Islander team from the 70's.

Going to this game will either be a great idea or a gigantic mistake. Any hockey fans with a prediction?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Game 5

So I don't post a Bruins card before game 4 and look what happens, the Bruins lose a heart-breaker in overtime! I am now officially convinced that my posting a Bruins card has a direct bearing on the outcome of the games ;)

Anyway, my choice for game 5 is Blake Wheeler. He is one of a few Bruins that experienced a pretty severe drop-off this year after a promising 2008-09 campaign. He and Michael Ryder never recaptured the magic that they had last year when playing with David Krejci earlier this season. Wheeler has shown signs of improved play, including a nice redirect goal in front of the net earlier in the series. With Krejci out for the season though, it's time for guys like Wheeler, Ryder and Lucic to step it up. Recchi has done it and he's on the wrong side of 40, so what's Blake's excuse?

Let's go Bruins, close this one out at home!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

David Krejci Collection - Card 25

Last night the Bruins put themselves in prime position to advance to the Eastern Conference finals (something they haven't done in 18 years) with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The B's now lead the best of 7 series 3 games to none. While I am very excited to see the Bruins advance this far in the playoffs, I still have a huge feeling of disappointment this morning.

David Krejci was absolutely smashed last night by Mike Richards (a completely legitimate hit though) while crossing his blue line into neutral ice. You could tell immediately that something was wrong, and Krejci did not return to the lineup for the remainder of the game. This morning the news that I've been afraid to hear has begun leaking out...early reports indicate that David suffered a broken wrist and will be out for the remainder of the season.

This is obviously a big disappointment for me personally. The experience of watching the Bruins advance this far is now tainted by the fact that my favorite player will be missing from the lineup when the B's play on the biggest stage they've played on in quite some time.

The injury is a huge loss for the Bruins too, who were already significantly short-handed (Sturm is out for the season, Seidenberg/Stuart have yet to play in the playoffs at all). I don't doubt that they will be able to close out the series with the Flyers, but I think that if the Penguins beat the Canadiens in the other Eastern Conference semi-final then the B's will have a hell of a time competing with Pittsburgh sans Krejci.

For what is likely to be my final Krejci post of the season, I've chosen this 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Premier Dual Jersey Dual Patch Auto. I featured the Quad Jersey Auto (#'d to 299) quite a while back. Recently I added this Dual Patch Dual Jersey Auto version, which is #'d to just 35, to compliment it. Overall this was a decent season for Krejci, but it's a shame to see him fall to injury when his game was picking up and when the Bruins needed him most...

#1 - 2007-08 Upper Deck SPX (Auto/Dual Relic/#'d to 999)
#2 - 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Premier (Auto/Quad Relic/#'d to 299)
#3 - 2007-08 Upper Deck Ice Fresh Threads (Dual Relic)
#4 - 2008-09 Upper Deck Champs Mini
#5 - 2007-08 In the Game Heroes & Prospects
#6 - 2009-10 Fleer Ultra
#7 - 2007-08 Upper Deck SP Authentic (Auto/#'d to 999)
#8 - 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee
#9 - 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee
#10 - 2009-10 Upper Deck
#11 - 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Stat Leaders Insert
#12 - 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Retro Parallel
#13 - 2005-06 In the Game Heroes & Prospects
#14 - 2007-08 Upper Deck MVP
#15 - 2008-09 Upper Deck Powerplay
#16 - 2007-08 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie
#17 - 2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold
#18 - 2009-10 Upper Deck MVP Winter Classic
#19 - 2007-08 Upper Deck Rookie Class
#20 - 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Gold Parallel
#21 - 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Retro Rainbow Parallel (#'d/100)
#22 - 2009-10 Fleer Ultra Ice Medallion Parallel (#'d/100)
#23 - 2007-08 Upper Deck The Cup Rookie Gold Auto Patch Parallel (Auto/Patch/#'d to 46)
#24 - 2007-08 Upper Deck Ultimate Signed Ultimate Debut Threads (Auto/Patch/#'d to 10)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Game 3

OK, Patrice Bergeron turned out to be a decent pick for game 2 as well, I'm on a bit of a roll here. While he didn't score the game winner like Savard did in game 1, he had one of his typical solid games. He was probably most noticeable in the face off circle. In the first period alone he won all 9 of his face offs, including one where he set up Boychuk for the game's opening goal.

This series continues to pick up pace and intensity as it plays out. I'm sure tonight's game 3 in Philadelphia will be more of the same. Down 2 games to none and playing in front of the home crowd, I don't doubt that the Flyers are going to come out gunning. Because of that, the Bruins player I'm looking to for a standout game is rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Rask has given up one or two questionable goals in the series, but all in all he has really carried the team on his back from a defensive standpoint. What's amazing to me is the poise and calmness that he exhibits for such a young goaltender. I think Andy Brickley said it best the other night when he commented that Rask takes ownership of a poor goal and does not lose confidence or let it distract him. Let's hope Rask can turn in another stellar performance tonight and the B's can take game 3!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Game 2

Alright, so I posted a Marc Savard card just before game 1 of the Bruins/Flyers series and he scored the game winner in overtime. Maybe I can keep my luck going here. Today I'll go with Patrice Bergeron, who had a pretty decent game himself in game 1.

Casey from Drop the Gloves! commented on my game 1 post that it's not entirely inconceivable that the Bruins could make the Stanley Cup finals this year, and I couldn't agree more. If you don't count the last 7 minutes of regulation (will someone please explain to me what Hunwick and Wideman were doing on that Briere breakaway goal?), the Bruins actually handled Philadelphia rather well. They were 2-1-1 against Philadelphia in 4 regular season games. If they can pull out a win at home tonight and go up 2-0 you'd have to feel very good about their chances in this series.

In the other Eastern conference semi-final, I once again find myself in the uncomfortable position of actually rooting for the Montreal Canadiens. I think either the Habs or the Penguins would be a tough matchup for the B's, but I still like their chances a little more against a team that does not have Crosby or Malkin on it!

I'm sure the Flyers are going to come out guns blazing tonight, and with a little more physicality in the Boston lineup (Shawn Thornton replacing Marco Sturm) it should be a great game! Let's go Bruins!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Card of the Month - May 2010

As I strive to focus and trim down my collection, I'm taking the advice of some other bloggers and trying to get back to what really interests me about collecting. The card of the month for May is a prime example of when I did that very thing a few months back.

I found myself in a situation where I had a decent chunk of change to spend on cards. Instead of buying a bunch of wax to bust, which would provide some temporary entertainment but probably ultimately be a disappointment, I decided to add a cornerstone card to my hockey collection. I researched, hemmed and hawed, narrowed my focus, bid and missed on quite a few auctions. After a few months I finally made my decision and pulled the trigger:

I went with a graded 1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky rookie card. This card (or its O-Pee-Chee counterpart) is easily one of the most recognizable hockey cards ever, and one I've wanted in my collection ever since I began collecting a few years back. There are a few reasons I decided to go with this particular card. First and foremost, it's much cheaper than the 79 O-Pee-Chee rookie. While I did have a chunk of change to spend, it wasn't that big. To be honest though, I am just as happy with the Topps card. When I first collected as a kid in the late 80's/early 90's, Topps hockey was what I collected. Yes, I know all about O-Pee-Chee's glossier cards and larger sets, but Topps is what I was familiar with.

Aside from that, 79-80 OPC/Topps is one of my favorite set designs of all time. These cards are just classic, and the backs are as good if not better than the fronts:

When you combine one of my favorite hockey sets of all time with the rookie card of the greatest player of all time, you've got a winner. I firmly believe that some of the many records Gretzky holds are the least likely to ever be broken in all of professional sports.

This card is an absolute classic and one I will always hold on to no matter what happens with the rest of my collection!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Game 1

This is going to be a great matinee game to kick off the series. I only hope bringing Savard back at this point doesn't disrupt the chemistry that the team has finally started building on the stretch run. Let's go Bruins!!!
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