Sunday, October 30, 2011

Card of the Month - October 2011

For the third straight month I've actually managed a Card of the Month post, this time sneaking it in with just one day to spare in October! I'm glad I waited to make a selection though, because this month's card just arrived in the mailbox yesterday. For the second straight month, the card featured is a Hartford Whalers autograph:

2008-09 Upper Deck Legends Masterpieces - #MB-HO - Mark Howe Brushstrokes Green Auto (#'d/35)

What a beauty! This card looks even better in person than I thought it would. I loved the Legends Masterpieces hockey set when it came out, but despite completing it just over 2 years ago I had no idea this particular card existed until recently. When I stumbled across it on eBay I knew I had to have it. The Brushstrokes autographs are still fairly popular with collectors and the numbered colored parallels don't seem to pop up all that frequently anymore, so I was more than happy to pay the $26 I ended up winning this for. The green border on this particular parallel looks fantastic when matched up with Howe's early-80s road uniform.

Mark was with the Whalers franchise for 5 seasons (2 in the WHA and 3 in the NHL). Playing alongside his father for the first 3 of those 5 seasons, he recorded some remarkable numbers and was generally regarded as one of the best two-way defensemen in the league. In his two seasons with the New England Whalers of the WHA, Mark recorded 91 and 107 points! He scored 80 points the following year, Hartford's first in the NHL. Perhaps his best season came later in his career with the Flyers though, when in 1985-86 he tallied 82 points and led the league with a +85. +85?!?!?!

Howe always seemed to be overshadowed and under-rated. For example, in the same 1985-86 season that I just referenced, Howe's incredible year was lost behind Paul Coffey's record-breaking 138-point effort. It wasn't the only time Mark would finish runner-up for the Norris Trophy.

This past summer Howe finally got some well-deserved recognition when it was announced that he would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That just makes this card even greater, it's truly a welcome addition to my growing Whalers collection.

Football Sunday

Football cards seem to keep finding their way into my collection lately. With the 5-1 Patriots squaring off against the 5-2 Steelers in a few minutes, I figured it was an appropriate time to show off the latest few, which were part of a great prize package from Casey at Drop the Gloves. I was lucky enough to be paired up with Tyler Seguin in his contest, and thanks to his assist on the first goal of the season I received a healthy stack of cards from all four major sports. I'm working on a much larger thank you post for Casey, but in the meantime here are the four football cards that were included in the package. A couple of guys who will see action today against Pittsburgh, and a couple who won't. For starters there were three rookie cards from this year's Topps football set:

Taken by the Pats in the third round of last year's draft after falling much farther than originally predicted (6 other QBs were taken before him). Currently the third stringer behind Brady and Hoyer.

The team's second round pick from the 2011 draft, just before Mallett. Vereen's been in the lineup for the last three games, but has yet to get a carry. Will today be his day?

Stevan's gotten touches in 5 of 6 games so far this season. Without question his best day was a 97-yard performance (with a touchdown) against Oakland in week 4.

The fourth and final card is this Devin McCourty rookie from last year's Panini Prestige set. After an impressive Pro-Bowl rookie season, McCourty has cooled down quite a bit this year. Hopefully he doesn't get scorched today...

I'm checking out to go watch the game with a few cold ones, but check back later tonight for October's Card of the Month.

Friday, October 28, 2011

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #19 - 1961 Topps Red Sox

Continuing my countdown of 2011's neglected items, here's #19...

What is it? A 1961 Topps Boston Red Sox team card.
When and where did I get it? In mid-February on eBay.
How much did it cost me? $8 (plus $3 shipping).

In retrospect, I should have slated this card in at #20 and placed the Bob Feller auto ahead of it in the countdown. Don't get me wrong, I love vintage team cards/team checklists. On top of that, I'm a total sucker for the old school "Red Sock" logo. The thing is, after the biggest late-season collapse in the history of baseball, the manager and GM leaving town, and all the complete BS that has come out in the weeks since the season ended I just haven't been in the mood to collect or discuss anything related to the Boston Red Sox. I mean how can you root for a team of guys that don't even seem to care about rooting for themselves?

I know that as winter progresses I'll warm up to baseball again. When the trees and grass start turning green after another cold New England winter I'll probably be as excited for Opening Day as I have been every season since I was a kid. For now though, I'm just all set. In fact, I don't really have anything else to say about this card...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Panini Dominion Brass Bonanza - Nick Fotiu

Here's the sixth card I've picked up from this year's Panini Dominion Brass Bonanza set:

Alright, now we're starting to get a bit better when it comes to player selection. Although he is better known for his time with the New York Rangers, Nick Fotiu began his professional career with the Whalers franchise way back in its WHA days! Known as an enforcer, he played 61 games with the New England Whalers in his rookie season of 1974-75, notching 2 goals, 2 assists and 144 PIM. He would play another 49 games with New England in the 1975-76 season before joining the Rangers in the NHL the following year.

Fotiu was back in a Whalers uniform before long though, as Hartford claimed him in the 1979 expansion draft. He appeared in 74 of the team's 80 games that inaugural season and scored a career high 10 goals. Nick would log another 42 games with Hartford to begin the 1980-81 season, but was then dealt back to the Rangers for a 5th round draft pick. He would go on to play for the Flames and Flyers, and even logged one last game in an NHL uniform with the Edmonton Oilers during the 1988-89 season.

At 110 career games with the WHA team, and then another 116 with Hartford in the NHL, Fotiu logged more time with the franchise than anyone shown on the first five cards by a long shot.

Fotiu's card is also serial numbered to 50 copies. Props to Panini for including at least one player from the inaugural team in the set!

My Set:

#2 - Brendan Shanahan (#'d/24)
#3 - Keith Primeau (#'d/50)
#4 - Nick Fotiu (#'d/50)
#5 - Paul Coffey (#'d/50)
#7 - Tiger Williams (#'d/50)
#8 - Daryl Reaugh (#'d/50)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #20 - Bob Feller Auto

One (very common) problem that I have when it comes to the blog is that I simply never seem to have enough time to show off all of the cards that I'd like to. With every month that goes by, some interesting items just get neglected due to lack of free time. I came up with what I hope will be an interesting idea to correct this problem and let some of these great cards get the attention they deserve on the blog...

I keep pretty meticulous records on where my hobby money goes. I can tell you what I spent each paycheck, and what I got in return. Now that October is coming to an end, I thought it would be neat to look back at my favorite 20 pickups of 2011 that didn't get a blog post the first time around. After all, everyone likes a good series of countdown posts, right? Aside from being purchased between January 1st and October 31st, 2011 and not being shown on the blog before, the only other rule is that each card or group of cards had to cost me $25 or less. This didn't really exclude many purchases given my relatively small budget. I hope you enjoy!

Today we'll start things off with #20 in the countdown:

What is it? A 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Epic Signatures Bob Feller Auto.
When and where did I get it? Way back in April, at the local hobby shop.
How much did it cost me? $20 even.

This was a fitting card to start off the countdown because it highlights an area that I really only started getting into over this past year...on card autos. When I saw this card at the hobby shop for the cost of a blaster I knew I had to have it.

Feller was a World Series champion, an 8-time All-Star and first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Bob threw 279 career complete games, including 3 no-hitters and 12 more 1-hitters! He's widely regarded as one of the best right-hand arms in baseball history. I could go on and on about the man Ted Williams claimed threw the fastest ball he'd ever seen, but I'm sure you've read it all before.

Feller's autograph itself is aesthetically pleasing as well. I like the contrast of the large, bold, blue auto against the black and white card. The back uses the same recycled photo from the front, otherwise this one may have placed higher in the countdown. Sadly, Bob passed away last December at age 92.

There will be at least a couple of other on card autos later in the countdown, more posts coming soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Long Overdue Thanks to Sal!

A few weeks back a package arrived in the mail from one of my all-time favorite traders and bloggers, Sal of Puck Junk. I think I've probably traded with Sal more than I have any other blogger out there. This latest package was small in size but immense in content! Included inside were two exclusive cards from this year's National show in Chicago!

First up is a Tony Esposito card from Upper Deck's National set. As everyone knows, Sal is a huge Blackhawks fan. He also knows that I accumulate Tony Esposito cards, so this isn't the first time he's sent a new one my way. These were given out at the Upper Deck booth in packs of 5 cards during the show. In case you missed it Sal had some insane luck with pulling autos from these packs, ending up with Jeff Skinner, Sydney Crosby and Bobby Orr!

Next up is a Tim Thomas card from In The Game's National VIP set. A great looking card. I appreciate this one because I don't own many Thomas cards depicting his new mask from the last couple of seasons. Good stuff!

There was one other hockey card in the package, one that I think would make any Bruins fan jealous:

This is from the 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Metal set according to the back. I don't have any cards from this set, in fact I'm not even sure I had heard of it before receiving this beauty. Maybe the 2008-09 Metal set was so bad that I just tuned it out the following year. What an awesome card though, with swatches of Ray Bourque, Adam Oates and Cam Neely. Two Hall-of-Famers and the guy with the most career points of anyone not inducted. This will go nicely with my Trilogy Classic Confrontations card, which also features these three players.

In addition to the three hockey cards, Sal threw in a couple of baseball surprises as well:

This Wade Boggs card, which came in a 1990 Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. A great oddball card for a Red Sox fan like myself, this is possibly my first punched-from-a-magazine card of any kind.

Finally, there was this cool oddball Red Sox item:

This is a 1988 Donruss Red Sox team collection book. It's too large to scan when fully opened up, but it contains uncut sheets of 1988 Donruss Red Sox cards, including a few cards that were not included in the base set that year. Also included inside is the full, completed Stan Musial puzzle from the '88 Donruss set.

Sal, thank you for thinking of me while perusing the floor at the National! Just another example of why hockey card bloggers are the best. True, I couldn't make it out to Chicago, but thanks to Sal's generosity I've still got some awesome National-exclusive swag.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Panini Dominion Brass Bonanza - Brendan Shanahan

Today's Dominion Brass Bonanza auto, which I just retrieved from the mailbox, brings me to the half-way point with this set:

Card #2 is none other than Brendan Shanahan. As has been the case with the four previous cards, we again have what I feel is a strange player selection. To me, this card is the one that makes the absolute least sense in this set. Like the players depicted on the first four cards I've shown, Brendan's time in Hartford was brief. Shanahan served as team captain for the 1995-96 season, his only full season with the Whalers. He then spent the entire off-season whining and making it known that no part of him wanted to wear the green and blue any longer. Great attitude for your captain to have about your franchise. Eventually ownership had enough, and he was dealt to Detroit for Paul Coffey and Keith Primeau (both of whom also appear in this set) just 2 games into the 1996-97 season.

I get that Shanahan is a significant hockey figure. He's the only career 600+ goal and 2,000+ PIM guy in the history of the league. What I don't get is why Panini would think that a player who hated the city of Hartford and the team itself, and left a bad taste in the mouths of the fans, would be a good choice to include in a 10-card set paying tribute to the franchise.

To add insult to injury, they decided to make it one of two cards in the set that is numbered to just 24 copies, meaning I had to shell out more for this card than for any that I've shown so far. Don't worry though, they will definitely get more interesting from here on out...

My Set:

#2 - Brendan Shanahan (#'d/24)
#3 - Keith Primeau (#'d/50)
#5 - Paul Coffey (#'d/50)
#7 - Tiger Williams (#'d/50)
#8 - Daryl Reaugh (#'d/50)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011-12 Victory on A Pack to Be Named Later

Had to stop by Target on the way home from work today to pick up a few household items. While I was there I exercised some serious restraint in the card aisle. I spent just $1 on a single pack of Victory hockey. I'm not collecting this set, but it had been a while since hockey cards got any love on A Pack to Be Named Later. Besides, I'm trying to find some cards to send over to Brad and I know he's chasing this one. Finally, if nothing else, this will make it so that I don't have to stare at football cards at the top of my blog any longer.

You can check out the pack here.

Brad, if you're reading (and if your want lists are up to date), the 3 cards you need are yours...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Football Cards on Shoebox Legends?!?!

Last night I found myself in the local Rite Aid pharmacy picking up some household essentials. While cashing out I happened to look down and noticed that they had a couple of random packs of cards at the register. For some reason I couldn't resist this 100-card football re-pack.

I don't collect football cards at all. Prior to purchasing this pack my entire collection consisted of a pack of 1982 Topps, a pack of 1983 Topps, and 3 random cards. I thought this would make a good Sunday post for the blog though, plus this one pack will more than triple the size of my football "collection". I hate to say this, but at 5 cents per card this interested me more than any of the 2011-12 hockey products that have been released so far. Besides, maybe I'll pull a cool Patriots card.

The pack will be broken up into two posts, one for each 50-card section. Today you'll see all 50 cards from the top section. I'll preface this like I have my other football card posts; by saying that while I do enjoy watching NFL football every Sunday, I am the farthest thing from a historian of the game. So, while I can tell you off the top of my head who won the World Series in just about any year, or how many career points Sergei Fedorov has, when it comes to football my knowledge is severely lacking. Not only do I not recognize the majority of these players, it took me quite a bit of work in some cases just to find out what each card even is. If you notice that I identified any of the cards incorrectly, or failed to comment on something unique related to any of the players, please speak up!

Well, I've babbled on long enough, let's see what I pulled here. Due to said lack of football knowledge, I'll keep the commentary to a minimum and let you enjoy the scans. I'll countdown my favorite 5 cards at the end of the post, but first here are the rest of the first 50 that didn't make the cut, in the order they were pulled from the pack:

1999 Collector's Edge First Place - #19 - Antowain Smith

A name I do recognize right off the bat! After beginning his career with Buffalo, he came to the Patriots for the 2001 season. He ran for 1,000+ yards and 12 touchdowns as the Pats won the Super Bowl. In both 2002 and 2003 he led the team in rushing again, helping New England to another Super Bowl title in 03, his final year with the team.

1992 Pacific Washington Greats - #5 - Steve Pelluer

Went on to play a few seasons at the NFL level, mostly as a backup or third-string guy...

1992 Pacific Washington Greats - #59 - Bud Ericksen

Awesome helmet. Apparently Bud had a pretty interesting life.

1992 Pacific Washington Greats - #51 - Curt Marsh

Went on to play for the Raiders in the 80s. An absolutely crazy story, endured many injuries as a player and would eventually have a foot and lower leg amputated. There's a fascinating Sports Illustrated article on the whole thing here.

1992 Pacific Washington Greats - #83 - Earl Monlux

1992 Pacific Washington Greats - #78 - Don McKeta

1993 Pinnacle - #9 - Ken Ruettgers

1992 Upper Deck - #565 - Rufus Porter

I like the design of 1992 Upper Deck football, had never seen that before.

1992 Pro Set Power - #5 - Sean Landeta

A damn fine punter in his day. Named first punter on the All-Decade 1980s team and second punter on the All-Decade 1990s team. Won two Super Bowls with the Giants.

1994 Classic Pro Line Live - #53 - Ray Childress

This is one that I'm not quite sure about. Its got a copyright date of 1994 on the back, and I went with Classic Pro Line Live as the set name since that's what the logo says on the front, but truthfully I couldn't figure out exactly what this card is. I do like the Houston Oilers gear though. Anyone know this set?

1989 Topps - #224 - James Hasty (RC)

2006 Upper Deck Rookie Premiere - #10 - Michael Huff (RC)

Still playing for the Raiders, in fact had a huge game-ending interception just last week!

2006 Topps - #316 - Kelly Jennings (RC)

Jennings was traded to the Bengals just before the start of the 2011 season, but so far I don't believe he's seen action yet.

2008 Upper Deck - #ERC-ST - Jonathan Stewart (RC)

This is the second card I was unsure on. I know it's from 2008 Upper Deck, I recognize the design from the baseball and hockey sets. The thing is, the card is numbered #ERC-ST. Is this from an insert set, or some type of team-issued set maybe?

2007 Score - #396 - Jarvis Moss (RC)

Currently playing with the Raiders I guess...

2007 Score - #342 - LaRon Landry (RC)

Suffered an injury last season but is back playing with the Redskins again.

2008 Score - #359 - Jordy Nelson (RC)

9 receptions, 140 yards and a TD in last year's Super Bowl. 18 receptions, 309 yards and 3 TDs so far this year.

2002 Fleer Tradition - #14 - Micheal Barrow

1992 Wild Card - #326 - Pio Sagapolutele

Wow that is one of the ugliest looking card designs I've seen in a while. It is wild alright...wildly shitty. Pio was a member of the Super Bowl XXXI champion New England Patriots. Sadly, he passed away in 2009 at age 39.

1991 Score - #596 - Eric Swann (RC)

1990 Pro Set - #566 - Ray Berry

2003 Upper Deck MVP - #56 - Tommy Maddox

I remember this guy's comeback season in 2002.

1991 Wild Card - #18 - Randal Hill

Yeah, the 1991 Wild Card set wasn't much better looking I guess.

1991 Wild Card - #18 - Randal Hill

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, I got 2 Randals back to back.

2003 Upper Deck MVP - #38 - Javon Walker

Seems like Javon's days in the NFL are finished. He's currently a free agent, and if any team were to sign him he'd have to serve an outstanding 4-game suspension right off the bat.

1991 Wild Card - #55 - Kevin Mack

1989 Score - #264 - Eric Ball (RC)

The only card in the package that was damaged. There's a wrinkle in the card to the left of Eric's head that you can sort of see in the scan.

1989 Topps 1,000 Yard Club - #4 - Henry Ellard

I got 4 of these '89 Topps 1,000 Yard Club inserts in a row. Henry Ellard, who played a few games in a Patriots uniform to end his career...

1989 Topps 1,000 Yard Club - #15 - Roy Green

...Roy Green, who had a couple of monster receiving years for the Cardinals...

1989 Topps 1,000 Yard Club - #12 - Mark Clayton

...Mark Clayton, who was a favorite target of Dan Marino...

1989 Topps 1,000 Yard Club - #16 - Eric Martin

...and Eric Martin, whom I believe still holds the Saints franchise record for most career receiving yards. These cards are really similar to a lot of the glossy Topps baseball inserts from around the same time period.

2000 SkyBox - Checklist

This thing is paper thin and isn't part of the numbered set or anything, I'm not sure why they bothered to include it. It didn't count as one of my 100 cards thankfully. I have placed it in the trash, where it belongs.

1997 Pinnacle - #71 - Ken Norton Jr.

Son of the former heavyweight champ, and 3-time Super Bowl champion! One of the better card designs of this first section.

1990 Pro Set - #398 - Steve Jordan

What re-pack would be complete without some Pro Set? Jordan was a member of 6 consecutive Pro Bowl teams from 1986-1991.

1990 Pro Set - #453 - Vestee Jackson

1991 Upper Deck - #206 - Mark Bortz

1992 Fleer Ultra - #66 - Randy Hilliard

I see the Fleer Ultra football sets looked exactly like the hockey and baseball sets. I guess I didn't expect any different.

1988 Topps - #326 - Marc Wilson

Finishing things off was quite a few consecutive 1988 Topps cards. A few years after this card came out Wilson was at the helm in New England when the team went 1-15.

1988 Topps - #117 - Jack Trudeau

1988 Topps - #330 - Todd Christensen

Judging by this photo I'd say Todd could have almost gotten away with not wearing a helmet.

1988 Topps - #332 - Stan Talley

1988 Topps - #61 - Morten Andersen

The NFL's career points leader! This is probably my favorite card not to make the top 5 that I saved for the end.

1988 Topps - #278 - Raul Allegre

1988 Topps - #307 - Mickey Shuler

1988 Topps - #25 - Vance Johnson

Apparently admitted to abusing his ex-wife on the Oprah Winfrey Show?

1988 Topps - #164 - Walter Abercrombie

Walter was the final card in the top section. And now, the moment you've been anxiously awaiting, my top 5 cards from the first 50...

#5 - 1990 Pro Set - #789 - NFL's Overseas Appeal

This card was just so strange that it got my attention. What an awkward photo of a young Japanese boy jammed between somewhat creepy looking Denver Bronco and Seattle Seahawk mascots and a couple of cheerleaders.

#4 - 1988 Topps - #232 - Shane Conlan (RC)

With Halloween right around the corner, I don't think this one needs any explanation.

#3 - 2005 Topps Total - #496 - Lofa Tatupu (RC)

Lofa had a hell of a start to his NFL career, but after some serious injuries the Seahawks released him this past summer when the two parties couldn't come to terms on a restructured contract. He's currently unsigned. The reason I chose him though is that he grew up not far from where I live now, and went to high school with my wife! The card is nothing special but I thought it was pretty cool to pull his rookie.

#2 - 1988 Topps - #189 - Dolphins Team Leaders (Dan Marino)

I'm a sucker for a good horizontal card, and this one fits the bill. A great action photo of the play-action pass. There was one card in this section though that blew all of the others out of the water, in fact it's a card I've almost purchased a couple of times despite not being a football collector. I was psyched when I saw this one:

#1 - 1989 Topps Traded - #83T - Barry Sanders (RC)

Oh yeah! This card is freakin' awesome. I don't care that its book value isn't very high, it's a rookie card of one of the most exciting players I've ever seen with the football, and a Hall-of-Famer to boot. Barry's rookie is a card that even someone who doesn't collect football can appreciate. This is definitely my new favorite football card!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this random smattering of football cards on this Fall Sunday. I'm off to watch the action myself, including what I hope will be a merciless beating of the Cowboys at the hands of the Patriots in a couple of hours. The second section of 50 cards can't top this first one, but if there's any interest I'll post it anyway.
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