Sunday, August 20, 2017

Back Packs: 1995 Donruss Series 2

Pardon the horrible picture here. I realized after I opened the pack that I had forgotten to take a beauty shot of the pack. Quite the beauty, huh Marge. Anyway, this is 1995 Donruss, a set that took foil to a new extreme as pretty much everything that wasn't part of the picture done in foil. This fine pack from series 2 yields 18 cards. Let's see what awaits us.

#548 Scott Brosius
#348 David West
#357 Rafael Palmiero

The design on these is definitely well, interesting. You've got a full bleed photo with the Donruss logo in foil in the upper left. The bottom has another shot of the player in an inset shaped like home plate with ... *cough, cough* ... more foil, this time with a stripe featuring the team name and the players name. Above the plate inset, the position is listed with some stars creating an arch above it. All the foil, makes the player name incredibly hard to read. So much so in fact that I had to zoom in like crazy to make them out in the scan.

As far as the first batch of players here, I remember Brosius catching the final out of a World Series (I think it was the 1998 Series) for the Yankees. Looking up his career stats, 1995 looked to be his first season as the A's primary third baseman hitting .262/.342/.452 in 123 games. His most notable years though as mentioned were with the Yankees, where he was an All-Star in 1998 and won a gold glove in 1999. 

#368 Mike Devereaux
#386 Rusty Meacham
#498 Don Slaught

Rusty Meacham I have zero remembrance of. Probably the most notable player here is Don Slaught who carved out a pretty decent season in 1995 in what would be his last season with Pittsburgh.

#396 Eric Plunk
#477 Chuck Finley
#493 Cris Carpenter

The action shots on these look like they were taken from the same vantage point. Chuck Finley played for longer than I thought he did, retiring after the 2002 season. He spent 14 years with the Angels, winning 165 games for them over those seasons. After departing Anaheim, he had stints with the Indians and Cardinals. 

#403 Tim Salmon
#442 John Roper
#468 Tony Tarasco

I may have told this story before here but John Roper was the first player I ever got an in person autograph from. He was doing an autograph signing at the local mall during a card show once but I didn't have anything for him to sign. Lucky for me, one of the vendors had extra Reds cards for 25 cents, one of which was a 1994 Pinnacle John Roper. I bought the card and took it over to the center of the mall to have it signed. I'm not sure whatever happened to that card now though.

#457 Zane Smith
#450 Bip Roberts
#550 Chili Davis checklist

Bip Roberts was on his second stint with the Padres in 1995, having resigned with them after leaving the Reds via free agency. After the season, he was traded to the Royals for Wally Joyner and would hang around for a few more seasons before retiring after the 1998 season. He is perhaps best remember for his time with the Padres, but his best season was 1992 for the Reds in which he was an All-Star, finished 8th in MVP voting, and hit .323/.393/.432 in 147 games for a Reds team that won 90 games that season.

#522 Joe Carter
#380 Kirby Puckett

The last two cards in the pack and two pretty solid players. The 1995 season was Kirby's last but he went out with a bang, being named an All-Star, walloping 23 homers, with a .314 average in 137 games. I guess that this could be classified as a sunset card as well, unless he had cards in the 1996 releases, which he very well could. Carter had a pretty good season in 1995 as well, despite being on the backside of his career. For a Blue Jays team that only won 56 games that year, Carter hit .253/.300/.428 in 139 games.

That's it for this pack. This was the last of the packs I had in reserve that were worth sharing. The other packs I opened were literally nothing special so I felt like there was nothing worth talking about. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

And In This Corner #2

Thanks to the deluge of old school footage recently uploaded on the WWE Network over the past few weeks, I've been binge watching a lot of it, from early 80s World Class to WWF house shows from the mid-1980s, there's been a lot to take in. Watching all that old footage though made me realize that it's been a while since I've dug through the old clippings I scanned in last fall. So I dove in and found a few more interesting scans that I think would be pretty fun to explore.

This particular card I believe was from 1960 as most of these clippings were in chronological order in the scrapbook. Previously, I talked about Magnificent Maurice but the person he's facing on this card, Oyama Kato, is someone I'm definitely not too familiar with. I was able to find some basic information on him but unfortunately my normal places where I dig info up from were little to no help. Kato was a former MWA Junior Heavyweight champion beating Frankie Talaber in January of 1954 and holding the title for only 27 days until Talaber beat him to reclaim the title. He also teamed with Danny McShain, winning the Ohio version of the American Tag Team titles and also won the San Francisco version of the NWA World Tag Team titles with Karl von Schober. Just under a year after this card occurred, Kato passed away at the age of 42.

Don Eagle was the son of wrestler Chief War Eagle and won a Golden Gloves title in the Cleveland area before getting into wrestling. Debuting in 1945 in the Indianapolis territory, by the time he wound up in Cincinnati, his career was nearing its end. During his career he fought the likes of Buddy Rogers, Antonino Rocca, Gorgeous George, and Hans Schmidt. During a match with Schmidt in 1953, he severely injured his back and went into semi-retirement and popped up in various territories until 1963 when he officially retired. During the course of his career, he held the Boston version of the AWA Heavyweight Title twice, was the last person to hold the MWA Heavyweight Title, and trained the likes of Billy Two Rivers and Chief Jay Strongbow. On March 17, 1963 it was reported that Eagle had committed suicide because of recent business failures and still dealing with the pain of the back injury ten years prior.

The Brunetti Brothers were a team I've never heard of but it turns out they were one of the top teams of the 1950s, holding the regional versions of the NWA World Tag Team titles in the Upper Midwest. Over the border, they also held titles in the Toronto and Vancouver areas and the Stampede International Tag Team titles. The caption of this clipping reads that on this particular card, they'll be facing the Shire Brothers, Roy and Ray. Roy Shire would later go on to open up the San Francisco territory and run cards at the legendary Cow Palace while Ray Shire would become Ray "The Crippler" Stevens and have a long run as a tag team wrestler with Pat Patterson and Nick Bockwinkle.

Judging by the caption, Gene Kiniski was facing Yukon Eric, most notable for having his ear ripped off in a match against Killer Kowalski, in a return match as their previous encounter ended in a draw. Kiniski was known as "Canada's Greatest Athlete" and after leaving the Cincinnati area, went on to capture titles in every major territory he competed in, including winning the AWA and NWA World Heavyweight titles.

This scan isn't the best but it's a picture of Dick the Bruiser, who at this time was involved in a feud in the Detroit region with Cowboy Bob Ellis. Before wrestling, Bruiser played 48 games over three seasons in the NFL as a guard for the Green Bay Packers. Bruiser would buy the Indianapolis region from Jim Barnett in 1964 and ran until 1989. His territory spawned many stars but most notably gave Bobby Heenan his start in pro wrestling. Newer fans may recognize Bruiser as the guest referee from the Starrcade 1990 main event between Sting and the Black Scorpion, in what would prove to be his final televised appearance.

Hope everyone enjoyed this dive through wrestling history, back to cards soon (I promise!) as things at work are finally starting to settle down.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Back Packs: 2006 Topps Series 1

I don't remember much about 2006, actually I don't remember a thing about that year.

Some things that happened that I don't remember: the Cardinals won the World Series, Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth for second on the all-time home run list, and the Reds finished 3.5 games out of first place. 

I also don't remember baseball cards that year, especially since I was 21, three years out of high school, and the last thing on my mind was baseball cards. So, here's a pack of cards I'm not familiar with from year I don't remember much of.

#188 Gary Matthews Jr.
#44 Carl Everett
#88 B.J. Surhoff

I'll admit, I was thrown off when I opened these. I though 2006 was the year with team name at the top of the cards with the letters in the little circles. I certainly wasn't expecting this. What we have here is some multi-colored craziness with team names and player names written in shiny foil which makes it incredibly hard to read, especially when scanning these in. In terms of things I don't remember, I certainly don't remember Carl Everett ever playing for the Mariners (and he appears to be in a White Sox uniform) nor do I remember long-time Brewer outfielder B.J. Surhoff suiting up for the Orioles.

Speaking of B.J. Surhoff, I felt compelled to show off the back of the card, mainly because it's pretty wild. You've got the full career stats (up to that point) on the back, along with what appears to be the secondary logo for the team, and then ... what's that in the top left? By cracky it's an old-school Topps cartoon! Well, that's certainly unexpected and makes that pretty cool. 

#198 Kevin Mench
#295 Frank Robinson (MGR)
#66 Shawn Estes

2006 was the second year for the Nationals and I thought it was pretty cool to get a Frank Robinson card. Shawn Estes would appear in only one game for the Padres in 2006. The year prior he was in 21 games for Arizona with a 7-8 record and a 4.80 ERA. I barely remember Kevin Mench but he split 2006 between Texas and Minnesota appearing in 127 games total hitting .269/.313/.419 with 13 HRs and 65 RBIs

#82 Huston Street
#MHR1 Mickey Mantle Home Run History
#315 Tom Gorzelanny

My lone insert card was the Mickey Mantle "home run history" card. This went directly into the Yankees trade pile. The other two cards, Huston Street and Tom Gorzelanny are staying in the collection. Gorzelanny just retired after last season where as Street is still active with the Angels.

#168 Julian Tavarez
#318 Brayan Pena
#227 Corey Koskie

My last batch here. I'd forgotten completely about Julian Tavarez and Corey Koskie. Brayan Pena was a welcome site, considering it's his rookie card (at least it claims to be) and I liked him with for the few years he spent as a Red. Something about that batting pose though just looks unnatural.

Well, there's a pack of cards from 2006. Was it interesting? Somewhat. Was it memorable? Nope, not really but it was still a fun rip and for 50 cents what more can you ask.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Football Shoebox Part 2: Cardinals to Eagles

Time to dive back into the lovely shoebox full of football cards. Six more teams this time, the Cardinals to the Eagles.

Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals

I only held onto three Cardinals cards, mainly because I never really followed them and therefore don't have much knowledge of their players from this time. I was hoping for a Boomer Esiason Cardinals card but it was not to be. Still, that Larry Fitzgerald card is pretty cool.

San Diego Chargers

Ah yes, the recently departed San Diego Chargers. There's two Junior Seau cards on the bottom. I had to keep the Ryan Leaf card mainly because it's laughable about how much of a bust he was in the NFL. 

Kansas City Chiefs

I'd forgotten that Marcus Allen ever played for the Chiefs so to find a lot of his cards here in a Chiefs uniform was pretty cool. The Warren Moon card up top there is pretty neat too with him in what looks like a Seahawks jersey but is labeled as a Chiefs card.

Dallas Cowboys

I'll admit I never was a big fan of the Cowboys. I always felt like they were overrated. However, I won't doubt the fact they had lots of good players like Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, etc. Unfortunately, no Aikman cards were to be found but that's ok as I found some keepers anyway.

Miami Dolphins

Surprisingly there were some Dan Marino cards in the box, along with a few other nifty cards. Nothing too fancy but the 2000 Score Marino is a sunset card, which is pretty cool.

Philadelphia Eagles

Again, the Eagles are a team I never really followed, but there were some fun cards to be had here, including the Randall Cunningham die-cut and the William Perry card, of which I had no knowledge of him ever donning the green and white.

And that's another batch of cards from the football box done.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Archives, Pokemon, and Discounted Relics

I had a rare weekday off last Thursday and after doctors appointments for my wife (where we found out we were having a son) and my 4-year old (it looked like he had hurt his foot the night before but it turned out he was fine), we all went out for a bit of a celebration. First stop was some lunch at Chik-Fil-A and then we headed over to the card shop while we were out for a treat. 

First thing I found was a bin full of hockey relic cards. The cards were unmarked and had no price anywhere to be found. There were a bunch that I could have gone for but since there was no price marked I decided to play it safe and grab the Morgan Rielly and Patrik Elias cards above, which to be honest were the two best in the box. Turns out they were $3 each or 4 for $10. Had I known that, I would've dug a little deeper!

Next there was a box full of marked down vintage cards. I quickly flipped through a few rows and found this gem for $2. This Joe Nuxhall Kansas City A's card is actually one of my ten most wanted cards, mainly because it's the only card I know of that doesn't show Nuxy as a member of the Reds. For two bucks, I'll gladly cross it off the list.

There were TONS of packs he had on the shelf. I almost grabbed a few packs of Donruss but then I spotted Archives. While they were a little pricey at nearly $6 each, I couldn't help myself and get two of them.

My son wanted Pokemon cards so he got two packs of the newest release, Sun & Moon Guardians Rising. I'm not terribly big into Pokemon but I kind of enjoy the new season as it takes place in a tropical locale and the animation style has been changed up a bit. 

As far as what I got in the Archives packs ...

They were both kind of duds, totally not worth nearly six bucks each. The first pack netted me an Eddie Matthews base card and a Nolan Ryan Bazooka insert so that's kind of cool.

The highlight of the second pack in the Monte Irvin card. The Pettitte card is a duplicate so it'll go in the trade box to be sent out in PWEs the next time I sent out a mass mailing (probably Labor Day-ish).

Out of the Pokemon packs, my son got this shiny Mimikyu card. If you're not familiar with Mimikyu, it's a creepy, mysterious "disguise Pokemon", and it has a hatred for Pikachu that has yet to be revealed. 

And that's another trip to the card shop in the books.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Year 2

Well, it's official ... the blog is two years old today!

To be honest, when I started this blog, I thought I would lose interest in about six months or so but the support and feedback from the card blogging community has kept me motivated and kept my interest going. So as I enter year three a few things ...

1) First off, a big thank you to the fellow card bloggers out there who have read and constantly commented on my posts. You don't know how much it means to me that you take some time out of your day, even if it's only a few minutes, to read my posts and leave a comment.

2) As you can tell, there's been a major slowdown in posts recently ... that's for two reasons. One is that June and July have been incredibly busy months for me both at work and outside of work, which leads me to the second reason ... come December we've got a new rookie joining the team! We just found out today that we'll be welcoming a second son into the world right around Christmas time. We've know for a few months but didn't want to announce anything publicly until we knew what the gender was. Come November, I may go into hiatus mode until spring but I haven't decided for sure yet. If I do, I'll make an announcement. If not, expect posts to become more sporadic at that time until spring.

3) Although it may not feel like it, fall is only a month and a half away which means, among other things, that it's Halloween season again! Last year, I dedicated a whole two months to Halloween and fall madness. While I don't think I'll do the same thing this year, I'm still going to sprinkle in Halloween posts with any card posts I may have. I've also been working on developing something pretty fun that I hope to share come late September/early October to coincide with Halloween that I think everyone will really dig.

Again, a big thank you to everyone who has read and supported the blog and to those I've traded with over the past two years. I appreciate every single one of you.

Here's to a great Year 3!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Football Shoebox Part 1: 49ers to Buccaneers

It being the middle of baseball season, I'm nowhere near ready for football to start. I'm also not the biggest football fan in the world, I'll watch Bengals games and the occasional Sunday night or Thursday night game. I guess you could say I'm a casual fan. 

When it comes to football cards, I'm pretty picky. Typically I'll only buy singles of Bengals players I like but when a giant shoebox full of cards comes around, I can't really pass it up. As I mentioned in a previous post, this box came to me by way of a yard sale down the street two months ago (and yes, I'm just now getting time to write about it).

I don't know how many cards were in the box but a quick rummage through it gave me a general idea that there were cards from the 90s all the way up to Topps cards from just a few years ago. Some cards, maybe a half dozen or so, were bent and creased beyond recognition and were unsalvageable, other than that, everything looked to be in really good shape. I sorted the box by teams then went through the team stacks to look for cards to keep. I found a decent handful for each team that was in there and the rest either went in the trade box or in the Goodwill donation bag.

Since there was so much, I've decided to split up my findings over a multi-part series of posts. Each post will have roughly 6-7 teams and will show off the cards I'm keeping for each team. So here's the first in the series, the 49ers to the Buccaneers

San Francisco 49ers

I only kept some of the 49ers cards but as you can see, these are from the 90s. I specifically kept Ken Norton because I'm considering starting a side collection of football players (or anyone from any sport for that matter) who also participated in wrestling. Also, a nice succession of 49er QBs from Montana to Young to ... Elvis Grbac?

Chicago Bears

This is mostly the Rashaan Salaam show here with four of the five Bears cards being of his. The other, Rick Mirer, is technically a Bears card as that's the team is lists him with despite being shown in a Seattle uniform.

Cincinnati Bengals

I only gained seven new cards for the Bengals collection out of the box but since they were mostly Pro Set cards I never would have bought out of a five or ten cent box in the first place, I'm fine with it.  I like the Jeff Blake "transactions" card for the fact that it's sort of an update card in which he went from the Bengals to the Saints.

Buffalo Bills

Some pretty nice cards here, mainly of Jim Kelly, but a few others as well. One day, I'm going to to a comparison piece on 1995 Fleer baseball vs. 1995 Fleer football as they used the single division crazy design on it too.

Cleveland Browns

I'm sure running the gamut here with Vinny Testaverde, Bernie Kosar, Eric Metcalfe, and even a Topps Total card.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

To be honest, I'm not sure why I kept some of these. Regardless, I love the mix of the old school orange and white uniform with the new red and gold uni. Also, look on the bottom left .... it's a kicker card!!

For the first set of teams, not a bad haul and, sorry Broncos fans, there weren't any cards of theirs in the box. Zero, zilch, nothing. Still, I'm pretty satisfied with this batch and there's lots more where that came from.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Back Packs: 1996 Donruss Series 1

Holy crap. Has it really been nearly ten days since I've published a blog post? And is it really the All-Star Break already? I guess time got away from me. So far, this month has been busier than usual and the small amount of free time I get to write, I've been kicking around and doing some preliminary work on a writing project for Halloween season. More to come (possibly) on that at a later date.

But that's a few months off yet (just over a month and a half actually), so before we get to that, we must get to this. And what is this? Why it's a pack of 1996 Donruss Series 1. Let's see what was in this pack from 21 years ago. I'll try to make this fast as I don't have a ton of time.

#229 Shawn Green
#233 James Mouton
#131 Mike Mordecai

This design really has its ups and downs. First, I give Donruss credit for flipping the script and trying a whole new borderless design. The info box, for lack of a better term, is a neat idea in concept but I'm not sure it really worked in practice. It's got the product name, team logo, player's uniform number, position written very tiny in the bottom right, team name written vertically along the right side, and team city (or state) along the bottom. At the top right, there's a simple bar matching the team colors with the player's name.

#146 Steve Reed
#156 Mel Rojas
#167 Lenny Dykstra

Mel Rojas and Lenny Dykstra are the highlights of this batch.

#173 Mike Fetters
#186 Shane Andrews
Tim Salmon DK

Hey look! An insert card! I like the gold border of the Diamond Kings but other than that, it's a pretty simplistic card.

#208 Harold Baines
#6 Scott Sanders
#60 Johnny Damon

Is that a Johnny Damon Rated Rookie? Why yes it is. For these cards, the Rated Rookie logo replaces the team logo and uniform number.

#226 Todd Stottlemyre
#91 Nelson Liriano

Next please.

#248 Mickey Morandini
#145 Cal Ripken Jr.

Closing out the pack is long time Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini and the legendary Cal Ripken Jr. I was pretty happy to get the Ripken from the pack as it made the whole rip worth it.

This wasn't the best pack but I did get a Tim Salmon Diamond King card, a Johnny Damon Rated Rookie, and a Cal Ripken card so that kind of salvages things. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Indians Cards Every Night

Just a quick post today as it's July 4th weekend.

Recently, I participated in my first group break. The ever cordial Peter of Baseball Every Night offered up a team break for $3 per slot. He needed to fill a few slots right at the end so I jumped in and claimed the Indians since the Reds were already claimed. Once the break filled up, the box was broken, and a few short days later a baggie full of Indians showed up in my mailbox.

A rainbow of uniform colors here, gray, blue, and white. I think my favorite of the batch it the all white home threads. Base cards are pretty much the story here, nothing much new or exciting from series 1. 

Some nice horizontal cards. The Roberto Perez card looks like it might be a photo from the World Series. The photo on the Corey Kluber card reminds me of how it was playing the old World Series Baseball game on Sega Genesis, with the view from the catcher and the batter barely in frame.

My lone insert card from the break, a 1987 Topps buyback of Brett Butler. Definitely a cool card and I think it might be my only card of him as an Indian.

Thanks for hosting the break Peter! If you ever do another one, I'll gladly jump in.